Joshua Gizelt (swashbuckler332) wrote,
Joshua Gizelt

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Whatever, man...

Once again, I normally don't pay these sorts of thing much mind, but this was pretty good. I don't know which is funnier, the routine or the nagging suspicion that something not too dissimilar to this happens on a daily basis in the Oval Office...

Who's On First
the Next Generation

George: Condi! Nice to see you. What's happening?
Condi: Sir, I have the report here about the new leader of China.
George: Great. Lay it on me.
Condi: Hu is the new leader of China.
George: That's what I want to know.
Condi: That's what I'm telling you.
George: That's what I'm asking you. Who is the new leader of China?
Condi: Yes.
George: I mean the fellow's name.
Condi: Hu.
George: The guy in China.
Condi: Hu.
George: The new leader of China.
Condi: Hu.
George: The main man in China!
Condi: Hu is leading China.
George: Now whaddya' asking me for?
Condi: I'm telling you, Hu is leading China.
George: Well, I'm asking you. Who is leading China?
Condi: That's the man's name.
George: That's who's name?
Condi: Yes.
George: Will you, or will you not, tell me the name of the new leader of China?
Condi: Yes, sir.
George: Yassir? Yassir Arafat is in China? I thought he's dead in the Middle East.
Condi: That's correct.
George: Then who is in China?
Condi: Yes, sir.
George: Yassir is in China?
Condi: No, sir.
George: Then who is?
Condi: Yes, sir.
George: Yassir?
Condi: No, sir.
George: Look Condi. I need to know the name of the new leader of China. Get me the Secretary General of the U.N. on the phone.
Condi: Kofi?
George: No, thanks.
Condi: You want Kofi?
George: No.
Condi: You don't want Kofi.
George: No. But now that you mention it, I could use a glass of milk. And then get me the U.N.
Condi: Yes, sir.
George: Not Yassir! The guy at the U.N.
Condi: Kofi?
George: Milk! Will you please make the call?
Condi: And call who?
George: Who is the guy at the U.N?
Condi: Hu is the guy in China.
George: Will you stay out of China?!
Condi: Yes, sir.
George: And stay out of the Middle East! Just get me the guy at the U.N.
Condi: Kofi.
George: All right! With cream and two sugars. Now get on the phone.

Early Retirement

As some have found out the hard way, my sleep schedule is all fucked up. I sleep at night now. Yeah, that sounds just about right for the rest of the world, but for the past two years I've been the night person that I always am whenever I don't have a job to get to in the morning. Of course, I have a job to get to in the morning now, so I am all upside-down and backwards (and I don't drink coffee because it makes me the wrong kind of awake).

I say
The afternoon has gently passed me by
The evening spreads its sail against the sky
Waiting for tomorrow, just another day
God bid yesterday good-bye

Bring on the night
I couldn't spend another hour of daylight
Bring on the night
I couldn't stand another hour of daylight

The future is but a question mark
Hangs above my head, there in the dark
Can't see for the brightness is staring me blind
God bid yesterday good-bye

Bring on the night
I couldn't spend another hour of daylight
Bring on the night
I couldn't stand another hour of daylight

I couldn't spend another hour of daylight
I couldn't stand another hour of daylight
- Sting

Literally every single one of my weekend plans fell through. While this is disappointing, it did allow me to finish up season two of Angel, start season three and check out some rentals.

Open Water

The Jaws franchise overstayed its welcome, but sharks still have teeth, as is demonstrated by Chris Kentis and Laura Lau's white-knuckle thriller. The modesty of the budget and production meld perfectly with the concept here, and the performances by Blanchard Ryan and Daniel Travis go a long way to selling the terror. The film has its limitations, to be sure, but is sidesteps them easily first by ignoring everything except its central purpose, and second by not taking too long (the film runs less than 80 minutes, and so avoids repetition). The score is by Graeme Revell in full Dead Calm mode.

A special note: this is one film that ought to be watched in total darkness. Trust me.

Despite a powerhouse DTS-ES 6.1 track, the movie looks like crap on DVD because it was mastered from the film elements rather than going back to the original DV, as was done with the deleted scenes included on the DVD. Therefore, despite the 16:9 enhancement, this is a case where the deleted scenes are actually in better condition than the film itself. Weird.

A Home at the End of the World

Michael Cunningham wrote the screenplay based on his own novel, and I found this film to be much more entertaining than the other major film adapted from his work, The Hours, which I found a crushing bore. Despite its tendency to travel into some pretty icky areas, the good performances from the cast definitely kept my attention. Michael Mayer directs the film with such an affection for the characters that the viewer can't help but sympathize with them, even as they make ludicrous decisions. It's not the greatest motion picture I've ever seen, but I enjoyed it. I would liked to have learned more about the production, but unfortunately the DVD only contains the trailer and a short promo.

This is the film that made waves a few months ago because Colin Farrel's schlong was cut out of it because it was too distracting for test audiences(!).

The Company

I approached this film with some trepidation. While I do enjoy much ballet music (along with opera, it is the most direct antecedent to film music, after all), I'm not a big fan of ballet or modern dancing. I am, however, a huge Robert Altman fan, so I bit the bullet, took the plunge and watched it.

It was great. Altman shot the movie on Sony HDW-F900 high definition cameras (which still yield his favored 'scope aspect ratio), allowing him to great amount of leeway in the dance sequences, which are, and I don't mind saying it, absolutely breathtaking. Between the dance sequences are vignettes that outline the experience of being in a ballet company, from the practice to the difficulties in getting through life.

In the commentary track, Campbell comments that she liked the fact that during the dances, one can hear foot thumps and swishes, which would normally be eliminated from the sound mix. Altman responds that the film is not about dance, but about the process that goes into making a dance, and that is one of the main attractions of the film. There is no way one can not watch this movie and not develop the deepest respect for the commitment and dedication that the dancers have for their craft.

Neve Campbell and Malcolm MacDowell blend seamlessly into the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, with James Franco appearing as a love interest for Campbell's character, thematically tying into what dance tends to be about. MacDowell is playing a character based somewhat on Gerry Arpino, the actual artistic director of the Chicago Joffrey, and it is one of his finest performances. It is also fascinating to see some of the weirdest ideas by the creative personel turned into arresting pieces. The film was Campbell's idea, and she worked it out with Barbara Turner and managed to get Altman through persistence. The results were well worth the effort, and the DVD presents it beautifully, with plenty of informative special features.

Something the Lord Made

I often get razzed for renting new releases that are somewhat off the beaten path, but for all of the stupid movies I come across there is the gem that makes it worth it. This is one of them.

An HBO production directed by Joseph Sargent (who helmed The Taking of Pelham One Two Three and several episodes of The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Bonanza, Gunsmoke and Star Trek), this modestly mounted piece on the relationship between Vivien Thomas and Alfred Blalock, pioneers in cardiac surgery, is a triumph.

Mos Def plays Thomas and Alan Rickman plays Blalock, and their performances are fantastic. Blalock hires Thomas to assist him in the laboratory where he does surgical experiments on dogs. When Blalock is offered a plum position at Johns Hopkins University, he takes Thomas with him, and the two of them make an unbeatable research team in the laboratory. Thomas, however, is black and self-taught, and the two men, while equals in the lab, occupy completely different social classes.

The racial tensions combine with the medical drama to create a film that is enjoyable from beginning to end. Def is fantastic portraying a character whose outlook is of a very different time and place, and Rickman bravely plays a character who is completely unaware of the lengths of his own racism. The teleplay by Peter Silverman and Robert Caswell leans very heavily on documented fact, and there was a laudable effort on the part of the filmmakers for medical accuracy. There is also an outstanding Chris Young score, written in a mere 18 days while he suffered from terrible losses in his personal life, but shines beautifully.

I strongly recommend this film, and the DVD is very good, with a worthy group commentary that discusses not only the production of the movie, but the historical facts they are based on (the filmmakers, while proud of the picture that they made, wished that the scope of the project would have encompassed the enormous effect that Vivien Thomas had on the students at Johns Hopkins).

The Czech is in the Male

suitboyskin, your package is on its way. Please e-mail me your schedule so we won't have near misses like the one we had last night... (I know there was no way for you to know that it was a near miss at the time, but trust me)
Tags: cinema, reviews, robert altman

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