Archive for March, 2010

MOVIE: Amelia (2009)

March 31, 2010

Riddle me this, my friends — how does a movie about such a fascinating person (Amelia Earhart) that is also a veritable ex-Boyfriendapalooza (Richard GereEwan McGregorChristopher Eccleston!) still end up being THIS INCREDIBLY DULL?

I have no answers.  Well, okay, I might have a few answers.  Read on.

I’ve been intrigued by the story of Amelia Earhart since I first learned about her in grade school.  Who hasn’t, really?  Despite that interest, though, I’d never really pursued my curiosity about her.  Never read any books.  Never watched any films.   She was a great feminist hero and then she crashed.  That was about all I had.  And about all I needed, I guess.

But when I heard they were making a movie about her, starring Hilary Swank in the title role (my Dad says she’s the spittin’ image, by the way, and since he’s a pilot himself, I trust his judgment on that one), my interest in learning more was kicked into gear.  I knew very little about what led up to Earhart’s dramatic flight(s) and the mystery of her disappearance/death, and I was eager to find out at last.

I rented this one with Mom a couple of months ago, and, not surprisingly, the details of Amelia’s rise to American aviation heroism were as incredible as expected.   Watching her courage and tenacity zoom circles around her male peers as she gradually made the move from the back of the plane to the front was pretty awesome, in the most authentic sense of the term.  She may have had the freckles of a little girl, but she had the balls of a big brass gorilla, so to speak, and she knew it too.

Someone else who knew it was her husband,  famous New York publisher G. P. Putnam (Gere, whose crinkly eyes are still the best crinkly eyes of all time, I might add), and I found the tale of their marriage likewise fascinating.  His role in publicizing her career was instrumental in her success, but not once did their working relationship get in the way of their obvious, passionate adoration for each other.  It was a beautiful thing to see, to be honest.  I was expecting more turmoil in that storyline, the way there always seems to be in movies/TV shows depicting the romantic relationships of strong, independent, professional women.  Instead, I was surprised to find that yes, yes, she was a role model for us there as well, in many ways.  Right there in her marriage too.  In making her marriage work.  Ups and downs, sure.  But still always somehow leveling back out to even coasting.  I dig.  You dig?

And yet — and yet! — much as I wanted to embrace this movie, much as I was fascinated by the individual story elements themselves, when they got put together. . . yawn, zzzzzz.  MAN, it was boring.  The movie is way too slowly paced, repetitive, and long.  Somehow, it manages to take all these incredible stories and sputter them dry of all verve.  I don’t know what was wrong with it, really.   I suppose part of the problem is that, for all the amazingness of her life, Amelia Earhart kind of lived a simple one.  No major dramas, just direction, dedication, and dreams pursued and fulfilled.

I wonder if maybe more of a focus on her final flight, maybe even something speculative?, might’ve rescued this film from its drabness?  I suppose that wouldn’t have been fair, really — making something up there at the end.  Her living happily ever after on a tropical island with a volleyball named Wilson, perhaps?  But it certainly would’ve been a lot more fun.

And so, my friends, my advice to you is to skip this one.  Let’s wait for another one instead.  The story of Amelia Earhart is out there, filmmakers — tell it to me again.  I’ll wait.

[Netflix it | Buy it]

Genre:  Drama
Cast:  Hilary Swank, Richard Gere, Ewan McGregor, Joe Anderson, Christopher Eccleston, Mia Wasikowska

MOVIE: Death at a Funeral (2007)

March 28, 2010

After my review of Withnail & I, a couple of people recommended this British comedy to me in the comments.  It sounded like a great concept for a funny flick — the patriarch of a British clan dies, bringing the family together for the funeral with disastrous results.  (I mean, I guess that doesn’t sound inherently funny, but awkward family moments usually bode well for laughs, in my experience.)

Unfortunately, though, while it’s definitely entertaining and amusing and at least ten times more clever than most American comedies I’ve seen, it wasn’t quite as hilarious as I was hoping it would be.   I think a big part of my disappointment was rooted in the fact I was watching it immediately after the revelatory experience of seeing Withnail for the first time.  What can live up to that, I ask you?    But, for me, it wasn’t really on the same level as Withnail — undeniably funny and extremely entertaining (and I really, really enjoyed it, I should add!) but unlikely to become a quotable favorite the way I think Withnail definitely will.

The main character in Death at a Funeral is the son of the dead gent, Daniel (Matthew Macfayden).  As he was the son who lived closest to his parents (by “closest,” I should say “with”), he got stuck organizing the funeral, despite the fact he’s broke (see above, re: living with Mom) and doesn’t appear to have been all that crazy about either his father OR his over-the-top-with-the-crazy-martyrdom mother.

Coming in for the occasion is Daniel’s famous novelist brother, the very definition of “egomaniac,” and their cousin, whose boyfriend Simon (Serenity ex-Boyfriend Alan Tudyk) is so stressed about finally meeting the family that he takes what he thinks is a Valium, only to discover later it was actually LSD.   He ends up naked on the roof later, which is the least bananas, believe it or not, of all the things about to happen because of that single mislabeled bottle of pills.

The funeral starts off with the undertaker botching the delivery of the body (“That’s not my father!”) and takes an even uglier turn when a mysterious dwarf named Peter shows up (played by the always awesome ex-Boyfriend Peter Dinklage).  When it turns out Peter knows a secret about Daniel’s father and is there to extort the family into keeping it quiet, things get a little, shall we say, psychedelic.

This film is a combination of dark comedy and ridiculous slapstick — a very British combination that works very Britishly (in other words: oddly and well).  But despite the definite sharpness of the whole thing, I didn’t find myself fully riding along.  Again, this may have been a problem of expectations, and a second viewing in a few months might change things completely.  Impossible to say until we give that a shot, I’m afraid.  In the meantime, though, while I’m definitely glad I saw it, if you only have time for one weird British laugher, the choice is clear:  Withnail & I, by a mile.  Make sure you have a bottle of lighter fluid handy in case you get thirsty.

[Netflix it | Buy it]

Genre:  Comedy
Cast:  Matthew Macfayden, Rupert Graves, Peter Dinklage, Alan Tudyk, Peter Egan, Daisy Donovan, Jane Asher

MOVIE: The Informant! (2009)

March 25, 2010

You know what’s weird about this movie?  It’s billed as a comedy — I mean, look at the cover art for the DVD (stage left), right? — and yet, it’s absolutely one of the most tragic films I’ve ever seen.  I didn’t know it when it began, and I laughed more than once.  But as the story unfolded, I was absolutely crushed by self-loathing over that. Oh man, this is so not funny!  It’s NOT FUNNY, I’m sorry!

Based on the non-fiction book by Kurt Eichenwald, this movie tells the true story of a whistle-blower named Mark Whitacre (played by ex-Boyfriend Matt Damon) who worked for Archer Daniels Midland in the 1980’s.  When he discovers a price-fixing scheme in the company related to the cost of lysine, an additive widely used in the livestock industry, he reports it to the FBI, quickly and almost unwittingly becoming sucked in as the major player in their resultant quest to bring ADM down.

Over the next several years, Whitacre helps the FBI amass thousands of hours of video and audio recordings that trace the scheme all the way up to the top executives.  Eventually, they are all arrested and taken to court, and several ended up serving jail time (though, naturally, this became just a minor blip for the huge, still-going ADM).

The “comedy” parts of the film come mostly from watching Whitacre bumble around a lot, as he dictates things loudly and obviously right into his wire and accidentally nearly-exposes the whole plan more than once.  At first, we just think he’s kind of a dolt — or maybe a bit of a loose cannon.  But it’s not long before it becomes obvious that he’s fairly severely mentally ill.  I guessed bipolar about halfway through the film, and it turns out I was right about that — it just fit with everything he was doing, including committing his own major, major crime without really thinking about it (fraudulently stealing over $9 million from the company over a span of several years), and not being able NOT to tell on himself later on.  That he then kept digging himself deeper and deeper into the hole simply failed to strike me as amusing, I’m afraid.

I mean, here’s a guy who can neither lie nor not lie, and whose mental illness drives him to extremes that eventually destroy his career and his marriage, finally landing him in prison with a sentence three times bigger than the ones given to the ADM executives who started this whole thing rolling.  Why is that funny?  Can someone explain it to me?

The movie is very well made, of course — good acting, good writing, and an undeniably fascinating story.  But I have to confess, most of that was kind of lost on me in the end.  The “comedy” in this comedy is simply so painfully unintentional and so obviously leading to a terrible end that it’s more heartbreaking than hilarious.  Call me a stiff if you’d like.  It’s a moniker I’ll wear with pride over this one.

[Netflix it | Buy it]

Genre:  Not Comedy. NOT!
Cast:  Matt Damon, Melanie Lynskey, Scott Bakula, Patton Oswalt, Thomas F. Wilson, Joel McHale

BOOK: Steamed by Katie MacAlister (2010)

March 24, 2010

Okay, before I say anything about this novel, let me begin by telling you I read it on a total lark.  This should be obvious the moment I begin to describe it, but just in case it’s not, I feel it’s important that I be clear about this:  I am not a trashy romance novel reader.  I SWEAR I AM NOT.

But, come on, you guys, how am I supposed to resist a book billed as a “steampunk romance,” I ask you?   It’s too much to ask.   So, when a friend of mine mentioned this book to me and then started lobbing out lines from it on my Facebook page, I begged him to pass it along when he was done.  And man, it was every bit as delightfully awful as I hoped it would be.   Sah-weet.

The story, NOT THAT THE STORY MATTERS, OF COURSE, is about a computer technician named Jack Fletcher who greets each day with a round of sexual harassment in the workplace, and then spends the rest of his on-the-job hours working on a super secret nanoelectrical project.  When his nutty sister Hallie comes to visit one afternoon and knocks a cup of coffee onto the computer works, she and Jack suddenly find themselves beamed into another dimension, a parallel universe where steam engines are the height of technology.  They wake up on an “airship,” captained by a gorgeous, buxom redhead, Octavia Pye, whose “uniform” consists of a tight corset, revealing blouse, and sexy skirt.  Naturally.

As the various characters try to figure out what’s going on, and as Pye struggles to lead her maiden voyage in a world filled with air-pirates and rogues, the sparks between Jack and Octavia begin to fly.  She does things like tell him kissing her would be wholly inappropriate, and he responds, of course, by kissing her anyway.  As a woman, I should be offended.  But I’m afraid I was far too distracted by the fact I was cracking up every three paragraphs to get too het up about the whole no-means-no thing.

Besides, it wasn’t really “no,” obviously.  Her mouth said one thing, HER LIPS SAID ANOTHER.  Or something like that.

Mothers, on behalf of womankind, don’t give this book to your daughters.

You can read it yourselves, though.

[SCIENCE FICTION, ROMANCE — god, I KNOW]

[Buy it from an indie bookseller | Buy it from Amazon.com | Browse book reviews | Search book reviews]

MOVIE: 2012 (2009)

March 23, 2010

It’s. . . well, you know. . . TERRIBLE.

(Not in a good way.)

[Netflix it | Buy it]

Genre:  Disaster
Cast:  John Cusack, Woody Harrelson, Oliver Platt, Amanda Peet, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Thandie Newton, Danny Glover

MOVIE: Dune (1984)

March 22, 2010

You know that YouTube video that features the five year-old girl describing the movie Star Wars?  This one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EBM854BTGL0 (“The shiny guy ALWAYS worries. . .”). Brace yourselves, because that’s probably how I’m going to sound trying to explain the plot of this movie.

I’ve never read Dune (Frank Herbert, 1965) and, to be honest, until recently, I’d had very little interest in seeing the movie.  BUT, the recent discussions about it in the comments here and here got me thinking maybe I was missing out on something, if not brilliant, at least infinitely quotable.   Having never read the book, though, clearly put me at a distinct disadvantage.  And the filmmakers seemed to know it would, too, as this movie at times seemed to feature more voice-over exposition than actual action.   Try as they might, though, I still got to the end credits somewhat befuddled.

The good news is, I was so thoroughly charmed by the copious, gooey amounts of cheese that it hardly mattered I had no idea what was going on.  Oh my god, this movie is the ultimate 80’s film, isn’t it?  Starring everyone from Jurgen Prochnow (the grizzled captain from Das Boot) to Sting, and featuring music by Toto?  TOTO?!  You can’t not love it.  You just can’t.  I defy you.  And the costumes!  The special effects!  The worms!  That blobby guy in the portable jar!  When I wasn’t tipping my head muttering, “Huh?” I was laughing my sweet can off.  If ever there were a movie the term “awesome” was born to describe, this would be that movie.

I will now attempt to explain the plot, more for your amusement than anything else.

Okay, so, like, there are these four planets that are currently embroiled in a big conspiracy thing: the home of the emperor of the galaxy, the home of the House of Atreides (the good guys), the home of the House of Harkonnen (the bad guys — you can tell because they have lots of acne), and finally, the planet Arrakis, also known as “Dune” (or, by Virginia Madsen, as “Dewwwwn”).  Dune is the planet that houses the world’s most valued substance, this stuff called the “spice melange.”  Not only does the spice seem to have some kind of psychotropic effect (we’re told in one voice-over that it “expands consciousness”), but it’s also the stuff required to “fold space,” the fastest way to travel through the universe.   Instead of flying from one point to the next, the spice lets you bend space in half so the two points are suddenly right on top of each other.  This is a cool theory, and one nicely demonstrated by ex-Boyfriend Sam Neill using a sheet of paper in the movie Event Horizon, should you be interested.  (“F*ck layman’s terms, DO YOU SPEAK ENGLISH?”)

Apparently, the Emperor has decided that the key to his staying in charge is to take out the House of Atreides, which he’s decided has way too many charismatic potential leaders (the Duke of Atreides, for one, and his son Paul (MacLachlin) in particular).  His plan is to put Atreides in charge of the spice, to lure them to Arrakis, and then to have the Harkonnen attack when they least suspect it.  The Harkonnen will then take control of the spice, and the Emperor will get to stay in charge.

BUT, what he has failed to take into consideration is the fact that the people of Arrakis (the Fremen) have this centuries old myth about a “savior” who will come to their planet one day and rescue them from their lifetime of servitude.  Or whatever.  And anybody who has ever seen any movie EVER knows that if there’s a savior myth involved, somebody’s plan is going to go all foo-fah.  Paul is the savior, naturally (because he’s the cutest), and frankly, if you’ve seen Avatar, you know how this will play out.  He’ll team up with the locals, learn how to ride their giant animals (in this case, enormous deadly sand worms that come up to eat you if you make any vibrations — like the ones in Tremors), become their hero, and save the day.

Throw in some kissing, some funky blue eyes, a lot of crazy fight scenes, and a whole bunch of cheesy sci-fi speak (Kwisatz Haderach!  Thufir Hawat! Muad’Dib! Sardaukar! The “weirding way”!), and what you have is a hell of a movie.

The problem with the story is that it’s about a thousand times more complicated than this.  And at least 999 times more complicated than it needed to be.  I would imagine, however, that fans of the novel probably reacted to this film with horror, ballistically going off on all the myraid subplots that got left out (for example, I would guess the romance element of this story — Paul falling in love with one of the Fremen — got more play in the book than it did in the film, and I bet his little sister, who seemed to be important but had little to do here, did as well).  That said, had I been in charge, I would’ve cut the story down even more than it likely already was, because even with the incessant voice-overs, I don’t think I quite got everything.

Nevertheless, any film where characters say things like, “Remember the tooth!  The tooth!  The toooooth!” is going to be one I really enjoy.

Now, nerds.  Should I read the book?  Let me rephrase.  MUST I read the book?  Hie thee to the comments to make thine case.

[Netflix it | Buy it]

Genre:  Science Fiction
Cast:  EVERYBODY ALIVE IN 1984! Especially:  Kyle MacLachlan, Max von Sydow, Jose Ferrer, Jurgen Prochnow, Sting, Patrick Stewart, Linda Hunt, Brad Dourif, Sean Young, Virginia Madsen, Dean Stockwell, and director David Lynch himself!

MOVIE: The Crazies (2009)

March 17, 2010

Okay, well, obviously I was going to go see this movie.  After all, it’s about zombies (though, as it turns out, not really) AND it stars ex-Boyfriend of the Week Timothy Olyphant.  Like I could say no to that?  Please.  “Weak” is my middle name (note: not really).

That said, I went into The Crazies expecting it to be a major disappointment.  After all, it’s a remake of a classic horror film (Romero’s 1973 film of the same name), and since when are those any good?

Surprise, surprise, though — I ended up really enjoying it.  I was riveted the entire time I was watching and by the end, I’d stopped taking notes altogether, instead finding myself frantically scribbling down all the things I was trying not to yell at the screen. Things like, “HOLY CRAP!!” and, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!  DON’T DO THAT, YOU FOOL, YOU FOOL!”  (The latter said less because the character was being stupid — my usual reason for yelling such a thing during a horror flick — and more because I actually cared about said character and did not want him to get eaten.)

The story is about an airplane transporting a decommissioned chemical weapon down to Texas to be destroyed when, whoopsie!, it crashes into a river in the small town of Ogden Marsh, Iowa.  From there, the chemical begins to leach into the water supply, gradually infecting Ogden Marsh one farm at a time along the pipeline.

The local sheriff, David Dutton (Olyphant), gets his first hint that something wonky is up when one of the locals wanders onto the high school baseball field during the first game of the season and proceeds to point a shotgun at him.  Forced to shoot him, Dutton is wracked by guilt — and convinced the man was drunk.  But when tox screens come back negative, well. . . what?

Meanwhile, Dutton’s pregnant wife Judy (Radha Mitchell, of actual-sized thighs and butt, hurrah!), the town doctor, has started to see some pretty strange stuff going on with her patients.  The first symptom of whatever-it-is appears to be despondency.  Stage two is irrational bursts of anger.  From there to horrific, zombie-esque, limb-munching violence. Bring it!

Within 24 hours, the military is on the scene, rounding up the locals and suggesting, though not actually saying, that there’s some kind of bug on the loose and the only way to survive is to follow instructions without question.

As per usual, though, their methodology could use some work.  “Maybe if we don’t SAY ‘chemical weapon’ and ‘you’re all going to die,’ they’ll stay calm?” — fellas, please.  Instead, of course, the exact opposite of “staying calm” happens, as the guys in the scary suits start grabbing people out of line for running fevers and then dragging them off kicking and screaming out of sight with no stated reason.

When Judy is the next one to go, David breaks free and races back to town to stock up on weapons.  There he finds his deputy, also hiding out, and the two team up to get Judy back out.

From there, you can predict how this will go, right down to the ending with its nice, but likewise predictable, combination of hope and futility.   What made this film stand out, though, at least from where I sat, was the acting and the overall look of the flick itself.  Olyphant and Mitchell are great fun to watch in this, and I really liked Joe Anderson as the somewhat-sardonic Deputy Clark as well.  The infected are effectively creepy-looking, and the scenery, when not covered in blood and entrails, is quite lovely.

Plus, the fight scenes were just super-cool.  I confess, with no small degree of self-directed horror, that I laughed out loud during that knife-in-the-hand-to-the-throat bit — I’d never seen that before and it was, as I wrote in my notebook, TOTALLY RAD.

Great special effects, original fight scenes, and a truly entertaining plot — in a horror movie REMAKE?  As Liz Lemon would say, what the what?  It’s a miracle.

The Crazies was the most easy-going and thoroughly enjoyable two hours I’ve spent at a theater in quite some time, and if you’re a fan of the genre or any of the actors, I think you pretty much can’t go wrong here.  Let me know if you think I’m wrong about that in the comments!

[Prequeue it at Netflix | Watch trailer]

Genre:  Horror
Cast:  Timothy Olyphant, Radha Mitchell, Joe Anderson, Danielle Panabaker, Preston Bailey

MOVIE: The Eclipse (2009)

March 17, 2010

I read about this film a few months ago and have been eager to see it ever since.  Eager, but not eager enough, apparently, to actually KEEP TRACK OF IT.  Doy.

As it turns out, while it has yet to be released widely to theaters, it was playing in Seattle last week during the 2010 Irish Reels Film Festival.  OOPS.  When I realized I’d missed it, I shook my fist at the sky and cursed my stupidity, then I Googled it to see when my next opportunity might be.  Lo and behold, it’s available for pre-theatrical release streaming at Amazon.com!   Wicked.

The film is about a would-be writer, Michael Farr (played by the great Ciarán Hinds — adore him), who, as the story opens, is helping to organize and run his small village’s annual literary festival.  There are two writers at the festival that are of interest to the story: the first is Nicholas Holden (Aidan Quinn), a novelist and insufferable snot; the second, ghost story writer Lena Morelle.  Nicholas and Lena have a history together, a one-night stand history, and one of the reasons Nicholas has come to the Cobh Literary Festival this year is to try to convince Lena to come back to him for real.  Unfortunately for him, Lena has absolutely no interest in this idea.  In fact, she can’t stand him.  For reasons that become clear about thirty seconds after we meet the man ourselves.

Michael, on the other hand, is a recent widower with two children, struggling to come to terms with his grief and move on with his life.  That grief is compounded by the fact he’s now responsible for taking care of his likewise-grieving father-in-law (whose name I’ve forgotten, so I’ll just call him FIL for short).  The first night of the festival, Michael forgets to pick FIL up from his retirement home — he just forgets.   Perhaps not so coincidentally, later that same night Michael sees his first ghost.  A ghost who, oddly, looks just like FIL.  Who is not dead.

Hey, that’s weird.

The next day, Michael is asked to pick Lena up for her reading at the festival and the two meet for the first time.  Michael attends the reading and is intrigued to discover there that her genre of choice is ghost stories.  When she later invites him in for a drink, he can’t help but ask her if she really believes ghosts exist.  Her immediate response?  “Why — have you seen one?”

As the festival progresses, Michael and Lena become friends.  But the ghost of FIL continues to plague him, eventually going from a simple apparition walking across the hall to a terrifying, blood-covered monster who tries to pull him down through a hole in his closet floor.  (The few ghostly scenes in this film, by the way, are successfully scary as hell and a couple of them truly startled me — no mean feat!)

Meanwhile, Lena is struggling to deal with Nicholas, who has grown more and more aggressive in his desire for her.  The three characters bounce off each other in scenes here and there until finally Nicholas and Michael come to blows over Lena.  Then the next thing we know, the festival ends, everybody goes home, and the movie is over.

What’s interesting about The Eclipse is that while it bills itself as a ghost story, it’s really not about the ghosts at all.  There are only about four “scary” scenes in this movie, and they’re all over fairly quickly — they simply don’t appear to be the point.  Instead, the story seems to be more about people and emotions.

And that’s where I ended up having a bit of a problem with it.

This film seems decidedly undecided when it comes to its own goal.  Clearly, the filmmakers wanted to make a story about relationships, grief, guilt, love, and loss that also happened to have an element of horror to it.  I think the aim was to keep the story focused primarily on Michael, and to make a connection for the viewer between the ghosts he’s seeing and the haunting guilt and grief in his own mind.

But the problem is, the only reason we end up with a sense of Michael’s emotional complexity at all is because of Ciarán’s exquisite acting abilities.  Without his masterful facial expressions and softly pained tone of voice — if a lesser actor had played this part, in other words — we would’ve gotten very little sense of that character at all. And that’s despite the fact he’s in nearly every scene of this film.  He’s not given much to work with, but even worse, there are simply too many elements of this story that should’ve been explored more and aren’t.

For example, Lena is a ghost story lover and writer.  Yet, she and Michael only have one conversation about ghosts and it doesn’t really seem to go anywhere.  For someone who purports to love the subject, she shuts Michael down very quickly when he tries to talk to her about what he’s been seeing (she claims she finds the rental house she’s staying in too creepy for such discussions, but it felt more like the writers simply weren’t sure what to do with the scene).  There could’ve been an interesting connection made there — a bonding over their own apparitions, an exploration of their respective hauntings.

On the opposite side, the relationship between Lena and Nicholas felt over-explored, extraneous, and pointless.  Why was that in there wasting precious space to begin with?  Just to show that she’s desired by even the smartest, most successful of pricks?  It wasn’t necessary; the added friction wasn’t needed, and I mostly found Aidan Quinn’s presence distracting and unsatisfying.

The film is very short — less than an hour and a half — and I think it could’ve benefited a great deal from an extra thirty minutes spent shoring up a few of the characters’ personalities and relationships.  Instead, it feels like it’s over just as it finally gets rolling, and I left this movie wanting more.  More about the ghosts.  More about the grief.  More about where Michael’s mind was taking him.  More, more, more.

It left me wanting.  Because IT is wanting.

Nevertheless, this is still a very intriguing and unusual picture, and it’s beautifully filmed and very well-acted to boot.  If you get a chance to see it, I’d definitely recommend that you do so.  I’m hoping it comes back to Seattle soon for a real theatrical release, as I’d like to see if it works better on the big screen.  Stranger things have happened, after all.  It might change my tune entirely.  Who knows.

Recommended.  Sort of.  I think?  Yes.

[Prequeue at Netflix | View trailer | Rent (streaming) at Amazon.com]

Genre:  Drama, Horror
Cast:  Ciarán Hinds, Aidan Quinn, Iben Hjejle, Jim Norton

FX’s New Series “Justified” Premieres Tonight!

March 16, 2010

Just a quick heads-up that ex-Boyfriend Timothy Olyphant’s new series Justified premieres tonight on FX (10pm).

The series features Olyphant as a U.S. Marshall (a character based on an Elmore Leonard creation) who was an up-and-comer in the Marshall service until he killed someone in the line of duty.  Now on the outs with his boss, he’s been sent back to his home state, Kentucky, the place he joined the Marshalls to get away from in the first place.

He wears a cowboy hat and boots.  That might, in fact, be all you need to know.

Set your DVRs, VCRs, whatevers.  And here’s hoping it doesn’t suck!

Find out more here:  http://www.fxnetworks.com/shows/originals/justified/

MOVIE: Withnail and I (1987)

March 15, 2010

Okay, look, people.  I feel like I put a lot of effort into this blog, and into the Boyfriend of the Week/Century web site.  Is it too much to ask that you return the favor by telling me about brilliant movies I haven’t seen that I would love?  You let me go 23 years without seeing Withnail & I?  HAVE YOU NO SHAME?  DO YOU NOT LIKE ME?  IF YOU CUT ME, DO I NOT BLEED THE BLOOD OF SOMEONE WHO WOULD LOVE THIS MOVIE?

My thumbs have gone weird.  Look at my tongue; it’s wearing a yellow sock.  How do we make it die?  I don’t advise a haircut, man.  I want something’s flesh.  Don’t threaten me with a dead fish.  Bollocks to the Wellingtons.  I’m going to pull your head off because I don’t like your head.  Give me a Valium; I’m getting the FEAR.

Find your neutral space.  You got a rush.  It’ll pass.  Be seated.

That is all.

[Netflix it | Buy it from Criterion]

Genre:  Comedy, Foreign
Cast:  Richard E. Grant, Paul McGann, Richard Griffiths, Ralph Brown