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Jay, who is owned by Maxxxxx the Parrot!

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FYI: The other place I blab at... [Feb. 6th, 2006|12:23 am]
Jay, who is owned by Maxxxxx the Parrot!
Life with Movies and Maxxxxx
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ahhhhh.... (Who is this?) [Jan. 16th, 2006|01:55 pm]
Jay, who is owned by Maxxxxx the Parrot!
Found courtesy of damneddonkey:
You two would probably really get along!
The Founder of Tenrikyo "The universe is the body of God. Ponder this in all matters."

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:

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You scored higher than 83% on Intuitive

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You scored higher than 96% on Structured

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You scored higher than 43% on Mildness

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You scored higher than 53% on Traditional
Link: The Religion Founder You Resemble Test written by Stinkbot on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test
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"Lestat" a new musical (yes, a musical, but without a "!" in the title) [Jan. 13th, 2006|12:53 am]
Jay, who is owned by Maxxxxx the Parrot!
[mood |annoyedannoyed]

Well. San Francisco has the mixed blessing of seeing "Lestat" in it's pre-Broadway incarnation. It's the new Elton John musical, by the way. First, the positives: The voices of the entire cast were outstanding! Carolee Carmello is especially effective as Lestat's mother, Gabrielle. She reminded me of a young Betty Buckley. Allison Fischer also steals the show as Claudia, in doing basically a "Bad Seed" imitation. It doesn't fit at ALL with the production, but it was entertaining as she pops up at around the 2 hour mark. (FYI: she is 16, playing a 10 year old, who is actually only 5 years old in the book. Anyway...)

Now, the rest of the production. It is sort of hard to figure out where to start. However, one can begin with the material. Elton John's score is dull. There are a couple of numbers that almost get you involved, however running at 2 hours and 40 minutes, there's got to be something MORE to keep you going! What the score initially lacks is the "I want" song. What does Lestat want? There are also lost opportunities for Lestat and his supporting cast, i.e. a duet for him and Nicholas would have been lovely, as well as some sort of trio for Lestat, Luis and Claudia. As it is now, each character has something of a moment, but nothing that brings them together, with the exception of a particularly Disney-like finale. And for what is Lestat's show, he is not given the kind of material to make it his own. Which leads us to...

Lestat is performed by Hugh Panaro. He is an 'Andrew Lloyd Webber tenor' as can be ascertained by his bio. He has a great voice. However, he just doesn't seem to know how to play Lestat. His technique is so wooden, it is nearly melodramatic, which is in direct contrast with the very POP music that he needs to sing. He also does not seem to form any kind of connection with anyone, with the possible exception of Gabrielle. And he has an annoying habit of upstaging the supporting cast. tsk, tsk. Why hasn't the director helped him? Which leads us to...

The director, Robert Jess Roth. He directed the mind numbingly successful "Beauty and the Beast," but is more notorious for having been the director who was fired from the original production of Disney's/Elton John's "Aida" in Atlanta. I can sort of see why. Firstly, the pacing is just DEADLY at times, and most unfortunately, especially in the second act. He hasn't seemed to pull Linda Woolverton's book and Elton John's score and the production design together without making cuts and concessions. I sort of got the feeling that Roth said "Yes" to everything that anyone on his production team wanted. There is not feeling of guidance, aka direction for the production. It just keeps slugging along.

That said, the costumes by Susan Hilferty ("Wicked"), wigs by Tom Watson ("Wicked" again) and sets by Derek McLane ("I Am My Own Wife") are all quite effective, especially in presenting the passing of 200 years. The 'Visual Concept Design' (aka projections) by David McKean ("MirrorMask") and lighting by Kenneth Posner (again, "Wicked") are a bit overdone. I love McKean's work, but it seemed that the production relied too heavily on the projections at key moments, i.e. whenever someone was sucking someone else's blood. Also, the constant intertitles projecting Lestat's narration was annoying, and it was an obvious way to kill time for another costume change. And what might work cinematically, is just a bit confusing on stage as one is trying to concentrate on this really complicated story while also watching some truly surreal art behind the performers. Again, it is as if Roth said 'yes' to everything.

But seeing as this is its first stop (next stop: Boston), perhaps this is how Roth works: Throw EVERYTHING in and we'll start cutting. I'm just not sure that cutting is going to help. He needs to get John and Bernie Taupin (lyrics) back in there and write stuff for LESTAT!! It is HIS show! And start forgetting about being so slavishly tied to Anne Rice's books (the show includes both "Interview with a Vampire" and "Lestat").
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In yet another attempt to explore who I REALLY am... [Jan. 1st, 2006|05:46 pm]
Jay, who is owned by Maxxxxx the Parrot!
[music |The Rainbow Connection]

You are Kermit the Frog. You are reliable, responsible and caring. And you
have a habit of waving your arms about
maniacally. FAVORITE EXPRESSIONS: "Hi ho!" "Yaaay!" and
"Sheesh!" FAVORITE MOVIE: "How Green Was My Mother" LAST BOOK READ: "Surfin' the Webfoot: A Frog's Guide to the
Internet" HOBBIES: Sitting in the swamp playing banjo. QUOTE: "Hmm, my banjo is wet."

What Muppet are you?
brought to you by Quizilla
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2005: Gone! 2006: Coming! [Jan. 1st, 2006|11:48 am]
Jay, who is owned by Maxxxxx the Parrot!
[music |Soundtrack: A History of Violence]

So, instead of dwelling on the past, since "Best Of"s also entails remembering the "Worst Of"s, I choose to look forward to what 2006 might bring me, or what I will bring to it.

1) Atlanta beckons.
2) As well as a dog named Humphrey Bonegart. Atlanta will probably always have homes to buy! Humphrey Bonegart will probably, or I should say, hopefully be adopted soon.

3) Until such a time that a dog adoption is possible for me, I will volunteer at San Francisco's Animal Care and Control.
4) Swimming lessons. To prepare for...
5) A dream vacation to Hawaii with my friend Gretchen.
6) A weekend in Las Vegas with my friend Stephen (aka Maestas).
7) 'Softer' shock absorbers for my Mini.
8) Film festivals!
9) Perhaps a 'special friend' will become something 'more.' (no pic!)
10) No more surgery. Easier chemo, instead.
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Well, doesn't this just figure...?!! [Dec. 26th, 2005|12:55 am]
Jay, who is owned by Maxxxxx the Parrot!
[mood |crappycrappy]

According to a meme that I found via markosf, this IS me...

The Boy Next Door
Random Gentle Love Dreamer (RGLDm)

Kind, yearning, playful, you are The Boy Next Door. You're looking for real Love, a lot like girls do. It might not be manly, but it's sweet.

We think the next three years will be very exciting and fruitful ones for you. Your spontaneous, creative side makes you a charming date, and we think you have a horny side just waiting to shine. Or glisten, rather. You enter new relationships unusually hopeful, and the first moments are especially glorious. If you've had some things not work out before, so what.

Your exact opposite:
The 5-Night Stand

Deliberate Brutal Sex Master
On paper, most gay guys would name the Boy Next Door as their ideal mate. In the real world, however, you're often passed over for more dangerous or masculine men. You're the typical "nice guy:" without just a touch of cockiness, you're doomed with boys. A shoulder to cry on? Okay, sure. But never a penis to hold.

More than any other type, Boys Next Door evolve as they get older. As we said, many find true love, but some fail miserably in the search. These tarnished few grow up to be The Men Next Door, who are creepy as hell, offering backrubs to kids and what not.

ALWAYS AVOID: The Billy Goat

CONSIDER: The Gentleman, The Loverboy

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(no subject) [Dec. 21st, 2005|12:58 am]
Jay, who is owned by Maxxxxx the Parrot!
[music |"Springtime for Hitler"]

Munich and the Maxxxxx Meter!

"Munich"... Hmmm... Steven Spielberg (director) and Tony Kushner (screenplay)... together... Well, that's a pretty odd pairing, if you ask me. Spielberg is an entertainer, while Kushner is a lecturer, as far as I am concerned. And what they created is a pretty odd film, incorporating nearly Hitchcock like suspense and then some really dry, and fairly simplistic, discussions on ethics.

If you haven't been reading the papers, "Munich" is about Israel's response to the 1972 Munich Olympic killings of the Israeli team. Quite simply, the moral is violence begets violence. However, where Copolla was able to do it without lecturing us in "The Godfather," Spielberg/Kushner literally STOP the film after every assassination to review what happened and teach us something. The problem is, that lesson is the SAME LESSON, over and over. However, perhaps that is the TRUE moral, that regardless how many times violence is repeated and regardless of how many times a lesson is learned, violence recurs. But then, at nearly 3 hours, it really tests one's patience.

That said, the performances are generally good, with a nearly great performance from Eric Bana ("Chopper" "Hulk" "Troy"), as the leader of the assassination squad, and Daniel Craig (the 'new' James Bond) is just outrageously magnetic everytime he is on screen. Geoffrey Rush gives another nearly over-the-top performance. The production design is exemplary, of course. The cinematography seemed really odd to me, as the abrupt changes in lighting and film stock wasn't making sense.

In the end, since the film is so blatantly objective, it's going to piss off the extremists on both sides of the Mid-East conflict. However, the fact that Spielberg did NOT give this an audience pleasing ending, is a sign of how invested he is in the subject, and for that, he gets MAJOR props!

Now, due to popular demand, I shall introduce the "Maxxxxx Meter," which is made up of Maxxxxx's actual phrases. On the "Maxxxxx Meter" for "Munich," Maxxxxx says, "Is it bedtime?"
To catch up with the previous posting:
"King Kong" Maxxxxx gives it a screaming flight around the apartment, in thrill and terror!
"The Producers" Maxxxxx says, "Mmmmaxxxxxx!" and "Step up! Step up!" and a Sieg Heil with his wing!
"Brokeback Mountain" Maxxxxx says, "Wanna come out? Wanna come out?"
"Pride and Prejudice" Maxxxxx says, "Is it bedtime?"
"Mrs. Henderson Presents..." Maxxxxx gives it a 'wolf whistle'! (Well, it is about nudity on the West End!)
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Kong Producers Brokeback Pride and Mrs. Henderson... [Dec. 18th, 2005|02:39 pm]
Jay, who is owned by Maxxxxx the Parrot!
Last time I went from 'rant to rave.' This time I will 'rave to rant.'

"King Kong" was another example of how much Peter Jackson likes movies. Not just 'movies' but BIG MOVIES!! His latest works are filled with the joy of what makes going to a BIG MOVIE is all about! Yes, 'Kong' is over 3 hours long. So what?! The first hour is the slowest of the three and may test the patience of those waiting to see the Big Ape, but it is a required exposition that will make the third hour all that more emotionally rewarding. The second hour is pretty much an homage to Steven Spielberg, back when Spielberg was FUN! (aka, Indy Jones, Jurassic, etc.) It is almost breathless in it's series of confrontations! The third hour is where Naomi Watts and Andy Serkis (the CGI'ed Kong) really get to shine! I was more emotionally involved in their tragic climax than I was in "Brokeback Mountain" (more on that, later). Visually, Jackson and his production design team and the Weta Workshop have created and re-created some fabulous worlds! I experienced those "is this real?!" gasps that I hadn't had since "Jurassic Park (I)" when the dino ate the man out of the out-house. I LOVED this film!

"The Producers" on the other hand doesn't create a new world as much as re-create the musical stage production, which is FINE with me! I loved the musical on stage, and Susan Stroman adapted to the screen 95% of the production. It doesn't serve so much as a 'cinematic adaptation' as it is an archival of the stage production. She does open it up, but in only two scenes ("You Can Do It!" in Central Park and "Little Old Lady Land" in the streets of New York), yet they still feel 'stage bound.' Now this is where cinema purists/critics and those who 'just like movies' are going to split. I think it mostly has to do with the cinematography. She does not break (or actually photograph) the 4th wall. In one way, it preserves the actors' moments when they DO break the '4th wall' and sing/speak directly to the audience. In another way, it anchors the film into a stage-like setting by not letting us see the entire set. (For instance, I was surprised to learn that Roger De Bris' apartment was not a set, but actually shot at a mansion.) But I think that is quibbling about cinematic aesthetics. What REALLY matters is the production itself, which I loved! There are moments that even improved on the original material as far as I am concerned, i.e. the blue blanket bit, and of course, the pigeons! (I LOVE the pigeons!!) Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick, Gary Beach and Roger Bart blast out their performances as if they had just opened the show! I LOVED them! Will Farrell actually stands his ground and keeps up with this 'family'. His reprise during the final credits is worth the price of the soundtrack CD! My only hesitation is Uma Thurman's 'Ulla.' She is physically perfect, and she acts the part, however she is also obviously over-dubbed in her singing and has a replacement dancer during the more difficult moves. I just don't think she is a big enough box office draw to justify her casting over someone who could fully perform the role. Other than that MINOR hesitation, I LOVED the movie, and up to the VERY END of the credits! (I want to see it again!)

"Brokeback Mountain" (aka 'the gay cowboy movie' aka 'the gay date movie of the year') did not emotionally satisfy me nearly as much as the previous two mentions. Though I LIKED this, I can't say that I loved it, much less fell prey to it's attempt to force me into a 'three hanky' sob fest, unlike many of those around me. Ang Lee is just too tasteful of a director to actually MOVE me into an emotional catharsis. The only exception to that, is "Sense and Sensibility," but I credit those moments to Emma Thompson, who wrote it and was obviously a strong enough performer to transcend Lee's emotional discretion. Heath Ledger, as well as Michelle Williams, prove to be strong enough to transcend Lee's control. However, I did not find Jake Gyllenhaal to be quite as capable. I blame it on his opening shot: Gyllenhaal and Ledger or nearly choreographed to be archetypal cowboys. Ledger is able to break from it, whereas I never thought Gyllenhall did. At that point, I was looking at them, particularly Gyllenhaal as stereotypes: 1) gay cowboys; 2) Jack = pushy bottom (which is maybe why I think Gyllenhaal seemed uncomfortable to me)/Ennis = cold top, who could only express his love through anger; 3) Jack's wife (Anne Hathaway) = long suffering and in denial; etc. There were just too many trite pieces for me to get emotionally involved. And I never felt the 'social pressure' that forbade their love as explicitly as say "Boys Don't Cry." That said, I do think that Ledger and Williams were nearly brilliant! It was their partners (Gyllenhaal and Hathaway) that didn't let it soar for me. The second unit photography is GORGEOUS! The production design is right on, which seems to be an Ang Lee specialty, i.e. "The Ice Storm" "Sense and Sensibility" "Crouching Tiger...". Overall, I LIKED it, however, I would NOT consider it the 'Best Film' of the year (NY, LA, SF and Boston Critics awards, a half dozen Golden Globe noms, etc.)

Finally, "Pride and Prejudice" was another lovely little adaptation. Keira Knightly was surprisingly GOOD as Elizabeth! Dame Judi Dench did her 'steamrolling curmudgeon' with great effectiveness and Donald Sutherland was GREAT as Elizabeth's father. However, Matthew MacFayden as Darcy was a bit... drab, and Brenda Blethyn really needs to find a new character to play, other than an overbearing mother. There were some nearly brilliant cinematic moments: the ballroom scene, overall all was spectacular in it's technical virtuosity! There is an exceptionally LONG take as we drift from room to room in the mansion, eavesdropping on a half dozen conversations; the 'crowd disappearing act' in the middle of Elizabeth's and Darcy's dance; the editing of 'across the room glances.' It was an exceptional 10 minutes out of a fairly routine Jane Austen flick. The last 5 minutes are totally out of period and character for the film and ALMOST ruins it, however.

Speaking of Dame Judi Dench, she gives a near Oscar worthy turn in "Mrs. Henderson Presents..."! The film itself is pretty confectionary, but I LAUGHED a lot and LOVED Dench and Bob Hoskins! That's all I need to say about THAT! ;)
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Fall Movie Update(s) [Nov. 22nd, 2005|08:28 am]
Jay, who is owned by Maxxxxx the Parrot!
[music |Philip Glass' "Symphony #2"]

I know it's been nearly TWO MONTHS, but I've not been in the mood to SPAM out about what I've seen.

Where do I start? "Rent"? "Capote"? "Good Night and Good Luck"?  I'll start by ranting off on "Rent."  After all, it's easier to be snarky than complimentary!

'Musical Drama' is a difficult creature to transfer to film. 'Musical Comedy' is much easier, as the camp quotient is already inherent in the material. When a cinematic musical drama is successful, it needs to be brilliant, i.e. "West Side Story," "Oliver," and even if you allow, "1776."  Musical comedy can be good, not necessarily brilliant, and still get away with it, i.e. "Moulin Rouge," "Chicago," and nearly anything by Disney.  "Rent," the movie, is not brilliant.  The source material is not brilliant to begin with. So, Chris Columbus, who is nothing if not slavishly devoted to source material ("Harry Potter..." 1 & 2), apparently found himself in a trap this time. He does attempt to go 'outside' of the stage production, but to ludicrous effect. He can't seem to decide exactly what the style of the piece should be. He has included flashbacks, fantasy escapes and 'audience/extra participation' (are the customers in the diner audience or participants?).  The piece as a whole felt quite episodic and disjointed.  Columbus doesn't seem to 'invent' sequences as much as steal them: "The Tango Maureen" is straight out of "Roxanne" from "Moulin Rouge"; "La Vie Boheme" IS "Hair" from "Hair," down to the ogling bystanders; "Rent" is something out of "Network" ("I'm as mad as hell...").  And don't get me started on flashback sequences he used to 'fill the time' taken by ballads he obviously didn't trust.  By the time we reached "La Vie Boheme" (the end of the first act), I had to check the time to see that we were 90 minutes into it and only half way!  The film is made endurable only by some of the performances.  Ironically, Columbus' apparent fear of this adaptation worked in his favor in casting 80% of the original Broadway cast in the film.  The quartet of 'Angel, Collins, Joanne and Maureen,' played by Wilson Jermaine Heredia (Tony winner), Jesse L. Martin, Traci Thoms and Indina Menzel (Tony winner) respectively, were a joy to behold! They seemed to be the only ones who didn't fear what the camera was seeing and played it as large as musical drama insists on.  The other leads, Anthony Rapp (who annoys the HELL out of me!), Adam Pascal (pushing 40 and looking everyday of it) and Rosario Dawson ('Mimi') seem too aware of the camera and afraid of overplaying it.  Pity that Columbus didn't remind that that a) it's melodrama!; b) it's loosely based on an opera ("La Boheme"), so GO FOR IT!!; c) it's a MUSICAL melodrama!   You know that Robert Wise told Natalie Wood to go for it in the Big Climax of "West Side Story!"  These people just sort of sniff and tear up in front of the camera during the Big Climax!  Whereas Menzel and Thoms are fighting for their relationship's life, Pascal and Dawson seem content and letting theirs drift away. Part of that is inherent in the script, but that's what adaptation is about: FIXING IT!  Ah well... it went on for 2 and a half hours.  And it's not even pretty to look at: 30+something slackers in tenements.  blech.

"Capote":  I've seen twice and LOVED it!  The script is quite good, though on first viewing it gets lost in Philip Seymour Hoffman's BIG performance as Capote. On second viewing, you can see how Hoffman is so invested in the outcome of the script, that he is hitting a ton of foreshadowing.  Dan Futterman (screenplay) has laid out a psychological maze for Hoffman to wander through as he disseminates Capote's ethical and emotional collapse as being the first truly exploitative novelist, if not brilliantly so.  His entire being seems to focus on the age-old gay theme of "each man kills the thing he loves."  It's NOT a happy movie, but I loved it!

"Good Night and Good Luck" is probably one of the most beautifully shot black and white films made in a LONG time! I hate to overuse the word, but 'stunning' is totally appropriate, especially during the opening shots.  George Clooney has helmed a production team to specific brilliance in capturing the period.  The script itself is a bit off, but David Strathairn's performance as Edward R. Murrow is rock solid, as are the monologues he is given.  The world that is whirling around him is a bit more cloudy, however.  In fact, I'm not sure what the subplot involving Patricia Clarkson and Robert Downey Jr. had to do with the film as a whole, except that their work is always lovely to see.  I remember 'pictures' from the film, though no 'moments.'  It'll be interesting to hear what the designers went through to recreate that world, on the dvd, I hope!

There are a bunch of others I've seen, though not necessarily passionate enough to remark on here, i.e. "Harry Potter..." "Shopgirl" "Sarah Silverman: Jesus is Saved!" "The Constant Gardener."  I LIKED them all, but not enough to spew a paragraph or so...

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WHAT?!?!?!!!!! (a short scream follows) [Oct. 19th, 2005|11:52 pm]
Jay, who is owned by Maxxxxx the Parrot!
[mood |pissed offand depressed - mood swing!!!!]
[music |I should throw on some Mahler!!!]

12 MORE months of 'modified' chemo?!?!?!

If I were a dog, I'd put me down!!!!
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