At some point in 2009, along with the slobbering film junkies and depressive Muppet nerds, I was eagerly anticipating the release of Spike Jonze's latest film, Where the Wild Things Are. Dave Eggers was attached as co-writer; the trailer was lush and atmospheric; and the indie scoring had the right dose of I-tunes download appeal. If anything at all, Warner Bros. had cornered the McSweeney-reading, American Apparel-clad hipster market like nobody's business. But amid all of the excitement, reports of development and production snafus began to leak out into the blogosphere, which signaled that this beloved children's book could potentially turn into a cinematic shit-show. The more optimistic side of me held onto the belief that Spike Jonze could actually pull it off. After all, he successfully executed Being John Malkovich (Love!), Adaptation (Like.) and a countless number of music videos. All required making sense of the nonsensical, or, at the very least, giving narrative form to emotional qualities in music--quite an ambitious feat for a filmmaker.
Unfortunately, despite the capable cinematography and poetic visuals, the story does not sustain one's interest for the duration of a feature length film. Watching a monster clobber another monster, walk across the desert, or barbarically yawp over a seaside cliff, may have some impact on the audience for the first time, but the following 20 times--without empathy, believable motivation or entertaining action sequences--it all becomes a monster bore. I suppose it was difficult to watch, because there was no emotional depth to the kinetic energy.
The film wasn't completely flawed, the first 15-20 minutes that provided the back-story of Max, the main protagonist, and his family was lovely and competently rendered, perfectly and poignantly illustrating family dynamics (especially with the mother, played by Catherine Keener) and the psychological qualities of the characters. Ultimately, the experience of watching Where the Wild Things Are was a bit like seeing someone's vacation photos. Lovely to look at, but not very fun because you aren't in them.
This film is worth seeing for Carey Mulligan's praise-worthy performance of Jenny, a 16 year old girl morphing into a woman of wisdom and sophistication. Roguish love-interest, Peter Sarsgaard, although an actor of note, isn't quite charismatic or hunky enough to compel me to believe that Jenny would trade her scholarly ambitions for a dingy life with him in London. Felt repetitive and slightly trite, but captures mood and place competently. Can't offer a ringing endorsement....Off to see Bronson!
If there's a part of you that doesn't enjoy this show, then you must be clinically depressed.
"La, la, la,la, la la....."
Glee is like the Gatorade Gum of my youth---sweet, tangy and leaving you salivating for more. Gatorade Gum lived a a fairly long shelf life, let's hope this show does too....
Side Note: When I was a wee lass and a member of my own alma matter's Glee Club, we did not sing alterna-pop Top 40, as they do on the show. Sadly, no Deee-lite, The Breeders, Jesus Jones or Ned's Atomic Dustbin. In fact, the piece indelibly seared into memory is Benjamin Britten's Wolcum Yole.
I don't think that we, collectively, had the talent pull it off. Plus, it was a bitch to sing soprano, being the the shaky mezzo-soprano/alto I am. Our frustrated director lost all hope and gave us something easier to sing in front of the school. Needless to say, "invitationals" and the element of competition were not part of the overall experience for our lowly choral group.
Tracy Morgan's brilliance on NBC's 30 Rock is due to the glorious combination of sharp writing and zany delivery. His daily musings and golden non-sequiturs must be evangelized on Twitter. Tweet the word!
Effortlessly transporting viewers from modern day to the early sixties, Mad Men's sublime set design is unquestionably exquisite and one of the most lauded characteristics of the show. EW has a delightful slide show featuring some of the most notable props used on set. Check out some of my faves from the photo gallery:
Due to traveling and carousing, I've been "out of pocket" as they say in the biz (Tangent: What does that phrase really mean?), and have missed the premieres and original airings of some of my shows, namely Top Chef, Project Runway, and, last but not least, Mad Men. I've given up on Project Runway, but I'm current with Top Chef, thanks to VOD. Additionally, I managed to get my hands on downloaded copies of all the back episodes of Mad Men, so I don't feel left out of casual conversation. (Shout out to Beershower for that!)
This current season of Mad Men is still as cryptic, moody and visually captivating as the last 2 seasons. Storylines are still strong. Nice to see that Peggy-kins is also getting some MAJOR action without getting herself preggers, albeit with Duck the divorced alkie??!! Anyhoo, AMC is hosting a video contest to win a walk-on role for the best reinterpretation of a given character's monologue. Check out thisvideo entry that my darling friend, Sabina, produced--funny stuff. Register and Vote!