the categorical days: Movies

August 22, 2005

Six Feet Under

You can't take a picture of this. It's already gone.

I'm thinking, the hardest thing is to know when it's time to move on... and let things go. A heavy thought I don't normally glean from the tube.

This last season of Six Feet Under has been a fast paced, cram-it-all-in, drama fest. On top of that, it seemed that most of the characters were going untreated from what WrongDiagnosis would lump into the schizophrenia, psychosis, depression or drowsiness columns. But I still watched, as religiously as I needed to with the modern marvels of digital video recorders.

All that aside, the last episode was right up there with the ending for M*A*S*H. They managed to touch upon what it means to be a family, finding closure and hope, gay marriage, and how senseless (the current) war is...

In this age of reality TV, I thank HBO for raising (or is that maintaining?) the bar on entertainment. I wish it could trickle down to the dinosaur networks.

As hard as it is to let something go, the creators of this show let it end with no questions—and plenty of grace.

(filed under movies because I've not a TV category)

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August 21, 2005

Broken Flowers

If the movie had as much expression as this poster on the marquee...

This movie is a lot like Groundhog Day, but without the overt comedy and magic that a man could in fact, live a day over and over until he got it right.

The repetition is still there, as is the lead actor. Is it Bill Murray’s best? No, that would be Caddyshack or Meatballs—everyone knows that.

You know, there could be a heap of symbolism oozing from this flick, but I didn't get the Cliffs Notes with my nine dollar ticket.

I laughed when the credits rolled and was (very) glad to leave the theater.

Go see it if you need a dose of numb reality and some leg cramps.

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July 27, 2005

Me and You and Everyone We Know

))<>(( back and forth ... forever.

Impromptu trip to the movie theater last night to catch Me and You and Everyone We Know (Sorry mom, I couldn't wait.)

Two word review: Nice. Quirky.

It was just so damn innocent and delicate. Perhaps innocent isn't the best word as there's a hint of perversion that surfaces in every super-well-played character. I look forward to more stuff from this Miranda July. Her imagination is fascinating.

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June 17, 2005

Cachorro (Bear Cub)

Late to the game, but didn't miss the party

This might not be the best movie to plop in the DVD player with grandma hanging about, depending of course how she takes to hairy men getting downright passionate with their naked selves. But after the veneer of gay is peeled away, dag—nice flick.

There was concern at first, as the subtitles started blinking by at breakneck speeds. Concentrating on text when there's so much beautiful stuff on the screen is hard.

Well rounded characters (not a pun) pulled the movie along, unfolding issues that got progressively heavier.

Lots to chew on (also not a pun.) My entertainment dollar, well spent—I'd like to see more movies made like this. And when they do make them, it'd be nice if I could actually go to a theater in Cincinnati to see them.

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May 20, 2005

I took a Sith day

My friend made that title up, along with "Wookie hooky."

So yeah, I went to see that new Star Wars twice in 24 hours.

A few thoughts:

1.) I think this movie is entirely appropriate for young children. 3 and up. Everyone should see this, especially Republicans.

2.) We can't let the robots take over, that is bad. We _must_ stay .in .control. Actually, that wasn't a theme of the movie, but I think if you take away all that Biblical stuff, it's basically about realistic textures and the beauty of laughter—and robots don't know how to laugh, except for R2, he laughs _and_ kicks ass.

3.) Our outfits must get simpler in the future.

4.) Lots of oral sex happening in the background when you're not watching the main stuff. But it's really obscure oral sex, still entirely appropriate for children... and Republicans.

5.) I love you more than you love me because your love makes me pretty. But only as pretty as that time, when you held me—back on Naboo, by the lake, with the rainbows.

6.) Lots of the best movies were blended together for this: sinking vessels just like Titanic, but with lasers. And Starship Trooper-like frenetic action shots without the iceberg. Good stuff, like that new PS3 demo thing.

7.) Full frontal wookie.

8.) I forget what 8 was was for.

*hat tip to Mike, Dave, Nick and Brandon for the most excellent and thought provoking company during this cinematic experience*

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May 01, 2005

First Daughter

Hi, my name is Chris and I like cheese.

Wendy's dad once wrote a song about chick flicks, in which the narrator pines for movies with blood, buildings blowing up, car chases and aliens from outer space.

This movie had none of those. It did have lots of gaps though, and plenty of schmaltz.

Continue reading "First Daughter"

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April 19, 2005

Millions

A box full of money

I'm at my mom's house configuring WiFi on her new high speed network yesterday evening. We went to Apple's trailer page as it is a good test of connection. In another tab we had showtimes for the movie theater up the street — all these flicks we'd never heard of except for that Woody Allen thing that I'm not ready to lay out money for...

So we hopped back and forth, checking out all the previews and ended up agreeing on this movie called Millions. You've probably never heard of it either — here's the trailer (in QuickTime.) So I put my camera in her purse and we went to see it.

Short review: Not a bad movie, but not super great. It’s...

Nice.

Above average cinematography with a typical moral dilemma and standard characters. There's a few scenes of computer generated effects that, while not realistic, don't detract from the story at hand. I was never fidgety or bored, so I suppose I am happy with where my entertainment dollar went.

Afterward my mom and I raided some boxes for community papers to get lots of coupons for buy-one-get-one-free movie tickets.

We felt like millionaires.

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February 24, 2005

Girl with a Pearl Earring

Free on cable

Scarlett Johansson looked dead-on, said little and was perfectly great... Colin Firth provided a passion almost predatory... But the real awesome part of this movie was the visual mood. It looked like a painting come to life.

All the pretty light aside, the story seemed a little inflated, yet not enough. The story behind a painting though intrigues me. I like to understand the reasons behind the decisions. The process. A little more grit would've made me like it more.

Again, I see a movie and like the idea more than the execution. Now I wonder how it compares to the painting.

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February 23, 2005

Million Dollar Baby

Clint Eastwood at a critical moment

I saw this movie tonight because I heard it was powerful.

And it was that, but I always add on the requirement: is it something I need to see in a theater? I'm not sure this is one of those movies. No, I'm pretty sure it’s not.

It's plain, with a directorial style that seems like it wasn't overwrought with countless takes. But less is not always more, and there were all these little bits about Eastwood’s character that didn't flush out.

I can see why he made this film though—there are some great messages buried within the dark muddling. It just took a while to get them out.

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January 31, 2005

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

My first day outside of the bedroom and not in a doctor's office, with a camera.

Why did I wait so long to see this movie? It's already regulated to the independent movie house. Not only that, it's in the smallest of their theaters — the one that only holds maybe 45 people, five seats across.

I should've known I'd like this as I quite enjoy the way Wes Anderson has put stories together in the past. I can even accept Owen Wilson though I must stare at his nose whenever he is on screen.

This movie just gave me warm feelings all around: the sets, costume, music, actors and story— all so very, very good, in that normal kind of way that others call "off."

Oh, I also received a camera from a friend in the mail the other day. Yesterday was my first chance to fiddle with it. I hate it very much yet I am grateful to have something to make the pain go away.

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January 23, 2005

Finding Neverland

Just a dog? Rufus dreams of being a bear, and you want to shatter those dreams by saying he's just a dog? What a horrible candle-snuffing word. That's like saying, "He can't climb that mountain, he's just a man," or "That's not a diamond, it's just a rock." ... Just.

Mom and I headed up the street, coupon in hand, for a matinee of Finding Neverland.

That was easily three dollars I was happy to part with.

I almost had to leave for fear I would have a stuttering outburst of loud uncontrollable sobs.

Next on my agenda is to follow-up on the story inspired by the life of James Barrie. I've half a mind to go up to Dayton and catch Cathy Rigby perform his most famous work. I dunno though... folks in tights sorta creep me out.

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January 11, 2005

Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle

...and Chris goes to the Video Store

My brother drops off a videotape from Blockbuster for Harold and Kumar, 'cause he thinks I'll like it. Doesn't he know that Blockbuster has photos of me in the break room plastered on the wall with all the other rental-felons?

I won't mention the incident in detail, but needless to say, my money is no longer good there.

Slight spoiler ahead. Stop now if you must.

So I popped the tape into the VCR I have, because you need those for old porn. At first I was half paying attention, fiddling with my laptop - but I closed the lid to actually watch the movie.

I thought this flick would be a bunch of stereotypes strung together with bong hits, and there were a few from each category, but it was actually (kinda) funny. Once Neil Patrick Harris zips by in the stolen Camry doin’ a line of coke off a hooker's ass, I felt like I was bearing witness to cinema history.

But that moment was fleeting. I wouldn't need to own this. If there was a sequel, I might go to a matinee. Funny yes, but not pee my pants funny. Entertainment value = $3.50

But how does it compare to a Mac Mini?

Continue reading "Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle"

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December 29, 2004

Sideways


Don't drink and do that dark side thing

The day after yesterday, I finally got up the gumption to go and see Sideways with Art.

Wonderful wonderful.

If I was good at picking favorites, this would be there.

From the beginning titles I knew I was in for a treat, where the story and characters would win out over snazzy effects or big names and the budgets they require.

A side effect from this flick is the intrigue about wine. I'm not sure that I'll ever "get it" — but I think I can appreciate it more. Armed with this knowledge, my brief tour of wineries in Northern CA this past summer would have, oh it would have been the same, but there'd have been a common frame of knowledge to build upon. Maybe I would've stuck my honker in the glass with no reservations.

I don't think I can make this entry as long as the photo or wonderfully written as a review of alcohol.

It was good.

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December 21, 2004

Closer

This would be pursed contempt

I went and saw Closer yesterday. I'm really not sure what to write about the movie.

I think Julia Roberts has three expressions:

- All teeth (happy),
- Bambi eyes—after mom was shot (not happy)
- Drawn (pursed/contempt).

This is of course, two more emotions than Andie MacDowell can express.

Perhaps it was the disorienting lapses in time—turning to my mom in hushed movie whisper, "So, um, they are married now?"

Okay, so they cut out the unnecessary bits, and just skipped right to the sparky and painful parts. I think if I was feeling a bit more jaded that day, I would've lapped it up.

It all just seemed so, unnecessary. These folks need to look into polygamy and stop using the Bambi eyes so much. And Queen Amidala needs to lay off the eyebrow plucking for a while.

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November 05, 2004

Incredible

If I had to sum it up in one word, it would be "yes"
(as said repeatedly by Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally during that meal scene)

I didn't know The Incredibles would open at midnight, then again, I don't keep up on Star Wars too much. The theater manager spoke to the crowd of 25 people that they would not be able to get a refund after the trailers.

The next 115 minutes or so were much, much better anyway. Even the short before the feature tugged at my heart.

The whole tone and texture made me feel like I was a kid sitting in front of the TV seeing the island of misfit toys for the first time...

Monkeys will flip over the set design. This thing oozes style.

A formidable hat tip to the folks out on the left coast there, that made this wonderful super fantastic movie. Thanks, I needed that.

Do they give out Oscars for best hair?

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October 26, 2004

Team America: Bored Police

Maybe the best 45 seconds of the movie above

I liked the puppets and their eerily textured skin.
I liked how they walked and fought with horrible articulation, yet they conveyed so much emotion with their eyes.
I liked the songs.
I liked Times Square, indeed, and most of the sets in general.

As much as I think making fun of actors, like Matt Damon, can be a hoot, it's really not that much of a hoot.

I'm slightly sore I spent money on this one.

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October 24, 2004

I heart Lily Tomlin

But I don't necessarily Huckabees

Movie with mom and brother this afternoon. Stale popcorn at the Esquire and a film that generally left me wanting. I won't say this flick is bad, but it certainly doesn't require the big screen to be appreciated.

The graphic treatment of the posters and trailer sold me. But they didn't pull it through as well as the Futura world of The Royal Tennenbaums.

Schade... suckered by marketing and the allure of a great cast.

I will say this however, every time Lily Tomlin was on-screen, I got giddy. There's something just mischievous about her grin that makes me wish she was in more movies.

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October 04, 2004

A Dirty Shame

I was really hoping for a warranted NC-17 rating...

A Dirty Shame made me laugh.

A lot.

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September 29, 2004

Shaun of the Dead

Personally, I would've kept Prince's Batman soundtrack

Shaun of the Dead was sweet and gorey. And not sweet like in the new-fangled 'rad' kinda way, but in the romantic sense. Well, maybe not romantic, but earnest. The photo above was when the two leads discover they have zombies to contend with. They sort through albums and fling the duds.

This makes for an instantly classic film.

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September 26, 2004

Shrek 2

Kitties always win

Awww

Hooray for dollar theaters. One just opened up the road from me and I sucked my brother into seeing Shrek 2. Dreamworks may lack the originality of Pixar, but they make an enjoyable ride nonetheless. And for a buck? Worth every penny. Hell, I might even go so far as shelling out two whole dollars for this one.

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September 01, 2004

Garden State

This is not a period, it is an elipsis...

When I catch myself as the sun goes down, wondering how I'll make the evening pass, I'll often consider the movie listings. It's a hike for the noggin.

This spontaneity bodes poorly for company, but it allows me to be consistent. I'm an awful planner.

I've been wanting to see Garden State for some time now, ever since the trailer with excellent soundtrack and symmetric visuals. So I went in time for the previews to roll.

No spoilers here really.

The movie is haze lifting from lithium. Scenes are beautifully framed with slices of revelation that often escape us in times of duress. There's a quiet humor about it. The pacing is akin to flashcards—nary enough time to reflect before something new is presented. Not MTV style. Slow and normal. Often sad, and sometimes, fucking great.

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August 21, 2004

A Home at the End of the World

Glad I'm down the street from the independent movie theater

I took a long lunch to go see A Home at the End of the World with my brother. I had read Michael Cunningham's book a while back and was enamored by the beginning, left a bit empty by the ending.

The movie was better in a way.

One thing I couldn't stand were the "period" wigs—the 70's being so difficult.

Sure it was sticky with sap, but I dug the characters. I wanted to smoke a joint and slow dance with Sissy Spacek.

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August 16, 2004

Napoleon Dynamite

Reason #12 to Believe: Chatting online with babes

I officially notched my 10,000th photo off the camera while sitting in the theater watching Napoleon Dynamite with my mom tonight.

I spent a good part of the film hoping Napoleon would shake off his doldrums and open his eyes (always squinting, he)... but it ramped up to an enjoyable ride.

The town, the music, the characters—it all just sorta worked for me. I'm still amazed that MTV films was behind this in some way. Heck, even the title sequence put a grin on my face.

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August 05, 2004

Two things that are ass

...

1.) The new Pontiac Aztek BMW X3.

2.) The Village.

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July 19, 2004

I like Doggie Chow too!

Thanks, it's Versase

July 19, 2004 - My final night out West and we had a leg of lamb eaten and an evening to entertain ourselves. Showgirls non-VIP edition DVD would do just fine. Somehow I'd missed it back in 1995. That's easy enough to know why, I had gotten my first job out of college and my life completely revolved around learning Photoshop.

The flick started off with that cringe of overacting from the main character, forcefully grabbing lines and the air with her fists.

So where you from? Back east. Where back east? DIFFERENT PLACES!

It went on, and on, but luckily there were choice one-liners throughout the over-budgeted schlockfest.

I dunno, sometimes hype, even with bad films, can taint the experience. If I was sitting at home by myself, would I have felt the same disappointment? Who am I kidding? I would have turned it off and went back to Photoshop after three scenes.

I will say this, I'd totally dig a 7 minute edit of this thing. With just Nomi clawing at her fries, making angry faces and then the coupla dozen lines that could make milk get snarfed.

None of this would make sense though, unless I had to sit through the whole thing. And luckily, I had experts on hand to ask what was what. The question remains, what went through the producers heads to greenlight this? Oh yeah, all those hot and sexy scenes, tame by today's standards.

Okay, one more notch off that bedpost. I'll get my toaster oven yet.

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July 04, 2004

Cell phone ringers are better than this

I'm trying to be nice.

I'd just like to introduce the lady whose youngest added to the misery of Spiderman 2. This kid screamed "MAMA" the ENTIRE time. Okay, not the ENTIRE time, but most of it– until the attendants came in and told her to take the toddler outside.

Then there were the screams of, "BYE BYE ODIE. BYE BYE. OOOOOOOOOOHDY. BYE BYE."

She never left the theatre though, she stood in the hallway by our seats and let the rascal run around screaming MAMA which somehow managed to echo off the carpeted walls. This scenario repeated itself a few times throughout the movie.

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July 04, 2004

My first brush with Kirsten Dunst of the day

I wonder when I'll get arrested for taking photos in theatres

The best thing about Spiderman 2 was escaping the sweat-inducing humidity that's swept over the Ohio valley.

What an awful movie.

Art summed it up best when saying, "I'm so glad that car came through the window as Peter and Mary were at the cafe. I'm glad because I couldn't bear any more of their conversation." He thought the film was like a soap opera, but without resolution... Just a series of sad-sack scenes all glommed together.

The whole flick was just... SORRY.

Tobey Maguire's eyes were bloodshot the entire film as he was always on the verge of tears.

I'm so embarrassed for falling prey to the blockbuster bug. I liked the first movie, really. I was just hoping for some fun visuals and giddyup. In fact, I think my whole view of Hero vs. Badguy is tainted. Tragic accident + flimsy motivation + fight + personal struggle + fight + big fight in some abandoned place + credits.

Snooze.

Sorry Kirsten, you are pretty and all, but that doesn't make me feel better for forking over 7 bucks. No wonder you won't commit to any more of these schlockfests after the third is out the Hollywood pooper.

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June 05, 2004

Harry Potter 3

Blurry mom

So I went and saw Harry Potter 3 with my brother and mom today. I enjoyed it lots. Was much darker and more engaging than the first two. Then again, I loathe the previous director, Chris Columbus, as he brought Home Alone to the screen.

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April 27, 2004

Ice Machine

Bored in a hotel

I watched Big Fish on pay per view tonight, and thought little of it, til the last scenes. Then streaming tears let loose. My glasses steamed up, so I took them off, and realized I could see clearly.

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March 21, 2004

Everybody's Gotta Learn Sometime

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

With all the advancements in technology, why on earth can't we make bags of candy that do not make crinkling noises in the theater?

There, that said, I should also add, I'm not a fan of Jim Carrey (I thought Bruce Almighty was one of the biggest blights on the face of cinema).

Regardless, I was looking quite forward to seeing Eternal Sunshine of the Blah Blah Blah, as I liked to call it.

In fact, I've seen it twice this weekend, rescuing my mom and brother from seeing Taking Lives today.

I liked it that much.

Walking out, I was talking about the beautiful themes of Kaufman movies with my brother. How the premise is wrapped up in layers, unfolding before your eyes. By the time the credits scroll, there's this euphoria for me. Coupled with the director's powerful, subtle, use of effects... and the sounds... and the soundtrack... that knocks around the cobwebs in the noggin, it's just inspiring.

My brother said it's about love, and I agree. But I also think this movie reminds us that it's important _not to forget_.

Memories, however painful they may be, should be understood. We learn from them. We shouldn't erase them.

I've been meaning to understand forgiveness lately.

In lieu of spending money on The Passion of the Christ, this film came along.

I couldn't be happier that it did.

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February 16, 2004

Yay, matinee

Elliot: He's a man from outer space and we're taking him to his spaceship.

I'm so glad football is over, because FOX can get back to showing matinee movies you'd normally find in the cheap section of the videostore. Yesterday's valentine selection was E.T.

It was so sad when he was going back to space, standing there in the light, as Demi Moore cried her eyes out with her boyish haircut while the strings of Unchained Meldoy swelled in the background.

Now that's entertainment. And it's free on the airwaves!

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February 12, 2004

Down with Love

Up with chocolate

I take this photo to document the chocolate bar one of the marketing folk offered me this afternoon.

It came at just the right time.

Seems around 3pm every day, I crave chocolate, or coffee, or chocolate flavored coffee. I used to crave fresh cut fruit— my mom used to prepare this for the whole office (at our largest), but it's a luxury long gone with the dot-bust.

I just had a couple squares this afternoon, but I was sold on this brand. I'm not a big fan of the darker chocolates, but this was fine, fine, fine. The perfect balance of flavor and texture. The marketing gal orders it special from Europe and has to buy 20 bars to flush out the order. I said I'd chip in for the next shipment.

Reminds me, I rented Down with Love last week. It was one of the "sensitive" flicks in the bunch to balance out Whale Rider (er, wait, that was sensitive too). A colorful film, with a nod to older classic romance movies. I will say Renée Zellweger's little bit toward the end made it worthwhile. Why the tangent? Well, her character says sex can be replaced with chocolate. That part was less believable, but I digress.

Addiction is addiction though.

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February 10, 2004

About Schmidt

Encyclopedia Brown Gets His Man

So I've been renting a lot of movies lately, sitting on the couch pouring through photos, preparing online albums. Not just for me, but also there's a few galleries for a client.

It's allowed me to catch up with a bunch of things I've wanted to see, as I wait for better weather.

I've found that a good movie, can pull me away from the laptop. A bad movie, and my mind drifts back to the pixels.

So I rented About Schmidt. I thought I heard somewhere that Jack Nicholson said in an interview (after 9/11) that he was only going to make comedies from here on out, because the world needs more laughter. I respected that notion and picked up the flick thinking I'd get a chuckle.

The music kept making me feel like it was supposed to be funny, but it wasn't really. Which made the pairing of what was going on-screen and what I was hearing an uncomfortable combination.

I appreciate capturing the mundane and the inane. I appreciate characters that go from clueless to compassionate. But overall, this left me wanting.

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February 06, 2004

Office theater

Whale Rider

I stole the speakers by Dave's desk toward the end of the day and pulled out Whale Rider, a movie I rented after hearing about Keisha Castle-Hughes' Oscar® nomination.

I just needed a break from work... My to-do list is insane. Just insane. It's nice to steal away from reality like this on occasion.

So I watched the movie, and I was immediately drawn in. First by the locale - New Zealand.

(My eyes bulge whenever I see this country)

Then Keisha appears and the scenery has a worthy challenger.
Yada yada yada, I don't like to reveal much with movie reviews, other than - I liked it.

A lot.

I cried.

And gosh it felt good to just let it trickle.

I figure I'm in an emotional panty-bunch with my to-do list, the tears were a triggered by-product.

Hadn't done that in a while, and crying is good for your health.

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February 05, 2004

More Than This

Lost in Translation

I'm sure Anne was wondering why I brought a camera to my second viewing of Lost in Translation, but I was trying to capture something - a car.

I got the photo above, but I didn't capture enough to figure out the make or model. In steps BigJohnSF with his recent entry about the film, along with a photo of the car (A Toyota Century) and a bit of information about it.

Glory be, the internet is handy. (Thanks John)

Anyways, back to the movie. Strip away the hype and it's a fine piece of film.

Beautiful, I'd say.

Normal. Real. It captures the essence of a few relationships and a visit to a foreign country with a sensibility I don't experience much in the theater.

Is it for everyone? A resounding no. But I'd own it on DVD and that's about the highest praise I can give.

Special bonus audio clip: Bill Murray karaoke - More Than This

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