Friday, February 29, 2008


Hmmm… I know you guys all have seen this movie (and I saw it with one of you, we were sober at the time so I’m sure we both remember). I’m thinking of giving it a shockingly high score on my “best-of 2007” list. This was a good year for movies! Hooray. I’ll post a link when I do my best-of list. What, March of the following year isn’t too late for that, is it?

Oh, also, I read somewhere that the person who did the cinematography has worked closed with Terrence Malick in the past, which would explain why so much of the film felt like Malick was there in spirit… and also partially explains why I loved this film so much. Not sure if that’s true or not, I’m too lazy to research it right now. The internet told me, so it must be true.


Ehhhh… I really wanted to like this movie more than I did. It was charming, whimsical, and its heart was certainly in the right place. But it had such an air of forced artificiality… That worked in Gondry’s last film, The Science of Sleep, because it basically takes place in the main character’s mind, and the tug between what’s real and what’s imagined is very compelling and true to how people think (well, how I think anyway). But in this film, you have to swallow the fact that AN ENTIRE TOWN is that whacked-out and full of whimsical innocence bordering on pure lunacy. And it seems forced, which interfered with my enjoyment of the film. There are a few really great sequences, especially towards the end when there’s kind of a “montage” sequence of the little movies that Jack Black and Mos Def are filming… the camera work is brilliant and creative. There are some fun casting surprises (I’m not going to say anything in case you guys see this). Otherwise it’s just kind of an endless string of quirky and cute moments interspersed with the occasional cringe-worthy one. Sorry, Michel Gondry, I still love you!

Sunday, February 24, 2008


Time to update my favorite pop songs of 2007… Carrie is visiting me here in Chicago, and it came to my attention that she has never heard the huge hit song Calabria, which we have the pleasure of hearing in one form or another at least twice an hour on any given radio station. Maybe it’s due to the high percentage of Latinos/Caribbean natives/gay people in this city - I don’t know why she hasn’t heard this song once, but I’ve heard it 450,000 times. I’m going to post three permutations of the song here. I have to say that no matter how many times I hear this song, I still like it. The beat is too infectious to get sick of, honestly. Plus, the girl who sings it died in a car crash last summer before her song even made it big – how depressing is that?

First, the original version by Natasja & Enur:
"Calabria" by Enur featuring Natasja

Second, the Mims remix, which is more likely to be heard on the Top 40 radio stations:
Calabria 2007 Remix

Third, the Pitbull remix, which is constantly played on the Latino stations:
Anthem by Pitbull feat. Lil Jon

I’m sparing you the gay club remix, I’m sure you can imagine that on your own.
Goddamnit, you convinced me! It kind of sucks though.
Gay Remix

In case those weren’t enough, you get to hear every other phone ringtone playing Calabria as well. I do like this song, which is good as it’s absolutely impossible to avoid.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Yay, finally a good movie released in the post-Christmas movie shitpile! I really would recommend this film, and not just to Colin Farrell fans, because I know I’m the only one around.
One of my least favorite genres is the hyper-violent, “clever hit man” genre. I think they’re overdone - the writers/actors/directors generally try too hard and care more about showcasing slick ultraviolence than presenting any actual ideas. Not to mention that I don’t really believe “clever hit men” exist in real life. No hit man engages in horrific, brutal acts, and then makes articulate, light-hearted quips to his partner. It’s kind of the male movie equivalent of the “hooker with a heart of gold.” It’s Hollywood; it’s 100% fake. That being said, the characters in this film are toned down a few notches to a believable level. Any below-average moments can easily be overlooked considering that it’s the director/writer Martin McDonagh’s first feature-length film.

I also hate the flippant bloodbaths that Quentin Tarantino popularized in Hollywood films. There’s a requisite bloodbath in this film, but it’s heavy. The last few seconds of the movie are a slam-dunk like nothing I’ve seen in recent memory. It takes some balls to end a movie this way, and I’m not saying anything else.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Mr. Rachel Evan Wood

So I was all set to go in to clinic tonight and make up some hours, but my friend called and told me he had an extra ticket for Marilyn Manson. That sounded more fun that a clinic shift, so off I went. The only other big show I’ve been to recently was Daddy Yankee – this is kind of on the opposite end of the spectrum. I was impressed with the wide variety of people that were there. It was quite the diverse crowd, a lot of cute boys, lots of people in their 40s and up, and a couple of kids that scarily enough couldn’t have been more than 12 years old. There were a lot fewer people in full makeup and silly leather bondage outfits than there used to be at these kind of shows 10 years ago. And it was my first time at the Aragon Theater, which is this cheesy old school concert hall, standing room only, with a bunch of fake building facades encircling the whole place so that it looks like a European plaza, and the blinking night sky and constellations and all – very cute place! I don’t know any of Marilyn Manson’s songs really, except for his version of “Sweet Dreams” and “Beautiful People” of course, but the show was still plenty entertaining, and now my ears are ringing and whooshing pleasantly from all the damage done to them.


I actually enjoyed this movie quite a bit, in a way. I’m not a fan of jiggly hand-held camera work, but I AM a fan of spooky creatures that are hinted at more than shown. Whoever was on the special effects team did a bang-up job with the monsters and the city in general. Seeing New York completely decimated on screen was actually pretty nauseating – it’s one of those movies that leaves a bad feeling in the pit of your stomach, even while you’re reminding yourself that it’s completely fake. Some people might want to skip it for that reason alone. A lot of the scenes have the nailbiting intensity of a really scary X-Files episode – particularly when the protagonists (who make an endless series of really retarded decisions) decide to walk through the train tunnels. So it’s definitely worth watching for a good scare without too much gore… especially if you catch it at the budget theater.