28 February 2010

Shatter Star

Listening to: The Morning Benders, "Excuses." While the song by itself is pretty great, watching this video of them performing with a bunch of their friends is the way to go. I dig the front man and something about the way he croons (yes, he definitely croons) is hypnotizing. It's his sleepy eyes, the way his mouth contorts, his rumpled haircut and outfit. Plus the way he clasps his hands as he sings. It's all so awkwardly beautiful. I want to befriend him immediately. We already got tickets for their upcoming show in SF. Couldn't be more excited.

Started by a few brave souls who have dared to find a lifestyle that isn't "the norm" and succeeded, Untemplater is a newish site with articles about expanding your skills, working on your relationships, self employment and finance tips, and fun stuff like "Don't Be A Facebook Loser."

Untemplater was looking for guest contributors recently and I hit them up with a sample article or two. I mean, I'm trying to find a lifestyle that would allow me to keep my weird hours -- sleep at sunrise, wake up late afternoon -- forever so I hope I qualified. Assuming I don't get the chance to turn to vampirism anytime soon, this will be a site for me to bookmark.

So my Untemplater article is about going back to school and it's right here: "Going going, back back...to school?" Hopefully I'll be invited back for another article or two because I got a lot to say about this cobbling together an out of the box lifestyle.

And if you haven't checked out my friend Sam's "The Gatekeepers" web series, you should get on it because it's already on episode three and each one has been gorgeous and amazing. I love the way everything is shot, the music Sam is using, and the settings they are placing themselves in. Plus Sam and Chad are just ridiculously stylish, so I look upon them with envy.

Actually I just pestered my friends into doing a "Who's the Most Stylish Guy" poll and Sam won by a landslide. Watch the episodes and you'll see the win was well deserved. I myself came a little closer to the bottom...but not in complete last!

Some of the pull quotes from things my so-called friends said about me. According to them I most likely shop at: Old Navy, Costco, Pac Sun, Gap, Uniqlo, and Anthropologie. For the record I don't own anything from Anthropologie. That would almost hurt my feelings if not for one of the next revelations. Their favorite items of mine include: tattoos, my grey Forever 21 hoodie, and sculpted veiny calves. Yes, I have a Forever 21 hoodie. I shopped there once okay? And the hoodie is pretty fantastic (it looks almost exactly like this Wings + Horns one but cost an eighth as much). My defining style items include: iPhone belt clip, cargo shorts, hand sanitizer, and smoking gloves. Their combined advice to me? "Retire the white tees." Oh friends, who needs'em?

26 February 2010

Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief (2010)

Degradingly referred to as "The next Harry Potter," Percy Jackson deserves to be judged based on its own merits. Throwing Greek gods into a teenage setting is genius and there are a lot of neat ideas flowing throughout the backstory and world building. I'm about halfway through the first book and it's been entertaining. Everyone loves Olympian gods so the combination of myths and modern stuff is appealing.

The problem was the adaptation of the book into the movie. From what I've heard, they changed quite a few things. More important than that, the pace of the movie is just terrible. The script is sullen, the dialogue isn't horrible but will be dated in about six months, and everything seems slightly less than epic.

Pieces were in place for a decent action movie. I mean, the cast was selected well, especially based on looks (Brandon T. Jackson makes a perfect goat/satyr. Sorry dude, just saying). Logan Lerman is maybe a little too good looking to be Percy but he works for the teen hot throb role. Alexandra Daddario is cute but also believably strong and a good choice for a daughter of Athena. On top of that, the special effects were good, especially the various mythical creatures, so it wasn't a budget issue.

The biggest problem in my estimation was hiring Chris Columbus to direct. "Let's hire the guy who made the first two sub-par Potter flicks!" Not a good idea. I completely blame him for this movie's failure and Columbus should have stopped directing movies after Adventures in Babysitting and Home Alone. So if you want to spend two hours wishing you could be struck down by Zeus' lightning bolt, hurry to the theater for this one.

25 February 2010

Shutter Island (2010)

The trailers make Shutter Island seem like it would be scary. I wanted it to be scary, I needed it to be scary. But it's not scary at all. The movie plays out more like a procedural and whodunit. Stop reading if you're planning on watching this movie. While there won't be any overt spoilers below, the less you know about the movie the better.

There's nothing particularly wrong with Shutter Island except for the fact that you leave feeling unsatisfied. Too many mini-plot holes, not enough successful thriller aspects, and ultimately the movie was ten years too late. If you're going to sit through an unreliable narrator story with an easily telegraphed ending, it better be damn entertaining all the way through. Instead you get some fine acting performances, a choppy directorial effort -- Scorsese is consistently hit-or-miss -- and some nice visuals. The premise of the movie is good but everything just kind of drags. I'm more interested in reading the book (by Dennis Lehane of Mystic River and Gone Baby Gone fame) because it's probably deeper and more psychological.

Actually what is fascinating is reading the Wikipedia entry about lobotomies, and how the transorbital lobotomy was accomplished. Put it this way, the movie got their facts right. They did use an ice pick, they did go through the eye, and there's a mallet involved. Fascinating! The procedure was first done in 1946. We've come so far with lobotomies since then right? Right?

23 February 2010

Astro Girl

I don't think I've ever done an interview on this site but I just had to ask Realm Lovejoy some questions because she's got all sorts of interesting things going on. She's a writer, an illustrator, works in the video game industry, has great music taste, and I believe recently attended a Labyrinth masquerade ball. You heard that last part right, Labyrinth!

On Realm's blog, she does a series of interviews and illustrations with authors and she did one for Chloe-Grace a couple of months back, for which I'll be eternally grateful. Realm's current project is CLAN, an illustrated novel for young adults and here's the synopsis below:

"The person we will have to face every day is ourselves.
Fast-paced, edgy, humorous, and dark, Clan explores the concept that an exact clone is impossible. Clan begins on an abandoned planet, where a single survivor refuses to live alone. Fifty years later, the Clan has emerged: an all-male society of the survivor's clones, who live harmoniously with an ideal of no personal identity and label each other with numbers.

Three teenage clones meet.

Apart from having the same body, they have nothing in common."

(1) What is the CLAN universe and how did you come up with the idea?

CLAN is about a society consisting of one man that's been cloned many times over. Since I'm a 3D artist, I was thinking about what it'd be like to duplicate one character and make a whole film out of it. It'd be challenging, but the opportunities for unique scenarios and character development pulled me in. I immediately started writing CLAN and couldn't stop until the story was done.

(2) In CLAN, the entire society is male. What made you decide to create an all-male society versus a female one and did you ever think about creating an all-female world? And since you write across gender (like me!), do you think you have to change your mindset or perspective while writing?

Initially, I did consider an all-female cast. An all-male cast provided interesting scenarios for me to work with, such as the fact that they'd need incubation chambers to birth the clones. Plus, the idea of teen boys having to grow up with his clones seemed chaotic and hilarious to me. I find that I have an easy time thinking from a teen boy's perspective and tend to write their dialogue naturally. I believe it's because I grew up with two brothers and a lot of my friends were guys.

(3) I know you grew up in Japan, when did you move here and what was the hardest transition do you think? What do you miss about it most?

I've been to Japan and USA back-and-forth all throughout my childhood, but I moved for good to the US when I was eleven years-old. The hardest transition both ways for me was that I had to re-orient myself with the language and culture…and then move again and repeat the process. What I miss the most about Japan is the lively city of Tokyo and the delicious food.

(4) Could you share some of your favorite comics, movies, and video games? Maybe just a few "must see/read" influences. For someone who is as creative and talented across so many fields as you, I'd imagine it's quite a list, so even one of each would be amazing. But definitely I'd love to know which or who are your favorite comics!

My favorite comic is anything done by Tezuka Osamu. I've admired his work since I was a kid and still consider him my hero. My favorite movie is Spirited Away. It knocked my socks off when I first saw it. I also love Edward Scissorhands. And my favorite video game…hmm, this one is tough! I love Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy VII pretty equally! Another game I recently got into is the Phoenix Wright series.

(5) You must be incredibly busy with so many projects going on, an awesome job, and what seems like a wealth of hobbies -- like skateboarding! How do you manage your time and when do you find the time to write?

Since I was a kid, I've been balancing my time with schoolwork, drawing, and writing. I learned to form a habit and to focus when it's time to focus. I'll dedicate an hour to writing or drawing on weekdays and that adds up. I also spend several hours on the weekends to write, whether it's in a cafe or in my home office. In my spare moments, I'll work on my blog as well. It's also important to me to go have fun -- so I go out as much as possible!

(6) I visited Seattle last year and heard about this whole phenomenon known as the Seattle Freeze. I personally found everyone to be super nice and friendly but maybe I was just being frozen out! What's your take on what that's all about? Overblown or somewhat accurate?

I heard about this too! I've never experienced the Seattle freeze! For such a rainy place, everyone seems pretty friendly. Some people that just moved to Seattle say it's harder to make friends here...but I've personally never experienced any difficulty.

Thanks for the answers Realm, and everyone go to her site because she recently had a birthday and she should be celebrated. Go,go!

21 February 2010

Dance Like Somebody's Watching

Remember a while back when I was looking for a mini-genre of movie to be into? Well, I picked assassin movies and to be honest, it's been a lot of hit and miss. That wasn't an attempted pun, really. While I soldier on and continue my assassin movie research, I realized I already have a mini-genre I'm totally dedicated to: dance movies. I don't even think my fandom qualifies as a guilty pleasure because dance movies and shows are so mainstream now. So what I'd like to do is combine two of my loves -- dance movies and rankings -- to pen detailed reviews of all the dance films of the recent past. Important cinematic events like Step Up, You Got Served, Save the Last Dance, Honey, Stomp the Yard, and the rest of the modern classics.

Some rules I'm making for myself: All movies must be fictional, so that eliminates documentaries (sorry Planet B-Boy, Rize, Mad Hot Ballroom). For now I'm avoiding anything before 1990, but I may have to lift that rule eventually. If only to cover Dirty Dancing -- which I've never seen all the way through -- and Footloose. I'm not sure how far I'll expand my definition of dance movie either. If it'll include stuff like Shall We Dance or Saturday Night Fever, which are arguably character films.

Most importantly, a movie with dancing in it is not necessarily a dance movie. Does it have laughable acting and a cliche-laden plot? Yes and yes? Then I want to watch it. Is the lead character taking their nontraditional street skills to an esteemed academy? Is the romantic relationship fraught with racial and/or sociological tension? Will you liberally utilize the fast forward button through repeat viewings yet rewind for key lines? That's the kind of movie I'm talking about. I could call the mini-genre "hip hop dance movies," but I'd like to leave some room for Bring It On (and its four sequels), which just might be the Citizen Kane of the genre.
"I am a choreographer. That's what I do. You are cheerleaders. Cheerleaders are dancers who have gone retarded. What you do is a tiny, pathetic subset of dancing. I will attempt to turn your robotic routines into poetry, written with the human body. Follow me, or perish, sweater monkeys."
-Bring It On-
Important things we'll be rating on a 1-10 scale include: Can the lead actors/actresses actually dance? How much fun are their sidekicks? What are the best lines from the movie? How's the music selection? What is this film's overall cultural impact?

If you'd like to guest judge or watch anything with me, please don't hesitate to ask. Nothing is better than watching dance movies with other dance-ophiles. Bring your snark, bring your fashion commentary, bring popcorn. On the other hand, if you want to know when I'm watching one of these and would like to not be around for the next three hours (DVD extras are a must), I can let you know that information too. And please tell me any suggestions you might have for movies I need to watch. Like the J.Lo produced Feel the Noise, or the upcoming Turn the Beat Around from MTV.

Are you excited people? All of this will culminate in a group viewing of Dance Flick, obviously.

Reviews
3.03.2010: Step Up
4.26.2010: Center Stage
6.04.2010: Street Dance
8.16.2010: Step Up 3
12.14.2010: You Got Served
5.23.2011: White Nights
10.18.2011: Footloose
8.03.2012: Step Up Revolution
10.11.2013: Battle of the Year
6.19.2014: Street Dance 2
9.18.2014: Step Up All In
7.02.2015: Magic Mike XXL
Next up: The Company

17 February 2010

The Oak Park Story

"The Oak Park Story, the new documentary that captures the lives of a predominantly Southeast Asian and Latino community in an Oakland slum, will premiere at the 2010 San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival. The film is directed, edited, co-produced and co-written by Valerie Soe and co-produced and co-written by Russell Jeung, both of whom are professors of Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University."

Sylvie (Antisocial Ladder) sent this along to spread the word. I spent a whole week going to showings at the SF Asian American Film Festival last year and loved every minute of it. While I unfortunately won't be in the Bay this year for the event, you might be, so go watch everything and especially go check out The Oak Park Story! Here's their blog, Facebook page, and a video clip link.
"The film recounts the struggles of three very different families (Cambodian, Mexican, and white American) who find themselves together in a run-down apartment complex in Oakland, CA. Together, these three households encountered drug dealing, gang violence and prostitution right in their parking lot. Yet their worst problem was their Stanford-educated landlord, who raised rents even when El Nino rains flooded their units. Facing unsanitary housing conditions that led to the hospitalization of several children, 44 households of Oak Park banded together to sue and eventually won a landmark settlement, against their landlord. Despite the victory, this too brought about some surprising, unintended consequences."
-Hyphen Magazine-

Where: Sundance Kabuki Cinema, San Francisco
When: March 14, 2010 at 2:00 pm and March 15, 2010 at 7:00 pm
Tickets: Available at the SFIAAFF website

15 February 2010

It takes two to make a thing go right

Listening to: Lykke Li, "Dance Dance Dance." Invariably, every time I hear a fantastic and catchy song that tickles the twee in me, it's from a band/singer in Sweden or Norway or somewhere near there. It makes me think I should go take a visit. I also suspect I'm a few years late to the Lykke party according to this Popmatters review.

The other day, I asked the world which sounded worse: cuddling or snuggling. My respondents gave me mixed answers. The general consensus was "both would get you in trouble." Me, I've never heard the term snuggling except used in conjunction with pets, blankets, or now Snuggies. Snuggling thus seems pretty benign. Then again, I feel the same way about cuddling. I don't campaign for much but years ago I thought cuddling should be viewed as a harmless act. Leaving aside that argument for the moment, I've been gifted something wonderful recently.

My friend HT forwarded me these files, titled the "Winter Boo Kit." Take a look, it consists of a job description, an application, and a termination letter. What exactly is a winter boo you ask?
"During the winter months, life starts to slow down and most find themselves comfortable at home in hibernation mode outside of work and special occasions. Because of this, having a winter boo or snuggle buddy is helpful to get through this season of battling the elements. We are looking for hardworking, dedicated candidates that will make this season fun and exciting, making spring and summer feel like it’s right around the corner."
I don't know about your part of the country but San Diego has been freakishly cold recently. Like fifties at night. Brr. Who doesn't need a winter boo to cuddle/snuggle next to in such inclement weather? Please take a look at the files and recognize the genius behind them. And if you're brave enough, you can apply to whoever this Ashley person is. Beware, there's a laundry list of qualifications but as she puts it, "I do offer the opportunity for advancement. Upon outstanding behavior, you may be promoted to boyfriend, fiancé, or even husband if you are lucky."

This leads me logically to our next order of business: dating resumes. Lilly already wrote a post on the topic so here's my short follow up. Basically the point of a dating resume is two-fold. One, nobody really cares what you like to do or what your turn-ons and turn-offs are. Let's get to the point: what can you do for me? That's the real question we have isn't it? How can your unique combination of interests and skills be used to make our dating/relationship lives better? That's what these little dating profiles should be about. But they don't address this issue at all. Instead they focus on similarities, which is useless because dating can be fraught with so many potholes even if you have everything in common. The key is to any successful relationship (working, dating, etc.) is to have defined objectives and realistic expectations. A dating resume will help clarify those items.

The other point of a dating resume is to give the prospective employer a glimpse of the past. While we can't be judged solely on things we've done before -- can I get a hallelujah? -- it is important to have some idea of what someone's gone through. Thus the "Previous Dating Experience" portion of the resume, and especially "References." Longest relationship was seven months over two years ago? Good to know. Had a string of twenty failed dates? What's the reason? If you need a jump off point for this portion of the resume, I refer you to my Relationship Worksheet. Don't knock it till you've tried it.

Another thing that I think would be fun is for your friends to each construct a dating resume. I offered to write up George's but for some strange reason she refused. That's okay, I did my dating resume and after seeing it I'm sure she'll be inspired to make her own. If someone else out there makes one, please show me because I know a lot of prospective employers. And I need the finder's fee.

13 February 2010

The Department of Lost & Found

Listening to: Mountain Brothers, "Galaxies." Chinese guys who rap? What was this? The MBs were the first Asian American rap group to hit it big (relatively). Over a decade ago, I saw them perform at a Taiwanese conference my freshman year and then put their CD on repeat until the music wormed its way into my head. So hearing this track now, off an album I haven't touched in years, brings it all back. So what are the Mountain Brothers doing now? Like any good Chinese kids, Peril-L and Styles have careers in the medical profession. Chops is still in music though, as a much respected and sought after producer. Video of them performing is here.

Lately when I get home I've been cruising through my basketball DVDs. I used to just watch the highlight videos over and over again but I started getting box sets of entire series and games and just pop those in now. The beauty of it is that I can work and listen at the same time. Currently I'm reliving the 2008 Celtics championship one glorious game at a time. I need it because the 2010 Celtics are in total collapse right now. We knew they were built for the short term but I don't think anyone expected them to fall apart so quickly.

Kevin Garnet is still not the same after last year's mysteriously lingering knee injury. His days as a top defensive player are over, barring a miracle. Paul Pierce is banged up and seemingly a step slower. Ray Allen is erratically steady and still a beautiful shooter, but there's talks he'll be traded. I'd hate to see him leave but he's got a fatty expiring contract. Free agent pickup Rasheed Wallace has been horrific. I can't even stand watching him lazying around out there. I seriously try to avert my eyes when he's on the court. Thanks Detroit, way to give us a lump of dirt. The good news is that point guard Rajon Rondo finally made the All Star game, and he's currently ranked third in the league in assists and first in steals. He's ridiculously amazing and fun to watch. And Kendrick Perkins is getting better with age too.

I'm pretty sure the Celtics are struggling because I haven't blogged about them yet this season and without a public display of my support, the entire franchise wobbles. So after this, post-All Star break I'm sure they'll get right back on track and fight to the Finals to dethrone the odious Lakers. I'm excited already.

With football and Jersey Shore over, there's not much I've got going on TV wise. The solution to that is back to the Netflix queue. Recently I watched Charlie Kaufman's "Synedoche, New York" and Pedro Almodovar's "All About My Mother." Synedoche blew me away, like I was reeling afterwards. It's a movie that's so complicated yet superbly simple and I wanted to rewatch it immediately. Very roughly speaking, it's about living but being dead inside. Kaufman has a gift for taking a crazy high concept idea and then executing it beautifully. Watch all the extras on the DVD, it's well worth the time. Watching All About My Mother, a film that's been recommended to me from many sources, made me regret that I never learned Spanish -- and made me want to live in Barcelona, as always. I haven't loved all of Almovar's films but this one hit home hard. It's got death, transvestites, morality, faith, and is ultimately about parental love. Highly recommended.
"On the surface, it might seem that Almodovar has dug into his usual rogues' gallery for some of All About My Mother's characters. After all, the film features a pregnant nun and a pair of half-men/half-women. However, instead of accentuating the bizarre characteristics of these individuals, Almodover concentrates on their humanity. They are not developed as caricatures; they are brought to life as people worth sympathizing with. Every relationship in this film, regardless of who the participants are, is built with care and consideration."
-reelviews.net-

09 February 2010

Line by Line

Listening to: Pekka Pohjola, "The Madness Subsides." DJ Shadow sampled this for one of his songs. I think I like the Pohjola version better. It's moodier. If you like to know what samples what, this site has been blowing my mind (and sucking up my time), "Who Sampled."

Lara Zielin, of Donut Days fame, asked me for three winter book reading recommendations for my alma mater's online magazine. When giving book recommendations it's always difficult without knowing who the audience is but I had no problem recommending these three. The first is "Breathing" by fellow Deb Cheryl Renee Herbsman, which I'm rereading right now actually. So, get it and let's read together! Check out my other recommendations at "Fireside Reading."

While we're on the topic, I've been trying to read more in 2010. I kept a monthly "Stuff I've Been Reading" column for 2008 and might have to bring it back because I liked going back to see what I'd read for the year. Or I could just Goodreads more I guess. I can't get into the habit of using that site though, for some reason. Reading a book a week shouldn't be that difficult with my schedule, but I find myself online or watching television much more often. I think I lack a good reading spot at the house. I need to find one of those. My old favorite spot was lying out across the elevated crosswalk on our second floor, while the sun came through the skylight, but that just makes me fall asleep nowadays.

So far I've actually been too caught up in school reading to finish any other books. In short fiction we've been using The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction as a guide, while narrative non-fiction class has given me Modern American Memoirs, which offers snippets of a few authors I need to look into more deeply. The theory class has me wading through stuff like Feminist Perspectives on Sustainable Development and Jacques Derrida. The latter ain't no breeze and I'm having difficulty working through the language, the concepts, and the denseness of the writing. But hey, that's what learning's about right? Amusingly, our liveliest class discussion so far has centered around Twilight. I didn't say anything, because I never say anything in class (it's a problem, I'm working on it), but the general consensus was split between "This is a gutter book!" or "Whatever makes people read!"

Recently I've been talking to my friend about the Harry Potter generation, and if those books made people get into books. Like if that was a launching point into other genres, allowing them to broaden their reading horizons, or if they just kept in the same sort of Harry-sphere. I'm sure there are people who've had experience with both but I'm curious if such an overpowering series creates a new generation of readers or if it just pulls people in temporarily. The same question probably exists around Twilight, on some level.

I obviously didn't come of reading age with the Potter books and grew up reading anything put in front of me so I can't even recall what might have inspired my reading habits initially. I just picked something up -- Encyclopedia Brown, T.A.C.T., Hardy Boys, Beverly Cleary, all those horse books, swords and fantasy, etc. -- working through a series until I got tired and moved on.

Speaking of Harry Potter, who else is psyched about the upcoming Lego game? I mean, besides me.

08 February 2010

The Nontourage

I was just lamenting the other day that for all the years my friends and I have been living in San Diego, none of us know any doormen to get us into bars or clubs for free, or to just skip the line. Sure, you can get on a sign up sheet and stand in the VIP line (a total farce since this means everyone with an email address is "very important") but nothing feels better than just waltzing right in after saying "hi" to the doorman. How do I know this? Because in New York, my friend Sam Sneed does the door for all sorts of exclusive parties and events and in his generosity, he lets us feel cool and just slide on in.

Well Sam, as the multi-talented person that he is, has been stirring up his creative juices for awhile now and here's a preview of his newest project. It's the trailer for his online mini-series, "The Gatekeepers," about being a doorman in New York City. If you've ever wondered why you couldn't get into the most happening places, then this will probably reveal the answer. Of course, if we've been going out together, then most likely my aversion to wearing anything non-sneaker got us rejected. Or maybe my fashion backwardness. Or maybe... it could be so many things. I guess the point is to just not go out with me if you need to ensure access. Don't worry, I won't take it personally if you ditch me. We can still be friends.

Episodes of The Gatekeepers, a launch for their web site, and much more is coming soon. For updates, follow Sam on his Twitter.

04 February 2010

Like an Answered Prayer

Listening to: Madonna, "Lucky Star." The dancer on the left in the video is Madonna's younger brother, Christopher. They're on the outs now. But not because of his dancing. I don't think.

A few weeks ago, while one of the NFL playoff games was going on, I was flipping around the movie channels and came upon Madonna's 1991 documentary, "Truth or Dare." I have some pretty strong feelings about MJ's recent documentary and let's just say that Truth or Dare is fifty thousand times better than This Is It. Unintentional comedy aside, Madonna's doc wins in every head-to-head matchup. She is a much more charismatic star, you get the sense that she's a real person, the performances are awesome, and she's both super bitchy and vulnerably sweet. It's fantastic.

I've never been a student of Madonna but I went to the one person who absolutely is: Lilly. She sat me down, made me some coffee, provided me with delicious home baked cookies, and threw on The Immaculate Collection. This must-have DVD of her early music videos can be yours for $13.99 on Amazon, I just checked. Lilly then proceeded to drop four Madonna biographies onto the couch and I started reading.

Do you realize Madonna has dated Basquiat, Prince, and John F. Kennedy Jr. (among many others obviously)? It never occured to me that Basquiat and her were contemporaries. I found out so much about Madge in my few hours of research. I read about her childhood in Michigan, about her dropping out of college to pursue a dance career in New York, and all about her subsequent rise to fame. Needless to say, I've gained newfound respect for everything she's done -- and continues to do. Sidenote: I have danced upon the same stage Madonna once did, on the shiny tarmac of the Power Center for the Performing Arts. I know, you're totally impressed.

Basically while I have the resource that is Lilly nearby, I will be working hard to educate myself and make a top five favorite Madonna songs list. Plus I need to decide which era Madonna I like best. 1984 Madonna? Evita Madonna? Vogue Madonna? Dick Tracy Madonna? Contemporary Madonna? There are so many!

In a related story, Lilly and her people have started a Trashy Celebrity Memoirs book club. I've yet to attend a meeting but I'm always there in spirit. I feel like a Tori Spelling one is a must read. Or maybe the Sarah Palin.

02 February 2010

Sherlock Holmes (2009)

I had forgotten how much I loved Sherlock Holmes until this movie came out. I recall working my way through the Complete Sherlock Holmes sometime when I was a teenager. While "complete" sounds intimidating, it's actually not that long, and everything Arthur Conan Doyle wrote related to Holmes fits neatly into one fatty volume.

The problem with a modern day interpretation of Sherlock Holmes though, is that procedurals are now so common. Flip on the television and Gil Grissom (or even House) is solving something with his computer-like intellect. We even all pretty much grew up on Encyclopedia Brown and the idea of having some big reveal at the end of the story/movie is completely common.

So what could make Sherlock stand out? Well, hypothetically casting Robert Downey Jr. in the role should do it. Downey is a great Holmes because he adds so much charisma to the role. And after re-watching Closer the other day, I have to say that Jude Law is probably a way underrated actor. And there's nothing lovelier than Rachel McAdams right?

That's why it's so sad this movie was just average at best. Watching the leads interact is fun but there's just not enough going on. The mystery isn't that mysterious, the fight scenes are so-so, and I wasn't even excited for a potential. More style than substance and that's not what Sherlock should be about right?

A fun overview of Holmes' skills, via Wikipedia. I need to watch a Sherlock mini-series or something, there has to be a better filmed version of his exploits, probably shown by the BBC.

Daybreakers (2009)

In a flood of vampire movies and culture, it's nice to find something that really captured my attention with an interesting concept. The year is the near future and most of humanity has turned into vampires. Well, vampires need human blood to stay in their prime so humans quickly become a hot commodity. We're rounded up and farmed like in the Matrix. Fun setup right? There's potential here for all sorts of allegories and twisted expectations, and I was excited to explore some of those themes.

Well, after the initial set up of the environment (and me wondering, "wait, why do vampires need to trudge along to work?"), the movie gets lost in tepid action adventureness, terrible acting, and thin characterization. Basically the writers of the film had two or three good ideas and then filled in the rest with generic-ness. Too bad because this could be such an interesting movie if done right. Ethan Hawke has been quoted as saying that this Daybreakers is "low art" and "completely unpretentious and silly." Way to promote buddy. Hawke makes a good vampire though...

Luckily my friend told me pre-movie that this was a gore fest. Thanks for the warning! I expected the random spurts of blood and just calmly continued munching on popcorn. Extra butter, extra salt. Delicious.