Saturday, August 27, 2011

Lagerfeld '85

Seen & Heard: Lana Del Rey

The music video for Lana del Rey's (real name: Lizzy Grant) song "Video Games" is passably cluttered with home spun looking video recordings, but not particularly interesting.  The song, however, is an oddly striking bit of down-and-out, breathy orchestral pop with del Rey's voice transforming its otherwise almost tritely youth-oriented subject matter into something haunting.  She's also done a song called "Diet Mtn Dew," and managed to transform that as well.  Basically, she's just asking to be added to my novel writing playlist.

Glee Tries to Take on Fashion, Fails.

Dear Glee and Fashion Night Out sponsors:  I don't know which one of you thought this was a good idea, but please, get this out of my sight.  Never let Lea Michele take the lead on covering David Bowie ever again.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Review: Fright Night (2011)

Last year, at some point in the early AM hours of Halloween, we cracked open the 1985 original version of Fright Night.  Only a few of the marathon partygoers remained awake and the costumes had largely been exchanged for sweats, but those who stayed the course were treated to the perfect sort of camp horror.  That Fright Night was the stuff slumber parties are made of; the ideal teen paranoia flick chock full of cheesy catchphrases, clubby dance scenes, and unsettling notions of just how bad it would be to find no believers when a murderous vampire  moves in next door.  Too often, cult horror classics are remade without regard to the original.  Friday the 13th and  Nightmare on Elm Street are two prime examples of films recently retooled in an effort to kill instead of playfully maim.  I worried, in the early trailers, that Fright Night would lose its light heart and become a clone like all the rest; heavy handed sturm, drang, an undercurrent of psychosis, and heaping doses of sexualized gore.  Happily, my worries were unfounded.  Fright Night is the rare remake that celebrates its origins instead of working to “fix” them.  In some ways, I’d argue, it’s a much more effective film that gets a hell of a lot right even as it works steadily within the conventions of its genre...

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Monday, August 8, 2011

Review: Cowboys & Aliens

The still you see above is the pudding proof of what this film is all about.  Yes, that's a cowboy.  Yes, that's the eerie blue ray of an alien craft.  Yes, that's Daniel Craig's ass in neatly tailored pants and chaps.  I note this as someone who typically would pay absolutely no attention to Daniel Craig's posterior (or, really, anyone's for that matter).  Here, though, it was like every scene was about the ass.  It was insanely hard not to notice Daniel Craig's behind.  In all seriousness, as I watched Cowboys & Aliens I became more and more convinced that Jon Favreau had called a meeting with his cinematographers and crew and together they had a discussion that went like this...

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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Review: Friends with Benefits

The joke was that Friends with Benefits is an unnecessary movie.  It's a clone, a bit of deja vu, a rehashing of No Strings Attached with the other half of the Black Swan lesbionic duo.  Then, the comments changed to an acceptance of Friends with Benefits as the better, funnier version of No Strings Attached.  Granted, the latter was certainly no prize winning stallion, and I'd prefer to see Justin Timberlake over Ashton Kutcher any day, but is this really the better of the two?  Hard to say.  Since, however, I lost interest in seeing how this played out somewhere in the middle, I'm going to go with a rather tepid maybe not...

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Review: Crazy, Stupid, Love.

There are a few of those generic scenes in Crazy, Stupid, Love.  It's the story of a fractured couple, in part, and in one scene our wayward hero's 13-year old son pauses in the midst of a game of catch and imparts wisdom beyond his years to his middle aged father.  On cue, father looks at son in disbelief and says, "Wow, how old are you again?"  We've seen it a million times.  Romantic comedies are overloaded with recycled moments like this; parents who don't believe their preteen kids can be in love, preteen kids who are persistent, divorce turning out for the better, out of practice divorcees being coached in the game by youthful gigolo types, reminders never to give up on love, and so on.  Sometimes, these repetitive sequences are all a story is made up of.  Fortunately, while Crazy, Stupid, Love. features the full Hollywood works, it doesn't give up on its story and characters just there.  While it may not deserve the title of the most original rom com of the summer, it's certainly among  the best in recent memory, perhaps because it's heart isn't out of touch with its brain....

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