Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Review: My Week with Marilyn


Audiences tend to love or loathe Marilyn Monroe.  Decades after her untimely death, we're still perversely fascinated by her sad duality, by the contrast between the pose she affected as a true Hollywood star and the insecurity of the little girl lost just beneath the surface.  She's a twisted figure of the Golden Age, a true legend whispered and wondered about, an animated caricature, someone used as sex symbol and security blanket.  My Week with Marilyn capitalizes on that split nature in a way that's almost enchanting.  It doesn't dive to the lowest lows in a lurid tabloid manner, but instead captures something of the spirit of Marilyn, seeking to bottle what it was about her that so captivated those she came in contact with.  We don't get a biopic or a "Star is Born" rise and fall here, but merely a gentle, lovely, picture book of a film built off of impressionistic moments and the ghostly possession of an actress by a glamorous icon.  Your choice here is simple: choose to fall willingly into Harvey Weinstein's Oscar-bait formula or denounce it as trite (with nice performances)...

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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Review: The Muppets


I never outgrew the Muppets.  In reality, I've not known many people who have.  When I was very small I loved the Muppet crew for their enthusiasm and ebullient, no-holds barred goofiness.  They were colorful and electric, a motley crew of frogs and bears and chickens and things: walking, talking, flailing creatures I secretly believed must have been real (and in some ways still do) and which served as the partial basis for a million and one puppeted plush personalities my sister and I brought to life each day.  As I got older, I learned to see the Muppets as my parents already did.  I seem to recall my father explaining that, like the Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons he cherished, Jim Henson's puppets were in possession of jokes that improved with age and wisdom...

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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Review: The Descendants


The last quarter of the year is my favorite film season, as I suspect is the case with most avid filmgoers.  It’s when we get the bulk of the Oscar contenders, festival favorites, and under the radar limited releases in bulk quantities with a new “good” movie (or two, or three) slipped into a theatrical run each and every weekend.  I love it, of course, but I’ll let you in on a secret: this is also a season boasting a surplus of bland yet “solid” films, and writing half-positive review after half-positive review for something you like, but don’t love, can become fantastically tedious.  MyJ. Edgar rehashing was tepid at best, and when I went to see The Descendants the day after that viewing, I was worried I might be stacking my non-profit workload with writings I’d have to force myself to push through in the name of self-discipline (and a mildly OCD penchant for completion).  After all, it wasn’t too long ago I found myself writing a rather underwhelmed review on Ides of March, I hadn’t been Up in the Air’s biggest fan, and there was a strong possibility that Alexander Payne’s The Descendants would be just another in a run of sad sack stories disguised as mildly comedic slices of life...

finish this review @

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

RIP: Heavy D

Rapper and actor Heavy D (Dwight Arrington Myers) was reported dead this evening at age 44.  The Jamaican-born artist was rushed to the hospital this morning after being found unconscious at his home in Beverly Hills. [source]

Guest Post: Ed of Our City is Burning Watches Wrestling

Right, so this is a guest post.  My name is Ed, and I'm interrupting the normal stream of synthy pop music and movie reviews to bring you some musings on faux fisticuffs and The Muppets.  Normally I blog over at Our City Is Burning, but Wilde asked me to write a brief piece on the weird intersection of our interests.  She loves pro wrestling, and I love the Muppets, so it seemed a natural combination.
The cross-promotion was pretty uninspired, to be honest.  There were a couple of enjoyable moments(like Jack Swagger threatened to kill and consume both Ms. Piggy and Kermit in the most monotone voice ever, wocka wocka), but most of the interaction seemed really forced.  Obvious ideas, like Waldorf and Statler providing Play by Play were passed by for jokes about Stone Cold Steve Austin.  Beeker and Sheamus both have red hair!  They're related!  Hilarity ensues, or not really.  All in all, this was a pretty sub-par outing by both groups, and leaves me with plenty of doubts about the upcoming film.


The real questions: Where the hell was Sam the Eagle in all about this?  Why weren't Kermit and John Laurenitis complaining about managing the craziest people on television?  Or why didn't they do this eight years ago when Super-Gonzo could have tagged with the Hurricane against the Rock, or Sam the Eagle and Kurt Angle could sing "God Bless America" together?

It's like the old joke goes: "What's worse than watching this TV show?"

"NOTHING!"  

Sunday, November 6, 2011

RIP: Andy Rooney

Lovable curmudgeon Andy Rooney passed away this past Saturday at age 92.  His death comes a mere month after his retirement from "60 Minutes," where he offered up cranky commentaries and humorous observations to television audiences for 33 years.  His final essay was his 1,097th (!), and he expressed his desire to keep going, saying "I wish I could do this forever. I can’t, though.” [via LA Times]  


Andy Rooney had been a TV fixture for my entire life.  While I rarely catch "60 Minutes" these days, as someone who grew up watching his segments, it seems surreal knowing that the final Rooney complaint has come and gone.  Let's all watch and feel nostalgic as Andy Rooney talks about losing touch with pop music...

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Seen and Heard: OH MY!

I stumbled upon OH MY!'s infectious video for "Dirty Dancer" late last week and haven't really been able to get it out of my head since.  There's something about the whole thing: the track, the visuals, the dance moves that feels a little awkward, but also manages to seem excitably genuine.  You know, like it's less about posing and more about fun.  It's...oddly addicting and sort of makes me want to jump around.  Thus, I must share it...

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