It's happening. Oh, it's HAPPENING! Zack is coming!!!

::convulses with joy::


Marc Forster, I don't care if you're a crazy action!movie director who butchered the Bond franchise with Quantum of Solace. I'm willing to overlook that. But if you fuck up this movie, so help me... I'll be on you faster than a mob of zombies after a school bus full of trapped kids.


Tempest Ardor (The review of SSC's performance of William Shakespeare's "The Tempest")

As soon as I turned the key in the ignition, I let my car run for a while in the Peabody Hall parking lot at Salem State and attempted to create some sort of order to the chaos that had taken residence in my head. I sat in silence, trying to compose the opening of this review so that I might start it upon getting home, but every time I would grasp on a coherent thought it would slip away. My car ran for a while, needless to say.

I loved the theater department's adaptation of it. I did. I thought it was absolutely brilliant. The acting was incredible, the sound effects were appropriate and resonated in the small spiritual part of me, and the set blew me away. However, I couldn't help but have trouble reconciling it with the play I'd read and picked apart in class and on my own. It was almost as if there were two plays, one by Shakespeare and one by the SSC drama department, both carrying the same characters, plot, and message. As if it was incidental that they both should be called The Tempest.

The differences between the two came down to tone and mood. When I first read The Tempest, I never found much light-heartedness to it. It was a solemn read about forgiveness and retribution, not to mention colonization, but the tone always seemed so somber to me. However, actually seeing it performed with such enthusiasm and humor made it seem like a totally different play. Even something simple as tone made all the difference. I enjoyed both versions, the solemn prose of it on paper and the sweet airiness on stage.

But enough about that. Onto the actual review.

The very first thing that struck me (other than how uncomfortable the seats were) was the set. Whoever was in charge of set direction deserves a fruit basket the size of the sandy cliff they created. It looked as if a small portion of the base of the cliffs of Dover had been broken off and transported to Main Stage, where flawlessly-created rocks and real sand were scattered around it. Not once did I think to myself, "Wow. That's shoddy." I've seen shoddy sets. This, however... It was strong, sturdy and frighteningly beautiful for a college production.

And while the music and lighting were on-cue and added to the show, it was (of course) the acting that really made my breath catch.

First and foremost, there was Jaime Slatt as the spirit Ariel. I had seen Slatt in one play previous to this and while her performance was decent, it wasn't memorable for me. However, her performance this time around will stick with me every time I see her in other roles and every time I read The Tempest. She was absolutely out of this world. Every movement, every inflection in her words, every smile, every conniving wink was executed with grace and professionalism and joy. Slatt sloughed off her own skin and stepped into that of a faerie, flouncing and practically soaring across the stage, laughing and grinning all the while. There wasn't a single moment that I wasn't completely on board with her role. She stole the show.

I hadn't heard of Brian Sergant until I saw the playbill and made a moue of interest at the fact that Mr. Sergant is from New Zealand. I mentioned in a review of some movie or TV show that all of the best actors come from overseas. This is no exception. The first thing that I noticed about Sergant was his presence onstage. He had complete command over himself, the other actors, and the audience. I fell under his thrall right from the get-go and hung on every word that dripped from his lips like a fine wine, delivered like a true monarch, all tumbling trills and fluid form. He sounded and acted as an exiled ruler might, indignant yet retaining the utmost regality. It was a beautiful thing to behold and I can only hope that New Zealand will send over 200 more just like him so that we might break the mediocrity we've come to rely on when it comes to entertainment in America.

Mike Zuccolo is, apparently, a newcomer to the Salem State stage and what a debut he made! I had a small talk with Patricia Buchanan about his portrayal of Caliban and we both agreed that it was nothing short of phenomenal. He was crude, "uncivilized", and so earnest in his endeavors to be free of Prospero's hold that you couldn't help but pity him. When I read The Tempest, I held nothing but disinterest in his excuses and devilish actions, but Zuccolo actually made me sympathize with him. I walked away from his performance with a grin and a modicum of sadness in my heart.

Oh, Joe Coppellotti and Andrew Mattox II. My dynamic duo. While I've never seen Coppellotti perform previous to this, I did have the good fortune to see Mattox II in Twelve Angry Jurors last year and it was his performance that stuck with me -- I can still see him in my mind as Juror #10, trembling with the force of his rage and so steadfast in his rather violent convictions, body cooking in the sweltering heat (both figurative and literal), until he ended the show as a broken man. He was just as fantastic then as he is as Antonio. However, his performance relied on that of Coppellotti's, both taking part in an odd symbiosis that would have broken down had one of them faltered; one could not have worked without the other. These two fine actors brought a bit of something new to the play, at least for me: sarcasm. Every time they spoke, even while plotting the deaths of the members of their party, their words were caked in it. It was a genuine touch that also made me sympathize with them. I'd read both Antonio and Sebastian to be cunning and dark would-be assassins, but their portrayal made me see them as men, desperate for power. And the expression of abject horror on Antonio's face upon seeing Prospero alive? Priceless.

The other winning couple, Robert Savage and Tony Rossi, were HILARIOUS. I've never enjoyed watching two drunk people so much in my life. Their raucous humor and crazy antics brought the show to dazzling heights, proving once again that Shakespeare's words can hold meaning for everyone of all generations so long as the right people are delivering the lines.

Hannah Cranton in her final performance at SSC was beautiful. She was beautiful as Miranda, the ingénue of the island, who falls in love with the rather dashing Ferdinand (Ricardo Martins). While Cranton played up her character's wholesomeness and naiveté, Martins played Ferdinand as the hopeful suitor, undergoing Prospero's tests without so much as a peep. That wishful demeanor showed in Martins's face (I was close enough to see) and how desperate he was to be able to hold Miranda's hand without fear of censure. It was sweet without being saccharine and undeniably romantic.

All of the minor characters were great (the three goddesses were amazing), but out of all of them Nicole Leostakos's Gonzalo was superb. I was rather impressed with the way she carried herself like a portly man, the way her voice never cracked on her baritone, and the blinding passion that infused her every word. Her Gonzalo reminded me of an uncle that you never get to see often but never leave his side when he does finally come to visit. I'm sad to see her leaving SSC, because that means I won't get to see her in anything else.

All of this and more came together in a gelignite-covered play that left the audience either in stitches or totally enraptured. There is something magical about seeing a play this well put together on opening night and I am overwhelmingly positive that the feeling will resound from now until the end of its run in December.

Thank you to the cast and crew of The Tempest for such a memorable night. And I apologize for coughing so much -- I'm getting over a cold.

Salem State College's production of The Tempest is running until December 7th. Tickets are $15 for the general public, $10 for a student ID or for seniors, and FREE for SSC students (with ID). No one has an excuse to miss this.

I give SSC's The Tempest 5 out of 5.


Celebrity, and why that word is stupid

Once upon a time, yours truly went to NYC to see Suddenly Last Summer, starring Blythe Danner, Gale Harold, and Carla Gugino. The play wasn't good, but my friends and I waited at the stage door nonetheless to catch a glimpse of the actors.

It was cold, rainy, and I could feel it rattling in my lungs, but no one else seemed to pay heed to the weather conditions. They clamored to get as close to the barrier rope as possible, all of them praying for the chance to see Gale Harold, who eventually emerged in an unfashionable ensemble that I mentally picked apart, just as I would anyone else.

I, too, went up, mostly because he and I had the same hat. And while the other girls cooed and tittered over him, we struck up a short, normal conversation full of sarcasm but graciousness. I was pleasant, so was he, and that was that.

My friends forbade me to ever talk to another celebrity again because I "did it wrong".

I've thought long and hard about this. My feelings haven't changed. Sure, I have my celebrity crushes (Nathan, Sean, Cate, and David Tennant), but I recognize these people as simply that: people.

Acting isn't what it used to be. Back when Hollywood was emerging, acting was about the art. It was about emotion, passion, pushing your body to its absolute limit so it might show up on the brand new Technicolor film. It was Marlon Brando, screaming in the streets. It was Anne Bancroft, a goddess seducing a teenager. It was Fred and Ginger, dancing on pockets of romance and night. These actors and actresses were humble, genuine, and unafraid to take risks.

Now, it's a status symbol. One celebrity can shut down an entire terminal of an airport upon arrival. Malls close for them. Normal, everyday people trip over themselves just to see them, will spend absorbent amounts of money to meet them.

Doesn't anyone realize that acting is simply a job for these celebrities? That's what it all comes down to, at least for me. This is their job, their occupation. Their job is to entertain, just as it's your co-worker's job to make sure there are cover sheets on your TPS reports, just as it's your boss's job to keep you in line and make sure you're not wanking to internet porn during company hours. But you don't see paparazzi lining the elevator when your superior comes into work in the morning, nor do you see restaurants and department stores giving things away for free just because your neighbor, the accountant; the teacher; the cashier walked through the door. Acting is their job -- granted, it's one of the coolest jobs to have, but it's still a job.

I don't go crazy over celebrities because they're regular people. So the next time you see Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie walking down the street together, leave them alone. You don't harass other complete strangers for living their lives. Extend celebrities the same courtesy.

It's just a job, people. Just a job.


I'm a little late on this, I know, so shut up (A review on the fictional novel, "World War Z")

It's about time I started reviewing books. Ever since I started this blog (and I use the term lightly), I really haven't had the time to sit down and read a good book. Then after an influx of recommendations and threats that I was committing crimes against humanity by not reading it (because apparently I was the only one left on the planet who hadn't read it), I decided to pick up Max Brooks's World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War.

I know what you're thinking: "A zombie novel? Seriously?"


At first I was like, "I hope I didn't just shell out $15 bucks for a dud." And then I read the first page. I looked up and it was suddenly, like, three hours later and I was half-way done with the book. I couldn't put it down after that. Everywhere I went, it came with me. If I went to school, so did it. If I had two minutes before class started, out it came. If I brought it out to read in the cafeteria between classes, people I'd never seen before would come up to me and tell me what a fantastic book it was. To which I would say, "Um, fucking duh, I haven't lost interest."

Max Brooks is the brains behind the hilarious Zombie Survival Guide, a comprehensive collection of survival strategies and how-to-use-such-and-such-weapon should you find yourself in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. However, WWZ is much darker and serious in nature.

The story is told as the name says: an oral history. It's broken into three sections: the outbreak, who's to blame, and the aftermath; almost like an epistolary novel, it's told through first-accounts by the survivors, including military personnel, civilians, doctors, and a whole mess of others.

And let me tell you, no zombie movie that's ever been released has encompassed this much thought and detail, not to mention the bone-chilling reality that no country, government, or single individual is prepared for the horror of something of this magnitude. Which is essentially what the novel's underlying message is: we aren't prepared. If anything like this happened, all pretenses would be dropped and we would see exactly what humanity is: a cowardly and pissy child that refuses to take responsibility for its actions.

The characters that Brooks has created are fantastic, mostly because they're real. They're flawed, they're uncertain, and they're undeniably human. Some of the stories that these people tell will sit with you for days.

But even as the novel demonstrates how humanity really is the lowest race on the planet, it also shows how amazing we can be once we pull our heads out of our asses.

World War Z has fast become one of my favorite books of all time. If the Massachusetts Education Frameworks would allow it, I'd totally teach this book. There's a lot to be learned from it.

Either way, I give World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War 5 out of 5.

Oh, and a movie adaptation is coming out in 2010!


7 Balls to Rule Them All...

I'll admit it: I was one of those geeky 12-year olds that watched Dragon Ball Z on Toonami every day after school. I mean, come on, who didn't want to shoot light from their hands at that age?

Well, long after the DBZ craze, some idiot decided to make a movie. You know, now that no one gives a shit.

I just watched the teaser trailer. As Perez Hilton would say: SHITEOUS!!



The Presidential Debate in a breadbox

I can sum it up in a few words:


Holy Update, Batman! (And speaking of... Here's the "The Dark Knight" review)

It's been a small eternity since I reviewed a movie, or, uh, said anything, but the new semester has begun and I'm already at my wits end! So, why not write a review while my emotional state is a volatile one?

I saw The Dark Knight opening day at the IMAX in Reading. I walked out in complete silence. I saw it twice more, still leaving in total silence, unable to formulate a word or opinion of any kind.

My thoughts have finally come together enough for me to write this review.

The Dark Knight is a comic book adaptation, as well as the sequel to the critically-acclaimed Batman Begins, which re-launched the series and pushed Batman once again into the spotlight. However, as much as it is a comic book movie, it works just as well as a crime drama, one of the best I've seen in years.

There are several storylines that play out in this film, all of them intertwined and important, and the way they unfold is nearly perfect. Brothers Christopher Nolan (director, writer, screenplay) and Jonathan Nolan (screenplay) knew exactly what they were doing when writing the screenplay for this movie. There is not one plot hole to be found -- everything is tied up by the end of the movie. But they manage to make it exciting and a complete thrill; the 152-minute you take is never a boring one. Tedious, maybe, but never boring.

I'll start off with the talk of the town: The Joker.

Heath Ledger, who will win a posthumous Oscar if the Academy doesn't want angry fans burning Hollywood to the ground, portrays this iconic villain as a man without morals or even a plan, just someone "who wants to watch the world burn". From the minute you see him standing on a street corner, back to the audience, you know something is not quite right -- just his stance alone conveys the important and messy role he plays.

Now, I'm a huge Batman fan. HUGE. I grew up watching the animated series, which prompted my older brother to introduce me to the comics. Even before Batman Begins brought life back to the franchise, I knew something was terribly wrong with all of the Batman films that had come before, one problem being Jack Nicholson's Joker.

I have nothing against Nicholson. He's an amazing actor. But in the 1989 Batman movie, he wasn't the Joker. He was Jack Nicholson with make-up on, dancing around and camping it up. His was not the mind of a psychotic killer.

Ledger's performance is up there with Kevin Spacey's in Se7en, or Sir Anthony Hopkins's Hannibal Lector. Ledger's Joker is twisted, insane (the "we the jury find the defendant" kind of insane), but more than that, he makes you believe that he is, in fact, an agent of chaos. Every wrong turn, every point of confusion, every horrifying bump in the dark on screen is caused by the very reminder that all clowns laugh, but some for all the wrong reasons.

He sold me on his Joker, with every snicker, every nervous tic, every hilarious one-liner -- he re-made this villain. WHY'D HE HAVE TO GO AND O.D.?!

Well, he'd better get that Oscar, or there really will be chaos.

Aaron Eckhart's D.A. Harvey Dent was perfect. Perfect. I love Aaron Eckhart, I really do, and he didn't disappoint. I was a bit nervous, as this was the first time that Harvey Dent and Two-Face were to be in the same movie, but Eckhart carried his character with much aplomb and really convinced me that the Joker was bringing him down a spiraling path. And then, of course, the big reveal.

Christian Bale, I love him. But would somebody give him a fucking lozenge?

And then, of course, there were Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman. Snappy, sarcastic, smart, and all those other good S words. While they were minor characters, you never forgot their presence, even when they weren't on-screen.

The soundtrack was amazing (Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard = WIN), and I want to have sex with Wally Pfister, the cinematographer. The editing was flawless and make-up? Um, yes please.

All in all, Mr. Nolan, I think you have a perfect movie on your hands, or as close as you can get to one. Congratulations. Let's hope you don't puss out when it comes to the third and final installment of the series.

And Sid Ganis? All eyes are on you, buddy. ::glare::

I give The Dark Knight a 5 out of 5.


Why Joss is Boss.

I'm convinced that if Joss Whedon struck out to rule the world, all of our leaders would let him.

His newest creation, Dr. Horrible's Sing-a-long Blog, penned and made during the writer's strike, shows just how flexible and GENIUS Whedon can be.

Also, Neil Patrick Harris is hilarious and amazing. But we knew that. He stars as the eponymous character, a scientist who longs to rule the world (because it's a mess). Only thing is, he's not that good at being evil. And he's in love with a girl (Felicia Day) that goes to the same laundromat as he.

Nathan Fillion (!!) stars as his buffoon-ish nemesis, Captain Hammer, who manages to get the girl and still foil all Horrible's plans. And, you know, it's Nathan Fillion. Singing. And smiling. And breathing.

The lyrics are fantastic ("Any dolt with half a brain / Can see that humankind has gone insane / To the point where I don't know if I'll upset the status quo / if I throw poison into the water main." -- Act II), fun, and will make you smile continually throughout.

Act I and II are already up, and act III will be up on Saturday on http://drhorrible.com/, and best yet they're free! Until Sunday, at which point they'll be taken down. But you can purchase all 3 acts on iTunes. I have.

I give Dr. Horrible 5 out of 5!


Still Not Dead...

I keep forgetting that I have this stupid thing.



I'm convinced that Pixar sold its collective soul to the Devil in exchange for brilliant movies that will make millions at the Box Office. There's no other explanation.

In Pixar's seventh consecutive bit of GENIUS, WALL-E (the little robot that could, can, and will) manages to subtly tell us that we're fucking up our planet (take some notes, Shamalan) while reminding us that love isn't born from big gestures, but rather something as simple as holding hands. And the robots are SO. CUTE.

It's a movie with heart, amazing visuals, humor, and a message for all of us to ponder, regardless of age.

I saw it four times. I'm not kidding.

2. Wanted

Did Die Hard 4: Live Free or Die Hard not satisfy your taste for ridiculous and impossible action and humorous quips? Then this is the movie for you, my friend!

A rags-to-riches (or peon-to-assassin) story in which a young man disinterested in his sorry excuse for a life is recruited by a fraternity of assassins (aptly named "The Fraternity") to train and kill the rogue assassin that killed his father.

Crazy violence, crazy amounts of F-Bombs, and there's a Russian guy that hooks rats up to explosives. Which really made me kind of upset. There's no story (I mean, these people take contracts from a "Loom of Fate", and by "loom" they mean "linen-maker"), but as far as action movies go I've definitely seen worse.

It's bullshit, but fun bullshit.

And James McAvoy is in it, so yay! Oh, and that Angelina chick's in it, too.

3. The Happening

I'm laughing too hard to even write a scathing review. Just don't bother.

4. The Incredible Hulk

gratuitous edward norton shot

Obviously a vast improvement on Ang Lee's thinker, this movie is what it's supposed to be: a comic book adaptation. Edward Norton was fantastic as Bruce Banner, and Tim Roth was fucking frightening as Emil Blonksy (aka: the bad guy). Liv Tyler was so breathy throughout the movie that I was so sure she was having an asthma attack, and William Hurt is getting old. But there were cameos by Lou Ferrigno and Bill Bixby!

But the dialog was great, the CGI didn't take away from the action, although the Hulk looked like a baby-faced monster that I wanted to put in my pocket.


This is about all I can write for now -- I hurt. Last night, we filmed a huge chunk of the student movie I'm starring in. I'm sunburned, I have a sprained wrist, bruises from where I was choked with a piano wire, whiplash, and water lodged way up into my ear canal.

Go me.

More to come soon. aka: THE DARK KNIGHT



Well, I decided to skip 2 1/2 hours of theatrical torture by NOT going to see Sex and the City: The Movie. My mother asked me if I wanted to go with her and her friends. I said that I had some important things to do (ie: watch a plant photosynthesize, stare at the ceiling, putter around in Photoshop, go into Salem and take pictures with Neil Cicirega and company) and told her to have a good time. I knew she wouldn't.

She didn't.

I swear, I think I'm a prophet.

However, there are some fascinating, funny, and horrendous trailers that I've been seeing and I thought I'd take a moment to address a few of them and perhaps encourage my readers (read: 4) to go see some (or not at all).

The Fall (Now In Select Theaters)

The Fall is director Tarsem Singh's second movie, a film that took nearly 6 years to shoot -- on 26 locations in 18 countries. The trailer gives you the story of the frame narrative: in 1921, a little girl (Catinca Untaru) falls and breaks her arm, bringing her to the hospital where she meets a stuntman (Lee Pace, Soldier's Girl, Pushing Daisies) whom had also taken a fall. He tells her a fantastical story and promises to finish it if she does something for him in return: help him to commit suicide. The film looks to be one of the most visually-stimulating I've seen in a very long time and the plot itself is interesting enough. A story in a story. Like Tales From 1001 Nights! Plus, that Catinca Untaru is a little cutie!

The Dark Knight (July 18th)

I did not partake in the "Let's go on a ridiculous scavenger hunt so we can see a trailer that was destroyed by the Joker" thing, so I've been forced to watch the regular one with all the other slobs.

But still. THIS TRAILER. I had been clawing at the walls before the trailer had been released. I'm pretty sure I'm unbearable to live with now that I've had a taste and am being forced to wait for the movie.

The Dark Knight looks much darker than its prequel, Batman Begins, especially with the rise of the Joker. I'm beyond thrilled that Katie Holmes was replaced by Maggie Gyllenhaal (Katie was okay, but I'm a huge fan of Maggie's) and that Aaron Eckhart is playing Harvey Dent. The casting in this little trilogy is perfect. MICHAEL CAINE, PEOPLE!

This movie is going to be ridiculous -- in a good, rip-roaring, deformed clown open-firing on a schoolbus kind of way.

The Love Guru (June 30th)

I try not to look at films objectively. I try to go in, free of any biases I might have, and enjoy it.

But with films like this, I usually just end up trying not to throw up in my mouth.

Tropic Thunder (August 15th)

I cannot convey how much I want to see this film. Just go see it. Robert Downey Jr. plays an Australian actor-turned-Black Man. That alone should be incentive enough.

Mama Mia! (July 18th)

I had to throw in a musical. I know musicals are going to be Hollywood's next big thing (Chicago, Dreamgirls, Sweeney Todd), but I'm going to enjoy this before it gets annoying.

The movie itself looks like it's going to be good-hearted fluff. I'm not expecting anything too deep or dramatic, but I'm going in expecting to have fun. The songs are bouncy and enjoyable (yay ABBA!) and I really like Meryl Streep. Amanda Seyfried looks like a lovely girl and -- shock of shocks -- can act! And sing, apparently! And guess who's also in it, singing and dancing? Dominic Cooper of The History Boys fame!

I can't wait. Unfortunately, the movie will have to wait for me, as I'll be parked in theater #1 for The Dark Knight on July 18th. Maybe the next day.


The Chronicles of Eye Candy: Prince Look At Me, I'm Gorgeous

I took myself to the 12:00 showing of The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian this afternoon... it was me, a mother and son, two older (and creepy) men, and a couple.

So, I was basically the only person in the theater over the age of 5, but under the age of 40.

The movie fulfilled all my expectations and even exceeded a few. I was pleasantly surprised at the more intricate plot, the political intrigue, and the EPICness that were all missing from the first movie.

And Ben Barnes. ::melts:: Oh, Ben Barnes. You can point a sword at my throat any time.

The four Pevensie kids from the first movie find a way back to Narnia via the Tube (why didn't that happen when I went to England?) and are shocked to find 1300 years or so have passed. Narnia is overrun by ruins and a race of people called Telmarines, who were apparently sent from Spain. The Caspians have ruled for 9 generations, and numero diez is one Prince Caspian, whose claim to the throne is threatened when his aunt gives birth to a son, which -- as we all know -- always drives the evil uncle into a murderous state of mind.

As the prince escapes into the woods, he blows the "Help" horn, which brings the 4 kids back. The prince reluctantly joins forces with the Narnians to take back the throne -- and the rest of the world.

The story was really well-done, and so was the acting, especially since the kids are older. Although there's something really annoying about that Anna Poppelwall. I'm sure she's a lovely girl, but I couldn't stand her as Susan in this movie (or the last). And it wasn't even because she was Caspian's love interest. It's too bad, because I loved Georgie Henley as Lucy and Skander Keynes (Edmund) OWNED the screen. Keynes totally out-acted everyone else, and he's a little cutie pie.

Anyway, great battle scenes, especially the one between Peter (William Moseley) and that bastard King Miraz. It was epic, even with the lack of blood. For a PG movie, it was pretty bad ass.

AND PETER DINKLAGE AND EDDIE IZZARD WERE BOTH IN THE MOVIE!!! ::convulses with joy:: When I saw Peter Dinklage's name in the opening credits, I practically spazzed in glee. I love him. He's so talented. And, of course, Eddie. ♥

And Ben Barnes. Oh, Ben Barnes. The hottest breakout of 2008. And he's a decent actor, himself. I mean, Bigga Than Ben wasn't anything special, but Ben was great, nonetheless. (For those of you who've asked, I found the movie online. Don't ask.)

My only complaint was that the movie could've ended sooner. 2 hours and 20 minutes is a long time for a kids movie.

Anyway, Prince Caspian was a fun, surprisingly deep movie -- small kids might be rattled by the battle scenes, but they'll get over it once they remember that the animals talk.

I give The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian 4 out of 5.

"That's right, bitches."


It ends at midnight.

Tonight, he's just Ben Barnes, that guy who was supposed to play Dakin in a run of The History Boys.

At 12:01am, he'll be Ben Barnes, sex symbol and breakout star of 2008.

Remember, girls: I already called dibs on him after I saw Bigga Than Ben. Too bad.


Cars, Skulls, and Lions -- Oh My!

So, I thought about going to see Speed Racer this weekend, but I was able to watch the first 8 minutes of the movie online and decided to skip it before I became any closer to having a seizure. It was like they let loose 100 six-year olds onto the set with crayons and paint, and told them to go wild.

My eyes...

Anyway, I've been reading some of the reviews for the upcoming Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and sadly it's not looking good. Some of the reviews make me want to cry, others aren't quite as bad... although they're not good. But since I've had the Indy theme as my ringtone for the last 3 years, the least I can do is ignore Shia LaBouf, squeal over Cate Blanchett's German accent, and form my own opinions on the film.

Remember: May 16th. Prince Caspian. I have half a mind to write to the Disney marketing people about the billboards of Ben Barnes I see when I'm driving. Do you know how distracting they are? I look up, see him, start to drool, and lose control of the car. People have nearly died so the movie can get good publicity. Not cool, Disney. Not cool.

But, er, can I have one of those billboards when you're done? I mean, if you've finished using it and all...



Iron Man isn't iron... He's GOLD.

1. Robert Downey Jr, I know I've said this millions of times, but please divorce your wife and marry me.

2. Damn.

Now that I've got that out of the way, I must say that I had high expectations for this movie (especially with RDJ in it), and Iron Man didn't disappoint. At all. Like, in any way. Except the Gwyneth Paltrow thing, but other than that I walked out of there with a huge grin on my face. Seriously, the ticket-checker lady and a loitering police officer both gave me odd/suspicious looks.

Let's get one thing straight. It may have been a fun movie with a solid script and great effects, but it was Robert's show. They could have called it that with a little 'Ironman' footnote beneath the title and it would STILL rake in millions, I guarantee it.

RDJ didn't become Tony Stark. Tony Stark became RDJ.

Okay, first, Marvel finally got it right. It wasn't camp city like it was with Spiderman, and it wasn't mediocre town like it was with X-men (no offense, Mr. Singer), and it didn't plain suck like The Hulk, The Punisher, The Fantastic Four (both of them), Ghost Rider, Daredevil, Elektra, and whatever else they've thrown at us. This movie really defied the convention.

First, of course, there was Tony Stark/RDJ. Robert made you hate him and love him. He's fast, glib, painfully smart, and undeniably sexy. Those are the same comments I made during Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and everyone looked at me weird. That won't be the case after this weekend, between you me. RDJ did a beautiful job portraying Stark as an arrogant prick at the beginning of the movie; you could feel the smarminess oozing off the screen, practically. But as Stark began to change and focus on protecting the people instead of manufacturing weapons, you believed that he was genuine, mostly because he never lost the sarcasm and the fast-pacedness that was uniquely RDJ Stark. GodDAMN, what a performance. But then again, it's RDJ, were we expecting anything less?

Terrence Howard was decent and Gwyneth Paltrow was whiny and forgettable (as per), but Jeff Bridges made one hell of a bad guy. I mean, as soon as I saw him I thought 'there's the douche', but he fooled me up until the middle. Bridges is the man (see: KPAX, but I never saw him as the villain. He was good. Really good. But the minor character that stood out for me was Yinsen, played wonderfully by Shaun Toub. I've never heard of Toub, but I'll be scourging the internets for more information on him. I really enjoyed his character and was really sad to see him die; he played such a crucial role and I understand why his death was necessary, but I hoped he would escape with Stark. But you know what they say about hope! It's dumb.

The script was fantastic and I know that RDJ improvised a few things here and there (as per), which made it more real and a lot more funny. And the effects were great. The CGI was terrific; it was well-done and didn't take away from the movie at all.

omfg rdj.

I am totally going to see this again. And it's been a long time in coming but I think it's finally safe to say that KICK-ASS ACTION FILMS ARE BACK!

I give Iron Man 5 out of 5.

Go see it.


R.C.'s Top 10 Talented Celebrity Men (that rhymed!)

Because what else would you do when you have laryngitis? As I sit here finishing up an essay, I couldn't help but think of this little quiz a couple of my friends had sent me in which you had to list your favorite 10 talented celebrity men. Well, here's mine:

**NOTE: Orlando Bloom did NOT make this list, because, well, I said "talented" celebrities. Sorry, girls.

1. Sean Biggerstaff

Whenever I mention his name, the reply is always the same: "who?" Well, screw you, infidels, because Sean's one to watch! This Scottish actor doesn't take any shit from anyone, he's in a band, his sarcastic streak is world-renown, not to mention that he's got more talent in the nail of his pinky finger than 90% of Hollywood's leading men have in their entire bodies. Was that grammatically correct? Probably not. My head hurts.

Anyway, Sean not only has a slew of intriguing and fantastic movies roles under his belt (Oliver Wood in "Harry Potter", Jeremy Wolfenden in "Consenting Adults", and Ben Willis in "Cashback" to name a few), but my fictional letter to him in Spanish got me the highest grade in my Spanish 201 class. Gracias, Sean!

2. Nathan Fillion

He's the only thing I want for my 21st birthday (well, him and a pair of polka dot shoes), and barring any legal difficulties he may just show up! Who knows -- Kidnapping might not be a federal offense in his native Canada!

He first came to public attention on the soap opera, "One Life to Live", and on "Two Guys, a Girl, and a Pizza Place". He then advanced into Whedon territory when he played We-The-Jury-Find-The-Defendant-crazy priest Caleb on "Buffy, The Vampire Slayer" and as Captain Malcolm Reynolds on the short-lived but much-loved "Firefly" and its counterpart film (take that, FOX!), "Serenity". He continued into film with that piece of shit, "White Noise 2: The Light", and the charming "Waitress".

Plus, he's a fucking goofball. And I love it.

3. Simon Amstell

I've never seen anyone do 'deadpan' so brilliantly. I first saw Simon on "Never Mind the Buzzcocks", my new favorite show that I'm forced to watch on YouTube because America hates smart and funny game shows. Simon manages to come across as that boy you went to school with who SEEMED innocuous until he opened his mouth and ruined the illusion. He's smart, he's quick, he's unapologetic, and he's a joy to watch. And, like most of the people who will be on this list, he's British.

4. Tom Wilkinson

Do you think Tom goes around and introduces himself like this: "Hello, I'm Tom Wilkinson... and you're not"? If not, he definitely should. We all need a reminder like that.

Mr. Wilkinson has been in several (billions?) of movies and has never disappointed me in any of them, regardless if the movie itself is even of any value. Although usually having Tom in them is an indication. He's a sort of changeling, able to get into ANY kind of role, no matter what it is. His latest (and greatest?) was that of Benjamin Franklin on HBO's superb miniseries, "John Adams". Oh, all of you Hollywood actors better get down on your knees and pray that you will maybe, perhaps, in time be as wonderful as he. Although chances are it won't happen. Ever.

5. Harold Perrineau

I first saw Harold in Baz Luhrmann's "Romeo and Juliet", in which he played Mercutio. But I never really paid him mind, mostly because I was young and had the attention span of a brick. But I then sat up and took notice when I watched the first season of "Lost", where he played Michael, that crazy crazy asshole. But what really captivated me, especially these past few months, was his role on HBO's critically-acclaimed series, "OZ", in which he played narrator and inmate Augustus Hill, as well as his role in "28 Weeks Later" as pilot Flynn. He was also in "The Matrix" sequels as Link.

He's gritty and raw, and you should all run out and rent all 6 seasons of "OZ" just so you can witness acting at its finest.

6. Donald Sutherland

I don't even need to explain myself for this one.

7. Christopher Meloni

Whether he's playing straight, gay, cop, CRAZY, or Freakshow, Chris is amazing. He's never afraid to take it too far and he always somehow manages to make me smile, even when he's kicking the shit out of Lee Tergesen. And he looks like a gift to the world from a higher power when he takes his shirt off.

8. Alan Rickman

No words. None. They haven't been written yet.

** NOTE: No, girls, Professor Snape isn't his best role. Get Netflix, you morons.

9. Eddie Izzard

He was the first thing that popped up when I googled the world 'Eddie', so that must say something. Eddie is one of my favorite comedians, being that not only do I get tons of laughs out of his routines but I also walk away a little bit smarter. I had the good fortune of seeing Mr. Izzard last night at the Orpheum, even though he and everyone around me probably wanted to kill me (what with all the coughing), and he didn't disappoint. Sometimes comedians never live up to your expectations when you see them live, but not him! He exceeded them all! Especially with this line:

As the British, talking about America during the Revolution: "Oh, let's just let them have it. It won't work. Shit, it's working."

10. Robert Downey Jr.

It's always something when an actor can act without making it seem like acting. I love all of RDJ's characters; they're scattered, they're sarcastic, they're hilarious, and they're real. Everyone knows someone like RDJ. I hope. We need more of him.

I know that everyone's psyched about him as Tony Stark in the upcoming "Iron Man" (I am!), but he's also genius in these other films: "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang", "Charlie Bartlett", "Zodiac", "Goodnight and Good Luck", "Chaplin", and "Wonderboys".

Runners Up:

Frank Warren
Brad Bird
Denzel Washington
Bruce Willis
Clive Owen
Robin Ince
Sir Anthony Hopkins
Johnny Depp
Simon Pegg
Richard Griffiths
Jon Stewart


Not Art.

I just had myself a good cry. Well, not a good one, but a cry nonetheless. I don't know if everyone is aware of any recent news in the art world, or if the name 'Guillermo Habacuc Vargas' repulses you, but it's something that should be brought to everyone's attention.

In 2007, Costa Rican 'artist' Guillermo Habacuc Vargas paid a group of children to capture a dog off of the street, and then he chained the dog to a wall and slowly AND PUBLICLY starved the poor creature to death. He calls it 'art'. Apparently some agreed with him, as he's been asked to represent Costa Rica in "Bienal Centroamericana Honduras 2008".
This 'work of art' has created a mass outrage. Petitions have been created, thousands have signed, and millions are trying to prevent Vargas from being allowed to enter the competition, or whatever the fuck it is. I've heard that he wishes to recreate the first 'piece', which means the starvation and death of another innocent creature.

I'm getting teary just thinking about the photos of the exhibit. The dog was curled up, skeletal and broken, while patrons and other art-lovers just walked around the gallery and did nothing. That's what kills me the most. That nobody stepped in and did something. That the dog died needlessly, all in the name of art.

This is not art. This is inhumane. This is heartless. This is torture. This is cruel and unusual and just plain wrong.

It's murder, plain and simple.

I'm not trying to recruit anyone to a cause. I'm not trying to define the boundaries of art, although art is supposed to be what is aesthetically pleasing; how could this act of blatant cruelty and neglect be considered beautiful?

But please, be aware that horrible things are being done in the name of art. It's not right, or fair, and it achieves nothing.

If you would like to sign the petition, you can do so here:

1. http://www.petitiononline.com/ea6gk/petition.html
2. http://www.petitiononline.com/13031953/petition.html


Charlton Heston

Guns don't kill people. Life does, apparently. But the guns probably don't help matters.

Charlton Heston, legendary screen actor and crazy gun-lover, died last night (Saturday, April 5th) at the age of 84.

We'll miss you, you animal. ♥


Pass It On! (The History Boys review)

I forget what initially drew me to buy the film The History Boys. Maybe it was because Allan Bennett had written the original Tony award-winning play AS WELL AS the screenplay for the film adaptation. Maybe it was because Frances de la Tour was in it. Maybe it was because the song The Universal by Blur was in the trailer. Maybe it was all the very handsome men speaking in various British dialects. Or it could have been the mix of poetry and history.

We'll never know.

The History Boys is the kind of film I someday hope to write. While I've read reviews that say that it didn't translate as well as it could have from the stage to the big screen -- and I can see where their complaints lie -- I have to say that it is fast becoming one of my favorite films.

The story begins in 1983, where eight boys, nicknamed "The History Boys" for their love of history, have received the highest A-Levels scores the Cutler Grammar School has ever seen. They are determined to try for Oxford and Cambridge, but have no hope, even with teachers like the idealistic and philosophical Mr. Hector and the blunt and wise Mrs. Lintott. The new, young teacher, Mr. Irwin, is hired in hopes of steering the boys in the right direction, especially with their entrance essays.

Luckily, the film was made with the original Broadway cast, because I honestly can't see anyone else playing these roles, even the actors and actresses who've replaced them.

The film is more character-centered rather than plot, although the two are very much intertwined. The boys are made up of the cool and desirable Dakin, the religious Scripps, the pining and sadly sweet Posner, the snarky and mischievous Lockwood, the trouble-making and smart aleck Timms, the athletic Crowther, the hopeless yet determined Rudge, and the witty Akhtar. They are led by Mr. Hector, an old teacher with a poet's soul, the ability to quote anything, and a penchant for beautiful boys, Mrs. Lintott who laments that history is five centuries of male ineptitude, and Mr. Irwin, who pushes the boys to their limits and encourages very unorthodox ways of looking and dissecting history.

The characters are wonderful. The boys remind everyone (over the age of 18) of what it was like to have expectations, to believe you were invincible, and the teachers are the prime example of how life can sometimes be nothing but a disappointment.

It's Dakin and Irwin, however, that have the most intriguing relationship. I won't go too much into it should anyone rent/buy the movie, but the boundaries of Platonism are continually pushed, culminating in a very satisfactory -- or unsatisfactory -- result. It is a fascinating war.

The film, itself, however, reflects the genuine life of a school boy. There are no fancy shots, or artistic lighting. It's almost as if you're there in the classroom, seeing the world realistically.

As for the transition from stage to film, I can't voice any objections, for I haven't had the fortune of seeing the play. I can agree with those who say that the characters in the film aren't as fleshed-out as they are (or must be, in my case) in the play. The film characters were very fun and somewhat multi-dimensional, but there was definitely some other kind of depth missing there. I can only assume that they are brought into full in the play. But then again, until I see it I can't pass judgment.

The History Boys is full of beautiful language, hilarious one-liners, and thought-provoking history lessons. It's what school ought to be: teaching you history while simultaneously preparing you for the utter randomness of the future.

I give The History Boys 4 out of 5.


The Stupid is Catching!

Gray wolves are no longer endangered! It's been a long battle, beginning in 1973 when the Federal Endangered Species Act listed them as, well, endangered. But finally, 36 years later, they're in the clear!

Except big hunts are already in the works.

Why are we so hell-bent on trying to perpetuate the stereotype of stupid people in groups?

Do they not have anything better to do in Idaho and Wyoming than to hunt animals that have just clawed their way out of a red zone? So what if they're eating your livestock! It's what they do! And believe you me, they were here long before we were.

"Hey guys, we've just saved an entire species from possible extinction!"
"Great! Now let's kill them all!"

You want to know why we haven't found intelligent life beyond this planet? Because nobody would be caught dead with us.


How-to Guide to Being Sick

It's been a while since I've posted instructions on how to live your life, so today (while I'm dying, quarantined in my house) I thought I might post a list of steps in order to survive being sick.

A comprehensive check-list

1. When you wake up, it feels like you're two seconds away from total Armageddon.

This is completely normal, and no, the four horsemen that you see before you AREN'T the guys you keep hearing Pat Robertson blather about. You actually shouldn't see any horsemen. If you do, you're probably not sick but rather having a bad acid trip.

Hallucinations aside, if you feel like total and complete shit, then chances are you've become a carrier. Or is that too zombie-virus-ish?

2. Check your symptoms.

There are certain symptoms pertaining to certain illnesses. Let's break it down so you won't have to run to WebMD for a half-assed diagnosis. You can do it all on your own!

- The Flu: chills, sore throat, fever, headache, weakness, exhaustion, aches

- Pneumonia: phlegmy cough (yellow or green), high fever, chills, shortness of breath, vomiting, blueness of the skin

- The Common Cold: sore throat, runny nose, nasal congestion, sneezing and coughing, malaise

** Do not be alarmed. Just because you have the symptoms of pneumonia doesn't mean you have it. You could be showing initial signs of ebola!

3. You're not going to show any signs of intelligence until you start feeling better, so call out of work or school.

You're going to be useless most of the day. Get into some sweats or something as equally comfortable. Put down the Blackberry and the bookbag.

4. Break out the Disney movies.***

I once had a teacher who seriously believed that Disney was gearing up to take over the world. Whether that's true or not, Disney movies always make people happy (crowd control?). And that's something you need when you're sick.

I, myself, go from The Little Mermaid all the way down to the present, usually ending with The Emperor's New Groove. Pocahontas is always good around mid-day.


This is always a tough one for me, since I drink about 6 or 7 thousand glasses of milk a day. However milk isn't the drink to have when you're sick (especially if you've got a case of the runs). Drink water or juice. No alcohol. Don't want to add a hangover to the equation!

6. Eat little, but often.

Unless you're throwing up. Then just put the fork down and go lie down.

7. Sleep. Shower. Solitude.

Try and get a nap in. And a shower. You'll feel better for it. And quarantine yourself somewhere, because nobody wants your sick ass anywhere near them. People saw 28 Days Later. They know what happens.

And there you have it! Now, these steps don't have to be followed in any particular order, but do try and get at least 6 Disney movies in. By tomorrow, you'll probably still feel like shit, but you'll be in a haze of Disney euphoria so you won't care.

*** Breaking out into song is not a symptom.


There just might be a God.

Because Nathan Fillion is starring in Joss Whedon's internet musical, "Doctor Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog", with... are you ready for this?...

Neil Patrick motherfucking Harris.

It's like all my X-mases came at once.


Tragedies as Cash Cows? Or Simply Paying Homage?

Last night, I was watching United 93 and sobbing like a little kid with a skinned knee when I thought back to the day in 8th grade that I was forced to watch The Perfect Storm. And despite me falling asleep during the first 20 minutes, it was after the fact that I decided the movie was a failure as an adaptation of a tragedy.

So, fast forward several years to last night, where I'm still crying as the passengers rush the terrorists to try and take control of the cockpit. This movie is a hard one for me to define. As a movie, it's fantastic. The characters are real people, just innocent bystanders waiting to get home to their families. I really enjoyed that there weren't any big names in the film. I think it made it a little more genuine to not have Brad Pitt or friggin' Lindsay "please oh please go the hell away because no one wants to see you act or sing or breathe" Lohan taking up the screen. And after the terrorists make themselves known, it's just a jumble of fear, confusion, and helplessness. It's well done, as far as a film goes.

But what about the subject matter? The fact is, I'm still reeling from 9/11. I watched the second plane hit, and the first building go down. I sometimes have dreams where I'm on United 93, talking on the phone to my mother and telling her that I love her and not to worry, because we have a plan.

9/11 was a fucked-up day for all of us. It was the day that America was emasculated, the day that my parents didn't have answers for me, the day I was dismissed from school because we feared Boston was next. Every time I heard an airplane -- which, living next to an airport, was like every 10 minutes -- my heart would skip a beat. Even today, when I see a low-flying plane, I sometimes think this is it.

I remember when they were making United 93. In fact, they made two adaptations: Flight 93, which was made for TV, and United 93. The country was divided on making them: one side believed it was too soon, that these people had finally been put to rest and suddenly their final hours were going to be paraded on screens across America for profit. The other side felt these heroes' story needed to be told.

I, too, was divided. How could you make a movie about an event where no one survived and no one really knew what took place? We have snippets of phone conversations and last goodbyes to loved ones, the famous "Let's roll", and whatever was gleaned from the black box. But no one knows how it went down. Just that the normal, innocent passengers stood up together in an attempt to stop the hijack. That's it. And as far as remaining true to the event, that's hardly enough to go on.

It's the same with The Perfect Storm, as disappointing as the movie was. No one knew what happened.

So, what is it? It is paying homage to a tragedy, or is it exploitation? A little of both?




Funny how the name of the boot is synonymous with a sound that conveys disgust.

You see them on the streets, in store windows, on the feet of girls ages 12-23. UGG boots are the new fashion phenomenon sweeping the nation. They are the ubiquitous suede boot lined on the inside with sheep's wool or whateverthefuck it is, coming in an assortment of colors and heights. They can't be worn in the rain or snow, but they can be yours for a bargain at $130!

I think "UGG" means "the end of fashion as we know it".

Those stupid boots drive me crazy. Not because they're warm, not because they're shapeless and tacky as all hell, and not because of the price, but because EVERYONE'S wearing them. When I say everyone, I mean it. My mother has been searching high and low for a pair of UGGs, but no store carries them because they've been on backorder since October. It's now March. Still backordered.

Did I miss something? Did the boat leave and was I just not on it? Did I not get the memo?

What makes these boots so special?

Answer: NOTHING.

UGG boots are stealing the individuality of girls all across the country. They're taking away the freedom to express one's own style. You know how I know this? Because every girl I see now looks the same: they all sport a simple top and sweatpants or jeans, which are tucked into a pair of UGGs. All of them. ALL OF THEM!

These days, having UGGs makes you automatically cool, and that just doesn't fly with me. They've become this status symbol in our society. But not only that, people who don't like UGGs are starting to stereotype the girls who are wearing them, and THAT doesn't fly with me either. These boots are nothing but trouble.

Girls, you aren't Eskimos! And you're not Aborigines! And why the hell are these boots from Australia, anyway? It's a million and one degrees down there! Who wears wool-lined boots in that kind of heat?

Take back your individuality. It won't make you any less cool to wear a pair of sneakers, or flats, or a shirt that says "I Slept With Spongebob" (I own that shirt). Be free to make your own statement.

That goes for you Croc-wearing SOBs. I don't care how comfortable they are, you look like dumb asses.


Hells bells, they even shot the dog! (the No Country for Old Men review)

After seeing Charlie Bartlett, I had a small freak-out, thinking that No Country for Old Men would leave the theater within 24 hours, so I went Sunday afternoon to see it. And boy howdy, I'm glad I did.

No Country for Old Men is the movie that everyone wished they'd thought of. Or the story everyone wished they'd written. And then everyone wishes they were the Coen brothers, but they're not, so too bad. Life sucks. This movie doesn't. It was the perfect blend of simplicity, action, gratuitous violence, and psychology, and it was completely deserving of Best Picture. I'm a bit miffed that it didn't get Best Cinematography (it went to There Will Be Blood), but I suppose that Best Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, and Supporting Actor will have to suffice.

Man, where do I begin? The opening lines, a voice-over spoken by Sheriff Ed Tom (the always awesomely deadpan Tommy Lee Jones), capture the viewer's attention right away, nostalgia and exhaustion dripping from every word. Cut to an arrest, which turns sour as Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem) brutally murders the arresting officer, takes his little oxygen tank, and goes on his merry way. We are then introduced to Llewelyn Moss, a man in the wrong place at the right time who finds the aftermath of a drug deal gone wrong, as well as a case with $2 million inside. He takes the money, which brings Chigurh onto his trail, along with a whole lot of mayhem and ridiculously fascinating deaths and mind games. All for money.

The movie was an absolute dream. I mean that seriously; that shit was surreal. The shots of the landscape, especially when there was a storm on the horizon, were just incredible, giving me a look at a part of the country I barely knew existed. Once again, they lost Best Cinematography. That really frosts my cookies.

The performances were fantastic. Tommy Lee Jones never disappoints, and was so world-weary that you couldn't help but feel the weight of life that he carried. Josh Brolin was an unsuspectingly great anti-hero. I really empathized with him and was very sad when he met an unsuspecting fate. He was smart, he was witty, and he was relatable. Woody Harrelson, not sure what the hell you were doing in the movie, but you were funny ("As compared to what? The bubonic plague?") and annoying and I'm sorry your ass got shot.

Okay. Finally, we get to the talk of the town. Javier Bardem not only deserved Best Supporting Actor, but he also should've been given the Scariest Motherfucker EVER award, because what. the. hell. No, it wasn't just the haircut that terrified me (the hair should've been given Best Supporting), but it was his eyes, totally devoid of any emotion or regard for life, or the stiff way he walked, like a machine. It was his mindfucks (I sat through the scene in the convenience store with the entire cast of ER on standby, because I swear I was gonna have a massive coronary), his silk-over-gravel voice, and it was his damn coins. CHRIST. What a performance. Javier, eres fantastico! Te admiro mucho! Espero que te veré en más peliculas muy pronto!

Shut up. I know Spanish. (If any of that's incorrect, I don't want to hear about it.)

Regardless of the movie not winning Best Cinematography or whether or not my Spanish is half-decent, No Country for Old Men is truly cinema at its best.

Although, what can you expect? It's the Coen brothers.

I give No Country for Old Men 5 out of 5.

ima mess you up.

** I'd like to make a correction from my earlier post regarding the weapon used by Javier Bardem's character. It wasn't a tire iron, it was an oxygen tank. Who fucking knew?


"Never attack a drunk guy with a gun." (The Charlie Bartlett Review)

I went to see Charlie Bartlett only for the sake of seeing Robert Downey Jr. I was pleasantly surprised by the rest of the cast, as well as the way the story unfolded.

Charlie Bartlett is about a wealthy, smart and mature boy of the same name (played by Anton Yelchin) who has been kicked out of every private school he's attended -- the latest offense making fake (but very authentic-looking) driver's licenses. His mother (Hope Davis -- who owns), a careless woman who sings showtunes while taking klonopin with wine, sees him as an adult instead of the teenager he is. It is decided that Charlie will attend public school, and after a very rough start, he is accepted by his peers when he sets up a psychiatrist's office in the boy's bathroom, complete with prescriptions for their ailments. However Principal Nathan Gardener (Robert Downey Jr, never a disappointment in any movie he's ever been in) finds himself at odds with Charlie, especially when the boy starts dating his daughter (Kat Dennings).

This movie, no matter what some critics have to say, was thoroughly enjoyable. It wasn't another movie about an arrogant teenager, or a film a la Ferris Bueller, but a real look at the problems high school kids have, ranging from promiscuity to homosexuality to suicide. And Charlie Bartlett bears the burden of his desired popularity with great aplomb, even when in the face of expulsion and other not-fun things.

Anton Yelchin really shone in this movie, to the point where I felt like a pedophile for being so impressed. Plus, he's a real cutie. I really enjoyed his performance as the charismatic Charlie, and never for a second did it fall flat, or was I not fully on board with it. He was that cute everyman that we all went to school with, who never belonged to one group and was friends with the entire school because he did some amazing thing that keeps everyone in awe. Yelchin kept me raptured and even made me wish that someone like Charlie had gone to my own high school; we would have been a lot happier if he had.

Robert Downey Jr. stole every scene he was in. He was funny, he was tragic, he was a total dad. Downey Jr. is one of my favorite actors. There's just something about him that you can totally relate to, no matter the role, whether he's a thief stealing shit (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang) or a reluctant superhero (the upcoming Iron Man). As the alcoholic Principal Gardener, you felt his pain, how his life was destroyed when he was given the position of principal and left his position as a history teacher. He doesn't understand his daughter, and doesn't see that his drinking and "hobby" (driving a remote-controlled boat around his pool) is hurting her. The climax scene between him and Charlie is just... I sat there in shock and awe, thanking Elsie Downey for bringing him into the world. There isn't a more talented and versatile actor out there (except for maybe Nathan Fillion and Sean Biggerstaff, but I'm biased).

The rest of the cast, the student body, were great, especially Tyler Hilton as Murphy Bivens, the bully-turned-business partner. I really enjoyed his character and couldn't see him played by anyone else. I hope to see more of Hilton (no relation to THE Hiltons, thank god) in upcoming films. He's on the CW's One Tree Hill as Chris Keller.

The movie flowed well and moved quickly. I was surprised when it ended. The ending, come to think of it, was probably the weakest part of the movie. However if that's all it's got against it, it's doing pretty well.

I give Charlie Bartlett a 4 out of 5.


Mass Movie Biz?

Well, I must say, my state's better than yours. We were the first to kick tea off a boat. We started a revolution. We had the first shopping mall in the country. We were the first to legalize gay marriage.

And now? We're getting a movie studio, yo.

A formal naval base will be converted into the biggest movie helm in New England, called This Studio Complex. They're planning for 14 sound stages, making it the biggest in MA. It'll take $300 million to build, but I'm sure the movie industry won't care when state tax credits reduce the studio costs by 25%.

I personally think it's a great idea! It'll create tons of new jobs, which will stimulate the economy, and I have plenty of ridiculously talented friends who will hopefully take advantage of this opportunity and maybe use it to sling-shot themselves to stardom. Maybe I'll even submit screenplays. Or hell, act! It'd be fun to act again.

Of course, they're shooting to start building in 2009, but I can't imagine it taking that long. Good things are looming on the horizon!

Contact your representative and tell them you give it a big, hearty HELLZ YEAH!



I can has good moviez?

Apparently not.
Apparently not.
Apparently not.
Apparently -- are you getting sick of seeing that?

Yeah. That's how I felt in Vantage Point, which I had the misfortune of seeing this past weekend.

Christ, what a bad movie. I haven't seen a movie this bad since... hm, let me think back... Well, Meet the Spartans was a big black hole of SUCK, but I'd have to say since I was forced to sit through The Neverending Story 3: Escape from Fantasia.

Yes, I hated Vantage Point that much.

The acting was terrible, the story was supposed to be a "puzzle" but was more like a rat that couldn't find the end of a maze and DIED, the car chase was so crazy that it was stupid, the dialog was ridiculous ("I've got you, Mr. President"), there was no resolution to the "plan", and the audience groaned at every different vantage point, of which there were 8. The movie was pretty much swallowed by a plot hole.

I contemplated walking out of the theater several times, but then remembered I'd paid $12.75 to sit in the Director's Hall to see the damn thing.

If you think this review is a bit crap, then it totally fits the movie.

I give Vantage Point 1 out of 5.

if you have the opportunity to see this, don't.


After the Oscar Wars 2008

Well, it looks like Sid Ganis will live to see another day. Daniel Day-Lewis got Best Actor.

And who totally called everything except Best Actress?! Um, this one right here. I'm very happy for the winners, especially Diablo Cody for taking home Best Original Screenplay. You go, girl!

Okay. Time to break down the night:


1. Jon Stewart as host: I thought he totally owned it this time around. His first time hosting in 2006 was kind of lackluster, but I'm gonna chock that one up to nerves. He was relaxed and very funny; I especially loved the bit about Cate Blanchett playing the pit bull.

2. Katherine Heigl's gown: I know there were other beautiful gowns on the red carpet, but DAMN. She looked amazing. I want that dress, you have no idea.

3. The Montages: They were very beautiful, especially the In Memoriam one and the 80 Years of Oscars one. Beautifully done.


5. Amy Adams singing "Happy Working Song": That woman is cute as a button! She was too adorable. I really hope we see more from her.

6. Tilda Swinton's win: Totally wasn't expecting that, but I'm glad she won. Her performance in Michael Clayton was great. And her acceptance speech? WIN. Especially the part about George Clooney wearing the Batman nipple suit under all his clothes and hanging-upside down at lunch.


1. Jon Stewart as host: As much as I liked his turn as host, I was spoiled by Ellen DeGeneres last year. She truly was an amazing and hilarious host. Nothing will ever top her having Stephen Spielberg take a picture of her and Clint Eastwood for her Myspace, or vacuuming under everyone's feet.

2. Gary Busey: What the shit was that about?

3. The In Memoriam montage: Um, why wasn't Brad Renfro in there? That was kinda rude. You don't snub dead guys, seriously. Bitch is gonna haunt the Academy members now.

4. Ryan Seacrest: Can't someone shut this guy the fuck up? Seriously. I'm so sick of seeing his smug mug.

5. It was only 4 hours. I'm used to it being 8 and 1/2! You bunch of wimps!

All in all, a very good night. Congrats to all the nominees and the winners.


The Oscar Wars: 2008 Edition

Well, it's that time again! Time for our brave men and women to suit up in Versace, Christian Lacroix, and whatever the hell else they'll be wearing in order to battle it out for the golden statuette!

That's right. It's time for the Academy Awards. Let the bloodshed commence.

I've compiled a list of the nominees, who should win, who will probably win, and why:

1. Michael Clayton
2. Juno
3. No Country for Old Men
4. There Will Be Blood
5. Atonement

None of these films are slouchers. You have the smart legal drama, the sweet indie comedy, the fast-paced and well-written blood bath, and two period pieces. It would be a tough decision, yeah? Not so!

It's going to come down to There Will Be Blood and No Country for Old Men. It's the year of the long titles. Both films are top-notch.

Will Win
No Country for Old Men

Should Win
No Country for Old Men

As much as I loved There Will Be Blood, it ain't happening. Most people found the movie to be a bit dry for their tastes. Well, fuck them. No Country for Old Men, which I've yet to see, has two good reasons it should take the Oscar: Ethan and Joel Coen. Remember Fargo? Yeah. This movie is just as gritty, but perhaps a bit more fast paced and deeper. And Javier Bardem plays a monumentally fucked up dude with a penchant for tire irons. What could be better?

1. George Clooney (for Michael Clayton)
2. Johnny Depp (for Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street)
3. Daniel Day-Lewis (for There Will Be Blood)
4. Viggo Mortensen (for Eastern Promises)
5. Tommy Lee Jones (for In the Valley of Elah)

Will Win
Daniel Day-Lewis

There is no "should win" category. Want to know why? See my post on There Will Be Blood. Daniel Day-Lewis's performance was second to none. Although I'd like to see Johnny Depp score an Oscar, because he's weird and scary. But he does it well.

1. Cate Blanchett (for Elizabeth: The Golden Age)
2. Ellen Page (for Juno)
3. Julie Christie (for Away From Her)
4. Marion Cotillard (for La Mome)
5. Laura Linney (for The Savages)

Will Win
Julie Christie

Should Win

This category was a toughie for me, as I only saw one of the films. I don't think Ellen Page deserves an Oscar for her portrayal of Juno in the film of the same name, as good as her performance was. I didn't see Away From Her for personal reasons, as I didn't think I could handle a movie about Alzheimer's after having a family member suffer and die from it. And I never got around to seeing the other three, mostly because two of the movies didn't come to my theater. I hate my theater.

But I hear that Julie Christie was haunting and bittersweet as a woman suffering from one of the worst diseases EVER, who ends up falling in love with a man in her nursing home... while her husband of X amount of years watches helplessly.

I'm getting teary just thinking about it.

1. Tom Wilkinson (for Michael Clayton)
2. Philip Seymour Hoffman (for Charlie Wilson's War)
3. Javier Bardem (for No Country for Old Men)
4. Casey Affleck (for The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford)
5. Hal Holbrook (for Into the Wild)

Will Win
Javier Bardem

Should Win
Tom Wilkinson

Remember, I haven't seen No Country for Old Men, so I can't judge Sr. Bardem's performance. However, Tom Wilkinson owns in every movie he's ever been in, and Michael Clayton was no different. His portrayal of harried, crazy, paranoid Arthur Edens stood out from the first opening lines to the end of his role in the film. Wilkinson knows what he's doing; the man deserves a reward for that.

1. Cate Blanchett (for I'm Not There)
2. Saoirse Ronan (for Atonement)
3. Amy Ryan (for Gone Baby Gone)
4. Tilda Swinton (for Michael Clayton)
5. Ruby Dee (for American Gangster)

Will Will

Should Win
Amy Ryan

I don't know why the hell Saoirse "No One Can Pronounce My First Name" Ronan even made the list. Granted, as a child actress she stood out in Atonement, but she totally wasn't deserving of an Oscar. Cate Blanchett's take on Bob Dylan is supposed to be a performance of our times, but it was Amy Ryan's portrayal of a hard-drinking, drug-addict mother from South Boston in Gone Baby Gone that totally deserves the award. She was gripping, she was authentic, she had a MOUTH on her, and she made me 127% invested in her character and her character's plight.

The others, I'm sure you can guess. The Coen Brothers are totally taking home Best Director and Disney's Ratatouille is taking home Best Animated Film.

Although, this year I'm losing my faith in the Academy, if only because Norbit was nominated for anything.



Things are awfully quiet over at SeanBiggerstaff.com. Watch out, Sean, because I'll come over with a slew of movies and the fixings for nachos, and we'll play guitar and sing and try on hats and free all the animals in the zoo! We'll make a party out of it.

I hope all's well!


Is it over?

The Writer's Strike may be coming to an end as early as this week! Cross your fingers, guys. Hopefully they'll get the deal they deserve!



An Open Letter

Dear In Bruges,

Please, please, PLEASE come to my theater. I need to see Brendon Gleeson be amazing. Right now.

Hugs and kisses,


A Bastard in a Basket (the "there will be blood" review)

If Daniel Day-Lewis doesn't get an Oscar for his performance as Daniel Plainview, I'm going to the Academy with a pick-ax.

There Will Be Blood has restored my faith in Hollywood. For a while, at least. It was long, yes, but I never once wondered what time it was or even got up to go to the bathroom (even when my back teeth were practically floating). It moved right along, the plot was interesting, I became emotionally invested in the characters, and the score is now the rightful owner of my soul. As my good friend and fellow film-lover Justin said, "It was a great reminder of how much we take advantage of special effects and crappy acting, and then this movie comes out and it's like, 'oh yeah! That's what a movie is supposed to be!"

Let's start with Daniel as Daniel, shall we? I haven't seen a performance quite like that since Dick Cheney mistook a buddy for a quail. Damn, he was convincing. Daniel, not Cheney. I know that Daniel is very big on method acting and preparation to the point of exhaustion, but jeez, he must have smoked 200 packs an hour and developed cirrhosis and bathed in bacon fat for this role. He was charismatic, he was smooth, he was smart, he loved his son very much and very hard, and he was monumentally fucked-up. And he did it so well. Every moment he was on screen, it was as if Daniel Plainview (who didn't have a plain bone in his body) was a living and breathing man, standing right next to me, sweating whiskey and willing to do anything -- including joining some crazy evangelist church. The end scene alone should have every actor EVER on their knees with their mouths open.

Paul Dano -- the mute kid from Little Miss Sunshine -- has really come into his own. I was thoroughly impressed by his portrayal of craaaaaazy priest Eli. What with the pentecostal 'exorcisms' and the very quiet way he had of manipulating people. The scene with him covered in mud at the dinner table had my heart pounding. His delivery was perfect, just perfect.

The cinematography was fantastic. Every shot held something symbolically for me, especially the shots when dealing with fire and shadow. Every shot was epic. It was like Paul Thomas Anderson was bringing back the glory days of old Hollywood with his establishing shots and points of view.

The dichotomy of power and humanity was fascinating. Daniel's absolute loathing for mankind was an amazing thing to witness, especially when cast against his love for H.W., his foster son. His hatred was palpable, climaxing not once, but twice in this film, both times horrible and yet totally necessary. The religion aspect of it was twisted and delicious and really makes you wonder just what there is to believe in.

I really can't wait for the Academy Awards, to see how this will fare against No Country for Old Men. Daniel'd better win, that's all I can say. Because I'll be watching, Sid Ganis. I'll be watching.

I have a distinct urge to learn the violin now.

I give There Will Be Blood 5 out of 5.

Rumors of my death...

... weren't that far off the mark. I totally forgot I had this. My bad, guys. I hate to let my readers (see: 3) down!

Well, I did end up going to see Meet the Spartans due to a lapse in judgment. It was horrible. I think I laughed twice, both times reluctantly. The crowd (mostly in the 15-18 age range) found it hilarious. I sat there and lamented on the mess that Hollywood has become while checking my phone for the nth time.

But the big movie of the last few weeks for me was Atonement. I was so impressed with this film, mostly with the cinematography and the music. Keira Knightley was beautiful and did a good job, but it was James McAvoy who really stole the show. He was phenomenal, especially when he was dying of Sepsis. And that little Saoirse Ronan or whateverthehell her name is was pretty decent, too. I foresee a big career ahead of her.

But the cinematography... Oooh, I could wax poetic about that for hours. The shots were just gorgeous and the fluid way the scenes melded was amazing. The music, too, the way the typewriter keys became the harsh pounding of drums or footsteps. I LOVE IT.

Fuck this shit, I'm moving to England.

Coming soon is Vantage Point, In Bruges, and The Other Boleyn Girl.

But this weekend, I will be going to see There Will Be Blood, because D-Day is the man and I have heard nothing but rave reviews for it. I can't wait!

Also, go out and vote! I voted yesterday; I felt so important for, like, two seconds.


Um. Quoi?

Australian actor Heath Ledger was found dead today (01.22.08) in his New York apartment.


More to be posted as updates come in.



Cate Blanchett won a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for I'm Not There.

I KNEW IT WOULD HAPPEN! I'm so happy for her.

Click here to see a list of the nominees and the winners!

"We're Back".

Tonight was the first of the two-part premiere of Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles, and I must say, I'm quite intrigued.

The series completely erases the canon established by the 3rd Terminator movie, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, so forget it ever happened.

In the year 1999, Sarah Conner (the beautiful and talented Lena Headey) and her son, John (played by Thomas Dekker... you'll remember him as Claire's ambiguously gay best friend on Heroes) are constantly on the run. John is now 15 and full of pubescent angst, struggling to come to grips with the life he lives and the life he will someday live as the leader of the human rebellion against the Terminators, cyborgs created by the computer conglomerate, Skynet. Remember all this, kiddies?

A new Terminator is hunting the Conners down, and let me tell you, bitch is crazy. He's not quite the T-1, which -- if you'll remember -- was made out of liquid metal and was so bad ass that I get chills every time I hear someone say, "say... That's a nice bike." Of course, this new Terminator throws a wrench into the whole 'We need to stay quiet and keep running' thing that Sarah has going.

Another Terminator, a good one sent from the future to protect the young John Conner, comes to help in the form of Cameron, played by the ethereal Summer Glau, who made headlines as the psycho genius from the short-lived but amazing show Firefly and its big-screen success, Serenity. Note also that Nathan Fillion were in both. ::drools::

In the first part of the two, Cameron saves them from the crazy Terminator by transporting them into the future: September of 2007. In order to stop Skynet.

O.M.G. This show is like a light at the end of a really long tunnel that was built upon striking writers (whom I'm 110% in support of). With the inkwell of television shows bone dry, Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles is just what we need. In fact, even if the writers weren't on strike, this show would stand out and up with the select few that were fan favorites and just generally good, quality entertainment (ie: Dirty Sexy Money, Heroes, etc.).

Pilots can sometimes be awkward, trying to establish all the characters and their lives, but since the characters are already known and loved it's easy to just jump right in where T2 left off. Lena Headey is a revelation as Sarah, a desperate mother with the world literally riding on her keeping John safe. Summer Glau has grown since playing River Tam, filling the part with the poise and confidence she's known for. Thomas Dekker hasn't had enough time to really delve into John, but I liked him a lot on Heroes so I have no doubt that he'll do just fine. The crazy Terminator I really hope to see more of. He's frightening and creepy and has a great twitch that reminds the viewer that he's a robot, not a human.

Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles totally has my viewership! I can't wait for tomorrow to see the second part.

The show will air regularly every Monday night, 9pm, on FOX.


I didn't die!

... Contrary to popular belief. I'm a bit busy, writing a screenplay and all (not to mention school starting up again in a day), but I've been slacking and I wanted to do a Quick, QUICK update on the movies I've seen, think you should see, and what's out and available to rent.

In Theaters

1. Juno - Totally worth your $10. Actually, it's worth $30 so you can see it twice more. While the dialog is very unrealistic (it's like what you wish you'd have said an hour later), it doesn't take away from the movie, and what a decent and charming movie it is. Ellen Page rules. (A)

2. Sweeney Todd - One day, there will be something that Johnny Depp can't do, and it will be a sad day, indeed. Until then, you can see him singing it up in this DARK musical. You know that when he and Tim Burton team up, it's going to be gold. Helena Bonham Carter steals the show, and ALAN RICKMAN SINGS. AND HAS STUBBLE. ::dies:: (A)

3. National Treasure: Book of Secrets - I was too distracted by Nicolas Cage's hairline to really pay attention, but it was worse than the first one. Do they follow a formula? Possible treasure + Awkward family secret + Bad guys + Hairline = National Treasure? And Helen Mirren, what are you doing in such drivel? You're a queen, dammit, start picking your roles like one! (C-)

To Rent

1. Waitress - Keri Russell charms (except at the end... bitch is crazy) and Nathan Fillion talks and smiles and eats and exudes sexuality and breathes for all of us to bear witness in Adrienne Shelly's movie. I thoroughly enjoyed myself, and I had a terrible craving for pie at the end. Adrienne, you were an inspiration to me, especially being a writer-actress-director. You will be sorely missed. (A-)

2. Children of Men - This always makes it onto my 'Must Rent' list, because it's so damn good. Alfonso Cuaron and Clive Owen: it's like the Dream Team of cinema. Dealing with a touchy subject like the only pregnant woman in the entire world? It's I Am Legend, only... you know, good. (A)

3. Live Free or Die Hard - Action, computers, wise-cracks, Bruce Willis one-liners? WHOO! Looks like another Die Hard movie! And guess what? It's better than the second one, so you know it's good! Plus, the Mac Guy's in it and so is the dude from Deadwood. And damn, he's mean. I love it. (B+)

4. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - Harry and his emo are back in the newest addition to the series. Unfortunately, something happened to his hair, so we're left with the fur that some sloth molted. Oh well, can't win them all. Except Imelda Staunton. She totally wins them all. Best villain EVER. (B+)

Coming Soon!

1. El Orfanato - The Spaniards always get horror right. Americans just suck at it. This shit looks scary.

2. Cloverfield - I really need to know what's destroying New York. These teaser trailers are killing me. And no, it's not a lion.

3. Teeth - Vajayjay with teeth. ZOMG.

4. 27 Dresses - I'll admit, I'm a sucker for a decent chick flick. I enjoy Katherine Heigl when she's not whining her way through another episode of Grey's. I loved her in Knocked Up and it looks like she wins again in this upcoming movie about a woman who's been a bridesmaid 27 times.

5. Meet the Spartans - I love a good spoof. Hopefully this lives up to expectations. But anyone who kicks Britney Spears down a bottomless pit is A-OK with me.


7. Wall-E. See previous post. ::squeals::