Thursday, June 28, 2007

Funny or Die

I love Will Ferrell. Anchorman, Old School, Stranger Than Fiction... he kills me!

He has a site with Adam McKay (director of Anchorman and Talladega Nights) called funny or die and it has some hilarious stuff.

This clip though, is the funniest I have seen... I was howling in the office!!

Good Cop, Baby Cop

Enjoy all!


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Goodish German

Last winter, Warner Bros released Steven Soderberg's THE GOOD GERMAN to an unsuspecting (more appropriately non-existent) audience. George Clooney - Cate Blanchet - Tobey Maguire!!! Huge names... sadly, though, the film evaporated from theaters and I never got a chance to view it. Last night it arrived from Netflix... and nearly pissed me off completely!

The main problem is in the casting - Clooney is not nearly as strong as you would think... he lacks the charisma that everyone says he is supposed to have! Blanchet is actually pitch perfect in her role - but it is Maguire that nearly destroys this picture - and I really put all the blame on Soderberg for allowing him to take the role and also in his failure to handle the opening 30 minutes which Maguire dominates! I almost shut the film off because it offended my filmic senses (which are quite well tuned!) - combining old Hollywood look and feel (lighting - editing - pacing - music) with contemporary language and scenes (f**k everything... sex scenes - nudity!). The style combined with Maguire sent me running for my remote.

Yet, I held on... and I am really glad I did. THE GOOD GERMAN really picks up at the 30 minute mark. The style of the film found it's rhythm and I began to fall in love with it. I truly love the late 30's and 40's Warner Bros./ Michael Curtiz B-pictures that soared with style - cool B&W photography - and Frank Waxman tunes to highlight the story in such grand fashion! CASABLANCA... THE THIRD MAN... MILDRED PIERCE... beautiful films that showed off true stars of Hollywood days long gone... stars that could truly hold the camera's eye with just a look. THE GOOD GERMAN finds a few of those moments.

Most of them happen when Cate Blanchet is on the screen - this woman is phenomenal! Her work in THE AVIATOR opened my eyes to her as a graceful-Hollywood of old-type actress (of course, she was playing Katherine Hepburn - so it was an easy leap). Now with this film, I can definitely see her moving into another realm of "star." She owns every frame she is in... she eats Clooney and Maguire alive!! And even with all of the plot twists and revelations that change the characters - Blanchet holds onto the gold in the film.

By the end of the picture, I really wanted to toss in THE THIRD MAN and cleanse my palette with a truly wonderful film from those long gone wonderful Hollywood days of old. THE GOOD GERMAN wants us to remember those films... wonder at Soderberg's ability to recreate those films... yet it also tends to frustrate the viewer. If the director has such a talent to make this - then why does it feel so empty so often? How could Soderberg really let Maguire to continue in his role (for God's sake his is one of three narrators!!! He is a third of the film!!!)? If Soderberg has enough talent to make something so close to the films we love... why can't he just make one? I am sure he is similar to Gus Van Sant - ya know, the director that re-did PSYCHO shot by shot... except for a few changes. Those changes destroyed any joy that I had for the picture - the changes were the directors statement of "improvement" - a note that he was not copying - just showing that he could do films like that but he is also a step ahead (though both films show that this is a mistake). THE GOOD GERMAN definitely suffers because of Soderberg - but there is a pearl of a film in there. Sift through some muck... and you could have a truly magnificent time.


(p.s. there is some amazing photography happening in the film - some stuff that reminded me of Stanley Cortez's work in THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS!!! - Probably worth viewing just to see some of the images.)

Monday, June 25, 2007

No time for love Dr. Jones!

I was scanning my regular sites last week when I came upon this mighty pic. Taken by the great Steven Spielberg himself, Indy 4 is in full production!!

Here is a pretty cool site that follows all things Indiana - look for a cool interview with Shia LeBouf where he blubbers on about getting the role of a lifetime!

My computer died last week and I am attempting to rebuild it now - not too fun.

Tricia and Graham came up this weekend - we had a ball getting drunk and cooking out steak and crab!!

Hope the world is rocking for you all!


Friday, June 15, 2007

Stupid Foto Friday!

Hello all. It's been ages since I posted anything here at the Damfinoblog, and since it's a summer Friday, I thought I would attempt to bring a little levity to the proceedings. I am going to post a recent ridiculous picture of myself with the invitation to come up with an amusing caption. Or not. Perhaps you'd just like to marvel at my doughy physique and ability to seemingly grow hair everywhere, not just on my chest, possibly lending a bit more creedence to Sheriff's claim that I am indeed a Mansquatch.

Caption Me!

Either way, have a laugh and a fantastic weekend.

Hugs and ****,


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Chase's choice

"...originality partly means letting yourself be influenced by new and different kinds of reality as the way to make art. In 19th century fiction, that meant making non-aristocratic human beings the heroes of fiction. In the great era of modernist narrative, that meant exploring the structure of consciousness as the motive for metaphor. In the case of Hitchcock, and now in the case of David Chase, two masters of popular visual film narrative, the very sociology of tv and film's popularity itself, our attachment to issues like the star system, and our expectation of easy narrative closure, become problematic zones that inspire a confrontation and questioning of form."

- excerpt from Larry Gross, writer for Movie City News Voices

You can read the amazing article here

I think this is an interesting assertion on the form that Chase and Hitchcock (and many others - PT Anderson, Alexander Payne, etc.) have taken on, creating ideas that challenge the basic relationship that the viewer has with the art. Gross mentions Hitchcock because he likens the end of the series to the shower scene from PSYCHO in terms of audience expectations being tossed out the window. I had a jolt of excitement when the show ended with something I NEVER EXPECTED! And that is the point - Chase was able to entertain me by once again challenging my relationship with the show and the art form he had created!

That entire concept is very exciting to me... maybe not so for others. It seems that the public outcry relates to viewers who absolutely needed a structurally classic form of an ending... and I can't imagine one that would properly capture the series.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

"Don't stop believing!"

The Sopranos came to an end Sunday evening. The screen went black... credits rolled... and it all finished.

Perfection. David Chase should be very proud.

If you watched, here is a fantastic article that covers the episode and has a brilliant reading on the end. Look for Kern to write something up on his site. As for me - I am just content in knowing that this series finished at the same quality that I respected it for... this show is pure art and I love it.

The final Sopranos gathering was a ball - Josh conquered in the trivia game winning a snub nose .38 to stuff into his socks - Cara came in 2nd and Jerry took third... Matt sadly did not place (poor Matty J!).

Another series heads to the TV heavens... what a brilliant show!