Wednesday, March 26, 2008


I am so glad this older Australian Western came along and got the awful taste of "3:10 to Yuma" out of my mouth - "Yuma" was connect the dots lame and full of pompousity (as in to be pompous - I know it is going to catch on one day). "The Proposition" rolls in and truly combines the artful style of John Ford with the realistic brilliance of Robert Altman to create a really well done addition to the Western genre.

Guy Pearce shows up scraggily and very skinny, rolling as the more sane brother of three who are being hunted for the rape and murder of a farm family. Pearce is captured and his younger brother is taken away, being held on the condition that Pearce murder his older brother.

That is the plot, but the plot just gets in the way of some amazing performances!

Ray Winstone owns every frame of this film as Captain Stanley, the man who is put in place to bring justice to the lands of Australia. Winstone (along with Emily Watson, playing his wife) chews up every bit of the struggle Stanley endures with trying to bring peace to a violent world. I was particularly moved by the sequence when the youngest brother was flogged (whipped) and Winstone winced as even his wife moved against his word!

The ending moments with this character are fascinating and appropriate!

Danny Huston plays the oldes and nutty brother, Arthur. He tears through people with a hunger for carnage... yet shares many quiet moments trying to understand the world... sitting... listening... trying to figure out where he stands within it.

Sadly, the praise is not complete. The Burns Brothers story really goes nowhere - nor does the proposition. We get loads of good time with Cap. Stanley, but all is lost as the rest of the film Guy Pearce is trying to recuperate from wounds. Even his dialogue scenes with Arthur come up a little empty.

John Hillcoat does a very good job directing - in fact, his scenery got me excited at the concept of THE DARK TOWER being made one day with Pearce at the lead!! But my dork sensibilities need to acknowledge the unlikelihood of that. The failure is in the scripts 3rd act - Nick Cave should have found something for Pearce to do.

NICK CAVE!!! I forgot, his music was simply brilliant! I loved his work on "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" and here, again, the composer comes up with a score for the ages. Fantastic stuff!!

"The Proposition" : B+


Friday, March 21, 2008

TV REVIEW : LOST 4.08 "Meet Kevin Johnson"

Ah, Michael - Michael - Michael... life is so rough for a murderer. You cut your hair... you drop your kid off at your mother's... you try killing yourself over and over... nothing cuts it. Then the bummer of all bummers...


Yes, Thursday's LOST ep was all about murderous Michael and his major issues. But the awesome kick for me was seeing Cynthia Watros back in action. Granted, she showed up for a mere 2 seconds on screen... but, I take what I can get.

Oh my... Libby.

Anyway, Michael is on the boat in the form of Kevin Johnson - and things are a little nutty.

To begin with - Tom is gay. Wow, who knew?

The entire Manhattan sequence was rocking - Michael's attempt to kill himself by driving his car into a wall was fun... and I was a little shocked to see him survive - but that was cleaned up with "the island won't let you die - it ain't done with you" line that Tom delivered.

Walt arrived in the form of angry kid at dad for killing two women. It is really too bad we did not get to see him get a little angry at his pop, instead we got the angry window sill look.

That works too.

The most exciting moment of the episode can from Ben of course - he sent his daughter, her mother, and her boyfriend off to safety towards the Temple. Yet, sadly, Danielle and Karl bit the big one is an awfully cool way. Gunned down by silent snipers!!!

Too bad they did not pick off annoying Alex as well.

Actually, I have been complaining quite a bit here for what was a great episode - I just wanted more Libby!!!

LOST 4.08 "Meet Kevin Johnson" : B+


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Irish for a day

Yesterday was fun - and filled with Guinness.

I am not Irish, but rather, Scottish - and full of Scottish-like qualities. For instance, I have been known to toss a few logs... and run around in a skirt. Hmm. Anyway, yesterday I faked like I was Irish to spend some time with a few friends and take a day off to continue my descent into full alcoholism.

Above is an image snapped by the local cooler than cool newspaper Des Moines Juice - Matt had to lie about his age or our pic would have been dumped in the "too old to care" pile. Dan, Matt and I were at Sully's (just down the street from my house) doing shots and downing very expensive pints (plastic cups) of Guinness.

Afterwards, I was treated to an incredible English breakfast at the Loy's home (Dublin and Jill were there too) and from there we spent the day drinking at my place and playing Guitar Hero. Brian and Matt came over for most of the day - Matt took a bit to learn... but he finally came around. Then the Loy's stopped in for some Guitar Hero fun - that was cool.

In the end, around 6:30 at night, I was in a lot of pain. My old bones just can't booze it up like I used to.

This just in today - Anthony Minghella, director of "The English Patient" - "The Talented Mr. Ripley" - "Cold Mountain" etc., has passed away at age 54!!

He was very talented (though is Oscar winner "Patient" left me cold) and will be missed. I am interested in hearing the information around his death.


Friday, March 14, 2008

TV REVIEW : LOST 4.07 "Ji Yeon"

I have to admit, I am a sucker for all Jin/Sun based episodes of LOST. I find their back story most compelling, with the over bearing father in law - Jin being forced into a violent job by him, Sun's shocking affair with Jae Lee... hell, I even fell for the Jin's mother as a prostitute episode!

Last night brought another Jin/Sun episode... yet this one is unlike all of the rest. Sun had a flash-forward... and Jin had a flash-back!

The flash-forward finds Sun as the final member of the Oceanic Six (count em - Jack, Hurley, Sayid, Kate, Aaron, and Sun). She is seen early on with full preggers and in some sort of birthing problem. Her story continues as she goes to the hospital and begs for Jin to be called.

The corresponding island story finds Sun talking with Daniel Farraday asking about being rescued. Poor Daniel, who is turning out to be one of the most identifiable characters on the show, is unable to lie to her and admits he can't make the decision to save them. This sends Sun on a mission to head out to Locke's camp... Juliet tries to stop her - Sun resists - and Juliet announces to Jin that Sun had an affair.


Jin is a fantastic character on the show, he has transitioned from angry controlling husband all the way to understanding English learning ass kicker! He struggles with the realization that Sun cheated - but in the end, his acceptance, is one of the more honest moments for the series. Jin absolutely could understand why she would pull away... and admitting that to her is huge.

Of course that means he has to die. This show has a history of killing off characters when they realize their personal journey... and here, we see that Jin's story was a flash-forward fake out... and actually a flash-back. Getting dizzy yet?

Jin is seen rushing to buy a stuffed panda to take to the hospital - for a client of Mr. Paik! Jin's tale actually takes place only 2 months after his marriage to Sun... and it is used to at once trick the audience... but also show what is missing in Sun's world now...

Back on the boat we some weird crap going on. Ragina, Zoe Bell, kills herself after only having one on screen scene! What is the deal? They get these interesting actors (Fisher Stevens!!!!) and kill them off immediately!

Anyway, Michael is seen for a moment. Surprise.

It is strange that the series builds up to the Michael reveal... but I do a lot of LOST podcast listening and reading... so to the normal viewer - this may have been a surprise. Next week we learn all about Kevin Johnson.

The final moments with Sun and Hurley at Jin's tombstone were very well done... in fact, I am not sure if Jin isn't truly dead. I know that seems odd to say, I should be thinking he is dead... but I expect this show to toss things on their ear. Jin might just be dead because of the words Sun speaks to him. She tells him of their daughter and that she named her Ji Yeon, just as he had asked. It was a very - sniff sniff - well done bit.

The show is continuing to rock... way to go Damon and Carlton!!

LOST 4.07 "Ji Yeon" : B+


Monday, March 10, 2008

Weekend of Thrills

Hello precious blogosphere,

I don't have lovely images to show the fun that was this weekend - but I do have some kind words for all involved!

First, it was to be Cara's final birthday hurrah. We were going to dinner with her parents and her sister, Tricia. We went out to Johnny's Italian something... and it was great. Good food - good drinks... ok service... but it was great. As we were leaving, Bob (Cara's father) said he needed to take something upstairs, to the room we are renting for the wedding, for Cara's birthday. I carried his box o' goodies up to the room without thinking anything of it.

And of course... it was a surprise Wedding Shower.


The family!!! The friends!!! The people who traveled far!!! The people who put so much work into making it all look so nice!!! The people who got the games organized!! The cake!! The gifts!!!


It was a blast. Thank you to everyone who was involved in the planning and execution. I was surprised - and that is a true feat!

So - to top that - this weekend had Drake winning the Missouri Valley Conference tournament (and the final game by 30 points!??!) - the stuffing of the wedding invitations... and tons of fun with family and friends.

Twas a good one.


Friday, March 07, 2008


Josh alerted me to this video - it rocks.

Actually, I was kind of hoping they would have made mention of Bruce's lack of hair... but, whatever. The editing is funny - the lyrics are perfect... this is awesome!


TV REVIEW : LOST 4.06 "The Other Woman"

As far as LOST goes, last week was a total mind blowing unbelievable gigantic episode - so it stands to reason that this weeks would take two steps back. Though, that ain't all bad.

"The Other Woman" focuses on Juliet and her early time with the Others - meeting with an Other therapist named Harper - hooking up with Goodwin - some odd moments with Ben making a block of ham for supper... and one major creepy moment with him as well.

Harper (above) turns out to be Goodwin's wife, and she knew about the affair Juliet was having with him. She warned Juliet that Ben might take offense to the affair and do harm to Goodwin - thus Goodwin was sent to the Tallies and off to his death.

Actually, I love that we see that Juliet is not as good as a person as we thought - she continues with the affair, knowing that Harper is wise... that is awful.

I did love Harper's appearance in the woods... methinks she was Jacob in disguise (or rather, Jacob in a form that Juliet would listen to).

The coolest moment of the night was when Ben took Juliet to visit Goodwin's corpse... and he announced "YOU'RE MINE!!" Michael Emerson is brilliant and he has tons of little moments in the episode to play with;

He is smitten with Juliet - he attempts to flirt - he bounces happily - he gets awfully jealous... and ultimately, shows his evil manipulative Ben face. Emerson owned this ep.

The only real nugget we got to further things was the tape reveal that Widmore is in fact trying to find the island and that he is a bad dude (demonstrated by showing him beat the crap out of a tied up guy). I am not completely sure Ben is really giving all the info - actually, I am sure he is not... but I am not sure that means Widmore is not an evil dude.

We will have to see.

In the end, we got some smooching from Juliet and Jack - which did not get any excitement out of me. Jack has become a weaker character, unsure of his choices and lost in his motivation... he was a tool this ep.

But hey - the show is great - no real complaints... just looking forward to seeing Michael next week... Ben's guy on the boat! And we will finally meet Zoe Bell as Regina!

LOST 4.06 "The Other Woman" : B


Thursday, March 06, 2008

HDDVD REVIEW : "Shrek" & "Elizabeth"

Two big wastes of time this week - first off is "Shrek the Third." Wow, what an utter disappointment.

The first two "Shrek" films were very good, filled with fun music, very funny nods to pop culture - fair tales - and old Disney films. Though crude at times, I found the two films to be a blast.

The third is a waste - Justin Timberlake is stuck in the horrid role of Arthur - a character that brings the fun to a grinding halt! This thing should have died at the script phase.

HDDVD REVIEW "Shrek the Third" : D

"Elizabeth - the Golden Age" is as big as of a mess - and just as shocking. The first film was great... all of the creators are back (same director!!!) - yet this pile came out.

Clive Owen is a major reason here - his role and performance are astoundingly bad.

HDDVD REVIEW "Elizabeth - the Golden Age" : D


Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Cara's 30th Birthday Bash

This weekend was Cara's big weekend of birthday fun. We did a fake surprise party on Friday night... then the real one on Saturday!

She was shocked both times. Pics have been youtube'd.

I think everyone had a ball getting dressed up and listening to old 80's tunes all night. There were some amazing costumes (Graham and Tricia's) and some letdowns (me!!!)... but after a few extremely cold brews... all went well.

Happy Birthday chica!


Saturday, March 01, 2008

TV REVIEW: LOST 4.05 "The Constant"

Holy crap... HOLY crap... HOLY CRAP!!!! WOW! WOW!! WOW!!!

This show is completely blowing my mind!!!!

Ok, so the helicopter flew through a storm (which was required by Farraday) and Desmond starts time traveling through his own conscious.


We finally get to see the freighter that everyone was speaking about... that crazy guy from "Smoking Aces" is there to creep everyone out... and doors magically open.

Ok - let's start again. This episode towers over... all. This episode takes LOST and floors it into the stratosphere.

My tiny brain is still digesting the ramifications of this episode... the mind time traveling... Desmond making contact with Penny... the amazing Black Rock journal sequence... WOW!!

I will have to watch this one again before I can really start posing some interesting notions.

I am seriously confused... I am seriously enthralled... I am seriously loving LOST!!!

LOST 4.05 "The Constant" : A