Monday, July 31, 2006

will ferrell

The former Saturday Night Live comedian is pretty funny in his new film, Talladega Nights. If that's not enough to entice you, Sacha Baron Cohen is also in it.

Friday, July 28, 2006

the motel

Writer-director Michael Kang's debut feature, about a young boy stuck working in his mom's dingy motel, might sound dull, but it's a quietly moving coming-of-age story. On the other side of the quality spectrum, there's Another Gay Movie.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

little miss sunshine

Steve Carell is quite good in this comedy-drama. Also in Consumables, I discuss A Scanner Darkly, Thom Yorke's The Eraser, and that song about booties that's all over the radio.

Friday, July 21, 2006

the endless misery in the middle east

Remember how those who opposed the Iraq War said we shouldn't overextend our military on the off-chance that, who knows, we might need our troops for a more pressing problem somewhere else? The difficulties with North Korea and Iran have only strengthened those arguments, and, as Rosa Brooks points out in a sharply worded piece in the Los Angeles Times, the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah is simply the latest evidence of the error in the Bush Administration's thinking.

Monday, July 17, 2006

metallica: "enter sandman"

Although my article profiling the making of Metallica's "Enter Sandman" ran in Blender a year ago, the piece is just now becoming available online. Lots of fond memories rush through my head as I re-read this piece; thanks again to Lars Ulrich, who was a terrific interview. Enjoy.

Friday, July 14, 2006

people like johnny depp as a pirate

The Pirates of the Caribbean sequel is making a ton of dough, but isn't so good. Elsewhere in my Consumables column, I tackle Superman Returns, the Dixie Chicks, the Arctic Monkeys and other fun entertainment items.

Monday, July 10, 2006

you, me and dupree

I thought Wedding Crashers was a pretty smart "new dude" comedy, but You, Me and Dupree demonstrates that the genre is far from foolproof.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

baffled by the searchers

In honor of its 50th anniversary, John Ford's The Searchers has been re-released on DVD. Here in Los Angeles, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences screened a new print to commemorate the occasion, which I attended. I'd seen the film several years ago, but hadn't quite understood some critics and filmmakers' adoration for this square and disjointed Western. Despite the gorgeous new print, I remained very much in the dark.

I was, therefore, very relieved to find Stephen Metcalf's recent piece which does a great job dissecting both the flaws of The Searchers and the tangled rationale for its fans' enthusiasm. It can be difficult to trash a consensus masterwork without sounding foolish or petty, but Metcalf smartly sidesteps such pitfalls. His opener says it all…

The Searchers, John Ford's epic 1956 Western, is a film geek's paradise: It is preposterous in its plotting, spasmodic in its pacing, unfunny in its hijinks, bipolar in its politics, alternately sodden and convulsive in its acting, not to mention boring.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

wishing roger ebert well

It's easy to make potshots at Roger Ebert because of his popularity and visibility as a film critic, but there can be no question that for a lot of young filmgoers he was the person who first introduced us to the great movies that got us hooked for life.

Considering his recent health problems, I thought back to this revealing portrait of Ebert's home life from The New York Times. You get a sense of a fully lived life awash in the art and the people who matter most to him. Frankly, it sounds as close to Heaven as someone in our business can hope to achieve.

Friday, July 07, 2006

if only gay sex caused global warming

That's the provocative headline to Daniel Gilbert's great op-ed about people's willingness to ignore a problem that doesn't seem to be affecting them directly and immediately. In other words, global warming might be real but nobody cares, while flag-burning drives everyone into a tizzy despite its rather low danger factor.