The House


Mac and Me Day

Mac and Me

I hereby proclaim, for no good reason, May 30th, 2007 as Mac and Me day.

More >>

  • print
  • email

TAGS: mac and me


Spring in a Small Town

Since we know so little in this country about pre-'80s mainland Chinese cinema, you would think the recently released DVD of Spring in a Small Town—ranked by the Hong Kong Film Awards in 2005 as the greatest Chinese movie ever made—would warrant more coverage from film journalists than it has received.

More >>

  • print
  • email

TAGS: fei mu, spring in a small town, Tian Zhuangzhuang


At World's End

Given all that surrounds the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, it is hard to believe these movies could be smart films, let alone films this smart. Not only that, the films are hard to believe, period. One's natural impulse is to resist. And there's a lot to resist. They're bloody pirate movies, for one. For another, it's a bloody fantastical pirate movie franchise inspired by a theme park ride and brought to light by Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer. In the third film, At World's End, there is a lot of exposition in the scenes driven by dialogue-as-interrogation and it barrels at the viewer without pause, leading many to think the film is incomprehensible, and dismissible. At first, I resisted, too.

More >>

  • print
  • email

TAGS: at world's end, bill nighy, dead man's chest, disney, geoffrey rush, gore verbinski, jerry bruckheimer, johnny dep, keira knightley, orlando bloom, pirates of the caribbean


4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days

The 60th edition of the Cannes Film Festival has come to a close. See after the break for the complete list of winners in the Competition Section.

More >>

  • print
  • email

TAGS: 4 months 3 weeks and 2 days, cannes film festival, cristian mungiu, gus van sant, julian schnabel, naomi kawase, paranoid park, the diving bell and the butterfly, the mourning forest


Princess Leia

A contribution to Edward Copeland's Star Wars blogathon.

Take a look at Princess Leia on the posters for Star Wars movies IV through VI. If you didn't know better, you might think that the role had re-cast—and in a way it was. The original poster looks like pulp sci fi/fantasy novel book jacket: a futuristic yet retro illustration of an anonymous, muscular blond hero wielding a gleaming sword (or something) while a leggy heroine, cocks her hip (and a pistol) in the foreground. This galactic bombshell doesn't look much like Carrie Fisher. Only the signature bagel-braids identify this heroine as Princess Leia. Her shredded low-cut frock looks nothing like the mostly practical and un-revealing costumes Leia favors throughout the series—with one glaring exception we see in Return of the Jedi.

More >>

  • print
  • email

TAGS: princess leia, return of the jedi, star wars, star wars: episode v - the empire strikes back


Star Wars Holiday Special

A contribution to Edward Copeland's Star Wars blogathon.

To write a meaningful review of The Star Wars Holiday Special—that is, to go beyond detailing the misery induced by its atrocious mise-en-scene and bizarre musical set pieces—seems about as easy a task as explaining the themes of Eraserhead to a preschooler using only one-syllable words.

Merely imparting the experience of watching it is a daunting task; words tend to fail in expressing an experience that is at once so entertaining and agonizing. If ever a television program defined "so bad, it's good," this is it, as if the initial pain of having one's brain cells killed off is followed the euphoria that accompanies their absence. Were I somehow able to tap into my subconscious and conjure up my soul's undiluted feelings on this matter, the resulting verbal tangent would probably be comprised of gnarly groans and the occasional squawking noise.

Chances are, if you've heard of the special, or if you're even reading this now, you know the general plot, but here are a few points for the uninitiated. With Star Wars taking a long time ago, yada yada, there was no Christmas—instead, we have the Wookie holiday "Life Day." What exactly this celebration commemorates, I could not tell you, but it seems to involve walking in out space without any sort of breathing apparatus, in what appear to be red Ku Klux Klan uniforms. Han Solo is rushing to get Chewie back home on Kashyyyk in time, where his wife Mala (who wears lipstick—creepy), father Itchy (just plain creepy), and son Lumpy (who sounds as if he's swallowed a kazoo) await his return. Distilled to its relevant scenes, this plot would warrant about eleven, maybe twelve minutes of screen time, so it is no surprise that this much-hyped (and, at the time, widely seen) special is bloated to an absurd 90 minutes thanks to numerous guest star appearances, a padded subplot involving Stormtroopers on Kashyyyk, pointless dramatic cul-de-sacs involving famous Star Wars characters, and some of the most nonsensical scenes of intended humor ever known to man. Drug use is highly recommended.

More >>

  • print
  • email

TAGS: bea arthur, george lucas, the star wars holiday special


Lost

Those looking for definitive answers from their television viewing have probably long given up on Lost. No show seems to derive more satisfaction out of turning even the most innocuous of plot points into a Möbius strip of contradictory evidence; the most indisputable of truths into bold-faced lies. If I've learned in my year-plus in service of chronicling the show it's that there's no quicker way to be made to look foolish than to take something on this show at face value or declare anything as fact.

So, having laid that groundwork and hopefully covered my back end, Lost's third season finale, the self-referentially titled "Through the Looking Glass," would seem to have dropped a heck of a bombshell into the laps of viewers just in time for the show's planned nine month hiatus. We find the survivors of Oceanic 815 on the precipice of rescue, having made contact with Naomi's boat through a multi-tiered plan to disable the island's jamming mechanisms. We learn that the rescue itself is steeped in misdirection and ulterior motives with Ben warning that Naomi is not whom she claims to be (something Charlie later confirms in his dying moments). The very fate of every single person on the island hangs in the balance in a way we've never seen before on Lost. Yet the bombshell arrives in a place we've become least conditioned to expect it: in the show's character-building flashbacks set in the real world. That's because this week's flashback isn't a flashback at all.

More >>

  • print
  • email

TAGS: andrew divoff, bruce willis, elizabeth mitchell, evangeline lilly, friday the 13th part iii, jorge garcia, lost, malcolm david kelley, matthew fox, michael emerson, serpico, sonya walger, terry o'quinn, the last boy scout


Katharine Hepburn

A. Scott Berg, longtime friend of Katharine Hepburn, and author of the wonderful and thoughtful biography Kate Remembered, once asked Hepburn, near the end of her life, why she thought she had flourished professionally for so long when most actors and actresses have only a good decade or two. He reports that this was one of the only questions he asked where Hepburn had to pause before replying. She thought a bit and then answered, "Horsepower." It is not just talent that helps one succeed.

An acting teacher of mine once said, "Those who are successful are not the most talented. Those who are successful are the ones who are most fanatical about success." Hepburn's gifts as an actress are extraordinary. It is a sweeping career, with many facets and phases. But what really strikes me, when I try to look at it as a whole, is not her talent, not her artistry—but her "horsepower". She had it from the start. She was always in this thing for the long-haul.

My "5 for the Day" focuses on that aspect of Hepburn. Rather than specific films or performances, I have chosen five anecdotes that show, to my taste, what it was that was so special, so positively great about this American icon.

More >>

  • print
  • email

TAGS: 5 for the day, a. scott berg, bringing up baby, kate remembered, katharine hepburn, the african queen


Fashionably Late

In the immortal words of topless-model-turned-'80s-pop-star Sam Fox (who, according to a source not so close to the singer, is a total lesbian), it's hard to keep a good woman down, but, then again, maybe that could be fun! In other words, it's me again, Alexa Camp, and I'm back from my extended vacation. Yes, I'm fashionably late, and I'm not just talking about my period. No, I wasn't preggers (at least not that often, and not for long) and I wasn't in South America getting cheap massive reconstructive surgery. It's just that with Slant getting a hot makeover (the purple was my idea, thankyouverymuch) there hasn't been much room for Auntie Alexa. My inbox was stuffed with emails from all of my pretty babies asking where I've been and you know how I hate to disappoint my public. So now that I'm back I've thrown myself into contract renegotiations. I guess I'm the Rosie O'Donnell of the Internet. I told the boys at Slant that I wanted my own section with fuscia background and purple text, a fuzzy Hello Kitty Trapper Keeper, a year's supply of SmartWater, and a 25% stake in the magazine. They said I could relaunch my Letters From Camp column in the blog, limited my entries to once a week, and offered me a glass from the tap. But whatev. I'm not hard to please.

More >>

  • print
  • email

TAGS: alicia keys, eve, fashion week, john legend, kelly rowland, letters from camp, vanessa williams


Revenge of the Sith

A contribution to Edward Copeland's Star Wars blogathon.

The third act resounds in a way no previous Star Wars film has since Vader goaded Luke from hiding inside the Emperor's chamber within Return of the Jedi's all-over climax. The best moments in Star Wars, for me, are those naked emotional crises. Those, and, of course, the spectacular spectacles. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith has both of those in spades. And not just in the third act. The whole film is a visual wonder: from the you-gotta-be-kidding-me opening shot that still gets me giddy to the Yoda-Palpatine Imperial Senate throwdown to General Grievous's four-armed attack to (fuck it) a bunch of Wookies raging against machines to (fuck it) the dissolves in Anakin's dream sequences to (hell yes) the engulfing lava showdown and Ewan McGregor's pure-hurt pleas in that third act climax. And the whole film operates in tandem with its affect-effecting characters. You have to buy into Sith for this part to work; for some, this proves too difficult because of the silly dialogue and the sorta-kinda spotty acting of said silly dialogue and the odd pacing and the typical silly sci-fi plotting choices. I understand this stance. But I cannot hold it. I love Star Wars. And for a final chapter in "the saga" this son-of-a-bitch of a film is just what I want—and just what Star Wars needed. Plus, if Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith had subtitles, English-speaking audiences would be much quicker to accept it, to buy into it, to (fuck it/hell yes) love it.

More >>

  • print
  • email

TAGS: ewan mcgregor, george lucas, Hayden Christensen, star wars episode iii: revenge of the sith







The HouseCategories



The HouseThe Attic

More »



Site by  Docent Solutions