1. As far as I'm concerned, this is the most important news of the week. Archie is apparently getting engaged to Veronica, and though it seems obvious that the storyline will end without the two married, it has the world in a tizzy. Jaime Weinman provides the proper context.
["Don't get too excited about the news that Archie is proposing to Veronica. As Li'l Abner once said, making it look like the hero might get married is "the usual comical strip trick to keep stupid readers excited." But whatever happens—my money's on "it was all a dream"—it will be just the latest chapter in the longest teenage romance in history, a story involving love triangles, broken hearts, love beads, motels, and many, many covers that promise more than they can deliver. Here are some of the key events over the last 67 years in the Archie/Betty/Veronica story."]
2. Pixar's latest, Up, opens today. As usual, it'sbeingverywell-reviewed, but the contrarians seem contrarian-er this time around, as Armond White (quoted below) compares the studio to General Motors in the '50s and Stephanie Zacharek argues Pixar is TOO proficient. Bonus: The AV Clubinterviews director Pete Docter.
["Even the montage showing Carl's marriage to childhood sweetheart Ellie (their wedding, companionship, childlessness, then Ellie's illness and death), is over-sentimentalized.This silent interlude (which first seems to stretch the genre into seriousness) is no more daring than the utterly conventional Wall-E: It concludes with Carl, alone, holding a blue balloon at Ellie's funeral. Sheesh. A parallel montage of Carl leafing through romantic-couple scrapbook photos is equally sappy—especially when you consider the logic of 'Who took those pictures?' Reality is never a Pixar issue. Although Chaplinesque music underscores these maudlin scenes, they're not emotionally pure like Chaplin; they preen. Critics who forget that movies should be about people defend this reduction of human experience. It's part of their Pixar-corporate allegiance. Apparently, they would pass this on to their children, the way autoworkers once instilled union loyalty."]
3. Sam Raimi's breathlessly-hyped return to the horror genre that made him, Drag Me to Hell, is also receiving mostly kind reviews. Joe Morgenstern will do those reviews one better and give it an outright rave.
["O, joy, a horror flick that's smart and funny, as well as cringeworthy for all the right reasons. And up to speed on the mortgage crisis too. "Drag Me to Hell" was directed by Sam Raimi, who has revisited his horror roots after devoting more than half of the current decade to directing the adventures of Spider-Man. (He wrote the script with his brother, Ivan Raimi.) The heroine, played to sly perfection by Alison Lohman, is Christine Brown, an ambitious young loan officer bucking for a promotion to assistant branch manager. When an elderly, impoverished and majestically repulsive customer named Mrs. Ganush comes in to beg for yet another extension on her home loan, Christine hesitates only briefly before turning her down. Given what we now know about the perils of permissive lending practices, that decision should have sealed the deal for managerial status. Instead, Mrs. Ganush retaliates with an ancient gypsy curse, and Christine spends the rest of the movie trying to avoid eternal damnation."]
["Like many others in the crowded Manhattan theater where I saw Gus Van Sant's Milk, I was teary-eyed during the film's emotional finale. Yet I still could not help but feel a certain ambivalence creeping inside me. The images were powerful: both staged reenactment and documentary footage of the thousands who marched, candles in hand, down Castro Street in memory of the slain Harvey Milk, the country's first openly-gay public official. As a gay man who, like others, has found a certain amount of inspiration in the gumption, tenacity, and genuinely big-hearted spirit that Milk brought to his public life and service, the endless stream of flickering candles—conveying both the tragic delicacy of human life and the breadth of public solidarity of the deceased—struck a deeper chord in me than similar images in similar biopics have in the past. And yet this sense of familiarity never quite escaped me. I have seen images like these before in other movies about inspirational politicians or leaders or social rabble rousers who were slain while serving their cause. Such movies often end with a rousing speech given before a large crowd, or simply a parting shot of the thousands of anonymous faces whose lives were forever changed by the life and work of the film's subject. By ending on this note of sober uplift, the film both enshrines its subject and comforts the viewer with community, ensuring that the tears shed within the movie theater are matched by those wept on screen."]
5. Finally, this week, most of the people involved in the late, lamented Electronic Gaming Monthly and its Web offshoot 1Up.com have moved to a new site, BitMob.com, which aims to bring the sort of balance between official content and user-generated content you see on lots of political and sports sites to a video game site. So far, they're finding a good balance.
["The secret best part about Namco Bandai's Noby Noby Boy is getting to see the reactions of friends and acquaintances after you tell them that a game exists in which you can eat several houses and poop them out. Often when I describe such a feat, I'm asked to clarify as if I had been misheard. Some react with laughter, some with disgust, some with intrigue. Sometimes it's sort of a mix of all three. In a few cases, my stories were met with total disbelief. 'Come on. This isn't a real game.'"]
Quote of the Day:
"I'll run through a thousand parties. I've run through a million bars. Nobody knows where you are livin'. Nobody knows where you are." -The National