The House


1. It's Star Trek day, America. The reviews are perhaps surprisingly good. Check these raves from Film Freak Central (quoted below) and Salon. The AV Club also likes it quite a bit, while Roger Ebert is less enthused. Also, here's an amusing video.

["My long-held suspicion of J.J. Abrams as a no-trick pony has thawed completely now that after producing the exceptional Cloverfield, he has directed a reboot of Gene Roddenberry's beloved Star Trek that walks the fine line between absolute seriousness and absolute cheese and does so in about the exact same, smart, swashbuckling way as the '60s TV show, to which this movie serves not as a prequel, but as a delicious alternate possibility. Abrams' Star Trek is faithful to Roddenberry's vision in every way, including a restoration of the sexiness and spunk that's been largely lost to decades of syndication. It's easy to forget that the first interracial kiss on television belongs to the original series--not to mention all those ripped-shirt fights, tumbles with green girls, and 'Bizarro-version' facial hair. The picture is faithful simultaneously to the spirit of this time, joining what looks to be a spate of films with apocalyptic visions of entire planets destroyed by unimaginable calamity. Spry and well-written, Star Trek plays up the idea of individual heroism for the collective good in high Trek fashion and, fascinatingly, works in the clay of deep-set parental issues to give its young characters the psychological framework for evolution in this new reality."]

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2. Peter Nellhaus of Coffee, Coffee and More Coffee takes a long look at Thai film Ong Bak 2.

["One of my favorite movies is The Bad and the Beautiful, a fictionalized story about Hollywood with characters modeled after several real life people both in front of, and behind the camera. There are satirical elements best recognized by those well versed in Hollywood history. I bring this classic film up only because I hope that a Thai filmmaker, ideally Wisit Sasanatieng or Taweewat Wantha, would make a film that was inspired by the making of Ong Bak 2. Nothing on screen has as much drama or comedy as the real life events of a young martial arts star given the opportunity to write and direct a big budget Thai film, going over budget and schedule, and walking off the set of an incomplete film to meditate in the jungle among the elephants. For those of us following the making of Ong Bak 2, there was a question about whether Thailand's biggest movie star had undone a career and lots of goodwill that began about three years ago when Jaa first burst upon the world scene."]

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3. I sorta feel bad I missed this, as I'm a fan of the stage, but I just have not been paying attention this year at all. At any rate, the Tony nominations came out this week, and the musical Billy Elliott led the tally with 15 nominations.

[" This year's Tonys looks like a Billy Elliot-Next to Normal musical showdown. Billy has 15 nominees, Normal has 11, and they are facing off in 10 categories. The only category where Normal is free of the Billys is Leading Actress, where Alice Ripley (giving an exceptionally praised performance in Normal) is squaring off chiefly against Sutton Foster (Princess Fiona in Shrek The Musical) and Josefina Scaglione (Maria in West Side Story)."]

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4. This thoroughly proves I'm a sucker for a good list. It's a list of the best and worst twist endings of all time. The ones you'd expect are atop the list, but it gets more interesting as you go along.

["People love twist endings. Anyone who says otherwise is full of crap. But there are good twist endings and there are bad twist endings, and sometimes it's a fine line between the two. Having looked at other 'Best Twist Ending' lists and pulling from my own memory, I have compiled this list of the best twist endings in movie history - and the worst. Of course, there are some movies I haven't seen and others I just plain forgot about, but these are the ones you have to see - or avoid."]

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5. Obama Orders Burger with Elitist European Condiment. I've actually been watching a lot of Fox News recently. The Obama presidency has made everyone over there go NUTS, apparently, and it's a good time. Example seen here.

["Then Sean Hannity plays the old Grey Poupon commercial, as if having seen that commercial 20 years ago is the only reason an adult man who lives in Chicago (where ketchup is not considered an acceptable condiment for a hot dog, btw, Mr. Hannity) would want 'spicy mustard.' Then he literally says this: 'I hope you enjoyed that fancy burger, Mr. President.'"]

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Quote of the Day:

"Cinderella, she seems so easy
'It takes one to know one,' she smiles
And puts her hands in her back pockets
Bette Davis style
And in comes Romeo, he's moaning
'You Belong to Me I Believe'
And someone says, 'You're in the wrong place, my friend
You better leave'
And the only sound that's left
After the ambulances go
Is Cinderella sweeping up
On Desolation Row."
-Bob Dylan

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Image of the Day (click to enlarge): If nothing else, we'll at least have Pearls Before Swine to chronicle the death of the newspaper industry.

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Clip of the Day: Kevin Lee's landed a new gig doing videos on the Focus Features library. Here's his first effort, on Broken Flowers.


"Links for the Day": A selection of Links that will hopefully spark discussion. Comments encouraged. Suggestions for links are also welcome. Please send to todd@vanderwerff.us.

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