Sunday, April 30, 2006


* Clips of Colbert's performance are being pulled from video sharing sites due to rights issues, so some of the links below may now be obsolete. Try this one if you're having trouble finding the guts, where the truth lies... =)
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Stephen Colbert addressed W and company at the White House Correspondents' Dinner last night!

Who would know to expect such great television on C-SPAN? I wonder if this came up as a recommendation for Tivo users who watch the COLBERT REPORT?

Joe and I were just singing praises for the king of the No-Fact Zone this week - how consistently sharp, quick, and brilliant Stephen Colbert's work as Stephen Colbert has been. This man is a scalpel applied with surgical precision to removing the cancer of poisonous facts that is crippling the health and weakening the power of our very American American government.

Or... really, he's the surgeon... and his show is the sharpened scalpel...

Or... perhaps he's the radiation treatment... because you can never be 100% certain with surgery. At least, that's what my gut tells me.

Or... No, no, no. I know! He's the legally prescribed marijuana the country takes to soothe and counter the violent nausea that arises from the combinations of truthy treatments used to fight the facts.

Except... I'm pretty sure he's against that sort of thing.

Right, well, regardless of your choice in metaphor, he is Good for the country - watch, listen, laugh until/because it hurts...

Let the eagle soar!~

Thanks to Joe for pointing me to this, and to onegoodmove for editing and posting. I've dug up some more video watching options, including Colbert's audition tape for White House Press Secretary. Check them out if you've got some time.

It's funny because it's truthy...

Keep on keepin on~

animated United Rhapsody commercials...

I've recently caught two gorgeous animated commercials for United Airlines. I know they're just ads, but I have to say, they've gone and done them right, found animators, and storytellers, worthy of accompanying Gershwin greatness. More animated shorts than commercials, I turned off my replayTV's "commercial advance" feature to watch them when I caught a few seconds of their visual goodness before the skip jumped past them.

After clickin around online, I found United's home for these commercials, but it seems that the two I just saw and dig so much aren't (yet?) included. (The ones that ARE featured online by United are definitely worth a look, tho.)

One of them (which first aired during the Superbowl I've found out - boy, how late am I on THIS, right? yeah, well, I'm not a huge hockey fan, y'know?) is a paper-cutout/puppet style animated story about a father leaving for a trip, and his son's dream of the father's journey. In the dream he's transformed into a businessman-knight, who joins forces with his round table brothers to battle a dragon in the forest. The style is just gorgeous.

The other is what looks like color pencil sketches w watercolor animated story about a woman's efforts to make her ideas known to a committee of clients or superiors, each portrayed as an animal in business wear. She travels to meet them face-to-snout, muzzle, and beak, and swings them over to her point-of-view. On her return trip, a mysterious stranger takes the seat next to her...

It really is surprisingly good less-than-a-minute crack. Try not to skip or leave the room if you catch a frame or three of animation or a couple bars of piano riffing on "Rhapsody In Blue" once the 24 clock winks out, or LOST or VERONICA MARS pops to black.

Keep on keepin on~

Saturday, April 29, 2006

friday night vball afterglow...

It's about 1am, Friday night. I'm back home from a BVA fundraiser coed-reverse 4s tournament, showered, and sitting down in front of my screens with a nutritious, mostly orange, late night dinner...

Would you believe I'm a single guy?

Wack! Maybe next time I'll pass on the trip to Star Market and just click, eh? Check out the 5-star "Meaty" review!

Actually... Check it *all* out. The features, product description, and the sad detail that gift wrapping is NOT available for this item. Nuts.


It was a fine evening of volleyball. I'd played in a number of Friday night 6s tournaments in the past couple months and never quite felt tip-top about the evenings. Keri was captain of all of them, including tonight's team, and she consistently assembled some great players. We played well enough together, but with each tournament I felt like I was getting a bit worse, and generally uncomfortable with the CR 6s format in general. I'm basically feeling like sharing one side of the court with five teammates is getting to be too crowded, y'know? I supposed it's partly a seasonal thing. I'm subconsciously registering the higher daily temps (altho still colder than perfect on average) and the longer daylight and itching to start playing outdoors and doubles.

I made a remark about the 6s claustrophobia to Keri at the end of this evening and explained that 4s is definitely a step in the right direction, even if it's only just a gateway to doubles. Heh. =)

Tonight Keri wrangled Jill, myself, and Will S. for our foursome. It was a very good and complementary combo. Will's got a good head for setting up for defense. Whenever he could, he loaned Jill some of his know-how and instinct, and together w Keri, our defense was really solid.

I could swear Will introduced himself to me as Will, but I heard Jill and Keri call him Bill a few times. Halfway thru the evening I was interchanging the names when I called out to him to hit 10s.

It was a good night of sweating. We went past 11pm with pool play. BVA was supposed to be out of the gym by then, so they had to drop playoffs. Finishing up so late got me thinking a bit of a summer between sophomore and junior years that I spent as an intern at a small architecture firm on Newbury Street. I started playing indoors with a regular group of students and alum at M.I.T. in the evenings. I'd wander over to Rockwell anytime after 6 or so, jump on a court w these guys and play 2s thru 6s, depending on how many we had, and when the gym closed for the night - I think it was supposed to lock up by 9, but depending on who was working, we sometimes had the courts until 10 or so. But when that happened, the gang would head across campus to a gym on the top floor of a building along Mem Drive, next to several outdoor tennis courts... Frack. I can't remember the name of the building now...

Anyhow, the top floor gym was pretty old, with red, or reddened, hard wood floors, and marked for a short basketball court and a volleyball court. We'd set up the net when we got there and play and play and play all night until morning. We'd start with 6's if we had it, and as we pushed on thru the a.m. hours, we'd lose people and whittle ourselves down to the last four nutjobs playing doubles. I was always one of them, surprise surprise. =)

Those last doubles matches weren't about beating the heck out of our opponents, they were more like sparring, or peppering, y'know? We'd do everything we'd do in a regular match - dig, set, swing - but our hits were, as deliberately and controlled as possible, delivered to and directed AT whoever was on the other side of the net. As hard as we liked, but y'know, totally GET-able. It was a beautiful thing playing doubles while the sun was coming up... *sigh*

Sometimes we'd just split up when we finished, and others, we'd carpool out to IHOP for some breakfasts. That's how I first sorta found out about the Soldier's Field Rd. IHOP. Those were some of the best bleary eyed mornings ever.

Would LOVE to find a place where I could play volleyball all night long again...

It was good to see a lot of people I hadn't seen in weeks, not that I really got a chance to play a lot of catch-up between playing and reffing matches. Mostly I just saw them thru the net while playing them, and I never feel quite okay with pushing "real" conversation w anyone while games are on. Kinda sad how many people whom I like are folks I only see at league vball nights.

I'd taken nights off from league over the last two weeks so that I could hit my thirteen screenings and eight buckets. I'll hafta pilfer some new email addresses for my nahant roundups this summer. I should really get a central email address book type resource. Each summer I end up building a new list of regulars from scratch, and end up adding people as the summer goes along. I recently went thru the same process w my movie update emails for the IFFB, just went thru and addressed them to anyone I could think of when I was writing them up. Thusly, I probably left a couple dozen regulars from last year off the list.

And apparently, included a few people who'd rather not be, having received more than a couple "unsubscribe" email requests. Fair enough. What with the fest being the fest and all, I DID kind of harass people pretty hard over a short period of time.

I am so babbling right now. It's 2.10am. I'm puttin the kibosh on this bit o blog...

Keep on keepin on~

Thursday, April 27, 2006

STRANGERS prequel!

Check out the trailer for the STRANGERS WITH CANDY film - the prequel to one of the greatest high school dramas ever on TV. So many classic teenage rites of passage (like telling the boy whose cherry you popped that you gave him syphilis)... so many tough lessons learned (like don't have unprotected sex with EVERY cab driver who asks)... so many lives changed (ummm... that boy got syphilis from you, and you never told him it needs to be treated).

Heavy heavy issues, truly. For some reason, though, the show's on Comedy Central. I suppose that's, like, ironic, or something...? Go figure. You can still catch it in reruns at odd programming hours, although I'm sure that will change in the ramp-up to movie release.

After you digest an episode, might I suggest you skip over to Cartoon Network and see if MORAL OREL's on? For something a little lighter, but still with those "old school" (I hope I'm using that right? I heard some teenagers use that on the Music Television channel - by accident, by accident!) family values I know you treasure as much as I.


Keep on keepin on~

after the IFFB... movies and stuff...

So, what does a spot in the IFFB schedule do or change for its films and audiences...?

Heh. Well, I have to admit that for the first time ever, I bought a couple of big bags of Utz potato chips this week when I went grocery shopping. Utz was one of the corporate sponsors of the IFFB (as they were last year), and probably one of the most visible. The festival throwers had boxes of snack sized bags of Utz chips available for free at all the screenings, and I partook more than a couple times, it's true. The little cartoon Utz girl kinda freaks me out a bit, comes across in my mind as a strung-out/wired Nancy, w the munchies, hand in the bag and all. Happy enough, but just, like, a little bit crazed... I mean, what's in the bag? Chips? A .38? A forty? Sluggo's severed head?

I've never bought them before, but, when I was at the store this last time, looking for my chips fixx for the week and change, well, I saw the Utz label and felt kindly towards them for helping to enable my recent five days of movie madness. =)

I got the rippled Utz chips. Ain't no Ruffles, but they do just fine next to my hot dog w peanut butter and jelly or roast beef sandwich.

So, although at the times of the screenings, I pretty much scoffed at the acknowledgement of sponsors before each show, in the end, I can't deny that the sponsorship definitely had *some* effect... Although, it doesn't mean I'm in any hurry to buy a new Ford, jump a weekend flight on JetBlue, or buy or rent a high-rez kickass quality digital projector from Rule Broadcasting.

At least, not until I hear the correct trigger word.

Movies-wise... There are a number of movies that New England-premiered at last year's IFFB that are just this week being screened in theaters in Boston. It doesn't seem quite right that it should take a year for some of these films to find distribution and win theatrical release, but I suppose, unfortunately, it comes with the "independent" territory.


For a week at the Brattle, starting Friday, April 28, see BLACKBALLED: THE BOBBY DUKES STORY! Saw this at last year's IFFB and dig it mucho =)

Local comedic talent - Rob "C'mON!" Corddry of the DAILY SHOW, and comedian DJ Hazzard, regularly seen at comedy venues around town - along with members of the comedy troupe the Upright Citizens Brigade, bring to life a hilarious mockumentary about the sport of paintball. Cordry is Bobby Dukes, legendary paintball champion, forced into early retirement years ago, now looking to make a comeback. Alas, his departure from the game a decade back was under sketchy circumstances, and he's having troubles finding old friends and players to join his comeback squad. Hazzard plays an excellent Patton-esque paintball coach-patriarch who helps Dukes with his bottom of the barrel recruiting. Can Bobby turn a roster of paintball's rejects and newbies into his winning team? And just what happened ten years ago in the championship finals that got him ejected from the sport in the first place...?

Check the site for venues and showtimes in your area.


Playing this week at the Coolidge, is MARDI GRAS: MADE IN CHINA, a documentary on the wonders of globalization that follows the inequities of the network and flow of wealth, quality of life, and consumerism by tracking the "beads trail." From the factories of China to the streets of New Orleans, you'll follow the path of the famed beaded necklaces of Mardi Gras - made notorious in Girls With Low Self Esteem videos - from their factory worker manufacture in China to their international commercial sale to their party-going distribution and their ultimate New Orleans bartering/exchange for clothing optional services...

I haven't seen this, but heard great chatter about it among moviegoers at the festival last year. It's playing in the Screening Room at the Coolidge, the very comfortable digital projection room upstairs at the theater.


Coming soon to the Coolidge, SHAKESPEARE BEHIND BARS. Saw this at last year's IFFB and was schizophrenically touched. Confusing description of my reaction, eh? Well, consider that it's about a company of thespians, dedicated to the production of Shakespeare's "The Tempest," who also happen to be inmates at the Luther Luckett Correctional Complex in Kentucky. They are bad men, judged on their deeds by society according to the law, and sentenced to serve time as their punishment. The film, covering the inmate-actors' rehearsal, workshop, production, and performance of the play, portrays them as men before convicts. It's disarming, and surprising, how sympathetic you may find yourself to these men's situations, given their cold-blooded histories. It's an excellent heart-puncher of a film.

A couple of random media crossover experiences with this film's topic...

From bookybooks... A few weeks before I saw the movie last year, I'd just finished reading a book about a woman who volunteers her time at a correctional facility teaching Shakespeare's plays. Her accounts are very much in line w the documentary's.

From TV news... Just last week sometime, I caught a news teaser on television about a program that offers youth offenders a choice between some form of detention and participation in a study or production of Shakespeare. I wonder how long Shakespeare has been employed as part of the U.S. correctional/rehabilitation process and at what levels.

Keep on keepin on~

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

what the Jack?!?

Did one eighth of a day last night w the 24 gang. That is, we caught up on the last three hours of 24. I looked it up and we've got five hours left of season/day 5. The plan is to abstain for three weeks and watch the next three hours together. Then watch the two-hour finale the week after. Should be a fun time.

In the dictionary next to "intensity" you'll find...
Some odd zaniness - perhaps mostly in my head - from the three hour chunk we consumed this week...

For the past nine hours or so of the show, I've noticed the music being somewhat... out of sync with the action. Not in an actual rhythmic way, but in style, or show-character, y'know? In the show, but not quite OF the show...

I mean, there were a couple hours where they introduced some heavy electric guitar licks, which I can't recall the show *ever* using before...? And not in a manner that really complemented the action on screen. After a few of these odd musical moments, I got the idea that whoever's scoring this season is getting a bit self-conscious about using and re-using themes or even small musical hits, and in trying to keep things diverse is going thru the studio's music library and grabbing anything and everything for use in the second half of this season.

Did you notice, in the last couple hours... Chloe's got theme music...?

James Bond-y theme music...?

Which I think is fun, actually, for the fans. I don't know that it works-WORKS, but I guess because I did actually get a kick out of it, it at least *works* y'know? I mean, once we were aware of it, the music got something of a disbelieving, snarky, laugh out of all of us, y'know? Maybe the writers are purposefully having fun with things...?

"Bloggers and posters on the message board LOVE Chloe - she should get her own theme music, y'know? Maybe something old school super spy, like THE AVENGERS, or BOND!"

"Yeah, we can do that! We'll just add a couple of cuts where Chloe's alone retasking a satellite or maybe walking down the hall to the bathroom, and hey, we can push the theme music right then! Perfect!"

Crazy talk...? Perhaps.

Speaking of the writers...

How bout that scene with the Writers?

Heh. That's what I called the guys behind the guys behind the guys, y'know? That sporty penthouse or board room or whatever it is with Dr. Romano from E/R on the phone with Henderson, telling him what his priorities and motivation should be. Do you see what I'm saying? The Henderson character called up the writers of the story/show to find out what he's supposed to be doing because, frankly, w the show WORKING at topping itself over and over again, adding layer upon layer to the web of conspiracy, the plot and subplot threads are just getting away from the characters on their own. I'd love to have Romano and stooges be the writers. I KNOW that's not what's going on, but I'd metalove it just the metasame.

Incidentally, do you remember Dr. Romano from FAME? =)

Wow. What about an hour that's done all in song and dance?

Oh crap. If I can think of it, it's gonna happen. It's just a question of when, isn't it?


The musical...

Or wait, it would hafta be 24! with the exclamation mark. Would be a helluva show for audience AND performers... 24 hours. =)

Have you noticed how President Logan holds his head up straight when he's being the decider and all openly malevolent, but when he's the tiresome whiny little bitch, his head's tilted consistently at about 20 degrees? Schizo? Gollum?

HA. When Audrey stops at the gas station and Chloe talks her through locating the transmitter on her car... she finds it, removes it, and then, because there isn't a small animal around to feed it to, she walks over to the heavy duty tow truck and slips it under one of its fenders.

I had this thought, "There's, like, a TON of other transmitters under there!"

Cuz that week, on every show on TV where someone has to lose a tail who's tracking them by a magnetic transmitter attached to their vehicle, the driver stops somewhere, finds the lo-jack, and pulls the switcheroo on the trackers by fixing it to a heavy duty tow truck that just happens to be parked or idling nearby. Wouldn't that be excellent?

Or, it could simply be all the other people that CTU, Homeland Security, Secret Service, CIA, FBI, the Covenant, the Millenium Group, and L.A.P.D. are tracking in 24's Los Angeles. Then you could get agents of all those groups in the same place and the same time for some donuts and coffee. Wouldn't that be fun?

Yeah, I have a rich televisional fantasy life. I get more satisfaction out of the goofy what-ifs and "Brokeback" moments (so many!) in the show than what's actually going on.

Oh, Aaron. What happened to you? Have you taken a bullet for the First Boob?

Keep on keepin on~

Random unrelated televisional thought...

What if LOST's Oceanic flight 815 didn't fly out of Sydney, Australia... but Sydney... Bristow...?



Tuesday, April 25, 2006

wuzzon post-iffb...

Frack. IFFB got me all lagged on keeping up with OTHER movie events around town...

I'm committed to 3 hours of catch-up with the Tuesday 24 crew tonight, so I'm having to pass on this one (frickin frackin sazzafrazzin)...

Paul Rusesabagina & HOTEL RWANDA @Brattle tonight

Don't know what ticket availability is like, but I'd recommend calling the theater and/or bookstore for info/anticipation.

Coming up tomorrow and Thursday at the Coolidge Corner theater in Brookline (on the C line)...

Tomorrow (Wednesday), it's KING KONG vs. GODZILLA! Catch the original screen debuts of each monstrous icon, and then find out if Godzilla can truly roar, "King Kong ain't got nothin on me!" =)

I could swear I remember from my many weeks of hours of poring over my Science Fictionary as a kid that there were TWO version of KING KONG VS. GODZILLA, one produced and/or released in the states, the other in Japan, and each had a different outcome... I'll hafta look that up.

* Wack. Turns out this MIS(?)-remembering of mine made (beware of spoilers right at the start of the "Origins" section!) snopes under urban legends!

I'm 50/50 on hittin the KK&G marathon. It depends on whether I'm overcome with work tomorrow afternoon. Unfortunately a very real possibility, bleah.

And Thursday night, it's the BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER SING-A-LONG! In prime time! I've hit this once at midnight at the Coolidge, and it is a truly nirvana-like experience for BUFFY fans. Check it on your own or with your regular faithful Scoobies, you'll be among a legion of bunny-fearing friends when you get there. =)

I won't be able to make this event due to vball commitments. After bailing on two nights of ball to accomodate my indie fest movie madness, I really do need to get myself some physical activity. Lifting popped kernals of corn, even after thousands of reps, don't do much to push your cardio, y'know?

Keep on keepin on~


The short(ish) answer to "How was the last night of the festival...?"

I ended up seeing only one film tonight, GUATEMALAN HANDSHAKE, and, sad to say, was disappointed.

Festival rep Paul introduced the film, and after giving thanks to the hallowed sponors, explained the magic that happens on the last day of the festival. Magic that transforms the very exciting and informative Festival program into an even more exciting and valuable commemorative collector's edition program! OoooooOOooooo~

He had a few to give out before the show, and lucky me, I got one. Thanks, Paul! And hey, thanks to all the Festival bigwigs, organizers, and volunteers! You throw a damn fine six days of moviegoing! I shall hafta see about getting an email that says as much out to one or some of those people...

GUATEMALAN HANDSHAKE... had some wonderful potential, introduced some great eccentric, sad and happy, characters, but was a little too loose in its storytelling for my taste. With the colorful characters, retro/eclectic visual and design palate, and atypical scenarios (our Macguffin is a missing demolition derby driver, last seen on the trail of a supercute lost puppy, now sought by an expecting girlfriend with 18 younger sisters, a father who would marry his car if he could, and a young girl and best friend who goes by the name Turkeylegs), I felt a love child of NAPOLEON DYNAMITE and DONNIE DARKO (perhaps with STATION AGENT as godfather) might have been in the works, but alas, it wasn't to be. I gave it a 3 out of 5 on the festival ballot. I hope I wasn't too hard on it because I felt it let me down.

AMERICAN BLACKOUT was screening while I was in HANDSHAKE. I only caught a glimpse of Congresswoman McKinney at the theater. She was in the doorway to theater #1 (the big theater w balcony seating right thru the lobby) talking to some aides and a festival type before showtime. Alas, I didn't have my camera w me right then (hitting the men's room in the lobby after getting myself a seat upstairs for HANDSHAKE), so no helpful visual aid to post.

Well, except this, which I took later...

Part of the view in my bathroom for most of the last six days. I wonder how much business that particular bit of advertising has won them...

A few minutes into the end credits of HANDSHAKE, I decided to leave and see if I could catch any of the post-BLACKOUT Q&A with McKinney and the director. Unfortunately, it was too late. BLACKOUT finished before HANDSHAKE and the Q&A was already over as well. The audience had already been "dismissed." I could see that Rep. McKinney was still in the theater, near the front of the room, but surrounded by people and engaged in post-Q&A Q&A, with camera people orbiting the scene. I loitered in the lobby w Rowan for a while, hoping to catch her on her way out of the theater, but after a few minutes, let it go.

Right up until then I was 50/50 on catching another movie. It sounded like there were still tickets available for just about everything. But I'd caught myself half-yawning more than a couple times in HANDSHAKE (an indication of my sleep deprivation, not any sleep inducing quality of the movie, which, if I didn't make it clear earlier, was visually, quite a tasty treat!) and decided to head home and call it a festival. I had three weeks of PRISON BREAK saved up on my replayTV at home, anyhow. Of course, here I sit, tapping away, at nearly 3am. Who's tired now?

Five days... Maybe eight buckets of popcorn... 13 screenings... 10 features and a dozen and a half short films...

What an idiot.


Frack. I hope I didn't miss some excellent, perfect, final piece of HANDSHAKE at the very end of the credits...

Keep on keepin on~

not a thru way...

Snapped this while shuttling myself between IFFB venues on Sunday...

Keep on keepin on~

Monday, April 24, 2006

IFFB final screenings tonight!

The Independent Film Festival of Boston's last night of films is tonight, and I know enough about AMERICAN BLACKOUT to say it's a must-see. A documentary on the disenfranchisement of the African-American voter, particularly in the 21st century. It focuses on the efforts of Georgia Rep. Cynthia McKinney (who's made the news recently for an incident w the D.C. police) to have the government recognize that the system is being manipulated to stifle black voters' voices, as well as cover up the business and agendas of those who have won their seats in government as a result.

See my recent IFFB rambling blog/s for more, with links to more info...

* Along w the director, Ian Inaba, Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney will be attending the 5.15 screening tonight at the Somerville theater in Davis Square!

The schedule also includes newly-added showtimes for festival award winners and audience favorites (I'm actually gonna hit GUATEMALAN HANDSHAKE, and for non-documentary goodness, recommend checkin CHALK). As of 12.45 today, none of tonight's shows are sold out, but you will have to buy tickets at the door. I highly recommend everything on the IFFB menu tonight!

From personal experience - AMERICAN BLACKOUT, CHALK, K-7 (screening w GUATEMALAN HANDSHAKE, and as part of COMIC AVENGERS), ME, MY BAG, AND MY BALL (screening w THE PUFFY CHAIR, also part of COMIC AVENGERS), and COMIC AVENGERS (Michael Cera is supposed to attend again! =)

If you can't make the AMERICAN BLACKOUT screening, keep your eyes n ears open for other opps to see the film, or catch it on dvd. I'd say it's a safe bet to say that will push "house party" screenings in the next few months.

I hope you'll forgive my soapboxy stance, but in all fairness, it's not "just" that it's a documentary with an otherwise unheard and unseen point-of-view, but a very well-crafted documentary on the exceptionally important subject of the right to - and power of - the vote - vital to anyone living in the U.S. - and focused on extremely thoughtful, outspoken, and dynamic personalities.

Check it out!

Keep on keepin on~

Also, for an animated poetic taste of the film's subject, check out the animated short, originally produced as part of the film, but broken out as a short of its own - TRUE LIES.

iffb 11 : AMERICAN BLACKOUT (really, tho, I ramble...)

See this movie if you can. For a sample of its flavor in poetic animated form, do check out the video of TRUE LIES, which plays with BLACKOUT at the IFFB.

AMERICAN BLACKOUT is doing the festival circuit now, and is due to play in Ohio and Georgia in upcoming weeks. Ohio is significant in that the film covers voting "irregularities" in that state that have been ignored by the mainstream news media, and the government, surrounding the Presidential election of 2004. Georgia is significant because in telling its truths about the manipulation of the electoral system at many levels to negate the voices of certain voters, the film focuses on Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney's efforts to bring those truths to light in the press and on Capitol Hill.

Playing in an indie film fest in Boston, I'm sure its audiences here were all extremely sympathetic and found most if not all of its content to be sadly as they'd feared and expected, although in light of McKinney's most recent press, the film's coverage of her brave and successful efforts to give voice to those who deserve, but have been shut out of, the democratic process, may have been something unexpected and inspriational to see.

I really don't know what to make of the hubbub over her encounter with the D.C. police. There's a segment in the documentary that seems to foreshadow the actual incident. In the footage, it's her first day back on the Hill, she's apparently travelling w the documentary camera crew, the guard is obviously not at the top of his game... Does it MEAN anything...? I suppose you'll have to see the movie and decide. =)

I'm verrry curious to see how this film plays in a more mixed audience. To borrow the annoying newsmedia political color scheme... A "red" or "purple" audience. Maybe on a college campus...? I gotta say, without some kind of bait-n-switch scheme, it's difficult to imagine the scenario that gets a good political mix of an audience into a screening.

Does anyone remember a blip, maybe over a year ago now, about a conservative independent film festival, held in Texas? I wonder how successful an event that was.

* Found that blip. How could I forget that one of the showcased features was MICHAEL MOORE HATES AMERICA? Samantha Bee did an excellent bit of DAILY SHOW coverage on the director in NYC, heh.

There's a moment in this film, early on, that had this weird science fictiony effect on me. I'm not familiar w all the politicians and representatives of the Black Caucus, but one of them, Rep. John Conyers, plainly and simply summs up the ripple effect of the unjust disappearing of thousands of African-American votes in Florida in the 2000 Presidential election frighteningly well...

If those votes had been cast and counted, G.W.B. would not have been declared President, and we would not be engaged, involved, and mired in a war in Iraq.

My dopey brain, such as it is, soaked in that truth for a few seconds, and perhaps, because by default it's so used to processing the twists and turns and flexibility of the fiction I feed it for entertainment, had me imagining that I, and the world, had been folded, or flipped, or shunted, into an alternate, what-if, reality. I mean, how COULD this be real? This seems like a Harry Turtledove novel written in a sensible and sane reality...

Only, too unbelievable for Turtledove.

Here comes my crazy talk - Did a teenaged Karl Aisles sometime in the future get access to Bill Jobs's wayback/transporter machine? Note, this machine ends up splitting the traveller into two individuals upon arrival, that may or may not need to remain connected to each other for survival, in a strong-weak Captain Kirk doppelganger kind of way... I still haven't worked all the science fiction out, sorry.

Did he zap himself into the relative past with some basic information and after-the-fact political analysis that he's/they've used over and over again to influence turn of the 21st American character (at least as it's presented by the media), shape and/or dictate what seems to be public opinion, and work his way up the Republican party heirarchy to ultimately get G.W. in the White House, creating this incredibly unlikely alternate reality? So far from the best of all possible worlds...?

Perhaps there was no 9/11 in the baseline reality... And Karl and Roger had to scratch out and rewrite their Cliff's notes, play by ear and/or borrow from others' existing heritage playbooks.

Like I warned you, crazy talk. Escapist. Not at all helpful or productive. That's me and my so-called brain. Sorry.

It would be nice to wake up from this, though, wouldn't it?

I caught a bit of an interview with Henry Rollins on NPR a couple days back. The interviewer was starting a discussion on his involvement w the USO, entertaining troops in Iraq...

NPR: You've got yourself something of a reputation as an angry man...

Rollins: Well, I'm a conscientious American. I have to be angry.

Keep on keepin on~

Sunday, April 23, 2006

iffb 10.5 : TRUE LIES

An excellent animated short that played with AMERICAN BLACKOUT at the IFFB...

Keep on keepin on~

between IFFB shows today...

After DEADLY ENCOUNTERS and before LAST ROMANTIC, I chase my breakfast bucket of popcorn with a happy McBrunch...

Man, except for the Happy Meal toys, the marketing for this WILD flick totally missed me. My Koala of Liberty toy tries to make sense of the graphic of Ronald running away, apparently caught in the act of picking through garbage...

Happy Earth Day =)

And happy belated BIRTH day to she who will deliver us from the phaetons who enslave us with memory, guilt, and conscience... welcome, savior, welcome, Something (as in Something Can Be Done About It)!

Keep on keepin on~

iffb 9 : COMIC AVENGERS (w Michael Cera!)

"That's what I love about high school girls... I get older, they stay the saaame age..."

(Heh, no no, no McConagoo or DAZED at the IFFB, but the way the pic turned out just asked for the line, donchathink?)

Michael Cera, aka George Michael Bluth, was at this screening! He participated in the post-films Q&A along w the directors of DARLING, DARLING and ME, MY BAG, AND MY BALL. He's quick on his feet and very funny on his own, scattin' and ziggin and zaggin along w the directors while delivering some creative, perhaps peyote-enhanced, replies to questions about the films.

In the Q&A, I only got in a dumb question about "the guy who throws himself through the door at the end," but it won a very entertaining story-reply about how originally there was supposed to be a scary pack of wild dogs busting in on the scene, but the dogs that were rounded up were all on the domestic and friendly side, and couldn't be riled. In the end, their sound guy was wardrobed for "wild and crazy," baited with pizza on his back, to entice the dogs to follow and pounce, and sent through the door.

Another notable story-reply involved the burning down of the first chosen location for the film by territorial anti-Hollywood sellout hobos, apparently.

Damn hobos!

When the crowd was sorta "dismissed" I went up to the director of ME, MY BAG, AND MY BALL, Diego Ongaro, to ask about his film and working the festivals. Turns out he went to school for finance and hated every minute of it. Started to work when he got out, couldn't stand it, and started at the bottom helping out with film and television production. He's completed several shorts, but this is the first that he's taken on the festival circuit. He's seen a few films multiple times but doesn't consistently remember the other filmmakers from city to city. Matthew Lessner, director of DARLING DARLING, however, he couldn't forget, heh.

Maybe it was the French accent, heh, but the way he talked about getting to make films, pursuing it after making this attempt at what he was "supposed" to do (finance), was pretty inspirational.

It brought to mind a warning to architecture students I remember from college... If you can do ANYTHING else, do it.

His film was funny, with some wonderful absurd moments, sweet, even. He created this character who is never without his duffel bag, full of whatever he may need at any given moment, and his soccer ball, which is always in motion when he's on his feet. I can imagine a series of shorts where this guy appears and reappears, maybe as a central figure, maybe as a decent fellow in the background. The film is narrated by Mr. Bag and Ball and he tells us about his eccentric family, given to sunbathing in the backyard (Pa) and dressing and behaving as a feral squirrel (?) (little sib) and cooking pig's head stew (Ma). When a strange problem interrupts their beloved routines, will he be able to find a solution in his bag?

On the way out of the screening room, I caught M. Cera at the bottom of the stairs between two rooms that were emptying out. I told myself (and then him, out loud) I'd just ask one thing. I had two ARRESTED questions I sorta conjured up during the Q&A to try and get in afterwards, mentally flipped a coin when I actually had him for a minute, and went with - How tough was it - how many takes did you hafta do - to get that sad George Michael walk in front of all the Charlie Brown characters? (My other question was - What was it like punching Will Arnett in the final episode? =). We were sorta blocking traffic at the bottom of the stairs, so we bobbed and weaved a bit in place as he explained that it did take a lot of tries, all because of the "Snoopy" they had. He didn't want to sit still on that dog house, and apparently his handler/owner had to get a bit rough with him to get him to behave. I laughed a bit, commented about his having to work with animals in ARRESTED and now in DARLING (well, animal PARTS, at least - you'll hafta see the fried and funny short to understand =). And, before we got completely yanked apart by people traffic while sorta sideways climing the stairs, told him I love his work on the show, miss it already, and hope to see more of him on screen soon.

Keep on keepin on~

Saturday, April 22, 2006

IFFB today + more advance tix than I thought!

Happy Earth Day, all!~

This makes me kinda happy...



It turns out that when a film at the IFFB site is marked as "DOOR ONLY," that does NOT necessarily mean ONLY rush tickets are left. I found out last night that for both EDMOND and B13, there were still dozens of pre-rush, ADVANCE tickets available, but only at the venue box office. I'm sorry if my email yesterday discouraged any of you from seeing a movie - my badd : P

If you DO see something on the schedule you like... and it's marked DOOR ONLY, I recommend giving a call to the venue and asking about ticket availability at the box office...

The numbers for the festival venues...

Somerville Theater in Davis Square, on the red line (this is IFFB "central")...

(617) 625-4088
(617) 625-5700

Coolidge Corner Theater in Coolidge Corner, Brookline, on the C line...

(617) 734-2501 (human being)
(617) 734-2500

The Brattle Theater in Harvard Square, Cambridge, on the red line...
(617) 876-6838 (human being)
(617) 876-6837


Today I'm gonna hit...

SHADOW COMPANY - documentary on the privatized military in play around the world...

DEADLY ENCOUNTERS - short films package... w DAILY SHOW's Ed Helms...

THE LAST ROMANTIC - a young poet hits NYC looking to make his mark, but can't actually seem to get to the WRITING part...

COMIC AVENGERS - short films package... w ARRESTED D's George Michael Bluth...

DEATH TRANCE - at midnight at the Brattle, a super-stylish Japanese samurai action flick...

All of those are at Somerville except for the midnight show at the Brattle. If you're hittin any of them, feel free to give a txt to let me know.


ANIMATED JOURNEYS - See these! They play again today at 12.15pm and tomorrow at 7.30pm. This short film package features equal parts beauty and hilarity (both ridiculous and offensive) and wit spread out over its 8 films. It's all good, something for every palate, but I'll quickly push two from diff ends of the spectrum here...

The Oscar nominated MYSTERIOUS GEOGRAPHIC EXPLORATIONS OF JASPER MORELLO is a gorgeous hybrid of 3-d and 2-d animation styles that create a new kind of shadow puppet theater, used to tell the steampunk adventure tale of a navigator on a steel dirigible in uncharted air. Also, there is a kee-RAY-zee rap song that reveals untold depths about our larger-than-life founding father, George Washington, in COX & COMBES' WASHINGTON. Barely animation, but pretty darn crowd-pleasing. =)

EDMOND - Only played this one showtime. William Macy does David Mamet, with a high-powered but very subtly employed ensemble supporting cast. After visiting a fortune teller one day after work, Macy's Edmond starts doing things he'd never typically do, tell his wife how he really feels, proposition a stripper, pawn his ring, pick a fight with a pimp... You can see how it would be fun for the whole familiy, no? =)

Chock full of the Mamet-ese, dialogue that seems intentionally written to throw a good actor, but when delivered gets the audience to really listen, and usually wins a most shocked, dismayed, even disgusted, reaction. But what a great way to set you up for a disturbing laugh, no? Offensive stuff. Like CRASH, or YOUR FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS - unflinching in its head-on glare at prejudice, hate, and hipocrisy - but without the hope. AMERICAN BEAUTY on crack, even, I believe, borrowing a line and an actress from BEAUTY to push that button. I dunno how to recommend it except to tell you that it's Mamet with an excellent cast. Don't quite know where it will play in wider release... Probably just the Landmark theaters, and maybe Harvard Square and the Brattle.

DISTRICT B13 - If you love action movies, and you can stand reading subtitles, SEE THIS MOVIE (if you're not already seeing DEATH TRANCE =) Plays again tonight at midnight at the Coolidge.

Gotta motor to catch SHADOW C...

Keep on keepin on~

iffb 5 : DISTRICT B13

DISTRICT B13. It really is basically what I guessed from the blurbs - a Luc Bessonesque ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK, only a bit more dynamic, and daylight... The French take features two Snake Pliskens (one a supercop, the other a vigilante), some really brutal martial arts action, dynamic urban chase scenes, and plotwise, some fair and decent plot points substitutions.

In the near future of 2010, crime-ridden sections of Paris have been walled off from the rest of the city. In a short time, schools, post offices, and finally the police have completely pulled out of the worst of these ghetto districts - B13. With law enforcment out of the picture, drug lord and gang kingpin Hata takes control. When he gets his hands on the military's latest in nuclear weapons development and inadvertantly triggers its 24-hour timer, the authorities have to send their best undercover agent, officer Damien, into B13 to retrieve and disarm the bomb, before it is sold to the highest bidder.

But Damien can't do it alone. With the bomb already ticking, he'll need the help of someone who knows Taha and B13, intimately... Enter, Leito, Taha's old do-gooder nemesis, an upstart vigilante and B13 native who's been captured by the police. Supercop and vigilante team up to beat Taha, each for their own reasons. But in the end, are they working against each other?

For an action film fan, especially one with a taste for the fight scenes in the likes of THE TRANSPORTERs (the first is better than the second, but the bus garage fight scene in 2 is pretty excellent), UNLEASHED/DANNY THE DOG, and espcially ONG BAK (if you haven't seen it, SEE IT!), this is a gorgeous showcase of hard-hitting, powerful martial arts. More of the Muay-Thai one-hit-and-he's-down variety than the "let's dance" lengthy, violent ballet style. Of course, there ARE a couple of "big boss"/"final fight" scenes that are more involved and choreographed, but just as fun and entertaining are a number of chase sequences thru the urban environment of B13, all parkour runner style. Do you remember the Nike ads from two or three years ago with the French kids leaping from rooftop to rooftop and bounding over stairwell bannisters through a story and a half of air? That's parkour running. I don't know the origins of it as an art or practice or school. It may or may not owe to several different martial arts. Personally, my bod, my joints, my cartilage, couldn't even dream of taking on the kind of beating involved, but I'm pretty good at sitting on me bum in a dark room staring at a screen, and a lot of fundamentals SEEM like nothing new to Jackie Chan fans. Think Jackie Chan hoisting himself thru a small window, feet first, to get into a train, or through a transom. Or, when he scales the wall of an apparent dead end by pushing himself up and off of the surface of walls that make a corner to basically leap over it. It's an amazing amount of athleticism and grace applied to the simple challenge of getting from point A to point B. Between A and B however, you'll find obstacles such as locked doors, walls, fences, and oncoming traffic, that these runners transform into pathways. Beautiful stuff.

To be honest, at sometime after midnight, after catching the shorts package and Mamet's EDMOND earlier in the evening, some of the scenes between fights and chases felt a little long, and too quiet, but I can't be sure that that's a very fair assessment. Nevertheless, I heard from one of the fest runners that B13 should be in theaters sometime in May, so if anyone wants a partner for their first viewing, I'll happily oblige and give it another go. You'll hafta endure my giggling and sympathetic chair dancing during the fight and chase sequences, tho.

At the end of the show, I gave it a 4 out of 5 on my ballot. ONG BAK or DRUNKEN MASTER 2 would have been a 5. =)

I DID give out my first 5 out of 5 at that screening, though. For the opening short film, MISSING PAGES (AMENDED VERSION). I was a bit skeptical because what stayed with me from the blurb descriptions from online and postcards/schedules at the theater was that it was "experimental," produced from still photography all kitbashed together on a computer. The little bit about the plot in the description I could remember discussed a father's loss of his child. While all of that info from the blurb is accurate about what I saw, it totally doesn't do the final experience justice. The only "real" motion in the short is computer generated, all of the characters appear on screen as digitally enhanced and manipulated stills, but they were the right stills, and set to the dialogue and pace very well. The experience was like watching a slick and stylish graphic novel with a simple tight story, but in the best possible way, not as a cop-out, failed attempt at something else. Now I'm doing a crappy job at describing it, but the simple story impressed me as much as the very artful and clever use of digital desktop tech, used to make these stills into a film/video experience that still read like a film/video experience, and a good one.

Sorry, I suspect sleep deprivation is addling my rambling generators...

Keep on keepin on~

Friday, April 21, 2006


Since I took the night off from volleyball, I had the time to catch an unscheduled fest flick. "Unscheduled" here means not included in my fest "spreadsheet." (Originally I'd planned on catching CHALK, then motoring across town to get most of my league vball night in, so I didn't have a movie post-it'd in for Thursday night.)

I had a mess of options - BEFORE THE MUSIC DIES, WORDPLAY, COCAINE ANGEL, and IN BETWEEN DAYS. WORDPLAY was my top chioce, then DAYS... When I got out of CHALK I found out that MUSIC and WORDPLAY had already sold out of advance tickets, so there would only be rush tickets for those shows. DAYS and ANGEL still had advance seats for sale. For a while I lingered in the rush line with Nurse Jen for WORDPLAY, but as WORDPLAY's seating time got pushed by what I'm pretty sure must've been post-film Q&A from an earlier show going long, I ended up chickening out and opted to go with IN BETWEEN DAYS, what looked to be a quiet sad teen angsty film. Nurse Jen ended up catching COCAINE ANGEL w her fella. I'll hafta bug her for a quick review of that one.

IN BETWEEN DAYS is melancholy and heartbreaking. I think it'll help the movie experience if you make yourself mentally "ready" for that going in... able to watch and match its somewhat slow pace, which is, honestly, thin on action, and even dialogue. Be ready for the film equivalent of a teenage funk... with subtitles. =) Once you're at that level, it's a great experience of quiet teenage sadness... Felt a bit Christopher Doyle/Wong Kar Wai and Jarmuschy at times, only without the hip soundtracks.

Alas, no Cure song. At least, nowhere or when in a prominent way. Or did I completely miss it in a karaoke bar scene...? Frack...

Heartbreaking is exactly the word. Teenage unrequited love. Pretty universal, no? Two friends, adolescent teens, who do most everything together, and one is crushing hard on the other, and the other... well, he wants different things on different days. There's more dimension to the film than that, though. Nearly still scenes of the edge of the urban sprawl, accompanied by the girl's voice, from a phone call, or is it the spoken words of a letter, or simply her wished thoughts, to the father back in Korea who left her and her mother...


What I'm saying is. Well, if I actually had a heart. Yup. You guessed it. Broken.

The kid actors in it are perfect.

I heard some snickering remarks as the film let out, about the relationship between the kids - something about how it's a great friendship (between the Aimee and Tran, the girl and boy central to the story), if you're into not talking at all and connecting thru playstation games. They spoke as if they couldn't relate, but maybe younger people would, like it was a generational thing. A bit off the mark, in my opinion, but I can see how audiences might come away with that. I fear they may have been expecting something more typical "teen movie..."

Maybe it plays differently for me because of how I experience the dialogue. Although I have to rely on subtitling for meaning, I'm sorta familiar w the attitude and inflection behind the spoken Korean words as well.

Eh. Screw it. Those guys are dummies.


Me. I really loved it. It made me sad. Teeny/high school age/era/phase movies, done right, make me happy, even when they're sad, y'know?

By the way, both CHALK and IN BETWEEN DAYS are playing again. Check out the schedule and film blurbs for more info ticket availability.

The theater for this show wasn't even half full. I think maybe that it's just not gonna draw all that many viewers over the course of the festival. With that in mind, I rated it a 5 out of 5 to give it a bit of a boost.

The short film that preceded it, PERFECTION, starring Ming Na Wen (of SINGLE GUY and STREET FIGHTER, heh), was decent in concept, and solid in 90 percent of the execution. The film drops in every couple of years on the life of a Chinese girl, and then woman, growing up in the states dealing with the pressure to live up to certain expectations, to get everything in her life in order and on schedule. These scenes are set to music and intercut with an ongoing scene of the girl playing a game of Lakeside's Perfection (w the many uniquely shaped pieces you had to put in their slots before the timer ran out and the slots regurgitated their pieces - remember?)... Low-level clever. Shot well enough, stitched together well enough, but the resolution didn't work for me, tho. I gave it a 2.

Keep on keepin on~

Thursday, April 20, 2006

iffb 1 : CHALK

Hit the 5.30 show of CHALK (click for the trailer) along with the (mostly throwaway) short SAFETY FIRST at the Somerville Theater. Damn funny flick, w a touch of despair, but only a touch, and it's more than offset by much sweetness, even hope, AND a spelling "bee!"

Shot and cut in pseudo-documentary style (reminds me more of THE OFFICE than OFFICE SPACE), the film follows three high school teachers and a new assistant principal over the course of a school year at Harrison High School in suburban Texas. You know it's gonna be good when the first day of school is captioned on screen in countdown form - "33 weeks until summer vacation," heh.

Mr. Lowrey, first year history teacher, is a teaching newbie. He's trying this teaching thing out after dropping out of a career in programming. He has no professional experience in education, but aptitude exams pegged him as a promising teacher type... That, or a veterinary surgeon. Let's hear it for standardized testing!

His first day on the job goes considerably less than well. He will spend the rest of his year trying to win his students' respect (or at least the appearance of it).

Heh. Mr. Stroope is a third year history teacher, shooting to win the annual Teacher Of The Year award. How is he going to do this? By becoming best buds with his students. He explains that he's been told that there's a fine line between building a student-teacher friendship versus a student-teacher relationship...

He's been TOLD that, but apparently doesn't actually know where this line is.

P.E. instructor Miss Webb coaches Harrison High's Hornets volleyball team. Her best friend on the teaching staff, Mrs. Reddell, begins her new position as Assistant Principal this year. Coach Webb believes that her friend will be the ideal teacher advocate in administration, but finds the reality of the situation to be a bit different.

As Mrs. Reddell's new post takes over her life in and out of school, she finds herself losing touch with the practice of teaching, and at odds more and more with those whom one year ago, she considered her friends and colleagues.

The film mines these very true-to-life teaching scenarios for some hilarious laughs as well as hopeful moments of human connection.

The writers and director as well as several other creative co-conspriators have years of teaching in the U.S. public school system under their belts. Many of them, including writer/director Mike Akel, were present at this screening for Q&A after the film. They revealed, not surprisingly, that the characters were drawn from their real life colleagues. Of course, they admit, they've never TOLD those colleagues how they contributed to the film.

When asked about the intended impact of the film on current and prospective teachers, one of the writing team compared CHALK to the promotional films used by a Florida (I think) police force, for recruiting. They originally created films that would highlight the "coolness" factor of the job - detective work, firing guns, the respect that comes with the badge, donuts... But the police academy was dealing with record high drop-out rates among its recruits. They decided to shift gears with their promotional angle and dropped the "rah rah - hooray for the police" theme and instead shot straight documentary film with candid interviews of policemen on the job. Not turning away from the hazards of duty and the low pay. Resulting in stuff like, "You put on this badge, you are gonna be hated by a lot of people..." But also the real, lookin straight into the camera, cliched, but meaningful delivery of, "But at the end of the day, it's all worth it, knowing you've made a difference." Academy and job drop-out rates dropped significantly after this shift in POV.

The director, writers and the rest of the assembled team all agreed that this film is meant to be like that new recruiting film, portraying teaching as not simply a job, but also a calling.

That said, someone in the audience next asked Mike if he planned on returning to teaching after this filmmaking experience. Akel: "You just HAD to ask that, didn't you?" He replied - no. He hopes to continue in storytelling and filmmaking, and referred back to the notion of teaching as a calling, sorta sideways explaining that while he certainly enjoyed his teaching experience, teaching is not his calling.

CHALK plays again in the festival on Saturday at 3.30pm at the Somerville theater. Advance tix are sold out, so, unless you've got a festival pass, you'll hafta line up for rush tickets at 15 minutes before showtime. Definitely worth the trouble. And hey, if you don't get rush tickets to CHALK, you can probably score some for the DEADLY ENCOUNTERS short films package, or advance tix to an evening show, and kill the mean time dining and ice creaming in Davis Square. Nothing wrong w that.

If you've ever taught, or been taught, see this movie and laugh =)

Oh, rating the festival films...

At each IFFB screening the audience is given a ballot to rate the films on a scale of 1 to 5. Kinda tough rating the first film I see in a fest, y'know? I want to be able to rate up and down from this film over the next few days, so my instinct was to go with 3 as a benchmark. But CHALK had so many good comedic moments as well as great, solid, realistically frank performances from both teachers and students, well, I had to believe that five days from now I'd count it as one of the better films I'd seen. So, I gave CHALK a 4 out of 5. The short film SAFETY FIRST got itself a 2. It was good for a couple laughs, but overall, barely as satisfying as a mediocre WHOSE LINE IS IT ANYWAY? improv.

Keep on keepin on~

ten movies in 5 days...

Ten movies in five days... That doesn't sound so bad, does it...?

Dig my cray-ay-zee wuzzonXL analog spreadsheet app there... =)

I came up w a list of films I wanted to hit, post-it'ed them, and arranged and re-arranged til I found a near-optimal spread, allowing for travel time, large popcorns, and bathroom breaks. I eliminated a few that I really wanted to see because I figured they'd make it back to the big screen in wide release later in the year. My anchor/must-see screenings included all the shorts packages, both the After Dark offerings, and CHALK. Then I found best fits remaining gaps by time and location. Based on my spread, I went and picked up advance tickets last night for ten screenings. I have more than ten on my post-it-inerary, but I held off on a couple that I guessed wouldn't sell out too quickly. I'll be at the Somerville theater for most flicks, and that's where advance tix are available.

So, let me fill you in on the plan of attack, day by day... I'll rip off the IFFB blurbs for summaries and link to online trailers when I can find them - do check them out!


Thursday: Teachers, in an OFFICE SPACE-y way, and maybe crossword puzzlers, maybe a shiftless SLACKER-ly drug addict, maybe teenage angst...

I'm taking tomorrow night off from vball so that I don't hafta watch CHALK in my vball togs and race over to the gym at Newton South right after. Also, depending on how I'm feeling, and the crossover/timing of showtimes, I may pick up a ticket for a later evening show of COCAINE ANGEL, IN BETWEEN DAYS, or WORDPLAY, a documentary on the cult of the crossword, focusing on the annual crossword tournament held in Stamford, CT, and featuring interviews with a rainbow of crossword puzzler personalities, including Will Shortz, editor of the NYTimes crossword puzzle, Jon Stewart, Bill Clinton, Ken Burns, the Indigo Girls, and Mike Mussina.


Friday: Animated storytelling, Mamet, and Luc Besson's ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK PARIS...

In the late afternoon I'm hitting the ANIMATED JOURNEYS shorts package at the Coolidge, then back to Davis Square in the evening for William Macy and Joe Mantegna gettin their Mamet on in EDMOND, and finally, the late show of DISTRICT B13.

I'm super keen on soaking in some B13, a French action flick produced by Luc Besson, creator/director of THE PROFESSIONAL and FIFTH ELEMENT. Looks like some beautifully shot kickass martial arts and parkour runner action. Kinetic cinema with heart. I live for that stuff. =)


Saturday: 21st century mercs, modern undead living, a Poet in NYC, it's funny cuz it's not me, and samurai hyperaction...

SHADOW COMPANY is a documentary on the privatized military - modern day mercenaries, guns, and armies for hire, at war and in battle all over the world today. All five short films in the DEADLY ENCOUNTERS package offer dark thrills, but if I've gotta choose one of them to sell them all I have to go with ZOMBIE-AMERICAN, featuring DAILY SHOW correspondent Ed Helms as a living-impaired fellow trying to make his way in the world, just like anyone else, laughing, loving, unliving... THE LAST ROMANTIC follows the wanderings of an aspiring young poet thru the streets and subways of New York City. He is certain he can make his mark on the literary world, if only he could focus on writing instead of falling... in love with girls on the street, and asleep on park benches. That's right, it's my life story. Shhh... Don't tell anyone...

I follow that up with the COMIC AVENGERS shorts package. Out of this selection of seven funny films, I have to raise DARLING DARLING above the others for its quiet young star power. Michael Cera, George Michael Bluth of ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT, plays the polite "everyteen" who arrives at his prom date's home perhaps a bit too early. Made to wait for his gal, he is forced to make conversation with her bizarre father. A surefire recipe for painful laughs, no? =)

And what better way to chase all that stimulating celluloid down than with some calm and soothing... STYLIN SWORD-FIGHTIN MIDNIGHT MARTIAL ARTS MADNESS in DEATH TRANCE!!!! =)


Frack. Me tired. I'll just rattle off the last three flicks I had picked out for viewings now...

AMERICAN BLACKOUT, a documentary on the systematic, structural, disenfranchisement African-American voter population in the U.S. this century. Produced by the notorious Guerrilla News Network.

WORKINGMAN'S DEATH is a documentary on laborers around the world engaged five of the most hazardous and gruesome jobs possible in the 21st century.

GUATEMALAN HANDSHAKE... ummm... well... Just check out the trailer. I really can't explain.


Will try to get myself to leave some festival blog droppings each night, but with the ass-to-movie-theater-seat-molding pace I've set for myself, I can't make any promises.

Keep on keepin on~

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

"Would you tell Joanne that I'm gonna do a REAL dismount...?"

Apologies for the tease of a title. Alas, no, STICK IT is NOT premiering as part of the IFFB... That line/scene from the ads just won't stop floating to the surface of my so-called mind when I'm not paying attention.

It's just Wrong for me to even consider going to see that movie, isn't it?

Even if I am a huge fan of Jeff Bridges...?

Too bad Eliza Dushku isn't the lead in this. They could've just made it a prequel to BRING IT ON, eh?

Have you seen the ad? Or just that opening bit that I took the title/line from? Our bad girl/heroine does the little international hand sign for a telephone and speaks that line into it. Her friend halfway across the gym answers, and is about to relay her message to Joanne, when Joanne marches up to her, finger pointing, and cuts her off with, "PUT DOWN the phone!"

C'mon. That's some funny poop right there!

Yes, given the opp to go WITH someone, I'd see the movie.

Which means, most likely, I won't be seeing it...

O well~

Just had to get that out of my system. Carry on~


p.s. "It's not called gym-NICE-stics..."

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


The Independent Film Festival of Boston kicks off tomorrow (Wednesday) night at the Somerville Theater in Davis Square. The opening night flick is HALF NELSON, starring Ryan Gosling as a dynamic junior high school history teacher, balancing teaching excellence and student inspiration with longtime drug and alcohol addiction. Perfect recipe for a romantic comedy, no?

Heh. I kid, I kid. About the romantic comedy bit, I mean. Check out the blurb for the real low-down.

Note: When checking out the overall schedule at the festival site, I strongly recommend using the pulldown menu to sort your options! Also check out the IFFB content, clips, and trailers at

HALF NELSON kicks off six days of movie madness on screens at the MFA, the Brattle, the Coolidge, and the Somerville theaters. Movies include documentary and narrative features and shorts by the likes of Yuki Shimomura (VERSUS), Luc Besson (THE PROFESSIONAL), and the Brothers Quay (every other creepy music video featuring stop-motion animated miniatures, spasming raw meat, doll parts, and screws you've ever seen), and feature dramatic and comic performances from some little known actors looking to break in to the biz, y'know? William Macy, Jennie Garth, Joe Mantegna, Ryan Gosling, Ed Norton, David Morse (and he isn't an unexpected menacing baddie... or is he? =), Michael Cera (ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT), and Ed Helms (DAILY SHOW, BLACKBALLED). Also, workshops for filmmakers and cinephiles, as well as *conversations* with Chris Cooper and Lili Taylor!

I'm gonna pass on opening night. HALF NELSON looks very good, but I figure that it's gonna make it back to Bostonia in wide release, so I can wait it out and avoid opening night hooha, y'know? Besides, I'll probably need tomorrow night to button up a lot of work so that I can free myself to catch a dozen other movies in the following five days. =)

By my reckoning, CHALK looks to be the must-see of the feature films. Check out the description and decide for yourself that I'm right! =) I've already got my ticket for the Thursday night show (5.30pm) at Somerville. Anyone else want to check it out? It's also playing on Saturday at 3.30.

As of this evening, most films still have at least one showtime (almost all films and shorts packages play at twice over the course of the fest) with advance tickets available for purchase online. Note that even after advance tix have sold out, a decent number of "rush tickets" are available at the venues 15 minutes before showtime.

I'm planning on catching each of the three shorts packages, both "After Dark" offerings - DISTRICT B13 on Friday and DEATH TRANCE on Saturday - and a number of documentaries that promise to anger, frustrate, and educate me on how far from ideal the world is - AMERICAN BLACKOUT, WORKINGMAN'S DEATH, and SHADOW COMPANY. Good times!~

But hey! Keep in mind that the non-fiction pickins are not all so political or such potential downers. That's just me lookin for trouble. There look to be some excellent documentaries on the arts, with films about queer voices in modern Hip-Hop (PICK UP THE MIC), subway station troubadors (DOWNTOWN LOCALS), the Pixies (loudQUIETloud), and Mission Of Burma (NOT A PICTURE), as well as a half dozen legendary grafitti artists (INFAMY).

If you're finding something you're into, but no one to share your popcorn with, feel free to hit me with an email or call and I'll see if I can shoehorn another show into my festival itinerary. =)

Keep on keepin on~

Monday, April 17, 2006

scientology and telepathy...

Oh, Katie. What have they done to you?

Sad, F'd up news. But all from Tom's mouth, right? Sweet photo caption, tho. I don't see any denial of the actual *purchase* of the "adult pacifier?!" Just that it's not gonna be used in childbirth...

Okay, maybe I don't want to know any more about that...

If only Tom didn't make movies I actually like...

Or, rather, if only he'd just... y'know... not be feckin CRAYzay...

Frack. More press on him and Katie is gonna bring the "stress testers" out in strength this summer. They set up downtown in Boston by the Common and over by the Pru, sucker you in with a free "stress test." You say "yes" to enough questions, you'll end up back on Beacon street at their church filling out a personality survey and watching promotional videos for dianetics...

I wonder if Phillip Seymour is gonna hafta go mano-a-mano w TC in MI3. I mean, he's an incredible actor, but unless he's outfitted w a harness that converts thespian energy into martial arts skills, I don't know that I'm gonna be able to buy that. He'll hafta be more the mastermind type, right?

So perhaps it'll be Phillips Seymour's henchman, Simon Pegg, who takes on the Mad Scientologist...? We know he's got the skillz...

I haven't been following any behind-the-scenes-ness of MI3 in production or ramping up to release, but I've read that Simon Pegg is in it (don't know who/what he's playing). Hrmm... I guess I can see him as one of the MI team specialists more than a baddie. Still, would be grand to see him take on Cruise. He's one damn talented and versatile nerd.

Thanks to Joe for the Cruise news, and designfemme and Bruno for the video links. Keep your eyes open, or sign up for an alert at Amazon, for the next DVD release of SPACED, the Brit series created by and featuring Simon SHAUN OF THE DEAD Pegg, and many of the DEAD troupe. It's SPACED that features this demonstration of the "biological connection between male psyches," which ultimately leads to this beautiful massacre.


Good crack.

Sometime while skippin about the internetz last week, I noticed for the first time that J.J. Abrams (of FELICITY, ALIAS, and LOST fame) is in on the creative end of MI3? Wack. Maybe having Pegg take Cruise out with virtual weapons conjured up by male telepathy isn't so far-fetched...? =)

Keep on keepin on~

Sunday, April 16, 2006

and on the third day...

So, for two days, was he, like... FAKING it?

A Happy Easter out to all my marshmallow peeps! Hooray for transubstantiation!

Keep on keepin on~

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Thank you, Easter Bunny...

I've been meaning to, really wanting to, pass a fresh blog, but it's just not a-comin...

I'm making an effort to add roughage to the diet and all, but still... nada.

I'm oversharing, pardon.

In the meantime, I shall cheat a bit and distract you with some brilliant holiday funnin =)

Thanks to Jim for passing this joy along!

Keep on keepin on~

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


Run Windows (if you have to) on the new Macs!

Not one of the many boot hacks which appleHeads have been creating on their own since the CoreDuo Macs were announced and released into the wild, but a real and true Apple-blessed product.


Apple's Boot Camp is supposed to come with a very comprehensive load of Windows compatible drivers for Apple's hardware. Can you imagine turning a Mac Mini into your gaming machine? How frickin sleek and cool is that?

The one thing it doesn't have is a magic wand to turn Apple's one-button mousepad into a two (or more) button one. O well~

Gotta fess up - I've been lovin my new MacBook Pro for three weeks now. Not doing anything all that challenging, creative, or spectacular with it... mostly taking it to and from the office to get work done, nevertheless, just loving HAVING it. =)

It was delivered to Rowan's office (couldn't be sure it would be safely handled if delivered to our building while we weren't home) four weeks ago. I told him to keep it at his office for a week, lest it totally distract me from a crunch week of work at the office. I was ready to tell him to hold it hostage another week when my friend Jessie berated me for such foolishness.

So, three Mondays ago, I quietly booted up the new book for the first time. Sweet. I couldn't successfully auto-transfer all my media (pics, movies, and music) and settings from my old Titanium during set-up (the new Mac didn't recognize the old as having a compatible OSX installed - I did only have up to 10.2.x on it, foo), but since have managed to move them "manually" just fine. The new iPhoto and iTunes found and assimilated my old directories without a problem, and boy howdy am I pleased with how zippy iPhoto is with my many thousands of photos!

I have no games to play. I have no 3d modelling or animation software that will run on this yet. Alas, I have no windowsXP to run using the Boot Camp I don't have to play all the PC first-person-shooters I haven't bought...



Still, I'm very happy to have a kickass mac on my side again. My old Titanium hasn't been mothballed yet, as I'm in the process of sifting thru and transferring files piecemeal when I set aside the time. Jeff suggested that I hunt down an identical Titanium on eBay to buy for a replacement case. All the internal components seem to function properly in mine, but imperfections in the damaged case lead to some kind of connection and/or contact failures between them.

I'm trying to keep spending down for a while, in light of the recent trunks of quatloos I dropped on the new Mac, some Serious repairs on my Saturn, and the imminent home purchase, so it may be a while before I find a suitable donor...

When I feel like I can spend a bit on it again, I'm definitely gonna take steps to get the Titanium back into stable travelling form. That little droid and I have been through a lot together.

Thanks to Joe and Jeff for all the Apple sauce.

Keep on keepin on~

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

daylight (Cambridge) savings & DEGRASSI...

And I thought setting my clock-radio ahead was a pain in the bum...!

Heh, truth be told, I still haven't daylight saved the clock in my room or in my car.

Do farmers really still need this hour adjustment in this day and age? Or rather, do the big agro robots require having their internal chronometers tampered with like this?

What were you doing when you jumped forward in time this year?

Me, I lost my hour somewhen in a marathon of DEGRASSI JUNIOR HIGH episodes late Saturday night. Paris Jen and I finished off the final disk of season 3, with central plots following Wheels's quest for his biological dad, trippin on acid (it's bad for you), and the pairing up of most of the kids of Degrassi Street for the graduation dance.

This was one of the dvd boxed sets I plucked from the gnarled hands of the still-warm corpse of Suncoast Video at the CambridgeSide Galleria. I'm so glad I gave in to the sale price impulse buy! DEGRASSI really is such amazing mealy-mouthed, awkward stage, eighth grade melodrama goodness! If you were or are a fan of any of the Fox or WB teenybopper dramas, or the N's primetime line-up (which I have yet to experience in more than random one episode bites), or even the old Tnbc line-up, I highly recommend you go back and soak in some original, old-school, DEGRASSI action. Those modern shows, whether they know it or not, are all bastard children of Kit Hood and the Playing With Time workshop, the troupe who created DEGRASSI.

I think the only shows I've ever experienced that could be true and worthy heirs to DEGRASSI's goodness are MY SO-CALLED LIFE and FREAKS AND GEEKS. Of course, being too good for this American television world, both were taken from us too soon, smothered in their primetime network cribs.

How are you gonna keep me distracted from the crap you're trying to pull if you don't give me my drugs?

Oh... You're already pulling it. Guess the drugs did their job.


Keep on keepin on~