Tuesday, July 27, 2010

BTIES: INCEPTION: the infographic

A frickin wonderful visualization of the climax mission from the film, created by Dehahs at deviantart.

Keep on dreamin on~

Monday, July 26, 2010

MAD MEN: We're a family company...

4x01: "Public Relations"

Some late night rambling on the return of MAD MEN...

I hafta admit, it took a little time to get in step w the show's return, one year later and all. It's still its dark and dirty self, but didn't seem quite the smokey candy that I couldn't get enough of for three years. I think it may be the visuals, the aesthetics, on approach to the 70s, or perhaps it's the trappings of an upstart startup in Manhattan, or really, all of the above. It's just not so lush anymore.

The opening minutes were really strong. "Who is Don Draper?" I'm not even sure that's important anymore in my mind, but it has been a fulcrum on which much of the show has tottered at times. I thought his dodges were very fitting and true but also felt right away that it was an opportunity lost. On another level, I thought another opportunity missed when it was only revealed after the interview that the interviewer had lost his leg in the Korean War. That fact could have been an opening for Don, if not to open up more himself, then to question the questioner some, about the experience of war, motivations, wounds, things and people lost, and offer some truths couched in chit-chat. But not.

Still, I did find the beat again. And it felt very much like the first episode I saw, in a meta-way, following Don down this one path, and in the last three minutes, having him zig and zag onto another in a completely different direction. A perspective change. And one I appreciate for its simple slickness, cuz the story he tells to the Post interviewer is the story we watched begin at the end of last season. And it IS a perfect way to promote the company, just like Glo-Coat. It's a story that sells a product.

Some quick takes on characters. I like Betty even less. Don makes me a little bit sad. It was the Thanksgiving-in-bed scene that did it. I do still like my Peggy. Gotta say, her comment to Don, about how "All anyone wants to do is please you," doesn't sit quite right with me. She's spoken that supposed truth before, right? And it's... I dunno. Maybe it's true, but having her say it almost breaks the spell of the show somehow.

I really enjoyed the "John" and "Marsha" but between Peggy and whatzhishead. Can anyone tell me what that's originally from? I feel like I'm familiar with it thru Looney Toons riffs on it, and maybe some 70s sitcom references. =)

I was a little disappointed that her call about the bail money wasn't on her own behalf, hoping for more to be built upon or revealed about their most unlikely sameness and trust. I LOVE the shadowy connection between Don and Peggy, y'know? That they are in on each other's dark sides. More of Peggy's than Don's, of course—Peggy's child vs. Don's car accident with the comedian's wife.

I really DID like the post-bail-drop-in debriefing, tho. When Don asks her "Since when do you have a fiance?" and he breaks down her strategy of bringing him along to his door, and she is almost deflated by her transparency, but finds a silver lining—"Shows I'm thinking ahead, tho!"—which Don then unravels with a few additional words.

Seeing Don's ad for "Glo-Coat" or whatever it was, and seeing him see it, was very cool. The idea that the KIND of ad that it is is Something New at the time is a wonderful thing. Of course, Don is exactly the right man to conceive of such a thing. Drawing on romantic elements of childhood, his appreciation of movies, and his talent for setting and controlling perspective, he creates a short film that happens to be a commercial. Frankly, if I could be in that position, it's what I would try to do every chance I got—do what I want to do, make what I want to make, and have it be in the service of a client.

The Jantzen account was very interesting. Don used it to draw a line in the sand for himself, for creative in general, and perhaps for the direction of the new firm. The client is drawn to him because of his approach and success with Glo-Coat, but of course brings its own, unfortunately impractical, self-image to the table. Jantzen considers itself a "family company," reflected in their reps' prudish attitude toward the visuals and even the language of their product and the advertising of its competitors. The competition sells bikinis. They sell two-pieces.

When Don comes back with what he believes to be a clever and "demure" approach to selling bikinis—an attractive young woman in a bikini, but with the top covered by a black censor bar with the copy "So well built we can't show you the second floor"—the client balks. It's too racy, even "dirty." It's almost an intervention, to get the client to open their eyes to the realities of their product and the only sensible way to treat it and a sophisticated, if cheeky, way to sell it. When Don tries to snap them out of it, he gives it to them straight, saying something like "A two-piece is only a swimsuit and not underwear because of a slightly different design or material and a gentleman's agreement." Anyone who's had to deal with a client's preconceptions and prejudices in a creative endeavor has GOT to appreciate this scene. =)

On the home front, after a meeting with his attorney (or was it accountant?) he puts his foot down in regards to Betty's freeloading non-claim to their once-shared homestead, for which Don pays completely. It feels like both stands, with the client and with Betty, were driven by the same momentum.

Only once does the word "divorced" come up in the show and its from the lips of a college grad and gymnast (was she the preacher's wife in TRUE BLOOD last season?) that Sterling's daughter has set him up with.

Keep on keepin on~

* July 26. Paris Jen and the interwebz set me straight on the origin of "John and Marsha."

* August 24. KB and the wide world of webs clue me into "John and Marsha" used in advertising.

Yeah, I'm Olde, but not That Olde! I'm pretty certain I first encountered this almost vaudevillian meme in one or a few Warner Brothers Loonie Toons and/or maybe a Woody Woodpecker cartoon.

Friday, July 23, 2010


Another nerdfest, another trailer... (premiered at Comic-Con =)

site | trailer

Keep on keepin on~

Monday, July 19, 2010

[REC]2 tonight at the Brattle! (and more Goodness coming soon =)

I feel compelled to inform anyone and everyone that tonight is the last screening of Spanish hyper-horror-flick [REC]2 and I *highly* recommend it for fans of fast-paced fright fests! It plays at 10pm at the Brattle Theater in Harvard Square. It is the follow-up to [REC], which was remade in the U.S. as QUARANTINE, and if you've seen either, you're more than ready to take on the sequel, which begins right were the first one ends. And if you haven't seen the first film, I think it's worth it to see the second one first in the theater and then go back for the original on DVD or whatnot. It is some wonderfully harrowing spam-in-a-cabin horroriffic fun! =)

Check the Brattle listing for more...

Also, check out the schedule for the Monday and Tuesday night noir series currently running as well as the "Best of the Oughts" that will be playing Wednesday thru Friday. And this weekend—a 25th anniversary screening of PEE-WEE'S BIG ADVENTURE, along with the BACK TO THE FUTURE trilogy!

And over in Brookline, at the Coolidge Corner Theater... As part of their "End Is Nigh" series of apocalyptic and post-apocalypse films—it's SIX STRING SAMURAI! In an alternate 1957 in which the Russians win the Cold War with the nuclear option, Buddy, a guitar-wielding samurai, traverses the badlands to take up the mantle of the fallen King... Elvis. A wonderful riff on the post-apoc archetype with some charismatic villains, and kick-ass licks and kicks. Give it a looksee, and let me know if you want a spotter. Plays at midnight on Friday and Saturday!

Keep on keepin on~

p.s. And in the mainer stream... DO NOT MISS INCEPTION! This gorgeous, clever, intense, scifi thriller is an amazing ride, and SO worth a big-screen experience! Also, if anyone wants a buddy for PREDATORS, I'm keen to see that and haven't been able to yet.

p.p.s. For a quieter but no less menacing thriller, *PLEASE* SEE WINTER'S BONE. Set in the Ozarks, when a man who works for the drug dealing underworld of the region puts his home up against his bond to get bailed out of jail, his teenage daughter sets out to find him. If he misses his court appearance, she, her ailing mother, and her two younger siblings will lose their home. Her search takes her into the dark heart of this unexpected rural gangland community.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

TOY STORY 3: Pixar, stop making me cry!

site | trailer

Just a few words—beautiful, wonderful, sweet, dark, charming, genre-palooza. Pixar does it again! And I know this is random, but seeing it just so struck me—they perfectly animated a SEAT BELT!

Preceded by "Night And Day," an ingenious little short that cleverly combines old school 2-d charcters with cutting edge 3-d environments (in a way you would never think) to conjure up some more of that Pixar magic.

Keep on keepin on~

p.s. Pixar, don't stop.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

DOCTOR WHO: I [heart] Amelia Pond

As part of my LOST recovery program, I've been catching up on the newest season of DOCTOR WHO, via onDemand, or inDemand, or whatever it is. Matt Smith as the Doctor took a little getting used to, but I've quickly come to like his take on Doctor-ness. I sometimes see a little DR. HORRIBLE in him, and would *love* for an American Who (as unnecessary as that is—they tried it a few years back tho, didn't they?) to be played by Doogie. Or maybe Desmond. =)

I kind of adore Amy Pond, altho I do agree with the Doctor that she should've kept on with "Amelia," much more of a... fantastic ring to it, y'know. My biggest problem with the new episodes is the odd, somehow uneven and Who-inconsistent, maybe even careless, writing. I just knocked off the Angels (of "The Angels Have The Phone Box") two-parter and while I love the return of their brand of menace, I'm annoyed with the apparent re-writing of their capabilities. They were perfect assassins in "Blink," who would be quantum-locked or whatever once they were observed by any other creature, but unobserved, could move and act freely. Their MO—a touch would sap their quarry of temporal energy (or something), providing sustenance for them and at the same time sending their unknowing victim backwards in the time stream. A very nichey, simple, and wonderful concept. There's no mention of time-shunting being the fate of the Angels' victims, a fate that allows for some great "Easter eggy" possibilities for warnings and messages from the past (a la "Blink"). Lost opportunities. Now, tho, they're also capable of RING-like propagation—anything that sees them eventually becomes one of them. Or wait, is it that anything that sees one of them becomes a statue? I mean, what was happening to Amy, would she have BECOME an Angel assassin or an inert stone statue?

I hafta say, I *like* RINGU / THE RING, and RING-ness for a good scare. Really, tho, such a spin could've been saved for use as an aspeect of an *all-new* Who threat. Did NOT have to crowbar it into an already elegant menace. Bleah. So unnecessary and annoyingly inconsistent.

On the other hand, the "return" of River Song is kind of fun, especially given the crap place we "last" saw her. Is she human? Long-lived? Something else? And I like the cracks in time. Sort of Bad Wolfy meets CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS. Do the places the Doctor and Amy visit end up beign consumed by these cracks? Is spacetime disappearing behind them?

The revelation of a busted-up TARDIS is pretty frickin heavy. Inspires a hope that the Doctor has to face himself, or a possible future self, gone desperate or dark, in an upcoming episode or finale.

Poor Rory. Did the Doctor HAVE to pick up another bride-to-be?

Still... All-in-all, I am digging the fun.

Keep on keepin on~

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

BTIES: LOUIE is Something Special

Tonight I watched the first two eps of LOUIE, the fauxto-biographical half hour on FX starring, created, written, and edited by comedic genius Louis C. K.. It's like... geez, I don't know what it's like... maybe... ALWAYS SUNNY meets TAXI... crass, sad, uncomfortable, true, hilarious, and heartfelt. It is wonderful. WATCH IT!

Really. I wish I could find a clip of the opening credits. As soon as the sequence started, I really could see that it would be Something Special, a realization of a unique and entertaining vision, 22 minutes at a time.

Have a look at the promo...

...and keep your DVR tuned to grab some episodes!

Keep on keepin on~

Thursday, July 01, 2010

BTIES: "Hey, Apple!"

Okay. I was reluctant to commit to giving this BTIES status... After watching the first one (see above), I knew it was something special. Just wasn't certain what KIND of special, y'know? But, after watching Annoying O take on RINGU (aka THE RING), I give. =)

Thanks to JG (and his son, actually) for annoying the heck out of me. =)

Keep on keepin on~


Off to motherf@ckin' Iscandar for some motherf@ckin cosmic DNA, motherf@ckers!

THANKS to Zorky for the headzup!

Keep on wave motion gunnin' on~