Thursday, December 22, 2005



Must Love Dogs
is a pleasant, romantic comedy about dating again after divorce.

In Hollywood, the word is, you got to keep the lovers apart till the end of the movie. Well, the contrivances that keep them apart are all too evident. In fact, the plot is full of contrivances.

The leads (
Diane Lane and John Cusack) are fun and good looking, the supporting cast is just right, the jokes and set-pieces are funny and entertaining. Except for those artificial plot elements, it's an enjoyable piece of fluff.

Sunday, December 18, 2005



My flick -- in the form of a VLOG post (VLOG = Video web LOG) -- for this month's Quick Flick World theme, "Contradictions," will be shown tonight at the QFW party at Verlaine -- 110 Rivington St (btw Ludlow & Essex) in Manhattan. Doors open at 7:00.

My video is about 2 min long. Lots of other short films on this month's theme (Contradictions) and last month's theme (Bad Habits) will also be presented.

Friday, December 16, 2005



The Island
is a good action movie that would be fun to watch on a high-def TV screen late at night -- with a spicy snack, some salty popcorn and a drink.

Scarlett Johansson and Ewan McGregor
make attractive leads, the action sequences are terrific, and the look is creative and intriguing.

The basic premise -- human looking robots (actually cyborgs) with brains -- is a theme that will become ever more important as robots (actually cyborgs) become more and more intelligent and human-like. (Note: I've been writing a film with this premise myself.) Unfortunately, very little is done dramatically with this issue here.

The most dramatic note on this topic actually comes in the director's commentary on the DVD, when he claims someone is flying around the world in his private jet with a young man aboard whose role is to be available in case his heart is needed to be "donated" for a transplant.

The basic premise could be interesting, also, as a detective story, with Ewan trying to understand his life. Unfortunately, due to the realities of marketing, anyone who comes to see the film has seen the previews, and anyone who has seen the previews knows enough to destroy the suspense.

As a midnight B-movie, the simple story is very effective: Find out who I am; Escape; Find a good guy to help me; Get the bad guys.

As a major motion picture that's not enough. In particular, the basic character-driven story between the two major leads is "missing in action". With nothing dramatic in the script to act, the two leads are not able to do anything except run and shoot.

Except that at the end they finally kiss, for the first time in their "lives", giving rise to the best line in the movie, when Ewan says, "That tongue thing is amazing!"

From the commentary on the DVD, it is clear how much pride the director, Michael Bay, takes in the action sequences. It is also clear, by omission, how little attention was paid to creating a dramatically intense film.

The title of the movie is also a bit misleading to the audience I think. I, for one, expected kind of a romantic action movie taking place on a beautiful island, and I found it somewhat disappointing that the island has a rather different role in this movie. Were this a dramatic film instead of an action movie, "The Island" would have been a very elegant choice for the title.

It's kind of an opportunity missed: this could have been a great film. But it's still quite a good action flick.

Monday, December 12, 2005



I expected a disturbingly cruel and brutal movie.

Kingdom of Heaven is actually a kinder, gentler version of the Crusades. (Of course, there is a lot of ketchup splashed around, but cruelty and violence is not the point.) It preaches tolerance. And it suggests that the West can overextend itself in the Middle East by waging unnecessary and unwise military operations.



Rodney Hakim has organized a public do-it-ourselves reading of William Shakespeare's A MidSummer Night's Dream at the Barnes & Noble in Carle Place on Monday, December 26, 2005.

Everyone is welcome. Just show up and you can read a part or just listen. No experience is necessary.

Monday, December 26, 2005 @ 7:30pm

Where: Barnes & Noble Bookstore
Country Glen Center, 91 Old Country Rd
Carle Place, NY 11514
(516) 741-9850
(same complex as Tower Records, across the way from Roosevelt Field Mall)

Meet at the second floor window.

For more information, check the website -- you can contact director Rodney Hakim from that site.

Sounds like a great event!

Friday, December 09, 2005



In the Business Week (Dec 12, 2005) cover story on the "The MySpace Generation, " author Jessi Hempel coined (or reported) the new term "Generation @" to designate the generation that has grown up with the Internet, and for whom it is ubiquitous.



Here is a sampler of film festival websites:





We have several earlier posts on film festivals and their websites, particularly:

Features of a World-class Film Festival Website and
Covering a Film Festival

Thursday, December 08, 2005



According to an item that ran on
AOL LIVING, five of the healthiest foods are: tomatoes (preferably cooked), blueberries, broccoli, sweet potatoes (not yams), and kale.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


2005-12-06 -- NEW DVD RELEASES

Fantastic 4
(PG-13) -- More superheros.

Cinderella Man (PG-13) -- Russell Crowe as heavyweight boxer Jim Braddock.

The Dukes Of Hazzard (PG-13) -- The movie version (with Jessica Simpson) of the TV series.

24: Season Four (Not Rated) -- The TV version of the TV show.

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