Before George Romero, (with a nod towards Richard Matheson’s 1954 sci-fi novel “I Am Legend”) zombies were
just bit (no pun intended) players in the horror genre, inert, usually
voodooized automatons that with few exceptions (i.e, Jaques Tourneur’s “I Walked
With a Zombie”(1943), scheduled for a 2009 remake left little impression.
Friends and family said farewell to Heath Ledger in a
private memorial and funeral service in his hometown of Perth, Australia,
over the weekend. Most of us will remember him for his consummate performance
as the repressed ranchhand suffering an unfulfiiled lifelong love affair with a fellow cowpoke
in Ang Lee’s "Brokeback
Much like a Mungiu movie, my conversation last time ended in
the middle of something unfinished. We
were discussing a dinner scene in “4
Months 3 Weeks and 2 Days” in which the protagonist, Otilia, is stuck at a
torturous dinner party with her boyfriend’s crass bourgeois parents at a time
when she would much prefer to be somewhere else, however awful.
through the Ceacescu dictatorship, Cristian Mungiu probably finds the stupidity
of the Motion Picture Academy’s Foreign Language committee a minor nuisance. Nominated
by Romania as its candidate for the Best Foreign Language film, his “4 Months,
3 Weeks and 2 Days,” a stark, subtle and devastating depiction of
the travails of two young women seeking a solution in a society in which
abortion has been criminalized, was totally ignored by whoever the clowns are
that make that determination.
It turns out
I wasn’t the only one with
this brilliant insight, but viewers last weekend had a tough call:
which would be the funnier parody, “Meet the Spartans” or “Rambo?” I haven’t seen the
former except for the trailer, and I must say the guy playing the faux Rambo
looks a lot more human than does Sylvester
Stallone in his movie.
A few days have passed and I can finally take another look at what became of my Oscar nomination predictions. At first I thought that I had 25 right, beating last year’s miserable score of 24, out of 30. But no, I missed Cate Blanchett in “Elizabeth: the Golden Age” beating out Angelina Jolie in “A Mighty Heart.?xml:namespace>
first impression I had of Heath Ledger when he entered the room for his “Brokeback Mountain” interview three years ago was
how small and fragile he looked. Nothing like the hot-blooded warrior of “The
Patriot” or the bungling jouster of “A Knight’s Tale” or
even the character he played in “Brokeback,” that
laconic, lean and secretly gay cowpoke who kicks the asses of a trio of drunks
harassing his family.
With Daniel Day Lewis’s Golden Globe win and a per-screen b.o. average over $14,000
and even Republican presidential candidate John McCain taking a break from
campaigning in South Carolina to watch the movie, “There Will Be Blood”’s tagline “I drink your milkshake” seems destined to become a pop cultural
mantra, if not a new campaign slogan.
I saw “Cloverfield” last night and since other websites that will remain nameless have long since seen and reviewed the film Ihave no qualms about breaking the embargo and
showing these images of the mystery monster:
Add “zeitgeist” to the list.
I’ve been at my wits end trying to avoid resorting to it as I
write my annual Oscar Nomination prediction story/folly. But nobody said
kicking the habit would be easy. Maybe I need a cliché patch. At least there’s
still “weltschmerz” and “schadenfreude.”
Speaking of the “z” word, I never knew the National Society of
Film Critics (of which I am a member) to tap into it with their annual choice
of Best Picture.
Some additions to the list:
“testosterone soaked” Thanks to Scott Hamrah for the heads up on this. Also "testosterone fueled."
and “meets” -- a phrase which,
in the interest of full disclosure (and maybe we should include “in the
interests of full disclosure” on the list), I am personally guilty of using (“Chalk:”
“’Election’ meets ‘The Office’”), as pointed out by the diligent people at
Since health or behaviorally related resolutions at this point in
my life are probably futile, I’ll take the opportunity of the New Year to
resolve to improve my writing style as a film critic. Such as not mixing up
names (see below). Well, good luck on that. Maybe I’ll start on something a bit
more doable, like cutting down on
modifiers and eliminating clichés and
mannerisms, or at least the ones listed below.