June 21, 2003

HULK

hulkThe first 30 minutes of this movie are punishingly boring. Finally the Hulk appears 44 minutes into the film. The Hulk-out sequences are fantastic, but those scenes are buried in a overly brainy and symbolic lost-father nature-versus-nurture Oedipal mess. The movie was so deep I felt like seeing Armageddon afterwards to let my brain rest.
Theater Notes: My brother and I saw this, appropriately, on the Green Monster screen at AMC Fenway. A woman had brought her infant with her, and she sat three-quarters of the way back, in the middle of her row. How do I know this? Because when the baby started crying, she had to stand up, excuse herself down her entire row, walk all the way down to the front of the theater, and then U-turn and walk out the exit tunnel to the lobby. This crying-baby adventure took maybe 30 seconds. When the baby was calmed down, she returned, but then later on, she repeated the whole trip again when the baby cried again. We have a social covenant 21st century society: if you have infant children, you cannot take them to the movies. Period. Either rent a DVD or pay for a sitter. Period. The rest of us in the theater paid $10 to watch a 2 hour movie with adults in complete silence. I occasionally will see an animated movie or a Harry Potter film where parents bring their young children, children who haven't quite got the "no talking" rule down yet. This drives me nuts too, but at least the children are there for the movie, not crying in the arms of a parent who thinks parenting rules don't apply to them.

June 19, 2003

Bram Stoker's Dracula

I have always been a fan of this Dracula movie- I love the all-star cast, the melodramatic romance, then old-fashioned special effects, and the lurid color scheme. I like Gary Oldman in just about everything (see below), Winona Ryder is very close to my heart, and Keanu is just brilliantly miscast.(Brattle Theater)

ALSO by Gary Oldman on STUB HUBBY:

081 The Borelli Mix

Named after a work colleague who loaned me some CDs...or I borrowed them from his desk without asking, I forget! I think I started with placing "Heavy Metal Drummer" and "1979" next to each other and grew the mix from there.
  1. "Rebecca" Pat McGee Band; a complete throwback to the days of Mellow Gold and Yacht Rock.
  2. "Grey Street" Dave Matthews Band, from the oft-bootlegged Lillywhite Sessions that preceded the release of the album Everyday
  3. "Spooky Girlfriend" Elvis Costello
  4. "Huffer" In 2002 I was so happy that The Breeders released a new album I didn't notice it wasn't very good right away.
  5. "Hate to Say I Told You So" The Hives
  6. "Ride" Liz Phair
  7. "Two Of Us" Aimee Mann & Michael Penn; it's great hearing a real-life couple sing this duet. The original Paul and John duet always felt like it was written for Paul to sing with his wife Linda?
  8. "La Cienega Just Smiled" Ryan Adams
  9. "She Cries Your Name" Beth Orton
  10. "Not The Same" Ben Folds
  11. "Baby Seat" Barenaked Ladies
  12. "Stage Fright" The Band
  13. "My Old Friend" John Hiatt and Bruce Springsteen are contemporaries, and Hiatt has recorded in many rock styles, but this song sounds especially Springsteen-ian.
  14. "Sodajerk" Buffalo Tom
  15. "Heavy Metal Drummer" Wilco
  16. "1979" Smashing Pumpkins
  17. "The Bends" Radiohead: There are Beatles fans and Elvis fans, Wilma fans and Betty fans, and Bends fans and OK Computer fans. You can like both, but everyone likes one more than the other. I am a Bends fan.
  18. "Out There" Blake Babies
  19. "Rolling Down The Hill" The Rembrandts; Rolling down, indeed! This mix totally sputters to a halt; I never should have forced this song in here.
  20. "You Don't Know Me" Tracy Bonham

June 13, 2003

The Italian Job

Pretty sure this voids your manufacturer's warranty.
Check your owner's manual for details.
If you ignore the impossibility of carrying $27 million in gold in three Mini Coopers, you'll have fun in this slick, easygoing caper.

Theater Note: This was my last-time-ever visit to Showcase Cinemas Revere. My friend Paris and I had to leave the screening 5 minutes into the film, because a group of young women would not stop talking. When I loudly shushed them, the alpha dog replied "Don't you be shushin' me!" Of course, in a world where justice prevails, they'd be the ones who'd be forced to leave. Instead, Paris and I walked out, complained at the service desk, and got tickets for the next show. Unfortunately, the next screening was at 12:55 a.m., so we were at the theater into the wee hours of the dawn. Never again!

Nine Years Later: 2012 DVD Re-Review: I've seen bits and pieces of this movie on cable (it's the new Shawshank Redemption of basic cable), and enjoyed the empty calories, so I bought it at a yard sale for a dollar. Still a fun, slick, and inconsequential ride. Tight script, with a nice twist at the end of the second act, and the threat of the third party (Ukranian mobsters) was well crafted- similar to the presence of the FBI in The Sting.
I was surprised how mild the movie was. It's a PG-13 movie, so the language is required to be soft, but there's also very little violence. Two men get shot, but there's no blood. Also, happy to see no sex scene with Charlize Theron. She's in her underwear twice, both totally gratuitously, but no sex. I appreciated that Jason Statham's "Handsome Rob" does not sexualize her- instead, he doesn't trust her on the team from the very beginning, which was a nice reversal.Two Thursday-night comedy actors in bit parts: Scott Adsit (30 Rock) as a broke actor prepping for an audition while waiting for a red light; and Oscar Nunez (The Office) in a non-comedic role as a security guard.
The other impossibility? Surviving the truck crash into freezing water. There is zero chance of our gang staying submerged for a minute or two in that water, crawling out onto the shore, hitching a ride, and NOT dying of hypothermia. Didn't we all just see Titanic?
The music score is very turn-of-the-millennium. I was also amused at the title sequence- weren't title sequences passe even in 2003?
 The Italian Job official website is still live, and worth a peek for the 2003 nostalgia value. Also available as a No-Flash Version.

June 8, 2003

Bruce Almighty

bruceI laughed more during the opening credit sequence than I do in most other comedies altogether. Beyond the first half, a pretty pedestrian movie. Essentially a rewrite of Liar Liar, which I also enjoyed. (AMC Fenway)