Strange things are afoot at the Circle K...

Well, not really. I just had that line stuck in my head for some reason. So what's going on you ask? OK, I know you didn't ask. Just play along.

Well, I jetted home for Easter, and stayed in the flatlands for all of about 24 hours. Short, yes, but it was nice to see the folks and the puppy. I miss Joliet sometimes, even though most of my friends from there have moved. I don't miss it enough to want to move back there just cuz I'm homesick, but when I go, it feels like home. That's good enough for me.

The folks talked about going to Maui next May. They're so nice to me.

I've been slacking in my movie watching. Outside of Ring Two, I really haven't seen much. Sin City comes out this Friday, and I am there. It's been a while since I've been so excited to see a movie, probably Incredibles was the last major major release for me. Elektra and Spanglish come out on DVD next week, and I'll probably see both of those, but for reasons I'm not entirely sure of.

I had my review today at work, and Jim just basically told me stuff I already know, like the store needs to make more money. Yeah, I get that. I think he was just trying to kick me a swift kick in the ass to get me motivated. Not in a bad way, but he wants me to succeed. Jim is a genuine guy, and I believe what he says. Such was not the case with certain previous DMs that shall not be named herein. So now I can give Will and Jessie their reviews, and hopefully Jess will get off my back about it.

Watched Orgazmo on DVD tonight with Kelsey, finally. I haven't watched the special features yet, but just having this movie on disc would be enough for me. Now we just need to get Brian and Beau into their costumes again, and have a party. Fun times.

I'm watching American Idol right now, and they're remembering the 90s. Was it that long ago? Man. I'm old. Anyway, Nikko Smith should win. The rockers are cookie-cutter, and the rest of the guys annoy me too much. Vonzell and Nadia don't seem polished enough to me, so Carrie and Jessica end up in my top three. Vote off Anthony Federov, people of America! Rise up against your Fox oppressors!! He sucks!!

You know who else sucks? Paula frickin Abdul. Be mean for once in your life! She is nice to everyone, and she is a judge on a competition. Does not compute.

Boy, I just posted a rant about American Idol on my blog. That's sad.

That's enough for now, before I start rambling on about Days of our Lives or Dr. Phil....


Screw you Blockbuster!

So Mom sent me a e-mail today linking to the news story that Blockbuster was dropping their bid for Hollywood. Thanks, love ya mom.

This is awesome. Any guest that asking about that potential merger were apprehensive about it, and for all the positive spin from the HV suits, so was I. I just don't see them keeping all the stores open, and a lot of business would be lost because of BB's bad reputation with guests. Movie Gallery, however, will now buy Hollywood, barring any unforeseen circumstances, and probably not much will change for me at the store level. Especially in Milwaukee, where there are NO Movie Gallery locations. I don't think they would even change the name, at least initially, maybe a year or two down the road.

So what does this mean? Good things. Makes me happy about my job after my employees pissed me off earlier. And maybe Movie Gallery will see the need to pay us more, but don't expect me to hold my breath.


There are many categories at my Hollywood, you know. Action, comedy, science fiction. But apparently the main one is DRAMA.

Today was my day off, and I had to talk down two seperate employees from screaming at each other. Needless to say, I got a bit pissed. Basically, it comes down to this: Jessie is pissed at Dave, for a variety of reasons, and Dave is pissed at Jessie for not treating him like everyone else, since she's pissed at him. And so on.

We have a really easy job at the ol' HV. We help guests, we put away movies, and we clean. That's about it. I'm not going to try and say that we are under constant pressure, because we're not. It's easy. So I get really upset when I get these kind of employee conflicts, because I think everyone should just shut up and do their job. But I have to mediate, cuz I'm the boss. But I begin to see that being older than the rest of my team gives me perspective, and I can blame it on their youth and inexperience. But they're 19 years old. They're not children, and I guess I just expect more professionalism out of all of them.

I really yelled at Dave, since when he got on the phone with me he was really hostile, and swearing a lot. I haven't yelled like that in a looong time. I was mad. But I had to calm him down by being calm myself, and just listening, which I think I do fairly well. And then I had to talk Jessie down, and convince her that she needs 3 people on a Friday night, so sending Dave home is not the best choice. She's pissed at me, now, I'm sure.

So I just told them to be civil to each other, and get back to work, and Kelsey and I went to see Ring Two, which I'll review soon. When we were done, Dave called me to thank me for helping out, since the rest of the night went smoothly.

So we'll see. Jessie, Will and I have a meeting tomorrow, where we can hash out some concerns, since this is a deeper issue than just one night, I guess. Sigh. I have looked the other way on some of their policy violations, though, so if they want me to come down hard on Dave, I'm going to have to be a lot stricter on enforcing all the rules.

What is the deal, though? Before I left for vacation, everything was fine, and I didn't have to worry about this crap, like I did when Brenda was around. Now I come back and it's friggin armageddon. I just don't get it.


The Frozen Tundra

So what else did I do on my vacation? Not a whole lot. I read some Sin City graphic novels at the B & N, and played with DVD burning on my laptop, and saw The Merchant of Venice. Otherwise, I didn't do much. Except visit Lambeau freakin Field!

Kelsey and I went on Wednesday, although I think she went in part just to humor me, and went to the Packers Hall of Fame and took the stadium tour. Let me start out by saying there are probably some great pictures coming out of this, and I'll post some as soon as I get the film developed. (Digital camera coming soon.) Let's start at the Hall of Fame.

Most importantly, the three Lombardi trophies the Packers have won are sitting right there, for you to gaze in astonishment upon. Well, they're in glass cylinders, but you get the idea. Very, very cool. But beyond that, there's so much Packers memorabilia that it is hard to remember it all. You start with a 15 minute film on the history of the team, which was obviously produced by NFL films, and had me flipping the finger at Mike McKenzie, but then as you walk through the exhibits, its like walking through time. Different rooms reflect different era in the team's history, and uniforms, players and coaches progress through the exhibits. Kind of off-putting though are the life-size plaster casts of various Packers. For example, life-size Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila, Donald Driver and Gilbert Brown figures are riding kids' bikes, like they do in training camp, and Robert Brooks is represented Lambeau Leaping into the waiting arms of a William H. Macy lookalike. What's weird is that they're plain white casts, and they all look like Michael Myers from Halloween. Anyway. There's also a reproduction of Vince Lombardi's office, and you can sit at his desk and order your peons about, and a kid's area that we found immensely fun, since there were no kids in it. What really struck me though is the amount of effort that went into designing this location. They really could have done whatever, and most fans would have still paid the ten bucks to get in, but they really made it a worthwhile experience. Now, do I need to go every year? No, but I don't think they count on that. The Packers organization realizes that there is a far greater demand than supply of tickets to games, so they are attempting to provide alternatives for people like me, who can't afford to pay several hundred dollars to a broker for tickets.

The stadium tour is only eight bucks, and lasts about an hour. You start off in the atrium, which is the new area of Lambeau, completed with the stadium remodeling a couple years back. We got a brief history of the team, and then went to the Legends Level to sit in a club box, and get a bird's eye view of the field. This is probably somewhere I will never get to see a game, but that's okay. Like any box, it seemed kind of disconnected from the outside, almost sterile. This may change on gameday, but I think I'd rather be screaming in the bleachers with real people, even in Green Bay in January, instead of the millionaires or corporations that lease these boxes. But I digress. It was still fun to be able to see how the upper crust of Metro Green Bay (snicker) lives. Also on this level is Paul Hornung's Heisman Trophy! Just sitting there! Everywhere you look there's history, but in a modern and comfortable setting. Note to da Bears: this is how you remodel your stadium, not making a UFO out of a stately and classical piece of architecture. Various parts of the stadium are available to rent, for business meetings or parties, and apparently one of the GB area high schools had their prom there last year. That is the coolest thing I have ever heard.

Here's where it gets good, though. They take you on the field. Oh.. my.. god. You walk right past the locker room, and you walk out the tunnel that the Packers walk out of every game. And we got to got on the field. Insane. I got goosebumps. I know this sounds weird, but it was kind of a religious experience. I was stepping onto the same field that all the players I saw in the Hall of Fame had played on, and that the current NFC North Champions call home. This was like my Graceland. Now, the field was covered in snow, so we couldn't run all willy nilly all over the place, but I didn't care. I probably spent 50 bucks or so for the whole day, including lunch and gas, but to experience something like that was worht every penny.

OK, that's enough gushing. Suffice it to say that Lambeau Field is freakin sweet, and I just need to find someone with season tickets and become their new best friend. I'll do whatever it takes, just get me in!!


If you prick us, do we not bleed?

I'm no Shakespeare expert. I know enough that when I go to see a show, I really do know what's going on, and what the characters are talking about. I can watch Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet, and understand why it kicks the hell out of the Mel Gibson and Ethan Hawke versions. But I'm not an expert. I have never read The Merchant of Venice, and basically all I knew going into this movie was that Al Pacino is awesome, and he played the Jewish moneylender Shylock. That's it. Kinda fun that way.

Tim and I went to go see what is redundantly called William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice at the Downer. I hadn't been there before, and I guess it's okay, but I prefer the Oriental by far. The screen is a little small, and the sound a little tinny, but it's the only place to see this flick, as well as Bride and Prejudice, so I can deal. It's definitely better than the Westgate Art Cinemas out in Madison, and a helluva lot closer. So, cool.

Anyway, Merchant stars Al Pacino, Jeremy Irons and Joseph Fiennes, and if you, like me, are not acquainted with the story, here goes. Fiennes plays Bassanio, a young Venetian, who enlists Antonio (Irons) to borrow money from Shylock, so that Bassanio may court the rich Portia (ably portrayed by newcomer Lynn Collins). Shylock is bitter that Antonio has scorned him for being Jewish, and insists that if the loan cannot be repaid, he will take as a forfeit a pound of Antonio's flesh. And so forth. Due to a series of unfortunate events, Antonio cannot repay Shylock in time, and all hell breaks loose.

It's tough to lump this film in with other recent Shakespeare adaptations, since it plays in the actual era, and seems to be very faithful to the original text. The actors all perform admirably, and Pacino plays a very different role than I am used to, which is refreshing. What's strange is that Merchant is neither a comedy or tragedy (although several Shakespeare sites place it under Comedy, but I think they're insane), but seems to be more of a morality play, where the message is forgiveness. I think I missed the point, though. I asked Kelsey, who knows more about the Bill than anyone else I know, for her insight into my problem. See, without giving too much away, at the end of the film, Shylock is left with practically nothing, and is forced to become Christian to save his own life, and I felt really, really bad for him. Kelsey says he's supposed to be a pure villain, but if I had to choose a patented Shakespearean Tragic Flaw (tm) is any of the characters, it would be Shylock's desire for revenge. His dogged pursuit of his due justice ends up costing him everything, ala Javert from Les Miserables, but I found him to be a much more sympathetic character. Maybe it's just me.

The film looks great, much of it being filmed in on location in Venice, with the obvious digital historicalization (is that a word?) not distracting from the scenery. Director Michael Radford, whose credits include Il Postino, B. Monkey, and, for some reason, Dancing at the Blue Iguana, is able to trim the play to a tolerable length, and keeps the audience engaged by not lingering too long in monologues. Like I said, I haven't read the play, but a quick Google check confirmed my suspicions: a whole scene was added after the play ends. I hate that! If you're going to adapt Shakespeare, don't screw with it. Baz Luhrmann, as much as a love Moulin Rouge, will forever have a black mark in my book for having Juliet wake up before Romeo dies. That's crap. He's dead way before she shakes off her hangover. So, yeah, I understand artistic license and all that, but write your own play, then. Grr.

Overall, though I feel that The Merchant of Venice is a well-done adapation, and is definitely better than the average Shakespeare flick. I now need to read the play, and if I have to come back and revisit this review, I will. For now, though, it gets a B.

Domo Arigato

So I've been on vacation for a week. Not really doing too much, but apparently enough to slack off on my blog, so ready yourself for a flurry of posts the likes of which mere mortals cannot fathom. Let's kick it off with Robots.

So Kelsey and I went to see the flick at the Westown UltraScreen, the Official Preferred Theater (tm) of my moviegoing experience. I am willing to go see pretty much any computer animated movie, because even if they suck, like Shark Tale or The Polar Express, I can still enjoy the process, and the insane amount of effort that goes into bringing this type of cinema to the masses. Plus, Robots had the new Episode III trailer, but that's another post.

I love Pixar. Even since I saw Toy Story a whole bunch of times back in high school, I've been enamored with their films, each and every one of them. So if I am comparing Shark Tale to Finding Nemo, or Antz to A Bug's Life, I'm gonna go with the Pixar film, hands down. The problem that seems to plague most of the non-Pixar CGI flicks is lack of originality. While each has it's merits, Ice Age and Robots mimick the buddy comedy of Monsters, Inc. and Shrek, and Robots also borrows liberally from A Bug's Life, in that a plucky, yet clumsy inventor makes good, and Finding Nemo, in the father-son bonding storyline. While the only completely different film of the genre that got a US theatrical release, Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, was a box-office flop, I believe it was more due to mislabeling the film as a Final Fantasy feature. I am anxious for the day when studios are willing to take more risks with their animation departments, with The Incredibles being a step in the right direction.

Anyway, Robots. It concerns a plucky, yet clumsy inventor, Rodney Copperbottom, who travels to the big city to present his ideas to corporate hero Big Weld, and predictably, finds out that the city is very different than he thought. Seems that Big Weld Industries is under new management, who wants to force all the older robots to upgrade, or be destroyed. Strangely enough, all of Rodney's new friends are older robots. See where this is going? Since he's the small-town kid, he has to save the day. I might be reading too much into this, but if this story was told with humans, the basic premise would be about genocide. Kinda dark, but whatever.

The voices are a mixed bunch. I'm befuddled as to why you would cast Ewan Macgregor for an animated film and then have him use an American accent. Not that I'm complaining, but I just don't get the logic. Robin Williams is Fender, Rodney's new best friend, and continues to act like he's on drugs, even though the 70s are long over. I don't know.. Williams kinda lost me a while ago. Am I supposed to take him seriously? I have no idea anymore. The rest of the cast, including Mel Brooks, Greg Kinnear, Halle Berry and Amanda Bynes, are pretty forgettable. There are apparently a bunch of celebrity voice cameos, but they're so obscure that I had to IMDB the cast list to find out who was what. A wasted opportunity if you ask me.

I did laugh at Robots, though. If there's one thing I've learned in life, its that breakdancing robots are always funny. The film does at times rise above it's script, and provide moments of wonder. But overall, I was not that impressed. It's a bit too derivative, a bit too kiddie, and a bit too bland. The computer animated films that have really amazed me have always advanced the medium in some way or another, and I really don't think Robots did that. It get an average score of C.


The Gospel of Boooooorrrriiinnngggg...

So to make up for my lack or churchgoing and whatnot in this season of Lent, I watched the new DVD release, The Gospel of John. It got a theatrical release around the same time as Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, but nowhere near the fanfare or controversy, and understandably so. It is a very literal retelling of the Gospel of John, hence the title, from the beginnings of Jesus' ministry to his acts after the resurrection. And by literal I mean boring.

The Gospel of John is produced by a company named Visual Bible, and I can only guess that their intention was to put the book on film, for those who have poor imaginations, or can't be bothered to read what they can easily watch. I have no problem with a movie like, I dunno, Crimson Tide, or The Shining, standard Hollywood stuff adapted from books, but when it comes to the Bible, it's something you should experience with no filter. And that's what adaptation is: a filter, intentional or not, that sometimes blurs the intent of the original material, or adds opinion to an impartial piece. That's why there was such a furor over Gibson's supposed anti-Semitism with Passion, that many people that such sentiment was not contained (or was not as obvious) in the Bible, and that it was Gibson's personal feelings showing through.

Personally, I can't understand the reasoning behind blaming the Jews for Jesus' death. I just don't get it. Perhaps someone can straighten me out on this, but wasn't Jesus sent here to die for the sins of man? Wasn't it his destiny to suffer and die so that we may live? It says that in the Bible, right? So I don't blame anyone for his death, since if it was not meant to be, he could have stopped it at any time. Doesn't that make more sense? Sigh...

Anyway, back to the movie. There's not a whole lot to talk about, the cast and crew are unknowns, the acting is passable but unremarkable, and the story, well, everybody knows the story. What I find most interesting is the comparisons to be made between this film and Passion, as they are polar opposite interpretations of the same life, both in theme and in financial success.

Here's the sad truth, whether you like it or not: reading the Bible is boring. Very boring. Dull, even. The Old Testament has some good stories, interspersed with lots of begats and psalms, while the New tells the Jesus story four times, but kinda trails off after that. If we were making a movie of the whole Bible, no doubt the studio execs would be telling us to punch it up a bit, and maybe bringing in Joe Ezterhas for a rewrite. Sorry if this sounds offensive, but it's the way I feel.

So, knowing that, Gibson set out to make a movie on a very small portion of Jesus' story, specifically his suffering and death. The makers of The Gospel of John decided to visualize most of his story, but in doing so, bored me to tears with the first 45 minutes of a 3 hour movie. Every line of dialogue feels like it's repeated 3 more times, and is punctuated far too often with the condescending narration of Christopher Plummer. When the filmmakers feel I need to be told that rabbi means teacher and christ means messiah, I start to wonder who their target audience is. Obviously not someone who's been through Confirmation with the Rev. Again, sigh.

I guess I can't fault the film for accomplishing what it set out to do: visualize the Bible. But I begin to see a new aspect of Gibson's Passion because of this. The Gospel of John made barely a blip on the American box office, while Passion became the top-grossing film of the year, and I'm beginning to think it may be a bit of car crash syndrome. You know, when you're driving on the highway, and traffic slows down on your side, because there's an accident on the other side? Everyone slows a little bit to see what happened. There really is that dark side of the human psyche that wants to see somebody hurt, or at least a really smashed up automobile. I think Gibson, and shrewdly so, appealed to that dark side with Passion. I've referred to it in the past as a two-hour snuff film posing as a religious experience, and I stick by that. My question is, where were all the devout Christians when The Gospel of John was playing at your local cineplex? Yes, I know it didn't get as wide a distribution or nowhere near as much publicity, but it's a family-friendly movie that explores the teachings of Jesus, not just his death. Where was the grassroots support for this movie? I don't know, but I do know an ultraviolent, R-rated star-powered Jesus flick made almost 100 times more than a simple literal retelling of the Gospel. I begin to question whether so many people saw Passion due to their Christian curiousity and faith, or was it a bit or car crash syndrome? You be the judge.

As for The Gospel of John, let he who is without sin cast the first stone. But I kinda have to give it a score, as that's the point, so it gets a C.


Words to live by...

Rock-a-bye, Space Ghost,
say your prayers.
My locust ship is arriving,
and I will conquer you.

-Zorak, Space Ghost Coast to Coast, 1994


This is me. And I was really there.

THE not-so-end-all LIST OF TO-SEE!!

Here is my list of movies to see at the theater, between now an October or so. This is not comprehensive, as indies like Kung-Fu Hustle and Oldboy unfailingly open in NY and LA first, and may or may not trickle down to the huddled masses of Milwaukee. All release dates are subject to change, and all rights are reserved, Callahan.

But what about the rights of that little girl?

Anyway, red means I will be there ASAP, either opening day or the next. Orange is a movie I will probably see in it's first week, and yellow are ones I want to see, but hey, no rush. Think of it as a hotness meter. With me? Let's go.

March 11 - Robots

OK, so I go see pretty much any computer-animated movie, since I enjoy the process. Even if the movie isn't very good, (cough)sharktale(cough), I can at least appreciate the animation. This one is special, though, since it's got the Episode III trailer attached. Oh, yes it does. :)

March 18 - The Ring Two

Kelsey and I agreed we wouldn't see this opening weekend, so as to avoid the screaming teenage girls we were surrounded by at The Grudge. The Ring is one of my favorite scary movies ever, so it'll be tough for this to live up to my expectations, even with original director Hideo Nakata at the helm.

April 1 - Sin City

This is either gonna be really, really, really ridiculously awesome, or I am going to cry. Some other big flicks coming out, I don't expect much, i.e. Fantastic Four, but Sin City's trailers look so F'n sweet! Here's hoping.

April 29 - Hitchhiker?s Guide to the Galaxy

Another geek-out situation, but I haven't been as enthusiatic about the Hitchhiker's trailers. I'm afraid they're going to kiddie it up. Then again, I haven't heard Alan Rickman as Marvin yet, and that alone could save the flick.

May 6 - Kingdom of Heaven

I'll see this just cuz I'm a sucker for big summer epics, and this is one.

May 13 - Unleashed

So Jet Li plays a guy raised from birth to be a ferocious killer, then he escapes? That's all I need to know.

May 19 - Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Do I really have to explain this one?

May 27 - The Longest Yard

Looks like it could be funny, but I'm not holding my breath.

May 27 - Madagascar

Ditto. It is CG, though, so I'm there.

June 3 - Cinderella Man

It looks like A Beautiful Mind meets Million Dollar Baby, neither of which I went particularly crazy for. We'll see.

June 17 - Batman Begins

After all their miscues with DC Properties, Warner finally got it right by hiring Christopher Nolan to direct this film, and I am there. He has the ability to erase Batman and Robin from my memory, Memento-style, if this is any good.

July 1 - War of the Worlds

This looks like an old-school smash-em-up alien kickass popcorn flick. Spielberg can be a pretentious, Hanks-loving hack, but he can fire off Jurassic Park and Indy, too. This looks to be made of the good stuff.

July 8 - Fantastic Four

Whoo, boy. I am expecting crap, so if it's any good at all, then I'll be happy. I doubt it, though.

July 15 - Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Nervous about this one, too. Could be good Burton or bad Burton. He did remake Planet of the Apes, after all.

July 22 - The Island

Yeah, it's Michael Bay, the unholy spawn of Bruckheimer himself. But it's sci-fi, and it's got the Ewan, and Scarlett Johannsen, so I'll see it. Grudgingly.

August 5 - 3001

I really don't know much about this one, but I do know this: it's Mike Judge's follow up to Office Space, and it throws Luke Wilson 1000 years into the future. Sounds fun, right?

August 12 - Dark Water

Trailers for this are already all over the place, and it looks creeeeeeeepy. Plus Jennifer Connelly is hot.

August 12 - Aeon Flux

I used to watch the old MTV show, even when it was shorts on Liquid Television, and think to myself, WTF? It'll be very interesting to see if they can put together a coherent plot.

August 19 - Romance & Cigarettes

Again, I don't know much, but it's got James Gandolfini, and my girl Kate Winslet, and it's directed by John Turturro, and it's a musical. CRAZY.

September 16 - A Scanner Darkly

They are cruel for running this trailer before The Jacket. They're gonna make me wait 6 months to see this?! I hate them, whoever they are!

September 23 - The Corpse Bride

A stop-motion movie actually directed by Tim Burton, not Henry Selick, it looks fantastic. Wait, what's that you say? Did you say Burton directed Nightmare Before Christmas and/or James and the Giant Peach? Well, then you're stupid.

October 21 - Land of the Dead

BRAAAAAAIIINNNNNNNNNSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Romero!!!!!! BRAAAAIIIIINNNNNNSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Well, that's it for now. More to come, such as King Kong, Memoirs of a Geisha, etc. Later.

The Jacket

Okay, so I let this one go for a while, since I kinda wanted to let it stew around in my head for a while. Kelsey and I saw The Jacket at Ridge back on Friday, and it is a trip. The thriller stars Adrien Brody, Keira Knightley and Kris Kristofferson in his first non-Whistler role since God knows when. Also featured is a nearly unrecognizable Jennifer Jason Leigh, and I had to lean to Kelsey during the credits and say "That was Jennifer Jason Leigh?" It was uncanny. Anyway..

The Jacket can be best described as an arthouse episode of The Twilight Zone, or perhaps an indie Outer Limits. Brody plays an injured Desert Storm vet, who, upon returning to his Vermont home, is framed for the murder of a police officer. He is tagged as having Gulf War Syndrome, and sent to a mental institution, where Kristofferson uses an experimental isolation technique using the titular device. Problem is, when Brody is strapped in, and slid into a morgue cabinet, he can project himself into the future. I don't want to give too much away, but obviously complications are going to crop up when these things happen.

I was surprised when I looked up this title at IMDB, as I don't recognize any of director John Maybury's previous work, and not to brag, but if I haven't heard of it, it's gotta be kinda obscure. The Jacket , however, looks like the work of a seasoned Hollywood veteran, in a good way. Brody's time in the jacket is at first eerily reminiscent of Kill Bill, just for claustrophobic effect. When Uma is buried alive, I seriously started to freak out a little bit, in the audience, and that, my friends, is the mark of a quality flick. But I digress. As time goes on, though, startling jump cuts and iconic imagery, more suited to J-Horror, overtake the claustrophobia, and Maybury starts up the crazy machine. Again, in a good way, like the tunnel in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate factory. Freaky, but cool.

The writing isn't great, but this isn't Before Sunset or Sideways. Knightley, as a random acquaintance in the present reencountered in the future, tends to overact, but the role is kinda about emotion. I sound like I'm making excuses for the movie, which I guess I am, but that means I liked it, and hence want to defend it. Wanna fight? Knightley is blessed with that Winona Ryder slash Natalie Portman type of beauty (hence the Phantom Menace role), but she has yet to develop the acting chops of either of the former. Give her time, though, and she'll get there.

Ok, by the way, after an IMDB check, Sofia FREAKIN Coppola was is Episode I? Along with Keira as one of Natalie's handmaidens? What, is Lucas starting a harem of geek-chic hotties? I hate him! AND Roman was a Senate guard? If I break into the set, will he make me a battle droid? Look, I have all my lines down. Ahem... (clears throat)... Roger, roger.

See, put me in the movie! Episode III already claimed Bruce Spence, meaning he has completed the holy trinity of Matrix, LOTR and Star Wars roles; and Keisha Castle-Hughes, who I hope will go on to do Whale Rider 2: Trouble in Jamaica. There's also a listing for Peter Jackson as a Blue Senate Guard in Episode III, although I'm not sure it's that Peter Jackson. I guess I'll have to watch for a guard with no shoes.

Wow, I got really off subject there. Sorry. I'd better wrap up, before I get excited. Anyway, The Jacket was a very fun, if twisted, way to spend a couple hours, although I don't know if I needed to go see it at the theater. It's one of those thrillers that will easily translate to the small screen. I give it a B for Brody, and Bravado.


I rule!

I made out like a bandit at the Oriental poster sale, scoring Lost Skeleton, Brotherhood of the Wolf and Cradle Will Rock one-sheets, as well as House of Flying Daggers and Brotherhood of the Wolf press kits, all for about 15 bucks. That's awesome. I also met this guy who owns a movie memorabilia store down on Forest Home, and he gave me a flyer for 20% off. Also awesome. But best of all, Kelsey bought a Shaun of the Dead one-sheet and gave it to me. That was super awesome. I'm using the word awesome a lot.

Jessie started the immense, near-Herculean task of alphabetizing and repricing all the PVs in the store. I'm kinda letting her do it, since she called in extra help from Ryan to work on it today. I'm off Tuesday and Wednesday, but it should be finished on Thursday at latest. Everything else is really good and organized, so if we can crank this out we'll be in really good shape. Business has been kinda slow recently, due to lack of coupons as well as nice weather, so this is the perfect time to work on a project like this.

I watched An Evening with Kevin Smith again yesterday, and now I'm more psyched than ever for the show in April. Plus, Wrestlemania 22 is going to be in Chicago. Events abound. I might go see Clem Snide in Madison on Thursday. Maybe. And I made a huge list of all the movies I want to see at the theater now through September. Is that obsessive or psychotic? Probably. But I don't care. I'll post that later.

Arrested Development is on, so I gotta go watch that. Top three TV shows: Simpsons, Arrested Development, Lost. Word.


Eastwood Schmeastwood...

So the Oscars came and went, and I got a lot of picks right, and some wrong, as usual. But I did end up swearing at the television when Clint Eastwood won Best Director over Martin Scorcese. I cannot fathom how Scorcese doesn't have an Oscar win in his distinguished career, so maybe he pissed somebody off at some point. What is the deal? Everything else was at least acceptable in my sight, although a lot of my favorites didn't win. It's a bad sign for the show as a whole, though, when the coolest moment is The Motorcycle Diaries winning Best Original Song, and songwriter Jorge Drexler singing "Al Otro Lado Del Rio" as his acceptance speech. If that's the "moment" of the whole show, then let him sing the song instead of Antonio Banderas. NO, DON'T DO IT, IT'S TOO SEXY!! But I must...

And another thing, what's with traded players just not showing up for their new teams in the NBA? Alonzo Mourning was traded from New Jersey to Toronto, and he just never went there, the Raptors released him, and now he has signed with the Miami Heat. Same deal with Gary Payton being traded from Boston to Atlanta, and now he has re-signed with Boston without even suiting up for one game for the Hawks. Can someone please explain to me how this works? Aren't they under contract to report to whatever team they're traded to? I mean, they're making millions of dollars, and are both huge stars, but that doesn't excuse them from their obligations.

Turnover is 1 and 1 at the HV. Brenda is gone, transferred to 76th and Capitol since Jim finally realized she was destroying our labor budget. So I hope she does well there, although if she thought our store was busy, she's in for a hard, hard time at that store. Ryan is our new GSR, and he's pretty good so far, even though he said one of his favorite movies was Queen of the Damned. That's ok, not everyone likes the same movies. Or good ones.

Megan and Leonard and Eric and Tina skipped out on the Oscar party due to various illnesses, but I'm going to Madison for Meg & Leo's housewarming party on Saturday, unless I am stricken with polio or rickets or something. Saturday is the poster sale at the Oriental, and I am there at opening. I will smash a head if I need to, to get some sweet ass Lost Skeleton paraphenalia, if they even have any. We'll see. Kelsey and I are probably going to see The Jacket this weekend as well, for some scary Adrien Brody action. I wonder if he will continue to look like a certain Mr. Maxx King. See, Maxx King looks like Adrien Brody, whereas Tim Kutschera apparently looks like Daniel Radcliffe from the Prisoner of Azkaban DVD box. Bizarre.

Anyway, time to make the donuts.