Saturday, May 31, 2008

Sex and the City, or How I'll have another Cosmo please!

Sex and the City (The Movie)
Dir/Writer: Michael Patrick King
Starring: Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattral, Cynthia Nixon & Kristin Davis.

As any other self-respecting SatC fan, I was hesitant about Carrie & co.'s move to the big screen. I mean, what where they gonna do: set up everything from 6 seasons, tear it apart and then re-build it? True enough, Michael Patrick King's screenplay does just this. In the first minutes we get a recap of all four of our girls and then the movie moves forward towards a wedding, a pregnancy, a breakup and separation. But, sure enough, Carrie and friends manage to elevate the material from pure fluff (which it is), rom-comm-y (which it's full of), chick-flicky (which envelops it) and campy (which it always was) and make it 'Sex and the City.' It's got everything we loved about the show: drinks, labels, Carrie's voiceover (and puns!), objectified men and a love-story plot to boot. For the first 3/4 of the movie, Ms Parker (with her expressive eyes and self-aware comedic timing), Ms Cattral (with her insouciant wit and bravado), Ms Nixon (with her spark and cynicism) and Ms Davis (with her ingenuity and lovable naivete) had me hooked. I mean, it finally gave me what I always wanted for Carrie, to be rid of Big (::ducks for cover!::) - but more importantly, it used this pivotal plot point (the wedding) as a showcase for great comedy and great tragedy; arguably the back bone of the show's 6 year run: that moment when Carrie runs to Big to hit him with the flowers - while a bit over-the-top (but who here hates that?) - was painful and heartbreaking, but then an equally heartbroken (and hysterical) Charlotte yells at Big and then zig-zags back into the car as she scolds. Moments like this fill the entire movie; where you feel and you laugh, where you go 'aw' and you laugh, and then; just like Carrie and Charlotte's incident in Mexico, sometimes you ... just laugh out loud.

One should never judge a movie by uttering such things as 'I wish the character would have just...' (cause really, they're not real people!) so instead I'll just say: I wish King and Parker would have driven Carrie towards a better and more fulfilling finale. I mean, Miranda learns to take down her guard around Steve and swallows her pride and embraces her love for him; Charlotte... well, dear Ms Charlotte had little to worry about the entire movie; Samantha learns that she comes (no pun intended) first in her life... but Carrie, I wish Carrie didn't end up on square one. But alas... the first 3/4 of the movie more than make up for it, with big laughs, great outfits, fabulous shots of New York and a big load of the L-word to throw around: Love. Oh and J-Hud, yah, she was okay. True, her character was a bit too 'Carrie' circa 20 years ago (if she had been a 'sistah') but whatevs. At least her song at the end was much better than Fergie's at the beginning of the film.
In a nutshell, it was the SaTC movie I wanted to see: one that I didn't regret watching and wished had never existed. But more than that, it was a treat to watch and hey, if in the process it gave us full frontal male nudity, well... all the better. A

And now... favourite moments [Spoilers Alert!]:

Funny: Her encounter with Big when she's incredibly pregnant. "I curse the day you were born!" ::hand movement::
And of course: ALL her time in Mexico. Hah-larious.
Sweet: Tearing up while furniture shopping with Carrie over her newly found pregnancy.
Funny: Two words - sushi, naked. (As well as her wedding dinner party toast - mainly when she yells at the d-bag at the table)
Hot: All the hot-tub scenes with Dante. Okay, she wasn't with Dante, but they were still hot.
Funny: (even if racist) - Walking down Chinatown looking for an affordable place downtown ("Oh, White guy with a baby! Follow him. Wherever he's going is where we need to be...")
Heartbreaking: Watching her while Steve tells her he cheated on her.
Funny: SJP parading her Take/Toss/Store dresses (including the credits-sequence tutu) was priceless.
Heartbreaking: when she gets Big's call at the Public Library. Gasping for air, letting the cellphone fall, screaming to be gotten out of there asap. Teared me up. (Though I did enjoy the iPhone scene right before this "Someone get me a phone! [gets iPhone] ... I don't know how to work this! Give me a real phone!").
Awesome: the bridal dresses Vogue shoot.

Oh, and to all those male critics who are hating on SatC's b.o. numbers, Vulture I think got it right: Carrie & co. are superheros!

Sex and the City Movie

NYC Pop Cultural Geography, or How TV puts things on MY map!

As a little ongoing project, I have decided to spend a couple of posts thinking of the different places TV has put on my imaginary global (but mostly North American) map. We'll do the big ones first (NYC, Miami, LA, Chicago, San Fran, etc) but I also want to add smaller (and/or imaginary) places that I wouldn't have even cared for, if it hadn't been for people like Rory (Stars Hollow, CN), Dawson (Capeside, MA), and Buffy (Sunnydale, CA).

But first (and because I live close to it):

- This is the "City" in 'Spin City,' 'Caroline in the City' and 'Sex and the City'
- It has housed a blond witch, a Big Bird, some cool turtles, a sewage inhabiting Beast, a girl who talks to dead people and flashes back in time, animated gargoyles and lately some overhyped 'heroes.'
- It has produced iconic places that I wish I could hang out at like 'Central Perk,' 'Monk's Cafe,' 'Riff's,' & 'McClaren's.' Oh. And of course 'Central Park West.'
- This is where Betty, Felicity, Lucy, Carrie and Jerry live!
- This is where Will lived with Grace, where Ted met the 'Mother,' where Ross and Rachel were not on a break, where Jamie met Paul, where the Cosbys were a family, where the Wayans were brothers, where Veronica had her closet and where I just wanted to shoot David Spade.
- This is where Tina Fey, Lucille Ball, Felicity Huffman, Amanda Bynes, Dick Van Dyke and Fran Drescher comedically shined.
- This is where CSI, Law & Order, Without a Trace, Thirdwatch, etc. get their kicks.
- And of course all boros are accounted for: there's a King in Queens, someone's Grounded for Life in Staten Island, a certain Becker lived in the Bronx, a couple of Honeymooners in Brooklyn and of course an Apprentice in Manhattan.

View Larger Map

I could keep going but it should be no surprise to anyone why NYC is one of the most famous city in the world: it's a blank canvas where you can paint any story you want: what other city can say they house Samantha Jones as well as Spiderman, 'That Girl' and 'The Odd Couple,' a Real World season as well as SNL...?

And now, we put the first pin in the map - New York City:

View Larger Map

[Wikipedia article]

Friday, May 30, 2008

Faster Better Harder Stronger, or How, is Daft Punk gay?

- Is he gay?
- He listens to Daft Punk.
- Yeah, but is he gay?
- Did I fail to mention Daft Punk?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Sunday in the Park with George, or How Sondheim is kind of Awesome

Sunday in the Park with George

Daniel Evans (George)
Jenna Russell (Dot / Marie)
Michael Cumpsty (Jules / Bob Greenberg)
Alexander Gemignani (Boatman / Dennis)
Jessica Molaskey (Yvonne / Naomi / Eisen)
Mary Beth Peil (Old Lady / Blair Daniels)
Ed Dixon (Mr. / Charles Redmond)
Santino Fontana (Bather / Soldier / Alex)

Because Daniel Evans and Jenna Russel sparkle in this Sondheim classic about a fictional (re)telling of George Seurat's famous A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte painting (see below).
Or because the staging - so modern yet so Romantic, is wonderful and really gives you the sense of watching a picture come to life (I particularly enjoyed the initial moments in Act I when George sees two trees and decides to erase one, as the one on stage disappears, only to be mourned by another character minutes later: "Where's our tree?" she bemoans).
Or because the music and lyrics manage to be bubbly (
"The collar is damp/Beginning to pinch"), insightful (" I cannot divide my feelings up as neatly as you, and I am not hiding behind my canvas-I am living in it"), heartbreaking ("Changing...It keeps changing I see towers Where there were trees") and altogether brilliant in conveying the complexity of artistic inspiration, love, muses and everyday life.
This was definitely one of those shows where, the more I think about it, the more I love it: how the picture comes to life by making its actors stand still (oh the paradox!); how 20thC George becomes

- I particularly enjoyed the seamless weaving of special effects and technology into the production.
- The soldier. So funny. So simple and so inspired!
- The fact that this is actually a thought-provoking musical.
- The music and lyrics. Oh Sondheim, you spoil us:

Overall, this is a beautifully crafted production that uses audiovisuals, talent and great music to tell a moving story about the whys and wherefores of artistic creation. See? It even elicits wholly inappropriate poetic language in attempting to critique it... that
must say something, right? A

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, or How - Wouldn't they die?

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Dir. Steven Spielberg
Starring: Harrison Ford, Cate Blanchett, John Hurt, Ray Winstone, Jim Broadbent... and, oh yeah that kid.

Let's play 5 questions (20's pushing it, really):

Is Indiana Jones and the Longest Title in the World not belonging to a Johnny Depp Franchise a great movie? No. While it has great moments (any time Ms Blanchett is on-screen!) the entire movie seems a bit too-contrived (especially that horrible paternity thing, which other than making Harrison the new Conner, does little else than introduce a greaser who (given Spielberg and Ford's A-okay) might take over the franchise (god forbid!).

Is Indiana Jones and The Fonz a good summer popcorn movie? Perhaps. It has thrills, it has laughs, it has effing CGI monkeys for god's sakes! This is definitely not Iron Man territory but the 124mins went by swimmingly fast - always a good sign for a summer movie.

Is Indiana Jones and the 'Apocalypto meets Shyamalan's Signs' character designs a memorable Spielberg movie? Far from it. Steven (yes, we're on a first-name basis, stop asking!) can direct a movie like this in his sleep. Actually he probably did. 'Beautiful establishing shot here... ::snore:: Wildly choreographed (though not less enjoyable because of it) fight scene here ::snore:: Witty humour here...::snore:: ooOoh! Jews! No. Wait. Other Spielberg-ey staple: Aliens! Yeah... aliens!'

Is Indiana Jones and the Improbable Death-Defying Action Sequences worth your money? I think so. I mean, think of all the life-lessons you're taught:
- Harrison at any age is more bankable than Ashton+Cameron, or Brits in weird accents, or Dempsey+Monaghan... isn't that reassuring? Viva Han Solo!
- Cate Blanchett can and will kill you. Creepy and good-looking with gorgeous eyes and skin - all in spite of a horrid Eastern European hairdo - not even Javier could work the bob, but Cate... she's in a different league altogether!
- Never underestimate the power of Brit-casting. Shaa-ee-aah at least got some acting lessons from John and Jim. Take notes kid.
- Russians have a different sense of fashion. But then, so did the Greasers... Discuss.
- South Americans didn't really create awe-inspiring Nazca lines or anything like it... Aliens did. See how that's more believable?

Is Indiana Jones and Natasha Fatale a good addition to the Indy franchise? That one's harder to answer. Indy IV has everything an Indy movie should have: wit, whips and world-traveling. It also has a couple of things Indy didn't need: a son (wtf?! Please, can someone explain to me Shai-ah's appeal? Seriously...), a wife (Really? Marion?), and people who live in the space in between space (huh?).

Sure, it was crazy. Sure, I hated every moment 'Shaya' was on screen (he irks me more than I convey really, which is probably why I loved that Harrison kept him in line and didn't take any of his 'I'm the new It-boy' crap), but I still thoroughly enjoyed Indy 4 - I mean, how can you not enjoy a movie which is constantly winking your way?
'Yeah, this is a nuclear testing facility, but see how this Lead-poisoning/made fridge saved me? Improbable? C'mon! ::wink!::'
'I might be old enough to be your grandfather, but I can still crack a whip like it was 1981! ::wink::'
'Yeah, I am Cate Blanchett and I have a hurricane in me! Wait? Sha-e-a is competition in a sword fight? haha ::wink wink::'

Did I mention Cate's the best thing about this movie? B+

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Dollhouse, or How I can't wait!

Trailer's up here.

Desperate Housewives, or How Wisteria Lane was better than ever!

Desperate Housewives Season 4 Finale (with additional 5 Years Later ending!)

As if they hadn't cemented the whole 'Season 4' is D-Hoe's comeback!/as good as 'Season 1'! raves, the writers and actors of Desperate Housewives proved in the finale that things, indeed, have rarely been this juicy since their freshmen year. The two-hour season finale showcased what the D-Hoes do best: catty banter (any Gaby line, really), suburban drama (highbrow: Lynette in jail for child abuse; lowbrow: Bree catering Lee and Bob's commitment ceremony); marital drama (Bree and Orson, Lynette and Tom), slapstick humour (Mike calling Susan's son 'Maynard') and in the midst of it all dark deep (criminal) secrets (Catherine/Dylan's past finally revealed!). And not one aspect of the story lines was without its moments of brilliance. 

I could go into detail about the things I loved (Bob and Lee's commitment ceremony and the hilarity that ensued, Susan's actually funny story line about 'Maynard'), or about the things that made me laugh out loud (Bree telling Lynette how horrid her napkin swans are, Carlos yelling for help at the closet), or about the things I enjoyed (Susan and Julie's reverse 'I'm going to college' conversation, Kayla finally leaving), or about the things I gasped at (Catherine's secret: no one killed anyone! Wayne going all '24' on Adam! and of course the '5 Years Later' bit!) but instead I'll just give a short commentary on the 5 years later bit (the thing everyone's yapping about!) and jot down my fave lines from the episodes (more for keepsake than for anything else):

Husband? Still with Orson, Check.
Kids? Andrew's still around. We can easily suppose Benjamin's in the house. Who knows where Danielle is?
Job? Cookbook author (and 24/7 suburban housewife and mom we suppose).
Looks? Just as uptight and beautiful as we remember.

Husband? Still with Tom, YAY!
Kids? If you mean juvenile delinquent twins, yes. We assume the rest of the pack's still around, sans Kayla of course (thank god! - creepy kids, not cool. See Julia Stiles' The Omen)
Job? Not mentioned. Do we think Scavo's survived?
Looks? Sporting a not so hot cut, but we'll take anything over 'em Cancer scarves.

Husband? We don't know. 
Kids? A marrying Romanian girl who she calls Dylan but isn't 'Dylan' of course.
Job? Still mysterious as ever that Catherine ("aloof" might be a good word to describe her)
Looks? Only housewife I thought looked better in the flash-forward actually.

Husband? Still with Carlos, we assume? Or was she just gonna 'fix' dinner for the girls?
Kids? HA! Two girls! Who love ravaging her closet.
Job? Full time mom? I'm elle oh elling too much at the thought.
Looks? I will miss Ms Longoria-Parker's lovely looks, as she was sporting a horrible sweatpants and no makeup combo, but oh the things Latinas do for their men...

Husband? Yes: NOT-Mike! Hooray! The weakest link in the show has been removed! Instead she's now married to Brian Kinney er... Gale Harold. Hot.
Kids? We assume poor Maynard's still around, and Julie must be somewhere...
Job? Full time Gale Harold-loving? I want her job.
Looks? Thankfully the flash-forward allowed Teri Hatcher to finally look her character's age (ouch... just had to!) 

Favourite Lines:
Carlos: Gaby don't go up there, it's dangerous.
Gaby: Not as dangerous as poverty!

Lynette: You know I like giving people the benefit of the doubt.
Bree: No, you don't!
Lynette: Okay that's true, but let's say I did...

Bob: Lee, remember how you said I should tell you when you're acting like Faye Dunaway in the boardroom scene from Mommy Dearest...?

Lynette: That's not a cherub. It has no wings.
Bree: And the David has no arms, deal with it.

Bree (to Orson): Don't you dare throw your calligraphy skills at me when you know I'm at a low point!

Gaby (to Carlos): Come on, we're never gonna have kids. Shoes are my kids! Let me be the mother I was meant to be.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Fuzzy Madonna Dreams, or How I'm Seeing Double

Is it me, or should Madge try and have different type of dreams?

I'm so Stupid

I'm so stupid
'Cause I used to live
In a fuzzy dream
And I used to believe
In a pretty pictures
That were all around me
But now I know for sure
That I was stupid

Miles Away

I just woke up from a fuzzy dream
You never would believe those things that I had seen
I looked in the mirror and I saw your face
You looked right through me, you were miles away

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

If I Never See Your Face Again, or How it's Hot in Here

Hot Song.
Hot Singers.
Hot Video.

Yes... I'm out of words - I blame the paper-writing season.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Les Chansons d'Amour, or Top 5 Academic Essays I could write on that film

Last weekend I had the pleasure to watch Christian Honoré's French musical Les Chansons d'Amour (or Love Songs for those us of who don't quite master le Français). B+

The Premise: a ('straight') couple finds itself having trouble accommodating the third party (a girl (Clotilde Hesme) who works with the boy (the beautiful Louis Garrel) they have invited into their bed (and life); how else would they deal with this? By singing French pop-y songs. Things turn worse when... (and this was quite the shocker) Ms Ludivine Sagnier (who I can only remember fondly from that other French musical I love, Ozon's 8 Femmes) dies and leaves the other two thirds of the relationship looking for a way to cope with their loss. Enter the cute high school student played by Gregoire Leprince-Ringuet, who woos himself into Garrel's character's life.

And while this musical doesn't have the urban feeling of Once, nor the endearing quality of the aforementioned 8 Femmes (and it is far from being a Broadway-like musical), the songs do their job at portraying the hidden (and not-so hidden) feelings of their singers. Uneven at times, and having a much better third act than I would have imagined, Love Songs gave me ideas for 5 Different Academic Essays I could write:

1. The portrayal of non-heteronormative relationships requires an atypical cinematic genre (read: the 'urban, realistic [French] musical'). Discuss. Why use songs to explore non-traditional (albeit more 'European' it seems) forms of romantic and sexual relationships in the film?

2. The film is interested in different forms of intimacy
. Explore. Think of the ways filial, familial and even working relationships are used to contrast the center romantic couplings.

3. Grief is the guiding principle of the narrative. Elaborate. Why does the film begin with 'death' and what does it add to the retroactive understanding of the couple's dysfunctionality?

4. Sexuality and romance are the two axis upon which every relationship in the film gets enacted. Examine. Does the film advance a sexual ideal of 'love? A romantic idea of sex? Are the two intextricably intertwined? (See 'As-tu déjà aimé?' in particular)

5. Homo>Hetero. Lyrics and scene-stealing wise. Why? 

Friday, May 9, 2008

The Last Five, or How I recap BSG's first S4 Five Episodes!

I feel so bad cause I haven't posted ANYTHING since the new season of BSG began, and so, to make up (and since I had so much fun doing that 4-word Hard Candy review last week) I thought I'd do a brief 5 5-word lines recap in honour of the first 5 episodes of Season 4 (and of course, of the last 5 cylons, 4 who live in secret... one who remains a secret...):

He that Believeth in Me
Baltar is Jesus? Heals kid.
Starbuck's back. WTF was she?
Earth! No one believes her.
The Final Four stay calm...
'Buck gets headaches for Earth.

Six of One
Roslin at gunpoint by S-buck!
Former shoots and misses, damn.
Cylon schism: Raiders are lobotomised.
Yet Sixes rebels! Die Cavil!
Tory/Baltar? Starbuck to Earth!

The Ties that Bind
Tyrol and pill-popping Cally: distant.
Lee gives Roslin hard time,
6s & 8s get ambushed!
Cally finds out about Tyrol.
And gets airlocked, Tory-style.

Escape Velocity
Religious intolerance towards Baltar's cult.
Tigh visits Caprica6, 'sees' Helen.
Takes a beating, and kiss.
Lee stands up for Baltar, kind'of.
Baltar turns martyr, takes beating.

The Road Less Traveled
Baltar plays prophet: One God!
Leoben finds Starbuck @ Demetrius:
A Cylon and Human Alliance?
Tyrol gets converted, hail Baltar.
Mutiny! And To be Continued...

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Baby Mama & Forgetting Sarah Marshall, or How Summer Comedies are here!

Two summer comedies (one with two of the greatest comedic actresses of our times, one so-laden with Appatowisms we should start accepting his films as a certain 'subgenre' of comedy) and too many things to love - even if the people involved, and their brilliant strokes of comedic genius outweigh the actual material when taken at face value. But, who needs a well-constructed plot and a tightly-structured script when you have great people, awesome one-liners, funny physical comedy (the nudity, the peeing in the sink, the car-wrecking, the puppets!) and constant laugh-out-loud moments?

Baby Mama (B+)
Why it (30) rock-ed my socks:
Because nothing beats uninterrupted Amy Poehler/Tina Fey time!

Sigourney Weaver. She was pitch-perfect.
Tina: Outsourcing? You mean my baby will be carried by some Third World country woman?
Sigourney: [hearty laughter] No... [jots down this information] Of course not...
Tina: Wow, it takes more money to get someone born than to have someone killed.
Sigourney: Well it takes longer.

He's in this?
Why hadn't anyone told me Greg Kinnear was in this? He's nowhere to be seen in the trailer, but plays the not-Jamba Juice guy as an adorable leading man who's too good to be true (ie. perfect for Tina).

Cameo I loved:
Steve Martin as Tina's 'green' corporate boss was hah-larious. Will he give me 5 minutes of uninterrupted eye contact?

Favourite Line:
Too many. The one that comes to mind right now: "C'mon kids, you have a playdate with Wingspan and Banjo!" (from random nanny/mom at the posh playground) and "I can't get out of your space car!" (Amy having issues with Tina's car door)

Best Scene:
I loved the karaoke scenes ("My avatar is dressed like a whore!") and any scene with Sigourney (see above) - but that awkward scene at the bar when Tina sees her ex- was so purely Fey-ish I actually thought I was watching 30 Rock and not Baby Mama (which isn't a bad thing at all).

Forgetting Sarah Marshall (A-)
Why it rocked my socks:
Because I love Jason Segel, and never has a breakup been so comedically mined and yet still felt so heartfelt and true (loved the flashbacks that revealed Sarah to be a See You Next Tuesday and Peter to be actually a good boyfriend, and not just a lazy ass). And Mila Kunis? Where have you been?!

Russel Brand as Aldous Snow. Only Brits can get away with being so arrogant while wearing such skimpy outfits. The restaurant scene with the Tommy Bahama shirt was kind of priceless ("Oh no! Take my eye, but not the shirt...")

He's in this?
Uh, why hadn't anyone told me Paul Rudd was in this movie? And why is it that he's still attractive even when playing a 44 year old surfer loser dude? (Great line: "When life gives you lemons, just say 'Fuck the lemons,' and bail.")

Cameo I loved:
Jack McBrayer (ie. Kenneth the Page) as ... basically a married and sexually frustrated Kenneth? Funny. ("God put our mouths on our head for a reason. No!")
Jonah Hill as... a closeted Aldous Snow lover. Sure, it was way too 'Superbad'-y, but is that really a bad thing? I just hope his homo-man act is not all he's got.

Favourite Line:
Again, too many. I kinda liked "I was gonna listen to that, but then, um, I just carried on living my life." (Aldous, on Matthew's demo)

Best Scene:
While everyone's been talking about the big genital-revealing moments, I actually enjoyed the Dracula Musical ending scene at the end. Anyone else want to see the entire production?

Monday, May 5, 2008

Avenue Q, or How the Internet is for Porn!

Avenue Q

Jonathan Root, Nicholas Kohn, Sarah Stiles, Christian Anderson, Ann Sanders, Rashidra Scott & Jennifer Barnhart

Offensive puppets. Do I really need to say anything else? This Sesame Street meets South Park meets Broadway show is a gem. Everything from the politically inappropriate jokes, to the hysterically offensive lyrics is a great. I particularly loved the way the puppets are used both as a premise for a Sesame St parody, but also makes for great lines ["I find green pubes in my shower and I asking, is this pubes mine? No!"] and great jokes [Like Ricky and Nicky looking alike at the end of the show]. Overall, this show bristles with a certain spunk and originality that one rarely encounters outside of HBO/Showtime TV - it'd be rated R (especially when we get countdowns from Five Night Stands, Four Night Stands, Three Night Stands Two Night Stands... One Night Stands!)
So how offensive is it, really? I just need to offer you some lyrics to prove it:
[From 'Schadenfreude']:

GARY AND NICKY: Schadenfreude!
GARY COLEMAN: People taking pleasure in your pain!
NICKY: Oh, Schadenfreude, huh? What's that, some kinda Nazi word?
GARY COLEMAN: Yup! It's German for "happiness at the misfortune of others!"
NICKY: "Happiness at the misfortune of others." That is German!

- Puppet-sex. It doesn't get better than that, really.
- Christmas Eve's wedding dress (and y'know, her entire character... what beats hearing someone tell you that "the more you ruv someone, the more he make you cly"? Nothing)
- The fact that there's a song that's called "What do you do with a BA in English" which I've loved ever since I got the soundtrack years ago, but loved even more on stage.
- "It sucks to be me!"

- The puppets: how amazing is the cast to be able to sing, dance, act and still maintain (puppet) character? Kudos in particular to Ms Stiles for maintaining a conversation between Kate Monster and Lucy the Slut.

Overall Grade: A

Friday, May 2, 2008

Iron Thoughts, or How Robert D. is your (Iron) Man

Iron Man
Dir. Jon Favreau
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Jeff Bridges & Terrence Howard (and... why not? Leslie Bibb)

What to say about this singlet-wearing Robert Downey Jr. superhero-vehicle movie that hasn't been said in the reviews that are littering the web? Let's see:

- Gwyneth Paltrow back in action. I know her career post-Sliding Doors (excepting Shakespeare in Love, I guess) has been lagging, but I was glad to see her playing coy and proper Ms [insert ridiculous name here] (Pepper is it?)
- The fact that it reminded me that Leslie Bibb (post-Popular and ER) is still alive. And looking well. Best Gwyneth-Leslie dialogue:
Leslie: You still work for him after all of these years?
Gwyn: Yes, I do everything Mr Stark asks me, and sometimes I even take out the trash. [As she hands Ms Bibb her laundered clothes]
- Seeing a superhero movie tackling war-issues, even if from an ambiguous neo-Liberal (or would it be neo-conservative?) view: do we end up believing 'those people' are war-hungry? do we end up feeling the US is (in part) responsible for warmongering where they shouldn't be? where does Robert and his red-golden-hot "not-Iron" suit stand?
- Yay Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury! (What? You didn't stay til after the credits? Tsk... Tsk...)
- Any and all snarky lines coming from Mr Stark - everything from his womanizing ones, to his 'I'm a bitch and I know it' lines, to his 'I'm so self-absorbed cause I'm the shit' lines to... well pretty much anything with Robert D.'s delivery was kind of awesome.
- Paul Bettany doing voiceover. That's all.
- All the Tony Stark 'Iron Man' in training scenes (so cartoony, and yet so funny - especially the dialogue with his robot-arm)

Random final comment, which I can't take full credit for: Okay, so Gwyneth gave birth to Apple... so why are all the gadgets Dell? Discuss.

As a Superhero Movie, Iron Man delivers everything it needs to... and then some. I was glad to see it didn't go into Spiderman 3 territory where the love-story took center stage and the villains had no depth; and that it didn't go the Superman Returns turn where flashy scenes deliver horrible dialogue and a pale plot - instead Favreau's film seems closer to Nolan's Batman series where the superhero in question is grounded in a fallen world and given a three-dimensionality and contemporaneity it doesn't necessarily have in the 2D panels from which it has sprung. Tony Stark is a believable corporate warmongering American who seems genuinely confused by the way he fits into the world he has helped create (and destroy) and who finds in his technology a way refashion himself in the way we all wish we could: as a public(ized) hero. A