Ah, remember how I said I was going to do better with the beguilements? Yeah…hahahahaha. This is basically the entire month of August and some of September–and I left some of the older/rewatched classics out (and I’m leaving out a book or two but I’m drawing a complete blank about it). Goodness. and Heavens to Betsy too.
Aaahh!! Real Monsters: This early-mid-’90s cartoon that I absolutely loved as a kid is still wonderfully disturbing now, albeit some cheesy lines. Now, if only I could find the Beetlejuice animated series–I would own that one.
Art & Copy: A 2009 documentary shows us the world of advertising in a truly fascinating way. Now, I am a huge typography nerd, so perhaps I was more interested in this one than Ben would be (who was not at all upset about missing the viewing). There are some major players interviewed with some great stories to tell how they or a specific company started. Really wonderful film.
Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog: A bizarre short [musical] film staring Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Fillion, and Felicia Day. It’s an interesting concept focusing on Harris’ wannabe-supervillain character video-blogging his exploits against his arch-nemesis and waxing on about his secret love. It is a great concept, but could have been more successful if it had a bit more editing.
Oliver!: I grew up watching this musical. I love the 1968 version so much, I have refused to watch the 2005 version (also, it’s a Polanski film and I try to avoid those whenever possible).
Bullshit!: The Penn & Teller showtime show with brief segments tearing apart some poplar ideals. I LOVE this show and I wish a lot more people could watch it. (P.S.–Most people know The Boy Scouts of America are raging homophobes, but did you know they are exclusionary bastards who also take government money and use government land [mostly] free of charge?!?)
Wanda Sykes: Tongue Untied: The 2003 stand-up routine of this hilarious woman.
Sex and Breakfast: A 2007 movie that looks a bit too much like a soap opera for me to take it seriously as “indie;” the women have just a bit too much “natural” makeup with hair a bit too shiny, the boys are a bit too pretty/toned with a bit too much of that “moody” look in their eyes. The description sounds like it could be a slighty funny drama but the whole thing is a bit too poorly written and extremely poorly directed to convince me these characters are real. Definitely would not recommend.
The Botany of Desire: A 2009 documentary based on a book of the same title that explores the natural history of four plants (apples, tulips, cannabis, and potatoes) and how these very common plants have manipulated the human evolution. REALLY fascinating. This flick was well work it’s two hour length. Each plant is given half-an-hour to follow it’s origin in the world and how humans are interacting with it in current day. Very good movie.
Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman: WONDERFUL book. But of course I think so, I’m absolutely in love with Neil Gaiman. As every single person in the world should be; American Gods is one of the very best books ever written. Anansi Boys isn’t exactly a sequel to American Gods, but it takes place in the same universe. It is delightful and witty and fun and the endearing characters are woven in between fantasy and reality so beautifully. Anansi Boys is much more lighthearted than American Gods, but in such a clever way that is quite charming. You will love this book.
The Expendables: We have been waiting on this movie for years before it’s eventual release. But we grew up watching all those super-cheesy ’80s and ’90s action movies. With a cast of such amazing action greats, this movie is exactly what it needed to be–totally awesome. It is destined to become a Saturday afternoon classic.
My Dog: An Unconditional Love Story: This is a really sweet documentary about the relationship between a few celebrities and their pets. It’s extremely endearing and as does most things that involve dogs, ended up bring tears to my eyes near the end. I didn’t have much of an opinion on Isaac Mizrahi, but in this documentary he comes across as a very nice and down-to-earth fellow. But it’s simple and sweet and a pleasant-enough watch for anyone that enjoys the companionship of (wo)man’s best friend.
Bunny Shorts: I do not know from whence these movie summaries originated, but they are available on Netflix and are several seconds of adorable hilarity.
World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks: This [fictional] account of the world-wide crisis that nearly depleted humanity is one of the most fascinating books I have read in a really long time. The journalistic nature of the writing style in this book lends it a sense of reality any other format would have missed. I would highly recommend this book to anyone, zombie-fan or not.
A Wink and A Smile: The Art of Burlesque: This is a 91 minute documentary that follows along with a Burlesque 101 class out of Seattle. It’s interesting to see the type of women who opted to take a class, and to follow along with them as they each develop a stage persona. There wasn’t as much history of burlesque as I would have liked to have seen, but it would be a good introduction to someone who may be curious about burlesque.
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold: This book, narrated by the 14 year girl who is raped and murdered before the book begins, had such wonderful potential. It starts off so strongly and ends in such a cheesy way. It was an interesting read, but I wish it could have ended in a less juvenile way.
Machete: Rodriguez strikes again!! If you were a fan of the Grindhouse movie(s) then you will recognize Machete as being one of the fake trailers from it. This movie was exactly what it said it would be–and it was fucking awesome while doing it! I realize this type of ’70s cheese isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but this movie is just so much fun.
Piranha 3-D: Wonderfully fun and Richard Dreyfuss has such a wonderful little cameo in it; his part is perfect. Unlike so many other movies that have jumped onto the 3D bandwagon by selecting a drop-down menu in the editing room, this movie was filmed in 3D with the same 3D technology that was used in Avatar. The 3D is really amazing and the movie is a tit-filled gore-fest that shouldn’t be missed–if that’s what you’re into.
It Might Get Loud: Unfortunately I was at work while Ben and Ian (drummer from arc) watched this movie; here is Ben’s review: “I thought it was a really insightful documentary; definitely geared toward musicians. Great footage of The Edge, Jimmy Page, and Jack White jamming. For a non-musician this movie Might Get Boring, but I thought it was very good.”
Project Runway: Due to a crazy-busy summer, we had missed all but the first two episodes. This past week was dedicated to playing catch-up to be able to watch Episode 9 in real life. This years group is super talented and I kind of want Michael C. to make it to the final (or at best beat Gretchen) just to spite the other designers even if I don’t particularly like his style.
The Good, The Bad, The Weird: An amazing South Korean movie about outlaws in 1940s Manchuria is a wonderful homage to The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly while still being amazingly original. This movie maintains its sense of fun while still being a masterpiece of cinema. The cinematography is epically beautiful, the camera-work in general is astounding, and the entire movie, including a 40 minute chase scene is riveting. Everyone should watch this movie–particularly if you are a fan of Westerns and/or an extremely well-made film.