Archive for the Movies Category

HEXES AND REVIVALS

Posted in Movies, religion with tags , on Wednesday, June, 16, 2010 by llsoares

I ended up getting tickets to a free advance screening of the new movie JONAH HEX tonight. This doesn’t happen often enough, but when it does, it’s nice not to actually have to pay for movie tickets. I’m still trying to get a press pass so I don’t have to deal with this crap (for advance screenings I have to get there an hour beforehand and wait in line for seats), but it’s slow going.

We’ll be reviewing JONAH HEX for the next Cinema Knife Fight column, to be posted this Sunday night at midnight.

After I saw the movie, I went across the street to the Boston Common (the big park in the middle of the city – kind of a mini Central Park) and there was a tent up, with a sign that read “Old Fashioned Revival.” I couldn’t help myself; I had to check it out. I was hoping for ae fire and brimstone preacher, maybe even some healing or speaking in tongues, but no such luck. There were lots of folding chairs, but less than half were occupied. Of the people who were there, I’m guessing many were homeless people who just wanted a place to sit.

The preacher was standing up and shouting about how America and “godless” and how the nation was a “great drought.” He even jumped up and down a little. But it was no way as dramatic as I’d hoped. And after about five minutes of standing just outside the tent, listening, I got bored and moved on. The preacher, if he noticed me at all, must have figured I was some “lost soul” who wasn’t sure if he wanted to come inside. The truth is, I was just looking for entertainment.

Even old-fashioned tent revivals aren’t as fun as they used to be. Go figure.

Meeting a “Role Model” – JOHN WATERS

Posted in Books, Movies with tags , , on Tuesday, June, 15, 2010 by llsoares

(Left to right): Laura Cooney, John Waters and L.L. Soares

Last Thursday (June 17, 2010), director John Waters came to town to talk about his new book, ROLE MODELS, consisting of several essays about people he looks up to, from Johnny Mathis (“the polar opposite of me”), to Little Richard (whose mustache Waters freely admits he “stole”) to lots more unconventional choices, from lesbian strippers to outsider pornographers.

The Boston Public Library show was his last stop on the book tour (and the only city he visited that has outlawed “poppers”). Instead of simply talking to the audience, he was interviewed by novelist Scott Heim (author of the book MYSTERIOUS SKIN that was made into a film by Greg Araki). Scott covered most of the topics in the book, and Waters was very funny as he talked about his subjects. Then there was a Q&A session afterwards.

I think I was the first person there. The event started at 6pm and I was there before 4:00. I’d left work early intent on getting to the head of the line. This was good and bad. Good, because I had a front-row seat for the discussion, but bad because when it was done, it was announced that Waters would be signing books in the lobby. Suddenly, I was at the end of the line!

Over an hour later, I finally got to meet the man, but he was already a little bleary-eyed from meeting so many fans. I could also tell he was in a hurry to get it over with and head out. So I felt like to take up too much of his time would be intrusive. But there were a couple of things I wanted to tell him.

Back in 1988, when Laura and I got married, we wanted to do something interesting with our wedding invitations. So we had a pink flamingo on the cover and the tagline “Isn’t Love Divine.” This was a direct homage to Waters and his the star of so many of his early films, Divine. I’d wanted to send him a copy of the invitation, but figured I’d get to meet him at an event someday, and that it would be a great way to break the ice and talk to him about other stuff. So finally, after 22 years, I was standing before the man himself, showing him the invitation, and I realized how utterly unexciting it was. He’d probably seen stuff like this a hundred times before. He’d probably seen thousands of more interesting things before. Our little wedding invitiation probably didn’t register a blip on his radar. He asked if we wanted him to sign it. I said “You can keep that one, and we’ve got another one for you to sign.” He slipped the copy I gave him under the table (I bet there was a wastebasket under there. LOL). We got him to sign our copies of his books ROLE MODELS and a first edition of CRACKPOT, and even got a picture with the maestro. But so much for my big moment. I figured he’d be tickled pink by my little revelation, and it just wasn’t the case.

Of course,  there were a bunch of other things I could talk about. The time, about a year before his movie HAIRSPRAY came out, when I’d written to him and he’d responded with a terrific postcard with Squeaky Fromme on one side (to even bring this up would probably have elicited a yawn – how many people must he have sent postcards to over the years?). I was going to mention that Laura and I were horror writers and see if that picqued his interest. I could have mentioned I ran a movie-review site (Cinema Knife Fight), or that we air his “No Smoking in this Theater” promo weekly on the insane internet TV series LAIR OF THE YAK. But the invitation thing took up our time allotment, I didn’t want to be a rude or pushy fan, and it was time for us to move on.

I put my email address on the back of the invitation I’d given him, but why in the world would he write to me? He had no idea who the hell I was. And I’m sure the wedding invitation wasn’t cool enough to make him think, “Man, I gotta stay in touch with this guy!”

After thinking of Waters as one of my own “role models” for decades, and finally getting the chance to meet him in the flesh, the event was anti-climactic, to say the least. Not that I blame him at all. The book tour and the unrelenting parade of fans begging him to sign stuff must be quite tedious. And I’m sure I would have felt the same way (let’s just get this over with!). He was gracious and witty and very civil. The personification of good manners. But you spend years thinking “If I just met this guy and he knew who I was, we’d be great friends.” Yeah, sure. Life just doesn’t often turn out like that.

Chances are John Waters will never be aware of who I am. And I’ve just got to live with that.

MY OSCAR PICKS

Posted in Movies with tags , , on Saturday, March, 6, 2010 by llsoares

I realized that I should have posted this days ago, but it’s been crazy here, and I forgot. Just in case anyone reads this before the Oscars, here are my picks, and the movies I want to win (not necessarily the same thing) for Oscar Night.

BEST PICTURE

“Avatar”
“The Hurt Locker”
“Precious: Based on the novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”
“Up in the Air”
“Inglourious Basterds”
“Up”
“The Blind Side”
“District 9”
“An Education”
“A Serious Man”

For some reason, they expanded the list of Best Picture nominees to 10 this year. This is way too many.

Who Will Win: “The Hurt Locker”

Who I Want to Win:“Inglorious Basterds.” I’m pulling for Tarantino to win as many awards as possible, but I don’t think that will be too many.

****

ACTOR

George Clooney, “Up in the Air”
Jeff Bridges, “Crazy Heart”
Colin Firth, “A Single Man”
Morgan Freeman, “Invictus”
Jeremy Renner, “The Hurt Locker”

Who Will Win: Jeff Bridges. The way everyone is talking, this is pretty much a done deal. I’m not sure how good “Crazy Heart” sounds (the storyline didn’t excite me too much or get me to go see it yet). But Bridges is a terrific actor who hasn’t gotten the recognition he deserves. So I have no problem with this.

Who I Want To Win: Jeff Bridges. Some people are comparing this role in “Crazy Heart” to Mickey Rourke’s role in last year’s “The Wrestler.” I guess because both movies are about men growing older and moving further away from their glory years. But “Crazy Heart” is not a comeback movie. Bridges never went anywhere. He’s been making movies steadily for a long time now, and he’s never won an Oscar – which is embarassing.

I still wish he’d won for “The Big Lebowski.”  But I’d be happy to see him win for this. If not him, then definitely Jeremy Renner, who was amazing in “The Hurt Locker.”

****

ACTRESS

Meryl Streep, “Julie & Julia”
Sandra Bullock, “The Blind Side”
Gabourey Sidibe, “Precious: Based on the novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”
Helen Mirren, “The Last Station”
Carey Mulligan, “An Education”

Who Will Win: Sandra Bullock.

Who I Want to Win: Carey Mulligan for “An Education” would be nice. Or even Gabourey Sidibe for “Precious,”  but it sounds like Bullock has it wrapped up. I can’t believe that Sandra Bullock might win an Oscar.

****

SUPPORTING ACTOR

Matt Damon, “Invictus”
Woody Harrelson, “The Messenger”
Christopher Plummer, “The Last Station”
Stanley Tucci, “The Lovely Bones”
Christoph Waltz, “Inglourious Basterds”

Who Will Win: Christoph Walz for “Inglorious Basterds.”

Who I Want to Win: If “Inglorious Basterds” wins anything, it will be for this category.

****

SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Vera Farmiga, “Up in the Air”
Mo’Nique, “Precious”
Anna Kendrick, “Up in the Air”
Penelope Cruz, “Nine”
Maggie Gyllenhaal, “Crazy Heart”

Who Will Win: Mo’Nique

Who I Want to Win: Even though I’ve been on a Penelope Cruz kick lately, I avoided “Nine.”  I can’t stand musicals. Even with her and Daniel Day-Lewis in it. I like Vera Farmiga a lot, too, but she won’t win for this movie.

I’d be happy if  Mo’Nique got it.

****

DIRECTOR

Quentin Tarantino, “Inglourious Basterds”
Kathryn Bigelow, “The Hurt Locker”
James Cameron, “Avatar”
Lee Daniels, “Precious: Based on the novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”
Jason Reitman, “Up in the Air”

Who Will Win: Kathryn Bigelow.

Who I Want to Win: I’m on “Team Quentin” so I say “Inglorious Basterds” all the way. But if Bigelow wins it, she’s a great second choice. I still think her movie “Near Dark” was a great vampire flick, and I’ve been a fan of her as a director for awhile now. And “The Hurt Locker” is really good.

****

ANIMATED FEATURE

“Up”
“Coraline”
“Fantastic Mr. Fox”
“The Princess and the Frog”
“The Secret of Kells”

Who Will Win: “Up”

Who I Want to Win: I thought “Coraline” was terrific. But it’s probably too quirky for most Oscar voters.

****

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

“The Hurt Locker”
“Inglourious Basterds”
“The Messenger”
“A Serious Man”
“Up”

Who Will Win: Could be “The Hurt Locker” or “Inglorious Basterds”

Who I Want to Win: I’d love to see Tarantino get it for this one.

****

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

“District 9”
“An Education”
“In the Loop”
“Precious”
“Up in the Air”

Who Will Win: “Precious”

Who I Want to Win: I’d love to see “District 9” get something! But I doubt it.

****

BEST FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FILM

“Ajami”
“El Secreto de Sus Ojos”
“The Milk of Sorrow”
“Un Prophete”
“The White Ribbon”

Who Will Win: Maybe “The White Ribbon.”

Who I Want to Win: I haven’t seen the movies, but I’d be happy if the great Michael Haneke got it for “The White Ribbon.” I also hear “A Prophet”  is really good.

****

BEST FILM EDITING

“Avatar”
“District 9”
“The Hurt Locker”
“Inglourious Basterds”
“Precious”

Who Will Win: “The Hurt Locker”

Who I Want to Win: “Inglorious Basterds”

****

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

“Burma VJ”
“The Cove”
“Food, Inc.”
“The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers”
“Which Way Home”

Who Will Win: “Food, Inc.” It seems to be the one getting the most buzz.

Who I Want to Win: “The Cove,” about the killing of dolphins by Japanese fishermen, sounds a lot more interesting to me. But it probably won’t win.

*****

ART DIRECTION

“Avatar”
“The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus”
“Nine”
“Sherlock Holmes”
“The Young Victoria

Who Will Win: “Avatar”

Who I Want to Win: “Avatar” probably deserves every technical award it’s nominated for. But the story was dopey.

****

CINEMATOGRAPHY

“Avatar”
“Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”
“The Hurt Locker”
“Inglourious Basterds”
“The White Ribbon”

Who Will Win: “Avatar” or “The Hurt Locker”

Who I Want to Win: “Inglorious Basterds”

****

Let’s see how I do tomorrow.