Friday, February 29, 2008

OWR: Knocked Up

81: Jocund

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Thursday Youtube

Sorry for the lack of content since the Oscars. But we keep the Thursday tradition alive. Quite possibly the greatest music video ever filmed in a single studio. There is a higher quality version, but it can't be embedded. Stupid record labels.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

OWR: The Simpsons Movie

48: Gaggy

Monday, February 25, 2008

First Blush: The 80th Academy Awards

Last year, we did a First Blush of an Oscar show that turned out to be great fun. With the writers strike ending just days ago, we’ll see how quickly they could put together enough jokes to successfully create a quality product. Sadly, my Oscar partner Brad has fled the continent so he’ll be one of those “one billion” people watching worldwide, and I’ll have to supply the banter for the both of us. Hopefully I can pull this off. I've done my best to ignore the red carpet thingy outside of Jack Nicholson asking “How’s the Reeg tonight?” I’m nonetheless sick of car commercials already. Here we go!

7:30 We start with a video-gamey CGI mashup of pretty much every movie ever made. A UPS delivery truck boldly goes through a town made entirely of movie magic. Upon arrival, we learn that it was the T-1000 driving the truck full Oscar statuettes. This is what happens when there are no writers.

7:32 Jon Stewart enters wearing the same outfit I donned for high school orchestra performances. It’s not fancy, but it’s just classy enough.

7:34 Stewart’s monologue is pretty solid, but has a number of duds. His “Let’s – take a moment to congratulate ourselves,” fell flat. A bit too close to the reality of this thing?

7:37 Stewart Rips on Norbit saying that “Too often, the Academy ignores movies that aren’t good.” You know what that means. Sean Penn is going to defend it later in the show.

7:41 Jennifer Garner here to announce Costume Design. She sounds like she’s giving a junior high book report. Solid French pronunciation, though!

7:47 Clooney shaved off his beard which was supposedly so new and hip. He’s introducing “80 years of Oscars.” These clips are all so brief, none of them leave any impression whatsoever. Is there an editors strike, too?

7:52 Anne Hathaway and Steve Carrell are the same height. They’re presenting Best Animated Feature. There’s no way Ratatouille doesn’t win this category. I didn’t know anyone even remotely liked Surfs Up, so I’m baffled by its inclusion as a nominee. Maybe I’m confusing it with all the other animated penguin flicks that came out this year. The Rat wins, and Brad Bird channels Mark Metcalf in his acceptance speech, repeating the line, “What do you want to do with your life?”.

7:56 Katherine Heigl is here to discuss Norbit and the other makeup nominees. La Vie En Rose wins. When there are only three nominees and two of them are lousy movies, it’s pretty much a slam dunk, right?

7:59 Stewart tells us that we are going to hear all five nominated songs. One day they’ll figure out that this is a movie awards show and they should eliminate these stupid song routines.

8:03 Deuce Bigelow: European Gigolo is playing on TBS right now. Apparently it’s a different demographic than people who like movies.

8:10 A way preggers Cate Blanchett with Art Direction. The lack of applause is matched by my lack of interest in this category. Sweeny Todd wins. Yipperoo.

8:13 We get a primer on Best Supporting Actor. Once again, the editors are clearly high on goofballs because it’s the lightning round. Until we see footage from Cuba Gooding Junior's acceptance speech… where he appears to be high on goofballs.

8:15 Probably the biggest favorite of the night is Javier Bardem. Looking at the footage for all the nominees you can’t help but think how strong the category is this year. Bardem wins! He kisses Josh Brolin but doesn’t make any physical contact with Hudson. He’s clearly either gay or racist. Visibly pumped, he and thanks his mother, grandparents, and their parents in Spanish, finally dedicating the award to Spain.

8:22 52 minutes into the procession, Stewart says, “for those of you waiting for a moment, that was a moment.” It kinda sums up how the show has gone.

8:32 Oscar’s salute to binoculars and periscopes. I have to admit, these are some of my favorite movies. Fletch, Top Secret!, Silence of the Lambs. There should be more of this random crap. Bad Dreams, an Oscar Salute – more great movies: Pulp Fiction, Aliens, The Manchurian Candidate. I want more of this silliness!

8:24 Kerri Russell introducing the song from August Rush. She has the greatest hair in the world, I have no idea why she would ever wear it up. I can’t endure these songs. I may sneak over to channel 47 to see what Deuce Bigelow is up to. Is that OK with everyone?

8:25 Deuce just said that he “knows who the killer is” five times to the same badguy who played the badguy in The Fugitive. That’s quite a step down for Jeroen Krabbé, no? After some time off in 2007, he's working on some new films, so the Bigelow stink didn't end his career. Sadly, the same could be said for Rob Schneider.

8:28 Stewart just said that Hal Holbrook was doing the “Cabin Patch” in the aisle.

8:29 Owen Wilson with live-action short film. These all seem to be foreign films. The Oscar goes to Le Mozart Des Pickpockets, while Owen Wilson picks up the award for worst French pronunciation of the evening.

8:31 Jerry Seinfeld shows up “in costume” this year. Now we get a montage of bees. Some of my favorite movies! Election, Rushmore… He’s presenting animated short. Peter and the Wolf wins. And the guy who won brought his little Peter up on stage. Please, don’t be gross. It’s a wooden puppet.. He gives a shoutout to Prokofiev. Nice!

8:34 A similar montage for best supporting actress. I wonder who’s going to get the extended coda ala Cuba. It’s brief, but Ruth Gordon gets the last word. When introducing the nominees, they show Ruby Dee’s entire performance in her clip. Somehow they found a clip of Amy Ryan’s Gone Baby Gone performance without any curse words. Well done, editors!

8:38 Tilda Swinton wins, which is a huge surprise. At least I’m surprised. She seems surprised as well. She is giving a terrible acceptance speech, ribbing Clooney about Batman and Robin, a movie from ten years ago. A couple notecards would have saved her here.

8:45 Jack is wearing his shades. I can’t tell if that’s cool or ridiculous.

8:47 Best Adapted screenplay. I am rooting for PT Anderson, but the Coen Brothers are the clear favorites. And they win! They may win three more times before the night is over. Joel just put the entire country to sleep. Ethan has even less to say: “We, uhh… thank you very much.”

8:49 The President of the Academy now speaks. Everyone always dreads this segment. Ethan Coen was more dynamic. But then we get an interesting video about the process. Not funny, but still kinda cool. Not to mention a decent ad for PriceWaterhouseCoopers.

8:53 Hannah Montana introduces another damn song. I just wanted to write Hannah Montana to get more google hits on this site. Or maybe it’s Ugly Betty. Honestly, I have no idea who these people are.

8:55 This song nonsense couldn’t be more terrible. If we couldn’t do away with the category on the heels of Melissa Ethridge winning, I don’t think it will ever be eliminated. There are no more musicals anymore, so why do we even have this category? It should be presented with the technical awards two weeks earlier.

9:02 Seth Rogan and Jonah Hill give us a little banter about who more closely resembles Halle Berry before presenting best Sound Editing. A lot of strong contenders in this category. Bourne Ultimatum wins! That’s a bit of a shocker, honestly.

9:05 The banter continues and gets funnier. Now it’s Sound Mixing, and I nearly all the same movies are nominated. Did people split their ballots? And how can one tell the difference? Bourne Ultimatum wins again. It’s different people, so they must have different jobs. But no, clearly voters didn’t split their ballots.

9:08 A Best Actress montage. In the Louise Fletcher acceptance speech, Jack is wearing sunglasses. Nice to see that he’s consistent. Forest Whittaker presenting Best Actress. Julie Christie is the likely favorite, both for sentimental reasons and because Away From Her was such an affecting film. Ellen Page has a decent chance as well since Juno is such a fan favorite. Marion Cotillard wins. This is a huge surprise. It’s a big night for foreigners. She’s clearly stunned. “Thank you life, thank you love. It is true there are some angels in this city!”

9:18 Colin Ferrell is nearly unintelligible in presenting the song from Once. He may be drunk as well. Is he really the only Irishman they could find to do this? Only two more of these songs to go.

9:22 Jack switched to regular specs to introduce a montage featuring the 79 Best Picture winners. A seemingly obvious feature is actually rather interesting. Gone With the Wind won in 1939 and the next color film to win was An American in Paris in 1951. I find that surprising. Perhaps the most amazing thing is how diverse these winners are. There are epics, muscials, comedies, historical pictures, politically charged dramas, adaptations, and even a few truly incredible films. Crash was in there, too, so crap was represented as well.

9:28 Renee Zellweger strides in like a fancy goose. She’s presenting Film Editing. I hope Roderick Jaynes wins simply because he doesn’t exist, though they do show a picture of some old guy. Bourne Ultimatum wins again. That’s three awards. Pretty amazing for a third film in a trilogy when they almost always fall flat. Kudos to Paul Greengrass.

9:31 Remember when Nicole Kidman was hot in a totally unique way? That was a long time ago. Now she looks like somebody stretched Heather Graham. She introduces Robert Boyle who wins the lifetime achievement award. He’s 98, which is really darn old. But he’s still rather with it. Or he was. Now I'm getting sleepy. At least he's speaking English. Last year it was all in Italian and then Clint Eastwood had to translate.

9:42 Penelope Cruz here with Best Foreign Language film, and she looks fantastic. Many complained that this category was completely botched when it came to picking the nominees. But very few people have seen any of these. Austria’s The Counterfeiters wins. When in doubt go with the holocaust picture, right?

9:44 Patrick Dempsey was just introduced as versatile and handsome. I take issue with both of those assertions! Last song of the night, people. Then they’ll give the award to Once.

9:48 Travolta dances his way to the podium. He nearly slips in the same place where Colin Farrell nearly slipped. Maybe Farrell wasn’t drunk. Travolta looks like he’s gotten in better shape. As expected, Once wins to rousing applause. “Tanks! Make art!” Best acceptance speech of the night. Jon Stewart follows with, “Wow. That guy is so arrogant.” Best joke of the night. Things are picking up a bit. Maybe I shouldn’t rail against the song category so.

9:58 Cameron Diaz is here to present Best Cinematography. She’s flubbing her lines, but still looks elegant doing it. Roger Deakins has two nominations here. With the surprises we’ve seen, I’m not making any predictions here. It would be nice if There Will Be Blood were to win something. Robert Elswit it is. There Will Be Blood finally strikes oil. Well earned in this case. He electioneers for Daniel Day-Lewis a bit, but the votes are already in, buddy.

10:01 Hillary Swank also flubbing lines introduces the death montage. They put the dates on the screen this time so there is no confusion or complaints about Roy Scheider not making the cut. Very little applause early on here. It’s almost embarrassing. Jack Valenti gets cursory clapping. Still awfully quiet in the house. But I don’t know who most of these people are, either. I don’t remember agents being included before. Is that new? Suzanne Pleshette finally gets people clpping. Ingmar Bergman gets a bit more. Heath Ledger is saved for the end with a brief, somber shot from Brokeback Mountain.

10:11 Tom Hanks sans beard arrives to present Documentary Short Subject. Soldiers in Baghdad announce the nominees. A nice touch, though it would be good if we could have seen some clips of the films as well. They announce the winner as well – Freeheld. The winners are ecstatically overwhelmed. It’s always great to see people win the “lesser” awards.

10:16 For Best Documentary Feature, you have to think Michael Moore would give the most interesting acceptance speech. Anything to liven up this show would be great. Taxi to the Dark Side wins. Remember that voters in this category are required to see all the five films. Consequently, they usually get this one right. Everyone go check it out.

10:23 Whoah, Stewart makes his worst joke of the evening, a lousy pun using Harrison Ford’s last name. Ford sounds older than Robert Boyle when he speaks. This does not bode well for the next Indiana Jones movie. Diablo Cody is the odds on favorite to win Best Original Screenplay. But all these movies, save Michael Clayton, are at least extremely interesting and unique. Diablo Cody wins and is the first former stripper to win an Oscar since Ernest Borgnine.

10:30 It’s time for Best Actor. Daniel Day-Lewis has to win. There were a litany of strong performances this year, but he has to win. Helen Mirren looks as good as she did last year and is totally composed on stage. Vigo Mortensen is sporting an awesome beard. Day-Lewis wins. He looks scrawny as hell and bows to Mirren before accepting the award. “That’s the closest I’ll ever come to getting a knighthood.” He goes on with extreme grace and humility. Man, the acceptance speeches tonight have been stellar.

10:39 Old footage of Lemmon and Mathau is used to set up the Best Director award, and we go into a montage from there. Martin Scorsese gets to announce the award. PT Anderson deserves this. Everyone thinks the Coens will win. But it could really go in any direction. Pun totally not intended. The Coens win! Good for them. Maybe Ethan will be a bit more verbose this time. “I don’t have a lot to add to what I said earlier… Thank you.” Hilarious.

10:44 Denzel Washington here for Best Picture. It’s rare that Best Picture has the most suspense over the outcome, but that’s where we find ourselves tonight. None of the earlier awards have given any true indication about the result as in previous years. The Oscar goes to… No Country for Old Men! A huge night for the Coens who quadrupled their Oscars. Well done, boys.

10:47 Stewart bids us farewell and the Oscars are over. Clearly, the writers strike took a huge toll on the entertainment of this show. So did watching them alone. I don’t plan to do that ever again. Maybe I was just lonely. But if you’ve made it to the end with me here, I thank you. Next time around, I promise more banter and more booze. We both deserve it.

Friday, February 22, 2008

OWR: There Will Be Blood

93: Ruthless

OWR: Juno

73: Inconsistent

OWR: No Country for Old Men

84: Muted

OWR: Michael Clayton

68: Limpid

OWR: Eastern Promises

77: Pinpoint

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Thursday Youtube

This is easily the coolest thing on youtube since the Ric Flair music video. Not sure how Walt would feel about this, but Tool has now been combined with Fantasia 2000. The original music for this segment was Respighi's Pines of Rome, a brilliant piece of music in its own right. Enjoy!

It's even better if you go to Youtube directly and watch it fullscreen.

OWR: Away From Her

82: Dour

OWR: Gone Baby Gone

65: Episodic

OWR: The Kite Runner

63: Plotty

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Unyielding Commissioning Approves This Message

Because a car wash is so passé Sorry you missed Andrew Bird at The Hideout for his tuneup show last year? Well February 28th is your chance to do a make good at the city's most intimate venue. Odds are he'll be playing some new tunes, too. But it's going to cost you. Tickets are 100 bucks a pop. Whaaaa? Before you judge Bird as a money-grubbing capitalist, you should know that the show is a fundraiser for Barack Obama. We here at FtY would love to see Bird again, especially in such close confines, but the whole lack of steady income and busted knee thing combine to keep us home for this one. If you're so inclined, sign up and bring your credit card.

A long walk Tapes 'n Tapes have officially announced their new album. Walk it Off comes out on April 8th, which is a helluva long time to wait. Fortunately, their 2006 release The Loon only gets better with ages, so consider us satiated until then. The first single, "Hang Them All," has hit the internets. Stereogum not only has more info, but actually has the song available for your perusal. It's far less rockin' then when they performed it last summer, but still sounds great. A recent Pitchfork interview with frontman Josh Grier gives more reason for optimism. They play Metro with White Denim (v'nice!) on April 11. Tix go on sale Saturday. Count us in.

It's pronounced Yens Speaking of tickets and shows and the like, we have an extra one for Jens Lekman at the Logan Square Theater on 3/31. So if you like Jens and want to go, let us know. The show is not sold out yet, but probably will be by kickoff or gametime or whatever parlance of our time you prefer.

OWR: No End In Sight

72: Damning

OWR: Sicko

74: Illuminating

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

OWR: Transformers

42: Blatant

OWR: Ratatouille

90: Delectable

...And We're Back

Hi Gang,

Thanks for being patient whilst I recovered from knee surgery. Further details on that whole deal can be found here. The bottom line is the kneehab is progressing ahead of schedule and a full recovery has been prognosticated by those wh0 know about such things. Too bad about this rotten weather or I could get outside a bit more. But all that ice is extra precarious right now.

Thanks to the end of the writers' strike, it's Oscar week! So I'll have a big batch of One Word Reviews for as many of the nominees as possible. We'll end the week with our second-annual Oscar First Blush, though last year's cohort, Brad, has fled the continent. I'll need a new partner who digs film and likes to make fun of people. That's harder to find than you think.

So stay tuned here. We're happy to be back in the saddle, if only figuratively for now.