Daily Archives: February 2, 2013

Arias      Grace4

 

“I know more about Jodi Arias’s — let me just say rear end, for a better word — than I ever dreamed I would know.  That’s not exactly why I went to law school.”

— Nancy Grace, not fooling any of us

 

*****

 

US-DIPLOMACY-CLINTON-TOWN HALL       Jindal

 

Term that needs to be abolished:  “rock star” — unless it refers to an actual, honest-to-goodness musician.

Hillary Clinton, love her or hate her, is often referred to as a Democratic “rock star.”  Hillary is many things, but she is certainly not a rock star.  She is an aging, heavyset politician who wears pantsuits and glasses — the very antithesis of “rock star.”  Likewise, that scrawny geek from Louisiana, Bobby Jindal, is no one’s idea of a “rock star.”

 

*****

 

As long as we’re banning things, let’s ban the Super Bowl party.  If you are a genuine football fan, it’s next to impossible to watch the actual game during these parties because there are “casual fans” in attendance, blocking the TV screen, paying attention only to commercials, and making non-football-related conversation.  Who needs that?

 

*****

 

      Munster    Eddie Munster haircut, circa 1964

      Napolitano    Eddie Munster haircut, circa 2013

 

*****

 

Kayak

 

Lord knows I bitch enough about annoying commercials, so it’s only fair that I praise a — stop the presses! — good one, on the rare occasion that one comes along.   This Kayak spot is funny.  Of course, I won’t feel that way after I’ve seen it 1,400 times.

It’s impossible to escape awful commercials.  Not if you expect to watch television.  But you can at least pick your poison.  If you want to avoid the cloying appeals of retired celebrities like Henry Winkler, Fred Thompson, or William Devane, who all strive to convince us that they are just like us, just regular folk, you must steer clear of cable-news channels.  Likewise, if you can’t stomach one more acne-cream ad, say goodbye to MTV.

 

*****

 

Fly

 

This attraction Obama has for flies at press conferences is beginning to go beyond bizarre.  Perhaps he needs acne cream.

 

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Art

 

Art School Confidential     Quirkiness has done well for Terry Zwigoff, the creator of off-the-wall gems like Ghost World and Crumb.  Zwigoff’s Art School is certainly peculiar, blending youth romance with satire about what constitutes “art.”  And oh, yes:  There is a subplot about a vicious serial killer terrorizing the school campus.  Hey, I did mention that Zwigoff is into quirky.  But despite funny supporting work from John Malkovich and Jim Broadbent, this time Zwigoff falls flat.  Art School is often slow and it’s hampered by a dullish Max Minghella as the young hero.  Release:  2006  Grade:  C

 

*****

 

Safety

 

Safety Not Guaranteed tries hard to be a lovable fantasy-romance, but male lead Mark Duplass, as an eccentric who claims to know the secret of time travel, comes off stiff and childish.  There are also some jarring shifts in tone — it’s difficult to sustain whimsy when your quirky comedy suddenly morphs into an armed-heist thriller — but doe-eyed Aubrey Plaza is disarming as a kooky “emo girl,” a magazine intern sent to investigate oddball Duplass.  Release:  2012  Grade:  C+

 

*****


Lawrence3

 

House at the End of the Street     Until it gets stupid, stupider, and stupidest in its last act, during which every horror-flick cliché ever clichéd comes into play, House is a decent enough thriller.  But not even Jennifer Lawrence — smack in the midst of Major Movie-Star Momentum — can rescue that silly third act.  Lawrence, playing a typical teen who moves with her mom to a house with some atypical neighbors, at least doesn’t embarrass herself.  Release:  2012  Grade:  C

 

*****

 

Aztec

 

The Aztec Box    What hath the Blair Witch wrought?  Aztec is yet another low-budget, found-footage horror flick, this time involving the unearthing of a cursed Mexican artifact.  I say “low-budget,” but that’s not really the problem here.  The problem is a run-time that’s about 20 minutes too long, much of it inane home-movie footage that really should have remained lost.  Release:  2013  Grade:  D

 

*****

 

Fog

 

The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara    You might not agree with all of McNamara’s “lessons,” but this mix of archival footage and interviews with the former Secretary of Defense could be one of the best films about war — and the all-too-human leaders who wage them — ever made.  McNamara is alternately brash and humble as he chronicles his uniquely American life, culminating with his years as advisor to two presidents during the hellish Vietnam War.  Release:  2003  Grade:  A

 

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