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Aug. 24th, 2006

Crappy town

Just Keep Drawin' Up the Plans and Re-erect It

To all future visitors:

Hi. Thanks for coming. I used to write here, but don't so much anymore. Now, I write at http://moviehawk.net. Go check it out there...or if you're an LJ-only person, add http://syndicated.livejournal.com/moviehawk to your friends list...or leave a message at the beep.

...beep.

Aug. 22nd, 2006

Yeah...Film

Kick Asp

The people who made Snakes on a Plane should be stripped of their SAG memberships, their director's chairs, and every business card in their Rolodexes that are remotely related to Hollywood. The movie has perhaps the campiest title of any film in the past four decades, has relied almost solely on Internet hype as marketing, and capitalizes on the public's glee at hearing Samuel L. Jackson scream profanities. Without a doubt, Snakes is the single dumbest idea for a movie that has made it through to production in the last five years. It's barely even a movie; at best, it's a bunch of calculated beats of horror and action thrown into a paper-thin plot. And yet, for all the same reasons, it's awesome.

Please, though, no sequels...Collapse )
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Aug. 15th, 2006

Yeah...Film

Are You Afraid of the Dark?

It should come as no surprise that Matrix trilogy veteran Keanu Reeves was cast as the lead in Richard Linklater's A Scanner Darkly, an adaptation of Philip K. Dick's novel about drugs and paranoia in a police state seven years in our future. The role of Bob Arctor, a personality split between a Substance D addict and a faceless undercover "Agent Fred" charged with narcing himself out, is one that perhaps only Reeves can master, so seasoned is his familiarity with altered mental states. And, after watching the film, it seems only natural that Linklater was the one responsible for bringing the tale to the screen: his patented rotoscoping technique, in which he computer animates live action film, is the perfect medium for bringing the audience into the same anxious haze as the characters. In fact, there's not much surprising about the makeup of A Scanner Darkly - it is even being praised as the most faithful word-to-screen translations that Dick's work has received. The only surprise, then, is how well it all works together.

Should we list all the reasons I want a scramble suit?Collapse )
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Aug. 13th, 2006

HSR Yeah

What's in a Name?

There will be significant changes to Minutiae coming in the somewhat-near future; namely, another move away from LiveJournal, for personal and professional reasons. The professional: the commenting system here is rough, and I want to try to encourage more comments, expand my readership, and hopefully eventually parlay this whole reviewing gig into a freelancing opportunity somewhere. What does that mean for you? The same content, with some new additions, including a possible podcast.

What I need before I move again is help in choosing a domain name. The following names are taken:
  • minutiae.com
  • jeffmartin.com
  • jeffreymartin.com
I don't want to deal with putting numerals in my domain name (no more minutiae31.com or sjuhawk31.com, for my own sake). I don't know that minutiaeblog, theminutiaeblog, or minutiaetheblog are good names; you can help me decide that. What other ideas? You know what I write, who I am, and so on. The tone of the site isn't going to change much; hopefully it will get a bit funnier, but I'm not going for iaimtomisbehave.com (taken from a line in Serenity), so try to keep that in mind. Who has suggestions?

Aug. 12th, 2006

Yeah...Film

Let the Sunshine In

It's fascinating how Steve Carell has tiptoed up from behind us to become one of the best, most versatile comedic actors of at least the last ten years: as scene stealer (in Anchorman and Bruce Almighty), leading man (The 40-Year-Old Virgin), or ensemble member in a TV show full of hilarious actors (The Daily Show, The Office), Carell has not wasted a second on screen. He can play a loud dolt, a lovable loser, or an arrogant jerk and still be funny every time. In Little Miss Sunshine, the dark, subtle, broken comedy by first-time screenwriter Michael Arndt, Carell knocks it out of the park again as Frank, a gay scholar recovering from a suicide attempt, showing that he can excel in any role.

Not that he doesn't have plenty of help...Collapse )
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Aug. 10th, 2006

Crappy town

Exclusive Interview: Suri Cruise

Currently buried under a handful of headlines on CNN.com about some kind of terror thing is today's biggest, most important story: Vanity Fair has apparently gotten their grubby little hands on the first pictures of Suri Cruise, daughter of noted Scientologists Tom Cruise and Kate Holmes. Why is this story important, you ask? It's only a picture of a baby, you say? Clearly your finger is far from the pulse of America. But Vanity Fair is one step behind. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but if those words are "here's a picture of a baby," they're useless. That's why Minutiae's own Jeff Martin got a hold of little Suri for a sit-down - or in her case, lying-on-your-back, interview.

Read the interview here...Collapse )

Aug. 8th, 2006

Yeah...Film

Of Vice and Men

One would think that aren't many people more qualified to bring an update of the 80's cop drama "Miami Vice" to the big screen than Michael Mann. Acclaimed for his directorial work on films including The Insider and Collateral, Mann has become known for his slick visual style and his dark, understated storytelling. On top of all that, he was there at the beginning of "Vice" and executive produced the thing for five years; if anyone were to prepare Crockett and Tubbs for movie life, it'd be Mann. Judging by the totality with which Mann's update fails, then, perhaps it's safe to assume that all our memories of "Vice" should be kept wrapped in pastel linen suits.

Patience is a virtue, but Mann's snail pace is a vice...Collapse )
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Aug. 7th, 2006

Yeah...Film

Wild Night

At some point, you have to wonder how many times Will Ferrell can successfully trap his comedic lightning in a bottle. Sure, he's had his instances of misfire, mostly when he tries too hard to put a dramatic spin on his mania (Bewitched) or takes a small role in an eclectic arthouse film (the terrible A Winter Passing), but when Will Ferrell decides to just be himself - the sometimes arrogant, often empty headed man-child we've seen in Elf, Old School, and Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy - it's gold. Anchorman, in particular, has rocketed Ferrell's stock higher than most people could have imagined: it started as a mid-level comedy that did well in the box office, but with the release of the DVD it has turned into a phenomenon. Ferrell teamed back up with Anchorman writer/director Adam McKay on Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, and as far as I can tell, they've struck that gold again.

Even if the jokes don't come as fast as Bobby drives...Collapse )
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Aug. 1st, 2006

Yeah...Film

She's So Good With Her Stiletto

When a book is turned into a movie, there are, more often than not, considerable cuts to make. Multiple background characters are sometimes rolled into one sidekick, main character histories are glossed over in favor of starting in media res, and motivations are explained on the fly to make way for plot advancement. From what I understand of Lauren Weisberger's "The Devil Wears Prada," the opposite tactic was used in readying the story for the screen; the most used adjective describing her book is "glossy," as if there's not much beneath the high sheen of what's on the page. The film adaptation, while keeping much of the veneer that I assume the book has, is not quite as shallow as it lets on, and the added depth lets the actors, particularly genius Meryl Streep, a chance to breathe in their roles.

Warning: Adjectives like divine and delicious may lie ahead...Collapse )
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Jul. 31st, 2006

Yeah...Film

Slightly Waterlogged

You have to give M. Night Shyamalan credit for his body of work. He's often panned as a one-hit wonder, that hit being 1999's The Sixth Sense. But Shyamalan has created entertaining films in Signs, The Village, and the criminally underrated Unbreakable. Though his latest effort, Lady in the Water, may not join the ranks of his other films - it's by far his most self-serving, egotistical venture to date, and it doesn't have the fresh bite of Sixth Sense - but it certainly doesn't deserve the beating it's getting from critics.

Based on a bedtime story that Shyamalan told his children, which in itself is possibly an amalgamation of other fairy tales, Lady in the Water tells the tale of Cleveland Heep (Paul Giamatti), the superintendent at a Philadelphia-area (if you say so, M. Night) apartment complex called The Cove. The tenants complain to Heep about an unseen late-night swimmer in their community pool, and one night, he finds the cause: Story (Bryce Dallas Howard), a young sea nymph from the Blue World. Together with the residents, Heep must find a way to get Story home before a terrifying beast gets to her.

An interesting Story peeks out of a Heep of bad scripting...Collapse )
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