Archive | January, 2007

Sorry, Charlie

31 Jan

I forgot my T pass (I still can’t call it a “Charlie Card”) at home on Monday. It wasn’t the first time I’d done it, and it was particularly annoying because I had it in my hand while I was getting ready and put it down before putting it in my pocket. Thankfully, the train arrived at the Coolidge Corner station right when I got there, so I was able to “sneak” aboard at one of the back doors. But on the way home, I had to pay $2 for a one-time ticket.

Now, I realize anyone can use the excuse that they forgot their T pass at home, and I had no way to prove it, and yes, I realize that $2 isn’t so much money to pay, but isn’t there some way the MBTA can allow for some kind of amnesty and grant a “free ride” if you actually have purchased a pass and just don’t have it with you? Maybe you can scan an ID or something? Or maybe I should just be better about bringing my pass every day so I don’t have stupid questions like these.

Mama Said There’d Be Movies Like This

30 Jan

There are movies you see because you want to, movies you see because you have to, and movies you see because, well, because they’re free. I’ll let you guess which one of those Because I Said So was for me. No need to give this a full review; if you’re a woman, you’ll probably love it. If you’re a woman and you see it with your mother, you’ll love it even more. If you’re a guy and you’re dragged to this movie, God help you. It’s shocking to learn that Because was directed by Michael Lehmann, who also directed Heathers, because this movie is so tame compared to that wickedly funny ’80s classic. Because is cliched, but it’s not awful, and you could do worse than watch Mandy Moore on a big screen for an hour and 45 minutes. Still, it’s puzzling what attracted someone like Diane Keaton to this movie, since she’s basically reduced to some bad physical comedy; at multiple times she either has a cake smashed in her face or she’s doing things like reacting to Internet porn in the most naive way (I said multiple times). When she gets the chance to actually act, it’s totally laughable. Certain movies just aren’t made for men, and this is one of them. I’m giving it a C.

Monday Music with Marty

29 Jan

Happy Monday?

Last month I gave you a heads up about one of my new favorite singers, Amy Winehouse, whose album, Back to Black, is dropping on March 13 and whose song “Rehab” I just love.

Well, add another name to your shopping list: Mika, whose song “Grace Kelly” is one of the catchiest tunes I’ve heard in a long time, and whose album, Life in Cartoon Motion, also drops in March, on the 27th (though you can already find a bunch of tracks online if you look in the right places).

Take Rufus Wainwright, make him less moody, and add some Freddie Mercury-ish attitude, and you’ve basically got Mika’s sound.

It’s piano-driven pop, and it’s fresh and cool and I hope he takes off in a big way.

The video for “Grace Kelly” is fun, and it’s already getting a lot of airplay on the MTV Hits channel. Listen for yourself here and check out the video below.

And while I’m on the subject, I burned one of my old-fashioned, typically eclectic “State of My iPod” mixes this weekend, a collection of all the songs currently on heavy rotation.

If you’re at all interested, here’s what’s on it (with selected links so you can sample some of the tracks; the unlinked ones — with the exception of the second Mika track — are on iTunes):

1. Mika – Grace Kelly
2. Amy Winehouse – Rehab
3. Lily Allen – Smile
4. Fall Out Boy – This Ain’t a Scene, It’s an Arms Race
5. Justin Timberlake – What Goes Around Comes Around
6. Robbie Williams – She’s Madonna
7. Nelly Furtado – Say It Right
8. Gwen Stefani (with Akon) – The Sweet Escape
9. Jay-Z – Show Me What U Got
10. The Shins – Phantom Limb
11. Cold War Kids – Hang Me Up to Dry
12. Jason Mraz – The Beauty in Ugly
13. Mika – Stuck in the Middle
14. Mat Kearney – Nothing Left to Lose
15. RJD2 – Ghostwriter (remix)
16. Corinne Bailey Rae – Trouble Sleeping
17. Norah Jones – Thinking About You
18. Amy Winehouse – You Know I’m No Good (feat. Ghostface Killah)
19. Regina Spektor – Fidelity
20. Vanessa Hudgens – Come Back to Me
21. Steve Jobs – Macworld Keynote (remix)

And finally, if you like Lily Allen’s “Smile” (her album Alright Still comes out tomorrow), check out this alternate version by Mark Ronson.

Secrets Can Be Seductive

27 Jan

Ladies and gentlemen, I’ve gone and updated my top 10 list for last year because Notes on a Scandal surely deserves a place there.

And I’ll go one step further and say that Judi Dench deserves the Oscar for her performance here more than Helen Mirren does for her work in The Queen.

Dench is as scary an on-screen villain as there’s been in the movies this year, and her performance is mesmerizing. It’s hard to imagine that she went home every night and was a normal person. In the movie, she’s a force to be reckoned with. Continue reading

Same Story, Different Year

27 Jan

I thought this year would be different, what with my new computer and faster Internet connection and all. So I got up early (i.e.: at 9 am, which is early for me on a Saturday) and logged onto to do some recon work before the tickets went on sale at 10:00. And somewhere around 9:45 I clicked on the June 16 game vs the Giants, entered the “virtual waiting room,” and waited. And waited. And waited. I read the page a good handful of times, just for fun. You know, all that B.S. about how tickets are sold on a “first-come, first-served basis,” but patrons are selected from the waiting room “on a random basis.” And I watched the page refresh itself every 30 seconds, waiting on the edge of my seat as the numbers hit single digits, hoping the page would change to something — anything — different. And I waited for the ticket status at the bottom of the page to change and tell me everything was already sold out, but it only updated every hour, so I figured maybe, just maybe, I still had a chance of getting through. Hell, I even tried calling the ticketing phone numbers — both of them — and kept getting either a busy signal or the message that “all circuits are busy.”

Whatever. I’m generally a patient person, especially where stuff like this is concerned, but I waited for more than two hours in this stupid waiting room only to find out the game I wanted to see was sold out. I’m not trying again for another one; I’d rather go out and enjoy the day than sit by my computer waiting for Red Sox tickets. I’ll just have to watch Papi, Manny, Dice-K, J.V. and the boys on NESN like I did last year when I didn’t even bother trying to get tickets. That seems to be the smarter choice. Did anyone get through today? I mean, really — aside from connections and scalpers, how does anyone get Sox tickets in this city?

EWWWW … Gross!!

25 Jan

Some kids are cute. This one is snot.

(And no, I don’t have a clue who this is. I just randomly found it on the Interweb today.)

She’s Bringing Sexy Back. Way Back.

25 Jan

Alright, it’s only been two weeks and I’m already starting to tire of American Idol. It’s not that I think Simon and co. are too mean. On the contrary. It’s just that I wish — really wish — the producers would show some restraint and not put on some of the truly awful, attention-seeking people. It’s one thing when there are people who think they’re good but actually suck, and they’re cut down to size. That is funny. But some of these people who just have no chance and only want to be on tv simply wastes viewers’ time (aside from the fact that watching the show in the first place feels like a waste of time). Like that first guy Wednesday night, Ian something or other, who had that thick Brooklyn accent and barely even sang. Or that girl Sarah, who admitted she couldn’t sing and that she was tone deaf, and actually thought the judges would teach her how to sing during the competition, and then wouldn’t leave when they turned her down. These people shouldn’t be called back in the first place, and shouldn’t be given any airtime. I’d rather see the good people, with scattered bad ones in there. Enough of these two-hour, awful people only audition episodes. This season isn’t really shaping up to be any good so far.

Want to know how bad it’s been? Check out this video below of a woman from Memphis who thinks she’s sexy, very sexy, and who says her “confidentiality” is a key part of her style. Why do I continue to watch this show? I have no idea. And why am I writing about it? I think the better question is, why are you reading?

Lighten Up, Lady

24 Jan

In today’s Boston Herald there’s this letter to the editor:

<< I’m sure I’m one of few Bostonians happy over the results of the Patriots–Colts game (Jan. 22). I’m happy there was no post-victory rioting or needless deaths, and I’m happy that a haughty coach and legions of hubris-driven, swaggering fans have been humbled. Mostly, I’m glad to know that there will be free time available to these obsessed minions that will hopefully be used toward a more conscientious purpose in our world than sports obsession. Maybe they’ll even have time to check out the true heroes — health care and human services workers, teachers and the like — and worship them instead of billionaire, profit-driven megalomanagers and men who happen to know how to toss pigskin around. >>

Jeeeeez. What a wet blanket.

How lame can one person be?

I won’t even begin to make fun of what she’s saying, but I will take issue with her characterization of Robert Kraft as a “billionaire, profit-driven megalomanager.”

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more generous sports owner than Uncle Bob (and his wife, Auntie Myra). The couple have donated tens of millions of dollars to a variety of philanthropic causes over the years.

This woman, this Susie Davidson of Brookline, should look into that before she makes such lame characterizations.

Bring It On

23 Jan

Whoa. That’s my biggest reaction to the Oscar nominations this morning. More specifically:

* No Dreamgirls for Best Picture? That’s a huge shock, because everyone thought it was a lock to win. This opens the field up completely, and now I’d say it’s a 4-way race (The Queen doesn’t really have a shot). But what’s odd is that Dreamgirls still has the most noms of any movie (eight) — including three in the Best Song category. That’s the coolest of all, because it means Beyonce, Jennifer Hudson and Eddie Murphy may all sing. That would make for some fantastic television.

* Leo nominated for Blood Diamond and not The Departed. It’s because he thought he’d get a Best Supporting Actor nom for The Departed, and Warner Brothers campaigned thusly. Now he’s shot himself in the foot because he’s much better in Departed and doesn’t really have a shot to win for Blood Diamond. Then again, Forest Whitaker’s a lock to win anyway, so this is all moot.

* Ryan Gosling nominated for Best Actor. This is great. He is so good in Half Nelson. But I’m bummed that Sacha Baron Cohen didn’t get a nom for Borat. My view is that Will Smith took his spot; had Pursuit of Happyness come out any earlier in the year, the spot would have been Cohen’s.

* Whitaker vs O’Toole. If Peter O’Toole wins, it’ll be because of sentiment. He’s old; he plays an old guy. It’s sort of like Abigail Breslin. She’s good and all, but she’s playing a cute kid. How hard can that be? (Says the guy who couldn’t act, so he started writing reviews.) Not that I’ve seen Forest Whitaker’s movie (or O’Toole’s, for that matter), but that seems like a much more challenging role for him.

* Paul Greengrass nominated for Best Director. Even though United 93 didn’t make the Best Picture cut, I’m glad the movie was recognized here.

* Jennifer Hudson nominated for Best Supporting Actress. Hey, have I ever mentioned that I interviewed her for Continental? (Just kidding.)

* Mark Wahlberg nominated for Best Supporting Actor. Really? That one I don’t get. But more importantly, so who has the better back story this year: Jennifer Hudson, former contestant on American Idol, or Mark Wahlberg, formerly Marky Mark, former Calvin Klein underwear model?

* My predictions: Departed for Best Pic; Scorsese for Best Director; Mirren, Whitaker, Hudson, and Murphy in the acting categories; Departed for Adapted Screenplay and Little Miss Sunshine for Original Screenplay; “Listen” for Best Song; and Happy Feet for Animated Film.

Those are my quick reactions. Overall, I’m pretty happy with the nominations. I like that, aside from the four acting categories and Best Director, things are pretty wide open. And now I definitely need to see Babel (I still have no interest in seeing Letters from Iwo Jima). With Ellen Degeneres hosting, this could be a great show. I can’t wait.

Not Such a Great Catch

23 Jan

The trailer for Jennifer Garner’s latest film, Catch and Release, doesn’t exactly promise a very good movie.

So the good news is that the trailer gets it partly wrong.

For example, Catch is not a fun, cutesy romantic comedy about a woman getting over the death of her fiancee by falling in love with his best friend. Instead, it’s a rather serious film about a woman whose fiancee dies just days before the wedding, and who, in dealing with her grief, learns surprising things about him and herself.

Alright, fine, she does also fall in love with his best friend, but she does it reluctantly.

And even better, that’s not really the crux of the movie.

So I guess the film’s surprising depth is what redeems it from being a typical January throw-away.

Still, let’s not go too far with praise here. While the romance doesn’t feel totally forced, it does feel unrealistic. And Kevin Smith, playing a role probably meant for Jack Black, should probably stick to films he writes and directs, where he usually plays a character named Silent Bob.

Overall, the screenplay (by Susannah Grant, who also wrote Erin Brockovich and In Her Shoes, and who makes her directorial debut here) could have used some pruning; the generally likable cast helps a great deal to overcome its limitations.

Still, I just didn’t get into the story enough and found certain plot details predictable or unnecessary.

And Jennifer Garner just isn’t given enough opportunities to smile. When she does, it basically makes the movie worth watching — as does the scene where she’s wearing her wedding dress.

Catch earns points for being better than expected, but loses some for just not being compelling enough. So, I’m giving it a B–.

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