avanta7: (DramaMask)
Have you seen this? You should. It's beautiful. I could watch the opening title sequence over and over and over...

The Fall starring Lee Pace (of the late lamented Pushing Daisies) with an amazing debut performance by Catinca Utaru, age nine.

Wow. Just wow.
avanta7: (Default)
The latest happenings here in Avantaland:

A couple of weeks ago, Marysville started holding a farmer's market every Friday evening downtown on D Street. This past Friday, I finally remembered to get some cash from the ATM after work so I could go. I came home with three pints of blackberries, six pounds of nectarines and apricots, a couple of pounds of cherries, and three zucchini. For $20. *beam* I also sampled some locally grown olive oil. Not bad, but not the kind of olive oil spouse and I prefer. The local oil is pressed from Spanish olives, and doesn't have enough peppery bite to it to please me. Too bad: I like to support local growers, but why buy something I won't use?

While downtown, I stopped in at The Sew-So Shop, which, despite the name, also carries knitting and crochet supplies. My favorite clerk was manning the store, so we had a nice meow-y gossip. Somehow I managed not to buy any yarn. (I kept thinking of the mountains of it at home in the yarn closet.)

Yesterday morning, at 7:00 AM, I discovered we had no coffee. We usually only make coffee at home on weekends, and spouse neglected to tell me he used the last of it last week. He narrowly escaped being murdered in his sleep. Thank heavens we now have a Walgreens less than two miles from us, and we no longer need to drive 17 miles into Marysville when we run out of essentials like milk or bread. Or coffee.

After getting home from the store, while waiting for the coffee to brew, I took advantage of the lack of caffeine in spouse's system and...How do I say this without it sounding like spouse has major money control issues? Not "got permission". How about "obtained consent"? "Reached agreement"? The deal is: if either of us wants to buy some non-essential something with a purchase price of over $100, we discuss it first. I wanted to buy a new sewing machine -- my 30-year-old Kenmore gave up the ghost a month or so ago -- and I'd found one on sale that suited my needs. Spouse perused the ad through bleary eyes and said "It sounds like a car lot come-on, but if that's what you want, go ahead."

So I did.

New sewing machine

It's not a dream machine (which would come from Husqvarna Viking, Bernina, or Pfaff, AND cost nearly as much as a used car), but it's a decent basic sewing machine, all mechanical, no electronics, made by Necchi, and should serve me well for the limited amount of sewing I do these days. It will probably last about as long as that workhorse Kenmore.

Yesterday, I watched In Cold Blood, with Scott Wilson, Robert Blake, and John Forsythe. It was more than a little weird watching this film knowing that some 40 years later, Blake went on trial for murdering his wife. Still, it's a beautiful movie: the black & white cinematography, the perfectly composed shots, the chilling musical contrast between the harsh experimental jazz in scenes featuring the killers and the gentle orchestral pieces in scenes of their victims. The book has been sitting on Mt. TBR for a while now. I'll read it soon, I think.

This morning I saw Bringing Out the Dead, with Nicolas Cage, Patricia Arquette, and Ving Rhames. Not nearly as impressed with this feature. It wasn't awful but if, as I suspect, director Martin Scorsese was going for Taxi Driver in an ambulance, he missed the mark. But it served to interest me in reading Joe Connelly's novel.

Plans for the rest of the day include turning in these discs at Blockbuster and coming home with something new, some light grocery shopping, and a load or two of laundry. And the first items on that list require going out in public, so I guess I ought to get dressed.
avanta7: (Actors)
Snagged from any number of folks:

How many of these best-picture Oscar nominated movies have you seen? Bold the ones you've seen, regardless of whether you saw them in the cinema, on TV/video, or on a plane years after they came out.

1980. Ordinary People, Coal Miner's Daughter, The Elephant Man, Raging Bull, Tess

1981. Chariots of Fire, Reds, Atlantic City, On Golden Pond, Raiders of the Lost Ark

1982. Gandhi, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Missing, Tootsie, The Verdict

1983. Terms of Endearment, The Big Chill, The Dresser, The Right Stuff, Tender Mercies

1984. Amadeus, The Killing Fields, A Passage to India, Places in the Heart, A Soldier's Story

1985. Out of Africa, The Color Purple, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Prizzi's Honor, Witness

1986. Platoon, Children of a Lesser God, Hannah and Her Sisters, The Mission, A Room with a View

1987. The Last Emperor, Broadcast News, Fatal Attraction, Hope and Glory, Moonstruck

1988. Rain Man, The Accidental Tourist, Dangerous Liaisons, Mississippi Burning, Working Girl (Working Girl was nominated as Best Picture? Really? That's very strange.)

1989. Driving Miss Daisy, Born on the Fourth of July, Dead Poets Society, Field of Dreams, My Left Foot

1990. Dances with Wolves, Awakenings, Ghost, The Godfather Part III, Goodfellas

1991. The Silence of the Lambs, Beauty and the Beast, Bugsy, JFK, The Prince of Tides

1992. Unforgiven, The Crying Game, A Few Good Men, Howards End, Scent of a Woman

1993. Schindler's List, The Fugitive, In the Name of the Father, The Piano, The Remains of the Day

1994. Forrest Gump, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Pulp Fiction, Quiz Show, The Shawshank Redemption

1995. Braveheart, Apollo 13, Babe, Il Postino (The Postman), Sense and Sensibility

1996. The English Patient, Fargo, Jerry Maguire, Secrets & Lies, Shine

1997. Titanic, As Good as It Gets, The Full Monty, Good Will Hunting, L.A. Confidential

1998. Shakespeare in Love, Elizabeth, Life Is Beautiful (La vita รจ bella), Saving Private Ryan, The Thin Red Line

1999. American Beauty, The Cider House Rules, The Green Mile, The Insider, The Sixth Sense

2000. Gladiator, Chocolat, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Erin Brockovich, Traffic

2001. A Beautiful Mind, Gosford Park, In the Bedroom, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Moulin Rouge!

2002. Chicago, Gangs of New York, The Hours, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, The Pianist

2003. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Lost in Translation, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, Mystic River, Seabiscuit

2004. Million Dollar Baby, The Aviator, Finding Neverland, Ray, Sideways

2005. Crash, Brokeback Mountain, Capote, Good Night and Good Luck, Munich

2006. The Departed, Babel, Letters from Iwo Jima, Little Miss Sunshine, The Queen

2007. No Country for Old Men, Atonement, Juno, Michael Clayton, There Will Be Blood

2008. Slumdog Millionaire, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Frost/Nixon, Milk, The Reader
avanta7: (Actors)

On the surface, Soldier is a standard-issue SF action flick, with explosions and gunfire and hand-to-hand combat. And it can be thoroughly enjoyed on that level, popcorn, Junior Mints, and all.

But if watched closely, the attentive moviegoer will discover in this film unexpected depths to the characters and the story.

In a futuristic society, certain individuals are selected at birth to become soldiers, and are trained in such a manner that they become killing machines, with no emotional ties to anyone other than their brother soldiers. One of the most successful of these soldiers, Sgt. Todd (Kurt Russell), is pitted against one of a new breed of genetically engineered soldiers in a demonstration match, and loses. His usefulness at an end, he is dumped on a garbage planet and left for dead.

The garbage planet is inhabited, however, by a band of crash survivors, who find Todd and nurse him back to health. Discarded by the only family he had and wrenched from the only life he knew, Todd struggles to make himself useful to the settlers on the garbage planet in the only fashion he knows. His efforts are misunderstood, and he is banished.

Shortly thereafter, the settlers are attacked by the same new soldiers who replaced Todd and his troop. This time, Todd is on the other side of the destruction he once wrought, and he fights to protect the unarmed and defenseless survivor encampment. Todd's one-man war against the new breed of soldier is a great action sequence in and of itself. But again I tell you, watch closely. Todd wants to redeem himself. He wants to be forgiven, to be allowed back into the fold. And his fierce sense of honor drives him to fight, alone, against his brother soldiers, because "a Soldier deserves a Soldier." Yes, you can hear the capital letters when that line, one of less than a dozen spoken by Todd, is delivered.

As I said before, you can enjoy this movie as a simple popcorn flick. But pay close attention and you'll discover a hidden gem and a fine performance by Kurt Russell.
avanta7: (Actors)
No one told me Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day was a three-hankie film.

Omigosh. What a lovely lovely little fable. If you haven't seen it, you must. Immediately. And have a box of tissues handy.

avanta7: (Default)
Pick 10 of your favorite movies.

Find a quote from each movie.

Post them here for everyone to guess.

Italicize when someone guesses correctly, and put who guessed it and the movie.
(Striking out makes it hard for people to read.)

Looking them up is cheating, please don't cheat.

  1. Asps. Very dangerous. You go first. -- Raiders of the Lost Ark, guessed by [livejournal.com profile] bcjennyo and [livejournal.com profile] shendoah.

  2. I have come here to chew bubble gum and kick ass. And I'm all out of bubblegum. -- They Live, guessed by [livejournal.com profile] onyerbike.

  3. As Charles Foster Kane, who owns eighty-two thousand, six hundred and thirty-four shares of public transit - you see, I do have a general idea of my holdings - I sympathize with you. Charles Foster Kane is a scoundrel. His paper should be run out of town. A committee should be formed to boycott him. You may, if you can form such a committee, put me down for a contribution of one thousand dollars.

    EXTRA QUOTE HINT: Rosebud. -- Citizen Kane, guessed by [livejournal.com profile] amberlee17 and [livejournal.com profile] squirrel_magnet

  4. The light that burns twice as bright burns for half as long and you have burned so very, very brightly. -- Blade Runner, guessed by [livejournal.com profile] n8an.

  5. Push the button, Max!

    EXTRA QUOTE HINT: Umm... brandy! Throw more brandy, throw brandy! More brandy! Brandy! -- The Great Race, guessed by [livejournal.com profile] squirrel_magnet

  6. I can see you're really upset about this. I honestly think you ought to sit down calmly, take a stress pill, and think things over. -- 2001: A Space Odyssey, guessed by [livejournal.com profile] skyring

  7. I was cured all right. -- A Clockwork Orange, guessed by [livejournal.com profile] skyring

  8. I have a bad feeling about this. -- Star Wars, guessed by [livejournal.com profile] shadiehawke, [livejournal.com profile] shendoah, and [livejournal.com profile] rendiru

  9. Well, I've been to one world fair, a picnic, and a rodeo, and that's the stupidest thing I ever heard come over a set of earphones. You sure you got today's codes? -- Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, guessed by [livejournal.com profile] shendoah

  10. You put a greased naked woman on all fours with a dog collar around her neck, and a leash, and a man's arm extended out up to here, holding onto the leash, and pushing a black glove in her face to sniff it. You don't find that offensive? You don't find that sexist? -- This Is Spinal Tap, guessed by [livejournal.com profile] bcjennyo.

Okay, have at it!
avanta7: (Actors)
Kevin Costner may be the most inconsistent actor/producer/director in Hollywood. Over the years, he's given us, the viewing public, some real stinkers. As a result, I normally avoid Kevin Costner films like the plague. But...for every Waterworld, there's Dances With Wolves, for every Postman, there's Thirteen Days, and for every Bodyguard, there's Mr. Brooks.

Earl Brooks (Costner) is a successful and wealthy businessman with a beautiful wife (Marg Helgenberger from CSI), a beautiful daughter (Danielle Panabaker from Shark), and a murderous alter-ego named Marshall (William Hurt). Brooks has kept Marshall quiet the last two years with 12-step meetings and the Serenity Prayer but, on the night Brooks accepts a "Man of the Year" award, Marshall breaks through. And they kill again. This time, however, a witness (Dane Cook) surfaces, bearing photographs, and blackmails Brooks into taking him along on his next kill.

Meanwhile, things are not all peaches and cream at home. The beautiful daughter, Jane, arrives home unexpectedly, announcing (a) she's dropped out of Stanford and (b) she's pregnant. To complicate matters further, the new murder sparks a renewed investigation into these serial killings by police, and Detective Tracy Atwood (Demi Moore) edges closer and closer to the identity of the murderer. She's much "too close to home", as Marshall says.

But plot twists and revelations await and keep us guessing until the final blackout.

The casting of this movie was dead perfect. Costner and Hurt give excellent performances; in small details, they mirror each other to chilling effect. Helgenberger is spot-on as the upscale middle-aged wife and mother Emma, and Panabaker's Jane has hidden depths. Cook is fascinating as Mr. Smith, whose fantasy of murder doesn't quite chime with the reality of Mr. Brooks. And Demi Moore's complicated Atwood proves once more that the woman can actually act.

The movie is rated R and deservedly so: it's graphic and bloody, with explicit sex and language. Definitely not for the kiddies. But after they've gone to bed, it's a fabulously twisted morality tale for adults. Go. Watch it.


Jul. 15th, 2007 06:51 pm
avanta7: (Default)
No one told me Truly Madly Deeply was a three-hankie film.


(Oh, and after seeing that, I'd jump Alan Rickman in a heartbeat too.)
avanta7: (Default)
(As compiled by Entertainment Weekly, September 2006)

[livejournal.com profile] madame_urushiol finds the best lists!!

The ones I've seen are in bold )
avanta7: (Default)
I just watched The Illustrated Man and was struck by how much Robert Drivas )

resembles Nathan Fillion )

BTW, for you Browncoats out there, did you know Nathan is on MySpace?
avanta7: (Axiom Testing)
I recently convinced spouse that we needed to subscribe to one of the online movie rental sites. We chose Blockbuster Online because it offered us the option of turning in our mailers at the local store and getting another movie right away in exchange.

Since then, I have become obsessed with managing my queue. I spend an inordinate amount of time scrolling through lists and lists of movie titles and synopses, rating films I've seen, checking the recommendation list such ratings generate, then adding some of those recommendations to the queue. So far I have over 200 titles in line to be sent to me.

Is this normal? Will this new obsession soon subside? Or am I doomed to spend all my remaining available waking hours searching searching searching for those oddball movies I missed when they played at the local cinema?

By the way, Donnie Darko may be one of the best movies I've ever seen.
avanta7: (Default)
As such, you're going to be subjected to virtually every meme/quiz I can find posted over the last few days by folks on my f/list, starting with...

I've seen 91 of these movies )
avanta7: (DramaMask)
When spouse and I were choosing DVDs to rent last night, we followed our usual formula: an action/thriller or two, a chick flick (spouse defines "chick flick" as anything that doesn't have explosions, gore, or little green men -- most comedies, dramas and "family" films qualify under that definition), a horror and/or sci-fi; of these, at least one must qualify as a suck-fest, or a movie we rent to make fun of.

When spouse and I chose V for Vendetta, we figured it would meet both the sci-fi and the suck-fest criteria.

We were wrong about the suck-fest.

The time is some twenty years or so in the future. England is a police state disguised as a republic, complete with curfews, censorship, and random eavesdropping on private conversations. One evening, Evey Hammond (Natalie Portman) is out after curfew when she is menaced by several members of the secret police, or "fingers". Just as they are about to rape her, a mysterious figure comes to her rescue. He is masked and gloved and completely unrecognizable, but he dispatches her attackers and whisks her off to his secret hideaway. He is V (Hugo Weaving), and he has a bone to pick with the establishment. The night he saved Evey was the night he blew up the Old Bailey, accompanied most deliciously by a pirate broadcast of The 1812 Overture.

As the story progresses, we learn of the events that shaped Evey and V and brought them to this chance meeting, which proves life-changing for them both.

It could have gone so wrong. Many films based on comics or graphic novels fail to translate from one medium to the other. V for Vendetta succeeds brilliantly. I say this not having read the graphic novels, but based solely on my viewing experience. It's a beautiful film. Dark, visionary, menacing, iconic. I was particularly struck by John Hurt's appearance as Chancellor Sutler. We see Hurt mostly on a large video screen as he exhorts his underlings to find V and stop his terroristic acts. Anyone who has seen Nineteen Eighty Four will find the symmetry ironic.

If you haven't seen V for Vendetta, I urge you to rent it. Maybe even buy it. It would make a suitable double feature with Nineteen Eighty Four or perhaps even Dark City.
avanta7: (DramaMask)
  • A History Of Violence -- Viggo Mortensen as a man (Tom Stall) who may not be as mild-mannered as he appears. Rated R, and I'm not sure it shouldn't have been rated NC-17. Some very explicit sex that raised both spouse's and my eyebrows. "Well," said spouse. "Haven't ever seen that in an R-rated movie." Otherwise, a good solid film. I don't recall ever having seen Maria Bello (Edie Stall) in anything else. I hope she continues to get prominent roles like this one. She's outstanding as Tom's confused and heartbroken wife.

  • Hoodwinked -- Wonderful animated take on the Red Riding Hood story, as told from various perspectives: The Wolf, Granny, a Woodsman and, of course, Red herself. I laughed and laughed! Definitely a film for adults and children. Contains sly references to pop culture which will sail above the heads of youngsters, but remains child-friendly enough to capture the attention of the younger set. Featuring the voices of Anne Hathaway as Red and Patrick Warburton as The Wolf. I kept thinking "Red" should have been voiced by Janeane Garafalo, but that was my only quibble.

  • Lord Of War -- Nicolas Cage as a man who takes up gun-running to escape a working-class existence. A fine morality play, with the moral left up to the viewer. I liked this movie. Cage's character's voiceover was delivered in an uninflected monotone which made no apologies for his vocation. "This is what happened," he says. "Not trying to make myself look better." In the end, we choose whether or not he sold his soul.

  • White Noise -- Now, this is the kind of scary movie I like! No blood, no gore, just ever-mounting suspense that starts at the base of the stomach and builds until it erupts from the throat as a full-throttled scream. Michael Keaton loses his wife tragically and, in his grief, becomes obsessed with establishing communication with her on the other side. But all the voices from beyond are not friendly... Great popcorn movie. I haven't been this scared since I saw Gothika.
avanta7: (DramaMask)
That goal would be to see all the films on the American Film Institute's Top 100. Below is the list, with those I've seen in bold:

AFI Top 100 )

So that would be 62 seen out of 100. Cool.


Nov. 27th, 2005 04:56 pm
avanta7: (Default)
We've been on a bit of a movie binge the last few days. Here are some short reviews:

Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban -- Much darker than the previous HP movies. And I liked it better, actually, although spouse did not. I see the beginnings of some romantic problems as puberty strikes our hero and his compatriots. (Keep in mind, I have not read any of the books, nor am I likely to in the near future, so please keep spoiler comments to a minimum, TYVM.)

Charlie And The Chocolate Factory -- Alas, as much as I like Johnny Depp, I was disappointed in this version. Although it was apparently more true to Roald Dahl's original novel (with the addition of some weird back story -- why?), no one can replace Gene Wilder as Willie Wonka. The songs were great, though! And we really liked the special DVD feature on how one man became hundreds of Oompa-Loompas. Still, it's a Tim Burton film, and, as such, will eventually be purchased for the permanent collection.

The Interpreter -- Wow. Wonderful movie. Effective, moving, intense but low-key performances from both Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn.

Team America: World Police -- My husband nearly burst a gut laughing at this raunchfest. With song lyrics such as "America! Fuck, yeah!" and explicit puppet sex, how could you go wrong? Seriously, though, vulgarity and foulmouthed marionettes aside, this is a sharp poke-in-the-eye satire of the typical over-the-top Bruckheimer action flick. Worth watching for the miniature explosions alone.
avanta7: (Default)
Girlfriend, we've got to stop meeting like this! People will talk!

Book & Movie Meme )
avanta7: (KittyLove)
Currently snuggled on the sofa with spouse, watching one of our favorite baaaaaad flicks, Army Of Darkness. Next up, a made-for-SciFi Channel World Premiere, Alien Apocalypse! Break out the popcorn. We're in B movie heaven this evening. Ah, togetherness. You and me against the world, baby!
avanta7: (Default)
Sigh. 2001 is on TCM right now. I love this movie, even if I don't entirely understand it. But it's past my bedtime, and I'm too tired to stay up and watch it again. Sigh.

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