Friday, April 25, 2008

Baby Mama

Yes, I'm fully aware that Baby Mama, written by director Michael McCullers (with script doctoring by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler), isn't my normal fare. You may, as I did, think that all the funny parts are in the trailer and it's going to be an otherwise lame comedy of fertility hijinks as successful businesswoman Kate Holbrook, played by Tina Fey, discovers that not only does she really, really want a kid, but she is infertile and as a single woman, it's hard for her to adopt. Enter Sigourney Weaver's surrogacy agency who supplies Holbrook with high school dropout and grown-up child Angie Ostrowiski and her commonlaw husband Carl. Angie moves in with Kate when she breaks up with Carl and each woman has to learn how to live with each other.
There are a lot of jokes in the script that wouldn't have made me laugh if they were handled by any other pairing, but Poehler and Fey made them work. The amazing, if not underused, supporting cast really helped to tie down the bad and fluff up the good. I love Sigourney Weaver anyway and it's been so much fun watching her pop up unexpectedly in small, quirky roles over the past year or so. Romany Malco, who was excellent as Conrad in HBO's Weeds, was great as the door man Oscar, but I felt like some of his scenes wound up on the cutting room floor. Steve Martin, who I did not know was in the movie until I saw the poster, was perfect in his role as Kate's creepy, but strangely genuine, Earthy crunchy boss. I kept thinking they they were going to make him come onto Kate, but they didn't (thank God) unless that, too, ended up on the cutting room floor. Finally, Greg Kinnear as Kate's love interest (another one I didn't know was in it until I read the poster -- I stayed away from most of the marketing, to be honest) was wonderful, but also underused.
As I said previously, had Fey and Poehler not come on board, the script would have languished in typical baby comedy world...and I wouldn't be writing the review you're reading. They worked some kind of magic, because I laughed and I laughed quite a (surprising) bit. It's not hard to make me laugh, it's just hard for movies to make me laugh...usually because I see the joke coming from miles away. This one just worked for me.
Overall: A funny movie.

Monday, April 14, 2008

My movie on the big screen!

My movie on the big screen!
Originally uploaded by Kimyoo Films
I got to have the thrill of my life last night when the technical director of the film festival for which I was a film projectionist consented to letting me watch Without / Within (and aftershock!) on the big screen.

It was unbelievably awesome and the movie, though it looks blown out in this photo, looked surprisingly good at that huge size. There were some problem areas, of course (the dark room scene looked terrible, but that's a problem I've had with red lighting in digital footage...) but still...surprisingly good.

As if I wasn't determined enough before to continue doing what I love, seeing my name on the screen, hearing my dialogue coming from the speakers, made me that much more so.

my zombie movie on the big screen!

Look! It's JANINE!!!

Huge thanks, once again, must be sent out to Carolyn, Zachary, and Full Aperture Systems for allowing me to play my DVD through their equipment on the last day of the festival. That was incredibly cool of them and I appreciate it more than they could possibly know.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Spine Tingler! The William Castle Story and Diminished Capacity

Last year, I only got to watch one film in the festival, Snow Angels starring Sigourney Weaver and Alan Rickman (it wasn't all THAT good.) This year, I've made a more concentrated effort to see and do things during the festival. It's been far more difficult since we're going to have a major inspection at our theatre, but with a festival day off coinciding with a booth day off, I found myself with a whole day in which I could watch movies, if any caught my eye.
First, however, I had to deal with a red, swollen, painful right shin. Yep, on my day off, I spent half of it either at Sarasota Memorial's Walk In Clinic on University or at Sarasota Memorial itself as I received my first ever Ultrasound. This was of my leg to rule out blood clots. I also received my first shot in ten years: an antibiotic / lidocaine cocktail (the lidocaine was because the antibiotic apparently causes a lot of pain upon injection. Go figure.) The ultrasound was painful, too, but also really cool. I got to see what this skin holds in!
I have cellulitis, which is an infection of the skin and the tissue underneath. It could have been caused by anything. Since we're kicking up so much dust and crap in the booth in preparation for this inspection, I could have scratched my shin with unknowingly dirty nails, or bumped it, or scraped or cut myself shaving and gotten it that way. There's no visible point of entry. It's uncomfortable and I'm certainly feeling more pain now than before I got the shot, but at least with that, and the antibiotics I'll be picking up tomorrow, it'll get better soon.
Anyway, I was determined to see some movies at the festival, darn it and so I went in.
Spine Tingler! The William Castle Story is about producer / director William Castle, the man behind the original versions of The Tingler, 13 Ghosts, and The House on Haunted Hill and dozens of other B-grade horror films from the fifties and sixties. His biggest film was Rosemary's Baby (he produced it.)
It was a very sweet, nostalgic documentary and a lot of fun to watch, especially if you've seen and liked the films he made or are into film history in general. Dark Castle (the production house set up specifically to remake his films and make a few originals) is NOT discussed. Just for your information...
Afterwards, I watched Diminished Capacity which stars Alan Alda, Matthew Broderick, and Virginia Madsen. Broderick plays a man suffering from memory problems after receiving a "grade 3" concussion (I don't know what that means beyond 'a very bad thing for your brain') who is asked by his mother to convince his uncle, played wonderfully by Alan Alda, to check into an assisted living home. Alda instead convinces Broderick to take him to Chicago to sell an extremely rare baseball card. He agrees when he realizes that the high school crush (Virginia Madsen, and thank you for coming back to the silver screen, Ms. Madsen) for whom he still carries a torch is now single and wants to go to the Windy City to try and sell a painting of hers to a restaurant chain. Hilarity and poignancy ensue.
Oh! And fish write poetry.
This was a great film. Very funny and heartwarming with brilliant performances from everyone involved (and omigod yay Bobby Cannavale!) I highly recommend it.
I have a feeling this is the extent of the movie watching I'll be doing this year, but since I saw one more than last year, maybe that means I'll be able to see three movies next year!

Monday, April 7, 2008

An hour to spend.

An hour to spend.

you'll have to pardon any typos, I'm writing this on my cell phone.

I'm sitting outside the pizza parlour next to the theatre where the film festival is into it's third day a cold styrofoam cup of root beer and a warm cheese pizza as my company. i'm sitting next to a couple, a mother and son I assume, and the son is a filmmaker whose work just screened. I don't wish to intrude on their conversation, but sitting alone under an umbrella on such a beautiful day as this, it's hard to not overhear.

I don't do this very often, if at all; sit outside to eat lunch while the world whizzes past on various errands. I'm usually whizzing with them, concerned only with what I have to do that day or the next moment as if all life would end if I didn't get to work on time. truth is, we might actually be happier if we did this more often...sit alone with our thoughts, outside, eating pizza, in the hour before work.

I'm up and about so early and outside of my usual pattern because I wanted to participate in a workshop sponsored by Kodak, and free to the public, that taught about film...and let you shoot a scene using film. my group got to shoot on an Arriflex SR1, a camera that's only four years older than I am (that's 29 for those of you keeping track at home. I'm 29, not the camera.)

I got to use this today. That's not me, that's one of the other people in the workshop.

though it wasn't quite long enough, it was an amazing experience to use and run the Arri. A lot of what I learned today can be put to use with my digital video camera because of the features it has (Panasonic AVX100B - I love this camera.)

my boss was just outside, yelling in his half-joking snide way, that I should be upstairs. I think I'll sit out here a little longer, enjoying the time outside away from the dungeon of the booth. I have no where to be for the hour I have left to spend...