Sunday, November 28, 2010

R.I.P. Leslie Nielsen

When I watched a DVD of "Superhero Movie" last week (a film that I felt was a thin spoof of "Spider-Man," with but a few references to "Fantastic Four" and X-Men" and could have been so much better if they opened it up to spoofing more superhero movies) I noticed Leslie Nielsen looking a little old. I realized the guy is no spring chicken, but I thought part of the look was makeup and costuming for the role. Then I saw the picture in the obit at New York times Obituary. He looked like a gaunt masque of death.

I never knew that Mr. Nielsen had a serious acting career apart from "Forbidden Planet." He was just so great at the comedy and slapstick. But I guess it proves that talent is infinitely adaptable.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Some Thoughts About the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2010

The shong from Memphis is a fabulous Broadway musical number...just like every other fabulous Broadway musical number. It kind of made me think I was watching Family Guy, which has a lot of fabulous Broadway musical numbers.

The guy playing Jerry Lee Lewis in "Million Dollar Quartet" has totally got the moves of the Killer down. From what I saw here and on the Tony awards, though,makes me wonder if this is a musical play or a tribute concert.

Crystal Shawanda's Native American/County/Pop fusion fascinates me.

The U.S. has become a cultural colony of Japan. There were appearances by Hello Kitty, Takashi Murakami, Power Rangers Samurai, and Pikachu, and the NYPD Marching Band played the theme to Space Cruiser Yamato.

Those dancing penguins are cute!


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Pieces of April - nothing original, but well done

When a movie is just like every other movie of its type, it really has to be done well to be tolerable.

In this case, "Pieces of April," written and directed by Peter Hedges and released in 2003 (which was just broadcast on PBS, Channel 13) hits a lot of notes of a young indie director's movie:

Hot girl in counter-cultural clothing and makeup - check.
On-location shooting - check.
Estranged family that doesn't understand her - check.
Arguments between mom and dad - check.
Road trip - check.
Oddball urban characters - check.
Rough, trash-strewn, graffiti-covered urban landscape - check.
Generally quiet soundscape - check.
Girl breaks down in tears - check.
Bikers - check.
Reconciliation with family at the end - check.

It was a story of a young woman (Katie Holmes) living in an inner-city neighborhood with her boyfriend (Derek Luke) preparing Thanksgiving dinner for her family. The family happened to include her terminally-ill mom (Patricia Clarkson), and this was the first time that the girl had ever cooked Thanksgiving dinner.

This film proved that just because a film is a lot like many other films doesn't mean it can't be very good.

"The Patriot," on the other hand...