Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Week 46: Atonement

Hurrah! The new TV is finally playing nicely with the DVD player! So, it turns out the idiots at the Motley Queue household simply had to press a weird button in the nether regions of the remote control to get the DVD player to talk to the TV, but what's new?

We kicked off the new TV with a ceremonial viewing of Atonement. I have to brag here and add that I read the book YEARS before it was an inkling in a movie director's mind. Suck it, Oprah. It's a phenomenal book and perfect stuff to be translated to the screen...

...and then they cast Kiera Knightly. Sigh.

I know, I know. She's very easy on the eyes. She's spunky. She's spirited. But she's also whiny, nasal and fairly unskilled at the art of subtlety. I felt like I was watching a spoiled American teenager giving a bad British impersonation. I want somebody to feed her a cheeseburger and teach her how to stop sneering so much.

If anything saves the movie it's Knightly's talented co-stars including James McAvoy who very nearly drips with good-boy charm. And that little girl playing young Briony was like a freakishly small and precocious version of Jodie Foster. We'll be seeing more of her, I'm sure.

Unfortunately, I'm sure we'll be seeing more of Kiera Knightly as well. Still, if you haven't seen the movie you should rent it. It's worth a viewing. Better yet, read the book.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

New TV Means No DVDs for Now

After ten glorious and fulfilling of watching a jaw-dropping 19" Daewoo television in all its amazing, rich, crisp and detailed wonder, Motley Husband and I finally retired that marvel of technology yesterday in favor of a 42" plasma TV that was finally purchased after much hoarding of gift cards and coupons to Best Buy. (Seriously, I thought the teenager checking me out thought it was a joke when I handed him half a dozen cards and coupons. I was his worst nightmare).

We excitedly unpacked the TV last night and set about the brain-squeezing task of training component video, s-video and audio cables from our home theater receiver to our cable box, to our DVD player, to our TV and back again. It looks like a wire monster threw up behind our TV stand.
  • Awesome: we got cable to run to the TV.
  • Crap: something is wrong with the picture. Missing a component video cable?
  • Awesome: the picture is HUGE!
  • Crap: The DVD player doesn't work. Missing cables again? Could be. We don't know.
  • Awesome: we didn't lose our DVR programs in the transition
  • Crap: I'm supposed to blog about movies and have no way to watch them without a DVD player
  • Awesome: did I mention the picture is HUGE?!

So, it's back to Best Buy for me again today to purchase an assortment of cables that might make sense of the 48 jacks on the back of the TV. Until we can get this problem solved (hopefully without breaking down and paying some snotty teenager to come hook it up for us), no posts, dear readers. I promise they'll be coming back soon. I hope.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Week 45: Eagle Vs. Shark

Cute movie.
Charming accents.
Can’t stop trying to imitate them.
Goofball actors.
Girl in shark costume is adorable lovable.
A-hole in eagle costume is unbelievably a-holish.
But loved him anyway.
Beating up a guy in a wheelchair? Brilliant.
Should you rent it?
Mos def.
Is it going to change your life?
But it’s still pretty sweet.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Week 45: DiG!

Music fan? Here's a documentary you have to see. DiG! follows the careers of two rising indy bands: The Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Dandy Wharhols. What's great about the film is that both bands give a total-access view into their triumphs, failures and madness on the road to greatness (Big emphasis on madness). It really felt like the bands opened up all their dirty, crazy laundry for us to root through.

While the documentary starts out to chronicle both bands, most of the time is spent, appropriately so, on the insane and outlandish antics of musical genius-come-insane-heroin-addict, Anton Newcombe, the leader of the Brian Jonestown Massacre. The Dandy Warhols come off looking a bit like the Brady Bunch by comparison to the lunacy over at BJM. Although, it should be noted that both band leaders have egos the size of a football field, which makes all the insanity even more fun to watch.

Anton is a musical genius and everyone hails him as the next great thing...if only he weren't so f*ing crazy. It's worth watching DiG! to see his antics alone, like when he starts a fistfight with his own bandmates in front of record execs who were planning to sign him to a contract. Brilliant.

Did both bands make it? Do they go on to fame and fortune? I won't ruin it for you but let's just say I haven't seen Anton or any of the Dandy Warhols on the cover of US Weekly. Yet.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Week 45: No Country For Old Men

Okay, you don't need me to tell you that No Country For Old Men is a fantastic movie. It won approximately seven thousand Oscars. It is great. And yes, the Dorothy Hamill hairdo on Javier Bardem makes his psychopathic killer sweetly dorky.

So instead of boring you with glowing praise for the movie (although I hated the abrupt ending. Heaven help me, I love resolution), let's instead focus on one of my favorite subjects: Josh Brolin.

I loved Josh Brolin in The Goonies. Who didn't, right? And he was great in American Gangster. And he other things? My point is that there was an odd spell of say twenty-five years in which Brolin wasn't getting roles...until his daddy went and married Barbra Streisand. My theory is that Babs would do anything to get her good-for-nothing stepson out of the house, even if it meant pulling a few strings with her precisely manicured nails at the big Hollywood studios. Here's how I like to think it went:

BABS: James! James Brolin Streisand! Get in here this instant.

JAMES: [rushes in, moves to Bab's left side per his orders] Honey, what is it?

BABS: James, I am holding a Japanese silk pillow that my close personal friend, Donna Karan, hand-dyed to match the color of my earlobes at dusk.

JAMES: It's lovely, dear. [laughs nervously]

BABS: Is it, James? Is it? Because it looks to me like this piece of fringe is crumpled. AS IF SOMEONE USED THIS PILLOW!!!!

JAMES: I'm sure no one would use any of the 178 pillows you keep piled on every surface of our entire house, lovey. What with all the candles constantly lit to show you in the best light, it would be foolhardy to use flammable materials near them.

BABS: Someone did, James, and I think we both know who it was.

JAMES: Oh, honey, you can't keep blaming Josh for everything.

BABS: Your Josh is ruining our romance! He looks me in the eye, he speaks to me without being spoken to first and he -- I can barely say it out loud -- uses fluorescent lightbulbs.

JAMES: [gasps]

BABS: He has to go, James.

JAMES: I know, Barbra. Um, sorry, Madame Streisand.

BABS: I'm getting him out of the house once and for all. Bring me a telephone, James. The one Donna Karan designed to wear a tiny caftan and matching scarf.

JAMES: The purple one?


[end scene]

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Week 44: I Am Legend

Hey, look everyone! It's just like Shawn of the Dead, ONLY F***ING TERRIFYING.

It is no secret I am not a fan of Will Smith. And so it pained me to willingly rent one of this movies. But it turns out I Am Legend is pretty damn good, in spite of Will Smith. And let me assure you he did his best to inject his macho ego-maniacal enthusiasm into what is otherwise a pretty serious role. If anyone else had been cast in the lead of this film, I think it would have been spectacular. But with Will Smith, it was just pretty damn good. Why Will Smith remains so popular astounds me. Doesn't anyone else remember that HE WAS THE FRESH PRINCE OF BEL AIR? Am I alone on this one? DJ Jazzy Jeff, you'll back me up on this one, right?

I Am Legend is set in a post-apocalyptic New York in which a deadly virus has wiped out most of the population and turned the survivors into hyper-aggressive zombies who can only come out at night. The sunlight burns them and makes them hiss, much the way I am after emerging from a nice nap. Will Smith remains as the only human immune from the virus who, it just happens, is also one of the doctors who helped develop the virus. I won't spoil any of the plot for you here. It does contain a lot of edge-of-your-seat suspense that makes it very fun to watch and not a little terrifying. After we finished it, we turned to each other and said, "Did we just watch a horror movie? Starring the Fresh Prince?" I think we did. Jiggy.

Week 44: Small Town Gay Bar

And the winner for "Title Most Likely to Make Holly Rent a Movie" is...Small Town Gay Bar! By a landslide!

Gay bars hidden in rural Mississippi? Are you kidding me? I can't pass up on that. Too bad the movie itself didn't live up to the promise of the title. True, it does follow the lives of several patrons of a few gay bars in the back woods of Mississipi and Kansas, but STGB is pretty light fare. I was expecting much more grit about the conflict between the under-the-radar gays and the holier-than-thou bible-beaters hoping to purge their towns of such 'sinful' behavior. And while the documentary touches on the underlying hatred, fear and bigotry, it mostly focuses on the touchy-feely aspects of what a gay bar means to its patrons. The bars are the only outlet for most of these people to be free, open and truly themselves. It is touching to watch the bars' patrons express such a deep need to feel accepted and connected.

And let's talk about those patrons. My, oh, my. There are some slim pickins in the deep south. These are not the tanned, plucked and abdominally clenched gays of the North. Oh, no. These are the step-up-to-the-buffet, come back to my trailer, stroke my mullet gays. In short, I was very concerned about the amount of flannel going around.

The biggest question for me was wondering why gay people stay in the deep south. It is a hard and arduous life, and there is no doubt it is a very dangerous existence. But I suppose it's those small inroads of seeing gay people as neighbors, coworkers and friends that may begin to soften the bible-beating masses. Still, gay people of the South, naming your gay bar Rumors really doesn't help the situation. Might I make a few suggestions:

BAD names for a secret gay bar
1. Rumors
2. Whispers from the Closet
3. The Liza Minelli Fan Club
4. Big Gay Al's
5. The Delta (Drag) Queen

GOOD names for a secret gay bar
1. Hetero and Lovin' It
2. No Funny Business Here
3. Straight Harry's House of Brew and Bible Readings
4. Men Who Love to Hump Women
5. Church