Dim Dum Sum

Posted in Film, Food and Dining, Friends on December 19th 2004 by Randy Reichardt

:: This morning, while at dim sum at New Tan Tan, the lights went out. A power failure happened somewhere in the downtown area, perhaps due to the high winds. The staff passed out candles, and also had to deal with the tropical fish tank, which began leaking for some reason, after the power failure.

:: This weekend, I saw Ocean’s Twelve, and Kinsey. Both enjoyable for different reasons, although in discussion with Taras this afternoon, I had to agree that Ocean’s Twelve falls apart in the last 20 minutes. Kinsey contains a set of remarkable performances from a cadre of actors, and also has perhaps the funniest scene in any film I’ve watched this year, including Team America: World Police, which had me howling throughout the picture. I saw Kinsey with my friend Marissa, at the same theatre we saw The Machinist a week earlier. It was déjà vu all over again.

:: For me, the Christmas season brings mixed blessings. I cannot go into details here, but I take great comfort knowing that I have the support and friendship of family and friends who care. In the end, what more can anyone ask at Christmas?

I had planned to be off work from December 18-January 3, but will head in tomorrow to try to clean out my inbox, and finish some paperwork.

Golden Globe Nominations, Film Critics Awards Announced

Posted in Film on December 13th 2004 by Randy Reichardt

:: The Hollywood Foreign Press Association has announced its 2005 Golden Globe nominations. Leading the pack are Sideways with 7, The Aviator with 6, and three films with 5 nominations: Closer, Finding Neverland, and Million Dollar Baby. Overlooked in the Emmy Awards, Deadwood is nominated for Best Television Series – Drama, and Ian McShane is nominated for Best Performance by an Actor In A Television Series – Drama; he should be a lock in this category. The big winner in nominations is Jamie Foxx, with three acting nods for Ray, Collateral, and Redemption: The Stan Tookie Williams Story. What’s odd is that his nomination for Ray is in the category Best Performance by an Actor in Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy. There was music in Ray, of course, but the movie wasn’t a musical. That said, the criteria for that category must be, well, very liberal (or bizarre), because the other nominees include Jim Carrey for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Paul Giamatti for Sideways, two films I would call dramas rather than comedies.

:: Other awards have been announced, and Sideways is on a roll. Six The San Francisco Film Critics Circle awards went to Sideways. Sideways also took (at least) three of the NY Film Critics Circle Awards – not all have been announced as of this posting, with live voting still in progress. Sideways (surprise!) won Best Picture from the Boston Film Critics. The American Film Institute announced its official selections for Movies of the Year and TV Programs of the Year. The British Independent Film Awards saw Vera Drake sweep the awards for Actress, Actor, Supporting Actor/Actress, Film and Director.

Complete awards information is available at The Awards Scoreboard at Movie City News, with even more information available at Awards Watch 2005.

It’s a fun time of the year to get caught up in analysis of the movie industry if you are a film addict like me. A good read is William Goldman’s annual Oscar column from the Dec 12, 2004 issue of Variety.

Missing from all the lists – The Passion of the Christ.

Almost 12,000 Words

Posted in Film, Work Related on December 9th 2004 by Randy Reichardt

:: On Wednesday, I invoked closure on the book chapter, which at the moment clocks in at just under 12,000 words. Perhaps I’ll add another line just to make it to that magic number. I sent the chapter to the editor at Penn State, and am going to spend the next six working days trying to clear some of my desk. I plowed through work e-mails today, reducing the inbox number from 175 to under 90.

:: I saw Sideways tonight. With Closer last week, I’ve seen two movies back-to-back featuring four central characters each, two men and two women, in relationship dramas, but decidedly different in tone, presentation and outcome. I enjoyed Sideways more than Closer, perhaps because the characters were considerably more likeable, although I found Thomas Haden Church’s character, Jack, to be loathsome. I won’t reveal why, should you decide to see the movie, which won a Top Ten Film Award for 2004 from the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures. Haden Church received the NBR Award for Best Supporting Actor. The cast of Closer, meanwhile, won the award for Best Acting by an Ensemble.

Sideways also won the Gotham Award for Best Feature. Awards Season is officially underway. This time of year, it is much fun to read David Poland’s 20 Weeks to Oscar, with only twelve weeks to go. Also of interest are Poland’s various charts, with information on “This Week’s Frontrunner” for Best Picture, Director, Actor/Supporting Actor, Actress/Supporting Actress, and Screenplay/Adapted Screenplay. His analyses are not limited to potential Oscar winners, but also to the Golden Globes.

Dec 14 HDNB Gig Sidetracked

Posted in Film, Music on December 7th 2004 by Randy Reichardt

:: Tbe Hardy Drew and the Nancy Boys Dec 14 gig at the Sidetrack has been, well, sidetracked for now. James (bassist) is having problems with a sciatic nerve in his leg, and is unable to perform. So my debut with HDNB is postponed for now, but hopefully another gig will materialze shortly.

The book chapter is essentially done. A few minor revisions are left, nothing more. What’s it about? It’s a guide to the literature of petroleum engineering and refining, for a book called “Using the Engineering Literature”, to be published in 2005 by Dekker. Now I’m plowing through 170 e-mails at work, trying to catch up on them before breaking for Christmas. I’m off work from Dec 18-Jan 3. There is a lot to do in the next eight working days, including the dreaded annual report.

:: Been on a bit of a DVD tear of late, which for those of you who know me, is uncharacteristic behaviour. But it was hard to pass up a few deals at Best Buy, including: Local Hero, To Live and Die In L.A., Minority Report, Altered States, A Little Princess, and This Is Spinal Tap. I watched TLADILA last night, and it still holds up well after 20 years. I still love listening to the Wang Chung soundtrack. I wish they’d get back together for a reunion album. Jack Hues, founding member of Wang Chung, formed a band called Illuminated, in 2003. Listening to bits of three cuts on the web site suggests that Illuminated is an instrumental jazz band. What’s interesting is a line in Jach Hues’ biography on the web site, which reads, “new Wang Chung and ILLUMINATED albums in progress (2004).” Cool.

Jon Stewart Calls Tucker Carlson A Dick, And Snow Falls In Edmonton

Posted in Film, Miscellaneous, Political Hooey, Television on October 17th 2004 by Randy Reichardt

Edmonton, Saturday afternoon, 16 October 2004, view from my driveway

:: It started snowing on Friday night in Edmonton, and continued throughout Saturday. When it snows this early, not even one month into autumn, the only word that comes to mind for me is: offensive. It’s too early!! All we can do is hope that it melts before it gets too cold for that to happen.

:: Jon Stewart, currently the co-author of the #1 best selling non-fiction book in the USA, was on Crossfire last week, and was brutal in his assault on the show itself. Rather than appear on the show in his role as a comedian, as Tucker Carlson apparently expected, he tore into both Carlson and co-host Paul Begala for the show’s lack of journalism ethics. The video of the segment is available on iFilm – if you are running Norton Internet Security 2003, you’ll need to disable it in order to get the film to play.

Read “Jon Stewart Bitchslaps CNN’s ‘Crossfire’ Show“, on the MTV web site. Stewart leveled into Crossfire, accusing the co-hosts of being “partisan hacks”. But Stewart saved the best for last, when Carlson said to him: “I do think you’re more fun on your show“, to which Stewart replied, “You know what’s interesting, though: you’re as big a dick on your show as you are on any show.” From the MTV article:

“What you do is not honest. What you do is partisan hackery,” Stewart said. “You have a responsibility to the public discourse, and you fail miserably.

“I watch your show every day, and it kills me. It’s so painful to watch,” Stewart added as it became apparent that the comedian was not joking. He went on to hammer the network, and the media in general, for its coverage of the presidential debates. Stewart said it was a disservice to viewers to immediately seek reaction from campaign insiders and presidential cheerleaders following the debates, noting that the debates’ famed “Spin Alley” should be called “Deception Lane.”

“The thing is, we need your help,” Stewart said. “Right now, you’re helping the politicians and the corporations and we’re left out there to mow our lawns.”

While the audience seemed to be behind Stewart, Begala and Carlson were both taken aback. The hosts tried to feed Stewart set-up lines hoping to draw him into a more light-hearted shtick, but Stewart stayed on point and hammered away at the show, the hosts, and the state of political journalism. Carlson grew increasingly frustrated, at first noting that the segment wasn’t “funny,” and later verbally sparring with the comedian.

“You’re not very much fun,” Carlson said. “Do you like lecture people like this, or do you come over to their house and sit and lecture them; they’re not doing the right thing, that they’re missing their opportunities, evading their responsibilities?”

“If I think they are,” Stewart retorted.

The conversation reached its most heated moment when Carlson said to Stewart, “I do think you’re more fun on your show,” to which Stewart replied, “You’re as big a dick on your show as you are on any show.”

The transcript of the show is available, as is Carlson’s reaction.

God bless Jon Stewart and The Daily Show. It is simultaneously funny and sad that at least 21% of people under 30 in the USA consider The Daily Show and SNL as sources for presidential campaign news.

:: I’ve been volunteering at the EIFF since Wednesday, working in the “Industry Centre”, and picking up a few delegates at the airport. I’ve seen two pictures so far, P.S. and Primer.

How Would You Pronounce It?

Posted in Bad Baby Names, Film on October 14th 2004 by Randy Reichardt

:: From NewsScan Daily:

A father in China’s Zhengzhou province has been denied permission to name his son “@” because it cannot be translated into Mandarin, as the law requires. The father had argued that the symbol is in common use on keyboards and should be acceptable. The attempt reflects parents’ global penchant for saddling their progeny with silly monikers — earlier this year a couple in Holland, Michigan insisted on naming their son Jon Blake Cusack Version 2.0. As The Register noted at the time, “Jon and his wife will certainly be spending many a sleepless night debugging little Jon Blake Cusack Version 2.0 and — in about 16 years’ time — having a pretty hard time explaining to their unfortunate offspring whose bright idea this was in the first place.” (The Register 12 Oct 2004)

:: Primer will indeed play in Edmonton in 2004. Tomorrow, in fact, at the Edmonton International Film Festival. I plan to see it. I also hope and/or would like to see Bad Education, Bright Young Things, Dear Frankie, The Five Obstructions, Intimate Strangers, P.S., and Seven Times Lucky, to name a few (more.)

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