Daily Archives: November 5, 2007

Hitting the bricks!

Returned home tonight and got my final marching orders from my WGA Strike Captain (a chill quiz show writer dude from Burbank), and so, tomorrow, from 1:00-5:00pm you’ll find me burning up the sidewalk with mis hermanos outside the CBS Television City Studios in Hollywood.

WGA picket signs ready for use!

So, look for me on CNN, baby! I’ll be the sweaty fat one huffing and puffing down the block in my bright red WGA t-shirt!

Oh, yeah, and if you’re in the neighborhood, feel free to bring sunblock and pizza…not necessarily in that order. Que viva la union!

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Do

“No Country For Old Men”

This afternoon, with strike storm clouds looming on the horizon, Christine and I ventured into the heart of Hollywood to see a WGA screening of Joel and Ethan Coen’s latest film, “No Country For Old Men” at the Chinese Theatre. And all I can say is, wow!

“No Country For Old Men” (2007)

Violent, beautiful and often downright poetic, “No Country…” — adapted from the novel by Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Cormac McCarthy — blends the best elements of “Fargo” and “Blood Simple” with the dark, offbeat humor of “Raising Arizona” and the result is probably one of their finest films to date.

Anchored by the amazing, Oscar-worthy performances of Josh Brolin, Tommy Lee Jones and a superb Kelly MacDonald (who we have loved since her fressh-faced feature debut in “Trainspotting”) the movie is probably going to be best remembered for the towering, iconic performance of Oscar-nominee (“Before Night Falls”) Javier Bardem.

Javier Bardem in “No Country For Old Men” (2007)

Bardem’s hired killed is seriously dangerous and truly captivating, trust me, there hasn’t been a movie villain like this since Dennis Hopper donned an oxygen mask in “Blue Velvet”! Rocking a freaky pageboy doo, Bardem’s character is so hard to nail down — not to mention so totally bizarre! — that you never know what he’ll do next, and that is part of what makes the movie so bleeping awesome!

Playing with our ideas of how a gritty genre story like this should play out, the movie twists and turns in so many truly unexpected directions that you finally give up trying to figure it out and just enjoy the long, strange ride through the stunning, west Texas vistas.

Talking about it too much might give some of the surprises away, but if you are in any way a fan of the Coen brothers, I urge you to check this movie out immediately, it really is up there with their best work!

Tommy Lee Jones in “No Country For Old Men” (2007)

But even better than the movie was the discussion that followed it. Moderated by another one of my favorite writer/directors, Noah Baumbach (an Oscar nominee himself for the screenplay for “The Squid And The Whale”) the panel discussion included Joel and Ethan Coen, Kelly MacDonald, Josh Brolin, Javier Bardem and in a surprise late-arrival, Tommy Lee Jones! Wow, talk about star wattage!

They talked for a bit about the making of the movie, took some seriously lame questions from the crowd — “Why would you make such a violent film in times like these?” Um, hello? Have you seen their movies? Violent, hilarious flicks are kind of what they do best! — and then ducked across the street to the red carpet outside the El Capitan for the Hollywood premiere of the movie.

We didn’t stay to watch the celebs arriving, as we were starving, but Christine and I did get to rub shoulders with Tommy Lee Jones (who is a GIANT in real life! I’m serious, he’s huge!) on the way out.

AP pic of Joel & Ethan Coen on the “No Country” red carpet (Nov. 4, 2007)

But the highlight for me was when I ran into Ethan Coen on the way into the discussion! Tapping him on the shoulder, I told him the movie was fantastic and gave him a big old nerdy thumbs up. I know…lame! But these guys are like, my cinematic heroes…seriously, I’m surprised I could speak at all!

My new best friend Ethan was very cool, smiled and said, “Oh, hey, thanks a lot. Glad you liked it.” Liked it? We loved it, dude! Can’t wait to see it again to memorize the best lines!

4 Comments

Filed under See

“Michael Clayton”

OK, I know…enough with the movie reviews, right? Sorry, but “Michael Clayton” was so damn good I had to blog about it. Ever since we first saw that kick-ass movie poster — blurring George Clooney’s face? Shocking! — Christine and I had been wanting to see this flick, and man, was it worth the wait!

One of the most dense, fascinating films we’ve seen in a long time, “Michael Clayton” sucks you into it’s vortex almost from the first shot. It’s a little slow (methodical slow NOT boring slow) and it’s probably not for everyone, but if you’re in the mood for a killer puzzle of a movie, this is it.

Cool “Michael Clayton” poster!

Playing a spectacularly flawed “fixer” for a major law firm, George Clooney shows his chops in ways we haven’t seen since his masterful, Oscar-winning turn in “Syriana”. You wouldn’t think it to look at him, but Clooney plays semi-tragic losers like nobody’s business. And he is on fire here. Really amazing!

And the supporting cast is equally stellar. In probably his most nuanced, soulful performance ever, Tom Wilkinson (“The Full Monty”, “In The Bedroom”) is a virtual lock for a supporting actor nod. He is crazy-brilliant here and his wild-eyed rants are absolutely thrilling to behold. But our favorite performance in the movie belongs to the always luminous, Tilda Swinton.

The portrait of brittle, cocky desperation, Tilda Swinton’s conflicted Karen Crowder is the star of the show. Watching her peel back the layers of this lonely, insanely misguided career woman is as exciting as movie acting gets.

Tilda Swinton unraveling in “Michael Clayton” (2007)

Whether playing the dowdy hausfrau discovering her sensual (not to mention fully nude!) side with Ewan McGregor in the underrated “Young Adam” or playing the coolest angel Gabriel ever in the stunningly bad “Constantine”, Tilda Swinton has built a career playing this type of coolly composed ice queen, and watching her unravel here is…wow…just incredible! Seriously, just give this chick an Oscar already.

And to top it all off, this movie was directed by a screenwriter! Yeah! First-time director Tony Gilroy (“The Devil’s Advocate”, the “Bourne” movies, “Dolores Claiborne”, etc.) said he was sick of seeing his scripts ruined by lesser directors and wrote this movie for himself. Right on! You did a bang up job, brutha!

I know it’s been out for a while, and hasn’t exactly gotten the biggest push from the studio, but if you’re looking for a complex, adult night at the movies, “Michael Clayton” is your man!

3 Comments

Filed under See