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posted by [personal profile] connielane at 04:06am on 01/11/2015 under ,
For a few years now, I've been lucky enough to live sufficiently close to an Alamo Drafthouse Cinema so that I don't have to get on an airplane or drive for several hours to get there. The theater in Yonkers, though, still takes around 2 hours (one way) to get to, and that Brooklyn location needs to hurry up. Since a trip to Alamo Yonkers and back can take up to five hours (more, if you have to get back late at night), I tend to reserve trips up there for special events -- AGFA screenings of movies I would never be able to see otherwise, usually, and multi-film events like Van Dammage and Dismember the Alamo.

Last year's Dismember the Alamo was super-rad -- Night of the Creeps, Basket Case, Demons 2, and Society were our films -- and I was very happy that they decided to do it again this year. I was also excited that it was happening on Halloween night, as I rarely get to do much celebrating on the actual day anymore. I'd had my ticket for around six weeks, and my only worry was that, with all the horror movie watching I'd been doing this month, I would have seen one or more of the films in the past few weeks/days. I should learn to have more faith in the Yonkers programmer.

Read more... )
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posted by [personal profile] connielane at 08:46pm on 22/09/2015 under ,
I ... don't really like the new version of Pottermore? The old version was purely rooted in the books, but this new version has a LOT of movie stuff, which ... I like the movies for what they are, but they are not the books. And I grow ever more crotchedy about the increasing pervasiveness of "movie canon" into what is generally accepted as part of the story. (For example, on Tumblr today, I saw a comic that made reference to Harry killing Quirrell, which only happened in the movie and which is one of the few things I definitely hold against Steve Kloves.)

No House competitions, which ... okay, I was never that into that or the spells and potions and stuff, but I still thought it was cool, and very friendly to younger users. No sorting test or wand choosing. And no exploring the books like before and those great detailed pictures from scenes in the book that you could zoom in on and look around.

Now it's like a more slick, but less detailed version of (I hate to say it, but it's true) the HP Lexicon. And what's with stuff like "11 Times Snape Was the Hardest Teacher to Please." What is this - Buzzfeed?
Mood:: 'discontent' discontent
connielane: (singin')
posted by [personal profile] connielane at 06:08pm on 06/09/2015 under
For the third time over the last nine years, I made my way west to drink deep the delights of live theater at the Utah Shakespeare Festival. I first attended in 2006, the week of the Lumos HP fan convention in Las Vegas, and saw a serviceable Merry Wives of Windsor, a thoroughly charming H.M.S. Pinafore, an INTERMINABLE Antony and Cleopatra (ugh, they just WOULD NOT DIE), and quite literally the best Hamlet I've ever seen (yes, including Olivier and Branagh). I went again in 2010 and saw a nice adaptation of Pride & Prejudice, a mostly great Much Ado About Nothing, a life-threateningly hilarious The 39 Steps, an excellent Merchant of Venice, and a pretty danged incredible Macbeth.

For a while it looked like I wasn't going to be able to go this year, for reasons I won't go into, but I hadn't counted on [ profile] angua9 and [ profile] wahlee_98 being such amazing friends. Once it was clear I was definitely going to be able to go, I started to get crazy prepared. I always *try* to read all the plays we're going to see, but I'd never gotten around to a pre-fest read of any of them until now. I still didn't get to all of them, but I came pretty close and was quite proud of myself. Since one of the plays we were seeing was Henry IV Part 2, and since I'm not confident in my comprehension of the histories, I went a little overboard and read the entire Henriad and watched The Hollow Crown (the BBC four-part miniseries that covers all four plays -- Richard II, both parts of Henry IV and Henry V). Danged if I was going to be lost watching any of these plays!

Where is the life that late I led? )
connielane: (singin')
posted by [personal profile] connielane at 08:15pm on 24/08/2015
Okay, let me get one tiny nitpick out of the way. The first roughly 60-90 seconds of the show didn’t 100% work for me, and I’m not sure why. Possibly I’d gotten too used to hearing first lines done by Lin-Manuel Miranda and no one else (from the 2009 White House video). Also there seemed to be an issue with how people were mic’d (or maybe just performance level?) — one person would be fairly quiet and the next person was super loud. For whatever reason, it just felt abrupt and choppy and I was like “Oh! We’re doing this now!” when I feel like I should have been more mesmerized or … more eased into it or … something.

And that is basically the ONLY flaw in this exquisite jewel of a production. And it’s probably not even a flaw, I’m probably just weird. Wait, I’m definitely weird. But this could easily be just my problem.

Read more... )

This is *such* an incredible show.  I don't know what kind of life it's going to have outside of Broadway, in terms of tours, etc.  There has apparently been movie interest.  The catch with that is that the diversity in the cast is key.  It wouldn't work with an all-white cast or even a largely-white cast, and that's definitely going to be a struggle once a movie studio gets involved.  I hope more people get a chance to see it than just the people who can afford to fly to New York.  It's a game-changer, and Miranda is our new Sondheim.
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posted by [personal profile] connielane at 07:11pm on 20/08/2015
I’m probably one of the last people you’d expect to be into Straight Outta Compton, or indeed know anything about N.W.A. Admit it, you’re laughing right now at the idea of me sitting my nearly-40-year-old cracker butt down in a theater to watch this. But this movie is seriously amazing and might be one of my favorites of the year so far. It follows the standard biopic formula and hits all those familiar tropes, but it’s so incredibly shot and well acted and the energy is so through the roof that I didn’t really care.

Life ain't nothin' but bitches and money. )
connielane: (singin')
posted by [personal profile] connielane at 07:37pm on 17/07/2015
Boy, I haven't written on this thing in ages -- on any topic, not just movies. I started going through my list of what I've seen so far this year, and struck me what an awesome summer it has been for ladies. Mad Max: Fury Road, Pitch Perfect 2 (which was ehhhh, but an important box office success story), Inside Out (*still not over it*), and now this movie, which is one of my favorite romantic comedies in a long time.


This is like a reverse romantic comedy in a lot of ways, and Amy Schumer (who also wrote the screenplay) is playing against a pervasive stereotype of women in pop culture -- the crazy, creepy, "marry me" girl that we see so often in movies and television (a lot of it written by men, let's be real). Schumer doesn't know any women like that, and in her experience men are the ones who become the crazy texters, etc. In Trainwreck, she's the one who freaks out when Bill Hader calls her the next day, and the guys are the ones who talk relationships with each other and watch Downton Abbey.

Okay, let me back up. Amy Schumer plays, errr, Amy, a writer for a magazine in New York. (Side note: I spent most of the movie staring at the actress who plays her editor, asking myself "Is that Tilda Swinton? It can't be Tilda Swinton, but IS IT? It definitely sounds like her, but no, it can't be." (*credits roll*) "Holy crap, IT IS HER!") She's in line for a big promotion to an editing position, but you can tell early on that this is not where she belongs. She's assigned a job to interview and write an article about a sports doctor named Aaron (Bill Hader), which she initially objects to because she hates sports. But she meets the guy and they hit it off, and soon they're in a full-fledged relationship.

I like that this movie is so much about the relationship and not the chase. We see what they're like together, how Amy goes from someone who never spends the night to someone who spoons with someone she cares about, and how their issues and hang-ups threaten to tear them apart. The focus is mostly on Amy, who has been through so many relationships and flings that she's waiting for the other shoe to drop and dreading whatever dealbreaker comes along, because Aaron is someone she really likes and she doesn't want it to end. Schumer has seen all of the rom-coms that we have, and she doesn't miss any of the traditional beats, but most of them are subverted in clever ways that don't reduce her character to someone who needs to "fix" herself so that she can be with the guy in the end.

What I love the most -- and this may sound strange -- is how raunchy it is. It is absolutely a characteristic Judd Apatow movie, only the women (especially Amy) get to be honest and not at all precious about sex and relationships. I remember when Quentin Tarantino's Death Proof came out and a lot of reviewers, most of them dudes, complained that the dialogue was unrealistic, that women don't talk like that. Um, newsflash -- yes we do. One of my favorite moments is when Amy is at a baby shower and the women are taking turns telling shocking truths about themselves. All the other women are like "Oh, I woke up in the middle of the night and ate a whole box of Skinny Cow ice cream bars OMG" or "One night my husband and I did it with the lights on, hee hee!" and Amy tells this horrifying condom retrieval story.

There's a poignant subplot with Amy's father (played by Colin Quinn), and I really liked the flawed relationship between Amy and her younger sister. The movie is also set (and filmed) in New York, and it looks like really for realz New York, complete with a friendly homeless guy (played by Dave Attell) who frequents the corner outside Amy's building. There are also LOADS of cameos, particularly by pro basketball players (notably LeBron James, who you've probably seen in the previews, and Amar'e Stoudemire).

I was glad to see a nearly full theater at my afternoon viewing, and with just as many men (laughing just as hard) as women. I hope Amy Schumer gets to do a lot more creating, and that this movie opens the door a little more to women writing about who they are and not just who they think people want or expect them to be.
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posted by [personal profile] connielane at 11:13am on 22/02/2015 under ,
I'm planning some movie-themed food for consumption during tonight's Oscars -- drumsticks for Whiplash, chips/queso for Boyhood, and a Crumbs cupcake for Grand Budapest Hotel. I don't often do a full list of predictions, but here goes. These guesses are highly influenced by Oscar blogs I follow, namely In Contention, and they reflect likely outcomes, not my own personal preferences. After years of following the Oscars, I've learned to just let go of my personal feelings and enjoy the show. Mostly. :P

And the winners (might be)... )

Unless some unforeseen technical snafu happens (like with the Golden Globes), I'll be livetweeting tonight (@pknail).

ETA: I just figured out you can't do that thing LJ used to let you do where you could pick a mood pic and write your own mood on it.  Now if you want to make up your own mood that's not on the list (say, "anticipatory"), you can't put a pic with it. :(
Mood:: 'good' good
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posted by [personal profile] connielane at 01:12am on 21/02/2015
Had a lot of fun at the Mark Does Stuff event, which took place at the Museum of NYC. I was pleased that he hadn't forgotten about The West Wing in the onslaught of Star Trek and Supernatural over the past several months (he even gushed about Donna Moss, which made me immeasurably happy). He read a chapter from his novel, which sounds quite good, although it was hard to get a feel for the context because the chapter he chose is so late in the book.

And, as usual for his events, he read some truly awful things. Last time he was in NYC, he read this fic, in which Garfield (yes, from the comic) interrupts Prince William's and Kate Middleton's wedding, throws William into Big Ben (causing both William and Big Ben to explode), and makes sweet love to Kate Middleton. You may be wondering at this point, "Isn't Garfield a cat?" Well, dear reader, that is unclear, because Garfield does things in this fic that simply aren't possible for a cat -- much less a cat who spends all his time sleeping and/or eating lasagna. Garfield's species is also maddeningly unclear in this follow-up fic, which Mark read tonight. In this fic, Prince Harry tries to get revenge for William's death, but Garfield kills him and has a three-way with Kate and Pippa (oh, and he also has sex with Sarah Ferguson earlier in the fic). Man or cat? Who knows? When your fic has lasagna as a form of currency that can be used in a bet, what place is there for even the most basic logic?

He also read an excerpt from a novel by Sandra Hill called Rough and Ready, which utilizes the phrase "dick aneurysm" as well as "dick Parkinson's." Also "spongy love mounds." You can hear someone else give a dramatic reading of this exact passage here. There was also a lengthy Q&A where he talked about the Great Ginny Slut-Shaming of 2009, the Spuffy Meltdown, and the creepiest e-mail he's ever been sent (which I remembered him reading at LeakyCon this summer).

Afterwards, I headed out for a late dinner with a few of the other ladies who sat near me, and I was excited to be doing something social in the city for a change. But ... I didn't make it to wherever they ended up. At some point, after walking a few blocks, I realized a few things: 1) that I have not had to keep up with a group of people walking in quite some time, 2) that I am short-legged, quite out of shape, and nearly 40, and 3) that the stretch we were walking was all uphill. I trudged on, thinking surely we'd stop soon (or at least be slowed by traffic lights), but everyone just kept going ahead and I was falling behind. One of the girls hung back to talk to me, and I clumsily apologized for my slowness, but the further we went the more I realized that I had never been more out of breath in my life. My heart was also painfully pounding. I felt like I really should not feel that overexerted unless I'd recently been running from a chainsaw-wielding murderer. Thank goodness these women were so nice that I had no worries they'd make fun of me for giving up, because I looked ahead at the hill we were about to go up and was seriously afraid I would collapse on the sidewalk if I kept going. I could not help wondering if I would be needing the services of Mt. Sinai Hospital, which we had just passed. That may sound like I'm joking but it was a little scary.

Coronary scares and missed social opportunities aside, though, it was a good night.
connielane: (this. is what. you get...)
posted by [personal profile] connielane at 04:32pm on 20/01/2015 under
This weekend I went to the Alamo Drafthouse in Yonkers for their VAN DAMMAGE marathon - four Jean-Claude Van Damme movies in 35mm, with accompanying trailers and clips. I won't go full-on BNAT style memoir on this one, but I did want to chronicle it because it was a lot of fun. And I was glad I was not the only female in the room (but I very nearly was).

Now take your pig-stick and your boyfriend, and find a bus to catch. )

Overall, a very fun day. There were food and drink specials, including Uncle Douvee's Moonshine (served in souvenir Mason jars). And we all received JCVD Splits pins (pictured below). I'm so glad there's a Drafthouse I can get to once in a while, even if it does take a while to get there (hopefully the Brooklyn location will be open soon).


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