connielane: (Default)
2017-06-12 08:16 pm

The fault ... is not in our stars, but in ourselves.

So I went to see a play the other night. I've written many times about the process of acquiring free tickets to the Public Theater's Shakespeare in the Park productions, but this season's Julius Caesar has taken on a new significance in the past few days, and I should say things about the play itself.

How many ages hence shall this our lofty scene be acted over in states unborn and accents yet unknown. )
connielane: (king)
2016-12-14 08:06 am

BNATPSYCHO 18 -- Cinemaniacs Assaulting and Killing (Metaphorically, of Course) for Thrills!

I had seriously planned to do a vlog this year instead of a long breathless post, and I took a bunch of video, but my taciturn nature led me to shoot a lot more things and places than people (not wanting to bother people, natch -- #shypeopleproblems) so while I do have more pictures than usual, I wasn't quite ready for a vlog. Maybe next year.

Also, for the first time in my BNAT-going history, I brought my phone into the room (for picture-taking only), but I think I only ended up with one picture over the whole 25.5 hours. Again, next year. Baby steps. :P

Read more... )

Thanks to Harry for letting me be part of this movie lovefest again. Thanks to David for giving me a place to crash. Thanks to the Drafthouse and Kristen Bell for making it all happen. And thanks to all my fellow BNAT-ers for the hugs and the discussions and the squees and OMG WE'RE GOING TO BE IN STAR WARS YOU GUYS!
connielane: (books are teh sexy)
2016-10-30 04:06 pm
Entry tags:

Dismember the Alamo 2016

For the third straight year I schlepped up to the Alamo Drafthouse in Yonkers for their annual horror marathon. I had been torn, because the Nitehawk had a pretty awesome lineup (which they announced well in advance), but the two events overlapped and I had to choose. Ultimately, the Nitehawk's event cost more than twice as much as the Drafthouse's and I decided to trust to the Alamo's surprise programming.

My expectations for awesomeness were somewhat lowered, since the programmer for the last two events was now the programmer for the Brooklyn location and wouldn't be involved. But it turns out I needn't have worried. As usual, they didn't announce the titles, letting us find out what we were seeing only when the title appeared on screen.

Read more... )

Another great year, and I wonder if the Brooklyn location will join the fun next October.
connielane: (movie theater (inglourious basterds))
2016-04-06 12:28 am

Maybe Not Everybody Wants Some

I've been harumphing about Richard Linklater's latest movie, Everybody Wants Some!! (yes, that's an on-purpose double exclamation), since I saw it last weekend and I get even more surly about it the more people heap praise on it. Maybe it's just that this movie is very much made for a group of people that doesn't include me, but I Just. Don't. Get. It.

I'm a HUGE fan of Linklater. His "Before" trilogy is some of my favorite filmmaking EVER, and I have always been enamored of Dazed and Confused, which is the movie Everybody Wants Some!! is supposed to be the "spiritual successor" to, according to apparently everyone who has eyes or something. But for me, Everybody Wants Some!! is several steps backward for Linklater, and comparing it to Dazed and Confused is a superficial judgment at best.


Everybody Wants Some!! (2016) - The pic above is this movie in a nutshell --
an Instagram post lost in its own nostalgia glow.


There are loads of problems with this movie, starting with its rather dull and forgettable lead actor and the fact that I can't for the life of me remember most of the characters' names. (I remember McReynolds because I mused that he must have been nicknamed that due to his amazing Burt Reynolds-esque mustache.) But above all else, the movie has two Big Problems.

Read more... )
connielane: (Hogwarts ... with palm trees?)
2016-03-10 05:39 pm

Fannish stuff

Pottermore and Magic in North America
I'm still as in love with JKR as I ever was, but this is the first time she's released information where I wish she hadn't. And I look back on how much we all wanted the HP Encyclopedia, and I'm glad this new info is only on a website (and somewhat easier to overlook/ignore) than if it were in print in a bookstore. The North American wizard worldbuilding -- what little I've seen of it -- is kind of embarrassingly bad. To the point that I'm still half waiting for it to turn out that she didn't actually write it. (I *cannot* believe she wrote the phrase "as dim as she was pretty.") As a white person, it's not my place to talk about the portrait of Native Americans, but that and the religious persecution element (and probably more that I haven't looked at) seem grossly under-researched. This makes me very nervous about anything else she might be planning to release about magical history in South America, Asia and Africa. I wonder if any backlash she might get on this might make her rethink it.

I swear I'm not one of those people who thinks she should just shut up and not give any more story beyond the seven books. I've loved the little bits of extra character backstory and details that were part of her worldbuilding and just couldn't fit into the books. But this recent string of updates have literally nothing to do with the plot or characters of the books and it doesn't really add anything to them. This is not a series that really needed a Silmarillion.


Captain America
I've gotten away from watching trailers much at all, and this latest super-hyped trailer for Civil War reminds me why. Did we really need to see Spidey? I also have to echo something FilmCritHulk said today -- that it's difficult to buy that the world is tearing itself apart over Bucky Barnes when we care so little about him. Yes, I know Bucky is Tumblr's "precious cinnamon roll," but honestly I'd forgotten who he was by the time Winter Soldier came out (and I know I'm not the only one).


***

On an unrelated-to-anything note ... what is with this new trend of the kids calling their faves "daddy" or "my son"?! I mean, when I was in high school I crushed pretty hard on Kevin Costner. I can safely say I did *not* want him to be my dad. "My son" is maybe a *little* more understandable. Maybe. At least coming from someone my age, or if you're actually older than the person you're talking about. I don't know why a 19-year-old wants to call 55-year-old Bradley Whitford "my son."
connielane: (books are teh sexy)
2016-03-05 01:21 am

Zootopia

I had not been holding out great hopes for this movie. I'd seen the "sloth" trailer a couple of times, and it was great, but I've seen a lot of movies with talking animals (as, I imagine, have most of you) and I wasn't entirely sold. Mostly it had to do with what I thought was going to be an overabundance of pop culture references and a lack of timelessness, which for me separates a lot of these more modern animated movies from my beloved classics.

I should have remembered that, in addition to the classic fairy tales of Tangled and Frozen, this is also the studio that has given us, in the last few years, the amazing Wreck-It Ralph and Big Hero 6 -- both of which I was just as skeptical about in the beginning, but which became instant favorites. Zootopia is definitely a worthy successor to those.


Zootopia (2016)


The world has always been broken. That's why we need good cops. )
connielane: (books are teh sexy)
2016-02-19 02:37 am

A Few Thoughts on Recent Movies

Gah, I wish I had time to do proper reviews like I used to, but I always dawdle until it feels too late and then I have like half a dozen movies I want to write about! I'm so rusty at this! So here are some brief (for me) thoughts on a bunch of movies I've seen the last couple of months.

Cut for pics and length. )
connielane: (movie theater (inglourious basterds))
2016-02-07 10:24 pm

Happy Burtday to Me: My Cinema Date with Burt Reynolds

It's always a long schlep to the Alamo Drafthouse in Yonkers, but it is usually worth it, and their Burtday was no exception. In celebration of the man's 80th birthday (which is today!), programmer Cristina Cacioppo had picked five of his films and a bunch of clips to show during the seating and the breaks. Just like previous marathon events (and like BNAT), we didn't know what was going to play (Cristina doesn't even announce the titles when she introduces the films, so it's a mystery until the title pops up on the screen). I was fairly certain we wouldn't see Smokey and the Bandit; as arguably Burt's biggest movie, it was too obvious a choice. I also didn't expect to see his Oscar-nominated turn in Boogie Nights, which is not so much a Burt Reynolds Movie as a movie that happens to have Burt Reynolds in it. And the only hint we'd been given was that one of the films was one that he had directed, so that narrowed it down to four.



He's a player ... a pawn ... a hero ... a king. )

Such a great day, and so much Burt greatness. 2016 is all downhill from here.
connielane: (emmarupert)
2016-01-20 10:23 pm

Death Eater Neighbors

I'm not sure why I'm posting this here instead of Facebook, like everything else nowadays, but it just felt like it belonged here, you know?

I was listening to Kevin Smith's and Scott Mosier's "SModcast," which I haven't done in a while, and their latest episode was about the recent deaths of David Bowie, Dan Haggerty, and especially Alan Rickman (who they both worked with on Dogma). They talked a lot about Rickman in particular and their relationship with him (did you know that Emma Thompson almost played God in Dogma because Rickman showed her the script and she loved it?), but the best bit was this...

About ten years ago, when Rickman was doing the play "My Name Is Rachel Corrie," Kevin Smith was visiting him and Rickman told him that he'd finally broken down and bought an apartment in New York. It was in the same building as Ralph Fiennes, and they were both desperate that no one ever find out, because if Potter fans found out that Snape and Voldemort lived in the same building, the response would be out of control.
connielane: (bride)
2016-01-01 11:43 am

2015 in Movies

This year's movie-watching is shaping up to be better than last year's, number wise (final tally was 240, counting vintage and rewatches), and as usual, my attempt to do a top 10 changed very quickly into a top 20.

I'd really like to do a full and proper review of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, because I have loads to say about it and very consciously did NOT include it in my top 20 (no way I can rank something like that, nostalgia too high). I've also done separate lists on my favorite film discoveries and my favorite females in movies (as this year has been a better year than most for women). But before I get into the main list, here's a rundown of the rest.

Read more... )
connielane: (bride)
2015-11-01 04:06 am
Entry tags:

Dismember the Alamo 2015

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... )
connielane: (emmarupert)
2015-09-22 08:46 pm
Entry tags:

Updated Pottermore

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?
connielane: (singin')
2015-09-06 06:08 pm
Entry tags:

Shakefest 2k15

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 [livejournal.com profile] angua9 and [livejournal.com 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')
2015-08-24 08:15 pm

Hamilton

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.
connielane: (bride)
2015-08-20 07:11 pm

Straight Outta Compton

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')
2015-07-17 07:37 pm

Trainwreck (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.


Trainwreck


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.
connielane: (king)
2015-02-22 11:13 am
Entry tags:

Last Minute Oscar Predictions

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. :(
connielane: (emmarupert)
2015-02-21 01:12 am

Mark Does Stuff, NYC

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...)
2015-01-20 04:32 pm
Entry tags:

VAN DAMMAGE 2015

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).