Sunday, December 30, 2007

Dustin and Phillip Seymour Hoffman

Philip S. in Punch Drunk Love, Dustin in Death of a Salesman

Find more similarities at Tractor Facts. Hilarious.

My Top 13 Films of 2007

It was a really good year for movies. A year of surprises, quiet sleepers, small movies, big movies, art house flicks and everything in between. These are my top 13, not in any particular order (besides alphabetical). I couldn't get it down to 10. And after talking to Mark, If I had to pick my two favorites ... I mean, if someone twisted my arm and told me I had to narrow it down, I'd probably go with Black Snake Moan and Juno.

Away From Her – Sarah Polley I think you rule. Such a quiet, patient film that unfolded delicately with sweet, sweet care. The performances by both Julie Christie and Gordon Pinsent were painfully rich and subtle.

Black Snake Moan – I’m a little stunned by the bad reviews. Did they just look at the poster? Did they forget to go in to the movie theater? Stupid critics. This film felt like a heartbroken fairytale dressed in daisy dukes and a halter top. Christina Ricci shined. Before this, my favorite performance of hers was in Addams Family Values. (which I saw probably 20 or so times). I have to say, I’m a big fan of Craig Brewer.

Disturbia – It’s a popcorn flick through and through. But damn it’s the best popcorn flick I’ve seen in a long, long time.

I Know Who Killed Me - I don’t care what anyone else says. I loved it.

Juno – I laughed and wept harder than any other movie this year. I think of all of these films, this one hit me the most.

Lars and the Real Girl – No one can deny that Mr. Gosling has that something special. The boy can do no wrong. But this movie was the heart and soul of everyone in it, down to the extras in the church scenes. A film about family and community. It made me have a little more faith in humanity.

Live Free or Die Hard – John McClane came back with a vengeance. From the first frame, I was on the edge of my seat. I’m not a big fan of rollercoasters, but I loved the hell out of this one. Probably my mom's #1 of 2007.

Michael Clayton – Rock solid. Not a bad thing I can say about this film. And I’m not a huge George Clooney fan. Really not a George Clooney fan.

No Country For Old Men – It’s rare that films can stand equally beside the books they're adapted from. And I loved this book. It was my entrance into Cormac McCarthy’s world. The Coens captured his words right off the pages and carefully painted them on to the screen, respectfully and faithfully.

Once – What can I say? I cry just listening to the soundtrack. Hats off to you, John Carney, for making such a beautiful film. It’s no wonder that my neighbor saw it 12 times.

Ratatouille – After Monsters Inc. and The Incredibles, it’s my third favorite Pixar film.

The Orphanage – Thank god for Spanish filmmakers. Bringing the magic and stories back into the movies and showing American "horror" directors how it’s really done.

Waitress – I loved Adrienne Shelly from her Hal Hartley days. But I had no idea she had her own wonderful stories to tell. If only we could’ve seen what she would’ve done next.

The ones I haven’t seen: Atonement, Before the Devil Knows Your Dead, The Savages, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, There Will Be Blood

Other films I really enjoyed: Knocked Up, Bridge to Terabithia, The Messengers, Hot Fuzz, Chalk, The Host, Vacancy, In The Land of Women, 28 Weeks Later, Superbad, Rescue Dawn, Death Proof, The Darjeeling Limited, 30 Days of Night, Dan In Real Life

The ones I hated: Fracture, Year of the Dog, The Number 23, Spiderman 3, Because I Said So, The Ex, Walk Hard

NY Times Article - The Orphanage

Mark sent this over today. I couldn't agree more.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Triple Feature Friday

Mark had off today so ... movie marathon! A triple feature. Sweeney Todd, Charlie Wilson's War and The Orphanage. I can't say a whole lot about the first two. Sweeney Todd looked cool. I love Tim Burton's worlds, but I only emotionally connect to a handful of his films. This was not one of them. Charlie Wilson's War was more entertaining. I enjoyed Tom Hanks and Philip Seymour Hoffman's performances but was a little embarrassed by Julia Roberts'.

The movie that sucker punched me was The Orphanage. If you want a sobbing mess, put in a movie about children, mothers, abandonment or losing a child. The Orphanage brought me back to my experience with the Japanese version of Dark Water.

I wasn't clear on the plot going in which was refreshing. I just knew it was a ghost story. I love a good ghost story. And I've found that the best ones come from outside the U.S.. Sadly, here, we like to make films about torturing young, voluptuous tourists who stumble onto some psychopath at a rest stop who then chains them to a wall in some cave in the woods and rips out their stomach ... slowly of course. I'll take a good story over that shit any day. I won't go into detail on The Orphanage, but needless to say, I loved it. Yes, it's got the jump from your seat frights, bumps in the night and scary masked children, but it also has a rather large heart. As I put together my top 10 of this year, it might very well be on it.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Break 2007 = Kat's Photo Essay

My Dad
My Mommy
Big Brother, Robert
The Sister In Law, Tif
The oldest nephew, Bubba
The youngest nephew, Christian
The Baby, Caroline or "Baby Girl"
The Best Friends, Karen and Ama at Anastasia Park, St. Augustine
Mark and Ama talking to Karen on the phone. "Where can we get organic sandwiches?"
Christian, waiting about an hour for his dad and brother to get a rocket out of a tree. All he wanted was a juice box.
Lounging at Kingsley Plantation in Fernandina.
Outside Kingsley Plantation.
He was out fishing with his son from 9am - 5pm.
This is what happens when Mark rides in a car.
Christmas Day.
The boys LOVE Mark.
Little Robert. I love this photo.
Baby Girl eating a biscuit.
Little Robert and Grandaddy playing football.
Cool smokestacks.
Mark had to play a lot of Star Wars with the boys, but he loved every second of it.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Juno = Bitchin'

I should've brought a hankie to this one. Little did I know I'd be a weeping mess through most of it. Belly laughing one moment, tears streaming down my face the next. When it comes to themes of motherhood, count me in.

It's funny because I was sick of the hype around this film. Secretly wanting to hate it. It seemed like the ultimate hipster film. And it is. With a cooler than cool soundtrack and the comic etched titles it screams hip, but damnit I loved it. Loved every second of it. And one of the sweetest endings. It one simple word, it's "bitchin".

Jacksonville Beach - Christmas Break

I grew up in Jacksonville Beach, FL. It's changed a lot since I was a teenager. Bigger houses, more shopping centers, restaurants like Carrabas and Chilis on every corner.

In school I always looked forward to Christmas Break. It meant 2 solid weeks of hanging out with my friends, day and night. We'd cram in late nights with Monty Python and afternoons at Taco Bell over 99 cent nachos.

Some of my fondest memories from Christmas Breaks:
  1. Gena, Garrett, Aaron, Warren and I walking up to the Pablo 5 theater to see Lord of the Flies and then reenacting scenes the whole walk home.
  2. Riding bikes with Garrett through his neighborhood.
  3. The boys sneaking onto the pier, running all the way down, jumping off and swimming back to shore. Stupid, stupid, stupid.
  4. Teaching everyone how to drive stick shift in my Toyota Tercel while almost destroying the clutch.
  5. Seeing Fantasia in the movie theater and debating through the whole movie whether to put my head on Garrett's shoulder. I can't remember if I ever did.
  6. Jumping up and down on the beach under a full moon so the iridescent lights would shimmer from beneath the sand. It's something you have to see to believe. But I swear it happens.
  7. Canoeing in the middle of the night down the Intracoastal waterway and sneaking onto boats that weren't ours.
  8. Vandalizing golf courses. Again, so stupid. I'm surprised no one ever got arrested.
  9. Playing Blind Fury, Ghost in the Graveyard and Hide and Go Seek in Garrett's back yard.
  10. Going to Einstein's with Karen and Clare just to sit in the corner while they danced to Throwing Muses, The Smiths and Camper Van Beethoven. But I didn't care. I felt cool just being there.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Styx - Come Sail Away

If there's one thing that my older brother, Robert, taught me, it was to appreciate the classics ... Styx, Rush, Foreigner, Yes, Led Zeppelin ... I'm a sucker for classic rock. I'll scream it from the mountains. I love Rush! I love Yes! I love Styx and so on and so on.

I found myself rockin' out in the car to Come Sail Away, on the way back from picking up some equipment. Big drum crashes, arms flailing, beating the steering wheel with drum rolls, screaming ... I must be a sight to the driver next to me. "Yeah, buddy, Styx RULES!"

Do the Fu

My friend Santanu just put out a Tai Chi Comic. He also teaches and runs Austin Kung Fu Academy.

"A comic that shows how the postures and transitions in Tai Chi relate to various types of people around you. An actual Tai Chi routine shown step-by-step, done in a comic strip fashion!"

The Ice Storm - Criterion Collection

When I bought the first DVD for The Ice Storm I was so disappointed. No special features, no commentary. Huh. But now, lo and behold, Criterion is putting it out with all kinds of fun stuff. Hallelujah.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

New York Press - Quarterlife

I wanted to like the show, really I did. But after all 11 episodes, I have to agree with Emma Span on this one. I'm not in my mid-20s anymore, but I don't remember them being like this.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Arts and Labor - Community

Stacy and I moved into the Arts and Labor offices back in October. First off, having our very own office was something we'd only dreamed about. But then we took the plunge. We moved in to a community of filmmakers and artists. It's been an experience that far surpassed our expectations. Knocking on a neighbor's office door and asking a random question about a talent agency or borrowing a few DVDs. Getting recommendations for HD transfers to borrowing an editing suite. Seeing friends who pop in because they're meeting with someone else in the building. It's a good, solid group who LOVE movies. Love movies. Different skills, different talents all bunched up in to an office above Elsi's. And believe me, we frequent Elsi's a little too often.

We had a holiday lunch today with everyone from the office over at Maru. Sitting and looking at everyone's faces and chatting about everything from DVD deals to the aesthetics of Conan the Barbarian sets, priceless. I'm so excited about what's to come in the new year. Lots of collaborations for sure. Lots of fun and silliness.

Mickey Rooney - Interview

Mark sends me random articles, interviews throughout the day. This one, I really loved. My favorite quote ... "We need entertainment that gives children magic and hope." Agreed.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Lindsay Broockman Gets Married

I spent most of Sunday with Ms. Lindsay Lou, soon to be Mrs. Lindsay Lou at her Bridal Shower and then a double date with Dan, Lindsay and Mark later that night.

Lindsay starred in cicadas back in 1999. It's amazing to think that was 8 years ago, almost 9. So yeah, she's getting married this Spring and time is flying. I remember when we met on one of my first shorts Avenue K. She was 14, I think, and she sat in the casting line deeply immersed in some book and waited patiently for everyone to go in front of her. When she came in, sat down and read the voice-over narration, I was sold. I knew she had the authenticity I was looking for. We shot two short films and one feature together. She was my muse, I guess you could say. Until she went to study at Brown University. I'd even named one of the characters in JOB after her. She's since been working at non-profits actively making the world a better place. So yeah, now she's all grown up, getting hitched and saving the world.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Another Round of Applause

For my students. Once again, another semester of fine films. We sat in a packed theater at the Dobie this morning watching about 11 student projects. All different, all full of imagination, heart and hard work. I'm proud. Really proud. They did good.

So that concludes this semester of classes. Spring classes start on January 21st. Once again, they've taught me more than they probably know.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Kate Winslet and Stupid Car Conversations

Here goes, I'm a super dork. This is probably revealing too much information. And if you do this too, I'll feel less dorky. I have fake conversations in my car ... by myself. So for example, tonight, to and from dinner with my family I had a fake conversation with Kate Winslet. I pretended that I saw her on a street in NYC and stopped her to see if she would be in my new movie The Spider in the Bathtub. What's even dorkier is that I faked a British accent. For both Kate and myself.

So if you know her, let her know I think she rules and I'd be overjoyed if she were in my next movie.