Wednesday, February 17, 2010

"Fantasia 2000"

10 years ago, "Fantasia 2000" was released, and to commemorate the anniversary, the film is currently being shown at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, running through the end of the month.

The film's run actually starts tomorrow (Thursday, February 18), but there was a special screening tonight that included a panel discussion with some of the people who worked on the film. I was excited to be able to see the movie on the big screen again, but we also like the panel discussions that are often held at the El Cap, so we made sure to attend this one.







The film took a long time to make and complete and went through a lot of changes as far as what segments were going to be used in the final film. It was fun to hear the different stories that each of the participants had.

My absolute favorite segment of the entire film, though, is the Firebird Suite segment, and that's because I absolutely love the sprite that's the main character in the piece. She's just gorgeous.



During the panel discussion, they showed some screen shots from the film. This is the sprite during the early part of the segment.




This is a different picture of her, showing the details of her face and hair.




I love the story of the piece, and the firebird himself is pretty scary and cool, and then there's the rebirth of the sprite after the firebird sweeps through.


The husband has known how much I love the sprite since we saw the film during its initial release. Some years ago, for my birthday, he bought me the maquette of the sprite. It's a gorgeous piece, even though it's in maquette form and not fully painted, but then, I like maquettes. Here's a picture and description of the piece.



For anyone who is interested, it's definitely worth making the trip to see the film at the El Cap.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

he only *plays* Jack Bauer

I'd heard some blurb on the TV a couple days ago about Kiefer Sutherland needing surgery for something and was it going to affect "24", which is still in production. Well, then I heard something about some kind of cyst that burst, and then I found this story.

I don't know what kind of cyst he has, but things bursting inside your body is never a good thing. Jack Bauer can be shot and stabbed and go through heroin withdrawal while having a really bad day at work, but hey, Kiefer is only human! I'm glad to hear that there won't be any disruption to the episodes. I'm enjoying this season with Renee being a whackjob, but I'm not as much enjoying Dana's story. Yeah, lady, your sleezy ex-con ex-boyfriend is going to just accept some money from you and then leave you alone. What, are you from another planet? ;)

Here's to Kiefer healing quickly!

Monday, February 15, 2010

"The Last Station" - trailer

When I was going over the recently-announced Oscar nominations, I mentioned that "The Last Station" was probably not a film I was going to see, even though it boasted a fairly impressive cast. But a movie about Leo Tolstoy just didn't grab me.

While I was at the movies today, they happened to show a trailer for this film. And now, I want to go. It doesn't seem to necessarily matter that it's about Tolstoy - it's just a story about a man torn between two sides. It's just circumstance that it was him in this case. Christopher Plummer and Paul Giamatti look to be good, but the scenes of Helen Mirren looked amazing, and that was pretty much what made me decide to see it.

Here's the trailer that I saw today.


Sunday, February 14, 2010

hearts and tigers

I was amused when I noticed some time ago that this year, Valentine's Day and Chinese New Year happened to fall on the same day. The endless possibilities!

For Valentine's Day, it's often common for men to buy chocolates for women, and on the lunar calendar, it's now the year of the tiger. So how do you combine the two? Well, I found this heart-shaped box of chocolates with a tiger print cover. That's a pretty good combo.

For Chinese New Year, it's also traditional to give out red packets, and I found this link on how to make your own heart-shaped red packets.

Happy Valentine's Day, Happy Chinese New Year, Happy Presidents' Day Eve, Happy Mardi Gras Eve Eve! ;)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

separated at birth

Here are pictures of two actors. Do you know who each is?












OK, the actor in the first picture is Colin Firth, who is pretty well known and who I happen to really like, except for when he played the sleeze in "Circle of Friends", but it wasn't that I didn't like him - his character was just an ass.

The actor in the second picture is Peter Sarsgaard, who has been in a few movies I've seen, so I must have seen him before, but maybe this is the first movie I've seen where he has a prominent role. And for most of the film, I kept thinking how much he looked like Colin Firth, but I knew Colin wasn't in this movie because 1) I didn't see his name in the opening credits and 2) As much as I like Firth, I know he's not *that* young anymore.

Here are a few more pictures of him in the movie that I saw today.













There are so many other moments in the film when he really looks like Colin Firth. Now, he's almost 11 years younger, so he looks like Colin in his younger days, but the facial structure and smile reminded me so much of Colin.


And, since APPARENTLY, I don't remember his exact name or the spelling of his last name, I mistakenly thought that Peter was the son of Stellan Skarsgard, which he's definitely not. Peter's not even English (though he did sport an English accent in the film I saw) - he's an American who was born in Illinois.

Friday, February 12, 2010

2010 Winter Olympics

The 2010 Winter Olympics begins tonight in Vancouver with the opening ceremonies, and in celebration, Google's logo today pays tribute to the Olympics.






That's the picture you get when you save off the image, but it's actually the truncated version. Below is the logo that covers the entire length of the screen, which I like better.







I haven't really been into the Olympics for some time, though I did watch quite a bit more of the last Summer Olympics than I had planned or expected to, and I really enjoyed it. I'm kind of interested in some of the events this time around. I used to really like figure skating and all the downhill skiing stuff, and I was even watching the speed skating stuff during the Eric Heiden days. I'll probably end up catching some of the events over the next couple of week.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Mickey as Indy

Disney has a set of collectible figures that are pretty tall, usually two or three feet in height, so they're called "big figs". They have a new release that we saw a couple of weeks ago that we thought was pretty awesome.






Mickey dressed as Indiana Jones himself! His hat is flocked so it has a soft feel to it. And you can see from the picture below that the idol he's holding is pretty authentic-looking!







"We named the *mouse* Indiana!" ;)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Toy Fair

This year's Toy Fair is this weekend, and it looks like there will be lots of fun things coming out. I'm excited to see what new "Toy Story" merchandise there will be for the new film, probably related to the new characters we expect to see. There's one new character that I hope they have a plush for because I think he's cute and funny. A talking version of him would be nice too, though I hope "Toy Story 3" doesn't end up being as expensive as "Wall-E" was with regard to cool toys.

Which new character am I talking about? Well, here's the imdb listing of his name. We saw a picture of the character at the D23 Expo last year, and we also heard a bit about his character. I think he's gonna be a riot.

Oooo, wait, I found a picture of him! :)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

tiny baby kitty

Yep, it's another kitten video.

This one is so small that his (yeah, I don't know if it's male or female, but I'd rather use the male pronoun rather than just "it") head is still almost round because his ears are still kinda flat rather than sticking up out of his head. His eyes are HUGE though - I guess the rest of his head just needs to grow into them.

He's very playful - I laughed at the end of the video. :)



Monday, February 8, 2010

tasty flavors

So, I've rediscovered Bartles & Jaymes wine coolers.

These are the two flavors I got over the weekend, and I've enjoyed both.











I don't remember seeing the mojito flavor in the store, so I might have to look for that and pick some up to try next time.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

too much lotion makes running difficult

Why would a man feel the need to steal 75 bottles of lotion?

1. He has really dry skin but can't afford the soothing ointment that he needs for medical reasons.

2. He was put in charge of prizes for a bridal shower and didn't know what else to do.

3. The reason is probably TMI on so many different levels and I seriously don't want to know.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

carpooling with a plastic friend

I've joked with friends before about getting a mannequin and putting it in the passenger's seat so that I could then use the carpool lane, and we've always laughed about that, but I never expected someone to actually do it!

I wanna know what the driver said to the cop who pulled him over.

Friday, February 5, 2010

from a distance

There are times when the geographical distance from a friend means you can't do what you'd really like to do. All the electronic devices that are now available to us mean that it's easy to keep in touch, but as of yet, there has been no electronic equivalent of a hug that has been invented.

Today, a friend will be going to his mother's funeral. Her passing wasn't unexpected - the family knew for a while that this was coming - but that doesn't make it any easier for them. He knows that I'm thinking of him, and there's not much I could really have done for him if I'd been able to go, but I still wish I could be there. However, I know that he and his family will be surrounded by people who love them and who will give them whatever support they need, so I'm just sending my prayers and hugs and love and support to those that will be with them.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

"Jessica Alba"

I heard about this story on the radio a couple of days ago, about a 21 year old Chinese woman in Shanghai who is going to have plastic surgery to win back her boyfriend, who is fixated on Jessica Alba.

So, your boyfriend decorates the apartment with pictures of a celebrity and constantly talks about her. OK, that in and of itself, I would not be on board with. I don't care that it's a celebrity - I wouldn't want my boyfriend to be that obsessed with someone else. And the "I wish you looked more like her" crap? Yeah, D.O.N.E.

She APPARENTLY did get tired of her boyfriend's obsession and broke up with him, but now, she's so devastated at the break-up that she's willing to go through extensive surgery to LOOK LIKE SOMEONE ELSE SO HER BOYFRIEND WILL LIKE HER. Seriously? How about instead of all that donated surgery, someone donate a mental evaluation to her?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

"Undercover Boss" - new reality TV show

I'd heard about a new reality television show called "Undercover Boss" that was going to be showing after the Super Bowl, and lately, I've been hearing more commercials about it. The premise interests me, so I'm going to at least give it a try.

A CEO of a company is going to be working undercover with the "regular people" to see what it's like to be in the trenches, and presumably, the company will change weekly. I think this could be really interesting, but I could see how they could just make this a one-dimensional show. I hope they delve into it a bit more, given how much delving you can in the course of one of these shows. I expect we'll see the employees who talk big but don't really perform and the ones who bad-mouth upper management and what a horrible job they do without knowing what exactly they do. I hope there will also be the ones who do their jobs and also have potential get rewarded with a promotion or something when they show they can do more, and I really hope they show those who are doing their job and are really where they should be. There might be nothing spectacular about them that they should be moved up in the ranks, but they do a darn good job at what they do, and they enjoy it. I suspect the majority of people fall under that category, but it would still be nice for the heads of companies to recognize their worth. It's not just about the bad people and the great, unrecognized people, though those are probably the ones that grab the most headlines.

The show is being billed as running right after the Super Bowl, but I suspect that's more true on the east coast. At least in the Los Angeles area, the show is scheduled to air at 10pm on Super Bowl Sunday, February 7.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

82nd Academy Awards nominations

The nominations for the 82nd Academy Awards were announced this morning, and the following are the Oscar nominees in the major categories. Here's the full list of nominees.


Best Picture
Avatar
The Blind Side
District 9
An Education
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
Precious
A Serious Man
Up
Up in the Air


Best Director
James Cameron, Avatar
Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker
Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds
Lee Daniels, Precious
Jason Reitman, Up in the Air

Best Actor
Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart
George Clooney, Up in the Air
Colin Firth, A Single Man
Morgan Freeman, Invictus
Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker

Best Actress
Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side
Helen Mirren, The Last Station
Carey Mulligan, An Education
Gabourey Sidibe, Precious
Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia

Best Supporting Actor
Matt Damon, Invictus
Woody Harrelson, The Messenger
Christopher Plummer, The Last Station
Stanley Tucci, The Lovely Bones
Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds

Best Supporting Actress
Penelope Cruz, Nine
Vera Farmiga, Up in the Air
Maggie Gyllenhaal, Crazy Heart
Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air
Mo'Nique, Precious

Best Original Screenplay
The Hurt Locker, Written by Mark Boal
Inglourious Basterds, Written by Quentin Tarantino
The Messenger, Written by Alessandro Camon & Oren Moverman
A Serious Man, Written by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
Up, Screenplay by Bob Peterson, Pete Docter, Story by Pete Docter, Bob Peterson, Tom McCarthy

Best Adapted Screenplay
District 9, Written by Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell
An Education, Screenplay by Nick Hornby
In The Loop, Screenplay by Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, Tony Roche
Precious, Screenplay by Geoffrey Fletcher
Up in the Air, Screenplay by Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner

Best Animated Feature Film
Coraline
Fantastic Mr. Fox
The Princess and the Frog
The Secret of Kells
Up


Best Original Score
James Horner, Avatar
Alexandre Desplat, Fantastic Mr. Fox
Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders, The Hurt Locker
Hans Zimmer, Sherlock Holmes
Michael Giacchino, Up

Best Original Song
"Almost There", The Princess and the Frog, Music and Lyric by Randy Newman
"Down in New Orleans", The Princess and the Frog, Music and Lyric by Randy Newman
"Loin de Paname", Paris 36, Music by Reinhardt Wagner Lyric by Frank Thomas
"Take It All", Nine, Music and Lyric by Maury Yeston
"The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart)", Crazy Heart, Music and Lyric by Ryan Bingham and T Bone

Best Art Direction
Avatar
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
Nine
Sherlock Holmes
The Young Victoria


Best Cinematography
Avatar
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
The White Ribbon


Best Costume Design
Bright Star
Coco Before Chanel
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
Nine
The Young Victoria


Best Film Editing
Avatar
District 9
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
Precious


Best Makeup
Il Divo
Star Trek
The Young Victoria


Best Visual Effects
Avatar
District 9
Star Trek





I am thrilled that "District 9" was nominated for Best Picture because it really is an amazing film, but since it has genre trappings, it's not the kind of film that would normally be considered for Best Picture. I'm also happy that it was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay. I don't think it has a shot in hell of winning either category, but in this case, I'm glad for the nominations themselves.

But the Best Picture nomination to me comes bittersweet since this is the first year when the number of nominees has been expanded back to 10. There were 10 nominees for a long time, and then that number was shortened to 5, and then the decision was made this year to change it back to 10. Maybe it's just because I'm used to there being 5 nominees, but I can't help but wonder, if they had kept the same number of nominees, which 5 would actually be the Best Picture nominees? Which 5 films now sport the "Best Picture nominee" tag solely by virtue of the expanded list? I'm pretty sure "District 9" is one of them. Does it mean the same to know that if these nominations had been done last year, your film wouldn't have gotten a Best Picture nomination, but this year, it did? I expect being nominated for Best Picture is a pretty nifty thing in and of itself, but I can't help but think about the circumstances as well.

The nominees for Best Director are identical to the nominees for the DGA Awards, so there is a good chance that Kathryn Bigelow will win the Oscar over James Cameron. At this point, it would be an upset if she didn't win.

I'm a little surprised but pleased that both Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon were nominated for their roles in "Invictus". They both did a terrific job.

I'd been kind of interested in seeing "The Blind Side" because the real-life story sounded good, and the only thing really holding me back was Sandra Bullock, who I've come to not like as much as I used to. With the nominations, I might try to catch the film anyway.

"Avatar" and "The Hurt Locker" lead the nominations with 9 each. I'm interested in seeing "Avatar" again, but I have no interest in "The Hurt Locker". I don't do Tarantino, and Clooney doesn't really interest me, so those two films are out as well.

I'd not heard of "An Education", but the premise sounds interesting and appeals to the Anglophile in me, and the inclusion of Olivia Williams in the film just makes me that much more interested.

"Precious" isn't something that was on my radar other than that it had gotten confused at one point with "Push" because the original book that inspired the movie is called "Push", but when the film was making the film festival rounds, it was getting a lot of good buzz. It might be something I'll try to catch, but I haven't really decided yet.

Speaking of confusing, while I was listening to the nominations, I didn't realize that there was a film called "A Serious Man" but I did know about "A Single Man". I'm not interested in the former, but I do want to see the latter, especially because I'd heard for some time that Colin Firth is amazing in the film.

"Crazy Heart" wasn't something I was particularly interested in seeing, but I've been hearing a lot of good things about that as well. I do like Jeff Bridges, and I'm told that Colin Farrell does a good job with a song that he sings, so I'll probably go see the film.

"The Last Station" is not something I've heard of, and while the cast of Christopher Plummer, Helen Mirren and Paul Giamatti is tempting, I'm not sure the subject matter is something I'm really interested in, so I may end up passing.

I'm happy that Meryl Streep was nominated for playing Julia Child because she did do a wonderful job, but I also thought she was terrific in "It's Complicated", and I would have been happy with if she'd been nominated for that instead.

I'm thrilled that "Coraline" was nominated for Best Animated Film since I really loved it. It's interesting that "Up" was nominated for Best Animated Film as well as Best Picture, especially since the push in the ads was only for Best Picture. It's the first animated film to be nominated for Best Picture since "Beauty and the Beast" (which was the first animated film to be so honored), but I suspect that's also a function of the expanded number of Best Picture nominees. I know, everyone else loved the film whereas I had my issues with it. And I'm sorry, but I don't consider its Best Picture nomination on the same caliber as "Beauty and the Beast". "Beauty and the Beast" received the Best Picture nomination in a field of only 5. Only some in the Academy would know if "Up" would have made the cut if there were only 5 nominees. And I love "Beauty and the Beast" so much, so yeah, for me, that's the only animated film that's received a true Best Picture nomination.


The winners will be announced on Sunday, March 7, 2010.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Razzie nominations for 2009

The Golden Raspberry Award nominations - better known as the Razzies - were released, and topping the list this year with 7 nominations each were "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" and "Land of the Lost".

Some of the nominations are listed below. The full list is on the link above.


Worst Picture
All About Steve
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra
Land of the Lost
Old Dogs
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen


While I didn't care all that much for "Transformers 2" and I had my issues with "G.I. Joe", I didn't dislike either enough to have put them on the list of worst movies of the year.


Worst Actor - I didn't see any of those films.


Worst Actress - I saw both of Megan Fox's films, and while I agree that her performance in "Transformers 2" was awful, I thought she was fine in "Jennifer's Body", but then, I thought it was a pretty decent film for what it was. I mean, yeah, she wasn't playing Mother Theresa, but she made for a good possessed high-schooler. I'm kind of giggling at the nomination for Sarah Jessica Parker though - the trailers for that film looked awful.


Worst Supporting Actor - I think the nomination for Marlon Wayans in "G.I. Joe" is way off-base. I'm not a fan of his, but he was actually pretty good in the film.


Worst Supporting Actress - Didn't see most of the films. I didn't think Sienna Miller was *awful* in "G.I. Joe".


The nominations this year aren't speaking to me as much as last year, probably because I didn't see most of the films that were nominated. I do think that the "worst of the decade" nominations for film, actor and actress are pretty funny though.

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