Saturday, February 5, 2011

Notes on The Town

Holy shit that was good. How good? I put my phone down for like an HOUR! That's like having an ADD-addled 9-year old sit still for like 6 hours.

I'm in love with the camera work by cinematographer Roger Elswit (he won an Oscar for There Will Be Blood, which I still haven't seen) and the interior work here had many of the same eerie qualities of Michael Clayton which he also shot. Ben Affleck's direction was taught and the visuals of the movie really are a love letter to Boston (a violent, violent love letter, but still...).

The movie's only Oscar nomination is for Jeremy Renner (Supporting Actor), and he's fantastic in it. I feel like he's behind Bale and Rush in odds to win, but his picking up a second nomination in 2 years is the real win for him. And he's perfect to play Hawkeye in the Avengers movies. And he's hot. So, you know, win/win/win I guess (call me).

Had I seen the movie in the theater back in Autumn, I would have enthused about the cinematography and editing, and given them at least dark horse chances at nominations, and given the script a stronger shot at a nomination for Adapted Screenplay.

The cast is solid, including one of Pete Postlethwaite's last roles, and another great turn by Chris Cooper. Affleck himself oozes charisma, and while he's a little too pretty to be white trash Irish mobster (seriously, some fake "bad teeth" would really help), he does rock those tattoos. So does Renner (I should check for a DVD extra on the application of the tattoos and perhaps and oiling up/pose off... wait, where was I).

I continue to be unimpressed with Jon Hamm. No, under-impressed, I guess. He's perfectly adequate, but I can't help but think "there's Jon Hamm again" when I see and hear him. Maybe he does better on Mad Men, but I'm not interested in another show (that's such a lie, I am just not too interested in coming late to that party--J-rod's pushing me on Friday Night Lights, so we'll see how that goes). I don't ever want to hear that Jon Hamm wants out of Mad Men so he can concentrate on movies... David Caruso will back me up on this.

Rebecca Hall is quite good, but Affleck really pushed it on my 10-year rule. Technically she's eligible to play his love interest, so no complaint there. Blake Lively, on the other hand, is 15 years younger than Affleck. Since she's not a current love interest, possibly someone he considers a mistake from his past, I'll also let this one slide. But Affleck, you watch yourself, you sexy, charismatic director you. And call me!

"Around the world the trip begins with a kiss"

Nile's been recording (as in writing about, not musically--that might seem "duh" but dude is super musician, so maybe he will also record it musically) his fight with cancer at Walking on Planet C (here). His music is iconic and enduring, and I'm validating my earlier assertion that songwriters really do make great writers of prose. It's encouraged me to order Rosanne Cash's Composed (in hard cover even)--I can read it on my trip to Florida next month, and leave it with my mom (which maybe will inspire me to finish the book Jared loaned me, um, last year some time).

In my on-going, if sporadic, well wishes to Nile, here's a little song he produced back in 1988. Get better soon, dude!

I'm not gloating... well maybe a little

I mentioned to Sonya that it was 61 degrees here in lovely drizzly Portland today.

Her reply:
The remote wilderness of Littleton, Colorado Feb 5, 2011
Those are not elk frolicking. Elk are smart enough to hibernate (I'm guessing, actually I have no idea what elk do in the winter, and The Town just kicked in, so laters).

You people probably already know this

Mediocre leftovers, meet extra cheese. Extra cheesy casserole leftovers, meet mouth.

CorningWare single-serving thingies
Oh, and that little single-serving dish is aweSUM--it even has its own cover making it perfect for leftovers like this. If you find yourself shopping for things that make leftovers more manageable. Details here.

"I'm really not souped"

You wanna know something funny? Birthday boy Bobby Brown has his own Vevo channel. Like he's going to be releasing new music and people will want to go there to watch videos.

I know!

Anyway, here's Mr. Crazy, with one of his, what, 2 hits? King of R&B... yeah, nobody knew Whitney was on crack. Shit.

Song of the Day: "Someone Like You"

New(ish) Adele.

Song: "Someone Like You"
Artist: Adele

Friday, February 4, 2011

Ongoing struggles with my first name

I am not Diane. And I am not Thinh.

I am also not Midge, but at least that name I understand.

Seriously, no one has ever confused me with being "thin" before. Bwahahaha... sigh.

"... like he was dignified"

It's Natalie Imbruglia's birthday. If you're gonna be a one-hit wonder, make it a great song.

Song of the Day: "The Thrill is Gone"

I ran across this on some other list-making idiot's recap of 2010, and I like it. It's Fantasia Barino, the winner of American Idol the season I made a modest attempt at watching. I may have seen 4 or as many as 5 episodes. That was plenty, really.

Anyway, this is about 5 months old, but well within my normal consideration window. I can do without Cee-Lo rapping around 2:38, but maybe that's what keeps this at like not love.

Song of the Day: "The Thrill is Gone"
Artist: Fantasia/Cee-Lo Green

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Wait... is it a food or a party?

Stirring the Pot's "Slow-Cooker Bacon Jam"
J-rod sent me to a recipe which in turn sent me to a different recipe. Before we address the possible insane deliciousness of bacon and possible jams, chutneys, compotes and other bacon-infused derivatives, can I please just get a confirmation that I'm not that only person who, when reading "bacon jam," thinks of, like, a V-103 concert?
The V-103 Slow Cooker Bacon Jam with Anita Baker, K-Ci & Jojo, Karyn White and Al B. Sure!
It's actually a recipe. And the one J-rod initially sent me has bourbon (you know, for your sinuses). The traditional slow-cooker bacon jam recipe is here (please play some new jack swing music while you're cooking... or at least some quiet storm music).

The upgraded recipe for bacon-bourbon jam is here. I feel like something more twangy is in order. Here's Roy Clark with the Muppets to get your started.

Song of the Day: "Pumped Up Kicks"

LA band Foster the People... I've heard it like 6 times this week, and I'm digging it, even if I think it's Gorillaz the first minute or so of the song.

From the comments on youtube: "this song changes lives bro"

To which I can only add "word" (I guess, right?)...

Song: "Pumped Up Kicks"
Artist: Foster the People

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

I can totally see my shadow

6 more weeks of bitter
Fuck the ground hog.

Dawn patrol

Jared knows that when I'm in the office before him, things aren't good... still, pretty picture (click to embiggen, I think).
Portland dawn February 2, 2011

Happy Birthday Shakira and Elaine Stritch

Picture it, Sicily 1932 Portland 1997, Chris Wilson is working in a record store and sends me a care package of those promotional CDs where he has multiple copies. Among the array is the debut of a young woman named Elaine Stritch Shakira. When Shakira burst on the scene in the US 2 years later, she would be hailed as the Latin Madonna (the singer, not the virgin mother), but back in 1997 she was gonna be the Latin Alanis, and check out one of my favoriate songs from 1997 if you don't believe me... ALANIS HAIR! (Note: requesting this song specifically really impresses the DJ at Latin Night at the Lesbian bar.)

"I'd like to propose a toast!"

Elaine Stritch is a fucking force of nature, and, AND a funny funny laugh line in the 90s play Party. Party is notable because by the end, every member of the all-male cast is naked. Other things may happen, but I've only seen it 3 times (once in Toronto, once in Portland and once in San Francisco), so I can't really be expected to remember details. "Ladies Who Lunch" from Company is a favorite of mine (see the recording of it here, it's fascinating) but I've never actually seen the musical. I do have the cast album (via iTunes)... I like this song.

Shakira has 2 Grammys (and I'm sure a few Latin Grammys). Elaine Stritch has 3 Emmys, including 1 as Alec Baldwin's mom on 30 Rock. "I'll drink to that."

Happy birthday dudes! Rock on!

Song of the Day: "T.O.R.N.A.D.O."

Describing the music of The Go! Team is difficult, but here's my best shot: it's like a 1970s breakfast cereal commercial came to life and joined an indie band in Brooklyn.

Why Brooklyn? Because, man, that's where the real people are.

You may leave your interpretation in comments.

Artist: The Go! Team

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

It's a lovely day

(h/t Leland)
Portland OR February 1, 2011
It's cold here, but I will take that if it comes with dry weather. Our drizzle keeps us in the high 30s at night/upper 40s during the day; but when there's no cloud cover to keep in the warm, it gets chilly, as it did today. But dry. Dry dry dry.

Suck it rest of the country. Currently it's 42 here with no precipitation (or participation, which is what I initially typed). Eric is flying to Denver where Sonya reports -11.

Yes, technically my parents can gloat about their high 60s weather, but I'd take Siberia over living in Florida again (assuming I had high speed internet in Siberia).

This makes John McCain Boris Badenov

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Happy Birthday Lauren Conrad

Who the fuck is Lauren Conrad?

Song of the Day: "No One's Gonna Love You"

It's a weird confluence that last year's #3 single dude, Cee-Lo Green, covers last year's #6 single band Band of Horses, from their 2008 album. I listened to the Cee-Lo album during my commute home yesterday, including a nice mile or so walk in the cold night air (in lieu of a Monday swim) and remembered I needed to post more Cee-Lo. This song suffers a little from the arrangement, but when people I love cover other people I love, unexpectedly, I can overlook that shit (original here).

I have no explanation as to why this video looks like a Levi's ad.

Song: "No One's Gonna Love You"
Artist: Cee-Lo Green

Monday, January 31, 2011

"Before you know it you'll be on your knees"

If J-rod isn't gonna guest post for Phil Collins, I should at least squeeze this brilliant duet with Philip Bailey in before I forget.

This is what happens when you skip the fact checking process

(h/t Towleroad)
I believe I would like to appeal the B I got in my high school freshman geography class.

Or to apply for a job with FOX News... "hey, we said we reported, we didn't say it was in any way truthful... that's up for you to decide."

Song of the Day: "Living is so Easy"

British Sea Power came to my attention back in 2008 with "Waving Flags." It had some of the best quality of old Catherine Wheel songs and I rather liked that year's Do You Like Rock Music?

This month's Valhalla Dancehall is album #4 (if you don't count soundtracks, and I don't know what soundtrack they did, but there's Wikipedia for you), and while this doesn't have the oomph of "Waving Flags" it does demonstrate the softer, gloomier, side of BSP. With this you have a suitable shoe-gaze dosage for the week.

Song: "Living is so Easy"
Artist: British Sea Power

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Abiding as the dude would

Young Nicholas from work gifted me with homemade coffee liqueur for Christmas, and it was just sitting there. Then I remembered I like vodka. So naturally, White Russians... duh.

Which is why I will be drunk when the Screen Actors Guild Awards are on at 5:00 p.m. PST (TNT, duh). Keep that in mind if you are calling to bitch about that bitch from True Grit winning (if she wins). Also, they never once made grits... fail! (Yes, I am already drinking, why do you ask?)

Posted without commentary

"You have no right to speak to me so kind"

It's Phil Collins's birthday, and if J-rod wants to write him a birthday blog post, I will happily post it later today. Otherwise I will say this about Phil: he lost an Oscar he deserved to win, he won an Oscar he didn't deserve to win, and I don't hate him.

We recently had an animated email discussion "are Sting and Phil Collins the same person" at work (as one does on Fridays) which led to some fractious discussion (the world of pie charts is intense, and its employees are always amped up to 11, or at least seated on the 11th floor, so when it's time to articulate points of view, "flame on!"). While we are still awaiting official DNA test results, I'm pretty sure the answer is no. Sting's hair was always cool and Phil Collins... well. Phil Collins has an Oscar, and Grammys for Album of the Year and Record of the Year. I'm sure "Every Breath You Take" and "Against All Odds" get played exactly the same amount, more or less (I have a dental cleaning and x-rays planned in March and will report back which I hear).

This song was nominated for an Oscar, but Phil didn't write it, so he wasn't. The female vocalist sounds a lot like Crystal Gayle to me, but isn't. Her name is Marilyn Martin (not a porn star, although that name may have been used by one at some point) and she is now a Realtor(tm) in Nashville... or so Wikipedia would lead me to believe (I suppose if I didn't want my parents to know I was a porn star I might fake a career in another city, too--not that there's much of a risk of that happening, but only because I know how little most porn actors earn per scene).

Anyway, since Phil didn't write this song (which I genuinely like, by the way), I can openly mock these lyrics, some of my favorite bad lyrics of the 80s (and also the entire song has nothing to do with the movie White Nights, in which it was used and for which it received an Oscar nomination... just saying):
Ooh, it's so difficult
Love leads to isolation
So you build that wall
You build that wall
Yes you build that wall
Oh yes, you build that wall
And you make it stronger

Happy birthday dude! Rock... um... pop on!

Song of the Day: "Who's That Chick"

At some point I feel like I need to give some "artist" credit to the particular type of auto-tune software that is used to enhance the singing vocal work of a singer recording artist. I think Rihanna can sing on her own, but you wouldn't know it from this song.

Then why the fuck are you selecting it?

Thanks for asking Super Ego, shut up, that's why! No, actually, David Guetta earned himself some respect for 2009's single of the year, "When Love Takes Over." This isn't that.

Nope, not that at all.

Song: "Who's That Chick"
Artist: David Guetta/Rihanna/auto-tune software

Notes on Animal Kingdom

Jacki Weaver was deservedly nominated for Supporting Actress, but the entire movie is dark and gripping. It's a taut crime drama and everyone in the cast is great.

I am really impressed with the cinematography by Adam Arkapaw--it's filled with nicely framed, intimate shots, and a few subtle tracking shots really upped the intensity of the movie. The editing is restrained, letting everything build, and the music plays out in extended simplified tones (reminding me of this).

It's not a feel good movie, but damn it's good.