Archive for December, 2002

Michelle Selects The Best and Worst of The Year!!!!!!

December 31, 2002

Well of course I can’t let Sean’s best/worst list of the year stand as EM’s official best of list, so I had to put one together myself. Overall I would say this has been one of the – best years for films in several years. Sure there really weren’t any genre busting films, but it wasn’t a year that was filled with complete garbage either (like last year.) Hollywood played it safe and put out more bland, mediocre, formulaic product than ever before. But they scored more often than missed, and when they missed, it wasn’t a “”major”” miss.

This year I could only find two films that I just truly despised with every ounce of my being and that’s “”Rules of Attraction,”” and “”Full Frontal,”” other films on my worst list, I didn’t like them for various reasons, but they weren’t things that I HATED. Now granted, if a film looks like garbage, I’m not going to waste my time seeing it, hey, just like regular movie goers, I have to pay a fortune to attend a screening (parking ain’t cheap!) and will pick and choose the things that I want to review, therefore, I haven’t seen crap like “”The Sweetest Thing,”” “”Serving Sara,”” “”A Walk To Remember,”” “”Jackass,”” anything with Tom Green in it, etc… This also marks the first time in several years where I’ve actually tried to see almost everything. There were 355 films released this year, and I’ve seen about 150 – 200 of them. The interesting thing is, this year I couldn’t think of any independent or “”small”” film that stood out in my mind as being worthy of being on my best of list. While I liked “”Adaptation,”” I had several issues with that film and I didn’t get a chance to catch “”Frida,”” “”The Pianist,”” (I hope to catch this in a few weeks) “”Yu Tama Mumba,”” “”About Schmidt”” (which looks like a bore) or “”The Hours.”” And I never slept better than I did during “”The Quiet American.””I didn’t have to struggle to come up with a best of list this year. The common theme with all the films on my year’s best list is that these are all movies that, if left up to my own devices I probably would never have bothered to watch if I didn’t have to review them. As I have said on numerous occasions we all have our biases when we go see a movie, and great films will grab us by the shoulders and make you like them. And almost every film on this list I had reservations about or knew nothing about before I saw them. So without further adieu here are my favorite films of the year. 1) About A BoyI’m coming out of the closet and going on record as saying I LOVE Hugh Grant movies. His last 3 films were fantastic, and I must say “”About A Boy”” came out of nowhere and just wowed me. When I saw this film, it was on a night where I was just having a really crap day and this film just made everything seem somehow better. Sure it’s like all of his other films, but it never seemed to fall into the Romantic Comedy trap where you know how it’s going to end, it actually keeps you guessing through most of the film. I loved the performance by that goofy looking kid, and everyone else was uniformly excellent. I recently saw this again on the plane and it actually holds up. It was also kind of cool that the Weitz Brothers were at our screening.2) Standing in The Shadows of MotownPaul Justman’s rousing and crowd pleasing documentary about Motown’s Legendary House Band, “”The Funk Brothers,”” is not only one of the best documentaries I’ve seen in a long time, but it’s also one of the best FILMS of the year. It’s one of those rare documentaries that is uplifting, inspiring, and not preachy. I never knew that these guys were the driving force behind the Motown sound, and I bet 99 percent of the music going public doesn’t know either. Not only was this one of the best films of the year, but it was also one of the best times I’ve had at a screening all year. The audience was really into this film and you couldn’t help but get swept up in the moment. If there is ANY justice in this world, this film SHOULD not only get nominated for an Academy Award for best documentary but it should definitely WIN it as well. But we all know that neither will happen because the folks who vote for best Documentaries all have sticks up their asses and are bitter old codgers.3) Four FeathersThe story, set in 1898, follows a British officer (Ledger) who resigns his post when he learns of his regiment’s plans to ship out to the Sudan for the conflict with the Mahdi. His friends and fianc


Sean reviews 25th Hour

December 31, 2002

Director Spike Lee throws a going away party in his latest joint,


December 31, 2002

During the 70s and early 80s, few actors lost themselves as wholly in their roles as did Robert De Niro and Al Pacino. It

Sean’s Best (and Worst) Films of 2002

December 31, 2002

Ladies and gentlemen, I present my selections for the finest in film released this past year:

The Ten Best:1. Gangs of New York Martin Scorsese

“”Adaptation”” – The Split-Personality DVD

December 30, 2002

How best to describe the complex


December 30, 2002

“DrumLine” tells the story of a Harlem youth who
unexpectedly finds himself at a Georgia college
because of a music scholarship. The pace is
lively; the actors are good; the marching bands
and drum competitions sequences are terrific.
The not-so-great aspects are the absent father
moments and why every female at the schools is
{ NOTE : I talked with Michelle before the
screening and it’s good to have her back after
taking care of a family emergency. }

Interlude 2 – The Revenge Chapters 16 – 17

December 28, 2002

Chapter 16

“Monsieur le Baron?� Henry asked as he turned to Auguste de Barbarac. “How do you fare? You have not moved or have spoken to me for a while now. Have you fallen asleep?�

He was frightened for his father in law and for the first time in his life, there was nothing he could do about it. Not with his hands tied in triple knots behind his back. He prayed that one of the spies reached the castle safely and that help would be on the way and soon. Even Francois would be of great help.

There was no answer from Auguste’s end. Henry looked up. Rene and Paul had been outside now for, well, he didn’t know how long. He looked back at Auguste, there was still no movement in his hands or legs. He was sitting with his back against the wall, his head hunched over his body as if he were asleep. He was suddenly frightened for Danielle. What would Rene do to her if she ever showed up here? And if she did, Henry had hoped that his father would have sent out the Guards to accompany her. The last thing in the world that he wanted was for Danielle to be harmed in any way, especially by her former fiancé.

How long have they been out in that hallway? Henry wondered until he heard the grandfather clock strike the half-hour. Eight thirty, he thought to himself, it is probably dark outside by now. If someone were to come, then it would be in the early morning hours of the next day. Perhaps he should nap for a while, maybe make him feel better.

“Papa?� he called out one last time. Henry waited for a while, but there was no answer at all. Finally, he decided that the best thing to do was take that nap. He put his head into his lap and closed his eyes.

“Henry, my son, you must help me. Henry, please…�

Chapter 17

Auguste couldn’t catch his breath. Henry watched as he doubled over in pain, then collapsed on the floor altogether.

“Auguste!� Henry screamed, as his eyes flew open. He was sweating and his back hurt from sitting against the wall, his head lowered in his lap.

He had no idea what time it was as he surveyed the room. He listened for the chimes from the grandfather clock out in the hallway, but heard nothing. It must have stopped ticking hours ago, he decided.

There was no one in the room, no one keeping an eye on him or his father in law. Henry cast a quick glance at Auguste and found him asleep, snoring lightly, but not enough to attract attention.

Henry smiled slightly and turned his attention to the ropes behind his back. Before he fell asleep, he had succeeded in loosening his bonds on his right hand ever so slightly. All he needed to get through was one more knot as he’d have one hand free. He was struggling with it when he felt cold steel against his neck.

“Trying to loosen our bonds, are we?� the voice said, “Well then, this will have to be remedied.�

The ropes were cut from either hand, which made Henry turn around, but felt the cold steel again.

“Do not turn around, Your Highness,� the voice said, as it moved to Auguste. “Keep your eyes turned towards the front.�

“Who are you?� Henry answered, not turning around. “I do not recognize your voice.�
“All truth shall be revealed in due course, milord, for now we must go, while the going is good.�

Henry stood up; the cold steel still pressed into his back. “Come, gather up the old man and fly, before someone should come in and discover the room empty.�

Two hands grabbed Auguste and helped him to his feet. The four companions headed for the exit and made it outside and in their haste, left the front door wide open.

“And where do you think the four of you are off too?�

The two Royal Guardsmen turned around.

Brad Pitt Ads Insult Malaysia

December 28, 2002

Malaysia Calls Brad Pitt Ads Insulting

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) – Brad Pitt is sought after for magazine covers and posters worldwide, but the Malaysian government believes the Hollywood star’s appearance in a recent series of car advertisements in this region was “an insult to Asians.”

Deputy Information Minister Zainuddin Maidin said Monday that ads featuring models and personalities who don’t look Asian would “plant a sense of inferiority among Asians,” the national news agency Bernama reported.

“Why must we use their faces in our advertisements?” Zainuddin was quoted as saying. “Aren’t our own people handsome enough?”

Zainuddin said the government recently pulled the plug on advertisements for Toyota Altis cars featuring Pitt. The campaign ran for at least several weeks in mid-2002 in newspapers and on television in Malaysia and many other Asian countries.

“We canceled the ads because they were considered an insult to Asians,” he said.

2002-12-16 19:03:45 GMT

Celebrity Photographer Herb Ritts Dies

December 27, 2002

LOS ANGELES, California (AP) — Photographer Herb Ritts, whose access to celebrities, even at their most fragile moments, gave him an edge in a competitive field, died Thursday of complications of pneumonia, his publicist said. He was 50.

Ritts — whose stylish, mostly black-and-white portraits helped define the image-conscious 1980s and ’90s — died at the University of California, Los Angeles, Medical Center, publicist Stephen Huvane said.

Ritts gained entree to celebrities’ lives even at unglamorous moments. He photographed Christopher Reeve, wired up and immobile in a high-tech wheelchair. In another photograph, Elizabeth Taylor sported a crew cut and the scar resulting from her brain surgery.

“He could get people to do things that they were reluctant to do, because in the end it would make a great photograph,” said David Fahey, Ritts’ gallery representative.

Edward Norton, one of Ritts’ subjects, once told the Los Angeles Times: “I feel like Herb really does see everything as beautiful. … It’s almost as if he can’t help but see it in its idealized form.”

Ritts was born in Los Angeles in 1952, and the family furniture business provided a comfortable life for him and three siblings. He moved to the East Coast to attend New York’s Bard College, studying economics and art history.

After graduation he returned to California and took a job as a salesman in the family business.

Taking pictures started as a hobby for Ritts, and chance and connections propelled him into the world of celebrity photography in the ’70s. He got to know Richard Gere through someone who was dating the actor at the time.

A drive in the desert led to a flat tire and an impromptu photo session in a service station. The result was a photo of a steamy Gere in a white vest, his arms over his head and a cigarette dangling from his mouth.

“I can’t remember whether I told Richard to put his arms over his head or whether I just clicked when he stretched. And he really smoked a lot. He was like that, a handsome kid and very sexy,” Ritts said in an interview for a catalog that accompanied a show at Paris’ Fondation Cartier in 2000.

At the time, Gere was an unknown. A year later he was a star, and Ritts’ photos were being used as publicity shots.

Ritts shot celebrities from Madonna to Michelle Pfeiffer to Dizzy Gillespie for top fashion and culture magazines — Interview, Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, Elle. When Taylor married construction worker Larry Fortensky in 1991, Ritts had exclusive rights to photograph her eighth trip down the aisle.

He showed Madonna grabbing her crotch, Cindy Crawford dressed as a man, Annette Bening pregnant and lounging on a couch.
Ritts believed his pictures would endure, even as his subjects faded from public awareness.

“Fifty or 60 years from now, if someone sees a portrait of Madonna, they really won’t care that it was Madonna or they won’t know” who she was, he told the Los Angeles Times. “But it’ll hold up as a portrait of an interesting woman you want to know. You feel her. There’s something coming from it.”

His subjects ranged far beyond pop culture — Ronald Reagan, Stephen Hawking and the Dalai Lama all went before his lens.

Ritts published at least eight books of photographs and did work for top fashion designers including Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Chanel, Revlon and Giorgio Armani. He took pictures for album covers and directed music videos.

In 1991 two of his videos won MTV Awards: best female video, with Janet Jackson, and best male video, with Chris Isaak.

His work was displayed at studios and museums, including a major retrospective at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in 1996-’97. The show attracted more than 253,000 people, including some critics who dismissed Ritts’ work as pop art.

Ritts also helped raise charity funds, often for AIDS groups.

He is survived by his mother, Shirley Ritts; a brother, Rory; a sister, Christy; and his partner, Erik Hyman.

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Must see movies…

December 25, 2002

I was thinking about renting some movies this weekend, what good movies that came out in the past 10-15 years do you strongly recommend?

(We had this discussion a while back Ronin)