King Kong (2005) (**)

Posted on January 2nd, 2006 in Movie Reviews by EngineerBoy

I’ve heard and read nothing but good things about Peter Jackson’s King Kong. This weekend I got a chance to go see it with my friend Bruce. Long story short, there is no way that Mynagirl would ever go see a movie filled with so much animal cruelty, but she and her mom are deep into a home renovation project (from which I am excluded by everyone’s mutual consent), which left me at loose ends on Saturday, which is rare.

So on Saturday we saw the film, in a fairly full movie theater, and I must say that I do not get the hype. I will say this, the film managed not to be boring over its three hour length, but “not boring” does not an epic make.

On the positive side, the effects are pretty eye-popping and realistic for the most part. Kong’s face is very realistic, as is his fur, gait, musculature, and hands. I’d quibble with the fact that during his titanic clash with three T-Rex’s, Kong throws boxing jabs like Joe Frazier, drop-kicks like Jackie Chan, and does rolling, over-the-shoulder throws like Rowdy Roddy Piper. Not very…ape-like, I must say. But very well-rendered from digital effects perspective.

With regards to the story-telling, I think I can sum it up with one anecdote. An hour into the film Bruce leaned over and asked, “Isn’t there supposed to be a giant monkey in this movie?” The first hour sets up the tale by showing an idealized but still Depression-era New York, with fanatical movie producers, struggling engenues, salty tramp steamer captains, and earnest playwrites. The second hour begins with the tramp steamer voyage, complete with gruff but trustworthy crew members, secret maps to undiscovered islands, and a semi-kidnapped earnest screenwriter.

During the second hour we finally make it to Skull Island, replete with fog-shrouded rocky coastlines and the ship temporarily beached on the rocks, forcing them to stay just long enough for the plot to continue developing.

The first journey ashore is quite frightening, and the lady beside me with her two kids should be ashamed of herself. Her daughter appears to be 6 or 7, and her son appeared to be about 5. During a very scary encounter with the local natives, and I mean *very* scary, her son leaned over and said “Mommy, I’m scared…” and tried to crawl into her lap. She fended him off back into his seat, saying, “Look, your sister isn’t scared…stay in your seat…”. I almost couldn’t pay attention the rest of the film knowing that this poor kid was sitting there having to huddle alone with his fear next to his seemingly uncaring mother. And, ma’am, if you read this, next time believe it when the film is rated PG-13.

About halfway through the film we finally get a brief glimpse of Kong as he takes Ann Darrow off into the jungle. The next 45 minutes consist of the men

Golden Globes 2006: Mynagirl’s Fashion Report

Posted on January 1st, 2006 in Fashion by mynagirl

Click here for the CURRENT YEAR’S Golden Globes Report

Wow… it looked like every guy there was going to be a groomsman in the same wedding. Nothing was a huge standout, and all the tuxes were very conservative! (I actually approve of this). The women didn’t necessarily stand out, either, although there were a few flashes of elegance. Black predominated, along with plunging necklines. I guess folks are holding out the big guns for the Oscars!! None of the jewel-tones from last year really appeared (although there was a Desperate Housewife in coral):

Marcia Cross

You’ve Heard of Washboard Abs? I’ve Got a Washboard Chest!

The trend I really loved was no bronzing!! Thank goodness nobody there felt as though they had to look as though they’d flown in from St. Bart’s. There were some absolutely gorgeous ladies with wonderfully porcelain skin. Hallelujah.

Loved:

For once Johnny Depp looked almost… handsome and dapper in a nice red shirt and pocket square with a nice suit.Johnny DeppI’m Gonzo for Scruffy Puffs
Teri Hatcher’s golden mermaid (Atelier Versace)Teri HatcherHurry. I Haven’t Breathed in an Hour.
Jesse L. Martin looked quite handsome and classy in a shawl-collar and long-tie tux.Jessy L. MartinI Look Gorgeous, Sensuous, Unpretentious… Outrageous!
Although I like the long gowns better, Anne Hathaway really did look lovely in her over-the-shoulder sparkly Marc Jacobs. So adorable, and I loved the unfussy close-cropped braid.Anne HathawayIf I Win, Maybe I Could Afford the Other Shoulder!
At first I didn’t like Sandra Oh’s Collette Jennigan gown, but it really was very flattering on her and she’s just so darn cute.
Sandra OhSandra OhForget Grey’s Anatomy… Here’s Mine!
I think on anyone else I might’ve hated Ziyi Zhang’s lime green Giorgio Armani Privé. But she looked fabulous in it, truly a frothy confection to behold.
Ziyi ZhangI Think I’m Turning Japanese, I Think I’m Turning Japanese, I Really Think So
Leonardo DiCaprio’s deep blue just-a-bit-shiny tux.Leonardo DiCaprioIf I Only Had a Beard…
At first I didn’t think I liked Geena Davis’ bejeweled bosom red gown, but given that she was nominated for playing the president, it was actually just the right note – patriotic and elegantly feminine at once.Geena DavisVeto This, Baby!
Keira Knightly was saintly in her white Valentino. Everyone there should hope to look so classic, so put-together, so utterly unfussy despite an embellished dress.
Keira KnightleyMmm, Yes, Fascinating Darling. Is That the Buffet?
Maria Bello, another lady in white, also looked stunning in Elie Saab.
Maria BelloOkay, Now I Just Have To Remember Not to Lean Forward…
And I never would’ve thought I would’ve liked a velvet tux, but Clint Eastwood would look good in just about anything.Clint EastwoodYeah, That’s Right. Fuzzy Harry.
Producer Cathy Konrad’s gorgeously simply black satin halter sheath. One of the few low-cut

A Million Little Pieces…of Crap

Posted on January 1st, 2006 in Books,Commentary by EngineerBoy

So one of my favorite web sites, The Smoking Gun, has dug into the story behind the supposed memoir by James Frey called “A Million Little Pieces”. According to their findings, many (if not most) of the key events depicted in his book either never happened or are wildly modified and exaggerated. Now, most memoirs contain certain dramatic license, usually of this type:

Retorting to cads in a pithier manner than real life
Embellishing the details of what went on behind closed doors
Endlessly deep wells of altruism
Rose-colored memories of one’s bucolic childhood and/or gut-wrenching remembrances of childhood abuse
Crazy exes
Rehab as a virtue and not the pathetic bottom rung of an egocentric, self-inflicted downward spiral
Invention of the ThighMaster
Etc

We, the reading public, expect a little fudging of the facts for better reading, because the truth is that we are all mostly mundane and the absolute, literal truth of the events of just about anyone’s life would make for dull reading.

However, Mr. Frey has gone beyond the expected bounds of dramatic license for non-fiction works. It appears that the truth of the matter is that he spent his life as a spoiled, coked-out frat boy, nothing more, nothing less, and then finally stopped snorting blow long enough to write a fiction book that contains some small aspects of his actual life surrounded by very huge imaginings and tall tales.

For example, he derides rehab as useless and encourages people to kick drugs by using the slogan “just hang on”. Perfect. That’s like telling a depressed person to “just cheer up”. If he was in fact addicted to drugs, and he managed to quit them on his own without treatment, that might be noteworthy. However, the fact that it worked for him does NOT make going cold-turkey with no support the most effective way for true addicts. I would not be surprised to find out that although Mr. Frey may have been an abuser of drugs, that he was not a true addict and so his blatherings about coping with drugs should be discarded, if for no other reason than they are based on a sample size of one (very impeachable source) and have not been proven to be repeatable.

In another case of melodramatic license, Mr. Frey twists the details of a tragedy from his high school days into a “Rebel Without a Cause” moment in his life. The facts are that two 17 year old girls were riding with some other guy in a car, and the guy raced a train to the crossing and lost. He was broadsided on the passenger side and both girls died. The driver survived, was prosecuted for his crimes and served time for the accident, due to his blood alcohol level. The main players in the story, interviewed by The Smoking Gun, have a vague recollection of who James Frey is, but also have a clear recollection that he was in no way involved in the incident.