Monday, December 31, 2007

The Movies, Books, Theater, Concerts, CDs I Saw In 2007

Okay, since my website is down till I can manage to build a new one that's compatible w Mac, I've had nowhere to list the movies, books, theater and live music I've seen so far this year. Here it is, every movie on TV, in the theater, at screenings, on DVD; every book; every theater and live performance in 2007. I don't include CDs because I don't think it's fair to listen to something I listened to once and dismissed and I'm always re-listening to them. The CD list comes once a year and includes only the best. Here we go:


(all stars out of 4)

Maisie ** (1939)
It’s A Wonderful World * ½ (1939)
Naughty But Nice * (1939)
Hobson’s Choice *** ½
Tanks A Million *
Hay Foot *
Fall In *
Here Comes Trouble * (last four all 1939)
Last King Of Scotland ** ½
Letters From Iwo Jima ***
Children Of Men ** ½
Charlie’s Big-Hearted Aunt ½ * (1939)
The Gay Falcon ***
The Hidden Blade ** ½ (current Japanese film)
The Good Shepherd ***
B13 ***
The Wire Season Four ************ (highest score)
Evil ** (current foreign film)
Idiocracy *
Duck Season *** (current foreign film)
Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story ***
V For Vendetta **
Penelope *
Ace In The Hole (classic) ****
Hannibal Rising zero stars
Nancy Drew, Reporter, * ½ (1939)
Infamous * ½
Little Miss Sunshine ***
Bombshell (1933) *** ½
Inside Man ** ½
Old Joy (current movie) **
CSA: Confederate States Of America ***
Music and Lyrics *
Crossfire (1947) ** ½
Meet Boston Blackie ** ½
Way Down South (1939) *
Venus ** ½
The Namesake **
Captain Fury (1939) ** ½
Sylvia Scarlett **
The Oklahoma Kid (1939) ***
Year Of The Dog *
Zodiac *** ½
Love Affair (1939) *** ½
Lonely Hearts w Travolta * ½
300 **
Zodiac *** ½ (second time)
The US Against John Lennon **
The Beauty Queen Of Kabul *
Fracture **
Disturbia **
Hot Fuzz * ½
The Lone Wolf Spy Hunt (1939) ** ½
Into Great Silence (monk movie at FF) ***
Grindhouse: Terror Planet and Death Proof ***
Once ***
Rocket Science **
Perfume ***
Sadie Thompson (1928 w live accompaniment) *** ½
Come Early Morning ***
La Dolce Vita ****
Freddie Mercury: The Untold Story zero stars
Man Of Flowers ** ½
Stroyzek *** ½
Searching For the Wrong-Eyed Jesus ***
Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls ** ½
Spider Man 3 ** ½

At Cannes:

My Blueberry Nights *
Four Months, Three Weeks and Two Days ***
Bee Movie footage **
Water Lillies ***
The Banishment *** ½ (most hated it though)
Les Chanson D’Amour ** ½
Savage Grace *
Sicko ***
Chacun Son Cinema ***
XXY *** ½
Import Export **
The Golden Compass footage/trailer ***
Ocean’s 13 ** ½
Paranoid Park **
You The Living ***
We Own The Night * ½
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly *** 1/2
Days Of Darkness ** ½
L’age Des Tenebres ** ½
Larry Charles/Bill Maher religion docu footage ****
Une Veille Miatresse **
The Mourning Forest ** ½
Promise Me This **
12 Angry Men *** ½

Knocked Up ** ½
Seraphim Falls ***
Sunshine ***
Joshua *
Goya’s Ghost * ½
Charlie Bartlett **
Let’s Get Lost (revival) ***
Tootsie ****
Pierrot Le Fou (Godard revival at BAM) ** ½
Babes In Arms (1939) **
The Hottest State *
Bridge To Terabithia ** ½
The Searchers (revival at MoMA) ****
Ratatouille ***
Transformers *
Live Free Or Die Hard ** ½
World of Sound **
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix ***
Fierce People *
Sleuth (2007 remake) *
The Simpsons Movie ***
The Bourne Ultimatum ***
In The Shadow Of The Moon ***
Shoot Em Up *
Gone Baby Gone ***
3:10 To Yuma ** ½
Superbad ***
The Bubble ** ½
Jackass Two ** ½
Room With A View (at MoMA) ****
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford *** ½
Blade Runner (final cut) *** ½
Into The Wild ** ½
The Darjeeling Limited ***
Margot at the Wedding **
Elizabeth: The Golden Age **
I’m Not There ** ½
Persepolis ***
The Cranes Are Flying (at BAM) (1957) ****
Starting Out In The Evening **
The Petrified Forest (1936) ** ½
Holly (asian prostitution) **
Music Within (ADA Act guy) **
All Through The Night (1942) ** ½
Lust, Caution ** ½
Michael Clayton *** ½
Lions For Lambs **
Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead *
The Whistler (1944) * ½
This Christmas * ½
Love In The Time Of Cholera *
The Great Debaters * ½
Youth Without Youth no stars
In Between Days ***
They Won’t Forget (1937) **
Hairspray **
This Is England *** ½
Helvetica ***
They Made Me A Fugitive (1947) *** ½
Contaband (1940) ***
Alvin and the Chipmunks *
Juno ***
Control ***
Sweeney Todd * ½
The Other Side Of The Mirror: Dylan at Newport *** ½
Boys Life 6 ** (Bugcrush short ***)
Calling Dr. Kildare (1939) ** ½
The Secret of Dr. Kildare (1939) ** 1/2
Cassandra's Dream no stars
Fast and Loose (1939) * 1/2
Wild Boys of the World (1933) ***
The Kennel Murder Case (1933) * 1/2
The Golden Compass **
Iraq in Fragments ** 1/2
First Sunday *
La Vie En Rose ***
Man Push Cart **
On Her Majesty's Secret Service * 1/2

147 movies


Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry ** ½
The Dark Tower I by Stephen King **
The Dark Tower II: The Drawing Of The Three by Stephen King ***
Red Dragon by Thomas Harris ***
The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris *** ½
The Road by Cormac McCarthy *** ½
Include Me Out by Farley Granger ***
The Hottest State by Ethan Hawke ** ½
The Wind On The Moon by Eric Linklater ***
Grief by Andrew Holleran ** ½
The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri ***
Nicholas Again by Goscinny and Sempe ***
I Served The King Of England by Bohumil Hrabal *** ½
The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid **
The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman by Laurence Sterne ****
Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood and Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return by Marjane Satrapi *** each
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby *** ½
The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolano ****
No Country For Old Men by Cormac McCarthy *** ½
Kipling’s Choice by Geert Spillebeen **
A Mighty Heart by Mariane Pearl ***
War Horse by Michael Morpurgo ** ½
The Spirit Archives Vol. 1 by Will Eisner ** ½
Vernon God Little by DBC Pierre **
Chronicles Vol. 1 by Bob Dylan *** ½
Jack Plank Tells Tales by Natalie Babbitt ***
The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris ****
Girl by Blake Nelson **
Supreme Conflict by Jan Crawford Greenburg **
The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum **
The Bourne Supremacy by Robert Ludlum – stopped, couldn’t keep reading
Miracle At Philadelphia by Catherine Drinker Bowen *** ½
Theodore Rex by Edmund Morris *** ½
On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan ***
Achilles by Elizabeth Cook ***
The History of Sexuality by Michel Foucault ***
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling ***
The Sea Witch by Alexander Laing *** ½
Gone Baby Gone by Dennis Lehane ***
A Bright Shining Lie by Neil Sheehan ****
Gossip Girl by Cecily Von Ziegesar **
Journey Into Fear by Eric Ambler ***
Deadwood by Pete Dexter *** ½
By Night In Chile by Roberto Bolano ***
To Ruhleban and Back by Geoffrey Pyke ***
The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas; translated by Richard Pevear ****
Empire of Ivory by Naomi Novik ***
Starting Out In The Evening by Brian Morton ***
Dark Victory by Ed Sikov *** ½
Peanuts 1965-1966 by Charles Schulz *** ½
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy, trans by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhnosky ****
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini * ½
The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz by L. Frank Baum ** ½
Fellow Travelers by Thomas Mallon ***
Grace After Midnight by Felicia Snoop Pearson ** 1/2
The Graduate by Charles Webb *** 1/2
Home School by Charles Webb ** 1/2
New Cardiff by Charles Webb ***
Love, Roger by Charles Webb **
Jumper by Steven Gould ***

60 books


Theater/Live Performances 2007

Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well And Living in Paris *** ½
M Ward at Town Hall ***
The Fever (one-man Wallace Shawn show) ***
Richie Havens at Metropolitan Museum of Art ***
King Lear w Kevin Kline at Public **
Adrift in Macao **
The Coast of Utopia in NYC *** ½
Journey’s End in NYC ***
Prelude to a Kiss revival w John Mahoney **
Curtains w David Hyde Pierce * ½
Talk Radio w Live Schrieber ** ½
Cool Jerks at Don Hills ***
The 39 Steps in London ***
Equus **
Madama Butterfly ** ½
Prometheus Bound *
Darren Hayes at Joe’s Pub ***
Exits and Entrances * ½
King Hedley II revival at Signature *** ½
Moon for the Misbegotten w Kevin Spacey and Eve Best ** ½
Frost/Nixon in NYC ***
Seven Brides For Seven Brothers at Paper Mill *** (flooding)
Jim White in Champaign/Urbana after screening of Wrong Eyed Jesus ***
Strawberry Alarm Clock in Champaign/Urbana after screening of Valley of Dolls ***
Back Door Slam *** ½
A Matter of Life and Death at National in London *
The Reporter at the National **
Vernon God Little at Young Vic **
Elling at Bush Theatre in London *** ½
The Rose Tattoo at Olivier **
In A Dark Place (new LaBute) **
Radio Golf (new August Wilson) *** ½
Albert Hammond Jr *** (saw all of ten minutes)
Spring Awakening on Bway *** ½
Company revival w Raul Esparza ***
Old Springs Pike at Joe’s Pub (raggedy but fun) ***
Xanadu *
Philip Glass at Rose Theater w Cohen show ***
James Hunter at Madison Square Park ***
Maria McKee at Joe’s Pub ***
Back Door Slam at Mercury Lounge *** ½
Ann Hampton Callaway at Blue Note ***
Opus ** ½
James Hand at Hill Country BBQ ***
Waverly 7 at Blue Note **
Nellie McKay at Joe’s Pub ***
Grease (2007 Bway revival) *
Jesse Harris at Housing Works *
Chuck Prophet at Housing Works ***
Ipheginia 2.0 at Signature ***
Faust at Bohemian Hall **
Pieta Brown at Bowery ** ½
Christina Courtin at Bowery ***
Teddy Thompson at Bowery *** ½
King Lear at BAM w Ian McKellen **
Patty Griffin, Allen Toussaint and CMA songwriters at Joe’s Pub in the Park *** ½
The Brain From Planet X * ½
Love Sucks ** ½
Bruce Springsteen at MSG ***
Young Frankenstein **
Over The Rhine at Highline ** ½
Back Door Slam at Mercury *** ½
Yank ***
Sufjan Stevens at BAM w BQE *** ½
Black Watch at St. Ann’s w discussion ***
Richard III ** (but Michael Cumpsty ***)
Newfound Road at Baggot Inn (bluegrass) ** ½
Cassandra Wilson at Blue Note *** ½
Speech & Debate ***
Queens Blvd (musical by Charles Mee) ***
The Seafarer by Conor McPherson ***
Empire City Men's Chorus (w Andy McLain) ***
Kiki & Herb at Carnegie Hall ***
Celia *** 1/2 (music) ** (show)
Aimee Mann Christmas Show w Josh Ritter, Nellie McKay, etc *** 1/2
Darlene Love at Lincoln Center (arrived late) **
Teddy Thompson Christmas Show w mom, sis, bro, Rufus, etc ** 1/2 (terrible sound)
Rock 'N' Roll by Tom Stoppard ***

76 events.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Thank You, "Golden Compass"

If "The Golden Compass" had successully launched a new franchise, New Line would almost definitely NOT have felt the urge to make nice with Peter Jackson and get the "Hobbit" ball rolling again. Talks began in May, but really, the looming flop of "Compass" (which had terrible previews and press at Cannes) surely lit a fire under Bob Shaye. Doing what Jackson did with LOTR is extremely difficult. It's a shame everyone involvd can't wait three or four years to let Jackson direct it after Tintin. Maybe he's just not interested?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

But Where Will "The Hobbit" Part I Stop?

Wonderful news that Peter Jackson will oversee "The Hobbit." If it had dragged on, Ian McKellen might have become too old to reprise his role as Gandalf. Right now, Jackson is going to produce only, with a director to be named (why try and top yourself?). But with pre-production beginning right away, I wouldn't be terribly surprised if he just couldn't resist. Filming begins in 2009 and the two movies made out of the book will be released in 2010 and 2011.

So the question: where will they break them up? My guess is that it stops after they escape the Misty Mountains and are rescued by the Great Eagles (who consider the hobbit and the dwarves prisoners for a while). Gandalf then leaves them to make their way into Milkwood. (I imagine they'll drop the scene with Beorn, the shapeshifter.) So they make a grand escape from the goblins, hook up with Eagles and say goodbye to Gandalf while -- gulp -- preparing to plunge into Milkwood. Makes sense to me. My next question is tone, since The Hobbit is very much a children's book, quite a bit simpler and old-fashioned compared to the dark and violent Lord of the Rings.

My final question: will I head off to New Zealand to write the making-of book?

NOTE: I'm wrong. It's going to be The Hobbit as one film and then a "bridge" to LOTR based on all the material out there. I hate to question Jackson, but why craft an entirely new story to make a bridge? Is there something inherently thrilling in the intervening years or is he just delighted to get to muck about more in the LOTR world? I thought you could do plenty with "The Hobbit" on its own but of course I'll wait to hear what they have in mind.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

America Loves Cheaters

My latest Huffington post is about baseball and performance enhancing drugs.

Oh, Fuck

I was reading the New Yorker tonight and twice the magazine used the word "fuck" in casual settings. Once, in a front of the book story interviewing Rufus Sewell -- who stars on Broadway in "Rock and Roll" -- about his musical tastes. Sewell was a huge Bowie fan as a kid.

"My brother called me the Fat White Duke," says Sewell to the New Yorker. "I dyed my hair -- blond in the front, orangey on top. I was an early adopter of 'bad haircut.' I was really into 'David Live.' 1974. Bowie was absolutely drug-fucked. That's when he was living on peppers and milk."

That caught my eye, for the use of the word in print AND its clever compounded context of "drug-fucked."

Then a few pages later, David Sedaris in a comic piece about airline travel describes the dirty looks he gets when sitting in first class and the people headed for Coach glance his way.

"The looks they gave me as they passed were the looks I give when the door of a limousine opens. You always expect to see a movie star, or, at the very least, someone better dressed than you, but time and time again it’s just a sloppy nobody. Thus the look, which translates to 'Fuck you, Sloppy Nobody, for making me turn my head.'”

Twice in one issue and not even in the context of say, war reporting where you want to capture the salty vernacular of the soldiers. Just a casual use of the word and no blushing necessary. A fucking line's been crossed, is what I think.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Chirstmas Music, Singing Chipmunks and An Aging Tim Roth

A banner day of stories for me at the NY Daily News: check out my holiday music feature, with profiles of Darlene Love, Aimee Mann and Kiki and Herb, all of whom have Christmas shows coming up; a chat with Jason Lee of My Name is Earl and the family flick Alvin and the Chipmunks; and a profile of Tim Roth, who stars in Coppola's Youth Without Youth. A triple byline day, which is like a triple bypass day but less life-threatening. Thanks, Joe!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Somewhere in the darkness, the Gambler he broke even...

...and in his final words I found an ace that I could keep. Poker great David "Chip" Reese cashes in. Hat tip to monkeyboy for the link and the headline.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Javier-ing A Good Time

My latest profile for the NY Daily News is Javier Bardem for the unsuccessful adaptation of Love in the Time Of Cholera and the Oscar buzz surrounding No Country For Old Men.