Friday, December 26, 2008

A Christmisfit's Guide to Holiday Movies

Yes Man
Exactly what you expect, but with fewer weird Jim Carrey faces. It's pretty sweet, very predictable, and Zooey Deschanel gets to sing and be kooky and you fall in love with her. Well, I did. (Again.)

Doubt is about doubt. I know this because of the opening scene, and the final scene, and many scenes in between, where that was made explicit. Bring a sweater to the movie theatre: nuns often sit outside on blustery days in this movie and it makes you feel very chilly for them. It's not a bad movie, but there sure is a lot of acting and talking and more acting.

Seven Pounds
If you want to see Will Smith cry, this is the movie for you! If you are spending Christmas Eve by yourself and think, "Hey, I'll just pop over to the Rainbow and catch a movie," this is *maybe* not the movie for you. It is designed to make you cry. Also of note: nice images of a field and an ocean front home and a jellyfish. And sometimes Will Smith is handsome.

A movie as good as its trailer. I saw the Valkyrie trailer and thought, "Holy fuck, awesome trailer. I will never see that movie, but well done, editor types." Then it turned out to be my Christmas Day movie and guess what! It is a good movie. A great story and so tense. But if you're like me, halfway through a Hitler-assassination-plot sequence, try not to think, "This movie should have been called Mission Impossible: 4." It takes a minute to get back into the story after that funny.

I also plan on seeing the Curious Button movie over the break (and maybe even Gran Torino!) so stay tuned. But don't stay tuned for me seeing Marley & Me. I refuse to see a movie starring a Golden Retriever and the two actors who most look like Golden Retrievers. Nope!

Hapslappy Boxing Day!

More! The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Notebook + Forrest Gump = Benjamin Button. I like tug boats and the Mississippi and in this movie, there is a tug boat on the Mississippi. Also it is undeniable that Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett are beautiful people. It is also undeniable that this movie is LONG.
It feels like the story is told in real time, so it's about 80 years long. (Luckily the audiences both ages and reverse-ages with Brad and Cate, so you walk out of the theatre the same age you went in.)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

but i think i'll miss this one this year

Spice Girls Chrimbo Song! Annoying but also: awesome. So raise up that cup of Christmas cheer.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Spotted: O Chuck Bass, Where Art Thou?

There are about 17 million brilliant moments in this episode, which all together left me heavy-hearted watching our Upper East Siders try so hard to be there for each other and to follow their hearts: Chuck and Blair, Blair and Chuck; Chuck hurting mourning Eric; Rufus telling Lily that he'll wait six months, six years...; Jenny offering to make Eleanor's wedding outfit in order to make amends; Dan thwarted as he tries to make the grand gesture for Serena, but is too late; Blair turning to Cyrus for comfort (and turning Jewish); Derota a bridesmaid at Eleanor's wedding; Mister Chuck broken and sitting on B's bed; B waking up alone and with that letter...

RIP Bart Bass?

How did Bart Bass die? Is Bart Bass actually, factually dead? There was an "accident"; that's about all we know. In the previous ep, we saw him in the limo with his PI, headed over to the Snowflake Ball to confront Lily not just about her new dalliance with her ex-lover but also about why she was in that hospital in France. This week we see the PI is alive and well and selling secrets so he must have got out of the car before the accident. Since Dylan McKay's father could rise from the dead (he faked his death to escape the FBI? the mob? I'm fuzzy on the details), I'm a wee bit suspicious that we didn't see the casket or the internment... Of course, if the city of New York is "rocked" by billionaire Bartholomew's death (as the newspaper headline declared), then let's accept this as fact . . . for now.

"Was it a boy or a girl?"
These van der Woodsen women sure have their secrets. Let's hope that Lily's "love child" secret doesn't turn out the same way Serena's "I killed someone" secret did, or we'll find out in the end that Lily held someone else's baby once and pretended it was Rufus's. I think we can safely rule out either Serena or Eric being the love child. The timeline just doesn't work for Eric. And if it was Serena, then Lily would have watched on as her daughter committed incest and the Dan/Serena love saga would come to a crashing, creepy halt better suited to a V.C. Andrews novel than a CW teen drama. We can also safely rule out the possibility that Lily had an abortion; you don't need to go away to have one, having one isn't a pay-obscene-amounts-of-money-to-keep-the-truth-from-coming-out scandal, she wouldn't know the gender of the fetus, and there's no chance Rufus Humphrey would have reacted the way he did. Which leaves us with a new member of the Gossip Girl family, perhaps soon to arrive on the Upper East Side (assuming the kid is alive). Welcome, Rufly. (I'll put my money on it being a boy, with the episode title's inspiration, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, being a tip off.)

The only good thing to come out of Grandma Ceci meddling in her daughter's life again is that now poor Eric won't have to spend Christmas alone. Seriously, Lily? Not only did she fail to mention baby Rufly to his father, she forgets about Eric — the boy who just lost his stepfather, his stepbrother, whose sister is off to South America, and who tried to commit suicide a short year ago. Were we to assume Eric was happily spending Christmas with Ceci, having gin toddies all the livelong day? Poor Eric. At least Jonathan showed up.

"I carried the watermelon garment bag."
S and E, two fellow Gossip Girl watchers at work, took issue with Serena going to Buenos Aires with Aaron even though she seems to be clearly in love with Dan. Why does she have to be with someone? they wonder. I felt similarly last season when Lily — clearly in love with Rufus but unable to be with him because of her daughter's eternal love for his son — chose to marry Bart. If you know for sure you're in love with someone else, don't marry a guy just to be with someone. And maybe Serena's learned from her mother? But I think Serena *does* like Aaron, and since (she thinks) she can't be with Dan, she would rather try to make it work with A than give up on love entirely. Oh. I can finally empathize with Lily's decision to marry Bart.

Take a Deep Breath. And Hold It.
I have watched this preview about 17 times already. Remember this morning when I was all, "Oh I don't mind waiting until next year for new Gossip Girl"? Times have changed. Next episode we meet Uncle Jack Bass; Dan and Serena are together at the Humphrey loft for some reason (love reasons??); Blair is at loose ends without Chuck; and Chuck is at looser ends without his father. What's with the ring box that S is opening? And what is with the dancing girls? Are we back at the Victrola? AH! I cannot wait.

Luckily there is so much to talk about in "O Brother, Where Bart Thou?" that we can keep our minds busy until January 5th. Favorite moments? Best funeral outfit? Did Jenny forget to put on her pants because she was so sad for Eleanor and Eric? Is B a masochist to love a narcissist like C? Was Grandma Ceci really trying to help Lily and Rufus eventually be together or is she sabotaging them again?

*update* a lot of fun times happening over in the world of Twitter!

Spotted: Oh Brother, Where Bart Thou?

"I carried the garment bag."

good morning Upper East Siders. my full post on this episode -- which i thought was beyond excellent -- will come later tonight. i just wanted to put down a few of my reactions as i sip my morning mega c vitamin water...

last night's Gossip Girl was written by Stephanie Savage, genius, and you can tell the difference. It was so tight, with so many echoes of moments from Gossip Girl gone by -- Rufus singing "Everytime," a key scene in Grand Central, Chuck's penchant for twins, Blair finally being able to say those three words...

And the tone of the episode was a perfect mix of pathos and a touch of signature GG wit, set in the first five minutes with breakfast at the van der Woodsens (formerly Bass) household and then at the Waldorfs (both matriarchs admiring the photo of Bart and the necessity of sending a thank you note to the photo editor -- genius). A great episode to end the first half of the season on. I have so much to ruminate on, that I won't mind waiting til January for the next installment.

Anywaysy, read Daily Intel today and I'll post more tonight!

Friday, December 05, 2008

one Lively, but not the other

i was extra specially excited for last night's episode of 30 Rock, because Liz Lemon is my girl (my dad always says, You're just like Liz Lemon. and I say, Thanks! wait...), but also rumor had it that Blake Lively and Leighton Meister were appearing on the show in a flashback to Liz in high school. But Liz was the mean girl, not our Constance Billard kids. Then in the present day high school reunion scene, Blake's character would be played by her real-life older sister (also an actress) Robyn. that info turned out to be only half true. so apologies to any Gossip Girl fans who I urged to watch last night's ep of 30 Rock (Tammy). while there was no Blake or Leighton, it was still full of comedy gold tho! and the Vanity Fair profile of Tina Fey is vair interessant, if a little obsessed over the fact that she wasn't always skinny.

If you want to be motivated to shop at the Gap, the CW has kindly posted the portraits of Serena that are in the current Aaron Rose exhibition. Also when I was thinking about Dan Humphrey (as one does), I realized how uncomfortable and awful it would be to have your dad's gallery exhibiting your ex-gf's new bf's art, especially when it consisted entirely of "artistic" glamor shots of her.

Finally: Monday's episode of Gossip Girl is the last of 2008. Gulp. Weeks without GG are coming. And that means this next episode will likely be a big old cliffhanger. What is Lily's secret? What could it be that is so disgusting to Chuck Bass? (Or maybe that comment in the preview has to do with how she's already moving on with Rufus before Bart is cold in his grave? My brain just went all Hamlet-y: the funeral baked meats/Did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables...)

oh man i should probably go to work as it's real Friday and not proto Saturday.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

my 90210pinions: That Which We Destroy

I don't think there was a new New Nine Oh this week, but I did finally watch the last New Nine Oh: "That Which We Destroy." And it picked up right where we left off, with the arrival of the new son in the middle of Annie and Naomi's epic battle.

The new son has the Wilson nose and is one of those patriotic Americans, as Granny Wilson calls him. He's proud to serve his country and so on and so forth. The only slightly funny thing about this whole opening sequence of course belongs to Granny Wilson. She gets Dixon to figure out how old she has to tell people she was when she had Principal Wilson in order for him to have had a son at age 18 who is now 25 years old. The answer: 11. "A little unseemly."

Kelly gives Naomi and Annie the "friends are more important than guys" talk using a metaphor: girlfriends are like plants, and guys are cut flowers. I think this scene was supposed to be funny? Judging by the girls' expressions, it may have smelled funny. I wonder if this whole friendship talk will come into play later when Brenda returns...

Silver continues to make poor wardrobe choices. Silver live blogs lunch. This whole cafeteria lunch business: a total Mean Girls rip off. Annie shows Ethan her bitchy side and he loses his appetite. The lead "blended" girl needs help with her phone, and we, the audience, learn that the real message behind this episode is not about being true to oneself or the importance of friendship and family. The real impetus behind this episode: product placement.
Brenda returns! And I presume is playing Lady MacBeth. Of course she is. And she can recognize an office plant when she sees one.

Granny Wilson tells Momma Wilson a nice story about Jean-Luc and the Chihuahua. Actually a useful, if predictable, little fable.

Naomi is so sexy when she's having a panic attack, according to that guy who keeps showing up and doesn't like game-playing. It's hard making new friends, eh Naomi?

Dixon doesn't care about destroying Bel Air on the lacrosse field because his dad is ignoring him and only paying attention to the new bio-son. The whole coach and disgruntled/distracted player dynamic is making me miss Friday Night Lights in a major way.

Yikes on Silver's two hairdo joke when Annie puts on a skirt that's too short. Really? Non, merci. Stop trying to be risqué, 90210. And don't make Annie take her shirt off all casually, just so viewers at home can see her in her bra. Especially not in the "be yourself" scene.

At the lacrosse game, Audrina mysteriously barfs after smelling a hot dog. And I smell a teen pregnancy plot line. It also smells bad.

Quel surprise. Dixon is playing poorly and New Son is meddling in the business of lacrosse and father/son dynamics. Back off, New Son. New Cheerleader Love Interest sees what is really going on with Dixon while Silver is reading a book, listening to her iPod, and playing with her Rubik's cube. Dixon storms off the field and Coach/Principal/Poppa Wilson confronts him. Finally, Dixon gets a real scene! And is able to raise some good points! Well done. We have been waiting for 12 episodes for a solid father-and-adopted-son conversation and we got it. In the locker room during the big game, no less.

And! Annie finally says something we can all agree on: "I'm not cool." She decides not to be mean anymore. I have not decided that. So, here's some classic Shenae Grimes acting faces:

Oh, I am meaner than Naomi. [Sidebar story: I went to the Geminis last Friday (Cdn Emmys) and Shenae was there to present an award and was up for the people's choice for hottest Canadian on the telly. And she didn't win. As soon as the show went to commercial, she got in the biggest huff and stomp spaz attack, grabbed her leopard-print fur jacket and her little entourage and stomped out of there. It was pretty hilariously spazzy. She made all the faces pictured above and then some.]

I am kind of waiting for the New Son to turn into a total weirdo freakshow and be, like, the Emily Valentine of the show and stalk the Wilsons or something. That would be great. But anyway... Brenda slept with Ryan. Shocker. Don't put the big reveal of the last minute in the promo for the episode, CW.

Now the Wilsons + Sean are all happy times and huggy times. Oh no, wait... Sean is alone and he is raising one eyebrow and making a phone call that could be entirely innocent or entirely diabolical! I vote for diabolical.

The end. Another episode in this pitiful saga comes to a close. Let's hope this Sean kid starts effing shit up!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Spotted: It's a Beautiful Lie

And we're back! After the excruciating extra week wait for this episode, our UESers return . . . and once again spoilers get the best of me!

Had the "someone dies" spoiler not been leaked months ago, the end of the episode would have had way more punch and I wouldn't have said to myself throughout the show, That's the last thing Bart will ever say to Chuck. That's the last time Bart will stare daggers at Rufus. That's the last limo ride Bart will ever take.... Maybe he's not really dead! There is a chance it's all a ruse related to Lily's Mysterious Trip to the Sanatorium (and if it is, it would firmly place GG in the soap opera category). Until I see our not-so-beloved billionaire laid to rest, I won't believe it entirely.

Which of Vanessa's looks is more humiliating?

Let's get what drove me coco-bananas out of the way first. The sin of the
Gossip Girl writers in this episode lay in the implausible Vanessa Is Nude At the Ball plot. I don't care if you are an artistic type who puts a dress on in a gallery in Brooklyn, there are mirrors and you look in one if you are about to go to a ball with your true lurve. Or you look down and notice that you can see london and france or your lack of underpants. The basic idea of having Jenny temporarily team up against Vanessa with the "Three Evil Stepsisters" is a good one, but the execution was crap. Particularly the slo-mo crowd shots of hysterical laughter. Boo. And I am still reluctant to believe that Vanessa is so crazy in love with Nate. I thought she loved Dan and was a vegetarian. Clearly: not. Props to Jessica Szohr though; all her crying and upset this ep was believable. (90210 girls, take note.)

I do love a Gossip Girl party and the Snowflake Ball seemed like a promising event in the first half: B trying to find a "ringer" to go as her date, and Chuck expertly knocking out his competition with one trait sure to make B crazy. Dan and Serena's friendly but flirty catch-up and remember-when in the hallway was charming. V lying to Little J followed by Penelope and V's excellently brief interaction —

Penelope: Hello, Weird Documentary Girl.
Vanessa: Bye, Sad Blair Wannabe.

— was the perfect set up for the tensions of the rest of the episode. Lily's Marital Do-Not-Disturb sign opening the door for a Rufus+Lily reboot whilst Bart lurks in the background. Excellent!

But the Aaron-Serena-Dan-Lexy love quadrangle was tiresome before it even began, and both girls were being complete tools, particularly Serena and her faux-friendliness. On a positive note, at least Lexy's pompous talk of exotic cat coffee got Humphrey to reveal the location of the cat we saw in the loft in the pilot ep of GG: it's in Florida with Grandma. One loose end all tied up! Not to be out-pompous-ed, Dan regails the group with stories of sitting on benches writing, overlooking the river and thinking about knocking on Mailer's door. Help me, I am having secondary embarrassment overload. Serena's "Can't she just vote?" to Aaron's overshare that Lexy sleeps with guys on the first date "as a political statement against the male dominated sexual hypocrisy" was really annoying. In a one-two punch, it mocked feminism with Lexy's over-the-top attitude and belittled the serious inequalities that exist between the genders with S's comment. Argh! But onward to my favorite non-couple: Chuck and Blair.

"Facebook! I joined few groups."
what does long hair symbolize in Poland, Derota??

As if Chuck Bass wasn't hot enough already, he's casually playing the Waldorf grand piano as he waits to make his wager with B. Srsly, he knows what mellifluous means, he plays piano, has afternoon shiatsu, dresses like a dandy, and understands the glory and usefulness of Derota. Chuck Bass is perfect. B may think she knows "every inch of his wafer thin soul" but I think she's in for a surprise or two in the coming episodes. The death of his father may push B and C together in a real way. No more games!

Beta Bass and the Canal Street Knock-Off B look like actual teenagers

Let's have a moment for Little J who must be totally completely gutted to have superhot Nate Archibald tell her that he's glad she didn't get the letter 'cause she's not who he thought she was. Sad times for J! And maybe Vanessa did feel *so* bad about stealing the letter, but it was at least a week before she fessed up about it, while J felt instantly bad about the whole dress fandango. But Lurky J seems to get some wind in her sails again and I'm guessing next week she'll return to Constance to do battle with the senior girls.

Dan and Serena's conversations about moving-on sex were pretty sweet, i must say. And it need feel like they were about to cut some mythological tie. Don't they know they should get back together? oh man. maybe that's why i hate Aaron and Lexy so much. they are the inevitable obstacles in the way of true love!

So was Bart Bass's apology to Lily in earnest? He did fire the P.I. so it looks like he was trying to reform his assface tendencies. But only in relation to Lily: blaming Chuck for opening a safe full of secrets Bart shouldn't have been keeping is a low, low move. And Chuck still had his pops' back, giving him the head's up on the return of Rufly and having a frank conversation with Lily . . . if you can call that a conversation when one person talks and the other just nods.

Here's what I hope happens: Jenny returns to Constance and does battle with the Mean Girls and gets an age-appropriate bf, Blair becomes a real girlfriend to Chuck as he mourns for his father, Lily tries to keep her sanatorium secret from Rufus while they try to make a relationship work, Dan or Serena decides to make the grand gesture and they reunite, Eric gets more screen time, Derota gets even more screen time, Nate and Vanessa finally show us why the heck they're in love with each other 'cause even tho I want them to be happy, I ain't buying them together. Oh, and that we get a very Gossip Girl chrimbo and more Humphrey/van der Woodsen epic conversations. Dan/Serena, Rufus/Lily, it don't matter because those kids know how to talk love.

holy smokes the trailer for next week looks amazing: Chuck goes after Lily's secrets and it looks like everything goes to hell in a handbasket. zomg.
UPDATE: low-res promo!