September 23, 2008

My Best Friend's Girl Gets a Makeover

POST #    2863

The stars of 'My Best Friend's Girl' get a makeover in this movie ad in the NYC Subway system. From left to right, that's Kate Hudson, Dane Cook, and Jason Biggs. The poster with the original photo is on IMDB.

Posted by tien mao in Movies, NYC, Photos at 6:08 PM



August 1, 2007

NYC's Kwik-E-Mart

POST #    2566

As I'm sure most people know, for the release of The Simpsons Movie, 7-11 turned a bunch of their stores into Kwik-E-Marts modeled after the convenience store from the TV show. They have some blow-ups of lovable Simpsons characters, some products from the TV show (Squishee and red sprinklicious donuts), as well as employees dressed in Kwik-E-Mart gear.

Yesterday was the last day of the promotion and it took me the whole month to get there. Crazy, considering how HUGE a fan I am of The Simpsons.

Posted by tien mao in Movies, NYC, Photos at 9:21 AM



July 16, 2007

Homer's Got Eyes for Budweiser

POST #    2550

No TV and no beer make Homer something something...good thing Homer has beer for eyes.

Posted by tien mao in Movies, NYC, Photos at 9:10 AM



July 27, 2005

John Holmes in 3D Trailer at the Landmark Sunshine

POST #    1804

A couple of weekends ago, I went with some friends to catch the midnight showing of The Warriors at the Sunshine Theater on Houston St. Before a movie starts, I always look forward to the trailers that expose me to the new and upcoming movies. That night, they only had one trailer and it was for a John Holmes movie in 3D. Not your average movie trailer. John Holmes, who? As in the character that Dirk Diggler was loosely based off of.

Gone is your "this following trailer has been rated R/PG-13/PG/G," for this trailer could only be rated X (maybe more Xs were required). Almost the first thing that hit the screen was boobs, then more, and more, and more. I don't think there was one stone unturned in the trailer. There was penetration, oral sex, even a money shot.

It was so very strange. I think the audience was half shocked and half amused. I was in an amused stupor, wondering how they could get away with showing the trailer. What if someone was to object? Of course, I don't think anybody that is going to watch the midnight showing of The Warriors is the type of person to object to a John Holmes trailer.

I believe there was a showing of the movie in New York already, but it was re-released a few years ago after the popularity of Boogie Nights. If you really want to know the title, it was apparently called Hot Skin in 3D.

Posted by tien mao in Movies at 7:43 AM



June 4, 2005

American Apparel Goes Porn with Lauren Phoenix

POST #    1742

It's often said that American Apparel ads are virtually pornographic. Why go virtual with amateur models when you can go virtual with a porn star? Because it turns out that they are actually using at least one porn star in their ads. Someone, we'll call them "M.F.", e-mailed and pointed me to an AA ad on Vice Magazine's website. The ad is for socks (some magical pleasure giving socks), but it features Lauren Phoenix in some interesting positions.

I looked on the Internets for more news of this collaboration, but all I could find was a tiny blurb on Adult DVD Talk, " AVN Female Performer of the Year and American Apparel model Lauren Phoenix has a special bond with Morbid, and no, it's not because he touched her butt."

On the American Apparel site, you can see more of Lauren modeling the socks, some jersey shorts, various types of underwear, and other clothing. I wonder if American Apparel gets featured in the movies she's in now. As heaps of sweatshop free clothing at the foot of the bed.

And for your viewing pleasure, more models of American Apparel and that Penthouse Pet party again.

Posted by tien mao in Movies at 9:35 AM



May 10, 2005

How Netflix Ruins Movies

POST #    1697

Netflix kills me. As much as I love it, it kills me. I watch all these DVDs, 371 through today, and I forget most of them. Perhaps it's not as much a function of Netflix, but of my memory, how I watch the movies, and the movies I choose. If I want to remember what I've seen, I often have to get my Netflix rental history sent to me.

There are tons of movies that I've watched where I now have no recollection of the movie at all. A sampling:

Blood, Guts, Bullets & Octane, Don't Say a Word, 13 Conversations About One Thing [I think the thing was love], Insomnia, Possession, Killing Me Softly, The Four Feathers, Spun, He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not, Identity, McCabe & Mrs. Miller, Chuck & Buck, Shattered Glass, Twisted

I've also watched my share of craptactular movies:

Brotherhood of the Wolf, Maid in Manhattan, Daredevil, The Guru, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde, Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd, Gigli, Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat, Starsky & Hutch, Soul Plane, Elektra

As I was going through my queue, I came up with a possible reason. When I first signed up with Netflix, I was receiving/returning movies from/to California. Once Netflix opened up a local warehouse, my movie watching increased. If that wasn't enough, I also started watching a lot more new releases, thus my long list of recent movies in the "craptacular" list.

Now, there are good movies that I've watched and remember some details about, but I should remember more. I think this is how Netflix ruined movies for me. The solution would be to cut down or cancel but I can't! Not with 143 movies in my queue. Movies that I've been meaning to watch and movies that I should have seen. Oh how that Netflix has roped me in but good.

Posted by tien mao in Movies at 7:35 AM



April 30, 2005

2004 - The Year of Jude Law?

POST #    1683

I'm not a huge Jude Law fan, but could he have been in a few more movies in 2004? Sure, it's 2005 now, but thinking back to last year, I remember him being on talk shows non-stop, plugging his six (!!!) movies. According to IMDB, he was in I ♥ Huckabees, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, Alfie, Closer, The Aviator, and Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events. Whew. What a list.

As of today, I've seen five of those movies - including two today - and am ready to crawl into a hole devoid of Jude Law movies, but I have one more to see - The Aviator. I'm not sure how large his role in Martin Scorsese's film is, but in all of the movies I have seen, except Lemony Snicket, Law has had a substantial, if not starring, role. Where did the man find the time? And is there some sort of record for big, non-porn, studio movies released in one year for an actor or actress?

I imagine that Law must have had quite a busy time in 2002-2004. So what was the reason for all this stardom? In my opinion, he's no stellar actor. Or maybe he is a good actor, but chooses bad movies to be in? See: AI, Sky Captain, and Alfie. Did performances in Enemy at the Gates (most painful looking sex scene in a movie) and Cold Mountain make his 2004? Or was it that horrible movie AI that boosted his profile. Ladies, he plays a good looking robotic gigolo. Swoon.

Overall, 2004 seems to have been a big year for Law. Too bad those movies couldn't have been better. Sky Captain and Alfie were bad, Huckabees and Closer were passable but nothing special, and Lemony Snicket he barely appeared in.

I'm going to look for that Law-less hole now...until May 24th when The Aviator comes out. For 2005 and beyond, a note for Mr. Law: Quantity does not equal quality.

Posted by tien mao in Movies at 1:55 PM



April 28, 2005

Yes at the Tribeca Film Festival

POST #    1675

Last night I went to the Tribeca Film Festival to watch Yes, a film by Sally Potter and staring Joan Allen and Simon Abkarian. The story is of a Irish-American married woman and a Middle-Eastern man and their unlikely love affair. The film was also entirely in poetic verse, which I don't think I've seen in any non-Shakespearean movie before. While impressive, this proved to be the most difficult part of the movie to grasp. The performances by the whole cast was great. The passion conveyed between Allen and Abkarian was beautiful, making the love in the story truly believable.

After the movie, Potter, Allen and Abkarian answered some questions from the crowd, which can be one of the nice features of going to the Tribeca Film Festival. Potter said she started writing the screenplay on September 12, 2001 because of the hatred that spawned from the tragedies. From the Yes website, Potter explains, "I felt an urgent need to respond to the rapid demonisation of the Arabic world in the West and to the parallel wave of hatred against the United States." Also interesting was how they planned to film the movie in Beirut and Cuba, but because of situations out of their control, they had to turn to other locations. The scenes in Beirut were actually shot in Cuba and Allen's scenes in Cuba were filmed in the Dominican Republic.

When I watch any movie with accents, it's hard for me to adjust. Combine multiple accents into a movie with rhyming and one might miss a lot of the dialog. Throw in some soft speaking by a character or two and you have a mess. That said, Yes is a movie that everyone should check out for it's unique dialog. The New York and Los Angeles release date is June 24th. Just go in ready for rhyming and well rested.

Also at the screening were Tim Robbins, Juliana Margulies, Gina Gershon, and Michael Musto. Gina, if you want to go shoe shopping, call me.

More information:
- Yes (official movie website)
- "Yes Diary" by Sally Potter while working on Yes
- Yes entry on IMDB

Posted by tien mao in Movies at 8:04 AM



March 10, 2005

Free Netflix for One Month

POST #    1605


Netflix sent me an e-mail offering a free month to people I know that aren't signed up for their service yet. So here it is, a free one month trial. Talk about free advertising! Maybe after a month, you'll love the service as much as I do. I'm pretty much at my 3 year anniversary with them and I've watched a boatload of movies - 344 DVDs, to be exact.

So if you want that free trial, click here. They claim they have a limited amount of these and that the offer expires on 3/23/05.

Posted by tien mao in Movies at 12:12 PM



February 4, 2005

The Problem with Netflix Friends

POST #    1550

Because everyone can see my crappy movie selection. I thought I had protection while I let my Netflix Queue plugin lapse, but no longer. I thought it was useful that I could see the movies my friends watched, but I don't want them to know all the movies I watch. I've got Wimbledon out now and I'm not proud of it, but it's got sports in it! Sports, I say!! Besides, Stephen Holden says it's a "likable, formulaic sports movie." Oh, how I will enjoy watching it.

Posted by tien mao in Movies at 9:02 AM



December 10, 2004

My Netflix Peeps

POST #    1460

Netflix is currently testing this new feature they call Friends. Mike over at Hacking Netflix was nice enough to invite me after I read about it over on his site. It's kind of like Friendster meets communal movie review. You can invite people to your list of friends and see the movies they watched recently, their ratings for movies, their top favorites, and find out the movies that they disliked (click image below to enlarge), a feature that may prove to be very useful.

For example, I can see that one of my friends gave The Prince and Me three stars. While I'm generous with my starts, I can't imagine watching The Prince and Me, let alone giving it three stars - and I watch a lot of crap movies. I can also see that there are a bunch of movies that I should never watch with the "Movies Your Friends Hated" feature. That may allow me to streamline my queue a little, but with all these other movies that my friends liked, I might end up increasing my queue substantially.

Posted by tien mao in Friends/Family, Movies at 8:59 AM



December 8, 2004

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

POST #    1454

Last night, I got to watch a sneak preview of the new Wes Anderson movie, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, starring Bill Murray. Now, I've never been a huge Wes Anderson fan, but I wasn't going to turn down a chance to watch a movie that looked this funny. Security was tight as they examined all cell phones to make sure they weren't camera phones and those that were had to be checked in, along with cameras. Since my phone is a camera phone and I had a camera, they had to be checked. Despite sitting in the very last row of the mezzanine in a huge theater, I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I think this is my favorite Wes Anderson movie, but like I said, I'm not a huge fan or anything.

I thought Willem Dafoe's character was the best. There's nothing quite like a cool, quiet, reliable engineer who is also oversensitive. Slap an accent on him and call him Klaus and it's damn near perfect. Also awesome was Pelé, the team's safety expert and the team of interns. My one disappointment was Owen Wilson who, while funny, wasn't great or anything.

The film also featured a great soundtrack, sang at times by Pelé, but mostly because of the Steve Zissou theme song. Very addictive. You can either go to the website and listen to it in the background or put this on repeat.

As a bonus, if you go to the website, you might catch a brief glimpse of nudity. In the Team Zissou menu under Team, you can see Ann-Marie topless briefly before her name covers her chest. Or you can just squint your eyes at this. Thanks to Neil for grabbing that and the addictive song.

Watch the trailer, which starts with one of the best scenes of the movie. Steve Zissou explains their helmets with the bunny ears and dances. Awesome.

Related, Karen Wilson's interview with Wes Anderson, which I linked over in the Little Read Links.

Posted by tien mao in Movies at 7:52 AM



December 4, 2004

Why Spiderman 2 is Unrealistic

POST #    1446

I watched Spiderman 2 for the first time Thursday night and it's not the most realistic movie I've seen. I guess with most movies, you have to suspend some reality to a degree, and that includes Spiderman 2. I mean, you've got a dude wearing a spider suit!

My biggest issue with the movie was the subway scene. No, not the whole elevated line in midtown Manhattan thing (although that's pretty retarded too), but more of what happens at the end of the scene.

At the end of the scene, people pass an unmasked Spiderman through the subway car. If it were really New York, people would have broke out their cell phones, called their friends saying "you will not believe what I just saw", and/or photographed the happenings with their cameras. Then again, if the MTA goes ahead with their changes, people would get arrested for taking those photos.

Also, did anyone else notice in the opening credits, when they were refreshing our memories about the first movie, they even had the tongue that was in the upside down alleyway kiss? The directors also found another way to get MJ's shirt wet. Very nice.

Posted by tien mao in Movies at 11:31 AM



December 3, 2004

Great NY Times Juxtaposition

POST #    1447

At the bottom, an advertisement for the new movie, Closer. To the top right, a teaser for the NY Times review of the movie, "In spite of the teasing promise of its title, Mike Nichols's deft drama does everything it can to push you away." At least the NY Times Movie Section isn't influenced by advertising.

Click on the image to see the whole screen shot. I guess it's not terribly insightful by me, but I found it amusing.

- NY Times: When Talk Is Sexier Than a Clichéd Clinch

Posted by tien mao in Movies at 7:57 AM



November 5, 2004

Netflix Goes Shrek

POST #    1393

With the release of Shrek 2 today, Netflix has turned their traditionally red envelopes green. Fun fun. I've seen special envelopes before, most recently with Garfield on it, but I can't remember if they have ever had a special color envelope for a movie.

Hopefully, I'll be able to get Shrek 2 from Netflix today.

Posted by tien mao in Movies at 6:46 AM



September 24, 2004

Pizza, Movie, and a Surprise

POST #    1311

Last night I made my first pizza with toppings and it turned out pretty damn good. Using homemade tomato sauce again (also spicy), the pizza was topped with mushrooms and pepperoni. Just like a pizza at Grimaldi's, the mushroom made parts of the crust soggy. I had some issues getting the pizza off the peel, but that might be a combination of waiting too long to get the pizza into the oven and not enough flour.

While eating my tasty pizza, I watched In the Cut. Meg Ryan's in the movie, but it's no Sleepless in Seattle. It's more like the scene at Katz's from When Harry Met Sally - over and over and much more graphic. There's no denying that Meg looked good in this movie despite being 40+.

Towards the end of the movie, I was greeted with a surprise at the door that I thought was my idiot neighbor, but thankfully it was not. The surprise has given me a smile that will carry right up until Monday morning though.

I'll be out of town this weekend enjoying a football game in Michigan. See you when I get back.

Posted by tien mao in Food/Drink, Friends/Family, Movies at 7:53 AM



September 14, 2004

Watching the Passion of the Christ

POST #    1283

Last night, I watched The Passion of the Christ from Mel Gibson and it was quite the movie. Ignoring the controversy about the movie and it's historical accuracy and whether it will cause anti-semitism, I tried to watch the movie with an open mind. It was a very, very powerful movie and was honestly well directed. I can see how that might add fuel to the controversy about the movie.

For me, the hardest part of the movie to take was the overall gruesomeness. After reading reviews, it was expected, but the amount of blood soaked violence was difficult to take. It's different than your typical movie. It's not your Saving Private Ryan violence where you see limbs being blown off - that's your typical movie violence - where this movie was different. Bloody torture scenes, beatings, and of course the crucifixion.

I suppose it's somewhat lucky that I watched the movie at home. With reports of people falling ill or being overcome with emotions, I could hit pause and go pee whenever necessary. It also helped that I had distractions to divert my attention from some of the things in the movie. It was really that violent. It's worth a watch if you can stomach the violence and if you can put all other feelings about the movie aside. Good thing I have Netflix, because I wasn't going to pay $11 to see this movie.

And is it me, or is watching the movie and buying movie inspired jewelry two different things. Everyone needs their Passion Nail rings! What would Jesus do bracelets replaced by yellow Livestrong bracelets, replaced by Passion Nail rings. You heard it here first!

Posted by tien mao in Movies at 8:03 AM



August 25, 2004


POST #    1239

Last night I got to check out a screening of Hero, the "new" release from Zhang Yimou. While it might not be the greatest movie ever, it certainly is a beautiful movie. The movie has a great cast, with Jet Li, Tony Leung, Maggie Cheung, and Zhang Ziyi, and is directed by Zhang Yimou. With Christopher Doyle as the cinematographer, you kind of know it's going to be a great looking movie.

Hero takes place during China's Warring States period, where the country was divided into seven factions, all fighting for control. The leader of the Qin was the most ruthless of all the leaders, and was the target of many assassination attempts. Three assassins were vanquished by Jet Li's character, earning him a meeting with the Qin King.

It is during his sitting with the King, several stories unfold of how the nameless Li defeated the three most famous assassins in the land. The beauty in which the story is told is worth the price of admission alone. Of course, for me, this was free, but that's a minor detail. One scene, in particular, stands out. A fight scene between Maggie Cheung and Zhang Ziyi was filmed in a forrest full of yellow leaves, blowing as the two actresses flew and spun through the air. There is more to the beauty of that scene, but it's one of those things you have to see.

If the cast and the people behind the film weren't impressive enough, the movie also featured music by Tan Dun and violin solos and fiddling by Itzhak Perlman. Oh, and the film is also presented by Quentin Tarantino.

Posted by tien mao in Movies at 8:59 AM



August 6, 2004

Metallica: Some Kind of Monster

POST #    1202

Last night, after a rain delay postponed it for a couple of weeks, I finally went to go see Metallica: Some Kind of Monster. It was quite excellent. The movie covers arguably the best metal band of all time as they struggle to come together after Jason Newsted left the group.

Filming took almost two years and during that period, Metallica recorded an album that eventually became St. Anger, went through group therapy, hired a new bass player, and had their lead singer go through alcohol rehab. It was a strange movie, in that you would never expect a group like Metallica to have a therapist, let alone document the whole process for a movie.

Nevertheless, it was very interesting. You could see the tension between Lars Ulrich (no longer the Dutchman some knew him as) and James Hetfield. There was also some insight into their personal lives and families. For his part, Lars has a very entertaining family - from his son to his father, a Gandalphian-like man.

I don't think you have to be a Metallica fan to appreciate the movie, because like Lars Ulrich said, "it's not a film about Metallica - it's a film about relationships."

Posted by tien mao in Movies at 7:36 AM



May 10, 2004

Every Mother's Son at The TriBeCa Film Festival

POST #    1018

Sunday was the last day of the TriBeCa Film Festival, and of course, I went to see another movie. On the ticket, "Audience Award Winner" was printed, and I'm thankful that it wasn't one of the movies that I had seen already. Fittingly, since it was mother's day, the award went to Every Mother's Son, a movie about three mothers in New York City. Iris Baez, Kadiatou Diallo, and Doris Busch-Boskey are three women whose sons were killed by police officers in the NYPD. The women have since bonded and have attempted to use their losses to reform police methods nationwide. It was a touching movie to watch on mother's day, but a pretty negative view of the police department. Each of their sons, Anthony Baez, Amadou Diallo, and Gideon Busch, were killed by police officers in situations where a questionable amount of force was used.

Although the movie was very good, I'm not sure it was the best way to end a week at the film festival. Over the week, I went to five screenings: Beyond Manhattan, Zatoichi, Brotherhood, Crazy Legs Conti, and Every Mother's Son. The movies varied quite a bit, but each one was good. I have no complaints about the movies that I saw. I liked that each one, except Zatoichi, had something to do with New York, something the programmers clearly tried to highlight. It would be remiss of me not to point out an article from The Times about the film festival and how it still lacks prestige.

- TriBeCa Film Festival listing for "Every Mother's Son"
- WBAI: "Film Challenges Police Brutality"
- All entries on the film festival

- Gothamist on the award winners and Every Mother's Son

Posted by tien mao in Movies at 7:40 AM



May 9, 2004

Super Size Me

POST #    1014

Last night, I went to check out Super Size Me, a movie about one man's quest to eat McDonald's every day for every meal. Everything that Morgan Spurlock ingested was from McDonald's. No outside sources of intake, not even water that wasn't sold at McDonald's. Everytime he was asked to "super size", he did, and he ate everything on the menu. Sometimes, he actually ordered more than one value meal per sitting. In his 30 days of eating, Spurlock goes from a healthy individual to a softer, rounder version of himself, with some potentially serious health problems.

The logical question is, "why the hell would anyone eat so much McDonald's?" Spurlock decided to do this after McDonald's successfully defended itself from a lawsuit by a pair of obese teenagers from New York who blamed the McDiet on weight problems. In the ruling, the judge said there was no direct evidence of harm caused by the food from McDonald's, something Spurlock obviously disproves.

After seeing this movie, I probably won't go to McDonald's for a month, and when I do, I won't be going to the the worst McDonald's in the world. Once I read Fast Food Nation (probably in a month), I might not go to McDonald's for another few months. I guess seeing this movie was a good thing.

More information:
- Super Size Me - official site
- NY Times: When All Those Big Macs Bite Back

Posted by tien mao in Movies at 10:50 AM



May 8, 2004

The Perfect Movie for Tom Cruise?

POST #    1011

So The Last Samurai, might be a bit controversial, but after watching it last night, I think it was the perfect role for Tom Cruise. Think about it, he's short and, stereotype or not, most Asian people are pretty short too. It works perfectly for Cruise, right? He no longer had to stand on a box or wear lifts during this movie. Most of his costars, except maybe Ken Watanabe were shorter than him. There are scenes where he sits down (perfect), scenes where he was filmed on a horse (even better), and scenes where the he was shot from below (I guess that had to do).

Posted by tien mao in Movies at 10:33 AM



May 7, 2004

Spidey's Retractable Web - Baseball Changes Stance on Spider-Man

POST #    1007

One day after announcing a unique parnership with Columbia Pictures, Major League Baseball and Columbia turned around and changed their agreement. During the weekend of June 11-13, MLB agreed to promote Columbia's new movie, Spider-Man 2. The idea was to cross-promote the two and hopefully lure some kids back into the ballpark (not sure why they didn't just use the creepy chocolate man). The deal was thought up by McCann Erickson, the ad agency that represents both Sony (Columbia's parent company) and MLB. The deal had multiple promotional items for Spider-Man 2: webs and logos adorning the three bases and a ceremonial home plate for the ceremonial first pitch, Spidey on-deck circles, previews during the innings, and giveaways for the children. There was even some talk about putting something on the protective netting behind home plate, but that was nixed before the deal was announced. The revised deal will not have logos on the bases.

The deal was worth a reported $2.5 million for baseball, with $50,000 going to most of the participating home teams. The Red Sox and Yankees were to get $100,000 for the weekend promotion. get richer? Granted, not that much richer, but should they really have been pushing that envelope too?

Baseball set two dangerous precedents, that on field marketing can be bought and that teams with high payroll with get more money from baseball. When does marketing interfere with "purity" the game. Drugs are semi-accepted, despite drug testing, but do we really need to move towards more advertising or marketing on the field or on the players? Do we want the players to look like a stock car or like pro athletes in Europe? Baseball, despite all its misgivings, is a great game. Let's not muck it up by putting ads all over the place.

There is no doubt that parents would have brought their kids to the park to get free stuff, but where would their seats have been? Murray Chass wondered if the kids could they even have seen the bases, let alone the logo. It's a good thing they decided to change the promotion. Please, let the fields and the uniform remain uniform.

More information:
- Major League Baseball, Columbia Pictures statement regarding Spider-Man 2
- Spider-Man 2 swings into ballparks
- NY Times: Movie Symbol to Adorn Bases, Causing Gasps From the Purists
- NY Times: Advertising Casting Its Web Over Young Fans at the Park
- NY Times: Spider-Man Web of Ads Unravels

Posted by tien mao in Movies, Sports at 7:49 AM



May 5, 2004

Crazy Legs Conti at The TriBeCa Film Festival

POST #    1000

Last night, I went to see Crazy Legs Conti: Zen and the Art of Competitive Eating at the TriBeCa Film Festival (it really seems like I'm living at the film festival these days, no?). The film follows, Crazy Legs Conti in his transformation from fan of competitive eating to a professional eater. His goal is to compete with his heroes on the eating circuit and to eat at the annual competition at Nathan's in Coney Island. If you thought I had an obsession with food, you're nuts, because some of the footage in this film is insane. Conti tries to eat sticks of butter, eats 34 dozen oysters in 3 hours, and eventually goes on to eat 18.5 hot dogs.

Before the opening of the movie last night, Crazy Legs attempted to eat out of a "Popcorn Sarcophagus" but could "only" eat about 8 cubic feet. For shame Crazy Legs, for shame. After the movie, he joked that it was the first time he applied chapstick directly to his tongue.

As troubling as the subject of the movie is - men are stuffing themselves with tremendous amounts of food - it is also oddly fascinating. Conti is a charismatic competitor in the "new mold" of competitive eaters. Fit, trim, and eating everything in sight. Sure, Conti was occasionally employed as a sperm donor, but now that he's a pro, he only cleans windows and eats for a living. The movie has him as the 16th ranked eater on the pro-circuit today.

More information:
- Crazy Legs Conti, official movie site
- Crazy Legs Conti profile at the I.F.O.C.E.
- TriBeCa Film Festival listing for "Crazy Legs Conti"
- Oddly Enough News - "Competitive 'Eater' Sets Popcorn-Eating Challenge"

Posted by tien mao in Movies at 7:38 AM



May 4, 2004

Brotherhood at The TriBeCa Film Festival

POST #    997

Last night, after a brief stop at the NYC Blogger event, I went to see the world premere of Brotherhood, which was playing at Stuyvesant (my alma mater) for the TriBeCa Film Festival. Brotherhood, a documentary, is about three firehouses in the Fire Department of New York, their members, and how they move on and cope after the events of September 11th. The three houses that were the focus of the film were Engine Company 252 in Brooklyn, Rescue 4 in Queens, and Rescue 1 in Manhattan.

The film starts in 2002, approximately a year after "the events", and progresses about a year. During filming, you can see how the firemen develop bonds within their squads and join the "brotherhood". They all risk their lives every day, not knowing if every call will be their last, and bond through their time in the firehouses too.

Brotherhood is a very romantic look at the FDNY, with little evidence of the problems exhibited in March, but one can see how there could potentially be problems. With several more senior members of the department having friends who passed and new members joining, the FDNY is undergoing many changes, which can obviously cause tension in the department.

It would have been nice to see the documentary address some of these issues, but that is the only place I would say this film fell short. It was an emotional, and at times funny, film that really did show the quality of the best fire department in the world. Also in attendance at the film were FDNY Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta and film festival co-founder, Jane Rosenthal.

- TriBeCa Film Festival listing for "Brotherhood"
- World Movie Magazine coverage on "Brotherhood"

Posted by tien mao in Movies at 7:33 AM



May 2, 2004

Zatoichi at The TriBeCa Film Festival

POST #    994

The second film I watched at the TriBeCa Film Festival was Zatoichi, a Japanese movie directed by and starring Takeshi Kitano. The film is about Zatoichi, a blind masseur that wanders into a Japanese town rife with gangs. What nobody knows is that this blind masseur is actually a master swordsman. Zatoichi befriends several other people in town, including a traveling pair of geisha and a local buffoon. The masseur soon encounters many of the gang members including a ronin with only his "cane".

I was thinking of deeming it the best movie I've seen all year, but that I'm going to stop short of that. Let's just say that this was one of the best movies that I've seen this year. Not surprisingly, it is similar to the two Kill Bill movies, so if you liked those at all, you'll at least like Zatoichi. It was fun and funny, had plenty of story and background stories, was chock full of action, and had a pretty cool ending. What more could you want from a movie?

The showing at the film festival was the New York premiere of the film, but Zatoichi is scheduled to be released later this year by Miramax. There are two more showings of Zatoichi at the TriBeCa Film Festival on Friday and Sunday.

More information:
- Zatoichi - official site
- TriBeCa Film Festival listing for "Zatoichi"

Posted by tien mao in Movies at 12:25 PM



Beyond Manhattan at The TriBeCa Film Festival

POST #    992

Yesterday afternoon, I went down to TriBeCa for the 3rd Annual TriBeCa Film Festival. It was my first time attending, but it was a lot of fun. The film festival was originally started to help revive the economy in Lower Manhattan after September 11th and to "celebrate New York City as a major filmmaking center." Movies from around the world are shown and include shorts, documentaries, independant features, and even some studio releases.

One of the screenings that I watched yesterday was Beyond Manhattan, a collection of seven shorts that take place in New York City. The short film committee screened over 1500 entries and narrowed it down to Last Night, Transit, Exactly, Avenue X, Skips, Belle, and Gowanus, Brooklyn. Strangely, three of the seven movies took place in Manhattan despite the name of the series. While all the shorts were good, I really enjoyed Avenue X and Belle. Avenue X is about two teenage friends who are deaf and looking for something to do on Memorial Day. The film looks at the two friends as they make their way to Coney Island to ride the Cyclone. Belle is about an older woman from Brighton Beach and follows her as she sits on the boardwalk with her friends, goes shopping, and has a slight accident. It's kind of a sad story that isn't often told, but you know happens all the time.

The TriBeCa Film Festival started yesterday and runs through Sunday, May 9th. Beyond Manhattan plays one more time on May 7th at 9 p.m.

More information:
- TriBeCa Film Festival listing for "Beyond Manhattan"

Posted by tien mao in Movies, NYC at 10:12 AM



April 29, 2004

Hershey's Presents the Top Ten Kisses in Film and Caramel Kisses

POST #    986

Last night, I was invited to the Empire State Building to watch Nick Warnock and Amy Henry from The Apprentice unveil the top ten kisses in film.

10. Winona Ryder and Ethan Hawke in Reality Bites
9. Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds in Singing in the Rain
8. Judd Nelson and Molly Ringwald in The Breakfast Club
7. Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift in A place in the Sun
6. Molly Ringwald and Michael Schoeffling in Sixteen Candles *
5. Rock Hudson and Doris Day in Pillow Talk
4. Humphrey Bogart and Audrey Hepburn in Sabrina
3. Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca
2. Omar Sharif and Julie Christie in Doctor Zhivago
1. Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh in Gone With the Wind

* it should be noted that they incorrectly credited Justin Henry as the other kisser in Sixteen Candles. Jen pointed this out immediately after they said this.

Hmm, why no mention of the kissing in The Crying Game, Wild Things, or Bound? So many kisses, such traditional choices. No hot lesbian action. What a shame.

At the event, there were also plenty of Hershey's new Kisses filled with Caramel. They are kind of like a Rolo or a Caramello, but Hershey's describes them as "smooth milk chocolate and creamy, luscious caramel together." The caramel was much gooier than the Rolo contents and more similar to that of a Caramello. They are really quite delicious. And if shoving several in my mouth at the event wasn't enough, they sent everyone home with a whole package of them. I also came home with a copy of Casablanca.

Special thanks go out to Gothamist reader Michelle for inviting us to the event.

Posted by tien mao in Food/Drink, Movies at 7:29 AM



April 23, 2004

Bill Killed - Kill Bill Vol. 2

POST #    969

Last night, I went to see Kill Bill Vol. 2, the much anticipated second half of Kill Bill. There were varied opinions of Vol. 1, which was also evident of Vol. 2. I enjoyed the first movie and while I enjoyed the second one, I didn't think it was as good. It's almost hard to compare the two because they are so different. I'm happy Quentin Tarantino split the movies up, because they probably wouldn't have fit together very well and cutting such a nice looking movie would be a shame. Doing so, however, seemed to leave the second movie a little slow.

Random things I think of the movie, because I'm having some serious writer's block:
- This volume seemed less violent than the first version.
- Uma Thurman was excellent in both, but she seemed very bronzed.
- Daryl Hannah looked damn good.
- The little, little thing after the credits is really, really short and is at the very, very end of the movie.

Posted by tien mao in Movies at 7:18 AM



April 16, 2004

The Times Visits Jenna

POST #    947

In yesterday's Home & Garden Section of The Times, there was an article about Jenna Jameson's 6,700 ft² Spanish-style home. She bought the home for a cool $2 million two years ago. I don't really care for Spanish-style homes, but if I had $2 million to buy one, maybe I would. I'm just amused by a porn star being covered in The New York Times.

Excerpts from the article:

- Ms. Jameson had on a modest blue cashmere Louis Vuitton sweater, jeans and pink patent leather Louis Vuitton boots, along with as a 9 1/2-carat diamond wedding ring and a 13-carat canary diamond from her husband. She looked like any other affluent Scottsdale homemaker, except that her surgically enhanced 32 double-D breasts seem disproportionate to her 110-pound, 5-foot-7 frame.
- Ms. Jameson produces her own videos, in which, since she met Mr. Grdina five years ago, she has had sex only with him and with other women.
- As Ms. Jameson showed off the house, her father dropped by. Has he seen her videos? He assumed a horrified expression. "No!" he said.
- When the drugs made her so thin she couldn't model anymore, she moved in with her father and detoxified. Modeling led to soft-core porn led to hard core. Already divorced from one porn director, she met Mr. Grdina, another porn director, at a sex-video convention.

I wonder how many times the phrases "sex only with him and with other women", "double-D breasts", and "hard core" have appeared in the paper.

- NY Times: Off Camera, Cashmere and Crosses

Posted by tien mao in Movies at 7:25 AM



April 15, 2004

Netflix Ticket?

POST #    945

I think it's abundantly clear that I'm a fan of Netflix. I hype it up as much as I can, and use it a lot. Maybe not as much as some people, but I get my money's worth. Last night, I was opening up an envelope from Ticketmaster (bastards) and there was a nifty Netflix promotional piece in the envelope. It's even shaped like a ticket. Not a movie ticket that I've ever seen in New York, but I'm sure they still use these somewhere besides raffles. Despite that, and the fact that none of the movies on the mailer were out when the envelope was mailed (March 15th), I thought it was pretty cool.

Oh, and everyone should use Netflix. Really, it's great. Okay, I'll stop now.

Posted by tien mao in Movies at 12:05 PM



March 28, 2004

Winged Migration

POST #    897

Last night, I watched Winged Migration, an absolutely beautiful movie about migrating birds. The film follows birds as they are flying and "migrating" in the northern and southern hemispheres. It really is a stunningly beautiful movie with the images that the filmmakers capture. Filming of the movie took place over almost four years and involved about five hundred people.

As beautiful as the movie is, a lot of it is movie staged. The making of on the DVD shows how it's done. You learn how they got such wonderful shots of the birds and that Frenchies can't pronounce the word Adirondack (I did a double take when they first said it). Most of the birds were trained and bread in France, then brought to the various places the movie was filmed. Seems kind of like cheating, but they never claimed it was a documentary - it's just just a story about birds.

Posted by tien mao in Movies at 12:00 PM



March 24, 2004

21 Grams

POST #    881

Last night, I watched 21 Grams, a drama starring Naomi Watts, Sean Penn, and Benicio Del Toro. Their characters are brought together by one event tragic event, a car accident, which changed all their lives. I think the concept behind the movie wasn't that unique, but I thought it was very good nonetheless. The three stars of the movie turned in excellent performances, with exceptional acting by Naomi Watts.

21 Grams certainly isn't a light movie, but I enjoyed watching the movie come together as the film progressed.

Posted by tien mao in Movies at 11:16 AM



March 22, 2004


POST #    874

Saturday night, after all our other activities, we watched Demonlover. I'm really not sure what to say about this film. Some thoughts that come to mind - interesting, confusing, fascinating, and annoying. It was just a strange movie. I almost want to write it off as another strange foreign film, but despite my confusion about the movie, I think that it was worth checking out.

Demonlover stars Connie Nielsen (who, might I add, is absolutely beautiful in this movie) as a corporate mole who is working for a french conglomerate. Her company is negotiating for the rights to some Japanese porn-anime and is negotiating the American online distribution rights as well. Somewhere along the line, the movie takes a twist into a strange online world that has real-world consequences.

I've never been good at explaining movies, but Demonlover is even harder to explain. I'm happy that I checked it out though. Now if someone could only explain the whole movie to me, I would appreciate it.

- Demonlover (official site)
- Jen's review of Demonlover (she explains it much better than I do)

Posted by tien mao in Movies at 7:22 AM



March 19, 2004

The Lifestyle: Swinging in America

POST #    868

Last night, I walked in on a couple of friends watching a disturbing, disturbing movie - The Lifestyle: Swinging in America. The movie is about people that enjoy "the lifestyle", which is also known as swinging. Needless to say, it was more than disturbing. I think every guy thinks, "Man, swinging is so cool, imagine all those hot chicks I could bang." Well, by the looks of this movie, it's not quite like that. Most of the people in the movie were middle-aged or older.

It was so very disturbing, and I only caught the last 15 minutes. The worst part I saw was when this guy was servicing a woman and they had a close up of his face. Needless to say, both were enjoying themselves way too much.

I'm going to need that brain washing machine in Eternal Sunshine to erase those images that I saw last night. If you're into the lifestyle, that's cool, but please, please don't make a movie where your fat ass hanging all over the place.

Thanks to Christina for these lovely and disturbing images.

- Buy the movie on Amazon.

Posted by tien mao in Movies at 10:51 AM



Those Hacks at The Times!

POST #    865

After I watched Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, I wrote, "Don't they have any consideration for those people who have to put movie names on marquees or print movie tickets?" Today, Elvis Mitchell reviews the movie for The NY Times, where he says that the movie has "a title that will frustrate ushers trying to abbreviate it for marquees."

Man, he's getting all Jayson Blair on us, isn't he? Okay, maybe not...but still. I like to yell conspiracy about everything. Anyway, I thought it was a great movie and urge people to go see it. Knock that stupid god movie out of first.

More info:
- Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
- NY Times: Washing That Girl Out of His Head
- Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (official site)
- Lacuna Inc. (the memory erasing company)

Posted by tien mao in Movies at 6:15 AM



March 13, 2004

Spish Splash in the Swimming Pool

POST #    845

Ludivine Sagnier in Swimming Pool.

Last night, I watched Swimming Pool, a beautifully filmed mystery-drama. The film, directed by François Ozon, was very interesting. A London novelist, Sarah Morton, played by Charlotte Rampling, travels to southern France to escape the city and write her latest novel. There, she encounters an unwanted house guest, her publisher's daughter, Julie, played by Ludivine Sagnier.

Once there Julie and Sarah clash over Julie's lifestyle and night-time activities. As her Sarah's novel develops, so does the plot. I don't want to say too much more, for those that have yet to see it. It's a little slow, but at the end, it made me think. If you see it, you'll understand.

Just watching it makes me want to visit France. As a bonus, there are plenty of shots of Julie topless (if that's what you're looking for in a movie).

Posted by tien mao in Movies at 9:44 AM



March 9, 2004

Sylvia - Boring, Boring, Boring

POST #    822

Last night, I watched Sylvia, a movie about Sylvia Plath and her marriage to Edwards Hughes. This is not a movie to watch when you're tired. Both poets were obviously very talented, but this movie can put you to sleep. (It should be noted that I can fall asleep at anytime, but this movie can be considered a sleep aid.) That said, Gwyneth Paltrow did an excellent job playing a crazed Plath. I can't say that the movie was bad, but I didn't love it. It was just so boring that I wished Gwyneth would have stuck her head in the oven about an hour into the movie.

I had a chance to watch this movie last year before it came out, but decided not to. I would have had to watch the movie after a screening of Pieces of April. SoHo House wasn't even enough incentive to stay and watch it. It even seemed like a boring and heavy movie back then.

Posted by tien mao in Movies at 11:28 AM



March 5, 2004

Netflix, Almost Two Years Running

POST #    811

I'm a Netflix addict. I freely admit it. I love Netflix. We had a few bumps in the road, but it has pretty much been smooth sailing since we've been together. I started on March 12, 2002, with Dazed and Confused, Sixteen Candles, and The Insider as my first three movies. In the 103 weeks since then, I have rented 206 other DVDs, which, in all likelihood, is not a record. That is an average of 8.8 movies a month, at a cost of $20 or about $2.27 a movie. In that time, it has cost me $480 in membership dues, which is a lot, but if I rented at Blockbuster, it would have cost me $836 (assuming $4/movie).

My low point with Netflix was June ,2002, when I watched only two movies - American Pie 2 and 2001: A Space Odyssey. I have watched 13 movies in five different months, but 14 is my record and it happened this past December. Just plain crazy.

Where do I find the time to watch all these movies? That's a good damn question. Weekends mostly. I try to watch at least three movies a week, and that usually happens on the weekend. If there is nothing good on TV, I'll throw in a DVD. Sometimes, I even watch a DVD after watching TV. It's gotten to the point where I don't remember what DVDs I've watched, which is sad when you think about it, but what can you do?

Here is a tip though. I'm sure hardcore Netflix people know this already, but I'll share anyway. Movies tend to be released onto DVDs on Tuesday of every week. Before the movie comes out, I put it on the top of my queue and after I return the movies I watched over the weekend (they get there on Tuesday), I get the new movies that I want to watch right away, avoiding the waits. Sometimes, if you get a DVD back to them on Monday, they even send out the DVD early. Shh...don't tell anyone else.

Posted by tien mao in Movies at 7:35 AM



March 2, 2004

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

POST #    800

Last night, I went to an advance screening of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, which has to have the longest title for a movie in recent memory (excluding trilogies, of course). What's with movies and their long titles? Don't they have any consideration for those people who have to put movie names on marquees or print movie tickets? Sure, they can abbreviate, but if they put "Eternal Sunshine" up, you're liable to think it's some hippy movie and if they put "Spotless Mind", you might think you had some degenerative brain disorder. Anyway...

"Eternal Sunshine" stars Jim Carrey as Joel, a man that tries to get his memories erased by Lacuna Inc., a sketchy memory erasing company. Joel tries to back out of the procedure and Lacuna's employees proceed to erase his memories. It's a difficult movie to explain, but that's the gist of it. The acting was tremendous. Jim Carrey in a semi-dramatic role, showing his versatile acting skills (who knew!) and Kate Winslet, and Kirsten Dunst (bonus - she dances around in minimal clothing), the list goes on. I thought it was an excellent movie that should be checked out when it is released on March 19th.

"Spotless Mind" also has plenty of shots of New York City, which is always a bonus in my book. Unfortunately, I didn't notice any usage of ELO's Mr. Blue Sky in the actual movie like there was in the trailer.

- Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (official site)
- Lacuna Inc. (the memory erasing company)
- Movie trailer

Posted by tien mao in Movies at 8:38 AM



February 25, 2004

Finally Watched LOTR

POST #    787

Going into the theater, I thought I would be the last person on earth (or at least the movie-going public) to see Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. To my surprise, there were a fair amount of people in the theater. Lots of middle-aged people, but I guess that's what happens when a movie can appeal to all age groups. The movie was excellent, but at over three hours, it was damn long. Several people went to the bathroom during the movie, with one guy going at least three times. Lucky for me, I stopped drinking fluids in the afternoon and went to the bathroom before it started.

The movie, despite the length, kept my attention through most of it with the beautiful images, the incredible action scenes, and via twists in the story (I've never read any of the books). Towards the end though, I kept thinking, "man, it looks like Frodo and Sam are going to make out." This happened at least two times, but maybe more. After that kiss on the forehead, I thought they were going to drop to the ground and... Anyway, homo-erotic overtones aside, Return of the King was excellent and I can see why it was nominated for so many Oscars. Besides, I love Top Gun too, which is probably the most homo-erotic movie out there.

Next on the movies I have yet to see - Lost in Translation.

Posted by tien mao in Movies at 10:57 AM



February 24, 2004

Friedmans Revealed?

POST #    785

This past weekend, I watched Capturing the Friedmans, the much ballyhooed, Oscar-nominated documentary on the Friedman family. In the late 1980's, Arnold and Jesse Friedman were both charged with molesting children in the basement of their home where they taught a computer class. After watching the film, I came away thinking that there was no way that Jesse Friedman could have done the horrible things that were mentioned in the film. I also came away with a bad impression of Elaine Friedman.

A NY Times article today details some criticisms that the former victims had with the film. They say that the film distorted or omitted some facts from the case and presented Arnold and Jesse in somewhat of a positive light.

Much of the film was made with home video footage from the Friedman family, which gave the viewer a creepy sense of being in the family as the drama of the case unfolded and slowly destroyed the family. I get the chills just going to the movie's website.

- NY Times: Victims Say Film on Molesters Distorts Facts

Posted by tien mao in Movies at 11:44 AM



February 23, 2004


POST #    780

Police official points out blood evidence at the scene.

Last night, I watched the movie Wonderland, a movie about John Holmes and the 1981 Wonderland murders. John Holmes was a porn star who made over 2000 movies and reportedly had sex with 14,000 women. The movie Boogie Nights was loosely based on the life of John Holmes, where Wonderland covers a very short period of it. The Wonderland murders happened on July 1, 1981 in Los Angeles, and resulted in four deaths. The victims were all beaten to death with lead pipes, resulting in a gruesome crime scene, but nobody was ever convicted of the murders.

The DVD includes your standard DVD footage - deleted scenes, photos, etc. - and some footage by the LAPD at the crime scene. The footage is particularly interesting. There are detectives dressed in some plaid pants that point out parts of the crime scene. There are shots of cigarettes in ashtrays, blood spatter, blood covered furniture, and even dead bodies. It was a morbid, yet interesting, look into the scene of the murder.

More info:
- Wonderland, official site
- E! Online: The Real-Life Johnny Wadd--Eat Your Heart Out, Marky Mark
- Who is John Holmes

Posted by tien mao in Movies at 7:30 AM



February 6, 2004

I Love Me Some Baaad Movies...

POST #    750

...but not in this case. Last night, I watched My Boss's Daughter, a horrible, horrible movie. It stared Ashton Kutcher and the orange colored Tara Reid. Man, those are two horrible actors, or was it the bad script. Who knows, it was just plain bad. I'm not sure if there were any redeeming qualities. Maybe Andy Richter, maybe Molly Shannon, maybe Dave Foley. Maybe not. At least there was a wet t-shirt scene by Carmen Electra. It's not that I don't love bad movies from time to time, this one was just plain bad. Not Batman and Robin bad though.

Perhaps I can erase the memory of this movie by drinking beer and playing Sim City 4 all night long.

Posted by tien mao in Movies at 5:05 PM



January 30, 2004

In Need of a Lighthearted Movie

POST #    733

Last night, I went to go see Monster, which stars Charlize Theron and Christina Ricci. If you're looking for a happy movie, don't watch Monster. It's a great film, but quite disturbing. Much has been made about Charlize and how she looks like a totally different person in the movie. Everything you've heard about that is true. She's not pretty at all in this movie. While there is nudity, you almost don't want to see her topless. Excellent, excellent movie. We'll see if she takes home the Oscar or not.

As if watching Monster wasn't heavy enough, I came home and popped in Thirteen, which I got from Netflix this week. Thirteen is about a 7th grader who goes from an innocent girl to a girl hooked on drugs, dabbling in sex, and cuts herself. Another excellent movie, which makes me think about what the hell is happening to kids these days. I mean, I don't think anybody in my 7th grade class was that messed up. Sure, I was in a good educational environment, which may have prevented things like that from happening. But have kids really gotten that bad in 12 years?

Hopefully, the two of the movies that I have coming next week will be crappy and lighthearted enough to even things out a bit.

Posted by tien mao in Movies at 7:35 AM



January 10, 2004

Chillin...Chillin Indoors

POST #    690

***The title of the post is much better if you could hear me say it, but since you can't hear me say it, it's lost on you, the reader.***

To avoid the bitter cold, I decided not to venture out today, except for one small trip to get something to eat. During that trip, I couldn't feel my face after 5 minutes of exposure to temperatures in the teens.

Thankfully, I'm signed up for a service like Netflix. So far, I've watched S.W.A.T. and The Order, two rather blah movies, but it's better than being outside. There was also football on this afternoon and a game on tonight, which also serve as a way to avoid the weather.

Interestingly enough, S.W.A.T. was directed by Clark Johnson, who played Meldrick on the TV show Homicide. I only learned of this by watching the extra features on the DVD.

Posted by tien mao in Movies at 8:52 PM



December 15, 2003

Gigli - Just Plain Bad

POST #    639

"Yeah, we know, our movie sucked."

Over the weekend, I watched a really horrible movie, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez' Gigli. Now, I wasn't expecting a good movie or anything, in fact, I was expecting a really horrible movie. Since the quality of any movie is relative to other movies, I decided to watch Gigli to remember what a bad movie was. I guess I didn't really know how bad the movie actually was. The script poor at best, but the worst part of the movie had to be Ben Affleck (Larry Gigli). He has got to be one of the worst actors in Hollywood right now. I can't remember the last good movie he was in. Maybe Good Will Hunting? And he wasn't even the star in that! J-Lo wasn't too bad, but she couldn't even carry this load on her healthy-sized buttocks. Al Pacino was also in the movie, which was a pleasant surprise, but even he stank (not sure if he was better in Simone or Gigli).

In his New York Times review, A.O. Scott said it best, "Larry's name is pronounced ZHEE-lee, or as he likes to say, ''rhymes with really.'' As in really, really silly, which is the kindest way to describe this hopelessly misconceived exercise in celebrity self-worship." I would replace "silly" with "bad," but otherwise he is dead on.

- NY Times review: An Offer of Love He Can't Refuse
- Rotten Tomatoes on Gigli

Posted by tien mao in Movies at 9:21 AM



November 30, 2003

Brrr - The Cooler

POST #    600

Maria Bello and William H. Macy in The Cooler.

Friday night, I ventured out in the rain to watch The Cooler, William H. Macy's latest movie. Macy stars as Bernie Lootz, a casino cooler, a man with such bad luck that he turns a hot player or hot table cold instantaneously. His gambling debts leads him to work for his friend and casino owner Shelly Kaplow, played by Alec Baldwin. Lootz's luck changes when he meets Natalie, a cocktail waitress, played by Maria Bello. With Natalie, "lady luck" is suddenly on Bernie's side and he turns everything into a winner.

I enjoyed the movie, but I can't say that it was amazing or anything. I can say that, as always, William H. Macy turned in a solid performance. Ron Livingston is also in the movie, which is a plus, and there is nudity from Maria (also a plus) and William (not a plus in my book). The movie seemed a bit slow, but what do you expect from this strange love story. Overall, a decent movie, but I'm not sure the movie is worth $10 (or whatever it is where you live). It would be an entertaining rental though.

Posted by tien mao in Movies at 4:35 PM



November 18, 2003

The Station Agent

POST #    572

The Station Agent - Fin, Olivia, Joe.

Last night, Kim and I went to a screening of The Station Agent, a movie starring Peter Dinklage. I may recognize him from such movies as Elf (I saw that at a screening as well).

Dinklage plays Finbar "Fin" McBride, a dwarf that keeps to himself and prefers if others didn't bother him. Olivia (Patricia Clarkson - I saw her in Pieces of April - yet another screening) and Joe (Bobby Cannavale) co-star as Fin's neighbors. The three of them become closer and closer as the movie progresses. Each character is going through their own emotional problems, but find each other for comfort in a small New Jersey town. I know it sounds really sappy, but it was quite possibly the best movie I have seen this year. It's funny, yet a movie with a performance by Dinklage that would measure up (pun intended) to any award-winning actor. The Station Agent is in very limited release right now, but if you see an ad for it in your newspaper, be sure to go see it.

- NY Times review of The Station Agent

Posted by tien mao in Movies at 7:37 AM



October 30, 2003

Elf - The Feel-Good Movie of the Year

POST #    514


Last night, Kim and I went to see a screening of Will Ferrell's new movie, Elf. I'm not sure if it was really the feel-good movie of the year, I kind of just wanted to say that. It would be funny if the "little read book" was quoted in the ads. Anyway, back to reality. We saw the movie at the MGM Screening Room, which was quite nice and comfortable. They even had cookies outside that were very tasty. Why New Line Cinema (an AOL Time Warner company) was showing a movie in MGM's screening room is beyond me.

What's not to love about this movie? Okay, maybe I could have done without Will Ferrell in tights, but if you've watched Conan O'Brien or SNL, you've seen that, or worse, already. For those of you who don't know, Elf is about a human that was raised by elves in the North Pole and then goes on a quest to find his father. His father, played by James Caan, of course lives in New York City, where nobody believes in Santa, elves, or Christmas for that matter (I'm thinking the high Jewish population might have had something to do with that). Watching Will Ferrell find his place in the city as an elf was nothing short of hilarity, something about playing a fish out of water just suits him. That and the hat that he wears for most of the movie is too cool.

Santa even gave Buddy (Ferrell's character) some tips about New York:
- Gum on the street is not free candy.
- There are many pizza places named "Ray's," but the original is on 11th.
- Peep shows are not sneak previews of this year's gifts.

Gothamist on Elf. Jen seems eager to see it.

Posted by tien mao in Movies at 7:46 AM



October 7, 2003

"read between the lines."

POST #    436

how can you not want to see this movie when you see this picture? (okay, maybe if you don't like jack black.)

last night, i met up with eddie and we watched school of rock. jack black was great. he was the classic jack black, from high fidelity and not the jack black from shallow hal. since i knew what to expect from him because of the previews, it was the children in the movie that stole the film. of all the kids in the bunch, i think i might have liked the asian kid the best. i mean, he's asian i'm asian, we both played the piano. i suppose that's pretty much where the similarities end. sure the movie has flaws in the plot, but i didn't go see this movie for realism. go into the movie, don't raise the bar too high, and you'll have fun. what more can you ask for in a movie like this? plus, there are some kick-ass tunes.

does anyone else think the movie kind of seemed like sister act? oh, and sarah silverman, totally hot (despite that whole racial incident).

the new york times review.

Posted by tien mao in Movies at 10:00 AM



September 27, 2003


POST #    409

i'm sitting here in my hot apartment watching collateral damage, AHH-nold's movie from 2002. in the movie, he is a firefighter avenging the death of his wife and son. in real life, AHH-nold is running for governor of california, which, according to sports guy, he calls "cal-eeee-for-knee-ah."

since he was a firefighter in the movie, i was sitting here and wondering how his relations are with actual firefighters in the state. the largest group of firefighters in the state, california professional firefighters, has endorsed gray davis for governor. i guess firefighters don't want to be portrayed as crazy people that go to foreign lands to exact revenge. that, and they seem to like what davis has done. in the movie, AHH-nold clearly has some excellent diplomatic skills that he exhibits while in columbia.

fyi, i don't plan on following the fcc's equal time rules (yes, i know they don't regulate this site), so i won't be covering the other 133 candidates. i do, however, think the whole thing is a joke.

two other interesting things about AHH-nold from gregg easterbrook:
-on some environmental issues
-on his writing

Posted by tien mao in Movies, Rants at 8:53 PM



September 12, 2003

american splendor

POST #    367

last night, i went to go see american splendor, a biopic about the life of harvey pekar. the movie follows about 30 years of the autobiographical comic book writer's life, which has many downs and a couple of ups. directors shari springer berman and robert pulcini filmed the movie in a very unique way and i encourage everyone to check it out. it's hard to get into without actually telling you how it was filmed, but gothamist did a pretty good summary of it about a month ago. paul giamatti was also perfect for the role. he seems to do the angry/disgruntled guy very very well. it's in limited release right now, but check out the website for more info.

Posted by tien mao in Movies at 9:39 AM



September 11, 2003

28 days later, 82 days later

POST #    365

last night, i went to see 28 days later again. i saw the original version back in june. why did i go see this gory movie again? i wanted to check it out with the re-released ending (that and my new friend jess had not seen it yet). there were actually a fair amount of people in the theater despite the fact that it was 10 pm and it seemed like about 10 people knew there was a new ending to it. so after seeing both endings, i like the first release's ending better, but i can see how the new ending would be good as well. i guess what i'm saying is that given the choice, i would go with the original release's ending.

my pee is now on my chair.

Posted by tien mao in Movies at 10:47 AM



August 9, 2003

bands cool. band members, not so much.

POST #    285

while at the university of michigan, you learn a few things besides what they teach you in class. you learn that if you aren't into sports, you should learn to at least tolerate them and you should go to football games. for me, these lessons were not needed. something most people do learn, is to appreciate the bands at the school - from the marching band to the various pep bands. the pecking order went from the michigan marching band, to hockey pep band, to the basketball pep band (i had issues with the musical selections of the bball band).

the michigan marching bands is arguably one of the best in the nation, with many things that make it great. besides the classic fight song that they play at all times, they can play almost every type of music. there is nothing quite like the moments before a football game when the band takes the field to start the day. while i have some bad memories of the band (they all revolve around them practicing near my apartment every morning during football season), the work they do is outstanding. hell, you can even buy their music (i recommend a saturday tradition).

i guess the inspiration for this post is the movie drumline, which i watched tonight. despite the topic of marching bands, it was quite an entertaining movie.

"baaaaand, take the field!"

the blues brother formation (the best, in my opinion)

Posted by tien mao in Concerts/Music, Movies at 2:12 AM



August 3, 2003

the devil be damned

POST #    270

after watching daredevil, i know two things: why hell's kitchen is safe and that jennifer garner is hot. okay, so i actually knew that she was hot before too. i think it's her lips and her cheek bones...that along with her incredible body...of work.

who cares if the movie is good...i'll stare at her all day!

Posted by tien mao in Movies at 2:27 AM



August 2, 2003

i don't really like biscuits

POST #    267

in general, i feel like biscuits are too buttery, which is odd, because i like bread and i like butter. in combination, i usually love them.

tonight, i went to watch the movie seabiscuit with my friend amy. now, this is quite possibly the most hyped movie all summer, even the matrix reloaded was less hyped. with coverage on all the networks as well as all over espn, you would think that harvey weinstein was behind it or something. one could also say that this is the "feel good movie of the year." i mean, what's not to love? underdog horse goes from being a claims horse to the best horse in the world while captivating people all over the nation.

i love watching horses race, so it wasn't hard for me to like this movie, and there is definitely a bond that is made between the audience and the characters in the movie. a job well done by director gary ross (big and pleasantville). my only issue was that it might have been a tad long.

for a more detailed and more critical review, read the sports guy's column here.

it should be noted that when i came home, i had to pee like a racehorse (pun totally intended).

Posted by tien mao in Movies at 1:19 AM



July 17, 2003

longest movie ever

POST #    226

i just finished watching one of the longer, if not the longest, movies that i have ever seen - gods and generals. a movie about the civil war has to be long, but this movie, the first of a trilogy of movies by director ron maxwell, was 231 minutes!! that is almost 4 hours! and the movie only covers up to stonewall jackson's death. it's so long that while in the theaters, there was in intermission. on dvd, it was on the front and the back. yikes.

Posted by tien mao in Movies at 1:11 AM



July 15, 2003

"Arr! This chair be high, says I."

POST #    220

tonight, i saw pirates of the caribbean: the curse of the black pearl (not to be confused with the disney ride that it was loosely based on) with abby, audrey, carolina, and ethan. i must say that i didn't really expect that much when i saw the trailers for this movie months ago, but i was pleasantly surprised. i guess the plot wasn't all that ridiculous, but johnny depp was wearing way too much makeup. i think he wore more makeup than the "working women" in the movie did. oh, and keira knightley is hot.

hi, i wear mascara...

also spotted at the movie theater was james from spin city. the saying is that the camera adds ten pounds, apparently being out of work adds another 10 pounds.

Posted by tien mao in Movies at 12:40 AM



July 6, 2003

nemo - found

POST #    165

hmm, i hope the title doesn't ruin the movie for anyone. if it did - oops! yesterday, i went to see finding nemo with the rents for $5 a ticket. ($5 a ticket!! granted, we are in pennsylvania, but still!!) it was a great family activity and one that many other families decided to partake in as well. i think i might have been the oldest "child" with parents. i wonder if the other kids were watching nemo for the 1st time also, because it seems like a movie that you would have seen by now if you fall in the age group of "children".

more on nemo here (don't read this if you have yet to see the movie, not that it gives away that many plot points, but just discusses things that you have to sea (haha, get it? sea?) to understand.)

Posted by tien mao in Movies at 10:19 AM



June 30, 2003

28 days later

POST #    6

so tonight i saw 28 days later. while you knew what was coming because of the nature of the movie (thats all i'll say), it was still pretty scary. not so much jump out of your seat scary, but maybe more nightmare scary. those that are squeamish should not see the movie. it was good though. just not for everyone.

i also had some ethiopian food at meskerem with jeannette and her friend eleanor. it was my first experience with ethiopian food and i must say that it was unique. who knew that ethiopians even had food. i mean, there was meat and everything. must be some upper class thing. (okay, totally kidding.) i would probably try it again, despite it not being my favorite food ever.

also, did anybody catch the sunset tonight? it was beautiful.

Posted by tien mao in Movies at 11:23 PM



June 10, 2003

the matrix reloaded

POST #    45

last night i finally saw the matrix reloaded and i must say that it was much better than people said it was. i really enjoyed it. maybe all the people telling me that it was "just okay" made me expect less. but i think it was mostly because i went in expecting more of a philosophical movie than the first matrix. thanks to halley for that one. tonight, x2!!

Posted by tien mao in Movies at 7:14 AM



April 28, 2003


POST #    156

so i'm listening to 1010 wins today on the way into work and they start talking about netflix (a great concept with sometimes suspect service) and how some customers have been reporting dvds lost in the mail. they were saying how this is something that has increased in frequency. one guy was interviewed that said he lost one dvd in the mail, which is acceptable. then he mailed 5 back in one envelope (5?!? how do you fit 5 in one envelope? i could barely fit 2) and netflix said they received 2 of the 5 which causes some suspicion at the warehouse. i once mailed 2 back and they said they only got one. netflix then said that only one should be mailed back at a time, which is contradictory from their website. anyway, they then said they called the postal service which said they would prefer that 1010 wins would hold off on airing the interview because there was an investigation that was at a "sensitive point". 1010 wins - the investigative news source that they are - then digs deeper. upon further investigation, they say that a postal employee under investigation was found with over 700 dvds in his apartment and that 3 people at their flushing distribution center were fired with one guy having 37 dvds in his backpack when he was fired. both make sense to me since i have mailed dvds from the post office (physically handing them to the postal employee) before and had them lost. in fact, i have had many dvds lost when placing them in the mail box in front of a post office distribution center. i've actually lost 11 dvds in 13 months and had my account put on hold a couple of times, but i still think that its a great service. in related news, blockbuster has decided to start renting online too. will this be the end of netflix? read about it here.

Posted by tien mao in Movies at 9:30 AM



March 28, 2003

"the core"

POST #    126

"The film is frequently hilarious — occasionally, but not often, on purpose. For the most part, it is monumentally dumb."

"how did i go from oscar to this?"

needless to say, i'm not going to see the movie. if you want to read the review, check it out here.

Posted by tien mao in Movies at 9:54 AM



March 24, 2003

the oscars

POST #    121

sports guy at the oscars...
check out his running diary of the night here. some of the better comments came at 6:14, 6:18, 6:46, and 7:55.

oh yeah...

maybe not the best picture though.



i'm absurdly hot, i know...

Posted by tien mao in Movies at 5:10 PM



March 20, 2003


POST #    117

i watched insomnia last night after hearing mixed reviews. one person i know said it was good, and about five others said it was bad. i kind of wanted to watch it anyway, so based on the one recommendation i watched it. its got a lot of good people in it: al pacino, robin williams and hilary swank to name a few. so i'm watching this movie where al pacino falls asleep and what do i do? fall asleep. i'm thinking that i miss maybe 5 minutes by going in and out of sleep, so i dont go back in the dvd. but when the movie ends, i go back and it seems that i have missed about 20 minutes of crucial plot lines. i go back, watch those and the movie makes a lot more sense. anyway...the movie was okay. not horrible, not great. gotta love netflix and the fact that it didnt really cost me that much.

Posted by tien mao in Movies at 9:02 AM



March 19, 2003


POST #    114

okay, so i kind of feel like charlie kaufman...i dont know what to write about this movie. it was like a documentary about a movie, but not as detailed as a documentary should be. see, i really dont know what to say and that may be confusing, but the movie was exactly like that. nick cage was good and it was amusing, but i'm going to stop here at the risk of going on about nothing...kind of like the movie.

Posted by tien mao in Movies at 9:57 AM



March 18, 2003

"your loins will burn with desire"

POST #    111

so last night i watched 'swept away' the remake of the 1974 original 'travolti da un insolito destino nell'azzurro mare d'agosto' (aka swept away or... 'Swept Away... by an Unusual Destiny in the Blue Sea of August.' yikes, that is a mouthful!) anyway, i dont think it was quite as bad as everyone said. but thats probably because people said it was really bad. the remake seemed a tad out of date with the slapping and conversations about communism. of note though is madonna's body. she is ripped. yoga is definitely working for her.

interesting that the star of the remake is the son of the original male lead and madonna wore the same bikini as the original movie (i assume same exact style and not the same one).

Posted by tien mao in Movies at 10:12 AM



March 5, 2003

no pee

POST #    86

so i didnt end up peeing my pants, but it was more like crapping my pants. the ring is possibly the scariest movie i have ever seen. i thought it was over at one point and was like, damn that was scary, but noooo it continued and was worse. i had the japanese version (ringu) on my netflix queue, but i dont think i can watch that for a while.

well, since i cant sleep tonight, i guess i'll pack for my trip to colorado. now how do i bring this ski helmet with me? hmm...guess i have to strap it to my backpack and look like a huge tool.

Posted by tien mao in Movies at 11:47 PM



time to pee my pants

POST #    85

watching the ring. yikes!

Posted by tien mao in Movies at 7:37 PM



so beautiful

POST #    82

last night i watched far from heaven and it was one of the most beautifully filmed movies that i have seen in a while. the colors were just amazing. oh, and the movie was excellent also. quite a performance by dennis haysbert and clearly his greatest work save his role of pedro cerrano in major league I and II. III wasn't that good.

Posted by tien mao in Movies at 12:14 PM



March 4, 2003


POST #    80

so i watched the road to perdition last night and it was pretty good. a tad slow at points, but i stayed awake folding laundry. apparently paul newman was nominated for best supporting actor for his role in the movie. i dont know that he was that great in the movie though. the last scene he was in was well acted i thought. he seems to be up against some pretty tough competition though, not that i've seen the movies of the other nominees. dont worry, its on my to do list.

Posted by tien mao in Movies at 11:27 AM



March 3, 2003

knockaround guys

POST #    76

so this movie came out in october 2002 and it guess wasn't too successful since apparently nobody has heard of it. not sure why because it has a pretty good cast - vin diesel, barry pepper, seth green, dennis hopper, and john malkovich. apparently it was originally filmed in 1999 and the release date was pushed back several times (six if you must know the exact number) between early 2001 until the final date. the movie itself wasn't too bad, but i can kind of see why it didnt do great in the theaters. it is probably worthy of a rental though. especially if you want to see vin beat the crap out of someone in a 45 second one sided fight scene.

Posted by tien mao in Movies at 10:56 AM



February 24, 2003


POST #    63

so yesterday, or over the weekend...its all a haze really, i watched full frontal and one hour photo. let me tell you, full frontal - supposed to be the unofficial sequel to sex lies and videotape - not that good. for the ladies out there, there was some full frontal of fox mulder though. just thought you should know. and for the guys, it goes by fast enough that you wont even have time to avert your eyes. one hour photo...quite a disturbing movie but not bad, and the main female character was cute...

Posted by tien mao in Movies at 4:29 PM


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