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The End.

Posted at 11:02 AM on March 13, 2007 by Stephanie Curtis

I quit! Well, not really. You still can find me on The Current Music Blog and hear me reviewing movies every Friday with Mary Lucia. I'll also still be stopping by Midday with Gary a few times a year. If you need more frequent movie fixes, check out Movie Natters.


Sing to me, muse, of the six-pack of Leonidas

Posted at 12:37 PM on March 9, 2007 by Stephanie Curtis

300 is a purportless excerise in comley computer imagery and a showcase for the latest in steroid-enhanced male torsos. The filmmakers don't know how to mete out either. One CGI-rhinoceros is cool. But add elephants and giants and superannuated ninjas and 3 meter tall monarchs and evil hunchbacks...well, you get kind of tired. And after two hours of the half-nude Spartan fighters flexing their transverse abdominis, sartorius, gastrocnemius and obliques, I worried about the body images of the soft, milk-dud munching boy comic book fans around me. Girls, you don't have to look like Kate Moss. Eat a little. And guys, Gerard Butler gets paid a lot of money to train eight hours a day and has special "nutritionists" working with him to achieve the proper regal six-pack.


I miss the accountants

Posted at 4:40 PM on February 26, 2007 by Stephanie Curtis

So Bob Collins just strolled by and said, "Write something about the Oscars!"

Is there anything left to say? I talked about them for an hour already. So here are a couple of things I didn't mention:

Where were the accountants? I always liked the brief, awkward appearance by the bean-counters! Bring 'em back. It only took about 30 seconds. You could just shave a little time off the twenty minutes that the camera lingers on Jack Nicholson every year.

I am apparently the only person who loves those montages. Okay, the Nancy Meyers tribute to writers was clunky and pointless, but Michael Mann's tribute to America managed to be funny and have a political edge at the same time. Tom Shales mocked the foreign film tribute as being "presumably for people who had no idea what a foreign film is," but I enjoyed seeing those snippets. It's not to educate about us foreign film, it's to make us remember what it felt like to see Z or Closely Watched Trains. It's corny, but I grew up watching That's Hollywood. (They shoudl get Tom Bosley to introduce all the clips!)


Walk out of the movie

Posted at 2:25 PM on February 23, 2007 by Stephanie Curtis

I have an odd request. You need to trust me on this. If you go see The Lives of Others this weekend (and you should,) leave after "the steaming scene." I don't want to give away the end, just remember "the steaming scene" and you'll be fine. Now, normally I don't recommend walking out of good movies before they end, but "the steaming scene" is the end of the good movie. If you stay, the hokey finale betrays the fascinating, grim and funny two hours that precede it.

I've only ever recommended this strategy once before and that was for Broadcast News. You need to stop watching that after "the airport scene." No one took my advice in 1987. Please take it now.


The Most Romantic Films

Posted at 7:28 AM on February 14, 2007 by Stephanie Curtis

I'll be on KARE 11 this morning talking about my favorite romantic movies of all time. Here they are:

It Happened One Night - The perfect romantic piece of fluff. Perfect, smart fluff. Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert squabble, fall in love and then take a few minutes to admit that they've fallen in love. If only love were so simple...

Now, Voyager - But Bette Davis knows the path to love is not simple. You need a psychiatrist to help you escape the misery and insecurities inflicted on you by your parents first. But then, you can find love...for a little while at least.

The Shop Around the Corner - Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullavan nearly miss out on love during hard economic times in a Hungarian gift shop. Dear friend, the movie is sincerely moving, funny and dizzyingly romantic.

Annie Hall - A great love, even if it doesn't last. Alvy and Annie could've made it work, but even though they don't , we still have lobsters, Marshall McLuhan and that terrifying trip back to Wisconsin for the holidays.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind - Are we doomed to repeat our same romantic mistakes over and over?


Movies to Watch with Kids

Posted at 2:02 PM on February 12, 2007 by Stephanie Curtis

There are plenty of websites and books out there for parents who want to choose movies for their kids. Most of them strike me as preachy and too narrow. Kids can watch movies that grownups like and not all movies need to have an important message.

Now, finally there's an ace book out for people who want to show their offspring a good time AND have a good time themselves. Boston Globe critic Ty Burr's wrote The Best Old Movies for Families and it's completely delightful. It's more than a list; he tells you why a particular movie will work for kids (and he's tested them out on his own.) Here's a snapshot of his sensibility: he recommends North by Northwest for 7 year olds and Leave Her to Heaven for teens. Perfect.

Finding Nemo is wonderful, but there are a lot more films you can watch with your children without cringing.


Should have been nominated:

Posted at 11:07 AM on January 23, 2007 by Stephanie Curtis (4 Comments)

The oscar list didn't horrify me this year, although what the heck is Little Miss Sunshine doing anywhere near The Queen? Still, there are some films and performances that I wish had been recognized:

Best Picture:

Children of Men
United 93
Pan's Labyrinth

Best Director:

Guillermo del Toro for Pan's Labyrinth
Bill COndon for Dreamgirls
Alfonso Cuaron for Children of Men

Actress:

Emily Watson for The Proposition
Ellen Page for Hard Candy
(Can't think of another...it was a good list this year but Meryl should be in the supporting category and Jennifer Hudson should be in the leading lady category.)

Actor:

Clive Owen for Children of Men
Christian Bale for The Prestige
Edward Norton for The Illusionist

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A film about broken friendships and the joy of the outdoors

Posted at 1:23 PM on January 19, 2007 by Stephanie Curtis

Old Joy finally opens today in the Twin Cities. I was actually worried it wouldn't open here at all. It's a small, true independent movie (not a Little Miss Sunshine - a mainstream comedy with an indie patina to it) that could have easily bypassed us and headed straight to DVD.

The quiet (really quiet) film follows two buddies on a camping trip in the Oregon wilderness. They don't get attacked by any Sasquatch or crazed locals, instead they face something far scarier: a dying friendship that neither one seems able to discuss. Mark (Daniel London) will soon be a father. He's not exactly high-powered, but he's employed, committed to a woman and manages to make the rent. Kurt (Will Oldham aka singer Bonnie "Prince" Billy,) on the other hand, wanders a bit more. He owns a van (with a broken window) stuffed with his possessions and that's about it. No family. No lover. No job. He drifts from place to place looking for a good time or a beautiful view or a decent meal.

You can see how the two were once close. They both have the vestiges of pot-smoking, hacky-sacking undergraduate life clinging to them even though they are in the their mid-thirties. It's painful to watch but one of the most moving films I have seen in a long time. Well worth the morbid reflection about the state of friendships, romances and life goals that settles in after the screen goes black.

You can see it for the next week at the Oak Street Cinema. I think there's a hockey game at the U arena tonight, so get to the theater early to find a parking spot.


The worst movie of 2007?

Posted at 3:49 PM on January 16, 2007 by Stephanie Curtis (4 Comments)

Okay, so the highly-esteemed Hollywood Foreign Press Association thinks that Babel is the best movie of 2006. I don't want to look backwards, I want to look forward. I predict the worst movie of 2007 will be:

Ghost Rider.

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And the Oscar will not go to...

Posted at 11:12 AM on January 8, 2007 by Stephanie Curtis (1 Comments)

Arthur and the Invisibles has been kicked off the list of films eligible for the Oscar. It would need to be over 75% animated to qualify and it features some live actors. Too many apparently. It was a formality to kick it off the list, since it didn't have a chance of actually being nominated.

I kind of loathe the animated category of the Oscars anyway. I think that really good animated movies like Cars and The Incredibles should be in regular contention and not relegated to a corner where they compete the latest animals-on-a-quest feature like Barnyard.

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