Monday, December 27, 2004


It's time for the best of the year! What are your faves from 2004? Movies, Music, TV, Books, Concerts? If you're like me, you haven't seen/heard enough to muster up top ten lists, but how about just personal best media experiences?

Fahrenheit for Oscar? reports that Michael Moore's film is picking up steam as a potential best picture nominee after all, for one of the 2 remaining spots once the 3 sure things are announced (Sideways, The Aviator, Million-Dollar Baby). It makes sense to me that there are enough liberals in Hollywood that would want to try and raise the legitimacy profile of Moore by giving it that honor. Perhaps it would be more likely to lower the profile of the Academy instead, but I would still like to see it happen, even if I end up liking all of the other considered films better.

True Films
Kevin Kelly is compiling an annotated/reviewed list of non-fiction films, with amazon and netflix links. The organization is crappy--it's a scroll festival. But, I learned about a few interesting documentaries I had never heard of, before I got tired of wading through the long, long list. Who is Kevin Kelly? He wrote Out of Control, the book all the cast members of The Matrix were required to read before they were allowed to open the script.
--7:30 pm

Segregation in filmmaking--then and now
An article in today's Washington Post tells of an archive of newly found black cinema--films shown in segregated theaters that were written, directed and acted by black talent. "They really are a rare glimpse of black life [from the 1930s to the 1950s] devoid of Hollywood stereotypes."

But, what to make of the segregation of films now? Shopping in the local MediaPlay, I noticed an entire section of DVDs, alongside "comedy" "action" and "drama" called "black cinema." Stacked there were films not of a bygone era but recent releases, films of Spike Lee, and others featuring primarily black casts. Is the only thing that has changed in terms of filmmaking is that now Hollywood produces "both kinds"? Films for white and for black audiences? Are Denzel Washington and, maybe, Halle Berry, the only links between two otherwise segregated worlds? I am all for celebrating cultural identity and integrity. But, I would like to see all comedies, including "Barbershop," and "House Party 2" sold under the "comedy" header. The website does not seem to have the same categories. Do they only do this in MediaPlay stores in the South? I'm afraid to know.
--4:00 pm

Article 19 Film Review: Spanglish
************* (13 out of 19)
The first half hour had me worried. By the end, I liked it. But now I can't muster up any decent reasons why. I always tell my students that one great moment can make a song great. Every phrase need not pack a wallop. In fact you hardly have time in 3 minutes. This film worked like that - a few very nice, poignant moments that made you think it was on to something. But scattered over 2 hours (or more...), I'm not sure if it was enough. But at least 2 of the 13 stars belong to Tea Leoni all by herself, for playing such a thoroughly annoying, nightmarish person. Cloris Leachman was used kind of cartoonishly, sadly, until the end.
--12:05 am

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