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Monday, September 15, 2008

Bette Davis goes postal

This particular event is for us in Boston, but the stamp will of course be launched nationwide.

Speaking of the film world, I saw the Coen brothers "Burn After Reading" yesterday. A few chuckles, but definitely not their best work--as many critics have pointed out. I think the brothers need to chuck most of the big stars out of their comedies (except for Frances McDormand, of course) and get a fresh start with fresh faces. You can almost see them yukking it up on the set in between takes. Otherwise they could end up going the way of Woody Allen--you've got to go see the films, but mostly for nostalgia's sake.

PS--Brad Pitt was great, of course.

Here's a better film: Of a talk by primatologist Jane Goodall.

More culture: Thanks to a post by Ken Blanchard on the superb blog Jazz Note SDP, I've just discovered the great alto sax player Sonny Criss. He sadly took his own life in 1977, a real loss, but his music lives on as they say. Criss Update: I left a comment on Ken's site thanking him for the Criss tip, and he responded with the following very interesting comment:

Thank you, Michael.

I just downloaded Saturday Morning, the fourth Criss recording I have added to my collection. It is another gem, in addition to the three that I mention on my post.

I had never heard of Criss until recently, either. You might check out my post on the Penguin Guide to Jazz. It is my jazz Bible. Also, eMusic has all four of the Criss discs I mention. If you don't know this service, it is a lot cheaper than iTunes. The catalog they have is awesome.

Culture in mourning: A second founding member of Pink Floyd, keyboardist Richard Wright, has died, CNN and other news outlets report. Syd Barrett also died, in 2006. Wright co-wrote one of my favorite Pink Floyd songs, "Us and Them," from the "Dark Side of the Moon" album. Here it is:

1 comment:

Jeff Meredith said...

Ahh, don't go all Stephanie Zacharek on us! She couldn't even enjoy the Dark Knight or Pineapple Express (clearly because she doesn't smoke pot ... you can't send a non-smoker to review that film).

Now all I'm hearing is that Burn After Reading is not the Coen Brothers' best. No kidding -- but it's still better than 90% of the movies out there.

Everyone in the theatre was laughing out loud ... and all I could think was, "Half these people are going to be critical when they blog about this film, even though they were laughing every 2 minutes. I should have a tape recorder next to each and everyone one of them."

John Malkovitch is amazing, McDormand is great, and Richard Jenkins is top notch ... I like him in almost every film I see him in (he was great in North Country). Brad Pitt was hilarious in an atypical role (further down the societal ladder, in over his head). So which member of the star studded cast do you drop? Clooney? You have to admit he plays a pretty convincing womanizing jerk in this movie (He probably doesn't have to act much, eh? That comes so naturally to him). I'm just wondering which star piece is removed to make this a better film.

Especially as an ex-DC resident, I laughed over McDormand's spot for meeting dates & the way in which people are quickly evaluated ("Well, he looks like a stiff, but he does work for the State Department ... that can't be bad").

I'll admit that it does get a tad goofy, but at least it has an ending (that meeting at the CIA is perfect - Frances, relentless in her pursuit of four surgical procedures, is the only one who succeeds!). Which is more than I can say for "No Country for Old Men" (worst ending since the last episode of the Sopranos).