If I Could Just Get It On Virtual Paper

Monday, January 29, 2007

Wrapping up Sundance

Sundance is over, but we still have some Festival Clips for your perusal. Day Eight gives us a day in the life of Summer Rain director Antonio Banderas. Then, "In The Can" host Cameron Bailey talks to the director and subjects of the documentary Flying: Confessions of a Free Woman.

For Day Nine, Crispin Glover skied and promoted his film It Is Fine! Everything Is Fine! Then, Whitney talked to Park City bus passengers about the controversial documentary Zoo.

Finally, on Day Ten Olympic speed skater Derek Parra talks to Ghosts director Nick Broomfield, and teaches actor Ai Qin Lin how to ice skate. Then, Whitney Cummings talks E! film expert Ben Lyons about the word on the street.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Festival Dailies: Day Seven

The Sundance Festival is in full swing in Park City, but you needn’t go that far to get in on the fun. We have two clips from Day Seven. In the first one, film critic Cameron Bailey talks to actor Lili Taylor and Director Andrew Wagner about Starting Out in the Evening. Then, Director Deborah Kampmeier and actors Robin Wright Penn and Dakota Fanning navigate the press after the premiere of the controversial film Hounddog.


Thursday, January 25, 2007

It's time for more Festival Dailies from the Sundance Channel!

On clips from day five, writer/director John Carney discusses the film Once with actors Marketa Irglova and Glen Hansard. Then, Patricia Riggin talks about her goals for her film La Misma Luna. Day six has Nanking producer Ted Leonsis talking to Festival Dailies, and Cameron Bailey interviewing short filmmakers Andrew Zuckerman, Jay Rosenblatt, Lilah Vanderburgh and Ebon Moss-Bachrach.


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Festival Dailies - Day Four

In the midst of Academy Award nominations, there is still a festival going on out in Utah and Sundance Channel is here to provide the latest coverage. In today's clips, Donal MacIntyre talks about his film A Very British Gangster. Clip number two features Whitney Cummings getting the word on the street...and in Park City the word on the street is vaginas with teeth.

Day Four, Clip One
Day Four, Clip Two

Monday, January 22, 2007

For those of you who are here to see Festival Dailies from the Sundance Film Festival, just scroll on down to the next couple of entries as we have six clips that are worth your while.

This evening, I'm posting my Oscar nomination predictions in the major categories. It's a real toss-up in a number of categories, even Best Picture.

Best Picture
Little Miss Sunshine
The Departed
The Queen

Best Actor
Forest Whitaker, The Last King of Scotland
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Departed
Sacha Baron Cohen, Borat
Peter O'Toole, Venus
Will Smith, The Pursuit of Happyness

Best Actress
Helen Mirren, The Queen
Meryl Streep, The Devil Wears Prada
Judi Dench, Notes on a Scandal
Penelope Cruz, Volver
Maggie Gyllenhaal, Sherrybaby

Best Supporting Actor
Eddie Murphy, Dreamgirls
Jack Nicholson, The Departed
Brad Pitt, Babel
Alan Arkin, Little Miss Sunshine
Mark Wahlberg, The Departed

Best Supporting Actress
Jennifer Hudson, Dreamgirls
Abigail Breslin, Little Miss Sunshine
Adrianna Barazza, Babel
Cate Blanchett, Notes on a Scandal
Emily Blunt, The Devil Wears Prada

Best Director
Martin Scorsese, The Departed
Bill Condon, Dreamgirls
Stephen Frears, The Queen
Clint Eastwood, Letters from Iwo Jima
Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, Little Miss Sunshine

Best Original Screenplay
The Queen
Little Miss Sunshine
United 93

Best Adapted Screenplay
The Departed
Last King of Scotland
Children of Men
Little Children

Best Animated Film
Happy Feet
Over the Hedge


We're back with more Festival Dailies from Sundance Channel. We're up to clips from Day Three. The first features Billy Schuffenhauer of the USA bobsled team and Director Daniel Karslake as they take to the slopes and talk about For the Bible Tells Me So. The second is film critic Cameron Bailey’s conversation with The Ten director David Wain and actors Gretchen Mol, Famke Janssen, Ken Marino and Paul Rudd.

Day Three, Clip One
Day Three, Clip Two

Sunday, January 21, 2007

It's Sundance Film Festival time, which means that not only does BOP have an awesome contest going at the moment, but we're proud to bring you Sundance Channel's behind-the-scenes series, Festival Dailies. I don't know about you, but my cable company was uncool enough to eliminate Sundance Channel from my lineup earlier this year, so this is really my only opportunity for seeing this stuff.

Festival Dailies is hosted for a second consecutive year by actor/comic Whitney Cummings ("Best Week Ever", "Punk’d") and features interviews by writer/film festival programmer Cameron Bailey. Festival Dailies will give you the best, most up-to-date coverage of the Sundance Film Festival as well as a chance to see lots of the movies that will be the talk of theaters later this year.

Today, we have dailies from the first two days of the festival. Be sure to return every day to keep caught up!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Book #3 for 2007: The Sea, by John Banville

I admire this book a lot more than I like it. John Banville's prose is magnificent to the point that it is sometimes distracting. True, there are sentences that are so well-constructed that one stops to re-read them and ponder their beauty. At the same time, though, it is this very attention to detail and overly dense work that makes the book tiresome to read at times. I wanted Banville to get on with the story rather than spend so much time making me love his words.

The other real problem that I had with The Sea is its constant fiddling with chronology. I completely understand the purpose behind it - stories from the distant past, near past and present all had their connections - but it was yet another interruption to the overall reading experience as far as I was concerned. Additionally, I knew almost from the beginning how the novel would end, which perhaps is just a factor of how well the character clues were placed, but I was disappointed nonetheless.

As far as the book's themes, I believe that Banville does have something intriguing to say both about coming-of-age and aging. The narrator of the novel has been through much and has consistently been able to adapt himself to his situation (always a greater situation than he deserved, probably) but it is in the aftermath of death that he finds himself unable to move to a new phase of life.

I'm frankly a little surprised that this novel won the Man Booker Prize for 2005 over two books that I feel are more deserving. Ali Smith's The Accidental covers very similar ground but does so in a much more engaging, intriguing fashion. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro is also one that I would have preferred to see win the prize. Like The Sea, it's a story where the secrets become evident quickly, but there is a much greater reward in approaching the conclusion.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Happy 2007!

After getting seriously off track with regards to writing in 2006, I'm hoping to improve in 2007. A very busy advertising job can certainly create time constraints that are never anticipated.

For the two or three of you who have ever followed along as I've written in this space, you'll know that it's my goal each year to read 50 books over the course of the year and then write about them here at this spot. While I was able to finish my 50 books, the writing, as the title of this blog indicates, was not such an easy task. Reading can sometimes be a very private thing, and putting one's thoughts out there is fairly daunting. Also, I'm frankly not very organized most of the time.

And so it is that I feel a bit rescued by the terrific Web site BooksWellRead. This free online journal is in the Beta stages and it's a great time to go ahead and start your own journal. They have already taken a couple of my suggestions as far as tiny little improvements and it's a place a frequent fairly constantly. For anyone who enjoys reading and listmaking, it's a veritable paradise. As such, I've been able to go ahead and rate all the books I've read over the past few years (I started keeping a log in 2004) and journaling about the books most recently read. I'll take some of that content and transfer it here but for those who like to play along, my username at BooksWellRead is moogle, and you can search for people by that category and mark them as friends or favorites. You can post your own usernames below assuming I can get the comment feature working here.

Below are comments on Books #1 and #2 for 2007. Forty-eight more to go!

Borstal Boy, by Brendan Behan

Brendan Behan, the dramatist, poet, novelist and member of the Irish Republican Army, shares his experiences as a youth who was sentenced to a Borstal (reform school). The IRA occasionally used youths to carry out some of their plans, and Behan was caught after being in possession of explosives that were to be used for the IRA S-bombing campaign. He is first sent to a prison where he awaits his sentence, and he meets a London youth named Charlie who will eventually be his "china" (closest pal) throughout his incarceration. Through his tales of his imprisonment, we learn a great deal about the boy that Behan was, and honestly other than a couple of fights, his experience isn't particualrly harrowing. What we do see is that Behan had an amazing ability to adapt and to dominate any room he was in. It's clear that even as a youth, he had a talent for writing (he won an essay contest at the Borstal and never had a doubt but that he would) and his appetite for books is insatiable. The book is a straightforward, thoroughly readable piece of work.

Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston

In the past year or two, I've become quite interested in the literature of the Harlem Renaissance (for more information on this era/movement, read the excellent young adult book Stomp! A Cultural History of the Harlem Renaissance by Laban Carrick Hill). This era, which saw a blossoming of art, literature, music and culture in the African-American community, took place right after World War I and was centered in New York City. Famous writers of the time include Nella Larsen, Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen, Walter White, Richard Wright and Zora Neale Hurston, whose novel Their Eyes Were Watching God is the subject of this entry.

This heartbreakingly poignant novel centers on the growth of its female protagonist, Janie, as we see her move from a childhood amongst a white family (she is stunned when she sees a picture of herself with the group, realizing that she is black) to her arranged marriage to a man whom her grandmother selected for her. She then runs away with a snazzy, smart man who becomes mayor of the town where they choose to take up residence. In neither of these cases does she find the love that she so desperately desires. It is a younger man who goes by the dubious moniker of Tea Cake who finally makes her heart soar, though their together is turbulent and the reader is constantly left wondering if he is the man she believes him to be.

The style of the book is fairly ingenious, moving back and forth from eloquent descriptive prose to more down-to-earth dialogue. The reader grows with Janie; she is an entirely sympathetic character in a book that is a joy to read.

Be sure to return here frequently as this week I'll have some Sundance links that should be awesome. Also, check out our front page as we currently have two giveaways going.



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