March 17, 2008

Bewildered by March 17th

Drunk idiots in front of McSorley's, before 10 am
Originally uploaded by karencinecultist
Irish pride and parades up Fifth Avenue are all well and good, but the drunken insanity and everything colored green is really perplexing to Cinecultist. We should have recorded audio of the drunken jerks whooping it up out in front of McSorley's this morning as we walked to the subway to go to work. The people queued up in this picture are waiting in 40 degree weather to be let into a saw dust strewn bar. It's Monday morning people, go be productive somewhere!

We'd also like to point out that the Condé Nast cafeteria featured green colored scones this morning. There's no where that's safe.
Posted by karen at 1:00 PM | East Village | Comments (1)

February 27, 2008

Paul Giamatti Promotes the Post Office

Post Office website
Now this is an advertising tie-in campaign Cinecultist's grandmother could get behind. We can just picture the boardroom meeting..."That John Adams was a great role model. You know why? Because he used STAMPS and sent LETTERS through the MAIL when founding our nation. It's hot stuff. And you know what's even better? Movie star Paul Giamatti will be portraying him on HBO.* They can show anything on cable! It'll make stamps sexy again!"

*Actually, CC is really looking forward to this seven part mini-series starting on Mar. 16. The previews we've seen so far look really good. We just didn't expect to see an ad for it when trying to figure out how late the post office was open tonight.

September 19, 2007

Rethinking the Plans for October 31st

Picture%201.pngCinecultist was sort of thinking we were going to bypass Halloween this year. Not the pumpkin flavored stuff or candy corn or admiring jack o' lanterns, just the dressing up. In the past, whenever CC is invited to a Halloween party we end up thinking of some terribly esoteric and cerebral costume which no one understands. One year we went as "art." Seriously. Dumb, right? Anyhow, it's really embarrassing to be that uncreative every year. However, now that we've seen the costume at right called "When Birds Attack" sold by Oriental Trading for $50, we might rethink. Feel free to forward invites to costume soirées to CC, we'll be coming as Melanie Daniels. [via Mighty Goods]

May 16, 2007

Happy Birthday to Lil' Ol' CC

I'm 23. Remember how old 23 seemed when you were little? I thought people would be traveling in air locks and I'd have five kids. Here I am, 23. Things are...They're basically the same. I think time's running out to do something bizarre. Somewhere around 23 bizarre becomes immature. I get inspiration from my boyfriend. He's a musician. His band put out an independent album last month. He's a good artist too. He's like a Renaissance man. I'm so glad he moved into my building.Bridget Fonda as Janet Livermore in Cameron Crowe's Singles.

When Bridget Fonda said those words in 1992, she was 28. When CC first heard them and fell in love with Seattle, and the idea of being young and clueless about your future in the Pacific Northwest, we were 15. Janet said she thought she was getting too old and we thought she was already really old. Twenty-three? Sheesh, that was practically ancient. Cinecultist moved to Seattle when we were 22 and brought our well-worn VHS copy of Singles with us. CC turned 23 and 24 there and thought we were getting way too old.

Boy were we deluded.

Today, CC turns 30 and we realized that it's only just beginning. Granted, all the things we thought we'd know by now, we don't. But we've been to some of the places on the list, just not all of them. In fact, the list has actually gotten longer in the interim. Another decade down, many more movies to watch and experiences to be had. Oh yeah, this big three-oh is a going to be a happy birthday indeed.

Posted by karen at 1:08 PM | birthday, Seattle, Singles | Comments (3)

January 9, 2007

The Idea Sponge Eats Fancy Breakfast

Maybe Cinecultist is the only one who finds this amusing but for some reason whenever you sees a quote by uber producer Brian Grazer, he's telling some story about how a random meeting led to his next big film idea. For instance, in this weekend's NYT Style article about how the late breakfast is the new black, Grazer enthuses about a recent merchandising venture born over extra large lattes. "I was at Sant Ambroeus at my usual table one morning and I noticed seven or eight of these super fashionable Italian kids sitting there," Mr. Grazer said. "I was so curious that I blindly went over and introduced myself. We ended up talking for an hour. He [Fiat heir, Lapo Elkann] was so cool that I decided to do a Fiat tie-in for the sequel to The Da Vinci Code. Im flying to Italy to meet with him about it." Grazer is like an idea sponge; he'll suck up anything, anywhere, and at any time then eight months later BAM!, it's coming to a cineplex near you.

Of course, as a writer from home CC found this article particularly amusing, though we hardly have time for those sorts of leisurely meetings that many times a week. However, we would point out in addition to the NYT's spots that if you're looking to mingle with more film industry types over oatmeal, check out Grey Dog Coffee in the West Village and Clinton St. Bakery can be a good spot to overhear conversations from Lower East Side working musicians. The clientele might be less hoity toity but the biscuits are better that Balthazar's.

Posted by karen at 11:11 AM |

November 20, 2006

Serving The City (And Other Coming Attractions)

Excitement! Today, the Cinecultist comes to you live from a jury room on Centre Street, courtesy of our trusty laptop and a $6.95 per day internet feed. Like all good civic New Yorkers, CC has registered to vote, paid our outrageous city taxes and signed up with the DMV, despite the fact that we barely contemplate driving a car but once every six months, and have thus been thrown into the jury pool. So far, it's a bit like adult study hall. Sigh. But rather than catalogue our boring experience (read Choire Sicha's great Morning News essay from a few years ago or watch that Sex and the City ep with SJP's movie kiss on the court steps if you want the skinny), we'll talk about the movies.

Or more specifically, the trailers at the movies. CC went to our Union Square cineplex on Sunday for the first time in ages and were treated to the delightful ritual of audience trailer judgement. At a sold-out screening of Casino Royale, the jaded New Yorkers cheered and clapped for one movie advert and chuckled with derision at another. The two trailers in question were Spiderman 3 and Rocky Balboa and the general consensus was that over the hill Rock = silly and evil Spiderman = awesome.

Two other forthcoming movies which had CC at "hello": Will Smith as a struggling single Dad trying to get a job as a stock trader in The Pursuit of Happyness and the fluffy, cute girls swap houses and then meet cute boys comedy The Holiday. Their marketing departments have successfully convinced the Cinecultist that these movies will be uplifting and hilariously romantic, respectively. Bring it on holiday movie deluge, CC's ready for you.

Posted by karen at 11:48 AM |

October 31, 2006

The Beast With 40 Eyes

For a bit now we've been hearing raves about this local band, Apes and Androids so when Janelle and Jen dragged Cinecultist to their Oh My Rockness show at the Annex last night, we had high expectations. Fortunately, A&A's dramatic antics and theatrical flare didn't disappoint, and the final number completely blew us away. Passing out cardboard 3 D glasses and lowering a screen from the ceiling, the band showed Michael Jackson's Halloween short film, Thriller, then did a cover of the song and had six professional dancing zombies back them up.

Anything in 3 D is always cause for celebration but rewatching all 13 minutes of Jackson's classic, CC couldn't help but be struck by the obvious metaphors within. Poor Michael. The beast with 40 eyes is his desire lurking inside of him and even the protection of a sweet, heterosexual girlfriend in a poodle skirt isn't enough to shield him. One look from the "undead," and he instantly turns into one of them. Sure, you can make "it" dance in choreographed lines, but that still can't contain it. After all, no mere mortal can resist the power of the thriller. You dig? *Sniff,* it breaks our heart.

Okay, enough of the seasonal over-analysis. Happy Halloween, ghosts and ghoulies! Be safe out there and enjoy that candy corn.

Related: Last year, Jeff posted an mp3 of Ben Gibbard covering "Thriller" which you may enjoy if like CC you are of the mopey, melancholy musical persuasion.

Posted by karen at 9:40 AM |

August 9, 2006

Sopranos Off Season Gig

Though we've never tried it ourselves, Cinecultist imagines trying to be a working actor in New York is a tough ass job. Maybe as hard as being a working film critic. That's why our heart went out to anyone vying for this job we saw posted on Craig's List.

Seeking extremely outgoing, personable male actor for tour guide on Sopranos bus tour. Prefer actor that has appeared at least as an extra on The Sopranos. Approximately two tours/month (mainly weekend afternoon shifts). Must be familiar with the show and passionate about it. Email resume in body of email and headshot attached (resumes that are attached will not be accepted).

We hope some very deserving fellow who owns a bunch of bad track suits gets this gig from his brief brush with James Gandolfini et al. It seems like the least you should get after surely having been brutally offed on cable television.

Posted by karen at 3:31 PM |

July 24, 2006

Regal Union Square, We Need To Talk

Dear Regal Union Square Movie Theater,

As you may be aware, we go to a lot of movies and even more so now that it's summer and grossly humid most days. Living in the East Village of Manhattan, when we want to see a big blockbuster in the deep freeze A/C we often visit your cineplex. In fact, we were there on Friday to see Monster House in 3 D (thanks for the glasses!) and then My Super Ex-Girlfriend on Sunday afternoon. However there's something we've noticed in the last few weeks of hot weather that we wanted to mention, delicately of course.

Your ground floor lobby stinks.

feet.jpgSeriously, what is up? Right around where the elevators meet the electronic ticket kiosk since June or so, it has smelled like feet. Horrible, vinegar, no air-circulating to cool them feet. We know Mayor Mike wants people to use less energy, but doesn't the increase in ticket prices ($11 now as of Sunday!) merit some A/C circulation down there? Or a fan at least? Maybe some of those green tree dashboard thingies? Something. The rest of the building is fine, and all the screening rooms are properly cooled but that one pocket when you enter and exit is enough to put us seriously off the popcorn.

It is foul.

Thanks so much for your kind attention.

the Cinecultist

Posted by karen at 12:16 PM |

June 19, 2006

Sunday Evening At The Cinema

Last night after spending the better part of the afternoon drinking beers and watching sports of all things at Pianos with some hyper-linkable friends, Cinecultist headed out to Brooklyn to meet our companion in crap movies, Lisa. Even though Josh had agreed to review The Lake House for the Binge, CC is a glutton for punishment and thought it'd be good fun to go with Lisa and in her nabe at the notoriously raucous Court Street theater. While the patrons weren't yelling anything of note at Keanu and Sandra on screen*, there sure were a lot of them there for a Sunday at 7 pm. Also, the management strategy at Court Street seems to be to have only one person at any one counter and to make sure they move at a leisurely pace.

Here was the line for popcorn, which CC and Lisa waited dutifully in for our over-priced snacks.

We also took a picture of the popcorn, in the hopes that after waiting 20 minutes to buy it that it would be the Best Popcorn of All Time. It wasn't.


An aside on popcorn and concessions in general: CC rarely buys food at the movies because a) it's really expensive and b) it's not very good. We'd much rather smuggle in something tasty and healthy like tamari almonds from Whole Foods, which we did for our Saturday movie. However, lots of people do eat this stuff (see picture above) and frankly even consuming a small popcorn makes us a little ill. Have you ever noticed the popcorn stomach feeling? It's that yucky, overly salted and sort of bloated sensation from eating all of that snack food through the previews and first 20 minutes of the movie. Blech.

CC likes participating in the rituals of moviegoing, but the side effects from that much salt and whatever the hell is in the fake butter stuff seems not worth the effort. Thoughts?

*We sort wish the patrons had been yelling stuff at the screen because at least that might have clued CC in on what the hell was going on with this film. It literally MADE NO SENSE. Magic mailboxes and time traveling letters aside, there were scenes where the sheer amount of didactic speech making made CC put our head in our hands. Comments about how "the house owns you" and "the light in Barcelona is different from the light in Tokyo" can go take a flying leap. Though as Lisa adroitly pointed out, Sandra and Keanu's time traveling dog looks like he is the same dog from Because of Winn-Dixie. So at least someone is getting some work out of dreadful movies like this.

Posted by karen at 2:25 PM |

April 19, 2006

All Our Cultural Knowledge Comes From The Screen

Remember how Cinecultist has been waxing poetic lately about how great it is to do our civic duty? It's a slippery slope people, checking in with the New York civic machine. Once you get a driver's license, register to vote and start paying New York State taxes (stupid blog income), eventually they want you to serve on jury duty. We've postponed a couple of times now, but today CC had to go down to 60 Centre Street, room 139 to submit our excuse in person. Things are tres hectic at le day job and we couldn't be all Law and Order tomorrow.

Exiting the Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall 6 stop and walking up Centre Street, we realized we knew exactly to which building we needed to report -- because we'd seen it on Sex and the City. Remember the one where Carrie has to do jury duty and she and Berger have the "Hollywood kiss" on the steps and the random dude waiting to be called has a coconut in his briefcase? Yeah, we're totally freaked out too that there's such an instant television recall from a little bit of architecture. Even after a few years of being off the air, CC still sees the city through that particular tv show's lens.

matthew_mcconaughey6.jpgSpeaking of Sarah Jessica Parker and her strangle-hold on our cultural memory, we saw her most recent romantic comedy Failure to Launch with Matthew McConaughey a few weeks ago and boy, does it stink. And it's done some $80 million at the box office so far. This is completely ridiculous as the plot makes little sense and the casting as well as the attempts at comedic scenarios even less. Here's our rant in a nut shell:

1) M McC plays Tripp, this boy-man who seems to live at home out of sheer laziness. His parents love him but they want him out. Also, they have lots of friends who are in the same boat and when one of them boots their kid from the nest, they all celebrate. However, in order to make Tripp seem appealing to Paula (SJP), the woman hired to get him to move on, they reveal he's not really lazy, only emotionally scarred. This is just stupid. Don't build up this "unlikable protagonist" premise and then undercut it the moment you get a chance! That's lame-o script writing.

2) M McC was born in 1969, making him 37 years old. SJP turned 41 in March. She's older than him and she's still not "launched." She lives with a roommate, played by an actress (the adorable but poorly utilized Zooey Deschanel) who's 26, for goodness sake. We heart SJP and we hate the idea of actresses having expiration dates but don't put her in this role, she's just too old. It makes on sense.

3) We thought that we'd seen the most misguided attempt at comedy in a rom com in Three to Tango (couple bonds over vomiting up tuna melts) but this film gives romantic vomit a run for its money. In a number of scenes McC and his two buds do various outdoorsy, guy-ish activities like mountain biking, rock climbing and paint-balling. Three times McC is bit by an animal while doing his manly stuff, by a dolphin, a squirrel/chipmunk thing and finally, a lizard. The lizard they've animated to laugh after chomping on McC. All of this ridiculousness is then explained by Bradley Cooper's character as nature biting back at Tripp who's rebelling against the order of things by not settling down in a relationship and moving out. Nature is biting back! Does this make any sense to you because it left CC completely flummoxed.

In conclusion, you may love SJP or even M McC and his hairless chest but do not see this movie. Don't see it in the theater. Don't rent it. You could maybe watch a few minutes when it's aired on TBS or something, but only if there's really nothing else to do. Spare yourself, even though the Cinecultist could not.

Posted by karen at 11:10 AM |

December 19, 2005

Eating The Fat Man At The Holidays


When it gets to be the holidays, we'd imagine Cinecultist's friends don't have to think too hard about what to get us. Anything film related always goes over well. Case in point, this cookie pictured above from our friend and fellow cinephiliac Kristi*. How cool is that? Hitchcock on a spice cookie! We never thought we'd actually type the phrase, "Mmmm Hitch, you taste so good." But we did.

This also seems as good a time as any to point out that episodes of the classic television show Alfred Hitchcock Presents are available for purchase on iTunes. Robin Wood, eat your heart out.

*Full disclosure: Kristi gave us this cookie while we watching the Film Bloggers panel last Friday at the Apple Store and our first words were, "Oh my god, this is so great. Can we go home and blog about it?" Yes, Cinecultist is a really big geek.

Posted by karen at 9:05 AM |

October 10, 2005

Mini Mifune

kuro.jpgWhen Cinecultist visited Seattle a few weeks ago, we bought two little souvenirs that really tickled our fancy. The first, a CD from KEXP to benefit that amazing non-profit radio station which features live tracks performed in their studio by some of our fav indie rock bands. The other, a figurine from the Akira Kurosawa action figure line.

How cool is that we now have our very own mini Toshiro Mifune figure dressed in full samurai regalia? We're totally geeking out on it and have it by our bedside, ready to greet us each morning. The only thing potentially more film geek awesome would be to acquire the figure in the series that looks like the director himself. At Uwajimaya, the Asian mega grocery store where we found the mini Mifune they only had that one Mifune figurine for sale. But looking on the back of the box, though not being able to understand the Japanese type, we understand we could collect all seven and then play act the "making of a Kurosawa film." Matty is off to Japan for vacation in another week or so, so we've charged him with finding us a Kurosawa doll. Yen is no object.

If you must have your own Kurosawa figurine, Mifune or otherwise, they are also for sale on Giant Robot's website -- your one stop shop for all awesome Asian ephemera. Or purchase a copy of Live At KEXP, Vol. 1 via their website.

Posted by karen at 9:03 AM |

September 8, 2005

Separated At Birth?

left: Alec Ounsworth, lead singer from the NYC band o' the moment, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah (photo courtesy of Jen). right: actor Justin Kirk, from Angels in America (photo from the SAG awards last year).

Even when we're deep in Williamsburg, surrounded by sweaty hipsters, drinking unpronounceable Polish beer, Cinecultist has movies on the brain. Or rather, actors anyhow. Last night at the Clap Your Hands Say Yeah/The National show at Warsaw, CC couldn't help but be struck by how familiar the lead singer, Alec Ounsworth looked. Sure, loads of people talk about the way his voice sounds like Talking Heads or how the band sounds like vintage James but Cinecultist couldn't help but notice a separated-at-birth connection between Ounsworth and actor Justin Kirk, who was in the miniseries Angels in America. Though we should point out that Kirk seems to smile more and generally sweats less during his performances.

If you're heading out to the sold out Bowery show later this week, or seeing them later on their fall tour, squint, turn your head a little to the left, visualize the short-lived WB program Jack & Jill and see if you also don't notice.

Apropos-of-nothing observation #2 last night: Warsaw smells not so faintly of kielbasa.

Finally, if you're feeling bored, listless, disaffected and downright downtown Manhattan-y or just anxious to know what the just-so kids are up to these days, be sure to cruise by the newly redesigned Paper mag website. It's pretty and informative!

Posted by karen at 8:55 AM |

August 19, 2005


It's Friday, right? Thank goodness. Click away good readers, Cinecultist is too tired to talk.

On Reverse Shot this issue, the kids are discussing the man with the white white hair, Jim Jarmusch.

Michael Russell of Culture Pulp out in Oregon, has a new comic up about drive-in movies.

The trailer to 40 Year Old Virgin, which you're surely going to see this weekend, right? Aaron Out of Focus really thought it was funny.

NYFF 2005 full schedule now available. Drool or curse accordingly.

And finally, regarding last night's highly anticipated show at Summerstage: The hottest moment of the evening captured by Jeff. And it was set to a Fleetwood Mac soundtrack, go fig. As Scott said via text message during the show, that band from the O.C. they're pretty good.

Posted by karen at 9:06 AM |

July 26, 2005

Readers Weigh In On Mike

So apparently all of the Cinecultist's loyal readers (we know there are a few of you out there, we do check the stats and all those hit can't all be our Dad) did not think we actually had Last Days shwag to give away. Hence, only a few responses. Sad face.

However! What our readers lack in feedback, they make up in creativity. Voila:

From reader, Michael
Michael Pitt needs a bath, I mean he wears that same shirt and pajamas for god knows how many days? and he has stains on it from mac and cheese and cocoa rice crispies :)
He would be a right stinky bastard, but I still would kiss him :)

Michael D. Fellows

And from reader, Bruce
Michael Pitt wasn't only the dirtiest person in Last Days, but is in the running for dirtiest person of all time and I'll be damned if that isn't what people love about him. The dreamiest anti-DiCaprio since...well, DiCaprio, but before the boat and the heart throb status and all that. How serious is Michael Pitt about being dirty? He showed up greasy and dressed in rags to the film's premiere. The rest of the cast, not usually known for their tidiness (I'm looking at you, Asia!) even showered for the event. Maybe I'm over doing it, maybe it was the antiseptic quality of The Island that caused me to see Pitt as a real-life version of Pigpen but I doubt it, because he even made the dirty rebellious youths of The Edukators look like they just came off a makeover show. I guess when all is said and done, Michael Pitt is just dirty...but it seems to work for him.

Below, we will leave the comments open wherein you can weigh in on the cleanliness of the various Last Days cast members. Personally CC would've voted for Asia Argento. We hardly recognized her until we saw her bare ass peeking out from under that ratty thermal. True story.

Posted by karen at 11:45 PM | | Comments (1)

July 21, 2005

In Mourning

Cinecultist finished the Harry Potter. We are devasted. We're going to bed now, and we may not be able to get out from under the covers in the morning.

Posted by karen at 11:54 PM |

May 23, 2005

Meanwhile, At A Bar Further Uptown

Via instant messenger on Monday evening, 10:29 PM.
Upper East Side Cinecultist Tipster: Hey Chica! I hope you had a nice birthday evening Saturday!
CC: Thanks I did. How was your thing?
C.T. : I'm sorry I couldn't make it. [u.e.s.c.t boyfriend]'s thing was an all nighter! It was fun. Too funny actually. We were at a bar way the hell up town at 95th and 3rd ave -- and so was Christian Slater.
CC: Haha.
C.T.: He was there for two hours. He's kinda short and when he left, he left his Parliament Lights Pack with 4 cigarettes in it, so 3 girlfriends and I smoked them, then I stomped on the box to flatten it and put it in my scrap book. What can I say? I was a little drunky.
CC: Did you tell him, "I loved you in Pump Up The Volume?"
C.T.: No, I didn't even talk to him. Not Heathers?
CC: That's what I would've said. He was such a 13 year old crush of mine.
C.T.: For all of us, I'd say!
CC: He's not as hot in Heathers. Creepier. Can I post about this? What was the bar?
C.T.: Yeah, totally ... It's called Merrion Square, an Irish style pub on the NE corner of 95th and Third. Here ... I'll give you a couple more deets: So Christian was talking with a friend ... quite a nobody ... kinda pudgy middle-aged guy. They went outside to smoke, I don't actually remember if he was drinking beer or not ... but he does do that funny thing from Pump Up The Volume where he runs his hand through his hair.
CC: That's awesome!!!!!
C.T.: Apparently, it's a personal habit and not an actual character thing.
CC: Even better!!!! Is he seriously loosing his hair?
C.T.: Didn't notice that ... I mean, he's always been receding a teensy bit on either side ... but not in the front middle. Nothing alarming ... No large shiny spots.
CC: Does he sound like he's doing a Jack Nicholson impression in real life? Did you listen to his voice?
C.T.: I heard him speak ... he kinda does .. Mostly it just sounds the way he talks in his movies. Maybe he's not that great of an actor? Maybe he just acts like himself? I think so.
CC: I would've paid one of my drunk friends a bunch of money to have walked past him and said "Gleaming The Cube, dude. Right on."
C.T.: What does that mean?
CC: Don't you remember that movie!?! It was his big break. He plays a rebel skateboarder. He gleams the cube. Which I guess is a skateboarding term.
C.T.: No, I don't remember that.
CC: I'm looking at his IMDB profile right now. Remember Bed of Roses? Gawd, that was a terrible one.
C.T.: With Mary Stuart Masterson. That's right. Alright, well, I'm at work, so I'll chat with you later.
CC: Thanks.
C.T.: Ciao!
Annoymous Upper East Side Cinecultist Tipster has gone offline.

Posted by karen at 11:09 PM |

May 8, 2005

Happy Mother's Day...You Ungrateful Bee-yotch


Joan Crawford loves you, even if you're a money grubbing, horrible little wench who's secretly seducing her no-goodnick second husband. Now that's what Mother's Day should really be celebrating.

Spending Saturday afternoon in the dark with the loons at MoMA watching the classic women's weepy, Mildred Pierce is sure to skew your perspective on Mom's Day. Coincidentally CC's maternal grandmother was named Mildred, but we'd never ever have thrown it in her face that she made pies to buy the new convertable in the drive. *Sniff* Stupid Joan makes us tear up every time. Don't forget to call your Mommy to say you love her.

Posted by karen at 11:15 PM |

February 6, 2005

Casting Dispersions On The Fresh Prince

Will Smith poster

An East Villager with an aerosol paint can makes the obvious rhyming leap regarding Will Smith's new romantic comedy. Does this epithet refer to Mr. Smith, the movie's potential audience or the jackass who thought to besmirch the Fat Man's nickname this way?
[on Avenue A at 4th Street]

Posted by karen at 12:18 PM |

December 21, 2004

Holiday Overload

Oy. It's getting to be that time of the season where the Cinecultist is hanging on by a thin thread. Everyone around us is either getting really sick with that evil stomach bug, freaking out over their workload or going hay wire from holiday shopping stress. We've tried hovering near the 1st Avenue tree stand breathing deeply from the pine-y goodness, but it's not done too much good so far.

A few things getting us through right now:

talkingedna.jpgOur eBay bid on the Interactive Talking Edna Doll from the Incredibles movie. This is so going on our desk at the day job in the new year. On Gothamist today, we also have some other movie related gift ideas, and Jen offered a few music related ones. Together, it's the Seth Cohen Christmukah Starter Pack! Beat that Virgin megastore gift table!

Ken Tucker at New York magazine called our friend John Walter's movie How To Draw A Bunny, his third favorite movie of the year. Yipee! Rent it today, you won't be sorry.

This random quote from this week's NY mag... "I learned what every self-respecting Ohioan has always known: Big chains offer their own kind of bliss. Most notably, popcorn shrimp, which I've been enjoying in immoderation at Red Lobster in Times Square. The little fried frizzles are yummy, and it's a place where no one will ever look for me: a big family restaurant in midtown. I can wrap a breaded coating around myself and go to sleep."

While we're not ready to start eating in Times Square chain restaurants, if anyone knows where CC can buy some fried breading pajamas, please send the info to our regular e-mail.

Posted by karen at 10:57 PM |

September 16, 2004

L'Shana Tova Cinecultists

wwbd.jpgThat's happy new year to those of you not Members of the Tribe. In honor of, perhaps you might sport a t-shirt like this one at left for sale on the Heeb magazine web store?

What kind of year will 5765 be? And, more importantly What Would Barbra Do with it?

Schedule more duets with Louis Armstrong while wearing tons of fake curls. Stop asking Papa if he can hear you, he's not deaf after all, just in the next room. Cut back on the manicures and blow outs, it's good to just let it all go natural once in a while. Practice being ironic about our persona in the mirror to prep for the Meet the Fockers press junket this fall. "People, people who need people, are the luckiest people in the world..."

Posted by karen at 7:01 PM |

September 10, 2004

RESFEST Opening Night & To The Hills Screening

It's a good thing to find geeky friends. At least for the Cinecultist anyhow, because occasionally lovely e-mails come down the pike such as the one from Jonathan Wells, the RESFEST festival director, a week or so ago offering to put us on the list plus a guest for the festival's opening night at the TriBeCa Performing Arts Center and then one must find someone who wants to come along. That's where Matty aka Capn Design comes in. He likes movies. He brings leftover cupcakes. And he gets super excited about the demonstration of a Canon XL2 as we wander around the promotions booths before the screening begins. This is the kind of plus one who really appreciates a digital media festival.

Turns out we weren't the only bloggers invited to attend, those Low Culture guys, JP and Matt plus the lovely Chloe were also there. We had a bit of a "who has the free swag connections" off, and though CC had a festival program and JP did not, that's only because they were sitting on the check in table. As for the shorts, Program #1 of a series of three plus music videos, political shorts and a retrospective to director Jonathan Glazer that are playing all this weekend, they were all of pretty high quality. Some more artsy for artsy sake than would be our taste, but all quite entertaining.

The whole audience was invited to cast a ballot for our favorite at the end of the program, so Cinecultist did have to choose one we liked the most of the 10 shown. Though it was a tough decision between Jason Wishnow's Oedipus (animated Greek fable using vegetables to play the various roles) and Talmage Cooley's Pol Pot's Birthday, we went with the depiction of the Khmer Rouge throwing an office party for their despot. Not to give too much away but Pol gets a golden retriever puppy and he forces his petrified retinue to eat some very grey cake. Then, they sing "Happy Birthday."

Tickets for individual events cost $9 and they run through this Sunday, Sept. 12 at 199 Chambers Street. CC's going to catch the Videos That Rock program, and there's also a VJ Event/Closing Night Party w/EBN & Hexstatic at the Canal Room that sounds fun. You'll also be able to purchase DVDs of the programs on the RES magazine site we imagine, as they've made past years available. The festival continues its tour across the country through the Fall, more info is available at their website,

* * * *

Director Fritz Donnelly is a born salesman. That's evident even without seeing the charming footage of him working a card table in SoHo last year selling his DVDs to the passerby. He put 24 of his shorts onto a disc, had them nicely packaged and sold them on the street and via his website To The Hills like some neo door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman. In his tiny sublet studio space nearly under the BQE in Williamsburg on Friday night, we watched some footage from that disc plus some new shorts not yet released. Fritz is the kind of artist who doesn't seem to censor himself, what appears on the screen comes across as a direct connection to his brain. Thus his desperate shut-in characters, influences from bloody video games, manic indie rocker videos and mechanized '80s cartoons all seem to go together, beneath the wacky umbrella "things from Fritz's brain."

Though we don't plan to take up permanent residence there, anywhere populated by Fritz-isms sure can be a fun place to visit. Plus, with attendance comes cheap cold English beer and the suggestion of a spaghetti dinner extended to the 25 or so viewing attendees camped out on the folding chairs or squatting on the floor, so you know he's extremely hospitable, if nothing else.

The moral of these two evenings? Ah, it's good to be on The List. Cinecultist likes it there.

Posted by karen at 2:23 PM |

August 22, 2004

Vincent Gallo Oversaturation Continues

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[CC Camera Phone pictures (l-r): Brown Bunny BJ promotional posters on West Broadway @ Canal; across the street from the posh Soho Grand hotel; who also feature this artsy promo photo in their window, though for hair care products not independent film. Soho = grimy, skinny people naked and in compromising positions, kids!]

For a guy who supposedly pays for his own billboards ($37, 773 for five days according to his interview in this week's New York Times magazine) and is touring the country with a print of his film on a shoestring dime -- Vincent Gallo sure seems to be everywhere recently. Cinecultist really ought to stop posting about him but we sort of can't help ourselves. His ability to just spout junk is phenomenal.

And thus we bring you another Vincent Gallo Exchange of the Day:
Deborah Solomon - Why aren't you married?
VG - Intimacy always creates an urge in me that I am missing out on something.
DS - You are. You are missing out on isolation. Do you cultivate isolation for your art?
VG - I don't think in terms of art. I think in terms of getting things done, fixed, cleaned, finished, arranged. I am more of a custodian.

Posted by karen at 9:40 AM |

August 19, 2004

The Clock Kept Reading Four Ten PM

4oclock.JPGAttending the BlackOut Film Festival last Friday at Office Ops in Williamsburg, got Cinecultist reminiscing about last year's thrilling day devoid of electricity. To honor the anniversary of that night, they screened 11 short films about the black out, some fictional, some documentary and some best just described as "art." The screening was set to be on the roof, which is a lovely space and has an amazing view of the Manhattan skyline but sadly, the August rains kept us inside. Let's just say those industrial fans didn't do much to keep cool a room full of sweaty hipsters drinking cheap bottles of beer but heck, that's how the black out felt too (sweaty and beer-sodden), so it worked for the overall aesthetic. [NYT article previewing the film festival.]

CC wishes we'd remembered more of the titles of the shorts, (we really ought to start carrying around the tiny notebook again) because some of them were quite good. In particular, Stars In The City that consisted of a man's monologue about the hot sex he and his girlfriend had on top of their roof was at once artistically intriguing, humorous and evocative of the moment -- qualities that many of the shorts shared singly but not too many had all of them together. Two of the films starred an actress Diane Davis, whose name CC tried hard to remember so we could go home and IMDB her. But no dice, this seemed to be a strictly amateur affair, friends of the programmers and unfunded submissions sent in with the call for projects.

What CC responded too most strongly though in the evening of shorts was the snapshot quality of the films. Especially the dv footage shot on the dark streets of revelers in the Eee Vee, made CC feel like we were watching vacation movies. Look, that's where the pizza place is on Ave A and Seventh Street that was the only place serving food the next day! Look at the people walking on the bridge or crowding on the slow-moving buses, we were there too!

Sometimes, while living in New York, even if you've been here for awhile, it's possible to slip into tourist mode. As you walk around taking mental snapshots of the landscape, you feel like you are both in the city and merely observing it. CC prefers to do this while wearing the iPod turned up really loud. We call it iPodding. It feels almost cinematic, like you're making a movie of the city with your gaze. The day of the blackout, because it was so freakin' hot and there was nothing to do inside, CC just iPoded our way through downtown Manhattan. It was beautiful to feel so apart of the city and yet to be also observing it so intensely. Watching these Blackout movies recalled that experience and made us a bit nostalgic for it.

By the way, this picture is one we took the day after the Blackout in Astor Place when it was no longer 4:10pm. That only really makes sense if we tell you. Clock says one time, but it's not that time. Oooo, creepy. More pictures we took and posted last year.

Posted by karen at 10:04 PM |

August 12, 2004

Conversation At The Union Square Virgin Megastore

INT. - VIRGIN MEGASTORE, MANHATTAN'S UNION SQUARE - 10:45 PM MONDAY NIGHT. Your Cinecultist steps into the store for a last minute birthday purchase for our sister.

Salesgirl: Hello, welcome to the Virgin Megastore. My name's Corine. Did you find everything okay?
Cinecultist: (still wearing the iPod) Mhmmm.
Corine: Is that going to be all for you today?
CC: Mhmmm.
Corine: Kill Bill Vol. 2 on DVD goes on sale tonight at midnight.
CC: (taking out the earphones) Sorry? Did you say Kill Bill 2? (looking around the room for some line of rapid Tarantinoiacs but seeing only a few scraggling music buyers) Are people really lining up to purchase that movie right at midnight?
Corine: (with the belabored look in her that only comes from working retail) Sometimes we get lines for CD releases, but not really movies.


Posted by karen at 8:19 AM |