Friday, August 12, 2005

Things to do about your fear of snakes.

- RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK is the final midnight movie of the summer playing at the Landmark, and it's arguably the best one that they're going to show. (Last week, I didn't catch the 3D porno with John Holmes that they showed. I was afraid that something would fly at my eyes and make me throw up.) Is there anyone who hasn't seen RAIDERS? I think my parents took me to see it when it first came out in theaters, even though the ending scared the crap out of me when I was 5. I still don't know - and don't want to know - exactly how the Ark melted that Nazi's face off.
- There's a new Bergman film playing at the Landmark. It's called SARABAND, and it's a sequel to SCENES FROM A MARRIAGE. If I'd seen SCENES FROM A MARRIAGE, I'd tell you to go see it. But my favorite Bergman is FANNY AND ALEXANDER, so I can't endorse SARABAND outright. FANNY AND ALEXANDER, though, is great, if you're in the mood for a Swedish movie.
- I'm in one of those periods where I'm between books again. Last weekend, I finished THE RAZOR'S EDGE, and now I'm looking over all the stuff I've bought recently to see which of them I will read next. Since THE RAZOR'S EDGE was heavy, the next book will probably have to be something light or some heavy short stories. I could read WRITING DOWN THE BONES, but that seems like a book that I should more study than read. Other candidates for my attention are, once again, LITTLE CHILDREN or THE HISTORIAN, but I'll probably just buck both of those and read some short stories from Eudora Welty or Katherine Anne Porter. I've also heard really good things about Nicole Krauss' THE HISTORY OF LOVE, which features an opening sentence about something I understand - a guy's messy apartment. Or I could just read JUST LIKE HEAVEN, which is about to become a cheesy Reese Witherspoon movie.

- According to all the press I've read, the best new television show of the fall season is PRISON BREAK, which premieres August 29. It stars the extremely good-looking Wentworth Miller, whom I've had a crush on ever since he played a sarcastic, manipulative, well-dressed new student on POPULAR. Last year, friends of mine received a couple e-mails last year reminding you to watch the first episode of DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES. This year, I'm going to suggest you watch PRISON BREAK, which apparently works a lot like 24. I've also heard really good things about the CBS sitcom HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER, with Neil Patrick Harris, Alyson Hannigan and the adorable Jason Segel from FREAKS AND GEEKS. That show's about a guy in the future telling his children (and us) how he fell in love with his future wife, though something tells me the "mother" in the title isn't who we're led to believe it is. I've also heard good things about EVERYBODY HATES CHRIS, but it looks like an '80s-flashback, urban version of THE WONDER YEARS.

- The ads for THE SKELETON KEY make it look really interesting. I mean, the ads I've seen begin with, like, a dorked-out narrator who sounds like the same dorked-out narrator from THE EXORCIST's ads talking about how THE SKELETON KEY is a psychological horror thriller in the vein of THE SIXTH SENSE and, of course, THE EXORCIST. I'm wary of anything with Kate Hudson in it, but the ad campaign has me intrigued.
- My favorite movie about a real, functioning, long-term gay marriage, PRICK UP YOUR EARS, does begin and end with the actual murder-suicide of lovers Joe Orton and Kenneth Halliwell, so that probably reveals too much about what I think of gay marriage. But the actors in the movie, including Gary Oldman, Alfred Molina and the fantastic Vanessa Redgrave, are superb. It's directed by Stephen Frears. And the script is great. Molina and Oldman play the loving couple, and they're both nuts, too self-centered and constantly in competition with one another. Oh wow, writing this entry's going to win me dates. Watch this movie if you haven't seen it, though, and you'll see what I mean.

- With all the attention that the new CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY is getting, I was hoping that Roald Dahl himself would enjoy a surge in popularity. Though he's best known for his children's books and their subsequent movies, like JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH and the excellent MATILDA, Dahl was also a perverse, disturbed man who wrote twisted, dark-as-hell horror stories that Alfred Hitchcock loved. If you've not read one of his murder stories, you're missing out.

- Speaking of Hitchcock, the great actress Barbara Bel Geddes, who was nominated for an Oscar and appeared in VERTIGO but was probably better known for playing Miss Ellie on DALLAS, died this week. If you can, track down and watch her third-season episode of ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS called "Lamb to the Slaughter." It's fantastic.
- Say you're going to do the usual chores that you don't do.
- Check last week's list.
- I'm in the mood to play board games. Last week, I played cards in Ohio. When did America stop playing board games? How can I get a group together to play RISK or teach me DIPLOMACY or something? I'd have to drive to Lupo's house in Savannah to beat him at TRIVIAL PURSUIT. Hell, even MONOPOLY would be fun. My parents played RISK when they were dating in college. Once, they played RISK with the dorm door shut, and my dad's RA caught them and asked them to explain. Apparently, when they said, "We were playing RISK," the RA misunderstood them.
- One of the commenters on the blog and I recently launched into a conversation about why we hated the AMC multiplex in Morrow, which has to be the worst theater in the area. On the flipside, though, Entertainment Weekly recently listed what they thought were the best movie theaters in the nation. None of them, from what I could see, were in Atlanta, though I'd have to say that my favorite theaters are currently the Landmark and the Tara. (The Fox doesn't count. I don't see movies there, even though it used to be a movie house.) My all-time-favorite Atlanta theater, though, is the former Madstone at Parkside, which shut its doors over a year ago. But I liked the Madstone because the staff was friendly, they offered a membership for regular customers, they showed vintage films, they had cool events, they served alcohol ... and they had board games set up in the lobby for you to play before the show started. I mean, Kacoon and I once played several games of Boggle while waiting for a special screening of DONNIE DARKO. That's got to be among the best theater experiences I've ever had. Where do you like to go to the movies when you like to go to the movies? What's been your best experience at a cinema? What's your favorite movie house, and why do you love it?

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