Saturday, December 24, 2005

A Few Christmas Eve Dust Bloggies
I've been calling 'em dust bunnies but if I'm going to be dumping the brain sweepings on the blog, I may as well call them something new.

First: Merry Christmas to one and all. There are too many people I love to list them, not to mention that such a list would be dead boring for the majority of readers until and unless they found their own name. But God bless you, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and health, wealth and joy abounding to you all.

Watching ABC last night I realized I had missed a bet in getting my Christmas music this year. I do very much like the John Fahey/Terry Robb album but my next Christmas music purchase will be the Vince Guaraldi "Charlie Brown Christmas" album. ABC did a feature on that 40 year old music and it was like magic. That piano (co-opted by a car company ad this year I'm sorry to say) just takes me back to a time Chistmas still had its childhood wonder. I should note that it was a jazz trio that did the music but it's the piano of "Linus and Lucy" that really just reaches back into your brain and drags that memory out in the open, so bright and beautiful you almost want to cry. Funny to think that something so light and confectionary as a half hour of the Peanuts gang (first brought to us by Dolley Madison cakes as I recall) could become such a classic.

Movies I have rented lately: I mentioned "Serenity" already though I still don't have my copy since Costco didn't have it in stock. But I will get it when I see it there.
I did, however, get a copy of "March of the Penguins" which I rented and flat-out loved. I figure it's a well-known quantity by now so there's no point in explaining what goes on. But I have to say that the cinematography is nothing short of stunning. Antarctica seems to be the very definition of the term "stark beauty" in the lens. There's more anthrpomorphizing than a Disney flick but it sure works with those penguins. It's very touching. Also, renting the DVD is a good thing. You might miss the wide screen effect of seeing it in the theater but you get a couple of very interesting extras: a look at the "making of" and a NatGeoSoc feature that's too heavy on the global(warming)oney but fascinating to see how they used the "crittercam" on the Emperor 'guins. Definitely rent it. You might want to buy it. I did.
"The Brothers Grimm" - I'm a huge Terry Gilliam fan (except for the mullet-ish hairstyle, wuzzup wid dat Terry-man?) and "Grimm" isn't bad. It's just not what I'd expect from him. It seems that he ceded control of the movie to the studio (very unlike the man who forced "Brazil" to be the dark masterpiece it is) so it's not the deeply layered movie that it would be had it been a "true" Gilliam filliam (sorry). But it's fun and exciting. Far from perfect but a good rental for a night you just want to sit back and be entertained. Peter Stormare, who I always think of as the monosyllabic Gaear Grimsrud from "Fargo," chews up the scenery with abandon as the Italian 'torture specialist' Cavaldi in "Brothers Grimm." In my estimation, he needed to dial his madness back by a bout 20%. It got to be wearing. Not a fatal flaw.
"Fantastic Four" - Enh. Feel free to skip it. I'm not a slobbering fanboy for Jessica Alba as many are. I agree with Lileks who called her smooth and shiny like a balloon. I'm working from memory on that so forgive me if I get the words wrong. But he is right: the Sue Storm character looks like the makeup has not only been troweled on but buffed to high gloss. Possibly even a nice coat of carnauba wax on top. But the whole movie is inconsequential. Obligatory Stan Lee cameo. Good special effects. Chris Evans as the Human Torch has the best role. And he plays the reckless yute perfectly - the only character I really bought into. Final word on the movie: it has all the feel of a prequel. It tells us how it all started in excruciating, needless detail and the bad guy is vanquished in what seems the tacked-on ending. I doubt I'll be seeing the next FF movie.
Why can't the people who made the Spider-Man movies for Marvel make all the movies for Marvel?

Enough of the movies. A little bit of Christmas reverie on my way out the blogdoor.
I decided not to go overboard for the holiday eating. I have a present from the Enigmatic Misanthropes which I think may be a Tortuga Rum Cake. (insert image of BlogDog drooling here) Just the best commercial cake made in the whole wide wet wonderful world. If you've never had one, you are missing one of the greatest pleasures in life. So, in the immortal words of Carl Spackler, at least I have that going for me. And I bought some delicacies at Costco (smoked salmon, ham steaks, stuffed portobellos, champagne, a couple of nice cheeses) which I will nibble today and tomorrow morning (I'm thinking champagne, nova lox, scrambled eggs and coffee for the meal) and that'll be it. A new year of Myoplex shakes and salads is in the offing. 2006 will be the year of the Great Shrinkening. But I will enjoy what I have.

So, you there, go. Go and enjoy. A suggestion for your holiday spending: spend some time with your loved ones.

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