17 Mar 2007

Ricky Gervais Comic Relief 2007

Okay, so every two years in the UK the BBC organizes "Red Nose Day" for comic relief. It's a charity telethon that raises money for Africa (as well as homegrown issues such as homelessness). Like a lot of telethons, many celebrities take part and, like the US comic relief, there are many funny sketches interspersed with serious reports about the plight of some Africans. Here's Ricky Gervais' Video Diary from Africa.

6 Mar 2007

Updated Top Ten Movies of 2006!

Well, it's been quite a while since my last Top Ten movies of 2006 list. I have managed to see a LOT (though not all) of the movies I hadn't seen at the time and now present you my new! and improved! Top Ten movies of 2006 list:

1. Babel
I honestly didn't think I'd see a better movie than The Departed from 2006, but now I've seen two of them!! My choice for best movie of the year is Babel. I had read a lot of reviews/articles about this film and, while I still wanted to see it, I thought it would be well-made but boring. How wrong I was. With the three cross-continental storylines, it was anything but boring. A meditation on politics, family, having children, love and culture, this was both thought-provoking AND entertaining, a rare commodity in recent film. Performances across the board were excellent, especially Adriana Barazza and Brad Pitt. The only movie I haven't seen that could POSSIBLY beat this is Pan's Labyrinth.

2. Shut Up & Sing
Let's get this straight right now. I intensely dislike Country music. However, a few years ago I heard the Dixie Chicks do a cover version of the Stevie Nicks (formerly of Fleetwood Mac) classic Landslide. I was blown away at the quality of their voices and their musicianship. My point, is that my liking of their music (in particular their recent album) has nothing to do with their political views (otherwise I'd like Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, other Country blue staters, too). I just feel that I should set that straight. Now, on with the review (still don't like Country music).

Sometime in 2003, at a concert in London, with the US about to go to war with Iraq and protests through major US cities and London, Natalie Maines, lead singer of the Chicks, made an off-the-cuff remark between numbers that she was "ashamed that the Pres of the US was from Texas (where the Dixie Chicks all hail from)." The remark was picked up by the AP and, in true Fox News sensationalist style, was exagerrated and misquoted and, by the time certain sections of the media had finished, the Dixie Chicks had apparently turned into communist, troop-hating, satanic Saddam groupies. Country radio stopped playing their music (even though at the time they were the biggest selling female band of all time - in ANY genre) and some of the more exciteable and uneducated American people stooped so low as to burn their CDs, create burning effigies and send death threats. Yes, you read that right. Death threats.

This film is a documentary following their lives from that fateful day in 2003 to the present. It really must be seen to be appreciated. People who know me know that I agree with their stance on the war and this administration (I can certainly see why some would completely disagree with their comments, especially if they are Bush supporters. The point here, though, is not WHAT they said, but they're right to say it). However, don't let my (or their) political views sway you against seeing this film. If anything, if you are from the right, it would behoove you to see their side of the story, even if you watch it and STILL disagree with their stance/comments. Of course, reasoned discourse and truly educated thinking comes from seeing both sides of a story/issue. I can tell you that this movie, their refusal to apologize, their strength in the face of extreme prejudice, adversity and danger, the heartfelt lyrics to their music, their talent and everything else about these brave women inspired me in a way that no movie has ever done. Honestly recommended for both those that agree and those that disagree with their message.

3. The Departed
See my original comments here.

4. Volver
See my original comments here.

5. United 93
See my original comments here.

6. When the Levees Broke
See my original comments here.

7. Little Miss Sunshine
See my original comments here.

8. The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada
See my original comments here.

9. Brick
See my original comments here.

10. Casino Royale
What can I say? I am a professional Bond film watcher. I'm not a Bond snob (Roger Moore's my favorite, so you see, I can't be). This movie is unbelievable. From the opening scene (best on-foot chase since Point Break) to the final, iconic mention of "Bond, James Bond," I was wetting myself. Daniel Craig kicked (and killed) so much ass that my own ass started to hurt halfway through the film. THIS, my friends, is the true Bond. This is how Ian Fleming wrote the character to be-a misogynistic, womanizing, cold-blooded killing, fucking asshole of the first order. The decision to reboot the franchise in the very-fashionable-right-now-origin-story format was nothing short of inspired. This was, by far, the BEST Bond movie since The Spy Who Loved Me (in truth, it's technically the best Bond movie ever, but I love the early Moore Bond movies in a nostalgic, I-was-still-just-a-kid, dig-that-Carly-Simon-theme-tune, magical kind of way). I expected it to be good, but not THAT freaking good!