Obviously Losing

Location: Los Angeles, California

Saturday, December 29, 2007


Sorry for the lack of updates, but between the holiday, visiting family, vacationing in Del Mar, and being sick with a cold, I haven't really had the time or energy to post anything of significance.

I'm chugging away seeing as many of this year's films as I can. I still got a handful or so more to watch, and there's a couple of films I feel deserve a second viewing.

I usually get my Top 10 of the Year list up by the first week of January, but I may hold off until mid-January this time. One reason for this is because I'm dying to see "Syndromes and a Century," a film I missed in theaters that is coming out on DVD on Jan. 15. But maybe I'll post a pre-Syndromes list before then. Who knows... I'm just thinking out loud here.

Hope everyone had a lovely Christmas and is enjoying their break. I'm looking forward to a Trojans victory on Jan. 1. Booyah!

P.S. - I'm typing this on my mom's iBook, which is the most evil machine ever made. Sooner or later the Rainbow Wheel of Death will rear its ugly head. How I long to be back on my wonderful Dell desktop.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

There Will Be Blood

Wow. That was some sort of twisted masterpiece. I really don't know what to say at this moment because the movie is still looming so heavily over me.

A few thoughts:

1. Daniel Day-Lewis has the Best Actor Oscar in the bag.
2. Paul Thomas Anderson is without a doubt the most exciting young filmmaker working today.
3. Jonny Greenwood's score is brilliantly unique.
4. Paul Dano is a revelation. He has serious acting chops, and he surprised the hell out of me.
5. The movie is actually quite funny at times.
6. Hate to nitpick, but 10 minutes could have been shaved off, and the result would have been an even more forceful narrative.
7. And finally, I don't know yet if I want to see it again. It leaves such an impression -- it knocks you so hard that I feel as if I need to first recover from the initial blow. It will definitely be too much for some people to handle, but then again, the greatest films often are.

But, damn. What a movie. What a show.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


23 years old. Yikes.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Don Cheadle Will Stop At Nothing

International Scandal: Don Cheadle Planned Darfur Genocide To Create Film Role

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Namesake

I wasn't expecting that much from Mira Nair's family epic, but "The Namesake" floored me. It is not without its faults -- its narrative jumps around awkwardly at times -- but the movie tells its sweet and moving tale with such eloquence and heart. There are other films from this year that are more artistically made, but few will affect you in the way "The Namesake" does. It's simply irresistible.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

What's Left?

I figure I have 11 films left to see before I'm done with 2007 and can make my Top 10 list.

11 films in two weeks? That's a lot, but it's definitely doable.

The films are:

1. There Will Be Blood
2. Charlie Wilson's War
3. La Vie en Rose
4. The Namesake
5. Days of Glory
6. Starting Out in the Evening
7. Rescue Dawn
8. The Kite Runner
9. The Great Debaters
10. Waitress
11. The Orphanage

Bjork @ The Nokia Theatre

This is the best footage I could find so far from the Bjork concert I went to on Wednesday night.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Holy Cow, Batman!

The viral marketing campaign for the next Batman movie has been crazy cool. Perez Hilton has the scoop:

Thanks to Conor for telling me about this.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Sweeney Scores

Tim Burton's "Sweeney Todd" is his best film since "Ed Wood," and the reason is because he finally has some strong material to work with. Burton is only as good as his story, and the story -- and music! -- of "Sweeney Todd" is more than enough.

Secondly, it's the perfect marriage of filmmaker and content. Burton was born to make this bloody musical, and it's hard to imagine anyone else pulling it off.

Johnny Depp is very good. His singing voice, while unspectacular, is competent enough to carry the narrative, and his actual performance is fierce -- he may give some people the willies. However, who I was most surprised with was Helena Bonham Carter. I had been thinking all this time that she got the part because she is Burton's partner, but Carter dazzles in the role of Mrs. Lovett. Again, her singing could be better, but she nails the qualities of Mrs. Lovett that make her both revolting and oddly charming, and her comedic beats are sublime.

I need to and want to see it again. The screening room I saw it in made the odd choice of projecting the movie digitally. Despite George Lucas' insistence that digital projection is the future, it still makes the film look strangely pixelated, as if I were watching a computer game. It also added a green hue to a color palette I'm pretty sure was supposed to be nearly black-and-white.

It's going to be really interesting to see how "Sweeney" does with audiences. It is bloody. Very bloody. And yet it never bothered me. The blood looks more like red paint, and it's done so quickly and in such an exaggerated manner that it became a non-factor. Yet, I do think many audiences, particularly women, will have trouble with the blood and the dark subject matter. Depp's young female fans may not like that his character is so despicable. Others will avoid the movie because it is, after all, a musical.

So who will like "Sweeney Todd"? Burton fans, definitely. And those who like things that are not conventional. A musical about murder, human-meat pies, and rape? It's something that shouldn't work, but Burton makes it work splendidly.

It's so nice to have Tim back.

2007: A Year in Films

So, 2007 is quickly coming to an end, and soon everyone will be evaluating the year's slate of films. Top 10 lists will sprout up across the land, and award after award will be handed out. It's all fun, it's all overwhelming, and it's all silly in the end.

I like coming to some sort of overall assessment regarding the year. I usually make this judgement by observing how many films I gave a perfect 4-star rating to in a respective year. Here's the tabulation for the past five years:

2006 - 6 films
2005 - 9 films
2004 - 2 films
2003 - 4 films
2002 - 5 films

As you can see, both 2006 and 2005 were incredible years in my opinion. 2004 was a downer. Of course, this is just me; I recall many critics praising 2004, as well as other critics trashing 2005 and/or 2006.

So, where does 2007 fall? It has been a weird year in that there have been A LOT of very good movies, but nearly no great films. I look at my list of 2007 films, and I've given only three films a 4-star rating. However, 17 movies have received a 3.5-star rating.

Therefore, it hasn't been a bad year, per se. But I'm longing for some more greatness -- for films that I feel will stand the test of time. I still have a dozen or so films to see before making my Top 10 list, and I'm pretty confident some quality films are in that group.

At least I hope that's the case.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Exposing Airport Security

Just when I think the Onion News Network couldn't possibly make another hilarious video, they do just that.

Reporters Expose Airport Security Lapses By Blowing Up Plane

Strong Women In TV Awards

Funny, and yet so true...

Evangeline Lilly Wins 'Best Wet T-Shirt Fight Scene' At Strong Women In TV Awards

Friday, December 07, 2007

A Whole New World

Wait for it, wait for it...

Thursday, December 06, 2007

In the Magazine

My name is inside this week's Entertainment Weekly issue. You'll find an "additional reporting by John Young" credit at the end of the cover story, which is about the religious controversy surrounding "The Golden Compass."

It may only be a reporting credit, but I don't care... my name has finally made it onto the hallowed pages of EW.

You can read the story here.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Talking Cats

Saturday, December 01, 2007

The 50 Smartest People in Hollywood

I partially helped to shape EW's list of the 50 "smartest" people in the film industry. I'm proud of getting two people on the list who were initially left off, but it would probably be bad journalistic practice to say who those two people were.

Anywho, lots of people are complaining about the list, as is to be expected whenever a list is released. Lists are made to spark discussion, and people don't seem to understand that no list will ever please anyone completely. So, you think Angelina Jolie is too high, so naturally the entire list must then be flawed. Please...

What I like about the list is this: where else are you going to find John Knoll, Brad Bird, Emmanuel Lubezki, Themla Schoonmaker, and Roderick Jaynes all on the same list? People can bitch all they want, but I saw all the effort that went into making this list, and I honestly believe it's a pretty good assessment of who's intelligent in this crazy town of Hollywood.

The list:

1. Judd Apatow, director/writer/producer
2. Steven Spielberg, director/producer
3. James Cameron, director/producer
4. Ari Emanuel, partner of the Endeavor Agency
5. Will Smith, actor/producer
6. Meryl Streep, actor
7. Peter Rice, president of Fox Searchlight
8. Tyler Perry, actor/director/writer/producer
9. David Heyman, producer
10. John Knoll, visual-effects supervisor of Industrial Light & Magic
11. Brian Grazer, producer
12. Dick Cook, chairman of the Walt Disney Studios
13. George Clooney, actor/director/producer
14. Jerry Bruckheimer, producer
15. Amy Pascal, co-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment
16. Peter Jackson, director/producer
17. Will Ferrell, actor/producer
18. Robert Zemeckis, director
19. Tom Rothman, co-chair of Fox Filmed Entertainment
20. Ben Stiller, actor/director/producer
21. Johnny Depp, actor/producer
22. Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO of DreamWorks Animation
23. Brad Bird, writer/director
24. Emmanuel Lubezki, cinematographer
25. Zack Snyder, director
26. Stacey Snider, CEO of DreamWorks SKG
27. Michael Moore, documentarian
28. Paul Greengrass, director
29. J.J. Abrams, producer/director
30. Jodie Foster, actor/director
31. Kathleen Kennedy, producer
32. Thelma Schoonmaker, editor
33. Angelina Jolie, actor
34. Sacha Baron Cohen, actor/writer/producer
35. Tim Palen, co-president of film marketing for Lionsgate
36. Modi Wiczyk, co-CEO of Media Rights Capital
37. Guillermo del Toro, writer/producer/director
38. Diablo Cody, screenwriter
39. Mary Zophres, costume designer
40. Jeff Skoll, founder of Participant Productions
41. Stefan Sonnenfeld, president of Company 3
42. Daniel Battsek, president of Miramax Films
43. Beth Swofford, agent at CAA
44. Roderick Jaynes, editor
45. Cate Blanchett, actor
46. Jeff Walker, Comic-Con impresario
47. Amy Powell, senior vice president of interactive marketing at Paramount
48. Gustavo Santaolalla, composer
49. Sarah Polley, actor/writer/director
50. Ben Affleck, actor/director/writer/producer