Sunday, November 29, 2009

Fantastic Mr. Fox

This weekend we saw the latest Wes Anderson movie - Fantastic Mr. Fox, based on a book by Roald Dahl. The film is shot in stop motion with little animal dolls. I think Anderson, like me, must have been fascinated by the stop motion films of our youth - I used to LOVE that stuff.

The story goes: Mr. Fox is an adventure-seeker and despite promising Mrs. Fox he would stop stealing chickens, he goes back for "one last job". Local farmers try to kill him and Mr. Fox and his friends and family have to go underground to escape. The plot is simple - what's fun is the characterization and the attention to detail you'll find in any Anderson film.

I'm sure it will be called twee and quirky, as if those are terrible things - my only complaint that it was a little too old-fashioned - I found the lighting/coloration really overly-orange/brown and, dare I say? Ugly? I thought it was a weird choice. It felt like, in the search for throw-back imitation, someone got stuck on the wrong end of the color wheel.

George Clooney, Meryl Streep and Jason Schwartzman were fabulous as the Fox family - there is some very funny dialogue and great language. All the characters use this phrase "What the cuss?" which M & I have been repeating ad nauseam ever since.

My favorite thing about the movie is that even though the characters wear suits and have little houses with furniture, they frequently "revert" to their wild-animal nature - they growl at each other and tear into their food like, well, foxes would. Ultimately what saves the Foxes and their friends is capitalizing on their strengths as wild animals. I couldn't help but think of that other not-quite-for-children-kid's-movie: Where the Wild Things Are. Must be something in the current cultural milieu that wants to see/embrace children acting "wild".
If you're interested in the creation of the movie, there are a couple of good articles worth reading:
Wild, Wild Wes from the Nov. 2, 2009 New Yorker
and an interview in the AV Club.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

OMG! New Moon!

Uhm, OMG. So, Sunday night? I went to see New Moon with my friends? And, it was totally awesome. I mean, the movie was so stupid it was ridiculous, but we had like, the best. Time. Evah.

I didn't write about New Moon on my book blog because, well, I could barely read that shit. In New Moon, Bella, dopy teenager, gets dumped by her vampire boyfriend CLEARLY because he thinks he's protecting her (from all the associated ills of dating a vampire) but she doesn't know it, and I believe that even we, the audience, are not meant to understand this very clear and outrageously obvious plot device. Bella spends a lot of time literally clutching her gut and moaning about the hollowness inside her. Then, for various reasons, Edward goes to Italy and tries to get his ass killed by the Volturi, who are like, "vampire royalty." And have British accents. For some reason. Meanwhile, Bella's bff is a werewolf, and he's like, totally in love with her.

Sounds like a really lame plot for a movie, right? It is! But, somehow, it's just about the funniest thing you'll ever see, and we all had a terrific time laughing our asses off at the slo-mo, shirtless, ridiculousness of it all.

You know, even though the Twilight series is just about the worst piece of trite, moronic literature to come out in a very long time, and I think that it is, yes, very dangerous to young women and if I were a dictator (one day!), I would have the books burned in the street - they've spurred some pretty hilarious and awesome writing and creativity. Here are some of my favorites:

Girls Just Wanna Have Fangs, by Sady Doyle

Thirty-Four Ways New Moon the Movie Is Better Than New Moon the Book

Frankly, I can't wait until the NEXT movie, the book-version of which I read approx. every 50th page. In it, even though Bella wants nothing more than to become a vampire so she can spend the rest of eternity with her vampire boyfriend, she's pretty skeeved out by the idea of marrying him. That's like, a little too much commitment.

Sunday, November 08, 2009


Oh, my! What a weekend we had! I took the day off on Friday (I believe the appropriate term is "mental health day" and a much-needed one at that). Had coffee with a friend, did some sewing and relaxing, and then that night saw Margaret Atwood read from her new novel, The Year of the Flood. It was amazing. Then I stood in line and she signed my Handmaid's Tale while I effused. Dream come true.

Sat. we cleaned out our garage, did a little yard work (it was amazing weather this weekend in Chicago area - 70ish), then we went over to a friends house for pizza and Project Runway and a bizarre not-quite-horror movie called The Haunting of Molly [Something-or-Other].

Today we went on a bike ride in the Forest Preserve up to the Chicago Botanical Gardens. Oy! My aching toches. I think we rode about 15 miles. The gardens were lovely today, but everyone and their mother and their screaming child had the same idea, make it less of an idyllic stroll through the gardens and more of crawl through a roving mob of humanity. Oh, the teaming masses. How I detest them.

I'm sewing farm animals for some 2 year old twins that we're going to visit in NY next week - will post when I finish - think will be really cute. Here are a few pics from the gardens:

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Happy Trick or Treat

Had a really nice Halloween yesterday - we got a LOT of trick-or-treaters - I was afraid we were going to run out of candy and had to start rationing. One of the kids said "Happy trick or treat" to me, and made me laugh for the rest of the day.

We had a Halloween party with the theme "Your Childhood Nightmare" and our friends had some great costumes - have a look:

M almost went as Santa as well. And then our friend G. came in dressed as a creepy uncle and I said, "OMG! I almost went as an uncle too!"