Thursday, December 27, 2007

There Will Be Blood

I made my pilgrimage to the ArcLight last night to watch the latest PT Anderson film There Will Be Blood starring Daniel Day Lewis. This movie totally rocked my casbah if you know what I mean. I woke up at 3AM today trying to think about what I could write to do this movie justice and I am still at a loss. The best I can come up with is:

Daniel *clap* Day *clap* Lewis *clap* *clap* *clap* *clap* *clap* *clap* *clap* *clap*

His performance was just stunning. The way he walked with his hunched over posture and how his limp became progressively more pronounced as he aged was pure genius. And the final act was just amazing. I had spent the entire movie pulling for him to find his redemption and make peace with himself and those around him and then the way he totally slammed the door on my "hope" was riveting. I was so sucked in that I was literally on the edge of my seat. And this is after 2 1/2 hours and a very large Diet Coke. I didn't even care that my bladder almost burst. Daniel Day Lewis is truly a master of his craft.

What more can I say? It all began and ended with Daniel Day Lewis for me. I don't want to discount other aspects of the movie though because it was a complete movie going experience for me. The sound mix was excellent. The cinematography was top notch. The characters had depth and the story was compelling. And the score was ridiculously good. All in all it was a fantastic movie. But like I said before - Daniel. Day. Lewis. I can't stop thinking about his performance. Amazing.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Blade Runner

I realize I am super late to the game on this one and I may be doing irreparable damage to my meticulously crafted persona of a quasi-hipster but I finally watched Blade Runner for the first time this weekend. Where have I been for the last 25 years? Obviously camped out in my secret hideout in the desert next to George Bluth Sr. and his business partner Mr. Hussein.

My biggest regret after watching Blade Runner this weekend was not going to see the theatrical release of Ridley Scott's Final Cut this year. I kept meaning to go and just never got around to it and now I am kicking myself. The sound mixing was simply amazing on my crappy little home theater in a box. I can only imagine what it would have been like in the theater. The cinematography was great on my little 37 inch TV but it would have been at least 9000 times better in all its glory on the big screen. Seriously, this might be my biggest regret of 2007.

And for the record, I think Deckard was a replicant.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Holiday Party

So last night was my first Holiday Party with my relatively new employer. Based on previous Holiday Parties with former employers, I was not really looking forward to this year's installment. However, I ended up being pleasantly surprised. My current employer is significantly smaller than the previous and the party was significantly better. I think there must be a correlation here. Maybe even a causation? Because we all know correlation proves causation.

The party was held at this cool little restaurant/bar in West Hollywood called The Spanish Kitchen. The decoration and layout of the venue were fantastic. I loved the combination of Spanish tile, dark wood floors, and wood beams on the ceilings. Plus the lighting was perfect. It was a nice soft glow that wasn't too dark nor too bright. Really just the perfect setting for a party. I also loved the bathroom. The sink fixture was really cool. I am trying to think how to best describe it but am at a loss for words. It had this kind of long curved neck with these great vintage looking knobs. I wish my camera wasn't broken so I could have taken a picture.

The food was also quite solid. It made me want to come back and try the regular menu which is a pretty big compliment from me considering that I usually am not a fan of catered meals because of the steep decline in quality often associated with quantity. My favorite dishes of the night were the paella and the white bean bruschetta. I love a good bruschetta and this one was fantastic.

In addition to the great atmosphere and food, the party was also graced by a few of the dorks from Sydney White as well as Garrett Hedlund. Kevin from The Office was also there with his trademark dopey grin. I couldn't help but giggle when he first walked in. I was also able to briefly discuss The Replacement Killers and Training Day with Antoine Fuqua who was quite affable. I really wanted to ask him about American Gangster but didn't think that would be too polite so I refrained.

The highlight of the night though was after wrapping up a conversation with Guy McElwaine, who you may recognize as the former agent of the great Frank Sinatra (and yes he was wearing the Sinatra family ring), I turn around and literally bump into Nitro. Yes THE Nitro of American Gladiators fame. And yes, he is starting to go bald and is approximately 2/3 the size of his former self but still pretty cut up. It was simply breath taking to be in the presence of such an icon from my youth. Totally worth the 45 minute drive to West Hollywood and the horrible wait at the valet station with the howling winds and Arctic temperatures because they can't find my car for some reason. Totally worth it.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Malick and Pitt in Talks

Per Variety, Brad Pitt is currently in negotiations to sign on to the latest Terrence Malick project Tree of Life. It looks like Pitt will be replacing Heath Ledger and will be starring alongside Sean Penn who is already attached.

Sean Penn was fantastic in The Thin Red Line, the best war movie ever made in my opinion. Plus, I have loved every other Malick film and have been a Brad Pitt fan ever since his excellent performance in 12 Monkeys. Therefore, I am really looking forward to seeing this combination on screen. Hopefully it works out.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Christmas Comes Early

Yesterday, as I walked through the door of my apartment I was greeted by the lovely sight of two boxes from I immediately opened each package and was graced with the true spirit of the Christmas season when I removed this

and this

from the packages. Merry Christmas to me. I can't wait to dive back in to season 3 of Lost and continue to share the joys of Once with my friends.

Monday, December 17, 2007

More Fun With Burgers

As of today, the best burger I have eaten is the burger from Father's Office. I have received much criticism from people who are not fans of the blue cheese, the difficulty in finding a table, and the fact that nothing can be added or removed from the burger. However, I stand by my convictions and proudly proclaim Father's Office to be the best. The well deserved #1 ranking was solidified on Saturday when I was able to sample the burger at the Chateau Marmont.

I must say that I did enjoy the Chateau Marmont offering but it was just not quite as good as Father's Office. I would put it on par with The Counter. The patty was of high quality beef. The bun was quite tasty. However, there was nothing that really made it stand out from any other quality burger. It was good and I thoroughly enjoyed my meal. However, there was nothing memorable about the burger itself.

The most memorable part of the experience was dining in the secluded courtyard. It was a beautiful December afternoon. The sun was shining. The wicker table and chairs were very comfortable. It wasn't loud and crowded. It was just a great place to enjoy a Saturday afternoon meal. I do wish we had been seated one table away from where we were so we could have been in the sun as opposed to the shade. I started to get a little cold by the end of the meal.

The sides were also quite solid but nothing spectacular. The french fries were properly cooked and nice and thin but were not as good as the sweet potato fries from Father's Office. I chose the fruit option instead of the fries and I was quite pleased. The fruit was fresh and the presentation was great. The apples were the definitely the hi-light.

While the burger and sides were very good, I saved the best part of the meal for last. We started the lunch off with an order of calamari which was some of the best calamari I have eaten to date. It was lightly breaded to perfection, not to rubbery nor to mushy, and the sauces were fantastic. There was a salsa and a tartar / mayonnaise type cream that was delicious. When the two sauces were combined it was like a party in my mouth. Simply put, it was the perfect way to kick off the meal.

Just to recap, the burger at the Chateau Marmont is quite good but not as good as the gold standard of Father's Office. The sides are quite solid. The calamari is divine. And the ambiance is excellent. I wouldn't make a special trip to Hollywood just to get a burger at the Chateau Marmont. However, if I was in the area and in the mood for a good meal with great atmosphere I would definitely put the Chateau towards the top of my list.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Happy Holidays

With the post-Channukah Holiday Season officially upon us I thought that I would share a little Christmas tune that truly captures how I would feel if I was passing the Holidays in the NYC.

Fairytale of New York in the style of No Use for a Name

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Download of the Day

I thought that today I would share with everybody one of the songs that has been receiving quite a bit of attention in my car lately. And that song is ..... wait for it.... wait for it.... the Ratatat Remix of Stomp by Young Buck featuring TI and Ludacris. As many of you already know, I have a strong affinity for anything G-Unit related. I have also been a fan of Luda and the Dirty Dirty for quite a few years now. Finally, I am a sucker for a good remix. As luck would have it, the Stomp Remix off Ratatat Remixes Volume II combines all these things into one great song with a decidedly gangsta feel. I love it, much like a fat kid who loves cake, and I am willing to wager at least $2.47 that you will as well.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A Few of My Favorite Movies From 2007

With the year beginning to come to a close, I thought that it would be fitting to put together a list of my favorite movies from the year. Before proceeding any further, I must make the disclaimer that I do not assert that this list is by any means complete and is quite likely to change when somebody reminds me of something that I really liked but for some reason forgot to include. So without further ado, here are my favorites in no particular order:

  • Once - Loved the music. Loved the story. Loved the emotion. Loved everything about this movie.
  • Lives of Others - Fantastic story with excellent character development.
  • No Country for Old Men - The sound editing for the desert scenes blew me away.
  • Children of Men (I know this came out at the very end of last year but I did not see it until January of this year so I am including it on this list) - Loved the extended tracking shots. Especially the one through the city streets and up into the apartment building in the middle of the gun fight. Awesome.
  • The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford - Casey Affleck steals the show and I love the Terence Malick feel. The shot with the train pulling to a stop with all the steam and Jesse James silhouetted on the tracks was perfect.
  • Sunshine - This really needs to be seen on the big screen to appreciate the beauty. Even if I didn't like the last fifteen movies. Mike Warner swears I will like the last fifteen minutes more if I watch it again. I remain unconvinced. I appreciate how the last fifteen minutes were made. But I still don't like them.
  • Michael Clayton - Nice tight story. Great acting. George Clooney was really on point.
  • Juno - Loved the witty dialogue and the way the characters really came to life. Great laughter mixed with some poignant moments equal a winner in my book.
  • Lars and the Real Girl - I heart Ryan Gosling. Need I say more? But really this movie was excellent on many levels. Ryan Gosling was just an added bonus.
  • The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters - As one of my friends said "you can't write dialogue and humor like this." The real thing is just too amazing.
  • Into the Wild - Great soundtrack. Great cinematography. Great acting. I really like Emil Hirsch. As another one of my friends said "this movie changed my life."
  • Darjeeling Limited - Loved the luggage. Loved the colors. Loved the cast.
  • Hot Fuzz - This movie gets funnier and funnier each time I watch it. My favorite comedy of the year. By far.
  • The Bourne Ultimatum - Best of the three in my opinion. The fight scene where he hits the guy with a book was amazing. So intense.
  • Paris, je t'aime - A great compilation of short films about Paris. If you don't like one, no problem. Another one will be coming along in about ten minutes. My favorite was the short about the guy who gets shot.
  • The Lookout - I really liked this one in the theater but when I watched it again on dvd it wasn't as good as I remembered. Still it was solid. Solid story with no real holes if a bit antiseptic and lacking characters with any real depth.
  • 300 - Loved the ballet of death.
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - Probably my favorite Potter movie to date. I really liked how they used the newspaper shots to show passage of time.
  • Ocean's Thirteen - George Clooney. Brad Pitt. I'll watch pretty much anything with them in it and like it. I love the Ocean's series. Just plain and simple good times.
  • The Kingdom - Surprisingly emotional for me.
  • Eagle vs Shark - If you like Flight of the Conchords then you will like this. Very similar to Juno in that it was a great mixture of laughter and poignant moments.

And that is all I can think of right now. Like I said before, I am sure I am forgetting some movies that I really did like. I often struggle to remember if I ate breakfast or not or how old I am so it is not inconceivable that I would forget a movie that I really enjoyed if I watched it more than a day ago. Feel free to add to the list of this years enjoyable movies in the comments.

PS I will go on the record and say that my favorite movie of the year was Once. If you still haven't seen it, do yourself a favor and rent or buy it when it streets on December 18th.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


During the last couple of weeks I have been on a real KCRW kick and as a result I have been able to discover a few great vignettes such as Martini Shot and the KCRW film reviews by Joe Morgenstern of the Wall Street Journal. This morning on the way to work there was also a great little piece on Rhythm and Hues and the expansion of their digital effects production to India which was made possible courtesy of the ever improving interwob technology that allows for quick and easy sharing of large files as well as video conferencing. Fascinating stuff.

While I have really enjoyed the discovery of the aforementioned programming, my favorite KCRW program so far is Nocturna which is hosted by Raul Campos. Nocturna airs from 10-midnight Monday through Friday and provides the perfect soundtrack for night time driving or "nighttiming" in LA. Raul heralds from East LA and is able to effortlessly blend "urban soul" and "house" with a sweet little Latin flair. As the KCRW website states, Raul really does have "his finger on the pulse of what makes this city (LA) beat."

Last night as I was driving home I was treated to a little Justice as well as some Rapture mixed in with a few bands that I didn't recognize. It was the perfect way to cap off the night.

PS Raul's top ten albums of 2007 are excellent choices. I think my favorite off his list is Sound of Silver by LCD Soundsystem.

PSS Nocturna is of course available on-demand

Monday, December 10, 2007

Apples to Apples

You know who was really clueless? Helen Keller.

Well played Britney. Well Played.

Friday, December 7, 2007

I Now Like Gum?

For as long as I can remember, I have not really been a fan of gum. However, If forced to choose between gum and the painful torture of sitting through another viewing of National Treasure I would most assuredly choose the gum. What I am trying to say is that 8.37 times out of ten, when offered a piece of gum, I would respectfully decline the offer. When pressured on my response I often reply that it makes my jaw tired. I guess I have weak mandibular muscles? Or maybe I am just plain lazy and chewing gum takes way to much work?

Now that the stage is set, I take you, the reader, back in time. We are not going back to far. Just to last Saturday evening. PS you can picture me as The Ghost of Christmas Past or The Delorian if that makes this easier for you. But back to the story at hand. I was on the cusp of my departure from the annual holiday party at the chapel when I felt the finger of God reach out and touch my life. A friend of mine offered me a piece of gum with no ultimatum and for some strange reason I accepted the offer without hesitation. I popped in the gum and was almost knocked off my feet by the explosion of joy in my mouth. The perfect meld of mint and lime was simply divine. It was like the two flavors were battling for supremacy resulting in an unparalleled harmonic convergence of bliss right in my mouth. To this my only reply is God bless the innovative minds at Orbit that somehow came up with the perfect synthesis of mint and lime resulting in the party in my mouth goodness of Mint Mojito Gum. Sheer genius.

Needless to say, I must now reconsider my long standing ambivalence to gum. I may even purchase my first package of gum ever tonight just to recreate the joyful experience of that fateful evening. Crazy. I know. But I think it is healthy and productive to re-evaluate our beliefs and perhaps make a change for the better as more information and viewpoints become available to us.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Project Cloverfield

I have been meaning to post something about JJ Abrams "ultra-secret" project - Cloverfield - ever since I saw the trailer this summer before Transformers.

Wikipedia has a pretty solid synopsis of the the project and the associated viral marketing hype at sites such as and It has also been interesting to see Slusho pop up on an episode of Heroes as well as what some bloggers are claiming to be a Cloverfield reference on 30 Rock courtesy of Kenneth's dream journal.

Needless to say, I am pretty excited about this movie. I have been a huge JJ Abrams fan ever since Felicity and Alias. Add Lost to the mix and he pretty much had me at hello. But what really put me over the top was when I heard about the sweet Valentines Day cards his boy brought to share with his schoolmates. Rumor has it they were the bomb dot com.

So here's to Cloverfield being better than Hitman. And by better I mean more smoke machines. But that is another story for another day.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Fun With Handguns

Magnum PI minus the sexy mustache and harem of beautiful women.

PS I am thinking about purchasing this gun. It is a sweet little .22 caliber that I think would be more fun than making out with a chunky girl.