One paragraph reviews on art, movies, books, and pop culture by a know-nothing who knows it all

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Deja Vu

Just saw "Happy Endings," and I thought it was excellent, as our guest reviewer pointed out a few days ago. While watching Maggie Gyllenhaal sing in the flick...

...I was reminded of those scenes in "Annie Hall" of Diane Keaton's singing in the clubs....

Will someone please cast Maggie Gyllenhaal in the next "Annie Hall" style film? Or as mother and daughter? Here are some photos I found that are particularly Diane Keaton-esque.


Thursday, July 28, 2005

One Bad Apple at Mirage

This exhibit at Alexander and Bonin, called Mirage, started out swimmingly. This entrancing porcelain sculpture, called "Milk Crown," is the first thing you see upon entering the gallery.

jennifer bolande

To enter the main exhibit, you have to walk through a curtain of green beads, so very '70s, which I loved. A mini-slideshow was going on of images of chairs on top of each other in different positions. It was almost like snapshots of a chair dance or ballet. I'm a sucker for that slide projector sound.

Next a series of images of men standing on their hands in the woods, fields, rocks.

robert kinmont

But then, unfortunately, I came upon the bad apple....

Florian Pumhosl

Yes, that is a big plate of glass leaning against the wall. That's it. I really hope I am wrong. Perhaps, someone just happened to leave it there by accident. Everything was going so well. It really turned me off to the whole show, which is a shame.


Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Makes Me Wanna Throw Up

I HATE this print ad. For the past week, it's been popping up in the NYT in weird places. Today, it's in the Food Section.
Why I hate it:
1) I'm sick of "funny pets" in films (pets sitting on toilets, pets humping legs, pets receiving mouth to mouth resuscitation); 2) I don't like John Cusack's lacquer-black fake dyed hair. Men shouldn't dye their hair; 3) the position of Diane Lane's hand trying to cover up the fast-approaching aging process.
These actors are in their 40s. I'm sure the film is about how we're all just kids at heart when it comes to love. I really, really doubt that this is a mature comedy about a middle-aged couple, a la "Annie Hall" or "An Unmarried Woman." But, oh, wouldn't it be nice?


Tuesday, July 26, 2005

"Happy Endings"

It might be too much to expect that a film called "Happy Endings" should start out strong. It doesn't. There are many characters to introduce, and the director resorts to splitting the screen and giving written details about who we're meeting. The result is confusion and some frustration at the too-smart summaries. Hang on, though. The plotlines deepen after seeming simple early on, and the director does a great job weaving everything together. Maggie Gyllenhaal and Lisa Kudrow stand out, as does, I hate to say it, Tom Arnold. The promised ending may not be happy in all cases, but it seems to come too soon after even after two-plus hours. (Ed. note: this was submitted by a guest reviewer. I'm seeing the flick this weekend.) (Image via


Monday, July 25, 2005

"Yes" Is a Yes, If...

...If you're a Sally Potter (the director) fan. Here are some details: the main characters' names are He and She. This is a love story between a Middle Eastern man and a Western woman post 9/11. The actors speak in rhyme for the whole flick about Concepts and say things like, "Single is a word based on illusion. Life itself develops from a fusion." Get the picture? If these filmic techniques are a big turnoff, skip it. I, myself, am a Sally Potter fan, and I digged this film. I really rejoice whenever a filmmaker experiments with form even if it falls flat on its face, which this film does not.


Friday, July 22, 2005

SMiLE Delayed

Brian Wilson's "SMiLE" came out last September, but only recently have I given it a full- throttle listening. To read about the saga of "SMiLE," which Brian abandoned in 1967, click here. (This article is chock-full of delicious details of B.W. insanity, including the fact that Brian insisted that musicians wear firemen's hats during the recording of one song.) If you digged "Pet Sounds," definitely check this album out. If you don't know what the hell I'm talking about, let me put it another way. When "Good Vibrations" comes on the car radio and you can't help feeling just a tad bit better, then give "SMiLE" a listen. Melody is layered upon melody, tempo shifts from underneath you, and song bleeds into song, taking your ears on a giddy aural trip.


Tuesday, July 19, 2005

"Beat" Again

Just saw "The Beat that Skipped My Heart," and although a guest reviewer posted earlier, I'd like to add my two cents: See it. To me, this film is really about a young man's tormenting, alternating allegiance to either his father (the petty gangster, pictured above) or his dead mother (a concert pianist). Just when you think he's made his choice, the specter of the other parent comes barging in. (Image via


Saturday, July 16, 2005

Little Boy: The Arts of Japan’s Exploding Subculture

To get the real gist of this exhibition at the Japan Society, read the second half of this article. The actual viewing of the artwork doesn't really seem necessary; seeing the stuff simply reinforces curator Murakami's thesis about the infantilization (word?) of Japanese culture after WWII. One of the more interesting things that I read at the exhibit was that shorter-limbed characters, which indicates an introverted character (think Hello, Kitty) are far more popular than long-limbed ones, which indicates an extroverted character (such as Mickey Mouse). Here are some images that I liked from the show.

Chinatsu Ban, "Yellow Elephant"

Kawashima "Fire"

Aya Takano(This was my favorite artist shown.)

"Penyo-henyo" Mr.

Yoshitomo Nara

Yanobe Kenji (This photo doesn't do this sculpture justice. Those are little soldiers on the ground, and on the man's stuck-out tongue is a queue of soldiers as well.)

(Images via,,,,,


Thursday, July 14, 2005

"The Beat that My Heart Skipped"

(Ed. note: this entry was submitted by a guest reviewer whose opinion I respect.) If staring for 107 minutes at a Frenchman who looks like a cross between Ewan MacGregor and Mick Jagger is your idea of fun, get over to your local theater, now. The actor Romain Duris IS "The Beat That My Heart Skipped." He portrays a gangster type who decides to take a last shot at his dream of being a concert pianist. Absurd plot? I thought so. I did enjoy watching Duris for much of this well-shot film, and the actor who plays his broken-down gangster father has a fabulous look. After a while, though, I found myself wondering whether I would've given it a chance had this been an American production starring Brad Pitt. I think not. (Image via


Heads Up! Happy Bastille Day!

I think I'll spend the day making vichyssoise, watching Godard's Masculine Feminine, listening to Air, and reading excerpts from Simone de Beauvoir's The Mandarins.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Have You Heard of This Guy....

Charles Dickens? He's a pretty good writer. Just finished "A Tale of Two Cities" and was really surprised that I liked it so much. A historical novel set against the French Revolution? Sounds borrringgg. But the novel is quite engrossing, and now I know why people still refer to and read Charles Dickens. His voice, subtle humor, and outlook feel quite contemporary.


Friday, July 08, 2005

Me and You and Everyone We Know

Synopsis: Ensemble piece about lonely, idiosyncratic people who eventually find a little happiness. This film is actually a comedy, despite what this synopsis may convey. I think this is one of my new favorite films. Imagine a film by Todd Solondz and took away his flaws (self-hatred and misanthropy) and added some tenderness and truth. Highly recommended.


Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Shhhh....Can You Keep a Secret?

More trash confessions. I bought the new W magazine with the 60-page (yes, 60 pages) pictorial spread on Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie portraying a bored 1960s couple. The mise-en-scene is delicious, and the vintage clothing is sumptious. Here are some of the best pix:

(Image via here and here)