Lymejello is a tag I've used for nearly a dozen years.

It originated from a conversation with a close friend on a field trip my senior year of high school. At the time, my mother had a co-worker who, when not putting in hours at one of the nation's largest discount retail chains, moonlighted as a volunteer in a hospital (ie--what they used to call a good ol' fashioned candy striper). In this particular hospital's maternity ward, many of the patients were extremely young latin women, probably aged 12-14. These girls took to giving their children uncoventional names: "Conception" (or more likely, "Concepcion", although most of them purportedly had no idea what a conception was), "Vagina", and... wait for it... "Lime Jello".

I swear I'm not making this up. Anyway, I relayed this story to my friend, and she was amused to no end. Immediately, I started branding her "Conception", she called me "Lime Jello", and we even speculated that a mutual friend would probably name his spawn (however unlikely and troubling that he'd ever have some) "Vagina".

Later, the first time I ever entered an online chat room, fumbling for a username, I picked the green gelatinous dessert, although you can see I oh-so-cleverly altered the spelling.

More than a decade on, I have to admit I'm getting sick of Lymejello. And I've gotten tired of this blog. So, I'm putting it to rest and starting anew--hopefully with more focus and consistency. I've been thinking a lot about making it a primarily music-oriented blog, but I just know little musings about film, television and whatever's making me happy or pissed off are gonna worm their way in there sooner or later.

So, pleasant dreams, Lymejello. Howdy, Kriofske Mix.



Grant McLennan died in his sleep last weekend; he was only 48. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so shocked and devastated by a musician’s death. McLennan was one of the two primary members of The Go-Betweens, a woefully overlooked Australian band that was never commercially successful, although they were never forgotten, thanks to the few enthusiastic critics and music geeks who heard their records. I became one four years ago when I picked up a used copy of Bellavista Terrace, a compilation of their seminal ‘80s work.

Following a split in 1989 and a decade of solo projects, McLennan and his musical partner, Robert Forster got back together in 2000 and released three more albums. Unlike the tired product of most reunited bands, however, these records were uncommonly good, particularly last year’s Oceans Apart: it exuded all the passion and drive of the earlier albums, but with a wisdom and resonance that only comes with age. It also suggested a grand future for a nearly thirty-year-old band, which may be why McLennan’s unexpected passing stings so much.

McLennan’s songs were exceptionally literate and intelligent, but also expansive in the images and feelings they could conjure up. Below are the lyrics for my favorite song of his, “Bye Bye Pride” (which appears on Bellavista Terrace and 1987’s Tallulah). It’s difficult to convey this song’s brilliance without hearing its crisp, exultant oboe-accented melody, so do yourself a favor and buy the album (or at least the song on iTunes).

A white moon appears
Like a hole in the sky,
The mangroves go quiet.
In la brisa de la palma
A teenage rasputin
Takes the sting from a gin,
When a woman learns to walk
She’s not dependent anymore
A line front her letter may 24
And out on the bay
The current is strong
A boat can go lost.
But I didn’t know someone
Could be so lonesome
Didn’t know a heart
Could be tied up
And held for ransom.
Until you take your shoes
And go outside, stride over stride.
Walk to that tide because
The door is open wide.

Turned the fan off
And went for a walk
By the lights down on Shield Street.
The birds in the trees
Open their wings ...
He goes home again.
He dreams resistance,
They talk commitment,
Things change over long distance.
Took the shirt off his back
The eyes from his head
And left him for dead.
But I didn’t know someone
Could be so lonesome
Didn’t know a heart
Could be tied up
And held for ransom.
Until you take your shoes
And go outside, stride over stride,
Walk to that tide because
The door is open wide.

Little lies, they’ll take your pride.
Until you take your shoes
And go outside. stride over stride,
Walk to that tide because
The door is open wide.
Stride over stride
Walk to that tide.
Bye, bye pride.
Because the door is open wide.
The door is always open wide.
The door is always open wide.


Enjoying my hiatus. Go see this film when it hits theaters, hopefully later this year.



(Off I-94 between Milwaukee and Chicago.)

No, I haven't been doing any of that, although this picture is in honor of a friend who very well may be after a lengthy hiatus. Speaking of which, I've taken an early summer hiatus myself--from blogging. Hopefully, I'll return in May (or more likely June), albeit with something a little different from what you loyal readers (all seven of you!) are used to.

Until then, Happy Spring.



Inspired by this, various Chlotrudis members are putting together their own lists. Here's mine:

My Favorite Seven Living Narrative Filmmakers (in no particular order):

1. Todd Haynes - The most original filmmaker of his generation--not necessarily in form, but in how ingenuously he shapes his content. I love how he gives modern lowbrow pop culture its due - from disposable pop stars to overblown melodramas - and continually alters how we perceive it, and what we can learn from recontextualizing it. Can't wait for his Dylan film!

2. Robert Altman - Despite his haphazard track record, his best work is the closest any American film has come to poetry, which stems from his ideologically simple but stylistically profound approach to simulate life as it naturally happens (ie--not on a sound stage) and capture it with his ever-moving/observing/scrutinizing lens.

3. Wes Anderson - I know people tend to either adore or abhor Anderson's precious, whimsical style, beyond-quirky humor and insane attention to detail. But for me, no other director's work holds up so well to repeated viewings, each one resonating more powerfully than the last.

4. Richard Linklater - Although a tad more accessible, Linklater is nearly as much of an original as Haynes. He's gradually building an impressive, diverse oeuvre that alternately redefines what a narrative film can contain (SLACKER, WAKING LIFE), and subverts the mainstream with an indie sensibility (DAZED AND CONFUSED, SCHOOL OF ROCK).

5. Tsai Ming-Liang - Tsai basically takes the Buster Keaton approach to slapstick and slows it down to an unprecedented degree so that when you finally reach the punchline, you're aware of every last tiny nuance that has gone into the joke. Thus, those patient enough to wait for it reap the mightiest of rewards. Who knew Taipei could ever seem so otherworldly?

6. Mike Leigh - Up there with Altman in portraying how we really communicate with each other, except with exchanges masterfully thought-out to the very last shift in tone instead of rampant, overlapping dialogue. Arguably no other filmmaker gets such consistently great performances from his actors, and no one else has given such a rich voice to the working class.

7. Woody Allen - a sentimental favorite, given his negligible recent output (apart from the half-great MATCH POINT). But I can't understate how fluidly he merged his self-deprecating stand-up persona with that of the self-reflexive auteur. Maybe he's simply self-indulgent, but he's also responsible for at least five of the funniest, most inventive films ever made, and even most of his lesser works exude a flavor and a character he's never compromised.

Ten Honorable Mentions:

Pedro Almodovar
Claire Denis
Atom Egoyan
Jean-Luc Godard
Werner Herzog
Wong Kar Wai
David Lynch
Guy Maddin
Alexander Payne
Zhang Yimou




Here's an early candidate for next year's Chlotrudis Buried Treasure Award: this engaging black-and-white Mexican indie is about two fourteen-year-old best friends, Flama (Daniel Miranda) and Moko (Diego Catano). On one Sunday afternoon, they have Flama's mother's apartment to themselves and plan on doing nothing but playing X-Box, drinking cokes and ordering pizza. However, not long after their sixteen-year-old neighbor Rita (Danny Perea) asks to use their kitchen to bake a cake (because her oven's not working), the power goes out. With the addition of Ulises (Enrique Arreloa), an older, initially hapless-seeming pizza delivery man, the four of them spend the day figuring out creative ways to amuse themselves and pass the time within the apartment, which is located in a vast high rise housing development.

Much like Ulises, Fernando Eimbcke's film is unassuming and unremarkable at first, but as more about each character is developed and revealed, it grows on you considerably. The minimalist style, complete with brief fade-in, fade-out transitions, is surely influenced by both Ozu and early Jarmusch (both are thanked in the credits), but Eimbcke is less formally rigorous than the former and less deadpan but more emphatic than the latter. Plus, he has an ear for how teenagers talk and reveal themselves to each other. Sweet, poetic, and not at all pretentious, this little gem of a film reminds me why I value indie cinema so much. If you see this one, make sure to sit through the closing credits for a fun surprise at the very end. (5/5)


Coincidentally, I saw another Mexican film this week: Carlos Reygadas' second feature which is also set in Mexico City but could easily have taken place on another planet. The film, in a nutshell: middle-aged, poor chauffer Marcos (Marcos Hernandez) lusts after Ana (Anapola Mushkadiz) his rich, jail-bait client. A lot. Now, it didn't even occur to me that scene after scene of Marcos and Ana engaging in graphic oral sex might all be a figment of the former's imagination until my boyfriend pointed it out to me. And knowing that helps me appreciate the film more. BATTLE is an encouraging advance on the director's JAPON in that the camera movements are even more stunning, the soundtrack immensely stirring, and the plot is relatively easy to follow in comparison. He also has intelligent things to say about the class struggle in his country. Unfortunately, it doesn't add up to as great of a film as I was hoping for. Unlike the charming DUCK SEASON, it's astonishingly pretentious, But I do admire Reygadas' decision to show two particularly unattractive people having sex without turning it into a joke or draining all the warmth and affection out of it. (3/5)



Here's two recent posts I've made to the Chlotrudis Blog, which I really should be posting to more often: one on Almodovar's new film, the other on this year's IFFB.

By the way, my ballot for the 2006 Chlotrudis Awards, which is this Sunday:

Best Director: Werner Herzog, GRIZZLY MAN
Best Actor: Philip Seymour Hoffman, CAPOTE
Best Actress: Nathalie Press, MY SUMMER OF LOVE
Best Supporting Actor: Brandon Ratcliff, ME AND YOU AND EVERYONE WE KNOW
Best Supporting Actress: Robin Wright Penn, NINE LIVES
Best Original Screenplay: ME AND YOU AND EVERYONE WE KNOW
Best Adapted Screenplay: MYSTERIOUS SKIN
Best Visual Design: 2046
Best Performance by an Ensemble Cast: THE SQUID AND THE WHALE
Best Documentary: DOUBLE DARE
Buried Treasure: TROPICAL MALADY

Also, I've been meaning to post a new mix and a music review (which I have yet to write!) here, and maybe I will before month's end.

Also also, LYMEJELLO celebrates St. Patrick's Day, not by drinking green beer, but by beatifically revelling in its own template colors.

Also also also, a Happy Evacuation Day to all the Suffolk County employees I know.



From worst to best...


Mildly amusing mockumentary that presupposes an alternate American history where the South won the civil war. Much of the film is a remarkable, painstaking facsimile of the Ken Burns school of television documentaries; unfortunately, the intervening faux commercials for satirical targets such as SSN (the Slave Shopping Network) and products like Darky Toothpaste often fall flat, their obviousness surfacing with a resounding thud. Still, the “real” history coda about such products is enlightening, and the whole thing is at least watchable, and a little more coherent than producer Spike Lee’s similarly themed (and maddeningly inconsistent) feature BAMBOOZLED. 2.5/5


You're darn tootin' I'm suing every last one of your behinds!

Niki Caro’s much-hyped follow-up to WHALE RIDER crashed and burned at the box office last fall, possibly because it was released too wide too fast, and probably because no one really wanted to see another NORMA RAE. In dramatizing the first successful class action sexual harassment case (brought on by women working at a remote mining facility), Caro and writer Michael Seitzman drain out every possible gray area to a manipulative degree and only leave us with black/bad (the leering, abusive male employees) and white/good (their victimized female counterparts) ones. Ah, but that’s what you usually get in a Hollywood film (so maybe this wasn’t released too wide too fast). Still, unlike CRASH, I found much to enjoy here: the grandiose overhead shots of Northern Minnesota, a soundtrack steeped heavily in regional son Bob Dylan, the mere presence of Sissy Spacek and Richard Jenkins, and of course, Frances McDormand in her gutsiest role since FARGO (not to mention her most FARGO-like character since Marge Gunderson). As the lead, Charlize Theron proves MONSTER was no fluke, even though she’s just not as revelatory this time out (will she ever be again?). Perhaps this will find a larger audience on DVD: it’s not a bad way to spend a lazy weekend afternoon, despite the many hokey empowerment speeches Theron has to recite. 3/5


After years of semi-obscurity, Michael Keaton attempts a Jeff Daniels-like comeback in this scrappy, low-budget indie; coincidentally, like THE SQUID AND THE WHALE, the setting is also 1986 New York. On the night of the fated Game 6 of the World Series between the Red Sox and the Mets, Nicky Rogan (Keaton), a ex-cabbie turned successful playright (and a lifelong Sox fan) is dreading the reception his latest Broadway opus will receive from feared enigmatic phantom critic Steven Schwimmer (Robert Downey Jr. at his quirkiest). Along with fine support from Griffin Dunne (as a sardonic fellow playwright whose career was derailed by Schwimmer’s scathing reviews) and a brief, fabulous cameo from Catherine O’Hara as Nicky’s wife, an alternately wiry and world-weary Keaton makes us remember why he was worth paying attention to for the first time in ages. Although Michael Hoffman’s film occasionally drags and periodically feels like a made-for-cable movie, it benefits from an affable, efficient first screenplay from novelist Don DeLillo, savoring the perils of fandom and consequence with grace. 3.5/5


Hmm... I wonder if Rosario Flores is anywhere on these walls?

This delightful, hilarious film unites two Spanish actors best known on these shores for roles in Almodovar pictures: Javier Camara (the nurse in TALK TO HER) and Candela Pena (Nina in ALL ABOUT MY MOTHER). Together they are a loving couple stuck in dead end jobs as, respectively, a door-to-door salesman and a beautician’s assistant. Then, Camara is given the opportunity to either make erotic films with his wife that will sold in the Scandinavian countries (under the cover of being facetious “audio-visual encyclopedias about reproduction”) or lose his job. After a rough start, Pena becomes an international sex symbol and Camara evolves into an unlikely auteur, penning an Ingmar Bergman homage that gives this film its title. Director Pablo Berger revels in plenty of Almodovarian absurd, deadpan humor, not to mention a bountiful display of dreadful early ‘70s color schemes and Spanish pop songs, but he does so with a lithe touch (especially in Pena’s desire to have a child) that makes for a winning combination. 4/5


We’ve seen scores of films about war, but very few that explore reconciliation. Provocative and exhilarating, this one is situated in a fictional West African country following a decade long single war between two tribes: the wealthy government, and the rebel peasants. The two tribes’ respective male leaders, Le President and Colonel Theo bring their peoples together for a night-long celebration of peace. However, lingering tensions between the two cultures are blatantly apparent from the very first scene where we see Edna, Le President’s wife, mourning the brutal death of her young son by the rebel army. As the Night of Truth reaches its wee hours, the film’s title gains resonance and power as we discern differences in taste, hear of damning accusations from both sides, and see shocking revelations surface. The four leads are all excellent (though I could’ve done without the cartoonish crazy elder peasant man who gives the film its only false note). Structured like a Shakespearian tragedy with an astonishing O. Henry twist of an ending, NIGHT OF TRUTH is being distributed in the U.S. as part of the Global Lens 2006 series; with any luck, it (and not Oscar winner TSOTSI) will become the next African film (after 2004’s MOOLAADE) to find a welcome reception here. 4.5/5



Well, what can you say about an awards program that gives a long-deserving Philip Seymour Hoffman his due (he also gave the most geunine acceptance speech), and then, in a shocking finale, inexplicably honors CRASH over BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN?

All I can say is Yeesh.

I volunteered at the Brattle's Oscar Party this year, and it's much more fun watching this ridiculous monstrosity with a large, considerably vocal crowd than sulking at home and bitching and moaning to no one in particular. Since I was checking guests in, I have yet to see the telecast's first hour (like a good film geek, I taped it at home). A little weird to see Jon Stewart up there on stage, perhaps the show's first postmodern host, but I'd rather see him do it again than Chris, Steve, or Billy (especially Billy).

Gag Rule put it best after finally watching CRASH this weekend:

Some are predicting that this film might win the Academy Award for Best Movie. And some people wonder why I created Chlotrudis Awards.