It's halfway done.

I joined Netflix this week. Does that make me evil, turning my back on all of Boston's beloved independent video stores (well... all 3 of 'em)? Or do I just wanna watch a new release and not have to worry about returning it before noon the day after next? My video store rarely has what I want, anyway. So begins the $264/year experiment.

Also trying to consolidate my student loans. Not too pleased at what they quoted my "new monthly payments" would be (only about 25% less).

As shiny happy red-and-white enveloped DVDs arrive in the mail and a big ol' bounty of new stuff hits theaters this weekend, I'll have lots to write about. As for the new Box Office Champ, I'm placing my $ (if I had $ to place) on either Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle (smarter than it looks?) or The Manchurian Candidate (early reports say it actually doesn't suck!) As for The Village (oh, excuse me, M. Night Shyamalan's The Village), well, wasn't Gigli released this time last year?


MOORE, MOORE, MOORE... (How Do You Like It, Etc;)

Michael Moore came to my theater today for a special, closed-off to the public screening of Fahrenheit 9/11.  In town for the DNC but not necessarily affiliated with the party, Moore introduced the film, then trotted upstairs for a press conference (and autographed a displayed movie poster on the way).  In the flesh, he looks as dumpy and average-joe as he does on camera.  He fielded questions from the press in his typically wry, understated demeanor until we hit upon the Lewinsky/Whitewater scandals.  At that point, he raised his voice and his anger and frustration reached unexpectedly operatic levels.

The theater was swamped with starfuckers and the curious, myself included.  I have to admit that as I listened to Moore, he was persuasive and charismatic enough to melt away the skeptic in me.  The words that stuck with me most: "This is the most important election in our lifetimes".

But we need to have a little fun to keep our heads on straight, too.

Ugh.  I've been listening to DIY CD's all night and must do a whole lot o' nothing starting right now.  Good night, nurse.



The rains are on their way.  It's the calm before the storm of raving mad Democrats taking over the city.  Well, maybe not raving mad... apart from the scores of students lining Harvard St., greeting everyone with a spirited, "Hello, how'd you like to get George W. Bush out of office this November?"  The d'oh! answer to this would be "voting", obviously, but they just want your $$$ for DNC.  And as much as I fervently want to say bye-bye to Bushie, I just can't support what is basically the lesser of two evils.

It's great to see people politically active.  How about politically radical?

Otherwise, a dull, hot, humid week.  I can no longer use my A/C 'cause the other night water draining from it was actually seeping into the wall below.  It's unsettling to see pockets of water actually bulging out of the wall without bursting (which, from a distance, I mistook for foam at first).

Saw Orson Welles' OTHELLO at the Brattle Monday night.  As with most Shakespeare, I had trouble following everything but the skeletal plot outlines, but this is a film far ahead of its time, all poetic discourse filtered through strange camera angles, backlit landscapes, and gloriously ornate sets.  Puts Kenneth Branagh to shame.


I changed the URL for various reasons.  Not that I don't want people to know who I am, as nothing on this blog is private.  But, I think it makes sense.  Even though it's not copyrighted or anything, I guarantee you won't hear of Lymejello anywhere else.


See this movie: although it's long and one-sided and verges on information overload, it makes a shrewd, intelligent case against corporations by simply presenting a frightening amount of evidence on how damaging and dangerous they are to everyone.  As it moves from a tapestry of generalizations to in-depth reporting of specific cases, it successfully emphasizes the human cost of making "the bottom line".  This movie tells us what's wrong with the system, but unlike Michael Moore's films, it gives us some concrete ideas as to how to go about fixing it, even if the solutions are only the first miniscule steps.
My computer at work is infected.  Whenever I use my Yahoo e-mail, various pop-up screens appear telling me so.  The most disturbing one features eight cartoon bug-like figures.  A week of receiving this pop-up screen at least three or four times daily passed by before I looked at it closely enough to realize that these cartoon bugs are humping each other!  Ewww.  I can't figure out how to get rid of it--I've scanned my desktop for viruses repeatedly and none of those pop up.  I guess it's better than getting unwarranted pop-ups of bare-breasted women and deep, red, raw vaginas, but not by much.
I've found two songs I can't stop playing.  "Your Cover's Blown" by Belle and Sebastian is the featured attraction on their new Books EP.  NME called it the "Bohemian Rhaspody" of twee-pop.  I don't think it has any resemblance to Queen's operatic kitschfest; it's more groovalicious early '80s post-disco, suitably picking up where "Stay Loose", the new wave-influenced last track on Dear Catastrophe Waitress left off.  That is, until it shifts into a cross between "Paint It, Black" and "Pipeline" halfway through.  Then, it returns to sounding like Chic/Blondie circa "Rapture", but with a renewed emphasis on the rhythm guitar.  Although it seems unlikely and foreign on the first go-around, by the fifth or sixth listen it reminds you both of the melancholia of the band's earlier recordings and the buffed-to-a-shine pop goodness of their recent work.  Brilliant, and I can hardly wait to see what they'll do next.
The other song is "Where Have All The Rude Boys Gone" by Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, from the album Hearts of Oak.  An even better Thin Lizzy tribute than Belle and Sebastian's "I'm A Cuckoo", this bouncy, scrappy ode to The Specials has a killer riff, resounding, air guitar-ready chords and not a hint of the ska sound (but all of its attitude).  When people ask me why I don't listen to commercial radio anymore, I just want to play them this, because it practically radiates the wit and genuine heart that I just can't find in Hoobastank or Maroon5.



Ho-hum. It's mid-July, but it feels like mid-November. In Florida, that is: all humid, rainy, dreary, ick.

I saw SPIDER-MAN 2 on Saturday night at the multiplex; it was my first trip there since COLD MOUNTAIN over six months ago. I don't want to be an art-house snob (though it's unavoidable since I now work at one), but I try to avoid goin' to a Loews as often as possible.

Of course, SPIDER-MAN 2 will never play at my theatre, so to Loews I go'ed with my roommate, Frank, and a friend of his who wanted to see WHITE GIRLS. That was quickly vetoed 2-1. I mean, seriously, $10.25 on WHITE GIRLS? I'd rather pay my roommate the $$$ to tell his story about him looking at an apartment in Quincy a few years ago. When he met the landlord, an elderly Chinese woman, she asked him in a heavy accent:

"So, you like white girl?"

She was referring to two unseen Caucasian females he'd be sharing the apartment with. She also told him there was a Chinese man living next door, but "He's OK, he married to white girl."

Frank didn't move to Quincy.


So, despite its direct but unimaginative title, SPIDER-MAN 2 was worth the $10.25. An improvement over the first film because unlike that blockbuster, this one didn't lose momentum halfway through, and it didn't feature the ridiculously costumed Green Goblin (like a Mighty Morphin Power Ranger!) either, although his presence is sensed and briefly shown (and it does not bode well for the next installment).

This is one of the few superhero movies to focus heavily on the hero's everyday personal problems and omnipresent mortality. It only feels like a comic book during the CGI-assisted scenes. Tobey Maguire is so perfectly cast you can't imagine an installment without him. Kirsten Dunst makes for a real, approachable love interest (she's still the anti-Brittany Murphy). Director Sam Raimi sneaks in a nice cameo from Bruce Campbell and an even sweeter EVIL DEAD homage. And although he looked a little silly in the previews, Alfred Molina makes for a juicy, clever and humane villain.

ONE COMPLAINT ABOUT THE LOEWS. We went to a 10:10 PM show, and yet there was someone with a talking, yapping, crying two-year-old sitting in the back row! I guess this makes it OK for parents everywhere to stop worrying about employing a babysitter when they want a night at the movies. My theater's Box Office Babies series may as well become extinct. Get out the nerf bats...


Also saw Alexander Sokurov's FATHER AND SON. Dreamlike? Undoubtedly. Homoerotic? Unavoidably. Homosexual? No, although as the two men gaze closely into each other's eyes, you can't help but sit in wrenching anticipation, waiting for something sexual to transpire. It never does, and it's not a disappointment. Slow but not boring, obtuse but not pretentious, it's a puzzle, a tone poem, a gauzy living portrait of camaraderie and deepest emotions always surfacing, always apparent even when their meaning seems a little fuzzy.



When I first heard that Richard Linklater was making a sequel to BEFORE SUNRISE, I thought, "What a terrible idea." I remember finding the first film pleasant, but not particularly wanting to sit through it again (whereas I have no trouble watching SLACKER, DAZED AND CONFUSED, and WAKING LIFE over and over). And Ethan Hawke was so annoying in TAPE that I wasn't too keen on seeing him in another film where he's in just about every frame.

Well, if anyone can pull off the implausibly greater-than-the-original sequel, it's Linklater. BEFORE SUNSET reunites Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) for the first time nine years after their initial encounter. Jesse, now a bestselling author (his book must be better than Hawke's!) is in Paris wrapping up a European tour. Celine surprises him by appearing at a reading he's giving at a bookstore, and they have barely an hour to hang out and catch up before Jesse has to hop a plane back to the States.

What follows transpires in real time and long takes. As Jesse and Celine walk through sunlit streets to a cafe, through a garden path, along the Seine in a tour boat and in a cab, we hear and see how time has changed and weathered them. We're let in on the most intimate details of their accomplishments and disappointments, dreams and desires, impulses and hesitations. The screenplay, written by Linklater, Hawke, and Delpy seems improvised at times, yet it's also incredibly complex--watch for body language as well as intricate shifts in tone.

Three things in particular make this a great film: Hawke and Delpy's spot-on chemistry, Delpy's outstanding performance, and Linklater's agility in opening up this seemingly conceptually limited premise and bringing it to an unexpected, indefinite but perfectly lovely conclusion.