Monday, January 29, 2007

... But I Told You So

Little Miss Sunshine won the coveted SAG Award for Best Ensemble Cast in a Film, giving it a big Oscar push that it needed desperately in order to compete with heavyweights like The Departed and Babel. And guess what? It was one of three DVDs sent to every SAG member in America (the other two being The Departed and Venus, the latter being nominated only for Best Actor in a Drama), making it 2 for 2 in favor of free stuff...woo hoo! The message is now crystal clear, and for those too thick to get it, I'll spell it out: if you want to even have a chance at winning top honors, you must give every SAG actor a free copy of your movie. Otherwise, don't even bother. My prediction? Next year, all five nominated films will be in my mailbox by the middle of January. Unless, of course, they want to have zero shot at winning. Just saying...

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Hate To Say I Told You So

Last year, I posted about how Crash used a brilliant marketing campaign to upend Brokeback Mountain (sorry, couldn't resist) at the SAG Awards ( you can read about it here - second post from the bottom). I speculated that once the "free copy" strategy proved effective, it would be matched ( perhaps countered is a better choice of words) by the other studios, resulting in what every Academy member wannabe (like myself) truly craves - equality and/or free stuff. So, imagine my non-surprise when I received word that I would soon find (along with 120,000 other members) freshly minted copies of The Departed, Little Miss Sunshine (above), and the Peter O'Toole gem Venus in my fetid, squeaky mailbox. In addition, I have been sent vouchers good for one admission to Babel and Dreamgirls, along with invitations to screenings of Bobby and Notes on a Scandal, none of which I have attended. My prediction: one of the three DVD films will win, forcing every studio next year to send us all shiny new discs for our rapidly burgeoning collection. Booyaa!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Guns n' Roses/ Tenacious D Split Review

Some of my favorite metal groups release split albums with 4-5 songs from each of the two groups participating, so I thought I would try it with my dual MSG reviews of Guns n' Roses and The D.
First up, the Guns show on Nov.10th was phenomenal, much better and tighter than the 5/12 show @ the Hammerstein Ballroom. They played a great mix of old and new material, including most of Appetite for Destruction, the crucial Lies song "Patience", and a number of unreleased gems from the upcoming album, the mythic Chinese Democracy, which, incredibly, finally has a release date of March 6th, 2007. Axl was in excellent voice, although there were definitely technical issues with the vocal mix, which is pretty inexcusable at this level (although it happened at the Maiden show as well - Bruce Dickenson was pretty much inaudible for a quarter of the show) . The staging, pyrotechnics (which were loud and, even from 100 feet away, hot) and set were all top notch, and the crowd and energy were through the roof, as you would expect at the Garden. I brought my director friend, Jonny Blitstein, and he was suitably impressed as well. All in all, a great show.

On to the D. This show surprised me a lot; I knew Jack Black was amusing, but I did not appreciate what a legitimately good guitar player he actually is, along with his partner in crime, the nimble fingered Kyle Gass. Their chemistry is hilarious and the show was wittily constructed. The lights come up on JB and KG asleep on the couch under blankets. They peek over the covers to find they are playing MSG, and get out of bed straight into a raucous opening "Kielbasa" which had the Garden nerd/fratboy crowd singing along heartily (me too, much to my stunning wife's slight embarassment). Other gems followed - notably "Wonderboy", the hilariously profane "F@#$ Me Gently", and the anthem "Lee", which then prompted the titular character himself to enter the small apartment set that doubled as the mainstage. After some truly absurd banter, Lee accidentally electrocutes KG and JB, and the pair descends to Hell, a much larger stage featuring red stalactites and smoking pools of sulphur. To say that the show was incredibly silly would be an understatement; it was patently absurd in a hilarious, knowingly cheesy way. Once in Hell, our two heroes form a band, duel with the Devil, participate in a car chase, and find their way back to Earth, just in time to finish with a rousing medley of songs from the Who's classic Tommy record. Funnier and better, musically speaking, than I had expected.