Monthly Archives: February 2002

A little something new...

MovableType lends itself to long form entries, and I like that. On the other hand, sometimes I stumble across something that just requires a word and a link.

Andre showed me the way with his new layout. Over on the right you'll see I've swiped his idea with my Noticed section.

A word. A link. A dilemma solved.


I realized as I was logging on to the www today that I've been using the same home page for years. I use My Yahoo and, believe it or not, I keep up with the new features. I tweak it like mad and get as much as I can out of it.

I flirted with the idea of creating my own home page for a while, but realized I didn't want to keep it up. Using my site doesn't work, because I don't necessarily want to link all my clubs, my email, my calendar, yadda yadda.

I'm curious about what others use for a home page, and why? Do you roll your own, or did you leave it at the default?

There's a new bit over to the left above the movie reviews. It's a list of my DVDs, along with some vids I want to replace. It's obviously not there to brag, as I have one measely shelf of mostly mainstream titles. It's there because I keep buying the same thing twice. I figure if I put a list on the web so I can print it from anywhere, I'll take it with me before I shop.

As if.


Lately, frytopia has become mostly about movies. There's a little of me, a little of the web, but the majority of entries are about my greatest passion: film.

I'm curious to know what folks think of this. Also, I've been looking for an excuse to use this neato micropoll, which I gleefully swiped from technoerotica.

So here's the big question: Do you like frytopia's cinematic slant?

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TRAILER ALERT: I don't think I have ever, in all my years of movie going, laughed my ass off all the way through a trailer. I was chuckling when De Niro showed up. Chortling when Murphy started in. Then William Shatner said: "C'mon guys, let's jump some hood!" and I lost it. I will not be missing Showtime.

Queen of the Damned was fun, end to end. I expected the book to be a mere jumping off point, but writer Scott Abbott did a good job of translating large chunks of the novels (it covers two) to the screen. A charismatic cast inhabits stylish set pieces--there is an abundance of eye candy all around. Perhaps more for the women than the men. I won't complain. Townsend is good, if a tiny bit weak, as the megalomaniac with a heart, Lestat. More fun is Vincent Perez as Marius. He isn't always great, but he gets prankish nicely.

Rymer finally catches the movement of the vampire. Perhaps he spends too much time on this--but he expresses the other-worldliness of the immortals with seductive touches. Concert scenes are especially effective as he reveals the aliens in our midst.

Expressive use of color, good editing, and even some surprisingly good music make Queen something to catch on the big screen.

I'd like to have lunch with James Woods. Anyone who can take reprehensibility to the limit as he does here, and in the otherwise unremarkable Citizen Cohn, has got to be interesting. The man is a master at playing people you want to kick the crap out of.

In Ghosts of Mississippi, Woods plays Byron De La Beckwith, the infamous murderer of civil-rights leader Medgar Evers. Unconvicted for 30 years, he comes to trial an unrepentant old monster. While compelling in a basic fashion, the character is one-sided, as is everyone in this tepid screenplay. Alec Baldwin plays the devoted father and sacrificing lawyer who turns his back on racist in-laws to take the case. Why he would have married a bigot in the first place is not examined. Whoopi Goldberg is the dignified widow. Craig T. Nelson is the combative boss who finally comes around. No stereotype is left unturned, and that's a shame, because these events are real.

Evers was murdered, and it did take 30 years to bring his killer to justice. That a guilty verdict was possible in the 1990s but not in the 1960s speaks volumes about the success of the civil rights movement itself--as a society, we have changed. That is a message of great hope.

While Ghosts isn't a bad renter, it would be gratifying to see it redone someday by a director less interested in the bottom line, and more interested in history.

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The 1962 version of Lolita with James Mason always creeped me out, right from the opening credits. I've never been able to watch it. I looked it up before writing this paragraph, and suddenly the light went on. Here's my sheepish admission: I hate Stanley Kubrick. Only one film of his made any impression on me (A Clockwork Orange) and even that was hard to get through. I've seen most of his films simply because most of my friends love him, so I thought I had to be wrong about him. Alas, after all my efforts, I find him unbearable. So there. My secret is out.

But this isn't about Kubrick, this is about Adriane Lyne's gorgeous adaptation of Nabokov's most famous novel.

Irons plays Humbert Humbert with an amazing sympathy. Yes, his actions are still reprehensible, but it's clear to see that his feelings for Delores are genuine--he's completely in love and enslaved by her. Lo is hardly blameless, and still because of her age she is not blamed. Conflicts are whispered on the faces of Irons and Dominique Swain long before they surface in the film. Charismatic and skillful, they turn in great performances that would not have been ignored but for the controversy surrounding the film.

The only misstep is the casting of Melanie Griffith. She is suitably obnoxious, but her tongue doesn't wrap around the language of the script. The inflexibility of her trademark voice has often been a handicap, but in this case it should have put her out of the running.

I crammed in a few movies this weekend, as I often do.

The first was Blackrock, a study in Australian misogyny; we watch the story revolve around Jared, teenager who witnesses the rape and murder of a girl, but does nothing for fear of betraying his mates.

The theme is painted quite starkly as we see the aft-end example of his girlfriend's father, a photographer who treats his models like cattle. I believe this film is underrated as most viewers miss this important pointer, and consider the drama on its own merits. This is difficult to do as Jared's silence becomes more ridiculous and he transforms into a less sympathetic character. It's also easy to look at this as a general indictment, but director Steven Vidler is careful to limit himself to a small community and a narrow scope.

On the surface, Blackrock reads as a teenage drama with a bit of hysterical fluff thrown in. It isn't a great film by any means, but it is watchable, and deserves a bit more credit than that.