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Slumdog Millionaire

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I recently was able to see a fantastic film titled “Slumdog Millionaire”.

I believe it was a Toronto film from last year, but I didn’t know anything else about it- except that it got four stars, and the SL Trib had the following summary…    “A Mumbai street kid (Dev Patel) strikes it big on the local version of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?,” in this energetic underdog story with a global bent. Subtitled; 120 minutes. (SPM)”

Not really knowing anything about the movie beforehand, I was seriously blown away. I really enjoyed this one, on many levels. I felt that the characters were fantastic, the story was great. I loved how they told you the story on several levels at the same time. Dialogue was great, sound was great. Cinematography and editing were top-notch. At the same time, it was almost a cultural commentary that happened as a by-product of watching people’s stories.

I don’t want to reveal too much- but i STRONGLY encourage everyone to get out and see this one.

It is probably my favorite film of the year, and probably in a very long time. Trying to compare it to anything else I have seen, I can’t think of anything it is similar to. The film is rated R- but I seriously do not understand why. No language that I recall. No nudity, no sex, no explicit violence. (What violence you do see is MUCH graphic less than you see on tv, and it is very little anyway).

I would love to hear from anyone else who has seen it, or who sees it.

I think that it just might have a chance at best picture at the upcoming Academy Awards. Guess I can only hope…

Here is the trailer, for those who want to see it.



December 29, 2008 Posted by | Movies | 7 Comments

Mental Notes on a Christmas Passed

Another Christmas gone by.

While I feel a tiny bit of guilt in saying  this, I am feeling quite relieved that it’s gone by now. I know that Allie thinks that I am a Grinch or something in feeling like this, but there is something pleasant about getting things back to normal. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate Christmas at all. I just think that there are many things that come with it that I can do without. Things like being stuck in major traffic with angry people that are exceptionally spiteful and rude. It’s like the Black Friday mentality taken to the streets. Granted, I may not have gone too far to be cheery at Christmas time, but the way I am is the way I am- I don’t get better or worse when the lights come on.  My first (and perhaps only) Black Friday experience this year really soured me on people in general. But to be fair- it was at Walmart where my experience was so poor. And now that I think about it- have I EVER had a good experience there? Not likely. So maybe it is the trailertrash mentality magnified one hundredfold being there at 5am. I do think that there is something inherently disturbing about a ideology that includes a willingness to assault another person- just to get a good deal on something that you couldn’t normally afford to buy. Personally, if there is something I really want- I try to save for it and plan on spending the price (or pretty close to it). That may mean that our kids don’t have the most expensive stuff or Nintendo DS’s or stuff like that, but so be it. And when people will intentionally block you because they think you are going to take a parking space that they are ready to pounce on- not knowing that you actually just pulled out and are leaving…

So after a bit of reflection and the desire to be much more appreciative of the Christmas season, I have made a few mental notes over the last month.

1. Do as much of shopping online as possible. (This is generally our strategy anyway). Spending hours and hours in packed stores, competing for a checkstand isn’t fun at all. Even less fun when you have to take stuff back to the store and do it all again. Amazon.com is a much better alterative. And to boot- if there is a deal to be had online, I can usually find it. Perhaps that is one of my talents- finding the best prices online.

2. Plan more time for nothing. What I mean by that is that I think it’s better to have a plan to be home than to have no plans at all. That way, we can do all the things we want to and all the places we want to go-as a family. By not having a plan at all, you’ll usually get sucked into busywork that is less meaningful.

3.  Christmas decorations, for sure. This year we had a tree up, with some stuff in the house. We abandoned the idea of lights outside or any exterior effort at all. We didn’t have the time to put them up, or the cash to get things to decorate with. There is something significant about having lights up outside and making an outward effort to celebrate the season. Now comes the hard part- designing a comprehensive plan to turn the exterior into something in between A Charlie Brown Christmas and the Griswald home.

4. Christmas music.  I kept telling myself that I would clear off my iPod and fill it up with Christmas music “next week”. Next week never came. Now next week is January. Didn’t really listen to any holiday music other than inside the convenience stores when I stopped for gas. Pathetic, isn’t it?

5. Side projects are well worth it. For several years, I have always put together Christmas music mixes, and handed out copies to friends & family. This was probably the first in many that I never did. Definitely something I need to do again next year. And the video projects that we had done in the past were left undone. Partly because of a rather lengthy video project I worked on for our ward party, partly because I was out of time, and partly because I was out of ideas. Maybe I need to start shooting in July and August for the 2009 video. This time it’s going to knock your socks off. (Available on dvd Christmas 2009 courtesy of Sparkplug Productions.)

December 28, 2008 Posted by | Christmas | 4 Comments

Sundance!!

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Those who know me know that I get pretty jazzed about the festival every year.
Unfortunately, I am not one of those guys that has the time or cash to buy one of those passes that let you go to films all day.
Perhaps some day…

While I may not get to see a ton of movies at the festival each year, I do make it a point to pick out a couple to go see.
Usually, I end up going by myself, or with Allie (which she never seems to like my picks, so it becomes more and more a solo event for me).

I have seen some really really interesting films over the year. Films that I really dug, (while Allie will NEVER lay off her criticisms of them). She thinks they are all too depressing and dark. Perhaps my tastes are a bit too far out there for her.
I have been able to see things like The Dangerous Lives of Alter Boys, Snow Angels, Personal Velocity, Everybody Stares (a documentary about the Police that was made entirely from Stewart Copeland’s personal home video camera reels that he shot while they were on the road) and some film about a French Monastery in which there was not one word of dialogue. Things that really excite me in terms of cinematography, storytelling, and mood. So perhaps I can understand why she finds them so depressing, but there are lots of other aspects of the films that I have found so inspiring in their unique ways. It’s also pretty cool that you usually see the directors at all of the screenings- and if you go to a premiere of a film, you usually get to be there for a Q&A with the actors after the film ends. Pretty cool stuff.

So the film festival is coming up in a few weeks, and I am really excited to go.

It’s kind of interesting how they have the ticket purchasing set up. You can either go wait in line the day of the film, or you can pre-register to get a time slot when you buy individual tickets for all your picks (given that they haven’t already been sold out to people who buy those big passes). If they are all gone, and you still want to go- you have to wait in line before it starts and just hope that there are seats that are left open. Then you may have a chance.

So I’ve got a couple of days to sort through the 60 pages of films and pick the one or two I think i can make it to, and just hope I can get tickets.
Here’s to Sundance!!

December 19, 2008 Posted by | Movies | Leave a comment