ElectricMovieDiary

My musings about the movies.

by Michael F. Nyiri

This page is the first (infrequent) diary section, which has now morphed into the ElectricMovies Diary Blog Page.

Saturday, July 5, 2003

The GONY pages are online. The Phantom of the Paradise filmbook is partially completed. I have been updating the blog regularly, and have now put up a 20 Best Movies List on a website called "YMDB". Plus, I started listing some of the comments on that site I will go into in more detail on a future "Movies That Matter" page. I also put the original DVD review/ filmbook of "The Stand" back online. Now if only I can get some readers, the circle will have closed. Pretty much, I am pleased to have begun refashioning this site, which has never had a definite purpose, and now does. ElectricMovies shall document the Movies That Matter. The films that are above all recommended in order to experience how a mass market medium can aspire to art in the most unlikliest of times.

Sunday, June 29, 2003

I am so excited. Tuesday marks the day that the Best Picture of 2002, Martin Scorcese's masterpiece of filmmaking and historical perspective, "Gangs of New York", comes out on DVD. Two discs (I understand that with all the commentaries, the movie actually spreads to the second disc), commentary by Marty himself. Special features abounding. But I just can't wait to see it again, in all it's glory, on the HDTV. Also, Polanski's "The Tenant" comes out the same day. Movie Heaven in my Media Room.

The Wonder of Movies. The excitement of seeing a wonderful movie another wonderful time. Today, at the beginning of the twenty first century, one can almost replicate the feeling, in his own home, of seeing a film for the first time on the big screen.

Sunday, Feb.09, 2003

I revisit this site, appropriately, during Oscar season 2003. My pick for Best Picture this year, after losing the bet for two years in a row, is Martin Scorcese's epic thought poem to America, "The Gangs of New York". Best Actor? I am partial to Jack Nichloson for another actual "acting" job in "About Schmidt.". Nicole Kidman (let's finally give her the nod) for "The Hours". *(Although she'll probably be nominated for Best Supporting. No, that'll be Julianne Moore. She also deserves a nod for her turn in "Far From Heaven". But Hey, I'm on a two year downfall, so who cares what I think. I know I have a favorite supporting turn this year, but for the life of me, I can't remember any. I like Ed Harris in "The Hours", but Chris Cooper deserves the award for "Adaptation" (although I haven't seen the film yet.) If I were to pick a list of five this year, besides the winner, "Gangs", or the upset "Chicago" which if it gets the award this year, I will always believe it was because the Academy realized it should have given Best Picture to "Moulin Rouge" last year. "The Hours" is very well crafted. Funny how a stage director puts together one of the most technically excellent "films" in recent memory. I would say a cinch for the editing award as well. "Adaptation" although for shame I haven't seen it yet. (The movie disappered from the local multiplex, forcing me to wait until it goes wide again following it's nomination this week.) I liked "Far From Heaven" but only insofar as Todd Haynes was pretty much doing what Van Zandt did with "Psycho" a few years back. He made a Douglas Sirk movie. Sirk made a few really good ones too, and they're originals. I'm not sure it's a Best Picture candidate. Haven't seen Polanski's "The Pianist" which has some buzz. You know, John Sayles' excellent "Sunshine State" won't get nominated for anything. I saw Clooney's "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind" yesterday, a true cultural blender film. And Sam Robards should be nominated for Best Actor Tuesday for his wild and crazy turn as Chuck Barris.

The nominations have been announced. The race is on. There were some surprises. I really never thought David Lynch would be nominated for director, even if he did win the New York Film Critic's Award. So since that was unexpected, I now think he'll win. Moulin Rouge got nominated for eight awards, including Best Picture, but not director for Baz Luhrmann. So my odds are on Lynch, whose film certainly was a fine example of Lynch's singular vision. I detail the nominations list here. Also surprising were the couple of nods for Memento, both for screenwriting and editing. I think it just might win both. Of course, the biggest surprise to me, since the buzz was seeming to wear off, is that Lord of The Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring received 13 nominations, only one shy of Titanic's record, which at least hasn't been broken. The buzz on Lord of the Rings picked up. I thought A Beautiful Mind would earn equal the number as Rouge, and it did, with eight. But at almost twice that, LOTR has proved to be not just a, but the frontrunner, and since it is an exellent film. (It got 8 of 10 on the Mikometer.) Snubs, besides Baz, have to include Joel and Ethan Coen, Billy Bob Thornton, and The Man Who Wasn't There, which became the movie that wasn't there, except for cinematography, by Roger Deakins, in black and white. At least since it only got one nom, it was for the photography. As I mentioned in the tribute site to Moulin Rouge, when discussing Man Who Wasn't There, the last time a b and w movie won was in 1950. (All About Eve.) This is the first year in which three animated movies vie for the first Academy Award for Achievement in Animation, and all three were "drawn" in the computer. While this is a thrilling technology, and one I embrace wholeheartedly, Atlantis should have been given a nod, and if you're going to give the award to a computer animated film, why not nominate Richard Linklater's Waking Life instead of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius. well I can hardly wait till March 24.

Tuesday, Feb.13, 2002

The nominations have been announced. The race is on. There were some surprises. I really never thought David Lynch would be nominated for director, even if he did win the New York Film Critic's Award. So since that was unexpected, I now think he'll win. Moulin Rouge got nominated for eight awards, including Best Picture, but not director for Baz Luhrmann. So my odds are on Lynch, whose film certainly was a fine example of Lynch's singular vision. I detail the nominations list here. Also surprising were the couple of nods for Memento, both for screenwriting and editing. I think it just might win both. Of course, the biggest surprise to me, since the buzz was seeming to wear off, is that Lord of The Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring received 13 nominations, only one shy of Titanic's record, which at least hasn't been broken. The buzz on Lord of the Rings picked up. I thought A Beautiful Mind would earn equal the number as Rouge, and it did, with eight. But at almost twice that, LOTR has proved to be not just a, but the frontrunner, and since it is an exellent film. (It got 8 of 10 on the Mikometer.) Snubs, besides Baz, have to include Joel and Ethan Coen, Billy Bob Thornton, and The Man Who Wasn't There, which became the movie that wasn't there, except for cinematography, by Roger Deakins, in black and white. At least since it only got one nom, it was for the photography. As I mentioned in the tribute site to Moulin Rouge, when discussing Man Who Wasn't There, the last time a b and w movie won was in 1950. (All About Eve.) This is the first year in which three animated movies vie for the first Academy Award for Achievement in Animation, and all three were "drawn" in the computer. While this is a thrilling technology, and one I embrace wholeheartedly, Atlantis should have been given a nod, and if you're going to give the award to a computer animated film, why not nominate Richard Linklater's Waking Life instead of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius. well I can hardly wait till March 24.

Sunday, Feb.12, 2002

The Oscar nominations will be handed out Tuesday morning. Here is my current "List of Five." The Best Pic Noms: "Moulin Rouge" WIN, "The Man Who Wasn't There" (even with zero buzz, maybe I should have made a website for him) "Beautiful Mind" (even though it doesn' t deserve it!)""Gosford Park", and "Lord of The Rings" (although I admit it's looking a long shot these days compared to say, " In The Bedroom") I changed on "Ali" when I saw it, and "Memento" is such a longshot. A correspondent believes Terry Zwigoff's "Ghost World" is the Best Pic, and now that I've seen it, I've got to agree it's very special, but midnight movie at the Nuart special and not oscar special, I would surmise. (I'm giving it a pretty special tribute page, it's 10 of 10 on the Mikometer, that's for sure.)Another Recent DVD: "Atlantis" the Disney bomb,which was derided and turns out to be a pretty good movie. I predict nothing more in print than "Moulin Rouge", and I am in the midst of updating the Rouge fansite, oscar pick site. I saw Baz Luhrmann's "Strictly Ballroom" on Saturday night (no DVDs for rent, only a VHS tape). I am wonderfully surprised and pleased to find that his first "Red Curtain Trilogy" movie has all the pieces of the filmic and musical themes intact, including scenes which could have come right out of Rouge, specifically the musical numbers (ballroom dancing sequences) and the vignette on the roof with the Coca Cola sign which pre-echoes Christian's apartment in the design of the shots. Baz has a mission, and that is to revive the "Hollywood Musical". Strictly Ballroom is proof of the auteur theory to me. It is a fascinating document of a subculture, has excellent acting and story, and is deeply moving, despite and because of it's celebration of the movie and the movie musical form.

Monday, Jan. 21, 2002

Last night, watching the Golden Globes, when Baz, Nicole, and company accepted their awards for "Moulin Rouge", in what amounted to me to be the indication I've been waiting for that "Moulin Rouge" and not "Lord of the Rings" is Best Picture this year. I felt happiness you just cannot believe. On the message boards I joined when I created the tribute site to "Rouge", a lot of folks credited Baz's genius, but didn't think an award was in the offering.

Now that "Rouge", along with Ron Howard's "A Beautiful Mind", which I haven't seen yet, won Globes, and by this distinction are the "front runners" for the Oscars, I wonder if I can say, "I told you so".

This is the day after, and Hollywood is back to celebrating itself. (Although a lot of winners, including of course the "Rouge" team come from Oz down under) Jack wasn't as the Globes this year, but they were irreverent and exciting, and I'm just ecstatic that the musical or comedy award was won by the Best Picture of 2001, "Moulin Rouge". I didn't catch any pix at the flicks this past weekend, but the week's DVD rentals consisted of "The Fast and the Furious" at least 6 of 10, and I enjoyed the cars, (my Elite's a star!) the acting and even the MTV computer effects. "Ghosts of Mars", John Carpenter's remake of "Attack on Precinct 13" (just kidding, John, but oh how you do repeat yourself.) It was sort of lackluster. Ivan Reitman's homage to his own Ghostbusters, "Evolution", which in it's early scenes is almost a good movie. It rates a 6 of 10 as well. Oscars are soon to be nominated, and "Moulin Rouge", as predicted, is a front runner. Good news, perhaps I'll be forgiven for missing last year.

Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2002

Even though I spent the better part of the holiday at Disneyland, I did want to get in a viewing of "Ali" directed by Michael Mann, and saw it on one of the AMC screens at Downtown Disney. The weather was cold and uninviting throughout most of the weekend, and I escaped a downpour by ducking into the theater at the right moment.

Frankly, I was really disappointed in the film, which I had named sight unseen to my "list of five" nominees potentials for Best Picture of 2001. Although the acting was fantastic, especially Will Smith as Ali, and Jon Voight as Howard Cosell, I had the same problem with this film as I do with all of Michael Mann's movies. Although I must admit the man is a powerful filmmaker, and was responsible for some of the most cinematic television series of the eighties, specifically "Crime Story", he uses too many "close ups and cutaways" and frankly, after close up after closeup, even of Russell Crowe or Will Smith, things start to get really cramped looking on a sixty foot screen.

That said, there are four very powerful scenes in the film, including the footage of the the Rumble in the Jungle fight beginning with Ali's entrance into the stadium. Some of the territory covered in "Ali" was covered to better effect by Spike Lee in "Malcolm X" and in the documentary "When We Were KIngs". It's a bit overlong, and ultimately unsatistying, for me anyway. But the acting stands out, and the story, while a bit hard to follow form the form the film takes if one is unfamiliar with the events, is very intriguing, especially regarding Ali's embrace of Mohammed Elijah's Black Muslim faith.

At Disneyland, I bought two DVD's. I collected the third in the Disney Masters Silver Series, two DVD's chronicling Mickey Mouse's color cartoons of 1935-39 including "The Band Concert" and Henry Selig's (Tim Burton produced) "Nightmare Before Christmas" and excellent stop motion film and a good looking and feature packed DVD.

I also viewed my DVD version (unseen till now) of the little seen "Love and a 45" with Gil Gerard and Renee Zelwegger with an excellent cameo turn by Peter Fonda. I'll have to write more, but just inadvertently "lost" quite a few paragraphs, including those above, plus a few hundred words more, so I got disappointed, plus I'm tired, so will put this particular column to bed.

I always wanted the Electric Movies site to take off, as I love to write and talk about movies, of which I see eight to ten a week, including usually one film in a theater. I put this site up in early 2001 and always loved the graphics, but found it hard writing individual reviews. I think I've solved that problem after writing the few thousand words I wrote on " Moulin Rouge" after receiving the epiphany that it will win Best Picture at the Academy Awards this year.

If I can just write a few words in a column like this on the first page of my website, with links in the column to more I might have written at any given time, I can talk about movies at will, and not have to think I have to write a particular review, while incisive and beautifully written they were.

Hopefully, I will gain readership, which in turn generates content. I've joined Discussion boards at IMDB and JoBlo's Movie Emporium. My own discussion boards do not get any hits, so I won't mention the URL (again). Suffice it too say, I'm featuring ElectricMovies as my "site of the moment" and will be working on supplying some much needed content. This column will be an updated "diary of moviegoing" and will spill to an archive page, like on my Betty Boop and ElectricPoetry sites.

MFN