Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Don't Be Fooled! Christmas Time Is Here

When I was trying to put together a costume for the Serenity Salute in Los Angeles in three weeks, I found two interesting things at Sears in Sacramento.
First< i found a nice tan pair of Dickies Jeans for 25 dollars. Along with a Hawaiian shirt and a Dollhouse t-shirt, plus a Jayne knit cap, I can be Jayne Wash for the costume contest. Granted, I'll wind up dead last compared to people bringing a Kaylee Pink Dress from "Shindig" or even more elaborate stuff. But I would at least be interesting.

The other thing I found was....Christmas decorations in the hardware section. It already had an outdoor diplay that reminded me of the one I saw at a shopping center in Cabo two years ago. Well, Christmas is two months away, and I am sure that stores in Canada, from HBC to Canadian Tire, are already in the first stages of the holiday season. Of course, the season will get into full gear in just a few weeks. Here in the U-S, it starts after Thanksgiving. In Canada, it starts after the Grey Cup.
It's the same story at my neighborhood shopping center. Suncoast Video is selling an artificial tree that looks just like the weak real tree in A Charlie Brown Christmas. The ironic thing is that it's supposed to represent the fading traditional Christmas spirit compared to a sea of artificial trees. Now, you can get a replica of that tree. It's almost cooler than getting an action figure of Rudolph or Herbie.
A few doors down, the traditional calendar store is open. New Calendars are always a nice last-second gift. Of course, there were a couple of Buffy calendars, but only one Dr. Horrible calendar. That was a sign they were selling out fast. Meanwhile, calendars for Lost, Twilight and Gossip Girl are still plentiful.

I say some parents should just admit defeat, and tell their kids to dress like Santa or elves. That way, it proves you've got a jump on the upcoming holiday season.
As for me, I wish I could dress up like an Active with a Dollhouse protest t-shirt, but I don't think too many people would get it. Besides, walking barefoot doesn't work. I do have some nice sandals, though.
I could get away with dressing like Simon Tam, except I am bald. Next year, I should put together a Niska costume, and develop a Czech accent.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

At the Movies 2, part 2

The Crest Theater in Sacramento celebrated its 60th anniversary by showing the movie it had in its first day, That Midnight Kiss. It was in classic Technicolor, and some of the older customers went wild for the singing star in that movie, Mario Lanza. It also showed me that opera stars actually invented wrecking hotel rooms. I bet maybe Axl Rose accidentally got tips from this movie.

The big news was that the theater showed off its renovated marquee, and it's the flashiest sign this side of California. Take a look....

Crest Marquee at night

up close...

Crest Marqure at night up close

and the view from below...

Crest Marquee 2

WHo needs multi-plexes when you have this?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

At the Movies 2, part 1

Before he became famous by changing TV with the help of a teenage vampire slayer, Joss Whedon was one of those who wrote the Oscar-nominated script for Toy Story, which is the start of Pixar's animation dynasty. It's one of the few things I haven't seen that has a Joss connection, A couple of the others are Alien Resurrection and Titan A.E.. But they aren't in 3D.

I checked out Toy Story 1 and 2 in 3D, and it was wonderful. The ticket price was right, just 8.50, and so was the experience. While it's great to see two monvies that made history by making CGI movies viable, what counts is a good story. Both movies have that story: the first one being a toy concerned about being replaced in a boy's heart, and the other looking at how long a toy can be loved by someone. The latter theme will be looked at again when we see Toy Story 3 on my 51st birthday.

Still, I had to guess which part of the first Toy Story movie were written by Joss. I bet it was the scenes where Woody meets the toys that evil Sid took apart and reassembled in horrible ways. Such a sight is freaky, even when you discover their hearts are still good although their bodies are mutated big time. The second movie was also great, since it invented the first gag reel for an animated movie. If you can see these two movies in 3D, do it!! It is worth it and more. You may even recognize some scenes that will be used again. If you look hard at Woody's scenes with Jessie, you may say, "didn't I see this in Bolt?"

The second half will come later, when I attend a special birthday for a well-known movie house in Sacramento.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

At The Movies

In the past week, I got a chance to see what may be the fall's biggest comedy abut roller derby in a special preview, and Michael Moore's latest compelling comment on America for free.
Both were time well-spent, and are headed to a theater near you, like tomorrow.

If you've watched TV or read the paper regularly, you noticed that there was a Saturday preview of Whip It, and some incentive to spend ten bucks on it...a free T-shirt. That, and Ellen Page, convinced me to come.
It's an odd-ball coming of age story with Page as Bliss, a girl who's unhappy with small-time life in Bodeen, Texas. Thanks to roller derby, of all things, she gains new confidence, but there are still bumps to be dealt with and lessons to be learned.
This is also the first film Drew Barrymore has directed, and she does a great job with this story. She makes sure that the story is real, and that the actors are really out there skating and bumping into each other. You also see the gals with nicknames like Smashley Simpson and Iron maven are still real women.
Take a look at Kristen Wiig as "Maggie Mayhem", You'll see she still have a life beyond the roller rink.
I also liked Bliss' relationship with her friend Pash, played by Alia Shawkat, aka Maeby from Arrested Development. Get past the fact that she has grown after that show left Fox, and you'll like her, too. It's going to get stiff competition from The Invention of Lying and Zombieland (which explains the Saturday preview), but you should check out Whip It.

A couple of days later, I got a free ticket to a preview for Capitalism: A Love Story, Michael Moore's commentary on the current economic crisis. While Fox News is sure to use this movie as evidence that Moore is a traitor, but not bother to see it, Moore is even-handed is explaining how the stock market and major financial institutions crashed. He's not exactly calling for a Soviet-style economy or socialism, but what we have now but with more consideration for all working classes. Some right-wingers will go nuts because the movie has priests saying capitalism is a sin, even if there's evidence that might prove that point. There is also the "publicity stunt" of calling the AIG building a crime scene, but he would like to see the America he remembers as a kid to come back, rather than what we have now. It may not pull in as much cash as the other movies that will start this weekend, but it hopes to make its mark on trying to help this country out.