30 April 2008

I used to think that having 25 pounds of rice in the house demonstrated an admirable degree of preparedness, but it turns out that I'm behind the curve. (Wailin and I saw this sign in a restaurant during our recent trip to Seattle.)

10 April 2008

My Blueberry Nights is minor Wong Kar-Wai, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. Chungking Express is minor Wong Kar-Wai, too—and also one of the greatest movies ever made. Whenever My Blueberry Nights manages to tap into the same spontaneous, inventive spirit that informs all of Wong's best films, it's literally intoxicating. There are moments in the opening scenes, in which Wong brings his style and sensibility to New York City, when I was all but levitating out of my seat with happiness—and that was before I heard Cat Power on the soundtrack.

The frame narrative, which stars Jude Law (miscast but irresistible) and Norah Jones (amateurish but adorable) as a pair of Wong's quintessentially romantic oddballs, promises a lot more than the film ultimately delivers. Once Jones hits the road, we're treated to a series of bittersweet episodes set in an entirely imaginary America, none of which is especially compelling, despite the presence of Rachel Weisz (luminous, with one perfectly tousled lock of hair across her face), Natalie Portman (miscast as usual), and David Strathairn (underused). A detour to Las Vegas, which should have been amazing—Wong Kar-Wai in Las Vegas!—fizzles out too quickly. In the end, we're left with a double handful of wonderful moments and a movie that is intermittently enchanting if you're a Wong Kar-Wai fan, and if not, not.

If My Blueberry Nights is something of a misfire, at least it's an encouraging one. Over the past decade, Wong has made a pair of undeniable masterpieces—In the Mood for Love and 2046—that are formally perfect, visually stunning, and utterly unlike his best work. This new movie represents a tentative return to the qualities that made him, for a few precious years, the most exciting filmmaker in the world. With Chungking Express and Fallen Angels, all of the stars were perfectly aligned, but you can't expect it to happen every time. I'd rather see Wong make ten more movies like My Blueberry Nights than another 2046, because, sooner or later, lightning is bound to strike again. Or so I hope. Because when it does, it's going to light up the entire world.

03 April 2008

The Times has finally written an article combining two of my favorite subjects: typography and Obama. (My favorite exchange: "What is it about the typeface Gotham that adds personality to the Obama brand?" "I don’t think that Gotham adds any personality to Senator Obama’s brand.")

02 April 2008

Recently, after realizing that my annual Kinko's bill has reached levels much too embarrassing to mention, I splurged and bought myself a refurbished 3-in-1 printer. (HP Photosmart C3180, in case you're interested. Less than fifty bucks, not counting shipping and USB cable.) I'm fairly satisfied, except for the fact that the darned thing drinks ink. It took fewer than two hundred manuscript pages for the cartridge to run dry. Fortunately, I've just discovered that Walgreen's is offering a free ink refill for one day only. All I need to do is, uh, print out a coupon...
April Fool's Update:

I managed to fool AM for the first time in years (I think since the wombat farm hoax of '00). Here are some pointers I learned from this year's prank:

-Red food coloring is a GREAT substitute for blood, both on skin/clothing and splattered about, say, a kitchen.

-That being said, it seeps into the skin fairly quickly to create a sort of pink stain, so apply the food coloring just moments before the prank for maximum effect.

-Aforementioned pink stain does not wash off the skin, so think about where you apply it (i.e. avoid the face. Luckily for me it's confined to the hands and wrists).

-Food coloring can be washed out of clothing quite effectively with a rapid application of dishwashing soap, followed by vigorous scrubbing and rinsing.