Friday, April 29, 2005

One degree from Johnny Depp!

So my weird revelation of the day is that I have suddenly found myself one degree from the lovely Johnny Depp, all because of this article I found at


Johnny Depp has just optioned the film rights to "The Bomb in My Garden: The Secrets of Saddam's Nuclear Mastermind."

Published by Wiley in 2004 and written by Iraq's top nuclear scientist Mahdi Obeidi and journalist Kurt Pitzer, it is considered the definitive account of Saddam Hussein's attempt to create a nuclear bomb to use against Israel and America. A paperback version will be released in fall 2005.

The well-rounded Depp, nominated for an Oscar for "Finding Neverland," has no fewer than seven films in production or post-production, among them, "Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory."


How did I stumble upon such a mind-boggling thing? Simply doing an online search of an old friend I haven't seen in a few years, but may see at a school reunion this Fall (Hey, Kurt! Will you be meeting us in Denmark?). My friend Kurt Pitzer seems to be doing quite well in his journalism pursuits since I saw him a few years back at a wedding. Since then, he got a huge scoop when he helped Mahdi Obeidi write his hot-topic memoir about Iraq's nuclear weapons program. That in itself is a journalistic gold star, but who'd a thunk that Johnny Depp would take an interest! Now let's just see if it ever gets made...

Friday, April 22, 2005

Slobbering over SIFF

So just the other day, I opened my email and saw the subject line that made me squeal with glee: "SIFF Press Screenings Notice and Schedule"!

I mailed in my application for a Seattle International Film Festival press pass a few days ago, and ever since popping the letter into the mailbox, I've had a nervous "night-before-Christmas-ish" excitement, to steal a quote from Pauline in Heavenly Creatures--except in my case I'm not planning on murdering my best friend's mother the next day... I'm simply waiting with bated breath for any... ANY scoops about what or who will be at the festival.

I. Can't. Wait.

The excitement of getting a brand-new, just-published film festival schedule is hard to explain to people who, well, don't care. When the SIFF schedule comes out, I have to reserve an afternoon to pore over it, with pen in hand, and a piece of notebook paper smoothed onto the tabletop at the coffeeshop where I plant myself. I do a once-over, putting a star next to the ones that sound interesting. Then I look at it again, paying closer attention to countries, directors, and actors that may strike my fancy. I look for keywords: Maggie Cheung, Tony Leung, Wong-Kar Wai, Catherine Keener, Kore-eda, Lukas Moodysson, either Gyllenhaal, Christopher Doyle, and any other name that I'm obsessed with at the time. Then I compare my starred items with my friends, who always find something interesting that I didn't note, and start to revise and narrow the list. It is fun to go to film fests with pals, but the joy of having a pass means that you can play with others, and play with yourself, with no guilt involved. I mean, play BY yourself. And you feel less guilty about walking out on a film, or simply skipping one.

When all is said and done, my list usually contains an obscene 60 or 70 movies. Call me crazy. But I want to see them all! My record number of SIFF movie-viewings stands at 42 full-length features. That was in 2001, when I was unemployed. I guess it says something (scary) about myself that last year, when I had a full-time job, I still managed to see 38 movies.

The press launch is May 5th, which I believe is also the day that the full schedule is revealed in a special pullout in the Seattle Times. I say, bring it on!

Monday, April 11, 2005

The Six Degrees of Penélope Cruz's Hotness

I initially sent the following to Linda in the body of an email (hence the super-casual, not for publication use of only lowercase letters) after seeing Sahara. But, in the spirit of "hey, let's all post our most insipid, movie-related, navel-gazing ramblings so that everyone else can bask in their magnificence!", I'm reposting it here. So there.

To preface the list further: I'd never really thought much of Penélope as an actress or a woman possessing any particular hotness. All the American films I'd seen her in were largely forgettable, as were her roles in same, and I didn't "get" what the big deal was about Ms. Cruz. Why all the hubbub? Why all the fawning and drooling? What the hell was I missing???

Then I saw a whole whack of her European films back to back and suddenly, I got it. I saw what the fuss was all about. I beheld (?) the smouldering beauty. I drank in the bravura. I sighed. Then, with some degree of latent trepidation, I saw Sahara. Then I wrote this and called it "The Six Degrees of Penélope Cruz's Hotness":

first degree: just plain ole penny, in an oversized flannel nightgown and ugly slippers. hair in rollers. blue clay mask on her face.

second degree: penélope in her workout clothes (sweatpants + T-shirt). hair in a pony tail. sweaty or not.

third degree: ms. cruz in jeans and a tight white tank top. boots of some nature. hair long and loose and sex-AY.

fourth degree: a butch penélope, dressed similarly to the third degree, but with a swagger. a toughness. a smouldering "i'll kick your ass before i make out with you!" stare. hair tousled. very tousled.

fifth degree: all glam all the time. see: oscars, golden globes, whatnot.

sixth degree: in "sahara," near the beginning, looking like the world's sexiest librarian. hair pulled back into a bun. funky glasses. intelligent, no nonsense attitude with an underlying "come hither" vibe dripping from every pore.

So there you go.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Ehhh... hello?

What'cha guys think? Is this idea crazy? Will we have anything interesting to say? I do know that we are all pretty damn funny, that's fo' sho'....