Tagged: Santa Barbara Film Festival

Day 8 of “Operation Cliff Lee Countdown”

Nothing. Still nothing. Maybe Cliffy and Kristen spent Sunday in church praying for guidance. “Should we go to New York?” they asked the Lord. “Or stay in Texas? Or choose the Mysterious Team Nobody Will Name?” If I were the Lord, I would whisper, “The Yankees. Always the Yankees.” But I’m just a she-fan, so I’ll wait another day like everybody else. I predict Lee will announce his decision tomorrow and I’ll be asleep here on the west coast. Somebody call me if there’s good news, OK?
No Countdown video of Cliffy tonight. Instead, I’m posting the trailer for today’s screening, which was “The Fighter,” the new Mark Walburg movie set in Lowell, MA that tells the mostly true story of welterweight Micky Ward. I love boxing movies for some reason, and this one didn’t disappoint. Amazing performance by a jittery, funny, hollowed out Christian Bale as Micky’s crack-addict half-brother Dicky. I know I keep saying stuff like this, but Bale will win the best supporting actor Oscar or I’ll eat one of my Yankees T-shirts. Take a look.
I thought our screening group was getting Bale, along with director David O. Russell, for the Q&A after the film, but Amy Adams, who is fantastic as Micky’s girlfriend, came instead (by helicopter from LA, as it turned out.)
She was adorable and interesting and answered all our questions with patience and humor. And yes, of course I raised my hand and asked a question. (It was about Sugar Ray Leonard and you have to see the movie to understand how he figures into the story). Today’s screening was the last one until March, because the Santa Barbara Film Festival will take over the town for two weeks in January/February. Very excited about that, as it’s a great event every year. Meanwhile, I hope tomorrow brings us closure in the “Cliff Lee Matter,” as I’ve taken to calling it. I would just really hate it if the announcement becomes a media circus in the tradition of LeBron’s “The Decision.” Let him simply have his agent alert reporters, schedule the press conference with whichever team he picks and be done with this.

Movie Break – “Brothers”

Today was our last Cinema Society screening before the Santa Barbara Film Festival kicks off in early February – and the movie was a great one. 
It’s been out for awhile, so maybe people have already seen it. If not, do not miss it! Tobey Maguire is incredible as a Marine sent to Afghanistan, and Jake Gyllenhaal is outstanding as his black sheep brother. We had Tobey Maguire for a Q&A after the screening, along with director Jim Sheridan, and they had interesting stories about the making of the movie. Here’s the trailer.
Yes, it’s intense, but no matter where you stand on war/politics you can’t help but be moved by this film – especially by the little girl who plays one of Tobey Maguire’s daughters. She was 10 when she made the film, and Maguire was saying how mature and professional she was, even after scenes where he had to do and say upsetting things to her. On a lighter note, here she is on the red carpet. Talk about precocious. She’s downright scary!
P.S. If Tobey Maguire isn’t busy starting in February, maybe he could be the Yankees’ new left fielder – at least until he gets another movie gig.

Striking Out All Day Long

First it was the weather. I know, I know. I live in California, so I can hardly complain when I don’t have to deal with freezing temps and snow and all the stuff that’s going on in the rest of the country. But pouring, soaking, drenching rain is not good for a girl’s hair if she’s got places to go and people to see.
Then it was the screening of “Nine.” I was late getting there and was stuck sitting near the back of the theater.
The movie itself was entertaining. With a cast of Daniel Day-Lewis, Sophia Loren, Nicole Kidman, Judi Densch, Penelope Cruz, Kate Hudson, Marion Cotillard and Fergie, how bad could it be? Everybody does a good job, and the scenery in Italy is beautiful. (Plus Daniel D-L drives a cool Alfa Romeo.) “Our” Kate is impressive in her small part, and I felt very proprietary of her when she showed up onscreen. I even whispered to my husband, “Look! It’s sort of like watching A-Rod!” Speaking of my husband, he said after the movie, “I liked it except for the singing and dancing.” LOL. Here’s the trailer.
After the screening, there was a reception at a private home for director Rob Marshall and a “special guest.” As I posted yesterday, I was hoping the guest would be K-Hud. Well, there WAS no guest. I still don’t know who it was supposed to be, but the person canceled. Maybe it was Kate and she, too, was having a bad hair day?
OK, I figured. No She-Fan Cam interview. At least there will be some excellent hors d’oeuvres at the reception. Wrong! I do not consider these “excellent hors d’oeuvres!”
It wasn’t until I was about to leave that I spotted a waitress with a tray of shrimp. Bad timing on my part. When I got home I went to the mail box in the torrential rain and found a summons for this.
I’m as eager to serve my community as the next person, but I’m so not interested in having to appear for jury duty on January 6th – the day after my root canal. (I’m not kidding.)
After I dried off, I went to the computer and checked for Yankees news. While I’m not surprised that the Yanks didn’t try to hang onto Wang (as of this writing), I’m sad about it. He had those two great seasons and I was hopeful he’d bounce back in 2010. Maybe he will with another team. Bye, C-W, and thanks for the memories.
And finally I didn’t win the Yankee Blogger of the Decade poll over at “It Is High.” (Last I looked it was a very close race between LoHud and River Ave Blues.) I didn’t expect to beat out the big boys, but it would have been fun. Thanks to everybody who took the time to vote for “Confessions.” You guys are the best. I’ll be a gracious loser and say I’ll be very happy if I take home the bronze.
Congrats to the winner – and to “It Is High” for getting all that traffic on their site!

If I See Kate Hudson, What Should I Ask Her?

Saturday is my film festival screening of “Nine,” the movie musical in which Kate Hudson sings and dances and, according to advance reviews, is very good. As you can see from the following invitation, there’s a reception after the screening for the movie’s director, Rob Marshall, and a “special guest.”
Now it’s very possible that the “special guest” is Penelope Cruz, Nicole Kidman, Sophia Loren, Judi Densch, Marion Cotilliard, or even Daniel Day-Lewis (although I doubt that one). But it could also be Kate. She was in New York taping “Letterman” on Thursday night, but could have flown to LA afterwards, right? The point is, she might be the “special guest” tomorrow afternoon. And if she is, I’ll feel compelled to at least introduce myself and mention the Yankees. On the other hand, she seems not to want to discuss the Bombers or A-Rod.

But she did laugh a lot in that interview (and she does sound like Goldie), so maybe she’s not that uptight about A-Rod questions. So what should I ask her? Here’s what I was thinking:

* Were you always a Yankee fan or did you find religion because of A-Rod?

* How did you two meet?

* Was it love at first sight?

* Do you get along with the Yankee wives?

* Are you really having a cat fight with Minka?

* What do you and A-Rod talk about?

* Does A-Rod read any Yankees blogs?

* Could you tell him about this blog?

* Would you mind doing an interview for the She-Fan Cam?

Let me know if I forgot anything. Wish me luck.

Hot Stove Season Heats Up; So Does Movie Season

Luckily, I have another passion besides baseball: movies. And, as long-time readers of this blog know, I’m fortunate to live in Santa Barbara where an annual film festival takes place and affords me the opportunity to see lots of international films – plus the actors, directors and writers responsible for making them.
The Festival will be held February 4-14th this year – perfect timing. I’ll be done with it by spring training.
Meanwhile, over the next several weeks I get to see pre-festival screenings of films that are sure to be nominated for Oscars. Last week was “Precious, which won the big prize at Sundance. It’s definitely not for those looking for a lighthearted romp. It’s about an illiterate, obese, abused Harlem teen trying to make her way in the world. The subject is tough. But the acting? Amazing. I’d never heard of Mo’ Nique, but if she doesn’t get an Oscar nod I’ll be stunned. And Mariah Carey? She’s fantastic. No joke. She’s so de-glamorized I wonder if Jeter would recognize her. I absolutely loved this movie, as difficult as it was to sit through. Here’s the trailer.
Today’s screening was “A Single Man,” the movie that marks the directorial debut of former fashion designer Tom Ford of Gucci fame. The story takes place over the course of a day in the life of a college professor who has recently lost his partner of 16 years. (Yup, another laugh riot – not.) Colin Firth plays the lead and he won the best actor award at the Venice Film Festival. He’s a shoo-in for a best actor Oscar nomination. There was a lot to like about this film. It’s gorgeous to look at and the haunting flashbacks reminded me of “American Beauty.” But for me there was too much style and not enough substance. I can’t show the trailer, since it’s R-rated, but here’s Colin Firth and co-star Julianne Moore talking about it.
Next weekend is “The Road,” based on Cormac McCarthy’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel – another very dark tale that I might otherwise avoid except that it has Viggo Mortensen in it.
I’d pay to watch him take out his trash, so this one is a no-brainer for me. Of course, all these movies can’t take the place of them.
It’s only been a couple of days, but I miss them. Sigh.

Movie Break – “Gran Torino”

If you liked Clint Eastwood as “Dirty Harry”….

you’ll love him as Walt Kowalski.

Eastwood may be 78 years old, but in “Gran Torino,” my last screening before the Santa Barbara Film Festival kicks off on January 22nd, he’s every bit as menacing when he says, “Get off my lawn,” as he was years ago when he said, “Make my day.” 

He plays a retired auto worker and Korean war vet, who’s enraged by the changing ethnicity of his Detroit neighborhood. An equal opportunity bigot, he rages at everyone but especially at the Hmong immigrants who live next door.
I admit I’m a fan of nearly every movie Eastwood has directed and/or starred in – “Mystic River,” “Unforgiven,” “Million Dollar Baby,” to name a few – but “Gran Torino” took me completely by surprise. How it manages to be both very funny and extremely poignant is a miracle. I laughed out loud so many times, even as I shed some tears at the end. No special effects. No car chases. Just a simply told tale of a man trying to adjust to life in post-war America. I’m putting “Gran Torino” near the top of my list for 2008.
But don’t take my word for it. Go see the movie when it opens nationwide on January 9th.
Here’s the trailer.