Thursday, August 31, 2006

Glenn Ford Dead at 90

In Memory

Yesterday actor Glenn Ford passed away at his home in southern Califorina, presumably from a heart attack or stroke. Ford got his start in westerns (Texas being a particularly strong entry of his in this catagory) but went one to became strongely associated with men of integrety roles ( such as in Blackboard Jungel), along the the same lines as his better rememberd contemporary Gregory Peck. I always enjoy Ford's movies, he seemed just such a good guy that he totally sells me as someone to root for. He was also one of the last representatives of Golden Age Hollywood we had, he will be missed. Ford never won an Oscar, but did get a Golden Globe in 1961 for his role as the good hearted gangster Dave the Dude in Frank Capra's last film, Pocketfull of Miracles.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Shanter 64

I feel underprivlaged that I didn't have one of these back then. It could have made all the difference.

80's Commercial Break

Featuring Rene Russo

Da Bears


I first became aware of the story of Timothy Treadwell from a magazine artical published shortly after his death. Treadwell was a one-time aspiring actor/hippie- type and recovering drug and alcohol addict, who found a sort of salvation among the gizzly bears of southern Alaska. For thirteen summers Treadwell traveld from his home in California to Alaska to live with, and in his mind protect, the gizzly bears living on a federal reserve there. Most of these ventures he did on behalf of an orginization he helped create called Grizzly People, Treadwell would take his video camra with him and document his 'expeditions', then tour public schools back in California educating children about the bears. In 2003 Treadwell and his girlfriend were killed by a grizzly, and in 2005 German filmmaker Werner Herzog assembled selections from Timothy's 100+ hours of video, interspersed them with interviews of those who know him, and created the award winning documentary Grizzly Man. I just can't do justice to Treadwells story, he's a strange character worth spending the films hour and fourty-five minute running time with. Though Bears are the main animal attraction of the film, I preferd the time spent with the foxes.

As an appropriate follow up to Grizzly Man I also watched director Jean-Jacques Annaud's 1988 film, The Bear. I could never sit through this whole movie as a kid, but as an adult I found it had a simplicity and near-Disney quality about it that I liked. However due to its slow pace and minimal story, I doubt that I ever watch it again.

In an effort to attract attention to its comming fall line up, NBC has released the piolts of severl of its upcomming shows on DVD through net flix. Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip is the new ensemble comedy/drama from West Wing creator Aaron Sorkin. Let me tell you its good stuff, though NBC is taking quite a programing risk by also schedualing a similarly premised Tina Fey helmed sitcome on its line-up, both shows take place behind the scenes of an SNL-type program. Also promising is Kidnapped , which stars Jeremy Sisto (Brenda's crazy brother on Six Feet Under) as an expert retrever of kidnapping victams. The program follows one kidnapping per season, with the first year's subject being the son of rich couple Timothy Hutton and Dana Delany. Also featuring Delroy Lindo Kidnapped strickes me as 24 meets SVU.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Worlds Oldest Person Dies

In Memory

Maria Capovilla, the worlds oldest person and last survivor of the 1880's has died roughly a month short of her 117th birthday. Click here for more on the ancient Ecuadorian.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Why You Don't See Crispin Glover On Many Interview Shows

The Incredible Disappearing Jesus

A Movie Review

The 2005 documentary (or perhaps more accuretly 'film essay') The God Who Wasn't There, is a 62 minute critical examination of various Christian claims by ex-fundamentalist (and chronicaler of independent film) Brian Flemming. While Flemming keeps a calm objectivist voice through most (but not all) of the film, he is clearly angery over a sense of 1) being misslead since childhood about Christianity, and 2) the evident mental distress that apperently hit him particulary hard from such teaching (a childhood fear that he was going to Hell). Flemming gets a chance to confront/vent to a figure who symbolizes those Christian forces of his childhood, this comes in the form of Dr. Ronald G. Siples, the director of the Village Christen Schools of Sun Valley California which he once attended. Siples clearly misunderstood the intent of this schedualed interview with one of his schools alumni, and after probably about 10 minutes walked out on him. That event evoked the famed Moore/Heston confrontation of Bowling for Columbine, especially given that Flemming spends the first 9/10's of his doc challenging the conventional wisdom, so that when his eventual target reiterates that CW he would look like a fool, though in the end Sipus handeld the situation fairly well.

This brings me to what Flemming actually says in the film. The directors main argument, and one you don't hear too often in American religous discourse, is that Jesus was a fictional character, an example of the mythical hero arch-type retroactively inserted into history by the writers of the Christian Gospels around 70 A.D. (or in this case I'd guess it would be C.E.). There are other relatively less controversal claims and arguments given in the film, and Flemming makes them quite well and simply with the aid of an assembly of experts, including Berkely Folkloreist Dr. Alan Dundes (who passed away shortly before the release of this film) and 'The End of Faith' author Sam Harris.

One of Flemmings big concerns is that most Christians know little or nothing about the early history of their movment, or how its foundational texts can be considerd examples of symbolic literature and parallel the mythic tales of other traditions. As a decently educated Latter-day Saint I must say I felt more preparied and less shocked by some of the information presented in the film then I'm sure many other Christians did (assuming some other Christians actully saw this film), I felt much the same way about The Da Vinci Code. There are Mormon compatable explainations or answers to many, but not all, of the issues Flemming raises in the film. I think the most difficult argument for me was his dismissal of 'moderate Christianity' (a catagory I consider myself to fall under) as making no sense. I reject the filmmakers contention that one must either take the whole Bible litearly or reject it as 'untrue', however as one who is navigating a spiritual course that has lead away in some instances from what I will call a 'face value' reading of scripture, I recognize a number of what can be called illogical leaps I've had to make, that can and perhaps should be open to criticism. The God Who Wasn't There dosen't want to let you off easy, unless maybe your an atheist.

Here is a link to a review of the film by Infidelis Maximus.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Oh No Not Tony

In Memory

The multi-talented Tony Jay has passed away at the age of 73. All I can say is Dougie Milford forever.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


I'm cleaning out my bookmarks, so here is a list of some blogs that for one reason or another I've bookmarked in the last nine months or so:

Beltway Young Republicans

Scrufdog Chronicals

Varsity Basketweaving

Our Life

The Pillow Book of Ray Unkovic

Exclamation Mark's Vintage Scifi/Horror Review

The Knight News

The Wheatland Mission

Some Big Greek Word


The Architectural Dance Society

LDS Patriot

Southpaw's Daily Blog

Edward Copeland on Film

The late lamented Digg Drop



Tuesday, August 22, 2006

I'm In The Top 24!

The Dredge Report has been offically recognized as on the top 24 sites about 'Dredge'. Don't belive me, well just click here and check it out.

The Lost Reel

A Movie Review

One of the most significant film finds of recent years, has been the discovery of a roughly 99% useable copy of the 1922 silent film Beyound The Rocks. Discoverd by the Neatherlands Film Museum among the property of a late and eccentric collecter named Mr. Joop, the film was directed by Sam Wood and boasts the only on screen teaming of two of the biggest movie stars of the 1920's, Gloria Swanson and Rudolph Valentino. Now released on DVD, with an introduction from the venerable Martin Scorsese (who may have been reading from a tele-prompter), the long lost film is now available to the masses (who probably don't care much). The films story itself concerns a love triangle between Valentino, Swanson, and the latters much older husband, played by Robert Bolder. A standard melodrama for the period that takes on new life given the fate of its stars, and composer Henny Vrientens energizing score. The DVD also contains documentaries on the recovery and restoration of the film, as well as some truly enjoyable audio recordings Swanson made in preperation for writing her autobiography. Also included is another Valentino film The Delicious Little Devil, in the which the latin lover plays second fiddle to now forgotten silent star Mae Murray, I found this movie to be more enjoyable then the the DVD's title attraction.

Famed Photographer Joe Rosenthall has Died at Age 94

Joe Rosenthall, photographer most famous for his photograph of the Marines raising the flag at Iwo Jima, has passed away at the age of 94.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Bruno Kirby Dies

Bruno Kirby, character actor best known to me for his role in City Slickers, has passed on. Click here for more information.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Spring Time For Hitler: The Revival

A Movie Review

Well I'm back from vacation and tonight I watched the 2005 musical The Producers. The movie is the film adaptation of the popular 2001 musical, which was itself based on Mel Brooks 'riskey'1968 film of that title, staring Gene Wilder and Zero Mostel. This film version has Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick reprising their Broadway roles of Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom respectively. The movie is of course about an acountiant and a has-been theatrical producer who team up to put on a fawning musical about Adolph Hitler, with plans to keep the extra money raised for the 'sure to be a flop' show and flee to Brazil. The movie lacks that 'what the!?' quality that the orignal had, and further demonstrates how contemporary musical comedy comes across quite awkward on screen. However Lane and Broderick have good chemistry together, and the story departures taken from the original film, mainly in its 2nd half, make's it less static for fans of the 1968 version. In sum a middeling to lesser motion picture, if you do watch stay through the credits for Will Ferrell's romantized rendition of 'Guten Tag Klap Klap'. Also staring Uma Thurman.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Mike Douglas: 1925-2006

In Memory

Mike Douglas, talk show host and singer has passed away at the age of 81. Click here for more.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

James Van Allen Dies

In Memory

James Van Allen, American astrophysicist for whom the Earth's radition belts are named, has died at the age of 91. Click here for more.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Short Takes Vol 2


Wed 8/9

I became aware of The Young Lions through a very positive review I read on one of my favorite blogs, This Divided State. I later saw it for a good price at Shopco and considerd buying it, however fiscal restraint pervailed and I decided to Netflix it instead. The Young Lions is a WWII film staring Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift, and Dean Martin. Martin plays his trademark suave singer character, and Clift his standard heroic outcast, both their performances are solid and they project more depth into their parts then my characterization might indicate. However it is Brando's performance that is Oscar worthy, he plays Lt. Christian Diestl a Nazi with a conscience who becomes a very disillusioned figure by the end of the film. Love intrestes for our three leades are played by May britt, Hope Lange, and Barbara Rush respectively. Maximiliam 'I'm Great At Playing Nazi's' Schell appears as a zelus German Captian.

Thurs 8/10

Finished Gilmore Girls season 3. This season chronicals Rory's final year and Chilton and seemed to have a less direct narrative direction and be more prone to character statues changes then previous seasons. The program also starts to employ flashback and dream squences, which I don't remeber it doing before. This was also the year that Sean Gunn was finally added to the cast.

Guess Who is a film inspired by Stanley Kramer's landmark 1967 racial drama, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner. Only here the earyler film has been remade as a sort of buddy comedy with the races reversed (instead of white family and black fiance, black family and white boyfriend). Ashton Kutcher plays the nice guy boyfriend, a departure from his characterization on That 70's Show. Bernie Mac, an actor whose work I'm not really familour with, but whom I found fun to watch, is the father of Ashtons girlfriend (played by Zoe Saldana). I liked it, it's a likable film but nothing earth shatering, good enough.

Sat 8/12

Unfaithfully Yours is a later and lesser entry in the directing catalog of Preston Sturges (who was a major stylistic influence on the brothers Coen). The story concerns a famed orchestra conducter (Rex Harrison), who do to the meddeling of his brother-in-law (Rudy Vallee) comes to falsely belive that his wife (Linda Darnell) is having an affair with his secretary (Kurt Kreuger). Not only does the film take an extrodanerly long time to get going, I'd say most of the first 45 minutes was disposiable, but it just felt past its time (Sturges had come up with the idea for the film in 1933, but was unable to get it made until 1948). The last hour of the film is good, but feels like a let down compared with earlyer entrys from the director such as The Lady Eve, Miracle at Morgans Creek, or my favorite The Palm Beach Story. Unfaithfully Yours was remade in 1984 with Dudley Moore, and parodied in the not-so-great Leslie Nelson spoof, Wrongfully Accused in 1998.

Gone From My List

A Movie Review

Well I finally saw Gone With The Wind, a movie which had been perhaps the most glaring oversight in my knowldge of cinema history. Gone With The Wind truley is an important film, a landmark event of a motion picture, which when adjusted for inflation is still the most money making movie ever made, and the story of whose film makers search for its leading lady is the stuff of Hollywood legend. Of course the film has been critized, there is plenty that can be called bad in it, its romantized depiction of the antebellum south, its exhausting length, its sexual views, and the black people in this movie, let's just say not PC. That being said its a sweeping motion picture that can really carry you away with it, and a viewing experince worth having. This giant film is really two movies, the first half an epic homefront tale spaning the civil war (which going in was what I assumed the whole movie would be about), and second a sort of reconstruction era melodrama.

There is much praise to be hepped on GWTW as a technical achivment. First off the scale, it is tremendus, so big in fact that it necessitated a then rare instance of joint studio production, in this case MGM and Selznick International Pictures. The scene at the Atlanta military hosptial, with its endless expanse of wounded solders laid out across a railway yard, can not be topped with CG. The burning of the city later in the film is also mighty impressive. The lighting in the movie is also notable, overwrought and exagerted but perfect for this picture, very studio system. The silhouette sequences are now considerd signiture to this film. Finally Max Steiner's score, espically the main theme, is truly memorable.

The cast of Gone With The Wind is also a great achivement. My personal favorite performance in the film is the beautiful Olivia de Havilland as Ms. Melanie, a lady so virtuous that the young womens program can just scrap their current color coded system for teaching character, and replace it with the slogan "Be Like Ms. Melanie". Vivien Leigh's performance deservedly made her star, her characters got quite an arc to acomplish while still remaining every bit Scarlet O'Hara, or rather by the end, Scarlet O'Hara Hamilton Kennedy Butler. Rhett Butler of course is a perfect role for the Clark Gable persona, and while I understand there where some difficultys on the set, you'd never know it from his performance. Leslie Howard is the least memorable of the lead performers in his role as Ashley Wilkes. The supporting cast also deserves mention, with Hattie McDaniel being the first black performer to win an Oscar, best supporting actress for her role as 'Mammy'. Canadian born character actor Victor Jory plays Tara's cruel overseer Jonas Wilkerson, a role that felt as though it had been largely cut for time. One of the most fascinating individuals to apper in the film is squeaky-voiced black actress Butterfly McQueen, who plays the flighty, quick to tears or boasting house servent Prissy. McQueen was a noted life-long athiest who in her 60's earned a degree in political science, and who after dying in an accident involving a kerosene lamp, left her body to science and money to the Freedom From Religion Foundation. Future Superman George Reeves also has a bit part in the picture.

Gone with the Wind is one of those movies you owe it to yourself to see, it's a part of our film heritage to big to be ignored, and worthy of being rememberd.

Oh No, Poor Joe, He has no...Nomination

Well Lieberman lost out to Lamont, should make this November that much more interesting.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

La Chop Shop

The Billy Wilder Centennial

In the year of his death (2002) a group called the Film Preservation Associates put out a DVD release of Billy Wilders directorial debut, the French film Mauvaise Graine (Bad Seed). I love DVD, because without it I would probably never have had an oppertunity to view this wonderfull example of Wilders early European work. Most of Billy's time in the industry on 'the contenient' was spent as a writer in Germany, but with the rise of Nazism this Austrian Jew fled to France, where he made this one picture in collaberation with Alexander Esway. Wilder would use proceds from the film to finance his imigration to the United States, illegal by way of Mexico.

What impresses me most about Mauvaise Graine is how compitent, or even advanced the directing is, and that Wilders signiture style seemed born in an almost fully developed state. You have a passiable dramatic story, advanced montague sequences (only one of which felt over done), good acting, and some truly funny gages, the best of which concern a hat and a steering wheel, and a stolen bus. There is also some truly beautiful location shooting done on the south of France, which along with all the vintage cars in the film make that time and place truly seem real (for those of us who have never lived in 1930's France that is).

The plot of Mauvaise Graine concerns Henri Pasquier (Pierre Mingand) the playboy son of a rich doctor (Paul Escoffier, an actor aperently capable of only one expression), who cuts off his allowance and sales his car in an effort to encourage him to work. The lazy and oft self-centerd youth ends up inovlved with a group of criminales running an illegal auto body chop shop. It is with this group that Henri meets his new best friend, the tie collecting Jean (Raymond Galle), whose sister (a young Danielle Darrieux) he starts dating. Henri eventully incures the wrath of his new boss, which leads to the films climax.

Mauvaise Graine is a must see for all Billy fans. The DVD also comes with a period French animated short called The Joys of Living, which is truly, truly odd, and evocative of Disney's Fantasia.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Gather Round The Road House, Let the Patrick Swayze Christmas In

An interview with MST3K's Mike Nelson (yes he's still alive).

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Leno & Roeper

Click here.

I Looked Out My Window And What Did I See?

Hitch Part 5 of 15

Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window contains what is perhaps the most memorable gimmick in film history, namely its 'rear window' POV. Shot entirely on an elaborate three story set, a square of Greenwich Village apartments recreated in a Parmount sound stage, the action never really leaves Jimmy Stewarts apartment. For as was often the case with films staring this homespun Pennyslvanion, James Stewart was our everyman, someone we could identify with even when his director had him exploring some of the darker aspects of life.

Though it has been often copyed or lampooned, the device of the crippled man spying on his neiboughs through their open windows, is one that could never works so well as it did in the 1950's. Besides the obvious improvments in air conditioning technology that have occured since the time the film was made (though judging by the current heat wave oppresing the country the open window hasn't fully gone out of style yet), the surfice morality and behind closed door secracy of Eisenhower-era America, makes the films voyeurism that much more relevant, and I suppose in its time more shocking.

Based on the short story by Cornell Woolrich and with a screenplay written by frequent Hitchcock colaborator John Michael Hayes, the story of Rear Window concerns L. B. Jefferies (James Stewart) a star photographer for a Life Magazine-type publication, who has broken his leg covering a race car accident. Confined to his wheelchair in an era before daytime TV (which I suppose is both a blessing and a curse), Jefferies takes to spying on his neighbours for entertainment. This voyeurism provides the excuse for the adition of various sub-plots played out through the windows and yard space of the other teniants in the complex. These minor stories, including some concering a lonley middle-aged women (Judith Evelyn), a struggeling song writer, an aspiring ballet dancer, a couple of newlyweds, and a sculpter with a hearing aid, provide relef from, and counterpoint too, the films two primary story lines.

Story line number on is the romance, something that was not in Woolrichs origanl story. Jefferies has been dating a beautiful young women of the society set named Lisa Carol Fremont, played by Hitchcocks preferd cool blond of the period Grace Kelly. As surprising as it may seem Jeffries is actully thinking about calling things off with her, or at least fears he may have to, thinking that this prime women of society would be unfit to accompany him on the adventures life to which he has become acustomed. But one should never write off a Hitchcock women, as the determind Miss Fremont is provided with oppertunity to prove herself to her man, while still retaining her individuality as demonstrated in the films last beat.

Lisa Fremonts oppertunity to prove herself comes in the form of a mystery, played out of course in an apartment across the way. Jeffries becomes suspicous that a Mr. Lars Thorwald (a creepy Raymond Burr), has killed his invalid wife so as to be free to run off with a mysterious girlfriend. The murder, while never actully shown is really quite grizzly if you think about it, taking a nearly bed-ridden women, killing her, and then cuting her up into chunks that can be smuggled out of the apartment in a relatively small salesmans briefcase. While he has little actul dialouge in the film, Burr does make a strong impression with bright white hair and a luggish manner. He seems a very real kind of villian, a man driven to desperation by his circumstances who finally flips and does the unthinkable. The moment when he finally eyes Stewart through the window and figures out what has been going on remains quite chiling. His scene with Grace Kelly after he discovers her snooping around his apartment can really get the blood flowing.

The film also stars Wendell Corey as Det. Lt. Thomas J. Doyle, an old war buddy of Jefferies who now works at the police department, he is called in to help the crippled photographer investigate his theorys. Thelma Ritter provides comic relief as the nurse sent by the insurance company to aid the disabled Mr. Jeffries. Rear Window is a classic, oft remarked to be a perfect incapsulation of Hitchcocks style and demonstration of his abilitys. It would be a great first Hitch film for almost anyone, and required viewing for anybody who claims to really appreciate film.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Code Breakers

A Movie Review

Just wanted to quickly put down a few words on The Da Vinci Code, which I have just now finally seen. "Been there done that" comes to mind, I've already encounterd most of the philosophical and conspiratorial elements presented in this work outside of the film, and seeing them presented in the form of an action movie felt kind of silly. It's a good movie in some ways, technicaly & cast wise, kept my attention the whole time, but it really was a rather pretentious formula picture. Maybe I'm writing this to soon after viewing as I can't really say if I liked or disliked the film, I suppose now I'll just have to leave it as a mixed bag. Though my wife, Audrey Tautou, was beautiful as always.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Amnesic Leading The Blind

Movies in Review

Well blogspot has decided that I speak Spanish now so I'm writing this without a spellcheck. Just wanted to comment on a couple of movies I saw today, as you may have noticed I've had an awfull lot of time lately for watching films. First off is Random Harvest, based on the best selling book by James Hilton (one of the more popular writers of the 1930's & 40's). This is a very well done semi-tragic love story staring Ronald Colman and Greer Garson in her first post Mrs. Miniver role. Colman is Charles Rainer the heir to a prominent industrial family who loses his memory in the foxholes of World War One. The Germans capture Rainer and return him to the British after the war, however the military is somehow unable to identify him and he ends up in a mental asylum from which he eventully escapes. Rainer comes under the care of Paula Ridgeway (Garson), a music hall entertainer who calls him 'Smithy', takes him in, helps him escape from the authorites, and with whom he eventully falls in love and marrys.

Severl years pass and 'Smithy', on his way to a job interview out of town, is hit by an automobile and regains his previous memory, forgetting everything that has transpired over the last three years. Still more years pass and Charles establishes himself as a captian of industry with a strong sense of compasion. Paula eventully comes across Charles picture in a newspaper and seeks him out hoping to jog his memory, instead she ends up becoming his private secretary. The two souls come to live a tormented existance, Charles plauged by a sense of having lost something of great value from his 'missing years', and Paula by an inability to regain her pervious relationship with Charles. This film offers a well done unconventional love story that was much praised in its time as one of the best 'moving pictures' ever made. Actress Susan Peters plays a supporiting part in the film, she was later paralized in a car accident but managed to continue her career for a number of years there after in a wheel chair.

Scent of a Women is a wonderfull film directed by Martin Brest which itself recived a good deal of critical praise upon release in 1992. The film concerns Frank Slade (Al Pacino in a bravo performance), a retired Lt. Colonel in the Air Force and former member of President Lyndon Johnsons staff. Renderd blind by a gernade accident taken by most of his associates as perfectly representational of his life of carelessness, the 'old man' is farmed out to a neices family in New Hampshire. Charlie Sims (Chris O'Donnell), is a young man of limited means from Oregan, attending a prestigous private school in Franks area on a scholarship. Charlie is hired to 'care' for Frank when his family goes out of town over Thanksgiving weekend. Instead of the quite couple of days that Charlie expected, Frank takes the young man to New York City where he intends to take a final tour through the pleasures of life before killing himself. Charlie learns a number of life lessons from Frank, who (you guessed it) finds a new will to live through his friendship with the young man. You pretty well know the arc of the film by the end of its exposition heavey first half hour, but the journy the story takes really is worth your time.
Bradley Whitford, Frances Conroy, and a young Philip Seymour Hoffman all have supporting roles in the picture

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Ins & Outs

Movies in Review

Noah Baumbach's The Squid and the Whale, and Miranda July's Me and You and Everyone We Know, were two of the most critically praised semi-independent films of 2005. Both movies deal with relationships, their beginnings & endings, their necessity and their difficulty. Let's start with the endings.

Baumbach, an associate of director Wes Anderson, has made a film drawn in part from his own childhood experiences. The Squid and the Whale is a metaphor for the strange and hostel divorce of a pair from the New York literary set. Set in 1986 the film stars Jeff Daniels as Bernard Berkman, a has been novelist and professor of creative writing who is separating from his wife of 17 years Joan Berkman (Laura Linny), herself an author whose own career has just started its rise. Caught in the separation between their pompous and superior father, and well meaning but adulterous mother are Walt (Jesse Eisnberg) and Frank (Owen Kline) Berkman. During the coarse of the divorce both children come to cling to and idealize one of their parents, for Walt that's his 'brilliant' father, for Frank his caring mother. Both children act out in their own ways, with Franks (remember he's about 12) drinking and sexual fixations being particularly disturbing.

The relationship in the film that I found most fascinating however was Bernard and Walt's. I can understand how Walt came to worship the man, his embodiment of a supposedly liberated and cuttingly honest kind of intellectuailsm, holds a strange attraction to certain types of people. Yet despite his pretension, Bernard is by far the needyest and most self obsessed of all the characters in the film, as he tries to mold his oldest son to live the kind of life his bitterness has lead him to wish he'd lived in hindsight. When a young graduate student (Anna Paquin) moves into an empty room at Bernards new home, the mutual attraction father and son share for the girl leads to an odd, uneasy, and unspoken competition between the two, as well as Walt's break up with his girlfriend (Halley Feiffer). The Squid and the Whale does a real good job of putting you into these characters world, and at about 80 minutes runs at a perfect pace.

Star Miranda July's directorial debut, Me and You and Everyone We Know, tells a number of interconnected stories about people desperately looking for love, or perhaps more specificly companionship. July (who looks and sounds remarkably like Rachel Griffith) is Christine Jesperson, an aspiring amateur video artist, who works providing transportation services to the elderly. John Hawkes is Richard Swersey, a shoe salesman with two kids (Miles Thompson and Brandon Ratclift) whose wife is divorcing him. The two meet by chance at the department store where Richard works, and while Christine quite quickly decides she'd like to start a new relationship, Richard is having a hard time letting go of his old one. The movie feels like a slightly more upbeat version of Welcome to the Dolls House, or a sort of post modern take on Marty by way of Crash . The secondary plots, which involve Richards children, the young girl next door, an elderly couple, another shoe salesman, two teenage girls, and the director of a local art museum, mostly come together in the end although to differing degrees of effectiveness. However the fine line of tastefulness is so often walked in the film that its intended sense of joy feels a little muted. I didn't feel like the movie quite reached its full promise, though it did get close.

Dead Celebrity of the Month, August 2006: Paulette Goddard

The birthdate for Paulette Goddard (born Pauline Marion Levy) is generally listed as June 3, 1910, though the years 1911, 1914, and even 1905 are alternately listed in some sources (including her death certificate). Born to a Jewish father and Protestant mother at Whitestone Landing New York, Paulette was a department store model in her youth before joining the Ziegfeld Follies at the age of 14 (1924). Despite working she still found time to attend Washington Irving High School in New York, where among her classmates was future Academy Award winning actress Claire Trevor. In 1927 the teenaged Goddard married Broadway writer Edgar James, a union that would end in divorce in 1931.

In 1929 while still married to James, Paulette moved to Hollywood where she signed a contract with Hal Roach Studios, where she was given a number of small parts in various films over several years, including extra work in Eddie Cantor's Kid Millions. Leaving Roach, Goddard was hired as on of the 20 original 'Goldwyn Girls' at MGM in the yearly 30's, others among the group included Jane Wyman, Lucile Ball, and Betty Grable.

In 1932 Paulette finally meet Charlie Chaplin, having already appeared as an extra in his 1932 film City Lights. The two struck it off well and it wasn't long before she moved into his Beverly Hills mansion. Goddard stared as the female lead in two of Chaplins films, Modern Times in 1936, and again in The Great Dictator released 1940. The two are said to have secretly married in China in 1936, though their ever having being married at all is a matter still in dispute. Despite this Chaplin did agree to a generous 'divorce' settlement for Paulette in 1942, the two parted amicably and reportedly remained friends.

During most of her time with Chaplin the film career of Paulette Goddard remained unremarkable. Appearances in two 1938 films, The Young at Heart and Dramatic School, did lead to her casting in a well received supporting role in director George Cukor's 1939 all female drama The Women. The attention garnered in that role almost lead to superstardom for the young actress, who was brought on several occasions to test for the lead part of Scarlett O'Hara in David O. Selznicks opulent production of Gone with the Wind. The part eventually went to English actress Vivien Lee (who was then married to Laurence Olivier).

In 1939 Paulette signed a contract with Paramount Pictures leading to the most successful period in her career. Over the next several years she appeared in a number of pictures directed by Cecil B. DeMile (including Reap the Wild Wind), and was frequently cast opposite of Bob Hope (The Ghost Breakers), Fred MacMurry (Suddenly It's Spring), and Ray Milland (The Lady Has Plans). In 1944 the same year she married actor Burgess Meredith (the two would divorce in 1950), Paulette received her only Academy Award nomination, for a supporting role in the war picture So Proudly We Hail!.

The late 1940's saw the decline of Ms. Goddards carrer. In 1949 she formed a production company with author John Steinbeck called Monterey Pictures, but nothing much seemed to come from that. She made a couple of pictures in England during the 1950's, and later attempted a comeback in the 1964 Italian film Time of Indifference, but ended up finishing out her career in the 1970's doing occasional work on television. In 1958 Goddard had married German novelist Erich Maria Remarque, the two would stay together until his death in 1970.

Later in life Goddard would suffer from breast cancer so sever that the operation to remove it would result in the loss of several ribs. She eventually moved to Ronco Switzerland, presumably to recover, but died there from Emphysema on April 23, 1990 at the age of 79. Upon passing Paulette left the surprisingly large sum of twenty million dollars to New York University (where her long time friend John Brademas had once served as president), the institution has since named a freshman residence hall in her honor. Goddard had no children.