Open Water

I can't believe I forgot to TELL you guys!
I was at the DGA the other night for a screening of OPEN WATER.


Go see it. I mean. Just go see it! I PROMISE YOU you won't be bored.

You'll be angry and freaked out and may NEVER WANT TO GO IN THE WATER AGAIN.


Okay, so that's the excited version of this review.
The rational version goes like this:

Though it's filled with certain particulars a la Hansel & Gretel, a cautionary tale, this is not.

Another in a fast-growing number of digitally-shot films, I had my misgivings about sitting through it. Did they expect me to watch 79 minutes of 72dpi?

As we watched, I wondered if it hadn't been first written as a short for The Discovery Channel and blended with parts of the most milquetoast softcore porn scripts* (you know; when there's nudity, only no dry-humping until the last ten minutes) - but since TDC doesn't have a film channel (not yet, give them time) and most of those scripts have been bought, filmed and unreleased by Angelina Jolie or Tara Reid anyway...

...still something didn't sit quite right with me. So I did some digging.

And behold; it was originally premiered at the Hamptons International Film Festival in 2003. Why then? Who knows.

In the company of BORN RICH, MY, ARCHITECT, THE COOLER, GIRL WITH THE PEARL EARRING, SCREEN DOOR JESUS and WILBUR WANTS TO KILL HIMSELF it's hard to believe it got as much attention as a full theatrical release. It's so low budget (a mere $130 thousand), less than half the budgets of these other films but still manages to have the most menacing of enemies; miles and miles of nothing but sea and horizon.

My recommendation is you see it during some nice, sunny evening. Walking out of a theater at night was almost too much for me.

*I'm almost positive this is all the movie dialogue there is. Except for two of the sillier lines.


Mack The Knife: The Complete Ella in Berlin

I have a friend.

He brings me parts of his jazz collection to make up for the gap in mine. I've been loading cd after cd of really fantastic old jazz standards to my iPod for weeks and still I keep coming back to this one.

Ella Fitzgerald, recorded live in concert accompanied by The Paul Smith Quartet, at West Berlin Deutschlandhallen (and if you think you'll see Deutschlandhallen in this review again you're going to be sorely disappointed) is a magnificent work.

Live recordings are the part of a body of work that really lets the performer show off. All through these tracks Ella's laughing and skating, talking with Norman Graz as they set up the stage, thanking the audience - it's so full of personality and excitement and truly captures what it must have been like to actually be there.

The performance itself isn't full of overdone vocals or overpowering band noise (due in part to her producers and in part to Ella's own arranging) - even when she screws up Mack The Knife it's entertaining. She never misses a beat, professional in every way.

I urge you to find this disc and discover it for yourself.


You Were Supposed To Order New Checks Last Month

I have recently run out of checks. I suppose it's true that when I packed up and moved in February that I tossed that red box into the wrong bag and out it went with the trash. Thankfully, my bank joined the online-services bandwagon years ago so I can reorder checks online. I've been perusing the site's selection, amazed at how many ways you can "personalize".

For years I've been Basic Safety Paper Yellow. It's served me well. I think we can all agree it's about as sophistcated as a paperclip but extremely business-like.

It's definitely time for a change, but how to choose?

How about this one? Is this the look I want to represent my money? Does it say cash in the bank or check will bounce? The latter, I think. Pass.

I could get patriotic and pick something out of the American Monuments section. This book features the Lincoln Memorial, the Golden Gate Bridge, Mount Rushmore, and the Grand Canyon AND you can add one of four "personal" messages including a Psalm 24:1 or God Bless America. I wish they'd get a little more creative with this section and feature things like The World's Largest Ball of Twine &c. Eh. Pass.

Oh hey, look! A Collegiate Section. The only colleges listed are Indiana, Notre Dame and Ohio State. So I could order these and psyche some people out.. I guess.

Hang on a minute. THEY have personalized messages, too! Check this out; Money talks, mine says good-bye,Hang on... Friday's coming or I'd rather play football.

....you've gotta be kidding me. Pass.

There's a Movie section. How bad could it be? They've got The Wizard of Oz. I don't know why this grabs me, but it does and I want a whole book full of the Witch scenes. That'd be so rad with the personal message "All in good time my little pretty--all in good time" - swear it, can't
make this up.

They really do offer it. I'd pay my rent every month with those checks (the look on Management's face would be worth it), but they have those lame Emerald City shots in there. Nng. Pa...maybe.

Wow, look at that. NOVA offers checks. Who knew? Proceeds go to funding Public Television. Hm. I wonder how popular they are just because the message "Genius At Large" can be attached to it.

Or maybe I'm feeling extra-American and I want to share it with everyone I do business with. In that case, I could choose the Heros Triumph selection, filed under "American Favorites." What? my brain screamed, What what how how? Why!

How this piece of propaganda found its way into check distribution is utterly, utterly beyond me.

Maybe I'll stick with Basic Safety Paper Yellow afterall.