Friday, December 30, 2011

Movies I've Seen This Year

Top ten coming soon. Ending 2011 with 95 films, though expect to add many more to that with screeners in January. But the pool my top ten will come from is below!

After the jump, natch :)

See full post

Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Definitive Differences Between Tintin and Rin Tin Tin

Cross-posted on and commissioned by


With The Adventures of Tintin opening this week, I keep encountering lots of folks asking questions like, “What is it about? A dog? So what?! Who cares?!” “Yes, there’s a dog in it, but — stop — you’re thinking of Rin Tin Tin, aren’t you?” And I realized that way too many people actually don’t know the difference between Tintin and Rin Tin Tin. When I got to thinking about it, I didn’t really know the difference when the Tintin movie was first announced either. To add to the propensity for mixing the two up, a few months ago Susan Orlean’s Rin Tin Tin biography was released to stellar reviews and jumped to the top of the best-seller charts. So we figured it was time to break it down so no one will ever make this mistake again.

-Tintin is a fictional boy who owns a fictional dog.
-Rin Tin Tin is a real life German Shepherd dog who played fictional dogs, and was succeeded by Rin Tin Tin Jr., Rin Tin Tin III, Rin Tin Tin IV … you get the idea.
-There is a lot of debate over where the name Tintin came from. It was a popular name at the time, and there are quite a few theories as to why the boy scout meets detective meets reporter ended up with the name he did. Some say it is an homage to Benjamin Rabier’sTintin lutin, others think it’s simply short for Martin or Augustine, and some believe the name signifies “nothing,” referencing Tintin’s purposeful blank slate and cryptic nature. A popular theory is that the name is not even the character’s real name, but a pseudonym used to protect his identity. But, fun fact: Snowy the dog was supposedly named after one of Herge’s ex-girlfriends.
-Rin Tin Tin was named after Rintintin and Nénette, the woolen dolls that French children gave to soldiers in the war as good luck charms.
-Tintin is from Brussels, Belgium, and was created in 1929.
-Rin Tin Tin is from Lorraine, France, 193 miles away, born in 1918.
-Corrected: From the comments section, Tintin was a comic, then 2 plays, then a stop-motion film, then an animated TV show, then another animated TV show, then 2 live-action films, then 3 animated films, then 3 more plays, then a video game, then a third animated TV show, then 4 more video games, then a sixth play, then two musicals, and then a mo-cap movie and accompanying video game. Also 2 short films and 3 magazines.
-Rin Tin Tin appeared in a series of movies and was the subject of three radio series. After his death, other dogs took over and one of these starred in a ’50s TV series entitled The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin. Rin Tin Tin and his ancestry also had many the endorsement deal.

-Tintin was its most popular in the ’50s.
-Rin Tin Tin reached true popularity in the silent movie era of the ’20s — other German shepherds would later take his name and continue the tradition, but the true one, from a litter of shell-shocked pups found in WWI, only lived from 1918 to 1932.
-Tintin was translated into 80 languages and has sold over 350 million books.
-Rin Tin Tin was a huge star of silent film (and four color features!) and is credited with saving Warner Brothers from bankruptcy.
-Tintin solved the Secret of the Unicorn, found Red Rackham’s Treasure, and went to the moon. In Herge’s comics.
-Rin Tin Tin has a star on the walk of fame, a key to the city of New York, and was supposedly the true winner of the first Oscar for Best Actor by write-in vote. In real life.
-Tintin’s sidekicks were a terrier named Snowy and a drunken captain named Haddock.
-Rin Tin Tin had a variety of sidekicks in his films, but in life was loyal to one Lee Duncan. On television, Rin Tin Tin IV’s human companion was named Rusty.
-When Tintin creator Herge died in 1983 at age 75, he made it clear that the comic would not go on without him, but gave Spielberg his blessing to make a movie long before then.
-Rin Tin Tin allegedly died in Jean Harlow’s arms at age 13.
-Tintin can now be found on the big screen in The Adventures of Tintin, directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis, and Daniel Craig.
-Rin Tin Tin was buried in the famous pet cemetery in Asnières-sur-Seine, Cimetière des Chiens, and the current Rin Tin Tin is 12th in the line, the great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandson of the original. He still makes personal appearances.
It should also be noted that when pronounced with a proper French accent, Tintin *sounds* a lot more like any number of other words, but especially Tauntaun, a white furred biped native to the fictional planet Hoth, most famous for providing Luke Skywalker with a warm bed for the night after being attacked by a Wampa. While mixing up Tintin with Rin Tin Tin has become an acceptable reality, confusing Tintin with a Tauntaun is just plain silly, if not more aurally accurate. To diffuse further confusion, Tintin should also not to be confused with Tun Tun, who is known as the first woman of Hindi comedy; Tenten, a popular supporting character from the manga series Naruto; Tonton, a muppet in the Jordanian version of Sesame Street; or, your number one stop for indoor tanning lotion, dark tanning lotion, sunless lotion, and self-tanner!
See full post

Friday, December 16, 2011

Geek Gingerbread Creations

I have the most awesomely geeky friends.

Battlestar Galactica Themed Creation by me and @thedanifesto

Game of Thrones Themed Creation by @scarletscribe
See full post

Thursday, December 8, 2011

December at the Movies

Cross-posted on and commissioned by

Well folks, this is it. The last month of 2011. In which we are bombarded with dozens of movies and told each one is the best of the year. So which of the vast variety of films being released in December should make it on to your radar and which should you leave behind? Take a look at our preview below.

A Break From Oscar Madness

A Warrior's Heart (Dec 2nd)

I don't even want to tell you, I just want you watch the trailer. Is that mean? Okay, fine. This is a film about a kid acting out cause his dad died in war, so he gets sent to Lacrosse camp. It stars Kellan Lutz as the slightly normally named Conor, Ashley Greene as the slightly ridiculously named Brooklyn, and Chord Overstreet as the okay-who-wrote-this-named Dupree. The quote ON the official apple trailers page is "Twi-hards out there are going to love this!" from PEREZ HILTON. Oh and the movie is rated PG. Gold. It's all gold.

Am I seeing it? Under no circumstances.

New Year's Eve (Dec 9th)

It's like Valentine's Day, but on New Year's Eve! And somehow, even knowing what Valentine's Day was and being fully aware of its (lack of) quality, 137,000 major stars still signed on. Some folks even RETURNED, like Jessica Biel and Ashton Kutcher. This time around though we get some Seth Meyers and some strange Zac Efron/Michelle Pfeiffer May/December action, so all is not lost. Oh wait, I forgot Lea Michele is in this. Yeah. All is lost.

Am I seeing it? Let's be honest. I saw Valentines Day opening weekend. So. Yes.

The Sitter (Dec 9th)

Inspired by the 1987 classic Adventures in Babysitting, but with a hard R edge, this comedy follows Jonah Hill on a wild night of babysitting. It's also the last film Hill shot before beginning his journey towards massive weight lost, so enjoy it while you can, folks. I love Pineapple Express, but am still pretty burnt from Your Highness, so I have absolutely no idea what to expect from this latest offering from David Gordon Green.

Am I seeing it? I've been terrible about seeing raunchy comedies this year, so probably not in theaters, but I wouldn't be against a rental down the line.

Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked (Dec 16th)

These just keep happening, don't they? I haven't seen one yet and I probably never will (although The Chipmunk Adventure from 1987 is awesome), but man do kids LOVE these. In this, the third in the new Chipmunks series, the Chipmunks and Chipettes get stranded on a desert island and inevitably, wackiness ensues.

Am I seeing it? Why no, I am not.

Thrilling Thrillers!

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (Dec 9th)

British espionage thriller set during the Cold War, based on the novel by John le Carré, which was also the source material for the 1979 mini series starring Alec Guinness. It stars a collection of fantastic actors featuring Gary Oldman being awesome in the leading role, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, John Hurt, Mark Strong, Toby Jones, and more. Oh and the director is Tomas Alfredson aka the genius behind Let The Right One In.

Am I seeing it? Oh yes, loves me a good spy movie

More after the jump

See full post

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Holiday Gift Guide: Music, Book & Theater Edition

It's the giving season again! And if you're a procrastinator like me, then you're still trying to get your holiday gift shopping list together. So let me help you expedite that process! Here are my top gift recommendations for the art lovers in your lives:


Florence + The Machine's Ceremonials

Florence Welch is a rock-pop machine and Ceremonials is one of my favorite albums of the year. While lacking the raw, punk-like energy of the bands first album, Lungs, the new album is a more polished and whole achievement. All the songs sound connected and they flow to form a broodingly beautiful album that still makes you want to dance and sing along with at the top of your lungs. It's my wonderfully odd dark, upbeat soundtrack to the upcoming winter season. I couldn't recommend it to you more--buy it as a gift for yourself and your moody loved ones!


The New York Times Magazine Photographs

Aperture and The New York Times Magazine present this awesome photo book that surveys the photography published by the magazine over the years. The New York Times Magazine Photographs is this holiday season's ultimate coffee table book.

The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides

From the Pulitzer Prize winning author who gave us Virgin Suicides and Middlesex comes a new novel about Madeleine--a 1980s college student deconstructing 19th Century English novels with marriages at the center of their plots. She finds herself examining not only fictional marriage plots but also modern love and relationships. As an English major, this is the book I bought as a holiday gift for myself to read over my winter break. But if it's anything like Eugenides' previous novels, I suspect that it'll be popular with a diverse range of readers.

Theater Tickets:

Tickets to live shows make for the best gifts; you're giving entertainment and helping to create singular memories. So this year, consider giving the gift of theater! Already seen Sleep No More (a few times)? Looking for another off-Broadway gem? Go see New York Theatre Workshop's production of Once, a musical based on the film of the same name. This insanely popular show has been recently extended to January 15th. Get your tickets before they sellout!

Based on the Film Written & Directed by: John Carney
Directed by: John Tiffany
Book by: Enda Walsh
Lyrics by: Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová
Movement by: Steven Hoggett
Featuring: David Abeles, Claire Candela, Will Connolly, Elizabeth A. Davis, Steve Kazee, David Patrick Kelly, Cristin Milioti, Anne L. Nathan, Lucas Papaelias, Andy Taylor, Erikka Walsh, Paul Whitty, J. Michael Zygo

For tickets, performance schedule, and more info, go here. See full post

Monday, December 5, 2011

Exit Carolyn at The Drilling Company Theatre

Sans A Productions and the Drilling Company Theatre present Exit Carolyn, a new play about loss and grief.

Lorna and Julie, lifelong best friends and current roommates, are coping with the death of their mutual best friend Carolyn in extremely opposing ways. Lorna masks her sadness by overworking and obsessively multitasking, while Julie wallows in hers by wasting her time away getting high (and a little fat) on the couch. Lorna fools herself into believing she's ready to move on from Carolyn's death, as Julie feels she's too paralyzed to do anything because of it.

As the play's plot unfolds, we discover that Carolyn was the middle, conjoining member of their group, and that Lorna and Julie both individually loved and depended on her charisma and strength. Without her they must reexamine their lives and decide who they are outside of their broken threesome (and if they even want to stay friends with each other). They must decide if they want to merely fill her void or truly deal with their grief and learn to live with themselves in Carolyn's absence. In the midst of Lorna and Julie's grief and dilemma, we're introduced to Carolyn's brother Matthew who is dealing with the immensity of his sadness. Matthew brings up some insightful questions as to the authority of grief; he wonders if it's appropriate for a brother to be so sad at the loss of a sister or if only parents and female loved ones (like Lorna and Julie) have the right to be as upset as he is.

Exit Carolyn captures the strange and chaotic layers of grief, while still managing to be a comical and warm show. The one outsider character, Avery, played by the freshly expressive Lauren Blumenfeld, offers some quirky lightheartedness. Laura Ramadei wonderfully embodies Julie's simultaneously funny and tragic slobbish couch-ridden state. For a play dealing with such a heavy theme, Exit Carolyn does a solid job of striking a believable balance of drama and comedy.

Exit Carolyn
Written by: Jennie Berman Eng
Directed by: Adam Knight
Featuring: Lauren Blumenfeld, Jake Loewenthal, Anna O’Donoghue, and Laura Ramadei

The Drilling Company Theatre for New Plays
236 West 78th St. (between Broadway & Amsterdam)
New York, NY 10026

Performance Schedule:
December 8-11 at 8pm
December 15-17 at 8pm

For tickets, go here.
And for a limited time, catch Thursday performances for just $10 (enter discount code: Danish)! See full post

Saturday, December 3, 2011

What Should Be Considered A Spoiler? Musings From A Spoiler-Sensitive Blogger.

Cross-posted on and commissioned by


What sensation just went through your body reading that word? For me 12 years ago, it was a sensation of excitement. Now, it's a sensation much closer to terror.

In my youth, I loved television and film just as much as I did now, but I wasn't concerned in the slightest with the element of surprise. Knowing what was coming never bothered me. I eagerly awaited the next installment of Watch with Wanda (now Watch with Kristin, on Eonline), would read plot summaries of episodes of Buffy and Felicity well ahead of when they aired, and would religiously check soap spoilers to see if this would finally be the week that Mike and Carrie on Days of our Lives would make love. (What? I was 13.) To me, spoilers were just an elongated version of "Next time on____" that prepped me for what was to come and filled me with anticipation.

Now, however? Completely different story.

Maybe it's because television has changed and Buffy was certainly a part of that (when I hit high school, I started skipping over the Buffy spoilers in Watch with Wanda), with mystery and development of story becoming a more integral part of television than simply being entertained. Maybe it has to do with the internet being so willing to reveal twist endings at the drop of a hat. But something has shifted. Over the span of 12 years, I've gone from a 13 year old who lives for spoilers to a 25 year old who lists "spoilers" as a legitimate fear when pressed. But maybe the difference is that spoiler means something different nowadays. With endless avenues of communication, constant advance screenings and screeners, and the weight that is now put on experiencing something fresh in order to have an honest opinion, the tiniest bit of information can now affect us as much as reading an entire, multi-page plot summary of a film we haven't seen.

Very often I get into arguments on Twitter about spoilers. Bloggers have gotten better about not straight up revealing plot points, but I, and bear with me here, happen to consider pre-release discussion of themes and lengthy, detailed opinions spoilers too.

Whaaaaat? I know. This is a little extreme. But listen.

The rest after the jump

See full post