movies & tv Archives

Grand Hotels 2015

If you enjoyed The Grand Budapest Hotel and are ready to save up for an incredible splurge, I recommend a stay at the Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten in Hamburg, overlooking the lovely Binnenalster (Inner Alster Lake). It's not built on such a monumental scale, of course, but it is undeniably grand. Thanks to now being part of the Fairmont family of hotels it is well cared for and very well staffed. 

Photo from hotel website jahreszeitenbarIts giant keys, of which you get a single one and which you leave at the desk when you go out, and tiny wood-lined bar, which somehow despite being smaller than most of the rooms manages to have all the distinct spots where you might be in the mood to place yourself in a bar, are sources of particular pleasure. Also its large bath thermometers in their wooden bases with big cork floats. And the little gilded elevator, barely large enough for you and the staff member who will give you a tour of your room at the start of your stay. (You must let them take your suitcase up separately, it's just too awkward otherwise.)

For maximum enjoyment, book your stay through a package that includes a free room upgrade if available and, importantly, breakfast inclusive (we got ours through AmEx). You may have to pay a little overage to get the grandest spread, but that glorious and leisurely breakfast remains my favorite room service experience.

IMG_4491For maximum quirkiness, happen to find yourself in the lobby at the very end of December when the Christmas tree is removed and the enormous chandelier is put back in its normal spot. Watching that delicate dance of four men, two ladders, and a long metal pole shoved through the chandelier chain really is like a missing scene from The Grand Budapest Hotel.

Sadly, no lobby boys.

Posted on January 5, 2015 at 04:12 AM in movies & tv, travel | Permalink | Comments (0)

I don't get it, but I respect it 2012

RT @waxpancake: Q from ST:TNG is using Kickstarter to fund a documentary about a brony convention. No, really.

Posted on May 14, 2012 at 10:46 PM in movies & tv, tweets | Permalink | Comments (0)

All you need... 2012

This will round out a Saturday walk nicely: 6:45pm, 5/12, Yellow Submarine restored limited theatrical re-release. Love!

Posted on May 3, 2012 at 05:01 PM in movies & tv, tweets | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Pirates! 2012

What dream team will get me out of the house & into a movie theater seat? Aardman Animations. :)

Posted on April 28, 2012 at 02:31 PM in movies & tv, tweets | Permalink | Comments (0)

Experimenting with movies 2009

Here's a little diary post which I whipped together mostly thinking about the pecha-kucha ideas.

Warning: It's a two minute diary not a one minute diary as titled, oops, and the audio came out a trifle louder than I expected thanks to a better microphone than I'm used to.

My process was to record the slideshow in Keynote, then export to Quicktime, then upload that to Vimeo. Ideas on improved approaches are appreciated in the comments; I decided to go for "imperfect and up today" rather than making it a big project that might get bogged down.

Posted on October 19, 2009 at 09:52 PM in Discardia, movies & tv, mundania, tools | Permalink | Comments (0)

going to the movies 2007

Where the hell does Century Theatres get their demonic carpet?



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crashed ticket sales computer at Westfield


reminds me of one of the challenges in the old Mac game The Fool's Errand

Unsupervised Teens at the Diner Bingo


amusing myself (and subsequently the waiter) at Mel's

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Posted on January 13, 2007 at 12:00 PM in Food and Drink, movies & tv, San Francisco, warnings & kvetches | Permalink | Comments (0)

Castro theater flowers after Paper Dolls 2006

261231713_2e4d4f2622_o Screen Shot 2014-10-02 at 10.19.15 AM

Posted on October 5, 2006 at 12:00 PM in movies & tv, mundania | Permalink | Comments (0)

Batman shirt in the window of Body on Castro 2006

Fil, this one's for you.

Posted on February 20, 2006 at 12:02 PM in friends & family, movies & tv | Permalink | Comments (0)

Such a GOOD weekend! 2005

Creatively productive day Friday. That Certain Someone picked me up after work. Dinner at Citrus Club on Haight. Sitting in bed surfing the web. Spooning.

Farmers' Market at the Ferry Building Friday morning. Aidells Maple & Smoked Bacon sausage sandwich with Seeds & Suds mustard. Fresh snap peas. Tasting cheeses and balsamic vinegars. Selecting and eating Recchiuti chocolates - Peanut Butter Puck, Honeycomb Malt, special of the day (Fleur de Sel caramel topped with pecan encased in bittersweet chocolate; simply fucking incredible. One of the top ten chocolate experiences of my life.), Fleur De Sel, Cardamom Nougat, Tarragon Grapefruit, Bergamot Tea - on a bench looking out at the bay. Sailboats. Clouds. Sunshine. The Bay Bridge. Yerba Buena Island.

Walking up Sacramento to Mason and down to Geary. Buying tickets at the Curren for "I Am My Own Wife" (about which more in a couple weeks no doubt). And then seeing Kung Fu Hustle at the Metreon.

Stop what you are doing now and go see Kung Fu Hustle. It's got more life and fun and excitement in it than the last 10 American films I've seen. If I could pre-order the DVD today, I would, and I'll definitely be seeing this one at least twice in the theater.

Grinning like maniacs. A Manhattan and a cheese plate at The View atop the Marriot Hotel looking at, well, the view. Trying to figure out what was going on at the ice rink. Walking across Yerba Buena Gardens to find it was a demonstration game of sled hockey. Very cool. Chatting briefly with a player as he got back into his wheelchair. Coming home and watching the original Star Wars "A New Hope" (laser disc version, not this bullshit "Greedo shoots first" crap).

Sleeping in. Languid lazing around. Puttering around the house. Soup for dinner. The win-win debate: movie or play a game?

Posted on May 15, 2005 at 08:47 PM in Film, Food and Drink, movies & tv, San Francisco, Sports, the big room with the blue ceiling | Permalink | Comments (2)

Damn. Damndamndamndamndamn. 2003

Back in June I pre-ordered the Extended Edition DVD of Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.

This weekend I read two weblog entries by people who'd already watched it, so I expected that it would be waiting for me today at work (where I have things shipped since we haven't got a mailslot in our door). I was already anticipating the bliss of the extra 43 minutes of footage, of hours & hours of special features, after waiting 6 months to be able to pre-order it and 5 months for it to be released.

This morning (why not weeks ago, Amazon? Huh? why not weeks ago? or when I logged in to place other orders?) I got a notification from Amazon that they hadn't shipped my order because the credit card I used to pre-order it had expired.

Don't expect me to be cheerful today.

Posted on November 24, 2003 at 08:04 AM in movies & tv | Permalink | Comments (1)

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003) 2003

I highly recommend the new film Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World to any fans of the original books. Crowe and Bettany give beautiful portrayals of Capt. Jack Aubrey and surgeon Stephen Maturin.

One piece of advice, though, for any viewer of the film: recognize that it is one of those pieces of music which combines two very different themes, one brisk and lively, one slower and more contemplative. It is as much character portrait as it is historical action film.

Oh, and the ship is beautiful. Amazing what you can achieve when you really build something.

Posted on November 15, 2003 at 11:47 PM in movies & tv | Permalink | Comments (1)

Distraction 2003

Okay, so I could say "Oh, I had to work on the weekend last weekend" or "I'm so distracted by the excitement of my first column appearing in the San Francisco Bay Guardian" or "I'm being a good grrrl and taking a walk every night" and that's all true, but really, what distracts me from posting?

  1. Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane (two DVDs of the fantastic BBC production with Edward Petherbridge & Harriet Walter)
  2. Tropico, the Mucho Macho Edition (a game on the Mac which is of my favorite genre which I like to call "project manager games")
  3. Party Monster: The Shockumentary (which is very interesting to see after seeing the fictionalized version with Mac Culkin and Seth Green (yum))


For archive purposes, here is that column from October 22, 2003:

Being There

Beaches to books

MY GUESS IS that even without the recent election or international events, you've probably got some things on your mind. Need some time to get out of the house and think while you stretch your legs? Want to do it somewhere other than a stinky gym? I recommend a day trip walking in our beautiful city.

Begin at Ocean Beach. Walk out to the waterline and look out to sea until you feel the rhythm of your thinking change. Imagine that you've never been to this place before. You've just come upon the beach here. Turn around and look. Look at people. Look at the place. Smell the air. Turn left and start walking.

Walk north along the beach toward the Cliff House. When you run out of beach (or if you don't like sand), walk on the sidewalk on the ocean side of the street. Enjoy the variety of people. Note that it is considered gauche to stare too openly at the surfers changing in and out of their wet suits; I advocate the discreet but appreciative glance.

Follow the road up past the Cliff House and Louis' until you reach the parking lot, also known as Merrie Way. Enter the Golden Gate National Recreational Area, leaving cars and buildings behind you. Follow the coastal trail among the trees, past lovely views of the cliffs of Marin and the Golden Gate Bridge, until you come to a sign reading, "El Camino del Mar Trail." There will be a set of steps to your right. Climb them and turn left on the trail at the top.

When you come out on the small service road, stifle your disappointment at the sight of cars and walk up to the large building at the other end of the road; this is the Palace of the Legion of Honor (34th Ave. and Clement, S.F. 415-863-3330). If you're in the mood and it's not a Monday, go in and see art (current special exhibits: Degas sculptures and 19th-century photographs of India). Otherwise, after you take in the great view of the city, continue down the road (to the right as you leave the museum) through the golf course. Marvel at this bizarre use of land and time. When you reach the small restaurant at the entry to Lincoln Park, go around the north side of it and follow the narrow road until you see the big steps at the end of California Street. These are an ideal place to sit, rest, and survey the way ahead of you.

Stroll along this gentle downhill stretch of California Street, enjoying the clean, quiet neighborhood in which almost every era of San Francisco architecture is represented. The superb Angelina's deli at 22nd Avenue (6000 California, S.F. 415-221-7801) is a great place to stop for a snack or for picnic supplies.

Walk a few more blocks down California until you pass an unusual church with a blue minaret on the right (near 19th Avenue) and then go a block south and continue eastward along Clement Street. This district perfectly illustrates both the reality and the myth of the California melting pot. In barely a mile and a half, you'll encounter no less than 17 different cultures represented in the restaurants and shops of Clement Street. It's a wonderfully diverse mix, but watch the groups of people working and shopping here and you may begin to question whether there's much melting going on.

Still, mingling is a fine thing, too, and one can hardly complain when faced with the dizzying array of good food choices. Recommended spots for further snacking: Good Luck Dim Sum (736 Clement, S.F. 415-386-3388) and, a few blocks farther east, Le Soleil (133 Clement, S.F. 415-668-4848), where the spring rolls are lovely and bold hikers can restore themselves with salty plum sodas. Those who prefer the sweet to the savory treat should visit Toy Boat Dessert Cafe (401 Clement, S.F. 415-751-7505), which boasts a fabulous collection of nostalgia-inducing toys, or I Love Chocolate, a tiny café just around the corner from the end of Clement Street (397 Arguello, S.F. 415-750-9460), which will happily cater to your sugary needs.

One of the great pleasures of walking is the lack of parking hassle, and Clement Street is definitely better reached without a car. Take all the time you didn't spend driving in circles waiting for a space to open up and use it to wander in my favorite San Francisco bookstore, Green Apple Books (506 Clement, S.F. 415-387-2272). If you can't find something to please you in the main store or the annex, you're clearly still not relaxed enough. Return to Ocean Beach and start over.

MetaGrrrl is the nom de plume of Dinah Sanders, who is well along in her project to walk every block of every street of San Francisco. Chart her progress at

Posted on October 23, 2003 at 10:35 PM in games, movies & tv, San Francisco, the big room with the blue ceiling | Permalink | Comments (4)

Attention: LOTR fans 2003

There will be theatrical showings of the extended versions of Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers this December. Tickets are available from Fandango. Probably from other sources as well.

There's also going to be back to back showings of those two films plus the first showing of Return of the King, but that's already sold out and who wants to see ROTK for the first time when your ass is sore and your senses are numbed by the prior 7+ hours of film?

Posted on October 12, 2003 at 08:09 PM in movies & tv | Permalink | Comments (1)

Worth Your Time 2003

I just got back from seeing Party Monster. I thought I'd enjoy the fabulous costumes and pretty boys kissing and endure the connecting bits. I did get some of the former to please me - though many of the costumes were more outrageous than beautiful - and pretty much none of the latter, but it turned out to be the masterful portrayal of the two main characters which leaves me strongly considering seeing it again. I really enjoyed Seth Green and Macaulay Culkin's performances. Green has more range than I realized and Culkin can be much darker (then again, if you're a millionaire former child star, perhaps playing someone who believes the world should be his on a plate isn't such a stretch...)

Reading the reviews on IMDB which range from "Excellent!" to "Sucks!" you get an accurate sense that this film isn't for everyone or perhaps even most, but I think it's very worth seeing and it certainly leaves me excited about what these actors will do in the future. It's playing at the lovely Castro Theater through Thursday, and even though I have stuff going on Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights, I will probably make time for it.

Posted on September 7, 2003 at 11:58 PM in movies & tv | Permalink | Comments (2)

Daft, but intrigued 2003

I just met someone who's working on Spiderman 2. Neat guy, nice talking with him, but because the connection is that he did a bunch of illustrations for icons for one of my products when it was first developed, I was thinking "artist". As a result I spent the whole conversation thinking "animatics" every time he said "animatronics". In retrospect some of my comments must have seemed particularly lame & confused. *sigh*

Oh well, at least I know there will be cool stuff in the next movie.

Posted on September 3, 2003 at 03:09 PM in movies & tv | Permalink | Comments (0)

Questions we have after watching the original Ocean's 11 2003

- Is it strictly necessary to hear "Ain't That A Kick In The Head" three times in a row?
- Was the dialog actually written by goats?
- Did people in 1960 not cringe when Dean Martin & Frank Sinatra were talking about bringing back slavery?
- What was up with the David Lynch mortuary chapel with a giant glowing clock on the front?
- Did people really think those Christmas decorations were attractive?
and, most of all,
- What the hell does "E.O. Eleven" mean?

Posted on July 29, 2003 at 11:02 PM in movies & tv | Permalink | Comments (0)

Beware. 2003

Here's my friend Al's review of LXG (the new movie based, very very loosely, on Alan Moore's excellent graphic novel The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen):

(using Lovecraftian-going-insane tone a la the end of "Dagon")


Yeah, it sucked. WHAT THE FUCK IS A VAMPIRE DOING IN SUNLIGHT...WITHOUT ADDRESSING HOW SHE CAN DO THAT?!?!? But...although the original Nautilus is dear to my heart, the shitty movie version was kinda cool.

I was so upset, I ended up going to see "Pirates of the Caribbean" later last night...and to quote Tony Le Tigre, it was g-r-r-r-r-r-rEAT! Johnny Depp is the man.

Posted on July 12, 2003 at 01:48 PM in movies & tv | Permalink | Comments (4)

Goof or just something I missed? 2003

Over the weekend I watched the remake of Ocean's Eleven and enjoyed it very much. George Clooney and Brad Pitt work very well together and can deliver this sort of slick dialogue with humor and style. The rest of the caper team were fun and Andy Garcia made a nice foil for them. Still can't say Julia Roberts does it for me, but the out-of-character stuff with her laughing on set gives me a clue why her co-stars think she's the bee's knees. Would have been nice if her character showed some of that human charm.

I have one question though and it's a spoiler, so see the comments if you've already seen the movie.

Posted on June 23, 2003 at 09:32 AM in movies & tv | Permalink | Comments (8)

Wilde 2003

This weekend I'm very much enjoying the DVD of the movie Wilde, starring the wonderful Stephen Fry. It is a masterfully drawn portrait of a man whose life has had a tremendous impact on attitudes about beauty, morality, fame, and sexuality over the last hundred and twenty-five years or so.

Amusingly, Oscar's biting wit seems to rub off on the makers of the film as evidenced in this bit of discussion in the commentary track:

[They are discussing how one of Oscar's presumed lovers, John Gray, the man who perhaps inspired The Portrait of Dorian Gray, eventually converted to Catholicism and became a priest as did one of the "rent boys" who, I think, testified at Oscar's trial]
Screenwriter Julian Mitchell: "Well, there was a great sort of overlap between high camp and high church."
Stephen Fry: "Which remains to this very day, let's be honest."

Posted on June 7, 2003 at 10:45 PM in movies & tv | Permalink | Comments (2)

Good Fun 2003

Chris and I just went and saw The Italian Job. We had a great time. It's a nice classic caper, well-directed and well-cast. I recommend it (unless you're the kind of person who doesn't enjoy a good story well told again).

Posted on June 7, 2003 at 07:05 PM in movies & tv | Permalink | Comments (0)

Be yourself. 2003

Here's a toast to Richard Chamberlain (who came out today) and his partner Martin. Health and happiness, gentlemen!

Posted on May 30, 2003 at 08:47 PM in movies & tv | Permalink | Comments (3)

No TiVo. No VCR. Heck, no TV at all. 2003

I checked the Daily Show website. I googled for this to no avail. Anyone have or know a URL to the clip from The Daily Show where Stephen Colbert visits one of those people who claims to be able to make gay people straight. I really want to hear him say this line again: "Right. We don't hate gays. We're just angry at the ones who turn us on so much."

Posted on May 24, 2003 at 02:43 PM in movies & tv | Permalink | Comments (3)

LXG 2003

So, if you, like me, read Alan Moore's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and then saw the trailer for the upcoming film based on it and were a wee bit confused about who those extra characters were, I have an answer.

It's Dorian Grey and Tom Sawyer.

Um. Okay.

Okay, I can work with that. It's clearly not going to be the book or high art, but it still looks like a lot of fun.

Posted on May 22, 2003 at 12:52 PM in movies & tv | Permalink | Comments (4)

What A Ride 2003

Chris and I just got back from seeing the second Matrix film. Good stuff. I liked it a lot and I'm very glad I don't have to wait a year until the next one. Carrie-Ann Moss rocks. The chases and fights are beautifully choreographed. Oh, and the clothes! Sweet mutha of gawd, I wish I had those clothes and the body to wear them. Heh, and the french swearing is quite delightful.

Before the movie, there was a different trailer for Terminator 3 and to my astonishment, the PR folks appear to have pulled this one out from the trashbin. The first one we saw someone in the crowd said "Give it up, old man!" when Arnie came on doing his schtick. The second trailer was just as bad. This time it's completely reworked and it actually makes the movie look good. Somebody deserves a promotion because they just made their company at least an extra million dollars opening weekend.

Posted on May 18, 2003 at 05:36 PM in movies & tv | Permalink | Comments (0)

Idle hunting big pretentious game 2003

Now this sounds really good. Eric Idle has written and will direct a film called The Remains Of The Piano, a spoof of Merchant-Ivory films "with a large ensemble cast assembled led by Geoffrey Rush as Hopkins, a middle-aged British aristocrat".

Hee hee hee.

Posted on May 16, 2003 at 07:16 PM in movies & tv | Permalink | Comments (3)

Blog (noun) A weblog or similar brief journal usually containing links and commentary thereon. Term coined by Peter Merholz.

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