Anomalisa

I spent the early morning doing my laundry. I sent out my tax payments for the month and checked the Academy Award nominations. After having a hamburger for lunch, I walked over to the California Theatre to see “Anomalisa.” It was a Charlie Kaufman movie, although the main thing that was different this time was the stop-motion animation. The technique has advanced quite a bit since the days of the Gumby cartoons. The story had quite a few characters, but only three people providing all those voices. Michael Stone travels to Cincinnati to speak at a convention. Jennifer Jason Leigh is Lisa, and she’s been in two notable movies in recent months, the other being “The Hateful Eight.” She does singing in both movies. In this one, the song is Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” both in English and in Italian. I read that the song was originally to be “My Heart Will Go On,” but they couldn’t get the rights. I didn’t notice anything on the soundtrack other than voices. That reminded me of the old days of movies with a lot of silence. There is a definite feeling of “Being John Malkovich” in this movie, where people look the same and have the same voice. I can see how a person can view all people as just the same. Because of the media and other factors, there is a lot of conformity. Lisa is the only one with a different voice in Michael’s mind, although she is remarkably nervous and insecure. She is someone who would annoy me immediately, with her constant apologies. I can’t accuse her of always playing the same character when I think back to “The Hateful Eight.” There is a sex scene in this movie, and it was not quite like “Team America: World Police.” It must have taken a lot of effort to make the scene not seem comical. I had to think of “Blue is the Warmest Color,” briefly. There are moments when the movie is funny, and the audience did laugh, although it wasn’t the wild type of laughter that “Blazing Saddles” inspired. I didn’t think “Anomalisa” really added that much substance to Charlie Kaufman’s filmography. It was like he took some familiar ideas and gave them a different look with the animation. I’m not sure why he didn’t go with live-action, but he could have done it in the style of “Being John Malkovich.” This is a film that is better than the average film out there, although I wouldn’t put in the category of great films. I think it will get a cult following. I will have to give Charlie Kaufman credit for being different than anybody else. He isn’t imitative. That is something we need to see more in moviemaking. I read his message about the stop-action animation process and how its imperfections made the results more human. Of course, what would be more human than animation would be to just use the actors as they are. I have to wonder about the Kaufman logic sometimes. I returned home and watched the news. A lot of Super Bowl preparations are being made, and it seems that traffic is going to be a nightmare. The Warriors arena in San Francisco is going to be delayed until at least 2019. A Walmart store in Oakland is closing. I watched the Partridge Family episode “Old Scrapmouth,” which had a young Mark Hamill in it. It was funny to see him in this show in light of his appearance in the latest Star Wars movie. I watched a bit of Johnny Carson with his guest Shelley Winters from June 20, 1984. She said that she would never get married again. I remember her for “The Diary of Anne Frank” and “The Poseidon Adventure.” Some of the people who died on January 16 include Arturo Toscanini (1957), Ted Cassidy (1979), Bernard Lee (1981), Ron Carey (2007), Andrew Wyeth (2009), Russell Johnson (2014), and Dave Madden (2014). Today is a birthday for Debbie Allen (66) and John Carpenter (68). According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for January 16, the Cavern Club in Liverpool opened in 1957. In 1966, the James Coburn movie “Our Man Flint” was released. In 1970, The Who began a tour of European opera houses, performing music from the “Tommy” album. In 1991, The Byrds were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

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