Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

02 January 2006

Holiday

I haven't been to work in what seems like forever. I haven't been sleeping in my own bed, either, though all will go back to normal tomorrow morning when I wake up for work. I was in Monument, Colorado for Christmas where it didn't snow at all--though it was fucking freezing cold, and I was in Big Bear Lake, California for New Year's Eve where it snowed on the way out of town (luckily). I had never seen it snow before.

The sun is out here, now, after days of gloom and rain. I might even go visit my friend up in Valencia this afternoon. (A cloud just covered the sun.)

Back from Colorado, I have been watching movies like mad... making up for lost time. I'm behind in my viewing now: this is what I get for missing a week of movie-watching. I watched only one movie in Colorado, and that one was from 1951. (If you haven't seen Royal Wedding, Astaire dances on the ceiling, Jane Powell performs brilliantly in a New York-style dance number, and Peter Lawford looks extremely cute, but it doesn't have much else going for it.)

Capsule reviews of the movies I've seen since my return from CO:
The White Countess I found kind of disappointing. Like all Merchant-Ivory pictures, I suppose it will improve with more viewings, but this film has a few troubles: mostly script problems. It looks gorgeous and is quietly moving, like most of Ivory's films, but it isn't quite as subtle as it ought to be. Madeleine Potter gives a superior performance.
Crash is all about racism. Racism, racism, racism. Everyone, in case you were unaware, is racist, and justice, in case you were confused, is impossible to achieve. The best scene in the film is a scene between good cop Ryan Philippe and hopelessly corrupt cop Keith David, where the older, black officer and the young idealist white officer conspire to keep bigoted officer Matt Dillon in a position of power. This film is irresponsible and silly, not to mention unapologetically sympathetic to a whole cadre of odious, unsympathetic characters.
Casanova is unabashedly silly and totally fun. It loses its initial cleverness about halfway through, but remains somewhat witty. The whole thing is ridiculous, but I thought it was fun. Plus I'm in love with Heath Ledger now. (There isn't anywhere near the amount of nudity there ought to have been in the picture, unfortunately.)
Transamerica sucked. It could've been a good road picture and it could have been a poignant father-son saga. It's neither. Felicity Huffman is occasionally believable as a transgender woman, but this film is terrible. The script is a total mess. None of the characters' motives make the least bit of sense and the non-resolution is utterly ludicrous. Fionnula Flanagan is terrible beyond words as Bree's scenery-chewing mother.
The Ballad of Jack and Rose is an exquisite little gem of a film about late-sixties idealism and the legacy this movement passed on to its children. Camilla Belle is extraordinary, Catherine Keener does her usual superb and dependable supporting work and Daniel Day-Lewis gives a raw, heartbreaking performance. The photography is breathtaking. It's a wonderful portrait of an idyll in turmoil and (perhaps) the end of an era. I liked it enormously.

Still in the Netflix queue from 2005:
The Beautiful Country, Tropical Malady, Yes, Kings and Queen, Hustle & Flow, My Summer of Love, Saraband, Happy Endings, The Girl from Monday, 5X2, Head-on, Fear and Trembling, War of the Worlds

Still to see in theatres from 2005 (i.e. call me if you want to catch a flick one night this week, as I will be going to see one every night):
Munich, Match Point, Caché, The New World, The Producers, The Libertine

XO

Happy New Year
Aaron