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

31 December 2006

The First Three Movies I Saw in California

My plane landed in Cali at 8:30a and by 1:20p I was at the movies seeing the new confection from Pedro Almodóvar: Volver. It's a completely fabulous film and a return for Almodóvar to his classic, brilliant formula from the 1980s. Almodóvar is a master of filmmaking and each of his films seems exquisitely crafted and gorgeously shot. Volver is a delicious blend of what he has been doing for the last ten years or so (discussing serious topics and evoking powerful emotional responses) and his earlier work (broad, hilarious comedic storytelling). Volver feels like a mixture of all his work, like the next step in the career of a genius. He returns to telling a story exclusively about women, and the women in Volver are totally fabulous. Penélope Cruz is utterly gorgeous and gives a riveting, certain to be Academy-Award-nominated performance. And the cast also boasts the lovely Lola Dueñas (who I loved so much in Mar Adentro) and Almodóvar's old muse, the brilliant Carmen Maura. The plot seems a little overdone and a bit of a rehash for the director (see What Have I Done to Deserve This? if you don't believe me) but all of this combines for a film that is as funny as it is touching. It's a must see and it's superb.

And I know everyone will jump down my throat and call me a philistine, but I loved Flags of Our Fathers. I love the way the story's told. I love the acting, I love the complexity of Eastwood's political feelings. I thought Adam Beach was absolutely stellar in his role as the Native American soldier on the tour. It's a performance that's quiet and complex and at times brash and wild. Beach has created a character whose motives are never quite explained and who never quite fits in. It's wonderful work. I understand the objections to Eastwood, but I guess I just don't object. I buy into this stuff hook line and sinker and I honestly loved the film. It gets sentimental at the end, and the way Paul Haggis ties up the narrative is a little bit awkward, but the film really worked for me.

As for Richard Eyre's Notes on a Scandal, it's sort of a masterpiece of camp, with campy performances by Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett and melodramatic music by Philip Glass. It's not much of a narrative and it doesn't really reveal much about the characters at all either. It's a sturdy enough thriller, with a closeted lesbian as its center. Both Dench and Blanchett give fierce, excellent performances, but this is All About Eve junior at best, with not nearly enough other women complicating the narrative. (Eve had Celeste Holm, Thelma Ritter and Marilyn Monroe to bounce things off of. Scandal has only very brief glimpses of other females.) Eyre's film also paints this lesbian psychotic as the craziest thing in the film. The film isn't explicitly homophobic, but if a lesbian may-december relationship is more disgusting and vile than a heterosexual one, there's a bit of a double standard there. Dench is extraordinary in her role: jumping back and forth from sweetness and vulnerability to horrific malevolence sometimes mid-sentence. But the film has only this going for it and not much else but camp.

30 December 2006

2006 In Review

LOVED
~ ~
1. Children of Men
2. United 93
3. Half Nelson
4. The Fountain
5. Shortbus
6. Volver
7. The Last King of Scotland
8. Water
9. The Queen
10. Flags of Our Fathers
11. Brick
12. L'Enfant
13. Fateless
14. Imagine Me & You
15. Sophie Scholl: the Final Days
16. The Painted Veil
17. Pan's Labyrinth

REALLY LIKED
~ ~
18. C.R.A.Z.Y.
19. Little Miss Sunshine
20. A Prairie Home Companion
21. Tsotsi
22. Time to Leave
23. Friends with Money
24. Three Times
25. Marie Antoinette
The Prestige
Babel
Apocalypto
Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
Gabrielle
13 Tzameti

LIKED
~ ~
Ask the Dust
Clean
The Departed
Thank You for Smoking
Curse of the Golden Flower
Old Joy
Letters from Iwo Jima
Dreamgirls
Notes on a Scandal
Venus
Summer Storm
A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints
Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles
Poseidon

LIKED MORE THAN I DISLIKED
~ ~
Cars
Duck Season
Monster House
X-men: the Last Stand
Another Gay Movie
Happy Feet
Let's Go to Prison
Running with Scissors
The House of Sand
Lady in the Water

BARELY LIKED MORE THAN I DISLIKED
~ ~
The Pursuit of Happyness
The Devil Wears Prada
Evil
Woman Is the Future of Man
Casino Royale
Snakes on a Plane
Little Children
Sympathy for Lady Vengeance
The Death of Mr. Lazarescu
The Oh in Ohio

DISLIKED
~ ~
Eragon
For Your Consideration
Art School Confidential
The Good German
Don't Tell

HATED
~ ~
Blood Diamond
The Last Kiss
Manderlay
Hard Candy
V for Vendetta
Scoop
The Illusionist
The Black Dahlia

COMPLETE AND TOTAL WASTE OF TIME
~ ~
Joyeux Noël
Superman Returns
The Promise
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
The Good Shepherd
Click

28 December 2006

Limen 1.0

In a parking lot, seemingly abandoned on this
The first unofficial day of winter
A young man in a recklessly-driven car
Lets out a yelp, something primal (?)
I sit in a borrowed car on land that isn't mine
I wait for company, miles, miles away from home
Miles and miles away from the home before that one
I hope to keep warm in this car, biding time
Until my sister's plane lands in a few long hours
Listening to that boy's yelp
I had been thinking about liminal spaces
The snow creates a new order
Erasing paint on the streets
Eroding the rule of laws normally obeyed with diligence
A cab driver turned left on a red arrow, though there were five other cars--all of us watching him
But who was there to enforce that red arrow?
And after all, maybe the snow had shorted the system
The light was taking a long time to switch
And no one was coming anyway
Under different circumstances, maybe,
The cabby would've waited his turn, frustrated, but still
But the cold blanket of white
Creeping, finger-like
Waves of smoke on the streets
Transform us all a little
No one is about
No one will see this minor traffic transgression
And even if...
Who would argue
The roads are scary, ice-covered
Slick with frozen mud
The white and the dark, dark brown
Underneath
Cover everything
All of human history--easy to forget--so painful
We rejoice in the snow
We stop remembering why the rules exist
In the first place
We want to
And we will go back--we know we will go back
To the rules tomorrow or at the very latest on Saturday
But today
Tonight
Feel free to yelp in the parking lot of the supermarket
I, myself, ran a red light just a few hours ago

23 December 2006

Breaking News from Colorado Springs

So I get into Colorado Springs on Thursday Morning and the roads are closed. I also had to pick up my sister from the same airport at 11:00p, and since I couldn't get to the house (30 minutes away from the airport) because of the closed roads, I ended up stranded in Colorado Springs (quite similar to Tallahassee in its own way) for twelve hours.
So I went to the movies. Of course, they only have a giant multiplex here with crapola Hollywood fare. I refuse to see The Nativity Story, and I had already seen Happyness, Eragon and Apocalypto, so I bought myself a ticket to Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. I found it both imaginative and stupid. I have to say that i thought it was one of the funniest things I'd seen in a long time. It is unmistakeably American in its sensibilities and its humor (nude men wrestling is really funny to us). But for some reason I found the scatological laughs to be freshly conceptualized and well done. It's tasteless and silly and ridiculous. It's also clever, pointed and rather scathing toward the American heartland. I've said before that I think Americans are sort of an easy target, and making fun of people who still support George W. Bush is the simplest thing in the world and nothing new under the sun, but Borat points its lens at the belief systems of these people and their beliefs come off not only as "dumb back-woods American" beliefs, but also as horrifyingly simple-minded. What Borat does successfully is paint a picture of a nation that could have voted for George W. Bush. The people in this movie are the people who kept this man in office for this long. And when you come down to it, while Borat is probably one of the funniest movies I've seen all year, it's also a rather shocking document of this country.

20 December 2006

Two More Before I'm Off to Colorado

If you're paying attention (or not) during Gabriele Muccino's new movie The Pursuit of Happyness you'll figure out that money can, indeed, buy you happiness, or if not happiness, at least happyness. Sorry. I couldn't resist. Seriously, this movie, which is very heartwarming and kinda sweet but also very short on substance is the biggest piece of capitalist ideology I've seen in a really long time. It seems like innocuous Hollywood bullshit but don't believe it. The Pursuit of Happyness is really a giant load of American propaganda that preaches the old song that if you work hard in Reagan's economy you too, yes you can make it. And by make it, Happyness means make money. In fact, money solves all problems. And if you fuck up as a dad, don't worry, your kids will forgive you once you score that choice internship at Dean Whitter and start making tons of money, because all of those stockbroker dads on Wall Street, they have amazing relationships with their sons. In fact, everyone's happy there. The film actually says this in voice over. I'm not even joking.
Will smith is really good in the film and will definitely get an Oscar nomination. His little son is freaking adorable, too. So that scores points. The last Gabriele Muccino movie I saw was L'Ultimo Bacio, which was remade this year into The Last Kiss. I loved L'Ultimo Bacio, so I'm a little sad that Happyness isn't a better movie than it is, but feel free to skip this one.

Go rent Monster House instead. It's totally unique and crazy and the fat kid is the hero. It's really great as animated pictures go. There's a fucking house that eats people. What more do you want from an animated movie?

Rope

Has everyone heard of Alfred Hitchcock's 1948 film Rope? It's a milestone for several reasons.
It's the first film Hitch made in color.
It also has (not so?) latent homosexuality as an undertone of the film. Definitely a curiosity in 1948.
It also is a continuously shot movie. Well, to be precise, the movie consists of nine extended shots. They couldn't shoot the entire film without cutting because the cameras couldn't hold enough film to do that back in the forties. The camera, instead, will move close in on the back of one of the actors and then move away and the cuts are hidden (well, they're totally obvious, but still...) while the screen goes black for a second before we move away from the actor's back.

The film stars John Dall (The Corn Is Green) and Farley Granger (Strangers on a Train) as murderers (and lovers?) who conspire to commit the perfect murder and then throw a dinner party. The first guest arrives fifteen minutes later. James Stewart is the one guest at the party who just might be able to solve the murder. It's suspenseful and really intriguing. Farley Granger is pretty near excellent in the picture, the dialogue sparkles and the way the film is shot is so extraordinary that it's worth a rental just for Hitchcock's technique.

Two Movies I Disliked (Sorry, Darren)

The new Christopher Guest (A Mighty Wind, Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show) movie, entitled For Your Consideration is a satire of the whole Oscar-buzz awards-show-machine idea, and it is, unfortunately, rather boring. The laughs are few and far between and the send-ups and subtle are so steeped in Hollywood culture that they fall totally flat (at least here in Tallahassee). I went to the movie with a non-Californian and he was totally lost. I wasn't lost at all, but the movie is so badly edited, so poorly scripted, and so totally unfocused that I got very frustrated after the first twenty or thirty minutes. The film has no central plot device like the other three films, with a clear end in sight. Instead, it flounders, without purpose, making fun of... wait a minute! Who exactly is For Your Consideration making fun of? It seems to me that who they're making fun of are actors. But not stars, not ego-driven Hollywood movie assholes, but rather working stiffs, people who scrape together money to pay rent and wind up doing shitty weiner commercials to make ends meet, people who have been around for twenty-thirty-forty years trying to make a go of it in Hollywood and never achieving any kind of fame. That's who Guest & co. are lampooning. And to me, well, that doesn't really seem fair. I mean, those people don't really deserve to be mocked.

And the Wachowski Brothers' latest script V for Vendetta has been directed by James McTeigue and is beautifully shot, edited and decorated--the score, too, is beautiful. It also boasts a bevy of talented British actors--Stephen Rea, Hugo Weaving, Stephen Fry, John Hurt, Rupert Graves, Sinéad Cusack--and a wonderful performance by Natalie Portman. But the script is awful. It's like something out of Ayn Rand. And I mean stylistically not politically. V for Vendetta is about as subtle as a mack truck, with screechingly one-dimensional characters. And some of the plot points left me furious at the script. Terrorism as a form of rebellion is lionized--fine. But the makers of V and V himself (the lead character I mean) propose fear as a tool to be used against their own people in the same way that fear has been used as a tactic by the oppressive, totalitarian regime they wish to overthrow. It's a totally confused sort of logic that makes sense in the minds of the Wachowskis (and, I presume, McTeigue) but didn't make sense in mine. The fight sequences, too, have all been choreographed into precise, mathematical, mind-numbing boredom. There isn't an interesting action sequence among them, leaving only the political chatter of which the movie consists. Talk is interesting, but in a movie purporting to be about action, talk is beside the point. And when the talk is logically unsound, as it is in V, it comes across only as absurd.

19 December 2006

Summing Up 2006

1. What did you do in 2006 that you'd never done before? I moved across the country, started graduate school, played beer pong, and made out with a white guy.

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I don't think I made any, but if I did, of course I didn't keep them.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Hm. I don't think so.

4. Did anyone close to you die? My aunt Debbie died this summer of cancer.

5. What countries did you visit? None. Not even Canadia.

6. What would you like to have in 2007 that you lacked in 2006? A topic for my thesis.

7. What dates from 2006 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? 8/5/06: I left California for Florida.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Getting in to graduate school, comprehending the readings in my Research & Bibliography class, writing a really good final paper for that class, directing Boys' Life and The Voice My Mother Gave Me Set Me Free

9. What was your biggest failure? I constantly fail to be as generous as I would like to be.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? I was sick and sniffly for the greater part of October. I also cut the end of my left middle finger off at the beginning of the year, but that's it.

11. What was the best thing you bought? My new house and my new television.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? Julie, for putting up with me as we drove all the way across country. My friends in the directing program and most of the other artists I've met here who do amazing work. The Democratic party. My awesome friend Danny, who keeps getting cast in stuff.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Mark Foley, Michael Richards, George W. Bush (still), Lisa Soland.

14. Where did most of your money go? Moving.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? The Oscar nominations, school, Dreamgirls, going out on my first date with the gentleman friend, when my friends Jaime, Anna and Derek surprised me by coming to Tallahassee to see me off. Best. Surprise. Ever.

16. What song will always remind you of 2006? Cobra Starship - "Snakes on a Plane (Bring It)" / Elton John - "Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters"

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder?
Happier
b) thinner or fatter? Thinner
c) richer or poorer? Richer

18. What do you wish you'd done more of? Dating (that's an easy one), directing, cooking and drinking gin.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of? Research on Faust, feeling sorry for myself and saying goodbye to people I love.

20. How will you be spending Christmas? With my wonderful family in Monument, Colorado.

21. Did you fall in love in 2006? Yes. His name is Heiner Müller.

22. How many one-night stands? Um. Zero.

23. What was your favorite TV program? The Academy Awards, and while I had cable for that month I was fucking hooked on the Food Network.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year? Yes. Grad school has introduced me to a whole new group of people... and as unkind as I am, I was bound to hate at least one or two (or three) people.

25. What was the best book you read? Itamar Moses: Bach at Leipzig, Madan Sarup: An Introduction to Post-structuralism and Postmodernism, Griselda Gambaro: Antígona Furiosa, Jewelle Gomez: The Gilda Stories, James Frey: A Million Little Pieces, Virginia Woolf: To the Lighthouse and The Waves, Gabriel García Marquez: Love in the Time of Cholera and so many more...

26. What was your greatest musical discovery? Eric Whitacre, Jason Robert Brown, Biirdie.

27. What did you want and get? Lots and lots of things: mostly a Democrat-run congress, but also some great teachers, a great roommate, a bunch of cool friends in Tally, and lots of validation.

28. What did you want and not get? A boyfriend. A Crate and Barrel within driving distance from my new house. The release of a new J.K. Rowling book. One can't have everything.

29. What was your favorite film of this year? So far United 93, The Fountain, Half Nelson, The Queen, Water and Brick, but there are many films I have yet to see and I don't live in Los Angeles anymore.

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 25. My parents took me to a place called The Raymond. Honestly, though, I can't remember what else I did.

31.What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? I think my life is pretty nigh-well perfect. As I said before, I miss directing and I wish I had a boyfriend. Those are old songs, though.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2006? I'm embracing denim and t-shirts as a permanent look. It's easy now that I'm a student. I hardly ever have to dress up.

33. What kept you sane? Getting coffee with Ryan, decompressing the days with Roomie, talking on the phone to people I love who are far away.

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Neil Patrick Harris, Takeshi Kaneshiro (as usual) and Matthew Goode.

35. What political issue stirred you the most? American policy in Iraq

36. Who did you miss? All of my beloved peeps in California, especially my mother, father, sister, and brother, my friends Linda, Justin, Wahima, Elizabeth, Ashley, Danny, Jaime, Julie, Anna, Lisa, Derek, Sarah, Tito and Scott.

37. Who was the best new person you met? My brother's fiancée Rosie, my advisor Mary Karen, Roomie, Amy, Ryan, Alison, Ruth, Ariel, Samina, Becky, Jamie, Kate, Vanya, Phillip, Sean, Rick, Chandler, Dave, Ben, Lane, Herman and Emilie. I've met a lot of great people here in Tally.

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2006: The easiest way to see if you understand something is to explain it to someone else and the best way to learn something is to teach it.

39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year: "And I can't imagine / That we won't miss this." The Limbeck Band

18 December 2006

Undergrad Love

A bisexual undergrad I don't know "poked" me on Facebook today.

The undergrads think I'm hot.
I think it's funny.

Two Movies for Yesterday

Finally saw last year's Canadian submission for the foreign language Oscar, Jean-Marc Vallée's C.R.A.Z.Y., which I totally loved. It's a father/son love story about a young gay man with four brothers in the seventies coming to terms with his sexuality and his father's relationship with that. In a lot of ways the film is been-there-done-that, but I loved it nonetheless for the artistry of the story being told (Vallée's scipt is excellent) and the wonderful lead performance from Marc-André Grondin. The film is filled with musical references: Pink Floyd and Bowie, mostly, though the title refers to Patsy Cline's song by the same name. The film, interestingly enough, also seems to be about the fading of the Catholic Church in French-Canada. In any case, I loved it.

The same cannot be said for the idiotic Eragon. This film gives us exposition for about an hour (seriously), a few skirmishes and then a final battle that is boring and bloodless. This is a children's movie and is filmed like one. I love me some dragons, so I was going to see it anyway, but this movie is stupid and boring. When that baby dragon hatches in the first third of the movie, though, prepare to melt.

17 December 2006

Apocalypto

You're probably not going to believe this, but I quite liked Apocalypto. I'm not sure that the title has anything to do with anything, but the movie's good anyway. I've heard people muttering that it's the most violent movie they've ever seen--Joe Morgenstern said so in his review--but compared to other Mel Gibson films, I don't think they're quite right about that. It's definitely violent and bloody and all of that, but certainly less so than The Passion of the Christ, Payback and The Patriot--don't get me started on tThe Patriot.
The thing is, Apocalypto is really about violence, and it's quite thought-provoking. It recalls human atrocities on all continents in a real and fascinating way. I found it very powerful in its ability to evoke things like Holocaust work camps, sub-saharan Africa, and Roman gladatorial slaughters--all in the span of about four minutes. It's quite extraordinary.
It's also visually stunning. Gibson is a true visionary. I mean, I think he's batshit crazy in real life, don't get me wrong, but no one is making movies like this. It's a very Hollywood style of filmmaking, but it's also unique and special and feels groundbreaking in a lot of ways.
It has its problems, too--a Hell of a lot of running and inopportune introductions of comedic sequences--but for he most part he stays on track and the film picks up steam. It's impossible not to root for the hero, and I can't imagine watching the movie and not thinking about Abu Ghraib or Guantánamo or Srebrenića.
If you're not into violence, of course, don't go. But Apocalypto's violence is not on the relentless, snuff-film scale of The Passion of the Christ, and the visuals are worth the ride.

15 December 2006

May the Movies Begin

I am done with my last class... sort of. There is still a small amount of grading to be done for the Intro Class, but my assignments for the classes I'm actually in are over and done with. And now I can start watching movies full force.

Too bad I'm in Tallahassee and the only things playing are Apocalypto, For Your Consideration, Borat, and The Pursuit of Happyness. Ah well. At least I can see those.

This morning, after taking Ryan to the airport, I sat down to watch City Slickers, which I'd never seen. Let me tell you, they sold this movie all wrong. I was under the impression that this movie was a comedy. Not so, my friends, not so. It is a very sentimental drama with a happy ending and a few jokes thrown in. It is most definitely not a comedy. I don't even think it wants to be. It's a kind of heartwarming, silly, Homeward Bound kind of movie. It succeeds at that heartwarming stuff, I guess. I'm not really into that sort of thing, but it does what it tries to do rather well, I guess. Eh. I was bored, to be honest.

14 December 2006

Jesus Christ.

I'm doing a re-write. I cannot believe that I'm still awake at this time of night.

AND I suck at writing conclusions, in case you were wondering.

12 December 2006

What's the Scoop?

Now, you all know that I love me some Woody Allen. But his latest film Scoop is a complete and total mess. Allen does seem to have a sort of death-is-funny idea happening, which I find very refreshing and delightfully reminiscent of early Allen like Love and Death, but the movie itself isn't funny. I am overstating a little. It's funny twice, maybe three times. And I smiled another two or three times, but mostly no. Mostly it's a mess. And none of the performances are any good either. Allen feels off his game onscreen, Scarlett Johanssen gives a ludicrously dull, earnest performance worthy of a woman with less talent and less sex appeal, and even Hugh Jackman, who I thought could do no wrong, delivers a character that feels phoned-in and milquetoast. Boring. Skip it.

Per Request from Ashley, the 2006 Movie List So Far

I still have about 45-50 movies I'd like to see for the year, but this is the list for now. Earlier I did take a break from grading papers and popped in the recently arrived DVD of Woody Allen's Scoop, but unfortunately I think I enjoy grading more than that movie. I put that mess on pause and came back to my computer. Anyway, THE LIST:

1. United 93
2. Half Nelson
3. The Fountain
4. Water
5. The Queen
6. Brick
7. L'Enfant
8. Fateless
9. Imagine Me & You
10. Sophie Scholl: the Final Days
11. Little Miss Sunshine
12. A Prairie Home Companion
13. Tsotsi
14. Time to Leave
15. Babel
16. Ask the Dust
17. Clean
18. The Departed
19. Thank You for Smoking
20. Summer Storm
21. Duck Season
22. X-men: the Last Stand
23. Happy Feet
24. Running with Scissors
25. The House of Sand
26. Lady in the Water
27. The Devil Wears Prada
28. Evil
29. Casino Royale
30. Snakes on a Plane

31. Art School Confidential
32. Don't Tell
33. Blood Diamond
34. Manderlay
35. Hard Candy
36. The Illusionist
37. Joyeux Noël
38. Superman Returns
39. The Promise
40. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest

11 December 2006

Film Update

I am a shitty film blogger.

The Fountain, new from Darren Aronofsky (his last film was 2000's Requiem for a Dream) is amazing. Aronofsky ought to never wait do long to make a movie again. I loved this movie. It's a visual stunner and the imagination of Aronofsky is front and center with the movie. I know some will have trouble with the movie, but I absolutely loved it. It's not terribly intelligent or new or anything, but the techniques he uses are so wonderful and it is easily the most beautiful film of the year. Hugh Jackman is absolutely wonderful in the lead role(s). And there is a totally hot, wonderfully filmed sex scene in a bathtub. Did I mention the movie is breathtakingly gorgeous?

Ask the Dust is a competent, slow-paced movie from legendary screenwriter-turned-director Robert Towne (you know who he is. He wrote Chinatown.) It's okay. No great shakes. An Italian immigrant and a Mexican woman fall in love in 1933 Los Angeles. Some of the movie is done really, really well. Colin Farrell is very good (if far too good looking for the part) and so is Salma Hayek. The plot is rather conventional, though, and it doesn't really have much new to say. Shrug. It was good.

Half Nelson is one of myn ew favorite films from this year. I loved it. It's about a drug addicted high school teacher in an inner city neighborhood. It's a movie with very few answers and a lot of really intriguing, honest questions. The two main performances, from Ryan Gosling as the teacher and Shareeka Epps as his young student are absolutely extraordinary. Epps is a total puzzle. She is the toughest little girl you've ever seen and yet she has a smile that can make you feel like you've never seen anyone smile before. Gosling is superb, haunted. The movie is about so many things: mostly addiction, race relations and teacher-student relations. I cannot recommend it enough. I think it's the smartest movie I've seen this year. Go see it!

Blood Diamond is retarded. Skip this bullshit. It's an Edward Zwick party and it's idiotic as all Hell. I think I disliked it more than last year's Munich. Spielberg's movie was at least well-made.

Happy Feet is a total mess too, but also totally fucking fun. Penguins that dance like Savion Glover. You can't really screw that up. It's also a movie about religious fanaticism and environmental protection in the Antarctic and growing up different (gay?--I think so). I liked it quite a bit. It's very silly but totally ridiculous and therefore fun. There are even these little tiny Adélie penguins that all speak Spanish. It's hilarious.

05 December 2006

Star-Love

Have I mentioned in the last week how much I love Neil Patrick Harris? I'm crazy about him.
A note from my friend reprinted without his permission:
Playwrighting
I notice that a lot of my perception of life and the way I write is heavily influenced by theatre. I see someone on the street and think,"Oh, I want to write a character about him", or I'll be driving down the street and see an interesting building and I'll think about how I would interpret that into a set design. Even when I write my own thoughts down in my own, personal journal, it's spewed out like a monologue; or I can hear the way I would say it aloud to an audience in my head.
Ha. Mary Karen said the other day "every text implies a performance." For me that means that the written word always implies the spoken word. Every word that has been written, formed first in the mouth. It was spoken before it was written. If each word contains its own history, then each word that we read also contains the word as it was spoken. A tangent? What Mary Karen meant, too, I think, is that for theatre people, we always see a text as performative (performable?) because we, as artists (as people) are concerned with performance and the power of performance.
Further,
Blogging and journal writing are performance. You write for others to read. You write for an audience. It is the very essence of performativity.
Is blogging theatre? A question for another day.

04 December 2006

You Should See My Nectarines!

I had a strange dream about greens last night. I was making something... some sort of food and I was grocery shopping for it.I found the spinach, but I needed mustard greens and collards and I couldn't find them in the grocery. There was one more kind of green I wanted but I can't remember what it was (turnip greens?) In the end I did find the collards and the mustard greens, but I couldn't find that last one. And it's so random that I remembered this dream, too. I was reading a play called My Name Is Rachel Corrie and she said the word "spinach" and I remembered the dream all of a sudden. Weird.

WTF?