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

09 May 2007

Three More Movies

Zhang Yimou's Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles is a story about an old man who has a nearly irreparable relationship with his son. To fix his relationship with his son, he decides to travel from Japan to China to film something for his son: something that his son has wanted to see for a very long time. The film is about technology and human relations—the technology sometimes intervenes, sometimes cannot help at all. It's an interesting movie about communication and translation and finding the ability to be clear about emotions without the help of media. It's Zhang Yimou, too, so that means that the movie looks gorgeous. This is a far cry from Yimou's wide, sweeping costume dramas that are usually more about style than substance (Hero, House of Flying Daggers, Curse of the Golden Flower). This, rather, is a simple story about human connection. I liked it okay, but I found it to be a bit of a retread of old material. I suppose I'm a bit tired of crusty old men finding new joy and new reasons for living in the eyes of children. It's an old story, after all.

Mommie Dearest is a fucking classic. I hadn't seen it until now. Faye Dunaway gives a performance that is sheer brilliance and the little girl who plays Christina Crawford, Mara Hobel, is extraordinary. Faye's transformation is, in itself, extraordinary. She tears into the role and it's absolutely delicious to watch. I loved every minute of it. It's campy, sure, and it's a horror movie, of course—a genre not traditionally taken seriously by anyone—but this is a great movie. (P.S. We also watched some of the John Waters commentary. That man is a genius.)

Today's movie was John Huston's film noir piece The Asphalt Jungle, which I loved. The ending is too 1950s for my taste, but it's still a great noir picture, easily one of the best I've seen.