[Weekend round-up]

Oh my heavens I am -exhausted-. Okay. First, on DVD: The 39 Steps, which I totally did not pay enough attention to, The Royal Tenenbaums, which I have seen many times and adore, and Mr Vampire, which is terrible in that really great way. I hear there is a -sequel-. This I need to see.

Second, on film: Transamerica, which was -incredible- and The New World which was gorgeous, and yet totally not for everyone. (They put me at six movies seen in theaters in the month of January, which is not bad. I was thinking of setting some sort of in-theater goal for the year, but then I thought about how much money certain goals would cost and I just about passed out.)

Finally, I think I am going to try to see Match Point in the next week or so, and then maybe I can remember to spam you with all the Woody I watched and neglected to post earlier this month. Yes, really!

[84 Charing Cross Road][The Truman Show]

Let’s see what else I have in this text file … I got a few videos out from the library this month, so let’s get them out of the way.

I ordered 84 Charing Cross Road with a bit of trepidation. I had read and loved the book, and I couldn’t imagine how it would translate to screen. The answer? Beautifully.

Then I picked up The Truman Show because I saw it referenced somewhere and realized I hadn’t seen it for a while. Probably not since it was in theatres. I don’t hate Jim Carrey, and I think I saw it in the first place because I’ll see anything with Laura Linney. Now I pay more attention to directors than I did in the past, so of course Peter Weir is a draw, too. Anyway. Excellent, as you all know. And such a perfect ending.

[TV on DVD]

Recently I finished rewatching the second season of “Oz”, which is just damned good television. It’s satisfying in a way I have difficulty articulating. I’m just so invested in all the characters, even ones who just appear for one episode.

In other TV-on-DVD news, I flew through the first season of “M*A*S*H”. I somehow managed to never watch it until recently, so now I’m catching up with the rest of the world.

I downloaded the ten aired episodes of the second season of “Veronica Mars”, and got all caught up in it again. It lost me a bit when it was airing this fall, because I think they were trying to do too much at once, but I’m definitely hooked. New episode tonight! Yay!

And finally, I watched the first two episodes of the first season of “Slings & Arrows”. I have the other four downloaded, so that’s what I’ll be watching this week, quick before I lose the computer!

Coming soon: a few from the library shelves, plus more Woody Allen than you can shake a stick at. Presuming you wanted to in the first place.

[Harold and Maude]

Harold and Maude was the midnight movie this week at the Egyptian, and I am so glad that my friend came up from Olympia to see it with me, because otherwise I might have wimped out. Midnight movies take a bit of determination, you see.

I’ve seen it a few times on video, but never on the big screen before, and I was just blown away by what a visually beautiful film it is. Just gorgeous.

Also, how did I not know that Ruth Gordon co-wrote Adam’s Rib & Pat & Mike? Well. Now I do.


Last week I went to Casanova. The best thing I can say about -that- is that it was free. I expected it to be fluff, but I expected it to be better fluff. I know Hallstrom is going steadily downhill as a director, but he did direct one of my favorite films ever, My Life As A Dog. And he did well by The Cider House Rules as well. So. I don’t know what’s happening.

It still was better than the worst movie ever. Also, is it just me or is Sienna Miller just about the most forgettable person ever? I’ve seen her in this and Layer Cake (which I loved) and for the life of me I cannot remember what she looks like. This is Not Good.


Perhaps due to a relative lack of drama in my life, I’m getting all riled up over this article, which is all about how TV wins at life and film sucks hardcore. I mean, for one thing, if you believe everything they fling at film in this article, you’re seeing the wrong movies. And I’m pretty darn sure it’s not fair to compare studio crap to cable, let alone -premium- cable. Studio crap is to reality tv, maybe, what quality film is to premium cable. Of course there are exceptions, insert obligatory disclaimer, yada yada yada. But when half of your examples of how amazing tv is are coming from premium cable, I think the argument has issues. -All- of the film-to-tv comparisons “on the cutting edge” were cable programming. That’s an entirely different world next to broadcast television. Broadcast television is what a lot of us are limited to — until premium shows come out on DVD . . or download — and broadcast television in the States is crap. Why? Because that’s what the majority of people want to watch, I suppose.

(Actually, the first point is that -obviously- Hollywood is going to perpetuate the notion that film is fabulous. It’s a business, people. So’s television. Allow me to rant at you about FOX sometime. Oh, wait, did that already.)

I know I’m biased. I’ve always preferred film. The language, the beauty, the collective experience. Plus, film’s a one-off, generally. I find a lot of television overwhelming, because I’m not generally capable of mindlessly watching, of jumping into the middle of things. I’m too much of a completist for television, and I’m frustrated by the limits of broadcast tv. And! And! Just because something is current doesn’t mean that it’s -good-. I’d rather story and art be reflected upon and considered rather than “ripped from the headlines”. I’d rather be immersed in something for two hours rather than have the serial experience. I like the limits and the structure and the narrative form.

[Everyone Says I Love You]

When I was looking for other DVDs at my parents’ house over Christmas, I found Everyone Says I Love You, which was very exciting. I had almost bought it again recently, because I couldn’t remember if I owned it or not. This is what happens when I am away from my DVD collection for too long. It is very much a comfort movie for me, because I love Woody Allen and I love musicals. So, yay! This time around it reminded me that I really need to see some Marx Brothers stuff, as if I have seen any, it was when I was too young to remember. Also, I should broaden my Woody Allen viewing.

[Breakfast on Pluto] [Jarhead]

I skimmed the RottenTomatoes page for Breakfast On Pluto earlier this week, and one of the reviews said that the film never quite took off. Which is somewhat true, but I’m not entirely sure that I care. Why? Because Cillian Murphy was so damned good. (Also, I can’t believe it took me until the end of the film to realize that this is the second film he & Liam Neeson have been in together this year. Dude.) The book was more effective emotionally, but I’m wondering if that has more to do with my very American difficulty with accents. (I am very sorry! I try!) Maybe so. If I were to reread the book now, though, I’d hear Cillian whispering in my ear. Not that that would be a bad thing, mind you. Ahem.

In an unrelated moment of grrr, I am so annoyed by comments on how “nothing happened” in Jarhead. That’s the point! Also, it’s not true. There are things like narrative tension and character development and they can both happen even if shit is not getting blown up. Point being, I found the film satisfying indeed. Even if “nothing happened”. It’s one of my favorites for 2005, which is funny, because I never expected to love a Sam Mendes film. They tend to look much better than they actually are, thanks to Conrad Hall. I had wondered what on earth Mendes was going to do after Hall passed away, but he scored Roger Deakins who, among other things, has lit roughly a bazillion Coen Brothers’ films. But also, he somehow managed to create a compelling film. To -me-, anyway.

[TV on DVD]

* I finished watching “Wonderfalls” last night. Sigh. It’s the second time I’ve seen it all the way through — the first time I spent the last few episodes in fear that it would end before things were resolved. Watching it now reminds me that I need to write up something on character likeability and identification and such in the primary journal, because I enjoy watching unlikeable characters, and recently it’s been pointed out to me that this is somehow strange.

* On a vaguely related note, last night I also watched the premiere of “This Space For Rent” which wasn’t perfect by any means, but made me laugh out loud enough that I’ll stick with it at least for a bit. I spent half of the episode trying to figure out why Lucky looked so darn familiar, and then I gave up and checked the IMDB. He was in a CKR movie and an episode of “Wonderfalls”. So there you go. I also enjoyed that the coffee shop Barnaby worked at was called “Jarheads”. But I am easily amused.

* One other thing! I think it’s pretty darn cool that CBC has the first episodes of their comedy premieres this week up on the website for free. That’s how you use technology, folks.