Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Not so Recent Movie-Viewing

Dark hellebores seem an appropriate garden illustration to accompany a discussion of drama (i.e. movies). Really, what's more dramatic in the garden than dark blooms?!

I discovered this list in a Draft Post from oh-so-long-ago-last winter! I'd merely listed titles of movies we'd seen, hoping to find time to go back and offer a sentence or two about each. Not sure I can remember enough to do even that now, but at least if I record them here, I'm less likely to rent them again and discover they're vaguely familiar (it's happened!)

Iron Man was fun -- Downey's always fun to watch and Paltrow played her role convincingly -- Pater always enjoys special effects and obviously this had them in spades.
Smart People -- I like watching Quaid and Page, and I thought Parker was okay here as well, especially for a Friday night rental.. Wish I could remember the line that left me less convinced than so many critics about the verisimilitude of the movie's representation of English profs, but I'd have to watch it again for that and while it was entertaining enough for once, it's not worth a second viewing.
Starting Out in the Evening -- a much, much more compelling, complicated view of the writing and academic life. Frank Langella is lovely, lovely to watch in this, wonderful to see him have a sustained role after doing so many character, supporting roles. And it was a pleasure to see Lili Taylor and Lauren Ambrose again after I so much enjoyed their work in the brilliant Six Feet Under. This movie is so much more than the May-December romance some brief reviews paint it as (and it's much less, as well, in terms of that romance, really). I'd recommend this to anyone who likes good acting, thoughtful writing, but doesn't need large-arcing plots.

Quantum of Solace These Bond movies are always fun, and who doesn't like watching Daniel Craig? Too much action, stylized to the point of being tiresome, not only in my opinion, but Pater's as well, and he's a fan of action and special effects. Loved the ties!
I've Loved You for So Long -- Now this, THIS, is a movie I would watch again, and again. Kristin Scott Thomas is brilliant in her non-brilliance here. That is, dulling her natural incandescence to play this burnt-out character is a feat you really have to see. For the first part of the movie, she appears as a woman you could easily pass in an airport or mall, someone who easily effaces herself behind her ubiquitous cigarette. Hard to put a finger on exactly how that stunning beauty gets minimized, and then to identify how it begins to emerge. Thomas appears so very French, with an accent that seems convincing to my ears, at least. Her clothes are impeccable, beautiful understated cashmeres I'd love to get a closer look at. You have to see this, really!

Have you seen any of these yet? Care to agree or disagree with my pronouncements?

20 comments:

  1. We watched I've Loved You for So Long last night and I absolutely loved it. I love how her look changes as we get to know her and start to judge her less and less until the end when we learn the truth and KST is at her most gorgeus.

    And, you were right about the flowers in the aubergine colour. Heaven!!!

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  2. Thanks for the movie suggestions. I was updating my Netflix queue last night and was very uninspired by the suggestions that came up. I'll need to try some of these.

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  3. I've really wanted to see "I've Loved You..." for the longest time, :-) and thanks for the reminder as I'm adding to my Netflix queue now. I'm not a big Bond fan, but was interested in how they deliberately went very low-tech with "Quantum".

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  4. Oh all of these have been on my list for some time. I think I need to move them to the top of my queue. And I was just dreaming/planning where I might be able to put some hellebores. Really between you and the garden catalogs my fantasy garden is growing by leaps and bounds. Too bad I have to cope with clay and rock first.

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  5. LBR: Isn't she talented! I want to make time for a Kristin Scott Thomas festival chez moi.
    Nancy: You HAVE to see I've Loved YOu . . . well worth your time.
    Pseu: It might have been low-tech, but that first car chase scene was so prolonged and fragmented that it verged on boring -- it must be tough to keep the series fresh through different directorial directions. Makes me think of an old prof who used to write "While I value the intent . . . "
    Mardel: Clay and rock sound like too much work -- I have a friend who has been gradually amending her clay soil for years -- eventually I guess it starts to lighten up, but that must be tough. Still, hooray for fantasy gardens!

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  6. Thanks for the movie suggestions.;D
    Love those flowers too.Hope to see more from you.;D

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  7. I thought Kristen Scott Thomas was superb in I Loved You So Long.
    Several subtle changes I noticed as the story progressed. Her hair, although the same style throughout, was lank and lifeless at the start. It gradually became glossy and healthy and her skin colour lost the greyish cast. Also her style of clothing didn't change but the proportions of it did, especially the brown trench coat she wore. At first it was a was a dowdy length, it gradually became a little shorter, the balance more pleasing to the eye.
    A lesson to us all perhaps.

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  8. Thanks, Summer.
    And Anonymous, these are perceptive comments -- and you're right, the subtlety of the difference suggests how simply we could tweak our own appearance -- good skin, healthy hair, well-balanced proportions . . .

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  9. Thanks for the excellent movie recommendations! I've added them to my Zip queue.

    Karina

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  10. Hey, Karina, I'll have to ask you about Zip sometime -- I've wondered if it would work for me over here.

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  11. I've seen Smart People, against my better judgment b/c I don't like watching wretched English professors in full stereotype mode. But it was . . . OK, though SJP was unbelievable to me as a MD. Quaid, unfortunately, completely believable as a PhD!

    I'd like to see the KST film, though I'm quite sure I know what the "truth" is and I'm such a softy that I don't want it confirmed!

    Have you seen Rachel Getting Married? I'm also not usually a wedding person, but really liked this film.

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  12. Miss C: Suspect you're right on re the KST film -- it's very tough for a softy to watch and you'll want the Kleenex box nearby.
    Rachel Getting Married is going to be in my next movie catch-up post (I'm so behind!) -- I really liked it as well.

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  13. I, too, loved I've Loved You So Long, and will watch it many more times. (Also, I love Kristen Scott Thomas without reservation.)

    Wanted to like Smart People but disliked it intensely. As for verisimilitude: As I recall, Dennis Quaid (who was very good) plays a professor of Victorian literature. In one classroom scene there is a discussion of Spenser's The Faerie Queen (or if no discussion, the title is written on the blackboard). Really? In a Victorian lit class? That's a stretch. And "Faerie" is misspelled "Fairie." I'm just saying. It's the little things.

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  14. Anonymous: I didn't dislike it intensely (found it generally entertaining, sometimes good, sometimes annoying), but that e.g. you offer, which I didn't catch, is in the same vein as the e.g. I can't remember -- only in my example, the Dennis Quaid character is earnestly explaining something (I think re link between Victorians and modernists) that I'd be tempted to answer with "Well, duh!" And you're right, it's exactly those little things that left the overall dissatisfaction.

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  15. You know, I think there might have been a continuity problem too--I believe that the blackboard contents (the FQ) remained the same for two different scenes, and the filmmaker wasn't trying to demonstrate that Quaid teaches the same old thing every semester. But that's something perhaps only an annoying editor (moi) could get worked up about. Like finding misplaced apostrophe's.

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  16. Miss C: I know, it's an occupational hazard, this attention to spelling, grammar, editing and any other errors -- and of course, because I pick up others' without necessarily wanting to, I'm always nervously looking over my shoulders for the editor who's likely to be spotting my own misplaced whatevers . . .

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  17. Indeed. (You do know that my misplaced apostrophe above is intentional, I trust ;-).)

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  18. Miss C: Got that -- an example of your need for perrrfection, I know!

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  19. I love watching your garden unfold after such a heavy winter...You have to tell me what kind of camera you have.

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  20. Thanks, Karen, I love this time as well with the unfolding, as you say, after the cold. The camera's a Nikon D40X and I suspect it could do all kinds of great things if I ever took the time to figure it out -- I do enjoy it meanwhile.

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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