Tuesday, February 28, 2006

It seems like every two days or so Caitlin is posting about movies I haven't seen. I'm staggered by the constant reminders these days of large quantities of interesting movies I've not seen, particularly movies made in the past three decades. So, realising that there're still over three hundred movies on them that I haven't seen, I've gone back to my TCM tapes.

On Saturday, I watched Anthony Mann's Man of the West. A film with some beautiful, very widescreen colour photography of Western vistas, and with one decent action sequence. But it was a movie I had a lot of problems with.

Gary Cooper stars as Link Jones, a former outlaw who now lives peacefully settled down with wife and kids in a small community. As the movie begins, he's taking a train to the big city in the hopes of hiring a teacher and bringing her back to his remote town.

But the train is robbed by young hooligans, and Link is left stranded on the tracks without his gun and without the money the town had entrusted to him. Also stranded is a small-time hustler and a woman who was possibly a prostitute or possibly merely a waitress at a bawdy saloon. Sometimes it's hard to tell what filmmakers are trying to hint at through the censors.

Anyway, Link leads the trio to his former hideout where he finds his former mentor and former partner in crime, Doc Tobin, in charge of the gang that had accosted the train. Link's ostensibly brought back into the fold, though he isn't given a gun. They don't trust him, and for good reason, as Link is merely playing along so that he and his new companions aren't killed. Things lead then to wagon travel and plans of a heist in a town called Lasso.

Now, the first problem I had with the movie was Link himself. Gary Cooper was simply wrong for the role, and not just because he looked too old--and was too old--to be Doc Tobin's protégé. Never at any moment did I even slightly believe that he used to be a ruthless bandit. Gary Cooper exudes far too much unmitigated honour and decency from his little finger. And he essentially plays the same guy in all of his movies. Now, if it'd been John Wayne in the role, that might have worked. Wayne showed in The Searchers that he was as capable of injecting a bit of loathsomeness into his performance as he was at being a plain straight arrow.

Another problem is that the movie's an experiment in portraying slightly harsher circumstances than movies had previously allowed--this being during the era of the old studio system, but after the defeat of the Hayes production code, when filmmakers were flailing about slightly, trying to decide how far they could go. Unfortunately, movies that push the envelope purely for the sake of pushing the envelope don't age well after said envelope becomes irrelevant. So a scene where an unruly gang member forces the lady to start undressing doesn't make you feel, "Oh, that's so incredibly indecent!" so much as it makes you think, "You know, in real life, the whole gang would've raped her already."

Then the movie has some formulaic fight scenes, and the small-time hustler is rather mechanically gotten rid of at one point. But the end of the movie does have a decent gunfight in Lasso, a rundown little town that appeared to have been completely constructed for the movie.

For the most part, though, the movie was a series of weak, insubstantial notes.

Monday, February 27, 2006

This sure felt like a quick day.

I haven't done very much with it. I watched a Discovery Times report on Jihadists on the internet while Victoria the cat slept on my lap. I worked a bit on a new project, finding it's hard to draw human ears now.

I'm starting to get the impression that Robyn would like people to plug her Live Journal community, Cinemaeater. She and her friend post reviews there for bad movies they've watched. It's a pretty entertaining site.

It's actually been pretty gloomy outside to-day--cool air, grey sky, and light drizzle. The cats walk to the door eagerly, stop, look at me as if wondering if I was the one who authorised the weather, and then walk away.

I think maybe I'll go out into it now . . .

Perhaps you will buy Spooky's doll?

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Rereading Mike Nelson's latest blog post this morning, I clicked on his link to an article on H.R. Pufnstuf. I think this is my first exposure to the . . . phenomenon? I don't know why, but for some reason the screenshots of the titular dragon make me nauseous. Maybe it's the faded colours, or the fact that he looks like a bloated, jaundiced corpse with mould tears.

Or perhaps it's that I just returned from a long walk in the hot sun, during which I ate a Subway sandwich and drank a hot caffe latte. Swiss cheese, mayo, and avocado followed by steamed milk, all under the hot San Diego sun. Yum.

I've been too busy with Boschen and Nesuko to get the brakes fixed on my car, so I've been walking to lunch on those days where I absolutely had to get out. Last week, it caused me to make two completely unplanned DVD purchases, one insanely cheap, the other a bit more than I probably ought to have spent.

On the first occasion, I'd been wandering over some considerable distance trying to make up my mind on where to have lunch. I finally settled on Tacos Mi Pueblo, for their wondrously hazardous hot sauce. When I got there, the place was very crowded, so I was forced to eat outside, alone on a cement bench in the cold wind. Combined with the hot sauce, my nose soon became very runny, though I was proud of the fact that no napkin or tortilla chip had been snatched by the air currents threatening to take my hat.

So I afterwards quickly darted into the nearby Big!Lots in order to blow my nose. I marvelled again at the store's perpetually ravaged shelves--I used to work there, you know, and my job consisted entirely of straightening merchandise on the shelves. That's it, that's all I did--but it was disgracefully time-consuming. I mean, when I worked at Rite Aid, straightening shelves, or "recovery," was something cashiers did at the end of the day. But something about Big!Lots makes customers feel entitled to tear and molest things that don't belong to them.

Anyway, in the paper and plastic carnage, I spotted a bin of two-dollar DVDs, one of which, incredibly, featured both Charlie Chaplin's The Kid and Buster Keaton's The General. I think I mostly bought it on principle, because both movies really are worth more than two dollars.

The DVD had this on the cover;

I'm not sure what that's meant to convey. But as much as I like the Keaton and Chaplin movies, it wouldn't surprise me if some kid somewhere is rather angry at his parent for bringing this home in lieu of Pokemon or Harry Potter.

The other DVD I got was Tori Amos' new video collection, Fade to Red. Twenty bucks, which is really much more than I'm usually willing to spend on a non-Criterion DVD, but standing there in the Wal-Mart and reading on the back that it has commentary from Amos, my knees melted, and I knew it was written that I should purchase the thing. Every time I wonder at the helpless devotion Oprah Winfrey fans display for their goddess, I ought to look back to that moment, and know that I am hardly above such things.

Of course I was dismayed upon putting the DVD in my computer to find that audio wasn't working. I tried other DVDs, and found that it was only the Amos DVD not giving sound. Apparently it was recorded in some funky format, but fortunately, earlier in the week Tim had given me a link to this site, which provides a video player with some very handy codecs, which I'd needed to watch the bootleg Top o Nerae 2 files he'd given me. That I should need such a thing for a store-bought DVD seems rather silly, but whatever; it works now and I'm happy.

I guess I mainly bought the thing for the commentary, as all the best videos were already on a VHS collection I have. They're not in chronological order, so the inferiority of the newer videos seems particularly sad. It's reflected in the commentary, as Tori discusses meaning and song writing motivation for her older videos, while for her newer ones, she discusses technical details and the credentials of her collaborators. As I was saying to Trisa on the phone a couple days ago, Tori has become the George Lucas of the music industry.

I've been testing that analogy in my mind, finding all sorts of parallels--they both dig Joseph Campbell, both weave classic mythology into their works, and both seem to have become generally more interested in the technical and superficial aesthetic aspects of their productions.

But I truly loved seeing those old videos again. The video for God was particularly refreshing, in its unabashed, mischievous poke at religion. They don't make videos like that anymore, do they? Can you imagine such a thing in our current climate? Oh, Tori, I miss you.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Wow. I just now finally had time to watch the fourth episode of Top o Nerae 2. Absolutely amazing. It was the first time in a long time I felt what you might call "anime awe."

Anime is chalk full of super strength and big, big, bigger-than-you-can-even-imagine type explosions. So almost never do I feel as I think I'm meant to feel. All the ultra-mega blasts and urban supernovas get to be pretty underwhelming after a while--even, I suspect, to the people making them. It gets to be so rote--even the average romantic comedy can't go five minutes without a soufflé or a lawn ornament going critical and endangering the neighbourhood.

But every once in a while, you get the big thing and it actually comes across. Such was the case with Top o Nerae 2 episode 4. Within the space of about thirty minutes, it did better than most big budget epic sci-fi movies. There's an exhilaration, undeniable even for the ultra-cute main character, Nono, and the show's theme song, which doesn't seem so much standard J-Pop, as an attempt to actually up the ante on J-Pop sugary sweetness. It makes you feel like you're masturbating in public.

Perhaps it was an ironic juxtaposition, because not since Evangelion have I been so emotionally involved with the pretty kids in their bipedal machines fighting huge alien menaces. Amazing video, audio, and art design are all on the ball here and moments touch the Lovecraft nerve with their feeling of unimaginable, alien malevolence.

You know the cats are damn good when you're gamely cheering for the pink-haired heroine to resurrect the legendary "buster machine." Wow, that was neat.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Thursday and I've been awake since 7:30am. I feel like I've just jumped off the high dive, done eight summersaults, landed splashlessly in the pool, and changed the water to strawberry Kool-Aid. I'll damn well be in Scotland before ye to-day, Thursday.

I've gotten behind on Boschen and Nesuko. In insidious little ways that I don't quite notice, but that keep me from taking pleasure in anything else. However, I caught up big time yesterday, working on the thing from 9:30am to 9:30pm. I stopped only for lunch and to buy the Sin City soundtrack, which, as I'd suspected, was even better than the movie itself led me to believe.

One of the reasons I was behind on my comic was that I went with family on Tuesday to see Good Night and Good Luck. Now I have only to see Capote before I've collected ticket stubs of all Best Picture nominees. As the astutette Robyn says Capote is disappointing, I may skip it.

So far I still feel that Munich is most deserving of the Best Picture title, though I'll be quite happy to see Brokeback Mountain win (as it most certainly shall).

Good Night and Good Luck wasn't bad. David Strathairn was good as Edward R. Murrow, and the speeches taken verbatim from Murrow were good. At times the movie felt like a feature length version of the newsreel screening room scene from Citizen Kane, and there was a nice atmosphere, accompanied by Rosemary Clooney's band. However, there was a distracting tendency for the camera never to get very far from the actors--everyone was always seen from at least the waist up. It also suffers from the current irritating trend of having slightly too-shaky handheld camera work. The influence, I suppose, comes from Dogme 95, but the novelty's worn off big time for me. Look, guys, we know it's not a documentary. You're not fooling anybody, and you're giving me a headache. Knock it off.

Those two devices, combined with the fact that there were no exterior shots, gave the movie a close, almost claustrophobic feel that was probably intentional, but that I felt was distracting and inappropriate for a movie about McCarthyism. Also, Robert Downey Junior's character was completely superfluous.

Anyway, it's about time for me to go. So goes me.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

I can't seem to draw a straight line with a ruler to-day. And boy, without a ruler, my pencil almost invariably takes the scenic route between points. I did pencil and ink for the first Boschen and Nesukopage to-day. It took five hours. A little more complicated than I expected. And then there's this weird funk. Well, perhaps it's not so weird for someone who's just had his sleeping pattern inverted against his will.

I caught the new Bill Maher last night. The man seems off his game. I remember when I used to consider Politically Incorrect the pinnacle of political comedy television, with The Daily Show a good but sometimes misguided second. Now things seem to have reversed.

Real Time did help me stay up until 9pm, though. So I made the astonishingly normal slumber run of 9pm to 5am.

I did get a good long walk in yesterday. I made a big circuit through several commercial areas, ending up at Target. Which reminds me--a few days ago, when I was looking through video games at Target, I heard a guttural voice behind me say, ". . . then they cut off your head and piss and crap and shit in it." I turned around and there was a hairless dwarf dressed in black, watching me. He beat a hasty retreat down another aisle.

I have to go back to sleeping during the day.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

And now it's 7am and I slept for about twelve hours. It's wrong to feel this tired after twelve hours of sleep. It's indecent.

I did break at midnight and stayed up until after The Daily Show at 1:30am. I suppose I'm lucky The Colbert Report is reruns this week.

Honestly, I'm worried I'll be in no state to get anything done. And that angers me.

I meant to go to Taco Bell yesterday and never did. However, I had two or three dreams involving Taco Bell last night. I think I'm meant to confront Taco Bell to-day and I've a feeling, if I don't, I shall never become a Jedi.

But on the bright side, this will be the first Thursday in a very long time that won't be a horrible inconvenience.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Bleugh. Well, I guess I had an interesting Valentine's Day. I got shanghaied into a family function--ostensibly a party for my great great aunts (yes, two greats for both of them). But they both looked almost as bored as I was. Two or three people there gabbed furiously while the rest of us were smothered by the atmosphere. Or maybe I was the only one who'd call it smothering.

The location was some kind of sea food restaurant I hadn't been to since I was a kid. The tables were very low, making it difficult for people to move their hands from their laps to the table top--it was something like the harness on a rollercoaster. I had slept from around noon until 3pm, so I was ravenously tired, and drank innumerable refills of black coffee. But circumstances didn't permit me to sleep until 9pm, and I slept sporadically throughout the night. I woke for periods to eat, watch The Daily Show, play Baldur's Gate--but those activities only fitfully, as I could barely concentrate.

By 8am, I wasn't sure if what I'd experienced counted as a night's sleep or not. I decided it had, so I toasted a bagel. Lucky the Cat seemed to disagree with my assessment, as he jumped off my bed and walked into the hall to observe me eating. You ever look at a cat and swear he's about to say something in English? It wasn't a cat look. It was a, "Are you going to bed, or what? You look a bit ragged, Old Boy," look.

But I decided to take the opportunity and do some of those daytime things I'm never able to do. I went to the banks and deposited money into my checking account. Fortunately I wasn't as low as I thought I was, and I received Sirenia Digest #3 in the e-mail last night. I suppose I'd just be overdrawn, but I had this irrationally dreadful fantasy of receiving an e-mail from Spooky saying, "You dishonour us with your lack of funds, and you dishonour yourself."

After that I wandered aimlessly a bit, intending to write the new Boschen and Nesuko script at a Starbucks or something, not expecting much difficulty as I have the whole thing practically written in my head by now. Or at least I've got the exe file. But I started feeling out of sorts, and now I'm back, it's 3:40pm, and I feel like it's bedtime. I really hope this doesn't get in my way too much.
Think you can shoot better than Dick Cheney? Step up!

Monday, February 13, 2006

I picked up the final volume of Maison Ikkoku yesterday. An ending of a Rumiko Takahashi series! A real ending, too, not just a last episode where nothing changes. Which I guess is the advantage of reading the manga--although the Ranma 1/2, Urusai Yatsura and Inu-Yasha television series have no proper endings, supposedly their manga counterparts do. And so, from what I hear, does the Maison Ikkoku television series, which adheres closer to the manga than any other. But I have to say I was somewhat disappointed by the one episode I saw.

Tim copied a bunch of anime for me on Saturday. This time he gave me the movie Jin-Roh, two episodes of Top o Nerae 2, and all twenty seven episodes of Noir.

I watched the first episode of Noir and was pretty heavily disappointed. There seems to be a frightening thirst for the homogenous in anime these days, and Noir is a good example of the trend. I think it's meant to be film noir-ish, but it's not easy to tell with its very standard and dull J-Pop theme, hazy story, and hazier characters. Animation is very, very slow--which I might forgive for a presumably low budget if the compositions weren't utterly bland and coloured with boring pastels worthy of a Hallmark shop before Easter. The main characters apparently are a blond assassin and a girl who wants her help because she has amnesia. "But," the assassin says, "I don't help people. I kill people," and tells the kid that, once they find out the secret of the kid's identity, the assassin's therefore going to have to kill her. Er, yeah. This after they've been in a gunfight with your standard mysterious thugs in black suits and sunglasses. A fight that had all the excitment of blank postcards falling through a mailslot.

But I'm excited about the Top o Nerae 2 episodes. These are episodes three and four of an OVA series probably destined never to be released in the U.S. If it is, it'll probably be under the title of Gunbuster 2, as Gunbuster was the English title of the first series, a classic from the 80s. Directed by Hideaki Anno who, apparently, has recently done a tongue-in-cheek live action adaptation of Cutie Honey, which I'm afraid to see.

Top o Nerae 2 is produced by Gainax, the same company as produced the original series. The director's different, and the show has a different sensibility, but it's especially after viewing Plain Jane Noir that I appreciate it very much. It's a lot of fun, and interesting. Why are people so afraid of Interesting?

Anyway, I didn't do very much else yesterday. I'm making grand plans, mainly. I want to get started on the next Boschen and Nesuko chapter early as there will be a lot of things I need to work out. Plus I'm working on another project which needs a whole lot of groundwork laid, but I like the daydreams I'm having about it.

But for now, perhaps, I'll sleep . . .

Sunday, February 12, 2006

I just now finally read Caitlin R. Kiernan's most recent Sirenia Digest--number two. It came in the e-mail weeks ago, I think. I think it's almost time for Sirenia Digest three, in fact. Where does my time go?

But the #2 pair of tales was a very lovely time in my chair this evening. First was a vignette called "Orpheus at Mount Pangaeum", which was like the minds of three creatures laid out in a laboratory, utterly dwarfing the room's clean orderly nature with their awesome strangeness and beauty. It's with a vignette like that that it becomes very clear how much Caitlin loves monsters. And why not? It's like Michelangelo walked into a room filled with alien and demoniac cadavers and was told to make a sculpture--and the results expressed things simple marble could not. Claws, teeth, and blood seem to sprout from the vignette to suit the unspoken emotional rhythms writer and reader are keyed to.

The second story, "Pony", is more human, perhaps. But in a good way. It's a pair of lovers and a strange friction they feel due to one of Kiernan's favourite concepts--people attempting to cope with an apparently supernatural experience. It's also got some very pleasing sex.

It's nice to cap the evening with good art. I'd been playing Baldur's Gate for a while beforehand, which feels more and more like a joyless addiction. What's worse, it's a joyless nostalgic addiction--I get a certain thrill from using Fireball and Stinking Cloud again, just like I did in the Golden Box D&D games I played when I was younger. But it leaves me feeling really empty, and I miss just watching movies in the evening.

The latest Boschen and Nesuko chapter ate up so much of my time last week, that I only managed to watch Revenge of the Sith--and that in parcels, over several nights. Part of the reason I had so little time was because I had to get ahead in order to be free on Friday night to baby-sit my cousins. For which, it turned out, I was in fact not needed.

And gods, was Thursday ever a particularly nasty clog in the works. I got three hours of sleep that morning, then of course had to be out at 11am. I went to Fry's and bought a copy of Lawrence of Arabia and Elvis Costello's Armed Forces. Can you believe I didn't have that album, Costello fan that I am? It occurred to me to get it finally when I saw this entry in Spooky's journal. I took it as a sign--despite the fact that I have no real faith, I am paradoxically rather superstitious. Call me Ichabod Crane.

Well, anyway--I still don't have that album. I got to my car, eagerly tore off the cellophane . . . and found part of the jewel case was missing, and along with it the bonus CD. Fry's notoriously dodgy merchandise strikes me at last. There's a reason their returns section always has a huge line.

I almost went right back in, but glanced at the clock and saw that it was already 1:45pm and I wanted to visit Marty at around 2pm. Which I did, and it was a nice visit.

So I got back home at around 3:30 or so. I fed the cats and went back to sleep--waking up at 9pm. The good news was that I finished both of the last two Boschen and Nesuko pages--and the bad news was that I couldn't get to sleep until noon. And I had to get up at 4pm.

Ever since then, I've been dogged by a phantasmal shroud of sleepiness I can't shake for the life of me. But I did enjoy watching Lawrence of Arabia on the 42 inch screen. I sit real close, too--and I sit through the Overture. That's how it's meant to be, folks. Take it that way and I guarantee you'll feel better in the morning.

Friday, February 10, 2006

The new Boschen and Nesuko's up early. I finished the last two pages last night because I think I might be busy to-night.

It's another anti-Valentine's Day chapter. I just can't kick that holiday enough times in its stomach.

Also, if you're out there wondering if there's anything you can count on in this world, well, I can guarantee you you'll see Nesuko naked yet again. I live to serve.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


I forgot to mention that I don't think the Danish cartoons are very good. Which seems important, somehow. Although I hesitate to positively critique something that was created in a culteral context to which I am alien. But I also find myself hesitant to condemn them as obviously, intentionally bigoted.
A while ago, a friend of mine told me that he felt religion was the bane of mankind, that we'll never see peace in the world so long as there is religion. I responded by saying that I didn't feel religion was the problem, but a symptom of the problem.

I don't like the idea that my consciousness will cease with my death. And yet, if I had to choose, I'd say that's what I believe occurs, since there is a lot of evidence to support it, and no evidence to the contrary. But because the idea makes me unhappy, I can certainly understand why people would choose to believe in an afterlife. And so I can therefore understand why people hold faith in certain belief structures instead of accepting a frightening alternative.

So the problem isn't religion. The problem is that people prefer to be ruled by their passions instead of their reason, and religion provides an excuse to do so.

I've been thinking about this as I read and hear about the international crisis arisen in the wake of Danish cartoons depicting Muhammad, the prophet of Islam. Twelve little cartoons and people respond not only with riots, but embargoes and official diplomatic atrophy. It's bad enough when it's teenagers burning embassies because they're hot-blooded and ignorant, but when prominent public officials and diplomats, even those who decry terrorism in the name of Islam, are deliberately damaging trade and calling for punishment of the cartoonists, it's a larger, more serious problem. A more fundamental problem, you might say.

The cartoons are viewable at the Wikipedia entry on the matter. Some of them criticise the treatment of women in popular Muslim culture, while another is of a cartoonist nervously drawing Muhammad. That these should provoke physically violent outrage is terrible, but the most controversial cartoon is one depicting Muhammad with a bomb in his turban. That this should provoke violent reprisals is terrible in a different way. For one thing, it shows the distressingly poor conception of irony; "Call us a violent people, will you?! That makes us so mad that we're gonna burn your embassies!"

Personally, I don't think the cartoon is necessarily insulting to Islam. If the artist was interested in making a statement with it, it could well be that the juxtaposition of Muhammad with a bomb is a discordant one, an ugly one. One might say that if the artist felt violence was fundamental to Islam, such a drawing would be pointless. But, then, maybe the artist wasn't that clever. Perhaps it's a genuinely bigoted caricature.

In any case, I disagree with the people who are calling the article and the cartoons the obvious products of irresponsible provocateurs. The general point of the article seems to have been to do with free speech and understanding the nature of Islam in a positive light; the cartoons were commissioned as response to an author's difficulty in finding illustrators for a children's book on the life of Muhammad. That those who've reacted hatefully to the article are unable to comprehend that, to the point of feeling very extreme reprisals are warranted, evinces a deep rooted and widespread cultural malady. A malady that cannot be solved with military action, as current U.S. leaders might think, but, if anything, with better cultural thought, and the instillation of respect for secular reason.

The fact that that's probably never going to happen should not restrict artists from working for or under finer principles. And part of living in a society where people are free to express ideas is learning not to freak out when someone expresses what seems like a bad idea. Perhaps people simply need to realise that considerations of life and limb ought to take more serious priority than those of ink and paint.

And for gods' sake, people; lighten up.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

I succeeded to-day in waking up at 8pm. Thank you, thank you.

Yes, I'm only too happy as another Thursday draws to a close. Although I tried to go to sleep earlier, I only managed to drop off at around 8am--and then I of course needed to awaken again at 10am. So out into the world I went, an ambassador of bad coordination and sticky eyes. I had a meal at Einstein bagels, and had serious trouble counting the seven dollars from my wallet to pay for it. My poor math abilities are grossly multiplied by sleep deprivation.

Not thinking about it a whole lot ahead of time, I decided to see Brokeback Mountain again in order to kill the time. I think one of the fun things about seeing Brokeback Mountain alone as a young man is that it makes you Obviously Gay and Possibly Tragic.

"One for Brokeback Mountain," I said to the 20-something male cashier, who, in response gave me an earnest look and said, "Hey, that's no problem." The guy who took my ticket even blessed me.

The first time I saw the movie was in La Jolla, at the Landmark, which exclusively shows foreign and indie films. The audience consisted of a lot of women, and one old man who I overheard talking about seeing Snow White when it was first released.

To-day, I was in Rancho San Diego at the big Edwards Meta-plex, or whatever they're calling them now. The audience, it being the middle of the day, was small; only about fifteen or so people. It consisted of older, gossipy women, who thankfully talked little during the movie, although several of them left and returned to the theatre throughout the movie like it was a football game. And they would always walk all the way across the theatre, in front of the screen, so that Ang Lee's beautiful mountain vistas were frequently accented by fluffy round-haired bespectacled silhouettes. A people impressively out of touch with their feelings, I noticed, as one woman even strolled past during Ennis's story about the old man he saw mutilated and murdered.

I stayed until the credits stopped. At the end of the row to my left, two old women also stayed in order to chatter for the duration. When I finally got up to leave, and I walked by in front of them, one of them said, "Oh, my god!" and they both stopped talking.


I was made extraordinarily, maddeningly happy on Monday. I went to see Match Point--and it was a great, unpredictable, thoroughly wonderful movie. I can't remember the last time a new movie has made me feel so happy. I can't remember ever being happier, actually.

Driving home afterwards, I couldn't stop smiling. Not because it was a happy movie, but because it was so damn perfect. And it was even better because I knew hardly anything about it going in. It's directed by Woody Allen, who says it's his best film. And although I've only seen four other Woody Allen movies, I think he could be right.

I could tell the audience behind me weren't terribly happy about it. A woman behind me said, "I guess it was entertaining, but there was no point." I can assure you people that there was as much a point to the movie as there was to Casablanca, Taxi Driver, or Ghostbusters. It was the uncomfortable grumbling of an audience who was undeniably at the edge of their seats for the whole movie--not a peep or rustle did I hear--even though the movie couldn't be neatly categorised or--worse--couldn't be categorised as a typical Woody Allen film.

First of all, the beginning of the movie almost brought me to tears by the fact that it had intelligent, complicated, and engaging dialogue. And then about halfway through the movie I was having the beginnings of a darkly strange cinema orgasm. My thoughts might have read something like, "Oh, Allen, what--what are you doing . . . I'm . . . not sure I like this . . . no, Allen, stop--stop! Oh, gods, stop . . . stop, stop, stop---aAHAHUh! No, no, no--yes, yes, yes, yes, YES! Yes . . . ah . . . ahhh . . . Ah, oh, Allen, mmm, I--I love you. I love yoooooou . . . "

Trust me. You want what I was having.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

I just learned, somewhat appropriately, I suppose, from Moira that Moira Shearer died yesterday.

I've only seen her in The Red Shoes, and a long time ago I saw Peeping Tom. Which shows how deficient I am in Powell/Pressburger movies I've seen. Especially considering The Red Shoes is a movie that I constantly have to prevent myself from re-watching. It's a great movie in so many ways; editing, its use of colour, pacing, story, acting, characters, costumes. Each aspect can definitely be described as both striking and beautiful.

And Shearer was great in it. A beautiful and talented ballerina, who also proved to be a very good actress. Whenever I imagine a Boschen and Nesuko movie, actually, a young Moira Shearer is who I usually picture playing Nesuko. Sometimes I imagine Katharine Hepburn, particularly if I'm imagining a cgi movie, but I know Shearer would've been able to handle a lot of the physical stuff. I loved her in The Red Shoes that much.