Archive for January 30th, 2010

Good and bad

In my opinion, of course.  Today was Kate’s Birthday (Observed), which meant having lunch at the Chinese place at Hilldale and seeing two movies at Sundance.  Hooray!  Sort of.  First, the Chinese place was packed and I worried we wouldn’t get a table and then I ordered wrong: broccoli in garlic sauce.  Not bad, just a million pounds of broccoli (and only broccoli)  in a really light sauce.  Just a lot of something that was just ok. 

On we moved to the movies.  First movie of the afternoon was Crazy Heart.  If Jeff Bridges does not win the Oscar for Best Actor and that Crazy Heart song by T Bone Burnett does not win Best Original Song, I will be very, very, very upset.  But not surprised.  Because sometimes the Oscars just get it wrong.  Crash anyone?  Forrest Gump?  Need I go on?  I suspect not.  In a nutshell, I really liked this movie.  I dare say, I loved it.  I think it could have been edited down a bit more, but the story was grand, the acting superb (Colin Farrell was so impressive as a country crooner, I kept thinking, “I can’t believe that’s Colin Farrell,” which is maybe a bad thing, but not really; and Maggie Gyllenhaal was much less annoying than usual and at times quite believable), the music awesome and it just had that x factor, which often means the presence of Robert Duvall.  To be completely honest, I think I had higher hopes for this movie than it actually delivered, but it came close, which is saying a lot since I was really excited to see it.  One of the few things I didn’t like was Maggie Gyllenhaal’s turquoise earrings.  Yes, I get it: she lives in Santa Fe.  I’m sure someone thought it would be a nice, possibly authentic touch, but it distracted me and everytime she had them on I thought, “Yes, costume person, I understand that she lives in New Mexico” and then I would think about whether I was annoying for being annoyed.  A bit too obvious for me.

Now for the bad news.  And I know some of my readers are not going to like me very much for this and I have been sitting here trying to figure out the best way to put this.  A Single Man.  Hmm.  Well, where to begin?  How about here: I did not hate it.  But I didn’t like it.  At all.  I thought it was a cinematic piece of art that was almost completely hollow.  I had been told that it was “depressing,” which I suspected it would be from the entirely vague preview.  But I actually didn’t find it depressing, which is probably saying something bad about me, but it’s true.  I just didn’t care.  I didn’t care about Colin Firth.  I didn’t care about Julianne Moore.  I didn’t care about the college kid.  Or Carlos.  Or Susan (and why was Ginnifer Goodwin in this role?  It was all of about five lines).  The only thing I really cared about was the stunning mid-century furniture and architecture.  And that didn’t seem to be in any real danger or emotional strife, so I didn’t worry about it.  Sometimes I see a depressing movie and get really sad, not necessarily because I care about the people, but because the level of dysfunction is so high that it makes me uncomfortable, anxious and extremely sad.  But here, the subject was depressing — a guy really misses his true love — but I just didn’t care.  I mean, I was sympathetic.  Wow, that’s awful and sad to lose the person you love.  And moving on…I don’t want to watch him for 100 minutes do things like take the bread out of his freezer, clean out his safety deposit box and smoke cigarettes.  Call me callous, but it’s not interesting to me.  And beautiful cinematography can only take a movie so far.  You have to have a story, something to latch onto, something to care about.  And I just didn’t.  And actually, that cinematography?  It was a little much.  The clothes were great, the house stunning, but enough already.  This was a movie that was so clearly made by someone who is obsessed with aesthetics that he forgot how to edit (something a fashion designer actually should be aware of after watching even one episode of Project Runway) and certainly did not care about telling a good story.  I really just did not like it.  I found it to be a pretty big bore.  Pretty (at times), overdone, and dull.


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