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Entries by tag: movies

Soldier's Girl/Six Feet Under
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Why had I never heard of Soldier's Girl with Lee Pace, when it came out in 2003? I only discovered it after watching the series Pushing Daisies and then looking up everything else Pace has been in.

The movie (I see it actually was a tv mini-series, which might explain why I was not aware of it), based on a true story, was made in 2003 and it's about a young soldier(Troy Garity)who meets and falls in love with a transgendered performer (Lee Pace) in a nightclub--and the repercussions. All the acting was good but Lee Pace's performance is extraordinary. I see that he was nominated for several awards (but shamefully not the Emmy--the director and prosthetic artists got the only nominations)and won the Gotham "Breakthrough" award with his co-star. The character (and acting) of the soldier's roommate (Shawn Hatosy) is chilling. Rent it.

I'm deep into the second season of Six Feet Under--it's pretty manipulative, isn't it? Every time things are going well for the members of the Fisher family--the rug's pulled out under them--I come to expect this but am still affected by it. I've come to really dislike Lisa, (played by Lili Taylor)--there's something about her that gives me the severe creeps. I feel that Claire, the young daughter of the Fisher family is thrown into bad boy relationships not because she's screwed up but because the creator of the series merely wants to keep a tension in the plot. In other words, I don't feel her bad choices are organic to her character but manipulated. (I realize that of course all "drama" is manipulated as long as there is a script--that's the point. But keeping that overt manipulation from the viewer--at least while she's watching it--is crucial to great art). I'm still enjoying the series but the seams are beginning to show more than I'd like.
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party party and movies!
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This evening I attended the fabulous launch party for Delia Sherman's new ya novel The Freedom Maze. The party was thrown at the Center for Fiction (formerly, the Mercantile Library) in the midtown area. Pouring rain did not stop the many attendees from having a great time, with period drinks, plus wonderful food. I helped judge the cake contest and although someone did try to bribe me, he was too late. We had already made our picks. Top prize went to Alaya Dawn Johnson's fabulous orange spice with tart cherry cake which had multiple layers of flavor--almost like a Christmas fruit cake but much much better.

Delia read from her novel, a gentleman played piano, and some attendees even sang. But....the evil Genevieve Valentine persuaded me to head downtown to see Drive, the movie based on James Sallis's novel-in the east village. We left (in the rain) with Liz Gorinsky, who was heading home and made the movie with time to spare.

I'd been meaning to see it so was happy to have the unexpected opportunity. A stunt car drive/mechanic gets caught up with some very bad gangsters by trying to do a favor for a neighbor he likes. Cutting to the chase--the movie's terrific! Both G and I adored it. The original score is fabulous (G says it's gotten a lot of buzz for the Oscar). It's by Cliff Martinez and has a driving beat from the opening scene. The acting by Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Albert Brooks*

, Bryan Cranston, Ron Perlman, and the rest of the cast was perfect. It's graphically violent so do beware if you have problems with that. Highly recommended.

Over the weekend I watched Priest on DVD, which sucked, although I do enjoy watching Paul Bettany and Maggie Q in anything. And the vampires were really creepy/disgusting and monstrous. That was refreshing. I also went to the movies over the weekend to see Margin Call, an excellent underrated movie that came out a few months ago about Wall Street -you wanna know what happened with Lehman? You can get a bit of a look at it by watching the movie. Acting by Paul Bettany (synchronicity strikes again), Demi Moore (oh sweetie, you shouldn't have had the work done on your face), Jeremy Irons, Kevin Spacey (his best acting in awhile), Peter Sullivan was all spot on. Good show. It is SOOOO nice to have seen two great movies in the theater in a row. Bravo!!


* I just want to add that I always hated Albert Brooks in his "comic" roles, finding him whiny and obnoxious. But some time in the past 10-15 years he's become a fine dramatic actor in movies like My Firs Mister and Drive.
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A triple feature
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And all were good. This evening I watched Mysterious Skin (2004) by director Gregg Araki, based on the novel by Scott Heim. It takes place in 1974 and is about two boys from a small town in Kansas who were both traumatized when they were eight year's old. One lost 5 hours of his life and comes to believe he was abducted by aliens and becomes obsessed with finding out the truth. The other was abused by his baseball coach and ends up a hustler. The cast is great--from the child actors to the actors playing the teenagers that the boys grow up be: Brady Corbet and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Michelle Trachtenberg (Dawn in Buffy) plays Gordon-Levitt's best friend. I found the movie fascinating--in its treatment of the abuser, who is utterly charming and almost seems like a child himself. It's an amazing seduction of the innocent.

An Education which garnered Carey Mulligan a well-deserved Oscar nomination as a girl on the cusp of womanhood who is being pushed by her father into attending Oxford but is seduced--figuratively and literally by another charmer (Peter Sarsgaard) who is worldly and attractive and shows her possibilities outside the narrow life that seems to await her in 1961 England. Jenny is smart and is not a pushover. Very satisfying.

</i>Crimson Rivers II: Angels of the Apocalypse</i> is the bloody sequel to the French policier with Jean Reno that I watched a couple of weeks ago. Not as good as the first but still damned good.
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three movies
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This evening I watch The Bank Job, a Brit movie made a few years ago with Jason Statham, based on a real heist in 1971 that was masterminded to grab some incriminating photos of one of the Royals, (although most of the thieves didn't know this). Not great but entertaining (and violent). Directed by Ronald Donaldson.

Then I saw Interview directed by and starring Steven Buscemi and Sienna Miller as a disgraced war correspondent assigned to interview a B actress. Interesting but not great. Let's call it a celebrity oriented sex (not all the way), lies, and videotapes. Good acting.

Finally and best was The Crimson Rivers directed by Mathieu Kassovitz, starring the wonderful Jean Reno and Vincent Cassel in a policier that takes place in the French Alps when mutilated victims start turning up at an elite college. Good stuff. Thank you whoever recced it. I've got Crimson Rivers 2: Angels of the Apocalypse next in my queue but while Jean Reno is back, unfortunately Vince Cassel is not.
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Friday evening
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Although it was raining when I left, I found a taxi pretty quickly. This, for anyone living in NYC knows what a piece of luck this is. I headed down to Warren street for the Mysterious Bookstore Thrillerfest party and even though it was crowded, I'm glad I went. Alice Turner and I were to meet there but I go there first, was greeted by storeowner-host Otto Penzler and grabbed some wine, looking to see if I recognized anyone. I didn't really expect to as it's not my crowd--mystery/crime and thriller writers and fans. Alice showed up soon after I got there so I didn't feel like an outsider for too long.

We grabbed seats on the couch, as I wasn't eager to stand around in my boot with my cane plus my carryall slung over my shoulder for a couple of hours. Most of the writers who were signing books there wore name tags and I recognized a few, even though I don't know them personally. But then I ran into Robert Crais and we had a very nice catchup chat. And Paul Wilson and Kelly Laymon also came--I hugged them, we exchanged a few words, and then I never saw them again. Larry Block was also there and came over to say hi (he lives a few blocks from me and is a good friend of Alice's). Met a few new writers and some fans who I hope will show up at KGB some time. (they said they like sf/f/h as well as mystery). Read more...Collapse )

movies
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Friday night I watched Snow White: A Tale of Terror, which I'd been waiting to be available on netflix for a few years. It was worth the wait. Sam O'Neil as the King, Sigourney Weaver, beautiful and scary as the wicked stepmother, Monica Keena as Snow White. Just looked up Keena's filmography as I don't think I've ever seen her before. Interesting that she's really a pretty nondescript blonde in all the photos--she's much more striking as a brunette. Oh well. (and she's going to be playing Squeaky Fromme in the forthcoming Manson Girls. Anyway, it's a very effective rendition of Snow White, with the seven dwarfs transformed into seven miners (one is a dwarf).

Next up Wild Target recommended by someone (anyone out there remember who?)with Bill Nighy as a lonely top assassin (from a family of assassins) whose current assignment is Emily Blunt, a seductive schemer who is so chaotic in her daily life that her very being is an obstacle to his killing her and then he becomes attracted to it. Rupert Grint (from Harry Potter) is charming in it. In fact, everyone's charming and it's a lovely, silly enjoyable concoction. I loved it.

Tonight I watched the 3 hour 20 minute Spike Lee movie Malcolm X. Good acting, especially by Albert Hall, Al Freeman, Jr., and Delroy Lindo. Denzel Washington as Malcolm and Angela Bassett as his wife Betty were good too but not as good as the supporting actors. It's based on The Autobiography of Malcolm X written by Alex Haley and Malcolm X and a fascinating account of the Black Nationalist's life. Absorbing.
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My weekend
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Movies and a street fair.
I watched three movies: Quintet a movie by Robert Altman that I've wanted to see for a long time. In an sf future of ice and snow, Essex (Paul Newman) and his young, very naive wife (Brigitte Fossey) travel through the abandoned landscape to a ruined city where people survive (sometimes) and play a murderous game called Quintet. So many questions--where do they get food? What do the residents DO with their time, other than play Quintet? But there are some well-wrought and memorable images--black dogs roam in packs throughout the area eating the frozen dead bodies (and there a many of both). An ice age "Seventh" Victim (or Tenth, depending on whether you're referring to Sheckley's story or the movie). Cast is also made up of Fernando Ray, Vittoria Gassman,and Bibi Andersson. Entertaining enough to keep me watching but not all that good.

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And as Libbra Bray points out, librarians are our super-heroes so support them.

Been busy
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Apologies for not being around more but Terri and I have been finishing up After (and I can't stay long as I've one more major thing to do). We'll post TOC very soon.

In the meantime, I've just been alerted that Tennessee poet Elizabeth McClellan gave a marvelous shout out to Troll's Eye View in an interview conducted with her by Nashvillescene.com.

Scroll down, and you'll find it.

Meantime, watched Pitch Black last weekend--enjoyable sf/horror. And went to see Meek's Cutoff in the movies. Great cast, good acting, really boring movie. All too realistic historical drama about three families in a wagon train enroute to Oregon who are lost--and the leader they don't trust (Meek). My two viewing companions and I loathed it (sorry Lucius).

Yesterday
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Well, just barely. Landline fixed after panic that I wouldn't have phone or internet over the long weekend because phone guy came early, checked line outside, reported it was a mess and he couldn't believe I was getting dsl service at all. Sooooo he fixed outside wires called in to office where they had to fix lines in the 18th street station (wherever that is) & he'd get back to me so he could ask for the auto message saying line was being repaired (on for a week) could be removed. What he forgot to mention was that my internet service would be disrupted while they were fixing the line in the...whatever station. Aighhh. It took four hours but hey, I spent the time inputting all the titles, etc of books I found in publishing catalogs that I want for review. Plus finished going through the catalogs I picked up at BEA that I hadn't had time to skim.

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Friday night at the movies
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A triple feature last night. I tweeted to say they were all grim right after I finished watching them but having digested each overnight, although Red Riding is truly grim, but of the other two -although one is certainly downbeat, the other has an exuberance, an ultimate love of life and imagination that totally defeats any bits of grimness within the telling of the tale.

First up A Scanner Darkly, by Richard Linklater based on Phil Dick's novel (which I've never read). It's near future LA and an undercover cop (Keanu Reeves) is trying to get to the bottom of a drug ring--although somehow his job is related to New Path Recovery Center--an thinly disguised scientology-like cult. He lives in a house with asshole Robert Downey, Jr (perfect in the role) and clueless Woody Harrelson. The marvelously inventive skinsuit disguises the person wearing it by mutating into different visual and audio personalities-and one wonders if this splitting of personality is responsible for the problems Bob Arctor (the cop) has, rather than his ingesting Substance D.

First of all, I don't get this whole half animation used--it's neither live action nor honest to god animation.

Second, I don't know if the novel covers it but the movie never explains what Substance D does as a drug.

Third, Why does New Path work with him, given the ending?
For me, an enjoyable mess.

Second part of the Red Riding Trilogy about serial killers in Yorkshire. This one is about the Yorkshire Ripper and the corruption in the government and police force set up in section one continues, chomping everyone in its way. Grim and gritty.

The Fall, is an oddball film with Lee Pace and directed by Tarsem Singh taking place in 1915 LA in a hospital where a little girl (Alexandria) recovers from a broken arm from picking oranges, and a young stuntman named Roy recuperates from a bad fall. She has the run of the hospital and its grounds and comes across Roy. Depressed and suicidal over a failed love affair, ta her request, he begins a fantabulous story of derring do with 5 heroes -colorful and chaotic.

The opening sequence is excellent but it took awhile for me to get into it because Lee Pace's character has these HUGE eyebrows that really distracted me (honest). The visual look is very fine, which makes sense as Tarsem made The Cell, the movie with Jennifer Lopez that looked gorgeous but was totally empty. I admit to being confused by the supposed nationality of the child--I kept thinking she was east Indian not sure why (possibly because of the director's Bollywood influences)--yet her mother and sister are eastern European. Turns out she is Roumanian.

The bad guys in the fantasy sequences are powerfully effective, dressed in black like an anti-Zorro but growling like dogs.

Considering I'd never heard of it until someone online recced it to me, I suspect it didn't get a wide release. It takes its time but is well worth seeing--there's a lot to love about this film.
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