09 February 2011

Ice Cold Mashed Potatoes

All I want to do is put a couple layers of sweats on, get under some blankets, and hibernate until the warm temperatures come back.  I'm so happy it's supposed to get back to the 50s next week.

-I really enjoyed this collection of what the movie posters would say if the Best Picture nominees told the truth.  Toy Story 3, True Grit, and Inception were my favorites, even though Inception was crap.

-I mentioned a while back that the AV Club's Random Roles series is one of my favorite features on the internet.  They published a new edition with Delroy Lindo yesterday, which is interesting as always.  Lindo stars in The Chicago Code, a new show on Fox that debuted last night.  I enjoyed it.  The reason I point out this particular interview is the attention paid to one of my favorite overlooked movies: Crooklyn.  Crooklyn seemed to fall through the cracks a bit because it wasn't like the Spike Lee movies people were used to.  It's a very personal story of a family in Brooklyn in the 70s.  The soundtrack has long been a favorite (El Pito!) and was the reason I saw the movie in the first place.  Alfre Woodard carries the movie, but that is not to demean the other performances, writing or direction, all of which are excellent.  It's just that Ms. Woodard has a tendency to bring everything she appears in up a level or two.  Such a great actress.

-I loved this talk Stephen Fry gave on Catholicism.  I don't want to offend anyone, but the Catholic Church has done plenty to offend others through the years.

-I haven't written about music much lately, as I haven't been listening to a whole lot of new stuff.  The new Iron & Wine album has been on heavy rotation, however.  While it's a complete departure from the normal Iron & Wine sound, I love it.  It's the type of album that sounds great cranked up in the car.  The other recent album with a lot of play lately is the latest from Justin Townes Earle, Harlem River Blues.  The title track, in particular, 

-Season 2 of Justified starts on FX Wednesday night.  WATCH IT!!!!!

-I watched a few more older movies this weekend.  Quick takes as follows:
   *Ryan's Daughter - Another David Lean movie that pales in comparison to his more famous epics.  It's the story of a love triangle in a small Irish town during the first World War and leading up to the 1916 Easter Rising in Ireland.  Why Lean decided this story needed nearly three and a half hours to be told is a mystery.  He needed about ninety minutes.  The greater concern is the world he creates.  Two thirds of the love triangle, played by Sarah Miles and Robert Mitchum, feel like actual human beings.  As does the local priest, wonderfully played by Trevor Howard.  The other third of said triangle is one of the stiffest performances I've ever seen put to film.  Even worse is the rest of the townspeople, apparently put in place to serve as the most annoying Greek chorus of all time.  They operate as a massive caricature that goes around doing nothing independent of each other.  The fit is bizarre.  Even more bizarre is the Best Supporting Actor Oscar John Mills received for playing the village idiot.  Mills apparently went to clown school to train for his part, which is completely void of nuance.  I cringed every time he came on the screen.  If you watch this movie after reading this review, please note that your are your own village's idiot.
  *Becket - I sometimes complain about overacting in older movies (and newer - see Daniel Day-Lewis in There Will Be Blood).  Sometimes I'm probably being a little harsh, but sometimes I feel like movies have simply changed for the better over the years, justifying my criticism.  But sometimes actors chew the scenery, and all I want is more.  That was the case with Becket, featuring Peter O'Toole clearly having a blast playing Henry II.  Richard Burton is great as the titular Thomas Becket, but O'Toole steals the movie in a showier part.  The movie follows the relationship between the two men as both friends and adversaries.  It's rich material for two great actors.  Worth a look.
  *The Great Dictator - This was Chaplin's first, and I think only, "talkie".  While aspects of it are hilarious, it didn't work nearly as well as a whole compared to his classic silent films Modern Times or City Lights (I haven't seen others).  I still enjoyed it.  The backstory of the movie intrigued memore than the movie itself, though.  It was released in 1940 and features Chaplin playing a version of his Little Tramp character, as well as a dictator of a fictional European country who bears a strong resemblance to Hitler.  Chaplin was early in recognizing the danger Hitler represented to the rest of the world, and he put his money and reputation on the line to make this movie as a warning to the world about Hitler.  The most powerful part of the movie, even though it doesn't fit the rest of the film, is the speech he gives at the end.  It's a wonderful speech that would be a wonderful message to any society at any point in history.  The problem is that it distracts from the rest of the movie.  Regardless, I enjoyed the speech, as well as the two hours or so that preceded it.  I highly recommend listening to the final speech, even if you don't plan on seeing the movie: 

1 comment:

  1. My opinion on television is generally suspect, but I just can't back up Matty enough on Justified. It's exceptionally good, and you should be watching it so it doesn't get canceled so that I can keep watching it.