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I utterly agree that Ang Lee's films are all about repression, from Elinor in Sense and Sensibility to half the characters in The Ice Storm to the more complex combination of sexual and political repression in this year's Lust, Caution. Brokeback Mountain might just be the most overt exploration of repression by Lee, IMO.

I love Ang Lee but I wasn't blown away by The Hulk, to be honest. I think Eric Bana is seriously good but is choosing random films (he was the best thing in The Other Boleyn Girl, but the film was flimsy. Fun, but silly.)

I like Edward Norton and agree he's got that chameleon quality which means he transcends film genre easily. Oddly, I don't think Robert Downey Jr, who I love, has much of that quality at all. Part of it is that he's just beautiful, he's always immediately recognisable no matter what he's in. I think he's a great actor, there's something so tangible about his face and presence, he knocks the socks off anyone else on screen.

anna k
I think he's a great actor, there's something so tangible about his face and presence, he knocks the socks off anyone else on screen.

He was great in Chaplin, he made me forget who RDJ was and was absorbed as Charlie Chaplin.
watched The Queen. Meh. The lad who played Tony Blair was interesting tho; surprised he didn't get more recognition.

i have no attention span for movies these days. that could be a comment on the quality of movies, but then again, it's probably just me.
The Proposition:

Like No Country for Old Men, it's a story of western landscapes and violence. A different kind of "western," more extreme because the landscape of inland Australia is more consistently brutal than that of the US (this brutality is filmed & captured superbly) and the bulk of European whites were criminals /prisoners who were banished there, rather than more normal & hopeful immigrants who chose to go to North America, and migrated into the west....

You get the sense that people are going mad, in the sun and emptiness.

Also, the movie does not favor the aboriginals, who are presented as themselves already violent, already shaped by the brutality of the land. This brings to mind the penultimate conversation in "No Country" when the even older retired lawman in the wheelchair (Ellis) says, against the point that the sheriff is facing a new kind of (drug) violence, that violence was always "in the land." Even before the Europeans invaded. The history of these spaces is all about violence. To illustrate this he tells the story of the death of Mac, way back at the beginning of the century, when he was murdered by a gang of men, and when, crucially, the two Indians just sit there on their horses, calmly, to watch him die, to make sure that he's dead.

The violence is so grim & bloody that I often had to look away....

Screenplay and music by Nick Cave.

Speaking of American violence & the west, I'm about to Watch Kalifornia. It gets very mixed reviews!
I may then look at "Natural Born Killers" for a second time.
Kalifornia was one of those films filled with little tracts of really good performances, all subtle. I hate making the comparison to its bookend, Natural Born Killers, but how can you avoid it?

I may seek out The Proposition. I'm not sure I understand this current fixation to see the bloody awful, bloody clearly. I watched The Will Be Blood and Daniel Day Lewis was amazing, but holy god that movie was filled with the perversely absurd. I can't get over the setting for the last scene, it's so bent all I can do is laugh inappropriately, like it causes a kind of shock.
anna k
I ordered The Proposition through Netflix, I should get it tomorrow. I remember hearing great things about it when it came out, but I actually felt scared to watch the violence in it.
mmmm! i've been wanting to see that movie, dolor. and speaking of strange westerns/noirs, i was reminded of "flesh and bone" an almost hick noir. and while i usually loathe meg ryan and gwenneth, in this they are both good.

the thing that reminded me of it was the work of one of the original indy directors, alan rudolph's mortal thoughts. which came out around the same time. what would i call mortal thoughts? a neo-noir to be sure, but beyond that.... a white trash noir? a cha cha noir because of the hard jersey accents, and big hair? hmmm. i think i'd settle on a coney island noir. and while it may seem like an odd moniker for a sub genre, it's based less on location as locale, which is at some point in carnival or circus. and believe it or not there are a few: the stellar phallus-centric noir, gun crazy, lady from shanghai, one of my all time faves, naked kiss and, naturally, the big carnival (a film i always remember as the o-so- carny title, "gopher in the gully"). the thing i love about mortal thoughts is the way that it updates the over the top visuals in traditional noir. rudolph's use of color, stretched lensing, and the quintessentual noir favorite, "dutch angle."

while rudlolph's work can be called uneven to say the least, it's his films like choose me, the moderns, mrs. parker & the vicious circle as well as mortal thoughts that make me love him. he makes beautifully idiocyncratic films that are so wonderfully moody in a way that most big budget films aren't.

and don't get me started on choose me.
Also the Proposition stars Guy Pearce, and I love the kind of intense inwardness that he projects... You see him thinking and thinking about what to do about his brothers.

This is so wonderful in Memento, when you feel his constant interior poignant STRUGGLE to maintain a grip on who he is, what he's up to. Holding on to his life, its meaning. He's always thinking... and thinking... And then the way that his sudden smiles break out!

No smiles in Proposition itself, but during the "making of" interviews you see how (apart from acting) he has this combination of thoughtfulness (talking about his Australia...) and then that smile.

Hmmm, it's another Guy I dig, along with Guy Maddin.

Oh, I wondered when Choose Me would come up again in my life. It's been (gasping and then choking, yes) almost 25 years. But Keith Carradine has never been the same man for me since.

Rudolph seems to work so sporadically it's like you can't gauge him, but you're right GT, the films do end up "choosing you" in that there is something about them which resonates visually and emotionally. They are atmospheric in a characteristic, charismatic way, and most of it has to do with location, visual puns. Until you put those three film titles together--The Moderns, Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle, and Choose Me--It didn't even occur to me that they are all his work. But now it's unmistakable. That grouping also makes me "miss" such underutilized actors--like Carradine, Genevieve Bujold, and Linda Fiorentino.

So many great films I want to see now, I don't think I'll get around to Iron Man until it's on DVD.

(that's okay: I'm realizing that watching television is no longer necessary, and there are only so many times I can say "who gives a flying fack" about celebrities, what passes for "news" these days, and reality shows before I bore myself into idiocy. I don't want to throw the equipment out--so DVD and video it will be from now on, with an occasional resurfacing from "the plastic bubble" existence I can lean towards in winter).
god i love the two of you. *sigh*

cha-- i so agree about those actors. i think there are so many fantastic actors you just don't see in film anymore. and what ever happened to linda f? god did she smolder in the last seduction... another fantastic neo-noir by the sly director john dahl-- who also did a westernish noir with red rock west. that guy needs to make films again. those two films for me were the emergence of a cool new noir, with a great sense of humor in the 90's.

and speaking of 90's noir and great underutilized actors, i miss jason patric, who was in after dark, my sweet, which was based on a novel by one of the original noir pulp/literary sources, jim thompson (The Killing, The Getaway, The Killer Inside Me, and the rather over rated film(imho) the grifters). after dark, besides having a very sexy title, was so noir in spirit, less so in visuals. where most neo noir head in the direction of gangsters, criminals cops and detectives, after dark was about that other, long forgotten noir victim, a boxer. it's also a desert noir.

eons ago i'm sure i posted about one of my favorites a bizarre chase movie involving two tanks-- the beast. jason patic is the connection, and as absurd as a tank chase sounds, the beast is really good, and super suspenseful.

but we were talking about noir and actors, and dolor mentioned guy pierce, who is great in a loopy ausie caper movie, the hard word. and let's not forget that he was in The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.

La ChaCha said "...... I'm not sure I understand this current fixation to see the bloody awful, bloody clearly. I watched The Will Be Blood and Daniel Day Lewis was amazing, but holy god that movie was filled with the perversely absurd. I can't get over the setting for the last scene, it's so bent all I can do is laugh inappropriately, like it causes a kind of shock.

TWBB is also in my pipeline [of blood?], just around the Korner, after Kalifornia. I've "been warned" repeatedly about the bravura ending which for some is apt and operatic (dunno if those are quite the right terms?) and for others a lurch into the preposterous.

I only have a limited interest in blood, violence, cruelty. Our world is nightmarish enough, thank you, w/o seeking out such. So, I look away.

BTW, I just purchased "Two Wheels Good...", & I'm off to Montreal, next week.

La d
anna k
That grouping also makes me "miss" such underutilized actors--like Carradine, Genevieve Bujold, and Linda Fiorentino.

I looked up Linda Fiorentino, wanting to know what happened to her. She might've gotten burned by Hollywood, or hated roles she was getting. The last movie she did was in 2002, and it bombed because it was a terrorist-themed movie that got released after 9/11. Wesley Snipes keeps her on the phone, with a bomb attached to her because she works for a major gun company that sold guns to a kid who shot his daughter in school. It was a good little movie, but I can see why it underperformed at the box office. Her Wikipedia says she has two projects in development, but I have no idea what she's doing today. It's like The Last Seduction was her masterpiece.

The last thing I knew that Jason Patric was in was Narc, which I heard good things about but never watched. I think my dad liked it.
I LOVED Jason Patric in "After Dark, my sweet." Like Guy P. in Memento you see him struggling..., in the face of the failing of *his own mind*, to keep his life together. To not let others take him over, take advantage of him. This is so affecting for me. Also it has a super-romantic ending that I thrilled to.

And I also saw and liked "The Beast."

Saw Priscilla, but don't recall Guy in there. He didn't put himself on the map for me until Mememto-- a movie that too many appreciate (or dismiss) for it's "backwardness" (so to speak) and not enough appreciate for its intense poignancy. I'd also seen him in LA Confidential (speaking of violent neo-noire)-- but he was such a slicked-back straight-arrow that I just didn't groove to him.
I love Guy Pearce in anything.

I recently taught Memento, and my class got all caught up in its reverse narrative structure rather than the psychological impact of his condition: if indeed he had one wink.gif

I dunno GT, I love almost all of Stephen Frears' films and thought The Grifters was great. The ongoing squaring off between Angelica Huston and Annette Bening was superb. I love Angelica anyway, but it's easy to forget Bening was a decent actress back in the day before she became Mrs Beatty. I also thought The Grifters was one of the very few movies where John Cusack was decently directed. He seems to play an adult version of Lloyd Dobler in most of his films, but he was oddly perfect as a shifty grifter: his face suited the part, which I wouldn't have imagined until I saw it.
lol syb,....i always remember grifters as scorsese for some reason. i usually like frears, i adored Dangerous Liaisons (and the competing valmont. that play always makes a good movie), and Prick Up Your Ears, and at the time i liked the grifters, (i was a huge thompson fan, and saw it opening night), it was only the last couple of times that i disliked it.

anna, don't forget dogma-- she was great in that. i want her in something new. she was always great to watch.

dearest, dearest dolor! i know i've seen l.a. con, but i've almost completely blocked it out in favor of devil in a blue dress. as for priscilla, i know, i always forget the lead three actors in that movie (of which i'm not the biggest fan), they were all so in their roles, it really is hard to imagine them in anything else. in that movie, they don't even seem like themselves.
I saw The Grifters with my mother many many years ago & it definitely left an impression on us. What a repulsive bunch of characters! At the end of the film, my mother and I were completely taken aback and thoroughly disgusted by them ... but in a really really good way. The story was mesmerizing and deeply affecting. But damn, I have no desire to spend any additional minutes of my life with those characters. Positively nauseating. I completely admire the film, but I don't think I'll take the time to watch it again.
chacha, I also laughed out loud (in sheer delight) at the last scene in TWBB. I know a lot of people hated the ending, but I thought it was so absurdly fitting. Every time I watch that movie I pick up something else that makes me love it even more. I was really emotionally involved when I saw it the first time at the theatre. I'm sure I'd have looked like a total weirdo if someone had turned to look at my facial expressions. lol

Interesting read of Ang Lee's films. When you mentioned the repression, I immediately thought of Lust, Caution (I absolutely loved that movie).

I just finished watching One Missed Call. I knew it would suck ass when I rented it, but god...that's an hour and a half of my life I'll never get back.

Watched Teeth yesterday, and I loved it. I do read it as a female empowerment film (sketchy second to the last scene notwithstanding). Also saw Cloverfield, and I liked it.

I've been meaning to pick up a copy of The Proposition since it hit dvd, and I just never did. I think I'll put it on hold at the library right now (thanks for reminding me)!
anna k
The Proposition was fantastic. I didn't cringe as much as I thought I would at the violence, except for the flogging scene and another short but violent scene. I recognized an Aborigine actor from Rabbit Proof Fence,

I thought she was good in Dogma too. That and The Last Seduction seem to be her best films, unless she wants to be remembered for Jade or Men in Black.

I had seen Priscilla on VH1 in '96, and still thought of Hugo Weaving from that role when he appeared in The Matrix. I hadn't known that Terence Stamp had had such a long career beforehand. Guy Pearce is a great actor, but seems so fragile-looking because of his prior bouts with anorexia.

I saw one scene from The Grifters, where the mother is seducing her son, and he seems like he just may want to have sex with his mother. It was well-acted and well-written.
I liked the Grifters.

What you have both there and "after dark, my sweet" is the Jim Thompson situation where there is so much 3-way or 4-way scheming and dishonesty that no one feels in control of the situation. Who can be believed? It make everything tense, confusing, volatile. Excellent.

The scene that Anna recalled, when the mother suddenly starts seducing the son was.... something else... Wow.
I just love this thread!

(Annette Bening is a good actress--I really liked her in Being Julia and I wanted her to win something for that because she made such a powerful character out of Julia, she was so compelling and a triumphant, aging female character is pretty damn rare. I even liked her in American Beauty, but I'm still undecided on that film all together). I saw The Grifters again not too long ago and remembered thinking how awful it felt to watch Angelica and John in that scene together, very powerful.

Stephen Frears--I'm thinking about all his films right now, from My Beautiful Launderette to Dangerous Liaisons to The Queen.

We've had a slew of long weekends here, one I spent in the city just wandering. I really wanted to see a good movie, but I tell ya, the movie theatres in Toronto seem to have become cookie cutter grindhouses, all showing the same blockbusters (well, they were in the neighbourhood I was in, and I really just wanted to walk to the theatres in my area like I used to when I lived there). I saw a mid-budget heist film made in the UK called The Bank Job. Very stylishly presented, but I still wish I'd had a few other options to choose from besides Disney and adult Disney.

And last long weekend I watched Lars and the Real Girl. Simple script, simple film with a sweet story, not a bad little movie.

I really want to see Lust, Caution now; I want to re-watch Memento, line up The Proposition, and, when I'm good and strong, see if I can't watch There Will Be Blood again, just because.
oh i loved ms bening, i was heart broken when she all but disappeared after wedding beaty, but i have to say, cha, i adore am. beauty, but then it was written by alan ball, who went on to give us the phenominal series, six feet under, one of my all time tv series EVAH!

the bank job... i love heist movies, is this the jason statham movie (based on a true story) or the one with michael cane and demi moore?

you guys are tempting me to see TWBB, athough i loathe the director, PTA, since magnolia. i went to see punch drunk love to see if i should give him another chance, the answer was, NO. i have steadfastly avoided all of pta's movies since. but there's only been one, so it might not mean that much.

lol... suddenly i am just the film hater, aren't i?
See, I too didn't think I could forgive PTA after Magnolia (and the fact that he's the bad bad man Fiona Apple's singing about in all her songs). But I'm glad I did, because TWBB ended up being one of my fave movies of all time.

Oooooh, The Bank Job! Y'all keep reminding me of movies I forgot to put on my to-watch list!
When I first saw American Beauty it really got to me, I loved that actor who played the next door neighbour, the young man with the eyes as big as a character in Anime. The Annette Bening character was so caustic, though--"See how the green on her garden clogs matches the green of the sheers she's holding in her hand? That's not an accident..." I vacillate about it now but that's because some parts of it were a little unbelievable. And maybe I dislike Kevin Spacey (because he recently mistreated David Letterman, in my opinion).

In the same way that PTA gets a bad rap with some people because Fiona Apple sings about him being a very bad man.

The Bank Job is the one based on the true story, starring Jason Statham and Saffron Burrows. Very, very elegantly done, with lots of pretty stuff (NICE 70's clothing, very shiny Jaguars and old Fords, everything had a gleaming polish about it). And suspenseful in an understated but effective way.
I vacillate about it now but that's because some parts of it were a little unbelievable. And maybe I dislike Kevin Spacey (because he recently mistreated David Letterman, in my opinion).

In the same way that PTA gets a bad rap with some people because Fiona Apple sings about him being a very bad man.

lol, it's funny how people get forever associated with negative connotations. Like, I wouldn't not watch a PTA movie because he was allegedly bad to Fiona, but it's definitely in the back of my mind. Same goes with Roman Polanski, or David Coulier whenever I hear Alanis's "You Oughta Know," or Kevin Bacon (to whom I always add "is a rapist" in the back of my mind because of all the rapist roles he's played, whether I want to or not)!

A while back my friend and I went through this long list of celebs we hate for the most random shit (David Duchovny is at the top of that list). It was kind of funny.
Sheff's employer took the whole office to see the new Indiana Jones movie today. Sheff was not impressed. Then again, he hadn't seen all of the previous Indy films and he thinks he may have missd out on some inside jokes, which just made the experience even less pleasant. So. I honestly can't tell if that means it was bad or not. I need to see what the reviewers had to say.

Back to The Grifters, it was indeed the scene with Angelica Houston and John Cusack towards the end that really really stuck with me and my mother. That animalistic despiration was so powerful and haunting. And then it just gets worse and worse and .... ugh. Good, but ugh. Sometimes we bring it up in conversation. As in ...
Mom: "Hey remember that scene in The Grifters when-"
Me: "No no no! Don't mention it or I'll be replaying it in my mind all day!!!"
But it's too late and I end up replaying it in my mind all day anyway. The glass and everything. Damn you, Mom!

Faerietails, it's funny that you mention the negative connotations with actors. I can't help but see a child molestor when I look at Kevin Bacon because of The Woodsman.
I actually liked Magnolia, but I think that was because I was in an angsty time in my life back then, so I guess it spoke to me. Now I think it's over-sentimentalised, self-consciously 'quirky' nonsense with some frogs thrown in. As I've said, I think TWBB is an almost perfect gem, except for the last 20 minutes. Whatever people keep saying about the milkshake scene, I think day-Lewis' performance was already awesome, without the extra added hysterics of that scene. Overkill.

I have never seen any of the Indy films and won't be starting now.

See, I think Kevin Bacon must be a wonderfully sensitive soul because he keeps playing all these disturbed characters...
PTA's first, Hard Eight, is worth a watch. Esp. for noir-junkies like me, & T-Gal. I can't stand Adam Sandler, and Magnolia sounded like too much of a portentous wank. Mag also had a over-the-top ending, like LWBB, right? Maybe this is a preferred move for PTA. Leave them reeling, if not realing...

So it's the distinct respect for LWBB and esp. Daniel Day that makes me want to see it... Also, I like the case that it's inspired by Upton Sinclair.

For that matter, I'm no fan of the Coens, and it was the distinct respect that NCFOM enjoyed, and esp. the comment that they had cast off most of their wise-ass humor, that made me decide to make an exception.

Before that, it was only their "The Man who Wesn't There" that intrigued me, since I'm such a pushover when it comes to lush B&W and the 40's mise en scene. I loved that trippy moment when he's gazing into the whorl of hair...

PS You gotta admire Kevin Bacon for taking on The Woodsman.
i liked the hard 8, and i thought boogie nights was interesting (although, wonderland told parts of the same story in a way more intense way), so i went to magnolia with an open mind. but there are somethings i cannot abide. i do not mind whimsical films-- provided that it is carried thru the film and not to camoflage flaws mid way thru the picture. when the frogs started to fly, i said, outloud, "are you fucking kidding me?" i loathe that film. my teeth gnash just thinking about it. and i'm sure i've posted about the feud at the time:there were two movies, happiness and magnolia by two upcoming american auteurs, you couldn't (or most didn't) love both of them, you thought one was a masterpiece, the other the worst piece of poop ever. i came down on the loving happiness side.

but i do love upton sinclair as well, dolor, and that is what makes me want to see it. and i'd love to give pta another chance. i love following director's careers. the auteur theory is kind of my rule of thumb for film anticipation.

and as much as i sooo respect your taste dolor, i cannot fathom anyone NOT being a fan of the coens. is it just the sense of humor that bugs you, dear-heart dolor?

on the subject of only being able to see actors thru the roles they've played, i am guilty too. i find michael douglas an intolerable prick, and i will stop and watch the game anytime it's on, not just because of my ongoing crush of deborah (kara) unger, but because i love watching him going thru the shitstorm that ensues.

and yeah, i do respect the baconator for the woodsman in the same way i admire happiness. i don't care for molesters, but i admire directors and actors who take on difficult or political material.

speaking of which, i was listening to one of my political talk shows, and they just happened to have john cusack on for his new movie, War inc. he was fantastically articulate, knowledgable about politics, and in a way that was so unpretentious. i was impressed. and anna k., if you have a chance and the inclination to see the film i'd love to know what you think.

My problem with the Coens, dear Tea Gal (and when I say that I see you in a Kimono...) goes back to Raising Arizona and Blood Simple, both of which I bailed on:

show-off distracting camera movement

this mix of arbitrary violence and yuck-yuck cute humor. (I'm now much more used to this mix, for better or for worse, but I think that this was the first time I was exposed to it.)

looking down at exaggerated American dumb yokels (> you had a bit of this with that jowelly woman who managed the trailer camp in NCFOM.)

Altogether, it's a way of being superior to the story, these people-- and so undermining the scene...
Then inviting the "savvy" audience to be in on this game.

Whereas, by contrast, and getting back to what I've just been yakking about, what I really respond to is the way that (for a contrary instance) Leonard is taken so seriously in Memento. The director and screen writer (also brothers) do not look down this man, and his struggle.

Now, my negative response may have been precipitous... but others have been put off by the Coens' wise-ass quality, so I'm not altogether alone on this one.

Thanks for that tip: Wonderland.

I don't know about Michael Douglas as a person,
but he has taken on all kinds of ugly roles, does not shy away from such. As with K. Bacon, I'll tip my hat to that.

Super beautiful day here... I hope you're all enjoying Spring!
Don't forget to pause, smell and kiss the flowers...
I think you're dead on with that smart-assyness of some Coen films--but perhaps that was something that had to do more with youth and insecurity than with crafting a story and a vision for the way it's told. I didn't feel this was going on in some of their really good films: Miller's Crossing, Fargo, Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?, NCFOM. I felt far more strongly that what they were showing on film were some easily overlooked "true" people and situations--real, forgotten, overlooked stuff that doesn't fit in with what we're being told is the "American" way. Hence the attention to details such as language and diction, accent, music, physical surroundings and realities.

The best thing about Michael Douglas is really Dawn French's impersonation of his wife, Catherine Zeta Jones. In those little broadcasts, she's "Catherine Douglas Spartacus Zeta Jones, Queen of Wales, from the Castle in Hollywood". A great way to familiarize yourself with a Welsh accent and induldge in the satirization of the entire star system going on here.

I'm still waiting for War Inc. to show here. John Cusack's written a commentary on Naomi Klein's incredibly informative book, Shock Doctrine--and this film is his illustration of her very astute theoretical interpretation of exactly what's been going on with all these US instigated wars, torture campaigns, corporatization, and economic collapse. People thought she was full of shit when she proposed that the US army's killing Iraqis in order to rebuild the country with great big amusement parks and pricey gated-community luxury homes, but guess what, Disney's moving into Iraq and they will be up and running supposedly within the next 12 to 18 months. It's a film I've been looking forward to--but whenever it's been shown up here, it's received poor reviews.
Thanks for the astute reply, Cara ChaCha, since "young and insecure" certainly applies. That kind of show-offy wise-asserie is just one more instance of the adolescent male merde that (for me) qualifies as masculinity at its worst...
Arrested development!

And I like the idea that they are now more interested in the real world with their "attention to details such as language and diction, accent, music, physical surroundings and realities." So, I'll go watch "Miller's Crossing."

Where does one find Dawn French's impersonation of CZJ?

I'll also go look for War Inc, so thanks for that too. Naomi Klein is already known to me.

PS And how do you feel about your neighbor Jane Siberry?
Her "The Walking" is one of my super-faves.

anna k
The Descent is so so good. It is an excellent film in the horror genre, with incredibly strong and real female characters (the actresses are all these earthy, athletic U.K. beauties who look like they'd be fun to have an ale with), the cave creatures being all real actors, not CGI blobs, and a incredible set that looks both claustrophobic and huge, yet so much work and craftmanship as seen in the DVD features. I was really shocked by the suspense of the film, cringing at particular moments, a lot of WTF moments. I highly reccomend this movie to anyone who wants to see a challenge in the horror genre, great female characters, or just be scared and shocked by film's end.
For a while, Dolor, she really was my neighbour! I'd run into her almost every Sunday morning at any Queen street breakfast place, but this was back in the early 90's. She was always stunningly beautiful and quite interestingly dressed for a Sunday morning: freshfaced, blonde, happy. Everyone else would look like I did: not bouncy, usually rolling into breakfast from wherever I'd set myself to go out Saturday night, no sleep yet. And, then she moved to New York City and branched out.

Now she's "Issa", and she lives everywhere. Very interesting take on the entire idea of music and remuneration. I have always thought her voice was gorgeous and her sense of humour brilliant (I'll always love her Mimi On The Beach song. It was just "of the moment" for me, way back when, and my "first" Siberry tune).

You can find a slew of Dawn French's CZJ parodies here. I hate to YouTube, but it's the only way. She has a number of different skits available at this link but I'd spend too much time there. She's got all the CZJ mannerisms down--my favourite being that subtle "breast shaking" thing she does, shoulders shifted to force the impressive bustline proudly forward, for just a second or two, you hardly see it coming or happening but at some point it registers, and I'm sure it sold quite a few cell phones in the US as she did it in every one of the commercials.

I could watch her do just about anything, she's just one of those irreverent and extremely ingenious comediennes and her size never gets in the way of what she does, she's always using it to such perfect advantage and it works in every role, even the highly improbable (like CZJ). Nobody on this side of the Atlantic seems capable (or allowed) of anything similar.
Hey, I'm jealous, of your neighborhood. And I've never been to Toronto. Of all the cities in the universe, it's the one that is most surprising that I haven't been to. Yet. (I've been as close as... Peterborough.)

"Issa" performs regularly in Northampton MA, which is about 2 hrs from my house.... so I hope to make a pilgrimage some season. Even tho I fear that Issa is more likely to sing simpler songs of faith and Christian affirmation, as opposed the more complex, charged, troubled songs that Jane sang, that I remain so impressed by. Her "The Walking" is really jaw-dropping, the whole album. Do you know it? (And it takes its place in a triad of Magnificent Gerunds, along with Joni's The Hissing and Kate's The Dreaming.)

I'm off to Montreal today where I can probably get into you-tube to see Dawn F's version of CZJ, using the hotel wi-fi. (I only have dial-up out here in cow-country, not enough pipe for YT, etc.) Unfortunately I don't know CZJ well enough to appreciate the virtuosity of Dawn's satire. But I'm sure I've witnessed amateur instances of "that subtle "breast shaking" thing," and look forward to seeing a just how it should be done, by two professionals.

OK, since we're so off topic now, let's get back to Atonement, another AA nomination for best picture, right? And a handful of another nominations, too. Saw it a few days back. I'm sure that there was much missing, not transposed from Ian McEwan's novel, because it seemed just too simple. Well done, sure, with an esp. excellent mass choreographed scene of soldiers milling around Dunkirk, on the beach, but the story line was just too familiar. (I fear that there's been some unfortunate distancing... by watching this on the small screen, with tinny sound.)

Next in line: CQ, Up and Down, TWBB, Jacque Demy's "Peau D'Ane" (1971).
Thanks for the "Descent" tip, Anna.
The Triad of Magnificent Gerunds! I classify this way too, but with films. I am familiar with The Walking and The Dreaming...but only passingly familiar with The Hissing, because Joni Mitchell has been a lifetime project for me and I'm still working on it.

Incidentally, with films I've a bias: I purposely avoid what I've been calling Gerundive Movies now, ever since Saving Private Ryan. It seems to be abused to signify an attempt at "independent" film production. And I never liked Spielberg anyway.
double post delete
lol... thank you for the CZJ talk... hilarious. that's why i lurve y'all. i was talking with my friend about mike douglas when it occurred to me that it's really been that his films have been so quintessetually eighties, which to my hard lefty way of thinking was a particularly odious, wrong-headed decade, whose fuck-ups we are still screwing up this country and obliquely the world. think about it-- three of his movies-- fatal attraction, falling down and wall street, encompass all of the fears, hatred and poisons in all areas of 80's america.

i have to agree with anna's assessment of descent. with the exception of one part of the movie , that stupid fake ending that just pissed me off, i found it to be smart, very suspenseful, and i loved the strong women. it was quite a surprise that it was as good as it was.

with the coens, i loved their show offy-ness. raising arizona was one of the movies that made me pay attention to movies. that summer i had seen brazil, with it's british sense of humor and was enthralled. i can't stand monty python, but this film was dark, but bright and shiny, and unlike anything i had seen before and was stunned by it, then saw after hours, which introduced me to black comedy in a contemporary, realistic (of sorts) frame, with scorsese's flashy motion camera work which set me up perfectly for the oddball tracking shots of the coens. and then went to see RA, loved it, to me it was so free, and quirky in a way that didn't bug me. i had seen movies like johnathan demme's married to the mob and hated it. the colors and "wackyness" was hardly funny, where as RA's goofyness seemed over the top, but in a observed way-- atleast to me. the scene where they deal with their friends and their demonseed kids stand out. just the minutiae of "the dip-tet" had me rolling. i dragged a bunch of friends to see it, all of whom, hated it. i had only two friends who liked any of these movies, but i was hooked. i had found license to love films inspite of what my friends thought, and from that point on i could not get enough of film.

i agree with you about spielberg, his inability to break away from the restoration of the nuclear family formula makes his films chafing. war of the worlds being the most ridiculous of the lot. the world has been chewed up by aliens, and by the end of the film the hero finds his way to his family's untouched, tree lined, idyllic hood, hardly the worse for wear, all of his family intact. no matter the danger, not a hair on his head is harmed. pppft!.

i do not understand the odd conservatism of film reviewers of late. anything that really smacks of politics is not just said to be bad, but is vilified. war inc, and stop loss, and the other movies that have dealt with american politics, or the lies of war, are always given the worst reviews. i haven't seen any of the films but i can't believe they are all as bad as they are made out to be. it is as if the pre-war, question nothing, lemming mentality has finally found it's way to the reviewers. i find it a bit disturbing....

god. i need to get back to seeing movies, the seattle film festival has started, and slacker me, i've had romance from netflix, unopened on my desk for the last 3 mos. i've only seen movies in the theatre.
Having read Atonement (and steeling myself for disappointment) I thought the film was... okay. It looked stunning, particularly the rich colours and period detail. Unfortunately, I don't think Kiera Knightley can really act, or at least not yet. I read an interview with her where she's described whimsically as an egg: perfect surface, but no clues as to what's happening inside--a problem for an actress surely?

James McEvoy was better. My favourite performance was Vanessa Redgrave's, I thought she got the older, embittered, regretful Briony perfectly. And of course, the TV interviewer was Anthony Minghella (RIP).

GT, is it Breillat's Romance you have? I think she has her moments and can certainly be effectively provocative, but in hindsight I think Romance misfired. Interesting though...
Funny, I read Atonement when it was first published just on MacEwan's charisma alone. And then I thought, what's the big thing about this novel? I thought I might not have been "ready" for it at that time, and then I re-read it after a few weeks, and I decided it was written well enough but it just did nothing for me. So I've avoided the movie all together, because I don't want to come away from that experience dazzled by cinematography and costumes and disappointed anyway. Hey, I've seen Brideshead Revisited so many times now: I believe gorgeous locations and scenes and buildings and quads and costumes should only enhance great acting and a great story, not be a substitute for the lack of these things.

By the way, I'm dreading the release of Brideshead Revisited "remade" as a film, and it's on the horizon, I know it.

anna k
I didn't like Romance. I thought it was slow and boring, the heroine had very little personality, and it felt dull. I liked Fat Girl, I thought it was good and had a sick shock ending.

I thought War of the Worlds dragged, and the scene ripping off Jurassic Park annoyed me. As well as the ending where the perfect suburban neighborhood is intact, while New Jersey is just destroyed.

GT, I agree on the ending to The Descent. I read that there's a sequel being made to it with both the actresses who played Sarah and Juno, and I don't know how good it would be. The same director did Doomsday, which I wanted to see but it only played in one theater and at inconvenient times for me.
Count me in on The Descent love (except, of course, for what gt mentioned. GOD that made me so mad).

I liked Atonement the movie more than the book (more for the cinematography than anything else; that 5 minute shot was incredible), but neither were particularly good.

I saw Paris, Je T'Aime the other night and actually liked it (I don't usually care for vignettes). I think this one was much easier to stomach because of soooo many different directors bringing in their quirks/genres. I don't get why Gus van Sant is being such a tool with his work as of late, but he needs to stop trying to channel Kurt Cobain. Seriously. Anyway, I think Alexander Payne's vignette was my favorite. I couldn't stop laughing.
I saw Paris Je T'aime a while ago...or, rather part of it, as I fell asleep! A bad, if not truthful, sign of my opinion on any film, according to M. ChaCha, who recalls that I fell asleep at a film we saw during one of first dates. It was The Godfather III, he claims we'd just finished the popcorn and the movie had just started...and woke up during Al Pacino's silent scream of triumph/agony over Sofia Coppola's miserable acting.

But it doesn't always apply! I have watched it again since and I liked some vignettes so much better than others. I thought the Alexander Payne one in the famous cemetary was very good. But I'm in total agreement with you, faerietales--I think Van Sant has been overtaken by the whole Kurt Cobain myth and he's putting that iconic character everywhere he can (but he's not that entertaining a character, already!). My favourite vignette was the one with the voice over, with the husband who meets his wife in a cafe intending to break with her, to leave her for his mistress. But then he changes his mind completely when she tells him she's dying and remembers he's so deeply in love with her that he never gets over her when she dies.
I just saw Eagle vs. Shark the other night. Sooooo funny, cute, and serious all at the same time. It's pretty short too, only about an hour and 20 min.
Hello Reel Lifers, just wanted to stop in to say that i am going to go watch the Sex and The City movie tomorrow.

it happened kinda like this, i called my mom and said, "hey what's up, what are you doing?"
mom: going to go gamble, i am bored.
me: what are you doing tomorrow?
mom: going to the newly renovated (totally retro) movie theatre with my friend julie to see Sex and The City. *giggle giggle snort* wanna go?
me: okay!!
mom: come early, we'll have brunch and cosmos first! *giggle giggle*
me: how old is julie?
mom: i don't know??
me: okay, i'll see tomorrow then.
*gets off phone and wonders why she was giggling, looks over to napping boy, tells him, he grumbles back to sleep about how much he hates Sex and The City*

Here's a good review of the Liz Jones


I also saw Then She Found Me the other night, it was sweet and thoughtful and I am just so happy to see so many more movies with large budgets being written and directed by women. I won't say too much about it, except that Helen Hunt directed it and her wrinkles are a refreshing sight to see on the big screen *I am strange, I know, I actually think that wrinkles are attractive and give character to women* Helen is actually really, really unattractive to me, and I sometimes thought this to myself while watching it, which made her more enduring. *Yes, more strangeness* Good story overall. Decent movie.

I saw Paris, Je T'Aime too, the Haitian Love story just tore me up inside, real sweet and tragic. The Vampire vignette was also a favorite!

I'm Not There was okay, but not at all what I was expecting. Heath Ledger was really good, I couldn't see anyone else playing those scenes of Bob and wife, so hot in the relationship scenes.
anna k
I watched Dead Ringers tonight. It was a really gripping and tight movie, and probably the best thing I've seen Jeremy Irons in, who was brilliant and excellent.
Gosh, I thought (& feared) that the ending of There Will be Blood would be seriously over-the-top, either in the manner of some frogs-from-the-skies finale a la Magnolia or the now familiar(?) closing [there-will-be] blood-bath in the venerable tradition of Bonnie and Clyde and Taxi Driver... and compared to my apprehension, it was.... well... almost subdued...? > "It's finished..." Mr. Plainview said, slumped over.

Also, like No Country, TWBB was at first a letdown, just since I've expected so much, and so liked the stills I'd seen, but then, it has proved worth thinking about... as I have been. More on these thoughts, in a bit.

The music was sometimes too loud & in-your-face. Its anachronistic cast would have worked better if it had been more subdued. For moi.

Hey GT, the Coens came at just the right time for you.
That's the way it should be, right?

Hey ChaChaH I recorded Dawn F. doing CZJ in Montreal, as planned. But it was my first you-tube download (I'm such a noob) and I haven't located the sound-track yet. Whoops.

-- yr dolor
I saw SATC and loved it. I was one of those women who shamelessly wore dresses and stilettos and snuck booze into the theater. (the whole movie there were "clinks" of bottles being dropped and rolling down the floor) it was just a great time with the girls.

I'm not going to go into detail at this point, since a lot of people haven't seen it yet, but I will say that one of my favourite things was that the characters are unashamedly over 40, crows feet and all, and I think it's great that the movie celebrates that. The characters are still fabulous, but I thought the movie was a much more "warts and all" portrayal of them and the storyline.
"...In the same way that PTA gets a bad rap with some people because Fiona Apple sings about him being a very bad man."

Where does Ms. Apple sing about bad Mr. PTA?
I was wondering just how bad he could be, according to Fiona, too. Bad enough to make the sky rain frogs.

Everyone went out to SATC this weekend, (not me, however: I'll go eventually, as soon as every single thing in the world stops promoting the movie). I've been wondering if a film with four female lead characters, all over the age of 40, has ever been made before. Can anyone think of one? Can anyone think of one which didn't involved the typical coded lesbian relationship which ends badly? Or a girls' school somehow limiting the fabulous woman's life?

The closest I can come to it is How To Marry A Millionaire, with Betty Grable, Marilyn Monroe, and Lauren Bacall. But they were hardly in their 40's. And hardly like the women in SATC.
I honestly can't think of one movie either - and the thing I thought was cool was that the SATC film CELEBRATES that. They talk a lot about them being over 40, and not in a depressed way, but in a way that was like "we're so much more together than when we were in our 20's" kind of way. I think it was great that none of the characters even pretends to be younger than she is.
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