Ay, I’ve really fallen into lazy habits… its not just this site and updating; hell, my gym is right around the corner but I keep on finding excuses not to go.
I have a mini-break from classes so I’m going to make an effort to get up to speed here. So to start the trickle….
Its Academy Awards time again – it seems with each season I lose more interest – is it just me, or have the last few years been kind of unspectacular film-wise?
I’ve seen most of the nominated films, although I have yet to catch Good Night and Good Luck and Memoirs of Geisha (I had problems with the book – written by a white American male, the novel kind of had a neo-Orientalist vibe that turned me off).
Over the last two weeks, I finally made it to screenings of Munich and Transamerica.
I expected to be absolutely depressed by Munich– and that’s why I put off seeing it. Instead I enjoyed the film immensely, which is probably not the kind of reaction one should have to a story of terrorism and violence. I’m afraid the deeper message was maybe a bit lost on me – Munich is one damn good and riveting and sexy road - heist movie – the art direction and locales, recreating the Europe, Israel, and Beirut of the mid-seventies are absolutely superb!
And the fashion… longtime readers know I have a bit of a fetish for the style of the Europeof my early childhood!
Munich also stands out because it is an ensemble piece consisting of some of contemporary world cinema’s finest players – some just making cameos, like French-Canadian hotness Marie-Josée Croze (absolutely killer as a Dutch assassin) and the lovely and amazing Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi, and others - Ciarán Hinds (late as Caesar in HBO’s Rome. Season finale spoiler: Brutus got him.), and France’s Mathieu Kassovitz, and Yvan Attal, barely recognizable (a testament to their talent) in slightly more substantial roles.
I’m horrible, I know... kinda had to suppress a bit of laughter with the final digitally re-created image of the World Trade Center towers – um, more than a bit overwrought – but Munich is a Spielberg production after all. Seriously, though, the film worked on many different levels and is a bit of an overlooked masterpiece.
Speaking of overlooking stuff, today I finally made it to see Transamerica – everyone has gone all gaga over Felicity Huffman’s performance. I was getting a bit of cabin fever at home with all my applications, paperwork, and taxes and decisions - not to mention trying to pull together a business plan.
I swear it’s been a slow cinema period because Transamerica was the only somewhat appealing option and I kinda knew I would detest it. Although I think Desperate Housewives is the most disgustingly over-rated and gimmicky phenomena on non- reality television programming, I do appreciate Mrs. Wiliam H. Macy's work on Sports Night and Paul Thomas Anderson’s Magnolia.
At any rate, I was squirming early on – the dialogue was painfully trite and I’m sure Felicity Huffman was turning in some sublime actorly-crafty work but yeeesh… the material. I’m sorry, I’m all for progressive themes in cinema but if the screenplay sucks why bother.
Well, I was saved by the bell so to speak – the fire alarm went off and the entire theater complex was evacuated after about a third of the film passed and right before I was going to beat the retreat and cut my losses. Fortunately I was able to get a free pass for another show at Landmark E Street.
Back to the looming Academy Awards, methinks Brokeback Mountain will do well – best picture and director for Ang Lee definitely. Philip Seymour Hoffman will probably take home the Best Actor for Capote – and deservedly in my book. I’m rooting for Paul Giamatti for Best Supporting actor even though I didn’t see that boxer film (did anyone?) but over-exposed Clooney might well have the golden gloves this year. Reese Witherspoon is looking pretty strong as Best Actress for Walk the Line but Felicity Huffman, hot on the trail, may well walk away with the prize. Hollywood is a bit much with this liberal self-congratulatory schtick – if Oprah-sanctioned Crash takes over the show – talk about a contrived screenplay – I wouldn’t be surprised. Anyways, I just don’t care at this point and will probably just crash midway through the ceremonies like last year – I just hope we have a more vibrant 2006 in cinema!