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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Cronicas (Chronicle)

I watched this 2004 movie on video tonight. John Leguizamo plays an American journalist who works for a Spanish-language Hard Copy-style tabloid news show. He's in Ecuador, pursuing a story about a serial killer. The movie follows him as he discovers and then suppresses information about the perpetrator. I thought the movie was grim but brave, especially the end - watching the journalist get on a plane for home, everyone thinking he's a hero, but the audience knows he completely sold his soul. There was no redemption for him or his team (who were complicit in his actions); in fact, there's no redemption of the situation at all. Even though I didn't actually enjoy the movie, I was struck by the fact that American movies NEVER do that - the good guy always has to win, balance always has to be restored, justice always must be served. And though that's "entertaining," it doesn't reflect real life. Not that movies must reflect real life, but it would be so nice if more American/English language movies were willing to leave us off kilter a bit more often.


Monday, August 21, 2006

Movie Lust

My friend Suzanne gave me her Fall Movie Preview issue of Premiere magazine and my friend Sue gave me her Fall Movie Preview issue of Entertainment Weekly, so I'm awash in movie lust - looking forward to all the movies that are due this fall that sound so good. But there's the rub - I make myself this same list every year, but then end up skipping half the movies, because once they come out, it's apparent that they're disappointing. But I can't help myself - I want to see these classy films with my favorite performers and I want to see the latest from my favorite directors. Here's a few of the films that I hope live up to expectations:

All the King's Men (with Sean Penn, what more do you need?)
Children of Men (the new Clive Owen, enough said)
Hollywoodland (the imdb comments are glowing)
I Could Never Be Your Woman (May-December romance, with the woman being older!)
Lucky You (sounds odd, but Curtis Hanson is generally very good)
The Last King of Scotland (about Idi Amin, could be great)
Running with Scissors (book adaptation)
Little Children (another book adaptation)
Babel (worth seeing [almost] no matter what)
The Prestige (looks good, but could disappoint, despite a great cast)
The Illusionist (getting good buzz and I love Edward Norton)
Killshot (looks dumb, but Get Shorty was so fun . . .)
Catch a Fire (South Africa drama with Tim Robbins, sounds great)
Infamous (another film about Capote, and getting great buzz)
Breaking and Entering (Anthony Minghella, which is all you need, but it also has Jude Law)
Marie Antoniette (Sofia Coppola's sophomore effort, could be a massive disappointment)
Flags of our Fathers (I like the disillusioned war hero angle, plus it has Ryan Phillippe)
The Fountain (sounds challenging, but worth seeing)
Fur (Nicole Kidman as photographer Diane Arbus - a must see)
For Your Consideration (a satire about an indie film getting Oscar consideration - I'm there!)
The Good German (Clooney's next one, with Tobey Maguire, in black and white, of course)
Fast Food Nation (based on the book, a must see)

This is only a partial list, there's so much more. But if even half of these were as good as they sound, it would be a great couple of movie-going months!


Saturday, August 19, 2006

On being a "homemaker"

A friend asked me today if I'm "getting used to life as a homemaker" and I had to admit that it's quite the opposite - I'm slowly losing my mind. I can't believe women enjoy this. I feel totally overwhelmed and totally useless at the same time. I can't wait to get back to work - to earn my own money and do something that feels meaningful - because shopping, cooking, doing laundry and running endless errands definitely doesn't. I don't know how I got all this done and also worked all day, but I did! I felt overwhelmed then too, but I had a real reason - now I feel overwhelmed and I can't understand why.

This sensation is exacerbated by the very fact that I can't find a job, though I'm been searching since January. I can't believe I'm at this point in my career - a Ph.D. and over 15 years of work experience - and I can't find a job! It's totally demoralizing. Of course it's not really me - there just isn't much up here, an impression that's been confirmed by many long-time residents. I know I'll find something eventually, but in the meantime, it's very hard not to be depressed. Why didn't I go to med school or become a math teacher or something useful (and portable!) like that???

Friday, August 18, 2006

On being "into" politics

I had an epiphany the other day, brought on by yet another reaction to a comment I made about election news - "Oh," people say (somewhat dismissively), "you're into politics." It's not a compliment. But then it hit me - I'm not really that into politics. Politics is about winning elections, and that hardly interests me at all. What interests me is government - who's running it and what values they bring to the job and what priorities they have for using the authority they have been granted by a trusting public. I think it's quite a different animal. And frankly, it mystifies me why more people aren't more concerned about it . . .

Thursday, August 03, 2006

more versions of Pride and Prejudice

I came across this movie at the video store: a modern, college-age version of the famous Jane Austen story, called Pride and Prejudice (apparently with the subtitle "A Latter Day Comedy" though that doesn't appear on the video box). I didn't realize until I read a user comment on imdb.com that said it's MORMON. I don't feel especially protective of Jane Austen, but I do think it's a bit arrogant to co-op this story for a religious agenda . . . but I suppose they have as much right to Jane as say, Gurinda Chadha (Bride and Prejudice) or Amy Heckerling (Clueless), though at least those writers had the decency to change the titles of their films. Here's the link to the movie if you're interested: