November 15, 2004
Aside from the birthday weekend, what else did we do? Well, we watched a lot of movies. Even went to two. Here's the rundown...
Dirty Pretty Things
Dirty Pretty Things is the latest starring that cute chick from Amelie. Iím not sure I can adequately describe the plot. Letís just say that it was weirdness. And Iím not opposed to weirdness, in general. But weirdness must be well executed. Iím not sure this was. Quick plot summary: Former doctor who ran away from political strife in Africa is an illegal immigrant driving a taxi and working in a hotel in London. Amelie Chick is a Turkish refugee and working illegally in the same hotel. And this hotel? Weird shit goiní down, peeps. Like organ donations. See? I told you it was strange. Normally, Iíd watch pretty much anything with Amelie Chick. The problem is, she brought nothing to the movie. Its like Grace Kelly showing up and leaving the hotness in her trailer, Audrey Hepburn forgetting the elegance in the car, or Robin Williams refusing to break out the funny. These things just shouldn't happen. But it did here. The breakout star was Chiwetel Ejiofor. His performance is worth the rental fee.
The Office: Season One
I realize Iím a couple years behind the rest of the world when it comes to The Office. Iíve got BBC America. Iíve flipped it on and Iíve never really been all that amused. But you people keep telling me I should watch it and, being a dutiful blogger, subject to the will of his readers, wishing only to please, I follow instructions. What did I think? Iím not sure. Its not the funniest thing Iíve ever seen. But it is funnyÖin an extremely dry kind of way. And I know why I didnít find it funny flipping it on in the middle of an episode on TV. You have to watch these in order, you have to get to know the characters and their neuroses (of which there are plenty). Its astonishingly well-written, wonderfully acted and the entire thing is genius. Iím warming up to it.
Bridget McBeal: For No Good Reason
Playing the lead role in Chris The Good Husband this weekend, since it was my wifeís birthday, I agreed to go see the latest Bridget McBeal movie. Let me clear up something here and now Ė I do not despise chick flicks. I actually enjoy many of them. This, however, was not one of them. The first one was decent. See Bridget. See Bridget be insecure and stuff. See Bridget bitch and moan about being single. See two guys fight over Bridget. See Bridget pick one and be happy. Fine, enough said. Did we need more? Nuh-uh. But we got more. This time Bridgetís got it all and yet sheís still all complainy. While she was a likable character in the first, sheís just a brat in this one. The fake, posh British accent Renee Zellwigout puts on doesnít help either. Why not move Bridget to Boston, set her up in a law firm where she can imagine sheís seeing dancing babies and fall in love with quirky legal partners or, maybe, Robert Downey Jr. and pepper the whole thing with lots of Vonda Shepherd and Barry White tunes? Oh, wait. Thatís been done, hasnít it?
The Life of David Gale
It was expected that The Life of David Gale would be a controversial film. It wasnít because no one actually went to see it. Including me. But Iím glad I eventually got around to watching it. Sure, its heavy. You wouldnít really expect a movie about the death penalty to be a feel good film, wouldya? While yes, it is a downer, its also extraordinarily well-acted - Kevin Spacey is excellent as is Kate Winslet. Its less of a discussion about the death penalty than it is a story about one extraordinary case. And although my wife guessed it half-way though, thereís an interesting twist.
Kill Bill Vol. 2
Iíve never been Quentin Tarintinoís biggest fan. I think heís overrated. And pretty much a freak. And a spazz. I knowÖpot, kettle, black and all that. Why Reservoir Dogs is so highly thought of, Iíll never understand. Pulp Fiction was good, not great. But the combination of volumes one and two of Kill Bill constitute a brilliant film. Maybe Iíve finally seen the light. Maybe I get it now. While Kill Bill Volume 1 was primarily focused on carnage, the second volume showed us the relationships driving the whole story (well, there was some eye plucking, gunshots to the head and plenty of blood too). The combination of excellent acting, beautiful direction and fantastic music made me believe that Quentinís not just an overrated hack. He might actually know what heís doing. But heís still a spazz.
Know what I really like? A good horror movie that creeps my ass out. Not one with a requisite decapitation every two minutes but one that toys with you a little bit, one thatís a little smart, not just one that aims for the lowest common denominator. The Grudge fit the bill. Sure, there are very few people youíve heard of in it, the actingís not spectacular and Buffy Michelle Slayer didnít add anything Ė that character could have been played by anyone. Its not a character-driven movie - just an overall things-that-go-bump-in-the-Japanese-night kinda movie. Creepy? Yes. Fun? Definitely.
Aimee Mann: Live at St. Annís Warehouse
Aimeeís the Mann! The recently released package (containing a live DVD and accompanying audio CD) is a pleasure to listen to and watch. Mannís performance is much like her songs Ė nothing flashy, pretty straightforward but enthusiastic. Her backing band was solid (although her guitarist? Yeah, I could do that. Aimee, if youíre listening and need a guitarist for that new album, let me know, okay?) and the setlist was fantastic. Dude, she played a killer version of Invisible Ink, my favorite Mann song. What more could I ask for?
Dirty Pretty Things:
The Office: Season One:
Bridget McBeal: For No Good Reason:
The Life of David Gale:
Kill Bill Vol. 2:
Aimee Mann: Live at St. Annís Warehouse: