January 15, 2006

Pics and pans at the movies

Hello all! I know it's been awhile since I posted, but things have been crazy at work, and I'm transitioning to a different computer at home. I will attempt in this post to catch you up on a few films and videos I caught recently.

Back over the holidays, the SNU and I went to take in The Producers. It was...good, but not great. In truth it's a lot like the stage show, which has the same problems (the beginning and the end). But the middle was great, and full of hilarious characters. Will Ferrell (who can often bug me) was really great as an over-the-top Nazi. The big disappointment for me was the old lady number ("Along Came Bialy") which just didn't have the oomph you saw in the stage version. Worth seeing? I'd wait for the video.

Tonight we went to see Last Holiday. It was a really enjoyable movie, and I'll borrow from a review I read to summarize. It's great because of 3 little words - "starring Queen Latifah." She absolutely shines with charm, and plays the most understated character I've ever seen her do. I wish I could meet her, because I know she'd love me and we'd be BFFs! But I digress.

This film is pure fluff and fun. If you can't figure out the entire plot (including the ending) after the first 20 minutes, you're not paying attention. But clearly the director had a simple vision, and that was to make you feel good. Guess what? It works. But it also begs the age-old question - if you only had weeks to live what would you do? (Seriously, what would you do? I'd love to hear your responses.) I think I'd take a lot of cues from the film. I'd travel to Europe, and maybe Africa. I'd eat everything in sight. And I think I'd throw myself into a one night only dance concert to go out with a bang!

On the video front, I highly recommend seeing Happy Endings. Don't be fooled - it's far from a feel-good film. It's really a complex and interesting character study, with some amazing performances from Lisa Kudrow and Maggie Gyllenhaal, not to mention hottie-hott Jason Ritter, late of my adored Joan of Arcadia. It's a hard plot to explain, but let me just say that it's similar to Magnolia - a lot of characters and plot threads that slowly intertwine until they collide. And watch yourself being shocked that you actually like Tom Arnold. I'm serious! I confess that I was having...feelings. And now I will burst into flames.

Next we watched A Dirty Shame by John Waters. Frankly, I thought it was a pile of poo. It's as if Waters is now putting stupid stuff on the screen just because he always has. The problem is that years ago it was shocking. Now it's just...silly. The one highlight was that a woman we went to grad school with (and who starred in the SNU's excellent production of Sam Shepard's "Buried Child") was in the film. Her name is Jewel Orem, and she played Loose Linda, who was basically a slut in a police uniform. Hott!!!

Finally, we watched the critically acclaimed Crash. The reason this movie got acclaim was because it's DAMN GOOD. It also is in the Magnolia-model of multiple characters and plot threads, but in this case it's an examination of race relations in America. It says a lot of things that people are secretly thinking but would never say out loud. It's shocking, sometimes scary, sometimes painful. The man getting most of the buzz is Terrence Howard, who has a really emotional and fascinating role. (And I must say he's got the most gorgeous eyes I've ever seen.) He was also good in Ray, and my next stop will be to rent Hustle & Flow.

In short, rent this movie and see it at least once. I wish everyone would, because it really makes you think. Political correctness be damned.

And let me close with a shout-out. Tonight we went to a photography exhibition at the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop, where I myself have taken a photography class. We were invited to see a piece on display by our own Stef. It was a nice show and was hosted by none other than J of DC Food Blog. It was very nice, and now I'm itching to take another class, and take dozens of pictures. Rest assured we chatted a bunch, and dinner plans will be made amongst us. Come home soon, T!


ScottE. said...

A dirty Shame is pure filth, I love it!

Producers had some fun stuff in it. Uma...MILF!

Crash...I cried two or three times from some of the simplest things...very well done movie. Congrats to the whole cast!

I was baking during Happy Endings, so while good, can't totally comment.

Last Holiday. Love it. Really, it's not going to change the world, it's just fun. It will make you happy. And a major shout out to The Food Network for helping the movie with all the foodie moments.

If I had three weeks left...I'd quite my job. use up every red cent and get out of dodge. Perhaps spend the last week on a farm in Ireland and end it there in peace and quiet.

Stef said...

Thanks for the shout out! I was happy you guys could come see the show - it means a lot. :-)

I really want to see Last Holiday. Queen Latifah is just so appealing - what's her Q factor??? And is LL Cool J just as hot as can be? She's the whole reason I rented and enjoyed Beauty Shop.

Crash is phenomenal, and if you think Terrence is good in that one, you should run - not walk - to the store to get Hustle & Flow. It's such a powerful movie, and his performance is amazing. He's one of those few actors that really loses himself in a role (it's not like "oh, now I'm watching Matt Damon be an assassin" or "now George Clooney's a tv producer"). Terrence Howard is barely recognizable between his different roles, and he is damn hot in Hustle & Flow.

I want to see Happy Endings, and I've actually never seen Magnolia either. Loading up Netflix...

I just watched Fight Club for the first time yesterday. Wow, I had no idea it was so smart and suspenseful - Ed Norton is always amazing, and I do like Mr. Pitt. I like the choices he makes.

ScottE. said...

S-Fight Club is a good movie. Not to mention hot...But a very well done film.

Lady Brandenburg said...

Loved Crash. Loved Magnolia. Will put Happy Endings on my queue.

Will have to brave Dirty Shame to see our beloved Jewel.

Love the Queen of Latifah!