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Showing posts from May, 2010

Review of "Robin Hood"

One of the surprising things about the “tea-bagger revolution,” is that without any of the sort of in-film help kindly proffered in “Life of Brian,” it suddenly becomes much harder to hear of peasant revolts against unfair taxes and instantly hate the surely unjust, greedy lords at work cruelly starving the populace, just to fight primarily vanity-driven, foreign wars. Instead, for at least a moment or two, we wonder if there might in fact have been some justice in the taxing, and some (not starvation driven) insanity in the peasants, and further that if we continue to cheer on those we are directed to cheer for, if we’re not in some way taking in of the same very bad inputs which produced these American misanthropes in the first place.
This isn’t the first time with Ridley Scott, but despite every bit of force motioning us to despise the new king for dismissing the long-serving Earl Marshall, I cheered for the royalty. In this case I specifically cheered -- build ’dem roads! get ’dem …

There is place for growth in leisured paradise: Review of "Letters to Juliet"

It is unbecoming of a lady to marry her steward, and so the pseudo-Italian fiancee, who is expert and fussy-obsessed with all the variant particulars concerning his “estate” -- his newly opened restaurant -- is to be discarded for a gentleman who’s only obligation is to show himself good-looking, vital, and inherently decent and well-mannered -- a proper lord.This is one of the things you understand while watching “Letters to Juliet,” yet another film which must be objected to lest we become unable to see reality. Our lady, Sophie, has gone to Brown, what has apparently become THE finishing school for ladies in our times, being not so ardent-seeming that it might coarsen you with too professional a sense of purpose, yet still as established and esteemed as any of the more prominent ivyies.If you’ve gone to Brown, you may be the sort who is just not pushy enough to have already scored a career as a major writer at the New Yorker by the time she’s twenty-two, not brutally driven enough t…

I want one!

The picture never looks fussed-over or flattened — it breathes, as opposed to just looking merely pretty. Pontecorvo approaches the actresses with the same uncalculated respect.The actors here offer plenty sturdy support for their female counterparts: Bernal’s character is scattered but sympathetic; Egan, deeply unlikable at first, by the end opens himself to the camera in a way you’d never see coming. But the picture really belongs to its two leads. Seyfried gives a wonderfully loose, unstudied performance — nothing she does is forced. And it doesn’t hurt that she has the most gorgeous, enormous eyes in movies today: Not even Disney’s Nine Old Men could have dreamed them up.[. . .] Nero makes his entrance here, Lancelot-style, on a white horse. It’s a touch so perfect, so silly-wonderful, that it’s something of a salve after the almost-too-painful moment that comes immediately before. Redgrave is now 73, but it takes zero imagination to see the face of the young Guenevere in this old…

Correct thought

One of the less trumpeted features of the Internet is the unprecedented access it provides to really, really bad writing. Of course, awful books have always been with us, but nowadays a specimen of unkempt, puffed-up prose or stumbling, lugubrious verse doesn't even need to make it past an editor or publisher to glide slimily into the awareness of the unsuspecting public.[. . .]In the early 20th century, dinner party guests would entertain each other by reciting passages from the alliteration-heavy works of one Amanda McKittrick Ros (1860-1939), regarded by experts as the greatest bad novelist of all time. In Oxford, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien and their friends competed to see who could read aloud from Ros' books the longest before cracking up. (Laura Miller, “Bad writing: What is it good for,” Salon, 11 May 2010)Correct thoughtI think if you laugh at prose so that it strips it of authority (what the Moderns did with their Victorian predecessors), so that your own artistic v…

Divides

In fact, while it's possible that before Hunter started speaking on her own behalf, I might have entertained the notion that she was a slightly dopey lady who fell hard for a bad man who was running for president and got caught in a very unfortunate saga, I now feel quite confident that in fact she is a borderline simpleton, fame-seeking narcissist whose self-interested grab for attention is likely doing further permanent damage to the Edwards family, including her daughter and her siblings. If her appearance on the Oprah show seemed like an unjust setup, then Hunter proved that, every once in a while, someone so amply meets all expectations for awfulness that it's impossible to muster anything other than loathing for them. (Rebecca Traister, Rielle Hunter's undeniable awfulness,” Salon, 29 April 2010)Good girls get their consolation prizeRE: "I now feel quite confident that in fact she is a borderline simpleton, fame-seeking narcissist whose self-interested grab for …

Oysters

The fact is, we tell women that being good people involves agreeability, cooperation and a little bit of self-sacrifice. In addition to telling them to be polite and deferential, we teach little girls from the beginning that life is going to be hard and involve compromise. This dose of realism is not terrible; it girds us for some hardship along the way. But it also lowers expectations for remuneration and recognition. Despite those who say that women have lately been told that they could "have it all," that promise has, in my experience, always been accompanied by caveats that a) we probably can't, b) if we do, it's going to be incredibly difficult, and c) that if we somehow do manage to achieve any kind of satisfaction or balance, we should be damn grateful. Gratitude, I've found, is not an attitude that results in promotions and raises. (Rebecca Traister, “A nice girl’s guide to getting ahead,” Salon, 26 April 2010)OystersI think we all need to remember that …