Monday, January 31, 2011

Stanley Kubrick's THE KILLING (1956)

Kicking off Kubrick week at A Bright Wall in a Dark Room is my essay about one of his first films, 1956's The Killing.  Please click through to read!

'Cuz if you want it, here's my heart...

Yes, that's an *N SYNC reference.  Because their 2000 album is probably my most-played ever, and shares a title with a perfectly cute romantic comedy which I saw this weekend, No Strings Attached, starring Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher.  Strange pairing, I know, but I'd like to repeat what a coworker told me, which is that she's doing a decent job so far of working her way through simulated sex scenes with cast members from That '70s Show.  Who's next, Tommy Chong?  Oh please let it be Tommy Chong.

When I first saw an ad for No Strings Attached a couple of months ago, I was blindsided, wondering what hip Natalie Portman of Paris, Je T'aime, The Professional, and Black Swan, was doing in a romcom with Ashton Kutcher (Just Married, What Happens in Vegas).  When I realized that this was the same movie as a script I read and loved in 2008, Liz Meriweather's Fuckbuddies, it felt much better.  And directed by Ivan Reitman, who's directed some classic '80s and '90s comedies, including a favorite of mine: Junior.  But still, this is an Ashton Kutcher romantic comedy, and movie tickets are expensive, so I was hesitant.  But throw in Mindy Kaling, and I'm in.

The movie is perfectly cute, and fairly honestly and reasonably portrays the realities of sex, dating, and relationships for young professionals.  Yes, the families are kookier than average, and the house of attractive doctors is extraordinarily fancy (do they not have student loans?), but I felt like I could see my friends engaging in some of the same situations as the movie's characters do.  That's what I loved so much about Meriweather's script, which was that it was written by a female contemporary, and reflected the real world we live in, and how we think, not how middle-aged men assume we do.  Admittedly, her script was much, much raunchier, and tinged with a little bit more of the neuro-atypical.

Greta Gerwig, Kevin Kline, Opehlia Lovibond, and Lake Bell turned in performances that I enjoyed probably more than Natalie's and Ashton's, and according to Wikipedia, it was Cary Elwes behind Dr. Metzner's beard!  I never would have known.  Perhaps a beard is the modern day mask, obscuring even the varying identities of, say, a Dread Pirate Roberts?  Mindy Kaling's role is regrettably small, and I am terrified that she is going to become the next Judy Greer, always the best friend, never the lead.  Somebody please find a great starring role for her.  She's pretty, she's funny, she can be crass - let's get this done.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Happy 2011!

Welcome back to yet another one of my returns from an unexplained blogging hiatus.  Between a new, more demanding job, thrice weekly Muay Thai sessions, and a holiday trip to Sydney, I have hardly had time to do laundry, let alone blog.  I'll work to carve out more time, though.

I've seen The King's Speech, Hereafter, and The Fighter, and I am finally going to watch Inception on BluRay tonight.  I've read The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, and have loaded the other two Larsson books onto my new Kindle, along with Infinite Jest, Water for Elephants, and The Hunger Games.  Over the holidays I read a new nonfiction book called Blue Ribbon Babies and Labors of Love, about the racial and social politics of adoption in America today.

Big Love is back on for its final season, and so far it's off to a better start than I thought it would be after the craziness of last season.  That said, it does make me miss TLC's Sister Wives.  I bought myself the Lord of the Rings trilogy on BluRay for Christmas, as well as seasons 1-3 of Mad Men.  Gotta love Amazon Gold Box deals.  So uh, yeah.  And Parks and Rec is back with a whimper, but I'll try to do a full Thursday night comedy rundown this week.

I've missed you, internet box where I type things I think!