Sunday, May 21

A slight ramble

We're having a weird thunderstorm here in MA, and the cats are a little freaked out. They're even saying we might get hail! I've been in two hailstorms in my life, and they were actually a little fun - but I imagine they can be pretty un-fun under different circumstances. At least I have nowhere to be tonight. We bought a new television this weekend (24"! It seems huge compared to my old 14-incher) so I'm parking myself here to watch Dear Wendy, written by my love, Lars von Trier.

In knitting news, I'm nearing the end of my second Forecast sleeve! I finally picked out some buttons, taking my mother's advice and going light instead of the dark leather I was originally considering. Here's a link to them. I hope they show up soon so I can finish this thing! I think I'll cast on for Brocade next... very, very excited.

Amy Adams in Junebug

I watched Junebug sometime last week and I enjoyed it, as I was prepared to. It was a very solid film with a few great performances - Amy Adams, in my opinion, deserved every ounce of praise she got. I'm not sure I found Alessandro Nivola's performance as convicing, however. He was George, a North Carolina-to-Chicago transplant with that alluring drawl and quiet demeanor. I didn't see where his character was coming from - maybe he was just underdeveloped compared to some of the others. Junebug deals with some interesting issues (like an outsider coming into a thoroughly Southern family), although I can't say how accurately certain things are portrayed. Anyway, good movie, easy to watch, definitely worth it.

from Mike Leigh's Naked

Mike Leigh's Naked. Well. I was floored by this one. I'm not sure I've seen anything like David Thewlis' Johnny, the protagonist. I particularly liked his conversation with Brian, the security guard, and the scenes with Jeremy Smart - my, what a character. The dialogue is fast and thickly British but oh oh oh I loved it. I read on IMDB that Thewlis improvised most of the script - I think it's true, since I've read that Leigh often encourages his actors to do so. This will probably, definitely be the next film I buy on DVD.

from Open Hearts

Open Hearts is the third film I've seen done in the Dogme 95 style (the others being The Idiots and The King is Alive). If you're not familiar with it, here's a brief explanation: in 1995, Lars von Trier, Thomas Vinterberg and 2 other directors got together and created a manifesto to push the limits of film and "counter certain tendencies" in contemporary cinema. Basically, Dogme films are shot with hand-held cameras without sets, props, sound effects, makeup, lighting... everything is real. Another stipulation is that the director cannot be credited.

Open Hearts violates the 6th point on the "Vow of Chastity," which states that "the film must not contain superficial action (murders, weapons, etc must not occur.)" The film, however, revolves around a car accident that happens early in the film - a man is hit and is paralyzed from the neck down. Obviously this didn't really happen. Also, it has a soundtrack - music that was added after the film was shot. However, even von Trier himself has admitted that no film can adhere to the dogma 100% (each director, I believe, may write a "confessional" after the fact revealing where they may have strayed). If you'd like to read more about Dogme 95, the website is here. I'm looking forward to seeing the other two original Dogme films - Festen and Milfune.

Anyway, back to Open Hearts. It was okay. Nowhere near as inventive as the other Dogme films I've seen, but perhaps it's not fair to hold it up to that standard. On its own, the story is fairly simple and a touch predictable (wife hits girls boyfriend with car and paralyzes him, husband comforts girl... you take it from there). The acting was good, definitely convincing and at times compelling. But somehow it just feels forgettable. Take away the Dogme label and the way it was shot and I'm not sure much would be left.

Sorry to ramble about that!