Thursday, April 27, 2006

Bloglines back, most of the way; movies

Two of the three addresses of the feed for this site seem to have restarted on bloglines, after a five day hiatus. I'm hoping that this means we are back in business.

The three addresses are: - That's the correct address for the feed, and the one that I recommend. - I don't know where this one came from. What does "bsuser" mean? In any case, this address is still showing an error. Update: this one is back online now, too. - I imagine that this should be identical to the first one, but it is tracked separately on bloglines.

So welcome back; I'm sorry that you probably got deluged with ten or so posts at once.

Young Adam

I just saw Young Adam, primarily because I didn't see anything else in the video store that I wanted, and because I remembered it being touted as the "best Scottish movie" on Gaping Void.

We got the NC-17 version with lots of nudity (Ewan McGregor is not Jewish, in case you wanted to know). As far as the movie goes, it had good acting and a nice screenplay. The film was shot beautifully. The characters ranged from compelling to a little blase. It didn't quite hit greatness for me.

This was partly because the main character, McGregor, didn't really do much except for nail every woman who walked within ten feet of him, especially if she was already married. His character was supposed to represent someone so far out of society that he was on the periphery of moral conduct. However, despite a few inklings of conscience, his character doesn't move anywhere, which is a bit of a failing. In fact, no one's character really goes anywhere. Update: my wife disagrees with me, by pointing out that the character's inability to grow was the point of the movie.

If the movie had made the characters a bit more breathable, it would have been better. As it is, it was a pleasant, and sometimes erotic, diversion.

Star Trek I, II, III

I said a while ago that I was going to go through the Star Trek movies again, and I'm doing it slowly.

Star Trek I was a complete disaster of a movie, as I'm sure most of you know. The basic problem with a Star Trek movie is that you can't cast the characters; only the known actors get to play these roles. And they are actually pretty bad actors. Even, and I hate to say this, Leonard Nemoy was pretty poor, and he's a hero of mine (for his reading of the Golem of Prague, if nothing else). William Shatner was probably the best of the lot.

But the directing, oh man. Oh man oh man oh man. Could nobody really see that five to fifteen minute shots of nothing but slowly moving CGI is absolutely tedious to look at? Intersperse that with yet another shot of Sulu looking over the con into nothing, and then slightly moving his head. Or two other characters looking at each other, smiling, and then back out the window. Ahhhh! I had to skip forward.

Add to that a dozen ridiculous scenes, like walking off the ship onto a brick walk, Vger in a short skit running around making dewy eyes, and so on. 'Nuff said, let's move on.

Star Trek II was a really good story, by contrast, and the pace was much better. The acting was still rather poor, however. And the great genius Khan sure makes a lot of dumb mistakes and gets outsmarted pretty easily by Kirk too often. But whatever. Ricardo Montalban was fun to see.

Star Trek III was as good as II, in my opinion, although Christopher Lloyd does sort of remind me of his role in Taxi ("So Kirk, mmmmmmmmmmmm, are you going to give me Genesis, say?" "No." "Hmmmmmm, well, uh, okey dokey." [1]) I couldn't quite figure out why they were headed for Genesis and not straight to Vulcan, nor why anyone would have a ritual to restore a soul to a body, when most people don't have a spare body lying around. And the final fight between Kirk and Kruge was ridiculous.

However, the humor was starting to flow; Bones trying to do a Vulcan nerve pinch, and "How can you not hear with ears like that!" There were some good lines. I haven't yet rewatched IV, but I remember that IV had the most humor (that was funny), which made it the most fun to watch.

I'll get to that one soon.

Trois Couleurs: Blue, White, Red

These films, Blue, White, and Red, by French director Krzysztof Kieslowski, are all very good movies, although none of them are perfect. Actually, they go from good (Blue) to very good (White), to great (Red). Rachel and I watched the last one only a few weeks ago. There is nothing like a good film to erase the memory of a shelf of mediocre films. You'll just have to endure the subtitles.

You don't have to be stuffy and intellectual to enjoy it, but you do have to be willing to think through the issues that the director is exploring and approach the movie as a dialogue, rather than the typical straightforward plots of Hollywood movies. They are just so beautiful: great acting, great filmmaking, great dialog, great lines.

I am still sad that Chris doesn't look like he will be making it, even though he really should. There's still a chance ... In any case, Nadine from the game club will be over for shabbat dinner and a game.


[1] I vaguely recall some comedian doing a parody on this, but I don't know who. Update: apparently it was Maurice Lamarche on a Rodney Dangerfield HBO special.

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