Monday, January 24, 2011

Viewing Log #70: The possessive element made my chest thump [1/18/11 - 1/23/11]

by Ryland Walker Knight

With life
—The world allows a lot

  • 30 Rock "Mrs. Donaghy" [S5E10] Love the concepts, and kind of loved that Weinerslav scene, but the mirroring across the studio is getting stale (as are the caricatures). I wanted to include this here simply to be able to say: Chris Parnell is always the best actor/comedian on the show. He's allowed to be a caricature, plain and simple, and it works every single time.

  • Two Lovers [James Gray, 2009] # Forgot how severe a downer this one is (somehow), how deep its truths cut. Yet Joaquin, as ever, made me laugh out loud a crazy number of times, as did some of the tossaway stuff his dad does. I'm still not in the "masterpiece" camp home to a lot of my friends, however, because of the cleverness of certain winks. Like, as much as its designed to excoriate the male psyche, it no doubt flatters it (or one kind of it), too. [I have no memory of what I wrote here.]

  • Close-Up [Abbas Kiarostami, 1990] # Still fabulous. Sabzian is too perfect, in all his roles, to ever be a villain. The BR disc is phenomenal not for clarity but for color. Throughout the picture, the colors pool, adding weight. But don't count out the jokes—especially all that bluster by the reporter, a perfect clown for this procession.

  • The Fighter [David O. Russell, 2010] I had a fine time watching it, even got some pangs of reflection when it comes to the self-reliance bits, but it's kind of a messy movie with a lot of competing, moving parts and a rather rote script. Worst thing is I don't think it was built to be something at odds with itself; instead, I think it's trying to serve too many agendas; or it's just kinda convoluted and cheesy in parts. The most curious thing, I find, is that fine line that separates the hamming Christian Bale does, which I dug, from the mugging Melissa Leo does, which I almost loathed. I think it's how Bale uses his eyes over against how Leo uses her mouth. People tell me they're both likely to win Oscars and that does not surprise me. (What Oscar result does anymore? ever?) I just wish Mila Kunis could/would beat Leo. [FWIW, the cinetrix kills it on the topic, as if that's a surprise.]

—Waves can surprise you


  1. I'd agree that "Two Lovers" flatters to an extent, but I think I'd say it's more of a soothing factor. The emotional cuts stem from a deep understanding of the ways in which life can break you; that opening plunge/memory alone sends shivers throughout my being.

    As for "The Fighter", I like the messiness, as disrupting as it is in some key moments, and think it's biggest strength is that - unlike so many other Oscar-bound movies - it doesn't seem to consider itself the be all end all determiner of justice in the world (I'm looking at you, "Frost/Nixon"). That it embraces otherwise cheesy elements (like Marky Mark's slow-mo breakout at the climax) practically makes me love it.

  2. Aw, shucks. That's wikkid fahkin nice of you to say. Thanks, RWK.

  3. Rob, yes, the opening memory is the secret table setting.

    AM, how would a Lowellite say, "chapeau?"