I rented a couple movies late last week. Attack Force
with Steven Seagal was one. I thought a mindless action flick was just the ticket, but I didn't count on totally brainless and sad. Steven Seagal makes me look skinny, and his face looks like the surface of the moon. It could work if he wasn't trying to hide the extra fifty pounds, instead he just comes across a fat Italian looking guy, sadly gone to seed. He looked and sounded like his mouth was full of marbles. He could probably still be a tough guy, the craggy face and heavy build would contribute, but using bizarre camera angles and dim lighting for all the shots he's in was painfully obvious. Idiotic or pathetic? If he owned his body and face I'd probably still like watching him. I watched most of it. I was the mesmerized rubbernecker at the tragic traffic accident. So sad and tragic you can't divert your eyes. Look at the dvd cover picture
. It has no resemblance to the guy in the video. Must have taken a dozen airbrushers a dozen weeks to get that alteration done.
I thought You, Me and Dupree
would cheer me up after that Action Tragedy. Dull, slow, didn't make it more than 30 minutes. At least it wasn't so bad that I got caught up in the train wreck, and I was able to easily turn it off. Owen Wilson is generally a good choice for me, so I'll still look for his movies, but with a wee bit of discrimination in the future.
Then last weekend I rented two terrific movies. The Illusionist
which was a mystery/thriller. I guessed the outcome long before the setup was done. Despite the predictability the journey was a great adventure, with little surprises along the way. I was two for two over the weekend. I finally saw Little Miss Sunshine
. It is a terrifically dark send up of the incredibly creepy Jon-Benet Ramsey world of child exploitation beauty pageants. Alan Arkin plays a heroin addict grandpa wonderfully. Now, I was worried at first because that is too damn close to home at the moment, but it was a light touch, not a central plotline. Central to his character, of course. God, the man is a genius.
Sometimes a close to home movie allows you a good release, and this did just that. I was afraid it was going to be like War of the Roses
. I saw that at Diego Garcia during the lead up to the Gulf War, in late 1990. I was at the end of an acrimonius divorce myself, and I saw no humor in the flick. It felt like a horror movie. Literally. The way they felt when I was fourteen. It's probably a good thing I didn't remember who dragged me to that thinking it would be great fun. I'd have socked him in the nose during pre-flight. I was thinking of that experience after Arkin's opening scene snorting a line of heroin, and I'm glad I didn't let that affect me to the point of stopping the movie.
I also watched The Illusionist
. Nicely done, and I especially liked the cinematography. It was for me very predictable, but I didn't mind a bit, as the ride was fun. I'd watch it again with as much enjoyment. For this weekend I rented Pleasantville
which I saw several years ago and look forward to watching. My friend Bob recommended Following
by the same fellow who did Memento
, and I'm looking forward to that thriller too. In a week another movie Bob recommended by the fellow will be released to dvd, The Prestige
It's been movie time for me lately. Taking a semi-break thanks to family issues. Class is going well, as I signed up for Advanced Scene Study. We're working on Chekhov at the moment, and I'm doing Andrey in the opening scene of the second act of Three Sisters
. Juicy, but very little text. Natasha has almost all the text, so I get to really load the text. One of our classmate has the flu, and I stood in getting a chance to read the infamous Yelena/Astrov scene from Uncle Vanya
. We're using Schmidt's translation, and my classmates were delighted with how creepy he was. I'm not sure if it was the translation or just the way the text hit me on a cold read while chasing Yelena around.
Movies and acting class somehow tie together for me right now. Probably something to do with perceptions, especially of oneself, which I believe you have to let go of when you're performing. It's hard, but Steven sure reminded me with that sad viewing experience last week. Now, I'm not really fat anymore, though I'm certainly not slender yet. The weight loss has slowed, but the last five pounds certainly made a noticeable difference, whereas the first five did not. In the movie theme I have going, there are still times when I have my Austin Powers moments. I look in the mirror and say to myself "You are a Fat Bastard!" Other times I quote Austin's other comment, "I am a sexy beast." Then I laugh at myself for feeling more comfortable with the self inflicted insult than the compliment. They are both over the top. Today I'm wearing a polo-style shirt I got on a project at Corbis, around 2000. In only wore it a few times, as it was too snug on the belly. It's loose now, mostly. It's still snug around the shoulders. I'd forgotten that shopping challenge. XL shirts tended to be too tight in the upper torso and baggy around the belly, and long sleeved ones were too short, and XXL's were like wearing a freaking tent. Never thought I'd get anywhere close to that again, and I may have to start buying fitted shirts for comfort again.