Pickings are slim between Christmas and New Year's, but here are a few things that have caught my eye.
For decades, director Martin Scorsese has been a dedicated film preservationist and an enthusiastic cheerleader for early cinema, but Hugo may be the first time he has aimed his pro–silent movie message squarely at children. It's an odd moral for kids (as opposed to film students or cinephiles), and it makes for an odd film: broad in its style and messaging and self-indulgent in its pacing, yet also magnificently cinematic in Scorsese's inimitable way and charmingly earnest about its subject matter. The idiosyncratic result sometimes plods, but more often it takes flight, particularly after it begins its exploration of the extraordinary films of Georges Méliès. I'm not sure whether I would have enjoyed Hugo as a child, but as an adult, I eventually fell under its spell.
Sean and I are visiting the family in Florida, so no links this week.
Back in college, a friend of Sean's used a particular phrase to describe mushy emotional subplots that interrupted otherwise comedic or suspenseful movies: "feelings and woman crap." It's completely asinine, but the term nonetheless has become something of a running gag for Sean and me—partly because it's such a parody of stupid offensiveness that it becomes kind of funny and partly because, loath as I am to blame such nonsense on women, the poor storytelling Sean's friend was describing is so widespread that it's useful to have a shorthand way to identify it.
In any case, when Mission: Impossible—Ghost Protocol (that punctuation—kill me now!) came off its awesome action high with ten endless minutes of tell-don't-show melodrama, I left the theater muttering "feelings and woman crap" under my breath despite myself, and Sean grinned knowingly. For the most part, Protocol is a expertly constructed thrill ride, but even virtuoso director Brad Bird can't do anything about the leaden display of feeeeeeeeelings, especially when Tom Cruise's self-satisfied rictus of a smile comes into play.
This week: fantasy languages, creepy Christmas carols, and incendiary screeds.
This week: the stories behind two viral videos and the eternal joy of sneering at Ayn Rand.
Chanticleer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Thursday, December 1.
I'm late getting this post up, and for once, it's not so much that I've been overly busy (though I have) or that I've been trying to smother my stress playing an assassin type in a video game (oh my god, Skyrim is SO FUN!). It's mainly that this was the fourth time I've attended one of Chanticleer's gorgeous Christmas concerts and I've mostly run out of things to say about the program.
This week: opera and protesters, poetry translation, gluttonous porcupines, and, I swear, a new post in the next couple of days.