Friday, October 06, 2006

this week's netflix

Thumbsucker: I had been hearing mixed reviews about this film adaptation of a novel by Walter Kirn. When I finally got around to seeing it, I did not find it especially touching or aggravating. What I most wanted from the film was more time with the adults and less time with the teens. (God, am I getting old.) The parents, played by Vincent D'Onofrio and Tilda Swinton, appeared in scenes that hinted at deep and meaningful lives off-screen. Even Vince Vaughn as a weird debate coach was more interesting than the ritalin-abusing titular character and his manipulative girlfriend. Seriously - what teenage girl breaks up with her boyfriend after a week because he's not opening up and sharing his feelings with her and then uses him to explore her sexuality emotion-free? Please.

The Believer: This month, I fell under the powerful sway of Ryan Gosling. At the risk of gushing, between renting this film and seeing Half Nelson in the theater, I was blown away by Gosling as an actor (and his lanky sex appeal doesn't hurt). Half Nelson was heavy but very compelling, as was The Believer. It's a shame this film did not receive wider release, because aside from Gosling's intense portrayal of a Jewish neo-Nazi, the detail and profundity of the film itself was remarkable. I spent over an hour discussing this film with a friend after I coerced her to rent it, too. When was the last time a film gave you an hour's worth of conversation?

Inside Man: No one does New York like Spike Lee. I received so much pleasure from this film - from the strange humanity of Clive Owen's stoic bank robber, from Denzel Washington's cocky competence, from Jodie Foster's "magnificent c---", from Christopher Plummer's evil complacency, from the twists and turns of the perfect crime, and most especially, from Lee's accuracy in capturing the city. I would be willing to bet that if you broadcast to a crowd gathered anywhere in Manhattan, there would be someone there who spoke Albanian.

Casanova: It's a statement on this film that I saw it a couple of weeks ago and I can't remember anything about it.

Sex & Lucia: Ah, the gulf between Americans and Europeans grows wider every day. Apparently in Spain, everyone is having wild and fulfilling sex, both within and without relationships. Writers can make a living from their writing and spend the day with friends in caf├ęs and having wild and fulfilling sex. When trouble strikes, you can escape to beautiful islands off the coast where beautiful women will rent you a room with a view that doesn't appear to cost much more than your company at lush and delicious dinners. You can also make movies that don't seem to make much sense, but are full of enough beautiful oceans and breasts and haircuts that it doesn't really matter.

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