Thursday, February 23, 2006

10 Things I Hate About You

This is a very fun movie. It makes me want to see the original (Taming of the Shrew) again, just to see how closely it follows it. But it's fun and smart enough and well cast and has solid performances, and of course, a fresh and funny script.

I'll admit that I would not have picked up a dose of Heath-love from this film, I don't think. But I'm sure that's just me, instead of anything that is Heath's fault. And of course having seen Brokeback Mountain twice, I am kind of amazed that it's the same guy. Wow.

And while I'm admitting stuff -- I think the "Miss Perky" thing was just plain silly and detracted from the far more interesting interactions between the students.

All that aside -- this is a fun update of a fun classic, and I love when that works.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe is one of those classics that everybody reads as kids, or reads to their kids.

Everybody but me, evidently.

I haven't even seen the movie.

But now I've read (or rather, listened to) it. I got it from audible, as usual. Michael York is a charming reader and does a variety of voices for the characters which add to the listen, especially since sometimes his "narrator's voice" gets a wee bit twee for my taste. On the other hand, that's not surprising when the text speaks straight to children in a rather twee manner, as in (for example), "If I were to describe how horrible they really were to you, boys and girls, your parents wouldn't let you read this book!" (Paraphrased, but close.)

But I can certainly see why it's held up for several generations. The difference between it and Harry Potter (to use an obvious example) is the difference in how most narrative is written these days. Authors who speak directly to the reader are putting up a barrier between the emotion of their books and the reader, by constantly reminding the reader, "This is a story I'm telling you, you know." I do prefer the author to stay out of the way and let me experience the story as if I'm living it myself, in the skin of the characters. But that's a quibble in this case, for once I settled into it, Lewis's voice was part of the story's charm.

I guess I'll grab the DVD when it's available, and eventually listen to the rest of the Chronicles.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Daddy's Dyin' ... Who's Got the Will?

Daddy's Dyin' ... Who's Got the Will?

I first heard about this at Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. I don't recall who was in the hospital, but I do recall being in the cafeteria with my sister when one of her friends happened to pass by and join us for a quick lunch. He mentioned that somebody was making a movie at his family's old farm house near Dallas. We, of course, immediately asked, "What's it called?"

He looked embarrassed. He said it was a strange title and he always hated saying it, especially in a hospital.

I love this film. The down-home-Texas dialogue makes me laugh out loud and sometimes cringe, and the characters are brutally funny and sometimes just brutal -- but always fascinating to watch. As the four siblings who gather when their father's hours are numbered, Beau Bridges, bless his heart, is as mean as they come. Beverly D'Angelo is an alley cat with soft edges. Amy Wright and Tess Harper are spot on perfect.

But damn, if Judge Reinhold, Patrika Darbo and Molly McClure don't steal the movie, and give it its heart.

Del Shores is a terrific writer. I look forward to what appears to be his next outing, Southern Baptist Sissies.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


Seductive cover, isn't it?

This is no fairy tale, though.

Okay, there are vampires.

But no fairies.

Is there anything as seductive to a teenager as forbidden love? I think not. So yes, this is a Young Adult novel about a girl who falls in love with a vampire.

Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer.

A fun little bon-bon just in time for Valentine's Day, if you like your romance on the dangerous side....

Monday, February 06, 2006

The Women

Somehow I've never seen or read The Women, by Clare Booth Luce.

Contemporary Theatre of Dallas's current production is simply grand. It was great fun, moving at times, and a wonderful way to spend the evening with friends. The situations were certainly as current today as in 1936, if the play's resolution is a bit more retro than some of my companions cared for, ahem. (Okay, count me in on that one.) But the costumes and set designs were terrific, especially when the low budget is taken into consideration. Lots of roles for women, resulting in a large, diverse cast.

I'll be renting the movie soon. I've been reading about the updated version that is in the works. It may be entertaining, but I think I'd rather see Bullock, Ryan, Judd, Bening, Thurman et al leaving their 21st century mores behind and conforming to those of 1936. That would be something to see.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

The Constant Gardener

A passionate love story.

A cinematic stunner.

A plot that occasionally take hairpin curves and always holds you spellbound.

Westminster Abbey.

Man, I love this movie.

Ralph Fiennes is, as always, masterful in his portrayal -- this time of a meek, concientious public servant who falls in love with a passionately committed woman who is out to change the world. It's no wonder Rachel Weisz is nominated for an Oscar, and surprising that Fiennes isn't.

This is a film that manages to carry a rather heavy-handed message with ease, because the people who inhabit this world are so real, and their fervor is contagious.

I've never read John le Carre but I'm ready to do so now, starting with this book. I'd like to see how true the film is to the source material.