Friday Morning Update

January 25, 2013

After I got home last night, I decided to wind down by watching Modern Family and The Office from my DVR stash.  That was a good hour of television (okay 45 minutes without the commercials), especially, as it turns out, The Office.

Last night was the big reveal where the documentary crew entered the action, and the scene leading up to it took a little piece of my heart.  Sigh.  Well-played.

I’ve been so busy with class prep and watching (again) The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and Nanook of the North (okay, so I didn’t really watch that one again) that I haven’t had a lot of time for new films.

This weekend I plan to watch a couple of Oscar-nominated documentaries (in my sweat clothes and slippers while hunkered down inside to avoid the ice outside) and will report back.



January 19, 2013

I’m tempted to wait until I am able to see Amour (on February 13th) to come up with my Top Ten list of favorite movies from 2012, but I’m not sure I can wait that long.  Maybe I will issue a list with a caveat over the weekend…maybe…


January 17, 2013

I came to this ABC show late and for one terrible reason and another that speaks to segmented audiences.

Scandal was on my radar a couple of months ago because I noticed that a number of my African American friends would light up Facebook right after the latest episode aired each week.  I made a mental note to check it out since I didn’t watch during the first season.

The terrible reason is that the night of the Sandy Hook shooting, December 14, 2012, I just couldn’t bear to watch another minute of news coverage.  Instead, I watched the five episodes of Scandal that were available on Primetime on Demand.

For all the reasons that Tanzina Vega points out, the show is intriguing.

For now, I have put it on my list of shows to DVR and have been watching new episodes since the holiday hiatus.  In my viewing experience, some of the episodes are a lot better than others, but there is a lot of chemistry between Olivia and the President (which I gleaned mainly through the flashbacks from the first season).  Oh, yeah. 

Wonder what tonight’s episode will bring?


January 15, 2013

Yesterday, a friend and colleague treated me to lunch (thank you, Stokes), and we discussed Djano Unchained.

 He went to see it twice to make sure he didn’t like the film and said the second viewing was definitely a case of diminishing returns.  That was a relief to me because now I don’t feel even the slightest need to take another peek.  Though one person I’m usually simpatico with about movies liked it, I am taking myself off the hook.

Let me be clear that it’s not the violence (or the “n” word) but something much deeper that bothers me about this film.  No need to dredge that up again, but I will reiterate that I still think Reservoir Dogs remains Tarantino’s best film.

“Clowns to the left of me, Jokers to the right, here I am…”

Maybe It’s Me?

January 15, 2013

Of course, it may be me…at least partly…though I think my emotional pulse is okay and my mood at a nice equilibrium.

The season premieres of Girls and Shameless failed to inspire me just like the lastest installments of Downton AbbeyThe Good Wife seems like a series of quirky cases designed to avoid any storylines involving major transitions for characters (making it feel more procedural than engaging in the way it used to feel).

Or, maybe it’s not me.  As it comes to a close, The Office is funny again.  Whew!


January 15, 2013

This will not be popular, but I must say it.  Downton Abbey is like a gilded lead balloon so far this season.  Yawn.


January 14, 2013

My mother’s biggest complaint about Hyde Park on Hudson when she saw it a week or so ago was, “That’s not the FDR I ‘knew’.”  She just didn’t buy Bill Murray in the role.  She’s read several biographies of Eleanor and other Roosevelts, too, and she was generally disappointed with historical aspects of the depictions. 

I went to see the film yesterday with a history buff who had similar questions and left with cinema with big plans to delve into some reading to clarify historical points.  (Please report back, Linda!)

Happy to leave historical inquiry to others with a stronger background than mine, I am comfortable reporting that the film doesn’t work for me on other levels.

What does it want to be?  The point of view is mainly that of FDR’s distant cousin, Daisy (Laura Linney), launched with LENGTHY narration at the beginning of the tale, picked up at some points throughout, and used once again to conclude the film.  But, there are significant portions, mainly in the middle of the movie, when Daisy is not present for events depicted onscreen, which makes point of view a bit of a muddle.

Maybe that’s the best way to describe the film:  a bit of a muddle.  What am I supposed to take away from the picture?  That this is a period piece that could be called “Sister Wives on the Hudson”?  That FDR was a cad and not very hardworking, but he sure knew how to handle the King of England?  The film does not cohere.

A bit of a muddle, yes, although, that doesn’t convey the fact that it seems longer than Lincoln and Zero Dark Thirty despite its (theoretically brisk) 94-minute running time.