Tuesday, March 29, 2005

What's the big deal?

I keep reading derogatory things about people who walk around listening to their i-Pods, and I frankly don't understand it. It's not like it's a brand new phenomenon - people have been walking around with Walkmans for over a decade. It's not like the number of headphones has increased tenfold, it's just that people have converted from CD/Tape/Radio to digital. So why all the attention now? Or is it really that big a change outside of the city, where subways have been filled with people rocking to their own personal sound systems since boom boxes went out of style?

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Melinda & Melinda

It says something about my life that I am very focused on the living spaces of movie characters, in the way I used to obsess about their clothing. I still look at clothes - at least the women - but I can still see the apartment Julia Roberts' character had in Closer but couldn't tell you anything she wore, or even, what her character's name was. I don't think I ever said how much I hated that film, but that's old news, so let's move on, shall we?

Melinda & Melinda. The opening of a Woody Allen movie doesn't seem quite like the event it did when I first moved to NYC, but there still is a particular buzz when you are online at opening weekend - somewhat possessive, like we have the right to determine if it's good or not, the rest of the country (and the critics) be damned, because he's filming just for us, no? So we'll see it ourselves, thank you. With this one, I worried that Will Ferrell fans might mistakenly wander in, but I think for that crowd the name "Woody Allen" is familiar enough to be off-putting. That wasn't the case with "Spanglish" - even when I saw it, a few weeks into its run, there were audience members who left early, obviously disappointed that it wasn't really an Adam Sandler movie. Of course that was in a Manhattan multiplex - not our small neighborhood theater, which shows a balance of independent and family films to please the burgeoning gentrified-with-kids neighborhood. A lot of the people in the theater could be in a Woody Allen film. If he ever left Manhattan.

My overall review of the film is... eh. An interesting concept, to tell a story from both the tragic and comic standpoints, and both held my interest. But I don't think either was strong enough to stand on its own; it was the connection between them and the regular back and forth that made the film work in its way. You don't notice how tedious something is if you're shuttled out of it at intervals.

Will Ferrell did a bad Woody impression, which was sad, but his counter part in the other version - Jonny Lee Miller - was horrible. He looks familiar, but the only thing on his imdb profile I can think I might remember him from is "Prime Suspect 3" - the fact that he's British solves a lot of the mystery about why he talked the way he did. I couldn't tell if he was supposed to have an accent or just be an insufferable snob, but whatever it was it was inconsistent throughout.

Chloe Sevigny? Yeah, she's always interesting, and I like the fact that she's rather plain-looking. (Sometimes I think she's blatantly unattractive - and Woody has a few of those shots quite prominent in the film.) What a letdown, though, that she struggles for several scenes with taking a certain action (trying to be non-spoilerish here, in case someone is actually reading this) and then it happens off screen and all we see are the effects it has on others. Typically Woody, in my experience, although I suppose there is something valid in wanting to focus on the processes around the act (the agonizing before and after) and not the act itself.

I like Radha Mitchell, who really makes the two different Melindas distinctive (and not just the curly/straight hair, although that was a nice cheat to get me familiar with them.) She has a Mia quality that is subtle, not an overwhelming copy, but enough of the neurosis and self-centeredness that works well in Woody's main female characters. She's been getting positive reviews, too (in the mire of midling reviews the film itself is getting) so I imagine this will be a good for her.

One more actor of note - Chiwetel Ejiofor. I recognized him but couldn't place him, but I think it's from "Love, Actually." So another Brit, with whom I also had accent issues. His character professes to be from Harlem but there is something really off about the way he speaks - and I'm not suggesting that an African-American male from Harlem can't speak mainstream English, but the point is that it wasn't mainstream American English. I chalked it up to Woody's insular world, where everyone talks like either Brooklyn Jews or upper east side trust fund kids, but now I know it was the British thing. I liked him, though, mostly because I don't think he's attractive, at least not in the movie-star Denzel-ish sense, so he seemed more believeable, and a good fit for awkward Chloe. (Contrast him to his counterpart in the comic story - a hot biracial-looking dude whose character name I can't remember so I can't look him up, but he might be the cast member that imdb lists as one of People's Most Beautiful People.)

I don't think this is a movie for anyone but die-hard Woody Allen fans, though. Oh, and Manhattan real estate obsessives, like me - the loft that Chloe & Jonny Lee just moved into? Divine. The artsy penthouse that doubles as Chiwetel Ejiofor's studio (with a plot-centric balcony overlooking the city)? I'm salivating.

Happy Easter

Sorry it's been so long, but feel comforted by the knowledge that this is what I'm saying to all of the - er, actual people I havent' been emailing lately. I've been busy at work, but also busy with my online writing class. Most of my computer time has been spent reviewing other class members' stories, participating in the class discussions, and working on my own writing. It's been positive in that way - I feel more focused on my stories and where I need to go with them.

Oh, and I bought The Sims 2, and in the grand tradition of all of the original Sims and all of its enhanced add-ons, I'm addicted. If more video games for XBox, etc. were that type of game - the non-violent, role-playing kind - I'd be a total gamehead. As it is, I stand out like a sore thumb (where did that saying ever come from? where is this thumb standing? is there a chorus line of thumbs I don't know about? can I get an audition for my right one? he's gotten quite buff from the spacebar workout) when I go into Game Stop to prowl the shelves looking for a new computer game like Syberia or Dark Fall. (Both excellent, by the way. I've played the sequels of both, too, and hope there will be more to come...)

See, when you get me started, I can be quite verbose.

I don't want to write about the changes at work which have driven me to update my resume, but will give an update on the other boring personal matters: cable modem has been problem-free for over a month now, and my ankle is better. No more cast or cane, but still gets achy after walking too much. I haven't tried to wear heels at work yet, but just had to buy a pair of beautiful new dressy shoes yesterday in anticipation of full return to normal.

I have three bookmarked blogs that I still return to daily. It's weird, because I just found them on my first day of scrolling (surfing? what is it called when you "next blog" repeatedly til something catches your eye?) and haven't really found many others as interesting. I can't imagine anyone stalking me that way. Unless I made this radically more interesting.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Checking in

It's been a while. Back at work, in the stress of things. Sunday morning I fly to CA on another business trip, this one decidedly more stressful and less socially promising. When I return, I'll have the rest of the week off, which is something to look forward to. As much as I want to close my brain off from thinking about work, I need to come to a decision about whether or not I want to stay there. Scratch that. I know I don't - the question is whether or not I'm brave enough to just leave and take my chances at starting over with something else.

Now, to sleep. I should try to get a good night's sleep as Sunday will be a super early morning, and I can't count on sleeping in tomorrow (Saturday) because of the Elephant upstairs's routine 7:28 am wakeup.
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