Sunday, January 07, 2007

Notes on a Scan

(Well, that's what it says on my ticket stub, and it's as clever a title as I'm apt to come up with.)

I'm not going to pretend I loved this movie, even though it has a strong rating of 85% positive on Rotten Tomatoes. I felt like I was watching a British version of "The Hand That Rocks The Cradle" or "Single White Female," both of which were enjoyable films but really not what I'd expected with the Oscar buzz around Cate Blanchett and Judi Dench. There's something trashy about the film, and not just the misbehaviors of the characters, more the rise and fall of overly dramatic moments that scream at you from the screen - literally at points, as the score has those horrific "dum de dum dum" musical announcements to let you know what you've just seen is IMPORTANT. (Nice to see it wasn't just me; more than one review points to the failure of Philip Glass's score. I don't know if expectations are higher with someone who's more well known, but I didn't remember who the composer was as I sat there cringing every time a heavy crescendo of sound interrupted my ability to process what I saw on screen.) Bill Nighy, playing Cate's character's husband, over-acts so terribly in one scene that it verges on camp. Blanchett and Dench are fun to watch but definitely above the material.

Having said all that, I wouldn't say it's terrible, it's just not as wonderful as I wanted it to be, or thought it would be, based on reviews and acting pedigree. It's fun to watch - Cate Blanchett is her usual luminous self, with a dirty side, and Judi Dench is deliciously witchy (especially in her humorous voiceover narration.)

* * *

Maybe I was distracted, because waiting for me at home was a new TV, a gift to myself that, by chance, I was able to purchase and have delivered to my apartment within three hours yesterday. This necessitated moving some things around in my apartment, which is helping my need to "redecorate." I've even succeeded in filling three large shopping bags with books to get rid of, although sadly that still doesn't mean my bookcases can hold all of my books. I also need to ban the purchase of new book, because I now have 41 books that I have not yet read, a combination of ones I've bought, received as gifts, bought at used book stores or stoop sales, or simply found on the street. (People around here have a habit of leaving books on their stoops or on the sidewalk, something I'd consider but I think I have too many.) So no more new books until I read at least half of these! And if nothing in the unread stacks (now relegated to stacks by my bed) interests me, I vow to get rid of them, unread.

The TV was on sale, but of course, not cheap, and I still get a bit queasy thinking about it. It will turn out to be a bad idea if I wind up finding an apartment to buy soon and need all available funds, but I can't let that dictate my every move or I'd do nothing. Who knows how long it will take to find a place, and in the meantime I'm still saving money every month toward what I'll need. So what if December's savings are zip? There still is January and February and...

I slept in the living room last night so I could keep watching TV. That's how much nicer it is to watch - although strangely I'm more enamored by the surround sound than the larger more vibrant picture. Oh, I really like both, but the sound is cool. When your last TV is over 20 years old (how is that possible???), it's a dramatic improvement.

* * *

It was 70 degrees yesterday, so people are even more obsessed with talking about the weather (which they are anyway, most of the time.) What do they talk about in southern California, where the weather is pretty much always the same?


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