Sunday, February 25, 2007

Edie, the Stasi, and Oscar

Yesterday I saw "Factory Girl." I don't have much to say about it; it was a slight, unaffecting movie. Given the subject matter, it should have been more riveting. I am very interested in the sixties and Warhol himself - was glued to "The Andy Warhol Diaries" when it came out in 1991. I loved seeing his factory brought to life in "I Shot Andy Warhol" a few years later. Now, is it me, has my interest waned, or is this just not that good a film? I really think it's the latter, sadly.

I was surprised to like Sienna Miller, not having seen her in anything but tabloids, which immediately makes me dubious of an actor's talent for anything but fame-whoredom. But she's good, and interesting to watch. I especially love her voice - it has a huskiness that kept calling to my mind Marlo Thomas, oddly. The character of Edie Sedgwick, though, isn't as interesting. You get the clothes and the scene and the drugs, but it comes at you pretty fast, and very much everything is on the surface. The movie wants you to feel sympathy for her, but it didn't succeed in evoking any, at least in me.

And then there's the Blech Factor, or as he's also known, Hayden Christiansen. When is he going to stop getting work? He's just brutally bad. The first time I saw him, in "Shattered Glass," I wondered if he were playing the character as mentally slow or slightly drunk, because of the way he mumbled his way through the part, only to learn from watching a few scenes of the Star Wars movies that that is how Christiansen speaks. I give the filmmakers of "Factory Girl" some credit for casting him as the quasi-Bob Dylan, where mumbling might be construed as a brilliant acting choice, but he's painful to watch. (Even during the much debated sex scenes with Miller.) Please, Hollywood, don't cast him in anything else that I might remotely be interested in watching.

* * *

I also saw "In the Lives of Others," which is a German film nominated for the Oscar for best foreign language film. It's been getting terrific reviews, and is very good, sort of a cross between a political spy thriller and "Rear Window." There isn't the claustrophobia of "Rear Window," though, where we spend the entire film inside the room with the wheelchair-bound Jimmy Stewart and those he spies on are in the distance; in this movie we move freely from the eavesdropper's attic room to the lives of the people he's been ordered to spy on. We even follow both him and his targets out of the apartment building and into the world. The story has enough twists and turns to keep you engrossed, and fine performances from the German cast. Both lead actors, Sebastien Koch and Ulrich Muhe, have long impressive resumes, although my experience with German film is sorely lacking, so I hadn't seen them before.

Here's a difference between a strong and a weak film - although I saw it a day earlier, I am still haunted by the dully furnished apartments of 1980's East Germany, and am interested in finding more (books, movies) about the time period.

Can "The Lives of Others" beat "Pan's Labyrinth" for the Oscar? I'm not sure which I would give it to. We'll have to see... tonight!

* * *

Tonight! I am hosting an Oscar party, although have been disappointed over the last week as one by one guests have cancelled. (Even my late second round of invites haven't resulted in anyone new - hopefully just because I reached out too late, not because the invitations reeked of desperation.) I've been planning this for weeks, and somehow the cool decorations I ordered online seem pathetic if, as expected, only three people show up. I'm trying to be upbeat about it, though. It's still a party, right?


Blogger Pynchon said...

Interestingly enough I had no interest in seeing "Factory Girl" until I saw the trailer.

I think it starts over here next week.

3:11 PM  

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