Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Donkey Gospel

I was so disappointed in Tony Hoagland's Donkey Gospel. I had loved What Narcissism Means to Me so, so much. This book seems to have been written by a different person -- someone drab and dreary and literal. No panache. No crackle. No wry humor.

It took me forever to read this slim volume because I maybe read a poem a week. A few a liked more than others. But basically the book is rather blah.

Gods Behaving Badly

Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Philips is about the Olympians now inhabiting contemporary London. Their powers are waning and they are bored to tears cramped together in a dilapidated house. A stupid fight between Apollo (who is hilariously arrogant) and Aphrodite (spoiled slut) inadvertently ensnares a mild-mannered mortal couples into their lives.

It's cute and readable. Actually a little sad and empty. The description of the underworld was my favorite part.

But, ultimately, it's rather forgettable. (Definitely Kindle fare; not something I need on my shelf to impress people...)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Ex

I just watched a surprisingly entertaining movie. I pretty much expected to dislike it because a) it's a low brow comedy; b) it got 1 and 1/2 starts on Netflix; and c) because my brother recommended it and sometimes his recommendations are iffy. It's kind of fifty-fifty with him.

Anyway, The Ex is fairly funny! Or, more importantly, it isn't particularly annoying. Jason Bateman was terrific in it. I'm not going to do a plot summary now, because, well, who cares?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Cut Copy

I went to a concert at a club last night and felt very hip. We saw Cut Copy, a new band that has a very 80s-Depeche Mode kind of electronic dance thing going. I liked them a lot, it was very exciting.

The people in the club were young and trendy. Kind of a scene I never got into, never fit in with, always feel like a sociological observer.

But I liked Cut Copy a lot and want to get a CD. They put on a great, energetic show.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Coraline 3D

Coraline in 3D was perfect! I LOVED it.

It was enchanting, clever, engrossing.

It was visually enthralling without being heavy handed or overwhelming. So many wonderful details. The 3D effect wasn't cheesy but contributed to my absorption and heightened the sense of the film's reality.

The story itself was fascinating. A young girl dissatisfied with her boring self-absorbed parents discovers a door in their new house which leads to alternate reality where her parents are wonderful. But creepy. Something isn't right. And it becomes more and more sinister and frightening.

Interestingly, the alternate mother was an evil woman desperate for a daughter to love in an engulfing, destructive way. This was made to seem far more frightening than a grouchy, distant, un-nurturing and neglectful mother...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Synecdoche, New York

Synecdoche, New York is fucking BRILLIANT. Suffocatingly painful, heart-wrenching. But brilliant.

I can't describe it right now. I watched it last night and was mesmerized at the same time that I felt emotionally trapped. In fact. I kept pausing it. To check facebook, to go to the bathroom, to straighten my apartment. Not because I was bored, but because it was so intense.

I will describe it, because the narrative is genius. But just can't right now. I felt sad all day due to this movie. It's all about loss and loneliness and death and life. Totally haunting. It was terribly emotionally precise, especially considering that it is a surreal concept piece. (I don't mean that patronizingly...)

All the performances were great. Everything was wonderful, just too sad.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Rocker

I usually can barely tolerate cute, mindless comedies. But I got slightly sucked into The Rocker and watched the whole thing. I don't think I laughed out loud once, and didn't care about any of the plot contrivances. Yet somehow it was watchable and even enjoyable.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Sticky Fingers of Time

I watched this movie last night, The Sticky Fingers of Time, which someone had recommended on their blog months ago. It's about a writer in 1953 who suddenly is in 1997 where she meets up with a crew of sinister time travelers. She gets saved by a novice traveler who innocently gets mixed up in the mess.

It was filmed rather weirdly. Sort of like an independent nouveau-noir piece. Very affected. Sexual tension between every character. But the acting, because it was so affected, was just wooden and weird, and ultimately I'm not sure how much I enjoyed this movie.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The King of Kong

Last night I watched The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters, a documentary about competition for the world's record in an 80s generation arcade game (Donkey Kong) (which I always thought was called Donkey KonK).

It was very interesting, a little formulaic in that there was a clear good guy that you rooted for and a bad guy that loved to hate (Billy Mitchell). The bad guy reminded me of the Tom Cruise character in Magnolia, so full of himself in this aggressively arrogant way. Anyway, the bad guy was entrenched in the Donkey Kong world and sort of a hero to the handful of others who made up this subculture. Weibe, was a sweet and unassuming newcomer.

It was very interesting, particularly the stuff about the guy who watches hours and hours and hours of tapes of people's games to verify their scores...

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Coming, Aphrodite

I saw a wonderful play this afternoon at La Mama Annex. Coming, Aphrodite is a pretty simple, straightforward love story that was joyfully made into a musical. The score (by Mark Ettinger) was rather incredible, vaudevillian and hip. The actors were very talented and I loved the set and the whole production. One of my favorite performances was by the actor who played the dog, and they made a very smart decision to clothe him as a somewhat fastidious looking person, rather that costume him as a dog. The singing was great and my favorite part overall was definitely the music.

Today was rather overcast and gloomy, and it was such a refreshing, happy way to spend the day.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room

I watched this documentary about Enron last night and have to say I didn't really care for it.

It was done in a sleek choppy style with fun music and I found it very disorienting. It just kind of told the main story that I already knew, but really didn't help me understand the legal and financial specifics of all the fraud that was being perpetrated.

But, what I found really frustrating was the lack of analysis. They made it seem like mainly it was some selfish bad apples gone amok, and while yeah they nodded to the political machine that helped them, they didn't really look at the corporate and political culture that allowed Enron to happen.