Wednesday, December 28, 2005

What do we love during the holidays? Leftovers!

There's actually a bit of a backup in the Movievangelist queue of viewed movies, so let's knock a few out in this mini-smorgasbord.

Um ... no: "Yes"
My Lady and I rented this one night when we didn't have anything else mutually agreeable from Netflix or on TiVo. Yeah, that was a mistake. Oh, Joan Allen looks great as usual; can you believe she's almost 50? And the story could have been OK, with Allen having an affair with a Middle Eastern guy. But not when they speak in rhyme. Seriously, the pattern changed here and there, but everyone pretty much spoke in couplets or ... triplets(?) for the first half of the movie. We ended up not finishing it, mainly because I couldn't get escape the possibility that Allen would eventually say, "I do not like green eggs and ham, I do not like them, Sam I am."

But when did Charlie Daniels end up with it?: "The Red Violin"
This movie will always hold a special place in my heart: It was the first movie we put in our Netflix queue. Weird, huh? Even weirder was that we ended up TiVoing it from IFC, which meant I ended up deleting my first Netflix movie from my queue. Somewhat more interesting than that background is the movie's plot, which essentially traces the history of a red violin as it comes up for auction. It's not a bad idea, nor was it poorly executed, with the violin proceeding from its maker to a child prodigy at a monastery to a famous violinist to some people in China. (I dozed off a bit there.) Good music, good looking scenes, but kind of boring after a while. What passes for suspense is who will get the violin at auction, but by that time I was more interested in whether Samuel L. Jackson would bust out with "Devil Went Down to Georgia."

It's not you, it's me. Oh, you knew that already: "Carnal Knowledge"
"Carnal Knowledge" spent 90-plus minutes telling us what is common knowledge: Jack Nicholson is an ass, and Art Garfunkel is a wuss. But hey, maybe that was news in 1971. The story follows these two guys through some 25 years, from college virgins to jaded fortysomethings. Along the way, they learn about sex, love and themselves, and what a mess all three can be. Mike Nichols directed this, and while it can be painful, especially when it comes to Nicholson's character, it's not bad. It does, however, seem to go on for a while for being a relatively short movie, and I wasn't entirely sold on Jack's performance. Ann-Margret, though, was pretty good ... and naked, to boot. In the end, maybe I just tired of all the talking and arguing. Then again, it's never boring to see what's going to happen next with Garfunkel's hair.


At 3:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Red Violin:
What? You snoozed through the China segment? Missed one of the better parts, Big J, which was when a half-starved OB doctor was let out of prison to deliver a baby (all the doctors in Mao Land were political detainees by this time). The doctor was stuffed with biscuits to give him strength, then given water, causing the digested bread to swell. Thus, he passed out and was unable to perform. A great, if not subtle, political statement.

Carnal Knowledge.
Don't forget the lovely -- and very young -- Candice Bergen. The best justification for this movie was the Mad Magazine spoof it generated.

At 10:17 PM, Blogger Jefferson said...

I missed the best part of The Red Violin? Wow, you don't bounce back from that right away.

And yes, Candy was dandy as a young coed. Alas, it's hard for me to look at her now and now think of how Martha Stewart seemed to be channeling her in "The Apprentice."

At 11:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw the red violin a cople of years ago and I don't remember any chinese doctors exploding from bread dough swelling so I might have dozed off there too.


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