Monday, January 25, 2010

Movie Weekend


I watched a few movies this weekend. I found out that we can watch
more than one streaming movie with Netflix at a time. It's so cool.
The number of discs you receive at a time determines how many devices
can stream movies at any given time. We're on a two disc at a time
plan so I can watch a movie on my computer (or, soon, on the Wii)
while Brenda watches one on her laptop.

Saturday I watched the latest installment of the Harry Potter series,
The Half Blood Prince. I simply cannot give an impartial review or
assessment of the film because I love the stories so much. The scale
and breadth of the world that J.K. Rowling has created has no
contemporary equal. It's easy to brush these off as kids' books; I did
for a long time. Then I read one and I have been hooked ever since.
This is the first of the movies that I have seen without reading the
book prior and I kind of regret it. I have to get back on track with
finishing the series.

Sunday I watched two movies on my computer (which is great! I can
finally see some of the movies on the queue that for some inexplicable
reason never seem to make it to the top). The first was "The Salton
Sea" with Val Kilmer, one of my favorite actors. It was OK... the plot
had enough twists and turns to keep me guessing and the cast was
amazing: Anthony LaPaglia, Vincent D'Onofrio, Peter Sarsgaard, Adam
Goldberg... although B.D. Wong as a character named Bubba with a
southern accent was a bit disconcerting. The only thing about the
movie that was unbelievable was that Kilmer's character was a trumpet
player, which was surprising. For an actor who is so well known for
immersing himself into his roles it would appear that Kilmer made
absolutely no attempt to understand the mechanics of playing a brass
instrument. Being a band geek in high school, this was incredibly

The other movie was "Rashomon" by Akira Kurosawa which was, like all
of Kurosawa's work, amazing. It is the story of a woodcutter and a
monk recounting their experience in the trial of a bandit who had
raped a woman and then killed her husband, a samurai. The story is
told through the eyes of four different characters, all of whom give
contradictory accounts of the events: the wife, the bandit, the dead
samurai (via a medium) and the woodcutter. It was philosophical,
sparse and minimal... really made you think. If you can get past the
subtitles and the foreignness of it (I realize that foreign films are
not for everyone and there is something about Japanese cinema that is
especially foreign for some reason), I highly recommend this and any
other of Kurasawa's films.

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