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...a sweatshop of moxie

Sunday, December 04, 2005


This entire week has proven exceptionally rich in film-viewing for me.

(Now you know where I was -- well, you'll see where else later in the week. Suspense again!)

I have seen no less than 4 movies, to use that delicious Americanism.

1) Pride & Prejudice (2005) -- I groaned when I saw the previews of this film. "Not another Pride & Prejudice...with Keira Knightley yet." Let me tell you what a lovely surprise this film was. It may not be the best Austen-to-film adaptation (that honour belongs to Ang Lee's Sense & Sensibility, I think), but it has a sparkle all of its own. And Keira Knightley finally repays my confidence in her which she has had since Bend it Like Beckham, because she eats up the camera, which lingers on her face as a lover would.

2) Ushpizin -- Next to the charismatic Walk on Water, this is the best Israeli film I've seen, in the past two years. The story is linear, and yet the subject matter couldn't be more unusual. A childless rabbi and his wife receive his malcontent ex-friend and HIS pal, who are on the lam, during Sukkot. I can't reveal more, but let's just say, I learnt a thing or two, not just about Orthodox Jewish customs, but about faith you put in people.

3) The Squid and the Whale (2005) -- And next to The 40-year old Virgin, the best film, full-stop, I've seen this year to-date. The tortured, exactingly honest tale of an intellectual family in Park Slope, Brooklyn, whose mother, Laura Linney, bears an uncommon resemblence to a younger Ann Althouse (you'll see why later). This film is not for the faint of heart, and I don't mean those of you creepy Ringu-fans out there.

4) Shopgirl (2005) -- Steve Martin is a lock for an Oscar, although the thing which stayed most with me about this film is how hideous poor Claire Danes has turned out to be. That potato-nose, ay. Amusingly, for those of you who live in NYC, since I came in 1 minute into the start of the film, I thought the action took place in the Big Apple. I was gobsmacked that the Shopgirl drove her car to work every day -- I kept wondering, "how does she afford the parking on $7.50 per hour???". An elegant, understated film, but not an absolute favourite of the 4, I must say. I usually don't read a review of a film BEFORE I see it, since I like that tabula rasa of impressions within me, but I cheated and peaked before watching this. They raved. I applauded. But that's it.

And lastly, speaking of films, you are aware that ole Mel Gibson is at it again, don't you? That is, thumbing his nose at the prescribed treatment given by Hollywood to a given topic.

His new flick, scheduled for summer 2006, is called,


The premise -- a very un-PC look at the fall of the Mayan Empire. Hint: whiteys are aren't the bad guys, for a dastardly change.

This may be why MSM, as illustrated by the BBC site here, has a priceless photo of Mel Gibson on their story about it.

Grizzly Adams never looked so good (or so sane).


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