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12 June 2008 @ 11:43 am
 
Feeling kind of beaten-up today. Sore back, the same "shoulder rot" that's plagued me for months, and sleepy. Anticipation of the kids coming home? Bad night? Haven't been sleeping well lately...

But! I said I'd talk about some of the movies I've seen lately, and there've been a bunch.

Boykissing movies first:

Beautiful Thing is one of those little British movies with loud, colorful characters and in which not much of anything happens. Two teenaged boys try to find their place in a world that doesn't quite fit them, and perhaps find each other along the way. Now, there are events in the movie that should feel like big happenings, but don't quite have the emotional punch you'd expect. It's the presentation equivalent of "burying the lead" in writing, and it creates a sort of detachment, which makes the movie kind of flat. This movie is unaccoutably rated "R"-- it seems PG-13 to me. I'm grateful that things didn't go beyond kissing for the boys, due to their ages (don't judge me! I'm a parent!). However, I don't recall anyboy else in the movie getting up to any R-rated business-- things were implied, but not shown. Not a great movie overall (2.5 stars for me), though I did like the mother's boyfriend much better than I probably was supposed to. He was sort of a free spirit, but he was kind-hearted and he had more perspective than anyone, I thought.

Red Dirt was frustrating, start to finish. Very slowly paced, a touch too far into 'Southern Gothic' melodrama, and one of those "gay-positioned" movies where the only sex is Het (this is a pet peeve of mine. If someone's going to cross the line into major sex, it probably shouldn't be the Het side). The main character is a young man named Griffith, who keeps saying that he needs to move away but drags his feet about it every single step. His cousin Emily wants to keep him there-- she's in love with him, and they've slept together over the years as well as being best friends, so she has every reason for not wanting to let him go. There's the "crazy aunt" (played rather broadly by Karen Black-- I fast-forwarded through several of her scenes). And then a stranger comes to town, and shakes things up a little bit for everyone. Walton Goggins, as the stranger, was the most likeable person in the movie. The rest became frustrating over time, and there were only about 8 people ever shown (the incest in the movie is a metaphor for the stagnation and claustrophobia in these people's lives). I wanted to like this movie more, and I can take a slower pace (Big Eden! I still love it!) But this one was a waste of time. :(

Atonement was kind of disappointing too. I liked James McAvoy very much in this (what a busy last few years he's had), but that was about it. Keira Knightley's character started the movie as an unrelenting bitch, and it was hard to see what anyone would find attractive about her. Not to mention wishing she'd put on more clothes, because there has never been an era in which that degree of boniness has been appealing, even now. I didn't like the ending at all, which belied the entire supposed theme of the story, and I wound up feeling like I was one step short of being assaulted by some piece of "Wind Beneath My Wings" contrived silliness. I.e., what started as a drama seemed to turn into a chick-flick, and I'm not big on those as a rule. Still feeling "Meh" about it.

Amazing Grace was better (and different) than I had expected. Ioan Gruffud stars as a man whose lifework consists of trying to abolish the slave trade in Britain. There is some question of whether he'll finish that job, or it will finish him (the stress and repeated defeats have affected his health). Lots of marvelous actors here in roles of varying sizes, and a great collection of voices: Albert Finney, Michael Gambon, and most especially Benedict Cumberbatch (unfortunate name, but fantastic voice. Also in "Atonement," playing an entirely different kind of character). This was a good story, dramatic but never mawkish, and interesting through to the end. Definitely worth seeing.

On a really immature note, do you ever wish you could ask actors really terrible personal questions and get an answer? Not something like "So, why don't you come out of the closet already?", exactly, but obnoxious all the same? Ioan Gruffudd brings that out in me: "So, given that both your first and last name are variants of fairly common Welsh names, what compelled your family to go for the off-the-wall spelling? Is this the Welsh equivalent of naming your son Mykel?" I see that there are a few other historical Gruffudds, but that name is SO common as Gryffydd. I'm not even sure it's pronounced the same way with the "u" spelling-- looks like "GREE-feeth" instead of "Gri-fith." But more to the point... Welsh ALREADY has 3 versions of "John," including "Iain." Why pick a version that matches "Johann" instead? I wonder about the parents...

Baby Mama. Only because we ran out of things to see at the theatre (already saw Indy#4 and Iron Man). No spoilers here, but slightly better than I'd expected. Kind of funny, off and on. Nice contrast between income classes (the overly nervous, overly-prepared, overly-everything woman with money, and the woman who subsists on Dr. Pepper and Tastycakes and lives day-to-day in general). Thank goodness for the wide middle ground...


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(Deleted comment)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on June 12th, 2008 08:30 pm (UTC)
The affection was really nice, and heaven knows the one boy really needed it. But given the struggles they were both going through, it seemed like the movie should have been "more" somehow.

It's been so long since I saw it I can't really remember if the drug usage was extremely overt
I totally forgot about the drug aspect, because that doesn't come up very often as the borderline between PG-13 and R in the movies I watch. Maybe it WAS that, because even if not very explicit, recreational drug use (especially by teenagers) is not something most parents will ever be comfortable with their kids seeing.

well, except for the Mama Cass loving neighbor-girl attempting to off herself (that was by drugs, right?)...
I wasn't sure if she was deliberately trying to get killed or not. It's hard to say what was going on with her (she was the "loudest" of the characters, but I felt like the movie wanted to hit me over the head with that more than it actually wanted to explain it). I will say this: if being Mama Cass is your dream, you need to be able to sing well. :0

Did you like the mother's boyfriend? I really grew to like him, despite the fact that no-one else took him seriously (and he didn't care-- he was fairly ego-less).


(Deleted comment)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on June 13th, 2008 04:21 pm (UTC)
I thought the mother was the "loudest". LOL She was incredibly irritating.

She was kind of irritating to me, but her character made sense for what she was. As opposed to the other one, who was very loudly bizarre for no particular reason. :0

He was okay; a kind hearted wimp and door mat.
Interesting, because "wimp" and "doormat" are things I can't stand, and I didn't entirely see him that way. To me, he was more easygoing (adaptable) than wimpy, and I distinctly remember him getting after her about some sexist term she used to describe women-- "You're really not doing yourself any favors, with words like that" or something similar. He was trying to enlighten her a bit.

And the fact that he went after the girl as she headed toward the road, when everyone else brushed that off and the girl was in true danger, spoke volumes to me. I think the mother broke up with him for that, which did not make me like her much. But he was willing to take that risk of displeasing her, to do what needed to be done (while all the other neighbors were being idiots).

Another reason I couldn't stand the mother: she knew she could walk all over him and took advantage of that.
Yes, THAT part of her I didn't care for at all. He saw something more in her than loud and brassy, and she just saw a plaything that she'd eventually get bored with. :(


dragontatt: zach & shaundragontatt on June 12th, 2008 09:25 pm (UTC)
Speaking of boykissing, have you seen Shelter? It is made of awesome....
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on June 12th, 2008 09:34 pm (UTC)
I went to Netflix to check it out and added it my queue! Thanks for the tip. :D

Also... on the Netflix page with user reviews for that movie, review number two features a picture of a very put-upon little dog in a fantastic Batman costume. ;)
Ariss Tenohariss_tenoh on June 13th, 2008 03:50 pm (UTC)
I'm curious. How would Ioan Gruffudd's name usually be spelled and pronounced?^_^
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on June 13th, 2008 04:25 pm (UTC)
:D The most common form of it would be "Iain Gryffydd."

"Ioan" doesn't appear to be a Welsh name at all-- I googled it, and other than him I got a bunch of people with more Italian or Spanish-looking last names (though they've got their own Giovannis and what-not).

"Gryffydd" is an extremely common Welsh name, which in its Anglicized form is "Griffith" (not quite pronounced the same, though, because it's the wrong "th" sound-- the Welsh "dd" is the sound in "this" and not the sound in "teeth").

Practically NOBODY spells it with the u's instead of the y's. It's like "Smyth" for "Smith," where you have to wonder if they're even pronounced the same or if the first one is more like "Smithe."

In other news... how're you doing? :D
Ariss Tenohariss_tenoh on June 13th, 2008 04:33 pm (UTC)
*laughs*
I admit that I've never known how to say his name^_^ so it's another actor/singer with whimsical spellings of their names huh?

Me? Just got back from a vacation abroad. So a little tired.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on June 13th, 2008 04:46 pm (UTC)
admit that I've never known how to say his name^_^ so it's another actor/singer with whimsical spellings of their names huh?

The last name, though weird, is probably one the family sticks with because there are a few historical people with that spelling. The first name... I think the parents chose that one out of thin air. Kind of like naming your kid, "Diego Jones" for no particular reason. But seriously, what was wrong with the more common Iain? Especially when the last name is already weird.

Just got back from a vacation abroad. So a little tired.
But was it fun? You did say vacation and not business trip. :)
Ariss Tenohariss_tenoh on June 13th, 2008 04:56 pm (UTC)
Probably the same reason parents name their children after world capitals and US states^^

I wrote an entry about it on my LJ if you're interested. I'll try to post the pics I took some time this week.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on June 13th, 2008 06:50 pm (UTC)
I peeked, and it sounded like a great trip! Apart from the heat, of course, but the rest seemed well worth it. :D
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on June 13th, 2008 04:50 pm (UTC)
I see I didn't really answer the "pronouncing" part.

"Iain Gryffydd" would be eeINE GRI-fith (hard "th"). It's hard to do the spelling of "Iain"-- I need dictionary symbols so you know that "ain" rhymes with "mine."

His real first name is pronounced "yo-ON" (you can see the link to "Johan"), and the last name... do they pronounce those u's like "ee" the way they're usually said, or do they pronounce them like the "schwa" sound that "Gryffydd" has?