Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Movie and books

We saw David Cronenberg's A History of Violence this weekend. Mom, despite every good thing I'm about to say about it, you should not see this movie. Seriously. It is graphic in it's violence, maybe even a little gratuitous. Very gratuitous, actually. But that is the point: movies (and television, for that matter) have gotten so violent that audiences, on the one hand demand more, and on the other are numbed to it. Where Kill Bill was operatic in it's violence, this is something else. It's so intimate, the director invites you to enjoy the scene then slams your face in it (you don't get to enjoy seeing someone's face get blown off without enduring the sight of bone and brain). It reminded me of Unforgiven, in that both Cronenberg and Eastwood use their chosen genres (action and western) to say something about the price of cinematic violence.

Strangely, Len and I disagreed a little about this one: he didn't like it nearly as much as I did. He, especially, didn't like William Hurt's performance ("too over the top and bad"), whereas I thought it was one of the best I've seen.

Viggo's performance is not in dispute. There is a moment when you can see that his character has changed personality completely, it's so subtle -- like a shadow passing over his face -- but so intense that you know he (and his family) will never be able to go back.

Seriously. See this movie (except you, Mom). Then tell me what you think.


I haven't finished many books lately. I succumbed to temptation and read Sense and Sensibility (I liked it better than the first time I read it; if you haven't read any Jane Austen, this isn't necessarily where you should start, but a great book nonetheless). I'm also still reading White Teeth by Zadie Smith, which is very funny and ambitious, and very dense. It's pretty fabulous, but reading from 10:00-10:30 pm every night, it's slow going. So, you know. I started another book (I'm consistent, I knit many projects at once, I read many books). This is The Kid by Dan Savage. I've liked his column for a long time (kind of Dear Abby for the sexually uninhibited), he's very smart and very funny. This is a chronicle of his and his boyfriend's (sic) open adoption of a son. It is as smart and funny as his column, and incredibly honest. I suppose he could tank it in the end, but I don't see the book going that way.

I may also have started K
nitting Rules! by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. But I can't confirm that.

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