I started a new job recently, and haven't been able to post as much as I would like. Lots of new stuff to learn. I'll be back shortly. Here are a couple of bitesized recent things:
I went to a screening at the local IFC Center, a surprise screening of one of Terry Gilliam's favorite films with Gilliam himself appearing for a Q&A after the film. The film turned out to be TOTO LE HEROS, a not terribly interesting and surprisingly derivative film. Gilliam handled the Q&A very well, making one memorable comment about how he was considering suing Bush and Cheney for plagiarizing so much of BRAZIL, that we are basically living in his film now.
I saw BRAZIL last weekend at Film Forum. He's right. We are.
Bob and I saw THE ILLUSIONIST. An okay little movie worth seeing mainly to watch Paul Giamatti act pretty much everybody off the screen.
We rented THE LIBERTINE. Even my adoration of Johnny Depp couldn't make me sit all the way through it. When it pops up on cable, watch the first few minutes to see Depp's opening monologue, a monstrous and fascinating display of egotism and nastiness. It banished most of my concerns about whether he'd be able to make a convincing Sweeney Todd, all except worries about how he'll handle the singing. The rest of THE LIBERTINE is pretty dull, hitting bold new lows whenever a dreadfully miscast John Malkovich appears onscreen wearing the single worst piece of prosthetic makeup I've ever seen, a fake nose that sticks out like, well, a sore nose.
I've been on a bit of a Joseph Heller kick lately. CATCH-22, CLOSING TIME, PICTURE THIS, and GOOD AS GOLD one right after the other. I like CATCH-22 a lot. I can say with absolute confidence that at least one of my ex-jobs used it as their management guide, not realizing it is a satire. I had been planning on a re-read of SOMETHING HAPPENED, but it just didn't seem like the kind of thing to be reading when embarking on a new job. I switched to Michael Chabon's WONDER BOYS, a much lighter and friendlier read.
Bob and I also saw Twyla Tharp's new dance musical theatre piece, THE TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGING. An early preview, they're still making changes. The show is based on the songs of Bob Dylan, as MOVIN' OUT was based on Billy Joel's. This one isn't a straightforward ballet piece, danced to a live band and a singer. THE TIMES features characters who actually sing their own songs, a violently unpleasant man named Ahrab (get it?) who runs a circus, Ahrab's son Coyote, and a woman who seems to have something to do with the circus, and you can probably figure out where the show is going long before it gets moving. There's a lot of heavy-handed symbolism, in particular a reference to MOBY DICK that is just plain flat out inappropriate, but there's also a lot of equally amazing dancing. Songs like Mr. Tambourine Man come off particularly well. I hope they manage to iron out the kinks, and reconsider the name of a certain boat on which two characters sail off into the sunset.