SF Chronicle Capsule Movie Reviews

Self knows, she knows:  she’s going bananas with blogging again.  Perhaps it’s because she’s trying to postpone working.  Writing!  All right, but let’s just get this last one off her chest:  M. La Salle is possibly the only critic in the universe who gave “Watchmen” a good review.  And Carla Gugino is in “Race to Witch Mountain,” which self does not want to see because, aside from the fact that self no longer has a kid at home and therefore has no excuse to see a kiddie movie, she doesn’t want to see Carla in one of these Hollywood commercial flicks when self last saw her deliver a truly scorching performance on the stage of the Goodman Theatre, in “Desire Under the Elms,” last February.

Let’s see:  what else is in the Little Man Ratings Guide that might be of more than usual interest?  “Push” is rated a Sleeping Man.  Oh, too bad, self thought Chris Evans and Dakota Fanning were an appealing pairing.  “Rachel Getting Married” (which earned Anne Hathaway an Oscar nod) gets an Attentive Man.  Ditto for “The Reader.”

“Revolutionary Road” has Man Jumping Out of His Seat —  too bad it’s not showing in self’s local cine-plex any longer!  “Slumdog Millionaire” has Attentive Man (Yes!)  “Taken” has Clapping Man.  “Two Lovers” has —  Whoa!!!  —  Man Jumping Out of Seat with Joy and Appreciation!


Critic M. LaSalle says:

Joaquin Phoenix stars as a bipolar man who is torn between his attraction to an unstable neighbor and a beautiful friend of the family in this exceptionally well-acted romantic drama from writer-director James Gray.  It’s only February, but if this isn’t one of the best films 2009, it’s going to be an amazing year.

No, No, NOOOO — !

And here is the same critic’s review of “The Watchmen” :

This is a superior action movie, based on a graphic novel, that posits an alternate universe 1985, in which Nixon is president, the Soviets are about to launch a nuclear war and masked heroes are a part of the urban landscape.  Evocative and unsettling, it’s an intelligent and well-realized work of the imagination, worthy of its epic running time.

Hmm, self had no idea the movie was about an alternative 1985 universe.   She actually thinks it sounds pretty interesting:  the 1985 Nixon-is-President part, not the masked-heroes-running-all-over-the-urban-landscape part  (which is  —  hello?  What else is new?  Heroes are running all over the landscape in almost every movie coming out this summer!  The only difference is that some heroes are from the future, like John Connor.  And others are from Hogwarts, like in HP VI.  And some look like Denzel Washington, and others look like Jason Statham.  Some even look like —  Seth Rogen???)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

Joaquin Phoenix’s Last Movie

Today the weather was gorgeous! Self spent the day engaged in useful pursuits:

She spent the whole morning writing. (“Writing,” in self’s book, does not equate to xxxx number of pages produced. In fact, perhaps she ought to use the word “musing” instead of “writing,” for she spends just as much time reading as actually tapping out words on her computer. What self means is: as long as her imagination is actively engaged, she feels she is writing — or is this yet another of self’s endless rationalizations? Once again, she digresses)

Round about noon, the plumber came and did various things to the pipe under the sink, for an hour and a half.

Then, because self had been so patient (both with her writing and with the plumber), self decided to treat herself to a movie in downtown Palo Alto. And she went running off to see “Two Lovers,” ostensibly Joaquin Phoenix’s last movie. Which was not, after all, the great movie The New Yorker had led her to believe it would be, but was fitfully absorbing. For one thing, there was a brunette playing someone besotted with Joaquin, and she was supremely touching. But, on first sight of Joaquin’s other love, Gwynnie, self thought to herself: that woman is too old to be playing the part of a club-going party girl. And, for that matter, Joaquin himself seemed a little too old for his part. The only actors who seemed right for their parts were: aforementioned brunette; Isabella Rosselini, playing Joaquin’s mom; and the actors who played, in this order: Joaquin’s dad, Joaquin’s dad’s business partner, Gwynnie’s married boyfriend (Good Lord, was that bald guy really Elias Koteas of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles era?). Moreover, self thinks the movie has a very stupid title, for the only person Joaquin/Leonard seemed to love was himself. And all the emotions felt by various characters in the movie were too clouded by need, or anxiety, or what-have-you.

Since self just finished watching “The Tempest” at Steppenwolf, where the two young lovers were really young-looking (and therefore projected a touching innocence), self couldn’t believe she had to watch two famous actors (Joaquin and Gwynnie) reprise roles they should have been playing ten years ago.

And, anyhoo, self never found Joaquin Phoenix attractive (or even believable playing a Jewish man), and every time Gwynnie flashed her pearly whites, self just wanted to smack her.

Having gotten all of that off her chest, self went to Safeway and when she got home, started cleaning up her kitchen. Then, she decided not to finish reading Mark Helprin’s The Pacific and Other Stories because she just couldn’t get into the various situations described therein (in spite of very gorgeous writing). Instead, self picked up Xinran’s Sky Burial: An Epic Love Story of Tibet.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

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