Oscar Talk: Blue Valentine

E: You’ve seen it happen.  I sure have.  Girl (usually one with poor father figure) looks for stability; Boy is looking to feel like a hero.  Damsel in distress, meet knight in shining armor.  Damsel and Knight, meet justice of the peace.  Now meet divorce attorney.

You might recall me saying before that what I love about movies like Requiem for a Dream and The Wrestler is their clarity, the almost divine compassion you feel for the characters, the way that you understand them without judging, but also without letting them off the hook for their mistakes.  Well, this year’s best Darren Aronofsky movie was made by Derek Cianfrance.

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Grey’s Anatomy: Golden Hour

E: Okay, so it wasn’t one of the all time greats, but it was still pretty darn good, I thought. Maybe it’s because I’ve known people with the medical ailments detailed here, but I’m mostly down with this episode.  Well, sorry.  I don’t know anyone who had a knife stuck in his skull.

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The Good Wife: Net Worth

E: Sweet holy Mother of God.  Now that, my friends is a tv show.  I think I need a cold shower for my brain, if that makes even the smallest amount of sense.  I mean, good lord!  We found out what Blake and Bond are up to!  We found out what Blake has on Kalinda, and man, it’s a doozy!  Alicia had a fantastic, fantastic series of conversations with her brother, who is – hurray! – moving to Chicago where hopefully he’ll be available to stir up trouble on a regular basis.  Cary, Kalinda, Will and Diane are all in kick ass mode!  And – eep – Alicia brought up the voice mail!  OMG.  I think I need some sort of a cooling helmet so my brain doesn’t overheat and rocket right out of my head.

And also perhaps a small grave to bury my heart in. Talk about hurting so good!  Those twisted choirs of angels, my friends?  They are singing.

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Top Chef All Stars: Feeding Fallon

E: There aren’t going to be any fun eliminations from here on out, are there?

M: No, absolutely not, everyone left is really good.

E: Starting with the start of the show, I don’t know about you, but I’m pissed off on Antonia’s behalf.  Mike tells her flat out she shouldn’t have won, and Fabio wants her to go step by step through her recipe with him to convince him that it was Italian?  What the hell!

M: We talked about that a bit last week, but the bottom line is it comes down to making good food.  It doesn’t matter if it’s simple or complex, if you think it fits the challenge or not.  There may be a few points for style or degree of difficulty, but in the end the best tasting food is going to win.  Antonia won (again!), you didn’t, get over it. Continue reading

Oscar Talk: Black Swan

E: This is one campy head trip of a movie.  I’m not going to lie, I’m still not sure what to make of it, or how much I liked it.  In fact, I’d have an easier time recommending the movie to horror fans than a regular Oscar viewer.  Yet this story of a ballerina who gives her all – perhaps too much – to live a famous role exerts a strange fascination.  And if nothing else, it’s sure enough not boring.

Prim, repressed perfectionist Nina Sayers sleeps in a fluffy pink bedroom, but as her cracked toes and aching muscles attest, she’s a strange hybrid; a tender child and tough cookie all at once.  She’s a dancer, and this movie will give you a better idea of the devotion that requires.  She’s stressed and timorous, deeply ambitious to leave the soloist’s dressing room and become a principal dancer.  She holds herself apart from her gossiping, more overtly sexual colleagues; she wants to swaddle the world in candy pink.  It should be glamorous, romantic, pristine, perfect.

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Oscar Talk: The Kids Are All Right

E: Nic and Jules worry about their kids.  Is brilliant, long haired Joanie, literally the golden child, too serious?  Is Laser gay and not telling them?  He’s attached at the hip to skater boy Clay, who looks like a bad influence.  Are they lovers?  Naw.  Clay’s just lazy, risk-taking, and introducing their son to cocaine.

You can tell the family is a little crunchy just from the names; Joanie, after Joanie Mitchell, and Laser, after, well, a laser, presumably.  Nick’s a doctor, and Jules trained to be an architect, but she’s been having a little trouble, as they say, figuring out how to be her best actualized self.  Her most recent project – landscape design – is experiencing a few hiccups.  Nic’s supportive, but also a little, well, judgey.  And she really liked her wine.  Jules might be a bit over sensitive about her lack of actualized potential.  Still, they’re pretty happy people.  They have their little issues, but generally, they’re just gliding along, basking in the California sunshine.

And then Laser talks Joanie into finding their biological father.  Which is to say, sperm donor.  What, did I not mention that Nic and Jules are women?

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Oscar Talk: True Grit

E: I’m not a fan of Westerns.  And I can really take or leave the Coen brothers.  O Brother Where Art Thou?  More, please.  No Country For Old Men?  Now that lefts a sour taste in my mouth.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen famous original True Grit.  And I’ve never read the Charles Portis novel on which both versions are based.

But damn it if I didn’t absolutely love this movie.

And you know why, don’t you?  Mattie Ross is a heroine for the ages.  Mattie Ross, the young teen who sets out to avenge her father’s murder, is serious, upright and feisty.  She’s smart, brave, and a fearless negotiator.  Heck, I just like the way she says her name.  As Arthur Abbot of The Holiday would put it, she’s got gumption.

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