Thanks so much for all the birthday wishes. I haven't been around the last couple of days because things have been kind of unpleasant--just the normal friction you can imagine having when two sisters have their birthdays within three days of each other and the resultant drama about who can or cannot come to whichever gathering and how you juggle those two. Also, my sister tends to get depressed around her birthday anyway. I was depressed because of Meko, so the whole thing was kind of sad and quiet and rainy and grey, but it wasn't a bad birthday.
We did go to see King Kong, which is an excellent monster movie, although it may strain your squeam tolerance. It did not, however, change my life, make me cry, or even want to see it again any time soon, and while I could see it being nominated for Best Picture for the Populist Slot, as it were, I highly doubt it would actually win. I couldn't really tell you if it's too long, because while the first hour (!) is slow, it has the effect of making the eventual casualties mean a lot more. You get a better feel for the crew as a bunch of people who have sailed a long time together, as opposed to just cannon fodder (although there are so many people on Denham's expedition that I thought the Colin Hanks character got killed, like, three times). And I hadn't realized that Andy Serkis was going to get so much screentime as the cook, and he was awesome. As for the leads, I always think that I don't like Adrien Brody, but then I see him in whichever movie and I totally love him, so who knows. Maybe he's like Gwyneth for me that way. And Naomi Watts, who I love anyway, is a little too affected at the beginning (what, she and Jack Black are both psychic now?), but she makes a great vaudevillian, and I thought that was a great way to give her a dimension beyond "shrieking beauty." Like, it's not her pale, fragile beauty that she and Kong initially bond over--it's her ability to fall flat on her face. And the in-jokes were great--I see now why people were saying I needed to see the original again first, because there are tons of little things tucked in there--the scene they film on the ship is a scene from the original movie; several bits of dialogue are the same; Denham asks if they can get "Fay," and his assistant replies that she's already making a movie with "Cooper"; believe it or not, the ubergruesome part where Kong breaks and plays with the T-rex's jaw is in the original; and the Broadway show at the end is absolute metacommentary genius.
The effects were good, but not unimpeachable; several scenes are clearly the actors against a green screen. And this is more a matter of taste than a complaint, but... Too. Many. Monsters. I am serious. This movie is Jurassic Park on crack. This isn't dinosaurs squared; it's dinosaurs to the dinosaurth power (dinosaurs dinosaurs). There are stampedes of dinosaurs and avalanches of dinosaurs and stampedalanches of dinosaurs. Twelve-car pileups of dinosaurs. And then on top of that, there are giant pythons and giant vampire bats and giant I don't even know what the fuck whats and giant centipedes that crawl in your mouth and giant flobberworms that chew on your head. This is now the second Naomi Watts movie I have watched from under my coat.
Oh, and there is way too friggin' much slo-mo. I'm hearing that technically it's not slo-mo or shaky-cam, it's frames being repeated rather than slowed, but I don't care: THERE WAS TOO DAMN MUCH OF IT.
Speaking of Kong, I just got an email from the "email@example.com" newsletter:
Friends of Narnia, we need your help! Narnia had a great opening last weekend at #1, but it now faces competition from other movies like "King Kong". We need you to do everything you can to help us keep Narnia at the #1 spot this weekend. If you haven't already seen the movie, PLEASE GO THIS WEEKEND. If you have, PLEASE GO AGAIN and BRING A FRIEND!
I love the straightforwardness of this plea. They're not even pretending that it's about anything other than the box office. It's not, "Go tell Jesus you love Him by seeing this movie," or "Prove what a good fan you are," it's just, "Please, help us make money. Seriously. We need it. For real. And bragging rights."
I wanna see an eventual The Horse and His Boy, so I'm more than happy to comply.
Yay! Three more icons for free LJ users!
Patriot Act renewal blocked in Senate on the grounds that more civil liberties protection needs to be written into it.
'West Wing' Actor John Spencer Dies at 58.
Showtime may rescue 'Arrested Development'.
A list of songs eligible for the Best Song Oscar. Strangely, "Do the Hippogriff" is on there but I didn't see "Magic Works," which I kind of think is the better song. (Can you tell I originally found this link at the Leaky Cauldron?)
Study: 11M U.S. Adults Can't Read English. And it ain't "just them migrants" either: "Perhaps most sobering was that adult literacy dropped or was flat across every level of education, from people with graduate degrees to those who dropped out of high school. So even as more people get a formal education, the literacy rate is not rising. Federal officials say this trend is puzzling and worthy of research."
Launchcast has Christmas stations!
Scientists Figure Out Why Mona Lisa Smiles. You know, I think "why" is putting it a bit strongly. It's more like, "We may or may not be able to scientifically prove that she's 83% happy."
Speaking of the Mona Lisa, seek the DaVinci codes at this movie tie-in site. (I have not personally read The DaVinci Code, nor do I intend to.)
X-Men 3 promotional shots.
My professor would love this.
Indie Rockers Spread Collaborative Spirit. It's about Calexico and Iron and Wine, to be more specific.
And finally: I was on Wikipedia last night, and don't ask me how I ended up at "Irish Crown Jewels," but I did, and found the following footnote:
1 Rumours of a homosexual ring in Dublin Castle were linked to claims about the theft. It was variously rumoured that Shackleton and/or Vicars were being blackmailed on account of their orientation, they or others in the Castle facilitating the theft to pay off the blackmailers or to "expose" Vicars' rumoured sex-life through an inquiry into the theft. The claim of homosexual rings in Dublin Castle was nothing new. One nationalist MP during the lord lieutenancy of the 5th Earl Spencer in the 1880s famously nicknamed the Lord Lieutenant's Dublin Castle administration Sodom and Begorrah.