bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
Good movie: Die Wand/The Wall (Austria, 2012). As usual, I review in adjectives: contemplative, frightening, post-apocalyptic, beautiful, quiet, philosophical without being eye-rolling (as opposed to Richard Linklater) or grandiose (as opposed to Terence Malik). The way it remained grounded in the experience of one person while sometimes scoping out into widely applicable observations, without pretending to explain everything about the human condition, seems to have made some reviewers call it a lesser film than those of Malik, for example, but that's exactly why I was able to connect with and enjoy The Wall more than I could with something like The New World. Maybe that's a critical (as in critique, not as in essential) sophistication I haven't developed yet. But I liked very much that it was the story of a woman prone to depression struggling to remain motivated to survive in the mountains when she finds herself alone, give or take several pets, for what might be the rest of her life. It had a touch of science fiction. It had elements of life in the face of harsh wilderness odds. It had metaphors about insurmountable separations among people, between women and men, between urban/civilized and rural/pure life; about both the gulfs and the bonds between humans and animals. It… also had a lot of animal harm. And pervasive bird imagery that made me think the end was headed somewhere different. And enough creepiness that I had to watch a Vampire Diaries episode when I got home before I could go to bed.

I've put the book on my Hanukkah list. It will be interesting to see the ways it differs from and deepens the film adaptation.

Review from Variety and background info from QuietEarth.us. NYT etc. haven't reviewed yet; looks like it won't be out in wide release in the U.S. until the spring. Yay getting to see an early screening! Now if only other reviewers would stop calling it "the feminine Robinson Crusoe," ugh.

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Okay movie: Paul (alien movie spoof by Simon Pegg and Nick Frost of Shaun of the Dead/Hot Fuzz fame). Watched it last night and don't have much to say about it other than it was fun to pick out some of the specific movie references, especially toward the end: E.T., Close Encounters, Starman, Men in Black, Cocoon, Alien, probably a bunch I didn't know. Cute, crass, nothing in it that really stands out. Blythe Danner was cute.

Sinking TV show: The Vampire Diaries. Really disappointing season so far. No one believes Elena can handle anything, the men make decisions for her, and then when there's a chance for her to show them all how stupid they're being, instead she falls apart just as predicted. Plus there's the continued frustrated-scream-inducing "will she choose hot guy one or hot guy two????" plot that has saturated the vampire-related YA market. Bonnie's being manipulated all over the place. Caroline hardly gets to have a plot that doesn't involve a boyfriend or a wants-to-be-boyfriend. Stefan is more boring than usual. The new girl is annoying. No one is being sexy-threatening. Sigh. At least Damon's smirk frequency seems to be on the decline.

Already low TV show: Project Runway All-Stars. As with the previous/first All-Stars season, you can really feel the second-rate effort at every level—host and guest judges (except Isaac Mizrahi), editing quality, sponsorship… It's also irritating how the lady judges get introduced as "editor of X, the beautiful [name]" while the menfolk get credentials without comments on their physical appearance. Just another sign of the double standard that drives the fashion industry in the first place, I guess.

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