Read: The Recessionistas by Alexandra Lebenthal. I was looking for a light, escapist read to see me through a rather stressful weekend, not this one just past, but the one before when I happened across this book. It seemed like just the thing and I was not disappointed. It reads more like a series of bullet points with overlapping stories and timelines, a technique which serves the subject well. One of the strengths of the book is the way the author brings the unfolding events that cause the collapse of the banking system into the story and looks at these events from the point of view of each of the characters. For the most part the characters are not likable but I do think they are accurate to some extent, and there are moments when one does feel sympathy for them. Or perhaps I just increasingly recognize how easy it is to get wrapped up in the machinery of one's own little place in the world, whether that place is one I could relate to or not, and forget that there other worlds, other perspectives, other ways of life.
Watched: I've also finally been making tiny, very tiny, inroads into my netflix queue. It is likely I am never going to be up and current with whatever is going on in the film world. I don't mind going to movies by myself, but there are other things I would rather do when I am out alone and I don't particularly mind seeing a film late, especially if I have the opportunity to snuggle comfortably on my own sofa, perhaps with a bit of knitting.
Crude was an interesting documentary about the battle between indigenous Equadorans against Chevron for dumping toxic waste in the Amazon. Joe Berlinner has a good narrative instinct with some very powerful images but in the end I found it rather depressing and unenlightening. Perhaps this is because the case is ongoing, but I think I would have appreciated a more in-depth approach to the research behind the case and a little less of the he said/she said back-and-forth between the sides.
The Joneses was pretty much what I expected. Light entertainment and a fun romp. It was a good knitting movie as I didn't have to really pay that close of attention but it was interesting enough that I didn't fall asleep on the sofa. Demi Moore was warmer and more likable than I have found her in recent films, interesting that she was playing a character who was not supposed to be warm and likable. David Duchovny played his part with a wry humor that went over very well. I laughed more than I expected; the movie was smart and funny, but kind of fizzled as a social commentary, as if the writers were afraid to go too far. The concluding scene felt like an afterthought and it made no sense given the utter lack of any relationship between the two main characters.
When I saw The Secret in Their Eyes I thought it was the best movie I had seen in a long long time, and then I saw I Am Love. But even so it still stands up as a fabulous movie. The plot is much more compelling than Love and the film is a very interesting and intelligent combination of mystery, crime story,and love story. Even the blending of past and present is well done, adding layers of both subtlety and complexity. Great acting. The dialogue is probably far more witty than the subtitles suggest, or at least so I would believe from the parts that my not so great Spanish allowed me to pick up. Highly Recommended.
Tim Roth was excellent as Vincent Van Gogh in Vincent and Theo, playing the role with admirable restraint. The cinematography was fabulous. Altman framed the shots as if they were seen through Vincent's eyes and the framing and use of the camera in this film is just gorgeous. But the film was lugubrious and dragged interminably at times. The relationship between the brothers was intensely portrayed with fine acting by both actors but I still felt the film fell short, leaving me wishing for more understanding.