Wednesday, August 17, 2005

The Doctor... Is Back In

A lot can happen in four weeks: I officially filed my dissertation, got my certificate, packed my house (with a little... okay, a lot of help from good friends), moved to Connecticut, unpacked, took a weekend trip to New York City, checked in with my family in Virginia, came back to New York to read some beautiful Walt Whitman poems at my friend's absolutely delicious wedding, arrived back in Hartford, and finally got my phone and internet turned on, two and a half weeks after I arrived. The e-mail DTs have been shaking and quaking me, and I know half the people in my life think I've met the fate of the Grizzly Man, but lo, I am alive, and this blog will be back up and running in no time.

After all, there is plenty to say, including:
  • A modified version of Cinemarati is back up, and it's more nutritious, better-looking, and more fun than ever!

  • The New York Film Festival looms on the autumn horizon, with a newly-announced lineup that includes Michael Haneke, Lars von Trier, and the much-hyped Romanian breakthrough The Death of Mr. Lazarescu.

  • Hayao Miyazaki's Howl's Moving Castle, the last movie I saw in Ithaca, is not quite up to the level of Spirited Away but is still enough to raise the bar on 2005 at the movies.

  • Can I just say again how sensational that wedding was? This probably won't be the last time I mention it. Props to same-sex couples expressing their devotion and commitment and love in public, and beautifully, too.

  • The year's best film so far, at least on my watch, is the tantalizing French character study-cum-thriller The Beat That My Heart Skipped, featuring some master-class editing by Juliette Welfling, and a stunning sound design that features another terrific score from Alexandre Desplat. (Yep, and the acting and the writing are top-notch, too.)

  • Michael Winterbottom's sex-filled and endlessly maligned 9 Songs is actually one of the year's more compelling films, if you ask me...

  • ...and if you keep asking me, and I hope you will, since you're reading this site, Jim Jarmusch's Broken Flowers, fresh from its Cannes prize and reveling in a warm batch of rhapsodic reviews, is actually a jaw-dropping piece of crap. Though the essayists at the interesting on-line film journal Reverse Shot mostly take Jarmusch's side.

More on all of this and more in the coming days, but finally, while it's still in the gloaming hours of August 17, don't let me forget to mention that today is the birthday of America's greatest working actor (Male Division—don't worry, Julianne and Joan), not to mention the official husband of this blog. You can catch My Sean acting exceptionally in almost every role he assumes. I first started paying attention during 1995's Dead Man Walking, but I really fell in love during 1998's one-two punch of his implosive, reptilian, and cracked lead performance in Hurlyburly (rent it!) and his complicated, muted character work in Terrence Malick's The Thin Red Line. Among his recent performances, the pick of the litter is in one of his least hyped films, last winter's peculiar true-crime snapshot The Assassination of Richard Nixon.

All right, you few, you patient. Hang in there with me as I get back to work! (And say a little prayer for Sean—namely, that the upcoming remake of All the King's Men does justice to the magnificent novel, and to the contemporary world that this 60-year-old story still has much to say to. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you, Sean! Now blow out your candles!)

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Blogger tim r said...

Welcome back! To, er, your own blog! Can I just describe my favourite defence of 9 Songs (which personally, in unshockable-sophisticate parlance, I found more boring than bad)? I came out with a colleague who'd already seen it literally six times, and I was already slightly griping and saying glib things like "But the gigs are shit." His reply? "But gigs are shit!!" How's that for staking out an aesthetic?

11:09 AM, August 18, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Welcome back! I can't wait to see your defense of 9 Songs, which, I may have mentioned (perhaps more than once), is the worst movie I've ever paid to see in a theater. I believe I accused Winterbottom of "wanking."

I like the new Cinemarati; it's a lot more user-friendly.

1:45 PM, August 18, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I now greatly regret not catching The Beat that my Heart Skipped while in Monterey. Along with Me and You and Everyone We Know, it was playing at an art house theater/cafe across the street. Unfortunately, it's nowhere to be seen in these parts (SF/Marin/Bay Area).

8:07 PM, August 18, 2005  
Blogger Dr. S said...

Yeah! Yeah! You're back! Hooray!

I fed pie to many people this evening and it would have been heaven if you had been here, too.

10:26 PM, August 18, 2005  
Blogger summer of sam said...

finally. don't think because you have a player hating degree you can quit blogging.


1:23 PM, August 19, 2005  
Blogger NicksFlickPicks said...

@Tim and @Goatdog: Yep, I know the knives are out. I didn't think 9 Songs reinvented the wheel, but it certainly seemed consistent and fair in its depiction of a certain kind of relationship, and I liked how it was edited. And I can't say I was bored. (I was much more bored, to tell the truth, at 2046 the night before, even though I admired a lot about that film.)

@David: Do catch The Beat... if it comes anywhere near you. And then, for the best double-feature that no one is marketing, go see Hustle & Flow, which is also very good.

@Sarah: I love you and I miss you!

@Summer: I love you and I've missed you, too. And don't worry, you aren't the first to dress me down on my new degree; the guy at the liquor store tells me that Ph.D. stands for "Piled Higher and Deeper." And he said this even though I thanked him in my acknowledgments—and if I don't get my Ghetto badge for thanking the liquor-store salesman in my dissertation acknowledgments, I am officially quitting Boy Scouts.

12:32 AM, August 20, 2005  
Blogger summer of sam said...

your ghetto badge is in the mail.

4:17 PM, August 20, 2005  

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