Closer, The Anniversary Party, Garden State

I ended up doing a lot of movie watching this weekend. At the moment I think my favorite was the first, Garden State. Miriam, Pascale’s flatmate, pulled it out after we returned from a walk around Geneva. It was enjoyed with the usual Lebanese dinner goo (but tasty goo, it is) and chocolate fondant. For a first try at it, Pascale did a good job with the fondant; not everything she bakes comes out hyper-dense! Garden State isn’t a bad little stew of epilepsy, side-cars, infinite-abysses, and indirect-matricide. Besides it’s got that funny/serious guy from that hilarious show and that cute girl from those unfortunate movies; so, there’s that. I guess we have that.

After deciding we didn’t have enough wild and crazies in us to brave the Brazilian party down in Geneva, Pascale and I traded in Miriam for Reid and John and slipped a Region 2 DVD of The Anniversary Party into Pascale’s Region 2 DVD player. Of course this was not before swearing loudly at satan’s spawn and the rest of the sulfurus-smelling corporate media for bringing us DVD region coding. This because moments before my Region 1 copies of Rushmore and The Butterfly Effect had been very rudely rejected by Pascale’s disgustingly compliant DVD player.

Anniversary Party was hectic and disfunctional. My major complaints are two fold

  • There is a disproportionate number of movies about actors and books about authors. This movie was about both. For a movie that seems to explore real human problems and complexities, the fundamentals are a little too distant from my reality.
  • Alan Cumming’s mullet and wife-beater might have been hip and “ironic” for a few moments in a few elite circles, but are these really moments and circles that deserve cinematic exploration? I don’t want to be subjected to that retro-class fashion crap for half a movie, even if it is the most integral element of the character.

By the way, did you know Alan Cummings has his own fragrance, discussion of which made up the bulk of his recent Daily Show interview.

Finally, the third movie was Closer with Natalie Portman, Jude Law, Julia Roberts, and Clive Owen (and not much else). We saw it at a theater in Geneva on Sunday. Pascale had been talking about catching it for weeks. It’s a crazy mixed up love quadrangle with some very “frank” dialog and a string of semi-twists that hinge on what seem to me to be mostly irrational behavior. For the first third I didn’t think much of the movie, for the second third I warmed to it and was genuinely curious to see how it will wrap up, but by the last third it had all gone too far. I will refrain from more detail so my spoiler doesn’t bump any of the precariously balanced levers in this emotional Rube Goldberg device. In summary, I enjoyed the movie to a degree, but it wasn’t all that. It’s not as if I was crying in the aile or throwing money at the screen by the end. Plus, did I mention Natalie Portman is pretty cute? Yes, I did. So, there’s that; I guess we have that.

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