Monday, February 23, 2004

Pussycat, Pussycat, Where Have You Been?

I've been cleaning my goddamned room, darling, that's where I've been! And I'm still not finished. Of course, I haven't been laboring away all day every day since last I posted, but that has been the main gist of my activities this last week.

I've got quite a bit done, too. I put up some shelves, bought some new pillows, rearranged a few pieces of furniture, dusted my knick-knacks, crated up all my back issues and memorabilia, redistributed some books, washed seven loads of laundry, and extracted two large garbage bags and four large shopping bags of old (and even some new) clothes from my closets, drawers, and washpile to be donated to some charity or other. Space is emerging from clutter, order emerging from chaos... my rodent's nest is slowly evolving into a civilized retreat.

Of course, I still have to schlepp all of the crated things out of the room, finish the remaining three loads of laundry, put my clean clothes into the drawers and closet, clean out my desk and the old bookshelves, and finish dusting and vacuuming everything. But I think if I continue to chip away at it bit by bit, as I have been doing, not pushing myself too hard but not giving myself too much permission to loaf, I should have a finished product by the end of next weekend. When all is complete, I will take a mass of pictures and share the fruits of my labor with you.

So when I wasn't cleaning my room, running related (or entirely unrelated) errands about town, or working in the office, I spent a great deal of time watching movies. True to my prediction, the advent of a DVD player in my home has sparked a tiny maelstrom of DVD purchases and rentals (tiny only because my budget is rather restricted at the moment), and while I was at the video store buying and renting DVDs I also bought a handful of VHS as well. Here's what I got, in order of viewing:
  • Anatomy: This was a lovely little German thriller that takes place in the famous medical university at Heidelberg. It was a slasher flick, and a psychological thriller, and a bit of a sex-comedy, and an art-house-foreign-type film all rolled together. Caroline picked out this DVD rental, being a fan of horror films and of autopsies. It was beautifully paced, with a good storyline that kept me guessing until the very end; there were also a number of hotties involved, many nude scenes, and all that wonderful Deutschsprachen all over the place. My favorite part of the film, though, was after we watched it and then looked at the special DVD features on the disk... one of which was a dubbed version of the film (we had been watching the subtitled version). The look on Caroline's face when she realized she'd spent all that energy reading subtitles when she didn't have to! Priceless!

  • Party Monster: another DVD rental, and one that I was surprisingly reluctant to return. Macaulay Culkin was absolutely mesmerising as the affected and effete Michael Alig, and Seth Green was a comic revelation as the even more affected and effete James St. James. But Macaulay really drew me in this film... he's so damned pretty, but in such a deliciously decadent fashion, and then with the bizarre but sexy wardrobe revealing infantile white skin and those sweet girly mannerisms and the strange speech patterns and those childish little mou├ęs on his soft top-heavy lips, I just couldn't take my eyes off of him. I can't even form a clear critique of the film itself, with its jumbled timelines and hole-ridden plot, because I couldn't divert my attention from the characters and the costumes to the film itself. I'm afraid I'm going to have to hunt down a copy of my very own (if for no other reason than the scene with Macaulay in a jockstrap... O that ass!)

  • Igby Goes Down: Another Culkin, another show — in Philly, Boston, or Baltimo'... this Culkin (Kieran) is an intriguing but not spectacular young actor rather baroquely framed by an amazing all-star cast, Susan Sarandon and Jeff Goldblum and Claire Danes and Ryan Philippe and so on and so forth, in a rather sweet and funny Manhattan-WASP-coming-of-age story. Really, I had a hard time following the film, again being so distracted by the characters. I mean, if you put Susan Sarandon and Ryan Philippe in a scene together, on either side of the supposed main character (who is awfully pretty, with that creamy Culkin skin and scarlet Culkin mouth), how are you supposed to know where to look? But maybe after repeated viewings (I bought this one, on VHS for $4.99) I will be able to absorb the film as a work of art.

  • Catch Me If You Can: "I thought you hated Tom Hanks movies," Caroline said after we finished enjoying this film on VHS during a break from her eBay-ing and my room-cleaning. "But this isn't a 'Tom Hanks Movie'," I countered, "It's a Leo diCaprio movie with Tom Hanks in it, or perhaps even a Steven Spielberg movie with Leo diCaprio and Tom Hanks in it... there is no bathos. It's not sickly sweet and manipulative or heavy and self-important like a 'Tom Hanks Movie', Forrest Gump or Sleepless in Seattle or Castaway or The Road to Perdition." In fact, it was a fun and likeable movie, with great music and exquisite art-direction and wonderful cinematography. Young Leonardo is perfect for the 60s Mod wardrobe he adopts, and has never looked better to me. I'm glad I bought it! ($4.99 again, VHS is getting cheaper and cheaper as the world leans toward DVD).

  • Charlie's Angels: I've already seen this film several times, but Caroline never has and has long desired to, therefore I bought it so we could watch it. But then we didn't. But since I own it, we can watch it whenever we want. Besides, it's worth $4.99 to be able to see Sam Rockwell switch from his sweet compugeek guise to his sexy bad-guy guise in a single moment, and Cameron Diaz dancing to "Baby Got Back," whenever the need strikes. And some days you just crave a few minutes of mindless midair ass-kicking.

  • 8 Women: I didn't get a chance to watch this one over the weekend, but I saw it when it came out in the theatres. Catherine DeNeuve and Fanny Ardant are enough for a pre-viewed-DVD price, all by themselves, but the film is beautifully made and extremely entertaining. The premise is good, the closed artificial set and rigidly color-symbolic costumes, the sudden and completely unreal musical numbers, the middle-aged-sex-goddess-lesbian-wrestling sequence... let's just say I look forward to revisiting it soon.

  • Russian Ark: I haven't seen this one at all yet, but it comes highly recommended. Not only is it chock-a-block with period costume and filmed at the amazing Hermitage palace/museum, but it's all done in one continuous shot! A single ninety-minute exposure of film. I can't even imagine the amount of work required to set up such a thing... can you? I mean, if someone screwed up a line or a boom got in the frame or somebody fell down the stairs uncued, they'd have to start from the very beginning. I'm very much looking forward to seeing this one, as soon as I have the time to sit down and absorb such a thing... maybe after I finish my room!
So, that's what I've been up to the last few days. Nothing terribly exciting, but still very satisfying. It feels good to accomplish things, even if I don't finish them when I want to, and to give oneself cinematic enjoyment, even if I can't really afford the time or the money spent on enlarging my film library.

I hope your life is wonderfully satisfying today, in whatever way you need to be satisfied. Kisses!

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