Wednesday, March 04, 2009

A person's a person, no matter how small

Lesson learned the hard way #1763: hyperventilation is a scary, scary thing, especially when your hands and face go stiff and numb, and even if you can hear the fire department medics' sirens coming five blocks away from the very popular neighborhood farmers' market where you are having a very public anxiety attack.

Now heavily sedated after a trip to the ER, I am left with nothing to do but sleep and watch DVDs, get through a stack of books, and be a human jungle gym for the neffy.

Outpassage was very, very, very bad sci-fi. The only reason I finished reading it was because I held out hope it would get better. It didn't. It was so bad, I don't want to grant it any legitimacy by summarizing it. The idiot plot involving aliens as humans' religious salvation and a social revolution with no defined goals. Arrrgh. Anyways....

After much hype, The Queen was a bit of a disappointment. It was certainly good, and Helen Mirren was brilliant in her portrayal of the Queen in the week immediately following the death of Princess Diana. Michael Sheen was equally as good as the newly-elected Tony Blair (though I couldn't stop thinking of The Daily Show interview where Jon Stewart slammed the real Blair for supporting Bush in the Iraq war). James Cromwell was also a natural double for Prince Philip.

The film focused more on the role of the monarchy in modern Britain and the interplay between Blair and the Queen. Whether or not any of the conversations or relationships depicted in the film were real or accurate is left to the imagination and possibly state secrecy. As with many movies made about events during its audience's lifetime, I kept thinking "I remember that!" and it was a little weird having cinematic liberties intrude into my own memories. And the metaphor of the stag the Queen keeps encountering in the Highlands is a tad obvious. But overall, the movie is good.

From one royal family to another, Curse of the Golden Flower was a fictitious story about a scandalous coup inside the Royal Palace, involving a bizzare, almost Hamlet-esque, uh, fall of the house of Usher. If I may mix my literary references. It is kind of a disturbing tale of glorified domestic violence: Emperor and Empress plot against each other, three princes are rivals for the throne, and there are all kinds of unknown incestuous situations happening behind the veiled rooms of the Forbidden City.

The storyline isn't all that compelling. But like other Zhang Yimou films, this one had all the wonderfully vivid colors and visual contrasts, as well as the neat martial arts choreography and battle sequences. The golds, reds, blacks, greens, and blues were magnificent.

There was also a lot of cleavage in the ladies' costumes (I do not remember this from Hero or House of Flying Daggers... but it made the scenes at court somehow more distracting and reminiscent more of 18th-century France.)

Happier fare was very much needed after that bloodbath.

Horton Hears a Who used to be one of my favorite Dr. Seuss books.
Obviously, the 80-minute cartoon added greatly to a twenty-page book (there was also a weird anime breakdown midway through the film). I don't recall many of the specific details, but some of the subplots didn't ring a bell, though they fit in with the theme that "Everybody counts." Horton, our favorite elephant jungle resident, hears the small village of Who on a tiny clover plant, and goes to great lengths to get the rest of the jungle to believe him and not destroy the ecosystem -- I mean, the tiny world that exists.

Also, all of Whoville crying "We're here" to get Horton's cohorts to realize they exist couldn't help but be completed with "We're queer!" I had to do it, it was irresistible.

Qualifying exams? What qualifying exams?


The Common Man said...

Holy shnikies, B, you okay?

Rainster said...

Yeah, I've got meds and breathing exercises. ;-P