I am over- and under-thinking my grad school applications. I know this because I am in full-on procrastination mode. Examples: I have finished two books in the last two days, after having finished very, very few books so far this entire year. I have cleaned my kitchen and made soup and done laundry and written thank-you notes (and bought those same notes) today, and also had time to have lunch (and run into and co) and coffee out. I have been unable to sit still (three shots of espresso and two diet cokes, perhaps?), and when I do manage to sit, I want to sleep. Oh yes, I am in full avoidance of writing mode. Recognizing this is the first step, of course.
Books finished: The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion, which nearly brought me to tears in three different Lawrence establishments; and Amsterdam by Ian McEwan. It is taking all of my strength and all of my lethargy not to go to Borders and pick up Saturday right now.
Three new movies to add on: #62 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, for which I have really three comments: 1). Daniel Radcliffe is still the weakest link, though he has improved. Scariest part of the movie, though, was seeing him in the prefect’s bathtub. 2). This movie wins the award for most egregious underuse of Alan Rickman EVER. 3). How hard would it have been to bring in the Weasley family to stand with Harry when he was about to start through the maze? In the book, they’re there for him during some reception, I can’t remember the timing; it felt like this scene was replaced by having champion families/friends on the field before the third task, but Harry was standing alone. I liked that scene from the book and, really, I missed seeing Mrs. Weasley (and also the Burrow and the Dursleys). (Ah, and now I see on the movie’s imdb trivia that these scenes probably were filmed, but were then cut).
Now, general comments: I liked most of the direction but the movie felt loose in parts — too much introduction to certain scenes, not quite enough character expansion, and somehow not enough darkness. I know they have to compress the book, I get it, but it just felt like goblet-task one-two-three-Voldemort-done. Part of this I lay at the feet of Mr. Radcliffe, who isn’t yet (I hold out hope for movies 5-6-7) able to show without dialog that his character is feeling insecure. Partly I just think the pacing was off, and I would, as I said to , pay $1 million to see Peter Jackson direct the next three movies as 4-hour tear-up-the-whole-series features.
Mmm. Peter Jackson. OK, moving on. I also thought Dumbledore came off as almost mean in this movie(grabbing and shaking Harry in the scene after the Goblet offers up his name; later being harsh with Harry in his office and after the third task). He also didn’t seem to be as with it, as authoritative and powerful, as he did in the book. That seems like important set-up for the fifth movie, but… I guess the luxury of having different directors each time is that they don’t have to worry about setting everything up for the next guy (though shame on Alfonso Cuarón for a). discouraging the idea of making GoF into two movies and b) turning down filming this one himself).
Somehow, all of that being said, I liked the movie anyway.
#63 Capote. I know very, very little about Truman Capote, and have not read In Cold Blood, so I can only assume that Philip Seymour Hoffman‘s energetic impersonation was correct. The character he created was vivid and excellent, likable and despicable all at the same time. I think the closest relation I can think of for this movie might be last year’s Kinsey, in that it’s a smaller, not wholly direct biopic (the other comparison I might offer would be The Aviator, which is similar to this in that it follows the protagonist through only a short segment, the most dramatic segment, probably, of his life) that makes its main character flawed and then, thankyouthankyouthankyou, doesn’t try to resolve the character’s problems. The ending was deeply jarring and hard to watch — which is an accomplishment. Very good film. Catherine Keener was underused, but this may be because her accent came and went. My compliments to the director/ the set designers/ the location managers: The footage of “Kansas,” which was actually filmed in/around Winnipeg, Canada, I believe, was so accurate that felt like I was watching a movie filmed near my dad’s house.
#64. RENT. What can I say other than I wept and wept at this film. Wilson Jermaine Heredia was the star of the ensemble as Angel, but everyone was so good. So good. I may have to see it again, perhaps with my mother as she and I have both seen the musical only once previously, when the touring company brought it to Wichita a few years back — and the sound was not good that time.
Case in point: updating movies-seen list instead of working on applications. BLEH.