Volpane In Love

Decade Archive of my personal blog from 1999 to 2009.

Friday, April 09, 1999

I'm watching... ...mostly movies. I don't watch much television.

I have been watching the American Queer As Folk on Showtime regularly. Can't wait for Further Tales of the City

Fantastic Planet
Egyptian Theatre, Capital Hill, Seattle, WA

Very cool videos I purchased:
Harriet the Spy
Disney's Sleeping Beauty
Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Pom Poku
video, pirated from Japanese television
Don't know if you are a fan of anime and Hayao Miyazaki, but I was just given a video copy of Pom Poku aka War of the Badgers/Raccoons (I suppose it depends on which zoologist you ask as tanuki are indegenous to Japan only). This is a delightful story with very obvious ecological and political lessons. The most fun is had if you are familiar with Japanese culture and legends. Besides the references to fox weddings and the transforming tanuki, in the middle of the movie there is a whole parade of ghosts, goblins and spirits right out of traditional Japanese scroll paintings. The whole thing is reminded me of Kurosawa's Dreams, but with less care taken to include western viewers unfamiliar with Japanese culture.
For example, the tanuki themselves have four different visual aspects to their transforming making it difficult to follow exactly what is happening. One minute they will look like realistically drawn, then the next like teddy bears, then like a children's drawing of a teddy bear and then as a human. Still, despite difficulty following a story heavily based on narration, the tanuki remain very mischievous and the end results of their constant transforming is inherently hilarious. I doubt this will ever get dubbed for English speakers but almost worth the viewing for its novelty. I suppose the movie's biggest failings are due to the fact the Miyazaki didn't direct this film directly. Perhaps his greatest achievements were done earlier in Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, Laputa: Castle in the Sky, Totoro: My Neighbor, and Kiki's Delivery Service.

Shakespeare in Love
Uptown Cinemas
I was really surprised that I enjoyed this Hollywood movie. I was thinking that it might be a travesty to poke fun at such an institution as Shakespeare, but this was true to many elements that makes Shakespeare watchable today. Lots of "in" jokes and anachronism which the average viewer might not catch but for me simply added to the whimsy of the whole movie, rather than detracting. I think I enjoyed it because I didn't have expectations. The sets are very authentic and there are tons of very cool costumes, but even that takes downstage to the plot which is genuine and plausible. Again, it was not how I would have scripted it, but then mine probably would have been more controversial than humorous.

Little Voice
Broadway Market
Jane Horrocks does a tour-de-force performance in this otherwise forgettable story supported by Michael Cain, Brenda Blethyn and Ewan McGregor.

Waking Ned Devine
Seven Gables Theater
Darkly funny if somewhat obvious humor, leaves you with the moral dilemma: is it all right to break the law if it benefits everyone?

The Young Girls of Rochefort
Egyptian Theater
Very fun Sixties tribute to the great musicals of the Fifties, � la francaise, starring Catherine Deneuve.

As Good As It Gets
Hollywood Video
Oddly this movie hit home because I've experienced Obsessive-Compulsive behavior at the clinic where I make my day job. I had to see this movie because my mother had pointed it out to me as having a gay character and I wanted to see what she'd seen because the gay character was seen as weak in the gay press.

Hollywood Video
Good old-fashioned story of redemption and betrayal set in the nineties...and Ewan McGregor is impossibly cute. No one on heroin will ever look that good.

Kenneth Branaugh's Hamlet
Hollywood Video
Good acting all around and an amazing cameo from Billy Crystal, of all people...the more I see of this man's work the more I wish he'd try some difficult and serious parts.

Gods & Monsters
Egyptian Theater
Very good. Ian McKellen deserves an Oscar. Brandon Frasier earns his chops. Lynn Redgrave chews scenery wonderfully. A very loving tribute to James Whale, a man forgotten by a generation and immortalized by his iconography.

Broadway Market Theaters
Went by myself and was disappointed by the horrific but contrived action these characters are supposed to commit.What is seen is some incredible acting and creation of all too believable characters. Now if only we could have seen what these characters had supposedly done off screen then I might have truly been moved.