Saturday, February 8, 2014

Movies, January 2014

BEST

I didn't see any best-category films in January. I did, however, see a TV series that knocked my socks off, so I'll talk about that instead —--

Sherlock. My daughter's fiance gave Paul the first season on DVD for Christmas, and we didn't get to watching it for a week and a half. We were both just knocked out by the first episode, and I've been hearing the theme music in my head off and on ever since. We've now seen the rest of the series. Some episodes are much better than others ——-- A Study in Pink is superb, while The Blind Banker wasn't nearly as good and its title didn't even make sense. The series is sadly interesting for what it says about homophobia in our current era. It was commonplace for men in Abraham Lincoln's time to say "I love you" to each other without fear of anything being wrong or even odd about it, and I find it very sad that in today's world a movie about two men who are close friends is laughingly called a bromance, which misses the point altogether, that men can be emotionally close to other without having a sexual relationship, and that men are as capable of closeness as women are. I have the great fortune to have many close men friends and two brothers who have experienced the ManKind Project's initiation weekend, and I've seen the friendships they form and maintain, which add so greatly to their happiness as well as to their growth as people.

I hate Benedict Cumberbatch's haircut, and I don't find him at all attractive, but I enjoy watching his characterization of Holmes, which I would say is more pathological than other performances I've seen —-- more openly and obviously sociopathic and narcissistic. I love watching Martin Freeman, I find his face beautiful, and I love his characterization of Watson, so different from any I've seen before and so much more dramatic. I thought he was miscast as Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit --— Bilbo is a bourgeois with unexpected gold inside, and Freeman just isn't bourgeois —-- and am delighted to enjoy him in this instead.

I think I would say that the best written episodes so far are the premier episode mentioned above, The Reichenbach Fall, The Empty Hearse and The Sign of Three. I've read all of Conan-Doyle's stories and wondered when I saw the word Reichenbach in an episode title if Holmes and Moriarty would meet their doom at a waterfall in Switzerland as in the original, and the re-imagined, re-engineered plot was fascinating.

JUST GOOD

Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead. This documentary by Joe Cross is apparently the closest thing to a film about the "nutritarian" diet proposed by Dr. Joel Fuhrman in his book Eat To Live, but although Dr. Fuhrman appears several times, it's really about the benefits of phytonutrients gained from juicing, which is a very different thing from being a nutritarian. Nevertheless, it's an enjoyable and sometimes inspiring film about two men with downwardly spiraling health problems taking responsibility for their lives and deciding to do something very different. I have several issues with juicing: you lose the pulp, which offers fiber that helps clean toxins out of the intestines and helps in other ways as well. And judging by what I read at Joe's website, juicing isn't any easier than eating salads, fruits and vegetables on the nutritarian diet if you follow all of Joe's recommendations for washing and peeling produce before juicing it four to six times a day, not to mention buying and cleaning the juicer.

Skyfall. It's been years since I saw a James Bond movie. I read all of Fleming's novels while in my teens, and I liked watching Sean Connery but didn't enjoy the films much. When Roger Moore played Bond I lost interest, and I don't think I've seen a film since. It was better than I expected, with some spectacular cinematography. Daniel Craig is a very different kind of Bond, and although I got tired of seeing his face, and especially his mouth, in the same set expression, he gives the part a fierceness that Connery didn't have. It was the first time I remember being disappointed in a performance by Judi Dench, she acted as if she hadn't had enough time to rehearse, or as if the part was too far from who she is in life.

DIDN'T LIKE

The Decoy Bride. I saw a trailer for this on the DVD for another IFC film and thought it looked interesting. The plot was so predictable, the dialogue so trite, the supporting characters so flat and uninteresting, it was really disappointing. And it's a shame because the actors were people I would've enjoyed if they were speaking well-written dialogue.