Monday, July 5, 2010

Brief Reviews- Kings, Erasers and Lives

Brief reviews:

1. “The Tudors” series ended. Like other movies/series, more time was spent in the early parts of the history and less at the end. So we had a lot of Catharine of Aragon and Anne Bolyn, but little of Kathryn Howard and Katherine Parr. It reminds of the bumper stickers that say “Plan Ahea” while running out of space. Jonathan Rhys Myers did a commendable job of ageing Henry. Rhys-Myers managed to have his lips droop at the ends, as happens with many older folks, me included. He also developed a very gravelly voice, which I assumed resulted from his heavy drinking. He also portrayed the senior Henry as tired, in pain, and troubled by his duties. Sarah Bolger played Henry’s daughter Mary. Bolger was a standout in the entire series. She has a elegance and calm, as well as a beautiful face. She was quite good at giving us hints of the tyrannical zealot that she was to become when she ascended to the throne. Bloody Mary embodied the evil that can arise from fanatical religious beliefs, but I digress. Tamzin Merchant acquitted herself well as Kathryn Howard. She had the right mix of adolescent impetuousness where she was seemingly unable to anticipate the consequences of her actions. Joely Richardson played Katherine Parr. I have not been a fan of Ms. Richardson since her ridiculous role in the TV series “Nip/Tuck”, where she played the dysfunctional wife of a plastic surgeon. In that role, she was a wife and a bad mother. She took a female lover and a little-person lover. Her acting the part of Queen Katherine Parr seemed to suit Ms. Richardson’s reserve and elegance. I enjoyed watching her.

 I will miss the Tudors- they were a fun bunch.

2. I saw “Eraserhead” again. This is the late 70’s masterpiece by David Lynch. I use the word “masterpiece” because others have used it. I like Lynch, but the general weirdness of his movies, grows wearisome. In fact, much of what appears in “Eraserhead” appears in his later movies, e.g, strange furniture, some of the ugliest lighting fixtures I have ever seen, strange music, and certainly odd characters. But, in the context of the late 1970’s, this movie was groundbreaking. The plot is not much (click here for a synopsis: For me, Lynch’s greatest accomplishment in this movie is the persistent feeling of dread, anxiety, over control with the ever-present possibility of losing control, and losing contact with reality. The buzzing drone of the soundtrack heightens the potential fear. If the sign of a good movie is that it makes us feel, then “Eraserhead” did that for me. I just wish it would have been a positive feeling.

3. I have previously reviewed “The Life Before Her Eyes.” I caught it again and still think it is a very good movie. Rachel Evan Wood is fascinating to watch. Uma Therman has always been a favorite of mine. It’s a confusing movie, but it is supposed to be. Some of the discussion on the web is so off-the-mark for me. It usually discusses an abortion the main character had and how that influenced her later life, i.e., lots of guilt. This is only the case if you really didn’t understand the plot. I guess anytime abortion is discussed, it is loaded with excess meaning and plenty of heat, but not much light.

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