Wednesday, April 26, 2006


My appetite for fluff has crossed over to movies--watched Gladiator last night, kind of disappointing. What could have been some thrilling fight scenes became, under the spastically intrusive hand of Ridley Scott's fussily self-congratulatory directing, a string of scenes in the spirit of hundreds of football replays (or maybe even the frustrated desire to see those not-so-exciting replays in fast-forward). Clue to directors: if a person is stabbing another person to death in an arena, or in some Belgian forest somewhere, it is already exciting--trust the line, so to speak, don't color it out of existence or overembroider it. Oh, well. Still not so bad, I didn't even mind the overacting pulled out of J. Phoenix (he overacted well enough, I guess you could say, and he did do an impressively convincing borderline psychotic). &: I'm probably alone in this, but I found the ending very moving. Curious modern/classical crossover & imdb fact: did you know that Roman gladiators actually wore product placements into the ring? [update: to be fair, the final battle was pretty gripping, not at all prey to the directorial egotism I described above.]

Also watched the first Conan movie a few nights ago; now that movie is both terrible, and one of the best. The pacing can seem so slow, but once you get into the rhythm, and the score, you (well, I) realize it moves like an opera, only without any songs. Everything is very strongly what it feels, very purely that. I don't think there's one moment of ambiguous characterization in the whole movie. Very satisfying, by the end: perfect, in its own way. And talk about a fight scene--the one where the three thieves break into Thulsa Doom's bizarre revels to rescue the princess is perfect. And though Arnold looks just right, he doesn't move as gracefully as a Conan should; but that just adds to the excitement, he looks like he really could get whacked.

Whacked . . . tonight, we watch this week's episode of the Sopranos, taped for us by my cable-receiving brother-in-law. On deck for the weekend? Maybe Circle of Iron.

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