At Home He's a Tourist

He fills his head with culture/ He gives himself an ulcer.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Consumed in February


  • Stage Door (1937)--Travails of young women trying to break into the theatrical biz. Entertaining, although the incessant banter gets a bit tiring, and the ending assumes an unrealistically romanticized theory of the acting process. Regional stereotypes are off-putting. B+
  • Another Thin Man (1939)--Not as witty as the two previous installments, plus the combination of baby and anthropomorphized lap dog pushes the cute factor over the top.C
  • Farewell My Concubine (1993)--Didn't quite overwhelm me as it did when I first saw it in '93, probably because the exoticism of Beijing Opera has worn off with multiple viewings, but still powerful.A
  • The Worlds of Mei Lanfang (2000)--Short, low budget documentary about the actor who inspired the above movie. Moderately informative.B-
  • The Thin Man Goes Home (1945)--Workable.B
  • Tony Takitani (2004)--Utterly worthless, but at least it's only 75 minutes long.F
  • Happy Times (2001)--Sweet, sentimental tale from the Zhang Yimou of Not One Less or The Road Home, not the somber art-house Yimou of Raise the Red Lantern or Ju Dou, nor the kung-fu sellout of Hero or House of Flying Daggers. A-
  • Adam's Rib (1949)--I wanted to like this, but the Hepburn who was an high-spirited, angular beauty in her twenties comes across as a mannish termagant in her 40s. The barely submerged gay subtext is odd too.C
  • Alice Adams (1935)--Hepburn aside, there's some noticeably leaden acting in this one, and it's hard to accept Fred Macmurray as a love interest, but the story is remarkably gritty for a Hollywood product of the thirties, actually reflecting the realities of the Depression rather than escaping them.B+
  • Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow (1963)--Playful triptych of stories in which Loren and Mastroianni play incompatible lovers.A-
  • The Wrong Arm of the Law (1963)--Hard to believe, but this is a caper movie with Peter Sellers using a fake French accent which is actually entertaining and well-paced. B+
  • Stagecoach (1939)--Thomas Mitchell as an eloquent drunk steals the show. B+
  • Match Point (2005)--Yeah, it's basically Crimes and Misdemeanors without the funny bits, and yeah, there are heavy-handed moments, but it's still great to see Woody back in form. Genuinely tense in the last half-hour.A-


  • Peter France, Hermits: The Insights of Solitude. I thought I would read up on the professional hermits to get some tips on living the lifestyle, but I don't think I can follow them in their hair-raising ascetical exercises.
  • Fletcher Pratt, The Well of the Unicorn. A little too much sword in this sword-and-sorcery yarn, but Pratt was a military historian after all. Still engaging and well-written for the genre.
  • Hope Mirrlees, Lud-in-the-Mist. Dunsanian charm.


  • Alta Vista Malbec 2002
  • Rock Rabbit Syrah 2002