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The internet connection has been off all night. Good God, I am hideously addicted. I'm going to have to stage an intervention of some kind.

Presently Mind's Eye is on the television. It's a great little episode, even though everyone is at odds in it and the Mulder characterisation is fabulous. That's the man that made everyone watch, not the unthinking arsehole of some later episodes.

Next, Angel, and it's the Fred ep with the very funny "I love you so much I almost forgot to brood" scene. I shall be stopping up to watch it because I won't sleep if I go to bed. Insomnia is so tedious.

I do not understand why people do not like Fred, even now, when she is less crazy and has some steel to her. People (meaning me) like Wesley, and he's certainly a few sarnies short of the full picnic.



I just watched the most recent Angel episode, which was good in parts and dreadful in others. I loved the vampire scenes, which contained just enough information to make subtext into text, text, TEXT, and when Spike and Angel weren't fighting I liked a lot of their dialogue, but the MacGuffin with Sirk was pitiful. The reveal at the end gave the episode some weight, but otherwise I was unimpressed.

Good *God*, could they write worse dialogue for Eve? They're not giving her more than one dimension and it's a crap one.

She has a heavy expositional load, like Lorne sometimes has, and they are writing her dialogue in exactly the same fragmented, stylised way as Lorne's, with all the strange half question parts? Like this. Sentence fragments, lots of arch, "and this is the exposition, kids" speeches and so on.

The trouble is, that it takes talent and panache to deliver dialogue like that. You need to be very confident, carrying a sneaky awareness of how ridiculous it is and yet at the same time play it absolutely straight or else it doesn't work. The actress they have for Eve just doesn't have that kind of awareness. Maybe she's too young. Maybe she's not talented enough to carry off that sinuously threatening, arch tone as Lilah did so well. Whatever it is, it's not working.

Spike's dialogue has been a little off at times too -- full of faux-British expressions and clunky, with Marsters' accent on the wander -- then sometimes it's been excellent.

Angel puzzles me but I'm mostly enjoying it.

* * *

I read that in the aftermath of the Bush state visit, there is much whinging from Buckingham Palace because the helicopters have ripped up the lawns and the expensive electronics that were installed are interfered with the Queen's ability to watch EastEnders

But, most terrible of all, all the to-ing and fro-ing has traumatised the queen's personal flock of flamingos. They have post-traumatic stress disorder.

In separate news, I notice that scientists have just won approval to begin treat sufferers of PTSD with ecstasy.

I think they should give the flamingos ecstasy and then set them free in the gardens again. They'd be hugging the Corgis in no time at all.

"Benjy, mate, you're my best mate ever, ever. And just because you're kind of a low-rise dog and I'm kind of a high-rise bird, there's no reason why I shouldn't love you, man."

Good god, why not give them all ecstasy at the palace? I'm sure it would make the garden parties more bearable. Charlie talks to the plants anyway.

* * *

This afternoon I was off work, so I went to see Love Actually. I think it is probably impossible to overstate how much I hated this film. I'd like to discuss it but I think my teeth rotted in my head within the first 10 minutes.

What a disgustingly cynical piece of marketing drivel, full of cheap epiphanies and engineered to appeal to the American market while keeping the Brits onside with a bit of random Yank-bashing, full of cliches and about a twelfth as funny as it thinks it is. I hated it *almost* as much as I hated Notting Hill. Almost. (It was less smug than Notting Hill and had a larger percentage of actors I liked.)

It's impossible to spoil because you've seen it all before

It's Richard Curtis doing his greatest hits but without the charm or novelty of the first time around -- there's a wedding with cute bits, a funeral with incongruous hilarity, much lauding of American women as just the thing to make the hopeless English male escape his tongue-tied, gauche self, cute kids, comedy swearing and an ending that would make even Pollyanna reach for an AK-47.




There were so many stories in the film that the best ones weren't afforded enough screen-time to pop into 3D. None of these people had lives outside the film, you scarcely ever saw how they earned their money, what they did with their leisure time...

If they had only cut the stupid story about the tosspot looking for sex -- could that scene in Wisconsin have been more idiotic? -- and the inane waste of Liam Neeson and the kid with the big head in a story with sod all point, there would have been more time to develop the painful and interesting story with Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman. Particularly given that Rickman didn't have much to do other than stand around and look vaguely guilty.

This is probably the best story in the whole thing, though the contrast that could have been drawn between Thompson's character being drawn to Neeson's and Rickman being drawn to his secretary was never explored, even though this was the most powerful story. As ever, Emma Thompson was wonderful, managing to convey three-dimensionality without saying a word.

I liked the Colin Firth storyline, light as it was, because Firth managed to convey both the pain of his betrayal -- in an underwritten scene -- and the joy of falling in love, in a set of scenes which were actually touching. I also loved the porn stand-ins. Martin Freeman always plays sweet really well and their scenes were genuinely funny.

I wanted to see more of Laura Linney and her beefcake, and I would hope, one in which the beefcake actually got a personality, and we got some sense of change by the end.

But the story that was most short-changed was the one of Hugh Grant and his tealady. That was a story that was freighted with the tabloidy fun that's such a goldmine in The American President and with additional class difficulties to contend with, it could've been funny and interesting. However little time I have for Hugh Grant, he is a sly and under-rated actor, and I think he could have done more if the tealady's love hadn't come screaming out of nowhere.

As for the fabulous Bill Nighy, his turn as a rock star is a near-direct copy of his rock star turn in Still Crazy but much less funny. And he's the funniest part of the film.

Worst still, they're releasing the Christmas record from the film, even though the film acknowledges that it's awful.

As a director, Curtis lacks both subtlety and flair, though he does have a gift for picking a great cast that's worthy of better. It's such a pain in the neck that Richard Curtis and his narrow, metropolitan view of British life now pretty much comprises the successful British film industry.

Oddly, I think this film might work better on DVD, if there's an expanded edition. Maybe we will get to see enough of the stories that the characters turn from shadow puppets into real people, and maybe I can fast-forward over every single scene in which idiot-google-eyed-boy-child-Colin appears. That would be nice.

Gah. Rubbish film.

Comments

( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
infinitemonkeys
Nov. 26th, 2003 09:40 am (UTC)
Re: Aw, not rubbish -- trash!
It's perfectly possible that I actually enjoyed hating the movie. I didn't look at my watch once, so you're right, it may be trash rather than rubbish. The fact that I know already that I'll be renting the DVD suggest that *g*

It is disgustingly cynical though, breath-takingly so.

Weirdly Andie MacDowell only annoys me in one scene of 4W&F, ("is it raining? I hadn't noticed" is delivered with all the panache of a kipper) so that is a good Richard Curtis film.

However my favourite Richard Curtis film is The Tall Guy because of the way he skewers Andrew Lloyd Webber in the musical of the elephant man. Also Emma Thompson and Jeff Goldblum. And Rowan Atkinson as a sadistic comedian.

Now I'm feeling slightly warm towards Richard Curtis again, and that's just annoying *g*
(Deleted comment)
se_parsons
Nov. 26th, 2003 12:51 pm (UTC)
Re: Aw, not rubbish -- trash!
I didn't love "The Tall Guy" as much as you did, apparently, but the "He's packing up his trunk" song killed both me and my Mom. We had to rewind it and go back to see that bit again.

As always, I loved Emma Thompson in that movie, but Jeff Goldblum is so irritating that it canceled her out.
qowf
Nov. 26th, 2003 04:05 am (UTC)
(laughing so hard about the flamingos and the corgis here at the ass-crack of dawn)
minnow1212
Nov. 26th, 2003 06:24 am (UTC)
Ooh, love the icon.

And the idea of flamingos on ecstasy.
se_parsons
Nov. 26th, 2003 08:53 am (UTC)
I wanted to see whole films about sections of this film, too. And not the ones that so many other people seemed to like.

I think I hated it less than you did, but there were a LOT of bits that irritated and grated, particularly the Wisconsin thing. Going to Wisconsin is funny in itself. It would have been much better, and fit in with the film better, if he'd met real people there instead of ending up in a beer commercial. Because actual Wisconsinites are funny.

I wanted to see the Emma thompson and Alan Rickman and Liam Neeson story. I wanted to see Rickman realize the office temptation was rubbish and that the girl there was rubbish.

And this made me laugh out loud. ITA.

"Good *God*, could they write worse dialogue for Eve? They're not giving her more than one dimension and it's a crap one."

If you can find it, Emma Thompson is one of the stars of the HBO adaptation of "Angels in America". It's going to be shown the first week in December or so over here. I can't wait.
infinitemonkeys
Nov. 26th, 2003 09:47 am (UTC)
I think I hated it less than you did, but there were a LOT of bits that irritated and grated, particularly the Wisconsin thing. Going to Wisconsin is funny in itself. It would have been much better, and fit in with the film better, if he'd met real people there instead of ending up in a beer commercial. Because actual Wisconsinites are funny.

I was sure that bit must be a dream sequence, but it went on and on and on, and I realised they weren't going to do anything with it. The bloke was irritating anyway and as it became clearer that he was not going to be punished for his irritating delusions, I got more and more pissed off with the film.

I wanted to see the Emma thompson and Alan Rickman and Liam Neeson story. I wanted to see Rickman realize the office temptation was rubbish and that the girl there was rubbish.

God, yes. I wanted them to be in a little film all of their own, with backstory and extra bits, because Rickman had nothing to work with and you still got the picture of this dissatisfied family man who was giving in to the temptation of a sexy girl. And Emma Thompson and the bit with the CD... that was the film I wanted to see. Well, that, with Colin Firth and the Hugh Grant stories for comic relief and more of the porn stand-ins but not the porny bits.

I heard about Angels in America. No doubt it will meander its way over here at some point this century.
se_parsons
Nov. 26th, 2003 10:04 am (UTC)
The Rickman thing sort of seemed to me to be more "complacent family man who gets little attention from his wife who is very wrapped up in the kids and her friends" is hit upon by sexy girl and sort of is amazed that she would find him attractive and thus easily succumbs to temptation to think of himself that way. It was like, "wow, someone can still be interested in ME instead of everything else about our lives."

The CD thing ripped me up because the gift was immensely thoughtful and yet still a horrifying revelation of infidelity.

The contrast of the two was the BEST, really. And we did get to see that.

The heart necklace, while expensive, was the first thing he saw and it seemed appropriate for what the girl HAD ASKED FOR. So he went for that. It took no thought at all. I was amused by uber anal-retentive Rowan Atkinson in this scene, too.

The CD, in contrast, was a thoughtful, personal gift based on a meaningful conversation he had with his wife and remembered later on. And he had to specifically go out and get that for her. It was also a clue, because the conversation was about how Joni Mitchell had taught her how to feel. And, clearly, she wasn't feeling much toward her husband and he wanted her to remember him.

THIS was the movie I wanted to see. Because it was subtle and interesting and I cared about both of these people because they both were good but had just forgotten to talk to each other. THIS could have made a fantastic romance, but no one is ever interested in people who are married. It all has to be NEW love instead of the work it takes to keep a relationship healthy.
raincitygirl
Nov. 26th, 2003 08:24 pm (UTC)
I agree with you. I hadn't thought of the CD compared to the necklace that way, actually, but you're perfectly right. Although I didn't actually find Atkinson's schtick particularly funny.

I would've loved to see a whole film about Harry and Karen, or at least make them one of, say, three story strands rather than NINE! Rickman and Thompson did a lot with the small amount of screen time and the lack of backstory, but their plot would have benefited from much more attention.

I think one of the things which irritated me about the film was the way, because of the time constraints and sheer number of plots, they had to telegraph things in a big way. i.e. the flirtation between Harry and Mia. There was no subtlety there, no understanding for the audience of what was happening.

For one thing, we had zero understanding of Mia's motivations. Why is she so blatantly chasing after her middle-aged, not especially handsome married boss? Was she just in it for the expensive gifts, was it a conquest mentality, was it because he made her laugh, was she genuinely in love with him? I doubt I would've been any more sympathetic to her if I'd known why she wanted him, but the story would have been more...rounded. As it was you had the sketchily-drawn but fairly sympathetic Karen and Harry, seeming like real human beings, and then this one-dimensional Office Vamp acting as a plot device. And I think the problem was a combination of the script not being interested in her beyond her plot device status, and the rather lacklustre acting there. I mean, the script never spelt out exactly what Harry's motivations were either, but Rickman is a strong enough actor to find the nuance behind the lines, and give the audience an impression anyway.

The CD, in contrast, was a thoughtful, personal gift based on a meaningful conversation he had with his wife and remembered later on. And he had to specifically go out and get that for her. It was also a clue, because the conversation was about how Joni Mitchell had taught her how to feel. And, clearly, she wasn't feeling much toward her husband and he wanted her to remember him.

THIS was the movie I wanted to see. Because it was subtle and interesting and I cared about both of these people because they both were good but had just forgotten to talk to each other. THIS could have made a fantastic romance, but no one is ever interested in people who are married. It all has to be NEW love instead of the work it takes to keep a relationship healthy.


Nodding frantically. It's not an accident that (in my opinion) the most affecting storyline was the only one which didn't deal with a shiny new love. Because yeah, falling in love is great, and there's tons of opportunity for the audience to laugh and also to feel all gooey, but every one of those blissfully happy new couples could be in Karen and Harry's shoes ten or fifteen years down the line. Because people and circumstances evolve, and a relationship has to evolve with them if it wants to survive.
cofax7
Nov. 26th, 2003 08:58 am (UTC)
Flamingos! Corgis! ::falls over laughing::

We miss you terribly awfully here. It's just me and Fi and the single malt. And the books and dvds and whatnot, of course.

You are so very right about the actress who plays Eve. And you know what's scary? She's been on the show for what, 10 episodes? And I don't think I've heard anyone say her name yet. Oy.


{{hugs}} and I'm sorry about the insomnia. I'll give you some of my sleepiness if it'll help.
infinitemonkeys
Nov. 26th, 2003 09:49 am (UTC)
Your icon! With the Neil Finn quote! I love that.

Eh, I wish I were there. I think that chatting to you and Fi would be just the thing right now.
comice
Nov. 26th, 2003 11:05 am (UTC)
Bwa!!
"Benjy, mate, you're my best mate ever, ever. And just because you're kind of a low-rise dog and I'm kind of a high-rise bird, there's no reason why I shouldn't love you, man."

OK.

I'm crying here. Thank God my staff is away and/or out to lunch.

Wheezingly,

C.
also a lover of the ep Mind's Eye
(Deleted comment)
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )