talktooloose: (groucho)
Saw two interesting DVDs this week. Both were about people in desperate circumstances (real or imagined), doing desperate things to get out of them, and they are about class.

1. "Julia" starring the divine Tilda Swinton. Here she plays a Los Angeles out-of-control alcoholic who keeps waking up in different beds and deeper in debt. She gets involved in a highly ill-considered crime that she is certain will solve all her problems once and for all. This is a very strangely constructed movie and seems like it is one genre before abruptly switching to another. This happens at least three times, and the movie is unexpectedly long (you think it will be a 90 minute recovery movie when it starts, but by the time it becomes a road movie in Mexico with scary gun-toting desperados, you have no idea where and when you will finish).

Frankly, I think the strange stew works, and Swinton is a brave and resourceful enough actress to make it work. She is so wonderfully physical, and in fact seems to change bodies from movie to movie. She is as convincing a fey boy (Orlando, or Archangel Gabriel in Constantine) as she is a curvaceous woman. She can inhabit the worlds of the rich and poor.

2. "Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day". Despite starring Frances McDormand whom I love, I have avoided this movie for over a year as I thought it would be badly observed and way too cute. But there it was in the library and I've developed a love for Amy Adams since the last time I considered renting it, so I went for it.

Other than the last minute (forgiveable sentiment), the movie is note perfect. The comedy is excellent (especially Adams who is the new Judy Holiday). Everyone's desperate motivations are clearly delineated, the dialogue is snappy, the sets and costumes lovely and the message, while hoary, is true. I want to read the book it is based on, which dates back to the 30s.

June 2012

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