Friday, January 26, 2007

Cultural Checkpoint Charlie

What I watched and read this week.

Movie: "Babel"
After spending a morning toiling on really boring tedious work, I rewarded myself by going to see "Babel". I was not disappointed. I spent about the first hour, just going along with it, enjoying the ride but not really seeing the big picture, but after that it really picked up. I found myself covering my eyes on several occasions-- not because there was anything gruesome going on, but because the pain of some of the situations was just unbearable. I also can't handle any "Children in Peril" storylines, so that was problematic, as one of the three threads was just that. Brad Pitt was fantastic, and I was surprised when I returned home that he didn't get nominated for an Oscar. He looked terrible-- or as terrible as Brad Pitt could look-- and he really was able to convey his pain, frustration and sadness. I also should say for the record that I've seen two of the actors in the movie on stage: Gael Garcia Bernal (sure, he's sort, but VERY good looking) and Alex Jennings (he plays the American ambassador and appears for literally 30 seconds. But I saw the back of his head and I thought, "Hey! That looks like Alex Jennings!!" And it was. I was quite pleased with myself.) It is a great movie, and well worth seeeing.
Rating: 8/10.

Play: "Bash"
At the Trafalgar Studios, in the West End, London.
A Neil LaBute adaptation of three Greek myths, I initially described it as "Misogyny Twice-Over!" It was very well done. My heart broke for one of the lead actors when he was in crucial bit of monologue and some idiot's mobile phone kept ringing. I don't know what his problem was-- he should have turned it off the first time. But it kept stopping. And ringing. And stopping. And ringing. And stopping. And ringing. I thought the audience was going to turn into a lynch mob. Finally, the actor says to him, "Do you want to get that?" The man gets up, completely and utterly embarrassed, and leaves. That was too bad for him, since there was no readmittance and we were only about 15 minutes into the play. Well worth seeing.
Rating: 8/10

Book: "Snow" By Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk
I'm not done with it yet, but I thought I'd include it since I was doing CCC (see above) today. I can't say I love it, and I don't hate it. It's interesting, but I'm pretty sure we're losing something in the translation. I wouldn't recommend it to my friends, unless they felt compelled to read the current Nobel Prize winner.

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