Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Everything worth saying has already been said

And everything worth writing has also been written. Why am I persisting with this blog then? I don't know. Today, I just wanted to say that 'Things We Lost in The Fire' is a great film mostly because Benicio Del Toro is the risen lord of subtlety in it. He is so nuanced and accurate that you can't stop watching him.  He plays Jerry, a former lawyer with a heroin habit. You wait for him to dissemble and you wait for him to recover and you watch him watch his best friend's wife, Audrey, played by Halle Berry.  There, that's my review.  Anything more and I'll give away the film.
Another film I liked recently was 'Love Me If You Dare'(Jeux d'enfants) -- with its crazed young protagonists,  Julien and Sophie, who grow up into equally crazed lovelorn adults with an obsession for a childhood game. The best scene has the heroine (on a bet) wearing her underwear on top of her clothes for an exam. Weird as anything, but so good because their love, honest as it is, is sociopathic, as love sometimes is.
I know, my reviews are sketchy today. So am I, dear reader, so am I.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Small unidentified happenings

I love the little UFO moments in life where someone or something so utterly random crosses your path so as to be life affirming. Such a very thing happened to me today, dear reader. I was in Little India looking for a large sponge or a  broom handle attached to one of those squeegee things.  I stopped at one stellar shop which had populated the footpath with a constellation of aluminium utensils and plastic buckets of varying sizes and colours. I walked into the tube-lit store and found the ownerman who had one good eye and another eye which looked like a large white, carved marble. He stood up and said "yes, hello?."  
I said, "Hello, do you have one of those large sponges? Or those mops with a sponge, you know, to soak up standing water?"
He thought about it for a second and then he said, "No. I don't have that. But I have rope."

A good word for self doubt

There's so much literature out there telling everybody to feel good that we have no idea how to feel bad. For once, I read something that acknowledged this problem.  Richard Friedman, a professor of psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College, writes in the NYTimes today, "The challenge of maintaining one’s self-esteem without recognition or reward is daunting. Chances are that if you are impervious to self-doubt and go on feeling good about yourself in the face of failure, you have either won the temperamental sweepstakes or you have a real problem tolerating bad news."

Messy Lives

You know, it has been quiet around here for months now. I've toured the districts and come full circle. Back on the island and happy to be here. Well, happy isn't entirely accurate. But are words really accurate barometers of feelings? Behold  the slippery slope of semantics as I struggle to name the feeling and fail.
Anyway, the real reason I'm writing is to link to a profile of Philip Seymour Hoffman, who is one of my favourite actors. I think of him as Capote and then as Freddie Miles in The Talented Mr Ripley and a whole host of other roles, and think how completely he inhabits his characters.
Here's a paragraph from it that I particularly liked:
"What’s so essential about this movie is our desire to be certain about something and say, This is what I believe is right, wrong, black, white. That’s it. To feel confident that you can wake up and live your day and be proud instead of living in what’s really true, which is the whole mess that the world is. The world is hard, and John is saying that being a human on this earth is a complicated, messy thing.” Hoffman paused again. “And I, personally, am uncomfortable with that messiness, just as I acknowledge its absolute necessity."