Sunday, January 3, 2010

Beating football

The neat thing about subscribing to Netflix is to have a pig-out of three probably-cool movies in a day. Sunday, wonder of wonders, all three were indeed cool.

The first I watched was the latest "Star Trek" - the one with a new generation of actors. I feared, as a kid who fell for the series in the early 1960s - it featured a society so far advanced over thousands of years that it actually had cell phones! - that it would be disappointing. It turns out it is not a disappointment, but a meld of the faster-paced action that modern audiences expect, together with good character studies imagining how the original U.S.S. Enterprise crew was formed. It actually had a couple of mind melds, too! Good stuff.

Second was a movie called "The Merry Gentleman," a character study about a friendship between a young wife who flees from Scotland to Chicago to escape an abusive husband and the dour guy she has no way of knowing is a hit man. Actress Kelly Macdonald's Scottish accent is very often understandable to my hearing-aid enhanced ears (unlike many an Irish or British accent), and she steals the show. Although it of course has plenty of dialogue, it's makers want you to enjoy all the visual symbolism. Which you do.

Third was a film that reportedly was rejected by the Cannes festival for being too commercial: "A History of Violence." There is indeed lots of violence - not to mention sex (between married people, thank you for asking, Mr. Swaggert) - but the film is about whether a person can make his life anew. At the end, the answer hangs, uncomfortably. Also a very good movie.

Such films may not as absorbing as a good urban deer drama, but hey. Beats football.

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