I have a problem: I have trouble taking Russell Crowe seriously. It’s not because he got in trouble for (allegedly) hitting a staff member at a hotel with a telephone, or because he has a silly rock band, or because he grows long flowing brown locks that I decry as goofy-looking but am secretly insanely jealous of. It’s because of the South Park episode “The New Terrance and Phillip Movie Trailer”; if you’ve never seen it, in it the South Park kids are watching a Russell Crowe TV show where he travels the world, randomly beating the crap out of people and singing a happy tune.
Similarly, I have trouble suspending my sense of disbelief when Ben Affleck tries to act sneaky and/or dramatic. However, this is a step up from earlier in this decade when I flat out despised Ben Affleck; this stems from my ill-fated decision to pay money to see the movie Changing Lanes. I suspect my Affleck melodrama fuse blew sometime later, perhaps during a viewing of Daredevil, but I’m not really sure.
Still, despite a very serious Russell Crowe, and a sneaky/dramatic Ben Affleck, I rather enjoyed State of Play. It’s a solid espionage/crusading journalist/vast government and corporate conspiracy thriller. You may well be asking: is nothing really as it seems? Can no one be trusted? You’d better believe it, sparky.
Toronto – Sorry for taking so long. With the set pieces for the main act on stage, Lewis and Clarke opened at the Bat for Lashes gig the other night. Singing amongst Jesus statuette, leg lamps and dolls, the guitar started strumming. Melodramatic music ebbed and flowed into my ear. And the beginning was stamped on the never-returning stream of time.
I’m pretty sure they started with Petrified Forest (also funny how there were two little angel dolls with fiber optic wings, coincidentally also in the lyrics). Not being overly into sad tunes, I either listen to decisively upbeat or downright murderously depressed music. The vocal was dead-on, creating the same mournful feeling that I felt listening to them on myspace. They had a good stage presence, holding the crowd’s attention well. And not only because they nearly didn’t make it from Pennselvania and joked about Canadian customs officers. I’d qualify these guys as Ra Ra Riot reciting Edgar Allen Poe sans the anger. My only problem with them is that although there were clearly breaks between songs, it felt like they never occurred. The entire set seems intertwined but perhaps that was intentional. The same feelings were expressed from the beginning to the end. By the time they hit the last guitar note, I was a little drained. Maybe I need Ritalin, but I can only be everlastingly lovelorn continuously for 30 minutes. If they had chanced with some different pace half way through, it would have been much nicer. But either way, it was a nice and calm way to slide into the evening’s focus.
Toronto – Anyone who follows Asian cinema will know that the past few years has been a tremendous boon for the Korean movie industry. With their flair for melodramatics and a dose of humility, Korean movies have been conquering Asian theatres for years now. Movies like Sassy Girl, Oldboy and The Host are well known internationally and Korean movie stars now are starting to cross over to English cinema (like the dude in Speed Racer). Action Boys is a documentary following several stuntmen all the way from their early days in the school to filming important action sequences in large scale productions. At 118 minutes, it is one of the longest documentaries at Hot Docs, but it is quite good. BlogTo thought it was boring, but I thought it was quite interesting to find some information about these stuntmen, who risk their lives on a daily basis without much of a payoff. The narration is self deprecating and often makes fun of the subjects hopes and dreams. This may sound mean, but as described early on, the documentary maker is also a stuntmen himself, so you get a good glimpse of the camaraderie that exist between these men. Overall, while the documentary is a bit long at times and some of the scenes are unnecessary, it is a good look into a profession that most of us are oblivious to, but at the same time, one that provides a lot of enjoyment in our lives when we are at the movies.