Capote - The first half-hour sucked me in with its mood, art direction and cinematography. Then it just went ice-cold for me and Phillip Seymour Hoffman's impersonation became somewhat grating. It wasn't PSH that bugged, it was that cartoonish Capote voice, which is true-to-life, but that doesn't make it any more pleasing to the ears. I never felt he truly cared for his jailed charge, even when he went to the trouble of spoon-feeding the prisoner. Truman came off as just a writer looking for an angle in his own cold-blooded way. Actually, the film reminded me of the Nicole Kidman vehicle Birth--lots of talented actors doing solid work, a gloriously subdued color palette of grays and golds and, sadly, no discernable pulse.
A Dangerous Man: Lawrence After Arabia - I have to admit that I only Netflix'd this made-for-TV film due to the fact it features my recently schemed dream co-leads: Ralph Fiennes and Alexander Siddig. Unfortunately, there's not much more to recommend it, but it is delightful seeing the two men, so youthful and giant-eyed, sharing the screen and some undeniably homoerotic chemistry.
One of the funniest and smartest things I've read of late is a rant in L.A. Weekly by Permanent Midnight author Jerry Stahl as he breaks down the bullshit in the James Frey memoir scandal with his tongue firmly planted in his angry cheek. It means more coming from him since he's actually done the whole drug addict memoir thing.
Here is some of the bitter genius:
"What this author has done amounts to nothing less than liberation. After Frey's A Million Little Pieces, the writer is free, if he or she wants to be, from oppressive, vaguely Old Europe-y notions about what is or isn't 'nonfiction.' Like our current president, whose life arc parallels Frey's on so many levels, the self-proclaimed Addict, Alcoholic and Criminal in A Millon Little Pieces has stepped over standards and precedent as an impediment to Getting the Job Done. The job, in this case, being the creation of a history compatible with one's own myth."
"I'm going to HANG ON. Because my favorite writer did, and his bravery in the face of fantastic agony--some of it dental--gives me hope that I, too, can make it through. Without drugs or alcohol. And without having to sit around some church basement pretending to give a fuck what some Sanka-swilling, sugar-scarfing freak who wouldn't knock over a 7-Eleven if his life depended on it has to say about God."
"Not, by the way, that I ever knocked off any 7-Elevens. I'm not saying that. I'm saying I feel like I might have. In the course of my out-of-control, desperate and violent past, there could have been some convenience-store situations. That is to say, I may experience the despair and soul-death of a man who has knocked over convenience stores--though, technically, if you're going to go all Smoking Gun on my ass, I was held for shoplifting M&Ms. Peanut.
"The kind that feel like little skulls between my pain-racked teeth. The chocolate mushing to bloody brown with every bite. Blood. Mouth. Peanuts.
"Okay, okay. Fuck the bullshit. I wasn't exactly arrested. There was a security guard, in a turban. Whom I turned into a cop for dramatic purposes. And fuck you if you think I need to embellish my super-bad criminal status by describing how I smacked him in the face with the jerky rack. Jerky everywhere.
"Preserved meat. Which I ate off the floor on all fours. Like a wolverine..."
For the whole brilliant piece, go here.