Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Closer to The Merchant of Venice, than The Amazing Race!

"Closer" (dir. Mike Nichols) I saw the play 5-6 years ago in London and thought it was just BRUTAL then! It is still pretty brutal on screen. Especially as Mike Nichols (director) and/or Patrick Marber (playwright/ screenplay) decided to cut the some of the most sincere dialogue from the last two scenes and use just silent montage. Anyway, it is easier to sit through as the cast is G O R G E O U S! I had seen Clive Owen in London (playing the Jude Law role), but don't remember being so taken by him. The women (Julia Roberts and Natalie Portman) are a tad 'nicer' than I think was originally intended. Portman especially comes off as more of a victim than a participant. In the script, all four are participants in their hideous bedgames. On film, Owen takes the strongest choices and becomes the manipulator of the three other characters. I think it sort of throws it off balance and leans it into "Dangerous Liaison" territory. Whereas with four equally strong characters, it is more of a battle than a puppet show. Lacking that battle, I experienced a certain malaise in watching each combination of relationships be destroyed and remade, just for the sake of taking them apart again. I was hoping for sparks and cat fights! Oh well. markosf then snuck across the hall for "The Aviator" as I popped downtown to the Variety Arts Screening Room for a preview of:

"The Merchant of Venice" (dir. Michael Radford) Now, if there were a play that NEEDED some script editing, THIS is one! I've never really liked this play. But one doesn't pass up the opportunity to watch Al Pacino chew up a gondola and spit it back into a Venetian Canal! His Shylock is so totally "Michael Corleone: The LATER Years!" that it made me laugh! Out of the three sets of lovers, I could have EASILY deleted two of them! You sort of MUST keep Portia/Bassanio. One, because of her BIG moment at the plays climax. And, two, because Joseph Fiennes is hot. The other two sets of lovers are just in the way and make it a longer drama (2.5 hours) than necessary. Oh, and WHY does Jeremy Irons seem to insist on taking off his shirt?! ewwwww...

I could have skipped this. Especially since it is The AMAZING Race night!!! But, lo. I could have missed THAT tonight too!! ANOTHER non-elimination leg?! MORE bunching??! And what a WASTE of a Fast Forward! I really don't know what the producers are thinking in this edition. They put together a real group of psychos and bitches and seem intent on making us watch them for as long as possible. I LOVE Kris and JON, but... come on! Let's get this thing MOVING!!! They must get to India NOW! It is taking forever! Gawd I want to see Hayden, Kendra and Victoria M E L T D O W N in the Ghangis! I really do!

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