Over the past several weeks, I've had occasion to see several movies and art exhibitions. They were all good.
First, I saw No Country for Old Men, which is as good as everyone says, particularly Javier Bardem, who is just the shiznit. That man always acts his ass off-- always a thrill to watch. So damn versatile too. Tommy Lee Jones shines as the world-weary sheriff, and Josh Brolin, whom I remember from The Young Riders and haven't paid much attention to since, turns in a solid performance as well. This isn't your whimsically violent Coen brothers film--it's straight-up brutal, but in service of the plot. So, I give that one a thumbs up.
Then I went to the Corcoran to see the Annie Leibovitz, Ansel Adams and Jeremy Blake exhibits, as well as an impressionist/realist landscape exhibit, which I liked parts of, but my housemate didn't care for at all. As one might expect, the Leibovitz exhibit was the best. Weird to see all these magazine covers in a museum, though. The same goes for the Adams show--the mainstream popularity and ubiquity of his work makes it hard to consider in a gallery context, for whatever reason. I'm probably buying into the pretense of "ART" or something.
After a brisk walk back to Capitol Hill, I sat around until I went with another housemate to see Dan in Real Life, which deserves a higher tomatometer rating, in my opinion. It was written and directed by Peter Hedges, who once taught at my alma mater, wrote "What's Eating Gilbert Grape" and the screenplay for About a Boy. Steve Carell is very expressive, and surprisingly, Dane Cook's presence in the film did not make me want to throw things. In fact, I would submit that he should forgo his comedy and movies with Jessica Simpson for more like this one. Except that I suspect he wouldn't find those pursuits as lucrative.
The other night, I watched a great French film. French films are so often not crappy and sappy and super-cutesy. Blame it on Fidel! follows Anna, a 9 year-old bourgeois, Catholic school attendee with a nanny/housekeeper who disparages les Communistes at every turn. Unfortunately for Anna, her parents get religion after her uncle is killed by the Franco regime. They systematically divest themselves of their jobs and property, propelling Anna into a world of revolutionaries, abortion rights activists and contradictory cosmology. I really liked this film too.
Now, back to work!