Monday, September 24, 2007

Weekend Update

HAIR-less. To get tickets to the free performance in Central Park of Hair Sunday night, you had to be online at 7 AM. I got there at 7:20. No tickets for Matthew. On the plus side, I am now two-thirds of the way through Proust. On the minus side, what used to be a fun thing to do in New York has turned into an overnight camping expedition. The people at the head of the line got there at 3 AM. When you have to do that to see a free show, then the Public ought to rename itself the Private.

In The Valley of Elah. On the one hand, you've got an ending that rivals Saving Private Ryan for sheer "I get it , I get it--will you stop beating me over the head already?" redundancy; on the other hand, you've got the impassive face of Tommy Lee Jones, whose age-lines and glancing looks make this film seem a lot smarter than it really is. Not as devastating as it wants to be, but not as didactic as it could have been. Except for that damn ending.

The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford. A lot of historical movies make two mistakes right off the bat--they screw up everybody's hair (Julie Christie in Dr. Zhivago? Hello, 1965!) and they get the pacing wrong, editing a story that takes place when people had to ride to get anywhere like they're on motorcycles instead of horses. Not this movie. It's as slow and deliberate as a walk to a funeral, with a breakout performance by Casey Affleck and the nastiest Brad Pitt you've ever seen. It also uses whole passages from the Ron Hansen novel as narration, making it an almost-too-accurate version of the book.

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