A Good Yarn

Sunday, March 22, 2009

More Movies

I finished up the Harry Potter/Hedwig socks for my nephew, Michael, but I didn't have time to take a photo of the second one. But you know what, it looks pretty much like the first one. I didn't do anything to try to make them match exactly, but they're pretty close to the same. I guess if I had wound off a few yards, I would have been able to match them up, but I am never that concerned about having them be the same. I didn't take a picture because I wanted to get them to Michael when I saw him on St. Patrick's Day, while there's still a need for wool socks. Spring is definitely moving into the Twin Cities.

I am also making progress on my Borghild sweater. I've finished the first sleeve:

and I'm almost ready to start the decreases on the second sleeve. This is a very long project for me. As usual, by the time I get it finished, it'll be too warm to wear. I seem to do that every winter/spring.

And, trying to catch up on my movie reviews, again, I watched three more nominees before the Academy Award ceremony:

I liked this one, but as you saw earlier, it didn't make my Top Ten. As you probably know, Mickey Rourke stars as a past-his-prime professional wrestler. He was gigantic in the 80s, but that was 20 years ago and now he's getting old and his best days are behind him. It's a pretty searing performance by Rourke, and just like Robert Downey Jr. brought so much of himself to his role in Iron Man, I think Rourke's own history makes this a role of a lifetime for him. The regret, loneliness and longing on Rourke's face is quite real, I'm sure. I think the reason the movie didn't totally resonate with me is that I'd already heard so much about it and seen clips before I saw it. There's a very emotional scene where Rourke's character has a conversation with his daughter, who he's estranged from after pretty much abandoning her in childhood to pursue his own dreams. I'd seen the climax of that scene in clips dozens of times before I actually saw the movie, so I think it lost some of its power for me. It's coming out on DVD in a few weeks and I'd definitely add it to your list.

Although I thought Mickey Rourke's performance was fantastic, I did think the Academy got it right in giving the Best Actor Oscar to Sean Penn. He plays the first openly gay man elected to a major office in the U.S. The movie starts at Harvey Milk's 40th birthday, when he realizes he really hasn't done much with his life, so he moves to San Francisco and starts living out of the closet, in the Castro. He organizes the neighborhood and runs for a position on the Board of Supervisors a couple of times and eventually, after he starts running on a campaign of hope, he wins. I don't think it's spoiling anything since it's fairly well known, but he's eventually killed, along with the mayor, by another member of the Board of Supervisors. Although it's a tragic story, you really get a sense of what a difference Harvey Milk made in his short time on earth and you feel energized and hopeful. The whole cast does a great job, including James Franco, James Brolin (who is fast becoming one of my favorite actors), and Emile Hirsch. This one is already out of DVD, so if you haven't seen it yet, I highly recommend it.

Continuing the theme of great acting, it's no breaking news to say that Meryl Streep is amazing. She completely inhabits the role of a tough nun in 1964. She's suspicious of the new priest, played by the always fantastic Philip Seymour Hoffman. Is he just progressive and a new kind of priest, or has he done something completely inappropriate with the one black child attending the church's school? Caught between them is a young nun played by Amy Adams. The acting was really great, including a small part of the black student's mother, played by Viola Davis. The cinematography and writing is really well done, but it's a bit cold and I didn't think it reached a level of greatness, but it really is worth seeing.

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