Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Nog Sees Sir Ben Kingsley in Elegy! (a film in which Sir Ben does NOT make out with an Olsen twin)

"When you make love to a woman you get revenge for all the things that defeated you in life." --David Kapesh (Ben Kingsley)

You don't hear too much praise of Sir Ben Kingsley these days, perhaps because he stars in too many movies or perhaps because he starred in a movie in which he makes out with an Olsen twin (The Wackness...not exactly the title you'd expect from a Ben Kingsley film). But he's very good in Elegy, an adaptation of a Philip Roth novella called The Dying Animal, which I haven't read, although my understanding is that, like most of Roth, it's energetic and outrageously vulgar. Elegy has a more sedate tone, befitting its new title, and a female director, perhaps itself a bit unusual for a Roth adaptation (like Updike, Roth is not exactly known for his sensitive views of women). Kingsley plays David Kapesh, an aging professor whose new book praises unchecked sexuality in opposition to societal "rules": his marriage has failed long ago and the implication is that he's banged his way through a lot of ex-students and finally drifted into an affair with a businesswoman (Patricia Clarkson), one which they like to believe is based strictly on sex. But the film is about him unexpectedly falling in love again, with a grad student named Consuela (Penelope Cruz, her second excellent performance of 2008 which no one saw, despite the Oscar for the other one). Kapesh finds himself falling prey to the entanglements he seeks to avoid, becoming very jealous, very childlike in his affection. The film seems to suggest there's a strong infantilizing tendency in a certain kind of male affection (note the scene where Kapesh, heartbroken, is tended to by his colleague, a poet played by Dennis Hopper). The film is strongly acted, worth a look, but it doesn't exactly succeed as either a love story or as one of the recent spate of "reawakening of a stodgy old professor" stories. It's better than Knowing. But not as funny.

12 comments:

  1. Yah, I won't be reviewing this.

    I'll see you at Observe and Report!

    --But I humbling submit my thoughts on Bromance and Adventure for anything concerning that title.

    PS -- Plus, I'll add this VERY TRUE! snippit: If it's called 'Bromance' and both Beth and Shelley like it... do you REALLY think it's A) Bromance B) Bromantic in the way that bromance came to be defined C) Good D) If C, and likely, then can it really be bromantic... as bromance strives not to be good... but SUPERBAD!!! ... and then sprinkle in a comment or two with the word Muthafucker!

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  2. I don't think anyone (outside of maybe the deliberately misleading marketing campaign!) sees Adventureland as a "bromance."

    It's a good old-fashioned romance between girl and boy. Remember those? But the audience demands more dick jokes!

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  3. Also, Dr. X, you should take your Roth adaptations like a good scholar, and that includes The Human Stain, starring Nicole Kidman, one of your favorites!

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  4. Dr. X, The American ScholarApril 5, 2009 at 3:36 PM

    In my throat,

    The bile rises... but not as much so as the erection in my pants. Good Knights, Good Sir, Knights -- I implore you to reassess: America, my America, your America... is nothing but a veritable sea of dick jocks, spank references and rhinoceros cocks testosterone-fuels by the spunk of one million baboon's hearts pumping a thick, viscous substance... not blood, no, ...no, good sir, not blood... but the raspberry-infused syrupy lust of 150 million young man screaming out the ejaculative praise summed up in the soul of one young Kip Smilie.

    "Give me, a boner, America," little Smilie says, "give me a boner, with a cheeseburger on top and a hemi-powered Ft. Scott built engine."

    --That's my American cinema, good sirs. That's Kip's American cinema: Jackass, Jackass Pt. II and the Pink Panther (only because it makes fun of those fucking French).

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  5. Kip's real name has appeared! But he doesn't read this blog anyway...or at least not until I write about Jackass.

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  6. Ben Kingsley and Anthony Hopkins have similar problems--great actors who can no longer get big roles. So he takes a lot of roles. I think the last thing I saw him in was that stinker Sound of Thunder, and he did an okay job. Half the time I see him, I think, what the hell is he doing in this crappy movie?

    This movie's on my list, and I look forward to seeing it, especially with this review.

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  7. Ben Kingsley made out with an Olsen twin?

    . . .Woah. < rents THE WACKNESS > I just want to see that. I just -- yeah. I need to witness this spectacle.

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  8. Richard is right. Adventureland is not at all a bromance.

    And Sommers, if I like it a movie, that just means it's good.

    --beth

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  9. Dr. X, Brings the Numbahs!April 6, 2009 at 5:53 AM

    Hmmmm...

    When the self-proclaimed queen of crap Teevee makes such an audacious statement, methinks one's incredulity is justified. As evidence, I offer to the Brethren Court the following list of some of Beth's more spurious movie must-sees:

    -Sex and the City. I feel no need to comment :).
    -Twilight. I feel no need to finish this thought on not needing to com
    -Pan's Labyrinth... viewing 3762. Excellent movie... the first 3000 times it was viewed ... then it got personal :).

    Now, on to more important things. X knows that Adventureland is not bromance. Problematically, the marketing gurus tried to pass it off as being... FROM THE DIRECTOR OF SUPERBAD!!! in almost all the media and propaganda for the thing (stressing the Hader/ ambiguous retro vibe SUPERBAD! thing) and released it wide to around 1862 theaters as such.

    America, upon hearing that it was neither Super! nor Bad! soundly rejected the movie as a number six weekend post with a bank of approximately the same figure (in millions). Critically: and you will love this, the aggregate ratings for Superbad and Adventureland are IDENTITCAL with an 88% tomatometer... which will flux between 89 and 87% over the next few days to be sure. SOOOOOOOOOOOO, not that I am pulling critical, popular, and fiscal rank (incidentally, the per cap on both films: A-land: 3,228 per theater, SB!: ...$11,211 per theater opening weekend.)... but I go with pop America on this one.

    They may be very different movies -- but they were not marketed that way. And, given that #13 just came off the biggest (shit) success story of last year and the DVD phenomenon known as Twilight: Where Vampires Play Hopscotch and Practice French Kissing Their Hands, me gonna go out on a long one here and say: Craptacular.

    --Though in all reality, if I really saw the film I'd probably love it... problematically, I've seen the film a million times already and I wanna see something new... like Gomorrah (which supposedly reinvents the gangster movie!).

    PS -- Skdoosh!

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  10. Yeah,Dr. X, you'd like Adventureland based on the soundtrack alone.

    Gomorrah should be marketed as a bromance too. Then it could at least appear in local theaters and we could all see "the greatest gangster film ever made," according to some dude on the poster.

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  11. Also, Nog on Film is now more popular than the LC Chronicles!

    (but it still needs more dick jokes!).

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  12. Dr. X, on retort!April 6, 2009 at 7:19 AM

    What?

    There's not enough on here already? Admittedly, I bought the soundtrack to A-land... and I broke! I broke hard. But then I foundout it was rarify sissy water and not a fine Kip's Chicken Fried Steak from Montana Mikes... and I passed. Strangely, I watched City of God instead. MUCCCCCCCCCH funnier (I imagine).

    And Cock.

    --There: we got a little more perv in there.

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