Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Miscellaneous: Miscellaneous

Work, work, work. Herewith, a grab bag.

The New York Times ten best books of the year list is out, and for once it’s not terra incognita for me. I’ve read one fiction entry – Then We Came To The End by Joshua Ferris, which I adored – and am coincidentally in the middle of one non-fiction entry, Rajiv Chandrasekaran’s Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq’s Green Zone. This makes me feel like a certifiable genius and a man of the world.

We did see Enchanted, as referenced below. (I know some of you were wondering.) I liked it, and can say with great certainty that Rosemarie liked it even more.

We also caught up with Paris, Je t’aime on DVD, which is like an entire meal made up of amuses-bouche. “Collective” films are typically spotty, but this one has a good hit-to-miss ratio. It helps that each short is five minutes long, so the successes leave you wanting more while the misfires don’t go on too long. Each director’s assignment was to tell a love story in a different neighborhood in the City Of Lights. Leave it to the Coen Brothers to set their film entirely in a Metro station and consist of bad things happening to Steve Buscemi. Other favorites include the efforts by Alexander Payne, with its great performance by character actress Margo Martindale; Isabel Coixet, which initially seems like a send-up of French cinema but soon reveals the coeur beneath the sangfroid (hey, I took French in high school); Sylvain Chomet, finding fresh uses for both mimes and the Eiffel Tower; and Christopher Doyle, whose bizarre film is either pure fancy or a complicated allegory for the French experience in Southeast Asia. I honestly don’t know.