OK. So, I don't want you people to think that I've turned over a new leaf or anything. All the same overarching formal problems are still there and I still think it was horribly miscast, but. After the Cubs game preempted our weekly Gilmore Girls fix, and after the local Blockbuster ended up not carrying any of the complete seasons on DVD, LK rented Closer for us to watch, not realizing I'd already seen it and, um, y'know, formed an opinion about it. I said I'd watch it with her until I got too disgusted to take any more. Well, I was actually able to make it through the whole thing, mostly thanks to my newfound appreciation for Clive Owen's performance. I still think he's way too suave and good-looking for the role (as is everyone else in the film, except Natalie Portman, who should have been more hot but less pretty), but, without him, the movie likely would have suffered irreparable damage. Everyone is discernably better in their scenes with him. Somehow, magically, he turns these movie stars into actors when they're on screen together. Suddenly, there are multiple layers in the emotional subtext, and the dialogue sounds like actual language, and there is an undercurrent of genuine eroticism infusing everything (rather than just being assumed because of the natural attractiveness of the cast). I really couldn't believe the marked difference that his presence made. Which is, of course, to say nothing of his own performance, which is magnetic and unpredictable and filled with way more interesting rage and intensity and intelligence than I'd remembered. He's really the only reason to see this movie.
It's been an outstanding couple days of music for me. Following in the footsteps (and thanks to the CD-loaning generosity) of the inhabitants of Casa de Ziesball, I have been dipping into Elvis Costello's back catalog, and, fuck me, I have become obsessed with Armed Forces. This sentiment should probably be filed under "unsurprising revelations" (as John Darnielle has occasionally said of comparable discoveries), but damn. Where has this album been all my life? (Literally, all my life. I'm pretty sure it came out the year I was born.) I've also been enjoying the Pernice Brothers' new one, and yesterday I received the oustanding finished version of a collaborative mix CD that I contributed to, complete with custom-made packaging created by the unbelievably awesome kids behind Pin Monkey Press. And then last night, before I went to bed, I discovered that my apartment building had been bulldozed and an amusement park made entirely out of pixie sticks, tinsel, and number two pencils had been erected in its place, and as I stood marveling at this feat of ramshackle engineering, a dangerously inept amateur lion tamer who'd been awake for 72 hours on a cross-country bender walked up and offered me a cup of strong lemon-flavored tea to drink and a lit pair of Roman candles to wear as earrings. No, wait, I mean, I listened to the Clap Your Hands Say Yeah album. Christ, it's beautiful. The hipsters were right again.
Samuel L. Jackson on Snakes on a Plane (via Salon's gossip column The Fix). This absolutely destroyed me with laughter when I read it today. Pure genius.
A colleague of mine recently introduced the Mimi Smartypants blog to me, which I am loving already. I totally want to take a cue from this post and start telling all my female friends how brave and strong they are.
I can't remember whom I may or may not have told about this blog post written by a local musician critiquing Chicago's mainstream press coverage of Intonation (via Gapers Block), so I thought I'd just post it here for everyone. My favorite sentence: "As for the Sun-Times, Dero calls Four Tet 'laptronica' in quotes, in much the same way that I call music played in a small combo setting with guitars, bass, and drums 'rockonica' or 'bandalicious' to make them seem foreign and silly to my readers."
B, I had a major breakthrough yesterday with the PDF/font problem I'd been having at work. More on this later with you via e or cell.
EDIT: I'm a fairly huge fan of Liev Schreiber, and I've been very happy with the recent uptick in his exposure due to his work on Broadway in Glengarry Glen Ross and his forthcoming film adaptation of Everything Is Illuminated. Here's a nice lengthy interview with him from this week's Onion.