One paragraph reviews on art, movies, books, and pop culture by a know-nothing who knows it all

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

"Them" Is Grand

Synopsis: Writer Francine du Plessix Gray's memoir about the rise of her Russian-emigrant-to-toast-of-the-town socialite parents. "Them: A Memoir of Parents" comprised some of my favorite subjects: Russian angst, French culture, New York's high society circa 1930-1960. I'm a fan of Francine du Plessix Gray (I've read "At Home with the Marquis de Sade," "Rage and Fire," "Lovers and Tyrants," and "Soviet Women"). I love her writer's voice and humor. The book only sometimes devolves into a Mommy and Daddy Dearest diatribe; overall, du Plessix Gray is amazingly objective in analyzing her parents' self-absorption. As well, she's pretty insightful and self-critical about her self. (Image via Amazon)


Saturday, May 21, 2005

Bogie "3-Iron"

Synopsis: young guy breaks into houses while owners are vacationing and hangs out for awhile...until he meets an abused trophy wife who joins him in his scheme. I thought this film was going to be much more meditative. I thought that I was going to get a film similar to those by Ming-liang Tsai, one of my favorite directors. The trailer tricked me into believing that. Instead, I got Ming-liang Tsai lite. I may be wrong; the majority of critics seem to be doing backflips over this movie. The flick was definitely passable; I just expected a hell of a lot more. Right at the end, I thought, "OK. Now this film is really going to start." Whoops. Wrong. Out rolled the credits. The ending really felt like the beginning. On top of that, the director ended with some quote, explaining the film's theme, which I thought was a major cop-out. If you bloody have to explain the film at the end, you should have written a short story instead. (Image via


Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Hunter MFA Thesis Show

Went to this show for Hunter MFA grads. It's in a horrible location: 450 W. 41st, near Lincoln Tunnel. The galleries were insanely hot. Although the show had not officially opened, a student preparing the gallery kindly let me take a peek.

Here are some images:

In person, this sculpture is much more impressive. Those are stacks of sliced-up newspapers frozen in a swirling motion.

Anat Litwin, "She-Altar"

This was another sculpture similar to the newspaper one. Loads of tangled wires that were quite mesmerizing.

Melissa Cowper-Smith, "Rachel"

Ahh, finally some paintings. This image reminds me of the work by Mel Leipzig. (To view some of Mel's work, visit Gallery Henoch website and click on "artists.") Detailed, realistic renderings of living spaces--but this artist does it from this hole-in-the-ceiling view.

Andy Cross, "History of the World Ancient and Modern"

More paintings. This artist's thesis project, as you can tell from the title, is quite ambitious. Not my favorite, but I bet he'll do some interesting stuff in the future.

Tokoha Matsuda.

Don't know the title. Let's call it "Chicken Feet." Another interesting image was fish heads w/the same type of flower. I like this artist's images. Playful.


Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Andrew Sarris, My Favorite, Favorite Critic

In last week's Observer, Andrew Sarris's review of Crash is right on the money. Where have all the good critics gone? (Click here to read Mr. Sarris's recent reviews.) (Image via


Sunday, May 15, 2005

So-so "Crash"

Synopsis: interweaving storylines about various groups of people and how race and racism affect their lives over a period of one day. Saw the flick last night. Mixed feelings. For a Hollywood mainstream movie, it took chances--mainly because it is an ensemble piece with no clear-cut star. Successful ensemble pieces seem very hard to do. I loved "Short Cuts" and "Magnolia," but even those films--considered to be well-done--have a lot of detractors. The best storyline dealt with a black couple who have uncomfortably assimilated into the white world. The other storylines really felt heavy-handed and cliche (I felt myself rolling my eyes at some points). (Image via


Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Bye-bye "Lullaby"

Synopsis: reporter and real estate agent try to track down published poem that kills people after they hear it. Really glad that's over. 260 pages (with a lot o' padding) of a story that probably would've been great if it were about 200 pages shorter. There was a lot of repetition; the book was like a pop song with one or two great lyrics that the singer keeps singing again and again and again and....again. A few of these "lyrics" I kinda liked though, such as when he calls his neighbors "noise-oholics and quiet-phobes." He describes their addiction to noise: booming rap beats, screaming laughter on TV as the noise bombards him. I liked that--noise-oholics. (Image via


Monday, May 09, 2005

Haunting "Oldboy"

I saw this image from another blog. It's a still from the Korean flick "Oldboy," which is one of current favorite flicks. It kinda sent shivers down my spine. If you click this post's title, it will take you to an Oldboy site. Half of it is in Korean script, but the images really conjured up the film's experience for me. Seeing those images reminded me of the time after I saw "Blue Velvet." Unexpectedly, I heard the song Blue Velvet on the radio, and the song sent me spinning w/those haunting images from the film. While watching Oldboy, I was alternately tormented by a physically gross scene (eating a live octopus, pulling teeth, cutting out tongue) and an emotionally devastating one (suicide, loneliness, regret). Great way to spend your time, eh? No, truly, I thought it was a great flick. (Image via


Sunday, May 08, 2005

"Lullaby" by Chuck Palahniuk

Or however you spell his last name. Tad bit disappointed. Only on page 75. The writing, or this story, reminds me of Jim Thompson meets James Elroy meets Ray Bradbury. The subject matter is Jim Thompson (gross descriptions of the bodily functions--death, eating, screwing), the tone is James Elroy (smart aleck seen this, seen that), and the undertone of Ray Bradbury (deep cynicism). (I love Ray B. , but I realized that he really doesn't have any faith in the humanity of man.)


Saturday, May 07, 2005

"Middle Age" by Joyce Carol Oates

Synopsis: after a beloved sculptor dies in well-to-do community, friends evaluate his affect on their lives and rediscover who they are. I loved reading this book, but now when I think about what I should write about it, I'm blank. It's just one of those books that you immerse yourself in and devour and then slowly forget it after you're finished. I think this is one of few JCO books that I've read that focuses on adults. (I've read You Must Remember This; Because It Is Bitter, and Because It is My Heart; Foxfire; Blonde; Black Water.) What I love about her stuff is that she is able to capture that Upstate New York feel picture perfect.


Friday, May 06, 2005

"Look at Me"

Synopsis: daughter of famous writer tries to win his attention as well as figure out who loves her for herself and not her father. This Frenchie film is MUCH better than the trailer would lead you to believe. The trailer portrays it as this story about a French girl who's fat trying to make it in a skinny world. The film is really about a daughter's attempts to win her father's attention. It's also about how quickly we all drop or pick up people because of what their status can do for us. Anyways, I found myself enjoying the flick.


Wednesday, May 04, 2005


I've been cranking thro "middle age: a romance." 50 more pages to go. I'm going to miss it when it's done, but I won't miss seeing JCO moody author picture on the back of the book. (Image via


Tuesday, May 03, 2005

"Ladies in Lavender"

Synopsis: Dashing young foreigner washes ashore to home of old biddy English ladies. I can't believe it. I really liked this movie. The worst thing about this flick is the title. God, why did they call it "Ladies in Lavender"? A major turnoff. "One ticket, please, for Ladies in Lavender." What I liked about the film was that it dealt with people getting older, and recognizing that, and coming to terms with it. The preview led you to believe that there was going to be some political aspect, but that part of the film was never really fleshed out. The film's being marketed to the geriatric set, so watch out in the theater when you have to sit among people who keep stage-whispering to their companion: "What'd she say?"This actor--who was in "Goodbye, Lenin"--which I barely remember because I fell asleep in the theater (I was pregnant at the time) is what the critics' pull quotes would call a "charm," a "delight." All good clean fun. (Image via and