Art, Music, & Film: November 2003 Archives

Saw the interminably titled Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World yesterday. Despite the critics’ raves, I found it a rather poorly narrated, strung together mish-mash of events. The characters, while finally nicely drawn are not well differentiated, the focus being merely on two. Not being familiar with the books, I found the film a dark, vertiginous swirl of events and utterly unexplicated stuff, that I suppose I was to "get" by my acquaintance with the books. This presents another problem--while I find the books nicely written I haven't been able to penetrate more than two chapters into any of them, finding the characters and the nature of events quite thoroughly unlikable.

So, why then take a turn at the movie? Husbandly duty. My wife loves the books and adores Russell Crowe. (This created a second problem. Mr. Crowe had so many extreme close-ups in the film that I found myself utterly transfixed by a small bump in his brow just over his nose. When his brow was furrowed I found myself seeking it frantically, as though looking for a landmark.)

Well, just consider this the counterweight to all the acclaim you're likely to read in St. Blog's. My wife said she'll go and see it again. I'll stay at home and watch the A&E Hornblower Series.

Coda: In case it wasn't already clear, my wife advises that those who are fans of the books will really love and enjoy the movie. I wish all those fans the most pleasant of experiences. It is very prettily photographed and directed by one of my very favorite directors Peter (Picnic at Hanging Rock and The Last Wave) Weir.

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From New York . . .

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Returned from New York where all seemed to go very well. The last time I was there was some thirty years ago when my entire family left for Washington. I remember New York as a dirty, dingy, dark, and dangerous city. The people were cold and distant when they weren't downright rude. This may still be true in part, but it wasn't my experience. Our host very kindly treated us to an evening of theatre (I know you're dying of curiosity--The Producers. Our first choice was Wicked, but the seats were all poor. For the show we saw right front Orchestra aisle, two rows back--spectacular.) After the show we walked back to our hotel--thirteen short blocks away, one of them through Times Square, and I never felt so much as mildly menaced--not true for the time I left--for documentation see Midnight Cowboy. I'm sure there are parts of the city for which this would not hold true, again, not my experience.

Everyone I encountered in my trip was at least pleasant and polite, most were openly friendly and helpful. I can't even begin to say how far this has gone to remove some pernicious misconceptions.

While there, I wad able to take in The Metropolitan Museum of Art and AMNH--as it is known among professionals in the field. I saw two fantastic Vermeers, one of which--"The Allegory of Faith" I spent some time with. There was a nice, if somewhat high-strung and overwrought El Greco exhibit. But the highlight for me was room after room after room of Egyptian antiquities, including, of course, an entire ancient Egyptian Temple. I could probably live in this wing of the museum.

All in all, a very exhausting, exciting, and rewarding trip.

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Art, Music, & Film category from November 2003.

Art, Music, & Film: October 2003 is the previous archive.

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