A couple weeks ago I had a few days off all to myself (yay!) and hit the road to visit friends in the NJ town of my ute. I love a road trip to visit friends, though I'm looking forward to our next car, whatever it turns out to be, to put the love back in the road part. Our current commuter econobox is over 250K miles with no problems whatsoever (Toyota? I'm ready for my close-up...) except that the a/c crapped out just in time for summer. But summer's all but done, and cars are another thread.
We saw some movies!
Casino Royale is holding up to repeated viewings. I am beginning to shake my head a bit during the underwater action near the end of the movie, but I still love it. I had never heard of Daniel Craig (somehow -- dang children! -- I missed Layer Cake; Netflix should be fixing that for me shortly) before learning he was the next Bond. Any apprehension I had about him (I did like Pierce Brosnan in the role) evaporated early on the first time I saw this movie. I am accused of just liking his, um, bathing suit. Not true -- the man rocks a dinner jacket as well ;). But most importantly, he nails the Bond character. According to IMDb, the next Bond movie, coming in '08, is reported to be a direct sequel to Casino Royale, so that'll be interesting.
The Simpsons Movie was good fun. All kinds of Simpson cleverness, many laughs. At 87 minutes, it didn't try too hard, which is key for a TV show-made-movie. There were lots of allusions to/pokes at other films. I caught just a few, so there had to have been lots that I missed entirely or couldn't quite place then forgot about.
Did you know you can make yourself a Simpson character? S'fun.
That's me, sorta. I can never find the right hair with those things.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, I think I mentioned below somewhere, was really, really good. Visually great, well-paced, and having read the book, I have to say the movie folks are doing a great job deciding what to leave out, what to keep in without making a four hour film. We saw it at an IMAX theater in a shopping mall... is this a great country, or what?
Seen at home long after the rest of the world has forgotten all about 'em:
It took me a long while to get around to Mrs. Henderson Presents (2005). The title put me off. Shallow of me, but if the title is ugly, awkward or silly, I can't help but be less interested in the film, no matter how many Oscar nominations it gets. Anyway this awkwardly titled movie is based on a true story of a wealthy widow in 1930s London who buys a theater for something to do because she can't stand the idea of embroidery and charity work for the rest of her days. Shocking the aristocracy (including a stuffy Lord Somethingorother played by Christopher Guest), Mrs. Henderson's productions feature -- horrors! -- naked women. Judi Dench is fab, of course, in the role. Bob Hoskins both produced the movie and costars as the theater manager (and if you've ever wanted to see Bob Hoskins naked, here's your chance). No, wait! See it anyway! It's a lovely drama, both funny and poignant.
Looks like I haven't shuffled my Netflix queue in a while and we're in British Drama mode. Thankfully I can recommend this one as well: last night we saw A Good Woman (2004), based on Oscar Wilde's 1892 comedy "Lady Windemere's Fan." Scarlett Johansen stars in the title role as the young bride of a wealthy financier, brushing off advances by her husband's dashing friend (cad, or good guy?). Meanwhile, having run out of other people's husbands to seduce in New York, the mysterious Mrs. Erlynne (Helen Hunt) arrives in Amalfi, and the serious gossip begins. What's Mrs. Earlynne doing spending so much time with Mr. Windemere? Where's her money coming from? Things are more complicated than they appear. It's a nice movie with beautiful costumes and scenery, entertaining secondary characters, and top-notch dialogue... it's Oscar Wilde after all, what's not to like! Except: Scarlett Johansen's bee-stung lips sort of get on my nerves. I don't know why. Hers are too much, Helen Hunt's not enough, and they both look a little odd. But the hair! The shoes! The dresses! Beautiful.