That’s One Cocky Comb…

I’m enjoying a 5-day weekend thanks to Children’s Day (a national holiday here in Korea) and an extra school holiday. I was considering a first-time trip to Tokyo, but I decided to stay home and save my money after my recent shopping spree (the tennis racket and mp3 player).

KlimtNonetheless, the long weekend’s been pretty darn nice. I had dinner with my two aunts last night and I’ve made a long-procrastinated return to the gym. I also went over to check out a Gustav Klimt exhibit at the Seoul Arts Center (my impressions: Klimt was a genius, and he sure loved women, glamorizing his portraits to the hilt).

I’ve also spent much of the time in quiet seclusion, writing for this site, cleaning my studio apartment, reading The Native Son (very compelling and still quite relevant), and watching the following movies on my video player:

– Surveillance:

As can be expected from being directed by David Lynch’s daughter, it’s a strange, disturbing movie with an even more disturbingly strange performance from Bill Pullman. It’s bizarre to see the messed-up things he and Julia Ormond do in this movie and then remember them as romantic leads in While You Were Sleeping and Sabrina, respectively. Overall, I found it misogynistic, and it left a bad taste in my mouth.

– Little Children:

Has anyone seen Ruby In Paradise, starring Ashley Judd? It’s a great, little indie gem, and an actor named Todd Field played Ashley’s boyfriend. Well, now he’s apparently a big-time director. He directed this one, and though the cast is solid (hard to go wrong with Kate Winslet nor Jennifer Connelly, though they’re both stuck with rather one-dimensional characters), the story’s quite uneven, veering from genuine heartbreak (especially from the character of a sexual offender’s mother) to silly melodrama (the relationship between Jennifer’s husband and Kate get old pretty fast, which kind of is the point of the film).

– Into the Wild:

I read the book last month, and I was really moved by the story, the true tale of a young man who wanted to live life as a wandering tumbleweed. Christopher McCandless was undeniably one heck of a complex guy, and the book really made him and his actions come alive. As Christopher unknowingly marches on to his eventual death in an abandoned bus in desolate Alaska, you couldn’t help but find him both exasperating and exhilarating, and that dual emotional tension carried much of the book’s power.

The film never comes close to carrying off the same feat. It reduces Chris to a cartoonish, “Gee-whiz!” caricature for too much of the time (he makes cutesy faces at the camera; he talks to his food, screams “Society!” back and forth at a bar with Vince Vaughn). Also, the film’s constant use of narration (courtesy of his sister) and music (much of it courtesy of Eddie Vedder) works against its own purpose. Chris’ search for absolute calm and peace of mind begs for silence, not the cacophony of sounds the film presents.

Cocky CombFinally, I went shopping at my local supermarket when I saw this (of course, I had to buy it). It’s good to know that Seoul still has surprises in store for me:

P.S. Tori’s album has started to leak, and aside from “Welcome to England,” I’ve been playing the heck out of “Maybe California” (so pretty and sad) and “Curtain Call” (atmospheric and hypnotic). She may not be as consistently amazing as she once was, but still, when Tori’s on, she’s on.

Tori Amos – Maybe California

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