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Month: December 2011

Alas, Jaw

Very sadly, A Dangerous Method wound up being the weakest Cronenberg in a long time. The material was more or less perfect, but Keira Knightley let down the side. It’s not that she’s a bad actress, it’s that Cronenberg has never been the kind of director who draws forth the exceptional from his actors. And Knightley doesn’t know how to give her role weight. So instead of getting a damaged genius/patient, she’s playing another edition of the plucky young woman who stands up to the world. This time with more jaw tics.


Dinner tonight: Stiles Switch BBQ, which is conveniently half a mile from our house. The place just opened; the pit master used to be the pit boss at Louie Mueller’s up in Taylor. I am no barbecue expert but I hear Louie Mueller’s is very good, and Stiles Switch made me very happy. And it’s just a few minutes away.

Tattoo You

Briefly: Fincher’s directing and Rooney Mara’s acting make it painfully clear that Lisbeth Salander doesn’t make any sense next to Mikael Blomkvist. There are two potentially awesome thrillers in both the book and the movies: one stars Blomkvist, and it’s a story about an awesome journalist who’s pretty much an auctorial stand in. The other is a somewhat more interesting story about Swedish traditional culture and the horrible things it does to women, as personified by both Harriet Vanger and Lisbeth Salander. When you mash them together, however, you get a wish-fulfillment piece in which the awesome journalist is just another man using a woman. Blomkvist and Salander should never have met.

I don’t think Steig Larsson realized this. David Fincher might. (Edit: Fincher has mentioned Blomkvist’s misogyny.) Either way, the clarity of Fincher’s directing strips away all the awkwardness of the English translation, and it’s hard to pretend that Salander belongs with Blomkvist at all. You can’t hide the incongruity by making up your own images when they’re right up there on the screen. The parallel tracks of the two central female characters become really obvious. Consider disguises — I wonder, in fact, if that’s part of why Fincher kept the extensive coda. Larsson thought his hero was a different class of father figure, but Fincher lets the darkness through.

Worth seeing. Tremendously disturbing.

Shivery Timbers

Quick note, because I know some of you like Squirrel Nut Zippers a whole bunch: if you liked Squirrel Nut Zippers a whole bunch, you ought to check out White Ghost Shivers. immlass turned me onto these guys, and we took some time to see ’em playing this last weekend, and they were awesome: seven piece band doing 20s jazz, with a fairly punky modern attitude. The sound is way rooted in the 20s, but they aren’t afraid to sing about mullets and white trash. They’ve been playing together for more or less a decade, and are as sharp as you’d hope given that much experience together. Also the piano player played with Squirrel Nut Zippers some.

Everyone’s Got ‘Em is the first album after Cella Blue joined, and having a female vocalist available helped the music a bunch. Nobody Loves You Like We Do just came out this week and is also good. Audio follows.

Food on the Run

After getting my tire fixed this morning, I swung by Snarky’s Moo Bawk Oink for a sandwich. They’re trying to get a food trailer park off the ground in North Austin, around a mile from our place, so that’s a thing to support. Unfortunately I was a bit disappointed. I had the Jamaican chicken jerk sandwich on a pita, which is supposed to be traditional Jamaican flavors with some pineapple slaw and jerk sauce. The jerk sauce was more harsh fire than flavorful, though, and I didn’t get anything terribly Caribbean from it. Also there was not much pineapple slaw at all.

I’ll try it again because hey, they’re close, and maybe the cubano is good. Also the guy manning the truck was nice. I think maybe he should be taking applications and getting more trailers there right now, rather than trying to form the perfect mix and asking people to hold off. It’s gonna be tricky getting traffic there with five trailers, and one solitary one will have a hard row to hoe. Fingers crossed.