Monday, February 13, 2006

Brokeback / Vinalia Review

Movie Review: Brokeback Mountain
Saturday was the all girl fieldtrip to see Brokeback Mountain. For the past few years I have tried to see all films nominated for "best picture" before the Oscars are handed out. Last year was filled with wonderful films like The Aviator, Million Dollar Baby, Ray, Finding Neverland and Sideways. I have seen all of these movies and thoroughly enjoyed them all. I was rooting for Million Dollar Baby and The Aviator for the Oscar, so I was pleased with the Academy at the end of the night.

This year our choices for best picture are: Brokeback Mountain, Capote, Crash, Good Night and Good Luck, and Munich. I have now seen three of these films, Crash, Munich and Brokeback Mountain. The hype surrounding Brokeback made it very hard to go into the theatre without expectations, but I tried my hardest to not acknowledge the veritable array of nominations surrounding this film. I must say that I had a very hard time believing the feelings between Jack and Ennis during the beginning of their relationship. Maybe I was supposed to feel this way, maybe they themselves couldn't believe their relationships or their feelings for each other, so I wasn't supposed to believe it or understand it either. I don't know, I just found it very hard to fathom that without conversation, side glances or innuendos that these two people knew what the other was thinking, or even knew what they themselves were thinking. I did not believe their first sexual encounter was genuine, maybe it wasn't supposed to be; maybe it was supposed to represent confusion and unbelievability.

As the movie and story unfolded I began to believe the strife between Jack and Ennis, and actually came to believe in their love for each other. But this took a while. I came to really feel for Ennis, and began to feel sorry that he seemed to lack the ability to be happy. He seemed so sad all the time, and his existence was one of just existing, not being.

In the end I cared for the characters, all of them, and was left with a complete sense of hopelessness, not for me, but for the people who have no ability to make their lives better; who, live life day to day with the inability to fill their lives with happiness.

This however was not a movie that stayed with me, a few hours after the movie I was at the Linwood drinking beer and eating catfish. I was not filled with unhappiness, nor did it make me want to go out there and "change the world." I don't know if this films deserves the Oscar for the best of the year, but what I can say is that the acting is phenomenal, and the characters believable, even if the story doesn't always let them be believable. Heath Ledger was truly gifted in this movie, I don't know if he should win the best actor Oscar over Joaquin Phoenix though, because that was truly an amazing performance that Joaquin put on in Walk the Line.

We shall see.

Restaurant Review: Vinalia
So, I had a business lunch at Vinalia today on Summer Street. I ordered the baby arugula salad with berries and goat cheese. I was disappointed in this salad for one reason only; when the menu says with berries, I expect more than 2 raspberries and 2 blackberries, 4 berries does not make a berry salad. That being said the arugula was fresh and crisp, the goat cheese was just the right amount, and the berry vinaigrette was light and refreshing, I just wish that more than 4 tiny baby berries have found their way onto my bed of baby arugula. The fresh bread that is served before the meal was wonderful and warm, and our server was attentive and chipper. All around a good meal for a business lunch, just the minor berry problem.

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