London 2/12

My week in London was filled with good things, some of which were movies. The friends I was visiting (named Vic, Kathy and Janelle -- photo forthcoming) are enthusiastic about films, to put it mildly. Every Saturday, they host a movie night; we watched Half Nelson. Vic's brother Walter references it briefly here, in the inaugural post of the blog authored by both Vic and Walter. A couple of days later, several of us watched Short Cuts, my first Robert Altman film besides Gosford Park. Short Cuts is based on the writing of Raymond Carver, whose short story Cathedral is one of my favorite short stories of all time (although Short Cuts did not draw upon Cathedral). The next day Vic and I went to the cinema to see Inland Empire, which Vic reviews here. Additionally, the lot of us watched several episodes of Northern Exposure on DVD.

My one-sentence reactions to these various cinematographic experiences?

1. I recommend Half Nelson, which I found to be ultimately hopeful and quite funny in places. However, the hope is framed by a postmodern bleakness which some in our group didn't find believable.
2. I highly recommend Short Cuts, which I found equal parts energizing and sobering, and which is a stirring interpretation of Raymond Carver's work.
3. I side with Vic on Inland Empire: I don't regret seeing it, but I wouldn't necessarily see it again (at least not for a very long time). I wouldn't recommend seeing it unless you are in the mood for a (mostly) inaccessible work of art (for art it is!) which (largely) substitutes images and impressions for plot and character. It does have some good quotes, like what Nikki said about the men she had been seeing:

Some men change. Well, they don't change - they reveal. They reveal themselves over time, you know?

4. Northern Exposure is great TV. If you can get your hands on the DVD, watch it.