the flying troutmans

while contemplating which of my miriam toews books i will bring to her reading for signing, i decided that my copy of the flying troutmans would be perfect since it's a hardcover first edition (i've got to be strategic about these things). only, i hadn't read it yet, and although her reading isn't until may, i can sometimes be a slow reader and often mull over a novel for weeks at a time. so i figured i would get a head start and hopefully be finished in the two months allotted. except, it didn't take me two months to read, it took me three days (my record for reading a whole novel is two). i ate this book up over the past weekend and got cranky if anyone suggested i put it down to join the real world. it was SO GOOD!

miriam toews is one of my favorite authors. not only is she canadian (full disclosure: i'm obsessed with canadian literature) but her stories are everything i love in a good book, dark and sad with a lot of quirky humour. it's, for me, a perfect mix. i was first introduced to her by my fellow bibliophile, natalie jean, who insited i read a complicated kindness, which quickly fell into my list of top ten favorite novels. then she sent me a link to toews' contribution on the website, open letters, which made me fall even more in love (if that was even possible). when i found some of her stories/excerpts on geist, i decided to spend all of my chapters gift cards i got at christmas on all of toews' books.

the flying troutman tells the story of hattie, a 28 year old woman, who takes her niece and nephew on a road trip when the children's mother (hattie's sister) falls ill. its one of those stories that i found myself easily embracing all of the characters; hattie, who is a little lost and suddenly overwhelmed by responsibility, logan, her fifteen-year old nephew who is full to the brim with hopeless angst, and thebes, her eleven year old niece who is happily embracing weirdom all while secretly wishing she hadn't been born. and toews nails the family dynamic, you know the one where you simultaneously love and hate your family members, especially when stuck in a vehicle crossing the country (this is something i am very familiar with having grown up a military brat).

there really is so much going on in this novel and it's so much more than just a book about a road trip. i think in essence, toews is examining the effects of mental illness on those who love and care for the person suffering, in this case, hattie's sister. it is heartbreaking, yet redemptive. trust me, you will find yourself laughing at the absurd things coming out of thebes' mouth one minute and bawling your eyes out over logan description of why he likes to play basketball the next.

yea, just read it.


the bakery girl of monceau

i'm sure most of you are aware by now that i'm a sucker for french films. it could be the world's worst french film and i will still devour it like it's fucking godard. it's like my discerning cinematic eye goes blind from love and admiration, which, i guess, is why i'm having a hard time deciding how i really feel about eric rohmer's, the bakery girl of monceau.

i've watched a few of rohmer's other films, and have usually enjoyed them. they tend to examine the complex dynamic between men and women, relationships, and desires. the bakery girl of monceau is not that much different from the other films i've watched, in terms of theme.

filmed in 1963, the bakery girl of monceau, was rohmer's first film and the first in his series of six moral tales. the movie is about a young man who is hankering for this mysterious woman he frequently sees on the street but is too nervous to talk to. when he finally does work up the courage, she declines because of other plans. then, as cruel fate would have it, he stops seeing her around town. in the meantime, the young man begins visiting a local bakery and, everyday, stuffs himself with sweets while making eyes at the young girl who works at there. he eventually convinces the bakery girl to go out with him, however, he later bumps into mystery woman and asks her to go out the same day. now this poor man is faced with the ultimate dilemma, which woman should he choose?

this movie has a lot of things going for it. first, it's french, irresistibly french. second, it's brilliantly filmed. rohmer has a tendency to shoot his films in a similar perspective to how we, as humans, view the world. this means, he avoids close-ups, rarely uses music on the soundtrack and in this particular film, does not use sets, everything was filmed on location. and this style really lends itself to the realistic nature of this story, like, who hasn't been lucky enough to have to decide between two love interests and lord knows i've done my share of obsessing over strangers that i regularly see around town.

unfortunately, the realistic nature of the story is also what irks me a little about this film. it's difficult to discuss this aspect without spoiling the plot but i suppose i can say that by the end of the film it all seemed a little misogynistic, like the young man is simply choosing between coke or pepsi. maybe i was just feeling a little combative-feminist when i watched it but i am feeling a little put off by this film.

i am going to say, you should watch this film. eric rohmer was a very respected filmmaker, not only in french cinema but all over the world. it's also a short film, i think around 20 minutes or so, hardly a sacrifice of time. more importantly, i want you to watch so you can tell me if all the andrea dworkin i've been reading has gone to my head. am i crazy or sane? tell me what you think.

i try not to encourage copyright infringement, so i'm not going to provide a link, but you can watch the bakery girl of monceau on youtube. if you can find it, i recommend renting/buying the criterion collection edition because it has some interesting features.

and for your previewing pleasure:


the unnamed

two thoughts occurred to me this morning after finishing joshua ferris', the unnamed:
  1. i need to take a break from sad and depressing novels
  2. when matt gets home, i am going to hug him and never let go
the unnamed is ferris' second novel and tells the story of tim farnsworth, a successful lawyer who has a seemingly uncontrollable compulsion to walk. as tim tries to define and understand his strange affliction, his wife, jane, stands by his side, unconditional in her love and support for him.

the unnamed, is heartbreaking on several levels. it takes place over, approximately, two decades and tim's affliction has a tendency to ebb and flow during this time. when an episode comes on, all deals are off and staying still becomes physically impossible. it effects tim's professional and personal life profoundly, so when the condition subsides and tim manages to put some of the pieces of his life back together, it becomes all the more heartbreaking when the compulsion resumes.

the isolation and despair that tim experiences as he moves through this life, that he suddenly seems to have little control over, is agonizing but watching his marriage to jane deteriorate despite her desperate efforts, is the worst. both, tim and jane, struggle to do what is best for each other and their marriage but, as tim's affliction worsens, any hope of living happily ever after quickly fades.

dear god, this book is so sad. david poltz, an editor at slate, accurately compared ferris' novel to, the road, by cormac mccarthy, saying, "the unnamed does for marriage what the road did for fatherhood. its depiction of a happy marriage being shattered is almost unbearable." but, like the road, ferris' novel is moving and will help you, at least momentarily, take a look at your life and appreciate the small things we often take for granted.

i definitely recommend ferris', the unnamed. i just don't recommend you read this if you are sad, depressed, going through a break-up/divorce, falling in love, or emotionally unstable. if you are curious about the tone or feel of ferris' work, watch this video from his website. it's described as, 'the unnamed trailer', and i think it gives a good sense of what this book feels like:

in other literary news, i bought my ticket yesterday for the elizabeth hay/miriam toews reading in may, which i am officially beyond excited for. now i only have two months to decide which novel to have toews sign (since i have all of her books). do you think she would be pissed if i brought all five? 

if you're in vancouver, you can find out more about the event here.


californication and my love for marcy runkle

i'm not sure if it was the fact that my mom was so adamant that i watch it or if it was my reluctance to accept david duchovony as anyone else besides fox mulder, but i had been very resistant to giving the showtime series, californication, a chance. however, when matt suggested we watch it one night, i knew it was either that or top gear, so i relented and two seasons later, i'm totally obsessed.

for those of you unfamiliar with the show, here's the deal: duchovony plays hank moody, a well known and respected author who has not penned a novel in some time. originally from new york, he now lives in los angeles, after relocating when one of his novels is made into an insulting romcom. with him he brought his precocious daughter, becca, and his baby momma, karen, who he is separated from when we meet them in the first season. while navigating being a writer (on the verge of being washed-up), a father, and devoted ex to karen (i'm totally aware that sounds like an oxymoron), hank finds himself between the legs of many naked women, often with unsavory consequences.

we just finished the second season and so far i have to say the episodes are fairly formulaic, in that they often consist of a series of unfortunate coincidences that usually land hank in some variation of the proverbial dog house. although i find this a little exhausting, the repetition is compensated by some of the wittiest, sharpest dialogue i've come across in a tv series. the lines that come out these characters' mouths are priceless and so quote worthy. i could watch these characters sit around a dinner table for a half hour and still be adequately amused.

one of the characters that is the most reliably funny is marcy runkle, the wife of moody's agent, who is played by pamela adlon. she is that female archetype that you so often hear me swooning over - tough, loud and a little crazy. every scene she is in will guarantee you laughs and when i learned that adlon used to voice bobby from king of the hill, i fell in love a little more. this woman has the comedic chops to hold this show on her own and if they made a spin off, called the marcy runkle show, or some shit like that, i would be the most devoted fan. here's the best sample i could find on youtube, it is not her funniest moment but it gives you an idea of how amazing she is:

i guess, to make a long story short, i'm saying that even if you're tentative about watching this show, you should give it a chance. and if the comedic writing isn't enough to sell you, the frequent and very hot sex scenes should.

have you watched the show? what do you think?


a nos amour

if you think your family is dysfunctional, you should watch maurice pialat's 1983 film, a nos amour. it stars, sandrine bonnaire, who plays suzanne, a 15 year-old parisian whose family is nothing short of crazy; her father (who is played by pialat) is demanding and aggressive, her mother is a neurotic mess and her brother, who is not only a total polo-shirt-wearing-misogynistic-pilsbury-dough-garçon, he also has an incestuously creepy sense of possession over suzanne. so in order to cope with all of the chaos in her home life, suzanne spends most of her waking life bumping uglies with cute french randoms (and one fateful american), which results in a profound inability to connect with others.

this was the first pialat film i have watched and i will definitely be watching more (if you have any recommendations, let me know). i'm especially curious since the criterion collection referred to pialat as the french cassavetes in their synopsis of a nos amour. that can only mean good things, right?

a nos amour also sealed sandrine bonnaire's spot in my list of most beloved actresses, she is so beautiful and wonderfully detached in this film. it might be interesting to note that this film was bonnaire's debut and it was a daring one at that. it's actually hard to believe she is only 16 in this film. this only solidifies for me that she is an amazing and talented woman, who i can only aspire to be half as wonderful as. i will never get tired of watching her. (note: you should totally watch her in one of my favorite movies, agnes varda's, sans toit ni loi.)

oh. there's also lots of nudity, sordid sex and red wine consumption.

so, if family life has got you down or you're craving a little 1980's french cinema, i highly recommend maurice pialat's, a nos amour. il est très bon! (sorry for the bad french.)


matt and kim will kick your a**

i have never really paid too much attention to the brooklyn duo, matt & kim, even though they've been around since 2004, but i am so into this song right now. cameras is off their late 2010 release, sidewalks, which i have not listened to yet, but i am so going to.

it's true that, cameras, is a really great single. the song is solid and a perfect anthem for kicking winter in the butt. the thing is, if it weren't for the amazing video, i would probably not be buyng a matt & kim album off itunes right now.

seriously, watch this video and tell me the magic of music videos isn't alive and well. i'm totally sold.


i have fun

it's february and most of the country in covered in snow. i've been hearing a lot of canadians yearning for the sunshine of summer lately. since i am a mere mortal, i cannot make summer come any quicker. i can, however, share this sun-shiny video with you. go ahead, put on your bathing suit, pull up a seat and torment yourself with best coast's, when i'm with you:


just kids

i'm not even going to try and hide my love and admiration for patti smith. it's a pretty well known fact that i revere this woman. i can remember hearing her for the first time. i think my roommate, joe, had put horses on matt's computer and i inadvertently came across it one day, listening to itunes on random while cleaning the house.

so i spent the day listening to horses on repeat; eventually i moved onto her other albums. i learned that she was a poet and artist. i dragged matt to see patti smith: dream of life. since then, i have memorized her discography and often hold patti smith themed days, where i put on my best over-sized white shirt and black pegged pants and recite william blake all day long. and now that i've finished reading her latest book, just kids, i don't even know what to do with myself; i'm even more enraptured with her.

just kids is smith's entrancing recount of her relationship with robert mapplethorpe and their co-evolution into successful artists. and if this rather haunting story of friendship isn't enough, smith's memoir is also a genuine taste of the burgeoning arts scene in new york city, during the late 1960's through to the early eighties. as you read, smith and mapplethorpe, who met on the streets of new york, barely adults, blossom from struggling, tentative amateurs into tenacious, skilled artists while bumping into jimi hendrix, babysitting janis joplin and hanging out with william burroughs.

what i loved most about this book, was smith's flawless style. she is a master of words and tells her story with simplicity and tenderness. this book is so full of love and admiration, it's like every word was carefully birthed out of smith's commitment to mapplethorpe and vice-versa. i loved it and that's my totally biased opinion but apparently i'm not the only one who appreciated its greatness, just kids won last year's national book award, which is sort of a big deal.

regardless of how you feel about smith as a musician, she is a writer first and foremost and just kids is arguably one of her best pieces of work. it's a fascinating portrait of an artist* and the apotheosis of a relationship created by destiny, with new york city at a cultural peak as its backdrop. it's a wonderful universe that few of us will ever get to experience but smith successfully recreates the experience for you here.

sure, it's the first and only book that i've read in 2011 but i'm already calling it a favorite read of this year. i feel bad for the books to follow, they have a lot of live up to.

*sorry, i couldn't help myself.


shake it out

i feel like the only thing to say about this video is that it's directed by stephanie clattenburg, it's filmed in halifax and i seriously have been watching it on repeat all day. oh, and that wicked song that won't let you stop moving is by a.a. wallace.


come bust some moves with me and other copyright issues

i had never really understood the appeal of girl talk. until recently, the music purist in me perceived gregg gillis' musical act as armed robbery. known for his musical mash-ups, girl talk, uses unauthorized samples from various songs, everything from black sabbath to lil' kim, to create his music and his only instrument is his laptop. although, gillis has cited fair use as justification for his use of other artists' work, i still considered the thought of this to be blatant copyright infringement and lacking in originality.

however (yea, you saw that coming, didn't you?), a few days ago i came across a thread in my favorite internet forum where people were discussing their favorite music to work out to and there were so many people advocating the heart pumping, feet moving power of girl talk's latest album, all day. when someone noted that the album is available for free on girl talk's website, i thought i would check it out.

and holy crap! i was totally wrong about girl talk. that's right, i am going to eat my words on this one. this album is wild fun. it's like a crowded, sweaty dance floor waiting to happen. and after giving the album a listen, it became obvious to me that girl talk is less about theft and more about honoring some of the world's most notable songs and musicians. girl talk is able to portray this sense of respect for all of these artists he samples, not only by acknowledging them on his website, but in the unsuspecting and unusual mash-ups he creates (mixing aaliyah with janes addiction, for instance). it's like riding 'it's a small world' at disney; by mixing genres that are typically considered at odds with each other (metal and pop, is a good example) girl talk creates a sense of unity within the numerous genres that seems to illustrate, regardless of the type of music you prefer, we actually all listen to music for the same reasons.

i think the greatest thing about girl talk, though, is the fair pricing on his albums. as someone who believes that art should be accessible to everyone, despite your economic situation, and that the music industry's resistance to music sharing is misguided, i love seeing artists reject the traditional notions of charging fans exorbitant sums of money for their music. all of girl talk's albums are available on his website as pay what you can. so, what are you waiting for? whether you're looking for a good album to run to or you're digging for a great play list for your next party, girl talk's, all day, is your answer.

want a little taste? here you go:

in other questionable copyright news, i have been taking advantage of youtube's movie channel, that allows you to watch full length movies on youtube. granted most of the films they have listed are probably/defnitely terrible, they do have a pretty significant list of classics. or, if you're like me and have a sweet spot of campy, science fiction horror films of the 1950's, they have a lot of those too.

i recently watched the 1963 classic, charade, starring audrey hepburn, cary grant and walter matthau, which i highly recommend, as well as the surprisingly effective, carnival of souls. both films are on youtube, so if you find yourself bored one night and you've already had a little dance party with girl talk, go watch some movies on youtube!


blue valentine

let me introduce this film by first saying that, before you have the opportunity to hear any more of the already rampant (but well-deserved) hype about this film, you need to watch it. i made the mistake of: a) not seeing this the weekend it opened and b) listening to slate's culture gabfest podcast about the film, in which stephen metcalf and his fellow hosts,  praised the film so highly that my expectations for the film were surely tainted. so, yea, i went into this film expecting a lot but luckily for me, blue valentine delivers.

blue valentine is a film by newcomer, derek cianfrance and stars michelle williams and ryan gosling. this movie is a heartbreaking account of the courtship and dissolution of a couple. cianfrance very effectively toggles the past and present, using different filming techniques (the past is filmed in 16mm and the present in RED), juxtaposing the impulsive, light-hearted days of their courtship with the heavy and bleak reality of their currently crumbling marriage.

the performances by williams and gosling trump everything in this film, however. williams is subtle, yet powerful, in her portrayal of cindy and gosling, who first impressed me in lars and the real girl*, is captivating as the over-sensitive dean. both performances have since been nominated for several awards.

watching blue valentine is like watching your really great friends, who you always thought would be together forever, break up. my heart still aches a little from seeing this film but it's so worth it. every minute of this film will tear your heart apart but i promise you will walk away from this film with the feeling that you've gained something.

i know, i know, i'm just adding to the already rampant hype i was just complaining about. i guess what i'm saying is, stop reading about this movie and go see it.

*the truth is, he impressed me the first time in breaker high but that's not something i generally like to say out loud.


and the wiener is...

the fabulous natalie jean! congrats!

and just so no one thinks the contest is rigged, here is a screen cap of the random number generator that i used.

and for those who missed out, fret not! i plan on doing this regularly. i have a huge library that i need to pair down, so this seems like the most entertaining way of doing so.

in other news, i have started a newsletter list, which you can sign up for at the link on the right. expect a weekly update from me in your inbox and special offers, contests and tidbits that you won't find here!

i've also added a poll to the blog, which is at the bottom of the right hand column. i figured since i haven't been able to make my own decisions lately (winter makes me indecisive), i would let you guys decide for me. the poll will change weekly, so make sure you check back often and weigh in on important issues like, should i cut my bangs?

as for sweet charity, i'll be back with our regular posting schedule next week. have a great weekend internet friends!


proud momma

initially i was going to take an unannounced vacation from blogging this week. unfortunately, my very talented and handsome friend, noah pink, ruined everything by posting the excellent new hey rosetta video he directed on facebook. and like the proud momma i am, i couldn't contain my excitement.

for those of you who don't know, noah pink is a very smart and resourceful film maker and screen writer. in addition to making amazing music videos, he has made several short films, which have been screened at various film festivals, including the cannes film festival, the atlantic film festival, and the festival international des très courts.

here are two of noah's videos for your viewing pleasure. the first video is, 'yer spring,' off of hey rosetta's new album, seeds (which will available this february and if you're not acquainted with hey rosetta, you're very much missing out.) this lovely gem was filmed in newfoundland and makes me homesick for the maritimes.

the second video is for, 'red song,' off of hey rosetta's, red songs ep. this is one of my all time favorite videos. i love this video for so many reasons, the biggest being, that lovely lady in the video, is my bff. (yea, i'm pretty lucky, right?)


book give away!

so, i've decided to have a little fun and give away one of the books i reviewed on these here internets. (yes, i constitute fun as giving away good books so others can read them. take that as you will.)

back in november i reviewed, or what others might call, gushed over, rivka galchen's atmospheric disturbances. well, now you can hold the very same book i read, in your sweet, little book-loving hands. all you have to do is leave a comment in this post with a link or url to your website, facebook or twitter (so i can get a hold of you, if you are the wiener) and perhaps a few words about yourself, what you're reading or a recipe for oatcakes. whatevs, kids, it's up to you. i'll choose the winning comment using a random number generator because i'm fair like that.

the best part about this book, like a lot of my books, it comes well loved. you'll not only get a really great novel to enjoy but you'll also get a coffee stained book sleeve that was chewed on by my best friend's puppy and it's full of marginalia by me. i compulsively and somewhat randomly highlight, underline and make notes when i read. i've always enjoyed this in books i unearth in second hand stores, there's something really charming about reading someone else's thoughts on the very book you're reading. if you're into this sort of thing too, leave a comment, it won't hurt.

you have until friday, january 21st @ 12:00pm pacific standard time to leave your comments.


geek love

i actually read katherine dunn's novel, geek love, for the first time around this time last year. i had been meaning to write about it here since but had been reluctant to try and do this novel justice; it's so good that i just didn't think i would be able to adeptly describe how wonderful this novel really is.

instead, i went on a seven month campaign, urging friends and bibliophiles alike to read this book (since arm flailing and incoherent rambling is much better received in person, as opposed to in writing). for one reason or another, everyone of these people have returned to ask me, 'what was that book called that you were telling me about?' (maybe they were too distracted by the excited body gestures to remember). so, i figured i should just suck it up and write something so people can remember to pick up the damn book the next time their at the library/book store.

so dunn's novel is about a couple, al and lil, who decide to revive their failing traveling carnival by breeding freaks. the couple experiment with illicit drugs, arsenic and radio active materials, among other things doctors generally tell pregnant women to avoid, to engineer the genes of their children. their efforts are successful and the result is a tight nit family of flippered, bald, telekinetic weirdos. however, as the carnival grows in popularity and the children grow older, the dynamic of the family changes and things begin to unravel.

dunn's style of writing is brutual, clever and daring. she never once shies away from giving her reader the blunt reality of her characters and her descriptions are unflinching. for example, describing lil's talent for biting the heads off chickens is simultaneously beautiful yet bloody:

"there never was such a snap and twist of the wrist, such a vampire flick of the jaws over a neck or such a champagne approach to the blood. she'd shake her star-white hair and the bitten-off chicken head would skew off into the corner while she dug her rosy little fingernails in and lifted the flopping, jittering carcass like a golden goblet, and sipped! absolutely sipped at the wriggling guts! she was magnificent, a princess, a cleopatra, an elfin queen!" (chapter 1, pg. 6)

 i hope you will read this novel. a national book award finalist, geek love, challenges our understanding of normal verses abnormal and allows us to examine our own feelings of 'us' verses 'them'. more importantly, geek love is about family and the (sometimes strange) ties that bind us together.

if you are interested in learning more about this book, there's a really fascinating interview with katherine dunn here. it's worth a listen, if only to hear how amazingly deep and sexy dunn's voice is.

pretend you're dead

i received some disappointing news today. so, in order to distract myself from the temptation of writing hate mail, i have reverted to my thirteen-year old, angsty self and am spending the day in my bedroom listening to L7 and contemplating dying my hair blue.

since misery loves company, feel free to join my pity party!


four movies and one weekend

hopefully this weekend was an indication of my movie watching habits for 2011. i managed to catch four movies this weekend, which is sort of a record for me. although at one time in my life, it wasn't unusual for me to watch four movies in one night, nowadays i'm lucky if i get four movies in one month.

so, in viewing order, let's begin:

1. black swan
i saw this mostly out of boredom and the fact that i promised matt i would wait for him to see true grit. typically, i do not watch natalie portman films because her acting reminds me of someone with a large broom stick up their bum, stiff and uncomfortable. my expectations for this film were low, as they tend to be with major hollywood films, but i walked away from this movie pleasantly surprised how enraptured i was while watching it.

black swan is a film about a ballet dancer, nina sayers (played by portman) who lands the coveted role of the swan queen in swan lake. however, the intensity of the role, already present mental health issues, a crazy stage mom and a manipulative prick of a artistic director make for a slow and terrifying unraveling of a young woman who is poorly equipped to cope with these stressors.

this film is totally entertaining to watch. the film's director, darren aronosky, strategically blurs the lines between reality and fantasy in nina's life, keeping the audience questioning the reality of nina's experiences, even after the film is over. and portman's acting in this is the best i've seen from her since leon: the professional. however, i won't be adamant that you watch this film; i've watched way better films than this one, especially from aronofsky (check out pi or requiem for a dream for some really exceptional work) but if you're looking to kill two hours, it's not a terrible way to do it.

before i begin, i should note that i would not, under any circumstances, choose to watch this film independently. nonetheless, it was movie night at my house and this is what my roommates decided on. considering that if the choice were up to me, my poor roommates would likely end up being traumatized by lars von trier or  confused by godard, it's probably better i don't choose our movie night picks.

all i'm really going to say about the other guys is, if you think rape jokes are funny or you consider femininity the ultimate insult, you will love this movie. truthfully, this movie has its funny moments and i occasionally laughed out loud but in sum, if your taste in movies is similar to mine, save yourself and don't watch this movie.

3. funny games (us version)
i have talked about my love for michael haneke on this blog several times. he is, by far, in my top three favorite directors. i have watched all of his films with the exception of one and have adored all of them to varying, unreasonable degrees. one of my very favorites is funny games (1997), hanake's german psychological thriller about a family held captive by two very creepy, odd and crazy young men. haneke has this wonderful ability to strip complex situations down to their very core, leaving the audience within a stark portrayal of humanity at it's worst. there are so many things about this film that make it smart, terrifying and fun.

unfortunately, haneke decided to remake this masterpiece in hollywood. yes, my distaste about this decision ran so deep it took me three years to finally put my resentment aside and watch his 2007 english version. and after watching the newer film, i was still left scratching my head, wondering what possessed haneke to do this.

oddly enough, everything about the american version is the same, with the exception of the actors and the language it is filmed in. the set, an all american vacation home, is almost identical to the one used in the older version. however, the feel and effectiveness of this version is lacking. maybe it's the fact that naomi watts and tim roth were cast to play americans, and their terrible american accents were distracting and unbelievable (i love you tim roth, but really?!).  additionally, the actors who portray the men who torment the family over a twelve hour period are not nearly as good at making my skin crawl as the original german actors.

it's really difficult to put my finger on what was lacking in this film because it is, literally, the exact same film as the '97 version. obviously this likeness is only on the surface and if haneke accomplishes anything with his remake, it is proving that sometimes something really special happens when you make a film, something beyond the cerebral, that you just can't recreate in a remake.  i'm going to leave you with both trailers and the advice that you leave the 2007 version on the shelf and look for the 97, german version. it is an amazing film.

here is another film from a couple of my favorite directors, joel and ethen cohen. not to be confused with the 1969 john wayne version of true grit (although both are based off the novel, true grit by charles portis), this film tells the story of a fourteen year old girl who sets out, with the help of a u.s. marshall, to find her father's killer.

i'm not even sure if i can articulate my love for this film. it was funny, touching, and exciting. jeff bridges, matt damon and josh brolin (all cohen brothers regulars) are amazing in this film. and hailee steinfeld, who plays the stubborn, strong headed, mattie ross, is beyond great. her character is everything i look for in a female - smart, courageous and probably slightly nuts.

just go see this film. there really is nothing else i can think to say about this movie. just go see it. i promise, you will not be disappointed. (side note: mattie ross is my new fashion icon. seriously.)