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Sunday Notebook

By admin Published: April 6, 2008

Gorgeous day. The bride and I did a few things outside, including taking a nice walk, and I can even feel a bit of sun tingle on my skin. Looking forward to more of the same. A few viewing notes after the jump.

-- This was a weekend for some DVD fun. A reader recently asked a question about the Richard Gere-Jennifer Lopez movie "Shall We Dance," which I happen to like a lot. So does the bride, and we spent part of Friday night watching it again. Delightful film, good performances, and the sort of thing that makes you want to take ballroom-dancing lessons. Nice soundtrack, too, available on DVD and at iTunes.

-- We followed "Shall We Dance" with "27 Dresses," the Katherine Heigl rom-com. It's not officially on DVD yet, but I had a review copy. And the bride had been wanting to see it since we caught trailers at the movies. Her verdict at the end: "That was so lame." And indeed it was. It's one thing to know pretty much the entire coming plot of a movie after watching just a few minutes. It's another to know what lines are coming just before they are said.

-- I also caught "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead" (another DVD, in stores soon). I really like Sidney Lumet as a director (and he wrote one of the best books about filmmaking I have read), and Philip Seymour Hoffman as an actor, and the core story is really dark and nasty. Plus the making-of piece on the DVD contains a nifty discussion about melodrama. But the movie lost me in places. It overuses time-shifting, showing us one character's place in a series of events, then backing up to show us another character's. (And yes, I am being deliberately vague about the plot, which is twisty.) The ending is a bit much, with one character committing an act that seems to deliberately devious for the moment. So as amused as I was, and as much as I was eager to see how it ended, I wasn't entirely satisfied.

But way more entertained than with "27 Dresses."

-- If you remember the character actor Charles McGraw, you can find a look at him and a new biography about him here.

-- My latest DVD column is here.

I'll add some notes about Charlton Heston on Monday.

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