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Saturday, December 10, 2005

Brokeback Mountain

Chip Gibbons is right in his Binary Circ posting: the Ledger/Gyllenhaal movie is collecting extroadinary  raves. Stephen Holding in the Times hailing it as "moving and majestic"? Gad.

A movie like this, on a topic like this, I turn first to the respectable Daily Telegraph to tell me where I stand.

Well, John Hiscock seems to be rivalling Heath Ledger in his admiration for Kirsten Dunst's handsome consort.

Heading his review, "Why Gyllenhaal spells success", and demonstrating none of that Telegraphic reserve I read the paper for, he describes JG as

"Tall, muscular, with blue eyes and an intense, deadpan stare ... brings to mind Tom Mix, William Boyd or even Gary Cooper in High Noon."

Readers are informed that, "Gyllenhaal, best known for playing quiet, introspective young loners ... is cast against type as Twist, the outgoing, fun-loving rodeo rider who falls for Heath Ledger's quiet ranch-hand. Yet he carries it off beautifully, even negotiating the potentially awkward sex scenes with considerable aplomb. His secret, he says, was to approach them, "like doing a love scene with a woman I'm not particularly attracted to". Now *that* is quite a subtle distinction.

"Faultless performance ... brings great tenderness to the part, lending poignancy to a relationship that refuses to die in the face of huge obstacles."

Is there no stopping this celluloid wonder?

Mind you, I'm not sure I myself will be hastening to see it unless the young thing fancies some craggy landscape and big empty skies.

LOL. I can just see my elder girl giving me her 'look', as if to say, "Dad, aren't we a teensy bit quick off the mark with that throwaway protest?" Come to think of it, I seem to recall the eagle-eyed Chip pouncing on a loose phrase of mine in a similar context awhile back.

Very well then, me and the spitfire will be losing *no* time treating ourselves to a bit of cowboys and, erm, cowboys - but *after* 'Syriana' and 'Geisha' and just before 'Mrs Henderson' and 'Transamerica' (see below).

Speaking of master Gyllenhaal, he too closely resembles a fresh-faced version of that girl-magnet Zack Works (ex magnet, I hasten to add, lest the new Mrs Works is reading this.)

I suppose that explains the wail that went up as half the babe population of Seattle railed and gnashed and rent their designer garb asunder as the object of their lust trotted meekly down the aisle for his appointment with the marital oubliette.

Actually, it was cruising more than trotting: I gather the splicing took place in Vegas, the bride was given away by The King, and transport was a Cadillac convertible.

No, the reason it's hard to be reminded of ZW's chiseled countenance is that I think  I have a bone to pick with him over a certain Coloradan of haunting appeal. But of course I shall never be able to ask and he can never say.

Felicity HuffmanI'll tell you what *does* sound fun, the exquisitely-nostriled Felicity Huffman in Transamerica.

Joel Stein's review in the Dec 12 Time under A Disparate Housewife makes it sound irresistible, and I am NOT one to throw movie dollars around on:

"A low-budget indie film about a transsexual father's road trip with her newly discovered teenage prostitute son. If people thought it was brave of Nicole Kidman to endanger her glamour by wearing a big prosthetic nose or Charlize Theron to put on fake teeth, Huffman is going to get the silver star. In one scene, for longer and in larger form than you might enjoy, her penis is visible.

still from 'transamerica'The role is indeed the kind of thing Oscar voters love: a lady who looks like a dude who looks like a lady.

The voice took an hour of practice to slip into each morning, so she stuck with it off camera all day. It was so convincing that Huffman's husband, actor William H. Macy, who served as a producer on the project, wouldn't take her calls during the day because it creeped him out.

"My 2-year-old did cry when she saw me," said Huffman. "It's probably something she'll be talking about in therapy."

Yes, what is it with me and a certain type of nose on a women - almost a broken look.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the nasal spectrum, the aardvarkian Jessica Parker about whom I'm so impossibly rude that my daughters threaten to beat me up each time I even draw breath to revile the vedette.

Well, we know which proboscis preening flick *I* shall not be bothering the Pavilion ticket staff over this season. And the funny thing is I actually find Barbra Streisand rather sexy ... rum.

But I'll tell you the one I really feel sorry for. The cameraman. Poor wretch.

It absolutely *has* to be in SJP's contract that she's filmed face-on, thus fooling the audience's perspective, and this must require such microscopic precision to drive the poor lensman barmy: one slip, a half inch either way, and - eek - that pinnochion trombone is revealed and they have to start all over again.

On which note, let the last word go to that wonderful, tortured soul, the late Spike Milligan:

"What a wonderful thing is a nose.

It grows and it grows and it grows.

It grows on your head while you're lying in bed.

At the opposite end to your toes."

Well, it looks like there are a lot of very interesting movies coming up.

The clips I've seen of Huffman in Transamerica look like a remarkable transformation indeed. Very clever, since the movie is ultimately about people spending their lives giving great performances in sex roles.
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