Two more movies opened yesterday, and I plumb forgot to mention them. This is probably because they are both eminently forgettable.
“Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus”: Imaginary is the key word here, as in: Steven Shainberg and Erin Cressida Wilson imagined that their silly little “Beauty and the Beast” riff would gain resonance and weight if they claimed it “happened” to an actual artist. Also, Nicole Kidman has got to stop giving that Very Intense Person performance. Sure, Robert Downey Jr. is appropriately seductive as the Chewbacca-looking circus freak who plays James Spader to her Maggie Gyllenhaal, but it’s a performance he could give in his sleep. Or perhaps I dreamed the whole thing.
“The Painted Veil”: Speaking of actors who have to stop being Very Intense, here is the curious case of Edward Norton, a brilliant, intuitive screen presence who has evidently decided to expend great energy getting dream projects made, and then to be the least interesting thing in them. Like “The Illusionist” and “Down in the Valley”, “The Painted Veil” is an excuse for Norton to wear nifty period outfits and be all intense, without actually doing anything interesting. Meanwhile, director John Curran demonstrates he’s studied the Merchant Ivory catalogue very carefully, and learned all the wrong lessons: Naomi Watts and Toby Jones do try to color outside the lines somewhat, but the movie has no real interest in their performances; all that subtlety gets in the way of the scenery, don’t you know.
Tomorrow, we talk about DVDs. Alert your Member of Parliament!
(Still having trouble with WordPress’ Java console. Anyone know what I’m doing wrong?)