Monday, October 22, 2007

Bits and Bites

- I've got some freelance work. It's unpaid, but I'm looking at it as an opportunity for me to build a portfolio of my published writing. Also, since it's for a magazine that's just getting off the ground, I'm hopeful that once it starts to build a base of subscribers, my unpaid work will lead to paid work;

- It's no secret that I love the comic strip "Non Sequitur." I find this strip, which ran last week, especially good;

- I am very disappointed in the Cleveland Indians;

- I am FINALLY more than half-way through the baby blanket I'm knitting! I'm really hoping it will be ready for shower I have to attend in a week and a half. If not, I can always take a picture of the work-in-progress and slip it in the card; and

- I saw Elizabeth: The Golden Age on Friday night. While the acting was almost uniformly fantastic (there was the odd scenery-chewing exception), I've got to say that I was disappointed in the heavy-handedness of the direction towards the end: excusably obvious symbolism (i.e. the floor-size map of Western Europe in Elizabeth's war room--Elizabeth sits on England, protecting it from models of the Spanish and Spanish-allied forces) gives way to the inexcusable (i.e. Elizabeth in angelic white, arms outstretched; crosses from Spanish ships tumbling through the turbulent sea; Spanish clergy literally turning their backs on Philip; etc.,) What's more, the script feels a little unfocused. I can't help feeling that in Elizabeth: The Golden Age, the human drama that was at the heart of all the political intrigue in Elizabeth seems watered down; there would have been better ways of showing the alienating effects of leadership than fabricating a rather unbelievable Elizabeth-Raleigh-Bess love triangle. Don't get me wrong: Cate Blanchett is as wonderful as always. But is it too much to ask that the human drama arise from the actual history?! And couldn't we at least have had more of Samantha Morton's Mary Stuart? Maybe it's just that I've been so looking forward to this film for the past nine years that I was bound to be disappointed?

EDIT: Brian D. Johnson, who reviews Elizabeth: The Golden Age for Maclean's, would appear to agree with me:
Fictionalizing history is a noble literary crime that goes back to Shakespeare and Homer. The real issue arises when it makes the drama feel inauthentic. And some of The Golden Age's more opulent excesses -- from its torrid score to its painterly vistas of a digital armada -- have a counterfeit ring.

But the cast keeps it real. [...].

Blanchett, meanwhile, is magnificent. There's an emotional translucence in her pale chameleon features. The intelligence is visible. You can see moods play across her face like wind on water: fear, whimsy, flirtation, suspicion, calculation, rage -- and iron resolve. [...].

Read the whole review here.

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