A single buy this week, and it's A Serious Man, the Cohen Brothers' latest Oscar-nominated film.
DVDs: Speaking of Oscar-nominated films, I watched Up in the Air this week, Jason Reitman's most mature work to date, about a man whose job is to fire others, and the joys of not being tied down to anything. I loved it, and while Vera Farmiga and (especially) Anna Kendrick were excellent in it, I give props to George Clooney as well for his underplayed performance. I love the bittersweet and ambiguous ending, for what it's worth (talking to some of my fellow viewers who called it a downer here). The DVD includes an enthusiastic commentary by Reitman, some deleted scenes (also commented, which I always finds adds a lot of value) and a featurette on the opening credits. Simple, but good stuff.
On Kung Fu Friday, we watched the Korean historical epic Shadowless Sword (on DVD, Legend of the...), which really doesn't skimp on the over-the-top wuxia action. And while I appreciated the Korean art direction (being used to Japan and China mostly), there were also some distracting elements, such as all the guys looking like Jack Sparrow. I didn't know 10th century Korea was into dreads and eyeliner! But if you're looking for a more magical than usual take on wuxia, this is a pleasant entertainment. The DVD also includes interviews and a short making of, maybe 25 minutes in all.
Improv: I don't usually discuss my improv activities here, but my troupe's short tour Monday and Tuesday did yield a couple of intersections into geekland. We did three fully improvised 1-hour plays, and our personal challenge was to play with narrative structure in all three. The first was a comic "lost in the woods scenario" built around flashbacks. I'm rather proud of the farthest flashback to Ancient Native Peoples' time at the end of that one. The second was a homage to Rashomon, with four versions of an event playing out, but with the comedic idea that each storyteller had his or her own style. In addition to the truth, there was a Greek tragedy, a version where the nervous teller kept changing the details around, and an action movie in which I personally played a zombie vampire Hell's Angel ninja. Geekly intersection achieved. As for the third, we quite consciously did a riff on The Breakfast Club, but with monologues partitioning the scenes and well, a rather more dramatic vibe than usual. Since then, I've had that damn Simple Minds track in my head non-stop and had to order a copy of the DVD.
Hyperion to a Satyr entries this week include:
Act I Scene 3 according to Fodor (2007)