North Country - I heard this discribed as both a little blah and a little slow. I didn't think it was either. Charlize Theron and Francis McDormand were, as usual, amazing (Sean Bean, Woody Harrelson, Sissy Spacek, and Michelle Monaghan all deserve nods as well). But the most important part of the story, for me, is that all this horrible discrimination and harassment is happening in the 1980s. In fact, the court case wasn't settled until my freshman year of college! (1998, for those who were wondering)
The Illusionist - good, despite being predictable. Predictable in the sense that the plot is clearly drawn from the canon of classic love stories, so, for me, the enjoyable part of the movie wasn't really the plot details. The enjoyable part was watching Edward Norton and Paul Giamatti act. Jessica Biel tried to keep up, and I'd like to say she did (objectively, she probably didn't do that badly), but I just couldn't get past that 7th heaven face and take her seriously.
Hollywoodland - eh. The story is interesting enough, and I did like how they laid out the different possibilities, but it was all a little too deliberate and laborious for me. I would have liked the whole thing better if it had been about 30 minutes shorter. On the plus side, Adrian Brody was pretty good and Diane Lane was near-brilliant (though it would be nice to see her as something other than an adulturess). Even Ben Affleck didn't make me want to punch him in the face, which is an improvement. And in a small role as Brody's assistant, Caroline Dhavernas was a pleasant surprise. Who's Caroline Dhavernas, you ask? Watch Wonderfalls! You'll be glad you did!
Scrubs - between netflix and Comedy Central's Scrubs-a-thon I have seen way too many back-to-back episodes. But damn is that some funny stuff.
The Last King of Scotland - Forest Whitaker is slated to play brutal Ugandan dictator Idi Amin, with the story told through his person physician, played by James McAvoy (who, I though, stood out in Narnia as Mr. Tumnus).
Catch a Fire - Terrorism in Apartheid-era South Africa, with Tim Robbins. (it's like Hollywood all of a sudden discovered the continent of Africa)
Children of Men - Dystopia where women can no longer become pregnant, with Clive Owen and Julianne Moore. Looks pretty good, but prompts me to add this - if/when this happens, it will likely be due to infirtility in men; their fertility rates have dropped drastically, just across one generation.
Music (AKA - Rock stars are so accessible!)
Had the good fortune to attend a small, cozy (unfortunately, not sold out) show on Tuesday featuring The Spinto Band, We Are Scientists, and Art Brut. All three are quite pleasing, but the first two embrace their utter dorkiness much more, so, of course, they appeal much more to me. The Spinto Band features, at times, four guitars, and produce a great, full sound. We Are Scientists are smaller (lead guitar and vocals, bass, and drums) but still manage to produce some damn fine rock and roll. And adorably witty banter. Chris just splurged on a wireless bass, so he indulged in a nice romp out through the audience. Art Brut undeniably produces a joyful sound, but they veer a little too close to a parody of a rock band for my taste (Eddie Argos likes to start songs with, "Ready Art Brut! Go Art Brut!"). My expectations may also have been raised a bit too high since they were listed on Spin's 25 Greatest Live Bands Now! Argos also wandered out into the crowd, much to our pleasure and some poor roadie's consternation, since Argos wasn't wireless, and the roadie kept having to hang on to the mic chord. During Art Brut's last song I realized that Chris (WAS frontman) was standing right in front of me! squee!
And now that I have a very full glass of wine, it's time to dive back in to grading papers. Woo! Wild and crazy Saturday night!