A sampling from the recent cultural menu chez OGIC:
LISTENING: Erin McKeown, Distillation. I went on and on recently about her more recent album, Grand, and stand by my enthused prattling then. Distillation took me longer to warm up to, but its hold may be the stronger for that. If Grand charms your socks off, this album haunts you barefoot.
NETFLICKING: Richard Loncraine’s 1995 Richard III, starring Ian McKellen and Jim Broadbent and set lavishly in 1930s England. This was okay. McKellen is hammy, which seems to be by directorial design. (And by the way, check out Sir Ian’s home page, which–disturbingly or touchingly, I can’t decide–really looks homemade.) Broadbent makes a great, quietly calculating Buckingham, blending in with the background like a less loyal, more lizardy Tom Hagen. I also liked Annette Bening and Robert Downey, Jr., as Queen Elizabeth and her brother the earl of Rivers. They’re both wonderfully game at playing merry, mutually infatuated callowness in the carefree scenes before Richard really gets down to work. But I never could make out what was gained by the historical displacement of the story, other than the opportunities for visual sumptuousness offered by thirties style. Moving the action forward several centuries, though, should also work to highlight what’s universal in the play’s substance, enlarging its scope. This film somehow manages to shrink a giant–even if it does look great doing it.
ALSO NETFLICKING: The Secret Lives of Dentists. Thumbs way up. Sort of an American Beauty with recognizable human beings.
To be continued…