MRI - Two hours inside a coffin-like space with a cage over my head. Noises so loud that I can barely hear my own thoughts. "My Heart Will Go On" played through headphones as relaxation music gets a bonus techno beat from the buzzing and clicking of the machine.
Screening: The Back-up Plan. Not so different from my experience described above. Occasionally outrageous, but mostly inappropriate and lame. Read my full review at The Dagger!
Wednesday, April 21
MRI, Part 2 - Ninety minutes inside this time, and no cage over my head to intensify claustrophobia. I swear to the nurse that I'm not cold, but she doesn't trust me and throws a blanket over me. I emerge with throbbing eardrums and a thin layer of sweat on my skin.
Screening: The Losers. What is the deal lately with Hollywood putting children in the middle of violence for our amusement? A helicopter full of refugee kids becomes a giant ball of flames, and our five heroes go into hiding to escape the shame and the blame. Their leader is Clay, played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan who looks and acts like Javier Bardem after a week's worth of binge drinking and sleepless nights. Idris Elba is on point as wing-man Roque, but he's still playing too close to Stringer Bell from The Wire. The three remaining Losers yield an overload of goofball sidekicks (one is usually plenty), but Chris Evans as Jensen converting a falsetto rendition of "Don't Stop Believin'" into background chase music is absolutely golden. While they all trip over themselves trying to sure up their respective masculinities, Zoe Saldana outpaces them all as the sexy, slender, and dangerous Aisha.
Action scenes are convincing enough to keep us interested and exciting enough to keep us entertained, while director Sylvain White and DP Scott Kevan trade in improbably well-constructed frames. Aisha dives through shattered glass while evading a barrage of bullets, and we see her maneuvers reflected in the fragments. While Max, the smug central villain, is speaking, we see only his pristinely pressed pinstripe suit jacket donning a metallic American flag pin. The story delivers a final-act twist for the sake of a delivering a twist, disposing of narrative logic and character consistency in the process. Then comes the conclusion, which is more a sequel-grubbing than a believable plot construct, and will likely compel you to demand a refund.
Thursday, April 22
Doctor's Appointment - My future is likely to include yet another needle into my spine, as well as an overnight hospital stay to monitor changes in my spinal fluid pressure over the course of multiple days. The cranky secretary makes sure that I don't get to finish my morning coffee before demanding I dispose of it.
Physical Therapy - Let's get those neck muscles working again, shall we?
Screening: City Island - A tepid tale of a brash Bronx family with a clinically disastrous failure to communicate. Expectations, from each other and from City Island society, lead to secrets, which lead to more secrets, which lead to misunderstandings, which lead to resentful dinnertime conversations. Featuring strong performances by The Good Wife herself Julianna Margulies, who is equally at fault here, and especially Andy Garcia as the gruff, taciturn patriarch Vince: a prison guard with furtive acting aspirations. He auditions for a bit part in an unnamed upcoming Martin Scorsese/Robert Deniro project, and Garcia masterfully strides through the steps of the acting process when it's his turn to read. Through him, we see a performer born from a human; it's a tiny slice of movie magic. Ezra Miller provides many a chuckle as Vince's son, a cheeky teen with an inexplicably bizarre sexual fetish, but Emily Mortimer is, for the first time perhaps, quite intolerable as Vince's acting partner Molly, an obnoxiously spirited nymph lacking any proper self-reservation. As hidden agendas collide, the importance of truth becomes essential and palpable, and City Island promotes that ever-important moral credo: be who you are, and live for those you love.
Friday, April 23
Screening: Mother and Child - I am unable to disclose any critical commentary at this time, but I will say this is an involving, multidimensional human story with complex, layered emotions and extremely impressive leading turns by Naomi Watts and Annette Bening. This is the first film I've seen this year that I would consider "Oscar-worthy," and Bening especially seems like a good bet between this film and The Kids Are All Right. I will be interviewing writer and director Rodrigo Garcia when he is in town for the Maryland Film Festival next weekend. So stay tuned!
Another Doctor's Appointment. Sick of waiting rooms with stale magazines. I flip over the issue of Entertainment Weekly that features a brunette Katherine Heigl asking us and whatever God it is she worships (there's probably a mirror up there) for forgiveness. I can't even look at that face anymore.
But this place gets The New Yorker. Huzzah! I love me some David Denby!
Saturday, April 24
Some much needed R&R. You know... Resting and Rrrwriting. And an unhealthy binge of South Park episodes. The more I watch it, the more I'm convinced that it's the sharpest cultural commentary in existence. And if I find the little guys of South Park to be really cute (I mean baby cute, not hot damn cute), do I qualify for some mental illness?
Sunday, April 25
Driving to New York City to see more doctors. Traffic is despicable. The streets are bright and noisy. I sleep not.
A hotel in Bayside, Queens, also considered Flushing, depending on whom you ask.
Monday, April 26
Nothing like an early-morning CAT scan. Then more waiting rooms, more appointments, and another doctor. He pretty much agrees with what the doctor last week concluded and seems unable to offer any more guidance, other than to say that there's pretty much no solution.
Bye, bye, New York! The sky was so muggy the whole time that I didn't even get a peek of the Manhattan skyline. Boo!
Tuesday, April 27
A day of nothing. Thankfully, I can get some more R&R: Resting and Rrrrtrying not to burst into tears every three minutes. Stuck in the suck am I.
Wednesday, April 28
More appointments and all that entails.
Screening: A Nightmare on Elm Street - Stay tuned! For now, the word "queasy" comes to mind...
Can I sleep now? If Freddy comes to kill me in my dreams, I'll likely be indifferent.