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Annie in Austin
Welcome! As "Annie in Austin" I blog about gardening in Austin, TX with occasional looks back at our former gardens in Illinois. My husband Philo & I also make videos - some use garden images as background for my original songs, some capture Austin events & sometimes we share videos of birds in our garden. Come talk about gardens, movies, music, genealogy and Austin at the Transplantable Rose and listen to my original songs on YouTube. For an overview read Three Gardens, Twenty Years. Unless noted, these words and photos are my copyrighted work.
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Friday, August 31, 2007

Three More Movies and A Blue Planet Update

Yes, we've once again managed to see three more movies in a real theater, not on cable or DVD. What can I say? It's hot and buggy, the wonderful Austin Film Society treated us to a couple of previews, and I can't resist Seth Rogen's voice.

As stated a few weeks ago, I'm no critic - just a movie fan who likes to talk about them. My children are adults so I no longer worry about ratings. Foreign films, bad language, interesting sex, nudity, inhaling, subtitles and endless conversations won't keep me from seeing a film that looks good, but excessive violence and lame dialogue might do it.

A few years ago The 40 Year Old Virgin was pretty raunchy, and pretty funny, had lots of interesting things going on around the edges, yet was somehow sweet and life-affirming. The movie was directed by Judd Apatow and it featured Catherine Keener, Paul Rudd, Steve Carrell and a charismatic young guy named Seth Rogen. Once I read that Knocked Up was also directed by Judd Apatow and starred Seth Rogen and Paul Rudd, I wanted to see it. So we did. It was raunchy, way too full of potheads, very funny, had lots of interesting things going on around the edges, and it was ultimately sweet and life-affirming. When the DVD comes out I'll probably see it again.

Movie number two was 2 Days in Paris - written and directed by Julie Delpy. I couldn't find downloadable wallpaper for 2 Days in Paris, so the poster has Julie with Ethan Hawke in the Richard Linklater film Before Sunrise. She and Ethan were also in Linklater's Before Sunset, and in his Waking Life - did you see any of these?

Delpy has made a very entertaining movie about the relationship between a quirky Parisian-to-New York woman, played by herself, and a neurotic American man played by Adam Goldberg. It's been interesting to watch him evolve from one of Linklater's scruffy Dazed and Confused high school kids into a lead actor in this movie.

Julie Delpy's movie parents are played by her very real parents, who are actors in France but have different occupations here. The humor comes from the conversations, the interplay of personalities, stereotypes both French and American, the language problems and the collision of American standards with Continental attitudes, in both sex and cuisine. There is artistic nudity, and given a French woman at the helm, the nudity deals less with the female body than with the male. There are memorable scenes in taxis and train stations and markets.

The Austin Film Society hosted movie number three, which opens tomorrow. Self Medicated has won a score of film festival awards in the last year, but independent films can win prizes without ever landing a spot on a marqee. It's having a limited run in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Las Vegas, Dallas, Houston, Austin, Phoenix, Boston, Seattle, Portland, Denver, San Diego, San Francisco and Indianapolis.

From the title you can guess we're going into addiction territory - set this time in Las Vegas with trips to an adolescent substance abuse hospital. The story is intense and emotional with a surprising amount of humor stirred in. The lead character reminds me a little of Clint Eastwood back when he was Rowdy Yates- those eyes, those cheekbones, athleticism, an impression of intelligence and a quality of stillness in the acting. Like Clint Eastwood the beauty has brains - twenty-something Monty Lapica not only stars in the film but is also the writer and director. Diane Venora plays his pill-popping mother and you'll probably recognize others in the excellent supporting cast.
Philo thought the cinematography by Denis Maloney was outstanding and I found Anthony Marinelli's score quite compelling. There were some parts of the story that strained belief, but the movie is an impressive debut which deserves to be seen by a larger audience. I'd like to thank the Austin Film Society for letting us see it.


While we've been watching fine movies in a cool theater, Mary Chervenak and her clean water team have almost completed their circuit of the globe. I wrote about Mary and the Blue Planet Run at the beginning of July. Since then Mary has run across Europe, Russia, Mongolia, China, and Japan, and traversed the width of the US to New York State. Mary's parents live in the Corning area so she brought the team there for an overnight stay. They're now heading in the direction of Washington DC, where there will be some kind of public event on the 31st. Here's a link to some photos taken earlier this week.

Have a wonderful Labor Day weekend, and if you see any movies, let me know!


  1. Wow, excellent reviews! I just don't see as many movies as I used to, and I really appreciate being pointed to the good ones. Have a fun holiday yourself!

  2. You do write a thoughtful review, Annie. I will definitely look for Two Days in Paris. I LOVED Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, and I keep meaning to see Waking Life. Is it as good as the others?

    The titles of 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up have kept me from wanting to see them---they sound like a teenage boy's movie choice---but since you say they're good I'll give them a try on DVD.

    I finally got around to seeing Lives of Others on DVD last week and liked it a lot. That's all I've seen lately, except the Sopranos' next-to-last season, also on DVD. Old news for everybody else, I imagine.

  3. Hi, Annie. I went to the movies late last night and saw The Simpsons. It was funny, no deep thought required. I also saw Bourne Ultimatum last weekend. Oh, and I saw Disturbia on DVD. There's something wrong with a movie where the neighbor who does the most gardening turns out to be a serial murderer, and they ought not to use hedge clippers for killing!

    Carol at May Dreams Gardens

  4. Lisa - your profile says you like action and horror but not many chick flicks... none of these fit into your categories, but you still may find them interesting.

    Hi Pam/Digging. 2 Days is sometimes like the Sunrise/Sunset movies in a funhouse mirror. You might be amused. Waking Life is an odd and talky movie with that rotoscope animation, but I liked it when we saw it years ago. And the Austin connection is always there.
    While I'm sure that 40 year and KnockedUp are beloved by teenage boys, I'll bet a lot of stuff went over their heads. I don't know if I could have enjoyed them while I HAD teenage boys!

    How about saying there are nuggets of truth wrapped up in toilet paper? The nonstop use of the F word gets to be a drag.

    Oh - The Lives of Others is one I'd been wondering about - Thank you!

    Wow Carol - you are racking up the flicks! Simpsons is on my list, and maybe the Bourne Ultimatum. I heard Disturbia was a remake of the wonderful old Rear Window, so maybe I'll see it in spite of the hedge clippers.

    Thanks guys,


  5. You may not be a professional reviewer but you sound like one! Very nice write ups! "2 Days in Paris" sounds like a definate for me and "Knocked Up" is a definate for Ron. We will both be happy. Thanks for the recommendations!

  6. August in the south is to be spent indoors, in a theater, isn't it? And I haven't been once this August! That's not good.

    I'm glad that it's the first of September. We're having our first rainy day in a long, long while - and that's the perfect way to officially say goodby to August!

  7. Your movie reviews are entertainment in themselves Annie :)
    Like Pam, the title "Knocked Up" wouldn't have appealed to me, but Ross read a favorable review mentioning good life lessons for young people, and you make it sound worth seeing.
    I'll add your movies to my list for winter viewing.

  8. Hi, Annie,

    We went to see Paris, Je T'Aime at the Dobie last night -- really fun. Nearly 20 short movies by the Coen Brothers, Alexander Payne, Wes Craven, Gus Van Sant, and loads of directors I didn't know, filmed all over the city. I think you'd enjoy it.

    (Warning: small popcorn and water cost me $7! I haven't bought anything besides a ticket at the movies in years. Maybe this is typical but it shocked the hell out of me!)


  9. I guess this was a movie kind of weekend. We just usually rent DVDs since I hate those narrow multiplex cinemas. After those grand old theaters I just hate sitting in a small long box. Anyway we just saw Kate Winslet in Little Children and Shooter with Mark Wahlberg based on Stephen Hunter's "Point of Impact" which was better than the reviews I read of it. Interesting that my wife loves all the Stephen Hunter books and even liked the movie but she liked the quirky and slightly sinister Little Children more. I thought it was just vignettes of peoples lives and was only mildly interested.

  10. I liked Before Sunrise when it came out but I loved Before Sunset...especially how Linklater did it as one long shot--something he was playing at in Dazed and Confused. To answer Pam's question, I don't think that Waking Life or a Scanner Darkly work as well, or even Dazed and Confused. You have to like listening to snippets of confusation (which I do) but you have to like it obsessively.

    Thanks for giving me more fodder for my Netflix list.


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