Saturday, March 10, 2012

My Weekend With Marilyn & other assorted nonsense

Based on Colin Clark's memoir, this movie depicts the young Clark's brief time as a go-fer on the film The Prince and The Showgirl. Marilyn Monroe traveled to Britain to make this film with Laurence Olivier, who also directed it.

Michelle Williams does a fine job playing Monroe, whose insecurities delayed filming and infuriated Olivier, who had cast her in hopes of bedding her as well. Instead, she attached herself to Clark, a green youth at the time, during a rocky period in her recent marriage to Arthur Miller. Williams ably demonstrates both Monroe's sweetness and her deft portrayal of the "Marilyn Monroe" persona. In one scene, Monroe and Clark are visiting Windsor Castle, and when confronted with a crowd of admirers, Monroe whispers to Clark, "Should I be Her?" and morphs into the sexy, whisper-voiced character that made her famous. Williams handles the transition flawlessly.

Eddie Redmayne, familiar from The Pillars of the Earth, is charming as Clark.

Kenneth Branagh plays Olivier, and although his impersonation is spot-on, his appearance is distracting. No effort seems to have been made to make him physically resemble Olivier, and his red hair and light eyes look all wrong. A little hair dye and brown contact lenses would have made a vast difference.

Another complaint is that Monroe's hair color and lipstick color often changed within a single scene; for most of the film, it was softened way beyond what the real Monroe wore. Not until the very end did she wear red lipstick, as did the real Monroe, and it seemed to be a considerably darker shade. It was maybe too obvious that this was used to represent mood and motivation.


My weekend with Jennifer, on the other hand, will most likely be about making a necklace and cooking spare ribs, with a walk on the Boardwalk tomorrow if the weather is as nice as promised.

Yesterday was a killer day at work: back-to-back meetings with two separate room set-ups, food, taking minutes at both. On the other hand, I love seeing the faculty members, and received an almost embarrassing number of compliments on my work and helpfulness. It still seems to me that I'm only doing my job correctly, which apparently my predecessors did not. Mid-April will be a year since I started, and almost all of it comes easily now -- though the work is so varied that I'm never bored. And I happen to have an awesome crop of interns this term, two college and one high school. My first-choice college intern withdrew after the interview (she needed to take a paying job), but my second choice was a very close second, and she's been wonderful. I suppose I get some credit for choosing all three.

I wanted to see Kahani last night - it opened in Manhattan, and the Indian songwriters Vishal and Shehkar were supposed to be in attendance. But I was short of money, and also laden with perishable leftovers from the meeting food, so it didn't happen.

So I learned on Twitter that my Brooklyn homeboy, John Ortiz of Luck, and the great Indian actor Anupam Kher, worked together in a new film opening later this year. So must see The Silver Lining Playbook when it opens. Have to get to movie theaters more, period.

And while I'm @northofconey handle seems to be attracting a lot of attention from various Brooklyn peeps and entities. I'm being followed by Tricia Vita of Amusing the Zillion, the great Coney Island blog. And even more exciting, I'm being followed by Dick Zigun, "the mayor of Coney Island." I've always been such a fan of his. He's the dude who started promoting and preserving old Coney Island, founding the Mermaid Parade, the Coney Island museum, and the non-profit which runs it all. He brought back the sideshow to CI. He's a tattooed saint, I tell you.

And this has led to my finally volunteering to work at this year's Mermaid Parade. Which ought to be awesome, if the sun doesn't clobber me. The late-June event is usually sunny and very hot; the weather gods generally do not permit rain on that day.

And back to movies, I'm in the middle of watching Ek Ajnabee, based on/inspired by/ripped off from Man on Fire, which was a book and two movies (the 1987 film with Scott Glenn far superior to the 2004 version with Denzel Washington).  The 2005 Indian version stars Amitabh Bachchan, and I realized I hadn't watched anything with him in around a month. I was stunned all over again. He really is marvelous.

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