Friday, June 10, 2005

sex, lies and videotape

Last Sunday, I was going through our extensive (pirated) DVD collection and none of the newer titles were appealing to my movie mood. I rummaged around in the "oldies" section and came across Stephen Soderbergh's award-winning indie classic sex, lies and videotape. Something compelled me to pop it into the DVD player, and I was glad I did, because the movie was such a revelation. For one thing, I discovered that before Soderbergh started churning out commercial crowd-pleasers like Oceans 11 and pretentious Oscar fodder like Erin Brokovich (not to mention some major flops like Solaris), he directed, wrote, and edited a film that won him a Palm d'Or Award at Cannes and the Independent Spirit Award for Best Director. I also discovered that James Spader is a brilliant actor; his performance was so subtle yet incredibly powerful (not surprisingly, he won Best Actor at Cannes). I have never seen anyone capable of conveying such raw, tortured emotion with a blank expression on his face. And yes, he is hot (I know, I know, I am such a sucker for these brooding types. Tsk.). Now, if only because of him, I can't wait for Star World to start airing the last season of The Practice.

But my most startling realization after watching the film was, hey, wait a minute, I've seen this movie before! But it was a glitzier, dirtier, more modern, less riveting version. sex, lies and videotape seems to be the blueprint for Mike Nichols' overhyped, Oscar-bait-disguised-as-an-art-film Closer. Both movies featured 1) a plot that revolved around four main characters (two male and two female), 2) adultery and varied sexual activity, and 3) the intertwined, screwed-up lives of the protagonists. However, while Closer left me cold (and considering both Jude Law and Clive Owen were in it, that's saying something), sex, lies and videotape was so full of subdued vitality and repressed passion that I found myself empathizing with all four characters, even the asshole husband (Peter Gallagher, he of the lush eyebrows). Don't let the title of the movie mislead you, because despite dealing with a lurid subject, sex, lies and videotape is actually a beautiful, stirring story that comes closer to capturing the pathos of human relationships than its clone Closer does.


At Saturday, June 11, 2005, Anonymous Jac said...

Ms Lim, you should write movie reviews in a newspaper, ey? You compel me to watch that movie. Interesting interesting.

Oh ya..i finally learned how to ride a the ripe old age of 19! Hahahahaha :D Just sharing! Got too many bruises though. Oh well. Learned it in 30 mins..mastered it in an hour. Cool cool cool! :D Check out my blog too! :D

At Saturday, June 11, 2005, Blogger Ailee Through the Looking Glass said...

"Ms Lim, you should write movie reviews in a newspaper, ey?" -Hmm, do I detect a Canadian accent already, ey? Haha.

Yup, I take a peek at your blog from time to time. :)Congratulations on finally learning how to ride a bike! Just goes to show it's never too late for an old dog to learn new tricks, hehe.

At Monday, June 13, 2005, Anonymous Jac said...

Ahhh...yeah! Sometimes i can't help saying "ey". It's really reallly contagious! Oh ya...saying "hon" and "sweetie" to customers is something that i won't be able to get used to though! XP


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