Monday, February 06, 2006

A fine Line

I don’t like country music. Shoot, sometimes I don’t even understand country music, much less its appeal to millions of Americans. But after watching Walk the Line, I felt like a certified fan, at least of country music legends Johnny Cash and June Carter.

Chalk it up to excellent performances from Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon, who both bare their acting— and singing— chops to prove they’re more than just pretty faces. Ever since he stole the spotlight from Russell Crowe in Gladiator, Joaquin has always had my respect as a “real” actor (as opposed to many Hollywood hunks who try to pass off smoldering stares and gleaming grins as acting). As Johnny Cash, Joaquin solidified my belief in his versatility and range: not only did he get Cash’s rich baritone and stiff shuffling down pat, he portrayed the singer as a completely sympathetic character, in spite of (or maybe because of?) his drug addiction, adultery and emotional instability. Joaquin’s Cash was so achingly human, I forgot I was watching a bio-pic of a celebrity, and found my heart going out to a lost soul whose saving grace was the woman he loved, and who loved him.

And that woman was the real delight of Walk the Line, thanks to Reese goodbye-Elle-Woods Witherspoon. Not only did she outsing Joaquin, she also outshone him with the purity and subtle power of her acting— definitely a far cry from the bubbly antics of her lovable ditz in Legally Blond. Reese became June Carter, and June Carter became her. And that was why the passionate love story between Cash and Carter was so convincing and so moving: Reese made it easy to believe in the goodness of June Carter, a steel magnolia who was strong enough to survive her own trials and had strength left over to stand by her man and rescue him from self-destruction. Cowboy hats off to Mrs. Philippe (heck, we should be calling Ryan Mr. Witherspoon now!) for crossing over from silly starlet to serious star.

Although I haven’t seen Capote yet, instinct tells me that Phillip Seymour Hoffman is a sure bet to win the Best Actor Oscar over Joaquin (consolation for Joaquin: you’re waaayyy hotter, dude :p). But it’s going to be a tough call for Best Actress, between Reese’s outstanding acting (and singing) achievements in Walk the Line, and Felicity Huffman’s terrific gender-bending turn in Transamerica. May the best woman-- or woman/man-- win.


At Monday, February 06, 2006, Anonymous pamy said...

i loved walk the line :D such a great movie! havent watched transamerica yet. has it shown here already?

At Monday, February 06, 2006, Blogger Ailee Through the Looking Glass said...

I don't think so, and I don't know if they will show it here, as the film is about such a sensitive topic and has some graphic scenes (isn't it such fun living in a Catholic country? :p). I just watched it on DVD, as I intend to do with Brokeback Mountain. I hate it when the MTRCB butchers a good movie (as they did Sin City, boo!!).

At Monday, February 06, 2006, Anonymous ange said...

Brokeback Mountain!!! The closest I will get to watching it is through watching the trailer. :(

At Monday, February 06, 2006, Anonymous jen ong said...

I hate how I can't seem to find the time to watch a movie because I'm so swamped with work. Sigh, so much for trying to be patapon :D (I'm such a pathetic senioritis wannabe -- but I just can't do it :D)

I want to watch Transamerica and Brokeback Mountain! I love the plots (and I have a knack for these things :D). I also hated how they butchered up Sin City by cutting out all the juicy stuff. Screw MTRCB.

At Monday, February 13, 2006, Blogger Ailee Through the Looking Glass said...

Ange: How come? Want me to lend you the DVD when I'm through watching it? :)

Jen: Hear, hear! Screw all the sanctimonious hypocrites at the MTRCB!

And forget it, "patapon" just isn't in your system. :p

At Monday, February 13, 2006, Anonymous mojo said...

Reese was a critical darling ever since she was young. :) Legally Blonde was actually a huge departure from her serious films as a child star. :)

At Monday, February 13, 2006, Blogger Ailee Through the Looking Glass said...

I'm just glad she did something meaty like this at the right time to wipe away the dumb blonde stigma. I was afraid she'd get stuck doing dumb rom-coms like Sweet Home Alabama and Just Like Heaven forever. Ryan Philippe better watch out, or they might be headed down the same marital dead end path Hilary Swank and Chad Lowe took. Sometimes that little bald golden guy can be a menacing homewrecker. :)

At Saturday, February 18, 2006, Anonymous ange said...

Some people can't take the kind of movie Brokeback is. :)

If it's not a problem, then okay. :D

At Sunday, February 19, 2006, Blogger Ailee Through the Looking Glass said...

Watched Brokeback at the Promenade (review to follow), and miracle of miracles, they showed it without cuts! Don't need the DVD anymore. :)


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