In the visual arts, I watched three DVDs and one movie in a theater this week:
When I sat down the Marquee Theater last Sunday to watch Silver Linings Playbook, I realized that I knew nothing about it other than who was in it and who directed it, and that it'd been nominated for quite a few Academy Awards. I had sort of a vague idea that it was a comedy, but as to the plot or setting or anything else, nothing. Kind of a dangerous way to see a movie, even a movie with eight Academy Award nominations. Sure, Casablanca had eight Academy Award nominations, but so did The Towering Inferno. Happily, SLP was more toward the Casablanca end of the scale. Good performances, interesting story.
I moved on to season two of Parks and Recreation. I'm aware of the popular perception that the first season was somehow vastly inferior to subsequent seasons, but I don't really see it. The character relationships have changed a bit, particularly between Leslie and Ron, but no more so than the character relationships had shifted after the first six episodes of Community. Anyway, still funny.
As the first season of Grimm continues, I'm beginning to see the mythological elements occasionally overpower the police procedural elements, which is a shame because I think the show works best when those elements are either kept in balance or the procedural elements predominate. I do like the addition of Bree Turner's character Rosalee as a recurring character, and seeing Nick make more allies within the Wesen community.
When I saw A Cat in Paris a few weeks ago, I tweeted, "Remember those two 2012 Best Animated Film Oscar nominees you'd never heard of? This is one of them." The other was Chico & Rita, and having now seen it, I have to say I'm unimpressed. I didn't care for the animation style, a blend of "super rotoscoped" (™ engelen) foreground figures and computer-animated, often surprisingly crudely so, for the other moving elements. Also it was boring. But the backgrounds, drawn by Spanish artist Javier Mariscal, are impressive, and the soundtrack of Cuban jazz and be-bop is terrific.
In the literary arts, I continued reading one book and started another.
The WPLC Digital Library only lets you keep books for a week, which turned out not be quite enough for me to finish The President and the Assassin: McKinley, Terror, and Empire at the Dawn of the American Century before it vanished from my Kindle. It's a fine book about a period of time I'm not tremendously familiar with — I know of most of the people and events discussed, but not in much depth and without much understanding of the links between them — and which has certain resonance with current events, but I wasn't so enthralled by it that I felt the need to buy a copy to finish it, so I just put another hold on it, and I'll finish it when it shows up again.
In the meantime, I've moved on to Jane Austen's fifth and final published novel, Persuasion. Which, as with all of Austen's novels, I've read before, but it's been 20 years or so since, so I would imagine my perspective on it will have changed somewhat since then.