WEEKEND MOVIE REVIEW….Just thought I’d mention that I saw The Merchant of Venice last week and it was pretty good. I’m not really a big Shakespeare fan, but I’ve always liked MoV and this production was a nice one, both well paced and well staged. Al Pacino’s phrasing of Shylock’s lines was odd in a way I can’t quite put my finger on ? certainly non-Shakespearean, in any case ? but it was also compelling and distinctive. Recommended.

(Just so you won’t be inadvertantly disappointed, though, I should make clear that I have generally plebeian taste in almost everything, including Shakespeare movies. My favorite recent productions were Mel Gibson’s Hamlet and Kenneth Branagh’s Much Ado About Nothing. If you think this shows appalling judgment, you should ignore my MoV recommendation as well.)

Let’s see, what else have I seen recently? Sideways was OK, though I don’t really understand either the wild praise or the heated abuse it seems to inspire in so many people. Coach Carter was predictable but watchable ? barely. Phantom of the Opera was disappointing, even though I like the musical.

That’s it. I guess the Best Picture nominees are next on my list, along with Hotel Rwanda and a few others. What else is out there that I should be sure to see?

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