Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Sleepless In Singapore


I've recently developed a bad habit - that of sitting on my bed in the dark, past midnight till who knows when, watching DVDs and YouTube clips on my laptop.

I put the blame completely on James McAvoy, whose performance in Becoming Jane is the main reason I'm doing this.

In my last entry, I failed to share information about what I consider the best scene in the film. You can watch it on YouTube via this link.

To provide a bit of background for those who haven't already seen the movie, this little interlude occurs around the 35th minute, soon after Jane and Tom have established their mutual dislike for, but also reluctant attraction to, each other.

Jane stumbles upon Tom in his aunt's library, and the rest -- you can see for yourself.

May I just point out a few things worth appreciating in this most delighful sequence: McAvoy looks rakishly handsome, he has a wonderful voice and accent for reading aloud, he displays an easy cheekiness and oozes sex appeal, and his chemistry with Anne Hathaway is absolutely mesmerizing.

Watch closely: how he almost caresses each word of the passage he's reading, then stops and teases Jane with a cliffhanger, only to fluster her with the climactic ending, fixing her with an intense stare and an amused half-smile. Then, as she strides off, he reverses in the other direction, matching her step for step, before meeting her on the other side of the bookshelf, admonishing her then teasing her yet again.
The whole exchange is perfectly timed, the body language superb, and McAvoy's facial expressions varying beautifully between unfathomable and playful.
The whole thing lasts only 3 minutes, but crams so much into that short period, and never fails to bring a huge grin to my face.

However, the DVD offers a much higher resolution compared to YouTube -- in the former, the colour is vibrant, and McAvoy's blue eyes practically light up the screen.

Just make sure to wear earphones so you can hear everything - and I mean everything, including the ticking grandfather clock and McAvoy's sniffles - as clearly as possible.

Don't think I've seen anything like this since Laurence Olivier's performance in Pride And Prejudice, where Mr. Darcy first makes his affections known to Miss Bennet, only to be rebuffed. I watched that one countless times on my VHS many years ago, but the tape conked out after too many replays, so I think I'm going to order the DVD from Amazon sometime in the near future.

Check out the trailers for Wanted. Looks like a must-see!

And... this priceless interview with fellow Scotsman, Craig Ferguson. The 5:40 mark promises a side-splitting joke! :D

Ok then, enough rambling from me. :)

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