...going to see a movie! It's not that I never see a movie. More later.
UPDATE: Movie seen: "Capote." I expected to like it more than I did.
Part of my disappointment I attribute to the dim projection at the theater. The visual concept of the film is darkness -- lots of underlit, claustrophobic rooms and jail cells, many actors in black suits and black hats -- so cranking the light down a few notches drained the life out of the surface of the film. But the script was also weak, leaving the actors to carry the story with their faces -- aided by the conventional dramatic lighting that puts the same shadow-pattern curved around half of every face. And these faces all underacted, which is better than overacting, but fairly dull, especially when virtually the entire movie consists of closeups.
Yes, from time to time we see a bleak landscape (in case you've forgotten how all there is in Kansas is flat, empty land with the occasional dot of a farmhouse) or a crowd of people (congregated closely together in black suits and not making any noise or otherwise demonstrating that it comprises individuals). There's Catherine Keener, as Truman Capote's friend Harper Lee, but she's given almost nothing to do except stand about on the sidelines, looking crazily older and plainer than she's ever had to look in any other movie. (Is that good for an Oscar? Is it enough to count the way that gaining weight and looking bad routine worked for Charlize Theron in "Monster.")
But what bothered me the most about the movie is that it flattened the character of Capote himself. We seem him in the end devastated after the murderer he'd bonded with was hanged, and we're told that he never finished another book and that he died of the complications of alcoholism, with no sense at all that he went on to spend many years partying with socialites and being a lively raconteur on TV talk shows. I had to wonder if the filmmakers had meandered into some dopey Hollywood anti-death penalty message, which had nothing to do with what seemed to be the real story of the man. It seems they decided to drop the sexual attraction Capote was supposed to feel for the murderer. Capote's homosexuality had no energy to it, and Capote himself seemed to sleepwalk his way along a path he chose out of nothing more than writerly ambition. There was a deadness to the character as played by Phillip Seymour Hoffman, which is a character idea that could make sense at the center of the movie, but they dialed everything around him down, creating the contrast in the wrong direction. There was a bit of a good idea: that Capote was a damaged man and he saw himself in the other damaged man, the murderer. But there were simply not enough apt words in the screenplay for that idea to live.