“Machete” Has a Plot (Per The New Yorker)

According to The New Yorker of 27 September 2010, which self is reading shortly after having returned from watching Ben Affleck’s “The Town” (Simply a masterpiece; more on which later), “Machete,” a movie self saw in between New York trips, and in what passes for her summer, is about “a Mexican drug lord (Steven Seagal)” who “conspires with a dishonest, anti-immigration Texas senator (Robert De Niro) and a sadistic border-control commander (Don Johnson) to build a wall along the border through which only his own contraband would be allowed.”

Oh, so that’s what “Machete” was all about!   Funny, the plot doesn’t sound even vaguely familiar.  Self had no idea —  absolutely none  —  that there was even a plot of any kind.  All self knows is:

There was Jessica Alba pretending to be a cop —  No, wait!  She was a real cop!  It was Machete who was pretending to be a cop.  No, wait!  He plays a real cop as well!

Oh, well, self remembers the movie with utmost affection, in part because of the following cameos:

  • Jessica Alba scrambles on to the hood of a car and delivers a rousing pro-immigrant speech!
  • Danny Trejo as “Machete” tells Jessica Alba (whose character is besotted with him, which is a really clever touch, as Machete is —  well, come on:  He’s old and ugly) that he “doesn’t text,” and then later texts and explains to Jessica, “Machete improvises!”
  • And, boy, does Machete ever improvise, especially in an action sequence set in a hospital, where he makes what is probably the most ingenious use ever of a bad guy’s intestines!

Apologies for the long digression, dear blog readers.  Now, back to “The Town.”  This movie was great (possibly even better than “Inception,” for pure story-telling).  Of all the outstanding performances in it (Pete Postlethwaite having some kind of renaissance, with his parts in “Inception” and this movie, and the roles could not be more different!), self’s favorites were:  Ben Affleck’s, Blake Lively’s, and Jeremy Renner’s.  Especially Jeremy Renner’s.  Even when Renner is simply walking, he has a swagger.  It was a tightly wound performance.  And self really did feel bad for Blake Lively’s character, and this was especially surprising considering that Ms. Lively was playing a Boston-bred woman, and self knows very well that she grew up in Tarzana, California.

Let’s see, what else?  Self finished reading Kjell Eriksson’s The Cruel Stars of the Night.  It was the first bad Scandinavian mystery she’s ever read, doesn’t come close to Henning Mankell.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

A Passel of Thrillers (From THE NEW YORKER “Briefly Noted” of July 12 & 19, 2010)

Self catching up on her stacks of unread New Yorkers.  Here she is in the Briefly Noted section of the July 12 & 19, 2010 issue.  Yay, they’re all mysteries, which self loves:

Stieg Larsson’s The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest

The third and final installment of Larsson’s engrossing posthumous series finds the defiant, punked-out, inked-up girl hacker Lisbeth Salander under arrest in a Swedish hospital bed, a bullet removed from her skull and, down the hall, a threatening co-patient —  her father —  plotting her demise.

Alan Furst’s Spies of the Balkans

A police official named Costa Zannis —  dog-lover, Simenon reader —  designs escape routes for Jews fleeing from Germany to Turkey, attempts to ferry a downed R.A.F. pilot out of Paris, and conducts love affairs with a series of mysterious international beauties.

Tom Hinshelwood’s The Killer

At its center is Victor, a.k.a. Tesseract, a meticulous assassin who finds himself targeted by the same group that has just hired him to kill a Latvian with an important flash drive.

Peter Steiner’s The Terrorist

Few men of any age could so nimbly chase down Taliban leaders and Al Qaeda sleepers —  all while undergoing chemotherapy for prostate cancer.

Isn’t that a bunch of interesting reads?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Lillian, Who Is Full of Wisdom

Lillian says, “Your blog entries of the past two weeks would make a great novel!”

Thank you, Lillian!

Oh, did self ever share with dear blog readers that Lillian is brilliant ???  Here’s a link to the book she edited for University of Hawaii Press, a collection of short stories by the iconic Wakako Yamauchi.

Noynoy, President of the Philippines, is somewhere in the building.

By building, self means:  the venerable Fairmont Hotel in San Jose.

The entrance was brimming with flags and Filipino security personnel!

When self drove up to the main entrance, Dearest Mum floated out of the car, looking like a ravishing bright orange popsicle.  (Hubby had roused himself from football to iron Dearest Mum’s gorgeous piña scarf for her, as self was frantically rushing around trying to pat Dearest Mum’s forehead with a fresh towel and apply some make-up)

Self skedaddled to find parking.

Then, having realized that she was really in no condition to join Dearest Mum for the benefit dinner with assorted Silicon Valley bigwigs, she looked around the hotel for a restaurant.  And stumbled into a dark, wood-paneled, very “Old World” type restaurant called The Grill on the Alley.

Self asked for a table for 1.  She was led to a booth.  She saw that all the entrees started at $24.95.

Self decided to order an ahi tuna appetizer (Only $14.95!) and a cup of soup ($6.50).  Then she ordered the “super duper special chocolate soufflé” (Menu indicated it takes 30 minutes to prepare, so she made sure to tell her waitress to start preparing it).  Then she decided, in honor of niece G, to order one of niece’s favorite beers, Blue Moon.

She would have ordered a vodkatini in honor of Drew, but she didn’t know how she would be able to make it back home, plugged up with Ketel One vodka and Cointreau (Ah, Korean restaurant on Mercer Street, self misses you already)

Hubby declined to accompany self, which is just as well, since self has to work —  er, blog.  Anyhoo, the Dear Man is happy being home by himself, with the two li’l crits, and the HDTV.

*     *     *     *

Having just partaken of the soup (She asked for a “cup” and it came out like a floating sea), self can safely confide to dear blog readers that this was absolutely the best cream of mushroom soup she has ever tasted.

Now for the seared ahi tuna appetizer.

How very convenient that Dearest Mum threw her wallet at self as she was exiting the car!  Self peeked inside and saw, delicately nestled within, two hundred-dollar bills.  Which should more than cover the cost of self’s dinner.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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