Watching “Kingsman” in Fort Bragg

The movie is a tad long, but otherwise great fun.


The guy who plays the lead looks like a cross between Matt Damon and Ryan Philippe. He also doesn’t seem very tall (Self, that’s rich! If J-Hutch hasn’t taught you yet: “Short” does not preclude being attractive!) He has a great affect, especially after he exchanges his gangsta uniform for a dapper suit and glasses.

Self loved the whole London Punk meets Savile Row vibe.

There are some angles where Colin Firth looks impossibly hot.

Self liked the blonde who plays the Scandinavian Princess. She’s less enthused over the blonde who plays a Kingsman recruit (and the hero’s flirting buddy). The actress plays her a bit too sweet and vapid, in self’s humble opinion.

There is one wholly riveting woman in this movie, and that is the whippet-thin gal who plays the side-kick of the villain, Valentine (played hilariously, with a lisp, by Samuel L. Jackson). She wears tight black sheath dresses, and her legs are the same type of prosthetics as the one of Oscar Pistorius.

Self loves the scene where Colin Firth single-handedly takes out a whole church of right-wingers Everyone in the audience cheered at this one. (Of course! Self is in Mendocino County, the last place left in America where it is still a badge of pride to be considered a Liberal)

And there’s a scene between Michael Caine, playing a Kingsman Higher-Up, and the Young Punk Recruit, that’s just priceless. Context: It is apparently required of all Kingsman recruits that they adopt a pooch side-kick. Our hero’s is a French pug:

Caine to Hero: Nice dog (or something to that effect). What’s its name?

Hero: JB.

Caine: For James Bond?

Hero: No.

Caine (eyebrow raised): Jason Bourne?

Hero: No.

Caine surrenders.

Hero: Jack Bauer.

Good one!

Watch for those exploding heads at the end, each a technicolor mushroom cloud. Only a director as audacious as Matthew Vaughan could pull that off.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.


“American Sniper”

Just saw American Sniper.

You know what? Just go ahead and nominate everybody: Bradley, Clint, even Sienna. Particularly Sienna. Honest, self did not recognize her at all. In the movie she’s thin and colt-ish and might even be a stand-in for Michelle Monaghan. It’s the best self has ever seen her.


Oh Clint. She hates your movies generally. They’ve been mostly “message” movies, in the past decade. This one was good, though. She’s so glad the movie included the manner of Kyle’s eventual demise. Mother of all ironies.

Self’s favorite line in the movie was uttered by a bit actor (The same tall dude who’s a colleague of Simon Baker in The Mentalist, the one who’s having a relationship with the sexy redhead. For the life of her, self can’t remember his name). Here’s the line (There is profanity — ha!)

Right side. Damn. Legend. FUCK.

That’s because Kyle just took out an enemy sniper and gave away the SEAL’s position, and the back-up units are still 20 minutes away. Can you imagine if the commander had instead said something like:

You gave away our position, meathead!


You’re going to be court-martialed for this! I don’t care if you’re a so-called ‘legend’.


You went against a direct order! You think you have all the answers?

And who is that guy who plays a buddy of Kyle’s in the SEAL unit? With his helmet on, he’s a dead ringer for a young Peter Sarsgaard. With his helmet off, not so much. But self loved his insouciant affect.

And Bradley. What can self say? He deserved that Oscar nomination, man! Self was skeptical when it was first announced he’d be playing the lead role, but — that focus! That intensity! That reluctance to “emote”!

She doesn’t have a TV in Mendocino. Alas, she wishes she could camp out in someone’s living room for the night.

BTW, self caught the preview for Mad Max: Fury Road. Hardy, Theron, Hoult. Oh, self can hardly wait.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.


How Self Got to Fort Bragg to Watch “Jupiter Ascending” in the Middle of a Huge Storm

The storm hit in the wee hours. Self knows because she’s been up since 4 a.m. The wind was howling.

Then there were these periodic siren blasts.

What does that mean?

At about 4 p.m., self began having major claustrophobia FEELZ. She felt that if she did not get out of the apartment for some fresh air, she would Read the rest of this entry »

Watched “Snowpiercer”

Boy oh boy what a disappointment.

She had been so looking forward to seeing it, most of last year.

She ordered it from Netflix streaming yesterday.

And sure, Chris Evans was in it, but it didn’t have to be Chris Evans, it could just have been any guy with a beard, because he was totally camouflaged under crummy grey outfits, for the entire movie.

And the lighting was very dark, which often made it hard for self to distinguish who was who.

Self did get a big kick out of Tilda Swinton as Mason, though. Talk about a unique career trajectory: She broke self’s heart in We Need to Talk About Kevin, she was a great and fearsome angel in Constantine (directed by FLAW — Francis “Hunger Games/Catching Fire” Lawrence). She has just been a consistently interesting actress. Who would have thought? She’s very odd-looking.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

A Review of “The Interview”

For self to like a review enough for her to post bits of it on her blog, it’s got to be funny.

So, you all know about “The Interview,” right? The movie that ended up starting a Mexican stand-off between North Korea and the United States? The movie that had self making statements like: It is a God-given right that Americans watch what they want, when they want, and especially on holidays like Christmas, when all the shopping malls are shut!

Then “The Interview” came out, just as Chris Rock said (to Jon Stewart on The Daily Show) that it would, and judging from the remarks floating around the lobby of the Redwood City Century 20 on Christmas Day, the general consensus seemed to be: This is a stupid movie. Why the North Koreans ever felt it was so threatening — IDK (with shoulder-shrug emoji)

Finally, self lands on (which she’s avoiding since coming to Mendocino because there are no movie theaters in the vicinity, and she’s too lazy to drive all the way to Fort Bragg, and anyway even if she did make it to Fort Bragg, they’re not showing it), and reads a wickedly entertaining review from Steven Boone. It’s so entertaining, self wonders why she never heard of Steven Boone before. So here goes (Note: The worst barbs are reserved for James Franco)

  • “The Interview” is nothing new, but it looks great.
  • You expect Kanye West and some X-Men to show up. It’s the visual approach filmmakers like Edgar Wright and various cohorts of this film’s star, Seth Rogen . . . spent the past decade indulging, to give their flouncy bromantic comedies the sizzle and swagger of a good romantic adventure.
  • Rogen’s co-lead, James Franco, takes a break from winking roughly one-third of the time . . . Early in the film, and for much of it, he is simply trying too hard. Imagine James Dean aiming for Will Ferrell speed and pitch. In Franco’s relentless hyperactivity I sense immense fear, of not supplying enough energy to this gargantuan film, of not giving Rogen enough to volley back.

There are several raunchy quotes from the movie, of which this one is the most tame:

“Welcome to the jungle, baby, welcome to the jungle. Na na na knees.”

Too, too hilarious!

Stay tuned.


Shadowed: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

Below, an assortment of photographs focusing on the WordPress Daily Post’s Photo Challenge of the Week:  SHADOWED.

“Low-light photography can be difficult to get right, but sometimes the absence of light can make for a compelling, dramatic photograph.”

Picture # 1: Putting Away Christmas Decorations

Putting Away Christmas Decorations

Putting Away Christmas Decorations

Picture # 2: Gelato Classico on Emerson, Downtown Palo Alto, Self’s Go-To Place After Watching a Movie at the Aquarius (On this particular evening, self had just walked out of Foxcatcher. Walked out as in — literally WALKED OUT. She couldn’t finish it)

Classico Gelato on Emerson Street, Downtown Palo Alto

Gelato Classico on Emerson Street, Downtown Palo Alto

Picture # 3:  What Was Showing in Aquarius on Dec. 18. Self has seen both CitizenFour and Foxcatcher. CitizenFour was better.

Aquarius: One of the Last Remaining Indie Movie Theaters in Palo Alto

Aquarius: One of the Last Remaining Indie Movie Theaters in Palo Alto

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.


“Wild”: The David Denby Review (The New Yorker, Dec. 8, 2014)

Aha! A fairly recent issue of The New Yorker — Hallelujah!

In this issue, David Denby reviews “Wild,” the film adaptation of the Cheryl Strayed memoir.

Self saw the movie several weeks ago, after which she posted a few remarks on Read the rest of this entry »

Hunger Games Fan Fiction: 25 Years After the Rebellion

(The reason there is a movie tag on this post is because self does mention a movie, towards the end. Just saying)

Very early this morning, self was about to post a second set of photos relating to this week’s Photo Challenge, NEW.

Instead, she decided to wander around outside, in absolute bone-chilling cold, because she felt so guilty about neglecting her garden for so many weeks. Actually, self prefers to garden in the early morning, because none of her neighbors are up yet. There’s one in particular who seems to time his gardening for self’s, and self simply hates to chat when she is gardening. She just wants to dig in peace. Hear that, neighbor? Self just wants to dig in peace. Go back to bed!

She was having such a nice morning weeding, and then she heard the screen door to the neighbor’s backyard sliiiiiide open ever sooooo slowly, which meant the games were about to begin. Uh, no. Self threw her trowel to the ground and re-entered the house. It wasn’t even 8 a.m.

It’s a good thing there is fan fiction available for self’s reading pleasure, or she would be in a foul foul mood and scowling like a maniac at this very moment.

After a few short minutes of trolling, self just found a very good one. It’s set 25 years after the rebellion. The new rulers send a star reporter to 12, to interview Katniss Everdeen aka “The Mockingjay.”

An excerpt:

“I didn’t love Peeta for a very long time — that was all for the cameras.”

The bombshell hits hard. The love story of Peeta Mellark and Katniss Everdeen is a staple of any drama about the revolution. Probably the best known version is Fire and Ashes, Gale Hawthorne’s first feature film, which is the only one so far, critics say, to get to the heart of the desperation felt by the rebels. The reunion scene has topped 100 Best Lists for the better part of a decade.

“Yeah,” says Katniss Everdeen. “People have always wanted to write their own stories about me and Peeta.” I feel suddenly that I am only the latest in a long line, that Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark are almost fictional now. We have written and re-written their story so many times that they belong more to myth than to reality.

And, speaking of myth, yesterday self watched “Into the Woods.” Self loves movies, as dear blog readers well know. But she especially loves watching movies at night. In the local Century 20. Usually, the streets are very dead, especially right after the holidays. But, as was the case last night, in the evening there are tons of moviegoers, lining up for tickets in the lobby. And the cine-plex feels very festive. After the movie, it’s full dark and the restaurants around are full of people. So, these are the restaurants adjacent to the Century 20: Quinto Sol (which draws by far the most customers), Sakura Teppanyaki, La Tartine, Arya Global Cuisine, Mandaloun and, a little bit of a walk, but self absolutely loves this place (which had a line out the door last night), I Dumpling. I Dumpling is very wee, only has about eight tiny tables, and that’s why it always has lines out the door.

It was a lot of fun walking around outside last night (No skateboarders. Do dear blog readers know how nice that is?). The crowd watching “Into the Woods” was also very “into” the movie, which usually triples self’s viewing pleasure. For instance, they actually clapped after the scene where Chris Pine as Prince Charming, and a young blonde guy playing his brother, rip open their shirts and sing a song about being in love, while making frequent use of the word “agony.”

Chris Pine, it turns out, is very good at hamming it up. Cheesy much?

Nah. Last night’s audience lapped it up.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Eavesdropping: Downtown Redwood City Century 20, Christmas Day

WOMAN:  “I saw The Interview yesterday.”

MAN:  “Did you?”

WOMAN: “And that was the stupidest, most asinine . . .  The idea that North Korea was threatened by it . . . ” (eye-roll)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

WSJ Weekend Confidential’s Alexandra Wolfe Interviews Christoph Waltz

Self has sort of had a crush on this guy ever since she saw him in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds. He was so evil, and yet also so charming (That’s what makes charming evil people so dangerous; they insinuate themselves into your brain without you even being aware of it).

She also loved him in Django Unchained.

Anyhoo, there’s a really fabulous picture of him to go along with the interview. A few highlights:

  • Talent is a “little pet that needs to run” — something with a life of its own. “I always had the feeling that my little pet that needs to run couldn’t run properly because of this or that,” he says. “But now all of a sudden, everybody wants to take it for a walk.”
  • “My conviction is we don’t have any ideas about our talents,” he says. “People always overestimate their talents, always, and maybe as a consequence underestimate unexpected or unrealized talents.”
  • “The biggest advantage of my new life is that I can actually pursue the parts I want.”

Unfortunately, self is creeped out by the new movie he’s in, Big Eyes. First of all, the eyes of the figures are just too blank and static, like doll’s eyes. And she’d hate, positively hate, to have one of those things hanging in her house. It would lead to all sorts of nightmares.

In Big Eyes, which happens to be directed by Tim Burton, he plays another variant on the charming rogue. The casting of Amy Adams as his exploited artist/wife makes him seem even twice the rogue.

Stay tuned.

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