Sad About Burt

deliverance-ned-beatty-burt-reynolds

Never Forget: Burt Reynolds in John Boorman’s deeply disturbing, potent Deliverance

While We’re On the Subject of Girls’ Schools

from The New Yorker, 22 May 2017:

  • Sofia Coppola’s The Beguiled is a remake of Don Siegel’s 1971 Civil War drama, about a wounded Union soldier who is given shelter in a Confederate girls’ school and arouses the repressed sexual energy of students and teachers alike. Kirsten Dunst, Nicole Kidman, and Elle Fanning play residents of the school; Colin Farrell plays the soldier.

Alas, self missed this film when it showed in theatres last year but she will always, to her dying day, like Colin Farrell.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

On Now, San Francisco 2018

Summer: SO MANY THINGS, from the Magritte exhibit at SFMOMA, to the Rube Goldberg exhibit at the Jewish Contemporary Art Museum on Mission St., to the Redwood City Century 20, where we saw Jurassic Park last weekend (Bryce Dallas Howard forever!)

 

Mick LaSalle’s Review of ‘American Animals’

from the San Francisco Chronicle, 8 June 2018:

Seems to diss Evan Peters, lol. But interesting for describing the film’s “American thing” (i.e. yearnings)

Even though without the heist there would be no reason for the movie, it hardly seems possible that the heist will happen, not with these guys. Indeed, it’s not certain that the participants themselves even want it to happen. Yes, Warren is all for it, but the rest of them just seem willing to go along.

Part of the explanation for their sticking with the plan may be Warren’s personal charisma — not the charisma evidenced by the actor playing Warren, but that of the real-life Warren. He seems forceful and funny and looks like the leading man in a zany romantic comedy. Another explanation, suggested by the movie’s title, is that this is just an American thing: the desire for money, the desire to be somebody, to have status, to have an interesting story.

Yet one has to wonder . . .  where are the young women in this story? Why don’t Spencer and Warren have girlfriends? One gets the feeling that if either of them had one, the plan might have been scuttled immediately. The reason for this is that it often seems as though the guys are in this plot out of boredom, or out of some restless desire to feel that they have hope.

Self’s personal opinion? There is not enough Evan Peters on the big screen. Perhaps it’s Peters’s insouciant affect. The Quicksilver slowing-down-bullets scene never gets old.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Mood, the Sea: THE SUMMER BOOK, p. 67

  • The sea is always subject to unusual events; things drift in or run aground or shift in the night when the wind changes, and keeping track of all this takes experience, imagination, and unflagging watchfulness. It takes a good nose, to put it simply. The big events always take place far out in the skerries, and time is often of the essence. Only small things happen in among the islands, but these, too — the odd jobs that arise from the whims of the summer people — have to be dealt with. One of them wants a ship’s mast mounted on his roof, and another one needs a rock weighing half a ton, and it has to be round. A person can find anything if he takes the time, that is, if he can afford to look.

Such beautiful language. Thank you to Thomas Teal for his limpid translation.

In other news: self saw the documentary RBG today. A few things struck her:

  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg has the greatest sense of style. Love her fishnet gloves. And the intricate judge’s collars.
  • She was so pretty.
  • Her foundation was a rock-solid marriage, which freed her up to focus on doing the law.
  • Her friendship with fellow Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia was the best.
  • When she was nominated for the Supreme Court, it was whispered about that she was too old (She was in her early 60s).
  • Some of her most ground-breaking dissenting opinions were written after she turned 70.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

Telemachus Plays Host to the Suitors

Self just got back from watching The Rider. There is a very interesting father-son dynamic in that movie. Which is a perfect segue to Book 1 of The Odyssey: The Boy and the Goddess. The translation self is reading is by Emily Wilson:

Telemachus was sitting with them, feeling
dejected. In his mind he saw his father
coming from somewhere, scattering the suitors,
and gaining back his honor, and control
of all his property.

The poor boy. The poor, poor boy. Something wonderful is about to happen to him in the very next moment, though.

Stay tuned.

TREASURE ISLAND, Chapter XII: “Council of War”

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This past week has been a great, angst-y week. Not only did self definitively decide that she couldn’t bear to read further than p. 253 of The Amber Spyglass — it would break her — but she saw Avengers: Infinity War, and — she just can’t seem to escape the bloody angst. Because the movie — just ask anyone who’s seen it — has angst to the nth power.

As soon as she got home, she resumed reading Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson. (For such a slim novel, it is taking FOREVER for her to read through, maybe because she keeps having to blog about pirate tropes, practically every page)

Today’s reading had mild angst. For one thing, a mutiny has just been discovered by the captain of the Hispaniola, a rather decent man named Mr. Smollett (The name alone does not encourage confidence regarding his eventual fate).

So, what are we to do? asks someone of the captain (He means: what are we to do about the mutiny?)

“First point,” began Mr. Smollett. “We must go on, because we can’t turn back.”

The captain and his mates then begin to try and figure out which members of the crew are loyal and can be counted on. They consider a crewman named ‘Hands.’ (Self loves the names in this novel. First there was Barbecue, the ship’s cook. Now there is a seaman named ‘Hands.’)

“Hands was one of mine,” says the squire.

“I did think I could have trusted Hands,” added the captain.

“And to think that they’re all Englishmen!” broke out the squire.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Philip Pullman Death Scenes De-Constructed (Spoilers — The Subtle Knife)

Self thinks they are amazing. She’s near the end of The Subtle Knife, and the tension is beautifully constructed, like a Kabuki play. She thinks that’s because of the double-ness of having a daemon. People don’t just die, their daemons have to die as well. And since the daemons have been actualized — meaning, they’re actual physical beings, but have properties that are not exactly human — there is a gap in the effect of death. Self means, you’re never sure a person is actually dead until the daemon goes down, and thus two have to go down together.

At this point, self has read three Philip Pullman books. And no two deaths are exactly alike.

There is something so stoic about Pullman’s characters. The reader (self) hides under a blanket, screaming — but the characters themselves are  puzzled by their injuries, and don’t make much of them (All the while the reader thinks: Get yourself to the emergency room! Call 9-1-1!) and we live every moment of their disbelief and shock when finally —

UGH. WHY.

She also thinks she won’t watch film or television adaptations of this universe. They’ll either focus entirely on the action, or have the characters feeling tragic because they can almost see the end approaching — and how would we get the curious timing of human/daemon deaths that add so much to the books? The film would have to be directed by a person with deep roots in Kabuki or Noh theatre (She’s seen real live Kabuki performances in Tokyo, theatre is a particular love of hers, just saying) Could they get Kathryn Bigelow? Because she did such a beautiful job with the deaths in The Hurt Locker.

There are only five or 10 pages left to go in The Subtle Knife, and the character self is reading about keeps acting as if ’tis but a scratch. But of course, how would the character know he/she only has that many pages left to live? That’s masterful, keeping that scene going till the very end.

She thinks of another scene in a novel that she read maybe two decades ago, which ended with the main character saying, in the last line: I die.

At that point, PHOOEY. When your main character has to tell you he/she is dead, that is one lousy ending. Self nearly threw the book across the room.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Tomb Raider: Just Okay

This is not a masterpiece. It’s not, even, that much fun. Alicia Vikander’s body is rippling with muscle so that’s certainly an improvement over Angelina Jolie’s (The trouble with Jolie as Lara Croft is that she’s very top-heavy and it gets in the way. Seriously). But Dominic West, poor Dominic West, is so wasted.

Here are a few positives:

  • That ripped body of Vikander’s
  • Walton Goggins having a stellar moment in every action/fantasy movie of the past few years (He was in the final Maze Runner movie, which self would rank higher than this one)
  • There is an Asian man who is kind and also has a ripped bod (Never seen this actor before. Googled. Welcome to the world, Daniel Wu!)
  • Solving puzzles is always fun. Though self did get a little lost when people were tossing all kinds of colored crystals at Lara Croft while balancing on their toes at the edges of a room with a crumbling stone floor.

Was there music? Self can’t remember. Too bad. A score can do so much for a movie.

What was that fox race through London? She doesn’t get the point, but loved that she saw a section of Tottenham Road, which she knows intimately: Hanway Alley (where her favorite London restaurant, Chez Nous, is) is just off Tottenham. Moreover, Vikander does a great job as a biker. She has that look of determination, and looks great in capris and bike helmet.

The guy who plays spoiled brat/murder suspect ‘Silver Smile’ in TNT’s The Alienist has a bit part!

Good Lord, she would never place this on the same level as The Last of the Mohicans, even if just for comparison, which critic Matt Zoller Seitz did in his review for RogerEbert.com. The Last of the Mohicans was a masterpiece! It was directed by Michael Mann, at the height of his powers! It starred Daniel Day-Lewis, at the height of his powers. (No, let’s re-phrase that: with Daniel Day-Lewis, there is no such thing as ‘height of his powers.’ Because he is still bringing it all the time! Just watch Phantom Thread!)! It introduced Wes Studi to the world!

Every time Vikander sailed through the air, self was reminded of the Fassbender move in 300. Which he executed so well that now, every action movie has to show its heroes and heroines doing the exact same move, at least once. It’s getting to be a thing! Vikander does it so many times in Tomb Raider that she even out-Fassbenders Fassbender.

Self found Tomb Raider a by-the-numbers thriller, which is to say it was not a thrill ride.

She was so excited, though, to see a preview of John Boyega’s Star Wars movie.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Movie # 7: FIFTY SHADES FREED

Self has liked the other movies in this franchise. But this one — well, let her list the ways:

  • The lack of chemistry between the two leads is never more apparent.
  • Dakota Johnson’s flat, affectless voice, while perfect for the role, is really annoying once she gets everything her heart desires. And, oh wow, someone is stalking her but she’s sooo ready for flirting. And sex. And romance!
  • There is no ending.
  • What is with Christian Grey’s brother’s affair? It’s a red herring.

Pluses:

  • Marcia Gay Harden has a small scene.
  • clothes, Anastasia’s
  • lipstick, Anastasia’s
  • Self didn’t hate it enough to walk out.

Stay tuned.

 

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