“The Outpost”: Reviewed by Brian Tallerico

Self just saw the review on a site she checks pretty regularly: http://www.rogerebert.com

She normally doesn’t like watching ‘military’ movies. She feels like the high point was Platoon and The Hurt Locker and she hasn’t seen any good ones, not any straightforward (not Quentin Tarantino tongue-in-cheek) good ones, in a long time.

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But darn, The Outpost sounds like a good movie! Brian Tallerico (who she hasn’t quoted before, she doesn’t think) begins his review with:

  • Director Rod Lurie’s first film in almost a decade is also one of his best, and the first movie since our national nightmare began in 2020 that I really regretted not being able to see in a theater.

That’s you and self, Brian!

If only they would open the Stanford Theater on University Avenue in downtown Palo Alto so that she could watch classic black-and-whites like Roman Holiday and enjoy with the $1 small bucket of popcorn.

Anyhoo, this is one of those VOD ones. The only other film she’s rented during the pandemic has been Ronald Emmerich’s 10,000 B.C. and that’s because she wanted to see how Captain Jim Holden of The Expanse looked when he was 21 and clad only in animal skins.

Read Brian Tallerico’s review here.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Elmore Leonard’s “Fire In the Hole”

Self checked out a collection of Elmore Leonard short stories from the Redwood City Public Library early this year. She hasn’t managed to get to it yet. COVID happened, and then self’s mind flew out the window.

This afternoon, while browsing through her stack of “To Read” books, she encountered the Elmore Leonard collection, and immediately turned to the title story.

Opening line:

  • They had dug coal together as young men and then lost touch over the years.

omg!

Justified!

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Timothy Olyphand and Walton Goggins! Those two actors were born to play Raylan Givens and Boyd Crowder. Did either of the two ever win an Emmy? Did the show itself ever win an Emmy? For the six years of its run, self doesn’t think she ever skipped an episode.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Her Protector’s Pleasure, Chapter Two: Slay, Slay, Slay

Wow, self is really enjoying this bodice ripper! The writing is so completely immersive! Chapter One was set in a male brothel in Regency London, and ended with the brothel Madam’s own special man being appropriated by the widow MC for … well, dear blog readers can guess.

Chapter Two takes us to the Thames River Police, which is nowhere near as interesting as the brothel. There are two protagonists: one is a member of the Thames River Police (as dear blog reader might have guessed), the other is a man in his fifties whose name is so close to that of the male prostitute that self first thought they were one and the same, until she came to the spot where the the author describes the man as being in his fifties. At which point, self said, Oh.

Anyhoo, blah blah blah goes on between the two.

Self is alternating between Her Protector’s Pleasure and Cibola Burn. In Cibola Burn, SPOILER ALERT! Murtry and Holden meet. Holden waves and smiles, Murtry shoots a man right in front of Holden. TROUBLE, this man MURTRY is TROUBLE WITH A CAPITAL ‘T.’ Self adores Burn Gorman, the actor who plays him in the TV series  The Expanse. And of course it goes without saying that she adores Steven Strait.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Progress: CIBOLA BURN

It’s taken self two weeks to reach page 100 (because so many things). Nevertheless, here she is!

“We’re dropping in twenty minutes,” Murtry said. “It’s a long, fast drop, and some of it’ll be choppy. I’m bringing us down just east of the Belter camp. Smith and Wei are camp leads. Our first priority is reaching and reinforcing the office down there.”

“What about the Barbapiccola?” someone asked.

“Screw the Barbapiccola! What about the Rocinante?”

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Casting Brilliance: Burn Gorman as Adolphus Murtry

“Havelock, good to see you. I’m going to need a minute.”

“Yes, sir.”

“So I’m putting you in charge of the ship.”

“Thank you, sir.”

“I wouldn’t go that far. I’m leaving you in a crap position,” Murtry said.

Screaming Firehawks, the Roci’s coming in hot.

Stay safe.

Her Protector’s Pleasure: p. 6, Still in the Male Brothel, Regency England

This book is so exciting! Self hasn’t read a Regency Romp in ages! That’s because lately she’s been reading The Expanse, and watching the series (in, like, 15-minute increments on Amazon Prime, while watering). Steven Strait is FIIIINEEEE! She might check out his tween prep-school/witch movie The Covenant (4% on the Tomato Meter), a movie she never heard of (it might have appeared while she was deep in her Hunger Games phase), not until she started watching The Expanse series.

Back to Her Protector’s Pleasure. Self hasn’t moved very much further, just three pages in. The book started with the MC preparing to enter a male brothel in Regency England (first she’s heard of such) and now, three pages later, the MC is sitting in the parlor. And there’s a very fine description of the setting, such as “sheer ivory panels” and “jewel-toned reclining cushions.”

Very exciting. Hell, yeah. Go to the max, author Grace Callaway!

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Sentence of the Day: CIBOLA BURN, p. 57

POV: Basia

  • Now their conversations were so careful, it was like the words all had glass bones.

Self has felt, in the last two books, Holden slowly being pushed aside. Holden would be the last person to argue with that. But she can’t help mourning, because he is so earnest and dogged and self feels he deserves better.

It is also frustrating that, so far in Cibola Burn, he and Naomi feel less and less like lovers.

Thinking of Steven Strait, who plays Holden on the TV series. He is the perfect Holden. The earnestness, the willingness to fade into the background, the uncompromising loyalty to his crew, the inherent decency — Strait embodies all of these.

Self has not seen a single one of his movies! He has had steady work, but he was off her radar. Until now.

It appears he was in 10,000 BC, Roland Emmerich’s flame-out. This movie sounds so cheesy, self feels she just has to see it. Imagine casting two beautiful people and then covering them with animal skin and mud, to make them look less beautiful. Why then go to all the trouble of casting people who look like that? Wouldn’t it have been easier to find actors whose faces would look the same, whether or not they were covered in mud? Apologies for the digression.

TV Naomi has a lot of fire! She likes the way Dominique Tipper’s and Strait’s performances play off each other.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Gizmodo: Shoreh Aghdashloo

The real reason self started watching The Expanse was Shoreh Aghdashloo. Her deep (world weary) voice imprinted itself on my brain, ever since I saw her in The Lake House. She is perfect in the role of Chrisjen Avasarala.

An excerpt from her interview with Gizmodo:

  • “With entertainment, we bring people together. And bringing people together is half a step to unite them. When we get united, we’re sort of healed, because we know the person next to us doesn’t hate us—doesn’t love us, love is a strong word and I’m not asking for it—but is living peacefully next to me.”

She is so smart! And articulate! Read the entire piece here.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Holden: Abaddon’s Gate, p. 230

Self is amazed, simply amazed that she’s so far managed to hold onto the thread of this story, even through a) pandemic b) riots and c) lack of direction from xxxxxxxx, not to mention d) insomnia.

But it’s Holden. Guy just finished reminiscing about his dog Rufus. While in outer space. While headed to an encounter — maybe fatal — with proto-molecule (The Roci, as stated on p. 226, is over “30,000 kilometers away”). That is so, so Holden. Hard as it is to believe, the guy even manages to fall asleep for who knows how long en route to his destination (But why not? Space isn’t always exciting. Especially if you’ve lived in it all your life)

With the infinite and unbroken black all around him, and the only visible spot of light coming in from the blue sphere directly ahead, it was easy to feel like he was in some vast tunnel, slowly moving toward the exit. The human mind didn’t do well with infinite spaces. It wanted walls, horizons, limits. It would create them if it had to.

His suit beeped at him to let him know it was time to replenish his 02 supply.

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Self is sooo glad they’ve stopped making a big deal of his radiation exposure, because she would not like to visualize Holden with all his hair falling out. Not that this is for sure a symptom of radiation over-exposure. But having watched a few episodes of The Expanse, the hair is very nice, yes. It would be a pity to lose it. Just sayin’.

She ordered the next two books after this one, but not sure if she should go all the way, since she knows it will be super-angsty.

To stretch out the pleasure, she’ll alternate The Expanse with other books on her reading list, like Olive, Again (which was highly recommended by a friend in Canada with impeccable reading taste)

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

 

 

Language, Again

Leviathan Wakes, p. 482:

  • “Dieu! Dieu!” someone shouted. “Bombs son vamen roja! Going to fry it! Fry us toda!”

Self truly thinks there is nothing that can make this book any better. Her favorite read in 2020 so far, for sure.

Book 2, Caliban’s War, which she ordered almost two weeks ago, never arrived. What the heck, she paid extra for shipping, Books Inc.

So she’ll move to the next book on her list: Outlander (She has so far avoided watching a single episode of the TV series; she might begin after reading the book)

Stay tuned.

 

Top World-Building: LEVIATHAN AWAKES

The thing about science fiction is: the worlds couldn’t be more different from each other (She’s read three so far this year: The Goblin Emperor, Children of Time, and this book), yet they each have an intricately detailed universe, and the authors write that world with such conviction. If you’re going to build a world from scratch, you better make sure it’s consistent in every particular. In other words, it takes commitment. And energy. And of course imagination.

Self had started watching The Expanse, that’s why she ordered Leviathan Awakes. After the book arrived in the mail, she decided to stop watching The Expanse because she wanted to form her own ideas about the characters.

Alas, whenever she reads about Miller, the image that immediately pops into her head is Thomas Jane wearing a porkpie hat! Whereas, if she had never watched a single episode, she would have had fun conjuring Miller’s appearance (Not that she has anything against Thomas Jane, who’s a very good actor)

Back to the world-building. On p. 26, Miller eats dinner and has some thoughts:

An hour later, his blood warm with drink, he heated up a bowl of real rice and fake beans — yeast and fungus could mimic anything if you had enough whiskey first — opened the door of his hole, and ate dinner looking out at the traffic gently curving by. The second shift streamed into the tube stations and then out of them. The kids who lived two holes down — a girl of eight and her brother of four — met their father with hugs, squeals, mutual accusations, and tears. The blue ceiling glowed in its reflected light, unchanging, static, reassuring. A sparrow floated down the tunnel, hovering . . .

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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