Worst Movie Self Has Ever Seen at the Menlo Guild

Today was a bee-yoo-ti-ful Saturday.

Yes, absolutely beautiful.

Self wanted to garden.  But hubby wanted to see a movie.

So, what movie?  “Battle: Los Angeles,” which was the only new movie self was interested in seeing, got a 33% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

“What?” hubby professed to be very disappointed at self’s lack of imagination.  “What about an indie movie?”

Well, self knew practically nothing about any of the indie movies currently showing.

Hubby, displaying unexpected initiative, went hunting around and decided we should watch “Of Gods and Men.”  He said it was an Oscar nominee!

And we saw it.  It was awful.  The worst two hours self has ever spent in a movie theater, not counting the not-quite-two-hours self spent watching “Skyline” with niece last year.  The thing about “Skyline” was:  it was bad, but one could at least entertain oneself by laughing at the most awful bits.  Watching “Of Gods and Men,” on the other hand, even to attempt a giggle would have Read the rest of this entry »

Further on Delta’s Problems with Lavatories

It is cold.  It is raining.  Self’s lips are chapped.

She has actually been busy, this morning.  And now it is half past noon.

Self has just begun Khaled Hosseini’s follow-up to The Kite Runner, A Thousand Splendid Suns.  As she reads, she encounters a barbed exchange between mother and daughter.  The male under discussion is the father of the daughter (Her mother is the man’s mistress)  An excerpt:

“What a stupid girl you are!  You think you matter to him, that you’re wanted in his house?  You think you’re a daughter to him?  That he’s going to take you in?  Let me tell you something.  A man’s heart is a wretched, wretched thing, Mariam.  It isn’t like a mother’s womb.  It won’t bleed, it won’t stretch to make room for you.  I’m the only one who loves you.  I’m all you have in this world, Mariam, and when I’m gone you’ll have nothing.  You’ll have nothing.  You are nothing!”

Then she tried guilt.

And on that edifying note, self will now call dear blog reader’s attention to the exciting events of a little over a week ago, when self’s Delta flight from Narita to San Francisco returned to Narita, two hours into the flight.

Self was wondering why the web seemed strangely quiescent over this incident.  Even her fellow passengers received the news of the return to Narita calmly, without complaint (In fact, the loudest complaints might have been those emitted by self —  no profanity, only a clutching of the head and “I don’t believe this!”)

Today, self decides to google “Delta” and “Narita emergency.”  And here is what she finds:

  • From Japan Today, 24 August 2010:  “Delta Flight Returns to Airport Due to Lavatory Failure”

A Delta Airlines aircraft returned to Kansai airport early Monday, some 10 hours after departure, as its lavatories stopped functioning twice on its way to Seattle, airport officials said.  According to them, five of the six toilets of Flight 182 stopped flushing shortly after leaving the airport around 6 p.m. Sunday, prompting it to land at Narita International Airport in Chiba Prefecture to have the problem fixed.

  • And here’s something from the National Terror Alert Response Center website, dated May 17, 2010:

A Delta Airlines Boeing 747-400 …  performing flight DL-620 from Tokyo (Narita) to Minneapolis, Minnesota with 407 people on board, was enroute about one hour into the flight, when two male passengers were observed carrying a plastic bag containing some liquid into a lavatory, raising concerns with the crew.  The captain ordered the two passengers to be detained and decided to return to Tokyo for a safe landing.  The passengers were taken into custody by Tokyo police.

Laboratory tests revealed the liquid was not dangerous at all, identifying the liquid as urine.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

First Times: Philz Coffee

Niece G swears this is the best coffee in the world, absolutely the best. The store’s on the corner of 24th and Folsom Street. She says they have another one in Palo Alto, on Middlefield Road.

Self ordered two pounds of whole bean, and niece G was so quick, she slipped the salesperson her card when self wasn’t looking !!!

Niece G sez Philz is the best coffee in the world!

Self chose a pound of Zimbabwe (in honor of Peter Godwin, whose new book The Fear: The Last Days of Robert Mugabe, received high praise in a recent issue of The Economist) and a blend called Code 33 (Niece G: “I can’t believe you got the coffee named after the police code!” Self just googled it: “Code 33” means “Clear Radio Channels for Emergency Traffic”)

Thanks a million, niece G!

Earlier, we saw Read the rest of this entry »

Giants Withdrawal: Watching “Clash of the Titans”

Self is suffering from major Giants withdrawal, Boo Hoo Hoo.

Now she has nothing to write about except her current Netflix rental “Clash of the Titans” (which she’s been watching on “Mute” for the last 15 minutes, just so she can invent what she thinks Sam Worthington and Liam Neeson may or may not be saying to one another)

First, self would like to address the matter of hairstyles:

Why does Sam Worthington have a buzz cut?  Why is he the only male of this era to have a buzz cut?

Next, the make-up:

Why is Gemma Arterton’s lovely face powdered extremely white (lending her a somewhat “geisha” look) ?

Self knows Liam Neeson plays Zeus, but why is this Zeus so hirsute, why is his beard so unattractively long (which —  just the mention of the word beard is enough to drag self back to fond memories of the World Series), and what is the point of having him be constantly blurry, clad in silvery armor, as if the viewer cannot be trusted to believe that he in fact plays Zeus unless one can see solar or lunar rays springing forth in all directions, every time he appears?

Why do we never ever feel sorry for Sam Worthington’s character?  Though he is so beset by woe?  (After all:  He has been put out to sea with his mother in a wooden chest, probably leaky.  Babies have no business being put on the high seas in a wooden chest.  Neither do women.  Once again, self digresses)

Alexa Davalos is the only one who looks good playing what she is supposed to be (Andromeda).  Let’s hope for better roles for this under-rated actress.

At one point, self thought she saw Alexander Siddig, the handsome actor who played opposite Patricia Clarkson in “Cairo Time.” Quick scan of IMDB, however, proves her wrong.

There are many fine actors who ruin themselves on the shoals of this movie, however.  Aside from Neeson, there are actors such as:  Ralph FiennesMads Mikkelsen (playing someone named “Draco.”  Please don’t tell self he plays another bad guy.  Playing someone with a name like that, however, self has little hope)

Ralph Fiennes has a weird scene in which he and a creature have an oral exchange of vapors.  What means this?

Now we are in a verdant Greek forest.  Hairy, tunic-clad men are sitting around while an elder plays a flute.  The hairstyle sported by these men is long hair in cornrows.  Then Sam Worthington appears in their midst, and —  OK, it is just ridiculous seeing him in a buzz cut, for no discernible reason.  Also, Sam Worthington looks ridiculous in Greek garb.  Just ridiculous.  And self so loved him in “Terminator:  Salvation.”

Sigh.  That was then, and this is now.

Now, now, now!

It is late 2010, the economy still sucks, and wondrous Jerry Brown is the new Governor of the state of California (If you had told this to self two years ago, she would have said you were dreaming!)

Self belatedly realizes there is an art to looking good in a Greek (or Roman) tunic.  She shouldn’t have made so much fun of Brad Pitt in “Troy.”  For one thing, Brad had very nice legs.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Coetzee, Shteyngart Bite Metaphorical Dust ?

Self feels like putting this book down. Oh God, she can’t stand it: 2 a.m. and she just can’t seem to pry her fingers from the pages of J.M. Coetzee’s Slow Man. Why couldn’t she just float into Dreamland after watching “Justified” Episode 5 (Quite a title this episode had: “The Lord of War and Thunder”), the one where Raylan has a teaser of a sex scene with Ava in a motel room; the same episode where we see Raylan casually pushing a slime-ball into a room occupied by two other slime-balls, simply by prodding his back ever-so-gently with his Dad’s baseball bat, all the while engaging in (what’s quickly becoming his established) off-the-cuff repartee; also the one where he pretends to be an out-of-work day laborer who offers to fix up a woman’s yard for free, just so he can learn the whereabouts of the woman’s fugitive-from-the-law husband (You can come fix self’s yard anytime, Raylan!); the one where he . . .

Self, stop it! You are just too much! Not everyone in the blogosphere shares your love of “Justified” and Deputy Marshal Raylan Givens!

Okey-dokey, self will mosey back to more serious topics: which is books.

The other day, she prodded herself through one-fourth of erstwhile favorite author J. M. Coetzee’s Slow Man. Even recommended it to her students at UCLA Extension, for heaven’s sake! Then she found out from reader reviews at Amazon.com that there will be a very interesting development: a woman will appear, a woman who goes by the name of Elizabeth Costello, who is actually J. M. Coetzee’s alter ego. Apparently, on a lecture circuit, Coetzee found he was unable to talk about himself except through the voice of a character, so he created Elizabeth Costello. Frankly, this makes self think Coetzee is freaking nuts. But she reads on, for she did so love his earlier novels, especially Life and Times of Michael K

Self actually does make it to the passage where Elizabeth Costello appears (at 3 a.m.), and Ms. Costello seems like a very ordinary woman. Finally, self decides she can’t swallow all this deconstruction or meta-fiction or whatever and decides to return the book to the library.

Next on her reading list is Gary Shteyngart’s Absurdistan. Oh, self had high hopes for this book. Top Ten on the New York Times Books of the Year, etc etc. Apparently, it is hilarious. Even Amazon readers find it hilarious. The hero is 325 lbs., farts, and is the sole progeny of the 1,238th richest man in Russia. He has his own bodyguard who is such an enabler he places plate after plate of Beluga caviar in front of our hero, and — well, why does this remind self so much of the fresh hell of Manila? Self does not need Gary Shteyngart to tell her that such creatures as 325-lb. spoiled only sons of rich crooks exist! She doesn’t need anyone to tell her that rich people are the same everywhere, whether they are from Moscow or Manila: they all still want their kids to get American educations! Preferably from Stanford or Harvard! (Self’s own Dear Departed Dad went to Georgetown Law School; hubby’s Dear Departed Dad got his PhD in Chemistry from MIT) Why is self not laughing in the bris removal scene (That’s circumcision, to those of you not in the know)? Or whenever she reads the name of corpulent hero’s American college: Accidental College, har har har — reminds her of Occidental College, where indeed some of son’s Sacred Heart Prep classmates did end up (Except, Occidental’s not in the midwest, like the one of Shteyngart’s hero. No, Occidental is in the flower-filled paradise of Pasadena. And also happens to be a very good school)

But wait, what’s this? Amazon reader says the book is about “the obssessive fascination with male sexual pleasure.”

Next!

The Chees-iness of Scorsese

Yes, as dear blog readers can gather from the title of this post, self has just seen “Shutter Island.” Who knew that Scorsese channeling Hitchcock = cheese? And we’re talking maaajor cheese here. The kind of cheese that makes “Titanic” look brilliant!

You remember that scene in Indiana Jones III (“Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”) where we find out that Indy hates rats? (Or is it snakes?) And he’s stuck in the catacombs with his dad played by Sean Connery and that blonde German-who-turns-out-to-be-a-traitoress, and millions of rats come pouring through the tunnels? Well, “Shutter Island,” has something similar. Though in the latter film, this is only the latest in a long series of ludicrous touches (Ludicrous + Scorsese does not equal Luc Besson brilliance. Oh, no. If self had to describe it, she would have to say that this is something more akin to the low of the Paul Verhoeven “Showgirls” — so now Martin Scorsese has his own very personal “Showgirls” moment)

Anyhoo, you know that any movie with Leonardo di Caprio that causes self’s eyelids to flutter has got to be abysmal. Because self loves Leo! She thinks he’s one of our best (American) actors! In fact, his presence in the film, and that of Mark Ruffalo, are the only things that save this movie from being an F! A total F! Poor Michelle Williams, who plays Leo’s dead wife, is forced to look portentously secretive (which means narrowing her eyes — get it? Get it? When she narrows her eyes, you know she is meant to, to — well, never mind! It’s significant, that’s all self can tell ya!)

This movie was so bad that the Redwood City audience was hooting and breaking out in giggles at scenes that were supposed to be scary. Aaargh! Self could have been writing! She could have been reading yet another Edward P. Jones story! She could have been planting her new chrysanthemum (a “Silver Princess” — Color: white)! It’s all hubby’s fault! He’s the one who wanted to see “Shutter Island”! Self would have been content skipping a movie this weekend, since she already had her Luc Besson/Jonathan Rhys-Meyers fix yesterday! (Though, on the positive side, self did get to watch yet another preview of “Clash of the Titans.” She still thinks Sam Worthington doesn’t seem to fit the part — at least, not with that Marine buzz cut he sports in the movie — but she can never get enough of the line “Release the Kraken!”)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Random: Movies of 2009

Character self loved most in “Avatar”: Zoe Saldana’s, Neytiri.  Second runner-up: Sigourney Weaver’s character, Grace (Except for one thing: why was she the only blue-skinned avatar condemned to wearing safari shorts in the scenes where everyone else was wearing thongs or loincloths? Can’t an older lady be allowed to go buck nekkid if the part requires it?). Third runner-up: Michelle Rodriguez’s helicopter pilot character. Which means that the characters that made the movie worth watching (for self) were all women.

Self’s most pressing question for “Avatar” Director James Cameron: How come, when you spend $230 million on a movie, and you bother to create a planet called Pandora, the only difference between the plants and animals on that planet and the ones on Earth are that the creatures have slightly different shapes and different colors? But all the animals still have four legs and two eyes?

Movie whose last half was as disappointing as the first half was promising: Read the rest of this entry »

“Red Cliff” : Not the Same John Woo

This is John Woo’s first Chinese movie in — heck, who knows how long?

This was supposed to be a return to his roots, a return to the era before he went Hollywood with “Broken Arrow” and “Face/Off.”

After watching “Red Cliff” (which is three hours long, dear blog readers), self will now have to put him in the same category as Oliver Stone, as an example of a director who is going on the downhill slide. (If you don’t believe self, just rent “Platoon.” Then watch “World Trade Center.” Watch John Woo’s Hong Kong movies, the ones with Chow Yun-Fat. Then watch Read the rest of this entry »

The “I-Can’t-Believe-She’s-Already-Making-Her-Ten-Best-List” Post

While Game 4 of the World Series is happening, yet!  (She so hopes the Yankees don’t win, but they are leading and it’s the bottom of the sixth)

Anyhoo, before self gets confused by all those November/December movies, here is her preliminary list of “Ten Best Movies of 2009”, which she’s doing now as a way to celebrate how relaaaaxed she is, since she’s decided to be her usual anti-social, non-partying, non-presenting-in-Manila self this December.

  1. The Baader Meinhof Complex
  2. District 9
  3. Inglourious Basterds
  4. Moon
  5. Star Trek
  6. The Hurt Locker
  7. The Read the rest of this entry »

“Perfect Getaway” — Not!

It was a choice between “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra” and “A Perfect Getaway.” On the basis of some raves on Rotten Tomatoes for the latter (and because hubby has a thing for Milla Jovovich, who admittedly has made some interesting career choices — Exhibit A: “The Fifth Element;” Exhibit B: the “Resident Evil” movies), we went for “A Perfect Getaway.”

Self’s disappointment was great. The other people in the audience (theater was full, by the way: not baaad for a film that had perhaps 1/10 the promotional budget of “G. I. Joe” — !) seemed very “into” the movie, chuckling or gasping at certain high points (self kept her eyes more or less closed during the last 20 minutes or so). Afterwards, hubby declared that he liked it.

There are two other actresses in this movie: Read the rest of this entry »

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