J-Hutch Says Ixnay to Mockingjay Epilogue

“No, No, absolutely not! I hated dying my hair! I’m sick of the blonde!”

(This is a quote)

More here on the tragic breaking news.

December Means: Musing About Oscar Nominations

Boyhood will be nominated for Best Picture. Duh.

  • Ethan Hawke should be nominated for Best Actor.
  • Self wants Mockingjay, Part 1 to be nominated for something. But fat chance J-Law will get another nomination. Although self would be very much in favor of such a nomination. But J-Law is already too rich. So the Academy will think it’s done its duty by her and turn its attention to some other up-and-coming. BTW, J-Law, self will not fault you if you happen to fall again while traversing the Oscars Red Carpet. It’s OK! Self still thinks you’re adorable. And she knows — knows — you’re not tripping up on purpose. Because, you know what? Self trips up all the time! Once she even fell down a whole flight of stairs. Another time she landed on her backside when entering a friends’s sunken living room. Simply because she hadn’t expected the living room to be — you know — sunken. Who does that? Why play such tricks on people? The home, BTW, was in Union City.
  • Self liked The Theory of Everything — Eddie Redmayne will be nominated for Best Actor.
  • Just saw Wild today. Laura Dern, it’s all about Laura Dern. Nominate her for Best Supporting Actress, puh-leaze! (Self so dislikes the opening scene when — Should she put in a Spoiler Alert? Nah. — Reese Witherspoon, who plays Cheryl Strayed, pulls off her toenails, then loses one boot down a chasm. Self did take note of the fact that Witherspoon’s gams are excellent! But what was with all the heavy breathing — like the audio for a porn movie. Not that self has any experience watching porn movies. She’s just saying. Also, judging from the movie, the Pacific Coast Trail is lined with male pervs. Ladies, before you get inspired to follow in Strayed’s footsteps, take a martial arts class. And don’t forget to pack the Mace. And, still also, how proactive of Strayed to take 20 condoms along on her hike. Truly forward-thinking! She is one smart lady.)
  • This time last year it was all Lupita Nyong’o. Now, there is absolutely zero mention of Lupita Nyong’o. Maybe next year? What will she wear next on the Red Carpet? Dying, absolutely dying to know.

And this is about as far as self wants to stick her neck out. So, goodnight.

 

 

Movie Quote of the Day: Saturday, 22nd of November (2014)

From Carla Meyer of the Sacramento Bee:

Team Peeta members will be disappointed that Hutcherson, who is such a reassuring presence in these movies, appears infrequently in “Part 1.” Hemsworth appears more often. But not only is Gale the less compelling love interest, Liam is the less compelling Hemsworth brother.

Speaking of Hemsworth brothers, yesterday, at Palo Alto Square off Page Mill Road, self watched Eddie Redmayne play Stephen Hawking in “The Theory of Everything.” His performance was very, very good.

Before “The Theory of Everything” began, there were six previews, two of which featured People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive, Chris Hemsworth.

In Preview # 1 Chris Hemsworth is a raw sailor on a whaling ship (The movie of course is In the Heart of the Sea, Ron Howard’s attempt to channel Peter Weir, which to self appears an unwinnable task LOL), and in Preview # 2 he plays a hacker. With the casting of Hemsworth in the latter movie, hackers of the world have with one stroke been elevated to the sexy. Bravo!

The final question is: Who is James Marsh?

She knows he directed “The Theory of Everything,” but who is he really?  Has he directed other movies that self has already scene? Indubitably. Good thing self has time on her hands today, Saturday. And it is raining. So she can spend time on the internet doing research on this fellow.

Stay tuned.

 

What Does It All Mean?

Even as self posts, teen-agers are lining up in front of the downtown Century 20, anxiously awaiting the 12:01 a.m. screening of “Mockingjay, Part 1.”

It rained all day.  Naturally, self spent almost the entire day reading reviews.

Here’s a summary of responses from reviewers on Rotten Tomatoes:

  • Katniss is “listless and uncommunicative.” That’s OK. But two hours of J-Law being “listless and uncommunicative” is a bit much. At least it is for a few reviewers.
  • District 13 underground bunkers are not a happy place.
  • There is very little of J-Hutch, boo. Nevertheless, NPR feels he is “doing something fascinating as Peeta . . .  we see him only via the Capitol’s authorized interviews . . .  like Katniss, we can only guess at his current state of mind. Hutcherson’s strong, subtle performance lets us read any number of possibilities in his face and minimal line readings.” Thank God.
  • Jennifer Lawrence does not phone it in.  Sure, she has an Oscar now, and she has the unenviable task of delivering the film’s most cheesy lines (“If we burn, you burn with us!”), but she never phones it in. She is such a force. And, truthfully, the reason the franchise is raking it in is because fans believe in her as Katniss. No matter how clichéd the dialogue or the plot, she gives it her all.
  • Lionsgate shouldn’t have split the last book of The Hunger Games trilogy into two films. Doing so was a blatant and cynical grab for box office bucks. But, you know what, self is glad for J-Law getting more screen time as Katniss! So the final book became a four-hour movie instead of a two-hour movie, so what? For $11, it is definitely worth it. Think of what other stupid things people could be buying with $11:  CVS lipstick. Lunch at a fastfood joint. An airport paperback. Ummm, 1/5 of a tank of gas. a large bag of Frito-Lays.  Instead, we get to see the most entertaining actress of her generation on the big screen for four hours instead of two. No complaints here.

Stay tuned.

 

 

Professional Critic: “Interstellar” Movie

The best “Interstellar” review self has read so far is by Noel Vera, on his Critic After Dark” blog.  Here’s the opening paragraph:

Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar” starts out very Grapes of Wrath and ends up a little Book of Genesis. Along the way you see the influence of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (of course); design bits from “Alien” and “Star Wars”; story details from (though I don’t see Nolan ever confirming this) “Marooned”, Brian de Palma’s “Mission to Mars” and (guessing he’d rather die than admit it) “Field of Dreams”; imagery from “The Right Stuff” and (this Nolan does admit — it’s a much tonier source) Tarkovsky’s “The Mirror.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Yesterday, Second Friday of November (2014): “Interstellar” (Spoiler Free)

The year is almost done.  Incredible.

Yesterday, self watched “Interstellar” in her local Century 20.

Matthew McConaughey was brilliant. Just. Brilliant.

Self also liked Jessica Chastain in the role of the grown-up “Murph.”

Self was likewise pleased about the casting of Casey Affleck. For a rather slight guy, no one (with the possible exception of Ben Foster) can project steely — i.e. unhinged — menace better than Casey Affleck. Wonder how it would have played out if he, not his brother Ben, had been cast in “Gone, Girl.” Self thinks it might have been a more interesting movie. More nuanced.

As usual, Anne Hathaway’s doe-eyed teary moments had self cringing. But, thankfully, her emo scenes were not saccharine enough to derail the movie.

Which means — “Interstellar” was one heck of a good movie! Maybe her favorite movie of the year!

All hail, McConaughey!  All hail, Christopher Nolan!  All hail, sentient rectangular slabs (Take THAT, Transformers!)

Yesterday was also self’s first time to watch “Constantine” the TV series adaptation. She loved it. So creepy.

Last night, Liam Hemsworth, guest on Fallon, visibly much more relaxed (because not in the presence of his two children — er, co-stars), donned high-heeled stilettos and showed the world that he is indeed capable of pulling off some sexy moves. Especially when not feeling/looking like an odd-man-out in a love triangle.

In the meantime, Channing who?

This is incredibly surprising, but self actually did find herself wiping away a few tears towards the end of “Interstellar.” In fact, “Interstellar” may just have become self’s favorite Christopher Nolan movie. That scene on the watery planet? It just may be the BEST moment of suspense you’ll see in any movie this year, dear blog reader. And, before self forgets — Topher Grace was in the movie, too! Self loooves Topher Grace! Where’s he been hiding all these years? Topher is a participant in the second-most-suspenseful scene in “Interstellar.” Thank you, Christopher Nolan, for bringing this fine actor to the attention of the film-going public once more.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

 

“Gone Girl”

Ludicrous.

Self can’t even.

Just.

Self has no words.

In the end, self was not the only one laughing.

David Fincher, shame on you!

Self still likes Rosamund Pike, though. Did the poor thing think she was in a serious drama? Because it became pretty hard to distinguish between the cheese and the drama, by the end.  Self almost choked on her scarf, she was laughing so hard.

SPOILER ALERT

This is a teensy tiny question but self has to ask it anyway: Why, at the end, after it has been determined that poor Amy has been the victim of a sado-masochistic creep (played of course to cheesy perfection by Neil Patrick Harris), after she’s been examined in the hospital and placed in a wheelchair — why is she allowed to give a televised conference, without any attempt to clean the thick layers of blood swathing her throat? What self-respecting hospital would allow a person to walk around still caked in buckets of dried blood? Allow her, in fact, to go home in that condition? And why, after arriving home, does this alleged rape victim walk out of her car — the wheelchair only went as far as the hospital driveway, apparently — and enter her house completely unaided? She’s not just walking, either — she’s gliding. Actually, gliding. Shoulders back like a queen!  Since Amy’s just gotten the media to swallow a line about her being used and abused, seeing her walk that way is just a little bit much.

Just saying.

And another thing:  that “Fifty Shades of Gray” preview? Self adores Dakota Johnson. But the guy — self could not suppress a feeling of chagrin at the thought of how well Charlie Hunnam (of Sons of Anarchy) would have filled that suit, and how he would have looked, smoldering at Dakota Johnson from across a desk.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Foolish Things

  • As a result of dropping by the Robert Frank exhibit at the Cantor Art Center on the Stanford Campus yesterday, self got it into her head that she would very much like to own a Leica.
  • After leaving the Robert Frank exhibit, self fully intended to go to Aquarius in Palo Alto and watch Rory Kennedy’s “Last Days in Vietnam.” But she did not.  Instead, after filling up with gas, she went home.  And today — alas! — that film is no longer showing.
  • Self hasn’t looked at her story “The Peacock.”  Not once.  Not since it was workshopped at Squaw. She has no idea what to do with that story. It just sits there, like a lump on a log. Taking up space in her computer. In her store of unfulfilled projects. She wanted it to be a memoir about her and Dear Departed Sister-in-Law Ying. She wanted it to be desperate and lonely, the voice of a soul lost in the Cambodian wilderness after failing to connect with the splendor that is Angkor Wat (Dear blog readers, do you know that there’s a RAFFLES HOTEL IN SIEM REAP???)
  • Self has wanted to replace the desert of the front lawn with trees — perhaps olive trees — to screen her house from the busy street. But she’s remained staring at that patch of bare, weed-choked dirt for 10 years. It sounds really lame to keep bringing up the drought.

Ugh, ugh, girl. Why can’t you just do? Why must you always be re-hashing the old, or rehearsing for the future? To what end?

How quickly you forget: just yesterday, you got word from Witness that a piece you sent them eight months ago is going to be in their Translation issue.

As for somehow missing “Last Days in Vietnam,” “Gone, Girl” is showing in the Redwood City Century 20 and she heard from a friend who read the book that it’s actually pretty good. Self is not a Ben Affleck fan — seems he is pretty much a control freak with his wife, and no doubt he took care to present himself in the best possible light in this new role — but what the heck? Maybe she just wasn’t in the mood for another hard-hitting documentary yesterday, maybe she should just try and ignite a new respect for Ben Affleck? She did like “Argo” a lot. He’s not a bad director.

And if she’d managed to watch “Last Days in Vietnam” yesterday, she would have missed seeing the San Francisco Giants’ nail-biting victory over the St. Louis Cardinals. She would have missed seeing the way the two teams went head to head all the way to the 9th inning. She would have missed that sweet, game-ending homer.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The White Guy Trapped in a Den of Iniquity: J-Hutch’s New Movie

Don’t get self wrong:  she is a huge Josh Hutcherson aka Peeta Mellark fan.  So huge that it took her a year to get to Catching Fire (the book) because she was under the impression Peeta would be off-ed.  A day after she saw the Catching Fire movie, she went to B & N and bought the book. Then she bought Mockingjay. And since it’s been a long time since she’s seen Josh Hutcherson (All of 21. Or 22. Whatever) in anything other than SNL, which he hosted November 2013, she’s been reading fan fiction about Peeta Mellark. Like crazes.

Apparently, J-Hutch has a new movie coming out that is NOT Hunger Games. In Escobar: Paradise Lost, he has to play the innocent seduced by exotica. Which is, admittedly, quite a stretch from the Hunger Games LOL.

The film also stars Benicio del Toro and a lovely, scorching hot babe who is a much better match for Hutcherson as she is way more petite than Jennifer Lawrence.

Anyhoo, the Escobar movie has been making the rounds of the Film Festival circuit, and was recently at Telluride.

The writer assigned to review the movie on Indiewire is obviously a man (even without having to read his by-line, which self just did), because only a man would need to ask such an obvious question:

At some point you may wonder why we’ve devoted an entire first paragraph to Josh Hutcherson when the title character is played by Benicio freaking del Toro . . .

Self will dispense with the movie’s plot points, as it is so obvious that the only reason to make this movie was — EXACTLY. Josh Hutcherson.

LOL!

And to provide J-Hutch with a new love interest because, ya know, J-Law has given her heart to another!

Musing over the current crop of screen hunks, self would have to say that Channing is quickly losing her interest (Those ears! Why did self never notice until now?), and Liam (Hemsworth, not Neeson, Neeson still totally rocks) just never did it for her, and Loki is fine but damn could they hurry up with another movie, and she was never into Ben Affleck, not even after Good Will Hunting, and Bourne was for a while the epitome of hotness but now they’ve replaced Damon with Renner (albeit playing different characters in the Bourne universe) and self still can’t get over the sense of betrayal, not to mention the fact that Josh is just so cute, especially in hijacked Peeta mode. Let’s just say self can understand 100% why Katniss, with Gale standing right by her side, completely loses it when she sees Peeta’s face projected on a large screen in the District 13 cafeteria — self means that it makes complete rational sense, and she thinks she’ll get a big kick out of Josh trying to evade Benicio del Toro. Because Benicio del Toro. Man. It’s enough to give self all sorts of FEELZ.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Wall Street Journal Weekend Edition (Saturday/Sunday, Dec. 15 & 16, 2012)

Today self is peaceful and content.  Which means she is happy.

She managed to get a mani/pedi from Belle Nail Spa on Broadway.  She left before fingernails and toenails were quite dry, but she wanted to collect The Man and make it to the first screening of “Silver Linings Playbook” (Only $7 per ticket).  Despite all the hectic running around, she somehow managed to avoid getting the slightest nick on any of her fingers or toes.  Quelle magnifique!

Second, she really liked that movie.  Even though it only got a wan endorsement from Eric B. Snider.  And even though, OK, she’ll concede this point:  the odds are pretty slim that two people that good-looking, both emotionally damaged, live in that close proximity to each other . . .  OK!  So what!  Self knows this movie is totally in the land of make-believe!  She’d rather see Jennifer Lawrence end up with someone who looks like Bradley Cooper than with someone who looks like, like —  John C. Reilly?  Even though chances are the right man for her would look just like John C. Reilly? (Not to knock John C. Reilly —  self thinks he is a WONDERFUL WONDERFUL actor.  But given the choice between John C. Reilly and Bradley Cooper —  oh, NEVAH MIND!)

Jennifer Lawrence is a wonder.  This is the first movie where self actually believed in a Bradley Cooper character.  But, back to Jennifer Lawrence:  Self cried at the end!  She actually cried!  Something she hasn’t done in a movie theater since watching Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams in treacly The Time Traveler’s Wife!

And then, when she and The Man got home from the movie, she got to peruse the Wall Street Journal weekend edition and —  Holy Cow!  —  it’s the one where they list Books of the Year!

But it’s not Books of the Year that self wants to post about —  Ixnay!  (BTW, it took self almost an hour to speed-read the entire books section.  But more about that later)

They interviewed all kinds of celebrities to get their lists of favorite books of 2012.  Self found a few choices enlightening.  Also, she was surprised at WHOSE choices she liked the most.  And here’s the list of people whose book choices self found the most intriguing:

  • Judd Apatow, Director and creator of the phenomenon that is Seth Rogen:  He said he wanted to read Henry Wiencek’s book about Thomas Jefferson and his slaves, Master of the Mountains.  He also recommended Dave Eggers’s latest novel, Hologram for the King.
  • Craig Brown, British, writer of satirical columns:  He recommended Robert Caro’s latest installment of his life of Lyndon Johnson, The Passage of Power (like almost every other person interviewed by the Wall Street Journal), and Mimi Alford’s tale of having sex with JFK when she was a White House intern, Once Upon a Secret.
  • Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking:  She recommended a first novel, The Song of Achilles, by Madeline Miller, and Jack Kennedy:  Elusive Hero, by Chris Matthews.
  • Joseph Epstein, essayist and cultural commentator:  He recommended a novel, Only Yesterday, by S. Y. Agnon, and Once Upon a Secret (also recommended by Craig Brown, see above)
  • Gary Giddins, author of Bing Crosby: A Pocketful of Dreams: He recommended Robert Caro’s book on LBJ, The Passage of Power; John Keats, a biography of the Romantic poet by Nicholas Roe; several classic westerns:  Saint Johnson and Goodbye to the Past, both by W. R. Burnett; a novel about telephone linemen, Slim, by William Wister Haines; That Winter, by Merle Miller, a “pre-Kerouacian group portrait of the disaffected generation of the postwar 1940s”; Ian McEwan’s Sweet Tooth and The Innocent; and Louise Erdrich’s The Round House.
  • Robert Harris, bestselling novelist:  He recommended Soldaten, a book by Sonke Neitzel and Harald Welzer, “based on secretly recorded tapes of German prisoners of war held in Allied camps during World War II.”
  • Thomas Keller, chef:  He recommended Killing Kennedy, by Bill O’Reilley and Martin Dugard, which “is not about a conspiracy.  It’s about how a presidential assassination can be at once a tragedy and a human-interest story.”
  • Ted Leonsis, Founder and Chairman of Monumental Sports & Entertainment:  He recommended The End of Illness, by David Agus, “a smart look at how to extend a life of vigor by playing offense with life.”
  • Joe Maddon, Manager of the Tampa Bay Rays:  He recommended Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth (Self has been meaning to get to these books, for quite a while), and the first two books of Follett’s Century trilogy, Fall of Giants and Winter of the World.
  • Hilary Mantel, Booker Prize-winning novelist:  She recommended The Yellow Birds, a first novel by Kevin Powers, an Iraq war veteran; and The Lifeboat, a first novel by Charlotte Rogan, “set in the summer of 1914” and centering “on a shipwreck in the Atlantic.”
  • Karl Marlantes, author of What It Is Like to Go to War:  He recommended The Snake Eaters, by Owen West; Blackhorse Riders, by Philip Keith; Hotels, Hospitals, and Jails, by Anthony Swofford; and Westmoreland, by Lewis Sorley.
  • Sylvia Nasar, author of Grand Pursuit:  The Story of Economic Genius:  She recommended Gulag, by Anne Applebaum, a book which “takes readers back to the events that triggered the half-century long standoff between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R.”
  • Arthur Phillips, author of The Tragedy of Arthur:  He recommended The Vanishers, by Heidi Julavits, The Sugar Frosted Nutsack, by Mark Leyner, Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn, and A Partial History of Lost Causes, by Jennifer DuBois.
  • Marcus Samuelsson, chef:  He recommended This Is How You Lose Her, by Junot Diaz, and The Click Moment, by Frans Johansson.
  • Colm Toibin, novelist:  He recommended Edmund Spenser:  A Life, by Andrew Hadfield and Robert Caro’s The Passage of Power.
  • Jim Webb, senator from Virginia:  He recommended The Last Lion, by Paul Reid (the last installment of a trilogy begun by William Manchester, on the life of Winston Churchill), and Stilwell and the American Experience in China, by Barbara W. Tuchman.

Self is pretty sure she can get to these books in about five years.

Self was going to make a count of the men who recommended women writers, but, alas, today self is very — and she does mean VERY — short of time!  She thinks Jim Webb did.  Yup, he most definitely did.  And Arthur Phillips.  Yes, most definitely Arthur Phillips.  In fact, the good man recommended three books by women writers.  Good for you, Arthur! And Gary Giddins recommended Louise Erdrich.

(She won’t single out women who recommended women writers because — hey, just because!  Let’s get on with it, or self will never get free of this post!)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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