Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Hot And/Or Cold

Self chose to go with HOT.

Here’s a poster from Mac Mahon Cinema on Avenue Mac Mahon in Paris (The Avenue, according to Google, was named AFTER the cinema. Only the French!). It celebrates the current film festival: 70 YEARS OF CANNES.

All the films they’ve been showing the past few weeks are Palm D’Or winning movies: The Leopard, Blow-Up, Taxi Driver, and all the French ones self doesn’t have time to look up right now.

That is one hot hot hot poster (Self would like to say that the actress is . . .  French. That’s about all she knows):

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Currently Showing at Mac Mahon Cinema, Paris: 70 Years of Palm D’Or Winners from the Cannes Film Festival

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Heritage 2: Film Maven, Paris While Cannes

Self was last here in 2012.  She’s declined every opportunity to return, until now.

Look what she encountered around the corner: a film festival running in conjunction with Cannes. The movies are in English, with French subtitles. Perfect.

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Her Dear Departed Dad worshipped Orson Welles, and movies in general. He passed on this HERITAGE to self.

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Self didn’t know until today that it is the 70th anniversary of the Cannes Film Festival:

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Self is a film nut. She takes advantage of every opportunity to attend film festivals, wherever in the world she happens to be: Edinburgh; Ojai, California; Cork, Ireland; Palo Alto; San Francisco.

One day, perhaps, she’ll write a script based on one of her stories.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Watching “Amour” on a Beautiful, Spring-Like Day

It was such a bee-yoo-ti-ful day!

The sun was shining, the birds were swooping around the trees . . .

And, of all things, self decided to go see Amour.

Nothing against the actors, who were fabulous. Especially Emmanuelle Riva. What an expressive face, and what a beautiful body the woman has! She doesn’t look 82.

Isabelle Huppert has morphed from her younger sex-pot days to a thin actress whose nerve endings seem on high-intensity, like a car’s headlights on a foggy evening. Self cannot tell you how much she set self’s teeth on edge, sitting there and demanding that her incapacitated mother work harder to enunciate.

Her mouth, or maybe just her whole lower jaw, reminds self so much of Anna Paquin. Now, that’s a highly irrelevant thought. It’s just that self is so excited she finally identified who Isabelle Huppert reminded her of. It took her hours to realize it was Paquin. She was sitting there, near the front of the theater, thinking the actress Huppert reminded her of was Claire Danes. But no, no, it was Paquin.

Throughout the movie, Huppert’s attire was jeans and a blazer. The blazer was navy and tapered, the better to show off Huppert’s thin, narrow, exemplary back. Self absolutely loved the look (Self! Get a grip! Why are you going on and on about Huppert’s blazer? You are supposed to be discussing this excruciating masterpiece! And reflecting on how, in a few years, you too may be in the position Emmanuelle Riva was in, reduced to uttering one word, over and over: “Hurts! Hurts!”)

At some point during the proceedings, self felt a maddening desire for a cupcake. Life’s too short, self was thinking. What am I doing in this dark theater on such a beautiful day? Perhaps I can drop by Sephora and try on a new lip gloss?

Self has a confession to make: she couldn’t finish the movie! Yes, she walked out! And because she had the bad judgment to sit in one of the front rows, the whole theater saw her walk out! (Self also happened to notice that practically everyone else in the audience was a senior. Wow! What courage! To sit through two hours of watching a beautiful woman’s physical disintegration! While undoubtedly undergoing your own physical disintegration! But that’s what’s so great about Americans — they have nerve! Remember when you watched United 93? How everyone sat there, patiently groaning? Because the plane’s final descent featured the Mother of All Shaky Cams? And let’s not forget the opening minutes of Cloverfield . . .  She watched it with son in a cavernous theater in Arroyo Grande, he was a sophomore, the entire theater was full of impetuous, running feet, whispers, giggles in the dark, and one plaintive voice in the back going, ” — the fuck is this?”)

Afterwards, at home, while The Man was watching Iowa State vs. some other team, you kept saying, “Will you euthanize me when the time comes? I’d do the same for you . . . ”

And The Man replied, “OK, OK, you want to be euthanized. Do you mind, I don’t want to think about that right now. I’m watching a game . . . ”

Self should mention that before landing on the college basketball game, self ordered The Man to hunt up what was showing on HBO-HD. And all he found was a Beyoncé concert. Which then gave self cause to wonder if she had done the right thing by signing up for a year of HBO …

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The New Yorker, 26 July 2010: David Denby on “Inception”

It is fall. Self doesn’t care what the calendar says. To her mind, as soon as the Japanese anemones start to bloom, and the hydrangeas start to fade, summer is over.

Fall is a nice time of year, because of Halloween. Otherwise, the days move too fast. She can’t believe that November seems to be just around the corner.

Self is still woefully backed up in her reading. Her next couple of books, after Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s Infidel (fascinating) will be European mysteries and one memoir (When the Crocodile Eats the Sun). Which brings self to the best memoir she’s read all year: Danielle Trussoni’s Falling Through the Earth. First runner-up would be the book self is current reading, Infidel.

Self was going to post about the books in the New Yorker’s “Briefly Noted” section, but on second thought, it will be much more fun to quote from David Denby’s review of Inception:

Inception is a stunning-looking film that gets lost in fabulous intricacies, a movie devoted to its own workings and to little else.

Hmmm …

Denby then goes on to describe each member of di Caprio’s team, reserving the worst for Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character, Arthur:  “a demanding, unimaginative sourpuss.”  Aside from the relationship between Cobb (di Caprio) and his dead wife, the rest of the movie is “strenuous process.”  He compares Chris Nolan to Luis Bunuel (“The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie”) and says, “Bunuel was a surrealist —  Nolan is a literal-minded man.”

Self thinks dear blog readers get it:  Denby was not enthused.

Awww, David, where’s your sense of fun?

About the only criticism self can think to make of the movie is that the main character’s name is “Cobb.”  It makes her think of “corn-on-the-cob.”  No, it’s worse than that:  it makes her think of Faulkner.

“Mal” is an OK name for a character who turns out to be a bad influence (Ha ha ha!); “Arthur” recalls The Knights of the Round Table; “Eames” is like —  oh, well, “easing your way into other people’s brains” (Self realizes this is pretty lame);  “Ariadne” is the perfect name for a dream weaver.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

“From Paris With Love” : See it for Rhys-Meyers

First of all, he does a great American accent.

Second, he’s sort of channeling Matt Damon in the first Bourne movie (that “I-have-not-a-clue-how-to-shoot-a-gun-but-I-have-perfect-aim” shtick), a more twitch-y Matt Damon.

Third, a Luc Besson movie is always fun.  Even when it is ludicrous.  In this movie, Rhys-Meyers has to spend much time hanging on to a Chinese vase filled with cocaine.  Even when he and his new partner, played by Travolta, have to meet with every stereotyped bad guy in the book —  “Asian dudes,” Pakistani terrorists, and so forth and so on —  he has to hold on to this vase for dear life.  Why?  So that he can break it later —  did you even have to ask, dear blog reader ???  Remember, this is the same Luc Besson who gave us the gran boffo fabulousness of “La Femme Nikita”!!!  The movie about the girl assassin who was forced to do a hit during her honeymoon !!!  While her all-unknowing husband was waiting in the next room!!! And she pulled it off by pretending she was taking a long, hot bath !!!

Travolta is as expected.  That is, he is charming, even when pronouncing “Motherfucker.”  Though he is a tad overweight.  And should not be allowed to let that go any further (unless he has plans to give up the action roles and do straight comedy, ala Alec Baldwin)

But Jonathan Rhys-Meyers is surprisingly effective playing a geek.  And looks great with glasses.  And in the movie’s very last scene, he shows up wearing fashionably ripped jeans.  And goes shirtless under a grey suit jacket (except for a shoulder sling).  Wow!   Meaning his transition from geek to secret agent is now complete.  Will there be a sequel?  Let’s hope so.

To add to the utter fabulousness of the afternoon, self’s favorite ice cream person was on duty in the lobby of the Redwood City Century 20.  And they had Peanut Buttercup and Strawberry Cheesecake available (The flavors on display are constantly changing, so this is hit or miss).  And the man put extra dollops in her cup (No dinner for you, self!)  And he always makes chit-chat with self and asks her what she is watching.  And when self said she was watching “From Paris With Love,” he admitted he knew nothing about it.  And self said, “I heard it’s not very good, but —  ”  “But you happen to be a John Travolta fan.  No explanation required,” the man said. (Which isn’t true:  self did not want to see this movie because of John Travolta.  In fact, after watching the previews, which featured entirely too much of John Travolta, she almost didn’t feel like seeing it.  But she is a fan of Luc Besson.  One day, she might explain it all to the ice cream guy)

Then self saw the first previews ever of “Secret of the Witch” and “Kick-Ass” (both movies with Nic Cage!)  And a preview for “Brooklyn’s Finest” (Ethan Hawke, Don Cheadle, Richard Gere and even Wesley Snipes, looking none the worse for wear)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

“The Class”/ Spike TV’s “Scream Awards”

Self is at home trying  —  for the nth time  —  to finish watching “The Class” (This is ridiculous!  She’s had it over a month already!)  Not only is it dull, if self gets up from the couch to do something momentarily, she misses reams of sub-titles.  Now, she has no idea where she is in the story, who that surly kid is talking to the balding guy in a suit, who those two girls giggling together over a desk are, who the bald man in glasses is.  The only one whose identity self is sure of is the teacher  —  and in the scene she just finishes watching, he has the appalling lack of judgement to engage in an argument with his students outside the classroom.  They gather around him, gleefully accusing.  And he stands there, and takes it and takes it and takes it instead of walking away (Only when self reads the Netflix movie jacket, as she is putting the film away, does she learn that the man who portrays the teacher is actually Francois Begaudeau, who wrote the novel on which the movie is based)

A few nights ago, self persuaded hubby to watch with her a show called “Scream Awards 2009” on Spike TV.  My God, what a genius idea!  That show was a gold mine of great, shining moments in film!  Not to mention eye candy like Taylor Lautner!  Among the highlights:  A clip from “New Moon” (which only confirms self’s hunch that it will be all bare chests and testosterone, with none of the moodiness of “Twilight”)! Johnny Depp!  Keith Richards!  All the (hot) guys from “True Blood” and Anna Paquin!  Even Elijah Wood in low, hip-hugging jeans!  Megan Fox giving a speech in which she claimed to really really love the “Transformer” movies!  Jessica Alba covered from elbows to neck in metallic green dress!  George A. RomeroStan Lee!  Will Shatner saying he was available to be in the next “Star Trek” movie!  J. J. Abrams smiling at him from the audience!  Woody Harrelson getting a bow for “Breakout Movie of the Year” (“Zombieland,” of course!)  Many, many out-takes from “Night of the Living Dead,” “Drag Me to Hell,” “The Last House on the Left,” “Star Trek” (Why is that in the “horror” category???)!  A special tribute to “Battlestar Galactica” (Frackin’ grrrreat!)

Anyhoo, self did get to Barnes and Noble and she did look for those two first novels she listed in her previous post, and neither of them were in-store.  She did, however, discover a new detective series, translated from the Russian, featuring a very hot, svelte 19th century detective (at least, so she gathers from reading the book blurbs for The Death of Achilles).  And she also renewed acquaintance with Precious Ramotswe’s latest adventures.  And she figures she might as well start reading more mysteries, as she loved, absolutely loved the last mystery she read, Ruth Rendell’s 13 Steps Down.

OK, what’s happening now in “The Class”?  Oh, the male teacher is having a conversation with his students about “sniggering,” how it hurts his feelings when the students engage in it.  More blah blah blah ensues.  Which can only, self surmises, be of interest to non-teachers.  Who are not in a classroom everyday, and for whom therefore such conversations might be revelatory.

Stay tuned.

The Garden, the Safeway, the French Movie

One is not really home unless one has once again done groceries at the local Safeway. Which self did this afternoon.

Before she left for New York, there was a lot of rice, she made sure of that. But this morning there was only about a cup left.

When self peeked in the fridge last night, she saw a huge chuck steak that hubby was marinating. Half a leftover steak was balanced on another plate on top of it. Son told her rather wanly that he and hubby had been eating “a lot of meat.” Self also noticed that hubby had moved the Weber grill out of the garage and into the garden.

Self was so restless to see the garden that, even though she couldn’t fall asleep until 4 a.m., she was up as soon as sunlight struck her face (6 a.m.). Then she began watering and watering, and only stopped when she had built up a good sweat. The clematis, the roses, the fuschias were yellowing, but still alive. (Oh, the poor orange tree! Self told hubby we should wait a couple of months before deciding to cut it down). As self was pretty groggy after hefting buckets of water hither and thither, she decided to finish watching the Netflix movie she’s had for almost a month, “I’ve Loved You So Long.”

Self is a big fan of Kristin Scott-Thomas, and was so happy when she was nominated for an Oscar last year. The movie turned out to be another one of these French pot-boilers, but Kristin Scott-Thomas (and the actress who played her younger sister) make everything look classy. The French system of justice is pretty murky to self, and getting more so after watching movies like this one and “Tell No One” (not to mention after reading Les Miserables!) Self did find herself shedding a saccharine tear at the end, which is probably less due to the merits of the movie than to the fact that she is at the moment exhausted.

Son walked the dogs, as he’s been doing every day since coming home. He left close to noon and was gone quite a long time! Self had no idea her li’l crits had such stamina! They returned home with grins (if dogs can be said to grin) almost as wide as their faces.

At the Safeway, there were many blonde and tanned women in shorts. People seemed to be buying stuff for the Fourth of July: big racks of pork ribs, steaks, salsa and chips, that sort of thing. It is summer! It is really summer! This thought always makes self happy.

Things Self Learned Today, the Second Saturday of September 2008

Su Hong in Menlo Park still has fabulously cheap lunch combinations (For $8.95, hubby’s “Su Hong Special” included two sticks of beef barbecue, Chinese chicken salad, combination fried rice, fried won tons and hot and sour soup)

If one orders Su Hong’s rice combination lunch special of spicy ground pork and tofu ($7.95), one’s eyes will tear up exceedingly. Also, the dish will be humongous and one will have to doggy-bag more than half of it.

If, after this, one wishes to walk off the meal by strolling along Santa Cruz Avenue, one’s attention will be distracted by a few interesting new stores, and chances are one will spend money. And, chances are better than 50% that one will end up forgetting doggy bag in one of the stores.

In beautiful stationery store called Paper Chase, sitting on a high shelf is the most gorgeous puppet theatre self has ever seen, perfect to gift to a grand-daughter one day (if son will oblige self by producing one). Cost: $500.

* * *

One simply cannot be expected to watch a movie in the Aquarius on Emerson Street in downtown Palo Alto without dropping by Gelato Classico, across the street.

Lychee is still self’s favorite gelato flavor.

* * *

“Tell No One” is a very long movie.

The French can now shoot chase scenes with jerky camera movement, a la “The French Connection.”

Strangely, all the songs in the movie are in English (and include a hit song by U2).

The lead has the rabbit-y look of Dustin Hoffman.

All French actresses, even the ugly ones, are fascinating.

Kristin Scott Thomas looks amazing (meaning, of course: not ugly), has very toned arms, no double chin to speak of and, moreover, speaks excellent French.

The French still can’t make a real thriller: they’re so enamored of Victor Hugo that even their thrillers have to have as much melodrama as “Les Miserables.”

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