Watching “10 Cloverfield Lane” in Fort Bragg

Self and five tweenies. Who were very restless and kept kicking the row of seats she was in. They’d stop whenever self turned her head. But they’d start again. Anyhoo.

GRRREAT movie.

The lead has an uncanny resemblance to the Sigourney Weaver of Alien. So uncanny is the resemblance that self thinks it must have been part of the reason why she was picked. So many little homages to that earlier (CLASSIC, GREAT) movie: especially, the heroine’s looks. The fact that her best scenes occur when she is barefoot and wearing a skimpy tank and very tight blue jeans. There’s a real American heroine for you. Gal can do anything, and she looks great in skinny jeans.

Who was that girl? She looked so like Dakota Johnson. And there were notes of Jena Malone in there as well.

Her male co-stars were playing against type: John Goodman (How that man can make dancing look creepy, self knows not. But he pulled it off) and the other one who looked like a shrimpy Ben Affleck (with a LOT of facial hair). She loved that the other man looked about half the size of Goodman. And was only up to the heroine’s shoulder. Clearly, not the type to inspire confidence.

Great, great movie to watch in Fort Bragg on a Sunday afternoon.

Stay tuned.

Eerie: A WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge Post

Oh, witchy witchy time of year.

Last night, self’s humble abode was visited by the ghosts of medieval knights, Jango Fett, Alice in Wonderland, a devil, and a myriad other apparitions.  They all willingly posed for self, after she bribed them with extra candy.

This morning, she looked up the WordPress Photo Challenge, and it was, appropriately enough:  EERIE.

Here are her three eerie places (as evidenced by these photographs):

  • a deserted alley, Venice
  • a bed in Manila
  • the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose
Somewhere Near San Toma'

Venice, somewhere near San Toma’. Was not yet tourist season.

A new bed

Manila:  A new bed

Spookiness in the Winchester Mystery House Labyrinth

Spookiness in the Winchester Mystery House Labyrinth

Have dear blog readers ever watched the Jeepers Creepers movies?  They are so terrifically creepy.  Justin Long was in the first one.

What about The Omen?  The original version, with Gregory Peck?  Super eerie.

But the creepiest movie of all has got to be Nicholas Roeg’s adaptation of a Daphne du Maurier story, Don’t Look Now, which starred Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie.  Self only saw it once, but the image of the child in the red raincoat, the resounding cavernous spaces of Venetian churches, and the woman who speaks with dead people and tells Sutherland’s heartbroken father to Beware and Take Care are etched into her memory forever.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Of Significance Today, the 1st Friday of December (2012)

None of the things in the list below have anything to do with each other, but here goes:

  • Today was the 41st Anniversary of Pearl Harbor.  On the radio this morning, she heard Pres. Roosevelt’s voice, tinny and full of static, addressing the American people.  Self, an incorrigible writer, grabbed a pen and pad and took notes.
  • Today self tried a Mixed Berry Pie from Gracie’s on Laurel Street in San Carlos.  She’s always had a fondness for Gracie’s, for this is a local fave.  Not to mention it has the same name as her Dear Departed Gracie, whose death in April 2011 broke self’s heart.  But — back to the Mixed Berry Pie.  That is, OMG, the BEST, absolutely the BEST Mixed Berry Pie self has ever tasted.  Absolutely bursting with berries, and just the right amount of tartness.  Perfect heated up, with a dollop of ice cream.
  • The Man was watching Predator 3.  The one with Adrien Brody.  He gets to bare his chest.  Thank God, he is very buff.  Self loves these Predator movies.  There’s no finesse about them at all.  This one even has a yakuza.  You know, that Last Stand Scene in the first Predator, when the Native American guy decides to stand and fight, and the Predator shreds him in something like two minutes?  The same thing happens here.  Guess who gets to be the sacrificial victim this time?  Come to think of it, Predator is sort of like Survivor, only of course one has aliens.  But the thinking is the same.  That is, they both encourage self to imagine herself in that place with those people, and she always ends up coming to the same conclusion:  She will be the first casualty.  The first one kicked off the island.  Indubitably.
  • In the commercial break, self learns that Justified Season 4 STARTS JANUARY 8!  OMG, there he is: Timothy Olyphant in the Stetson (only this time self isn’t sure if it’s still white).  OMG, OMG, OMG!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

“Snow White and the Huntsman”

The abovementioned was the last movie self saw before leaving for Scotland.  In fact, she saw it only a few hours before the husband took her to the airport to catch her British Airways flight to London.

Self liked it so much, she wanted to blog about it immediately.  But it turned out to be quite a hectic week.  At any rate, having finally settled down in Midlothian, Scotland, and having grown more accustomed to a significant increase in her daily intake of wine, she is at last ready to blog about the movie.  Hallelujah!

Let’s see, what are the things self liked so much about it?

  • Chris Hemsworth —  Methinks the hunk can act!  He might even be a better actor than Channing!
  • Kristen Stewart —  Several weeks (maybe even months) ago, self discovered that Niece G hates K-Stew.  Unaccountably, self loves her.  She loved her in “Panic Room” and in “Into the Wild.”  She was a good choice to play Bella in the Twilight movies.  Here, K-Stew has a vomiting scene.  Unquestionably, no other actress can give herself over so completeley to the portrayal of a woman who is about to die in a particularly nasty way.    K-Stew’s face actually goes all red, and she starts toppling this way and that on the snow.  Tell self there isn’t another actress in the entire world who can vomit so convincingly.  Self is serious.
  • Charlize Theron and her various get-ups.  In particular, the yellow-green, embroidered-all-over gown, and the one with black feathers.  But it’s also Charlize’s acting:  you really, really feel her pain, her wanting to be “the most beautiful” because that is the source of her power.  Admittedly, her character goes to very extreme lengths.  There’s a shot of Charlize’s naked back that self found shockingly repellent.
  • The voice-over.  Self really needed that voice-over, especially in the first battle scene.  It elicited from self an unexpected level of stomach-churning tension.  The only other movie that’s gotten self to this level of stomach-churning tension was “Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2,” the one with Jessica Biehl, and last year’s “Immortals.”
  • The scenery (Scotland?).
  • The death scene of the King, Snow White’s father (Nasty as all get-out)
  • The background music, especially that ethereally voiced song which played during Snow White’s dash across the Scottish moors.  There was also the appearance of a startlingly huge white stag (which immediately called to mind Miyazaki’s powerful “Princess Mononoke”:  self recalled seeing the Miyazaki movie at least four times)
  • The battle scenes were pretty rousing, as well.

Now, in contrast to “Mirror, Mirror,” which asked the audience to swallow the fact that Lilly Collins aka Snow White could blend into the countryside while wearing an absolutely sumptuous and voluminous mustard-colored cape, in this movie Snow White has an appropriately haggard look (She’s been locked up in a tower, all these years), and she gets muddy.

When self first saw the previews for this movie, when she saw the trolls or whatever you call those CGI creatures, she just didn’t think it would work.  A fantasy Snow White?  With Snow White brandishing a sword?  Puh-leaze!  She’d already seen “Mirror, Mirror,” and liked it immensely. How could there be two Snow White movies in the same year?  It was like 2006 all over again, when audiences were treated to two competing movies about magicians:  “The Illusionist,” starring Ed Norton and Paul Giamatti, and “The Prestige,” which featured Christian Bale and Michael Caine.  Why does Hollywood do this?  There was also 2007, when there were two competing bio-pics on Truman Capote.  Audiences that year had to choose between not only two very different portrayals of Capote, but also between Catherine Keener’s and Sandra Bullock’s portrayals of Carson McCullers.

But, you know what?  Self had exactly the same attitude when she saw the “Star Trek” re-boot, and she emerged from that movie totally believing in J. J. Abrams and Zach Quinto.

So, “Snow White and the Huntsman” now joins “The Exotic Marigold Hotel” as one of her favorite movies of 2012.

Stay tuned.

Bernini’s MEDUSA at the Legion of Honor, and Thoughts on Ridley Scott’s ALIEN

So many exhibits, so little time!

It seems like forever that self’s been wanting to go see Bernini’s Medusa, which has been on loan to the Legion of Honor from Rome’s Musei Capitolini (and is leaving shortly!).  Yet another legacy from the wonderful John Buchanan, who put in the pipeline so many great exhibits at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

Leafing through the museum’s Fall 2011 magazine, self sees, in close-up, a picture of this magnificent sculpture.

How curious:  last night, self and the husband watched “Alien,” and this time around (only her nth viewing of this classic), self was particularly struck by the tight close-ups of Ripley’s face when she is in the space pod, escaping from the Nostromo.  There’s a lot of shaky cam work (Ridley Scott must have been among the first to use this technique), but the focus is entirely on Ripley’s face.

There are so many ways Scott could have chosen to portray that moment.  He could have shown the engines thrusting, or the pod moving through space.  He could have shown Ripley in action, busily pressing buttons or what not.  But no.  In that scene, he showed only Sigourney Weaver’s face, her open mouth, her closed eyes, her projection of pain and exhaustion (everything shaking horribly, and the image becoming very blurred at times).  And looking at the picture of the Medusa in the Fine Arts Museums magazine, it is something of the same expression!

This is from the museum magazine:

Her hair is turning into writhing snakes which, according to Ovid, was a punishment from Minerva for having had an affair with Neptune, god of the sea.  The punishment also made Medusa an instrument of death by turning anyone who looked upon her to stone . . .   Bernini’s depiction does not describe the incident but rather the agony of Medusa’s initial dramatic transformation.  Her face is contorted with pain and anxiety and her mouth is open as if crying out.

What is remarkable about Bernini’s interpretation of this ancient mythological creature is that it conveys passion, emotion, and the humanity of the moment, rather than the monstrous and horrific aspects of Medusa treated by artists and sculptors hitherto.

Self wishes she could “capture” an image from somewhere.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

The 2011 Scream Awards (Spike TV)

This Awards Show is definitely more fun than the MTV Movie Awards, and of course way more entertaining than the Oscars, the Golden Globes, the People’s Choice Awards, or any other.

For one thing, the costumes are fan-TAS-tic!  All exotic feathers, glitter, blackened eyes, sumptuous velvet, zombies, Harold & Kumar  . . .

Quentin Tarantino is unleashed, everyone gets to show off their cool leather jackets, and there is even a category for Best Mutilation (In this category, something called The Reverse Bear Trap, from “Saw 3D:  the Final Chapter.” Self shudders to think).  As well as glimpses of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ann Hathaway, and Gary Oldman, accepting the award for Most Anticipated Movie (for “Dark Knight Rises”).

Thank goodness, NO nominations for R-Patz, K-Stew, and only one self knows of for “Harry Potter,” though the latter did win one major award category (Self forgets:  Was it something like, Best Movie of the Decade?)

The year the MTV Movie Awards stopped being fun was when “Twilight” appeared.  Because every single year after that, “Twilight” or one of its clones won Best Movie.  Yaawn.

Anyhoo, back to the Scream Awards.  Bradley Cooper accepts the award (Best Thriller) for his movie “Limitless,” which was a bad movie but was certainly better than “Red.”

Nic Cage is inducted into the Scream Hall of Fame.

Darren Aronofsky wins Best Director for “Black Swan.”

Some British actor wins “Best Science Fiction Actor” for his performance as Dr. Who (He beat out Daniel Craig —  for “Cowboys and Aliens” —  and Chris Evans aka Captain America, imagine that!!!)

As far as self can tell, the only celluloid vampires up for an award are the ones in “Let Me In” (which wins as Best Horror Movie).  Wait, that’s not quite right:  “True Blood” was up for Best TV Show (The winner in this category:  “Game of Thrones”)

Best Science Fiction Movie was “Super 8.”

Kate Beckinsale makes an excellent sartorial choice in choosing to appear in purest white (She looked great).  Self loved Chloe Moretz’s black lace dress (She’s growing up faaast!)  There was a preview of the new Sherlock Holmes movie.  And of the new Nic Cage-as-Ghost Rider movie.

Cuba Gooding, Jr., standing next to George Lucas, delivers the best line of the night:  “I know what you all are thinking:  Finally, some black men!”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

“Super 8” Likes

  • A woman with her hair done up in enormous rollers appears at a crucial juncture.
  • The performances by Joel Courtney, Elle Fanning and Riley Griffiths (the “fat kid”/auteur) are really fine.

*     SPOILER ALERT!   *   SPOILER ALERT!   *   SPOILER ALERT!

  • As in all the best horror movies, something sensational happens to the sheriff.
  • The driver of the getaway car is stoned.  (In the future, all drivers of getaway cars should exhibit similar form of mental impairment.  This is what is called “raising the stakes”)
  • The opening, a lingering shot of a sign announcing “7XX days since Last Accident,” changed to “1” day was a masterpiece of economical story-telling!  Yup, it sure was (Did it come up to the level of Spock and Uhura exchanging stolen kisses in a spaceship elevator? ‘Fraid not.  But, dear blog reader, let’s not dither over apples and oranges.  The point is, Abrams really knows how to get a story moving.)
  • Number of times self actually gasped:  3
  • Number of times self closed her eyes in expectation of violence (And, it really takes a lot to make self close her eyes.  She never did in “The Hurt Locker.”  In fact, self thinks the last time she was induced to close her eyes during a movie was when she watched “Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2”) :  1
  • Number of people in the movie audience who clapped at the end:  About 10.  Self couldn’t count very well in the dark.

Questions:

  • Why does a sleepy town with population of 12,000 need six full-time policemen?
  • Why was Elle Fanning’s dad such a jerk?
  • Why did Joel Courtney’s mom have to be so pretty?
  • How come the Army didn’t finish off Dr. Woodward when they had the chance?  Why allow this dangerous and subversive man to teach high school biology?  Why were they not more apprised of the danger to National Security by allowing this man to live?
  • Why did school authorities allow Dr. Woodward to keep a locked trailer on school grounds?  What if he were a pervert and had a stash of X-rated magazines in there, wouldn’t the school then be exposing itself to the possibility of a lawsuit?  Oh educators of xxx town, why oh why are you so lame?
  • And the million dollar, most bothersome question of the day:  What the heck was inside those little white cubes?  (Self went through half the movie expecting little aliens to come popping out.  But that would have seemed too much like an “Alien” rip-off.  And we all know J. J. Abrams is too classy a director to stoop to such cheap tricks)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Best Line from “Splice”

The line is uttered by female fake scientist (played by Sarah Polley) to spouse (played by always-believable Adrien Brody), who is also a scientist but more than that, is a loyal husband, which causes him to abandon all sense of scientific detachment (Self means: he accedes when his wife dresses up the monster in blue, puff-sleeved dresses, hides her in the lab, and gives her a name, Dren — ha ha ha)

Female Scientist (to Adrien Brody): “If you could understand crazy, it wouldn’t be crazy.”

This is after lovable mutant child has just slaughtered someone/something in the lab. Self wasn’t sure, it could have been a human. There was a lot of blood. And self was in the kitchen, trying to plan what to cook for dinner.

The movie becomes more interesting, though: the human mother reveals a sadistic streak, the monster becomes more human (even, at times, angel-like, with great, flapping wings). The question becomes: Who is the real freak here? The mother who cuts off her monster-baby’s tail to stifle her impulses, or the monster who craves intimacy?

What is love, anyway? The scientist couple toss that word around a lot, which is ironic, given the fact that they are supposed to be — uh — scientists. (But just because one is a scientist doesn’t mean one cannot feel. And — self, where exactly are you going with this? Once again, you are lost. Lost in the thicket of your own digressions)

Isn’t love, the movie seems to be saying, just a rationalization of the scientists’ desire to control? Another?

And does saying one “loves” another entitle one to obedience? Respect? Submission?

Self also likes this line:

Corporate-type Woman to Fake Female Scientist:  “Your Dren turned out to be a collection of unimaginable chemical mysteries.”

Wow!

The adolescent monster/baby is played to stunning effect by a French actress named Delphine Chanéac. Even in real life, the actress’ eyes are very wide apart and — oh my, this movie is so full of unexpected twists and turns!

Back to watching.

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 »

Quote of the Day: Clothes on Film

So beloved San Francisco Giants gave up one game.  So what?  At least they kept it exciting!  And series goes on (hopefully, forever —  BWAH HA HAA!)

Self defuses by reading Clothes on Film.

From an interview with Kristin M. Burke, Costume Designer for “Paranormal 2” :

Clothes on Film:  Were the clothes deliberately not ironed so they remained authentically “lived in”?

Kristin Burke:  Yes.  We tried to keep the look as naturalistic as possible.  The typical Californian family does not iron clothes in the summer; it is shorts, t-shirts, flip-flops.  My brother lives in Carlsbad (where the film takes place), and I am really not convinced that there is an iron or ironing board in their house.  My sister-in-law will kill me for saying that, but it’s true!  It’s a very casual, relaxed lifestyle.

How about this, Kristin Burke:  The typical Californian family does not iron clothes, ever.  Hubby is lucky if self lays her hands on the ironing board twice a year.

Of further note, Ms. Burke says most of the clothes from the movie were purchased from Nordstrom Rack.  A favorite of Dearest Mum’s!  Self has 25 new pairs of shoes from Nordstrom Rack, all courtesy of Dearest Mum!

Stay tuned.

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