John Wick, Chapter 2: Keanu, Self Will Always Love You

Have you ever walked out of a film so struck by awe and wonder your skin is abuzz? Has a film ever left you so joyful and drunk on adrenaline that it made you more hopeful about the world? Has a lead performance in an action film ever had such balletic grace it made you marvel at the possibilities of the human body itself? This is exactly how I felt watching John Wick: Chapter Two, the sequel to the surprising 2014 action hit.

— Angelica Jade Bastien, rogerebert.com

Quote of the Day: “Sleeping Beauty in Space,” a Review of PASSENGERS by Sunny Lanning

The movie is beautiful, brilliantly shot. The clean, curving lines of the halls and rooms, the luxurious amenities, the sense of echoing, empty space both within and without the ship, which employs a novel design style. The lingering shot on the long lines of Chris Pratt’s naked back and buttocks fits right into the elegant overall design.

— Sunny Lanning, in her blog Sincerely, Sunny

Self has been having an off-blog exchange with Sunny Lanning about things we like, and one of the things we like is J-Law.

Yup, that’s right. J-Law.

Self knows it’s sort of fashionable to dump on her right now. Indulge in fond memories of “Winter’s Bone” (which was truly great).

Self knows, “Passengers” did not get good reviews. Self reads Everlark tumblrs on a daily basis and people are wondering what happened to J-Law, blah blah blah.

Self has a feeling J-Law will endure.

In the meantime, enjoy the parallels Sunny Lanning draws between “Passengers” and Disney’s “Sleeping Beauty.”

Self’s own personal take on the disappointment with the movie (Note: Self has not seen “Passengers.” But she kinda gets the process Chris Pratt is or has embarked on. It’s called Hollywoodization.), the blown hopes: it’s Pratt. In this role, he’s reaching for that next level. Self doesn’t argue that a J-Law would find him attractive — hot, even. But can we just not make the effort so predictable right now? It just seems so determined and so cynical.

Sunny found that originally “Passengers” was a Keanu Reeves project. Keanu/ J-Law would have been an interesting pairing!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Guardian: 75 Films to Watch in 2016

Self enjoys reading The Guardian. In particular, their film blog.

Yesterday, she stumbled across a piece called: 75 movies to look forward to in 2016.

75??? Only The Guardian would have the temerity to post such a mind-boggling list of 2016 movies.

Well, self will attempt to take a gander.

Here are her conclusions, after one read-through:

  • Keanu Reeves is back! He’s in at least three 2016 movies.
  • Michael Fassbender is in everything. Michael Shannon is in everything. Ryan Gosling is in at least two upcoming.
  • Matt Damon is back as Bourne (triple somersault YAY!) and Paul Greengrass is directing (Wowowowowowow!!!)
  • Charlie Hunnam Is. In. A. Movie (Oh God. It’s been too long)
  • Casey Affleck is in a movie. Self likes Casey Affleck. More than she likes his brother.
  • They’re making a film of Shusako Endo’s Silence! They’re making a film of Shusako Endo’s Silence! And it’s starring Liam Neeson, Andrew Garfield, and Adam Driver. Oh God.
  • Ryan Reynolds in Deadpool (And this one actually seems like it might work)
  • Jennifer Lawrence is mentioned as getting $20 million for the space movie she’s in with Chris Pratt. BTW, people? She’s worth every penny.
  • They’re making a movie (Neon Demon) about “beauty-obsessed women in L.A.” and self loves the cast: Keanu Reeves, Elle Fanning, and Christina Hendricks.
  • Star Wars spin-off Rogue One: Another Brit (Felicity Jones) stars.
  • Anthropoid, about the assassination of one of World War II’s most brutal concentration camp commanders: Reinhard Heydrich. This one stars Jamie Dornan and Cillian Murphy. These are two gorgeous men, dear blog readers. If self weren’t already cheering about the plot, she’d be cheering at the prospect of seeing these men’s gorgeous cheekbones in close-up on the big screen.

BTW, saw Joy and enjoyed it. It seemed rather muted for a David O. Russell film, especially one starring his muse Jennifer Lawrence. Self thinks Amy Adams could have handled that part. But Jennifer is truly a force. Self refuses to complain too much about a film that has her in it.

Stay tuned.

Spotlight: The Asian American Literary Review, Part 2

Self knows she spotlighted The AALR already, but one can never have too much of a good thing.

She is so admiring of the tireless energy of its editors. They are now trying to get more people overseas to know about Asian American writers. Bravo!

Kindly hook up with Lawrence-Minh Bui Davis, Gerald Maa, or Cathy J. Shlund-Vials (English and Asian American Studies, University of Connecticut). Cathy will be at the upcoming AAS conference, April 17- 20, in Seattle.

Here’s the beginning of self’s story “Homeopathy,” which was in AALR Vol. 3, Issue 1 (Spring 2012):

On Friday I return from my trip. Laundry is still in the dryer, a jumble of clothes. The food I’d bought before I left is still in the fridge, though the radishes are pockmarked with green fuzz and the potatoes are growing roots. The man sits on the sofa, smoking a cigarette.

Has he even known I was gone? I can’t be sure. Perhaps I’m an alien, teleported into his life.

On TV, Speed is showing. It’s the scene where Dennis Hopper talks to Keanu Reeves and tells him, “Do not attempt to grow a brain.”

Finally, self has succeeded in getting the finest words in the English language into a story!

KEANU REEVES. KEANU REEVES. KEANU REEVES.

But that was so years ago. Now self must figure out a way to get these words into a story:

TIMOTHY OLYPHANT. TIMOTHY OLYPHANT. TIMOTHY OLYPHANT.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Further Encounters (in the Excavation of Son’s Room)

Today, self continues digging into the box of books that’s been under son’s desk for years.

Here is a beautiful artifact.

The inside of a mysterious machine.

Self has no idea what this is.

On TV, Rachael Ray visits a family.  There is a huge cooked turkey on the kitchen island.  Aside from mom and dad, there are two daughters and one son.  During the introductions, the older daughter says her name is Kiana.  “Beautiful name!” Rachael Ray exclaims.  Right, especially since, when self hears “Kiana,” it immediately calls to mind the actor Keanu Reeves.

There is also a starlet in Manila called Kiana Reeves.  This is very interesting because, you see, dear blog readers, self has been writing a story in which the actor Keanu Reeves has a very, very prominent role.

Stay tuned.

Keanu Reeves Redux

A few weeks ago, self began buying copies of The New York Times again.  (She now has a wee bit more time to luxuriate in all that dense print).

She remembers, in particular, an article in which Times movie critics Manohla Dargis and A. O. Scott responded to questions from normal people —  er, readers.

One question asked was:  Is Keanu Reeves a Good Bad Actor or a Bad Good Actor?

Manohla Dargis answered, “Who cares?  He’s Keanu Reeves.”

You tell ’em, sistah!

A. O. Scott’s answer, however, was so exquisite that self had to cut it out and put it in her file cabinet (She’s possibly turning into Joan Rivers.  Did anyone catch A Piece of Work?  A fine documentary, which revealed to the world that Rivers is an obssessive filer:  that is, all of her jokes are written on index cards and stored in a gigantic, custom-made filing cabinet in her New York apartment)

Here is A. O. Scott on the topic of Keanu:

Mr. Reeves has deliberately exploited both his exquisite facial bone structure and his gift for gnomic blankness with great success in the movies . . .  but in those solemn savior roles he demonstrates not stiffness so much as professionalism.

OK, had enough of your Keanu Reeves fix for the week?  For the month?  For the year?  Or perhaps even for your entire life?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Movie Stars Were Here! Condé Nast Traveler, March 2011

There they were, those jet-setting movie stars, ordering Manhattans in some bar in Tribeca, or sipping tequilas in the French Quarter.   Herewith, the definitive last word on your favorite movie star’s whereabouts, lifted from the March 2011 issue of Condé Nast Traveler (Self still in catch-up mode, clearly):

  • Cape Town:    Ryan Reynolds and Denzel Washington filming “Safe House”(Incidentally, someone who looks like Ryan Reynolds can never —  self repeats, never —  be credible playing a spy, dear blog readers.  Unless he scruffs up his face.  Makes it not so clean-cut and boyish-looking.  Adopts a limp.  Applies fake warts to the sides of his nose.  And so on)
  • India:   Suraj Sharma filming “Life of Pi” (directed by Ang Lee)
  • New Orleans:   Kate Beckinsale and Mark Wahlberg, filming “Contraband”
  • London:   Keanu Reeves filming “47 Ronin”
  • New York City:   Robert de Niro and Jake Gyllenhaal filming “New Year’s Eve”
  • New Zealand:   Cate Blanchett filming “The Hobbit, Part 1” (directed by Peter Jackson)
  • Stockholm:   Daniel Craig filming “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” (directed by David Fincher)

The places self has never been to, and that she so longs to visit someday, are Cape Town, India, New Zealand, and Stockholm.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

“Top Five Reasons Why Keanu Reeves Rules in Speed”

Self is in much need of distraction these days.  Because of awful recession and Gaddafi situation, not to mention the nuclear situation in Japan.  And there are still two more days till the next episode of “Justified.”

Last night, just as self was laying her head down for her nightly bout of sleepwalking, she landed on AMC (American Movie Channel) and they were showing Speed.

Oh, what joy to see Keanu in his 20s, with that adorable buzz cut, and spotless white T-shirt (In spite of all Keanu’s travails in the movie, the T-shirt remains spotless, at least until about 3/4 of the way in)  How a single guy —  a cop no less —  can do such an excellent job of washing his own shirts and keeping them super-white is simply awesome.  He probably has boxes and boxes of bleach in his closet.  But then, that is only one of the reasons why Keanu’s character in Speed is such a great American hero!

Oh, what joy, to listen to Keanu and Sandra exchange flirtatious repartee while she attempts to drive a bus at no less than 50 miles per hour!

Then, to spice things up a bit, AMC flashes a list during the breaks:

Top Five Reasons Why Keanu Reeves Rules in Speed

Of course, self cannot remember all five items on the list, but these are the last two:

Reason # 4:   He is aware of his limitations (Flash:  Dennis Hopper aka the Most Sardonic Villain Ever, to Keanu:  Do not attempt to grow a brain)

Reason # 5:   He uses removing a “vest bomb” as foreplay (Keanu to Sandra in almost-the-final-scene:  Let’s get this off, shall we?)

Also, on a website called The Sheila Variations, self saw this absolutely great picture of Keanu and River Phoenix on a motorcycle in “My Own Private Idaho.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Difficulties Today: Hottest Day (So Far) of 2010

With no warning, the Bay Area experiences the two hottest days of the year.  Last night, self listened to newscast after newscast, all announcing with utmost awe:  “This was the hottest day of the year!”  Funny, just the weekend previous, self went shopping for plants, and all the nursery people she encountered complained how “short” and “cool” the summer was.  Nowhere did self encounter a person who said, “We are going to have the two most sweltering days of the year —  starting tomorrow!”

Result:  all the plants self put in the ground yesterday got fried.  Fried.  Leaves as crisp as Calbee shrimp chips.  She wouldn’t even pay 25 cents for those plants, let alone $4.50 each!  Self ended up doing strategic re-positioning.  She looked at her front yard, and noticed that the late afternoon sun was akin to the Sahara.  And the front yard was baking.  Even the trees offered no relief, for the late afternoon sun comes in at a slant (of course).  So then self ended up digging new planting holes, in spots more protected from the sun.  And she was so obssessed that she only noticed after she had set to work that she was wearing white jeans.

Self has six pairs of white jeans in her closet, none of which she has bought herself.  All of them are from Loehman’s, courtesy of Dearest Mum.  Hence, the cavalier treatment.  One of them may even be Dolce & Gabbana.

Nevertheless.  Self succeeded in moving her plants.

Now, she only has one thing to do by tomorrow.  And that is write her book review of Ilustrado.

She of course has to prepare dinner (Oh, please let hubby come home late!  As late as possible!).  She sat down for a brief respite, and heard on the news that the economy was going to get worse.  Much worse.  In fact, the housing market is going down, down, dooown.  So she called her Stanford Retirement Plan advisor, and he said:  “Don’t you know that if you want rock-solid investments, you can pretty much expect 0 interest?  Didn’t you know that?”

All self wanted to know was why she has less in her plan now than she did in 2003.  Is that such an unreasonable question, dear blog readers?  She was about to tell her advisor to move everything to a bond fund, and then her phone went “Beep!  Beep!”  And the battery went dead.  The last thing she heard him saying was, “If you’ll just hold on a minute —  ”

Bzzz!  Fried.

It is so hot that Bella, self’s older beagle, hasn’t eaten for two days.  She is, however, still alive, bushy-tailed, and alert.  Which is more self can say of herself.

On lighter note, Gawker.com reports today that Catherine Keener kept Keanu Reeves waiting for half an hour in some New York locale.  Result:  he was cornered by a fan who asked him to pose for a picture and then spent the next moments frantically e-mailing the pic to the internet universe.  Self only knows that if that had happened to her —

Self, the sun has fried your brain!  You are not, self repeats N*O*T Keanu Reeves!  So no need to worry about the “What if” of such a situation ever happening to you!  You may stand around, for as much as an hour, and the most you will ever get is a suspicious glance from a security guard!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Oscars 2010, Thoughts at the Halfway Point

And of course, this is the point where hubby (that contrarian) insists we must get started on the taxes. Anyhoo, before he completely succeeds in driving self batty, here are some random thoughts:

  • Sandy Bullock does not look good with red lipstick.
  • Luuuv Anna Kendrick’s pale pink gown (Co-nominee Vera Farmiga’s frilly fuschia gown looks pretty gorgeous as well).
  • Tom Ford seems to be channeling Keanu Reeves.
  • Suzy Amis (former actress — appeared as Gabriel Byrne’s GF in “The Usual Suspects” — and currently Mrs. James Cameron), what has happened to you?
  • Oh, where oh where was Zach Quinto? (When they showed a clip of “Star Trek” during the Best Make-Up category, the clip reminded self all over again why Young Spock was sooo hawwtt!)
  • It doesn’t seem fair that “Up” has won every category it was nominated for (Pixar movies seem to have a lock on Oscars, at least in the past decade!) including Best Musical Score, which self feels strongly should have gone to “Fantastic Mr. Fox.”
  • Poor Amanda Seyfried, having to present with a va-va-va-voom Miley Cyrus!  Who was taller, more bronze-d, and whose gown heretofore served notice that (gulp) Miley Cyrus has quite a voluptuous figure!

So far, three awards for “The Hurt Locker”, two for “Avatar.” They’re neck and neck heading into the home stretch! Quentin, how hard must it be for you to sit through each category where you are nominated, only to see the Award given to a) “The Hurt Locker” or b) “Avatar”? Thank God no one from either of these movies was nominated for “Best Supporting Actor,” which rightfully went to (a pretty hot) Christoph Waltz.

Self was pretty psych-ed that Mark Boal won for his screenplay (for “The Hurt Locker”)! And after listening to Mark Damon’s oh-so-authentic-sounding South African accent in the clips of “Invictus,” self has decided to add the movie to her Netflix queue.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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