2018 SAG Awards Nominees: Personal Favorites

Some are very predictable to regular readers of this blog. Also, 2017 was really wonky since she didn’t get to see that many movies.

Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture: Baby Driver

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role: Holly Hunter, The Big Sick

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries: Jeff Daniels, Godless

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series: Game of Thrones

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.


The Punisher: Season 1

A colleague on TV Series hub reviewed this show, which led self to give it a crack, she is so good at multi-tasking (while writing her #historicalfiction). She wasn’t focused on the screen the whole time, but while she was working, the sounds coming from her laptop let her know that something very violent was going down: grunts, gunshots, screams, things getting smashed or knocked over, on a recurring basis.

Gah, this show!

Anyhoo, a few days ago, someone tweeted that it was nice that Ben Barnes got to play against type.

Hold on . . . WHAT? Did someone just tweet BEN BARNES? In The Punisher?

Wasn’t he in the the Narnia movies? And wasn’t he also in the only other good movie Jessica Biehl has appeared in during her sadly truncated film career?

She tweeted the tweeter: Did you say Ben Barnes?

The response: Yes. Ben Barnes. How could you miss him? He’s in every episode!

So self went back to re-watch everything starting from S1:E1 and OMG it IS Ben Barnes! Only with facial hair!


Ben Barnes plays Billy Russo, who at first self thought was a good guy — until he murders his mother.

Mother is lying comatose in some nursing home (Kudos to the actress on playing comatoes so convincingly), when Ben Barnes (Billy Russo) comes in, looking dapper in a suit. He sends the nursing home attendant away, rips the blankets off his comatose mother (which self would think would be a very humiliating experience, just saying) and kills her.

Later in the same episode, Barnes tells his clandestine lover Dinah about how he grew up in a boarding house, he never got to know his mother, blah blah blah

And you simply cannot get the death scene that preceded out of your mind!

Worse, his GF’s partner, Sam, a mild-mannered agent who reminds self of Paul Giamatti, is murdered during a shoot-out. And he was the one who kept telling Dinah that Barnes/Russo is “pretty” (subtext: pretty = dastardly) And while he’s dying in GF’s arms, all self can think is:


Self never dreamed she would be rooting AGAINST a character played by BEN BARNES of all people but it is what it is.

Of course, this thread is not a MAJOR one: the major one is that The Punisher keeps visiting the wife of a colleague, even though every visit is viewed by his colleague (Surveillance satellites! They’re everywhere!) who is still in love with his wife (who is falling for The Punisher) but unfortunately for the husband, he can’t see his wife and family because he faked his own death.

Meanwhile, The Punisher kills again and again and again and again and never mind how many times but it’s a lot.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Medicis: Masters of Florence

This is self’s first television series review in, like, forever.

She actually forgot she had a tag marked “television.”

She used to be quite religious about certain shows. Then her schedule blew up. Then America blew up. No, that’s not right. America is still here. Whatever.

Today, she binge-watched a Netflix series called Medicis: Masters of Florence. She must admit, she wasn’t really paying attention to the first episode, especially since Dustin Hoffman was playing a Florentine in an American accent. Then, he died. Which was excellent. Because that meant more screen time with Richard Madden.

There was some angst about Madden’s character (a Medici, of course) marrying a virginal looking woman who nevertheless tells her new husband: Your mother told me all about this other woman, blah blah. And then the nasty mother dies (She was the only person in the series whose death did not come at all as a shock. She had pustules on her face which meant either the Black Death or the Red Death, take your pick)

And self doesn’t know why, but she started paying attention from then on, because she really really wanted to know if Medici was going to leave his wife.

Not to mention, the name Brunelleschi kept recurring, and self really liked that Medici’s mistress flirts with him while he is looking at some architectural drawings, and the mistress’s hair is a kind of red that is set off perfectly by her green gown and green dangling earrings.


Anyhoo, she watched all the way until the end (8 episodes) and felt so cheated when it all ends with a grand procession in which Medici is shown looking soulful and torn, and his wife is way back in the procession, self means waaaaay back, and the mistress is shown standing primly to one side with her hands calling attention to a belly that after three months is still as flat as a board, and self ardently wished for more of the series so she could watch more of this triangulation, and actually surmised that the wife might take religious vows and retreat to a convent, while the mistress remains in Medici’s arms and supervises the glory of the Medici name (while giving birth to many children).

She was quite surprised to see that she’d watched eight episodes, back to back (Woo! It helps that it is so cold outside!)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Jamie Dornan, Who Knew?

Since self broke the ice by mentioning Jamie Dornan in her previous post, she’s decided she might as well go whole-hog and discuss the Jamie. Specifically, the Jamie Dornan in “The Fall.”

(She hasn’t seen “Fifty Shades of Grey.” Only seen huge black-and-white photos of Jamie’s back — he has very nice shoulders — on the sides of buildings in London’s South Bank, summer 2015. Which was enough to send her rocketing to the nearest bookstore to purchase a copy of The Grey. Which she ended up giving away to someone because she couldn’t get past the first 10 pages)

Self has just finished watching all the episodes of “The Fall,” Gillian Anderson’s come-back role as a detective. Gillian plays a sexy, high-heel wearing, sultry detective named Stella. Couldn’t be farther from her X-Files character.

In “The Fall,” she deliberately leaves her top dangerously unbuttoned for press interviews, wears nail polish in the killer’s favorite shade of red (Self is not kidding!) and in general behaves in very un-Scully fashion. Which would make the whole thing ludicrous were it not for the fact that — yes, we do want to see Jamie Dornan come out from hiding! We do! We do! We do!

(No spoilers here. The identity of the serial killer is revealed to the viewer from the start. It’s all a matter of when Stella & cohorts will finally be able to put two and two together and catch him before he kills again)

Jamie’s character is named (of all things), Spector. As in Spectator. Get it?

Stella sleeps with everyone — fellow detectives, bosses. Even the young Merlin detective (Self means, the young boy who plays Merlin in the TV series). From this we are expected to infer (Seriously?) that the sexual predator played by Jamie Dornan would find her attractive. But Stella’s sex life is the weakest part of the series, at least it is in self’s humble opinion.

Coming clean, “The Fall” is the first time self has ever enjoyed looking so much at Jamie Dornan’s face. It’s hidden behind a full beard but it’s the emotionally distant look that makes him so, so magnetic.

There’s one moment where he has a victim completely at his mercy, and he removes his face mask. For the first time, the woman sees his face. It’s a very pretty face but it’s such an awful moment because you realize (as does the young woman) that the showing of the face means that he’s not afraid to be ID’d. He’s going to kill her.


Self will say no more. Watch “The Fall” on Netflix. (Was this guy nominated for an Emmy for his performance? Should have been)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.



Watched “Snowpiercer”

Boy oh boy what a disappointment.

She had been so looking forward to seeing it, most of last year.

She ordered it from Netflix streaming yesterday.

And sure, Chris Evans was in it, but it didn’t have to be Chris Evans, it could just have been any guy with a beard, because he was totally camouflaged under crummy grey outfits, for the entire movie.

And the lighting was very dark, which often made it hard for self to distinguish who was who.

Self did get a big kick out of Tilda Swinton as Mason, though. Talk about a unique career trajectory: She broke self’s heart in We Need to Talk About Kevin, she was a great and fearsome angel in Constantine (directed by FLAW — Francis “Hunger Games/Catching Fire” Lawrence). She has just been a consistently interesting actress. Who would have thought? She’s very odd-looking.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Current Netflix: “Before Midnight”

Self was bummed she missed this one when it was showing in theaters.  Thank God for Netflix.  She watched Before Midnight today, and was so mesmerized she couldn’t even get up to get a drink of water.  It was like watching an action film where you know if you look away for even just a few seconds, you’re going to miss some kinetic bit that might knock your socks off.  When was the last time you felt this way about a movie that was ALL TALK?  What an achievement.  Congratulations to Hawke, Delpy and director Richard Linklater.  All the reviews keep describing Before Midnight as the final installment of a trilogy.  Noooo!  Self wants to check in again, 10 years from now, when Hawke and Delpy are in their 50s.  Let’s keep this thing going for a couple more decades?  Surely that’s not too much to ask?

Read the rest of this entry »

Movies Self Most Enjoyed Watching in 2013

Totally self-indulgent post.  Self is not even going to bother to explain.

These are the movies self could stand to see multiple times.

They’re not the best movies of the year, just the ones whose world(s) she found herself wanting to return to, more than once (The list is in alphabetical order, not in order of preference):

  • American Hustle
  • Anchorman 2
  • Boy A (Cheating a bit, because self saw this one on Netflix.  But.  Andrew Garfield.  WOW.  People who know him only as the Hollywood-ized version of himself have no idea.  None.  And it is Too BAD.)
  • Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing
  • Kung Fu Divas (featuring Ai Ai de las Alas, Marian Rivera, and Roderick Paulate) — Saw this one in Bacolod!
  • Nebraska
  • Riddick
  • The Hobbit:  Desolation of Smaug
  • The Hunger Games:  Catching Fire
  • Warm Bodies

*     *     *

Hope for 2014:  Self really, really hopes someone is making or has made a documentary of Typhoon Haiyan and the ongoing debacle in the Philippines.

Most Improved Show:  SNL

Most Surprisingly Sexy Show:  Sleepy Hollow (Just please never give Ichabod Crane a change of clothes.  Self would hate to see his affect dissolve once he gets around to dressing in jeans and T’s like a regular American dude)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

1st Sunday of May (2013)

Blustery winds.  Even, rain.

Watching “Arbitrage.”  That Richard Gere is so smooth.  Self can see why the lovely French mistress is so besotted.  Unfortunately, things do not remain ducky for long, they never do in a thriller. Who wrote this smart screenplay?  Self looks up the information on IMDB.  Oh, the movie was written and directed by a twenty-five-year-old named Nicholas Jarecki.  Imagine that, dear blog readers.  A twenty-five-year-old.  And he not only wrote the screenplay, he directed it.  Way to go, NJ!

Self went to the Menlo Park Farmers Market and bought cherries and nectarines.  When she got home, The Man was gone.  She thought he had taken The Ancient One for a walk, as Bella was not in her customary nest in the kitchen.  But then she heard a noise in the backyard and when she opened the back door, there was Bella!  Wandering forlornly back and forth on the deck!  Oh, come in, sweetie!  Come in!  Self cannot believe this creature is still ambulatory!  She is turning 18 this September!

Then, shortly, The Man walked in.  Turned out he had gone to the Mexican market and bought five lbs. of tripe:  the regular one we usually get, and a thicker kind that he said he wanted to try out.

Pretty soon, this was what was simmering on the stove:

Callos with two kinds of tripe:  a specialty of The Man

Callos with two kinds of tripe: a specialty of The Man

The full name of the dish is Callos Madrileña.  It uses tomato sauce, chickpeas, and chorizo de Bilbao.

Step # 1 is boiling and boiling and boiling.  Step # 2 is this:


Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

The Past Is Still With Us

On the last day of 2012, self:

  • Bought plants from Home Depot.  It was bitterly cold.  The men lining the parking lot, looking anxiously every time self rounded a curve, breathed frost.
  • Watched a bitter, painful movie named “Margaret,” in which a nymphet played by Anna Paquin uses her charm to distract a bus driver who then hits a pedestrian and kills her.  Charming stuff.
  • Tried Five Guys Burgers and Fries, the new burger place next to the Century 20 in downtown Redwood City.  When we entered, there were only two other customers in the place.  But in the next 20 minutes, almost 30 people came, and by the time we left to watch our movie (“The Hobbit” —  the best movie self could possibly have picked to while away the waning hours of the old year.  Which does not mean to say it is a great movie.  But it is the kind of movie that lets you sink completely into the characters.  If you are not fitful.  Like the poor young woman to self’s right, who clearly was there only to accompany her boyfriend, and who kept moving restlessly in her seat)
  • Read further about the desecration of the Parthenon by 18th and 19th century British scavengers (Lord Elgin among the most egregious) in Sharon Waxman’s absorbing Loot:  The Battle Over the Stolen Treasures of the Ancient World. Here’s a fascinating passage, about how the Parthenon marbles, now housed in the British Museum, were scoured white (The originals were “highly colored,” according to “archaeological evidence”) to please a wealthy patron named Lord Duveen:

When Sir Joseph Duveen, a millionaire art dealer, offered to donate money for a new gallery to properly house and display the Parthenon sculptures, the British Museum gratefully accepted.  But Lord Duveen had his own ideas about how the marbles should look.  In step with contemporary standards of beauty, he wanted them whiter . . .  Incredibly, Duveen’s workers were given free access to the marbles.  It was not until September 1938 that the director of the museum, John Forsdyke, passed through the sculpture department and noticed a group of sculptures being cleaned with a number of copper tools and a piece of coarse Carborundum, a hard substance usually used for grinding steel or polishing granite . . .  The effect of the method employed in cleaning the sculptures has been to remove the surface of the marble and to impart to it a smooth white appearance.

Continues Waxman:  “The Duveen Gallery was meant to open in the spring of 1939 . . .  Europe was about to go to war, and when it did the Parthenon sculptures remained out of sight until after the end of World War II.  By the time they reappeared in 1949, few remembered exactly what the sculptures had looked like before being taken from view.”

Then, in 1999, the British Museum, in an attempt to patch relations with Greece, “convened an international seminar on the damage.”  Unfortunately, “the conference further inflamed tensions between British and Greek scholars.  After tense days of discussion, the closing reception was held in the Duveen Gallery, where wine and sandwiches were served.  A museum official invited the scholars — who had been handling greasy sandwiches — to touch the sculptures for themselves, a gesture intended to demonstrate that the patina of the sculptures had not been harmed by the cleaning.  But the gesture had the opposite effect.  The Greek delegation was incensed and stormed out.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Hardy, Renner, In Brief

Today Blog Mistress went to see “The Bourne Legacy.”  And it was a mighty fine movie.  Miiiighty fine.

First of all, Jeremy Renner is the new secret super-secret agent.  His eyes get really big when he is being earnest, which is distracting, but he moves with surprising grace, especially when jumping over rooftops.  There’s poetry in that body, dear blog readers.

Secondly, Rachel Weisz is just so good.  She is beautiful, but one doesn’t think of that when one watches a Rachel Weisz performance.  One thinks of her mind, behind those darting brown eyes.  Yes, she is one hell of an actress.

And now to Hardy.  There were previews —  many previews, of course.  Considering “The Bourne Legacy” has been given so much hoopla.  There was a preview for “This is 40” (Paul Rudd is still sooo handsome!  And Lesley Mann is absolutely a knockout.  Self didn’t know what this movie was about until she saw the title:  “And they think they have problems?” she hissed to The Man.  Who gave an I-agree-with-you kind of snort)

There was also a very exciting preview for “Life of Pi.”  And then something with Shia LeBouef, Guy Pearce, and Tom Hardy!  And Hardy was sporting a very believable American accent!  How did he accomplish that?  The trademark Hardy growling manner of speech is nowhere in evidence.  He must indeed have had a very masterful dialect coach!

And now self is watching “Warrior” (Her Netflix movie:  She’s had it about two months and never found time to watch it).  And, damn!  That Tom Hardy is so hot!  He’s in a scene with ex-drunk and father played by Nick Nolte, and he’s talking about some Deep Dark Shame which happened “over there” (Iraq), and why he changed his name to Riordan, and he is just so full of rage, and his lips are so full, and he has that Keanu Reeves kind of look about his eyes, but crooked lower teeth (Never have your teeth fixed, Tom!  Never, never, never!  And in addition, stay away from Rom-Coms!  Especially the ones that have Reese Witherspoon!  And you would be smart to heed this advice as well, Chris Pine!)

When he throws a bucket of slot machine coins at Nick Nolte, self was just —  awestruck.

And may self just add:  Nick Nolte’s face is as ashen and graven as Mount Rushmore!

And she actually felt like crying!

Even though The Man was walking in and out and wondering why self’s face was so red!  And she hadn’t even had a margarita —  all day!

And, before self parts with dear blog readers for the day, she just has to say that the Bourne Director did a GREAT job shooting chase scenes in the totally chaotic, atmospheric, and fascinating megapolis of Manila!!!  Yes!!!  You go, oh Bourne Director!  Five Stars!  For shooting the best chase scenes in a movie since maybe Bourne # 2!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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