Lean, Mean, Killing Machine

Jason Statham is back in his own star vehicle, Wrath of Man. The man who The New York Times‘s Michiko Kakutani once called a “bullet-headed looker” is back.

You know who else is back? Josh Hartnett. Yup, that’s right, Josh Hartnett, who self hasn’t seen on the big screen since The Faculty (1998!). When not required to be a heartthrob, the guy can act. Self means, really act.

And you know who else is in this movie? Clint Eastwood’s son Scott Eastwood. Who plays the badest badass she’s ever seen in a movie in a while. The kind of bad guy you’d cheer to see vivisected. Good turn, Scott Eastwood! (From certain angles, she swears she almost thought it was Clint)

The final set-piece, self didn’t think she took a breath once. It was all action, and the action had the remorselessness of a yakuza movie. Or of The Raid.

Who is that actor who plays Jason Statham’s son in the movie? Self has never seen him in her life, but he is well cast. She looks him up later — he has that kind of fey quality some British actors have when very young, but the actor turns out to be from OREGON. Big surprise! Turns out Americans are capable of turning out their own fey, young actors. LOL

There is no “closure,” not really.

Self would say she still liked Mortal Kombat better, since Wrath of Man is so unrelentingly grim. But she liked it ever so much more than Here Today, which put her to sleep.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Two Movies Back-to-Back

At the Century 20.

Self liked Voyagers more than Godzilla v. Kong.

Although, Godzilla v. Kong was the first time in forever — mebbe the first time since Road Warrior‘s Feral Kid — that she didn’t find the kid in an action movie annoying, i.e. not just a gratuitous presence. And who knew Rebecca Hall would be good in an action movie? Well, she is. Not that she’s required to do any action scenes, really. But in this type of movie, character takes a back seat to . . . scenario. And she’s able to calibrate her performance so that it’s just the right temperature for this kind of movie.

That is all.

Ch. 13: Twelve Years a Slave

Now, Solomon Northup is working for a crazy master named Epps. This part was adapted in the movie — in fact, the Epps scenes have lingered longest in self’s memory. Could also be because Lupita Nyong’o plays Patsey, the fastest cotton picker on the whole plantation — no, maybe in the whole American South. (The great Sarah Paulson played Mrs. Epps: she killed in the role)

This Epps liked to make his slaves dance, even after they’ve had a long day laboring in the fields. He wanted them to laugh. He wanted Northup to play the fiddle.

Crazy!

Voyage: Slaver Ship, 1841

When in sight of the Bahamas Banks, at a place called Old Point Compass, or the Hole in the Wall, we were becalmed three days. There was scarcely a breath of air. The waters of the gulf presented a singularly white appearance, like lime water.

12 Years a Slave, by Solomon Northup, Chapter Five, p. 39

As I read, I keep seeing Chiwetel Ejiofor.

Bravo, what a performance.

The Expanse, Season Five (Quick Comments, No Spoilers)

A few things about the first three episodes, which dropped Dec. 15 (and which self has already watched twice)

  • Splitting up the characters creates great narrative drive.
  • The scale of this universe is tremendous. Just the scope of the whole production, the ambition and sweep — not even Battlestar Galactica had that.
  • The actor who played Erich, Jacob Mundell, is amazing. Once again, props to whoever casts this series. Can’t imagine any other actor who could play this role. They apparently found Mundell in Chicago.
  • Drummer’s grief over Ashford broke me.
  • Beltalowda is a thing.
  • Absolutely hate Filip, he is trash. Points to the actor who plays him, Jasai Chase Owens.
  • Monica Stuart, as played by Anna Hopkins, is a lot of fun to watch. Wonder why she never makes a pass at Holden, lol. Even just to worm some information out of him. She seemed pretty ruthless, in the books as well.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

YELLOW ROSE: Luminous Acting

Self cannot even begin to tell you how wonderful it was to watch the changing expressions on the face of the movie’s lead, Eva Noblezada (24 playing almost 18 — she pulls it off). And to see that most iconic of Filipino characters — the long-suffering mother — acted with such conviction by Princess Punzalan! Plus, the love story is soooo sweet. Shy glances, low-key companionship. Sold!

The director was Diane Paragas, who also wrote the screenplay, from a story by Andy Bienen.

When she gave her ticket to the ticket guy, he looked down at the ticket and, as he handed it back to self, said, “Good movie.”

See, this is what self loves so much about Century 20: it’s more like a neighborhood movie theater than a multi-plex. The staff here were the ones who told her to see Jojo Rabbit, when she was trying to decide which of the 12 movies showing she should see. What other multi-plex would have staff recommending an indie movie. She rests her case.

A Fine Bromance

Since self is currently reading Fire in the Hole, she’s on a Justified nostalgia kick.

Lookit these two! The hottest dudes on TV for six glorious seasons:

e104a0eda9ca57efc59a4b5ec312cf8776-01-justifed.rhorizontal.w700

Timothy Olyphant as US Marshal Raylan Givens; Walton Goggins as Boyd Crowder

Chemistry between these two was high, every encounter struck sparks.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Elmore Leonard’s “Fire In the Hole”

Self checked out a collection of Elmore Leonard short stories from the Redwood City Public Library early this year. She hasn’t managed to get to it yet. COVID happened, and then self’s mind flew out the window.

This afternoon, while browsing through her stack of “To Read” books, she encountered the Elmore Leonard collection, and immediately turned to the title story.

Opening line:

  • They had dug coal together as young men and then lost touch over the years.

omg!

Justified!

Justified-promo-art-copyright-FX-Networks

Timothy Olyphand and Walton Goggins! Those two actors were born to play Raylan Givens and Boyd Crowder. Did either of the two ever win an Emmy? Did the show itself ever win an Emmy? For the six years of its run, self doesn’t think she ever skipped an episode.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Sentence of the Day: CIBOLA BURN, p. 57

POV: Basia

  • Now their conversations were so careful, it was like the words all had glass bones.

Self has felt, in the last two books, Holden slowly being pushed aside. Holden would be the last person to argue with that. But she can’t help mourning, because he is so earnest and dogged and self feels he deserves better.

It is also frustrating that, so far in Cibola Burn, he and Naomi feel less and less like lovers.

Thinking of Steven Strait, who plays Holden on the TV series. He is the perfect Holden. The earnestness, the willingness to fade into the background, the uncompromising loyalty to his crew, the inherent decency — Strait embodies all of these.

Self has not seen a single one of his movies! He has had steady work, but he was off her radar. Until now.

It appears he was in 10,000 BC, Roland Emmerich’s flame-out. This movie sounds so cheesy, self feels she just has to see it. Imagine casting two beautiful people and then covering them with animal skin and mud, to make them look less beautiful. Why then go to all the trouble of casting people who look like that? Wouldn’t it have been easier to find actors whose faces would look the same, whether or not they were covered in mud? Apologies for the digression.

TV Naomi has a lot of fire! She likes the way Dominique Tipper’s and Strait’s performances play off each other.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

The New Emma

Mr. Knightley is the best. He has always been the best.

Standing in line at the concession stand on a Thursday night for the first Palo Alto screening of the new Emma, self got into spirited discussion with two young women about thoughts of different Emma iterations. “Oh! The Winona Ryder version, so under-rated!”

Self had to think a moment before saying “Christian Bale, right?” Ooh, that was good casting!

“The most under-rated Mr. Knightley is still Paul Rudd,” said a young woman.

That’s right! How could self forget! Clueless! Paul Rudd, what a dreamboat!

“I want Paul Rudd’s skin-care routine,” said another young woman.

“Me, too!” self put in, enthusiastic. “Mr. Knightley’s supposed to have a nude scene in this one.”

“The problem is when they make him too old,” said the young woman.

“Well, remember Johnny Lee Miller? He was GREAT. And THIS one’s a rock singer, too.”

“BBC, right?”

“Right! Romola Garai as Emma!”

That is the most fun self has had in a movie concession stand, EVER.

As to the movie itself. The reason self was madly rushing to the movie, despite her front lawn looking like this:

20200228_120104

was Sheila O’Malley’s review.

After seeing the movie, self doesn’t think Johnny Flynn unseats Johnny Lee Miller. Or Paul Rudd.

Since this is the first time she’s ever seen Johnny Flynn, she can’t tell if he always speaks in that languid drawl, or if he just speaks that way because he’s playing Mr. Knightley. But his eyes speak volumes!

Nevertheless, self was vastly put off by those great, bushy sideburns. And decided forthwith that sideburns are just — a mood-killer.

And the starched cravats slicing into Flynn’s cheekbones, what!

And she was completely shocked that there was no build-up to the nude scene. But was happy to see the actor was slender — i.e., not buff. Which would have been a real slap in the face to Mr. Knightley if he were, in self’s humble opinion.

Stay tuned.

 

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