Game of Thrones, Season 7 Episode 2: Minutiae, As Usual

If you still haven’t seen Season 7 Episode 2, then obviously SPOILER ALERT

Gendry did not show his lovely face, but almost every second of screen time was a reminder. D & D love messing with us! Just cut it out, you two!

Here’s a list of times when self couldn’t help thinking of The Last Baratheon:

  • Dragonstone war room. Many, many things happened in this room. Such as: Stannis. Such as Stannis and Melisandre on the map table. Such as Gendry’s first meeting with his uncle Stannis grabbing his face and saying, “Half Robert and half lowborn.” Remember poor Gendry’s look of bewilderment?
  • Melisandre. She took Gendry from Arya! We will never forget the leeches. Never.
  • The conversation between Dany and Varys: Almost every sentence had the word Baratheon in it. This has got to be foreshadowing, right? Since both Cersei and Danys seemed to sneer every time they made reference to King Robert, self thinks Gendry is pretty smart to stay out of sight and under the radar. Keep rowing, Gendry!
  • Not only was the word Baratheon sprinkled liberally throughout the convo, Varys also brought up his concern for the common people. And we all know Gendry is a commoner. (Varys knows about Gendry! Oh my Lord! Mebbe he is Gendry’s Secret Protector!)
  • Cersei going with Qyburn to the crypts where he unveils a fantastic dragon-killing machine, forged by “the finest blacksmiths.” You say blacksmith, self thinks Gendry!
  • Arya bumping into Hot Pie. The missing member of this threesome was very much in the room, even though neither Arya nor Hot Pie ever mentioned his name.
  • Someone tracking Arya in the woods. That could be Gendry! He’s hiding behind a tree, observing Arya (100% wishful thinking. Again.) Self wonders if Hot Pie and Gendry ever get to share a scene; mebbe Hot Pie brings up the fact that he’d just seen Arya?

Moving on.

Wins:

  • That sea battle was so kickass!
  • Yara. Just, more Yara. Yara putting her legs on the table. That moment when she realizes all is lost, and gets a really determined look on her face. Gemma Whalen is fanta-ma-tas-tic! Self knows this because she has seen Gemma in RL and she is such an itty bitty thing. This actress projects huge.
  • Olenna Tyrell, always a scene stealer.
  • Varys. Loved his conversation with Dany.
  • Cersei. Lena Headey, you are such a queen!
  • Jon almost strangling Littlefinger. More!
  • Hot Pie. Good at any time, but especially good at dropping Easter Eggs.
  • Theon abandoning ship. It is so perfectly in character. Plus, his backstory (and continuing evolution) is fascinating.

Fails:

  • Ser Jorah. Just got itchy looking at him. Fast forward over the “cure.” You’ll know it’s over when Sam stops retching.
  • Surprisingly, the absolute bulk of Nymeria. She looked like she’d wandered in from a Ray Harryhausen movie.
  • Euron’s grand entrance. Hey, this isn’t Scaramouche!

Meh:

  • Missandei/Grey Worm. She just can’t get excited about these two. Although Grey Worm is pretty fabulous, especially from the back. Three cheers for D & D, finally showing us what the character’s hiding beneath all that armour.
  • Tyene Sands’ long hair. This character is going to die, and all self could think was: Why did she decide to grow out her hair? Somehow, self can’t get past it.

In closing, self would just like to say that the reddit user who, a few weeks ago, posted a blow-by-blow of Season 7 (since taken down) was correct in every little plot detail. Here’s what he said about Gendry’s return: it happens in Episode 5. And Arya and Gendry don’t meet until the final episode of Season 7.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Three Days, Three Movies

Self has been so starved for movies.

In a prevous life, she’d be in her local cine-plex every other day.

The past couple of years, though, unless she feels really driven, she’ll go months without seeing a movie.

Here are some of the ways she shows her movie geek street cred:

Oxford, UK: She gave up seeing the Ashmolean in favor of watching Captain America (In all fairness, the movie theatre was so conveniently situated: just across from Gloucester Green)

London: She walked — walked — in full summer heat, from Russell Square to Shaftesbury Avenue, simply to watch X-Men in the Odeon.

Fort Bragg, CA: She went during a lull in a storm. The movie? Kingsmen, with Colin Firth. When she came out of the movie, the wind was blowing flat out. Self thought she was going to be swept into the ocean.

Now, in the past four days, she has seen three movies:

  • Band Aid
  • Beatriz at Dinner
  • Wonder Woman

Sorry to say, she nearly fell asleep during the action sequences at the end of Wonder Woman. But woke right up again when she saw, in the closing credits, the name of her friend’s daughter:

DIRECTED BY PATTY JENKINS

Of the movies she’s seen so far this summer, her favorite would be Beatriz at Dinner. For Connie Britton and John Lithgow’s performances.

Today, she’s going to see The Book of Henry, even though it hasn’t gotten good reviews. She loves Naomi Watts, even though she’s been so under-used by Hollywood lately.

A long time ago, self met a Mills College student at one of her San Francisco readings. Chatting with the young woman after the reading, the student revealed she made money by working part-time as an exotic dancer. And self happened to mention how much she liked Naomi Watts (What’s the connection to exotic dancing? Nothing), and the young woman said even though Watts had turned 40, if the young woman were a man, she’d definitely consider her hot.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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

“Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead” (2007): Sidney Lumet’s Last Movie

Philip Seymour Hoffman plays Andy, a plump, middle-aged real-estate wheeler/dealer whose world comes crashing down on him in a very big way, after he has the genius idea of knocking off his parents’ mom-and-pop jewelry store in a Westchester mall (It’s like Fargo, only twice as painful):

Andy to his brother Hank (Ethan Hawke):

  • It’s too late to think. It’s too late.

Also, Seymour Hoffman’s character is a cocaine addict. Watching him do a line is gut-wrenching.

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Noir City: San Francisco’s 15th Annual Film Noir Festival, at the Castro

Stay tuned.

Matt Zoller Seitz Reviews “Love & Friendship” (Another of Self’s Favorite Movies of 2016)

Really nice review. Read it in http://www.rogerebert.com.

Kudos to Director Whit Stillman, lead Kate Beckinsale, and Xavier Samuel, who plays the man Beckinsale’s character sets her sights on.

  • “Love & Friendship feels like it was inevitable. The director Whit Stillman adapting Jane Austen is one of those ideas that sounds like it’s made up because it’s so perfect, like Wes Anderson announcing that he’s going to make an animated film about foxes based on a book by Roald Dahl.”
  • “Stillman’s films are comedies of manners . . .  the more brazen or ambitious characters run roughshod over people who have, well, manners.”
  • The main character, Susan, “is distinguished by her audacity, not just in her wants and desires but in the way she talks to other people, turning subtext into text in a way most people would not do unless the person they were talking about was in another room, or another state. But they’re standing right there! And they can’t get their minds around how staggeringly rude and entitled Susan is — most of all Reginald, who’s played with great precision by Samuel as a decent man who is so stunned by Susan’s nerve that he can barely bring himself to reprimand her: he’s too busy marveling at her existence.”

In addition, self is looking forward to seeing the following films, hopefully in the next few weeks:

  • Jim Jarmusch’s Paterson
  • Paul Verhoeven’s Elle
  • Denzel Washington’s adaptation of August Wilson’s Fences
  • Kenneth Lonergan’s Manchester by the Sea
  • Disney’s Moana

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

One of Self’s Favorite Movies of 2016

“Hell or High Water.”

In that movie, Chris Pine had such a mournful, thin frame. He looked extraordinary. Perhaps he and Casey Affleck are evolving the same laconic style. But there was so much he was able to express in just the way he stood.

And the other thing: Ben Foster. Yeah, him. Mr. Intensity.

When self last saw Ben Foster, he was in that coast guard movie, “The Finest Hours” (also with Chris Pine), looking overweight but fitting the part so perfectly. Here, Foster’s more like self remembers him being from other movies: runty-looking yet powerful.

In perfect opposition to Pine and Foster, another stellar pair: Jeff Bridges and his dour, heartbreaking deputy, played by Gil Birmingham.

Right now, everyone’s talking Casey Affleck and “Manchester by the Sea”, which self has not yet seen. But let’s not forget: there were four great performances in “Hell or High Water.” Let’s not forget.

Also, there is a restaurant scene that rivals Jack Nicholson’s Hold the Chicken scene in “Five Easy Pieces.”

A waitress runs down a list of choices with Jeff Bridges and his deputy. She finally ends up saying, “What don’t you want?”

Here’s a crucial scene from the movie:

“Momma died.”

“When?”

“Two weeks.”

“Well, good riddance. (Pause) No offense.”

(Sigh) That dialogue. Perfection.

Stay tuned.

A. V. Club Review: PASSENGERS

As a committed Everlark fan fiction writer, self still hasn’t gotten over J-Law.

But the fandom is up in arms over Passengers.

Do dear blog readers know that there are a number of Hollywood screenplay writers who write Everlark? For fun?

Neither did self, until the rumbling about Passengers started.

First, there was a tremor over the photoshopping of Lawrence’s eyes in the promo posters.

Next, the trailers.

And finally, the screenplay. Apparently, Lawrence’s status as a feminist is strained to the utmost in this movie, where she is presented as a kind of trophy for Chris Pratt. There are, of course, worse things in life than becoming the trophy/girlfriend of Chris Pratt, but Lawrence surely deserved more than just to play that role.

This is a kick-ass woman, Hollywood! Self things she’s moved past the girlfriend roles.

From A. V. Club:

A spaceship malfunction wakes up Jim Preston (Chris Pratt) 90 years early “and he’s now doomed to live out the rest of his life surrounded by sushi bars and infinity pools, but not a single human companion.”

Unbeknownst to all (or maybe not unbeknownst to all!), Jim has developed an obsession with one of the sleeping passengers, of course a gorgeous blonde (played by Jennifer Lawrence) named Aurora. But, just so you know J-Law’s character is no bimbo, the script has her playing a journalist.

Preston “deliberately wakes her up early so he has someone to talk to.” (I’ll bet!) He then “proceeds to present an innocent face to his new friend/captive and to charm/manipulate her into” a “sexual relationship.”

As Yoda himself might say at this point: The ICK factor is high in this one.

Passengers becomes —  Barbarella???!!

Jane Fonda played Barbarella and she was good in the role.

Lawrence cannot play this role because, no matter how high the hot-ness factor, that gaze of hers is just too knowing, too capable of pinning a man to the floor.

So, who could play this role as space girlfriend? Someone curvy, since this is a male fantasy movie. Scarjo, perhaps? Margot Robbie? Or that woman in the TV series Quantico?

But there is a problem here because Lawrence for the life of her cannot play anything but shrewd. That’s just who she is. And whatever role she plays, big or small, the hugeness of the Lawrence bullshit-detector cannot be hidden, much less effaced. So it is really, really asking a lot of the audience to swallow the fact that one of the shrewdest actresses in movies today is playing someone who cannot read through a man’s intentions. Especially since the screenplay has her playing a journalist. And surely it doesn’t take a journalist, or even a whole village of journalists, to deduce that Jim Preston has an ulterior motive in waking Aurora up early? Because why wake up a journalist in outer space? Wouldn’t it make more sense to wake up an engineer? Wouldn’t it make more sense to have J-Law play an android? Space ship + woken up early + by Chris Pratt = yes, do go there.

Who wrote this?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Guardian’s Top 50 (U.S. Released) Films of 2016 — Up to No. 9

They have a separate list for UK films, and right now self doesn’t have time to compare the two. So here are the Guardian’s Top 50 U.S. Released Films of 2016 (Up to No. 9, “The Handmaiden.” The entire list gets posted on Dec. 16).

Self is posting the list in reverse order: meaning, #50 first.

She put asterisks next to the movies she’s seen.

She walked out of “Nocturnal Animals.” She could probably have watched Armie Hammer’s turn as an ultra-detached husband, forever. But the violence, especially in those Texas scenes, was too much, even for self’s normally iron-clad stomach. Not only was it too much, it was predictable. From the moment the bored daughter gives a car of yahoos the finger, she knew what was going to happen. First of all, the father (played by Jake Gyllenhaal) reminded her of a type. The middle-class clueless type. Which impression was only reinforced with every passing second of the unfolding scene.

As for “Fantastic Beasts” — Eddie Redmayne seemed to be channeling Stephen Hawking, but this time with the use of all limbs. Sorry. There was no charisma. Which self cannot believe she just said. About Eddie Redmayne. Who is usually so damn cute.

There are several documentaries in the below list. Which self will have to hunt up on Netflix.

  • Deepwater Horizon
  • The Neon Demon
  • 10 Cloverfield Lane *
  • Fences
  • The Clan
  • The Jungle Book
  • The Eagle Huntress
  • Hail, Caesar!
  • Wiener Dog
  • The Witch
  • I, Daniel Blake
  • High-Rise
  • Hunt for the Wilderpeople
  • Cemetery of Splendour
  • From Afar
  • Everybody Wants Some!
  • The Light Between Oceans
  • Embrace of Serpent
  • Zootopia
  • Sing Street
  • Chronic
  • The Childhood of a Leader
  • Dheepan
  • Green Room
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them*
  • Tale of Tales
  • Deadpool*
  • Things To Come
  • 20th Century Women
  • American Honey
  • Doctor Strange*
  • Hell Or High Water*
  • The Lobster*
  • Paterson
  • Our Little Sister
  • The Club
  • Loving
  • Nocturnal Animals*
  • Manchester by the Sea
  • Sausage Party
  • Weiner
  • The Handmaiden

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

RELAX: Daily Post Photo Challenge, 2 December 2016

This week’s Photo Challenge — RELAX — is perfect, just perfect!

We all need to relaaaaaax. Especially after the kind of elections we just had.

Three relaxing things self got to enjoy in 2016 (Can you believe it’s almost 2017? Time flies!)

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Relaxed in Capitola, CA

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Relaxed in Ferrycarrig, County Wexford, Ireland

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Old Blind Dogs Performing in Fort Bragg, CA in March 2016

“Hell Or High Water”: Brilliance

For weeks, self had been wanting to see this movie. Why? First of all, Ben Foster doesn’t make that many movies. But every time she stumbles across a Ben Foster performance, no matter how small the supporting role, she’s noticed him. Admired what he brings to every part. Especially his eyes!

So, come on, you’ve probably seen the trailer and read the rave reviews. And self had been trying to see it for weeks. Weeks. So, finally, today, she succeeded in her quest. And, dear blog readers, her verdict:

FAN-TA-MA-TAS-TIC

She could see the legacy of Fargo and the Coen Brothers all over it. At least, in the first third or so. As the movie continued, she realized the director (who she’d never heard of before) was of a more melancholy bent.

She can’t say enough about the chemistry between the two leads, and even about the chemistry between the two supporting leads. Actually, this movie isn’t just about money and bad fortune and how when bad luck hits, it hits you from all directions.

It’s also about a kind of manliness that is perfectly embodied in Chris Pine. There are several shots of him with his back to the camera, and self swears: even his back is acting. His back, his shoulders, his legs. Chris Pine, who knew?

MILD SPOILER. JUST MAKING SURE. THERE ARE NO REGRETS.

Her favorite scene in the movie is not, however, one with Pine. It’s a scene with Jeff Bridges and a walk-on. A walk-on whose presence is so, so grounding that self will never forget his lines:

“You look pretty winded, you ought to let me take the shot. That’s my gun.”

“Not on your life.”

There’s also another scene — involving a waitress — that recalls Jack Nicholson’s “Hold the Chicken” ordering-in-a-restaurant scene in Five Easy Pieces for scratch-your-head befuddlement. Self was in absolute stitches. Watch for it.

Brilliance. Just brilliance.

Stay tuned.

 

 

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