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:

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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!

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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:

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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.

 

London in I Capture the Castle

Some forward progress, at least! Today self managed to see Bad Boys for Life, and liked it quite a bit, except for the action scenes, which were just your run-of-the-mill, generic action scenes. It was really nice seeing Joe Pantoliano again: he still has that trademark Joe Pantoliano way of delivering lines! And Will Smith is still cool.

She has made it to p. 77 of I Capture the Castle, which self is finding very, very beguiling (even though it couldn’t be more different from her last book: The Goblin Emperor):

It was three years since we had been in London. We never knew it well, of course; yesterday was the first time I ever walked through the City. It was fascinating, especially the stationers’ shops — I could look at stationers’ shops forever and ever. Rose says they are the dullest shops in the world, except, perhaps, butchers’ (I don’t see how you can call butchers’ shops dull; they are too full of horror). We kept getting lost and having to ask policemen, who were all rather playful and fatherly. One of them kindly held up the traffic for us, and a taxi-driver made kissing noises at Rose.

I had hoped the lawyers’ office would be old and dark, with a Dickensy old lawyer; but it was just an ordinary office and we only saw a clerk, who was young, with very sleek hair. He asked if we could find our way to Chelsea by ‘bus.

“No,” said Rose, quickly.

He said, “O.K. Take a taxi.”

I said we were a little short of change. Rose flushed scarlet. He gave her a quick look, then said, “Wait a sec.” — and left us.

He came back with four pounds.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

About the Little Women Movie

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  • The casting was so on point! Though self was initially skeptical, she eventually fell in love with Timothée Chalamet as perpetually lost rich boy Laurie. A scene towards the end, with the youngest sister, Amy, was one of the best in the movie.
  • Amy was always her favorite sister. Why? Who knows. Was it the fact that she always felt left out, that she had artistic ambitions, that no one ever seemed to take her seriously? The actress who plays her has a doll-like appearance BUT (and this is a good thing) a surprisingly deep voice. Also, she has a sharp practicality. Kudos to the screenplay for highlighting this aspect of her character.
  • Loved Laura Dern as Marmee, who has to utter the film’s treacliest lines, but who always brings a dash of spice to her delivery. Even when she says, Girls, we are offering up our Christmas breakfast to a needy family who has nothing, self never thought of saying, You cannot be serious! Dern just brings it.
  • Also loved the merging of timelines — Self has read the book many, many times (at least 10 times) so she was waiting for particular scenes. All the scenes she loved most were in the movie. And she did not think this merging of timelines made the film in the least bit choppy. In fact, everything seemed to work better this way.

Self’s only quibble was that Beth the consumptive did not look consumptive, her face was too round.

But the cinematography, the framing of shots, the way the camera would linger on the actors’ faces and then pull back, all the wide angle shots of houses and fields — lovely.

Details of absolutely no importance: Saoirse Ronan has the longest, slenderest fingers self has ever seen. Timothée Chalamet has the longest eyelashes. The actor who plays John Brooke is gorgeous. Emma Watson looked a little mouse-y (perhaps it was the hair color?). A short clip where Laurie does an exuberant dance (while out on a porch with Jo) looked very 2000-modern and was the only jarring thing in the entire movie.

Self never felt the slightest temptation to nod off (which is happening to her more often, even while she is watching the best movies)

Overall: an enthusiastic 5 stars!

Stay tuned.

Philippa Kelly, Cal Shakes Resident Dramaturg, on MACBETH

Never, ever miss a Cal Shakes Grove Talk. Self has been to a few of these, all delivered by Philippa Kelly, and each is enthralling. Kelly is a superb speaker. She ties in history, puts the play in context, and makes the playgoing experience so rich!

Self learned yesterday that Macbeth was written in 1606.

1606

She was reminded that a boy played Lady Macbeth in Shakespeare’s time. Imagine lines like “Milk my breast” from the lips of a boy! Plus the high voice! Self thought about this while observing Liz Sklar’s performance as Lady Macbeth — that is a powerful role that demands an actor equally powerful. A boy just doesn’t cut it.

This evening, self is reading Kelly’s essay in the program brochure. The essay’s title is Can We Forgive Ourselves?

  • Actions can be imagined; but “if it (is) done when ’tis done,” an action has consequences — and if we are thinking and feeling beings, consequences can’t be ignored.

After listening to Kelly, self saw the play as a true horror story. Macbeth and his wife see ghosts everywhere. At the start of the play, they are young and beautiful. By its end they’ve both been driven round the bend. And it is TRAGIC.

Self realizes she has never, ever seen young Macbeth or Lady Macbeth. Until yesterday. It’s not Romeo and Juliet, but Liz Sklar’s Lady Macbeth is LIT!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Lens Artists Challenge # 65: PICK A PLACE

  • “Each of us at some point has visited a place that holds special memories.” — Lens-Artists Photo Challenge # 65

This was an easy post for self to write. She just got back from attending Cal Shakes’ Macbeth. The Grove Talk by Philippa Kelly, Cal Shakes Resident Dramaturg is a Don’t-Miss.

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Philippa Kelly Giving Her Grove Talk, Before MACBETH

Have been watching plays here every summer since 2001 (Romeo and Juliet: Adam Scott played Romeo).

Tonight’s Macbeth and Lady Macbeth were played by a couple who suddenly put everything into a new light. All hail, Rey Lucas and Liz Sklar, for bringing the sexy back to a play first performed in 1606. These two are the youngest actors self has ever seen play Mr. and Mrs. Spot-on, the casting! For the first time, self understood the heat between the two;  she could see the similarities to film noir. In addition, because self and her party were seated third row from the stage, she could see every change of expression on the actors’ faces; it felt so intimate.

Also, for the first time ever, self heard Macbeth call someone a “whey-face.” lol lol lol

Her one complaint might be that The Weird Sisters were not witchy. Or not witchy enough. Of course self got very excited at hearing the immortal lines: Double double, toil and trouble. She just wishes there were an actual cauldron.

She wonders if there was ever a production where The Weird Sisters were replaced by giant hand puppets. During intermission, she eavesdropped on the people behind her who were describing a performance of Macbeth at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. “There was a big pool of blood right in the center of the stage. And whenever a character did something bloody, they would supply themselves from the pool.”

That, in self’s humble opinion, sounds gimmicky to the extreme.

Philippa Kelly’s pre-show Grove Talk was fascinating — self wished she took notes. It revolved around the unmasking of identity, and how paradoxical it is that when people remark that “someone has changed” it usually means that the person’s true identity is finally being unmasked and undone.

Gregory also made self aware of the fact that the first actor to play Lady Macbeth was a boy, because back then women were banned from taking roles in the theater.  Women’s parts were played by boys whose voices hadn’t yet broken. Has there even been a modern staging of Macbeth where they use a boy for Lady Macbeth? She thinks not, but it would certainly give the play a whole new spin.

P.S. The Bruns Amphitheater was FREEZING and self needed to rent blankets. Her lips got totally chapped and her hands were frozen. For some reason, all self had on was a denim jacket and a scarf.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Visualizing Anna Karenina

Self saw the Joe Wright movie and felt it was ludicrous, especially the scene with the dueling tongues. None of which is Keira Knightley’s fault.

Here’s a photo of actress Vivien Leigh, who more closely resembles the image of Anna that self has in her mind:

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Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

On the Basis of Sex

Self didn’t expect much from this movie, the line was a surprise:

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Palo Alto Square, the day after Christmas 2018

The film is so, so good. The whole gender conflict thing is dynamic, not just “a cause.” It becomes real because of the relationship between Ginsburg and her husband. And the two leads definitely get it. They sell the male domination thing Ginsburg rails against, again and again. There is rage, but it’s never a polemic, it’s rooted in the experience of the marriage. We feel the injustice precisely because of the tenderness between Marty and Ruth.

Honestly, self doesn’t know if any other pair of actors could pull off what these two do here. It’s fine, fine work. And she did not expect it from Armie Hammer and Felicity Jones.

She thinks she finally understands the reason for Armie’s recent string of successful movies: it’s his irony. His awareness that yes, he’s good-looking, but there’s a wryness, a core affability, about him. Can you imagine someone else playing Mr. Mom? It could have been super-cheesy. She likes his willingness to not just pretend he’s an entitled white male, but to BE that entitled white male (which we all know he is, in real life, anyway: The Armand Hammer Museum in UCLA is named after his grandfather or great-grandfather), and here he is wearing an apron, feeding the baby, cooking and chopping. Droll.

Self thinks he’s going to be perfect playing that smug prick Maxim de Winter, in the re-make of Rebecca.

What a smart film On the Basis of Sex is. Self liked it better than the documentary she saw earlier this year, The Real RBG. A documentary gives us the facts. But this movie allows us to watch the relationship and see how it actually went down, in everyday life.

BTW, Sam Waterston gets only a few scenes, but each one of them is key.

Kudos, Director Mimi Leder. Self hopes this movie is nominated for a Best Picture Oscar. She hopes Felicity Jones gets nominated for her performance. Armie, too.

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Directly in front of me, lots of people: Wednesday, 26 December 2018

Stay tuned.

 

 

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