TENET on a Wide Screen

If any movie was going to lure self back to the cine-plex, it was Tenet. The buzz about it was ridiculous. She went to first screening today.

Tenet is a gorgeous-looking movie. That opening sequence was pretty audacious. Think anarchy at a classical music concert. People stomping on violins etc. GULP. Trills of recognition: similar scenes on the TV news every night. Not as dramatic as stomping on violins, but the same feeling of dread.

Our first sight of John David Washington is after a character says “Wake the Americans” (LOL) John David Washington cracks open his eyes. Is there anyone in the world at this moment who gives more intense side-eye than John David Washington? Don’t think so. All thanks to Denzel, not only for his amazing ouevre, but for his amazing genes. As for who smolders better, Denzel or his son, after Tenet self has to say, definitely JDW. Denzel can do other things better (like Shakespeare), but his son has super-sexy smouldering eyes!

Do not ask self about the plot. Do not even go there. A Christopher Nolan movie has to be experienced, not analyzed. Also, how great do these men look in suits? Self likes the fey affect of Pattinson: great foil to JDW. She wonders how he will do Batman. He has a good jaw, which means he’ll look great in the Bat-mask. But, self digresses.

MILD SPOILERS

Self did object to the tired damsel-in-distress-as-a-way-of-cracking-villain-inside-circle thing (and btw, if you’re going to use that trope, why not commit, why not have the woman fall madly in love with JDW, why the reticence?) Second, Kenneth Branagh doing the older husband/villain: he seriously has to do that role again?

But the action sequences — especially the opening scene, and a pincer move in the end: one set of soldiers moving forward, the other moving backwards — don’t ask self to explain, seeing it on wide-screen was WILD!

There were empty rows ahead and behind her, maybe 10 people tops in the audience. No one talking, much less coughing or sneezing. She felt safe. More social distancing than at her local grocery, for sure.

Just to feel normal for one afternoon: so worth it.

She enjoyed the previews (there were about 10, which might seem a tad excessive, but just to show you how long it’s been, self did not mind one bit. In fact, they could have showed 15 previews, all self would have said was: Thank you). The trailer for Dune was whew! Scorching! It had Jason Momoa and Dave Bautista!

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Dracarys!

Dracarys! Dracarys! So bored with Dracarys but whatever, there’s another episode tomorrow, self’s attitude is somewhat tepid. Meh?

This morning, in front of Paradiso, there was a man (who looked exactly like a hippy, even though this is Cork) holding up a sign that said FREE HUGS. It was ADORABLE. There were people actually enthusiastically hugging each other. And self was so slow grabbing her camera that she got nothing.

Anyhoo, back to Game of Thrones. This is a penultimate episode — YES! Who knew that self is almost regretting how much time she had to spend to: a) sign up for HBO Now; b) un-sign-up for HBO Now when she found out it didn’t work in England; c) sign up for Sky TV; d) find out how VPN works (Honestly, before she left the States, she had no idea what VPN was)

She has not yet managed to finish watching Episode 4. It is really, really hard to watch,  ESPECIALLY the Brienne/Jamie hook-up which generates NO HEAT WHATSOEVER. Also it is hard to watch Joe Dempsie doing probably the worst acting of his life (Who is that he’s pretending to be? That’s not Gendry! Just an HBO construct! He might be off the show now — except for maybe five seconds in the finale. He might be luckier than Arya, though. SHE has to keep up that stone-cold assassin act all the way to the bitter end. And, girl, you’re doing yourself no favors by suddenly assuming the mantle of Savior of All Mankind. Just look at what happened to Emilia Clarke. Being a Messiah really interferes with a performance)

A Forbes writer was saying something about how easy it was for Euron to kill a dragon, all he had to do was aim his “magical giant ballista” at “a measly dragon” and self does agree that it is pretty ludicrous, twice as ludicrous because it’s EURON and all he does is chew up scenery. It would have been better to have CERSEI aim the “magical giant ballista” but the script has her everlastingly stuck on a stone balcony, bringing her A+ sneer game.

Self will watch the opening credits. If it doesn’t have a particular name, YAWN she won’t bother watching.

Stay tuned.

Tomb Raider: Just Okay

This is not a masterpiece. It’s not, even, that much fun. Alicia Vikander’s body is rippling with muscle so that’s certainly an improvement over Angelina Jolie’s (The trouble with Jolie as Lara Croft is that she’s very top-heavy and it gets in the way. Seriously). But Dominic West, poor Dominic West, is so wasted.

Here are a few positives:

  • That ripped body of Vikander’s
  • Walton Goggins having a stellar moment in every action/fantasy movie of the past few years (He was in the final Maze Runner movie, which self would rank higher than this one)
  • There is an Asian man who is kind and also has a ripped bod (Never seen this actor before. Googled. Welcome to the world, Daniel Wu!)
  • Solving puzzles is always fun. Though self did get a little lost when people were tossing all kinds of colored crystals at Lara Croft while balancing on their toes at the edges of a room with a crumbling stone floor.

Was there music? Self can’t remember. Too bad. A score can do so much for a movie.

What was that fox race through London? She doesn’t get the point, but loved that she saw a section of Tottenham Road, which she knows intimately: Hanway Alley (where her favorite London restaurant, Chez Nous, is) is just off Tottenham. Moreover, Vikander does a great job as a biker. She has that look of determination, and looks great in capris and bike helmet.

The guy who plays spoiled brat/murder suspect ‘Silver Smile’ in TNT’s The Alienist has a bit part!

Good Lord, she would never place this on the same level as The Last of the Mohicans, even if just for comparison, which critic Matt Zoller Seitz did in his review for RogerEbert.com. The Last of the Mohicans was a masterpiece! It was directed by Michael Mann, at the height of his powers! It starred Daniel Day-Lewis, at the height of his powers. (No, let’s re-phrase that: with Daniel Day-Lewis, there is no such thing as ‘height of his powers.’ Because he is still bringing it all the time! Just watch Phantom Thread!)! It introduced Wes Studi to the world!

Every time Vikander sailed through the air, self was reminded of the Fassbender move in 300. Which he executed so well that now, every action movie has to show its heroes and heroines doing the exact same move, at least once. It’s getting to be a thing! Vikander does it so many times in Tomb Raider that she even out-Fassbenders Fassbender.

Self found Tomb Raider a by-the-numbers thriller, which is to say it was not a thrill ride.

She was so excited, though, to see a preview of John Boyega’s Star Wars movie.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Maze Runner: Death Cure

So excellent. Self can’t even. The best wrap-up to a YA series ever.

Three out of four stars.

Self knows of what she speaks: she’s a big fan of YA.

Just to show you this movie went beyond, self cried at the end. You’d think she was watching The Time-Traveler’s Wife, not Maze Runner.

There were a lot of high-powered actors in the cast: Patricia Clarkson, Aiden Gillen, Barry Pepper, Walton Goggins (sporting truly disgusting facial make-up: five stars!), Thomas Brodie-Sangster. Half the time self kept wondering when Woody Harrelson was going to show up. Self loves it when a YA action movie is way better than anyone has a reasonable right to expect.

The only thing that bothered self about the movie (Almost 2 1/2 hours long, and the time just flew by!) was that every time Aiden Gillen was on-screen, she kept thinking: Littlefinger! There is one scene in which Gillen stares creepily at Teresa (Kaya Scodelario) and it reminded her so much of all the times on Game of Thrones when Littlefinger is perv-ing on Sansa.

Movie’s best moment? In her humble opinion, when Min Ho gets up in Teresa’s face and yells: TRAITOR! So cathartic.

P.S. There was a preview for Jurassic World. Bryce Dallas Howard is truly growing into a Jessica Chastain-level beauty. In fact, for a moment that’s who self thought she was watching

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Not a Review of Game of Thrones Season 7 Episode 4

SPOILER ALERT, NOTHING TOO MAJOR

Unless you’re a Gendry fan.

In which case, self will say this: Go sell your stock on the Gendry train. It’s just not happening. Even a wee preview, with a two-second shot of a dark-haired someone being thrown to the floor, turns out to be of Podrick.

PODRICK?

Yes, innocent-faced Podrick, the delight of whores.

A Podrick sighting means a Brienne sighting will not be far behind!

What else?

Cersei and Jamie are in bed together. Naked. Someone knocks on the door and Jamie says Don’t but — really? Jamie? Isn’t it time to get past your reticence? After all, everyone knows (self read this part in a spoiler, so she knew Cersei wouldn’t bother hiding Jamie or anything). Repeat after self: EVERYONE KNOWS.

The one surprise (i.e., not mentioned on reddit) was that the knock on the door was delivered by a maiden. A pretty young maiden. Who has exactly the same kind of haircut as Cersei. lol

There was Melisandre standing on a very picturesque cliff, being her cryptic self. Talking to Varys. Which was quite a good scene. More of these two? Alas, Mel is leaving for Volaris. So, no more of these two.

Very brief glimpse of Greyworm’s face, in a helmet.

Much chewing of scenery by Cersei and Euron, followed by much blank, disconcerted staring by Jamie.

Ellaria Sand, oh Ellaria Sand. Self believes the episode belongs to her. Trying so hard to get to her cub Tyene. It’s a wonder she didn’t end up wrenching her arms out of their sockets.

Things could be worse. Tyene could have been handed over to The Mountain.

Thank the gods for small mercies.

There is a wee, infinitesimally wee preview of Episode 4. Dark-haired man being slammed to the ground threw Twitter into a frenzy last night. But, really, why did showrunners bother casting two men who look so much alike? Why not just combine their storylines, have Gendry and Podrick be twins or something.

Every time viewers see Podrick, they are reminded of his iconic scene with the whores. Even though, every season since then, he is never shown being with a woman. It is all just a big tease.

Mebbe Podrick should hook up with Brienne? With Sansa? With Arya? With Melisandre? With — Heaven forbid — Cersei? Or Dany?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

“American Sniper”

Just saw American Sniper.

You know what? Just go ahead and nominate everybody: Bradley, Clint, even Sienna. Particularly Sienna. Honest, self did not recognize her at all. In the movie she’s thin and colt-ish and might even be a stand-in for Michelle Monaghan. It’s the best self has ever seen her.

SPOILER ALERT!

Oh Clint. She hates your movies generally. They’ve been mostly “message” movies, in the past decade. This one was good, though. She’s so glad the movie included the manner of Kyle’s eventual demise. Mother of all ironies.

Self’s favorite line in the movie was uttered by a bit actor (The same tall dude who’s a colleague of Simon Baker in The Mentalist, the one who’s having a relationship with the sexy redhead. For the life of her, self can’t remember his name). Here’s the line (There is profanity — ha!)

Right side. Damn. Legend. FUCK.

That’s because Kyle just took out an enemy sniper and gave away the SEAL’s position, and the back-up units are still 20 minutes away. Can you imagine if the commander had instead said something like:

You gave away our position, meathead!

or

You’re going to be court-martialed for this! I don’t care if you’re a so-called ‘legend’.

or

You went against a direct order! You think you have all the answers?

And who is that guy who plays a buddy of Kyle’s in the SEAL unit? With his helmet on, he’s a dead ringer for a young Peter Sarsgaard. With his helmet off, not so much. But self loved his insouciant affect.

And Bradley. What can self say? He deserved that Oscar nomination, man! Self was skeptical when it was first announced he’d be playing the lead role, but — that focus! That intensity! That reluctance to “emote”!

She doesn’t have a TV in Mendocino. Alas, she wishes she could camp out in someone’s living room for the night.

BTW, self caught the preview for Mad Max: Fury Road. Hardy, Theron, Hoult. Oh, self can hardly wait.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Movie Quote of the Day: Saturday, 22nd of November (2014)

From Carla Meyer of the Sacramento Bee:

Team Peeta members will be disappointed that Hutcherson, who is such a reassuring presence in these movies, appears infrequently in “Part 1.” Hemsworth appears more often. But not only is Gale the less compelling love interest, Liam is the less compelling Hemsworth brother.

Speaking of Hemsworth brothers, yesterday, at Palo Alto Square off Page Mill Road, self watched Eddie Redmayne play Stephen Hawking in “The Theory of Everything.” His performance was very, very good.

Before “The Theory of Everything” began, there were six previews, two of which featured People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive, Chris Hemsworth.

In Preview # 1 Chris Hemsworth is a raw sailor on a whaling ship (The movie of course is In the Heart of the Sea, Ron Howard’s attempt to channel Peter Weir, which to self appears an unwinnable task LOL), and in Preview # 2 he plays a hacker. With the casting of Hemsworth in the latter movie, hackers of the world have with one stroke been elevated to the sexy. Bravo!

The final question is: Who is James Marsh?

She knows he directed “The Theory of Everything,” but who is he really?  Has he directed other movies that self has already scene? Indubitably. Good thing self has time on her hands today, Saturday. And it is raining. So she can spend time on the internet doing research on this fellow.

Stay tuned.

 

“Gone Girl”

Ludicrous.

Self can’t even.

Just.

Self has no words.

In the end, self was not the only one laughing.

David Fincher, shame on you!

Self still likes Rosamund Pike, though. Did the poor thing think she was in a serious drama? Because it became pretty hard to distinguish between the cheese and the drama, by the end.  Self almost choked on her scarf, she was laughing so hard.

SPOILER ALERT

This is a teensy tiny question but self has to ask it anyway: Why, at the end, after it has been determined that poor Amy has been the victim of a sado-masochistic creep (played of course to cheesy perfection by Neil Patrick Harris), after she’s been examined in the hospital and placed in a wheelchair — why is she allowed to give a televised conference, without any attempt to clean the thick layers of blood swathing her throat? What self-respecting hospital would allow a person to walk around still caked in buckets of dried blood? Allow her, in fact, to go home in that condition? And why, after arriving home, does this alleged rape victim walk out of her car — the wheelchair only went as far as the hospital driveway, apparently — and enter her house completely unaided? She’s not just walking, either — she’s gliding. Actually, gliding. Shoulders back like a queen!  Since Amy’s just gotten the media to swallow a line about her being used and abused, seeing her walk that way is just a little bit much.

Just saying.

And another thing:  that “Fifty Shades of Gray” preview? Self adores Dakota Johnson. But the guy — self could not suppress a feeling of chagrin at the thought of how well Charlie Hunnam (of Sons of Anarchy) would have filled that suit, and how he would have looked, smoldering at Dakota Johnson from across a desk.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

3rd Friday of January (2014): Also Reading DIVERGENT, by Veronica Roth

Oh, what a busy busy bee self is!

She is constantly reading.  Right now, student pieces.  As well as In the Shadow of Man, by Jane Goodall.  As well as science fiction, like Divergent.

Divergent is all about how people make the choice to be one thing.  So far, the people in the book belong to:  1)  Abnegation (the heroine’s mother and older brother) or 2) Candor (the people who demand your seat on the bus).

Wait a minute, isn’t this supposed to be the future?  Why are there still buses?  And why do the buses sound so much like one of those Samtrans buses which pass in front of self’s house x number of times a day?

Divergent, p. 3:

The bus stinks of exhaust.  Every time it hits a patch of uneven pavement, it jostles me from side to side, even though I’m gripping the seat to keep myself still.

My older brother, Caleb, stands in the aisle, holding a railing above his head to keep himself steady.  We don’t look alike.  He has my father’s dark hair and hooked nose and my mother’s green eyes and dimpled cheeks.  When he was younger, that collection of features looked strange, but now it suits him.  If he wasn’t Abnegation, I’m sure the girls at school would stare at him.

In the preview (the film’s coming in March), you have a handsome young man tell Shailene Woodley something like:  “I don’t only want to be brave.  Or generous.  Or loyal.  I want to be all of those things.”  Every time self hears the line, she just wants to bust out laughing.  Yes. Of course.  Brave, generous, and loyal are extremely desirable qualities, so why limit oneself to just one of those???  Self agrees completely with the plaintive questioner. Because it just isn’t fair!

In the meantime, self can’t quit wondering about who gets to be:

  • Malicious
  • Murderous
  • Envious
  • Slothful
  • Disrespectful
  • Cowardly

etc etc etc?  Or have bad qualities been banned in the world of the future?  Guess she’ll have to read further to find out.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

“Riddick” vs. “Star Trek: Into Darkness”

The money piled onto J. J. Abrams’ lap for the sequel to the first “Star Trek” re-boot did us no favors.

What happens when Hollywood plies a talented director with money?  It’s rather hard not to resist piling on the special effects, like a little boy who is suddenly given too much candy.  Result:  less human story.

Which is sad!  “Into Darkness” opened with a pointless chase scene on a planet over-run by natives (When oh when will Hollywood ever get over the need to fetishize alien cultures by portraying them as mud-slathered savages) and had Spock suiting up in a suit that looked like something from a New York Fashion Week catwalk.  Ridiculous!  Spock should always be in uniform, at least the first sight of him should be.  He is the most cerebral character in the world.  No, we do not want to see him in action mode.  We want to see him snuggling up to Bambi!  Er, to Uhura!

On to discussion of “Riddick,” which is the second sequel to “Pitch Black.”

“Pitch Black” was a very inventive movie.  It had a “look.”

The first sequel, “Chronicles of Riddick,” was also gorgeous to look at.  Thandy Newton and Karl Urban had opportunity to wear the most fabulous costumes.  It also had Judi Dench floating around like a cloud, but her costume unfortunately was limited to white, vaguely Biblical attire.

Now to the sequel to the sequel, “Riddick.”

“Riddick” was on a much leaner budget than “Star Trek: Into Darkness” (naturally, since “Chronicles of Riddick” was a dud — in fact, self considers it a miracle of tenacity that “Riddick” was made at all) and the first half is pure theater.  Unfortunately, one cannot have Vin Diesel alone for an entire movie.  He has to engage in human interaction at some point, and self thinks it was extremely witty to have him, first, calling the hunters to him (as one of the mercs later says:  “He called a taxi”) by self-identifying and beaming out to the universe his presence on a planet we know only as “Not Furya.”  Naturally, this bit of chutzpah calls forth every two-bit merc in the vicinity, and we soon have two groups battling each other for the honor of putting Riddick’s head in a box.

And then there’s Katee Sackhoff who appears with the second group of mercs and keeps referring to the leader as “Boss,” which is interesting as she seems very “no-nonsense” and “take-charge” and calling someone “Boss” even though he actually IS a boss seems antithetical to the character.  But anyhoo.

Because of a rather limited budget, what happens is the characters never get off-planet.  This is great!  This is wonderful!

There is much macho posturing.  Also great!

There is an extended bathing scene involving Sackhoff, which reveals that this woman has quite a sultry figure (not apparent in “Battlestar Galactica,” the TV series which brought her recognition), and that her hairdo really sets off her neck and shoulders very nicely.  Super great!

After this bath scene (In the future, every movie and TV show should feature a bath scene, like the pivotal one in “Game of Thrones” Season 3 Episode 5), Riddick can be forgiven for — Heavens! — actually FLIRTING with Dahl.

Flirting is wonderful.  Especially in the middle of a David Twohy film.

All in all, “Riddick” gave self quite a pleasurable two hours.  Also because it was preceded by a preview for Keanu’s new movie, “47 Ronin,” which caused self’s jaw to drop all the way to the floor (The awesomeness of lines like:  “THEIR armies are infinite. And we are . . . 47 ronin!”)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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