Actually a Very Good Question

Self has been browsing movie reviews, and binge-watching Ripper Street, and tweeting with fans about it, and beginning yet another fan fiction, which she needs like a hole in the head, but this one’s irresistible, this one’s got a Really Really Dark Peeta, a Peeta who just might be a murderer! Like Jack the Ripper! . . . Sorry! Back to the reason for this post.

From Critic After Dark’s review of The Shallows (which self saw aaaaages ago, at the start of the summer — feels like a lifetime!) starring Blake Lively, whose legs are so on point self can’t even:

Then of course death crashes the party in the form of a humpback whale carcass. Clever way to account for the Great White cruising nearby (otherwise it’s a bit of a puzzler why the shark — which habituates the waters of California, Northeast United States, South Africa and Australia — is hanging around a Mexican beach) but also raises a whole other question: why forego this tasty, properly wet-aged all-you-can-eat buffet of rich blubber and tender meat for a bony surfer who would hardly make up a satisfying snack?

In answer to which self wishes she could insert a hundred “shrug” emojis!

And self  has a question of her own for reviewer Noel Vera: How does he know the carcass is that of a humpback whale? Because it literally is half gone. So there is no possible way to determine whether it really does have a humped back. Har, har, har! Sorry, self just couldn’t resist making a lame joke.

Self will close with a list of the summer 2016 movies she most enjoyed:

  • The Shallows
  • Captain America: Civil War
  • Our Kind of Traitor
  • Café Society
  • Love & Friendship
  • Ghostbusters
  • Bad Moms

Oh, summer. Self can’t believe it’s almost over.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Café Society: Angst, But No Meltdown

Live every day like it’s your last, and one day you’ll be right.

— a character in Woody Allen’s Café Society

Why do Woody Allen’s recent movies end like that?

Why do they just seem to stop — as if the director realized he was running out of time and it would take at least an hour to untangle the mess he’s thrown his characters into but uh-oh, he doesn’t have the time or the budget so, rather than compromise with a manufactured ending, he just stops.

Sometimes, he can get away with it, but not here. No, no, no. Self refuses to accept that this ending “works.”

About the performances: Jesse Eisenberg, it’s almost a physical transformation. Is the actor really that skinny, that stooped, that — plain?

Kristen Stewart — not nearly as convincing as the California object of men’s desires. J-Law could have done this part, in her sleep. And she would have nailed it, too.

Blake Lively — her part was sooo under-written but she did her best with the little she was given.

Steve Carell — okay, you were good. So good that self hated you. Almost all the way through.

And Corey Stoll — Self knows. Corey who? But, what a performance. Scary and convincing. Watch for it.

Cinematography — aced. The settings were so beautifully framed, in almost every shot.

More later.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Fandango & Rotten Tomatoes Disagree Over “Suicide Squad”

Since self is so confused by the Rotten on Rotten Tomatoes and the 4 1/2 stars on Fandango, she goes straight to rogerebert.com.

It’s massive, messy, and noisy. And it stinks.

She notices Joel Kinnaman is in the cast. She almost forgot because of all the attention Margot Robbie was getting.

Then she feels sad because she remembers Kinnaman was with Mireille Enos in the dark detective series The Killing. And she really, really liked him there.

She heard over the grapevine that Suicide Squad advocates (Who?) are so incensed by the movie’s low rating on Rotten Tomatoes that they’re calling for the shut-down of the website.

Really?

Too funny.

Wow, is it really going to get down to that?

This is going to be fun.

Which reminds her: Aubrey Plaza is a great and witty actress but she is used so poorly in Mike & Dave Need Wedding Dates that self can’t even. It’s really crass, but crass in a way that made her feel sorry for Plaza. (Anna Kendrick’s in the movie, too, but there is a little more respect shown for her character. Mebbe because she’s a bigger star?)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Partners 2: Summer 2016

Share an image of partners. A pair, a trio, a sextet; people, buildings, plants — whatever you choose to shoot, give us subjects that are in tune with one another.

— Michelle W., The Daily Post

Life is full of little pleasures. And for self’s second post on The Daily Post theme this week, PARTNERS, self decided to focus on three of her favorites: summer; prosciutto; and Chez Mamie in London!

ArroyoGrandeVillageJune2016

Summer and Vintage Cars go together like white on rice!

DSCN1689

Prosciutto and Melon: Another Great Summer Pairing

DSCN0814

Mother & Daughter at Self’s Little Piece of Home in London, Chez Mamie! They make their own jam, which are those little bottles in the foreground. Self goes ga-ga over their salads.

P.S. Self saw Independence Day: Resurgence today, and it was pretty good! She was pleasantly surprised at Liam Hemsworth, too. He seemed much looser than he ever was in The Hunger Games movies. So, a good popcorn movie, most definitely.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Random Thoughts on Summer 2016 Movies

SUMMER!  SUMMER IS HERE!  WOOT HOOT AND HIGH FIVES!

Self swore, way back in January, that she would find joy again in watching movies. And she has! She has! Even when she was in venerable Oxford, UK, she managed to watch “X-Men: Apocalypse” and “Captain America: Civil War”! (Which is probably why she ran out of time before she could drop by the Ashmolean. But she is not a complete Philistine: she did spend time in the Bodleian, and took a one-day poetry workshop at Saint Hilde’s)

So, let’s see, here are the list of summer movies she’s seen so far:

  • Me Before You (Emilia Clarke meets Bridget Jones: Clarke is too adorable!)
  • The Shallows (Blake Lively and her cute butt and her long legs and her killer smile meet a totally focused great white in the wilds of — Latin America? Mexico? Where the pretty Texan encounters very chivalrous men. The only un-chivalrous man who comes within Blake’s orbit gets . . . umm, well, let’s just say: Payback’s a bitch)
  • Love & Friendship (Xavier Samuels: What is her life? AAAARGH. When you put a handsome man in period duds, it’s lights out. At least, as far as self is concerned)
  • X-Men: Apocalypse (Let us give credit where credit is due: the only reason self watches anymore is Evan Peters)
  • Captain America: Civil War (American snark rules! Especially in this series! YES!)

She will probably end up seeing Independence Day: Resurgence even though it has Liam. And mediocre reviews (Liam, you need a new agent! Pronto! Someone who can find you movies that convince people you can actually move!)

Of the above, the best ‘summer movie’ movie is, in self’s humble opinion, The Shallows. Any movie that can evoke hoots, laughter, and finally a triumphant YEEEES from a California audience has definitely earned its spot in the Best Summer Movie pantheon.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Whit Stillman’s “Love & Friendship”

Self has two words, only two words to describe the movie. And those are:

Xavier Samuels

Holy moly, the guy is perfectly cast as Reginald De Courcy, a confused yet decent young man who becomes the romantic target of a beautiful and conniving widow played by Kate Beckinsale.

As Samuel plays this smitten young nobleman, you can’t take your eyes off him. And yes, self writes this knowing that Kate Beckinsale is right there, sharing most of his scenes.

Chloe Sevigny is also great in her role as the straight-faced, American confidant of Kate Beckinsale’s Lady Susan. Never once does her mask slip. The only thing “not British” about her is her accent — which is strange, not flat-out American, but certainly keeps us guessing. She shows generous dollops of bosom, in contrast to Lady Susan’s very slender form. And that’s another way in which this movie is sly: just having these two actresses stand side by side, Stillman ensures that the viewer’s eye is always engaged, always parsing, always differentiating. Whew! This is no stuffy period film!

As self walked out of the movie theatre, she overheard a young woman telling her companion: “They’re jabbing at each other right and left, all with salon manners and smiles.”

Yes! That is exactly the point the movie was trying to get across! And kudos that the message came through so clearly.

Self must own up to having confused Xavier Samuel with Matt Czuchry of The Good Wife. They do look somewhat similar. Here’s Matt, also delicious.

Next up: “Me Before You,” featuring Sam Claflin (Finnick! You’re alive!) and Emilia Clark (first big role post-GOT)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

“Captain America: Civil War” Review by Noel Vera

The guy doesn’t know she exists but she’s been linking to him for ages.

Self really likes Critic After Dark’s reviews. He is Filipino, BTW. Like self.

Presently, Trump is in America and self is in London and it is Sunday. What does self think of doing? She thinks of wandering to a movie theatre on Tottenham Court Road and watching “Captain America: Civil War.” (Self! All those museums await! The Tate Modern, The Imperial War Museum, The Wallace Collection! Nevertheless, if a movie is what she wants, a movie she will get)

This is a summer movie if she ever saw one. Summer movies and self are like white on rice.

The Critic After Dark review:

Calling brothers Anthony and Joe Russo’s Captain America: Civil War the best superhero movie to date is, I feel, a bit much. It limps along more nimbly than the rest of Marvel’s profit-animated undead, is a huge improvement over such joyless efforts as the Thor or Wolverine movies, is a quantum leap in quality over Snyder’s multimillion-dollar super-powered cow flop — but saying all that is like saying you didn’t feel like flinging your 32-oz. soda at the screen and bashing your head repeatedly on the theatre’s concrete floor; we’re talking extremely low bar here.

Another thing self might do is stalk Miss Honeywell.

Miss Honeywell is a brave Everlark fan fic writer (author of, among other delights, First We Feast, in which Katniss’s car breaks down in an isolated rural area, she gets picked up by tow truck drivet Peeta, and after multiple side-eyes, he kidnaps her and brings her to a creepy forest where — DUN DUN DUN)

Anyhoo, self is pretty sure Miss Honeywell is English. She says “petrol station” instead of gasoline station, and she says stuff like “Hang on” instead of “Just a minute.” Self is sure these are convincing arguments for believing Miss Honeywell is English.

She is English, therefore she must live in London. See the syllogism? See self’s absolutely marvelous powers of deduction?

There is nothing more self would love than to meet Miss Honeywell in person. But just thinking of stalking her is giving self a headache. She could also sit in bed and do nothing. All day. Pretend she’s on vacation. Walk to the British Museum, endure another long line, go for the chocolate chip cookies in the main lobby. London is sooooo full of choices!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Quote of the Day: Jason Bourne

Matt is back! Self is ecstatic! She loves the Bourne movies. Better even than the Daniel Craig/James Bond movies.

And Matt is reuniting with the film’d Director, Paul Greengrass. YAY!

Today she saw the trailer, and in voice-over Bourne says: “Just because I remember everything doesn’t mean I know anything.” Or is it Julia Stiles’ character who tells Bourne: “Just because you remember everything doesn’t mean you know anything”? Not sure now.

Ha! Nice line, though.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Quote of the Day: Anthony Lane Reviews “Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation”

It honestly doesn’t feel like summer because usually, in summer, self watches a movie a week.

Anyhoo, she wants to see “Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation.”

Browsing the web for reviews, she finds one by Anthony Lane, movie critic for The New Yorker.

As usual, he lands a zinger in his very first sentence:

  • How impossible can a mission be, if it is successfully completed five times?

Hoo Hoo Ha Ha!

She will never forget what Lane wrote (20 years ago?) about the movie “Speed”:

  • When I first heard the plot of “Speed,” I did not stop laughing for a week.

Back to the current article: Lane also reviews James Ponsoldt’s “The End of the Tour,” about Infinite Jest author David Foster Wallace. This movie features Jason Segel (as DFW), Jesse Eisenberg as a reporter chronicling a book tour, and Joan Cusack as a tour escort and self really, really wants to see it.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Women in Heels

Self is short.

Short. Short. Short. Short.

Granted, short is not a disease.

Nevertheless.

On the question of heels. Last week, went to the Victoria & Albert Museum, lined up to pay 12 GBP to see exhibit on footwear called, if self remembers correctly: Shoes:  Pleasure & Pain.

Fabulous Chihuly: In the Lobby of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London

Fabulous Chihuly: In the Lobby of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London

The torture aspect was, in self’s humble opinion, very de-emphasized. Self has seen more torturous shoes (including one fabulous pair with moss growing on the heels) in Greenwich Village in New York City.

And now to “Jurassic World,” which self has not seen, but which seems to have triggered some very strong audience reaction to Bryce Dallas Howard’s choice of footwear. It seems she keeps the heels on, throughout the movie.

Now, let self ponder this a moment.

Self has seen, in Italy, women running flat out for a bus in the highest, stiletto-heeled shoes imaginable. They look great. Also, super-powerful.

She has watched episodes of “Sex and the City” in which Sarah Jessica Parker, post-baby, runs flat out down a New York avenue in Jimmy Choos.

Let’s not forget Jodie Foster in Spike Lee’s Inside Man, the one where she plays an oh-so-smooth New York lawyer representing the Rich Bad Guy who profited from the theft of Jewish assets during World War II. Self thinks that if she had a lawyer who wore four-inch heels as confidently as Jodie Foster’s character does (and Jodie’s legs are the best legs self has seen on film since — since — the woman in Brian De Palma’s Dressed To Kill), she would rest easy in the conviction that she would win all her cases.

On the other hand, there is always an exception to the rule. Exhibit A: Paula Patton, who in the most memorable scene in Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (one of the sequels, the one shot in Dubai), kicks off her heels, leaves on the powder-blue shift dress, and FIGHTS. Really FIGHTS. Afterwards, she sits chatting with her group, all men. She remains barefoot, but still wearing that fabulous dress. The only indication that she’s been IN a fight (because, ya know, she’s as cool as a cucumber. Or at least her character is. She has antagonists like Lea Seydoux for breakfast. Honestly) are her bare feet.

And now we arrive at Bryce Dallas Howard, who in side-note self must say is one of the most unusually interesting-looking actresses working today.  Because her character, Clare, never takes off her shoes, we are left to debate the fine points of female fashion choices. Self means: Is it rational to keep on the heels when one is being chased by a velociraptor?

Self can think of many reasons why Clare would choose to keep wearing her shoes: (1) Jungle floors are slimy; (2) She does not have hiking boots in her closet, or even in her desk drawer at work, or even under her desk in her office at work.

A guest post by Lesley Holmes on clothesonfilm makes the point: “I think the makers of Jurassic world believed that showing a woman capable of running in heels was the same as showing us a capable woman . . . ” Of course! This is a very old Hollywood trope, just about as old as the idea of the director auteur (born with Citizen Kane, which means — a long long time ago). If you want to know how powerful a woman character is, just look at what she’s wearing on her feet, for God’s sake!

Self would just like to say that while she was in line in the women’s restroom at the Gielgud Theatre, during the intermission for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, self engaged a young woman in conversation, and then expressed admiration for her shoes. They looked just like the Sam Edelmans self bought last year in California, but this woman’s shoes were flats. The young woman looked at self regretfully and said, “They’re super-painful. See?” She slipped her right foot out of her shoe and there, plain as day, was the beginning of a blister. Aaargh! The things self sees in women’s restrooms! Which is neither here nor there. But it brought home the lesson that flats are just as capable of giving a woman blisters as are Manolo Blahniks or Jimmy Choos.

Self realizes that she herself has very little to say about the wearing of high heels, but in Hollywood, the woman who wears the highest heels is usually the most powerful woman on the block. She’s just saying.

Stay tuned.

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