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.
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.
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.
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.
Can self just tell you how much she loved Melissa McCarthy in “Spy”?
When she thinks back to “Bridesmaids,” she is amazed at how McCarthy has flowered.
And self does mean flowered.
“Spy” is a most hilarious movie, BTW. Self was laughing almost continuously throughout.
Casting Jude Law? Priceless, simply priceless. The movie had lots of satiric fun with him (and he’s looking pretty fine in this film). He is the perfect foil to Melissa McCarthy. The moment when he hands her a cupcake gew-gaw — OMG, he’s such an ass! Such an unbelievable ass! Self can’t even.
Rose Byrne does reprise of “Bridesmaids” role — this time, saying things like:
“What a stupid fucking retarded toast. You’re delightful.”
As always, her sense of timing is absolutely impeccable.
Melissa McCarthy gets to employ maximum sarcasm during their exchanges:
“Oh, God, Rayna, thank God your hair broke your fall.”
Not to mention the rest of the supporting cast: Jason Statham, Rose Byrne, Bobby Canavale, Allison Janey.
Something about self’s mood today — she feels extremely argumentative. Ornery. So, take the following with a grain of salt, dear blog readers.
Self likes Luc Besson.
She really does.
She can never forget that Besson gave us the glorious Annie Parillaud in “La Femme Nikita.”
And Scarjo is one phenomenal actress.
And beautiful, too.
But “Lucy” is just one more in that long line of sub-genres that are little more than titillating flirtations with feminine degradation.
Like what happened to Noomi Rapace in “Prometheus”? You will like “Lucy.”
Like how the “Kill Bill” movies are one long revenge fantasy enacted by statuesque Uma Thurman?
You might like “Lucy” (though Besson and Tarantino are light years apart — that is, in terms of cinematic wit)
And what was that movie Kathryn Bigelow did with Ralph Fiennes, “Strange Days,” the one where you put on these special glasses, and while you’re raping a woman you can experience HER fear, which heightens your pleasure? The one that had Juliette Lewis’s skateboarding Goth waif bonding with pervert played by (typecast) Tom Sizemore?
MAJOR SPOILER ALERT!
One of the most painful scenes in “Lucy” was the one where Scarjo, having been kicked so many times in the stomach, starts crawling up the walls (literally). That was creepy and grotesque, as if science fiction was melding with Kafka. Might Scarjo actually turn into a bug? At one point, she grabs her long chain (she is chained to the wall) and runs full tilt — into, presumably, a wall. But mercifully, we are not actually treated to the glorious sight of a beautiful woman’s face slamming against stone. Mercifully, there is a cut right here. Next time we see Scarjo, she appears quite composed, with no external disfigurement other than a cut lip.
There is something self likes about “Lucy,” though.
Scarjo acquires a craggy-faced sidekick, a French investigator/cop(?) called del Rio. Now, that guy, though not conventionally handsome, is actually quite a find.
Today, self was where she usually is in the summer: watching a movie!
Her face is so familiar to all the concession stand people at the downtown Redwood City Century 20 that she regularly gets asked: “So what movie are we seeing today?” And then she gets to hear what they think, if they’ve seen the movie already.
Today, self got to see Paul Haggis’s new movie, “Third Person,” and it is seamless and complex and lovely and moody. It focuses on odd couples. The woman who most aroused self’s sympathy was the woman played by Mila Kunis. Having said that, James Franco gives such a wicked and sly performance, as her ex-husband. He projects such smugness, with just a glance. His partner, a beautiful, long-legged French gazelle, is the third leg of a triangle, and she also delivers a performance that is complex and moving. In fact, all the actors in this movie were at the top of their game (well, maybe not Liam Neeson, who gets by on looking worried, all of the time)
Now, self has been weeding her Pile of Stuff of unnecessary materials. She has so much catch-up reading to do!
One of the back issues self picks up is The New York Review of Books of May 22, 2014.There’s a review by Masha Gessen of a translation of one of Dovlatov’s works: Pushkin Hills. Gessen quotes another Russian emigré writer, Joseph Brodsky, who says of Sergei Dovlatov:
His stories rest primarily on the rhythm of the sentence; the cadence of the narrative voice. They are written like poems: the plot is secondary, it is but a pretext for speech. It is song rather than storytelling.
Self wonders how Dovlatov could have escaped her notice until now.
Another excellent review is by Michael Gorra, on Starting Over: Stories by Elizabeth Spencer. Spencer wrote The Light in the Piazza, which has such an audacious plot self is sure that Spenser, if having to pitch to a publishing house today, would never be signed on.
Another of the reviews that stood out is Francine Prose’s review of Emma Donoghue’s latest, Frog Music.
Self is currently reading Richard Price’s Lush Life. She hopes she can do a better job of finishing it than she did with Jhumpa Lahiri’s short story collection, Unaccustomed Earth. Self kept obsessively going back over the first page of Unaccustomed Earth because of course the writing is lovely. If only it wasn’t so stately and dolorous. She got about halfway through it.
Oh, fan fiction. You have self on pins and needles all the time. All the time.
The Fourth of July weekend is coming up. On the Monday following (July 7), self sails off to Squaw Valley for the Writers Conference. She just arranged to share a ride with someone from Benicia. Excited!
This afternoon, self casts a very cursory look over the summer movie offerings. She still wants to see “22 Jump Street”, though The Man saw it while she was in Los Angeles and declared it not good at all.
She still wants to see “How to Train Your Dragon 2,” as she loved the first one.
She’s seen “Edge of Tomorrow.” Oh, that was good! Emily Blunt is packin’. It is so great when an actress with proven dramatic chops switches gears. Blunt’s Full Metal Bitch deserves a place on the pantheon of Female Action Stars — maybe not quite on the level of Femme Nikita or Ripley, but definitely equal to Scarjo’s Black Widow.
She still wants to see “The Fault in Our Stars.” Son and Jennie saw it and liked it, though Jennie maintained that the book was better.
She saw “Maleficent” down in Pasadena, with Son and Jennie. 3 1/2 out of 4 stars. Self found Jolie’s razor-sharp cheekbones a tad distracting. So was her lightning-fast change into leather pants in the movie’s climactic confrontation.
“X-Men: Days of Future Past” — four out of four stars! Magnificent! Love the Vietnamese-talking Mystique! Love J-Law/Mystique in 70s bo-ho hippie attire! Love unrequited angst between J-Law/Mystique and McAvoy/Xavier and also with Hoult/Beast, and the jealous macho-ness of Fassbender/Magneto! Not to mention, Ellen Page is one darn cute actress! She hasn’t been this cute since “Juno”!