We Have Just Bombed Syria!

And The New York Times wrote a drippy article which made it seem as if Trump was such a humanitarian for doing so! He did it to stop chemical gas attacks on innocent civilians, you understand.

Since I’m still recovering from the whiplash of a CNN pundit (Zakaria) announcing that Trump appears to be “growing into” his Presidential role, I will dispense with the “self” point of view and go into a list of celebrity interviews that were ticked off by Hadley Freeman in her Style column in The Guardian of 21 March 2017 (I clipped it out; it was so entertaining).

In it, she cites some glaring differences in interview styles between men and women who do celebrity interviews.

Exhibit # 1: Rich Cohen interviews Margot Robbie for Vanity Fair, and puts in “She can be sexy and composed … ” never mind the rest of the sentence. The fact is he put in “sexy” and I don’t know if that’s a thing with male interviewers or what but if I interviewed, say, Tom Hardy, and called him “sexy” everyone would call me a cougar.

Exhibit # 2: Taffy Brodesser-Akner’s interview of Tom Hiddleston for US GQ in which “she teased out his private-school shallowness.” I like! I make a decision to search out this interview. (I’m so hyper today! I already looked up and read the entire interview — all right, I admit, I find Tom Hiddleston attractive! I think it’s okay to say that. He looks grrrreat in a brown suit. Just sayin’.)

Exhibit # 3: Anna Peele’s interview of Miles Teller in US Esquire “in which she unforgettably skewered his pretentiousness.” Another interview I decide I must search out.

Ms. Freeman points out that there “is something vaguely prostitutional about” doing a celebrity interview: “there you are, the journalist/client, demanding this far more beautiful person simulate intimacy with you for an hour.”

Okay, I like this woman.

One big difference between English journalists (i.e. Hadley Freeman) and US journalists is that Ms. Freeman gets commonly asked if she slept with any of her interviewees (I am shocked! So shocked at that question! But I do want to hear Ms. Freeman’s answer. I expect absolute candor!) and her answer is NO.

Other celebrity interviewees listed in the article: Paul Rudd, Idris Elba, Selena Gomez, Alicia Silverstone, Scarlett Johansson.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Daily Beast’s Best Movies (Thus Far) of 2014, with Commentary From Self

This time, no pussyfooting around (what, self wonders, is the origin of that word ‘pussyfooting’?), self will go directly to the list she stumbled across today, on The Daily Beast.

The Best Movies of 2014 (So Far):

  1. Boyhood, directed by Richard Linklater.  Wow, self has heard such great things about this movie.  Read Sheila O’Malley’s dissection/praise of it, here.
  2. Snowpiercer, directed by South Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-Ho and starring, of all people, CHRIS EVANS!  Frickin’ hot Captain America!  It is science fiction, it is the year 2031, it is dystopian (Pardon self’s french:  Dystopian is fast becoming the most-overused word in the movie reviewer’s lexicon)
  3. The Grand Budapest Hotel, directed of course by Wes Anderson and featuring not one but TWO pairs of bedroom eyes (Fiennes and Brody’s) and the best birthmark ever to appear in a supporting role in a movie — wait, didn’t this movie come out last year?  Nevertheless.  Self liked it.  Onwards!
  4. The Raid 2, the first truly kick-ass action movie from Asia in a long, long time, and it’s from Indonesia.  Self missed the sequel, but the first one was pulse-poundingly great.  The first one was FIVE STARS!
  5. Ida, directed by Pawel Pawlikowski, and of course Polish. Set in 1960s Poland etc. Next!
  6. Only Lovers Left Alive, directed by Jim Jarmusch:  A vampire movie!  Directed by His Fabulousness!  And starring Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton!  Sold!
  7. Manakamana, directed by Stephanie Spray and Pacho Velez:  a documentary about various enlightenment seekers who make the pilgrimage to Nepal’s Manakamana temple.  Self wants to see it.  She may end up wanting to make the pilgrimage herself.  But pilgrimages never quite come out the way self expects.  She’s got the requisite curiosity, and that in spades, but travel tends to bring out the cynic in her.
  8. The Immigrant, directed by James Gray:  Starring — oh no! — Joaquin Phoenix, an actor who has singularly failed to arouse even one iota of interest in self, not even when he played Johnny Cash and self ended up ferrying Niece G and a whole car full of Stanford freshmen to the Redwood City Bayshore Cinema to see Walk the Line.  But why oh why is he paired with the lovely Marion Cotillard, an actress whose performance in that whale movie, Rust and Bone, the one where she played a whale trainer who loses her legs in a horrific accident in a Seaworld-like theme park, turned self into a sobbing mess for exactly three months — wow, this is a tough one.  Jury’s still out on this one.
  9. Begin Again, directed by John Carney.  Self saw this just yesterday.  Of its inclusion in this list she can thus unequivocally say:  YES! YES! YES! At first it would seem a most unlikely choice for one of The Daily Beast’s Best Movies (Thus Far) of 2014, because let’s just say Keira Knightley as a twee British singer who is done wrong by a self-absorbed boyfriend played by People’s Most Beautiful Person of 2013, Maroon Five front man Adam Levine, is not exactly what one automatically thinks of as “Best Movie” material, but what the hoo, self bit down her reservations and she ended up loving Mark Ruffalo’s performance (which was only to be expected), and she loved Keira Knightley’s performance, and she loved Hailee Seinfeld’s performance, and she even loved Adam Levine’s performance, and the only so-so performance came surprisingly from an actress self normally admires, Catherine Keener.
  10. Palo Alto, directed by Gia Coppola (granddaughter of Francis Ford), and based on the short story collection by that flake (who also happens to be a surprisingly good actor) James Franco.  She is so tired of Franco’s ubiquitous talent, but yes she did indeed browse through this collection when she first saw it in Kepler’s, last year.  And — self hates you, James Franco!  Because the stories were quite good!  Aaaargh!  And self loves Mia Wasiwokska.  Ever since she saw her in Cary Fukunaga’s Jane Eyre, and The Kids Are All Right.
  11. Life Itself, a documentary by Steve James, about the late great Roger Ebert.  Of course self will see it.  Of course.
  12. Neighbors, by Nicholas Forgetting Sarah Marshall Stoller.  Self somehow missed this one when it came to the local cineplex.  But she likes the premise.  She even likes the cast (Rogen, Rose Byrne, the younger Franco, and Zac E)
  13. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, directed by Matt Felicity Reeves:  Oh yes, this was the movie self saw just the day before she saw Begin Again (Yes, self is quite a movie nut) and it was definitely great.  Any movie in which the apes outshine Jason Clarke and Keri Russell is indisputably great.  Kudos to Jason Clarke for not acting too hard.  He has a real, shambling, laid-back charm.  BTW, Keri Russell has very toned arms.  Self found the sight of them a tad distracting.  Because the actress obviously had to have put in many, many gym hours in order to get arms like those.  And self wasn’t sure this was something Russell’s movie character might have done. (Anyone have the same reaction?  Self, why must you always be such a nitpicker!)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.





Self Watches “Thor: The Dark World”

The typhoon that hit the Philippines was a body blow.  Honestly, there are times when self thinks she should board the next plane.

Oh, what to do, what to do, other than stuff her face with pistachios (Self definitely is a nervous eater) and feel her jeans get tighter and tighter?

Today, self decided to watch “Thor: The Dark World.”  Even though Eric Snider only gave it a “C-” and belittled everything, even the adorable Kat Dennings (Kat is way more amusing to watch than almost any other young actress today.  That includes Natalie Portman, her co-star).

Chris Hemsworth is very easy on the eyes (She remembered reading some interview with Tom Hiddleston, who said he’d initially auditioned for the part of Thor, but didn’t envy the enormous amounts Chris had to eat just to keep up that physique!).  She actually likes him in the role.

Anthony Hopkins is a very erudite Odin.

Renee Russo plays Thor’s mom.  She is still beautiful.

But, niceties out of the way, let’s get to the nitty-gritty:  Tom Hiddleston as Loki is soooo fabulous!

Sorry, sorry, she knows this is stupid and superficial.  But he has such — gravitas.  Even when he is smirking, his eyes smoulder.

Okay, self, that’s enough!  Was it not true that you gave in to the totally gratuitous urge to munch on oatmeal raisin cookies (which your waistline certainly did not need)?  You steeled yourself to eat only one (They come in sets of three), but to keep yourself awake during the scenes where red stuff is coming out of Natalie Portman, you began munching away.  It got to the point where you honestly thought you couldn’t breathe:  not only were your pants very very tight at that point, but you were sitting in the wrong position. But you couldn’t tear your eyes away whenever Loki was on-screen, and he is on-screen almost as much as Thor (thank God)

As a result of all that, after getting home, self decided she would forgo dinner.  But The Man came home in a bad mood, and self started doing ridiculous things in the kitchen.  Like balancing a plate on the top of her head and saying “Yoo-hoo, hubby, look at me!”  Honestly, she doesn’t know what she’ll do in Miami next week.  That’s where she and The Man have decided to go, to use the two free airline tickets his company gave The Man, almost a year ago.  But The Man has things he wants to do, and self has to continue teaching on-line.  She just hopes the hotel room isn’t stocked with potato chips and candy bars.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.


Some Thoughts on Kenneth Branagh’s “Thor”

Kenneth Branagh has a sense of humor.  Yes, indeed he does.

Self thought the actor who played Loki had just the right “fey” kind of look, plus his British accent made him sound prissy and malevolent (which is probably the reason why so many Brits collect paychecks from Hollywood movies, by playing bad guys.)  She doesn’t think a full-on Aussie accent (even coming from a guy as massive and physically imposing as Chris Hemsworth) would be able to project quite the same level of malice.  If you don’t believe self, try saying “You’re toast” in an Aussie accent, and then try saying it with your best emulation of a British accent.  See what self means?

Natalie Portman’s voice was not irritating.  And her size was perfect, because then Chris Hemsworth simply towered over her, which only added to his character’s aura of invincibility.  In the future, Natalie Portman should be cast opposite all Marvel super-heroes.  If not Portman, then some actress of similar petite (Portman, self heard, is 5’2″) proportions.  Pretty is not absolutely essential, but pretty would help.

Chris Hemsworth is ripped!  Ripped!  Ripped!

Stelan Skarsgard father of “True Blood” hottie Alexander Skarsgard, is in this movie!  The last time he played a pivotal role in a movie like this —  i.e., purely popcorn fare —  was in “Deep Blue Sea,” the movie that had probably the funniest Samuel L. Jackson speech, this side of “Pulp Fiction.”

The movie had quite a few scenes that were funny.  There were no scenes in which the audience stared and said, “Huh?”

The preview for “Conan the Barbarian” looked fantastic.  The guy cast as Conan looked completely nondescript —  someone on the level of Favio, only with a snarl.

Chris Evans in the preview for “Captain America” looked hilarious —  Self means, of course, in the Tiny Man Mode.

The theater in the downtown Redwood City Century 20 was packed, this movie is apparently a hit.

Why was Jeremy Renner in it for two minutes?  Couldn’t Branagh have brought the archer back for some entertainingly tense repartee with the God of Thunder?  Or with Portman’s Jane?

The girl who played Darcy, Portman’s sidekick, exhibited a real flair for comic, deadpan delivery.  Most of the laughs in the movie were hers.  This actress (Kat Dennings) does “American Nerd” very well indeed.  Next time, she should be cast as the female lead in some super-hero movie.  She is too good an actress to be stuck in a role where the closest she gets to a leading man’s lips is an offer to perform CPR.

All in all, this was a very entertaining movie.  There was wit and intelligence behind it (and this was even before self found out who directed it).  The only thing that disappointed her was the mechanical thing-a-ma-jig that creates the bridge to earth, or whatever you call it.  She didn’t think Valhalla should be subjected to such mechanical contraptions.  Everything in Valhalla should move smoothly and instantaneously, like magic.  Self doesn’t watch to watch any slow shifting of the gears in a movie about Norse gods.

Which brings us back to Loki, smooth anti-He man to Chris Hemsworth’s all-muscle Thor.  Self doesn’t know if it was the angles from which his face was shot, but this man’s face is so —  magnetic?  His eyes looked huge, simply huge!  If there is another “Thor” movie, self will watch it just to see what new heights of malevolence Loki can get up to.

Since self is such an indefatigable and nosy blogger, she of course has to look him up.  Well, well, his name is Tom Hiddleston (This is amazing.  Another of her fave British actors is Tom Wisdom!  Har, har, har!).  And he is super super —  and self means SUPER —  skinny.  But apparently his British accent is authentic because he was born in London.  And he also plays Magnus in a TV series called “Wallander” (Oh, hey, that must be based on the Henning Mankell books!  Self loves this series already!  When is it coming to America?)

They seem to have re-worked “The Green Lantern” preview to emphasize more of the mythical elements, which self thinks is a good idea.

So, looks like there are a number of summer movies that self thinks will be truly enjoyable.

Tomorrow, when self flies to New York, she has a three-hour lay-over in Los Angeles (which is why her ticket was so cheap).  She left a message for son, telling him about this lengthy layover, and son called to say perhaps they could manage to meet.  If not tomorrow, then on self’s way back.  Happy happy joy joy!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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