“300: Rise of an Empire”

This movie is not a prequel, neither is it a sequel.

It is a simul-quel!

Self doesn’t know whether simul-quel is a real word, but let her explain:  The events take place around the same time as Leonidas leads his handsome and buff half-nekkid army of hot men to the Hot Gates to offer up their tremendous physiques in sacrificial battle against a Persian giant (conveniently named Xerxes, which means he is a historical character) who is adorned with the most fantastic body piercings.

Anyhoo, The Man saw the movie Saturday (by himself, as self was too busy checking her FB page) and swore when he got home that Tom Wisdom was in it, by means of simul-quel or something.

Yeah, right!  Self caught a wee glance, for about 10 seconds!

Nevertheless, here are her thoughts:

The hero is named Themistocles, and everyone keeps whispering the first syllable of his name so it comes off sounding like “mistocles,” which then led self to think of the word “miracles” or “mystical” or some such.  Or perhaps self is just hard of hearing.

When the action is not happening, we are shown scenes in Athens.  The people of Athens are a pasty-faced bunch, draped in red and blue and white togas.  Because they are intellectual, get it?  When Themistocles/Mistocles appears in Sparta to appeal for aid, self got so excited.  Because now we were in the realm of buff bods and lots of wrestling.

About halfway through the movie, it occurred to self that the battles were simply an excuse for two hot generals to play out some very subliminal erotic urges.  For as Freud pointed out, the Oedipus Complex is strong in the human psyche.  Or was he referring to the Erotic Complex?  Anyhoo, all those subliminal urges are definitely in play here.

At one point, a face-to-face between the two generals is arranged, and Themistocles/Mistocles is ushered onto the Persian general’s boat, and this general just happens to be played by Eva Green, her bountiful bosom on full display.  Since Themistocles/Mistocles is not apparently burdened with a wife (as Leonidas was in 300, though Leonidas himself probably had no complaints about having a wife as hot as Lena Headey), and as Eva Green plays a totally bloodthirsty whore of no morals (called, of all things, ARTEMISIA), they engage in rough sex.  And when Themistocles still refuses to switch sides, Artemisia throws a major hissy fit and has him thrown off her ship (but not before he’s had time to salvage his modesty — at this point, though, who cares? — by draping himself in his blue Athenian toga).  The Athenians waiting back on shore for the return of their general look a little — skeptical, shall we say — when he returns sweating like a horse and rather close-lipped about the negotiations.  (Self, you have an absolutely filthy mind!  Why would you think that was what the Athenian henchmen of Themistocles/Mistocles were thinking?  They seemed perfectly poker-faced.  Respectful, even!  Self’s just saying)

Eva Green, Eva Green.  Sigh.  Why has she appeared in only a few tacky movies since immortalizing Vesper Lynde in Daniel Craig’s first Bond movie, Casino Royale?  It is incredible how much energy she puts into her role here.  But, why not. If one is going to commit to a role which calls for bloodthirsty beheadings as well as rough sex, one has to commit 100%.  And Eva Green certainly delivers.  Nay, more than delivers!  Her performance is so 120% it’s almost bat-shit crazy!  And that is what makes this a movie worth seeing.  (Aside from the Spartans and 10 seconds of Tom Wisdom)

Self would also like to say that she waited until the end credits to see who was responsible for the costumes.  Because Eva Green’s clothing was of the full-on dominatrix variety, and self loved all the ripped/torn bodices, the chain-mail sleeves, the golden (rhinoceros?) horns poking out of her back, the boots, the metal covering the outer lobes of Artemisia’s left (and only her left) ear.  And self thought she even glimpsed a wee bit of fishnet stocking. But how could that be, when the last epic shot does not show any coverings at all over Artemisia’s legs.?  Self is sure, though, that in one of the close-ups, she saw fishnet.

She wondered what other actress might bring this level of commitment to such a role.  Jena Malone, perhaps.  It has to be someone who could convincingly present a sexy femme who gets progressively sexier with the appearance of each new, bloody scar.

There was even a poignant father-son-fighting-together scene, which recalled the Tom Wisdom/guy-who-played-his-father pairing in 300.  Only, in the Rise of Empire scenario, the father was waaaay hotter (in self’s humble opinion, at least) than the son.

Self will comment on the transformation of normal-looking Xerxes into Rodrigo Santoro draped in body piercings, in Part 2.

Stay tuned.

“Immortals” : Cathartic Gore-Fest

Self kept expecting to see Tom Wisdom in barely-there Spartan attire, but no. Instead we have a new face named Henry Cavill, and a familiar (passably hot) face in Stephen Dorff.  At least, self is fairly sure that was Stephen Dorff — he looked positively tiny next to Theseus! Plus his modern American twang kept interfering.  Self wished she could see Dorff in a real role, like the one he had in “Blood and Wine,” (1997) the movie where he co-starred with Michael Caine and Jack Nicholson.  J. Lo was in it, too, playing the hottest maid of all time. Self watched that movie at least three times and she could never figure out why — SPOILER ALERT! — J. Lo didn’t end up with Stephen Dorff. Instead, she ended up with, self thinks, Jack Nicholson, who played Stephen Dorff’s father.  But, enough of these digressions!  Back to posting about “Immortals.”

Freida Pinto was in the movie, strictly for titillation. Her ostensible role was that of a visionary named Phaedra. She is very pretty. Self somehow wished for the erotic abandon of the teen-age seeress in “300.”  Plus, self is of the opinion that Pinto’s gorgeousness simply cannot allow for the expression of stress.  She always looks so serene, even when forced to flee for her life.

But anyhoo, here are the things self loved about “Immortals”:

  • Mickey Rourke. He is so earthy, he totally grounds the movie in pain.
  • Mickey Rourke’s way over-the-top spine-like helmet.
  • Mickey Rourke’s enormous, hammy thighs, which peep out occasionally from beneath a voluminous (of course black) robe.
  • Many scenes of realistic torture, including a monk who cuts off his own — oh well, never mind what he cuts off
  • A very gory scene in which Mickey Rourke aka Hyperion ensures that a traitor will never again spawn from his blood-line. Mercifully, after a massive yell, the scene ended in a black-out, at which point all the young guys in the audience hooted in nervous relief.
  • The signature line is :  RELEASE THE TITANS!  These Titans are really marvelously scary.  They looked like Mud People.  Or like the natives in Peter Jackson’s “King Kong.”  They didn’t, come to think of it, look very “Titan-like.” They looked more tribal than “Titan.” Perhaps self was fooled by the word “Titan” into expecting “Giants.” (Self, there you go again, with your splitting of hairs and your annoying, long-winded digressions!)

What reason would Kanlaon have for spending a perfectly lovely Saturday evening watching such violence?

Every reason in the world! Have dear blog readers forgotten how ga-ga self went over “300”? Granted, there is no Tom Wisdom-like beauty in “Immortals” (except maybe for Zeus, and the hunk who played Poseidon, who resembled Taylor Lautner but thank God it wasn’t he — !) Meanwhile, hubby was off watching some even sillier movie called “J. Edgar,” which turned out to have Naomi Watts in the cast. But self cannot quite bring herself to watch a movie where the gorgeous Armie Hammer looks like he is wearing Pancake make-up, and — okay, where was self?

Did she already mention that Freida Pinto is very pretty? And looks great in red, as Woody Allen himself acknowledged when he put her in many red outfits in “You Will Meet a Tall, Dark Stranger” ? (In contrast, poor Naomi Watts was always in gray, or variations thereof)

There is no way you can get self to take a movie like “Immortals” seriously, but after all, self is not there for serious cinematic analysis, she is there to thrill to the rousing fight scenes, the blood spatter, the gorgeous red and gold color scheme. She will say, though, that she finds the scenes of battle in a concrete bunker that looks like it might have popped out of the set for “Stalag 19” rather un-convincing. Why would Rourke aka Hyperion’s minions go charging in through such a narrow defile? Don’t they know that the first rule of battle, BATTLE STRATEGY 101, is: WHEN CHARGING, ONE MUST NEVER GO INTO A NARROW DEFILE ?!!@  Were they stupid, or what? Oh, right, self forgets: they ARE stupid! That’s why they’re with Hyperion and not with Theseus!

Who is that Zeus fellow? Undoubtedly, he was British. Only a guy with a British accent can get away with wearing gold and still look convincing as Zeus  (It was light years ahead of Liam Neeson’s Zeus in “Clash of the Titans.”  But then, Neeson was stuck with wearing a toga and there is nothing more disgusting than watching a sword-and-sandals epic where the men are in togas)

(Now self remembers where she’s seen that Zeus guy before:  He’s currently 0n-screen in “Three Musketeers 3D”! Oh, the horror!)

John Hurt was there, lending his eyebags and his wrinkles to the silliest, campiest gore-fest of 2011. Good choice, John Hurt! Now you will be known to a whole new generation of teen-age boys, most of whom probably don’t know that you are front and center of the most iconic science fiction scene of all time, the alfalfa-sprouts-spilling-out-of-the-corners-of-your-mouth scene in Ridley Scott’s “Alien,” just before toothy alien progeny comes spurting out from your rib-cage!

(Alas, oh lack-a-day, self has just read Eric D. Snider’s review of the aforementioned.  He did not enjoy it quite as much as self.  His grade:  C)

*          *          *          *          *

Oh, did self mention that last night was another insomniac night?  She thinks she finally dozed off at 3 a.m.  But this time, there was a good reason:  She started and finished a story called “Computational Outcomes.”  Of course, science fiction.

Why, oh why are all these crazy ideas buzzing around in self’s head? Especially at 2 a.m.? Could the reason possibly have anything to do with the excitement of battling rain and traffic to make it to Zack’s Yerba Buena reading, on Friday night? Anyhoo, to paraphrase from extremely famous hokey poem, “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” hers not to reason why, hers but to do or die!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

“Scandal of the Year”: Buzzsugar Says Letterman

Self most strenuously disagrees.

For one thing, self finds it so heartwarming to think of someone as geeky-looking as Letterman having sex.

While the revelations about Tiger’s multiple infidelities are just —  sad.  Sad or funny, depending on how funny you find the image of Tiger trying to escape from his wife in such a hurry that he didn’t even bother putting on his shoes before jumping into his SUV, which explains why he hit the fire hydrant but doesn’t explain why, when the first by-stander on the scene (a neighbor) happened along, Tiger was snoring (apparently from Ambien?)

Next scandal of the Year: Why Tom Wisdom’s orgy scene in “Pirate Radio” was cut from the American version, but they keep showing it and showing it in all the previews. So there he is, looking so fetching in leather pants, and saying “Busy day,” and self had to sit through the whole movie and there was not even a Read the rest of this entry »

“The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2″/ “The Road”

Today, self was so bleary-eyed from two back-to-back nightmares (one was about hubby; she woke up from that one, fell back asleep, and had another nightmare, this time involving son — YIIIKES!! She got up at 3:30 a.m., determined not to fall asleep again), that soon after hubby left for the office, self stuck in her Netflix movie, “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2.” There is only one reason on God’s earth that self would watch this movie, dear blog readers. And that is of course to see oh-so-cute Tom Wisdom, who plays the love interest of America Ferrera.

Luckily the movie turned out to be better than expected! Amber Tamblyn proved to be quite Read the rest of this entry »

Weekend is Waning

It’s very dreary, inside the house.

Walked the li’l crits. It was cold and Bella, the older beagle, could barely keep up with Gracie. Whenever self saw a dog coming in the opposite direction, she would tug the two dogs to the side. Thank goodness, Gracie refrained from giving her usual foaming-at-the-mouth-let-me-just-make-like-I’m-a-Rottweiler rendition.

Today, self has no idea where her head is at. She’s been reading the same two pages of Mme. Precious Ramotswe’s latest adventure, Blue Shoes and Happiness, over and over. And over. Perhaps she just needs to give herself time to adjust to the new clime? The last mystery she finished, after all (Boris Akunin’s The Death of Achilles — four stars!) was set in 19th century Moscow, and here she is now in Botswana! And everyone knows how hot it is in Botswana, no question it’s way different from the chilly clime of Russia!

Went to the Honeybaked Ham store in Palo Alto (just north of San Antonio Road), and such was hubby’s panic at the thought of never being able to taste Honeybaked Ham again, that he bought an Read the rest of this entry »

The Achimas System: How to Win at Roulette, Courtesy of Author Boris Akunin

Self is still reading The Death of Achilles, Boris Akunin’s absolutely mesmerizing mystery set in 19th century Moscow (It certainly doesn’t hurt that self has just seen “Pirate Radio,” and is envisaging Tom Wisdom as Akunin’s wily — but given over to stammering — detective, Erast Petrovich Andorin. Do dear blog readers know that when self was contemplating names for son, she nearly called him Andrei Bolkonsky? But, once again, self digresses)

Anyhoo, the bad guy in this novel is named Achimas. And he is addicted to roulette. But, being a bad guy, he always wins (at roulette, that is). And here is his System, as delineated by author Akunin:

The System was so simple and obvious that it was amazing that no one else used it. They quite simply lacked patience, restraint, and the ability to control their emotions — all the things that Achimas possessed in abundance. All that was needed was to bet on one and the same sector, constantly doubling up the stake. If you had a lot of money, sooner or later you would get back all that you had lost and win something into the bargain. That was the entire secret. But you had to place your bet on a large sector, not a single number. Achimas usually preferred a third of the wheel.

He walked over to the table where they played without any limits on stakes, waited until the ball had failed to land in one or another of the thirds six times in a row, and then began to play. For his first bet he staked a single gold coin. If his third did not come up, he he staked two gold coins on it the next time, then four, and then eight, and so on until the ball eventually landed where it should.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

Reasons for “Huzzah”!!

  1. Self has just seen a movie with a cast that includes Tom Wisdom (“Pirate Radio”).  Oh please, dear gods of movie-dom, don’t make self wait another two years to see Mr. Wisdom in a movie!!!
  2. For the first time ever, self has solved an entire New York Times crossword puzzle. Yes, one of those famously wicked brain-twisters concocted by the God of Crossword Puzzles, Will Shortz. Triple happy happy joy joy! When she was about halfway through filling up the boxes, self’s heart started to race (No exaggeration). But she told herself: Put a lid on it! How many times before have you had similar experience? Only to find all celebrations entirely premature? This evening, after she filled in the last set of boxes (14 across: “Gondolier’s need” = pole!), she stared at the puzzle for a couple of stunned seconds. Then, she was so excited she started yelling to hubby, who happened to be watching the last two minutes of a very dramatic Colts vs. Patriots football game. The poor man, he almost suffered a nervous breakdown, what with the noise of his wife’s yelling added to the nail-biting tension of the football game.
  3. Self has just read (in The New York Times of 2 November 2009), that there will be a 4th Mad Max movie (Swoon!). And it will be directed by George Miller again. And Charlize Theron is on board. Though it’s not clear if Mel Gibson will be (but perhaps he is too old to be cast as Mad Max! Surely there are some hardy young men of athletic persuasion who can take on the mantle!)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

“Pirate Radio” Rocks!

Today the weather is gorgeous, simply gorgeous!

Self is on something of a roll, movie-wise: the last two movies she’s seen — “Skin” on Friday (with simply great, great knockout performances by Alice Krige, Sam Neill, and Sophie Okonedo) and “Pirate Radio” today — have been just great. (Thank God, both these movies have rescued Fall from the awfulness of “The Box” and “2012.”)

Self went to see “Pirate Radio” by herself (as hubby simply could not bear to tear himself away from flat-screen HDTV — not, at any rate, for today’s football games) and loved every minute of it. She’d read some lukewarm reviews (mostly chiding the movie for a lack of plot — What? And self supposes movies like “2012”, currently # 1, with its bloated special effects, have plot???) Music was great, shots of Tom Wisdom were great (All he has to do is give that sardonic smile, dear blog readers: He hardly has any lines. But the smile’s enough!), Read the rest of this entry »

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