Thursday, February 28, 2013

Davy Jones

Davy Jones died a year ago on February 29th. He was 66, which just seems impossible. I was a big fan of The Monkees tv show and got such a big kick out of it. I can still remember some of the crazy scenes, and I first learned to chant Nam Myoho Renge Kyo from The Monkees.



Daydream Believer (released in 1967):



Part of my youth died with him.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Drastic Cuts

You're supposed to prune evergreen shrubs in February around here, so I'm told. I've always been a shy, reluctant pruner, and as a result my bushes on the patio have taken on a life of their own. I decided that this year was the year to be brutal with the tall and scraggly things. I hope I haven't killed them. Here they are before I had my way with them:


I'm hoping they'll recover in a couple of years and I can be more diligent about keeping them in shape from now on.

I did look in my books for advice, and I looked online, too, so I'm hopeful. Not exactly confident, but hopeful.

Jubal

Jubal is a 1956 Western starring Glenn Ford, Ernest Borgnine, Rod Steiger, Charles Bronson, Jack Elam and Noah Beery, Jr.. What a cast! The story is downright Shakespearean, or maybe more like a Greek tragedy, except for that ride-off-into-the-sunset happy ending. This one will bear re-watching.

Glenn Ford is rescued from freezing by Ernest Borgnine, who takes him home to his cattle ranch with him. Ford quickly runs afoul of top hand Rod Steiger, and there's Borgnine's faithless wife to further complicate matters.

via youtube:



DVD Talk isn't a big fan but likes Glenn Ford and says,
Jubal is interesting to watch for the meaty supporting roles given to actors usually not so lucky in big studio films or, in Bronson's case, an actor more than a decade away from real stardom.
EW gives it an A- and calls it "one of ... [Glenn Ford's] most layered Westerns — delving into the ambiguities of good and bad, with shadowy players framed by blue Wyoming sky."

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

If I had Unlimited Kitchen Storage

I'd look into these drawers from The Kitchn:


My system works for me, even though the potatoes and onions are too close to each other:


and I'll probably never have more kitchen storage than I do right now. This kitchen is much smaller than the last place we lived, and I'm sure the next place will be even smaller as we downsize. I am not anything like a gourmet cook, and my needs for storage are actually small. The things I got rid of to move here were of more sentimental than practical value. I gave The Evil Sister the glass refrigerator dishes and the glass juicer and some other keepsakes that The Grandmother gave me years ago. When we re-habbed the kitchen, we gave up some cabinet storage in favor of a pull-out garbage/recyclable unit. We love that!

Every once in a while I see some kitchen lovely that makes my heart sing, but then I realize what I have probably works best for me.

HT: Apartment Therapy

Scream!


I've always thought The Scream mug was more suited to coffee drinking than tea, for some reason. It's another of the mugs I get out for use during the dark, dismal, SAD-inducing days of Winter. I never fill the cup, always pouring less than half a cup so as to keep it hot. I don't like it once it cools off.

The coffees were both presents from The Daughter. There wasn't enough of either to make, so I combined the two and came up with 4 cups of tasty, lightly flavored coffee. It seems 4 cups of coffee is what I need to keep away all kinds of health problems: depression, gout, oral cancer, Alzheimer's, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and no telling what else.

Hoorah! Coffee is good for me!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Fail-Safe

Fail-Safe is a 2000 TV adaptation of the original 1964 film about a nuclear misunderstanding during the Cold War. Mistakes are made. The world may end. Honestly, this makes for tense "entertainment". Really scary, because this kind of thing could actually happen. This version stars Richard Dreyfuss, Harvey Keitel, Brian Dennehy, George Clooney, Norman Lloyd (who has a ST:TNG connection), Bill Smitrovich (who has a ST:DS9 connection and who was Inspector Cramer in the Nero Wolfe TV series), James Cromwell (who has ST connections), Sam Elliott, Don Cheadle, Tommy Hinkley (who has a ST connection) and as Host - Walter Cronkite. I don't remember when this came out, and I know I didn't see it then. I can't imagine how I missed it. It's hard to watch. I was in tears at one point.

Live television drama is such a wonderful idea. Why not more of this than the current live "reality tv"?

via youtube:



DVD Talk describes this as a "straight remake" of the 1964 film and says, "What we get in the 2000 version, with its stark monochrome look and warts-and-all live performance, is a somber immediacy that manages to heighten the tension in an already taut story." DVD Journal says, "it's a fine piece of work, but nothing new. ... That said, the cast is uniformly good." Rotten Tomatoes has a score of 100%.

Fire & Desire


Porcelain has never been of particular interest to me. It's pretty, but I think most of it is pretty and am not discriminating. The Dixon Gallery has a nice porcelain collection, but I never pay much attention to it.

I was recently there anyway to look at a sculpture exhibit, so I spent some time looking at these lovely pieces. The web site says of the Fire & Desire: A Passion for Porcelain in the Eighteenth Century exhibit:
In celebration of the completion of the long-awaited Stout Catalogue of 18th Century German Porcelain, the Dixon is bringing the world-renowned Stout Collection out of the Stout Gallery and into our main exhibition space, re-examining the collection's rich diversity of form and theme.
In the main exhibit space they were playing Bach's Coffee Cantata, I'm sure to accompany the coffee sets on display:



I think my favorite piece may have been The Four Seasons (1775-1780) by Hochst, which I can't find a picture of online.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Home Alone with TableTop


It was a Friday night. The Husband had an event to go to. The Younger Son had plans. I was home alone. I thought about the possibilities. I decided to go to a local Chinese restaurant. I was going to have veggie fried rice and hot tea. But it was dark and cold -very cold- and damp. I ditched that plan.

I stayed in and had cheese toast, kosher dill spears and apple.

And I had a marathon TableTop-watching fest. I had heard about the web video series before it ever started and had subscribed to the Youtube channel and bookmarked them, but I had just never gotten around to actually watching the videos. That night was the night.

Here's one of the videos:



It takes you through a playing of the award-winning game Ticket to Ride, which I've decided would be nice to have.

You see, game-playing can be complicated at our house. There are some games I'm no longer allowed to play because the rest of the family claims I hold supernatural powers of some sort which enable me to win them always. For example, in Clue and Gin I sometimes win before game play has gone around the board twice. I am one with the game. They say it's downright eerie -cue spooky music. In other games (Monopoly and Scrabble, for example), I tend not to take the rules seriously, which they find just a wee bit annoying. So, we've added new games through the years, but as the kids got older and developed more outside interests we seemed to play less and less. I became more and more out of touch with the gaming world and had no idea what was out there.

Enter TableTop, in which Wil Wheaton and guests demonstrate a fun game on video. They have a blog, so their updates show up nicely without me having to remember to look for them. There's a Seen On Tabletop tumbler and a Geek and Sundry Facebook page.

Now that I've seen all the previous episodes, I'll watch each new one as it comes out. We can pick up a new game every once in a while. I'd love to have some games that are playable for just 2 players in addition to being fun for 4 or 5.

This is a real find for me. Being able to actually watch the game played is priceless.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Edge Coffeehouse

The Edge CoffeeHouse, The Old Edge at 532 S Cooper

I met a friend at The Edge coffeehouse one afternoon recently for coffee. Well, she had coffee; I had chamomile tea. Neither of us had ever been there before. Their drink menu is online here. It was very nice. It was not crowded, though several people came in and got to-go drinks. It is obviously a place that does most of its business at night. There's space for a band in the front.

There is a sign in the front window that aims a gun at me and warns me that I don't need to worry about the dog but do need to worry about the owner. Bummer. How welcoming /sarcasm. I'm never amused by threats from gun-toting nuts.

I'd like to go back and eat. Their food menu is online here, and I'd like to try their chili and maybe that catfish dinner plate. I'm just not sure I can walk up to that threatening sign again.

The Memphis Flyer describes it here. The Urban Spoon likes it. Yelp's recent reviews are few and mixed.

It was a cold gray day when we went, and I didn't get a picture. The one at the top of the post came from The Edge Coffeehouse MySpace page.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Babylon 5: The Gathering

Today is the 20th anniversary of the airing of Babylon 5: The Gathering, the pilot for the TV series.

Let's have a moment of silence for the actors from the pilot who have died:

Michael O'Hare Commander Jeffrey Sinclair (1952-2012) died of a heart attack at 60.
Andreas Katsulas Ambassador G'Kar (1946-2006) died of lung cancer at 59.
Johnny Sekka Dr. Benjamin Kyle (1934-2006) died of lung cancer at 72.

This is the original introduction:

Cathy Come Home

Cathy Come Home is a 1966 BBC television documentary-style drama that takes on homelessness as it shows how a young couple and their children suffer. This is a heartbreaking tale, and sadder still is the idea that not much has changed.

via youtube:



from Wikipedia:
The play broached issues that were not then widely discussed in the popular media, such as homelessness, unemployment, and the rights of mothers to keep their own children. It was watched by 12 million people — a quarter of the British population at the time — on its first broadcast. Its hard-hitting subject matter and highly realistic documentary style, new to British television, created a huge impact on its audience.

BFI Screen Online says, "If anything, its reputation has grown in the years since it first appeared - in September 2000, Cathy Come Home came in second place in the Britsh Film Institute's TV 100 poll of industry figures". Empire Online calls it "Filmmaking at its most socially conscious, with assured and passionate direction from a young Loach." The Guardian notes:
What makes watching Cathy Come Home this September an especially devastating experience is the painful recognition of how little has changed. So many of the words spoken then could have been articulated yesterday, so many of the scenes feel utterly contemporary. The developers who profiteer while those on lower incomes can't find affordable accommodation, the intractable and labyrinthine bureaucracy of the welfare state, blaming immigrants for the lack of social housing, blaming the unemployed for their own worklessness, even the violent prejudice directed at a Gypsy encampment, are all ongoing. As the cuts bite and the recession threatens to double-dip, there can be minimal expectation that this will do anything other than worsen. Will we ever learn?
Rotten Tomatoes doesn't have a critics score, but the audience score is 84%.

HT: Wonders In the Dark

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Going Postal


Going Postal is the 33rd of the Discworld books by Terry Pratchett. I enjoy these books and pass them on to The Younger Son as soon as I'm done. He's a fan, too. This one is wonderfully funny. The Poor Husband was the picture of patience while I read sections aloud to him while he was trying to sleep. But I couldn't help myself!

I started by reading these in publication order, but I've quit trying to do that now and just pick them up as I find them.

from the back of the book:
Suddenly, condemned arch-swindler Moist von Lipwig found himself with a noose around his neck and dropping through a trapdoor into ... a government job?

By all rights, Moist should be meeting his maker rather than being offered a position as Postmaster by Lord Vetinari, supreme ruler of Ankh-Morpork. Getting the moribund Postal Service up and running again, however, may prove an impossible task, what with literally mountains of decades-old undelivered mail clogging every nook and cranny of the broken-down post office. Worse still, Moist could swear the mail is talking to him. Worst of all, it means taking on the gargantuan, greedy Grand Trunk clacks communication monopoly and its bloodthirsty piratical headman. But if the bold and undoable are what's called for, Moist's the man for the job - to move the mail, continue breathing, get the girl, and specially deliver that invaluable commodity that every being, human or otherwise, requires: hope.
Kirkus Reviews calls it "a deeply satisfying comedy". SF Signal starts off with this: "REVIEW SUMMARY: Extremely funny offering by Pratchett, a true standout in a long series of quality books." SF Site says, "Going Postal is a wonderful book. ... There is no such thing as a boring character here, a standard or cardboard character." SF Reviews declares the author "delivers as well as he's ever done".

I've read the following Discworld books:

1) The Color of Magic
2) The Light Fantastic
3) Equal Rites
4) Mort
5) Sourcery
6) Wyrd Sisters
7) Pyramids
8) Guards! Guards!
21) Jingo

10 Best Gonzo Science Fiction Movies

io9 has a fun list of the 10 Best Gonzo Science Fiction Movies in the Whole Crazy Universe:
1) The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai - Across the Eighth Dimension
2) Repo Man
3) A Boy and His Dog
4) Dark Star
5) Fifth Element
6) Big Trouble in Little China
7) Six String Samurai
8) Real Genius
9) Ice Pirates
10) Zardoz
Ones I've seen are in bold print, so there are 4 of these still in my future. I can see I need to locate them somewhere and remediate myself.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

My Darling Clementine

My Darling Clementine is a 1946 John Ford Western. It stars Henry Fonda, Tim Holt, Ward Bond and Don Garner as the Earp brothers; Victor Mature as "Doc" Holliday; Walter Brennan, Grant Withers, John Ireland, Fred Libby and Mickey Simpson as the Clantons; Cathy Downs as the titular Clementine and Doc's girl from back East; and Linda Darnell as Doc's current flame.

This film seems to be universally well-respected, including by The Husband, except for me. I think this film is awful. It's one scene dependent on character stupidity followed by another. Honestly, if it weren't for the stupid things these characters do there would be no plot at all. First Fonda refuses repeated offers from the shady-looking Brennan to buy his cattle; then Fonda tells Brennan he and his brothers are going into Tombstone that night to get haircuts; then Fonda and the older brothers go into town leaving the cattle with their 18-year old baby brother; they are then shocked -shocked!- to find out their cattle have disappeared and baby brother is dead; then hmmm they wonder who could've done such a dastardly deed; so they take on the marshalling job to hunt down the dastardly deed doer; stupidity continues throughout the film. It's just stunning how stupid these people are. Stunning!

The one bright point is Walter Brennan, who plays the bad guy Pa Clanton. Brennan can play anything well from bad guys to good guys to comic relief.

trailer:



Filmsite.org calls it "one of the greatest classic Westerns of all time". DVD Talk calls it "a great and important western". The book 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die includes this film. It's on the Images Journal list of 30 Great Westerns, and they call it "one of the great brooding westerns, loaded with iconic moments of darkness." Roger Ebert considers it one of the great movies and says it "must be one of the sweetest and most good-hearted of all Westerns". Rotten Tomatoes gives it a score of 100%.

See? Everybody else loves this film, and I just shake my head in wonder.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Constant Comment


Some things bring back fond memories of my youth, and Constant Comment tea is one of those things. My college roommate introduced me to this tea our first winter together. It's a perfect blend: hearty black tea with just a touch of the orange rind and light spice. The perfect hot cuppa to hold close when you need a warming beverage. This is probably my favorite tea.

The cup is one of the ones I get out to use during the winter. I was attracted by the shape and bought it at the old Bojo's Antique Mall, where I spent many a happy hour both on my own and with the kids. That Memphis landmark is now sadly gone, but the memories remain.

Tojo Yamamoto



I wasn't a huge wrestling fan when I was little, but I did watch some of it on tv on Saturdays and was familiar with the major names of the day. Tojo Yamamoto was a major name back in the 1960's. Today is the anniversary of his suicide in 1992.

There's a sweet news story/tribute video filmed shortly after his death here:



Obsessed With Wrestling has his title history. The Not In Hall Of Fame web site has some information on his career, some videos and an argument for why he should be awarded Hall of Fame status. Memphis Wrestling History has clippings from his career. The picture at the top of the post is scattered all over the web with no attribution that I could find.

He doesn't get much love in the Memphis Heat documentary, but he isn't alive to give interviews.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Loft Bedroom?


The description at Trulia includes this:
loft w/bookshelves could be third bedroom!
Not without a bit more privacy, it couldn't. It's totally open to the main living area. I'm thinking this would not work in our family.

I'm wondering how anybody who needed 3 bedrooms could make this space work as one of them. I can see how an open loft could work as a bedroom if nobody else was going to be up and active in the house while you were sleeping or whatever up there, but if other people are likely to be watching TV or eating downstairs, would you really want them to have an open view into your bed? I wouldn't! And even if you placed screens of some sort up there, it wouldn't serve to block much sound.

I think I need a bit more privacy in bed than this provides.

The Day After

The Day After is a 1983 made-for-tv post-apocalyptic movie starring Jason Robards. Stephen Furst (Babylon 5), John Lithgow, JoBeth Williams and Bibi Besch (who has a Star Trek connection) are also in it. It won a couple of Emmy Awards.

At 2 hours, it seems like it would be too long for this kind of thing, but it doesn't seem too long as I watch it. The first hour sets the scene, and the second hour shows the aftermath. I remember seeing this when it came out. I find it an affecting film, but it doesn't get much respect anymore. I can't remember the last time I saw it discussed or shown.

via youtube:



Moria claims it "exists more as a controversy than it does as a film" saying,
the film’s problem is that characters are blank identities full of even more banal responses. Events happen – bomb explodes, people fight for water – but there’s no drama here.
It gets a score of 100% at Rotten Tomatoes.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Thelonious Monk

Today is the anniversary of the death in 1982 of jazz musician Thelonious Monk at the age of 64. PBS has a dedicated page on Monk. NPR has a profile and an audio program. All About Jazz has a biography and links. There's a biography at the official web site. Monk has a Facebook page.

There is a Thelonious Monk Institute, which was founded in 1986. It has an official website. Its Facebook page says,
The Institute's mission is to offer the world's most promising young musicians college level training by America's jazz masters and to present public school-based jazz education programs for young people around the world.

All of these programs are offered free of charge to the students and schools.
You can see lesson plans and other resources here.

'Round Midnight, which was written in 1944 and is reportedly "the most-recorded jazz standard composed by a jazz musician":



Straight No Chaser (originally recorded in 1951, this performance is from 1965):



"Sometimes it's to your advantage for people to think you're crazy" - Thelonious Monk

His last tour was in 1971.




Saturday, February 16, 2013

Blood of the Wicked


I picked this book up at a local book store along with several other mystery novels whose authors I didn't recognize in an effort to broaden my horizons. I won't ever do it that way again. Picking up books randomly based on a whim may have something to recommend it, but I've decided it's just safer to buy based on other readers' recommendations and reviews. Or maybe I'll feel brave the next time I have extra money. Who knows? It's a mystery.

Blood of the Wicked is the 1st book in the Chief Inspector Mario Silve Investigation mystery series by Leighton Gage. This book is from 2008 but feels more dated than that to me. Much of the plot revolves around Liberation theology, which I remember being big in the 1970s but hadn't realized was still so controversial.

I thought the story wrapped up a bit quickly, with a solution that was neat and tidy and not too surprising. On the other hand, I guess it's nice to have characters who are obviously "good" or "bad" for a change. I'm not tempted to seek out others in this series, but that's just because there are so many authors out there I haven't tried yet.

from the back of the book:
In the interior of Brazil, landless workers battle the owners of vast fazendas. When a visiting archbishop is assassinated, Mario Silva of the federal police is called upon to investigate. Then a newspaper owner, a TV journalist, a landowner’s son, and a priest are brutally killed. In a country where dead street kids are known as “hams,” justice is scarce.
Mysterious Reviews offers some criticism of the plot but concludes, "On balance, however, Blood of the Wicked is a terrific mystery, a strongly written and powerful novel that will be remembered long after the final pages are read." Kirkus Reviews calls it "a compelling foundation for future Silva cases."

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (films)

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a 2009 Swedish thriller based on the Stieg Larsson book by the same name. I have been wanting to see this film and the 2011 American remake with Daniel Craig for some time, and we watched them both recently. They are both true enough to the book to suit me. Each differs from the source book in different ways, but the 2 movies are remarkably similar. To be honest, I'd be hard-pressed to choose between them, and I wonder why they remade the original.

Swedish original trailer:



American remake trailer:



Both films were well-received.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Kicking Up a Storm


I'd been seeing this wonderful example of yard art for ages but had never stopped to take a picture. This day seemed the perfect opportunity. The legs were appropriately clad for the stormy weather we'd been having.

The best part of taking this picture was that the homeowner was in his yard clearing away limbs downed by the storm from the night before. We had a nice conversation. He said he used to have high heels on the "legs". I wish I'd seen that!

I do appreciate his idea of fun.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Recollections of a Detective Police Officer


Recollections of a Detective Police Officer by "Waters" (William Russell) is listed in Howard Haycraft's book Murder for Pleasure: The Life and Times of the Detective Story as "the first English detective yellow-back". I can't find out about this book or its author except that the book was published in 1856. It is available to read online, so I'm exploring it to delve more into the history of mystery fiction.

Its style is old-fashioned, as one would expect, but not at all difficult to read or off-putting. It puts one quite nicely in the mind of its place and time. It maintains my interest, and I can understand why this type of book was so popular in its day.

The picture at the top of the post came from Yesterday's Papers.

50 Essential Science Fiction Books

There's a list of 50 Essential Science Fiction Books over at AbeBooks:
A Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne (1864)
The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells (1898)
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (1932)
When Worlds Collide by Edwin Balmer & Philip Wylie (1933)
Odd John by Olaf Stapledon (1935)
Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell (1949)
Earth Abides by George R. Stewart (1949)
Foundation by Isaac Asimov (1951)
The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury (1951)
The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester (1953)
Ring Around the Sun by Clifford D. Simak (1953)
Mission of Gravity by Hal Clement (1954)
The Long Tomorrow by Leigh Brackett (1955)
The Chrysalids by John Wyndham (1955)
The Death of Grass or No Blade of Grass by John Christopher (1956)
Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein (1959)
The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut (1959)
Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank (1959)
A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller (1960)
Venus Plus X by Theodore Sturgeon (1960)
Solaris by Stanislaw Lem (1961)
The Drowned World by J.G. Ballard (1962)
Hothouse by Brian Aldiss (1962)
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle (1962)
Dune by Frank Herbert (1965)
Make Room! Make Room! by Harry Harrison (1966)
Logan’s Run by William F. Nolan & George Clayton Johnson (1967)
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick (1968)
The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin (1969)
Behold the Man by Michael Moorcock (1969)
Ringworld by Larry Niven (1970)
Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke (1972)
Roadside Picnic / Tale of the Troika by Boris & Arkady Strugatsky (1972)
The Female Man by Joanna Russ (1975)
Man Plus by Frederik Pohl (1976)
The Stand by Stephen King (1978)
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (1979)
Nor Crystal Tears by Alan Dean Foster (1982)
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card (1985)
Consider Phlebas by Iain M. Banks (1987)
Falling Free by Lois McMaster Bujold (1988)
Hyperion by Dan Simmons (1989)
Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson (1993)
Ribofunk by Paul Di Filippo (1996)
Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson (1999) (started twice. not finished yet)
Uglies by Scott Westerfeld (2005)
Old Man’s War by John Scalzi (2005)
Little Brother by Cory Doctorow (2007)
Acme Novelty Library #19 by Chris Ware (2008)
Embassytown by China Miéville (2011)
Ones I've read (or remember reading, anyway) are in bold print. That's 31 out of 50. Some of these I've been looking for at local book stores for years but don't want to order. Maybe I'll come across them someday; maybe not.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Man of the West

Man of the West is a 1958 Gary Cooper Western also starring Julie London (well-respected singer of Cry Me a River embedded at the bottom of this post), Lee J. Cobb, Arthur O'Connell (Fantastic Voyage, Clint Stark in 7 Faces of Dr. Lao), Jack Lord (Dr. No, Hawaii 5-0), Royal Dano (7 Faces of Dr. Lao, the 1956 Moby Dick, Marley's voice in the Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol, Tom Fury in Something Wicked This Way Comes, Killer Klowns from Outer Space) and Robert J. Wilke (killed off by James Coburn early in The Magnificent Seven). It's the last Western Anthony Mann directed.

I'm not an especially big Gary Cooper fan, but this is an interesting film more so as it progresses.

via youtube:



It's on the Images Journal list of 30 Great Westerns where they say,
Communist overtones abound. But in Man of the West, Cooper’s westerner more fully embodies 1950s masculinity and the warring forces--good sheriff and bad townsfolk.
DVD Talk calls itself a "true fan" and says, "What makes this film so special is its position at the true beginning of a grittier, more adult era for the Western". The Western Review says, "Man of the West contains one of Cooper’s more intriguing performances". Slant Magazine calls it "lacerating". EW gives it an A- and describes it as "a justly revered six-gun opera". The Spinning Image says,
Of all the Hollywood Westerns of this decade, this is one with a strong atmosphere of barely suppressed violence, and you find yourself sitting out the tense dialogue exchanges to see when they will erupt into brutality.
The book 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die includes this film. Rotten Tomatoes gives it a score of 100%.

Cry Me A River:



by Julie London

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Taylors Scottish Breakfast Tea


It may say "Taylors Scottish Breakfast Tea" on the box, but The Husband and I had it before bed recently. Nice full-bodied tea. We drink tea black, so I can't say how well it would hold up to milk or sugar or lemon.

The tea pot is Johnson Brothers Regency. This was our casual china for years and years until we bought our own dining room furniture which was slate topped in a black wrought iron frame. The white swirl pattern of the china didn't look good at all on the new table. We've packed up everything except the teapot and the salt and pepper shakers; we still use those.

The cup is one of a pair I bought at a church rummage sale years ago. On the bottom of the cup it says, "Potpourri Designs, Pansies & Bows, 1994 Shao Wei Liu, Made in Korea". The daughter has the other one. She uses hers year 'round, but I only get mine out to use during the winter when pansies are blooming.

Dinner at Eight

Dinner at Eight is a 1933 film I bought for The Husband several years ago when I got him several comedies on DVD. I found it recommended on some list of comedies somewhere, who knows where. We're just now getting around to it. Although it does have some amusing points, I honestly thought it was more sad and bittersweet than funny. It stars Marie Dressler (in one of her last films before her death in 1934), John Barrymore, Wallace Beery, Jean Harlow, Lionel Barrymore and Billie Burke (Glinda the Good Witch of the North The Wizard of Oz).

trailer:



FilmSite.org describes it this way:
A masterfully-directed, poignant melodramatic comedy by director George Cukor and producer David O. Selznick, Dinner at Eight (1933) was filled with a tremendous cast of stars ... who are all invited to a Manhattan formal dinner party during the height of the Depression.
Slant Magazine gives it 3 out of 4 stars, points out a couple of weak links and says, "when it's great, all is forgiven." DVD Verdict concludes, "Fans of Hollywood's golden age have no excuse not to add this disc to their collections. ... for sheer pounds per inch of star quality—not to mention the behind-the-scenes talent—it's one of the greatest achievements of the early 1930s." DVD Bearer has some good still shots. Rotten Tomatoes gives it a score of 100%.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Terror Of Mechagodzilla

Terror Of Mechagodzilla is a 1975 Japanese monster movie from Toho. This is director Ishirō Honda's last solo film. I can't tell you how happy I am when I see a Sunday Cinema post from SF Signal. I look forward to each one. Of course I can look up movies on my own, but there's something nice about having them appear as if by magic in my news reader. Not that this particular film is a masterpiece or anything, but so few films are. It's a fun one to watch if you're into that kind of thing. There is an awful lot of narration at the beginning to set the scene.

via hulu:



There are ads. I wish I could get them to quit trying to interest me in household cleaning, but I keep clicking "no" and they keep showing me the same ads.

Moria praises the fight scenes and the climax and opens by putting the film in some context:
Terror of Mechagodzilla was the fifteenth Godzilla film. It was the last of the classic Godzilla films – after this the series went into retirement for nearly a decade before Godzilla was revived with a new series of films, all made with much better effects, beginning with Godzilla 1985 (1984). Terror of Mechagodzilla was the final film (at least final credited film) for director Inoshiro Honda who had created the very first Godzilla film and directed all but two entries throughout the 1960s.
Stomp Tokyo says this movie
is actually a step up from what came before. The special effects are a little better, the story moves a little quicker ... and the whole production just seems classier, probably thanks to Godzilla director Inshiro Honda's return to the series after a long absence.
Million Monkey Theater doesn't like it and has a lengthy plot summary. 1000 Misspent Hours gives it a positive review, saying, "it is tremendously satisfying to see that Terror of Mechagodzilla/Mekagojira no Gyakushu, the last of the 15 Showa Godzilla movies ... recaptures so much of the series’s lost glory".

HT: SF Signal Sunday Cinema

The Fisherman and His Wife


The Fisherman and His Wife has been one of my favorite fairy tales for as long as I can remember. The moment I saw the pin pictured above, I was reminded of the fish in the story. It stays on this jacket, and every time I wear it I say, "Fishye, Fishye in the sea..." I never did outgrow fairy tales. The version The Kids favored when they were little was the one by Wanda Gag, in which the man calling the fish says,
Manye, Manye, Timpie Tee,
Fishye, Fishye in the sea,
Ilsebill my wilful wife
Does not want my way of life.
That version is still under copyright, but the story itself can be read online, including at this link.

This version begins:
The Fisherman and His Wife

Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

Once upon a time there were a fisherman and his wife who lived together in a filthy shack near the sea. Every day the fisherman went out fishing, and he fished, and he fished. Once he was sitting there fishing and looking into the clear water, and he sat, and he sat. Then his hook went to the bottom, deep down, and when he pulled it out, he had caught a large flounder.

Then the flounder said to him, "Listen, fisherman, I beg you to let me live. I am not an ordinary flounder, but an enchanted prince. How will it help you to kill me? I would not taste good to you. Put me back into the water, and let me swim."

"Well," said the man, "there's no need to say more. I can certainly let a fish swim away who knows how to talk."

With that he put it back into the clear water, and the flounder disappeared to the bottom, leaving a long trail of blood behind him.

Then the fisherman got up and went home to his wife in the filthy shack.

"Husband," said the woman, "didn't you catch anything today?"

"No," said the man. "I caught a flounder, but he told me that he was an enchanted prince, so I let him swim away."

"Didn't you ask for anything first?" said the woman.

"No," said the man. "What should I have asked for?"

"Oh," said the woman. "It is terrible living in this shack. It stinks and is filthy. You should have asked for a little cottage for us. Go back and call him. Tell him that we want to have a little cottage. He will surely give it to us."

"Oh," said the man. "Why should I go back there?"

"Look," said the woman, "you did catch him, and then you let him swim away. He will surely do this for us. Go right now."

The man did not want to go, but neither did he want to oppose his wife, so he went back to the sea.

When he arrived there it was no longer clear, but yellow and green. He stood there and said:

Mandje! Mandje! Timpe Te!
Flounder, flounder, in the sea!
My wife, my wife Ilsebill,
Wants not, wants not, what I will

The flounder swam up and said, "What does she want then?"

"Oh," said the man, "I did catch you, and now my wife says that I really should have asked for something. She doesn't want to live in a filthy shack any longer. She would like to have a cottage."

"Go home," said the flounder. "She already has it."

The man went home, and his wife was standing in the door of a cottage, and she said to him, "Come in. See, now isn't this much better?"

There was a little front yard, and a beautiful little parlor, and a bedroom where their bed was standing, and a kitchen, and a dining room. Everything was beautifully furnished and supplied with tin and brass utensils, just as it should be. And outside there was a little yard with chickens and ducks and a garden with vegetables and fruit.

"Look," said the woman. "Isn't this nice?"

"Yes," said the man. "This is quite enough. We can live here very well."

"We will think about that," said the woman.
The rest is here. It's not very long, but it's too long to copy into a blog post.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Love at First Sight

As we continue our years-long search for a property to buy that would be suitable both for The Grandmother to move into with us and for us long-term, we must occasionally change our list of must-haves. For example, we've gone from needing 4 bedrooms to needing 3 after The Daughter moved into her own place. But every once in a while, I see a place I fall in unreasonable love with. This is my current I-Love-This condo:


It's not a live option for us -for one thing the monthly HOA fees are $670. Wow!- but I can't help loving it. The windows in that picture are North-facing and overlook Overton Park.

Gus's Fried Chicken

I've been to Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken before, but only once. Last time I didn't take pictures, but this time I was ready. The Husband and I had lunch one day recently at the location on Mendenhall. We went about 1:30, thinking the worst of the lunch crowd would be gone. It was still crowded enough that we had to park in front of Mewtopia. We didn't have to wait for a table, though, and we were seated by a window.


We each had the 2-piece white plate. It comes with beans and slaw. I substituted french fries for the slaw, and The Husband had fries and mac&cheese. He had tea; I had coke. We finished our food, but there was plenty to fill us up. The total including drinks and tax but before adding the tip was about $20. That's a bit more than I'd like to pay.


I admit I'm not a good one to talk about fried chicken. I like fried chicken but am not discriminating. I've never eaten a fried chicken I haven't liked. I like white meat, dark meat, spicy, bland, crunchy or not... I'm not picky. Gus's has fine fried chicken. I do know that everybody says Gus's is the last word in fried chicken, and I can appreciate that it may well be better than anybody else's fried chicken. Since I love everybody's fried chicken, I'm not a good judge.

They have a Facebook page.

It has a lot of positive reviews at Urban Spoon. Yelp has mostly positive reviews, although some reviewers are like me and don't see what all the fuss is about. It has won the award for best fried chicken in the Memphis Magazine poll. The I Love Memphis blog calls it "practically perfect." Memphis Que blog says, "chicken it what draws people to Gus's from around the globe and it lives up to its reputation." Eat Local Memphis says, "Their fried chicken is top notch". Ken's Food Find likes it.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Sin City

I had only seen Sin City once, so when The Younger Son put in the DVD to watch it again I watched it with him. This film is unusual in many respects, particularly these 2: the color is mainly black and white, but a few scenes and particular elements in the scenes are in color; it's episodic, following different stories that cross or are tangential. There's only one place all the characters have in common. The cast includes Mickey Rourke, Bruce Willis, Elijah Wood, Jessica Alba, Benicio del Toro, Clive Owen and Jude Ciccolella (who has a ST connection).

trailer:



Slant Magazine describes it this way:
Robert Rodriguez's Sin City (co-directed by Miller himself) translates three of these acclaimed novels (The Hard Goodbye, The Big Fat Kill, and That Yellow Bastard) verbatim, using cutting-edge digital technology and a star-studded cast decked out in racy outfits and outrageous prosthetics to precisely recreate Miller's illustrations and prose as they appear on the page.
DVD Talk says,
words cannot describe the visual quality of this film adaptation. Miller's style has been faithfully represented here, showcasing the series' trademark black and white style---with the occasional hints of color, of course. Through a combination of hard lighting and computer coloring effects, Sin City is easily the most faithful visual reproduction of a comic book to the big screen...ever.
Rolling Stone concludes, "At 124 minutes, Sin City is a hard, cold, relentless assault. It's also something Hollywood seems to have given up on: a bold, uncompromised vision." Salon.com calls it "brash, sick-as-hell comic-book noir" and says, "Blunt, devoid of metaphor and unapologetically depraved, it radiates a perverse kind of purity." Roger Ebert likes it and says, "It's a visualization of the pulp noir imagination, uncompromising and extreme. Yes, and brilliant." Rotten Tomatoes gives it a score of 78%.

The Rains Came

I went to The Grandmother's place earlier than usual yesterday morning and stayed longer, but she seemed better. She needs to eat more to keep her weight from dropping, but nothing I do or have done over the years has any affect on her eating. Three medications to improve her appetite have failed. She's up to 4 Boost Plus supplements a day but eats less and less solid food with each passing month. I managed to get her weight up a few years ago after she got home from a post-fall stay in re-hab, but it didn't take long for her to slip back into old habits and start losing again. It's scary and frustrating and she will not listen to me.

At any rate, while I was at her place I saw The Rains Came, which I had never seen before. It is based on a book by the same name. The 1955 remake was not as faithful to the book as this 1939 version. I love Maria Ouspenskaya, and she was wonderful as the Maharani in this story of star-crossed romance in 1930s India. There are impressive scenes of earthquake and flooding, and Wikipedia says, "It became the first film to win an Academy Award for Best Special Effects, beating out The Wizard of Oz for the same Oscar." Myrna Loy, Tyrone Power and Nigel Bruce also star. Mother didn't like it at all for some reason, which surprised me. I'd have thought it would've been something she would like.

trailer:



 Tired Old Queen at the Movies has a fun review:

 

TCM has an overview

Friday, February 08, 2013

The Dark Knight Rises

The Dark Knight Rises (2012) is the 3rd movie in the Christian Bale Batman trilogy. We have enjoyed these films and are sorry the ride's over. We don't like the villain in this one. We think his mask makes it hard to understand him, and we didn't find him interesting.

trailer:



Salon.com calls it a "huge, gloomy, magnificent (and fascistic) spectacle". Slant Magazine gives it 3 out of 4 stars. Empire closes with this:
With spectacle in abundance and sexiness in (supporting) parts, this is superhero filmmaking on an unprecedented scale. Rises may lack the surprise of Begins or the anarchy of Knight, but it makes up for that in pure emotion. A fitting epitaph for the hero Gotham deserves.
Roger Ebert says, "This is a dark and heavy film; it tests the weight a superhero movie can bear. That Nolan is able to combine civil anarchy, mass destruction and a Batcycle with exercise-ball tires is remarkable." Rotten Tomatoes gives it a score of 87%.

Escape from New York

When I got to The Grandmother's yesterday morning she was still in bed and feeling very puny. I stayed most of the day. I couldn't get her to eat anything. It's very frustrating when she's like this. I left for a while but went back over there after our paid helper had come and gone. The Grandmother's back was hurting a lot. I got her to bed, and she said she'd be ok, so I came on home. I wish... I wish she had eaten right all along, because she wouldn't be as bad off now. I wish she had agreed to throw in with us financially so we could've bought a house where she could live with us. I wish... but wishing doesn't make it so.

Today is The Evil Sister's birthday, and I wish somehow she knew what these last few years have been like for me, and I wish she knew how The Grandmother (my mother and The Evil Sister's mother, too) was doing and how much difference it would make if she would actively involve herself in The Grandmother's care or maybe even contact her on Mother's day or her birthday or Christmas, or any time. But again, wishing doesn't make it so. And besides, The Evil Sister doesn't care.

Not that I'm bitter or anything.

While I was there I just sat with The Grandmother and flipped channels on the tv. Eventually I found Escape from New York just starting. It is a 1981 science fiction movie directed by John Carpenter and starring Kurt Russell, Lee Van Cleef (you can't go wrong there), Ernest Borgnine, Donald Pleasence, Isaac Hayes, Harry Dean Stanton and Adrienne Barbeau (who has a Star Trek connection). The World Trade Center towers figure prominently in the film. It was just the thing for me. The Grandmother slept through it.

trailer:



Moria praises the casting and special effects and says it's "one of the first science fiction/action hybrids" and "one of the most witty and stylish of these sf/action films". The New York Times calls it "by far Mr. Carpenter's most ambitious, most riveting film to date". Slant Magazine has a review describing it as "timeless activist cinema".

Thursday, February 07, 2013

The Cootie Catcher

I remember these from my elementary school days, and The Kids made them when they were little, but I hadn't thought of them at all until I ran across instructions for making them. We used to use the cootie catcher as a kind of fortune teller when I was in elementary school. WikiHow has clear instructions with step-by-step photo illustrations. PBS Kids also has instructions. Here are video instructions:



We always colored the outside flaps, numbered the inside flaps, and wrote answers to yes/no questions underneath the inside flaps (yes, no, maybe, be careful what you ask for, dreams can make it so, clear your mind and ask again, you'd better hope not, don't ask, why do you want to know and similar answers). Google Images has great ideas for decorating them.

Such a simple little toy, and yet what fun we had!

Remains of the Day

Remains of the Day is a 1989 film based on the Kazuo Ishiguro novel by the same name. I saw this when it first came out and thought it was one of the saddest movies I'd ever seen. A life wasted in pursuit of the trivial. The Younger Son had never seen it before, and it moved a bit slowly for him. I read the book back in 2003 and also enjoyed it.

trailer:



Rolling Stone says, "This love story between two people who never kiss or get beyond calling each other Mr. and Miss is suffused with regret but not self-pity." DVD Verdict says, "This is one of the top films of the last two decades. Dramatically powerful yet putting a smile on our lips from time to time, it features a top-notch cast in a picture with sparkling production values." EW gives it an A- and opens with this: "Ponderous, restrained, and achingly beautiful, The Remains of the Day has long been considered one of the very best of Merchant Ivory". Roger Ebert calls it "a subtle, thoughtful movie". Rotten Tomatoes gives it a score of 97%.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Zadig


Zadig; or The Book of Fate is a 1747 work of fiction by Voltaire that is sometimes cited as having been influential on the detective writing of Edgar Allan Poe and Arthur Conan Doyle. I'm reading Murder for Pleasure: The Life and Times of the Detective Story, by Howard Haycraft, and Voltaire's Zadig is listed in the "definitive library of detective-crime-mystery fiction". It's called "the great-grandfather of the detective story". I thought I'd check it out just to see. It's readily available in English translation online here and other places.

It's not very hard to get into, so not having access to a more recent translation isn't a problem.

particular quotes that struck me as I read:
Self-love is like a Bladder full blown, which when once prick’d, discharges a kind of petty Tempest.
One continued Scene of Pleasure, is no Pleasure at all.
Flints will never soften; and Creatures, that are by Nature venemous, forever retain their Poison.
’Tis an old saying, that a Person is less unhappy when he sees himself not singular in Misfortune.
two Persons in bad Circumstances, are like two weak Shrubs, which, by propping up each other, are fenc’d against a Storm.
Health is to be secur’d by Temperance and Exercise; and that the Art of making Health consistent with Luxury, is altogether as impracticable, and an Art, in all Respects, as idle and chimerical, as those of the Philosopher’s Stone, judicial Astrology, or any other Reveries of the like airy and fantastic Nature.

Buffalo Bill (1894)

Buffalo Bill is an 1894 silent short film starring William F. Cody in a shooting demonstration. It's an Edison film directed by William K.L. Dickson. I can't find this online anywhere. I know it must be there and that I'm just not doing a proper search. Maybe I'll find it someday. I'll put it here when I do.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Tea Sticks


Tea Sticks were a mystery to me when I first saw them at a local Chinese restaurant. It seems just like a tea bag only worse. I still don't understand the point. The Husband bought 2 boxes of them, and one box was something called "American Breakfast" blend from Petit Tea. The web site says,
Each Tea Stick is factory filled with right amount of tea and no matter how long you steep, your tea will not get bitter. You get a Perfect Cup of tea, every time, any time.
How is that even possible? I'm not a big fan of the tea or of tea in this form. The disposable tea sticks seem to provide more waste than a tea bag, and if you're going to get re-usable ones why not just use a traditional infuser?

The cup is one I only use in the winter. It says "Royal Norfolk" on the bottom. I enjoy having cups I change out seasonally. Variety is the spice of life, and variety in small things is often enough.

Oldboy

Oldboy is a 2003 thriller by South Korean director Park Chan-wook. It won the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival. It's the 2nd part of The Vengeance Trilogy but is the first of his films I've seen. When I told The Younger Son I was watching this he said, "I'm sorry." There were parts I had to look away from -dentistry as torture, for example, is just not my thing- but it's an oddly fascinating film. Sick, though. Quite sick.

A man is kidnapped and imprisoned for 15 years, not knowing why or by whom. When he is finally released, he seeks vengeance.

trailer:



Empire Online names it one of the 100 best films of world cinema and calls it "essential viewing". Slant Magazine gives it 2 out of 4 stars and concludes, "What does it really mean, you may ask after watching this spectacularly meaning-less film, a pristine example of style and plot over substance." Salon.com says,
“Oldboy” makes us feel a part of something bigger than ourselves. It’s a grand, gritty, indelible experience, the sort of picture that mimics great literature in the way it envelops you in a well-told story while also evoking subtle but strong gradations of emotion.
1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die includes it. Roger Ebert says,
In its sexuality and violence, this is the kind of movie that can no longer easily be made in the United States; the standards of a puritanical minority, imposed on broadcasting and threatened even for cable, make studios unwilling to produce films that might face uncertain distribution. But content does not make a movie good or bad -- it is merely what it is about. "Oldboy" is a powerful film not because of what it depicts, but because of the depths of the human heart which it strips bare.
The Rotten Tomatoes critics score is 81%.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Breathless

Breathless is a 1960 French film directed by Jean-Luc Godard. Jean Seberg stars. This is one of Hulu's current free offerings. [which is no longer available free]

trailer:



I love the music in this one. I got a kick out of seeing a little ashtray with an antique car printed on it that's similar to one my parents had. I also got a kick out of a movie poster in a street scene advertising a Jack Palance film, another poster of a Rod Steiger movie and a Humphrey Bogart shot. I could swear I saw a magazine with Dean Martin on the cover.

Slant Magazine opens by saying,
It's not surprising that Breathless remains fresh some 50 years after its Paris premiere in March 1960—if by "fresh" we mean somehow still in sync with contemporary cultural trends and mores. With its too-cool-for-school bevy of film and literary references, Jean-Luc Godard's masterpiece both foresaw and helped to launch the now-dominant notion of pop-culture obsession as badge of honor.
Senses of Cinema says, "Breathless was instantly hailed as a truly revolutionary movie and the logical outcome of the French New Wave (Nouvelle Vague) rejection of what they called ‘Le Cinema de Papa’ (Dad’s Cinema)." Slate says, "Godard isn't trying to fill the Hollywood mold. He's trying to break it. Breathless'portrait of the normal flow of Paris life sticks with you long after the credits roll". 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die includes it. It's #13 on the Sight & Sound list of top 50 films. Roger Ebert considers it one of the great movies and opens with this: "Modern movies begin here, with Jean-Luc Godard's "Breathless" in 1960. No debut film since "Citizen Kane" in 1942 has been as influential." Rotten Tomatoes gives it 96%.

District 9

I didn't finish this one. District 9, nominated for and winning awards right and left, got great reviews, and most everybody seemed to like it. I don't know.... I just felt like I was being beat to death with the anti-apartheid stick, and didn't we win that battle a while ago?

trailer:



This film was based on a short film, which I had seen:

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Pickpocket

Hulu is offering Robert Bresson's 1959 film Pickpocket for free (with ads) right now. [but that was temporary]

trailer:



It's the story of a man who becomes a pickpocket and what becomes of him as narrated by the pickpocket himself. I lack some ability to connect with the film, because I don't understand why anyone would be tempted to theft except out of desperation. The idea of choosing a life of crime as a profession when there are other options open is incomprehensible to me. I tend to think at the character, "What are you doing? That is wrong! You're gonna get caught! Take one of those job offers, you idiot!"

Senses of Cinema discusses Bresson's career. Salon.com says,
The mysteries of films like “Au Hasard Balthazar” and “Pickpocket” and “Mouchette” (probably his three most highly regarded works) lie entirely in how you interpret them and what you take away from them, in how and whether the spiritual or transcendental lessons Bresson tries to impart work on you.
The Village Voice says,
Indeed, Pickpocket might be described as a solemn carnival of souls. ... Ultimately inexplicable, this concentrated, elliptical, economical movie is an experience that never loses its strangeness.
Slant Magazine has a revealing review and ends up describing the film as "Life in 75 minutes." DVD Talk calls it "a challenging but ultimately rewarding viewing experience." FilmRef.com has an article. The Guardian closes by saying, "If this seems a gloomy process through which to journey, there are always points in his films where redemption and exaltation prevent glumness." 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die says it "is among the most perfect examples of the director's style." Roger Ebert puts it on his list of great movies and says, "Bresson .... has been called the most Christian of filmmakers. Most of his films deal, in one way or another, with redemption." Rotten Tomatoes scores it 95%.

Little Dixon Statues


While I was at the Dixon Gallery recently, I noticed these three little sweeties along the walkway as I was leaving.


They didn't have labels, and I didn't see information on these when I looked at the Dixon site.


Saturday, February 02, 2013

The Naked Island

The Naked Island is a 1960 Japanese film directed by Kaneto Shindo, whose film Onibaba is one I've seen and enjoyed several times. He died in May of 2012 at the age of 100, completing his last film as writer/director in 2010.

This film stars Nobuko Otowa (The Tale of Genji, Onibaba, Kuroneko) and Taiji Tonoyama (The Tale of Genji, Onibaba, Kuroneko). It is the story of a man and woman and their two children eeking out a bare existence as the only inhabitants of an island. They farm, but there's no water source on the island, so they must transport water to their island in a row boat several times each day. It is a genuinely moving film and hard for me to watch in places.

via youtube:



FilmRef.com says,
Kaneto Shindo creates a visually distilled, minimalist, and understated, yet compelling and profoundly expressive portrait of human struggle, perseverance, and survival in Naked Island.
It doesn't have a critics score at Rotten Tomatoes, but the audience rating is 86%.

Friday, February 01, 2013

Sullivan's Travels

Sullivan's Travels is a 1941 Preston Sturges comedy starring Joel McRae and Veronica Lake. I gave this DVD to The Husband some years back, but we're just now seeing it, I think because in that same gift I included Being There and Life Aquatic. They didn't exactly make a big hit, although I loved both of those. The Husband and I both laughed over this film, so I finally picked a winner as far as he was concerned. On the other hand, The Younger Son was not amused. Ah, well, you can't win 'em all.

trailer:



Empire Online opens with this:
Sullivan's Travels is still as brilliant and funny today as it was back in the early '40s, when Sturges was the toast of Tinseltown, praised as its premier satirist and crafter of social comedies.
The book 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die calls it "the most remarkable film in the career of one of America's greatest filmmakers." DVD Talk highly recommends it. DVD Verdict calls it "one of the great films of its era, and certainly among the best movies about movies there has ever been." FilmReference.com says, "Today Sturges may be seen as a great American satirist, and Sullivan's Travels is often called "Swiftian." FilmSite.org describes it this way:
One of his more interesting and intelligent films from a repertoire of about twelve films in his entire career, Sturges' Sullivan's Travels satirizes Hollywood pretension and excesses with his particular brand of sophisticated verbal wit and dialogue, satire and fast-paced slapstick.
It's on the Arts & Faith list of top 100 films. Rotten Tomatoes gives it a score of 100%.