Sunday, July 31, 2016

Ninja Scroll

Ninja Scroll is a 1993 Japanese anime film set in feudal Japan. You can watch it online at Hulu, though I couldn't embed the video here.


The Guardian has a 4 out of 5 star review. Rotten Tomatoes has a critics rating of 86%.

Friday, July 29, 2016

The Prophecy

The Prophecy is a 1995 horror film starring Viggo Mortensen, who is always worth watching. He plays the Devil. Christopher Walken is the Archangel Gabriel. There are 4 sequels, and 2 of them are on this disc. I enjoyed this one. It's got a lot different about it. I do tire of the blood-seeped slasher sub-genre, and this is a totally different type of film while still maintaining the horror.


Moria says, "With The Prophecy, [director] Gregory Widen makes an impressively literate venture into the theme of angels." says, "Lucifer is played by a younger Viggo Mortensen who manages to really bring a believable frightening portal that even in human form is felt in the film" and closes with this: "A recommended classic, not perfect but still a very good film in my book." Rotten Tomatoes has a 43% critics score.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Knots and Crosses

Knots and Crosses (1987) is the first book in the Inspector Rebus detective series by Ian Rankin. I read Resurrection Men, which is 13th in the series, because it won the Edgar Award for best novel. Because I enjoyed it I decided to start picking up more in the series, but then I forgot to do it. I recently came across this in my local book store and remembered. I'll try to read them in order, but I'm not going to obsessive about it.

I came across a word in this book -twice, actually- that I'd never heard before: "outwith".

from the back of the book:
Detective John Rebus's city is being terrorized by a baffling series of murders... and he's tied to the maniac by an invisible knot of blood. As the ghoulish killings mount and the tabloid headlines scream, Rebus cannot stop the feverish shrieks from within his own mind. Because he isn't just one cop trying to catch a killer -he's the man who's got all the pieces to the puzzle.
Kirkus Reviews has a positive review.

I read Resurrection Men way back in 2007.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Rancho Notorious

Rancho Notorious is a 1952 Technicolor Western revenge film directed by Fritz Lang and starring Marlene Dietrich, Arthur Kennedy, and Mel Ferrer. It's #16 on the Paste Magazine list of top 100 westerns.

via Daily Motion:

Images Journal lists it as one of the top 30 western films. Empire Online concludes, "A nice slant on the revenge western from a true master film-maker." Rotten Tomatoes has a critics score of 100%.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Cafe Ole

I've been to Cafe Ole twice recently: once with The Daughter and a group of other women when we sat outside on the patio, and another time with The Husband when we sat inside. Here's the patio:

and here's the interior:

The first time I had the fajita but didn't get a good photo. The second trip I had the quesadilla with iced tea:

You can read the menu here. I enjoyed this midtown Tex-Mex restaurant and will certainly return. There are so many restaurants in Memphis I've never been to that it's hard to resist trying them instead of coming back to ones I've enjoyed, but I'll definitely find a way to include this in the rotation.

Afterwards, we went to The Half-Shell for coffee and dessert:

I think strawberry shortcake should include actual strawberries and not just strawberry syrup. It was pretty, though. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, that's our motto. Well, that's one of our mottoes.

Please join us at the weekly T Tuesday link up, where our host Elizabeth takes us to an art museum in Wichita.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Patio Flowers

I'm trying to grow plants on my patio that will attract butterflies. These are a few recent pictures.

The plant at the top is bee balm. The one just above on the left is black-eyed susan, and the butterfly is on a zinnia flower.

My yellow lantana, which the butterflies love, is on the right side of the photo just above. You can see some of my houseplants to the left in that picture. They prefer the outdoors to being inside when weather permits.

In this photo is pentas, which attracts hummingbirds. This is my first year to have the red color. I usually get purple, which the hummingbirds also come to. I'm enjoying researching the plants that will both thrive in this spot and attract hummingbirds and butterflies. I've had a few spectacular failures -butterfly bush, for example, and parsley- but most of them are doing well so far.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Lichterman Nature Center

I don't post photos to the blog every time I go to the Lichterman Nature Center, but it's been a while since I shared pictures and thought I'd show what summertime heat is like there. I walked all three trails this time, starting with the meadow trail:

They clear this area every few years and then let nature take its course for a while before clearing it again.

I went from there into the forest trail:

From there I went along the lake trail:

They cater a lot to school groups and other large groups of children and they have displays and educational programs in their main building:

in additional to other facilities. I finished my trip by sitting on the covered deck at the back of the main welcome center:

This is always a good way to spend some time.

Saturday, July 23, 2016


The Daughter and her husband took a little trip recently, and I got to dog sit Obi. We went for a few little walks in the neighborhood and saw the statue at Marquette Park:

a Little Free Library on a side street:

and some refreshing greenery at Audubon Park Lake:

I had thought she'd be interested in a swim, but she was not:

I tried to make sure she felt at ease, but I know she was happy to get back to her home and family.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Halloween (1978)

Halloween is a 1978 horror film, the first in a long-running franchise. Directed and scored by John Carpenter, it stars Donald Pleasence and Jamie Lee Curtis. This was Curtis' film debut and the beginning of a wonderful career both as beloved Scream Queen and in many unrelated roles such as my personal favorite A Fish Called Wanda.


Moria calls it a classic. 1000 Misspent Hours gives it a good review and says, "The really remarkable thing about Halloween is that virtually alone in the subgenre it did so much to establish, it has managed to earn and retain the respect of mainstream movie critics." TimeOut calls it "A superb essay in Hitchcockian suspense". loves it.

Roger Ebert gives it a positive review that opens with this:
“Halloween” is an absolutely merciless thriller, a movie so violent and scary that, yes, I would compare it to “Psycho” (1960). It's a terrifying and creepy film about what one of the characters calls Evil Personified.
DVD Talk says, "Halloween still works with an audience." Rotten Tomatoes has a critics rating of 92%.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Love and Summer

Love and Summer is a 2009 novel (his 14th) by William Trevor. I pick up his books wherever I find him. I like the way he writes. He carries me along with the story, and it's hard to put the books down.

from the fly-leaf:
A haunting love story about the choices of the heart from the acclaimed Irish master -his first novel since the Booker-shortlisted The Story of Lucy Gault.

Ellie Dillaham is a shy orphan girl from the hill country, married to a man whose life has been blighted by an unspeakable tragedy. Ellie lives a quiet life in the small Irish town of Rathmoye until she meets Florian Kilderry, a young photographer preparing to leave Ireland and his past forever. The chance intersection of these lost souls sets in motion a poignant love affair that requires Ellie to make an impossible choice.

In spare, exquisite prose, William Trevor delves into the circumscribed lives of the people of Rathmoye, exploring their passions and frustrations during one long summer.
The New York Times concludes a positive, spoiler-filled review with this: "a reader will have his heart in his mouth for the last 50 pages. And when that heart settles back down, it will be broken and satisfied." Kirkus Reviews opens with this: "The poignancy of life worn down at the elbows, Trevor’s signature note, gently animates another masterpiece." The LA Times has a positive review that opens, "That William Trevor has not yet received the Nobel Prize in Literature strikes me as a shame."

The Telegraph closes by saying,
The gentle pace of Trevor’s writing, as deceptively still as the pace of life in Rathmoye itself, can give the impression that this is a novel in which very little happens. It is not so. Behind the silences, the half-articulated feelings, the resignation, there unfolds a series of wrenching human dramas, which Trevor, who is a great moralist as well as an exquisite stylist, depicts with kindness and beautiful delicacy but also a kind of implacable wisdom.

Slate says,
The mystery of Love and Summer is how, despite the heaping up of so much tragic stasis and the persistence of so many specters, the novel winds up being so alive—hungry for life, not choked with death. This is a question that could be asked about a lot of Trevor's work, ... There is an uncommon precision in Trevor's language that allows him to evoke in a sentence the refractory paradoxes of a personality ... and to move in and out of character with feline subtlety. He marks out in very small shifts of tone the degrees of intimacy and distance that create the illusion that people who did these things lived and breathed.

But the other reason Trevor's creations live and breathe is that, like a lonely God in the act of Creation, he loves them into being.

The Washington Post also has a positive review, saying,
When Trevor chooses to leave the inner mind of a character, he lingers on aspects of the physical world, and in this way we live where these people do. He lingers over the way that Miss Connulty prepares food for her overnight lodgers. He lingers on Ellie's own domestic duties, and on the dogs that are part of the Dillahan farm. He lingers on the moments that tell us the summer is moving by. Mostly, and most important, what Trevor does is make us believe and care.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Forty Guns

Forty Guns is a 1957 Samuel Fuller western, starring Barbara Stanwyck, Barry Sullivan, Gene Barry, and Dean Jagger. I watched it because it's #9 on the Paste Magazine list of top 100 western films and I had never even heard of it. It's definitely worth seeing, and -at only 1 hour and 16 minutes- hard to resist.

via Youtube:

Images Journal calls it "one of the wildest and most exciting Westerns of the 1950s." Slant Magazine describes it as "a magnificent B western". Rotten Tomatoes has a critics score of 100%.

Senses of Cinema concludes,
Forty Guns is an exemplary film in many ways. It reveals a filmmaker ahead of his time who pioneered techniques which were appropriated by acclaimed art movie directors while Fuller himself is still regarded as a B-movie director. Fuller’s comments on violence and politics in American society are stated subtly within the image, never didactically bombarding the audience into insensibility but leaving them to consider the implications for themselves. ...

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Reva's Place

On one of our recent vacation days at Lake Barkley State Park in Kentucky we drove over to Cadiz to find a place to have lunch and see what else was there. Cadiz has decorated itself with pigs -you can see one in the photo of the restaurant exterior at the top of the post. They are signs of the annual Ham Fest held every October.

We ended up eating at Reva's Place right on the main street. I had the catfish plate:

I have trouble resisting fried catfish when I see it on a menu, and I enjoyed this. The slaw and beans were good, too, and the onion rings. You can't see much of my glass in the photo above, but I had iced tea. We enjoyed our meal. We had planned on walking around the town and shopping in the antique shops, but a big storm blew up while we were finishing our meal.

We headed back to the lodge, by which time the storm had passed. Of course. Isn't that always the way? But we couldn't complain. We had this view from our balcony after all:

Trip Advisor gives it 3 1/2 out of 5 stars.

Please join the weekly T Tuesday gathering at Bleubeard and Elizabeth's blog. You'll receive a warm welcome, a beverage of some kind, and art at many of the participating blogs.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Audubon Park 42

Audubon Park is a large Memphis park that includes a walking trail; exercise stations; pavilions; picnic tables; BBQ pits; tennis courts; a golf course; a labyrinth (part of the Cancer Survivors area); a lake; and a Botanic Garden with a concert venue, restaurant, and numerous garden and woodland areas. Along the walking path there are at least 2 different 42s.

The friend I was walking with had somehow missed the meaning of 42 as the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything. She seemed less than impressed when I told her.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Pokémon Go

Pokémon Go! Yes, I'm playing, and yes I'm a fan. The Daughter plays, and she got me started on this. I think it's great fun. I've met neighbors I've never seen before, and it's definitely increasing the amount of time I spend walking every day.

I'm at level 11 but have no current interest in joining a team. I'm going to see how far I get on my own.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Children of the Corn

Children of the Corn is a 1984 horror film based on a Stephen King short story. Linda Hamilton has a major role. Evil children run amok. I enjoyed it once but won't keep the disc. Sequels and remakes followed, but I have no interest in seeing them.


1000 Misspent Hours opens with this:
Long, long ago, in some review or other, I said that I couldn’t recall ever having seen a really bad evil child movie. Well, the time has come for me to eat those words with a big glass of orange juice and a side order of hash browns— or perhaps grits would be the more appropriate side dish, seeing as the film that has brought me to these unpleasant straits is Children of the Corn.
Moria gives it a single star and says, "Alas, Children of the Corn is not a very good Stephen King adaptation." says, "Despite how much the film disappoints on all levels it has a certain charm to it. I hate to admit it but COTC is never boring; I was drawn into the story, or lack of a story."

Roger Ebert concludes, "By the end of “Children of the Corn,” the only thing moving behind the rows is the audience, fleeing to the exits." Rotten Tomatoes has a critics score of 38%.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Game of Mirrors

Game of Mirrors is 18th in the Inspector Montalbano mystery series by Andrea Camilleri. This one was originally published in 2011 and translated into English in 2015. Do read these in order, as the characters and their relationships change. This series leans a bit towards the comic, but I get a kick out of those parts and it doesn't interfere with an appreciation of the plot.

from the back of the book:
In Game of Mirrors, Inspector Montalbano and his colleagues are stumped when two bombs explode outside empty warehouses -one of which is connected to a big-time drug dealer. Meanwhile, the alluring Liliana Lombardo is trying to seduce the Inspector over red wine and arancini. Between pesky reporters, amorous trysts, and cocaine kingpins, Montalbano feels like he's being manipulated on all fronts. That is, until the Inspector himself becomes the prime suspect in an unspeakably brutal crime.
Kirkus Reviews closes with this: "Brisk, biting and cleverly plotted, Montalbano's 18th ... is both droll and suspenseful."

I've also read these:
1. The Shape of Water
2. The Terra-Cotta Dog
3. The Snack Thief
4. Voice of the Violin
5. Excursion to Tindari
6. The Smell of Night
7. Rounding the Mark
8. The Patience of the Spider
9. The Paper Moon
10. August Heat
11. The Wings of the Sphinx
12. The Track of Sand
13. The Potter's Field
14. The Age of Doubt
15. Dance of the Seagull
16. Treasure Hunt
17. Angelica's Smile