Friday, April 30, 2021

Ready Player One (2018)

Ready Player One is a 2018 science fiction adventure film based on the book by Ernest Cline. Steven Spielberg directs. I watched it on HBO Max I loved the book, and I thoroughly enjoyed the movie even though it differs from the book. I mean, I knew it would. They always do.


Forbes closes with this:
Ready Player One is Steven Spielberg at the top of his game, a heaping helping of exhilarating summer popcorn spectacle delivered ahead of schedule for springtime. The director reminds us once more why he is recognized as one of the all-time greatest filmmakers, and an original founder of blockbuster cinema.
The Verge says it's better than the book. BBC Culture calls it "dazzling stuff" and says, "Spielberg isn’t just making this territory his own, but demonstrating that it was his all along". Empire Online concludes, "Spielberg has seemingly done the impossible: balancing sugar-rush nostalgia with an involving story to create a pure, uncynical, cinematic ride that recaptures the magic of his early films." Hollywood Reporter calls it a "rollicking adventure".

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Outer Space

Outer Space is a 1999 short film by Austrian avant-garde filmmaker Peter Tscherkassky.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

The Kon-Tiki Expedition

I don't remember when I first discovered Thor Heyerdahl and his Kon-Tiki expedition, but it made quite the impression on me. I read books -in particular Heyerdahl's own- and made them available to my kids when they were young. So exciting! It turns out Heyerdahol was wrong... but still, what an adventure!

There's a documentary from 2012 here:

The voyage began on this date in 1947. There's a museum.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Man of the West

Man of the West is a 1958 western directed by Anthony Mann and starring Gary Cooper, Julie London, Lee J. Cobb, and Arthur O'Connell. Also in this are Jack Lord, Royal Dano, and Robert J. Wilke. I watched it free on Tubi at this link. It is critically well-regarded and shows up on many "best of" lists of Western films.


Senses of Cinema has a thought-provoking consideration. Deep Focus Review calls it a masterpiece and says, "Mann’s work, though not extensively recognized as that of an auteur in the United States, has been praised overseas by French cineastes François Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard as that of a genius-artist." The Guardian calls it Mann's Western masterpiece. TCM has an overview. 93% of Rotten Tomatoes critics gave it positive reviews.

The bad guy holding the cup in the foreground of the screenshot below:

is played by Jack Lord. I think I'll get a cup of my own and visit with the T Stands for Tuesday bloggers. Please choose your beverage of choice and join us.

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Mourning Grave

Mourning Grave is a 2014 South Korean ghost story. I generally like ghost stories and South Korean horror, and I enjoyed this one. I watched it on Tubi TV Here's a trailer:

Saturday, April 24, 2021

The End of the Trojan War

Today is the date traditionally considered the anniversary of the end of the Trojan War, the date that the Greeks' Trojan Horse fooled the citizens of Troy into thinking they'd won and that the Greeks had headed for home.

You can read the story in Virgil's Aeneid. Another translation is here. There are several translations online. Here's an excerpt from the Dryden translation in that 2nd link:
All were attentive to the godlike man,
When from his lofty couch he thus began:
"Great queen, what you command me to relate
Renews the sad remembrance of our fate:
An empire from its old foundations rent,
And ev'ry woe the Trojans underwent;
A peopled city made a desart place;
All that I saw, and part of which I was:
Not ev'n the hardest of our foes could hear,
Nor stern Ulysses tell without a tear.
And now the latter watch of wasting night,
And setting stars, to kindly rest invite;
But, since you take such int'rest in our woe,
And Troy's disastrous end desire to know,
I will restrain my tears, and briefly tell
What in our last and fatal night befell.
"By destiny compell'd, and in despair,
The Greeks grew weary of the tedious war,
And by Minerva's aid a fabric rear'd,
Which like a steed of monstrous height appear'd:
The sides were plank'd with pine; they feign'd it made
For their return, and this the vow they paid.
Thus they pretend, but in the hollow side
Selected numbers of their soldiers hide:
With inward arms the dire machine they load,
And iron bowels stuff the dark abode.
In sight of Troy lies Tenedos, an isle
(While Fortune did on Priam's empire smile)
Renown'd for wealth; but, since, a faithless bay,
Where ships expos'd to wind and weather lay.
There was their fleet conceal'd. We thought, for Greece
Their sails were hoisted, and our fears release.
The Trojans, coop'd within their walls so long,
Unbar their gates, and issue in a throng,
Like swarming bees, and with delight survey
The camp deserted, where the Grecians lay:
The quarters of the sev'ral chiefs they show'd;
Here Phoenix, here Achilles, made abode;
Here join'd the battles; there the navy rode.
Part on the pile their wond'ring eyes employ:
The pile by Pallas rais'd to ruin Troy.
Thymoetes first ('t is doubtful whether hir'd,
Or so the Trojan destiny requir'd)
Mov'd that the ramparts might be broken down,
To lodge the monster fabric in the town.
But Capys, and the rest of sounder mind,
The fatal present to the flames designed,
Or to the wat'ry deep; at least to bore
The hollow sides, and hidden frauds explore.
The giddy vulgar, as their fancies guide,
With noise say nothing, and in parts divide.
Laocoon, follow'd by a num'rous crowd,
Ran from the fort, and cried, from far, aloud:
'O wretched countrymen! what fury reigns?
What more than madness has possess'd your brains?
Think you the Grecians from your coasts are gone?
And are Ulysses' arts no better known?
This hollow fabric either must inclose,
Within its blind recess, our secret foes;
Or 't is an engine rais'd above the town,
T' o'erlook the walls, and then to batter down.
Somewhat is sure design'd, by fraud or force:
Trust not their presents, nor admit the horse.'
But did they listen to this warning? Of course not.

Friday, April 23, 2021

St. George of Merry England

Today is the feast day of Saint George of Merry England of Dragon fame. Book 1 of Edmund Spenser's Faerie Queen (which you can listen to being read to you at Librivox) includes Saint George. If you'd rather not wade through Spenser's archaic language, there's a retelling online here. It begins,
Once upon a time, in a country not far from Fairyland, there lived a king and queen and their daughter, whose name was Una. Una was one of the most beautiful princesses that ever were seen, and she was as good as she was beautiful. She and her father and mother loved each other very dearly, and they were very happy together, until a dreadful thing happened in their kingdom and took all their happiness away. A hideous dragon came from another country, and killed men and women and little children. With its fiery breath it turned the trees and grass and flowers into black ashes, and it slew everybody that it came across. It would have killed Una’s father and mother too, but they and some of their servants shut themselves up in a tower made of brass. The dragon tried very hard to get in and eat them up, but it could not break into a tower so strong. For seven years the king and queen hid in their tower, while the dragon lay outside.

Many brave knights came and fought with the horrible monster and tried to save the king and queen. But the dragon was stronger than all the knights, and killed every one of them.

At last Una made up her mind to ride to Fairyland and ask the Queen of the Fairies to send one of her knights to kill the dragon. Una took no soldiers nor servants with her, but a dwarf carried for her the food and clothes she needed, and she rode on a little white ass. Her dress was of white, but she covered it and her beautiful, shining, golden hair up with a black cloak to show that she felt sad. Her lovely face was very sorrowful, for she was so unhappy at the cruel things the dragon had done, and the danger her dear father and mother were in.

Una safely got to the court of the Faerie Queen, and a young knight, fearless and faithful and true, offered to come back with her to kill the dragon.

His name was George, but on the breast of his silver armour, and on his silver shield, a red cross was painted. So people called him the Red Cross Knight.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Don Quixote (2000)

Don Quixote is a 2000 made-for-tv film starring John Lithgow, Bob Hoskins, and Isabella Rossellini. Peter Yates directs.

It is based on the book by Cervantes, who died on this date in 1616. You can read the book here or here if you haven't already, or have it read to you compliments of Librivox.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Daisies (1966)

Daisies is a 1966 comedy-drama surrealist Czech film. It has been both controversial and acclaimed. It can be watched free on Reference.TV, with an HBO MAX subscription, or on Youtube:

AnOtherMag opens with this: "Věra Chytilová’s 60s masterpiece Daisies is a brilliantly surreal trip into an aesthetic paradise, and a utopia where women are liberated from the conservative conventions of etiquette" and says "it was filmed during a brief period of artistic liberalism following the homogeneity of Czech’s Communist rule and before the Soviet invasion of 1968 which saw it banned for “depicting the wanton”. Simultaneously a brilliant dissent against political conservativsm and an endless source of fashion inspiration".

Art Forum says, "Although not immediately regarded as a masterpiece, Daisies is now understood as a classic text from the golden age of Eastern European allegory—albeit with a difference." Slant Magazine has a positive review. BirthMoviesDeath concludes, "Turns out one of 1966's most psychedelic, provocative films is one of its most progressive, too."

Your Rightful Name

Your Rightful Name:

by Aisha Raison

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Give yourself a little present

I don't know if any of you are Twin Peaks fans, but I offer this link to this quote:
"I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Everyday, once a day, give yourself a present. Don’t plan it, don’t wait for it. Just let it happen. It could be a new shirt at the Men’s store. A catnap in your office chair. Or two cups of good, hot black coffee." -F.B.I Special Agent Dale Cooper

You can watch the TV series on several subscription services, including Netflix and Paramount+.

Please join the T Stands for Tuesday blogger gathering hosted by Bleubeard and Elizabeth.

Monday, April 19, 2021

The Holy Mountain

The Holy Mountain is a 1973 surrealist film directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky. This is an astounding film. I found it online here and here.


Philosophy in Film says,
film is most effective as a reflection of its anarchistic counter-cultural roots, both in its production and style. It has been noted that LSD played a large part in the conception and development of the project (both for Jodorowsky and his cast), and the film consistently seeks to reject modernist ideologies and narrative forms. Though there is an overt progression to the plot, insofar as it is a rather clear-cut journey towards a particular goal, the film frequently branches off into surreal visions, most notable for their pagan imagery.
Slant Magazine says,
The Holy Mountain is nothing if not exuberant while cartwheeling its way through the cosmos and back through the non sequitur-strewn plains and deserts, towns and cities, ridges and ranges of Mexico. Jodorowsky nearly died twice during the production, one time at the hands of his own lead, stirring one to bestow The Holy Mountain with that oft-overused label of a “passion project.” For even if you don’t totally buy what Jodorowsky is selling, you have to stand in awe of his belief in his intangible product.
Time Out says, "We will not see its like again." Rotten Tomatoes has an audience consensus rating of 89%.

Sunday, April 18, 2021

ATC 42

This was the 301st ATC I made. I made it in response to the inspiration prompt "Numbers" back in April. 2019.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Hold Back the Dawn

Hold Back the Dawn is a 1941 film starring Charles Boyer, Olivia de Havilland, and Paulette Goddard. You can watch it online here. I can't find a trailer online. This is a screenshot from early in Boyer's courting of the American schoolteacher:

The NYT calls it a "Poignant Romance". Emmanuel Levy has an article about the film and its Oscar nominations. Leonard Maltin says, "Boyer’s character is a manipulator and a heel, yet still compelling because of the actor’s charisma."

DVD Beaver says,
A moving and thoughtful film with a wonderful script (co-written by Billy Wilder), Hold back the Dawn benefits from evocative performances by Boyer and de Havilland, and an over-arching sense of romantic melancholy. An enduring classic of its era, Leisen's film was nominated for no-less than six Academy Awards
Rotten Tomatoes has a critics consensus rating of 100%.

Friday, April 16, 2021

Godzilla vs. Kong

Godzilla vs Kong is a 2021 monster movie we watched on HBO Max. We subscribed to HBO Max to check it out for a month, but as the months pass we keep it. There's a lot there. This movie is a wonderful addition to the Monsterverse film series. This is the 4th, with the 1st 3 being Godzilla; Kong: Skull Island; and Godzilla: King of the Monsters. I've enjoyed them all. I'd watch them in order.


Thursday, April 15, 2021

Deaf Sam-yong (1964)

Deaf Sam-yong is an award-winning 1964 South Korean film. In this film a deaf farmhand is in love with the landlord's daughter-in-law. Sweet. 

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

The Forever Man

The Forever Man is a science fiction novel by Gordon R. Dickson, who won numerous awards and who was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame the year before his death. Here's more proof that books don't have to be new to be fun to read. Older books (and by that, I mean that this book was published in the 1980s) are usually readily available pretty cheap online used or in local used book stores if you're lucky enough to live in a place that has a used book store.

from the back of the book:

An ancient starship is found adrift in space, damaged by alien Laagi warships. The voice of the pilot still survives -a mind merged with the ship itself.

Now, Earth's scientists attempt to duplicate the feat. Pilot John Wander has been chosen for the dangerous mission. His spirit transferred from his body to his own ship. Wander must make peace with the Laagi...

Or lose his ship and his mind.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

La Haine (Hate)

La Haine (Hate) is a 1995 French film (this one I found online here with English subtitles, which is a huge help for me) in black and white. The most famous quote from the film, "Hatred breeds hatred" shows how little has changed.


Here's a screenshot with a drink in it for the T Stands for Tuesday blogger gathering:

Roger Ebert says,
“Hate” tells the story of three young men--an Arab, an African and a Jew--who spend an aimless day in a sterile Paris suburb, as social turmoil swirls around them and they eventually get into a confrontation with the police.

If France is the man falling off the building, they are the sidewalk.
Rotten Tomatoes has a critics consensus score of 100%.


Language joke, explaining why I need subtitles:

What do you call someone who speaks 3 languages? Trilingual.
What do you call someone who speaks 2 languages? Bilingual.
What do you call someone who speaks one language? American.

That's me.


This is a 6-minute reflection on what the film says about violence in our society:

Monday, April 12, 2021

Slow Down

Slow Down:

by Myla Smith, who is based in Memphis. Or she used to be...

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Band of Outsiders

Bande à part is a 1964 French New Wave film directed by Jean-Luc Godard. You can watch it online here in French with English subtitles. 


Eye for Film says
Bande À Part has been described as ‘Godard-lite’ – it contains all of his quirky, Brechtian inventiveness, cinematic cleverness, obsession with ‘things that matter’ (such as sexual tension, intertextuality, youth and Paris) over mere details like narrative continuity. There are none of his political rants or philosophical digressions - just a rollicking good movie. In modern terms, it falls halfway between Woody Allen capers and Tarantino satire. And Tarantino famously named his Pulp Fiction production company after the film, as well using the dance sequence to inspire Travolta and Thurman.
Empire Online says it's "one of Godard's most accessible pictures. A good place to learn how much of a debt modern cinema owes him." Rotten Tomatoes has a critics consensus score of 94%.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Four of the Apocalypse (1975)

Four of the Apocalypse is a 1975 spaghetti western directed by Lucio Fulci. This may be my least favorite of the spaghetti westerns I've seen. I don't like the rape of the drugged and tied pregnant woman to start with. I didn't finish it.

It's been called "without a doubt one of Fulci's finest films". calls it a "mood film".

Friday, April 09, 2021

Ménilmontant (1926)

Ménilmontant is a 1926 French short (38 minutes) silent film directed by Dimitri Kirsanoff. It's the story of two sisters making their way in Paris.

Film Reference calls it "one of the most interesting psychological narratives of its period." French Films has a detailed review.

Thursday, April 08, 2021

Overlord (2018)

Overlord is a 2018 action horror film featuring Nazi zombies. You can never go wrong with Nazi zombies. I watched it on Amazon Prime.


Roger Ebert's site calls it a "high-concept historical chiller". Rotten Tomatoes has a critics consensus score of 81%.

Wednesday, April 07, 2021

Advantageous (2015)

Advantageous is a 2015 science fiction film. I watched it on Netflix.


Wired calls it a "A Dystopian Film That's Packed With Hope". Hollywood Reporter says, "it casts a peculiarly bewitching spell and has ambition to burn". Gizmodo calls it "An Insanely Good Movie That Everyone Should Watch".

Spirituality and Practice says it's "A thought-provoking sci-fi drama about parenting, education, the commodification of women's bodies, and female unemployment."

The Rotten Tomatoes critics consensus is 85%.

Tuesday, April 06, 2021

Sennentuntschi: Curse of the Alps

Sennentuntschi: Curse of the Alps is a 2010 Swiss horror film based on an Alpine legend. I watched it on Tubi with commercials.


Bloody Disgusting Reviews calls it "a beautiful, intricate, and at times downright disturbing thriller". Horror News calls it "a clever solid piece and thriller of a film." Love Horror concludes, "Overall Sennentuntschi: Curse of the Alps is an interesting genre picture with lots of depth and an excellent storyline. If this is Switzerland’s first attempt then we can’t wait to see what’s next."

Please join me at Bleubeard and Elizabeth's T Stands for Tuesday blogger gathering.

I'm having coffee, as usual in the mornings. It's such a pretty day I got out a cup for you so you could join me on the patio. I can offer tea if coffee's not your thing.

Monday, April 05, 2021

The Trial of Derek Chauvin, charged with killing George Floyd

I find myself unable to watch all of the trial, though I'm trying to keep up. We have a TV channel we can watch over the air with our regular antenna, but you can watch it via several different online sources. These are today's links to live coverage: PBS News Hour; Now This News; ABC; CBS News; NBC News; Law and Crime Network

I hadn't seen the full video of the killing before the first day of the trial and offer this link to it here with the warning that it's hard to watch.

You can see video and voice-over description of the events in this video:

Address Unknown

Address Unknown is a 1944 Academy Award-nominated noir-style film directed by William Cameron Menzies starring Paul Lukas, Carl Esmond, and Peter van Eyck. It is the story of two families caught up in the rise of Nazism in Germany before the start of World War II.

The NYT review at the time of the film's release says,
"Address Unknown" is not just another anti-Nazi picture. It is an absorbing study of a man being driven crazy through fear, and the central character is played with dynamic forcefulness by Paul Lukas. The tragic atmosphere of the picture has been heightened through the brilliant use of lowkey lighting effects by William Cameron Menzies, ... Mr. Menzies, cloaking the greater part of the story in deep, brooding, shadowy photography, methodically builds the tension into one of the most spine-chilling climaxes you'll encounter in many weeks of moviegoing.

Saturday, April 03, 2021

The Tenant (1976)

The Tenant is a 1976 French psychological horror film directed by Roman Polanski. It stars Roman Polanski, Melvyn Douglas, and Shelley Winters. You can watch it online here. Here's a trailer:

The NYT review from the time of the film's release says,
Trelkovsky, the hero of Mr. Polanski's striking new horror film, "The Tenant," is a character who might have been invented by an Edgar Allan Poe who'd had the opportunity to read about Raskolnikov and Josef K. He's a particularly Eastern European kind of late 19th-century outsider set down in contemporary Paris. He is also—by the end of the movie—something of a joke, but an entirely intentional one."The Tenant," which opened yesterday at Loews Tower East, is the most successful and most consistently authentic Polanski film in years
The Film Connoisseur says,
After watching Polanski's Repulsion (1965), Rosemary’s Baby (1968), and now The Tenant, I can see why they call these three films Polanski’s "Apartment Trilogy". ... these three films are three very solid Polanski’s films, anyone out there who hasnt seen either of these should make it a top priority!

Moria says,
There is an inexorable feel to the film as Polanski, in the same way that he placed us inside Catherine Deneuve’s mind in Repulsion, takes us along with Trelkovsky as his entire identity is seemingly subsumed
Slant Magazine calls it "One of Polanski’s greater efforts". DVD Talk says, "The reason The Tenant is so difficult a film, is probably that Trelkovsky is such an unpleasant person." Time Out has a negative review. Empire Online says, "The final reel ... is among the most despairing in the cinema, and acutely painful to watch." has a review that includes this: "Rather than just simple paranoia, it is the overwhelming sense of persecution because he doesn’t belong". Rotten Tomatoes critics have a consensus rating of 90%. Roger Ebert despised it.

Friday, April 02, 2021

Willful Behavior

Willful Behavior is the 11th novel in the Commissario Guido Brunetti mystery series by Donna Leon. I continue to enjoy this series and am currently reading them in order as I receive them as gifts. The characters are real people, I swear, and they evolve and grow over time. Brunetti's personal life takes up just the right amount of space, and the secondary characters are as well-drawn as the main ones. The images of Venice are described well enough to place you in the scenes, even if paintings are as close as you've ever gotten to actually being there. The descriptions of the food and drink add depth.

from the back of the book:
Mystery lovers everywhere are drawn to Donna Leon's ever-honorable Commissario Guido Brunetti and her portrayal of Venice's beautiful but ominous byways and canals. In Willful Behavior, Brunetti is approached for a favor by one of his wife's students. Intelligent and serious, Claudia Leonardo asks for his help in obtaining a pardon for a crime once committed by her now-dead grandfather. Brunetti thinks little of it -until Claudia is found dead. Soon, another corpse and an extraordinary art collection lead Brunetti to long-buried secrets of Nazi collaboration and the exploitation of Italian Jews -secrets few in Italy want revealed.

Thursday, April 01, 2021