Thursday, September 28, 2023

Cast a Deadly Spell

Cast a Deadly Spell (on Max) is a 1991 horror fantasy detective film with Fred Ward, Julianne Moore, David Warner, and Clancy Brown. This movie combines two genres –the eldritch tales of H. P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos and film noir mysteries. I loved this one. Just the tiniest touch of humor and a lack of gore make it quite the fun watch for the season. There is a sequel.

via YouTube:

Empire Online gives it a positive review and calls it "An appealing cross-genre idea". Bloody Disgusting calls it a gem.


Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Belle de Jour

Belle de Jour (on Max) is a 1967 psychological drama film directed by Luis Buñuel, and starring Catherine Deneuve. The film is about a young woman who spends her midweek afternoons as a high-class prostitute, while her husband is at work. Sometimes I think these 60s French films have too much in common and run together in my mind, and then I come across one like this. Wikipedia says,
Belle de Jour is one of Buñuel's most successful and famous films. It was Deneuve's second acclaimed success after The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. It won the Golden Lion and the Pasinetti Award for Best Film at the Venice Film Festival in 1967.



Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Still Life with Teapot and Fruit

Still Life with Teapot and Fruit:

image from WikiArt

is a 1910 painting by Henri Rousseau, who died on September 2 in that same year. From Wikipedia:
Ridiculed during his lifetime by critics, he came to be recognized as a self-taught genius whose works are of high artistic quality. Rousseau's work exerted an extensive influence on several generations of avant-garde artists
Let this be an encouragement in your own artistic endeavors.

Please join us at the T Stands for Tuesday blogger gathering. Post whatever you like as long as there's some beverage-related connection.

Monday, September 25, 2023


Driveways (Paramount+) is a 2019 American domestic drama film directed by Andrew Ahn and starring Hong Chau, Lucas Jaye, and Brian Dennehy. I always enjoy Dennehy. This is one of those films I wish I could do justice to so you would feel compelled to watch it. It is an understated, gentle, gem.


Roger Ebert's site has a positive review, as do Rolling Stone, Variety, and The Hollywood Reporter.


Sunday, September 24, 2023

The Nice Guys

The Nice Guys (on Netflix) is a 2016 buddy comedy action film about a tough enforcer for hire (Russell Crowe) and a private investigator (Ryan Gosling) teaming up. This one's hilarious. Reviews were positive. Somehow there was never a sequel. There shoulda been a sequel.


Saturday, September 23, 2023

The Old Way

The Old Way (on Hulu) is a 2023 American Western film starring Nicolas Cage as a retired gunman who, with his daughter, is on a mission to find the outlaws who killed his wife. I'm glad they're still making westerns and am especially glad they're making westerns without throwing comedy elements all over the place or making the main characters into brave heroes. I liked this one and will re-watch it.



Friday, September 22, 2023


Linoleum (on Hulu) is a 2022 comedy drama film. Highly recommended. I loved this one, absolutely loved it! It's hard to describe, and I feel like I can't do it justice. See it; you won't regret it.


Roger Ebert's site closes a positive review with this: "It's a small movie that takes big swings." Variety encourages us to watch it and says, "Jim Gaffigan’s compelling lead performance anchors Colin West’s free-wheeling indie without impeding its flights of fantasy." The Hollywood Reporter concludes,
Linoleum is in many ways a small movie, concerned with not much more than this limited circle of people trying to figure out how to understand their own lives — to make peace with the brighter future that never came, or to decide how to take charge of their own destinies, or to sort through the relationships that have mattered to them all along. But the emotional punch it packs has the weight of entire lifetimes behind it.

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Fantastic Mr. Fox (film)

Fantastic Mr. Fox (on my Max watchlist) is a 2009 American stop-motion animated comedy film directed by Wes Anderson based on the 1970 children's novel of the same name by Roald Dahl. The cast includes George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Willem Dafoe, and Owen Wilson. I somehow missed this one, don't ask me how, and am glad I watched it.


Roger Ebert gives it a positive review as does the Guardian. Empire Online says, "Genuinely original: a silly, hilarious and oddly profound adaptation for adult-sized children."


Wednesday, September 20, 2023

The Flash (2023)

The Flash is a 2023 American superhero film based on the DC Comics character of the same name. It got generally positive reviews, and I'm watching all the superhero movies as they become available to me on streaming services I have access to. That said, I think this one is dreadful. It includes time travel as a major plot element, for one thing. I could go on and on, but I'll just leave it at that.



Tuesday, September 19, 2023

A Boyer Wedding Feast

A Boyer Wedding Feast:

by Konstatin Makovsky (6/20/1839-9/17/1915), who was an influential Russian painter. This 1883 painting shows a toast at a wedding feast following a boyar marriage. The bride looks sad and reluctant, while the elderly attendant standing behind her encourages the bride to kiss the groom. The work won a gold medal at the World's Fair in 1885 and is considered to be one of Makovsky's most popular works. It is currently located in Hillwood museum, Washington DC, U.S.

Please share a drink related post with us over at the T Stands for Tuesday blogger gathering.

Monday, September 18, 2023

Radius (2017)

Radius -free with an Amazon Prime subscription, and also available free on Tubi and YouTube (embedded below) and other services- is a 2017 Canadian science fiction thriller film about two survivors of a car accident who discover that one causes the death of anyone who comes within a certain radius of him, and the other has the ability to nullify this effect. Generally well-reviewed, I enjoyed this one. It has such an unusual plot.

via YouTube (You'll have to click through to YouTube's site to watch, as this movie is age restricted.):


Sunday, September 17, 2023

Two or Three Things I Know About Her

Two or Three Things I Know About Her (streaming on Max) is a 1967 French New Wave film written and directed by Jean-Luc Godard. The dramatic plot of the film presents just over 24 hours in the sophisticated, but empty, life of Juliette Jeanson, a bourgeois married mother of two young children who works as a prostitute during the day. According to Wikipedia (sources provided on that page) many critics regard the film as being among Godard's most significant works.

trailer (in French):

Saturday, September 16, 2023

Star Trek Voyager 42

There is no image, but the entire episode The Haunting of Deck Twelve is built around an entity in section 42 of Deck 12.

from the transcript:
MEZOTI: This has something to do with deck twelve, doesn't it?
NEELIX: Well, what makes you say that?
ICHEB: Deck twelve section forty two is off limits to everyone but senior officers with a level six security clearance.
MEZOTI: That's because it's haunted, isn't it?


As some of you may recall, The Husband spent about 5 years not living here full-time and was only here a day or so a week. My practice during those years was to do my blog visiting in the mornings over coffee. Now he's here for morning coffee, and my schedule is in need of reconfiguring. I'm sure I'll get there... Maybe I could do blogland after he leaves for work, but usually by then I've started laundry and other housework and just haven't made it to my laptop. I'd do it during lunch, but he's home for lunch. I'm not making it to my laptop for days on end. When do y'all do your computer activities, anyway?

Friday, September 15, 2023

In & Of Itself

In & Of Itself (on Hulu) is another movie I wouldn't have watched without having had it highly recommended by every one of my Facebook friends who had seen it. IMDb describes it this way: "Storyteller and Conceptual Magician Derek DelGaudio attempts to understand the illusory nature of identity and answer the deceptively simple question 'Who am I?'" I'm filled with meh, which puts me outside the almost universal acclaim I see online.



Thursday, September 14, 2023

Furry's Blues

Furry's Blues:

by Furry Lewis, who died on this date in 2014 in Memphis

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

My Big Fat Greek Wedding

My Big Fat Greek Wedding is one of those movies it seems everyone else has seen and loved, and when I saw it on Max I decided to give it a chance. I'm glad I've seen it, but I don't understand the love everyone feels for it. It has a huge following who can't wait for the third movie to be released. I will most likely never re-watch it or see any of the sequels. Them that likes it speak well of it, as the saying goes. Yes, it was good, but this is just not my thing.



Mornings on the fall patio mean shade. There's a clear line that moves gradually through the year, giving us sunshine that increases throughout the spring and early summer and decreases throughout the fall. These days we can enjoy morning shade for coffee on the patio and temperatures in the 60sF. We're getting highs in the 80s now instead of the upper 90s and 100+ temperatures we get during the summertime.

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Midnight at the Oasis

Happy Birthday, Maria Muldaur! 81 years old today. Her most famous song is probably Midnight at the Oasis:

I remember when this was released in 1973.

Please post a drink reference and join us at the T Stands for Tuesday blogger gathering. Here's mine:

Monday, September 11, 2023

And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself

And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself (on Max) is a 2003 American made-for-television western film for HBO starring Antonio Banderas as Pancho Villa.


Variety has a positive review. History on Film considers its historical accuracy. DVD Talk rates the movie Good on a scale of Excellent, Good, Fair, and Poor.


Sunday, September 10, 2023

Odd Thomas

Odd Thomas (free with an Amazon Prime account, also available free on Tubi and elsewhere) is a 2013 mystery thriller starring Anton Yelchin and Willem Dafoe. I watch any movie I notice Dafoe in. I'm never disappointed. I wish it had done better at the box office so it could've gotten a sequel. Alas for what might have been.


"I see dead people but then, by God, I do something about it."


The fading patio on a pleasant autumn day:

Saturday, September 09, 2023

A Woman Under the Influence

A Woman Under the Influence (another from my Max watchlist) is a 1974 award-winning drama film written and directed by John Cassavetes. The story follows a woman (Gena Rowlands) whose behavior leads to conflict with her blue-collar husband (Peter Falk) and family. Peter falk is underappreciated. I'm attracted to films that deal with mental illness. These characters go through real pain as they struggle to deal with the woman's behavior.


The Criterion Collection says,
If you look at it from one end of the telescope, it’s a hyperrealistic portrait of a woman going mad, a bravura performance in a vaguely working-class setting, a sort of déclassé American version of Ingmar Bergman’s Face to Face (1976), without Bergman. From the other end, it’s a richly detailed experience, alternately soaring and gut-wrenching, composed in two long, mighty, almost but not quite unwieldy movements. And it’s about . . . what? Men and women? Family life? The difficulty of distinguishing between your real and ideal selves? Male embarrassment? All of the above, none of the above. Tagging a movie like Woman with something as neat as a “subject” is a fairly useless activity. “John had antennae like Proust,” Peter Falk once wrote. A Woman Under the Influence and Faces, probably his two greatest films, are both ultimately as impossible to pin down as In Search of Lost Time. Like Proust before him, Cassavetes rode the whims, upsets, vagaries, and mysterious impulses of humanity like a champion surfer.
Senses of Cinema opens its thorough consideration with this:
A Woman Under the Influence is a rarity. It manages to be both an incisive commentary on sexual politics, and one of the great heterosexual love stories of modern American film, independent or otherwise. The film’s focus on a “female problem”, a “condition” that psychiatrists in earlier times referred to as hysteria, enriches it greatly as an earthy romance. It also asks: How does one cope with one’s own emotions in the face of interfering in-laws and parents? Cassavetes’ film is not so much an examination of gender roles, as a study of the characters that take them for granted.
The A.V. Club says,
In Influence, that unhinged life belongs to Rowlands, a working-class mother of great warmth and questionable mental stability whose eccentric behavior both attracts and embarrasses her husband (Falk). His discomfort forces her eccentricity into increasingly uncomfortable forms as Falk and Rowlands—in performances of almost indescribable intensity—detail a marriage anchored by love, but tossed by the expectations of others and the unpredictable swell of madness.
The Guardian reviewer says the film changed his life. Roger Ebert has it on his list of Great Movies. Cinephilia and Beyond calls it "Cassavetes’ Intense and Emotionally Exhausting Slice of Life". Empire Online concludes, "At two-and-a-half hours, it could easily have dragged but with such strong performances, you're left wanting more."

Friday, September 08, 2023

Secrets & Lies (1996)

Secrets & Lies is a 1996 drama film. The ensemble cast stars Marianne Jean-Baptiste as Hortense, a well-educated black middle-class London optometrist, who was adopted as a baby and has chosen to trace her family history – and discovers that her birth mother, Cynthia, played by Brenda Blethyn, is a working-class white woman with a dysfunctional family. Claire Rushbrook co-stars as Cynthia's other daughter Roxanne, while Timothy Spall and Phyllis Logan portray Cynthia's brother and sister-in-law, who have secrets of their own affecting their everyday family life. Another from my Max watchlist, this one is definitely worth seeking out.


Criterion closes with this: "Born from a painstaking process of rehearsal and improvisation with a powerhouse ensemble cast, Secrets & Lies is a Palme d’Or–winning tour de force of sustained tension and catharsis that lays bare the emotional fault lines running beneath everyday lives." Roger Ebert has it on his list of Best Movies. 96% of Rotten Tomatoes critics gave it a positive review. (This does not mean that the movie got an average rating of 96 -that's not how Rotten Tomatoes works- but that 96% of their reviewers gave it a positive overall review rather than a negative.)


Thursday, September 07, 2023


Grease is a 1978 American musical romantic comedy film about greaser Danny Zuko (John Travolta) and Australian transfer student Sandy Olsson (Olivia Newton-John), who develop an attraction for each other during a summer romance. My Max list continues to provide fun. The music here is a highlight. Some of the social situations and the idea that you must conform to the male expectation to get along in life... those are troublesome.



Wednesday, September 06, 2023

Last and First Men

image from Wikipedia

Last and First Men is a 1930 science fiction novel by Olaf Stapledon (photo above), who died suddenly on this date in 1950 at the age of 64 of a heart attack. He was a British philosopher and author of science fiction inducted into the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame in 2014. Stapledon's writings directly influenced Arthur C. Clarke, Brian Aldiss, Stanisław Lem, Bertrand Russell, C. S. Lewis, Vernor Vinge, and indirectly influenced many others, contributing many ideas to the world of science fiction. The "supermind" composed of many individual consciousnesses forms a recurring theme in his work. Last and First Men features early descriptions of genetic engineering. You can read this book online here at this link. It begins,
Observe now your own epoch of history as it appears to the Last Men.

Long before the human spirit awoke to clear cognizance of the world and itself, it sometimes stirred in its sleep, opened bewildered eyes, and slept again. One of these moments of precocious experience embraces the whole struggle of the First Men from savagery towards civilization. Within that moment, you stand almost in the very instant when the species attains its zenith. Scarcely at all beyond your own day is this early culture to be seen progressing, and already in your time the mentality of the race shows signs of decline.

The first, and some would say the greatest, achievement of your own ‘Western’ culture was the conceiving of two ideals of conduct, both essential to the spirit’s well-being. Socrates, delighting in the truth for its own sake and not merely for practical ends, glorified unbiased thinking, honesty of mind and speech. Jesus, delighting in the actual human persons around him, and in that flavour of divinity which, for him, pervaded the world, stood for unselfish love of neighbours and of God. Socrates woke to the ideal of dispassionate intelligence, Jesus to the ideal of passionate yet self-oblivious worship. Socrates urged intellectual integrity, Jesus integrity of will. Each, of course, though starting with a different emphasis, involved the other.

Unfortunately both these ideals demanded of the human brain a degree of vitality and coherence of which the nervous system of the First Men was never really capable. For many centuries these twin stars enticed the more precociously human of human animals, in vain. And the failure to put these ideals in practice helped to engender in the race a cynical lassitude which was one cause of its decay.

There were other causes. The peoples from whom sprang Socrates and Jesus were also among the first to conceive admiration for Fate. In Greek tragic art and Hebrew worship of divine law, as also in the Indian resignation, man experienced, at first very obscurely, that vision of an alien and supernal beauty, which was to exalt and perplex him again and again throughout his whole career. The conflict between this worship and the intransigent loyalty to Life, embattled against Death, proved insoluble. And though few individuals were ever clearly conscious of the issue, the first human species was again and again unwittingly hampered in its spiritual development by this supreme perplexity.

While man was being whipped and enticed by these precocious experiences, the actual social constitution of his world kept changing so rapidly through increased mastery over physical energy, that his primitive nature could no longer cope with the complexity of his environment. Animals that were fashioned for hunting and fighting in the wild were suddenly called upon to be citizens, and moreover citizens of a world-community. At the same time they found themselves possessed of certain very dangerous powers which their petty minds were not fit to use. Man struggled; but, as you shall hear, he broke under the strain.


Tuesday, September 05, 2023


Chinatown is a 1974 American neo-noir mystery film directed by Roman Polanski and starring Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway. I had somehow never seen this one, though I remember when it was released and had heard about it for years. I watched it free with my Amazon Prime subscription.


Roger Ebert has it on his list of Great Movies. 99% of Rotten Tomatoes critics give it possitive reviews.


I'll be having a cuppa tea

with the T Stands for Tuesday bloggers.

Monday, September 04, 2023

Red Desert

Red Desert is a 1964 Italian-language drama film directed by Michelangelo Antonioni and starring Monica Vitti and Richard Harris. It won the Golden Lion at the 25th Venice Film Festival. Another from my Max watchlist.


The British Film Institute calls it Antonioni's "mid-career masterpiece". The New Yorker calls it the director's "most mysterious and awe-inspiring work." Slant Magazine says, "Red Desert is a distillation of Antonioni’s preferred themes and imagery: alienation, anxiety, modern life, and industrialized landscapes." Senses of Cinema concludes its consideration with this: "With each new viewing of an Antonioni film, new complexities and connections are revealed. If we learn one thing from watching his work, it is that alienation — possibly even more present now than it was then — is a multifaceted state of being." The Guardian gives it a full 5 stars and describes it as a "fascinating experimental movie about the malaise of industrial society". 97% of Rotten Tomatoes critics give it a positive review.

Sunday, September 03, 2023

Bad Times at the El Royale

Bad Times at the El Royale is a 2018 American neo-noir thriller film written, directed, and produced by Drew Goddard. It stars an ensemble cast consisting of Jeff Bridges, Cynthia Erivo, Dakota Johnson, Jon Hamm, Cailee Spaeny, Lewis Pullman, and Chris Hemsworth. The plot centers on six strangers and an employee at the El Royale, a hotel located along the California–Nevada border, who arrive with dark personal secrets that eventually intersect on a fateful night in the late 1960s. The film explores themes on morality, faith, and redemption, with the state border and other visual elements symbolizing the concept of right and wrong. This is a fascinating movie. Critic reviews were mixed, but who cares. I was in from the beginning. I'll watch it again. It's free on Tubi.



Saturday, September 02, 2023

A Plague of Pythons

image from Wikipedia

A Plague of Pythons is a science fiction novel by American writer Frederik Pohl serialized in 1962 and published as a novel in 1965. Pohl died on this date in 2013 at the age of 93.

You can read this book online at this link or listen to it read to you in this LibriVox recording. It begins,
Because of the crowd they held Chandler's trial in the all-purpose room of the high school. It smelled of leather and stale sweat. He walked up the three steps to the stage, with the bailiff's hand on his elbow, and took his place at the defendant's table.

Chandler's lawyer looked at him without emotion. He was appointed by the court. He was willing to do his job, but his job didn't require him to like his client. All he said was, "Stand up. The judge is coming in."

Chandler got to his feet and leaned on the table while the bailiff chanted his call and the chaplain read some verses from John. He did not listen. The Bible verse came too late to help him, and besides he ached.

When the police arrested him they had not been gentle. There were four of them. They were from the plant's own security force and carried no guns. They didn't need any; Chandler had put up no resistance after the first few moments—that is, he stopped as soon as he could stop—but the police hadn't stopped. He remembered that very clearly. He remembered the nightstick across the side of his head that left his ear squashed and puffy, he remembered the kick in the gut that still made walking painful. He even remembered the series of blows about the skull that had knocked him out.

The bruises along his rib cage and left arm, though, he did not remember getting. Obviously the police had been mad enough to keep right on subduing him after he was already unconscious.

Chandler did not blame them—exactly. He supposed he would have done the same thing.

The judge was having a long mumble with the court stenographer apparently about something which had happened in the Union House the night before. Chandler knew Judge Ellithorp slightly. He did not expect to get a fair trial. The previous December the judge himself, while possessed, had smashed the transmitter of the town's radio station, which he owned, and set fire to the building it occupied. His son-in-law had been killed in the fire.

Laughing, the judge waved the reporter back to his seat and glanced around the courtroom. His gaze touched Chandler lightly, like the flick of the hanging strands of cord that precede a railroad tunnel. The touch carried the same warning. What lay ahead for Chandler was destruction.

"Read the charge," ordered Judge Ellithorp. He spoke very loudly. There were more than six hundred persons in the auditorium; the judge didn't want any of them to miss a word.

The bailiff ordered Chandler to stand and informed him that he was accused of having, on the seventeenth day of June last, committed on the person of Margaret Flershem, a minor, an act of rape—"Louder!" ordered the judge testily.

"Yes, Your Honor," said the bailiff, and inflated his chest. "An Act of Rape under Threat of Bodily Violence," he cried; "and Did Further Commit on the Person of Said Margaret Flershem an Act of Aggravated Assault—"

Chandler rubbed his aching side, looking at the ceiling. He remembered the look in Peggy Flershem's eyes as he forced himself on her. She was only sixteen years old, and at that time he hadn't even known her name.

The bailiff boomed on: "—and Did Further Commit on that Same Seventeenth Day of June Last on the Person of Ingovar Porter an Act of Assault with Intent to Rape, the Foregoing Being a True Bill Handed Down by the Grand Jury of Sepulpas County in Extraordinary Session Assembled, the Eighteenth Day of June Last."

Judge Ellithorp looked satisfied as the bailiff sat down, quite winded. While the judge hunted through the papers on his desk the crowd in the auditorium stirred and murmured.

A child began to cry.

The judge stood up and pounded his gavel. "What is it? What's the matter with him? You, Dundon!" The court attendant the judge was looking at hurried over and spoke to the child's mother, then reported to the judge.

"I dunno, Your Honor. All he says is something scared him."

The judge was enraged. "Well, that's just fine! Now we have to take up the time of all these good people, probably for no reason, and hold up the business of this court, just because of a child. Bailiff! I want you to clear this courtroom of all children under—" he hesitated, calculating voting blocks in his head—"all children under the age of six. Dr. Palmer, are you there? Well, you better go ahead with the—prayer." The judge could not make himself say "the exorcism."

"I'm sorry, madam," he added to the mother of the crying two-year-old. "If you have someone to leave the child with, I'll instruct the attendants to save your place for you." She was also a voter.

Dr. Palmer rose, very grave, as he was embarrassed. He glared around the all-purpose room, defying anyone to smile, as he chanted: "Domina Pythonis, I command you, leave! Leave, Hel! Leave, Heloym! Leave, Sother and Thetragrammaton, leave, all unclean ones! I command you! In the name of God, in all of His manifestations!" He sat down again, still very grave. He knew that he did not make nearly as fine a showing as Father Lon, with his resonant in nomina Jesu Christi et Sancti Ubaldi and his censer, but the post of exorcist was filled in strict rotation, one month to a denomination, ever since the troubles started. Dr. Palmer was a Unitarian. Exorcisms had not been in the curriculum at the seminary and he had been forced to invent his own.

Chandler's lawyer tapped him on the shoulder. "Last chance to change your mind," he said.

"No. I'm not guilty, and that's the way I want to plead."

The lawyer shrugged and stood up, waiting for the judge to notice him.

Chandler, for the first time, allowed himself to meet the eyes of the crowd.

He studied the jury first. He knew some of them casually—it was not a big enough town to command a jury of total strangers for any defendant, and Chandler had lived there most of his life. He recognized Pop Matheson, old and very stiff, who ran the railroad station cigar stand. Two of the other men were familiar as faces passed in the street. The forewoman, though, was a stranger. She sat there very composed and frowning, and all he knew about her was that she wore funny hats. Yesterday's had been red roses when she was selected from the panel; today's was, of all things, a stuffed bird.

He did not think that any of them were possessed. He was not so sure of the audience.

He saw girls he had dated in high school, long before he met Margot; men he worked with at the plant. They all glanced at him, but he was not sure who was looking out through some of those familiar eyes. The visitors reliably watched all large gatherings, at least momentarily; it would be surprising if none of them were here.

"All right, how do you plead," said Judge Ellithorp at last.

Chandler's lawyer straightened up. "Not guilty, Your Honor, by reason of temporary pandemic insanity."

The judge looked pleased. The crowd murmured, but they were pleased too. They had him dead to rights and it would have been a disappointment if Chandler had pleaded guilty. They wanted to see one of the vilest criminals in contemporary human society caught, exposed, convicted and punished; they did not want to miss a step of the process. Already in the playground behind the school three deputies from the sheriff's office were loading their rifles, while the school janitor chalked lines around the handball court to mark where the crowd witnessing the execution would be permitted to stand.

The prosecution made its case very quickly. ...

Friday, September 01, 2023

See My Jumper Hanging on the Line

See My Jumper Hanging on the Line:

by R.L Burnside, who died on this date in 2005 in Memphis

Thursday, August 31, 2023

Lost in Translation

Lost in Translation is a 2003 genre-defying comedy-drama film with Bill Murray starring as a fading American movie star in Tokyo to do ads for Suntory whisky. There, he befriends another estranged American, a young woman and recent college graduate played by Scarlett Johansson. The film explores themes of alienation and disconnection against a backdrop of cultural displacement in Japan. I remember when this came out but had never seen it as it struck me as a movie I couldn't possibly like. I was encouraged to give it a chance, and I'm glad I did. Delightful. It would reward re-watching. I saw it on Netflix.


Roger Ebert has it on his list of Great Movies. 95% of Rotten Tomatoes critics give it a positive review.


Today is the last day of summer -meteorological summer- and the flowers are just barely hanging on.

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

65 (2023)

65 is a 2023 American science fiction action thriller film starring Adam Driver. He is a spaceship pilot who crashes on an unknown planet and attempts to escape with his one surviving passenger. I enjoyed this one and may even re-watch it sometime. We need more science fiction movies, and this one's a fine way to spend a couple of hours.


Reviews are mixed.


Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Wit (2001)

Wit is a 2001 American television (HBO) drama film directed by Mike Nichols and starring Emma Thompson. A powerful film, I find myself tearing up as I think back on it. It's on Max.


Roger Ebert calls it "a drama both intelligent and heartbreaking, starring Emma Thompson as a woman dying of cancer" and says because of his history with cancer he couldn't finish it. 91% of Rotten Tomatoes audiences give it a positive review.

I'll be having a comforting cup of tea:

and joining Elizabeth and friends at the T Stands for Tuesday blogger gathering.

Monday, August 28, 2023

American Graffiti

American Graffiti is a 1973 award-winning American coming-of-age comedy-drama film directed by George Lucas and starring Richard Dreyfuss, Ron Howard, Harrison Ford, Cindy Williams, Mackenzie Phillips, and Wolfman Jack. I saw this in the theater when it was released and hadn't seen it since. It was fun to re-watch it. "Where were you in '62?" (I was in 1st grade.) I watched it on Netflix.


Roger Ebert gives it 4 out of 4 stars and says, "“American Graffiti” is not only a great movie but a brilliant work of historical fiction; no sociological treatise could duplicate the movie’s success in remembering exactly how it was to be alive at that cultural instant." 96% of Rotten Tomatoes critics gave it a positive review.

I'm seeing more butterflies now in late summer than I've seen before.

Sunday, August 27, 2023


Metropolitan is a 1990 American romantic comedy-drama film about the lives of a group of wealthy young socialites during debutante season in Manhattan. I didn't care for this one even though it was nominated for and won some awards and reviews are almost always positive. I watched it on Max.


Criterion calls it "One of the great American independent films of the 1990s". Robert Ebert gives it 3.5 out of 4 stars. 93% of Rotten Tomatoes critics give it a positive review.


We don't see them on the patio, of course, but we do see them circling overhead:

Saturday, August 26, 2023


Senso a 1954 Italian historical melodrama film directed and co-written by Luchino Visconti. Set during the Third Italian War of Independence, the film follows an Italian contessa (Alida Valli), who has an affair with an Austrian Lieutenant (Farley Granger). It's interesting to watch Farley Granger while hearing someone else dub his lines. This film is yet another in my Max watchlist.


Roger Ebert has it on his list of Great Movies. 88% of Rotten Tomatoes critics give it a positive review.


Friday, August 25, 2023

The Ruthless Four

The Ruthless Four is a 1968 spaghetti western starring Van Heflin, Gilbert Roland, Klaus Kinski, and George Hilton. I like this sub-genre, and I like these actors. It's a win as far as I'm concerned. I watched it free on Tubi.

via YouTube:

The Spaghetti Western Database has a positive review.

There's always enough spearmint to let most of it bloom.

Thursday, August 24, 2023

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is a 2023 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics superhero team Guardians of the Galaxy. I'm a fan and like these characters. I watched it on Disney+.


Roger Ebert's website gives it 3 out of 4 stars and says, "“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” is a reminder that the best blockbusters don’t just sing along to a well-known tune like “Creep”; they make the song their own. After all, we’re all the weirdos." 94% of audience reviews at Rotten Tomatoes are positive.


See that pretty little white butterfly on the salvia?

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Saturday Night Fever

Saturday Night Fever is a 1977 American drama film starring John Travolta as Tony Manero, a young Italian-American man who spends his weekends dancing at a local disco and dealing daily with social and family tensions and disillusionment in his working-class ethnic neighborhood in Brooklyn. The music! Ah, the 70s! You can listen to the soundtrack on YouTube. I watched the movie on Amazon Prime.


Roger Ebert has it on his list of Great Movies. 81% of Rotten Tomatoes critics give it a positive review.


That volunteer coneflower is doing well.

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

The Barefoot Contessa

The Barefoot Contessa is a 1954 drama film written and directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz about the life and loves of fictional Spanish sex symbol Maria Vargas. It stars Humphrey Bogart, Ava Gardner, and Edmond O'Brien. The film focuses on social positioning and high-powered politics within the world of film and high society. According to Wikipedia (they provide footnotes to sources) The Barefoot Contessa is considered one of Mankiewicz's most glamorous "Hollywood" films, and one of the most glamorous of Golden Hollywood, but it was produced out of Cinecittà Studios in Rome. I watched it free on Tubi.


100% of Rotten Tomatoes critics gave it good reviews.


One of the pothos has escaped its pot and begun wandering.

Join me for a drink and soak up some of our hot steamy summertime sunshine:

Thanks to Bleubeard and Elizabeth for hosting this long-running weekly blogger gathering.

Monday, August 21, 2023

John Carpenter's Vampires

John Carpenter's Vampires is a 1998 American neo-Western action horror film. This isn't a film that'll stick with you long-term. Maybe that makes it re-watchable... Maybe keep it in mind for mindless Halloween viewing. At any rate it was fun to watch. I saw it on Netflix.


Reviews were mixed.

The hydrangea should bloom much earlier, and now it looks like it may not bloom at all. Our last winter may be to blame. 

Sunday, August 20, 2023

The Ice Storm (1997)

The Ice Storm is a 1997 American drama film directed by Ang Lee featuring an ensemble cast including Kevin Kline, Joan Allen, Tobey Maguire, Christina Ricci, Elijah Wood, Katie Holmes, and Sigourney Weaver. Set during Thanksgiving 1973, the movie is about two dysfunctional New Canaan, Connecticut, upper-class families who are trying to deal with tumultuous social changes and personal and family trauma. This was hard to watch in some places -an emotional film, but I'm glad to have seen it. It is on Max.


Deep Focus Review concludes with this:
The Ice Storm contains a deeply human authenticity and willingness to portray, but not resolve, its characters’ collective alienation. That the viewer must interpret and feel the silences between these characters establishes the ambiguous and investigatory mode of watching the film, thus challenging the viewer with prolonged consideration.

Criterion says, "Ten years after it was made, The Ice Storm looks like the best American film of the nineties." Roger Ebert gives it 4 out of 4 stars. 86% of Rotten Tomatoes critics give it a positive review.

Chipmunks are a common sight on the patio.

Saturday, August 19, 2023

Shetland 42

This 42 is on a building in Norway visited by Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez and Detective Sergeant Alison "Tosh" Macintosh as part of their investigation into a murder. Shetland is an excellent award-winning British television series, and we get them on DVD as they are released so we can re-watch them as the mood strikes us. This screen shot is from the third episode of the fourth season. The series should be watched from the beginning.

Friday, August 18, 2023

Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Close Encounters of the Third Kind is a 1977 American science fiction drama film written and directed by Steven Spielberg, starring Richard Dreyfuss, Melinda Dillon, Teri Garr, Bob Balaban, Cary Guffey, and François Truffaut. I remember when this one came out and I saw it in the theater. I loved it then, and I love it now. I found it free online somewhere but can't remember where. I have the DVD.


The British Film Institute says, "Close Encounters of the Third Kind is the first of the new breed of science fiction film, which approaches the best in the literature". Empire Online says, "Years ahead of it's time in terms of SFX, it's a masterpiece of wide-eyed whimsy." Roger Ebert's website gives it a full 4-star review and says, "It is as good as you remember it and serves as a reminder of a time when blockbuster entertainments were still willing to show real ambition." 94% of Rotten Tomatoes critics gave it a positive review.


The patio still has blooming asters, spearmint, zinnias, phlox, sosmos, coneflower, bee balm, catmint, coreopsis, black-eyed susans, pentas, abelia, honeysuckle, salvia, lantana... Some of it has gone to seed, but I don't dead-head my flowers.

Thursday, August 17, 2023

Quo Vadis, Aida?

Quo Vadis, Aida? is a 2020 internationally co-produced war drama film. from Wikipedia:
The film dramatizes the events of the Srebrenica massacre, during which Serbian troops sent Bosniak men and boys to death in July 1995 led by Serbian convicted war criminal Ratko Mladić. Named for its protagonist, Quo Vadis, Aida? exposes the events through the eyes of a mother named Aida, a schoolteacher who works with the United Nations as a translator. After three and a half years under siege, the town of Srebrenica, close to the northeastern Serbian border, was declared a UN safety zone in 1993 and put under the protection of a Dutch battalion working for the UN.

I came across this film on a list of recommended films or I'd never have watched it. I saw it on Hulu.


Roger Ebert's website opens a positive review with this:
Jasmila Zbanic’s “Quo Vadis, Aida?” is a razor-sharp incrimination of failed foreign policies from around the world embedded in a deeply humanist and moving character study of the kind of person that these policies leave behind. It’s a very specific story of war crimes in 1995, but it feels also like a modern commentary on how often foreign policy and U.N. intervention fails to see the human lives caught up in their decision making, and so often in their inability to make those tough decisions quickly and empathetically. Taut and intense, this is the kind of film that a critic hopes finds a broad enough audience to provoke conversation and insight about how we fix these broken systems. It truly feels like Zbanic’s work here could effect change if seen by the right people.

100% of Rotten Tomatoes critics give it a positive review.


Hummingbird perched in the redbud tree:

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Come On In My Kitchen

Come On In My Kitchen:

by Robert Johnson, who died on this date in 1983. He grew up in Memphis, and depending on which legend you believe, that fabled crossroads might actually be here.

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

The Young Girls of Rochefort

The Young Girls of Rochefort is a 1967 French musical comedy film written and directed by Jacques Demy. The ensemble cast is headlined by real-life sisters Catherine Deneuve and Françoise Dorléac, and features Gene Kelly. The director's The Umbrellas of Cherbourg is one of my all-time favorite films and this doesn't top it, but this is still a beautiful film and a sweet story. And you can't go wrong with Gene Kelly. I watched it on Max.


98% of Rotten Tomatoes critics give it a positive review.


Join me in sharing a drink over at Elizabeth's T Stands for Tuesday blogger gathering. Here's mine:

Monday, August 14, 2023

Brahmāstra: Part One – Shiva

Brahmāstra: Part One – Shiva is a 2022 Indian-language fantasy action-adventure film. I have enjoyed every Hindi film I've seen so far, and this is no exception. I watched it on Disney+.


Reviews are mixed, seemingly depending on whether or not the reviewer likes or approves of Bollywood films. I like them.

Sunday, August 13, 2023

Living (2022)

Living is a 2022 remake of the 1952 Kurosawa masterpiece. I was afraid I'd be disappointed in this movie, since I'm such an admirer of the original, but I can't praise this film highly enough. Highly recommended. I watched it on Netflix.


Reviews are universally glowing. Seriously, watch this movie the first chance you get.


The feeder is about empty, and I'll refill it later, but there's a hummingbird there now if you zoom in:

Here's a 6-second video:

Saturday, August 12, 2023

Avatar: The Way of Water

Avatar: The Way of Water is a 2022 American epic science fiction sequel film directed and produced by James Cameron. It is pretty -very, very pretty- but that's all it has going for it in my opinion. I thought it would never end! But it is pretty.


Roger Ebert's site has a positive 3.5 out of 4 stars review. 92% of Rotten Tomatoes audience reviews are positive.


This is my several years old redbud tree that I'm trying to grow in a pot. So far, so good, but I wish I could find a larger pot.

Friday, August 11, 2023

Soldiers of the Damned

Soldiers of the Damned is a 2015 British war horror film. Since war is horror, this picture of the hunt for Nazi gold where the result is many people die horrible deaths seems on-target. You can watch it with your Amazon Prime subscription or on Tubi or on YouTube.

via YouTube, but it's age-restricted so you'll need to click through and watch it at the YouTube website:

Reviews are scarce, but how can you go wrong with end of WW2 German Nazis vs the Russian Red Army blowing everything up in the search for gold. Mindless entertainment, which sometimes (often?) suits my mood.


I have a hummingbird feeder, but I also enjoy having flowers the hummingbirds will come to like this native honeysuckle.

Thursday, August 10, 2023

Three Colours: Red

Three Colours: Red is a 1994 romantic mystery film co-written, produced and directed by Polish filmmaker Krzysztof Kieślowski. from Wikipedia: It is the final installment of the Three Colours trilogy, which examines the French Revolutionary ideals; it is preceded by Blue and White. Kieślowski had announced that this would be his final film, which proved true with the director's sudden death in 1996. Red is about fraternity, which it examines by showing characters whose lives gradually become closely interconnected, with bonds forming between two characters who appear to have little in common.

It took me forever to watch this trilogy for some reason, and I'm so happy I finally committed to it. They're definitely worth re-watching. And my Max watchlist continues to provide daily movie viewing opportunities. Someday I'll watch all in my watchlist, but that won't be anytime soon.


Criterion calls it "an incandescent meditation on fate and chance". The Guardian has a positive review that closes with this: "The Three Colours trilogy is a highly wrought, intensely controlled and self-aware creation, high arthouse cinema of the sort that isn’t as fashionable as it was, but utterly distinctive and absorbing." 100% of Rotten Tomatoes critics give it a positive review.


The asters have been a revelation, with what looks to me like completely different kinds of flowers. Anybody know anything about asters?

Wednesday, August 09, 2023

Vivre sa Vie

Vivre sa Vie (1962) is yet another French New Wave drama film written and directed by Jean-Luc Godard and yet another from my Max watchlist.


Criterion says it "remains one of his most dynamic films, combining brilliant visual design with a tragic character study." FrenchFilms calls it "one of the most significant films of the French New Wave". Roger Ebert has it on his list of Great Movies. 89% of Rotten Tomatoes critics gave it a positive review, and the audience score is even higher.

Tuesday, August 08, 2023

Masculin Feminin

Masculin Feminin is a 1966 French New Wave film directed by Jean-Luc Godard. It's considered one of Godard's greatest films, but I'm glad I watched Breathless and Alphaville first. This is a very 60s thing. Another on my Max watchlist, I guess it's a good thing I have about 10 months left on my annual subscription.


Slant Magazine says Godard "champions a marriage between image and action, both personal and political. If American pop culture is the devil, Godard not only has sympathy for it, he also tries to navigate and empower it." FrenchFilms opens a positive review by calling it "as revelatory as it is incisive." Roger Ebert has a positive review and says, "Godard works with a bright style and a sense of humor and his pictures leave a cumulative impression." 96% of Rotten Tomatoes critics gave it a positive review.


My goal of posting photos of the patio has been foiled by the gray and dreary rain. Not much rain, mind you, but enough to keep things gray and damp. We did have a visiting hawk stop by, which always provides some excitement.

Sunday, August 06, 2023

Lola Montes

Lola Montes is a 1955 historical romance film starring Martine Carol and Peter Ustinov. It is the last completed film of German-born director Max Ophüls. Based on a novel, it depicts the life of Irish dancer and courtesan Lola Montez (1821–1861) -though her actual life was a much rougher tale than this- and tells the story of the most famous of her many notorious affairs, those with Franz Liszt and Ludwig I of Bavaria. A co-production between France and West Germany, the dialogue is mostly in French and German, with a few English-language sequences. This is another from my Max watchlist.


Slant Magazine says, "Lola Montès is Ophüls’s boldest vision of film as a medium that reveres beauty in order to both nurture and mock dreams." Criterion opens by calling it "visually ravishing, narratively daring". FrenchFilms has a positive review. Roger Ebert gives it 3.5 out of 4 stars, praising the director but criticizing the casting of Martine Carol in the lead. 82% of Rotten Tomatoes critics give it a positive review.