This is a so-called “stream of consciousness” ( I don’t actually know what that is, but it sounds cool), or something like that.
I just read a Vanity Fair piece on Scarlett Johansson, which included many (supposedly) alluring photos. I am sure that she is a nice person, but she is not my dream female. She is not a five, but she is also not a ten, for those that believe in a scale. She must be a good actress, because others have said so and she keeps being cast.
Sadly, she had a major role in one of the dumbest movies ever made: Lost In Translation (one of many dumb movies by the same director…who is haled as being great…which I do not see). I must be dim, because I do not understand how anyone could have liked this film, much less raved about it. However, she did play in a movie I liked very much: A Good Woman, a modern adaptation of an Oscar Wilde play (Mrs. Windemere’s Fan). She played a rather dim American woman, married to a rich man. I assumed that she was acting the role and not playing herself.
I have been—foolishly—enthralled by movie actresses, but this one does not make the cut. I’ll leave her for others to drool over…
I just read an article in The New Yorker about Disney’s Maleficent with Angelina Jolie. Perhaps, I have already mentioned seeing this movie in London during my recent visit or, perhaps not, because I neglected writing anything during that trip. I am better at recall nothing than something!
Anyways, I enjoyed the movie more than expected. I even found the 3-D to be better than expected and to add to the viewing enjoyment. Of course, it goes without saying that Angelina was excellent, because she has been excellent in every role she plays.
If anyone wants to believe me, then they should not miss this film with or without 3-D. You will surely root for the villain, who turns out to be nice. Do not read the following, if you want to be surprised to discover the story...
I watched again--for the third or fourth time--a great movie: Seabiscuit. If you have not seen this, I can highly recommend taking the time to savor the story, the acting, the script, and the cinematography. Few films are better, few stories are more inspiring, and few experiences are able to rekindle belief in man and beast. (The book is also worth reading.) Secretariat is also a good movie, but does not approach the greatness of Seabiscuit...even if some might say the former was a greater horse.
Regardless of you interest or lack thereof in horses or horse racing, these are interesting stories with lessons to be learned. I know almost nothing about either subject, but enjoyed both movies. I will watch them again, once some more water has flowed down the Rhine to the sea...
Two movies that I enjoy and have seen several times are Out of Africa and White Mischief. I avoid the word “favorite” with such broad categories of the arts, such as film, books, music, and painting. One cannot narrow the field of great work to a single choice.
Anyways, I find the period of these films to be fascinating. That said, I am happy to be able to witness a facsimile of that life on film and am pleased not to have lived then or there. I am certain that even rich folks suffered from heat, dust, disease, insects, and wild animals, not to mention boredom, bad manners, and having to endure uncivilized natives. Fortunately, I did not live during that time, because men had to wear tuxedos for dinner every night and drink too much alcohol.
Given the choice in a fictional world, I would pick Greta Sacchi over Meryl Streep...
One thing I noticed about most western films is that the costumes are too new and too clean. The designer might do a good job in creating an illusion of old-time fashion--and hope to win a prize--but credibility suffers. I do not imagine personal hygiene to have been as high a priority in this day and age of metro-sexuals and Proctor & Gamble.
For example, I watched a movie with Clint Eastwood, Joe Kidd, in which his white shirt after a spell in jail looked as pristine as anything worn in The Great Gatsby. After days and nights roaming the wilderness, all actors looked as if they just departed the costume department. All hats looked like they had just been bought in the store.
Most war movies are not much better.
Supposedly, art imitates life. Movies try to replicate life and/or location, but want to achieve that as cheaply as possible. Illusion of reality is more important than honesty. That explains why much of the American scenery is filmed in Canada. A quintessential Civil War movie, Cold Mountain, which should have taken place in North Carolina was filmed in Romania.
I was reminded of this the other night, when I recognized almost nothing of the place I grew up. Flipping through the movie channel, I paused for a moment on Mona Lisa’s Smile. The story took place at college made famous by Hillary Clinton having attended.
I grew up in Wellesley, Massachusetts. The college was there, but played no role in my life. I had no interest in the college or its students. The grounds were like a foreign land, although we did swim in the lake in the summer. No students were present. I’m sure that there are now gates, but my father often drove through to some place or the other.
I recall only one incident with a student. My parents had a friend, whose sister was a student. I accompanied my mother to sign her out of the dormitory. There was not large gate, as shown in the film, but women were controlled.
For the record (not that anyone cares), I do not understand the appeal of zombies...or even know the definition of such a creature. I would never write a novel of that genre, due to lack of interest and lack of understanding. John Le Carré has said that fiction must be plausible. Well, that precludes writing about zombies.
I have met a few cretins in my life, but that might be something different. A few of the characters in my books fall into this category. None have been known to long to feed on other humans.
As an afterthought, I wonder if there are any vegetarian zombies...
It’s that time of year: re-runs of Love, Actually, the film with the best three lines in any movie, spoken by the Emma Thompson character and her daughter. They are talking about the school nativity play.
Daughter: “I play the third lobster.”
Mother: : “There was more than one lobster at the birth of Jesus?”
Because this is one of my favorites, I have been meaning to write about this film, when the following headline is Salon caught my eye.
“Love, Actually”: The worst Christ
I did not make it through the entire article, but did read enough to make me feel sorry for the woman that wrote it. She does not understand irony and, apparently, also love. The headline to her article suggests a number of personality shortcomings. I would not be surprised to read that she like Valentine’s Day, which was the worst “love” movie ever, besides being weak overall.
Love, Actually was made by Richard Curtiss, who is also one of the creators of Black Adder, one of my favorite sitcoms. (The above writer would not get this one either, because each series and each episode is chock full of political, religious, military, social, and historical satire.) To be honest, the first series is not my favorite, but the later ones are each better than the other.
This blog allows me to add to the overabundance of commentary about James Bond, which has sprung up during the 50th anniversary of the first film of one of Ian Fleming's books.
First of all, I want to express dismay at what commercialism has done to ruin the franchise, as it has done with other franchises and films. But, we all know that Hollywood runs on money and studios will climb into bed with (ie. change any franchise and/or script) the highest bidder. The best examples of this are replacing the Aston Martin with BMW's and switching Bond's preferred drink from vodka to beer. Beer! Dutch beer! Poor Ian is surely spinning in his grave and dreaming about placing his boney hands around the producers' necks and squeezing for an eternity for selling out to Heineken. (Side note: I recall having my first beer at the Officers' Club, when I arrived in Germany with the Army, many years ago: Heineken. I also recall saying, more or less, "Ah, it's good to have a German beer", because I dislike American beer, only to be laughed at by fellow officers and to be informed of my geographical error.)
Secondly, I want to jump on the bandwagon with people exclaiming certainty about the "best" Bond actor and "best" Bond girl. Of course, my opinion is the only one that matters in both instances. After reviewing all 22 films, I still find Pierce Brosnan to be my favorite. He embodies the correct combination of suaveness, manliness, and humor, which I believe the author attempted to create for his iconic character. Sean Connery is too manly (if there is such a thing), tries too hard to be suave, and lacks humor. Roger Moore is not man enough, is too suave, and unfunny. Timothy Dalton comes close to an Ian Fleming-type character, but lacks stature. The new guy is worthless, so I will not comment again on how casting this actor has ruined the franchise for me. As far as the Bond Girl is concerned, Sophie Marceau (The World Is Not Enough) wins gold, Rosamund Pike (Die Another Day) wins silver, and a number of actresses tie for bronze. Case closed. No appeal permitted.
Watch The Man With The Golden Gun, one of 22 or 23 James Bond films, and you will get a feel for the problem all filmmakers have with outdoor shots: the weather. I recall spending large sums of money on “weather insurance”, because of huge costs of setting up for filming...and then canceling, when I was in the advertising business.
In the first scene of the movie, when Champagne is served on the beach in Thailand, the sky in the distance is overcast. In the next scene, when a man arrives on the same beach by boat, the sky is bright blue and the sun is shining. Same time, same beach, completely different weather. The production company was forced to shoot different scenes on different days and the editor had to work with the raw film he received.
I doubt that many people noticed. In fact, I have seen this film twice and did not notice the discrepancy. That’s why filmmakers do not worry about such matters. Saving money is more important.
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.