Went to see Her and really loved loved loved it. So many great things about this film, jotting off just a few quick notes so I won't forget:
the colors. I loved all the reds and arnges.
the cityscapes, especially the night views from Theodore's apartment (and again, the colors, all those night blues), and the plazas and pedestrian walkways
the interiors, like Theodore's workplace and his apartment
Samantha's breathy husky voice
the scene on the beach, with its oversaturated bright light and its focus on Theodore looking almost like that tilt-shift technique
the fashion, especially the men's fashion (which you can buy). I hardly noticed the women's at all (only the way Amy dressed in her first appearance, with high-water pants)
the design of the tech gadgets. Loved that cigarette box look of the ... what? personal computer?, its port-hole looking camera, and the warm red glow of an incoming call at night. The earpiece looked kind of ... antiquated to me.
the music was just perfect
the unexplained background details to marvel at, like the "Handwritten Letters" company. What an intriguing concept! Who are the people who have their letters written for them? Theodore mentions casually that he's been writing the letters for both people in a relationship - who are they? Why do they choose to conduct their relationship this way? What does it say about their relationship, that it includes the letter writer?
the Mom video game that Amy is working on, and the treasure hunt on a faraway planet video game that Theodore plays in his living room at night. Amazing detail!
the performances. I started liking Joaquin Phoenix when I saw "To Die For", and I felt deeply for him for his sadness and heartbrokenness in "Two Lovers"*. He was just wonderful in this.
and of course the questions to ask, and the fact that I keep thinking about it. What is a relationship? "Is it not a real relationship?" if one partner is disembodied? How do we deal with loneliness? How do we connect? How do we share our lives?
Flight. Holy shit, that entire sequence of the flight - I had a knot in my throat, my hands in front of my mouth and my eyes bugging out through the entire thing. And all the while the pilot talking to the air traffic controllers so calmly and collectedy while the shit hit the fan, that was a powerful juxtaposition.
I thought most of it was a really great movie. Am agreed with several critics and probably bunches of other moviegoers in dislike of the ending. I mean, I get that the story you are telling in a studio movie needs an ending. And if you are telling the story of a flawed hero, there are several obvious conclusions: redemption, stubborn unrepentance, a tragic death, an open-ended un-resolution. And probably a few more that don't come to me quite as readily.
But I just didn't care for the ending that they picked. It didn't seem entirely plausible to me. But you know what? I might go see it again anyway, the rest of it was *that* good.
In a move that is totally un-Bud-like, Budweiser manufacturers Anheuser-Busch have asked Paramount to obscure all of its logos in current and future copies of Flight, a film in which Denzel Washington is shown repeatedly enjoying the cold, refreshing taste of Budweiser to fuel his alcoholism. That Budweiser also gives Washington's airline pilot the cool, steady hand needed to pull off incredible emergency landings doesn't seem to matter to Anheuser-Busch—nor to the manufacturers of Stolichnaya vodka, who have similarly expressed concerns about their product's cameos—and neither company views this as the obvious opportunity for marketing synergy that it is. Ads urging drinkers to unwind with a Bud and crash-land like a champ, in other words, are not forthcoming.
Instead, each company has issued a sobering statement about not wanting their product to be associated with drinking to excess, but rather the slow, savoring enjoyment of rich flavors and life's finer things that is more commonly associated with Budweiser and Stoli vodka. However, most experts agree that there is little recourse for either company, as trademark law doesn't prevent films from using real-world products, or implying that they really take the edge off piloting huge jets in life-or-death situations. Though Budweiser, as King of Beers, may of course issue a royal decree.
A Song Of Ice And Fire Series (I read the first and part of the second, but not the whole series yet. Am mightily looking forward to the second season of Game of Thrones on HBO)
Fahrenheit 451 (I've probably read everything by Ray Bradbury)
The Foundation Trilogy (I've probably also read everything by Isaac Asimov)
Brave New World
American Gods (I *think* I've read this.)
The Princess Bride
Neuromancer (and Mona Lisa Overdrive and Count Zero, and almost all his other novels)
Stranger In A Strange Land
Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?
The Handmaid's Tale
2001: A Space Odyssey
The Martian Chronicles
The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress
The Time Machine
20,000 Leagues Under The Sea (probably also read everything by Jules Verne when I was a teenager)
Flowers For Algernon
The War Of The Worlds
The Mists Of Avalon
The Left Hand Of Darkness
I Am Legend
The Time Traveler's Wife
Journey To The Center Of The Earth
Something Wicked This Way Comes
The Eyre Affair
The Illustrated Man
Seen the movie, haven't read the book:
A Clockwork Orange
Starship Troopers (for the record, I think it's a really good movie)
The Road (I keep trying and failing to read Cormac McCarthy. It's not that I don't like him, but there's so. Much. STUFF. in there that I can't slow down enough in order to really get it. It's just too dense.)
Of all of the listed books, my personal favorites are (in no particular order):
What a gorgeous Saturday that was! Temperatures in the mid-eighties, sunny and balmy. I got up earlyish because my employer said that I could go to a free screening of Cars 2, the new Pixar movie. I’d seen the first one and had really liked it, and I really enjoyed this one as well.
Decided not to stop at work, and to do that tomorrow instead. (It’s not a hardship – I volunteered for a few extra hours for this weekend.) Did some shopping on the way home – nothing exciting, just cleaning products and kitty litter.
Fixed myself a nice lunch when I got home – man oh man, I sure got my recommended daily servings of vegetables, and then some! I actually had veggies even in my breakfast (made scrambled eggs with spinach, onion, and cheese), and I think this might be the key in “beating the box”, using up all the veggies this week before I pick up the next box on Friday. Anyway, lunch was a big bowl of arugula, bell pepper, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, basil, avocado, and that delicious tomato walnut vinaigrette that had winked at me at the farmers market a few weeks ago. Oh, and some walnuts on top, to match the vinaigrette.
After this late lunch, it was high time for the first stage of the Tour de France. It’s my favorite sporting event to watch – first of all, it’s such a great athletic feat, to ride a bike for 5-7 hours every day for 3 weeks. And not just toodling along, but making serious time up big mountains in the Pyrenees and Alps! There are all these specialists – climbers and sprinters, and supporting riders for the team captains and main contenders, and leadout men to get the sprinters in perfect position for a win at the end of the sprint stages. And then there’s all the team tactics! Lance Armstrong has said it’s “high speed chess”, and I agree. I find it just fascinating. And the commentary on Versus is just excellent; they explain all these things really well. I recommend it highly.
It was an exciting first stage, made even better by the fact that I managed to stay away from the results on Twitter and Facebook, so I didn’t know who was going to win. I was riveted.
Whew. I was all spent after that. Needed a nice dinner, which of course was more vegetables – I used some of the mizuna and tatsoi for a stir-fry, and loaded up good on some of the onions and garlic that have been piling up for the last few weeks.
After dinner, I sat outside on my kitchen steps for a while … I’ve been contemplating surprising side effects lately. There’s this stray cat who’s been coming around – I think my (indoor) cats encourage him; they’re social little butterflies. The stray (I call him Catman) is a scrawny little thing, so I started feeding him, so of course now he sticks around. I won’t let him in the house because one of my indoors is REALLY territorial – she pretty much turns into Clint Eastwood, snarling at him to git off her lawn. So I feed him outside. I stay while he eats because the Scrub Jays were taunting him very rudely. So, to make a long story … not any shorter, really … I sit there at night and look at the stars, a nice new habit that is all credit to Catman. He eats his dinner, and then he curls up on my lap and purrs and drools and scratches my arms because he is not very careful with his claws when he “makes biscuits”. Oh well, I don’t mind much.
Been thinking that maybe my Health Month middle name this month should be “Shut Up Abs”, in honor of the Fit Abs Challenge, and even more so one in honor of one of my favorite cyclists, Jens “Shut Up Legs” Voigt.
Oh, aaaand ten minutes of meditating, and about a half hour of reading, which concludes The Game of Thrones. I do not think I will be able to wait for the next season on HBO. I might take another week or two to think about what I think could happen next, and then I'll dive into Book Number Two.
Got to see Cars 2 this morning, courtesy of my employer. Free screening for employees and their families! And in 3-D too! (And really good 3-D at that. I was impressed.)
I really liked it, and I loved all the wondrous details - great local atmosphere for all the scenes in Japan, France, and Italy. Lots of new Fiat 500! The old Topolino!
OMG, one of the bad guys was a Zündapp! Professor Z, with a fantastic bad-guy-German accent by a real German, Thomas Kretschmann. Hilarious!
And the voices! Michael Caine as a British spy! Eddie Izzard as Miles Axlerod, intrepid explorer and espouser of new alternative fuels! John Turturro as an Italian race car! And Bruce Campbell!!! And Franco Nero! FRANCO friggin' NERO!!!
A Citroën 2CV 4 and a DS 21 making out on a bridge in Paris!!! They actually put a DS 21 in the movie! Gotta love those car geeks. I was in heaven. I want to watch this again at home where I can pause and rewind and watch more closely. And I want to see the first Cars movie again as well.
Went to see The Clooney in "The American". Didn't like it as much as Roger Ebert did, but I liked it. But I can understand you'd be disappointed if you expected a Clooney and/or action film (I've heard several people say that it was awful). It's a very European film - lots of atmosphere, not so much plot. I know the director mostly as a photographer, and I *think* he directed the video for David Sylvian's Orpheus, so I had my expectations set in the right range. As with most things in life, your opinions will depend greatly on your expectations.
And a nice surprise: music by Herbert Grönemeyer. I did not know he did cinema scores. Sweet.
Oh yeah, I saw The Men Who Stare at Goats a couple of weeks ago. Not bad, but I expected more. The film never could decide whether to take its protagonists seriously or not, and the story never did come together for me.