Saturday, November 21, 2015

Mockingjay meh

As I wrote earlier, I very much wanted to see The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2.  I've watched and mostly enjoyed the previous three films in the series.  I entered the theater with great hopes for this one.

I left decidedly put off by it, my attitude ranging from annoyance to indifference.

I'm quite puzzled as to why I feel this way.  I knew the setup and the poorly constructed world and the nonsensical pseudo-science that informed it, and I happily accepted those in the past movies.  The cast, including and especially lead Jennifer Lawrence, did all they could to make me care about the characters.  The multiple endings certainly didn't help my attitude, but I've been fine with those in other films.  The completely silly plot couldn't have been the cause, because I've been fine with similarly dumb plots; ref. Spectre, which I enjoyed.

For reasons I cannot articulate, even now, hours after the movie ended, I find it off-putting.

No one else in my group had a similar reaction, and several quite liked it.

I thus find myself in an awkward position, unable to recommend it wholeheartedly but suspicious of my own reaction.  So, the best I can say is this:  if you enjoyed the previous films in the series (which I did), then you're likely (based on the reactions of others in my group) to enjoy this one--even though I came away put off by it.

Friday, November 20, 2015

I am a mad, hairy beast

It's 4:45 in the morning.  I've been working since about eleven, and I have still more work to do.  On a bathroom break I noticed again what a hairy beast I have become.

I figured you'd want to see.

Click the image to see a larger version.

Why, you might ask, have I let myself become this hairy?

See if you can guess the reason(s).

I am this hairy because
  1. I've heard the ladies like the hairy man.
  2. I'm auditioning for the role of James "Bucky" Yeti in the local production of It's an Abominable Life.
  3. I've been crazy busy at work.
  4. I've learned that you can stave off hunger for hours by plucking and chewing beard hairs.
  5. I haven't felt like shaving or trimming my beard.
  6. All of the above.
  7. None of the above.
Hint:  This is not an easy quiz.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Choices, choices

Friends have criticized me for wanting to see all the movies, and that criticism is more fair than not.  I really do want to see most films.  Despite that desire, some weekends bring few movies that can lure me to the theater.  This weekend is not one of those.  This weekend is chock full of openings I want to see.

Counting only the movies opening at theaters within half an hour of my house, I am tempted by all of the following (in alphabetical order):

  • The 33
  • The Hunger Games:  Mockingjay - Part 2
  • Love the Coopers
  • The Night Before
  • Secret In Their Eyes
  • Spotlight (I'm not sure this one is opening, but it's new to me)
I know some of you will mock me for wanting to see the weaklings in this group, but I do.

Which one will I view Saturday night?

Most likely Hunger Games, because it's the big loud hit, and I'm in the mood for just that, but I've yet to commit to any of them.

I hope to report back on whatever I watch.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

I thought I really hated perfume ads in magazines

until I received a recent issue of Bon Appetit that contained such ads.  Now, I realize that my previous hatred of these agents of Satan was nothing compared to how much I loathe them after merely opening this magazine.

Whether you're scanning a how-to article, wondering if you'll really ever make that recipe, or simply drooling over the food porn, the last thing you need is the smell of Calvin Klein's euphoria flying off the page and into your nostrils.

Yes, that's a real example from this issue.

I strongly oppose scented pages, but if you must put them in a periodical, at least make them relevant to the content around them.  I wouldn't mind, for example, if an article on bread sat next to a flour ad that delivered the smell of a freshly baked baguette.

Perfume ads, though, need to vanish from food magazines.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Cher is haunting my bathroom

Okay, it's not my bathroom, it's the men's restroom in my company's office building, and it's not Cher personally, it's her music, but still.  Two nights in a row, I've walked into the restroom, and Cher has been singing.

The first night it was her 1998 Auto-tuned hit, "Believe."

Tonight, it was her cover of Marc Cohn's wonderful "Walking In Memphis"--a cover that's pretty darn good.

What does this mean?  I haven't a clue, but surely it can't be a coincidence.  Surely not.

I know that if Cher is singing again Wednesday night, I'm going to have to find out who's deejaying that bathroom.

Something is afoot.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Last chance to see Serenity at the Colony

I've long loved the Colony Theater in North Raleigh.  During the many years I've now lived in Raleigh, I've had the pleasure of watching a great many wonderful films in its two theaters.  This December, alas, the Colony is closing, a development I find very sad.

On Sunday, December 6, the theater is continuing its tradition of recent years of showing Serenity, a movie I love.  I plan to be there.  If you want to make sure you get a chance to say goodbye to this old gem of an independent cinema, you might want to join me that Sunday early evening.

Sunday, November 15, 2015


Friends and long-time readers of this blog know that I'm a stone fan of the James Bond films.  I've seen all the past ones, even the painfully bad entries, at least three times each.  Bill and I have closed our company for a few hours on the afternoon of the opening day of the first three Daniel Craig as Bond films, and we did so again this year.  (I went the night before in Saratoga Springs.)  So, I'm not even going to try to pretend to be an objective critic of films in this series.

I'm also not going to deny the many problems with these movies, problems that range from sexism to ridiculous plots.  I just enjoy them for what they are.

So, obviously, I entered Spectre prepared to be entertained and to like it, and I left feeling entertained and rather liking it.  The movie was classic Bond, with chases and fights and gadgets and gorgeous people in gorgeous locations.

The plot was also as ludicrous as usual, possibly more so than usual.

The cast did a reasonable job.  Craig plays Bond smoothly and well.  Christoph Waltz turned in a fine bad-guy performance; he was born to be creepy on screen.  Monica Bellucci oozed with sex appeal and actually did a good job acting.  It's a pity that the role of Bond's significant love interest in the movie went to Lea Seydoux, who was pretty but who never sizzled and never had any real chemistry with Craig.  All of them, though, were good enough in their roles to carry along the story.

Andrew Scott, who also played Moriarity on the recent Holmes' shows, rose above the rest and excelled in the role of creepy bureaucrat.  I would watch him again in anything.

Do I recommend Spectre?  If you like Bond movies, you bet.  If you just want a good action flick, absolutely.  If you want a complete film with emotional truth and great acting, think again.

Friends have reminded me that each new Bond movie from any given Bond actor demands a ranking of all of that actor's Bond films.  In this case, I think the ranking is easy:

  1. Casino Royale
  2. Skyfall
  3. Spectre
  4. Quantum of Solace
A final note:  if you're planning to catch this movie, definitely head to the largest screen you can find.  I'll watch it again at home, probably multiple times, but seeing it in the theater is important.


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