Saturday, February 6, 2016

45 YEARS

I can see why Charlotte Rampling got nominated for an Oscar for 45 YEARS, and can also see why some of the audience responses in the theater I saw it at, where there's a bulletin board for people to grade flicks, found it too slow and boring (one comment said they didn't realize it was filmed in real time).

But for me, this was a very artful movie, worth the time and money just to see the skillful interplay between Rampling and Tom Courtenay as an old married couple in their daily routines that get disrupted by the past intruding on their present.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Thursday, February 4, 2016

HOLLYWOOD MAGIC INDEED

One of my favorite book covers, thanks to photographer Lynn Goldsmith, and to Dennis Cooper's Little Caesar Press. It came out in 1982 (the year I turned forty) so the photo was probably taken the year before at Lynn's studio. And, if it's possible to grade your affection for your own books, this was definitely, and remains, one of my favorite books.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS

Went to see this expecting to be disappointed, but was pleasantly surprised (as often happens when I go into a movie with low expectations). It was a total kick to see Han Solo back on the big screen and looking realistically like an older version of the character. Harrison Ford brought every comic nuance of that role to life again.

Carrie Fisher had a more difficult task in some ways, since female roles in science fiction usually depend on periods of undress for their cache, but she played the part of an older Princess Leia with the dignity and seriousness the role required. [Full disclosure, I met Ford a few times but found him to be a very private guy, and was close friends with Fisher for many of my Hollywood years and knew her, as many now do, as one of the wittiest humans alive.]

But the big delight for me was the discovery of Daisy Ridley who has the lead role in the film and who I wasn't aware of ever having seen on the big screen before. She brought the kind of star charisma a franchise like this needs and lacked in many of the sequels to the original. Finally a female sic fi action figure who commands your attention and respect and is engaging and entertaining seemingly with ease.

The other delight was John Boyega. I've been waiting to see him in an action starring role ever since I discovered him in one of my favorite movies ATTACK THE BLOCK. Watching him perform the role of Finn with perfect comic timing as well as the emotional depth necessary for the serious moments, I could not figure out what the fuss about his being dark skinned had to do with playing an action hero, let alone a reluctant one.

Yeah, some of the other casting missed, and the story line could have been better, though I liked the echoes from the original STAR WARS, but a lot of the humor worked for me, as well as the drama and action. For my taste, well worth seeing on the big screen.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

IOWA

I have to admit I was into the Iowa caucuses last night, not only because I've been a political junkie all my life (which kickstarted when as a six-year-old I predicted Truman's win, despite the polling and pundits forecasting a victory for Dewey) but because I lived in Iowa City from 1966 to 1969 and ran for sheriff of Johnson County, Iowa, in 1968 (as a Peace & Freedom party candidate).

When national newscasters and political pundits mentioned "Johnson County" as they always do, and were doing quite a bit last night in the wee hours with all the caucus votes not in for that county til then, I felt like cheering for what was once, no matte how briefly, my home. (I got text messages from a friend who was a part of the Iowa City caucusing as it was happening.)

But it also evokes the sad fact that by supporting an alternative to the Democratic candidate in 1968, I contributed to Nixon's winning the presidency and all the death and destruction that occurred as a result (including of people I knew who died in the Viet Nam war, which went on for another six years but Humphrey's papers later revealed he was prepared to end).

The visceral hatred for Hilary among many Bernie supporters online (and displayed at the Sanders rally last night in response to her "victory" speech) is disheartening as many Bernie supporters continue to declare their intention to not vote for Hilary if she wins the Democratic nomination. And I know there are Hilary supporters, especially among feminists I know, who feel the same in reverse.

This would be an invitation for another rightwing Republican to take over the presidency and build on the destruction to our politics and to our society that began under Nixon, continued through Reagan and the Bushes. I hope the animosity I'm seeing between the two camps in the Democratic primary ends when a winner is chosen, otherwise, we all lose.