proustbot: (asia at odd hours)
I saw The Wedding Plan yesterday with Zane and Betty and J. It was cute. I liked it. (Zane tells me that the fish-smearing scene is not normal practice.)

I also saw Wonder Woman with Bear et al. It was...okay? Decidedly less amazing than the euphoric reviews made it seem, though. I think movie reviewers are just really, really bummed out by the Batman/Superman movies, and they're so desperately relieved to see a fun, Disney-esque film that their critical apparatuses are not functioning at peak power. However, I am reminded -- once again -- how much I enjoy movies in which buff ladies beat up men.

Alias Grace, The Rivers of London, and A Writer in the Kitchen )
proustbot: (Default)
This morning I watched the season finale of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend -- which I've followed, off and on, since its premiere, but I came back into the fold when it introduced Nathaniel, aka My Favorite Trope of villains undone by lust for the hero/heroine.

It was a great finale, in part because the show has been so explicit for so long about blowing up Dumb Romance Narratives. (In contrast, consider the disappointment that everyone feels about The Mindy Project, which zig-zags between embracing and semi-repudiating its tropes. Although, side note: even with its perverse plot-arcs, The Mindy Project could still be satisfying if only it followed the sitcom pattern of stable, developed background characters. I always find it weird that The Mindy Project doesn't do this, given Mindy Kaling's background in The Office. Tight ensembles are the engines that drive Brooklyn-99 and Superstore, and they could potentially salvage The Mindy Project, but...no.)

I fiddled with my Internet settings so that I have severely restricted access to time-wasting sites, so a) we'll see if it aids my productivity! and b) my TV-watching habits are about to dip tremendously.

At work yesterday, my boss told me -- with disgust -- that she had just watched The Lobster. "Have you seen it? What did you think of it?"

"Well, I knew most of the premise going in, but nobody told me about the dog-murder half-way through the movie? I wasn't prepared for the dog-murder."

"Yeah!" she said. "And that last scene! I was watching the movie with an opthamologist, and he was not pleased!"

"Yeah," I said. "It's not a good movie if you object to dog-murder or eye-trauma."

The other two people in the room, who had never even heard of the movie, regarded us with growing horror.
proustbot: (led by your beating heart)
  • Final Fantasy XV:
  • Sister and I finished the game. My predictions were incorrect; the plot turned out to be even more nonsensical than I had guessed. It was very sad.

  • The Good Place (1x10, "Chidi's Choice"):
  • Oh, man, sooooo good! I love that the show cheerfully burned through the amount of plot that another show would spend 10-13 episodes slowly unspooling. I still stick with the belief that the writers are not going to be so redundant as to pair off Chidi and Eleanor romantically, but I do note that a) Chidi was thwarted in his choice-making, and presumably that Chekhovian gun is going to fire at some point, and b) when he presented his dilemma to Michael, he left out Tahani, which suggests that she wasn't a contender.

  • The Spirit of Christmas::
  • The plot of this Hallmark Christmas movie: "As Christmas approaches, attorney Kate Jordan travels to Vermont to oversee the sale of an inn, where she falls for a handsome but cursed ghost." I'm currently forcing my siblings to watch it with me.
    proustbot: (Default)
    Yesterday, I watched Arsenic and Old Lace with the governor, who kept quizzing me on the names of actors. ("Yes," I would say woodenly, "I do know who Peter Lorre is.")

    Then my brother and I watched "The Six Thatchers," the first of the new Sherlock episodes, and it was not great (I cannot believe that fridges are still a thing in this day and age, but somehow, they are), but it has been wonderful watching the whalenoise.mp3 reactions ripple across the Internet.

    This morning we all lazed around and watched the third season of Jeeves and Wooster and ate the donuts that my brother had sheepishly brought home this morning, after he got up early and got dressed and set off to work and belatedly realized that there was no work today. Donuts, he told us, made it seem like less of a wasted effort.

    Later I cleaned up some side quests in Dragon Age: Inquisition, mostly by virtue of making my sister finish up the rest of the astrarium connect-the-dot puzzles, and when we unlocked the achievement, I pumped my fists in the air and said, "Way to go! We got this achievement together! Yay team!" and she rolled her eyes.

    Then we played six or seven hours of Final Fantasy XV, and I decided, what the hell, let's just delay my return home for another week so that we can be sure! to! finish! this! game! (Weirdly, this proved to be a financially responsible decision -- my new airline tickets are considerably cheaper than my old airline tickets, and the airline will let me profit from the difference.)
    proustbot: (Butterfly)
    For our Last Night in Europe, my brother and I went to the IMAX theatre next to our hotel and watched Star Trek Beyond. Verdict: we liked it; hurray for giving Karl Urban things to do.

    King of Thieves, The River Kings' Road, How to Stay Alive in the Woods, and An Everlasting Meal )
    proustbot: (liz)
    Today I went to the post office to get a medium-sized cardboard box. I pulled my little ticky-number from the ticky-machine and waited for twenty minutes for my number to be called. And then I had a conversation -- entirely in Spanish -- in which I managed to get the medium-sized cardboard box I needed.

    Then I walked thirty minutes home, with the long sheet of cardboard slung under my arm, feeling triumphant and productive.

    Then I folded it into a box and realized that the post office had sold me the large size, and I have a much larger box than I need. KHANNNNNN.

    Marvel Phase One, 2011-2012: Thor, Captain America, and The Avengers )
    proustbot: (Default)
    I've been watching/re-watching the Marvel movies, because hey! Why not?

    (Ah, the weird tedium of research trips.)

    Marvel Phase One, 2008-2010: Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2 )
    proustbot: (Default)
    I saw X-Men: Apocalypse last week. I did not hate it -- but, of course, I have a deep fondness for stylized eighties nonsense.

    Dragon Age: Last Flight, His Majesty's Service, and Ancillary Sword )
    proustbot: (clint eastwood)
    I saw Captain America: Civil War last night. (It was fine!) Midway through the credits, the group with us left the theater, and Wife A. and I shrugged at each other and settled down to watch the rest of the credits.

    When we walked out of the theater and found them waiting for us, my heart literally fell, because I knew that they wanted to make contemptuous comments about low-brow pop culture and summer blockbusters. (Bear and Veronica did not disappoint in this regard.)

    Wife A. glanced at me. "I'm summoning an Uber!" she chirped. "We'll be out of here in five minutes!"

    It was a very long five minutes.


    Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell and The Name of the Rose )
    proustbot: (lo que la primavera hace con los cerezos)
    I.


    ME: "Catastrophe? Yeah, I watched the first season, but I haven't seen the second, because I find it kind of...corrosive?"

    VERONICA: "Corrosive?"

    ME: "Yeah."

    VERONICA: "No, no, no. That's just real talk about relationships."

    II.


    I was telling Vidalia that A Fish Called Wanda was an important movie in my prepubescent sexual awakening, and he immediately started imitating Kevin-Kline-as-Otto, and I was overcome with a swelter of confused emotions.

    Then I went home and watched A Fish Called Wanda. That movie holds up! And John Cleese's naked torso still confuses me!

    III


    I had a series of underwhelming professional experience this week. It may be time to run off and join the circus.
    proustbot: (walk of shame/terror)
    [absently playing Harry Potter movies in the background as I clean the apartment]

    ME: "Huh, I wonder if there's any Internet thoughts on the nipple hats in Goblet of Fire?"

    INTERNET: "The weaknesses of Goblet of Fire are similar to the frequently criticized Prisoner of Azkaban, in that it cuts out too much of the precious book--"

    ME: [shudders uncontrollably, hits back button]
    proustbot: (young and drinking in the park)
    From some year-old notes I wrote re: Moonrise Kingdom: That dollhouse aesthetic, with the typical Act II rupture: in this case, when we finally hear the kids speak. The girl with her misaligned eyes and blue eyeshadow, glaring fiercely into the camera. The boy, charmingly prepubescent. But mainly the rupture created by those kids, forever disrupting their arid dollhouse world.

    Emilie and the Hollow World, Emilie and the Sky World, Beautiful Ruins, and The Almost Truth )
    proustbot: (but hearts are earned)
    Tuesday, I was going a little bananas waiting for The Mindy Project season finale, so I watched You've Got Mail to soothe my jonesin' for a rom-com (and also because everybody said the finale was a tribute to You've Got Mail).

    You've Got Mail )

    And then, the second The Mindy Project finale dropped on Amazon, I watched it (and then had to fly out the door two minutes later to catch a train). It was wayyyyy more sentimental than I had predicted, but I enjoyed it hugely. (And I'm glad that I watched You've Got Mail right before it, because a lot of the homages were subtle. Exhibit A: the mouse-voice reference. Exhibit B: the drama-free break-up scene in a restaurant. I'm sure I will notice more when I have a chance to re-watch it. Also, props for the episode's critical reassessment of how one would react to a lover's deception: the correct response is not "Oh, I hoped it would be you!!" but "You motherfucker.")
    proustbot: (clint eastwood)
    Watched Star Trek Into Darkness two weeks ago. Did not hate it! (Although am sympathetic to everyone who did -- I have no particular affection for earlier iterations of the franchise, but I can see why that film might not tickle the fancy of an actual Trekkie. Me, I'm just in it for the families of choice/workplace relationships/super-sentai team, and on that level, yesssssss.)

    The Ships of Air, A Crown of Swords, and Arabella )
    proustbot: (Our sole remaining neighbor was the sky)
    Packing up my things, I found a sheet I had carefully torn out of the Entertainment Weekly I was reading on my February flight to Madrid.

    Libby Gelman-Waxner, "Les Me: 10 Reasons I'm Mad for the Batty New Film Adaptation"

    Hugh's adversary, the relentless policeman Javert, is played by Russell Crowe, whom I love because he's costumed and photographed to look as slim as possible. He wears long, high-waisted military overcoats and he's often shot from a distance; the movie uses the same tricks as the Jessica Simpson Weight Watchers ads, and I kept waiting for Russell to wear a gauzy blouse over a black tank top with a wide leather belt....

    My newest heartthrob is Eddie Redmayne, who plays Marius, the movie's hotheaded student revolutionary. Eddie is dewy and adorable, especially when he's wounded and Hugh has to carry him through the sewers of Paris, like a scrumptious, ginger-haired shoulder bag.


    Yep.
    proustbot: (but hearts are earned)
    I went to see Tom Hooper's Les Misérables with Wellington's ex-girlfriend, and in preparation for the experience (which I was dreading, in all its dimensions), I consumed Mountain Dew and Junior Mints.

    As a result of the sugar/caffeine rush, I got really into the movie. I've never read the book or seen the musical (and I kinda suspect that, on an ideological level, I might hate the musical?), but the movie is pure bombastic spectacle.

    Main thoughts:
  • Adult Cosette is a drip, and this movie fails the Bechdel Test spectacularly. (Why don't Eponine and Cosette ever interact? I don't understand.)

  • Russell Crowe really should not have been cast as Javert. Everyone else held up their end of the musical-theatre bargain; Crowe stuck out like a sore thumb.

  • In regards to the aforementioned ideological level: man, any narrative that minimizes the story of a bunch of radical revolutionaries for the sake of a ~love story~ makes me want to spit nails. (Also, given that the revolutionaries are portrayed in an unrelentingly heroic light, the movie does an insultingly poor job of explaining their motivations and ambitions.) In this, I suspect I differ in opinion from the core fanbase of twelve-year-olds.

  • The actor who plays Marius Pontmercy (Eddie Redmayne) looks eerily like the young pin-up version of my former professor VBP. Which was somewhat disconcerting. On a number of levels.
  • proustbot: (Mendou Shutaro)


    It had been a rough couple of days, and all my roommates were gone, so I curled up in my bed last night and watched Howl's Moving Castle.

    I read the book seven years ago (oh god) and loved it, and I saw the movie in its theatrical release the following year and loved it, even though the book and the movie are drastically different beasts. Diana Wynne Jones' novel is sharp and spiky and needlessly complicated, whereas Hayao Miyazaki's movie is sweet and warm and -- let's be honest -- a little bit simple-minded. Also: bird-men.

    I have read the book once. I have watched the movie many times.

    Like The Royal Tenenbaums before it, Howl's Moving Castle is excellent comfort food for my soul, and for many of the same reasons. Baroquely intricate background details? Check! Eccentric-but-loving family unit? Check! Love story between an emotionally inert woman and her gentle, protective, unconditionally affectionate psuedo-brother? Checkcheckcheck.

    Sophie's carefully defensive attitude of ancient weariness is made explicit when she is cursed to be an old woman, but I had forgotten about the fact that Howl suffers the opposite malady: his temper tantrums, his emo despair, his bedroom decorated by baby magpies, all mark him as a man who has been unable to grow up so long as he flees unpleasant responsibilities (and so long as Calcifer continues to burn on the heart of an impetuous child). What I like about Howl's Moving Castle is that it's a dual-action version of Beauty and the Beast, in which both Sophie and Howl have to save one another from facades arisen from insecurity and immaturity before their masks harden into actuality.

    Also, Christian Bale as Howl is pretty great, amirite?

    proustbot: (liz)
    ME: my roommate showed me "Up," which I had not previously seen
    ME: although every time I talk to Dad, he talks about how it is the saddest movie ever made
    ME: AND HE IS RIGHT

    CHRIS: so what makes Up sad?
    CHRIS: it looks like a delightful computer-animated romp

    ME: the first ten minutes
    ME: afterwards: non-stop romping
    ME: imagine bambi's mother dying in the first ten minutes
    ME: followed by eighty minutes of Thumper

    CHRIS: hahaha
    proustbot: (clint eastwood)


    I had a brief attack of the vapors the other morning. This meant that I abandoned my plans for the day and instead huddled under a blanket and drank weak tea and watched The Royal Tenenbaums.

    The Royal Tenenbaums was one of the cherished films of my adolescence. I loved the dollhouse aesthetic, and I loved the cluttered frame, and I loved the concept of a dozen sub-plots colliding with one another, again and again, like billiard balls.

    Watching it now, on the other hand, I feel impatience with the movie. The manic scene-changes, the abrupt pivots in tone, which once struck me as brilliant and inspiring, now seem incoherent and inchoate. The scene where Richie Tenenbaum slits his wrists used to be my favorite movie scene of all time -- and it still has its virtues, especially the moment when Luke Wilson removes his sunglasses for the first time, but it now seems less like a cinematic revelation to me and more like the emo music video that Elliott Smith would have never made.

    Mainly, I find myself now objecting to the stilted, suffocating visual composition of the film. Every actor stands in frames within frames -- doorways, windows, mirrors, closets, elevators -- and every visual element is counterbalanced by its opposite number on the other side of the screen. A perfectly symmetrical artifice is achieved in every shot of the film. This degree of hyper-real composition is one of Wes Anderson's trademarks, and it makes sense for the first half of the film, when the Tenenbaum children are living out an artificial E. L. Konigsberg fantasia and compartmentalizing their lives in increasingly unhealthy ways. The second half of the film is about dismantling those barriers and affectations, however -- and I find it bizarre that the camera doesn't respond to this, doesn't loosen up and find more organic compositions as the Tenenbaums seek to interact with one another with more vulnerability and less rigid role-playing.

    So I scowled over my weak tea and felt a certain degree of disappointment in my younger self. This is the movie you loved beyond reason? I thought contemptuously. And then Richie started making out with his not-sister in a tent pitched in the corner of the ballroom, and I thought, Oh, right, right, right.

    proustbot: (liz)
    I watched Raising Arizona this week for the first time in ten years. It does not supplant Miller's Crossing in my affection, but damn, those Coen brothers know their business.

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