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Sometimes I feel that there should be a category of stars whom I love but who seem to specialize in appearing in total, utter crap (Brendan Fraser and James Purefoy would battle it out for supremacy). Among this category would be Hugh Jackman. Yes, he's appeared in some good stuff but there are still abiding memories of Van Helsing and Swordfish to cherish. And now there's Australia to add to his oeuvre. Maybe it will be good, maybe it will be the film that defines Australia for the Australians and everyone else. But going by the trailer I saw I fear not. Mainly it appears to feature a breathy (channelling, I think, Marilyn Monroe) Nicole Kidman who, for some unexplained reason, dresses like a late Victorian, explaining what Australia is to an aboriginal child. Because, you know, indigenous peoples can't be expected to understand things like that. And while Australia is way down there on its own I am pretty sure they stopped wearing Victorian fashions sometime before the 1940s.

*Sorry, Australians: I think you only get one and this is it.
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I was going to do one of those posts about things I don't like but then I thought 'well, honestly, I enjoyed a kdrama where not only was there amnesia and eye cancer caused by a car accident but also step-sibling love, an evil step-mother, and a hero who liked to play the piano on the beach, so it's not like my scathing criticism is really worth anything, is it?'

So instead I decided to type out the first 15 things that came into my head that I like to read, watch, and listen to. So you can avoid them.

Read more )

ETA: And why did I not know that Spiderman III was such a dreadful film? Amongst the many things I was traumatized by was Peter Parker looking like a young Hitler when he was in his evil phase. That's just not right, people.
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Because tonight I saw 'Dan in Real Life,' and...well, let's put it this way: I want to find out who the writer is so I never see anything they write ever again.

Cut more to save you the horror than anything else. Plus spoilers )
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This film, which I tivoed a while back when SciFi showed it, is really not so good. But somehow they got all of the following to sign up:

1. Patrick Swayze, who doesn't even attempt to disguise his accent in a film set in Mediaeval England, as some English lord

2. Val Kilmer as a random bandit who is a complete bastard (maybe this was filmed in the dark days after Alexander)

3. James Purefoy as the hero (does this man have no agent? Or does he sign up for these things when drunk?)

4. Bill Oddie! As something or other. But it's Bill Oddie!

5. Simon Callow as the father of a disappeared princess.

6. Joan Plowright (I haven't seen her yet though, so I am not sure who she plays)

And there are other people whom I recognise! And savage picts.
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To celebrate tonight's victory in the Stanley Cup Playoffs I bring you a list of films and shows that I watch when ill. Because that's what you're all really curious about.

These aren't films that aren't really the best things out there (but I have an unholy love for them, even the rubbish ones), but they are films or shows I've watched so often that I find them tremendously comforting and reassuring.  And usually when I am ill what I want is something I can watch comfortably without hurting my brain. 

And because I can: GO CAROLINA!!!!!  WE WON!!!

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Went tonight to see 'Mission Impossible III.' And I know Tom Cruise is insane and a mad scientologist and all that...but still I went to see it and enjoyed it.   And all I can say is that I rather approve of films that use as many explosives as this one does.  (I have a long list of films that could learn from this.) In a past life I was probably one of those medieval peasants that saw three skulls of John the Baptist and were really impressed by the fact that he had three heads.  

Also on the new Marie Antoinette film read this on IMDB: 

"Based on Antonia Fraser's book about the ill-fated Archduchess of Austria and later Queen of France, Marie Antoinette' tells the story of the most misunderstood and abused woman in history, from her birth in Imperial Austria to her later life in France."   


"Sofia Coppola refused to read the famous biography of Marie-Antoinette written by Stefan Zweig, which she judged too strict. She turned instead to the book by Antonia Fraser, which makes the queen a more human character, a young girl with no connection to reality who finds herself in the wrong place at the wrong time."   

You know, I'm not such a fan of the reign of terror and the mess that was, but if I am going to be having sympathy for people in 18th century France, Marie Antoinette wouldn't top my list.  The woman was a total moron, for one.  Though admittedly, the same could be said for her husband so they probably worked quite well as a couple.   

It's strange how some costume dramas don't bother me when they ignore reality, because the pretty costumes and settings are great, but others like this one seem calculated to make me see red.  I have no idea why that is, but I'm guessing that I find fictional aristocrats easier to like than the real ones, who frequently caused incalculable human misery as well as building nice things that later become museums.  Besides, why does Marie Antoinette have to be whitewashed?  Surely you could do an interesting film about her flaws as well as her excellent taste in frocks. 

ETA: Hey, I've just realised that this is probably one of those films that could be improved by explosives!  It all comes together somehow.
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[livejournal.com profile] dangermousie has a post on what will be in my opinion the best film ever. Bollywood and superheroes! Does it get any better? It will no doubt even replace Humko Tumse Pyaar Hai on my list of most improbable cheesetastic films. Go, marvel at the pictures! Wonder at the clothes! And despair of there ever being a film this good released outside Bollywood:

Bollywood and superheroes and what are they thinking?

Also, in hockey news this story about Carolina being unpenalised in their abuse of Huet's crease* really annoyed me: http://slam.canoe.ca/Slam/Hockey/NHL/Playoffs/Montreal/2006/04/25/1550131-cp.html

Okay, I am a Carolina fan and thus probably not totally rational especially as we are apparently the devil in this particular story... Anyway it just seemed a wee bit one-sided of a story to me. Of course, if I were a Montreal fan I'd probably be writing strong letters of protest to the NHL about the officiating .

*For non hockey watching people, I assure you this is not in anyway naughty. Huet is the Montreal goalie and the crease is the space in front of the goal. Just making that clear.
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This evening I went to a screening of Julius Caesar, a 1914 Italian film. It was quite fun except that it has left me with a strong desire to communicate by pointing at people. Preferably in profile, which appears to be more effective and moving.

Also silly Pompey's soldiers did not chuck away their armour as they ran. Seriously, if I was ever in battle in the ancient world and running for my life, tossing away the heavy equipment would be the first thing I would do. If it was good enough for Archilochus and Horace, it should be good enough for me.

ETA: Also all the women were quite burly and the Gaulish women had terrible bras, which probably says something about Italy in the 1910s. I am not sure what, but it must be important on some level. And Vercingetorix looked exactly like the chief in Asterix, with a lovely moustache and pigtails to die for.

Tomorrow I am off for second day of conference to the new Getty in Malibu, which I am very much looking forward to. I haven't ever been there as it's been in wraps since I came to LA.
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I love this film. It's a David Mamet film, which is why I saw it in the first place, but it's very different from his usual films. It's a quiet film adapted from a play by Terence Rattigan, which is based on a true story. Essentially the plot is this: a boy from a middle class family is expelled from a naval academy (they say he has stolen another boy's postal order). His father ends up taking the whole thing through a sequence of court cases, which saps most of the family's money. There is also a suffragete and socialist sister, a caddish fiancee, a conservative barrister (who is also an M.P.) and a repressed Edwardian love story. How can you resist?

Winslow Boy: Pictures and Spoilers Follow )
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Saw March of the Penguins this afternoon; it was astonishingly beautiful to watch - and those penguins certainly live a rough life.  I was cold just watching them weather blizzards and 70 mile treks across the ice to reach the water.  The score was awful though: mad flutes every two seconds and it seemed like whoever had written it had never even seen the film as it often didn't match the scenes.  And the narration was also a bit twee. Still, I thought it was worth going to. It has penguins!  And baby penguins tottering across the ice.

Sigh. This is probably the last proper free time for a while - I've committed to doing a translation of a 16th century document (I really hope the Latin is intelligible and not filled with horrible non-classical language use).  Plus trying to keep up with other Latin for next year, prep the two extra evening courses I'm doing in the Autumn and brush up on French.  I suspect the current article will get shoved to one side for a bit (well, it's not like Homer is going anywhere, is he?).

The French is the big pain as I'm meeting up with someone Sunday week for a meeting at which I'm supposed to be able to talk about Indochine. I guess that means I'm going to have to sit down and watch the film and try and recall some conversational French. I can read it fine, it's just producing anything that is impossible these days.

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I'll admit I'm not hugely fond of Clive Owen so I probably should have known better than to rent this film, especially as the guy who directed also directed Croupier, a film I disliked intensely.  But he also directed Get Carter, which I really, really like so I thought it was worth the risk - and besides it had Charlotte Rampling whom I love. But (in my humble opinion) I'll Sleep when I'm Dead is one of the more pointless British gangster films that I've ever seen and I want to rant about wasting my time on it.  Perhaps I just feel stupid because I should have known better.

Cut for spoilers in case someone actually wants to watch it )


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August 2011

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