Tuesday, May 08, 2007

One Vision

I know I'm a little late listing April's reading and movie watching materials, but last week I was pretty much too sick to care. The lists are pretty sparse, I think, and so far, I'm not doing much better in May.

Books

The Last Tycoon by F. Scott Fitzgerald – 163 pages – I wish F. Scott had lived long enough to finish this book because it was kind of sucky that it ended suddenly. I, however, unlike some reviewers at amazon.com, don't fault the book because the author died before he could finish it. It's just that I liked it and would have liked to have read it as his finished vision. Like the other F. Scott books I've read, I would recommend this one.

True Confessions by John Gregory Dunne - 341 pages – This book was interesting, if a tad crude – language-wise. It was ostensibly based on The Black Dahlia murder in LA way back when which was never solved, although Mr. Dunne names the killer. No clue if he actually knew something or was just writing a story. I found the Catholic aspect of this book very interesting, but if you're not Catholic and don't really know much it might not be as interesting. Still, a good true crime story. I found it so interesting that one day at the gym when I was reading it, I didn't even notice that my iPod had stopped.

The Rescue Artist: A True Story of Art, Thieves and the Hunt for a Missing Masterpiece by Edward Dolnick – 252 pages – I found this book truly fascinating. It was the story about finding Edvard Munch's The Scream and the men from Scotland Yard who played a pivotal role in getting it back. The book also talks about other masterpieces that have been stolen over the years and how they're still missing. One reason for this, according to the author, is because the police find it hard to get upset about a painting (or sculpture or whatever) worth millions stolen from some rich person. The brief biography of Edvard Munch in the book makes me want to search out books on him. He seemed to be a tortured soul – evidenced by The Scream, which he actually painted more than once.

V for Vendetta by Alan Moore & David Lloyd – 286 pages – I had bought this book when the movie came out, because I wanted to read the book before seeing the movie, but like many books I buy it took me some time to get to it, obviously (unlike the previous two books listed which I just got and read right away). I hadn't realised it was a graphic novel when I bought it, but being an old fan of Neil Gaiman's Sandman series that didn't turn me off. (If you haven't read the Sandman books, I highly highly recommend them – along with anything else written by Mr. Gaiman.) I enjoyed this book, maybe because I like the idea of an anti-hero taking on a totalitarian government and undermining it. I should be getting the movie in the next couple of days and since Saturday is supposed to be 54F (today it's supposed to be in the 80s – I wish our weather would be nice for weekends and crappy on weekdays – if we have to have crappy days), I might be watching it this weekend.

That's it for the books. My favorite book for the month was The Rescue Artist, although I did like all four. On to my movie watching.

Movies

This list is really short because I spent most of the month watching: Stargate SG-1: Season 6.

4/14 - The Philadelphia Story (TCM) – 100% - Katherine Hepburn, Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart – Do you really need to know more? I absolutely adore this movie and only saw it for the first time a few years ago. I was flipping channels and found it on TCM and that was it. I had to watch it again. Katherine Hepburn plays a socialite on the eve of her marriage to a man not from the upper crust who worked his way to a position of authority in her father's company. Her ex-husband (Cary Grant) shows up that day with a reporter (Jimmy Stewart) and a female photographer. There's a precocious younger sister (who is not cloying), a philandering father, a drunk uncle and the mother trying to hold it all together. If you have never seen this movie, do yourself a favor (and don't NOT watch it because it's in black-and-white) and put it in your Netflix queue.

4/14 - The Great Gatsby (N) – 53% - I actually have to agree with the critics on this one. The book was so much better, as is so often the case, is it not? I love Robert Redford, but he did not work as Jay Gatsby for me. It is beautifully shot, how could it not be? Mia Farrow was perfect as Daisy. I didn't think Bruce Dern was going to work as Daisy's husband because I pictured him as a bigger man, but he played the boor pretty darn well. And Sam Waterston was brilliant as Nick. It followed the book pretty faithfully, but I guess this is an example of how one actor (even if an excellent actor like Robert Redford) can be totally wrong for a role or simply not give it the right feel. The costumes are alone are worth the time it took watching it, I'd have say. Gorgeous!

4/16 - The Mystery of Picasso (N) – 80% - Picasso is one of my favorite artists – I have a thing for Spanish artists – so this movie was a natural for me. There's next to no dialogue and absolutely no plot. French director Henri-Georges Clouzot (Diabolique, The Wages of Fear) came up with this idea of essentially watching Picasso paint. He filmed it from the back side of the canvas using specially prepared canvasses and inks, so the paintings aren't blocked at all by the painter himself. All the paintings were destroyed after the film by Picasso himself because he wanted them only to exist for the film. If you have no interest in Picasso or the process by which a painting is created – at least by one of the greatest surrealists ever – then this movie will probably not be your cup of tea. I found it absolutely fascinating.

4/16 - Guernica (N) – This was part of The Mystery of Picasso DVD. I don't think I paid as much attention to it as I should have, but since I love that particular painting, I kind of wish I still had the DVD so I could watch it again. I saw what I think was a copy of the original at a Picasso exhibit I saw in SF. I couldn’t get anywhere near the damn thing or a good view with all the people there. That sucked. I need to get to Spain.

4/25 - In the Eyes of a Stranger (N) – I confess that I only put this movie in my Netflix queue because it starred Richard Dean Anderson. The movie sucked, essentially, but Richard Dean was as hot as ever, so it was worth it. Sad, yes, I know, but there ya go.

It's not hard picking a favorite movie from the month as I watched so few! The winner is The Philadelphia Story. WATCH IT!!! You'll love it, and if you don't, don't tell me because I'll be so sad. ;-)

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16 Comments:

At Tuesday, 08 May, 2007, Blogger fermicat said...

So you were sick and only read four books? You're still way ahead of me. I was not sick and spent the entire month of April and then some getting through Century Rain (Alastair Reynolds), which I did not finish until this past weekend, which was already May. Did I mention that I started the book in March? Pathetic. I liked the book, but mostly was reading before bed, so I didn't get far each day before getting sleepy. I finally sat down on Sunday and read the last 100 pages or so.

 
At Tuesday, 08 May, 2007, Blogger Kathleen said...

Fermi - I was sick last week which was May. I only read four books in April. I do my most reading while on the elliptical machine at the gym. It keeps me on for the full hour, hopefully.

 
At Tuesday, 08 May, 2007, Blogger Heather said...

I'm behind on listing mine as well. I love The Philadelphia Story! Love it!!

 
At Wednesday, 09 May, 2007, Blogger Lando said...

by back cleavage, i mean back fat splir down the middle. dead center of the back.

 
At Wednesday, 09 May, 2007, Blogger Ben O. said...

That V for Vendetta looked pretty interesting. Maybe I should look into it.

Ben O.

 
At Wednesday, 09 May, 2007, Blogger LL said...

I'm not even going to mention how many books I didn't read last month... ;)

 
At Wednesday, 09 May, 2007, Blogger Sal said...

So far I've found two books on your various lists that I've really enjoyed; this time the book about the artist was just added to my list, of course I have to remember the title...

 
At Thursday, 10 May, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hiya!

I liked 'Stranger' also. Rick was his usual excellance! Needed better support casting.

 
At Sunday, 13 May, 2007, Blogger Kathleen said...

Heather - I had faith in you liking The Philadelphia Story.

Lando - Ooooh, that's attractive.

Ben O - Watched the movie...review next month, but although they changed it a bit, I was able to accept it. I'd recommend the movie as well.

LL - I'm sure they were all legal types and you can bet money I won't be reading those.

Sal - Do you want me to mail it to you? I trust ya with it.

Anonymous - Nice to find another RDA fan.

 
At Monday, 14 May, 2007, Blogger mr. schprock said...

I LOVE The Philadelphia Story. The little girl steals the show. Evrybody's great in it. It's "yaw."

 
At Monday, 14 May, 2007, Blogger Kathleen said...

Schprockie - It is most definitely "yaw."

 
At Monday, 14 May, 2007, Blogger Beth said...

I've seen V is for Vendetta, but haven't read it. It seems like a good one to read. Thanks for these lists. I love them and usually read/watch something new after seeing your reviews.

 
At Tuesday, 15 May, 2007, Blogger MyUtopia said...

Philadelphia story is one of my favorite old movies!

 
At Tuesday, 15 May, 2007, Blogger Scott said...

I will have to check out Philadelphia story. You are so right, once I saw who the stars were, I didn't really need to read what it was about.

I have found so many movies on TCM that have surprised me. There is nothing like the feeling of finding an old movie like that.

 
At Tuesday, 15 May, 2007, Blogger Kathleen said...

Beth - Be prepared for the differences - which will be discussed next month during my movie review.

MyUtopia - My copy showed up yesterday from dvdempire, so I'm a very happy woman.

Scott - I adore TCM!!! I especially love getting the little tidbits before and after the movie.

 
At Tuesday, 15 May, 2007, Blogger Brooklyn Frank said...

the great gatsby was a bit of a filmic disappointment. but that often happens when great book makes it to the silver screen.

 

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