Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Believe by Voltaire

I've decided to say something nice about Building C (for Crappy). The one restroom I prefer to use (there are two on this floor) has a handicapped door, so I don't have to touch the handle as I leave. I just use my hip to push the Handicapped pad and voila, door opens. Sadly, that's the best thing I can say about this building, but at least I was positive for a moment or two!

It's only June 5 and already I'm listing my book and movie watching for the month of May. I got a fair amount of both done, so I'm pretty happy with myself. And if I had taken the Non-Fiction Challenge that MyUtopia had signed up for, I would have more than halfway there. Me! Who normally doesn't read non-fiction! What is the world coming to? (Very sorry for all those preposition ending-ness, but I don't feel like changing it.)


Word Myths: Debunking Linguistic Urban Legends by David Wilton – 200 pages – This book was very interesting. It debunks the rumor that Eskimos (or Inuits, if you prefer) have over 500 different words for snow, along with a bunch of other ones. I quite liked it.

Rapid Response: My Inside Story as a Motor Racing Life-Saver by Dr. Stephen Olvey – 282 pages – I laughed and cried my way through this book, literally. On one page the author discusses the extreme dislike Mario Andretti and Nigel Mansell had for each other (which I knew) how at the 1994 Michigan race Mario jumped out of the car after 500 miles as fresh as a daisy, while Nige wallowed in the car acting as if he were dying from heat prostration. I remember that race perfectly and thought What a friggin' wuss! Mario was at least 20 years Nigel's senior. Dr. Olvey intimated that it was just part of Nigel's show, where he could never let it be known that he had won easily. In fact, I've read in other places that in F1, he would invent problems with the car after the race and piss off his crew for not giving them credit for giving him a flawless car. Yeah, I can't stand Nigel. Anyway, a page later he was discussing something that made me cry (I don't remember what exactly, though). Dr. Olvey is responsible for starting the Champ Car Safety Team, and up until a few years ago, he still ran it. Getting rid of Dr. Olvey and Dr. Trammell was the only issue I had when the new ownership took over. It struck me as incredibly foolish. These are the men who saved Alex Zanardi's life (literally) after his hideous accident at the Lausitzring in 2001. These were men who every driver knew and trusted. I found out that Dr. Olvey was key to many of the life-saving changes made to Champ Car – the cars, the circuits, etc. I also found out some stuff I didn't really need to know regarding the deaths of three of our drivers over the past 11 years (I was at each of the races where they died – RIP Jeff, Gonzalo & Greg). I particularly loved the potshots he took at NASCAR – the only major racing series that does not have a traveling safety team.

Torn Apart: The Life of Ian Curtis by Mick Middles & Lindsay Reade – 302 pages – I absolutely loved this book! Ian Curtis was the lead singer, lyricist and even music writer (as I found out in this book – I always knew the lead singer and lyricist part) for the band Joy Division (my favorite band). He committed suicide 27 years ago on May 18 and I happened to be reading the book on the anniversary. This book is so much better than the other JD books I had read, including the book by his widow. It actually dealt with his entire life, not just the part related to Joy Division. Middles & Reade interviewed his mother, sister, aunt and even his girlfriend Annik who had never spoken of Ian in the 25 years since he died. She didn't think it was her place, considering he had a wife and child, but I'm so glad she did. The widow's book was bitter and made me wonder why I admired this man so much. This book replaced my faith in my judgement. I not only learned more about Ian's life, but also about Joy Division and the music and how it was created. The top portion of this picture is painted on the back of my jean jacket along with lyrics from "Transmission." "We would go on as though nothing was wrong."

Dave Barry in Cyberspace by Dave Barry – 215 pages – This book is old (1997) and I had read it before, but one day I wanted something light to read while eating dinner and grabbed this off the shelf. It still made me laugh out loud. Heck, it's Dave Barry, how could I not laugh?


Stargate SG-1 – Season 7 (all) and Season 8 (1 or 2 discs)

5/6 - The Last Tycoon - N – 50% - I thought it was a pretty faithful adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's unfinished last novel, but I had been hoping that someone had taken his notes (which were included in my version of the novel) and had the movie continue where the novel left off.

5/9 - V for Vendetta - N – 72% - I really need to start writing things down because a month later I don't remember everything. I remember the ending wasn't the same as the book, but must confess that it still worked. I thought adding the 1812 Overture to the ending was brilliant. Chills ran down my spine. They had excluded parts of the graphic novel that quite frankly I didn't miss at all. I have to say that I liked it.

The Work of Director Anton Corbijn - N – No rating – This DVD was 4 hours long, as it showed a number of the videos Anton Corbijn directed, additional commentary of said videos by the artists themselves, and an interview with Anton and again the artists of the videos. It was utterly fascinating. He's taken many iconic pictures of rock musicians and one of the most famous pictures of Joy Division. He presented his movie Control about Ian Curtis and Joy Division at Cannes last month. In true Anton Corbijn fashion, it's filmed in black and white and even though it's based on the book by Deborah Curtis (his widow) I am looking forward to its release (probably November or December here in the States).

5/26 - Murder! - Hitchcock – (K) – 100% - I got 9 early Hitchcock movies for under $20 from amazon.com and this was one of them. It's one of Hitch's first "talkies" and while the sound quality isn't 21st century, it's still pretty darn good for a 1930s film. It had a Nick & Nora/Hercule Poirot flair to it as the amateur sleuth sets up a trap for the real murderer at the end and gets his man.

5/26 - Champagne - Hitchcock (K) – Not enough reviews for a rating – I read a review from 1928 when this movie first came out and it got panned! It was an enjoyable story, if not very Hitchcockian, i.e., suspenseful. Young reckless heiress ticks off her father enough with her spending money all over the place and falling in love with a poor man that he tells her that the bottom fell out of the champagne market (he was a champagne magnate apparently) and that they have no money. She goes out and gets a job, tries to cook, etc., while Dad goes off to fancy restaurants to eat since her meals were inedible. It was a pleasant movie and, of course, turned out well in the end. Oh yeah, it's a silent film.

5/26 - The Skin Game - Hitchcock (K) – Not enough reviews for a rating – I have no clue what a "skin game" is, but this film is about two families going after the same parcel of land and pretty much using any means necessary. Hitchcock had fairly well documented mother issues and shows it in this early film of his by having the mother of one family being pretty bloody ruthless in going after the other family just to get the land. Unlike Champagne this movie ends in tragedy. And despite the tragic ending, I'd recommend it.

5/27 - The Wings of the Dove - (N) - 85% - Period piece with Helene Bonham Carter that came out in 1997. It reminds me of a Merchant-Ivory production being a period piece and with its incredible cinematography. I had held off watching this for over a month because I didn't think I was in the mood for a period movie, but one day I just put it in knowing that I would like it and I did. It reminded me a bit of House of Mirth (based on the book by Edith Wharton), probably because it didn't end all that happily. Helene plays a young woman whose maternal aunt takes her in (mother is dead, father is a drug addict) and introduces her to high society. Helene's character is in love with a working class stiff which, of course, doesn't sit well with Auntie who wants her to marry well. She wants her love, but also wants money which the aunt would withhold if she were to marry him. She schemes to get money out of a friend who is rich and dying. Those Victorians weren't as pure as they'd like us to think they were.

5/29 - Jamaica Inn - Hitchcock – K – 75% - Another early Hitchcock, this one showcases Maureen O'Hara in one of her first films and Charles Laughton. Maureen O'Hara shows up at Jamaica Inn one night to live with her aunt – arriving ahead of her letter telling Auntie that her mother has died and she has nowhere else to go. Auntie is married to a not very nice man who is the head of a gang of men who deliberately shipwreck ships by hiding the light and then killing everybody on board and stealing everything on the boat. There's an undercover Scotland Yard man, twists and turns of plot and people who aren't what they appear to be. All in all, a fine film from 1939. Apparently they did a remake of it back 1982 with Jane Seymour.

5/30 - Pan's Labyrinth - N – 96% - I have to admit that while watching this movie I was not liking it a whole lot. I liked the fantasy portion of it, but hated the evil fascist Captain/Step-father (as I’m sure I was supposed to). To me the whole film was extremely sad until the very end and for me that just doesn't make up for the preceding two hours. It's a very good movie, imaginative, brilliantly filmed and really quite interesting, but it made me sad. I spent most of the movie thinking about the influences of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and his magical realism and it mostly shows up in Spanish-language films. I know there are evil people in the world and the bad guy did get it in the end, but so many people suffered before that. Saying all that, I will recommend that you watch this movie. I didn't hate it, in fact, in the end I liked it, mostly. Watch it and let me know what you think.

My favorite book of the month has to go to Torn Apart: The Life of Ian Curtis, but it had tough competition from Rapid Response. Favorite movie of the month? That's a tough one. I think I have to go with V for Vendetta, even though, amazingly enough, Pan's Labyrinth came in a close 2nd. I couldn’t pick The Work of Anton Corbijn since it wasn't actually a movie.

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At Tuesday, 05 June, 2007, Blogger MyUtopia said...

Word Myths: Debunking Linguistic Urban Legends sounds really good.

At Tuesday, 05 June, 2007, Blogger Kathleen said...

MyUtopia - It was a quick and easy read. And I felt like I learned something.

At Tuesday, 05 June, 2007, Blogger Heather said...

Ooo! Jamaica Inn! I have the book by Daphne du Maurier but haven't read it yet, though. It's in my locker at work so I'll get to it. Sooner or later. I want to read the Joy Division book - I love books about musicians.

At Tuesday, 05 June, 2007, Blogger fermicat said...

I wanted to see Pan's Labyrinth in the theater, but we put it off and then it was too late. I wish I could read as many books as you and MyUtopia, but it never seems to happen. I average about one per month.

At Wednesday, 06 June, 2007, Anonymous yelayna said...

I saw Pans Labyrinth at the cinema and loved it. It managed to scare me (I don't like beetles and the fairy noise was too close for comfort), make me cry and make me smile. I thought it was the most wonderful, magical grown up fairy tale in the Hans Christian Anderson style - complete with sad and horrid bits. Loved it.

At Wednesday, 06 June, 2007, Blogger Kathleen said...

Heather - I picked up the Iggy Pop biography yesterday at Borders. I can't wait to get through the book I'm reading on postpunk right now so that I can read it!

Fermi - I used to read a lot more. Now that I'm knitting, I'm watching more movies, but you also have to remember that I don't have a life. ;-)

Yelayna - I like it more with each passing day. At first I had trouble getting over the evil fascist asshole captain father, but I definitely want to see it again.

At Wednesday, 06 June, 2007, Blogger Sal said...

Lot's of people have said that Pan's Labrynth is dark, what do you expect from the Spanish Civil War? I agree the dreamland scenes were best, but I was so glad when he got his mouth sliced then was stupid enough to have a drink. It made me laughed out loud, the other audience members all seemed to move a seat further away from me.

At Wednesday, 06 June, 2007, Blogger Kathleen said...

I totally agree with you, Sal. I laughed out loud too when he took a drink after he got his cheek sliced open. It was a highlight. ;-)

At Thursday, 11 September, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

get over yourself


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