Sunday, September 07, 2008

August's Books & Movies

I know I've been completely MIA of late. I just haven't had the wherewithal to blog. I don't know why but I've been feeling a little punky - not depressed, per se, but just not myself. I go to work, I come home, sit on the couch, watch whatever is on my DVR and play Rise of Atlantis. I have nothing to tell you about and don't even feel like e-mailing people I really need to e-mail. I just want to sleep - and to that end I went to bed at 6:30 p.m. on Friday night. How sad is that?

I got my hair cut this morning, so we'll see if my punky mood was just related to having too much hair on my head.

Here is the requisite book and movie list for the month of August.


The Wrath of God by Jack Higgins - 248 pages - I had picked a copy at a church rummage sale for 25 cents not realising that I already owned it and had already read it. Oops. Still can't go wrong with a Jack Higgins, especially an old one before he got overinvolved with his Sean Dillon character - don't get me wrong. I love the Sean Dillon character, and the books, but I think he's gotten a little formulaic in the past few years (not that it'll stop me from buying his new book when it comes out in October).

Savage Arena by Joe Tasker - 264 pages - This is the last book Joe Tasker wrote before he headed off for the then yet unclimbed North East Ridge of Everest where he and Peter Boardman were last seen. In it he talks about how he got interested in climbing and describes a number of different climbs including his version of some climbs that Peter Boardman also wrote about (i.e., Changabang from The Shining Mountain). It was interesting to see how each of them approached the same mountain and viewed issues. And how they viewed each other. The power of words is very evident in this book where Joe describes an avalanche that hit while they were sleeping and I felt as if I were suffocating right along with him. I swear I gasped for air while reading it.

Sacred Summits by Peter Boardman - 258 pages - This was the last book that Peter Boardman was to write before he went off to climb Everest for a second time. In it he describes climbing three different peaks in one year (1979), starting with the Carstenz Pyramid the highest point in Indonesia, and one of the seven summits (the highest points of each continent) with his then girlfriend, eventually to be wife, Hilary. That was a fairly illegal climb since they had been told that they weren't to climb it, but they made it. The 2nd sacred summit was Kangchenjunga on the Nepal-Sikkim (India) border. It means "The Five Treasures of the Snow" (picture link) and has five summits. The third peak of 1979 for Peter Boardman was Guari Sankar which according to Boardman "has deep religious significance for both Hindus and Buddhists. Sankar (the North Summit) is the Hindu god Shiva, married to the goddess Guari (the South Summit). The Buddhist Rolwaling Sherpas living south of the mountain can only see the South Summit and call it Jomo Tseringma, Throughout Buddhist Lamaism, to as far away as Sikkim, Tseringma is considered the most holy mountain of the Sherpas." (p. 181, Sacred Summits, The Boardman Tasker Omnibus)

I'm not sure I can pick either Sacred Summits or the Savage Arena over the other as book of the month. Of course, you can only pick either of them up as The Boardman Tasker Omnibus, so if you're going to, you might as well read both of them.

I did better movie wise than I had done previously.


8/3 - La Vie en Rose (N) 2007 - This is not what I would call a happy movie. It was also very disjointed timeline-wise and a little hard to follow. It jumped back and forth and not between two different times or something semi-logical, but it was literally all over the bloody place. It intrigued me enough to do a little research on Edith Piaf, but I'm pretty much over it now.

8/3 - Notes on a Scandal (N) 2006 - 87% - I think the 87% favored rating this movie got from rotten is a clear indication of why I should never ever listen to critics. I pretty much hated this movie. Judi Dench was incredible, as always. As was Cate Blanchett, but I just don't handle movies (or TV shows) where I can clearly see that someone is going to do something incredibly stupid. And another person is going to take complete advantage.

8/4 - Lewis Black: Screwed (Comedy Central) 2006 - I'm pretty sure I didn't see the whole thing as this was on Comedy Central and cut to hell with commercials, but this was pretty bloody funny.

8/6 - Keeping Mum 2005 55% - I borrowed this from the Libertarian (he offered) and I think this is another indication that I should go by my own judgement vs the critics as this was definitely a better movie than Notes on a Scandal, at least in my humble opinion. You just can't go wrong with Maggie Smith and Kristin Scott Thomas. And while I can't stand Patrick Swayze and never thought he was all that and a bag of chips, I have to say he was PERFECT for his part as the pastor's-wife-seducing-golf pro. The scene with him in bikini underwear is hysterical. It's definitely dark, as British black comedy can be, but worth it, I think.

8/7 - Stargate: The Ark of Truth (N) 2008 - It was 2 hours worth of Stargate can an SG-1 lover go wrong? Truthfully, it was so long ago, I barely remember it. A sign of the brain getting old?

8/9 - Stargate: Continuum (N) 2008 - Definitely the better of the two SG-1 movies, and some fantastic footage of a navy (real) submarine coming up through the ice in the ARCTIC! I've decided that Michael Shanks is a prime donna - from having to have his name last in the credits at the beginning with the whole "And Michael Shanks as Dr. Daniel Jackson" and how he refused to go to the Arctic to do the filming. Whatever. Get the hell over yourself. Bring back Corin Nemec! ;-)

8/10 - The Man Who Fell To Earth (DVR) 1976 86% - I truly think this is a movie I should watch a second time in order to understand it better. It's David Bowie, so you know it's worth watching, but I have to confess that I was very confused at first. And I'm not sure that the ending didn't also confuse me. I'm betting money a number of you have already seen it and can actually explain it to me. And if you would, that would be so greatly appreciated. ;-)

8/10 - In Bruges (N) 2008 81% - I had heard about this movie through the Very Short List daily e-mail that I get. While I normally am not a huge fan of blood-filled movies, this one sounded very interesting, and I have to say that I was glad that I followed the recommendation of the VSL because I quite liked this movie. It was clever w/o being over the top and parts were very funny. Other parts were enough to make you cry. All in all, I'd say this is definitely to be seen.

8/14 - P.S. I Love You (N) 2007 20% - Another movie which I liked a whole lot better than the critics did. In fact, I loved this movie, even though I cried my way through it. What can I say? I'm a wuss for sappy love stories (some days more than others). Any movie that starts with the Pogues' Fairytale of New York can't be all bad.

8/16 - The Dark Knight (Drive-In) 2008 94% - A group of friends went to the drive-in to celebrate two birthdays and to watch The Dark Knight. I have to say that Heath Ledger was definitely creepy. I thought it was very good and I want to see it again. Does Heath Ledger draw from Jack Nicholson's Joker? More than likely, but I think Heath gives it an extra edge of creepy with the snake-like tongue-flicking. I spent most of the movie trying to see Heath Ledger through the make-up and couldn't, while I never had that problem with Jack Nicholson's Joker.

8/24 - The Brothers Grimm (N) 2005 37% - An interesting take on the Brothers Grimm of fairy tale fame wherein they pretend to save towns from witches and such by manufacturing the witches themselves. Then one day they're forced to save a town which turns out to have a real witch, however, it takes them a while to figure that out. It's The Brothers Grimm, so you might figure on a happy ending.

Movie of the Month is a tie between In Bruges & P.S. I Love You - how's that for some disparate movies?

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At Sunday, 07 September, 2008, Blogger dr sardonicus said...

But wouldn't cutting your hair make you feel more punky?

I've been feeling much the same as you on many days, for obvious reasons. Not depressed, just a strange feeling you get when you talk and nobody answers after you've been used to living with someone for 22+ years. The cat mews, and the cockatiel squawks, but it's not the same.

I can't explain The Man Who Fell To Earth either. It didn't help that it was a Midnite Movie (remember those?) and we all got stoned before we went to see it. Haven't seen it since.

At Sunday, 07 September, 2008, Blogger fermicat said...

As usual, it is taking me a month to read one lousy book.

Lewis Black is fun to watch. I think I've seen that one.

We finally saw Dark Knight last weekend. I'm sure we were the last Americans to see it.

I had a mini-marathon of couch potato-ness on Labor Day. Watched Mr. Woodcock (don't bother), Blades of Glory (funny, especially the costumes), and a whole bunch of season two Sex and the City episodes (seen 'em all many times, but still enjoy watching the show).

At Monday, 08 September, 2008, Blogger Kathleen said...

Dr. - Yes, but punky in a good way, not a bad way. Oh, you definitely have a reason to be feeling like that, I don't. Welcome to the ranks of those of us who talk to cats. I never got to see a Midnite Movie as my curfew was midnight. I never saw Rocky Horror Picture Show. ;-(

Fermi - I know how you feel. I actually finished Sacred Summits on 9/1, but counted it toward August because I make the rules. I've been watching Monk reruns DVRd from USA Network. I swear I need to stop DVRing shows so I'll watch more movies.

At Monday, 08 September, 2008, Blogger Jorge said...

You know what? Me too! That's exactly why I sort of faded out for a while. I have no idea what caused it, I was just not "myself". Mona noticied it and clained The Peanut did too. She kind of kicked me in the butt and in my case it helped. Weird that it seems to be going around.

Mona blubbered her way through PS as well. On the whole I thought it was a decent moive, but I was a little creeped out by the the identity of the new guy.

I enjoyed Batman (we saw it at the IMAX), and Ledger did a good job. He really did dissappear into the character. I couldn't see him either. I'd say the Oscar buzz is legitimate in this case. It was a little too intense for Mona, but that was no surprise.

Welcome back.

At Monday, 08 September, 2008, Blogger Beth said...

Have you seen "Death at a Funeral?" I think you would love it, but I don't know why. Brilliant, British comedy.

And I disagree on Heath. I just watched Jack's Joker performance yesterday and I think Heath made this up from scratch. People on set said they were entranced by him because he was so dark, so in character, and so mesmerizing. No one said that about Jack. I love Jack, but he is always playing Jack. He never leaves Jack beyond. You never see Heath in roles because he becomes the rule. Just my humble opinion.

And thanks for the book reviews!

At Monday, 08 September, 2008, Blogger LL said...

You've never seen Rocky Horror? It's quite the experience...

At Thursday, 11 September, 2008, Blogger Heather said...

I hope you're feeling less punky!! I know what you mean about not feeling like blogging. I've even got three posts written and don't have the urge to publish them. Oh well....

I loved The Dark Knight. i think it's my favorite movie ever now. Heath Ledger was simply amazing.

At Friday, 12 September, 2008, Blogger Kathleen said...

Jorge - It's nice you have Mona to give you a kick in the pants when necessary. The cats are more than happy to let me be in a funk because that means I'm home and more than likely sleeping and that's their favoritest thing ever! I'm beginning to think Mona is my nice twin.

Beth - Nope, hadn't even heard of it, but I'll add it to my ever-growing Netfiix queue...I need to stop DVRing TV shows so that I have time to watch my Netfiix movies. Okay, it's at the top of the queue. I have to admit that I haven't seen the original Batman since it first came out which was a long freaking time ago, so perhaps I'm remembering incorrectly. I trust your judgement on all things Heath Ledger. ;-)

LL - Nope, I wasn't allowed to go to midnight movies when it was very popular and by the time I could go, it wasn't at the theatre. I hear it's best seen in a group in a theatre.

Heather - I haven't even had the will to write up entries...because I would have posted them. I have to say that the Christian Bale Batman movies are the first ones I've wished to own (not that I've seen any since the original Michael Keaton/Jack Nicholson one).

At Monday, 15 September, 2008, Blogger Beth said...

Kathleen, thanks for seeing past all my friggin' typos. Jeepers. I need to start proofing my comments.

And you'll love the movie. I crossed my legs during one part because I was laughing so hard I thought I was going to pee my pants. o.O

Yeah, Batman was on tv so I sat here and watched it. I got sucked in, but it was disturbingly bad. I'm amazed how far superhero movies have come.

At Monday, 15 September, 2008, Blogger trinamick said...

I think it's something about the weather changing. I know I must have SAD - Seasonal Affected Disorder. I need sunlight and warmth to be happy, and when the seasons start to change, I lose all ambition.

Either that, or it's just laziness, and I'm looking for an excuse. :)

At Monday, 15 September, 2008, Blogger Kathleen said...

Beth - Typos? I missed them completely.

Trina - Holy crap! You're out and about!!!! Nice to see you.


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