Thursday, June 14, 2007

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

American Science & Surplus

Just the names of their products make me happy:

  • Microwave Tester
  • Cargo Net
  • Pistol Hose Nozzle
  • See-Thru Folio
  • Thunder Tube
  • Tiny Spirograph
  • Tweezer-Magnifier

Chapter I
Microwave Tester
(in which dear Cook is preserved from excessive radiation and a possible romance is initiated)

IT WAS in the year that Persepsibelle, a second cousin of my mother's, came to the house during a horrid storm that my story begins ...

Chapter VIII
Cargo Net
(in which the Vanity Galore is sunk with the loss of all hands except for myself and the Swedish bear-baiter, Grimm Baerbeiter)

The luger was heavier than I would have thought. I hid the extra magazines beneath my tatting and set about repairing the raft until Grimm came to his senses ...

Chapter X
Pistol Hose Nozzle
(in which we make landfall and discover the terrible secret of our destination)

... I took advantage of the heavy underbrush to make my escape. Grimm's screams were terrible to hear but I am sure that he would have approved of my plan had sobriety ever returned to soothe his heavy brow. Every year I donate to the Marinnen Svenske Kirk a lovely goose dinner in his memory...

Chapter XI
See-thru Folio
(in which the Sultan and I make a fateful bargain)
... certain unfortunate habits that I find myself somewhat wistful about but which my mother ...

Chapter XIII
Thunder Tube
(in which the I am saved from certain embarrassment and the lamentable fate of the Sultan)

CAPTAIN Norris's sudden arrival at the gates of the palace seemed to deflate the posturing peacock. He positively shrank into his pointed slippers. Things happened very fast although I do remember an entire cohort of the Sultan's eunuchs falling ...

Chapter L
Tiny Spirograph
(in which the probability cube is rendered moot)

... navigating the Vanity Galore II through the gravity net of the Poioi became untenable and I ordered the shield waves to be brought about in preparation for the alien armada's likely attack. Bosun Boy never wavered and stayed by my side until the end.

Chapter LXII
(in which a bent magnetron, a bear-fur muff and the Sultan's slippers serve to return me to Epping mostly preserved)

... the alien fiend had assumed that as the captain of the vessel that I would sacrifice my honor before my crew's lives. I provided him with no such satisfaction ...

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Charlotte Gray

Cate Blanchett makes the most of this painfully bad screenplay. Direcor Gillian Nash almost manages to distract us away from the baleful sump of a story with beautiful photography and potent editing. A poor double feature with Richard III.


Scores of casualties in final battle. Way righteous way fury.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

A Room with a View

Couldn't make it through to the end. Not even naked Victorians galloping around piqued my interest.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Raging Bull

Great movie, but I don't feel edified at all. Scorsese's editing is amazing. De Niro is great but great-great? I don't know.

Catch 22

First half great. Second half is stupid. Alan Akin mostly good. Martin Balsam off-key ... screw it.

Blood Simple

Black comedy of the first order. M. Emmett Walsh rules.


Not a David Lean epic. Lots of nice set pieces. Doesn't have any particular dramatic flow, but that is not a bad thing in this case. Amazing performance by Kingsley pretty much outweighs other considerations,even the excellent photography

La Femme Nikita

One word. Cleaner.

The Strange Love of Martha Ivers

The title tells no lie. Even the sidewalk is hiding dirty secrets and rotting inside from moral decay. The credenza can only look on unable to unsee the horrors of the human heart here on display.

Elmer Gantry

Jean Simmons assays role of sacred loonie again.
Burt Lancaster possesses the movie the way a lion possesses a gazelle.

Citizen X

Slogging through this dreary exercise produces only a couple of scenes that are not tiresome. True story was undoubtedly more interesting. Classic mistake: the killer is revealed at the outset.

Witness for the Prosecution

All I can say is that Tyrone Power was perfect for the role.


Beautiful to look at. Caper procedural is tops. Finale is brilliant.

Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure

Briefest possible overview of amazing tale of human spirit. Unneeded sequence of modern day climbers failing to duplicate feat of the last leg of the journey back. Pretty pictures galore.

Mrs Miniver

The ending of Mrs Miniver is the beginning of our most recent book club book: To Say Nothing of the Dog. This detracts nothing from Mrs Miniver.


Best Elizabeth movie in a strong field of contenders. The assassination sub-plot gave me chills.

Random Harvest

Melodrama, of subtype amnesia. Apparently Hilton's book presented an insurmountable structural difficulty.

High and Low

Odd stagey first half really shows off what a great actor Mifune was. Second half police procedural fascinating but dramatically static. Amazing visuals.

Richard III

Loved it. Ian McKellan great. Costumes great. Scenery great (final battle a bit slapdash.) Music great. Perhaps not quite as strictly amazing as Titus. MW walked in during one scene and wonderd if it was a Terry Gilliam movie. This is a fair question.

Ghost in the Shell

I liked it even though the story is just an anime treatment of Bladerunner. I regret not having seen it before.

The Endurance

Highly recommended.The interviews with the descendants tell very little about the personalities of the Endurance's personnel. One of the academics fawns over Shackleton's reputation like he means to ask it to marry him. Fantastic images from the expedition itself are the best reason to watch. Amazing stuff.

Tom Horn

Would-be nihilistic western is painful failure. The material has been done to death and much more effectively. 'Lonely is the Hunter' and 'Judge Roy Bean' come to mind. A slapped-together story is unsupported by lackadaisical editing (the kind of editing where sunsets are just there because they're pretty). A pleasant surprise is that Linda Evans holds up her end but to no particular effect. She's the school marm, natch. Lots of talent wasted, most obviously Steve McQueen. Elisha Cook and Slim Pickens are trotted out as scene dressing. There are a couple of shootouts that are not bad. Ernest Gold score works overtime to add import but is overwhelmed by the pointlessness.

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