Archive for the 'Journal' Category

Weekly Movies, June 23-29

I spent too much of this slowly sipping beer and trying to cool down to watch many movies. This week, I’m for sure seeing Wanted.

  1. Kika (Pedro Almodóvar, 1993): This, I still think is hugely problematic, but I finally think I’m looking at it right. One of the big things it’s about is different femininities, and all the to-be-looked-at-ness and vulnerabilities they can entail, which is going to be buttressed with a patchwork of theory in my thesis soon. I also finally found a version of it in the right aspect ratio and that made a huge difference as compared to the horrible video tape versions I had seen thus far. Authenticity and mirrors
  2. High Heels (Pedro Almodóvar, 1991): This is still one of my favourite of the Almodóvars. My favourite bit is the news reporter’s on-air confession to her husband’s murder, which really freaks out the sign-language interpreter. She does this whole speech about how once she realized he was dead, she started taking pictures of her and her husband’s apartment, which she shows to the audience. And when the police comes, she asks them for a minute, so she can say “That’s all for now.” Victoria Abril, her Chanel, and her armchair
    The best part? The floor director, who totally is freaking out this whole time? It’s Javier Bardem! Before he was famous!
    Great Reaction Shot
    I love his reaction shot here. Oh, and there’s a drag queen. You can’t totally tell without the movements, but the gals in the audience are totally mimicking all her movements. Fans

Weekly Movies, June 16-22

I keep mostly drafting these and then forgetting to actually post them. I guess the world can handle a delay in the hot news of what movies I watched this week. I haven’t been to the theatre in awhile, but this summer has not been a particularly inspiring one for movies. Plus, thesis. I’m looking forward to that one where James MacAvoy shoots curvy and Angelina Jolie rides the tops of moving vehicles, though.

  1. Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (Pedro Almodóvar, 1989): I was not really looking forward to watching this again; for some reason I remembered finding it to be amongst the more annoying of Almodóvar’s movies, but once I got into it I actually wound up liking it quite a lot now that I have been able to fit it into my critical program. I’m noting I watched it here, because of my obsessive record-keeping, but I actually can’t really force myself to write anything more about Almodóvar these days.
  2. The Strip (László Kardos, 1951): I missed the beginning of this, but I had to write it up anyway. It’s a film noir. Starring Mickey Rooney (!). He’s a drummer in a jazz club in LA and he gets this girl he likes who wants to be a movie star involved with some gangsters and things don’t end well — though all the actual violence is offscreen. What’s interesting about it is, it’s kind of good. Like, the band at the club has Louis Armstrong — and if that’s really Mickey Rooney playing the drums, which I think it is, he was really good at it. And I love the real LA locations (something I’ve had an eye for ever since I saw Los Angeles Plays Itself) plus the cinematography is frequently gorgeous. Also, Mickey Rooney does a good job insofar as his actual performance. Unfortunately, he’s still Mickey Rooney, and he still looks about 12 years old even though he would’ve been 30, so you’re constantly aware of watching a noir with Mickey Rooney. It’s still a pretty interesting artefact though.
  3. Fast and Furious (Busby Berkeley, 1939): You know that “Fast-Talking High Trousers” bit from Family Guy? That’s what this is like. It’s apparently the third in a series of sub-Thin Man husband-and-wife detective stories, which starred a whole bunch of different people. This one had Franchot Tone, who’s not very interesting, and Ann Sothern does her best with the wife part. I really…don’t have anything to say about it, it’s a 1930s detective movie/screwball comedy. The screwball bits aren’t bad, at that; the bit with the lion is very Bringing Up Baby. As for why Busby Berkeley directed this, I have no idea; maybe they were initially going to do a musical number surrounding the beauty pageant, but it got cut? It seemed weird to have Busby B. directing a movie that involved a performance and many, many women, but not to have an elaborate musical number.
  4. The Age of Innocence (Martin Scorcese, 1993): I thought I should watch this since it keeps coming up in books about fashion and cinema — you can see why when you watch it, Scorcese really spends a lot of time doing close-ups of gloves and jewelry and lace and so on. I have mentioned my love of Mad Men several times on this site, so it won’t surprise anyone that I eat this kind of thing up with a spoon. I love the idea that something about a society can be revealed in its day-to-day objects. I honestly didn’t expect to like it very much — I knew it was a movie about the stifling stiflery of 19th century society life, and I expected it to be as much of a challenge as The Leopard, but I was pleasantly surprised by it being actually really awesome. I can’t remember who said it, but I’m pretty sure I’ve heard someone say that Scorcese’s movies are always kind of about making movies as much as they are about the actual story in the movie itself. To my mind, The Age of Innocence seemed to fit that bill: it’s as much about making a “costume movie” as it is about anything that’s actually in the movie. It’s kind of a good thing, because then it becomes about how to represent historical realities to a present audience without sacrificing accuracy or making things too opaque. So it’s presenting the past, but it’s using contemporary cinematic techniques.

Internet Vanity Corner

Oh hey so after putting it off and being stuck in my horrible long hair rut for years, I finally sprung for a haircut. Continue Reading »

Weekly Movies, May 12-18

There is actually only one weekly movie this past week, because of a brief trip to exotic Ottawa (and actually exotic Gatineau as well) for family stuff.

  1. Matador (Pedro Almodóvar, 1986): This one’s really grown on me since the first time I watched it. I think my problem was that I was looking too hard for stuff below the surface when obviously the surface was the whole point. So instead of doing a capsule review and image (which I could do, I promise, I’ve been writing my ass off about this movie), here are my top 5 Matador frame grabs in the giantest files ever: Continue Reading »

Quarter Century

Hey everyone, it’s my birthday. I am 25 years old. You’d think I was doing something extra-special to mark this exciting arbitrary occasion, but sadly, I am going to work on making some thesis magic, go to school, and then go out to dinner.

Anyway, to celebrate, I jumped on the muxtape bandwagon, and made a lady mix for ladies and gentlemen. It also is like a microcosm of my taste in music. Hurray for ladies!

Some thoughts I had watching Idol this week

  1. Dolly Parton is great in every possible way.

  2. Why do I watch American Idol? Not that many people I know watch it, so that whole thing of watching it to feel plugged into culture thing is right out. I don’t particularly like it or any of the stars on the show, except sort of Ryan Seacrest. I would never buy an album put out by a contestant with the possible exception of Kelly Clarkson. I know why I watch other reality shows, but I honestly don’t know why I feel compelled to obsessively watch a talent show whose content is basically 100% promoting things. I realize that all TV shows are basically just “content” to get people to watch advertisements, and that often the need for ad money seeps into the actual show itself in the form of product placement, but I believe that good art can be made within this structure. American Idol really doesn’t transcend the necessary evils of capitalism though: the genius of the show is that they milk them for all they’re worth. The contestants star in “Ford Music Videos.” The judges drink Coke-branded cups. You can download everything on iTunes now. Also, the whole show is basically a giant ad for the debut CD of whoever wins.

  3. I don’t even like any of the contestants this year!

  4. Brooke White is now officially more annoying than Carly Smithson.

  5. Seriously, why do I devote so much time out of my life to this show again? I don’t know.

Taste trouble

I can’t even tell if various pop culture items are good or bad anymore. Examples:

  • Brat Pack meets Cold War paranoia classic Red Dawn:
    -American Idol (Although I am pretty sure I irrationally hate David Archuleta now)
    -American Idol conspiracy theories
    -This Alan Parsons Project video:
    -The episode of Law & Order: SVU from the other night where after two murders have already been solved, Elliot Stabler’s pregnant wife gets Claire Kincaided, but then it’s okay! Because Jayne Mansfield’s daughter saves her! And then firemen pull her out with the jaws of life! And then she delivers the baby in the ambulance! But then it seems like she might die! But she doesn’t!

I’m hoping it’s just because I’m more receptive to televisual manipulation when I’m sick.

Wherein I have talked myself into something

So I’m kind of on a “healthy eating initiative in an attempt to effect weight loss,” which is to say I’m on what some people might call a “diet,” but I refuse to do because the whole “diet” concept is toxic and is generally linked to scary moralizing about food wherein eating more is “bad” and eating less is “good” and people’s weights somehow become indicators of their health or work ethic or moral fortitude or attractiveness or whatever, none of which I think is the case, intellectually.

Which is to say, I am on a diet, but I am somewhat ambivalent about it.

Because of my mistrust of diets, and the fact that I didn’t really eat that badly before, I am basically restricting my dietary efforts to eating less cheese, less bread and pasta, less sugar (though not much, because it’s physically impossible), and more vegetables and fish and vegetarian sources of protein (beans, nuts, tofu, etc.). Oh, and I am drinking more water. Ideally I will start doing more exercising at some point in the future, but I don’t want to be all “new regime!” about it because I am pretty sure that putting pressure on myself to make a whole bunch of lifestyle changes at once right now (while I am writing THE THESIS) is a bad idea and will result in me just giving up completely. Plus I am lazy.

My “diet” can be differentiated from a diet without quotes in that I am not actually weighing myself or counting calories and I value enjoying food more than I value getting my dress size back down to the single digits.

Basically what brought this about was talking to my mom, who’s lost a fair amount of weight in the last few years through healthy eating and running half marathons and stuff, and she talked about how she gained her weight gradually over the course of years. A little bit of weight every year doesn’t seem like a big deal, she said, but multiply it by ten. Given my family has a history of cholesterol problems and the fact that if I really just ate whatever I wanted, I would eat pizza for dinner four nights a week, guacamole on the fifth night, and butter chicken on the sixth and seventh, I decided I need to get this shit under control.

I haven’t really been on my “healthy eating initiative” long enough for there to be any effects at all, except that I am constantly thinking about food. That is for sure the worst part because I am finding it hard to gauge if I’m hungry or just thinking about what I should eat when I am.


Weekly Movies is a doozy this week (8 films! Many of them involving penises!) and I am kind of in a school crunch so I don’t think it will get updated before Tuesday at the earliest.

Sorry you guys.


I kind of want to amend my 2007 best-of.

what kind of fuckery is this

Oh, so I’ve found myself wanting to make brief snarky comments about links and stuff a lot lately. So I got a tumblr.

I mostly was just curious to try it out, because I read like 80 things about tumbleblogs. I’m not sure, we’ll see it how goes. It might be easier to keep up while I’m writing my thesis.

Oh and my new glasses came:

They are a little bigger than my old frames and more square and also more jade green. I’m pretty sure they’re actually men’s frames, but that’s okay, they fit my giant head really well.

The sad thing is that this means Alex and I both have Brooks Brothers frames now. I guess we’re at that point where couples start to look alike?

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