Photo of the Day postsThursday May 09, 2013
Juxtaposing Screenshots: Freddie Quell and Superman
I like the juxtaposition of these shots of Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix) and Superman (Henry Cavill) turning their faces toward the sun in, respectively, Paul Thomas Anderson's “The Master” (2012) and Zack Snyder's upcoming “Man of Steel” (2013):
Almost the same image. Then you run through the differences:
- Freddie is on a South Seas island at the end of World War II; Superman is in the Arctic, presumably at the beginning of his journey.
- Superman gathers his strength from the sun; Freddie ... well, I'm not sure what his strength is.
- Superman is wish-fulfillment fantasy, Freddie a sad PTSD reality.
- The angle of Freddie's shot is skewed, as is he; the Superman shot is more conventional, and takes advantage of Cavill's handsome face.
- “The Master” grossed $16 million domestic and $28 million worldwide; “Man of Steel” will gross that before we wake up on June 14.
There's this, too. Though he needs to belong, though he needs comfort, Freddie ultimately rejects the wish-fulfillment fantasies of Lancaster Dodd, while we surely will not reject the wish-fulfillment fantasies of “Man of Steel.” In this way, Freddie Quell, bent, childish, the anti-sexy-symbol of post-WWII America, is, in e.e. cummings' words, more brave than me, more blonde than you.
Who's Your Current Screen Crush?
Here's a recent Twitter conversation, or “conversation,” with New York Times' film critic A.O. Scott.
First he tweeted about David Edelstein's recent New York magazine piece on Rachel Weisz:
When I asked him who his current screen crush was, he tweeted back:
Marion Cotillard in “Rust and Bone.”
Lt. Soledad O'Brien, Star Fleet Communications Officer
Like most anyone interested in hard news and tired of the false equivalencies of the mainstream media—the confusion of objectivity with stupidity—I enjoyed a few of Soledad O'Brien's interviews this past year. Ones with John Sununu and Rudy Giuliani, for example. Plus she's got a great name and she's not hard on the eyes. Maybe that should be her slogan: “Hard news. Not hard on the eyes.”
Anyway the other day I was finally looking through last week's New York Times Magazine, the one with Jerry Seinfeld on the cover, and out of the corner of my eye, on their short Q&A page, I caught a glimpse of ... was it a superhero? Someone in a Star Trek outfit?
It was Soledad. Wearing the day-to-day.
It's interesting comparing her outfit to a Star Trek outfit. Even a Star Trek Barbie outfit.
I'm not complaining. You kidding? Beam me up, Scottie.
Good Q&A, too. Been a long time since I've heard anyone use the word “mulatto,” tragic or otherwise.
Photo of the Day
I know. Any excuse to post a picture of Marion Cotillard.
This one came from the Facebook page of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. I guess they have a regular feature there: ask such and such a star a question and maybe we'll use YOURS! Then they make a video of the star answering what turns out to be some pretty lame questions. (Ex.: “What advice do you have for someone starting out?”) By the way, Oscar, what's with the chirpy background music? Is silence too much to ask?
But the photo. Ah, the photo. All is forgiven.
Photo of the Day
Saw this on Facebook today. Don't know its origin. Love it. My feelings exactly. See Gerry Spence's comments, the end of this review of “Fast Five,” and, appropriately, this advice to Pres. Obama for the next debate, which is tonight, and which I'll be watching with beer, klonopin and a prayer rug.
iPhoto of the Day
Afternoons I like to walk from lower Queen Anne, where I work, to upper Queen Anne, Kerry Park, and its views of Puget Sound and downtown Seattle. Today, the first day of October, Mt. Rainier was out as well. Not a bad little view. I think I'll keep it.
Weekend in Minneapolis
If you were wondering about the five-day interruption here, and who wasn't, I was in Minnesota for a few days of work-work. (Thus the Eagan hotel encounter.) But you know the saying: all work-work and no play-play... I lucked out there. Glorious weekend. Clear skies, low 80s. Some iPhone photos:
Saturday: Lake Harriet from the bandshell side. All the boats were out. Or nearly.
There's an initiative on the Minnesota ballot in November to define marriage as between one man and one woman in the state constitution. It's running about 50-50. In South Minneapolis, of course, different story. I saw nothing but VOTE NO signs but this was my favorite: in front of the Shir Tikvah Synagogue along the Parkway. Obviously I hope it won't pass, and Minnesota will VOTE NO, but I also think of the time and energy it took to force this non-issue before the public, to waste all of this time and energy and money, and shake my head.
Is there a better ice-cream place than Sebastian Joe's? One quibble: They never have my favorite flavor anymore, Angelica, which is a mix of hazelnut ice cream and coffee ice cream. Where's the love? Because, you know, Molly Moon's and salted caramel is making overtures.
Sunday morning walk, Lake Nokomis.
I liked the lettering on these boats—that alone took me back—but wondered about the word TENDER. Later a friend explained that a tender boat is one that takes you from the dock to your boat. Good to know. “A learner, rather,” as Stephen Dedalus says.
The turtle at the Lake Nokomis beach.
Mel the cat in Ingrid's garden, looking like a miniature, lopsided version of the NY Public Library lions.
Eleven Years Ago
“Before 9/11, the World Trade Center was never particularly beloved. 'A standing monument to architectural boredom,' said one critic in the early 1970s. 'Two huge buck teeth' blighting the Manhattan skyline, said Norman Mailer. Earlier skyscrapers tended to end like church spires, pointing towards the heavens—the Empire State Building is even called 'The Cathedral of the Skies'—but tapering means losing valuable real estate. Thus modern skyscrapers’ blocky shape. The World Trade towers pointed at nothing. They just stood there.
”The towers came to represent not architectural beauty like the Empire State Building, nor the liberty of the Statue, but blunt financial power. 'Greed is good,' Gordon Gekko famously says in Oliver Stone’s 'Wall Street,' and so the film begins with morning shots of the Manhattan skyline, with the World Trade Center front and center. 'I have a head for business and a bod for sin,' Tess McGill says in Mike Nichols’ 'Working Girl,' but this is a feel-good movie, and so in the single-shot opening, the focus is on another working girl, the Statue of Liberty, who gets her 360-degree close-up. The twin towers are once again relegated to the background.
“Now those very background shots take our breath away. God, the World Trade Center towered, didn’t it? It towered over even New York City, which towers over the world. Other cities have one tall building, but only New York, New York, the town so nice they named it twice, had the audacity to throw up two. Now that they’re gone, the skyline doesn’t look the same. Now that the buck teeth have been knocked out, we keep probing their absence with our tongue.”
--from “Remembering the World Trade Center: How the World Trade Center was portrayed in movies before 9/11; how it’s been portrayed since,” which I wrote for MSNBC in August 2006. The above shot is from Julian Schnabel's “Before Night Falls,” starring Javier Bardem, and released in 2000. Patricia and I watched it again in late August. The WTC snuck up on us in the background. It took our breath away.
For a more extensive list of movies featuring the World Trade Center ...
Photo of the Day
Pres. Barack Obama reacts to finding Academy Award-winner Sissy Spacek among the crowd at a stopover in Charlottesville, Virginia. My evening with Sissy Spacek here. Other posts about Barack Obama here.
Bastille Day, 2012
Yesterday we celebrated the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille in Paris in 1789 by drinking and eating at the Corson Building in the Georgetown area of Seattle. There were many Chanel-inspired striped shirts and tri-colored scarves in attendance. Having neither, I just went the bleu (shirt) blanc (shorts) et rouge (T-shirt) route. I loved the '60s French pop being played there by a DJ named Darwin (yes), and last night bought a CD recommended by him, “Paris a Pop: Rock n' Roll and miniskirts,” which includes covers of some well-known U.S. rock songs: “Noir c'est noir,” par example. Dylan's “I Want You” is translated as “D'etre a vous,” while “Son of a Preacher Man” gets the bland title “Le grand amour.” But all three are good covers.
Afterwards five of us, including Brio, the dog, went to the Betty Bowen overlook at the top of Queen Anne hill for a picnic and watched the sun set. We witnessed a lavish wedding in the nearby Parsons Garden. Nothing was stormed.
Photo of the Day
Heading to Bainbridge Island and the Olympic peninsula: April 21, 2012
Screenshot: Janet Leigh at the Mirador Motel
Two years before “Psycho,” most likely inspiring “Psycho,” Janet Leigh gets dropped off at the Mirador Motel, just across the border from Mexico, on what should've been her honeymoon morning, in Orson Welles' “Touch of Evil.” She doesn't look happy. She'll look unhappier.
Some girls have no luck with motels.
Screenshot: Anna Karina in 'Le Petit Soldat' (1963)Friday March 09, 2012
Boldly Going ... Here Again
They're filming the next “Star Trek” movie. The good news: The man with the greatest British name this side of a Charles Dickens character, Benedict Cumberbatch, is playing the main villain. BTW: Everyone should check out his modern-day Sherlock Holmes in the BBC Series “Sherlock,” with Martin Freeman (Tim from the British “Office”) as Dr. Watson. It's currently streaming on Netflix.
That's the good news. The better news? Below. Zoe Saldana in a “Star Trek” miniskirt and military boots. She brings out the randy, eight-year-old-boy in me.
Photo of the Day
Seattle, lower Queen Anne, 3rd and Roy, Nov. 10, 2011, morning. (Stupid truck.)
Photo of the Day
Apparently the rumors of its death were greatly exaggerated. By me, among others, last November, when its doors were shuttered. But now the Uptown Theater in lower Queen Anne, owned and controlled by SIFF, the Seattle International Film Festival, is getting ready for its close-up again.
Thank God. For much of this year the old, boarded-up theater has become a poor shelter for the homeless and a repository for everyone's garbage. There were times when I was this close to buying a broom just to sweep up in front of it. If I'd had the money (like: lots of money) I would've bought the place myself and kept it a theater. So thank you, SIFF, for doing so. Now give me good movies to go see.
P.S. Love the blue. Seattle, the grayest of cities, always needs more blue.
ADDENDUM: The old signage just keeps getting better. This shot is from opening night, tonight, Thursday, October 20. I didn't go, I was biking home to watch the World Series, but I plan on being there soon. Schedule here. Thanks, SIFF, for spiffing up the neighborhood.
SIFF Uptown Theater decked out for its grand reopening: Thursday, Oct. 20, 2011.
Photos of the Day
Hanging out at the Seattle Center's International Fountain on a sunny day in October can do wonders for your soul. Music by Pearl Jam and Nirvana.
Photo of the Day: Marion Strout Plaque at the Betty Bowen Lookout
On nice days, and even some crappy ones, I like walking up Queen Anne hill to Kerry Park, the famous spot that overlooks the Space Needle, downtown Seattle, and Mt. Rainier, and which is a popular tourist destination.
But more and more, I keep walking west along Highland Avenue to the Betty Bowen lookout at Marshall Park, which faces Puget Sound and the Olympic mountains. It's less crowded, quiet and peaceful. It gives me a moment.
Took this photo last week. Could've been today. Both were beautiful, crisp, cloudless fall days.
Betty Bowen was an assistant director at the Seattle Art Museum, who died in 1977, and who was herself such a patron of the arts that an award was named in her honor and given annually to local artists. Seattle Times story on her and the award here.
Can't find much info on Marion Faith Strout. Could she be the Marion Strout quoted in this article?
Mt. Rainier from Bandera Mountain
A view of Mt. Rainier from the near-summit of Bandera Mountain: August 2011
My Weekend in iPhone Photos
Screenshot of the Day
I'm seeing political metaphors everywhere these days. First the narration in Terrence Malick's “The Tree of Life,” and now this screenshot of a store sign (and a Mexican Charlton Heston) in Orson Welles' “Touch of Evil.” In the metaphor, we are the blind, the GOP/rich are mean enough, and yes they are helping themselves.
I'm aware, by the way, that the metaphor can be reversed. I'm sure the folks at FOX-News would see the American people as the blind, the Dems/Socialists/Obamafolks/poor/minorities are mean enough, and the latter are helping themselves to what isn't theirs.
I stick with my metaphor because of what's changed in my lifetime. When I was born, the top 1% paid almost 90 percent of their income in taxes; now it's 35 percent (and according to Warren Buffett, rarely that), and yet they squawk, or have others squawk for them, when it's suggested they pay more four percent more.
No matter what, though, see “Touch of Evil.” After all, what does it matter what you say about people?
Photo of the Day
I think this is from the night before the night before we left on our trip:
Question: Do cats know when they're being cute? They seem to. Or at least Jellybean (above) seems to. Maybe they're attuned to the positive reaction of humans or something.
Second Screenshot of the Day
Tomorrow I'll be posting a review of the second X-Men movie, “X2,” which was released in 2003, in anticipation of the new “X-Men” movie coming out next week. In the meantime here's a screenshot from the film that, for some reason, I didn't remember until this viewing. In certain parts of the world, and possibly within the U.S. if he'd done it without Ms. Romijn's permission, director Bryan Singer could get arrested for this kind of thing. Thank god for gay directors.
“Mr. Laurio, never trust a beautiful woman. Especially one who's interested in you.”
Screenshot of the Day
Jellybean's Snack Time
Apologies. I'd write more but someone needs to be fed ...
Screenshots of the Day
Jesus is risen: screenshots from the ending scenes of Pasolini's “The Gospel According to St. Matthew” (1964), a faithful adaptation of Matthew, and generally regarded as one of the greater versions of the greatest story ever told.
It does raise the question, however, and apologies for the blasphemy, about whether the actress playing the Virgin Mary (here, Margherita Caruso) can be too good-looking.
Jellybean's Morning Adventure
It lasted about 30 seconds...
Then Jellybean's feeder, carrier and chest-bed (me) sneezed and the pigeon flew off.
The windows were closed all the while--it's still like 45 degrees here--so Jellybean had no shot. But she didn't know that. Besides, that pigeon already tasted good in her mouth.
Poor indoor cat. She's such a huntress.
Coup de foudre
I first saw Isabelle Huppert in “Entre Nous” (original title “Coup de foudre” or “Love at First Sight”), which was playing at the Cedar Theater on the West Bank in Minneapolis, Minn., in 1984. Talk about coup de foudre. Something about her mouth reminded me of a girl I had a crush on at the university, whose name I've since forgotten. (Wonder where she is? Wonder who she is?) Much of the movie went over my head, much has been forgotten, but Patricia and I watched it the other day and ... it's good ... if obviously created from the scattered nature of life (specifically, the lives of the parents of writer-director Diane Kurys) rather than with the compact force of drama.
It was nominated back then for an Oscar for best foreign language film, but lost, deservedly, to “Fanny and Alexander.” It was also nominated for four Cesars: writing, directing, supporting actor (Guy Marchand) and actress. Not for Huppert, btw. For her co-star, Miou Miou, whom everyone, inexplicably to me back then, focused on. Miou Miou was already a star, had already been nominated four times for Meilleure actrice, and had won, once, for 1979's “Memoirs of a French Whore,” which she refused to accept for the usual reason that actors aren't in competition with one other. Huppert was already a star, too. She'd already been nominated five times for Cesars, but wouldn't be named Meilleure actrice until 1995's “La Ceremonie.” Her only Cesar.
I don't know about meilleure but I believe it's our nature to fall in love with what we can't have, which is part of the appeal of movie stars, and certainly part of the appeal of an actress like Isabelle Huppert, who looks beautiful but reveals little. Thus her performance in “Entre Nous” is now, what, triply attractive to me: she reveals little (1), in a movie (2), that is nearly 30 years old (3). I can't get at any of it. Must be love. C'est encore l'amour.
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