Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Deep thoughts

I read about this project a few weeks ago in a book about artists who work on a very large or very small scale. Erlich is one of the former, as you might guess. This is just such an unusual idea to have, much less realize, but on a certain level makes perfect sense.

Monday, August 22, 2016


Thought just now: We haven't had much in the way of mosquitoes, this year. Not if my own experience is anything to go by. I can't remember the last time I got bit.

Seems likely the dry weather has something to do with it. Massachusetts has a drought going on, although I haven't heard the d word used here.

Also noted. Mosquitoes are a more fearful subject than usual this year. They're also part of the ecosystem in a lot of places.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Found movie

Lost River, the first film directed by Canadian heartthrob actor Ryan Gosling, quickly developed a bad rep. Critics savaged it as soon as it screened at the Cannes Film Festival, and in the US it only opened for a short time in LA and New York, although it seems to have had a bigger opening in Britain. Generally it's considered a rehash of David Lynch's greatest hits, as well as a few of Gosling's other favorites.

Is Lost River a good movie? To be honest I'd have to watch it again to make a decision. But I can aver that it's not a pointless one.

It's indebted to Lynch, but goes a little further in some ways. In Blue Velvet, Lynch presented Frank Booth as the unacknowledged id of straight, suburban society. He wasn't too subtle about being a violent criminal, but he operated in the shadows and it seemed most people agreed not to see him.

Lost River, centering on a single mother and her teenage son struggling to keep their family home, takes place in a heartland that's already in ruins, where the monsters have entirely taken over. In fact there are effectively two Frank Booths here. Bully, played by former Doctor Who with a mooky Yank accent and a ridiculous sequined jacket, claims profits on all copper piping stripped from razed houses, basically a violent form of rent seeking. Dave, played by Australian Ben Mendelsohn in a performance that's two parts John Malkovich to one part Alec Baldwin, is a little slier. A bank manager who announces his intent to foreclose on mother Billy's (Christina Hendricks) subprime loan, he gives her an out by offering her a job at his night club. It turns out to be a weird, creepy place, and he's got nasty designs on her.

Possibly excessive but definitely worth investigating.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

In the pink

Big curved beaks. Beady little green eyes. Absurdly long legs. Oh, these are beautiful birds and good parents, but I wouldn't want to get on a flamingo's bad side.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Getting to know you

I'm noticing a lot of what seem to be effectively blind dates these days. It might be because so much of coupling is done through phone apps nowadays. But you'll be out and at a table there will be a couple who, you can tell by their conversation, don't know each other at all.

There's frequently a quality of sales pitch in these encounters, and it's obvious who's doing the selling. The man talks more, talks louder, is more grandiose. My sense of order in the universe insists this must backfire a lot of the time.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Deep into the dog days

We've had two thunderstorms in the past couple of days. In fact Friday night I heard a lightning strike just outside of the cafe I was in. It was a somewhat nerve jangling experience.

But neither of those storms did anything to cut down on the heat, which is immense. Just makes you appreciate cool breezes more when you find them, or they find you.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Art for heart's sake.

A friend of mine told me about Portrait of Jennie last year, I think. Maybe the year before. In any case I just got around to watching it. It's a strange film, when you get down to it. Enchanting while not being entirely trustworthy.

An artist with great skill, but one whose work (we're told) shows little passion, meets a girl. A girl from the past. He falls in love with her, and she with him, and she becomes his great work.

The fact that he meets her when she's a little girl and they already have chemistry is more than a little creepy when you think about it. But that part seems less severe given the movie's air of fever dream, fueled by the Debussy-via-Tiomkin score. But it's questionable whether this obsessive, consuming romance is actually healthy, regardless of whether Jennie is real or not. Fever dream, drug haze, all of that.

Joseph Cotten had a very fertile period in the late 1940s. Between this, Gaslight, The Third Man, and Hitchcock's Shadow of a Doubt he showed a lot of versatility. (Citizen Kane was his first, I think, but for obvious reasons he wasn't the lead in that.)

Also, I swear I wasn't looking for movies with Ellery Queen connections, but this turned out to be one. An amazingly young David Wayne plays Cotten's Irish friend, exhibiting much charm even if the screenwriters did go for ALL the stereotypes.