Feb 5, 2016

Beasts of No Nation

Is perhaps not as great or as important as it might think it is, while at the same time still being very worthwhile.  And, though this was no Jane Eyre, I am still a big champion of Cary Fukunaga, and will always look forward to his future projects.  Fukunaga is kind of a one man band prodigy type.  He writes, directs, and shoots his pictures.  Insane.

Can we just acknowledge that Idris Elba is one of the finest actors on the planet?  You can see and feel the motivation for each one of his acting choices.  Even the slightly off pitch ones translate in an odd and satisfying way.  And, he really did get screwed by the Academy this time around, but that's just par for the course for that organization.  

-- Ardent Henry

Pretty funny.

I watched both the CNN Forum and the MSNBC debate over the past two days, and I was very happy to notice that Hillary Clinton was most definitely not the Antichrist! 

What a relief, right?

-- Ardent Henry

Feb 4, 2016

I watched The Diary of a Teenage Girl

Today before I came to work.  And, I have to say, it made me pretty uncomfortable.  I understand it is based on a true story, and I can understand why the Mom resolved the situation with her daughter the way the she did.  They only have each other, and Minnie, the daughter -- who was played with incredible swagger and bravery by Bel Powley -- is still a child.

I hope everything worked out for this family in real life.  I relish difficult or upsetting movies, but this was one that I might not ever watch again.  It is not bad.  The film is very well done with some fantastic acting performances, but in the end, I guess it is just not my type of film personally.  

-- Ardent

Dec 5, 2014

Black Mirror | White Christmas | Channel 4 (For Nick C)

Yum! Jon Hamm, Rafe Spall, and Oona Chaplin in the feature length "holiday" Black Mirror.  In the UK on Channel 4 on December 16.  When will it get Stateside?

XTC - Melt the Guns - 1982 (For Nik C)

I'm speaking to the Justice League of America.

The U S of A,

Hey you,

Yes you in particular!

When it comes to the judgement day and you're standing at the gates with your weaponry,

You dare go down on one knee,

Clasp your hands in prayer and start quoting me,

'cos we say...

Our father we've managed to contain the epidemic in one place, now,

Let's hope they shoot themselves instead of others,

Help to civilize the race now.

We've trapped the cause of the plague,

In the land of the free and the home of the brave.

If we listen quietly we can hear them shooting from grave to grave.

You ought to,

Melt the guns,

Melt the guns,

Melt the guns,

And never more to fire them.


Dec 3, 2014

I found this practically by accident.

I was looking on YouTube for docs on WWI, typed in the Great War, and this popped up.  It is an eighteen hour long BBC documentary, featuring Sir Michael Redgrave as the narrator, and Sir Ralph Richardson as Sir Douglas Haig.

You really get the feeling that Ken Burns most certainly could have seen this somehow when he was a youngster, or when he went to college, because it is pretty much the complete foundation for his style.

I am five episodes in, out of twenty-six total, and it is great stuff.  Highly recommended.


Nov 27, 2014

Nov 22, 2014

The Three Wise Men - Thanks For Christmas

New Wave Anglaise

This is a great video, XTC playing in Paris, almost thirty-five years ago to the day.  I like the Parisian up front, with a coat and tie, jumping up and down.  And, I like the little computer graphic they use after the introduction.  And, our hosts are so French.  One of them, in the background, looks like he is a super villain, holding a small pet

Three years later, Andy Partridge had a nervous breakdown on another Paris stage, and the band never toured again.


Nov 14, 2014


That swear word in Paris was appropriate because this is what happened in London (not all that far away from us, actually) on our first night in London.  

While we were checking out the Food Hole (25% discount for teamies!) and having a smashing dinner at e&o restaurant in Notting Hill, Chelsea FC were busy eliminating PSG from Champions League two-nil.  It was a late goal from Chelsea that sealed Paris' fate.

So, even though, after two matches, both sides were level on points and goals (three each for both for both), it was Chelsea's penalty in Paris that saw them through to the semis. Chelsea scored an away goal, you see.  Paris did not.  

PSG will get 'em next year.




This is what was happening across "town", if you will, on our first night in Paris.  We were so jetlagged and exhausted from our flight, that after a nap, and a snack and some Champers at Cafe de Flore (right across the street from our bedsit), we promptly tried to go to sleep again.  It was a bit daunting for me, because the celebration in Paris of this 3-1 Champions League victory over London's Chelsea Football Club was loud and crazy.  There was drinking and singing and jubilation (all very good natured and sweet) until five AM all over Paris, and right underneath our window! The next morning, at the street corners where they would have their giant green glass recycling bins, all the bins were completely stuffed with bottles, so the Parisians politely and neatly placed all their wine bottles, upright, on the pavement surrounding the bins.  The tourists all got a huge kick out of that, and took a bunch of pictures.  (We skipped that photo opportunity.)

But, this video is amazing.  It is one of my all-time favorite sports videos ever.  I love how he gives us a before and after the match on the streets.  I love how close he gets us to the action.  I love the sensation I get, that I am really at the match, and that these are real people we are watching.  There is none of that fakeness, or eroticization, of a television production.  I am not saying our "director" is a genius, or anything, but that it is just so refreshing to witness an amateur up close document of a major sporting event.  No commercials.  No jumbotron.  No replays.  And, he edited it! It is slightly less than half of the full match in length.  Brilliant!

But, my favorite part has to be when Chelsea converts their penalty (we do not get to see the foul that conceded the penalty), and our director yells, "Merde!", and then scans over to the hinterlands of Parc des Princes where the Chelsea hooligans were all relegated.  

He had good reason for swearing.  That penalty was huge, because a week later in London, ...