mockturle06: (Chris)

I wish I was of that generation that get a ribbon just for showing up. I could use a round of applause for just being upright and breathing right now.

Nothing is ever my finest hour, but I seem to be prat-falling into mess after mess of late, and, as I’m honestly surprised, none of it is deliberate on my part (OMFG, if I could stop effing up for five consecutive seconds, I’d buy myself a chocolate).

I’m going to try and explain my latest misery as a turbid mix of my very own and limitless incompetence, and work insecurity engendering a savagery in people I’d liked and respected – though clearly the opposite did not apply. At all. In any case, I’m upset to the point of unbearable despair.

Which is the mood I lumped with me, like a heavy, awkward burden, to two Wonder Woman screenings. Not two because of Mr Pine. Two because everyone in the planet was going nuts over this film and I hated it, so I thought, that can’t be right.

So let’s blame it on the rest of my life, intruding even in the cinema, as it must (I’d bought a Gold Class ticket, because it was Wonder Woman, but, of course, my order never arrived so I ended up with a movie length drink, i.e., huge, on an empty stomach, so basically I was just angry drunk for most of it). I was crying, not in joy, but in misery. I did not like it at all. I hated it. It jumped about to the point of making no sense, more like an extended trailer than any sort of narrative, the characters were flat, bitty and trite, the lauded colour was washed-out awful and of course, the only reference to nearly 10% of the Oz population being there were the Hurley photos they ripped off, including a couple that Bean tore him a new one over, being a bit fake, oh dear).

But the rest of the world was falling over themselves in glee, so I knew something had to be wrong, and that something was me. So I went and saw it again. Cattle class this time, stone-cold sober, with some morsel of food in my belly. Ok, the screen was better. That helped. Ditto having my row to myself (because I’m an angry loner).

Like most women of a certain age, I’ve waited all my life for a Wonder Woman film. And Gal did a good job in the role, nothing she did caught me as a sour note. And Pine was fine, perfectly handsome, heroic, charming and funny, just a little bit vulnerable and exceedingly doomed, all done up in period garb. My usual catnip. He was Cary Grant, Errol Flynn, Harrison Ford and my floppy haired Merchant Ivory boys all rolled into one perfect package (oh yes, the package, points for obvious ogling scenes).

But the skip-jump plot (and suddenly they were in Belgium, and, btw, Poirot has more to say about the war in Belgium than this lot) and my Ewen (Spud!) as minor comic relief, all the other characters like bit part provincials in a Shakespeare play (only with less telling dialogue) and the moustache twirling really so obvious they were announced in the pre-show ads villains – it still seemed spectacle over substance. Ok, obviously one of those films where I’ll have to read the novelisation if I want backstory (if I could be bothered). Ok, yes, superhero film pitched at nine-year olds, don’t go expecting layers or characterisation.

But still, but still. Even as a kiddie’s movie, look, Doctor Who is a kid’s show but it still manages plots with a bit of grit and purpose and meaning ­ in case you missed the colonisation, war, Brexit, cruelty, cowardice, greed and sacrifice riffs in last week’s fantastic episode. Oh my gosh, I loved that. Victorian soldiers on Mars. Victorian soldiers recreating The defence of Rorke's Drift (1879) on Mars. With Ice Warriors. And Alpha Centauri, for that hit of pure childhood nostalgia, because who doesn’t love a giant one-eyed monster? (No, not talking about the pool scene in Wonder Woman).

So I’m going to blame my lack of engagement on my greed and hollow emptiness, I wanted more than that film could give. Still, Mr Pine was perfect, and justifiably lauded for his light touch and comic timing. And there were moments I liked, vignettes, bits here and there (which is my main problem, it seemed more a string of scenes than a journey).

Maybe I’m just jaded. I knew dear old Steve was going to be fridged big-time to give our heroine that motivational push. And I knew Ares was going to be a backroom politician, not a general, because everyone knows who the real bad guys were in WWI. And as for the poisonous villainess with the facial scars as an outward depiction of her no-goodness, can you say trope? How progressive (unless they were applying a homage to tropes older than WWI and the history of film).  And the mixed ragtag band of dodgy brothers? Well, that was astounding, too, if you’ve never seen any Kurosawa films or any of the umpteen westerns and war films that riffed on them. I’ve seen music videos with more depth and character (and originality).

Ah, well, maybe I should see it one more time. There were bits I liked (no, not just Pine’s bits). Some bits oddly reminded me of Doctor Who, the second series with Rose, and not just the end of Christmas Invasion, with the not-snow. Lookit, it’s raining Steve! Little bits of Steve (no, not that bit). Oh, don’t tell me it’s ash of Ares, he’s just taking a nap because he’s got a lot to do in the 30s onwards.

Never mind. Happiness is flipping around the channels and finding Mrs Peel clutching a stuffed crocodile under her arm. Bliss. Classy British silly, all primary colours and silly villains (but at least I understood their motivations, no matter how off-kilter), a real trippy version of Le Carre – whom I’m reading at the moment, A Small town In Germany, because I don’t have enough things with EU-centric plots in my life right now (being sarcastic here). And besides, sword-fighting young cad Anthony Valentine in one episode? Yes, please.

The Avengers make me happy.  Doctor Who, when it’s good, makes me happy. There was a Buffy marathon on a wet long weekend. That made me happy. (I know, but it’s been so long since cable have bothered with a Buffy marathon, and I’m ever so nostalgic these days).

Seeing the NT Live screening of Twelfth Night made me happy.  I mean, Tamsin Grieg as Malvolia, and honestly, why the fuss, it was just one more gender-bend in a fairly gender-fluid play. It was very funny, but, as revealed in the last act, the jokes were cruel and got out of hand, and we never do get to find out if Malvolio/Malvolia gets their revenge, and how (not there’s an idea worth taking up, never mind rehashing films from five years ago). Still, the performances were just on the right side of arch (okay, some teetered alarmingly into panto) and there’s a lot about disguise, gender, roles and identity as costumes assumed and cast off, all going on.  It’s all very transgressive and queer-baiting, with dick jokes, but also grief and loss and humiliations galore.

Maybe I identified with Malvolia too much. I seem to be set up to be torn asunder myself of late, and no doubt I have brought it upon myself, just as much as Malvolia did.

Other theatre included Mr Burns at the Belvoir. The Simpsons as post-apocalyptic passion play. That’s pretty much it. Lots of Simpsons jokes, some comments on popular culture as the new religion. I was sitting in the front row and ended up bruised from a flying recliner chair. Still, Mitchell Butel, who is fast becoming a favourite (that hasn’t been snapped up by Hollywood yet) didn’t hold back in the last act, and nor could he or should he.

I was amused. The hardest thing was squirming in the first act when they tried to remember lines from Simpsons episodes, and not yelling them out. Oh, the strain to remain silent, it almost hurt.

I also went and saw Vivid. Well, a bit of it, anyway. We went round the Opera House and through the gardens. To be honest, I usually love Vivid, but I’ve found it to be a bit meh this year. Nothing has really caught my imagination, made me stand still and pay attention. Nothing was really wonderous, magical or pretty.

Sums up my life right now. I seem to be tired of pretty lights and pretty Pine. Tired of life? Far more than is healthy. Maybe it’s just winter. Not that it’s really winter any more. It’s just damp and dark.

But I’m not happy. And pretty Pine and purple flowers will not make me stop messing up, dropping the ball, or whatever I’m doing or not doing to make my life the cesspool it is. Save Steve, send me up on that plane. I’m sure as hell not doing anything useful right now (and no one would care).
mockturle06: (Lewis)

I was interested to read that Patty Jenkins was leaning on John Singer Sargent as one of the main visual influences of the film (again, completely ignoring the photographs of Australian Frank Hurley which the film apes so convincingly – has anyone told them that those photos were composites?).

Well, I don’t mind if she’s referenced Singer Sargent as well. He’s one of my favourite artists (I last saw a work of his in the touring Scottish National Gallery exhibition). 

I do remember that time I tried to find the Singer Sargents at the Met in New York, and was finally directed to the basement, and there they were, on a rack you had to pull out so you could only see half the painting in dim light. Okay, so I’d flown all the way from Sydney, I hadn’t even checked into my hotel yet, I hadn’t eaten or slept in over 24 hours, so I lost it. Completely lost it, demanding to know, out loud, what the fuck they thought they were doing keeping a highly revered American artist in the basement when I’d flown all that way to see him in situ, as it were, instead of paying $40 for the privilege of peeking over a scrum of desperate masses like I do at home.

These days I’d get shot for a meltown like that, but by the end of my rallying cry most folks were nodding and agreeing with me. I like to think it was my small part I played in bring Singer Sargent out of the basement and back on the walls.

Certainly I can’t think of a time, except maybe the mid-20th century, when Singer Sargent wasn’t a big deal here. Patty Jenkins will hate this (in her strident airbrushing out of Oz influences) but there was never a painter more influential, especially maybe Whistler, than Singer Sargent on his contemporary Australian artists.  I’m talking Rupert Bunny, Hugh Ramsay and E Phillips Fox, just off the top of my head, but you could probably count the entire Heidelberg camp, if you wanted to, and not be wrong. I’m totally on board with the Singer Sargent style. Probably because I see so many ‘in the style of’ works on the walls of local galleries. Like I said, a big deal. Here, at least.

Anyways, enough of that. Back to the mean streets of Edinburgh, or rather, the city where I live, and the city where I work. In both locales I was lucky enough to have tickets to a talk by Ian Rankin as part of the Sydney Writers’ Festival (some wag pointed out that it’s sometime misprinted as the Sydney Writer’s Festival, as in a writer, who lives in Sydney, who is feeling a bit festive).

So I went to see Mr Rankin, author of my beloved Rebus books, and they are beloved by me now. The tipping point happened when I was retrenched, and by some luck I’d bought a whole pile second-hand from an Amnesty stall at the fete only weeks earlier. So, alone, fucking miserable, terrified by hourly thunderstorms, I sat and worked my way through several Rebus books, and it kept me together, just. So Rebus, somewhat ridiculously, is where I go when I’m flat out miserable. Small surprise I’ve been keeping company with Rebus lately, a lot.

Maybe it reminds me of the Scottish books my grandmother used to send me via brown paper parcel when I was a child. Mythical Edinburgh is my safe place, my childhood space. Even Rebus’ Edinburgh.

The City Recital Hall was the locale for the first talk. It was ok, though crowded and snobby, and the cloakroom guy was a real fascist (after letting me breeze through on Wednesday) – it wasn’t for nothing the cloakroom line was longer than the book-signing line at the end of the evening.

Mr Rankin was very funny, but the ‘host’ kept cutting across him and interrupting anecdotes, which really started to annoy me, but there was nothing to be done. I did get to hear about the Belle and Sebastian story.

Maybe I was just tired, it had been a very long and frustrating day, and I’d had to run across town to get there.

Saturday and Mr Rankin was appearing in my very own hometown, which thrilled me no end as I’d been muttering to myself about having to miss the Rebus-fest in Scotland.

It was supposed to be a perfect day, but these things never are – my favourite restaurant let me down really badly – it was bloody awful. But I did get my usual glass of flat sticky wine at Riverside, and they had political cartoons on display on the walls for my pre-show entertainments and the seats I bought were top notch front and centre.

Of course I’d left my camera behind after the hullabaloo at the recital hall on Friday, never mind that it had been the first night of Vivid as well, so of course we were allowed to take photos this time. This is my life. At least I’d remembered to bring an armful of books to be signed, though, as I lamented on Twitter, I’ll not be able to read them on the bus anymore because they’re all signed now and they’ll get rooned if I try.

This, I felt, was a much better talk. More die-hard fans, better host, better questions. I enjoyed it very much, and it’s fun to hear about the influences and circumstances behind the stories and characters. He even teased there may be a Siobhan Clarke book one day – I hope so, as Shiv is a fave (even though she hates people calling her Shiv).

So, I met Ian Rankin, favourite living author (there’s only a handful now), and got my old battered books signed on my home turf. A moment of squee, there, then.

Obligatory Chris Pine reference: well, I did waste some precious time trawling around Tumblr. He was looking very dashing and being quite funny at the various premieres and promo interviews, more funny and dashing than he’s been in a while. So I was happy. The faux Victorian/Edwardian suit he wore at the LA premiere gave me the vapours, and I liked the pinstripe, too, though I still can’t see a pinstripe suit like that without going to the G Addams place (which isn’t a bad place as far as I’m concerned but probably not what he was shooting for). In any case, I wasn’t short of Pine pics for ogling over.

I was very lazy (or completely burnt out, take your pick) but Sunday did prove to be the premium washing day, if only for when the neighbourhood cat, who usually gives no fucks, decided he did not like the large shirts blowing and flapping and twisting towards him in the wind with their empty sleeves reaching for him. The unhappy kitty pretty much commando crawled all the way to the safety of under the house. I fell about giggling, so I’m in the doghouse again.

Of course, this means the new evil neighbours must be having a go at him when I’m not there (my yard is usually a sanctuary where all the neighbourhood cats and lizards and birds, etc. come to sun themselves - sometimes it looks like a battlefield with sleeping animals strewn across it) like I know they’ve been having a go at my parrots. Harumph. So yeah, sorry, cat.

That poor much put upon cat. I do not know why he keeps trying to be my cat. One, I’m a dog person. Two, I’m allergic. Three, I’m night blind so I keep tripping over him in the dark, and four, that time I accidentally locked him in the laundry and he’s damn lucky I forgot something that day (I’ve since learnt to check for cats that aren’t mine curled up on the washer before shutting the door). Took him several months to forgive me for that one, and I can’t blame him. Didn’t stop him curling up on the patio seat though, I just got the evil eye as I went past.

Anyway, that was the weekend. Not much pop productive wise, but I got my books signed. That made me happy.

My links: https://plus.google.com/u/0/113197665355692280218/posts

mockturle06: (Chris)
 I realise I’ve not yet reviewed any of young Christopher’s fillums here. 

Am I ashamed and embarrassed, a little, yes. Somewhat.
 
A lifetime’s worth of anglophilia means I usually prefer my actors with solid and lustrous theatre credentials that include Shakespeare, Ibsen, Chekhov, Stoppard, Pinter, Williams, Beckett and the like, and even my favourite Oz actors can manage that (saw Toby Schmitz from Black Sails doing both Stoppard and Shakespeare, David Wenham from Iron Fist doing Ibsen, Hugo Weaving doing Beckett, and even Damon Herriman from Justified doing Mamet). 
 
So yes, I am, I must now admit it, a dreadful snob. 
 
Compound that with his early roles as Disney princess/non-threatening boyfriend, and, well, did I mention that I’m a dreadful snob? Not that I haven’t seen Princess Diaries 2, but I was on a plane, for days, and it had Julie Andrews in it. 
 
But the boy isn’t just a pretty face, and he seems to have a solid work ethic – certainly I’ve yet to see him phone in a performance of rely on a bag of shticky tricks (hello Benedict), and I usually like his choices. Sometimes they can seem a bit mechanical and precise, like count three beats, turn and smile, but maybe that’s because I’ve seen them so often (thank you Foxtel and the Pine Nut in programing). And he’s diverse enough to pop up all over the genre cable movie channels, so that’s something (I’m not keen on niche actors, I like my boys versatile). 
 
Countless regrettable YouTube videos demonstrate the lad is not afraid of making a complete and utter tit of himself on camera, which shows a bracing lack of preciousness for a Hollywood boy, and I’m not just talking about the interviews, either, which seem to fall into Chris Pine is so bored he’s losing the will to live, Chris Pine is a lunatic and needs to rest now or Chris Pine is quite possibly very drunk/hungover (I blame PR for those, never schedule promo interviews the morning after the night before). 
 
So, Z for Zachariah, which I tend to think of as the radiation film so soundly mocked in Mamet’s Speed the Plow. Well, it is, rather. Rather a lot. It’s a quiet film, lovely to look at (and I’m talking the NZ scenery here, not Mr Pine, though this is pretty much peak Pine, right here), suitably bleak and mumbly, existential without ever delving deep, and pivoting upon, not so much the end of the world, as more of a jealous Othello vibe (and I saw Chiwetel as Othello at the Donmar, years ago). Apparently, there will be no threesomes at the end of everything (don’t tell my school chums that, see previous post).
 
It was kind of Beckett-y, and I think I was supposed to be getting some Eden references , but I’m a bloody heathen, so nope. And it was a bit kitchen-sinky for a post-apocalypse film - surprisingly lacking in zombies and car chases. Like I said, Beckett-y. 
 
CP is darn pretty, and that’s actually a plot point, as it makes him an immediate threat to the not-at-all cosy domestic arrangements he’d stumbled into. He’s a bit shady, and may have done some pretty dark deeds to survive, or maybe not, he’s certainly not as overtly violent as CE, and there’s a real sweetness to his ever so brief and budding relationship with Margot’s character. They actually talk, unlike CE, who, like all scientists (trust me, I work with enough of them) who just bosses and bullies. 
 
And the not very ambiguous last scene of his, when Caleb knows he’s in danger, shall we say, it’s a heartbreaker, every time. The look on his little face. Poor possum. 
 
So that’s that. The radiation film, where three’s a crowd. 
 
The Finest Hours is a Disney flick, so you’ll never hear anything stronger than ‘damn’, which is hilarious, with all the merchant navy men and coast guard crew all thinking they’re going to die. But no swearing. Keeping it tidy in the face of almost certain death, now that really is the finest hour (cue Sandra Dee here, as it’s set in the 50s anyhow). 
 
Oh, but CP is so adorably dorky in this. I was in love with Bernie before he even got out of the car. There’s such a lot of bashful stammering, a real Jimmy Stewart-like performance. And that’s not a bad thing.
 
The flick also features firm favourites Holliday Grainger, Aussies Eric Bana and Keiynan Lonsdale, Ben Foster, and Graham McTavish, so that’s kinda neat. 
 
So it’s your basic Thunderbirds plot, sinking tanker in the middle of a massive storm, and our heroes have to get out on the world’s tiniest boat, through some rough CGI seas that remind me of catching the Manly ferry through the heads in inclement weather, and try and rescue three times the number of people that will actually fir on their tiny little boat (I spot a flaw in their plan here, but I guess that’s where the heroics come in). They actually cite the maximum number of passengers at this point, to my great amusement, but sweet little rule abiding Bernie, having just about drowned in CGI seas, is 100% done with rules and regulations and backchat and snipping and sniping and all those sharp comments about the last attempted rescue that failed, and, after the hissy fit that has clearly been a very long time coming, he disobeys a direct order and steers his tiny, overloaded little boat back to shore, which, for dramatic purposes, has been blacked out by the storm.
 
It’s a pity the storm effects are a bit wooby (the script was writing cheques the digital department couldn’t cash) as I’ve seen some storms like that out here, you know, the one last year that started to sail someone’s pool off to New Zealand, or the one maybe ten years back where the tanker, an actual tanker, ended up on a Newcastle beach. So I don’t doubt the storm, just the Turner-esque soft-focus CGI rendering of it.  I mean it’s cute that the art department were clearly referencing Turner’s Snow Storm - Steam-Boat off a Harbour’s Mouth, but maybe a little more realism wouldn’t have gone astray in providing some real peril.
 
That said, I do like this film, I like that it’s based on a real story (don’t know why, just do, usually I like my fiction fictional) and I like CP in this, and his ‘be one with the waves’ moments. He’s sweet, and f-knows, I could do with some sweet in my life. 
 
He's sweet in Hell or High Water, too, even though he's running around robbing banks. Did you know you can only rob banks during business hours - out of business hours it's just plain burglary? Of all the trivia I've picked up from QI, that has to be the most useless, but hey, I'm using it now.
 
So you know the drill by now, also starring Ben Foster and a scene-stealing Jeff Bridges. It's by the same dude who did Young Adam (yes, which I saw because of Ewan) and I liked it enough I guess to recognise the guy's work without having to resort to IMDB. 
 
And it's a perfect western. Absolutely perfect. Now you know I've a bit of a thing for westerns, they're just a genre I grew up with, and I love a neo-western (hello Justified, Supernatural, and hell, even Game of Thrones and Peaky Blinders count these days). And let me tell you, this was perfection. Not a shot, not a moment, not a note out of place (I have the soundtrack on vinyl). 
 
And Chris, it's too damn bad nobody decided to give Chris a nod because it's a great piece of low-down tightly wound thousand yard stare acting. I guess it just wasn't showy enough but Chris has never been a showboating actor, he's always whatever the role needs, no less and no more. Like I said, precise in his choices. He just lives Toby Howard the entire time he's on screen and he doesn't have to scream and howl his pain, it's there in every downcast look, every flinch, every silence. 
 
Toby is the heart and soul of the film, he's the one who sets it in motion, and he's pretty much the one who ends it, too, with that magnificent showdown, or rather stare down, and ooh, just the way he leans there with the rifle resting against his thigh, I could watch that all day, no lie. 
 
He's a broken man, but there's steel there, too, and he just doesn't give up. He might not show his scars so easily, but you can tell he's had it just as hard as his brother. It it shows, just in the way he stands, all hunched shoulders and tight. It's a really finely calibrated performance. Another lost boy (see also T2, previous post).
 
The film is great too, the story I mean, all the comments on how the west was won, and lost, land rights, poverty, the insane lack of law and order (the bank customers being more heavily armed than the bandits) and the dark humour. It was very much of the same cloth as Justified, and I have no problem with that. Not one little bit.
 
And Chris, if ever there was a man who could rock a saggy porn 'tache and look like he hadn't bathed in a week and still make me want to jump his bones in the worst way, well, I never thought it'd be Chris, but there you are. Who knew my clean-cut honey could be all gritty and sweaty and oh, yeah. 
 
And it's a damn shame he didn't get more kudos and encouragement for doing this. And I'm sorry I don't give the boy the respect he deserves, especially when some of my lauded Brit boys have become caricatures of themselves (hello, Benedict), or making regrettable life choices (hello, Tom). Lately Benedict seems to have gone the full Widow Twankey pantomime, twirling about in his roles, the subtle shades of performances like the one in Stuart a long distant memory, not to mention both he and Eddie playing wizards decades before I ever expected it of them. Oh dear. 
 
So, yeah, giving Chris some love, and there are worse things than being a Disney princess (or crushing on one). And I haven't even mentioned the space movies yet, but taking such a beyond well known role and making it his own, well, that's stylish, that is.
 
So there are a few Chris Pine films that aren't too shabby. (Notice I didn't mention Bottle Shock. I hope someone burnt that hideous fright wig but I suspect one didn't have to get too close to an open flame for that to happen). He does a half decent spy, too. I'd love to see him as Felix, James Bond's BFF, but I guess I never will (but stranger things can happen, never expected to see Hiddleston, after Shakespeare and Chekhov, in a giant monkey movie).
 
And I'm looking forward to seeing him in Wonder Woman (with Spud!), even though I suspect dearest Steve is going to get fridged so bad. And I'm also curious to see how he manages the quatum leaping deadbeat dad in a Wrinkle in Time, too. That was one of my books as a kid, as was Wonder Woman, so, you know, it's important. (Between those roles and Star Trek he's pretty much hit all my childhood fancies, so it was kind of inevitable that Chris Pine would cross my line of sight, sooner or later).
 
Sorry, but I don't have much else going on right now, which is probably a good thing...
 

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