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Sunny and cold today. It's 47˚F, but the wind chill is at 41˚F. We could have snow showers tonight.

Yesterday I did precisely 1,000 words on the third chapter of Cherry Bomb.

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Here on this day, marked as it is as an observance, I have this thought: America has now reached a point where there are thirteen-year-old children who have not ever known their country when it was not at war. Thirteen years, going on fourteen.

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Last night we finally got to see Neil Jordan's Byzantium (2012). It had such a very limited release, we were never able to see it at a theatre. It's an extraordinary film, certainly deserving of far more attention than its received. I wish my head were clearer at the moment, so that I could perhaps articulate why I found Byzantium so sublime. An island of raw stone jutting up from the Irish Sea. Red waterfalls cascading down black rocks. A decrepit amusement park by the ocean, aging boats on the sand. A dead hotel, surely filled with ghosts and gone bitter in its solitude, forced back to life as a brothel. A mother and a daughter. A tiny wooden box with a secret inside. A storm of black birds whirling against a stormy sky. And all of this captured by the camera's eye. As I said last night on Facebook, Byzantium makes for a nice companion, tonally, to Jordan's Ondine (2009). See it. And if you've not seen Ondine, see it, as well.

I've spent the last two nights watching Peter Jackson's The Fellowship of the Ring (2001). It's been the better part of a year since I'd seen it. What a truly stupendous achievement. But seeing it again only underscores my disappointment in the first third of The Hobbit. Will I see the second installment? Sadly, yes. I know I will. December 11th will roll around, and it won't matter how much I've bemoaned brain-rattling 48fps and cheap 3D tricks that, together, made the first film almost impossible to sit through. I actually had to spend minutes at a time looking away from the screen. Still, I'll be there.

Ought To Know Better,
Aunt Beast

Comments

( 14 comments — Have your say! )
runedrum
Nov. 11th, 2013 05:10 pm (UTC)
You know, though you said you wish your head were clearer, I found that your description of Byzantium grabbed me harder, and with more gut honesty, than most film reviews. So, perhaps it's more articulate than you thought?

...also, the comparison to Ondine makes me want to see it even more.
greygirlbeast
Nov. 11th, 2013 05:30 pm (UTC)

Then I did a good thing.
setsuled
Nov. 11th, 2013 07:22 pm (UTC)
I haven't seen a new Neil Jordan movie since The Good Thief but I loved the look of the Byzantium trailer--which I happened to see while I was reading a lot of Yeats. I'll definitely look for it once I get my computer back.

The Hobbit so far does seem woefully crammed with plot and tech compared to the beautifully simple and faithful adaptation Jackson achieved with the Lord of the Rings films. The new film's not all bad, though. Howard Shore's music is great and I have to admit I like Martin Freeman as Bilbo a lot more than I liked Elijah Wood as Frodo.
greygirlbeast
Nov. 11th, 2013 07:50 pm (UTC)
I haven't seen a new Neil Jordan movie since The Good Thief but I loved the look of the Byzantium trailer--which I happened to see while I was reading a lot of Yeats. I'll definitely look for it once I get my computer back.

He remains one of my favorite contemporary directors. He has been since the 1980s.

The Hobbit so far does seem woefully crammed with plot and tech compared to the beautifully simple and faithful adaptation Jackson achieved with the Lord of the Rings films.

This is what happens when you stretch a shortish children's book into three films, and toss in footnotes from the decidedly adult TLotR in an attempt to pad your trilogy.

The new film's not all bad, though. Howard Shore's music is great

Oh, I think there's lots of good stuff in the movie. It's just hard to find it through the clutter and gimmicks.

Then again...dwarves being fed sushi in Rivendell. I mean, Jesus fucking fuck.

Edited at 2013-11-11 07:50 pm (UTC)
setsuled
Nov. 11th, 2013 07:58 pm (UTC)
This is what happens when you stretch a shortish children's book into three films,

I'm hoping for a fan edit that just presents material from the three movies that was from The Hobbit (the book). The amount of time the new trailer spends on Legolas is really strange.

dwarves being fed sushi in Rivendell

Oh, wow. I was fortunate enough to miss that.
greygirlbeast
Nov. 11th, 2013 08:13 pm (UTC)

The amount of time the new trailer spends on Legolas is really strange.

I do have to admit I find the elf Tauriel, invented for this second film, is almost as hot as was Arwen (my last elf crush).

Oh, wow. I was fortunate enough to miss that.

Indeed, you were.
setsuled
Nov. 11th, 2013 11:30 pm (UTC)
I do have to admit I find the elf Tauriel, invented for this second film, is almost as hot as was Arwen (my last elf crush).

I'm a sucker for an elf dame myself. Jackson could portray a McDonald's opening in Mirkwood and if he staffed it with pretty elf women a part of me would still melt a little.
sovay
Nov. 12th, 2013 02:20 am (UTC)
Then again...dwarves being fed sushi in Rivendell. I mean, Jesus fucking fuck.

Wrrrrt.
coyotegoth
Nov. 11th, 2013 08:46 pm (UTC)
I'll always wish, for many reasons, that Jackson had been able to follow his original impulse, and film The Hobbit (the rights of which were then in a legal tangle) first.
greygirlbeast
Nov. 11th, 2013 08:57 pm (UTC)

Hmmmm. I think my instinct is that The Hobbit simply should have been left alone. Making it first would have been a misleading setup for the trilogy.
aarongp
Nov. 11th, 2013 10:08 pm (UTC)
What a truly stupendous achievement.
It really is and one I still find fresh and awe-inspiring. Which, like yourself, only amplifies my disappointment with "... An Expected Journey" and the likelihood of what is to follow.

I still lament Guillermo del Toro's departure. These films needed a new look and feel, one to match the book's far differing tone from LOTR.


And thank you for mentioning the Jordan films. I've managed to overlook both of these thus far, but will soon rectify the situation.
greygirlbeast
Nov. 11th, 2013 10:20 pm (UTC)

I still lament Guillermo del Toro's departure. These films needed a new look and feel, one to match the book's far differing tone from LOTR.

Yes.
sovay
Nov. 12th, 2013 02:19 am (UTC)
It had such a very limited release, we were never able to see it at a theatre.

rushthatspeaks and I saw it at the Brattle Theatre on a double bill with Berberian Sound Studio in September; I don't think I'd have seen either film in theaters otherwise. Agreed that it's of a piece with Ondine, although I might—strangely—like Byzantium even better. I love the way it handles time, blood, stories, the sea. Everything about the "nameless saint"'s island is beautiful to me.

Edited at 2013-11-12 02:20 am (UTC)
numisma
Nov. 12th, 2013 05:47 am (UTC)
Thank you very much for the movie recommendations. I watched Byzantium earlier today and enjoyed it a lot. I've got Ondine lined up for tomorrow, as well. I have high hopes that it will not disappoint.
( 14 comments — Have your say! )