petronia: (Default)
[personal profile] petronia
OK -- let's try this!

Read:

Since the last time I posted I did end up reading Silence of the Lambs, and Hannibal, and speed-tachiyomi-ed Hannibal Rising in Chapters with one eyebrow lifted. Hannibal reminded me a lot of The Honourable Schoolboy, actually:
  • Not as well paced sequel to a perfectly scoped, successful book
  • Is longer, shaggier, with a bigger cast, more ambitious, generally weirder
  • Back-influenced by the adaptation that came out in the meantime
  • Detached, omniscient narration
  • ~*~Exotic~*~ locations
  • Everyone is sadder and/or less likeable
  • Because the universe is fundamentally unfeeling and unfair
  • God's cruel joke as expressed via endless office politics dickery that is as boring as it's infuriating
  • Bad end
(Looking at this list, I may as well be complaining about Mostly Harmless.)

I liked Hannibal better than tHS. It has an Anne Rice-ish "fuck the mortals" open ending, whereas in tHS the wrong side wins no matter how you slice it (emotional, ethical, political). Of course, Le Carré kept going -- Le Carré stories move forward in time as wholes, pretty much, whereas one suspects Harris's texts will blur but the characters and tropes look to live on independently. Once you've taken your best shot and potted that position, a valid choice is simply to hold your fire and avoid fucking it up. Which of course leaves me with no more series to read. XD; I've been plugging at George Bataille's La part maudite and Habermas: A Very Short Introduction by James Gordon Finlayson, and am halfway through Borges's Dream Tigers (El hacedor in Spanish). There's also another Kathy Reichs in the picture. Probably I'm gearing up to write.

Also bought a whole bunch of books but mostly of the previously-read, shelf-stocking variety (Angela Carter, Lawrence Durrell).

Watched:

SotL-the-movie: rewatch. It's the Jame Gumb and Catherine Martin scenes I remember from the 90s -- the effect at the time was total surreality out of all possible context -- not the Hannibal Lecter and Clarice Starling scenes. 

 Hannibal-the-movie: this seemed misguided (I wrote it up here). The book is not unfilmable but you can't eke a SotL-like movie from it. (I've been imagining Park Chan-Wook, though PCW wasn't a thing with Hollywood at the time.) Also I suspect the plot went in the direction it did because Harris thought Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster had chemistry in the movie, so if you mess with the casting it doesn't really work.

Red Dragon-the-movie: Ed Norton was miscast, which is weird because Ed Norton plays FBI bros all the time. I think it just never occurred to anyone that the weirdo/saddo/half-cracked quality is essential to the Will Graham character. Like, this would arguably be a better movie if Ralph Fiennes played Graham instead of Dolarhyde? Mary-Louise Parker and Emily Watson were spot on, though. I watched this right after Philip Seymour Hoffman died so inevitably he was in this, dying horribly and chewing scenery -- the movie didn't give him much to work with. It did contribute some fanon, though, of the seems-so-reasonable-everyone-assumes-it-was-in-the-book variety.

Valhalla RisingHow far could you possibly get in a rickety-ass Viking boat from Scotland before stopping to ask for directions? (I think this writeup made people think I didn't like the movie, whereas I liked it OK, I just wish I'd been spoilered for what it was about so I didn't spend the entire time wondering about the wrong things. XD;)

Pompeii: a pleasantly schlocky portmanteau of Gladiator, Titanic, and The Eagle. Nowadays Christianity is out of the swords-and-sandals equation unless the movie is actually about Jesus, but I still wanted this to be The Last Days of Pompeii. All the Bulwer-Lytton characters were there, in fact, just sort of rearranged. Also wish someone would do a version of the destruction of Pompeii where Pliny the Younger was the actual protagonist.

Kaze Tachinu: at some point between the 798th onscreen cigarette and the walk-ons from Thomas Mann's The Magic Mountain you're like, oh, okay, definitely not a kid's film then. It suggests that the artist's innocence, determination and heart are compromised qualities: in the strict sense that they are easily framed as destructive naivete, incuriosity, and ego, but also in the broad sense that the world is fallen -- all dreams are compromised from the start, all beauty achieved is futile. Against this argument the movie sets only its own beauty. 

(Miyazaki's dream can't stand fully for Jiro's -- Studio Ghibli has never bombed anyone, though you do have to work very hard to get me to appreciate a Japanese WWII fighter plane for its aesthetic qualities. But if I didn't know the movie was meant as a swan song, I would have wondered if it were one.)

I'm following Hannibal-the-TV-series, of course, which gives me pleasant flashbacks to watching The X-Files late on Friday nights. I'll write about that separately, probably? Like thematic meta, on Tumblr.

Date: 2014-03-18 10:33 pm (UTC)
brooms: (Default)
From: [personal profile] brooms
I think it just never occurred to anyone that the weirdo/saddo/half-cracked quality is essential to the Will Graham character

i'd say playing neuroatypical saddos is edward norton's bread and butter more than playing fbi bros.

i have no emotional attachment to graham, but i liked his portrayal. william petersen's in manhunter, too.

Date: 2014-03-19 01:12 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] whatistigerbalm
How's the series? I'm intrigued but its tumblr fandom already wore me out. Now that I filtered it out, I feel more interested again.

Date: 2014-03-21 11:56 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] whatistigerbalm
Thanks for this! If one has to have a certain sense of humour for it to click, I'm gonna give it a go. I love things that make me laugh as they're making me uncomfortable.

Plus, now I'm interested in Tokyo Babylon.

Date: 2014-03-21 05:55 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] whatistigerbalm
No, the 90s were yesterday, not twenty years ago.

(It's shameful how much I'm rejecting this particular passage of time.)

But, yeah, now I want to rewatch all that too and get in the mood. Thank you!

Date: 2014-03-19 07:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] koganbot.livejournal.com
Thought the movie Black Sunday was a well-done action-thriller with Robert Shaw successfully dogged, Bruce Dern effectively needy, weird, and wired and Marthe Keller taut and demanding and also dogged. This was thirty-seven years ago that I saw it, mind you. The main plot-points I remember besides the brooding, overhanging blimp one saw on the posters was a strange telephone hookup and a cop posing for pictures. Haven't read the novel yet; sat down with it about a decade ago at Denver Public Library and decided I wasn't in the mood that day for Inside The Mind Of A Terrorist. That said, Harris is one of the few who does psychopaths without boring the fuck out of me.* Still relies on his investigators to provide actual depth. I should give the book a chance someday.

I might want to watch more Frankenheimer, too. My description of the Keller character might be a good description of the movie. I recall that Sarris had him down in Strained Seriousness and then thought better of it, and him. 52 Pick-Up was taut and dogged, with John Glover memorably creepy, and taut.

*Have psychopaths become a middlebrow staple because they're not as sociologically questionable as other killers? They're not as interesting, either, at least in fiction, which is the only place I encounter them with any frequency.
Edited Date: 2014-03-19 07:55 pm (UTC)

Date: 2014-03-21 02:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] koganbot.livejournal.com
Unrelated to this, when Lady Gaga plays Montreal on July 2, Crayon Pop will open (http://www.asianjunkie.com/2014/03/crayon-pop-is-going-to-open-for-lady-gaga-in-north-america-yes-yes-yes-operationgetmoney) for her.

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