mamculuna: (Default)
( Dec. 26th, 2006 06:24 pm)
We went to "The Good Shepherd" today

and we liked it--but here are spoilers )
Well, back at last in the land of adequate computer access--aside from Southwest's delay in sending my suitcase with pj's and contact solution, leading to a less than comfortable night, I'm happy to be here. My son's kitties have grown and are following me from room to room--still very playful and jolly, small and sleek. Very different from the floofy and placid Mop, although she follows me around too. She's happy at home with her very own housesitter. No guilt! I believe in open relationships when it comes to cats.

Chicago was great (except that I was too overscheduled to be able to catch up with [ profile] oursin (sob!)--there's now a fine farmer's market in Lincoln Park on Wednesdays, with live bluegrass and many moms and babies, to say nothing of much fresh asparagus, as well as morel-flavored cheese! We saw Fiorello!, cleverly staged at a very small theater, and ate deliciously sinful things (coriander flavored vodka and asparagus dumplings, followed by an incredible layered chocolate mousse with raspberry sauce, accompanied by a pot of Yunnan tea) at Russian Tea Time.

I've had a few other entertainments I'll recommend:

12 and Holding )

The Book of Alix Wolfe )

Amazon is certainly convenient, but nothing takes the place of wandering through musty shelves of tattered old paperbacks and spying some intriguing title, trying to read the crumbling yellowed pages in the dim light while an old cat twines its tail around your ankles. Clicking "search" always finds you what you want, but what about the thing you don't know you want until you find it?

ETA: One nice piece of family news--my nephew (JP of The Story Game) has sold a story! Not for much $$ but it sold, to Shimmer Maybe there can be some kind of reverse lateral genetic transfer and I can get some of his talent. But I'm so delighted b/c he really does write well, and works at his writing. And this was his very first sale, so it really encourages him to work even harder. Greatly enjoy days athe beach with him and his lovely C, who writes romances (at 1200 words in a couple of hours!). We get to combine good family/beach time with a little mini writer's retreat, inspiring each other by getting out the old computers for a few hours even when the sun is lovely and the kayaks call, and then nice evening chats about writing.
mamculuna: (Default)
( Aug. 11th, 2005 09:37 pm)
Odd movie: Roddy McDowell's Tam Lin AKA The Ballad of Tam Lin AKA The Devil's Widow

So after working on the Tam Lin story I googled around to see all the various versions, and in addition to Pamela Dean's wonderful first novel, the Fairport Convention song, Jane Yolen's novel, and many others, found this weird movie. Glad I didn't find it before writing, as it's also set in the 60's--but in England and Scotland, so quite different from mine.

It's Roddy McDowell's only directing effort, and one can see why--not great cinema, but at the same time so strange in some ways that I didn't regret the time and money it took. I suspect Ava Gardner (one of my favorite actresses) wished this hadn't been her last leading role--Night of the Iguana was a much more fitting swan song for her--but she was perfect, and the very strange, Timothy Dalton-looking Ian McShane made a great Tam Lin. Some of the dialog is horrendous, some of the shots too hokey to watch, but the whole thing is intriguing, esp. the scenes with Ava, of course, and the shape/shifting ending. And some of the shots really work well, for me, at least. Martin Scorcese liked it enough to revive it--that's something.

McDowell and/or the writers chose to make it all realistically plausible, which works OK for them, but not my choice. Nor is the idea of the Faerie Queen as the Older Woman (Mrs Robinson and then some) what I did, but now I contemplate telling the story from her POV, though after Valente's Ice Puzzle and all the Wicked hoopla, I guess the whole witch-view thing has been pre-empted.
mamculuna: (Default)
( Jun. 27th, 2005 03:00 pm)
Sitting here, my back garden actually looks like a garden, for a little while at least. Daylilies and coneflowers, althea and lantana, all the pinks and yellows from big to little, and lots of rich green lawn. The magic moment, all too rare in the south, between drought and deluge.

I came home one day last week, before I went out of town, to find my neighbor mowing my front lawn (it wasn't hideous, just a tiny bit shaggy after a lot of rain). Bill had arranged with him to get his 11 year old son to mow but only when we were both in Chicago for a long time--and now even though I'm at home, here's the Dad the Preacher doing it. Can't exactly pay him $20. I don't feel at all comfortable. I'm sure he feels it as a neighborly gesture but I feel weird about it, partly because I know he's here as a missionary and everything feels just a little like manipulation, partly because it makes me feel like a wizened old lady (heh, heh, my dears, I can still hobble around after the lawn mower myself, even after all these years...) And partly I feel irritated with myself for not just enjoying a nice favor. But there's something just not easy about this. Will have to hire a real lawn service, I guess.

In simpler and happier news, I've just gotten Charles de Lint's new book of old stories, Quicksilver and Shadow. I've read a few of these--it'll be fun to see them all together as he wants them. And tonight I'll see Travelers and Magicians--more on that tomorrow, but here's the trailer:
mamculuna: (Default)
( Jun. 3rd, 2005 12:19 am)
Great movie: Kontroll Surreal, hilarious, depressing. And don't take the subway home alone after you see it.

OK Play: Gaiman's Stardust. Hard to imagine onstage but it works. I wished for more imaginative staging, but the acting and directing were great.

BTW, I see some other updates haven't posted. I'll be on and off-line all summer, depending on where I am, and won't bore you with the details of coming and going. When I'm here, I'll try to catch up--but won't succeed.
mamculuna: (Default)
( May. 12th, 2005 12:28 pm)
The trailer for the Narnia movie is up at:

Can't tell from this whether it's going to succeed like the Tolkien movies, fail dismally like Wizard of Earthsea, or be somewhere in the middle like H2G2. Hoping for the best.
mamculuna: (Default)
( May. 5th, 2005 08:45 pm)
So all the reviews say, Not as bad as everyone thinks. I'll go with that.

Actually, I'm one who believes that you should judge a movie on whether it works for itself, not on how closely it reproduces the book. Books aren't movies, right? Things that work on the page don't work on the screen.

So I--the easily pleased one--liked it a lot. It made me laugh, even at lines and scenes I knew were coming. It bounced along and seemed to hit the right level of non-serious meaning. Yes, I knew some plot had been reconstructed and some lines were missing or altered. But if I didn't focus on comparing the two, I was fine with the film.
mamculuna: (Default)
( Apr. 26th, 2005 06:40 pm)
Sounded like good old Mal--lots more effects, but they look great. Can't wait till September, sigh...

If there's anyone who hasn't seen it:
mamculuna: (Default)
( Apr. 2nd, 2005 03:49 pm)
It is wildly windy here, with bright sun and fast clouds. I went out for a bit and it is cold! No walk today.

We're headed to Chicago next week to see the Ring Cycle with Placido Domingo, Jane Eaglen, and others. I've watched most of it on NPR, but not quite sure I'm up to sitting through it. I like the myth and drama of it and the story--and some of the music--but it's four long nights, and I do mean long--some are five hours. Bill is much more in love with 19th century music than I am, and this is partly a treat to him. We'll also see John Malkovich at Steppenwolf and I hope a performance of the Kabuki Lady Macbeth--and maybe the opening game or one of the early games of the Cubs. Plus cheese (and many other edibles) but there's a new cheese boutique now in the next block where I plan to spend many, many calories. Cheese reviews will follow.

I don't much like the word "cheese." It's too close to "grease," maybe, or something. "Fromage" and "queso" are so much nicer, but even better are the lovely proper names--cambozola, manchego, peccorino romano, bruder basil. At Thanksgiving, my son, his partner, and I were walking at Pt Reyes and found ourselves in a cattle pasture. The cows were very kindly and welcoming, and I was delighted later in the week to discover that they were the Cowgirl Creamery cows--got some of their Mt. Tam cheese at the wonderful market in the Ferry Building.

But I sat down to write about the movie we saw last night and the book I just read.

We finally got to see The Merchant of Venice with Al Pacino. I liked it very much. Pacino and the director, Radford, managed to handle the potential anti-semitism fairly well with scenes at the beginning establishing the accepted attitudes towards Jews--and echoed them later, undercutting some of the sympathy for Antonio and Nerissa--and Jeremy Irons assisted in that with his version of Antonio as one of those bigots who likes to look polite, but occasionally lets it out. Portia's long delay in resolving the case in the trial seems not quite so manipulative--the watcher's just a bit glad that Antonio has to pay something, since we have so much sympathy for Pacino's Shylock. The actor playing Portia--Lynn Collins--is someone I don't know, but liked her as well. Fiennes was OK, but then Bassanio is overshadowed by the other three characters until he seems almost as gratuitous as Nerissa and Gratiano (I know he's a central plot device, but still a less interesting character).

And I read Perfect Circle by Sean Stewart. Stewart is one of my favorites, partly because I love the magic worlds he creates (where magic is not a very nice thing) and partly because his books are so varied. This one is much more realistic--great parts of it could be a realism novel, almost. But the main character sees dead people. It kind of fits into the working-class Houston locale, with multiple family complications laced through it. The narrator's gift leaves him broke and unemployed, but still loving his daughter and ex-wife. The ghosts are so depressingly believable. I like Stewart because his books show him growing as a writer, I think. But I have liked them all.

And I really sat down to see what everybody's saying about Stardust. Onwards--I'll get where I'm going, sometime.
mamculuna: (Default)
( Mar. 28th, 2005 09:54 am)
We went to see a very fine movie last night--Postmen of the Mountains, about a Chinese postman whose son is replacing him. They travel by foot through beautiful scenery and little mountain villages. It has the simplicity of a nice documentary, but the relationship between the father and son, and the non-sentimental but impressive devotion to duty, makes it much deeper. In that theme of reunion of Chinese father and son, it reminds me of Shower, but this has less comedy, though some of the same nostalgia. Worth seeing.
mamculuna: (Default)
( Jan. 16th, 2005 10:28 am)
Hi, my name is mamcu and I'm an lj addict...

So glad to see you all again. I don't post everyday but I do read, and wander around making random comments (very random in some cases). Glad to have my fix again.

Yesterday we started in on the living room. )

We went to see Vera Drake last night. cut for spoilers )
mamculuna: (Default)
( Sep. 25th, 2004 09:11 pm)
Just watched Stargate--the movie from 1997. Spoilers )
mamculuna: (Default)
( Feb. 1st, 2004 09:00 pm)
Well, in my self-indulgent, recovering-from-the-ice-apocalypse mood, I spent the morning watchig Pirates of the Caribbean , realizing once again that I am totally, hopelessly in love with Johnny Depp. Well, with most of his characters, but especially Captain Jack Sparrow. Always had a soft spot for pirates, and this was perfection! Great humor, romance, sword-fights with skeletons--what more could you want? Much as I see the charms of Orlando Bloom, how could any woman (or maybe man) stay with him when Depp's off there in the rigging?

so much world, so little time )


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