Thursday, October 27, 2016

Desert Island Questions

So, here are my answers to Kate Gabrielle's desert island themed questions, (originally from a Liebster award post). These were so much fun I couldn't resist answering them!

1. If you were stuck on a desert island with one actor, who would you pick?
Hugh Jackman.  I actually cycled through quite a few actors in my head before settling in on Mr. Jackman, because he seems to be the exactly the kind of personality I'd want with me if stuck on an island. 

2. If you were stuck on a desert island with one actress, who would you pick? (Note - this is not necessarily your favorite actor/actress, but someone you'd want to spend months, years, possibly the rest of your life eating coconuts and building sandcastles with)
Barbara Stanwyck, because she's smart, resourceful, and I'd never tire of talking with her. 

3. If you were stuck on a desert island and could only watch one movie on repeat for the rest of your life, which would you pick?

Aliens (1986) or Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984).  Either one.  Wouldn't matter.  They're two of the few movies that do not require me to be in a specific mood to watch them, and they never get old, and most importantly, they aren't worn out.

4. If you were stuck on a desert island with any movie character, who would you pick?
Alan Grant, from Jurassic Park.

5. If you could watch a movie with any two actors/actresses stuck on a desert island together, who would you pick? If you've got some free time, elaborate a bit on the plot!
I'm not fond of survival-themed movies, in fact they rank up with horror and mysteries as my least favorite genres.  So this would have to be a desert island movie with a different type of plot.  Since this is me, it's going to have to be action/adventure oriented.  And I'd make it fantasy or sci-fi, because who wants the real world?  Let's go with fantasy, cuz then there can be magic and treasure and maybe a dragon and a volcano, of course.  There must be a volcano.  And... and... and...

Okay, really, I got nothing.  Seriously.  I've been stuck on this One Question for like FOUR months now, because I can't come up with a darn thing.  My brain goes to Hell in the Pacific, or Mysterious Island (bring on the giant bees!) or the Crusoe television series (which, do I file on the shelf under my Sean Bean DVDs or my Sam Neill DVDs??  This is a problem, people, a problem! (though, in case you were wondering, it's in the Sam Neill section, because he has the bigger role in the show, and my heart will always belong to him first, but that doesn't mean it still wasn't a problem!))...

And... where was I?  Oh yeah, I keep thinking of desert island movies already made and my brain gets stuck there. 

So, I'm completely cheating on this one and stealing my sister's answer. (I tend to always ask her these type tag questions while she's out and about to keep her (and me) entertained.)  She said she wanted to see a movie with Gary Sinise and William Shatner on a desert island, and I think that's a blooming brilliant combo.  I'd pay real money to see that. 

6. Who is the last actor you would ever want to be stuck on a desert island with (cough, Tyrone Power, cough)? The utterly, teeth-gratingly annoying Big Bang Theory guy who plays Sheldon.  I don't even remember his name and can't be arsed to look it up.  The way he talks, I wouldn't survive one hour with him, let alone indefinitely.

7. You're stuck on a desert island with Edmund O'Brien. What actor shows up in a giant pirate ship to whisk you away to safety and/or a life of adventure on the high seas?
Richard Armitage!  (Of course, I wouldn't necessarily mind being stuck on an island with Edmund O'Brien, either.  There are far worse fates, see question 6... LOL.)

8. If you were stuck on a desert island with a movie cook, who would you choose -- Felix from Christmas in Connecticut or Mildred from Mildred Pierce? Who would make the most out of all the coconuts and tree bark?
Felix, most definitely.  Felix is amazing and wonderful and sweet.

9. If you were stuck on a desert island with me, what movie would you force me to watch? I can't get away! I can't escape! I HAVE TO WATCH IT!
Hm. I would have picked Kiss Me Deadly, but Millie took care of that for me! So I'm going to say that Alain Delon movie you posted about, cuz I really want to see it and you could share it with me. (Really, this is just an excuse to re-post this picture...)

10. You're on a life raft with Herbert Marshall, Joel McCrea and Laraine Day but your weight is sinking the raft. Do you: a) sacrifice yourself to save these three amazing actors or b) push one of them into the water. If you chose b, who did you push and why?!
I don't see why we can't alternate who's in the water so we can all hang on a little longer.  At least until the sharks come.  Well, then... I guess it's just farewell and adieu to you, fair Spanish ladies.

11. If you could choose any movie animal to be stuck on an island with, who would you pick? Some ideas -- Asta, Lassie, Pongo, Perdita, The Pie, Cat (from Breakfast at Tiffany's)

Pascal, from Tangled.  Mostly because I wouldn't have to worry about feeding him like I would a dog or larger animal. Having to worry that an animal might starve to death would be unbearable. There are lots of insects on an island so no worries about him, and Pascal is smarter than he looks.

So, there you have it.  Much delayed, much thought about... but finally posted.  Please feel free to grab these questions and post your own answers, as I'd love to see some what other people pick!  Hamlette's answers are over here, if you'd like to read some more fun answers about with desert islands and movies!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

October update

In just a few days, Silver will be 9 months old.  Man, where did time go??  He's nearing 50 lbs now and still has some growing to do.  We walk about 4 miles a day, closer to 6 on the weekends when I've got more time, and he still has energy left over.  Of course, that's the nature of owning a Husky.  They are high-energy dogs and if you don't want them wrecking your home out of boredom, you wear them out.  Or wear yourself out, as the case may be.  LOL!

He is really good most of the time.  He's gotten into mischief only a couple times when I've left him alone for more than a few hours.  We'll see how he does this Saturday, as it's time for the Met's HD broadcast of Don Giovanni, with my favorite baritone, Simon Keenlyside.  Not missing that!  Don Giovanni ain't short, particularly with the drive to the theater on either side.  I plan on taking him hiking first thing in the morning, see if he just zonks out peacefully for those hours.

He still wants to be a lapdog if given a chance.
Beautifully fluffy and clean after his first professional grooming.
At our favorite lake where we go on weekends to hike.  He splashes through the water, eats lake weed, and generally has a rip-roaring good time.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

The Magnificent Seven (2016)

Hamlette’s been bugging me to post this, though I’m not sure why, when you could go read Millie’s review!  Seriously, go read her review if you want a far better summary, and one that gives a really neat comparison to the original.

Anyway, for my viewing, I was pleasantly surprised and came out of the movie theater liking it a lot, and also looking for my horse so I could go ride off and fight bad guys.  I drove home a little faster than necessary, cornering a bit swiftly... and that is ALWAYS a good sign that I enjoyed an action movie.  An action movie that doesn't rev me up is a failure in my book.  This one succeeded.

You can probably chalk this enjoyment up to a couple important things.  One -- I had very low expectations going in, and, as I’ve long since learned, my expectations will totally dominate my first viewing.  (Which is why I like to see things twice.)  If I go in with high expectations, odds are I’ll be disappointed.  If I go in expecting the worst, I’ll usually come out liking it.  And I hated the trailer for this movie.  I only ever saw one trailer, and it had some sort of rock music over it, and it was miserable.  Nothing about the movie looked good in that trailer.  I almost didn’t see the movie because of how much I didn’t like that trailer.  I’m glad I ignored that inclination! 

The second very important thing was that I did not spend the movie comparing it to the original while viewing it.  I didn’t even think about the original at all until the crappy tacked on ending with the voice-over that mentioned the word “magnificent.”  Then, I rolled my eyes.  Because what made the original Magnificent Seven characters magnificent was that they went back.  They had no reason to, they could have ridden away, but they didn’t.  They rode back to the village, for no reward, no money, because they wanted to.  Because there are more important things than money.  There’s nothing like that in the new movie.  In the new movie, they’re hired, they fight, they die/live, and it’s over.  They’re still under hire in that final fight, they never leave and come back.  And that fact keeps the original safely intact in its greatness.

However, taken on its own merits, as a movie about seven guys hired to help a town against the psycho who runs the town, this movie was a lot of fun.  The movie flew by and was over before I was ready to leave that world.  I got swept up in the characters and their issues, and my mind just didn't stray to the old movie.

What worked the best for me here was the characters.  I was surprised how much I liked all of them.  When Chris Pratt is playing my least favorite of the seven, that’s saying something.  (Although, honestly, I think I love the concept of Chris Pratt, more than the actuality of him, if that makes any sense whatsoever.  Or perhaps, I simply like the actor more than his characters.  He seems so nice, and he’s so cute and likeable and cool, and I keep thinking that, therefore, I will like him in his movies, but for some unknown reason I haven’t really bonded with him in anything I’ve seen him in.  Jurassic World came closest, except the velociraptors stole the movie, and so... not so much.  I mean the dinosaurs did not steal the original movie from Sam Neill, and they were amazing, so I apparently just have a disconnect with Chris Pratt.  On the other hand, Blue and her compadres are so awesome, they might very well have stolen the movie from anyone they played with, so it may just have been Pratt’s luck to be stuck with scene-stealing dinosaurs).

But the characters here are all distinct and all fun.  I liked them all.  Denzel... well Denzel is Denzel and can do no wrong.  His Chisolm hits all the notes I wanted the leader of this group to hit.  I'd hire him if I needed help, that's for sure.  Ethan Hawke and Byung-hun Lee kill it as unlikely but awesome friends.  They are amazing (separately and together), and every minute they were on screen was a joy.  Vincent D’Onofrio is amusing and unexpectedly sweet as Jack Horne.  Martin Sensmeier doesn’t have much to do, but Red Harvest was still intriguing and had more personality than some characters I’ve seen in movies who had a lot more dialogue.  Chris Pratt’s Faraday was funny and likeable, even if I didn't bond with him.  And my favorite character was Vasquez, played by Manuel Garcia-Rulfo.  Loved him muchly, and you can believe I’ll be looking out for his next movies.

And when there are characters I love that much, not much else matters, and anything else is bonus.  Like the scenery, which avoided the typical dry arid look of so many Westerns and gave this movie a unique location that I really appreciated.  (It was filmed in Baton Rouge, I understand.)  I love seeing greens in Westerns, and not just varying shades of brown.

I was worried from the trailer that it was simply trying to be bigger and badder than the original for the sake of outdoing it alone, but that wasn’t how it played out at all.  The bad guy they set up in this movie (Peter Sarsgaard) WOULD hire an army.  He would bring a gatling gun.  I had none of the plot issues I expected to have extrapolating off what that crappy trailer had showed me.  (I used to love trailers, but more and more these days, trailers are undercutting movies for me, not supporting them.  I think I may just start ignoring them entirely before they give me a rash.)

As for the score, most of it is surprisingly dreary and unmemorable with a few bursts of melody and energy and scattered Horner moments.  And that is just unfortunate.  Horner himself composed some dreary music, (I’m thinking of last half of Beautiful Mind album), BUT it’s still emotional, it’s still got its melodies, it’s still got that gutpunch factor he brought to his music with such ease.  This score has moments that give you a glimpse of what it might have been, then it falls back on more atmospheric blandness.  It works far better in the movie than it does listening to it on its own, and to its credit, I've heard far worse scores than this one.  This one just comes with a set of expectations that were impossible for me to suppress.  I still bought the album, and I've listened to it quite a bit, as it is good writing music (where bland and atmospheric isn’t a detriment), but I wish... oh how I wish.  I do hope someday that they release the supposedly seven completed pieces of music Horner composed for this before he died, just as he wrote them, not re-worked to fit the actual movie.  That I would like to hear. 

So, here’s the scoop for me:  this film, taken on its own merits, ignoring what came before, is a violent but entertaining movie.  I appreciated that this movie was PG-13, as well, as that meant it didn't get too gory, despite the body count.  And because there aren’t enough Westerns in the world right now and I want more, I fully support any one that manages to entertain me this much.  I will buy it when it comes out on DVD.