Labor Day

Sep. 4th, 2017 02:59 pm
kindkit: Old poster image of woman leading rally, captioned: my Marxist-feminist dialectic brings all the boy to the yard (Fandomless: Marxist-feminist dialectic)
1) Whenever I had a spare moment during my shift at work today*, I thought bitterly about the fact that many the people Labor Day ostensibly celebrates don't have the day off. Because they have no unions and therefore no/few paid holidays.

*I didn't have many spare moments, because all the people with good jobs and money to spend did have the day off and were shopping.


2) I recently watched The Hippopotamus, in which Roger Allam plays a boozy washed-up poet who is hired to investigate a purported miracle at the country house of a friend. It's based on a novel by Stephen Fry, which . . . well, it wasn't as cruelly cynical as I thought it would be, though I should note that the movie's lone gay character was depicted in a way I must describe as homophobic. (I feel like Stephen Fry has form for this, but I'm not completely sure.) It's not a terrible movie, and worth it if you like Roger Allam (Fiona Shaw is also in it, but rather wasted in a small role; then there's a bizarrely miscast Matthew Modine as the lord of the manor, his American accent unconvincingly handwaved as the result of having an American father). I did like Tim McInnerny as the abovementioned gay man, and I think it might have been a better movie from his point of view.


3) I appear to be rewatching as much of Good News Week as I can readily find. Paul McDermott makes me happy.


4) Speaking of which, DAAS were at the Edinburgh festival and appeared briefly on BBC Radio's The Now Show a week or two ago. They sang "The Sailor's Arms," and to my delight, rephrased the transphobic last line to be better. It's still a song that can deservedly be termed problematic, but I kind of love it anyway and I was glad to see it improved. If you want to hear it, I think this episode of the Now Show is still on the BBC i-Player for a couple of weeks.


5) There's an interesting review of DAAS's Shepherds Bush performance here. I don't agree with everything about it (I think even DAAS's cruder jokes are cleverer than Regan realizes), but I liked reading about the show's emotional impact, since I'm never going to be able to see it myself unless they release a DVD. The reason I'm posting about it here, though, is that the reviewer writes that Tim Ferguson "is going to die very soon." This completely freaked me out, especially since the review was linked to both from the official DAAS Facebook and from Tim's own Facebook, and in neither case did Tim say, "Um, actually not dying soon that I know of." So now I'm worried that he is dying and it's something they've acknowledged in the show. Certainly Tim's MS has gotten worse, and he said in an interview that it's moved into the steadily progressing stage and he doesn't expect any more remissions. I even googled "Is Tim Ferguson dying," and found lots about Tim's MS but nothing to say he is in fact dying, so I'm hoping that the reviewer just got the wrong end of the stick. Still, it is worrisome. I know it's ridiculous to feel so concerned about celebrities (plural because, honestly, it makes me worry as much for Paul as for Tim), and normally I wouldn't, but somehow, in this case, I do.


6) To try to end on something positive: I watched the first episode of the new Bake Off and it didn't suck. There hasn't been any attempt to manufacture tension or feuds or whatever between the bakers, which is what I was afraid of. I do very much feel the lack of Mel and Sue, and especially of Mary Berry, but I am one of those weird people who actually likes Paul Hollywood, so I'm willing to watch just for him while I warm up to the new bakers and hopefully the new presenters.

Dunkirk

Aug. 6th, 2017 05:47 pm
kindkit: 'A man in WWII-era military uniform drinks tea in front of a van painted with "The Soldiers' Drink: Tea" (Fandomless: Soldiers drink tea)
I saw Dunkirk today. I really wanted to like it, but I'm afraid I didn't.

A few thoughts under the cut )
kindkit: Two cups of green tea. (Fandomless: Green tea)
1) Something you've cooked recently: This has been the week of the Great Chain of Leftovers. Last Sunday I made a meatloaf, which I ate in sandwiches and so on throughout the week. But on Friday there was still a pretty big hunk of it left and it needed to be used right away. That, plus my strong and unseasonable craving for pasta e fagiole (inspired by a TV commercial, of all things) led to an untraditional, even Frankenstein-ish but tasty hybrid dish.

What I did )

Yesterday, finding myself in possession of a lot of nectarines and raspberries (both were on sale cheap), I made Peach Melba Squares, substituting 4 small nectarines for the peaches. I also used a lot more raspberries than called for, because I found a few moldy ones in the container and thought I'd better use up all the rest immediately. The result was that the cake is . . . let's call it very moist, shall we? I made a couple of other small changes: I let the melted butter brown a bit, because I'd seen a recipe for a brown butter nectarine cake and I thought the nuttiness of the brown butter would enhance the almonds. And I sprinkled a little bit of extra ground almonds over the top because I didn't have flaked almonds. Plus I didn't add the icing sugar at the end, because I found the cake sweet enough already. It is a very tasty cake, if perhaps a bit too buttery for me. The slightly tart fruit keeps it from being too cloying.


Something I have concrete plans to cook in the near future: No concrete plans. I'm going to a friend's house on Tuesday for a potluck-and-Buffy-watch, so I need to think of something to bring. I've got some cooked chickpeas in the freezer so I might do some homemade hummus with pita bread, plus a melon salad. Bringing hummus is lazy, maybe, but I feel like its being homemade should let me off the hook? Plus, it's been hot and everyone will probably want salad-y things. Will think about it some more, anyway.


Something I vaguely intend to cook someday: It's been so hot--yesterday the temp topped out at 91F/32.7C--that I'm losing the urge to cook even summery things. I think the future holds a lot of salads--grain salads and cooked vegetable salads as well as the raw kind--and pasta, with the occasional lazy lapse into hot dogs or boxed macaroni and cheese.


2) I watched all three series of Shetland over the last week and a half. I wouldn't call it great TV, but I liked the characters a lot and the scenery-porn was excellent (though I was sad to find out that a lot of the series is filmed on mainland Scotland rather than on the Shetland islands). The mystery plots were ho-hum, but at least not full of sickening, "shocking" details like some modern mysteries. There was a canonical queer relationship for a recurring character, plus some unexpected slashiness for the male protagonist. And a plot development in S3 that at first seemed gratuitous and fail-y turned out to be handled well and meaningfully.

Apparently there's going to be an S4, and I'm looking forward to it. I've started reading one of the books the series is based on, but so far I like the TV show better.


3) Last night, having finished Shetland and being in the mood for some light relief, I looked for Netflix movies with Alan Rickman and found The Gambit, a caper comedy with Alan Rickman and Colin Firth and Tom Courtenay, written and directed by the Coen Brothers. Got to be a great movie, right? Alas, it was so terrible that after about 20 minutes I gave up. The jokes were dumb, hackneyed, and often imbued with stereotypes (repressed Brits, freewheeling American) and the actors looked painfully aware that they were in a bad movie. I looked up some reviews and found a tendency to blame the awfulness on Cameron Diaz, playing the above-mentioned freewheeling American, but she was no worse than anything else in the movie (though unlike the other actors, she didn't seem embarrassed so it was impossible to feel sorry for her).
kindkit: Picture of the TARDIS, captioned "This funny little box that carries me away . . ." (Doctor Who--TARDIS)
Things I've been watching:

That Mitchell and Webb Look. I've been binge-watching this for a couple of days now. I'm enjoying it a lot even though I find it (usually) more wry than laugh-out-loud funny. Sometimes it's actively unfunny, as in the sketch where a man goes into a little shop ostensibly to buy food, ends up buying two cans of cheap strong beer instead, and it's clear that this is a routine he goes through every day as he desperately, hopelessly tries to cover up his alcoholism. I was astonished to hear the audience laughing at it (or was it a laugh track?). Apparently the last sketch from the very last episode was the (in)famous old Sherlock Holmes, which makes everyone cry; somehow I'm not surprised that Mitchell and Webb chose to end the show that way.

Parts Unknown, Anthony Bourdain's most recent show, which is less about extreme food adventures than Bourdain's previous work and focuses to a surprising extent on history, culture, and politics. I was loving it, and then we got to the episode about New Mexico, where I live. I found it oversimplified, almost stereotypical, and much too filtered through Bourdain's romantic obsession with cowboys and the west (and guns--there was a long segment of Bourdain with gun enthusiasts that I skipped most of because it made me so furious). So now I wonder if the whole show is like that and I just didn't notice because of my own ignorance; other episodes, especially those set in troubled parts of the world, did seem a lot more serious and balanced to me, though.

Weeks ago I started watching Captain America: Civil War on Netflix and got so bored about half an hour in that I still haven't finished it. I guess I'll watch the rest eventually, but the whole premise is so contrived that it's hard to care. But part of the problem could be me: I often have a hard time settling in to movies, even though I can watch episode after episode of a TV series.


Things I've been reading:

Right now I'm about halfway through Matter, one of Iain M. Banks's Culture novels. I'm enjoying it all right, but I don't understand why so many people say these books are the best thing ever. The ones I've read have all been a bit same-y, and so the worldbuilding that was initially so impressive ceases to impress. I do give Banks some points for naming a ship Eight Rounds Rapid, though.

Before that I read Dan Chaon's new mystery/thriller Ill Will, which, again, I liked well enough, but which also seemed like another example of that phenomenon where a "literary" novelist writes a genre book and is wildly overpraised for things that are, in fact, pretty typical of the genre. Chaon did throw in a few self-consciously literary touches, but I don't think they were necessary or even beneficial to the story. And plotwise, I still can't decide potential plot spoilers )

A while back I read Kai Ashante Wilson's Sorcerer of the Wildeeps but forgot to post about it. It's a little bit slight and short, story-wise (it's a novella, really, not a full novel) but it's fantastically well-written; I especially admire how Wilson melds African American Vernacular English and a high fantasy setting in a way that is first surprising and then just absolutely, seamlessly right. The worldbuilding is tantalizing, too, and I hope Wilson writes more in this universe. And did I mention that the main characters are queer men?


Other stuff: I have a 24-day streak on Duolingo in both German, which I'm just beginning, and French, which I studied for years and then neglected for years. Has anyone else noticed that some of the Duolingo example sentences are rather . . . dystopian? I keep getting ones like "Don't believe that soldier!" and "It's better to avoid that zone." Or, today, "A little robot came and saved them," which was nice.


A request: Now that I've joined the 21st century and have Netflix streaming and Spotify, I'd love recs for movies, TV shows, and especially music.

Logan

Mar. 3rd, 2017 04:23 pm
kindkit: A late-Victorian futuristic zeppelin. (Airship)
I saw Logan today. Non-spoilery reaction: it's pretty damn good and you should see it if you have any interest in the X-Men movieverse(s). Don't (unlike some idiots I saw today) bring young kids, though, because it's also pretty damn violent--apparently the creators thought they needed to justify that R rating with lots of blood.

Spoilers, spoilers, and more spoilers ensue )

various

Nov. 4th, 2016 11:29 am
kindkit: A late-Victorian futuristic zeppelin. (Airship)
1) I saw the movie Denial the other night. It's about the trial of Deborah Lipstadt, a history professor who was sued for libel by Holocaust denier David Irving after she called him a Holocaust denier. The script created a surprising amount of suspense and tension from a story to which most people know the ending (Lipstadt was acquitted on the grounds that everything she said about Irving was true), and the acting was great. Rachel Weisz may have overacted a little bit in some scenes, but it's hard to be sure because she was playing a brash American among a bunch of restrained middle-class English people. Andrew Scott was great as Lipstadt's solicitor, Tom Wilkinson marvellously nuanced as her barrister, and Mark Gatiss imbued a small role with a quiet, mysterious charisma. Anyone who thinks Scott and/or Gatiss can't act should see this film.

The script, by David Hare, is a delicate balancing act. The plot trajectory is almost that of a feel-good film, in which truth wins out and the bad guy is reproved and shamed. But the truth that wins out is one of the greatest atrocities in human history. The film, especially in the final sequence, sharply restrains our celebratory reactions. In the end, that's what I liked most about it.


2) After seeing the film, I read Lipstadt's book on the Eichmann trial (I haven't been able to get hold of her book on Holocaust denial yet, but I want to read it although it's well out of date by now.) The Eichmann book was disappointing. This gets a bit long )

3) In (somewhat) lighter reading, I've been thinking about re-reading Tana French's Dublin Murder Squad books so that I can finally read Secret Place and then the new one. I need to be reminded of the characters' backstories and interactions, but I'm not sure I can take that much concentrated bleakness in one big dose.

I'd like to know why so many contemporary mystery writers think the only story worth telling is one that makes you wish that whole human race would be wiped out in an asteroid strike.


4) Work post-mortem gathering tonight. I'm going, because I want to try to maintain relationships with people, but I can't say I'm eager. Hopefully the people I particularly want to see will be there, and not too many of the ones I don't.
kindkit: John Constantine dreaming of the end of the world (Hellblazer: Constantine dreams the apoca)
I saw X-Men: Apocalypse today. Thoughts under the cut )
kindkit: A late-Victorian futuristic zeppelin. (Airship)
I actually left the house for social purposes today. I went with a friend to see Eye in the Sky, with Helen Mirren and Alan Rickman, and then we had dinner at the local pho restaurant afterwards. (Their food is mediocre, in my opinion, but sometimes even mediocre pho is better than none.)

The movie was excellent and I recommend it lots, though you will not leave the cinema feeling cheerful. It's the only movie I've ever seen, I think, that is entirely about moral questions--specifically, in this case, the morality of a drone strike that will have horrifying consequences if carried out, and probably worse ones if it isn't. It's sort of like an hour and a half of a constantly escalating version of the trolley problem. The writing is intelligent and the acting, as you would expect, is first-rate.

My only reservation is my feeling, from news I don't follow too closely because it depresses me, that real world drone strikes are never given the level of thought we see from the characters in the film. It seems to be more like "yeah, let's blow up this suspected terrorist and never mind if the market/apartment building/village he happens to be near gets wiped out too." So I wonder if the film, bleak as it is, is actually too rosy.

Still, an excellent movie and a worthy last role for Alan Rickman. Rickman spends most of the film in a chair--he may have been already ill during filming, though I don't know that for sure--and is still absolutely compelling.
kindkit: Two cups of green tea. (Fandomless: Green tea)
As usual, I did a bit of cooking and baking. Yesterday I roasted some beets that had been lurking in my fridge and dressed them in a mustardy vinaigrette. I really ought to look into some other things to do with beets. Beets are delish but I'm a bit bored with this salad.

Also yesterday I made an approximation of a paella, with chicken, some Spanish chorizo, red and yellow peppers (capsicums), saffron, and a little smoked paprika. It was very tasty so I don't care how inauthentic it is. Next time I want to add some mussels or clams, though. Or shrimp, but I've been avoiding shrimp because it seems like it's all either environmentally disastrous, produced with slave labor, or both. (I'm sure there's acceptable shrimp on the market, but it's probably out of my price range. Mussels, on the other hand, are both cheap and sustainable, and I like them a lot.)

Today I discovered that I only had enough flour to bake muffins or soda bread (having forgotten to start proper bread yesterday), so naturally I chose muffins--cranberry pecan streusel muffins, to be exact. I used a recipe from the high-altitude baking book I have, but as has consistently been my experience with the book, the result was only okay. They didn't rise the way they were supposed to despite my following directions for my exact altitude, and the taste is a bit meh. The latter was probably not helped by my having to substitute lemon zest for the orange zest called for, and vanilla for the orange extract, but even so. Still, they're not bad and they used up the last of the whole cranberries that have been in my freezer since November.

I also ended up improvising a salad, loosely based on a recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi's Jerusalem. Their recipe is for deep-fried cauliflower florets with tahini-garlic dressing and pomegranate molasses. I roasted the cauliflower and an onion in a little olive oil, then when it had cooled I tossed some with romaine lettuce, some garlic croutons I made earlier, the tahini dressing, and some za'atar. Not bad at all, and I still have a lot of leftover cauliflower-and-onion mixture.

Otherwise I've done very little. On Friday I rented two movies with Mads Mikkelsen: King Arthur, which I am assured is the worst movie ever made but makes up for it by the chemistry between Mads and Hugh Dancy, and Valhalla Rising, which I gather from the blurb is mostly about Mads' character and others being tormented and horribly killed. So far I've yet to watch either, though I might try King Arthur tonight.
kindkit: A late-Victorian futuristic zeppelin. (Airship)
We're at the start of a nasty winter storm here. It's snowing more or less horizontally due to the wind, which is also howling around corners and occasionally rattling the windowframes. I have actually turned the heat on, which I try to avoid because it's not cheap, and I'm currently wearing five layers and am still rather cold. It's supposed to stay bad for about twenty-four hours, but fortunately I don't have to go anywhere. I did go to work today, but only from 7-noon and I was home long before things got ugly.

(Sunday morning ETA: All the really bad weather has missed my area so far. There's just a dusting of snow here, with another inch or two expected today. But east and south of here, it's very bad. If you're there, I hope you're indoors, safe, and warm.)

I had a mellow Christmas, consistently mostly of cheese and movies. I watched Mr. Holmes, which is very good if (I think) not quite as non-heterosexual as people assured me it was; anyway, the performances are excellent, especially Ian McKellen, of course, but also Laura Linney, who disappeared so completely into the role of Mrs. Munro that until I checked IMDB just now I had assumed Munro was played by a British actor, and Milo Parker in one of the best performances by a child actor I've ever seen. After Mr. Holmes and as an antidote to its seriousness, I watched Despicable Me, which I'm probably the last person on earth to see. It was fun! And funny! I liked it best before it started to become heartwarming, but I didn't even mind the heartwarming parts too much--perhaps because I have chosen to interpret them as a story about a single gay man starting a family, and be damned to what apparently happens in the sequel.

Then of course there was Yuletide. I got four lovely fics, thanks to the generosity of writers currently unknown. List and links under the cut )

I've been reading other Yuletide fics a bit, but Yuletide Fatigue set in unusually early for me this year and I'm finding it hard to want to read even things that I would normally be over the moon about.

I do have three recs so far, in the fandoms Rejseholdet, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, and The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, here at the top of my AO3 bookmarks list.
kindkit: Hot dog walking hand in hand with mustard but thinking of ketchup. (Fandomless: Hot dog/ketchup OTP)
1) I had a pretty good Thanksgiving, in the sense of having a day off and eating lots of chicken and mashed potatoes.

2) I survived Black Friday and then had Saturday and today off, making up for last weekend's non-weekend. I had to come out of my usual workplace hidey-hole for a few hours on Friday to help customers, but it wasn't too bad. There was a weird moment about halfway through the day of realizing that, while we at the store have been preparing for Black Friday for weeks, this is actually the beginning of the Christmas retail season and not the end. There's still a month of escalating madness to go.

Baking, books, TV and Age of Ultron under the cut )

Spectre

Nov. 14th, 2015 05:12 pm
kindkit: Images of Mycroft's tie, eyes, and cane. (Sherlock: Mycroft is proper)
I saw Spectre today.

spoilers under the cut )

Kingsman

Jun. 12th, 2015 05:24 pm
kindkit: Images of Mycroft's tie, eyes, and cane. (Sherlock: Mycroft is proper)
Kingsman just came out on DVD here in the US, so I finally got a chance to watch it.

do your secret-agent knock here to read more, including MAJOR spoilers )

omnibus

Jan. 7th, 2015 08:57 pm
kindkit: A late-Victorian futuristic zeppelin. (Default)
I'm quickly dashing in to say hello--my internet's out again and I'm using a free 1-hour trial from a wifi service.

1) Reading

As I mentioned, I bought myself Melissa Scott's Fairs' Point and Melissa Scott and Amy Griswold's Death at the Dionysus Club as a Christmas present. I've already talked about how much I enjoyed Fairs' Point. I also liked Dionysus very much, but not quite as much as Death by Silver. The plot of Dionysus works better, I think, and the worldbuilding feels more integrated, but the characterization and especially the relationship between Ned and Julian felt like it went over the same ground as the previous book. They had the same anxieties and misunderstandings, and despite the resolution of the last book, there wasn't much of a sense through most of this one of them having grown closer or learned to trust each other more. I realize that these things are a process, and in real life people/couples often do rehash the same issues again and again, but it still felt too same-y to me.

I also read Ben Aaronovitch's Foxglove Summer, the latest River of London book, and was sadly disappointed. It seemed to have about half a novel's worth of story (the resolution in particular was too easy and too pasted-on), and taking Peter out of London just wasn't a great idea, since part of the joy of the series is its vivid sense of place and history, and Peter doesn't have that same connection with the countryside, nor did Aaronovitch do anything all that interesting with Peter as an outsider. Also, not enough Nightingale. Not enough Nightingale by far. The one thing I really did like was that the book featured a gay man in a prominent supporting role, and Peter treated him in a collegial and friendly way without any of the nervous distancing he's shown towards queer people in the past. I don't know whether to credit Peter or Aaronovitch or both, but either way I was glad to see it.

After finishing Foxglove Summer I re-read the earlier books and enjoyed them very much, despite some irritating inconsistencies that become more noticeable when you read the books back to back. More on this, also on Nightingale and Peter/Nightingale )


3) Cooking

Since I had a lot of ham left over from Christmas, I have been doing Things With Ham. Besides lots of ham sandwiches, I've also cooked red beans and rice with the ham bone, and a potato, corn, and ham chowder. In both of these, besides the ham itself I used some of the juice from cooking the ham (with the considerable layer of fat removed). These juices are super super salty, but used in reasonable quantities in a large pot of beans or soup, incredibly delicious.

I haven't been doing much other cooking. We were still really busy at work until a few days ago, plus there are all the various Christmas leftovers. I'm still nibbling away at the fruitcake I baked, and also at a delicious cranberry cake that a customer at work gave me. When I see her again (assuming I can remember what she looks like, because I'm terrible at faces) I want to ask for the recipe. Though it seems to be a pretty basic pound cake with cranberries added. Yum.


4) Movies

Still haven't seen The Imitation Game. I'm hearing less than great things about it: that it fictionalizes too much and that it downplays Turing's gayness. I welcome comments from people who've seen it. One to see in the theater or should I wait for the DVD?


ETA 5) Awesomeness

I desperately want to read the story attached to this gorgeous illustration, but alas the link at the bottom of the Tumblr post I've linked to doesn't go to the story. It does, however, go to a website called "Vintage Homoerotic Illustrations," which is relevant to my interests and perhaps to yours. Warning: some of the "illustrations" are porn stills, but some of them are genuine old illustrations that fill me with delight.

pride

Nov. 13th, 2014 07:43 pm
kindkit: A late-Victorian futuristic zeppelin. (Airship)
Today I treated myself to a movie and saw Pride, which I loved. It's the semi-fictionalized story of a group of gay and lesbian activists who worked in support of the striking miners in 1984-85 (and it's much, much more fun than that description makes it sound). If you've seen The Full Monty or Brassed Off you'll be familiar with a lot of the tropes, but really, "a group of disparate people work together against oppression and become friends in the process" is the kind of trope I can get behind. Plus, the movie refreshingly focuses on friendship and solidarity, and while there are established couples in the story, there's no central romance. (Though I did find myself rather shamefacedly shipping Mark/Dai.)

Other good points: 1) The story includes a fat woman whose weight is not in any way ever at all an issue. Isn't even mentioned, while her intelligence and courage are very important to the story. 2) The story is unabashedly political and doesn't feel any need to present the government and corporations' view. 3) It doesn't avoid difficult topics, like the increasing tension between lesbian and gay male activists or the growing AIDS epidemic, but these things never overwhelm the main story.

Also the performances are very strong. I especially like Andrew Scott as Gethin, Imelda Staunton as Hefina, and Paddy Considine as Dai. Dominic West nearly steals the show as Gethin's boyfriend Jonathan, and for once I actually liked Bill Nighy as Cliff.

I hope lots and lots of people will see this and start writing fanfic.
kindkit: A late-Victorian futuristic zeppelin. (Airship)
Last week I rented Railway Man, the second recent Colin Firth film I've watched lately that has made me think Mr. Firth needs to be pickier about the roles he accepts. (The other was The Devil's Knot.) Railway Man isn't a bad film, but it's not as good as I was expecting. It's hampered by a script that has to accommodate people's ignorance of what happened to FEPOWs, and also by the fact that the war-era flashback sections necessarily feature younger actors. Poor Jeremy Irvine has the thankless task of playing young Eric Lomax, which means he has to play Colin Firth playing Eric Lomax, and while he tries valiantly his performance feels constrained. The most thankless task, though, goes to Nicole Kidman as Lomax's wife Patti, who in the script isn't so much a person as a romantic fantasy and a catalyst.

More seriously, the story suffers from the biopic tendency to idolize its subject, to the point where it's sort of implied that Eric Lomax's suffering was uniquely terrible. Not really spoilery, but cut, also warning for references to torture )

Also recently watched: Philby, Burgess, and Maclean, a 1977 Granada production starring Alan Bate as Philby, Derek Jacobi as Burgess, and Michael Culver (who played Major Brandt in Secret Army) as Maclean. The script is a bit stodgy and the music and other effects are almost hilariously overdramatic, but the acting is good. Jacobi gives Burgess a louche charm, and Culver is amazing as the unstable, doubting Maclean. Philby, the sanest character and therefore the least interesting, is unfortunately the focus of the story and I don't think Bate (not helped by the script) quite conveys a sense of hidden depths. Not something I can recommend unreservedly, but worth it if you're a fan of any of the actors, and there are standout scenes with Burgess and Maclean together and of Maclean's wife confronting Burgess.

And now, a pairings meme! Grabbed from [personal profile] flo_nelja.

click here for questions and answers )
kindkit: Finch looks thoughtfully at the computer and so does Bear (POI: Finch and Bear thinking)
1) My internet has gone away again. It's been gone for two days; all the usual caveats (it could come back at any time or it could stay gone) apply. So if I don't seem to be reading, posting, or commenting in a timely manner, that's why. (Right now I'm at Starbucks, enjoying both the wi-fi and the air conditioning.)

2) It turns out that the novel I thought didn't exist--the novel about WWII-era POWs that focuses on homoeroticism/homosexuality/love between men in POW camps--actually does. It's called Bitter Eden and was published in the UK in 2002 by the South African writer and activist Tatamkhulu Africa, who was a POW in Italy and Germany during the war. It's just now been republished by a US publisher. I'm about halfway through it; it's not an easy read for several reasons, which I'll post about once I've finished it, but I'd say it's a good novel as well as, by virtue of its subject matter, an important one.

3) I recently watched The Devil's Knot, an Atom Egoyan-directed drama very closely based (as in, they're using the real names and everything) on the case of the West Memphis Three, who were convicted of the 1993 murder of three young boys on extraordinarily unreliable evidence, plus the fact that they listened to heavy metal music and were interested in "the occult." Colin Firth plays an investigator working pro bono for the defense who begins to uncover how compromised and in some cases perjured the prosecution's evidence was, while Reese Witherspoon plays the mother of one of the victims, who begins to have doubts about the defendants' guilt. It's a decent movie, not great but powerful because the subject matter is powerful, and worth seeing for that if, like me, you're not sure you want to watch the series of three documentaries that have been made about the case. (Trigger warning for disturbing images, though--since even now no one knows exactly what happened--there's no onscreen violence.)

4) Today at work I received some unsolicited diet advice from a customer. That was awesome! (No it wasn't.) It's never happened to me before, and I'd like it to never happen again. (She recommended the paleo diet, by the way. Surprise surprise.)
kindkit: A late-Victorian futuristic zeppelin. (Airship)
Today was payday, and I indulged myself in a movie. I picked Captain America: The Winter Soldier over several movies I was more interested in (Railway Man, Only Lovers Left Alive, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Lunch Box) because it seemed like the one that would lose the most if watched on DVD rather than in the theater.

My thoughts under the cut, with major spoilers )

Before the movie they showed the trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy (which looks like an absolute piece of shit) and Days of Future Passed, which looks great and will be out soon soon soon! Also for about thirty other movies that all seemed to star Adam Sandler or one of his clones.
kindkit: Medieval image of a mapmaker constructing a globe (Fandomless: Mapmaker)
In news from the desert southwest of the US, it has been snowing intermittently all day. The snow melts as soon as it hits the ground, but it's still a bit of a shock in the middle of May. And tomorrow's supposed to be even colder.

Some folks were curious about things I included in the movie/tv meme I posted the other day, so, some explanations.

The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp made my list partly to represent the whole genre of WWII films, because the world wars have been a consuming interest of mine for several years now, and at least a vague interest ever since I was a teenager. Colonel Blimp also has a number of qualities that made me pick it out from the rest. To start with, it's simply a very good film in all respects. And because it was made during the war, it lacks the mythologizing and sentimentalizing that crop up in many (not all) WWII films made in the 1950s and 1960s. It has a strong m/m homoerotic element (always a plus for me), but it also has interesting female characters with agency and personality--which is probably another benefit of its being made during the war rather than during the postwar backlash. I've written more about the film here if anyone's curious.

An anon asked whether I think Brideshead Revisited (the miniseries, not the dreadful film from a few years ago) is worth rewatching. I can only say "I don't know." I haven't rewatched it for years, and I'm not sure if I could stand to rewatch the whole thing because I want to stop while Charles and Sebastian are happy and Charles is less of a complete git than he later becomes. But Brideshead was so formative for me that I had to put it on the list. When I was a young teenager in rural Minnesota, the only television station we reliably received was a PBS affiliate, and the things I watched then--Brideshead, Monty Python, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy--marked me for life. They were a glimpse into another world, but they also resonated for me in a way that American TV never had (this was the era of Dallas, the Dukes of Hazzard, and endless reruns of Hogan's Heroes and the Andy Griffith show in afternoon syndication). In particular, Brideshead was the first really homoerotic thing I'd ever seen onscreen; I'd already developed a reluctant taste for m/m homoeroticism, which I fed on fantasies and any hints or implications I could find in any media, but in Brideshead it was all right out in the open, and with the emotions, at least, lushly detailed too. Brideshead gave me a fondness for men walking arm in arm, pairs of men punting on lovely English rivers, men wading barefoot with their trousers rolled up, and men wearing white flannel. Plus the show boosted my developing Anglophilia, so I think it explains a lot about me.

As for Hot Fuzz--I didn't like it the first time I saw it. But I couldn't resist Simon Pegg and Nick Frost's chemistry for long. I guess it's on the list as "what every buddy movie should be but seldom is"?

Finally, I listed White Christmas partly because I really love Christmas, and partly because I really really love Danny Kaye. I still haven't figured out how he managed to have a stage person that was that gay and still be beloved in 1940s and 1950s America, but he did. (And yes, I am convinced by the biographical claims that Kaye himself was gay or bi. Not sure whether I believe he was really having an affair with Laurence Olivier, but I badly want to believe it.) Anyway, in White Christmas Kaye and Bing Crosby have astonishing chemistry as showbiz partners and best friends, and the het romance for Kaye's character is so blatantly tacked on that I find it ignorable. Plus, there's a bit with Crosby and Kaye sort of in drag. Yes, really.
kindkit: Images of Mycroft's tie, eyes, and cane. (Sherlock: Mycroft is proper)
Everyone should post their ten most CRUCIAL CRUCIAL CRUCIAL-ASS movies, like the movies that explain everything about yourselves in your current incarnations (not necessarily your ten favorite movies but the ten movies that you, as a person existing currently, feel would help people get to know you) (they can change later on obviously).

Blazing Saddles
Edward II (Derek Jarman version)
Hot Fuzz
Lawrence of Arabia
Life and Death of Colonel Blimp
Maurice
My Beautiful Laundrette
Some Like It Hot
Twelfth Night (Trevor Nunn film version)
White Christmas


Because I want to, I've extended the meme to include ten TV shows.

Brideshead Revisited
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Colditz
due South
Fast Show (aka, in the US, Brilliant)
Grenada Sherlock Holmes series
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Monty Python's Flying Circus
Person of Interest
Spaced


The done thing seems to be the post these without explanation, but feel free to ask about any choices that make you curious.

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