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neotheognis

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About me

I am Neo-Theognis, LibraryThing’s goosecap, RateYourMusic’s singervoice.

I review movies. I do not like rating them. Reducing them to a number is not helpful. But the site seems to be pushing me towards it, so I’m along for the ride, I guess.

Books are my favorite thing, but the visual side of the brain isn’t always bad, you know. Films are short, like little novellas, but (rather long) short stories can say a lot.

…. (Thought I already wrote this, lol:) When I watch a movie, I usually have a little light in the room, because although I look carefully at the screen—I certainly don’t brush my teeth and carry on a conversation while having the tablet on for noise, lol—I still like being reminded that it isn’t ‘real’. Not in the ordinary sense. Art is always a sort of stylized reality, not the unedited product.

…. Edit: I’m a very routine-oriented person, and very much a consummate un-binge-watcher with regards to TV/movies, but recently my device has had no power and that’s the screen I use for this stuff, so I’ve missed my daily 40-50 minutes of TV/movies or so, and let me tell you, I’ve felt more irritable, kinda like I did when I, Only Read Books, and the day is just a little too long at the end, without that and my odd few minutes of sportscasts, you know…. There are a lot of bad ways to watch TV, but it can help to break the day up.

…. Edit: I find I don’t spend as much time on TV (/movies) as I once thought that I would—a few times a week, a total of perhaps an hour or two. But I’m not paranoid about it as I once was. TV can end badly of course, but so can being a church rat or a box checker or a woo woo freak, you know. TV isn’t so much different from a popular novel, and popular novels sell to some extent for a reason, you know. We’re not made of ether, or wires.

About my collections

I watch movies in sittings of 20-30 minutes or so, so across days and days and not all at once—so slowly, although I’m going to be uploading movies I’ve seen in the days of my goosecap profile on LT, so I have a back catalog, you know.

Edit: Although I’ve started watching TV/movies more, lately: two, not one, 20-30 minute sittings, and every day, not just days off. Some of that time is spend on TV seasons, though, which I don’t put here. (I review them on LT.)

Edit: Although I notice that sometimes I miss the second TV session, even if I almost always get one in, and actually now that I think about it, maybe that’s good, and instead I can read my magazines more regularly, since there are opportunities in magazines you don’t get in a show, you know, the whole popular nonfiction thing, although it runs the whole gamut from People to The Lives & Times of the Nazi Fighters, you know; but National Geographic has pretty pictures (I basically buy the science & popular/travel ones), People gives you the backstories of popular shows, and you can get practical info from car, fashion, & success magazines. (My magazines go on LT.)

………………….

I like making and breaking the dreams of aspiring directors.

And dead ones.

……………………

About rating people: Seriously, though, for a long time I didn’t rate people, because sometimes I don’t care for someone’s WORK, but I feel weird “rating” a PERSON, and felt weird that people tag bands that are maybe not very manly and maybe a little romantic as “worthless”, etc. etc.—just to Scratch The Surface, on that issue, right. But I've decided just to rate people I think are better-or-best, really. Of course, everyone is wonderful but people’s works differ. And I realize it might seem naive to rate celebrities only highly, but life is too short to waste time giving attention to the iffy-or-worse people, you know. And I do largely watch movies to learn about actors, actresses, and directors.

Lists

Adventure comedy films (7 items)
Movie list by neotheognis
Last updated 1 week, 1 day ago
1970s movies (2 items)
Movie list by neotheognis
Last updated 1 week, 1 day ago
Romantic comedy films (5 items)
Movie list by neotheognis
Last updated 3 months ago
1990s movies (4 items)
Movie list by neotheognis
Last updated 3 months ago
2010s movies (7 items)
Movie list by neotheognis
Last updated 4 months, 2 weeks ago



Recent reviews

All reviews - Movies (21) - TV Shows (1)

When Eights Don’t Hate (But Bar the Gate)

Posted : 1 week, 1 day ago on 11 April 2024 07:38 (A review of Rocky)

Update: Events in my personal life have made me question whether perhaps my original title for this review, “When Eights Don’t Hate” was a little naive about the Classic American Enneagram Eight, you know—like, it’s natural, maybe, to want to let the ‘man of the people’ have his day in the sun, but it can lead to naivety and un-realism/cheerleading for kinda un-naive, un-idealist people who don’t exactly lead in with their heart, you know. Some things more closely related to the movie itself—the acquaintance who loves the movies, the scene where Rocky tries to tame the ‘tough girl’ from his neighborhood, right, among other scenes—kinda support that idea. (Re-assessment.) I mean, it’s not the worst movie, or the most unambiguous red flag, by any imagination, right: it’s not like saying, ‘Oh yeah, I saw “Get the Gringo”, it was Excellent’, right. It’s just that, there is a sort of naivety in America about the essential smash-and-grab personality type, given our history: and even though at the very same time we can sometimes often be extremely uptight about people who aren’t proper and classic-rich and uptight, you know. But there’s the mythology of the colonial governor’s mansion and the mythology of the colonial fighter, (the latter being a fighter not only against the British, lol), and they’re just—you know, very naive, and in the case of the fighter, about someone who isn’t even classically naive, right. 


Maybe the obscure 70s Poitier adventure really WAS better, you know. The white guy in that movie—I’m sorry, I don’t know all actors—arguably WAS still the most important character, but, it was more of a collaboration, rather than a cheerleading thing, you know. 


But either way there’s no way to make a perfect movie, or a perfect anything. Actually very few movies do I find to be exceptional, regardless of whether or not they are ‘classics’, you know. (shrugs) But anyway. 


………..


In the Enneagram, the Eight is the lusty, aggressive number. 


So yeah, I liked this, pretty uncontroversially, I guess, as much as the 1975 Sidney Poitier adventure that I liked but has been largely forgotten, right, (The Wilby Conspiracy), and I actually think that you would make yourself smaller by only liking serious, edgy, whatever it is—I mean, I hear Rocky won an award but it does seem pretty popular and simple, and not, you know, serious or edgy or whatever it is; I actually feel like I’ve seen too many, proportionally, of the serious adventures, the adventures into grandness, as opposed to other kinds of movies. The movie apparently does impress people, but not by trying to impress people, and I think that’s a valid style. 


And it is rough, but it has heart…. And he’s not, I don’t know, the perfect man, the ideal man for marrying, even though in a different time, a time that probably hasn’t come yet, it’s easy to imagine him being one sort of ideal man…. If I were Isis, or even Aphrodite, I wouldn’t select him as my first round draft pick, right…. But if he’s not the ideal man, IMO, he certainly is A man, and that’s a valid choice, you know. 


…. It’s funny, these kinds of guys can be jerks, you know: but I know I want to experience this movie, because if you had asked me before, when I was meditating on the “dark/scary” tarot cards in my way meditating through the Mythic Tarot, like if you had said, Suppose you drop a jar of processed corn syrup, basically, because you’re still spinning subconsciously about your co-worker (I work at a grocery store) there, and his, you know: a more accurate thing would have been, “Don’t mind me, Theodore; I’m just leaking from my leaky negativity canister: it leaks in between January and December…. Love you bro! Or I dunno: whatever”—that’s almost the sense of it—and something about being attacked triggers my skittishness, which turns off the basic life strength needed to hold a jar of corn goo, you know…. (I was only supposed to be picking up my check and was waiting for the bookkeeper to come back, so I didn’t have a bag on me.)…. But yeah, I knew even as I was writing about my decision to not flinch at the sometimes hairy, ugly disgusting nature of life that I wasn’t rooted in that yet, although somehow I didn’t think like Life was going to show me up within the hour or whatever…. Although people seem to perceive me as a very calm person, and will occasionally give me unsolicited positive feedback along those lines, sometimes while I’m wondering why my mind is like…. Making monkey noises while trying to tame a wild horse, basically…. Although I suppose I must have a lot of foundational calmness, despite the surface of my mind getting skittish or riled up easily—or maybe I’m just the philosophical equivalent of the pretty girl who never knows when she’s having a good hair day, right. But skittish, yeah—that’s why I gave up my horror movie hobby I once had—it just seemed like…. “The professor must have been discovering science before he got interrupted by the—ah! Jump scare!—“ You know, it didn’t feel like training for anything; jump scares are too intermittent and trivial to be consequential, although they are irritating…. But yeah, Leaky Canister wouldn’t have noticed anything angry about what I said, because I wasn’t angry…. But yeah: I do want to experience this movie. Carlos, son of the Jungfrau and Amadeus Mozart, once (apparently) said something like, “The best way to handle the other person’s negativity is to know your own”—or something like that, right…. 


So yeah: hairy, ugly, disgusting: that’s what you gotta get into sometimes, if you wanna live, right…. “Gawana kite?” Huh? (takes out mouth guard) “You wanna fight? C’mon; I’m Rocky—I’m a contender; (punch punch) (miscellaneous bar brawl fighter slang, lol) 


You gotta get in the ring. 


…. But yeah: even in boxing movies, there’s plot points and build-up, right…. Although, more so than in a horror movie or political drama, there’s a sense of, I don’t know, the brutally quotidian underbelly of the city, right. To you, it’s Thanksgiving. “But to me, it’s Thursday.” 


As for the love interest, certainly whether you write a men-centric or woman-centric story, it’s a patriarchal society, and one of about half a century ago now, right. And part of basically any society is that some stories are men-centric, so what’re gonna do, right. In a story like that…. And I mean, you could even argue that they’re not setting up beauty standards for Everywoman, right: although I think you have to ask if it’s beneficial that the main girl be essentially mousy and inconsequential, right. She’s not a fighter; she’s not a contender. People push her around; she goes along with it…. And that scene with Rocky and the tough girl who wasn’t the love interest, right, that he lays down the Law of Reputation to, you know: there’s no fucking doubt in my mind that that scene is way too fucking long and way too fucking stupid…. If he’s a fighter, he should Want a girl with a little life in her; who tells fighters to obey the rules that church mice set up, right? Or do they do the punching that the church mice are afraid to do? 


But yeah, it’s bordering on kinda an older movie in that sense, but because I wanted to appreciate a snow-white or whatever Creed called the idea, a snow-white fighter, alongside and to the same extent as the obscure Sidney Poitier/South Africa political adventure, I’ll say that this is not just a basic-good four stars movie, but I’ll give it that extra point and call it 9/10 for being the first movie in a successful franchise: because I liked the basic emotive idea and theme of it being about life in the hairy, ugly, disgusting underbelly of the city, day in day out, and how you gotta be a contender, you know. 


…. But yeah: I was with my family, and especially when I was trying to follow my dad’s ineffective driving, I wanted to go back to the 70s so I could pull up besides a couple I didn’t know and say, Take her to the zoo~ you know. I understand the appeal of popular culture. 


I wanted to have spies tell me petty details of my relatives’ lives, so I could say, I hear things. Don’t you think I hear things? ~They’d probs be duly impressed, right. 


(cartoon old lady voice) I hear goosecap’s doing real good now—I think he runs the mafia. 


My family is just like Gen Z—they slay…. Although more in the sense of, “You’re killing me, Smalls.” (face palm emoji) 


…. But yeah, he’s not a bad guy. I don’t know that I admire him, but he’s not a bad guy. Certainly not as an individual. Maybe he is a little bad; we all partake in things that aren’t ours. But people told him education wasn’t for him, and, anyway, he needed to learn things that “our” schools don’t really teach, right. 


But yeah it’s funny: they said “dago” in the 70s and they still half-meant it, right; although America always wants the guy on-the-bottom-but-not-quite-on-the-bottom to feel taken care of, right…. Although, what did they ever ~really~ do for him, right? Did they form in him an admirable character? 


And, yeah: it’s a library DVD I was watching bit by bit, and Mercury is slowly easing into retrograde, right, but: the DVD got bad on me for a minute or two of the movie—and it took longer than a minute or two to figure out where the bad patch ended, probably five or six minutes—right as the classic-rich-guy asked Rocky if he “believed America was the land of opportunity”. I don’t know how you read that, assuming you believe in meaningful coincidence. Like in the real movie of life, does moment not happen, or does it maybe happen, but in the movie God makes about life, does a different music play, or something…. 


I mean, he’s not a “bad man” in himself: and it’s curious to see him represented as a good one, you know. 


…. The depths of the man who thinks he’s no good who’s friends are telling him he can make it and he says that they’re no good and that he doesn’t think that they think that he can make it. 


…. And yeah: it’s funny or whatever, right—Rocky wants to make out~ It’s A Good Idea; Rocky doesn’t want to make out~ It’s Not A Good Idea. Ok. 


That said, I don’t know if I’d say “most”, but many, I suppose, men who are probably old enough to remember this movie (way back at the back end of the ethnic miracle in the 70s, right) are, in the context of this sorta thing, doing a somewhat good job—not punching people in the face, too often, etc. Some of the time, obviously. 


Although I don’t mean “punching” literally exactly—boxing isn’t really my thing to watch, basically because the score/outcome is usually so arbitrary, you know; American football is probably at least as “violent” and to some extent it’s a perfectly amusing sport to watch, you know…. But yeah, boxing lends itself to storytelling, right…. 


…. We all have negative thoughts, but I do wonder if the message of the movie isn’t basically, You can think like a loser, feel like a schmuck—and you can still be the title character!…. All you need to do is learn this little trick by your fellow didn’t-used-to-be-white ethnic American…. Some of the lines are really crazy: you can’t make this crap up, right (crying laughing emoji) …. Although they almost let the girl be like, a real supporting character: it gets very close, right—so close…. And her brother is like the difficult-to-believe stereotype of the guy like that, so that he can take the fall and we like the title character better…. It’s all about the title character…. 


But it’s better than having your car get worked on, lol. “Hey Rocky tell that guy his car is ready!” (Rocky) Uh hello Mr. Nobody; my name is Nobody; I mean—Rocky. Your car is ready for pickup, will you be paying cash or card?…. 


~But yeah: it’s interesting perspective-for-life, you know. Sometimes you meet guys, masculine men, especially but certainly not exclusively older and/or white, and it’s like…. Yeah, that guy’s not doing so bad. Think of how he was educated by society, right? First he was told he wasn’t worth no education, and then he was educated in a bunch of bullshit ideas nobody who respected him ever told him to question, right…. 


The training scene was certainly entertaining. 


…. And the other thing is, it’s not really paced properly, you know. My guess is that the fight should have ended about 80% of the way through a story of this length, and I’m over 80% of the way through, and it’s just, about, to begin, right. Really, it’s going to end, and there’s going to be just enough time for him to raise his hands up into the air and shout some vague, stupid thing, before the credits roll. There is a difference between fighting some kind of sports-fight to win at life and prove you’re a real champ or whatever, and being like an escape artist who literally just punches people sometimes, you know. Very indifferent storytelling; mediocre, really. 


…. But yeah: no matter how American you are, epithet, the Irish-Italians will always be more American just by advertising their supposed countries of origin, right. 


(draws self up) And that’s because this is the United States of America. (beat) (chuckles)  


…. And yeah, it would be funny to make a list of the things Apollo/Apollo’s people promote so that we can have a laugh at their expense, right. (Money/fashion/Canada, etc.) 


But don’t do that. You’ll get a headache. lol. 


…. Life lessons: if you punch people enough, eventually, I don’t know, their whole face, right. It looks different…. 


But yeah, now we know what Rocky has to go through before he can feel the slightest emotion, lol…. 


…. …. “Do you hate anybody, Rocky?” No man, I don’t hate nobody. I don’t hate nobody, nothing like that. I don’t feel…. I don’t feel…. I mean…. Say, boss: what was the question?”



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Club Woodhouse

Posted : 3 months ago on 18 January 2024 09:25 (A review of Clueless )

I didn’t enjoy this, although I expected to. I didn’t like “Emma”, it was one of my less-liked Jane books, but I anticipated a modernization making it seem less…. Something. But, it certainly seemed…. Something. I guess if you’re Knightley/Paul Rudd you don’t really like Club Woodhouse, you know. I wonder if I’m as unbearable as his character is. I guess the actress is pretty, although I don’t know her, really. 


I don’t know what it is. (shrugs) 


…. I guess I just didn’t anticipate that being an idiot once-born version of a priestess is intrinsic to Emma’s (Cher’s) character, even with the Anglo-centrism moderated, you know. 


…. “His whole idea of acting like a family is to criticize me.” 


He’s met my father…. 


So yeah, the segment I just watched wasn’t in actuality better, really, than the rest of it—although it is certainly easier to like a clueless girl when she’s all, “What important lesson is our Mother trying to teach me? I feel like this movie is almost over!”—but I liked it rather better. I guess I was more attuned to it. 


…. And, while it’s incidental to the “main plot” or whatever, the freeway scene is good because, although it reinforces gender stereotypes, it shows the Black couple, (incidentally if necessarily with Emma/Cher present), go through a traumatic experience together—and come out of it together, too. (And, alive, of course.) 


…. It’s cute. I was wrong; it’s cute. 


And man, I want to have a house like that. I don’t want to be a lawyer—I’m sure somebody has to do it, and I’m not saying they’re bad or telling a ‘lawyer joke’; but I Cannot imagine arguing with people for a living—but there are things I want to do, and having a house like that, stairs like that, that would be alright…. 


To have the excellence of one’s relationship be mirrored by the excellence of one’s stairs: that would be alright. (winky emoji) 



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The Sensationalist

Posted : 4 months, 2 weeks ago on 4 December 2023 10:06 (A review of Northanger Abbey)

N.B. I’m against classifying made-for-TV movies as “TV”—are there episodes? What’s going on in people’s heads that this is called “TV”? 


Okay. 


…………………

Well, I’m on the wrong side of the Ethnic Miracle for Irish nationalism in the USA, and the wrong generation for it—some people stay very set in their ways until the end, at least in petty ways: the old Irish man in America might vote for reactionary I-am-the-Man politics, but he’d never watch a Jane Austen movie—and the wrong age, too. Oftentimes growing up we live in the world, the headspace, that our parents returned to when they nested, that of their youth, and then we grow up and think, The hell was that all about right? 


Which is a long-winded way of saying that I’m sure Morgues (my pet name for the Morrigan) won’t shake a pitchfork at me for playing the shoneen, you know…. You can’t tell an Aquarius what not to do. You really can’t. They’ll clear their whole schedule to do those things, you know. 


Perhaps that’s an exaggeration. 


But anyway, I forgot how C.S. Lewis-y Northanger is; it’s like a moral mystery: there’s the Tilney kids and the Thorpe kids and one set is good and one set is bad, and blimey if I’ve forgotten which is which…. Largely because it’s not, thrilling, you know. A little formulaic…. Like halfway between Narnia, a veritable fairy-tale Bible, and a proper-pop-romance, you know…. 


Anyway, I do kinda think that to a certain extent, Northanger actually works better on the screen than on the page—Jane’s rational prose and stylistic sheen to everything disguises the fact that she’s talking about a sensationalist, basically, really. (The historicists always say ‘gothic’, hoping that you don’t know what they mean, so that they can go away giggling, having won the game.) Just showing the absurd fantasies of a weak woman—for lack of a better term—visually: bandits come and whisk her away to some mountain fortress for some secret purpose that everyone knows…. In a sense that works better, from a certain point of view, than educating people about names of book titles and authors, amounting to thousands upon thousands of pages of now antiquarian literature that interests relatively few, and which is probably no more of note, really, than say Victoria Holt, to speak only of the 20th century dead, you know. I don’t know who writes “gothic” stuff now. I suppose some of it is more sensationalist than others. Well, I suppose “Twilight” vaguely fits the bill, you know. (dodges tomato) “Get out of here, bum! This is civilization—not some damn little girl show!” 


(tomato emoji)


I suppose there’s no fighting THAT sentiment, right. The anti-sensationalist sentiment! 


…. Yes, now I remember who is the ‘good’ family and which the ‘bad’, although the good kid’s dad or whatever is a little dodgy, in an over-proper way…. Very C.S. Lewis-y, kinda moral romancing, Old Sagittarius, you know…. 


It is funny how you couldn’t go on a date without a chaperone (you’d get assassinated), but you could lie and twist people’s arms to be a pliable chaperone to serve your purpose…. 


…. Anyway, be that as it may. 


Movies are short, but I do think it’s a simple story, maybe even for Jane, and I really do think it benefits from the quotes from the ‘bad’ books, you know. 


And as hemmed-in as Jane’s stories are, there are real benefits to its being a comedy, and a non-adventure, since the ‘bad’ people really do not deserve to die, you know, as they might well die in a sci-fi show, or even in Shakespeare. 


…. Although while there’s no sword fighting in Jane’s stories, even in Northanger, Jane’s men tend to come off as being rather strong—wise, calm…. Strong, basically: warriors at peace. Jane’s girls on the other hand often come off as being rather foolish, although you could take that in different ways as to what was in her head, you know. Journalists flatter themselves that they do and novelists do not, but maybe it is the other way round, or else maybe they are the same, you know. Who writes a character that doesn’t exist? But yeah, the Northanger girl and the Mansfield girl both come off as rather foolish, you know: good-because-lacking-the-power-to-do-wrong. It obviously has an unfortunate layer, but on this plane of consciousness, having the power to do wrong is preferable to the alternative. 


…. It’s a very simple story, very dualistic. I suppose children are often so, and I suppose in the old hat way it is an excellent story for children—feminine children, anyway. I wonder if there are any adaptations with talking animals or animated versions…. Though perhaps children are not quite like that anymore. I do know that masculine and Yankee Doodle kids wouldn’t like it, since there’s no fighting, they’re British, and two of the worst characters are the two main military men! I suppose it’s a classic feminine story, in that way.



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The Adventure of the Clueless Woman

Posted : 5 months, 1 week ago on 9 November 2023 06:36 (A review of Charade (1963))

“I don’t know.” (multiple times) 


“If you’re trying to frighten me…. You’re doing a very good job.” 


~ Audrey’s character 


“It doesn’t sound like the sort of thing a young woman can handle by herself.” 


~ Cary’s character 


These inspiring, uplifting sound bites come from the 1963 adventure comedy/romantic adventure “Charade”, with Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant. In a lot of ways, it is kinda a stupid 1963 movie, you know. Think of John singing, “Money: that’s what I want”, with a little help from Paul and George. But, like an early Beatles song, it has redeeming elements if you don’t take the brainiac elements too seriously. A lot of adventure stories don’t take themselves too seriously, of which this is obviously one, you know. Audrey is cool all around; Cary has a nice, relaxing voice. Suave. Anyway, adventures can be fun, I guess…. Sometimes even when they’re a little stupid, right. I mean, it was interesting. I could watch it; I was curious as to what would happen…. It was just also stupid, you know…. 


Anyway, I guess it’s different in that it’s mildly unlike the other two Stanley Donen movies I’ve watched so far, which were straight romances. (On the Town & Singing in the Rain). This reminded me more of “Father Goose”…. 


…. Despite being racist in passing (and implicitly, generally), eventually it kinda dumps most of the “Father Goose”-esque throwaway entertainment style and becomes a reasonably competent action adventure. I’d say it’s almost clever; it’s almost smart. 


…. It’s fun; it’s not like the Christmas movie they play in the monastery, you know. 


…. It’s well-acted, and the ending is surprisingly good. 


So yeah. Aside from the fact that it’s kinda that old-60s-probably-before-the-Rolling-Stones-were-a-big-deal (one of the actors reminded me of Mick Jagger, but I don’t know if that was planned)—just kinda ‘straight’, you know. It’s not like ‘The Wilby Conspiracy’, right, but in a way it might be as good. 


And just basically, in that Hollywood/once-born/un-initiated way, it’s not such a bad movie. It’s almost pretty good…. And yes, my name is probably Kevin, and I come from the Mists of…. The Mists of…. Was it the Mists of the Atlantic? 


I come from the mist. 


But that doesn’t interest you…. 


But, yes: it can always surprise me, just how once-born I can be. And not just because of this. 




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English Mythology (Becomes London Mythology)

Posted : 5 months, 2 weeks ago on 2 November 2023 12:00 (A review of Persuasion (2022))

First, let me just say that Jane Austen is English mythology, so, I mean, the legalists, sorry the historians, sorry the literary critics, don’t think that this is “accurate” (you don’t even want to know what angry aristocrat nerds are like—I’m telling you: you don’t), but basically: the character who talks to herself talking to you, who doesn’t notice you replying in nonsense Italian? My mother. 


So it’s accurate. 


I originally thought this was by Joe Wright—who’s kinda a sorta interesting literary adaption director, who did a P&P movie, and I searched Netflix for him and came up with this, and didn’t check the credits to make sure before I started watching. But it’s ok; I can do a Jane Austen trio instead of a specific director trio, since it’s by an unknown girl—so good (girl) but also bad (unknown). So anyway…. 


“There’s nothing worse than thinking you’ve ruined your life, and realizing you have much further to fall.” 


So, as I wrote before, (I’m actually editing now! So unlike me!) Jane is one of the most rational and calm-yet-comic writers, and with a decent literary director, it can be fun. It didn’t like, Change My Life, because I knew the book—it was just easy, but I liked that. But although it is easy to like Jane for what’s not there, even if it is there—there’s plenty of masked suffering of being around gendered English people, the feminine prick men and the hyper-feminine ill women, but at the same time, I think that, especially in a movie with its visual/physical intelligence, there’s a lot to just ~enjoy, without the whole, drop-dead-for-love thing. (As much as we’d all like to, women included, men included.) I don’t know; it’s like, just, they have this Nice House, and they visit Wonderful House: you accustom yourself to there being good things in the world, even if people tend to use those good things unwisely. Most stories have a romance plot, but in the King Arthur books—and I love Arthurian mythology; but in the Arthur books it’s like, tribal times; dead men drumming; and—yeah, I mean: anything that’s not abstract like poetry or music involves suffering, but in Nice House stories it’s like, ordinary suffering, and extraordinary wealth, whereas in an adventure it’s extraordinary suffering, the looming possibility of death, and the ever-present shadow of perversion and scandal, perhaps. And don’t get me wrong—sometimes people need to get a little fucking compassion about not ringing the village church bells and crying perversion, but…. I mean, it happens because of unusual unconsciousness, unusualness. Sometimes, all you need, is, either love, or, a story you already know from a longer telling, and just beauty—gardens, mansions…. And a heroine who is also a narrator. That’s nice. Good movie. 


Also, it’s funny: I knew this was 2022, but I thought it was Joe Wright, so (and I’m trying not to malign Joe here, although it’s funny it’s not—it’s like, Well, anyway) so I thought that the use of Black talent was a nice touch, in light of the “Pan” fiasco, you know. This movie is like, ‘You’re welcome to swing by my place anytime’; that movie was like: So we can spend more time together, I’m going to let you keep living in like 20% of your house. It’s still a nice touch, even if the cleaning up mistakes is less of a, personal, mea culpa? 


And, you know, certainly one (very) subtle (Jane-style subtle!) compliment doesn’t erase in people’s minds another very strongly implied unconscious disrespect, not in the world we live in, right—and by that, I don’t mean any particular group. But it’s a lot more human and open to Black people than Hollywood usually is, and even the rest of the world, as the occasional (numerous, though not by percentages) book or movie on how Black people have usually been treated will attest…. 


And just that a Black man could end up with a white woman who was the sister of the heroine and not the heroine: the shadow, the whiney little git with nothing on Whitney, you know. And that it’s in a fucking Jane Austen mythos, you know. 


And if anybody tells you that Anne Elliot looking directly at the screen doesn’t work…. I don’t know: have Them make a movie about Their life, lol. 


…. “It angers me that the world denies you the opportunity for a public life. You’d make a great admiral.” 


Hey Jude, don’t make it bad. (winks) 


…. You always forget that Jane was a Sagittarius, even though it fits like a glove. Jack too. You’d think with all that Pevensie crap that he was a Capricorn, but he wasn’t. That was just the time they lived in—it was before the revolution. 


It was a slow revolution, not like the French one, but…. 


…. I’m glad I watched this though, not only because it’s a great story, but because when I read it, in certain parts, I got more the themes than the plot, you know: like the advanced but not the simple, because it’s so intricate, sometimes it’s easier to see the trees than the forest the way it is in book-form…. 


…. “Joy—pardon me—I’m experiencing joy….” 


Now, if he had been looking at the camera: that would have been perfect. 


…. It’s like the drama of Black Athena and Psyche, that part of it…. 


But I’m with cousin Elliot: you can always romance the girl later…. Making sure you inherit the estate, cannot wait. (laughing cat emoji) 


…. This was the equal to any of the best Greta Gerwigs: whether “Lady Bird” or “Little Women”, this is of the same quality. 


…. Say not that England has no future. 



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X Marks the Spot

Posted : 5 months, 3 weeks ago on 26 October 2023 03:00 (A review of Malcolm X)

Malcolm X is cool. 

I recently read that this is one of W. Kamau Bell’s favorite movies (his favorite movie by Spike Lee, one of his favorite directors), so I thought I’d dig into the memory banks to see if I could provide my own thoughts. 

I just looked and I was surprised by how long this movie is (3+ hours) by the standards of film; I watch movies in pieces like they were books, so I guess a movie never seems ‘long’ to me. Also, it did seem kinda short to me compared to the 600+ page book it’s based on that I read. (His memoir.) It’s trite and half true at best to say that movies aren’t as good as books—it’s based on a bias against visual learning which is pretty colonial and in an odd sort of way, superficial. Especially for a book-to-movie like this, it is nice to SEE sympathetic Blackness, you know. But movies are, since they’re conventionally seen in one long marathon viewing, rather short, really. Really what they should do is create a miniseries or something—6+ hours, with at least three episodes, one for each section of his life: early life when he was a child/young adult/hustler, then the Nation of Islam, then his universalist period and assassination…. I don’t know; I guess the market for movies is bigger. Maybe if enough time passes there might be demand for something like I’ve described, if we’re lucky. 

But it’s a good movie, I guess. Maybe we’re at least marginally lucky that there’s cinema now about Blacks and diverse people if you look for it, at least. 

So yeah…. 

I mean, in white folk-memory people don’t understand Malcolm X, but ‘60s civil rights without Malcolm X is like the Beatles without John Lennon, you know; it just doesn’t make any sense. As much as I love Paul, you know. (smiles) Wrong place to bring that up, I know. LOL. 



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The Child in the Garden

Posted : 6 months ago on 22 October 2023 08:58 (A review of It's a Wonderful Life (1947))

It’s certainly a product of the Forties, although in some ways America hasn’t changed that much. It’s one window on life. There’s of course a bandwagon to slap the Classics on the back, but it is more earnest and elegant than the 49th percentile movie of today, and there is something to be said for that…. 


It’s very grown-up yet very cute, of course. Of course, it’s centered around the familiar: the familiar race & gender, the middle-class-yet-not-rich, the familiar aches and pains about the wealthy, the servant, the familiar sort of hero personality where you endanger yourself through service and lack of self-worth. Of course, it’s also a decent window on some of the ugliness of early 20th-century America—the beatings and the crudeness, for example, even though as the hero you’re supposed to give of yourself and sigh, right. 


I know that must sound very cynical; I suppose that the culturally appropriate thing to do would be to give of myself/silence myself, and write an ad to something-other-than-money, you know. But I don’t see it as a bad movie, you know. I like Greta Gerwig, but I thought this was better than “Barbie”, for example. As a metaphor or something, it had a lot of promise, but it was no metaphor; she was literally a doll; she was a literal doll…. Anyway, Frank Capra ‘47 is good: very grown-up yet very cute…. Don’t knock yourself out, but it’s a very decent movie. 


…. It’s probably one of the better movies of the 1940s, or Old Hollywood comedy-drama/observational comedy movies. Beyond that, it doesn’t make much sense comparing things that aren’t alike, you know. ~Was it better than the Harry Styles Dunkirk movie? Why, funny you should ask. My father died before that movie came out, but he saw it recently as a spectral DVD, and he reported to me in a seance that it left him feeling cold…. 


…. It’s very classical: the shadow is always another person, never ~George Bailey, you know. But it’s a cute old movie. 


…. It almost makes me nostalgic for a world that I’ve never seen or lived in, and never would want to see or live in, you know. 


…. The climax isn’t very naturalistic or satisfying. I don’t mean that there can’t be angels, but it’s very: la la la, life is wonderful, life is won—(looks at watch)—ap, movie’s almost over, (cranks crank and George Bailey’s life improbably falls apart overnight). I mean, he certainly did have scorn for money, and that can wreck your life. No single action that takes place is impossible, but the feel of it is all off. For you to trust your idiot friend to take tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars (8K 1947 money) to the bank and he just loses the whole kitten caboodle—a lot would have to lead up to that, some kind of simmering insanity, you know. It doesn’t just fall out of a clear blue sky. Frank Capra is funny to watch, but if that was his notion of trouble, he must not have had a very firm grip on things. Very black or white. Dickens or jail, basically. Very strange…. 


It basically just seems to me, very materialistic, in a subtle way—albeit with a few angels thrown in as an afterthought. Certainly religion is a strange thing, and without it Frank is quite cute—but he just seems like a child, knowing very little of the powers of life and death that are out there. 


…. It kind of reminds me of Mr Collins from P&P: I’m an inconsequential nobody, but I’m also the reason why the Jazz Age never happened and everything’s good, you know. (Karen the Psychoanalyst wrote about that kind of person.) 


It’s sort of cute, though. It shows that a culture that has a lot of unresolved issues can be very innocent, in a certain sense of the word…. 


Quite grandiose, though, at the end. “I did a favor for Frank Capra. He was going downhill, but I saved him by loaning him a dime and he never made another mistake after that, and that’s the reason why nobody watches Shadow Knight’s movies and improbable nonsense never happened and it’s all because of me! It’s all because of me! I thought I was just an ordinary slightly-rich-but-not-too-rich white man: it turns out I’m God’s deputy! Hahahaha….” 


Slightly cracked, but cute…. 


Terrible transitions, though; it’s like he didn’t know what they were. He just flipped a switch, you know…. 


(Clarence in heaven eating a cupcake) Ah, that’s perfect: it’s just slightly rich—but not TOO rich…. (leaves the server a nice tip, and smiles as he leaves) 



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Viking-Dragon Relations, Part One

Posted : 7 months, 1 week ago on 14 September 2023 07:25 (A review of How to Train Your Dragon (2010))

It is kinda sad how if being boss is where it’s at, the guy is boss, and if being adorable where it’s at, the guy is adorable—I guess that much is okay—but then the girl is like the Other Thing, whichever one Isn’t, where it’s at, right. Surely there could still have been conflict and plot if they were both onboard with their themes/values? A whole bloody Viking village would be thinking they were nuts! 


(shrugs) But at least it’s not about spilling dragon gore genocidally, right. It’s basically a movie about a boy who has a dog…. A dog that can fly, right…. 


I guess it tries to make up in human-dragon relations what it lacks in gender relations, lol. 


…. I mean, I didn’t realize I’d want “Annabeth Does Obedience School” to be a whole separate work of art, right, instead of a book chapter…. 


…. “I’m not one of them” is a harsh message. 


It’s also not true. Aren’t we all one of “them”, in the end? 


It’s not terrible, but it is rather ambivalent, in a lot of ways. 


But it is like a lot of early 2010s movies, and there were some that were worse. 


…. I mean, I realize that people don’t take children or their media seriously enough to consider what I’m about to say at face value, (“Let’s topple the dragon dictatorship, and tell dad to push off, to boot! Woo hoo! We’re the children of America, and we don’t like Boomers, or, for that matter, Iraqis….” “What are you talking about laddie? (painfully punch-slaps my back in a friendly way) They’re just a bunch of stupid runts having a good time!”), but it’s a very ambivalent thing, very morally ambivalent. 


And yes, I realize that this is you, not taking me seriously as I say that. 


…. Of course, I sorta get the trepidation about not moralizing to children (like grandpa’s church, say), because—although this isn’t what you get from children’s media, sometimes—people often expect children to be more moral than adults, you know. 


“Tell grandpa you’re thankful that he depleted his petty cash to buy us ice cream…. (leans in) I vote we send grandpa to the island; I mean, to the nursing home. Whether he likes it, or not.” 


And I really can’t comment on that, you know. It’s just…. It’s not worth talking about. 


…. Anyway, I know that the Morrigan is a Celtic deity and not a Germanic one, and so for that and other reasons, I’m sure people will hit the metaphorical ‘Don’t care/you’re crazy’ button, right. But I think Astrid would be a lot like the Morrigan if Astrid were a real character…. And I’ve been using tarot to ask the Morrigan some questions, and boy, some of them are wild…. I guess that’s a battle for another day. 


But in general, it is true that it is hard to like/respect/be attracted to/ girls that are fragile and weak, you know…. Although I still watch soccer like a Buddhist, if a Buddhist could watch soccer. I guess if you were a “real” Buddhist you wouldn’t. Being a “real” Buddhist is a lot like being a “real” man, although on the mental/etheric spheres rather than the physical one, which is what most people think of first. 


…. But, yeah. I mean, it wasn’t good; it wasn’t bad. It wasn’t worse than others movies, and it wasn’t better. 


So yeah. Whatever. Okay. 


I’m going to go either read “The Mists of Avalon” now, or meditate on whether “Lilo & Stitch” is any better. 


But, yeah, whatever. Okay. 



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Far From Fair Verona

Posted : 8 months ago on 22 August 2023 11:55 (A review of The Eclipse)

I found I didn’t like this movie as well as M.A.‘s preceding 1960 & 1961 movies (Adventure & Night), but I don’t know whether that’s because it was done less well or because I’ve cooled to M’s style, you know. It’s not like, the Romeo & Juliet Italians, you know. Shakespeare wasn’t really considered “good” during his own time, whereas M.A. either is “good” or can pass for it, I think. There was a time when I was really attracted to that, you know—the calm intellectualism, the micro version of the “fragile peace”, you know. I don’t know. Anyway, he does do some themes and stuff probably about as well as in the other two, what the hell do I know—most strikingly in the kinda “factual”/noncommittal (and therefore rather disturbing) take on racism, and also of course romance and other relationships, and even business life in 1962, you know…. It was the Jazz Age, I guess, kinda that mid-century stilted version, and it was the age of the chess club, you know, even when people are quarreling on their dates…. Although, and I don’t know how much of this is watching the M.A. movies and how much is just the life-journey/life-cycle, but I find I’m no longer scared to look at the faces of people who are so pretty that they’re almost scary, you know. People who are…. Italian, lol. And yes, I’m not Gen Z; I still say lol—nothing against you kids out there, though, wherever you are! (laughing cat emoji). 








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Boys Are Weird, Chico

Posted : 8 months, 2 weeks ago on 4 August 2023 11:02 (A review of Napoleon Dynamite (2004))

I didn’t Quite dislike this movie, but I could only watch twenty minutes at a time, not thirty. (I watched slightly larger chunks near the end so it’d be more like, round numbers, you know. Plus, it’s always more exciting to finish something up.) 


Well, I guess for a lot of people this is like the correct masculine version of being a teenager, right. “Hollywood is such shite; if only there were fewer girls and more disgusting boys lol.” Which is kinda almost cool; the only thing is, while I like girls (I must NOT be a straight guy lol—loopy face smilie), boys are…. Different. It’s amazing to me that a gender that so dominates society can be so, different, from what’s normal, you know….


Anyway, in case you were wondering: I’m not being judgmental; I took a class on that one time, lol…. You know, one time my dad—and I mean, my dad is my dad, but I don’t really like him that much; I hope I don’t make the same mistakes—he was talking about how one of the old chicks at his Bible study thought he was digging too deep, forgot to call 411 or whatever, and said you know, “I think the people who try to Figure Everything Out are arrogant”, so the aristocrat of the Bible study says: I don’t think they’re arrogant…. And it’s like Dad, you know that, because of how arrogant YOU are, because YOU are that person, right…. Yeah, that’s why the old guard church man is so set against there being such a thing as a point of view, you know—any time, ever, or whenever I say, right…. But yeah, that said, I read a book on being non-judgmental once, so I’m not judging Napoleon. (laughing with tears cat smilie) 


It’s just that he’s so ugly, you know…. I mean, not the way he looks, but like: the way he acts and like, everything about him….


Obvs. 


But again: I am OBJECTIVE knowledge, right. 


There ain’t no red trick that can stop me from being everyone, while dismissing most people. (ok sign smilie) 


Anyway, it’s fine—boys are too weird; girls are too perfect…. 


I like girls better, though. They’re better for sex. (laughing cat smilie). 


But I mean, I feel a little conflicted, because now I started to explore this director, (I do them in threes), and I can sorta get through it, and sometimes it surprises me and sometimes it even doesn’t disgust me, but…. But I would NOT date Napoleon, if I were a girl. 


That’s not what I’m going for. (laughing with tears cat smilie) 


But I don’t know; I’ve watched some questionable Old Hollywood movies—I guess now I can watch some questionable 21st century movies, right…. 


And I guess nothing’s as questionable as those 40s movies, or whatever, but it’s not like Napoleon wins an award for the Pedro romance, right…. I don’t know; some people like it, I guess…. 


Then again, some people are crazy. (melting face smilie) 


…. But it’s okay, because when the revolution comes, we won’t need girls anymore. We’ll be cyborg beings that reproduce by welding on replacement sheet metal over the rotting flesh, and eat tater tots that we put in our pants pockets, you know. 


…. I mean, I think it’s important to see both sides of an issue and be really subtle and indirect, so let me just close by saying: imagine a gay guy who’s a comedian; what would he say about Napoleon. “OMG, he’s so UGLY, OH MY FUCKING GOD….” 


…. I guess Napoleon dancing to the Motown song was kinda cool, but I still don’t see why Pedro’s opponent wasn’t some preppy guy instead of a popular girl, you know. You guys do remember that Katniss shot President Coin, right? Otherwise it’s like—I mean, the hero’s supposed to face down their shadow; the shadow’s not supposed to be like, THEM, it’s YOU, right…. And then there’s the obligatory worst-casing of a salesman, lol…. It’s like, You’re not family if you make money, lol…. And I don’t know, of course popular girls always get the flak in movies, and part of it is that people like them more in real life; but the other thing is, it’s easy to SAY something negative about them, because a pretty face isn’t like, a verbal thing, right; it’s not like you’ve actually DONE something different, it’s just, you know…. I don’t know. 


It’s like you have your own little space where your enemies are just as unwelcome as you are with them, lol. 


(shrugs) So yeah. 


…. Napoleon Dynamite: I shot President Coin too, Katniss; I don’t understand what you’re talking about! God! 


~ (laughing emoji) 



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neotheognis posted a review of Rocky

When Eights Don’t Hate (But Bar the Gate)

“Update: Events in my personal life have made me question whether perhaps my original title for this review, “When Eights Don’t Hate” was a little naive about the Classic American Enneagram Eight, you know—like, it’s natural, maybe, to want to let the ‘man of the people’ have his day in” read more

1 week, 1 day ago
Rocky
 Rocky 7/10
1 week, 1 day ago
neotheognis posted a review of Clueless

Club Woodhouse

“I didn’t enjoy this, although I expected to. I didn’t like “Emma”, it was one of my less-liked Jane books, but I anticipated a modernization making it seem less…. Something. But, it certainly seemed…. Something. I guess if you’re Knightley/Paul Rudd you don’t really like Club Woodhou” read more

3 months ago
Clueless
 Clueless  8/10
3 months ago
neotheognis posted a review of Northanger Abbey

The Sensationalist

“N.B. I’m against classifying made-for-TV movies as “TV”—are there episodes? What’s going on in people’s heads that this is called “TV”? 

Okay. 

…………………Well, I’m on the wrong side of the Ethnic Miracle for Irish nationalism in the USA, and the wro” read more

4 months, 2 weeks ago
4 months, 2 weeks ago
neotheognis posted a review of Charade (1963)

The Adventure of the Clueless Woman

““I don’t know.” (multiple times) 

“If you’re trying to frighten me…. You’re doing a very good job.” 

~ Audrey’s character 

“It doesn’t sound like the sort of thing a young woman can handle by herself.” 

~ Cary’s character 
read more

5 months, 1 week ago
5 months, 1 week ago
neotheognis posted a review of Persuasion (2022)

English Mythology (Becomes London Mythology)

“First, let me just say that Jane Austen is English mythology, so, I mean, the legalists, sorry the historians, sorry the literary critics, don’t think that this is “accurate” (you don’t even want to know what angry aristocrat nerds are like—I’m telling you: you don’t), but basically: t” read more

5 months, 2 weeks ago
5 months, 2 weeks ago
neotheognis posted a review of Malcolm X

X Marks the Spot

“Malcolm X is cool. 

I recently read that this is one of W. Kamau Bell’s favorite movies (his favorite movie by Spike Lee, one of his favorite directors), so I thought I’d dig into the memory banks to see if I could provide my own thoughts. 

I just looked and I was surprised” read more

5 months, 3 weeks ago

The Child in the Garden

“It’s certainly a product of the Forties, although in some ways America hasn’t changed that much. It’s one window on life. There’s of course a bandwagon to slap the Classics on the back, but it is more earnest and elegant than the 49th percentile movie of today, and there is something to be s” read more

6 months ago

Viking-Dragon Relations, Part One

“It is kinda sad how if being boss is where it’s at, the guy is boss, and if being adorable where it’s at, the guy is adorable—I guess that much is okay—but then the girl is like the Other Thing, whichever one Isn’t, where it’s at, right. Surely there could still have been conflict and pl” read more

7 months, 1 week ago
neotheognis posted a review of The Eclipse

Far From Fair Verona

“I found I didn’t like this movie as well as M.A.‘s preceding 1960 & 1961 movies (Adventure & Night), but I don’t know whether that’s because it was done less well or because I’ve cooled to M’s style, you know. It’s not like, the Romeo & Juliet Italians, you know. Shakespear” read more

8 months ago
The Eclipse
 The Eclipse 7/10
8 months ago

Boys Are Weird, Chico

“I didn’t Quite dislike this movie, but I could only watch twenty minutes at a time, not thirty. (I watched slightly larger chunks near the end so it’d be more like, round numbers, you know. Plus, it’s always more exciting to finish something up.) 

Well, I guess for a lot of people t” read more

8 months, 2 weeks ago
8 months, 2 weeks ago
neotheognis posted a review of Pan

Here We Are Now! Entertain Us!

“Joe Wright is supposed to be a great director, although this is supposed to be a terrible movie and was a big set-back for his career; also, I haven’t seen any children’s movies in a long, long time: I saw some as a kid, of course, (although back then I would read Narnia as a handbook on how to ” read more

9 months ago
Pan
 Pan 6/10
9 months ago
Saoirse Ronan
 Saoirse Ronan 8/10
9 months ago
neotheognis added 6 items to their collection
Irving Pichel

8/10

Spike Lee

9/10

Richard Attenborough

9/10

Cecil B. DeMille

8/10

Greta Gerwig

9/10


9 months ago
neotheognis added 2 items to their collection
Sidney Poitier

9/10

Ralph Nelson

8/10


9 months, 1 week ago
neotheognis posted a review of On the Town

Hokey Heroes

“I mean, I did like Singin’ in the Rain, and that was fun—same director, same genre, same five-year period. And for the record, I haven’t seen “Don’t Worry Darling”. And Frank Sinatra is cool, you know. It’s just, I don’t know. I’m not a big stickler for realism, but it’s just so ” read more

9 months, 1 week ago
On the Town
 On the Town 7/10
9 months, 1 week ago
neotheognis posted a review of La Notte

The Book Fool

“As entertaining as the ‘hot sins’ are, sometimes it’s good cinema to follow the book fool, mostly free of these popular sins, but just living a quietly unenlightened life. Society and the other book fools look up to him, but he hasn’t found the way to happiness. 

Incidentally I’” read more

9 months, 2 weeks ago
La Notte
 La Notte 8/10
9 months, 2 weeks ago

Jazz Age Sexy Bible Moves

“I guess I must have watched this before joining this site, so this review isn’t fresh, but I think I can do it anyway. You certainly forget a lot of what’s in the Bible when you think that Dickens wrote it, you know. (You’re defs NOT supposed to think that Shakespeare wrote it—Dickens, that” read more

9 months, 2 weeks ago
neotheognis posted a review of L'Avventura (1961)

The Strange Familiars

“I just started watching La Notte (by the same director), and I was thinking about what I’d say about it, when I realized I hadn’t reviewed L’Avventura. I guess the most important thing is how midcentury and therefore familiar—and therefore how strange—it is, despite the fact that they’re” read more

9 months, 3 weeks ago

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