Sunday, February 4, 2018

Week 5

29 January - 4 February

Viewing
Turner and Hooch. Which was surprisingly fun. Also a good section of the movie has Tom Hanks slithering around in extremely abbreviated underwear. I approved. Also while I watched the movie Higgs watched me. And I have some great photos.

Nobel. This I enjoyed, though it could have been much better.

Party Down. Now why haven't I seen this before. Never mind. It is delightful now. Lizzy Caplan forever.

Reading
Nothing of note. Need to do better next week.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Week 4: January 23- 28

Viewing
1. Schindler's List
Watched this in many parts. Found the end rather cloying. But Ben Kingsley was wonderful. And the music was lovely. 

2. Suite Française
I enjoyed this very much. The movie does justice to the book I think. Must go watch everything with Michelle Williams. 

3. Loins of Punjab Presents
For the fourth time, and Tanya's first time. This is still one of the funniest things, and I love it so much. 

4. Playing for Time
 Hmm. I don't know about plays that get turned into movies, but Vanessa Redgrave was excellent.

5. Turner and Hooch
I enjoyed this very much. Also Higgs watched me almost the whole time that I watched it, so I have several excellent photos. Also Tom Hanks does a lot of leaping about in his underwear, on account of which I highly recommend this movie.

Reading
1. Cat King of Havana- Tom Crosshill
A sent me this for my kindle and I loved it. I started a series of salsa lessons last week, and had no idea this book was all about learning salsa when I started it. What fun. And such a great primer on how young people can learn to talk about places and things that they do not understand. Shall look for more things by this author. 

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Week 3

January 16-22

Viewing
1. The Godfather II
Thank you Netflix.

2. The Godfather III
I didn't think Sofia Coppola was terrible. Does that mean I have bad taste? Also the pasta scene was far too sexy for an encounter between first cousins, but I guess that was the point. I may or may not have watched that more than once.

3. Spotlight
Well worth the watch. Also topical.

4. Alias Grace
I watched this and realised how little of the tv I usually watch has women narrating themselves, and narrating almost without end. I loved it. Also I enjoy an unreliable narrator very much, when there isn't Inception-style dickery.
Also contrast this murder-mystery with the sexism of at least half the European stuff on Netflix. It is possible to write a sexy murder mystery while talking reasonably about women and their bodies. I suppose Atwood would be the object lesson in this.
And the menacing quilt-making was lovely. I nearly took out my long-abandoned embroidery project.
Some Canadian tv shows are so incredibly boring. And others, maybe it's only the period ones, like this one, and Anne with an E, are delightful.

5. Aiyyaa
I'm surprised this got made but it was delightful. How nice to see a woman get exactly what she wants.

Reading
1. The Ministry of Utmost Happiness- Arundhati Roy
I need to be able to speak more Urdu. This was lovely. I suspect many people found the sections on Kashmir to be too long drawn out, but I thought it was perfect. Also there is always a cement kangaroo dustbin in a Roy book.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Week 2

Jan 8-15

Viewing
1. La Trêve- The Break.
This had promise for a while but women are hysterical in the end. This is not a spoiler. It is a feature of a lot of French-language viewing.

2. The Dark (Minimal spoilers below- nothing that you won't cover by episode 3)
Admittedly I only sat through the whole season because of the music, and because I was playing bridge while doing so. I cannot say I enjoyed this much. It was like Stranger Things but without any joy, or historical context- no interest in the post-war context of 1953, or Germany of the 80's. Also women don't get to go through the wormhole and try to fix things- the boys get the adventure, and agency. Women get angry and hit people out of turn, lie and sabotage things, or withdraw emotionally, by and large, I imagine this is because the men in town are dicks, and about half of them have this massive time-traveling secret which they aren't sharing.

3. Strictly Ballroom
Goofy Australian fun. Interesting for Spaniards to be the impoverished immigrants. I guess that was the 90's.

4. The Godfather
Went to see this on the big screen, and was happy I did. Had not watched it in one go from beginning to end before. Had forgotten the horrible domestic violence, plate-breaking scene. Also spent the whole movie thinking 'that Dustin Hoffman looks a bit odd'.

5. Salsa shine videos- too many to count.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Week 1

Week 1
Jan 1-7

Viewing
1. La Mante (predictable but acceptable)
2. Some episodes of Dr WHO season 10 (Not terrible)
3. High Road to China  (Sexist, racist, shouty garbage but there are planes and Tom Selleck in a leather jacket)
4. Glacé (also predictable, less acceptable)

Reading
1. Association of Small Bombs
I would read Karan Mahajan's next book. The book made me miss Delhi. 


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Top of the Lake- Season 2: A Few Thoughts

I just watched the second season of Top of the Lake and loved it.

One review I found online said that Jane Campion's 'signposting of feminist issues' was 'heavy-handed'. I found it to be no such thing. If one tv series is able to centre the bodies of women and their experiences it's but a drop in the ocean of paeans to the resilience and wonder of the male form.

Things I did find to be true about Top of the Lake.

1. Elizabeth Moss is spectacular. And her chemistry with Gwendolyn Christie is off the charts.  Christie's character was written with a great deal of care. I suppose it must ever be a subject of discussion how large her body is, and this show dealt with that extremely well.

2. On the subject of motherhood- in a show with several mothers talking about motherhood, and grappling with it, it is the fathers that do a stellar job, and keep the house together. Pyke seemed something of a fantasy to me. Look I didn't even look up the actor's name, because this character is a unicorn. We all want him. Or someone like him. The coroner, too, to a lesser degree: the safe dad figure, who offers comfort and snacks. In this show it is the men who always bring the food.

3. Puss. For anyone who has been with an older man, this relationship is the thing your mother agonized about. The lure of an older individual who wields authority is something I imagine many of us have felt, and Campion takes it to its brutal ugly extreme in the relationship between Mary and Puss.

4. This show has some great action scenes. There's one in the middle, with Moss fighting, where I found myself roaring alongside her. It is a violent show, but most of the physical violence remains off screen.

5. Talking about race and inequality appears to be the reserve of the villains, or the misguided on the show. I'm still thinking this through. The obviously horrendous power dynamic between S. Asian women, and their white male and female Australian exploiters wasn't picked apart with as much care as the relationships between parents and children, and male and female sexual partners. In a show with a lot of carefully treated women the brown women were still ciphers for white desire. Given that Campion was able to do so very much more with her women than most, it would have been nice to see her do as well by the brown folk in her writing as well.




Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The Book of Gold Leaves and a small rant

I just finished reading Mirza Waheed's The Book of Gold Leaves (no points for a forgettable, pointless title).

I read The Collaborator earlier in the year and thought it was lovely. This was also. I spent four days in Srinagar one summer some years ago, and I wished it could have been longer. I also spent a couple of days in Kargil. Just enough to have developed a taste for Tabak Maas (ribs), not long enough to have made friends or gotten to know the place.

The odd review had white women, reading this as art of a book club, no doubt, complaining that there wasn't enough explanation of the context, or that the names were all too similar for them to keep track. I didn't think either of these were pertinent. 1. Use Google. 2. Literally every second white person is named Jack or John or Jason. Somehow the rest of the world is managing to keep up. Don't be so fucking lazy. As if anyone really uses that gigantic list of names at the beginning of War and Peace. You blunder through until you learn who is who, or you give up half way and miss out on one of the loveliest books written.

There were just enough references to food in The Book of Gold Leaves to keep me hooked. It was a very moving description of people trying to live their lives in a really complicated situation. I want to find more books set in Kashmir, and a decent history of the area. I hope I can go back some time, and travel more in the region. The Himalayas are really incredibly beautiful.