albadger: (Film Film Film)
Year 2015 in Review! Yes, this should have been up weeks ago. The nice thing about the past is if you go away and come back it hasn't changed.

Movies I saw in 2015. 119 movies, which includes short films that were in the "Oscar Nominated Short Films" program, so, a little padded:

Alone in the T Shirt Zone, the Amazing Mr. X, American Sniper, Ant Man, Atari - Game Over, Avengers Age of Ultron, Aya, Beat the Devil, Beyond the Time Barrier, the Big Short, the Bigger

Picture, Black Sabbath (1963), Bluebeard's Eighth Wife, Boogaloo and Graham, the Bourne Supremacy, Boyhood, Bus Story, Butter Lamp, the Cabin in the Woods, Captain America: the Winter

Soldier, Carl Panzram: the Spirit of Hatred and Vengance, Cinderella (2015), Claudelle Inglish, Contagion, Crimson Peak, Crisis Hotline - Veterans Press 1, the Dam Keeper, Death Promise,

the Devils (1971), the Donovan Affair, Dragon Wars, Duet, Dünyayi Kurtaran Adam, Edge of Tomorrow, Ejecta, Emak-Bakia, the Evictors, Ex Machina, the Fantastic Four (1994), the Fantastic Four (2005), Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Feast (2014), Fight Club, Footprints, the Great Gatsby (2013), High Wide and Handsome, How to Train your Dragon, the House of the Damned, the Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, the Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, I Frankenstein, Ida (2013), Inherent Vice, Inside Out, Invasion U.S.A. (1952), Joanna (2013 Poland), the Judge, Jupiter Ascending, Jurassic World, Kingsmen: the Secret Service, Kon-Tiki (2012), l'Inferno (1911), Lot in Sodom, Mad Max: Fury Road, the Man from Planet X, Many a Slip, the Maze Runner,
Me and my Moulton, Menilmontant, Minions, Mr. Holmes, Mr. Turner, the Muppets, Nightcrawler, Norrtullsligan, Now You Tell One, One Million Dubliners, Our Curse, Parveneh, a Perfect Murder, the Phone Call, the Reaper (2013 Mexico), Revenge of the Red Baron, Robot Overlords, San Andreas, Scourge, Selma, Shaun the Sheep Movie, a Single Life, Some of my Best Friends Are, the SpongeBob movie: Sponge Out of Water, Spotlight (2015), Star Wars: the Force Awakens, Still Alice, Strange Magic, Sweet Cocoon, Terminator Genisys, There It Is, Thrilling Bloody Sword, Tomorrowland, Two Days One Night, Unbroken, Underworld (2003), Underworld: Awakening, Underworld: Evolution, Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, the Valiant, Vice Versa (1948), Visages d'enfants, Waitress, What We Do in the Shadows, Whiplash, White Earth, the White Parade, Why Be Good?, Wild, a Wild Roomer, Wild Tales, Zombeavers

Favorite new movie is Mad Max: Fury Road, which has, bizarrely, been nominated for a bunch of Oscars, but will probably lose to snoozefests like Spotlight or, worse, the Big Short, which thinks you're stupid and will only pay attention to financial misdeeds if there's a pretty girl in a bubble bath.

Also loved last year's Oscar stuff Boyhood, Mr. Turner, Whiplash and Two Days One Night; insta-classic the Cabin in the Woods and unjustly neglected classic Bluebeard's Eighth Wife. OTOH I really despised the Judge, Nightcrawler and Inherent Vice. Especially the Judge.

On the animated shelf, Shaun the Sheep Movie is blissful perfection, and the Spongebob Movie: Sponge out of Water is better than drugs. I hated Inside Out but not for any failing on its part; it just pushed a lot of really painful buttons for me (a lot of my friends had a similar reaction to Wreck-it-Ralph; I think it depends on what kind of scars we carry from childhood.

Next time, what books I read -- I don't read enough but I read some...
albadger: (Named Death the Streetcar Is)
And it's February 15th, which I've been informed is "National Bottoms Day," and I still haven't filed the final section of "Year in Review." This implies that this year's "Year in Review" will be completed in August of 2016. This feels stale, but I've eaten lots of stale Triscuits in my life.Read more... )
albadger: (Hank with Welcome Basket)
I may not have read much last year, but I saw a ton of shows, here broken down into 5 of the 6 categories that all performing arts fit into. Category 6 is still awaiting its comeback. It will come back. It WILL.Read more... )
albadger: (Real Badger)
Books I read in 2014:

  1. a Wrinkle in Time

  2. Anathem

  3. Ancillary Justice

  4. Dr. Tatiana's Sex Advice to All Creation

  5. Life Ascending

  6. the Graveyard Book

  7. the Merchant of Pittsburg by John Freed (no link, a private publication)

  8. W Is for Wasted

No best or worst, like them all, though I think I came to Wrinkle a bit too late in my life to really bond with it. I'm currently reading the sequel to Ancillary Justice, which more than earned its awards; that would be the one here I would most recommend.

And this is MUCH better than 2013, in which I read one book. ONE.
albadger: (Film Film Film)
Here they are, in the order I saw them (repeat viewings of Female on the Beach not listed):

the Tree of Life, Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago, War Horse, Can't Help Singing, the Dark Knight Rises, Nebraska, l'Illusionniste, Easy Street, Kid Races in Venice California, the Cure, the Kid, the Vagabond, Inside Llewyn Davis, August Osage County, Back to the Moon, the Secret Life of Walter Mitty (the Danny Kaye one), Dallas Buyers Club, Die Vermessung der Welt, the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (American version), Blood Car, Man of Steel, the Rats Are Coming! the Werewolves Are Here!, Dirigible, Her, Another Nice Mess, Silent Night Bloody Night, Paranorman, 10,000 BC, This Is the End, the Mikado (1939 D'Oyly Carte film), Be Yourself, M'liss, die Niebleungen: Siegfried, the Lego Movie, Despicable Me 2, Jackass presents: Bad Grandpa, the Grand Budapest Hotel, Muppets Most Wanted, the Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, Noah, die Niebelungen: Kriemhilds Rache, the World's End, Battleship, the Bourne Identity, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Midnight Madness, Ramona, Song of the Fishermen, the Parson's Widow, a Night at the Show, the Epic of Everest, the Waiters Ball, Underground (1928), Dragnet Girl, Harbor Drift, Max Wants a Divorce, Seven Years Bad Luck, the Girl in Tails, the Sign of Four, Maleficent, All Monsters Attack, Gamera: Guardian of the Universe, Godzilla (2014), Birth of the Living Dead, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, the Haunted Palace (1921), Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Beast with a Million Eyes, the Foxy Merkins, Nightmare City, I Don't Want to Be Born, the Pirates of Penzance (1983), Snow White and the Huntsman, Lucy, Anna Karenina (2012), Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, I Am Divine, Guardians of the Galaxy, Almost Human, Chicago (1927), the Big Swim, Curse of the Puppet Master, Pururambo, a Film Johnnie, Big Business (1929), Daisy Doodad's Dial, Should Married Men Go Home?, Son of the Sheik, the Rollicking Rajah, Two Tars, the Zero Theorem, the Boxtrolls, Gone Girl, Cocksucker Blues, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Thor: the Dark World, Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same, Anaconda, Black Death, Interstellar, Of Mice and Men (film of 2014 Broadway production), Tom's Gifts, Turbulence 3: Heavy Metal, Big Hero 6, the Letter (1929), Dunderklumpen!, the Theory of Everything, Exodus: Gods and Kings, Birdman, the Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies, Into the Woods (2014), Autumn Leaves, the Imitation Game, Big Eyes, Foxcatcher

Lots of silents, thanks to the Niles theater and the SF Silent Film Festival. Favorite 2014 I saw this year is easily Grand Budapest Hotel, no contest, though I found the new Godzilla oddly satisfying. Of older movies, I was delighted by the two Madeleine Olnek features, but Anaconda was clearly the find.

Worst movies I saw were, as usual, due to my urge to see all the Oscar-nominated Best Pictures & performances; I hated Dallas Buyers Club and Foxcatcher in almost equal measure, though I will cut Foxcatcher a little slack because of the surviving Schultz brother's recent antics; if a film cannot entertain, it can at least invoke amusing behavior in others.

Most movies seen solo, as per my single childless loser status, alas, but more enjoyable than any of the movies were the wonderful people I got to see some of them with. Thanks, guys & gals!
albadger: (Bill Oddie -- Mister May)
My first post to LJ since my birthday for crimeny. The usual -- think about posting, think about the effort, think nobody gives a @#$%^! what I have to say, don't say it. Heck, I barely put anything on FaceSpace, and that thing is designed for quick and thoughtless. Just general depression, mostly.

Not that I've been without event. I got a new cat -- not a new cat, actually; our late neighbor left 2 cats when she died several years ago, and her sister "looked after" them by putting food out on the porch. After years of fleeing at the sight of me (or anybody), the smaller of the two started coming around and mewling for attention this Summer, so we started putting out food -- and actually watching to make sure she got it before a racoon did. This has evolved into feeding her indoors, and finally to letting her stay in my bedroom at night. Good lord, the speed with which we mammals can go from frightened and grateful to demanding and picky. But she's a cutie.

What else? New car got stolen! But recovered three weeks later -- thieves had driven him around 300 miles but then parked it on a cul-de-sac about a mile from the Badgerdome. My theory is they did this to frame him for a crime committed by another car. He is now named "Ishmael," because, like the narrator of Moby Dick, he is a survivor, and has a sun roof.

More later, but I need to get ready for the day's adventure, and I don't know what that will be yet. Ishmael will be involved, I'm sure.

And another new year's toast to LiveJournal!
albadger: (Akimbo)
My first LiveJournal post as a Sixty-Something! Oh good lord. I never had a clear understanding of what being in my Fifties actually meant, and now I never will. I do have a clear idea of what being in my Sixties is: failing health, failing eyesight, grumpiness, irascibility, irresistable desire to yell at kids for getting on my lawn, etc. etc.

This is one of the reasons I no longer have a lawn. Last year I had the front redone to be all stones and bark, with one -- ONE -- tree to liven it up. Kids are no longer tempted. This year, I'm having the back done, and it's a much tougher process -- not to mention more expensive; I've had a number of back-&-forths with the landscaper before settling on a design, which involved -- wait for it -- rocks and bark.

Also tearing up all of the old concrete patio and walkway.

Which may or may not be related to the sewer line springing a leak. I have a water fixture!

Stupid "24-hour plumber" says that their name doesn't mean they're available 24 hours a day, it's how long it will take them to respond. Litterally, since the guy I talked to yesterday ("we can have somebody come out around 10am tomorrow") didn't enter the job correctly, and nobody showed up (girl I talked to today sez 2pm to 4pm; we'll see, Susan). Add to the landscaping expenses and the new car expense (oh, yeah, I got a new car), and I'm freaking out, but then I remember, I have resources now.
What I don't have is motivation. When I quit my job last October, I was making a "fate-bet" with myself (the concept is from a rather bad Truffaut film). If, after a year, I could look at what I'd done and say, "Well done," then I'd keep on being unemployed. If not, I'd get a job.

Halfway through the year. I've travelled to 7 foreign countries, seen a shitload of Verdi operas, performed in 2 plays (both characters being drunkards), and played the Nintendo 3DS game "Legend of Zelda: a Link between Worlds" to completion. Soooooo......

So, birthday -- time to take stock & see where to go. Novel? Screenplay? Volunteerism? Acting in student films? I need to fill up my time with something. Suggestions are being accepted.
[NOTE: the unwritten novel is from the viewpoint of a young merchant-class Russian whose schemes to escape his stultifying homeland and travel to Paris are interrupted by World War I and vampires. Also sex and cosplay.]
albadger: (Brendon is a pretty lady)
A few years ago, I went to Sarasota to see their performance of Verdi's Giovanna d'Arco, my absolute favorite neglected opera, and I found myself thinking, as I listened to a live performance of music I'd heard on record innumerable times over 35 years... "this is the first time I've heard this done live, and probably the last."

And then, this year, I see two productions of Giovanna d'Arco. So the lesson is, you never know.
    Oddball local things include:
  • Drove over all 8 Bay Area toll bridges in 1 day (on January 1 no less)
  • the Alameda Antique Fair

  • Driving through the new fourth bore of the Caldecott Tunnels for the first time, and what a beauty it is

  • played (and completed) a video game for the first time in ages - Zelda: a Link between Worlds. What an achievement.
Cities I went to: San Diego, Tucson, Chicago, Ashland, Oregon, New York City, Washington DC, London, Bath, Leicester, Paris, Marseille, Geneva (yuck), Venice, Vienna, Prague, Leipzig, Weimar, Meiningen, Nuremberg, Munich, Frankfurt, Bielefeld, Hamburg, Cologne
    In addition to seeing lots of theater (see previous post), I was in four theatrical productions myself:
  • Early Spring, a staged reading of a work in progress -- I was a hard-boiled junk dealer with a thick but unplaceable accent.
  • For Fringe of Marin in the late Spring, an abusive husband with a heart condition.
  • November back at Fringe of Marin, a drunken beat poet, which I loved; and
  • favorite of all these, in August I got to be Escartefigue, the dim-witted but good-hearted Marseille ferryboat captain in a production of Pagnol's Marius, which is why I added Marseille to my Europe itinerary. And it's the first of a trilogy! Job security!
That's it for Year in Review. Now, on to the present. Next time, why I hated Dallas Buyer's Club.
albadger: (B. J. Lang presents)
I may not have read much last year, but I saw a ton of shows, which break down into 5 categories (category 6 was sadly retired a few years back).
  1. "Straight" theater, non-Shakespeare:
    Bookkeepers, No Man's Land, Our Practical Heaven, Sherlock Holmes - the Final Adventure, Sometimes Cloudy - Sometimes Clear, the Haunting, the King Stag, the Spanish Tragedy, the Tenth Muse, the Woman in Black, Waiting for Godot.
  2. Shakespeare:
    Troilus and Cressida, Cymbeline, King Lear (twice), Macbeth, the Taming of the Shrew, the Tempest, the Winter's Tale.
  3. Opera:
    • LOTS of Verdi: i Lombardi, i Due Foscari, Giovanna d'Arco (twice), Alzira, i Masnadieri, la Battaglia di Legnano, la Traviata, Falstaff.
    • Lots of Wagner too: die Feen, das Liebesverbot, Rienzi, the Flying Dutchman, die Meistersinger.
    • also l'Incorinazione di Poppea (twice), Admeto, Cosi Fan Tutte, Maria Stuarda, le Troyens, Faust, Mefistofele, the Tales of Hoffman, Andrea Chenier, Ariadne auf Naxos, the Turn of the Screw, the Gospel of Mary Magdalen, Dolores Claiborne.

  4. Musicals:
    110 in the Shade; Kinky Boots; the Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder; the Landing; 1776.
  5. Rap, Hip-Hop or Folk Act:

    • Golden Girls Live! Guys in dresses acting out Golden Girls episodes
    • Kinsey Sicks 20th Anniversary at the Castro Theater
    • Trolley Dances -- site-specific dance performances in San Francisco
    • Pet Shop Boys in concert
    • Magic acts at the "Magic Garage," a cool performance space that a magic aficionado made in, yes, his garage in Cupertino
    • Driven Bananas, a one-woman show, part of SF Fringe

Best & Worsts?

  1. Hard to pick a favorite non-Shakes non-singing performance - international stars Ian McKellan and Patrick Stewart in Godot or Bay Area star Julian Lopez-Morillas in Spanish Tragedy? Tiebreaker goes to Julian, because like me he won 2 days on Jeopardy! No worst, loved all of it.
  2. OSF's Lear was amazing, but, hey, I saw Tempest at the Reconstructed Globe in London, so that wins. On the other extreme, SF Shake's Macbeth was a campy howler, not to be missed for the wrong reasons.
  3. I loved getting to travel & see opera productions in other countries, & in particular to check off my to-do list the last Wagner operas I'd never seen, and all but one of the early Verdi works; but the single best production was right at home, SF Opera's Mefistofele, a brief respite in the company's slide... because they also supplied the worst opera I saw; not the 2 still-born "world premieres" but a listless and ramshackle Tales of Hoffman. Turns out Hoffman isn't as idiot-proof as I'd thought.
  4. Worst musical I saw is easy, the Landing, Kander's first post-Ebb work, not hateful bad but weak and sickly, so I feel sorry for it. The rest were all great, but Gentleman's Guide is the one I'm telling people to go see, superb work but it might not get the press it deserves.
  5. Everything in Category 5 was wonderful and great and they're all the Best and nobody is the worst, because I don't go to enough rap, hip hop or folk acts.
Next - exciting recaps of the places I went and the times I had my car's oil changed! I can't wait! Can you? Yes. You can.
albadger: (Monk getting banged)
Here's a list of every book I read in the year 2013:

  1. the Great Gatsby.

Yep. I'm kind of ashamed of that. Not of reading "the Great Gatsby" but of not reading anything else (I'm not listing magazines, opera programs and jewelry catalogs). I will strive to do better in 2014.
albadger: (Film Film Film)

List of all the movies I saw for the first time this year:

Abby, Aeon Flux, After Earth, American Hustle, Amour, Anchorman, Argo, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Ben Hur, Blackenstein, Blackmail (silent version), Blue Jasmine, the Cameraman, Captain Phillips, Chanel Solitaire, City Girl, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, Fanny (1932), Flight, Frozen, Gravity, Griboche, the Half Breed, Hansel & Gretel Witch Hunters, the Heat, Hitchcock, The Hobbit: the Desolation of Smaug, the House on Trebnaya Square, the Hunger Games, the Hunger Games: Catching Fire, the Impossible, the Incredible Burt Wonderstone, Invasion of the Star Creatures, It Started with Eve, King Kong Lives, Knives of the Avenger, Langang: Dance of the Virgins, the Last Edition, Lee Daniels' the Butler, Les Miserables, Let the Bullets Fly, Life of Pi, Ludwig II, Magdalena Possessed by the Devil, the Magic Serpent, Marius (1931), the Master, Mirror Mirror, Moneyball, Museum Hours, My Week with Marilyn, the Narrow Trail, Now You See Me, Oblivion, the Oogieloves in the Great Balloon Adventure, the Outlaw and his Wife, Oz the Great and Powerful, Pacific Rim, Philomena, Power, Prix de Beaute, Saving Mr. Banks, the Sessions, Silver Linings Playbook, Sisterakas, Something in the Wind, Star Trek Into Darkness, the Three Stooges (2012), Toomorrow, the Trespasser, the Turin Horse, 12 Years a Slave, Waltzes from Vienna, Weary River, the Wolf of Wall Street, the Wolverine, the Woman in Black, World War Z, Zero Dark Thirty.

Lots of silent movies on this list, thanks to the SF Silent Film Festival and the Niles Silent Film Theater, both highly recommended. I made some more headway on my OCD project of seeing every movie that ever got an Oscar nomination for Picture, Director or any acting performance (see below), finally sat down & watched the last Hitchcock film that I had never seen, and found the proper environment in which to watch a postapocalyptic Will Smith vanity project.

Bulk of the list is old stuff, but Favorite Movie of 2013 that I managed to see would be Gravity. Exercize in pure style, sure, but what style. Also liked 12 Years a Slave and American Hustle, both high-level OscarBait, and the Heat, which in a better world would be OscarBait. "Worst" is harder; even the officially bad movies like After Earth and Pacific Rim aren't hateful or mean, they're just stupid; fine time-wasters on a cross-country airplane trip. Wolf of Wall Street I am of two minds on; it's brilliant and funny, but it's also self-indulgent, overlong, and pornographic (which I usually mean as a compliment but not this time). I wouldn't recommend it to anyone.

Of the less current films, I loved my discovery of the Niles theater more than any individual movie I saw -- I've thought about going there since they opened but didn't until just last year (thanks, [ profile] scottasf!) Worst older movie -- again, the traditional "bad movies" like Invasion of the Star Creatures and the Oogieloves are just stupid time-wasters, perfect for Netflix streaming, and I can't hate on them... the way I can hate on Zero Dark Thirty, a poorly-paced, badly-acted full-of-itself prestige turd (granted, the last 20 minutes rocked. Thanks, Joel Edgerton!) Or Weary River, which got an Oscar nomination for Directing in 1929, apparently for the number of victims who stabbed themselves in the eardrums rather than hear the title song for the 37th time.

Or the way I really, really hate on the Turin Horse, the most agonizing 15 hours I've ever spent watching a movie. And the critics praised it to the skies. Well, not all. Just some. And now I'm listening to Nightvale instead of movie reviewer podcasts because of this one movie.

Next up, my riveting tale of live performances attended in 2013. Click the button below for further updates! Wait, what happened to the button?

albadger: (Bossy Bear)

My favorite conversation of the Holiday period was with a good friend who happens to be a Fox News viewer (please note how I resist the urge to use the term FOXTARD). "I have a friend who spends a lot of time in Africa," he said, "and my friend says that nobody over there has even heard of Kwanzaa!" He sat back, sipped his beer, and basked in his moral superiority as a lizard basks in sun.

Which is like, well, duh, it's not an African event, it's an African-American event, originated in 1966 by an American. And I could have said so, but I didn't want to burst my friend's SmugBubble.

No, just kidding. I burst his SmugBubble.

But this got me thinking... what do I know about Kwanzaa aside from that? Mostly what I learned from Futurama -- it involves a robot, I was led to believe, who distributes a book to children every year.

Turns out that this isn't quite correct.

And now I'm a Kwanzaa fan. Primary research of course was on Wikipedia, but the info is widely available: Kwanzaa was invented by Maulana Karenga because he felt that the Holiday calendar was too Euro-centric and needed something specifically for the African-American community.  And I think he did a great job! Each day of the seven has its own theme, highlighting individual accomplishment and enrichment as well as community growth and support. Compare the Twelve Days of Christmas, which are exclusively about swag, most of which is either hard work from underpaid servants, or birds.  How can an octet of farm laborers getting carpel-tunnel compare to Kuumba, the celebration of Creativity? And I'll trade you your calling birds for Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics) any day. I could do with fewer Days of Christmas and more of Kwanzaa. We'll keep the gold rings of course.

Yeah, I know, I'm white, not slightly white but burn-from-moonlight white, and Kwanzaa isn't "mine." But I can admire it, and look forward to a day in the future when all Americans can enjoy this holiday just as we can all enjoy St. Patrick's day (and I'm not too happy that my people's ethnic holiday is all about throwing up, but here we are). So, take that, Geor-- oh, heck, I wasn't going to use the Foxtard's name.

Or the term Foxtard. Sorry.

albadger: (Default)
San Leandro CA
San Diego CA
Anaheim CA
Sarasota FL
I travelled a lot but mostly back and forth from San Leandro to San Diego. Now, the list of who I slept with... that's another story entirely! In the sense that I didn't sleep with anybody, so don't worry, no TMI, there is no TMI because there's no I. Excelsior!


albadger: (Default)

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