Frigid February 2024 Reading & Watching

During February began the “Michael Haneke Film Festival“, including the so-called Glaciation trilogy. As well, I read most of the Cormac McCarthy’s The Passenger. But the best part of this month was undoubtedly beginning David Graeber’s The Utopia of Rules. And finally watched Asako I & II, a film by Ryesuke Hamaguchi.

February 2nd
Life on Our Planet, 4–5
— Shakespeare, King Lear, into Act IV

February 3rd
Life On Our Planet, 6
Matthew Restall, Seven Myths of the Spanish Conquest, 20 pp.
A book recommended by the Rest is History podcasters Dominic Sandbrook and Tom Holland, as well as The Fifth Sun by Camilla Townsend.
King Lear, 15 pp.

February 4th
The Man I Love (1952), last 30 minutes.
Boring noir directed by Raoul Walsh (High Sierra and White Heat, among so many others.) with Ida Lupino as Petey. More interesting is that this was based on a novel that was white hot … dare I say, by the now forgotten writer Maritta Wolff.
King Lear, 15 pp.

February 5th
— Restall, Seven Myths, Chap. 1
The fact that books like The Conquest of New Spain were written as probanzas is fascinating.
Black Mirror, “Shut Up and Dance
Only after it was over did I realize that the boy whom we’ve feared for throughout the episode was consuming not just any kind of porn. As I said to my colleague, Michael Haneke couldn’t have done it better.
King Lear, 5 pp.

Trailer for the 2018 Ryosuke Hamaguchi film Asako I & II

February 7th
— Finished King Lear
— Shakespeare, Richard III, I.1

February 8th
The Equalizer 3 (2023)
Directed by Antoine Fuqua, stars Denzel Washington and Dakota Fanning.
Please deliver me from evil and stupid movies like this. Oh my God!

February 9th
Asako I & II (2018)
Directed by Ryūsuke Hamaguchi, starring Masahiro Higashide and Erika Karata.
The fourth film I’ve seen by Hamaguchi (that’s right: I know more about Hamaguchi than you do! Ha!). Now I’m all caught up.
Trojan Horses: Michael Haneke on Funny Games (2019)
I started watching a conversation (on Criterion) with Neil Jordan at Cannes when Mona Lisa was featured, and either he’s an idiot or he was very, very intoxicated. The kind of experience that makes me not want to bother with this.
But that judgment is a disservice when applied to short films like this, in which Haneke talks about making the film and the response to the film. Brilliant.

I haven’t watched all of the episodes of Monk, but in “Mr. Monk and the Garbage Strike” the eponymous character goes nuts, which permits Tony Shalhoub to channel some of his best characters from others roles (hence the voice modulation) — ones that the role of Adrian Monk would otherwise not permit. And he figures out that “Alice Cooper is the Guy!”
Lucian and I were dying.

February 10th
Monk (2002-09), 5:1-5
Including both “Mr. Monk and the Garbage Strike” — which is so goddamn funny — and “Mr. Monk and the Big Game” with Jennifer Lawrence’s first television appearance!
Cormac McCarthy, The Passenger, 49 pp.

February 11th
— William Shakespeare, King Lear, 1.1
Black Mirror, “San Junipero

February 13th
King Lear, 1.1

February 14th
— Restall, Seven Myths, Chap 3
— McCarthy, The Passenger, 25 pp.

February 15th
Seven Myths, Ch. 4, half of Ch. 5

February 16th
John Wick 2 (2014)
Directed by Chad Stahelski, written by Derek Kolstad, starring Keanu Reeves, Common, Laurence Fishburne, Riccardo Scamarcio, Ruby Rose, Lance Reddick, Peter Stormare, Bridget Moynahan, Franco Nero, John Leguizamo, and Ian McShane.
Eh. Really. So dumb.

February 17th
The Passenger, 10 pp.
The Seventh Continent (1989)
Directed by Michael Haneke, starring Birgit Doll, Dieter Berner, and Leni Tanzer.
Part of a quickly aborted Michael Haneke Film festival. Imagining two days of Haneke film after film. But you cannot do that. Or rather, I cannot.
— “Michael Haneke on The Seventh Continent“. Interview with Serge Toubiana from 2005. Short video included in the Criterion Collection DVD.
High Planes Drifter (1973)
Directed by Clint Eastwood, starring Eastwood, Verna Bloom, Mariana Hill, Mitchell Ryan, Jack Ging, and Stefan Gierasch.
Had known about this film for a very long time but it turns out that I’d never actually watched it. Otherwise, I would have remembered that he rapes a woman in the opening. Right? Not Clint’s best work.
— Introduction to King Lear, 20 pp.

February 18th
Benny’s Video (1992)
Directed by Michael Haneke, starring Arno Frisch, Angela Winkler, and Ulrich Mühe.
The second viewing in the aborted Michael Haneke film festival (if I can watch 71 Fragments tomorrow, that would be a total coup). I was surprised by the ending, actually.
— “Michael Haneke on Benny’s Video” Interview with Serge Toubiana in 2005. Short video included in the Criterion Collection DVD. Actually a pretty interesting interview.
A Patch of Blue (1965)
Directed by Guy Green, stars Sidney Poitier, Shelley Winters, and Elizabeth Hartman.
Possessed (1947)
Directed by Curtis Bernhardt, but written by Ranald MacDougall and Silvia Richards was based upon a story by Rita Weiman; starring Joan Crawford, Van Heflin, Geraldine Brooks, and Raymond Massey.
I cannot get enough Hagsploitation, personally.

February 19th
71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance (1994)
Directed by Michael Haneke, starring Gabriel Cosmin Urdes, Lukas Miko, Otto Grünmandl, Anne Bennent, and Udo Samel.
Suffers from a very, very long name. Schades. But seriously: good, albeit not as good as the preceding. And I’m emotionally exhausted.
The glaciation trilogy ist fertig.

February 20th
Gravity (2013)
Directed, co-written, and produced by Alfonso Cuarón (who later made Roma [2018]) , who also co-wrote, co-edited, and produced the film; starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney.
David Graeber, The Utopia of Rules, 30 pp.

February 22nd
Ran (1985)
Directed, edited and co-written by Akira Kurosawa, drawing from William Shakespeare‘s King Lear; stars Tatsuya Nakadai.

February 23rd
Fury (2014)
Written, directed, and co-produced by David Ayer; stars Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, Michael Peña, and Jon Bernthal.
The Passenger, 30 pp.
I know that Alicia is just supposed to be incredibly intelligent, but isn’t that the kind of thing that is never going to be expressed adequately within a novel?

February 24th
The Sicilian Clan (1969)
Directed by Henri Verneuil; based on the novel by Auguste Le Breton; starring Jean Gabin, Lino Ventura and Alain Delon.
For whatever reason, Lino Ventura was the one who came off the most impressively in this film. Alain Delon’s character wasn’t terribly interesting; nor was Jean Gabin’s. But Ventura’s character …
Utopia of Rules, 25 pp.

February 25th
Utopia, 20 pp.