Listless July/August Reading/Writing

I guess I’m cheating a little because I’m only creating one report on two months.
But I’ve felt pretty uninspired and contemplated for the first time in five years why the hell am I doing this. Of course, that’s mainly the full-time job talking. Gots to keep up your SEO!!! (Actually, I’m going to noindex this one).

Among the greatest hits of these months were Robert Rossellini’s Germany Year Zero, Kurosawa’s The Cure, and reading Henry James. Perhaps Gilda? Emmanuel Carrère’s Yoga and The Player (1992)

Endeavour, 8.3
Virginia Woolf, Orlando: A Biography, 46 pp.
Regret not having read this before, in fact. It’s quite, quite good.
— Mare, “Missing”
— Finished Spoon River Anthology

Cure (1997)
Firing a little of that thrill first experienced when I learned about Korean horror. Of course, this is a Japanese film. Written and directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa, starring Kōji Yakusho and Masato Hagiwara.
— Mare, “Missing”

Endeavour, 9.1
Orlando, 10 pp.

Endeavour, 9.2
— Mare, “Miss Miller”

Endeavour, 9.3
The series’ finale. A series that I consumed in only two months even though there were rarely more than 3 episodes in a season.
Apparently a remake of a series of televisions shows that where themselves based on a series of novels by Colin Dexter (none of which I’d heard of before).

Dr. Wheeler (Genevieve Bujold) at the Jefferson Institute, where bodies are suspended both literally and biologically, until their organs are ready to be sold to the highest bidder, in the 1978 film "Coma"
Dr. Wheeler (Geneviève Bujold) at the Jefferson Institute, where bodies are suspended both literally and biologically, until their organs are ready to be sold to the highest bidder, in the 1978 film Coma

Orlando, 20 pp.
Coma (1978)
Based on the 1977 novel of the same name by Robin Cook, but directed by Michael Crichton, starring Geneviève Bujold, Michael Douglas, and Richard Widmark.

Rocky II (1979)
Rocky is so incredibly annoying to listen to, especially when he is talking to Adrian.
Lucian wanted to watch this. I suspect I’ll watch III in a few weeks.

Milk (1998)
Dog (2001)
Short films by Andrea Arnold, who apparently made Red Road (2006) [which I may have seen in the theatres], but otherwise I hadn’t seen anything by her. Been meaning to watch Fishtank for some time.
Black Mirror, “Playtest
Couldn’t watch the whole thing, although I am not sure why. Probably the spider. Weakness lying fallow within the body, no doubt.
Suits (2011), 1.1-2
Guilty pleasures. Meh. Unmistakeably trajectory, confirmed. Why do I watch this crap? Because you’re an idiot!
Orlando, 30 pp.
The mysterious incident in Constantinople, and a second sleeping spell …

Still from the film Orlando, starring Tilda Swinton, with the title character in lovely gothic surroundings
Tilda Swinton playing the main role in the film version of Virginia Woolf’s book Orlando

Suits, 1.3-4
Why do I watch this crap? Because you’re an idiot!

The Crown, 4.1
That Charles impersonator has some pretty bad posture.
— de la Mare, “The Orgy”
Not what you think. He goes on a spending spree on his uncle’s dime.

Still from season 4 of The Crown, with the Queen and Charles outdoors

Suits, 1.7-8
Orlando, 15 pp.
The transformation has finally occurred. Orlando is living with Gypsies.

Suits, 1.9
The Crown, 4.2
Diana Spencer is inconsolably charming, in this portrait. Margaret Thatcher is an insufferable bore.

Quarterback (2023), 1.1 30 minutes
Learning what they actually say is so disappointing.

Jarhead (2005)
Intertextuality! The gall of Sam Mendes to think that he could make Full Metal Jacket again! That’s the hot take: It’s no Full Metal Jacket!
Perhaps it didn’t want to be, but there is just too much resonance between these films, and so little in the latter redeems it. Possibly just the scene where they complain about not having their own theme music.
A better Gulf Storm film is undoubtedly David O. Russell’s 1999 Three Kings, stars George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, Ice Cube, and Spike Jonze as four American soldiers.
Orlando, 10 pp.

Suits, 1.10
I think I turned it off before it was over, which I consider progress.
Orlando, 15 pp.

Orlando, 40 pp.

Rocky III (1983)

Rocky V (1990)
This film was so bad …

Drive to Survive, 5.1-3

Drive to Survive, 5.4-6
— Finished Orlando
Perhaps agree with my book club colleagues in that I had to push through the end of this book. And the pacing definitely started moving faster at that point.

Drive to Survive, 5.6-9

— Around Long Island Regatta 2023

Still from 1934 pre-code film Heat Lightning
Still from Heat Lightning

Heat Lightning (1934), last 30 minutes
Gilda (1946)
Have seen this film several times before, but I do not think from the beginning. The relation between the two main characters is actually a little inscrutable, but Rita Hayworth is just so stunning that she keeps everything going. Glenn Ford’s character is supposedly the conscious center, but in the end he is not as interesting as she is.
Emmanuel Carrère, Yoga, 15 pp.
A review from the New York Times. It starts out and seems very much about yoga.

— Henry James, “The Romance of Certain Old Clothes”

Ford v Ferrari (2019)
Actually a pretty good yarn in which you get to hate the I-tais and the Ford motor corporation.

Still from Ford v Ferrari, inside the Ferrari workshop
“The stuff dreams are made of …”, namely, my father’s dreams … that a film like this would be made: Ford v Ferrari (2019)

Captain Nemo and the Underwater City (1969)
Robert Ryan!!!!
Dune, Part 1 (2021)
In my exposition on the masterful earlier Denis Villeneuve film Incendies I expressed my fear of seeing this film. Or was it Blade Runner 2049? This was good, mostly, but the weight of the Lynch iteration on my consciousness is too great.

Wind River (2017)
This Taylor Sheridan-directed film may stay with you, perhaps because of its abhorrent brutality and violent shootout, but it’s mostly emptily claiming some witness to a social injustice, while engaging in the same sexism. Note the two discrete scenes in which the female characters appear in states of undress! The first is completely superfluous, unless the idea is to remind us of how attractive Elizabeth Olson is (and similarly how strange it is for her to be sent out to investigate this murder).
Sheridan’s star is on the rise. So I understand. Far be it for me to stand in the way of … progress?

Front cover of the book Yoga by Emmanuel Carrère.

Yoga, 30 pp.
Smitten by these descriptions of experience of meditation, which is a sort of intial wrong turn.

Unbroken (2017)
Inspiring. Lucian has watched this several times. I cannot find much fault with it.

Conan the Barbarian (1982)
Am not sure why boredom directed me to watch this film, but then what vicissitudes boredom submits me to are and have always been inscrutable.
This is not to say the film is not interesting. It is in some ways.

Still from 1982 film Conan in which the main character awaits a phalanx of attackers
Arnold Schwarznegger in the role that got his career rolling, Conan The Barbarian

Yoga, 130 pp.

— NYRB on Ronald Reagan’s antigovernment revolution and Timothy McVeigh, on Beirut, on
Germany Year Zero (1948)
This is the third in a series of films by Roberto Rossellini, the first being Rome, Open City (1945) and the second being Paisan (1945). Those films were more episodic, whereas this has a direction, namely the flawed-because-young primary character, as seen below.

Still from Rossellini film Germany Year Zero with the main character still in rubble, realizing that he's killed his father
Heartbreaking: Germany Year Zero (1948)

Deep Cover (1992)
I am sort of taken with Bill Duke, as I think I’ve said elsewhere. Perhaps because he was not just an actor. I think this is the only film that he directed. It’s interesting, but not memorable.
Yoga, 50 pp.

Bill Duke and his actors on the set of the film Deep Cover
Erstwhile Carwash (1976) and Predator (1987) actor Bill Duke [right] directed the 1992 film Deep Cover with Laurence Fishburne [left] and Jeff Goldblum [not shown]

— Finished Yoga
The Crown, 4.2-3

The Crown, 4.4
— Henry James, “Owen Wingrave”
Ghosts can really break your heart.

— Henry James, “The Friends of the Friends”
— Natalia Ginzburg, Family Lexicon, 25 pp.
— Max Hastings, Inferno, 15 pp.
Purchased this tome for my son because my love for him and his fixations coincides with my own fixations.
Actually quite good, developing a narrative, as it does, from the perspective of each of those individual moments in which the historical legacy — which is now almost impossible for us to think outside of — is suspended. What do these historical personages think and how do they weigh what little they know?

High Score, 1-2
Again, loving Lucian F.V., we watch this series, which is actually quite good.
The Player (1992)
A Robert Altman film, the one that rescued him from obsolescence after making gems like O.C. and Stiggs (1985), that stars Tim Robbins, Greta Scacchi, Fred Ward, Whoopi Goldberg, Peter Gallagher, Brion James and Cynthia Stevenson, and like many of his other films, so many other well-known actors, though mostly in cameo.
It’s a brutal criticism of Hollywood, but wholly on the nose. And Vincent D’Onofrio is actually pretty good in this, because, of course, he’s filled with rage. Tim Robbins is really quite tremendous in this film. He’s an exceptional actor.
— Henry James, “Turn of the Screw”, 5 pp.
Thought I’d read this before.
Family Lexicon, 15 pp.

— “Turn of the Screw,” 20 pp.
Have I read this before?
Family … 15 pp.

— “Turn of the Screw,” 5 pp.
High Score 3-4

— “Turn of the Screw,” 10 pp.
High Score, 5

The Crown, 4.6-7
— “Turn of the Screw,” 5 pp.