Read Viewed Consumed 2020-05

Still from the climatic final scene of Red Tails (2012)
Still from the climatic final scene of Red Tails (2012), in which Lightning’s P-51 dogfights a Messerschmitt Me 262

Cather, 18 pp.
Red Tails (2012): A Disney film about a group of Tuskegee airmen stationed in Italy (drawing this from memory of the film) during the second World War. These pilots had been remanded to menial duties based on the conclusion that African-American soldiers were less capable than their white counterparts. Due to unique circumstances, they are able to prove their mettle and in fact earn great praise from their white fellow pilots and eventually the brass who had discounted them.
Unfortunately, the writing for this film was quite weak and more than a few notes ring off-tune. But the primary characters are all easy to be sympathize with and the conflict of the film is one that only the most bigoted of individuals cannot appreciate. It’s a feel good movie.
Lucian is profoundly affected by WWII airplane culture and so this film was a no-brainer from a parent’s point-of-view. He was stoked to see B-17 Flying Fortresses, P-51 Mustangs, and Messerschmitt Me 262s.

camus the fall cover Read Viewed Consumed 2020-05
The newest Vintage edition

Camus, 30 pp.
Bell, 20 pp.
Cather, 14 pp.

Camus, The Fall, 42 pp.: Reading this with colleagues from Wonderful Machine. It appears that I taught this book years ago at Hunter College, back when I was an errant adjunct professor of philosophy.
Cather, Death Comes for the Archbishop, 14 pp.: Reading for a group that I’m part of, which has been immensely education. Cather’s book is a reminder of how little I know about American literature.
Tolstoy, 10 pp.
Hegel, 2 pp.

The Battle Of Britain (1969): Again desperately trying to find WWII airplane film material to entertain Lucian and discovered this exemplar. Weak production values, but passable action, narrative.
NYRB on South Sudan

Poster art of the 1969 film The Battle of Britain
Poster art of The Battle of Britain (1969)

To Catch a Thief (1955)
Boredom—the bad kind(?)—directed me to this film, which I must say is one of Hitchcock’s worst and Cary Grant’s least impressive (from the period when he was ‘Cary Grant’ [of the likes, “Everyone wants to be Cary Grant. I want to be Cary Grant”]).

Poster art from The Champ (1931)
Original poster art from The Champ (1931)

Green, Adventures of Robin Hood, 40 pp.
Marx, The German Ideology, 20 pp.
Rise Of Skywalker (2019): Huh. Okay.
Tolstoy, 5 pp.

The Champ, finished
When I saw a kid I either saw the remake of this film with Ricky Schroeder or saw clips from it. Eventually I learned that the 1979 version was a remake of the 1931 original.
When I saw Barton Fink (1991) I first heard the name Wallace Beery, a reference from the Coen brothers’ impressive knowledge of film history, yet I had no idea who this person was or the significance. Later on I would hear the name King Vidor and attach some significance to it, yet I knew not what (and really still don’t–I’ve seen but a few of the films he made).
The Champ is in fact quite good. All of the characters are interesting, including Beery’s “Champ.” Perhaps of equal value is the presentation of life in the 1920s and -30s and its lack of so many of the features that we cannot do without today.

The Champ (1930), half

Deleuze, Difference And Repetition, 15 pp.: Began reading for an online reading group and then decided I was overfilling my plate.

Rabelais, 5 pp.

Hegel, 30 pp.
Den of Thieves (2018): God have mercy on my soul! If I had a post about the akrasitive (I just coined this word!) experience of bad movies, I’d link that here.

Ratatouille (2007): Hast thou stone where thy heart should be? Then thou will not enjoy this movie. But I must say there is a reasonable question about the health problems with a rat making food, yes?
Hegel, Encyclopedia, 10 pp.: Profound joys.

Max and Helene (2016): Not bad …

Still from A Bridge Too Far (1977)
Still from A Bridge Too Far (1977)

Finished Bridge Too Far: Few directors can make films with all-star casts that end up not merely being ‘all-star casts.’ Richard Attenborough is not one of them, I must confess, yet this judgment is somewhat unfair insofar as such movies are probably mostly propelled by the production companies that invest in them more than a few creative souls (let’s pretend like those two don’t overlap).
I watched this after reading the review about Beevor’s book on Arnhem (5/10). No actors acquit themselves impressively other than Anthony Hopkins. Gene Hackman must have been livid to be cast as Major General Sosabowski of the Polish Army because it required him to develop a ridiculous accent. Sosabowski was scapegoated for some of the missteps, although it seems like Montgomery’s zeal for victory may have been one of the principal causes of the fiasco.

Bridge Too Far, 1 hour
Finished Ségur

A Bridge Too Far (1977), 30 minutes

NYRB on Beevor’s book on Arnhem

Bell, 31 pp.
Hegel, PR, 5 pp.

Bell, 10 pp.
Ségur, 30 pp.
Hegel, PR, 3 pp.

Cosmopolis (2012): Since I read Mao II in college I have been a great fan of the work of Don DeLillo. I’ve read more of his work than that of any other author, I believe. I read Cosmopolis shortly after it was published (2003) and, contrary to most other’s experiences) enjoyed it.
Yet I must say that my distant memory of this book seems quite different from Cronenberg’s film. I’ve seen most of Cronenberg’s films although I do not feel about him the way that I do about DeLillo. Strikingly, the role of the body is marginal in this film in comparison to Cronenberg’s other films.
I had been hesitant to watch this film because Robert Pattinson occupies the central role and until late I’ve wondered why I should revisit that opinion. The film is a good imagining of the book, for what it’s worth. It’s not a great film, but it’s certainly better than most. The ending …
Ségur, 5 pp.

Hegel's Encyclopedia Logic Hackett cover
Cover of the Hackett edition

Ségur, 30 pp.

The King (2019)

Encyclopedia, Introduction (1-18)

Bell, 15 pp.
Hegel, first three introductions to The Encyclopedia Logic, 24 pp.
Houlgate’s introduction to the Philosophy of Right, 33 pp.

Cover of David Bell's The First Total War
Cover of David Bell’s The First Total War

Segur, 29 pp.
Bell, The First Total War, 25 pp.
I’ve been reading this book for a few months now, as a kind of companion to reading War and Peace and Ségur (the latter also being a companion to War and Peace).
Because the author is a fairly well-placed academic (JHU) and has other publications with more august houses (HUP, OUP), I have some doubts about the scholarly integrity of this work. These are prejudices of an academic, but not necessarily meaningful.
Perhaps my favorite chapter so far’s been on the philosophical/intellectual conditions of this shift in warfare, with many pages devoted to Telemachus and its influence. This is another book that I really want to read. In the long list of books that I want to read.