Read, Viewed: January 2021

What I read and watched, when the world spent 19 days in suspense during January 2021, until the veneer of normalcy was recovered. Normalcy being an unambitious but at least fucking capable (pardon my French) president.

Macaulay, Towers of Trebizond, 5 pp.
Luka Rieppel, Assembling the Dinosaur, 28 pp.
The Go-Between (1971): Excellent film directed by Joseph Losey with screenplay by Harold Pinter. Stars Julie Christie et al.

Macaulay, 10 pp.
Vertigo (1958): Never enough. Never enough.
Tolstoy, War and Peace, 15 pp.

Macaulay, 15 pp.
Rieppel, 10 pp.

Macaulay, 10 pp.
Halloween (2018), 1 hour: I think the trailer for this movie may be better than the movie itself.
Space Force, 1.2-3: Trainer time
“Introducing Afrofuturism” (2020): One of the most exciting ideas is that Culture can think, grapple with problems, imagine solutions. Afrofuturism is an excellent example of this.

Afrofuturism is one of the brilliant ways that culture imagines a way out of our bitter failures
Afrofuturism is one of the brilliant ways that culture imagines a way out of our bitter failures

Macaulay, 15 pp.
Rieppel, 13 pp.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986): Watched this with Lucian, which he really enjoyed quite a bit. Especially the scenes with the principal fecklessly trying to gain entry to the house (what was he doing?!).
The Maltese Falcon (193?), one hour

Macaulay, 25 pp.

Macaulay, 20 pp.

Concrete, by Paul Chadwin: read
Paul Chadwick’s curious Concrete

Concrete, Vol. 1 (1987), 100 pp.

Concrete, Vol. 1 (1987) finished

Macaulay, 5 pp.

Macaulay, 20 pp.
Cloverfield (2008): I know that the opening of the party was necessary for us to care for the protagonist and his search for the girl he loved, but that was unpleasant to watch.

NYRB on Richard Taruskin, porn as anthropology, and Kim Stanley Robinson’s newest novel, Okinawa, Scalia’s legacy, Reaktion’s animal books
Rieppel, 25 pp.

NYRB on Poland during WWII, Ann Quin

Detective Pikachu (2019): Slept through an hour in the middle but missed nothing!
Tolstoy, 15 pp.

Macaulay, 5 pp.
Rieppel, 20 pp.

The Bodyguard, 1.2

Trebizond: the place that inspired Rose Macaulay’s novel The Towers of Trebizond

Macaulay, 30 pp.

NYRB on Anne Quin, Donald Judd
Wedgewood, Thirty Years War, 10 pp.
The Bodyguard, 1.3

Finished Macaulay: Glad to have finished. The ending was perhaps inevitable but I did not foresee it. The camels and horses and apes were bewildering.
Signs (2003), finished: Perhaps as a result of the post-Trump era ending, I was euphoric to the degree that I thought Mel Gibson was putting on an impressive performance. And perhaps there were moments. But at whole I think this is the worst Shyamalan film that I’ve seen.
Cavell, The World Viewed, Introduction

The Bodyguard, 1.4-6: Pleased this show is over. Everyone wants Richard Madden to succeed, if only to somehow redress his treatment in “The Red Wedding”/”The Rains of Castamere.

Cavell, “An Autobiography of Companions”
Rieppel, 25 pp.
Tolstoy, 30 pp.

Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011): We know why they had to make an American version (the Swedish-version had been done only two years previous), and there are respects in which I think that Fincher was probably the best person to direct this film. I liked watching Daniel Craig playing a role so vastly distant from his James Bond character. I think he was convincing. And Rooney Mara is a great actress. But I liked the rougher edges of the actors playing the roles in the Swedish film. Their distance seemed more convincing.

Tolstoy, 10 pp.

The Servant, Losey/Pinter's 1963 masterpiece
Dirk Bogarde, James Fox: Who is master, who is servant?

The Servant (1963): Would you like your Hegelian Master/Slave dialectic as a film?

The Black Cat (1934)
Tolstoy, 15 pp.

Not read, but watched: The Black Cat (1936) with Boris Karloff
Boris Karloff is terrifying, camp

Tolstoy, 30 pp.
Law and Order …: I have a profound addition to all of the episodes featuring Lenny. In fact, one of my favorite memories of time spent with Eric and Liam was playing the game where when presented with a murder they would come up with Lenny’s quip.

Citizen Kane (1943), last hour: Why haven’t you watched this yet? Do you think God will forgive you?
Tolstoy, 15 pp.: Prince Bolkonsky has finally passed. A fascinating episode.
NYRB on Faulkner’s posterity, contra meritocracy

Oscar Isaac and Justin Timberlake: Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)
Oscar Isaac and Justin Timberlake: Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)

Inside Llewyn Davis (2013): It took me eight years to see this film. Not kidding. Am a little disappointed with myself, but mostly with the movie. Deeply appreciate the Coen brothers, as they have played an enormous role in my film education; also like Oscar Isaac (Ex Machina!) and Carey Mulligan, others. But underwhelmed.
NYRB on Philip Guston, Alison Lurie

NYRB on Joseph Banks, Mank, and Richard Evans debunking Hitler conspiracies
Cavell, World, 10 pp.: May be a poorly written book, but with multiple readings becomes clear and intellectually provokes.