Recently Read, Watched

The telos of this website, its abiding purpose, is a record of the things that I have read and watched. For the reasons undergirding this project see comments on cultural consumption.

Henrik Ibsen, Pillars of the Community, Act One
— Finished The Strange Career of Jim Crow

Still from the 1999 film The Matrix in which Neo and Trinity attack the building where Morpheus is being held.
Once upon a time, cool people wore leather and vinyl and sunglasses.

— Finished Pillars of the Community
The Matrix (1999)
Directed and written by the Wachowskis; starring Keanu ReevesLaurence FishburneCarrie-Anne MossHugo Weaving, and Joe Pantoliano.
This film has aged quite poorly, as is visible from the below film stills. They are taken from one of the most exciting scenes, when Neo and Trinity are attacking the building where Morpheus is being held. They enter the building and start killing all of the security guards in an incredible shootout in which the worst gymnastics (in which legs do not bend) and gunplay are mixed.

Henrik Ibsen, A Doll’s House, Act One

The Letter (1940), 20 minutes
Directed by William Wyler, and written by Howard E. Koch based on M. Somerset Maugham‘s play of the same name; starring Bette DavisHerbert Marshall and James Stephenson.
Davis’ character is being gently questioned by investigators to determine what happened and their interviewer gives and incredible performance, almost acting out the event in from of them.
— Finished A Doll’s House
The Rest is History, “Martin Luther”, Part 3

— Martin Luther, On the Freedom of a Christian, 20 pp.
Had started reading this some time ago. Within the context of the Rest is History podcast it’s of course quite salient.
The confusing part is that I believe most people take faith to be a sort of matter of will: do you choose to believe. This is part of the sense behind the question do you believe in God? But Luther has been trained well by the Augustinians and knows that grace is required.
So freedom is achieved through an act of faith but not realized unless grace is given.
The Rest is History, “Martin Luther”, Part 3

The Rest is History, “Martin Luther”, Part 4
The Bounty Killer (1965)
Directed and written by WGAF; starring Dan Duryea and his son, and others.
When Duryea was in this film he had three years to live, but he probably didn’t know it. This was no Anthony Mann-Jimmy Stewart collaboration.
Duryea starts as a sort of man of God horrified when he sees one man take the life of another. In other words, the diametrical opposite of the Waco Johnny Dean he plays in Winchester ’73 (1950). Honestly, he’s sort of ill-suited for this role. So that when he becomes a nihilistic bounty killer, resulting from seeing his friend killed by one of the men they’d tried to redeem, he’s lost his compass. But it never comes off. It’s just pastiche. He ain’t no Waco Johnny Dean.
One sort of interesting feature is that he creates a sawed off shotgun to dispatch his bounties.
— Ibsen, Ghosts, Act One

— “Gloom In Ukraine”, NYRB
King Lear (1974)
Directed by Tony Davenall and written by a certain Shakespeare; starring Patrick Magee, Patrick Mower, Ann Lynn, Robert Coleby, and Wendy Allnutt.
After reading King Lear last month I’d meant to watch some stage productions of King Lear for the sake of seeing how these characters were interpreted by the performers. Magee’s Lear is mostly mad from the beginning—his explanation, as I understand it, for the bizarre imposition that he puts on his daughters, requiring them to confess to their love to receive inheritances.
But the actors performing the roles of Edmond and Edgar (Mower and Coleby) seemed strongest, in certain respects. Poor Tom/Edgar especially. Edmond’s recanting at the end didn’t come off as believably, I think.
— Finish Luther, On the Freedom of Christian.