For this week’s Rhapsody we have Aram Khachaturian’s Cello Concerto-Rhapsody performed by the man himself with the State Orchestra of the USSR. I knew of Khachaturian’s mostly through his Spartacus ballet but I don’t think I’ve actually listened to it. I definitely intend to listen to him more.
Music aside, I am really digging on this filming. It almost feels like a theatrical performance starring Khachaturian and Mstislav Rostropovich, the cellist . With Khatchaturian looking down upon the orchestra like a stern school master and the slightly mousy Rostropivich trying desperately to please. (apologies to Mr. Rostropovich for an assessment based on just seeing him on film. He pleases big time.)
Well I just survived a long and interesting weekend. It started out okay being one of those ones where it’s pretty much half an office day due to not getting my quota in but trying to balance it with some fun just to prove to myself I had had a weekend. So I went to the library meandered through the street fair and then hung out with friends at The Dreaming, my favorite comic book store and debated with myself whether I wanted to go downtown to see the torchlight parade So fun.
Everything changed when I headed home and as I rummaged for my door key found something missing. I run back to the Dreaming and find there weren’t there either. So I called my building manager (which brings me to another reason I’m glad I finally got a cell phone. The last time this happened to me I had to go find one of the last remaining pay phones in the city. ) Unfortunatly when I reached her I found she wouldn’t be able to come until after nine because she was babysintting for some friends who had gone to the torchlight parade. Aron was doing orders so he let me hang out but since the initial discovery (or lack) of missing keys had given me a mild anxiety attack I was tetchy and hyper for the next hour despite managing to get some drawing in.
I got let in about 9:45. Turned out the manager wouldn’t have a spare set of keys just yet which meant this drama would repeat itself tomorrow. (Heck of a way to make a first impression with the person show renews your lease) Fortunatly I still had one last chance that I had left them at the library.
The problem is the Library wouldn’t open until 1:00 the next day that gave me plenty of time to stew about it. It’s bad enough when your obsessing about the what if of five percent odds… When you aren’t particularly sure they’re there and you’re checking as part of a final check list? That will drive you nuts.
By the next day I was spending most of my time telling myself not to be optimistic and planning the list of what I would do if they were not there.
Fortunately and happily they were, so huge relief but it is definitely something I don’t want to have to go through again soon.
For numerous reasons ( the biggest one being expense) I’ve been very selective about what films I see in the theaters lately and for the most part I have’t even seen the need anymore. Because I’m more than happy to wait for a film to come out on video for the most part by the time I have an opinion about any film most people have seen them already.
So anyway what I’m saying is that I’ll probably reviewing films months after they first came out and well past their sell by date..
Anyway… I’d put off seeing How to Train Your Dragon mainly because the first film’s director Chris Sanders, of whom I am a huge fan, not directing the sequil. Later on I heard “It was good but flawed” so eventually I decided to break down and see for myself. Somehow I had missed most of the spoilers… I’d heard that the teenage cast of the first movie had aged to near adults and It was hard to miss one of the main spoilers in the marketing but I’d missed the BIG spoiler so there was nothing that affected the sense of drama for me.
So anyway I’d say that I mostly agree with the good but flawed assessment. Make no mistake this movie was gorgeous but it lacked a lot of the quiet beauty that the first movie had. I think this is mostly a quantity vs quality thing. But in this case less is by no means bad it just means I have a longer list of nitpicks.
The biggest problem I think I have is that I get very tired of idealism being the same as naivity. Perhaps because one of the main theme of the last movie was new learning vs hide bound traditionalism. Hiccup, the protagonist, seems to believe that people can be eventually be convinced to learn what is right. This gives him quite a blind spot for Drago Bludvist, the film’s villain, assuming that when his traditionalist father says that Drago is a madman he assumes he can explain things to him as opposed to Drago actually being a madman. But other than this and a bit of preachiness near the end I enjoyed this technically beautiful film.
I haven’t been doing that many of these lately… Chalk it up to not having much good material… Mia culpa.
Anyway there’s a funny story with this one. As I may have mentioned in the past I have a drinking group I do on Tuesday nights. It’s mostly a bunch of policy wonks talking politics and when I don’t have anything to participate to the conversation, which regrettably is often, I just listen and draw.
Last night was one of those nights and so I’d finished one page and was halfway though a picture of the mermaid figurine on one of the Bar’s wall when one of our regulars came and asked me if I was drawing him despite he could clearly tell what was the mermaid.
Now let we tell you about they guy. He’s a rather entertaining eccentric democratic operative (the kind that goes to film the other guys’ meetings and promptly gets thrown out.) He can go on about his experience at WAZZU and how Cougs are better than Huskies (an ongoing argument that always makes me glad I didn’t go to school in Washington) how he goes out of his way to be off the grid (this has something to do with only ever having cash which he will never put in the bank) and whatever story that has caught his fancy that night… big fun.
I tell him that of course I’ve drawn him and show him this picture. The way he changed gears from amused trickster gadfly to amazed and amused was priceless. For the next ten minutes it was “You got to see this! He’s got me talking shit!”
Because I felt I still needed time to clease my pallete after watching Holy Mountain last week, this week I went with AustralianComedies.
The first , Siam Sunset oppens with the most blatant examples of women in the refrigerator I’ve ever seen as one falls from a plane killing the protagonists wife in the first five minutes. His mourning is complicated by suddenly becoming the victim of a series of coincidences which includes recurring freak accidents and winning a all expense paid tour of the Australian outback. Which he takes as a leave from his job in a paint factory, where he is the principal paint chemist, to heal and find the perfect shade of orange, Siam Sunset.
When he arrives he finds the tour is packed with eccentrics as well as a mysterious woman who has run off with her mobster ex boyfriend’s cash. All this leads to a series of misadventures across the outback which ends with them stranded in the middle of nowhere… what could possibly happen next?
I mostly liked this film it’s biggest problem was it seemed to go back and fourth between being a romantic comedy and an ensemble piece and really couldn’t decide which it would be. Also the ex boyfriend seemed to be a reject from a crime drama and every time he was arround things stopped being funny and not in a good way.
The next my film I picked for two reason’s. First, the name, The Man Who Sued God, and second it starred Billy Connolly. Connolley plays an ex lawyer who having burnt out on the profession became a fisherman. When his boat is destroyed by a bolt of lightening he discovers that the Insurance companies won’t pay his claim due to an Act of God. In a reaction he decides to sue God for dammages. What leads is a marvelous satire about religion, media, business and the legal fiction of “An act of God in general.” All in all I mostly liked it. but once again if felt like I was watching two comedies shuffled together. One is a broad farce where Billy Connoly is allowed to clown around in all his glory and the other a much dryer satire where among other things the clergy considers the nonexistence of god as part of it’s legal defense. Ultimately my biggest nit-pic is in what is otherwise a film that I would gladly put on my skeptic’s viewing night list we keep being shown signs of “god’s displeasure” as things go on. Happily nobody in the film seems to notice.