Five Shots: Plateau Sunset

1. Glow on the Redrocks, Sedona

Last night my sister flew in from Illinois and surprised me with her presence and her fiancé. They were on their way to Las Vegas to hitch up at the White Chapel for an exchange of “I do”. Surprised and delighted to see her, we celebrated by sharing the plateau which provides a 360 view of the colors and shadows at twilight in the Sycamore Canyon Wilderness. Here are six shots of the sunset. Which one do you like the best?

2. Yellow Burst
3. Sunset Road
4. Arizona Sunset
5. Golden Slumber
6. Red Underbellies

Five Shots: Fossil Creek

Taking advantage of a supreme Arizona fall morning, Jim, Bear, and I drove out to Tonto Wilderness Area and hiked the waterfall trail at Fossil Creek, an artesian spring that bubbles out of the high ground with a concentrated amount of calcium carbonate on travertine creating terraces, steep waterfalls, and large pools. Emerald green water is the result and brings many to the area. This time of year, we beat any crowd and had the path to ourselves. Here are several shots from the area.  Which one do you like the best?

1. Foam
2. Fall Morning
3. Tree Grass
4. Big Waterfall
5. Green Water
6. Wading Pool
7. Cliff View
8. Fossil Rocks
cliff view 2
9. Cliff View Two
10. Bark
11. Deep Pool
12. Spotlight
13. Sally May
14. Perfect November Day
Tonto National Forest Map of Fossil Creek Wilderness Area

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMO: Feeding the Gators

Have you ever read Stephen King‘s essay “Why We Crave Horror Movies”? The one where he explains watching scary movies is a way to test ourselves, similar to rollercoaster rides and going to haunted houses? Inside we are monsters living in a world that rewards pleasantries and virtues while it sanctions misconduct and malicious acts of violence. I agree with him. BTW, if you missed the essay, just google it, and you can read the short essay in its entirety.

We are violent by nature. What’s popular to see and discuss today has been so since our human predecessors gathered around stones or looked at the stars for answers: good spirits, evil spirits, the battles of kingdoms and empire. The gore and the disgusting intrigue many, why? Is it to test oneself to see if we can handle the state of fear? To imagine the pain and compare oneself to the aggressor and the victim? We are both. Horror movies give one a chance to experience that violence vicariously since we are bound by the mores of society to behave ourselves.

I rented a horror film last weekend and broke it up over two days watching it during the day. Pathetic, I know, but there you have it–I am a scaredy-cat. I have read Hereditary reviews and everyone seemed to think it was well made, so I tested myself to see if I could handle the fear.

credit: Reid Chavis/A24

 

It is a psychological film about a woman’s inability to handle grief like The Babadook. And then the house was possessed like the Amityville Horror, complete with flies and window-like eyes. And then Annie Graham (Toni Collette) turned into something out of The Conjuring/The Grudge.  And then the story turned into a Wicker story. Poor men. And then the last scene came with some slasher elements thrown in,  and I laughed. I don’t think I was supposed to do that. People criticize ambiguous endings, but this ending was predicted a long time before the last scene played out. In other words, Hereditary wasn’t sure what kind of horror movie to be. I loved the front half of the film full of fine tension and enough scary scenes to keep me biting my nails. By the time the moronic husband (Gabriel Byrne) finally realizes his wife is mentally ill, I wasn’t scared anymore.

I loved the score. I loved that the setting was beautiful–nothing better than the ironic twist of a fall setting with evil lurking in the gorgeous home. I loved the symbolic little house Annie Graham (Toni Collette) made. What a perfect vocation to illustrate she had an obsessive need to control her environment. Toni Collette‘s performance was outstanding. She showed a robust range of emotions and body language.  Milly Shapiro as Charlie Graham stole the show with her creepy expressions and clucking.  I just wish writer-director Ari Astersh stuck with the genre of psychological thriller.  I’m sure if I had watched it at night in a dark theater in one setting, I would have been scared shitless. 4/5.

Stephen King ended in his essay by asserting we like to be scared because it feeds the alligators inside, that is, it keeps the balance between the good and evil in us.  Personally, I think we watch horror movies because we are bored. It is a peculiarly effective way to recharge ourselves and feel the adrenaline rush as a result. What do you think? What was the last good scary movie you watched?

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