Are You Not Entertained?

Here continues a monthly series sharing the music, books, and films that absorbed my time.

THE MUSIC 

The guitar and storytelling lyrics–it’s that rare, perfect album. A vinyl find at a garage sale, I rediscovered Making Movies, and it sounded just as sweet to my ears as it did 36 years ago. Fast forward time and Knopfler reinvents himself by cleverly pairing his talents with the legendary Emmy Lou Harris creating another great album in 2006, All the Roadrunning.

Mark Knopfler and Emmy Lou Harris duo
Mark Knopfler and Emmy Lou Harris, dynamic duo

THE BOOKScaptura-de-pantalla-2012-09-26-a-las-18-47-14

Only had time to read one, but Kate Remembered was an entertaining choice and introduced me to A. Scott Berg.  The efforts of his twenty year friendship with Katharine Hepburn and his profession as a biographer produced a satisfying page turner. I appreciated the insights she shared regarding the roots of Hollywood and her journey in the industry for 70 years. She passed in June of 2003, and Berg’s bio came out twelve days later. It’s a must read for movie buffs. Now I want to explore A. Scott Berg’s other biographies, especially his Pulitzer winner, Lindbergh. Can you recommend any of his biographies?

A 2013 article by Cain Rodriguez from Indiewire announced that Leonardo DiCaprio‘s film company, Appian Way, picked up the rights to produce a film version of Wilson. If you want to read the article, it can be found HERE. Does anyone know what stage of production it is in?

THE FILMS 

I watched a ton of Jeff Bridges this past month. Did you miss The Lucky 13 Film Club discussion regarding him? Why not check it out and comment? Lloyd and I would be happy to hear from you. https://cindybruchman.com/2016/04/13/jeff-bridges-the-lucky-13-film-club

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Why on earth wasn’t The Assassin nominated in the foreign language category during awards season? It was simply the most beautiful period film I have seen quite possibly, ever. Taiwanese cinematographer Mark Lee Ping Bin and director Hou Hsiao-Hsien captured the grandeur of 9th Century China from the imperial court to the villages blanketed by some of the prettiest scenery on the planet. It’s a magical dream from which you wouldn’t want to awaken.

It was a film of few words. Characters shared space and time with the opulence of nature’s dialogue between song birds and the lively wind. Quirky Chinese twangs resounded from instruments from which I don’t know. A farmer’s walk crosses the screen without a pause for several minutes. When a character makes a statement, the other says nothing. This could be off-putting for Western audiences waiting for reactions or for the plot to move along; if you watch it late at night while tired, it could easily lull you to sleep. But what a dreamy world it is.  4/5. 

YouthYOUTH-UK-POSTER-900x0-c-default

A dark comedy with beautiful bodies and Alpen scenery, the cast is exceptional with sharp supporting performances by Jane Fonda and Paul Dano. A treat for all your senses. I highly recommend this smart film with strong script-writing.  5/5 

 

33 thoughts on “Are You Not Entertained?

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  1. I love this post Cindy! It covers so much. Firstly Dire Straits ruled, I love Romeo and Juliet. I’ve heard a lot of rave reviews for The Assassin but also a few people saying it’s boring. I need to see it for myself.

    1. Hi Mikey! I’m glad we share the love for Dire Straits. The Assassin I read is linked to the Taiwanese New Wave movement, but I confess I’m ignorant. I sure liked this one. I understand why others thought it boring, but it’s so rich and beautiful, I think it is one of those films where multiple viewings might help one appreciate it. It’s unique!

  2. Great post, Cindy. You’ve covered some great things, here, and across three of my favorite arts. Fine music, and I agree with you re: ‘The Assassin’ (I was mesmerized with it). ‘Youth’ is on my must-see list, too. Must give at least one of those bios a read, I must say. Thanks for this. 🙂

  3. The Assasiin was my top foregin film of the Year,and Youth was my top English language film (although directed by an italian.) You couldn’t have picked two more deserving films, and I was happy to finally read your thoughts on them.
    I have been listening nonstop to Merle haggard since hearing the sad news of his death from pneumonia at age 79. Merle has been one of my few idols for several decades now. He taught me the poetry of simple language. check this out for a chilling example of his gifts. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qs1eWq3H4Ho. I have about 40 of his 65 albums and have been totally immersed in them.
    am now reading Mario Vargas Llosa’s memoir “A fish in the Water, about his presidential race in Peru against Fujimori in 1990. also continuing the huge set of the history of civilization volumes by Will and Ariel Durant. Absolutely the best journey through history I have ever taken,

    1. Thanks for the suggestions on the readings. I definitely need to explore more literature and biographies of a great continent. I’ll check out “A Fish in the Water”. I can’t say I’m passionate about Haggard as you, but I respect his contributions and explore your link. Thanks, my friend.

  4. I’ve bookmarked the CDs and the DVDs and I may give them a go. Back in the day, I was a bit of a sucker for Chinese and Japanese films. “Hero” especially is a wonderful visual feast

    1. John, if you like Asian films, then I dare say you would appreciate this. The costumes of the imperial court and the village life are beautiful. Let me know if you appreciate the music. 🙂

  5. I have ‘The Assassin’ on my wish list, and will look forward to ‘Youth’ too. Paul Dano is one of my favourite contemporary actors. He just gave a great turn as Pierre, in the BBC adaptation of ‘War and Peace’, and he was superb in ‘There Will Be Blood.’
    I like ‘Sultans of Swing’, but otherwise remain unmoved by Dire Straits, despite Knoppfler’s guitar skills, and the fact that they are a British band. Nice roundup, Cindy, and thanks for keeping it going.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    1. Pete, no love for Dire Straits? I still like you. 😉 Sultans of Swing has that great guitar riff at the end which I never tire of hearing. Paul Dano–did you like him the Love and Mercy? THAT was an outstanding performance, he playing Brian Wilson from the Beach Boys. Wasn’t swayed away by the group but for a few songs. Dano was great.

      1. I loved the Beach Boys, (after the surfing period) and think Wilson is something of a genius. I haven’t seen the film yet, but intend to buy it this year. I really do like ‘Sultans’, it’s just that the others were never as good!
        Best wishes as always, Pete.

        1. If you think Brian is a genius, you will be a fan of Love and Mercy–the best part of the movie is a sensory application of how Brian invented a song. The film puts you in his head.

  6. Pete,have you seen the Ballad of jack and rose? Dano plays across from Danie Day Lewis in that one as well as There will be blood, to much truer effect. He and Michael shannon are my favorites among the newer actors. I also thought he was very good in War and Peace. I also liked his Brian Wilson in Love and mercy.

    1. I second Love and Mercy. I need to catch up on Shannon films. People talk about Midnight Special and while I’m doubtful of Elvis & Nixon, I wonder how Shannon will handle playing Elvis.

    2. I haven’t seen that one yet, Bill, nor the Wilson biopic. I intend to get both at some stage though. He was so natural in War and Peace that many British viewers thought he was English!
      Regards, Pete.

  7. Another great post Cindy, I’m so glad you liked Youth. I just saw a trailer for Midnight Special and now I want to see it! Of course you know I dug Love and Mercy. That Dire Straits clip looks more interesting than modern music clips. I am not as familiar with Emmy Lou Harris but I adore her cover of Shelter From The Storm. The Assassin sounds intriguing, I really liked Crouching Tiger but Hero and House of Flying Daggers not as much. Does that bode well for me with The Assassin?

    1. Well, the Assassin is nothing like the magical realism contained in CT or HFD. I suspect the mixed reviews for Assassin can be attributed to those who expected men flying through the trees. It’ not an apple, it’s a pineapple. (If that made sense)

  8. I love the variety of reviews here Cindy! Wow that shot of Katharine Hepburn is stunning! Y’know, I think the visuals of The Assassins is beautiful but the movie nearly put me and my hubby asleep, ahah. YOUTH was interesting, saw that at a local film fest last year, but overall it didn’t quite wow me.

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