Saturday, November 24, 2012

Brain Dump

Happy post-American-holiday food coma! We went to the Sacramento area for the holiday and stayed overnight there, thus completely missing Black Friday (and when I say "missed" I mean "didn't miss it at all"). We went to my aunt and uncle's place (centrally located, big room for entertaining) and had a lovely time. I brought the apple pie I bring every year (don't mess with success, eh?) and it was demolished. Somebody else brought a pumpkin pie, the other thing I usually take care of, so I also made the almost no-bake pumpkin cream pie from Joy the Baker (Smitten Kitchen's gingersnap pumpkin tart with cheesecake swirl was the first test recipe but was not terribly interesting) and it was a massive success. Much lighter and fluffier than a standard cheesecake and the maple whipped cream is sheer genius.

Also saw the new James bond movie Skyfall. And is it just me, or is it becoming a progressively worse and worse gig to be a Bond girl? I just vaguely remember the Pierce Brosnan ones (showing my age, these were the ones I first saw in theaters), and while they were heavy on the camp and riddled with silly gadgetry by the end, they were also the ones with strong female characters that didn't just not think/sleep with Bond/get killed off ASAP. Yes, Xenia Onatopp was campy, but she was also a threat. And yes he was saving a lovely Russian but at least she was also some kind of scientist.

Daniel Craig's nu-Bond established Vesper Lynd as the be-all, end-all of women in Bond's world, killed her off, and decided that no other female gets to be the badass she was. Give me Honey Ryder or Pussy Galore and I will snigger at the name and then be ok with them. These new ones just kind of make me mopey.

New hipster Q, however, is adorable. 

Also, INSANELY GORGEOUS sets. The ruined island where the bad guy hides out? Chase scenes through Turkish markets? Bond's ancestral family home in Scotland? Good gravy. The whole thing was clearly shot with a loving eye and I enjoyed looking at every minute of it. Woof. Apparently they built the whole manor from scratch, which is also fun.

Also, Albert Finney! Bond's arc is pretty good, they spend a lot of time establishing him as aging and losing his knack and his interaction with the excellent Javier Bardem (it's another American movie, he must be playing a creepy bad guy) is so well done. And the car, sweet sassy molassey, the car. I don't want to spoil anything, so I will just say the first car scene makes the movie for me. Bond movies need a sense of humor if they're gonna fly. Daniel Craig is a good Bond but I think sometimes he gets a hair too serious.

And speaking of beautifully shot movies, we also rented Jiro Dreams Of Sushi, and it is also a visual feast. There isn't really a plot or much development of any kind, it's just this guy, he is a top sushi chef, and he talks about food, and his acolytes talk about food. Yes, he has acolytes. But man, talk about a pretty movie.

And more hipster Q. Happy long weekend, Americans! And happy Saturday, Canadians!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Go Vote (With Digression)

Last time I watched Mary Poppins it kind of made me sad that this was a throwaway scene. The whole movie makes it seem like Mrs. Banks should be spending more time with her kids, but in retrospect, this is so awesome. Everybody in America should be voting today if you haven't already!

Also, Glynis Johns (Mrs. Banks) and Elsa Lanchester (Katie Nana) are two of my favorite of Danny Kaye's ingenues. If you like a hilarious movie, check out the Inspector General with the amazing future Bride of Frankenstein.

And the possibly-even-better Court Jester where Glynis Johns does not get nearly enough screen time as the badass Maid Marion-esque love interest vs. Angela Lansbury's shallow, pretty princess.
Danny Kaye had it pretty good back in the day, eh?