Monday, July 27, 2009

Scary Thought

It has occurred to me, that in ten or so years, (maybe less), many of the people that I love and who enrich my life, may not be with me. For instance, two of my all time favorite authors, Diana Palmer and Anne Stuart, are in their sixties and are having health problems. I cannot imagine a world without them. No new books by these authors to look forward to. No comfort in thinking of them and knowing they are there on this planet with me.

What about my mother? She's in her sixties. People live a long time in my family. I'm hoping that she will continue this trend. Losing my father put a whole the size of Texas in me. I imagine that another hole will form when my mother goes. My grandmother is in her late eighties. Her time will come soon, and I am trying to prepare for it. My aunts too.

I know that losing Anne Stuart and Diana Palmer will hurt me just as deeply as losing a family member, because they are like family to me. I grew up with them. They were my first favorites. I can vividly remember the days of running to the store or library to check out their books. I can remember how I felt reading their books for the first, second,many times. I imagine that two other old favorites, Johanna Lindsey and Jude Deveraux are getting up there too.

My all-time favorite band, Duran Duran, they are in their forties. My darling Keanu Reeves is also in his forties. They still have good years left, but how many? Just think, Michael Jackson has gone from this world. The enormity of the loss is so profound, I can't wrap my mind around it. I went roller skating on Saturday and they played a lot of his songs. My heart was full of sadness as I skated around the rink, thinking about him and his legacy in the world. Growing up listening to his songs, and watching his videos and movies. Now, he's not here anymore. All the songs that I hear by him will be old songs. Last year, so many favorites died, such as Paul Newman and Bernie Fox. Who else will go this year?

Age is a scary thing. When you're young, you can't conceive of getting older. I remember being five, twelve, fifteen. And that was a long time ago. Now I'm thirty-six, and the clock only goes forward, not back.

It occurs to me that the biggest fear of aging is not losing your looks or your health. It's staying in a world where all the people you loved have already left it. And the older you get, the more likely this is. I know that each year, I will have to say goodbye to more people that I cannot imagine living in a world without. The idea of it is so painful, I don't want to spend much time thinking on it. But it is a loss that all of us have to bear as humans with hearts made to love others. And the only answer is acceptance. Accepting that we will have to let go, and trying to enjoy and cherish the time we have left with those who will leave before we do.


Sunday, April 12, 2009

Lakeview Terrace

I watched this movie last night. I bought it a couple of weeks ago, but wanted to be ready to watch it. I am glad I was ready. It was a good movie, not perfect, but very good. On the surface, it's a movie about a Black police officer who is terrorizing his neighbors who are an interracial married couple, a Black woman and a White man.

But that is just the surface. Deep down it is about the male psyche. We see two different men presented as a contrast to each other: Chris, a mild-mannered, New Age, enlightened male who has married the woman he loves, who happens to be Black. Abel is the other man, an uber-Alpha male who is used to being in charge, and the king of all he surveys. He happens to be a Black police officer who has been recently widowed.

Chris is a man adrift. He has identity problems. He doesn't know if he's an alpha male or a beta male. He is in love with this wife, but he has not adjusted to being a married man who is settled down and starting a family. When Lisa, his wife, discusses the possibility of having children now. He doesn't want to start now, because he's not ready. In fact, I think he is scared witless out of fear of yet another burden on his shoulders.

Yes, the racial issue is a prominent thing, but at the same time, it's a red herring. Abel is a racist, but only through opportunity. He doesn't like the fact that a young, mild-mannered White man has a Black wife who loves and looks up to him. He takes this personally. And any so-called morality goes right out the window.

Abel is a rotten human being who is in a position of authority. He lords over everyone and everything. The way he talks to his children is utterly wrong. I am not saying he cannot be a disciplinarian over his family, but he takes it too far. The way he treats the suspects also shows his need for control. His partner is scared and in his thrall, willing to look the other way at Abel's acts of brutality and breaches of ethics.

Chris and Lisa have a good marriage, but not perfect. I have discussed with others that there seems to be little affection in the interactions of the couple. One woman I talked to thought that Patrick Wilson, who plays Chris, might have been uncomfortable in the role. When I see the movie, I see that Chris is not a man who is comfortable in his own skin. I think Wilson is showing this through his physical body language. I don't believe his issue is discomfort with the interracial relationship, although his male ego resents being confronted by Black men about being with a Black woman. When Lisa tells him that she is pregnant, he is angry because he thinks she forced his hand by 'forgetting' to take her birth control. Maybe she does. I didn't take his discomfort with her pregnancy as his fear and reluctance to have a baby who is biracial. I think this issue was fear about being a father, and the responsibility of being a husband and a father. You see, Lisa is a father's girl. Her father is a successful man who seemingly has spoiled his daughter. Chris isn't doing that great financially. He does have a decent job that he seems to hate, and their home is a 'starter home' and clearly looked upon with disdain by Lisa's father. This is another blow to his male ego. This friction with Lisa's dad is displayed in a restaurant scene where Chris confronts Lisa's dad about never talking directly to him. Lisa's dad then asks, are they planning on having children. I took this as, 'what are you going to do to protect my daughter and grandchildren,' partly because of the interracial confrontation issues but also financially.

There is a scene in which Abel throws a stag party at his house with this cop coworkers. They have strippers at the party, and Abel entices the strippers to basically accost Chris. The scene is very cruel and it seems to show Chris' emasculation in that he is not that kind of man to enjoy carousing with strippers, so he must not be a real, 'alpha' man like Abel and his cop brethren. That was hard to watch.

To be honest, there were more than a few hard to watch scenes in which we see the cruelty that Abel is capable of. But also the way Chris pushes his wife away when she tries to intervene as he tussles with Abel through the fence. He says, "Get off me," and I think he pushes her pretty hard (for a woman, particularly who is pregnant). That scene also bothers me.

The thing I like about this movie is that the couple, Chris and Lisa are committed to each other for the long haul, and it is clear they will stay together. At the end of the movie, Chris realizes what he is about to throw away through his fears about being a married man with children. He shows he is ready to commit to his family.

So I have to say that this is a clever movie. It draws you in for the interracial romance and associated conflicts with the racist neighbor, but it really is a study of the male psyche and how a man feels that he should act to be perceived as manly by other men and the women in their lives.


Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Sadness of Expectations Unfulfilled: Punisher War Zone

Why didn't I read a review before I bought and watched Punisher War Zone? I really should have done so. I let the promise of Ray Stevenson and a comic book movie lead me down the path of disappointed movie-watcherdom.

Why was I disappointed? Because the movie was so disgustingly gory that I couldn't hardly digest the plot or appreciate the value of the movie. This movie was made as if it was a comic book for Hostel/The Devil's Reject fans. Okay I never watched these movies, but I scarcely see how they could be more gross and difficult to stomach than this movie.

The review on Amazon that I should have read prior to watching this movie said that if I didn't appreciate the comic book in all its violent glory than I shouldn't be watching the movie. I beg to differ. Comic book art is a one-dimensional medium. Movies are three dimensional. They have what appears to be real life people. It is much easier to deal with watching a person being torn apart on paper than it is in a movie. The impact of violence is therefore much more intense and more deeply felt than violence in a comic book or a graphic novel. I have read and enjoyed Elektra comics (designed for mature readers), so I know that there are violent possibilities in comic books. However, although some did not like Elektra, the filmmaker was able to demonstrate the deadly potential of Elektra and show her moral ambiguity without heads exploding almost continuously, peppered by other horrific death scenes.

This movie was too much to stomach. I firmly believe that even Kill Bill with the completely over the top violence it featured comes nowhere near how sickening this movie was. It simply made my stomach hurt and left a bad taste in my mouth.

And it was such a waste. It had a really good cast with three British actors that I admire: Ray Stevenson, Colin Salmon, and Dominic West. For the people who appreciate eye candy, there are handsome men in this movie to admire. It had an antihero who could be admirable but wasn't because he was a brutal and remorseless killing machine. And even still I could accept this in a hero if the impact wasn't delivered in such a horrific fashion. I love antiheroes, but in this movie, The Punisher was a person that I had trouble empathizing with or even detecting any humanity in. The few moments of humanity shown in some scenes was siphoned away by the following scene of him blowing someone's head off. Now I do want to be fair and state that these sickening acts of violence were perpetrated solely on evil people, although the bad guys do horrible things to good people, but still, cruelty is cruelty.

I think the script was pretty decent. This movie version is much more faithful to the source material of the Punisher comics. It had a very nice production value (except for the gore). The acting was very good, although I feel that Julie Benz was underutilized. It even had a few laughs. In a more subtle person's hands, I could have liked this movie. But with the execution that it received, I definitely did not like and do not care to watch this movie ever again.


Monday, March 23, 2009

Transport 3 Fits the Bill

Let's face it, I am a fan of Jason Statham. So that helps me to like a movie significantly. But I don't love all his movies. I did love this one. I admit was I was disappointed at Transporter 2. Pretty disappointed. I was prepared to be disappointed again. But I was not. This movie was lush and atmospheric. The music really added to the beauty of it. It has the European feel that I love about movies like the James Bond films, The Professional, La Femme Nikita, and Hitman. I wasn't sure about the female co-star who played Valentina at first. That's because I loved Jason paired with Shu Qi in the first movie so much. I was still frowning when she started getting that look in her eye when Frank was kicking butt bare-chested. The same look I get when I watch those scenes. I was thinking stay away from Lai's (Shu Qi's character's name) man. I was telling myself he was going to get back together with her. But during the strip-tease scene, which was very nice, I started to warm to her. I do think that there was good chemistry between them. It mellowed me despite my intentions to dislike the romantic relationship in this movie. So I liked the romance, I loved the action, I thought the movie was beautifully shot. The plot is a bit thin, but I'm more than willing to forgive it because of the joy of watching Jason Statham do his thing and the Luc Besson feel to this movie. Plus we get to see The Transporter get a happy ending. On a superficial and completely boy crazy note, I must say the lovely Jason Statham is looking better than I've ever seen him looking in this movie, and he usually looks mighty fine to me. Oh, my yummy. Who said action movies can't be for girls? I will be going to get my copy of this lovely movie.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Giving a Shout Out to Aldis Hodge

He is a gifted actor who happens to be gorgeous. He played Jake on Supernatural, yes the guy who killed Sam. I thought he was fine and then I hated his guts. But I can forgive him because he's so awesome as Alec on Leverage. He was the man on last night's episode when he pretended to be a lawyer and totally tore an expert witness to shreds. It's not nice to see a person humiliated, but he did such a good job, and he wasn't even a lawyer. He's a computer genius, and it's so cool to see a role for a Black actor that's not stereotyped. He's the computer geek, and he's the Black guy. How cool is that? He's a real cutie, so I thought I'd post some pics of him. You go boy.


NCIS to the Rescue

Being stranded in a small town with little to do isn't much fun. I don't mean to complain, mind you. The motel only has so many channels, but at least it does have USA, and the fact that USA plays three, count them, three episodes of NCIS in a row every day was a real blessing. I fell in love with this show when I was in a similar situation last year.

Being out of town and staying in a hotel with nothing to do really does affect one's television viewing. Normally I am on the go so much and have chores to do when I get home, that I don't even get to watch my favorite shows regularly. But since I had nothing to do but go back to my room and watch tv, read a book, and check emails when I was on the road for 14 out of 52 weeks last year, I definitely did more tv watching last year than I have in a while.

I went there. I became a Law and Order: Criminal Intent fan (I always did have a thing for Vincent D'Onofrio. I cannot lie about that.) I watch Law and Order and Law and Order: SVU for lack of better things to watch (and get sucked in). I got sucked into Criminal Minds as well (Shemar Moore definitely helped with that). And I came to realize how much I truly love NCIS. It's a fun show but can be very intense. I did like it from the beginning but couldn't say I was sucked in like my mother and sister and my friend. The group is very cohesive and complement each other. The action keeps moving, and it's fun to solve the murders as you watch the episodes. I love the criminal investigative shows in general anyway. I went through the grieving process when Cait was killed by Ari as I watched a marathon in Denver on a Saturday. I realized how much I really like Ziva when I saw another marathon in Denver. I also watched it at home a few times when I actually got home at a decent hour. Each time I grew more captivated by this show. So when I see that it's on, I have to turn it there and watch. Even episodes I've watched a few times.

Right now I am watching the positively heartbreaking episode with Matthew Marsden when he is poisoned with thallium and they are trying to find out how killed him in advance. The episode just makes my stomach sink and tears to well at my eyes. He was such a lovely guy, and you could see how Ziva had no control over falling for him. And they would have made such a good couple. I guess I'm a masochist, because I can't turn it away, even though I remember how this episode affected me when I watched it in Denver last year.

I am definitely considering buying the show on DVD, although if USA keeps showing it, I should be good to go. I even got to watch four episodes yesterday because I watched USA and then it came on CBS. That was pretty cool.

My favorite characters in this order, are: McGee, Ducky, Ziva, Abby, Tony, and Gibbs. I liked Cait, but she was kind of annoying sometimes. She could be pretty mean and snooty to Tony, but I realize that it's just part of their dynamic. Gibbs is a grumpy, grumpy bear. But he's a badass. And his sense of honor and integrity is unshakable. He is like Horatio on CSI Miami. He doesn't stop until he gets his man. You can't help but respect him. McGee is just adorable. I have a fondness for nerds anyway, but I like him because he's got layers. He's grown in his time and gained confidence as he has been on the team for longer. He's very capable and is a genius with computers and finding answers. Of course he still gets picked on, but they all pick on each other. Ziva is just awesome. She is a dangerous woman, and I love those kinds of women characters. I also like how she gets her English missed up and says very risque things without realizing it. I love her dedication to her country of Israel, but her loyalty to NCIS. Ducky is adorable. He's so smart, and appealingly English and a bit old-fashioned. I like when he gets excited and goes on a tangent and starts talking about random things and Gibbs gets impatient with him. I like his assistant who was in From Justin to Kelly, although I can't remember his name right now. I wonder if he'll ever be a full-time cast member. Abby is unique and cool, and she's a genius. There's not a puzzle she can't solve. I love her fondness for soda and goth interests. She can get away with a lot more than the other team members when it comes to Gibbs. It was kind of odd how she and McGee were dating briefly but I never found out what happened with that. I probably just missed those episodes. Tony is funny yet he's all over it. His womanizing is a bit annoying, but it's just part and parcel. He does have sensitivity and is a kind-soul, and a phenomenal investigator. I hope that he and Ziva do get together at some point. I didn't like his girlfriend who was a doctor. Yuck! She was annoying to me.

I just felt a need to talk about my show as I watch this tv episode that kills me. At least they don't show Roy (Matthew Marsden) dying on screen, because I feel I would never recover. And then the reason why he gets poisoned is so pointless it makes it even worse.

Again, I want to thank NCIS for making these two weeks stranded in a hotel room in the middle of the Piney Woods more tolerable. I will be eternally grateful.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Cute Guy for a Rainy Tuesday,

I am watching The Mentalist and enjoying the lovely Tim Kang. He plays Agent Kendall. He is so delicious. His character is very straight to business, but that's alright with me. On today's episode, he's undercover and boy is he looking good in his black suit and shirt.

For your enjoyment.


Saturday, February 07, 2009

Be Still My Beating Heart

I am just totally in love with Richard Armitage. It's so strange. I saw him playing The Sheriff of Nottingham, Guy of Gisbourne and I decided I wanted to have his children. He is so yum to me. He's not a pretty boy, but he's gorgeous. He is all man, but he's not macho type. To date I have not seen most of his work. The plan is to watch as much as I can. I bought North and South and I waiting for the right moment to immerse myself in him. I feel that if I watch this movie that other fans of his have raved about, I will truly be lost. I may even become a stalker of his. Heck, I'm even considering buying Robin Hood just to drool over the man. I don't even pay attention to Robin Hood, the hero of the show. No, I just pay attention to Richard.

I am reading a book called The Perfect Waltz. It occurred to me that its hero could be Richard Armitage. He's tall, brooding, dark, with grey eyes. I think Richard's are blue, but close enough. So I googled Richard and I found this incredible picture. After swallowing my tongue, I made it the desktop pic on computer. Here it is for your delectation.

Please save me from hormonal overload. I just adore the man. Enjoy.