Thursday, October 25, 2018

From The New York Times' review of London Fields by Jeannette Catoulis

"'There was no book without the girl,' Samson intones as his mysteriously mourning muse, Nicola Six (Amber Heard), appears in black veil and a cloud of pheromones. The year is 1999 and some kind of worldwide catastrophe is unfolding, but Nicola’s main problems seem to be a lack of outerwear and the ability to foresee her own murder. Whether her lover-cum-killer will be the besotted banker (Theo James), the cretinous criminal (an odiously mouth-breathing Jim Sturgess), or Samson himself is a riddle we could not possibly be less interested in solving.

The arrival of Johnny Depp as a ludicrously dressed gangster with an entourage of weirdos does nothing to reverse that position. (It does, however, signal that the movie’s costume designer was having much more fun than any of its stars.) Failing to even glancingly approximate the book’s trippy energy or linguistic dazzle, Cullen ricochets between Heard’s slow-motion, perfume-ad close-ups and lurid, comic-book noir. The result is alienating and bogus, as senseless as the image of Nicola’s floating, diaphanous panties." --Jeannette Catsoulis

Friday, October 12, 2018

From Joseph Epstein's essay "Life's Little Luxury"

"Movies with charm at their center are no longer being made. The directors able to make them or even interested in doing so—the Leo McCareys, the Preston Sturgeses, the Billy Wilders, the George Cukors, the Blake Edwardses, the Stanley Donens—are long gone. Nora Ephron attempted with some success to make such movies, in the spirit of our time, but she has had no followers. Quite possibly charm is no longer marketable. With fewer and fewer models of it available, it may go the way of chivalry, good manners, and unmotivated kindness.
If one cannot define charm with real precision, how, then, does one recognize it? One recognizes it, as one does its compatriots in inexact definability, pretty much case by case, instance by instance. One recognizes charm when one feels it, sees it. Charming is the song we don’t want to stop playing, the painting that won’t leave our minds, the piece of writing we don’t want to end, the man or woman we wish never to leave the room. Charm, when present, enlivens and lights up a room, makes the world seem a more enticing place. Not quite true that charm, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder, for there are levels of sophistication in the realm of charm. Some charm is subtler than others; some more obvious. Not everyone is likely to be charmed by Noël Coward; most people are likely to be charmed by the Marx Brothers." --Joseph Epstein

Monday, October 8, 2018

From "Major Climate Report Describes a Strong Risk of Crisis as Early as 2040"

"The authors found that if greenhouse gas emissions continue at the current rate, the atmosphere will warm up by as much as 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 degrees Celsius) above preindustrial levels by 2040, inundating coastlines and intensifying droughts and poverty. Previous work had focused on estimating the damage if average temperatures were to rise by a larger number, 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius), because that was the threshold scientists previously considered for the most severe effects of climate change."  --Coral Davenport
For some reason, this topic has been on mind recently, after watching First Reformed.