Monday, September 4, 2017

Labor Day Snapshot

Currently reading:

Still Star-Crossed by Melinda Taub: I thoroughly enjoyed this short-lived TV series, so naturally I had to give the book a try. Shocker: It's a lot better than the TV show.

The Dire King by William Ritter: Fourth Jackaby novel! Pretty exciting.


The definitive guide to the best illustrations of Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven, and how to make rain gutter bookshelves.


hitman's bodyguard
The Hitman's Bodyguard, starring Samuel L Jackson and Ryan Reynolds

My expectations going into this movie were lower than a subterranean diamond mine. The title does not inspire confidence. But it turned out to be fun and entertaining. I am not unhappy I saw it! Yes, it's formulaic, and Jackson and Reynolds are basically reprising roles from better movies. And it could stand to lose about 20 minutes. But Reynolds and Jackson are awesome together–their "buddy cop" vibe is spot-on–and Salma Hayek is obviously having a blast playing a super bitch. Actually, I liked all the female characters and the love stories (there are love stories!) and tongue-in-cheek humor. It's not going to win any awards, that's for certain, but I can see why this movie's been #1 at the box office for three weeks. You could do worse than to spend two hours of your weekend watching this.

girl on a train
The Girl on the Train, starring Emily Blunt, Rebecca Ferguson, and Haley Bennett

Meh. Very gothic, but not as suspenseful or twisty as I was expecting. It's no Gone Girl, that's for sure. Blunt did an excellent job, though.

wind river
Wind River, starring Elizabeth Olsen and Jeremy Renner

Similar to an episode of Longmire, but much less cheerful (and you didn't even think that was possible). I have to say, Renner was a revelation in this one. Usually I find him imminently forgettable, but he really knocked the role of modern mountain man out of the park. Surprising! Olsen looked more like an overwhelmed second grade teacher than an FBI agent, but she did all right. The script was not predictable at all and the story was excellent, except for a few loose ends and things that didn't make sense, like: I thought the crack den was miles from the oil rig, so how did that guy's body get dumped in the woods near there? And how have these tracks lasted so long in the snow after a blizzard? And did everyone really die in front of the trailer? But overall I thought it was a very good movie. Worth watching, just be prepared to be depressed AF afterward.

the lost city of z
The Lost City of Z, starring Charlie Hunnam, Sienna Miller, and a practically unrecognizable Robert Pattinson

A movie about discovering a hidden city in the Amazon rainforest. What could go wrong???

Well, it turns out quite a lot. This movie was a slog from beginning to end for multiple reasons. For instance:

  1. The story has an unnecessary prologue that goes on and on and on. You see, Percy, our fearless protagonist, wants some bling for his army uniform, but sadly there aren't any wars going on, and therefore no chance to win medals. I feel so bad for him.
  2. When he does finally get to the jungle, it's not terribly interesting because he manages to encounter every Amazonian stereotype. Piranhas. Unfriendly natives with poison-tipped darts. Evil loggers. Shrunken heads. And tales of a lost city!
  3. Speaking of the eponymous lost city... THERE IS NO CITY. What Percy finds is a statue, before he's forced to retreat because of a large panther (see Amazon stereotypes, above). And hey, that's cool. But a solitary statue does not a city make.
  4. Actually, calling it a statue is generous, it's more of a carving in a large boulder next to a picturesque waterfall. It could be the result of tourism for all we know.
  5. To anyone else, this would be a footnote in their memoirs, but Percy decides it means Desperate Indian Bloke Just Trying to Get Away from White People was telling the truth about a lost city and he should therefore go BACK to the jungle to find it. What??? No wonder his wife is pissed at him.
  6. Further point of confusion: Instead of retracing his steps back to the statue, he decides to go a different route. Not sure why. Then, when they're "almost there," his men insist on quitting and going back because it's raining or they're hungry or something. "It's raining, Percy, give up." I think those were their exact words. You guys can't walk another 40 yards? *throws up hands*
  7. WWI break. Percy's son has some Daddy issues because he's spent 80% of the kid's childhood on another continent chasing a statue. So when he's injured in battle and they visit him in hospital, Jack's like, "I wish you had died, for all the good you do us." Ouch! Then he turns around and literally two minutes later, with nothing happening in between except his mom sobbing, he's all, "I love you, Father, and I want to explore the jungle and help you find the lost city." Is this a trap? Is Jack luring Percy out into the jungle to kill him? Questions mount.
  8. I'll admit I spent most of this movie shipping Percy and his second-in-command, Costin, because him going off into the jungle constantly to spend time with his luvahhh makes more sense than the lost city. It was especially obvious after the war where Costin's like, "I have a wife and child now, Percy, I have to quit all that." Alas, this was the only point of interest.
  9. Anyway! Back to the jungle! Again!
  10. So the ending of this movie is more or less made up because **100-year spoiler alert** no one knows what happened to Percy and Jack. They disappeared. My murder theory becomes more plausible by the moment, but I digress. The filmmakers could have done ANYTHING at this point. Shown us a lost city, perhaps??? That would have been exciting. BUT NO. Instead, Percy spits out some aphorisms about courage that are eye roll worthy, and then they're carried off into the jungle by natives. Okayyyy?
  11. Did Percy and Jack find the lost city? Imma gonna say no cuz I never saw any damned city. But according to the infobox that popped up before the end credits, someone did find Percy's city recently. WHAT?!? So there was a city all along? Why wouldn't you show us that?
I didn't mean to turn this post into a rant about The Lost City of Z, but uhg. Just imagine Jaws, but two and a half hours long with no shark, and you have a pretty good idea of what watching this movie is like.

This weeks in heidenkindom:

I can't believe summer is over already. It didn't feel like we had much of one: it was cool and rainy during the months it was supposed to be dry and hot, and now here comes fall. I'm not ready (I'm never ready for fall, TBH). I plan to spend this weekend enjoying as much blistering heat as possible while it lasts.

Anyway, for the last few weeks my parents have been on vacation to watch the eclipse and travel around, and while they were gone and I was alone pet sitting the Scottie terrorists, I decided to go vegetarian. And I feel fucking fantastic! I'm not going to be strict vegetarian or vegan from now on, but I really enjoyed sticking to a non-meat diet and munching on the late summer produce. Simple Green Suppers was a big help; I'd say nearly every recipe I tried was absolutely delish and relatively easy to make. A few favorites were portobello mushroom tacos, roasted green beans and radicchio pasta with pesto, and baked egg pizzioli. I'd recommend this cookbook if you're looking to incorporate more vegetables into your diet.

Before I go, I just want to mention my thoughts and prayers are with everyone impacted by Hurricane Harvey. I know a few people and their families who live in the Houston area and will have a lot of rebuilding to do once the water recedes, and my heart goes out to them. Hopefully Hurricane Irma won't be as bad as predicted.

Have a great week, everyone!

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