26 06 2008

…13 Films Seen

Raiders of the Lost Ark (Spielberg, 1981). Fun, campy and thrilling. 8.5/10

Incredible Hulk (Penn, 2008 ) Too serious for its own good. Plus points though for the breathtaking Rio favela aerial shots. 6/10

Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (Adamson, 2008 ) Like Order of the Phoenix, devoid of any magic. 6.5/10

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (Spielberg, 2008 ) Sometimes fun, often campy and most of the time silly. 6.5/10

Iron Man (Favreau, 2008 ) Classic as far as superhero movies go. 8/10

Floating Weeds (Ozu, 1959) I have yet to see an imperfect film from Ozu, who is perhaps the greatest Asian filmmaker in history. 10/10

Last Days (van Sant, 2005) Visceral but barely bearable and almost pointless. A disposable van Sant (but at least better than Gerry!). 6.5/10

Belle de Jour (Bunuel, 1967) Erotic, shocking (for its time at least), surreal, illogical and a classic ending. 10/10

Lost Highway (Lynch, 1997) Oi, what just happened? 8/10

Stranger than Paradise (Jarmusch, 1984) Eva, the Hungarian immigrant, may just well be the coolest character in American indie cinema. 9.5/10

Funny Games (Haneke, 1997) A violent anti-violence film executed excellently by a master but I absolutely despise the experience of watching this (though I guess that is the point). 8/10

Across the Universe (Taymor, 2007) Enjoyable but too thin and inoffensive to matter. A waste of Taymor’s visual ambition. 6/10

Week End (Godard, 1967) The innocent title betrays the shocking and horrifying visual nightmare that Godard presents us along with plenty of biting satire and ideological preaching. Brilliant 10-minute tracking shots! 9.5/10

…9 Records Downloaded

Joanna Newsom – Milk-Eyed Mender (Highlight: Clam, Crab, Cockle and Cowry)

New Pornographers – Electric Version (HL: The End of Medicine)

Animal Collective – Feels (HL: Grass)

Portishead – Third (HL: We Carry On)

Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Fever to Tell (HL: Maps)

Neutral Milk Hotel – In the Aeroplane Over the Sea (HL: The King of Carrot Flower Parts 1, 2, & 3)

Pixies – Death to the Pixies (HL: Where is My Mind?)

Cibo Matto – Viva! La Woman (HL: Birthday Cake)

Animal Collective – Strawberry Jam (HL: Peacebone)

…5 Books Read

The Fugitive by Marcel Proust. I missed those long and long-winded sentences. It has been a while!

A Passage to India by E.M. Forster. Forster, in his masterpiece, captures the complexity of East-West relations. A brilliant title with a hint of irony.

Naked Lunch by William Burroughs. Dystopic nightmares of drugs and sex in New York, Tangier and a place not exactly on the map.

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert. A tragedy that shares similarities with Anna Karenina in theme, character, scope and emotional impact.

Between the Acts by Virginia Woolf. Woolf’s final novel, although slighter than her earlier works, is lyrical, poetic and one of the last notable modernist works of the 20th century.



16 06 2008

Today, Dublin and the Joycean fandom are celebrating Bloomsday, a day that commemorates James Joyce and his novel Ulysses‘ (anti)hero, Leopold Bloom (this site’s namesake). Everywhere, geeks are rereading their favorite chapters.

Ulysses‘ last section, Molly Bloom’s soliloquy, contains the longest ‘sentence’ in English literature (with 4000+ words) and dishes us a sample of Joyce’s wit, irreverence, ambition, and unparalleled modernist genius. An excerpt from page 737:

yes I think he made them a bit firmer sucking them like that so long he made me thirsty titties he calls them I had to laugh yes this one anyhow stiff the nipple gets for the least thing Ill get him to keep that up and Ill take those eggs beaten up with marsala fatten them out for him what are all those veins and things curious the way its made 2 the same in case of twins theyre supposed to represent beauty places up there like those statues in the museum one of them pretending to hide it with her hand are they so beautiful of course compared with what a man looks like with his two bags full and his other thing hanging down out of him or sticking up at you like a hatrack no wonder they hide it with a cabbageleaf

Gin Tonic

8 06 2008

In the last two weeks I…

-helped organize an international geographers’ conference in QC

-helped organize a dissertation workshop in Los Banos

-met dozens of academics (luminaries and students) in both events

-had hours of interesting chats and walks with them

-ingested liters of beer with them (intellectual alcoholics)

-met a French PhD student based in Indonesia who reminded me very much of Amelie

-helped Amelie experience her first jeepney ride

-established good contacts for a possible PhD in Toronto

-got employed part-time in Miriam College

-hiked Pinatubo and swam in its emerald waters

-became stressed, panicked, anxious, irritable, excited, talky, relieved, glad, drunk and mushy in the process of doing all of the above