Sunday, January 05, 2014

The Week in Entertainment

Film: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, which is about equidistant from the Thurber story and the old Danny Kaye film, which was pretty removed from Thurber itself. I enjoyed it; Ben Stiller has always been one of my favorite actors even though there was a time I couldn't say I liked any of the movies he was in. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug... well, it was enjoyable enough, though the action sequences were too long and what the hell is this Kili-Tauriel subplot? In fact, what is this Legolas-Tauriel stuff? Tolkien didn't do romance - there were some very bare bones in LOTR that you could hang a decent story on (I think Jackson & Co much improved the Aragorn-Éowyn-Faramir story), but there was nothing in the book of The Hobbit to justify this, and a great deal not to. (Plus, red hair on an Elf?) But: Smaug. Smaaaaauuuuuggg. So lovely. Yes.

DVD: A couple of the Warner Oland "Charlie Chan" movies.

TV: Some first-season Leverage, back when they were all getting used to each other, and Nate was drinking so much. An old movie with Lauren Bacall, Marilyn Monroe, and Betty Grable called How to Marry a Millionaire; Bacall stole what is actually a fairly funny film.

Read: A mystery called No Stone Unturned, the first of a series I will not be reading any more of, as there was not a character in it I liked, a faint whiff of homophobia pervaded the story, and the narrator was given to incredibly stupid actions. Also, cops roughing up witnesses, yay? Started Neverland: J. M. Barrie, the Du Mauriers, and the Dark Side of Peter Pan, but was unable to get past the first section. It's an over-the-top, overblown, frenetic assertion that Barrie exerted some sort of Svengali-like "malign power" over of the Du Maurier family, filled with breathless accusations in the "but why would he commit suicide when he was so successful??" and "does this sound like a man 'destroyed' by the war?" vein and based on precious little fact. There is a great deal of "must have" and "probably" in the telling. When Dudgeon writes that Arthur Davies repressed his anger at Barrie's influence with his, Davies's, wife until it turned into cancer, well... please.So I've picked up another Asey Mayo to cleanse my palate.



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