23 December, 2010

todd solondz is a genius

12 years ago he made one of the best films of the 90s. if the quasi-sequel to happiness does not pack quite the same punch, it is regardless confirmation of the fact that few people make me laugh out loud, gasp in horror, shrink in embarrassment and cry in sadness pretty much all at the same time. enjoyable? questionable. necessary? most certainly.

and charlotte rampling is in it.

and a great soundtrack

devendra and beck. what is not to like?

20 December, 2010

you know who you are!

90s revival! makes me tear up. love shania.

i don't want to hear any errrs.

18 December, 2010

yes, she can still move her face

Rabbit Hole

Well, Saturday is all about watching good drama. and this fits the bill. A young couple coming to terms with the death of their 4-year-old. Moving, obviously. But also good lashings on humour. For such heavy subject matter, one walks away feeling, well, optimistic.

best film of the year?

quite possibly. tipped off by oats.
jacki weaver. give the woman an oscar. NOW


05 December, 2010

19 November, 2010

home is rome


on via gino capponi, seventy one.

after three months, i can honestly say i cannot get back fast enough. go straight to my local market. taste what a real tomato should taste like. have a decent coffee. hop on my scooter and roam aimlessly in the most beautiful city in the world.

eccomi! arrivo!

Another reporter: Which of the cities visited did Your Highness enjoy the most?
General Provno: [prompting] Each, in its own way...
Princess Ann: Each, in its own way, was unforgettable. It would be difficult to - Rome! By all means, Rome. I will cherish my visit
here in memory as long as I live.

15 November, 2010

"does this tampon make me look fat?"

Not sure i could have take more than 84 minutes of it, but for that time i was very entertained and well, god bless joan. if she did not exist, you would have to invent her.

29 October, 2010


well, after 10 years of unbrindled loyalty to kate moss, I've moved on.
it's all about freja. and named after the norse myth's goddess of war and love (the vikings didn't differentiate...). what's not to like?

(Dossier Journal, Copyright)

27 October, 2010

the hunt is over

i have searched for el nido (1980) for a good ten years! out of print. out of favour. out of luck. well, i found it! an old VHS copy that will somehow have to be converted into 21st century viewing technology. but hell, i could not be happier.

i like to think of it as a valuable accompanying piece to harold and maude. the touching story of an eccentric widower and the precocious 12-year-old Goyita. To a sountrack of Haydn. what's not to like?

tiesto ft emily haines

14 October, 2010

operatic highs

it's been YEARS marjorie, since i went to the opera (tristan and isolde, Royal Opera House, circa late 1990s). finally, am about to stage a triumphant return and will make my debut at the metropolitan to see boris godunov, hands down my favourite opera. 4 1/2 hours and in russian. what's not to like! giddy, i tell you. giddy.

27 September, 2010

New York, New York, UN, UN

UN, PHD, Waldord Astoria, Last minute peace talks, room service, late night dashes to the village, early morning wake-ups, lurking in corridors, harrassing officials. sweating profusely, panicking, romancing, more loitering, waiting and waiting. one week, two weekends spent running a high blood pressure.

23 September, 2010

brit brit gleeful

i simply CANNOT BEAR IT. the LEG, BRITNEY, will be on glee. the best of..
toxic, hit me baby, the works.
moved to tears.
next week.

17 September, 2010

16 September, 2010

never let me go

seeing it sunday.

"I keep thinking about this river somewhere, with the water moving really fast. And these two people in the water, trying to hold onto each other, holding on as hard as they can, but in the end it's just too much. The current's too strong. They've got to let go, drift apart. That's how it is with us. It's a shame, Kath, because we've loved each other all our lives. But in the end, we can't stay together forever."

15 September, 2010

usually do not like remakes

but when they star kate winslet and evan rachel wood. i can make an exception.

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fit for society

the headstrong, yet entirely lovable, hound is in training. so that she can be fit to be seen and not heard in people's homes. not attacking children. so she and J are attending doggy bootcamp. it's all about positive reinforcements, apparently. and the results so far have been truly astonishing.

13 September, 2010

11 September, 2010

babies! the movie

birthday fish

The East Coast's Only Sustainable Sushi
, which includes an INVASIVE SPECIES menu

This is where J is taking me for my birthday

The owner appears to be a complete kook, by the looks of the Web Site. But the place is packing every night. cannot wait.

03 September, 2010

mean girl is back

Robert Fisk on Tony B

Robert Fisk: Blair should take responsibility for Iraq. But he won't. He can't (Independent, Sept. 3)

Has this wretched man learned nothing? On and on, it went during his BBC interview: "I would absolutely...","I definitely...", "I believed absolutely clearly...", "It was very, very clear that this changed everything" – "this" being 11 September 2001 – "Let me state clearly and unequivocally", "The Intelligence picture was clear...", "legal justification was quite clear", "We said completely accurately... "Because I believed strongly, then and now...", "My definitive view in the end is..." You would have thought we won the war in Iraq, that we were winning the war in Afghanistan, that we were going to win the next war in Iran. And why not, if Lord Blair of Kut al-Amara says so.

And I hereby abandon all further reference to Lord Blair of Kut al-Amara, with its unhappy reference to Britain's humiliating military defeat in 1915 Mesopotamia. He must be re-created Lord Blair of Isfahan. Having conquered Saddam, he wants to conquer Ahmadinejad. "I am saying that it is wholly unacceptable for Iran to have nuclear weapons capability," he told poor old Andrew Marr. It was necessary for the Iranians," quoth he, "to get that message, loud and clear." Thus did our Middle East peace envoy prepare us for war with Persia. But I rather fear the Iranians got his "message" a long time ago: if you want to avoid threats from the likes of Lord Blair, you'd better buy a bomb pdq. After all, what he didn't announce was: "I am saying it is wholly unacceptable for North Korea to have nuclear capability." And we all know why.

Sometimes, Blair sounded like the Israeli foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman. He and his Israeli boss believe Ahmadinejad is worse than Hitler – which takes some doing – and Lord Blair, as we know, is no appeaser. Oddly, however – since he's supposed to be our peacemaker between the two sides – "Israel" and "Palestine" were two words that went totally unmentioned, even though Blair blurted out to the Chilcot inquiry that there had been "phone calls" with Israelis during his decision-making conference with Bush over Iraq. Marr missed out there. What on earth were Blair and Bush talking to the Israelis about as they prepared to take us into this catastrophe?

It was all so very schoolboyish. Yes, "people" disagreed about the war. "People always want to look for a conspiracy." And – my favourite – "this debate will go on." But it's not a bloody debate – it's a bloody, blood-soaked disaster, for which Blair should take responsibility. But he won't. He can't. So Iraq's descent into butchery was all the fault of al-Qa'ida, of "the external involvement" of al-Qa'ida and Iran.

Iraq was "destabilised by the same external forces that destabilised Afghanistan." Alas no. The men shooting and bombing and killing Brits and Americans in Iraq were largely Iraqis, the very men – and occasionally women – whom Messrs Blair and Bush thought they were liberating from Saddam. "People are driving car bombs into crowded suburbs," Lord Blair said at one point, as if this was some kind of folkloric tradition, an odd tribal habit that had nothing to do with our 2003 invasion.

"How can you not feel sorry about people who have died?" Lord Blair remarked of the victims. What we wanted to hear was "I feel sorry for the people who have been killed." Even that might have come a tad nearer an admission of guilt. "We haven't caused this," Blair said in an unguarded moment. Not my fault, Guv! I noticed, too, how Marr stuck to the minimum 100,000 figure for Iraq's dead, rather than the half million or million statistic which haunts our former prime minister. Thus Blair was able to refer to the "hundreds of thousands of people who died under Saddam". It was the old story. Blair wasn't as bad as Saddam. And Blair's nicer than Hitler, more sympathetic than Stalin, kinder than Genghis Khan. Nope. This whole mess had nothing to do with Lord Blair. "You have to have the courage to do what you think is right." But "thinking" is not good enough. I hope the air-raid sirens in Isfahan are in good working order.

14 August, 2010

doing long distance

involves virtual explanations on how to pay house bills, mild irritation, a splash of confusion, a bit of silliness and blowing of kisses.

11 August, 2010

12 July, 2010

09 July, 2010

in the footsteps of Mr Smith

with ambitions as lofty.

Il Legittimo Impedimento


The kids are all right

Well it opens today and below is a cut and paste job of the glowing NYT review.

I’m tempted to start this review by falling back on a tried-and-true movie critic formulation and saying something like “Lisa Cholodenko’s ‘Kids Are All Right’ is the best comedy about an American family since ...” Since what? Precedents and grounds for comparison seem to be lacking, so I may have to let the superlative stand unqualified for now.

Which is fine: Ms. Cholodenko’s film, which she wrote with Stuart Blumberg, is so canny in its insights and so agile in its negotiation of complex emotions that it deserves to stand on its own. It is outrageously funny without ever exaggerating for comic effect, and heartbreaking with only minimal melodramatic embellishment.

But its originality — the thrilling, vertiginous sense of never having seen anything quite like it before — also arises from the particular circumstances of the family at its heart. There is undeniable novelty to a movie about a lesbian couple whose two teenage children were conceived with the help of an anonymous sperm donor. Families like this are hardly uncommon in the real world, but Ms. Cholodenko (“Laurel Canyon,” “High Art”) and Mr. Blumberg have discovered in this very modern arrangement a way of refreshing the ancient and durable wellsprings of comedy.

“The Kids Are All Right” starts from the premise that gay marriage, an issue of ideological contention and cultural strife, is also an established social fact. Nic and Jules, a couple with two children, a Volvo and a tidy, spacious house in a pleasant suburban stretch of Southern California, are a picture of normalcy.

Which is to say that they are loving, devoted, responsible and a bit of a mess. Some of this is midlife malaise: not quite a crisis, at least not at first. Nic (Annette Bening), an OB-GYN, is the breadwinner and principal worrier. Jules (Julianne Moore), who has dabbled in various careers while taking care of the children, is restless and maybe just a little flaky. They are comfortable with each other, more or less content, but also frustrated, confused, a bit out of sorts. As I said: normal.

It is almost impossible to find the right shorthand for these women. Their speech patterns and habits certainly seem familiar. The screenwriters’ ear for the way therapeutic catchphrases and hazy insights recalled from college reading lists filter into everyday conversation is as unerring as Ms. Moore’s offbeat comic timing or Ms. Bening’s tactical use of silence. But though they are recognizable, Nic and Jules are hardly predictable; they are not types, but people, and the acid of satire is applied to them sparingly and sensitively enough to avoid corroding the essential empathy that grounds the movie.

Of course, in every family empathy has its limits. Nic and Jules don’t always communicate very well, and their children — the 18-year-old Joni (Mia Wasikowska) and her 15-year-old brother, Laser (Josh Hutcherson) — have reached the stage when parents seem like alien, irrational and outmoded beings. Your parents are supposed to understand you (not that they ever can), while you have no choice but to tolerate them.

Joni, about to leave for college, is trying to figure out the terms of her fast-approaching independence, while Laser follows along behind his best friend, a bullying goofball named Clay (Eddie Hassell). Laser’s wide-eyed fascination at the sight of Clay rough-housing with his father registers curiosity and barely articulated longing. What would it be like to have a dad? To help him find out — and to shut him up — Laser’s skeptical, kindhearted sister tracks down the sperm donor, who turns out to be a restaurant owner and organic farmer named Paul.

The shorthand description of Paul is that he is played by Mark Ruffalo, with specific reference to the goodnatured, feckless brother Mr. Ruffalo played in “You Can Count on Me.” Paul is sort of like a cleaned-up, more self-confident version of that guy, with the same hesitant intonation, crooked smile (behind a graying goatee) and slightly dangerous charm. When Joni calls him, Paul, a good sport and a bit of an adventurer, gamely accepts her invitation to meet the family (“I love lesbians!”), and his relaxed manner smoothes over an awkward initial meeting.

Much more awkwardness will follow, along with some real emotional peril. Nic and Jules are not won over at first — “a bit full of himself” is their not inaccurate verdict — but he manages to connect with both Joni and Laser in ways that their moms can’t. His position as a sympathetic outsider grants him insights that the family members lack, and in turn Joni, Laser and Jules come to see him as a confidant and counselor, a special kind of friend.

But nothing is more disruptive to domestic order than an unattached heterosexual man. In mid-19th-century America, anxiety about guys more or less like Paul drove movements for social and religious reform, and Ms. Cholodenko suggests that those advocates of temperance and other remedies may have had a point. Not that Paul, an effortless seducer (of at least one co-worker and at least one lesbian mom), is exactly the villain of the movie. He starts out too good to be true and winds up causing a lot of trouble, but at the end he’s more scapegoat than demon, and the filmmakers forgive him even if the other characters cannot.

Along the way, Ms. Cholodenko somehow blends the anarchic energy of farce — fueled by coincidences and reversals, collisions and misunderstandings — with a novelistic sensitivity to the almost invisible threads that bind and entangle people. The performances are all close to perfect, which is to say that the imperfections of each character are precisely measured and honestly presented.

There is great music too, both on the soundtrack and, in one extraordinary scene, sung a cappella at the dinner table. (It’s Joni Mitchell’s “Blue,” beautifully harmonized by Nic and Paul). The title is a musical reference, of course, to a song by the Who, a good choice for all kinds of reasons. Another one might have been the name of a lovely ballad of enduring love recorded a few years ago by Emmylou Harris and Mark Knopfler: “This Is Us.”

08 July, 2010

NYT Top 1000 Films of All Time

A hefty list indeed and one that i will devote my next hour to perusing. Am going to first tick off the ones that i have seen (assuming virtually all, and will congratulate myself on that) and then i will get my knick knocks in a twist about the strange inclusion of the likes of "about schmidt" (and that is on just the first of 20 pages). The point of this post? NYT critics have nothing up on me.

07 July, 2010

when fashion get it wrong

fashion forward? more like little shop of horrors. These gladiator-style shoes are the summer rage. Not only does it make shoe purchases an impossibility, it means i also have to stomach the sight of them. There are many things to miss of ancient rome. their sandals are not one of them.

02 July, 2010


i have supported la selecao all my life and i doubt that will change but tonight i was ashamed. Every four years you feel different things when your team gets knocked out. It changes. In 2006, it was rage and resentment at a mediocre side outplayed by France.

This year, I saw a winning team choke and commit an ugly, pointless and suicidal foul. The Brazil i love plays beautiful (and practical) football but the players don't dive
for points and they certainly don't viciously stamp on rivals' legs when they panic.
Ronaldo posted on twitter that Melo better not think of vacationing in Brazil this year. And while I feel a collective mea culpa is in order, I can't help but give Melo the same advice. The autogol is one thing (hey, shit happens), but leaving your team one man down because you're a frustrated arsehole is another.

i can't help but feel this was Brazil's game to lose but hats off to the dutch for keeping a cool head and showing with actions that one can come from behind and win games. Brazil needs to feel less entitled. So final thoughts after one of the worst footballing harakiris i have seen. I am supporting Brazil's archrival Argentina, hoping they win fair and square without divine intervention. If God is not Brazilian, then i hope he's at least from latin america.

27 June, 2010

a cracker

a sappy and crappy remake was made with al pacino. PFFFT.

two ballads

for love lost and love blind. from the master. fabrizio.

now onto la buona novella and an afternoon devoted to the poet.

25 June, 2010

22 June, 2010

20 June, 2010


an absolute wee cracker

SOOOO good

and not because i have a crush the size of the pacific on the little KS. but because it's actually really rather good!

never trust a pretty girl with an ugly secret

yup folks. i have succumbed to another teen crudder series. warning: there is very little that is actually good about it but i just cannot stay away.

15 June, 2010

praise be

if she did not exist, we would have to invent her.

07 June, 2010

a taste of greece

hundreds of pictures were taken of the bride, her husband and her friends. but until i can get hold of them i thought i would put a little taster of our island break lest we forget that this time last week we were in another time and another place. photos taken by H W, my fellow trekker up to hydra's highest point.

26 May, 2010

teen crud alert!

crud starved for years, i see promise in this. or will my hopes be hopelessly dashed?

18 May, 2010

7 girls, one lord and a hound in the country

Disclaimer: all photos posted were taken by Lord Leng, armed with a Nikon and a huge motherflapping lens.

so, what to expect from the motley crew? no good could come of it obviously.

first we had the getting ready:

then some photo op:

and requisite narcissism from the usual suspects:

then we got round to matter at hand, drinking, sucking, dipping, posing:

some things done were best left unsaid:

and then there were the hangovers:

which of course didn't stop us from doing it all over again.
girls and boy, see you all for Porno!
bigger, better, more of the same!