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February 19, 2008:

THE NON SEQUITUR

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, this week is already flying by, like a gazelle with a hickey. This is what happens when Monday is a holiday. Suddenly it is Tuesday, even though it feels like a Monday. So, naturally the week feels like it’s flying by, like a gazelle with a swizzle stick. Next thing we know, it’ll be Wednesday, even though it will feel like Tuesday and like sands through an hourglass, so are the days of our lives. Speaking of the days of our lives, yesterday was a day of my life. I got up, did a few things around the home environment, and then went to a lunch with our very own Mr. Jason Graae. The hilarity was high, the food was good, and we laughed and laughed and just when we thought we could laugh no more, we laughed again. We dished lots of dish, discussed a potential project, and even split some cherry pie with ice cream. After lunch, I came back home and did some work at the piano, then proofed three chapters, and then finally sat on my couch like so much fish.

Did you know that what goes up must come down and that the spinning wheel got to go ’round? Just asking. Was that a non sequitur? I do believe that was a non sequitur.

Yesterday, I watched three count them three motion pictures on DVD. The first motion picture on DVD was entitled Monte Carlo, a film by Ernst Lubitsch, starring Miss Jeanette MacDonald, Mr. Jack Buchanan, and Miss Zasu Pitts. Of the four films in the Lubitsch box, this was my least favorite, which mostly has to do with Mr. Buchanan and, shall we say, his fey manner, which does not work when one is to believe that he’s romantically smitten with Miss MacDonald. He is no Mr. Chevalier in the charm department, either. There are some nice moments, but the film just never has the effervescence of The Love Parade or The Smiling Lieutenant. Transfer is on a par with the latter two films. I then watched the second motion picture on DVD, which was entitled Across The Universe. I know that opinion was sharply divided on this film, with some proclaiming it a masterpiece of cinematic art, and others proclaiming it one of the all-time worst movies ever made. After ten minutes, I knew I was in the latter camp. I’m afraid I just don’t get the cult of Julie Taymor – for me, she is the emperor with no clothes. I’d read about the brilliant and ravishing visuals for the film, and the incredible vision, and I’m afraid I must have missed those bits. I didn’t find any of the visuals ravishing and/or brilliant, and the vision was not exactly original, what with the borrowings from Hair, Terry Gilliam, and the various 60s psychedelic films, as well as the sensibility of Baz Luhrman. As to the story, we’ve seen it many times before – you know, the turbulent 60s, the Vietnam War, the draft, the riots, the rock-and-roll, and the drugs. What little plot there is is standard issue, and it’s rather like those hated jukebox musicals of the stage, you know the ones – where they graft on a trite plot to string a bunch of songs together, like the Beach Boys and Good Vibrations, and Elvis with All Shook Up. The film is shot in scope for no discernable reason other than it seems to be the flavor of the month at the moment – certainly Miss Taymor doesn’t use the widescreen for storytelling or with any grace whatsoever. I mean, you know what you’re in for when the songs are by The Beatles and characters are named Jude and Lucy. I have to say, I’m beginning to think that studios are purposely doing mediocre transfers for standard DVD, so that their hi-def counterparts look miles better, because there is no excuse for a DVD of a new film to look this mundane, with lousy detail and sharpness throughout. Plus, I’m simply over today’s filmmakers and their yellow films, color-wise. It’s from hunger and the sooner these people rediscover the joys of blue, the better. I don’t ever need to see drained yellow color and yellow/green skies again and this film has it in spades. I then watched the third motion picture on DVD, which was entitled The Simpsons Movie. Now, I must sheepishly admit, I have never seen one episode of The Simpsons. I’ve seen drawings of the characters, but not one foot of film on the show. So, I came to this film totally new, without any history, and therefore it is a testament to just how terrific the film is that without knowing any of the backstory on anything, I found it hilarious (fall off your chair funny) and just about perfect. The jokes are great, the plot is good, the pace is exemplary (Across The Universe with basically a perfunctory plot runs 135 minutes while The Simpsons Movie with an interesting plot runs about eighty minutes sans credits), the musical score by Hans Zimmer is good, and the animation is wonderful. The only downside is that once again, the image is not nearly as good as it should be, and again, I think it’s because they’re trying to make the difference in the formats more dramatic – and shame on them for doing so. We all know that standard DVD can look breathtaking – obviously not as good as hi-def, but not as far off the mark as these recent standard DVD transfers would lead you to believe.

What am I, Ebert and Roeper all of a sudden? Why don’t we all click on the Unseemly Button below because I have a busy day ahead of me and I need my beauty sleep.

Today, I must package up a bunch of stuff, and then get it all shipped out. That will take most of the morning. Then I’m lunching with Miss Merissa Haddad, and then I’ll be back to proofing the book for the rest of the day as well as doing a plethora of errands and whatnot.

Tomorrow, I have a lunch, and then a long rehearsal with Mr. Spirtas and Mr. John Boswell. Happily, evenings are free at the moment, so I’ll continue catching up on DVD watching.

I’ve been watching episodes of Medic, courtesy of MBarnum. What a strange show it was, but I do like Mr. Richard Boone, who hosts the show and appears in some episodes. I remember it being a lot more dramatic when I was a kid, but the episodes I’ve seen so far haven’t exactly been Arthur Miller.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, package, ship, lunch, and proof. Today’s topic of discussion: I’ll probably want to go back now and watch some Simpsons episodes and perhaps even full seasons, so let’s hear your favorite episodes and seasons. Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, and let us remember that what goes up must come down, spinning wheel got to go ’round, which is, of course, a non sequitur.

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