A bit of music made tonight

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I just fiddled together this music this evening. It’s a ditty.

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Movies I've watched recently:

  • Frank (2014) - IMDb 7/10

    2014-09-22 20:48
    * * * * * * *

    This is a funny and sad film that uses the main character, Jon, a boy who's grown up in a little town and dreams of escape, as a kind of rock while quasi-chaos reigns around him, mainly as controlled by Frank, the leader of a band that is beyond the experimental. This film, for me, displays what happens when you're really not being true to yourself, when you're mainly trying to cater to others without a care for what you truly believe in, and when you really don't care about the opinions of those that should be close to you. Interesting soundtrack, well directed, acted and written, this is a simple, lovely indie film that deserves attention.

    0.3
  • De ofrivilliga (2008) - IMDb 7/10

    2014-09-20 17:49
    * * * * * * *

    This is a very human film, where a number of different stories all meet. In a way, it is a film where the Swedish condition overpowers the human one; Swedes are well-known for not wanting to seem "out of the ordinary", so much that everything "normal" is perverted by the will to stay inside the box and not make any noise; the very first scene in the film is a kind of metaphor for that, and the rest of the film also. At the same time, I see this film as a kind of way to show that the obscure and involuntary can be normalised as well, which is displayed beautifully; the cinematography rarely - if ever - involves a moving camera, which has plagued much of modern Swedish cinema. Some of the acting is sublime and just torturously good, as with the two main young girls, the teacher and "the macho guys". The scripts complements all of this, wonderfully. This is a film that, when at its best, touches on the sublime. At its worst, it's wavering, but that's really beyond the point. This is a mostly beautiful film on the selections we tend to make today. I recommend it.

    0.3
  • Key Largo (1948) - IMDb 7/10

    2014-09-07 21:16
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    Exciting but at the same time lacking in atmosphere and depth; almost entirely held up by Robinson and Bogart, I wish Bacall were more in the film, as well as this would have been a greater success, had this theatre-to-film been translated better, as with Olivier/Caine's performances in "Sleuth". There are some apparent hits here though. It's always lovely to see Bogart/Bacall, and Robinson's psychopathic traits shine through wonderfully at times. I liked the ending and on the whole, it's a good film, but really it's got nothing on films like "The Big Sleep" and "To Have And Have Not".

    0.3
  • Young & Beautiful (2013) - IMDb 7/10

    2014-08-10 20:42
    * * * * * * *

    This film is quite beautiful in more than one way. It weirdly reminds me of what Marilyn Manson said when interviewed in "Bowling For Columbine", when Michael Moore asked him what he'd say to the kids at Columbine or the people in that community: "I wouldn't say a single word to them. I would listen to what they have to say, and that's what no one did." Isabelle is the lead character in this film and as such, she leads. But not as much by talking constantly or doing a lot of extravagant stuff, as in most Hollywood-esque films; of course, Ozon's films aren't really Hollywood, thank Bog. She does as she pleases, and we're left to ponder her inner life, which is not spelled out to us. Her family life is interesting, especially where her mother and brother are concerned. Speaking of which, most of her relations with other people are interesting and her "reactions" to them left me interested a little longer. The scene where the bridge-with-the-locks is, to me, the least interesting and left a schmaltzy and redundant impression, yet all in all, the film works. Not one of Ozon's best, but definitely not one of his worst, and compared with other directors' works, this is a vital shot in the arm.

    0.3
  • Ken Park (2002) - IMDb 7/10

    2014-07-20 20:51
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    Due to all the controversy that surrounded this film - where I live, in Sweden, posters that advertised the film were actually removed from subway carts as one could see a boy going down on a woman - I have somehow let that silliness seep into my mind; while watching this quite beautiful, mobile still life, I wondered exactly what it was, that made people go insane from this film. I mean, the sexuality is just part of human life, right? The start of the film - no spoilers here - was much more disturbing. Having written that, I really liked this film. It's written by Harmony Korine, which does give some details away. Young persons are on display, seemingly directed by dictator parents, possible exception being Tate, a person who yells at his grandmother and isn't the most sociable character. Interesting throughout, it's a bite of life and a good watch.

    0.3

Review: Lauren Bacall – “By Myself and Then Some”

Lauren Bacall

By Myself and Then Some by Lauren Bacall
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

From the beginning of this autobiography:

Mother bought me a canary and I named him Petie. He was my first pet. I would talk to him – he would tweet to me. I’d close the windows and let him fly around the room. It was hell catching him, but I felt he was entitled to some freedom. One ghastly day when I suppose I thought he was well trained enough, and attached to me enough, I must have been a bit careless about a window, because he got out. He flew away – I never saw him again. I cried so. Mother tried replacing him with another canary, but it was never the same.

That quote is typical of something that turns up throughout Bacall’s life; if something’s good, it – at the most bitter points in her life – is fleeting.

However, this is thankfully not the tone of this autobiography. Before the last, updated bit of the book, Bacall details how she’s overcome obstacles while pursuing a very glass-half-full point of view. And she’s fought to be where she turned up early in her career, along with extraordinary luck, as she states. Among her lucky stars, she met Bette Davis:

Bette Davis was very patient. She said, ‘Well, if you want to act, you should probably try to work in summer stock. That’s the best way to learn your craft.’ ‘Oh yes, that’s what I want to do – I want to start on the stage and then go into films just as you did.’ ‘Well, be sure it’s really what you want to do with your life. It’s hard work and it’s lonely.’ I remembered she had said in an interview when talking about her life, ‘I have two Oscars on my mantelpiece, but they don’t keep you warm on cold winter evenings.’ More silence. Robin looked at me – I knew it was time to go. I said, ‘Thank you so much, Miss Davis, for your time – for seeing us – I am so grateful.’ Betty said much the same. Bette Davis shook our hands, wished us luck. Robin opened the door and out we went.

She started working as a model and attending acting school. She constantly wondered where her life would take her:

One Saturday morning in 1942, Mother and Rosalie took me to the Capitol Theatre to see a movie called Casablanca. We all loved it, and Rosalie was mad about Humphrey Bogart. I thought he was good in it, but mad about him? Not at all. She thought he was sexy. I thought she was crazy. Mother liked him, though not as much as she liked Chester Morris, who she thought was really sexy – or Ricardo Cortez, her second favorite. I couldn’t understand Rosalie’s thinking at all. Bogart didn’t vaguely resemble Leslie Howard. Not in any way. So much for my judgment at that time.

Howard Hawks, the legendary movie director, found Bacall and primed her for Hollywood.

He said he thought he’d like to put me in a film with Cary Grant or Humphrey Bogart. I thought, ‘Cary Grant – terrific! Humphrey Bogart – yucch.’

There are a lot of Hollywood anecdotes in the book:

One day I was having lunch at his poolside and was the last to leave. Finally he walked me to the door. At that moment the door opened. Standing there in white shirt, beige slacks – with a peach complexion, light brown hair, and the most incredible face ever seen by man – was Greta Garbo. I almost gasped out loud as Cole introduced me to her. No make-up – unmatched beauty. It was the only time I saw her at anything but a distance.

…but despite this, it’s mostly about Bacall’s own emotions and experiences.

And upon making “To Have and Have Not”:

Howard took me to wardrobe, chose a dark shirt and jacket, put a beret on my head, and told me the test would be the next Tuesday. He drummed into my head that he wanted me to be insolent with the man – that I was being the forward one, but with humor – and told me about yet more scenes he had directed other actresses in to give me examples of the attitude he wanted. I hung on his every word, trying to figure out how the hell a girl who was totally without sexual experience could convey experience, worldliness, and knowledge of men.

By the end of the third or fourth take, I realized that one way to hold my trembling head still was to keep it down, chin low, almost to my chest, and eyes up at Bogart. It worked, and turned out to be the beginning of ‘The Look.’

And, upon falling in love with Bogie:

He was a gentle man – diametrically opposed to most of the parts he played. He detested deceit of any kind. He had never had a secret relationship such as we were having. Our drives home, foolish jokes, kidding on the set, all the behavior of kids in love – he’d never known. Nor had I. I had so many new feelings all at once. I was in awe of him and his position of ‘movie star.’ I was aware of being nineteen and he forty-four, but when we were together that didn’t seem to matter. I was older than nineteen in many ways and he had such energy and vitality he seemed to be no particular age. I was an innocent sexually – Bogie began awakening feelings that were new to me. Just his looking at me could make me tremble. When he took my hand in his, the feeling caught me in the pit of my stomach – his hand was warm, protecting, and full of love. When he saw me at the beginning of the day and when he called me on the telephone, his first words were always ‘Hello, Baby.’ My heart would literally pound. I knew that physical changes were happening within me – the simplest word, look, or move would bring a gut reaction. It was all so romantic – I would not have believed Bogie was so sentimental, so loving. I couldn’t think of anything else – when I wasn’t with him I was thinking of him, or talking about him. One-track-minding with a vengeance.

The problematic love story between Bacall and Bogart is the epic piece of the book, to me; we see how their love spires while Bogart is married with Mayo Methot, a person who seems to have experienced issues with alcoholism and spousal abuse – to my knowledge, where she abused Bogart, who hid from Methot as much as possible. This does not seem to have expediated their separation.

But, their love:

Bogie’s letters were all on the same themes: how much he loved me – how terrified he was of my being hurt – how he wanted to protect me – how wonderful of me to take that long drive to see him for so short a time. A few examples. Baby, I do love you so dearly and I never, never want to hurt you or bring any unhappiness to you – I want you to have the loveliest life any mortal ever had. It’s been so long, darling, since I’ve cared so deeply for anyone that I just don’t know what to do or say. I can only say that I’ve searched my heart thoroughly these past two weeks and I know that I deeply adore you and I know that I’ve got to have you. We just must wait because at present nothing can be done that would not bring disaster to you. And a week later: Baby, I never believed that I could love anyone again, for so many things have happened in my life to me that I was afraid to love – I didn’t want to love because it hurts so when you do. And then: Slim darling, you came along and into my arms and into my heart and all the real true love I have is yours – and now I’m afraid you won’t understand and that you’ll become impatient and that I’ll lose you – but even if that happened, I wouldn’t stop loving you for you are my last love and all the rest of my life I shall love you and watch you and be ready to help you should you ever need help. All the nice things I do each day would be so much sweeter and so much gayer if you were with me. I find myself saying a hundred times a day, ‘If Slim could only see that’ or ‘I wish Slim could hear this.’ I want to make a new life with you – I want all the friends I’ve lost to meet you and know you and love you as I do – and live again with you, for the past years have been terribly tough, damn near drove me crazy. You’ll soon be here, Baby, and when you come you’ll bring everything that’s important to me in this world with you.

Then the June 14 letter: Darling, sometimes I get so unhappy because I feel that I’m not being fair to you – that it is not fair to wait so long a time – and then somehow I feel that it’s alright because I’m not hurting you, not harming and never shall. I’d rather die than be the cause of any hurt or harm coming to you, Baby, because I love you so much. It seems so strange that after forty-four years of knocking around I should meet you, know you and fall in love with you when I thought that that could never again happen to me. And it’s tragic that everything couldn’t be all clean and just right for us instead of the way it is because we’d have such fun together. Out of my love for you I want nothing but happiness to come to you and no hurt ever. Slim darling, I wish I were your age again – perhaps a few years older – and no ties of any kind – no responsibilities – it would be so lovely, for there would be so many long years ahead for us instead of the few possible ones.

The death of Bogie is too harrowing to even try to concatenate here; all I can say is that it makes for an adamant, excellent cry, if one is at all possible. I’ll just print a small quote:

We were standing in the hall talking when I heard Steve, who was lying on the floor at the head of the stairs, calling to me through the banister railing, ‘What is the date, Mommy?’ He was writing something. I went upstairs to find that in a little agenda book he had, he had written: ‘January 14th – Daddy died.’

Then:

I was breathing, but there was no life in me.

Bacall’s later life makes for a less interesting tome, and I know I’m being brutally honest, even though it’s still interesting and quite inspirational; I love the story of Bacall and Bogart, one that spanned lifetimes in some ways; his and her flaws are taken up, and she repeatedly, veraciously emphasises their eternal love, with examples.

The truth is that I wanted it all – all the time. And God knows I tried to have it. And God knows I almost did.

And to end with:

People always ask, ‘Are you happy?’ or, if I’m working, ‘You must be happy.’ I wish I knew what ‘happy’ means. I was happy when I was nineteen, and when my life began at twenty. I was happy then, though something always shook me up in the middle of my joyous time. So my life has been very much a seesaw.

All in all: very readable and worthy of reading. What a life. A rider from a young age, and then wise and perhaps not working as much in the latter part of the book – where she notes many a dead friend – but still, a Life. Go read.

View all my reviews

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I got pranked this morning

This is what met me when I showed up at work this morning:

post-it madness

post-it madness

post-it madness

post-it madness

post-it madness

I hate that fucking song:

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Lauren Bacall should have turned 90 years old today

Lauren and Humphrey

Lauren Bacall should have turned 90 years old today, but she is gone. From her autobiography, to cheer us up:

Cole Porter’s song ‘Don’t Fence Me In’ was on the Hit Parade and Bogie’s first wire to me said, ‘Please fence me in Baby – the world’s too big out here and I don’t like it without you.’ No one has ever written a romance better than we lived it.

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Valdagen 2014 via Twitter

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