Saturday, March 13, 2010

Sunday Scribbles XXIV

Oh, Alice. Or - oh, Tim. Why did you bother? We went to see "Alice in Wonderland", mainly out of some sense of loyalty to Tim Burton. Jenny, I think, enjoyed it. I camed out of the whole experience admiring his technical skill, but being unable to figure out whay the movie was made. It adds nothing new to the Alice ouvre. It's flat, vapid piece of moviemaking and storyttelling that belongs right up there with "Titanic" and "Pearl Harbour". Lots of flash, nowhere to go. And while Depp was excellent, doing his best with the material given him, this was just another flick giving Johnny Depp a chance to show how eccentric he can be. His schtick is getting tired. Time to retire, JD, or actually time to refind your acting chops.

And $38 to go to the movies? It'll be the last 3D movie I see. It just doesn't add that much to the movie-going experience.

Likewise - oh, Bond. There was very little on the TYV programmes last night, so I ended up watching a James Bond flick, "The Living Daylights". made in 1987, with all the cinematic values of a B-Grade 1972 movie. Bad script, bad filming, bad editing, very tired acting. Timothy Dalton's acting was... well, it wasn't. The director wanted him to be another smirking, mugging Roger Moore, and he just couldn't do it. Frankly, I think George Lazenby made a better Bond.

Back to work tomorrow: I woke this morning wondering how my readers were getting on. Especially, for some reason, the glorious Neda. She's a person of Bavarian extraction, in her mid-90s. He body has been hammered and twisted by arthritis to the point that her hips point East while her torso points North. Her back has a hunch that Poirot would have been happy to have, and she also suffers from horribly swollen anklles.. some form of fluid retention. She's brusque of manner, doesn't suffer fools well at all, and reads a book a day. And she demands good writing. Not for her the blitherings of a John Grisham. She ain't happy unless there's a new Booker prize-winning volume in her fortnightly selections... which is obviously difficult. But she's a roguish charmer, and I find she's charming. She has a right, I think, to demand the best. God knows nature hasn't given her any breaks.

Reading: "100 Bullets", a comic by Brian Azzarello. I'v read a few of the collected volums of this astonishing saga, but have yet to find the first threee volumes. These are the ones that set the story upo- the First Act, so to speak. It's a brilliant series.

Listening to: Doris Day, Best of. The woman had an astonishing voice. And what an innocent age!

Movies seen: see above.


She laughed then, and called out to Amy “I know where they are, and it's not France!”
“What? They must be!”
“No! Listen to this.” She read aloud the sentence about the spoiled meal. “He likes sprouts. They're in Belgium. Brussels Sprouts!”
“Now he's a cunning one,” laughed Amy, and turned her attention to her letters again. “My dear Amy,” he wrote.”Well, I've got myself into a fine pickle, and that's no joke. I pray every night that you're not disappointed in me, or in the decision I made, and every night I know that you must be. So be it. When – if – I get back home, I can assure you that I will never leave again. Except to do my best to take you to Paris. I went there on a week's furlough recently – I got back to the lines on -” here, the censor had obliterated the next line. “It's a magic place, Amy. I've been to some galleries that have such pictures and statues! I was blushing fit to burst, as I was in mixed company, and the ladies in the tour party were just gazing at pictures of naked men and women. I've never seen the like. I reckon old Grampa Smith would have a fine chuckle at it all, but after a while I started to think about the stories in the pictures, instead of the nudity.”
Amy tore her attention from the letter – the first in her pile – and asked Jayne if she had seen anything to suggest that Arthur knew the News.
“No, dear. No mention yet.. but I think this letter's postmarked just a little after Timmy's boat left, so he wouldn't have known. I've one more to open, though – let me take a look.”
She opened her pen-knife, and slit her last envelope. She shook out the contents – a short letter, and a photograph. “Dear Miss Jayne, as you can see, Timothy's made it to (censored). I wish I'd known he'd signed up. Worse, the little bugger's been assigned to my care! They've made him a sniper!”
Sergeant Arthur Tomlinson finished cleaning his rifle. Now, he had to repair the stock. That little escapade when the entire might of Kaiser Bill's army had been aimed at him, killing that young chap from Masterton instead, had seen a red-hot chunk of razor sharp ironmongery slicing into the rifle's stock, tearing away at the yellow oak. Arthur had cleaned the wound in the wood, and carefully laid in some Belgian beech, gluing and binding it. He didn't think the repair would hold, but it would do until a replacement stock could be sent in the Quartermaster's stores, five miles back from the front line. He rubbed the repair with some linseed oil, hoping that the beech would soak the oil up at the same rate as the oak: if it didn't, it could swell at at slightly different rate, and that could be enough to throw the aim out of true.

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