Friday, March 14, 2014

Weekend Entertaiment Recs for Seniors & Others

TV series, Hannibal, Season One
I wasn't expecting to even LIKE Hannibal! In general I have disliked the Hannibal franchise which followed the wonderful "Silence of the Lambs" directed by Jonathan Demme. The only reason I decided to give this a chance is because I like Hugh Dancy who plays Will Graham, the profiler. Much to my surprise, therefore, i discovered this is a tremendous, beautifully stylized, most artistic reimagining of Hannibal and Will. The Danish actor who plays Hannibal is also terrific. I was absolutely crestfallen that i could not watch episode two then and there. The premise is that Will does not realize Hannibal is a serial killer. The two of them work together on cases plus Hannibal becomes Will's psychiatrist! Hannibal, of course, is a practicing psychiatrist and Will is a criminal justice instructor and FBI agent. Will also has borderline Asperger's syndrome in this new telling. 

This is the ARTIEST crime show on tv. I have never seen crime scenes or corpses rendered with such artistic detail. Plus every other art experiment in film occurs in this series. I can scarcely believe this level of experimentation is going on in a network tv show! 

Film: American Hustle.
Jennifer Lawrence & Christian Bale are absolutely first rate! 

I know Jennifer Lawrence's is a supporting role but she was just so incredible every time she was on with her "husband" Christian Bale, or her son or her boyfriend. As odd as the rest of the cast was, she was a full blown character from Mars. She just grabs hold of that camera when she comes onscreen and never lets go. Amy Adams was sexier and more sophisticated in the movie but she did not create the indelible impression on me which Lawrence did. Bale was wholly unrecognizable as a pudgy Jewish conman who becomes more likable as the film goes on. Bradley Cooper as the FBI man and Louis C.K. as his boss were good but again these were not roles you will never forget.

This is a film about con men and women plus the feds trying to act the same. They are trying to take down some politicians. The con people are in it to get out of a jail sentence. We have seen con based movies before. The plot all revolves around tricking people until you can't tell who is tricking whom. It all gets ironed out in the end but it is the performances which make this kind of movie.Wwe already have seen the basic plot so our socks have to be knocked out by the cast. And they were.

Bale and Lawrence were such a great comic duo together that they should try it again together. They have real screen chemistry. He had a lot of romance chemistry with Adams but the laugh out loud comedy he did with Lawrence is much harder to achieve.

Jeremy Renner also did a great job as Carmine, the politician with the heart of gold (talk about pulling off a real long shot!).

Music:  Judy Garland, Live At Carnegie Hall
Fabulous! Garland Hits All The Emotions Dead On! 

When I first got my CD player back in the 1980s, this was one of the very first recordings I bought to play on it. I already had it on vinyl. It would simply not ever occur to me not to have this album in my collection. I now have it on my iPod. For anyone who doubts that Judy Garland could have had a full career being a singing diva, skipping the movie star bit entirely, listen to this live recording. I prefer this to her work when she was younger because at this point in her life, 1961, she's already lived all the emotional extremes and you can hear that in her renditions. I think it must be the emotional intensity of each song that drives her audience absolutely wild after each song. I would give almost anything to have been there!

Novel, The Purity Of Vengeance
Another great Jussi Adler-Olsen Scandinavian Noir book!
I've read all of this author's books and they all have been very tightly constructed, plotted and seen through to a rousing finish. This one is no exception, the title of the book encapsulated its subject matter. PURITY is part of the book as in the racial purity movement now afoot in Denmark and most of the rest of Europe. Members of the purity party in Denmark see sterilization and forced abortions for undesirable women as their version of the final solution. The other title word is VEGENANCE because of course there had to be victims of this policy who want to turn the tables on those who helped the purity party achieve its ends.

Into this complicated situation come the unlikely police trio of Carl, Rose and Assad, who make up DEPARTMENT Q, the cold case unit in the Copenhagen police. We have gotten to know them as characters in the prior books and they are as weird as ever in this book.

If you have read none of these books, I recommend you obtain all of them and read them in order. They can be read out of order but it won't be as much fun.

No comments:

Post a Comment