Followed by a shower and a beer

This week i missed my bi-weekly D&D game and my thursday knitting group. i am back in the intro series at the local yoga studio, for the second week. my return is long overdue.

it's been interesting to go back to the beginning, when I feel out of shape but seem to have certain reserves and balance that I didn't have years ago. i also have less fear, as proven by my bloody nose and fat lip.

we were working on crow pose, which i never have mastered. tonight i was able to take the full pose for a moment. surprised, i immediately collapsed and fell on my face. then I laughed. i laughed and got right back up. the assistant had to get me to stop to clean up- i didn't realize that my nose was dripping.

i never got hit like that doing martial arts; it wasn't something practiced or conscious to keep going. i'm a little surprised in retrospect that it didn't scare or embarass me. (Hella endorphins. Barely felt it.)

anyway, yoga feels good.

Marvel Unlimited

A co-worker turned me onto Marvel Unlimited, and it is simply the best entertainment investment I have made in years. (For the uninitiated, its all-you-can-read back issues of Marvel comics as ebooks that scale to your screen.) The biggest barrier to comics for me has been that I read too damn fast.*
Let's see... I've been skipping all over time, reading the first few issues of X-men, Black Panther's origins in the Fantastic Four, the Runaways, Nextwave, and following around Kelly Sue Deconnick (Lady Sif, Rescue, Avengers Assemble) and now I'm starting Captain Marvel. The end of issue 1 made me cry. Excited to read more.

Truly, I live in the future with my electronic neverending comic book. *squee*


*Admittedly, the app does seem to seize up on me when I go through issues too quickly, but a restart fixes that.

Things that are making me happy this week

Tablet! my little netbook is dead, so I have acquired a tablet with matching stylus. great compromise for me- basically a giant version of my phone, but with fancy bells and whales. I'm handwriting this!

I read Uprooted, and it was great. I had picked up a promo at comiccon, and enjoyed it, but I was skeptical because Naomi Novik does not have a great track record as far as I'm concerned, kind of a dis-recommendation: "Remember those stupid faux-Aubreyad books with the cruddy world-building and the chatty dragons?" Please ignore. If you have loved Robin McKinley or that one Orson Scott Card fairytale book (Enchanted, worth getting from a Library) you should read this thing. frabjouslinz loved it, she was right. It's not just about a woman and her mentor, it's also about best friends and the way women compete (and no love triangle).

Make a plan and follow it through. With the tablet, I was able to chart out a knitting idea and then swatch the chart. It changed my thinking about the pattern. But I did it without having to knit the entire thing and rip it out, or take copious notes. I made the notes first. Way easier, and I learned lots about the notes app on my tablet.

I am drinking a Not Your Father's Root Beer. Om nom nom.

Tig

Doc about comedian Tig Notaro in the wake of her near-legendary live set about being diagnosed with cancer. Interesting, funny, well-made. She had a truly tumultuous few years. Enjoyed the film and the Q & A afterward, where she was gracious when asked to perform by the SIFF staffer running the event. Recommended.

Shaun the Sheep

Completely delightful feature length version of the adventures of Shaun and his farm friends. What with one thing and another, the farmer is suffering memory loss in the big city. And the animals are off to save him. Stuff I love: no character speaks words, the city is different but not Evil, the farm is modern and not in some magical past, the people are representative of the actual population of a UK city (full range of skin colors, different clothes and hair, tattoos, headscarves). There was peril but nothing as intense as A Close Shave. It was clever, funny, and full of heart. Highly recommended.

The Great Alone

Doc about dogsled racer Lance Mackey. Very smooth blend of archival content and footage shot for the film. Mackey is a champion racer, a cancer survivor, and an all-around character. Nice Alaska slice of life in addition to the sports story, excellent cinematography. loved it, got to greet him and his dog Ace after the film. This was the world premiere. Look for it, especially if you love dogs.

Excuse My French

Egyptian movie about religious and class culture clash, which I thought would be really good. Nope. As one of the foolserious folks said, it's at the level of an after school special. I did enjoy seeing modern Egypt, and the kids were good actors. It lacked emotional weight, and I loathe the "everything's cool now that we punched each other" plot.

Sherry & the Mystery of Palo Cortado

Almost good Spanish doc about sherry. Again, too high context for me. Here's a flamenco singer for no reason I am able to understand. I think he was one of the old guard dudes from the flamenco doc. Lots of cool anecdotes and an oneologist rundown of how sherry is made and a sadly un-narrated barrel making sequence. But mostly it was 2 hours of movie with 30 to 60 minutes of content.

Good ol' Boy

Family film set in a small Southern town in 1979. Ten-year-old Smith is fascinated with his manly next door neighbor and his daughter. The usual sorts of things happen, complicated by the fact that Smith is an Indian immigrant. In spite of nice performances by the kids and especially Jason Lee as the neighbor, there's something mildly off about this. Too much narration, maybe. It has a conventional Bollywood "20 years later". Maybe I would have liked it better if there was a big dance scene instead.

Liza the Fox-Fairy

HELLS YEAH! Best day of the festival. Hungarian film about a woman unlucky in love and fascinated with Japan. So of course, she must be kitsune. Set in a fairy tale late 60's world, influenced by both Amelie and the Zucker brothers. It's darkly and sweetly funny and highly stylish with a catchy soundtrack. Is she evil? Will she ever be happy? Truly delightful. I want to buy this one on DVD.
check out the trailer

The Dark Horse

Is not a sports movie about Maori kids playing chess. It's about breaking bad cycles in your life, and controlling a mental illness, and family. But what got me in the door was the chess story, and for that I am grateful. This gets my festival best actor nomination. Highly recommended.*



*it is also about a Maori youth chess team in New Zealand.

A Few Cubic Meters of Love

HELL YES. This why I come to the festival.
Slice of life in a scrap metal yard in the outskirts of Tehran, where Iranians work side-by-side with Afghan refugees. Iranian boy and Afghan girl steal time together in a rickety old container and dream of a life together. Lots of showing not telling and scenes without dialogue, but I never felt bored or lost. Excellent acting, clear motivations, no mustache twirling villainy. I left emotionally exhausted, but so satisfied. Highly recommended, I saw it at press screening, so all showings are upcoming. Go!

The almost too crazy to be true story of the Golan-Globus era of Cannon Films. Doc was great fun, and it has generated a list of things I need to rent from Scarecrow. It explains so much about the B movie landscape of my childhood. So glad I got to watch it with C.

Saved from the Flames

Archival presentation with a wonderful presenter/pianist. Nice assortment of early film shorts, many hand-colored. Especially notable for a before -after pair done around the great earthquake in San Francisco and the live flammable film demo. So glad I went, and a nice visit with scarlettina, e_bourne, and oldmangrumpus. Then I had to bolt for my next film, which was a delight.

Very Semi-serious

Doc about the one-panel cartoons in the New Yorker. Full of charming talking heads and a nice balance of history/how the magazine works/what makes a good cartoon. Perfect for small screen viewing, look for it on Netflix.

The Wolfpack

Doc about a shut-in family starting to explore the world. Notable because they didn't go outside, talk to strangers, or use the internet, but they had weirdly unrestricted access to movies. So they obsessively re-enact scenes from Tarantino films and have a homemade batman costume created from cardboard and yoga mats. I don't know if I enjoyed it. Interesting, yes. but I'm not much for the freakshow.

7 Chinese Brothers

Jason Schwartzman, Olympia Dukakis, pointless, plotless, walkout.

Cartel Land

Documentary: parallel narrative of a vigilante group in the US and a vigilante group in Mexico, both responding to the drug trade. the access and the cinematography were quite remarkable. i was glad that i stayed for the director Q&A afterward; he was dealing with some weird partisan vibes in the questioning, and repeatedly stated how it was important to him that he document rather than attempt to prove a thesis.* i loved the style, but i'm afraid that people will remember that the Mexican leader is flawed and not remember that he was responding to entire families being murdered, or notice that the US vigilantes catch illegal immigrants rather than drug mules. anyway, great film, did well at Sundance, has theatrical distribution this summer and then will be on A&E. (it would be better in the theater, the language is too salty for tv.)

*this was a film where i felt like the people asking questions didn't actually watch the film. at least three different times. an example... Q: do they work with the Border Patrol? A: well, that scene with the truck that said 'Border Patrol' on it was from the Border Patrol. me: *sigh*

Magicarena

Backstage doc about the 2013 production of Aida in Verona. (It's the world's largest outdoor opera, held in a Roman amphitheater.) I enjoyed it, but it's of the show don't tell school and is very light on explanation of what is going on. I'm still trying to figure out if they actually get away with using a loudspeaker backstage during performances. Everything about the production is huge - life-sized mechanical elephant, chariots, set pieces coming in by crane.* I left humming the famous bits of Aida and considering a trip to Verona.

*First bad q&a of the festival: some woman held forth on the elaborate nature of the production and how this was ruining opera. Never did ask a question, audience was audibly complaining. I think she actually said she had sung Aida at Verona. If this is true, either she's delusional or opera people don't study theater history. I'm going with delusional.

Fourth Man Out

I was pleasantly surprised at this comedy about a blue-collar guy in upstate New York coming out. It was relatable and true, especially in the interactions of the friends group. It's 2015, and it’s great to see a coming out story that doesn't feature exploding parents or firing or gay-bashing. Awkwardness, curiousity, concern, adjustments, yes. Apparently I was at the premiere. Did I mention that it's funny? I hope it catches on. Two more showings, recommended.

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