Friday, May 20, 2011

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Sphinx Awards Part I

I've always loved The Movies and all sort of old cinema. My attention span becomes short during depressive phases (just getting out of one) and I tend to go into jags of movie watching. That includes actual trips to a theater, sometimes alone. I'm lucky to have two independent theaters within a half-hour's drive from my town. Mostly, though, I rent a lot of CD's and we plug the computer into the TV (I think that's what one does) and ta-da (!) a movie, among a choice of many,] and nary a commercial interruption. Thank you, Netflix. Sorry, but I don't miss the video store.

Early this morning, at 1:00 a.m., waiting for Mr. (Almost-Someday) Pagan Sphinx to arrive home from the airport, I fell asleep watching the Indieplex channel, I think it was. I watched most of a film starring Gary Oldman as Beethoven - Immortal Beloved, from 1994 (I love the 90's).  A day or so before that, I caught the tail-end of a film I'd seen before - Talk to Her - directed by Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar.

I really liked both these films... or perhaps I am easier to please when I am viewing alone. ;-)   I thought they both deserved more than the three stars I recall them both being assigned by the network. When I turned off the set, despite the late hour, I still had trouble falling asleep so to hasten the process I started thinking about favorite roles by favorite actors and came up with a list of  approximately twenty such. I still didn't get to sleep until probably after 2:00 a.m. but the process of making up that mental list seems to be compelling me to commit it to a blog post. Bear with me if you can and if not, I understand. Chime in with your favorites. It will be fun. I promise. 

Twenty Favorite Roles in Films I Like 
(in spite of what the critics may have had to say. I don't generally seek out movie reviews, though occasionally I will listen to one on the car radio)

Gary Oldman in both Syd and Nancy and Immortal Beloved (as mentioned)

Kevin Spacey in both American Beauty and The Shipping News
(Having read the novel by Annie Proulx first, I thought Julianne Moore was totally miscast in her role as Wavey Prowse)
 but  perfectly cast as the porn actress in Boogie Nights, director Paul Thomas Anderson

Robert De Niro in Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver

Sean Penn in I am Sam (nice soundtrack), Mystic River and Milk

Sean Penn as Harvey Milk

Edward Furlong in John Waters' Pecker (that doesn't sound good ;-)
Christina Ricci as Shelley in Pecker and as Selby in Monster , director Patty Jenkins

Ricci and Furlong in Pecker

Hilary Swank in Boys Don't Cry, director Kimberley Peirce

Frances McDormand as Marge Gunderson in Fargo (for which she won the Oscar for best actress in '96)

 Holly Hunter as Ada and Harvey Keitel as Baines  in The Piano, director Jane Campion

Harvey Keitel and Holly Hunter in The Piano

And although I liked Colin Firth very much in The King's Speech, I can't get over him as Vermeer in Girl With A Pearl Earring. I don't say that lightly, as I've tended to be disappointed with most biopics of famous artists. Probably not a lot was known about Vermeer, certainly hardly a thing about the young maid, so most of it is probably fiction. Oh, how I love a good story; passionately expressed!

Colin Firth and Scarlet Johansson, director Peter Webber

What are your favorite movie roles? If you make your own list, please link me up but also feel free to leave your lists, however long, in comments!

Part II coming up when I am next inspired.

Love and Peace,
Pagan Sphinx

Monday, May 16, 2011

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Litany by Billy Collins

Even the jaded and ineffectual person that is currently me, had to smile at this one. 

  You are the bread and the knife,
The crystal goblet and the wine...
-Jacques Crickillon

You are the bread and the knife,
the crystal goblet and the wine.
You are the dew on the morning grass
and the burning wheel of the sun.
You are the white apron of the baker,
and the marsh birds suddenly in flight.

However, you are not the wind in the orchard,
the plums on the counter,
or the house of cards.
And you are certainly not the pine-scented air.
There is just no way that you are the pine-scented air.

It is possible that you are the fish under the bridge,
maybe even the pigeon on the general's head,
but you are not even close
to being the field of cornflowers at dusk.

And a quick look in the mirror will show
that you are neither the boots in the corner
nor the boat asleep in its boathouse.

It might interest you to know,
speaking of the plentiful imagery of the world,
that I am the sound of rain on the roof.

I also happen to be the shooting star,
the evening paper blowing down an alley
and the basket of chestnuts on the kitchen table.

I am also the moon in the trees
and the blind woman's tea cup.
But don't worry, I'm not the bread and the knife.
You are still the bread and the knife.
You will always be the bread and the knife,
not to mention the crystal goblet and--somehow--the wine.

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