Sunday inspiration…

Watching a lot of short movies for research and inspiration. This is a little longish, but very cool.

I loved TGs Twelve Monkeys – which inspired a story I am writing and I wanted to see some of his inspirations.

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Goya’s Ghost and Wars.

Saw this movie the other day and I thought it was really done well. Natalie Portman is perhaps my favorite actress – she is smart, lovely and brave.  If you have not seen this movie rent it sometime – not for children at all fyi. Goya’s ghost 2006 Directed by Milos Forman. I found that every actor in the whole movie was strong and I am surprised that it was not more popular than it was. The subject matter perhaps is to frighteningly real for our time. Stellan Skarsgård was very strong as Goya.

The movie captured my attention because I have been thinking alot about the war – there are so many right now but the one between Israel and Palestine is so heart breaking. I have been thinking lately that it seems that the oppressed in our world eventualy become the oppressors and that in the future perhaps Native Americans and Witches are going to be a bit nasty to others. Perhaps not – but it seems historically that these things do happen.  The oppression that women have known has been covered in fiction by the movie Zardoz if you are looking at it from the angle of eventual oppression. We were discussing this last night over dinner. How sad we have not yet learned to evolve as a species towards a Utopian ideal or even just to stop killing each other over stupid things that will mean nothing when the Aliens get here and start the round-up. We are ill equipt to teach our children of the world how to handle and wage Peace. See what you can do about that on your end will you? I’ll work on it from this end.

Rent Zardoz too if you have not seen it. Quiet interesting, also not for kids.

Being a Ghost Story of Christmas

scrooge23

I love Christmas. I fell in love with my husband at Christmas, at the time we were friends and we played the Masquerade and he had a brilliant witty mind and a deep rooted romantic nature (still does). Christmas is the essence of romance to me. When I was young everyone was always happiest during the holidays between the Solstice and the New Year. I loved going to church with my Nana and listening to the German hyms. I loved going to Catholic Mass with my mother where we could sit and do our magic in complete comfort surrounded by lovely incense and candles and men in rich robes with family friends. Later as a teen I loved going to the Solstice Sabbats openly and learning the Yule celebrations as Witches became more mainstream and free to have gatherings inspired by ancient traditions and mysteries.  Such beautiful connections with nature and God as the Mother of all as well as the Father. Yule is definatly one of my favorite times of the year. One of the traditions I love the most though is started soon after Halloween as the Earth in the Northern Hem grows colder and the World joins together in the Celebrations of the Mysterious and Magical. The telling of stories, the sharing of miracles whispered before bed, Little Women and Santa Mouse and The Snow Children to my very favorite story of the season A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. 

A Christmas Carol marathon is needed for this week. So this will give you time to prepare. I think we will start Sunday night here in the deep woods.
First enjoy this :
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8817517652455175582

Watch this version on your computer with your kids or with a nice mug of coco – a 1970s version I remember well watching every year at Christmas time. It is an amazing animated version.
Also I would recommend reading the book (best done aloud). How fun and spooky this time of year. Dickens wrote this story for money when he was in big time debt and how fitting for this economy when all is money lenders and economic hardships are on every corner. He wrote this to be read aloud to others as was the Victorian fashion.
A Christmas Carol in Prose, Being a Ghost Story of Christmas by Charles John Huffam Dickens you can read it online – free

http://books.google.com/books?id=f8ANAAAAQAAJ&dq=Christmas+Carol+movies&printsec=frontcover&source=in&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=13&ct=result#PPP5,M1

 

For more reviews than what I have provided you – Rotten Tomatos reviews – like tomatos, best eaten with a bit of salt. I like this site, sometimes very funny comments

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/1004126-christmas_carol/

I find that  http://www.amazon.com/Scrooges-Christmas-Carol-Movies/lm/25FMOOBWJACF
There are Thirty two adaptations currently listed on Amazon.

“Scrooge” (1951)

The British film, released in the United States as “A Christmas Carol,” is “far and away the most powerful and faithful of the adaptations, principally due to Alistair Sim as Scrooge. He brings a lightness to a role that’s often overplayed.” He looks like Scrooge to me but then each actor brings his inner Scrooge uniquely to the part.

“A Christmas Carol” (1984)

A made-for-TV feature with George C. Scott, “who plays it straight as Scrooge but brings it off.” Loved this version.

Scrooge (1970)

A musical adaptation with Albert Finney as Scrooge and Alec Guinness as Jacob Marley. “Underrated. Musicals tend not to be taken seriously, but it’s perfectly delightful.” I really loved this version too. The music and the sets are gorgeous.

“Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol” (1962)

Animated feature with Jim Backus as the voice of Magoo/Scrooge. “To paraphrase Thackeray’s final pronouncement on the original: ‘Who can listen to objections regarding such a (film) as this?’ ” A staple to every Xmas growing up watched with Charlie Browns Christmas and the Grinch each year.

“Scrooged” (1988)

With Bill Murray as a cynical TV executive planning an adaptation of Dickens’ tale. “An intelligent script, a clever updating for a late 20th-Century audience. Murray is a bit like Alistair Sim — lighter, but with a twinkle in his eye.” In the Spirit of a Wall Street version.

“A Christams Carol ” (1999)

Standing out in the crowded field of screen adaptations of the classic Dickens novel A Christmas Carol is hard to do, but this version pulls it off. When a transparent Jacob Marley walks through Ebenezer Scrooge’s apartment door, you know you’re seeing something both timeless and contemporary. Other strategically placed special effects–a funnel cloud that transports Scrooge and the ghost of Christmas present, the hollow specter of Christmas future–keep you riveted without slipping into anachronism.

But, as good as the technology is, the performances are what really power this 93-minute TNT interpretation. Patrick Stewart brings a depth to Scrooge that allows the character to go beyond the cartoonish qualities that have made him a Christmas mainstay. That doesn’t mean he’s any less heartless with his hapless employee Bob Cratchit (Richard E. Grant) or any less dismissive of his well-meaning nephew. A frail-looking Joel Grey makes an excellent ghost of Christmas past, and a superb British cast ably fill the remaining roles.

Director David Jones, shooting on location in England and at London’s Ealing Studios, has achieved a balance of science and sentiment that will help this version hold up for many years to come. Review from Amazon by–Kimberly Heinrichs which I agree with whole heartedly plus just love that Patric Stewart who loved this part so much he produced it for the Stage on the West End. Fabulous.

Barbie’s version new this year (2008). “Barbie In A Christmas Carol”

Which will be huge with my two girls, who are Barbie groupies. Have not yet seen this.

And the “Muppets Christmas Carol” of course one of my favorites. http://www.sheeplaughs.com/scrooge/muppets.htm

Watching old movies.

So yesterday we waited for the Heat guy (who rocked) and watched the original “The day the earth stood still” and in this scene I could not help but laugh at the doctors talking about health and then lighting up a cig. – so common at the time, but looks so hilarious now.

Today I am working in the basement and watching the original BLOB on VHS. It is a very relaxing background movie.

They’ll love it in Pomona.

It snowed over the weekend but did not stick.

I am loving the HBO series True Blood but I wanted to read the books which you can buy as a set now at Amazon. Sookie Stackhouse Box Set it looks to be a good read.

All the plants withered after the hard freeze last night. I find the bleakness of the weather lonely and cold. But the holidays are coming and people will soon be so happy and hang lights to fight the darkness and carols will be sung and Yule will be celebrated around the world in its many guises.

I love the music they are already playing on the radio.

I like to watch Film Noir and we watched Sunset Boulevard last night. Poor Joe – should have seen it coming with the miniature rabbit’s foot attached for luck to his keychain. Not much luck for the rabbit I have always said. And that dead monkey, yipes… Joe you should have just turned around – Monkeys are the artists Quiji board. Mark Ryden, David Dalamere, Nancy Griffith. A dead monkey is never a good sign.  Joe was screwed the moment he let Norma put him in a monkey suit and danced the tango. Joe is the new monkey.

Joe: You’re Norma Desmond. You used to be in silent pictures. You used to be big.
Norma (bristling): I am big. It’s the pictures that got small.
Joe: I knew there was something wrong with them.

Indignant, Norma laments the rise of talkies and the demise of the silents:

 

They’re dead, they’re finished! There was a time in this business when they had the eyes of the whole wide world. But that wasn’t good enough for them. Oh, no. They had to have the ears of the world, too. So they opened their big mouths, and out came talk. Talk! Talk!

Joe jokes about the effects of sound on movies: “That’s where the popcorn business comes in. Buy yourself a bag and plug up your ears.” Norma doesn’t believe that the actors of the talkies era can compete with the stars of the silent era. She refuses to leave her Hollywood past behind:

 

Look at them in the front offices – the masterminds! They took the idols and smashed them. The Fairbanks and the Gilberts, the Valentinos! And who have we got now? Some nobodies.

Joe doesn’t want to take the blame: “Don’t blame me. I’m not an executive. Just a writer.” Norma criticizes Joe as a screenwriter as well as any others responsible for bringing words and sound to the movies: “You are. Writing words, words, more words! Well, you’ve made a rope of words and strangled this business. Ha, ha. But there’s a microphone right there to catch the last gurgles, and Technicolor to photograph the red, swollen tongue.” She orders him out. He sarcastically replies with a reference to Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood: “Next time, I’ll bring my autograph album along, or maybe a hunk of cement and ask for your footprint.”

As he descends the stairs, she pursues him and asks about his screenwriting: “Are you or aren’t you?” He replies: “That’s what it says on my Guild card,” and then explains about his last script and how hazardous it is to be a screenwriter, in a day and age when Hollywood requires hack work:

 

The last one I wrote was about Okies in the Dust Bowl. You’d never know because, when it reached the screen, the whole thing played on a torpedo boat.

sunsetboulevardwilliamholden

“Psychopaths sell like hot cakes.”  my favorite line….still so true. 

I think I’ll be Norma for Christmas.