Monday, May 23, 2005

Is It Over At Last?

As moaned about in my previous blog, a lot of annoying little setbacks have been happening since the middle of April (the beginning if you count an old back injury that flared up). The ongoing car hassles may have stopped since I put in a new battery, alternator, and battery post.

Yesterday I took my girls to see KINGDOM OF HEAVEN. It was rated R, and I wouldn't have taken them to an R movie normally, but the rating was based on some splattered blood during the battle scenes and that's mild compared to the junk they see on TV all the time.
I suppose I liked the movie but not without reservations. My usual complaint about the MTV influence in the action scenes continues here. Flash cuts, extreme closeups, wobbly cameras, and what appears to be a strobe effect all diminish the action for me rather than enhance it. Also, the movie included the old chestnut of the hero doing a good deed for his enemy which saved him from destruction later on.
Still, the assault on the castle was damned exciting, the female lead lovely, the ideals of knighthood and redemption played with proper solemnity, and the chatterbox a few rows ahead shut up after I hinted she should.
Also interesting was the portrayal of the Knights Templar, whose history was germane to the Maltese Falcon. Here, they're shown as a rapacious, greedy bunch interested only in loot and power.
A movie like this demands a large screen, so unless you have a really big TV I recommend you see it in the theater.

My oldest girl has been getting a few driving lessons from me. Actually, I just sit there and let her drive my car--when it works--and caution her about stopping distances and speed around corners when the need arises. Lucky for us there's a park nearby with a Five Mile Drive that's one way and has a 20 MPH speed limit. After traversing that a couple of times we hit the city streets and she's doing well. It's funny for me to see someone learning to drive a car when I routinely drive a 55-foot long aircraft loader and other pieces of Air Force equipment.

I stared reading BURGADE'S CROSSING, by Bill Pronzini, last week. I like Bill's writing a lot and was eager to read this, but when I stared I realized it was a short story collection. I'd already read the titular story (luckily I have too poor a memory to remember how it ended), and probably several others. Now, I don't mind having the book at all, but I think the pulisher was kind of sneaky by not saying it was an ss collection right up front. All the cover says is FIRST TIME IN PAPERBACK! That sounds like a novel to me.

The weekend was so busy I had to take today, Monday, off. What with the holiday next week, that'll be back-to-back three day weekends. As Homer Simpson says, Woo-hoo!


Andy J said...

If you took the Pronzini book out of the library you can be excused for not thumbing through it first but if you bought it (as I suspect you did) you can only be excused if you were in an airport newsstand and rushing to catch a plane. Even a writer who is presold to you as Pronzini is needs to be checked out first especially with today's lofty paperback prices. I just can't bring myself to buy those cheesy paperbacks except on rare occasions. Maybe that's a good thing. My fiction reading is confined almost exclusively to books checked out of the library.

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

I would have bought it no matter what, but I wouldn't have felt deceived. There are stories in it I haven't read, after all.
Fact is, when I started reading the title story, which was first in the lineup, I remembered it and thought the ss was being expanded into a book a la Chandler. It was only after I was half way through the story that I thought to check the rest of the book, which is when I discovered it was a collection. Slow on the uptake, me.

Bill said...

I really hate those MTV action scenes. Same director did the same thing in Gladiator. Maybe nobody knows how to film action anymore. Check out Errol Flynn's Robin Hood. They did stuff right in the old days.