I have just finished the novel The Talented Mr. Ripley and found it quite entertaining. It is a masterful work of suspense. The film accurately brought Ripley's personality to the screen, although certain elements may come from some of the sequels, which I intend to pursue.
The narrative of the book is told from Ripley's point of view, which treats the murders and subsequent cover-ups in a very matter-of-fact manner. A good alternative title to the book might be The Unflappable Mr. Ripley. His reasoning is generally flawless, and the scenes in which he is certain he has been caught are white-knuckle moments, the effect intensified by his maintaining an unperturbed exterior.
Secondhand Lions - the film and score
A few days ago I mentioned how eager I was to hear Patrick Doyle's score for Secondhand Lions. I bought the CD, although I knew nothing about the film other than the stars, but this bold, deleriously adventurous music made me wonder. The music evokes Erich Wolfgang Korngold and Max Steiner (with a dash of Victor Young), but is very much a Patrick Doyle score.
The CD had artwork by the great Berkley Breathed, and, as a huge Bloom County fan, I was quite pleasantly surprised to see his unique style show up. I wondered what the connection to the film was.
The movie itself was extremely lame, wasting the talents of its three stars (Haley Joel Osment, Robert Duvall and Michael Caine) and although the main character becomes a cartoonist, there is but the barest appearance in the film of Breathed's artwork (mostly for the end title).
The CD is wonderful, though, with Doyle writing confidently in an epic style that hearkens back to Henry V, Indochine and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein - but the lighter tone makes the album much more approachable (Frankenstein, in particular, is a score I like a lot but find too intense to listen to all the way through most of the time). This is an active, busy score (even the more introspective moments contain movement) and I can recommend it without reservation.
I wanted to see something that "looks good and starts soon," and, despite the lukewarm responses it has gotten from critics and people I know that had seen it, I have to say I enjoyed it.
This is not to say that it's a great movie. It is a huge slab of cheese, to be sure - elements of the film seem to have been designed to provide shower-nozzle masturbation material for goth chicks - but it's fun to watch. It also rather nicely blurs the good/evil paradigm it at first appears to support.
A real prize was the theatrical trailer for the new version of Alien. I'm so excited to get the chance to see this film on the big screen.
It was interesting to see the way that the new trailer was put together. The original 1979 trailer only had a shot of a moving landscape intercut with the alien egg from the poster. The new one has shots from the film, but they are shown only in rapid cuts, except for two "shockers" (both of which are Ripley [Sigourney Weaver] on the shuttlecraft)... and Jerry Goldmith's terrifying score.
The trailer looked better than any number of newer features. Given the quality of recent re-releases, including The Exorcist and Apocalypse Now, I am quite ecstatic to see the restored picture on Alien, which is, to my taste, one of the most visually compelling films of all time. I am probably going to be more amenable to the textual alterations to this film (most of which I am aware of) than either of those other two, which I didn't like at all.
I tore through Orson Scott Card's rather grisly fantasy novel Hart's Hope. As usual with Card, the characters are the most important element of the reading experience. This is very important in this particular story because the characters keep the reader's attention despite the off-putting events of the story.
The narrator's identity is withheld until the last paragraph, which is a good device (the story is told to the king, and the narrator constantly is pleading for clemency for the protagonist).
I have no doubt that this is a major reason why Card has so many fellow Mormons mad at him. The book unflinchingly describes horrific acts, but they are neccesary for the flow of the narrative (and in keeping, of course, which Card's brilliant characterization).
There are old pilots, there are bold pilots, but there are very few old, bold pilots
I had the wonderful opportunity to have a long talk with an old friend of mine that I hadn't spoken to in a long time. It made me very happy, as I had missed them, terribly, and, although I was able to communicate with them online, it is no comparison to a good, old-fashioned gabfest.