Lisa’s Week In Review: 5/14/18 — 5/20/18

Finally, I’m healthy again!  Being sick sucks but, as of the end of this week, I am finally feeling like myself again.  Here’s what I accomplished this week:

Movies I Watched

  1. All that Jazz (1979)
  2. Deadly Matrimony (2018)
  3. Deep Red (1975)
  4. Den of Thieves (2018)
  5. Disco Beaver From Outer Space (1978)
  6. Everybody Wins (1990)
  7. Fahrenheit 451 (2018)
  8. Fifty Shades Darker (2017)
  9. Fifty Shades Freed (2018)
  10. Fifty Shades of Grey (2015)
  11. The Go-Between (1971)
  12. Gorky Park (1983)
  13. I, Daniel Blake (2016)
  14. Inferno (1980)
  15. Missing (1982)
  16. The Mission (1986)
  17. Paddington 2 (2018)
  18. Paris, Texas (1984)
  19. Psycho Ex-Girlfriend (2018)
  20. River’s Edge (1987)
  21. Serpico (1973)
  22. The Silent World (1956)
  23. Suspiria (1977)

Television Shows I Watched

  1. The Americans
  2. Archer: Danger Island
  3. Barry
  4. Brooklyn 99
  5. Doctor Phil
  6. Fear the Walking Dead
  7. Ghost Whisperer
  8. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
  9. iZombie
  10. King of the Hill
  11. Legion
  12. Lucifer
  13. Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD
  14. New Girl
  15. The Office
  16. Patrick Melrose
  17. Roseanne
  18. The Royal Wedding!!!!
  19. Silicon Valley
  20. Survivor 36
  21. Sweetbitter
  22. The Terror
  23. True Detective Season 1
  24. Trust
  25. Vida
  26. Westworld

Books I Read

(Long story short: Last week, I inherited a stash of old Choose Your Own Adventure books.)

  1. Behind the Wheel (1992) by R.A. Montgomery
  2. Deadwood City (1978) by Edward Packard
  3. The Forbidden Castle (1982) by Edward Packard
  4. The Girl on the Velvet Swing: sex, murder, and madness at the dawn of the 20th century (2018) by Simon Baez
  5. Horror Hotel (1983) by Hilary Milton
  6. Journey Under The Sea (1978) by R.A. Montgomery
  7. Kidnapped (1991) by Edward Packard
  8. Laird Cregar: A Hollywood Tragedy (2018) by Gregory W. Mank
  9. The Last Ninja (1991) by Jay Leibold
  10. Nightmare Store (1982) by Hilary Milton
  11. Who Killed Harlowe Thrombey? (1981) by Edward Packard

Music To Which I Listened

  1. Above & Beyond
  2. Adi Ulmansky
  3. AIR
  4. Britney Spears
  5. Calvin Harris
  6. Cedric Gervais
  7. The Chemical Brothers
  8. Chromatics
  9. Dillon Francis
  10. Doro
  11. The Flaming Lips
  12. Garbage
  13. Jackalope
  14. Kevin Shields
  15. Michael Fredo
  16. Moby
  17. Muse
  18. Phoenix
  19. Saint Motel
  20. Taylor Swift
  21. Walt Mink
  22. The White Stripes

Links From Last Week

  1. On her photography site, Erin shared a picture of our new fence!  (It’s a nice fence and, fortunately, the possums can climb it.)
  2. Via my dream journal, here’s a dream I had about giving a lecture!
  3. On Ferguson Ink, Derrick Ferguson continues to interview some of the best writers around.  This week, he interviewed Michael A. Gonzalez!
  4. From News From The Boston Becks: A Century of Film: Crime Films
  5. From The World’s Common Tater: Tater Takes On The Entire Fall TV Schedule!  (Tater took a look at all of the upcoming network schedules this week so be sure to explore his site to get the full details on all of them!)
  6. From Outspoken and Freckled: 5 Reasons Why THE AWFUL TRUTH is my Classic Comfort Movie
  7. From John Rieber: “The Stewardess Is Flying The Plane!” Why I Love 70’s Cinema! The Decade’s Biggest “Hellraisers!”
  8. From Awards Circuit: Leonardo DiCaprio and Steven Spielberg to Re-Team on Ulysses S. Grant Biopic
  9. TSL wasn’t at Cannes this year but Awards Watch was.  Check out their reviews here!
  10. Royal Wedding 2018: In Pictures

Links From The Site

  1. Erin profiled C.C. Beall and celebrated International Dinosaur Day!
  2. Jeff paid tribute to Margot Kidder!
  3. Viktor Von Glum reviewed Black Panther!
  4. Gary reviewed Dr. No, From Russia With Love, and Thunderball and he revealed the Secret James Bond-Batman connection!
  5. Ryan reviewed Rock Steady, XTC69, and Love That Bunch, along with sharing his weekly reading round-up!
  6. I observed Sofia Coppola’s birthday and shared my Oscar predictions for May!
  7. In case you missed it, here’s what won at Cannes!

Want to see what I accomplished last week?  Click here!

Have a great week, everyone!

Film Review: Fahrenheit 451 (dir by Ramin Bahrani)

(Before reading this review, make sure that you’ve read my review of Ray Bradbury’s novel!)

(And then make you sure that you’ve read my review of the 1966 Truffaut film!)

The latest HBO original film, Fahrenheit 451, is bad.

For all the talent involved, for all the hype, and for all the hope that many of us had for it, it is extremely bad.  It sets up its targets and then fires at them with all the aim and success of a myopic archer.  By almost any standard, it’s a misfire of almost Vinyl proportions.

The film, of course, is based on Ray Bradbury’s novel about a future dystopia where the population is kept in line through pharmaceuticals and mind-numbing television and where firemen burn books.  Michael B. Jordan plays Montag, the fireman who develops doubts.  Michael Shannon plays Beatty, Montag’s boss. Sofia Boutella is Clarisse, who inspires Montag to question why.  And no one plays Montag’s wife because that character was apparently cut from the film.

From the minute this version starts, it’s obvious that this film was inspired less by Bradbury and more by Black Mirror, Blade Runner, and the Purge franchise.  The entire world is defined by neon and dark shadows.  Gone is Bradbury’s suggestion that a world without books would be a bland one.  Instead, a world without books is now one that looks like every single recent sci-fi film.  People may have stopped reading but apparently, they’re still watching old Ridley Scott movies.

Gone too is the idea of Montag as a middle-aged man struggling with an existential crisis.  Now, he’s Michael B. Jordan, who comes across as if he’s never had a moment of doubt in his entire life.  He’s less Montag and more Creed in an authoritarian future.  Also gone is the weary relationship with Captain Beatty.  Now, Beatty is almost a father figure to Montag.  Of course, Montag’s real father died mysteriously years ago.  Nothing indicates a lazy screenwriter quicker than a character with daddy issues.

As I mentioned earlier, in this version, Montag is not married.  Instead, he lives a bachelor lifestyle in a glitzy apartment and he spends most of his time asking questions to the future’s version of Alexa, Yuxie.  (“Yuxie, was Benjamin Franklin the first fireman?”)  Of course, in the novel, Montag’s wife stood in for every citizen who never questioned why books were being burned.  It was Montag’s dissatisfaction with his bland home life that led to him getting to know Clarisse and eventually questioning his job as a fireman.  Now, Montag starts to doubt after a random rebel says that Benjamin Franklin didn’t support burning books.  But why, if Montag has spent a lifetime refusing to question anything, would some rando rebel suddenly make him reconsider?

The Book People are still around but now they’re kind of a pain.  I love books but I wouldn’t want to hang out with any of them.  They’re a humorless group of people who live in a farm and apparently being a book person means you can’t wash your hair or something because seriously, everyone looked a bit grimy.  I mean, it’s important to rebel again authoritarianism but that doesn’t meant you can’t look good while doing it.  Each Book Person has memorized a book and you have to wonder how they decide who gets to memorize which book.  We’re told that one Book Person has memorized Chairman Mao but if you’re battling censorship, would you really want to hang out with a person who has devoted her life to the guy behind the Cultural Revolution?  Another Book Person claims to have memorized all of Proust but I think he’s a damn liar.  I mean, how is anyone going to check that?  I’m guessing he probably only memorized the first 20 pages or so of Swann’s Way.  What I want to know is who got to memorize the Twilight books?

This version of Fahrenheit 451 is a bit of a mess.  I’m not one to demand that literary adaptations stick exactly to their source material.  (For instance, the film version of The Godfather was greatly improved by ignoring 60% of what happened in Mario Puzo’s novel.  For that matter, we can all be thankful that It didn’t end with the Losers Club solidifying their bond by having group sex with Beverly.)  But, in this case, the changes don’t improve on the original.  Instead, they just turn Fahrenheit 451 into yet another shadowy dystopian film.

When it comes to Fahrenheit 451, my advice is just to read the book.