Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Star Trek Into Darkness

Yes, I saw Star Trek today. We intended to do a matinee, but Beth had an appointment in town (Boston town), that ate into the afternoon. I went along so that I could say, I think you should have turned back there.  Tho seriously we got in and out meetly. And Boston Common is just so lovely, a city being sensible. So we had pizza then went to the cinnyMAH.

Re upcoming films, I got nothing to look forward to. I don’t even remember what’s coming. Superman doesn’t excite me. I don’t even want to illustrate the demise of western, eastern, northern, and southern society as these summer mishaps flatten the intellectual step of our many nations. Snarky boom, the end.

Much anticipated movie, this ole Star Trek. None of the tv shows excited me. They were entertaining but I cannot see them in the Beloved category. The first movie clicked on all cylinders. This one probably did too, but I guess I wanted to see redefinition of the genre. The crackle of this ensemble clearly delivers a strength. There is rapport amongst the actors and a written ease given to them. If the tv shows had this sort of energy, they’d still be on the air.

I had an odd feeling of the plot being both rushed and stalled. It’s an action film problem, where the ACTION takes basically meaningless time while the plot waits. The action is expressive if not vivid. Fight scenes are essentially vivid blurs augmented with crunching sounds. The equation drips policy, as if no real action occurs, just elevated plot advances. What I mean is, if we have to have fights, let the ballet play. Jolting remarkable agitation is another way of saying confusing.

Which reminds me that one of the movies in the foredoom is a modern martial arts mess. Martial arts movie times the square root of video game, plus 3. The trailer had the despicable catch line that winners remain standing. Losers equal pogrom, holocaust, tornado victims. I mean really, is that the math?

Another math was in Star Trek, when the admiral’s daughter wants to help Kirk with his bomb problem, or something. Anyway, she says, turn away, and she proceeds to strip down to underwear. Which is a calcified James Bond moment that has no reasonable position in a grown up movie. She had to change into bomb defusing clothes, oh yeah. Peter Weller played her father the admiral. He had an old school army accent. His daughter had a swish British one. Adding that up right now.

Christopher Pine has brash down pat. To me he perfectly performs the idea of Kirk, which Shatner never really approached. I read one or two Star Trek novels. The whole idea of the franchise as franchise made me glum because it seemed to regulate how people made and how people enjoyed scifi. Anyway, I kept thinking, Shatner’s doing this, saying that??? The esteemed Priceline guy has that kind if imprint. We get it as well with Pine: he’s going to grow up to be Shatner? You just don’t see Shatner in bed with two alien females with tails. That’s another James Bondian off note, btw.

Benedict Cumberbatch is the god of autistic embrace with his Sherlock Holmes. He was good here, grisly evil with a nice accent. I suppose we need one more hyper-powered wundermann. What made me flinch, tho, was that he was Khan. Ricardo Montalban’s expert hamminess needn’t be challenged. The idea that JJ Abrams has to stick to the clunky timeline of the original is dispirirting.

A scene in which the Star Fleet command endures a helicopter attack recalled a similar scene in Godfather 3. Good Lord, copping to Godfather 3!!!!!! The action gets a bit blurry and the slaughter is wholesale but it’s pretty dynamic. A space ship crashing into a city later on recalled 911. I kinda think they ought to leave that alone.

Abrams repeats a few scenes from the first endeavour. Kirk and Khan diving out of a spaceship in freefall, tho this time it looked like they had control of their fall. The fight on the drill from Number 1 turns into a fight on some sort of moving platform in Number 2. In both instances, my vertigo made up for the lack of vertigo of the contestants.

Bones, Sulu, and Chekov have to wait for Number 3 to get more lines. Not that they were that busy in the tv show, but Scotty was featured some in this flick. The door’s open for Khan to return, but I would rather that the Enterprise move on.

Oh jeez, I just remembered that one of the upcoming movies features Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman, Robert DeNiro, and Kevin Kostner or was it Kline in a puerile Vegas hijinks movie. The Hangover at 70, with Academy Award cred: ugh!!! Anyway, Star Trek was a fun movie, perhaps more muddled than the first. The first had the advantage of surprise: we didn’t know if Abrams would get it right. Knowing he can, we might get a bit picky.

As we were leaving, an usher told us her son was in the movie. He played one of the aliens in the opening homage to Indiana Jones sequence. It was fun to hear the proud mother. Her son’s been in some 12 movies, so he’s got something going.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Concord Estates and Woods

Since last summer, Beth and I have gone to the same place in Concord to walk and take pictures. The wish would be daily, the actuality more like 2-3 times a week. The place offers extensive and varied acreage but we usually take the same route, a mile loop around an old millpond. Despite such a limited area, we have found something new and engaging every time. The flow of seasons and weather present continual change.
Neither Beth or I consider ourselves photographers, at least in the sense of trying to make “art”. We just take pictures of things that catch our eye. We don’t fuss with the pictures either. Especially we don’t amplify the colours, which is a sort of common romanticism focused on idealism. There is no “truth” in these pictures, just interest.
We share the camera. I take the most pictures because I like to click away. Beth puts more thought into her camera work. We point and talk and ask questions.
Yesterday, we entered the woods by a different route. Years ago, I skied in from this path, but I remembered nothing of it. One drives down a country road with grand estates on both sides. This was all farm land, in Concord’s working heyday. The estates show it, with barns and horses, fences and rock walls. Some owners sly the taxes by growing hay and calling the place a working farm. It all was probably very good farm land, the land of Concord seems blest, but it all now just represents American extent. Food comes from someplace else now (tho some farms remain in town). In fact life comes from someplace else, because even Concord isn’t good enough to satisfy the wants. What’s here in this town is muchly all documentation of what is “Mine.” I don’t really begrudge it, don’t envy the owners,  not in a come the revolution sense. I am, however, wary of hedge fund success and the a-holes who hire it.
The grandest estate has numerous buildings. The main house is old, with several chimneys (chimneys in the middle of the house rather than the side, as this house showed, indicates older houses). The barn is large and trig. There’s a ridiculously lovely old beech tree, a cluster of apple trees (in bloom!). A small house on the estate has a pretty kitchen garden of herbs. The lawn close to the main house has been mowed to golf course trim, but much of the open area has been allowed to engage its natural grassy habit. When I say natural, I mean the grass grows tall and other plants are allowed to grow. The cycle burgeoning toward reforestation of course will be stymied in the fall.
We left all this comfortably unnatural wonder and followed the path into the woods. The paths are somewhat tortuous. I got lost once on my bike, with my attention tuned to avoiding rocks and roots. I ended up eating my bike but got out alive.
We met a family on the path who, oddly, walked in single file, dad first, the kids, and mom. It didn’t look like they were there to engage but of course I don’t know that. I could imagine the allure of television and vid games hanging heavy with the crew.
Sunlight glimmering on leaves. A few tiny violets still in bloom. Lily of the valley. I thought I saw the flick of a deer’s white tail but it was a sidelong sight, perhaps a bird instead. There were deer tracks at the place. Deer stay scarce during the day because many who walk these woods bring dogs. I consider dogs part of the habitat. Love to see the happy wet coming up to greet us.
We wound down hill till we came to a small, rather dismal pond and a fenced in field. Sitting above it was the house at the top of the hill near the other entrance to the woods. We actually drove up the long driveway once. The house itself is no big deal, no mansion, but it’s a glorious chunk of land. Our view from the shady path revealed the hillside as just about a cliff. Clouds at the moment showed a cumulous heft but didn’t block the sun. Spring in this world of poor mutts.
We found trillium next to the path, and geranium. I’ve seen lady’s slippers in the woods here, and we were hopeful. Honeysuckle and lily of the valley were everywhere and in bloom, gorgeous scents. There was an exotic tree that I’ve never seen before, very large leaves and beefy flowers somewhat like roses or peonies. We got the idea that this was a formerly tended area left to make its own way.
The path led to a sign on a tree indicating private property. We turned around. A cyclist soon came bounding down the path from the verboten area, unmindful of such restrictions. We took another direction. The whole hillside was covered with lily of the valley. Like with honeysuckle, the flower is small and undramatic, but the scent is intoxicating.
We looped back to our entry path. We greeted a family marching in, alerting them to the hillside of lily of the valley. There were 15-20 cars parked along the road in, but we saw the contents of perhaps 4.
Much of this is town land. I know a little school called Harvard owns some of the land. I don’t know if our steps ever landed on Harvard land, whether Harvard allows access. On our way home, we stopped at the organic farm near where we usually enter the woods. It’s a beautiful looking farm, nestled at the bottom of the hill with the Concord River on its far side. Happily, this land is held in trust, a farm “forever”.
Beth’s uncle built a place on the Jersey shore just after WWII. Nothing was there at the time but things changed dramatically over the years. It was a small place, even after it was enlarged, about 50 yards from the water. It sat on a street that ran perpendicular to the water. The houses along the shore road kept getting bigger, so that when I first visited, ocean view was blocked. One entered the beach thru an alley between two McMansions.
The depredations of Hurricane Sandy destroyed or greatly irked most of the houses in the area (Beth’s aunt had moved some years before). One shouldn’t and cannot make that some kind of justice against these magnates of exclusivity. One can, surely, see—if blinders are removed—that this “land” is a spit of shifting sand, however. The monuments were not bound to last, even by the measly standards of human lifetime.
As beautiful as the estates in Concord are, someone’s going to realize it’s just a tax bill. And the throng grows of those who want a piece. Of course it is all Maya. Daniel Boone lighting out for further expanse simply has little chance nowadays. Expanse is now dictated to us in little notes and messages. Might as well see what these messages say.