Olivia Cooke: Diary, 8/22 to 8/27/21

Pixie, Summerland, Climax, a dozen movies; Pablo goes to San Jose (knew the way), rethinking that friendship (again); not much else.

Copyright (text only) 2021 by Alan Carl Nicoll
All Rights Reserved

Olivia Cooke in Bates Motel

{8/22/21} continued:

Watched some movies.  Pixie, starring my heartthrob Olivia Cooke, has her as an Irish smirky wild girl playing with the big boys for drugs and cash.  Something in the Coen Brothers vein, though rather too tidy and often predictable.

Summerland is a lesbian WWII romance that is a missed chance for greatness.  Gemma Arterton is outstanding as a more-than-usually reclusive writer who acquires a boy houseguest.  The predictable happens between them, but there are some exquisite moments along the way.

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is passable because of Zoe Colletti’s appealing lead as yet another plucky teenager dealing with PG13-level horrors.  Somewhat inventive but eminently forgettable.

These three all get decent, 70+% ratings from Rotten Tomatoes.  Not a one I’d consider watching again, unless I need a snort of Cooke, heh heh.

{8/23/21}  Weight 217.0 at 4:55 am.

Hereditary is

{8/24/21}  Weight 214.6 at 5:35 am.

Hereditary is an intense, impressive horror movie.  Apparently I wandered away yesterday, mid-sentence, and didn’t return.

Climax is a French film that one fan reviewer—“Carlos M”—on Rotten Tomatoes called an “insanely uncomfortable experience.”  It starts with snippets of interviews with the cast, then an intense dance act with about twenty dancers taking turns giving it their all to a driving rock beat.  So far, so good, the first twenty minutes are very entertaining and promising.  Then the dancers relax and, seemingly, improv their way through the rest of the two-hours-plus, increasingly unpleasant “bad trip.”  RT says it’s “1h 35m,” so the version I saw on cable apparently is something like an “extended director’s cut.”  Long takes with a roving, sometimes overhead, sometimes spinning, handheld camera.  It gets sexual and violent, loaded with persistent screaming, and, finally, presented so unpleasantly (flickering red light, upside-down camera) that I turned it off with fifteen minutes unwatched.  RT rating 68% “fresh.”  I’d likely have enjoyed the theatrical version more, because there are many things here to like and many to despise.

Pablo spent I think three nights in the hospital after suffering a stroke (see 8/17/21).  I’ve been feeding his cat ever since.  We spoke on the phone yesterday morning.  I told him, happily, that I had given his key to his neighbor lady, that she was going to feed his cat.  He flew into a rage.  The only reason he offered for this reaction was that he didn’t want her to see the inside of his house.  I said that she’s seen his front porch and so could guess what it’s like inside.  When he yelled “Fuck you” I said “Thanks a lot” and hung up on him.  He called back immediately.  I answered with, “I don’t want to talk to you right now” and hung up again.  He again called back immediately, and I disconnected him without answering.  Hours later he texted me, saying that he was on the train to San Jose, and subsequently, texted his usual song-title joke.  I did not respond.  In the evening he butt-dialed me and didn’t hear when I answered the phone.  So I hung up and called him back, but he didn’t answer.

For context:  I had already told him the day before that it takes me two hours of bus riding and waiting to get to and from his house, but this was no consideration for him.  He must have known, too, that this burden interfered (or “interfered”) with my work on my book.  My desire to not communicate further was also no consideration for him.  He would have what he wanted or he would play the petulant child, my wishes/needs be damned.  And now it’s the next day.

Whither this relationship?  He has been “my best friend” for five years, but it’s been less than ideal in a lot of ways, but I don’t want to dwell on that.  We’ve stayed together more from necessity than from fondness—let that suffice.  What will happen now depends mostly on how quickly and thoroughly he recovers, and whether he returns to Bakersfield.  Given his awful bedbug problem at home, he has, in essence, no home to return to.

$329.51 for “books” this month.  Ouch.  Bought 25 movies on DVD from Hamilton, though that was only $72 and includes a couple books; more went to Barnes & Noble for “nature” needs (hiking trails, campground book, etc.).  I’m going to be tightly squeezed next month.  I may end up paying Tim like $800 initially on the car—assuming that he delivers it before September’s Social Security deposit.  Been waiting a month already.

Watched Thoroughbreds (2018) for a second time.  It stars two of my favorite young actresses, Olivia Cooke (playing “Amanda”) and Anya Taylor-Joy (“Lily”).  Amanda can’t feel any emotions and got some official attention for killing her horse; Lily seems normal, though rather reserved.  It’s a study of sociopathy, more or less, as the young women stimulate each other to new heights of weirdness, eventually discussing killing Lily’s stepfather.  Set in an oddly claustrophobic but huge, rich house; the minimalist soundtrack is equally odd and generally effective, though it’s not a CD I’d want (for once).  This is a psychological thriller with dark comedy touches; a stunning piece of work in a subtle and understated way, especially for a first-time director (Cory Finley).  87% from Rotten Tomatoes.  It always comes as a shock to me when Cooke speaks with a British accent (in the bonus material).

{8/25/21}  Weight 214.6 at 6:30 am.

{8/26/21}  Weight 214.6 at 6:50 am.

Watched The Cottage again, an energetic comedy-horror starring Andy Serkis of “Gollum” fame.  More gross than frightening, but often hilarious, the story of a kidnapping gone terribly wrong.  The kidnap victim is a delightful and rather intimidating character played by Jennifer Ellison.  Rather too much whining, complaining, and screaming, mostly from Reece Shearsmith.  72% from the critics, 45% from the audiences at Rotten Tomatoes.  The soundtrack, when there was music at all, was mostly or entirely standard classical.

Endless whining is also a problem with Cloverfield, a New York Godzilla with some surprises after the very tedious first eighteen minutes of partying—almost the only thing I remembered from my first viewing.  Before the end, I’m sorry to say, I wanted all the characters to die horribly.  But the movie is actually rather good despite the relentlessly jerky, hand-held camera “found footage” cinematography.  About half of the dialogue consists of someone trying to get the attention of, call back, hurry up, or restrain one or another of the males, usually by saying his name over and over with increasing urgency.  That was beyond tiresome.  The acting was passable in an improv style, the special effects were good, there was no soundtrack to speak of, but I’ll keep the DVD for some future third viewing.  Critics are all over the place at RT, where it rates 78% fresh, 68% from the audience.  10 Cloverfield Lane is a sorta-sequel or companion piece, but you wouldn’t know it except for the title (rates 90%); a third is The Cloverfield Paradox which I haven’t seen—it comes in with a dismal 21%.

{8/27/21}  Weight 215.2 at 6:20 am.

Watched The Witch (2016).  It’s a grim view of life with a Puritan family nearly destroyed by the abduction of their baby, a movie so full of sadness and practically endless prayer that after forty minutes one wants to just turn it off.  But then additional things go horribly wrong.  It’s a psychological thriller with many surprises leading to a mostly satisfying conclusion.  Anya Taylor-Joy in her first movie is young, beautiful, and impressive; all the acting is as good as one could wish for without excessive scenery chewing or eye rolling.  The characters are multidimensional and you care about some of them, the dialogue sounds authentic without being opaque, the cinematography is sometimes very beautiful, the soundtrack is spare though sometimes misleading (i.e., it gets loud when nothing is happening), there are no jump scares and little blood—there’s a lot here to appreciate.  Yet, it’s not a movie that I want to see again because too much is just tedious and oppressive.

A very different viewing experience was my fourth time through Hellraiser.  Gross and gory, but also imaginative and impressive.  The special effects, alas, are too often unconvincing, even laughable, as one would expect from the low budget and era (1987), but one two-minute sequence early in the film just great and Doug Bradley’s “Pinhead” is almost worth the price of admission.  The soundtrack is sometimes great as well, notably in that specific sequence.  I just find this movie a lot of horrible, gleeful fun.  “Hellraiser [is] one of the most gruesome, visually horrific fantasy films you will ever see. Written and directed by Clive Barker, the film is a relentless, unflinching foray into a netherworld of monsters, murder and the supernatural,” according to Roger Hurlburt in a review dated eight days ago (a date that looks like an error of Rotten Tomatoes).  Rated 72% fresh.

{8/28/21}  Weight 215.0 at 6:10 am.

Hellbound—Hellraiser II is awash in “blood” and is completely nonsensical.  There are occasional vivid and imaginative scenes, but mostly it’s a lot of running around and running away and screaming.  If there’s one saving grace, it’s the completely weird and kind of awesome transformation of the main villain.  Overall, a disappointment and not something I plan to watch again.  50% from Rotten Tomatoes.  Subsequent sequels that I’ve seen are dreadfully boring and worthless—I didn’t keep the DVDs.

Copyright (text only) 2021 by Alan Carl Nicoll
All Rights Reserved

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