Friday, March 30, 2007

one last novel

One of the sad things that happens when a writer or musician one loves dies is the realization that there will be no more new work from that person. If one is lucky, one gets a new song or a short story appears. But that's it. Suddenly there is no more.

I have been a Graham Greene fan for years. He is my favorite writer.I love his books such as "The Heart of the Matter" and "The End of the Affair". I basically have read all his novels. So I figure I would never read anything new by him.

Then out of the blue, I learn from about this forgotten novel by him. Conceived as a a film treatment, it is still technically a novel. So last night I began to read "No Man's Land". And when I read the first page I felt something I never though I would experience again. The excitement of reading a new Graham Greene novel.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

The magic of radio

I made a wonderful discovery lately. It's a radio show called "A Prairie Home Companion". I listened to it on WNYC National Public Radio on ITunes. This show has been going on for more than 20 years, but I only began to enjoy it a couple of weeks ago.

It's a live show hosted by Garrison Keillor and it features such a diverse and wonderful array of entertainment. Last night there was music by Ray Cooder, poetry, witty humor. This show exudes such great vibe, charm and ,yes, magic. For a couple of hours you are transported to a place where music, humor and the best of human nature meet. For a moment all that is negative and evil and controversial about the world is forgotten and replaced with all that is good about life.

Give it a shot one day. It plays on Saturdays at 6pm with an encore Sundays at noon.

Monday, March 19, 2007

My soundtrack these days

This is what I listen to these days when I'm reading. Or sometimes I just close my eyes and listen to it. Ever since I was young I have understood that music is the great healer. It is the one thing that can make one realize that no matter what happens there is Bach, there is Lennon, there is McCartney.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Bedside reading

Reading Jules Verne is always interesting. It takes me back to when I was young boy and would read his books and watch all movies based on his tales.

As for Kafka, well, sometimes one has to go there. To that particular way of looking a the world. Dark. Brooding.

Good Poems is a wonderful book compiled by Garrison Keillor.These are not the usual poems one finsd in anthologies. They are quirky and full of insight.

Esquire, because it is the only magazine for men worth reading. I guess I've outgrown Maxim and all its imitators.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Zodiac: not your average mystery.

A young woman at the office told me she had seen the movie "Zodiac" and that it was terrible, boring, unbearable.And that all the young people had left the theater hating such a slow movie. Which meant I wanted to see this movie. Nothing says "movie masterpiece" like a thumbs down from someone from the video game generation.

And I was right again. This is a terrific movie about the unsolved serial killer murders in 1970's San Francisco. We see as detectives try to solve this case. And since this is real life, and not Hollywood life, it takes a lot of hard work, following false leads to make some sense of the killings. Or maybe to find out that they don't make any sense or follow any pattern.

Yes, it is a slow movie. Besides being set in the 1970's, the movie has a 1970's pace to it. Curiously so coming from director David Fincher (Seven, Fight Club)who specializes in wam-bang movies.

This is a movie for people who like their mysteries real. Who enjoy the slow pace of detective work. A movie for people who enjoy a film that provides no easy answers.

It's playing at the Metro in Santurce.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The greatest detective ever

For some reason, I love Sherlock Holmes. It started around 15 years ago when I bought a paperback book with the original Conan Doyle stories. And I was inmediately hooked. There is something comforting about reading those stories. Contrary to popular belief, almost none of them deal with murder. Most are just little petty crimes, which Sherlock manages to solve. Another surprise is the character of Watson. In movies, he is mostly portrayed as a bumblig idiot. In the stories, he is a cultured, intelligent man. By the way, nowhere in the books does Sherlock say "Elementary, my dear Watson"

Recently TCM showed many of the 1940's Basil Rathbone movies and they were ok. Although they are hard to enjoy when Watson is portrayed as an idiot. For my money, the best portryal of Sherlock was by Jeremy Brett in the UK Granada Series which are still shown on the Biography channel on cable tv. That series carries the essence of the Conan Doyle books. Watch it one of these days and begin to enjoy the wonderful world of the greatest detective of all time.

Monday, March 12, 2007

My mornings- Robin and Nordictrack

I am now exercising every morning.I'm up to 20 minutes in my stationary bike.(goal 30 minutes a day). Naturally I need to watch some tv as I do the mostly boring exercise. So I turn to CNN Headline News and wonderful Robin Meade. She anchors the friendliest, coolest morning show. With none of the self importance of the Today Show or others. Plus she's cute as hell.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

A discovery

One of the great things about movie watching is that once in a blue moon one discovers a great movie. And the other night, while watching Turner Classic Movies, I did just that. I had never heard of this movie although I had seen movies by the directing team of Pressburger and Powell such as "The Red Shoes" and "Peeping Tom".

It is a simple tale, as most wonderful movies are. A young woman who has her whole life figured out decides to marry a rich man twice her age. On the way to her wedding, she gets stranded ina Scottish fishing vilage where she meets a Naval officer and suddenly her foolproof plan goes astray. I know this sound like a Cameron Diaz chick flick, but it isn't. This is a movie about the most basic things in life. About love. About happiness. And about realizing that life has a way of changing your plans, sometimes into something more suitable for you.

The Scottish village is truly beautiful and is part of the movie's charm. And there most be something about them that attracts me to them since my favorite movie "Local Hero" is also set in one.

The extras include a wonderful documentary about a woman who was so moved by this movie that she decided to visit the small village. The documentary also includes an interview with Marin Scorcese who considers "I Know Where I'm Going" one of his favorite movies.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Lives of Others

It's amazing to think that a society like the one in East Germany really existed. A country where everyone was spied on. A place where the State decided what everyone should think about every topic. And where if you were an artist, you had to sell your soul to the State.

The latter is at the core of this excellent movie. In a totalitarian state , you can't really be true artist. If you are, you can't live there since you are not free to create. If you stay there and prosper, you have by definition to have sold your soul to the government. You are a government hack.

This is a thoughtful, intelligent and at times, incredibly supenseful movie about how a surveillance man for the government and a writer both realize that one has to make a stand in life. That,in the end, we have to take a side. And that one can't sit idle and watch an injustice being committed.

did you see it?

Did anyone else watched this last night? It was quite a sight. I live in an apartent bulding surrounded by other buildings and I noticed I was the only person looking at the moon. It was their loss.

Anyway, I'm glad I did. I'm happy to have stopped whatever I was doing and have enjoyed one of the most wonderful sights in nature.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Where do I begin?..lalarararara....

Oliver Barrett IV: "What can you say about a twenty-five-year-old girl who died? That she was beautiful and brilliant? That she loved Mozart and Bach, the Beatles, and me?"

When I was a kid, I remember walking with my parents by Ponce De Leon Avenue and seeing the longest line I had ever seen outside a movie theater. It was the old Radio City theater in Santurce and the movie playing there was a romantic flick called "Love Story". This movie was one of the biggest movie phenomenoms of the early 1970's. The music became a huge hit. There were a million versions of that song. Over here, every tv singer sang "Love Story".

I had never seen the movie and to be honest I was never too interested in watching it. But last week it was playing in one of the HBO channels and I thought "what the hell. watch and try to understand what all the fuzz back in 1970 was all about."

And I watched it. And, it was pretty interesting. It is a tearjerker for sure. Every cliche in the book is in it. Well, not every cliche, when the woman gets terminally ill, she doesn't show it by suddenly coughing. And what about this "Love means never having to say you're sorry" line? What on earth does that mean?

But you know what? I liked it. Because it was unashamed to be a simple, by the numbers, love story. Imagine this , mega rich Harvard guy meets poor, but proud Radcliffe girl. They fall in love. He rebels against his snobbish parents and marries her. They live a modest but happy life. And then she gets terminally ill.

But the movie is more than that. It as an artifact of its time. This was 1970, the Beatles had split, the 1960's had gone all wrong, the dream of Woodstock was destroyed by the reality of Altamont, Kent State and the Vietnam War. It must have been a pretty depressing time. And here was this, boy meets girl story with a sappy ending. A reassuring movie for a restless, insecure time.