We went to see “A Scanner Darkly” last night, since Ben had an unexpected sleepover with a neighborhood buddy.
I liked the fascinating graphic effects and the chill, yet weirdly comical, mood. I couldn’t have guessed where it was going, and I won’t spoil it for you – I’ll just say that I haven’t yet seen the synopsis that accurately described the movie. I love Philip K. Dick.
As usual, Keanu Reeves was the weak point of the film. I wish they would stop casting him in otherwise compelling movies. He just plays the same vapid creature in every movie. Winona Ryder was good, Woody Harrelson and Rory Cochrane were great, and (surprisingly)
Morton Robert Downey Jr. was outstanding. They might have done more with the theme of right brain/left brain competition, and there were a few things that didn’t add up, such as the transformation of the Ryder character into another woman – a hallucination? but also reality? From what I remember of Philip K. Dick novels, it’s a bit unlikely for there to be a scene in which the Ryder character expresses remorse. The dark-haired woman is a kind of recurring character. The ending also seemed wrong, or at least the information it conveyed shouldn’t have been quite at the end. This is one novel of his that I haven’t read, though, so I could be mistaken. A film is always different from the book, but it’s interesting to notice the things they feel obliged to change. Now I have to read the book.
The movie is worth seeing, but don’t bring the kids. I put it in my mental file next to Naked Lunch, Requiem for a Dream, and Trainspotting.
China Miéville, Looking for Jake: Stories – Stellar, top-notch, one of the best visionary writers I’ve seen since Borges. I wonder what it would take for China Miéville and Jeff Vandermeer to collaborate on some project or other. They must have run into each other by now.
Laurell K. Hamilton, Danse Macabre (Anita Blake Vampire Hunter) – I was disappointed. I’ve read everything of hers now, and this is the weakest book she’s published. There is nothing driving the book. She’s lost the plot. As a consequence, even the sexy scenes have lost their punch. What’s going on? This is inferior to the rest of the series – it needed a rethink. I prefer the fae books to the vampire books anyway, but I feel cheated. I bought the hardback, and it was still missing a spine.
Robert Baer, Blow the House Down
Po Bronson, The Nudist on the Late Shift and Other True Tales of Silicon Valley
In other news:
I set up the Machinic Life blog for my hubby John. The options are limited when you use the free blog from WordPress, but it will be enough to get him started. I added his curriculum vitae information as pages, although they need updating, and I’ll make a new header image in the next few days.
The little pond has finally formed an actual ecosystem. The fish are happy, a frog has adopted us, and I even saw a little brown scorpion scuttle across the rocks yesterday. There are arrowhead plants, and grasses, and a fountain of yellow irises past their bloom, and a lotus – and some kind of green plant that I threw in the water for the fish to nibble on has reproduced and sprouted tiny white flowers above the water. Unfortunately, the rest of the yard isn’t doing so well. I think I have to resign myself to the loss of the impatiens unless it starts raining a lot more. The hydrangeas didn’t produce flowers this year, and neither did my out-of-zone experimental lilacs. If I get ambitious this week, I’ll plant the rest of the monkeygrass (lariope) and go up and down the front hillside with my weed whacker. It’s difficult to force myself to do physical labor, however. The air itself seems stiflingly unclean in the hot humid lazy Atlanta summer. One of the hazards of living here is the mind-fog that hits at high summer. I don’t feel much like doing anything at all.