Saturday, December 31, 2022

POTD: River Rhine

From 2022 07 08 Braubach and Rhine

Today's photo-of-the-day is from Braubach, Germany. It's a view of the River Rhine from Marksburg Castle. According to Riviera Travel Blog, "Castles on the Rhine were mainly built between the 12th and 14th Centuries as defence strongholds and toll houses – and over 40 punctuate the landscape on just one 65km stretch of the Middle Rhine Valley." Click on the photo's album link to see a good sampling.

Thursday, December 29, 2022

Emily the Criminal (2022)

Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes

Emily the Criminal (2022): Small budget thriller. Young woman with student debt and a felony record wrecking her job chances, turns to credit card fraud. Things escalate. Starring Aubrey Plaza, who is in almost every scene, determined and ambitious. Don't underestimate her. C+

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Andor (TV 2022)

Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes

Andor (TV 2022): Life of Cassian Andor before the Rebellion. Darker and grittier than other Star Wars offerings. Less woo-woo or comic relief. Episodic structure: a money heist, a prison break, a manhunt and spying, with some family drama tossed in, too. Not bad for Star Wars. B-

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Where the Crawdads Sing (2022)

Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes

Where the Crawdads Sing (2022): A coming-of-age tale. A romance. A murder mystery. A courtroom drama. Loneliness, shunning, abuse, and most of all, persistence. Movie moves quickly and deliberately through lots of events in the story. True to the novel and almost as good. B+

Read my review of the novel: Where the Crawdads Sing.

Monday, December 26, 2022

POTD: Entry Hall of Schlösser Brühl

From 2022 07 07 Cologne and Brühl

Today's photo-of-the-day is from the Castle of Augustusburg in Brühl, Germany. The palace was built in 1725 and served as the residence of the prince-archbishops of Cologne. It reminded me of the posts on Facebook by people seeking to sell homes in Richardson. This entry hall would be a killer feature for those homes. ;-)

Bonus photo after the jump.

Sunday, December 25, 2022

Saturday, December 24, 2022

A Christmas Story Christmas (2022)

Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes

A Christmas Story Christmas (2022): Grown-up Ralphie steps in to fill his old man's shoes at Christmas. A sequel to the 1983 classic that no one asked for. Lots of original cast members. It takes a long time for it to work its magic, but in the end, I was won over. C+

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Ticket to Paradise (2022)

Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes

Ticket to Paradise (2022): Divorced couple brought together and forced to play nice at daughter's wedding in Bali. Only the casting of Clooney and Roberts causes this movie to rise above a Hallmark channel movie. Tracy and Hepburn could pull this off in the 1940s. Not today. C+

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

WAIW: Life on the Road

Where Am I Wednesday!

Fifty points to the first person to identify where this photo was taken.

Answer is after the jump.

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Black Adam (2022)

Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes

Black Adam (2022): The plot is a mess. The list of characters endless. The acting non-existent. The casual violence shameful. The CGI action needs a gearbox. Honestly, I can't think of one positive thing to say about this movie. D-

Monday, December 19, 2022

Guillermo Del Toro's Pinocchio (2022)

Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes

Guillermo Del Toro's Pinocchio (2022): This is not Disney's 1940 wooden boy, nor the 1883 book's. Familiar plot points are there but with key differences. Fascists? WTH? Characters have darker motivations. The look is different, too. The stop-motion animation is beautiful. B-

Sunday, December 18, 2022

POTD: Cologne Cathedral's Goat

From 2022 07 07 Cologne and Brühl

Today's photo-of-the-day is from Cologne, Germany. It shows two of the many gargoyles on Cologne Cathedral. The church dates back to the 1200s but it was heavily damaged in WWII (as, sadly, so much of Europe was). During restoration, one of the new gargoyles was made in the shape of a goat. The goat is the mascot of the Cologne football club "1. FC Köln". Maybe God really does take sides in sports.

Bonus photos after the jump.

Saturday, December 17, 2022

POTD: Cologne's Flying Ford Fiesta

From 2022 07 07 Cologne and Brühl

Today's photo-of-the-day is from Cologne, Germany. It shows HA Shult's golden-winged car, an art installation on top of the staircase tower of a 16th century armory. Originally intended to remain only two weeks, after which the historic appearance of the building was to be restored, by popular demand the flying car is still there 30 years later.

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Flee (2021)

Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes

Flee (2021): Denmark. Animated documentary of story of an Afghan boy whose family flees Afghanistan when Taliban takes over in 1996. They go to Moscow, the only country that would take them, only to face more horrors there. A powerful story, but animation is flat and lifeless. C+

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Breakthrough in Student Housing!

Recap: In the November 14th episode of this long-running drama, the City Council withdrew their opposition to an application for a planned development just north of UT-Dallas consisting of three components: A) a student-oriented apartment part, B) a mixed apartment/retail part, and C) a limited-service hotel part. But before voting on it, they directed staff to draw up an ordinance requiring part B construction to begin before a certificate of occupancy could be issued for part A. The landowner and developers reluctantly agreed to this condition. The alternative was clear: denial. The case was continued until December 12, when, if all went as expected, there would be a legal ordinance everyone could agree to and it would be voted into law. That was the plan anyway. What actually happened December 12?

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Roar (TV 2022)

Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes

Roar (TV 2022): Eight short stories, all about women, all by Cecelia Ahern. Satire, dark comedy, quirky character studies. All very watchable, if easily forgotten. B-

Monday, December 12, 2022

Emancipation (2022)

Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes

Emancipation (2022): Will Smith gets beaten. Viewers get hit over the head with film's message: slaves weren't given freedom, they fought for it. Like super heroes. Movie is determined to create a new narrative. This mostly made up story is not subtle. But neither was slavery. B-

Sunday, December 11, 2022

POTD: Horses, Free if not Wild

From 2022 07 06 Kinderdijk

Today's photo-of-the-day is of horses on the bank of the Rhine River in Netherlands. They look so wild and free, even though they were certainly on some farmer's land whose fences were out of sight for me traveling along the river.

Saturday, December 10, 2022

POTD: A Bridge Too Far

From 2022 07 06 Kinderdijk
A modern bridge, not the Bridge Too Far

Today's photo-of-the-day is from the Rhine River in Netherlands. If you're of a certain age, you might remember the epic war film "A Bridge Too Far". It depicted a failed Allied military operation in Nazi-occupied Netherlands during World War II. Thousands of Allied soldiers were air dropped behind enemy lines. The objective was the bridge at Arnhem. Capturing that would cut off the German army from retreat and give the Allies a safe crossing of the Rhine to invade Germany. The problem was that the road to the bridge was a single lane across marshy land, with several key bridges to capture on the way to Arnhem.

Thursday, December 8, 2022

The Devil's Hour (TV 2022)

Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes

The Devil's Hour (TV 2022): A woman wakes from nightmares every night at 3:33 am. It gets creepier from there. Not a horror movie. A murder mystery with the emphasis not on whodunnit, but on mystery: precognition, parallel lives, or just madness? Resolution is satisfactory. B-

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Joyful and Triumphant

O come all ye faithful
Joyful and triumphant
O come ye o come ye
To Bethlehem
Come and behold Him
Born the King of angels

"Joyful and Triumphant." I've heard those words sung in that Christmas carol since childhood. But recently at a church concert these same words were belted out by a church choir at the top of their lungs singing songs I have never heard before. Not just one song. The whole concert was one of Christian triumphalism sung loud and proud. To me, Christmas carols never sounded quite so, well, contrary to Christian humility. But that could just be me.

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

The Patient (TV 2022)

Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes

The Patient (TV 2022): Steve Carell as a therapist kidnapped by a serial killer who desperately wants someone to cure him of his urge to kill. Claustrophobic feel. Episodes become more introspective until you don't know who is the patient. Resolution, revealed late, is good. B-

Monday, December 5, 2022

Elections Matter: Book Banning Edition

Richardson ISD and Frisco ISD had school board elections last year. In both cases, some candidates objected to being characterized as being "book banners." The outcomes in the two elections were quite different. The book banners lost in RISD. They won in Frisco ISD. The consequences are now being felt.

Sunday, December 4, 2022

POTD: Shoe Rack

From 2022 07 06 Kinderdijk

Today's photo-of-the-day is of a shoe rack in a windmill house in Kinderdijk, Netherlands. Wooden shoes are more a curiosity than footwear seen today, but they did have a historic advantage. Not only do they provide foot protection (think of today's steel-toed work shoes), they were waterproof (good for living on canals and marshes), durable and cheap.

Saturday, December 3, 2022

POTD: Netherlands and Windmills

From 2022 07 06 Kinderdijk

Today's photos-of-the-day are from the Netherlands. What's more Dutch than windmills?

Bonus photos after the jump.

Thursday, December 1, 2022

The Fabelmans (2022)

Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes

The Fabelmans (2022): Steven Spielberg's personal coming-of-age tale with three subplots that don't quite mesh: his early love of movie-making, his family's complicated relationships, and a school bullying incident. The family story is best. His mother deserves her own movie. B+