The end of another great year and this blog survived to the end (again)!
My standout items for 2014 are Train Dreams by Denis Johnson and Festen (The Celebration). I don't know if I can quite articulate what was great in these - but I still find myself still thinking about them.
Like the previous two years I did most of my reading on my phone (this year a Nexus 4), but as I read/became more interested in the history of the Santa Catalina Mountains I did acquire the burden of a few more paper books (not available in a digital format...).
December 2013 Notes:
Pacific Rim (2013) - pretty uninteresting giant robot/monster movie - nothing interesting here. Rating: 1 of 5
The Master (2012) - I just didn't really connect to the material I suppose and really didn't find anything truly interesting about this personality/cult/addiction movie - good performances going nowhere? Rating: 2 of 5
The Woodmans (2010) - Some of Francesca Woodman's photography is absolutely stunning, for me this was the real highlight of the documentary and the reason to watch. The documentary briefly tells the story of her life/suicide and covers some family history as well - all of which was somewhat interesting/terrible and well paced but not nearly as stunning as Francesca's photographs. Rating: 4 of 5Stranger Than Paradise (1984) - I was excited at Casa Video to find the Jim Jarmusch shelf with its small cache of highly rated movies I had never seen. But Stranger Than Paradise really left me puzzled - I wish I could offer some insight but probably 'didn't get it' is the best summary? Rating: 2 of 5
The Hunt (2012) - Directed and written by Thomas Vinterberg who is responsible for Festen which - as noted above - is one of the best films I have seen! The Hunt is about false allegations/memories/sexual abuse - certainly interesting ideas well acted, but most of the movie all that I was doing was waiting for was for most of the characters to catch up with what the audience already knew (not that exciting) and then just when we get to the part that I was most curious about (what happens 'after') the movie ends... Rating: 3 of 5
Oldboy (2003) - If you are up for a strange twisted Korean film that really manages to stay sick and twisted all the way to the end this is a pretty decent bet... Rating: 4 of 5
American Horror Story - Seasons 1 and 2 - We watched Season 2 - Asylum - first and enjoyed it, well written and acted - I really enjoyed that they just went all out on this: aliens, nazi doctor, angel of death, evil nuns, zombiesque mutants, serial killer, crazy son of serial killer, fun ending... Season 1 was a bit less impressive, it almost seemed that, compared to Season 2, they just took it a little more (too?) seriously and certainly didn't find the same kind of beautiful ending - defiantly watch Season 2 first! Rating: 4 of 5
Top Ten FKT’s of 2013 and Lesser-known performances of the year - Both these cover outdoor performances/adventures of various sorts that are all stunning and inspiring like Matt Kirk's self supported AT record of 58 days, 9 hours, 40 minutes or Rob Krar's 6h21m47s Grand Canyon R2R2R - my favorite is certainly Junaid Dawud and Luke DeMuth's 70 day thru-hike of the Colorado 14ers Thru-Hike!!! Rating: 5 of 5 (and note that the sources for these two articles are excellent in general: Half Past Done and The Ultimate Direction Buzz)
US Skyrunner Series: The I have never been to a European Skyrunning race, but the series seems like a thing of beauty and I always click thru when I see pictures - amazing courses over stunning terrain. The US series seems a little tame - not as stunning - but you have to start somewhere and I am glad to see enough interest that there is a Sky Running series coming to the US!
Caracaras of the Santa Cruz Flats - 50+ Caracaras in Arizona - awesome! Rating: 4 of 5
Song for my Father - Horace Silver, A Night In Tunisia - Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers and The Jazz Crusaders At The Lighthouse - The Jazz Crusaders - most notable music for this month was certainly adding a few great - mostly upbeat - jazz albums. All of these are fantastic. Rating: 4 of 5