Sunday, December 30, 2012

THE END OF THE YEAR

        
          Well, there are only two days and then another year is over.  It hasn’t been a great year, but it hasn’t been a bad year either.  The weather was not the best, at any time this year, but it could have been worse.  Money is still very tight, but that too could have been worse.  The ups and downs of old age J have been fairly balanced: I may move slower but the “senior” discounts are kicking in.
          All in all it’s been sort of a dull, average, nothing to write about year – with the exception of the election and the endless, awful, annoying and totally unacceptable commercials and phone calls from machines.  Happily we can go a year without that and hopefully in future machine phone calls can be added to the “do not call” list even if they are from candidates.  But, that is another issue to blog about.
          It has been a tad dull lately and that is why I haven’t been blogging.  I rarely make New Year’s resolutions but I will try to write about things more often, just to keep me interested in the blog – I don’t have many readers.  So I will end this year, and start the next, with my list of good and bad things from 2012. 
          Movies.  I rarely go to the theater these days cause there are very few movies I want to see so much I’ll take the time and the money – the ticket is cheap but I have to have my jumbo popcorn – to see a film that isn’t great.  I have Netflix for films that are so-so.  The best film I saw in the theater this year was SKYFALL, the latest James Bond in which both Daniel Craig and Dame Judi Dench give superb performances.  The film I liked most, THE HOBBIT, a must see if you like the LOTR trilogy or Martin Freeman who is terrific.  Best movie I watched on DVD, MOORISE KINGDOM, a little seen film that is positively delightful and a must see since it (hopefully) will get an Oscar nomination.
          The much advertised, talked about films that I haven’t seen are LINCOLN – which I prefer to rent – ZERO DARK THIRTY – which has not opened in general release yet – and LES MISERABLES – which I will take a miss on.  I loved the stage version, saw it twice in fact, but this looks awful. 
          I also enjoyed HUNGER GAMES and AVENGERS and I loved THE BOURNE LEGACY just cause Jeremy Renner is such a great actor.  I did NOT like the most recent Batman film, way too depressing.
          As for TV, well this has not been a great TV year, imho.  ONCE UPON A TIME split the first half of the season between two locations, thus splitting the cast.  I hope they keep to one area – and one set of flashbacks – as the season progresses.  CASTLE has been disappointing.  BONES, THE GOOD WIFE and THE BIG BANG THEORY are consistently good.  The new shows are mostly awful – well, the ones I watched which isn’t too many actually – but I am surprised to admit I am hooked on NASHVILLE which is great prime time soap.
          As for cable, PBS, pay for it – well, GAME OF THRONES is excellent, HOMELAND is losing me cause they are so off track and DOWNTON ABBEY really needs to improve the writing or I’ll dump that one for sure.  I won’t spoil but the so called “Christmas” special was not well done.
          Books – why do so many people praise LIFE OF PI???  I couldn’t get past page 100.  Why do new, usually young, authors write in the present tense and why do their editors let them?  In fact, are editors editing these days?  At all?  But there were some good books.  Robert K. Massie’s CATHERINE THE GREAT is superb.  Alice Hoffman’s THE DOVE KEEPERS is a multi view first person story that is well worth reading.  Deborah Harkness did a great job with SHADOW OF NIGHT and I can’t wait for the end of the All Souls Trilogy. Finally there is Madeline Miller’s excellent SONG OF ACHILLES, a very well written retelling of the friendship between the hero of the Iliad and his best friend.
          And then there is music.  This year I rediscovered Wagner’s Ring and my personal favorite opera DIE WALKURE while watching the New York Metropolitan Opera’s recent version of the hardest group of operas to stage.  I still don’t know if I actually like The Machine, but the music was very good.  And, most of all, I ended the so-so year by “discovering” a new favorite tenor.  Jonas Kaufmann – beautiful voice, good actor and worth watching in just about anything he chooses to sing.  (I am old, not dead.)
          HAPPY NEW YEAR!





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