Category Archives: Video

The Endless Sommar

Well, this is a surprise.

Jason Adams, whose My New Plaid Pants blog keeps me informed about movies—especially scary movies and the hot actors who appear in them—wrote that he got to see the director’s cut of Ari Aster’s Midsommar at a special screening in New York a couple of weeks ago. He was impressed.

This weekend, a lot more people will be able to share the experience. The unrated, 171-minute version, with new scenes and extended footage, runs almost half an hour longer than the original release. Click here to find where it’s playing near you.

Midsommar was Aster’s follow-up to his first full-length feature, Hereditary, which scared the hell out of everybody in 2018. Many people—me among them—are still irate that Toni Collette didn’t get a much-deserved Oscar nomination for her performance in that film.


Here’s the original trailer for Midsommar:

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The Return of Jesse Pinkman

Confirmed at last!

El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie written and directed by Vince Gilligan, will premiere on Netflix on 11 October 2019.

Here’s the first trailer:

The promo is set in the offices of the Drug Enforcement Agency, and if you look closely, you’ll see framed photographs of DEA agents Hank Schrader and Steven Gomez on the office wall. Inside, low-level meth dealer (and surprisingly talented keyboard player) Skinny Pete is being interrogated by DEA agents about the location of Jesse Pinkman. He graciously declines to cooperate.

Netflix reportedly did not plan to announce the movie this early, but leaks, including a fake web page for El Camino, started showing up on Reddit yesterday, forcing the company’s hand.

Aaron Paul returns as Jesse, There’s no word yet about which, if any, of the other Breaking Bad cast members will appear in the movie. That probably depends on Vince Gilligan’s use of flashbacks, since so many of Breaking Bad’s characters wound up dead.

I’ve already cleared my calendar for Friday, 11 October 2019.

Here’s the poster:

“Gloria Swanson’s Mansion” Is Ready for It’s Close-Up

Prepare to be dazzled.

Some of the articles describing Gloria Crest, a spectacular estate a few miles from New York City, identify it as “Gloria Swanson’s Mansion”. Depending on which rumour the author cites, Joseph P. Kennedy, the father of future President John F. Kennedy, either gave Swanson the property or installed her there in the 1920s, when she was his mistress.

It’s well documented that Swanson had an affair with the elder Kennedy that began in the mid-1920s and lasted into the early 1930s, but the rest of the story is almost certainly untrue. Property ownership is easy to trace, but no one is particularly interested in debunking the myth. As the old newspaper adage put it, “the story is too good to check out”.

Gloria Crest is in the news these days because it’s for sale at a greatly reduced price. Don’t call your mortgage broker quite yet, though. The sale price is $9,999,999.*

What makes that a bargain is that Gloria Crest was previously on the market with an asking price of almost $40 million.

Gloria Crest

Gloria Crest

Here’s what Forbes had to say about the estate:

“Gloria Crest is a 24,000-square-foot mansion on one of Englewood, New Jersey’s historic streets. It was built in 1926 for Stefan and Edith Poniatowski (Stefan is said to be a descendant of a former King of Poland) but their fortunes soon crumbled when the stock market crashed in 1929. …and they soon had to auction their house along with most of their belongings in order to move to a condo in New York City. The home has had numerous owners over the years, and comes with the unconfirmed but oft-repeated rumor that it was occupied by film star Gloria Swanson while she was involved with Ambassador Joseph Kennedy…..

“Its most recent sale history had it on the market for $39 million back in 2013…then nearly going to foreclosure a little while later, then almost finding a foreign buyer for $20 million. Throughout all this Gloria Crest is still standing, as an eight-bedroom, 14-bathroom home on five lake-front acres, with its original Mediterranean style design intact now asking $9.99 million for the entire estate. While New Jersey does have some of the highest property taxes in the country, this is still a good deal.”

For those interested in purchasing Gloria Crest, here’s the listing.

For those interested in Gloria Swanson, here’s the last scene from Sunset Boulevard:


* I think the owners were afraid that people would be scared off if the property was listed at an even $10,000,000, so they lowered the asking price to attract bargain hunters. Clever sellers!

More about That Incredible Wallpaper at the V&A

Here’s a bit more by and about Fallen Fruit, aka David Allen Burns and Austin Young, who created the fantastic wallpaper for the Victoria and Albert Museum’s “FOOD: Bigger than the Plate” exhibition, which runs through 20 October 2019. The artists drew their inspiration from images in the V&A’s massive collection of prints.

Detail from "Fruits from the Garden and the Field"

Detail from “Fruits from the Garden and the Field”

Here’s a video from the artists:


And here’s a PDF containing 321 pages about Fallen Fruits’ larger, long-range goals,  notes on the V&A show, and lots of amateur collages.

The Crown — Series Three Date Announcement

I dunno.

Is Olivia Colman up to playing a British Queen? I thought Helen Mirren had the right of first refusal for all movie roles based on female British monarchs.

The Crown returns to Netflix, but not until 17 November 2019. Olivia Colman, winner of this year’s the Academy Award for Best Actress* for her portrayal of Queen Anne in The Favourite replaces Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth II.


* And the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Comedy or Musical, and the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role.

“One Thousand Miles Apart” and “A Million Miles Away”, with 34 Years between Them

My music streaming service of choice these days is SomaFM’s “Indie Pop Rocks!” playlist, which plays “new and classic favorite indie pop tracks”. Mainly new; I’ve rarely heard anything more than five years old on the channel.

It was SomaFM that introduced me to a Seattle power-pop band called A View of Earth from the Moon, and to the band’s 2017 release, “Closer to a Ghost”. Here’s an audio-only version of “One Thousand Miles Apart”, a song from the album that I’ve been playing repeatedly the past couple of weeks.

Play it loud.

The imaginary DJ who lives somewhere in the far recesses of my brain instantly knew the best possible segue to follow “One Thousand Miles Apart”. It had to be The Plimsouls’ 1983 classic, “A Million Miles Away”.

Play it louder.

Could that video have come from any era other than the 1980s, a decade famous for its superb music and its horrible, horrible hair? I think not.


Here’s a live acoustic performance of “One Thousand Miles Apart” by Seattle singer/songwriter Jonathan Fickes, the artist behind A View of Earth from the Moon:

Years and Years — Highest Recommendation

Just watched the sixth and final episode of Years and Years on HBO, and what a thrill ride that turned out to be!

The series follows the multi-generational, diverse Lyons family of Manchester, England, through the next 15 years, as technology keeps getting better, while life keeps getting worse. At the same time, it charts the rise of the populist demagogue Vivian Rook, played brilliantly by Emma Thompson as a cross between “Iron Lady” Margaret Thatcher and a much smarter version of “Short-Fingered Vulgarian” Donald Trump.

Stand-outs, in addition to Thompson, are Russell Tovey as Daniel Lyons and Anne Reid as Muriel Deacon, the Lyons family matriarch. Reid’s monologue in the final episode will probably win her a BAFTA award next year.

Here’s the original BBC One trailer:

And here’s the one from HBO:

Years and Years was a huge hit in the UK, where it got rave reviews across the board.

I’m posting only one tiny spoiler beyond what’s in the trailers: In the final episode, the recounting of the fate of two famous buildings made me laugh out loud.

You gotta watch it yourself.

Another Highest Recommendation.