Thursday, January 31, 2008
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Woonsocket, Rhode Island
This was my mother’s home town. I was born there, but I grew up in California. Her family, which included a mom and pop, 4 girls and two boys, traveled by railroad from their original home in Quebec Province to this Franco-American mecca of the 1920’s. Like Kerouac’s Lowell, Massachusetts, Woonsocket was a mill town that offered immigrants a place to work and grow families. Throughout the thirties and forties, my mother grew up in this Bedford Falls-Peyton Place-like town and eventually got married to my father from Providence. In the fifties, they moved to California and I showed up. They returned east for my birth, her brother’s funeral, and several of my summer vacations.
My favorite trip was the summer of 1979. I’d just graduated college and I went there with my mother and fiancée. I was an adult and was treated so with all the affection and bounty a long lost cousin could ever receive. I hope to post some of those pictures in the future, but for now I’ll post the pictures I took the summer of 1985. I took the trip with my parents. My father had suffered his first stroke a year previously. Working hard in Hollywood, I had just been ill for a month or so with severe headaches and had just finished a prescribed round of medication that also left me constipated. I won’t bore or disgust you with the further details, but I was terribly distracted by my illness and did not take full advantage of the opportunity to once again enjoy their affections and share my bounty with them. I remember taking a lot of naps.
However, I did get these pictures. The photos have a strong blue tint. These scans were taken from old prints that have obviously degraded over the years. The reds and greens are softer; the blues remain to dominate. I will begin posting this series from the summer of 1985.
Woonsocket, Rhode Island - wiki
Blackstone River - wiki
Monday, January 28, 2008
Sunday, January 27, 2008
Saturday, January 26, 2008
June 16, 2005
Screenplay revisions by Billy Ray,
Based on “The Eleventh Hour” screenplay by Adam Mazer & Bill Rotko
Synopsis by Brian Aldrich
December 2000, seasoned veteran FBI agent ROBERT HANSSEN, the FBI’s liaison with the State Department and an incredible computer expert, is reassigned to start a new computer division in the months prior to his retirement. He’s married, has a bunch of kids and grandkids, and devotedly practices his Catholic faith daily. Young computer specialist ERIC O’NEILL, 25, works in the FBI Special Surveillances Group. He’s married to JULIANA, an immigrant from East Germany. He desperately wants to be made an agent. Special Agent KATE BURROUGHS reassigns Eric to become Hanssen’s office assistant. Apparently, Hanssen has been posting “lurid” material on the Internet. Hanssen could prove to be an embarrassment to the FBI, so she wants Eric to keep an eye on him.
Eric moves into his new office, wired for sight and sound by Kate’s crew. When Hanssen arrives, he appears distant and officious. He quickly makes it clear that he can tell when someone is lying and catches Eric sneaking into his inner office. Eric reports to Kate whenever she pages him. Juliana finds Eric’s behavior to be peculiar, but he can’t tell her what his new assignment is all about. As Eric gets to know his new boss, Hanssen appears to be a genuinely patriotic, conservative family man with no aberrant Internet pornography habits. Hanssen invites Eric and Julianna to go to church and picnic with his family. Eric starts to respect Hanssen and begins to think maybe the FBI is trying to railroad him out of the agency. When he shares his misgivings with Kate, she informs him that Hanssen has been a Soviet informant since 1985. Kate is trying to build a case against Hanssen so they can finally arrest him. Kate has 50 agents on the case. Kate wants Eric to download the information from Hanssen’s palm pilot, but Hanssen never leaves it out of his sight.
So, Eric arranges an accident and a photo appointment to get Hanssen out of his office and away from his palm pilot. The scheme works and Eric downloads the information. Hanssen catches him on moving his briefcase, but Eric lies successfully to cover himself. Kate informs Eric that the pal pilot provided them with a lot of evidence against Hanssen, but they need to search his car. So, Eric takes him to a DIA meeting in his own car. When the meeting is called off and they head back to the office, Eric has to delay their arrival until Kate’s crew can put Hanssen’s car back together. Afterwards, Eric notices Hanssen beginning to act erratically. When Hanssen gives him a package to be mailed to Germany, Eric opens it at home and finds a pornographic recording of Hanssen having sex with his unaware wife Bonnie. Julianna comes home and sees the recording. She’s already upset about Eric working for creepy Hanssen, so they have a fight about it. When Eric complains to Kate, she informs him that the car search found a package of classified materials wrapped up for a drop. She’s going to have Hanssen arrested after he makes the drop. Hanssen masturbates in Eric’s presence. He shows up drunk to Eric’s house and takes him for a ride. He shares that he thinks his car is bugged. Hanssen takes him out to the woods and begins shooting at the trees. Hanssen’s feeling sorry for himself, but Eric calms him down by telling him off. Eric and Kate watch video surveillance as Hanssen makes the drop and then is arrested. Hanssen is given life imprisonment. Eric quits the FBI and goes into law.
Summary Criticism: The characters are sympathetic. The story is compelling. Basically, this is a well-crafted script that brings current cultural topics (religion, privacy) into a routine spy genre story.
Breach (2007) - imdb
Breach (2007) - wiki
Friday, January 25, 2008
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
August 3, 1997
Screenplay by Robert Ramsey, Matthew Stone, Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, Barbara Benedek
Synopsis by Brian Aldrich
“I’m gonna nail your ass” is the motto of slimy private detective GUS PETCH who gets video evidence of wealthy REX ROXROTH having an affair. Rex’s wife MARILYN hired Gus and uses his video as evidence in the divorce settlement trial. Her lawyer RUTH RABINOW asks for the primary residence plus 40% of the assets. However, Rex hires super lawyer MILES MASSEY to represent him. Miles puts Marilyn’s mother PATRICIA on the stand to quote her daughter as saying she only married Rex to divorce him and get his money. Marilyn loses her divorce claim.
Miles’ secretive elderly boss, HERB MEYERSON, thanks him for the huge amount of money he makes for the firm. Marilyn Rexroth shows up at his office with her new fiancé, HOWARD D. DOYLE, a rich crude oilman. They want the famous Massey prenuptial agreement for their wedding. Miles finds himself strangely attracted to Marilyn but is powerless to stop her impending marriage. When Doyle eats the pre-nup at the wedding, Miles figures she’s in it for the money after all and the marriage won’t last. Sure enough, the marriage fails, she has pictures of Doyle with another woman, and they get divorced. Miles asks her out to dinner. A few nights later she shows up on his doorstep drunk and miserable. They make love and he asks her to marry him. She accepts. At the civil wedding ceremony, Marilyn refuses to sign the pre-nup. They get married and begin to develop a life together until Miles sees Doyle acting on a TV show and realizes the marriage was a fake. Miles believes Marilyn married him to get revenge and get his money. When Miles confronts her, she confesses her motives began as revenge, but reveals she has fallen in love with him. Miles doesn’t believe her. He has Gus plant drugs in her car and has her arrested. For revenge, Marilyn informs the IRS of Miles’s undeclared income and he is audited.
Meyerson steps in to “handle things”. Miles meets with veteran mediator IRVING LEWIS who agrees to “talk” with Marilyn about her divorce demands. Later on, Miles learns Lewis is really a hitman who is going to kill Marilyn. Miles runs to stop Lewis. Meanwhile, Marilyn has paid Lewis double to work for her and when Miles shows up she has to stop Lewis from killing Miles. In the confusion, Lewis accidentally kills himself. Before the divorce agreement is final, Rex dies and Marilyn inherits his estate. Now, that both Miles and Marilyn have fortunes to protect, they reconcile, sign a new pre-nup, and resume their marriage. However, they both hire private detectives to follow one another, just in case.
Summary Criticism: Both farce and satire, the excesses of plot and character amplify the social critique in this well-crafted screenplay.
Untolerable Cruelty (2003) - imdb
Untolerable Cruelty (2003) - wiki
Monday, January 21, 2008
Mr. Marlowe and I agree that olives do not belong anywhere near martinis. We both prefer lemon peel or a slice. My wife enjoys olives and more than once, while dining with my wife, has my martini arrived, along with hers, with olives contrary to my order. This is always a horror show.
I cannot simply switch the olives to my wife’s drink and imbibe the erroneous martini, because I hate the stink of pickled olive juice! So every time I have to send it back with strict orders to not let an olive anywhere near my future cocktail. I warn you all, bartenders and waitresses alike, I can tell the difference!
Mr. Marlowe is not only like a brother to me. He’s like the dark side of myself unleashed. I’m an only child. I’d always wished I’d had an older brother, someone who could have learned the ropes first and interpreted them to me, like Edmund and Jamie in O’Neill’s LONG DAYS JOURNEY. Instead of an older brother, a dear cousin of mine was taken away by the temptations of adolescence, a buddy moved to a different school district, and an older brother type, another cousin, disappeared due to family troubles, never to be heard from again. He had protected me in my infancy. I have the pictures to prove it. Perhaps that’s why I turned to religion in my youth and fell victim to mythic meta-narratives?
Well, Marlowe is my Barney Fife. He’s also my Socrates. He’s my younger brother in emotions and my older brother in honesty. He spits out the venom and I guess I’m left to clean it up. Well, over the years, I’ve frequently cleaned up his vomit, but like those bits of chunks on the ground, there’s always a good bite to take away from what he says.