Kirk Douglas

February 6, 2020 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classic Film, FILM, Ulalume |

(1916 – 2020) Born Issur Danielovitch Demsky, his new name suited him down to the ground: he was one of the post-war film types who looked like businessmen (like Burt Lancaster). He formed his own production company in the 1950s and was instrumental in bringing works and talents to the fore (he gambled in giving script work to blacklisted Dalton Trumbo; he saw the potential in Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and took it to Broadway in 1963). As an actor, he was a strong presence; at times, he was almost too intense.  That drive worked very well…

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A Gentleman in Moscow (Amor Towles)

(2016) In 1922, at the age of 33, the urbane Count Rostov is exiled by the People’s Comissariat for Internal Affairs to the Hotel Metropol, Moscow for life upon pain of death.  He is spared immediate execution only because he is known as the author of a poem in praise of the pre-revolutionary cause:- “Alexander Ilyich Rostov, taking into full account your own testimony, we can only assume that the clear-eyed spirit who wrote the poem Where Is It Now? has succumbed irrevocably to the corruptions of his class – and now poses a threat to the very ideals he…

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The Irishman

February 3, 2020 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Drama Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Directed by Martin Scorsese) (2019) We watched Marty’s film, “The Irishman,” We watched it long into the Morn, And all we can say, regrettably, Is that it was One Big Yawn. He takes lots of bits from other films, Some of which were made by him, Wedding, baptism from “The Godfather“, He much from “Goodfellas” doth limn. There’s some nonsense baked-in from “JFK“, (Dave Ferrie’s eyebrows are absurd), There’s a heap of expository dialogue But we now can’t remember a word. Production values are uneven, The aging just doesn’t ring true, It all seems to play by the numbers, The ladies…

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Who’s Running the Show?

January 24, 2020 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | POLITICS, Ulalume |

[In the case of Miller v The Prime Minister [2019] UKSC 41, the UK Supreme Court (created in 2009 despite recognition of the real risk of “judges arrogating to themselves greater power than they have at the moment”)  heard an Appeal by Ms Gina Miller (a Guyanese-British business owner and activist who was rather more worried about Brexit than the legalities of executive action) challenging advice (given by Prime Minister Boris Johnson to Her Majesty the Queen) to prorogue (shut down) the unruly and hopelessly conflicted UK Parliament that had: (a) defied the majority of citizens voting for Brexit; (b) sabotaged…

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Auto de Fe (Elias Canetti)(1935 – trans. into English in 1946)

A surreal representation of pre-World War 2 Mitteleuropa (specifically Germany), Nobel Prize winner’s novel Auto de Fé is an intense and disturbing stew of poverty, insanity and brutality.  Dr Peter Kien, who is (at least in his opinion), the world’s greatest Sinologist, leads a strictly structured, hermetic life of study and paper-writing. He subsists on an inheritance, treating offers of professorial chairs with contempt. Although his housekeeper Therese has shown no attention  at all to Kien’s 4-room library  during the eight years she has lived in his apartment – other than in assiduously dusting it, Kien is enchanted when she…

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