Thursday, February 28, 2019

Blind Cat versus the Tattoo

A life of a gangster may be fraught with danger but it's rarely as weird or horrific as the lives of the yakuza portrayed in 1970's Blind Woman's Curse (怪談昇り竜). A female boss is cursed by the cat who licked the blood from one of her victims in a bloody takeover, a curse that affects everyone who serves under her. Sometimes campy but always in deadly earnest, the story takes some surprisingly grotesque turns to make for a film that's fascinating, fun, and genuinely creepy.

Meiko Kaji, best known in the west for her later film Lady Snowblood, plays the young yakuza boss, Akemi Tachibana. Although her role is central, she doesn't have a lot of screen time, most of the action involving the war between her soldiers and the other clans who get mixed up in the curse. The sister of the boss Tachibana killed, Gouda (Hoki Tokuda), was made blind by Tachibana's sword strike. Now a supernaturally gifted fighter on the level of Zatoichi or greater, Gouda teams up with the cat, a bizarre hunchback contortionist (Tatsumi Hihikata, founder of the dance performance art called Butoh), and one of the rival clans of Tachibana's to exact revenge.

Gouda's skills as a blind fighter border sometimes on the absurd and you can sense a bit of a wink from the filmmakers when she's somehow able to sense what people's tattoos look like. By smell? Air density? It's never made clear. But this doesn't diminish the horror when Tachibana's people find the tattooed skins of their comrades on their doorstep, dripping with blood which a black cat is hungrily lapping up with a particularly disgusting sound effect.

This is no film for the squeamish--there's plenty of arterial spray, though it's bright red 70s blood, as well as severed heads. There's also a yakuza boss who never wears pants and I'll be very happy if I never see that guy's ass again.

Scenes with the hunchback and his cannibal contortionist carnival take the film way past campy into the realm of sincerely weird, though, as do scenes in an opium den lit by red mist. All this, and the film ends with a beautifully expressionistic set for a showdown between Tachibana and Gouda.

Blind Woman's Curse is available free for Amazon Prime members.

Twitter Sonnet #1210

Metallic orange ascends among the limes.
Encouraged smoke returns to candle flame.
Ignited air on pollen slowly climbs.
A station fuels the buzz in flower's name.
Tenacious clips distort the final shot.
"Was nothing left?" the actor asked a light.
However small and scarce the flies've glot.
A second day'll set the week to right.
A lunch at home was packing paddle boards.
Aquatic corps relent at scaly rears.
Presented backs conceal the stomach wards.
A team of gills digest an open Sears.
A fried preserve dissolved in pickle brine.
Directions took the atom past the line.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

No Innocent Babes, Ellie and Myra

No-one among the ensemble in 1972's Bonnie's Kids is really innocent but sometimes some of them get worse than they deserve. A fascinating exploitation film, and obvious influence on Quentin Tarantino, it's a pulpy kaleidoscope of sex, crime, bad acting, and the underbelly of Los Angeles.

Two beautiful sisters, Ellie (Tiffany Bolling) and Myra (Robin Mattson), live with their impressively skeevy stepfather (Leo Gordon). We meet him with his poker buddies who all seem to be the same kind of skeevy, beefy middle-aged men. Myra, the younger of the two girls, is an endlessly fascinating little psychopath. But she's also a kid--arguably like one of those kids who burns ants with magnifying glasses whose worse nature is exacerbated by circumstances. She aggressively flirts with her stepfather's poker buddies and he doesn't take kindly to it--not, as we soon learn, entirely out of a sense of paternal affection.

When Ellie discovers the old man trying to rape Myra, she blasts him with a shotgun and the two girls run off to L.A. This is only the first few minutes of the film. It sets a pattern of splashy, dovetailing situations, each with its own set of moral ambiguities.

The girls go to stay with their wealthy uncle Ben Siemen (Scott Brady)--pronounced like semen--who has a lucrative business in pornography. His wife, Diana (Lenore Stevens), is a good hearted, repressed lesbian who might be the only spotless character in the film so she's not around long. The callousness with which she's treated by some of the other characters helps to confirm their sadism.

Ellie falls in with a dirty detective named Larry (Steve Sandor) and the two embark on a scheme to rob some L.A. mobsters. The possible prototypes of Jules and Vincent from Pulp Fiction are on their tail for much of the film, a pair of hitmen played by former football player Timothy Brown and Alex Rocco--Moe Greene from The Godfather and easily the best actor in Bonnie's Kids.

The film continually defies any attempt to see a good guy or a bad guy but you can't help pulling for one character or another depending on the circumstance. There's certainly a noir quality in the existential problem presented by the film; how guilty are these characters, really, and how much are they creatures born of circumstance? Larry directly references Double Indemnity in conversation but I was reminded more of The Big Sleep when it comes to Ellie and Myra. Much like the sisters Carmen and Vivian, one of them is young and cruel and the other is cagey and worldly. Of course, Ellie and Myra aren't as fortunate as the Sternwood girls, which might account for them being ten times as mercenary.

The film has terrific style. Even the bad actors look smashing in a distinctively carnal way.

Bonnie's Kids is available for free to Amazon Prime subscribers in a surprisingly well restored HD print. I understand it was for decades quite a difficult film to find.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Love on the Train from Istanbul

Why is Sean Connery's delight so appealing? Why is it that when I see he's happy, I'm happy too? He's not just handsome--his face is very expressive with the huge eyebrows, huge eyes, big mouth, and the deep lines on his cheek that emphasise every smile. These are the qualities that make his Bond films superior. It'd been several years since I watched one, though, but then I saw a beautifully restored version of From Russia with Love was available for free to Amazon Prime subscribers. Not all the Bond movies are--Goldfinger isn't. I remember there used to be a division between people who thought Goldfinger was the best Bond film and the people who thought From Russia with Love was. I was always in the latter camp so this was a win for me.

Though I haven't been much in the mood for James Bond for years. I haven't seen any of the newest movies since the Daniel Craig version of Casino Royale, a movie I enjoyed but thought borrowed a lot from Spielberg. At its best, even in the Connery era, I always thought the Bond movies were pale imitations of Alfred Hitchcock and I still think that's true but there's a kind of simple pleasure to be taken in From Russia with Love.

Certainly none of the women Bond runs into are as complex as the ones in Hitchcock films but Bond himself isn't that complex, either. The love scenes are almost like billboard advertisements with Bond's trademark corny jokes being like slogans. The difference is entirely in the actor--Connery's face can't seem to help expressing ten times more than whoever he's with. The only woman who really compares is Lois Maxwell as Moneypenny whose mixture of bemusement, mischievous reproach, lust, and envy make her a surrogate for the viewing audience.

But From Russia with Love does have some moments of real tension. There are two climaxes--first there's the showdown between Bond and the SPECTRE agent played by a surprisingly soft looking Robert Shaw and then there's the impressive speedboat chase.

At a time when such action scenes would typically have been filmed with rear projection it must have been amazing for audiences to watch this scene where Connery and actress Daniela Bianchi were clearly actually in the boat with an array of pursuers behind them. But the real climax for me is at the beginning of Bond's showdown with Shaw's character.

That's when Connery's performance shows why Bond earns big bucks from MI6. It all hinges on the trick exploding briefcase provided by Q. Shaw has a gun on him and Bond has to act in such a way that he makes Shaw want to open the case himself rather than force Bond to do it. Connery does it with just the right kind of hesitation and furtive glance before opening the case. The tension in his manner could mean a lot of things, Bond needs it to mean a specific thing--he wants Shaw to feel like he's perceiving a feeling Bond is attempting to suppress; "Don't let him see I want to open the case myself." It's entirely Connery's performance that communicates all these layers in one simple moment.

The film also has some amazing location work in Istanbul and a wonderfully silly Gypsy cat fight. I can definitely say I'm in the mood for Bond again.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Solutions of Whiskey and Water

Season three of True Detective concluded last night with a series of surprisingly quiet notes. While Mahershala Ali was collecting awards on another channel, he gave a wonderful performance on this show which probably wouldn't meet with Spike Lee's approval, either.

Spoilers after the screenshot

The resolution of the season's central mystery of the missing girl was not nearly as splashy as season one or season two. It was interesting; a tale of lingering 19th century southern U.S. culture, a wealthy white family, their one eyed loyal black servant, and a bizarre manufactured family scenario fuelled by drugs. No paedophilia at all, just a curious Tennessee Williams homage.

Surprise guest star Michael Rooker appears as the family patriarch, a politician who successfully intimidates Wayne in a great scene. The tension as they talk around Wayne and Roland's murder of Harris is terrific thanks to some heavy bass, eerie music and a steely, boiling performance from Michael Rooker. That moment at the end where he asks Wayne, "Do you want me to feel threatened?" made absolutely clear Wayne should never in his wildest dreams desire such a thing.

It's kind of a shame the tension for the rest of the episode tapers off but what the show lacks in pulpiness it makes up for in sweetness. We get some more, heavier hints at Roland's repressed homosexuality which culminates in a scene from 1981 where a stray dog comforts him while he's crying after a bar fight. That's how Roland went from the man who was shooting animals for kicks in the first episode to the dog owner we see in his old age. I wasn't looking for an explanation for that but it was lovely to get one.

Even lovelier was the show's real climax, the 1981 scene where Wayne and Amelia decide to get married. What I love most about it is that they're both so vulnerable, both are on shaky ground because they're coming back together after investing venom and pride in rationale for staying apart. Amelia is coming back to him after he's talked to her in a way her dignity would not normally tolerate and he wants her to come back despite having deliberately insulted her to push her away, based on an irrational idea of her role in losing his job.

If either one was now rejected by the other, the one rejected would have ten times the reason to feel shame and self-loathing. It's a moment of bravery and it's lovely how it resolves, and it's a perfect way to end the story of their relationship; two people of such different philosophical outlooks who nonetheless share an undeniable connexion and chemistry. Mahershala Ali and Carmen Ejogo deserve a lot of credit for that, I think, but Nic Pizzolatto's teleplays really developed something in their ongoing dialogue. It's telling that it works so much better than the romantic subplots in the first two seasons--Pizzolatto seems to have found emotion for romance by going for the intellectual angle. In making it about contrasting philosophies, he found the pain in loving someone so different and also showed why it can be worthwhile to love people who think and believe differently from oneself.

I am kind of disappointed time travel didn't end up being involved. But I liked how the final shot was Wayne disappearing into the jungle back in Vietnam. It seemed a moment designed to put a stamp on this account of the life of Wayne Hays and the season's non-linear format certainly succeeded in creating that impression.

Twitter Sonnet #1209

Incentive mustard rivals radish scents.
Forbidden toffee founders off the coast.
Concise the cupboard keeps container rents.
Excessive pieces grant the board a boast.
A valid cheese removes for plastic wrap.
Colossal bread envelops fixing wads.
Alerted knights surround the porter tap.
Amended clouds allow the starry pods.
As stormy weather closes down the jar.
As cans align for bullets 'long the fence.
Reductive brains combine to stock the bar.
And running birds'll paint to lead us hence.
The tower top was pterodactyl's throne.
Along the shingles played a tumb'ling bone.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Is Glamour a Horror?

Here's a Doctor Who audio play I'd been wanting to listen to for a while--Horror of Glam Rock, an Eighth Doctor story from 2007. I love the title's play on the Fourth Doctor television story Horror of Fang Rock and it always stuck out when I was looking through titles. But I wanted to finish Eight's monthly range stories before I started on his own series. I finally had a listen last night and enjoyed it, though maybe found the variety of stories relating to the production a little more interesting.

The Doctor (Paul McGann) and Lucie Miller (Sheridan Smith) find themselves in 1974 Bramlington on an overpass during a terrible snow storm. They soon find the mutilated corpse of an aspiring glam rocker and so a mystery unfolds that involves the Doctor making frequent references to his love for David Bowie and Brian Eno. As a fellow Bowie and Eno fan, I certainly appreciated it.

Bernard Cribbins, shortly before he appeared as Wilfred Mott on the television series, here plays Arnold Korns, a cutthroat manager for rock musicians. You can tell this story was written during the Tenth Doctor era for how morally grey it is, Korns being a somewhat complicated character whose work ethic leads to something really horrible happening. But he doesn't become a villain and Cribbins' unassuming performance, even when he's grandstanding, made me continue to pull for him. Una Stubbs--Mrs. Hudson from Sherlock--is also in the story as a service station employee and it's satisfying and kind of sweet hearing her rebuke Korns for his callousness.

Taking another cue from the Tenth Doctor era, some romantic chemistry between the Doctor and Lucie is already in evidence despite this being only their second story together. The actors pull it off well--it's nice hearing Lucie's prickly guard slowly being lowered and Paul McGann is a cool Prince Charming.

Not all the glam rockers are dead in the story--a pop singer named Stephen Gately plays Tommy Tomorrow. Gately, who was a member of a band called Boyzone, died in 2009 from a congenital heart disease. According to Wikipedia, his last single recorded as a solo artist was "Children of Tomorrow", which was composed for this Doctor Who audio play.

Not the best lyrics but he has a decent enough voice and I like how he tries to imitate the sound of a 70s glam rocker. I guess it's appropriate that the only other time I remember hearing of Boyzone is when David Bowie was asked in an interview if the "boy zone" mentioned in his song "Looking for Satellites" was a reference to the band. Bowie said, no, he hadn't heard of the band at the time he'd written and recorded the lyric (I'm not sure where to find that interview now).

It's a good audio play though I prefer the length of the monthly releases--this one is only 45 minutes. Making it a bit like a television episode, I suppose.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

A Good Director

Stanley Donen passed away a couple days ago, a director best remembered for co-directing Singin' in the Rain. I do believe it's his best film though I haven't seen all of his films. I've seen most of them and on first viewing they generally leave me with the impression of having seen a serviceable enough diversion. On the other hand, Funny Face and Charade are movies I've watched over and over, never really feeling they're great movies but feeling compelled to watch them repeatedly anyway. That's two of the three movies he directed with Audrey Hepburn, the third being Two for the Road with Albert Finney, which I mentioned here recently because of Finney's recent death.

Obviously Audrey Hepburn liked Donen and I have a lot of respect for her opinion. She certainly shined in his films but it's hard to imagine a scenario where Hepburn didn't shine. But maybe that was one of the great things about Donen; he didn't get in the way of someone else's greatness. It's hard to watch the films of Josephine Baker for all the mannered editing that gives us only filtered impressions of her brilliant work as a dancer and actress. But while there's nothing particularly profound in most of Donen's work, there's nothing particularly obnoxious, either, and they're reliable companions for an evening in. They're perfect for when I want to check in with Cary Grant or Fred Astaire but not necessarily watch North by Northwest or Swing Time again; great films but, because of their greatness, I've watched them many, many times.

A choreographer before he was a director, his films are filled with good visual ideas and with brilliant colour without being noisy. His are movies I'm quite happy to say I'll be watching for the rest of my life.

Friday, February 22, 2019

The Artificial Supreme

"Identity, part 1", last night's new episode of The Orville, was a nice, eerie pleasure, playing on The Orville's own distinct, established virtues and introducing a new one. Written by writers from various Star Trek series (beginning with TNG), Brannon Braga and Andre Bormanis, this is another episode that shows they've spent the time since working on Star Trek thinking about new ways to interpret and deploy some classic devices. It was definitely time well spent.

Spoilers after the screenshot

The story veers wildly from one emotional tone to another yet it all works well, each section building surprisingly but organically from the other. Isaac (Mark Jackson) and Claire (Penny Johnson Jerald) are still in a relationship, there's a standard, heart warming moment of awkwardness as the kids roll their eyes at Isaac's typical arrogance. He's always so matter of fact about how the Kaylons are a superior species because of their intellect. You just get used to it.

Then, after Isaac mysteriously shuts down, the crew of the Orville decide to undertake a risky mission to Isaac's homeworld of Kaylon 1. They land and we're treated to one of the most beautiful landing sequences on the show yet.

The episode slowly builds towards what should be obvious--the Kaylons are a bunch of genocidal maniacs. Why wasn't it obvious? True, some viewers did predict it but no-one on the Orville did, even with Ed (Seth MacFarlane) compulsively commenting on the Kaylons' infamous racism when he first met Isaac. A charge Isaac never denies.

Why didn't Claire get any inkling? Obviously she's closer to Isaac than anyone. I would have liked more build up, frankly, with Claire getting some suspicions--I found their relationship more credibly written in "A Happy Refrain". At any rate, Claire should stop being surprised when Isaac fails to have an emotional reaction at this point. But watching her kids go through the heartbreak is really effective.

Particularly when it comes to the youngest kid, Ty (Kai Wener), which leads to the big revelation the episode turns on. Watching Ty wandering around the cold, Spartan Kaylon street I thought about how strange it is the little boy didn't seem more freaked out. Can you imagine just walking off a ship onto an alien world? But it makes sense--all Ty has known his whole life is safety and friendly people. That's the environment on the Orville. The adults aren't as innocent as Ty but they are a lot more innocent than the protagonists on other shows. They don't even lock the doors of the Simulator when they're using it. And this isn't the first time Ed and the crew have walked right into an unknown place in good faith. These people aren't cynical or even pessimistic, which is lovely and refreshing, but it has its drawbacks.

For them. For me, the contrast between the innocent Union folks and the sudden discovery of massive piles of bones under the city brought a piquancy to the recipe. These really are two very different cultures.

The Kaylons look a bit like Cybermen but, unlike the Borg, they're not a straight copy of the Cybermen. In fact they're more like the Daleks--they don't seek to assimilate, they seek to exterminate. But unlike the Daleks, they're not angry about it. The subtle irony the episode presents is that the Kaylons reproach humanity for its irrational wars but the Kaylons can't see the irrationality of their own action in wanting to obliterate the Union. It's good old fashioned ethnocentrism--they know they're the very model of good so anything else must be inferior and potentially expendable.

I look forward to seeing how this plays out next week. I hope the writers find a solution that doesn't involve Isaac discovering he has emotions.

Twitter Sonnet #1208

The yellow yarn adopts a human form.
The fabric sky was full of cloudy lint.
A field of wool contrived to make us warm.
But slith'ring scarf from lower drawer was sent.
A navy sailed together facing fog.
As timing liquid moved the eye along.
The floating place collects a grounded frog.
Some tails unite to make a switching song.
Amounts of sleep accepted run to time.
Suggested dreams include a swimming gin.
Consorting feathers sheets were pressed to sign.
Containers built for tea were kinds of tin.
Connected soups became the ocean's goo.
In only briefs the legs were cold but true.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

The Different Car is Always the Same

For many people, riding in a cab is an experience peculiarly mundane and invariably strange. It's a routine reason to put one's life in the hands of interchangeable strangers in cars that are almost, but not quite, identical. In a series of short anthology films released in 2014, 賃走談 1号車 and 賃走談 2号車 ("Renting the first car" and "Renting the second car"), director Soichiro Koga finds this experience fertile ground for ghost stories. I watched the second film, which is available free for Amazon Prime subscribers under the title Ghosts of the Night, and found it to be a nice set of four ghost stories, effectively creating a sense of strangeness through editing.

Each story involves a few people and each story doesn't directly indicate until its climax who the ghost is. But it's generally clear enough early on to anyone familiar with this Carnival of Souls style story and the film wisely doesn't take any pains to keep its secrets. It's not about the puzzle; each story is about slowly coming to terms with what is kind of obvious.

A high school girl comes home to her apartment and looks outside to see a strange man get out of a cab and hurry into the building. The next day, she sees the same thing--eerily, the exact same thing. It's so close it's probably exactly the same footage but, because it's such a mundane action, she and the viewer can't be sure. It's a nice, subtly strange effect.

In another story, a little girl accidentally leaves her ribbon in a cab. When her mother tries to phone the cab company, of course they don't recognise the name of the driver. Then the mother notices the little girl has been drawing the same distorted face over and over.

My favourite is the final story in the film in which a weary, melancholy cab driver picks up an excited young woman who's relieved to finally get a cab to take her to her job interview. He points out to her, in a tone of voice that suggests he knows there's no point in saying anything, that employers don't normally hold interviews this time of night. The mystery here is not who's the ghost, it's finding out why this guy is so used to talking to ghosts. I love his weariness and sadness, trapped in this position of always knowing something bad about these people, seeing them carrying on with their misapprehensions plain as day, but knowing he can't say anything to enlighten them and also knowing it might well be cruel to enlighten them. None of this is said, it's all in his attitude.

It's only 50 minutes, all the stories together. It's not a masterpiece but it's a nice little film.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Death Applies the Cut Up Technique

Murder is one way to please Death, I suppose. Thus the title of 1973's Death Smiles on a Murderer (La morte ha sorriso all'assassino). But there was certainly a lot in it for me to smile about, too. It's like a dream after a night binging on 19th century gothic horror; the film's plot seems composed completely of improvised alternate scenes required by sudden losses of funding and actors, requiring director Joe D'Amato (credited as Aristide Massaccesi) to toss in the concepts from several Edgar Allan Poe stories, Carmilla, and Frankenstein. None of the characters take solid hold, there's too much concept being introduced, but it's even more dreamlike for that and some anchor is provided by leading actress Ewa Aulin.

I'd only seen the beautiful Swedish star as the dopey title character of the amusing 60s satire Candy so it was fun seeing her play someone so sharp here. Someone with amnesia who might be undead who has an affair with the master of the manor where she's staying and also his wife and her own brother.

Enter Klaus Kinski who receives top billing despite having a small role. It is refreshing to see him playing a basically nice guy, aside from the fact that he's basically Victor Frankenstein.

There's an intriguing three level voyeur scene at the beginning where, as Greta's doctor, he asks her to undress, at which point he surreptitiously watches her through a mirror. He doesn't know a serving maid is watching him through the half open door. No-one knows about the butler who's revealed to have secretly been watching everything that happens in the film at the end, a revelation that comes for no apparent reason.

"I don't understand," a police inspector says at one point while examining another body. "It doesn't make any sense." That's an understatement.

A lesbian romance ends in an amalgamation of "The Cask of Amontillado" and "The Black Cat"; an abruptly introduced masked ball abruptly turns into "The Masque of the Red Death"; there's a carriage accident and an omnipresent cat. A sly look from Greta now and then assures us it's all according to some devious plan from Hell. But I'm pretty sure she's making up her rambling phantasmagoria as she goes.

If you want a bleary, drunken tour of Edgar Allan Poe, you might enjoy this film. I did. It's on Amazon Prime.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Head Limb

Wouldn't it be nice if your hair was really useful for a wide variety of things? 2010's Tangled makes it seem like it would be. It's a movie with a lot of visual charm and a tone deaf screenplay.

I love Disney animated films set in Mediaeval or Renaissance fantasy worlds--Sleeping Beauty has my favourite aesthetic of any Disney film. But I realised a few days ago when I saw some Tangled merchandise at the mall I'd somehow never gotten around to seeing this entry into the Disney Princess canon. Visually, I found it intensely satisfying.

Though I kept thinking of Warcraft. Which is funny because when I played World of Warcraft I always used to think, "This looks like Disneyland". So things have come full circle, though the Wikipedia entry says the artists drew inspiration primarily from Rococo paintings. It sure looks to me like inspiration came from previous Disney movies. But that's perfectly fine--it'd been a while since I watched a Disney animated film and just watching the familiar keen attention to facial expression and gesture was a delight.

But again, that damned screenplay. The characters are the main problem--they all come off as sort of adorable psychopaths. Except for the male lead, Flynn Rider (Zachery Levi), who's never adorable. He's so smarmy and snarky, he doesn't seem to be emotionally connected to anyone else in the film, a particularly tragic flaw when Rapunzel (Mandy Moore) has him tied up with her hair.

This should've been really kinky but his tinny wisecracks drain all the blood from the scene. Closer to being intriguing is Rapunzel's relationship with her surrogate mother, Gothel (Donna Murphy), a character who appeared in the Grimm Brothers' story. Disney expands on her quite a bit and gives her more motivation for keeping Rapunzel locked up--the child's magic hair replenishes Gothel's youth. The dynamic between the two characters becomes that of a mother selfishly keeping her daughter close in order to hold onto her own youth.

We've all known people like this and the sinister way Gothel manipulates Rapunzel to feel guilty for wanting to escape the tower are pretty effective. It makes sense that the main plot is about Rapunzel finding her independence and escaping but it's odd that she never seems to feel any affection for Gothel, that all her regret for breaking the rules seems based on a sense of duty and concern for her own safety. Gothel may have abducted her and used her for her own ends, but she clearly took very good care of Rapunzel.

Her tower room is full of all kinds of goodies enabling Rapunzel to indulge a variety of whims we seem in montage--baking cookies, playing guitar, painting murals. When Rapunzel finally escapes, she's able to do so because Gothel's begun a long journey to a remote location just to get some paint Rapunzel wanted. If Rapunzel were just a youth making machine for Gothel, she could've had the kid tied up with a funnel on her hair or something. Hell, she could've been treated as a servant like Cinderella.

The supporting cast of voice performers--which includes Ron Perlman, Jeffrey Tambor, and Richard Kiel--is pretty good and there's at least no annoying wisecracking sidekick (Flynn seems to occupy that role). And I even liked Mandy Moore. With the really pretty visuals I was able to feel invested in the scene where Rapunzel finally sees the floating lanterns and lives her dream. But the end of the film feels incredibly wrong, like a melody that somehow manages to hit every exact wrong note. Still, it's a nice movie to look at.

Twitter Sonnet #1207

Concurrent shoes revealed the current walk.
Compulsive crossings cool the fork for lunch.
Corrupting catechisms cut the talk.
Collected fingers fill a handy bunch.
A running start can lift the water up.
A flowing stream can show a series wet.
A calling card can block the coffee cup.
A sudden snow can freeze the glowing set.
No horse would meet the shadow striding forth.
No herald cries for frozen paper blades.
No hundred three in voices stir the fourth.
But Heaven chills in still and silent glades.
The stripes have settled down the blunted pin.
A catered day reserved the haunted glen.