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Monday, February 26, 2018

THREE BILLBOARDS and ANNIHILATION in San Francisco

Good Morning San Francisco.  Sunday, and I have nothing planned today.  I could take a wine ferry around the Bay, or Caltrain down to Levi Stadium for the Bacon and Beer Classic (but that was yesterday), maybe the Crystal Fair at Fort Mason Center, Chow Down on Dumplings at the SOMA Street Food Park ($24 with bottomless mimosas), or, now that I have a Clipper Card, perhaps a nostalgic visit to Fisherman's Wharf.

One big plus about traveling around the U.S. or Europe is that the breakfasts are routine, so I don't gain any weight.  I got the meal to the left for free in the M Club at the Marriott Marquis.

Incidentally, you probably haven't even noticed, but my nearly $1000 Sony camera (which I bought in 2016) last week refused to download photos to my Mac Air.  So there was a day of photos from my iPhone.  Not bad, except that it's really difficult to zoom when you are carrying something, so I almost dropped the camera twice.  

Next door to the Marriott Marquis is Target, so I bought a $129 Sony DSCW830.  It came with an X battery ($38 from Amazon) and an 8 GB memory card ($7), so the actual camera cost was $84.  That other Sony still costs $898 from Amazon.  They are both rated at 20.1 megapixels.  Frankly, I can't tell the difference of photos used in my blog postings.  Better yet, my new Sony is one-fourth the weight.  Great, except that it is so light that I almost washed it with my shirt. That photo to the right was taken with my iPhone.

When I was having lunch at M.Y. China yesterday, I noticed a Century complex one floor up.  I did want to see Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (3B) before the 90th Academy Awards ceremony on March 4, and, conveniently, I could follow with Annihilation, thus, so much for more dumplings and crystals:

                                Rotten Tomatoes          My Rating
                             Reviewers  Audiences

Three Billboards        93              87                B

Annihilation               87              64                B

3B, a black comedy, has already won 16 awards and 7 Oscar nominations.  Reviewers loved this film, and Frances McDormand could well win a best Actress Academy Award.  But the film was at first plodding, generally depressing and could well have ended a minute or two earlier so that we could all over-analyze what will be.  Unless you go see the movie, you won't understand what I'm suggesting.

After the recent Florida school massacre, three "billboards" are following Marco Rubio in the Miami area:


Annihilation is a totally different kind of movie.  Note that reviewers liked it, but the audience was lukewarm because there was a lot of confusion.

You can interpret the production any way you want, but my take is of an alien invasion beginning with individuals, then expanding into an annihilation of life as we know it, melding animals with plants.  Tossed into this melange is cancer, an ailment that is not solved by that alien stage of evolution.

With Natalie Portman there are two beasts:  a large whitish crocodile-looking reptile and a large bear with a fiendish snout

Certainly, a lot of creativity went into this movie, from the visuals, and flowers stick out, to the rapidly evolving biotechnology to reality.  You will have many questions, and here is one attempt at explanation.  I don't totally agree with those points of view.  Maybe that's the beauty of the film:  there might by design be no conclusive pathways.

All the better to gain your second viewing, and also opening the door to Annihilation II.  Jeff VanderMeer's Southern Reach is a trilogy, so, if #2 does well, there will most certainly be a #3.  Sponsors and owners are covering themselves, for the movie will show in the U.S., Canada and China, but be made available internationally mostly on Netflix.  Southern Reach, incidentally, is the secret agency that manages Area X, the Shimmer, a site in Florida where an alien craft crashed, with the nearby environs going genetically bonkers.  Well, the location is not mentioned, but VanderMeer lives in Tallahassee.

Walking by that red lantern display (scroll down to the next posting), I got the urge for some Peking Duck.  I did take out from M.Y. China and enjoyed the Chinese bento with glasses of Chardonnay and Anchor Steam Beer.


I'm at the San Francisco Airport and soon to board my flight back to Honolulu.  My snack in the United Club:



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