Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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The Red & the Black – a movie night

Two nights ago I was feeling like some light entertainment, and so I scanned the list of the available movie on my streaming platforms. Because when you live in the sticks, streaming platforms are a life-saver.

And of course I set my sights on Netflix’s feature film, Red Notice – an action comedy caper featuring Dwayne Johnson, Gal Gadot and Ryan Reynolds? That’s just what the doctor ordered after a long day writing and trying to put some order in my affairs.
So I got me a full teapot and my cat (yes, babies, this is as middle-aged as the Magna Charta) and I started the film.

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Steampunk shenanigans: Arcane (2021)

I have never played League of Legends, and I have no idea what it’s all about. I have seen a lot of game artwork around, and I have been duly impressed by the look of the thing, but I am not that much of a gamer anymore – if I ever was. On the other hand, I am a sucker for good animation, and for steampunk, so when the trailer of Arcane, the new Netflix series, was posted, it got my attention.

Now the first three episodes are here – and clocking at 40 minutes each, they are just what the doctor ordered for a break and a cup of tea between writing sessions.
And I am duly impressed.

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Suitable for seniors

I have always loved the radio. My earliest memories are not of television (that as something that existed only after 5 pm back in the day) but of listening to the radio, that my mother kept going all day long as she did her chores at home, and then listened to when she wanted to relax in the evening. Radio dramas (“original radiofonici” as they were called), and shows like the hit parade and “Alto Gradimento” (a radio comedy program that did for Italian radio what Monthy Python did for British TV).

Much later, when I was touring Italy, giving lectures in various universities, the radio kept me company during long drives, and a good way to stay awake. Also, as I had to spend my nights in dreary dorms and other cheerless places, I got myself a small, ultracheap multi-band radio from Lidl, that I carried with me on my travels, and that otherwise rested on my nightstand when I was at home.

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Tits & Sand: The Adventures of Hajji Baba (1954)

It’s been a while since I last reviewed a Tits & Sand movie – to use the label coined by Maureen O’Hara. These 1001 Nights-style movies were a staple of my childhood, and I thought I had seen them all, repeatedly. And yet, I’ve just found a movie I had missed – which is quite strange.

The film is called The Adventures of Hajji Baba, and it was directed in 1954 by Don Weiss, a director with a long TV experience, whose best known films are probably The Affairs of Dobie Gills and the beach party classic The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini, with Boris Karlof.
The Adventures of Hajji Baba features John Derek, an actor I always found insufferable, and this might explain why I never watched this specific film. Opposite Derek – who portrays the titular Persian barber – is Elaine Stewart, in the role of bratty, spoiled princess Fawzia of Ispharan.

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Pizza & Spice: the obligatory Dune post

And so last night, limping and short of breath, I joined my brother and our friends for a night out at the movies. We opened with an excellent (as usual) pizza at Casablanca’s, and then went to the Sociale, Nizza Monferrato’s oldest cinema, to watch Villeneuve’s Dune.

This was our first movie outing in over 18 months and there were seven people in the cinema last night – five of us, plus two other punters.

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Violent Femmes, part deux

What is with top-tier criminals and antique bookshops?
It’s a sort of cliché, the international man (or woman) of mystery that in their everyday life manage an antique book shop somewhere cool and elegant.
In the case of Anna, the character portrayed by Meggie Q in The Protégé, the antique book shop is in London. And as it usually happens in this sort of movies, it will be thoroughly thrashed sometime around the end of the first reel.

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