Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Cate Blanchett. - She was brilliant as always. I don't know how she does it. She has this way of acting with just a twinkle of her eye that is other worldly. It was also brilliant on Haynes' part in casting her. There was something about a woman playing Dylan that got to the meat of his character. She revealed the fire in his mind in a way that did not come through in the male performances. At the same time, even knowing it was her, a woman playing this part, I was not distracted by it. I watched the film and saw a man, Jude Quinn (this particular character's name).
The performances in general. - All the performances were good actually. I particularly liked Michelle Williams and Ben Whishaw in their smaller parts. Everyone seemed to capture their characters with perfect clarity without falling into caricature.
The use of Dylan's music in the film. - Sometimes there were entire scenes with no dialogue, just the Dylan songs playing which made it almost like watching extensive music videos. It reminded me of Haynes' Velvet Goldmine a lot. I enjoyed those scenes. Listening to the rambling storytelling songs of Dylan while watching a rambling filmed story of his "life" was interesting, it was apropos.
The Beatles scene - Funniest moment in the entire film. I don't want to give anything more about it away.
Sometimes the film made me sleepy. - There were times during this film where I could barely keep my eyes open. I understood Haynes' desire to let the movie unfold slowly and in that rambling way I've mentioned before, but I guess I needed more action!
Billy the Kid, really? - I guess I don't know enough about Dylan to have understood the Billy the Kid character played by Richard Gere. Maybe it's all part of Haynes' treatise on celebrity? I don't know. Those were some of the scenes that bored me the most.
What was Haynes getting at anyway? - Again, I wasn't really sure what to take away from the film. What was the filmmaker's intention? I felt that maybe he was speaking to the cult of celebrity. Dylan has transformed himself so many times in so many different ways while always remaining this cult figure to his fans. Or maybe it's simply about the music, showing how each of Dylan's personae infused the music each made.
All in all, the film seemed to be made out of love which is enough. I'll tell you that it inspired me to re-watch Pennebaker's Don't Look Back and download my Dylan CDs to my iPod.
I wonder what Dylan himself thinks of it?
Monday, December 3, 2007
In the evening there is nothing better than relaxing on the couch watching movies or listening to music with only the cheery glow of the Christmas tree to light the room. I am finicky with my decorating of it too. I am never finished. I'll see a hole and move this ornament there, or see too many red colored ornaments in one spot and have to switch them out with other colors, or decide that this ornament is too pretty to be hiding here and move it to a more prominent position. And don't get me started on the trials I've been through in finding the right tree topper this year! Last year I had an old fashioned glass one, but this year I really wanted a star, preferably one that lights up. Well, after going to about a dozen different stores, and after two failed attempts and returns, I finally found the perfect tree topper at Walgreen's for $7.99! Can you beat that? It's a star that looks almost like a snowflake with 11 white lights and it's perfect.
There is this one Disney cartoon short that really captures for me the magic of a Christmas tree. It's called Pluto's Christmas Tree and in it Mickey and Pluto inadvertently cut down the tree Chip & Dale live in for their Christmas tree. Then there is this wonderful sequence of Chip & Dale wandering around inside the brightly lit, decorated tree. I always wished I could be tiny like that and walk around inside a lighted tree among round glass ornaments and candy canes.
So my dad and anyone else who wants to judge me for putting up my tree so early can go right ahead. It makes me happy and that's what counts. Now picture me sticking my tongue out.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
So this morning I was getting ready for work. My routine is to shower, blow dry hair, apply makeup, and get dressed last. I stay in my pajamas throughout this entire process (well except in the shower of course!) and today I was wearing an old pair of pjs that have a very wide leg. Phillip has already given me a warning about these because one of the pant legs will sometimes get caught up on something, like the footstool portion of the recliner, or the curlicue leg of the side table, or sometimes my own foot will get caught in it and trip me up! And that is what happened to me this morning. I was stepping across the bedroom from the bed to my closet to choose my clothes for the day when my foot was caught in my pajama pant leg, tripped me up, and before I knew it I was sailing across the room. I fell to my knees and in trying to catch myself ending up crashing against my ancient five drawer dresser, slamming my right forearm against the very top edge.
Now it's swollen and bruised and ugly. And it hurts. I didn't break anything (arms, fingers, perfume bottles, etc.), thank goodness, but my forearm is now one hell of an ugly sight. I actually had co-workers recoil in horror when they saw it, and of course it's gotten worse as the day has progressed.
Sometimes I wish that there was some sort of pill I could take to control klutziness, like there is to control ADHD or depression.
All you doctors and scientists out there, why don't you get on that for me? Thanks.
Thursday, November 8, 2007
My mom called in the morning and said she was making my favorite meal (a crock pot dish of creamy chicken and mushrooms over rice) if we wanted to come over for dinner. I call Phillip and when he says he had planned on cooking, I basically say, "Well, can't it wait until tomorrow? My mom's making my favorite!" So he tells me to go and enjoy dinner at my mom's but he will skip it and see me when I get home. He was a little crabby about it but I figured it was because we had just had dinner at my mom's on Halloween and he usually needs more time to pass by between visits to my family's house. So I go to my mom's, enjoy my dinner, play with my niece for a while and then go home.
Phillip seems to be in an okay mood. Then he says casually, "So I'm thinking since we didn't even have dinner together tonight, we should make a whole night of it on Saturday for our anniversary."
OOPS. I felt terrible! I couldn't believe that I had completely forgotten what day it was! He was really cool about it and laughed it off, but I think he was more hurt than he let on.
I know that we are not married. I know that technically it's an "anniversary" not an Anniversary, but every year it is a milestone that we like to acknowledge. We do something a little special and reflect on our progress as a duo and talk about how happy and lucky we are. Because after six years, we are just that: happy and lucky.
So we are going to celebrate on Saturday. We are going to kick it old school by having a great dinner and seeing a movie. And I'll let him pick where we eat and what we see. But he'll check with me first to see if I'm cool with it. And if either the restaurant or the movie doesn't appeal to me, we'll decide together on something else, because that is love. And we are lucky in love.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Lucky for us (sorry Jill and Frank) they were UH-MAY-ZING!!!! After two mediocre live shows in a row they completely restored my faith in live music.
This is the third time Phillip and I have seen them. The first time was September 19th, 2005. Phillip literally remembers this as one of the most perfect shows he's ever seen and I tend to agree with him. That night they played every song we could wish to hear, had a gorgeous light show that accompanied the music, and were tighter than tight with their musicianship. The second time we saw them was last April and it was a warm up show a few months before the release of their new album "Our Love to Admire" and it felt like that. Almost like the audience was just watching band practice: short and sweet set, no special lighting nor attempt to utterly please the audience. Not really very rocking. Well this past Monday night was thankfully a companion show to that first one. Long set, spectacular and atmospheric stage setup with columns of light and projected images, and perfect playing. You know how the layers of sound that a band can capture on a record sometimes can not be replicated on stage? That just isn't true with Interpol! They are so tight – every bit of that nuanced, cavernous sound from their albums comes through in their live shows. It's incredible!
Here is the set list from memory, so not necessarily in this order or complete:
Pioneer to the Falls
Obstacle 1 (these were definitely songs 1 & 2)
Rest My Chemistry
Not Even Jail
No I in Threesome
Say Hello to the Angels
And our encore (in order):
Stella Was a Diver and She Was Always Down
Phillip and I already knew that they would play "Pioneer to the Falls" first because it's just the perfect opening song and from most reports they've been opening with it on this tour, but we took bets on what song would be second. I guessed "Evil" but Phillip triumphed with "Obstacle 1." The encore was incredible. The first song they played we weren't familiar with and my friend Dave informed me later that it was an early b-side. Phillip feels like he summoned Stella because he was shouting it out like freaking Brando throughout the entire show. He had such a great time, Shanda and I were laughing at him because he was so into it! During PDA when that extended pause in the song occurs, the band held it for about 30 seconds too long while the whole audience screamed. Paul and the boys were absolutely playing with us, building our anticipation level up to that nice breaking point, and then they crashed back in with the music. It was AWESOME. If I had money I would follow this band around on tour.
During the show I met a random boy at the bar. He was from Canada, this was the first time he had seen Interpol and he was blown away. Before the show ended I ran into him again and invited him and his friend to come with us to the Double Down Saloon after the show for a drink. Since they were from out of town and it was a Monday night I figured they'd be happy to join us and they were. Their names are Rhys and English and they run a bar in Toronto called The Underground Garage and they are super cool people. They were excited to see a real Vegas bar and not another club on The Strip which is all they had seen of Vegas prior to this. Our buddy Ben (DJ Rex Dart) was spinning and our friends Dameian (DJ Standing 8) and Nicole met us for drinks too. The Canada Boys bought us round after round (although I was driving, so quickly switched to water) and we talked and talked and talked. We then decided to take them to downtown Las Vegas, which they had yet to see. They are truly music lovers and when we played The Stills in the car they were impressed that we would be fans of such an obscure Canadian band. We then exposed them to Neutral Milk Hotel who they had never heard before. We hit The Griffin, one of the coolest bars we have, and they fell instantly in love with it and played about a dozen songs on the jukebox. English is the drummer in a band (My Psycho Ex) and I wish him much luck. I hope we will stay in touch with these guys because I want to visit Toronto and drink in their bar now.
Friday, October 19, 2007
My initial reaction. The first one was better. The Golden Age looked absolutely gorgeous, from costumes to set designs to location shots to the destruction of the Spanish Armada – absolutely visually stunning! But the story was kind of a snoozer. Who knew that palace intrigue could be boring? The entire Mary Stuart plotline needed to be better paced. We all knew where it was heading; couldn't they have resolved it more speedily and focused more on the actual war? That would have made the film ten times more exciting.
Clive Owen. Ah well I love Clive, he's super yummy, but his Sir Walter Raleigh was super cheesy. Was he trying to emulate Errol Flynn? Maybe, but he reminded me more of Kevin Kline as Errol Flynn in the movie "Chaplin." (Does anyone get what I mean by that? Yeah, I don't know if I do either but I just keep picturing Kevin Kline!) It was all I could do not to laugh out loud during his whole "this is what crossing the ocean and discovering the new world is like" speech. Gag me. The writers tried too hard to make him a strong, romantic, daring character but he came off as arrogant and a little snide. It also led them to bring on the historical inaccuracies by placing him on a lead ship during the Armada battle. Um, Sir Walter Raleigh wasn't involved in that capacity. But didn't it look cool to see Clive set his boat on fire, swing on a rope, dive into the water and swim to safety? I know we are watching the film for entertainment and not a history lesson, so this is the only historical inaccuracy I will point out.
The Guy who played King Phillip II of Spain. What the hell was up with this guy? Yes, I understand that Phillip suffered from gout and was a devout Catholic, but this (over) actor sporting those spindly little legs, shuffling around like he had shackles around his ankles, talking like a crazy person and clutching his bible was simply ridiculous! Watching him was like watching a member of Monty Python play the part.
The music. There was an overuse of score in this film. It felt like the music was on a constant swell. There was no subtlety and no quiet, which believe it or not is sometimes welcome in a film! A good script, a good director, and good actors should be able to evoke the right emotions out of an audience at the right time without using the music to dictate every little thing! A score should blend in and enhance a film, not overwhelm and beat it down.
Cate Blanchett. She may well be my favorite actress right now and owned the screen as Elizabeth. What that woman can do with just a twinkle of her eye is amazing! She saved this movie for me making it worth staying awake through my boredom and sailing the seas of cheese to watch her chew up her co-stars, the dialogue, and the scenery and spit it all back out! I just wish the writers had given her more to work with.
Ultimately I am going to blame the writers for the failure of this film. I understand that they wanted to show Queen Elizabeth as a real woman with vulnerability, fear and doubts but they went about it the wrong way. They focused too much on this silly love triangle and turned the film into a soap opera instead of showing what Elizabeth was really up against politically and emotionally as the ruler and defender of an Empire. It was called Elizabeth: The Golden Age but the film was so focused on her internal life that it didn't reveal what exactly was so golden about England during that Age. I feel like there was a missed opportunity here.
To sum up: Cate and all the visuals from costumes to cinematography - fantastic. The rest of the movie? Meh.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
The set list was ok. I would have preferred more songs off "The Execution of All Things" which I think is a nearly perfect record and Rilo Kiley's best, but understand that of course they are going to play music mainly off their newest album. They did play my all time favorite song, "With Arms Outstretched," and that was where the lack of a full house really affected the performance. This is a classic sing along song, but it was obvious that the crowd was filled with mostly Johnny Come Latelies that didn't know the words to a song three albums old. When Jenny moved the mic towards the crowd and let us sing Phillip, Jen, and I belted the words out at the top of our lungs, but it was a pretty mediocre crowd performance overall. I wanted to slap the crowd around for that.
Interestingly enough the band played only one song that wasn't a Rilo Kiley song. Blake Sennet introduced it as being a cover and called it "Snowball's favorite song EVER!" (I found out later that "Snowball" is an affectionate nickname for Blake's brother who works as a roadie for the band) before they broke into "Rise Up With Fists" which is from Jenny Lewis' solo album last year. With all the press coverage of the rivalry between Jenny and Blake over her solo project being more successful than his side project (The Elected), I imagine it must be a thorn in his side that hers is the only non-Rilo Kiley song they play! I guess we ultimately know who holds the power, right?
I was enjoying the show to an extent but then the encore blew. I was hoping they would come back out and do at least two songs and was praying for "My Slumbering Heart" which has beautiful imagery while still rocking and is Phillip's favorite song. Instead they played only one song, "Does He Love You?" which although has a raucous ending music wise, is a cheating/broken hearted downer when it comes to the lyrics: "Let's not forget ourselves good friend, I am flawed if I'm not free and your husband will never leave you, he will never leave you for me." Not exactly the lines to instill that elated feeling every show should end with! And Jenny made a quick exit with no bow, no thank you, and no moment for the audience to applaud her. Bummer.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
I'm back. We've moved. It went fairly smoothly, most of our snags have come post rental truck and helping hands. Got the rental early Saturday morning, my brother-in-law, little sister's boyfriend, and our friends Tim & Meg all came and helped us load the truck at the old place and unload it at the new. The only problem we had there was getting our enormous and enormously heavy couch out of the apartment. It took some major brain power and a lot of me repeating, "If we got it in here, we have to be able to get it out." I kept thinking of that "Friends" episode where Ross and Chandler are trying to get the couch up the stairs and Ross yells, "PIVOT!" over and over. Phillip finally solved the puzzle without us having to remove the legs on the couch or the door from it's hinges. I love my family and friends and am so thankful that they volunteered to get up early on a Saturday morning and help us move.
So we are very nearly unpacked and finding little quirks about the place. There are no stoppers in any of the bathroom sinks. Our water softener had no salt in it AT ALL. At first this meant nothing to me, but after some investigation I found that it should be completely filled with salt. So I went to Home Depot and bought four bags of salt that weigh 40 lbs each! And those four bags still didn't fill it to the top! Argh. I'm not going to like dealing with that regularly. Oh and we didn't have cable all weekend because even though it was never scheduled to be cut off by the previous renters, somehow it was cut off. Not too big of deal except Phillip missed all the football on Sunday which annoyed him. Thankfully I have friends in the right places and was able to get it taken care of in time for "Heroes" on Monday night.
Anyone have any suggestions for a good place to buy light switch plates? Currently there are hideous ones in here with lighthouses on them. Oh and one in the kitchen with a rooster on it. Ew! I checked Target but their selection was rather boring.
Anyway, there is still work to be done: closets to organize, a few more boxes to unpack, DVDs and CDs to alphabetize, pictures to hang on walls, etc. but we are getting there.
I think we are going to be happy here.
Saturday, September 29, 2007
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Oh and my favorite line in the movie? Well slightly paraphrased cause it's from memory:
Marion: Why do you even want to see his grave? You don't even like Jim Morrison. You don't like The Doors.
Jack: I know, but it's a famous grave. And I'm a huge Val Kilmer fan.
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
The first was Douglas McGrath’s "Infamous." I’ve read Capote’s "In Cold Blood" which is an amazing true crime novel (oxymoronic as that is) and enjoyed Phillip Seymour Hoffman in his Oscar winning role as Truman in 2005’s "Capote" so I didn’t really expect to like "Infamous" that much cause hell, didn’t we just see this movie??? But Toby Jones’ performance as Truman Capote was a revelation! For me he reduced Hoffman’s performance to mediocrity at best. Toby was all flamboyancy, cattiness, and wit. This time around we got to see much more of Capote’s needling influence within his high society friends which enriched the character greatly. His Capote was so ridiculous that at first you didn’t think he’d ever be able win over the town folk of Holcomb let alone the killers, but little by little he does it and wins over the audience in the process. Plus, Toby is a tiny little man, like the real Capote was which helped the believability. I know they had tried to downplay Hoffman’s size and make him seem small, but it never really worked – which I didn’t fully realize until watching "Infamous." I will give the 2005 film one advantage over this new film and that’s Catharine Keener as Nelle Harper Lee. Keener is, of course, brilliant in everything she does. "Infamous" unfortunately had Sandra Bullock in the role and gawd she was awful. Even if she had been able to keep her Southern accent consistent, it still wouldn’t have been enough to make her performance believable. Toby swallowed her up. This, now that I think of it, is rather fitting, since Capote kind of swallowed up Lee in real life too. Daniel Craig was quite good too as the killer Perry Smith. "Infamous" played the Perry/Truman relationship up to sensational glory, taking it much further than "Capote" did, but it worked. Craig really pulled the tragedy and menace of the character off. Overall I felt that "Infamous" far outshone "Capote" in revealing what kind of man, lover, friend, liar, writer, bitchy little queen he really was – and with heart! HA!
Phillip and I finally watched David Fincher’s "Zodiac." We’d had it out from Netflix for a few weeks now, but neither one of us had been in the mood to watch a two hour, forty minute long movie about a serial killer whose case to this day is unresolved. We finally popped it in last night and wowza – we were pleasantly surprised! First off the cinematography and art direction were incredible. I really hope Oscar voters remember it when the time comes. The little period details from hairstyles to music to being free to smoke at work and on airplanes to the cars people drove – it was really well done. And some of the shots were fantastic, like the overhead shot that turned the corner sharply along with the cab, and the time lapse of the construction of San Francisco’s famous Transamerica Pyramid! The cast was also impeccable from the ever brilliant Brian Cox and Robert Downey Jr., the sorely underused Elias Koteas, the perfect Boy Scout Jake Gyllenhaal, and the continual impressiveness of Mark Ruffalo there would pop up in scene after scene someone else I was thrilled to see: Anthony Edwards! Dermot Mulroney! Chloe Sevigny! Donal Logue! James LeGros! Clea Duvall! For a movie about an unsolved crime the plotting still felt like we were continually trying to get somewhere and that we eventually would. There was still drama and tension and mystery and surprise. It was a great puzzle of a movie, slowly pieces would fit in one place and then you’d realize, wait, that doesn’t actually fit there, and you’d have to move it. For a movie with a really dark storyline it was actually a lot of fun!
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
-I doubt you've been asked these questions before. (Try me)
-Don't lie, and don't get offended. (I won't)
1. What's the color of the soap in your bathroom? white, the color of fresh and clean!
2. Do you like cola? sure
3. What's the 15th contact in your phone? Holy hell, hang on while I look it up. It's Brendan.
4. Are you on IM right now? Nope
5. What's your opinion on Alvin & the Chipmunks? Well, I loved the cartoon when I was a kid and even had their records like A Chipmunks Christmas and a Country Music one where they sang "Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys (Chipmunks)" but I'm a little leery of this live action movie coming out. What the fuck has happened to Jason Lee? First "My Name is Earl" (ugh) then "Underdog" and now this???
6. Ever said the n-word to a black person? no, only to red ones
7. What are you doing tomorrow around 10:00 a.m.? Working - boo
8. Do you like writing in cursive or print, better? I'm a printer. My cursive is atrocious.
9. What are you listening to right now? Rilo Kiley's new album. I'm still trying to decide if I like it. Some of the songs are growing on me and some of them I really hate.
10. What's the most annoying noise in the world? That funky feedbacky noise my computer speakers make when my cell phone rings. I HATE THAT!
11. Do the speakers on your computer work? Yes, but sometimes they make that awful noise from above.
12. Have you ever written in wet cement? When I was a kid I did write my name in a sidewalk panel on my block.
13. Ever worn your underwear backwards? Inside out maybe, but not backwards.
15. Anyone in your family died from lung cancer? No, thank goodness.
16. Favorite Jelly Belly flavor? Cinnamon
17. Ever shopped for shoes online? Yes, I'm a girl, we shop for everything online.
18. How are your grades? This question makes me feel old.
19.What's always on your mind? Chocolate - it's a sickness seriously.
20. Don't you just HATE George Bush? Absolutely.
21. Do you follow your horoscope religiously? Not a whit.
22. How often do you go running? What is this "running" you speak of?
23. Are You Thirsty? Nah
24. Ever played Grand Theft Auto? Never, but I've watched it being played.
25. Do you like the person you copied this survey from? Yes, Ben's cool. He spins good music in bars that I like to drink in. And he always has a smile and a hug for me.
26. Do you get an allowance? Yes, I'm "allowed" to waste my time doing this shit.
27. Are you a bitch? Sometimes. Everyone is a bitch sometimes.
28. 50 Cent shows up at your door, what do you do? Ask him what he wants.
29. Last time you killed a bug? Yesterday, a gnat.
31. Where is your pet? Don't have one.
32. Favorite childhood game? Freeze tag!
34. When's the last time you had a slurpee? It's been awhile. I'm more partial to Slushes from Sonic.
35. Do you look through your old yearbooks a lot? No, but now I'm thinking about it.
36. What are you dreading right now? Cleaning the bathroom.
37. Have you ever painted a room in your house? I don't have a house.
38. Keeping any secrets right now? Off the top of my head, no.
39. What CD's in your stereo right now? I'm an iPod user so there is never a CD in my stereo anymore. I mean, I still buy CDs but then I download them and they sit on my CD rack. Right now I'm listening to the new Okkervil River album (Rilo Kiley is over).
40. Who comments you the most? Dang is that a myspace related question or what??? No one really, my comments are pretty varied.
41. Is your basement dusty? HA! That's a euphemism if I ever heard one! And no, it's not.
42. Ever witnessed a hit & run? Yes, I was the hittee. I was riding in Cameron's car down Maryland Pkwy from UNLV where we had just seen a performance of "As You Like It" which coincidentally starred a boy I had crushed on majorly in high school. We were on our way to get a late night bite to eat at Denny's, it was raining slightly and this guy just totally rear ended us while we were stopped at a light, then put it in reverse and drove off! To our amazement, the jackass' front license plate was stuck to Cam's car!
43. What do you do when you're bored at school? Hmmm, another question that makes me feel old. I would daydream.
44. What's the last household object you broke? Probably a wine glass.
45. Does whatever happen in Vegas... really stay in Vegas? God, I'm so over this marketing campaign. When will it end??? NO! "WHATEVER HAPPENS" WILL FOLLOW YOU THE FUCK HOME AND RUIN YOUR LIFE!
46. Ever been to a football game? This is a dumb and boring question. Yes.
47. What's your most played band in iTunes? How the hell should I know?
48. Old ladies...? The Golden Girls.
50. When's the last time you looked in the dictionary? Aw hell. During this damn survey! I looked up leery on Dictionary.com to make sure it wasn't spelled "leary" which I totally knew was just Timothy Leary residual memory, but I had to check anyway!
Monday, August 27, 2007
This storm meant business. I was sleeping with earplugs in and still woke up - it was that loud! Of course my eyes blinked awake and I wanted to just roll over and go back to sleep, but the clock on my bedside was flashing. The power had gone out at one point so now I had to reset my clock and reset my alarm for my normal 6:22 am, a mere two hours away.
Yeah, don't ask why I set it for 6:22. Seems like a pretty random number you say? Ok, fine I'll tell you my reason for it. My local Channel 3 News has "Traffic & Weather on the 3s" so I set my alarm for 6:22 so I can immediately flip on the TV and get the report at 6:23. By the time the report is over I am awake enough to get in the shower. Sufficiently oddball enough for you?
Now back to the thunderstorm. All this getting out of bed to find out the time to reset my alarm and then appeasing my curiosity by checking out the downpour by standing on our balcony and witnessing the consequential river of water running through the parking lot, all while flashes of lightning and more thunderous claps of thunder (ha!) occurred with frightening speed, meant that I had a hard time falling back to sleep.
Normally I love a good thunderstorm. But I love them in the afternoon, on a Saturday, when I can curl up on the couch with a book, The Sundays playing on the stereo (this is a rule: The Sundays must always be playing when it rains), and watch the raindrops fall outside the window. These middle of the night, wake me up, keep me up during my last two hours of sleep kind of thunderstorms just make me a sad panda and a grumpy girl all day.
Saturday, August 18, 2007
I know, I know, here is me nitpicking right? Ok, I'll try to leave the historical inaccuracies aside. How about Anne Hathaway's acting? Does she really think a furrowed brow is all the acting necessary to get across every emotion? Oh, in this scene I'm angry, I better furrow my brow. Now I'm sad, a furrowed brow will do nicely. Oh now I'm worried, again a furrow of the brow should suffice! Her accent was perfectly fine, I just wish she had a little more depth. I did love James Cromwell and Julie Walters as Reverand and Mrs. Austen. Perfect casting. I additionally enjoyed the actress who played Cassandra although I felt her and Jane's relationship was kind of put to the side. In real life these two sisters were inseperable when together and when apart, wrote to each other constantly. The filmmakers could have made that more evident. And don't get me started on the so-called Jane is an older woman epilogue!
I've decided in this review not to go into the particulars of the Jane Austen/Tom Lefroy flirtation that suddenly became a full blown romance full of secret rendezvous and near elopments. Obviously this was the route the filmmakers decided to take in order to give us Jane's story. I don't agree with this decision, but it's understandable that they would want to give the author of some of the greatest romances of all time a romance of her very own. I just hope that those that do not know Jane's real story will go in search of it now. Because it is a story worth telling without all the filler. Maybe someday Hollywood will do it justice. Now, I know what you are all thinking: I went in already predisposed to hate the film, right? Of course I wasn't going to like it with this attitude, right? Well, yes that's true! I can't help it! Jane Austen is my favorite author and dear to my heart! I admire her as one of my ultimate heroes! To see her portrayed inaccurately and with little of the wit and vivacity she herself wrote with pains me! So sue me.
Thursday, August 9, 2007
My dream of seeing Baryshnikov dance live came true when I was nineteen. He was peforming with his White Oak Dance Project at UNLV's Ham Hall. The day before the show I got horribly sick with a virus, and ended up at the performance with a high fever. My boyfriend at the time went with me to the show and he was actually very sweet and took care of me during the performance, making sure I was awake whenever Misha was on stage, because I was so sick with fever I would kind of doze off in my seat. Suffice to say, I don't remember that much about it. I do remember Misha doing this little like golf routine, very cute and quite funny.
Anyway, I was so excited when I saw that Baryshnikov's new Hell's Kitchen Dance Project would be performing in Reno as part of their month long arts festival Artown. My dear friend Amy, who lives in Reno, was a ballet dancer when she was young and I knew she'd be thrilled if I came up so we could go to the show together. It was incredible. The Pioneer Center in downtown Reno is quite small, and we had amazing seats about 10 rows back from the stage so could see everything perfectly. The minute Baryshnikov walked out on stage the entire room kind of gasped and then held it's breath in anticipatory unison. The first dance was called “Years Later” and on a huge screen at the back of the stage they showed footage of a very young dancing Baryshnikov and then our present day live Baryshnikov danced along with the footage. There was a light in the very front of the stage so that it projected his shadow on the screen, and he could move up or downstage to make the shadow bigger or smaller so that there were sometimes three Baryshnikovs dancing: the young one onscreen, the 59 year old live one, and his shadow. It was quite touching, and even a little bit sad. The onscreen Baryshnikov was the young strong dancer, doing all his great jumps and leaps that the now older Baryshnikov has a hard time doing. He would even make fun of himself and laugh along with the audience as he bent over holding his back like an old man, throwing his hands up in the air like he won’t even try to keep up with his young self anymore. Baryshnikov is so humorous and down to Earth - it's really refreshing and interesting considering how superhuman he truly is. The final dance featured Baryshnikov again along with the dozen or so young dancers in his hand picked company. It was wonderful but again quite touching and sad, a passing of the torch kind of thing. He would dance with them, but also watch them in amazement and with a bit of nostalgia and regret in his posture and demeanor. You knew he was envying their youth. And then it's not like Baryshnikov blends in with these dancers. It's very obvious: there's freaking Mikhail Baryshnikov dancing onstage, 30 years older than all of the other dancers, and although some of them are excellent, they will never be as good as he was and still is. But this dance titled “Come In” was like Baryshnikov inviting them to give it a damn good try. All in all, it was a great experience getting to see him before he stops dancing altogether, something I will always cherish. Clumsy old desert rat me got to experience the greatest dancer that ever lived, Mikhail Baryshnikov, live in person, not once, but twice.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
1. Open your library (iTunes, Limewire, Winamp, Media Player, iPod, etc)
2. Put it on shuffle
3. Press play
4. For every question, type the song that's playing
5. When you go to a new question, press the next button
6. Don't lie and try to pretend you're cool...
Opening Credits:"Oh Very Young" by Cat Stevens
Waking Up:"The Basts/Spring Landscape" from the "Howards End" Soundtrack
First Day At School:"Return to Sender" by Elvis Presley
Falling In Love:"Soft" by Kings of Leon (this song is about impotence, so that SUCKS!)
Peaceful and/or Fight Song:"Here's Where the Story Ends" by The Sundays
Breaking Up:"Beautiful One" by The Cardigans
Prom:"The Absence of God" by Rilo Kiley
Sex Scene"Revolution" by The Beatles
Life:"It Don't Come Easy" by Ringo Starr (You can say that again!)
Mental Breakdown:"Into the Mystic" by Van Morrison (Nice!)
Driving:"Cut Your Hair" by Pavement (this is an appropriately bouncy song for a drive)
Flashback:"At My Window Sad and Lonely" by Billy Bragg and Wilco
Getting back together:"Free Man in Paris" by Joni Mitchell (Ha! No getting back together for me!)
Wedding:"Days That Are Over" by Sondre Lerche (that's kind of depressing)
Birth of Child:"Atomic" by Blondie (weird)
Final Battle:"Ocean of Noise" by Arcade Fire
Funeral Song:"The Bargain Store" by Dolly Parton
End Credits:"So Long, Marianne" by Leonard Cohen
I'll start with the positives:
-Good triumphed over Evil! Hooray! And Harry didn't have to die for it to happen. I know that Rowling has gotten some flack over the years for always having some kind of loophole for Harry, but thank God, cause I would have been crushed by his death even though I would have accepted it. Ditto for the survival of Ron, Hermione, Neville, Ginny, and Luna.
-Dumbledore ain't perfect. I loved that Dumbledore was shown to have some major flaws of character. The wizened old wizard, perfect in every way was boring. Selfish, neglectful and glory seeking was more honest, makes him a well rounded character and greater for having overcome those flaws.
-I KNEW SNAPE WAS GOOD! The Borders Books where I bought my copy was handing out stickers that said "Snape is a friend" or "Snape is a foe." This was a huge debate in the fan Universe and I must say: how could you possibly doubt it? Once it was revealed his love for Lily was what turned him to the good side forever, it was like duh, of course, that makes so much sense! Apparently many people figured that out halfway through, but I'm a little slow. I knew he was good, but hadn't even considered it was love for Lily.
-You go Molly! To paraphrase something my friend Tim said: after 6 books spent cooking and making Christmas sweaters, Molly Weasley finally got to kick some ass! "NOT MY DAUGHTER, YOU BITCH!" That was fantastic!
-Ron and Hermione finally snogged! Too bad it was in the middle of the biggest battle of their lives. Geez, how long had that been building??? About halfway through this book, I was beginning to despair that Rowling was just teasing us this whole time and was never going to let them consummate their "sexual tension." How freaking awkward is it going to be for Rupert Grint and Emma Watson when they finally have to film it?!
-Rowling is a Tolkien fan. I'm sure there are plenty of other things she stole from like ancient myths and Roald Dahl but I noticed the Lord of the Rings parallels the most. The one locket weighing down the wearer and making everyone mean? The myriad magical creatures coming to the aid of the good side towards the end of the last battle? I almost put this under the negatives, but realized, hell I'm a Tolkien fan myself and this kind of "stealing" happens all the time in literature. Plenty of writers will go on to steal from Rowling.
-Harry is a freaking man! I was monstrously proud of Harry as he walked into the Forbidden Forest all ready to sacrifice his own life for his friends and the world at large. That's a lot of pressure for a 17 year old, even if he is a wizard.
Ok, now time for the negatives:
-The death of Lupin and Tonks. Ok Rowling. I get it. Since you weren't going to kill off any of the main three, you had to find some other beloved characters to bite it. But it really bugs me that you did it to these two just when they had finally resolved all their issues and had a baby!!! What? It continues the whole Godfatherly theme? Fine, but then why did you have to kill them off stage? If they had to die I wanted to SEE IT HAPPEN! Who did they fight? What kind of battle was it? Did they die in each other's arms? Come on!
-The whole Elder Wand thing confused the hell out of me. Just reading 7 was not enough for me to get the Draco connection. I literally had to reread parts in 6 to realize that Draco disarmed Dumbledore before Snape killed him. I think Rowling could have done a better job of making that all clear.
-I missed Hogwarts. Now I know that the story is told from Harry's POV so it has to stay with Harry, but I really missed Hogwarts. Especially once we learn that Neville and Ginny were getting up to all kinds of DA shenanigans during the year. Rowling, you could totally write a whole book that parallels this one from the Hogwarts student's POV. That'd be awesome.
-Gryffindor's sword. This was something that was pointed out to me by Tim and my sister too and I went, "Huh, yeah, you're right!" I think this might be the biggest plot hole in the entire book. If the goblins got the sword back after the Gringotts debacle, how was Neville still able to pull it out of the Sorting Hat at the end to kill Nagini? I guess it just had that much magic associated with it, you know?
-Dragged in the middle. Was it just me or did the story drag a bit in the middle? All that hopping from one forest to the next got old. I was totally ready for some freaking action!
-The Epilogue. Now I am all for epilogues. They usually make me very happy. But this one did not give us enough information. Rowling, if you're going to write an epilogue, then freaking write an epilogue woman! Ok, so Neville's the Herbology professor, but what does Harry do? Did he follow his dreams and become an auror? And what about Luna? Did she by any chance marry Dean Thomas? I had a feeling you were leaning that way. I know I shouldn't complain, but I'm selfish. I wanted more.
Ok, I'm done. I'll think of more I'm sure, but this is plenty for now. All in all I really enjoyed the book and I'm sad that there will be no more Harry Potter. I'd love for Rowling to go back and do a whole series of prequels about the first war, James and Lily, Sirius, Lupin, Arthur and Molly, etc. That would be totally cool. Oh, and I hope Emma Watson gets some serious acting training before they start filming this one, because as Hermione she's going to be in a majority of the scenes and has a big emotional journey to go on. HA! I'm so mean.
Come on all you readers of Harry, what did you all think?
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Anyway on to the movie. This new director David Yates did a great job with the look, tone, and feel. The kids are becoming better and better actors, except for maybe Emma Watson who has a delivery that for some reason just gets on my nerves. Daniel Radclifffe especially is really connected to Harry now so that he can totally get across the angst and vulnerablility of the character. Imelda Staunton was absolutely brilliant as Umbridge. Such evil underneath a perfectly perky demeanor. My favorite touch about her characterization were the precious decorative plates with kittens on them that adorned the walls of her Defense Against the Dark Arts office. So as she is essentially torturing our hero Harry, in the background and coming from the Dolby digital sound system all around you are these little sweet innocent purrs and meows. Awesome. I checked the book and the decorative plates are mentioned but Rowling did not write that the kittens moved and purred and meowed. So, well done on that filmmakers!
Now, of course the movie differentiated A LOT from the book. But granted the book is over 800 pages long so that was totally expected. But there were some things that were left out or changed that really irked me. Here is the short list:
1. They did not make Ron and Hermione prefects.
2. There is no Quidditch, so Ron does not become Keeper and Umbridge does not take it away from the students.
3. The Cho Chang storyline is completely changed in a way that kind of leaves a question mark as to the end of her and Harry's short lived romance.
4. Fred & George Weasley's exit from Hogwarts was kind of lame.
5. The confrontation at the Ministry between the students and the Death Eaters was not done in a way that made it feel like the kids were actually in mortal peril.
6. They let Sirius be all cuddly protective Godfather and did not reveal his reckless, petulant, immature side at all.
7. They did not reveal Neville's connection to the prophecy.
Well, geez, after reading that back to myself it sounds like I didn't like the movie at all but that's not the case. If you have never read the books and just seen the movies, it is a very good movie. And even though I have read the books, I still really enjoyed the movie. I just wish they could have made it six hours long and fit everything in! Is that so much to ask?
I will say though that one of my favorite things about this entire series is that from the lead characters down to the minor characters with the smallest screen time they have kept the same actors in every role throughout. Except of course for Dumbledore, who had to be replaced after Richard Harris' death. But I think that really sets these films apart and makes them completely believable as a world unto itself.
I can't wait for Half Blood Prince in November 2008.
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Monday, May 14, 2007
First, you know how at the beginning of Disney movies there is the Buena Vista logo, where Tinkerbell like waves her wand and an arc of light flies from it and curves over Sleeping Beauty's castle? Well in this dream I was Tinkerbell and I was doing that, waving my wand to make the light around the castle glow, but I wasn't on TV or on a movie screen doing it - I was actually at Disneyland, flying over the actual Sleeping Beauty castle! And it was fun! Being Tinkerbell felt amazing!
Then I had another dream that I was Viggo Mortensen's daughter (wtf? I know!) and he was starring in some new Disney swashbuckling movie and we were at Disneyland for the launch of a whole line of product tie-ins. I was making fun of my "dad" because, well, you know those pens where there is a picture of say a pinup girl inside it and when you turn the pen upside down her clothes slide off? Or like I have a pen with Steve Irwin where when you turn the pen upside down a croc comes and swallows him alive (that's totally sick now considering his death, but I have it!) Well I was making fun of my "dad" Viggo because they had made a pen of his character where when you turned it upside down his shirt came off to reveal a toned upper bod. Not very Disney right? I can only put that down to my subconscious because in the real world I would totally do Viggo. He can take off his shirt for me anytime. So, how sick is this dream? In the real world I have the hots for Viggo, but in my dream he is my dad???? What the hell is wrong with me?