Yes, I stole the title of my blog partly from Jane Austen and partly from Patricia Rozema. Sometimes I find this statement to be more true than I would like to admit. We shall see what of life's busy nothings will emerge on this blog.
And we've come to the end of the things I liked. Sad, isn't it?
Things I didn't like:
Johnny Depp's Mad Hatter - I'm just sick of him and his silly, lispy, whackadoo characterizations. I just didn't get his Mad Hatter at all. I think he and Burton need to take a break from one another. It's like they aren't GOOD for one another anymore.
The Wizard of Ozness - Am I the only one who felt they ripped off The Wizard of Oz? First there were people in Alice's real life that were obviously supposed to mirror folks in Wonderland, "and you were there, and you, and you!" Secondly, they totally turned the Mad Hatter into Alice's Scarecrow, "Mad Hatter I'll miss you most of all!" Blurgh.
Alice - Did that actress snooze her way through that role? She was so boring. I felt no sense of urgency in the character.
Anne Hathaway's Hands - PUT YOUR ARMS DOWN! I get what she was trying to do - kind of satirically making fun of Disney princesses, but honestly? Amy Adams already did it and much better in Enchanted.
The battle scene - There were several times during this film where I nearly dozed off, but shouldn't battles be more exciting? If you feel it necessary to have a battle in Wonderland in the first place. I really hated that entire plotline, which was pretty much the entire movie, so yeah.
Here is the description from youtube:
"In 1969, a 14-year-old Beatle fanatic named Jerry Levitan snuck into John Lennon's hotel room in Toronto and convinced him to do an interview. 38 years later, Levitan, director Josh Raskin and illustrators James Braithwaite and Alex Kurina have collaborated to create an animated short film using the original interview recording as the soundtrack. A spellbinding vessel for Lennon's boundless wit and timeless message, I Met the Walrus was nominated for the 2008 Academy Award for Animated Short and won the 2009 Emmy for 'New Approaches' (making it the first film to win an Emmy on behalf of the internet)."
I love when the kid says he's not too keen on George Harrison.
I had never even heard of The Last Station until Oscar nominations came out and even then, I didn't know what the film was about. It was only after I started seeing the clips during various awards ceremonies that I discovered it was about writer Leo Tolstoy. Having read Anna Karenina about a year and a half ago, I was very interested to see this film.
The film centers on Valentin Bulgakov (James McAvoy), a young Tolstoyan, who is handpicked by Vladimir Chertkov (Paul Giamatti), Tolstoy's closest friend and the overseer of his legacy, to act as private secretary to Leo Tolstoy (Christopher Plummer) himself. In truth, Chertkov wants Valentin to keep tabs on Tolstoy's wife Sofya Tolstaya (Helen Mirren). Nearing the end of his life there is a battle raging for control of Tolstoy's literary legacy. Chertkov wants it to be willed to Russia and its people, while Sofya wants it to remain with the family to ensure future financial stability. Poor Valentin is just eager to work on a daily basis with the man who inspired his way of living, but instead he gets drawn into the household drama and doesn't know which way his allegiance should lie.
Christopher Plummer and Helen Mirren were both nominated for Oscars for their roles as the Tolstoys and it is well deserved. They give powerful performances, full of drama, romance, heartbreak, wistfulness, vulnerability, and mischief - perfectly matched, neither one outshines the other. Next to those incredible actors, James McAvoy is once again overlooked by the people who give out the awards despite the fact that he gives a wonderfully realized and touching performance as the naive, earnest secretary, seemingly in over his head.
Aside from the struggle over Tolstoy's literary legacy, this film is really about love. The well worn love between a man and wife who have been together for decades, the new love blooming between two young people who share ideals, the question of whether love can be too powerful, too all consuming for one's own good?
I am woefully ignorant of Russian history and although I have read Anna Karenina, it was not an easy read, and I still don't know as much about Tolstoy as I would like. But even with my small familiarity, I was pleased to recognize some things in the film that were little nods to his work. For example, Sofya tells Valentin that Tolstoy wrote her a letter before they were married that recounted all his past indiscretions, just as Levin made Kitty read his diarires before they were married in Anna Karenina. I also know that at the time of his death Tolstoy was the most famous author in the world and this is shown in the film by the "paparazzi" (I used quotes for this word since this film takes place in 1910, at least 50 years before "paparazzi" came to be a used term) camped outside his family estate. He and his family can't go out of doors without being photographed or pestered for a quote for the newspapers. It's a rather fun little side story in this many layered film.
According to the official website, The Last Station was filmed mainly in Germany and it's stunningly beautiful. There are a lot of shots outdoors and the forests and fields and ponds are all captured in a golden/green light that shimmers with a heaviness that can almost be felt on your skin. There was one outdoors scene in particular between Plummer and McAvoy that felt almost suffocating in its headiness and the overwhelming number of insects flying around their heads. The only thing I could think about as I watched it was it must have been a horrid shooting day.
Apparently this film is based on a novel by the same name by Jay Parini. It's a mix of fact and fiction and is inspired by the diaries kept by several members of the Tolstoy household. I'm now eager to read it.
I’m finding myself stuck in a real reading rut. I can’t for the life of me finish a book! Since December I’ve started half a dozen titles, sometimes getting as far as halfway through, only to lose interest and set it aside. This is despite the fact that I may actually have been enjoying the book while I was reading it! What is this? Has anyone else ever had this problem? How do I get out of it?
I was on goodreads.com and looked at my “read in 2010” shelf and it is EMPTY. This is outrageous! I’ve always been a voracious reader with set reading habits. I carried a book with me at all times and would read on my lunch break at work, while waiting in any kind of office or line. I would read every night for at least a half hour before bed. But lately those habits have fallen away. I haven’t carried a book with me for months.
My iPhone is partly to blame. Who needs to kill time with a book when there’s an iPhone with a million time killing apps on it calling out for your itchy fingers to play with it? Although, truthfully I have a bunch of books on my iPhone and I don't read those either.
At night, I find myself sucked into reality television and silly sitcoms. Things that I don't have to think too hard about: Project Runway, Shear Genius, Kell on Earth, Modern Family, The Office, The Big Bang Theory. I watch this mindless television and don't even think about picking up a book.
I have a shelf full of books waiting to be read but no desire to pick them up. Am I broken? Can I be fixed? Help!
I found myself more saddened than I expected myself to be over the tragic death of Corey Haim. My eleven and twelve year old self would beg my mom to buy me every teeny bopper magazine from Bop to Tiger Beat every time I accompanied her to the grocery store and I would lovingly clip the photos of my current celebrity crushes and paste them to my bedroom walls. Corey Haim was of course one of these crushes along with Chad Allen (I didn't know he was gay, I swear!), Kirk Cameron (I didn't know he was a religious nut, I swear!), and, the ultimate hearthrob of my younger days, River Phoenix (thinking of his untimely death still breaks my heart). I must have watched Lucas, License to Drive, The Lost Boys, and Dream a Little Dream dozens and dozens of times in order to bask in the boyish charm of Corey Haim with his lopsided grin, spiky hair, and squeaky voice. Of those films Lucas holds up the best. It is still a remarkably touching story of a geeky boy who never quite fits in until his showy ploy to impress the girl of his dreams grabs the attention of everyone around him with his bravery in the face of his stupidity. I watched this film just a few months ago when I came across it on cable and the final scene where Lucas finds the letterman jacket in his locker and all the kids applaud him still makes me tear up a little. From now on when I watch this film, and I have no doubt that I will watch it again, it will be with an entirely new level of sadness in realizing that all the promise Corey showed with this role was never realized and now that he is gone, never will be.
Alexander McQueen's Fall 2010 Collection - sadly, his final collection - was shown very quietly in Paris this week. Looking at these incredibly beautiful pieces, it just reinforces what a loss the fashion world has suffered.