Wednesday, March 24, 2010

One Movie, Two, Three, Four

I have now seen three movies in the past week and a half. That's a lot for me, but movies do seem to come in droves. There doesn't seem to be anything in April of May that I want to see, then there will be two in June. I guess that's just the normal way of it.

The first of the three, Remember Me, I already talked about. Then last Friday I saw Alice in Wonderland (3D, of course). I agree with the general consensus that the visuals are good and the story is, well, just the story. It was just that with such a stunning visual scene and being such a big production (with a big budget, too), the storyness of it, at times, wasn't what I found myself expecting. Maybe Remember Me was just too fresh in my mind . . . . Anyway, not bad, and Johnny Depp as the Hatter was one of the highlights. The last movie was The Runaways, which I saw yesterday before class. Not a bad way to start the morning; lots of music to wake you up. And let me say to the critics, please, why do you have to compare "Robert Pattinson's Remember Me" with "Kristen Stewart's The Runaways?" They aren't at all similar. Both were smaller productions, but the indie feel is much more for the latter than the former. One is about two families, one about a '70's rock band. There is much more to define them by than two actors, though, yes, I likely wouldn't have seen either of them if not for these two said actors. I liked Remember Me more, just because it's more my kind of movie. But The Runaways, that did brighten my day a little, I think. I wasn't very familiar with the music before, but it kept playing in my head until I had to make a Pandora station to listen to while doing some work. Now that I hadn't expected.

And the New Moon DVD came out this weekend. Here is the Borders version, in all its glory. At least, as much as my horrible photography skills and bad lighting can express.

One reason I like this version better is the packaging. I'm not keen on the other DVD covers, but all of this one is quite nice.
In the middle section is a pocket, which includes this necklace with the Quileute tribe logo:
Or if you're Team Cullen like me, it has a reverse side with the Cullen crest:
The extra Borders features weren't as much as I had been hoping for, but were still better than just the normal ones. I do think that with the huge Twilight fan following, there could be more special features. People want to know everything about how these movies were, and I like special features, but it usually seems that the movies I like don't have very many.

The new Liz Curtis Higgs book, Here Burns My Candle, came out last week. I very much want to read it, but I'll have to wait until summer. And something induced me to also get Twilight: The Graphic Novel. I don't read graphic novels; I've never even held one. I don't know why I got this one . . . it says something about loyalty, I guess. But it may be interesting.

(And I don't know why this last part is underlined -- I can't make it go away, so forgive it).

Monday, March 15, 2010


This weekend, I finished George Eliot's The Mill on the Floss (also for the British novels class). It's hard to say what I thought of it. I want to call it a dense book, but that isn't the right word. Analytical is better. Detailed I like more. It takes a very long time to say anything, even for Victorian novels. It definitely has its moments of beautiful language, and some of the plot is engaging, but is that enough? Is that enough when many times the text feels so dry in its detailed account? It depends on the reader. I can't say it was my favorite book, and I can hardly say I'll be rushing out for more George Eliot.

I'm reminded of my thoughts on her Silas Marner a few years ago. That book is much shorter, so I decided that it was a "nice little book." I believe I specifically said that it was nice, being the short length that it is, and if it was longer, it wouldn't be so worth reading. The Mill on the Floss is a long book, not a short, hence my indecision. If it, too, had taken less time to get its point across, I think I would think better thoughts on it. (Which isn't to say I have anything against long books in general; they just need to merit their length).

Now that I'm finished with this one, I've started Ovid's Metamorphoses for another class. Spring Break tempts me to do no work, but I know I'll regret it later if I don't make use of this extra time, so here it goes. I read Book I this morning; hopefully Books II and III will follow this afternoon and evening. I am pleasantly surprised, though, at how enjoyable it is so far. I was under the impression that the verse would slow down the reading, but it quickens it, instead. Certainly a much lighter read than The Mill on the Floss, I say.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Waiting and Remembering

As promised, here are my thoughts on Fireflight's new album, For Those Who Wait. It took a little getting used to at first; not to say that it was completely different from their other work. This album, instead, seems to combine styles from The Healing of Harms and Unbreakable. Its very upbeat music this time around, with the same compelling kind of lyrics. The opening "For Those Who Wait" and also "Desperate," "Core Of My Addiction," and "What I've Overcome" are some of my favorites. Of the two quieter songs, "Name" and "Recovery Begins," I rather like the latter, but the former is a weak point on the CD. It's too average. "Recovery Begins" is hardly the most original song I've ever heard, but it has a softness that is a pleasant end to the CD; it manages in a way that "Name" failed to. Unbreakable may still be my favorite album (it was, after all, the one that won me over to Fireflight), but For Those Who Wait is equal to showing the strength I love to see in music.

Yesterday, I went to see Remember Me for three reasons: the trailer for Eclipse was playing with it (I only planned to watch the trailer once, so why not on the big screen?), it would be a chance to see Robert Pattinson in a different role (thereby testing my belief that he's a competent actor), and it seemed like a nice movie. Now, I thought that Remember Me's trailer was well put together, but it seemed like one of those trailers that gives you most of the plot. Not the case at all.

I'm a the theatre. I sit through three or so trailers, then the Eclipse ones comes on. I'm nodding to myself, thinking, oh, yes, that trailer seems better put together than the first New Moon one -- it emphasizes "love triangle" more than I'd like, but I suppose that is fitting. Then I remember that I've come to see a completely different movie. From the first, I see it's true that what this movie does, it does uniquely. Poignant is the word to describe it. A love story? Well, yes, but it's more about people trying to interact with and understand each other. And very much about the quote that plays in the trailer and twice in the movie, "Ghandi said that everything you do in life will be insignificant, but it's important that you do it" (I'm going off of memory here: sorry if that isn't it exactly). After you've seen the camera fade in at the beginning and fade out at the end, everything in between all comes together in a way that doesn't always happen. In a literature-like way. It's an emotionally/psychologically artistic movie (not in a complicated way, just a thought-provoking one). I found myself thinking about it all afternoon yesterday. Eventually, it reminded me of this quote from Heart of Darkness (after Kurtz's death), "all the hearts that beat in the darkness" (Joseph Conrad. Barnes & Noble Classics. 2005.) As much as I would love to explain all these "hearts" and the darkness they beat in, I won't on the off-chance that someone reads this who hasn't seen the movie yet. If that's the case, go see it now.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Dramatic Shakespearean Deaths

As I was finishing up the last act of Othello earlier today for a class, I realized something. It's always a strange experience reading someone's death scene in Shakespeare because they get stabbed or whatever it is, then speak some mournful words (something like, "I'm killed!"), then converse a bit with other characters, then you see off to the side "[Dies.]" Maybe not awkward played by a good and proper actor, but to read . . . I just imagine them crawling around for a few minutes, saying they're dead, before they suddenly fall down unconscious. Which is exactly how Lucy fakes deaths in "I Love Lucy." I'm thinking in particular of the episode when she rents her apartment out to a man who is recovering from the shock of witnessing a murder (my, what a convoluted sentence!) To scare him, Ethel pretends to shoot Lucy, who falls all over the sofas, crawls around the floor, makes pitiful sounds, and has more than one false end. Just like a Shakespearean character.

On a completely separate note, we've been reading slave narratives in another of my classes. First Frederick Douglass, now Harriet Jacobs. The most comparable work to these, well, depressing reads that I have read before is The Diary of Dawid Sierakowiak, a teen who died in the Lodz Ghetto during the Holocaust. I remember when I started reading that book, I started analyzing it, saying, oh, such and such is interesting in terms of such and such, etc., etc. Then I felt guilty. I felt guilty because I was placing a microscope over this person's suffering; I felt I was dehumanizing him by the way I was treating him in my thoughts as an topic, an example, a study instead of a person with a life that was taken away. But in reading Harriet Jacobs today, I realized the difference with the slave narratives. These were written with the express purpose of spreading the word. Their writers wanted people to analyze them so that much needed truths could be found again. Not that I suppose Dawid would have anything to say against someone reading his words to learn more about humanity, either, but the difference between a diary and a narrative is still rather great.