Monthly Archives: September 2012

La fin de semaine!

A little frivolity to carry you into the weekend.

What are they all looking at?

Advertisements

Uncertainty – Movie Review

UncertaintyUncertainty
Written & Directed by Scott McGehee, David Siegel
Starring: Lynn Collins & Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Genre: Drama / Romance
Find this DVD at your local library

Synopsis

A young couple living in New York face a life-changing decision in their relationship. Standing on the Brooklyn Bridge, they flip a coin to see where the day and their decisions take them. One path leads them to Brooklyn and the discoveries about family, loss, and each other, while in Manhattan they delve into an urban nightmare of pursuit, suspense, and murder.

Review

This film is almost 2 movies in one. There are two different storylines for the couple, Kate & Bobby. One path has them on a rather mundane trip to see Kate’s family, all the while figuring what their status is as a couple and what their future is as a family. The second path is an action/adventure wherein Bobby comes into possession of a valuable cellphone that belongs to a very dangerous man. The two are chased around New York City by hired gunmen.

The scenes alternate between these two stories, and the transitions are seamless. Through careful cues (clothing colors & styles, locations, etc) we are able to make the switch from one story to the other. One fun trivia is that no dialogue was written for this script. That was improvised by the actors during rehearsals. That being said, I preferred the slow-paced story (the Green story) to the action paced one (the Yellow story). Much of the activity in the Yellow story seemed forced and unrealistic. The story had many loopholes, especially regarding the mysterious owner of the cellphone and the data contained on the phone. If it was its own story, I thought it could have been expanded and would have been a lot of fun to follow. As a short, it didn’t really hold up well.

The Green story is definitely realistic and is meant to be the total opposite of the Yellow story. Kate has issues with her family, doesn’t want to be like her mom, and has a big decision to make in her life regarding her and Bobby’s future. Along the way, they pick up a stray dog that somehow brings them closer together. There is a lot unsaid in this story, and I like that. It left me wanting to know more, but it was also perfect for the time-frame.

The main message of both films is that life is filled uncertainties. We never know which decision is really the right one. Something as simple as trying to return a phone can go terribly wrong, and something as simple as picking up a stray dog can be the best decision of the day. Lynn Collins and Joseph Gordon-Levitt have good chemistry together, too. The characters are layered and intricate. A lot could be said about them based on the little snippets into this one day of their lives are we witness too.

EarthCam – Le Tour Eiffel

My Francophila has hit a new low. Behold, the EarthCam – The Eiffel Tower. A 24-hour live stream of the Eiffel Tower in all its shiny glory. Now I can sit at my desk, with a cup of coffee and a madeleine and pretend I am back in Paris.

I need help.

Newborn Vertebrae Cardigan – Knit

In lieu of reading multiple books a weeks, I’ve been knitting again. I stopped knitting sometime in January when I got carpal tunnel on my wrist. I gotta say, it feels really good to be knitting again. I miss being productive with my hands as well as going through my yarn stash and finally starting to deplete my supplies.

So, what was my first project?

The Newborn Vertebrae with Giraffe Patch

My sister-in-law recently welcomed a baby born into the finally, so I was motivated to knit something for my new nephew-in-law.

The pattern is actually really awesome. Its drafted for newborns, but all you have to do is use thicker yarn and larger needles, and you can make a little cardigan for ages 0-6 months. Its knit from the top-down, using sock yarn (super fine and thin). The sleeves are meant to be knit using the magic loop, but I opted to use double-sided needles for each sleeve instead. I also made them cap sleeves instead of full length. It knits very quickly. I think it took a little less than a week, even with the design I added to the pattern. I was a dork when transcribing the giraffe patch onto graph paper. I forgot to block out the mouth, so the whole face turned out yellow. Oops. But here is the final product.

IMG_00221

Linked-In (9/21/2012)

I am reading. Just very slowly. In lieu of book reviews, I bring you links to some pretty cool things on the Internet as filler until I get something more viable posted on here.

Who doesn’t like strong coffee in the AM?

via Gilmore Girls Pop Culture References Tumblr


 

 

 

Pride & Prejudice: The Game

For Austen fans and English Lit geeks alike, a new board game to help liven up bookclubs!

Pride & Prejudice: The Game from Ash Grove Press.

Alix from Forever Young Adult takes a turn at the game and gives a funny and great review of the game.

I wonder what’s next? I’d like to see Jane Eyre board game, or a Frankenstein one. Ash Grove does have a Christmas Carol Board Game that you can order in time for the holidays.

Cinematic Musings

Having watched The Dark Knight Rises and Inception within days of each other, I realized something that has been missing from my life.

A movie staring these four actors. Preferably a movie about magicians. Something like The Night Circus meets The Illusionist.

BTW, whatever happened to Elijah Wood? Has he retired from acting?

Also…

The Best Joseph Gordon-Levitt Gif You'll See Today

15 Real Life Inspirations For Great Stories

I love this compilation of photos by Buzzfeed. 15 images of people, places and things that have inspired some of our most beloved and treasured works of literature.  Below are a couple of my favorites. Who knew that the Very Hungry Caterpillar was inspired by a hole puncher? Not I.

1. The Wardrobe of Narnia (CS Lewis)

 

 

The Chronicles of Narnia: This Wardrobe

2. The Song of Ice and Fire Saga (Game of Thrones) Apparently the saga came about when George R.R. Martin devised an idea of his pet turtles plotting to kill each other.

A Song of Ice and Fire: Turtles

The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende (Review)

The house of the spiritsThe House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende
Age: Adult
Genre: Magical Realism
Source: My copy
Publisher: Bantam Books, 1970
ISBN: 0553273914 / 433 pages
Find this book at your local library

The House of the Spirits traces the saga of a Chilean family through the course of three generations. We follow one of the central characters, Clara, from her childhood to her death, along with her various family members and friends along the way. The novel focuses heavily on the theme of filial-duty and does an outstanding job of transitioning through the years, discussing the socio-political upheaval in Chile as well as in the rest of the world. The characters are full of spirit, deeply layered and complex. Each character deserves a novel in their own right to fully tell their own story.

Despite all the positives about this book, I felt is lagging in a number of the ways. I wasn’t engrossed by Allende’s writing style. It is passive, and at times unbearably descriptive. She has a habit of telling you what’s going to happen to a characters years in advance, so that there is no real suspense in the plot. There is a mention of magical realism at the start of the novel: Rosa’s green hair, Clara’s telepathic powers, her Uncle Marco’s mysteries chest of books. However, the magical realism ends there. While Allende constantly discusses Clara’s clairvoyant nature and tendencies, these elements were lackluster and didn’t really aid the plot.

Allende jumped around from character to character, betraying any sense of consistency in the book, although it did follow a typically chronological path. I think the book had too much going on as well. Too many characters that were not discussed enough. It also didn’t help that the story, told mainly in the third person, was occasionally told from the perspective of Esteban Trueba.

Trueba was engaged to Rosa, but he married Clara. Along the way, he raped numerous peasant girls that worked on his land, as well as beating the others into submission. He is a terrible, terrible person, and why Allende chose to take us into his mind, I’m still wondering. It is to sympathize with him? To understand where that type of cruelty comes from? This book, if nothing else, is an excellent study of the most base and horrific aspects of human nature. All the characters are flawed, very few are likeable. Romances soured, relationships faded, loyalties fell apart, mental and physical violence and dominance was also a major element of this book.

The end took a drastic turn towards the macabre, something I wasn’t fully expecting, based on the timid first 300 pages of the novel. Then again, Allende was so wordy that I ended up not really paying attention to what I was reading towards the end. Her passive tone did not convey any sense of the urgency that the plot eventually veered towards.

I would probably recommend this book for anyone looking for a family saga type of novel in the vein of East of Eden and Wild Steps of Heaven. I would recommend this book for fans of Latin-American authors who write provocative pieces that encourage the reader to read outside of their comfort zone and learn about the difficult times and difficult lives of those around the world, In the Time of Butterflies comes to mind. I would not recommend this to fans of magical realism, as that element is missing from this title. I would not recommend this book for readers who prefer dialog over description and prefer plot over character development. This book is filled up the wazoo with character development but has a snail-paced plot driving it along.