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Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

Report, soldier!

Unfortunately, nothing new to report here…or perhaps too much of not much importance to report in teh last few months.  We bought a house, saw some family…I’m still working at the same job but liking it less and less…but aside from professional life, things are good. 

Last night I went into a short “memory fest”.  I started remembering things…one memory leads to another and before I knew it I was thinking about old friends and old times from the past 8 or 9 years.  I can’t imagine having a lifetime of memories to look back on.  The good news is that I learned I am happy where I am.  I may regret a few things, but I can honestly say that my life is good and despite my flubs I think I’m in a good spot headed in the direction I want to go.  It’s a good feeling coming from someone who can barely decide which toothpaste to buy without contemplating the lasting consequences of said decision. 

Now for a quick review!   COLDPLAY: Viva La Vida. 

   For me, Coldplay is a mixed tape band.  I like them, but in small doses.  Viva La Vida is different.  I love their new sound that is so Coldplay but so different.  I found the musicality of this album to be much more complex and varied than other songs I’ve heard by them – lots of syncopation and funky rhythms.  I thought the lyrics were more meaningful and sophisticated and they really experimented with this one; new vocal styles, new instrumentality – and for me it totally worked.  I’ve been listening to it nonstop, as one whole, entire work, and haven’t gotten sick of it yet. 

Another good album is the new Seven Mary 3 (7mary3) album…which album title is escaping me.  Oh well, another good reason to post later.

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Waitress

I rented this movie on a whim while my little sister was in town over the weekend before we drove her up to her first year of college.  A co-worker had given it glowing praise and, while I’m not usually up for the cutesy romance genre, I decided a little light weekend movie would be nice.

I was pleasantly surprised to find myself enjoying the dry wit, the quirky characters, anf of course, the pies.   The internal monologue of Keri Russell reminded me of numerous discussions I’ve had with myself – minus the pies…  The themes about fear, inadequacy, friendship, love, motherhood, and dependancy are things most can relate to.

Was it a ground breaking film?  No.  You like who you’re supposed to like and hate who you’re supposed to hate and many events are easily predicted.  It is, however, a truly entertaining, sympathetic film (particularly for the ladies, although suprisingly my husband enjoyed it as well) and I would love to have seen more of Shelley’s work had she not been murdered.

If you’re in the mood for a fun, warm, somewhat quirky, film and you’ll enjoy it.

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The Namesake

I know I was going to review “I Am Legend”, but I must have been lying because I am going to talk about “The Namesake”.

 Based on a novel by Jahumpa Lahiri, it explores the life of a an Indian couple and their subsequent children, particularly their son.  From the previews, I expected it to be a movie about their son Gogol learning to love his name.  I thought the story would run something like this: Boy has funny name, boy grows angsty and hates name, boy has miraculous experience, boy decides he loves his name, everyone smiles and love abounds.  And this is somewhat true.

There is a son, named Gogul (as in Nikolai Gogul the writer) and he does come to really hate his name.  However, this is not a movie that tries to wrap everything up neatly into a Hollywood package.  It is not a story about a boy changing his name.  It is a story of a boy coming to terms with his name, his heritage, his culture, his family, and himself.  It is a story where many people learn these things; where parents learn to understand children, children come to know parents, and people learn to understand eachother.

The film’s parellels create  a good continuity and the flashbacks are not superfluous or diffucult to follow through a 2 hour movie.  Like many independant films, it chooses to explore issues rather than try and pose an overt “point” – it paints a larger picture.  Shown through the journeys of one family, you see that life doesn’t come wrapped in a box and you can never tell where it will take you, but if you search you can find beauty, love, and peace.  Aside from being beautifully filmed, it captures the emotions that we all experience amidst the touching, funny, somber, unexpected, sometimes unwanted, beautiful events in life. 

There are some things we move on from and there are many things we come back to in the end.

Overall, a great movie that has spurred me on to read the novel. 

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Almost a year ago, I wrote a short post on an NPR show entitled “This American Life” or TAL.  It’s an intelligent and subtly funny show whose topics range from the very serious to the very silly.  It continues to be one of my favorite radio programs and recently, on another program called “More Fair Game”, they aired a spoof of TAL by The Kasper Hauser Comedy Group. 

As a long time TAL fan, I was almost in tears when I heard their oh-so-accurate rendition of Ira Glass’ unique speech patterns and the show’s often outlandish topics. 

If you haven’t heard This American Life before, follow the link.  I recommend “Superpowers” and “The Cruelty of Children” as good starter episodes.

To check out Kasper Hauser Comedy, follow the link. There are two “This American Life” spoofs, and I found the “Gift Giving Guide” to also be extremely humorous.

http://www.podcastpickle.com/cast/17592

 

Happy exploring!

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The Golden Compass

Another book turned film!  I read the trilogy by Philip Pullman a few years ago and I remember little of the second and third books.  Fortunately, I retained a fair amount from the first book – the inspiration for the film.

I was extremely interested in seeing this film for a couple reasons; first being that  I’d read the books and second the whole Pullman controversy.   I am Christian.  In fact – I hope this doesn’t deter the very few readers I have – I am Mormon and I was really shocked when the whole athiest, anti-Pullman rhetoric began.  Although my personal beliefs probably influenced the way I interpreted what Pullman wrote, I never felt that the book was trying to persuade me against God.  I could definately see the anti-organized religion overtones, but that idea is touted by both athiests and believers in a higher power.

Now to the film…

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Good Omens By Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett

There’s just something about English humor.  

For those of you who’ve read and liked The Hitchhiker’s Guide, but sometimes felt weighed down by all the little asides and numerous details, read this book.  For those of you who are Gaiman fans, this book is well worth the extra few minutes it might take to read.  Pratchett’s always witty, but sometimes confusing style, is tempered by Gaiman’s ability to weave a story so entertaining you barely notice you are reading. 

Both are able to completely suspend your disbelief in their humorous, outlandish plots.

But guess what?  About 2 months have elapsed between the last line and now and I never finished reading the book.  Those library deadlines really sneak up on you when you’re juggling more than one book…

Because of this I will instead finish the entry by adding a blatent plug for Neil Gaiman books I have finished.  American Gods and the Sandman Series were the first I read by him.  I’ve since read Anansi Boys and Stardust, along with the cinematic versions of Stardust and Mirrormask.  Someday I’ll get around to Neverwhere…

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If you want an absolutely fabulous photographer, look up Kelli Ward. She was a college roomate and friend who moved to Chicago a few months ago, but will travel for shoots. She takes wonderfully unique, modern, gorgeous photos and has the ability to make any audience feel comfortable. She gives you so many shots to choose from that it’s nearly impossible not to find something you’re in love with. To view some of her work, go to bykelli.com or her blog at bykelli.wordpress.com.

Lastly, here’s a photo my husband took in Mexico. Isn’t he cute? More coming…

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