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Movies & Moving

Warning – there is a spoiler about Into the Wild

Over the weekend I was able to see Into the Wild and Martian Child.  The former, was a very long and scenically beautiful movie. It had some wonderfully poignant moments when the main character really connects with nature and more importantly with people around him.  The ending scenes, however, as he slowly starves to death, left me a little disturbed and just feeling kind of awful at the end.  I couldn’t figure out why, but I think it has to with the fact that when he finally reaches clarity and finds the “truth” he so desperately seeks, there is no hope.  He’s dying and will never get to employ the lesson.  Does he regret it or does he feel that without the final journey into death, his lesson about happiness would have remained unlearned?  Was it worth it to him?  I can’t say – but the seeming futility of his final days really left me feeling a but empty, instead of inspired by the “truth” he learned.  I ended up thinking primarily on his death rather than exploring the other 2 hours of film where you could really think about how pure his relationships were with the people he met when things weren’t founded on things and life wasn’t spent interrupted by cell phones and stop lights.  But I think that is a bit just me – I have a hard time to imagining myself in the situation of characters and the ending scenes were perhaps jut a little too intense for my psyche to handle?  Overall, I loved the soundtrack, loved seeing his travels, the life of a vagadond, and the people he met, but the psychological ramifications of going through the end of life as he did left me feeling a little hollow inside.

Martian Child was a movie that I enjoyed.  I like John Cusack in general, but I thought the movie was a nice “feel-good” film.  Yes, it’s fairly predictable with moments where I had to remind myself that it was a movie, and wraps up tidily – but I still enjoyed it.  It did a good job of not giving you characters you saw a good or bad – while sometimes you were frustrated with the adoption board, the boy, John Cusack, it was only in the mild way you would feel for someone you care for and believe to have good intentions.  And you know what?  There is nothing wrong with enjoying a good, clean, film with a happy ending. 

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Life

Wow.  I’ve been so busy this past week or two – I practically forgot I had a blog!  We’ve been having snowstorms just about every other day, but this weekend is finally going to warm up.  We’re going to look at a house we saw For Sale by Owner and if we like it, we might talk to a mortgage lender.  I’m terrified at the prospect of making such a large purchase – all sorts of doubts and what-ifs…  Anyone else bought a home? 

How did you know it was a good choice?  Did you ever have regrets afterward – wish yuo bought a larger, smaller, more expensive, less expensive, or another home you might have seen?  We’re still only “browsing” since we live in an effing cheap apartment, but we are tripping all over eachother in our one bedroom place!

Also, next time I hope to get a review of Juno on here.  Here’s a sneak peak:  Love it!!!

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Good Things

Valtrex because I have herpes.

And by herpes, I mean cold sores.  I can thank stress and a cut on my lip for this aesthetic nightmare.  It’s the weirdest burning itching sensation on my lip and I end up feeling like some sort of monster.  Valtrex, 2 taken at the first sign and 2 taken 12 hours later usually prevents it from developing, but this time it didn’t.  I’m hoping at the least it will shorten the recovery period and lessen the symptoms. 

If you have cold sores, talk to YOU doctor today about Valtrex.  (Repeat this with the deep voice man from all pharmacuetical commercials.)

Today’s more useful recommendation is Tae Guk Gi a Korean war movie.  I have only seen half of it, but have been totally engrossed in it.  It’s gory, but there is enough humanity within the bounds of the story that you don’t just feel icky and wish you’d never started it.  It’s kind of a heart-wrenching story thus far, but I can’t wait to see the rest,

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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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This seemed to be a case of a film well-liked by the masses, but booed by the critics.  Case in point – IMDB user ratings for the The Kingdom were somewhere around 7.3 out of 10.  For IMDB, that’s a fairly good rating.  Rotton Tomatoes on the other hand, gave it only 51% out of 100%.  1 out of 2 critics gave it a poor review as opposed to say Syriana, which recieved comprable 7.3 and 73% ratings from the 2 sites.

I can see both sides.  The star studded Kingdom clearly had money and a lot of action going for it.  There are all the token explosions, abductions, confrontations, shoot-outs, and car chases.  It kept your attention by drawing you into the mystery of who did the bombing and how they would discover the culprit.  However, the film felt more like something along the lines of Patriot Games. 

It tried to make a political statement; American’s shoot ’em up attitude is no different than those of Middle Eastern Radicals, but in the end it felt shallow instead of imparting a deep sympathy for both sides of a complex problem.  

Colonal Faris Al Ghazi, for me, was the most sympathetic character – one caught amid the turmoil of an unstable country, his loyalties to superiors, regulations, family, country, and personal conscience.

Overall, it was an entertaining and enjoyable movie.  Don’t go expecting a revelation or unique insight into the complex global issue of the Middle East – but take it for what it is.

A very good war film though is called No Man’s Land.  Bosnia – with no soundtrack!  Interesting.

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Happy New Year!

Another year goes by, but it never makes it any easier to return to work!  It’s my first “official” day in my new job position and I feel like the proverbial “fish out of water”.  I have issues with perfectionism and the stress of a potential mistake around every corner is just completely unnerving; it’s made even worse because I have some big shoes to fill. 

As far as New Year’s activities, I kept it mostly low key.  In fact, I did very little.  The husband was sick with a cold the past week and so we played a lot of Xbox, ate a lot of fat and sugar, slept, watched movies (The Kingdom – review to follow) and ran a few select errands including a trip to the fabric store so I could start a quilt. 

We also watched FOOTBALL.  This Bowl, that Bowl, the other Bowl…  Unfortunately, most of them weren’t too exciting.  I was expecially sad about the Hawaii/Georgia match-up, or should I say mis-match.  Poor Hawaii.  The opening flags really set teh tone of what was to come.  In all fairness, I think they were not on their game.  While I don’t think they stood much chance of winning, they also did not play to the best of their ability.  To Georgia’s credit, they played well, especially defensively – but I am now decidedly against them.  I couldn’t believe they called a challenge on a non-goal play with 30 seconds left in the 3rd and they were up 38 to 3.  The coach looked so smug the entire time the play was being reviewed… I just don’t think it was necessary.  But what do I know – I only started watching football a few years ago.

Gah.  Lunch is over – but I promise to review The Kingdom later.

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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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