Monday, July 19, 2010

"Words are flowing out... endless rain into a paper cup." Across the Universe by The Beatles

Woohoo, third post of the day! It's good to have internet again...I promise I won't be this bad every day. I've been going through withdrawal, remember. :P

More details about my new job: it's the same job my sister has, actually. I get to help build a database by researching the family-friendliness of actors and actresses. I will tell ya'll to your faces what I do, but I'm not going to post any more about it (though it will probably give me food for thought regarding movies and such. :)

Ok, first things first. It is raining. It is thundering (the lightning has gone on to other parts of town, so I felt it was probably safe to get on the computer). The cat and I do not like thunder. It's not quite early enough for bed, but it's too late to just take a nap...

Decisions, decisions.
(The creepy rainy-lighting was too good to pass up. Isn't it so deliciously Hitchcockesque?)
This is me, looking out at the very wet rain.
This is Irony, being startled by thunder.

I am going to do my nails and then sit down with a mystery, probably either Agatha Christie or Elizabeth Peters, and drink some tea, and just be warm and safe and dry.

But before I do this, I wanted to talk about two thing: a movie review, and an author of note.

First, I just watched the movie, Across the Universe, which was probably a mistake. The music was charming, a revisitation of all our Beatles favorites, of course, (I am probably the last person to notice that the misspelling of Beatles has the word "beat" inserted...I'm a genius).
The colors and idea of the film are clearly a revisitation of all the anti-war drama that comes out every time America engages in any overseas campaigns, and there is, of course, merit to the pro-peace argument (though I refuse to discuss that in this post) but as with most romanticized nostalgic memories of the sixties and seventies, the politics and policy and real-world issues are left aside, and colors and slogans are all that is left, and the Beatles, of course.

I found the cinematography engaging, though also somewhat disturbing at times. It was, as I am sure was intended, a very trippy film, and the sordid lives of the characters left me hollow, without any redemptive hope for their futures, nor any apparent lessons learned from the story--except for the predictably picturesque final number, All You Need Is Love.

Indeed, story-wise, though not completely absent in plot, this movie essentially provided a string of events allowing for a musical-type film composed entirely of classic Beatles. Every number had its merit (some turned out better than others--my favorites were Hey Jude, Across the Universe, and All You Need Is Love) and I was impressed with the interpretation and usage of some songs, such as Strawberry Fields, which they turned into a marvelously depressing summary of Vietnam through the eyes of the American youth movements.

I would not recommend this movie to most people, the promiscuity and grimy lifestyles portrayed are somewhat too graphic for my taste, as well as the bizarre drug scenes. However, in the same way Moulin Rouge is a pretty and memorably artistic film, Across The Universe has its moments, though to a lesser degree, and without the pedigree of talent Moulin Rouge utilized. I see why people would like it, but it left me, frankly, depressed and a little nauseated for the psychedelic re-coloring of several scenes and the credits. To be fair to the film, however, I will say that the music was impressive, there were some very nicely set up scenes and shots, and the use of the strawberry motif was enticingly artistic.

The second thing I want to discuss (briefly) is Terry Pratchett and his Discworld series. My sister started me reading them, and I'm not going to lie, once I pick up a Discworld book, I find it nearly impossible to put down. I eat up them like candy. And they have begun to affect me in the same way as candy--it's getting a little sticky and I feel a little ill after inhaling one too many too quickly.

It's difficult to describe these books. They are fantasy (though usually found in the sci-fi section, for some inexplicable reason) and they utilize all the grand traditions of fantasy stories. The writing is fabulous, I can't gush enough about how well Pratchett uses various rhetorical devises. His plots are always complicated-enough-but-not-too-much, and his characters are unique, amusing, sympathetic, and believable. I highly recommend most of them (the first one you should read is definitely Going Postal). Some times the stories are a little obscure, as well as whatever Pratchett is making fun of--though all his books featuring one of my favorite recurring characters, Vimes, are about law enforcement and the struggles and politics thereof, and naturally those are close to my heart.

Anyway, I have been reading those lately because my library has a good stock of them, and I've finally decided to swear off them for a few months--I need to get back into classic mysteries and less fanciful fiction. But in moderation (which I have not been exercising at all when it comes to the Discworld books) they are excellent stories.

That's all. I'm going to go paint my nails and drink my tea now. <3

Isn't it ironic?

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