January 24, 2015

On The Queue #3

On the Queue is a weekly post in which I highlight the movies I've recently watched from my Netflix queue.  

Saving Mr. Banks (2013)

The making of Disney’s Mary Poppins.  Emma Thompson portrays Mrs. Travers well with a always present “I smelled something foul” look on her face.  She annoys you but not to an extreme.  Tom Hanks brings life to to a difficult situation, making sure the movie has a spoon full of sugar, bring heart to Saving Mr. Banks.  

The Flashbacks of Traver’s life are well laid out and give a great understanding to what Mary Poppins meant to her creator.

At the very end of the movie the real tapes of Mrs. Traver’s recordings are heard and thought Emma Thompson did a good job portraying the sense of righteousness that the author of Mary Poppins exhibits.  Saving Mr. Banks was a fun look at the making of a childhood classic.

The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

The film opens with Leonardo Dicaprio snorting coke of a girl’s ass crack.  This should have been a clue to the movie’s tone.  Leonardo’s character wants to be a Wall  Street stock broker and instead scams little old ladies out of their social security checks.  This is bad enough but then we get raunchy and 70s sexist.  The peeking point for me was when Jonah Hill jacks off and shows a member I really don’t care to see.  It took me a minute to recover and then promptly turned it off. 

January 17, 2015

On The Queue #2

On the Queue is a weekly post in which I highlight the movies I've recently watched from my Netflix queue.

Gravity (2013):
Huh? This movie mainly consisted of Sandra Bullock floating around in her underwear and breathing heavily. I also got a kick out of Bullock floating in the fetal position with what looks like an umbilical cord behind her.  Artsy Fartsy

But I'm a Cheerleader (1999):
Another huh. I'm not sure why I took up a friends recommendation on a movie on a fictionalized Michelle Bachmann's "help centers" instead it was two hours I'll never get back.

Rent (2005):
I so wanted to see this despite mixed reviews but turned it off thirty minutes in. It was just too hectic for me.

January 12, 2015

Book Review: The Shining

Author: Stephen King
Publisher: Anchor
Publication Date: 1977
Source: Library
Purchase: Amazon|Barnes & Noble 
Add To: Goodreads

Jack Torrance’s new job at the Overlook Hotel is the perfect chance for a fresh start. As the off-season caretaker at the atmospheric old hotel, he’ll have plenty of time to spend reconnecting with his family and working on his writing. But as the harsh winter weather sets in, the idyllic location feels ever more remote . . . and more sinister. And the only one to notice the strange and terrible forces gathering around the Overlook is Danny Torrance, a uniquely gifted five-year-old. 
~ Goodreads

I have tried to watch Forrest Gump several times but with each attempt I fall asleep.  The stretch between his college football games and saving Lieutenant Dan had me yawning.  Until recently this has been my experience with The Shining.  I found it slow and wasn't able to slog my way to room 217.  Perhaps it was the snowy, wooded, isolated setting that I currently call home but this time I stuck with it.  Perseverance payed off as The Shining is a horrific good read.

The Torrances are well established characters with an even balance of Danny (and Tony) strangely knowing more than they showed and Danny's parents mimicking Miss Clavel's something is not right.

Although it is The Overlook hotel that really shines in King's novel.  Aptly named she looks over her inhabitants with eerie care.

"The Overlook faced it as it had for three-quarters of a century, its darkened windows now bearded with snow, indifferent to the fact that it was now cut off from the world.  Or possibly it was pleased with the prospect.  Inside its shell the three of them went about their early evening routine, like microbes trapped in the intestine of a monster." 
~ Chapter 24, Page 211

It is when the hedge animals start to move that the atmosphere changes.  Something wicked this way comes.  Jack's sanity begins to unwind as well as any hope that this stint at The Overlook would give the Torrances the new start they had been hoping for.  It is a telling scene overshadowed by sadness.

"Staring at the hedge animals, he realized something had changed while he had his hand over his eyes.  The dog had moved closer."
~ Chapter 23, page 208

 The climax of the film All About Eve is Margo Channing descending a staircase, with daggers in her eyes proclaiming "Fasten your seat belts, it's going to be a bumpy night".  This reminded me of  Wendy after barricading herself and Danny into their quarters, feeling threatened by her husband,  descending the grand staircase with a butcher knife in mind.  I relate these two scenes because they initiate the downfall that is to come.  In The Shining, I tensed up not for the puffed up woman in a bathtub, but for a simple walk down a staircase because like Eve Harrington, Jack Torrance has an agenda.

Perhaps it is because I associate The Shining and therefore Jack Torrance with Jack Nicholson's maddening "Here's Johnny!" but I was not as terrified as I thought I would be.  Instead, I viewed The Shining as a suspenseful, stay up late kind of read.  Although by the end of the Torrance's nightmare I understood why it had become a classic.

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January 10, 2015

On The Queue #1

On the Queue is a weekly post in which I highlight the movies I watched from my Netflix queue the past week, to keep these posts short and sweet I am going to sum up my thoughts in one or two sentences.

Philomena was heartbreaking and quite frankly, made me angry and is an amazing story of one woman's journey to find her son.

Labor Day
Implausible, and more  Lifetime Movie material and considering the actors was a complete disappointment.  It did have a "Ghost" moment, you know the one.

I didn't feel like Possessed had a beginning, middle or an end, it just plugged along.  Strange.

Intermezzo pissed me off.  Leslie Howard's character was a douche, and I do not like to think of Leslie Howard as a douche so therefore frustrated me.  I will say the ending had an "OH MY GOD!" moment but not enough to save this film.

The Blue Gardenia
Interesting, held my attention but at the same time nondescript.

January 8, 2015

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Author: J.K. Rowling
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: July 8, 2000
Source: Bought
Purchase: Amazon|Barnes & Noble
Add To: Goodreads

The summer holidays are dragging on and Harry Potter can't wait for the start of the school year. It is his fourth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and there are spells to be learnt, potions to be brewed and Divination lessons (sigh) to be attended. Harry is expecting these: however, other quite unexpected events are already on the march ...

J.K. Rowling continues to draw toward two major themes, love and prejudice. Love, through Harry with those surrounding him with a strong desire to protect him. His mother giving her life to save him, Dumbledore through the stupidity of blind love consistently finds excuses to avoid telling him the true reason why Voldemort attacked thirteen years ago to spare him more pain to endure. A second being prejudice, the wizarding world has a myriad of races in the community and it appears that in every book Rowling chooses a new race to "pick on". In Goblet of Fire the choice is house elves, implying that they are slaves with one free elf, Dobby who was freed several years ago and while loving his new found freedom is finding it hard to make the transition. Strangely enough, I was also reminded of Susan B. Anthony or the Woman's Right movement, maybe it was Hermione's organization S.P.E.W. {Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare}. Lastly, and I believe this is more apparent in the movies due to the costumes but the Death Eaters, Voldemort's supporters have an uncanny resemblance to the KKK from the described garb to the groups torture and discrimination on certain races/species. 

. The Goblet of Fire is kind of like Gone with the Wind, the first half of the book/movie shows the thriving comfortable land of the south, and in the second part war strikes demolishing everything they knew. I feel that this installment has similar features, the wizarding world working hard to maintain a peaceful secret life for the past thirteen years only to begin to crumble at Voldemort's return.

This was read for the Harry Potter Reread-Along hosted by Book Journey