Saturday, May 22, 2010

Review: Recent movies and books!

I swear, I thought that life would be easier as the end (of school!) approached, but clearly I deceived myself. This week (work-wise) just about killed me. Seriously. I can actually tell how crapulous* the week has been by how much exercise I fit in after work versus how much drinking I do. And this week, the exercise to drinking ratio was like 0:10. Zero being "exercise", ten being "drinking"**.
Not being able nor wanting to divulge specific details, I shall just say that there are certain aspects of one of the hats that I wear at my job that I hate. Not merely dislike a little, but hate. I mean, grading, is pretty far down on the list, but it doesn't wear me out emotionally. The discipline piece, seeing students cry, knowing that they aren't horrible human being but just human beings who have made a mistake because they are still young, THAT is the piece of the puzzle that repels me.
I did survive the week (there must be gods or a God somewhere), and the weekend has been glorious so far. Nice weather with lots of sun, a few new recipes, lots of time with the dogs, a 3-mile run at the gym (clocking 10:20 miles - faster than the last time I really kept track of my run at the gym; it's still slow, I'm still slow, but I'm getting faster, ever so slightly...), peaches and nectarines at the Farmers' Market. Life is good.

On a different note, but in keeping with that idea, now that one class is over and the year draws to a close, I have the time to read just a bit more, and we continue to make our way through our Netflix queue. What would I do without Netflix? If a more poetic vein ran through my being, I might try to write an ode to this heavenly idea made reality.

Books are also heavenly in their own way, but they also require brain cells and concentration, both of which seem to elude me these days. That said, I did pick up and read "The Quiet American". It was lying around the house, thanks to my aunt who periodically purges my uncle's book collection before it takes over their entire house. I had seen the movie prior to reading the book, which is rather unfortunate, but it didn't ruin the experience for me because the details of the movie did not overpower the language of the book. It isn't a great book, but I enjoyed it and would definitely recommend it. Graham Greene does have a way with language and beautifully evokes melancholy and nostalgia.
I'm currently in the midst of "The Great Fire" which is billed as a "love story" but is so much more than that. Funnily enough, the author, Shirley Hazzard, wrote a memoir of Graham Greene, which I did not realize until I was a few chapters into the book and decided to read the front cover about her. So far, I don't *love* it, but it is an interesting book and well-written. It also takes place in the past, China and Japan post-World War II, so it evokes a different place and time. We shall see what the final verdict is.
Movies hold their own place. During the week, Michael and I rarely watch a feature-length movie but recently we've been watching "MI-5", a British series about "MI-5", of course. It's an entertaining but highly improbable show which I enjoy and Michael tolerates because of me. We also finished the penultimate season of "Foyle's War" which I love and Michael likes. The first two seasons were a bit shaky, but the last few have been excellent. I'm both excited and sad to see the final season - do other people feel that sense of loss when a show ends? "The Wire" totally provoked that mixed feeling in me.
And the movies we have seen? There have been a few highlights:
- "Blade Runner" - A classic that has aged like a really great wine (sorry for the simile). Seriously though, it is still an excellent movie. I must make a note to myself to watch it at least every five years or so. Just great.
- "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown" - also a classic. It has been a while since I've seen it, and I rented it (gasp!) to show my AP Class now that they are done with books and tests and papers. It has also aged well, but it's also great to see the 80's fashion reflected in that movie. Wow! Such amazing acting, a comedy of errors and a wholly entertaining movie.
- "Inglorious Basterds" - I did not hold high expectations for the film, so it came as a pleasant surprise to me (and to Michael) that we enjoyed it as much as we did. First of all, the title of the film seems to be a bit of a red herring, if you ask me. Well-written, well-acted, well-everything. I don't consider myself a fan of Tarantino at all, but it often surprises me how much I like his movies.
- "Sherlock Holmes" - A bit of a disappointment. Entertaining in parts, but not a great film (in my opinion).
- "JCVD" - Quite a surprise, that movie. We actually just saw it tonight, and it sort of 'snuck up' on the Netflix queue. It is billed as a 'comic action' film, but they should also add 'wickedly sharp satire'. It is a movie that is very much about movies, similar to "The Player", but also a bit bleaker and darker.
That's the round-up from my end of the universe! Bonne nuite!

*Crapulous - doe not actually mean 'crappy', although it should. The Spanish translation is "crapuloso/a", nothing about mierda, to my disdain. It has more to do with excess, usually referring to eating or drinking.
** No excess on my part, none indeed. Seriously though, I do hope that my drinking doesn't offend anyone.


Anonymous said...

I have not heard good things about Inglorious Bastards so I am glad that you liked it. Tarantino is usually sort of out there for me but I may give it a try now because you obviously have great taste. :)

I am glad you survived the rough week and can now enjoy! Have a great Sunday!

Kim said...

I loved Inglorious Basterds! I thought Sherlock Holmes was just OK, but in comparison to some of the crap we had seen recently, I called it "good." I like Robert Downey Jr. Blade Runner is such a great classic. Same with Women on the Verge...
I am an avid Netflix fan. We watched Avatar last night...finally. I don't see what the hype is about. I started folding laundry about 45 minutes into it.
Have a good Sunday :)