Posts Tagged ‘movie’
I was very pleased to see The Great Gatsby on the weekend, it’s rare that I’m up-to-date so I enjoyed it for its rarity and also for the movie. I’d made certain to reread the book earlier this month as it’s been far too many years since my first reading.
I almost said it’s a lovely book but it isn’t really, it’s very nicely written with great prose and well drawn characters, it was hard to remember it was during prohibition as there was so much alcohol and it didn’t seem to be well hidden. It’s the story of two people, one who wants to go back to the past while the other just plays with people, it’s hard when they both have money enough to do what they want.
The movie was also very good, it showed the times very well, the opulence of the era, or at least as shown by those with the money to throw around, it did miss some of the secondary storylines such as the dalliance between Jordan Baker and Nick Carraway but I’m really not sure how much that added to the story except to make it less about Daisy Buchanan and Jay Gatsby. There were little things that pointed to prohibition such as wrapping the bottle of whisky in a towel but as the drinking of alcohol wasn’t illegal even that doesn’t give us many pointers as there could be other reasons for this towel.
Why am I harping on prohibition? It was an interesting time in American history running from the 1840s to the 1920s, while it was illegal to manufacture or sell it drinking alcohol was legal so there were many clubs you could belong to and attend to drink but it was challenging to go to a bottle shop as we do now and buy something for home use. Many books have been written and many films produced based on prohibition. I hope to learn more about it in the future.
Back to the movie. I thoroughly enjoyed it and agreed with one critic’s view of Joel Edgerton’s performance, he eclipsed Leonardo DiCaprio whose performance I felt just didn’t quite get the words and the character. DiCaprio is a very good actor, I’ve seen him in many things except The Titanic and he’s been excellent in everything but in this one I felt he just wasn’t quite right. There was one scene when we see him see Daisy for the first time and Nick Carraway is doing a voiceover talking about the look in his eyes as if he’s very much in love with her but I just wasn’t convinced. It was still a very good performance just not quite right.
This is the first role I’ve seen Tobey Maguire in where I’ve felt he was just right. I saw him in Spiderman and wasn’t at all convinced there but he was perfect for Nick Carraway, just the right levels of someone who is very good at being pushed around.
I could write lots more about this movie and how right it was but to give it a bit of balance I’ll tell you about the music. While it sounded good some of it had been written in the wrong time. It wasn’t all written in the 1920s and some of it sounded like it had been written now which it was. Maybe I’m being overly critical but when doing a period drama like this I do like the music to be have been written in the right time.
If you saw the movie Beaches with Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey and you think this book might possibly the same story then you’re partly right. There are enough similarities to ensure you can see where they got the ideas for the movie from but there are also major departures. Normally I have issues with some of these changes but in this case I’m struggling to find anything wrong.
The basic storyline of two young girls meeting on the beach, becoming pen pals, best friends and then one of them looking after the other while she dies is still there. CC Bloom is still an entertainer and goes on to become one of the best in the business. Bert (short for Roberta) is still very gorgeous and gets a fatal disease. There are many other similarities throughout but there are also places where they deviate and I have no problem with any of it.
In the book Bert is a housewife who has to look after her husband who doesn’t care, in the movie she is a lawyer. The daughter is an accidental pregnancy in the book but I don’t remember this detail from the movie. In the book Bert has ovarian cancer but in the movie she has a disorder which is fatal, called Viral Cardiomyopathy, I haven’t done any research on it.
There are so many changes and I don’t mind any of them, they have the essential parts of the book and the changes just accentuate them. I’ve cried my way through the movie every time I’ve seen it and cried my way through the book. I loved the book and am now torn between taking it to the op shop so I don’t read it and cry again or putting it on my shelf so I can read it and cry again. I’m going to have to find the movie so I can check out the similarities and the differences. I do think they got the casting absolutely right for the two main parts with both their young selves and their older selves, each actor is just perfect. When I first saw it I thought the movie was written for Bette Midler but with the book written three years before the movie was released that’s highly unlikely, unless the author had Midler in mind during the writing.
Ghostbusters premiered in the USA 7 June 1984. It was such a stupid movie back then but I enjoyed it immensely and it’s moving into different spheres. I borrowed it a while back and told the kids not to watch it as they might laugh, wrong move, they watched, they laughed and have now bought the game for their Xbox. Don’t hassle me, I didn’t buy the machine.
Jurassic Park premiered in the USA 9 June 1993. I know this movie has been dissed by so many people in so many different ways, I know there are problems with the foundation of using DNA to get dinosaurs but the movie was great. The idea of having dinosaurs onscreen like that and having actors interacting with them was just fabulous. I’ve watched the extras on the DVD and it just made me enjoy it more.
Jesse Francis McComas (June 9, 1910, Kansas City, Missouri – April 19, 1978, Fremont, California) was the first editor of SF & F, or Science Fiction and Fantasy magazine, in 1949. It was groundbreaking and has encouraged many new writers and readers.
Joss Whedon Joseph Hill “Joss” Whedon born June 23, 1964. Anyone who’s seen Buffy, Angel or Firefly knows the genius that is Joss Whedon. His latest attempt is Cabin in the Woods, I’ll be seeing it on 14th June along with Nullus Anxietas 4, if you’re in Melbourne that night you can join us, advance bookings are here.
The last item in my calendar for June is Mercedes Lackey Mercedes “Misty” Lackey (born June 24, 1950). Lackey is a fantasy writer. She’s not that old but has already written over 100 books, my nephew swears by her so she must be good, I haven’t had the chance to read her yet I’m sure that’s a joy for me when I get there.
I’m sure there are other people and events but this is all I have for June. I’ll give you a round up of another month another time.
The Grapes of Wrath in every form is very hard to take. It shows how the poor and dispossessed lived and loved during the Great Depression in America. Its real message is how the big corporations had stopped treating people as humans and started treating them as numbers.
In case you haven’t read it or seen the movie here’s a potted storyline. Young Tom Joad and his family are thrown off his family’s land in Oklahoma, they’ve been farming there for 50 years and generations have been born and died there. They come across a handbill asking for pickers in California so they pack up their truck with all their possessions, and family members, with the intention of driving along Route 66 (a new and very long and important road across America) to California where they expected to work very hard and make lots of money. The journey happened, family members died or left along the way and they finally got to California to find thousands of other families all trying to do the same thing. The big corporations were paying stupidly low wages for picking stupidly large amounts of fruit or cotton, families did their best to survive but many didn’t. I know prices were much cheaper in those days but they were being paid 5c for a bucket of oranges and that was dropped to 2.5c as there were so many workers. Some people were trying to organise strikes and unions, people died as a result. Tom Joad killed one of the men trying to break up the strikers and ended up going on the run.
The movie is a fairly condensed version of the book. If you read the Wikipedia page on it you can see the movie deviated from the book somewhat in the last half. I can’t agree or disagree as it’s been a long time since I last read it, I watched the movie this week during a break from the computer. That’s probably due to movies and books having different methods of delivery, I’m sure I’ve discussed this in a previous article. I felt the movie was true to the book in that it showed us how the families coped or not and it also showed how the big corporations viewed the people doing the hack work.
The book followed the Joad’s on their journey and as it was in written form John Steinbeck was able to give much more detail. We see details about Tom’s young sister, Rose of Sharon, and her new husband as well as her pregnancy and the still birth of her child. We see many more details of the picking jobs and how the prices dropped from 10c to 5c to 2.5c. I could go on and on as the details are there about the camps and how degrading they were and how little food they had. The movie has to cover all of this detail in a much shorter time so we only see some of it with the inference that these kinds of things happened in so many different places. The kindness displayed is generally by the person representing themselves or their families as opposed to the person representing a large corporation. The family take in others, they feed other children in various camps and others are generous to them with generosity being given to them in their turn. They personify the Pay-It-Forward campaign.
If you haven’t read the book or seen the movie be prepared for heartache and tears. I’d actually be comparing it with many large companies today to see how they have changed, if at all.
Definitely, poor Yorick, it’s a fairly well known line from Hamlet and often misquoted. This doesn’t mean I’m reviewing Hamlet, far from it. I am going to make quick mention of the storyline and then talk a little about the numerous essays and creative responses that I’ve had to read as part of my studies.
One of the problems I have with Hamlet is that it’s supposedly set in Denmark but it has English values and thoughts in it. I know this is because Shakespeare was not widely travelled and didn’t know a great deal about other countries. He was widely educated about legends and used them in his stories, but he very loosely based them in Denmark or Verona or wherever while overlaying English society into the play. That worries me.
Hamlet’s father dies and his mother marries his uncle within a couple of months. Not too good you reckon? I quite agree, Hamlet’s father was the king of Denmark and although it was an elected position, if Hamlet had been in Denmark at the time then there’s a fair chance he’d have been elected. Fat chance he has now, then to add insult to injury a ghost appears claiming to be his father and tells Hamlet he was really murdered by his brother. Awesome work, now he just has to unmask his uncle, Claudius, then kill him and then take over the crown. Doesn’t happen, he manages to unmask Claudius just at the very end and kill him but everyone else dies too and he recommends Fortinbras, the nephew of the king of Norway, take over the throne with his dying breath. There you go, how’s that for spoilers?
The play is a very complex one, I’ve simplified it substantially and put in some of the interpretation I feel necessary to make sense of the whole thing. Freud would most likely have words to say about the whole ‘mother issue’ Hamlet seems to have and so many other people have had their say. The overwhelming thread that comes through all these pieces of writing is that they’re looking from the point of view of their training. Freud…no, I’ve already mentioned Freud. Asimov wrote a very sensible piece which detailed the entire play complete with history attached and with the political ramifications fully intact making it really easy to put the play in context.
A 19th Century piece of prose by someone called Fox was very nice. We were told to be aware of when it was written and how that would colour the thinking. I bore that in mind and just enjoyed the turn of phrase. Ann Blake gave us an essay on Hamlet’s state of mind. Sue Tweg wrote A Dream of Passion which brings in Shakespeare’s contemporary, Ben Jonson, and also Mona Lisa. Jan Fox discusses the many soliloquies by Hamlet in Now I am alone…, it’s not terribly long considering Hamlet has so many soliloquies. In Graeme Henry’s essay, The poison of deep grief he talks about how ingrained into society Hamlet is.
Hamlet: Dying as an Art by Fintan O’Toole is a lovely article on the character of Hamlet and why he’s never going to do what he needs to do. I have one page full of paragraphs from different people including: Coleridge (1818), A. C. Bradley (1904), T. S. Eliot (1919) and G. Wilson Knight (1930).
Blood and Madness by Bob Carr
Hamlet from Shakespeare’s Language by Frank Kermode
Essays and Soliloquies from A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare by James Shapiro
Hamlet Returns from What Happens in “Hamlet” by John Dover Wilson
Hamlet from The Romantics on Shakespeare Wars by Ron Rosenbaum
Cross Cultural Reflections on Mortality: Hamlet and Chuang Tzu by F. Gonzalez Crussi
Word-games and Hamlet by David Crystal
An interesting essay by Carolyn Heilbrun gives a different view of Hamlet’s mother. Most people look on her as being ineffective and brainless, Heilbrun details how astute she feels Gertude really was and why. Edith Sitwell wrote a few ‘notes’ on Hamlet, she felt she was unworthy to write on this topic and so only wrote a few notes.
I really enjoyed some of these. Clive James wrote a poem called Angels over Elsinore which I found rather interesting as it’s been written in fairly modern language but you can see the style of Shakespeare and he’s referenced Hamlet a number of times using some of Shakespeare’s phrases.
The one I enjoyed the most was written by Margaret Attwood, called Gertrude Talks Back it’s written from Gertrude’s point of view and basically tells Hamlet to stop agonising over what to do and to go away. Awesome stuff!
I also enjoyed John Updike’s take on Hamlet with Gertrude and Claudius. A very nice little story from Gertrude and Claudius’ point of view giving us a great deal of probable background into their relationship before Hamlet senior’s death. Most enjoyable.
The one I didn’t enjoy was not given to me as homework but recommended by my eldest. Something Rotten by Jasper Fforde is the fourth book in the Thursday Next series, it was interesting to read how he took the popular line with Hamlet’s character. I’ll scribble a few more words about this another time.
Other creative responses included are:
Wife to Horatio by Jennifer Strauss
An Island Cemetery by W. H. Auden
Hamlet in the movies
Having read over 200 pages about Hamlet I feel I would be forgiven for not having read the play as there’s enough in all of that to detail the play in it’s entirety. I have not cheated, I have read the play and also watched the entire three hour film by the Royal Shakespeare Company with David Tennant in the lead role and also watched a good deal of the four hour film by Kenneth Brannagh with himself in the lead role. I like different things from the films, Tennant was good but I preferred Derek Jacobi in the role of Claudius. I’ll just digress briefly, it’s interesting how Derek Jacobi has played two different people by the name of Claudius, he’s done both of them very nicely.
We were shown one scene from a Russian version by Grigori Kozintsev produced in 1964. I would very much like to see more of it as it had the atmosphere that matched how I viewed the play. Hamlet has been produced so many different times including the one in 1948 with Sir Laurence Olivier, Sir John Gielgud produced the play on stage in 1964.
With 1,000+ words this article could only ever be a summary and I’ve really only skimmed the surface of the essays and creative responses I’ve read. Hamlet is so complex and so widely studied I suggest it’s impossible to do more than summarise a handful of them in such a short post. I have tried to at least list the names of the article and the author.
It’s been an interesting weekend with a juxtaposition of events. On Saturday we went to see the latest Harry Potter movie and on Sunday we went to a funeral. Why am I mentioning the funeral? You’ll have to get through a few words about Harry Potter before I get to that.
Here be spoilers…
It was a good movie, there were some unforgettable moments and most of them were in the special effects. There was the death of Voldemort and the fight scenes some of which were really good and others were not so good and then there was Neville. In the earlier books/movies you’ll remember him as the one who stood up to Harry, Hermione and Ron and received enough points to give Gryffindor the winning margin. He was chubby and a wimp, in this movie he’s all grown up and turning into a hero. He led the team when Harry wasn’t there and then dealt with one of Voldemort’s horcruxes in a spectacular way. He looked far more like a hero than Harry does. The actor, Matthew Lewis, had been in a few things before Harry Potter and has only managed to fit in one role in between the movies. It will be interesting to see what roles he’s offered now, but I see him as an action hero, he really did look good with a sword.
With every beginning there is an ending. I see this movie as the beginning of Matthew Lewis’ acting career and yesterday we attended an ending, a funeral. She was my very distant cousin and I hadn’t met her too many times, she seems to have touched many lives as there were around 300 people there. The room we use for funerals is not very big and there was standing room only, very little standing room. Normally the eulogy will be spoken by the rabbi and maybe one or more family members. In this case we listened to the rabbi, the brother, a poem read by a couple and also a eulogy by Mark Baker, an eminent local historian who was a good friend of hers. It was a long service so it was good we were inside as it often rains at Springvale and yesterday was no exception, lots of rain and lots of mud. Baker referred to my cousin as a prophet and compared her to Miriam, Moses’ sister. This is not a term people use lightly and looking around at the numbers of people and speaking to someone afterwards I could begin to see why this might be. The rabbi introduced the deceased’s favourite music and asked everyone to start it off and they did. Standing at the back I didn’t see any indication of anyone leading and it was beautiful to hear 50 odd voices start in unison without any lead in or counting, she would have been happy to hear such a beautiful sound. The rain was good in one way, a stranger offered to share her umbrella to walk from the building to the graveside, she was Christian, so I filled her in on some of our practices and asked her how she knew my cousin. It’s funny how I never got this lady’s name but we discussed how she knew my cousin through Torah classes. It was an interesting experience as I got to see my cousin through so many different eyes, the rabbi, the brother, the poem, Mark Baker and this anonymous Indian Christian. Listening to them talk I wished I could have known her more.
The two events made an interesting (there goes that word again) weekend. Harry Potter was revered as the saviour and my cousin was revered as a real person and a prophet. I don’t think I’ll have many weekends like this.
I was given A Christmas Carol DVD to view and review. As I’ve never read the book I took the time to read it first so as to be more familiar with the story. When I came to watch the movie I found it reasonably faithful to the book.
In case you don’t know the story I’ll just give you a quick description. It is the story of Ebenezer Scrooge and how he was very tightfisted with his money, he wouldn’t give money to anyone for anything outside of his own small ideas and was only interested in making more. One Christmas Eve his partner who had died seven years previously came back to introduce three Ghosts to him. Against his better judgement he goes with these three Ghosts and learns much about his past, how he became so miserly and what is likely to happen to him should he continue in the same way. He takes the lessons well and changes his ways.
It has so many of the scenes Charles Dickens described so carefully detailed with much love and care. I did notice one scene that has been added in, it is well within context and helps to explain a later scene. This scene showing the young Ebenezer Scrooge dancing with a young lady, both enamoured with the other, is not in the book but a scene only a few pages later where the young lady is telling Scrooge she’s been supplanted by gold is there. I almost skipped that scene in the book at it is so very short and there is apparently no lead up to it so it does help to have them dancing, it puts it totally in context.
The movie is made with mocap which is a technique that consists of putting the actors in strange costumes totally unlike the costumes we see and painting lots of dots on their bare skin all of which help the computers to see the different parts. After filming the shots are then turned into animation, they’ve done such a great job you can often tell who the actor is. The actors often take more than one role. Jim Carrey plays Ebenezer Scrooge as well as the three Ghosts. Gary Oldman plays Bob Cratchitt and his son, I did wonder why they looked so much alike. Colin Firth plays Scrooge’s nephew. I very much enjoyed Bob Hoskins as Mr Fezziwig but then I like his acting. Many of the other cast played more than one role, something that’s very easy with the way this movie was made.
Walt Disney Studios have been very clever and released this as a value pack so you get a Blu-Ray disc as well as a DVD so you can play it now on your DVD player and then again later when you upgrade to Blu-Ray.
I do recommend you help your child read the book before viewing the movie. If they’re old enough then they can read it by themselves. I feel that this movie complements the book in so many ways. It shows us the things we can’t imagine from the book about how society used to look and act.
There are some scenes where Scrooge falls from great heights which had me worried despite knowing they were not real. I’m really not good with heights.
When you put DVD into the player it goes straight into the movie and afterwards goes straight into the extras. You can shortcut this by pressing the main menu button. The extras consist of one of the actors talking about the making of the movie with shots of how it works and some explanations of some of the techniques. The second one is one of the child actors showing and describing one of her days, the is lovely, the girl is a delight and you can see how excited she is to be doing this. The third extra is deleted scenes, they are all incomplete and the faces of the actors sometimes show through the animation which I feel might disturb younger children.
This is the typical story of two teens meeting and falling in love. One of them is famous, Christopher Wilde played by Sterling Knight, and the other isn’t, Jessica Olson played by Danielle Campbell. Jessica’s older sister, Sara played by Maggie Castle, is mad keen on Christopher and is desperate to meet him on their trip to see their grandma while Jessica is totally unexcited and just wants to see their grandma. Thanks to Sara’s desperation, Jessica runs into Christopher and ends up spending a day with him. They fall madly in love but won’t admit it, Christopher because he wants to protect her from the paparazzi and Jessica because she doesn’t understand his motives. Everything comes out all right in the end as you’d expect.
It’s a cute little movie and there are some scenes which highlight the current storyline. One scene I noticed was when Christopher is turning things down in order to be with Jessica and he does this on a movie set between takes. The scene being shot is full of rain while the weather outside is lovely and sunny, it just highlights how he’s moving from being very sad to very happy and shows he’s doing the right thing. This is just one example as there are many of these little asides happening throughout the show.
The music is nice and light, quite appropriate to young people, there are no scenes of dubiousness as it’s aimed at the preteen and early teen market. I quite enjoyed it despite it being a love story. There is a little bit of violence, but it’s mostly accidental and they apologise for it.
All three actors were good, but there is one person I’m going to watch out for as he grows up. Brandon Smith played Christopher’s best friend, Stubby. I was quite taken with his performance, especially his singing.
I checked out all four actors and discovered that Maggie Castle has a lot more experience in the film industry than the other three, maybe that’s what made her performance a little more believable than the others.
Thank you again to the lovely people at Disney for providing me a copy of this movie. It was released on DVD a few days ago with an extended version of the movie and a couple of extra music videos attached to the movie. I quite like these but when I saw the word ‘Extras’ I expected a little more.
I was sent this movie to review and asked a friend to come over with her young son as my kids are in the wrong demographic and I wanted to get a young person’s take on it.
This movie was loosely based on The Frog Prince originally written by the Brothers Grimm. You know the story line with The Frog Prince…prince turned into frog and needs princess to kiss him to turn him back, yes? This movie was rather turned around and I liked it. The prince is turned into a frog and needs a princess to kiss him to turn him back, which is fine, but there aren’t any princesses around and the girl he thinks is a princess, isn’t. She kisses him anyway and is turned into a frog, this is the story of how they’re turned back into humans. While looking for a way to change back into human form they make some friends in the form of Louis, an alligator and Ray, a firefly.
Every good Disney story needs a villain and Keith David obliges with the voice for Dr. Facilier. There are also shadows who can attack the humans and the animals, there’s other animals helping the frogs and some lovely singing. Anika Noni Rose does the voice of our heroine, Tiana, and has a lovely singing voice. Bruno Campos voices our hero, Prince Naveen and Oprah Winfrey voices Tiana’s mother, Eudora.
There are a number of issues dealt with in this movie. It’s okay to have a dream, but wishing won’t make it come true, you really need to work at it. What you need is not always what you want. Other issues they deal with are death, funerals and a concept of heaven.
There is a little violence. Some is rather slapstick, in that Prince Naveen gets slapped flat with a book, twice, with a book titled, The Frog Prince. Some men are hunting frogs for their legs and there is some violence there until one of the frogs starts talking, at which point the men row away at top speed. When Tiana is a frog she is grabbed by the shadows and my friend’s young son was rather frightened by this scene.
Other things you need to know about this movie. It’s set in New Orleans in the 1920s and the hero and heroine are not white, they are both coloured and Tiana is patronised quite severely due to her gender and skin colour. We both looked at each other with pleasure as it is such a change to have both lead characters of colour.
Yes, I liked the movie. I found it quite enjoyable, it was really good to see stereotypes challenged in a way that young kids can understand. I liked the songs and the animation was nicely done.
Now, I’m sure some of you already knew that work has begun on transforming John Marsden’s book Tomorrow When the War Began into a movie, but I’ve just found out. I read on IMDB that they announced the casting of Caitlin Stasey as Ellie Linton, the central character of the books. They announced back in June that Stuart Beattie would be co-writing the screen play and will also direct. It is to be filmed in the Hunter Valley in NSW. Of course there’s a website for the movie. I’ve just found it here.
I have a love/hate relationship with the Tomorrow series. I absolutely love the writing and the beauty of the scenery that John Marsden has described. I love the way he has put together some teenagers and described them all so well, the relationships they have and the way they grow up just seems so right. I absolutely hate the emotions that the writing engenders. These stories are about growing up in a war zone and I know of so many people in other countries who are doing this at this moment in time that it makes it that much harder when the war being described is in my home country. I’ve heard so much of what it is like to live and grow up in a war zone, to become someone so different to a similar person growing up in a place such as Australia which is relatively peaceful. I’ve found with the Tomorrow series that I don’t have to put my imagination at work to find out how it might be as I’m sure they’re pretty close to reality.
I can’t wait to see the movie to see how they’ve treated the book and to see if they’ve done a good job. On the other hand, I really don’t want to see it as it will be so hard emotionally. I know that if I do see it I’ll have to be prepared and take a box of tissues as just remembering the books I have tears rolling down my face. It’s a good thing I’m a touch typist and don’t need to see the screen to know what I’m typing as I’m really struggling.