Friday, May 28, 2010

Movie Review #2

Daniel Deronda.

Don't waste your time. Story was weird. Happy ending is basically nil. Characters go around looking tortured. Or depressed. Or psychotic. Seriously.

I wasn't convinced of who Daniel Deronda was supposed to be falling in love with - the Jewish girl whose life he saves when she tries to drown herself (this attempted suicide is never really's kind of brushed of....) or the young married woman who married a man for his money while knowing he had a mistress with several children. This same young woman thinks she can control her husband, like she has controlled men before, only to find out he's playing her game - and is abusive (?) You never see anything, but that is what is definately portrayed. Oh, and then she feels sorry for herself and wants Daniel to pity her situation. (apparently forgetting she put herself there.)

Daniel is a young man who's been raised as an English gentleman by an English gentleman, but apparently is unhappy because he doesn't know who his mother is. (He assumes this English gentleman is his father and he is the illigimate son but we don't find out until the very end.) He save a young woman from drowning herself - she turns out to be a Jew and an incredible singer. Her tragic story inspires Daniel to help her find her lost family - which leads him into the Jewish community in London and the aquaintence with one Mordecia who upon seeing Daniel is convinced he is a Jew and the next chosen leader of his people. (*scratches head*) Daniel isn't convinced. The rest of the movie is him going between the Jewess and the married woman, like he can't make up his mind who he's in love with. Then suddenly- at the very end- he finds out who he is and gloriously (and again) suddenly, has new purpose in his life. Wahoo. Cheers. Everybody goes home happy, etc. The End.

I will say this, the costumes are fantastic, the scenery beautiful, and Romola Garai (who plays the young married woman) is a very good actress, who can go from tragic distress, to cool indifference, to wild hysteria, to extreme haughtiness. Kudos to her for her performance. That's about the only good thing I can say about this movie.

I'm on to Jane Eyre.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Movie Review

I've kind of been on a period drama binge lately. It's all Youtube's fault really. I go to finish a movie (Little Dorrit) that a friend recommended me (which, btw, is very good), and I spend oodles of time looking at other period drama clips, montages, etc. Which then sends me looking for the complete names and authors of said period dramas. Which sends me to my local library to place holds on every single one of them. At this point, I realize I have a problem, and cancel 3/4 of the holds because of time constraints. But never fear, I do have them all on a list, and I mean to watch them. ALL of them.

Ok, was I going with this???

Oh yes! Movie reviews. I just finished watching "Our Mutual Friend" based on the Charles Dickens novel by the same title.

I used to hate Dickens, I've only read I think two of his books, but I feel more hopeful about reading more of them after watching this film. The BBC produced this version and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

While full of darkness, despair, and death, this movie has a strong themes of sacrifice, true friendship, redemption, and resurrection. The story centers around John Harmon, a young man set to inherit his father's fortune on the condition that he marry Bella Wilfer, a young woman he has never met. Unfortunately, John drowns on his way home to England to collect his inheritance and marry Bella. The fortune then falls to the Boffins, a kindly old couple who run the dust heaps (our modern day version of landfills). The Boffins show the first display of sacrifice by offering to take Bella in as their ward, since she so sadly disappointed out of a fortune. Bella as we learn, is a good girl, though wants money and hates being poor. She loves her father very much, but her mother, not so much, though I was never quite sure why. She agrees to the opportunity to live with the Boffins and be introduced into society. At this time, a young man, John Roquesmith, makes his way into the Boffin's home and becomes established as Mr. Boffin's secretary (the latter being unable to read or write except for numbers). John is a good, honest, quite and very secretive young man who as we find out is really John Harmon - he's not dead! He's been going along with the "John Harmon is dead" routine, because he wants to see if Bella will fall in love with him for who he is - not for the fortune he was supposed to inherit. I say "was supposed to" because it appears that John has no intention of coming back to life and claiming his inheritance. He sacrifices his original self because of his love and care for the Boffins and for Bella. There are secondary characters throughout this story, that, in true Dicken's style, don't really seem to be connected to one-another in any way, until their stories weave together in the end. One theme I caught onto was a juxaposition of Lizzie Hexam and Bella Wilfer - Lizzie is entirely unselfish towards her father, brother and friends, to the point of refusing the man that truly loves her, because of their class differences; whereas Bella is looking for a fortune, whether to inherit or marry into in a seemingly selfish manner. Through the movie, both women progess towards the opposite direction of their mindset until they meet in the middle - one learning from the other. I really love the themes of death and resurrection in this story, the contrast in father/daughter relationships with Bella and her father, Lizzie Hexam and her father, and Jenny and her father, the story of friendship, obsession, and what true love really looks like.

All in all, this was a great story, and has inspired me to read the book...I know, I'm going about this in a rather backwards fashion.

One final note: at the end of the film, it seems that the "mutual friend" is still somewhat of a it John Harmon? Is it the distinctions of class and society? Many commentators seem to think the friend is the Thames River - the central location where the story takes place. I'll leave that for you to decide.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

25 Days

until Camp.

Panic may not ensue until 21 days. I will let you know what that is.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

New Stuff

Have you ever heard of this product? --->
My sister told me about it; she'd been trying it and liked it. I decided that since I was squeezing the last drops out of my old bottle, I'd give it a try. I'm on day 5 of using it. My reaction so far: I like it. And here's why.
1) I have fine hair - not thin, but fine and can get oily pretty fast, or dry out just as fast depending on the products I use. I like the idea of using a shampoo that doesn't have harsh sulfates in it that strip my hair and dry it out.
2) It leaves my hair feeling clean and soft and my scalp mosturized (but not overly).
3) It's a little bit cheaper as the Tresemme, or Pantene products I've used in the past.
4) It smells really good! It's got a light minty, rosemary, juniper fragrance. Which, really, shouldn't be a factor, but it is for me. :^)
I also bought the conditioner when I bought the shampoo. So far, me and my hair are happy. :^)

For Once...

26 days until Camp.

That means that for the only time during the year, this blog's URL is actually accurate. I keep thinking I need to change it, but what if people can't find me? What if they think I've disappeared? What if I have something really extraordinary to say, and no-one is around to read it?

I know. I know. "Cheeez Rachel! The ego? Yeah, needs to come down a notch."

Oh, Ok.

But still, it seems so big and scary and, well, just darn inconvenient.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Joshua 1:6-9

“Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go."

I've read this verse so many times, and this is nothing that someone hasn't probably already said; but sometimes the same words can strike me in a new way.
God calls us to follow Him. He leads us into strange and new places where we will be challenged by new circumstances, by enemies, and by our own weakness. He knows we are frail. He knows we will get scared. Just like He knew the children of Israel would. I wonder if Joshua felt apprehensive and inadequate for the job ahead. God uses the phrase "be strong and courageous" 3 times. I think He really wanted Joshua (and us) to take this to heart. When we do as He commands, when we walk in His ways, God will be with us. Always. And we have NOTHING to fear. Jesus will win the day.