Tag Archives: film

true confessions & revolutionary road review (kind of)

I have a confession to make my friends: I have no clue how I got into the world of academia (if you can call it that–hint: you can’t).

No. Fucking. Clue.  I’m not very well-suited to intellectualism in terms of personality (or intellectuality, for that matter) and I don’t think I ever consciously decided I wanted to end up where I am today.  The point is…I at some point came to the conclusion (okay, I’m pretty sure I was watching a film by some sort of overly-clichéd director, and was most likely baked out of my skull) that I should have gone to film school.  It was never something I even remotely considered, but I think it would have been pretty fucking sweet.

ANYWAY, because of this latent desire, I sometimes feel the need to write my opinions on films I have seen.  So, enjoy the exorcism of my half-baked scheme.

I recently saw the film Revolutionary Road and really enjoyed it, as I knew I would, because Kate Winslet + Leonardo Dicaprio = two of the greatest actors of our time, in my humble opinion.

Something that was quite striking to me was the intimacy of the filmmaking.  I recalled after the film that Kate Winslet’s husband (Sam Mendes) directed the film, to which the unique presentation can probably be attributed.  There was something vaguely marked about way the story of this couple was told, and I had trouble conceptualizing precisely what it was, but I really think the best way to describe it is that it was particularly intimate–every facet of their marriage, their emotions, and the complex interplay between the two, came across on the screen.  It really seems fitting and explanatory that there existed this incredibly close relationship between the person behind the camera and the person in front of it (as much of the film revolved around Kate’s character).

Aside from the philosophical takeaway I got from the film, I enjoyed it stylistically–the music/costumes/set design were magnificent and made the story far more engaging.  The acting was absolutely superb, not only in the lead roles, but there were a number of supporting characters (namely, Leo’s work buddies, their overzealous garden-obsessed neighbor, and her institutionalized son) that I felt added a lot to the film and whom I thought about afterward.  Some of the dialogue was a bit much for me (some of the lines actually made me laugh, during dramatic scenes) but that is a complaint I have fairly often.

The ‘story’ was basically of these two people and their perceptions, interactions, and methods of coping with a life that had not been meticulously constructed to suit them.  They questioned whether or not this was the life they’d imagined (any Thoreau fans out there?) and what–if anything–they could change in their collective life to increase their satisfaction with it.  To be more precise, the fundamental concept that underlied their conundrum (in my view) was whether their circumstances needed to be altered, or if it was simply their perception that needed changing.

I often wonder this in my own life–particularly because I tend to do things that I think I am expected to do.  A perfect example would be my choice to get a relatively serious job, when I was perfectly happy chilling and being  a barista–I felt lazy and lame about that choice, but the truth is, I took time off from my studies so that I could have time to myself and not have to worry about the world’s idea of what I should want.

Ergo, this film really resonated with me.  I think many of us ‘go with the flow’ only to one day look at our lives and wonder who told us that we had to want all of this…whether it’s the two kids and the picket fence in suburbia (as in the film) or a career in academia or medicine or some other pretty serious field (as in my life!)–as I think she said in the film, at some point, we just keep doing what we’ve been doing to prove to ourselves that it hasn’t all been a mistake.

Interestingly, the person who most identified with this notion in the film was the one who had been deemed insane.   Kate’s character’s plans for “fixing” her life were portrayed as unrealistic, and yet the ‘crazy person’ in the film thought they were entirely necessary–this is very interesting to me and quite relevant, I think, in the overall conversation about what happiness is, and the role of desires and practicality within that conception.

I really enjoyed the film.  It really spoke to the numbing nature of certain aspects of life and did a really wonderful job of examining different perspectives of life in suburbia, and life in general.

I’m not sure I’d view it again (although I very rarely view films twice due to my attention deficit) but it was very thought-provoking for me and I’m quite pleased that I finally got around to seeing it! Definitely worth seeing, blogga-buddies. :)

xx Charlee

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red, red wine and assorted nonsense

I’m not sure there’s anything in the world that cheers me up as much as a nice bottle of cabernet sauvignon!  I am cheery.

I would like to share with you a comment a very old and very obese woman made to Mason today.  He said, “Here is your change–69 cents”.  To this, she replied: “Wooo baby! 69! I like that number!!”.  I am told her daughter looked mortified.

A few moments later, she said “Hey, where can I get some of that 69, sugar?”–which apparently was her way of asking for sugar.  What?

Unfortunately I missed all of this (I was chatting on the phone) and Mason recounted it to me, although he was more frightened than amused.  Poor kid.  I think it’s just hilarious though, and also rather crazy that these sorts of people are running amok amongst the rest of us.  How can anyone be that cracked out?

Another thing I have to comment on is the fact that I don’t know what the FUCK is wrong with our society.  Really.

I have long ago accepted that I am “out of touch” with the majority of American culture, but still, even in seeking not to identify with it, but simply to understand it, I must say that there are so many things I fail to understand.

I mention this because Marley and I–or should I say “Marley and Me“, which brings up another interesting point: that film was #1 even though it was against several REMARKABLE films at the box office.  To be fair, I have not seen it.  But it’s a dog movie people; even a well-marketed dog movie is still just a dog movie–and should not beat a fucking well-made film at the box office (especially Doubt or The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, which were two of the year’s best films in my opinion, and which opened the same weekend only to be beaten by that yuckiness).

Anyway, last night someone started telling me about this programme entitled “Tool Academy”–it obviously sounded right up my alley, because although I do not enjoy television, I do quite enjoy tools (not to be confused with implements used for fixing things).  So Marley and I viewed it, and whilst we laughed the entire time, one still has to wonder why this sort of nonsense is pervading our society.

Another thing that keeps cracking me up is “If You Seek Amy” (say it slowly), Britney’s new song.  I personally enjoy Britney’s music, I think it’s usually pretty good to groove to, and I would call myself a fan–this is something I am rather quick to proclaim, and most people think it’s an ironic statement, but it’s not.  I really like her music.  The point is though, that after losing her mind publicly and continuing to act pretty crazy, she finally seemed to be moving toward relative normalcy (extremely relative here)–and now she’s singing a song exclaiming “F-U-C-K Me”???  I mean if that isn’t comically absurd, I don’t know what is.

I’m DREADING tomorrow.  I have to use my brain once again–I’ve decided that along with my whole new “stop fucking around” mentality, I’m going to do something more with my time than, well, fucking around.  Ergo, I’m teaching undergrads this semester.  I’m sort of dreading it because I don’t really care all that much about anything which makes it hard for me to make authoritative statements, particularly when trying to tell someone what to do–and that combined with a class full of gnarly undergrads makes me kind of concerned.

Hopefully it will go okay.

I hope no one else is plagued by a case of the Mondays tomorrow. ;-)

xx Charlee

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Dirty Martinis and my review of “The Reader”

Im not entirely sure if this is a shot from the film, but I *think* it is...

I'm not entirely sure if this is a shot from the film, but I *think* it is...

Yikes–I am so very tired!  This evening I went to dinner with an ex-lover, whom I shall henceforth refer to as “Mr. Martini”–due to his intense love of them (and James Bond-like demeanor) and the fact that he’s several years my senior.  We then went to a film (“The Reader”) and though I swore I’d be calling it an early night tonight, the temptation of martinis and satisfying discussion of a rather intense film were too much for me.

Needless to say, I have a ton of ideas buzzing in my mind right now, which I will fully update you on tomorrow, but I wanted to give a quick review of the film since it’s fresh on my mind still (or at least relatively fresh–says the girl with major short-term memory loss).

Firstly, I must say that Kate Winslet gave a brilliant performance–quelle surprise.  As I told Mr. Martini, I have never seen her fail to deliver a great performance.  She slips into rolls so seamlessly it’s almost disconcerting.

The other performances were pretty amazing too, so a general A plus on the acting skills of those cast.

For those who do not know, this film is somewhat of a historical drama, which delves into the aftermath of WWII from an alternative perspective, both ideologically and literally–as the film is set in Germany.  I found this very refreshing (a characteristic that pretty much dominates my preference for certain films).

Of course, this is all told within the framework of a passionate love affair, which is not altogether appropriate.  This really “hit home” for Mr. Martini and I, as when we met our relationship was somewhat improper…not in a completely immoral way or anything though (I’ll explain tomorrow.)

In my opinion, the love affair is essential to the fact that the film succeeds in exploring the guilt of the Germans, and the anger/pain of the Jews targeted by the Nazis without losing any of the humanity in the characters–something that is no doubt difficult when the subject matter is Germans during the Holocaust.  So often, in film, when the horrific nature of what went on in Nazi Germany is the focus of the story, those upon whom it was inflicted are the ones that are focused upon–in this, we get to see the horrors of being on the other side as well.  The film succeeds in not making any proclamations of sympathy for the guilty party, but rather draws the audience to certain conclusions about morality and its objectivity (or lack thereof) through the emotional subtext of the love affair between the characters.

The thing that struck me most about the film, throughout the entire story, was the great humanity with which the characters were depicted–I could feel their pain, their uncertainty, their fear and their regret.  Though the setting of the story is not easily relatable, the characters and their stories are beautiful in their portrayal of the experience of living and the struggles it can bring.

I suppose I can’t say much more without giving it away, but I highly recommend seeing this film–if only for the steamy love scenes. :)

Other random things I loved–the literature (some of my favourites), the examination of literacy (a pet project/issue of mine), and the overall poignancy of several moments within the film (most films lack even one truly poignant moment.)

My one complaint, though, is that there was some discontinuity in terms of setting/time period–I am definitely not a details-oriented person, so the fact that I noticed this means it was quite flagrant.  That said, I don’t imagine the film had a particularly roomy budget, so set dressing probably wasn’t at the top of their priority list.

All in all, I really enjoyed the film, although seeing it with Mr. Martini made me wonder if the Universe was playing a joke on me tonight–you see, the concept of morality (an overarching motif of the film) is something we have frequently discussed, and the relationship in the film paralleled ours in more ways than one.  Neither of us really knew anything about the film and it was completely serendipitous that we even went to the cinema this evening–and the way things played out really makes me wonder if there is such a thing as fate.  Anyone want to comment on this notion?  Because I’m not sure if I’m onto something or I had too many dirty martinis…thinking it could be the latter.

Must sleep this off!

x C

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