Daily Archives: Sunday, 30 December 2012

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Lincoln [2012] (viewed in theaters 18 November 2012)
We saw this at my grandmother’s request as a family. The actors who played Abraham Lincoln and his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, were amazing. I’m not sure they could’ve been more well-cast. Overall, the film made me (1) want to learn more about Lincoln himself, (2) think of the sinking of the Titanic and films based on said (in that we already know the ending, so it’s only a matter of time before everyone breaks down crying), and (3) want to fist pump and high-five Thaddeus Stevens for being totally badass, driven, and radical. He’s the kind of guy I want on my side, and I wonder how he’d see the present day if he was transported from the Civil War era into the twenty-first century. Stevens might be a historical person I’d like to speak with if given the chance. Man after my own heart. And it made me wonder: what the hell happened to that Republican party, hmm? What happened to all that awesome to create today’s idiotic GOP? Arrrrgh. I have feelings about this, obviously. -_- So much potential, either used up or wasted.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland [ballet] (viewed live ballet 21 October 2012)
After seeing Don Giovanni at the Music Center in Los Angeles, I was made aware of other live performances at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, including a ballet depicting Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, performed by the National Ballet of Canada. My family attended a Sunday evening performance dressed to the nines and sat up in the second balcony. I really enjoyed myself, and the ballet was stellar. I borrowed my grandmother’s binoculars and was able to see many of the dancers close up, even though we were sitting so far away. The music was good, the Queen of Hearts great, and Alice (with short, dark hair, as had the original Alice) well-cast. Because there was no speaking and all the performers had to tell the story only through their dancing, I was glad I’d recently read the stories. I also liked the way the ballet ended, in the present day. Very beautiful. (And amazing dancing, as one may expect from professional dancers!)

The Day the Earth Stood Still (viewed at home 07 October 2012)
Grandma chose this film as a “family night” selection, and while I thought it was somewhat outdated in its dealings between women and men in relationships, I could see the value in it after I’d seen the entire thing. It was produced in black-and-white in 1951, and the idea that humanity needs a savior but is too afraid to accept one is quite obvious. The parallels my grandmother drew to Jesus were… unnecessary, in my opinion. I’d like to see the remake, just to see how times have changed (and how they’ve stayed the same), and read the short story upon which both films were based.

Don Giovanni [LA Opera] (viewed live opera 03 October 2012)
My best friend and I attended the performance of Don Giovanni at the Los Angeles Opera after our German teacher suggested the students attend live performances by German composers. He and I got to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion with a few minutes to spare to get student tickets ($25 each for seats on the first floor ten rows from the stage = sweet!). I changed into opera-appropriate clothing (my friend had forgotten a tie, but it turned out okay), and we ate expensive salad and desserts (more than $50 for two salads, two desserts, and two Shirley Temples = NOT sweet >_>) before the performance began. I guess I should’ve already known that the opera was written in Italian and not German, but I hadn’t connected that before the performers began to sing. Luckily, the audience was provided with supertitles in English so that we would understand what was actually going on. It was pretty funny, for an opera first performed in the late eighteenth century, anyway. There are two deaths, but the first was necessary for some/most of the plot to take place, and the second was the apparently necessary conclusion for the protagonist so lacking in “good morals”. I also realized that Gaston and Lefou, antagonists in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, were lifted almost exactly from the characters Don Giovanni and Leporello. The difference was that, in Don Giovanni, Don Giovanni/Gaston and Leporello/Lefou are the main characters—it’s their story that’s being told. In Beauty and the Beast, it’s Belle’s. I learn something new every day, it seems.

Gershwin on the Green (LA County Arboretum 08 September 2012)
I think this was Dad’s idea, though I don’t completely remember. We attended the dinner (which we brought) beforehand and had reserved table seating, so we were actually relatively close to the musicians when the performance began. I was able to lie on the grass watching the stars cross the sky and listen to more Gershwin than I ever have before at one time. It was good. Some of the music I recognized, most of it I didn’t. I learned that Gershwin is one of my grandmother’s favorite composers, and the conductor who was originally supposed to be conducting the performance (Marvin Hamlisch) had died shortly before, so the entire concert was dedicated to him instead. In between pieces, various people close to Hamlisch metaphorically sung his praises, which I found annoying, but I’d never met the man, so who am I to deny those mourning a little bit of celebration and closure? I had a good time despite the concert’s interruptions, and I’m glad I went.

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The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (viewed at the cheap theater 02 September 2012)
I chose this movie as a “family night” event because (1) it looked interesting, and therefore (2) I wanted to see it, and (3) it reminded me of my grandmother. The was one character in particular, Muriel (played by Maggie Smith, a woman actor who I absolutely adore), is racist but has a good heart and comes to appreciate the dilapidated hotel and its staff and residents—and that’s exactly like my grandmother. (I’m pretty sure my grandmother didn’t see herself in that character, though, at least not the way I saw her. Grandma has denied multiple times over being racist, or ever having been racist in the past when it’s clear to many/most/all people around her that actions speak louder than words.) Anyway, I liked the movie. It’s a film I’d see again and wouldn’t be put out if I had it in my collection. It made me think about relationships people have with one another across races and genders. Recommended.

The Land Before Time (viewed at home 22 August 2012)
OMG I hadn’t seen this movie since I was a kid. I watched it this time with my best friend, who’s a paleontologist. Let’s just say, it was more fun watching it when I was a kid. Little Foot, Cera (I’d always thought her name was “Sarah” but I guess I was wrong), Ducky, Petrie, and Spike were much more interesting when I didn’t have a friend telling me everything that was wrong with the movie in real time. >_> It was okay, but really?

Moonrise Kingdom (viewed in theaters 21 August 2012)
I was feeling pretty crappy and pretty on edge late one night and so I picked up my best friend and drove around for a while before deciding that we should do something instead of just wasting gas. So we went to see Moonrise Kingdom at the Arclight in Pasadena. I hadn’t even seen a single preview for it, so I wasn’t even sure if it’d be the kind of movie I’d actually want to see. Luckily for me (and my wallet), it wasn’t a horror film, but it was pretty strange. It had Edward Norton and Bill Murray in it, though, so how could I really go wrong? Anyway, it was good, but…. strange. A children’s love story? Well, yes.

Savages (viewed in theaters 15 August 2012)
I saw this movie by myself because I don’t know anyone who’d want to see it with and with whom I’d actually want to sit through a movie. (Yes, I am picky.) I went to see it to see how the director/producers/whomever treated a committed, romantic, and sexual relationship between two men and a woman wherein there was no jealousy. I liked the beginning. I thought all the voice over was kinda weak. I abhorred the revelation of the main character’s rape. (Really? Do movies really always have to use rape as a terror tactic in kidnapping situations? I realize a lot of the time that’s the reality, but I don’t go to the movies for reality, do you? Not to mention I could’ve really used a trigger warning at that point.) I liked the first ending better than the “real” ending, even though the former was sadder and more bloody than the latter. The whole movie was the “good” guys (white pot smokers, of course) against the “bad” guys (a semi-stereotypical Mexican drug cartel) with corrupt American cops on the side. In the end, I didn’t really like any of the characters and what the main character says about how she’s not sure that three people can really truly love each other equally was really disappointing. Eh, I think the movie had potential to show alternative relationships in a positive light, but by the end the whole thing was pretty clearly a shot at hedonism. Overall, I was severely disappointed after getting my hopes up. I guess I should’ve known better; a movie about hash and drug running take anything seriously? Of course not. Sad.

Snow White and the Huntsman (viewed in theaters 25 July 2012)
Went to see this with my sister. Was pleasantly surprised, bt I can’t tell if that’s because I had such low expectations, or it was really a decent movie. The actress who played Snow White wasnt the greatest, but the one who played the Queen was amazing. The story made me rather more interested in the Queen’s version of events than anything Snow White or the Huntsman had to say. I was also interested in the unresolved love triangle—and I’m glad it was never resolved. I can see that was an opening for another film in the future, since “happily ever after” is when the real interesting stuff begins, but I don’t know if this film was popular enough to warrant a sequel. My sister commented that she thought that Snow White and the Huntsman was “her” movie and another film based on Snow White called Mirror Mirror (which I’ve never seen) that came out at roughly the same time was “mine”. I don’t know how I feel about that since I actually did really like this movie, and I’ve never seen the other, so. Also, I was so happy to see Snow White wearing armor that’s actually armor and not some nonsense like bikini chain mail or whatever.