Friday, April 24, 2009

movie review: lars and the real girl

this is the story of lars. he's a sweet, reclusive man who lives in his brother's garage and does whatever it takes to avoid human interaction. he develops a delusion wherein he believes that his new 'real girl' doll, a life-sized, highly detailed sex doll, is an actual person. his brother and sister in law freak right out, unsurprisingly, but the witty, wise, beautiful family doctor/ shrink (!?!?!?) tells them to play along with it. lars brings his 'girlfriend' to church, an office party, his childhood haunts, etc.

most of the acting is excellent (although bianca, lars' 'girlfriend' is a little stiff.... *giggle* *snort*) the setting is perfect and the story is both sweet and interesting.

i do, however, have a couple of problems with the film.

it's the job of filmmakers to construct a scenario and the job of an audience to believe it's real. when the filmmakers do their job right (the truman show or et, for example) the audience easily believes a fairly ridiculous situation to be real. it's called suspension of disbelief. i had a hard time suspending my disbelief while watching this film. the people are too good. a gentle, lonely man goes crazy and carries an anatomically correct, well endowed doll around with him, talking to him. everyone he encounters looks at him askance for about three seconds and then plunges headlong into pretending it's normal. a whole midwestern small town cheerfully goes along with the ruse, even forming emotional attachments to the inanimate object. if just a few people had persisted in finding the whole thing ludicrous the movie would have worked for me. but a whole town commiting to helping out a man with a mental problem? the stereotype sticks in my throat. the actors may as well have worn placards that said 'this is a small town in the midwest and 'round here we support each other and stick together, goll'durn it!'

my other issue is the way the movie repeatedly opens potentially interesting cans of worms and then abandons them. lars' horror of physical contact, his terror when confronted with the idea of childbirth, his desire for a rite of passage, his relationships with his brother, sister in law, doctor and the cute girl at work... i understand that there isn't time in the movie to really delve into multiple complex subjects, but rushing past all these topics was annoying and frustrating.

all in all, this movie was ok. it had huge potential and failed to live up to it, but it wasn't terrible.

book review: fool

forgive the lack of links, i'm posting from the library where i can only have one window open at a time, and the internet is slower than a slug in molasses. ugh

i'm a longtime christopher moore fan, but his last few books have caused my faith in him to falter. fool, moore's interpretation of shakespeare's king lear, follows in the unfortunate recent tradition of mediocre books. you suck and a dirty job were
sort of funny, i guess. fool isn't as funny as them. it's not that moore isn't trying. he is obviously trying very, very hard. he just seems to have lost the spark
that made coyote blue, fluke and lamb three of my favourite books, both in terms
of hilarity and interesting treatment of an interesting subject.

when writing fool christopher mooreseems to have reverted to his 13 year old self. in a random sampling of 5 pages (16, 63, 98, 150, 199) i found:
sexual/ bodily function jokes/ mentions: 13
religion jokes: 2
other jokes (mostly monty python-type humour) : 4
3/4 of these were jokes were in the first two pages. even the author, it seems, got tired of the juvenile humour.

shakespeare's king lear is complicated enough without a bunch of 'funny' extra scenes and scenarios added in. the book is a confusing mishmash of historical periods, shakespeare quotes, (from his collected works, not just lear) comedic embellishments and added plot twists for the sake of added plot twists.

while reading fool i probably chuckled aloud five or six times, a pitifully small amount considering the book is 311 pages long. i had been hoping that this would be the book where christopher moore shook off his current slump and resumed his former brilliance, but alas, no. please try again, mr. moore.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

book review: house rules

house rules by rachel sontag is a phenomenon. it's the autobiography of a young woman. more specifically, it's a memoir focused on sontag's family relationships.
one could say that this is yet another voice from the world of white, middle class girls claiming hurt because daddy didn't understand them and never really loved them. however, that would be neither accurate nor fair. yes, many parts of this tale fit the cliches, but the author's father was exceptionally cruel and controlling. her mother was exceptionally self-deluded and impotent. most importantly, the author herself is exceptionally skilled as a writer. her story is told as simply as possible, given the complex nature of familial relationships. i highly recommend this insightful, truthful, beautiful and heartbreaking book.

book review: oryx and crake

last night on the airplane i finished reading oryx and crake by margaret atwood. i was sad to see it end.
margaret atwood is a blatantly brilliant canadian author. her the handmaid's tale is her most famous book, but she has written a veritable library. her work is usually dark and visionary. oryx and crake is no exception.

i believe that atwood was trying to write a book that would belong on the shelf next to brave new world and 1984 when she wrote oryx and crake. her book shares their tone and vision, but her book is not quite as chilling as the others. on the other hand, i found oryx and crake to be more readable, with better characters. i'm actually quite torn when it comes to deciding if oryx & crake is on par with the other two books or if it falls slightly short. i couldn't tell you. you should read it yourself and let me know.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

good news and bad news

the good:
i got a job! maybe two, we'll see. and school is great. and i love my new house.
the bad:
my laptop died a sudden death. so no internet at home or when i'm out and about. just stupidass library internet. and no using my laptop to play movies and music, keep track of my schedule, play games, read books or file my recipes. i'm really, really lost.
the good:
i get my tax return soon, so i will have a new laptop within a month.
the bad:
a MONTH?!?!!? are you kidding me? what deity did i offend.
the good:
i have a job! maybe two, we'll see. and school is great. and i love my new house.

so anyways, don't expect much from this blog in the next little while. definitely don't expect pictures. i think i'll take up cleaning my house obsessively to fill the void left by the computer's unfortunate demise. that will be me over there with the rubber gloves and toothbrush, scrubbing the grout for the eighth time today. harrumph.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

first night

the evening after i moved i worked and worked and worked, getting almost everything unpacked and set up. there are still things to do, like procuring wall art and a microwave, but i'm happy with things, so far.

after i'd gotten completley worn out unpacking, i made tea and sat in this chairwith tea, knitting, and a good friend nearby. with so many sore muscles it was just perfect. (by the way, i'm making a modified version of nutkin socks in lorna's laces sock yarn)
then i fell into bed and slept and slept and slept. in the morning i looked up, saw that everything was well with the world, and went back to sleep.

Friday, April 3, 2009

moving in

my new house is spacious and full of light. hardwood floors, lots of windows, colourful walls, big rooms. also some small rooms, but enough big ones that the place feels like a palace. to the left is the dining room, to the right is the sunroom. the fireplace is decorative only, but it's brick. the built in shelves are the fanciest ones in the place, but there are actually lots of areas with them. the windows are old school, as is the trim. the whole place has a comfortable, funky feel to it. there's an eat-in kitchen, making this spacious dining room extraneous. not that i'm complaining. on the far right you can see the desk in the sun room. my plants will be in heaven.

so, overall, i approve of my new accomodations.