31 March 2013

First quarter 2013 - Reading and watching

thanks to local book club selections i read higher brow stuff than i watched. i still found lots to enjoy in the movies and tv i discovered though. :)

- annabel. 4.5/5. think this is a romance novel? wrong. :) its for my english-speaking book club here in helsinki. i kept putting off reading it because of the cover and the ho-hum description. its a great read though! a hermaphrodite child is born in super rural/harsh labrador, canada. dont eye roll or yawn about the hermaphrodite plot, it works really well as the anchor of the book. i actually fell instantly in love with the way the location(s) and land that the characters live in is described in such a way that it permeates your brain. its like a painting with an achingly beautiful landscape that has tiny interesting people painted in the foreground, you dont know what to look at or absorb first, but the whole thing really sticks with you, as a unit. im sure it also helps that while ive never been to labrador, there is also mention of newfoundland, nova scotia, and boston in the book. places ive been and enjoyed, and i was transported right to them with the characters.

- the sense of an ending. 4.5/5. this was another english language book club book choice. the first part of the book is the narrator relaying the events of his life, particularly those occurring before he gets married. he grapples with his memory of the events and the consequence of the holes he knows must be there. the second part of the book involves an event taking place that puts him in touch with people/events from the past he just informed us about. he discovers not only were some of his actions not as his memory recalled, but other events in his friends lives were not as they seemed. he is a harmless, average old man as he narrates and he has a very honest way of looking at his life, and taking responsibility, if in a slightly wimpy way. i like his imperfectness, and his pondering. this was a different kind of book for me. another good choice.

videos from rennes (from friend jj):
- a lipdub about poverty from the office he retired from. he can be seen for a few seconds starting at second 0:40.
- the charleston across rennes.

- downton abbey. 4/5 (for seasons 1, 2 & 3). episodes i really liked: S1E6, S2E7-9, S3E1. im impressed that they can sketch such well-rounded characters with such a large cast. they help us keep everyone straight as well as all of their roles in the house and society, and each persons sensitive side and cutthroat side is shown. the trouble is there is way too much tumult/drama for me, always weaving and scheming to make someones life horrible and then somehow giving them everything they want/deserve only to steal it from them again a few episodes down the line. it works well for a season or two. but if thats the whole driver of the show, it begins to get tired at about the third season mark. and that is where they are. i'll tune in for season 4 i suppose, but im concerned.

- the vow. 3.5/5. nice fluff romance. i thought they actually worked well together, not so well as rachel with ryan gosling...but, you cant have everything.

- magic mike. 4/5. extra half a star for channing tatum when he slides around the stage. its not his face, body, or dancing. its the sliding around. and from what i can tell he's such a sweet guy, in general. no matter what character he plays he's always playful and kind. i suppose that doesnt make him the best actor, but he's a good guy. didnt realize stephen soderburgh directed it.

- new girl. 4.5/5 for seasons 1 & 2. hadnt been interested to watch this and im not exactly sure what convinced me to try it out, but im glad i did. ive always been on the fence about zooey deschanel. she works in this part, and they also have her evolve a bit, which is helpful. shes not a quirky pixie the whole time. her 3 other roommates are interesting and funny in unusual ways. they arent real personalities, but they are comical and they do all work together. its been a fun slice to watch. favorite episodes: S1E3, (S1E4), S1E5, (S1E12), (S1E15), S1E24; S2E1-3, S2E6, S2E15-17, S2E19, (S2E20), S2E21, S2E23-25

- warm bodies. 4/5. and just when i think the rom com genre is dying...this was sweet and funny. too cute to pass up. i love that everyone committed to the comedic zombie love. the lead guy was perfect (and yummy, if i do say so) and i loved the nod to romeo and juliet in their characters.

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