Tuesday, April 27, 2010

10 Second Reviews - books and movies



Up In The Air
This movie totally speaks to our times, to lives that are mobile and yet disconnected, to the longing for love and community without the understanding of how to get it. I thought it was profound, but also sad, and sort of hollow in some ways. That was the point, though.

Princess Tiana(official) 3

The Princess and the Frog
 Totally cute Disney movie, just like old-school Disney princess movies, complete with Cajun accents and a super scary bad-guy and a great ending.

A Serious Man
Oscar winning films are always a shot in the dark. They're well made, and sometimes totally unenjoyable despite their quality. I have come to the conclusion that I do not really like Coen brother's movies. This one included. Weird, depressing movie with random violence and a surprising twist, just like all the rest of their movies. This one has been talked about in Christian media circles as being a bit Job-like, and that may be true, but it was still too depressing for me. 

Salaam Bombay (1988) VS Slumdog Millionaire (2008)

Salaam Bombay

I LOVE Mira Nair's movie The Namesake, so I went back and looked at one of her older movies, produced in India. This is sort of a Slumdog Millionaire story, except made by an Indian in Indian cinema, with a low budget, a decade ago. It's actually quite brilliant, and sad, and happy, all at once. If you like foreign films, give it a shot. 

維多莉亞女王:風華絕代   <◎◎◎◎◎>

The Young Victoria
Great BBC-style period drama about Victoria becoming queen and courting Albert. It's almost completely clean, a great true story, and pretty well done. However, if BBC-style period dramas usually bore you, this one will as well. I don't mind the slow pacing - I love this period. 

The Time Traveler's Wife
This started off looking incredibly sappy and cheesy, and full of plot-holes. It took ages for them to get around to any real character development, it's like they expect us all to be 13 year old girls are are  immediately romantic. It got better throughout, and it was actually really gripping at the end, but they really needed to work on that character development!

The Black Book
Seeing as Isaac and I have seen nearly every WWII movie there is to see, I wondered if this would be any good, as we hadn't heard of it and it's not new. It was pretty good. It's the story of a Jewish woman that goes underground as the lover of a Nazi officer. It twists and turns and is actually pretty good. 

Ack. Yes, there ended up being a deeper point to the movie, but most of it was overly graphic blow-em-up gratuitous everything. Didn't enjoy it. Isaac enjoyed it slightly more seeing as he's a boy, plays computer games, and waited till the end to make a judgement. Still, gratuitous.


A Return To Modesty by Wendy Shalit:
Great book. Arguments for sexual reserve and a new femininity from a secular perspective rather than the religious arguments I was raised with. Fascinating. I reviewed it on my other blog.

Home by Marilynne Robinson
Home by Marilynne Robinson
This is the sequel to Gilead, which is a quietly beautiful Pulitzer-prize winning novel that is one of the most Christian works I've read in ages, and it's not even popular in the Christian world. Home isn't quite as stunning - whereas Gilead leaked beauty and thoughtfulness on every page, this book is the same story from the perspective of two more characters, who are younger and wrestles and filled with grief and regrets. I suppose the writing reflects this difference, since it is much more sad. Still, quite profound.

The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist
The Unit by Nini Holmqvist
Scandinavian societal sci-fi? Not sure how to characterize this book, but it's a look at what a society is like when "disposable" people are essentially taken away to "reserve banks" where they are treated like royalty and slowly used for testing and as donors of biological materials for "needed" people. It's a powerful story and a quick read, and the characters were well done.

first comes love
First Comes Love, Then Comes Malaria by Eve Brown-Waite

This was a fun auto-biography about a woman who met her husband when he recruited her into the peace-corp and then moved her overseas. Eve is spunky and hilarious, which makes the book fun. At points I wonder if her story is really worth telling, after all, it's just a woman who moved overseas. It's not super dramatic, just funny and a good look at the adventures of life as an expat.

The Secret History - Donna Tartt

The Secret History by Donna Tart

This is a fantastic mystery that I highly recommend. It's set at a creepy New England college, and tells the story of a murder. The book is just brilliant in setting the stage, delving into really unique characters, building the tension, and being effectively very dark. At the same time, this is in no way horror or cheap thrills - it's a very intelligent mystery, filled with philosophy and history and Greek and all that. Fascinating. 


Jaimie said...

I don't like Coen dramas either. But I LOVE their comedies. So much. I like dark comedies.

I liked A Serious Man slightly better than Fargo or No Country For Old Men, but not enough to watch again.

Alice said...

I really want to see the Young Victoria. I also want to read Home--I read Gilead last year and loved it, but now I'll know not to go into it with the same expectations. thanks!