As you probably tell by my inert progress bar, heh, I haven’t been doing much writing of late. Not sure when I’ll get back to Project Element 7. I’ve kinda just been pondering about…things. My life in general. What’s important to me, what isn’t. And in my ponderings I’ve discovered something quite disturbing: I’m kinda sick of the Internet right now. *collective gasp* I no longer want to be on it any more than I have to. Though, of course, it’s still very much a necessary evil.
Maybe that means I’ll also have to change my writing habits and somehow detach the Internet from it. Hmm…
Anyway, back to what I was really planning on talking about.
First, the movie.
I went to see Hugo on Monday with a friend. Generally, I really liked it. Especially in 3D. The movie didn’t make extravagant use of that feature, yet at the same time I couldn’t imagine watching it in the regular theatre. Somehow, the 3D version just brought the story that much more to life. You really felt like you were in this romantic take on Paris–‘k, ‘cept for the fact that pretty much everyone was speaking English. Anyhow, the images were so clear. You could actually see dust floating though the air. It was a neat experience.
The pace was unusual, though. Like in anime where they sometimes have those long awkward silences… But Scorsese’s silences were of the intentional kind, so for me it kinda worked. It was still awkward in an almost Frenchy, quirky way, but that’s just part of the charm of the movie. That said, I can see why a few reviewers criticized the movie for its pace, considering it’s supposed to be for children, too: kids may grow bored at first until the pace picks up some later on during the film. With our go-go-go culture (here in the U.S. anyway) the use of negative space like this just isn’t something most kids would be used to.
Another point I’ve seen critiqued is Scorsese’s attention to (for some it may be more like “lecture on”) film history. If you’ve ever seen Inglourious Basterds, you’ll know what I mean. But personally I liked these bits. Why shouldn’t filmmakers educate their viewers a bit on the history of film every once in a while? I, for one, learned something new and found it to be entertaining. It was all tied into the plot anyway, so it’s wasn’t exactly trivial stuff.
One last thing I liked were the child actors: Asa Butterfield and Chloe Grace Moretz. Asa especially said some pretty insightful things for a kid–though, I guess the credit goes to the writers for that, heh. The whole movie was thoughtful. It had its light, playful moments and its dark, brooding ones and was overall delightful, imo.
And I don’t know the name of the singer during the end credits, but she has a really nice voice. And the fact that the lyrics were in French and therefore largely incomprehensible to me only added to the magic.
Sometimes ignorance really is bliss.
…Oh, yeah! I also watched Another Earth which I really enjoyed from an artistic POV, though from a scientific POV some may have one or two gripes about it… Also, Brit Marling, the main actress in the movie, wrote the story herself–which I thought was impressive.
Now, about a book.
One day I was thinking about how I never use the Literati my grandmother gave me for graduation and how sad that was, and I happened to be on Goodreads at that time. While there I saw an ad for an international bestseller called The Time In Between by María Dueñas (her blog is in Spanish, FYI). So I figured, hey, why not buy that on my Literati? Try to finish reading a novel on that thing. (So far I’ve gotten too distracted while using the device to get through an entire book. -__-)
The novel is actually pretty good so far (still reading it). It has a simple storytelling style and does a lot of telling instead of putting the reader right there in the moment, but somehow that’s okay with me. My inner critic was mumbling things about this at first, but the story and the characters are so immersing that eventually he just had to shut up. Also, it’s on the longer side, over 600 pages, but that’s what I’m used to, heh.
Why is it an international bestseller?
Well, I could suggest several reasons, but I’ll tell you why I personally am liking it thus far.
- It’s got espionage. Um…hello? (I’ve barely scratched the surface of this element in the novel, though the threads are certainly being woven…)
- The supporting characters are great–a real strong point for Dueñas. They’re all so interesting. Especially the smooth and charming Ramiro; you just know right away he’s going to be trouble. In any case, I’m really enjoying the characters.
- I can relate to the main character, Sira Quiroga, the daughter of a humble seamstress. (Immediately, I thought this might be another Coco Chanel story, but…that seems unlikely at this point.) After a few unfortunate life events take place, she decides to open up her own business sewing clothes for expatriates in Morocco. Since I’ve been considering doing something similar with interior design, the story strikes a particularly resonant chord in me just for this reason.
- It explores a place and time in history that is uncommon to see in fiction–at least on this side of the world. It starts in 1935 just before the Spanish Civil War (SCW) and trails into WWII. Before reading this novel my only exposure to this locale during this point in history was in an art history class learning about Pablo Picasso’s Guernica and while watching Pan’s Labyrinth (set some years after the SCW, yet the story is heavily influenced by it). That said, I find a return to this theme and setting of the SCW quite interesting.
There are other reasons why I like this novel, but those are the main ones.
So that’s what I’ve been up to–in the storytelling department, anyway.
How about you folks?
Watch any good movies lately or read any good books?