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Friday, March 28, 2014

Life At The Moment


I feel like I haven't really written anything personal/updating-you-guys-on-what's-going-on-in-my-life lately, and I've been doing quite a few things lately that would fit well with this blog, so I've compiled it all together into a Grand & Glorious post chock-full of all the latest goings-on.  I have a lot of fun doing these posts, mainly because I get an excuse to jabber incoherently about my latest obsessions (*wink*). Without further ado... {this post will be picture and link heavy - just so you know}

The first order of business, the thing I'm most excited about at this moment, is the fact that Captain America: The Winter Soldier is coming out IN ONE WEEK.  April 4th, 2014.  I watched the first Cap movie around the time that the trailer for CA2 came out, so it's the second movie (after Les Miserables) that I've avidly followed the progress of.  I think I'm as excited for CA2 as I was for LM (which is definitely saying something).  Of course, I won't be able to see it until the DVD is released (I have no idea how I'm going to wait that long) but I can still get all excited.  And think about the questions that the trailers (trailer #2 is the best, in my opinion) and featurettes (the one about the origins of The Winter Soldier was epic) bring out.  The two biggest for me are: who dies (or fake dies?) and how does Hayley Atwell (as, I assume, Peggy Carter) fit into the plot?  We really need some emotional closure to Steve and Peggy's relationship, and I'm hoping TWS gives us that. 

I've watched the first two seasons of Downton Abbey, and now I don't know what to do.  Netflix only has those seasons, and it's exorbitantly expensive to buy the seasons from Target (or anywhere for that matter).  I just want to watch Season 3, because I heard of some Unfortunate Events that would probably make Season 4 a flop for me (I'm thinking BBC Robin Hood Season 3 - that kind of flop, and for the same reason).  Although...I'm not obsessed with the show like everyone else seems to be.  I like it.  I really, really do.  But not in the way of other period dramas like BBC Robin Hood or Little Dorrit.  I guess I was expecting more of...something because of how everyone loves it, and I was disappointed.  Just a little bit (the soundtrack is lovely, though - done by the same guy who did the music for Little Dorrit and Bleak House).  Anyway...
I've been indulging in several Calvin + Hobbes books I borrowed from the library...they're so great.
 I've been reading quite a lot lately - more than usual actually, because I'm recording every book I read (besides a few random little kids' books I pick up ever so often) on Goodreads.  I've read fifty-four books so far this year, and I'm in the middle of two right now (Pride & Prejudice and The Puritans).  Now, this system is really fun/helpful, but it has given rise to some guilt, because I'm reading more modern novels than classics (as opposed to last year, when I discovered Victor Hugo and Jane Austen and Charles Dickens).  I'm working on that, though.  But, honestly, some of the novels I've read recently are amazingI, Claudia, Embassy, Dear Mr Knightley, and Fly Away Home, to name a few.  I've also read Enna Burning and River Secrets by Shannon Hale.  One thing I've always liked about Shannon Hale's books is that even though it's fantasy, it isn't anything like spells or curses (more like Elsa's powers - natural ability).  But even though Enna Burning was no different, the scene were Enna and Isi were exchanging powers was just...weird.  It lowered the book down to three out of five stars on the Goodreads rating system.  And River Secrets was kinda boring, so I gave it three stars as well.  In my opinion, none of her books will beat Princess Academy (including The Goose Girl).
OH.  AND.  I've also recently read The Little Prince.  It's one of my new favorite books, although I don't understand why it was targeted to little children.  Sure, it's a fable, but it's so deep and emotional and just...just read it.
 And to nicely round out this post, I've chosen a few Pinterest funnies.  Enjoy!


Monday, March 24, 2014

30 Songs {#20}

A Tale of Two Cities
Link to song - 'Without A Word'

Almost every song in A Tale Of Two Cities is perfect in terms of staying true to the spirit of the book, but Without A Word, though beautiful, doesn't exactly fit the book.  In my opinion, Lucie is a bit too accusatory (to Charles) in this song than book Lucie would have been (although I've discussed before that musical Lucie is more spirited than book Lucie...).  Still, it is a gorgeous song.  It's in the original concept recording and was replaced in the concert by Never Say Goodbye which has a similar message, but toned down (and I'm not sure which I prefer).  However, Without A Word was sung at the very end of the concert as a sort of bonus feature, which was neat to watch.  Some of my favorite lyrics...

I'd follow you.
I'd be selfish too.
I'd gladly join you in the grave.
But I must stay and play my part,
Of wife and mother's broken heart.
For I was once,
Where she could be,
Abandoned young without a home or family.
And though my soul,
Will die with you,
Our child will not be left alone,
To spend a lifetime wondering how,
How we could do this to our own.

Next song: 'Everything Stays The Same' from A Tale Of Two Cities

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

30 Songs {#21}

{some of the more observant of you may be wondering why I skipped from #25 to #21 - the reason is that I had a slight mix-up and, as a result, there will be a few less songs than 30 in this series}

Frozen | Disney | Frozen Heart
Link to song - 'Frozen Heart'

Most fans/critics either don't like 'Frozen Heart' or completely forget about it, but, honestly it's one of my favorites.  Why?  Well, for one, it sets the tone and theme for the whole movie.  I mean, come one, it's about ice, for goodness' sakes, but besides that, the lyrics could also be applied to both Elsa and Hans ('beautiful, powerful, dangerous, bold') which I think is pretty amazing.  Plus, this song is serious, if not a teensy bit dark, but it also has bits of humour in it (you have to watch it, though, to get the humour) with baby Kristoff and Sven.  And that's what the film is like.  Deep and serious, but with a good injection of humour, thanks to Olaf.  And, deep thoughts aside, this song is just plain fun to listen to.  It has a great rhythm (well, yeah, since they haul ice to the song).  Really awesome sing-along stuff.  And that instrumental bit at the end?  I love that.

Born of cold and winter air,
And mountain rain combining.
This icy force both foul and fair,
Has a frozen heart worth mining.

So cut through the heart, cold and clear.
Strike for love and strike for fear.
See the beauty, sharp and sheer. 
Split the ice apart,
And break the frozen heart.

Next song: 'Without A Word' from A Tale Of Two Cities


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Movie Review: The Book Thief

The Book Thief reveals first poster... my favourite book will soon become my favourite movie. do I describe my reaction to this movie?  A picture is worth a thousand words, so...

Eagerly anticipating the movie because
the book was so amazingly good.

Like this swirling storm inside.
Me through most of the film partly because of feels
and partly because it was
not a good book-to-film
adaption and I was disappointed.
Awwww, look at dat face! Soooo sad.
At the very was so saaaad.  More on that in a bit.
So, yeah, I have mixed feelings about this film.  On one hand, it was brilliantly cast, had beautiful music, and was an overall gorgeous film to look at.  On the other, it was definitely not the best book-to-film adaption I have ever seen.  Probably one of the worse ones, to be honest.  For some books, that might not have affected the film that much, but it drastically changed how much I enjoyed this movie.  I think the main reason was that the film didn't capture the spirit of the book.  I have no tangible proof of this (no scenes from the book come to mind that I can firmly say "This is what made the movie so much not like the book") but I can feel it.  Some book-to-film adaptions don't exactly follow the book, but they have the same feel as the book (I know I'm getting philosophical with this, but I'm sure you know what I mean).  My favorite examples of this are Pride & Prejudice (2005) and The Scarlet Pimpernel (1982).  There were several quotes/scenes I was really eager to see on-screen and they were cut (too many quotes to name in here, and several important scenes were messed up chronologically or cut altogether...don't get me started on that).  I guess I loved the book so much, and was so hyped up about the movie, that when it actually came and it wasn't exactly like the book, I was disappointed.

But know that I've gotten the Disagreeable part out of the way, let me talk about what I loved.  There was quite a lot, like I said in the last paragraph - cast, music, and cinematography.  Although I think I just shattered one of my own pet sayings...that the music and characters really make the movie.  Because even though the cast/music was pretty much perfect, I still didn't-anyway.  I don't want to be going in circles with this.  Firstly - the cast:  Amazing.  Admittedly, I watched the trailer before I read the book, so I had all the character's images firmly embedded into my head (so, for the first time in forever, the cast perfectly matched the image in my head of the characters).  But it wasn't just the way they looked.  The acting was top-notch.  I usually find children actors/actresses to be incredibly annoying in films, but Rudy and Liesel were portrayed perfectly.  I have absolutely no complaint about either of their performances, except in the post-bombing scene.  And that was mostly Rudy (and even then it was mostly the fault of the scriptwriters - having Rudy still alive was just wrong.  It felt wrong and it was acted wrong).   Rosa, Hans, and Max were amazing as well.  I couldn't be happier with how Hans was played by Geoffrey Rush.  He did more than justice to my favorite character.

This film.  Is so gorgeous.

Not just the long shots, the close ones as well.  Every angle, every frame is composed so well.  I guess it's like the words in the book itself.  Perfect and beautiful and meant to be savoured.  Which is why I can't wait for someone to take a bunch of screencaps and post them online.  And the music...when I listened to the soundtrack the first couple of times before I watched the film, I didn't think it was anything that special, but after a few days of playing it on repeat while I wrote changed my mind quite a bit.  It fits the book's mood perfectly.  If the rest of the film had followed suit, I would have no complaints.  Let me direct you to the soundtrack suite.  It combines the best pieces beautifully.

A few random things I loved:
  • The snowball fight in the basesment
  • "Is that your book?"  "It wasn't always mine."
  • Liesel running her fingers along the spines of the books in the mayor's library (straight out of the book!)
  • "All those blank pages...they're for you to fill."
  • Max and Liesel mocking Hitler
  • The montage of Rudy and Jesse Owens
  • How little changes in Liesel's hair/clothing made her look older
Overall, it wasn't the best of movies, but it wasn't the worst of movies either.

If you're a fan of the book, I'd watch with the knowledge that it doesn't quite do the book justice.  If you haven't read the book, this is a fantastic WWII movie.  But, in a way, I really think you should read the book first.  You'll know so much more about the characters and plot and just general...stuff.  It will definitely enrich your viewing experience.  But then you might be disappointed in the book-to-film adaption and-

I give up.  Just watch it.


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

30 Songs {#25}

Link to song - 'Farewell, Good Angel'
The musical version of Jane Eyre has several gorgeous songs (in fact, I can only think of two or three that I wouldn't listen to all day long) and though I wouldn't really term this song as 'gorgeous', it's special in its own right.  One thing that surprised me was the fast pace/rhythm of this song, since I would think that a farewell song would be slower and sadder.  But it actually fits Mr Rochester's character very well.  Wild and tempestuous with enough of a low key (it makes my throat ache to just think of singing it in the proper key) to be brooding.  As one who always looks out for book references in the musical, I find it interesting that in the refrain, Mr Rochester sings "But why, must have I have eyes to see you're not there?" because he does go blind in the course of the book (there's actually quite a lot of reference to eyes and blindness in this musical - coincidence?).

Is this how you would leave me,
In ruin and despair?
My hope is quenched, my life is lost,
Laid waste beyond repair.

I was wrong when I deceived you,
But there was no other way.
Your character won't let you live,
The lie mine must obey!

And I don't mean to claim,
That honour has been served.
But why must I have eyes,
To see you're not there?

Next song: Without A Word from A Tale of Two Cities


Friday, March 07, 2014

30 Songs {#26}

Admission to "The Scarlet Pimpernel" Musical, only $5. Opens tonight!
Link to the song - When I Look At You (reprise)
This song.  This song.  I can't put into words how much I love it.  It's very short and simple, but so sad and beautiful at the same time.  I don't really care for the guy who plays (sings?) Percy on the cast recording, but he does an excellent job with this song.  I don't really know much of the musical's plot, or how it was changed from the book, so I'm not sure where this song fits into the grand scheme of things.  But that certainly doesn't stop me from loving it.  It's a song about how Marguerite changed into someone Percy hardly recognizes, but he still loves her even though it happened.  It's such a little song, but it's really a gem.

Oh, you were once that someone,
Who I followed like a star.
Then suddenly you changed,
And now I don't know who you are.
Or could it be,
That I never really knew you from the start?

Did I create a dream?
Was she a fantasy?
I miss her so...
When I look at you.

Next song - Farewell, Good Angel from Jane Eyre

On another note, I've changed my blog design.  What do you all think?

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