Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Movies and Books

Now that the Spring weather is upon us, I hope to get out an about much more than I have during these long winter months. In the last few weeks of cold and darkness I have been able to finish a couple good books and see some beautiful movies. I am not a very good movie/book reviewer, but wanted to share some of my favorites if you are looking for something to see/read.

Vicky Christina Barcelona – When I first saw previews for this movie, I thought that it would be a very sexual. After all, Javier Bardem suggests a threesome with the two leading ladies. I was pleasantly surprised by how thoughtful and entertaining (and not pornographic) the movie was. It’s rated PG-13 after all. I could identify with every character and their struggle to find the meaning of love and find themselves. Javier Bardem is perfection and I though Penelope Cruz was fantastic as well. I usually am not a big fan of hers, but loved her in this role. Evan really liked this movie which was a surprise to me as he is not really in to movies. To convince your boyfriend/husband to watch it with you, just tell them that Scarlet Johansen and Penelope Cruz makeout. They will be up for it.

Slumdog Millionaire – I am so happy that Slumdog won the Oscar. This is a wonderful movie. If you haven’t seen it, GO. The soundtrack is pretty fantastic, too.

The Other Boleyn Girl – I know this came out last year, but it was On Demand this weekend and I have wanted to see it for a while. I never really knew the story of Ann Boleyn and am not exactly sure if the movie depicts the actual events as they happened, but I absolutely love Natalie Portman and thought she was great.

The Reader – I haven’t seen the movie, but picked up the book, by Bernhard Schlink, a few weeks ago. I am not usually into war time stories, but with all the fuss about Kate Winslet’s performance in the film, the book caught my eye at the bookstore. It was hard for me to relate to the beginning of the story because I’m a girl and don’t understand how adolescent boy’s minds work. Even though, I couldn’t really relate to either character, I was still curious about their relationship. Once I got to the Part Two, I stayed up all night to finish. This is very out of character for me. I wouldn’t consider it a “page turner”. I was just so interested in how things were unfolding that I wanted to know more about the characters. Plus I couldn’t wait to discover what her secret was.

Gang Leader for a Day – This book, by Sudhir Venkatesh, I picked up in the train station in New York and am so glad that I did. It is an incredible account of life in the Chicago Projects told by a Sociology student who befriended a gang leader while attempting to conduct research on poverty. My favorite course in college was my Anthropology course where I got to read about indigenous cultures and how other people live on this planet. To me, an upper middle class white girl in the suburbs, the life of poor people in this country is almost as foreign as the lives of the indigenous Tongans. I loved this honest portrayal of how people survive in the projects and how difficult it is for those people to make their lives better even when they have the will to work and the brain power to run a successful business. It really made me appreciate what I have and understand a little better how difficult life is for those who do not have opportunities that I have had.

Next on my list to read is Her Last Death a Memoir by Susanna Sonnenberg.

Next on my list to see is Milk. I think it comes On Demand in a couple weeks.

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