Saturday, September 28, 2013

Wrapping up September

My apologies, I am so behind!  I have all kinds of movies to review that I just haven't yet.  Midnight Club with George Raft, The Iron Mistress with Alan Ladd, The Liquidator with Rod Taylor, a bunch of newer movies as well.  And I made the mistake of checking my drafts... wow, do I have quite a few abandoned movie review posts in there.

But it's officially autumn, my favorite season of the year.  It's finally cooling off in the evenings.  The last few days have been the first days since May that it was cool enough outside for me to leave my front door open all day long.  It's cool enough that I can finally walk my dog again in the evening without his paws burning up on the asphalt.  Yay!

It's also the official start of opera season, and I'm too revved up about that to write movie reviews.  The Met kicked off its season a few nights ago with Eugene Onegin, which will be broadcast in the movie theaters on October 5th, and I can't wait.  Handsome baritone Mariusz Kwieicen in the title role, Piotr Beczala as Lensky, and Anna Netrebko as Tatiana.  I saw Eugene Onegin for the first time earlier this year with my favorite baritone, Simon Keenlyside in it, and loved it.  It was neat to discover a new-to-me opera that was that enjoyable.  I'm very curious to see this version.  That's the cool thing about operas.  It's always fascinating to see the different staging and what singers do differently.  Simon plays cold very well, and Mariusz tends to be warmer, so I wonder how that will change Onegin's character?

And here at home, the LA Opera season just got underway with Carmen.  I'll be seeing that live soon and am very much looking forward to seeing Ildebrando D'Arcangelo again.  And bass-baritone Bryn Terfel is coming to Santa Monica for a concert!  Woo!  I would love to hear him sing the catalog song from Don Giovanni live, but unless he does it as an encore, it's not on his program.  Sigh.  Something to look forward to in the future.

So, movie reviews are coming, but as my love for opera trumps my love for movies, it might be another few days.

Monday, September 23, 2013

A Tolkien Blog Party of Special Magnificence

Hamlette from The Edge of the Precipice is hosting a Lord of the Rings blog party and, because I love the Lord of the Rings, I thought it'd be fun to join in!  There are some AMAZING giveaways being offered, so if you are a fan of the books, movies, or both, check it out and join in the fun!  To start things off, there are ten questions to start with:

1.  Have you read The Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit? If so, how many times?
Twice all the way through the trilogy.  I've read Fellowship by itself, and parts of all three at various times.

2.  Have you seen any movies based on them?
But, of course.  Fellowship was seen fifteen or more times in the theater when it came out.  The other two, only twice each on the big screen.  A couple times each on DVD since then.  It is very difficult for me to watch Fellowship on the small screen.  The other films I'm not that attached to, nor do I have their images memorized big screen, so I'm okay with watching those on DVD.

3.  Who first introduced you to Middle Earth?
A friend, back in college.

4.  Who are your three favorite characters?  (Feel free to elaborate on whys.)
1) Boromir, 2) Aragorn, 3) Sam.  Those were my favorites the first time I read the books, and they stayed my favorites through the movies, in that order.  Eowyn would be my fourth favorite, but only in the books.  She is awesome in the books.  However, I am not a fan of Eowyn in the movies.  I dislike her so much, that she nearly ruins Two Towers and Return of the King movies for me.

5.  What's your favorite Middle Earth location?
Favorite... er... what kind of favorite?  Favorite to visit for a restful vacation?  (Rivendell)  Favorite place I pictured from reading the books?  (Rohan)  Favorite place for sheer beauty that I want to go to every time I see the movie?  That I wait expectantly through the movie for the whole five seconds of viewing?  (That would be the gorgeous above-treeline mountains and stream area Aragorn splashes through, after they leave Moria, right before they get a view of Lothlorien.  In all of the movies, at least, it is my absolute favorite place.  This place:

My second favorite place I want to go to would be to where Aragorn and Brego get that sweeping, panoramic view when he arrives at Helms Deep in The Two Towers.)

6.  If you could belong to one of the races of Free Folk (Men, Elves, Dwarves, Hobbits, Ents), which would you choose?
Men, specifically I want to be a Ranger.

7.  Would you rather eat lembas or taters? 
Lembas.  Taters I can get any time.  But lembas bread?  Yes, please.

8.  If you lived in Middle Earth, what weapon would you prefer wielding?
Give me my sword and a knife, please, and preferably a bow and arrows as well.  One weapon is simply insufficient in Middle Earth.

9.  What draws you to Tolkien's stories?  (The characters, the quests, the themes, the worlds, etc.)
I like just about everything about the Lord of the Rings trilogy.  The characters, the plot, themes, the locations, the adventure and suspense.  I love both books and movies, and the differences between them.  And, of course, I want to be multiple characters in the Lord of the Rings, and that guarantees a book/movie will be a favorite. 

10. List up to five of your favorite lines/quotes from the books or movies.
Only five?  LOL!

"One does not simply walk into Mordor.  Its black gates are guarded by more than just orcs.  There is evil there that does not sleep, and the great eye is ever watchful.  It is a barren wasteland, riddled with fire and ash and dust.  The very air you breathe is a poisonous fume.  Not with ten thousand men could you do this.  It is folly."

"They're taking the hobbits to Isengard." (Mostly because of that cursed video which will now be stuck in my head, yet again, for the next week :-D )

"They have a cave troll."

"Move your feet."

"What is this new devilry?"

Monday, September 02, 2013

With the click of a button

Recently, I was having a conversation with a good friend about watching movies.  It came up that she likes to put on a DVD of a favorite movie she’s seen a lot and jump to the end, or the "good" parts, (or however you want to refer to those favorite scenes we all have).

I usually cannot do that.  What makes the end or finale or the “good parts” of a movie good, for me, is the build up to get there.  The anticipation.  The emotional journey.  To just jump straight to the end, with no lead in... well, then I have nothing invested, even if I know very well what happens to reach that point.  The scene won’t have any impact if I just jump there with the press of a button on my DVD player.  My friend said she jumps to the end because that is the best part, the part she's most invested in, and it is the part she most wants to repeat.

I’ve tried skipping to the end of various movies... and it just doesn’t work for me.  I guess I’m one of those long-term viewers.  When I watch something, I commit to it.  Which is why I’d always much rather see movies in the theater.  Why I often go alone so I don’t have to deal with someone else’s comments or movements (gigantic pet peeve:  people who put their feet up on the chairs in front of them.  I HATE THAT!!!!) or other such rubbish.  I usually sit fairly close to the screen, for two reasons – 1) I don’t want to see see heads or people getting up and moving around – all that takes me out of the movie, and 2) I want to be in the movie, and sitting closer lets the screen dominate my sight.

When I watch a movie, I am not here any longer.  I’m there, in the movie with the characters.  That’s why I go to the movies in the first place.

I think jumping to a favorite scene on a DVD makes me feel like a viewer not a participant in the film.  And that is not something I enjoy.  It breaks films into bits.  Films are not bits.  They’re one two-hour journey.  They're an arc from start to finish.  The rainbow without the storm that came before it is a pretty enough sight, but it is not earned.

There are exceptions, of course.  If I have no emotional investment in a film, then I'm okay with jumping anywhere in it... but if I have no emotional investment, it's not a favorite anyway.  But I can't think of one movie I truly love where I'd want to jump to the end without watching the entire thing, or where I've tried it and the end worked for me stand-alone.

I'll add that individual movie scenes can be the same way for me.  I was looking for one specific scene on youtube from a movie I recently watched.  (The idea being that if it were there, I wouldn't have to buy the DVD just so I can watch that one scene again.)  I found the last 16 seconds of it.  And gee, it doesn't work for me, not without the two minutes leading up to that last 16 seconds.  Same principle.  I guess I'm just not an end result person.

I figure I must be in the minority on this.  But then, given how many times I will go back to see a movie I love in the theater, this is not a surprise.  LOL!