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Showing posts from February, 2009

Book Review: Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

Lia is very good at keeping secrets. Yes, everyone knows that her ex-best friend Cassie was found dead in a motel room, but no one knows that she called Lia 33 times that same night. Yes her parents know that Lia is anorexic and weigh her each week to make sure she stays at 107, but they don't know that she has sewn rock in the pockets of her bathrobe to hide the fact that she is below 100 lbs. And her parents also know that she is going to counseling, but they don't know that she is still cutting herself with razors on the hidden areas of her body.

Lia has a complicated life, and the reader feels the pain of this. She has to count calories to reach her personal goal weight. Right now, it's 99 lbs. Her parents all seem to care, but it's hard for Lia to feel they really do. Her mother is a doctor that gives more heart to her patients than her own daughter. And Dad is a typical workaholic father, just glowing in his personal success. And the complication continu…

Movie Review: David Lean's Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

Last week, I received the awesome privilege of being able to watch Lawrence of Arabia on the big screen at a local theater. And yes, it makes a difference. You can actually see the grains of sand blowing around the Nefud desert. You feel the sun burning down as Lawrence rides through the scorching Devil's Anvil. And more than once, you see those blue penetrating eyes staring straight into your heart and know how a skinny, white British soldier inspired the Arab people to almost free themselves once and for all from imperialism.

If you haven't seen Lawrence of Arabia , it is an experience worth having. True, at 216 minutes, it is longer than your average film. But unlike some films of this length, the viewer stays involved. In fact, at the end of this film, I am always wanting more. It seems impossible that a people group could get so close to their goal only to turn back. And I want to see Lawrence and Sherif Ali continue their strange, endearing fellowship past what this film…

Understanding Movies by Raphael Shargel, Lesson 1 Continued

This series follows the film course Understanding Movies by Raphael Shargel. To view all the parts I completed, visit this page.

Before moving onto lesson 2, I watched a few more of the movies suggested in lesson 1. One important thing I forgot to mention is that in the beginning, films were all silent. The characters did not speak audibly. In most movies, the actors did pantomime speech, but any words that were "spoken" were done so through the use of title cards. Sometimes the title cards tell what a character is saying. Other times, they add narrative to a picture to direct the viewer to consider a particular thing. For instance, a famous title card in Griffith's The Birth of a Nation reads "War's peace." After the words, the camera pans onto the Civil War battlefield after a battle has taken place. We see dead and injured bodies. The words suggest the irony of how quiet this field is when just moments before, it was filled with bodies, guns, bl…

Movie Course: Understanding Movies by Raphael Shargel, Lesson 1

This series follows the film course Understanding Movies by Raphael Shargel. To view all the parts I completed, visit this page.

Although I didn't finish the whole series as hoped, I did finish 3 parts. As part of my foray into movie reviewing, I decided to learn more about the history of film. Now, let me tell you, I think I have watched a lot of movies. I made it my goal to watch the AFI 100 best movies and did so (the 1998 list). But there is a gap between someone who just watches a lot of movies and someone who understands the history and grammar of film. Luckily, I work at a library and have resources at my fingertips. I found Understanding Movies: The Art and History of Film. It is taught by Professor Raphael Shargel from Providence College. It is an audio course. You listen to chapters on CD, each one including a brief lesson. You are also asked to view some movies in light of what Professor Shargel has just discussed, and there are discussion questions. Each cha…

Book Review and Series Review: Artemis Fowl: The Time Paradox

I looooooooove the Artemis Fowl series. This is one of my favorite series of all time, and I just read the 6th book in this stupendiferous series. It's still awesome, even after the 6th book. What makes this series for me is the characters that EoinColfer created from the get go. These same characters come up in every book, and I wouldn't have it any other way. We have Artemis (or Artie to his friends), the genius mastermind who used to be an evil genius mastermind. Now he's older and kinder, but still a mastermind (although his need to dominate comes out once in awhile). Captain Holly Short, is the feisty fairy who has a Tom Cruise Top Gun type of side (she goes maverick). Butler is Artemis' faithful manservant who has the reflexes of a lynx but the heart of a teddy bear. Foaly the centaur who works on the fairy technology but can't help but admire Artemis' brain. And of course, the lovable Mulch Diggums, a dwarf with enough energy in his stocky legs…