Recap: 28 December 2008

I love being on break from work. Probably too much. I’ve been off for five days. I’ve got to head back in tomorrow for two, and then I’m off for another five. When I’m off from work, I get to spend my days doing the things I love most: writing, reading, watching movies, and hanging out with friends & family. It’s really a shame I have to pay bills and whatnot…

What I Watched

  • Joyeux Noël (4 stars): A film about German, French and Scottish troops who call a cease-fire over Christmas during World War II. Sad, funny, moving and optimistic. Great movie for the holidays, or really anytime.
  • The Tale of Despereaux (2½ stars): This one was really quite a disappointment. The animation was cute, but the sound mixing was awful with some characters barely audible and others booming for no apparent reason. The narration was odd, at best. More importantly, the different threads of the story never seemed to tie together. I haven’t read the book, but the translation to screen seems to have been less than successful.
  • All the President’s Men (4 stars): Watched this in preparation for seeing Frost/Nixon. I hadn’t watched it since high school, and it stirred the journalistic strings of my heart once more. Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman as “Woodstein” are, of course, fabulous.
  • Slumdog Millionaire (4 stars): If this doesn’t win the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay, I will be astounded. Simon Beaufoy ties everything together beautifully in what was obviously a challenging narrative. I wasn’t blown away by this movie, probably due to all the hype, but it was definitely a strong and solid film. Grabs you at the beginning and doesn’t let go until the Bollywood send-off at the end.
  • Seven Pounds (3 stars): I appreciated what this film was trying to do, but I don’t think it went far enough. I can’t say too much without giving things away, but I wasn’t as emotionally impacted as I’d hoped to be. The closing scene didn’t help matters. Will Smith and Rosario Dawson both gave excellent performances, but I just left feeling kind of empty.
  • Frost/Nixon (5 stars): Best movie I’ve seen this year. Michael Sheen is spectacular. Nixon was long out of the limelight by the time I was old enough to remember, but Langella creates a character that is both despicable and heartbreaking. Supporting cast? Stellar. The story itself, though of course dramatized from the truth, is riveting. Excellent, excellent film.

What I’m Reading

Confession time. I’m reading Twilight. There, I said it. Next confession: I totally don’t get all the excitement surrounding this book. Do the sequels get better? Can someone please explain the appeal? I don’t think I’ve gotten too old to not appreciate teen angst, but if I have to read about how Edward’s touch left Bella breathless one more time… I’m determined to finish and to read at least the second book, but seriously, if there’s anyone out there who can help me understand this phenomenon, I’d honestly appreciate it.

I’ve also managed to get myself into a situation where I’m reading three (technically four) books at once again. Hoping to get Twilight knocked off the list, then I’ll finish up A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Vile Village (Book 7). I’m also reading Good in a Room. The technical fourth is Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, which has been put on hold until the new year when I can devote a little more time to such a huge tome.

What I’m Writing

This hasn’t been the most productive month for me, but after the marathon that is NaNoWriMo, I think that’s OK. I’m still working on finishing up Redux, and then I’ve got to decide what to tackle next. M. Valentine needs a rewrite, SoS needs an edit and at least 20 pages added to it, and Tea still needs a better third act. Beyond that, I’ve got several other new projects in the queue. So, I’ve got choices, but I think perhaps I have too many choices. I’m still anywhere from 20,000 to 50,000 words out from being done with Redux, so I guess I’ve got time to figure it out.

Hope you all had or are having a lovely holiday. Stay tuned this week for my Year-End Wrap-Up!

2 thoughts on “Recap: 28 December 2008

  1. I have Twilight on my TBR pile just because I'm curious to see what all the hullabaloo is about.

    But, Strange & Norrell is an excellent book…you owe it to yourself to find the time to read it.

  2. I was the same way with Twilight. I wanted to see what all the hype was about. But when I read it, I was expecting a masterpiece… I was expecting a teen fun read, which means I didn’t have extremely high expectations. That’s probably why I enjoyed the books more. Maybe your frustration with the Edward/Bella relationship will ease in the second book, New Moon, for reasons I cannot really say, for it could ruin part of the book.

    As for Frost/Nixon. Absolutely, FABULOUS film. Absolutely, phenomenal. They really make Nixon into one of those characters where you can’t decide whether to hate him or provide sympathy for him. That takes a lot of hard work and I commend them for it! Frost’s character was performed wonderfully! You could really sense who the character was.

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