Wednesday, January 30, 2008

KOOKY: Some excitement today...

Police evacuate UBC building after lockdown

Not certain what happened yet, and although I was concerned for other people's lives -- and fortunately I heard that no one was hurt -- I was dealing with putting out my own fires and was more preoccupied with that.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Mansfield Park -- wha?

Hmmm, where to start? I normally try to view adaptations with an objective eye, after all, most film versions are never true copies, just (hopefully) faithful representations. Plus, many times, people have never even read the book, so hopefully there is enough to whet people's appetites and actually induce them to pick up the written original.

I won't even go into what a train wreck this adaptation was, or I'd be going on forever, and I'd rather let other people do the work. You can read a well written opinion here (the title's pretty apt).

Okay, my attempts at finding something positive about this adaptation:
  • Tom is a scoundrel, as he should be
  • Mr. Rushworth is stupid, as he should be
  • The pug was cute
  • Edmund was how I pictured him: a geeky looking clergyman
  • It was nice when they showed the moment when Edmund finally realised that he was in love with Fanny (but the stuff after that was horrid)
Did I say that the pug was cute?

But as I am sadly obsessed, I've already put in an order for my DVD. Sigh. Onwards...

KOOKY: I'm surrounded by a big sea of white...

Snow. That is.

We got about a foot of snow in a 9 hour period. By the time I was suppose to have gotten up and gotten ready for work, the radio was already telling me that two of the nearby public post-secondary institutions have closed because of the snow.

I checked our main website at 6.30 am to see what my fate was. Nothing.

7 am. Nothing.

Finally, just before 8 am, when I was suppose to be at work, the notice showed up: "Everything is opened. You must come to class. You must come to work."

Bah. I was so hoping for a snow day. I even told my underlings about the snow policy, and the years that I've been a student and staff member, this university has been notoriously the last ones to close, if they are benevolent to even do so, and they tend to wait until the last possible moment to tell you so.

I had had a terrible night of insomnia, and really wasn't feeling well, so had already decided to stay at home to work. Fortunate for me that I did. Transit was a nightmarish wreck. And while the streets were probably a little quieter than normal, the conditions at certain points were white-out. So not fun driving conditions.

I am so not looking forward to the drive in tomorrow. I know that my unplowed street will be completely iced over by morning. My only consolation is that someone will be feeding me free food for lunch. Oh wait, it's paid for by taxpayer's money. My tax money. So no free lunch for me. Sigh.

Okay, rant over...

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Northanger Abbey

Those of you who know me know that I've got a wee bit of a Jane Austen obsession (of course, if you ask Hubby, he'd probably say it's a little bigger than "wee"). However, most of you probably aren't familiar or even had heard about her other novels. Northanger Abbey happens to be my favourite out of the six full length novels that were published. I love this novel because it's meant to be fun, and a spoof on the Gothic novels that everyone was reading at that time. Jane Austen even mentions a few of the popular titles in the book.

There was a 1986 version, which I have, of course. However, unless you really, really want to watch bad acting and poke your eyes out, I suggest you give that one a skip.

But EEEEEEEEEEEEE! This 2007 version was so very well done! I loved it! I heard years ago that Andrew Davies, who also wrote the screenplay for the Colin Firth version of Pride and Prejudice, had a script written out, but couldn't find anyone to fund the project. So let me tell you that I've been waiting on pins and needles for a very long time.

Things that I loved about this adaptation:
  • JJ Feild as Henry Tilney: Okay, I will admit that I never really understood him as a character, until I saw JJ Feild in this role. I have now fallen in love with Henry Tilney, and have added JJ Feild to my list of Obsure British Actor crushes. But honestly, the man did an excellent job, and now when I read the book, I totally picture him as Henry Tilney.
  • Felicity Jones as Catherine Morland: Again, I couldn't relate to her character, either (funny that I've said that of the two main characters of my favourite Jane Austen book), but I loved her imagination and her innocence, and that really showed in this adaptation. Although I kept staring at Felicity Jones' overbite (very rude of me I know, but I couldn't help it!)
  • Carey Mulligan as Isabella Thorpe: I watched her in Pride and Prejudice (the Keira Knightley version), and thought she was a pretty okay actress in that movie. She has gotten better since because she really blew me away. She is saucy, pretentious and manipulative, but without being over the top, the very epitome of Isabella Thorpe. I felt at times she stole the scene away from Felicity Jones.
  • General Tilney, Captain Tilney, James Morland, The Morland Family, Mr. and Mrs. Allen were all as I had expected and they had done a great job casting the respective roles. Mrs. Allen and General Tilney were my favourites.
  • Scenes where Catherine where fancying herself as a heroine in a Gothic novel. I had a friend tell me that she didn't like them, but I did. I found it particularly funny that Catherine seemed to be enjoying herself a little too much, despite the fact that her life was in great peril.
Things that I'm sitting on the fence about:
  • John Thorpe. William Beck did a creditable job, but John Thorpe is a rattle, and I don't feel that this came through enough. I'm still trying to decide if it's the actor or the script. It may be a bit of both, but nonetheless, he wasn't what I'd quite imagined John Thorpe to be.
  • Eleanor Tilney. Again, I'm not certain if it's the actor or the script. Eleanor Tilney seemed dull and insipid. Even with the scenes where General Tilney wasn't present, I really didn't get a good sense of her character. She had some pretty good lines when she was able to speak her mind in the book, but that all got cut out in the adaptation. Wait, I just did some more reading, and it looks like PBS cut out another important scene. Bah.
  • The naked scenes. There were actually two from what I understand, but sucky PBS cut one of them out. Not that I'm a prude, or that I didn't feel that Jane Austen wouldn't have never written or implied such things if she would have, but I'm not certain that it really fit in with the spirit of the adaptation. The scene with Isabella Thorpe and Captain Tilney is probably the more realistic of the two, but I sort of wonder if Isabella is really that stupid. Still not certain. As for the other scene, I've seen pictures, and am more curious than anything as to how it played out and where in the story they put it. I've also heard that the Region 1 DVD doesn't have the cut out scenes, so I may have to resort to searching YouTube for it. Boooo!
So overall, I give this a 9 out of 10. Loved it, loved it, loved it!

A very good review...

List of what was cut from the Region 1 DVD (boo on whomever decided to do this!)

Some picspam for you to look at. There are some spoilers, but more importantly, the naked scenes are depicted. The poster's comments are also hilarious!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Wednesday Laugh

I really need a good laugh right about now. This was emailed to me at work.

Here's a prime example of "Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus" offered by an English professor.

The professor addressed his class: "Today we will experiment with a new form called the tandem story. The process is simple. Each person will pair off with the person sitting to his or her immediate right. As homework tonight, one of you will write the first paragraph of a short story. You will email your partner that paragraph and send another copy to me. The partner will read the first paragraph and then add another paragraph to the story and send it back, also sending another copy to me."

"The first person will then add a third paragraph, and so on back and forth. Remember to reread what has been written each time in order to keep the story coherent. There is to be absolutely NO talking outside of the e-mails and anything you wish to say must be written in the email. The story is over when both agree a conclusion has been reached."

The following was turned in by two of his English students, Rebecca and Gary:

[First paragraph by Rebecca]
At first, Laurie couldn't decide which kind of tea she wanted. The chamomile, which used to be her favorite for lazy evenings at home, now reminded her too much of Carl, who once said, in happier times, that he liked chamomile. But she felt she must now, at all costs, keep her mind off Carl. His possessiveness was suffocating, and if she thought about him too much her asthma started acting up again. So chamomile was out of the question.

[Second paragraph by Gary]
Meanwhile, Advance Sergeant Carl Harris, leader of the attack squadron Now in orbit over Skylon 4, had more important things to think about than The neuroses of an air-headed asthmatic bimbo named Laurie with whom he had spent one sweaty night over a year ago. "A.S. Harris to Geostation 17," he said into his transgalactic communicator. "Polar orbit established.
No sign of resistance so far..." But before he could sign off, a bluish particle beam flashed out of nowhere and holed through his ship's cargo bay. The jolt from the direct hit sent him flying out of his seat and across the cockpit.

He bumped his head and died almost immediately, but not before he felt one last pang of regret for psychically brutalizing the one woman who had ever had feelings for him. Soon afterwards, Earth stopped its pointless hostilities towards the peaceful farmers of Skylon 4. "Congress Passes Law Permanently Abolishing War and Space Travel," Laurie read in her newspaper one
morning. The news simultaneously excited her and bored her. She stared out the window, dreaming of her youth, when the days had passed unhurriedly and carefree, with no newspaper to read, no television to distract her from her sense of innocent wonder at all the beautiful things around her. "Why must one lose one's innocence to become a woman?" she pondered wistfully.

Little did she know, but she had less than 10 seconds to live. Thousands of miles above the city, the Anu'udrian mothership launched the first of its lithium fusion missiles. The dim-witted wimpy peaceniks who pushed the Unilateral Aerospace Disarmament Treaty through the congress had left Earth a defenseless target for the hostile alien empires who were determined to destroy the human race. Within two hours after the passage of the treaty the Anu'udrian ships were on course for Earth, carrying enough firepower to pulverize the entire planet. With no one to stop them, they swiftly initiated their diabolical plan. The lithium fusion missile
entered the atmosphere unimpeded. The President, in his top-secret mobile submarine headquarters on the ocean floor off the coast of Guam, felt the inconceivably massive explosion, which vaporized poor, stupid Laurie.

This is absurd. I refuse to continue this mockery of literature. My writing partner is a violent, chauvinistic, semi-literate adolescent.

Yeah? Well, my writing partner is a self-centered tedious neurotic whose attempts at writing are the literary equivalent of Valium. "Oh, shall I have chamomile tea? Or shall I have some other sort of F-KING TEA??? Oh no, what am I to do? I'm such an air-headed bimbo who reads too many Danielle Steele novels!"




Go drink some tea, slut!!

A+ - I really liked this one.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Someone had sent this to me. I wasn't sure how to take it, fart humour isn't exactly my cup of tea (meaning I don't find it funny, but I'm certainly not offended by it). Anyways, here it is...

Monday, January 14, 2008

Persuasion. Well, not quite.

I hate Masterpiece Theatre. I had heard that the latest Persuasion adaptation wasn't that good. But Masterpiece Theatre did one better by editing it. Badly. They took out a bunch of scenes that should have been left in, in order to make this a 90 minute show. What ended up being broadcasted was a big crazy mess. I certainly didn't understand all the running around, and the over-superciliousness. Really, I get it. Enough over-acting and melodrama, please.

I was willing to give this adaptation a chance. I mean how much justice can you really do in two hours (that turned into 90 mins) of a Jane Austen classic? And how accurate and true to the book will it be? Not as much as many would like. But even still, it was horrid to watch. The worse was that I couldn't see very much character development in the main characters, and I blame the script for that. And the over editing. However, the kiss at the end, now that was painful to watch. For that, I blame the director.

This post really says it all...

I'm going to have to buy the DVD, I've heard that all the deleted parts are in it, thank goodness. Hopefully some of the mess will make some sense. Hopefully. Well, I was going to buy the DVD anyways, because I'm a geek.

Hopefully the next one will be better...

Movie Review: The Illusionist

Set in turn-of-the-century Vienna, The Illusionist is about a magician that can do great magic. Of course, there are bad guys, and of course, there is a woman involved; when is there not? The woman is way above his social standing. And the bad guy? The Crown Prince. Throw in a police inspector, and you've got lots of drama.

I thought this movie was really well done. It kept me guessing as to what was going to happen next, and there was definitely the right amount of tension throughout. I felt tense watching the "bad guy", and in the end, was even wondering how bad he really was by the end of it. Yes, the bad guy was bad, but was he as bad as the audience was lead to believe?

I won't give you too many spoilers, but Eisenheim, the main character, played brilliantly by Edward Norton, does dupe them all. How, is something you'll have to find out by watching the movie. But there are enough twists and turns in the movie to make it interesting and will keep you guessing. Sure, the ending's cheesy, but that's love for you.

One other thing I liked about this movie is that it's not often you see a movie set in a place like Vienna, in that time period. And about a magician of all things.

9 out of 10.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Movie Review: Stardust

Hubby and I decided to rent Stardust because we had heard good things about it and we had both wanted to watch it but never got a chance to.

What can I say, after seeing it, I fell in love with this movie. So much so that I'd decided to buy it. My DVD just came in the mail today. Whoo!

Stardust is fairytale about a nerdy guy named Tristan (played by unknown actor Charlie Cox) who goes to look for a star (named Yvaine) that has fallen out of the sky (played by Clare Danes), so he can impress the village beauty Victoria (Sienna Miller). Tristan along the way becomes the hero (although I wasn't that fond of his longer hairstyle in the second half of the movie, I now have a new actor crush. Sigh), and wins the fair Yvaine's heart.

Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer were also in the movie, and both did an awesome job, although I think De Niro was having a little too much fun with his role. But in a good way that made the movie fun to watch. The rest of the acting was great.

It's a fairy tale in a similar style like The Princess Bride, but the story's much simpler, in my opinion. It's charming, funny, has ghosts, pirates, bad princes and very old evil witches. And of course, true love. There's enough appeal for both children and adults alike. Yes, it has it's fluffy, happy ending, but it is a fairy tale after all. And there's not too much fluff or mush to turn anyone off.

Now I've read some negative comments about the movie, such as the CGI wasn't up to Lord of the Rings quality. One person felt that there really wasn't any real cues that told him that Tristan had crossed over from the land of humans into fairyland, like the do in other movies. Give me a break. LOTR was this multi-million dollar project, and for the second comment, you, stop relying on Hollywood to make up for a sorry excuse of an imagination. My only real criticism of the movie was that the plot was slightly weak in some parts, but it wasn't enough to detract from the plot.

The director had set out to make a film that was appealing to both adults and children, and I think he's succeeded. It also encouraged me to read the book, so that will be coming in the mail shortly. Review for that forthcoming...

8.5 out of 10 stars. A must see.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Movie Review: Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

What is the difference between a movie star and a movie actor?

A movie star acts, sometimes tolerably well, many times not so well.

A movie actor makes you believe that you are actually watching and relating/reacting/empathising with the character.

Johnny Depp is a movie actor. Keira Knightly and Orlando Bloom are movie stars. Never mind about my normal rant about Keira's slouchiness, one other thing that she does in every single freaking movie that I've seen her in (Bend it Like Beckham, Love Actually, King Arthur, Pride and Prejudice, and the other two Pirate movies), she does this silly pouty lips thing. Really. If you don't believe me, go and read comments about Atonement, the director told her to stop it. All I could see was Keira Knightly and Orlando Bloom pretending to be another character. Bor-ing.

But even great movie actors can't save a really bad script, I feel that Pirates 2 and Pirates 3 were movies that should have never been done. They made the story too complicated. Although the characters Elizabeth Swann and Will Turner have bigger roles in Pirates 3 (a complaint I had about Pirates 2), I felt like banging my head against the wall while watching the movie. There was a plot, but it was so confusing and tedious that it really wasn't worth telling the story.

Hubby and I couldn't remember the plot to Pirates 2, so we had actually stopped the movie to read about it online. How sad was that? And any time I sit and wonder when the movie's going to end is not a good sign. I'm usually one who tries to keep an opened mind, but the abysmal script kept me wanting for the bad guys to win.

I couldn't pick out any good parts. I can tell you some things that let me down:
  • Norrington's death was poorly done and glossed over (I actually sympathised with his character, plus this is yet another example of what a proper movie actor is, in my opinion; one doesn't have to like the character to admire a good actor)
  • Calypso's fury was lame and drawn out too much
  • They could have easily cut the "voting of the Pirate King" scene in half
  • Jack Sparrow's schizophrenic scenes should have been cut out all together
  • The entire scene where they were in Davy Jones' locker was boring, and when Elizabeth Swann found out that her father died, I was hoping that she would jump into his little boat with him.
  • I was actually happy that Elizabeth and Will couldn't be together in the end. That's what they get for boring me to death.
  • I actually like most of the other actors in the movie, but even they couldn't save me from wanting to poke a sharp object in my eye.
What is the biggest downer of the Pirates trilogy was that the first movie was great. I liked it because it was different, it was fresh, it was fun, and it was an entertaining movie. Pirates 2 and 3 weren't. Disney should have stopped after the first one.

I'd give this one a 4 out of 10.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Movie Review: National Treasure: Book of Secrets

I saw a bunch of movies over the holidays, so I'd thought put up my thoughts before I forget.

National Treasure: Book of Secrets. Well, it was okay, not great, bot okay. The search for the actual treasure was at least somewhat entertaining. But it was entertaining up to the point where they actually go and look for the lost city of gold. From that point onwards, it was just a big mess. I sat there either wondering why they did things the way they did, cringing at drawn out scenes that were full of some type of action (and not even great action) and wondering why they did it that way, or just plain scratching my head at non-explanations of events. And that was about the last 1/3 of the movie.

I was excited about seeing Paris and London scenes, makes me want to go back again. Especially London.

6.8 out of 10.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy 2008!

Happy New Year Everyone!

I'm not one to make New Year Resolutions, but if you are, I've found something that may help you.

Also, for those of you who have resolved to drink less coffee (or more!), so interesting pros and cons, but be forewarned: like anything else on the Internet, double-check the information, in particular, with your doctor. Me, I think coffee is one of the vilest things on Earth. Blech!!

Have a great 2008 everyone!