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Posts Tagged ‘movies’

In this article, the Avatar Effect, the Daily Mail reports on various reactions to the movie. Avatar is an incredibly beautiful and life-like movie; friends and I discussed how immersive it was, exactly as one would hope one’s favorite sci-fi novel could be transferred to the big screen. I could easily empathize with the pain and depression felt by protagonist Jake Sully, as he awakens to “the real world” after once again having the use of his legs while on Pandora. I felt the sadness other viewers have reported after taking to heart the, admittedly, hammered in idea that humans can act like rapacious cancers wherever they go. But the strong depressive and suicidal responses stated by some viewers is shocking.

It is a film. It is a film that was beautiful and thoroughly captivating, but with a heavy-handed, overweening message. But that’s it. How have people become so detached from their everyday lives that viewing a film can make them feel suicidal?

Suicidal thoughts as a result of watching Avatar makes me feel for the people experiencing them but the call of racism was annoying. I am so tired of people calling down the “white hero” phenomenon. Let me ask you this: a people with staggeringly superior technology and the knowledge of their one weakness (yes, I’ll bring up Independence Day’s deus ex machina device of the alien invasion being subverted only through their lack of ability to survive Earth viruses) begins the destruction of a people. How, but through people who know how to use that technology, is such a destruction to be averted? A similar charge of the “white hero” idea comes in the story of Snow Falling on Cedars. I’m left wondering if people see racism in this purely because they think it’s racist or if it would seem less like racism if we had more representations of racial minorities triumphing over adversities through their own actions. Or how about not facing any adversities at all and showing minorities and whites alike experiencing the joys, boredom and everything else of life. Also, I just remembered the Chosen One aspect of the film. But that still goes back to the vastly different levels of technology in use by the two factions.

If you want to see racism, look to the obvious lack of feeling the Giovanni Ribisi character, Parker Selfridge, had for the Na’vi. Or the clearly xenophobic attitude of Stephen Lang’s Colonel Miles Quaritch. See racism in the exoticification of the Na’vi by Joel Moore’s Norm Spellman or in the Sigourney Weaver character Dr. Grace Augustine. But even that, I think, could simply be a case of the inability to fully flesh out the emotions of characters in such an ambitious plot. At nearly three hours long it still felt like so much was left out. If this were novelized (likely serialized), we’d have a much better understanding of all the characters and the message and actions of the “evil” characters wouldn’t have to be so heavy-handed.

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The boyfriend and I took in a film a couple of days ago, it was his first in the theatre in ages. Moon, a story of a man posted to a mining unit on the back side of Earth’s moon for a three year contract, was wonderful. No aliens, no sudden loud sounds, just psychological suspense, and very good.

Sam is alone at his post, aside from a sentient computer named Gerty, voiced by Kevin Spacey, in a good-sized space station for one person. I noted that being assigned, alone, to a post that far away for that long is basically like being in solitary confinement. A computer is not a person, and even one other person would get to be too much after a while. Soon, it is apparent that he is cracking up and the rest of the movie is spent examining that and the system that placed him in such a dehumanizing setting for so long.

This was an excellent movie, everything well thought out with an extremely realistic setting and a nuanced performance from the lead actor. Definitely recommended.

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In the past few days I’ve taken the tube a lot more than normal. On Sunday, I just couldn’t come up with an easy way to get from Ealing to Camden town, and was running out of time to pick up a bicycle stem (for the boyfriend), so ended up just going on the train. Delays, Camden Town tube station closed for 4 hours (on purpose) when I wanted to go home, more delays on going home. It ended up taking me a total of three hours to get there, pick it up, look in five or six shoe stores for a particular pair of Vans, and get home. Partway through the trip, the Picadilly line shut down going west due to signal failure. Thank god I had just transferred from the Northern line, and it would take me to Embankment, where I could pick up the District line. That was almost fubared, though, until I remembered that District is only closed from Embankment east. Weekends are a bitch for taking the tube in London. Central line, partial closure; Circle line, complete closure; District line, partial closure; and others I don’t use so don’t know of.

Then yesterday I took the Central line to Stratford to see Star Trek for the gloriously low price of £3.50 with O, K & H. We giggled about our campy bartender, drank beers & ate smuggled in chocolate and legally purchased caramel corn. The movie was EXCELLENT, I must strongly advise others to go see it. Since the boyfriend won’t be playing polo for a few weeks (yet again, he fell playing yesterday and has injured himself), maybe we’ll go next week to see it again.

On the way home, delays, delays, then complete closure of the Central line going west from White City. No indication of how to get to points further west that did not include going to West Ruislip (the tube line often splits, you have to know the end point before you get on in case you get sent somewhere you didn’t plan on going). I asked someone and was told to take a bus, outside, to the left, numbers that did not call at the stop I found when I went where directed. Called the boyfriend, freaked out mildly, then got some cash and hailed a cab. It went past me and a dude almost took it. I yelled at him, kinda under my breath, calling him a f-head for stealing my cab.

But then I heard he was going to Ealing Broadway and asked if we could share. This is just not done in England! But in NYC, no one bats an eyelash if you want to cabshare. Anyway, we had a nice chat and he told me I didn’t have to kick in, it turns out that in cases like this you can retain the receipt and claim the expense with TfL. Sweet! So all in all, I got home faster and was dropped off right outside of Ealing Common, thus saving me a 10-15 minute walk. Whee!

I really hate public transport here in London.

Edit: Just bought the shoes through UK Amazon for £5 less than Office. Now I just have to sell the gift card from Office (their form of in-store credit).

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Yesterday a few of us took advantage of the bank holiday to take in a mid-afternoon showing of Let The Right One In, a dark and serene Swedish horror story. There are times when an unremarkable performance can be obscured because the viewer doesn’t understand the spoken language and others when knowing the language is not a necessity. This is one of those times. The storyline was elegant, didn’t hammer plot points home, let information seep in instead of expounding in the narrative. In fact, there wasn’t a lot of narrative. No voice overs that I can recall and lots and lots of shots of clean white Swedish snow. Some fellow viewers actually felt a sensation of cold by the images but I felt either mildly euphoric or claustrophobic. Another thing I noticed was how very like English I found some of the Swedish words. With the aid of subtitles, I was able to figure bits out but there were certain times when the meaning came through as if they were speaking English. The movie has made me think back on it several times and though that’s the mark of an excellent film I’m not sure it’s something I could view again very soon, not for being horrific but because I want to keep it safe in its head space.

Easter weekend has come and gone and others are lamenting the return to work but I still have months and months before I’m allowed to gripe about long weekends coming to a close. Please wish me luck registering as a social worker, everyone, I need to get my butt to work!

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