Thursday, December 30, 2010

Films and books

To my surprise, I loved the newest installment in the Chronicles of Narnia series, Voyage of the Dawn Treader. I thought the first movie (The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe) was fine but not life-altering, probably since I'd read the book and seen at least two other screen adaptations of the story. I found the second movie (Prince Caspian) more or less forgettable, evidenced by the fact I could indeed not recall anything about it while watching Voyage. But this new one, which is available in 3D although I saw it in 2D, was really something -- spectacular effects, excitement, great performances, and even tender and touching moments that made me sniffle. Critics don't seem to share my enthusiasm, so maybe I was just in the right mood, but I did love it. I appreciate the poignancy and reverence with which director Michael Apted shares C.S. Lewis's classic tale of personal courage. I also think Skandar Keynes is hot.

I've been remarkably out of touch with movies this year, which is no surprise given that I spent most of the year with not so much as cable TV. Golden Globe nominations came out recently, and I'd seen very few of the movies nominated in major categories. In fact, I'd heard of very few. A few years ago, that wouldn't have been the case. I got very swept up in Oscar season, and not just because I was an entertainment journalist, but because I genuinely found it fascinating. I don't find it as interesting anymore. It happens.

Switching to another medium, I finished Blink and just began the second book I brought to Florida, Firing Back. Both of these are required for courses I'm taking this spring, although neither is required in full. I'm reading them in full nevertheless, because I don't have too many compelling obligations competing for their attention, especially since it's too cold to go to the beach. I didn't care for Blink, though. The first chapter was interesting, but the subsequent chapters were tenuously relevant, not altogether interesting stories. The takeaway was muddled because it seemed as if although Mr. Gladwell had a main topic, he didn't have a main thesis.

Two more Italian neorealistic films arrived from Netflix yesterday. I'm not sure I will subject my family to the depressing subject matter, but I will try to consume them in my own time. Enjoying the visit still, and glad I'm not stuck in what appears to be a major blizzard back in the Northeast.

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