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I forgot to mention the movies that I've seen lately. My mom and I saw 12 Years a Slave last Thursday, and it was excellent. Chiwetel Ejiofor, who played Solomon Northup, and Lupita Nyong'o, who played Patsey, another slave on the same plantation as Northup, were incredible, but the entire cast was terrific, even the ones playing the bad guys. Parts of the movie are very tough to watch. One reviewer said, "This is the best movie that you'll never want to see again," which is about right.

A few weeks ago, my mom and I saw The Butler. It also was a terrific movie with great performances. I was glad, though, that some of the more horrific moments in the story weren't actually a part of Cecil Gaines', the title character's, life, although the violent responses to the Civil Rights Movement were historically accurate. Sentimental person that I am, I had tears in my eyes when the title character saw President Obama elected. (It was strange to watch the coverage in the movie, which was CNN's projection that President Obama would win, knowing that I saw the exact same thing at the time.)

I live on Lean Cuisine, and am part of their rewards program, which gives points for each code from a Lean Cuisine box that you enter. I cashed out a bunch of points for a $15 Amazon gift card, which I promptly spent on a DVD with four Lauren Bacall movies. (It was a little more expensive than the gift card, but still, four movies for $4 is a good deal.) I also redeemed points for a coupon good for a free Lean Cuisine dinner and to enter a drawing for a $1000 Visa gift card. I guess that this is a good time to cash points out. However, I have a bunch of boxes here to enter and a couple of bags full of boxes in storage, so I should be able to build up points again quickly.

Anyway, this is not helping me get stuff done....
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I got in touch with Lincoln to see where they were in the hiring process, and they said that they're finishing interviews this week and will be in touch next week. So I'll hang tight....

Funny how when you get into something, you see it everywhere. I've gotten into classic movies, and The Killers, Ava Gardner's first big starring role, is on Turner Classic Movies tomorrow night. I'll probably watch it. Also, I pulled out all the classic movies in my mom's collection and need to watch them too. My mom is going to give me some classic movie DVDs for my birthday next week.

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Today, I had my interview at the company that almost hired me before. I think that I did well at the beginning of the interview, but fried out a bit at the end. At least it's over, which takes some of the pressure off. (I had been studying for the interview.)

Yesterday, I had my dental appointment. Well. They came up with a treatment plan that involves about six visits and a fair amount of moola. I liked the dentist and trust her judgment that this work needs to be done. The one big problem that I see is that she wants me to go to an oral surgeon and get my wisdom teeth removed. I don't have anyone who will drive me to the appointment and pick me up afterward. I'll need to talk to the surgeon what my options are.

I'm going back there on Saturday (to finish the deep cleaning started on Monday).

Monday night, I saw The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. The movie was good at showing what Bauby's life was like after his stroke. I wish, though, that they showed more of his life before the stroke. I didn't get a good feel for him as a person.
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I saw Sweeney Todd tonight.

Well, hmm. I had mixed feelings about it. You could tell who really knew how to sing and who didn't. (The boy who worked in Mrs. Lovett's shop has an awesome voice.) The roles were well acted. Alan Rickman had to display a range of emotions from hopeful lover to controlling asshole, and he did so quite well. (Come to think of it, Snape has the same range of emotions.) The movie was visually striking. My biggest problem, however, was that I didn't feel at all sympathetic to the lead character, Sweeney Todd. Johnny Depp did a good job, but still, something was missing.

I think the reason that the movie is closing so fast is that people like either gore or musicals, but not both. I shut my eyes at the more gory parts.

I'm not likely to see another movie in downtown San Jose any time soon because I had to pay $5 for parking. Ouch.

I want to see The Silence before Bach when it opens here. It's currently opening only in New York.


Jan. 27th, 2008 02:10 am
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I saw Atonement tonight. It's the movie about how a young girl's lie has serious consequences for everyone. And to me, that's the problem with the movie. There's no good way to atone for the lie. The movie tried two different types of atonement and neither worked for me. It's well acted, and Keira Knightley is incredibly beautiful. It's set in the late 30s/early 40s. (I don't know WWII history very well, or I'd know when exactly it was set.) It's interesting as a historical piece.

Unfortunately, Sweeney Todd seems to have left most theaters. It's playing only in downtown San Jose at 4:15. Maybe if it's still there next weekend, I'll go.

Rain, rain, go away. It's been raining much of the time for over a week.

I'm back

Jan. 5th, 2008 12:46 am
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While I was in Detroit, Mom and I watched the Harry Potter movies. (I hadn't seen the first three, and Mom hadn't seen the last two.) A while back, I took a silly "Who is your Harry Potter lover?" quiz and wound up with Snape. I went "Ew," and didn't post the results. However, Alan Rickman as Snape in the movies is another story. He has a very memorable voice and is charismatic. I told my mom that I was a fan, and we went in search of Alan Rickman movies. Mom already had Sense and Sensibility, which was good. She bought Snow Cake (a very interesting character study) and Love, Actually (a typical light romantic comedy, but pretty good). Maybe when I get my DVD player set up, I'll go in search of more Alan Rickman movies.

While we were in Evanston, we also saw Charlie Wilson's War, which was interesting and thought-provoking.

During the entire trip, I stayed organized and wound up being ready to leave early when we had to go someplace. I need to keep that up.

The flights back were uneventful, except for someone nearby who kept on farting the whole way from Chicago to San Jose. It was a looong flight. Someone must have said something to the flight attendant because she sprayed some air freshener near the end of the flight. The flight got in late (11:00 PM?). It took a long time to get my luggage. Two shuttle buses went past me before I found the right place to catch one. I had been running around in the rain, and when I caught the shuttle, someone commented that I didn't need to stand under a rain spout. When I got the car, I smacked the right back corner of the car into a barrier, and now the right side of the bumper is loose.

I went to a 24-hour restaurant (Denny's) to get something to eat and a 24-hour grocery store (Safeway) to get some essentials. By the time that I got home, it was 2:45 AM, and I decided to leave my luggage in the car until I got up today. I slept a lot. I'm still kind of tired.

Mom has come down with something, so I need to stay well-rested to try to fight it off. I also might keep taking Airborne.

The kitties are okay. It took them a while to realize that I was me and not the pet sitter. They've been cuddly and affectionate. I'm fascinated by how small and delicate they are in comparison to my mom's big dog.

I've been lucky because I haven't lost power from the storm.


May. 26th, 2007 02:21 am
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Harlee is very deeply asleep right behind me in the home office. I don't want to move (even though I need to use the washroom) because I don't want to disturb her.

Random disturbed her for me. She keeps trying to go back to sleep though.

I saw Paris je t'aime tonight. It's a series of short films set in different neighborhoods in Paris. The travelogue aspect was fun. However, every time that a story got interesting, the film switched to the next story. Maybe I just don't like short films. Anyway, I wanted to do something festive for the long weekend. Now I'm planning to see how far I can get doing stuff around my condo this weekend.
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Back in Chicago, some people seemed convinced that I couldn't be from the U.S. I had conversations that would go something like this:

"Where are you from?"
"No, where were you born?"
"Where are your parents from?"
"My dad was born in Lithuania (ah ha!), and my mom is from, yes, Chicago."

When my dad and mom got married, my grandmother said, "We had hoped that he would marry a nice Lithuanian girl, but what can you do?"

Some experiences are universal, which is why I wanted to see The Namesake. It's the story of two generations of a family who emigrated from India to the U.S. I saw it Sunday night.

I enjoyed it. It has interesting things to say about where home is. The actors who played the mother and father are terrific actors. My only complaint is that it seemed to end really abruptly.


Feb. 19th, 2007 12:21 am
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Today, I finally saw Becket. When I saw Venus, I had said that I wanted to see more movies with Peter O'Toole. Right after that, Becket was re-released. (Ask and ye shall receive.) The only thing was that the daily showing of the movie was first at 6:30, and then changed to 4:30, which is a little early for me to be out and about -;) However, the lure of free parking in downtown San Jose on Sunday got me going.

Richard Burton, who played Becket, was really excellent in the role. (Overheard in the restroom after the movie, "He was good until Liz got her hands on him.") I'm not sure what to say about Peter O'Toole. He chewed up the scenery a lot, but it was written into the role. His Henry comes off as a spoiled brat, but maybe that's accurate. The two actors played off each other well.

I wish that the movie had explained Becket's transformation from a secular and politically adept courtier to a stiff-necked clergyman. The movie shows him giving away his clothes and praying to give honor to the role when he was made Archbishop of Canterbury, but not his motivation.

According to Wikipedia, the conflict between Church and State was different in the movie than in real life. I wonder why they changed it. In the movie, a priest raped a girl, and was hauled into civil court instead of ecclesiastical court. Then someone kills the priest, and Becket excommunicates the killer. (Another Wikipedia entry about Henry II backs up the movie version. Maybe inconsistency is a problem with Wikipedia.)

I don't get excommunication (except that's the only way that the Church could "hit back"). Given that Jesus said (roughly) that no one was beyond redemption, how did they justify kicking someone out of the Church?

Okay, I'm taking this movie a little too seriously. (Here's a review with gossip about the filming.)

I'm starting to burn out on movies a little. Maybe I should get out early one of these days and go for a nice walk along Guadalupe River Park.
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I saw The Lives of Others tonight. It's a German film set in East Germany before the fall of the Berlin Wall. The story is about an officer in the secret police who puts a writer and his actress girlfriend under surveillance. Over time, the officer gets emotionally involved with the couple.

This feature would make a good double-feature with Pan's Labyrinth about the dangers of totalitarianism. While Pan's Labyrinth is mostly action of sorts, this movie is very internal. Both are excellent movies.
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Pan's Labyrinth is one of most disturbing movies that I've ever seen. I was riveted the whole time, yet there were times when I closed my eyes because I didn't want to see what was happening on the screen. From the San Jose Mercury News:

However much this may resemble a full-dress fairy tale, it's not meant for children, and the violence is so harrowing at times that it may even make some adults look away. That's actually a tribute to the intensity of del Toro's filmmaking, and to the vitality of the characters he has written.

I spent the movie in the weird place where I didn't want to see what would happen next, yet I couldn't look away. And yes, that's a compliment of sorts. I highly recommend seeing it. Just don't expect to have a fun time.

P.S. If the movie doesn't win an Academy Award, there is no justice in the system.
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I saw Notes on a Scandal tonight. It's well cast and well acted, but as for the plot line, yikes. I could have done without seeing it.

On the other hand, it's gotten fairly good reviews, so your mileage may vary.


Feb. 3rd, 2007 01:03 am
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Tonight I saw Venus, Peter O'Toole's new movie. I thought that it was excellent. However, it probably isn't everyone's cup of tea. The movie reminds me a lot of Lost in Translation, a movie about which a reviewer said that "nothing happens". Nothing much happens in this movie too, except the unfolding of an unlikely relationship. It isn't as sentimental as Lost in Translation; parts of it are vulgar. I admire Peter O'Toole for taking a somewhat risky role.

I want to watch Peter O'Toole's other movies sometime. The only other one that I've seen was My Favorite Year, in which Peter O'Toole was hysterically funny. (Addendum: I've also seen The Lion in Winter several times. I think that I also saw Goodbye Mr. Chips when I was a kid.)
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I had a bad case of the glums today (probably partially because of the weather). I needed to call back a recruiter, and was pleased that she wasn't at her desk so I didn't have to talk to her.

So I decided to take the evening off and see a movie. I went to see Babel. It's interesting and engrossing, but lacks something. In the movie, a series of bad decisions by several characters in different places turn to possible tragedy. The reviewer who said that she was "shaken, but not stirred" by the movie got it just right, IMO. Seeing all the different locales in the movie was fun.

So now I'm home again. Random and Harlee are sticking to their respective territories and not interacting with each other; Nima is a sort of roving ambassador who eats everyone's food. I'm appreciating the peace and quiet.

Tomorrow I'm planning to get cracking on stuff around here. I might stay home all day if I don't go stir-crazy.


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