Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Knitting Update




I am working on the final beret for my sisters. I finished the white cuffs to match the white beret and also finished the ancient pink sweater. I still have to finish the silver gloves, make navy gloves to match this beret, finish a pink cowl, and knit my other purple glove. Hopefully I can do this without starting anymore projects, but I am making no promises. The book I am reading is The Mark of the Horse Lord by Rosemary Sutcliff.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Harry Potter 30 Day Challenge

Evie at A Period Drama Fangirl started a Harry Potter 30 Day Challenge. I do not know if she is still doing the challenge, but I am going to jump in waaay late anyway and post all the answers on what should be day 30. This challenge would be fun to do as a drawing challenge sometime too. Here are my answers:

1. The Goblet of Fire. This book jump starts the series from fun to epic, and I like all the layers (interpersonal relationships, school situation, Voldemort war). I like certain layers quite a bit in the other later books, but all of them either have something I do not like (the death of Sirius in The Order of the Phoenix and the Dumbledore story line in The Half-Blood Prince, for example), and/or do not quite seem quite as brilliantly smooth as The Goblet of Fire. And of course see answer #2 for another reason.

2. The film version of the above. This film was my first introduction to Harry Potter ever; I watched it and became hooked.

3. Well, Ron is quite unattractive (I know he was supposed to be plain, but plain can be handsome when one really likes the character/person), and many of the films make him look like a doof. The translation of his character from book to film was caricatured. The Half-Blood Prince film is the movie that seemed to differ most from its book, and it had major differences in the relationship part. The film portrayed Hermione as almost chasing Ron and Ron as absolutely uninterested which is patently different from the book. The "real" Ron was jealous because of Krum and just confused, so he messed things up and dated Lavender whom he did not truly like and of whom he tired speedily. I was also not happy with the last half of The Deathly Hallows movie; all the changes (such as Bellatrix and Voldemort erupting into pieces as opposed to falling down as bodies) made the film melodramatic which lessens the intensity of the story greatly. And the end would have been better if the film makers had actually aged Hermione and Ginny and given a nicer look to Ron. Oh, and back to the Ron in the first half of that film; he showed little emotion. People the "real" Ron was CRYING after the horrible spectre in the Horocrux, and he was SCREAMING constantly when Hermione was being tortured. He LOVED Hermione.

4. Lavender Brown. Um, Ron and Hermione forever people, okay?! Okay.

5. Harry, Ron, Fred and George, Draco, Sirius, James Sirius, oh, one? I am sorry, that is not possible.

6. Well, I am in Ravenclaw, but I would not mind Gryffindor.

7. Hermione (I am telling you, I am this book-main-character-loyalty-despite-everything type of person). In the book that is; she is rather annoying in the movie.

8. Charms or Transfiguration. I want to like Potions but given my attention in cooking and my failures in Pottermore, I doubt I would do well in this class, and when I don't do well, I hate.

9. Crabbe and Goyle?

10. Horocruxes. I am sorry, but those WERE important to destroy, but I do not like the dismissive attitude of Hermione and Ron toward the Hallows.

11. Since The Deathly Hallows film hardly had Dean in it, I don't even know for certain that this does exist (but I would hazard a guess it does): Dean and Luna. In the previous generation Lily and Snape. In the next generation Rose or Lily and Scorpius (Rose would be funny because Ron forbade it, but Lily would make it seem like Lily and Snape).

12. I am like Hermione sometimes (my siblings have also said Percy), but I am supposedly ISTP which  Harry is (also supposedly).

13. The Half-Blood Prince.

14. Really?

15. Only three. I refuse. Well, Fred-n-George, Ron, and Harry if that generation. All Harry's kids in the next generation. Moony, Padfoot, and Prongs for the oldest generation.

16. McGonagall and Flitwick.

17. I had not even read the book when the first part came out, and I loved it (I am less satisfied now that I have read the book, see answer to #3), so I expected the second half to be good. I was wrong.

18. Really?

19. Cannot you tell? I am sorry but 99.99% of the time the only people who prefer films are the highly uncultured . . . well, I will stop, I am in Ravenclaw.

20. The Phelps twins or Tom Felton.

21. Sirius. Fred did not die, typo I maintain.

22. What sort of blasphemous insult is this?????!!!!!

23. Plenty . . . if I had a heart, maybe I should be in Slytherin.

24. Let us see, how about the one in herbology when Ron and Hermione have a moment and then the Ginny/Ron row which ruined everything. Oh, wait but that would mess up the Ron-is-a-clueless-oaf and Hermione-is-a-wishful-man-hunter theme.

25. Um, I want books about Harry's kids, thanks. Still hoping.

26. The Animagus spell (I do not know what it officially is; I will have to look on Pottermore sometime).

27. The Cloak of Invisibility.

28. No, and the name and idea seems stupid.

29. Funny, but absolutely vile, and I do mean that in the good old-fashioned intense meaning. I could not make it through the second one.

30. Children's classics and will reread forever and ever and answer, "After all this time?" with, "Always."

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Of Books and Scribbles

Weeks and weeks ago I won a giveaway on All Things Beautiful,and I received these pencils and pencil case from Moxie Makery on etsy. I do not usually pick bright colors for myself, but I like these and this design; they are so cheery.



Scribbling Project #1
I made this little blank book into my first quote book. I would eventually like to have a bigger and more organized one, but I like this for now.


 Of course, I messed up the very first page; I will need to find cream cover-up and then doodle a design over it.



Scribbling project #2


I finally bought a journal to begin scrap-journaling. I tore out a couple pages every few pages in order to allow for room for items I paste into the book. Here are some sample pages that do not show my journaling.


I will publish a post or two about our St. Louis trip fairly soon.


I tore this out of a book I was given. I have been writing down the books I have read this summer.


This is my Fourth of July page before I wrote on it with a silver gel pen.


Bookstore Haul
For the past several years at the end of the school year our family makes (or tries to make) a Coldstone Creamery and Half-Price Books trip. Here is my haul:


I wiped out the prodigiously large Gaelic section. The only items left were duplicates of the CD set. Yes, I know I have two dialects/languages which might not be at all the same; I can learn both.


Well, I have to start my collection somewhere, even the middle of the series.


Does this need an explanation?


The one on the left reminds me of a Scott O'Dell book. I feel that these journals are too beautiful to tear up for scrap-journaling. We will see if that lasts. Now they grace my shelves along with all my other beautiful and blank journals. Whatever. 


Scribbling Project #3
I have had this journal for a while, and when I re-read the Harry Potter series earlier this summer break, I decided to use it to scribble my thoughts about this series. Of course, I thought of it when I was several books into re-reading. I want to remember to use it every time I re-read and sometimes after I re-watch the movies too.


Total nerd notes.


I probably should do a Harry Potter week or two of posts like I plan to do for The Hunger Games.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Catching Fire Film Mini-Review

I enjoyed this movie much better than The Hunger Games movie. I am not sure that this film is actually better; it may have just been that I am not as critical of the story as I was when the first film was in theaters and this story is just more interesting. Oh, yeah and the teeny-tiny fact that Peeta is in this film far more than the first film  . . . and he was handsomer, much handsomer, and his voice was deeper. In the first movie the filmmakers cut out much of his role and changed what he had; in the Ron Weasley change way; i.e. to make him look less noble, less lovable.

Gale is gorgeous, and Peeta is just cute, but I like Peeta's character better. His character is too complex to be portrayed in the move right, and Katniss is too evil to be shown in the movie, you do not read her mind like in the book, and the filmmakers soften what they can, so that probably helped. And like my sister said, even though we do not like Katniss we want her with Peeta because Peeta wants it. And that main-book-character-loyalty complex. That poor darling boy.

The wardrobe completely disappointed me in the first one (too many flames, and ignoring the books descriptions I think?), but in with a lot of silly outfits in this film came the brilliant Mockingjay dress transformation. I also think that is the first time I understood why Cinna got in trouble so soon or it reminded me.

The real Finnick did not make an appearance (my initial reaction). Finnick does not look like a sweet faced soap opera boy. Actually, many of the actors in these films seemed to come from pathetic T.V. quality acting pool of looks and talent.

And finally a real Kiss. So sweet, how I love Peeta. The filmmakers totally botched the romantic stuff in the first movie, and they botched the ending of the first movie also. Oh, how I need to carefully plan out a Hunger Games week or two of posts. I think November around the time when the first installment of Mockingjay shows in theaters would be a good time.

I love that Katniss goes berserk when she finds out that they let (yes, they let) the Capitol take Peeta. Oh, Haymitch you evil, awesome character; he is better in this film too. And Finnick (okay, maybe the film Finnick is not so bad, but Finnick was amazing in the book) is like I-told-you-so in a way empathetic to Katniss's reaction as if he totally thinks she is justified. And then Gale comes and then it is like, oh right, let us all forget Peeta. Grrrr. I am just going to love Mockingjay. Right. Love to hate.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Review of Camilla

Another review from a book read a while ago; I did have a rough draft from a time closer to the time I read book though, hence the length of this review.

This is going to be rather rambling–reflecting the style of the book!

What melodrama! In hindsight I thought this story even more shallow than I felt when reading it. Imagine melodramatic Elsie Dinsmore with that shallow understanding of virtues; "feeling" them or having proper motivations but lack of proper follow through (high class morality without giving up luxury so to speak). The  novel was moralistic and not Christian. The author wrote under the assumption (presumption) that everyone is born good or bad and cannot change (and all good people or the best people are blue-bloods, and some blue-bloods can only be mischievous not bad even when according to the Bible those people are quite wicked). I am sorry, but no one is fundamentally good, some just have more common grace, and anyone can change.

Camilla acted very foolishly and for trifling reasons. She was never truly in a hard place (except where, through her folly, she deliberately placed herself)–only slightly uncomfortable. I did not like that she was such a favorite–that was as annoying as the constant harping on Isabella's perfect beauty.

Edgar was far too suspicious (as the end of the novel points out), but I could not feel that this was entirely wrong as Camilla was absolutely ridiculous. I know Edgar was a prig, but I liked him minus the suspicions. . . and pardon his predilection for Camilla.

I wish Sir Sedley Claredel could have been rescued. I rather liked him, but of course no one is redeemable (how like our modern times, but for very different reasons).

Why did Lionel get away with his sin and deception? People are fundamentally good and bad remember! Do note the sarcasm. His crime was adultery (I do not believe that word existed in the novel) which is not excusable by flightiness (even Camilla's debts were not excusable, but they could have been softened by pleading flightiness; Lionel's more serious sins could not). ADULTERY! Edgar and Camilla's greatest sins were the encouragement (yes) and concealment of this offense. Edgar was too easy (inconsistent) in giving Lionel money. Lionel's public shame was just what he deserved especially as he was unrepentant; he should have been exposed. Just because he was a Tyrold did not make it less despicable. Why was Camilla in disgrace with her parents when Lionel had greater debts and extortion about which her parents knew? Lionel was hardly reproved for his tricks as they called them. I gather that he was about 20 which is far too old for such ridiculous behavior. If Mr. Tyrold was such a virtuous a man, why did he tolerate even a hint of frivolity?! He had the Bible; I know there are many verses on laziness and at least one that says "he who does not work, shall not eat."

I did not like Mrs. Tyrold at all. She was too harsh and yet lax. Mothers stayed at home. She had three daughters–why could she not care for them better? That was all she had to do since they were wealthy enough for her not to have too much, if any housework!, The Tyrold situtation was similar to the March and Bennet families's situation, they were not truly poor but rather poor for their social class. She should have guided their acquaintances rather than left them to Sir Hugh which was essentially (as she well knew) leaving them to themselves (lest you think that 17 is too old to be guided–look again at Camilla and girls today!). When they were older, she went to beg her brother to essentially reward her lazy, horrid son instead of staying at home where she belonged.

Poor Lavinia, the only proper one and resigned to be the second choice (how Elsie Dinsmore-ish) of Henry Weston (the only sensibly named character).

Eugenia's misfortunes were quite extreme. I did rather like Melmond minus the ridiculous Isabella phase.

This was most definitely my least favorite Burney novel. The novel was excessively silly and dangerous in its seeming promotion of good behavior but actual rejection of Christian behavior. Most of the characters were idle and frivolous, and the virtues were more the snobby social standards of the upper classes rather than actual sincere Biblical virtues. I know this is often the case in such period drama novels (even though we like to ignore this fact), but this novel was in my view especially dangerous and silly since there was folly and deception covering actual wrongdoing (Camilla covers for Lionel and conceals her debts) presented as if it was good.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Liebster Award

I received this nomination months ago, and I am just now writing it, but I think that is okay since I do not like to post too many tags close together.



Thank you, Hamlette of The Edge of the Precipice for nominating me. Here are the rules.

~Thank the blogger that nominated you and link back to their blog.
~Display the award somewhere on your blog.
~List 11 facts about yourself.
~Answer 11 questions chosen by the blogger who nominated you.
~Come up with 11 new questions to ask your nominees.
~Nominate 5-11 blogs that you think deserve the award and who have less than 1,000 followers. You may nominate blogs that have already received the award, but you cannot re-nominate the blog that nominated you. Go to their blog and inform them that they've been nominated. I really do not like doing this so I am going to take the cop-out route as I have done before on at least one occasion.

Here are my 11 facts:

1. I graduated college with my B.A. in History this past May.
2. I did not walk in the ceremony, but my sister who also graduated did walk.
3. I still have not received any information regarding my diploma (as of 7/16/2014).
4. I am considering pursuing a M.A. in History online.
5. Even though I have a degree I think self-study is the best option for actual knowledge of history as long as one frequently utilizes scholarly sources (e.g. articles by historians in established journals, monographs by historical scholars written for historians, primary documents, etc.) NOT only home school resources, textbooks or popular histories.
6. I love soooo many crafts. I am probably the best at/most comfortable with knitting.
7. I love to read (of course) and am trying to focus better on reading classics at the moment . . . it is sort of working . . . having film adaptations in view is a great motivator. Fantasy and sweet-homey-old-fashioned stories are my favorite genres, I think (yes, I know I just sort of made up a genre).
8. I do not consider myself a writer even though I have close to 30 posts (at the time of writing this draft) either scheduled or in draft form in Blogger and a writing file on my computer. I think being a writer is more than just having tons to say as an opinionated person (which describes me).
9. My siblings get really annoyed watching movies with me (see above).
10. I have watched less films and T.V. shows than most people I have ever met or whose blogs I have ever read.
11. I mostly watch period dramas (and not near as many as a lot of the bloggers whose blogs I have read), a few popular book-to-movie adaptations, Disney/animated films, and super-hero movies.

Hamlette's Questions:

1.  Who is your favorite poet, and why?
Walter Scott because (1) I am not a poetry person so (2) I have not read reams of poetry, and (3) I enjoyed three of his long (narrative?) poems, Marmion, Lady of the Lake, and The Lay of the Last Minstrel (I am not sure if this was the one I read).

2.  What movie character would you recast if you could?
Ronald Weasley. And many of the adult characters, particularly the older generation's group of awesomeness.

3.  Do you think mice are nice?
Um, I do not want them near me, but I do not much like when animals are killed.

4.  What "universally beloved" fictional character do you not care much for?
Katniss. She is horrible: calculating, clannish, petty, revengeful, and generally amoral (which is really immoral). Hopefully I will have a whole slew of Hunger Games posts sometime this year; this deserves a post of its own!

5.  Do you prefer sci-fi or fantasy?
FANTASY. And no, they are NOT the same (someone in a previous book-club made this sacrilegious comment). Sci-fi is "scientific" and thinking-logical and futuristic (in aura or actuality) while fantasy is historical  seeming (because of magic and mythological elements), romantic, and sensing-feeling.

6.  Have you ever been in a police car?
Yes, I scraped a parked car while trying to park (at the library which is in a general government building which also houses a police station, so I basically had an accident in the police station's parking lot) and so a policeman had to file a report, and it was raining, so I had to sit in the front passenger's seat.

7.  Are there any movies or books you thought you'd hate, and discovered you liked instead?
I would change "hate" to "not want to watch" and then I could answer BBC's Robin Hood television series and the 2012 Nicholas Nickleby.

8.  What's the oldest book you've ever read?
The Old Testament probably. If you do not want to count the Bible, then the Aeneid (I think. I have read pieces of works older than the Aeneid though).

9.  What's the oldest movie you've ever seen?
In a horrible humanities class I had to watch Metropolis which is 1927 German silent film (do not watch or watch at your own risk) and is the earliest film as far as I can remember. The other film I thought of was the 1934 Scarlet Pimpernel.

10.  If you could live in any fictional house/mansion/dwelling, where would you like to live?
Hogwarts would be lovely. I cannot think of another castle in the mountains off the top of my head (was there one in Lady of the Lake or was it just a house?), but one of my own would be nice.

11.  How many books have you read so far in 2014?
As of writing this draft (7/16/14) 40 new reads plus 8 rereads.

My 11 questions for any person who wishes to tag themselves. Please link back if your blog is appropriate

1. Would you study abroad? If so, where and what subject?
2. What book would you read or what movie would you wish to see if the bad elements were removed? Well, they could be for a movie if you owned Clearplay, do not you wish there was something like that for books?
3. Do you have or know anyone who has synesthesia? This post suggested this question.
4. On that note have you read Ultraviolet? Please do not take this as a recommendation particularly as there are issues with the sequel. Research before you read.
6. What types of social media do you use and what others would you consider? Are there any you do not quite understand (Tumblr for me) or think are perfectly useless?
7. Have you taken any Craftsy classes? Would you recommend Craftsy? There are tons of classes that I want to take when I earn the money.
8. Who is your favorite superhero (from the films) and why? Mine is Spider Man of The Amazing Spider Man movies.
9. Narnia, Lord of the Rings, or Harry Potter book series? I probably should not ask a question that might stymie me . . .
10. Favorite type of jewelry (necklace, earrings, etc.) Earrings for me and then necklaces.
11. Favorite oldie T.V. series? Hogan's Heroes is mine.


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Great Expectations 2012 Film Adaptation

The film-makers took the Pride and Prejudice 2005 approach: dumbing down and modernizing the story for the non-literature reading public :P How could I have thought the other film over-dramatized? I should not have been surprised, this is the Downton Abbey generation after all. Great Expectations  is too understated, so lets ramp up the drama so the sensitive people feel like the drama is punching them in the face: "FEEL THIS" "THIS IS SAD," and etc.

How could I have thought the other film too changed? These film-makers took liberties with the story line from the very beginning. I am allergic to book/original to movie changes, so this movie put me in anaphylactic shock. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE SMARTER/KNOW BETTER THAN DICKENS?!

The "small" and/or early changes that had great overall effects on the tone and interpretation of the film:

This film showed Pip give the pie as a gift (Magwitch mainly requested food in the book). No, this is not a slight change; this change makes it appear as if Magwitch was a logical thinking person, and that he had to have a "reason"  for doing what he did for Pip (how calculating our society is). Joe wasn't stupid. Mrs. Joe wasn't mean enough. Where was Biddy? Her nonexistence made Joe's situation more pitiable . . . and in consequence Pip's behavior worse. Little Pip was better in this film (smaller, paler), but the pale young gentleman much worse than in the 1999 version (he was not the pale young gentleman at all, but rather a bully-clown).

This film's Satis House was too light for a house without electricity, with the windows regularly closed, and with little light used as the book implied and described. Miss Havisham herself was too young and creepy (WAAAY overdone)she wasn't believable. And the hand soreswhat on earth was that about?! Orlick had them too, but with how this film portrayed him, they made sense for himI think that Satis House was faaaar too grand in both movies; modern people in Western cultures do not want to acknowledge how wealthy we are. Many people in the even lover middle class in Western cultures have as much or more as some of the wealthy did then. There is more wealth in existence now and more people have it, and the rich are far and above more rich than they were then. In the same wealth exaggeration vein, Pip rode in a hired coach not the public coach as in the book (I think maybe when he traveled with Estella in the book he did have a hired coach because Miss Havisham paid). I liked the 1999 portrayal of London better, Victorian London was filthy for anyone who was NOT filthy rich. Good grief, the city was what, 500 or more years old by that point. We have no comparison in the germ theory era U.S.

Compeyson was a convict and had never been wealthy much less a real gentlemanhe could never have been in those circles as the film portrayed him especially after being a convict. Magwitch's wife DID murder someone. Yes, the poor are criminals and she WAS NOT Jaggers' mistress (nor were his home and office the same in the book). Pip was yet again made to look like a fool in that scene with Jaggers and his mistress in the film.

Orlick was changed . . . to be made pitiable. I hurt for him. What is it with blackening heroes and uplifiting villains? Also, Orlick looked like a zombie. I could be wrong, but I do not think that Orlick would have had easy access to opium, and he sure seemed like he was on something. I cannot remember how much he to do with Magwitch's capture in the book, but I think he was not as involved as the movie portrayed him to be. Of course they could not have the book's dramatic Orlick scene (how ironic, considering the drama of the film) because it would not have fit in with this weaker Orlick.

Bigger issues by character by character:

The film makers made sure so much of the action reflected badly on poor Pip. They made the story that of a prodigal rather than an erring and misled (funny how that was not emphasized, but rather only Pip's stupidity and vanity which the book did not display that he had so much more than anyone else) young man. Herbert in the book was better than Pip but as a gentleman (in character) is to another gentleman. Miss Havisham implies Pip is not truly a gentleman, but I do not know if she meant birth/education or character. He was a gentleman in character and always had been despite his mistakes. Pip made mistakes (our culture is too self-righteousbring down the "proud" i.e. conscientious, and raise the "victims"if they are poor). I do not like being told I should like Herbert, especially not at the extreme injury to Pipwhat suBtlty!

There was NOTHING wrong with Pip leaving Joehe does again in the book when he joins Herbert in Cairo (which fact neither films portrayed). He was a grown man, hello. What Pip repented of in the book was his neglect and coldness (coldness, not bratty-teenager-unbelievable-rudeness).

I do not understand why he was portrayed as disliked and friendless except for Herbert. He did not bribe people in the book like the film portrayed him as doing. In the book he belonged to a club, but I do not think the club of the book was remotely similar to the posh one of the movie (back to the wealth exaggeration issue). In the book Mr. Pocket was his friend and Startop was his friend.  In the book some "mundane" actions/relationships etc. were assumed in order to focus on the more dramatic action (again, irony). Wemmick was Pip's friend not Herbert's like the film portrayed. I am not sure Herbert was even acquainted with Wemmick personally. I do not think his family had any more to do with Jaggers than as Pip's tutor. Wemmick knew Pip because he, Wemmick, invited him to his house. Apparently the film makers decided that not being a gentleman in blood+having lots of money=unliked. Pip was not so rude in the book except to those who deserved it.

Why did they have to change Herbert's story? More melodrama. Were they trying to make him more honorableoh, he left his rich, horrible relations for love while you, evil Pip, left your poor-which-equals-good relations for wealth to egotistically chase after love)? What was the point in his getting married? It just made his coming back ludicrous. I also seemed whacked on the head about him wanting a family (oh, of course he is better than Pip, he wants a family . . . so does Pip, he is not a rake!). In the book I do not think that Jaggers warned Pip about getting into debt (I do not think that would have been considered by him as his business), and Herbert was in debt too in the book nor was this circumstance unusual for such young men. Herbert himself seemed rather affected, and the dancing scene was stupid and awkward.

The film makers made Estella's role wrong and the actresses acted it wrongly. The young Estella was better than the old but still was too nice which in the film was the reason Pip could not come again. The book Estella was a cruel child, even "good" children can be cruel, and she certainly was not good. Pip and Estella were more equally matched in looks (but I did not think he fit as a rural Englishman of the time as Douglas Booth looks somehow Asian and/or Grecian); he was not as handsome as in the 1999 version, and she prettier, but still not stunningy like the book describes, and she also looked too modern with her hair and make-up. Estella acted as if she could not help but show she liked Pip (even as a little girl when she definitely did not like him in the book). She was fickle, not cold and cruel as in book; she did not seem to have fully imbibed the heartlessness and calculation of her education. Therefore, in the film portrayal the fact that this Estella married Drummle did not make complete sense.

Regarding Drummle. Another strike at Pip. Pip was good friends with Herbert in the book and would never have befriended someone of whom Herbert so obviously disapproved (and Herbert's rushing away was odd and not truly explained). Besides that fact, in the book they both knew Drummle, Pip more so I think, and knew he was a wretch. He would have been so without the scandalous propensities the film makers felt it necessary to add. Pip's background was not a profound secret like this film implied and nothing was odd about Estella who had been raised as a lady so was a lady.

About the scandalous stuff. The Drummle of the book could have visited such places although that is not implied, but the real Pip would not have been so stupid as to allow himself to be led to such a place. I was, at how the movie was going, amazed he left in the film. Relieved definitely, but I do not really understand the purpose of the scene for Pip unless it was supposed to make Pip look like a fool for allowing Drummle to lead him there. In what seemed like the very next scene (after Drummle's disgusting scene), Estella pulled her skirts almost completely up, waded into the river and allowed Pip to kiss her. Immodesty and freedom are not one and the same and what about Pip's earlier morals just the scene before? Film makers need to be consistent on morals or none of it, morality or immorality makes sense. Pip also grabbed her at a later scene; any attempt on the part of a gentleman to restrain a lady would have been hand to hand or mind to mind or he would be no gentleman.

So obviously I prefer the 1999 version, and I should have known that would have been the case as more recent adaptations take more liberties; it is as if the 90's were the golden period of accuracy for period dramas or something.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Amazing Spider Man 2

I love, love, love these movies. I wanted to see this film again in theaters after I watched it. I felt that plot-wise this film did not match the first film, but as before the characters were awesome. The characters were personable, believable, sweet/interesting, and compelling. The bad guy in this one was nutzo and not the best villain, but still his very craziness was very well-played and focused on, we saw a plot line of him besides the ones for Peter and Harry (notice that I do not include Harry as a bad guy :P).

My sister pointed out that these Amazing Spider Man movies have less action than many superhero movies, this one more so than the first, but still less. That point is a great deal of what makes the films good, but it is not the whole explanation of the awesomeness of the films. A great part of the quality of these films is due the fact that the other scenes are just normal life with normal, (comparatively) average people. No billionaire-genius-playboys or angst-filled dramatic adults. Or gods. The films are filled with little interactions between Peter and his aunt, Peter and his friends/acquaintances, and Peter and Gwen. The film has drama and action, friends and family, romance, and humor. The humor is cute and dorky but not overdone, goofy, and really just not funny (I am looking at you embarrassing Avengers). I did think the action/drama part of the bad guy a bit overkill (missing some cleverness) and Harry's story was too rushed.

My sister pointed out, when I said that Peter was not cocky, that he was cocky in his suit. Okay, give him a break, he was 18, and most of the time he was an angel. Oh, Peter, such sweetness overall. His treatment of his aunt, so sweet. I loved the chimney scene, and the scene when he is trying to hide his suit. He tried to do the right thing always even when he found it hard. And he did not do it primarily for the glory (he may have liked it a little, but he followed principles (like Robin Hood did thankyouverymuch horrible-Marian-in-the-beginning and anyone else who snipes at him). He tried to help his friend by bringing Spider Man, but Harry was too far gone to be appeased (btw, the film made it as if Harry had no one but Peter).

Gwen and Peter were SO, SO sweet. I love that they never really fight. I hate the low-down fights so many couples have or the ugly feminism-tinged competitiveness (they are only teasingly so), or the sassy/sexy talk. These two are just so just plain-good-old-fashioned sweet. My sister pointed out that Gwen tried to be mad at Peter but she could not manage to be so very long (and I love the scene when he is Spider Man, and she yells out "Peter!" and then claps her hand over her mouth). Thor and Jane are like that too, but their characters and romance are not as developed and not as quite as adorable since they are older.

First of all, Harry Osbourn is my husband, so hands off. Brilliant blue eyes, deep raspy voice, quirky style. Drama. Yes. So, so handsome. "That is Mr. Osbourn to you. We are not friends." Be the man, show them you ARE their boss. Excellent. "Wait. I know the way out." He has dignity. That expression on Harry's face after Gwen leaves the elevator looks so vulnerable . . . but you can see a dangerous look lurking there too."I don't do complicated." No, he sure does not. He asks for something and receives "No" as "No" completely and irrevocably.

Despite my overall love for the Amazing Spider Man films and Harry, I felt that Harry's story rolled out waaaaay too fast. Yes, of course I just would have liked to see more of him because I am a silly fan girl, but I do feel that from a critical standpoint he really should have had more time in his story. I was under the impression that he was in all three of the first set of Spider Man films, so I thought this film portrayed his story really fast. We do not see Peter and Harry's friendship enough to feel Harry's sense of betrayal (yes, he is wrong, this I know) strongly (I felt it to be a bit of an overreaction because of the film's speed). I feel like we should have seen the climax of his bitterness and fear and anger coming, but that it should have shown up in the next film.

Two young men with abandonment and loss. Peter actually faced more by the beginning of this film, but he is an angel while Harry is the troubled one. Peter does have his aunt and Gwen (at the beginning) even after losing so many people in his life while Harry only has his buddy it seems, but STILL. And Peter loses his love (and he feels that it is his fault) and his friend betrays him at the end, so his load is doubled at the end of this film. Even after that burden he does take up his role again after mourning. That is a hero. He is hurt, mocked, betrayed, but he still continues to perform his job.


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Jane Austen's Juvenilia

Over a year ago I read a collection of Jane Austen's "Juvenilia" (I believe I read the Penguin book entitled The Juvenilia of Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronteand in a separate book I read another of her  juvenile works: her facetious "History of England." Unfortunately, the book did not contain the complete collection, but it did contain some (more selective) examples of Charlotte Brontë's juvenile writing which I found to be more interesting (although, a warning, much less morally sound).

I thought volume I and II of the Austen collection ridiculous. I suppose that in this Austen poked fun at works of the Camilla type. She handled and administered her humor heavily. I do not care overmuch for that sort of ludicrous humor. I could already see for myself the extremes present in Camilla without reading of the extremes in the way Jane Austen mocked themparticularly in Love and Freindship* in which the romantic persons were rebellious and thieving and wild.

I liked volume III much better. The humor was more mild and the story more reasonable. This section reminded me of the drafts/unfinished works The Watson and Sandition although not as promising as either. The writer of the introduction to this collection of Austen's "Juvenilia" likened this work to the early draft of Pride and Prejudice, "First Impressions."

I was not familiar enough with the real kings and queens of England (pure laziness as we have a decent history of the kings and queens of England which I should have perused yet again while reading this work) to appreciate her humor (although since I think her style in this work probably resembled volume I and II in the other collection, I might not have liked it in any case).

*Everyone points out the so-called misspelling of Austen here. I am not sure that the word actually was misspelled. I do not believe  the English language had standardized spelling, punctuation and capitalization until near/during the 19th century, and I doubt standardization took immediate effect. Even if people did consider it actually misspelled in Austen's time period, do not you think it likely she did it as a joke?!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Collective Sherlock Holmes Mini-Review

I should have lumped all of the Sherlock Holmes stories into one section on my Classics Club list. I read them a year ago, and I should have wrote better (more general) notes. I loved the works collectively although the famous A Study in Scarlet and The Sign of Four did not top my favorite list. And The Hound of the Baskervilles hardly had Holmes in it! Of course neither did The Valley of Fear which I loved, but that had another absolutely brilliant detective instead of Watson as in The Hound of the Baskervilles. I am not a fan of Watson as he is so dull and so obviously nothing more than the biographer and foil of Holmes. I adore Holmes which may or may not be the result of Sherlock although that title character does not precisely match Holmes who is more of a full, well-rounded character and less um, harsh in the eccentricity and humaneness department, enough said. Anyway, I immediately embarked on a mystery reading craze and the quality of the mysteries deteriorated to Agatha Christie and then I left off reading mysteries. I have since started the Lord Peter Whimsy mysteries and thus improved my mystery reading quality after the Christie slump.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Father Brown Mysteries Review

I read The Father Brown Omnibus after the Sherlock Holmes collection around a year ago, so again, this will be quite short as my notes are not very helpful.

These mysteries show more of the principal players in and viewers of the mysteries than do Holmes' stories. Chesterton portrayed the mysteries with a less scientific/logical point of view and with more humanity/sympathy/empathy. Because of this the stories include more moralizing and consideration of motives.

Sherlock Holmes is scientific/logical; in his stories he almost always explains all of the mystery in its entirety, and the mysteries themselves are puzzles, enigmas. The Father Brown mysteries are more of true mystery with religion, romance, philosophy, touches of the supernatural, and they have lingering mystery in the end.

Father Brown is annoying in his "helplessness" and "bewilderment" (i.e. it makes him seem falsely humble). I know that he is right regarding other people misinterpreting his simple words, but he has been enough around people to know the common interpretations (since some things are so common that they are assumed) and misinterpretations.

I enjoyed these mysteries but less than the Sherlock Holmes. Father Brown is not as interesting and original (and brilliant and awesome) as Sherlock Holmes, and the quality of writing did not equal that of the Holmes novels.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Peter Pan Review

I remember that I watched Disney's Peter Pan over a decade ago.

I tried to read the book Peter Pan a couple of years ago but could not get into it.

I read/skimmed some of Gail Carson Levine's Tinkerbell fairy books and watched some of the Disney fairy movies (I have yet to see the one with the pirates in which Someone AMAZING voices Hook). I assume that the Disney fairies are based off her books, but I have yet to research the connection.

Then I read Peter and the Starcatchers. I sped through the four in this series and then the book that is sort of a sequel to the series. AAHMAZING!

Then we watched the adorable (although not squeaky clean) live action version with the adorable Peter and Lucius Malfoy's Jason Isaac's Hook.

So, after I became quite a cheat and traitor on account of watching movies and reading spin-offs first, I finally read the original. The book didn't seem quite as dry as I remembered, but it lacked some sparkle. But still, none of the aforementioned adaptations would exist without it. The original Peter is QUITE a bit more obnoxious than the other renditions of him, especially because he is SO forgetful. I don't like that at all. And the original also plays up Peter's desire to forever remain a child to the point of making the book a moral story which is a bit annoying. I at least appreciate the novel for the creativity it inspired.