Tag Archive for 'movies'

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Work and Waterfalls

The past week has primarily been spent doing long hours of research. There was one ten-hour-straight-non-stop experiment last week and we’re currently in the middle of a second one as I type. It’s a sucky way to spend a Monday, but it does represent some progress toward having results to present at that aforementioned conference.

The highlight of the weekend was a visit from Mark, who I then dragged all over Ithaca. Among our weekend exploits were a trip to the Johnson Museum of Art, a tour of the Ithaca Beer Company, a hike at Buttermilk Falls State Park, and a stop by Ithaca Falls. It was my first proper trip to all of the above, which meant that things got to be engaging and new for me as well as him.

We hit some standby favorites, too: ice cream at the Cornell Dairy Bar, pizza at the Nines with friends, a bit of Soul Calibur II, and plenty of movies–including last night’s still hysterical Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. Despite having watched it together many times as undergrads, we still noticed new things to laugh at last night, like random three second musical interludes with no discernible rhyme or reason. And Alan Rickman is still what makes the movie worthwhile.

Otherwise, life in Ithaca is mostly work these days. Soul-sucking, energy-draining work. Can I get a weekend please?

Viruses, Studying, and Fairy Tales

I’m still going back and forth with the maybe-stomach-virus that’s going around campus. I’m definitely not feeling 100%, but things haven’t been too awful, either, as long as I stick to eating bland foods that contain no acid and no dairy. This, as one might imagine, makes life boring, but it has given me a chance both to attempt making chicken and dumplings like my mom does (result: not quite right but very edible) and to enjoy as much sourdough bread as I want (within the limits of the loaf).

Being kind-of-sort-of sick is not so good right now, considering that I have a test in my turbulence class on Wednesday. It’s a lovely Valentine’s Day gift, I’m sure. My brain was somewhere else on vacation for most of the weekend, so I didn’t accomplish much more than finishing the reading in the book. Today I spent the afternoon going through all of the suggested problems for the first four chapters, and, although I didn’t get all of them, I feel like five-pages worth of exercises qualifies as a solid start on studying. I think it’s certainly more in terms of written out exercises than I did for his class last semester. Here’s hoping such dedication pays off.

Despite feeling under the weather and needing to study, I went out to see Pan’s Labyrinth Friday night. As I suspected I would, I loved the movie. It was definitely dark, but, then, most fairy tales are. I saw some similarities to Mirrormask in that both movies made it difficult to determine the extent to which the fairy tale elements existed in the real world or in the minds of their young female protagonists. This delighted me, of course. I particularly appreciated that Pan’s Labyrinth managed to create a believable fairy tale–it tackled the themes and style of classic fairy tales–without blatantly stealing elements and plot points from existing fairy tales. Yay for creativity!

I also felt that the cinematography was very well handled. There were many opportunities for some gruesome gore in the film, but instead the movie brings one right up to the edge before cutting away. All the suspense of the moment is there, but the audience is spared actually seeing the nasty stuff. (Still, it’s not, not, not something for little children. Hence the R rating.) Similarly, I felt like they got some really great dramatic shots out of some of their fairy tale creatures. In particular, I loved one of the initial shots of the monster whose eyes are in its palms. The monster raises his hands to his face so that his eyes are approximately where one would expect, but his fingers still continue to stretch out menacingly. It’s almost as if one can sense his delight in having awakened to find a child in his lair. For me, it was kind of like that moment of fear and awe I have whenever the Balrog roars in Fellowship of the Ring and the very air crackles and swirls from the heat.

I’m almost tempted to go see the movie again, but the prices at the theater are a bit steep, and since I just got that laptop, I’m thinking I’d probably best wait for the DVD. Then I can watch it whenever I want!

Once News

In substantially happier news than malfunctioning electronics, I just learned that Once, starring Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova (and their music), won the World Cinema Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival. I’ve been reading rave reviews from all over throughout the festival but winning an award is even more exciting! I’m really hoping that the U.S. distribution is large enough that we can at least get it here in Ithaca at Cinemapolis or at Cornell Cinema. Fingers crossed!