Monday, July 13, 2009

High-Heat Hiatus

The past three weeks have been three of the most surreal, exciting, and miserable I've experienced in a very long time. Of course, there's been the air-conditioning saga (henceforth to be known as the A/C Debacle of 2009.) The extreme temperatures inside my house meant no writing. When your house is already hot, you avoid electronic (heat-producing) appliances like the plague. So, no laptop. My struggling story stalled under the high-heat hiatus. Then there were other distractions. Early morning queasiness, dizzy spells, and fatigue always point to one thing in the movies, and turns out real-life isn't all that different. So a doctor's visit confirmed that I will be suffering through an additional nine months of queasiness, dizziness, and fatigue accompanied by weight gain. May I take this moment to say that there is nothing like a hot, sticky, air-conditioningless house to turn queasiness to full-on nausea?

We finally have cool air circulating through our rooms again, though, and I'm hoping to soon feel like a human being (or at least something close) and get some schoolwork done. Thanks to my faithful writing buddy, I have some ideas of how I want to shave down my story and get to the meat sooner. Deadlines that seemed so far away in June now are looming hot on my neck. So tomorrow I've got to get busy regardless of how I feel.

Last night, Steve was out, and I was left to my own devices. So I headed to Ingles for some Big Red Soup (Lipton's = comfort food) and some DVD's. I ended up renting Last Chance Harvey and Changeling. Both were on my list of "Must See But Steve Won't Want To." Unfortunately, one of my other list picks Mrs. Pettigrew Lives For A Day was no longer at Ingles, so I guess that'll have to wait until sometime when Steve is out and I feel like driving to Blockbuster. Since I watched two relatively recent movies, you know I've got to give my two cents worth on my blog. Here goes...

Last Chance Harvey was charming. I mostly wanted to see this film because I loved Hoffman and Thompson together in Stranger Than Fiction, and funnily enough, that is also why this movie got made (at least according to the Bonus Featurette.) If you're looking for a touching love story without all the saccharine and sap, then this is your flick. The characters were quirky and real, and the dialogue was simple and true. If there was a weakness in the film, it was the writer/director's one concession of the romantic comedy formula - someone promises someone else that they will meet somewhere at a certain time, and you know something's going to happen to keep one of the someones from making it on time. The film does resolve this one annoying tic fairly quickly, however, and the end of the film is lovely. Of particular note in the acting department is Dustin Hoffman's father-of-the-bride speech about halfway through the film. Even I got a little choked up.

Changeling was a very dark mystery/true story directed by Clint Eastwood. I had high expectations for this film (because of Eastwood), and I was not disappointed. The acting was superb. The period set and costumes were perfect. I was immediately drawn into the suspense and tension surrounding this woman's (Angelina Jolie) injustice. At well over two hours, the film was long, but I was so wrapped up in the movie that I didn't mind. While I certainly shouldn't have been surprised based on Eastwood's other films, the movie was even a bit darker than I expected. The disturbing violence was more often implied than shown, however, which made it far more effective than some over-the-top bloodbath. Overall, Jolie's character helped the film maintain its humanity despite its inhuman circumstances. Jolie was compelling as the wronged mother of a missing boy, and even if you're usually a fan of her work, I would encourage you to give her one more chance.

On a completely unrelated note, I want to give a plug for something else that gives me viewing pleasure and a recent find. Though a friend had recommended this show to me quite a while ago, school, work, and other programs kept my viewing schedule a bit too booked to check it out. This weekend as I rested up in my cool living room, however, Sci-Fi (or SyFy as they are now known) ran a marathon of Eureka, and I checked it out. What fun! If you're a nerd (like me), then this is definitely a show for you. While it doesn't pay to ask too many questions while watching it, it is definitely pure fun. So if the summer re-runs have you craving something new, check out Eureka on Friday nights at 9 on SyFy. It's a show about a hidden town full of geniuses working on secret government projects. What's not to like?

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