Sunday, July 31, 2011

Can You Believe I Haven't Seen - Schindler's List

This was originally supposed to be a monthly feature and where I definitely have a long list on my bulletin board of movies for this feature, my schedule lately has made this harder than I thought it would be. There are so many new movies to see and I’m currently reading four books simultaneously, that I’m beginning to understand how so many films passed me by.

For July, I watched Steven Spielberg’s 1993 Best Picture, Schindler’s List. I have always wanted to see this movie. It came out at a time when I was a new mother and going to the movies was not on my “to do” list. All the years later, I honestly have never felt up to watching it. You know going in that it’s going to be horribly depressing. I’ve actually felt a little guilty to be honest. It’s an important film that everyone should see. I finally righted the wrong and watched it Saturday night with my husband, who was also viewing it for the first time.

It was different than I expected. Although I knew the film chronicled the life of Oskar Schindler (played by Liam Neeson) during World War II, I did not know that the film basically only focused on this story.

Schindler was a shrewd business man who found a unique way to profit from the war; he employed Jewish refugees in his factory. He was not portrayed in a favorable light at first. He distanced himself from the violence and unfair treatment of the Jewish people, so much so, that he even befriended German Officer Amon Goeth (Ralph Fiennes), a horrible, evil Nazi that revels in torture and power. However, over time Oskar cannot continue to turn a blind eye to the atrocities being done to the Jewish people, especially his accountant and hard working factory employees. He begins to regard them as his friends. He sees their hard work ethic and devotion to each other and to him. As the war rages on, Schindler’s factory fails to make money for him and instead, transforms into a safe haven. Then, when even this idea is no longer adequate, Schindler begins a personal quest to save as many Jewish prisoners as he can.

It’s a fascinating study of the transformation of one human being and a reminder to all of us of the horrors that took place during World War II. I’m a person who cries at the drop of a hat, but while watching this, I was so transfixed and horrified that I was simply frozen. It was hard enough to watch what was going on screen, then to spend a moment ruminating on what was not being shown, was overwhelming.

I never realized that Ralph Fiennes was in this film. I really like Fiennes and it was difficult for me to see him play this character. He did a fantastic job. As did Liam Neeson. For the most part he ended up making the type of films I don’t really watch. I think the last film I saw him in was Nell and that sucked! It was nice to be reminded of what a wonderful actor he is. He made his emotions so believable and as Oskar Schindler morphed into a hero, Neeson never went over the top or made him seem less than a real person doing an extraordinary thing.

So I finally watched this and I’m glad I did. I’m going to try to keep this up with a movie per month. For August, I think I’m going to have to do a complete 180 though. This was very heavy material. Maybe next month, The Big Lebowski?

If you'd like to catch up on other posts in this series click on these!
The Godfather
The Shawshank Redemption

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

It's My 3 Year Blog-A-Versary!

Today is my Blogaversary!

Well it’s been three years since I started spouting my opinions and reviews here on the couch. It’s hard to believe it’s been that long. I’ve learned so much and talked to so many great people in the blog world.

Blogs are always growing and changing. I’ve tried things that didn’t work and I’m always ready to launch a million new ideas.

I’ve only begun to scratch the surface of getting my blog out there. This may still be a tiny blog, but it’s always a work in progress.

I hope you will continue to read, follow and interact with me. If you are here, I am here. Have a seat and hand over the popcorn!

In celebration, I thought you might enjoy my very first review from this very day, three years ago.

Journey to the Center of the Earth

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Song of the Week - April Come She Will/ Simon and Garfunkel

Last Thursday I watched a repeat episode of Parks and Recreation. It was the one where April and Andy get married. When April walked down the aisle, I heard this song playing and I knew it was Simon and Garfunkel, but I couldn't quite place the tune. It's not one of their more popular ones, still, it's lush and beautiful nonetheless. I know it can be hard to get pass Art Garfunkel's angelic voice, but can I point out Paul Simon's brillant guitar playing! It took me years to realize what a genius he is on the guitar. He can make it sound like a whole band is playing. Parks and Recreation is the the coolest show on right now and that they used this song only solidifies it!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

In My Town Blogathon - San Francisco

My Hometown Blogathon

Wide Screen World had a great idea for a Blogathon, focus on a film made in your hometown. Great idea!

I grew up in one of the most famous cities in the world, San Francisco. I now live in a nearby suburb, but nothing quite compares to roaming the city and discovering new things.

Of course I can choose from a vast array of films that are based in my beautiful City by the Bay, but it’s specifically the “roaming the city” aspect that made me choose my selection, Medicine for Melancholy.

This 2008 indie film stars Wyatt Cenac (Micah) and Tracey Heggins (Jo) as African-American twenty something’s wondering how to react to each other the morning after their one night stand. It’s a quiet little film that probably isn’t for everyone; it’s very talky and doesn’t have traditional rom-com qualities. It’s not a love story in the making. It’s more about class and race and how two people in the same city can lead completely different lives. I appreciated what it was trying to say about relationships and especially about the gentrification of my beloved city.

Micah lives in a crappy one room apartment in the Tenderloin, not a good neighborhood! How believably refreshing though, because none of us can afford to live the Painted Ladies Victorian homes they always show when we get a view of San Francisco. Sorry, rents are high in the city and none of us use the cable car for commuting! This film stayed clear of all of that.

Lastly, this film managed to take me somewhere I have not been to yet and that’s the MOAD museum. I liked getting a glimpse at some of the installations.

This film made me think, brought up questions that should be looked at and led me around a San Francisco I know, but don’t normally see at the movies.

Medicine for Melancholy