Sunday, March 31, 2013

A Studio Ghibli Update- "From Up On Poppy Hill"

It's no secret that I am a devoted fan of Studio Ghibli and all the wonderful movies it puts out. So when I heard about From Up On Poppy Hill, I was excited to give it a try. I can't really do a review of this movie, though, because I could only get about forty-five minutes into it-I really didn't enjoy it! The first turn-off was definitely the music; Joe Hisaishi composes the music for all the Studio Ghibli films that I like, and his music is incredible- it's such a strong component and adds such depth and beauty to the films. The music in this wasn't written by Hisaishi though, and from the beginning I could tell that the music wasn't as good. It didn't really lend anything to the scenes and it sounded very gimmicky and done. Unoriginal. 

I would include a summary of the movie, but I didn't even really understand what it was about: there wasn't any clear conflict or catalyst for the plot. It was just following this Japanese highschooler named Umi, who lived at a hotel or something, and her budding romance with this other highschool dude. Likeeeeeee, so what? There wasn't really any depth or dynamic to the characters; nothing that made me care about them at all. And it just kind of lowered the bar for the movie to make it about a romance; that alone can't really constitute a plot. Don't get me wrong, because if you consider it basically all of the Hayao Miyazaki movies I've seen are romances, but it's not obvious; it's not about a romance. The plots are about something bigger, and the romance is even more of a friendship, which takes place on a deeper level than a romance. I didn't feel like this movie really stood for anything, even though it seemed to be about the changes in Japan after WW2. That was too obvious, not enough of an idea and more of an observation, whereas in other Studio Ghibli movies they bring up many ideas and points of view on things: they can be dissected, you can discuss them. 

I also didn't get the sense of a world in this movie. The great thing about Miyazaki movies is that they create these interesting, fantastical worlds, even the ones that are supposed to be realistic. They feel different, like a parallel universe that has just a touch of magic in it. That's really what it comes down to. This film was missing the magic of Studio Ghibli movies. It didn't entrance me, it didn't make me want to watch it again and again because every single scene was so beautiful and poignant. It makes me sad, I guess, because I love Miyazakis so much, and yet it seems that the more recent movies have lost some of their originality and genius; they're more mass market and less personal. I think I need to go watch Porco Rosso now just to restore my faith in Studio Ghibli.

PS-- I didn't make it through the whole movie, so maybe some of it picked up later on, but I think that it says something if I don't want to watch the whole thing.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Amy Winehouse Playlist

Amy Winehouse was my childhood. Her jazzy vocals could always be heard echoing through our house growing up, and without even trying I memorized all the lyrics to every single song on Back To Black. I can even remember jumping on the indoor trampoline while watching one of her live performances.

But somewhere along the road I stopped listening to her, and I recently re-discovered her songs, along with my love for them. She had one of the most amazing and unique voices I have ever heard in a singer, and I love the bluesy vibes in her music. It speaks to me, and my memories, and I hope that people will continue to enjoy Amy's music long after she passed away.

Stronger Than Me
This is my favorite at the moment. It has a really cool vibe with the guitar chords in the background, and I love the scat part at the beginning.

You Know I'm No Good
My all time favorite.

The Girl From Ipanema
I love her take on this classic tune; her voice fits it surprisingly well.

Fuck Me Pumps
One of her simpler songs, but I think it's really honest and I love the lyrics.

Hey Little Rich Girl
*Happy Vibes* Also who wouldn't want to be those two guys off to the side just havin' a ball? I'm thinking future career...

I mean, I pretty much had to include this one. It's CLASSIC. 

Tears Dry On Their Own

Rest in Peace, Amy.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

An Online To-Do List

I haven't written in forever! I started sailing last week, so I've been getting home around eight o'clock every night after a good few hours of strenuous workout in the freezing cold, so yes I have a legitimate excuse YOUR ARGUMENT IS INVALID. In any case, I've contracted some sort of cold/ throat sicky thing and now I'm stuck at home with all the time in the world to write blog posts. So in the future few days I shall be writing----

I watched this a little while ago, and I really hated it actually. I think I need to watch it again to refresh my anger toward it, because it really did leave me feeling like I'd wasted two hours of my life. I know that's a little bit of a contrary point of view, but haters gon' hate. Haters being me.

I watched this one a few days ago, so I think I'll write this first because it's still fresh in my mind. Another one I hated! My lord I am a hateful person aren't I? I mean, there really aren't a lot of movies I like though. It's pretty hard to impress me.

Aaaaaahhhhh Bryan Fuller you've done it again! *fangirling* Oh god I love Bryan Fuller he's an amazing TV show producer. And I absolutely LOVE LOVED LOVED Wonderfalls. It was so perfect and made me feel good and happy and whimsical inside like all Bryan Fuller shows have a way of doing. And anyone that claims I only liked Wonderfalls because Lee Pace was in it is so entirely wrong, because I actually happened to dislike his character in this show. But honestly I think that is the only downside to the show that I noticed; I would still say Pushing Daisies is my favorite over this one, but I'll give four and 7/8 stars.
P.S. Bryan Fuller is coming out with a new show in like, two weeks called Hannibal and it's about Hannibal Lecter(doink). It seems a lot different from the kind of shows Bryan Fuller normally does, but, I mean, it's Bryan Fuller so I have high hopes for it.


I really, really, REALLY need to get around to doing this one, considering Pushing Daisies is one of my favorite shows. And yes, it's by Bryan Fuller. And yes, Lee Pace is lookin' fiiiiiiine in it. It's a really great show that has lovable characters, a great plot, and very unique artistic direction; it's the whole package. It's a shame that it got cancelled before it had a chance to really round out it's plot, but it's definitely a worthwhile watch!

And I'll probably throw in an Amy Winehouse music post, considering I just re-discovered my love of her music. While you're waiting, this song is my obsession right now. (No really, I listened to it on repeat for forty five minutes straight today. I have a problem.)

Stronger Than Me by Amy Winehouse

Also, an update on my perfume obsession....

Twirl by Kate Spade

So I'll get to writing! Check back for new posts!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Look It's Bambi

Should I even try to explain this? Idk I was stuck inside all day and didn't want to be productive...

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Farenheit 451

Farenheit 451--
The temperature at which book paper catches fire, and burns...

This book was exactly what I needed right now. That's what I have to start by saying. I used to be a voracious reader, and here I'm going to have to use a quote from one of the characters in the book--

"I ate them like salad, books were my sandwich for lunch, my tiffin and dinner and midnight munch. I tore out the pages, ate them with salt, doused them with relish, gnawed on the bindings, turned the chapters with my tongue! Books by the dozen, the score, the billion!"
-Fire Chief Beatty

I think that this blog post could very easily regress into a collection of quotes from the book, and I would still get across exactly what I want to say, because it's one of those books. Those books where you understand every sentence, not just in terms of what it's saying, but in terms of what it means, what it means to you, to your life, what it means to the story. The book brings up ideas that just ring so true, the ones that you want to spend forever thinking about and discussing, just to try to understand them better.

But my point was that ever since high school hit, I've changed, and I know I have. I don't read anymore, because I don't have the time to read. Oh yes, I have the time to watch TV shows and movies, to talk with my friends, to go on tumblr, but I simply don't have the time to read. Because it's not the actual reading that takes time; It's the thinking. A book is ideas, so many ideas, all bound up with glue and a cover, and when life is moving so fast, you don't want to think about ideas. You want to have things told to you, definitively. You want to solve for X and come out with a whole number to plug into the equation and have it make sense. But that's not what thinking is, not what reading is. It's trying to figure out what the X is, again and again, when, in reality, the X is nothing. The X is everything.

And this book made me realize that.

In fact,

This book made me feel guilty.

It's funny how this book had the power to do that to me. It took every single argument you could make against reading and sent it up in a mushroom cloud of flames. It told you THERE IS NO EXCUSE. And that's exactly what I needed to hear.

I suppose I should have said about five paragraphs ago what Farenheit 451 is actually about. I guess I'm not writing this as an informative post, or even as a review. I don't feel like it's my place to review a book like this. I just want to get my thoughts down, I need to, because I have so many. But the book, written by Ray Bradbury, takes place in a future, where "Books were for burning, along with the houses in which they were hidden."-back cover. The story follows Guy Montag, a firemen, but not in our sense of the word. Firemen started fires, making midnight runs to burn collections of books that were found in homes. Because it was illegal to own books, illegal to read them. But Guy meets a girl Clarisse, seventeen, and different. She's not like the other people he's surrounded with; she takes time to think, to appreciate the world. To touch, smell, hear, see all the things that others are whizzing by too fast for others to notice. And she introduces Guy to this world. She plants the seed of a different way of thinking. Clarisse disappears from the story soon after, and Guy hears she was hit by a car and died. In the movie version she appears again at the end, in reality not dead, but in the book she never appears again. But it doesn't matter. Clarisse was less of a character, more of a catalyst. She set the cogs turning, set the ball rolling. And so Guy starts wondering why he's burning. What if books should be read? This train of thought leads him to steal a book AND YOU KNOW I DONT EVEN WANT TO TALK ABOUT THE PLOT BECAUSE I DONT FEEL LIKE IT GOOGLE IT.
It was really good though...

But I think what was really...chilling, I suppose, was that this book was written in 1950. That's over half a century ago. And yet, it's like Ray Bradbury could see into the future. I mean, weren't televisions barely invented in that time? Yet it's like he knows what effects they'll have on the future population. People being glued to televisions, thinking of the characters in them like real people, the shows of practically no consistency but somehow riveting people to watch them. He seemed to already understand that books would fall out of favor, how people wouldn't want to think about them. And it's true; not a lot of people my age read anymore. But I wonder, would they if they read Farenheit 451? Would they if they were aware of their condition, aware of the excuses they make to themselves, aware of what the future could turn into? I think that they would.

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