Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Two movies and a novel

Notes on a Scandal: It was the only movie on the telly that sounded even remotely watchable, with Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett heading the cast. And it turned out to be really, really watchable. Dench plays Barbara, a loveless old history teacher at a secondary school (high school) who develops a crush on the new and beautiful art teacher, the married but desperately lonely Sheba (played by Blanchett). Barbara soon becomes Sheba's only friend and confidante, which plays into the former's hopes for some kind of lesbian relationship. And when she catches Sheba in an inappropriately intimate embrace with an underaged boy pupil, the stalker-ishly needy Barbara sees their little secret as an opportunity to get even closer into Sheba's undergarments.

The thing about this story is that - even though I disliked Barbara for being psychotic and manipulative, and I disliked Sheba for her irresponsible fling - in the end I just felt sympathy for the both of them, for their loneliness and need to grasp at any chance of emotional intimacy.

Madagascar - Escape 2 Africa: It was rainy this morning, so I took TLM to the movies. It was her very first cinematic experience, and she was enthralled. There was none of that restless wriggling that you might get when at the movies with small children, though it might have helped that she had her own packet of chippies to munch through. Although she did almost disappear into her fold-down theatre seat when she sat too far back.

As for the film itself, I really enjoyed it. But I did feel sorry for the poor creature that became the "sacrifice" to the rain gods in the volcano, when the waterhole dried up. There were lots of laugh-out-loud moments, and even a tear-inducing romantic scene between the giraffe and the hippo.

The Historian: Having not been a teenage girl for quite some time, I have absolutely no interest in Twilight, that vampiric Mills and Boon series that has become a teen hit movie. I picked up The Historian, by Elizabeth Kostova, from the discount bin at a local bookshop and have been enjoying it since. It's, like, a literary vampire story for academics and librarians. Or something.

I'm only about three chapters in, but so far it's about a teenage girl whose historian father possesses evidence that Dracula is alive and sucking somewhere in Eastern Europe.


aprilbapryll said...

I might have to read The Historian, but I implore you: Twilight was addictive. I started it thinking, "Nah, it's just like Harry Potter. This is going to suck" and instead I'm craving it, all the time. The first book was fantastic, the second, eh, the third, better, and the fourth - awesome. I know a lot of women who generally read more literary books (me included) who are addicted to that set of books. And my mother, who doesn't read at all, it 87 pages in.

Jonathan said...

Maybe I'm too cynical, but I found Madagascar - Escape 2 Africa a tad on the tedious side - though the kids loved it.

As for Twilight, my wife loved New Moon, loved the movie twilight but absolutely hated the book Twilight saying that it was very poorly written and everything was over explained.

Violet said...

aprilbapryll and jonathan: if the series is that addictive, maybe I should stay well away ;-) It does sound very bad for you...
What did you think of the criticism that it's a poor role model for young women, that it's message is that women have to sublimate themselves to make their relationships work?

Nigel Patel said...

I am in quaking fear of yippy little Twilight girls.
Glad I'm not working in a movie theatre.

Anonymous said...

Oh, LURVE Notes on a Scandal. Thought was fantastic.

I've read the Historian ... I thought it was alright but I won't say what I thought of the finish. Unfortunately got suckered in to buying it at full price when it first came out - boo!

Haven't started reading Twilight yet as have to finish reading stupid 'A Fraction of the Whole' (which isn't about anything, and is 5 times longer than it needs to be), but trying to resist the urge to go and see the moofie before I've read the book. Which isn't hard given the current strike rate with the icecreams at the Sun Theatre lately.

PBS said...

Those all sound quite good. I'd like to see "Benjamin Button" too. Happy New Year to you and your loved ones.

Violet said...

nigel: I reckon most teenage girls'd be yippy. Maybe even TLM will grow into one, but I don't even want to think about that!

donnasoowho: what's wrong with the ice creams at that Sun Theature?

pbs: Benjamin Button sounds promising. But I don't think the boy would want to see it, so I'd have to rent the DVD when he's out with the boys. Happy New Year to you too.

Anonymous said...

oh there's nothing wrong with the ice-creams at all. In fact quite the opposite. They just never have any (cause they make them themselves every day, and so the supply is quite sporadic).

The fact that the flavours are so tantalising only adds to my frustration!

Violet said...

donnasoowho: perhaps they like to leave their customers wanting more, eh?

Cathi said...

Re The Historian: here's wot I wrote when I read it: http://satsumasalad.livejournal.com/63282.html

My nephew loved Madagascar 2 despite a lot of its content coming from, I believe, Madagascar 1. Having not seen the first one, I enjoyed the second well enough.

Violet said...

cathi: yes, VERY well researched. I'm about halfway thru and starting to wonder when the action starts (tho I have already come across the scary librarian (hee hee) a few times now. It feels almost too much like a history lesson to be a real vampire story. But not boring - I'm still reading a chapter or 2 every night.