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100 Word Movie Review : The Time Traveler’s Wife

TTW is a much abridged and largely sanitised version of the novel. Henry is a librarian with a genetic disease that causes him to travel through time. He meets Claire when she’s really young and he’s already married to Future Claire. The time travelling concept is intriguing, but the acting isn’t great, and many exciting (and slightly risqué) aspects of the novel are completely removed.  The novel’s Henry is more awesome and Claire less annoying, but the pacing of the film means all that (and the author’s many references to other novels and German poetry) is lost. Read the book.

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Hiatus Over

Once again a fairly lengthy blog break. Multiple reasons for the slacking off: some good, some not so good, but let’s imagine that it’s all because of the post-Getting a Girlfriend euphoria and ignore the super-stressful academic pressure that was (and still partially is) piled up on me. Yes, I got a girlfriend. There is some fear from certain portions of the friendship circle that that fact will begin to encompass every post and comment in my life, I’ve always considered myself able to establish clear boundries, so that shouldn’t be a problem.

Too much study, but in between there has been: Modern Family, a movie or two and a desire not yet fully realised, to return to reading something that isn’t a legal judgement. Now that I’ve actually picked up a keyboard, there will be thoughts to follow. As it stands, it’s good to be back.

For those who care:

  •  Um…
  • Wow. Exams really sucked the creativity right out of me.
  • It’s Bernard’s Birthday today. Happy Birthday.

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Update – Spring 2009

It’s been a long time since I’ve written anything, not for want of things happening, but rather for an overwhelming amount of things that have been happening. Life has changed substantially over the last while. Big, exciting news is that I’ve got a job editing law articles at the University, which makes me sound way more grown up and important than I am. Still, it’s a salary and half an office. So, yeah.

Also, my column in the campus newspaper has been renewed which means another year of trying to be vaguely funny. I’ve started putting the archive up on the blog. (Carbon Copy Tab)

Additionally I have no home for next year. This is possibly the least exciting thing that has happened to me, but we live we learn and we pray that people cancel their residence places.

I worry (and worry is the correct word) that I’ll start to write more about how I feel and less about the TV and movies I watch: things (personal things) seem so much more important now than they used to. Or perhaps it’s that I’m a little more open to admitting that I actually have emotions. Well, I do. So much so that I think I might be the most emotional person in my family. So maybe you can expect a couple more revealing posts: posts about how much I’m anticipating my sister joining me in Stellenbosch, about how much my friends have meant to me over the past four years, about how I’ve grown. I’ll have to balance it out with a lot of irreverent humour, but perhaps it’s time to share a little more. This blog is supposed to be about me practicing my writing by focusing on things I enjoy and have experienced. And I’ve certainly increased my realm of experience. Maybe it’s time my writing reflected that.

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The Title of this Post could have easily been a Mike and the Mechanics Song

Struck by a particularly poignant piece of writing in our campus newspaper I descended into an unexpected, but not entirely unwelcome bout of nostalgia. This is my fourth year and university, my fifth out of school and the 24th year of my life and more than ever before I can see clearly the paths I have taken in the past; there is tangible experience of how far I’ve come. Whether it be in the dreams that I’ve accomplished or the hopes that have failed to materialise there dwells within me deep realisation of being a man altered. When I look back at university I’ll see how I survived fires and epidemics, how I’ve grown the deepest friendships of my life, how I’ve learned to laugh at the heartbreaking things and cry with joy at beauty revealed.  I’ve grown enough to write that last line without feeling like I need to make a joke to balance it out (okay, almost without feeling like I need to make a joke). I’ve learnt to eat residence food and how to cook decent food of my own. I’ve learnt that it’s nearly impossible to look cool while dancing and that not looking cool while dancing is awesome. I’ve travelled to Namibia and I’ve returned home and both felt good. While studying law and accounting I’ve sat in on History, English, Actuarial Science and Decision Making and Value Studies classes. I’ve danced until the early hours of the morning and I’ve sat by a fireside just talking. I’ve got my own column in the campus newspaper which I’m discovering is being read by more than just the three people who I assumed read it. Life is worthy of a smile of three.

While many things have moved in a definite linear motion some things have come full circle: Just like Grade 7 I have a pet rat who has managed to build a decent fan-base. Once again my life is filled with in-jokes to the point of being utterly incomprehensible. As always, God is a vital renewing force in my life.

Next year my sister joins me (an event I’m sure excites me more than it does her) and another year of Stellenbosch begins. As I prepare to go to class in a suit (it’s International Suit Day – probably not a real thing) I can take stock of a life filled with humour, randomness, irony (possibly, I’m not sure), complications and above all joy. That’s a good life to look back on.

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Outstanding Drama Series

A chunk of my excitement is being taken up with Emmy Season. The past six months has seen me taking a serious interest in television and the 61st Annual Emmy Awards will be the perfect culmination of that growing obsession. My excitement is due largely to the hosting of the event by former child star Neil Patrick Harris. NPH (as he is known on the Interweb) is perhaps best known for his portrayal of Barney Stinson on How I Met Your Mother, a role which sees him nominated for an Emmy for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy. Expect him to suit up for a legendary evening.

Three Letters: N.P.H

Let’s take a look at some of the categories; with all my experience in television I should be able to give pretty decent commentary:

Outstanding Drama Series

Ok…apparently I’m not that into television. I’ve only watched House and Lost. But I do know something about everything, so here we go:

Big Love is about the life and relationships of a polygamist, Breaking Bad is the story of a science teacher who starts producing drugs to make ends meet, Damages takes a look at the litigation section of a prestigious law firm, Dexter is about a cop who happens to be a serial killer in his spare time, House follows the life of a brilliant, but abrasive doctor, Lost is the tale of a magical island and the lives of those who crash there while Mad Men takes a look at and advertising firm in the 60’s.

House has had better seasons. The basic formula hasn’t changed in 5 seasons and every episode sticks to the exact same set-up: Opening sequence seems to indicate that one person will be sick, but it’s actually someone you don’t expect. House initially doesn’t want to take the case, but something intrigues him. He runs a differential. Sarcastic comment about Foreman being black. They treat the patient but s/he gets worse. Sarcastic comment about Kutner being crazy. There is a lumber puncture /CAT Scan. It’s not the second thing they thought it was. Sarcastic Comment about 13 being bisexual. Wilson talks to House about his being offensive to people. House is offensive to people. Patient gets even worser. Sarcastic comment about Taub being unfaithful to his wife. House eventually looks at his patient and discovers what’s actually wrong. Patient is thankful. House doesn’t care. End of episode. That being said, Hugh Laurie is fantastic. Still, it’s not enough to take home the title.

I have a Love/Hate/Love relationship with Lost. After its first season delivered some of the best television (best television) I have ever seen, it began to stretch my patience; as mystery upon mystery began to pile up, it felt as if the writers where merely stringing us along, purposely tormenting us. Recently, the spark is back, due in large part to actual answers being provided and some awesome additional characters (Faraday!). As the final season approaches and each shocking revelation reveals yet more questions, the conclusion will unveil the true value of this series: Lost will either be an ultimately disappointing journey or a phenomenal piece of television that I will watch again in its entirety on DVD.

Lost has never had much Emmy love and is unlikely to garner any this year. When it comes to who will actually take home the award, the smart money is on last year’s winner Mad Men.

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H1N1

I’ve been gone for so longs that it feels like as I write this I’m merely taking a hiatus from taking a hiatus. I’ve been enjoyably distracted with a number of things at University; classes, friends and even art exhibitions. I’ve been enjoying some interesting reading both on the internet and the ordinary hard copy format and even managed to get some writing in.  The return to blogging comes at a sad time: Swine Flu is in Stellenbosch and we were making jokes about never going outside ever again, an acquaintance passed away. South Africa’s first Swine Flu fatality was announced today. I didn’t know him well, but he was in my First Year group in Eendrag and was Bernard’s first year roommate. He was 22. Current report show that there are 34 cases of the flu strain in the Western Cape, but it’s probably more than that.

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Chuck

Admission straight out of the gates here: I wasn’t a Chuck fan. The whole thing just seemed a little too deep within the box. As far as I could see Chuck was just cashing in on the current nerd-trend in entertainment and dropping the aforementioned nerd in the usual spy/cop setting. We’ve been spoiled of late with some ambitious television. Battlestar Galactica was gritty, realistic and dealt with some big issues. Lost continues to flaunt it’s disregard for the easily digestible forty-two minute television episode and many of those embracing that time honoured format are at least trying something different: Burn Notice throws in some narration on the intricacies of spy-work (see, there’s that spy thing) and Pushing Daisies was, well, it was something else. Chuck on the other hand seemed hugely content to just play the hour long entertainment. Even after ending up as someone who would classify themselves as liking Chuck, writing this review seemed to bring up more negatives than positives. When I got right down to it there were a lot of things that were either off-putting or things that I didn’t really enjoy.

 

Let’s start off with the series eye-candy, the Sarah Walker character. Early on there was a tendency to show her fairly scantily-clad and while this was toned down later on, her looks remained a big draw-card. Fine, no problem with that. My problem is with the fact that she wasn’t very discerning with her romantic attractions as pretty much everyone she worked with she ended up developing feelings for.

 

The Buy-More scenes seemed to me to detract more than add to the action. While I understand the point was to show Chuck’s two lives in tension, at times it felt as if the ordinary world was winning out over the spy world, which is a little disappointing cause I wanted to watch some spy action.

 

Adam Baldwin’s character wasn’t Jayne Cobb. Not his fault, I know and I quite liked Casey. He has some truly fantastic moments (the season 2 opener where he’s poisoned and has to scrub down and inject himself with a syringe of adrenalin stashed behind a photo of Ronald Reagan all while Chuck and Sarah are on a date is something I could watch again and again), but he wasn’t Jayne. Not a valid point at all, but I still really miss Firefly.

 

I never understood what was so important about the Intersect or why Fulcrum building their own version was so radically dangerous as opposed to being a mere tactical advantage. And if the Intersect was so valuable why did they keep putting Chuck in dangerous situations?

 

Even with all these gripes, I still enjoyed the show. Maybe because the show didn’t take itself too seriously I wasn’t as harsh on it as I could have been. More likely, what the show did well, it did really well. The music was well integrated into the show, from Indie love songs to the quirky Buy-More theme tune (and The Shins in the pilot!). The nerd references were subtle and intelligent. The action scenes were hugely impressive (Sarah Walker attacking Nicole Ritchie in a High School shower to the strains of Smack my Bitch Up was just plain, well, awesome). Most importantly Zachery Levi was just plain pleasant. He was the perfect mix of geek and hero, the slacker with potential who was just plain endearing. His relationship and feelings towards Sarah were realistic and sweet and there wasn’t a point where we were ever against him. Maybe I sympathized with him a bit more than most. I often feel like my fairly long university degree is stopping me from starting my life and while that isn’t exactly the burden of being an unwilling CIA agent I completely felt the helpless limbo that a life can become. But without the gunfire. I guess that makes me a Chuck Fan.

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