dimecres, 31 de desembre de 2014

New Year's Resolutions for 2015

Remember how 2013 seemed to never go away? 2014 went by so fast I still can't believe it's New Year's Eve again. It's been a much better year than 2013, no doubt. Here's a little summary:

January: Andi and I only made it to the end of the traditional "Cavalgada de Reis" in Barcelona (a parade that takes the Three Wise Men from the port of Barcelona to Plaça Espanya and involves music, dancing, and candy-throwing to the audience). We spent a night at a tree house near Sant Hilari Sacalm (Girona) before going back to Salzburg. And we started to watch Breaking Bad. Best idea ever.

February: I was supposed to meet Anna in Saarbrücken, but we didn't make it, so Andi and I went to Südtirol! There was all the snow that hadn't fallen on the Austrian side of the Alps. We stayed at a farm, 1000m above sea level, which had rooms for rent. We visited Brixen and Bolzano, as well as Innsbruck on the way back to Salzburg.

March: Andi and I started a salsa course! I honestly don't remember much about March except for the fact that it felt forever between the winter break (that is, the trip to Südtirol) and the Easter holiday. Also, second anniversary.

April: An intense month: we participated in the Orchester-Akademie-Projekt, in which Andi played the saxophone and I sung with the choir and as an improvised soloist. Then we drove to Barcelona - it was Andi's first Sant Jordi.

May: I turned 26 while Conchita Wurst won the Eurovision Song Contest (really, it was on my birthday). It was fun. My students graduated and thus ended my job at the AISS. The morning after I declared my hangover the worst of my 20s so far - waking up next to shame might have played a role.
And I applied for an Erasmus in Barcelona, as crazy as that sounds.

June: After buying the tickets impulsively in April, I travelled by train to Saarbrücken. Nothing has changed but it felt weird being there (ok, it does look a bit more cosmopolitan than it did 6 years ago). It was one of the lowest points of the year, surprisingly - as Plato put it, seeing the light for the first time when you leave the cavern hurts your eyes. Yeah, there's that...

July: I went to a wedding in Lungau (south of Salzburg), where I got to meet most of Andi's distant relatives (my début in society, more or less, haha) and I drove back to Barcelona through Tirol, Lietschenstein, Switzerland, Italy, and France (well, France is hard to avoid when driving to Barcelona). Also, there was the football world cup.

August: A summer in the library is not necessarily a summer well spent. I went to the beach one day but I didn't get to swim because it started to rain. Which was the weather in general: rain, rain, rain, not much heat. And I'm cool with that (pun not intended). The heat was stronger and more intense in Rome, though, which was the chosen destination for my first holiday with my in-laws. Also, a sort of miracle happened at the Festes de Gràcia.

September: The second part of the miracle happened. I made my first Erasmus friend in Barcelona. Andi came to Barcelona after the giant human "V" on September 11th, where we discovered that yellow might be a very reivindicative colour but it looks awful on me. And I went to my second bachelorette party ever because...

October: ...Alba and Germán got married! You know, when your friends start getting married and having kids it means shit got serious and we've reached that point in adulthood. Therefore, I decided it was time to put an end to a certain thing that had been bothering me for five years. And I started to learn Italian AND Dutch, because I'm an over-achiever.

November: An intense month: my choir won the second prize at the choir contest in Cocentaina (look it up, beautiful place -end of sarcasm-), we voted in the mock referendum for the independence of Catalonia, and I flew to Vienna and Salzburg for a week.

December: Another intense month full of music. I had what is probably going to be one of the most, if not the most, period, important concerts of my life. And I'm really happy. Actually, music has been a really important aspect of this year, and I hope (I'm sure) it will continue to be so.



Now, last year I also did the whole resolutions thing, but kept if shorter. Let's see how it went...

blue = "99% or 100% accomplished"
green = "well, kind of"
  red = "mission: impossible"
purple = "didn't even try"


  1. Go back to the weight I had when I was 18-20. Eh... Not really, but I have lost some weight.
  2. Finish as many of my uni courses as possible so that I can finish as soon as possible. Which is why I'm doing my Erasmus.
  3. Make more money. I did work a lot and did a loooot of tutoring hours.
  4. ... it's a secret ;) And it remains a secret. And I'll keep working for it in 2015. 

Overall, it's been a successful year and I'm definetely happy. Time, which I consider only a partial method of emotional healing, has put a lot of things in their respective places. I'm not going to make a list of purposes for 2015 because I don't really pay attention to those except around this time of the year.

So I wish you all a great 2015.



BON ANY NOU · FELIZ AÑO NUEVO · HAPPY NEW YEAR · BONNE ANNÉE · FROHES NEUES JAHR · с новым годом ·
あけましておめでとう

dimarts, 25 de novembre de 2014

November 25th: International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

I don't really like to talk about this because, honestly, I don't want to sound like I'm looking for your pity, because I'm not, and because I'm ashamed that this happened to me. It's a problem with my pride, really, because I'm not the one who should be ashamed here. You don't expect this to happen to women like me not for it to be caused by men like him, both well educated and of a good social position. But it does happen.

It was nine years ago. I was 17 and 3 months old when it happened for the first time. He was my first boyfriend ever. I though he was cute and nice, he would always surprise me with little presents when there was no real reason for him to do so. He was the first to kiss me, he was the first to make love to me.

He was also the only one to laugh at me for feeling pleasure in sex, of all my sexual partners so far. He was the only one to date who decided to blame me for his own insecurities or to make a big deal of all my mistakes or things he didn't like about me.

He blamed me for studying instead of spending time with him. He got mad at me because my parents wouldn't let me spend the night out with him. He decided to go through my computer files without my consent. He would constantly compare how I acted and how his friends' girlfriends acted and complain about how I never made enough tie for him because, from his point of view, I didn't love him as much as he loved me.

He never hit me. But I ended up believing that I was guilty of what he accused me. I stopped seeing my friends because whatever free time I had, I had to spend with him. I got into fights with my parents because I started lying to them to be with him more time.

And when I finally opened my eyes and broke up with him, he decided to hurt me by showing me that he went out so much and made out with so many girls. He accused me of having cheated on him, he decided to use things I had done before I had even met him to embarass me and make me feel like an awful woman. 

He made our common friends believe that I was, indeed, awful and manipulative. Either they stopped talking to me altogether or they encouraged me to get back with him because "you love each other so much, you can't put an end to your relationship only because you fight often."

And whenever my pride would impose itself and say "that's enough", he would cry and beg for forgiveness. Until next time, and so on. Until, out of spite, he photoshopped my head on a porn actress masturbating and posted it online. Until my parents called him and threatened to call the cops if he didn't leave me alone.

The emotional scar that he left made it very difficult for me to learn how to trust a man, as a potential life partner, again. It took forever to get over him and learn to be myself again. I understood too late that what he had done was violence. Psychological violence, the kind that doesn't leave physical marks, so people don't always notice.

I often share pots on Facebook about this, but they usually are about rape, honor murders, physical abuse, etc. And I think the world needs to know my story, too, because statistically speaking I, a white, European female with a graduate education, am not the potential victim of violence against women.

What I've explained above is one of the main reasons why I am against so-called romances such as Twilight or 50 Shades of Grey. It's not romantic, ladies. This is not what a real man is like. Society needs to learn that only respect and equality are healthy bases for a good relationship. This is what we must teach our children and this is what I'm going to fight for.


http://www.unwomen.org/en/news/in-focus/end-violence-against-women

dilluns, 17 de novembre de 2014

Isla and the Happily Ever After

When I finally got my copy after having pre-ordered it two months prior to release, my reaction was more or less this:






I even uploaded a picture on Instagram seconds after tearing opening the envelope:



And proceded to read with very high expectations, only to find a beginning that reminded me too much of Anna and the French Kiss where Isla's feelings towards Josh are concerned. Not that I, of all people, would not sympathize with the jealous-possessive-type of girl being one myself, but I feared that most of the novel would evolve around Isla's insecurities whenever Josh is in her presence.

Thankfully, I was wrong and Stephanie Perkins created a wonderful, bittersweet story of first love in that age when you don't really know who you are and where your life is headed to. Additionally, and this is personal, there were two things that totally stole my heart in this novel.

Number one is Isla and Josh's weekend in Barcelona. Being a native of said city, I find it amusing to read about it in novels because most native authors tend to set the action in very specific places and non-natives invariably talk about the Gaudí buildings (perfectly comprehensible, on the other hand). But in this particular case it had a special meaning for me because my translation into Spanish of Anna and the French Kiss and the presentation of the book was the reason why Stephanie Perkins travelled to Barcelona, and I can't express enough how much I regret not having been able to meet her.

Reason number two is kind of a SPOILER. Read at your own risk. Josh and Isla are separated for spoilery reasons related to their trip to Barcelona, so they keep their relationship in the distance. And being in a long-distance relationship myself right now, you'd be surprised how much I related to Isla and her insecurities and fears, and how much I cried in public while reading certain passages. (End of spoiler-ish paragraph)

Isla and the Happily Ever After is a sweet novel about first love, and through its pages, similarly to what happened wit her other two novels, you can tell that Perkins knows what it feels like to find the one, as she says in the acknowledgements page in the dedication to her husband. I think I said this in my review for Lola and the Boy Next Door, and it applies here as well: maybe The One is not who everybody considers "Mr. Perfect" to be, but he will be perfect for you. If that makes any sense. 

If you're looking for a YA romance that feels real, this is for you. If you loved Anna... and Lola..., this is for you.

(On a side note, I really like the cover Neo Plataforma "created" for the Spanish edition so that it wouldn't clash with the other two, unlike the American and English editions).






dimarts, 11 de novembre de 2014

Top Ten Tuesday - #10 More Characters I'd Dress Up As (from movies, manga, and other media)

Last week, as I made a list of book characters I'd like to dress up as, a lot of characters from TV series, movies, and manga came to mind, so I decided to do another top ten list. It's a bit mixed up, but I tried to keep it as equilibrated as possible. Also, I'm not including characters based on books.

http://www.brokeandbookish.com/p/top-ten-tuesday-other-features.html


#1 Yukari Hayasaka from Paradise Kiss - obviously. I'd looooove to do the blue dress from the catwalk, but there are a couple others that are pretty amazing.

#2 Merida from Brave - of all the Disney princesses, this one, no doubt. She has a bow and rides horseback! And crazy hair!

#3 Magenta from The Rocky Horror Picture Show - because I also want to do the Time Warp again.

#4 Zero from The Grand Budapest Hotel - a genderbender version of the Lobby Boy, why not? (Other than the fact that I'm not particularly flat-chested nor dark-skinned, I mean).

#5 Umi from Magic Knight Rayearth - for various reasons, the main one being that she's my favorite character from that manga. Also, we have the same name.

#6 Odile, the Black Swan from Swan Lake - like most girls, I took ballet classes as a kid, and I loved it. Actually, whenever I have the chance, I love going to live performances. Actually, I'd love to take some classes again but my feet are kaputt.

#7 Takiko Okuda from Fushigi Yuugi Genbu Kaiden - I found the prequel much more interesting, somehow, mainly because of its main characters.

#8 Padmé Amidala from the new Star Wars trilogy - like with Effie, the possibilities are so many and so bright and big and complicated!

#9 Fiona from Shrek - the badass princess. (And I'm kind of cheating with this one because Shrek was actually based off a book).

#10 The Song card from Card Captor Sakura - I think I might have not made myself clear with the crazy dresses thing.



BONUS ROUND
#11 Anything designed by either CLAMP or Ai Yazawa. In case it wasn't already obvious.

dimarts, 4 de novembre de 2014

Top Ten Tuesday - #9 Book Characters Who I Would Totally Want To Be For Halloween

I'm not much of a costume person for a series of reasons that don't really matter (basically, lack of time and money to put effort into costumes), but here are ten characters from books (or their movie adaptation) that I'd love to dress up as, now that Halloween is gone but Carnival is around the corner (technically it begins on November 11th at 11:11 - ask natives from Cologne, Germany). As usual, in no particular order.

http://www.brokeandbookish.com/p/top-ten-tuesday-other-features.html


#1 Effie Trinket from The Hunger Games trilogy - oh, the possibilities! The colors, the make up, the crazy wigs...

#2 Galadriel from The Lord of the Rings - a bit cliché, sure, but one day, maybe.

#3 Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz - although I might try not to follow the movie version of her dress and shoes.

#4 Little Red Riding Hood - it's easy to do and easy to recognize.

#5 A Ravenclaw student from the Harry Potter series - a sort of original character kind of thing. And a Ravenclaw because that's my favorite house. Gryffindor is too mainstream.

#6 Queen Dido from Aeneid - mythology nerds unite to do research on what the Queen of Carthago might have worn!

#7 Liza Doolittle from Pygmalion - I'd have to practice my cockney accent for this one.

#8 Melisandre from the A Song of Ice and Fire series - because the night is dark and full of terrors.

#9 Éponine from Les Misérables - on my own, pretending he's beside me...

#10 Sherlock Holmes - genderbender version, of course.

dijous, 30 d’octubre de 2014

"The Lizzie Bennett Diaries" and "Emma Approved"

I'm back!


Everybody in this world has seen at least one adaptation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, whether that is a novel-to-film or novel-to-TV series adaptation of the actual book or one of the thousands of "modern versions" (I'm thinking Bridget Jones's Diary here, but pretty much anything will do).

So today I present to you two modern-day adaptations of Austen's novels: The Lizzie Bennet Diaries and Emma Approved. The former was the first of them to be developed: in 2012, Hank Green and Bernie Su decided to retell Austen's probably most famous novel setting it in our present in the form of vlogs on Youtube, each during some five to eight minutes at the longest. 


The Lizzie Bennet Diaries


Lizzie Bennet is a 24 year-old graduate student from California who decides to start a series of vlogs for her master's degree's final project. In them, she tells us about her life and her surroundings. Like in the novel, the starting point is the arrival of a handsome, single, rich gentleman to the neighbourhood (Bing Lee, in this version) and Mrs. Bennet's obsession with marrying her daughters into good, rich families.

While Pride and Prejudice's main focus was the importance of a good marriage as a woman's only goal in life, in The Lizzie Bennet Diaries Mrs. Bennet's obsession is played for laughs and the problems that the Bennet sisters have are real, modern-day problems: college debt, finding a job after graduating, being the most popular girl in school, finding Mr. Right (that seems to be an atemporal thing)...

The story is narrated to us directly from Lizzie's point of view and through costumes and roleplaying: Lizzie drags her best friend Charlotte Lu, her sisters Jane and Lydia (Mary and Kitty are conveniently scripted off, although their characters appear in one way or another), and sometimes secondary characters who just happen to be there... even Bing Lee and Mr. Darcy himself.


Lizzie and Charlotte as Mrs. and Mr. Bennet, respectively

So, does it work to move a Victorian-era love story to a 21st century setting and characters? Oh, yes, it does, and very well indeed, Mr. Darcy. Obviously, changes had to be done: places like Netherfield and Pemberly, the mansions where Jane and Lizzie stay for a while and interact with the Bingleys and the Darcys, are now media companies; similarly, Charlotte's marriage to Mr. Collins is passed off as him offering her a job (which he had previously offered to Lizzie but, like in the novel, she rejects him); Lydia's scandalous affaire with George Wickham is... something very scandalous for today's standards. And so on and so forth.

Thanks to such changes, there are very few moments when the original elements of the novel feel forced. For me, the one thing that doesn't really quite work is Mrs. Bennet's obsession to see a man hanging from her daughters' arms no matter what, but I guess there still are people in the Western world who think a woman's worth is defined by her man. Meh... More on that another day. 

In conclusion, if you're looking for a very funny yet touching version of the classic Pride and Prejudice, this is for you. Go watch the first episode. Now. Here you go, you'll thank me later:




Emma Approved


After the huge success of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, the producers decided to go with another text by the same author with a similar format: Emma. Yet, in my opinion, this novel is not quite so well-known nor has it been readapted so many times, so that might be one of the reasons why it wasn't as popular as its predecessor.

Emma Woodhouse is a successful businesswoman: alongside her childhood friend Alex Knightley, she runs her business dedicated to event planning. Her speciality: matchmaking. She especially loves to use her talent on her friends, especially after successfully helping her best friend meet and marry the man of her dreams, so she sets as her new goal finding the perfect match for her assistant Harriet.

For starters, I have never read Emma nor seen any of the movie adaptations, so I have no idea how closely the producers stay to the source material or how faithful an adaptation this is and I can't judge the series based on that. I did go to Wikipedia to read a summary, which was helpful to see why each character has certain traits and why they do the jobs that they do, etc. 

The main difference between Emma Approved and The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is that the idea of making a series of vlogs does not make so much sense in the former, in my opinion. Emma states that she is recording the videos in order to win a prize showing how awesome her job is and how much she helps people, or something like that. What we see is the unedited thing and that's how we get a kind of bigger, "raw" picture. This is not bad per se, but there's something about it that rubs me the wrong way.

The modernization, however, works pretty well, even if it's harder to relate to Emma's problems and social status: everybody, except for Harriet and the IT guy, belong to a sort of aristocracy (senators, business owners, etc.). However, the "romantic" part works because everybody recognizes love triangles, bad pairings, rivality, etc., and Emma's growth as a character and as a person is worth watching. Bonus points for Mr. Knightley.

dijous, 4 de setembre de 2014

En ocasiones veo series (5). Confesiones de una fangirl.

Señoras y señores, es un hecho: mi nuevo amor platónico se llama Benedict Cumberbatch (aunque, por el motivo que sea, mi cerebro se niega a registrar ese nombre y automáticamente dice "cucumber" en vez de "Cumberbatch"). ¿Qué tendrán los británicos? (véase, en la categoría de otros amores platónicos: Ewan McGregor y Colin Firth). ¿Será cierto el tópico del acento? Quien sabe... Hablando de acentos británicos, Michael Sheen esconde el suyo, para dar vida al cada vez más borde William Masters. He aquí las series que me tienen enganchada ahora mismo.


Masters of Sex, temporada 2, capítulos 1 a 7



El final de la primera temporada nos dejó con un cliffhanger relativo, puesto que si sabes cómo terminaron estos dos en la vida real, tampoco tiene mucho misterio. Sin embargo, la tensión sexual se podía respirar en el primer capítulo, que fue de alto voltaje. A partir de ahí, algunos momentos de esta primera mitad de la temporada me han parecido flojillos por comparación, aunque no se puede negar que está siendo una buena temporada. Mención especial para todas las tramas secundarias, que hasta cierto punto son más interesantes que la relación entre Bill y Virginia aunque no se les dé tanta importancia ni minutos. 

Espero que a lo largo de los próximos capítulos se resuelva la relación de Betty con Helen y que haya más interacción entre Bill y Libby. Ambos personajes me están cayendo muy mal, sinceramente, y no me apasiona tampoco que pinten a Virginia como una especie de santa que tiene tiempo para ayudar a todo el mundo, trabajar en varios sitios y además tener un affaire con Masters. ¿Cuándo duerme esta mujer? En cambio, soy muy fan de Betty, ¡queremos más Betty! También espero que vuelvan, en algún capítulo, los Scully, y la doctora de Paul, aunque parece poco probable.

El capítulo siete es con el que más problemas tengo. Justo entre el sexto y el séptimo me planteaba cómo iban a llegar a 1971 (año que Masters y Johnson se casaron) o, como mínimo, hasta 1966, año de la primera publicación de su estudio (según Wikipedia), y va y me hacen varios saltos temporales. Bueeeeno... a ver qué pasa en los próximos capítulos.


Sherlock, temporadas 1, 2 y 3



[CONTIENE SPOILERS] E intentaré no alargarme mucho.

Cuando reseñé las películas de Sherlock Holmes dirigidas por Guy Ritchie, dije algo así como que nunca había sido muy fan del detective de Baker Street y que mi única experiencia era uno de esos libros de lecturas adaptadas para estudiantes de inglés que leíamos en la ESO, que comprendía tres casos. En Facebook y otras redes sociales, los y las fans de la adaptación de la BBC pedían una cuarta temporada de la serie protagonizada por Benedict Cumberbatch (que está hasta en la sopa) como Holmes y Martin Freeman como Watson. Y, como en verano casi todas las series que miro están de pausa, decidí probar con el primer capítulo de Sherlock. Oh, lo que me había perdido...

La idea de situar la acción en la actualidad no es nueva y podría haber tenido muchos problemas (por ejemplo: ¿qué padres son tan crueles, en pleno siglo veinte, de llamar a sus hijos Sherlock y Mycroft?), pero han conseguido adaptar los textos de Sir Arthur Conan Doyle a nuestro tiempo de forma muy convincentes. La caracterización me parece genial y ahora mismo no imagino a nadie más interpretando a Sherlock Holmes como lo hace Benedict Cumberbatch, aunque, igual que con Sheldon Cooper, si fuera una persona real no lo soportaría. Martin Freeman es un John Watson fantástico, si bien alejado de la imagen más gentleman que tenía del personaje, pero muy British al fin y al cabo. Me encanta que todo el mundo dé por hecho que Sherlock y John son pareja y las reacciones de ambos, los comentarios sarcásticos de John cuando Sherlock es un capullo, y los secundarios: mención especial para Mrs. Hudson y para Molly Hooper, aunque Mycroft y Lestrade no se quedan cortos.

Cada temporada se compone de tres capítulos de unos 90 minutos cada uno. La primera temporada nos presenta a Sherlock Holmes, un detective de tendencias psicópatas y sociópatas pero con una capacidad de deducción más que destacable, y a John Watson, médico del ejército británico herido en Afganistán. La serie empieza con John convirtiéndose en el compañero de piso de Sherlock y viéndose involucrado en los casos del genial detective, y en peligro constante por el mismo motivo. Los casos de esta primera temporada tienen un elemento en común: están organizados por la misteriosa figura de Moriarty y que se ha autoproclamado el enemigo natural de Sherlock. 

Conocemos a Moriarty por fin al final del tercer capítulo y será la principal antítesis de Holmes a lo largo de toda la segunda temporada, en la cual se modernizan las aventuras más conocidas del detective: Escándalo en Bohemia (aquí convertido en un un asunto de estado especiado con una dominatrix), El sabueso de los Baskerville y El problema final, especialmente conocido por ser el caso con el que Sir Arthur Conan Doyle quiso poner fin a las aventuras de Sherlock Holmes, a pesar de su popularidad, matando al personaje. La segunda temporada es, para mí, la mejor de todas. De hecho, A Scandal in Belgravia fue mi primer contacto con la serie, ya que vi el capítulo en alemán en la tele austriaca y me enganchó (aunque pensaba que era una película, no una serie, hasta que lo busqué). 

El final de la segunda temporada está directamente relacionado con el inicio de la tercera (de hecho, los guionistas son unos capullos, con perdón, y acaban cada temporada con tanto suspense que me alegro de haber visto las tres temporadas del tirón; si no, la espera se hubiera hecho terrible). Igual que en los libros, resulta que Sherlock no estaba muerto, estaba de parranda ayudando al MI6 a luchar contra el terrorismo internacional, y vuelve a Londres para seguir resolviendo casos. Y ahora, como una fangirl más, a esperar que se estrene la cuarta temporada a finales de 2015.

dilluns, 1 de setembre de 2014

En ocasiones veo series (4)

Una termina temporada, la otra la empieza y la tercera ha sido renovada por tres años más. Estoy hablando de Game of Thrones, Pretty Little Liars y The Big Bang Theory.

Game of Thrones, temporada 4


La cuarta temporada se corresponde, mayoritariamente, a la segunda mitad del tercer libro, aunque los señores de la HBO decidieron meter cosas del cuarto y del quinto, ahí, sin más (aunque se agradece, porque se adelanta la trama y no se hace tan tostón como algunos capítulos de los ya mencionados libros), además de sacarse cosas de la manga, supongo que con el consentimiento de George R.R. Martin. De hecho, leí que Martin había querido estos cambios para que los lectores de los libros nos encontremos con cosas que no esperábamos. Y me parece bien. 

Cosas positivas de esta temporada: Oberyn Martell. La relación entre Arya y el Perro. Darth Sansa. La boda de Joffrey y Margaery. Peter Dinklage. Petyr Baelish. "He didn't shit gold after all".

Cosas negativas de esta temporada: Daenerys se ha vuelto un coñazo, sentimiento que puede que esté influenciado porque sus capítulos en el quinto libro fueron los que más me costaron de leer. Not enough Oberyn Martell. La escena de Cersei y Jaime - cualquier parecido con lo que pasaba en el libro es pura coincidencia. La evolución de Arya como personaje. Jon Nieve todavía no me cae bien.


The Big Bang Theory, temporada 7, capítulos 14 a 24


La que, para mí, es la sit-com que sustituye a Cómo conocí a vuestra madre (como sabéis -y si no, ahora sí-, empecé a ver TBBT relativamente tarde). Es una serie que consigue arrancarme unas risas y me sirve como medio para desconectar al final del día. Me gustó el final y tengo muchas ganas de que empiece la octava temporada para ver qué ha pasado con la aventura en solitario de Sheldon. Sin embargo, una cosilla que no me acaba de gustar es el inminente matrimonio de Penny y Leonard. No lo veo, sinceramente. A ver qué trae la nueva temporada.


Pretty Little Liars, temporada 5, capítulos 1 a 12


Ejem... Me voy a autocitar:

De verdad que me tengo que hacer un croquis para seguir esta serie porque ya no sé quién es quién, qué relación tienen con Alison, por qué actúan como lo hacen... Y, sin embargo, no puedo dejar de mirarla. Todo para descubrir quién c*** es A.
[publicado en la segunda entrega de "En ocasiones veo series"]

Aunque nunca escribí la "reseña" de los capítulos 16 a 24 de la cuarta temporada, este comentario sirve para todo lo que esté relacionado con esta serie. Et nunc et semper et in saecula saeculorum, amen. Aunque admito que el final del capítulo 12 fue un plato bastante fuerte. Lástima que el resto de temporada fuera pse-pse tirando a bodrio.

dimarts, 12 d’agost de 2014

Express Reviews (7)

I'm back with more express reviews! I've been to the cinema quite a lot lately because they have this promotion of tickets at 5€ instead of the usual almost 9€, and I've rediscovered the local library, so hopefully more express reviews will come soon.


The Grand Budapest Hotel


"What is a Lobby Boy? A Lobby Boy's completely invisible, yet always in sight. A Lobby Boy remembers what people hate. A Lobby Boy anticipates the client's needs before the needs are needed. A Lobby Boy is, above all, discreet to a fault."
This is a story about a time bygone told through the narrator of The Author. In a Central European country, the legendary concierge M. Gustave and the lobby boy Zero find themselves at the center of a murder mystery. Mixing humour and drama, Wes Anderson creates a beautiful movie which I strongly recommend you to watch if you still haven't.



The Wolf of Wall Street 



Jordan Belford becomes one of the more powerful Wall Street brokers through not very legal procedures. And manages not to get caught for most of the movie! Really, one hour into the movie I wished they would catch him and for shit to go down, but Mr. Martin Scorsese loves his 3 hour-long movies and won't cut a single frame even though we got the point that these people are corrupt and high on every illegal substance pretty early on. 

Had the movie been 2 hours-long, maybe I would have liked it because the acting is good (I'm still not sure if I agree with people who say DiCaprio should have won the Oscar because his character reminds me a lot of other characters that he has played before) and the idea behind the plot is good, even the development. But seriously, three hours is overdoing it and you lose your audience's attention.


How to Train your Dragon 2



Five years after the events of HTTYD, the inhabitants of the island of Berk have learned to work together with dragons instead of hunting them down. However, not all vikings have dropped the old habits, so it's up to Hiccup and Toothless to fight a villain who wants to control dragons for his destructive aims.

Despite a couple of flaws and clichés here and there, I liked the sequel better because, in a way, I prefer the "let's work together" narrative better than the "pretending to be someone that you're not and liar revealed" narrative. The animation and the music are beautiful, there is humour and drama, and the message they are trying to get across is not as "on your face" as I expected for a kids' film. Actually, I think both children and adults can enjoy it. Unless you're a smartass teenager (here's looking at you, kid who was sitting next to us and couldn't shut up during the whole screening).


Begin Again


After Dave makes his big break as a singer, he and Gretta move together to New York City, only to have him cheat on her weeks later. When she thinks that she has hit rock bottom, a friend of hers forces her to perform one of her songs in front of an audience, among who is a depressed, recently fired production manager. Together they will embark on a very special musical project that will help them find their way to happiness... and love?

First off: I love cheesy, romantic films, and Begin Again falls into this category (should I call it genre?). With that said, the whole getting-over-bad-things part is the interesting part, while cheesy, feels quite real (leaving aside the fact that all of this happens in a time span of maybe a month? The movie never really states that), and I'm really, really glad that [SPOILER] Gretta and Mark Ruffalo's character don't end up together because, quoting my dad, "he could be her father" - not that that means a lot to Hollywood these days, but still. [END OF SPOILER].Girls, it's the type of movie your boyfriend will not want to watch with you. Adam Levine is in it and Keira Knightley sings better than I expected, though worse than the movie is trying to make us believe.

Short Term 12


Grace works at a foster-care facility for at-risk teenagers and is very good at it. What most don't know, however, is that she has a troubled past of her own.

I don't normally like child actors because, more often than not, it's obvious that they have learned a script and are repeating the words by hard (sometimes it even seems like they're reading from a teleprompter). There was a point in the movie when I started to wonder if these kids were actually casted at an actual foster-care facility. The characters and their personal dramas made me cry more than I'm willing to admit. The pace is slow, but it's supposed to be that way. This is a real story and it feels that way.

I just don't understand what went on in the Spanish distributors' minds when they went for Las vidas de Grace (The Lives of Grace), because while a big part of the movie is indeed about her, it's not just about her, and the use of the plural here sounds misleading: I expected a movie about a woman having an affaire, when I first read the title in Spanish, and that's exactly the opposite of what the movie is about.


Maleficent


Maleficent wasn't always bad, and this is the "real" story of the fairy tale that we all know. This is wrong in so many ways that it deserves a whole entry to itself. With animated gifs and rage memes. Coming soon. Maybe.


Bon Appetit 


Dani, a Basque cook, finds a job at a famous restaurant in Zurich and soon makes friends and falls in love with Hanna, the restaurant's sommelier. Despite the fact that he has a girlfriend back home and that she is having an affaire with their boss, the chef Thomas Wackerle, Dani doesn't give up on his pursuit to make Hanna love him back.

A Spanish film that is actually decent? Really? Really. Although most of it is in English and has some German and Spanish here and there. I was expecting a cheesy, Hollywood-style romantic comedy and what I found was a story about love but also about feeling alone. I related to the character of Dani, an immigrant to a snowy land and feeling that he doesn't really belong there, and, despite the slight disappointment that I felt as the credits rolled, the ending of the story is what had to be.


Big Fish


Will Bloom is tired of hearing his father, Ed Bloom, tell stories about his life because he believes them to be lies that his father uses to make himself look important. But are they?

Why hadn't I seen this movie before if I claim to be a big Ewan McGregor fan, you ask? Yeah... I ask myself the same question. Ed Bloom's life is told to us through a series of flashbacks that will make the audience wonder, like Will, how much is true and how much is fiction. But who cares, really? It's a beautiful movie. For a moment I even forgot it was a Tim Burton movie.

dimarts, 17 de juny de 2014

[Peripècies austríaques] 17. Viatges improvisats i un possible adéu a Àustria

Des de Nadal que no feia una entrada de peripècies austríaques, quina vergonya! Aquests darrers sis mesos han passat tan ràpid que encara no entenc com és que ja passem a meitat de juny. Cal dir que, fins que no vam arribar a Setmana Santa, els primers mesos van ser emocionalment difícils i laboralment i acadèmicament complicats, així que vaig prendre la decisió de deixar definitivament la meva feina actual i, mitjançant una beca Erasmus, torno a Barcelona. Sí, estimats lectors, sé què esteu pensant: la Mar s'ha begut l'enteniment. Bé, això us passa per donar per fet que tenia enteniment per començar. Però estic tan farta de com funciona la Universität Salzburg, entre altres motius, que he decidit que me'n torno cap a casa un any i, després, ja veurem què passa. És juny, per a mi sempre és una època d'incertesa; què esperàveu? I això que aquest any ho tinc tot més o menys encarrilat, en comparació amb altres anys...

A l'abril vaig participar en un concert d'amateurs que comparteixen l'amor per la música i, de rebot, vaig cantar de solista (algú m'hauria d'haver dit que faig aquesta cara de pena quan canto sobre l'amor xD). A l'escola, de gener a abril semblava una tortura, fins al punt que vaig estar al límit d'una depressió auto-diagnosticada. Tot i que... 


El cas és que, en un d'aquests moments d'arrebato que m'agafen quan no estic del tot a gust allà on sóc, vaig ficar-me a les webs de diverses companyies aèries i a la de la Deutsche Bahn i vaig fer allò que estava previst per al febrer però que al final no va poder ser: em vaig comprar un bitllet per anar a Saarbrücken. I me n'hi vaig anar a principis d'aquest mes.

I va ser molt, molt estrany. Gairebé com cada vegada que torno a Barcelona, però més bèstia encara perquè feia tres anys de l'última visita. T'adones de com han canviat les coses però què poc que han canviat des que hi vivies, ja en fa cinc. I t'adones que, en aquests últims cinc anys, en realitat, la que has canviat ets tu i que algunes coses que el 2009 semblaven impossibles de digerir ara només són un record agredolç de les quals has après molt i que t'han fet ser qui ets avui. I per això, estimada Saarbrücken, sempre seràs una part important de mi, encara que això nostre sigui impossible.

diumenge, 1 de juny de 2014

Express Reviews (6)

Sometimes this list of pending reviews gets way too long. Here it goes.

West Side Story

The musical version of Romeo and Juliet with awesome music by Leonard Bernstein. Set in New York City in the 1950s, it tells us the tragic love story of Tony and Maria. I never get tired of this musical. What do you mean you still haven't seen it? Go watch it. Now.

Singing in the Rain 

I think I had never seen this musical entirely before, so I decided to give it a go. It's so sweet and naif and cheesy that it makes you want to sing and dance along. It's worth watching it at least once in your life.

The Sound of Music

I had already seen it but I forced Andi to watch it with me because, apparently, most Austrians have never watched it (or so they claim). In spite of historical inaccuracies, the plot holes, and the unbearable cheesiness of it all, or even the fact that it's only sunny in Salzburg during the whole movie, which is a terrible lie, it's still a classic and the songs are nice.

Skyfall

Finally I've watched a full James Bond movie. Really, I had never watched one from beginning to end. And it was ok. Not a masterpiece, not a must-see, but enjoyable enough for an action film. Javier Bardem is scary in this.
Airplane

So funny. I love such films, they are a sort of guilty pleasure that I feel no guilt about, I admit it.

Hot Shots

Apparently the one that I had always watched is the second part. This one was also funny, but I prefer the second part.

Amores perros 

Several dramatic stories of love and loss are linked together because of a car accident in Mexico City. While the way that the director ties all the threads together, somehow the individual stories lacked strenght because there should have been some more room for development, in my opinion. Or he could have removed the part with the model and her lover and left more space for the old man and his daughter. But if you want a well-written drama, this is for you.

Up in the air

Another drama about modern people and our daily problems with love and human relationships as the main focus. I was positively surprised.

Turn me on, dammit (Få meg på, for faen)

A Norwegian film about a teenage girl, Alma, who is discovering her sexuality and her body, and she is also in love with the class beau. One evening, at a party, he pokes her with his dick and she interprets this to be love, so she brags about it out loud in front of her classmates, but when he denies it everybody starts making fun of her and call her names and to ostracise her. However, that doesn't turn her off from her sexual fantasies. It has nothing to do with typical, commercial films about teenagers trying to lose it (here's looking at you, American Pie and similar stuff), but I liked it. I thought of showing it to my Health students, but it would have been a bit too strong for them. After this film, I want to learn Norwegian.

Les poupées russes

Five years after his Erasmus year in Barcelona, Xavier is trying to make ends meet working as a writer wherever they will pay him while also trying to figure out in which direction his love life is supposed to go. As much as I loved L'auberge espagnol, I've always preferred this second part and I'm very looking forward to watching the third part.

Pride and Prejudice (BBC version, 1995)

I started to read the book, couldn't take it anymore and decided to watch the BBC adaptation -yes, the one with Colin Firth- because I heard that it's almost identical to the book. And, from what I did read, it is pretty close. Thank goodness that I was born in the 20th century and my life doesn't revolve around whom I should marry.

divendres, 2 de maig de 2014

Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Hacía mucho tiempo que no reseñaba manga porque me gusta hacerlo cuando he terminado una serie pero las que leo ahora están incompletas por ahora. Sin embargo, las pasadas Navidades compré de segunda mano a Kuroi el manga Puella Magi Madoka Magica tras sólo buenas reseñas y la promesa de un plot twist sorprendente.

En un principio, Puella Magi Madoka Magica parece un shoujo de magical girls como Sailor Moon o Card Captor Sakura, para "niñas" y sin grandes complicaciones: una criatura con forma de peluche adorable revela a chicas adolescentes que son las elegidas para salvar al mundo con poderes mágicos. De hecho, la historia empieza así: Kyubey dice a Madoka y Sayaka que son las elegidas para convertirse en Puella Magi a cambio de que se cumpla su mayor deseo. Pero Homura Akemi, su nueva compañera de clase, quiere evitar por todos los medios que Madoka haga un contrato con Kyubey.

Sin embargo, a medida que el final se acerca la cosa se oscurece y queda claro que esto no es un shoujo dulce y pastelón. A mí me recuerda más a Magic Knight Rayearth que a otras obras de este género, sobre todo por el giro final. El manga, de tres tomos y publicado por Ivrea, se lee en un suspiro, así que es mejor leérselo del tirón.

dimecres, 9 d’abril de 2014

Showgirls (or how the Bechdel test does not always work)

Some months ago, I read an article about something Swedish cinemas might start doing soon in order to avoid an excess of man-only-oriented films and, instead, have more gender equality represented in the silver screen. Their criteria was the Bechdel test, established by comic author Alison Bechdel in the 1980's, and that has three easy-to-follow rules:

1. It has to have at least two [named] women in it
2. Who talk to each other
3. About something besides a man
(more information here: http://bechdeltest.com/)


Easy, right? WRONG. If you click on the link above you will see how many movies fail these simple rules miserably. Good and bad films alike, so using the Bechdel test does not seem like the best criteria to me. And why, you might ask? Very simple...

"I like having nice tits" is an actual quote from this movie.



Showgirls is a 1995 movie that narrates the rise and fall of the stripper-turned-Vegas showgirl Nomi Malone. The amount of boobs, ass, and bad writing, especially where female characters are concerned, is difficult to top. And yes, my dears, this movie, which presents women in a degrading manner and as cardboard cut-outs and is an insult to feminism, passes the Bechdel test.

So, is the Bechdel test that important a statement for feminism? Why, yes. Even though Showgirls is badly written (and poorly acted, I might add), and even though it doesn't stop objectifying women as sexual objects, you can see that they tried to tell a story in which a woman is the main protagonist. I guess that decent writing and actual character development could have made Nomi and her rival Crystal good examples of that. 

Then again, maybe they did just want to show "tits and ass" and men saw it because it was a movie about a stripper. Ok. On the other side of the spectrum are romantic comedies. Most part of their audience are women (and their unwilling boyfriends, some of the time). Is it because they are feminist films? Uh... no. Do they pass the Bechdel test? Not as much as they should, taking into consideration that the main characters are usually women. The "fail" part is often that the main topic of all conversation is MEEEEEN.

We shouldn't confuse feminist movies (as in movies that clearly subscribe to said ideology) with the need of female characters in media that are not just wallflowers, which is what the Bechdel test is about. When movies start passing the Bechdel test more and more regularly, it will probably be a sign that something has changed in our society and our perception of women and their role(s) in it.


dimarts, 8 d’abril de 2014

Top Ten Tuesday - #8 Top Ten Fictional Couples in Books

By couples, they mean people who are in a relationship, so no bromances or good friends with never-resolved sexual tension in this list, sorry. The couples are not listed in any particular order. The list might contain spoilers if you haven't read the books.

http://www.brokeandbookish.com/p/top-ten-tuesday-other-features.html

#1 Ron and Hermione from the Harry Potter series. I don't care that J.K. Rowling thinks that she should have ended up with Harry, they still make a cute couple.

#2 Jaime and Cersei from the A Song of Ice and Fire series. They are ment to be and you know it, don't try to deny it.

#3 Lola and Cricket from Lola and the Boy Next Door. They're perfect for each other.

#4 Inspector Mascarell and Quimeta from the Inspector Mascarell series. It's the kind of life-long love that you expect to find. I'm especially fond of her, especially as she still appears to him through his thoughts even after all the years she has been dead and even though Mascarell has found himself a younger wife.

#5 Robert Jordan and María from For Whom the Bell Tolls. Few times has love been described so precisely as in this book. Why haven't you read it yet?

#6 Gen and Carmen from Bel Canto. Love appears in the most unexpected places and situations.

#7 Bridget and Mark from Britget Jones's Diary. Surprised? You shouldn't be.

#8 David Copperfield and Agnes from David Copperfield. It took David an eternity to figure out what the reader figures out when Agnes is first introduced, but at least he figured it out.

#9 Wesley and Buttercup from The Princess Bride. As you wish.

#10 Viola and Orsino from Twelfth Night. You might think it's a weird choice because he had the hots for Olivia before Viola appeared disguised as Cesario, I think that, deep inside, he kind of develops feelings for her male version and is relieved to find out that she's a woman. Or I'm reading too much into it, who knows.

dilluns, 7 d’abril de 2014

En ocasiones veo series (3): Series Finale

En esta entrada quiero hablar del final de dos series que han marcado mi vida "seriéfila" (¿existe esta palabra?). Se trata de la legen- wait for it! -daria How I Met Your Mother y de la serie con la que más he sufrido hasta ahora, Breaking Bad.


How I Met Your Mother - temporada 9, episodios 16 a 24


CONTIENE SPOILERS

Sí, esta serie debería haber terminado hace tiempo porque desde la temporada 6 o 7 iba todo a peor, pero nos hemos quedado pegados a la pantalla durante nueve años esperando a conocer la madre, cuyo nombre conocemos por fin en el último capítulo.

La novena temporada ha sido muy irregular: el hecho de que estuviera centrada únicamente en la boda de Robin y Barney no estaba mal pero ha ralentecido el ritmo narrativo, se hacía redundante a ratos y, en mi opinión, el nivel de comedia dejó mucho que desar, a pesar de momentos puntuales memorables.

¿Y qué decir del último episodio, el de la discordia? Leí no sé dónde que o te encanta el final o lo odias. Personalmente, me encuentro en un punto, digamos, intermedio. Me pareció un recurso narrativo pobre que, tras dedicar toda una temporada a un fin de semana, de repente el último capítulo repase los veinte años posteriores y, encima, hagan que Barney y Robin se divorcien (aunque, en mi opinión, habían perdido la chispa como pareja mucho antes de la boda).

Sin embargo, esos flashforwards me gustaron por el realismo: la gente se hace mayor y lo que hacías con tus amigos a los veintitantos queda en un lugar secundario a medida que te haces mayor y adquieres responsabilidades laborales y familiares. Punto positivo para ello.

Eché en falta el desarrollo de la vida en común de Ted y la madre, que podría haber sido perfectamente el 90% de la serie: los primeros años de relación hasta que Ted le propone matrimonio y nace Penny, la hija. ¿Por qué no? Ah, porque teníamos que cargárnosla y hacer que Ted siga enamorado de Robin después de veinte años, después de hacer que por fin madurase.


¿Sí? ¿Seguro?


Así que, en definitiva, prefiero quedarme con el recuerdo de los buenos momentos que hemos pasado con Ted y compañía, a pesar de los altos y bajos de las últimas temporadas, porque, a pesar de todo, la cita semanal en el pub MacLaren's era una de las cosas que esperaba todos los martes.


Breaking Bad - temporadas 3, 4 y 5

 
 
CONTIENE SPOILERS

Para mí, la tercera y la cuarta temporada son las mejores de toda la serie, sin duda alguna. Walter White y compañía nos han hecho sufrir, reír, incluso llorar en algún momento. La historia de estos personajes me atrapó de tal manera que en menos de un mes me ventilé estas tres temporadas. Y ahora que la he terminado de ver, me ha dejado un vacío que sólo algunos libros han conseguido dejarme.

A medida que avanzan los capítulos vemos cómo Walter White se transforma progresivamente en Heisenberg hasta que casi no queda rastro del primero. La implicación de Skyler en la trama ha dado mucho juego, aunque puedo entender por qué a algunos fans les cae mal... y eso que, sin la gestión que hace ella, a pesar del odio que desarrolla por su marido al descubrir a qué se dedica en su tiempo libre, probablemente se hubiera descubierto a Heisenberg mucho antes. Creo yo. El amor-odio-bromance entre Walter y Jesse también tiene tela. Esos dos sí que parecen un matrimonio. Malditos orgullos, y lo fácil que resultaría todo si no se dedicaran a pelearse como adolescentes, con lo bien organizado que lo tenía Gus...

Menciones especiales a los personajes de Saul Goodman, Mike y Gus. En el caso de este último, me ha encantado cómo lo han escrito y desarrollado, a parte de la fantástica actuación del actor (nunca una cara de póquer había dado tanto miedo xD). Saul era el apunte cómico a tanto drama, lo cual se agradecía, y la pérdida de Mike fue un golpe bastante duro.

Pero el más duro de todos fue la muerte de Hank. Aunque lo veías venir y sabías que tarde o temprano iba a pasar, esperaba una confrontación entre él y Walter, al estilo de las películas del oeste, casi, pero no lo que nos dieron. Fue un poco como la Boda Roja de Game of Thrones, sólo que esta vez no sabía por dónde irían los tiros (nunca mejor dicho).

A partir de ese punto en la historia, creo que los guionistas podrían haber tomado el camino todavía más dramático de hacer que Walt viviera con el remordimiento de haber destruído a su familia y causar no sólo la muerte de Hank sino también la de Skyler. Pero supongo que querían dejarlo bien atado y el cáncer se lo hubiera llevado de todos modos. Sin embargo, me quedan preguntas: ¿qué pasa con Jesse? ¿Y con Skyler, Flint y Holly? ¿Qué nos traerá el spin-off Better Call Saul?

dimarts, 25 de febrer de 2014

Liebe geht durch alle Zeiten (Edelstein-Trilogie)

I'll admit it: I started to read them because of the covers. I mean, look at them! I'd read about them in several blogs before but I thought it would be just another novel for teenagers and wasn't that interested. And, while that's exactly what this trilogy is, it has a very enjoyable story.


Rubinrot (Ruby Red), Saphirblau (Sapphire Blue), and Smaragdgrün (Emerald Green) are the original titles of the three books written by German author Kerstin Gier. They tell us the story of Gwendolyn Shepherd, a 16 year-old girl from London who has the ability of seeing ghosts since she was a child. Her family does not believe her despite the fact that her cousin, Charlotte, is thought to be the twelfth time traveller mentioned in Count Saint Germain's prophecies.

So when it's Gwen and not Charlotte whose powers are revealed after she unintentionally jumps in time, Gwen is taken to the Lodge of Count Saint Germain, a secret society that has been gathering the blood of the twelfe time travellers, as they are supposed to be the key to the salvation of humanity. Gwen is the last of them and also the Ruby, the one time traveller that plays an essential role in all of this.

However, Gwen is sent to travel to the past on several missions to gather the blood of her cousin Lucy and of Paul de Villiers, who stole the chronograph, the instrument that allows time travellers to control which point in the past they are jumping to, in order to close the blood circle. And she won't be alone: the arrogant but handsome Gideon de Villiers is going to be her partner. Could love get in the way of their mission?


I actually enjoyed this trilogy. I've always liked the whole time-travelling idea and fantasy in general. While the main plot is not the most innovative plot ever, the author brings to life a creative setting and some very lovable characters. The lodge, which reminds of a sect, has a very interesting back-story. It's good that the author includes excerpts of the Annals of the Lodge, as they give us not only "factual" information, but also clues to what is happening without the main characters knowing. 

The time-travelling itself is not bad, although deep down I wished for Gwen and the other characters to be involved in main historical events, at least indirectly. Or that they were mentioned, maybe? However, this is justified by the fact that time travellers are not allowed to change the course of history.

But I didn't like some other things. Gwen herself, to begin with, at some points was annoying, being more preocupied with how handsome Gideon is and also what a big a-hole he is most of the time and how much she hates him and how badly she's falling in love with him. I don't think I'm spoiling it for anyone here by saying that it's obvious that, despite the first impressions, they are inevitably going to become an item. Their romantic involvement becomes too big of a sub-plot, especially in the third book, during which more lodge-related action should be happening. I know it's a novel for teenagers, more specifically for girls, but still...

I actually didn't mind that the books are somewhat predictable. Some major plot points that are supposed to be big, shocking revelations, were easy to figure out in the first book. There are some parts of the time-travelling chronology that had me confused, especially in the second book. And I don't understand why Gwen's family, who is perfectly aware that "supernatural" things happen in that universe (they are carriers of the time-travelling gene, for crying out loud!), fail to believe her when she claims that she can see dead people... especially when this is mentioned in the prophecies. Oh well, I guess our main character needs to be some sort of outcast/socially awkward penguin because that's how female protagonists roll these days. Apparently.

And I didn't like Xemerius. Nor Gideon. There, I said it. But I declare my inconditional love for Leslie Hay. YA literature needs more best friends like her.

However, my inner 15-year-old enjoyed this trilogy enough and I know that I would have loved it and obsessed over it at said age. It's not really meant for adult readers to give it a go, so if you do, don't expect something very deep and mature. Maybe it will help you find out if love really stands the test of time.


dimecres, 5 de febrer de 2014

Express Reviews (5)

It's movie time again! I saw all of these in the cinema and they are listed from least recent viewing to most recent.
Paranoia


Andi and I risked yet again seeing another sneak preview and we got this kind of spy film about a young man who is accepted for a job position at a company and is sent to spy on the competitors. 

For a spy thriller with Gary Oldman and Harrison Ford, I expected a lot more, but it's very forgettable. Actually, it is so forgettable that I've had to go to IMDB to refresh my memory on what exactly the film was about.


The Hunger Games: Catching Fire


[SPOILERS if you haven't seen or read The Hunger Games]
Katniss and Peeta have survived the Hunger Games but they might have started something that is beyond their control.

I loved the second book because it showed the tension that Katniss's final act in the Hunger Games was having in Panem. The movie also takes us there with images, although not having read the book might make newcomers feel a little bit lost with details that seem unimportant. Definetely worth watching.
 

Frozen


Queen Elsa of Arendelle has ice powers that she cannot control. After she accidentally covers the whole kingdom with snow, her younger sister Anna goes out to look for her.

Oh, Disney. I probably hadn't loved a Disney movie like this since Beauty and the Beast. I loved the story, I can't stop listening to the soundtrack, I have no words to express how happy I am that the story does not really center so much on the romantic interest of the main character. And it has the best line ever in any princess film, especially a Disney film:

Thank you, Elsa.

Also, the morale of the story? Disney movies are full of bad parenting. Although if the parents had done their job right, there wouldn't be a conflict and there wouldn't be a movie.


Inside Llewyn Davis


After his musical partner and friend commits suicide, Llewyn Davis tries to keep his music career going. We spend a week following his pursuit for a recording contract while also struggling with having almost no money left.

I have mixed feelings about this movie. While it was an intense and interesting story and the music had a very important role, I kind of expected a faster pace. It's a good film, though, so check it out.


The Secret Life of Walter Mitty


Walter Mitty's existence is mediocre, to say the least, so he has escapist fantasies with himself at the center of it. Among these are that a female co-worker that he has been interested in for a long time falls in love with him. His grey life gets an unexpected twist when he learns that his company will probably fire him soon and he embarks on a trip to Greenland, Iceland, and Afghanistan.

Another movie I have mixed feelings about. As a "road trip", it's cool and so unrealistic that you'd totally buy it. But that's the main problem: it's so unrealistically typical Hollywood that the moral of the story gets placed in a second or third term, right behind predictability. It's not a bad movie, but it could be a lot better. Apparently it's a sort of remake of another film that is based on a short story.


La vie d'Adèle 


Based on the French comic Le bleu est une couleur chaude (Blue is the warmest colour), it narrates the coming-out of a teenage girl after meeting the blue-haired Emma and their love story. According to what I read in Wikipedia, they changed certain details from the comic, like Adèle's name, which is actually Clémentine in the comic, or the way that their relationship ends (don't read the Wikipedia article if you want to avoid spoilers).

I liked the movie but it has a couple of major problems: 1) it's TOO LONG! I mean, the story is intense and almost nothing felt superfluous, but it lasts THREE hours, and that "almost nothing" takes me to point 2): the sex scenes seemed out of a lesbian porn flick (apparently the author of the comic book complaied about this too, if we're to trust reviews and Wikipedia articles), and they were so long that they could have cut them shorter and use that time to: 3) develop the non-sexual part of coming out of the closed a little bit more. We find out that Adèle's parents nor her friends are not precisely the most open-minded people in the world. Ok, so what happens with their relationships when they find out that Adèle is a lesbian? It's never showed on screen because it's more important that we see the actresses perform oral sex on each other. Right. (Don't worry, it's nothing too explicit). I think someone missed a point somewhere. Also, I know it's supposed to be for intensity's sake, but is it really necessary to have such close close-ups? And does the fact that it's called "Chapitres 1 et 2" mean that there's going to be another movie?



And that's all for now. Let's see what other movies 2014 will bring.

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