Archive for October, 2013

Yay for Alice!

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

alicemunro bookI’m so, so pleased that one of my all-time favourite writers, Alice Munro, has won the Nobel Prize.  Lots, of course, has been written in the last week about her and writing.  How she makes the ordinary, extraordinary; how she captures the essentially human; how she takes what seems to be mundane and reveals its hidden drama; how she is surprisingly funny (not sure why this should be surprising); how her writing is beautifully spare; how she has gobsmacking plot-twists that make perfect sense; and how she manages to do all this in 8000 words (or so).  All of this is so, so true.  There is so much more to add to that list, but I will only add one.  A personal one.  When I was once going through a particularly rough juncture in my life, I would comfort myself by saying, “it’ll end up being like an Alice Munro short story”.  Munro is exceptional at capturing the person years after the trauma has passed.  The impact clear but so woven into the fabric of everything that made that person who they are that they simply wouldn’t be themselves without that experience.  And most people want to be themselves.

Kowalski in Space

Friday, October 11th, 2013

I saw Gravity the other night – an intense visual onslaught of claustrophobic space – space suits, spacemarlon brando stations – in wide, open, not-as-empty-as-you-would-like space.  Good thing I exercise, otherwise I’m not sure my heart could handle movies like this.  The movie does, however, contain some real clunkers.  George Clooney is wise-cracking mission commander Matt Kowalski.  What is it with that name?  It’s not only the go to Polish name but the go to European one.  Particularly if the character is wise-cracking.  IMDb reports its use in about 50 films, including Gran Torino, The Penguins of Madagascar, and, of course, the one that perhaps started them all, A Street Car Named Desire (although Marlon Brando was more brooding than wise-cracking).  Sandra Bullock meanwhile goes by a man’s name.  Perhaps to reinforce she has balls; although she’s no Ripley (whether she’s wearing Sigourney Weaver’s underwear is, however, up for debate).  The demon that haunts her is the usual dead kid (I’ve given nothing away here).  But, well, who cares.  The movie is a testament to high-action visuals.