Tuesday, December 21, 2010
All I want is for Civ Pro to be over so I can go home and collapse into my bed and sleep till sometime tomorrow.
Friday, December 10, 2010
The thing that did make the most difference was being able to talk about the course with my study buddies. Hearing yourself say the things out loud and realizing you're either sounding dumb or really smart is so helpful. Writing stuff down, too, has always been a good technique to help me remember. I managed to distill some concepts onto one notecard - no easy feat - and I also have to remember not to leave it in my pocket when I go into the exam!
So, here I am, sitting in Starbucks down the street from school. I went over my outlines and my little card and then decided to settle back and read on my Kindle till it's time to head to school. A daddy put his little girl on the seat opposite me and is feeding her a muffin. She has a juice box and looks like the muffin exploded all over her adorable face. It makes me miss Le Pie and I can't wait to see him and the husband tonight. All is right with my world.
Saturday, December 4, 2010
So, back to Bom.
I heard about "Black Swan" months ago, at some film festival wrap-up. I'd read in passing that Natalie Portman was already getting Oscar buzz for her role as a ballet dancer giving into her dark side. Wow! Natalie Portman? Love her! Ballet? Love it! Darren Aronofsky? Loved "The Wrestler", so why they hell not?
I began to wait. It began to feel like I was a "Star Wars" geek waiting for "The Phantom Menace". I stalked the imdb.com page daily. And the trailer? Twice daily was more like! And then I found this music video and I lost it completely!
If I loved "Swan Lake" before, I was fairly obsessed by then. I found a documentary about 5 dancers in the Kirov Ballet and discovered the amazing Uliana Lopatkina who is the epitome of the dying swan. Pavlova is great and all that, but Lopatkina has the most enviable arms and a grace that was given to her by the angels themselves.
I rented a Kirov performance of "Swan Lake" but was so disappointed in the ending. They made it all happy and shit and there was no dying swan. I felt gypped and almost flung the disc away in disgust. Needless to say, Lopatkina didn't dance Odile/Odette.
Speaking of whom, I've often wondered what a dancer goes through in performing these roles in "Swan Lake". They are polar opposites of each other and Odette looms larger in terms of presence in the ballet. So a dancer spends more time perfecting and rehearsing the White Swan, and then must switch gears for a very physically gruelling dance that exudes more force than the White Swan offers in her entire performance. The White Swan is all grace and fragility and fear and tender love. The Black Swan is lust and passion and cruelty.
"Black Swan" captures the dichotomy beautifully. Portman is allowed to stretch marvelously into both characters. And they are two characters, both in the ballet and the film. Portman's Nina Sayers is everything the White Swan is supposed to be: fragile, graceful, technically perfect. But the Black Swan is none of those things. The White Swan is all internal and the Black Swan is visceral and everything is outside for the world to see.
Nina IS the White Swan. All she wants to be is perfect. She is timid and allows herself to be manipulated by her mother, an ex-dancer who "gave it up to have [Nina]". Nina's eventual rebellion only comes when pushed by Mila Kunis' Lily. It's Lily who gives voice to Nina's mother's actions and, while Nina is coming into slow realization herself, it's Lily's contempt that provides the impetus for Nina to take a stand.
I like Mila Kunis. She's a risk-taker. She fit right into Lily exactly like you'd expect her to. I have nothing bad to say about her performance, but I wasn't surprised the way I was with Portman and Winona Ryder. They aren't exactly risk-takers when it comes to their choices of film roles, so this movie was a revelation.
Lily served her purpose in the story and Kunis subtly moved the character in and out of Nina's perceptions of Lily. It was an excellent performance, just not surprising.
Now, as for Ryder. I think if Judi Dench can win an Oscar for six minutes on screen in "Shakespeare in Love", Ryder should be a shoo-in for a Best Supporting Oscar in next year's academy awards. Ryder is my generation's Ellen Page. "Heathers" is my "Juno". Etc. Etc. But Ryder has never really stepped out of that onlooker's position in her film choices. She's never been anything but lovely, graceful, timid with inner strength. It's always been internal performances, like May in "Age of Innocence". In "Black Swan", she has three scenes and is mesmerizing in all of them, short as her screen time was. It wasn't my Winona Ryder, I thought. She's everything May is not: cruel, hateful, frightened, envious, shocking. All the external emotions she's never shown.
As for Portman, where do I begin? She's Natalie Portman and, for a good chunk of the movie, exactly what you'd expect from a very talented actress. Oh, but not really everything you'd expect, is it? She's got lots of subtlety to play with and she does amazing things with her eyes and neck that make you shudder just as much as the larger actions.
I'm not spoiling anything by saying the movie is about descent into madness. Nina is told by the choreographer, Thomas, that if he was casting the White Swan only, she was a shoo-in. She's ALL White Swan, but he wants a more visceral performance out of her. He's opening the season with "Swan Lake". "Done to death, I know," he says. "But not like this." He gives Nina the part, knowing full well she has a great deal of work to do to become the Black Swan.
Nina is terrifying and terrified. She's sexually repressed and always seems to be in a state of coitus interruptus. Well, I know I'd go mad if I was always on the verge of an orgasm just to have the stimulus pulled away from me. Just saying.
So she throws herself into the role. Thomas wants her to let go, Lily thinks she is going to be amazing, her mother is proud and supportive and turns on a dime to sabotage. Or does she? Is Lily really jealous and pretends to be encouraging and friendly? The movie isn't an enigma wrapped in a mystery but it's a mind-fuck all the same.
To say I wasn't disappointed is an understatement. I loved it with every pore of my being. I'd go back if I wasn't in the thick of finals prep. But that DVD is so mine when it comes out. Mine, I tell you! MINE!
Friday, November 26, 2010
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Friday, November 5, 2010
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
If I were a month I would be: June
If I were a day of the week I would be: Tuesday
If I were a time of day I would be: morning
If I were a planet I would be: mars
If I were a sea animal I would be: a blue whale
If I were a direction I would be: West
If I were a piece of furniture I would be: a bed
If I were a sin I would be: lust
If I were a liquid I would be: rum
If I were a stone, I would be: a bloodstone
If I were a tree, I would be: a mango tree
If I were a bird, I would be: a hummingbird
If I were a flower/plant, I would be: an iris
If I were a kind of weather, I would be: drizzly
If I were a musical instrument, I would be: a Spanish guitar
If I were an animal, I would be: a meerkat
If I were a color, I would be: green
If I were an emotion, I would be: overwhemlmed
If I were a vegetable, I would be: a potato
If I were a sound, I would be: a scream
If I were an element, I would be: fire
If I were a car, I would be: a mini
If I were a song, I would be: calypso
If I were a movie, I would be directed by: gurinda chadha
If I were a poem, I would be written by: t.s. eliot
If I were a food, I would be: cookie
If I were a place, I would be: a temple
If I were a material, I would be: cotton
If I were a taste, I would be: tasty
If I were a scent, I would be: lavender
If I were a religion, I would be: Pagan
If I were a word, I would be: crazy
If I were an object, I would be: a hammer
If I were a body part I would be: knees
If I were a facial expression I would be: an eyeroll
If I were a subject in school I would be: physical education
If I were a shape I would be: a hexagon
If I were a number I would be: seven