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Thoughts on Gatsby: A definition of the word “adaptation”

8 May

According to the OED (that bastion of all things English language) an adaptation (n) is “the application of something to a particular end or purpose; the action of applying one thing to another or of bringing two things together so as to effect a change in the nature of the objects”.

Let’s get that one more time, shall we?

“The application of something to a particular end or purpose; the action of applying one thing to another or of bringing two things together so as to effect a change in the nature of the objects.”

Now for your Wednesday morning philosophical coffee break: if an adaptation is supposed to effect change in the nature of the objects, can there be such a thing as a faithful adaptation? And if there cannot, logically, be a faithful adaptation because then no change to either object would be effected, is it not reasonable to conclude that book-to-film adaptations are by their very definition precluded from being “faithful”, consequently leaving the disaffected English majors currently spewing their Baz Luhrmann-fueled vitriol all over the Interwebs floundering in bottomless pits of their own meaningless literary criticism? (As a former English person, myself, I say this with the greatest possible affection.)

Hate Gatsby. Love Gatsby. But do it as a film critic, not a literary critic. Because guess what? Gatsby isn’t a book! It’s a movie! With a pretty rockin’ and inventive soundtrack, flashy costumes and interesting cinematography.

I have tickets to see Gatsby at 7 pm on Friday evening, and I cannot wait. In the meantime I am avoiding all reviews and leave you with this observation: if you didn’t like Romeo + Juliet, you should probably go see Iron Man 5000 instead.

Cheers, to that.

Warner Bros. / YouTube Screen Capture

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Downton Abbey US Season Premiere, An Acrostic Review

7 Jan

Penny and Circe’s reaction (via text) to the US premiere of Downton Abbey, series 3, can be summed up in the following three bullets:

  • OMFG MATTHEW. So hot.
  • OMFG BRANSON. So hot.
  • Fuck Bates. I wish he’d been hanged by the neck until dead.

Or, at least, that’s their iMessage history.

Oh, also…

  • WHAT are they all WEARING? That is the WORST wedding dress EVER. Perhaps our troubles finding things to wear to this upcoming alumni event can be laid squarely at Downton’s double doors. Sacks. Shapeless sacks. All of it.

And now for the morning after…

Penny:  Honestly? My first reaction is “Damn. The How I Met Your Mother Christmas episode has ruined me for all other television this year”.

Circe: I mean it obviously wasn’t on par with that episode, but I was still pleased.

"You won't be happy with anyone else so long as Lady Mary walks the earth."

A bromance of which we wholeheartedly approve.

Downsizing looks to be the name of the game in the face
Of financial ruin
When Matthew fortuitously learns of an unexpected inheritance,
Not, mind you, that his middle class scruples would allow him to accept
The money that could save Downton.
Oh, don’t be such a disappointment, Matthew.”
No one cared that much about Lavinia, anyway.

Although Shirley MacLaine is a welcome foil,
Bedeviling the Dowager Countess,
Branson (Excuse me, Tom) steals the show as outsider du jour; he
Embodies his proletarian convictions much more believably than the
Yapping, brash, mannerless American outsider who spouts off endlessly with visions of progress grand enough to match her disdain for tradition.

Speaking of Branson, there’s a budding bromance of which we wholeheartedly approve. And is
3 soon to be the number of brothers-in-law?

Even downstairs, the push for progress is felt as Thomas terrorizes the new staff and Daisy sulks at her continued non-status.
1 is the number of shits we give about Bates… plus 1

A Review of Les Mis A Droolfest Over Enjolras

2 Jan

This. This man.

Penny and Circe spent a day two days during the holidays exhaustively shopping for cocktail dresses designed to impress at an upcoming alumni event (take away motto: I hate everything). Following a restorative meal of delicious Indian curry and naan on the second day, they attended an evening showing of Les Misérables.

Here’s what they said coming out of the theatre. (For a quick rundown of loves and hates, scroll to the end of the page.)

Also: Spoiler alert(?????) Is this necessary? It’s called Les Misérables so you can pretty much expect a lot of people to die, but if your middle school didn’t see a touring production of this show in the early aughts and you don’t want to know exactly who dies just walk away.

Circe: WTF Russell Crowe.

Penny: WTF sound effects – I did NOT need to hear Javert’s spine crack when he hit the Seine. Completely unnecessary after all of the edge-walking on high ledges and very unsubtle directorial foreshadowing. But perhaps they needed all the unsubtle foreshadowing because Russell Crowe just did not bring the zeal I expect from Javert. His Javert didn’t seem to feel anything, much less with enough depth to warrant suicide by concrete dam.

Circe: I know! If I didn’t know the show, I would wonder why he killed himself.

Penny: But OMZ Enjolras? Smokin’.

Lounging sexily on the barricade.

Circe: If you mean Tripp van der Bilt from Gossip Girl? Then yes. Also, I love how they spell his last name so that they can get away with calling him a Vanderbilt…but that’s besides the point. Who knew he could sing, too??

Penny: And look so fired up and sexy about the rights of the proletariat?! That last moment before he died? Swoon.

Circe: I cried. No one that beautiful should ever die. Continue reading

It’s here, it’s here! Another Gatsby trailer.

20 Dec

And you guys, Leo hasn’t looked this good since he was “king of the worrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrld”.

Trailer critique:

  • Love the black and gold geometric design elements.
  • Costumes? Excellent.
  • Tobey Maguire, glad you’re moving on from Spider Man.
  • Excellent use of Florence.
  • I rather like the “unpleasant” version of “So Happy Together” that some others did not. It was very effective mood music for the trailer.

Snaps for all.

She told me… DANCE!

7 Dec
Happy Friday! Joyeux Vendredi! Everythings is better in French, including pop music!
All the exclamation points (apparently)!!!

Another Impetuous Review: If on a winter’s night a traveler

6 Dec

I’m only 42 pages in (42! HA! Anyway…) and I’m maybe a little beyond obsessed.

I know that I have a tendency to decide I ADORE songs thirty seconds in, only to get to the bridge and wish maybe I hadn’t been so hasty with the cut and paste of the YouTube link into my Gchat window with Polly. And my praise for How to Be a Woman on this very blog was perhaps a bit precocious. However, I think between the critical acclaim and my own fascination with the writing, this book is deserving of my stamp of approval. (And I do not say that lightly as I am currently very conscious of my tendency towards stamp trampiness, thanks HIMYM.)

I don’t want to talk too much about it because, at least so far, part of the fun is figuring out the structure (which is… experimental, to say the least) and I don’t want to ruin your fun. If you want to read a synopsis, here’s the Goodreads link. Otherwise, take my word for it! This one is a winner.

Instead I will leave you with this very long passage on bookstores from Italo Calvino’s If on a winter’s night a traveler and you can draw your own conclusions about my tastes and Calvino’s talent:

In the shop window you have promptly identified the cover with the title you were looking for. Following this visual trail, you have forced your way through the shop past the thick barricade of Books You Haven’t Read, which were frowning at you from the tables and shelves, trying to cow you. But you know you must never allow yourself to be awed, that among them there extend for acres and acres the Books You Needn’t Read, the Books Made for Purposes Other Than Reading, Books Read Even Before You Open Them Since They Belong To The Category Of Books Read Before Being Written. Continue reading

C’est fini! (Or, Penny shamelessly begs for applause.)

19 Nov

Well, it was a longgggggggggggg time coming. But, I finally made my way to page 817 in Anna Karenina. (And promptly took a picture which I then messaged to several people before treating myself to reward cake.) It’s the only page of that damn book I ever want to see again.

And then I ate cake.

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