Thursday, June 10, 2010

Lots to Do: Movie Mini Reviews & Bloggiesta

What an interesting week. I'm in paradise, got in some wonderful R&R by participating in the 48 Hour Challenge, read The Hunger Games for the first time, and then got a head cold that had me begging to chop my head off. How do you get a head cold in Hawaii?!? Well, apparently, germs don't care where you're at when they attack. I also got a phone call from back home where I have my mom's cat kenneled (yes, he lives with me because the process of getting him here to Hawaii would have been too stressful), to tell me that the eye we just thought he was blind in might need to be removed. Talk about a sad moment. So sad. Here's a picture of the little rascal, in his favorite position when I'm home grading papers. I really hope they don't have to remove it.

Enough about life! I have much to be grateful for, and like everyone else, can take it all one thing at a time.

Reading came to a screeching halt after the 48 Hour Challenge, but I have had the opportunity to watch some films here or there that I wanted to share.

Princess Kaiulani: I mentioned that I had wanted to see this film about one of the famous princesses of the Hawaiian monarchy. Princess Kaiulani was one of the last reigning princesses of Hawaii, who after the annexation of Hawaii by the United States, continued to fight for the freedoms of Hawaiian peoples up until her death at the age of 23.

The film was beautiful in its scope, wardrobe, and scenery. Although over dramatic at times, and reminiscent of a made for television drama, I did enjoy the movie and found it engaging. There does seem to be a strong political message in the film, that mirrors a lot of the tension that I've seen here in Hawaii with native rights for land and governance. This tension is oddly contrasted with the absolute joyful memories attached Hawaiian statehood that often has me confused. In considering these two historical events, the annexation of Hawaii and its statehood, it seems that in one case there was no say, and in the second there was a desire to at least have rights as part of the country they were a part. I'm glad the United States issued an apology for annexing Hawaii the way that it did, but can understand the turmoil that still exists, especially as native lands are turned into commercial properties.

Overall, I would say that it is a great film to get an overlay of some of the history of that time. The love story is made up, from what I understand, and a bit much. Sadly, I'm sure the writers and directors of the film felt it needed a love story to engage the viewers, but it actually had me a little confused about history I'd already heard about. I would read Mike Hale's concise, well-written review of May 14, 2010 in the New York Times if you'd like to learn more about the movie. Good movie with some accuracy, but dramatized and with an agenda that leaves you feeling ambiguous.

Long Way Round and Long Way Down: Ewan McGreggor (famous actor of Moulin Rouge & Star Wars) and his best friend Charley Boorman, motor bike fanatics, decided to travel from London to New York City by way of Russia back in 2004, and then from Scotland to South Africa in 2007. I had seen snippets of the show on cable and put it on reserve on my mile long Netflix Queue. Its number came up, and I started watching it and couldn't stop. In fact, I couldn't send the discs back quick enough to watch the next episode!

In the first series, the men traveled from London to New York City, by way of places such as the Ukraine, Mongolia, and Eastern Russia's Road of Bones. Whenever the men couldn't find lodging, they simply set up their tents, ate prepackaged meals, and filmed their thoughts and feelings from wherever they were staying. They did have a group following them in vehicles that packed camera gear, medical supplies, and additional camping gear, but for the most part you just watch Ewan and Charley interact with their different environments and the lovely people along the way. The journey was inspiring and scary to watch, but so engaging that I couldn't watch it fast enough!

The second series follows the men from Scotland, down through Italy, across to North Africa, on down to South Africa. Once again, the trip was grueling to watch, and the first half of the journey through North Africa made me wonder why they had bothered this time around, with the sand storms and heat. Once they got farther into Africa and were able to interact with wildlife (that would have made it impossible for me to sleep in a tent) and amazing people.

I HIGHLY recommend this series. In fact, I can't recommend them highly enough. I've been watching the second series with my mother, and every day she asks if we have a new disc waiting. We were both sad to see them come to an end, as it was a beautiful, and even startling reminder of how alike we all are as human beings. This is an exciting, and moving series to watch.

Finally, I wanted to say that I've decided to join in the Bloggiesta that is coming up this weekend, June 11th through the 13th. This event is hosted by Natasha at Maw Books Blog, who does an excellent job. After the 48 Hour Challenge last weekend, I wasn't so sure I wanted to dive into another one so soon, but after switching things around here on my blog, and falling terribly behind in reviews, I decided it would be a great opportunity for me to keep working on things here to get my new blog look really up and running the way I'd like. I have pretty modest goals, but here is what I'd like to work on:
  • Write four book reviews
  • Finish working on the new pages I've created
  • Write up a better Review Policy
  • Fix the "About Me" page with better information that is professional, yet friendly :)
  • Figure out how to fix a few problems this new page has, such as everything being centered automatically
  • Create blog rolls. I have SO many blogs that I follow on my Google Reader, but only reflect about 10% of them on my actual blog. I'd like to include a scrolling blog roll for others to look at if they would like
  • Work on tags so I don't have duplicates
Well, there we have it! As usual, I can't write a short post, so my apologies for being such a wordy girl. I'm off to get a walk in and hopefully to do a bit of reading today. How are things in your world?


  1. Poor Gato!

    I thought that Ewan McGregor thing sounding interesting. I remember seeing him talk about it on Regis and Kelly awhile ago. Might have to check it out!

  2. I've never even heard of the Ewan MacGregor series, but it does sound good. I'd rather watch a trip like that than live it, though! ;)

  3. Gretchen--I know. I'm hoping Gato is doing all right. I haven't heard back from the vet, so I need to call today.

    As for the videos, you have to watch these. They really are amazing.

    Heidenkind--You really should check out both videos, as they are AMAZING and made me want to travel more. I don't want to travel on a motorcycle, but I'd love to get to some of the places they went! :)