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Archive for January, 2010

Brothers

Went to see Brothers last night, a movie I was very much looking forward to see but found highly disappointing.

Brothers is a remake of the 2004 Danish drama Brøde, directed and co-written by Susanne Bier.

Plot

It tells the story of two siblings, thirty-something Captain Sam Cahill and younger brother Tommy Cahill, who are polar opposites. A Marine about to embark on his fourth tour of duty, Sam is a steadfast family man married to his high school sweetheart, the aptly named Grace with whom he has two young daughters. Tommy, his charismatic younger brother, is a drifter just out of jail who’s always gotten by on wit and charm. He slides easily into his role as family provocateur on his first night out of prison, at Sam’s farewell dinner with their parents, Elsie and Hank Cahill, a retired Marine.

Shipped out to Afghanistan, Sam is presumed dead when his Black Hawk helicopter is shot down in the mountains. At home in suburbia, the Cahill family suddenly faces a shocking void, and Tommy tries to fill in for his brother by assuming newfound responsibility for himself, Grace, and the children.

But Sam is not dead; he and a fellow soldier have been captured by Taliban fighters. In Afghanistan’s harsh, remote Pamir Mountains, Sam is subjected to traumas that threaten to rob him of his very humanity. At the same time that Sam’s sense of self is being destroyed overseas, Tommy’s self-image is strengthening at home. And in the grief and strangeness of their new lives, Grace and Tommy are naturally drawn together. Their longstanding frostiness dissolves, but both are frightened and ashamed of the mutual attraction that has replaced it.

When Sam unexpectedly returns to the States, a nervous mood settles over the family. Sam, uncharacteristically withdrawn and volatile, grows suspicious of his brother and his wife. Their familiar roles now nearly reversed, Sam and Tommy end up facing the ultimate physical and mental challenge when they confront each other. In the shifting family dynamics, who will dominate? And how will the brothers come to terms with issues of love, loyalty, and manhood-and with the woman caught between them?

(Source: All Movie Portal)

Impression

In all honesty, I’m not a big fan of Tobey Maguire. I find him too impassive an actor, unable to embody the core of the characters he portrays to any level of satisfaction. However, after seeing the trailer, I genuinely wanted to like him. No dice! I could, in no way, identify with his character Sam Cahill, finding Maguire unconvincing both as a marine and a family man. For that matter, apart from the two little girls, I found the entire cast unconvincing  in their respective roles. I found them bland, stolid. But does it boil down solely to poor performances or miscasting? The key problem, in my view, is the poorly developed script which glosses over the events and emotions of the characters rather than delves into the more dramatic elements of every scene, with the exception, of course, of the one scene in which Maguire goes into a  blind fury.

Rating: 1/5 stars

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This week’s question: Do you read the inside flaps that describe a book before or while reading it?

I always read the flap and/or the back cover of a book I have not researched before deciding to make a purchase. If there is no (short) description of the story, I will make a note of the book and research it first. This rule applies to my favorite authors as well. The story, above all else, must appeal to me.

However, if I have researched the book, I no longer bother reading the flap or back cover.

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A little ‘canadiana’

For his birthday, my son asked for one of two CDs:

Unfortunately, he had to settle for a gift card as our local music store did not have either of them in stock. But his request was enough to pique my curiosity.

Nickelback (hard rock band) are not at all unfamiliar to me, but this CD is. In fact, I didn’t realize until yesterday they had released a new CD after All the Right Reasons which includes hits like Photograph and If Everyone Cared. Admittedly, they are not genial and their lyrics, for the most part, fairly shallow and without a doubt intended for a male audience.  Still, I enjoy their sound and the distinctive voice of their lead singer Chad Kroeger. Nickelback knows how to produce decent commercial hits and this latest CD neither falls short or exceeds expectations.

Three Days Grace (alternative metal band), on the other hand, are totally new to me. And after having listened to a number of tracks, I understand why the band has never caught my attention before. Although they have quite a few catchy tunes like Break, their songs left me with a feeling of “been there, done that, I’m over this shit”.  The songs seem to have mainly been written for teenagers who like to wallow in self-pity and… well… I’m just too old for that. This being said, I do find they have good potential. Maybe when they’ve done some growing up of their own I’ll give them another listen.

This week, I’ll review my two favorite finds of 2009. Here’s a sneak peek: Koop Island Blues.

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Intro

I’m a big fan of blogging. I peruse through quite a number of blogs every week, some familiar, some new.

I like to think of myself as inquisitive and open-minded. I am forever eager to learn new things or understand things better, read about innovative ideas and concepts, acquire new skills and perfect existing ones. I am interested in the opinion of others on all subject matters (well almost all subject matters), interested their stories and their anecdotes. And blogs provide an extraordinary arena for individuals and institutions of all kinds to share their invaluable knowledge, experiences and impressions.

Oddly enough, or maybe not so oddly, I have never been successful at keeping a blog of my own. That is correct… I have tried blogging in the past; twice, to be precise.

I have never wanted to maintain a blog for the sake of maintaining one, or maintain a blog simply to go with the mainstream. I have never wanted to use this medium (or any public medium for that matter) to expose my life to the masses either. Besides, the grind of my daily life is far too mundane and uninteresting; I should not want to bore a potential follower to death.

A good blog should have a focus, a purpose. It should also have a distinctive voice in order to attract an audience, big or small. In my past attempts at blogging I could not find my voice. The reasons being:

  • the general lack of focus/purpose for the blog;
  • feelings of insecurity with respect to my own narrative abilities;
  • the incessant fear of offending a someone, of not being tactful enough;
  • the overwhelming sense of obligation to maintain the blog on a daily basis.

So what makes me think I will succeed this time? Actually… nothing. However, I do feel more confident this time around as I’ve found a focus for this blog:

  • I love to read and will share here my impressions on my latest readings;
  • I love music and will share here my latest discoveries;
  • I love to knit and quilt, and will share here my completed projects;
  • finally, I will share here those things that have caught my interest in a significant way.

As for the voice, let’s see if I can develop it from here.

On this note I say… let the blogging begin!

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