Disorganized and Inefficient, That’s My Darling City!

Today I got tested for COVID-19 and, while I had planned to bring a book to read while I waited, I forgot my book at home. Being too prideful to be one of those people who stares at their phone the whole time they’re in a line, I forced myself to stand for an hour and a half, noticing the things around me. (Phones have become our crutches; they help us avoid conversations with strangers in lines who could potentially become friends! They keep us from being in the here and now. Well, perhaps they keep us in the now, but not in the here. And while the elsewhere and now is also important, the here and now is vital. But that’s another topic for another post, another day.)

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Was It Courage Or Was It Impulse?

Last year, I said that I would write a post about Kenneth Branagh’s film Cinderella and I have not yet fulfilled that promise. The blog post I shared in my previous Cinderella post is so wonderful that I dug myself into a hole trying to top it.

If you haven’t already, you should definitely watch Cinderella. It’s a gorgeous spectacle, a lovely story, and will surprise you at how skillfully this well-known story is retold. When I went into the theater last year to watch this film for the first time, I expected to enjoy it based on the fact that Cinderella was my favorite Disney princess when I was younger. When I left the theater, my cheeks were tear-streaked and I felt a wonderful lightening of heart. I knew Kenneth Branagh was a good director, but after seeing this film, I am convinced I will like any film he has made or will make in the future. Not only was Branagh brilliant, but the costumes designed by Sandy Powell were beautiful, dreamy, creative, colorful, and a wonderful mixture of historical accuracy and artistic fairy-tale-story license. Patrick Doyle‘s music is a fairy tale in itself, fitting the film perfectly. His music nearly always sounds like it comes from a fairy-tale; his use of strings makes it magical. And then there’s Dante Ferretti, whose sets are exquisitely and expensively extravagant, detailed, and lush. This film is such a rich experience for the senses that it seems you can taste it.

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Wide Enough

Several months ago, a friend told me to listen to the soundtrack of Hamilton, the musical that has gotten so very much acclaim recently. And so about a month and a half ago, I listened to it for the first time. Boy! did my life change that day! I thought I would just be listening to another good musical, and possibly falling in love with it – the story, the music, the lyrics – as I have done with other musicals like Into the Woods and Les Misérables. I was wrong. I am now rather obsessed with this musical. So obsessed that, for a couple of weeks, I listened to Hamilton and only Hamilton on constant repeat. I have never before felt so emotionally connected to our founding fathers, or felt so proud to be a United States citizen. Actually, there have been very few times in the past that I have been whole-heartedly proud of being from the United States. Sure, there are luxuries and privileges that come with being a citizen of this country, but there are so many things I have not liked about it. There are still things I do not like about the United States: our rampant consumerism; our disrespect for nature and wasteful use of resources (which thankfully is lessening in some places, but could still be improved upon); and our “bigger is better” motto when it comes to things like food servings, vehicles, and campaign budgets… Just to name a few.

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Moving On

Last night, I showed one of my recent favorite films to my mom, the movie NINE. I must confess that she was rather taken aback by the raciness of the first half of the movie, but I think she appreciated the film in the end. After all, the women on the screen of NINE are more clothed than many bikini wearers you see out in public. The songs may be talking about sex, and the dances suggesting it, but it’s not nearly as disturbing as watching actors pretend to have sex on screen. And the costumes, music, storyline, actors, and the way in which it is filmed are all fabulous! So I don’t mind so much. (But, still, if you were planning on watching this with your kids, think twice – thrice – unless, of course, your kids are planning to watch it with their friends no matter what. In that case, perhaps you should watch and discuss it with them instead of leaving them to sift through their thoughts on their own. This film may be rated PG-13, but R would be more appropriate.)

Once you get through the first half of the film, you begin to learn more about the main character, Italian film director Guido Contini, and just how burdened he is. Guido Contini (played by the incredible Daniel Day-Lewis) is the biggest reason I love this movie. There are so many times that I have (and do) feel just as trapped, perfectionistic, artistically stuck, and directionally confused as Contini.

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Beauty, Truth, and Goodness in Fairytale Form

My dear friends,

I apologize for my long silence from this corner of the cyber-world. I have long been wanting to write about the new movie Cinderella that is currently out in theaters, but alas, life happens and sometimes things do not get done that you want to get done. I will be writing about Cinderella in the future – do not worry about that! Cinderella was my very favorite story growing up and there is no way that I will let the opportunity pass me by to write about this new adaptation of this beloved story.

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