Lolita: A Movie Review

Professor Humbert:  “What makes you think I’ve stopped caring for you?”

Lolita: “Well, you haven’t even kissed me yet, have you?”

Title:  Lolita
Director:  Stanley Kubrick
Release Date:  July 12, 1962
Rating:  TV 14
Genre:  Drama, Romance
My Rating:1 star2 star3 star4 star

I have a confession to make.  About a month ago I began reading Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita.  The idea of reading it sounded very ‘mature’ to me and I was in the process of expanding my reading material.  I was only 8% into the book when I had to put it down.  While Nabokov’s writing was very ingenious, I had trouble with the subject matter of the book.  Now I’ve mentioned in a previous blog post that I was abused as a child.  So you can imagine how this might play out … a woman, like me, reading a book about a man who falls in love with a 12 year-old girl.  Some would call his actions pedophiliac, while others may find it romantic.  I subscribe to the former argument.

So I decided tonight that I would give Lolita a second try.  I decided that I was going to watch Kubrick’s 1962 version of Lolita.

The movie did not start off slow, which I liked.  It did it’s job.  It introduced the characters and gave you brief knowledge of their personalities and behaviors.

Then I met Lolita.  There was almost something very mysterious about her … perhaps it was her innocence that made her stand out or even the way she wore her sunglasses, as if to hide her true self from the world.  Either way, there is truly something about Lolita that demands your attention.

Throughout the movie you watch this young girl go from a girl to a sassy vixen.  Yet, it’s tastefully done.  I have read many complaints about this movie that it was “too subtle.”  Yet, I feel that in order for this movie to be made into a movie, it had to be subtle.  Themes like this don’t just fly in our society … even in 1962, when this film was released.  Another thing that allowed for this movie to be made was the fact that they added 2 years to Lolita’s age, making her 14.  In the beginning, you even see her at a high school dance.

James Mason and Shelly Winters were outstanding in this movie.  I even give credit to Sue Lyon who was most likely only 15 years-old when this film was made.  To play someone so grown-up can be difficult, but I think that she did a wonderful job doing this.

This movie is creepy.  At least, the subject matter is.  However, I think that it’s definitely worth watching.

Movie Challenge:  4 down, 6 more movies to go!

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The Shawshank Redemption: A Movie Review

“Get busy living, or get busy dying.”

Title:  The Shawshank Redemption
Director:  Frank Darabont
Release Date:  December 23, 1994
Rating:  R
Genre:  Crime, Drama
My Rating:1 star2 star3 star4 star5 star

I watched The Shawshank Redemption with full knowledge that this movie is rated number one on IMDB, as well as various other movie rating sites. I was also aware that this was quite possibly going to be the third movie in a row that I have rated five stars.  I was not going to watch it for this reason.  However, I was “conned” into watching it by my boyfriend who insisted that I would absolutely love this movie.

The Shawshank Redemption, according to IMDB is about “two imprisoned men [who] bond over a number of years, finding solace and eventual redemption through acts of common decency.”

The movie stars Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman.

Some background about me:  Last year, I was part of the Criminology club at the University I attend.  We visited maximum security prisons all over the country … but mostly here in Illinois.  Last year, I walked through the cold halls of Stateville Prison, as well as a women’s maximum security prison in Dwight, IL.  Both left me feeling a little ‘weird’ and ‘unsafe’ the rest of the day.  Mostly because the people that I met in these prisons all looked like your average person walking down the street.  There was no distinguishing these men and women as felons, that is, of course, for the different colored jumpsuits that they wore.  The irony of all of this is … even though I was surrounded by prisoners, it was one of the times in my life where I was actually the most safe.  There were security guards all over the place.  Literally nearly every direction I turned there was someone watching over the prisoners.

Now I’m not claiming to be a prison expert.  I’ve only been in a prison on three different occasions.

With that being said, The Shawshank Redemption was not as realistic as it could have been.  However, I realize that for the purposes of Hollywood, you sometimes need to stray away from what is real.  Real is boring.  People don’t like watching what is real.  I feel that this movie had the potential to give the brave people who work in prisons a bad name.  While yes, I’m sure that there are some horrible people out there in this field of work.  People who abuse their rights as well as the prisoners day in and day out.  I’m sure that there are prisoners out there who fear the people who are there to keep them safe and everything under control.  I’m sure.

And that is my only complaint about the movie.

The rest of the movie was fantastic!  The storyline was adapted from a Stephen King novel titled, ‘Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption.’  I have not read this book, but it appears to be a very well-written novel, after looking at a snippet of the book.  Of course, this is Stephen King.  He rarely disappoints.

The movie is about friendship, freedom, loneliness, hope, and of course, redemption.

While most films about prisoners focus on alienation and the miserable lives they live, The Shawshank Redemption gives the viewers a glimpse at the brighter side of prison.  As I read on urgentessays.co.uk, “It  projects prison walls inside a human mind and shows how slavery and liberation, enslavement and redemption lies within.”

Remember that weird and unsafe feeling I told you about that I get after I visit prisons?  I can easily compare that feeling to how I felt after watching this movie.  It really takes you inside the prison walls and you can see how the characters in this prison live.

I recommend The Shawshank Redemption to anyone and everyone.

Movie Challenge:  3 down, 7 more movies to go!

SIDE NOTE:  I have got to stop choosing movies from the top rated movies lists.  I need some so-so movie recommendations.  If you know of any, let me know.  I’ll watch them!

No Internet

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As you can probably tell from my title, my Mac’s internet is not working. I’m taking her to the Mac Hospital (the Apple store) tomorrow morning to see if they can fix the problem for me. I haven’t been able to watch any new movies or shows since I’ve been back at school. HOWEVER, I have been reading. Expect some reviews and other updates really soon.

Until then, I’m just going to focus on school and reading. Maybe I’ll even try to watch a show I’ve never seen before.

What is your favorite television show?

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo: A Movie Review

“She’s different in every way. “

Title:  The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
Director:  David Fincher
Release Date:  December 20, 2011
Rating:  R
Genre:  Crime, Drama, Mystery
My Rating:1 star2 star3 star4 star5 star

My boyfriend and I decided tonight that we were going to take our relationship to the next level.  We were going to go see a movie together – something we have never done in the year that we have been together.  I wanted to see The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, and because he is so wonderful, he allowed me to go see it, despite what he wanted.

One thing is for sure … there is definitely good reason why this movie has such a tremendous fan following.  But nothing is perfect, so I will give you the good and the “not so good.”

The movie starts off a little slow.  The real meat of the movie comes maybe an hour into it.  Not to say that the first hour is boring.  By all means, it is not.  It is an extremely dialogue-driven movie.  So if you plan on seeing this movie (which I highly suggest that you do), expect a lot of verbal interaction between the characters.

Speaking of interaction, expect quite a bit of physical interaction in this movie as well.  Three scenes in particular.  Speaking as someone who has been abused, this movie has a strong potential to be triggering to survivors abuse/rape.  In the three scenes that I am discussing, there is 1.  a graphic rape, 2.  a coerced/borderline forced act of fellatio, 3.  a revenge tactic that consists of basically raping the perpetrator.  I believe I mentioned all of the scenes where these acts occur.

Parents, this is not a movie to take your children to.  There is an awful lot of nudity at various times throughout the movie (female backside and breasts are show, I believe the male’s backside is also shown).  Also, there are very realistic sex scenes.

 The storyline was brilliant.  Steig Larrson is an amazing author (judging from the chapter of the book that I did read).  The movie was nearly two and a half hours long … possibly more, and not once was I anticipating the end of the movie.  It had me on the edge of my seat at nearly all times.
This movie takes you on an emotional roller coaster, so be ready for that.  I experienced a wide range of emotions while watching this film, and I know that I’m not the only one.

The Great Transformation

Now let’s talk about Rooney Mara‘s (the girl who plays Lisbeth – the main character in the film) transformation.  First off, I think this girl deserves an Oscar for her performance.  It was absolutely flawless.  It was hard for me to imagine her as anything but the character that she plays in the film.  However, when I looked her up, I was pleasantly surprised.  She is absolutely beautiful.  And the accent that she has in the movie was not her real accent.  In fact, Rooney is from America.

As you can see, the transformation that Rooney Mara had to do for this film is extraordinary. I look forward to seeing more of her work in the future.  And it looks like she’s currently working on a film right now titled ‘Lawless.’  Acting along side her in this film are:  Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling and Cate Blanchett.

Movie Challenge:  2 down, 8 more movies to go!

Paper Moon: A Movie Review

“Times Are Hard.”

Title: Paper Moon
Director:  Peter Bogdanovich
Release Date:  May 9, 1973
Rating:  PG
Genre:  Comedy, Crime, Drama
My Rating:1 star2 star3 star4 star5 star

I finally watched Paper Moon (1973) on January 10, 2012.  It is a movie that I have been wanting to see since early 2006, which is when I first read Tatum O’Neal’s (the main character in the movie) memoir titled ‘A Paper Life.’  In the book, she discusses her life as well as what was going on while shooting Paper Moon.  Some parts of the book were hard to read.  And it was sad hearing about parts of her childhood, but it is overall a great read.  But this isn’t a book review … this is a movie review.  And I’m going to give you just that.

Something you should know about me:  I have a hard time sitting through movies.  I have to take breaks and I sometimes find other things to distract me.  However, this movie was an exception.  I was glued to the screen throughout the entire movie.  It was absolutely brilliant.

The movie is about a young girl named Addie Loggins, played by Tatum O’Neal.  Addie’s mother has just passed away and the movie actually opens to the funeral for her mother.  Addie has only one relative – an aunt who lives in Missouri.  She hitches a ride to Missouri with a man (Mose – who is actually her father in real life) who was at the funeral.  This man may or may not be her father.  Mose is what many would call a crook.  Addie learns the ways of  Mose and becomes a miniature version of him … a much cuter version, of course!  It’s basically about this unlikely partnership that ensues between a young, precocious girl and a dishonest man during the Great Depression.

Movie Challenge:  1 down, 9 more movies to go.