Monday, November 10, 2014

Monday Movies ~ Winter's Tale & Olive Kitteridge

As I inched back to what I laughingly call normality last week, we watched a couple of interesting TV items, both on HBO as it happens. 1) the 2014 movie Winter's Tale, an adaptation of a 1983 novel by Mark Helprin; 2) a 4-hour mini-series, Olive Kitteridge, which, though shown in two chunks originally, was repeated on Thursday evening as a single 4-hour marathon, 6pm to 10 pm. This is also a book adaptation from the 2008 novel by Elizabeth Strout.

Winter's Tale

Critics hated it, something that never puts me off, in fact it can be of great encouragement ("nobody ever erected a statue to honour a critic").

I loved the movie. However I can appreciate that it takes a certain kind of... mindset to accept the fantasy, metaphor and mild mysticism involved.

It took a while for us to sort out the "who's who" of it, but that was fun. I'm not going to give the story away - for anyone who is curious, it's not hard to find detail online. I'll just say that it's a love story, set in New York, with a bit of time travel, a bit of magic and, I found, a lot of heart.

The first scene, on Ellis Island in (I think) 1895, shows a young couple with a baby being sent back to the country from whence they came, due to both showing signs of "pulmonary disease", presumably consumption - TB. The woman begs the authorities to keep the baby but they refuse. The couple board their homeward-bound vessel, but before it sets sail someone finds a tiny model ship named "City of Justice", into which the baby is set, then deposited into the river to float to shore.

Both movie and book span the years 1895 to 2014. Hat-tip to the lovely Colin Farrell for a superb and affecting performance.

Most observations on the movie say that the book is way, way better. I don't doubt it! The movie well-satisfied me though - maybe I'm easily pleased!

Olive Kitteridge

This was something else entirely! First, all hats have to be tipped to Frances McDormand who plays Olive - what a jaw-droppingly good actress this woman is!!

The 25-year span of the story takes us inside a marriage, right up close 'til you can almost see the pores of its skin. Not an entirely comfortable experience, and one which will likely hold the interest best of those who have matured sufficiently to recognise some characteristics the story portrays either in themselves or have observed them in others. It's a character study, and a relationship study. These people have complexities layered upon complexity, as do we all.
A slow-moving, densely detailed study of how we affect one another, and how we, in turn, have been affected by others - which then plays in to...well, everything. There's frustration, anger, temptation, danger - and how different personalities are able to deal, each in their own way.

Olive, the title character, the wife, is a very, very rough diamond: hard-edged, harsh-tongued but ultimately a well-meaning, steadfast and caring woman, married to an almost too saintly pharmacist (played beautifully by Richard Jenkins). They have one son, Christopher. They live in a small town in rural Maine, in a house with close views of the beautiful sea - it is just so gorgeous!

Drilling right down into its heart, this also is a love story, but realising as much takes time. I'm glad we saw this mini-series in one long dose - the continuity has to have been helpful to full appreciation. It was well worth the effort to concentrate, for four consecutive hours.

A keen astrologer could find an interesting study allocating possible natal aspects and signs to the lead characters - there are lots of clues, but I'm not going to dare to touch that!


Sonny G said...

I watched Olive K 3 times and each time I saw/learned something new about the characters.
Superb acting by all and such realism that it made me laugh and cry.

I will go back and find Winters Tale, on Demand as I havent seen it but now, due to your review, I want too.

Happy, Healthy Monday to you and all who visit here.

mike said...

I'm apt to read the books, with "Winter's Tale" the more likely selection. The notion of time travel, back and forth, is attractive to me for some reason and it's often done well in books and-or movies. We previously discussed "A Sound of Thunder" by Ray Bradbury and "All You Zombies" by Heinlein. I put Stephen King's "11/22/63" on my list of to-buy after reading your post, but haven't managed that yet!

"Time Bandits", "Back to the Future", "Peggy Sue Got Married", and "Ground Hog Day" are some of the movies I remember viewing.

BTW - I couldn't find "11/22/63" or "Stephen King" in your label cloud...couldn't find with a search function (upper left corner of your blog), either.

[2nd try - I couldn't prove I'm not a first failure!]

Sonny G said...

thats odd Mike..
I never get the pop up box thaat makes me prove I'm not a robot. I just type my comment and click enter.
but I do see my name is blue and thus clickable and yours is black and is not clickable.
maybe thats whats causing it..
just a thought

Twilight said...

Sonny ~ Oh good! I'm glad you've seen (or rather experienced) Olive K.
I could watch it again - not sure husband could sit still long enough for an encore though. ;-)

I think you'll enjoy Winter's Tale, do let me know what you think about it whenever you manage to catch it.

Twilight said...

mike ~ From what I've read about the book "Winter's Tale", it's a long one 700+ pages with acres of lovely descriptive passages, especially about snow. I doubt I'd have the patience to get through it, but I'm pretty sure you would. There's not a lot of time travel, as such, involved, but a little is necessary to finally make sense of it all. :-)

Re S. King's "11/22/63" - best book I'd read for many a year - I felt certain I'd done a blog post on it, but copious searches turned up only a brief mention in this post:

I've been finding myself in an unplanned '60s time-slip - kind of - these last few days. First, in this post, then reading a book which covers 1958 to 1963 and the present (Stephen King's "11/22/63"), then watching a DVD yesterday evening I picked up in the rental store due to the starry cast list, without having an idea of its theme - The Company You Keep (Redford, Sarandon, Nolte, Sam Elliot, Julie Christie, Chris Cooper)- it turned out to be based on events a year or so after the Summer of Love, and surmising, fictionally, on present-day fates of a set of well-matured members of The Weather Underground.

In the book "11/22/63" mentioned above the author says on numerous occasions, "the past harmonizes". I'm finding, also on numerous occasions, that so does the present!

I wish I could disable that robot thingie - but have found no way to do so as yet.

mike (again) said...

Twilight - Weird...coulda sworn you had an entire post dedicated to "11/22/63"...somehow I managed to embellish your brief coverage of it into much more.

Sonny - Yes, that may be the reason, but that would mean that Google is tracking you on other sites, if Google "knows" when to ask for anti-robot log-in. I always have the anti-robot log-in now. I can't say that I really mind it that much now. Today was my first failure. Perhaps these anti-robot, bleary words have become slightly less fuzzy...they have been the butt of some jokes I've seen on late-night shows, so maybe blog-hosts like Google listened and responded.

Twilight said...

mike ~ I've just left a question on a blogger assistance blog re the catchpa box. Another commenter a few weeks ago had encountered much the same as here - setting set to "No" for catchpa box, but it still appears. There's a possibility that if I were to decline to accept anonymous comments the box might not appear - but I don't wish to do that. I'd rather deal with bits of spam if they arose. Blogger has a spam section anyway, spam wasn't a big headache - it has been empty since the box started appearing - so something has changed... they could have warned us!

I'll let you know if I receive any response. Previous commenter got none.

mike (again) said...

Thanks for trying to eliminate the log-in cryptogram, but I have found that I can live with it...LOL. It really isn't as bad as many I've dealt with...some have patterns or "fuzz" in the background to further confuse my determinations. Thank goodness for high-power reading glasses.

Anonymous said...

Better a Turing Test than endless spam for products and services.

This is the only blog I post on, although I read quite a variety.
There is a lot of Snark on the Net, especially with Pluto in Cap.
But people here are civil and broadminded (That word again)

When I had my chart done, Jim and Buzz were in orbit.
And James T So and so ... was a new thing in the world.
But we hadn't met Edith Keeler yet ...

"Hey Mr Pedin, did you know that the Enterprise looks like Uranus?"
- "That will be enough Mr Kidd!"

Temporal Sci-Fi has been a staple of mine for years.

-"The man who came early" Poul Anderson
_"Replay" Ken Grimwood
- or books by Connie Willis for example.

Hopefully, your foot is good enogh to move around on.

... Are you ready for the Cold?


Twilight said...

mike ~ That's good. I'd still like to know why it suddenly became a staple with no prior warning though. As Blogger is free, I suppose they can do more or less what they wish, and are under no obligation to inform. :-/

Twilight said...

Anonymous (Kidd) ~ Yes there is a lot of snark around - I desist from commenting much at all, elsewhere, these days - unless it's a blog of someone I know.

Those blogs that haven't yet withered away due to encroaching Facebook-itis have become a bit clique-ridden. Left-leaning political blogs tend to be fairly unfriendly in general to outsiders. I'm happy to know that you find this one at least civil and civilised.

I haven't met Edith Keeler yet myself! I've not watched much Star Trek.

I'll look for the two novels you mention - I try to read every one of that genre I can find. I did try one of Connie Willis's = about London during wartime, don't recall the title - but I just couldn't relate to her style. Didn't get very far with it. I'm a picky reader, and can be a lazy one too unless a book really grabs me.

Thank you - yes my foot is good enough to walk around the house, and to go out wearing a special slipper-shoe - if essential. Most of the original damage has healed rather well - to my eye, thanks to lots of compression bandaging. There's still a remaining portion to heal.

The cold is coming, as I type - husband took in the hose pipes for garden and bird bath this afternoon. It was almost 80 degrees here, and will drop more than 40 degrees overnight to near freezing and stay that way for the next few days. Still, it'll be milder here than for many further north.

LB said...

"Left-leaning political blogs tend to be fairly unfriendly in general to outsiders."

Twilight ~ I've noticed the same, even on some astrology sites. That link I sent you a few posts back, "Shadow Projection: The Fuel of War" about the collective shadow is a good one.

I left you another comment last night, though it appears to have mysteriously disappeared this morning. Thanks for the movie recommendations!

I also mentioned how we'd seen the movie "Interstellar" yesterday. It's long, so be prepared.

We watched the "Book Thief" too and both enjoyed it.:)

Twilight said...

LB ~ I've investigated the "spam" and "awaiting moderation" files, but your lost comment wasn't there - sorry it has been lost - I didn't receive any e-mail notifier either, so it must have found one of those cyber black holes.

Thanks for the reminder of your earlier link - it is relevant to today's post also.

Glad you enjoyed "Book Thief". I think you'd like "Winter's Tale" too, though it's very different.

"Interstellar" is showing at our local cinema, we intend to see it, maybe later this week. I've not read full reviews, but have picked up that they are mixed, and not all 100% positive. Which puts me off not a jot.

Twilight said...

LB ~ just remembered - speaking of comment disappearance - I mentioned to mike yesterday that I'd left a comment on a blogger help blog re the catchpa thingie which now appears for commenters to pass the robot test. My comment was there in the early evening but has disappeared this morning. Maybe the blogger didn't like it and deleted it (can't think why though).
Maybe a black hole passed over the net overnight, along with this "polar vortex", and ate up stray comments. ;-)

LB said...

Twilight ~ Hmmmm. Scratches head. Maybe it was *gravity* that removed our comments.

Without giving anything away, once you see "Interstellar", you'll get the joke.:) Once you do, assuming you do, maybe then you can explain it to me. My brain isn't big enough, lol.

Twilight said...

LB ~ Oooerr! It's one of those is it!? I'll hope Himself gets it if I don't - he has read more sci-fi and astronomical stuff than I have. I shall expect a few "that couldn't happen!" type remarks from him - which could earn him a gentle "be quiet" nudge to the knee ...