opinions on beauty, culture & life

Archive for the ‘culture’ Category

Movies: Contagion

I just saw Contagion last night and came away a little disappointed. While it was entertaining, and I do love a good outbreak story (sick, I know), the ensemble cast left a lot to be desired. Contagion is like Valentine’s Day, but with disease and body bags. Valentine’s Day was a manic, shallow romantic comedy that followed a billion different plots. Contagion is really similar: big name actors and a bunch of different plot lines. Too many, in my opinion.

I would have been so much happier if the character list had been cut dramatically, and if the movie had had a more focused plot. Give me Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, and Gwyneth Paltrow, and leave the rest. Why didn’t they just focus on Matt Damon’s story line? SPOILER ALERT: His plot was the most interesting anyway, with the revelation that his wife was cheating on him. But the film barely touched on it. And why on earth was Jude Law’s character necessary? He was so annoying, and I never got the point. Also, the movie left Marion Cotillard’s plot line completely hanging.

All of this doesn’t mean that Contagion isn’t worth the price of the movie ticket. There were moments that were exciting/suspenseful/tense. I just wish the plot hadn’t been so disjointed. And just because a movie has a ton of great actors doesn’t mean the acting will be great. Most of it was lackluster.

samantha daffodil

Tunes Update: What I’m Listening to…

Miike Snow

I’m always in the mood to hear Miike Snow. Lush Swedish electronic pop…need I say more? See the (strange) video for one of my favorite songs, Black & Blue, here.

Ellie Goulding

I was late to the game on this one, but I’m loving her! Ellie Goulding has such a pretty, hollow voice, and I love how she manipulates it. Her singing style reminds me of Bj√∂rk…she enunciates in a way that’s cute and foreign (although she’s just British). See her video for Lights here.

Bright Eyes

I’m so excited to see Bright Eyes at Austin City Limits this week! Their newest album, The People’s Key, is refreshingly similar to Lifted. I love that they still sound like the same band (and the same Connor) after so many years (with a few updates, of course). See the video for my fave song on the album, Shell Games, here.

Empire of the Sun

Ridiculous album art, right? I crack up every time I see it. But I really love Empire of the Sun’s electro-pop sound. I’m still undecided on some of the songs on the album, but the good outweigh the bad. I’m also excited to see how they will be live at Austin City Limits. See the totally ridiculous video for Walking on a Dream here, and be prepared to laugh. ūüôā

Passion Pit

It’s impossible to stay in a bad mood when Passion Pit is playing. So funky and fun! See the very cool video for Sleepyhead here.

I’d love your input! What else should I be listening to?

samantha daffodil

Books: Little Women

I finally read the classic, Little Women. It was given to me as a gift when I was a “little woman,” and I started it, but I wasn’t interested. I’m so glad I gave it another chance, at an age where I could actually understand it. Sure, it’s too long, and there are dull parts, but I still loved it. It’s such a tender story of friendship, family, morals, poverty, and sisterhood. I think any girl who has a sister should read this book. I¬†identified¬†with each of the sisters at some point, and I could see my little sister in them too. It gives such a good picture of how complicated sister’s relationships really are, but at the end of the day, you’re sisters, and what’s more special than that?

samantha daffodil

Why I’m done with Breaking Bad…

I haven’t watched Breaking Bad since this season’s premiere, after which I knew I would no longer be watching the show. I’ve been thinking for weeks about what bothered me so much about the premiere, and I’ve come up with two answers.

  • I can’t believe Jesse murdered the one nice guy, Gale! Sure, there have been brutal killings throughout the show. But this was just so unabashedly premeditated, and ick! He didn’t deserve it! (Not that anyone deserves it, but he definitely didn’t)
  • Walt is no longer a nice guy who makes horrible decisions for the sake of his family. Now he’s just a bad dude. A bitter, bad dude. Who apparently doesn’t have a conscience. I can’t get behind that.

Now, I’m a huge fan of Mad Men’s Don Draper because even though he’s a¬†train wreck, you can see glimmers of good in him. He tries to be good (and mostly fails, but he does try! Sometimes…). And there are times when Don is truly sorry for being a jerk and for screwing things up. Walt used to have this quality too. You used to be able to see his desperation and regret when things got out of control. But now I don’t see any good, or regret, in his character…so I’ve lost interest.

Oh well. Now I’ll just have to wait for Mad Men to come back next summer.

samantha daffodil

Mind-Blowing TV…

***spoiler alert! if you are not watching AMC’s The Killing, please stop reading now, click¬†here, and catch up! some full episodes will only be available online until June 20th. or you can wait for Netflix to release the dvd’s. after you’ve caught up,¬†come back and read this post!***

I just had my mind blown. I love it when that happens!

It just happens so rarely with TV. For me, it’s happened on a few occasions, with The X-Files, Alias, Lost, Breaking Bad, Rubicon (please bring it back, AMC!), and Mad Men.

I admit, The Killing has had a few slow episodes, and sometimes it’s difficult to watch. It’s a heavy show. But I’m telling you, keep watching! This moment is soooooo worth it!

Watch it here: http://www.amctv.com/the-killing/videos/the-killing-talked-about-scenes-richmonds-deadly-secret

It’s a gasp-outloud twist I didn’t see coming. Love it! Kudos to the writers…you guys nailed it here.

Catch the season finale this Sunday on AMC. I can’t wait to see what Richmond has to say for himself. Here’s a sneak peak:¬†http://www.amctv.com/the-killing/videos/the-killing-sneak-peek-episode-13-orpheus-descending.

samantha daffodil

AMC’s The Killing

Last night was the fifth episode of the new AMC series, The Killing. Haven’t seen it yet? Well, it’s the kind of show you have to watch in the dark, wrapped in a blanket, while it’s raining. And like everything on AMC, it’s great TV. And like everything on AMC, it can be tough to stomach. In a recent promo of Breaking Bad, Brian Cranston says it takes backbone to watch their show…and the same goes for The Killing. It’s not exactly pleasurable to witness the intense grief of a family whose teenaged daughter was brutally murdered, but it is compelling human drama.

The Killing asks the question, “Who killed Rosie Larsen?” We know we won’t find out (not for a while, at least), but that’s the fun of it. The story builds slowly, so those who are used to watching Law and Order/CSI: (Insert City Here) will be itching for ¬†more action.

But there’s plenty brewing under the cloudy Seattle surface. There’s a seemingly¬†squeaky-clean politician, an inappropriate teacher-student relationship, and a loving father with a mobster past. The characters are mysterious, but¬†accessible. We can tell that some of them will make bad decisions leading to bad results (much like Breaking Bad’s Walter White or Mad Men’s Don Draper). And we know that when that time comes, we won’t want to look away.

What I love most about all the shows on AMC (The Killing, Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Rubicon, and The Walking Dead) is that they don’t assume that we’re stupid. Instead, they make the assumption that we’re intelligent consumers of culture who can reach our own conclusions and read between the lines. AMC characters aren’t stereotypical, one-note¬†caricatures like the girls of Sex and the City (Miranda-The Feminist, Samantha-The Sexpot, Charlotte-The Princess). They’re complex – and they usually have a lot to hide. We don’t find out everything about them all at once, and we wouldn’t want it any other way. That’s what keeps us watching…what will we find out next?

Catch The Killing Sunday nights on AMC.

samantha daffodil