When He Met Her

I was not as thrilled when I first heard about The Tourist. I could not even understand why everyone was excited about it. Then, as always, I Google-d it and found out what all the excitement was all from. It was a movie top-billing Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie. Well of course I went squealing, like hello, they’re two of my most favorite character actors.

The Tourist

But it was only recently that I saw it, unfortunately. That was after I read the reviews strewn all over the Internet (yeah, I like spoiling myself), which I guess helped because the reviews were not as complimenting and made me expect less of it. And this I think was what all them review-writers should have done: expected less.

The Plot

The movie was about Alexander Pearce, a fugitive thief wanted both by the authorities of 17 countries–particularly by the British government–because of his many crimes and by the gangster group from which he stole a huge amount. He fell in love with agent Elise Ward, who as fate had it, was a British agent herself. The film started in Paris and traveled to Venice for the search for Pearce, a chase that was on a blind side because of the fugitive’s reportedly re-sculpted face. The authorities followed Ward as they believed she would bring them to Pearce.

Ward was then seen receiving instructive letters from Pearce, telling her to first board a train and look for a man who might resemble the fugitive and make the authorities believe that the man was the escapee. She heeded and sat with an American teacher, Frank Tupelo. Unfortunately, an attraction was forged between the two, making the lethal chase more difficult. But Pearce was an intelligent man. And the finale proved so, giving the answer to the main conflict in a twist.

What I Think of It

The Tourist was a good film. It has the right amount of suspense and is visually captivating. Definitely, the setting is commendable. I have always favored films that are shot in the beautiful streets of Europe. I also liked how the Venice canal was made as an important addition in the film; it provided a more complex flavor to what could have been an ordinary chase. I also liked the beautifully and artfully included sets of hotel rooms and ball gowns. I think it complemented Jolie’s innate elegance and Depp’s chivalry.

Angelina Jolie as Elise Ward (left) & Johnny Depp as Frank Tupelo (right)

Character-wise, I loved seeing Depp and Jolie together. In fact, learning that it’s them who are in the movie. They make the most out of their roles and adapt to the needs of the characters. I particularly loved hearing Jolie speak, her heavily accented words sensual enough to match the face and the feisty attitude. Her character in her last movie, Salt, translates well with her personality in The Tourist.

Angelina Jolie as Elise Ward

As for Depp, I figured he was a bit softer in the film. Maybe it was because of his supposed role of a low-profile teacher and love-struck man, novel-reading man. But whatever it is, there is not enough meat to bite in his performance amidst the smart way of his delivery.

Johnny Depp as Frank Tupelo

I think this is where most of the negative reviews accorded to it are from. If we consider the lead stars, Depp and Jolie, and we refer to their past films then there is an apparent miss in their team up here in The Tourist. There seems to be less of their edge, of the cunning performances they’ve been most acclaimed for. And maybe, the plot is a bit too tame for both of them, especially for Depp who’s more popular by characters in the range of Jack Sparrow.

The love story angle is also a bit odd, considering that both Depp and Jolie are seemingly way too mature for the love-at-first-sight stuff. Both actors express a strong sense of will to act smitten with each other. Even the plot itself does not mix well with the love theme. It appeared to have drowned whatever thrilling scenes that could still be produced out of the film, what with the inclusion of a sophisticated gangster group and a more grilling police force.

Ultimately, the notion of expecting less becomes a pivotal point when watching The Tourist. Although the film has not fully maximized its actors potentials, there is still a satisfactory nod to give to the entire film even for simply making the dream of seeing Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp together come true.

Photos from: Rotten Tomatoes

They Say M.D. With Grace

There are reasons behind my blogging AWOL. Well, I have been only not here because this site of mine requires a lot of thinking and pondering of not very personal thoughts. Anyway, I have decided to at least pour a few pints of water onto the drought around here. And to use one of those reasons as subject.

It’s called Grey’s Anatomy.

It is a TV drama series about life and the practice of medicine and the many stories in between. The main characters are doctors, surgeons in particular, and the episodes feature many medical procedures as well as patient stories. The series is now well into its 7th season, with a handful of its original casting leaving and being replaced with a new set of characters.

And while there is a lot to talk about the series itself, I opt not to purely because I’m not yet done with all of the seasons and because it is a many and varied and complex web of stories with a lot to say in the technicalities. Which is why I have decided to name my favorite characters.

Hence, I’m naming my top 3:

3. Arizona Robbins and Addison Montgomery

Jessica Capshaw as Arizona Robbins (tvovermind.zap2it.com)

Kate Walsh as Addison Montgomery (spoiledbaby.ca)

These women ties for the third spot for a number of reasons. One, because they’re very beautiful people–the kind of beauty that is not as common and has a rich sense of character in it. Two, because I like their specialties–especially Addison’s as I find gynecological surgery a very interesting field. And three, because their personalities are a good mixture of strong womanhood and deep understanding. I also like how they both radiate something positive coupled with a confident stance and which stands out in the gloomy collection headed by Meredith Grey.

2. Alex Karev

Justin Chambers as Alex Karev (ratewall.com)

Okay, Alex Karev may not be Derek Shepherd. He may not be the most impressive doctor–and man–because he encourages a lot of swearing. He’s a jerk, for all intents and purposes and in all degrees of the word. But Alex is the kind of man who wouldn’t waste your time. He tells the truth, no matter how grisly and hurtful it might be. He deals with what he’s dealt with, winning with even the least of resources. There is a whole lot other person deep within his tough façade and getting to know that, as the season progresses, is a great treat for the viewers.

1. Miranda Bailey

Chandra Wilson as Miranda Bailey (greysanatomy.co.uk)

I have always thought that a more appropriate title for the series is Bailey’s Anatomy. LOL. Well, seriously, it’s either you love Miranda Bailey or you love her. She is a walking contradiction and a beautiful complexity. She’s downright nasty but she believes in people. You could never justify her character–strong and brave and superior but with every ounce of softness and personality. I especially loved her when she blocked Shepherd in the hallway as he was trying to get to Grey–Bailey in that scene was not just a resident who didn’t want her intern disturbed. I also love her many speeches, like the one she gave to George O’Malley in the fourth season: that not everything is black-and-white. And, of course, she’s the best general surgeon ever to walk Seattle Grace.

These are my favorite characters. They may not be the same as the ones in your list and they may be who you actually hate. But at the end of the day, they make up the web of stories that you can never imagine happening along the hallways of a hospital and under the fatality of a scalpel.

Ultimately, these are people that makes us realize: anatomy is never a one-way flow of blood.

Challenged: Super Freakonomics

Super Freakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner

I wanted to read Super Freakonomics–or, originally, I wanted the first book Freakonomics–for a number of reasons. One, is because my friend had read it and she attested to its goodness. Two, the whole lot of topics within the book is something I don’t usually read. Three (and last), this isn’t my type of book.

Super Freakonomics is the follow-up to the the New York Times bestselling title Freakonomics. It is about, well, economics and how the field applies to seemingly everyday, ordinary occurrences. The book is written by John Bates Clark Medal recipient Steven D. Levitt and acclaimed writer Stephen J. Dubner.

S and S, the authors I mean, write four years after their first book unexpectedly hit success road. And this time, they talk about prostitution, suicide bombing, altruism, cheap fixes, and Al Gore. They point out the wrongs of the very society they live with. They string together facts, from thorough research, to drive their ideas to its destination.

Trivia: (You will find this in the introductory chapter, but whatever.) The authors admit in this book that they lied in their first work–twice.

What I Liked Best

I’m going to repeat that Reason #3 from the introductory paragraph, this isn’t my type of book.

If you cannot bear numbers written in black-and-white, if you would rather have a fact explained through exemplification than by statistical tables, we’re on the same club. I would never appreciate Math even if it explains to me why my blood pressure shoots up for no reason.

This is exactly what I liked best about Super Freakonomics–the writing style, meaning the tone, the word usage, the construction of thoughts. It is about economics and is probably intended to readers who appreciate the economy and the Math it entails. But the way it is written betrays that thought. Even those who wouldn’t possibly understand which between 99% and 1% is bigger would understand that walking drunk is statistically more likely to kill a person than driving drunk.

I love the fact that S and S managed to stuck with their topic and made appreciating it so much easier. I like how everything is written straightforwardly, with words that are alternately scholarly and layman. And I love how readers can probably sit together with friends over a friendly, hassle-free dinner and talk about the facts in the book.

What I Liked Least

Mmm. This is difficult. Seriously, because of course I would have to assess without letting that I-hate-Math thing get in the way (a lot).

Okay. So I liked least the fact there is just too much information. And I mean that content-wise. Yes, it is understandable because definitely a book about economics should have lots of information. But there are parts when some information are like floating around without really anchoring itself onto the topic being discussed. There are anecdotes that, while thought of as amusing, are simply minutely and remotely related to what the readers are expected to understand.

Although I guess the conversational way and household words used kind of negates that too-much-info factor, I also think readers are better off spared from the drowning pool of facts.

Chapter/Part I Liked Best

This would have to be the first chapter: How is a Street Prostitute like a Department-store Santa? That’s not so perverse, if you ask me. I like it best because it explains a lot with so much rationality. It, prostitution, is a difficult topic to write because of the social implications and the many legal touches it requires.

Which means, what the authors have done to put in what they’ve put into that chapter is no joke. And I appreciate it.

(Personal) Rating

For ratings, I would give 3.5 Pages for Super Freakonomics. I would do so for two reasons: 1) personally, because I really am not into such topics as economics but for a first attempt at out-of-the-box reading, I do feel like I made the best decision; and 2) as a reader, generally the book can be used as both reference and a nighttime read, although for the latter you’d rather not unless you want nightmarish numbers in your sleep.

In the end, maybe this isn’t really about me or my interest or what the book has given me. It may be but it may not totally be. I never asked those questions that the book has answered. But if we think about it, between many and few is a huge difference in the number of people who wouldn’t ask as well.

In Apology

I am QuickPress-ing this one to say I am so sorry to the one who left a comment on my post “My Life Destinations”.

Here’s the URL he/she left: http://wmoviesonline.com/watch-hall-pass-online/

Now, the comment went to spam due to the Akismet I had working and sifting through all the comments. And I accidentally deleted it.

Anyway, the comment said that the author will be adding my blog to his/her list. And I just want to say thanks for that. I appreciate it so much.

And that I’m sorry. I’m thinking one other reason that you have left a comment is to sort-of promote your site. So I’m doing this.

Thanks again!

To Serve as Introduction

January 16, 2011: I took on the challenge of reading 50 books within the year 2011.

50 Books Challenge (prettybooks.tumblr.com)

And now, almost a month after, I am nearing the end of my first book. I know it isn’t much when it comes to pacing, but I certainly am glad I’m moving forward. Hopefully, by the following week I would be able to come up with a nicely-written post about that first book.

Having said that, I am trying to think of a way to at least distinguish these soon-to-be-written articles on the books I would finish from the other book-related posts I’ve done before.

And I do admit to realizing I have not the best and most creative ideas. The posts, as I envision them right this moment, would follow the format:

Introduction

What is it about? Who wrote it? Who are they? Any facts/trivias about the book and/or the authors? Any awards received? A few basic facts . . .

What I Most Liked About It

In the past, I have somehow done enumerations on the stuffs that I liked about the book–from the writing style to the word-usage to the tone. Now though, in an attempt to dig further, I would be contemplating on which of the book’s many plus points is the best.

What I Least Liked About It

The same goes for the negative side. I would be picking which not-so-good attribute of the book is most disturbing (in whatever sense) or most unpopular for me.

Best Part/Chapter

Not necessarily the climax, if I may be clear about this. Just the part of the story that I enjoyed most.

Personal Rating

This, I’ve never done before purely because I feel like I have no right to. But since I’m reading for a specific purpose among many others now, I guess I do get a few merits for coming up with my own rating of the books. I would be using Pages, not the usual stars or checks ranging from 1 to 5, 5 being the highest. Of course, I would be trying my best to explain the reason behind each rating.

 

In the end though, I still would want to retain one thing: that what I would write, except for the intro part, would be at best subjective. I’m not the best reader there is and opinions ought to be subjective after all.