Friday, February 19, 2010

Shutter Island: Go see it!

It's sometimes fun to see a world class director take material that is, in a way, beneath him and see him turn it into great fun. That's what Hitchcock did many times and this is what Martin Scorcese does with "Shutter Island"
From the very first shot you realize you are in the hands of a master: the music, the oppresive atmosphere. This a movie about insanity, doubt, violence, traumas. It is over the top but in good way. I remember a professor from my college days who used to say that the best pop culture was "intelligent fun". And this is exactly what the movie oozes.

Saying anything about the plot will basically spoil the fun. So I'll just talk about the acting. Leonardo Di Caprio is amazing in a role in which he is competing with such strange things happening around him. And there is a scene with Jackie Harley which is truly unforgettable.

Grab some popcorn, get a Coke, and sit down and let yourself be carried away by the best living director in the world.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


A few weeks ago a married woman I work with got too drunk at a Christmas party bus and decided to start pole dancing like a stripper. Several people took photos of the whole event. This same woman also decided to sit on men's laps during group photos. Next day at work there was widespread panic that someone would put those photos on Facebook. I had actually taken video of her stripper-like antics ( I love my Canon G10!) and she was really freaked out. I, of course, told her that no one would see that video online.

So this gets me to the how technology has changed our lives. A few years back, nobody would carry cameras around. Now everyone does. And hell, everyone has a phone with a small camera. A couple of years back there was no Facebook. Nobody had a place to post these photos. Now everyone can.

I am all for technology. I love my digital camera and I love taking photos of random things with my IPhone. But I do realize how different things are these days. And I think twice before posting something that could wreck a marriage or someone's reputation. It's all about responsibility.

Tomorrow I have a bachelor party in which strippers will surely be invited. I was already warned: Please don't take photos. I won't. But I'm sure someone will.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Catcher in the Rye

A week ago I decided to read "Catcher in the Rye" once again. I had not done so in over 30 years. I really did not recall much about the book. But it was interesting to note what I did remembered. And that was the scene in which Holden hires a prostitute and decides he does not want to have sex with her. I guess when I read it I was still a virgin and any scene in which sex was involved was attractive due to the mystery that sex represented to me. I thought about what I would have done in that situation and figured I would have tried to have sex with the prostitute. Anyway, that was the part of the book that I recalled.

Reading it more than three decades later, that section of the book is the least interesting. Reading it now, the wonderful part of the book are those in which Holden spends time with his sister. In a book that basically consists of a teenager whining about everything in life, those scenes emphasize the best things in life. The small, wonderful moments that happen once in a while when we are with friends and family. Those are the sections of the book that I really enjoyed. In fact, there were passages that made me go back and read them again.

The fleeting moment. The idea that one has to enjoy the moment because everything is destined to change. In a way, I know understand the title. We are catchers in the rye, trying to hold on to moments, to people and situations. We may be foolish for doing so. But it's one of those things that make us human.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

A Nun's Story

I have no idea why I decided to see this movie. Maybe it was because it was directed by Fred Zinnemann, Maybe because I read somewhere that it was pretty good. And perhaps because I was trying to figure out what was so great about Audrey Hepburn. Well, I was really surprised by my reaction to it. I loved it. This movie tells the story about a young woman who becomes a nun, only to find out that she wasn't meant for that kind of life. I know it sounds awful. But the movie is so accurate in describing the whole insanity behind the convent walls. A life of chastity is crazy enough but, al least in those years (the 1930's), that was just the beginning. We are talking about things like avoiding things such as happiness, contentment, a sense of success is called "pride". Everything that makes one human is considered a sin.

I was surprised at how this movie is able to expose the hypocrisy of the Catholic Church, especially considering when this movie was made (1958). Today this movie would be condemned. So maybe we have become a more close minded society when it comes to discussing religion.

Then it struck me, that maybe it was really the presence of Audrey Hepburn that made this whole palatable for people. She is such a symbol of honesty and down to earthness that no one could criticize this rather rebellious movie. A movie to check out. It plays on Cinemax and on Turner Classic Movies rather frequently. It also on DVD. And by the way, the DVD looks great.

Good Netflix news!

Netflix is finally allowing its Puerto Rico subscribers to stream movies to their computers and TV's. That is great news. One more company that stops treating us a foreign country.