Sunday, June 24, 2007

Today i stayed in, painted some minis, watched some movies and finished a book about the Ukraine that i've been reading for a while.

I watched Almost Famous, which i really loved in the theater, but it's not as engaging now. It's still quite good, i'm just not in love with it like when i first saw it. This time i noticed how there are so many significant looks between people--or between people and the camera--and i wondered if some of what Kate Hudson was doing wasn't more modelling than acting. For example, that scene where she smiles into the camera, with a tear rolling down her face, and the sunlight behind her: it's very pretty, but it's kind of indulgent. Eh. I'm sounding very critical, but i like the movie.

I also watched Dirty Harry, which i hadn't seen before. There are some great shots in that movie. In the beginning, when there's all those huge shots of the city from the rooftop, i thought "so this is a movie about striking cinematography; i can dig that." The crazy serial killer thing has been done to death (no idea how fresh or stale it was when this was made), and i hate it when a killer is made out to be interesting b/c hey, they're crazy and ironic.

The book is called Borderland: A Journey Through the History of Ukraine, by Anna Reid. I enjoyed it, but parts of it were very depressing. They had pogroms, they got starved to death by the Communists and then there were the Nazis...there aren't a lot of happy stories in this book. But i like to read about other places, and i knew very little about the Ukraine, except that that's where Kiev is, and it's on the Black Sea, etc. This book is an overview. The author lived there, and the history she tells us sort of follows her travels. A rabbi shows her some mass graves, and that leads her to tell us the history of how the Nazis killed all these Jews, and that leads to a wider overview of the Ukraine during WWII, etc. I'd like to read a more systematic history of the country at some point.