April 27, 2014

Death And The Maiden (Schubert)


Der Tod und das Mädchen (Death and the Maiden), D.531; Op. 7, No. 3, is a lied composed by Franz Schubert in February 1817. It was published by Cappi und Diabelli in Vienna in November 1821. The text is derived from a poem written by German poet Matthias Claudius. The song is set for voice and piano.

April 19, 2014

Ghostly Shadows

One of my most tortured (and read) books, an anthology of horror fiction, made it off the shelf again. The book contains nine short ghost stories and it will hopefully keep me company (and sane) until the next workshop begins. So, Alexander Pushkin, Daniel Defoe, Walter Scott, Alexandre Dumas, Charles Dickens, Bram Stoker, Prosper Mérimée, Lord Dunsany and Sheridan LeFanu, work your magic; I really need it.

April 13, 2014

Somewhat Horrified

To watch or not to watch. Not just Horror picks this time.

Open Grave (2013): Man wakes up in a pit full of dead bodies with no memory at all. Soon, others emerge (apparently not from the pit, but a house a few miles away), with the same symptoms; so far, so good. 30 minutes in the movie, you‘ll find yourself still in the dark, guessing. Great! But, then it shifts from a thriller to something else; something not as good. It’s the “we have the answers to all of your possible questions (plus some more) and we are throwing them at your face right now because we run out of ideas” pandemic that is spread in all creative writing. Why bother writing a great start if the middle and the ending are shite? No, wait, “Open Grave” had a rather good ending. Maybe I’ll have to watch it again.

Daddy’s Little Girl (2013): Low budget horror flick with a decent storyline and a very convincing central character. The second half of the movie is extremely violent, but that’s what one expects a father to do when he realizes who the killer of his daughter is (spoilers). A well-written and surprisingly balanced film.
Kon-Tiki (2013): I have a soft spot for survival movies. “Kon-Tiki” is the dramatized story of Thor Heyerdahl and his Kon-Tiki expedition of 1947 and it follows six (Norwegian) men who sail from Peru to Polynesia on a raft in an attempt to prove that the islands were not populated 1,500 years earlier by Asians (as was conventional wisdom), but by South Americans. Was Thor driven by scientific curiosity or personal ambition? I would like to watch the original 1950 documentary to answer that (or maybe not).

All Is Lost (2013): And, speaking of survival movies, here’s another. Robert Redford felt like an odd cast choice for a survival movie but he did put up one hell of a fight when that darn shipping container ripped a hole in his boat. I really liked the lack of a backstory and the ambiguity of the ending scene (I am a miserable person so I’ll just go with the dark version). Highly recommended.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013): First of all, I am not a “Lord of the Rings” fan (I had to watch it twice because I fell asleep the first time). Also, I generally don’t like sequels. However, I did like the cast and general idea behind “Hobbit” so I decided to give it a try. And I honestly enjoyed “Unexpected Journey”; “Smaug”, on the other hand, not so much. I got bored; really bored; really, really bored. To the point that the only thing I remember liking about this film was Lee Pace’s tiara. Sorry.

Thor – Dark World (2013): Yes, I know I just said I hate sequels but, I did like this one. I liked the humor of it. Superhero movies tend to get serious for no reason at all. The first Thor movie pleasantly surprised me: it was well-structured, funny and highly entertaining. So was Dark World. Great for a night out with a bucket of err dried fruits and nuts.

Non-Stop (2014): If you hate flying, you become an air marshal (apparently). Non-Stop is an action-packed thriller with the right dose of mystery and, well, Liam Neeson. I liked the puzzling messages and the panicky goings-on of the first half but I think somewhere in the middle it kind of went downhill (oh the cheese!). However, any movie regardless of genre that has Liam Neeson in it, is a movie I am going to watch (Star Wars included).

The Fifth Estate (2013): Holy hell. What the heck was that? I had to pause it at least 15 times to go get a drink or something to eat and generally find an excuse to exit the room and do anything but watch this. I appreciate everyone’s effort but apparently it wasn’t enough. It lacked both rhythm and creativity. The writing was really bad and Cumberbatch’s performance couldn’t save the day (neither could anybody else - joke for fellow whovians).

April 5, 2014

Outtakes

Here are some photographs that didn’t make it in the original posts (photographs I like, nonetheless).

I use this blog as an excuse to take (more) photographs; you might have already guessed that ;-)