Friday, January 14, 2011

Movie Review, Low-Carb Diets and Fate & 15th

Friday night, wootie woot!

Went to the theater tonight, eh. Saw a movie, eh. Which movie did I watch, eh? Well, here's a mini-review!


The King's Speech: A Mini-Review, Eh

Starring some of my favorite actors, The King's Speech did not disappoint. In fact, it's one of the two best movies I've seen in the past year! Of course, it's also one of the two worst movies I've seen all year... since I've only seen two movies, this one and Inception.

Colin Firth is the Duke of York, second-oldest son to King George V of England, just prior to WW2. Guy Pearce is his oldest brother David, next in line to the throne. When the King dies, and David is crowned King -- and then quickly abdicates the throne amidst a scandal -- Colin is called upon to assume the throne, at the very onset of World War 2. The trouble is, he has a rather strong speech impediment -- which is a problem for a person who must be called upon to speak with strength, not just to his country, but to his troops, and to the whole of the British empire, as war begins.

Enter Geoffrey Rush, Aussie speech therapist.

This film is riddled with Oscar-Nomination-Worthy performances. Firth and Rush, as well as the always-amazing Helene Bonham Carter, deliver the goods here, and the vast array of secondary actors and bit players bring their A game as well. The story is solid -- not sure how many liberties were taken with historical accuracy -- I'll leave that to the historians among us.

The acting and story make the film. The weaknesses reveal themselves in the form of a lackluster score, and occasional odd shot framing. Example: picture Geoffrey Rush sitting at a desk, writing. He is facing to your right. He is all the way on the right of the screen, his nose practically touching the edge of the screen. Behind him is a vast expanse of wallpaper, and nothing else. If he were facing left, looking out into that open space, it would have been less awkward. Again, same scene, cut to his wife, seated in a chair by the fireplace. Again, facing left, all the way on the far left side of the screen, nose practically touching the left edge of the screen... with a vast expanse of wallpaper stretching out behind her, nothing to balance it. Cut back and forth as they have a bit of a conversation.

On paper, perhaps you say, "Hmm, big deal, Dave." In execution, you might pipe a tune more in line with mine. It was, I suppose, a stab at being "artsy"... it didn't work. Thankfully, there weren't too many oddly-framed shots/scenes like that. There were a number of them, but not enough to sink (or even shake) the ship.

Summary: Great performances, great story, good (often great) dialog, solid direction, a successful "period" feel, a good attempt at revealing some of the complexity behind the King and why he stammered, some sporadic odd framing, and a bit of a forced feel-good ending. Overall, 4 stars out of 5.


OK, that's out of the way...

Since we're on the subject of British history, here's a cool video you might also enjoy... a colorful, amusing and interesting Beefeater gives a tour of the Tower of London, along with a bunch of fascinating historical tidbits.

Even if you don't like history, you should give it a go, since it's fun and funny as well. It's actually part two in a four-video series. You should watch all four parts! Part One, Part Three and Part Four.

I mentioned briefly in a previous post that the wife and I are trying out a "slow-carb" diet. It's actually easy. I've been on it (with minimal cheating, lol) since Monday, and I've dropped 4 pounds so far. That's with no exercise, and a few changes to my diet, that have not been hard. No breads (or rice, tortillas, pasta, etc), no fruit or fruit juices (cuz the fructose actually induces weight gain!), and little-to-no dairy or sugar. HOWEVER: I can eat as much meat, veggies, beans, and lentils as I want, including eggs.

Here's the novelty: breakfast should be eaten within 30 to 60 minutes of waking up. AND the fun part - you hold the diet for six days a week, then on the seventh, you can (and should!) binge, eating as much of whatever you want, no exceptions. Junk food, breads, pastas, sweets, all of it is a go. Why, you may ask? Well, apparently, it lets your body know that you aren't lacking in calories, so it won't downshift into calorie-hoarding mode. The lo-carb diet during the week gets the pounds to start dropping off, and the binging actually helps that continue full-throttle.

Sounds odd, but it's in a book, so it must be true!

Actually, the author is one of those somewhat obsessive documenters and testers, and has tested all kinds of combinations of diets, supplements, and things on himself, to see how it all affects his body and blood levels. He's loaded, so he can afford not only to travel the world testing different approaches, but he even has a lot of the machinery to test himself, and document everything. He's got chapters on everything from diet to exercise to weight/muscle gain, to better sleep, and lots of other body hacks. It's a fascinating read.

End of commercial. If you check it out as well, let me know what you think. One thing I've found is even after just one week, I'm getting much better sleep, and just feel better. Probably getting all those sugars out of my system... well, most of them, anyway. Like I said, I do cheat a little now and then.

So, yeah, I'm getting in better shape. Now my wife will love me again...

Well, I'm going to go avoid my To-Do List by playing a little Left 4 Dead 2. Nothing makes a man feel as good as saving the world from the Zombie Apocalypse!

By the way, Logan has a very cool little "micro fiction" series called Fate & 15th, going on over at his blog. Check it out, but only if you enjoy bite-sized chunks of solid, creative writing.




Paula Titus said...

I thought beans were a no-no on the low carb diet? Oh well I don't like them much anyway. Give me pepperoni and cheese if I have to eat low carb (which I do). I also indulge in bacon, sausage, beef and the likes of full-fat sour cream! Whoaaaa. :) My doctor called my blood work "exquisite" last month (he was concerned my cholesterol might be up).Ha. Too much info about my eating habits...sorry. :) Thanks for writing!

Abbie Josephsen said...

The King's Speech was so good! I really enjoyed it. Colin Firth did such a good job! and thankfully the swearing scene was funny, not awkward or vulgar. hope you are doing well Dave! Keep up the good writing :)

logankstewart said...

Hey hey, my story's in your post's title... :)

I may have to investigate this slow-low-carb thing, though fear I love fruit & Ramen noodles too much for me to fully commit.

Rebecca said...

I loved The King's Speech!! Just my type of movie. Colin Firth was amazing. Oscar contender for sure.

I might look into that slow-carb diet. It sounds better than no-carbs! Boy, I sure like my carbs...and dairy. Not big on sugar though. I don't really need to lose weight--maybe 2 pounds at the most. But I would like to be overall healthier, and less tired. I hate waking up feeling exhausted. : (