Saturday, January 9, 2010

JoAnn's winter wonders

Just a few great things I've discovered the last couple weeks and I can't stop thinking about them. Here, a collection of books and movies that have helped me get through winter's bluster:

[Sources: Image 1, Image 2]
A beautifully crafted and highly ambitious movie directed by Alesandr Sukorov, "Russian Ark" depicts 300 years of Russian history as seen through the hallways of the Hermitage museum. If not for the history, luxurious backgrounds, intricate macaroon-pastel-colored costumes and priceless art, see it for its impressive cinematography. The 99-minute movie was shot in a single day and in a single take, with thousands of actors and extras.

[Images via here]

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright delves into her jewelry box to pay homage to her oft-worn accessory, the brooch, and how she uses it to express herself in daily and diplomatic matters. Animal pins often took on symbolism: a turtle might represent slow-going negotiations; a serpent meant "Don't Tread on Me" in a meeting with Iraqi officials. I got a chance to briefly meet Albright a few years ago at a conference (she wore a gold medal-looking brooch; I didn't think to ask about its significance), and I think the book is a fascinating read into the political, personal and sartorial history of one of America's leaders.

[Image via here]
Up in the Air
I really enjoyed Jason Reitman's "Up in the Air," in which George Clooney depicts an HR consultant who travels 300+ days every year to different parts of the country and lays off staff at different companies. Anna Kendrick and Vera Farmiga also star. Funny, witty and heartbreakingly poignant, this movie seems to understand that what's important in life isn't so much the lofty priorities you've set for yourself, but the people you meet along the way. Will probably get some Oscar noms.

 [Image from here

  Whatever I say will not give this book the credit it deserves. I first read this book three years ago, and every re-reading since has got me finding something new to laugh about and discover. This critically acclaimed book begins as the end of the world is near and two otherworldly creatures -- a demon and an angel -- are reluctant to see it come. Enter a misplaced Antichrist, the (personified) Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, English humans and a 300-year-old prophecy and the result is sooo funny. I wish they could find a good way to turn this into a movie, which has been rumored for sometime.

What's getting you through winter -- any fun movies or books you've come across recently?


  1. my husband and I are going to see up in the air (he doesn't know it yet) tonight hopefully. and good omens... really? should it be on my list?

  2. oh! i've been meaning to see up in the air. now i can't wait to go check it out. :)

  3. Amazing photos! :) I haven't seen up in the air yet, definitely checking it out now <3 Thanks for sharing everything... xo!

  4. Hi, thanks for stopping by! I love the list you produced here for surviving winter, as I too am a big fan of staying in and watching movies all day!


  5. Oooh that first movie sounds wonderful!

  6. Good Omens is amazing! It has absolutely been one of my favourite books since about 1994!

  7. oh i REALLY want to see up in the air!!!!
    and movies and good books are just about the only thing that get me through winter...brrrr!

  8. Amazing photos! :) I haven't seen up in the air yet, definitely checking it out now Thanks for sharing everything

  9. where can i get a pair of shoes like that? I absolutly love the!!!!


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