Sunday, April 22, 2012

Einstein and Eddington

*Note: This review was for my Cinema Appreciation class. So the review is in a pompus college essay format.*

I should probably start off by saying I remember next to nothing about the science I learned in High School; however I've always been fond of a good historical movie. This movie is about Albert Einstein and Sir Arthur Eddington, a German theoretical physicist and a British astrophysicist, respectfully. More specifically it's about the evolution of Einsteins Theory of General Relativity during a time when Germany doesn't care to look into any science they can't use for the Great War and Britain doesn't want anything to do with the country they are going to war with. At this time everyone held everything Newton said was put on a pedestal – which stated that Gravity was what held the universe together, but gave no reason why or what it was. This left the idea that God was the reasoning for Gravity, the why behind the what. The only thing Einstein has done by this point was suggest that everyone was moving at it's own time, and that time was not a universal standard measure. With no way to prove or disprove his theory, the British scientist at Cambridge decided his theory was not relevant to the real world, especially with a war going on.

Sir Arthur Eddington wasn't so quick to brush off Albert Einstein. Instead he sent Einstein a letter posing a question: why was Newton correct about all the position and orbits of the planets except Mercury. What was different about Mercury that just eluded Newton's otherwise correct theory. With that question as a basis, Einstein created his Theory of General Relativity which stated that it was the Suns gravity that shaped space, twisting it out of it's original shape and changing how we view it. If his theory was correct it would completely change how the world was viewed, but first it had to be proven. That's where Eddington came in, to observe space to see if Einsteins theory was correct. These two scientists who have never met went against what each of their countries were telling them to try and understand the world around them a little bit better.

This was a made for TV movie, co-produced by BBC and HBO Films. For being a made for TV movie, I was surprised by the cast for the film. Sir Arthur Eddington was played by David Tennant(Doctor Who, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Fright Night), Albert Einstein was played by Andy Serkis(Lord of the Rings, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, The Prestige) and Jim Broadbent(Moulin Rouge, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe) plays one of Eddington's colleague. All three are rather big names and all three were absolutely perfect in this movie. Andy Serkis's Einstein was half crazed from his intelligence that was being ignore, never going too overboard. He wanted more from the world than he was getting, wanted to prove that he had knowledge that was worth listening too. Jim Broadbents character played the main pro-England character wonderfully. He thought that there was no way that Newton could be proven wrong, especially by a German scientist. David Tennant's Eddington was probably my favorite. He went against what he's believed all his life – that God was behind everything – went against his faith for the possibility that some scientists he new met could be right. He played someone who was conflicted, hopeful for the possibility of helping to discover a new theory but worried about what this could mean for his Faith all while struggling with a possible repressed homosexuality that David Tennant hinted at perfectly.. 
My only real complaint for his movie was that they didn't really touch upon Albert Einsteins wife and kids very often. You saw them once while he still lived in Switzerland before he moved back to Berlin for his research, and once more when they came to visit him and his wife found out he was having [another?] affair. You never find out whether he and his wife split up or work it out, nor if Einstein worked things out with his kids. As far as the audience knows, they are out of his life forever and he doesn't seem to particularly care. However that pales next to how much I enjoyed this movie. It felt authentic and well thought out. All of their science talk was dumbed down a little so I didn't so I didn't get lost in all the gobbldy gook, yes still letting me learn something from it. This seemed like a movie just about anyone could enjoy if they gave it a chance. It has it's flaws, but the abilities of the actors manage to overshadow any and all of them. 

(Also: Wow I suddenly can't tab anything. that's super strange. I'll figure that problem out later.)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Fault In Why We Broke Up

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

Yea, it's been a while. I have a lot of catching up to do. I don't really have a good reason except that I read a book that just left me so.. overwelmed? That might not be the right word for it. Anyways I couldn't stop thinking about it. I went to write about it a few separate times now and nothing I say seems to be able to describe this book properly. For those of you who don't know, John Greens new book The Fault In Our Stars came out January 10, 2012.

Hazel Grace Lancaster is a 16 year old girl with cancer. Some rare kind that has left her relying on an oxygen tank. For her life almost entirely consists of laying around the house watching bad reality shows, going to a cancer survivor support group and going to college classes. Not the most happening social life. Then she meets Augustus Waters and everything changes.

This book was equal parts funny, thoughtful, and devastatingly sad. I've read this book twice now since it's come out, and I still get swept up by it. In the book, Hazel has a book that means the world to her. To describe her book, she said: “Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book. And then there are book which you can't tell people about, books so special and rare and yours that advertising your affection feels like a betrayal.” I love that and how unbelievably true that feels. For Hazel, her book seemed to speak directly to her – understanding her on a level no one else did with her cancer. I don't have cancer, but I do know what it feels like to be spoken to through a book.

I love everything about this book: from its pefrect description of books to its ability to portray a gradual relationship that left me breathless. Hazel and Augustus have a love that seems to come out of no where and sweep you off their feet while managing to feel real and true. It manages to remind you what it was like to fall in love, that maybe all the pain of just living is worth it just to have this person in your life. This is a book I feel like everyone should read. Maybe, just maybe, it'll become your special and rare book that you want to hide away from the world.

I also highly suggest watching this song that this person wrote about the book. It's hauntingly beautiful. Don't worry, there aren't any spoilers, just lots of quotes. I listened to this song while writing this review, it just sums up the book so perfectly.

Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler

A family friend gave me a bookstore gift certificate, so I wandered through the book store either looking for a book I might not usually buy with my own money or one I really really wanted. I found this in the new release section for the Young Adult books and it was a little more expensive then most YA books were – putting it in the not usually category. This book was surprisingly heavy for it's size because it had paper you could print pictures on, the really thick king that are in children books. I guess when you have a full book of that paper, it makes the book super heavy. I was intrigued.

This book is written in a letter format. Min Green and Ed Slaterton just broke up. Min was the kind of person who saves everything from relationships in a box, mementos to remind her of different stages of their relationship. She loved foreign films and wanted to be a film director, Ed played football. They were very different from each other with very different social circles. Now that they've broken up, she is giving the box to Ed, since some of the stuff in there was his. Accompanying the box is a letter that Min is writing to explain their relationship and ultimately why they broke up.

This book let you follow their relationship from the beginning with pictures of items in the box, each item being explained how it played some part in their relationship. You get to experience a relationship spark, bloom, then end right there with Min as she relives everything herself. This is the sorta book that you just can't read without being reminded about you own doomed high school relationship. You know the ones, where your relationship suddenly springs up out of no where so fast that you forgot how different the two of you are. When it's over you look back and wonder why it didn't end sooner. This book manages to make you look back at that relationship with a sort of fondness for what it was, not what it ended up as. It manages to an almost painful to remember subject matter, beautiful.

Book Count: 11