Soulless and Midnight in Paris

By Melinda VanLone | Book Review

Apr 26

Moving right along on my quest to read 50 books and watch 50 movies in 2012, I realized this week that for the first time I was ahead on books and behind on movies. I’m not sure how that happened. However, never fear, DVR is here! Some time ago, I had recorded Midnight in Paris because a friend recommended it to me. I finally had an excuse to sit still and watch it. My take on it is below, as well as the next book in the Vaginal Fantasy Hangout:

Book 11: Soulless (The Parasol Protectorate)

by Gail Carriger

This story combines several genres in a delightful way. I found Carriger’s voice a refreshing change of pace. It did take me a chapter to get used to the narration and point of view, but once I did I found myself giggling over the turns of phrase and attitude of Alexia, the protagonist. This is a steampunk/mystery/romance/fantasy, and comes complete with corsets and parasols. Go ahead, grab a cup of tea and delve into the life of Miss. Alexia Tarabotti.

First Line: Miss Alexia Tarabotti was not enjoying her evening. Private balls were never more than middling amusements for spinsters, and Miss Tarabotti was not the kind of spinster who could garner even that much pleasure from the event. To put the pudding in the puff: she had retreated to the library, her favorite sanctuary in any house, only to happen upon an unexpected vampire.”

I loved this opening. The voice shone through, as well as the personality of not only the narrator but the protagonist (who are not the same, which sometimes throws people off at first). So much information is packed into those few lines. Where else would you see the words “spinster,” “pudding in the puff,” and “vampire” in the same paragraph? Loved it!

If you are looking for something a bit different, give this a try. It’s not smut, or erotica. Don’t pick it up thinking there will be a sex scene in every other chapter. This is the Victorian era, and a lady has a reputation to uphold. Do pick it up for the fun of a pure romantic mystery with a hint of sexual tension and a heroine who I’d quite like to meet.

 

Movie 12: Midnight in Paris

Stars:  Owen WilsonRachel McAdams and Kathy Bates

Ah, Woody Allen. I usually hate any movie he creates. They are always so darn pointless and irritating to me. And this one had a certain air to it that made me think “yep, Woody Allen.” Despite that, I liked this movie. The idea of an insecure author flitting between two different time periods, and getting to interact with not only his favorite era but his favorite authors and artists, was fascinating to me. Maybe it was because I’m a writer, and I could picture myself going back in time and having a conversation with Anne McCaffrey or Douglas Adams. Or maybe it was because I love fantasy in all its forms, so time travel fits right in with what I consider a staple of a perfect world. I’m not sure.

Whatever the case, this was fascinating and fun to watch. It made me want to go to Paris and hang out on a street corner at midnight, just to see what happens. But it also left me in a strange place, emotionally. I wouldn’t call it happy, or satisfied, or excited, or anything I normally look for in my movies. But it wasn’t sad either. It was, well, thoughtful.

The acting in this was perfect. I loved the portrayal of Hemmingway. I hadn’t thought about him as a real person, before. He was always just someone I was forced to read in Lit class. If any of what they showed was true, he would be one interesting person to know. Where’s my time machine?

If you’re a Woody Allen fan, you’ll like this. If you aren’t, you probably will still find this a good movie for a contemplative Sunday afternoon.

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