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Soulless and Midnight in Paris

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.

13 comments on… “Soulless and Midnight in Paris”

  1. I am with you on W.Allen movies–never really got the appeal. So Midnight in Paris was better than I thought–although I had pretty low expectations 🙂

    • Yeah, me too, which probably helped. I think Owen Wilson helped make it for me though. He has such an unassuming, boy next door quality. I kept shouting at him “ditch the b!tch” hehe. (by that I mean his lousy fiance).

  2. I loved Midnight in Paris. I had just read The Moveable Feast by Hemingway and the Paris Wife (about Hadley Hemingway and their time in Paris). It all fit with the movie. I have seen the movie twice and could see it again.

    • I’ll probably watch it again just to see what I missed. I doubt it’ll ever be one of my favorites, but I can see it growing on me over time.

  3. I hadn’t watched Midnight in Paris because of W. Allen. I don’t usually like his stuff much either. However I’ve heard from several people that it was really good, so it’s on my TBW list. I’ve never heard of Soulless before but it sounds charming. I think I’ll give it a try. Thanks for the recommendations!

    • I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by this one, Rhonda. Although…it still has that certain Woody Allen quirkiness…it’s not as irritating as some of the other movies he’s done. I wish the ending had been a bit different, but didn’t want to go into that because I didn’t want to spoil it. That said, it was “just” enough to satisfy me so I call it good 🙂

      Do give Soulless a try. I met Gail Carriger at a conference last year, and she’s just delightful…just like her books.

  4. Ten to avoid Woody Allen movies too, since I haven’t seen one I loved since Annie Hall. But I’m hearing such great things about Midnight, you’ve convinced me to see it.

    P.S. Your header rocks, Melinda!

  5. I just watched Midnight in Paris last weekend as well. I don’t think it will go on my list of favorite writer movies the way Stranger than Fiction did, but it was really interesting to watch.

  6. Melinda, I am so happy to be able to visit you again. I’m not 100%, but I’m making my way back. I love that you share what you’re reading and watching with us. What you call “Vaginal Fantasy Hangout.” LOL Melinda! Where did you come from? You crack me up! And I have never figured out why Woody Allen films have such a huge following. I’m not normal. Well we already know that, but I don’t get his mentality. Yikes. And like you, I think that first line in the book is fantastic and different, you know? Thanks Melinda and have a great weekend! 🙂

    • I’m glad you’re starting to feel better! I can’t claim credit for Vaginal Fantasy Hangout, that’s actually the brainchild of Felicia Day and her friends. It’s a book club on Goodreads. I love it, they pick books I love to read and once a month they chat about them. Check it out, they record the live chat sessions. It always makes me giggle.

  7. I loved Midnight in Paris—one of those movies that’s so fun to chat about afterwards. 🙂 It convinced me that Owen Wilson could be the Woody Allen of our time. Have to say, I was pleased by the ending (after worrying it might get too “Hollywood.” ;))

    • You know, I thought the same thing that Midnight in Paris reminded me of a book club pick…the kind you read so you can have a fun chat over dinner about it :-). I’ll have to watch it again to see which writer/artist I missed the first time through. As for the end…I just wanted a little more. It was ok, I’m just a sucker for the solid ending, rather than the “it might work out” ending that Woody Allen seems to prefer. But…eh.

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