Shutter Island and Stalled Progress

Stalled Progress

*For the Movie Review – Jump to the “See More” Link*

Things aren’t going so well in knitting land. After accomplishing a series of successful and inspiring projects, my resolve has sputtered out.

The Antlers scarf, while a gorgeous pattern – is a time consuming and lengthy project which I find myself often dreading, as well as losing attention and patience with. Especially since I had to rip out the entire thing last Saturday and start entirely over. It’s been knit up to a little past the point where I had to rip it out, and then been stalled there for the last three days.

I’d like to get started on a pair of Staghorn mittens, but that means grappling with a skill I’ve been avoiding – double-pointed needles. I honestly attempted it last weekend – even went so far as purchasing a pair and cracking open several video and written/picture tutorials.

Probably didn’t help that I was on cold medicine at the time. Cold medicine and knitting anything new and/or complex are not happy friends.

So, the plan is now to finish up this damned scarf and really hunker down with the double-pointed needles. Unfortunately, unless the tutorials somehow manage to work miraculous miracles, it seems that I might have to bring in the big guns – a knitting tutor.

As we are gifted with a wealth of yarn shops here in Portland – it shouldn’t be hard to find a yarn teacher, right? That’s my hope. I’ll be calling around to shops on Monday to see if there are:

a.) Specific classes aimed at learning how to use double-pointed needles

b.) Someone who would teach me…for a reasonable price.

There will be updates sometime later this week when I either complete the Antler scarf (please) or have some success with the double-pointed needles. One or the other has to be a motivating factor, right?

Shutter Island

This is a selection for “The Finer Things Book Club” which was started by Erninlow and myself because we both love books and movies. And books adapted to movies. Sooo – we read “Shutter Island” the book and went this morning to see “Shutter Island” the movie.

There is something off about a film that was supposed to be released in October, and saw it actually hit theatres a full four months after the fact. Which means the trailers have been running for nearly the last six months in full force as a lead-up to this flick. Kinda weird, right? The answer is yes.

Does the movie do justice to the book? Is the book worthy of being made into a Hollywood movie? Yes on both counts. And while some in our group liked the book better – I’m going to have to give my props to Scorsese and DiCaprio for bringing the Teddy character to life in a way that I was never able to grasp in the book. DiCaprio imbued him with a healthy dose of feeling and humanity which I wasn’t quite expecting, given the source material. Dan (the husband) commented that this was the first film he’d really liked Leo in – the first film in which he seemed to shake off the boyish looks and charm.

Ah yes – little Leonardo has indeed grown into a man.

Scorsese is not my favorite director, despite having directed some films that I genuinely like. It would be negligent of me not to point out how his negative views towards women color all the material he touches. The women in his movies are either saints or sluts (and sometimes both), and are inevitably dealt some sort of violence,  most often as result of loving or knowing the male protagonist.

It’s not surprising then, that Scorsese gravitates towards this particular Dennis Lehane novel. Which isn’t to say that he doesn’t do good things with it. Some of the visuals and emotional crescendos he brings forth from the actors are indeed, quite stunning. He actually builds up to the final plot twist with much more clarity than the book, and does so for the most part without adding anything extra to the scenes or dialogue.

The supporting characters – among them Michelle Williams, Ben Kingsley, EmilyMortimer and Mark Ruffalo are all in fine form as well. Williams is only in a few scenes, and nearly always in some kind of strange dream-like environment, but holds her own quite nicely. She has really crossed over in her last few roles and is no longer “that chick from Dawson’s Creek.” Her best role was perhaps the starring role in Incendiary, a British terrorist themed movie. She plays alongside Ewan McGregor. Ruffalo manages to do quite a bit with his role as Chuck Aule, even though it is considerably cut down from the book . Kingsley is an acting sage, and doesn’t make a single mis-step in his role as Dr. Cawley. Mortimer is only seen briefly, but has one of the more gripping scenes with DiCaprio.

The only few complaints I had about the movie was all with the scoring. The loud and grinding strings during the suspenseful moments (and even during the non-suspenseful moments) were absolutely noticeable in an unpleasant way. Obviously this was done intentionally, but even if I can appreciate the reasoning behind it…there’s still no reason to torture the audience to that extreme. There was some other interesting auditory choices peppered throughout – metal grating noises, which added to the ambience positively.

The noir elements – especially the ferry emerging from the fog in the opening were quite breath-taking, and really set the mood effectively. Dark and light were used in equal measure to reflect the emotional and mental state of the character.

My biggest complaint about both the source material and the movie is that I never quite connected as emotionally with the characters as perhaps I wanted to. While Gone Baby Gone ripped my heart out, Shutter Island merely unsettled me. Which isn’t a bad thing, but it really depends on the intention of the piece. And it felt as if, in both the book and movie, the intention WAS to make a deep emotional connection. It was almost there, but fell just short of reaching that plateau.

Honestly – a movie I would watch again. Even knowing the twist. Especially knowing the twist.


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About tinyheroes

Mindy Crouchley is a 33 year old woman with a degree in English and Technical Writing from Portland State University. She has accumulated three+ years experience in the Marketing and Communications field - with an emphasis on creating digital media content. She has been reading comic books since she was 10 years old. She currently lives in outer southeast Portland with her spouse Dan Robertson, her baby girl, and their dog - Jabba the pug. She spends her free time devouring books, crafting cosplay, video gaming, attending comic cons, writing stories/screenplays, attending book to film adaptation club meetings, volunteering, and watching copious amounts of TV and movies.

4 responses to “Shutter Island and Stalled Progress”

  1. erninlow says :

    I hated the scoring too! It was loud and played at random times. Leo did a good job, I always like the Scorsese/DiCaprio pairing. I just thought the movie was slow and they left out some of the important things. I was happy with our first meeting and had a good time.

    • tinyheroes says :

      I don’t think we were the only ones. Pretty much everyone was like “WTF was with the music?” It was purposeful, but that doesn’t mean it was particularly bearable. Actually, it was very distracting and kind of took me out of the movie at times. *shrug* Other than that I had very few complaints.

      It was a bit slow, but in a different way from the book. The first few chapters in the book were slow, but in the movie I would say it started dragging towards the middle and picked back up at the end.

      Had a great time yesterday too!

  2. Hisham says :

    Definitely a movie worth seeing. It’s still going to take at least a second viewing for me to decide how well the twist works with the rest of the movie.

    • tinyheroes says :

      I could see that. As someone who already knew the twist, it was really wonderful to see how Scorsese built on it – even moreso than the book.

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