Shutter Island

Kish, Russell, and I went to see Shutter Island last night.  The theater was packed, and the audience reaction was mixed.  The three of us liked it, but I overheard the teenage girl sitting next to me tell her friends:  “Well, that is the worst movie I’ve ever seen.”

Richard’s review does a good job of describing the movie’s plot and setting.  I thought the Martin Scorcese’s direction not only paid homage to Hitchcock, but also to movies like The Shining and The Sixth Sense and even The Usual Suspects.  It was much move overtly violent than typical Hitchcock fare, but it had a great sense of overall creepiness that goes well with the Hitchcock ouevre.  At the end of the movie I found myself wondering which of the scenes were real and which were not.  The reveal at the end of the movie made me want to go back and review the first part of the movie to see whether, like The Sixth Sense, the reveal was perfectly consistent with the characters’ actions and dialogue.  My suspicion is that it is. It helps to explain, for example, why the heavily armed guards greeted the characters of Leonardo diCaprio and his new partner when they arrived at the island by ferry.

After leaving the theater, Kish, Russell, and I went to Five Guys for burgers and talked a lot about the movie.  Not many modern movies can spur so much conversation.  Any movie that can do so is worth seeing.

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Science And Art Intersect

The BBC has an interesting article on the use of lasers in cleaning works of art — including not only stone and metal objects, but also paintings.  Check out the extraordinary difference the laser treatment has made on Lorenzo Ghiberti’s Gate of Paradise.

Thank God For G.P.S.

Completing our weekend travel adventure, Kish and I drove home from Vassar today.  Russell graciously let us use his car after it became apparent that it would be very unlikely that we could fly back today, due to the disruption caused by the weekend snow storm in the Northeast.  (Even today tens of thousands of people were without power, as the heavy snow tore down tree limbs that knocked down power lines.)  The airport we were to fly out of, Stewart International Airport, got around 50 inches of snow in the space of a day or so, lost all power, and then couldn’t get its computer systems up and running.  Rather than risk a total travel failure, we decided to drive home today, and it was a good move.

One last travel observation:  I think a G.P.S. system is worth renting if you are making a strange drive.  On Friday, after we arrived in Philadelphia to learn that our flight to Stewart International was canceled, we rented a car from Budget.  They had no maps, but they did have a G.P.S. device we could rent.  It was a godsend!  It faithfully guided us out of Philly, across New Jersey, and up to Poughkeepsie, taking us through some back road short cuts and allowing us to avoid some of the traffic snarls that bedeviled the area due to the monster snowstorm.  I don’t make many unexpected road trips, but I am still wondering whether a G.P.S. system is worth the investment — just in case.