Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Film Feedback - Wk of 2/21

Film Feedback Week of 2/21

Cities of the Underworld - watched a few more of these while I was working. Love the show!

State of Play - Russell Crowe, Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams in a political thriller that I really didn't follow very closely.

I Hate Valentine's Day - That actress from My Big Fat Greek Wedding in a rom-com that I liked better than My Life in Ruins, but not as well as Greek Wedding.

Post Grad - Recommended by one of the librarians, and rather cute. About a recent college grad whose life isn't going quite how she planned.

Moon - Odd, odd, odd! Not quite sure I followed it all - the hazards of having a movie on while doing other things. Read a review that recommended it, but not sure *I* would give it the thumbs up.

Veggie Tales Pistachio: The Boy Who Woodn't - Cute! Love the silly song, and the Pinocchio parallels fit the story well.

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall - Book club movie! The book was better, but Toby Stephens is worth a watch!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Film Feedback - Wk of 2/14

Northanger Abbey
My favorite Austen film! Probably because it's light-hearted and comic. Tilney is all that a gentleman should be, plus he's amusing and likes to banter. None of that smoldering broodiness that Darcy is so known for. It's also short, which is nice to be able to fit in an evening, unlike the very long Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth. You have to make an appointment with that one. (though it is an oh-so-enjoyable undertaking!)

Cities of the Underworld
This History Channel TV show on DVD caught my eye at the library. I've always been fascinated with underground relics and ruins, especially after having toured the Underground Seattle as a teen. I find it almost unbelievable that all that can be underneath the pavement of modern cities. I watched 4 episodes - the first disc - and can't wait to watch the rest. You can watch some online at the History Channel website.

Valentine's Day
The star-studded cast was the attraction here, not the least of it being Bradley Cooper. :-) I actually went to the theater this week with my good friend Darlene who is so much fun to watch movies with. The myriad stories were all intriguing and were tied together well by the end. Lots of movie "in-jokes" were sprinkled throughout the screenplay and that was enjoyable. One of the storylines went off-kilter, in my opinion, and left us feeling disappointed, but overall we had a fun time.

Whip It
Previews on other DVD's brought this one to my attention, plus it was filmed in Michigan, I've heard. I think Ellen Page is quite a good actress and I've been interested in Drew Barrymore's work for a while now. This story is one of the "I'm a teen who wants to make my own choices, despite what my fuddy-duddy parents say" sort of plots, but it's unusual in that what she wants is not beauty pageants as her mom has groomed her for, but ROLLER DERBY, which is rather an aggressive violent sport. Who knew? What I loved about it was the strength shown by the family unit, which did include a mom AND a dad, both very realistically portrayed. Juno was better, hands down, but Whip It was a nicely done, enjoyable, solid film.

The Time Traveler's Wife
Saw this in the theater when it came out, but it just came out on DVD and I wanted to see it again. Read the book twice - completely fascinating. The movie misses some of the complexity of the relationship between Henry and Clare, but it still is both emotionally draining and satisfying. Warning - it's a tearjerker of a movie!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Film Feedback - Wk of 2/7

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
Nope, I'd never watched this. HERESY WARNING - I am not a Sean Connery fan. (Apologies to all of you who just gasped aloud.) And the print ads I'd seen didn't interest me. But someone mentioned to me the other day that the "extraordinary" in the title really refers to super-hero-type qualities. Oh really? Like the X-men? Kind of. OK, then, I'll give it a watch. 'Twasn't bad!

Chose it because I couldn't find anything else new at the library that I hadn't already watched. Premise - 1st murder in Antartica and female US Marshal has to investigate quickly or be left behind for 6 months of Antartic winter. I sort of stopped paying attention about halfway through.

Finished watching Season 1 and I liked the latter episodes better than the first ones. Sometimes a season needs some time to get going. I really like how involved of a dad Castle is, I like the fact he's an author, and I do like the wordplay and flirting between Castle and the detective (Becket, right?) What I DON'T like are the gory beginnings with the intro of each episode's murder. VERY disturbing. I find I can't look at the screen.

Picture Perfect
Didn't realize how old this movie was (1997) when I snatched it at the library 5 minutes before closing. The clues were the humongous mobile phones. LOL And then about a half hour in, I started feeling like I'd seen it before. Soon after, I realized, yep! I have seen this before. Ultimately a forgettable movie, I guess. And Kevin Bacon as the bad boy romantic character? Ewwww....

Friday, February 12, 2010

2009 Movies I HAVEN'T seen (+4 I have seen by now)

I know I see a lot of movies, but even I missed a few in 2009. More than a few, actually, since I didn't go to the theater very often. I've starred the ones I am really looking forward to viewing.

NOTE: I wrote this list a few days ago and since then, I've seen four movies from it.
Bright Star - Loved it and would like to watch again
Duplicity - Not my thing really
Extract - Even more not my thing
Star Trek 11 - Not usually my thing, but really well done!

Have you seen any of these? What'd you think?
I've starred** the ones I really want to see.
Aliens In The Attic
An Education
Avatar 3D
The Blind Side**
Bright Star
Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs
Couple's Retreat

Dance Flick



Fame 2009
Fantastic Mr. Fox
The Hurt Locker

Ice Age 3

It's Complicated

The Lovely Bones

Me And Orson Welles**

New Moon**

New York I Love You**

Pippa Lee**

The Road

Sherlock Holmes****
Star Trek 11

Terminator 4

Up in the Air**

The Velveteen Rabbit
Where The Wild Things Are
Whip It**

The Young Victoria**

What did I miss? (Make sure you read my earlier post of movies I DID see in 2009.)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

2009 Movies I've Seen

I've divided this post into several categories, ranking the movies I've seen that were released in 2009. (updated 2/12/10 with 4 additional movies)

LOVED IT - Multiple Viewings
17 Again
Confessions Of A Shopaholic
The Proposal
Wolverine (X-men Origins)

ENJOYED IT - Would recommend
Bright Star
Julie & Julia
Monsters vs Aliens 3D
Star Trek 11
The Soloist
The Time Traveler's Wife
Up 3D

ENJOYED IT - Not necessarily for everyone (or guilty pleasures!)
The Hangover
Night At The Museum 2
Sunshine Cleaning

INDIFFERENT - Not a lot of feeling one way or the other
Easy Virtue
Hotel For Dogs
The Princess And The Frog
Race To Witch Mountain

MIXED FEELINGS - Liked some parts, disliked something about it
(500) Days Of Summer
All About Steve
Bride Wars
He's Just Not That Into You
Madea Goes To Jail
My Life In Ruins
New In Town
The Ugly Truth

DISLIKED MOVIE - But you might like it. Not my thing. Or it was just a stinker.
Education Of Charlie Banks
Fast And Furious 4
Funny People
Ghosts Of Girlfriends Past
G.I. Joe
Mall Cop
The Pink Panther 2
The Taking Of Pelham 1 2 3

Watch for another post with 2009 movies I have not yet been able to view.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

January Reads

Eight books in January and most of them very satisfying!

The Eyre Affair
by Jasper Fforde - 1/7/2010
Good - Sci-fi
Thursday Next, a British literary detective, has to track down the thief of a stolen Dickens manuscript.
Darlene told me about this series and it sounded intriguing. I enjoyed it, mostly because of all the literary references and how the story sets itself on its ear.

Nanny Returns by Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus - 1/8/2010
Good - Fiction
Twelve years after Nan was fired, Grayer comes back into her life as a troubled sixteen-year-old who asks her to help his seven-year-old brother.
I chose this because I'd read The Nanny Diaries and found it horrifyingly mesmerizing, mostly because of the way the family treated their son. Now the family has two sons, but I found this story much less believable, though still interesting.

A Bride in the Bargain by Deanne Gist - 1/11/2010
Excellent - Inspirational Romance
Joe Denton needs a wife to keep his land in 1860's Seattle, so he purchases a mail order bride, who turns out to be Anna Ivey, an Easterner who has no intention of marrying.
Deanne Gist writes wonderfully edgy Christian romances. I have greatly enjoyed each one of hers that I've been able to find. Thanks to my mom for telling me about her! If you have never read Christian romance or stopped with Janette Oke, give Gist's novels a try. I think you'll be surprised by the "real" situations her heroines find themselves in, as well as the look she gives into the heart of her characters.

Deeper Than the Dead by Tami Hoag - 1/18/2010
Good - Mystery
Several 5th graders discover a dead woman in the local park, the apparent work of a serial killer.
What a difference from the previous book. :-) I like reading about how serial killers are caught, fictional or true crime.

The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain - 1/21/2010
Good - Classic
Tom Canty, a pauper in 16th century London, accidentally trades places with his look-alike, the heir to the throne of England.
This was the Rollicking Readers book club choice for January. FAR better than I anticipated, this story is not much like the Barbie movie, Princess and the Pauper. LOL Now I am reading it aloud to my kids.

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins - 1/22/2010
Excellent - Young Adult
Katniss and Peetah must travel to each of the Districts on the Victory Tour, but if they can't convince the Capitol they are still in love, terrible things could happen to their loved ones back home.
This was the second book in the series, which I was very glad to find since the first (Hunger Games) ended so obviously in need of a sequel. But this one? ARGH! Oh no! CLIFFHANGER ending! Loved the book, and can't WAIT for the third one.

Dragonsong by Anne McCaffrey - 1/23/2010
Good - Young Adult Read Aloud
Menolly struggles with the forbidden desire to play her music, then finds a cache of fire lizard eggs after she runs away.
This was the read-aloud for my kids. The boys enjoyed it and the girls didn't at all! I'd read it as a teenager and was interested in seeing what I'd found enjoyable back then.

Thirsty by Tracey Bateman - 1/30/2010
Good - Inspirational
Nina is struggling with alcoholism, her rebellious teenage daughter, and her unrequited love for her ex-husband when she moves back to her hometown after 17 years.
I was very interested in this before it came out, as it was being promoted as the Christian alternative to Twilight, at least in some circles. It wasn't like Twilight at all, though there is a vampire element to it. Good read, but not really a book that would interest teens.

I'm challenging you to leave me a comment with the titleof your current read or a book you hope to start soon!

So, what are YOU reading?

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Film Feedback - Wk of 2/1

Since I tend to watch quite a few movies, I thought it'd be productive to review them briefly here. My schedule doesn't often allow for long reviews as I have done in the past (though I adore writing them) but I can at least give you a quick reaction to each one. Hope you enjoy!

Extract - Looked funny from the previews I saw on another DVD. Jason Bateman has made sort of a comeback and I liked him in Juno. This one was heavy on the drugs and sexual situations and left sort of a bad aftertaste. Don't bother with it.

Duplicity - I don't normally like movies where the bad guys are the protagonists a
nd this one had the added problem of me doing something else while I was "watching" it. So, I missed some key points I am sure, but I didn't really enjoy it. However, Clive Owen is nice. :-)

Star Trek - I am not a Trekker. Not by a long shot. But I was told I had to watch this, and it was very watchable, even for the Star Trek newbie. I watched about half of it one night by myself ran out of time (yes, that happens even to me) so had to return it without finishing it. Watched it again with David more recently. He has no Star Trek experience at all, and he really enjoyed it, as did I. If you don't know, it covers the beginnings of Jim Kirk's career and how the crew of the Enterprise is put together. Lots of great special F/X in David's judgment. One bedroom scene was inappropriate for general viewing.

Castle Season 1
Maryann lent me this and I have been sticking it in when I have nothing else to watch. I think I've watched 4 episodes so far. I can take it or leave it. It's about a male author (Castle) of murder mysteries who teams up with a female police detective, unwillingly on her part. They have chemistry that reminds me of Moonlighting (though not as charming).

Bright Star
Loved this! I didn't know much of anything about John Keats, the poet, before watching, and truly I am unsure how much was fiction. But this story was compelling and beautifully filmed. Want to watch it again! Warning: it's very sad!

The Memory Keeper's Daughter

Read this book (and didn't really like it too much) but hadn't realized they'd made a
movie. Guess it was a TV movie. Since Dermot Mulroney stars, I thought I'd give it a shot. The movie improved on the book, I think! Give it a try. It's about a doctor whose wife has twins, one with Down's Syndrome. He gives away the Down's baby without the wife knowing and tells her the baby died. Of course, this decision haunts his whole life and changes the life of the nurse who takes the baby.

Friday, February 05, 2010

The Library's Gerard Butler Fan

A librarian at one of the libraries I frequent heard me mention that I wanted to watch Gamer because Gerard Butler stars in that violent action flick. Not my normal type of movie. Hers either, but she is a rabid Butler fan and so we discussed his various movies for a few minutes.

The next time I came into the library, I found this note affixed to my stack of requested items.

"Lisa -
For my Gerard Butler fan. Check out Dear Frankie and Attila the Hun DVDs. Good Chick Flicks!
Christine, The Library's Gerard Butler Fan"

Are you giggling? I was! LOL We then had a chance to talk about those films in particular, which I'd already seen (of course!) and loved. Dear Frankie is a lovely movie and Gerard is particularly charming in it, especially because of his Scots accent shining through. Too many movies don't feature that. Attila the Hun is not a particularly good movie, but I enjoyed Gerard in that one as well.

And Gamer? Interesting premise. Pretty gory, in a video-game sort of way, but not the worst I've seen. And yes, Gerard is worth watching.

When I told Christine the Librarian about the upcoming Gerard Butler project in which he'll play Robert Burns, the Scottish poet, she seemed to have heart palpitations. Seems that, next to Butler, her reigning passion is poetry. Here is an article and another.