Saturday, July 30, 2011

Season of the Witch

I keep hoping that Nicolas Cage will hit it big again like he did with the National Treasure flicks. All these little actions movies he does that come off as being 'B' movies aren't horrible, but I think he has so much more to offer. This movie's production is decent; the special effects are convincing and realistic, costumes appear accurate and appropriately detailed, and the makeup of the plague victims was gross enough to make me want to gag. The action is good, too, but the film just lacks overall appeal. Nicolas Cage sold his performance, but it was a little hard to buy. I liked the witch premise and the demon twist at the end, but the rest of the movie was kind of blah and predictable and a little too gross. Worth a $1 rental at the very least.

Red Riding Hood

This movie is targeted more towards young adults. You can tell by the modern-day language and the Twilight-esque cinematography, but that is probably due mostly to the fact that the films have the same director. I think the characters should have had accents (I read that the tale is German in origin) or at the very least they should've spoken proper English, but, again, tweens were the target for this flick. They probably won't care much about those kinds of little details with sexy Peter and Henry vying for Valerie's affections. Sex-crazed teeny boppers drool over a good, steamy love triangle, but I have to admit that I certainly enjoy that, too. I especially liked Peter and Valerie's little innocent roll in the hay. That was hot! Aside from the steamy stuff, I did like the mystery of the wolf. I thought I had him figured out, but my guesses were incorrect. That made me happy, because I am tired of predictable movies these days. Hollywood needs more original ideas. This movie is far from being totally original, but I appreciate its good twist on a classic.

On another note, I love Gary Oldman, and I think he is always a great addition to any film in any role. He does quirky, weird characters very well. I think his part as the priest was extinguished a little quickly, and I wanted to see him through to the end. So that was a little disappointing.

The movie's ending was kind of left a little open yet it was satisfying. I rented this for a buck, but I kind of wish I'd gone to see it on the big screen. I'll probably end up buying this one.

Lady Susan - (Audiobook) - Jane Austen

I listened to the unabridged audiobook. I love Jane Austen's work dearly, but I got absolutely nothing out of this story. The letter format is a nice idea, but it seemed like there were a lot of details that I didn't need to hear, and I was a little confused about who was writing what at times. That might have been due to the fact that I was listening to the story and not reading it with my own eyes. I don't know. I think I would still be confused even then, and I felt like what I was listening to was overly dramatic and exaggerated. Perhaps I will read the book for myself one day instead of listening, but something tells me I still won't care for it.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Get Low

Rented this movie at Hastings the other day thinking it would be a comedy. I mean come on - Bill Murray and Robert Duvall dressed like a hermit on the cover. How could that not be funny?? Note: Not funny at all except for a few funny comments made by Robert D. Okay movie, but it kind of drug on, and the end was kind of a let down. Seemed to keep building up to something that never really happened. it if you're bored and not really in the mood to laugh.


Betty Ann Waters went through a very tough and trying, emotionally draining 18 years of school and investigation so she could prove her brother wasn't guilty of murder. Talk about unconditional love for your family. Wow. I was moved to tears, and I would definitely recommend this film to all. I'd watch it again, because the feeling you get when you know justice has been done really comes through the screen to the viewer. Excellent cast and acting by all. Just great!

Morning Glory

Predictable chick flick. Rachel McAdams sold herself as a neurotic executive producer, and I think she and Patrick Wilson make a good on-screen couple. Harrison Ford and Diane Keaton also made for a good duo. Rent it when you want a fun, comical and slightly touching no-brainer.

127 Hours

James Franco deserved his Oscar nomination for his moving portrayal of Aron, but major, major props go to the real Aron Ralston for his perseverance and strength. Way to go, Aron! You're amazing! I'm glad I watched this movie. I was inspired and got a little teary-eyed at the end. It was so wonderful to see the real Aron and his wife and son, and it's great that Aron still keeps up the adventures. Now I want to read his own account of what happened in his book Between a Rock and a Hard Place. I highly recommend the movie to all.

Deep Dish - (Audiobook) - Mary Kay Andrews

Light, fun and entertaining. I wasn't too keen on the idea of cooking show hosts battling it out as a premise for the story, but, once the romance steamed up the story, I was into it and loved it. As in her Savannah books, Andrews delivered the same feel-good southern atmosphere and another cast of lovable characters in this dish. I especially enjoyed Tate Moody's and Gina Foxton's rendezvous on the island during the storm. The part where she basically throws herself at him and gets on his lap is delish! Andrews certainly cooked up a fun and sexy romance.

One thing I really like about Andrews' stories, too, are the recipes or tidbits of recipes she throws in that just make your mouth water. I bet her dinner parties are fantastic.

Oh yes, and I just found out from a review I read on that Andrews also writes under another name, Kathy Hogan Trocheck , so now I'll have to check out some of those books!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen

I've had extra time to read lately so I'm going through books pretty quickly. It's amazing how fast you can finish a book with just 30 minutes a day.

So I thought the other day that I'd seen Pride and Prejudice probably a million times. Different versions. Different actors. Watched with different friends. Heck - I watch it so many times at home that Josh knows if it's on the TV to just go ahead and leave it on that channel. He even knows the characters and can tell when another book or movie is copying off the Pride and Prejudice story line. I'm kind of proud of that actually. Anyways - I realized that I hadn't ever read the book Pride and Prejudice. Seems to be a crime of some sort so I picked up my copy (yes - I had a copy even though I've never read it), and I started reading.

The same familiar characters were there. The same romance. Same mishaps and confusion, but for some reason I didn't like as much as I thought I would. Maybe it's because I have the movies too ingrained in my brain to imagine them myself which, I think, is half the fun of reading. Or maybe the movies just play up the romance part and make Darcy smolder so much more?

It's still a great book. Don't get me wrong, but I was a bit disappointed in myself that I didn't like it more.

This leaves Persuasion as my top favorite Austen book to date. Mostly because of the wonderfully romantic letter.

Next Austen I'm reading is Lady Susan. I had never heard of it, but my aunt suggested I try it because it's her favorite so I will.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart - Beth Patillo

I liked Beth Patillo's Jane Austen Ruined My Life, and I was hoping this book would be just as fun. It wasn't just as fun, but it was pretty amusing. I enjoyed the romance, the little that there was, and I enjoyed the possibility of a missing first draft of Pride and Prejudice. The only thing I didn't like about the story was the sister relationship, which was the main part of the story. I never really warmed up to the main character, but I enjoyed her little adventure and the relationship drama she went through.

I'll probably never read this again, but I don't think it was a waste of my time. If you like Jane Austen related stuff, you'll probably like this...if not for the main story then for the fake missing manuscript.

A Bend in the Road - Nicholas Sparks

Sparks is a pro at building real and emotional love stories, but he decontructs the romances he creates just as easily. A Bend in the Road centers mostly around Miles and his new love, Sarah, but their relationship is clouded by Miles' unwillingness to let go of his dead wife, Missy. Missy was the victim of a hit and run accident, and the person responsible has never been found.

If you read this book, don't read the summary before you start it because it might give too much of the story away. Since I read the summary, I was able to figure out the whodunit part after just a few chapters so the ending was bittersweet because I was right. I like a mystery that stays a mystery until the end of the book.

Overall, the story was decent, and the romance was sweet. I like Sparks, and I don't get tired of reading his books. I like his characters; they are always so welcoming and likable. He's a reliable author, and I guess that is why I keep going back to him.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Widow of the South - (Audiobook) - Robert Hicks

This book has been on my list for a while. I liked most of the story, but it was a little hard to get into the romance with Carrie and Zachariah being mean to each other at first and her beating him up after she realized he loved her. She was weird, and he was stubborn. I liked how Zachariah carried the colors onto the battlefield-that was a good part, and, even though she acted kind of obsessively about it, I liked that Carrie made it her mission to get the soldiers buried properly. I shed a few tears at the ending, but I don't feel like I really connected with the whole story or the rest of the characters in it. I wanted more romance and explanation of what came to pass between Zachariah and Carrie. It's been a little while since I listened to the book, and I have forgotten a few things so I know this review is probably not very helpful.

I liked it, but I don't think I'll listen to this one again.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Honor Thyself (Audiobook) - Danielle Steel

The only thing I really liked about this audiobook was the narrator's voice. I thought he sounded nice and inviting. He made me want to hear the whole story. The story itself was just like a boring drive in a circle with barely any bumps in the road. I didn't connect with the main character, Carol, and it just seemed like the whole thing was all talk and no action. Yes, there were semi-romantic moments at the end, but I couldn't even get into those because I was imagining a beautiful woman in her 50s getting frenched by a 70-year old grandpa. That's not appealing to me at all. Did Steel write this for the elderly crowd? Probably. It's too calm, aside from the bombing, but even that was calm because Steel left gritty details about it out of the story. Another thing that bothered me was the whole time there was this allusion to some rift between Carol and her daughter, and the story never fully went into that issue. The story just scratched at the surface and was so repetitive about the relationship Carol had with her daughter before the bombing. I kept waiting for some deep dark secret to be revealed and got nothing.

I was entertained on my drives while listening, but I think Steel needs to delve deeper next time and write in more juicy details and mystery or drama.

Thanks for letting me borrow this, Heather. ;o)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Donnie Darko

I'm still debating how I feel about this movie. I know that I'll have to watch it a couple more times to pick up on all the little things and connections. Overall, for now, I appreciate schizo Donnie as the hero - giving his own life for the sake of others - in the end which is really the beginning and the end. Oh, and obviously the guy in the bunny costume, Frank, was really freaking freaky. I'm glad he eventually takes off the suit, though, because that would have given me nightmares if I hadn't known who or what was really inside it. Biggest surprise - seeing Patrick Swayze. I didn't know he was in this movie before I started watching. He was good, and it made me sad seeing him again. Still, I'm glad he's got another good film credit. Yes, I do think this was a good movie, even though I don't fully understand it all yet. I'm still intrigued by the time travel elements. I love time travel in movies and the way it messes with my mind. Oh, and favorite line so far - Sometimes I doubt your commitment to Sparkle Motion. This movie has some excellent weirdos.

Maggie Gyllenhaal played Jake Gyllenhaal's sister, and that was neat to see the real-life sibling actors acting together. This was Jake's first major film I believe (not sure), and he was excellent as dark, troubled, sleep-walking schizophrenic Donnie. Jake has continued to get better and better over the years, and, I have to add, hotter and hotter. I patiently await the day he's up for an Oscar.

Next time I watch this, I'm sure I'll have more comments.

Up in the Air

Up in the Air was an instant favorite, and it immediately reminded me of About Schmidt - another movie I really loved which moved to me to tears.

Now, Up in the Air is no tear-jerking revelation, but it's still pretty moving and good entertainment. I'd say the romance in this film is more between the main character and his lifestyle, but there is also a short-lived affair for George Clooney's character, Ryan Bingham, with Alex who is played by the lovely, sexy and, at one moment, semi-nude Vera Farmiga. Clooney still looks good and still knows how to trick you into thinking he really is the guy you're watching on the screen. Anna Kendrick was excellent in her role of Natalie. I think she plays the perfect fresh-out-of-college-wants-to-please-everyone-before-herself-hardcore-business-exec-newbie. Her crying scene is hilarious, too, and I especially like the relationship that developed between Kendrick's and Clooney's characters. The thing I like best about this movie is the end; Bingham's last few lines and the way in which they are delivered by Clooney - almost poetic. I also think the title is perfect, and I take it two ways in relation to Clooney's character - He's literally up in the air, and also the things and relationships in his life are how he wants them to be so nothing is really "up in the air" in those areas. Ryan Bingham has got his certainty, and I think that's nice. There are probably more meanings to that title, and maybe I'm naive in picking up on those obvious ideas, but that's what I gather for now.

SPOILER ALERT IF YOU CONTINUE READING THE FOLLOWING PARAGRAPH!!! Even though it wouldn't be my career choice, I sort of envy one part of Ryan Bingham's job...the part that includes flying from place to place and never staying put. Of course, after a while that becomes boring and very routine, and I'd want more normalcy on the ground. I think Ryan Bingham's obsession with earning 10-million sky miles and his elite membership card collection sort of pacifies his need for more in a way, and though he eventually does give in to being the guy who does want more of a normal, settled life aka the guy he previously decided not to be, you can somehow predict that he'll return to being that almost non-existent shadow flying overhead. That's where his destiny lies, and, at the end of the film, I was comforted knowing that Bingham was back "up in the air" and didn't end up miserable and alone. Yes, he is alone, but I think he's happy. He's happier, at least, for having taken a chance and opened himself up to something new, even if it was just for a short time. What's the old saying? Better to have loved and lost then never to have loved at all.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold

Just finished this book for the second time. I think I read it in college in one of my promotions classes b/c I immediately remembered the first part of the book when I started reading. But I can't remember now if I ever finished it the first time b/c I didn't remember the end. It's not like me to not finish a book though so maybe I just don't have a good memory.

Overall good book. In my head the dad ended up beatin' the killer up, but I guess I just make up happy endings in my memory. Interesting. But the book did end happy so maybe I just wanted some revenge for the dad. I feel like Harvey deserved a worse punishment for what he did. I liked how everything seemed normal on the outsides of the houses but so much was going on inside. I thought Ray and Ruth were good characters, and I loved how everyone came together at the end. They were all so different but connected.

And now for the quotes - These were my favorites from Lovely Bones.

Pg. 63 "Monkeys! - and he began on the rippling path to forgetting for one more day. The shadow of years was not as big on his small body. He knew I was away, but when people left they always came back." - It's funny to me that they spent so much time protecting Buckley when he didn't mind as much as the others. He was "with" his sister longer than most of the people in the book. In a way he was more comfortable with her being gone than the older people in the book.

Pg. 120 "I did begin to wonder what the word heaven meant. I thought, if this were heaven, truly heaven, it would be where my grandparents lived. Where my father's father, my favorite of them all, would lift me up and dance with me. I would feel only joy and have no memory, no cornfield and no grave." - Nice to see she got her heaven later on.

Pg. 125 " 'How to Commit the Perfect Murder' was an old game in heaven. I always chose the icicle: the weapon melts away.' " FINALLY - I get the reference to the icicle from the movie. I was totally confused. Eh..not my favorite.

Pg. 280 "His love for my mother wasn't about looking back and loving something that would never change. It was about loving my mother for everything - for her brokenness and her fleeing, for her being there right then in that moment..." - This is really pretty. If it had that funny old style, it would sound like something out of one of Jane Austen's novels.

Pg. 316 "I now saw that drinking was part of what made her who she was. If the worst of what she left on Earth was a legacy of inebriated support, it was a good legacy in my book." - I like this. Accepting people for who they are "flaws" and all.

Monday, March 29, 2010


I definitely did not expect what I got with this film. It was so much freakier than I imagined, and the twists in the plot were really good ones. I figured out what the first major plot twist was before it was revealed, but I couldn't be sure I was correct about it until everything actually I wouldn't say that this movie was predictable.

I like sci-fi thrillers, and this fits that category perfectly. Ben Foster was super as the character Bower. I'm glad he got to be a good lead. I haven't seen him play a decent character in a while. The other minor characters are good, too, but they were kind of forgettable after the movie was over. Dennis Quaid was adequate in his role.

The special effects were fantastic, and the monsters were extra creepy-looking with their fast walking and jerky movements. The first instant I saw the enemy monsters, I thought the movie might turn sour and go downhill from there, but it only got better and more intense. I was on the edge of my seat at times, and I was glad to be. I didn't expect that from the previews. The ending was satisfactory, and I'd definitely watch this again.

Bluray quality was excellent!

The Blind Side

Great feel-good family movie. There were some tear-jerking moments, and there were alot of laugh out loud parts, too. I think the whole cast was well appointed, and I especially liked the chemistry between Sandra Bullock and Tim McGraw. I think Sandra Bullock definitely deserved the Oscar she won for her role as Leigh Anne Tuohy in this because she really nailed it with the sassy attitude, the accent and just the way she carried herself overall. You can get the sense of who her character is just from the way she walks.

The fact that this movie is based on a true story really makes the movie touch my heart on a whole other level. We need more Tuohy families in the world.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


Aw, I loved this movie. It was fun, funny, romantic and so sweet. Audrey Tautou is one of my favorite foreign film stars, and Gad Elmaleh is on my list now, too. He reminds me of Aidan Quinn...similar facial features and huge blue eyes. I'm a totally smitten kitten with him and his character in this movie, Jean. How can you not like a guy who's a hopeless romantic willing to do anything and pay anything to win over the woman he loves no matter how many times she rejects him? Especially one with his charm and boyish grin. He does a good job of feigning love on screen. I had to rewind a few times to read the subtitles because I was busy watching him watch Tautou's character.

This French love affair is perfect for a girls' night in or if you're just in a feel-good mood. Reminds me a little of French Kiss and Heartbreakers mixed together. I think I'm going to buy it. Heather, you should watch it with me when I get it. It's just oh so sweet!

Easy Virtue

Based on the play by Noel Coward, this is an updated version from the 1927 silent film of the same name. I didn't read the play or watch that silent version Alfred Hitchcock directed. I don't know if this update is an improvement on that either, but most of this was a little bland aside from the scenes with Colin Firth and Jessica Biel together. I knew the way the story would end right from the moment Larita (Jessica Biel) met John's (Ben Barnes) family and Jim (Colin Firth). Jim is John's father, but he seems just as much a stranger to the family as Larita. I wasn't that interested in the first fifteen minutes, but I kept watching to see if I was right about who would end up together and because I adore Colin Firth.

The movie improved only slightly, and there were some funny moments, and some weird ones. There was also extremely light flirting between the ultimate end couple, whom I paired together correctly. The end was mostly satisfying, but there was no last kiss at the calm yet climactic ending. I was so hoping for at least one peck of the lips...even a loving stare would have sufficed. Alas, I wouldn't recommend renting this and definitely not buying it, but if you can watch it instantly over the internet like I did then do that instead.

Little extra - I liked all of Jessica Biel's costumes, and, again, I adore Colin Firth. :o)

Under the Greenwood Tree

I recommend this to those who love romantic dramas with a touch of fun and flirting. It was a nice surprise period piece. I'm glad Netflix had this available to instantly stream so I could view it first before buying, which I did a few days after I watched it.

I've never read the book, but I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. The chemistry between Keeley Hawes and James Murray was evident from the beginning, and their romantic scenes were more than satisfying. I especially loved their second kiss in the woods when, right after it happens and before it continues, Dick Dewey (Murray) says to Fancy Day (Hawes), "I knew you felt the same, Fancy. I knew it. I tasted it on your lips the first time I kissed you." I mean, come on, that is hot! I'd want to kiss him again, too! You just don't hear lines like that anymore. And what is even hotter is the scene in the river with a half-naked James Murray. Now I know he's a little scrawny, but the faint ab lines and the wet bod are plenty tasty eye candy for me.

Aside from all that hot stuff, I enjoyed the classic struggle Fancy was faced with, choosing love or choosing to be loyal to her father. It's fun to watch all the tension and the misunderstandings unfold as the end of the story draws nearer.

This really was a great BBC classic, and the quality of the picture is very comfortable to watch. It's not fuzzy or furry like some of their older productions. The sound is of good quality, and the costumes were well-executed as well as the setting and props.

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

I was bored. I was not hooked from the beginning, and I had a hard time staying awake. The lack of Aslan in most of the story was disappointing. I followed everything, and I wasn't lost at all...even after nodding off a few times, I was able to pick up where I woke up and didn't feel like I missed much. The special effects were great, but I just didn't connect to the characters like I did in the first movie. This story in the chronicles is more evenly paced to me, and maybe that is part of the problem. I didn't feel like there were enough ups or downs, and I like that imbalance to keep me on my toes.

One thing I did like was Ben Barnes as Prince Caspian. He's oddly attractive. I thought the kiss with him and Susan was a bit forced, though. Again, no connection to the characters for me.

Maybe I should watch this again. I feel like I'm being unfair somehow. I'll be sure to comment or update whenever I give it another go. So many people like this movie, so don't let my review keep you from at least renting it.

Love Happens

I watched this a few months ago. Getting caught up on reviews here.

I thought this was a bit slow at times, but it was sweet and sad. You can't expect sad movies to move too quickly or else you lose the sad quality. This appeared to be more of a romance from the trailers, but the movie focused mostly on Eckhart's character dealing with personal tragedy. I admit I shed a few tears for the poor guy and his situation.

Thankfully the slow, budding romance between the two main characters eventually blooms and there is enough interaction between them to balance out the unhappy moments and even induce a bit of laughter and a few "aw" moments.

Aside from what the movie is about, I think the gray Seattle setting was an appropriate backdrop, sometimes adding to the depressing state of things. I enjoyed the sweetness of the flower shop and the VW van that Aniston's character drove, and her house and garden were just adorable and refreshing. All that lightness around her balanced out the darkness with which Eckhart's character was surrounded for most of the movie.

Good for a rental or when you just want to cry and then feel better about life again.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Taking of Pelham 123

I thought the action was slightly on the light side (what was in it was good). The excessive swearing was a bit repetitive and seemed unnecessary for Travolta's character. Four-letter words don't make a movie better. Don't misunderstand me, though, I'm not opposed to cursing. It just appeared to me that the writers were at a loss for original lines.

Washington and Travolta delivered as Garber and Ryder, but I was hoping for a little more depth to their characters...some flashbacks into at least one of their lives would have been nice instead of just listening to them both talk about themselves in general. It was too easy for the good guys to figure out who Ryder really was, too. I think they should have had to dig further and actually investigate. I like it when I don't know something in the story until the characters in the movie actually find out, and I figured Ryder out in the first twenty minutes.

The end was lacking...would like to have seen a better lead into the closure of Garber's personal situation. Overall not bad but a bit of a disappointment. Won't watch it again, but I'd recommend it as a rental to a friend.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Law Abiding Citizen

Another Gerard movie! Woohoo! This one was good, I thought, but it ended kind of abruptly. It was all tricky at first then they suddenly figured it out. Beautiful shot of Gerard when he gets arrested. Check it out if you're a fan.