Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Looking For Alaska - John Green

This is a book Patti Pancake read. This is a header for her to comment. Haven't read this myself yet. Check the comments for info on this one.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Stranger Than Fiction

Sweet and interesting. I like how it demonstrates that everything is connected and serves a purpose; everything in our lives shapes us, makes us who we are and affects what we do every minute of every day. And Will Ferrell is the definition of a true hero in this movie, and it was so great to see him play a different sort of character, one that's not so outrageous and ridiculous but more humble and innocent. I actually loved the whole cast, and I couldn't imagine a different ensemble of actors for this film. Good cast, really good movie! Watch it.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A Walk in the Woods - Bill Bryson

Refreshing. Hilarious! Very informative. Makes me want to hike the Appalachian Trail myself, but I feel like I did mostly because Bill Bryson writes in such crisp detail.

I picked this up and was instantly hooked. I love non-fiction travel accounts, and this was top notch. Not only is it filled with so much information that I feel confident I could brave the AT now, but the witty banter between Bryson and his cohort, Stephen Katz, is so freaking funny. The hilarity that ensues the whole time they are together, the mixture of friends they make along the way, the facts, the stories Bryson tells within the story, his cleverly pitched campaigns to the reader about better treatment of America's natural and historic legends are just a few more reasons why this book is so entertaining. Bryson's writing is so genuine and heartfelt. Very pleasant to read!

I think I will get the audio book for fun. I really loved this book, and I think I'll appreciate it even more hearing it told by the author himself. I'll probably laugh till I burst while I'm listening. I can't wait!

Good Luck Chuck

BEWARE! This movie was such a waste of time. Yuck! All I can say is shallow story and too many boobs.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Suburban Girl

This is an adaptation of Melissa Bank's best-seller, The Girl's Guide to Hunting and Fishing, starring the lovely Sarah Michelle Gellar and the very handsome, older Alec Baldwin. And Alec Baldwin may play a 50-year old, womanizing editor in this film, but he's still so sexy that I know I wouldn't be able to resist if he asked to proofread my sentences.

I thought it was very sweet. It was different (in a good way) from the rest of the chick flicks out there, and, believe it or not, I actually didn't cry my eyes out for once. Amazing, I know, considering what happens at the end.

I haven't read the book it's based on, but I've heard good things from Heather, and judging from some reviews I've read of the book, the movie is not as complex and leaves out a good bit of the lead character's stories. I have it on my "To read" list for now.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Children of Men

My stomach was in knots the whole time (even with hottie Clive Owen playing the lead-you would think I'd be calm at the sight of his smoldering sexiness). I felt so disturbed (and relieved) by the end of this movie. There was so much blood and violence. It's like man-against-man the whole time. It was just hard for me to watch at times, and it's so eerily and disgustingly alarming to think about the things in this movie possibly becoming reality. It's a little far out there to me, but I suppose it could happen.

It's 2027 and the whole world is crap, basically, and Britain is the only decent place left, aside from a secret location where "The Human Project" takes place. No one has had a child in over 18 years because all the women alive are apparently infertile. The main character, Theo, gets asked by his ex to escort a pregnant woman to safety. The entire time I was thinking yeah right, with bullets flying everywhere!

This movie made me ache and quiver with nervousness. I could probably watch it again and be OK since I've prepared myself with a preview of the WHOLE THING. Ha. Ha. I think the lightest thing about the film was watching Michael Caine ask people to pull his finger, but you know what happens when you play that game.

Oh! Oh! I forgot! If you do decide to venture into Children of Men, just know that you will get to see a child of man be born. Yep! A live birth. Oooohhhhnnnnoooo!! Ugh! Yuck! It wasn't really real. Watch the extras to see how it was done. Pretty impressive graphics but still pretty gross. I know, I know, it's beautiful, but I'm sorry, every time I see it I think the same thing, giving birth is NASTY. OK. I'm done.

Saturday, January 19, 2008


Babel focuses on the theme of universal pain and hope, and I think it was well done, even with the entire thing kind of out of sequence . A little too real and frustrating at times, but that is what made it so good. I cried at the end and a lot. I sat there with my tear-stained, mascara-smeared face and was surprised at my outburst of emotions. It was just so powerful and wonderfully moving...or maybe I just get too into movies. Anyway, I highly recommend it.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Shopaholic & Sister - Sophie Kinsella

Much better book than I thought. I'm usually annoyed by the Shopaholic books halfway through b/c Becky seems so shallow. How can someone be obsessed with shopping so much and lie so much? BUT...they are fun reads and cute stories, so I guess it balances out. This one is interesting b/c she meets her sis who is completely opposite yet the same. I like how Becky generally likes people and tries to do good. She just gets sidetracked ALOT. Definitely a good lunch break read. Will look forward to reading Shopaholic & Baby after Angel reads it.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

10 Items or Less

This movie is proof that one person really can make all the difference in another's life.

Morgan Freeman plays an out-of-work actor who loves being a student of life. Paz Vega plays a worn-down grocery store clerk stuck behind the counter of the 10 Items or Less lane .

I love the whole part when they are in the Target store, and I think it is so cute when they pretend to be British. Spot on!

I can't really describe how good this movie made me feel. It was a true delight to see this film that is strangely hilarious, sweet, simple, engaging and has such a strong ending. A definite keeper in my collection.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Italian for Beginners

The movie was sweet, but what a headache. Low-budget film right here. We're talking looks like a home video with tilt-a-whirl camera footage, made-me-want-to-puke-close-ups, and on top of all that...SUBTITLES. I liked it, though. It was good. It would have been better if the cameraman had tried filming from a distance of say 15 feet or more away from the actors during their conversations, but after the first twenty minutes, I wasn't expecting much in the way of cinematography.

Lovely story about a group of Danish people all taking Italian lessons in a small town. Each has their own little sad story (some more sad than others), and everyone eventually finds a happy or at least decent ending on their class trip to Venice.

I was disappointed that the film only took place in Venice for about ten minutes at the end. I was expecting a lot more Italia for my dolla. Too bad, but it was still a good romantic comedy - yep, another one. I love 'em!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Bread and Tulips a.k.a. Pane e Tulipani

So I was looking for movie recommendations this past Saturday as I was browsing online at I figured that if I found some reviewers who had good things to say of movies that I like, those reviewers might have similar taste in entertainment. I came across a good review of Under The Tuscan Sun, which I absolutely love, and Bread & Tulips was listed as a suggestion. Then I read a review of it, and it sounded like what I was in the mood for so I headed over to Blockbuster with my free rental coupon and checked it out. My method worked.

Bread & Tulips is an Italian film about one woman's accidental holiday that completely changes her life for the better.

I really enjoyed this movie; it was interesting to see the character's journeys to a foreign place and within herself. Light-hearted and funny, a good romantic comedy. I'd watch it again.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Say Anything

I'm trying to catch up on my 80s classics this year. This is the first, in a long list, that I planned to watch.

If I hadn't seen him in anything before this movie, it would have turned me into a new fan of John Cusack. He is so good at really becoming the characters he portrays, but the problem I find with him lately is that all his romantic characters are the same guy. I really should branch out and try to see him in something truly dramatic and different.

This was a decent movie. These two very different people find love but go through trials to be together, and what pissed me off is the stupid petty things that kept them apart. It's the whole he's-not-good-enough-for-you-because-he's-from-the-wrong-side-of-the-tracks storyline. We're all familiar with it, but, in this story, a tax-evading-law-breaking dad doesn't approve. It all works out in the end, but when Diane gave Lloyd that pen, I wanted to slap her and her dad! I felt so bad for Lloyd. John Cusack really makes you feel what he's feeling at that point.

I didn't mind Ione Skye as Diane, but she was annoying at times. Maybe it was just the bad 80s wardrobe that was hard to take. John Mahoney is the dad. I liked seeing him in his younger years and without a cane, as I am use to seeing him walk with one on "Frasier." Sarah Jessica Parker played a small role in this, too. I always like her in everything she does. Jeremy Piven and Joan Cusack both briefly make appearances as well.

Pretty much a good teenage love story. I thought the ending made it worth my $3 to rent; seeing whether or not the 'no smoking' sign would ding and signal that everything would be OK was a good way to go.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Paris, je t'aime

This was a neat project. It's a collection of twenty mini movies that last between five to ten minutes each. They are all set in different arrondissements (I suppose that is means neighborhoods or quarters) of Paris, and each one is done by a different renowned director(s). A caption introduction with the name of the arrondissement and director is placed in the corner of the screen at the beginning of each film.

I had to look these up to get the names right. I enjoyed the following featurettes:

-Sylvain Chomet's "Tour Eiffel," which is the story of two mimes who find love.
-Richard LaGravanese's "Pigalle," starring Bob Hoskins as a man who tries to spice things up in his marriage with the help of a prostitute.
-"Tuileries," from Joel and Ethan Coen which shows Steve Buscemi as a tourist trying to tour by the guidebook.
-"Quartier de la Madeleine," a vampire tale from Vincenzo Natali starring Elijah Wood as a tourist who meets an "other-worldly" fate.
-Wes Craven's "Pere-Lachaise," with Rufus Sewell (love him) as an engaged man who takes advice on love from the spirit of Oscar Wilde played by Alex Payne.
-Alexander Payne's "14th Arrondissement," the story of a postal worker, Margo Martindale, as she narrates her visit to Paris.

All of them are really good, and the depressing ones don't get you down for too long because they are mixed in with all the upbeat ones. Of all those, the last one is my absolute favorite. I cried happy tears (surprise-I know!) along with the postal worker. Her story made the whole thing just come together in such a beautiful way! I think it brought the point across perfectly and makes me want to fall in love with Paris, too. Maybe one day I'll make it there and have the chance to tell Paris, je t'aime!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

P.S. I Love You

I listened to the audio book and was so psyched when I heard they were doing a movie, too! I went and saw this alone (completely alone, I was the only one in the theater for the matinee) and was pleasantly surprised at how closely the movie followed the book. A few small details were changed, but I think they were improvements: the setting is mainly New York instead of Ireland and Holly's not Irish, she's American, but those slightly different elements really worked for the movie.

And who knew Irish guys were so hot?! Yum-my! Gerard Butler is my new favorite leading man!!! I've got to see 300 now! And Hilary Swank didn't bother me at all. I was afraid the whole movie would be ruined for me with her as the lead (can you tell I'm not a big H.S. fan?), but she played the character well. There is a scene in the movie where she imitates Judy Garland...that was a little scary because she could totally do Judy in a biopic if they make one. I would actually go see it, too.

I am buying the DVD when it comes out. This one has it all - true love, tragedy, comedy, romance, self discovery and more. The perfect chick flick for a girls night or date night, but be prepared to use a lot of Kleenex!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

The Year of Living Biblically - A.J. Jacobs

Very interesting book! Kudos to A.J. for doing all that for an entire year, and props to Julie too! Not sure I could handle all that going on with my husband and being pregnant at the same time.

This was different than my usual type of book I like to read since it was more of a journal than a story. I like how he was open to just about anything, and I'm glad that the experience changed his life even if it was just a little bit. So many times I was like oooo he's got it!

I love the way this guy thinks. He'd be in the middle of something really serious and then come up with these hilarious comments about the situation. Fun to read!

Here are a few fun parts of the book that I marked as I went along:

Page 95 - Talking about prayers and our place. "They make me feel more connected, more grateful, more grounded, more aware of my place in this complicated hummus cycle. They remind me to taste the hummus instead of shoveling it into my maw like it's a nutrition pill. And they remind me that I'm lucky to have food at all. Basically, they help me get outside of my self-obsessed cranium."

Page 124 - The whole page is good on his realization of sabbath. I wish everyone would experience that, even if it is by accidentally getting locked in a bathroom. "This is what the Sabbath should feel like. A pause. Not just a minor pause, but a major pause. Not just a lowering of the volume, but a muting. As the famous rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel put it, the Sabbath is a sanctuary in time."

Page 213 - On being with others in the journey. "My quest is a paradoxical one. I'm trying to fly solo on a route that was specifically designed for a crowd."

Happy New Year! National Treasure

Happy New Year, Everyone!!! I just saw National Treasure: Book of Secrets. Awesome movie! I think I liked it even more than the the first film. If you like history, puzzles and suspense, and especially if you are a fan of the first movie, you won't be disappointed by Book of Secrets. I can't wait to see the next installment in this series (I assume there is one from the bit of a cliffhanger left at the end.) Terrific adventure and a great movie to start 2008!