• Monthly Movies,  Movies

    Monthly Movies – December 2015

    Inside Out (03 12 2015) – I really wanted to see this when it was released in theatres. I knew I would like this film. I think I hyped it up, but I did get the emotional reaction that I hoped for. I’ve been having a rough couple of months. This past week, I’ve been particularly sensitive so I cried a lot during the Bing Bong scene. I did manage to laugh not too long after. I liked the world building of this movie and a sequel is something I’d like.

    Click (17 12 2015) – The premise of this show would be even funnier and more endearing if it weren’t an Adam Sandler movie. Not to say this movie is without merit. It has a great cast, but the humor does not work for me. It feels like it could be so much more. Not awful, but not great either.

    Ex Machina (17 12 2015) – An incredible film. I adore Gleeson and Vikander from other films so watching them in this was wonderful. Isaacs is chilling as well. I loved the writing and how it was shot. It’s a testament to all involved that it did so well on such a low budget. It was imaginative and well done. I’m glad Vikander is getting the accolades she deserves for this as she is one of my favourite young actresses. I am left unsatisfied with the ending, but it’s definitely a more British/European rather than a neat, hopeful Hollywood ending.

    Anna Karenina (18 12 2015) – I only watched this for Gleeson and Vikander who were playing my two favourite characters from the novel. I never wanted to watch this film because I am not a fan of Joe Wright’s style. I find it more style over substance and it lacks a certain level of depth. It’s pretty, but that’s it for me. The cast was great here; there were amazing sets, costumes, and cinematography. Everyone works except I’m not sold on the Vronsky. Law’s Karenin even more sympathetic than he was in the book and Knightley’s Anna wasn’t sympathetic enough. Then again, I’ve never been a big fan of Knightley which is another reason I avoid of Wright. All in all, a good looking movie, but not one I’ll yearn to see again.

    Frank – (21-22 12 2015) – The Gleeson marathon continues or rather, ends. This is the least likable of all Gleeson’s characters. This movie had many cringe worthy moments as a result of this blind protagonist. It’s a quirky film. Michael Fassbender is simply wonderful in it though. I wish he would do more comedies. The whole cast was good, but Fassbender as Frank carried this film with the pathos.

  • Monthly Movies,  Movies

    Monthly Movies – November 2015

    Spy (09 11 2015) – Saw this in Berlin with my friend. She highly recommended it and wanted to see it again. It is indeed funny because all of the cast were firing. Pairing McCarthy with Melinda Hart, Stratham, and Bryne was brilliant. I’m not a fan of crude humor so those jokes didn’t always work with me, but in general, this was a funny, satirical spy movie. Hope the sequel is just as fun.

    The Hundred Foot Journey (17 11 2015) – Plane movie. Lasse Hallstromm always directs this cute European Anglophone movies. I liked the book, and as an adaptation, it mostly got the spirit of the film. It’s hard to go wrong with Helen Mirren in the French countryside with food. Wish I knew more about Hassan’s family though. Charlotte Le Bon looks lovely though.

    The Second Best Marigold Hotel (17 11 2015) – Plane movie #2. Cute to see the same characters again and I adore most of the actors involved. The inclusion of Richard Gere was actually a bit random though. Ending with all the couples was on the cheesey side. Bless Maggie Smith though. Her snarky and poignant role stopped the ending from being over the top corny.

  • Monthly Movies,  Movies

    Monthly Movies – October 2015

    The Avengers: Age of Ultron (16 10 15) – A bit long. Hawkeye really grew on me; Jeremy Renner shone in this movie. I like Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch. Everything else was standard Avengers fare.

    Trainwreck (26 10 15) – I really enjoyed this. While there were a few scenes that went on too long, most of the movie worked for me. There aren’t enough good romantic comedies like this anymore. Schumer and Hader were wonderful. I thought Schumer did well in her dramatic scenes. The supporting cast was fun. Swinton! At the end of the movie, I wanted more and to follow these characters. A sign of a good movie.

    Pitch Perfect 2 (27 10 15) – I knew this would not be as good as the first movie which I really enjoyed. I even have some of the songs on my phone. This second movie was slower paced and I wasn’t as engaged. It had some nice moments and songs, but not enough of them. Not essential viewing.

    Rewatched Movies

    Groundhog Day (20 10 15) – Was feeling a bit sick so movie time. I read a FiveThirtyEight article on most rewatched movies. Many commenters noted that this was not on the list, but it should have been. I agree. I love the spiritual aspect of this, and it’s my favourite Bill Murray movie.

  • Monthly Movies,  Movies

    Monthly Movies – September 2015

    About Time (06 09 2015) – Absolutely wonderful. I wish films like this were more popular. I loved everything about this movie. I think it’s one of the most romantic films I’ve seen in a long time. It’s probably one of the best movies I’ve seen this year. I found it incredibly touching, moving, and simply perfect. Even with the plot holes! I’m a sentimental and introspective person so this movie was right up my alley. Rachel McAdams and Bill Nighy are good in everything, but this is definitely some of their best roles for me. Now I have to add Gleeson to my ever growing list of actors whom I adore. Definitely a movie for rewatching in the future.

    Man of Steel (06 09 2015) – I can see why this movie didn’t do well. It’s a bit grim and much too serious. However, I really like Henry Cavil as Superman and I think Amy Adams is good Lois Lane. I was satisfied.

    The Parent Trap (14-15 09 2015) – Lindsay Lohan really did have a great screen presence. Not sure why I missed this movie since Lohan and I are the same age, but I grew up watching the original version. Even then the idea of those parents divorcing and splitting the girls up annoyed me. In any case, a fun family movie though I got a bit bored toward the end with the shenanigans.

    Pollyanna (15 09 2015) – Hayley Mills was on my mind, and I’ve never actually read the book or seen the movie. It was a bit slow in parts, but I enjoyed it. I like how Mills looked like such a real child. She was pretty, but she’d scrunch her face up like a kid. You don’t really see that kind of look in child actors anymore. Jane Wyman was beautiful. I liked the storyline of her being this repressed matriarch.

    Wet Hot American Summer (21 09 2015) – Watched because I wanted to see the show, but this movie was a bit meh. It’s silly and at times amusing, but a lot of it wasn’t that funny for me.

    Eyes Wide Shut (21-22 09 2015) – I started this years ago and decided to finally finish it. Boring. Well directed, but very slow paced. I would have preferred to see more of Nicole Kidman, but instead watching Tom Cruise being mauled by various women like he’s a sex god. I understood some of the themes, and I think it would have been alright if the pacing was better.

    To Die For (22 09 2015) – Nicole Kidman is good in this. What an underrated role for her. Joaquin Phoenix is pretty too.

  • Monthly Movies,  Movies

    Monthly Movies – August 2015

    Selected films that I remember watching in August.

    August

    The Wind Rises (August 2015) – I cried. I love Hayao Miyzaki. Beautiful.

    John Wick (August 2015) – I saw this in August. Loved it. Can’t wait for the sequel.

    The World’s End (August 2015)- Hot Fuzz was better.

    Only Lovers Left Alive (August 2015) – Tilda Swintonw + Tom Hiddleston = Love.

    The Grand Budapest Hotel (August 2015)- Gorgeous. Ralph Fiennes in one of his most lovely roles. Lovely Saorise. Wes Anderson at his best. This may even eclipse my love for Rushmore and equal to Fantastic Mr Fox.

  • Books,  Fitness,  Food,  Knitting & Crafting,  Movies,  Travel,  TV

    Sunday Salon: Summer’s Back!

    TSSbadge2

    Hello! It’s been awhile since I did a Sunday Salon. I’ve missed it, but life has really gotten in the way.

    This weekend has been hotter than the standard here. I love that it’s sunny and bright out, but I like to be in the shade or indoors in this kind of weather. It’s relaxing so I like to read! I read one book yesterday and anticipate more day.

    I officially started my job this past Monday. The job is the same one I’ve been doing for a year now, but I was made an employee. This is good for me since I now have some financial security and benefits to boot! Working full-time on this project has been tiring though and does not leave a lot of room for me to keep all my hobbies.

    It’ll be easier if I just do a quick run down on things:

    Books: I hope to read one more book today and start another. I really have not been reading much this year, but hopefully I can catch up this summer to complete my humble 52 books goal this year. I just have too much other stuff going on in my life.

    TV: Was off for a couple days for Canada Day and spent that time and this past week watching: “Sense8,” “New Amsterdam,” “Humans,” “Unreal”, and “The Borgias”. I recommend them all in various ways. Two are airing now.

    Movies: I went to see Magic Mike XXL in a cinema VIP lounge experience. As someone who no longer really goes to the cinema, I loved the comfortable and bigger seating. So much so that it makes me think I’ll do it again this year. Movie was really fun as well.

    Food: I usually bake at least once or every other week, but I didn’t this past week due to the weather. Made a really nice Orange Ricotta loaf the other week though. I haven’t baked bread in over a month. I made a really good black bean and quinoa salad for lunch last week. Now I’m a bit stumped on what I will eat this week for lunch.

    Fitness: I’m not running 🙁 A couple weeks after I completed my half-marathon in May, I noticed some pain in my inner calf. I think it’s a minor stress fracture. I’m going to go to physiotherapy soon to check it out. I have a 10K in early September that I still hope to run. In the meantime, I am trying to ride my bike and I’ve been doing some yoga.

    Knitting: Finally finished those socks I started in September. No photos yet. I am really not knitting anymore.

    Travel: Maybe heading down to the USA for a couple days in August. I am also planning a holiday back to the UK in the autumn. Hope to get that finalized soon. I can’t wait to travel abroad again!

    Real Life: Work has complicated things and I had some issues with my neighour the last two months. I really hope things will be calmer now. My friends and family are still very important so I am prioritizing them more in the warm months.

    Whew! I think that should be a long enough update. I will continue to blog about my books. To those of you still reading this blog, thank you!

    Have a happy week!

  • Books,  Fitness,  Movies

    Sunday Salon – Veronica Mars

    Sunday Salon

    Hello everyone! It has been awhile since I did a Salon post or even blog. I have been very busy this month: ran my 10km, celebrated a birthday, worked a lot, socialized, and worked out.

    The last week was rough as I injured myself so am resting my leg and a bunch of other silly annoying things happened. I’m glad it was done with. Yesterday, I ended it by watching the new Veronica Mars movie. I really enjoyed it and

    Today, I went to hot yoga and rewatched the movie and read some fanfiction. I couldn’t resist. I remember watching the show for the first time eight years. It reminded me how addictive I found it. I also downloaded the Veronica Mars: The Thousand Dollar Tan Line ebook and audiobook. I’m listening to it now. I’ll put up a review of the book when I’m done. I’ll probably devour the ebook at some point.

    I have not been reading very much this month either. I’ve been too busy doing the aforementioned activities. I’ve lost some reading mojo as well. I really need to start my Classics Spin novel: Kim by Rudyard Kipling. Will tonight be the evening?

    Hopefully I can read and blog more in April. I know I won’t be blogging in May because I will be in China. I will not be taking my laptop. I’ve loaded my Kindle though and bought a new camera lens.

    Now back to some books. Have a great end of March!

  • Books,  Movies

    Sunday Salon: Sneezy

    Sunday Salon

    This weekend, I finished reading Georgette Heyer’s The Toll-Gate and am now going through Gretchen Rubin’s Happier at Home.

    Sadly, I have a cold. I’ve been fighting to get one for the last couple of weeks now, and it finally landed with a strong cough, sore throat and sneezing. It’s only gotten worse with the weekend so I’ve been cooped up at home with the books.

    I also watched Star Trek: Into the Darkness. It was alright, but I think I liked the first movie more. I am watching less and less movies and full wrong TV shows these days as work, real life, books and blogging take precedent.

    Reading during the week is now more difficult because I am working again. I was only able to read more this weekend because I’ve been ill. I have been missing it lately, and it’s doubtful I’ll find more time to read since I like to take advantage of the autumn weekends.

    The weather is cooler and this week, I rearranged my wardrobe and took some of my handknits out. Autumn is my favourite season in Canada so I am excited that is here finally, but of course, a bit sad to see summer go.

    How is your September coming along?

  • Books,  Movies

    On the Road by Jack Kerouac

    This is one of those novels that seemed almost like nonfiction. It is based on Kerouac’s actual journeys across America so a lot of it was probably real. The inconsistency and wildness seemed too strange to be fiction at times. I don’t know what is fact and what is fiction.

    I liked Kerouac’s style early on. Sal the protagonist is observant, perceptive and largely optimistic about life. The novel is set in a time just right after the war and even with all the drug use, sex, and madness, there is a certain innocence of America in that time. It was before the Cold War became central, the 1960s, Vietnam and the turbulent decades for America’s loss of innocence.

    It took me longer than read this book. I was a bit stuck one third and half way through the book because while many things do happen in the book, there isn’t a formal plot per se. It meanders with vignettes which did not make me likely to pick it up.

    The use of stream of consciousness increased in the book as well. There were times when I felt things were getting worse as the book wore on. There were the same adventures over and over. Sometimes, it felt sadder by the chapter.

    The end with Mexico was interesting though, and in general, I liked Kerouac’s writing. I would read his works again.

    Read June 23-30 2013.

    On the Road (2012)

  • Monthly Movies

    Monthly Movies – May 2013

    For the last couple of months, I’ve been watching mostly TV and rewatching movies and shows. I don’t think I watched a new movie for almost two months until War Horse.

    War Horse (18 05 2013) – Review Here.

    Kinky Boots (25 05 13) – I remember seeing the trailer for this back in 2005 o 2006. I’ve liked Chiwetel Ejiofor since Dirty Pretty Things and the man should be more famous. He is wonderful in this film. It is fun and underrated. The romance aspect of the movie is a bit trite and boring though. It should have just focused mainly on Ejiofor’s character Simon/Lola and the friendship with Charlie Price. I would still recommend this film just for people to see Eliofor.

    Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (26 05 13) – I could have watched something funnier, but I just wanted something to knit along to for a Sunday night. Since I’ve read the book and seen the original Swedish movie, I thought it would require less attention. I’ve had the movie for awhile too because I adore Daniel Craig. I would watch a whole movie of him and that cat. It was interesting and realistic to see people smoking for once in an American movie. In any case, great acting all around. While I loved Noomi Rapace’s acting, Rooney did a great job here too. She was physically very Lisebeth. I felt the Mickael/Lisbeth hookup was rushed in this film compared to the other one, but these two actors had more chemistry than the first film. I was not crazy about the music. They changed the ending and some of the details, but they elaborated on the ending a bit more. Then it ended rather abruptly just like in the book. I think overall, the Swedish version does edge out this one. I’ll watch the sequel, but I really only liked parts 1 and 3 of the series.

    Notably Rewatched

    Howl’s Moving Castle – Hayao Miyazaki is one of the few people I consider geniuses. His movies touch me and make me feel good without being too contrived or cliched. He really captures imagination and creativity. I’ve been rewatching a lot of his movies in the last year, and not sure which to pick next. Though none of them can do wrong. The movie reminds me that I should read the book one day.

  • Books,  Movies

    War Horse by Michael Morpurgo

    War Horse by Michael Morpurgo

    I was apprehensive of this children’s book mostly because I get very sad with animal stories. I remember watching Black Beauty (1994) as a kid, and being crying. I rarely cried during movies when I was younger, and even now, it’s not that common for me. But animals are a soft spot for me, especially when they are exploited.

    I remember reading All Quiet on the Western Front and being appalled by the idea that horses were sent into battle in the First World War. It’s abhorrent to have animals fighting and dying for our wars and that war was costly in itself.

    This novel is an antiwar novel and it also demonstrates the human kindness between man and animal. A lot of the characters interact with Joey the horse and through war, they receive what is now known as animal therapy. There is much love and respect between the men and horses in this film and rightly so.

    The book is not very long and only took me 1.5 hours to read it (with breaks). The prose is simple but beautiful. The messages are clear and I really enjoyed it. Maybe all the positivity did go slightly to the cheesy side for some, but it worked for me. There is death, but this is a story of hope of course. Is it realistic? Not necessarily, but there is a lot of love in it which works for me.

    I really think it’s a lovely book for children. I don’t believe children should be coddled and it’s a book that teaches history as much as animal rights. Recommended.

    Read May 17th 2013

    War Horse (2011)