• 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,  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

    Brief Encounter by Noel Coward

    Brief Encounter

    Some years ago, I requested this book from the library thinking it was the movie. When it finally came, I realized my mistake and got the DVD as well. I thought I may as well read the screenplay. It has been awhile since I read a play rather. Actually, I don’t remember the last time I even read a screenplay.

    This is a story about two people who fall in love at the wrong time. It is a story full of observation, simplicity, introspection, and Englishness. It has characters who are repressed, restrained yet they are still capable of deep love and feelings. It captures the yearning and initial rush of new love. It is excellent directed and has a great soundtrack featuring Rachmaninoff.

    There is a saying that to make a relationship work you must have chemistry and timing. Alec and Laura had chemistry; there is an almost unexplainable attraction to one another. It is not as if Alec or Laura seem to be terribly unhappily in their marriages or at least in Laura’s case. We know less about Alec. The one thing I am critical about is that Alec is not as developed as Laura; the audience never quite get to know him. Maybe that is the point from Laura’s perspective too. She fell deeply for a man she barely knew, but they had a great yet short time together and she knew that and her own desire for him.

    Maybe it is the romantic in me that believes that two married people could fall in love so suddenly because their lives had become so dull and pedantic. It is believable that neither of them seems to have actually ever been in love with their partner. I actually think this story is rather realistic or has emotional reality.

    The film portrays these feelings and interactions perfectly.

  • Monthly Movies,  TV

    Monthly Movies – January 2013

    The Dark Knight RisesBatman: The Dark Knight Rises (03 01 2013) – This was long. I think I got a headache from watching it. Batman (DCAU) is part of my childhood, but Nolan’s Batman will never be my Batman. I can’t imagine Batman giving up for eight years in seclusion or even saying goodbye to Alfred. Nolan really made sure Batman lost everything though: his money, his city, his identity, Afred, but I did like the ending of this film. This film felt like two films though. There was perhaps a little too much going. I thought the casting was great in all parts. I like Tom Hardy, but I wasn’t really in love with his Bane voice or his portrayal until the very end. Marion Cotillard is amazing in anything. But really, the stand out for me was Joseph Gordon-Levitt whom I continue to adore and have since “Third Rock from the Sun”.

    A Young Doctor's NotebookA Young Doctor’s Notebook (17 01 2013) – This is a TV mini series. I don’t watch enough TV or movies nowadays for them to get separate posts. This four 22-minute episode series stars Jon Hamm and Daniel Radcliffe playing older and younger versions of a Russian doctor the 1934 and 1917. It is based on stories written by Mikhail Bulgakov (one of Radcliffe’s favourite authors). The plot is rather thin, and it’s more a psychological analysis of the doctor. Hamm and Radcliffe talk to each other as the former reminiscences about his earlier self. It’s on the gory side and there are a couple of sexual situations (no nudity) with Radcliffe aka Harry Potter. While I don’t imagine Radcliffe when I read the Harry Potter books, he is still one version of Harry so it weirded me out to see him in those situations. Still, there is some really dark funny moments for it, but this series is not for everyone. The ending is dark which is typical of Russian literature. Not really a light series.

    ScandalScandal (22-23 01 13) – I watched all of season one and caught myself up to date with the episodes of season two. This is an addictive show, and I have not really liked Shonda’s writing, but her team is doing a decent job of the writing. The serialized procedural aspect is not often interesting and usually all about sex scandals. A couple of the characters are a bit flat. Of course with a lot of shows I watch, I overlook the writing for the actors. Kerry Washington and Tony Goldwyn have some best on TV. I am definitely an Olitz shipper. I also adore Olivia Pope’s wardrobe. Good show.

    Cloud Atlas (29-31 01 2013) – Movie and book review posted here.

    Notably Rewatched

    Sliding DoorsSliding Doors (earlier in January) -I skimmed this to all my favourite i.e. all the scenes with John Hannah. I’ve seen this film at least four times. I do see the gaps in the plot and the timeline, but it is a dramatic rom-com so I can’t be too hard on it. This is still the only movie where I find Paltrow tolerable, but is very thin in this movie.

  • Monthly Movies

    Monthly Movies July 2012

    Magic MikeMagic Mike (29 07 2012) – Generally, I don’t really go to movies in theatres anymore because I can wait for the DVD. I also am use to watching movies alone, but the hype for this movie and how fun it was got to me. So I gave in and thought it would a good idea to go with a good girlfriend of mine and her friend too. It was fun; the dance sequences were very good. I went in going for Channing Tatum and left not feeling very impressed with anyone else. Most of the other dancers were not explored. Matthew McConaughey was standard greedy, unctuous business owner. The soundtrack was decent, but other than that, this movie doesn’t have much going on aside from the dance numbers. There was too much plot. I would have preferred just to watch a long music video of male strippers. It really was the only good thing about the movie. I knew going in that Cody Horn would probably not be good. In the scene where she sees him dance on stage, she looked angry and bored. I don’t think that was what the actor was going for. She was boring and had no chemisty with Tatum. While heis not the most talented actor ever, he is charismatic and has decent chemistry with many of his past co-stars, but with Horn, they had none. There was too much plot, and I kept thinking, “Forget this emoness and talking, let’s go back to the dancing”. Also, the writing was a bit lame. Why were the college guys in the sorority scene? Secondly, I have liked Steven Soderbergh in the past, but with The Girlfriend Experience and this, I have not been overly impressed with his work lately. His casting and certain visual choices leave some things to be desired. This movie had some very yellow scenes. I guess it was to emphasize the atmosphere and the location of Florida, but it was too golden sometimes. In any case, who cares about acting, plot, direction, and cinematography? The only reason I and any woman (or gay man) would see this again is for the dancing and the grinding scenes.

  • Monthly Movies

    Monthly Movies May 2012

    Escaflowne the movieEscaflowne: the movie or Escaflowne: Girl in Gaea (05-06 05 2012) – I am trying to remember if I watched this film before, and I don’t think I did. I did watch all of the anime in the 1990s though. It is probably one of my favourite animes in terms of how memorable it was for me. The visuals and soundtrack in this film are good, just like the anime was. Hitomi is a tad emo in this though. There were some weird monologues going on and a lot of rushed characterizations. Folkien was two dimensional and everyone kept talking about how sad they were. Still, this is a decent intro to the anime series in that it only makes you want to watch the anime again.

     

    She's the ManShe’s the Man (23-24 05 2012) – Notably Rewatched. ALl the genderbending and crossdressing from the Heyer novels reminded me of this. I really like Twelfth Night so I watched this a couple years ago. This movie is cheesy but underrated. It has a cult following in a way. It is a feel good movie and is immensely rewatchable.

    I only watched one new movie this month. I was taking a certification so I was in school for most of this month and my hobbies suffered. Still, I am watching less movies nowadays. I prioritize reading and knitting over films now. Furthermore, I tend to watch more tv shows. I think the quality of TV has actually improved over the years so I follow more shows.

    I do still like watching movies, but I can live without watching too many. There is a difficult in that I hoard films so I have a large queue of unwatched movies.

  • Monthly Movies

    Monthly Movies April 2012

    The Hunger Games (03 04 2012) – In theatres, see post here.

    MuppetsThe Muppets (09 04 2012) – I use to watch “The Muppet Show” as a kid and have seen a couple of the Muppet movies (love a Muppets Christmas Carol) so it was a given to watch this. Additionally, I like Jason Segal’s work in both HIMYM and Forgetting Sarah Marshall. This movie had its moments; I usually like Kermit et al., but of the human cast, one highlight was Chris Cooper. I like him in almost everything. It was light and good to see the muppets again.

    CCThe Castle of Cagliostro (13, 15 04 2012) – The original Japanese version with English subtitles. I saw this partially on a road trip. I got it from the library because it was directed by Hayao Miyazaki. Actually, this was his feature film directorial debut. Made in 1979, this film does not boast the best animation, but it’s light hearted, fun and has Miyazaki’s touch of story telling tinged with nostalgia, romance and history.

  • Movies

    The Hunger Games movie

    Hunger Games

    It’s been over a year since I read the books, but I did enjoy them for the most part. They are entertaining and it is definitely a series which I thought would translate on screen especially since the author Suzanne Collins wrote the screenplay and seems to be so involved with the films. I enjoyed the film too, and it is hard to condense such an action packed book into a film even if the film was 2.5 hours.

    The casting of Jennifer Lawrence was perfect as I anticipated. I saw her in Winter’s Bone (which I also read). The protagonists of THG and WB are essentially the same: independent, strong young women with younger siblings, unstable mothers, and no father. Lawrence has this ability to be both strong and steely, but also very quickly and naturally, sensitive and vulnerable. I like that she herself looks normal physically without being too skinny. She is one of my favourite young actors. I also liked Lenny Kravitz being cast and few people could have taken on that role.

    When the guys were cast, I was more unsure. Peeta was one of my favourite characters in the books so I wasn’t sure about Josh Hutcherson. It wasn’t until recently that I found out he was the kid from Bridge to Terabithia! That and the promotional interviews made his image ascend in my eyes. I thought he did a decent job for what’s written. They even toned down the romance. The guys don’t really get a lot of stuff in this movie. Gale has such a small role up until the third movie and Liam Hemsworth is unremarkable likewise.

    The emotional note in the book for me was and the played onscreen as well. I did like how it was an epic movie and that they obviously built and designed so much of the film. I was also impressed with the music. It was effective especially in the action and darker scenes.

    All in all, I look forward to the sequel. As a reviewer and someone who reads and watches adaptations, I am lenient on these things. I just want to be entertained and to escape, and this did that for me.

    Watched April 3rd, 2012 in theatres. I usually don’t see movies in theatres very much; I average about one of them a year now. Years ago, as a high school student, I would go to see movies in theatres all the time. I would often go alone; I watch movies alone all the time even now. It was a bit addictive back then so I stopped. Everyone was telling me how good The Hunger Games (or my friends who had also read the books liked it) so I decided to go for it on cheap Tuesdays.