Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Stay – Shakespear’s Sister
I have an extensive music collection. As technology advances, I adapt, but I find it hard to give up the past. This means I have an iPod, but also a boombox for cassettes, a CD walkman and yes, a turntable. When I first got my iPod, I was careful not to load every CD I own onto it. This was a good call, I didn’t want to waste space, still, I go through phases musically and sometimes I need to dig through my archives. This weekend I decided I’m in a Sarah McLachlan phase. I was surprised that the Surfacing CD was not on my iPod, so I had to hunt it down. Now this is exactly why I love my tangible CDs, tapes and album; physically digging is so much more satisfying than scrolling through a huge list on my computer. A cassette caught my eye and lo and behold…it was Shakespear’s Sister 1992 Hormonally Yours. It made me remember the creepy video that went along with their mild hit, Stay. Doesn’t this have a vampire type of feel to it? This could probably be a hit again with all the recent vampire interest. I like it for the awesome vocals.
**Oh and by the way, this video post has their name spelled wrong. I'm holding the tape in my hand and it's Shakespear.
Saturday, August 28, 2010
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
This is the current (old) song I'm digging right now. It's from 2001 and it can be hard to find because it's actually performed by Afro Celt Sound Syste. Peter Gabriel is just doing a guest vocal. It's currently available on iTunes but not under Peter Gabriel. Enjoy the video I found!
Monday, August 23, 2010
Last night, I was spending the evening with my husband and son when I made the off handed remark, “I’m easy to please.” My son’s reply was, “Not when it comes to movies!” Maybe he’s right. Maybe it’s not the movies, but me. It seemed like movies used to be better. So many fall short for me these days. And, once again, they are too long!
It’s funny that I even wanted to see Eat Pray Love. I remember everyone going gaga for this book, but even reading the back cover, I failed to connect with author Elizabeth Gilbert. I didn’t really understand why her year traveling was considered a big deal since she already traveled extensively and wrote about it.
Being able to find your true self through travel after a divorce is a luxury that could only be afforded to someone without children. Certainly, I chose to have children and so I do not begrudge Ms. Gilbert of her adventures and discoveries. It’s just difficult to relate. Let’s put it this way: if I wrote a book about traveling for a year, it would be far from my comfort zone, since I have never been anywhere.
Alright, on to the movie. I had some serious issues with casting and storyline. I actually went back to the bookstore to look at the back flap of the book. Apparently, Elizabeth Gilbert was in her 30’s when she went on her self-discovery adventure. As a woman in my 40’s, believe me, there’s a big difference between your 30’s and your 40’s. The book seemed to be a big hit with women in their 40’s, maybe because of the Oprah push, and I guess that’s why they cast Julia Roberts. This decision, though, screwed up things in the movie. I’d say the youngest Julia Roberts could pass for is maybe 38. So when she tells Javier Bardem that her eight year marriage didn’t work because they were “young,” I felt like she couldn’t really use that excuse. If she was 32 instead, maybe I could accept it.
These issues weren’t just with her character. Bardem tells us he was a stay-at-home dad and once the children were all grown, he and his wife grew apart. Well, his 19 year-old son is in Bali with him and mentions the fact that his dad has been divorced for ten years. This would mean he was 9 when his parents split and hardly close to being grown. To me, this is plain sloppiness on the part of the filmmakers. If you’re going to take liberties with the original story, go through your whole story and be consistent.
Julia Roberts’ character (Liz) makes three stops in her travels: Rome, India and Bali. The Rome portion of this film felt like a Lifetime movie including a kicky little "let’s go buy jeans montage!" The cinematography of the food was beautiful, but when she was served a large plate of spaghetti and she coyly looks around her before diving in, I rolled my eyes and almost yelled out, “Give me a break!” If you want to see beautiful food and the important role it plays in life, go rent Big Night.
Now, I’m not ripping this whole movie to shreds. The portion when we see Liz in India is the best part of this film. Everything felt genuine and the performances of Richard Jenkins (Richard) and Rushita Singh (Tulsi), both brought me to tears. But just when I thought this film may redeem itself, she goes to her last stop, Bali.
In Bali, she meets Javier Bardem (Felipe). Her developing relationship with Bardem doesn’t feel believable at all, even though this is what happened in real life. It’s hard to root for these two to be together because he seems a lot like the husband she left. He’s cute, a little nerdy and is way more infatuated with her than she is of him. If we are to believe that Roberts has grown on her journey, the viewer is challenged to accept it when it appears she’s simply going to make the same mistakes again.
Also, by this time, the movie has completely overextended itself and you’re begging to be released. I’m not sure what lessons Ms. Gilbert learned in her adventures, but I know what I learned…if you weren’t interested in the book, definitely skip the movie!
Sunday, August 22, 2010
This summer, the creators of Degrassi embarked on a huge undertaking. For the entire month of August they decided to air a new Degrassi episode from Monday through Thursday each week. This is hard work for crew, writers, actors, you name it. This little Canadian series really stuck its neck out and it’s paid off big time.
Originally an obscure PBS series that began twenty years ago, Degrassi has found a new life on the Teen Nick Channel. How is a 42 year old mom watching Degrassi? Well, two reasons. First of all, I have two teenagers in my house. Second, I watch repeats of That 70’s Show every night on Teen Nick. I see the compelling commercials, and I simply must tune in.
Oh, I forgot about the Shark in the Water video! This awesome song by VV Brown, which I highlighted in my Song of the Week, had a companion video of things to come on Degrassi. If you watched Teen Nick for one hour, you were guaranteed to see this at least once. They did a stellar job with this promo, because since the song was so cool, you’d watch it over and over. How could I not get roped into finding out what “The Girl Who Doesn’t Know Her Own Secret” means?
I would love to write Degrassi off as over-the-top teen melodrama that is merely fluff entertainment. However, there are times when they are able to tap into something so emotional you feel it to the core. I was impressed with how the writers handled the storyline of transgendered teen Adam/Grace. I could really feel Adam’s anguish with his peers and family trying to accept that he could no longer be Grace. This was handled with class and I think viewers will walk away with a deeper appreciation of how difficult life and choices are for transgendered individuals and their families.
Basically, if you watch Degrassi with your teen for a couple of months, you’ll have the opportunity to discuss every subject under the sun with them. From pregnancy, to cancer, domestic violence, homophobia, online predators, and even how much work it can be to own a teacup pig! Degrassi, will leave no stone unturned!
I have to say, I’m pretty pumped for this last week of The Boiling Point. All the plot points in the video have been presented except the final one on the wheel…LOCKDOWN!
Bring it on Degrassi!
Saturday, August 21, 2010
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
If the trailer is whetting your appetite, how about checking out their reunion/interview on Jimmy Fallon?
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
All I Know Is the Way I Feel – Ruth Pointer
Oh, this is a warm, sexy, smooth song that nobody knows about. Back in the late 80’s they played it on my local Smooth Jazz radio station. Now, I was forced to find a used CD on Amazon. I hate to recommend songs that would be hard for you to find, but sometimes they are sooo good. Even I had a hard time because it was not put out by The Pointer Sisters as I originally thought. This was actually a solo effort by Ruth Pointer. It’s on the 1986 release, Hot Together. If you’re at a garage sale or in used record store, it’s really worth it. I was able to find it on CD and transfer it over to my iPod. Smooth and cool, Ruth does it right even without the sisters!
Sunday, August 15, 2010
|The Colbert Report||Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
Thursday, August 12, 2010
I apologize to fans of The Office, when it comes to this show, I’m a bit of a snob. I watched the original with the brilliant Ricky Gervais on BBC America. At the time it was sort of my wonderful secret. No one knew about this show in my circle of friends. I turned my brother-in-law on to it which turned out to be a good thing for me because he gave me the complete series on DVD a couple of years back.
The American version doesn’t work for me. There are so many actors on the show that I love. I’m a fan of Steve Carell, Ed Helms, and John Kransinski, but the show grates on me. With British people it works, what can I say?
Anyway, all the uproar about Carell leaving has really been of no interest to me until today. I’m sure it’s way too early in the game, but today Rhys Darby was tossed into the arena as a possible replacement. Darby was hilarious on Flight of the Conchords and I’m telling you, I would watch if he was on. If you don’t know him, or you think he wouldn’t fit in, check this out.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Out Here On My Own – Irene Cara
While everyone was listening to the title track from the movie FAME, this is the Irene Cara song I was playing over and over. I still know all the words to this one. Her vocals are fantastic. I love to sing this song, but I doubt you’d like to hear me. Instead, pull out your old Fame soundtrack and give this one a spin.
I’m sorry to inform all of you that summer is quickly coming to an end. Officially, you probably don’t feel summer is over until Labor Day Weekend, but both my kids go back to school this month, so my lazy days are over.
Overall, it’s been a disappointing movie season. The only film that exceeded my expectations was Toy Story 3, and oddly enough, that’s the only one I didn’t write a review for. I find it difficult to put into words the joy that the Toy Story films bring out in me. From the opening train scene, where I had a ear to ear grin on my face, to the edge of my seat teeth gnashing during the trash site sequence, to my culminating sobs at the end; Pixar seems to know how to hit all the right spots on me. So hands down, Toy Story3 was the best of the summer and to date the best of 2010. It’s going to be pretty hard to beat it in my opinion.
Here’s a look back at my summer movie going experience.
I can’t see them all. Unfortunately, no one pays me to do that. I may have missed a great gem. So tell me now, what was your favorite movie this summer?
Monday, August 9, 2010
I really wanted to see this in theaters. I even tried to go. I took a vacation day when my son got his braces on. I took him back to school after his appointment and found myself with a couple of hours to myself. For me this always means, “Do I have time to see a movie?” I was soon standing in front of the theater only to see that Kick Ass already started. It wasn’t the worst thing to happen because I ended up seeing Hot Tub Time Machine instead.
Needless to say, I’ve been anticipating the DVD release for months. Invisible high school student, Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) wonders why no one has ever made an effort to be a super-hero. Fate does not step in here, and that is what makes this story refreshingly different. Dave does not develop special powers, nor does he have dramatic circumstances happen to him. Instead, he is driven, mostly by boredom, to begin to pursue his dream of becoming a super-hero named Kick Ass.
It doesn’t take long before Dave finds himself in a lot of trouble as he comes closer to the underbelly of the city. He also finds out that he’s wrong. Other “regular” people are becoming super-heroes in the form of Big Daddy and his pint-sized killing machine daughter, Hit Girl. However, these two have an ax to grind. Big Daddy wants to take down Frank D’Amico, the city’s Crime Boss, for ruining his life. Big Daddy has trained his daughter Mindy, aka Hit Girl, for this task. They have spent a considerable amount of time plotting and building their arsenal. After meeting these two, Dave begins to realize that he’s bitten off more than he can chew, but getting out may not be so easy.
During one of Dave’s “rescues,” he was recorded on someone’s cell phone. Kick-Ass has become an internet sensation. There’s Kick-Ass merchandise in the local comic book store, thousands of hits to Dave’s Kick-Ass website, and impersonators popping up like Red Mist (Christopher-Mintz Plasse).
Watching this movie made me immediately worry that parents took kids that were way to young to see this; this not some cutesy movie. This movie was super violent and the most relentless of them all was little Hit Girl. Chloe Moretz is taking over as the new Dakota Fanning. With turns in 500 Days of Summer, and the upcoming Let Me In, she’s certainly picking eclectic roles.
It’s also nice to see that Christopher Mintz-Plasse was not just a flash in the pan. He’s actually shaping up to be a halfway decent actor. Aaron Johnson was quite the cutie and made Dave/Kick-Ass a guy you could root for.
This film kept me thoroughly entertained throughout, unlike so many other movies lately. The story was interesting, I cared about more than one character, it wasn’t too long or too short, and basically, I totally want to be Hit Girl when I grow up! Who could ask more of a movie? I guess I’m not alone because I just found out they are making Kick-Ass 2: Balls To the Wall. I’m not sure they should do that, as it’s usually too much of a good thing, but maybe I could be pleasantly surprised a second time.
Lastly, it was pretty funny to see Clark Duke show up in this since he was also in Hot Tub Time Machine, which was the film I ended up seeing the day I planned to see this.
Saturday, August 7, 2010
What I enjoyed most about Cyrus is what I think some moviegoers would hate. This film stayed in a very realistic realm. It never went over the line to situations that would not occur in real life.
This film played on the tiny nuances and irritations of uncomfortable circumstances. John C. Riley is trying his best to ingratiate himself with his new girlfriend and her adult son. The son, however, does not want his cushy situation disrupted in any way. Jonah Hill is truly an under-appreciated comic actor. He has so many layers to his character, Cyrus, that even the audience is not quite sure what is bubbling beneath his surface.
The one thing that bugged me in this film was the huge amount of eye makeup on Marisa Tomei. I know that sounds ridiculous, but she had these giant false eyelashes and heavy eyeliner on all the time! When she went to bed, when she woke up...come on, if you went to bed with that much eye makeup, you’d look like a raccoon in the morning! There was so much authenticity, it just seemed glaringly out of place. Regardless, Tomei’s performance was excellent. You may think it’s impossible to believe her as Jonah Hill’s mom, but she totally pulls it off.
In the end, you’d lose nothing to wait for this film on DVD, yet sometimes I enjoy seeing these smaller films in the theater. I went with my daughter and there was actually a pretty good turnout. It’s nice to see a crowd for something without explosions and comic book heroes.
By the way, if you don't think Jonah Hill is funny, see if this changes your mind.
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
Thursday, August 5, 2010
I just heard that November 8th is when Conan's new late night show will drop on TBS. I can't wait. Of course my kids will be back in school and I'm not going to be able to stay up so late...but hell, I'm a perpetual night-owl. What can I say? I'm sure I'll end up watching it every night instead of taping it like a good girl.
For those of you new to the couch, this whole Conan/Leno/NBC thing really got my panties in a bunch.
Here's a look back.
Conan vs Leno: The Beginning
On and On
The Sad Goodbye
Conan on 60 Minutes
Am I a little obsessed?
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
In a sea of summer disappointments, this one’s a winner and will be a future winner come Oscar time. Catch it now!
The Kids Are All Right (Motion Picture Soundtrack)
While I’m singing the praises of the film, how about also recommending the soundtrack? With a quirky blend of old (Joni Mitchell) and new (MGMT), this soundtrack offers a little something for everyone.
To Kill A Mockingbird (50th Anniversary Edition)
Maybe you haven’t read this since High School, maybe you’ve always planned to read it (like me). Well now is the perfect time to throw this in your backpack or beach bag and revisit or finally discover this classic.
Hot Tub Time Machine
If you missed this in theaters, treat yourself to this hilarious, raunchy, time- traveling, 80’s fun.
Degrassi: The Boiling Point
Hey, if you can’t get enough teen melodrama, Degrassi is serving it up for you every weeknight all month long! Dang, they work those Canadian kids hard!
Monday, August 2, 2010
Ayelet Waldman’s new book of essays Bad Mother, will certainly get conversations stirring. Ms. Waldman is the sacrificial lamb for all mothers. She’s willing to put it all out there and be judged for her opinions and choices. Most mothers are only willing to put their toe in the water when it comes to saying how they really feel about a topic or situation. Waldman dives in head first, let’s the fur fly and never apologizes for her feelings. They are, after all, her feeling and it’s interesting how many other people seem to forget that.
To date, Waldman has faced harsh criticism for saying she loves her husband more than her children and how it would be much easier to have her son be gay so she wouldn’t have to suffer a daughter-in-law. As usual, those quick to judge miss the point.
Waldman is passionate about the things she’s believes in, but whet it comes to the foray of motherhood, she feels like all mothers today. If you only scratch the surface, you miss that heartfelt message underneath. Ayelet Waldman wants us mothers to work together and stop judging and holding each other up to unrealistic standards. Who better than her to lead the battle cry? Would any of us want our mothering skills under such public scrutiny?
Still, it all comes down to the writing and Ms. Waldman is one hell of a writer. Her humor is biting and she never takes herself, or her ever growing fame, too seriously.
From the laugh at loud essays “Sexy Witches and Cereal Boxes” and “Tech Support” to the soul searing “Rocketship” and “Legacy,” this collection runs the gamut of every happy, funny, horrible, challenging and life altering emotions motherhood has to offer .
I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Ms.Waldman several times on her tour to promote this book. Each time, she was funny, smart, warm and approachable. She reads from a different excerpt of her book and she comes across as genuine. Plus, she brings the most delicious baked goods. She hardly comes off as a bad mother, maybe just a real one, treading the waters of motherhood like all of us. I never feel like I’m expected to agree with everything she’s putting out there, quite the contrary. By stripping away all of the taboo subjects we’re not supposed to talk about or even think about, if we’re “good mothers,” we can instead accept each other and offer an understanding shoulder to cry on when this whole motherhood thing gets too tough.
Sunday, August 1, 2010
I’m not a movie snob, I swear! I loved Hot Tub Time Machine. I never got around to posting my review of that, so I have nothing in print. I do love stupid movies, really. I wanted to like this movie so much. I was looking forward to it all week. Don’t get me wrong, it was funny. Unfortunately, it wasn’t funny enough, and it wasted a lot of talented people.
I’m sure you all know the basic premise by now. Tim (Paul Rudd) wants a big promotion at work, and in order to prove he’s “one of the guys” he must attend the monthly "Dinner for Winners." The dinner consists of bringing a companion who is the worst loser you can find. The snotty corporate bigwigs secretly make fun of the guests and they proceed to try to top each other the next time.
The film is based loosely on the French film The Dinner Game. I keep hearing from the critics that this is a much better film, and I plan to check it out just to compare and contrast.
Paul Rudd should be cast in a remake of The Picture of Dorian Gray. I mean, this guy never ages! He looks exactly the same as he did in Clueless! Rudd has the ability to be very funny, but he rarely gets a role that showcases his abilities. Once again, this role did not give him much to do.
Steve Carell is the resident schmuck and he does his usual, annoying-nerd-with-heart-that-you-cannot-help-but-love. He has some good scenes, but he’s falling into the Ben Stiller trap of playing the same role all the time. Stiller broke that streak with Tropic Thunder, and I hope Carell can also find something different in a future role.
Jermaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords) was one of the bright spots. He’s poised to really explode soon. Flight of the Conchords only reached a cult following and now that Clement is free of his HBO show, I’m sure we’ll be seeing a lot more of him. He has a great presence and everything he says and does is funny just because he’s saying and doing it.
This film was littered with small roles for great people, but they were unfortunately wasted. Larry Wilmore, Kristen Schaal and Chris O’Dowd were not allowed to live up to their comic potential.
I did laugh. Honestly, the mice dioramas were hysterical. Yet this film lacked the most important component for a comedy; there was nothing funny enough to make me ever want to watch it again.
I wanted to come back to this review and correct something I said. To me the most successful comedy film is one where you want to watch it multiple times to catch those great scenes over and over. Originally, I found this film mildly entertaining, but definitely a “one view only.” I have to confess that I have found myself bringing up several scenes in conversation and I enjoy seeing the commercials for it. I probably will watch this again at some point. Two films in my past, The World’s Greatest Lover and Wedding Crashers, failed to impress me the first time I watched them. Over time, however, I found “new” funny scenes each time I watched. It may be because I did not see either of those films in the theater. Maybe my expectations were too high after plucking down $10.25! I have a feeling this film could fall into that same category. I’ll let you know when it comes out on DVD.
Please enjoy this little taste of the best characters in the film...the mice