Friday, October 5, 2012

Colleenie Ghoulie Rises from the Grave!




Hello my fiends! Regulars to Colleenie’s Couch know that October is a special month. Not only is it my birthday month, but I love all things Halloween. This is my third year devoted each Friday in October to wonderful Halloween goodness.

The last two years I focused on truly scary films. This year however, I’m inspired by the release of Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie, so I decided to focus on some great family-friendly Halloween flicks.

First up, 2006’s Monster House. This film may have slipped by you in its original release. Movie studios churn out so much crap for kids, it can be difficult to find films that are entertaining and have a great story. Monster House fits the bill perfectly. Even if you don’t have children, Monster House is funny, scary and has such a touching story that really got to me.

I hope you’ll check this one out and let me know what you think. Remember to come back each Friday for more Ghoulie fun. Throughout October, I’ll be talking about all kinds of scary fare. Next weekend is The Walking Dead and American Horror Story is close behind.

I will also be providing links to some past creepy stuff so I hope you’ll be around a lot. Right now though the sun is really bothering me, I better slip back into my coffin until nightfall.



Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Song of the Week - Oh Love/Green Day


It doesn't get much better than new Green Day, right? I can't wait for the new album.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Words - Movie Review


Hollywood loves to make movies about writers. Since watching someone write is only slightly more exciting than watching paint dry, it’s amazing how many films show people sitting at a desk, struggling to bring words to life.

The new Bradley Cooper film, The Words, deals not only with the struggles of writing, but moral dilemmas. If you had a hard time making it big in the literally world and you stumbled onto to an old manuscript that was brilliant, would you pass it off as your own? We all know that once an author has one wildly successful book, publishers will often release older works that never made it into print. So could this manuscript serve as a gateway and would the ends justify the means?

Cooper plays, Rory Jansen, a struggling young author trying to live in New York and be a literary genius to his new wife (Zoe Saldana). However, this is simply a story being read to an audience by an older established author, Clay Hammond (Dennis Quaid). This is where The Words runs into some problems.

The trailer gives the impression that the film is about Bradley Copper’s character, and it is, but when you realize in the opening that Quaid is reading from his new fictional novel, something is immediately lost. Of course most fiction is derived from real life and questioning Quaid as to whether he’s telling a story, or writing a cathartic autobiography is pivotal to the film. Still, a lack of connection exists for the viewer.

We have two stories now and yet we will be told a third by Old Man (Jeremy Irons), the author of the lost manuscript. His story is told with heart and you feel the passion he has for love, family and art. The film is only 97 minutes though, so it’s a lot of people to cram into one cohesive story and you don’t get to be with anyone long enough to get too emotional attached.

I saw this movie with my daughter and it just didn’t work for her. Myself, being a constant struggling writer, I was able to feel the pain and betrayal these characters felt. It did all come together for me in the end and I could see how Quaid’s successful author was necessary to the storytelling. I thought the film portrayed the act of writing and writers better than most films and I really did like the story and the moral dilemmas it presented. If this is subject matter you enjoy, I think you will feel very satisfied with this film.

Of course my critical eye had some problems that I couldn’t let go of. How could Rory (Bradley Copper) and Dora(Zoe Saldana) afford to go to Paris for their honeymoon? Seriously, we keep hearing about how broke they are and how much they’re struggling and they go to Paris and they have money to buy stuff? Even my 19 year old daughter leaned over and said to me, “How could they afford to go to Paris?” Take a moment to say it was a wedding gift from the parents or something because that was just too unbelievable.

Secondly, even non-writers know that publishing houses are suffering. It is next too impossible for an unknown author to be traditionally published these days. What actual writers know is that all writers have day jobs to pay the bills. That’s one of the reasons writing is so hard! So, to think Rory would be writing full-time after college, live in New York City and think that’s going to work out for him, makes him unbelievable about the current state of writing these days. Heck, this guy doesn’t even have an agent! Wasn’t this type if thing discussed in his classes? All of his professors are writers AND they are teaching!

It sounds like I didn’t like this film, but I actual did. The acting was great and the emotions from all three main characters, Quaid, Copper and Irons felt very real. It had a great jumping off point and I wanted it to be better. I’m glad I saw it though and I would probably watch it again on DVD, I only wish I could have extracted a bit more from it.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Song of the Week - Tuesday Morning/Melissa Etheridge


I heard this on my local radio station this morning in rememberance of 9/11. What a beautiful song and tribute. I've never heard this song before. When Etheridge sings a song she really puts her soul in it.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Song of the Week - Littlest Things/Lily Allen


Yesterday I saw Celeste and Jesse Forever. It had a killer soundtrack, which I don't seem to be able to find anywhere. At least you can count on the internet to provide people's personal lists of songs. I found out that the song Rashida Jones and Andy Samberg sing in the car is this great song by Lily Allen. I hope my iPod is ready to play this one over and over again.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Labor Day Roundup!

Labor Day officially marks the end of the summer movie season. I saw a lot of the movies this summer. I reviewed a great number of them, I'm behind on writing up a few, and some I missed altogether. I about a million times I planned to see The Dark Knight Rises, but it never seemed to materialize. I ended the season with seeing, Celeste and Jesse Forever. I'll try to review that this week. Here's a list of what I did see. What were your favorites of the summer? What were the duds? Let me know.

The Amazing Spiderman
The Avengers
Bully
Magic Mike
Moonrise Kingdom
The Odd Life of Timothy Green
Ruby Sparks
Safety Not Guaranteed
Ted

**I'm working on my review of Beasts of the Southern Wild, Your Sister's Sister and Celeste and Jesse Forever, look for those later this week. My favorite surprise gem of the summer was Safety Not Guaranteed. I actually went and saw it a second time. Now on to the serious Fall Flicks!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Song of the Week - Karma Police/Radiohead


It never fails. Every summer I become obsessed with an old song and I can't stop listening to it. If you recall, in 2009, I was stuck on a Night Ranger song!
Well this summer is no different. I can't get this Radiohead song at of my head. I keep going about my day mumbling, "This is what you get when you mess with us." Do you have anything stuck in your head right now?

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Sleepwalk with Me - Trailer and Boycott?


This seems like a nice film. Why is Wheldon so against it? If it was about a sleepwalking superhero, then would he be on board?


What do you think? Would you see this film? I think it's great what fans can do these days.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Ruby Sparks - Movie Review


Funny enough, the next film I saw after The Odd Life of Timothy Green, is also about a person who materializes from someone’s imagination. Ruby Sparks is the story of a writer who creates the perfect woman on the page and in morning finds her in his kitchen.

Calvin (Paul Dano) is a young writer who has one novel under his belt. It’s a great novel. It catapulted him to genius status and everyone can’t wait to see what his next book will be. Problem is, he has writer’s block. He’s in therapy and trying to get over a failed relationship.

He begins to dream about a sweet, pretty girl and starts to write about her. He quickly becomes obsessed. All he wants to do is write more about her so that they can spend time together. Then one day, he comes downstairs and she’s in his kitchen!

I can easily accept crazy premises in films when they are done well and at first, this was going okay for me. The script is written by Zoe Kazan (Ruby Sparks) and co-stars Dano who is her boyfriend in real life. It starts out being cute and slowly tries to say a lot about relationships and what can often be unrealistic expectations we put on our partners. All of this was fine. My problem was that the story began to write it self into a box that it could not get out of.

It was nice that everyone could see Ruby because I hate when characters talk to invisible people. Ruby has a whole backstory that Calvin created for her, but when she wants to spend some time at her apartment and take an art class, there’s no explanation as to how she has a real apartment and where she would get money? I know it’s a fantasy, but if you’re writing a fun story with a modern, intellectual slant, you need to cover your bases. I would’ve enjoyed seeing clever ways for Calvin to solve these challenges so that Ruby can continue to believe her own existence.

By the end, there were too many unexplained issues gnawing at my brain. I saw some bright spots and I’m sure Ms. Kazan will grow as a screenwriter. She's a good actress and her and Dano were great onscreen.

I was really looking forward to this film, but in the end it didn’t measure up. There was a really cute dog in the film and he did look a lot like Antonio Banderas, especially when he wore his glasses!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Odd Life of Timothy Green - Movie Review


I was fortunate enough to go to an advanced screening of the new Disney film The Odd Life of Timothy Green. While there’s no greater joy for me than to see a film before its official release, this screening was a bit chaotic.

The first clue that I was going to have my work cut out for me, was a late afternoon email informing me that the revenue had changed. The new theater was only blocks away from the original so no biggie there. I had to take BART (our subway system) from the burbs into San Francisco right after work. The screening wasn’t until 7:30pm though so I wasn’t worried. I arrived downtown by 6pm, grabbed a quick bite and walked around a little to enjoy the nice SF breeze. I had just left 105 degrees, so the cool off was much needed. I also used the restroom at Bloomies before heading upstairs to the theater at 6:30pm.

Well it was a madhouse. The line wrapped all the way around in to an un-air-conditioned corridor and there was another large group of people in their own line who were on a special invite list. After standing for awhile, I began talking to the people around me. Some people had hand stamps, I did not. Then I realized some people’s passes said the theater we were at. So now I’m thinking they scheduled two screenings and one was cancelled. That’s why there were so many people. I seriously considered leaving, but I didn’t have anything else to do now, so I thought I’d chance it. I was one of the very last people admitted! I guess a sign of the times, I had to open my backpack and I was swiped with a metal detector. I found a seat in the third row, which I knew me and my neck would pay for later, but I accomplished my goal.

The movie was very sweet and definitely buoyed by the actors. Not everyone could pull this unbelievable tale off. It all came together though, solid story and a great performance by CJ Adams in the title role. This kid could have easily been annoying or sickly sweet, but he wasn’t. He balanced the performance well and you felt like you too would like this kid.

The always adorable Jennifer Garner is a new Mom you’re happy to root for. You quickly feel her pain when the film opens and we see Cindy (Garner) and Jim (Joel Edgarton) being told by their physician that becoming pregnant is never going to happen for them. You can tell it’s been a long road for these two and they’re willing to accept their fate, but they spend one last night “dreaming” about what their child would have been like. When the child actually materializes, they are of course dumbstruck, yet quickly aware that their dream is coming true right before their eyes.

Young Timothy is sweet, easy-going kid who takes life in stride. He touches the people he meets mostly because of his sheer joy of life, love and the world around him.


The film is adapted from a story idea by Ahmet Zappa and written and directed by Peter Hedges (Dan in Real Life). It’s more a film about learning how to be a parent and how no one feels they are ever getting it right.

I laughed a lot during this film. I’m a hard sell on these cute types of stories, so I would not be at all surprised if this one gets eaten up in the review. However, I bought in to Timothy’s charming story. Once in awhile it’s nice to see a film that is tender and kind and teaches good lessons and is as opposite from Ted as you can get. But, remember, I really liked that too!

Lastly, if you’ve seen the previews or the poster you know Timothy wears long socks all the time. Disney partnered with Hanes and asked people on their tickets to bring a pair of socks to donate when attending the film. Since I was doing back-to-school shopping anyway, I picked up a whole pack. I never saw where to put my socks! I carried them around all night and had to take them home. I didn’t see anyone else with socks. It was printed right on the ticket! I bought a smaller size than my kids wear so I’ll have to see if maybe my local theater is collecting them. All in all, a poorly organized screening. I don’t blame the theater though, it really seemed like some last minute things happened and the staff did well handling the chaos. I did witness quite a few people in the lobby complaining. Somehow, there still managed to be empty seats even though people were turned away and the film started 15 minutes late. I always wanted to be a regular at pre-screenings, but I’m beginning to second guess that idea.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Song of the Week - Settle Down/Kimbra


You might only know Kimbra as the female vocal who Goyte "screwed over" in Somebody That I Used to Know, but she's a great solo artist in her own right.

I'm really enjoying her new CD, Vows. I know this video is pretty creepy, but I appreciate the artistic quality and song is great. But the dolls...oh the dolls!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Degrassi Showdown


Full disclosure, this is not my first post about Degrassi. I know I’m 44, but Degrassi transcends age. It’s actually one of the few shows I watch with my 19 year old daughter and my 15 year old son. They can’t agree on anything, but Degrassi has a way of bringing everyone together.

The creative forces at Degrassi and TeenNick have found a way to really pump up summer television. A new half hour episode Monday through Thursday with a grand finale before school starts.

Degrassi gets it right, by having their cast graduate after four years and touching on every single topic under the sun. Last summer we had hoarding, someone was stabbed and the un-topable…someone peed themself!

We always like to try to guess the upcoming plot points from the rapid-fire promos. My son won this summer when he guessed there would be a fight over recycle. Yes, you read that right. There is really no subject matter off limits. If they really want to make their website user friendly, they should create a huge data base that can be searched by condition. Gambling addiction, alcoholism, abuse of erectile dysfunction meds, it would really be a huge resource of information.

This season is no exception. It looks like the new Christian girl who is against the Romeo and Jules play with two male leads, is going to develop a crush on Adam. Since she’s new, she has no idea that Adam is a transgender teen. Also, that damm hockey team! They have created so much havoc and they’re close to pushing their sweet young star player over the edge. Plus, why did it take Degrassi so long to get a hockey team?

Anyway, I’m in for the long haul. Degrassi has been able to successfully do what so many others fail at. They change their cast before everyone sleeps with each other (well close I guess), and they graduate before they rack up too many dramas to become completely unbelievable. This is the main reason I don’t watch The Secret the Life of the American Teenager anymore!

Long live Degrassi!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Ted - Movie Review




So the deal I made with my teenage son was that if he didn’t complain too much during vacation, I would take him to see Ted when we returned.

Every summer we spend a week in Carmel, California. Although I bring my laptop and we watch movies, it’s more of a laid back atmosphere. We eat out and take long walks, we talk and spend time together, things that do not really excite a teenage boy.

Too my son’s credit, I really pushed it this year. We spent one whole afternoon at the Cannery Row Antique Mall in Monterey. This was sheer torture for my poor son. We returned from our trip on a Thursday and as promised, Friday afternoon we were in our seats waiting for Ted to start.

I had my reservations about this film. I don’t really watch Family Guy, although Stewie falling down the stairs, is about my most favorite clip ever! Still, this really seemed like it could be a huge bomb. I actually wouldn’t be surprised if you told me you hated it. I’m also not a fan of stupid humor, but once in awhile, something like Dumb and Dumber or Tropic Thunder, totally clicks with me. I must admit, Ted did the same.

When appreciating low-brow humor, I look under the surface for a little something more. What Ted gave me was a storyline that didn’t go for the usual plot of Ted being real to only the main character. Everyone can engage in conversations with Ted and interact with him just as much as the main character.

John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg) makes a childhood wish for his teddy bear to talk. When the wish comes true, John and Ted make a promise to be lifelong friends. Even as Ted becomes famous, he always keeps his promise to John. Now that bear and are in their 30’s, the friendship is stunting John’s final leap into adulthood.

Lori (Mila Kunis), is John’s very accepting girlfriend. She is actually okay with Ted in theory. She’s fine with having a live teddy bear in her life, just not one that sits on the couch all day smoking pot and bringing skanks to the apartment at night.

Really, this is a simple tale about growing up and becoming a man. What makes this film different is that we watch the maturity of a man and a teddy bear. Also, it’s frickin’ hysterical! For some reason this movie totally got me. I thought it would be mildly amusing and the “joke” would wear off after a few minutes but I laughed hard and loud through this whole thing.

I enjoyed many plot points. I liked that Mila Kunis’ character didn’t need John to be some six figure earning guy. She makes the money and she appreciates him being kind and sweet. All she wants is for him to take his life seriously.

I also liked the twisted friendship of John and Ted. Ted is certainly a bad influence, but he really loves John and he would do anything for him.

It probably sounds like I’m making this film out to be more than it is, but in my world of inane comedy, I do need a little more and this film delivered.

I can’t begin to explain how hard I laughed during the fight scene. I was almost embarrassed with how much I was laughing.

My son was happy, I was happy, a good time was had by all. Seth MacFarlane was able to bring it big time and I’m glad he did.


Try not to be offended by this clip. I know LOTS of girls with these names!


Lastly, I'm going to put this picture here of Mila Kunis because she is just smoking hot. If anyone knows how I can replicate the smoky eyes she does, please give me a link! I think I'm a bit old (and not blessed with the same gene pool) to get that level of hotness, but I'd like to give it a shot!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Song of the Week - Next to Me/Emeli Sande


I'm a sucker for anything that sounds like classic R&B. This new song hits the nail on the head. Happy Tuesday everyone!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Magic Mike - Movie Review



Honestly, this was not high on my list of must-see summer films, but I kept hearing that this was actually a fully realized film and not simply a showcase for Channing Tatum to shake his tight butt (not that there’s anything wrong with that). I was also curious that the film was loosely based on Tatum’s own experience as a young stripper. The challenge was, who could I go with to see this film? Because I see so many movies, I often go alone and sometimes my husband accompanies me. The husband would be out for this one, I would not even bother to ask, but going alone? I would look sort of creepy. My daughter, who has been a Channing fan since Step Up, was definitely interested, but she’s 19 so she was going with girlfriends.

As luck would have it, her plans fell threw and we decided on a mother/daughter outing, weird as it may be. I forgot that our nearby theater is also the place for the Thursday Night Farmer’s Market, so we got stuck in a traffic jam and missed the first minute of the film. For me, this is unacceptable. I HATE missing any part of a movie. For my daughter, it was the devastation of missing the opening shot of Channing Tatum’s naked butt. Normally, I would skip the film altogether if I missed any portion of it, but who knew when I’d have another evening with my daughter.

Mike (Channing Tatum) is a construction worker by day and a stripper by night. Of course Mike doesn’t want to be a stripper, he dreams of owning his own furniture company and gyrating his hot bod is a great way to build his nest egg. Mike is also a good guy, so when he meets down on his luck Adam (Alex Pettyfer) he decides to take the kid under his wing.

The audience gets to see two sides of the stripping lifestyle. Mike is not quite tainted, however we see the compromises he's made with himself in order to justify his chosen profession. He seems shocked when Adam’s older sister doesn’t want to hang out with him. She thinks their lifestyles are too different and Mike is surprised to find out that society will judge him as a person because of his chosen profession. He also doesn't seem to realize that he's really leading Adam down a dangerous path and just because he can separate his work and personal life doesn't mean someone as inmature as Adam can.

Adam on the other hand is like a kid in a candy store. He feels he’s fallen into easy money, women and drugs and he wants it all…now! Adam’s sister Brooke, (Cody Horn) spends the entire film trying to “save” her brother, but he does not have the character and foresight of Mike, so we know it’s going to be tough.

I like that this film did not show this as a rosy career choice and even took the time to illustrate how difficult it is to break free even if you think it’s something you can do for just a little while.

So that’s the serious part and the storyline, but you came here to hear about the stripping right? Well, this film will not disappoint. Channing Tatum is such an amazing dancer that he doesn’t need to take his clothes off, but I’m not going to protest. Unlike female stripping, all the acts seem to come with a good dose of humor and fun. If you’re embarrassed to watch this, trust me, you’ll be giggling away because it’s all done in a party type of atmosphere. I heard that Matthew McConaughey was not being asked to strip for his role, but felt very comfortable by the end and was willing to go for it. Now, I know many ladies disagree with me, but I have never found McConaughey attractive. It’s funny that he plays such a swarmy character here, because he always seems that way for me. What I will say though, he’s a real team player and gave it his all with a pretty impressive striptease. If your fan, you’ll find yourself very happy.

This was a pretty good film. I did feel there were a few too many close-ups Brooke’s party-pooper face used as the viewer's moral compass, but other than that, a far better film than I thought it would be.

I’m pretty sure I’ll be renting this on DVD so my daughter can glimpse that missed Channing butt shot!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Song of the Week - Runaways/The Killers

I'm sorry I've been lackadaisical about my blog lately. I promise to catch you up on all the great things I did this summer. Anyway, here's the latest and greatest from The Killers. Wow, this feels like a big, giant 80's song, so of course I love it! I know Brandon Flowers' solo effort feel a bit flat, but it's nice to see him back with the boys and making the music I love!


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Resurgence of the Typewriter?

I've noticed an a lot of typewriters popping up in movie trailers lately. Not too long ago, teens and young adults had no idea what this relic was. Now, is it a retro trend, like vinyl?

You be the judge.


Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Amazing Spiderman - Movie Review



If you’ve noticed my posts being a little light for a couple of weeks, it’s because I’ve been on vacation. Of course the week leading up to vacation caused me to be extra busy at work and then, the writing I planned to do while in beautiful Carmel, California, was met with intermittent internet access. It’s all good though, because a real vacation should be from everything. So, I’m heading home soon. I thought while everyone is packing around me, I could maybe knock out this review.

Even though I was surrounded by the calming sea and gorgeous nature, I still couldn’t wait to see The Amazing Spiderman. Yes, I went opening day, expecting a large crowd, but it was just a normal amount of people.

I’m a huge fan of the original Spiderman (2002) films and I’m of a certain age, so I grew up with the 70’s cartoon and Spidey showing up on The Electric Company was normal for me. I waited my whole life for a Spiderman film and I was so excited when they made the first film. Tobey Maguire, Kristen Dunst and James Franco were a rare event of perfect casting. As satisfied as I was with the first Spiderman film, all my expectations were far surpassed with Spiderman 2!

As you can see, I really didn’t need a Spiderman reboot. Luckily, they cast two of my favorite young actors and that alone put my butt in the theater.

There’s some story tweaking in the re-boot. Peter Parker’s love interest is Gwen Stacy, in the comics this was an earlier love of his so it fits well with the high school setting. Although they are not teenagers in real life, Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone are a bit more believable of the young age then Maguire and Dunst. And the chemistry between these too is hot! Their budding relationship is really the core of this new edition. Stone and Garfield sizzle in their scenes together and being directed by Marc Webb (500 Days of Summer), guarantees that the viewer is going to have a great time watching this relationship blossom.

I would have to say that the overall casting is probably some of the best I’ve ever seen. Martin Sheen as Uncle Ben and Sally Field as Aunt May, are simply wonderful to see in action. It’s nice to see these roles given to heavy weight actors. They deliver on really making you feel their love and concern for the young Peter. Denis Leary has come along way in his career and it’s awesome to see a former stand-up comedian in a huge blockbuster film. We know he has his tough cop act down pact, but he’s so believable as Captain Stacy, that he still manages to impress.

If Andrew Garfield was looking for his break out role, this is certainly it. He brings his awkward, hyper, pent up anger of Peter Parker to a new level. I’ve recently found out that a lot people did not like Tobey Maguire in the Spiderman role. While that shocks me, I don’t see how anyone can complain about Garfield. He embodies the role with sarcasm, innocence and the arrogance of youth.

What I found interesting about this installment was that the special effects seemed to focus more on how Spiderman could move about and less about huge action sequences. Don’t get me wrong, there are big effects and smashing and all that, but there didn’t seem to big any “wows” in the effect department when it came to Spidey taking on bad guys.

I really liked The Amazing Spiderman and I would definitely buy another ticket to see Garfield and Stone again, yet there was still this emptiness I felt at the end. Something was missing. Then I came home and FX was showing Spiderman 2. I have to say, I think it’s my all time favorite super hero film. I sat down and re-watched the whole thing. That fight scene on the train? Phenomenal! Then when the people on the train carry Spiderman…it’s a scene of sheer beauty. Maybe it’s unfair to compare the two. Maybe the second installment will also blow me away. Time will tell.

Lastly, I did appreciate the filmmakers showing that pic of a young Martin Sheen on Peter Parkers wall. It’s important that a new generation gets to see how hot he was!

Oh I lied, one more thing. Why was I they only one to shout “Ponyboy” during the bridge scene? How soon we forget.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Song of the Week - Some Nights/fun.


Well fun. is shaping up to be a new band that I really like. I didn't even know this was them when I first heard so it's completely unbiased enjoyment!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Friends With Kids - Movie Review

**I saw this movie when it came out in theaters and I wrote this review for an online magazine that never came out. Regular readers of this blog will notice this is written in a very different voice then my other couch reviews. Still, I thought it would be nice to read a different style of writing from me and most importantly, I didn't feel like writing the whole thing again!



If you follow politics at all, you’ll know that one of the biggest topics these days is the current state of The American Family.

The notion that Hollywood has always had a liberal bias is solidified by a crop of films that focus on non-traditional families.

Both Juno and The Kids Are All Right, focused on family situations not often seen on the big screen. While teen pregnancy and same-sex parents are hot button political topics, these films did well at the box office and each garnered a Best Picture Academy Award nomination.

Now, in 2011, we have writer, director and star, Jennifer Westfeldt’s take on modern parenting. Her new film Friends with Kids, confronts the question, “Does having children destroy a romantic relationship?”
Fans of last year’s surprise hit, Bridesmaids, will be happy to see Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, John Hamm and Chris O’Dowd back on screen together. This film is not quite the laugh fest that Bridesmaids was. Instead, Friends with Kids focuses on the trials of three types of couples with children. This film provides more drama than Bridesmaids, but will certainly give you some laughs.

Missy (Wiig) and Ben (Hamm) are a married couple that can’t keep their hands off of each other prior to having children. Leslie (Rudolph) and Alex (O’Dowd) are ready to take the plunge into parenthood and promise their friends that they will remain the same. Fast forward four years and these two couples are living overwhelmed lives, snapping at each other and not having a lot of sex. The transformation of their friends is witnessed by the horrified Julie (Westfeldt) and Jason (a stand-out performance by the adorable Adam Scott). These two have never been romantically involved with each other and have remained platonic best friends since college. They feel they have cracked the code to modern parenting. They could have a child together, share the time, expense and responsibilities, yet be free to keep searching for “The One.” They are confident that the challenges a relationship faces when trying to raise young children leads to a bitter and unhappy marriage. Their theory is strongly supported by the ongoing deterioration of their married friends’ relationships.

Their experiment is played out in a very satisfying way for the viewer. The reactions of their friends, potential mates and themselves are heavily explored.

The film does have some contrived moments and you can even make a case for it being just another formulaic romantic comedy, but it’s nice to see a romantic comedy smart up to its audience instead of dumbing down for a change. The language is saucy, the characters fight like real people and nothing is too unrealistic that you can’t relate to it.

What does this movie say about the state of the American family? There’s a scene where Julie, Jason and their son open Julie’s Birthday present together. This is the best example of today’s American family. We may be wrapped all different ways. There are so many different styles of wrapping paper out there. Heck, sometimes people don’t even use wrapping paper; they use old newspaper! Still, it all tears away so easily. No matter how fancy or untraditionally it may be wrapped, we care about what’s on the inside. The outside is merely presentation. What all these films strive to show us is that every family finds its own way to make their dynamic work. It seems like the more we see many different types of families, the more they really all seem to be the same in their goal to nurture and love.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Did Someone email me?

This is sort of a crazy post, but I thought I just saw an email on my phone. I hate my new phone by the way. Apparently, some emails are coming only to my phone. It also seems to have completely disappeared when I tried to open it. If you sent me an email yesterday or today, can you please send it again?

Thanks!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

RIP - Andy Griffith


Andy Griffith passed away yesterday. He's given me a lifetime of laughs and entertainment. I still watch reruns of the Andy Griffith Show. Here's one of his finer moments.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Song of the Week - Aabaraki/DanceShee


Here's a band I was recently turned on to. They have a cool funky sound and this video is pretty crazy. Their recent release "The Emancipation" is now available for download on iTunes. Go check them out. They have a throwback vibe and a nice mesh of genres. I think they can appeal to many different taste. Let me know what you think.

Aabaraki The Emancipation on iTunes

Monday, June 25, 2012

Safety Not Guaranteed - Movie Review


I’m not even sure how to approach my review for this film. It was so special and wonderful, yet in such small nuanced ways that I don’t want to oversell it.

The trailer explains it pretty well. A guy places a classified ad looking for a time traveling partner. The ad is made odder by the fact that it says he’s done this once before. The ad is seen by Jeff (Jake M. Johnson), a journalist at Seattle Magazine. He decides this would make a great and humorous story and gets sent on assignment and is allowed to take two interns with him.

Darius (Aubrey Plaza) and Arnau (Karan Soni) are the unwitting interns. Jeff’s motives are not quite what he leads the interns to believe and the guy who placed the ad, is not quite as easy to profile as initially thought.

I really don’t want to say too much more than that as far as plot goes. Fresh off New Girl and the best season yet of Parks and Recreation, it’s great to see Johnson and Plaza showing their range outside of the confines of television. On the surface, you would think a personality like Aubrey Plaza’s could not possible carry a female lead, but carry it she does. She’s like a modern day Charles Grodin. She’s so deliciously deadpan, it’s easy to dismiss what she’s doing and fail to realize how wonderful her performance is.

I saw shades of Repo Man in this film, but it didn’t have the same anger behind it. There was this constant innocence and sweetness to the film that touch me deeply. Maybe I’m wrong, but I felt like I was feeling it more than everyone else in the theater. I felt a vibe like most of the people there found it weird and awkward. Certain scenes made me want to jump out my seat. I wanted to cheer and I did cry. I balled like a baby. On the way home I choked back tears three more times. All I can think is how much I want to see this film again.

So, I think some of you will see this film and love it like I did. If you do, I hope you come back here so we can chat. I think others will see it and think, “That Colleenie is insane?” It has to tap something very deep inside you and that’s different for everyone. I don’t see this being a film with large appeal, but those who do connect will love it fervently.

I hope it wins a wheel barrow full of Independent Spirit Awards. I freakin’ loved it!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Never Say Never - Ricki Lake/Audiobook Review

Simon & Schuster Audio Division
Copyright 2012
Running Time: 6 Hours



Who doesn’t like Ricki Lake? She won everyone’s hearts as the original Tracy Turnblad in 1989’s Hairspray. She then came into everyone’s living rooms daily for over a decade in her self titled talk show and recently placed third on Dancing with the Stars. Her new autobiography, Never Say Never: Finding A Life That Fits, would have to be great, right? Right.

Ricki holds nothing back in talking about her past. She shares stories of abuse, her tumultuous relationship with her mother, her affairs, and of course, her weight.

One of Ms. Lake’s greatest appeals has always been her ability to be open and honest and that immediately makes her feel more like she’s your friend then some Hollywood starlet.

Like the title, the book is broken into chapters that all start with the title of something Ricki never thought she’d do or experience, good and bad. She’s very open about her feelings in the business and within her personal relationships without ever being vicious or gossipy. She’s very careful to be clear that she’s not telling anyone what to do, but only hopes that others may glean something useful from what she has gone through.

Body image is something that most women struggle with at some point in their lives and that is an area where Ricki is an expert. It’s hard enough to be a heavy-set young woman in our society, but when it’s in Hollywood, it’s almost a crime. The reader (or listener) goes inside Ricki’s head as the tough girl who embraces her heftiness on the outside, but is really struggling with who she wants to be on the inside.

I usually listen to audiobooks when I’m driving to and from work and I enjoyed hearing Ricki “talk” to me everyday. I felt like I was catching up with an old friend who was more than willing to tell me everything I missed. The introduction, read by John Waters, had me howling and Ms. Lake often had me giggling, shocked and empathic. I was also reminded how much I like her. I never saw much of her day-time talk show because I was at work and I’m not a fan of Dancing with the Stars so I missed that too. I was excited though to hear she’s revving up for a new talk show and I think I’m in.

As an audiobook I did find a couple of bothersome issues. In the beginning, some small sections of the reading sounded as if Ricki was shouting. This seemed to be a recording issue, like the equipment was set differently in some section. I literally jumped a bit while driving because suddenly Ricki seemed to be yelling at me. She has a nice soothing voice for the most part, but several times she stumbled over her lines and it seemed odd that those sections weren’t re-recorded. Were they rushed for time, or did they want to give a more “real” feel? It wasn’t a big deal.

Overall this was a very enjoyable autobiography and it’s a plus to hear a star tell their story to you. The only downside with an audiobook is you don’t get to see the photos that are usually in the middle of the book. I always enjoy this in Hollywood autobiographies, because I want to see the pictures when they were kids and from their private collections. Maybe publishers can start providing an online link when you purchase an audio book so that you can look at these? Just an idea.


**Thanks to Simon & Schuster Audio for providing a review copy and
Audiobook Jukebox for the hook up!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Moonrise Kingdom - Movie Review


If you’re in the mood for a sweet love story, but you don’t want to look like a sap, Wes Anderson’s new, Moonrise Kingdom has got you covered.

Set in 1965 on an island off the New England coast, two 12 year olds, who don’t fit in anywhere else, meet and fall in love. Their decision to run away together sets off not only a search party, but course for those involved to reassess their lives.

If you’re a fan of Wes Anderson you are assured to love this movie. If you are not a fan or you’re not familiar with his work, I think this movie will win you over.

In all of his films, the characters are strange and everyone talks in a monotone voice. I’ve seen only a couple and the odd charm was appealing. I was completely won over, however, by The Fantastic Mr. Fox. In that movie we could see the strong message of family and love wrapped in absurd humor.

Moonrise Kingdom is no different. Although many major league actors share the screen here, it’s the two kid leads, Kara Hayward (Suzy) and Jared Gilman (Sam), that carry the film. The audience has to believe in their young love and devotion to each other. As relative newcomers surrounded by Hollywood heavyhitters, they both manage to be funny, sweet, jaded and innocent all at once.

As the search goes on for the missing teens, we flip back in time and learn more about their story. We also find out more about their family life and what prompted them to want to run off together. Even though this film doesn’t portray realistic lives, Suzy and Sam’s pre-teen angst is very relatable.

Being set in the mid 60’s also casts a more “innocent” time over the film, but luckily we do see some shades of reality that no decade was ever that innocent.

This film took me by surprise. I found myself laughing out loud and smiling at the sweeter scenes. I even liked Bill Murray! I actually look forward to a second viewing, but that will need to wait for the DVD. My summer list is already too long.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Song of the Week - Lights/Ellie Goulding


Come on! How can you not like this song? I get happy whenever it comes on the radio. And look at all the pretty lights in the video!

I'm working on some great posts for this week. I know I've been lagging a bit. The older I get the harder it is for me to hop on the computer after being on it all day at the office. I'll try to pin myself down though, because I have some great stuff to share.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Last Day for Contest!

Today is the last day to win the new Melody Gardot CD The Absence. Go to my original post here for all the details.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Song of the Week - Payphone/Maroon 5

**Warning Explicit lyrics!!**

Hey, I know I can post the clean version, but I like my cussing okay? I don't know how Maroon 5 can continue to churn out catchy pop songs that I love. I can't wait for the new album. They always make entertaining videos too.

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Accidental Creative - Book Review


by Todd Henry



When you were a child, did you draw pictures, write songs or dance simply for the joy it brought you?

You may have ended up with a job/career in a creative field, or maybe not. Still, if you are finding yourself trying to have a continual creative flow, The Accidental Creative by Tom Henry can set you down the right path.

Henry believes that with some planning, you can have your well of creativity full and ready to dip into when you need it.

This book is truly for people who do creative work for a living. Large portions are devoted to working with a team and getting your boss to understand how to let a creative employee flourish.

However, if you create in your non-work hours, you will also find many useful techniques to implement into your schedule.

One of the most important things touched on is how we need blocks of quiet time in order to let new ideas in. Henry reminds us of how easy it is these days to have a constant stimulation. Time that is easily frittered away with Facebook and YouTube videos is time that can instead be used to re-charge your brain and let in a flood of new ideas.

We all have the same number of hours each day and if you’re trying to fit in creating, it can be an additional challenge. Here you’ll find the best ways to manage your time and energy. Broken down into ten chapters, this book covers how to properly use hours, chose your projects and focus on the areas where you can be the most productive.

Henry makes sure you’re clear on the fact that this is going to be hard work. If you want to be at your creative best, you’ll have to be a bit brutal in paring down projects and being realistic with your goals. Following through with The Accidental Creative, however, will have you on a journey putting your best creative foot forward.

Friday, June 8, 2012

My First Giveaway! Melody Gardot CD

The Absence

If you’re not already familiar with Melody Gardot, get familiar! Her third studio album The Absence was released last week and I can’t get enough! In a car accident at 19, Melody Gardot used music as a form of therapy. The heart of a true artist was found.


This time Melody traveled the globe and has stepped away from a traditional jazz to a more world music feel. This album has a latin-tinged vibe and is the perfect soundtrack for your summer.

Mira starts us off on our journey and sets the mood well for the whole album. Amalia is a beautiful song that I can’t help but think of my late mother-in-law of the same name. If I Tell You I Love You has such a 60’s feel I expect to hear it on Mad Men! (Hint)

Gardot is still so young and it’s fun to watch her grow as an artist. This is clearly her biggest departure and it pays off. I can basically listen to her all day, but to know that she is branching at so much at only 25, makes me very excited to see what’s on the horizon.

Well, I’m happy to report to you that you have the chance to enjoy The Absence too. Verve Records is hooking me up with one CD to giveaway to a US resident. This will be my first giveaway ever and I’m excited.

So here’s what I’ll ask you to do. Blogger has recently done some updating and I no longer have my Google friend connect, nor do I see the follow button anymore. If you can help me with that, please let me know. So until I resolve that, you can subscribe to the RSS feed for one entry and “like” my Facebook page for a second entry. You can also follow me on Twitter at Colleenie41 for a third entry. Let me know in the comments what you did so I can enter you accordingly. Make sure I can link over to you from the comments so I can contact you if you win. I will close the entries at 6pm Pacific Time on Wednesday June 13th.

I hope you win. You’ll love this album.

**UPDATE I was able to re-install my Google follow. Follow the blog for one entry, "like" the couch on Facebook for another and follow me on Twitter (@Colleenie41) for a third entry. Good Luck!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Raiding the Library

I’ve had a lifelong love affair with the Public Library. When my family first moved to San Francisco when I was four, my dad took me to the main library and I can remember it like it was yesterday. I could not believe this place would let me borrow anything I wanted. I think the first book I checked out was Little Toot.


I’m fortunate to have a brand new, gorgeous library in the suburban city where I work now and I often spend my lunch hour there.

There are many things you can find these days that were never in the library before and as an entertainment review blogger, I have to stretch my media budget any way I can. Like most of you these days, I’m watching my pennies pretty closely and I can’t afford to buy all the things I talk about here. My recent review of Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? was borrowed from the library.

I recently discovered graphic novels at the library and today picked up volume three of American Vampire by Scott Synder and Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand. I also try to stay away from the movie section, but I can’t help myself. I find so many intriguing/obscure films I’ve never heard of.





My big find today though was Pee Wee Herman On Broadway. I just about died when he revived his stage show and I had no means of seeing it. I was excited to find it was released on DVD, but all at once deflated to see it wasn’t even available at Netflix. So how is it not total serendipity that it was randomly at the library?

Well, I have lots of free entertainment for the weekend. I think I’ll start notating in my reviews if I got it from the library just so everyone can see how wonderful and useful the library can be. If you have a chance, check yours out this weekend. Your tax dollars pay for it, so go use it. You might be surprised at some of the cool stuff you find.


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Don't Trust the B--- in Apt. 23 - TV Review


I honestly don’t know why I checked this show out. I guess I had some free time right as it premiered. Anyway, I’m glad it worked out because I really like it.

Many shows have tried and failed to be edgy or use dark humor, but The B, succeeds in being shocking, funny and unexpected.

June, (Dreama Walker) is a small town girl getting ready to start her dream job on Wall Street. When the company folds unexpectedly, June finds herself not only looking for a new job, but a more affordable place to live. Enter Chloe.

Chloe is a crazy New York girl who scams doe-eyed innocents like June out of money. Chloe is constantly advertising for a “roommate” once she gets their deposit so goes out of her way to be as outrageous and obnoxious as possible and the girls flee with out even thinking of asking for their deposit back. Usually, they are happy just to escape! With everything Chloe does to June in the pilot episode, and it’s a lot, June still will not back down. Chloe has indeed met her match.

The sweet and innocent June reminds me of one of my favorite sitcom characters, Dave Nelson (Dave Foley) of Newsradio. Both of these characters are nice people that want to do the right thing, but it doesn’t mean they are weak or that they will take anyone’s crap.

Chloe’s character is almost like Kramer in Seinfeld. She is so out there and crazy, but one of the enjoyable things, unlike Kramer, we see how Chloe makes money.

Of course I have to mention that James Van Der Beek, of Dawson’s Creek fame, plays himself. I have never seen one single episode of that show, so I have nothing to base his performance on. Still, he seems to have a good sense of humor about himself and his teen idol status.

Minor characters also get to be fully realized and not simply show up for comic effect. I never thought, from the first episode, that the creepy neighbor Eli would become a person we saw outside his window frame, but he actually has storylines.

For me this show is everything 2 Broke Girls is not. I really gave that show a try, but the comedy feels very forced to me and it seems like they are constantly being witty for witty’s sake.

The final sell for me is the two main characters being so dramatically different in height. This may not be a big thing for most people, but my field research has shown that small ladies and tall ladies always seem to end up best buds. I’m speak from experience and let’s just say it’s nice to see it reflected on TV.

All the episodes are currently available on Hulu and some are on ABC.com. You might want to catch up because it has been renewed for a second season.




Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Song of the Week - fun. Covers Gotye


It's true that I'm still not sick of "Somebody That I Used to Know." I really should be. This song has been played out. I realize though that you blog reader are looking for something fresh. fun. is a really cool new group and I love their cover here. Why isn't Hayley Williams there? It's sort of weird that her voice is piped in. Oh well, still a worthy cover. What do you think?

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Bully - Movie Review


There are a swarm of summer movies out now, but I’m going to back up a bit and review a film I saw a couple of months ago.

Bully, opened in limited release and seems to have disappeared too quickly. I’m hoping the more people talk about the more it will be requested in schools, theaters and special screenings.

Despite an important message, this is a wonderfully done documentary that keeps the viewer engaged throughout. You may have heard of this film because of its ratings controversy, which in my opinion was a load of crap. The ratings board wanted to slap an R on this film because the “F-word” was used a couple of times and other colorful language. It’s important for adults and kids to see the bullying in its full, uncensored context and I’m pretty sure there’s not a kid out there today that hasn’t heard curse words.

I have to be honest and tell you that I put off seeing Bully. See, I was one of those kids. I don’t mean that I’ve been bullied once, or I had a short period of bullying growing up. No, I was the kid that was picked on almost everyone single day from second grade to eighth grade. The worst of course, was 6th through 8th grades. I know why I was a target. I was and still am short. As an adult, I still don’t hit the 5 feet mark and in school I was the smallest kid in class every single year. I was stick-skinny, pale and had huge glasses. Kids would chant “midget” at me and medium sized kids were always picking fights with me. Believe it or not though, I was lucky. Tall kids, boys and girls always managed to come to my defense just before I might actually have to “throw down.” I wasn’t meek, I vocally stood up for myself, but I was so much smaller than everyone else that I was never a threat to anyone. Needless to say, I didn’t want Bully to remind me of those days. I didn’t want to feel those emotions again. Still, I know what a huge problem this is for kids today and I thought it was important to see the film.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?/Mindy Kaling - Book Review


There are so many genuinely funny women on TV right now, it’s amazing. They are on every major network making us laugh and now they are tickling our funny bones in print too!

Hot on the heels of Tina Fey’s essay filled laughfest, Bossypants, Mindy Kaling of The Office, delivers her sweet & absurd views on life and the entertainment world.

She deals with the stereotype of being an Indian American and not stick-thin acttress in Hollywood. Interestingly, both Fey and Kaling have chapters about being a bit too fat and a bit too thin. Kaling nails it with her observation that when you’re only a bit overweight, it seems to annoy people more. She feels, and I believe rightly so, that the entertainment industry is annoyed that you won’t just drop that extra 10 to 20 pounds. Almost like it’s a badge of laziness. Why won’t you simply stop eating and be the size 2 we want you to be? It’s very not funny to read about Mindy’s photo shoot where all the dresses were a size 0 and they are upset with her because she’s a 6 or an 8. You’ll love her all the more though to know that she made them rip open the back of the dress she wanted to wear and make it fit for the shoot. Part of her felt bad for this, but the tough side of her wanted to teach them a future lesson.

There are many opportunities to laugh at loud as you read Mindy’s thoughts on life, comedy, men and career. While I’m still too much of a snob to get into the American version of The Office, it’s Gervais or nothing for me, I still find Ms. Kaling incredible funny and talented.

She maintains a sweetness with being star-struck by the likes of Amy Poehler and Will Ferrell. It’s as if she doesn’t realize that she is on a top rated, prime-time sitcom. Maybe it’s because her character, Kelly, doesn’t get as much screen time as some of the other actors? That may change for her next Fall, as she’s in talks with NBC to develop her own sitcom. She could be catapulted up there with Fey and Poehler, she certainly has the talent and likeablity for it.

This is definitely a fun read, especially if someone like me, who doesn’t even watch The Office, enjoyed it. I think you’ll find a fresh look on how not only young female comedians think today, but young women in general.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Client List - TV Show Review


I’m going to be perfectly honest here. The only reason I even watched Lifetime’s new show The Client List is because my husband has had a long standing crush on Jennifer Love-Hewitt (he seems to think we look alike, which I don’t see AT ALL). We both support each other’s celebrity crushes. Hey, my husband agreed to see The Last Crusade on out honeymoon to triple support my love of film, Indiana Jones and Harrison Ford. So, yeah I think I can watch a tacky hour long Lifetime drama for him.

With only two episodes left in the premiere season (and I have one backlogged on my DVR), I’ve decided to write my review now. I know the show is supposed to be light fluff, but I still can’t help but bothered by some aspects of the show.

The basic breakdown; Riley Parks is a Texas cutie with an out of work husband and two young kids. Soon after landing a job at a massage parlor (The Rub), Riley’s husband runs out on her and the kids. With a mortgage looming and her massage take home pay not cutting the mustard, Riley decides to accept the salon owner’s (Loretta Devine) offer and service special customers that are on The Client List. Basically, theses clients want happy endings. A hesitant Riley finds redemption in her new role. She can actually help people by giving hand jobs! Whoda thought.

I’m unfamiliar with the original Lifetime movie this show is based on. I try to avoid Lifetime movies whenever possible. I must confess though that I got caught up in last weekend’s Shadow of Fear. Damm, sometimes they just suck me in. What I trying to say though, is my review here is based solely on my knowledge of the TV show so far and not the movie.

First, I was a bit let down to see the show taking place in Texas. Everything seems to be based in The South these days and it’s getting a little over done. I also had a problem when Riley found out that one of the other girls (Selena) was meeting some clients outside of The Rub to offer even more services. I for one was happy to learn this story plot because it explained why Selena had so much money. But to see Riley be all indignant and inform her that she couldn’t do that anymore was preposterous to me. Selena is conducting these services outside of The Rub, so it really doesn’t seem like it would be anyone else’s business. It felt like a fabricated storyline in order to create conflict between the two characters. If Riley tells the owner what is she going to do, declare in her syrupy sweet, Loretta Devine voice, “Hey, I run a respectable hand job business here!”

As much as I want to take it for the fun trash it’s trying to be, I can’t help but be annoyed that all the clients are attractive and not creepy. No one, gets a little too handsy and Riley never seems to look at any of these guys and think, “Now that guy? I’m not touching him!”

I will finish out the season with the hubby, who also agrees that the plotlines are not quite up to snuff, but after this, I think I’m out. I understand this show is going with a lighter touch, still it can be a little grittier if it balanced some humor with the pitfalls of that kind of profession. The girls would probably compare notes a bit more and how about some more believable clients like a really, really old dude, or someone a bit portly? If The Client List wants to last a bit longer (and yes, I know what you think I mean) it’s going to have to get out of the fantasy and into more reality. This isn’t Cinemax ya know!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Song of the Week -LATE EDITION-Melody Gardot/Amalia



The Absence is released this week. Melody has traveled the globe for her third outing. Exotic locales like Morocco, Brazil and Lisbon, promise to deliver, lush and wonderful new sounds for our ears. I thought you'd like to hear her new song "Amalia" and look for a full album review here in the coming days.

Check her out on YouTube
iTunes
and order at Amazon

Song of the Week - Bonnie Raitt/Right Down the Line


Gerry Rafferty's original verision of this song is one of my all time favorite tunes. It puts me in such a musical hypnotic state, that I tend to listen to it over and over again for about an hour.

This makes it a tough one to merit a cover, but I must say Ms. Raitt, unsurprisingly, makes it work. Really, if anyone was going to be able to pull it off, it would be her.

I'm also really digging the video and seeing the wide range of couple pairing. In that vein, it would have been kind of cool if she kept the "woman" in the song instead of changing it to "baby." I don't think it's necessary to change gender specific words in songs. It's a song! Sing it like it was written. Maybe she felt by changing it to "baby" it made it more all inclusive. If that's the case, that's cool.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Norah Jones - Little Broken Hearts/Music Review




Is there a term “easy listening alternative?” This seems like the best way to describe Norah Jones’ latest outing, Little Broken Hearts.

When Norah Jones first came on the scene with Come Away With Me, she was certainly talented, but it was easy to believe that she could keep that sweet, rich voice in the smooth jazz genre. Surprisingly, Jones has proven to be quite a versatile artist.

Any protest to that charge can be easily squashed with the release of the 2010 album, Featuring Norah Jones. Apparently, when she’s not making her own music, she’s singing with everyone from Willie Nelson to Belle & Sebastian and Outkast.

So it’s no surprise to see Jones go for a different sound. Working with famed producer Danger Mouse and inspired by the over-the-top films of Russ Meyer, Jones has created a concept album of songs filled with naughtiness and revenge. She’s a woman scorned and her heart is lay bared on these tracks. The first released single, Happy Pills, is a definite departure in sound from her previous songs. The first several times I heard it on the radio I kept forgetting it was her new single because it’s so different from anything she’s done.

The stand out tracks after Happy Pills are Say Goodbye, She’s 22 and Miriam. Still the album can be enjoyed as a whole. It’s a departure that works for Jones. The sweet and pretty jazz singer is now the sexy dangerous lady too.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

RIP - Robin Gibb


There's been too many RIP on the couch lately. Donna Summer and The Bee Gees are the music of my youth and it's hard to see these icons fall ill and past away. Much like Ms. Summer, I know Robin Gibb was sick for a long time, so I find comfort in knowing his pain has stopped. We always have their music.

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Avengers - Movie Review


So what does a movie loving mother want to do on Mother’s Day? See The Avengers of course! The family gathered together, which is a challenge with one teenager and one young adult. I couldn’t think of a better crowd pleasing movie to take the whole family too.

I’ve seen and enjoyed all the movies leading up The Avengers except I never saw Thor. I planned to see it, but sometimes you can’t get them all in. I even had Thor on hold at Blockbuster for Friday night. I didn’t pick it up though. I had a long work week and I wasn’t up to it. It was my one regret. Though it was not necessary to have seen Thor in order to follow The Avengers plotline, I did feel some pivotal points would have been further enhanced if I did.

If you’ve been following all the movies leading to this, you know that there will be an inevitable threat to the world and all the avengers will be forced to work together. Guess what? You’re right!

Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) must find a way to band together S.H.I.E.L.D in order to save the world from the Tesseract. This small, glowing green cube is an energy source and possesses mind controlling ability too. It’s now in the hands of the evil, Loki, Thor’s half-brother. Of course he wants to rule the galaxy, blah, blah, blah. As usual, this all doesn’t really matter because you just want to see super heroes fighting and on this The Avengers delivers big time!

At first you would think this movie packs in too many super-heroes, but fine writing and the comedic abilities of the actors, keep it fun and easy to follow. Maybe because everyone does have such a strong personality, no one is fading in the background and they all get their moments to shine. The always hard working, Mark Ruffalo, does a fabulous job stepping into the thrice cast role of The Hulk. Robert Downey Jr. has many great lines, but doesn’t over take the film. Younger actors, Chris Hemsworth (Thor) and Chris Evans (Captain America) do a fine job holding their own with the more experienced actors.

The fun part of this movie was it got me so excited I found myself yelling things at the screen! Hey, I’m a 44 year old mom and I can usually control myself, but first the movie started with a new character, Agent Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders), this came out of left field for me and as a huge, How I Met Your Mother, fan, I couldn’t help but shout out, “SCHERBATSKY!”

Then Hulk was awesome. Believe me the mother of two teenagers certainly knows a thing or two about controlling rage, but when Hulk finally busts out, there I was yelling, “You go Hulk!”

Ah, then there’s Iron Man. What can I say, he’s sooo cool. How could I possible contain myself? I had to shout a few time, “Get em’ Iron Man!”

Maybe this was not how the typical mom would want to spend Mother’s Day, but for me it was a wonderful time with my whole family together and the perfecr summer flick before summer has even started.

You go Avengers!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

RIP - Donna Summer


I've been doing too many rest in peace post lately. Too much sadness. I loved Donna Summer and I loved disco. Yeah, I said it. Hey, try to sing some of these songs. Many of the disco divas had phenomenal voices! Donna Summer was a classically trained opera singer. Thanksfully for us, she made some hits we can all enjoy. In my usual fashion, my favorite was not one of her more famous hits. I was happy to find this on YouTube and get brought back to a time when Ms. Summer was The Queen of Disco. Wait a minute, she'll always be.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Song of the Week - The A Team/Ed Sheeran


Hey everyone, let's get super depressed! This song is a bit of a downer. If you thought the song was depressing, the video really brings it home. It's a pretty tune though and does a good job illustrating the ugliness of drug addiction.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Great Summer Reads


Relax and Read: Summer 2012

As soon as we spring forward, we all can hardly wait until the longer days mean bringing out the grill, flip-flops, and sun block. To kickoff your vacation, perhaps it is time to stock up on good reads for those lazy days of summer. Besides devouring “The Hunger Games” by the pool in order to catch up with the rest of the planet and avoid a genial ribbing at the next barbecue, add these titles to your list.

“Seating Arrangements” by Maggie Shipstead follows the father of a very pregnant bride-to-be as he and his family face dramatic nuptials in picturesque Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The wedding sets secrets and drama in motion as family dynamics and relationships are on display for better or worse. This humorous yet endearing look at a family trying to figure it out while focusing on the impending marriage of those they love reminds us all that family can be far from perfect. This new author is worth checking out.

Another father is at the helm of “Brand New Human Being” by Emily Jeanne Miller. Stay-at-home dad Logan Pyle is barely hanging on to his family, self worth, and sanity while his world deteriorates. As he tries to tackle both parental and marital mountains, he is trying not to lose himself. Follow father and son, husband and wife, and their redemption journey lined with insight and grace. Their journey is worth the read.

Sit back and enjoy Ruth Brennan, the seven-foot-tall young girl navigating life in small town Canada at the end of World War II in “The Girl Giant” by Kristen den Hartog. As her parents try to put their post-war life back together and raise their unique daughter the best they can, Ruth makes her way through adolescence and offers unexpected gifts to those around her.

At the center of “The Age of Miracles” by Karen Thompson Walker is Julia, an 11-year-old Californian who awakes one morning to a scientific anomaly-the slowing of the earth’s rotation. Along with the inevitable changes that creates to gravity and normalcy alike, Julia’s family works through relationship struggles and what the future could possible bring, all while wondering what time it is. 

In the “Kingdom of Men” by Kim Barnes takes us back to the 1960s, from rural Oklahoma to Saudi Arabia. On the move with the goal of bettering their circumstances through the oil industry, Gin and Mason’s world changes dramatically behind the gates of their compound. Culture shock and an unexpected crime send this couple into unknown dessert and marital territory against a vibrant Middle Eastern backdrop.

No summer can go by without a family coming together to reconnect and heal while hashing out secrets and hurts from long ago. “The Red House” by Mark Haddon is set in the English countryside, where a family death brings siblings together. In the name of bonding, a brother and his estranged sister seek a new start, but end up facing the past. Follow each voice as they share the part they have played in this family’s tapestry, including those from the grave.

Hopefully this sampling is enough to get you started. Enjoy discovering gems of your own as the summer heats up. Remember that colleges often offer summer reading recommendations that may catch your eye as you look into universities and learn more about accredited online colleges for the fall. Enjoy!

Sources

Real Simple (2012)

Barnes & Noble (2012)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Song of the Week - Gold on the Ceiling/The Black Keys


I kept wondering why everyone was making such a big deal about The Black Keys. First, I heard Lonely Boy, which I thought was pretty good. Then I really dug Moneymaker, now the single Gold on the Ceiling, I can't get out of my head. The on this song is awesome. Can I just be honest and say this song is the sh*t?!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Deep Blue Sea - Movie Review


When I walked out of this movie I turned to my husband and said, “I can solve all of the main characters problems right here and now. These people need to: 1) get a job, 2) grow a pair and 3) stop being a douchebag!”

Sometimes great acting and mood just don’t cut it and this was the case for The Deep Blue Sea. The story takes place around 1950 in England. An obviously bored wife, Hester Collyer (Rachel Weisz) finds herself drawn to the handsome and younger ex-fighter pilot, Freddie Page (Tom Hiddleston). She’s willing to give up everything to be with him, including her husband, Sir William Collyer (Simon Russell Beal) and her comfortable lifestyle. Of course, her husband doesn’t want to let her go, even though he’s devastated by her infidelity. He’s an average looking, meek, over polite British dude married to the gorgeous Rachel Weisz, so the audience can easily see why he would be willing to take her back.

This film captures a vintage feel beautifully and everyone’s performance was great. Yet something kept gnawing away at me. I was getting very annoyed with characters and the over the top angst. I kept trying to place myself in that time and that circumstance, yet, still, something was keeping me from feeling for the characters, especially Weisz. Her character, Hester, seemed to despise her waking hours with Freddie. He never returned her affections the way she wanted. I kept thinking that she wasn’t really lacking in love, she was lacking a purpose in her life, so she is who I’m referring to when I say get a job. Her lover Freddie is such a cad and he knows it. His life peaked when he was a pilot in the war. No one or no thing is ever going to make him as happy again. He thinks by telling a woman, “Hey baby, I can give you any more than this. You know what you were getting into,” that he has an excuse to not even try to work at a relationship. This of course makes him the “douchebag. Lastly, poor William is so beside himself with possibly losing Hester that he doesn’t realize his attitude of letting her walk all over him, is exactly what she finds so unappealing. This is why he needs to grow a pair.

So, the characters are complex enough, it seems that I somewhat cared about the plotline…what was missing? It took me a couple of days to figure it out. Hester stays with Freddie because although his personality is insufferable, he unlocks a passion inside her that she has never known. We see one slightly steaming scene and that’s it. Hey, I know they were trying to keep this movie classy and I’m no perv, but hot, steamy sex is what was missing. Sure, everything in this film evoked an old movie feel, but if we are going to believe Hester stays with Freddie, I’m afraid we need to see them set the bed on fire. Look, this can be done classy. I think everyone can agree that films like The Unbearable Likeness of Being and Henry and June were hot and intelligent. Both of those films had a plot lines that revolved around sex, even though they took place in the past. In its effort to keep itself tasteful, The Deep Blue Sea failed to truly delve into Hester’s sexual maturity and help us understand her obsession with Freddie. It also kept an otherwise wonderful performance from Rachel Weisz from being great.

I was really looking forward to this film, but in the end it fell short of my expectations. Too many aspects frustrated me and the screechy musical score almost sent me over the edge.

Friday, May 4, 2012

RIP - Adam Yauch



Adam Yauch (MCA), of The Beastie Boys, passed away today at the age of 47. That's just so messed up. He battled cancer for three years so I can only hope that now he is a peace.

Licensed to Ill came on to the scene just when I was ripe to branch out musically. I have it on cassette. I still have it too! You don't give away gold do you?

Driving home, my local radio station played "(You Gotta Fight) For Your Right (to Party)." I cranked down my windows and blasted that sucker for all of my suburban town to enjoy.

Here's some memory lane of what I came home and watched. Peace.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Song of the Week - Free/Graffiti6



I love this song. I wish it would've come out in another month though, because it's a great summer song. Oh well, I can still roll down the windows and crank it anyway.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Hunger Games - Movie Review


This is probably the most excited about a movie opening as I’ve been in awhile. I almost considered going to the midnight showing, but tons of screaming pre-teens is a little bit of a turn off. So I waited patiently for a more convenient time and a bargain showing.

Recently, my daughter read the last page of The Hunger Games and then walked out of her bedroom, handed it over to me and said, “Read this now!” I’m currently half way through the second book. I would like to read all three straight through, but I keep getting interrupted with other books.

As usual, I saw this movie opening weekend, but failed to write my review. I’m really trying to be better at this. I get so excited I run out to see new stuff and then have a hard time putting my butt in the chair to write about it.

The Hunger Games was a fantastic book. If you wonder why this book and film has received so much attention, then you simply haven’t read the book or seen the film. I guarantee you it won’t be long before this book is required school reading. It has appeal for both girls and boys (and adults), has foreshadowing, metaphors and topics for debate. It such a good book that it’s easy to be concerned about its film adaptation.

If by chance that has held you back from seeing the film, rest assured, the printed text gets a rare excellent translation to film. Of course changes had to be made. One of the most publicized discussions was how they would deal with the violence. Actually, in the first book, the violence is never described in gory detail so it’s not surprising to not go for the gore on the screen. The violence clearly conveyed and I felt the filmmakers only blew it in the final scene of “The Games.” This was the only time I felt they needed to push the envelope a bit more. If you read the book, you know the scene I’m talking about. Cato’s scene is a bit brief in the film and somewhat dilutes the action of the main characters. This opinion was not shared by daughter so maybe I’m alone on this, but it was my one real criticism of the film.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Waning on Glee - Is It Just me?

I have been a big Glee fan since the very first episode. As this season is quickly coming to close, I find myself waning a bit. My dream is for them to pack it in at the end of this season. Seriously, all the major characters will be graduating and didn’t this show already surpass everyone’s expectations? Let it quietly ride off into the sunset. I’m so afraid this will end up becoming a show that makes me cringe when I watch it. You know what I mean, shows that stay around way too long, or add a cute kid to “liven” things up. Some of my favorite shows have fallen victim to this. This week I saw a commercial on Oxygen for The Glee Project Season Two, so it seems pretty certain that winners of that show would need to have Glee still on. If our current characters are successful, then glee club will become a stepping stone and not a place for rejects as when the show began. Maybe a new crop of kids will be good for the show. Some of the contestants from the first season of The Glee Project have brought some fresh pipes. “Boogie Shoes” was awesome! I’m still enjoying all the performances. Everyone on the show is so friggin’ talented. The storylines, on the other hand, have been very hit or miss with me. I feel the writers really blew it with Quinn. Come on, we saw that truck booking down the highway, yet it seemed like she was back at school in about a week. She would have had a much longer recovery just to get to the point of being able to be in a wheel chair. I don’t think they sent a very good message about not texting while driving. Of course, it does seem like we’re being set up for Quinn never being able to walk, but they really should have shown her in the hospital and deferring college while she goes through extensive physical therapy. Maybe they’ll right that one before season’s end. Well, I gave up on American Idol last season and I haven’t looked back. Glee, I’m sticking with you for now, but you better bring it!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Song of the Week - Brokenhearted/Karmin

It's almost impossible to get this song out of your head, but it's okay because it's great. They also did a great job performing on SNL last month. They're one to watch!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Melody Gardot - Preview "Mira" video




If you’re not already familiar with the wonderful jazz of Melody Gardot, you’re in for a treat. Melody is an amazing singer with an amazing story. I’ve been a fan of hers since 2008. I’m so excited that her new album Absence comes out May 29th. Ms. Gardot came into music in an interesting way. After suffering serious injuries from a bicycle accident, Melody used music as therapy. She has spinal damage and sensitivity to light and sounds, but she doesn’t let that stop her. Her two previous albums were wonderful, but her new one promises to stretch her as an artist. Traveling to South America and recording songs with a Brazilian influence, we’ll be treated to a fresh soond that’s still the Melody we’ve come to love. Check out the first single Mira. I gorgeously textured song with Spanish and English lyrics combining to create a hot song that will make you feel like summer has arrived.




Enjoy the clip, check out her sites and look for a full album review soon.
Pre-order from Amazon now at: http://amzn.to/lBqPyf
Official Sites:
melodygardot.com
facebook.com/melodygardot
twitter.com/#!/mgardot

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

RIP - Dick Clark

Dick Clark lived a full long life, but his passing is still a sad day for us. He's done so much for television. He produced so many great game shows and let's not even get started on what he's done for music.

American Bandstand showcased so many musicians over the years. I can't believe the singers that Dick Clark brought into my living room over the years. I can't say I learned to dance watching the show (honestly, I've got zero moves), but I sure did grow a wide appreciation for music of all genres.

Dick Clark was always such a likeable guy. Recently, when he suffered a stroke he missed hosting the iconic New Year's Rockin' Eve. He just missed that one year. The next year, there he was. Even though his speech had dramatically changed from the stroke, Clark was there with his wife to bring in a new year for us. Watching him that year I thought, "Man, he kicks ass!" Nothing was going to bring this guy down.

Cheers to you Mr. Clark. Thank you for everything you gave us. Here's a great clip of Clark talking to Prince. This performance was before Purple Rain and even before 1999. Pretty cutting edge for Saturday afternoon.