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.