tvordlj: (Movies)
We went to the movies today and saw Ghost in the Shell in 3D. Now, I'm not a fan of manga and I have absolutely no familiarity with this story which is apparently a well known one among fans. G. saw the original Japanese manga movie though he's not really into manga either so the movie today, which had a lot of the same elements, made sense to him. Yes, I had a bit of trouble keeping it all straight. Part of that seems to be that I nodded off at one point! Eek! I was drowsy at a few points but was making an effort to stay awake and watch. I think i was just comfy in the dark and there were some slow bits and off i went. And I also think that because I was a bit confused watching it, my attention strayed and that made me drowsy as well.

Anyway, I had thought I would like it, since I often like scifi and I like Scarlet Johansson for the most part. I did find myself questioning things I had no business questioning like why would she be urged to breathe when she first came to after her initial creation. I thought, but she's mostly a machine, wouldn't all that be fired up and running and supplying the brain with the needed oxygen? She wouldn't actually have real lungs. Never mind.

The movie is about a woman who has been turned into a cyborg but with her human brain implanted to give her the best of both worlds, the ability to be a fighting machine but with the reasoning and intelligence of a human rather than AI. And fight she does, very well. She has some funky visions or "glitches" but they are dismissed by the doctor. She's trying to track down an entity that keeps uploading his conscience into others and using their bodies to kill several of the doctors and board members at the corporation that does the cyborg/human thing. Things are not as they seem but she finds out some truths by the end though in the end, nothing really changes for her life. She will continue as she has been which sets things up for possible sequels of course.

The special effects were very good and I figured they would be, which is why I thought we might see it in 3D. That's not something I usually go for but sometimes it does enhance the movie. I like Scar-Jo as I said and the man that played her sidekick was good, too. He's a Danish actor and was also in Game of Thrones as one of the Greyjoys, not Theon, the one that became Reek, one of his uncles.
tvordlj: (Meez avatar)
Reading something today and discovered there is going to be a remake of Scarface. Now, I was not a fan of it though I think I have seen it many years ago. Lots of people moan about all the remaking of older films and I am certainly guilty of that. But when you look back, remakes are nothing new. There have been a number of versions of some movies ever since there were movies at all. Little Women comes immediately to mind. Lots of classic books get made, remade and reimaged so to speak. The Romeo and Juliet story is the basis for quite a few movies, for instance. So why do we get all in a knot over a remake?

Because some movies are so iconic that I think they stand alone and it would be difficult to accept any other version for most people. You could argue that there are a lot of people that have never seen that iconic original and that's true but also, these older movies are on television regularly and younger people will get to know them. I really can't picture a successful remake of movies such as Gone With The Wind, The Sound of Music, Casablanca, The Ten Commandments or The Godfather just to name a few. There are lots. And there are many that have been remade, for television in particular. I was going to list The Wizard of Oz but I think there have been versions or possibly animated versions made. I looked it up and aside from animation on television, no, there hasn't really been any since the 1939 version though there were several silent film versions before.

Should Scarface be one of those iconic Do Not Repeat films? Maybe not. Regardless, it's being remade with Leonardo di Caprio in the Al Pacino part. *sigh* I don't like his acting. It really feels like he's very far up his own backside and when he tries to take on famous roles, for me it falls flat. Jay Gatsby? Really? No, not for me. The Great Gatsby benchmark is the Robert Redford and Mia Farrow version from the 70s. I can't say it was iconic, and I wouldn't object to a remake if it hadn't had di Caprio in it. I would have rather seen him play the secondary male lead but then we'd likely have got the odious Christian whotsis, Bale, that's it. He's good, nothing against him but he's a bit thuggish for me. Another actor that seems to be cast in odd roles that seem unsuitable is that little dark Irish fella, (c'mon brain, think...) Colin Farrell (thanks Wiki). He's a quirky fella and always seems like he might believe he isn't really supposed to be in that role and isn't sure why he is but is game to make the best of it. He's ok, though. Not offputting like Bale or diCaprio.

I do think DiCaprio is an able actor and I think he's ok in things like Inception. I think maybe I get the feeling he's trying too hard, pushing those potential award winning roles, turning those roles into famous, iconic ones. He wants to be up there in the ranks of the memorable like Brando, Pacino, Hoffman, Redford, Newman. Perhaps he will be in the long run, who am I to say he won't? He's not a bad actor, not like some I could mention but he doesn't half take himself far too seriously. Ralph Fiennes and Billy Bob Thornton are two more like that, and Christian Bale, come to think of it.

Anyway. Yes. Scarface with DiCaprio. There's also a remake in the works for White Men Can't Jump. Why? I never thought much of the first one. Yeah, that's another thing. Why remake something with a fresh new cast when the original wasn't that great? Because a new cast will make the story better? Not likley. Russell Brand remade the wonderful Arthur that was Dudley Moore originally. It was appalling!  Look how many King Kong movies there have been? The original is still the best. Digital technology hasn't really improved the story though I did enjoy the most recent, Kong: Skull Island. It was what it was but it was entertaining enough.

Then there's the kind of remake that changes the premise, as in Nasty Women which is a remake of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (original with Michael Caine and Steve Martin as con men). Yep, they're making the con couple two women instead of two men. I see movies like that where the gender of the main cast is reversed. Still doesn't usually work for me. It feels desperate. Referring to the aforementioned Arthur, they put Helen Mirren in the assistant role that John Geilgud played in the original. I do love Helen but that movie in general was just a mistake.

Anyway.
On the book to movie front, I'm actually excited and somewhat hopeful at the screen version of The Snowman, based on Norwegian crime fiction writer Jo Nesbo's novel. I really enjoy his books about fuck up detective Harry Hole who will be played by Michael Fassbender. Could go either way but I'm going to hope for the best. 
tvordlj: (Meez avatar)
I don't really have a particular favourite type of movie. A lot of the time, it will depend on what kind of mood I'm in. I do tend not to like horror movies, at least not the bloody slasher type. I have liked some, Alien for instance. Brilliant movie. Hauntings, zombies, monsters, blood and guts, not as much. I'm not a huge fan of cgi though it's a necessary thing these days. Sometimes it's done quite well, I admit, and background modifications and things are ok. Even actor modifications can be good. I liked that Golum was a real actor and then digitized to skew his body. The end product felt more realistic. I dislike fully digitized bodies flipping around, fighting cgi monsters etc. I might as well be watching a video game. I know, how else are they going to do it? Still doesn't mean I have to like it much. I bet it's more challenging for the actors to get their reactions when they're acting against a green wall.

It was a surprise to me, therefore, when I was watching a short interview the other day with Samuel L Jackson, who is da motherfucking BOMB, by the way, He's promoting Kong: Skull Island and they showed bits of the film in between bits of the interview and I thought, holy hannah, that actually looks pretty impressive. We went to a movie a few weeks ago for my birthday, Hidden Figures which had no monsters, no car crashes, no guns, but G. liked it. Probably not as much as I did but it kept his interest. We have different likes for movies and it's not always easy to find something to go see that we will both enjoy. When I went home, I told him about the interview and clips from the movie. He got it. "Annnnnnddddddd....." he said, his little face starting to look ever so hopeful. "Are you telling me........." Yes, Yes I think I would like to see it. I made his day! He figured he'd have to wait for it to come out on DVD to see it/rent it/download it and I would have watched it at home likely if that had been how it went. We're going to go see it tomorrow on the big screen though not in 3D because neither of us is overly keen on that. I have to draw the line somewhere! (I do go to see 3D if it's something like Star Wars/Trek or if we can't see it any other way.)

There's another sci fi movie coming out next week called Ghost in the Shell with Scarlett Johansson. She's some sort of manufactured warrior. Looks like it is probably based on some Manga or something like that. Definitely Japanese in origin. Very heavy cgi all around and a lot of action. IT's a "maybe".

In other news, we're having a family meal out on Sunday. One of my nephews organized it, saying he's going off on vacation in a week and  we haven't all seen each other in awhile. That makes me suspicious. We have all just had a tri-birthday get together about a month ago and he never usually organizes family meals off the cuff like this. I shall be half expecting some sort of announcement, which, since it would be done in public, will probably be something that will make us all very happy. I don't want to be specific just in case i'm wrong or it might be jinxed. Stay tuned. 
tvordlj: (Movies)
Let me see... Oh . We went to a movie last weekend, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. It's a Tim Burton movie based on the first of a trilogy of books. It's very fantasy, lots of cgi which doesn't ordinarily thrill me but for this to work, it had to be done. It doesn't seem like they will make a movie for each of the three, though, because they changed the last third of the book and ending to wrap up the story. You don't normally like major changes from book to movie but in this case, given that they wanted to finish it in one, I think they did a good job and made a good choice for how it was ended. It fit in with the rest of it,  at least.

While they never said how the children came to the orphanage or why, these children are all peculiar, having a strange and odd ability, each different from the other. One floats if not wearing lead shoes, another is invisible, another is a super strong little girl, one boy can bring dead things back to life, another sweet little girl has an ugly toothy mouth in the back of her head hidden under her hair. That's a bit creepy. The headmistress, Miss Peregrine (played by Eva Green), can change into a bird, a peregrine falcon. She is an ybryn and there are others like her, charged to look after these children. They all change to birds of one sort or another. We met one other, Miss Avocet who was played by Judi Dench.

A teenage boy, Jacob, sees his grandfather killed by what appears to be a monster but a psychiatrist seems to have convinced him that he was seeing things. His grandfather used to tell him the most fantastic stories when he was a boy, purporting them all to be true. These were stories about strange children and monsters etc. His grandfather was often away and his father seems to have grown up resenting it. He has no relationship with his father and isn't much of a dad himself. Growing up with an absent father doesn't give you much of an example. Jacom finds a letter, written fairly recently, from a Miss Peregrine to his grandfather and a reference to an island in Wales and the psychiatrist suggests he visit the island, for closure if nothing else so he manages to convince his father to take him. His father is apparently bird watching and intending on writing a book, something it sounds like he's been attempting for years.

When he's on the island at the ruined orphanage where no MIss Peregrine appears to be, he finds some children of various ages including a teenage girl. They take him through a sort of cave and he's transported back to a day in 1943, the day the orphange is bombed and destroyed. Turns out this is a time loop, controlled by MIss Peregrine. The children there are the peculiars and they all live the same day over and over, the day being reset just before the bomb hits. They grow older but they never grow up past the age they were when they were first brought to the time loop. There are other time loops in the world as well, all at different time periods in history. An Ymbryn can actually create a loop. His grandfather lived there for awhile but then left the loop and joined the Navy during WWII.

But there's danger. There really are monsters, called Hollowghasts, or Hollows for short and they are the result of an experiment gone badly, trying to gain the spirits from ymbryns. They were transformed into these invisible monster who, if they eat the eyes of enough peculiar children, may transform to some semblence of a human again. Some already have and they can shape shift to any other human form. They're determined to hunt down all the time loops and all the children and ymbryns so everyone is in danger. Jacob's grandfather was chasing this Hollows all over the world to kill them before they got their mitts on peculiar children, he having the ability to see them. Turns out Jacob has that talent too, his peculiarity which is very valuable in helping to keep these people safe.

So that's the background and part of the movie. Jacob has to battle against the Hollows who are out to get all of them and who have captured many of the Ymbryns in the world including MIss Peregrine. He has to lead the children to find her.

It's very true to Tim Burton's style and quirkiness. No Helena Bonham Carter (I think they divorced, didn't they?) but there is a young woman in the move that reminds me of her quite a bit. Eva Green is wonderful and the children are all very good. Mostly the cgi is great though there are occasions when it's annoying but that's only my own personal "thing" about cgi (i.e. when they have a human battling a fantasy character and the human is quite obviously cgi and it looks like a computer game sequence rather than real. That irks me. It just does.)

If you like that sort of thing or have read and enjoyed the books, you might like it. As i said, there are a few things unexplained and I can't remember from the book why and how the children first came to the time loops but it doesn't matter to me. It's fantasy so I don't always need these things explained. Also, they end up going to Blackpool (in the 1943 period) to save Miss Peregrine. Graham wondered, why Blackpool. Since this is not in the book, I figured it was because Blackpool isn't altogether that far from Wales where the small island is supposed to be. And it's got the tower and the piers. Much more interesting than just a place in the countryside somewhere, I reckon.

Back to reality.

Now that G. is on my Blue cross plan at work, he's been to the dentist. It's not been fun. He'd stopped going quite awhile ago. He was unemployed so was able to go on the NHS but when he got the call centre job, he would have to pay and couldn't afford to, living from pay to pay as he was. Needless to say his teeth need a lot of work. Two appointments so far for the cleaning with one more to finish up. Ouch. Then inJanuary he has to have a few fillings and possibly a root canal. OUch again. But once it's done, it won't be so bad going forward, if i must use a "buzz speak" phrase. That's actually one of the very few I don't mind.

These trendy buzz words and phrases drive me nuts. Action is NOT a verb, people. And you can still have meetings or discussions rather than calling them conversations. There was another one that nearly had me weeping with consternation recently, "socializing" something instead of presenting it or (urg) bringing it to the table. I wrote about all this before.

Thanksgiving for Canada is this weekend so there is a holiday Monday and a big meal at my sister's on Sunday. I have to get pies. No, i'm not making any. My attempts at pie crust are always hit or miss, usually miss. I don't make them enough to perfect it. It's been years since I made a pie crust from scratch. 
tvordlj: (Movies)
Shopping on Saturday. Graham needed a new pc mouse, one for both laptops actually so we picked up a couple of Logitech ones in WalMart, one of them being a cheaper wired one for the laptop he uses on the table for his radio recording and a wireless one for the laptop he uses daily, which sits on a lap desk so he can reside on the sofa while surfing. :) Anyway. That mouse didn't work. We tried several different batteries but there was no power and no response at all. We noted on the packaging that there is some kind of power saver on it but if that's what was kicking in, we couldn't get it to rise to life for love or money. then I thought I had thrown out the receipt because we'd also got groceries at WalMart and normally i don't keep the grocery receipts. I had taken some of the bags down to the garbage with the regular rubbish so i couldn't get it back. Ah, but then i remembered i'd stuffed something in my jacket pocket and went to look. Result! It was the receipt so we took that back yesterday and got a refund, nipped over to Best Buy and got one there.

Logitech are usually pretty reliable so I was surprised. And the one we got at BB is the same brand, different model, cheaper and works just fine.

We also got some art supplies at Michael's and when I was going over the receipt to check something, I realized they'd charged us three times for something we only bought two of. I double checked to make sure we didn't accidentally pick up three but there were only the two. That got refunded yesterday as well. It wasn't that much because I'd had a 40% coupon but it was the principle of it and since we were over in the area anyway, we took the receipt in. Mom had offered us the car overnight because she didn't feel like driving back and forth from her place to take us home after having been out around the shops for the afternoon. Thus we had the car and could do the errands before going to see the new INdependence Day movie.

Which we liked, but not as much as the first one. The special effects were pretty good though heavy on cgi but it was done well. I'm not a big fan but it's pretty much a given these days that there will be backgrounds filled in with it, actors enhanced, plus all the action and monsters and futuristic bits etc. The main thing that annoys me is when they have a character fighting a cgi monster, and the character is cgi as well for the fight and it really looks fake. If i wanted to watch an animated movie, I'd have gone to see one. A real life real actor then being animated for some action doesn't look real even if it's a necessity for them to do the scene. I've accepted that there is a lot they can't do without it. It is interesting too, that it isn't just background etc. I saw a behind the scenes on a movie that was supposed to take place in the 1930s depression era dust bowl part of the US. They filmed it in an exterior area that was green and lush looking and then fed it all through a computer to make the grass look brown and dry and the scenery looking parched and depressing.

Anyway, another thing we did notice was that some of the characters were pretty bland. In the first movie you had Will Smith, who has loads of personality. In this movie, there was an actor playing his now grown son and he was as dull as dishwater. For fans of the politically correct, we now have a female President who wasn't particularly dynamic and there were a few other characters that were a bit flat. On the plus side, there was an African commander that was channelling his inner warrior who was awesome and we also had Liam Hemsworth playing a rogue pilot who livened things up as well. Bill Pullman playing the President from the first movie started off in this one as a broken man but as the movie went on, he found his inner strength though was good to watch no matter what the state of his character was. Jeff Goldblum is back along with Judd Hirsh as his father though he was as annoying as he was first time around. Jeff, however, was good as was Brent Spiner who played a scientist that we thought was killed in the first movie but who has apparently been in a coma. He's back and as manic as ever. A lot of these characters weren't in it as much so though they were good, the bland ones and the somewhat dull writing pulled the movie down a bit. Overall, though, we did enjoy it and it was a good romp for a summer movie.

We are anxiously awaiting the new Star Trek out later this month and saw a trailer for Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children which looks awesome. Yep, more cgi but Eva Green! We're planning to see both of them for sure, too. 

The force!

Jan. 10th, 2016 04:14 pm
tvordlj: (Movies)
Four of us went to see Star Wars today, in 3D but not Imax, that's a bit much for me! Screen is far too big unless your'e sitting at the top or very back. Not usually that keen on 3D but from everything I've heard, this really does make a difference and I'm glad I did that. Even Mom who doesn't like 3D liked it. She also didn't find it too loud either. I don't think it's my age really, I find a lot of movies far too loud these days too but I think that the sound systems have become very sophisitcated, with the digital sound and surround sound and all these explosions and even the background music at times overwhelms the movie. But this was great, not too loud at all even with explosions!

Excellent to see the old characters from the original three movies. Han Solo hasn't changed a bit, bless him. :)

Thoughts on the new bad guy: not nearly as threatening as Vader was but perhaps he wasn't supposed to be.

When one particular character removed his helmet, my first thought was "Oh, look, Justin Trudeau!" (Canada's new young Prime Minister). Mom thought he also reminded her a bit of a young John Travolta and he did.

The three new younger characters, Rey who's the new Force holder, Finn, the ex Stormtrooper with a heart, and Poe, the new cowboy fighter pilot are all really good. I think they'll carry the story forward very well.

Of course there had to be a scene with some sort of conglomeration of a whole lot of different aliens, similar to the cafe/bar scene in the first movie!

A bit free and loose with the time though, the 10 minutes or even 30 seconds to deadline sure packed a lot of stuff in for that bit of a time frame. Never mind.

Yep, a couple of shockers. I did not see that coming.

The Millenium Falcon! Yay! Emphathetic bleepy droid? Yay! Liked it better than R2D2 even if that's a bit of a sacrilege.

Was it perfect? No but it was pretty damn good and an honourable sequel, at least to the first three with far better dialogue. Obviously better special effects since technology has come a long way.  The middle three movies (Episodes 1  - 3) are best forgotten, really. I don't think they really added much at all and could possibly have been done in one movie.
tvordlj: (Reading Woman)
Good grief, It's cold outside today!
Even so, i decided not to hibernate and I went to the gym. Yes, on a Saturday. That's mainly because I've avoided it for the most part for a couple of weeks, I think i've only managed to go twice in those two weeks. Bad me. Ever since I gave up having a trainer, it's been more difficult to get myself to the gym. At the end of the work day, it's so easy to say i'm tired and i want to get on a bus and go home. I can't do that. I feel better when I go to the gym and it's good for my BP and my lower back. Those are my main motivations after all. So off i went today, did 20 minutes cardio spread over three different machines and then a bit of weights.

Picked up a package at the post office on the way home and a few groceries and when I got home, I wrapped all Graham's Christmas presents because I want to get them in the mail this week to make sure he gets them in time. And it's G's birthday today. Poor guy had to work this morning. . Now i've caught up on recorded telly, Constantine, Gotham, Big Bang Theory and Grimm.

Going to see the new Hunger Games movie, Mockingjay Part 1 tomorrow. That does annoy me and I blame Harry Potter. Wasn't that the first one that made two movies out of the last book? Or was it the Twilight ones? I'm not including Lord of the Rings where they made three movies out of one book. I didn't really like the first of the two part Harry movie that ended the series. I found it really slow and dull but the last movie, the second part of the final book, was good. Lots of action. They just seem to pad them so much and you feel like they're just doing it to suck more money out of you. Never mind, we've gone to the other Hunger Games movies so we want to see it through to the end. (Mom, Sister and I).

2014 books )

She's gone

Oct. 12th, 2014 11:36 am
tvordlj: (Movies)
I decided to go to a movie yesterday afternoon but the movie I saw wasn't the one I had intended to see. I wanted to see Pride, a new British film about a group of gays that raised money for a small Welsh mining town during a strike in the 80s and I thought it started at 3:20. I got on the bus at 2:40 and figured I'd get there just in time. I checked my phone, the Cineplex app, and oh dear...The movie's start time was 3:10 and there's no way I would get there in time. The only other thing I thought I'd like to see was Gone Girl at 3:35 so that's what I did and I had enough Cineplex points to see it for free.
spoilers )
Thanksgiving feasting later today. Spending some time with one of my best friends tomorrow. Top weekend!
tvordlj: (Movies)
I went to see a wonderful movie on Monday evening called The Grand Budapest Hotel. I think it was released some months ago but it's only just opened here a few weeks ago. My friend and I were chomping at the bit waiting for it and it did not disappoint. It's also a bit hard to describe properly but here goes....

It starts off in the mid 80s with a revered writer about to dictate his story about the Grand Budapest hotel (of which he's written a famed book apparently). We go back to the late 1960s where a younger version of him (played by Jude Law) is in the GBH, a sad and tired version of what it was in it's glory days. It is a Grand Hotel indeed, way up in a mountain near a little village somewhere in the Alps in a little country. Unspecified, Probably based on Liechtenstein or something like it.  There are few visitors staying and none of them speak to each other. The concierge is a shadow of the former versions who were meticulous, efficient and ruled the hotel lobby. The writer meets the owner in a tatty spa and they have dinner together in the vast dining room where the owner, a man called Zero Mustafa, tells him how he came to own the hotel.

We now zip back to the early 1930s. War is impending in a pseudo-Nazi like atmosphere (the ZZ instead of the SS). The Grand Budapest is perhaps just past it's prime but still a famed hotel where lots of the beautiful and/or rich people stay. The lobby is ruled by M. Gustave, a smarmy, pretentious but highly efficient and yes, legendary concierge. He is charged with training a young man, named Zero who gets to be a Lobby Boy. We know this because that's what's written on his hat. One of the guests, a rich old woman, is about to leave. She stays here every year for several months but oddly, doesn't want to leave this time. M. Gustave convinces her to go. She will be just fine. But alas, as reported in the paper the next day, she is dead in her home! M. Gustave and Zero take a train to see her. The train is stopped at the border by the soldiers but though Zero's papers are not particularly in order, (he is later revealed to be a refugee from a fictional country decimated by war), the head honcho of the troop of soldiers knows M. Gustave and allows them through.

At the castle of the family of the dead woman, it's revealed that a priceless painting has been left to M. Gustave but the will and it's box full of addenda and codicils still need to be verified. The Butler of the house slips an envelope into the back of the painting and allows Gustave to escape with it. He's later arrested for murdering the woman and is thrown in prison. He later escapes with a group of hardened criminals and with Zero's help, has to find the missing Butler and prove his innocence.

There are all kinds of characters, and lots of cameos by famous faces like Jeff Goldblum, Willem Dafoe, Harvey Keitel, Bill Murray and Tilda Swinton. The action is fast paced and a bit madcap at times. It feels a bit like a cross between Tintin and keystone cops and is quirky, bizarre and is loads of fun but with a dark edge as well. And as there are a few quick scenes that have a sexual nature and with some crude language on occasion, it's not for children in spite of the adventure.

Ralph Fiennes plays M. Gustave and though he's not always an actor I like, he certainly suits this part to a tee. An unknown young man plays a young Zero, with hesitant and unsure manner at first and later, as the character grows, more confidence. Saoirse Ronan plays Agatha, a young baker who is in love with Zero and she gets to play her part in the caper as well. Willem Dafoe gets to play a villain of few words, kind of the heavy hit man for the family of the deceased and Adrian Brody plays the nasty, greedy son with aplomb.

Wonderful movie. Excellent cinematography. I loved the way they composed the shots and the movie almost had a bit of a cartoon like quality to it. Even the characters themselves were often cartoonish in looks (the three sisters of Adrian Brody's character!) Apparently this is going to be out on DVD in a few weeks so I do believe I shall buy it. This one is worth owning!
tvordlj: (Dime)
I wanted to go to a movie today and couldn't decide between August: Osage County and American Hustle. In the end, I went with American Hustle because I wasn't in the mood for anything overly emotional today and I thought Osage probably would be. See, it's been 8 years today since Dad died and while I'm ok, it wouldn't take much, yannow? After the movie, I decided to be a bit lazy and instead of walking up the staircase to the main level, I turned down a small corridor that leads to two other movie theatres in the cineplex and the little elevator. Half way down the corridor I saw a dime on the floor gleaming in the light! I always see them when I'm not expecting to and they always make me smile.

Anyway the movie, yes it was pretty good. Bradley Cooper, Christian Bale, Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence were the principle cast. Bale looks to have gained a lot of weight for the part. Amy Adams is an actor i really like though not used to her playing sexy tough-but-vulnerable roles like this. She was very good as was Lawrence who is in everything these days. Cooper played a rogue FBI agent who's ambition to bust some big marks drags Bale and Adams' characters into the sting against a mayor and some congressmen, senators and a few mob bosses. It takes place in the late 70s and I think was partly based on an AbScam sting.

The FBI used a con man and his partner to bust a stolen goods ring but it ended up being a sting against corrupt public officials and they used a pretend sheik as the bait to promise money to develop the Atlantic City casino area. Christian Bale played the con man and Amy his partner and lover though he was a married man (to Jennifer Lawrence's character). Amy's character pretended to be British during much of the stings so she spent half the movie with a somewhat weak accent. Bradley Cooper's FBI agent was off the wall and hyper and flew off the rails several times.

It had twists and turns and you knew darn well it was going to be a "who's scamming who" trick. You got a few flashbacks to fill in some gaps. It had a good soundtrack, lots of late 70s goodness. There was a cameo by DeNiro, excellent! I don't like the hand held camera method but it wasn't too distracting like it can be. There were little 70s touches like hearing tv commercials from that era. The clothes and cars were great. The eyeglasses and sunglasses were the size of dinner plates.

Anyway, I liked it. Good movie. Will it win the Oscar? I don't think so but it was just what I needed today.
tvordlj: (Meez avatar)
Owie. My personal fitness dragon had me doing something a bit different for my shoulders yesterday and I can feel it today! I actually like it that i'm sore the day after because it's not sore in a bad way, just sore because i've used the muscles harder and that's good.

Thought I might go to a movie on the weekend but there isn't much I really want to see. The two movies I had read about that would have started this weekend or had already started aren't playing here yet. One is a Pedro Alomar movie, I'm So Excited and the other is what looks to be an indie movie, Byzantium, which is a British-Irish fantasy about a mother and daughter vampire team.  Figures that neither of them reached release here, I guess. I will have to keep an eye out for when they go to dvd. I would like to see Despicable Me 2 but i fear it won't be as good as the original because Gru isn't a bad guy anymore and it just wouldn't be the same!

Going to see Rush this Sunday night. I have never seen them live before and am quite excited. My cousin and I are going and I think we've got pretty decent seats, upper part of the lower bowl, just to the side of the stage. Will probably have to smuggle in the camera and hope the photo police aren't too vigilant. We did the "Hail Mary" shots at a concert last year by holding the cameras on our knees, aiming and shooting and hoping for the best.
tvordlj: (Movies)
Been a good weekend so far. I like when that happens. Most weekends, especially through the winter, I don't do very much unless Mom and I go out shopping somewhere. Friday was a day off and my cousin came over to help me put the book case together that Mom gave me for my birthday. There's two small bullet like bits missing, not sure what happened as we counted them all and there was the required number. They're the bits that stick in the holes that let you put the adjustable shelves where you want them. I can use something else i'm sure if i can't find them in the carpet or on a side table somewhere.

Yesterday my friend Denise and I went to a movie and lunch. There's a little cafe in a hotel near a retail area, the Redwood Grill and it's quite good. Not an extensive menu and the food is all ordinary stuff like sandwiches, burgers, salads but it's quite tasty. The movie we saw was Quartet and we both really enjoyed it. It's about a retirement home for musicians in England, it looked like it might have been in the Cotswolds, or at least the scene or two shot in the village nearby was similar. The time of year was autumn, with some leaves already off the trees. Some beautiful sunsets. All very symbolic of the later years in life, I think.

Every year there is a musical gala put on by the seniors to raise money to help keep the home open. The planning is underway for this year's gala, organized and directed by the character played by Michael Gambon, late of Dumbledore fame. He's marvellous as the diva-like Cedric (pronounced See-dric don't you know!). He despairs of some of his performers but pulls it all together in the end. Three of the residents were part of a famed quartet of opera singers whose best work has just been re-released on CD, a Verdi piece. Into the home comes Maggie Smith whose character, Jean, is feeling old and defeated, her fame long gone. Turns out her ex husband is living in the home and is not happy to see her at all. She hurt him very much and he's reluctant to accept her apologies so many years later.

Her other friends, played by Pauline Collins and Billy Connolly, talk she and her ex husband (played by Tom Courtenay) into performing the quartet for the gala.

The movie is a gentle ensemble movie. The comedy comes from the lines, the looks, a lot of it from Billy Connolly but not in his usual vigorous manner. They are all people in their 70s and up and experiencing the aches, pains, and illnesses of age, an old age not for sissies, as they say. Pauline Colins' character seems to be experiencing dementia or Alzheimers at times. Billy's character is an old scally wag, flirts with anything in skirts and could charm the birds out of the trees. Tom's character is more reserved, still nursing his pain from all those years ago. Maggie's Jean is coming to terms with age and her confidence is in the toilet, she'd had to end her career due to crippling stage fright that came on as she got older. She get some great lines in as only she can.

A lot of the cast is made up of musicians and actors from very presigious origins, we see this as the end credits roll. I really enjoyed the movie. It might not be for everyone but I would recommend it anyway.

Today my aunt and i will have a little party at my mom's. Her birthday is tomorrow so we've often shared our celebrations over the years.
tvordlj: (Reading Woman)
Work's going ok. Cracked a problem yesterday with some help. It wasn't anything I was doing wrong, it was a problem with a connection from one server to another and it had to be done using a direct IP address instead of a server name. Have got quite a lot of requests on the board which is good plus a fwe other ongling projects. Training on Mondays to learn html5, css3 and PHP programming, also going well.

Mom's birthday was the 17th and we had a family party for her. We went together and bought her  Keurig coffee maker, similar to the popular Tassimo that uses a little pod or cup and makes one cup of beverage at a time. Everyone seems to be getting them and she wanted one. They're best for coffee though they do make tea and other things but for tea, I still find boiling the kettle is the best. I don't expect I'll get one until G. and i are living in the same apartment since he's a coffee drinker. My nephew's birthday was yesterday and we had another family get together on Sunday for that. Gave him the reusable filter for his Keurig that he got at Christmas. My birthday is this weekend and yet another family get together for that. My aunt's is the day after and we will have a joint party which is nice. My cousin, the one that lost his wife recently is coming over to my place on Friday to help me put my birthday bookcase together. I have to stop off and get some groceries because i promised to cook!

Also this weekend, my friend and i are going to a movie, possibly Quartet which looks wonderful. It's about a senior citizen's home for retired musicians. The ex-wife of one of them arrives and there's all sorts of friction while they are trying to put on a recital. Great ensemble cast including Pauline Collins, Maggie Smith, Billy Connolly, Tom Courtenay, Michael Gambon and Andrew Sachs (That's the guy that played Manuel in Fawlty Towers!)

This is the first year i watched none of the Oscars. Usually I watch the first hour or so but i just didn't bother for some reason. I did record it and i might FF through some of it over the weekend just to see some of the musical performances and the dresses, of course! I didn't see any of the nominated best movies this year. I'm not sure what it says when I can only say I've seen four of the five nominated animated movies! Pretty much everything else that was nominated for anything I also didn't see. Last year was not a year that i managed to get to see that much in the theatres though i did download a number of films.

I've been struggling to keep up with various tv series that i've been following, mostly British things including Utopia, Being Human, Mr. Selfridge, Ripper Street, US Shameless, Big Bang Theory, and soon Grimm will be back, also Game of Thrones. On top of that is my daily Corrie and Young and Restless as well as UK Corrie. Something has to give!

Now to catch up on 2013 books below the cut
Read more... )
tvordlj: (Default)
Christmas itself was very nice, it always is. The season hasn't started very well with the death of my cousin's wife and the funeral was Monday morning (Christmas Eve). He was a little wobbly once or twice but got through it pretty well. The eulogy was by her younger sister and was amazing. One of the best i've heard. The gist of it was not to put off things and people. Make every get together an occasion and don't wait for one to get together.

Christmas eve was pretty quiet, just my nephew, mom and me. Justin and Staci both got home in the morning and we had breakfast and when my sister and her husband arrived we opened presents. It always takes awhile because we do it one at a time so we can watch each person open something and see what everyone's got. It makes it nicer so you can see the reaction of the others to the gifts. Dinner was at my sister's house. I made eggnog caramel cheesecake which turned out pretty awesome though the bottom crust was a bit hard. Overcooked a tad i think but the rest of it was wonderful. All the food was yummy and even though I tried not to over do, i still rolled away aching.

Christmas night, Mom and i went to my auntie's, a tradition. This is my cousin's mother, the cousin whose wife's funeral we were all at the day before. He was at his mom's and was ok, though his voice was almost gone. He's had moments, of course and maybe is still running on adrenaline. There's a lot of legal stuff and paperwork to keep him hopping for a few weeks. Once things quiet down, it'll probably hit him harder.

I brought my things home on Boxing day and kept the car overnight. Stores aren't open here on the 26th which is nice really, having that extra day where everything is still quiet across the city. Today my aunt was having the ladies in the family over for seafood chowder. The weather wasn't really cooperative but it was clear when we got there. We left early though, because the roads were getting pretty filled up. I got home about 2:30 and now, at 4:30 it sounds like it's turning to rain / ice pellets as forecast. Everyone is home and safe and warm.

Oh and last weekend I went to see the Hobbit with a friend. We were less than impressed. We both found it slow and draggy. Yes, the special effects were nice. Sometimes. But I'm usually underwhelmed when overwhelmed by CGI and there was so much of that. It's like they made the movie just to showcase what they can do on a computer. I can't imagine sitting through two more movies of that so I won't be. I liked Lord of the Rings in spite of the CGI because there was a lot more story to it. This didn't have that to hold my interest. A few scenes foretold some stuff from LOTR but even then it was extended out way too much. We didn't see it in 3D, neither of us are too fond of it and you could tell a lot of the effects that would have taken advantage of it. A couple of times, during scenes that you might expect to be filled with actual people, close ups and everything, I was pretty sure were all cgi versions of the actors, possibly even the close up of them speaking, it looked that faked. If that's the case, why not just make the whole movie animated and give up the pretense of having actors play the parts, just use their voice overs.

Mom, my niece Staci and I are hoping to have our annual trek to Chapters on the weekend, weather permitting. Everyone knows Mom loves getting Chapters gift cards so she gets lots. She gets one for Staci and I got one from Staci's fiance so we're all armed and ready. We all love reading and there are a lot of family members that do. At today's lunch, my cousin Pam and I exchanged books and one of my other cousins and I agree, how can anyone *not* like to read!?

I'm still off work until the day after New Year's. I was on call today but it doesn't look like i'll get any calls now. I did check my email and all was ok there. Good thing, too. I brought my work laptop home but forgot the electronic key that logs me in to the work network. Doh.
tvordlj: (Default)
Good grief!
I've just read a short news article where a condemned prisoner who is due to be executed by lethal injection in January is trying to get out of it citing health reasons. He weighs about 400 pounds and his first push of the envelope was that he feared the table would not support his weight. It was proven wrong by a test using a large jail guard and extra weights. Hmm. Well, he also claims that his weight, vein access, scar tissue, *depression* and other conditions would make his executioners "encounter severe problems". His lawyer filed something with the court to say that "there is a substantial risk that any attempt to execute him will result in serious physical and psychological pain" .
So?
He's a murderer, judged guilty (for a murder 20 years ago, which is another rant altogether, these endless appeals). He's suffering depression? Is anyone feeling sorry for him yet? If he's worried about his weight or vein access, I'm sure a gas chamber can be arranged. Or a guillotine.
Apparently weight has caused problems in the past with injections according to this article. I suppose they're trying to say it's undue hardship or emotional abuse. The man is a murderer. And besides, I'm in the "obese" category and they never have any trouble finding a vein to take bloodwork or inject an IV in my arm. Every body is different and there's a lot of places in your body you could use to tap a vein.

The new iPad mini is coming out. (or "miniPad" *snork*) It's a 7.5 inch screen and more the size of the ereaders (slightly bigger) and some tablets. Apparently two weeks after it's released, another version will be out that can take advantage of cellular service. Doesn't say that it'll be a phone but probably that's the 4G network so you don't need a wi-fi hotspot. Seems like a lot of fuss for something that's already out there sold by other companies but Apple has to keep up, i suppose and they certainly have their dedicated fans. I do have an iPod touch, several generations old now and newer apps won't run on it. But then i always ran my PC operating system years past the newer ones that were offered. I don't own a smart phone either because i really don't think i'd use it to any advantage most of the time. I may upgrade the iPod at some point i suppose but there's no hurry. The main thing i use it for is tunes and it does that quite well.

I saw the latest Bruce Willis movie, Looper last night. good clean bloody fun. And I do mean that literally. Typical action movie shoot up all over the place with some timey wimey paradox confusion thrown in. It takes place about 30 years from now. And 30 years from that point, time travel has been invented but is illegal. Because disposing of bodies is also more and more difficult, Mobsters use it to send their targets back 30 years, where a hitman is waiting to shoot and then dispose of the body. The victim is sent with bars of silver attached to their back as payment for the hitman in the past. Sending the hitman himself back to be shot by his younger self is called closing the loop. The victims are hooded and the assassins don't know it's their future selves until they slice open the back of the jacket the body has on to find gold bars instead of silver bars. The equivalent of the gold watch kiss-off i guess. They can then retire and live their lives until they're sent back to be killed.

This loop closing is suddenly happening all the time. There's a mob boss in the future called the Rainman who has just taken control and is closing all the loops as his first order of business. Nobody knows who he is or what his real name is. Most of the loopers are youngish men, cocky, stylish, braggarts. One of them discovers his victim is his future self and can't kill him setting off a man hunt for both men. His best friend gives him up and later, one of his hits is, yes, his future self.

Spoilers )
That's as much as i'll spoil, without going into the ending. But suffice it to say that i had to chuckle when in a typical Bruce scene, he's squinting, cocking his head to one side, looking rather complacent and shooting the place down with a series of various guns. Most of the action movie guys are screaming or gritting their teeth, leaping about over-adrenalized, it's a big show of Tough Muthafuckin Badass. Kind of like when Bruce Springsteen is straining like he's passing a horse out of his arse, sweating and grimacing while crooning out a soft ballad. Not Bruce Willis. He's resigned to the fact but equally determined the opposition isn't going to cream his ass, he's going to take them out first. He's also a Tough Muthafuckin Badass but he doesn't have to make a big production out of it.

Anyway, I liked the movie for what it was. And Emily Blunt is in it. I always like her. And the little boy that plays her son was quite good for being so young. I didn't see the ending coming. Probably should have.

more 2012 books )
tvordlj: (Reading Woman)
Went to an early showing of Men in Black III tonight with a friend. Sort of an early birthday dinner as she'll be in TO next week on business. We had a quick bite at Tim's first. Loved the movie, good fun! Will Smith's character goes back to 1969 to prevent Tommy Lee Jones's character from being killed. Josh Brolin played a young Agent K and wow did he have him down cold! He had the looks, the gestures, the vocals just right. Lots of aliens, lots of them being splattered, the main villain was quite creepy really, well. Apparently a New Zealand actor. He reminded me a bit of Tim Curry but i knew it wasn't him. Not in looks because with all the make up you couldn't tell what he really looks like anyway. It was just his voice a bit but anyway, it wasn't Tim Curry. Still did a great job, though.

More 2012 books )
tvordlj: (Default)

Just another manic mondayyyyyy .....
Well it should be less manic than last monday which was rife with mystery and confusion. We know what the problem is now, and we already have a pretty good plan of action. Just need to nail down the details.

Saw Brave yesterday. I'm not sure if i've ever gone to see an animated movie at the theatres before. I must have but if so, it's been a very long time. Of course the place was filled with kids and parents but they were all really good. One or two smaller ones were led out by a comforting hand when the bear in the movie was kind of scary. Some may wonder why kids' movies have scary stuff in them. Have you actually *read* classic fairytales lately? Brutal stuff.

Brave is by Pixar and has the excellence of animation you expect. Lots of fun too. They make the faces on the people and the animals very expressive, in fact i often find the animal faces even more so because you don't expect them to have human-like expressions when they often do in animated movies. Even in real life sometimes. I'd like to know how many times a cat has glanced up at me with that "Seriously????" look.

So yes. Brave. A story about a girl with wild red hair who grows up as a princess and is instructed on the proper behaviour as such by her mother all her life, when all she really wants to do is ride her horse and shoot arrows and be a bit of a tomboy or a warrior if she'd been allowed to be. Her father has survived a legendary battle with a huge bear though lost his leg to it and the bear still survives. He's spent all the intervening years either hunting for it or tediously retelling the tale of the battle. The time has come for a suitor to be picked for his daughter, Merida, and the winner of a competition between the sons of three neighbouring clans will be the one chosen. Not her own decision, mind you and she strenuously objects to that. The only input she gets is what the contest will be and she chooses archery.

One lad is tall, skinny, and vain. Kind of a rock star attitude. Also tempermental. One is a big beefy lad like his father but when he talks, the accent is so strong nobody can understand a word. (must be from Glasgow! ;) The third is a short, weedy, clumsy, goofy looking chinless wonder. But Merida can out shoot them all and does. Her mother is furious with her and in the midst of a gigantic row, Merida slashes a tapestry depicting herself, mother and father and she runs off. She finds a witch in the forest and is given a spell to change her mother so that she won't insist on the marraige. Of course she gets what she asks for but what she gets isn't what she expected. Mama turns into a bear. You can see the complications that can cause.

It all comes out ok in the end of course, with a mighty battle and a change of heart. Billy Connolly voices the king, Kelly MacDonald is Merida and Emma Thompson is the queen, Eleanor (whom i thought was called Helena through most of the movie!)

Also saw a good trailer for an animated movie called Hotel Transylvannia. Definitely one i want to see.

tvordlj: (Halifax)
Texting to 911 in an emergency?? Ok, the argument that someone with speech or hearing problems may make use of it sort of makes sense but how many people with those conditions would have a mobile phone? Some i suppose. But if you need to call 911, and you've got a mobile phone, why would you text? It would take a heck of a lot longer. Apparently it's being tested in a few areas but I'm not so sure it's really workable.

Movies coming up that i think i'd like to see: Brave,   Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, (Batman) Dark Knight Rises (maybe)

Movies to avoid like the plague: Rock of Ages, also seen referred to as Mock of Ages. Tom frigging Cruise in a horribly miscast roll, smugging and smirking his way through it. And that's just a short few seconds on the trailer.
Also i've seen the new Spiderman trailer. Not my thing.

I wasn't sure about the Hobbit,  coming out at Christmas, but reading the synopsis, maybe I might like it. Any other movies to recommend or avoid?

The Tall Ships are here this summer over a weekend in July. I have an EDO on the Friday which is good and will check them out and maybe on Saturday too though Friday through the day may possibly be less crowded. The festival incorporates the commemoration of the War of 1812 so there will be military demos from the Citadel on the waterfront as well and I think the Citadel has some special exhibits for that too. I really love the ships though I think i'll be missing the Parade of Sail this time because i have day surgery scheduled that day. Bummer. (nothing too serious, don't worry). I'll still get a chance to take pictures of them docked and I might buy a pass to go on board the ships as well this time. I don't think there's as many as there was last time but still close to two dozen. Sadly, the Bluenose II won't be there because she's in the middle of a refit. I say "refit" but it sounds like she's pretty much being rebuilt, so much is being replaced.
tvordlj: (Default)
Back to work and the routine. Don't know yet who the interim manager will be.
My hip isn't too bad in the daytime, moving around keeps it loose though i'm still walking a bit off kilter. The worst part is at night. I can get to sleep but i wake up half way through with hip pain and can't get comfortable enough to get back to sleep. Toss. Turn. Get up and walk for a few minutes. Repeat. I found a bit of comfort laying on my stomach but i hate sleeping like that. Trying to put cold pack on it when i'm home but that doesn't really seem to have any effect though the chiro says that's what it needs, not heat.

One of my coworkers is retiring this Friday. I've worked with him since i started this job in 1988 and we worked quite closely together for the first 8 years and usually sat close by each other for a long time after that on and off. He's a good friend and he's always cheerful and I'll miss him. The retirement do will be quite a bash! I did a painting for him using a photo he took on his vacation to Ireland a couple of years ago with his wife and daughter sitting on a pile of rocks at Giant's Causeway with the bay out behind them. I did the scenics and Graham did the two figures because i'm rubbish at that. We took it over to him last week and they really liked it. I forgot to take his picture with it and i asked him to but i'll have to remind him again. I'm pleased with how the painting turned out.

Speaking of which my friend's mother is going to teach painting in Kentville and wants a practice run so my friend, me and i think one other person are going to the community centre here on Saturday where she's going to lead us through a How-To session and we all come away with a painting.

We saw two movies last week, too. The Avengers and Dark Shadows and liked them both quite a bit. G. liked The Avengers more but he did enjoy DS. I liked them both about the same, but they're very different movies. Avengers is super heroes and lots of action and effects and cgi and DS is Tim Burton and Johnny Depp and it's all Goth and wry and camp. The actors in the Avengers were all good but Robert Downey Jr. as Ironman stole it for me but i'm a bit partial to him anyway. Mark Ruffalo played Bruce Banner (Hulk) and was really good in the part. The guy playing the villain, Loki, was excellent too. Dark Shadows is based on the old soap from the late 60s so it emulated that a bit with the style of soap story and acting. Characters with secrets, pasts, a witch, a curse, ghosts and lost love. And Johnny Depp. Excellent. Both movies were good fun.

Mom's out in Victoria, BC visiting her brother and it sounds like they have a full schedule for her!
tvordlj: (Movies)
I didn't mention that i went to see Mirror Mirror last Thursday with a friend. It was as expected, not a deep movie, not hugely comic but it had funny stuff and was light and fluffy and fun. The costumes were bright and very nice and I enjoyed Julia Roberts since i like her anyway. It's a take on Snow White with Julia as the queen who has taken over the kingdom in the absence of the king, Snow's beloved father. The Queen is step mother and has raised Snow mostly isolated in her bedroom in the castle high over the lake where the village is on the other side. The Queen is bankrupt and has over taxed the village and kingdom to pay for her elaborate wardrobe and lifestyle and needs a wealthy husband. She encounters a young Prince and starts to woo him but of course he has met Snow White and though they bicker, you know that's how love always starts. The Queen resorts to a love potion which has humourous results. Snow White has been banished and though the Queen's lackey was meant to kill her, he couldn't do it so she ends up with the seven Dwarves who are outlaws since being shunned for what they are, another result of the Queen's reign.

Snow White is played by Lily Collins, a newcomer. Some of the dwarves are familiar faces and some are new to me. Nathan Lane is great as the lackey. Arnie Alcott is Prince Alcott in a fun performance as well. Poor guy keeps losing his clothes! I liked that the dwarves were not all sugar sweet and happy and industrious, they're sarcastic and inventive and though don't have the same names you've heard in the classic fairy tale, some indeed are happy or grumpy at least. The queen's "mirror" is a straight talking image, not a sycophant and is located in a magic spot. We liked it, a pleasant way to spend a couple of hours.

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