Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Just Cause It Made Me Laugh

Hey folks.  I have been re-watching Star Trek the Next Generation and loving it all over again. So that is my recommend for the month.

And just so you know what a silly little fan girl I am I am posting this picture cause it made me laugh.  I found it cause I wanted a picture of Picard with a Santa hat for an avatar.   Alas none of those could be found but this little gem did pop up.  Be sure to check out Worf in the back.

Oh, and if any of you have mad skills and could make me a Picard with a Santa hat, I would love you forever.  Bonus love is Dr. Crusher is in the picture too.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Masterpiece Classic: The Diary of Anne Frank

Masterpiece Classic: The Diary of Anne Frank

Oh my heart, my heart.  I think perhaps it might burst from sadness.  I first read the book when I was thirteen?  Fourteen?  Anyway, Anne's age at the time of her writing.  Now, I have kids that age.  And upon viewing this I discovered that Anne's real name is the same as my daughters.  It was gut wrenching and riveting the first time and it is now.  Only different.   This is  a touchstone that I revisit every decade or so to discover how much and how little I have changed.

I just can't review this one except to say that it may very well be the definitive version.  There was at least one thing about it that I didn't love and maybe I will come back and talk about it later but I just can' t do it now.  I am too moved to say a bad word.

Here is a picture of the real Anne that we know from her book.  And here is one of her most famous quotes.

"In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.  I simply can't build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery and death. July 15, 1944"

I am editing to add this.  It is a thought I just had concerning this topic.  I think that a life that shies away from sadness can know no joy. Suffering, pain, all of it are essential to knowing beauty. The terrible sadness of reading Anne Frank (or in the case watching it) reminds me of who I am and who I could easily become if I allow evil to reign. It makes me a stronger, better person. Anne reminds me of who I want to be.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hurricane Irene

This is still not that kind of blog but just wanted to update my friends who follow me.  Yes, we are in the suspected path of Irene.  I have not posted because we have been getting ready.  Hopefully all will be fine and all of my prep will be for naught.  If you are the praying sort, lots of us could use it right now.  I'll keep you updated when I can.

I am watching the new BBC Sherlock Holmes.  It is worth watching if you are so inclined.  I have been also watching Mad Men.  I have a love hate relationship with that one.

Talk to you soon.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Zombies - Guest Post at Not A Supermom

Nota and I have been good friend for about a decade now!  When I was six months pregnant and I fell and broke my ankle, Nota came and cleaned my toilets.  So no matter what she my try to say to the contrary, she is a super friend.  

Anyhoo, she asked me to write an entry for her and you can find posted there now.   It is appropriately titled Attack of the Laundry Zombies.

Be sure to check back here because in the next day or  two, Nota should be making her own guest appearance. Happy reading.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011


This is not that kind of blog but it totally freaked me out.  Stuff falling off shelves.  I felt the ground actually rolling.  My friend abckidsmom lives at the epicenter.  Hope everyone is okay!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Skin.................It's Not What You Think


I watched this a couple days ago and came right here to post my review.  I added the picture and the tags.  I found some pictures of the really Sandy and read this interesting article.  Then, just as I was starting,  I was stuck.  Too many thoughts in my head put them down in single file, letter by letter.  Too many questions. 

Skin is the based on a real life tale of Sandy Laing.  Sandy was born in South Africa in the early 1960s to parents who were part of the political party responsible for Apartheid.  As far as her parents knew, they had no African ancestors, yet their daughter was born with black attributes.  He parents loved her, and raised her as a white girl, and even fought legally to have her remain classified as white.  They remained steadfast against accusations of accused immorality on the part of Mrs. Laing and claimed her 100% as their own.  They were also completely blind to the difficulties faced by their daughter for the way she looked.  You can't help both loving her parents and wanting to knock their heads against the wall.

What To Know Before Watching

1) If you are anything like me, you will be curious about what the real family looks like.  I have posted the movie family (above) and the real family (below) so that you won't have to pause for a Google. The casting of they younger Sandy is particularly good.

2)While they did clean up the story a bit, it appears that they did it at least in part, for the sake of brevity.   This movie is real life enough that it doesn't all fit into a nice little package.  The ending is good but not perfect. 

3) To the right is a more recent picture of Sandy and her mother.  Her mother has since passed away.

4) The actress who plays the older Sandy is Sophie Okonedo.  I reviewed another of her works, The Secret Life of Bees, here.  I really liked her in Bees but I have mixed feeling about her work in Skin.  At times I found it brilliant and at other times stilted.  Though she is appears to be a young woman, it seemed to me that she was more comfortable playing Sandy as on older woman.  I found that both odd and intriguing. 

5) The most interesting thing about this film is what it has to say about race.  It reminded me of  a Nova article I read a couple years ago discussing the existence, or lack thereof, race. But even in light of all this theory, it is where ideas meet the lives of real people that things get interesting.  And messy.

6) Here is what Common Sense Media has to say about the kiddos.  It says 15 but would let my mature13 year old watch it.

Currently available on Netflix Instant Viewing

Four Stars- I really liked it.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Dad's in Heaven with Nixon

Dad's in Heaven with Nixon

I decided to watch this documentary based on the Netflix's description. Here it is so you can see what I thought I was getting into.

"Using his autistic brother's colorful art as inspiration, documentarian Tom Murray paints a portrait of his family's complex struggle with his brother's brain damage, his mother's unwillingness to accept it and his father's inability to cope with it. The result is a multifaceted but moving study of the glue that holds families together -- and the destructive forces that can   tear them apart. But, above all, it's a lesson in optimism."

This was of interest to me because I am the aunt of a much loved nephew with autism.  So I hit play.  About twenty minutes in, I began to wonder if the description writer had even seen this movie.   An hour in, I was near despair.  "Optimism" my foot.  Instead it was a self indulgent look at all that was wrong with the documentarian's growing up years and there was plenty of wrong things.  So at the 51 minute point I decided, "If this thing doesn't perk up in ten minute's, I'm done."  Lo an behold, as if they had heard me, it did!  

Suddenly this was whole new film.  It was the film the description had me expecting.  Chris, the autistic brother of the film maker, is an amazing man.  For 30 years he has lived on his own and held down two jobs as a stock clerk and a janitor.  Somewhere along the line he discovered drawing.  As his mother runs with the well to do Manhattan crowd, Gloria Vanderbilt ran across his work and suddenly he had an art show.  There is now a waiting list for his work!  

My husband happened to come in the room right when the movie started to focus on Chris and at the end he said "That was terrific.  You sure can pick a movie." After I finished cracking up, I let him know that in fact, he just had terrific timing.

So here is how I recommend you watch this film.  Watch enough of it to learn who everyone is then fast forward to about 55 minutes and watch to the end.  Here it the trailer.  It gives you a good idea what I am talking about here.

The part about Chris..........5 Stars
The rest of it ......................2 Stars

Currently available on Netflix Instant Viewing and on YouTube

Sunday, August 14, 2011


Hear ye! Hear ye!  All of you Hollywood types listen up.  I know you are reading!  (a girl can dream)

There is a crisis afoot and only you can stop it.  When you are writing, producing, directing, or otherwise in charge of a television series, do not, I repeat, DO NOT write a cliffhanger ending to a season unless you know for a certainty that said series will actually be pick up for the next season.

Exhibit A- Firefly

Yeah, yeah, yeah, we got a movie out this one but big, fat, hairy, deal.  The TV series was better.  TV series allow the character to grow and change over time.  Not to mention the the movie killed off my two favorites faster than I could say "Hell no!".  This cancellation was pure torture to the faithful.  Badly done Hollywood People.  Badly done.

Exhibit B- Kidnapped

I have reviewed this one before here so I won't bore you with all the details but I will say this.  I have woken up at night wondering about the guy in prison.  Who exactly was he?  Do you really want that on your conscience Hollywood People.  I am a mom who works part time and homeschools her kids.  I need my sleep.

Here is the ending I made up:  Creepy prison guy is actually an alien from outer space and what seems like omniscience is really just technology we don't understand yet.

Exhibit C- Jericho

This one is kind of a nice story.  Network bites the big one and cancels what is a thoughtful, intelligent, well done series and leaves the fans hanging with a cliffhanger that rivals Woody in the mine shaft.  Fans rally and send truckloads a of nuts, a clever reference to the show, and Hollywood people relent and give a seven episode season 2.  Sigh.  But then season two ends in another cliffhanger and because it was only 7 episodes I hardly got to see my favorite characters at all.  Boo!  Oh, and before you comment about it, I know there is a comic book series now.  I read all of them.  First comic books I have read since I gave up Archie when I was twelve.  Oh, and the last one available (so far - I hope) ended in a cliffhanger.  I am not happy people.

Here is the ending I made up:  Creepy J&R guy is actually an alien from outer space and what seems like omniscience is really just technology we don't understand yet.

Exhibit D-  Survivors

Okay so technically this is a BBC production so strictly speaking,  I can't lay it at the feet of you Hollywood People, but everyone in entertainment knows each other.  Right?  So send them a memo.

This one is right up my apocalyptic alley.  A flu pandemic sweeps the globe and wipes out more than 99% of the population.  Those that survive have to figure out how to keep on doing so in a world they never expect to live in.  While I was viewing this I realized why I like this genre so much.  There was a scene where they were digging out some friends from a collapsed building and I thought "There is an episode just like this in Big Valley."  ****slaps forehead****  These apocalyptic tales are the modern day Westerns!  No wonder I like them so much.  You say Bonanza.  I say Jericho.

Here is the ending I made up:  Creepy  big pharma guy is actually an alien from outer space and what seems like omniscience is really just technology we don't understand yet. 

  Exhibit E- Flash Forward

And now we come to the real heart breaker.  Most of these others I discovered after the fact and knew what I was getting into.  This one I watched in real time.  I threw myself in with both feet.  I loved this show.  The cast.  WOW!  Amazing.  We had Joseph Fiennes for crying out loud.  Fiennes is a name that has called out at the Oscars!  Sure it was for his He Who Can Not Be Named, Nazi brother but Joseph is way better cause he has less bad guy baggage.  And Hollywood People, this was the cliffhanger to end all cliffhangers.  I actually screamed "NO NO NO NO NO!! YOU CAN"T LEAVE ME LIKE THIS!" when the last show ended and that was BEFORE I knew you were leaving me that way forever.  I cried real tears when I found out it was done.  And yes I read the book and there were no answers there.  It is completely different.  My anger at you bubbles up into a frothy foam just thinking about it you Hollywood People.

Here is the ending I made up:  Creepy  conspiracy guy is actually an alien from outer space and what seems like omniscience is really just technology we don't understand yet.

So Hollywood People take note.  You are America's stories tellers and you are doing us wrong!  Do not start a story you can not finish.  

Rampage over.  Thank your for listening.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Cosby Show.......................Fun in the Summer Sun

The Cosby Show
E for Everyone

Okay, so maybe that should really read fun out of the summer sun.  It has been so blasted hot that I have been trying to find inside things for my kids to do that do not involve me.  Then I saw this on Netfilx Instant Viewing.  "Ya'll will probably like this."  were my words of wisdom as pressed play and began to exit the room.  Only I didn't exit the room.  As soon as the theme song came on, my foot was stuck in the door.  Here, I will link it for you.  If you are of an age where you grew up watching this show, take a deep breath and let the memories flood you.  It is like finding a letter from an old friend in the bottom of a drawer.

 Folks, if you have not already done so, you HAVE to watch this with your family.  We have been laughing hysterically for days now.  My husband asks for it when he comes home from work.  It has also opened the door for me to tell the kids things about myself that I had forgotten.  Stuff that this show triggered memories of.  "You know know when I went to my first year of college, this show was so popular that everything stopped when it came one.  Whole dorms would crowd in the TV room to see it."
I am about the same age as Denise so it was a little strange realizing that, though I am neither a doctor or a lawyer, I actually have more in common with Mr and Mrs Huxtable now than with the kids. But that only added to the fun. This kind of humor doesn't get old.  Sure there is a line or two that only I got ("Nobody who isn't on stage singing with his four brothers needs a $90 shirt") but they are few and far between.

One good surprise was that Malcom Jamal Warner was way funnier than I remember.  It was also kind of nice to look up his bio and find out that he is a child star that seems have escaped the perils of being one.  Makes me want to go look up his more recent work.

Another fun surprise was how much of the supporting cast I remember.  This little fellow walked in the door with Rudy and I yelled "Oh!  Peter!"  I pulled that name out of the dark recesses of my brain.  He then rewarded me by providing me with one of the biggest laughs I have had in a long time.

Does it hold up


BWHAHAHAHAHA!  Of course it does.  Get thee to the TV and watch some Cosby!

Here is something to wet your appetite.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Road. A Terrible Beauty

The Road

Terrible.  Spare.  Horrifying.  Beautiful.  All words that aptly describe this work. I love the poster to the left because it is a perfect picture for this film.  A father and son traveling through a gray world with only each other.

I saw the movie a couple of months back and just finished the book.  I decided to read the book because I couldn't stop thinking about the movie.  It turns out that this is one of those cases where movie gets it almost perfectly.

This is the story of a world that has died.  Nothing grows.  All that is left are a few people that have been forced to become buzzards on the world that was.   In this bleak reality, many of those left have turned to cannibalism to survive.  One boy and his father are committed to survival, each other, being the good guys, and "carrying the light".

As I have not been able to stop thinking about it, I have also done some reading online about what others are saying about this.  Many it appears, look on this piece as a thesis on why environmentalism matters.  That is an interesting take but no where near what I got from this film.  What I saw was the beauty of a parent/child relationship that has been stripped down to the bare essentials.  This relationship was the sole beauty of this film and it was enough.

What to know before watching.

1) The poster to the right is the one that was on the cover of the DVD.  I think it was the more common one cause it shows Viggo Mortenson's face and for many, he is going to be the big draw.  The poster above though is a much better representation of the film.  Even in the book the people are unnamed.  It is the anonymity of the people that is so striking and gripping.  It could be any of us.

2) This book was an Oprah Book.  Any of you who read one or two Oprah books  know what that means.  Take your Prozac before viewing.

3)This book also won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.  The author, Cormac McCarthy also wrote No Country for Old Men.  I'm glad I didn't know that first or I probably wouldn't have watched this.  I hated that movie.

3) The R is WELL deserved.  A couple scenes can only be described as horrific.  The pay off was totally worth it for me but it is not for the faint of heart.  My husband couldn't take it.  I watched the end alone.

4) Commonsense Media review here.  Iffy for 15+.  Yep.  Iffy for any tender hearts.

Five Stars- I Love It.  (and i hate it)

Currently available on DVD

Here is the trailer but be warned.  It shows all of horror but none of the beauty.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Father of the Bride

Father of the Bride

In spite of the fact that I have not seen this movie in years, and I mean since it was in the theater in 1991 years, I think about it a lot.  While that may seem a little odd to some, there is a good reason for it.  My oldest son, who heretofore will be known as The Athlete, is a ginormous Brad Paisley fan.  Mr. Paisley is married to Kimberly Williams, who is now officially Kimberly Williams-Paisley.  Brad Paisley has song in which he mentions going to see this movie with a date other than his now wife.  Here it is for anyone who hasn't heard the song.  It is even the very first part for the impatient. So anyway, one Friday night when we were casting about for a family night film, this one came to mind.

Does it hold up?

The short answer would be yes it does.  But when have I ever stuck with the short answer?

My kids in particular thought it was hysterical.  Even my husband, who had somehow missed seeing this before (SAY WHAT?!?!?!?!?) thought it was funny.  I confess that I did not find it as funny as I remembered it being but I had a terrific time watching my kids and husband laugh, so that made up for it.  The scene where Steve Martin is lurking around the future in-laws house is a classic and had us all rolling.

 And you know a movie is a hit when the family goes around quoting it to each other for several days afterwards.  There was a downside to the quoting thing as the one line I wish had NOT been in the movie was the most likely to be quoted.  Remember early in the film when the family is meeting the fiance and the flustered Dad says "be sure to fasten your condom"? Yeah, I didn't remember that part either.  But I do now.  Around here we just call it a teaching moment and we had the pleasure (and I use that term loosely) of pausing the movie and having an impromptu conversation of different means of birth control.  YEAH.  Note the fellow to the right for my true feeling on that.  Not a bad thing of course.  Just not a top drawer Family Night activity. 

What to know before viewing?

1) Steve Martin looks way younger upon this viewing than he did the first time around.

 2) I will save you a Google.  Yes the little brother is a Culkin.

3) I will save you a second Google.  Yes the flamboyantly gay wedding planner sidekick is the same guy from Law and Order Special Victims Unit.  Kudos to him  too cause it is such a different role and both are done well enough it took me a LONG time to place him.  He doesn't even look like he has aged.  Way to go B.D.Wong on good genes, a good cosmetic surgeon, or both.

4) Here is what Common Sense media had to say on the matter.  I think they are about right though I did let my 6 year old watch.

Three Star- "I Liked It"

Currently available on Netflix Instant Viewing.

Here is the original trailer for you viewing pleasure.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Ode To Helena Bonham Carter

Yes, I have been on break but I AM BACK with a new feature. An Ode to talent. First off Helena Bonham Carter.

I just watched Deathly Hallow Part 1 cause I had not seen it and I wanted to see the second part in the theater. She scared the crap out of me as Bellatrix Lestrange. Truly terrifying and just right.  Then I got to thinking........

 My first exposure to her was in Howard's End and she was sweet, naive, and stunning.  I loved that film.  In fact it was one of my first film loves and I think I watched it fifty times.  Helena, Emma, Anthony, Vanessa.  Sigh.  But I digress.

Of course, I just recently I saw her steely performance in The King's Speech as the Queen.  There was a woman with backbone and Helena caught it just right.  Is there nothing this woman can't do?  Anyone else love the scene where she was drinking tea in the therapist house and his wife came home.  As a movie buff and Austen fan, I got a special little thrill in seeing Darcy and Elizabeth reunited.  But I digress.  Again.

Not to mention how incredibly prolific she is. Holy Smokes! I just went to look up the name of a quirky movie I saw her in where she played a flighty Jewish mother and I couldn't find it in the long long list.

Okay, so I did eventually find it.  It is a fun little film called Sixty Six.  I might do a review of that soon so consider this is little preview.

So here is a toast to Helena!  We are glad you have graced us with your talent.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Hello my movie watching friends!

We have been on spring break! I though I would have lots of time to post but instead, I took a break. I have so many movies to review now thought that you should be seeing a lot of me in the next couple of weeks.

Happy Easter!

He is risen.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

My Dog Skip............................A Dog Tail

My Dog Skip

I remember when this movie came out it got a whole lot of good review and I always intended to watch it but somehow never did.  Perhaps a part of that is that it is just within the last year or so that my kids will consider a movie that is not a cartoon.  I consider this a great milestone.  LOL

I found this film to be a odd little film.  It didn't really seem to go anywhere and at the same time was a little formulaic.  WWII era boy has no friends, save an older next door neighbor who is going off to war.  Since he is lonely, his mother gets him a dog over his father's objections.  The dog does indeed, become the best friend.

What to do before viewing

1) Huge cast.  Diane Lane.  Kevin Bacon. Luke Wilson.

2) I appear to be losing my mind.  I told my kids I didn't understand the toilet on the poster.  They looked at me like I was crazy then told me there was a big scene with a toilet and that it had become a running gag throughout the film.  I have absolutely no recollection of this.  Perhaps I wasn't paying that much attention?  I have no answer for that.  I thought I was watching.  It is scaring me a little actually.

3) My kids and husband liked this one better than I did.

4) Based on a true story.  I didn't know this until the end.

What about the kids?

We watched it for family night.  Here is what the experts say.

Currently available on Netflix Instant Viewing and here.

Three Stars- "I Liked It" - truthfully I would probably give it two but the rest of my family would probably give it a four so I am splitting the difference since I might have been having a bad night.

MY DOG SKIP: Movie Trailer. Watch more top selected videos about: My Dog Skip, Luke Wilson