Sunday, August 31, 2014
Thursday, August 28, 2014
(Edit: My friend sent me a link to a blog post entitled "Don't Be Silly, Hello Kitty is a Cat." Good read. Apparently she isn't Human, and that saying she's not a cat is going too far. Makes me feel better.)
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
I'm hanging out at Lowe's helping my Mom pick out new carpet for the sun room.
It's an important decision, after all, and a second opinion is key.
So we've settled on a Stainmaster carpet named "Emerald Isle."
Though it's more blue then green.
Any who, day two and I'm back in the carpet section, waiting for the order to be placed as I wander about, reading the names of various shades:
Beethoven (for a brown)
Ballet (for a grey)
Sweet It Is
Dynamics (for a pale color)
I guess when you're renaming repetitive shades of beige you have to be creative!!
Saturday, August 23, 2014
Thursday, August 21, 2014
Rating: 4.25 out of 5 stars
In The Giver, Jonas (newcomer Brenton Thwaites) lives in a black and white world, eagerly awaiting the next stage of his life: assignment in the community, aka his job. He lives in a world without freedom and agency. Everything is assigned including the family unit, children, and occupation. There is no choice. Jonas sees nothing wrong with this, freely willing to accept whatever the community Elders decide, especially since he doesn't know where he belongs, feeling different and separate from everyone.
During a special career ceremony Jonas stands and waits as he is skipped over, looking around, unsure. And then the big announcement comes: Jonas will be the Receiver of Memories. His task will be difficult since he is expected to experience pain. Be brave. Don't fail, as another has failed before. The next day he is asked to meet with a man who calls himself "The Giver" (Jeff Bridges).
In this world even memories are kept from the people. Memories, knowledge, books, history, and differing thought. Hence the faithful compliance.
Jonas will soon see beyond the black and white.
In a sea of post-apocalyptic movies it's easy to compare The Giver with The Hunger Games, Divergent, and soon to be The Maze Runner, all popular YA novels turned film.
For me I see no comparison.
In my mind The Giver was the first dystopian YA novel, written in 1993 by Lois Lowry, winner of the Newbery Medal. I read this book in elementary, soon after it was published, and the images The Giver created in my mind has stayed with me. The themes haunting: Dangers of a large controlling government, climate control, individualism, sanctity of life, free will, family, motherhood, emotions, memory, love and pain (opposition in all things), infanticide, and euthanasia.
The heavy themes in this movie is one of the reasons why The Giver has taken so long to be made. Many studios wouldn't touch this project.
A persistent Jeff Bridges is one of the reasons The Giver is finally a reality. He's been trying to get this book made into a movie for 18 years, originally envisioning his father in the tittle role, but the timing wasn't right. Set back after set back, but I'm glad it's taken this long. Movie industry technology wasn't ready for this film, and the grand visuals and futuristic plausibility is what it should be. Usually I frown when CGI is overused, here it's a necessity. Plus, with the 18 year wait, Bridges is old enough to play The Giver, which is only fitting.
Under the guidance of director Phillip Noyce all the complex, controversial themes are handled delicately.
And the use of black and white film verses color is perfectly balanced, though not with the same impact as the book. Visually the timing does work between B&W and technicolor.
True, there are some things you can only pull off through literature, yet I feel this film is a good representation of the novel. Not perfect, sense the young characters are aged six years for additional tension and emotional possibilities, yet I'm not bothered with an 18 year old Jonas vs one that is 12.
The movie has impact, still, when I read the book as a kid, it was a shock when I realized everyone saw in black and white instead of color. Through Jonas you see this Utopian society fall apart. You see the delusions and hypocrisies. The movie does a fine job, though the book is still better in these regards. I felt a greater journey of self discovery and realization while reading.
Overall I was not disappointed, and can easily see this movie again.
(As a note: The ending still bothers me, which remains unchanged.)
MPAA: Rated PG-13 for a mature thematic image and some sci-fi action/violence.
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Friday, August 15, 2014
Thursday, August 14, 2014
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Don't go to The Hundred-Foot Journey hungry.
If there's one piece of great advice I can give this month, that would be it.
Don't go hungry . . . which is the same advice I give myself whenever I watch the Food Network. (Hence all the HGTV I've been watching lately. You can watch that channel hungry and not be inspired to make a quesadilla for breakfast, which I've done without regret.)
The Hundred-Foot Journey is a literal feast for the eyes, celebrating good cuisine and taste, and everything that surrounds it. The care and emotion towards food is in the same spirit as the Korean drama The Grand Chef (also known as Gourmet), Brittany Murphy's The Romen Girl, and Pixar's Ratatouille I couldn't help but think of these movies while watching The Hundred-Foot Journey.
When the Kadam family faced tragedy in India, caught between a political crossfire that leaves everything precious in a heap of ashes, they are forced to leave for safety and peace. Their journeying finds them in a quaint French village, the kind of place where dreams are made, when the car they're driving brakes down. The Father receives inspiration that this is their new home, and he finds a run down restaurant across the street from a Michelin star French cuisine oasis. Michelin stars are all that's important in the French culinary World; They're the golden grail. Therefore, establishing a new Indian food restaurant across the street from such prestige is a gamble and recipe for an all out food war. The clash of cultures. The clash of taste. The clash of tradition.
The Hundred-Foot Journey isn't just about the love of food, but it's also about the love of family and life. Embracing those quiet moments. Finding joy and passion. Living life to the fullest. Forgiving and being forgiven. Etc.
Is the story a little predictable? Yes, but the story is sweet. The cinematography enchanting in a simply elegant way. (In a way that makes me wish I could travel to such a place.)
My only complaints for this film is that with the movement of time. Sometimes I did feel a lull, a slight mindless wander. But I'm glad for a complete story and not a rush job. The marking of time is displayed through Bastille fireworks, which is a nice way to show a year has past without stating the fact, but I wish the fireworks could have been authentic and not CGI. The digital was a little obvious and thus distracting.
To end on a high note, I really enjoyed Helen Mirren's performance, but it is Om Puri as the Papa who stole the show. He was delightful.
P.S. It's a PG rated romance! Some people may be put off by this, but I honestly think it's awesome. How many of these do we get? Not enough.
MPAA: Rated PG for thematic elements, some violence, language and brief sensuality.
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
Spotting wildlife is fun.
When I was visiting the Grand Tetons many years ago I was incredibly disappointed not to see any bears or moose.
Bears allude me. I just have no talent for finding them. Once, at girls camp in the great Sierra Nevada's, it seemed EVERYONE at some point spotted a bear that week. Then the next year we had to tie the cabin doors shut due to sighted bears.
I did see a grand Canadian moose once while driving through Banff. That was epic.
But what I really want is to see is an American moose!
A couple weeks ago I finally got my wish while visiting Island Park in Idaho.
A white dog, from another cabin, seemed to be equally excited . . .
The second night at the cabin I want on a walk with Erin and Krista, sunset, over the bridge where I would later lose my glasses (-_-;;), and to the canoe launch pad where we gazed over the beauty that is nature.
Then suddenly we heard a commotion.
A few hundred feet up the river was a mamma moose with her kiddie moose. And at the river bank was a barking white dog bouncing around.
The mamma stopped and starred, while the owners yelled for the dog to return to the cabin.
This went on for quite awhile. The moose standing still, the dog barking (charging in and out of the water), and the owners yelling, hidden behind trees.
At one point the moose started walking towards the bank, almost stepping on dry land, but thankfully they stopped as the yells increased to desperation, and the dog left momentarily.
Finally the moose started walking up the river, probably realizing the silly dog wasn't a true threat. And for a moment, as I stood near the docks edge, the moose was walking right towards me. I didn't shift or move, instead watching in awe, standing my ground. Then the moose shifted direction to venture further down the river.
I won't deny that the whole experience was equally amusing and fun :0)