Thursday, May 31, 2012

Post-Its and the Bathroom Mirror

Guess what I'm doing from now to 6:30 today :)  

I woke up this morning and went into the bathroom and I came face-to-face with this gorgeous message from my little sister.  My understanding is that before she went off to school, she was going to run into my room and jump on the bed in her excitement, but my mom was kind enough to talk her off of the ledge and she took her excitement out with post-its and the bathroom mirror instead.  I love my little sister so!

Thanks for reading!


Movie Time! 'Tangled'

"Disney animators take on the classic Grimm Brothers story of Rapunzel (Mandy Moore), a long-locked beauty imprisoned in a secluded tower by evil hag Mother Gothel (Donna Murphy), who needs the rejuvenating powers of Rapunzel's tresses to remain young.  When a bandit in the lam (Zachary Levi) helps Rapunzel escape, the old crone plots to capture her and end her budding romance with the thief in this Golden Globe nominee for Best Animated Feature."

Have I told you that my Disney boyfriend is in this movie?  That's right.  I've laid claim to Eugene "Hotguy" Fitzherbert!

I'm a fan of the classic Disney movies, like 'Beauty and the Beast,' 'Pocahontas,' and 'Sleeping Beauty,' but 'Tangled' reached a new level of awesome.  The songs are great, the characters are so well-rounded it's not even funny, the art is cute, and the movie is hilarious when the stakes aren't so high for the characters.

Lately, as newer Disney films have been created, I've gotten a little nervous because in my mind, it's almost impossible to top the classic Disney films.  But really, the newer Disney movies aren't failures at all.  In this case, Disney presented a beautiful rendition of Rapunzel (unfortunately, I can't say how accurate it is to the original story... someone else will have to speak for that.  I do know that they got the hair part right.  That's the whole point).

If you're looking for a really cute movie that is hilarious and intense with awesome casting and characterization, this is absolutely the movie for you!  If I gave my movies ratings, I would give it five frying pans.

Thanks for reading!


Monday, May 28, 2012

Music Monday (6)

Hello everyone!  Welcome to the sixth edition of Music Monday!  Today, I'm going to show you some original funny/parody songs.  I hope that you like them!

"Dramatic Song" by Tobuscus

So true... so true... just watch and you'll see.

"Paper Bag" by Jacksfilms and company

I'm not terribly familiar with the musical phenomena of 'One Direction' but I know that this is a parody of 'What Makes You Beautiful' or whatever the real title is.  It's something along the lines of that, so I found the song ironic, as it should be.  I don't know if I'm going to like One Direction.  One-way streets suck and are terribly inconvenient.

"Narwhals (With Arthritis)" by Elmify and her father

I just thought it was adorable, even if one of the Narwhals are suffering from arthritis.

I hope that you are having a lovely Monday!  I know mine is going to be-- I don't have school today because a) it's Memorial Day.  No one has school on Memorial Day... and b) I finished high school and I'm graduating on Thursday!

Thanks for watching!


Monday, May 21, 2012

Music Monday (5)

Welcome to Music Monday!  Today, the songs are all choral pieces and very mellow in demeanor, but they're so beautiful that I couldn't resist.  Enjoy!

"Sleep" by Eric Whitacre

I can't believe that I haven't found this sooner.  I had only heard the band version for this, but frankly, I prefer the choir version.  I really want to share it with you by embedding it on here so that you can get so many goosebumps without exerting a lot of effort, but unfortunately it's not possible, so you'll have to go on watch it on YouTube (press play on the above video and a link will be available for you to click on).  Please do go and listen-- it's absolutely beautiful!

"Water Night" by Eric Whitacre

I just think that it's so neat that this one man can get so many people together, even virtually, from across the globe to participate in something as beautiful as this.  Amazing is written all over this!

"Hide and Seek" by Imogen Heap, as covered by Joseph Bates

I love watching these videos where one person covers every part of a song.  It's really need and shows a fantastic amount of dedication to the song and music in general.

"O Magnum Mysterium" by Morten Lauridsen

I played the instrumental version of this, but really, nothing beats the choral version.  There's just something about the human voice that gives me goosebumps.  The neat thing about this video is that the music for every part is included, so feel free to sing along!

Thank you for dropping by for Music Monday!  If you would like, feel free to recommend some music that you are currently in love with!  I'm always looking for more music to enjoy.


Friday, May 18, 2012

Friday Memes!

Welcome to Friday!  I hope your weeks were fairly low-key (the best kind of week!).  Today, I'm going to answer the questions for Follow Friday, The Blog Hop, TGIF, and Let's Talk all brought to you by Parajunkee, Jennifer @ Crazy for Books, Ginger @ GReads, and Melissa @ i swim for oceans.  If you'd like to answer the questions yourself, I will leave links for you to click upon.  Let's get started!

Summer Break is upon us!  What would be the perfect vacation spot for you to catch up on your reading and relax?

Somewhere like this.  In Minnesota, this is like, your basic vacation.  I feel like if I went anywhere extravagant for a vacation where I intended to catch up on reading, I would be too interested in going to see everything that is in the area to accomplish any of these things.  So I would go to a cabin where anything that I could possibly want to see is right in front of my face (with the option of walking around it to get the blood flowing).  On top of that, cabins tend to be nice and quiet.

How many books do you own?  This can include books in your TBR pile and books that you've already read that are on your keeper shelf.

Umm... well... I don't exactly have a numerical value to give you, but I'd say more than fifty less than three hundred to give a rough guesstimate.  I'm in the mood to make videos this weekend, so maybe I'll do a bookshelf and a room tour video.  Don't worry, I'll post it here as well as on YouTube.  Totally accessible!

A Book Blogger is Born: What made you decide to start your very own book blog?

Once upon a time, when I was a wee freshman in high school, I knew I wanted to blog, but I wasn't sure about what.  So after a little bit of looking around to see what everyone else was doing, I found a number of book blogs and I thought, "Hey, I like to read.  I think I'll give this a shot!"  So I did.  Four years later, it has become this.  And they all lived Happily Ever After!

What are your top book blogging goals?

List time!  Huzzah!

1. Make a greater variety of book-related posts
2. Connect to readers in a different kind of way (still have to figure this out)
3. Expand my horizons as far as reading material.
4. Go to the conventions where free or really cheap books may be acquired
5. Figure out how to obtain ARCs (advice?)

Of course there are plenty of things that I would love to do and they are definitely book-blogging goals, but I thought it would be nice to keep the list short.

I hope your weekends are just lovely!  I think mine will be comfortably busy and I'm okay with that.

As usual, feel free to leave your answers below and/or leave your web address below and I will try my best to stop by your blog!

Thanks for Reading!


P.S. Just so you know, I haven't been able to leave comments on anyone's blog, let alone my own, but I can still add new blogs to my Follow list.  So just know that if you do leave a comment and do ask me to visit, I will do this, I just don't have any way to prove that I stopped by other than my following.  Also, does anyone know how to fix this?  It's been going on for quite a while and it's a little annoying not to be able to interact the way I would like.

The Top 6 Most Exciting Things About Graduating High School

Since my last day of high school is a week from today and my graduation is on 31 May, I thought I'd start up the list trend again (they won't all be related to graduation and college, I promise).  Let me know what you think and feel free to add in your own two cents!  I like discussions ^_^

1. Now I Get to Study What I Want to Study!  Yeah, I will have requirements that I will need to fulfill in order to graduate from college, but I won't have such a limited number of class to choose from as I did in high school.  If I need to fulfill a health requirement, I don't need to take "Health Class Quarter 1," I can take tennis or volley ball.  If I need to take a science class, I'm not limited to Biology, Chemistry, Environmental, and Physics.  I could take astronomy, if that's available!

2. The Chance to Get Into a New Environment!  A lot of times, going off to college involves moving out of your parents house, so that's one way in which the environment can change.  Even if you're not moving out, you're not going back to your high school, you're in an entirely new school or you're working or you're traveling.  Whatever it is you're doing after school, it's going to be different than your average high school day.

3. New Opportunities!  I was lucky enough to be in a high school that liked when people became involved, so there were plenty of opportunities already, but with graduating, it means that I am of the age where I can do things that I couldn't do in ninth grade.  I have a stronger drive to get involved in theater, I'm at an age where more people trust me to hold down a job in the area... the list could go on an on and even include number four on this list.

4. Meet New People!  I switched schools for high school, so I've only been with this particular group of people for four years, but just like after middle school, I will have an opportunity to meet new people.  There is more of an opportunity to be social because just about everyone I will meet in college will be living with and/or around me.  I'm ready for this next step!

5. You Start School Later Than Your Siblings in Middle/High School (Unless You Do Sports)!  Just another thing I can taunt my baby sister about :)

6. No More Advanced Placed (AP) Classes!  I am so sick and tired of these.  I just finished my last one (Statistics) ever on Wednesday.  Good riddance, AP classes!

Thanks for Reading!  I'll mix these lists in between reviews of all types so that they don't get annoying and redundant.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Review of 'Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close' by Jonathan Safran Foer

"Jonathan Safran Foer emerged as one of the most original writers of his generation with his best-selling debut novel, Everything Is Illuminated.  Now, with humor, tenderness, and awe, he confronts the traumas of our recent history.

Nine-year-old Oskar Schell has embarked on an urgent, secret mission that will take him through the five boroughs of New York.  His goal is to find the lock that matches a mysterious key that belonged to his father, who died in the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11.  This seemingly imposible task will bring Oskar into conact with survivors of all sorts on an exhilarating, affecting, often hilarious, and ultimately healing journey."

This review is a little over-the-top already purely because I liked both versions of the cover of this book!  They're both so dramatic.  The top cover is the movie version and the bottom cover is the original one.  My copy of the book is the one on the bottom, but my French version is the cover on top... but in French.  I love them so!

'Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close' was a very unexpected book.  I thought that it was going to be a book about this little boy, Oskar.  It was, but it wasn't just about him.  The neat thing about Jonathan Safran Foer's writing in this book is that he is all-encompassing.  There is one main tragedy (several others are involved too, but they aren't necessarily the pivotal point of the book) but there is a clear group of people who are suffering in a number of ways because this book is all about different kinds of loss.  Oskar's grandfather loses his ability to speak.  Oskar's grandmother loses a husband in some ways.  Oskar's mother loses a husband and at the same time, Oskar loses a father (but in a different way than he lost his grandfather).

At first, this book was really confusing because I was unable to find a plot.  I was given a bunch of pieces to piece together.  It was like putting a puzzle together without the picture on the box to guide you.  However, I will tell you that all parts come together and they do make sense by the end of the book, which is why I gave this book the rating that I did.

The formatting of the book was very unique.  Sometimes the pages were in color, sometimes there were pictures taken from a news report or that Oskar took with his grandfather's camera.  At times, the words were put together in one long paragraph and sometimes written over the top of other words.  It made the book interesting to read.

Overall, 'Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close' is a complex, yet intelligent way to show the emotional aftermath left by 9/11.  It will make you laugh, cry, and sit in wonderment.  I give 'Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close':
Thanks for Reading!


Monday, May 14, 2012

Music Monday (4)

Welcome to the fourth Music Monday!  I have some songs (covers) to share with you today!

"A Thousand Years" by Christina Perri, covered by Sungha Jung

I only recently discovered this YouTuber, but Sungha is an amazing guitar player!  It's like nothing I've ever heard before.

"Somebody That I Used to Know" by Gotye, covered by Luke Conard, Landon Austin, and MissGlamorazzi)

Luke and Ingrid are two of my favorite people on YouTube.  Their voices combined are magical!  Especially Ingrid's.  I think this is her best cover yet!

"Arena" by The Tributes

You may have guessed that this was a song about the Hunger Games.  You'd be right!  It's pretty sweet-- the video is amazing and everyone involved worked so hard on this project.
"Wonderwall" by Oasis, covered by Alex Goot

Alex Goot is a YouTube musician and he is good at what he does.  On top of original music, he also does covers of well-known songs like this one.  He's in the video below this one too.

"We Are Young" by Fun, covered by Alex Goot, Tiffany Alvord, and Luke Conard

The animation in this video is neat, the remixed version of the original is adorable and it works extremely well.  All three voices mesh quite well.  It's a very good listen!

Thanks for taking a listen to these amazing people and I'll see you next Monday for another Music Monday (well, the scheduling thingy on Blogger will, because I have job training that day!  I have a job again this summer!!).


Movie Time! 'Rear Window'

"As his broken leg heals, wheel-chair bound L.B. Jefferies (James Stewart) becomes absorbed with the parade of life outside his window and soon fixates on a mysterious man whose behavior has Jefferies convinced a murder has taken place.  Meanwhile, other windows reveal the daily lives of a dancer, a lonely woman, a composer, a dog, and more.  Grace Kelly, Thelma Ritter, and Wendell Corey co-star in this Alfred Hitchcock-helmed classic."

I think this is one of my favorite Hitchcock movies so far.  It was much scarier than Vertigo purely because it centers on something that many of us can probably identify with whether we choose to voice it or not: looking or spying when we know it's probably not okay to do so.

What made it really suspenseful was you couldn't always see what was happening.  Maybe a character had to go downstairs (through the rest of the apartment building) in order to inspect something.  Maybe another character wanted their privacy and they pulled the shades.  That was one of the main neat things about this movie-- the set!  Everything needed to be so precise and relatively different from each other, since there were a number of different sets-- in many apartments).

I thought James Stewart was really good in this movie as he was in Vertigo.  The other actors were new to me, so I can't speak in comparisons, though I can say that I thought they did well in their roles-- especially the lady that comes to help L.B. Jefferies every day.  She was just a hoot!

Overall, an awesome, classic movie for the ages!

You will like this movie if you are a fan of Hitchcock, like a good and suspenseful movie, and enjoy classic films in general.

Thanks for reading!


Saturday, May 12, 2012

Movie Time! 'Best in Show'

"Mater mockumentarian Christopher Guest (Waiting for Guffman) is at it again with his snarky send-up of canine culture that traverses the galloping neuroses surrounding one highly competitive dog show in Pennsylvania.  Talented improvisers Parker Posey, Eugene Levy, Michael McKean, and Catherine O'Hara elevate this satire to the stuff of genius.  Fans of 'This is Spinaltap,' televisions 'SCTV'-- and dogs of course-- will find much to love."

I saw this with my boyfriend several weekends ago.  We both really liked "This is Spinaltap" because of the raw, almost off-hand humor.  Really, "Best is Show" was Spinaltap with dogs and  mildly insane humans.

I almost didn't want to review this because it has been sitting in my drafts folder for so long, but despite the time that has past, it was a movie that can't be forgotten no matter how good or bad you think that it was.  So I have no problems here.

I thought the build-up to the dog show was good.  It didn't last too long, I didn't feel like I was missing anything.  Good balance and a good way to set the stage, introducing us to the families and the atmosphere it takes to raise a show dog. There was quite a variety of families too, which was neat.  The dogs had all won some kind of prize before, but it was how the families reacted to their being a champion.

The humor was nice because it felt like the characters weren't trying to be funny, but oftentimes, the characters provoked a laugh or two.

The interview format is also the same as Spinaltap.

The drawback that I found to this movie is if you've seen Spinaltap, there are a few things recycled.  The type of humor and the way it is presented.  If you liked Spinaltap, there's a chance that you'll like this, but if you didn't, it's Spinaltap minus a band, adding a dog show.  Not a lot changed, which I find hard to appreciate.  It would have been nice to see the director/writer do something a little bit differently rather than just changing the story around the framework.

If you're a fan of raw humor, dogs, and a little insanity, this movie is for you!

Friday Memes for the Weekend!

Hello and welcome to Friday!

Follow Friday, TGIF, The Blog Hop, and Let's Talk are brought to you by Parajunkee, Ginger @ GReads, Jennifer @ Crazy-for-Books, and Melissa @ i swim for oceans.  

This Sunday in the U.S. is Mother's Day.  In celebration, what are some of your favorite books with strong mother/child relationships?

This was really hard to think of, but I think I've come up with one.  "Annie John" by Jamaica Kincaid.  This book is all about a girl and her mother.  It covers the excellent times they had and the not-so-excellent times.  Even though they end up growing apart to a certain degree, their bond is still very strong.

We tend to gush over those main characters the most, but what about those supporting roles?  What are some of your favorites?
Quigley Quagmire from "A Series of Unfortunate Events."  He isn't a huge part of the books, but I thought that it was really neat that he liked cartography and was able to use this interest and talent of his to help the Baudelaire's.  Actually, any of the Quagmire triplets.  Especially the girl who wrote couplets.

What is your favorite book character?  I give you a maximum of two choices, but they have to be from different genres!
My favorite book character is Hermione.  I love the fact that she is incredibly intelligent and clever.  I love how she blossomed in the series and became a really strong female character-- Hermione is just amazing!

What books can you think of that have covers better than the content and vice-versa?

 Again, this was another really difficult one to decide on.  I thought Tears of a Tiger by Sharon Draper had a nice cover, but it was a story that I didn't particularly enjoy.

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants was a beautiful story and it blossomed into a series that I could have read all day.  The downside, the cover isn't terribly exciting.  Read the synopsis in the dust jacket!  It means so much more than the covers!

So, these are my answers to these questions.  What are yours?  Feel free to leave your answers below or leave your web address below and I'll surely stop by and give your blog a little love!

Have a lovely weekend!  I have a graduation (not mine... that's later) to go to at this point in time!


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Movie Time! 'The Pianist'

"Famed Polish concert pianist Wladyslaw Szepilman (Adrien Brody, in an Oscar-winning role) struggles to survive the onslaught of Nazi tyranny during World War II in this Roman Polanski-directed drama based on Szepilman's memoirs.  In spite of his well-known musical talents, Szepilman spends several years holed up in Warsaw, barely alive and subsisting on scraps, until grace comes in the form of a second chance-- at music, at freedom, and at life."

A very remarkable (and true!) Holocaust survival story.  I haven't read his memoir just yet, though I plan to do so very soon (as soon as I obtain it).  So for this review, I will not make any book/real life to film comparisons.

I appreciated that the film showed life before Jewish citizens began to be deported.  It personally gave me a sense of normalcy, so there was something to compare all of this tragedy to.  This helped make the movie effective as opposed to just showing the parts about the Jewish ghettos.

The Ghettos were a very prominent part in this movie because Mr. Szepilman (pronounced "shpill-men") never actually set foot in a concentration camp.  He was deported from Warsaw so that he and his family could join other "deported" Jews in the ghettos that were assembled from old apartment buildings.  That's not to say that Mr. Szepilman didn't have his share of hardships.  He struggled to find people who we able and willing to help him, he struggled to find food and shelter, he struggled to stay sane.  As you can imagine, he was a pianist.  When one is in hiding and not trying to be found, playing piano isn't the greatest option for you, so he couldn't play at all while he was in hiding (he played piano in the ghetto after leaving the Polish radio station).

Mr. Szepilman's struggles really came through on screen.  No words were needed, Adrien Brody is such an experienced actor-- he's believable and he has acting instinct.  It's beautiful watching him perform.  I found a picture of the real Mr. Szepilman and then one of Adrien Brody to compare how they did as far as looks.  In this picture, he has longer hair, but in the movie is was quite short.  I think there's quite a resemblance!  So Kudos to the casting crew.

My favorite part was when a German discovers Szepilman while he is in hiding and the German listens to Szepilman play the piano (by the German's command).  The music was beautiful and complex, so I'm quite jealous that anyone can play like that.

I liked that this movie showed something about the Holocaust that didn't involve concentration camps.  It's not denying that they existed, but it's acknowledging that not everyone went to the camps (though it was rare).  This film showed a different kind of survival and struggle.

I look forward to reading this memoir and telling you all about it!

This is a true Holocaust film about a man that survived in the ghettos and rubble of Germany.  It shows a different kind of survival and is a very well-made film.

Thanks for Reading!


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A Review of 'The Name of the Star' by Maureen Johnson

"The day Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London marks a memorable occasion.  For Rory, it's the start of a new life at a London boarding school.  But for many, this will be remembered as the day a series of brutal murders broke out across the city-- gruesome crimes mimicking the horrific work of Jack the Ripper in the autumn of 1888.

Soon 'Rippermania' takes hold of modern day London, and the police are left with few leads and no witnesses.  Except one.  Rory spotted the man police believe to be the prime suspect.  But she is the only one who saw him.  Even her roommate, who was with her at the time, didn't notice the mysterious man.  So why can only Rory see him?  And more urgently, what is he planning to do about her?

In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, full of suspense, humor, and romance, Roray will learn the truth about the secret ghost police of London and discover her own shocking abilities."

I was really excited to know that Maureen Johnson had written another book!  I've only read "The Bermudez Triangle," but I really liked it, so I had high hopes for this book.

This book started off very well and I was really impressed with what I was reading.  The reading was intriguing as I was learning things about Jack the Ripper that I had never sought out to learn before (for example, the setting where each murder took place as well as how each murder was committed... you've just learned about a darker side of Jude Rosenberg).  In the late beginning of the book, this was still going on and a number of murders had been committed mysteriously.  But by this point in time, I felt that something new should have happened as far as the murders.  Luckily something did happen, but not before this aspect of the book became repetitive.

When I found out how Rory knew who was killing everyone and how most of London had no idea who was committing the murders, I was mostly relieved to know what was going on with Rory.  On the other hand, I was also a little disappointed when I found out just how because this part of the book (sorry for being so vague, I'm trying not to give away this really huge part) feels as though it has been overused in other books even though it is a really fascinating science.

As far as characters, I thought the characters were well-developed.  I would have liked to see more from Charlotte because right now, she's the "bully" character; she's someone who's there to make everything worse, even if that means ruining someone's day.

My understanding is that this book is part of a series, though I don't know how long of a series.  Three books keep coming to mind, but please don't quote me on this, as I'm not certain.  Any way, the point that I was trying to bring up was that I think as this story continues, everything about this story will become better and those things that bothered me in this book will become alleviated.  Fingers crossed!

Overall, a very enjoyable read for fans of the paranormal, history, and young adult fiction.  I give 'The Name of the Star':
Thanks for Reading!


Monday, May 7, 2012

Music Monday (3)

"The Spanglish Song" by Jay Brannan

I'm kind of in love with this guy.  I was searching around Pandora and I stumbled upon him, and that's when I realized that I've actually been listening to his music for quite a while!  He's a beautiful singer and guitar player.  The actual song starts about 54 seconds in.  He sounds just like the recording that I found on Pandora.  This makes me happy because it means he doesn't do a lot of, if any, auto-tuning.  It's so gorgeous!

"Breathing" by Temple Scene

I may have shared this song on my blog before today, but it's such a neat song that I thought that I would share it again for those that missed it the first time or are new followers of mine (hello there!).  I like that it's a quiet song that still manages to capture a feeling of intensity without resorting to screaming or heavy bass.

"August" by Julia Nunes

I know that I've shared this song on my blog before.  Same case as above.  I really like it when Julia did these songs where she just sat down in front of her camera (possibly laptop, though I doubt it because the sound quality is so good for a laptop) and sang songs like this.  It's very intimate and with such a heartfelt and beautiful song, it's even better.  I prefer this version to the one that was recorded for her album.

"Samson" by Regina Spektor

It didn't take me long to fall in love with Regina Spektor, but it wasn't instant.  For me, this was a song that I wasn't sure that I cared for until the second or third time I heard it.  I can't quite place my finger on why I felt  this way about it.  Now it's one of my favorite songs of hers!  I still want to share it with you, but for some odd reason, you can only watch it on YouTube, not in embedded form like this one.

Thank you for listening to these wonderful artists and reading my captions below them!  I hope I've helped make the beginning of your week wonderful!  Come back next week for more Music Monday!


Sunday, May 6, 2012

Movie Time! 'American Beauty'

"While struggling to endure his perfection-obsessed wife (Annette Bening), an unfulfilling job and a sullen teenage daughter (Thora Birch), suburbanite Lester Burnham (Kevin Spacey) falls deep into a midlife crisis and becomes infatuated with one of his daughter's friends (Mena Suvari). Director Sam Mendes dazzles with this arresting blend of social satire and domestic tragedy that scooped up five Oscars, including acting honors for Spacey."

This was something I watched for my Literature and Film class.  I wasn't sure what to expect before actually watching it and I was nervous to see it after my teacher listed everything in the movie that made it rated R.  Believe me, it was quite a long list of legitimate reasons for making a movie rate R as well as arbitrary ones.

When movie started to play, it seemed as if this would be another movie about a suburban family being perfect.  And that's the point.  That's the facade this family was putting up for the world to see.  But once inside the house, we find out just how dysfunctional this family of three actually is.  

The mother, Carolyn, is controlling and possessed by perfection while the father, Lester, is at her mercy.  The daughter, Jane, is a typical teen, though maybe a more somber one, that hates her father and can't stand her mother.

The imagery and cinematography was beautiful.  The lighting towards the end in the dark room with Lester and Angela (Jane's friend) was just so beautiful.  The rose petals/roses that show up throughout the movie.  There were so many things that made this movie about beauty, well, beautiful.  That's the problem with beauty.  You can think of synonyms, but one can never seem to boil it down to its essence and explain it (at least not effectively).

One thing that I should mention though is how... I don't think 'graphic' is the right word, but it would be a step or two down from that.  There were uncomfortable things in this movie, no doubt about it.  Lester was infatuated with a sixteen-year-old girl, there are a few instances of nudity and other sex-related phenomena.  Maybe I'm not bothered by these things as much as I used to be because I know that the actors playing these roles are more than likely not like their character in real life.  While some things are a little bizarre and even disturbing, I don't think it's deterring from the overall film.

It's a wonderful debut from this screenwriter.  I was really surprised to find out that this was his first.

If you like awesome cinematography, a well-put-together cast, lovely imagery, and aren't distracted by bizarre and uncomfortable things in movies (that's not to say you will absolutely not be uncomfortable), than this movie is for you.

Thanks for reading!


Friday, May 4, 2012

Movie Time! 'What Lies Beneath'

"When Clair Spencer (Michelle Pfeiffer) starts hearing ghostly voices and seeing spooky images, she wonders if an otherworldly spirit is trying to contact her.  All the while, her husband (Harrison Ford) tries to reassure her it's all in her head.  But as Clair investigates, she discovers that the man she loves might know more than he's letting on.  Director Robert Zemeckis delivers twists and scares galore in this chilling thriller."

When I got home last Friday, I brought in the mail and this was waiting for us from  Netflix.  So I watched it with my dad that night.

The movie starts with a family who is seeing their daughter off to college.  This part felt a little thrown in now that I have seen the rest of the movie.  It didn't really play a huge part in the movie other than giving the wife, Clair, a motive for being crazy in most people's minds.

After this, the movie still doesn't get started very quickly.  There's a lot of setting the scene.  We find out that Clair was in a car accident a year ago where she drove into a tree while going eighty miles per hour.  Again, I was like, "That's unfortunate, but why are they telling us this?"  This however, actually goes somewhere later.

Michelle Pfeiffer was phenomenal in this movie.  She was essentially two characters at once towards the late middle of the movie when things started to get interesting and began picking up pace.  We find out that this isn't going to be another 'Paranormal Activity' or 'The Haunting in Connecticut' movie, which was a lovely change.  We find out that this story is more about Clair and her husband, who turned out to be a better (more rounded) character than I originally anticipated.

Even if the beginning of this movie was really slow and a little confusing, it was worth seeing it through to the end.  But I don't want to give that away.

This movie is good for those that need a change from today's horror films.

Thanks for Reading!


Hello, Friday!

Welcome to Friday!  Today's memes are brought to you by Ginger @ GReads, Parajunkee, and Melissa @ i swim for oceans.  Let the questions commence!

Literary Vacation: If you could take a trip this summer to any place within a fictional book, where would you go?  Tell us about your dream summer vacation!
Yes, the cow must be included.
One of the next places that I plan to go is England.  I'm not quite sure where in England, but it's totally happening.  When I think England, I'm not just thinking Harry Potter, but I'm thinking The Name of the Star and the whole slew of books that take place in England somewhere.  I would probably rent a house in the countryside and take day trips to neighboring towns and cities (of course I'd go to London!).  The vacation would be as low-key as I needed it to be from day to day.  

Gosh, I don't even have a ticket and I'm already really excited for this trip!

What is one thing you wish you could tell your favorite author?

Thank you.

Seriously, that's it.  There's a whole mess of things that I could say, but in the end, all of those things would boil down to 'Thank You.'  I've read a number of books, but those authors that came out on top for me, they touched my heart, changed my thinking, and I'll even go so far as to say changed my life.  I can't even imagine what I would aspire to become had I not decided that Harry Potter was worth my time.  I can't imagine how I would think about life had I not read Looking for Alaska, Papertowns, An Abundance of Katherines or The Fault in Our Stars.

Thank you J.K. Rowling and thank you John Green!

What are you favorite and least favorite book to film adaptations?  Why?
I've managed to sneak Harry Potter into pretty much every question so far, so let's do that again!  My favorite book to film adaption are the Harry Potter series.  Even though some liberties were, and often had to be, taken in the making of the Harry Potter films, they are relatively good adaptations of everything that I loved in the books.  Deathly Hallows was one of the better adaptions purely because they had two movies to do it.  
My least favorite book to film adaptation is Eragon.  The book was neat (I have yet to review it here), so I was really excited to see the film.  I watched it once and it was really cool, because I was watching dragons fly around the screen-- what's not to love, right?  But I watched it a second time and realized how... underwhelming it was.  It was long and nothing terribly exciting happened until the end, and even then it was very underwhelming.  I think Eragon is better in book form purely because of the language that is used and all of the description that goes into telling this particular story.  Of course, this may be because of the bad film that I'm unable to associate a good movie with Eragon.  Maybe some genius will make a remake one day when I'm old and decrepit.

Well, those are my answers to these questions!  What are yours?  Leave your web address down below and I'll try my best to return your visit!

Thanks for Reading!


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A Review of 'The Art of Racing in the Rain' by Garth Stein

"On the eve of his death, Enzo, a philosopher dog with a nearly human soul, takes stock of his life with the Swift family: Denny, an up-and-coming racecar driver, his wife Eve, and their daughter Zoe.  

A heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story of family, love, loyalty, and hope-- a captivating look at the wonders and absurdities of human life... as only a dog could tell it."

Who would have thought that a story could be so intelligent and engaging and still be told from the point of view of a dog!  Enzo is an almost human-like dog living in Seattle with the Swift family.  He is human-like because of the way he thinks.

This was such an interesting read.  Enzo was interested in so many things, not just racing.  He never pretended to be an expert on anything (because his teachers were the TV and Denny), but he was able to insert little tidbits of information that he knew from these two sources and it really added to the overall quality of the story.  I liked that even though he was tired of being a dog and longed to shed his old, arthritic body, he was still clinging to life, just in another form.  I love the concept of reincarnation-- being someone different, starting anew, from the very beginning.

I loved that Enzo managed to remain so human.  He experienced a range of emotions that we associate with humans mostly, though dogs and other species probably exhibit some kind of emotional range as well.  It was just beautiful for me to see him identify these emotions and take them in stride.

My least favorite part was during the trials and when Denny's niece tried to pin a horrible deed on him when nothing actually happened.  Everything was written so well, so that's not the problem.  In a way, this problem is also a good thing because it shows that one can actually care about the characters.  Aside from this, it was really hard to read because you felt so badly for Denny and it was really frustrating that Enzo couldn't say anything and Enzo was upset by this as well.

This was a very well-written novel with the cherry on top of the main character being a dog.  If you love animals, books about family, and love, this is a book for you!

I give 'The Art of Racing in the Rain':
Thanks for reading!