Monday, January 31, 2011

Movie List - January 2011

I've decided, just for grins, to list the movies I've watched each month. If you see anything you want to know about leave a comment and I'll do my best. Yes, I know you can always go to imdb but where's the fun in that?

1) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
2) The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
3) Tron: Legacy
4) Christmas Unwrapped (technically not a movie but I'm counting it anyway. so there)
5) The Ultimate Gift
6) Next
7) Christmas In Connecticut
8) Just Wright
9) A League of Their Own
10) The Punisher
11) Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief
12) Sex & The City 2 (I have no excuse for this)
13) Twilight
14) New Moon
15) Ice Castles (2009)
16) Robin Hood (2010)
17) Runaway Bride
18) Mortal Kombat
19) Mamma Mia
20) Killers
21) Letters to Juliet
22) The Karate Kid (2010)
23) Hellboy
24) Hellboy 2
25) Eclipse
26) Requiem for a Dream
27) Center Stage: Turn It Up
28) Perfectly Prudence
29) G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra
30) Idiots and Angels
31) Bring It On: Fight to the Finish
32) The Fighter
33) Black Swan
34) The Mechanic
35) The King’s Speech

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The King's Speech

This was the fourth and final movie I saw yesterday and I'm so glad I saved it for last. It was well written and had one of my favorite actors in it. I will definitely watch this one again and again.

I don't think I've ever heard much about King George VI except as an aside for the story of Queen Elizabeth's ascension to the throne. Having never seen or heard King George VI I can only assume that Colin Firth did an excellent job portraying him in the movie. I was genuinely hurt and embarrassed for him several times and was nearly brought to tears by his successes. I first noticed Colin when he played Lord Henry Dashwood in "What a Girl Wants". No, not one of the most intellectually stimulating movies ever filmed but still a nice little escape every once in a while. I've seen him in several movies since and he just keeps getting better and better.

Helena Bonham Carter played the part of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. I haven't cared much for her acting in many movies since I saw her in the 1985 film "A Room With a View". She did well as one of many villains in the Harry Potter movies but I think "The King's Speech" is now my favorite for her. I would like to know if Queen Elizabeth was really like that. She was played as strong and supportive with a lovely sense of humor. If she was portrayed as she lived then she truly made King George the man he was. She married him despite the fact that he was a Royal and, according to the movie, because he stammered when he spoke. It was one of my favorite lines in the entire film.

Geoffrey Rush did an excellent job as Lionel Logue, speech therapist and friend to King George. He's been such an inconsequential (boy that sounded snobbish) actor on my movie radar that after seeing this I feel I need to go back and watch some of his movies again. Other than the "Pirates of the Caribbean" series. I've seen enough of those, thank you very much. And there's still another coming out. Yikes! He and Colin Firth play well off each other. I would love to see them in another movie together.

I would recommend this movie to just about anyone. I say "just about" because of the amount of cussing and I don't want parents to sit their children in front of this thinking that it's perfectly all-right. The F-word, S-word and others are used quite a lot but not in a profane manner. You'll have to see it to understand because if I tell you about it I'll totally ruin one of the scenes for you and it's a good, fun scene.

I would love to have met these people. I, myself, am terrified to speak in public and I can't even begin to imagine doing so with a speech impediment. Kudos to you King George. What I'd really enjoy is to watch this film with today's British royalty and find out how true to life it really is. I'm sure I'll receive my invitation any day now.

The Mechanic

The third movie I watched today (well, yesterday now as it's after midnight) was "The Mechanic". This was an action movie with several explosions, lots of killing and a couple attempts at morality.

I like Jason Statham - he's so pretty - but it appears that he is NEVER going to play a different role...ever! If he already has and I just haven't seen those movies then I beg your pardon. In this movie he is...yup, you guessed it...an assassin. But with a heart of gold. I really would love to see him in a different type of movie. By the way, ladies, there is a really good Jason Statham butt shot scene in this film. And if you aren't using a "stunt" bottom, Jason, then well done, you. I could definitely picture him in a romantic comedy. I'm just saying.

I was really hoping for a totally different ending for this movie. I just knew it was going to end my way. It didn't. I was hoping that someone who died at the beginning really hadn't and he was going to show up later on and everything would be hunky dory. I have no idea what that means but I use it a lot. Anywho, I think my version may be a tad more girly than the producers had in mind. That's probably why they didn't ask me. That must be it.

I will more than likely watch this again as I love a good action flick. Or because Jason's in it. Whatever.

Update (01/31/2011): I was sleepy when I wrote this review and it just dawned on me that I didn't say whether or not I would recommend it for younger type people. The answer is, "No!" As you can imagine there is lots and lots of violence, there is a nude/sex scene, as previously mentioned, and I'm sure there was cursing but I slacked on this one and didn't pay as good attention as I should have.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Black Swan

The second movie I saw today was "Black Swan" starring Natalie Portman as Nina Sayers. I must make it known right away that this post should probably be rated PG-18. I didn't say PG-13 because I wouldn't want to give the idea that I would be okay with my niece reading this. One of the main reasons for these movie reviews is to give readers an idea of what they'll be walking in to. Like all those poor saps who had no idea about "that scene" in "The Crying Game" or the love story in "Brokeback Mountain". Please be aware that there are spoilers throughout this post. I'm just warning you now. If you are a young person reading this blog please please please skip to my next post. I stand by my opinion but that doesn't mean you need to read it.

Despite the fact that "Black Swan" is a movie about a ballerina it became apparent that the demographic for the film was immature males. This movie is perfect if they are in the mood to enhance their masturbatory fantasies (I'm going to hear from my mom about that statement). Not only did it have Natalie Portman, who many men have informed me is very hot, but it had Natalie Portman diddling herself a couple of times and then later on Natalie Portman being diddled by another woman. Then, of course, we have suspense and murder. Lovely!

I have defended Natalie Portman to Spike repeatedly as he does not share the opinions of the masses mentioned in the previous paragraph. That stops now. I'm hoping that by the end of "Black Swan" they were trying to portray her as something other than the naive (word for the day apparently) waif she typically plays. The change was great while it lasted but it didn't last long enough. I completely agreed with the character of the ballet director in that he couldn't stand her constant display of cowardice and fragility. I tend to be a tad introverted myself but this was ridiculous.

I was almost sorry for the mom, played by Barbara Hershey, by the end of the movie. It sort of seemed as if the film-makers were partially blaming her for the downfall of her daughter. While, yes, she was a tad over-dramatic at times (the cake scene) I don't think it was enough to push someone over the edge. I mean, good grief, if you are an adult who can't stand being controlled by your parents then move out. Problem solved.

And then there were the unanswered questions. I get the fact that the role in the ballet completely took over Nina's life - who out there didn't hear about what led to Heath Ledger's demise? - but it seems as if important parts of the movie were cut that might have explained a little more of that. And she got so in to her role that she thought she was turning in to a swan??? I can totally work with the thought that an actor may get uber-involved in his character as a madman but a bird? Really??? It's like she got the role then immediately went crazy. And then there's the mystery of what happened to Beth. Now, if you've seen the movie and have read my blog before, you know it kills me to say that I am curious about this character. Unfortunately, I didn't go to imdb.com to check out the different actors in this film ahead of time. They managed to sneak Winona in on me again. Why????? And finally, did the producers really think Nina (or anyone for that matter) would be able to finish a ballet after getting stabbed in the belly? I mean, come on. This may be aimed at infantile men but give them at least a little credit.

I'm not going to break down the reasons why this would not be a good movie for children due to violence, sex, etc. I'm just going to put it this way. This is NOT a movie children should be allowed to see. Period. Exclamation point!

While this was okay for a one-time watch I will not be viewing this movie again. Good luck at the Oscars, "Black Swan". I don't think you should win much of anything but you'll probably end up taking home every award for which you received a nod. Kinda makes me question the powers that be.

P.S. As most of you know, "Black Swan" only took home one Oscar and that was for Best Actress. I didn't see the other movies in that category but it must have been a really sad year if this was the best you could find. I think I'll watch the other four movies and let you know what I think.

The Fighter

When I do remember to blog it's usually just one per day but today you get the great honor/pleasure/joy (you choose) of having four. Wahoo! Despite the fact that it was an absolutely gorgeous, warm day in January I decided to spend it inside watching movies. Don't worry though. I'm waking up at 0-dark-30 to take pictures of the sunrise. Makes me sleepy just thinking about it.

The first movie I saw today was "The Fighter" supposedly starring Mark Wahlberg. I was prepared to see a movie about a very good boxer but instead it seemed to be more about his older brother, Dicky Eklund with Micky Ward (Wahlberg) as a side story. Despite the fact that the producers seemed to be confused about who was the star of the movie I still really liked it.

I heard this past week that "The Fighter" received several Oscar nominations including Best Supporting Actor for Christian Bale, Best Supporting Actress for Amy Adams, Best Supporting Actress for Melissa Leo, Best Director, Best Film Editing, Best Original Screenplay and finally Best Movie. As mentioned on the radio as I was driving home from work, you'll notice that none of these include Best Actor. You might ask why but I've seen the movie. I know why. If the character Mark played was true to life then he didn't have a lot to work with. I know that sounds harsh but give me a second to redeem myself. Every person in his life was so dominating. He seemed to be the peacemaker (yes, peacemaker) in the middle of a bunch of people who so obviously believe they are right. All.The.Time! So, if the real Micky Ward was always in the background of all the drama then why wouldn't the actor who portrayed him be also? Having seen a few of Micky's fights I was rooting for Mark to do well. I really was.

Let me start this next bit by telling you how much I adore (but in a totally non-stalker way) Christian Bale. He had me since the song "Santa Fe" in the movie "Newsies". I was in college and he was dreamy. I believe Christian did a very good job portraying Dicky Eklund if Dicky truly was the brash, annoying, must-have-all-the-attention-all-the-time person this film shows him to be. I couldn't stand him. And I couldn't stand that Micky needed him. Christian did a tremendous job but I never want to see him in this kind of role again...ever.

I can't believe Micky Ward survived the women in his life. It wasn't bad enough that he had all those loud-mouthed sisters but he had to be the middle man in the battle royale between his mom and his girlfriend. Fun! Melissa Leo played the part of Micky and Dicky's mom, Alice. Now, we all know that parents aren't supposed to have favorites and if they do they would be smart to keep it to themselves but according to "The Fighter" Alice so obviously put Dicky above anyone and everything else. It was painful to watch. He ends up in jail for goodness' sake and he's still the golden child. If I just ruined part of the movie for you then you apparently didn't see any of the previews. Sorry about that. Amends are made somewhat close to the end of the movie but not enough for my taste. Hopefully there was more to that story than what was shown.

The other "large" woman in Micky's life was Charlene played by Amy Adams. I've enjoyed her movies since I saw her in "The Wedding Date". Her character then was so over-the-top naive that you just had to love her despite her stupidity. The naivete is apparent in this movie also. What kind of person thinks she's going to waltz into the overbearing estrogen zone that was Micky's mom and sisters and think she was going to tell them how it's gonna be? I absolutely cannot believe she wasn't flattened. Once again, there was probably more to that story also. I do like that she stuck to her convictions but was able to bend when it was Micky's happiness at stake. Way to go, Charlene!

I am highly likely to watch this movie again and perhaps even buy it but I wish DVD's came with a bleeped version. The only person I've heard use the F-word as much as the Ward/Eklund clan did is my ex. Not only as an expletive but also as an adjective. Use your words, people!!! Would definitely NOT recommend this to P.T. even though she's 13 now. I know she's heard the words before but this was overkill. So, if you're not my niece, you're okay with profanity and you like a good underdog story, I definitely recommend this movie.

Update (02 February 2011): I was reading through this post again and realized that I have seen movies in which one character used the F-bomb so many times that a script almost wasn't needed. Wesley Snipes in Passenger 57 and pretty much any movie (except "Star Wars") starring Samuel L. Jackson. OH! And the HBO series, "The Wire". I barely made it through the first episode. I would love to get hold of that script. It must read, "Say the F-word a lot and then add a few other words to make it seem as if there's a plot." I'm just guessing. Maybe it's changed since the first season. Let me know if it has and I'll give it a second chance.

P.S. Christian Bale won the Oscar for his role as Dicky Eklund. I really really wanted Geoffrey Rush to win. And to make matters worse, Christian seemed to have forgotten his wife's name in his acceptance speech. Oopsy. I wonder how many Oscar winners end up sleeping on the couch the same night they receive their award.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Green Chile Casserole (and a Christmas present)

Before I share this super yummy seems-like-a-winter-type-food-but-I-love-to-eat-year-round recipe I wanted to show you what I got for Christmas.

Ta-daaaaaaaaaa!


To say that I'm super (that seems to be my word for the day) excited about this is an understatement. I had this on my Christmas list but never expected to get it. Not because I thought no one would want to get it for me but because it's a tad big to carry on an airplane. You see, my family decided for some reason that moving to a state with a more temperate climate and usually way whiter Christmas than Oklahoma was a good idea. So, in order to spend Christmas with them I must fly. And boy are my arms tired. Thank you! I'll be here all night! Don't forget to tip your waitress! But I digress. I got this nifty little studio and was actually able to fit most of it in my luggage and my lovely parents mailed the pieces that couldn't go with me on the plane. Yes, my parents do rock. Thank you for asking.

Then! Because I lost poor Crocky in a car unloading accident and happened upon a good sale at Wally World, I got myself this:

Wahoo!

It was cheap and seems to work. Two of my favorite things.

So, now I'm set to blog to my heart's content. Let me just say now that I hope, dream, pray that the pictures will start getting a LOT better. And what better way to start than with one of my favorite health hazards...I mean meals...on the planet. I give you GREEN CHILE CASSEROLE!!!!

Starring:

1 lb. Ground beef
2 cans Cream of Chicken or Cream of Mushroom Soup. OR! Something I discovered while shopping for this recipe...Cream of Chicken AND Mushroom. Who knew?
1 1/2 to 2 soup cans full of milk. Depends on how juicy or thick you want your casserole
1 small can Green chiles
Tortillas torn in four parts
Grated Cheese
(Preheat oven to 350 (degrees...in case you were wondering))


First, brown your ground beef. I added a little Italian Seasoning and Garlic Powder. Yum! But that's totally up to you.


Dump hamburger bits in to a sieve to get as much grease out as possible. We're already going to clog our arteries enough without the extra fat to digest. Blech! While that is draining, heat your soup, milk and chiles in a medium-sized sauce pan. Or a small one if you don't care if it gets really full. Or a large one if that's all you have. Once again, it's up to you. Aren't I helpful? Make sure you stir this while it's heating or it'll burn and you'll have little charcoal tasting bits in your casserole and this is NOT a dish to be ruined!


(What I love most about my choice of utensil here is that my mom can't roll her eyes or groan about it. Why? Because she got it for me! Bwahahahaha!)

Okay, once your mixture is nice and hot, add your browned ground and stir. Keep stirring while at the same time covering the bottom of a 9 X 13 pan with the tortillas. You may need three hands for this. Or go back and forth between the two. Whatever.



Pour half of your soup/chile/cooked cow mixture over the tortillas. Add another layer of tortillas then pour the rest of the mixture over that.



This still looks a little too healthy. Let's take care of that right now.



Do you hear that? It's your cardiologist rubbing his hands together and laughing while he tries to decide whether to buy new golf clubs or take a big vacation. He's not a nice man, you know.

Stick in oven (the casserole...not your doctor) until cheese is nice and melted. If this were a video you could watch the bubbling, yummy goodness of it all.



When that's done I like to set it on the stove top for a few minutes to thicken. If you like it hot and juicy right out of the oven then go for it!



I'm not usually a "left-over" food type person but I have no problems noshing on this for dinner for a few days. Just pop it in the microwave for a minute or two and you're good to go.

The end!