Sunday, July 31, 2011

Pesto with Chicken and Fettuccine

I have been craving chicken lately. A LOT!!! So Spike humored me and we made Pesto w/ Chicken and Fettuccine tonight. Yum! Since Spike was involved in the process I actually have exact measurements for you this time. What can I say? He’s an engineer.

Cast of Characters:

2 C. fresh basil leaves, packed
¼ C. parmesan cheese
½ C. olive oil
3 T. pine nuts or walnuts (I prefer pine nuts but he didn’t have any so walnuts it was)
3 garlic cloves, finely minced

2 chicken breasts
Season (whatever you prefer)
Fettuccine

First of all, plant basil in the Spring and wait for it to get big, dark green leaves. Then, if you’re having the kind of summer Oklahoma is enjoying, try to find decent, unwithered leaves to use in your pesto. If you don’t have basil plants or yours have withered away in to nothingness you can go to the store and get “fresh” basil. Let me warn you though. It’ll cost you unless you just happen to know where to get a lot…cheap. I know of no such place so straight to the back yard we go.

Second, toast your nuts (insert witty comment here). Spike usually burns these because he tries to work on other things at the same time but he stayed put tonight and they turned out just fine.

Put about 1/3 of your basil in a food processor and chop until you have teensy tinesy pieces. Add 1/3 of the garlic and nuts, blend again. Add 1/3 of the cheese (Spike didn't have parm so we used romano instead) and blend while slowly adding 1/3 of the olive oil.
That last bit is what the recipe says to do. Spike just stops the processor and adds the oil. I don’t think it matters either way. Stop on occasion to scrape down the sides of the container. Blend until you have a thick, smooth paste.
Repeat until all ingredients, minus the chicken, seasoning and fettuccine, have been added.
Set aside while you cook your pasta and chicken.

I wasn’t going to take pictures of the pasta but I guess I was beginning to annoy Spike by sticking the camera right in front of what he was working on and he decided to be cute. “Are you gonna take a picture of the water boiling?” Why yes…yes, I am.
And the pasta in the boiling water too.
So there. Ha! I sure showed him.

While your pasta is boiling go ahead and cook your chicken. I like mine just a little golden on the outside.
I also like to sneak a couple pieces while Spike is in his back yard cutting more basil. This is the seasoning I used on the chicken. It was pretty tasty.

Add a tablespoon or two of the pesto mixture to your pasta and chicken once they're in the individual pasta bowls. Or add more. It's all a matter of taste. If you like, you can top it with more cheese. This may not look very appetizing to some of you but I assure you it is delicious!

And this is what your bowl should look like at the end of the meal. Happy eating!

Oh! Just a warning…don’t fix this for a date unless you’re to the "comfortable with each other" stage. Nothing says, “There’s no chance on God’s green earth I’m kissing you any time soon,” like green bits in your teeth. I would mention garlic breath but if you’re both eating it then who cares?

Friday, July 29, 2011

Cowboys & Aliens

Question…Why is it more believable for aliens to attack Earth in modern times than for them to have attacked during the days of the Wild, Wild West? Could they not have had the technology back then? Did we learn nothing from Transformers? Get past the whole unbelievability and you might actually enjoy Cowboys & Aliens.

I am at the midnight showing with about 14 other people. So sad. I’m hoping, once again, that it’s the theater location that is keeping away the masses and not the movie itself. Maybe Quail Springs did a lot better.

It appears that the critics are divided regarding Cowboys & Aliens. At least one of them used some very rude words to describe his loathing. After watching the movie myself I’ve decided he must have gone in with the mind set that he was going to hate it. Another critic said that he bases his like/dislike for a movie on whether or not he felt immersed in it. You know, when a movie is so good you completely forget what is going on around you? He didn’t feel immersed in the film. Well, too bad. Because I did. For the most part. There were people in the theater who apparently forgot they were in public. But, what can you do?

Following is the IMDB description:

“The Old West.. where a lone cowboy leads an uprising against a terror from beyond our world. 1873. Arizona Territory. A stranger with no memory of his past stumbles into the hard desert town of Absolution. The only hint to his history is a mysterious shackle that encircles one wrist. What he discovers is that the people of Absolution don't welcome strangers, and nobody makes a move on its streets unless ordered to do so by the iron-fisted Colonel Dolarhyde (Ford). It's a town that lives in fear. But Absolution is about to experience fear it can scarcely comprehend as the desolate city is attacked by marauders from the sky. Screaming down with breathtaking velocity and blinding lights to abduct the helpless one by one, these monsters challenge everything the residents have ever known. Now, the stranger they rejected is their only hope for salvation. As this gunslinger slowly starts to remember who he is and where he's been...” Written by Universal Pictures

It’s sort of right. This person took some literary license. I wonder if this was written by the same person who summed up Priest. They seem to work on the throw-more-adjectives-at-people-and-they’ll-go-see-this theory.

Daniel Craig is good as the gunslinger (Jake Lonergan) who loses his memory because of alien mind-control and becomes a better person for it. Hey! I don’t make this stuff up. I just report it. Actually, there is a lot of this throughout the film. People start out mean or gruff but by the end are big ol’ teddy bears. Actually, we never really see that Jake was ever mean. He just robbed coaches. Is a man’s personality defined by his actions? It is? Okay. Because of the “bracelet” he’s been stuck with - that just happens to shoot down UFOs - he becomes the leader of the Earthlings who go off to fight the big, bad aliens. And does a fine job of it too. And, not that I mind, but is it part of all Daniel’s contracts that he must take his shirt off in every movie in which he’s involved? Just curious.

Harrison Ford plays the part of Woodrow Dolarhyde (pronounced Dollarhide). That name made me groan. His Indian name must be He Who Owns Everything As Far As The Eye Can See. But, if this is going to be one of just a few complaints about this movie then I’m okay with that. Woodrow is one of the characters who you dislike at the beginning but change your mind about by the end. He’s just misunderstood. As much as I like Harrison it still made me giggle that his version of a domineering cattle baron is someone who just frowns a lot and talks like he’s been smoking for the past 40 years. Or maybe he was just channeling Clint Eastwood. I’m going to give away part of the movie here because I feel like sharing. If you don’t want to know, don’t read the rest of this paragraph. At one point in the movie I was pretty sure good ol’ Woodrow was not going to make it to the credits. It seemed like some major foreshadowing. I was wrong. He does make it. And with flying colors. Yea Harrison!

Olivia Wilde plays the part of Ella Swenson, a woman who looks to Jake for assistance in avenging her people. I don’t know what it is about movies lately but it appears that the days of the damsel in distress are no more. While this is probably a good thing I do hope movies are still made in which a woman can use the support of a man. What? I’m a romantic! I am misleading you a bit, though. There is a scene in which she has to completely put herself in to Jake’s keeping but only because she’s been injured. But men were helping injured men throughout the film so this instance doesn’t really count. Her character is strong yet sensitive. Sort of like Demi Moore in G.I. Jane. One of my favorite girl-power movies. Just to keep you from thinking that this movie completely strayed from the sexist Wild West attitude I offer you the following line muttered by the pastor as the posse is riding out to track the aliens: “Got a kid and a dog. Why not a woman?” Jerk.

I liked so many of the actors in Cowboys & Aliens that to mention all of them would take up way too much space. I do want to mention a couple of my favorite lines from the movie though. When coming upon a steamboat that isn’t where it should be and is definitely not right side up we hear, “I don’t know much about boats but that one’s upside down.” Thank you King Obvious! And when one of the outlaws tells Jake he wants the gold that was kept from him, Jake informs him, “Demons took your gold. When you get to Hell you can ask for it back.” Every Western needs a line like that. There was another line that I loved but it contained a word I don’t feel like typing on a somewhat family-friendly blog. If you watch the movie it’s in the scene in which the pastor is teaching the doctor/bartender how to shoot.

And now for the breakdown:

Cussing? Yes. At least one of each but, strange enough, hardly any of it was during the battle scenes.

Sex/Nudity? No sex. Ella is nude in one scene but we only know this because we see her nekkid back and part of her tuckus. That is it. Oh, and Jake is shirtless in one scene.

Drinking/Drugs? Definitely drinking but no drugs. There’re also a few scenes in which people smoke cigarettes but you just can’t have a good Western without smokers somewhere in it, right?

Violence? Oh yeah. And quite a bit of it is icky.

Disturbing scenes? At the very beginning we see men with scalps looped around their saddle horn. And not just the hair part either. We get to see the nasty skin part. Yuck! We see a decimated herd of cattle. Blood spatter on a window. Indians throw a corpse on a fire (I didn’t like it because of who it was). A woman is slowly disintegrated by the aliens. The aliens stab people with their long, nasty claws. And so on and so forth. And there are a couple of “jump out at you” scenes, darn them. Fortunately, you pretty much know there’s a good chance of it happening. You just don’t know exactly when. Also, horses get thrown around and are blown up. I’m not sure whether I should be worried that this bothered me just a little more than the people getting blown up. Maybe it’s just because the animals didn’t choose to be in that situation.

My only other complaint besides Harrison Ford’s character name is that the movie left us with some unanswered questions. I really hate that. To put my questions here would ruin more of the movie and that’s just not how I roll. For the most part.

This movie was “Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of western and sci-fi action and violence, some partial nudity and a brief crude reference” - IMDB. There were actually a few crude references but I have a feeling the one they are talking about is the one I won’t mention. I completely agree with the rating. The violence is just too intense in some scenes. I, yet again, appeal to your protective nature (I’m just assuming here) to go see this before you take your kids. Other than that, I would recommend this for anyone who likes sci-fi action movies. I would say I recommend it for people who like Westerns but that’s really just a setting and not the be all end all of this film. I think that makes sense. Basically, it’s an aliens vs. humans movie using guns, spears and arrows (and one really cool “bracelet”) instead of M-16s and nukes.

P.S. No need to stay through the credits for anything other than to see who worked on the film and hear the music. Speaking of music, I LOVED the opening score. Wild West music on electric guitar! Wahoo!

P.P.S. I want a dog like the one in Cowboys & Aliens.

P.P.P.S. I didn’t originally intend to leave this as my final thought but I wanted to mention that the writers managed to squeeze in a few Christian moments. The pastor doesn’t just sew people up/teach people how to shoot and send them on their way. He actually witnesses to them too. I’m not sure how that was kept off the cutting room floor but I’m glad it was.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Horrible Bosses

I would really like to know if any of you have seen Horrible Bosses and what you thought of it. I only paid $4 to see this movie and I strongly believe that was $4 too much. Anyone who really knows me knows that I tend to have a teensy tinesy bit of an immature sense of humor but this just didn’t do anything for me. I had every intention of saying that only boys would like this but a woman in the theater ruined that for me. She was cracking up through the whole thing. I will admit that there were some funny parts. They are called Out takes (is that one word or two?). My next post will be about Bad Teacher and I didn’t care for it either. Maybe it was an off day.

What does IMDB have to say about it?

“Three friends conspire to murder their awful bosses when they realize they are standing in the way of their happiness.”

Yup. That pretty much sums it up.

For what it was I guess you could say the acting was okay. My respect for Jennifer Aniston has hit an all-time low. Is she so desperate for roles that she won’t pass on the “chance” to play a sexual harasser? Considering her last few movies that may be the case. Her scenes are just so eeewie.

I don’t care much at all for Colin Farrell and his skin-crawling performance pretty much sealed that opinion. I think I’ve only liked him in the movie Dare Devil. He did a good job as the villain in that. In HB he was just slime. And it wasn’t even a good portrayal of slime.

I did like Kevin Spacey but I’ve had a crush on him since Outbreak. He did a great job in HB with what he had to work with. He was very convincing as the type of boss anyone would want to kill.

As for the three conpirators? So so so so so so bad. Jason Bateman was the only one with any redeemable qualities. I still want to see him in other movies. The other two? Not so much. Jason seems to be pulling a John Travolta in that he gets better looking the older he gets. Well, it’s true.

Let’s break it down:

Cussing? Oh yeah. And then some.

Drinking/Drugs? Lots

Sex/Nudity? Implied sex. We also get to see Jennifer in nothing but her dentist coat and panties. Later on we get to see her in just her bra and unders. Wahoo. The boys’ll love it.

Violence? Yes. One scene. Someone gets shot.

Should children be allowed to see this film? Seriously? Adults shouldn’t be allowed to see this. I absolutely will not watch this again.

As mentioned at the beginning of this post, I would like to know what other people thought. Maybe I just really wasn’t in the mood for this brand of humor…Nah!

P.S. When the main characters break in to Harken’s house, beware. The same cat jumps out at them several times. I hate that!!!

Captain America: The First Avenger

This is another movie I was going to go to the midnight showing of but this time it happened during my last night at my parents’ house and I hung out with my mom instead. Aren’t I special?

I liked nearly everything about Captain America. And I liked the movie too. Thank you! I’ll be here all night! The main thing I didn’t like was the ending. Am I going to tell you why? Nope. Because some of you may not have seen it yet. Besides the ending there are only two things that I didn’t really care for and I’ll talk about them throughout the post.

This seems to be the year of the superhero and I am loving every minute of it! We had X-Men (not great but still…), Thor (sigh), Green Lantern (big sigh), The Green Hornet (meh!) and now Captain America. If I missed one someone shout it out. Oh wait! Transformers! How could I forget them? Bumblebee…I heart you!

Chris Evans played the part of Steve Rogers/Captain America. He did a great job but I question whether or not he should have gotten the role. This is gripe number one. I feel that a petition should go around stating that no actor should get to play more than one super character. If you can’t recall what other character he plays go watch one of the Fantastic Four movies. Same goes for Ryan Reynolds. I’m sorry dude but you played a super villain in the Wolverine movie. It’s one or the other, man. If I had to choose it would definitely be Green Lantern. Who’s with me? But back to Chris. He either totally beefed up to play the part of Capt. A or someone did some major touch-ups after filming. He is a hugantic stud muffin! And he’s got that whole pouty lip thing going on. The action may draw in the boys for this movie but Chris alone will bring in the women. And if the choice regarding which role he’d play relied solely on me? Fantastic Four would be looking for a new Johnny Storm/Human Torch.

Hayley Atwell plays the female lead, Peggy Carter. I didn’t think I’d seen her in any other movies so I went to, yup, you guess it…IMDB to see what I could find out. I have seen her in something else. The Duchess. I will never ever ever never watch that movie again. The ending made me so mad I could spit. What is the point of a film that leaves you agitated? I protest! But! Hayley does a great job as Peggy. Talk about girl power. Soon after we meet her she knocks a guy on his tuckus! Trust me. He deserved it. And when she thinks she’s been wronged, the person doing the wronging knows it. But she’s a softie too. And super loyal. And a champion for the underdog. And… I want her to have this same personality in other movies.

The villain, Johann Schmidt/Red Skull, was played by Hugo Weaving. I.LOVE.HUGO.WEAVING! Here goes my second gripe. He is NOT in this movie enough. He’s almost an after-thought. They were going along showing how wonderful Chris is when someone suddenly remembered, “Huh! Isn’t there supposed to be a bad guy in here somewhere?” Usually I don’t like my favorite actors to play bad guys but he does it so good. I can’t see him without thinking, “Mr. Anderson.” Name that movie. He really really really needs to be in a romantic comedy. And no, Priscilla, Queen of the Dessert, does not count.

To wrap up the discussion of the actors, we just have to talk about another one of my favorites. Tommy Lee Jones. I don’t know what it is about him… Whatever it is, I like it. Judging by this post and the previous one for Harry Potter, I seem to have a thing for older men. But don’t worry Vin, Dwayne, Jason, Josh, Ryan and Chris. I still love you too. Tommy plays the part of Colonel Chester Phillips. He’s supposed to come across as impatient, uncaring and overbearing but we know the truth. He’s really a big ol’ teddy bear. I would say that he needs to be in more movies but Hollywood already loves him. He’ll be there.

I’ve heard some people complain that this should have been set in modern times. It’s set in 1942. To those people I say, “No!” He wouldn’t have had the same affect in the present. And I was going to quote the synopsis from IMDB but it gives away the entire movie. If you want to know…go there. I love the costumes for this. And the backgrounds. And the cars. And the “technology”. And Chris Evans. I’m just sayin’.

Now for the breakdown:

Cussing: Yes. It’s a war movie for goodness’ sake. That and the movie makers don’t seem to care that this is yet another super hero movie which is going to draw in what?... CHILDREN!

Sex/Nudity: No sex. We got to see a bunch of shirtless men and in one scene Captain America gets mooned by one of the soldiers. That’s it.

Drinking/Drugs: Quite a bit of alcohol but no drugs.

Violence: Yup. It’s not super bloody but I did have a bit of a problem with people being completely disintegrated. And I actually sorta like that that still bothers me. Oh! A man gets thrown through the propeller of a plane. Fortunately, you don’t see parts when this happens. Unfortunately, you will see blood spray.

Frightening/Intense Scenes: Red Skull is kinda creepy when we first see what he really is. I am, once again, not going to rant about kids becoming numb to things like this. Or maybe I will a little.

Since I know that kids are going to watch this anyway, I would recommend this for anyone. Mom would have to cover her eyes during a couple scenes but I think she would like the rest of it. Dad and PT definitely need to go see this one together.

P.S. Stay through the credits. Yes, all of them.

P.P.S. I found out recently that some of the people I went to MHS with actually read my blog. And I didn’t force them to. But that’s beside the point. If any of you have children and would like to say a word or two about how these movies affect your kids I would love to hear it. As a non-parent, I have no idea what may be discussed before or after to ease any fears.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2

Most of you who wanted to see this movie more than likely already have. Those of you who didn’t want to….didn’t. But! Since I saw it in a theater, I’m gonna talk about it despite the fact that it probably won’t help in any decision making.

I wanted to go to the midnight showing of Harry Potter but I was leaving that same day to go visit my family. The five of us ended up seeing it together on the 16th of July. Am I sorry I waited? Not really. I got to see my mom get so in to the movie that after a pivotal moment she started clapping. I love when she does that. When we went to see Lord of the Rings: Return of the King and all the ghosts came off the boat she clapped so hard that everyone else in the theater quickly followed suit. If you haven’t seen LOTR:ROTK then I just ruined a major part of the movie for you. But my question is…why haven’t you seen it?

Okay, so, back to Harry. If the series had to end this was a good way to do it. I’ve read all the books and watched all the movies and would love to meet and chat with J.K. Rowling. It must be fun to be in her imagination. But I’d have to meet her more than once because I do NOT make a good first impression. I tend to be a bit of a dork. It’s true. Ask Armat. Oh wait. She’ll say I’m a dork most of the time. Never mind. But I digress.

Though the film didn’t stay true to the book the story was still good. One of the big changes from the book was that in the movie they flashed back and told more of the story of Snape and the reasons for some of the things he did. I loved it!!! Even though the books and movies lead you to dislike him I just couldn’t totally do it. He is played by Alan Rickman who I have thought for years is a very attractive hunka hunka man. He first came on my radar in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. My favorite line of his from that film? ”Because it’s dull, you twit! It’ll hurt more!” It’s playing through my head with a heavy British accent. I know I usually only laud the stars of the movies but I just had to talk about Alan first. Sadly, he’s not in this film as much as I’d like. He should be in more movies. Please?

If you’ve seen any of the seven previous H.P. movies then there is no need for me to go in to detail about the main actors. They are about the same in this movie as they were in the rest. Daniel Radcliffe does a good job as Harry. Emma Watson is still ever so cute as Hermione and Rupert Grint is still the lovable dork, Ron. Who were my favorite characters? Draco (yes, you read that correctly), Luna and Neville. Draco seems to finally be outgrowing some of the things he was taught as a child by his dad. Yes, he does do a couple bad things but by the end you see the man he has the chance of becoming. At least I did, anyway. Yea, Draco! Neville has been one of my favorites since the very first movie/book. You just know that things are going to work out for him. He caused the clapping mentioned earlier. Just an FYI. And I had to have been one of Luna’s biggest supporters. She’s odd and none of her peers really get her but she’s super likable too.

I sort of hated that the books had to get darker as they progressed but considering the subject matter it couldn’t have been all lollipops and rainbows. It does eventually lighten up but not until the very end. In this movie/book we lose several friends and experience the heartbreak with their families. Okay, maybe you didn’t but I tend to be a big softie when it comes to stuff like that. Even if it isn’t real. I wanted to climb in the screen with them and start hugging. And I was close to joining mom during her celebrations. What were my favorite scenes? I’ll try to sum up without giving much away. First, I love love loved the scene in which Mrs. Weasley protects her daughter, Jenny. That’s all I’ll say about that except that I just about came undone. This is one of those instances I’ve actually wanted to shout with laughter. How often can you say you’ve done that? Not much, I’m willing to wager. My second favorite is the big scene involving Neville. If you’ve seen the movie you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t seen the movie but are going to, you’ll know as soon as it happens.

I felt about this series the way I felt about Lord of the Rings. I didn’t want to see either of them end. Is anything greatly missing in my life because there won’t be more? Nope. Because I own the DVDs!!!

The breakdown isn’t going to be very informative this time because I watched the movie with the person for whom I write this blog. Any chance of protecting her went out the window with the opening credits. But I’ll give it a shot anyway.

Cussing: There had to be at least a “bloody hell!” in there since Ron says it in several of the movies. Other than that I don’t recall there being much, if any.

Sex/Nudity: Ummmm…no. Even though there is violence it’s still aimed at younger generations.

Drinking/Drugs: Butter beer. Is that even alcoholic? I’m guessing not since they drink it as young children. Unless kids start drinking early at Hogwarts.

Violence: Definitely. It’s the most violent of all the H.P. movies. You do see blood but it’s not gory.

Frightening/Intense Scenes: There are a few. Or at least there should be for children. I won’t go on my rant in this post but if you want to know my views on movies that would/should scare children, please go here.

As stated earlier, this was a very good end to the series. I started to think that it would be nice to have a movie about H.P. and his friends as adults but Ms. Rowling pretty much wrapped that up for us. Anything further at this point would probably be a tad disappointing. I would recommend this movie for anyone who’s seen all the other movies. Don’t start with this one. Pleeeeease?

P.S. To those of you who refuse to watch the H.P. movies but have seen all the LOTR movies I, ever so politely, roll my eyes. There is wizardry and evil in both series and evil is eventually overcome at the end. The other similarity? I could have done without the ginormous spiders. Seriously!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Friends with Benefits

This is another pre-screening movie. I wouldn’t have minded paying for it, though. Let me just say from the get-go that this is, most definitely, not a movie for children. I would say it’s not for teenagers either but knowing what I already knew when I was a teenager it seems kinda hypocritical. Not first hand, mind you (just in case my parents decide to read this). It’s not for young teenagers. Like P.T.’s age. And any age she’ll ever be. …What?

From just the name of this movie, you know what it’s about. A similar movie (No Strings Attached) came out a month or two before this but I didn’t see it. Natalie Portman is in it and I was still mad at her because of Black Swan. Yes, I can hold a grudge, thank you very much. As you can imagine, there are a LOT of intimate scenes in Friends with Benefits. The funniest (yes, I said funniest) was the first one. I won’t go in to detail. You’ll have to watch for yourself. Unless you’re a minor. Then you’ll have to wait. Ha!

This is what my favorite movie site (IMDB) has to say about it.

“While trying to avoid the clich├ęs of Hollywood romantic comedies, Dylan (Timberlake) and Jamie (Kunis) soon discover however that adding the act of sex to their friendship does lead to complications.”

Nice grammar. Other than that it’s basically right.

The only movie, other than this, that I have to judge Justin Timberlake (Dylan) on is Bad Teacher. That’s a few posts away. I’ll mention it now and will probably forget and mention it then too. There is NO WAY Justin got this part based on his acting in Bad Teacher. I refuse to believe differently. But that’s for another time. He was so much better in this movie. I might actually watch something else he’s in if he makes any more films. He’s funny and smart and cute and, based on this, I understand what some of the women he’s dated in real life might see in him. If that’s what he’s possibly really like.

Mila Kunis (Jamie) did a great job as the other half of the Benefits. I liked her in That 70s Show. She’s come a long way since then. I hope she does more movies but that she actually gets to do a few that don’t involve sex. Yes, they do still make those. In Friends with Benefits she’s very smart, funny and tender-hearted. And doesn’t take any crap from the boys.

This movie was not all sex, sex, sex. It did have subplots to go along with it. I loved the story of Dylan’s family. It was so sweet. I didn’t much care for Jamie’s mom. She reminded me of Sally Field’s character in Where the Heart Is and I didn’t care much for her either.

I definitely recommend this for couples. I’m not going to waste your time or mine with the breakdown. There is no violence and no frightening scenes unless you have a fear of falling off the Hollywood sign. As for the sex, cussing and drinking? Yes, there is. Will I see this again? Definitely.

P.S. Stick around for the credits. There are a couple of outtakes.

P.P.S. No, I didn’t forget that Mila is in Black Swan. She didn’t play the victim so I didn’t dislike her as much as I did Natalie.

P.P.P.S. Oh man! I totally forgot about the flash mobs. There were two in FWB and they were so cool. I say that because I can't dance. At all. The end.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Zookeeper

I got to go to the pre-screening of Zookeeper and took my cousin, Leann, along for the ride. I think I decided early on that the producers of this film had absolutely no idea who their target audience is.

What does good ol’ IMDB have to say?

“A group of zoo animals decide to break their code of silence in order to help their lovable zookeeper find love -- without opting to leave his current job for something more illustrious.”

Well, yeah. That’s it in a nutshell. What’s missing is the fact that the animals are trying to fix him up with the woman who dumps him at the beginning of the movie. They can talk but apparently they can’t reason why this is definitely not a good idea. Zookeeper is predictable, for the most part, but with this kind of movie that’s to be expected.

Kevin James plays the part of the Zookeeper, Griffin. Has he ever played a serious role? Oh wait. I’m on IMDB. I’ll go check. I’m back. And the answer is…maybe. It shows that he played the role of Nitro Man on the TV show Martial Law. That doesn’t sound like a comedy to me. Griffin is very easy to like in this movie but his humor leans toward inane. Some of the things he does just wouldn’t happen. Or I hope they wouldn’t happen. Somewhere out there Spike is rolling his eyes about the reality of movies.

Leslie Bibb plays the part of Griffin’s ex-girlfriend, Stephanie. At no point in Zookeeper did I like her character. She did a really good job of playing the gold-digger. Her one goal throughout is to change Griffin so that he’ll take a better paying/better sounding job therefore increasing the amount of money he can spend on her and lowering her embarrassment quotient. She has no redeeming qualities at all. Sure, she’s super nice to him when he does what she wants but otherwise, not so much. Who really wants someone they have to change, anyway? Let’s be honest here.

Rosario Dawson plays Griffin’s co-worker, Kate. If you don’t know how things are going to end up with these two then you’ve never seen a romantic movie…ever! I like Rosario. She’s not on my list of favorite actors but I won’t not watch a movie that she’s in. She does a good job here of being the best bud for Griffin. I so want to go on a rant about guys and their best bud female friends but I won’t. Because I’m cool like that.

The rest of the actors were okay but, as I’m trying to keep this short, aren’t going to be mentioned. So there.

The previous part of this post was for the adults. The next part is for the kids. The talking animals are the only reason children will like this movie. Everything else that happens just won’t mean that much to them. Not that I’m underestimating children at all. I just think if you’re going to have talking animals it should be set up like a Dr. Doolittle-type movie. There was so much more in Dr. Doolittle to keep their attention. I can’t believe more kids in the theater didn’t get restless. My favorite part of the movie was trying to figure out which actor was the voice for each animal. I got most of them but totally missed on Cher. Until the end when she sings. Who doesn’t know that voice?

I really should have posted about this movie right away because I’ve forgotten a lot of the important parts of the breakdown. Following is the breakdown from IMDB. I’d be surprised if there wasn’t more cussing then is mentioned. I’ll have to ask Leann if she remembers.

Sex & Nudity
Main theme of movie is trying to win a girl back. Some suggestive and crude humor. A few kisses.

Violence & Gore
Some comical violence, like falling, running into walls, crashing into people. Nothing bad.
Profanity

"Freaking" and "hell" are used a few times each. Also, "sucks", "oh, crap" and "damn" are used.

Alcohol/Drugs/Smoking
Some drinking by adults.

Frightening/Intense Scenes
In one scene, a man gets a needle stuck in the side of his face.


Regarding the violence and gore, it was total pratfalls straight from the book o’ Chevy Chase.

I have no idea who I would recommend this movie for. So sad. I will not be watching it again. If you do go see this, stick around for the credits. There’s singing.

Monte Carlo (seen 1 July 2011)

I seem to have gotten a tad behind in my blogging. I’ve decided to make up for it all at once. Yea you! I know you’re about to turn cartwheels from all the excitement! And to make it worse, I’ve managed to lose my movie notebook. Great! If you happen to be a friend or loved one (still) who’s listened to me babble incessantly about a movie lately and it’s not one of the ones mentioned tonight please let me know which one I missed.

I used my AMC Rewards to watch this movie and I’m kinda glad I did instead of actually paying for it. I never in a million, bazillion years thought that music could ruin a movie but it very nearly did for Monte Carlo. If you’ve ever seen any movies from the 60s or 70s in which the car is driving along a country road or down a long windy (that’s “winding” minus the “ing” and adding a “y”. Just so you know.) road next to the ocean then you know the kind of music that was used for this film. If you’ve never seen any of those movies then watch Monte Carlo and you’ll know. Don’t get me wrong. I used to watch those movies all the time and the music didn’t bother me one bit. It just didn’t fit this movie AT ALL!!! It totally took me out of the current time and not in a good way. So frustrating! Oh! And despite what the previews make you think, Selena’s song, “Who Says,” does NOT play during the whole dressing/make-up/hair doing scene. It’s saved for the credits. Grrr!!!!!

Okay, now that that’s over, let’s carry on. Following is how IMDB describes Monte Carlo. Yes, I will be mocking it shortly after.

“A young woman, her uptight step sister and her best friend use their savings for a long anticipated dream trip to Paris, which turns out to be a big disappointment. When they decide to take a break from their lousy tour and duck into the lobby of a luxury hotel, one of them is mistaken for a spoiled British heiress. Before they get the chance to reveal their true identities they are wrapped up in misadventures during a vacation to Monte Carlo instead.”

Let’s start with the first sentence, shall we? The young woman and her friend use their savings? The uptight sister has her trip paid for by their parents who want her to be a chaperone. Now, if I were miss Young Woman I would be a tad peeved. She saved up for years to go on this trip and miss Uptight gets everything paid for. So. Not. Fair.!!! And that’s not even mentioned. At the very least the parents should have paid for her ticket also and let her use her savings as spending money. I’m just saying. I just read the synopsis from Wikipedia and whoever wrote it said that the parents pay for all three tickets. Either I missed that little tidbit in the movie and have completely wasted a perfectly good rant or the Wiki person is wrong. I choose “B”. Now back to mocking…And the ladies don’t take a break from their lousy tour. They get left behind. Not that that’s a bad thing. And there is no “before they get the chance to reveal” anything! They choose to keep it quiet. Well, for the most part anyway.

Okay, now it’s time to ask, “Why on earth did you watch this movie? It’s so obviously aimed at teeny-boppers!” Well, lemme tell ya. I love the Disney Channel. Love it! It’s my escape from the world and serious/adult (not that kind of adult) movies/books. And my absolute favorite show on Disney is Wizards of Waverly Place. The parents are goofballs, the brothers (Justin and Max) are what I’m assuming are typical brothers (I don’t have any so I have to make assumptions here) and the sister, Alex (played by Selena Gomez) is hilarious. I wish I had been more like her in school. But with better grades. Anywho, Selena is the star of Monte Carlo. If you read my blog about The Last Song with Miley Cyrus you know how I felt about Miley being thrown in to mainstream drama-type movies too soon. Selena is allowed, in Monte Carlo, to take the baby steps that Miley should have been forced (I mean allowed) to use.

Selena does a really good job as Young Woman (also know as Grace) and does a pretty decent job as Grace’s doppelganger Cordelia Winthrop Scott (accent and all). Cordelia is about as snotty as they come. You really really REALLY want something to happen to knock her down a peg or two. Just to clue you in…it doesn’t. Or at least not that they show us anyway. I hope, if she continues to make movies, that Selena will stick with this type of film for a while before taking on more mature roles. I can totally see her as a star years from now instead of being relegated to the, “she was just a child star,” category. Omigosh, I’m rambling and this is just the first movie of the night.

The other two travelers are Emma, (friend to Grace) played by Katie Cassidy and Meg (Uptight Sister) played by Leighton Meester. I liked Emma at the beginning and end of the movie but not so much in the middle. She comes off as a bit of a hoochie-mama. I didn’t like Meg at all at the beginning but she totally changes by the end and, I think, comes close to stealing the movie from Selena. Almost…but not quite. One thing I really liked about this movie is that the animosity that is shared towards Meg at the beginning is completely gone by the end. Come on. You had to know that was going to happen without even watching the movie.

The boys in Monte Carlo are played by Pierre Boulanger (Theo), Corey Monteith (Owen) and Luke Bracey (Riley). These three guys are my dream men. You know what I mean. These guys fall for their girls and fall hard and know that anyone worth loving is worth fighting for (take notes guys). Well, two of them do anyway. One of them has to work his way around to it. But I still liked him. The jerk boy is played by Giulio Berruti. He’s all kinds of cute but all kinds of arrogant and stereo-typically upper class. He is the reason that we get to see a kinder side of Emma, though, so he’s got one thing going for him. Or not.

I think my favorite adult actor in this film was Aunt Alicia Winthrop Scott, played by Catherine Tate. You’re so set up to not like her and then she surprises you. I am all kinds of spoiling this movie. I guess I figured that most people who wanted to see this movie already have and to those who haven’t…so sorry.

So, their trip begins in Paris then moves to Monte Carlo where craziness ensues. I loved the polo match. The only thing I would have changed about this movie would be to make it more of a Prince and The Pauper situation. I would have had the two girls meet and choose to switch places. But then the final hotel scene wouldn’t have happened and I don’t know how I would have changed that. I bet I could figure something out. Or leave it just the way it is.

Breakdown
Cussing: None. I thought I heard one word but I’m not quite positive. I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt. I jumped over to IMDB again and read that it is rated PG for mild language and mentions that A$$ is the worst that you hear. I must have missed that one.

Alcohol/Drugs: Seriously? It’s a teeny-bopper movie. The adults might be imbibing in champagne at some point but the attention is drawn away from them.

Sex/Nudity: Ummm…no.

Violence: A guy gets slapped. Ouch.

Frightening/Intense Scenes: I have to laugh at this one. This is straight from IMDB. "The main characters are almost arrested for lying, stealing and impersonating someone." Wow! I must have forgotten how terrifying that scene was. Sorry. That was rude. Maybe that was a real nail-biter for some folks.

I would definitely recommend this for teenaged girls, teenaged boys who like Selena Gomez and adults who need a nice, decent movie escape every once in a while. Just try to tune out the tunes.

P.S. The girl who plays Emma is David Cassidy’s daughter. What? You don’t know who David Cassidy is? I think I’ll cry.

P.P.S. No need to stay through the credits unless you just want to hear, "Who Says."

Monday, July 4, 2011

Guilty Pleasures

I’ve decided to start a new kind of list. I would say these will be Top Ten lists but some may be more or less. And they will be all about my favorites or least favorites depending on my mood. Today’s list is all about my guilty pleasure movies. These are movies I will watch over and over and over but will, more than likely, not watch with anyone else due to the embarrassment factor. So, basically, this entire list is hypocritical. Don’t judge. You know you have the exact same kind of list of something in your life.

1) Dirty Dancing – I know this one is on many guilty pleasure lists. How do I know this? It was mentioned in a radio contest as the number one movie people love to watch but are embarrassed to admit that they do. The acting is horrible but the entire movie is a train wreck. You just can’t look away.

2) Xanadu – I made my little cousin (we’ll call her Aspirin) watch this and there was a lot of major eye-rolling throughout. I don’t think we finished watching it. I just don’t think she knows good theater when she sees it.

3) The Last Dragon – I have no explanation. See the “train wreck” comment above.

4) G.I. Jane – I.Love.This.Movie. It’s got Demi Moore doing a really bad job of looking angry and acting tough. But she breaks a guy’s nose! And we all know at least one guy who needs that. I watch this when I'm really angry with some guy. I haven't actually watched it in a long time. I thought though that I was going to wear out the DVD after my ex-husband and I split. I'm just sayin'.

5) Clueless – So so so so bad but I’m addicted.

6) 16 Candles – This is another that I know other people like. One of my bosses breaks out in random 16 Candles quotes. It’s hilarious! Would never have expected that from someone like him.

7)– 12) Rocky thru Rocky Balboa – The first couple weren’t so bad but they slowly get worse and worse. Why didn’t I stop watching? I just don’t know. If I had to pick a favorite it would be Rocky IV. I was in love with Ivan Drago. Hey! I still wanted Rocky to win.

13) Rocky Horror Picture Show – Okay, I will watch this with other people only because it’s such a cult classic and you definitely need other people singing along.

I’m sure this list could go on and on but I need to get started on the work I’ve been avoiding for a few hours. Feel free to comment on your guilty pleasure movies. I know I’m not alone in this. Admit it.

Movie List - June 2011

Oops. I seem to be a couple days late on this one. I'm sure you've been holding your breath. Anywho...

1) Grease 2 (I had forgotten how bad this is)
2) X-Men: First Class
3) Red (Loved it!!!)
4) The Expendables (The violence was a tad much)
5) Super 8
6) New In Town
7) Catch That Kid
8) The Green Hornet
9) Percy Jackson and the Lighting Thief
10) The Game Plan
11) Empire of the Sun (Why have I never watched this before? So so so so good!)
12) Swept from the Sea
13) Perfect Stranger
14) The Phantom
15) Green Zone
16) The Green Lantern (lots of Green movies this month)
17) The Brave One
18) Evening
19) Transformers

P.S. Thank goodness for movie theater air conditioning!!!