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Originally published at Ms. Amused. You can comment here or there.

I’ve been a fan of Martha since the Goonies even though she played the annoying one. I’ve looked for her in movies since and when I found out that she was starring in Raising Hope by the fantastic creator of My Name Is Earl, I was thrilled because I knew this was going to be good.

And it wasn’t…. it was GREAT!

But I want to take a moment here to lament the fact that what I think is one of Martha’s finest performances ever, is still not available on DVD. It’s a movie called Silence Like Glass in which she co-stars with Jami Gertz (one of the hot actresses from the 80s/90s). It’s about two girls in a cancer ward and how they deal with it. I’ve not seen it in years since I abandoned VHS around 1999 but I remember renting the VHS over and over again because it was THAT good.

So how about it people? How do we get this movie onto DVD?

And Martha, I hope you win!

Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher

Originally published at Ms. Amused. You can comment here or there.

Fast read.

The style is a little unusual because it’s written like she’s actually spending an hour just sitting with you and telling you about her life. So it jumps around a bit and has a very conversational tone to it.

I enjoyed it for the stories she told and also the demystifying of mental illness. She really brings it down to a level of “this is a real illness and nothing to be ashamed of” and also talks about how easily misdiagnosed they are.


Fever Dream

Originally published at Ms. Amused. You can comment here or there.

Reading the latest Pendergast novel and its proven as good as the rest. Forced myself to stop because I’ve other things to do today still.

Note to self: re-read Cory Doctorow’s brilliant “Little Brother” soon.

edit: Ended up adding these two titles to my Shelfari as well. The writeup looked interesting.


a life lesson recalled

Sometimes there are moments where someone tries to get through to you and for some reason, at that very moment, you really HEAR them and it makes such an impact that you never forget it.

I've been remembering something that occurred near the end of my relationship with Emmett. Well the end or not, I honestly don't recall but we were having one of our countless discussions about our relationship. They varied from assessing & analyzing, to trying to resolve things.

One such discussion... in an attempt to express how hurt I made him feel, Emmett pointed out to me that it used to be that when he'd come pick me up from work, I was happy to see him. But that for sometime, I don't smile or seem happy to see him at all. And for him, he couldn't really explain it away as a bad day on my part because I was very consistently never happy to see him anymore.

And that was the bombshell for me.

He was right.

I could easily remember (even now), seeing him again after being apart even after something as mundane as a workday and being genuinely happy to see him.

It wasn't til he pointed this out that I realized that that feeling had been gone a long time. As I thought about it, I realized that I hadn't cared about it at all. It was something I took for granted and I believe for me it was even something "to be tolerated".

Of course I felt really bad because that's not a way to feel about your partner. But it was an eye-opener for me to realize how I'd been blind to my own feelings and the way I was treating him.

Since then, I've tried to be more conscientious about showing that I am happy to see people even if I am having a bad day. Of course I forget but I like to think that people do know that I am truly happy to see them even if sometimes I'm having a bad day and forget to smile.

And like many things, this kind of thing applies not only to partners but friends and family as well.

The postscript of the story is of course he and I eventually broke up but I always remain thankful to him for getting through to me that day and helping me learn something that's really important.

Favorite Movies of 2009

Originally published at Ms. Amused. You can comment here or there.

LOVED IT & raced to own the DVD:
Iron Man
Hurt Locker (Oscar)
The Proposal
I Love You Man
Star Trek

Loved and bought it:
Whip It
Inglorious Basterds
Taking of Pelham 123
Law Abiding Citizen
9 (animated)
Bride Wars
New in Town
Underworld 3: Rise of the Lycans
Time Traveler’s Wife
He’s Just Not That Into You
17 Again

Worth Watching (and probably bought it):
Couples Retreat
Perfect Getaway
Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs
Julie & Julia
My Life in Ruins
Angels & Demons
My Sister’s Keeper

Hidden Gems:
Crossing Over
Great Buck Howard
Accidental Husband
Sunshine Cleaning

Favorite Movies of 2008

Originally published at Ms. Amused. You can comment here or there.

Favorite Movies released in 2008 plus others worth watching

LOVED IT & raced to own the DVD:
Dark Knight
Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day
Iron Man

Loved and bought it:
Fool’s Gold
Speed Racer (this was a surprise actually)
Forgetting Sarah Marshall (Unrated)
Kung Fu Panda
Hellboy 2: Golden Army
Secret Life of Bees (this decade’s answer to Fried Green Tomatoes from 90s)
Eagle Eye
Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist
Soul Men
Made of Honor
Sex and the City
Curious Case of Benjamin Buttons (Oscar)

Worth Watching (and probably bought it):
Ghost Town
Mad Money
Definitely, Maybe
Street Kings
Get Smart
Slumdog Millionaire (OSCAR WINNER!)
Doubt (Oscar)
Gran Torino (Oscar)
Milk (Oscar)
Wrestler (Oscar)
Bedtime Stories
Yes Man
Zack & Miri Make a Porno
Nights in Rodanthe
Mamma Mia
Death Race
The Women (remake)
Indiana Jones & Kingdom of Crystal Skull (yes, requires a lot of suspension of disbelief and willingness to just enjoy it for what it is)
Yes Man (yes it’s very much like Liar Liar but hey I loved that movie)
Righteous Kill
Semi Pro
Spiderwick Chronicles
Madagascar 2

Hidden Gems:
In Bruges
Charlie Bartlett
Nobel Son
War Inc
What Just Happened?
Nothing Like the Holidays
Role Models (the hidden part is Jane Lynch’s character which is really the only reason to see this IMO.. I say this as a big Paul Rudd fan but even he couldn’t pull it off)
Forbidden Kingdom (hidden part: not usually into martial arts movies but watched it on a whim and ended up really liking it)

And for my reference later, Movies from 2008 that I still want to see:
Then She Found Me (which reminds me I also want to see “That Old Feeling”)
Chaos Theory
What Happens in Vegas
Midnight Meat Train
The Wackness
Finding Amanda
My Blueberry Nights
Under the Same Moon
Chapter 27
Made For Each Other
Hamlet 2
Funny Games
Snow Angels
The Other Boyelyn Girl
How to Rob a Bank
88 Minutes
Max Payne
Happy Go Lucky
Flash of Genius
Body of Lies
What Doesn’t Kill You
Wendy & Lucy
Henry Poole Is Here
Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 (and the first one)
The Duchess
You and I
Other End of the Line
Synnecdoche, New York
The Spirit
Revolutionary Road
Frost/Nixon (Oscar)
Nothing But The Truth

Crazy Heart

Originally published at Ms. Amused. You can comment here or there.

This was a backup plan when my friend and I tried to see a free screening of Cop Out. We’d gotten into the latter but only seats left were the neck pain ones in the very front aisle seats so we left and saw this instead since it was playing in rear window (google “mopix” & “rear window”) at this theater.

I knew it was about a drunk musician at the end of his career and that it’s nominated for something like 9 Oscars.

Sadly, the disc with the captions had gone MIA and I’d sat for a whole hour into the movie before finding out that the captions weren’t going to be coming on when they fixed it. I’ve lost count of the number of times that there’s been issues with the system but this is a first where the disc just flat out went MIA. Why would anyone have a need to take it out for the week the movie is playing?

Anyways, I could only make out mostly what the other characters were saying and from what I could see, I have to agree that it just doesn’t make sense why the attractive young reporter (Maggie Gyllenhaal) would ever get into bed with hot mess Bad Blake (Jeff Bridges). My hearing friend who was with me said there was nothing in the dialogue either. My father had told me that he and his girlfriend liked the movie but couldn’t get past this part of it.

We ended up walking out because as my friend described it, this is the kind of movie to watch at home, not in the theater and I wasn’t really caught up in it anyways. Did stay long enough to see Colin Farrell do an amazing Southern accent. I even noticed it before my friend expressed her appreciation of this.

I’ll see it when it comes out on DVD. I left before whatever “drama” that happens that is the catalyst for the story but I don’t see how this can really compete this Oscar season against the rest of the nominees… except for Jeff Bridges as Bad Blake. You could argue the universal disbelief among my folks proves how well Jeff acted the part because Bad Blake too scuzzy for anyone to look at!

I just wish they’d edit out the nipple beard from his first topless scene. That was a little too “real” :)

Recommendation: Can’t say for sure yet. I will definitely watch it in full when I can. It seems even with the point of contention discussed above, it’s still a good movie. It’s shades of “Walk The Line” but different.

Final note about the failed rear window experience, got my money back plus some “we’re sorry” passes & free popcorn coupons. It gets a little ridiculous sometimes… last year I netted 10 passes in back to back “fail” instances. First, the theater didn’t even get the disc which is when I learned that AMC likes to send copies of the discs to all its theaters even though only a few are equipped to show them. I forget what movie that was for but the 2nd instance was Transformers 2 for which I’d driven a car full of people (6) 40 minutes away only to have the captions disappear during every “exposition” moment in the movie.

Ironically, the only reason I started going to the movies in theaters again was because of this rear window technology finally being available. But it’s so often messed up that it becomes not even worth the effort and gas to drive out to see it.

Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant

Originally published at Ms. Amused. You can comment here or there.

After a string of not so good movies… nice to see something where the story is decent and the writing not mangled!

I’d been dragging my feet on watching this just because I feel so scarred still from the hour of Walk Hard The Dewey Cox story that I’d subjected myself to. I’ve loved John C Reilly for a long time, I can’t even remember what I first saw him in but I remember recognizing and being excited to see him in Magnolia so it’s a ways back. But Judd Apatow’s* touch is so poisonous that I was afraid that Walk Hard’s suckiness would ruin this one.

But then last night, my best friend twitters a rave for this movie and that gives me the courage to give it a go.

And it was every bit as silly and fun and *enjoyable* as she described. John C Reilly is gold again and excellent as the “vampire” who decides to take an assistant.

I know this is based on a book series but I didn’t have any idea what the movie was about but then again I am a bit of a story purist in that I prefer to let the story be told in the movie instead of in the trailers and reviews. Not always possible to avoid it but generally as much as possible, I avoid hearing anything about the plots of movies for this reason. Sometimes I don’t even know the premise. And that was the case for this one. Aside from what one could deduce from the title of the movie, I didn’t know anything.

Because of that, I’ll not summarize the plot or even the premise here. Google it if you really must know. Just go watch it if you like fanastic (remember the original definition of this word), artful movies full of great character actors playing memorable characters.

Familiar faces are the kid from Bridge to Terabithia (and others… ok I looked it up, his name is Josh Hutcherson), Patrick Fugit (with a subtle nod to his breakout role in Almost Famous), Salma Hayek (who is making a habit of playing beautiful but imperfect women in what I consider to be her way of reminding us all that “beauty” is only skin deep), Willem Dafoe (a creepy character type and a stellarly fun addition to his resume of creepy character types), Orlando Jones (who keeps popping up in all these movies and I love him for it), Jane Krakowski (who shines when playing the absurd!), Frankie Faison (I doubt you’ll know the name but you’ll recognize his face).

This reminds me a bit of Carnivale in the first season before it got so dreary only Cirque Du Freak stays much more upbeat the whole time despite the conflict & drama in it.

Oh interesting to note that Josh was also in Kicking & Screaming with Will Ferrell, John C Reilly’s “Hollywood Doppelganger”.

Recommendation: WATCH IT, LOVE IT, BUY IT! This movie will be mine…

I really hope there will be more. It was based on a series and they definitely indicated that the story isn’t done, just this chapter of it.

* Disclaimer: I do like 40 yr old Virgin and I did give Funny People a try and ended up really liking it but the rest of his stuff that I’ve made myself see are among the worst brain-putrifying things I ever have seen (ie Knocked Up and Superbad) and my standards are low.

Post Grad

Originally published at Ms. Amused. You can comment here or there.

I like these kind of fluffier movies. But I still require decent effort at story and writing.

I don’t know if it’s Alexis Bledel or just the way it was written but I just was really annoyed and didn’t like her character. The focus of the movie is her and her naive optimistic expectations for her “planned” future but some things were just really extreme. Namely the way she took for granted, her friend who was obviously in love with her.

Watching this was a 30 something (me), 17yr old boy (brother), and a 60+ woman (my mother) . I continued watching it for Jane Lynch & Carol Burnett. My mom sat to watch it when she saw Carol’s name on the opening credits and stayed… for Carol. Not sure what if anything my brother saw in it except that I know that he too is a big Jane Lynch fan now as well thanks to Glee. I adored Jane long before Glee but that’s beside the point.

Jane & Carol are rather small parts of the movie and their parts and Michael Keaton’s overdoting but absent minded father character are the only things I found worth watching this movie for. I loved Jane as the mother… a woman who loves and cares about her family but remains mellow and doesn’t fly into panic when things don’t run smoothly as most mothers in movies do. Carol’s part was smaller than I’d liked but was still as much fun as I’d hoped it would be. Look for the revolving Medicine Cabinent! I would have missed it had Mom not been paying close attention to Carol.

Back to the main plot of the movie, typical and predictable plot. Heroine (heh hardly) has lofty dreams and goals and seemingly a clear path to them. Enter many obstacles often of her own making. See her figure out what reality is and what she really wants even though it was really obvious all along to everyone but her.

JK Simmons was also in this but in a real throwaway part much like Mark Ruffalo in Where the Wild Things Are.

I remain not really convinced of Alexis’s acting skills. She’s either typecast or playing variations of “herself” over and over again.

Recommendations: Rent if you’re a super fan of any of the people listed above or recently a graduate.

Almost forgot… it was driving me CRAZY but the little kid in this, Bobby Coleman,  looks just like Matthew Gray Gubler in kid form. I’d swear they were related. If nothing else, if anyone ever needs a Mini version of MGG for a role, there ya go… Mini Gubler

Where the Wild Things Are

Originally published at Ms. Amused. You can comment here or there.

So many people had “ehh” this movie to me that I lowered my expectations for seeing this.

I don’t remember the story of the book though I’m sure I read it as a kid.

I loved the actors, the visuals, the costumes and the skill of the actors inside the costumes for making the creatures seem real.

The story? Sucked. I’m told that it isn’t really the book’s story at all. But regardless, it’s very obvious from the beginning that the whole experience of Max with the creatures is really him experiencing his own home drama from a different perspective. He struggles to cope with Carol’s behaviour, not realizing til the end that Carol is like him.

The story’s dialogue and action just doesn’t fit well together once we’re into Max’s imagination. I presume that it was meant to appear from the perspective of a 10 yr old boy and how he would tell the story. But it doesn’t work for me so it was a rather painful movie to watch though I stuck it out to the end because I was enjoying the visuals of the puppet costumes and hoped that the story would somehow get better.

It didn’t.

Pluses in the movie for me, Catherine Keener is excellent as the single mom struggling to hold things together. Mark Ruffalo has a very small part that’s really a throwaway but I always like seeing him on the screen regardless. The kid who plays Max is also named Max and is going to be one to watch out for in the future.

I didn’t succeed in pegging the identity of the voice actors for the creatures, I was convinced that Alexander was Seth Green and it turned out to be Paul Dano (another actor worth watching). KW … I thought I detected Drew Barrymore’s distinctive voice but again it was Lauren Ambrose of Six Feet Under.

Recommendation: Rent or Borrow first because some people will end up loving it (or kids will). Buy it if you do. Worth watching even in part just to see the excellent work with the puppet costumes in a time when most movies rely on CGI instead.

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