Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Spies and Shower Tools

It's not like I'm stuck on the Russian Spy issue...except that I am, and it just keeps getting better. My mom pointed out to me this afternoon that the article I read yesterday (and included in the blog post earlier) and the one in the newspaper were not the same, and the second included a wonderful quote.

"Jessie Gugigi, 15, said she could not believe the charges, especially against Cynthia Murphy, who was an accomplished gardener.

'They couldn't have been spies,' Gugigi said. 'Look what she did with the hydrangeas.'"

The second bit of happiness for the day was the discovery of this at Target.

Some call it a loofah. Others - a "Shower Tool." I call it "marketing." What do you think?

Russian Spies, Conservative Baptists, and John Corbett

So, yesterday news broke that ten people had been arrested as Russian agents. If you want something to take the edge off your Monday morning, that's it.

I mean, I had no idea how depressing current news had been until this story broke. Life without Russian spies - bleak. Very bleak.
To make things even more fun, today we find out that some of the alleged agents had Facebook pages! True, that may not have been the purpose of the article - it's not my fault they buried the true lead.

Who knows. There could be a Russian agent in your friend list. This is the best week ever.

In other news, I spent some time mulling after my last post over why the presence of John Corbett gives me an overall sense of well-being. I got it figured out. Having spent my youth in a Conservative Baptist church back in the eighties, I saw many images of, what I like to refer to, as "Classic Jesus."

One of the side-effects of this is that I (and others like me) have been conditioned to trust and feel a general sense of well-being around lightly tanned men with shoulder-length light brown hair.

Such as John Corbett.

Case solved.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Summer Movie Roundup

I did a summer movie roundup...I think it was last summer...anyway, it was lots of fun, so I thought I would do it again!

Note: The embedded videos don't import well, so if you're reading this somewhere other than this blog, I hyperlinked the titles to the trailers on youtube so you won't be left out.

First up - Knight and Day.

I know it opened yesterday, but it's not expected to do great box office, and that's a shame. This is the perfect summer date movie - plenty of chase sequences, explosions, cloaks, daggers, and a touch of romance. Actually, I don't remember any cloaks, but the daggers are there. It's a spy caper much in the same vein as The Losers, which I loved much. Diaz is perfectly cast and so is Cruise, and that's the first time in a while that I've been able to say such a thing about them. Thirty years ago, it would have been Robert Redford in the Cruise role, definitely. Maybe Jane Fonda in the Diaz role (think Electric Cowboy).

Oh, and the writing is amusing, possibly the first time the word "sublime" has been uttered by the good guy in a spy caper (for some reason, it's the bad guys who tend to have the large vocabulary.) Really. Go see it. You'll have a good time.

Next up - Eclipse.

Each installment arrives with better and better writing and production value. Howard Shore of LOTR fame is doing the score. This one's supposed to be the guy-friendly edition, with lots of vampire violence. Whatever. At the end of the day, either you like the Twilight books/films or you don't. There's not a ton of middle ground. We'll be going, and we'll likely have a good time.

Now for a Danny film - The Last Airbender.

Originally titled Avatar: The Last Airbender after the TV show (can't imagine why they changed it...), the film seems to come already steeped in its own lore. The plot, as far as I can tell, is superfluous. The big piece up for conversation is the fact that it's an M. Night Shyamalan film. It looks great effects-wise, and I've read that it's been retooled to release in 3-D but should look better than the post-production 3-D-ing of Clash of the Titans (from what I've heard, that's not saying much). Best case scenario - it's M. Night Shyamalan's comeback film and the first of a trilogy. Worst case scenario - it skews too young and makes no logical sense. Either way, pending reviews we'll likely see it opening weekend.


If Christopher Nolan pulls this off - really, truly, pulls this off - then he's essentially the new James Cameron. It's anyone's guess until then. The cast is solid - Leonardo DiCaprio stars with supporting turns by Ellen Page, Ken Watanabe, Marion Cotillard, Michael Caine, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Cillian Murphy. If Leonardo DiCaprio doesn't annoy you, than it's kind of an actor's actor dream team. It looks terrific, boasts a score by Hans Zimmer (the hardest working musician in Hollywood) - my only concern is that it might be too high-concept to have an engaging story and will wind up collapsing in its genius. Nolan's at a stage in his career when people might not have the chutzpah to tell him when a script needs another turn through.

Or it could be mind-staggeringly brilliant. We'll find out in July.

A change of pace - Ramona and Beezus.

I blogged about Ramona a while ago. Just watched the trailer - I was skeptical for 60 seconds, until I saw more of Ramona and, let's face it, John Corbett. And Sandra Oh. I have high hopes this will be the nostalgia-fest I want it to be.

This played at Toronto Film Festival last year to great reviews, but like many films, had to be patient to find a distributor. How good is it? It placed second against Precious for the Audience Award. It is being given a limited release, but I'm confident it should play at Eugene's Bijou. Oh - and the blond should look familiar if you saw Center Stage.

Girl movie! With Glee's Ryan Murphy directing, hopefully this won't be inspiration, served straight up. I like Julia Roberts, so here's hoping.

I need to get going on my day - we're going rock climbing with friends this afternoon. BUT, a few notes - no, I didn't write about Salt. I don't have much to say about Salt, other than the fact that I feel Tommy Lee Jones is around there somewhere saying that Jolie pulled a Peter Pan. It's got potential, but I need someone to tell me that Jolie's not off looking for the Russian with the missing arm.

Also, I just found in the June lineup a limited release film called Ondine that looks cool - I may post about that later. Colin Farrell's in it. Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky may open at some point in the US other than LA/NY, and once I saw Mads Mikkelsen (After the Wedding, Clash of the Titans) was in it, I was even more interested in seeing it.

Oh, and Toy Story 3 - we'll see it soon. I'll let you know.

What films are you looking forward to this summer?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Back from Hiatus

I know. I'm sorry. It's been a month.

But I have pictures!

Look at Danny, he's all cute and graduated! After a week of residency, presenting his project and hearing about others, they handed him a diploma, one with his name on it and everything.

After that, we drove through seven states to see this:

It's the National Cathedral, and it's breathtaking.

After a whirlwind trip through DC, we went to Roanoke, Va, before backtracking to Monticello, before driving to Pfafftown, NC, before driving to Spartanburg, SC to see this:

A BMW Airplane engine at the BMW museum, which is adjacent to where they keep the big giant robots.

I'm very sorry that I don't have big giant robot pictures to post. Truly. They took my camera(s). Just know that they were huge, they twirled pieces of BMW X5 undercarriage like a q-tip, and sparks flew when they welded the pieces together.

I came to two conclusions very quickly:

1. If there was a tornado, the BMW factory is not where you'd want to be.
2. If the robots suddenly developed independent wills, these are the ones that would take over the world.

In other news...

1. Simply Sara is 100% done, edits, galleys, acknowledgements, discussion questions, dedication, back cover copy, author bio and all.

2. Danny's hooding ceremony was the night of the Glee finale, but we got to watch it a week later when we had access to reliable internet again. Oh. My. Goodness. It ended just right, I loved "To Sir, With Love,"and I can't wait till next season. Congrats to their writing team for landing the plane! I just hope we see more of Idina Menzel...

3. I picked up Elizabeth Aston's Writing Jane Austen from the library today. It looks like fun.

4. I discovered this in North Carolina -

It's a chocolate-dipped waffle bowl. An innovative concept if I've ever seen one. While it is messy to eat, it does eliminate the drip-through-the-bottom problem.

Well, the bowl at the bottom does that. But it's the functionality of the bowl with the deliciousness (and carbs) of the cone. So everyone wins, if you're willing to get your fingers chocolately.

There are worse things.

5. It's funny being back. When we left, the kids were still in school and it was dark and drizzly. Now school's out and the skies are blue and sunny. I'm not complaining, just stating that it's weird. We were only gone two weeks, but it feels more like a month!

6. We have groceries again, though. My new favorite thing that I discovered at an airport Starbucks, and I don't remember which, is Greek Yogurt. It is thick, creamy, rich in taste while being the same calorie count as fat free Nancy's (if you don't have Nancy's yogurt in your neck of the woods, it's the local premium organic yogurt).

I think I need to go stretch my legs soon, so more later. I promise it won't be a month later! I've got a pizza I need, desperately, to recreate, so if there's success, there will be a recipe to follow...