Tuesday, March 31, 2009
I can't believe Rachel over at Rachel's Reel Reviews chose me, but I'm happy to accept the Dardos Award.
“The Dardos Award is given for recognition of cultural, ethical, literary, and personal values transmitted in the form of creative and original writing. These stamps were created with the intention of promoting fraternization between bloggers, a way of showing affection and gratitude for work that adds value to the Web.”
Dardos winners must do the following:
1) Accept the award by posting it on your blog along with the name of the person who has granted the award and a link to his/her blog.
2) Pass the award to another five blogs that are worthy of this acknowledgement, remembering to contact each of them to let them know they have been selected for this award.
So here are the blogs I'd love to nominate for another Dardo (since I can't renominate Rachel)
They all write lovely thoughtful things about whatever floats their respective boats. And many things do.
1. Buttercup at Buttercup Counts Her Blessings
2. Nerdy Fastionista at Designers' Brew
3. David at Hoping for Something to Hope For
4. Nayana at The Center Seat
5. B-Mama at Gasperini-ville
Monday, March 30, 2009
I've read all the books in this series, and have even spent some time in Botswana (okay, only 2 days, but none of it was at an airport so I think that counts). One of the things that happens when you've spent time in Africa (in my experience) is that people send you articles, books, pictures, etc. of anything they run across pertaining to Africa. This is how the book came into my possession. I admit, I occasionally brush off these attempts to connect, but I'm so glad I read this series. Smith captures the pace of Africa, and the way of speaking that most Africans use to create a more polite and dignified relationship between people. The books use all the traditional means of address, with Mma (you hum the first syllable and open your mouth for the end mmm..ah) for women of a certain age, and Rra (tiny roll of the r and then it's the same). The names are equally difficult for Americans (and maybe all Westerns to spit out). The main character Mma Precious Ramotswe appears in nearly all scenes and reading her name over and over was a stumbling block when I first started reading the books. The movie makes nearly all of the names and places easier to understand and relate to. The only issue with connecting is that the accent is occasionally difficult to understand when they're also saying new words. There's a British inflection, but a wholly African delivery.
The mini-series stars Jill Scott (Why Did I get Married?) as the traditionally built Mma Ramotswe who has left her tiny village and opened a detective agency in Gaborone, the capital of Botswana. She has a keen eye and reads people well. She hires a secretary, the Tony winner and Dreamgirl, Anika Noni Rose, the extremely competent, if always irritating, Mma Grace Makutsi. The other help Mma Ramotswe receives is from a mechanic, Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni, and her neighbor hair-dresser BK (who I don't remember from the books, but is a terrific addition). The premiere follows the set up of the agency and her first 3 cases. It shows some of the darker side of people and of life in Africa, but if you don't want to visit Botswana and Africa after you've seen this mini-series, you best give back your passport. I loved the opening and can't wait for the rest.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Thursday, March 26, 2009
While this was in the theaters where we were, we'd also brought it with us on DVD (courtesy of Netflix) and we chose not to spend the extra money. However, it's a great movie either way you see it. Anne Hathaway is Kym, a recovering addict who has terrorized her family for ages with her addiction so they're constantly wary of everything she does. They won't let her borrow the car, and basically don't trust her with anything. Now she's returned home for her sister, Rachel's, wedding, to find she's not the maid of honor (losing out to a friend, again for lack of trust that Kym would show up for the wedding). Rachel and her fiancee are really laid back and planning very non-traditional wedding, with women wearing saris and friends playing music. The rehersal dinner has everyone giving toasts, and Kym uses hers to attempt the making amends step of her recovery so we watch her basically talk about herself and the stupid things she's done, and basically put down her sister and family. In fact, she tends to make all conversations about her. There's a huge family secret living just under the service of all the wedding activity and it's slowly tearing each character apart, but it's obvious who has dealt with the problem, and who has just ignored it and let it fester. The acting is superb and it's actually a story of fairly funny people trying to survive the traditional ceremony in a non-traditional way while coming to terms with a horrible loss. I liked it and recommend it. 3.5 Stars/Lambs
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
I have a theory that it's very difficult to keep track of the events in the 10-20 years surrounding your own birth. This means that things that happened between 1970 and 1990 are fairly difficult for me to keep track of or fully understand. This is because we didn't make it that far in American History in high school (which was after 1990) and I was too young for the 80's to really capture the full extent of what happened. Thus, watching this movie was an amazing history lesson. It's told in a somewhat documentary style of today's reality programs, but still with a cinematic feel, very typical of director Ron Howard. I was impressed by how much depth the story had which is why I think of is an educational movie for those of us born during that gap I mentioned. There's a sense of how different people reacted to Nixon's crimes, whether they were crimes ("I"m saying, when the President does it, that means it's not a crime"), how involved they were and how it affected different people. It's a great movie for any reason, but particularly if you feel like there's a gap in your historical knowledge. The supporting cast, including Oliver Platt, Kevin Bacon, and Sam Rockwell is also terrific.
Monday, March 23, 2009
My friend Fletch, over at Blog Cabins created this amazing contest for those of us who aren't interested in basketball, or most sports, but love movies. He's challenging us to predict who will take the Top Grossing movie of the summer - will it be Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince or Transformers 2 or Up. Possibly Night at the Museum will take it all. Anyway, you too can participate. Just click here to check out the details at Blog Cabins or download this file and send it to him at firstname.lastname@example.org. It's awesome. I filled out my bracket today and can't wait for September now....you'll forget all about it by then. Fill it out by April 2 as the summer starts early at the movies.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Friday, March 13, 2009
Saturday, March 7, 2009
This year Man on Wire and Encounters at the End of the World were the two nominated documentary features available on DVD before the Oscars so I made an effort to see them. Man on Wire was terrific and fully deserved its win. I can't actually understand why Encounters was nominated except that people saw that Werner Herzog was the director. He narrates his trip to Antarctica to explore who lives there, what they do, and what they study. Now I'm all for science documentaries (Planet Earth, Life of Birds, etc. I've seen them dozens of times) but this was not that at all. He mocks the scientists (who I admit are a motley crew, I've been one of them (in Kenya, not Antarctica) and they're a strange bunch), and tries to explain the usefulness of their science (rarely anything beyond exploration). Herzog also tries to understand what brought them to McMurdo Station and the South Pole. They're not very interesting stories. Herzog also mocks the Station itself rather than his own misconception of what it will look like. It's minimalist and resembles a airport, with metal structures and construction vehicles and, since it's spring, lots of mud. When describing the town that has arisen to support the Station, he laughs that the town has a bowling alley and a yoga studio. I won't bore you with the rest that annoyed me about this movie, but will sum up by saying I didn't care for his style of directing or narrating his own views about the topic as if they were everyone's. Most of the nature images he photographed were beautiful and worthy of being included in an actual documentary on Antartica's beauty. 2 Stars/Lambs
The other movie that I don't think is worth renting is Eagle Eye. Shia LaBeouf, Michelle Monaghan, Rosario Dawson, and Billy Bob Thornton all feature prominently and all did a terrific job with very little plot. From the commercials it's a fun movie with Shia being told what to do by a woman on a phone who can obviously see everything he does. It takes more than 80 minutes before there's any more plot than that. We see "Her" controlling LaBeouf and Monaghan by having them drive through cities while "she" changes the traffic lights and controls cranes. "She" sends them to other cities and has them rob armored cars. However, not until the last 20 minutes to we find out who "she" is and why this story is taking place. In case you do choose to see it, I won't reveal the mystery, as there's no other reason to watch this movie. Too much action with very little to have any of it make sense. Shia LaBeouf is a good action star but watch Transformers again rather than renting this. 2 Stars/Lambs
Sunday, March 1, 2009
Changeling - Angelina was good and the other detective (Michael Kelly) was good. Though I love him on "Burn Notice" (LOVE HIM!) I didn't think Jeffrey Donovan was terrific as the person who convinces us of the insane corruption of the LAPD. Overall, it was a really slow movie that didn't tell a very compelling story once you know what happens with the kid. 3 stars/Lambs.
Made of Honor - When you're sick, cheesy movies win out. This wasn't bad. A vehicle for Dr. McDreamy, Patrick Dempsey is good, charming, a little ridiculous but fun to watch. Plus, the other Dr. from Grey's, Kevin McKidd (also from short-lived Journeyman) is Scottish and very cute. Michelle Monaghan is a little ditzy and oblivious to the fact that her wedding planning is actually impossible, but if everyone's really really rich maybe you can plan a wedding in another country in 2 weeks. Very fun, cute, and worth watching when you're sick. 3.5 stars/lambs
Ghost Town - I love Ricky Gervais. This movie is him through and through. Kristin Wiig adds fun bits as his doctor - who has to explain that he died. He's a wonderful curmudgeonly misanthrope who has to reach out to dead people. Tea Leoni is better than usual, laughing at Ricky throughout. Very predictable, but consistently funny in Gervais' style. 4 stars/Lambs
The Tudors: Season 2 - This is just awesome. Everyone should see this show. You don't have to see the seasons in order if you're at all familiar with history. Watch the second season to see the fall of Anne Boleyn! 5 stars!