Tuesday, August 30, 2011

gettin' my kicks

On Tuesday, we leave for the one of the last great road trips: Route 66!  Spanning nearly 3000 miles  (that's 4500 kms for the rest of the world) and taking us the better part of eleven days, we'll be departing Chicago and going west until we hit Santa Monica pier.  With so many detours in between, we broke Google Maps, you can see our major pit stops (read; where we bed down) in that picture up top.  This is the first adventure for AnCe, Nish, Jadek and myself - four people, one car.  Should be interesting at the very least.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Now Playing: One Day

I'm not usually one to watch girly movies in a theatre, unless it's Oscar season and they're on the list.  DK asked to see One Day so I went.  First of all, it was kinda nice to see a movie where things didn't blow up without a boy.  You know, so if I get all choked up, I don't feel embarrassed.  Secondly, there were two young ladies in front of us who were so obnoxiously immature I actually felt compelled to tell them to "shut it or leave" (they shut it).

Anyway: movie.  It was okay - these things are either sad or funny, sometimes both, rarely neither.  And, predictably, I knew what was going to happen less than a minute into the movie.  I really need to stop watching so many movies - most things don't even surprise me any more.  Hathaway and Sturgess are great, though I expect nothing less from these two.  Everyone else plays their parts.  Script wends its way through the emotional roller coaster of a romance.  All in all: a rental.  3 out of 5 stars.

Now Playing: Columbiana

We're hanging out and Jadek says "want to watch a movie" and I'm all "yeah sure, what's out" and he goes "I dunno, nothing I can think of" so we Google it and he's like "what about Columbiana" and I'm like "yeah, I remember that - Luc Besson I think - I like him."

And that's how we came to watch Columbiana on a Saturday afternoon.  Zoe Saldana, Cliff Curtis, and Jordi MollĂ  put in their lines and put their bodies through the paces.  Honestly, for a revenge flick, this wasn't too bad at all.  Saldana really pulled off an amazing catsuit for the first hit of the movie, which was choreographed beautifully.  If they had been going for an Eartha Kitt vibe, Saldana would have made an excellent Catwoman.

The story is much of what I've come to expect from Besson, though I would have preferred his directing to Megaton's style.  The action was great - inventive and quick.  The opening running sequence with Amandla Stenberg's amazing abilities was reminiscent of Run, Lola, Run (one of my faves) and put her on a list of future action stars (along with Chloe Grace Moretz and Saoirse Ronan).

Unexpectedly fun: 3 out of 5 stars.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Now Playing: Conan, the Barbarian

Normally, I think I may have passed on watching Conan, the Barbarian - I didn't watch the original, don't really enjoy plotless violence, and, well, it just didn't look very good. There was, however, one very compelling reason for me to go out and watch this: Jason Mamoa. I mean, just LOOK at him. Kripes. I like him with dreads, I like him cleanshaven, with short hair or long; I like him in SciFi, Fantasy and random airport footage; I like that he’s muscly in all the right places and has dimples to boot. I think he’s just about the yummiest thing I’ve seen since… since… I can’t remember the last time I drooled over a Hollywood actor! So, that’s why I went to watch Conan.

What was the movie about? I can’t really remember – it had a lot of plot holes, so it was pretty much incoherent. With a better script writer and director, it would have been halfway decent. The actors (not just mo!mo!ahhhhh….) weren’t too bad at all – pretty much wasted on a poor script. Sadly, I have to give it only 1.5 stars out of 5.  As compensation, here are some pics!

Monday, August 15, 2011

On Stage @ Stratford, 2011

The annual pilgrimage to the Bard's House happened this past weekend, with AnCe and her sister V.  Nish, who is currently in the exotic climes of Madagascar, had to give up her tickets, which was both sad and regrettably.  This would mark my first non-Nish Stratford.  As has become tradition, we checked into Ellerby's for the weekend.  Olive is her usual cheerfully spry self and gave us our key on the "Hope Diamond" because we were such pretty girls.  *giggles* she really is the cutest.  This would also mark my first non-sharing Stratford weekend, as I usually end up splitting a room with Nish.  So, I had a double all to myself (which meant one thing... NO PANTS!).  Unpacked, freshened up and ready to hit the town!  Weather was perfect: sunny, cool breeze, almost no humidity. 

Before we left, we made passing introductions with Ted, who was staying in the single at the end of the hall.  He would prove to be excellent fun at the breakfast table. 

Shades on, stepping out!

Friday lunch in Pazzo Pizzeria (a Soprano Pizza for me!)

Titus Andronicus in Tom Patterson: a little gore and guts in the afternoon!  Notably WillyShakes' bloodiest play, it did not disappoint in drama and death.  Near the end of the third act, there was a great gasping and wheezing sound near back left seats.  What I thought to be a rude patron snoring turned out to be someone having a seizure.  Yet another first: they stopped the play in the middle of a most dramatic scene!  Actors left, house lights came up, ambulance arrived.  Much hullabaloo ensued an patron is just fine.  All I could think was that there was no way the actors would be able to pick up where they left off - all that tension had been deflated... but no!  These guys aren't pros for nothing and we were right back into it.  All in all, much fun.

Friday dinner @ Boar's Head Pub (Mushroom and Steak Pot Pie)

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Now Playing: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Confession: I've watched neither the original nor the Tim Burton "remake" of Planet of the Apes; in fact, everything I know about this iconic movie comes from The Simpsons. So, when I first saw the trailer for Rise of the Planet of the Apes, there was a comical moment where I turned to Jadek and actually said "what is this, Planet of the Apes?" ...and then it was.  Clearly, I was going to watch it.  I will admit that I was a little leery of yet another remake; however, some franchises just beg to be rebooted - old doesn't necessarily mean gold (despite it rhyming).  I am happy to report that this is not a remake.  

I was pleased to hear see Andy Serkis got some work - he is his usual awesome self.  And I know that the apes were all CGI, yet they were very real and totally convincing.  The human actors weren't bad either: loved John Lithgow (unsurprisingly) and James Franco.   

Plot-wise, I thought the movie was pretty genius.  It actually answered the main questions I've always had: how did the apes kill the humans?  how did the apes get so smart?  how long did it take for the human/simian roles to switch?  I was really satisfied at the end and if this is the beginning of a new franchise, all the better.  Go watch it - a great summer movie.  3.5 out of 5 stars.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Now Playing: Cowboys and Aliens

(Sorry for the weird upload - I needed a placeholder and it decided to just hold the first sentence!  Technology continues to confound me.)

So, when I first saw the trailer for Cowboys and Aliens, I thought: "WTF?"  Then I thought about the last time Indy hooked up with a Bond-James-Bond and decided to hold my reservations.  Besides, the trailer looked pretty good - funny and action-y.

Then I watched C&A.  This movie isn't really funny.  Like, at all.  There's abduction, body mutilations and violations, death, horror... very little comedy (though, I did chuckle a couple of time, I felt guilty doing it).  This is a perfect synthesis of Spaghetti Western (with all its over-the-top, anti-hero characters) and Sci-Fi (though not as creepy as the Alien series, a definite contender in the Independence Day realm).  Weird thing is, I totally bought it.  I totally believed that aliens showed up to harvest humans and gold.  Maybe I'm getting a little too good at this suspension of disbelief thing.  3.5 out 5 stars.

Clara Callan by Richard B. Wright

Last month's Book Club pick was Clara Callan, the 2001 Giller Award winner.  I will admit to judging this book by its cover and thinking "oh, God, this looks boring."  I was very wrong. 

Synopsis: small-town sisters Clara and Nora lead very different lives.  Clara is a school teacher in the village of Whitfield, lives alone and is generally living out her days quietly.  Nora heads to the Big Apple to pursue her dream of radio stardom, banking on her looks, charm and talent to pave the way for her.  Clara worries about Nora in the big city - worries that she will be taken advantage of or will be forced to have her illusions shattered by nasty show business.  Sadly, it is Clara who has her world shattered.  The story quickly takes unexpected turns, leaving the reader breathless and slightly dazed by what they see unfolding before them. 

Written in the fashion of letters and journal entries, I found it fascinating to have Clara and Nora's life stretch out before us almost as it happens, in the moment, despite it being seventy years in the past.  Large and small events, both familiar and unbeknownst to us, are treated with the casual air of someone who really is watching it happen without prior knowledge.  I was kind of expecting some heavy-handed foreshadowing, but no - just a gentle unfolding.  The often jarring stop and start of something - well, that's life isn't it?  How does one know that their her entire existence is about to change that afternoon when they wake up and make tea for breakfast?

I really did enjoy Wright's style and wit, his ability to give such unique voices to his characters (I didn't need to read the addresses in the top right corner - I could actually tell who was writing anyway).  A wonderful read and a worthy addition to the Giller shelf.

On Stage: The Tea Party @ Sound Academy

Back in May, I heard a radio ad that made me have to pull over and call AnCe immediately: The Tea Party will be performing at Sound Academy on July 21st.  Frantic message-leaving ensued; it sent something like this: "AnCe!  I know you're in NYC right now but I just HAD to call you and tell you that the TEA PARTY are playing on July 21st!  In some place called Sound Academy?  Anyway, you're the biggest Tea Party fan I know, so I thought I'd tell you!  Call me when you get back!  Sorry for the weird message.  I'm stoked!  Woohoo!"

Anyway, we're still friends and she was equally excited.  So we found ourselves, on the hottest day of the year (decade?) crammed into a standing-room only venue with about 1400 other crazies.  we were exhausted, dehydrated and surrounded by equally sticky people.  We didn't care.  When they took the stage, we were freaking out like we were seventeen-year-olds again!  Lost my voice somewhere between Save Me and Temptation.

When it was all over, my jelly legs barely made it to the parking lot.  Only later did I realise that there was no Babylon.  I think they may have been saving this for the second encore that never came.  it was hot; I can't really blame them.

The drive home took almost 2 hours though - the Gardiner on-ramps were ALL closed.  I think with the lack of water, the heat and and the ridiculous traffic at 1am, i may have wandered to the edge of madness - thankfully AnCe was there to keep me tethered.

Awesome night!

The Tea Party’s Setlist, July 21st:
1. Writing’s on the Wall
2. The Bazaar
3. Lullaby
4. Psychopomp
5. The Messenger
6. Fire in the Head
7. Correspondences
8. Heaven Coming Down
9. Sun’s Going Down
10. The Halcyon Days
11. Save Me / Last Goodbye
12. Release
13. Temptation
Encore:
14. Sister Awake / Paint It Black

Monday, August 01, 2011

unplanned

How to have an unplanned weekend:

1) Start Early.  I mean, if you can, take Friday off.  I did (having worked a Saturday previously) and so I started my weekend on Thursday night.

2) Watch an excellent movie with a cute Muggle.

3) Spend Saturday afternoon hanging out with good friends planning for your next blowout vacation.  This time, we bought tickets for our Vegas shows, confirmed our hotels and generally got very excited about driving the length of Route 66.


4) Get last-minute tickets to see a show downtown with your bestie.  Afterwards, go to a pub for drinks and confabulation; if the waitress asks for your ID, make a game of it!  Ask her how old she thinks you are and then feel really good about the answer for the rest of night.

5) Wake up early on Sunday, jump in the car and head off for an adventure.  The crazier the better!  If you happen to check off an item on your life to-do list while you're at it?  Bonus!

6) Head home for a shower and a quick nap.  if you get a call from your parents' asking if you want to go to a favourite Aunt's house for BBQ, say yes!  Hang out by the pool, eat heartily and, heck, watch the Women's World Cup final since you're there.  Cheer for the underdog; freak out when they win in OT penalty kicks.

7) Join your LilBro for a pay-per-view Wrestling event at the theatre across the street.  Relish that, for once, you came in after the previews started and still had a kickass seat saved for you.  Totally mark out with the crowd and indulge your secret trailer-trash fantasies.

8) Go home, take a long shower and marvel at your "boring" unplanned weekend.  Decide that life really is what happens while you're planning to live it.

wind beneath my wings


Local adventure seeking brought AnCe and me to a very hot sod farm in St. Jacob's.  This was a spontaneous trip, as it was originally Nish and AnCe going, but what with Nish in Madagascar (more on that later, poppets - it's not that I don't want to blog, it's just that I don't have the time to do it), she needed to offload her ticket asap.  So, there I am!  AnCe and I rock-paper-scissor'ed to see who would go first and I won the honour - so there you see the tiny me!  We climbed quite quickly to two-thousand-feet!  My instructor was pretty awesome, letting me call the turns and even letting me "fly solo" for a bit.  The video is short (we were up there for about 20 mins) but you get the idea. 

video
I continue to live a charmed life, poppets.  I must have been a very good girl at some point to have built up such good karma.