Wednesday, January 18, 2012

January Confessions

Inspired by a friend's blogged January confessions, I figured I'd do some of my own:

1. I've watched the last scene of the final "Sherlock" episode 4 times already. And it makes me tear up every time.

2. I've been on a low-carb, low-sugar diet now for 2 weeks and the thing I can't stop thinking about is Cinnamon. So I've maybe had a few Cinnamon Swirl cookies along the way. 

3. After watching The Descendants and The Golden Globes in the same weekend, I think I can safely say that my love for George Clooney is as strong as ever.

4. I've joined a Yoga class, and I find myself looking around most of the time wondering if they are all hippies.

5. I don't like Italy. There, I came out and said it. I know it's not really connected to January, but the cruise ship incident has made me think of that country often. And it's true. The police are mean, people steal things from tourists and the food is overrated. 

6. Since joining Pinterest a week ago, I've checked the boards about 5 times a day. I am totally addicted. As a result, I've also been thinking a lot about crafting. This is unprecedented. 

7. I still watch Glee. And Will's proposal this week may have brought a tear to my eye. 

8. We got the Telus guy to come fix our internet, because it needed to be faster to use our hacked program (Plex) on the Apple TV. We didn't tell him that though. 

9. We just cleaned the Lazy Suzan cupboard in our kitchen for the first time since Matt moved here 2 years ago. 

10. Matt & I have been devising a plan for 3 weeks on how to move the abandoned vehicle parked next to me in our parkade. We're thinking of pushing out in front of the fire hydrant. Any help you'd like to offer would be great. Any takers? Ha. 

And that's it I think. I know - they could have been a bit "juicier". I'll work on it for next month.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Film Review: The Descendants

Well you know me - I can never resist the opportunity to see George on the big screen, even if the movie is terrible. Thankfully in this case, it wasn't. 

The story is about a man living in Hawaii with two daughters, and his wife has suddenly gone into a coma. There is also this secondary (and very interesting) plot line about his decision whether or not to sell "one of the last pieces of unspoiled Hawaiian land" that has been passed down in his family for generations.  

Now I'm going to be straight with you - it moves pretty slowly. You spend a lot of time looking at Hawaiian scenery and watching conversations with a person in a coma. It's from Alexander Payne (About Schmidt, Sideways), and you can definitely tell by the pace in which he tells the story. This man cares about detail more than he does about tearing through scenes. So that might scare you off right from the start, and if it does, well I understand. 

But if it doesn't, you might want to give it a shot. I found the characters and the dialogue to be "real" in a way that is pretty rare to see on screen. The conversations get awkward at times, and you wonder the character would say something so stupid, or inappropriate. The reason it's so jarring is because we're used to things "sounding" nicer on screen. But I found refreshing. The plot line also takes a few turns towards the unlikely but somehow it didn't feel contrived. So if you think you can handle the pace, some tears, and some language go for it. 

I think this reviewer sums it up best:

"And what The Descendants dwells on, better than any film in years, is how, just beneath the surface of that teenager who seems a shrugging idiot or that woman who seems an everyday mom, rustles an undergrowth of pain, or loss, or heartache". 
-Brian Gibson

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Let's try something

I had a realization today, you know what would be great for the blog? Reviews! You can't do reviews effectively on a twitterfeed, or on facebook. It seems there might still be some things for which blogger is the best medium. So I'm going to try this - do at least one review a week. Not because I think my opinion on things counts so much, but because it will bring me back here and who knows I might even end up doing other blogging again. 

Also, I've been toying with a New Year's resolution that goes something like this - "be more than your job". What if, when people asked you what you "did", you answered with more than just what you did at work all day? Because I don't know about you, but I think I'm more interesting than what I do at work, even though that can be interesting too. I think I'm just going to experiment a bit, start answering differently and work on having cool things to answer with. 

So, here we go, my first review of something that I enjoy when I'm not working: 

BBC's "Sherlock" (TV) 

I know your mind is probably immediately jumping to Robert Downey Jr pretending to be Sherlock Holmes, which we both know he isn't and that's a review for another day. But what I'm talking about here is the the brilliant series released last year by the BBC starring the incredibly talented Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman (soon to be Bilbo). 

Obviously it wasn't a very tough sell - being British Literature and all. But they've done something very interesting. They've set it in modern times - but maintained the spirit of the original. And somehow, it works exceedingly well. For example, Dr. Watson has just come back from fighting in Afghanistan in the original story, and same goes for the new modern tale. An old "timekeeper" is now a cell phone. The story is obviously so beloved by the creators, that they know how to make it work today without sacrificing the details. 

I guess good reviews should be balanced.One downside is that elements of Sherlock's brilliance can sometimes be missed because he speaks quickly. Sometimes its a bit hard to follow, but then I'm not as quick as I could be sometimes. There is also an interesting "BBC visual effect" that shows writing on the screen when the character's receive texts. I found it a little distracting at first, but now I'm into it. And maybe a little too much makeup? That's all I've got.

So if you like mystery stories, cleverness, and British things, this show is for you. Even if you only like two out of three, you'll still like it. And you're in luck. The first season has three 90 minute episodes and you can find it on Netflix. The second season just started, and I've got them if you want them.