Welcome to my blog!

Welcome to my blog!

Feel free to leave any suggestions or comments...

My ratings:
❤️ = Loved it
ūüėź = It's okay
ūüėĚ = Hated it

Monday, December 26, 2011

Happy Endings (TV Series created by David Caspe)

Alex leaves Dave at the altar on their wedding day, forcing the couple's friends to choose which side to take...

Starring: Eliza Coupe, Elisha Cuthbert, Zachary Knighton, Adam Pally, Damon Wayans Jr., Casey Wilson

Why the love for this TV series: From the pilot it looks like another "bride leaves groom at the altar" case, but as the story unfolds, the plot actually turns out unlike what you usually see on TV, with pretty funny lines.
I have heard Damon Wayans Jr describe this as "an edgier Friends with a black dude in it", but I have to disagree, since "Happy Endings" seems unusual. It is still about friends, but with different views on life and experiences, and the characters may be a little over the top, but that is what makes it so much fun to watch!
I relate more to Penny Hartz, although I am mellow and shy while she just goes for it without being afraid.
I also recommend watching a few episodes to really get the feel for the show, but you will not be disappointed.

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Christmas Wedding (James Patterson and Richard Dilallo)

The tree is decorated, the cookies are baked, and the presents are wrapped, but the biggest celebration this Christmas is Gaby Summerhill's wedding. Since her husband died three years ago, Gaby's four children have drifted apart, each consumed by the turbulence of their own lives. They have not celebrated Christmas together since their father's death, but when Gaby announces that she is getting married - and that the groom will remain a secret until the wedding day - she may finally be able to bring them home for the holidays.
But the wedding is not the only surprise - there is one more unexpected gift, and it could change all their lives for ever... Merry Christmas everyone!

Quote: "As I'm sure is the case for you guys, not a day goes by that I don't think how unfair it was that he was taken from us. How stupid, really.
Oh, damn, I was afraid this might happen. A waterfall is coming."

My thoughts on this book: This was a good Christmas read, it left me with a storm of emotions and I really loved the ending, but as far as James Patterson books go, I was disappointed. I love his stories for the suspense and crime scenes, while this was just a light tale of a wedding taking place at Christmas. The only suspense bit was knowing who the groom would be, which I did not find very interesting.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Valiant (George Webster, Jordan Katz, George Melrod)

This animated comedy, directed by Gary Chapman, tells the story of a lowly wood pigeon named Valiant, who overcomes his small size to become a hero in Great Britain's Royal Air Force Homing Pigeon Service during World War II. The RHPS were recruited to fly vital messages about enemy movements across the English Channel, whilst evading brutal attacks by the enemy's Falcon Brigade.

Starring: Ewan McGregor, Ricky Gervais, Tim Curry, Hugh Laurie, John Cleese, John Hurt, Rik Mayall, Olivia Williams, Jonathan Ross, Sharon Horgan

Why I loved this film: Yes, I am 34 and I still love animated movies! This is another cute character filled animation, yet very charismatic and fun to watch.
I loved the way they used information from WWII and adapted it to the film, such as the female mouse from the French Resistance, named Charles De Girl. Bugsy was Ricky Gervais in all his essence, funny as only the man himself can be, kept me laughing throughout the whole movie. Valiant was the cute little pigeon who turned into the hero at the end, a very predictable outcome.
Overall, it was a cute and funny movie to watch filled with different, animated and very lively characters, plus some suspense in the middle.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

R.I.P. Ces√°ria √Čvora

Ces√°ria √Čvora passed away today at the age of 70. The "Barefoot Diva", who always performed without shoes, died in the Baptista de Sousa Hospital in Mindelo, on her native island of S√£o Vicente, Cape Verde.
Ces√°ria √Čvora had retired in September because of health problems. In recent years she has had several operations, including open-heart surgery last year.
Saudade (in Portuguese) or Sodade (in the Creole language of Cape Verde) is a word that cannot be translated into English, but carries a lot of meaning. It is the feeling of losing somebody or something (and her most famous song):

Monday, December 12, 2011

Tick Tock (James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge)

What to do when someone is recreating the crimes of infamous killers from New York's history? The city has never been more terrified!
A rash of horrifying crimes tears through New York City, throwing it into complete chaos and terrorising everyone living there. Immediately, it becomes clear that they are not the work of an amateur, but rather a calculating, efficient, and deadly mastermind.
Detective Michael Bennett is called from a seaside retreat with his ten adopted children, grandfather, and beloved nanny, Mary Catherine. Not only does this tear apart their first vacation since Michael's wife Maeve died, but it also leaves the entire family open to attack.
Bennett enlists the help of a former colleague, FBI Agent Emily Parker. As his affection for Emily grows into something stronger, his relationship with Mary Catherine takes an unexpected turn. All too soon, another appalling crime leads Bennett to a shocking discovery that exposes the killer's pattern and the earth-shattering enormity of his plan...

Quote: "How could one person not only seek revenge and twisted, freaky peekaboo thrills but also relish inflicting pain all at the same time?
He couldn't[...]. It didn't make any goddamn sense."

Why this book speaks to me: I am a big James Patterson fan. He really is one of the best thriller writers!
I am interested in detective work, not only what drives someone into committing a crime, but also how that person is caught (I should have been a detective in another life), so this book was a nice surprise for me because it not only went through the moves leading to catching the killer, but Mr. Patterson also decided to give a little insight on the most horrendous crimes from the 90's, making the story much more interesting.
I also must say that I read the last 150 pages in one go because this book was very difficult to put down!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Drive (Hossein Amini and James Sallis)

Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn. A Hollywood stunt performer, who also earns his living as a wheelman, finds himself in deeper trouble than he has bargained for after a robbery takes a turn for the worst.

Starring: Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Albert Brooks, Oscar Isaac, Christina Hendricks, Ron Perlman)

My thoughts on this film: I am not really sure of what to make of this movie. There were high and low points...
Ryan Gosling is a brilliant and versatile actor, his moody character with a passionate and somewhat funny side was very well portrayed, some scenes seemed too difficult to maintain a straight face, but he did it very well!
Sometimes the pace was too slow and became a little boring, however the ending was worse than a butcher's shop - with blood everywhere -, where the different killings were so close together that after a while everyone in the cinema was just laughing whenever someone got killed. It actually became too gross to watch!
I also did not enjoy the end, it left me with the question: "This is it?"

Sunday, December 04, 2011

I know my first name is Steven (1989)

Corin Nemec as Steven Stayner
This is a film that really stuck in my mind ever since I saw it on the BBC back in 1990. It is the true story of American 7-year-old Steven Stayner, who, on the afternoon of December 4th, 1972, was approached on his way home from school by a man named Ervin Murphy, sent by Kenneth Parnell. Murphy, described by those who knew him as a trusting, na√Įve and simple-minded man, had been fooled by convicted child rapist Parnell into helping him abduct a young boy.
Murphy passed out gospel tracts to boys walking home from school that day and, after spotting Stayner, claimed to be a church representative seeking donations. He managed to convince the young boy into letting Murphy drive him home, then a white Buick driven by Parnell pulled up and Steven willingly climbed into the car. Parnell then drove a confused Steven to his cabin instead. Parnell molested Steven for the first time early the following morning.
After telling Parnell he wanted to go home many times during his first week with the man, Parnell told Steven that he had been granted legal custody of the boy because his parents could not afford so many children and did not want him anymore.
Parnell began calling the boy Dennis Gregory Parnell, retaining Stayner's real middle name and his real birthdate when enrolling him in various schools over the next several years. Parnell passed himself off as Steven's father and the two moved frequently around California.
As Steven entered puberty, Parnell began looking for a younger child to kidnap. On February 14th, 1980, Parnell and a teenage friend of Steven's named Sean Poolman kidnapped five-year-old Timmy White in Ukiah, California. Motivated in part by the young boy's distress, Steven decided to escape with him, intending to return the boy to his parents and then escape himself. On March 1st, 1980, while Parnell was away at his night security job, Steven managed to leave with Timmy. Unable to locate the child's home address, he decided to have Timmy walk into the police department to ask for help. Before he could successfully escape, the police spotted the two boys and took them into custody. Steven immediately identified Timmy White and then revealed his own true identity and story.
By daybreak on March 2nd, 1980, Parnell had been arrested for the abduction of both boys. They were reunited with their families that day. In 1981, Parnell was tried and convicted of kidnapping Timmy and Steven in two separate trials. He was sentenced to seven years but was out on parole after serving five years.
The title for the film was taken from the first paragraph of Steven's written police statement. The incorrect spelling of his family name is also therein.

"My name is Steven Stainer. I am fourteen years of age. I don't know my true birthdate, but I use April 18, 1965. I know my first name is Steven, I'm pretty sure my last is Stainer, and if I have a middle name, I don't know it."

The film starred Cindy Pickett, John Ashton, Corin Nemec, Luke Edwards, Ray Walston and Scott Curtis

Death: On September 16th, 1989, Steven's motorcycle collided with a car that pulled into traffic from a side road. Steven received head injuries that proved fatal. He died at the Merced Community Medical Center shortly thereafter. Over 500 people attended his funeral, including then 14-year-old Timmy White, who helped carry Steven's coffin into the church.

Dark Cloud: Steven's older brother, Cary Stayner, was convicted in the late 90's for the murder and rape of Carole Sund, her daughter, Juli Sund (15 years old), their travel companion, Argentinian exchange student, Silvina Pelosso (16 years old) and Yosemite National Institute employee, Joie Armstrong. He remains in death row.

Parnell: Kenneth Parnell was later on convicted again for attempting at a similar crime. In 2008, he died in prison at the age of 76.

The last survivor: Timmy White passed away on April 1st, 2010, of a pulmonary embolism. He was 35.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Happy Birthday Mark Twain

Samuel Langhorne Clemens, a.k.a. Mark Twain, was born on November 30th, 1835, 176 years ago. He was an American author, mostly noted for his novels, "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" (1876) and its sequel, "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn".
Both books were inspired by Hannibal, Missouri, a town on the Mississippi River, where the author grew up and started his writing voyage in the local newspaper, The Hannibal Journal.
Twain was born during a visit by Halley's Comet and correctly predicted that he would "go out with it". The writer died of a heart attack on April 21st, 1910, in Redding, Connecticut, one day after the comet's closest approach to Earth.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Fado: Unesco Intangible Cultural Heritage

Portuguese Fado has finally been recognised as Unesco Intangible Cultural Heritage.
It is more than a type of music, it is part of an entire culture... A typical Fado song features poetic - often introspective and melancholic -lyrics combined with a mournful melody. The singer may be accompanied by the distinctive-sounding Portuguese guitar and a classical guitar, called "viol√£o" in Portugal.
The towering figure of Fado was Am√°lia Rodrigues, featured in the picture. Following early national success in the 1940's, she became the first Fado singer, a.k.a. "Fadista", whose fame transcended the Portuguese-speaking world. Her death in 1999 initiated 3 days of official mourning.
On another note, the video that follows was taken from the 1942 film "O P√°tio das Cantigas", where another Portuguese icon, Vasco Santana, sings "Fado do Estudante": A story of love, betrayal and studying, or lack thereof.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Blackadder Goes Forth

In this final series, Blackadder is a World War I army captain trying to survive at the front lines of the Western Front.
It is 1917 and lunatic General Sir Anthony Cecil Hogmanay Melchett is leading the British troops at the front lines against the Germans, while everyone waits for Field Marshall Haig's big push. There are various emotions throughout the camp regarding this. For Captain Kevin Darling, Melchett's right-hand man, it makes no difference, as it appears he will be safe and sound with the general when the big push occurs; Lieutenant George Colhurst Saint Barleigh is overly excited at thrashing the Germans. Private Baldrick believes this is a terrifying experience to which he is not looking forward. However, for Captain Edmund Blackadder it is something he seems too much of a coward to face. Self-centered, arrogant and sarcastic, Blackadder is constantly searching for a way out of this silly war, and will try various, often crazy, escape variations...

Starring: Rowan Atkinson, Tony Robinson, Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, Tim McInnerny

Why the love for this TV Series: The jokes are still as witty and hilarious as before, although this time there is quite a serious tone to the punch lines, particularly because in 1989 the subject of WWI was still very much in the minds of the British, whether it be through surviving soldiers or relatives.
There was some controversy when this was first broadcast by the BBC for its apparent lack of respect to those who fought and lost their lives, but in the end everyone agreed that was not the intention.
It remains a good History lesson, but I still prefer the original Blackadder.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Les femmes du 6√®me √©tage (Philippe Le Guay, J√©r√īme Tonnerre)

Jean-Louis Joubert is a serious but uptight stockbroker, married to Suzanne, a strict, class-conscious woman, and father of two arrogant teenage boys, currently in a boarding school. The affluent man lives a steady yet boring life. At least until, due to fortuitous circumstances, Maria, the charming new maid, allows him to discover the servants' quarter on the sixth floor of the luxury building he owns. There live a crowd of lively Spanish maids who will help Jean-Louis open up to a new civilisation and a new approach of life. In their company - and more precisely in the company of beautiful Maria - Jean-Louis will gradually become another man... A better man!

Starring: Fabrice Luchini, Sandrine Kiberlain, Natalia Verbeke, Carmen Maura, Lola Due√Īas, Berta Ojea, Nuria Sol√©, Concha Gal√°n, Annie Mercier, Camille Gigot, Jean-Charles Deval

Why I loved this film: It was very well done, showing the point of view of "the help". But is also showed that sometimes belonging to the same class or having the same background does not mean that you will have many things in common, it is always good to meet new people, you never know what surprises there may be in store...

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Ice Age (Michael J. Wilson, Michael Berg, Peter Ackerman, James Bresnahan, Galen T. Chu, Doug Compton, Xeth Feinberg, Jeff Siergey, Mike Thurmeier)

Back when the Earth was being occupied by glaciers and animals were sprinting to save themselves from the upcoming Ice Age, Sid - the sloth, Manny - the mammoth, and Diego - the tiger, are forced to become unlikely heroes. The three reluctantly come together when they have to return a human child to his father while braving the deadly elements of the impending Ice Age.

Starring: Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary, Goran Visnjic, Jack Black

Why I loved this film: Although this is a cartoon, I did not think it was for kids due to the kind of jokes. Very hilarious and sweet from beginning to end - I was actually crying from laughing so hard!
This is definitely a "must see" movie, which means that now I will have to watch the two sequels...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Family Ties (Danielle Steel)

Annie Ferguson was a bright young architect. Talented, beautiful, just starting out with her first job, new apartment and boyfriend, she had the world in the palm of her hand - until a single telephone call changed the course of her life forever. Overnight, she inherited her sister's three orphaned children, keeping a promise she never regretted making, even if it meant putting her own life indefinitely on hold.
Now, at forty-two, with a satisfying career and a family that means everything to her, Annie is comfortable being single and staying that way. With her nephew and nieces finally adults, she is navigating a parent's difficult passage between lending them a hand and letting go.
Twenty-eight-year-old Liz, an overworked, struggling editor in a high-powered job at Vogue, has never allowed any man to come close enough to hurt her. Ted, at twenty-four a serious and hardworking law student, is captivated by a much older woman who is leading him much further than he wants to go. While the youngest, twenty-one-year-old Katie, is an art student about to make a choice that will lead her to a world she is in no way prepared for but determined to embrace.
Then a chance encounter changes Annie's life yet again in the most unexpected direction.
From Manhattan to Paris and all the way to Tehran, this novel reminds us how challenging and unpredictable life can be, but whatever happens, the bonds of family are the strongest of all.

Quote: "Men with that much charm were just never faithful. It wasn't in their DNA. She knew it but always tried to tell herself that it would be different this time, but it never was. Jean-Louis was just like all the other men she had dated. They were all clones of each other. She always picked the ones who couldn't be faithful or commit. It fit perfectly with her own fear of commitment and provided an inevitable end. She had been part of scenes like this too often before."

What I liked about this book: The beginning and the end were exciting, with different storylines that intertwined throughout the book and thrilling plots. I also saw myself in Liz's choice of men, it was like reading about my life, except for the fact that I get more suspicious. But, most of all, I loved the message it sends about families sticking together, no matter what. They should be top in our priorities!

What I disliked about this book: throughout the story there is a big gap where nothing interesting seems to happen, so it does become boring for a while.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Ricky Gervais will be back!

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association have confirmed that Ricky Gervais will return to host the 2012 Golden Globes. This is great news for the fans, like me, but will the British comedian be free to do his own stuff or will he be subjected to censorship?
We just have to wait and see!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Black Adder a.k.a. Blackadder (Richard Curtis, Rowan Atkinson, Ben Elton)

Set in England at the end of the War of the Roses, we soon find out that History as we know it is all fiction. In fact, Henry VII did not actually win the battle of Bosworth Field... He lost and although Richard III died in the battle, his nephew King Richard IV reigned on for some years.
The story focuses on Richard IV's younger son Prince Edmund, a weeping coward who calls himself the "Black Adder". Assisted by his sloppy servant Baldrick and the moronic Lord Percy, Edmund plots his rise to greatness.
Later on, Blackadder becomes Prince Edmund's family name.

Starring: Rowan Atkinson, Elspet Gray, Tim McInnerny, Brian Blessed, Tony Robinson

Why the love for this TV Series: Although it was created in the early 80's, this sitcom is still pretty funny nowadays, being one of the most intelligent and hilarious shows ever created!
It is the best work done by Rowan Atkinson and what a History lesson!
I especially love the conversations between Blackadder and Baldrick!

Note: In the following video, Prince Edmund is trying to teach Baldrick to count beans when they are disturbed by a weird-looking Lord Percy:

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Ides of March (George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Beau Willimon)

An idealistic staff member for a presidential candidate gets a crash course on dirty politics during his time working on the campaign.

Starring: Ryan Gosling, George Clooney, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Evan Rachel Wood, Marisa Tomei

Why I loved this film: There are four words for going to see "The Ides of March": Ryan Gosling, George Clooney.
However, the whole cast is amazing, I have just seen Ryan Gosling and Marisa Tomei on another movie over the summer and it was great to see them working together again, they play their parts really well.
This film deals with what goes on behind a political campaign, the people that get played, the scandals, important matters such as "abortion" and what should be expected of a political leader. The items discussed are totally up-to-date, you can see our worldwide problems in there.
I also loved the Clinton/Monica Lewinsky element included therein, when Ryan Gosling says: "You can lie, cheat and steal... You can start wars and bankrupt the country... They'll forgive you for that... But you don't f*** the intern!"
This is so true, if you think about it, the only time a president almost had to step down in the USA was when he had an affair with an intern, which really tells a lot about a country and its priorities.

The Middle (Eileen Heisler and DeAnn Heline)

This story tells of the daily mishaps in the life of a married woman and her semi-dysfunctional family: Husband Mike and their three children, Axl, Sue and Brick.

Starring: Patricia Heaton, Neil Flynn, Charlie McDermott, Eden Sher, Atticus Shaffer, Chris Kattan

Why the love for this TV Series: To start with, Patricia Heaton seems to play a similar character to the one she played in "Everybody Loves Raymond", but yet so different. The whole struggling wife scenario is there but this time the focus is on her and the kids do get special attention. Besides, this gives us more insights into her thoughts as a mother/wife, so it deals with intimate subjects to a greater extent and in a different way.
However, the main reason I started watching the show was the younger son, Brick, my favourite character. He is so funny and corky it is difficult not to love him!

The video that follows is a compilation of Brick moments in Season 1. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Private (James Patterson - with Maxine Paetro)

Former U.S. Marine Jack Morgan runs Private, a renowned investigation company with branches around the globe. It is where you go when you need maximum force and maximum discretion. The secrets of the most influential men and women on the planet come to Jack daily - and his staff of investigators use the world's most advanced forensic tools to make and break their cases.
In L.A., Jack is already deep into the investigation of a multimillion-dollar NFL gambling scandal and the unsolved slayings of eighteen schoolgirls when he learns of a horrific murder close to home: His best friend's wife, Jack's former lover, has been killed. It nearly pushes him over the edge. Instead, Jack maintains his game and devotes all of Private's resources to tracking down her killer.
But Jack does not have to play by the rules. As he closes in on the killer and chooses between revenge and justice, Morgan has to navigate a workplace love affair that threatens to blow the roof off his plans...

Quote: "When a door says Private, you want to know what's on the other side.
When an envelope says Private, you immediately want to open it."

Why this book speaks to me: James Patterson is one of my favourite thriller writers and this book did not disappoint me in any way.
I love crime and suspense stories, trying to figure out who the killer is and going over all the required steps in order to finding that person. I probably should have been a detective.
Mr. Patterson managed to include three crime stories in a single book, which made it much more exciting as well as giving an insight into the thoughts of the leading character and how he manages to deal with his own personal problems: Love affairs and past situations while still in the army.
It was all pretty exciting... Once I started reading it was difficult to put the book down!

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Dr. Conrad Murray found guilty of Michael Jackson slaughter

Dr. Conrad Murray, the physician accused of killing Michael Jackson, has been found guilty of involuntary manslaughter, after a six-week trial in which Murray, 58, was accused of causing Michael Jackson's death by giving him a fatal overdose of the surgical anaesthetic propofol, combined with other sedatives, on June 25th, 2009, in order to help Jackson sleep to prepare for his comeback tour.
Throughout the entire trial, Dr. Conrad Murray has pleaded not guilty.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

MTV Europe Music Awards: Belfast

Hosted by Selena Gomez

The first surprise of the night was at the Red Carpet (a.k.a. Pink Carpet), David "The Hoff" Hasselhoff. I believe he has not been seen since the whole drunken episode that came out on Youtube... Or maybe he has... I am not sure. On a personal note, he thinks he is funny, but I do not agree... Although I loved The Knight Rider when I was a kid!

Jared Leto, from 30 Seconds to Mars (when asked what separated the Belfast crowd from other parts of the World): "The people are absolutely out of their minds". They won the Best Alternative Award, handed before the show.

Another personal note: He may sing addictive songs, but Bruno Mars is really annoying in interviews.

The show started off with a great performance by Coldplay.

Best Live: Katy Perry

LMFAO followed onstage inside a big Zebra. their performances are always very original!

Best Female: Lady Gaga

Bruno Mars performed his hit "Marry You".

MTV Global Icon: Queen

The priceless Jessie J performed "Price Tag".

Best Male: Justin Bieber

Red Hot Chili Peppers followed.

Lady Gaga opened the following segment with "Merry the Night".

Best New: Bruno Mars

Selena Gomez also performed "Hit the Lights".

Best Pop: Justin Bieber

Best Song: Born this Way (Lady Gaga)

Justin Bieber followed .

Then a tribute video to Amy Winehouse came along. It was very emotional!

David Guetta had everyone dancing next.

Worldwide Act: BigBang (Asia Pacific)

Best Video: Born this Way (Lady Gaga)

The show ended with Queen: "The show must go on", “We will rock you” and “We are the Champions”. I do not know who the singer is, but he is no Freddy Mercury... Long live the King!

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Les Misérables (Victor Hugo, Rafael Yglesias)

Jean Valjean, a Frenchman imprisoned for stealing bread, must flee a police officer named Javert. The pursuit consumes both men's lives, and soon Valjean finds himself in the midst of the student revolutions in France. This film was directed by Bille August.

Starring: Liam Neeson, Geoffrey Rush, Claire Danes, Uma Thurman, Shane Hervey, Lennie James, Jon Kenny, Sylvie Koblizkova, Hans Matheson

Why I loved this film: I am a huge fan of "Les Misérables", having read the book and watched the show in the West End. This is a story of love, hope and fighting for what you believe in.
I was curious about the film when it came out and I have to say that this adaptation was very well done! The actors were amazing and I especially loved Claire Danes, Liam Neeson and Geoffrey Rush: Their performances were breathtaking. However, the entire cast was excellent. No words can describe it!

Les √Čmotifs Anonymes (Jean-Pierre Am√©ris, Philippe Blasband)

What happens when a man and a woman share a common passion? They fall in love... And this is what happens to Jean-René, the boss of a small chocolate factory, and Angélique, a gifted chocolate maker he has just hired.
However, being pathologically shy does not make things any easier...

Starring: Beno√ģt Poelvoorde, Isabelle Carr√©, Lorella Cravotta, Lise Lam√©trie, Swann Arlaud, Pierre Niney

Why I loved this film: A pretty funny movie, which manages to go in a different direction than what we are used to. It deals with the subject of shyness... A matter that is very dear to me, being directly affected by it, although not in the same way as the characters in the film.
However, the ending was a little disappointing, but I would highly recommend it.
There really should be a group that helps to deal with this shyness problem in the same way that the "Alcoholic Anonymous" exists.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)

"My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973."

Susie Salmon is adjusting to her new home in heaven, a place that is not at all as she expected, even as the departed teenager is watching life on earth continue without her: her friends trading rumours about the way she disappeared, her killer trying to cover his tracks and her grieving family going their separate ways.

Quote: "There was our father, the heart we knew held all of us. Held us heavily and desperately, the doors of his heart opening and closing with the rapidity of stops on an instrument, the quiet felt closures, the ghostly fingering, practice and practice and then, incredibly, sound and melody and warmth."

Why this book speaks to me: When I first started reading it, I felt like this was only a book about a dead girl and a killer who you already knew... But as the story unravels, it becomes much more than that...
"The Lovely Bones" is about believing in what comes our way, dealing with the past and hoping for a better future... The bones are the connection between those featured in the book, who are brought together due to death, in ways they never thought possible: a tragedy may have a somewhat happy ending.
I would also like to dedicate this book to my grandad who passed away three days before Christmas 2003, but will always remain in my heart. His birthday was on November 9th. I miss him so much, our conversations, arriving at his home and hugging him before anyone else, the advice he gave me, his smile... But I know that he is watching me and I still talk to him every day!

Note: In 2009, "The Lovely Bones" was made into a movie starring Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz, Susan Sarandon and Stanley Tucci.

Friday, October 28, 2011

What's Your Number? (Gabrielle Allan, Jennifer Crittenden, Karyn Bosnak)

In this film, directed by Mark Mylod, Ally Darling has had many ex-boyfriends who turned out to be losers. Now she believes that a good guy will not come along, but after reading that a woman sleeps with an average of 10.5 men in her life, Ally realises that she may have slept with too many guys and decides to look up all of her exes to see if any of them has changed for the better. With such a task at hand, Ally needs the help of her neighbour Colin, who sleeps with a different woman every night and sneaks out the morning after to avoid talking to them.

Starring: Anna Faris, Chris Evans, Ari Graynor, Blythe Danner, Ed Begley Jr., Joel McHale, Chris Pratt

What I liked about this film: Besides the great cast of comedians from the best TV shows (Community, The Office, Parks and Recreation), I totally saw myself in Ally Darling (except for the number of guys she has slept with, my number is much lower, but enough about me...)
The thing is, you do get to a point when you have had enough of losers and really need to find that right person, the one who will take your breath away, which leads me to the moral of the story: Sometimes the perfect guy may not be perfect for you, so follow your heart and not what everybody else says.
I also loved the following dialogue (I have had the very same conversation with several guys):

Colin: "I don't know why people care so much about the number anyway."
Ally: "You guys all have this ideal girl in your mind and if our number gets too high we can't be that girl."
Colin: "The ideal girl, tell me about her."
Ally: "You know you can take her home to the family, she's smart but not smarter than you and she bakes apple pies with your mum and plays catch with your handicapped sister but then when you're alone she takes off her glasses and puts on a vinyl catsuit and f***s you sideways."
Colin: "That girl doesn't exist, if she did I'd be sleeping with her, and what kind of guy cares about how many people you've slept with anyway?"
Ally: "Decent guys"

What I disliked about this film: The whole wedding theme and the happy ending were too much of a cliché. I also knew who she was going to end up with from the very beginning.
This is a typical Hollywood comedy, not very original.

Did you know? Chris Pratt, who plays Disgusting Donald - the ex who keeps on turning up throughout the movie -, is actually married to Anna Faris (Ally Darling) in real life.

Sideways (Rex Pickett, Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor)

Miles is a failed writer living an average life in San Diego as an English teacher. With his career seemingly fading and the fate of a book hanging on a publisher's decision, Miles is depressed with himself and what he has not achieved. Jack is a television actor recognised by some, not many, as a one time success. The two embark on a road trip through California's wine country. Miles wants to give his friend a nice sendoff before married life, while Jack simply wants to have a fling beforehand. As they are both approaching middle age with not much to show for it, the two will explore the vineyards while ultimately searching for their identities.

Starring: Paul Giamatti, Thomas Haden Church, Virginia Madsen, Sandra Oh, Jessica Hecht, Missy Doty, Patrick Gallagher

My thoughts on this film: I feel like I cannot separate my comments regarding "sideways" in order for it to make sense, so this time I will have to put together my likes and dislikes into one category.
At first it seemed like I was about to watch two friends on a simple roadtrip, although I liked the fact that they are so different: Miles is the eternal pessimist who does not seem to catch a break, while Jack is the outgoing optimist trying to lift his friend's spirit.
After about an hour this film started to move me in ways I never thought possible... I started hating Jack more than anything in the whole world!
I have also been lied to the way Sandra Oh's character was, so I felt really close to her and could remember every detail of what I went through, but enough about me... Jack is about to get married but really wants something different, meaningless, animal sex, so he lies to his first conquest saying how much he loves her and spends the most wonderful days with her, being the greatest boyfriend and promising they will be together forever, until she finds out... I wish I had sent someone to hospital the way she did (a broken nose should be the least of his problems), and then, surprise, surprise... He gets angry by the fact that she found out, but soon forgets her and moves on to the next conquest: A fat woman whom he believes will probably be grateful for having sex with him.
When Jack arrives at the Motel naked after being thrown out by her husband - Yes, she was married -, I found myself laughing as hard as Miles (I would never have helped him like his best friend did afterwards)!
By Saturday, Jack was getting married as if those two women had never existed!
I also saw a bit of myself in Miles and the fact that when everything seemed to go wrong for him he wanted to give up (I am a lot like that, I give up very easily)!
I loved the scenery as well, however, I hated the end, it felt unfinished, I was left wondering "What now? Is this it?"
In general terms, this movie made me think about life and relationships like no other!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

King Kong (Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, Merian C. Cooper, Edgar Wallace)

This is the 2005 version of King Kong, the original was filmed in 1933, starring Fay Wray, Robert Armstrong and Bruce Cabot.
Carl Denham needs to finish his movie and has the perfect location: Skull Island. However, he still needs to find a leading lady. This soon-to-be-unfortunate soul is Ann Darrow. No one knows what they will encounter on this island and why it is so mysterious, but once they reach it, they will soon find out...
A giant gorilla lives therein and this beast now has Ann in its grasps. Carl and Jack Driscoll must travel through the jungle looking for Kong and Ann, whilst avoiding all sorts of creatures, but Carl has another plan in mind.

Starring: Naomi Watts, Jack Black, Adrien Brody, Colin Hanks, Andy Serkis, Kyle Chandler

Why I loved this film: At first it seemed quite boring and more of an attempt at a comedy picture than action, which was the original aim, but soon it became obvious where they were heading. I also liked the fact that, although this was a remake, there were several new scenes (that is why it runs an hour longer than the original movie).
But most of all, I liked how King Kong was portrayed, at first you see him as a beast but soon he becomes more human than most humans, making us fall in love with him.
Through this film, we can see how cruel people can be, especially ignorant ones. At the end, when someone is questioning how come he got himself cornered, another person answered that "he's an animal, he doesn't know what he's doing". I believe this should teach us a lesson that animals have feelings too and we should not let ignorance get in the way of peace, therefore we must "live and let live"!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Johnny English Reborn (William Davies, Hamish McColl, Neal Purvis, Robert Wade)

In his latest adventure, directed by Oliver Parker, the most unlikely intelligence officer in Her Majesty's Secret Service must stop a group of international assassins before they eliminate a world leader and cause global chaos. In the last years, Johnny has been training his unique skills in Tibet, but when his agency superiors learn of an attempt against the Chinese leader's life, they must hunt down the highly unorthodox agent.
Now that the world needs him once again, Johnny English is back in action. With one shot at redemption, he must employ the latest in hi-tech gadgets to unravel a web of conspiracy that runs throughout the KGB, CIA and even MI-7. With only a few days to do it all...

Starring: Rowan Atkinson, Gillian Anderson, Rosamund Pike, Dominic West, Daniel Kaluuya

What I liked about this film: I did not go to see it straight away because I saw the first one and did not find it very funny, but this sequel was totally worth it!
The story was hilarious from beginning to end, with a lot of suspense in between. It keeps you on your toes!

What I disliked about this film: A lot of times you can see Mr. Bean return - it becomes a little tiring to watch Rowan Atkinson in similar roles, since in Britain he is known for so much more -, I still miss his Blackadder humour!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Set Up (Felix Riley)

Mike Byrne wants to know who framed him for murder; The N.Y.P.D. want Byrne locked up; The U.S. Secret Service want him dead; Detective Jenni Martinez just wants her gun and badge back. The thing is, you do not always get what you want!
Mike Byrne has three days to stop a deadly game that will bring America to its knees - and he has just been set up.

Quote: "America was under attack, Diane, and we had one lead in the whole world: the Bin Ladens. And did we detain them? Did we question them? Did we find out who did this to America...?
No, we flew them back to Saudi Arabia. As our guests. First class. The only civilian flight on September 12. The government asked us to solve the goddamn crime and then flew the evidence out of the country. It was like asking the Yankees to win the World Series without baseball bats. We sold the American people down the goddamn river, Diane. It was a joke. A charade. And if what we're doing is a charade then what's the goddamn point in doing it? I mean, really?"

Why this book speaks to me: I thought I was about to read what seemed like just a story with a lot of suspense, however, I soon realised it was more than that. The book deals with a mixture between the 9/11 attacks and the Madoff scheme, which I particularly enjoyed because it also explains how the latter managed to fool people and the effects such a scheme had on American banks. Being in Europe, there were details I did not know about!
Overall, this is an intelligent story which will keep you reading to find out what happens, but it also lets you in on the problems America has been facing lately, in particular regarding the markets; But if you are not an expert on finances, like me, the author explains everything in detail, so you will still understand the plot.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Midnight in Paris (Woody Allen)

Gil and Inez travel to Paris to enjoy a vacation while her parents are there on business. Gil is a successful Hollywood writer but is struggling on his first novel, he happens to fall in love with the city and thinks they should move there after they are married, but Inez does not share his romantic notions of the city or the idea that the 1920's were the golden age. When Inez goes off dancing with her friends, Gil takes a walk at midnight and discovers what could be the ultimate source of inspiration for writing: A get together with all the famous artists from the past.

Gil's daily walks at midnight in Paris could take him closer to the heart of the city but further from the woman he is about to marry.

Starring: Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Carla Bruni, Kathy Bates, Marion Cotillard, Adrien Brody

Why I loved this film: I found amazing the contrast between the different times and the appearance of all the writers I read while growing up, namely Ernest Hemingway and T.S. Eliot. The whole movie was very well done, with pretty funny and clever dialogues. The way the scenes moved so rapidly from the 1920's to the year 2010 and so forth just showed once again the sagacity of Woody Allen as he rewrites history "Hollywood Style"!
I also loved the moral of the story: We should all make the most of life in our own time and show a little more indifference to a past that may not have existed as we know it.
In the end, whatever happens, just follow your heart!

Thursday, October 06, 2011

R.I.P. Steve Jobs

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs has died at the age of 56 following a long battle with pancreatic cancer.
According to Sky News, Obama has described the CEO of Apple as a "visionary": "The world has lost a visionary. And there may be no greater tribute to Steve's success than the fact that much of the world learnt of his passing on a device he invented." (For those who have not been aware, that device is the iphone!)
Now it seems a bit ironic that in times of financial crisis leading to unemployment, even the man named "Jobs" has passed away...
May he rest in peace!

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

The Book With No Name (Anonymous)

An untitled book by an anonymous author brings death to anyone who reads it, at the same time 'The eye of the moon' - a mysterious blue stone - has gone missing, which means that all hell is about to break loose in Santa Mondega.
In this originally self-published Internet sensation, bartender Sanchez, crime boss El Santino, several bounty hunters, a hitman dressed as Elvis, two courageous monks, a detective from the Department of Supernatural Investigations, a retired cop who cannot let go, a scary fighter on a chopped Harley, and a whole bunch of low-lives, are going to meet on the violent streets of Santa Mondega.
A total eclipse will soon cast the town into darkness and it will get bloody... Because I have not yet mentioned the Bourbon Kid...
Remember: Everyone who reads the book with no name is murdered. The only way to find out is to read it yourself...

"Dear Reader,
Only the pure of heart may look upon the pages of this book.
Every page you turn, every chapter you read, will bring you closer to the end.
Not everyone will make it. The many different plots and styles may dazzle and confuse.
And all the while as you search for the truth, it will be there right before you.
Darkness will come, and with it great evil.
And those who have read the book may never see the light again."

Why this book speaks to me: I was intrigued when I saw this book with no name written by an anonymous author, but what really made me buy it was the sentence at the back, in capital letters: "WHATEVER YOU DO, DON'T READ THE BOOK WITH NO NAME".
Being the stubborn person that I am, I just had to buy it and I did not regret a single second. This really is Tarantino meets The Da Vinci Code, where a quest for a precious stone turns into a bloody scene, with a book as the main focus of interest.
I am not a big fan of vampire stories, but this is very well done, it kept me wanting to read more, with many plot changes, so that when you think you know who the killer is... A surprise comes along...
And I will not reveal the ending, but it was completely unexpected...

Friday, September 30, 2011

Crazy, Stupid, Love (Dan Fogelman)

As directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, Cal and Emily have the perfect life together... Until Emily inadvertently announces that she wants a divorce. Down and depressed, Cal starts drinking away his sorrows at a local bar, attempting to make sense of this dilemma to anyone who will listen. Jacob, a long-term bachelor, takes notice and makes it his personal mission to help Cal get over his wife... And become a new man in the process.

Starring: Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone, Marisa Tomei, Kevin Bacon, Josh Groban

Why I loved this film: To begin with, they managed to assemble an amazing cast in a romantic comedy that is absolutely hilarious, by the end I was crying from laughing so much!!!... I also loved Ryan Gosling's naked body... But, most of all, I simply adored the way love is dealt with throughout the whole movie, it is not always as it seems, and when you find your soul mate, even if you believe that person is in love with someone else, you should never stop fighting, no matter how long it takes, because in the end you might get a surprise... And Ryan Gosling is so cute!... Finally, it shows that a playboy can change his game when the right person comes along and fall into the trap that is love, since, in the end, that is what everyone really searches for!
In this film, love is handled according to all perspectives and ages in the sweetest, funniest, and most realistic way - lies and honesty mixed together - because the important matter is to find your soul mate and never let him go!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Summer and the City (Candace Bushnell)

Summer is a magical time in New York City and Carrie is in love with all of it: The crazy characters in her neighbourhood; the vintage-clothing boutiques; the wild parties; and the glamorous man who has swept her off her feet. Best of all, she is finally in a real writing class, taking her first steps towards fulfilling her dream.
This sequel to "The Carrie Diaries" brings surprising revelations as Carrie learns to navigate her way around the Big Apple, going from being a country "sparrow" - as Samantha Jones calls her - to the person she always wanted to be. But as it becomes increasingly difficult to reconcile her past with her future, Carrie realises that making it in New York is much more complicated than she ever imagined.
This is the irresistible story of how Carrie met Samantha and Miranda, and what turned a small-town girl into one of New York City's most unforgettable icons, Carrie Bradshaw.

Quote: "I hear his footsteps cross the floor, followed by the squeak of the door. Get over it, I scold myself. It's not a big deal. They had sex. So what? It's not my business. But still. Doesn't Ryan care about his fiancée? And what about Maggie and her two boyfriends? Are there no limits when it comes to sex? Is sex really so powerful it can erase your history and common sense?"

Why this book speaks to me: Although Carrie is only seventeen in this novel, she deals with relationships like anyone else and I see a lot of my questions and doubts in her narrations. I have dealt with what she goes through - although in other scenarios - and I am left thinking about how this can help me, the same way it does when you talk to friends. I really felt inspired by "Summer and the City"!
On a lighter note, it is fun to realise how the four friends we are so used to watching on T.V. get together (even if Charlotte only makes an appearance at the very end).

Monday, September 19, 2011

Farce of the Penguins (Bob Saget)

It is mating season...
In Antarctica it is 58 degrees below zero...
Every year, millions of penguins arrive in search of something we all desire. No, not fish, yuck... I meant love!
This is a story about love, determination and birds getting down to business. For many years, two penguins have been taking part in the annual mating ritual, they have sex with a female, make an egg, disappear for months in search of food and never see the "girl" or baby again. However, this year things will be a lot different...
Carl is finally ready for more than just some penguin arse. He wants the beautiful Melissa to be the love of his life. Therefore, it is now time for Jimmy to help his neurotic friend to conquer her heart... And also find his dream "girl". The only things standing in his way are... One hundred kilometres through Antarctica. It will be a trip like no other, when these two friends get together to make the journey towards paradise.
Watch out for a tough, and a little dirty, voyage!

Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Jason Alexander, Christina Applegate, James Belushi, Jason Biggs, Dane Cook, Drea de Matteo, Whoopi Goldberg, Alyson Hannigan, Jamie Kennedy, Lori Loughlin, Mo'Nique, Tracy Morgan, Bob Saget, John Stamos, Jodie Sweetin, Damon Wayans

Why I loved this film: This spoof of March of the Penguins is one of my favourite films ever!
Farce of the Penguins brings a whole new meaning to documentaries, although it seems like porn for penguins... This is a love story in Animal World, where I see my life through the eyes of a penguin...
I had to buy the DVD in order to watch it every time I feel down, the jokes never get old, the cast is brilliant and you get to check out every movie rolled into one: comedy, musicals and the unavoidable love story with a happy ending.
After all this, there is only one thought left... Will I ever find the right penguin for me?

The 2011 Primetime Emmy Awards

Hosted by Jane Lynch

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series: Julie Bowen (Modern Family)

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series: Ty Burrell (Modern Family)

Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series: Michael Spiller (Modern Family)

Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series: Steven Levitan & Jeffrey Richman

-> Jane Lynch: "Welcome back to the Modern Family Awards!"

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series: Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory)

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series: Melissa McCarthy (Mike & Molly)

-> I loved that all the female nominees went up onstage as if they were in a Beauty Pageant, Melissa even received the flowers and crown!

Outstanding Reality Competition Program: The Amazing Race

Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Series: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

Outstanding Directing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Series: Don Roy King (Saturday Night Live)

Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series: Jason Katims (Friday Night Lights)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series: Margo Martindale (Justified)

Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series: Martin Scorsese (Boardwalk Empire)

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series: Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones)

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series: Julianna Margulies (The Good Wife)

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series: Kyle Chandler (Friday Night Lights)

Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Drama Special: Julian Fellowes (Downton Abbey)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie: Maggie Smith (Downton Abbey)

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie: Barry Pepper (The Kennedys)

Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Drama Special: Brian Percival (Downton Abbey)

-> In Memoriam: R.I.P. all those who left us, but I was sad to realise that Peter Falk (Columbo), Tom Bosley (Happy Days) and Bubba Smith (Police Academy) have passed away recently. All three were great actors and will be missed!
I loved that this was shown to the sound of Hallelujah, which I absolutely adore and found really appropriate.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie: Guy Pearce (Mildred Pierce)

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie: Kate Winslet (Mildred Pierce)

-> I was thrilled about Guy Pearce. I remember him on an Australian TV Show called Neighbours, which I used to watch back in England as a little kid. It is nice to see how much he has grown, physically, but most of all, professionally. I felt very proud!

Outstanding Miniseries or Movie: Downton Abbey

Outstanding Drama Series: Mad Men

Outstanding Comedy Series: Modern Family

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Shirley (Charlotte Bront√ę)

The struggling manufacturer, Robert Moore, has introduced labour-saving machinery to his Yorkshire mill, arousing a commotion of unemployment and discontent among his workers. Robert considers marriage to the wealthy and independent Shirley Keeldar to solve his financial woes, yet his heart lies with his cousin Caroline, who, bored and desperate, lives as a dependent in her uncle's home with no prospect of a career.
Shirley, meanwhile, is in love with Robert's brother, an impoverished tutor, who is a match opposed by her family. As industrial unrest builds to a potentially fatal pitch, can those four be reconciled?
Set during the Napoleonic wars at a time of national economic struggles, Shirley is an unsentimental yet passionate depiction of conflict between classes, sexes and generations.

Quote: "Mr Yorke wished to know whether this interference, vigilance and coercion would feed those who were hungry, give work to those who wanted work and whom no man would hire. He scouted the idea of inevitable evils; he said public patience was a camel, on whose back the last atom that could be borne had already been laid, and that resistance was now a duty: the wide-spread spirit of disaffection against constituted authorities, he regarded as the most promising sign of the times; the masters, he allowed, were truly aggrieved, but their main grievances had been heaped on them by a 'corrupt, base, and bloody' government (these were Mr Yorke's epithets). Madmen like Pitt, demons like Castlereagh, mischievous idiots like Perceval, were the tyrants, the curses of the country, the destroyers of her trade. It was their infatuated perseverance in an unjustifiable, a hopeless, a ruinous war, which had brought the nation to its present pass. It was their monstrously oppressive taxation, it was the infamous 'Orders in Council' - the originators of which deserved impeachment and the scaffold, if ever public men did - that hung a millstone about England's neck."

What I liked about this book: First of all, it is amazing how its main subject remains so true to our times! Shirley could have been written nowadays, if not for several occurrences connecting it to what Charlotte Bront√ę was going through, in particularly the deaths and illnesses that took her family away, starting with Charlotte's mum.
I was also glad this was not a romantic novel, I felt it was a breath of fresh air to be reading about different matters, although marriage and passionate feelings were unavoidable.
I loved the way she talks to the reader, as if she were telling us the story herself instead of writing it... I was captivated by this closeness.
Last, but not least, I cannot help feeling thrown back with the descriptions of the places, having been in Haworth myself, I am still in awe of the place and the Bront√ę books always manage to bring me back to the most wonderful location I have ever been at!

What I disliked about this book: There were too many characters to remember, which had me lost at some points, and the story, itself, was too long!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Paul (Nick Frost and Simon Pegg)

Greg Mottola directed this film where Graeme Willy and Clive Gollings are two English Science Fiction geeks about to dive into the heart of alien America. There they meet a very lively E.T., Paul, who leads them on a crazy trip!
While trying by all means to get Paul back home, both guys become some sort of heroes thanks to this little green being!

Starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Jane Lynch, Seth Rogen, Jason Bateman, Sigourney Weaver

What I liked about this film: Paul is so cute!!! There are very funny lines and it is a new approach to the alien movies. Besides, they managed to get an amazing cast together!
I also learnt a new life lesson: "Sometimes, you just gotta roll the dice."

What I disliked about this film: It is a comedy version of E.T., therefore it may seem like there are too many alien movies around: The punch lines should be stronger for this one to stand out.

Charlie Sheen on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno

Despite his cocaine and hooker addiction, Mr. Sheen is one fine actor!
I am personally going to miss him on "Two and a Half Men", that show will not be the same again!
However, this week, I was very much surprised to see that besides being a great and funny actor, Charlie Sheen is also able to laugh at himself. The Hollywood star made an appearance on "The Tonight Show", talked about his habits, family, statements made throughout these hard times and admitted to being out of control... But the most hilarious moment was when Jay Leno asked him if he was dating anyone right now, to which Mr. Sheen answered: "I don't think you can call what I do dating".
Charlie left the audience on a good note, saying that "I can't do it again, Jay. I don't have the energy. I'm out of slogans."

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Friends with Benefits (Keith Merryman, David A. Newman, Will Gluck and Harley Peyton)

During the opening few minutes of this film, directed by Will Gluck, Jamie and Dylan are both dumped by their significant others, prompting each to decide that it is the time to take a break from everything resembling an emotional relationship.
Dylan is a genuine hot shot at a dot.com when head hunter Jamie is hired to wrangle him as GQ's newest art director.
After a few months in New York, Dylan and Jamie decide that they should adopt a friend with benefits lifestyle, as they are both done with the dating game. After the ground rules are set, the two get to it.

The plot finally comes around as the back and forth connection between Dylan and Jamie becomes apparent and the two are forced to actually deal with their feelings for each other. Friends With Benefits is a romantic comedy, so there are the typical situations of overhearing a conversation that was misunderstood and a brief entrance of a potential love interest.

Starring: Justin Timberlake, Mila Kunis, Jenna Elfman, Richard Jenkins, Woody Harrelson

Why I loved this film: At first I thought I was just going to see a comedy about two friends having sex, but it turned out to be more than that... I saw my life and personality in Jamie (Mila Kunis' character), the person who only meets douchebags and puts on a strong front, but deep down all she wants is to be loved and keep searching for the perfect guy, although he is there all the time, and when it comes to friends with benefits, someone always ends up getting hurt. But most of all, as they say in the movie, "everyone is damaged" regarding love!
I guess this film gave me hope of a happy ending in my own life.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Ok Go and The Muppets

Due to the release of "The Muppets" movie, the four nerdy hipsters from Los Angeles, Ok Go, joined forces with the creations of Jim Henson and the result is this brilliant cover of the Muppet Theme Song. Not to mention the pretty funny video that goes along with it... Well done!

Monday, September 05, 2011

Happy Birthday, Freddie Mercury, wherever you are...

Freddy Mercury would have been 65 today if he were alive.
The former Queen lead singer was born in Zanzibar, Tanzania. His parents, Bomi and Jer Bulsara, were Parsis from the Gujarat region of the then province of Bombay Presidency in British India. The Bulsara family had moved to Zanzibar so that his father could continue his job as a cashier at the British Colonial Office. He had a younger sister, Kashmira.
In 1954, at the age of eight, Freddie Mercury was sent to study at St. Peter's School, a British-style boarding school for boys in Panchgani, near Bombay, India. It was at St. Peter's that he began to call himself "Freddie".
At the age of 17, Mercury and his family fled from Zanzibar for safety reasons due to the 1964 Zanzibar Revolution.They moved into a small house in Feltham, Middlesex, England. Freddie enrolled at Isleworth Polytechnic in West London where he studied art and remained a British citizen for the rest of his life.
In April 1970, Freddie Mercury joined guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor in a new band that he named "Queen", stating that "I was certainly aware of the gay connotations, but that was just one facet of it". At about the same time, he changed his surname, Bulsara, to Mercury.
According to his partner Jim Hutton, Freddie was diagnosed with AIDS shortly after Easter of 1987, although our beloved singer claimed in an interview to have tested negative for HIV.
However, his inner circle of colleagues and friends, whom he felt he could trust, continually denied the stories, even after one front page article showed Mercury appearing very haggard in what was now a rare public appearance. Brian May confirmed in a 1993 interview that Mercury had informed the band of his illness much earlier. Filmed in May 1991, the music video for "These Are the Days of Our Lives" features a very thin Mercury, where these are his final scenes in front of a camera.
Near the end of his life, Freddie was starting to lose his sight and his deterioration was so overpowering that he could not get out of bed. Due to his worse conditions, he decided to quicken death by refusing to take his medication.
Freddie Mercury died on the evening of November 24th, 1991, at the age of 45, at his home in Kensington. The official cause of death was bronchial pneumonia resulting from AIDS.
I remember being on the school bus the next morning as I heard the news and feeling so sad: The world had lost rock's greatest all-time entertainer with one of the most wonderful voices in music!
Happy 65th, Freddie Mercury, you will always be remembered for the magical moments you provided us!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Horrible Bosses (Michael Markowitz, John Francis Daley and Jonathan M. Goldstein)

In this film, directed by Seth Gordon, three friends conspire to murder their awful bosses when they realise they are standing in the way of their happiness.
Nick hates his boss, mostly because he is expected to work from before sunrise to after sunset and Mr. Harken calls him out for being two minutes late and blackmails him so he cannot quit. Dale hates his boss, Dr. Julia Harris, because she makes unwelcome sexual advances while he is engaged to someone else. But Dale is on a list of child offenders so he cannot quit. Kurt actually likes his job and his boss, well, up until his boss dies, then the boss' drug addict, psychopath son takes over. But who would be crazy enough to quit their jobs in such poor economic times? Instead Nick, Dale and Kurt drunkenly and hypothetically discuss how to kill those horrible beings, and before they know it, a murder consultant comes into the picture to help them pull off the three deeds.

Starring: P.J. Byrne, Kevin Spacey, Colin Farrell, Jennifer Aniston, Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis, Donald Sutherland, Jamie Foxx

Why I loved this film: Besides being very funny, I can relate in many ways to this movie, except for the killing part. In particularly because Nick's boss reminds me a lot of my former boss, except for the fact that I worked for a woman, then again it shows you how hard the times really are and how much sh*t you need to take before you are actually able to move up, but due to the sudden economic crisis you have to think before you ever say "I quit", that is why a lot of bosses take advantage of the situation.
This film really made me realise that I am not alone, unfortunately there are many "Horrible Bosses" around the world!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Jersey Shore Killed the Video Star

MTV has turned 30 this month, so to honour it The Tonight Show staff came up with the following spoof from "Video killed the radio star". I just thought it was so funny - And so true - that I had to share it:

The Invention of Lying (Ricky Gervais and Matthew Robinson)

This hilarious comedy takes place in a different reality where lies do not exist. Everyone tells the truth and nothing more than the truth, even politicians and adverts.
However, when a loser named Mark discovers the art of lying he quickly begins to understand that dishonesty may be rewarded. In a world where every word is heard as the only possible truth, Mark begins his journey to fame and fortune through lying. But things get out of hand pretty fast when his lies become The Bible to the people.
He has the whole world under his feet - except for the woman he loves - will she fall under the same spell?

Starring: Ricky Gervais, Jennifer Garner, Jonah Hill, Louis C.K., Jeffrey Tambor, Fionnula Flanagan, Rob Lowe, Tina Fey, Jason Bateman, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Edward Norton, Stephen Merchant, Conner Rayburn

Why I loved this film: It has to be by far the most hilarious and brilliant film I have seen, especially today because I was feeling like a loser myself and it really lifted my spirits!
It deals with the fact that in this stupid world people care mostly about looks than what is inside, when in the end of the day it is better to be with someone who is not as handsome but loves you more than anything than to be with an idiot who only cares about himself.
I also love the fact that, knowing what an Atheist Ricky really is, he used his brilliant writing skills to show us that we believe in what we want in order to get us through our days, hence "the Man in the Sky" who will give us mansions after we die and will be responsible for all good and bad things that take place in our lives. I especially enjoyed the paper headlines the following day: "Nasa is looking for Man in the Sky".
But these white lies will save a suicidal guy or even let an old woman die in peace. That is why sometimes it is best to lie... And everyone does it, just do not let those lies get out of hand.
However, I have to say I wish I could just go up to a bank and say I want to withdraw a huge amount of money and they would just give it to me without checking if I really had that much, or I even wish I could just go up to the guy I love and tell him that the Man in the Sky wishes for us to be together... Now, that would be a dream come true!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Hangover (Jon Lucas and Scott Moore)

The guys planned an unforgettable bachelor party in Vegas. But now they need to remember what actually happened!
Who's baby is that inside their closet at Caesars Palace?
How does Mike Tyson's tiger end up in their bathroom?
Why is one of the guys missing a tooth?
But, most importantly, where is the groom???
What they did while partying is nothing compared to what they have to do now, sober, in order to put the pieces together concerning all the bad decisions they made the previous night - Please, one confusing clue at a time. Director Todd Phillips does a great job, together with a cast of comedy stars, within a plot where unpredictable situations appear somehow and only start making sense as the story unfolds...

Starring: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Heather Graham, Justin Bartha, Jeffrey Tambor

Why I loved this film: First of all, Bradley Cooper is absolutely gorgeous, so that is a plus.
The storyline is very well written, hilarious from beginning to end and totally unpredictable. It leaves you guessing what will happen next, every step of the way!
I had heard a lot of good things about "The Hangover", but it is funnier than I ever expected!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Traffic Light (Adapted from the Israeli TV Series "Ramzor" by Bob Fisher)

It is a comedy about how friendships and romances both enhance and complicate our lives, which focuses on three longtime friends and their attempts to navigate the demands of their relationships.
This is a tale of three college friends who are in their 30s. They are Mike, Adam and Ethan. At present, these handsome men find themselves to be at a very different stage of their lives.
Mike is a lawyer, married to Lisa, who just wants to be a good and obedient husband. His wife is understanding and thereby tries to give him his space. This is the reason that their relationship remains with that spark and is still rocking.
Adam is a bachelor and has recently begun to stay with his girlfriend Callie. In the process, he understands that "she lives with me" is very different from "she comes over a lot".
Ethan is a perpetual bachelor who simply loves women. When he is with them, he is together for about 3 weeks. However, gradually Ethan is finding out that with his age women are losing interest on him. Luckily, the singleton has a charming bulldog, Carl, to fall back upon when he is emotionally down.

Starring: David Denman, Nelson Franklin, Kris Marshall, Liza Lapira, Aya Cash

What I like about this TV Series: I missed seeing Kris Marshall on a comedy series, he is one of the most brilliant and funny actors I know.
I also like their perspective on relationships and how it is seen from three different angles, so no one will feel left out. It is funny, but most of all, interesting.

What I dislike about this TV Series: Sometimes I feel that the scenes take place quite fast, especially the car conversations, making it a bit harder to follow.

Friends (TV Series created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman)

Ten seasons letting us in the lives, loves and laughs of six young friends living in Manhattan.
Rachel Green left her fiancé at the altar and had to start over from scratch after dad cut her allowance. She moved in with Monica at the beginning and has had jobs at Central Perk, Bloomingdale's and Ralph Lauren. Later on, her and Ross have a baby girl.
Ross Geller is a paleontologist and has had three wives. His first wife, Carol, finds out she is a lesbian while pregnant with his baby. His second wife, Emily, is crushed when he accidentally calls her Rachel. He and Rachel get married while they are both drunk.
Ross' sister, and Rachel's best friend, Monica Geller is a chef who eventually marries Chandler Bing.
Chandler is Ross's best friend, and secretly dated his sister for about 6-7 months. Monica and Chandler want to have a baby after Rachel has hers, but they cannot, so they decide to adopt. They eventually find out that the pregnant mother is having twins.

Starring: Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt Le Blanc, Matthew Perry, David Schwimmer

Why the love for this TV Series: I could not let one of my favourite TV shows pass me by and not post it here. I was very sad when it came to an end because after ten years you feel like you know the characters very well and, as it would be, you want to keep seeing them and where they are heading, but I think they got out at the right time, before it became too much for the audience.
However, their hilarious one liners and situations will never be forgotten, they made it seem so much fun that I wish I belonged to such a group.
One of the best shows ever, no doubt about that!

The truth about Cats & Dogs (Audrey Wells)

In this film, directed by Michael Lehmann, Abby is a successful veterinarian with her own radio show and low self-esteem when it comes to men. When Ben, a handsome listener of the show, asks her out to dinner, Abby asks beautiful neighbour and friend Noelle to replace her on the date.
However, Abby and Brian start to fall in love while talking on the telephone, while Noelle is falling in love with a very confused Brian in person, creating a chain of hilarious situations and misunderstandings, which lead to total chaos.

Starring: Uma Thurman, Janeane Garofalo, Ben Chaplin, Jamie Foxx

Why I loved this film: I see myself in Abby's character when it comes to men, so I truly understand where she is coming from, and I also love animals, although I prefer dogs.
But above all, I liked that it mainly focuses on the fact that looks do not matter, you can look at a beautiful person and find out you have nothing in common and then click with someone at whom you would not have looked twice.
It also tells you that you may think you know someone really well at first, but that is not the case, so always keep your eyes (and your heart) open for any situation.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall (Jason Segel)

Nicholas Stoller directs this comedy about the hard task that is moving on and getting over a broken heart after being dumped.
Musician Peter Bretter has spent the last five long and magnificent years idolising his famous girlfriend, movie star Sarah Marshall. However, his seeming perfect world comes tumbling down after Sarah dumps him for another musician, with whom she had been cheating for a year. Worse comes to worst when Peter's plans to move on backfire on him, leading us to believe that his worst nightmare has just begun.

Starring: Jason Segel, Kristen Bell, Mila Kunis, Russel Brand

Why I loved this film: To begin with, girls, Jason Segel appears completely naked! What more could we want?
Russel Brand is his usually hilarious self, everytime he appeared I cried from laughing so much!
I also relate to the character and the difficult journey that is to move on and search for the right person, especially if you are in love with someone who you should forget about, and it hurts even more when you see that person with another.
It also shows how hard it is to be single in a world filled with happy couples, but then there is the side of these newlyweds, who seem so happy, but are actually having marriage troubles.
I was not rooting for the happy ending, but I was glad both characters had to make an effort for it to work, so it was not the usual Hollywood ending, there was a little more reality involved. I particularly enjoyed when Mila's character turned to Peter and said that just because another woman had hurt him, it did not excuse him for acting like an idiot and hurting her too!
Overall, it made me feel good.