- The Haunting in Connecticut I was really nervous about watching this one because I'm a little bit of a wuss ever since I saw "The Ring". I used to love scary movies, but now I am just completely ridiculous. I admit that I did watch this movie mostly with my hands over my face. Despite all that, I really liked this movie! I am a little picky about scary movies, I like there to be a plot and some kind of redeeming part of the story. I liked this one because there was an ongoing story and it all fit together and made sense. I thought that the actor who played the son who was the main target of the haunting was amazing. I am curious about the "based on a true story" aspect, and spoke with someone afterwards who'd watched a documentary about the family. She said the movie took a lot of creative license with the plot, and I'd be very interested in seeing the documentary if I can get my hands on it! I would definitely recommend this one for fans of scary movies who don't like gore with no payoff!
- Monsters vs. Aliens Sam's Grandma took him to see this one, so we didn't see it for a while after it came out. We decided to go and see it on one of our date nights, and I LOVED it! I was so impressed by the animation, I just can't help but be amazed, especially when I sit down to watch "The Little Mermaid" or "Beauty and the Beast" and compare what the new animated movies looked like when I was growing up. The animation itself was more than enough to keep me enthralled through the entire movie, but then it was also funny! I love Seth Rogen and he was great as the blob, and I thought that all of the characters were well cast. A great film if you've got kids, or if you don't and just want a laugh and something cool to look at!
- Sunshine Cleaners I saw previews for this and it reminded me a little bit of Little Miss Sunshine, plus I thought the concept looked really interesting and quirky and funny. I really liked it! I was surprised by the fact that the person who really stole the show for me was Emily Blunt, as Amy Adam's sister who is snarky and searching for herself. I thought that she did an amazing job in this one, and outshined Adams, who was also good.
- Hannah Montana: The Movie Yeah, I totally went and saw this. I took my 10 year old sister to see it when I was in St. Louis last week. Yeah, yeah, if you know me you totally knew that I was going to see this whether or not I had a convenient excuse! Of course, I really liked it! I am a big fan of Miley Cyrus. There's just something about her. I think that she's really talented, and I hope that she won't get caught up in some Britney-style shit because I think she has major potential. Coincidentally I read an article about Miley, Billy Ray, and the movie in the American Airlines magazine on the way to St. Louis. It talked about how in many ways the movie is biographical, and that the director was absolutely blown away during the scene where Miley and her dad sing "Butterfly, Fly Away". It made the movie that much more interesting. There is something visceral about these movies involving boys and girls coming into their own. There's one scene where Miley breaks down because she's trying to do too much, and in the midst of losing her own boyfriend, she overhears her Dad and realizes how much her life is affecting his ability to be happy and explore new things of his own. Maybe it's just because I have a lot of empathy and tend to be a crybaby, but when I see this kind of thing, it hurts to remember feelings so lost and not knowing where life is going. It's a good hurt though, it reminds me what life is all about, we make it and we grow stronger.
- 17 Again We went to see 17 Again on another one of our date nights. I may have mentioned after seeing High School Musical 3 that I suddenly realized Zac Efron? Um, yeah, hot. And he's totally not quite jailbait... he's 21. Anyhow.... I always love movies that involve magical transformation to a younger/older age or people switching bodies and having to play each other. So of course I liked this! Warning, my husband was somewhat creeped out by the sexual tension between Zac Efron & his wife while he was in his 17 year old body. I wasn't that creeped out, because I knew that he wasn't just one of her son's friends, but it was a sort of crazy situation! If you like movies like '13 Going on 30" and "Big", you'll surely like this one too!
- Crank: High Voltage Yeah, I sort of debated about whether to include this one on a list of things that "entertained" me. That was 2 hours of my life I can't get back. Okay, I didn't HATE it, but I didn't really like it either. My husband went to see it on Monday, and thought I'd at least find it interesting for the filming and cinematography style. I like Jason Statham, but this was basically a schizophrenic violence, tit and ass festival. The thing that I did like was Amy Smart as his sort of dumb but hard as nails totally addicted to him girlfriend. I thought she was pretty hilarious! Anyhow, I suppose if you liked the first Crank, you'll like this. Otherwise, don't bother.
- 30 Rock So, this is nothing new, but I NEVER get tired of telling people about 30 Rock. I think that it's absolutely one of the funniest shows on TV right now, every episode makes me laugh out loud more than once. Tracy Morgan and Alec Baldwin are so completely hilarious and who could fight lines like Alec Baldwin saying he used to know the postmaster general, but they had a falling out over the Jerry Garcia stamp: "If I wanted to lick a hippie, I'd return Joan Baez's phone calls"?
- Julie and Julia by Julie Powell I've had this book sitting on my bookshelf for a couple of years, and it's been brought up at book club a couple of times, but we've never chosen it as one of our reads. I read last year in EW that they were making a movie so decided it was about time I read it! It's the story of Julie Powell, who decides that she should cook every recipe (524 of them) in Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" in one year. I thought it was great. I think one of the things I liked most about it is that Julie was just a normal young woman. As the book went on, I could see more and more how much I liked Julie, I'd like to hang out with her. She didn't have culinary experience, so she is appropriately skeeved and simultaneously fascinated by having to extract the marrow from a cow bone. An entertaining read for anyone who has ever bitten off more than they could chew, gone on a journey to find themselves, or is just interested in cooking and food!
- Magic Street by Orson Scott Card Card is one of my husband and my favorite authors. He's on the 'short list' of authors whose books we still buy in hardback when they come out. My husband read this a while back and has been trying to get me to read it, I started it earlier this year and then lost it. A couple of weeks ago I finally found the book under my bed, I guess it had fallen and gotten kicked under the bed when I unpacked it after my trip in January. I had a little bit of a hard time getting into it, but once I got a few chapters in I was hooked. The story works in Shakespeare's 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' and becomes totally fantastical and magical beyond what you see in the beginning. I was also super impressed by Card's ability to write characters so well who are not really... in his life too much? I mean, he's a Mormon from Utah and this book takes place in a black neighborhood in L.A. I thought that the characters were really authentic. I am constantly amazed by the things that Card is able to come up with. I hadn't read any of his stuff before meeting my husband, and now I have made my way through a good portion of it and it contains some of my favorite books. This is a departure from the Science Fiction genre, and purely in the realistic fantasy realm. I'd highly recommend it for anyone who is a fan of Card, or who is just looking for a really good story. I listened to the first half of it on audiobook, and really enjoyed the author's voice (sometimes that's a sticking point for me). I also enjoyed reading the afterward of the book, where Card credits friend Roland Bernard Brown with goading him into writing a novel featuring a black hero, which seem to be a little lacking. Very interesting, and a good read. This would be a great one for summer reading!
- Hunted by P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast I discovered the House of Night series after I had read the Twilight books, and was looking for something to fill the void so to speak. I love shopping in the Young Adult section, and have been pretty happy about the emergence of more 'horror' (vampires & werewolves, yay!) books in the section. I was totally sucked in to these books from the start. They take place in a reality where vampires exist - it's a trait that stays dormant until adolescense, and when it emerges, teens who are afflicted must go to one of the House of Night schools to be with their kind or they will die. I love the vampire mythology in these books - it's all based on a Goddess, and it's a culture all it's own, and doesn't involve hunting people or being really bad. It's very, very female-centric and features very strong female characters, which is wonderful. The latest book in the series didn't disappoint - in each book the story gets more complex and rich, and I will eagerly await the next one from this mother & daughter writing team!
- City of Bones by Cassandra Clare Another Young Adult title, this is the first book in the Mortal Instruments series. I got this one from a friend who shares almost the exact taste in books that I do, and really liked it. At first glance it looked long, but since it's a Young Adult book it reads easy. One of the things I like about reading Young Adult Sci-Fi/Fantasy is that they are often VERY character driven. This one was no different, underneath the magic, there is a young girl who is discovering a past she didn't know she had while searching for her missing mother. The description from Amazon (courtesy of School Library Journal) reads: Grade 8 Up–When Clary Fray witnesses three tattoo-covered teenagers murder another teen, she is unable to prove the crime because the victim disappears right in front of her eyes, and no one else can see the killers. She learns that the teens are Shadowhunters (humans who hunt and kill demons), and Clary, a mundie (i.e., mundane human), should not be able to see them either. Shortly after this discovery, her mother, Jocelyn, an erstwhile Shadowhunter, is kidnapped. Jocelyn is the only person who knows the whereabouts of The Mortal Cup, a dangerous magical item that turns humans into Shadowhunters. Clary must find the cup and keep it from a renegade sector of Shadowhunters bent on eliminating all nonhumans, including benevolent werewolves and friendly vampires. Amid motorcycles powered by demon energies, a telepathic brotherhood of archivists, and other moments of great urban fantasy, the story gets sidetracked by cutesy touches, like the toasted bat sandwich on the menu of an otherworldly restaurant. The characters are sporadically characterized and tend toward behavior that is both predictable and slightly repellent–Clary finds out who her real father is about 200 pages after readers will have it figured out. Despite the narrative flaws, this version of New York, full of Buffyesque teens who are trying to save the world, is entertaining and will have fantasy readers anxiously awaiting the next book in the series.–Heather M. Campbell, Philip S. Miller Library, Castle Rock, CO Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Fans of Twilight, the House of Night Series etc will probably like this book. It's another one that would make a great summer read!
- Panic in Level 4 by Richard Preston I'm a big fan of Richard Preston. The Hot Zone is one of my favorite books. Okay, maybe it is a little weird that I am totally fascinated by Ebola and other level 4 viruses. Whatever. I recently found my copy of The Cobra Event and started re-reading it last weekend during my garage sale, and am enjoying it just as much the second time around. I stopped at the library last week to pick up something to listen to on my drive to Seattle, and since I had Sam with me I didn't have much time to make a choice. I grabbed this one because I've liked Preston's stuff in the past, but I had no idea how interesting it would be! Preston has been a writer of essays for the New Yorker for many years, and this book is a collection of some of those essays. I was immediately drawn in to the story of two brothers who built a super computer in their apartment to try and calculate Pi to millions of digits. This is one of those books that I'm so glad I picked up becasue it's so well written and I am just absorbing information that I never would have come across otherwise. Preston writes so intelligently and captures his subjects so well. It's a great read, and I'd recommend it to anyone who loves learning new things and is curious about the world around us.
- FMyLife.com I don't know how I discovered this website. Maybe through Twitter? But it makes me laugh every day. Some of the stuff is stupid, but every once in a while you run across some real gems. Like... "Today, my boyfriend thought it would be sexy to throw me against the wall and kiss me like they do in the movies. Being all aggressive and smooth, he grabs my shirt and pushes me. He pushed a little too hard and my head was thrown back into the wall. I was knocked out for ten minutes. FML" and "Today, at lunch I was running to my group's table with my friend. She accidentally tripped me, and I slid across the café floor face first on my belly. The whole cafeteria was silent. They then broke out in hysterics when the head janitor ran up to me and yelled 'SAFE!' like a baseball umpire. FML". I'm sure that some part of my soul is dying from laughing at other people's pain, but it's still funny.
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