Wednesday, August 31, 2005
My biggest concern now is gas. I heard we are about to get enough fuel to last us 5 days and that there is no plan after that. The possibility scares me to death! I can't imagine how horrible it would be to not be able to buy gas for work. How do you call in for that? I may have to consider telecommuting for awhile until the gas situation changes. I hope my job allows that.
Sunday, August 28, 2005
Look at this picture. It's simply amazing. The power of this storm is truly awesome. A Category 5 hurricane in the gulf, headed for New Orleans.
I fear what will happen tonight. Not really for me, because we are out of the projected path, but for New Orleans, which is one of my favorite places to visit, a city with immeasurable charm and an infectious love for the good things in life (like good food and great music!)
Katrina is bearing down on New Orleans like a giant train heading for a brick wall, only the train will break through the wall and keep on going, I'm afraid. My heart and my prayers go out to the people of New Orleans. Know your friends in Alabama are thinking of you today and tomorrow.
Right now, an outer band is over my house. There is thunder and lightning. It's raining pretty hard, but the wind isn't too bad. I don't expect much wind here at my house. The problems in Alabama will be in the immediate coastal areas and the rivers. I'm far enough inland and high enough to be safe from that. I will spend this night monitoring the weather for any change in path and praying for the people in New Orleans. Maybe the storm will weaken before it hits them.
Saturday, August 27, 2005
It will scare them to death! Heck, I'm not a kid and some parts of this movie grossed me out and/or scared me a bit. But other than those bits, it was an interesting, entertaining and very strange movie. My best friend summed it up perfectly when she said, "It was good to see once, but I don't ever need to see it again."
It was definately that kind of movie. The Brothers Grimm starts with two young boys, their mother and their sister, who is very ill. One of the boys comes home and the mother asks if he sold the cow to get money to take their sister to the doctor. He said that he sold the cow and opened his hand. In the hand lay some beans. Magic beans, he said. One can only assume the sister died because they couldn't pay the doctor in magic beans.
Fifteen years later, we meet the brothers again, only this time they are the lovely Matt Damon and Heath Ledger. And can I just bask in the glory of those two adorable men playing brothers and having all that screen time together. (I think I need a boyfriend, lol) Anyway, they are traveling swindlers who prey upon the legends and superstitions of villagers by making their stories come to life using actors and lots of neat tricks, and then ridding the town of the menace. All for a heafty sum, of course. This seems to be a grand way to make money until someone sort of messes up their plans. I won't go any further just in case you want to see the film unspoiled. I will say this. The brothers get themselves in some pretty grim situations before the movie's end. It's positively hair-raising at times. (ugh, there are puns flying all over the place)
One thing that makes this film fun is the "can you spot the fairy tale reference" game that I personally played in my own mind throughout the movie. There are so many and it is really quite interesting to see how many you can spot. The story isn't just a rehashed fairy tale, though. It is more of a mixture of many stories, but told the Grimm way, not the Disney way.
Have you ever actually read a Grimm fairy tale? My best friend has a book of them and, let's just say that the stepmother in Cinderella doesn't shove the stepsisters' feet in the slippers, she actually removes toes with a shiny kitchen knife. That's gonna leave a mark!
Anyway, the end is fun and the movie is definately worth seeing once. See if you can name all the fairy tales. It really is quite fun!
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
Anyway, this campaign consists of some movie clips that are being released at different times on the Internet. These clips seem to include River Tam and her story before the movie (or actually even before the show Firefly) started. It goes into the history of River and how she ended up the way she is in Firefly and Serenity.
What an interesting way to conduct an underground marketing campaign! For more info about these video clips, see http://www.session416.com/ or click the Browncoats link at the bottom of my page to see discussion about it.
Sunday, August 21, 2005
That. Was. Awesome.
There, that's my review. Just kidding.
When we last left our heroes, they were saying goodbye to each other at the train platform after a terrible battle at the Ministry of Magic with Lord Voldemort himself. See, I'm not afraid to say his name. Anyway, this book begins with quite a bit of preamble involving certain characters that we have not yet met, and other characters that we thought we knew. After this somewhat different beginning, we see Harry, waiting for Dumbledore to come and get him for a mysterious mission. The mission, we find out later, is to help Dumbledore recruit a new teacher. Not exactly the stuff of legends, but Harry Potter can do anything, right? This book proves that, certainly.
Anyway, the book continues on and reveals some long-awaited answers to questions fans have had since the beginning of the series. However, it also raised some new questions and a mystery that will surely take more than one more book to solve. Unless J.K. Rowling is some kind of witch. (a good witch, of course!)
Some of the high points: *****Spoilers Ahead*****
Ron and Hermione... Yay!
Harry and Ginny..... Yay!
Lupin and Tonks.... Where did that come from... but still... Yay!!
Horcruxes - so many, so little time. How is Harry going to find four more of them by the end of Book 7? And he's not going back to Hogwarts? How strange is that going to be. However, I do look forward to seeing Ron and Hermione at the Dursleys house at the beginning of the next book.
Personally, I thought everything was very well done. It was truly a magical book, from the plot points to the relationships, everything was perfect. And the death, it made me cry. Lots. But I feel it had to be done. As a writer myself, who is actually contemplating killing off a particular character for the good of the story, I understand what a struggle Rowling must have had in doing it. I feel for her and applaud her decision. It was a beautifully written and appropriate death, and it caused many more questions to be answered in the next book.
I personally think she should give us at least two more, but that's just me.
The creepiness starts when Kate's character, Caroline, takes a job as a hospice nurse for an old man in the Louisiana bayou. He had a stroke while in the attic one day, and his wife is having trouble taking care of him, though she won't admit it. So they live in this huge, old plantation home with a long driveway that has a canopy of massive trees with swinging moss. Actually, it looks a lot like the house in Forrest Gump. My friend and I spent a few seconds amusing ourselves by whispering classic Forrest Gump quotes when the house was first introduced. But then the action really started, so we stopped whispering and paid more attention to the movie. And what a movie it was!
I have been waiting for a truly creepy movie, and this one fit all my requirements. It uses all the elements of a classic creepy movie, such as the rattling door and the key that unlocks every room but one (which also is the one that rattles, by the way) and the strange people who live in the huge house. Add in the Louisiana bayou and all the superstitions that surround it, and you've got yourself one heck of a creep-fest. The story surrounds the practice of hoodoo, which is like voodoo but, as they say in the movie, "voodoo is a religion, but hoodoo has nothing to do with God."
One very interesting and intriguing element of this story is the fact that hoodoo seems to not work until you believe in it, which inspires a lot of conversation afterward, if you're into that sort of deep, exestential, religious conversation, that is. My friend and I had a good time talking about things that don't work unless you believe in them and came to a consensus that there are such things out there, and that we don't believe in any of them!
It's been a good long while since I've seen a movie that had a twist I couldn't figure out before it actually happened. Movies just don't surprise me like they used to. But this one did. The ending is one twist after another, which leaves you sort of wondering...
Overall, great flick, good suspense, awesome scares, and a fun time at the movies.
The terror was well played, you could really feel the main character, Lisa's fear and grief at the decision she was being forced to make. And the way she behaves throughout the movie is the way you hope you will behave if you ever find yourself in such a situation. She was smart and resourceful, even to the very end.
Overall, a very interesting premise. As usual, I don't want to give anything away, but I will say that I will look much more carefully at the people who sit beside me on airplanes from now on, because you never really know who is sitting next to you. Of course, I don't know anything that would make me a target, but then, she didn't think she did either. I guess you never know.
Anyway, very actiony and interesting flick, definately a good way to spend an afternoon. A couple of very painful moments near the end. You'll never look at pens the same way again, I promise!
The only really bright spot in the movie is the adorable John Cusack, who really makes the film worthwhile. His character is endearing and wonderful, just the kind of man you hope to meet one day.
So the story goes: divorced girl's sister puts her profile up on match.com, divorced guy reads it, divorced girl and guy meet and don't really like each other, they meet again and do like each other, divorced girl has other guys interested in her, divorced guy finds out, saddness, then they get together in the end.
A modern love story, right?
It's cute, but often overly. It's funny, which is very enjoyable. So I guess overall, it's worth a matinee or a rental. Or guys might score some points by taking a girl to it if she likes cheesy chick flicks.
To clarify... Dark Water is not one of those movies. It had some effective cheap thrills, but the movie was just not that scary. And the worst thing is, within the first few minutes of the film, my friend and I both figured out the "big mystery" and it was all down hilll from there. One redeeming quality is that it had a creepy child. Movies are always better when there's a creepy child. So anyway, the movie is about a mother and child who move to an apartment building that looks scary all by itself. Let me tell you, even if I was extremely poor and couldn't find any place to live, I'd go to a homeless shelter before I'd rent an apartment that looked like this one. The halls and floors were dirty, the rooms had refuse left over from previous tenants, and the ceiling leaked some nasty "dark water." Which is where the mystery begins. What is all this nasty water and where is it coming from? Of course, you spend the rest of the movie knowing exactly what's going on because of a certain shot early on, but you have to watch the characters figure things out for themselves. It borders on annoying, actually.
Anyway, I won't go any further because I'd hate to ruin the surprise for those who don't figure it out right away. If you must, go see a matinee or wait for the DVD. Turn the lights off, turn the water on, and have a ball. But don't pay full price at the theater. You'll wish you hadn't. I do.
Thursday, August 18, 2005
What can I say? Just look at it! It's absolutely beautiful. And with less than 50 days left until the big opening day, it couldn't have come at a better time. I can't wait to visit my local theaters and see if they have this poster displayed in a prominent location. I haven't been this excited about a movie since Return of the King.
So I'll say it again... GO SEE SERENITY on Sept. 30! You won't regret it. For a review, check out my archives.
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
Sunday, August 14, 2005
Thursday, August 11, 2005
Anyway, the front page is much more interesting now, and it includes the newest US trailer, which I think is even better than the first.
So if you haven't visited the site yet, click below.
Serenity: The Official Movie Website
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
Anyway, I felt it was a good introduction and a lot of fun. And I also found it was a little deeper than I expected, especially in relation to the character "The Thing." I enjoyed his struggles with the change in his apperance and what its implications were to his life, and especially his relationships. Not that a movie always has to carry some universal message, but it helps when there is some kind of wisdom to impart, such as accepting who you are as well as accepting change when it happens to you.
Basically, the film begins with a set up on how they became "fantastic." There was an accident in space, of course, and instead of killing them, it allowed them to develop unique and interesting abilities. The rest of the movie involves four of the five learning to use (and in one case, really enjoy) their new talents and banding together to foil the evil plans of the fifth member of their crew, who changed into something less "fantastic" than the others.
In the end, everything works out well and good conquers evil, which is a given, and they set things up perfectly for a sequel.
My perceptions? It really was a fun movie. I enjoyed it. Oddly, though the female members of the audience were supposed to be attracted to The Human Torch, I found myself thinking Mr Fantastic was just adorable. Torchie was cute too, though. lol
Anyway, my nephew loved it and I thought it was pretty cool. It was a great popcorn movie and if you haven't seen it, you should check it out when the DVD comes out.
Words to go: 54,619
Days to go: 21
Words per day: 2600 (yikes!)
I feel great about the progress of the book. The hero and heroine have met and are entering into the first roadblock of their relationship. Things are going really well and I am enjoying writing it. These characters are really starting to become real people to me and they are taking on a life of their own, which every writer wants! So even though I have the somewhat daunting task of writing almost 3,000 words a day for the next 21 days, I feel pretty good about it. How strange is that??!!
For details about the next whirlwind writing opportunity, the National Novel Writing Month Web site, linked here and join me in November as I start yet another novel, while waiting anxiously to see if this one will be published! And yes, I'm insane...
Another view shows the coolest building I've ever seen. It reflects several buildings just across from it, including my hotel. I don't know what the building is, but I think it's beautiful. Anyway, the conference hasn't started yet, so I have some time to enjoy being in a very comfortable room. Right now I'm watching ER and writing this blog. I'ts 10:30 in the morning and I've just finished breakfast. It was really good, too! Later today, the conference begins and there will be little leisure time after that, but I'm actually looking forward to the sessions. They are always so interesting and fun, and they always give me new ideas and teach me more about my job, so it's cool.
The only bad thing about this trip is that I tried to get tickets for Wicked here in Chicago and they were already sold out. :( I really wanted to see it again. Oh well, maybe when it comes to Atlanta I can take a little road trip and see it then. Seriously, this show is so good that I want to see it many, many times! I will eventually post a review of the show on my review site.
Anyway, I'm going to end this here, but will probably do another post with some more pictures and news from my trip to Chicago. Stay tuned!
Sunday, August 07, 2005
The next picture is of me and Rhea posing with the handprints of Frank Sinatra and Julie Andrews. She's beside Frank and I'm beside Julie. This was, of course, right in front of the Chinese Theater where all the hand and foot prints are. It was crowded that day, but we had a great time identifying the prints of our favorite celebrities.
And of course, who can go to LA without snapping a pic of the famous Hollywood sign. We actually drove around for about an hour before we were able to get a good vantage point from which to shoot this photo. I had to walk in front of the Scientology Celebrity Center to get this picture. It was creepy. Speaking of creepy Scientologists, while we were in LA, we were approached by three different Scientologists trying to get us to take their tests or inviting us to a free exhibit of L. Ron Hubbard's life. We politely declined, of course, but it was still very strange.
So overall, our trip to LA was a blast, and I would go back and do it again in a heart beat. One thing I loved about LA was the dry air. Here in the South, the humidity is so high that it's nearly impossible to breathe, but out there I could take a breath without struggling at all! So I liked California a lot and wouldn't hesitate to go back anytime.
So anyway, the basic premise involves two clones who enjoy spending time with each other, until one of them "wins the lottery" to go to The Island. Ewan's character (Lincoln Six Echo) sneaks around and finds out that there is no island and that his "girlfriend" is about to be killed. They escape from the facility where they are being held, which looks like a missle silo or something, and run out into a desert. I won't go into what happens next because it's actually an interesting ride. So if you have a discount theater in your town and you're bored one night, you should see this film. It's not playing at first run theaters anymore, but some of the discount ones may still be playing it. It's a fun night at the movies.
Of course, everyone knows the story of the ominous chocolate factory that no one ever goes in or out of, but it still manages to churn out millions of bars of chocolate. One day, Willy Wonka decides to open his chocolate factory to five children for a tour and some treats. He devises a contest to find these five children. Golden tickets are hidden in the wrapping of five chocolate bars and the five children who find them will be able to go into the factory. Honestly, I think Wonka must have been experiencing a sales slump and saw this as a great marketing device, as Coca-Cola and Pepsi do every summer with their various “under the cap” prizes. I’m still bitter that I didn’t win the Dr Pepper Mini Cooper this summer.
Everyone knows about the four horrible children who won the tickets by devious means and eventually get themselves into trouble at the factory. Everyone also knows about the very poor and innocent child who is kind, humble, and gentle. It is this child, Charlie Bucket, who is truly deserving of his Golden Ticket. It is this child who doesn’t get himself into any trouble and who eventually wins the contest within the contest, simply because he’s the only one left at the end of the day.
I won’t belabor the plot because, as I said, everyone knows what happens in the story. I will, however, talk about the differences between the original movie and this one. One addition I truly enjoyed was the back story about Wonka himself. Obviously this man is so screwed up because he has what we like to call “daddy issues.” Daddy is played brilliantly by Christopher Lee, who is as menacing as a dentist in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as he was as Saruman, the evil wizard in Lord of the Rings.
Another amazing part about this movie would have to be the special effects and sets. I don’t know how much of the sets were CGI, but they were amazing! I particularly enjoyed “The Chocolate Room” with the chocolate river and the trees and grass and everything made of some type of candy. This was one of my favorite parts of the original, and I was thrilled that they didn’t alter it too much. The kids and their stories were pretty much the same, which was good. Casting was excellent, especially Charlie. This little actor will be doing movies for a good long while, especially since he has apparently made friends with Johnny Depp during the filming of Finding Neverland and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He has a lot of talent for such a young boy and he’s just precious!
Another difference is the music. The kids don’t sing at all, and the Oompa Loompa songs are of various styles with tunes that aren’t really catchy or memorable. It was cool that they incorporated so many different styles, but I really missed the old versions of the songs, which were extremely catchy and fun.
Basically, I will say that Charlie and the Chocolate Factory may become a classic for this generation of kids, but those of us who knew and loved Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory with Gene Wilder will always remember it more fondly than this new film. And that’s okay.