Thursday, November 26, 2009

Steampunk Jewelry - Beautiful, Handmade Goth Jewelry

Looking for something really interesting and gorgeous for your teen-ager? A ring, perhaps, maybe a bracelet?

Well, check out Steampunk Jewelry--a British artisan who has handcrafted some of the most interesting jewelry that I have seen in a long time.

In fact, I am lusting over a certain amethyst bracelet myself. And seeing as I have already bought everyone their presents, all the rest of my Christmas shopping is for me, Me, ME!!!

Sorry. Got a little carried away there.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Precious (2009)

Precious was probably one of the most surprising and most disturbing movies that I have seen this year.

Starring Gabourey 'Gabby' Sidibe as Precious, this movie descends into a world that few of us have ever seen.

Precious lives in the Ghetto of New York, the illegitimate first daughter of a mother who has enslaved her and her offspring in return for welfare checks.

Precious is beaten and abused by her mother Mary--portrayed by Mo'Nique--who then allows her boyfriend to repeatedly rape Precious. By the age of 16, Precious is pregnant again with her second child.

The movie is horrific. The scenes between Precious and Mary are so full of tension, I was literally bracing myself for the next blow. I understood why people kill one another. The rage hung in the air like huge sides of beef waiting to be slaughtered.

But intermixed with these terrible, sad scenes were scenes full of joy and laughter: girls giggling over boys, a baby's new eyes, a young girl's dreams of love and fame.

There were some stand-out performances in this movie, especially among the Precious' classmates. Mo'Nique, as Mary, was hands down brilliant: I hated her, was repulsed by her and lost all sense of compassion for her. Gabby Sidiby, in her very first film ever, was astonishing in playing the role with such mulish, hulking determination. Mariah Carey, as Precious' social worker, gave a steady performance but sometimes looked a bit bemused to be on film.

The direction was extremely well done; the tone was never so unbearable that I could not take watching it. The movie covers a terrible subject but Lee Daniels did a good job of maintaining an even stream of emotions, handling the movie's emotions like a sailboat across a stormy sea.

I walked away from this movie thankful that I had seen a part of America I would never have witnessed before but should have known a long time ago.

For all those young, hopeless women out there: May you find love.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

I Love You, Man - Paul Rudd (2009)

In an effort to ride of wave of Seth Rogen and Will Ferrell's low-brow bromances, here comes "I Love You, Man" starring Paul Rudd.

Although I do like Paul Rudd, I think he sold his soul to the devil to make this movie.

Yeah, there were some funny spots that did have me laughing out loud. Really. When Rudd is posing in his tux, I was cracking up. The whole story about his boy/friend Sydney's dog, Anwar Sadat was funny.

But in all fairness to the fairer sex and to any form of intelligent life that still remains out there in moviewatcher-land, this is not one of the movies that you want to go see.

Perhaps, as a chick, I am a little biased. Perhaps, as an older, more literary woman, this movie is beyond me.

But I don't think so. I like "The Big Lebowski". I thought "Hungover" was actually really funny. I count "Wayne's World" as one of my favorite movies. But this movie just got silly towards the end and the last 5 minutes were painful.

Go, if you must, but you have been forewarned.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Up - Ed Asner

What a perfectly splendid fairy tale of a film!

Pixar's animated film, Up!, is so joyous, so pure in its engenuity that it is able to take the time-old tale of spiritual renewal and make it new.

Taking nimble and heartaching quicksteps between joy and sadness, the tale begins with a shy, young boy named Carl who dreams of high adventure. Meeting his match in the quick witted Ellie, the two become a team, dreaming big dreams but never quite making it. Instead they live their lives together until Ellie's life ends after a long and happy marriage together.

And that is just the first 10 minutes of the movie.

What a delight to watch. Between the 10-year old Russell who's sole desire is to get his last badge conferred upon him for assisting the elderly, Dug the dog who seeks only to have a kind master and Charles Muntz who wants only to repair his reputation, we see a fable as good as any of Aesop's play out.

Written by Bob Peterson and Pete Docter, the story is nothing short of brilliant. And, of course, Pixar's animation is fantastic.

A pleasure to watch, make sure and catch the two additional shorts that are available in the Special Features of the DVD.

2012 - John Cusack

Heart Rate: YY

My sister and her bf and I always go to the movies on Friday. This time, said bf picked 2012.

He's so funny. He says he hates all movies and that actors should retire after acting over a certain number of years. Then you start to give him the benefit of the doubt and start thinking he is making some sense then you ask him what his favorite movie: Rambo. And he loses all credibility.

But I would have to agree with him in this case.

This movie was terrible.

I was really hoping to hear some ancient symbolism revealed or some great science. But instead all I got was an escalated Poseidon adventure.

Plus John Cusack.

That was the only redeeming quality of the whole movie.

Otherwise, it was a wash; a real disaster movie.

Puns intentional.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Girl Who Played with Fire - Steig Larsson

I just finished the second book in "The Girl" series by Steig Larsson, "The Girl Who Played with Fire."

Resurrecting the two main characters from the previous book, Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist, this suspense novel centers around the death of an investigative journalist and his partner.

He was writing about exposing high-ranking officials who were participating in white slavery while his partner was writing her Ph.D. dissertation on the same topic. Blomkvist's magazine, The Millenium, agrees to publish the book and has retained the journalist on staff.

Interestingly, and a sadly prophetic turn of events, Blomkvist comes to a point in the novel where he must decide whether he will continue to publish the novel despite the deaths of the researcher and author.

In the mean time, Lisbeth is making a new life for herself after Blomkvist broke her hard little heart. Turning 25 and wealthy after hacking into a corrupt corporate mogul's overseas bank accounts, she has stifled her sadistic court-appointed guaridan and has taken to traveling the world over the next year.

But when she returns to Sweden she finds that the court-appointed guardian seems to now be seeking revenge.

I found this book to be far superior to the first one.

First, the translation was better and not so stilted as the first one, making for a more fluid novel. Also, Lisbeth is far more sympathetic in this novel. In the previous novel, she comes off as a bit of an android. Which, is typical if you have Asperger's Syndrome, as she does. In this one, her character starts to losen up and Larsson seems to have found his inner female voice.

In this novel Larsson starts to dissect her personality and delve into her character, all which become pivotal to the mystery.

Brilliantly plotted, I did not have an inkling to the solution until about 3/4's of the way through and then I still was not quite sure how it was all going to end.

This is the second novel in a 6-series set. However, Larrson passed away after finishing the 3rd novel so that all that we have of the remaining 3 are plot outlines.

The remains of his estate and the profits from the novels do not got to his partner of over 10 years since they were not married and he did not leave a will. All of the proceeds from the award-winning novels and the ensuing movies are going to his father and brother, who have felt no compunction to give her anything.

Larrson was a political activist in Sweden, fighting the right-wing extremism and Nazi organizations. An expert in his field, he often lectured around Europe, including Scotland Yard. And avid writer, these books were his first foray into fiction.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Management (2008) - Jennifer Anniston, Steve Zahn

Another one of Jennifer Anniston's bittersweet single woman out-on-her-own romances, Anniston, as Sue, continues to explore the span between a young working woman's defeated ambitions and almost shameful yearnings for protection and love.

In this movie Steve Zahn plays Mike, a hapless manager at his parent's roadside motel. Only one step shy of creepy Bateman-type stalkerness, Zahn gets one good roll in the hay with Anniston and he is head over heels.

Traipsing from Arizona to Maryland to Washington, Zahn pursues Anniston's character with a boyish sweetness. Oddly, the movie follows more of his character arc than Anniston's.

With some truly funny scenes between James Hiroyuki Liao and Zahn, reminding me a bit of Harold & Kumar Go To Whitecastle, the movie also stars Fred Ward and Woody Harrelson.