Sundry information, thoughts and links to sort us out

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Inglourious Basterds

Creative spelling notwithstanding, Inglourious Basterds is the fictional story of a group of Jewish-American soldiers who make it their personal mission to kill or otherwise inconvenience the Nazis. At the same time, a young Jewish woman who owns a movie theater in Paris has an unusual opportunity dropped in her lap and seizes upon it as her own way to get back at the people who murdered her family. When the two projects unexpectedly coincide, and come up against a third plot against the Reich, noir hilarity ensues.

I did not want to see this movie when it came out. First, because the unusually spelled title really bugged me (darned English degree!). Second, because the TV commercials made it look like a total slapstick romp, which is really not our style of film. Well, I should not have doubted. Quentin Tarantino has been one of my favorite directors for years, and he has not lost his touch. Like most of his movies, Basterds is graphic and disturbing at times, and deals with some dark subject matter in an offbeat kind of way. It is also full of the quirky amusing moments and fabulous characters Tarantino is known for. In addition, the pacing is brilliant.

Moms, no way, sorry. Less squeamish folks, absolutely, this is up there in the ranks of Tarantino films, as good as Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill. Good stuff.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Happy Birthday, Bruce!

Today my beloved husband is 42. Happy birthday, darling, I love you more and more each day!

Friday, January 15, 2010


Based on the book Playing the Enemy, Invictus is the true story of how Nelson Mandela united his nation behind their rugby team and led them to the World Cup. An unusual political move, Mandela used the team to galvanize a previously divided country, and in so doing moved the hearts and minds of many who had formerly opposed him.

I am not a great historian, and even though this is a major event for a major political figure in my lifetime, I did not know the story going into this film. I think that was a good thing, because it meant I didn't know how it would end. Now, I probably could have guessed as the plot is pretty predictable and has a "movie of the week" feel to it, but I didn't.

So, it's predictable, but it's well-acted (of course it is, Morgan Freeman is just too darned good, and Matt Damon's no slouch, even though he doesn't really do much in this film) and very enjoyable. It's easy to get swept up in the emotion of the film, and that's partly the point. Add the fact that you get to watch some blood-pumping rugby games, and you've got a nice evening at the theater.

Come Oscar time, expect at least one acting nod, although I can't guarantee a win. Moms, nope, probably not, considering the heavy shadow of Apartheid which hangs over the film (purposefully); everybody else, check it out.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Sherlock Holmes

Continuing our Robert Downey, Jr. fest, we saw Sherlock Holmes. Inspired by the books of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the film takes a somewhat different tack. In this movie, Holmes is an eccentric detective who makes up for his lack of social graces with his tremendous martial skill and deductive reasoning. His relationship with Dr. Watson is almost mythic, their connection seems practically telepathic/empathetic as they understand each other almost without using words.

The story begins with the capture of a serial killer. Just before the criminal is executed, he asks to see Holmes. His last statement is that three more will die and Holmes will not be able to stop the deaths. And the game is afoot!

Okay, this movie is hokey and predictable, and not in the same vein as any of the books (I'm still scared of "The Case of the Speckled Band" to this day, btw), but it is so much FUN. I enjoyed the clever repartee, the relationship between Holmes and Watson (LOVE Jude Law in almost anything anyway), and the big revelation as the case was solved. Sure, it's a popcorn flick, but it was good time.

This is also not a moms movie, and I don't think it is going to be a successful launch of a new film franchise for Robert Downey, Jr., but that's okay. Iron Man 2 comes out in the spring.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Soloist

Based on a book, The Soloist is the true story of Nathaniel Ayers - a talented musician whose mental struggles have left him living in the streets - and Steve Lopez - the LA Times reporter who saw the music of his story. One chance encounter sets things in motion. Lopez is drawn to Ayers first simply as a byline, but Ayers in turn is drawn to Lopez, seeing him as something of a savior, protector, and lifeline. Through their friendship, both men become something more than who they were in the beginning.

I had heard good things about this film, so when it showed up on HBO, we watched it one evening. The acting is great, the music is beautiful, and the story is very moving - although somewhat difficult to follow. Like life, there isn't a total resolution - lots of plot lines are not neatly tied-up for the viewer by the end of the movie - but it is based on a true story, which is still ongoing. All in all, this was a nice little film about intriguing characters.

Sorry, moms, I think it's too intense for you, though.

Monday, January 4, 2010


Snow softly falling
Sirens calling across the stars
Go gently sweet prince

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year 2010!

Can you believe it's a new decade? Me either. Where has the time gone? No matter.
May 2010 bring us all health, happiness, prosperity, and peace.
Rabbits, rabbits!