Monthly Archives: May 2010

City of Ember

#25 City of Ember

City of Ember movie poster

It’s just your typical post-apocalyptic, underground city is going to be destroyed and all of humanity rests on two children’s shoulders, Christian allegory starring Bill Murray and Tim Robbins (Who, I’m pretty sure, is a devout atheist in real life–weird, huh?).  The basic plot is pretty straightforward.  Mankind, in the throes of some major catastrophe builds a city underground and sends a small group of people to live in it.  They leave instructions in a time-release box on how to leave the city in 200 years.  Somewhere along the line, the box is lost, and no-one knows they are supposed to leave.  Well, the city is falling apart along with it’s power source, and it’s up to a ragtag little girl and her ambitious young friend to rescue mankind from poor leadership and blind fear of the unknown.

City of Ember

It’s a little heavy handed at times, and the parallels to the walk of a Christian are pretty obvious throughout, but that doesn’t detract from the story.  You pretty much know how the movie must end before the first act is even done, and it seems a little slow in setting the stage.  I kept thinking to myself, “Okay, enough with the setup, let’s get to the story.”  Then, somehow, once the action really started, I realized that all the setup was necessary, and it wouldn’t have been nearly as good without it.  This movie is kind of sneaky like that.  You know what to expect, and yet, it still surprises you by doing exactly what you expected it to do, all along.  It’s based on a book, written for young readers, and the movie is clearly aimed at that same audience, but I think adults will also get something from the film.  Though it is dark, and sinister in places, and there really is a sense of urgency and terror throughout the movie that will surely enthrall young audiences, it also has a more or less positive message, and I believe that any stress it might cause youngsters will be worth it for the lessons learned.  The bad guys get their comeuppance, and the good guys triumph, and an adventure awaits in the City of Ember.

An added bonus for knitters:  There’s a couple of scenes involving yarn and knitting, including an integral scene near the beginning!

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Posted by on May 28, 2010 in Movie Challenge


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Gosford Park

#24 Gosford Park

Gosford Park Movie Poster

“Okay everybody, today we’re going to be making a…oh, excuse me, we’re going to be making a movie about a… pardon me, could you bring me a cup of coffee?  That’d be great…No thanks, I take it black.  Today we’re going to be making a movie about a murder.  It’s sort of like…oh, thank you, mmmm… just right… you know, what, could you be a dear and get me a cube of sugar after all, this is a little strong…The movie is sort of like another film you  might remember called…oh, thanks, that’s just right.  One more thing, do you think maybe you could bring me a donut–no sprinkles.  Thanks…Another film called “Clue.”  Everyone is a suspect, there’s this whole interplay between–wait, I clearly said, ‘no sprinkles’ now get it right or you’re fired–I swear you can’t get good help these days–interplay between the servants and the rich.  There’s this whole dynamic–much better, thanks…mmm, this is good, could you fetch me a napkin?–There’s this whole dynamic going on, where the lines between staff and employer are just starting to be tested.  Everyone will…hang on, let me just finish this donut…

Screenshot from Gosford Park

everyone will be talking over each other, and there will be at least one scene set at a dinner table… could we bring those lights down?  I want it kind of dark—darker—okay that’s good.  We’ll be focusing on the conversations of the staff and showing how it **really** was–darker…that’s good!  Now, get the costume designer in here, these clothes are far too vibrant… I want drab, drab, drab.   Okay, great!  Alright, so the story is set in the English countryside at a large estate.  It’s an ensemble cast.  It’ll have that guy that was in those Christopher Guest movies, that old British woman that used to play Miss Marple, I think, and then there’s that old British actor who was in those Kenneth Brannagh movies.  Oh, and for fans of British comedy, Stephen Fry is in this, too.  Who’s that?  Oh, he was the voice of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy–nothing?  How about this, he played Jeeves in “Wooster and Jeeves.”  Still nothing, eh… how about this—He plays the funny British psychiatrist on “Bones.”  Yeah, that’s him!  Anyway, the end is–well, I don’t want to give it away, but suffice to say, it just sort of dwindles at the end and leaves you feeling vaguely unsatisfied.  It’ll be a great movie, or my name’s not Robert Altman!”


Posted by on May 27, 2010 in Movie Challenge


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The Affair of the Necklace

#23 The Affair of The Necklace

Affair of the Necklace movie poster

Christopher Walken, Hillary Swank, Adrian Brody, and the guy that was in Brazil–in a period piece?  The guy from The Mentalist is in it, too?  Sign me up!

Affair of the Necklace screenshot

This is the story of a scam during the reign of Marie Antoinette.  The film is loaded with intrigue, twists and turns, and outlandish schemes, made all the more astounding by the fact that it’s based on true events.  Hillary Swank manages to make you forget that she once passed as a boy in Boys Don’t Cry, Adrian Brody doesn’t come across as a milquetoast, and Christopher Walken is delightfully creepy.  I could go into a vivid description of the movie, but what you really need to know is this:

1. Christopher Walken is in the film in a minor but important role.

2. Hillary Swank is in it.

3. It’s a story about a scam.

4. It’s a period piece.

5. The guy from The Mentalist is in it.

All in all, it’s a fun movie.


Posted by on May 23, 2010 in Movie Challenge


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My Computer Has A Bug!


Posted by on May 14, 2010 in humour, tongueincheek


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WHAT?!? WHAT Ain’t No Country I Ever Heard Of. They Got Mothers in What?!?

Happy Mother's Day to all you mothers out there!

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Posted by on May 9, 2010 in family, holiday


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Oh the Sounds We Saw, and the Sights We Heard

Last Friday was  a special treat for TWGW and me; We loaded up the beggarmobile and set off for Van Buren, Arkansas.  Friday night, we were treated to a performance by the Quapaw Quartet.  The intimate audience of about 20 people gathered down front of the Van Buren Fine Arts Center auditorium to listen to the quartet perform some select works from Shostakovitch and Brahms.  Both composers’ work is relatively unfamiliar to me, and so it was a real treat to uncover the surprises in store as the musicians poured their energy into the show.

I especially enjoyed listening to Shostakovitch, noting the heavy influence the modern classical composer has had on movie music throughout my lifetime.  Listening for the themes that drifted in and out of the tunes was like an audio version of Where’s Waldo, and it thrilled my spirit.

I went into listening to Brahms with a preconceived notion of what to expect, and I could not have been more wrong.  There was so much energy and vibrance in the selection that it almost made me squirm in my seat in fear that the performers would die of exhaustion before our very eyes.  If I took anything from this performance it is a renewed interest in classical arrangements for small ensembles.

The acoustics in the Van Buren Fine Arts Center were amazing.  Upon entering the auditorium, I immediately noted the absolute quiet that surrounded me.  Once the musicians took the stage, the clarity of their performance was astounding.  For a brief while, I closed my eyes and bathed in the notes that washed over me, marveling at the sounds of their fingers striking the strings of their  instruments.  Needless to say, I was impressed.

Saturday brought some shopping at a few of the local shops.  The purchase of an antique razor,some fine locally grown and spun icelandic wool yarn, and several used books highlighted the day and made for a pleasant outing.

Sunday, we were treated to an art exhibit, highlighting the works of  talented up-and-coming young artist, Christa Nishmuta.  Christa is the type of artist who really paints and draws from the heart, imbuing a sense of deep spiritual connection with her medium.  It’s always exciting to see young artists and the enthusiasm that they show in their work, and Nishmuta is no exception.  She has a lot to be proud of in her work.

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The overall theme seemed to be one of flight, featuring many butterflies, dragonflies, and birds.  It almost gave me a sense that she’s in a place of great excitement in her life–soaring, as it were.  Christa has a keen eye for the details that matter and an excellent sense of technical precision in her hand, her work ranging over a course of styles and excelling in every area.  It was a real visual treat to take in her show.  Prints of her work are available for purchase.  If you are interested in learning more about her work, just let me know, and I’ll put you in touch with her.

“I like to think I use my art to connect with people, the places they go, loved ones, memories, or simply pictures in creative spaces that are pleasing to look at. I usually paint because a person inspires me and I think of them while I paint. That painting is an expression of that emotional connection. I think we are all created with these connections and art provides us with an imaginary place to share.” –Christa Nishmuta


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Happy Star Wars Day!

Dandy Dog with a geek holiday wish


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