Saturday, December 25, 2010

2011 Awards Season Review: Alice in Wonderland

My Comments:
Yes, I was on a Mia Wasikowska kick. And she was equally moody and pale in both movies. Being a Tim Burton creation, this movie was kind of what I expected: Dark, weird, great score. I'm guessing the same person who did the score for Edward Scissorhands did this one because I kept hearing that music instead and kind of expected Johnny Depp to whip out his leather body suit. (Spoiler: Didn't happen. Boo.)

**googling (well, "IMDB"-ing)**

Hey, look at that. Good old Danny Elfman...


This is not a kid's movie. Don't take your seven-year-old. They will be scared. Lots of fighting, "Off with his head"-ing. I liked the Cheshire Cat, but I think they could have used those secondary characters more. It got kind of boring to watch Alice running through the forest being chased by something. Overall, not bad, but not the best Tim Burton/Johnny Depp collaboration ever. (See aforementioned Edward Scissorhands reference...)

My Grade: B-

2011 Awards Season Review: The Kids Are All Right

My Comments:
This movie had such great reviews and was promoted as a wonderful thing so I guess I expected more. It wasn't bad - entertaining, very matter-of-fact about the whole same gender parent thing, but something was missing. Mark Ruffalo was fun, but I got tired of Annette Benning's dominant and Julianne Moore's submissive relationship thing. They played that to death. And the scene that's supposed to be so moving... I didn't feel like crying one bit. Not the worst this year I'm sure, but not as good as I had hoped it would be.

My Grade: A-

Caturday: Christmas Edition

Merry Christmas from Crabby:

and Crabbier:

Bah humbug.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Martha's Top Ten: Christmas Movie Edition

I'll readily admit that I'm not a die-hard Christmas fan. It was never much fun since both my parents worked in churches. We usually ended up celebrating at some weird time and it always seemed like a job. But I still have a place in my heart for Christmas movies. Here are my favorites:

10) White Christmas - yes, it's old, but the music is great. Reflects what Christmas should be about rather than what it's become.

9) Jingle All the Way - argue with me if you want, but I think this one falls into a "so bad it's good" category.

8) Miracle on 34th Street - the original with a young Natalie Wood. I think we all want to believe in Santa in some way.

7) Bad Santa - on the other hand... not if he's Billy Bob Thornton. This movie is more like an anti-Christmas movie but it's still great.

6) The Santa Clause - but not the twelve awful sequels it spawned (ok, so it was two.) I admit I might like this movie so much because of the hot head elf, Bernard:

5) Home Alone - aaaaaaah! Such a classic - bumbling bad guys get bested by an 8-year old. The first sequel was pretty good too. The second, notsomuch.

4) National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation - it wouldn't be Christmas if Clark didn't wreck something. Or a lot of things.

3) Mixed Nuts - this movie doesn't get the love it deserves. It's got a great cast and is a wonderful film.

2) Elf - Will Ferrell is kind of like Adam Sandler - most of the time he's too over the top, but every once in a while he really nails it. This movie is a perfect example of that.

1) The Muppet Christmas Carol - Love, love, love! this movie. I have been listening to the soundtrack pretty much non-stop in my car. I always watch it at least once a year. So many things to love about this one: the music, Gonzo and Rizzo, the Marley brothers... If you don't watch any other movie this Christmas, watch this one.

Now, you might notice that A Christmas Story is nowhere on my list. It was #1 on EW's list. I don't get it. It's a dumb movie. I can't stand it.

So there you go. My picks. Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Some Christmas Favorites

Trans-Siberian Orchestra's "Christmas Canon" (won't let me embed). Now in normal circumstances I cannot STAND the Pachabel Canon. Call it the cellist's curse. But this I can deal with.

"When Love is Gone", my favorite song from The Muppet Christmas Carol

"O Holy Night", as performed by Celine Dion. The best I've found.

Close second: Celtic Woman.

"The Twelve Pains of Christmas" - kind of a creepy video, but funny if only because the same guy plays all the parts.

"Baby it's Cold Outside" a la Glee:

And the only song I can honestly say I CANNOT STAND:

"Happy Xmas" by John Lennon and that awful children's choir. They played it nonstop when I worked at Kmart and I had enough of that for a lifetime.

2011 Awards Season Review: Black Swan

My Comments:
This could be the shortest movie review ever: Girl is Cah-RAZY. The end.

But no, it would be a disservice to such a good piece of work to leave it at that. While I found some of the choices the director (or perhaps cinematographer) made distracting, for the most part this was a great film. Good actors, good music, good drama. Although it did drive me nuts that I couldn't place the actress who plays Nina's mother (Barbara Hershey) until I saw her name in the credits. It bugged me every time I saw her on screen. I'm a sucker for movies that involve other forms of art - in this case ballet. Natalie Portman was amazing. And let's just all forget Wynonna Ryder was in this movie at all. Ugh. Cannot stand her. Anyway, thumbs up.

My Grade: A solid A

Monday, December 20, 2010

Sunday, December 19, 2010

2010 Year-End Review

1. What did you do in 2010 that you’d never done before?
I went to NYC for my sister's med school graduation. I think it was pretty much what I expected. Not sure if I'd go back. I went to a tea plantation. Lots of other things. It was a busy year.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don't make resolutions because I'm terrible at keeping them. Why set myself up for failure?

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
I think Adam's cousin might have - another one of his is due any day now. My cousin Lori had another one as well.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
This was a bad year. Father Mike, Adam's grandmother and cousin Brett. It was a rough one.

5. What countries did you visit? Travel in 2010?
As previously mentioned, NYC in May, we also went to SC/NC in November and took a day trip to Door County in October.

6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010? Less stress at work, or, more time to relax.

7. What dates from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
February 22nd - the day Fr Mike passed away
July 31 - the beginning of the SAP-induced hell

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Not quitting my job. Wait - did I say that last year too? It's getting better. Now if only they could get some temperature moderation in the accounting department. It's either a sauna or an igloo.

9. What was your biggest failure?
I didn't handle the stress well this summer during GoLive and the following months. I'm sure Adam wanted to throw me out at times.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Not that I can think of, aside from a random barf incident.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
My new nook color!

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Sandra Bullock handled her life crumbling around her in a very classy manner.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Mel Gibson - WTF?

14. Where did most of your money go?
According to our MSN Money file, our mortgage ate up the largest piece of pie, followed by other household expenses (LeafGuard gutters, a new grill and lawn mower) and food.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Getting a couple of full nights of uninterrupted sleep during our trip to SC. Obviously it doesn't happen very often.

16. What song will always remind you of 2010?
Nothing really followed me around this year. I played a lot of Lady Gaga on my iPod...

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: a) happier or sadder? depends on the day b) thinner or fatter? about the same. Grrr. c) richer or poorer? poorer. Always poorer.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Enjoy nature. I feel like I spent the whole year inside.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Dream about work. It was kind of freaky for a while there.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
Christmas Eve with Adam's family and then bells at church. Christmas Day with Dad & Cheryl and her family. Nothing formal for just us.

21. Did you fall in love in 2010?

22. What was your favorite TV program?
I have so many that record on the DVR it's just nuts - I've run them all down for you before. I did watch every episode of "Pushing Daisies" and the first season of "Californication" on Netflix and they were both really good (albeit almost as different as you can get!)

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

24. What was the best book you read?
I read a ton of books. I should have been keeping track - maybe I hit the 100 mark I was after a few years ago. I've been reading mostly silly culinary crime novels so nothing particularly literary. I can't think of one that stood out from the others. I'm going to keep better track this year.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Celtic Woman. I'm way behind the curve on this one.

26. What did you want and get?
See #11.

27. What did you want and not get?
Nothing. I don't really have a lot of wants most of the time. It annoys the crap out of Adam.

28. What was your favorite film of this year?
This was a terrible year for movies & me. I hardly watched any outside of my Oscar list. I think we went to the movie theater once and the drive in once. It was so sad. I'm looking at Wikipedia's list of films released in 2010 and I've seen pretty much none of them.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 28 this year. Did nothing. But did get a cookie cake. Yum.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Being independently wealthy. Ha.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010?
I wore clothes. Because if I didn't I'd not only get arrested, but I think I'd probably cause multiple cases of self-inflicted blindness.

32. What kept you sane?
Teetered on the edge of this one this year. I have no idea how I managed to not go completely nuts. Chocolate maybe?

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
I have no idea. Joseph Gordon Levitt on SNL was good and I've had a eye on him since his Angels in the Outfield days.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
I was glad to hear they got the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell through.

35. Who did you miss?
No one person. I miss having a social life in general.

36. Who was the best new person you met?
Hmmm. I met an auditor who didn't annoy me. That was a pleasant surprise...

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010.
You can't do it all by yourself.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
My mind is going blank here... all I can think of is all those children's songs that we heard over and over in the van with Evan, Jodi, Gabriel, and Caroline. I cannot tell you how long they were stuck in my head after we left, though apparently they're still there.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Caturday: Fun with cat toys

Psst, Carly! I think you might want to get that thing on your back checked out.

Awards Season: SAG Update

Added four titles: Conviction, Get Low, Green Zone, and True Grit. Still at 1. Boo.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A closer look: Party Food!

On the Menu:

* Barbecued Meatballs
* Turkey & White Bean Chili
* Extra-Cheesy Macaroni & Cheese
* Spinach-Artichoke Dip
* Sausage Biscuit Balls
* Assorted cheeses: Gouda, Bleu, Cheddar, Brie, Pistachio-Crusted Goat
* Build-Your-Own Bruschetta
* Homemade beef jerky (original and teriyaki)
* Chex Mix (original and buffalo)
* Assorted cookies: M&M, double chocolate white chip, macadamia nut, peanut butter cup, cranberry walnut oatmeal
* White Chocolate Tiramisu Trifle

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

2010 Awards Season Begins

The Golden Globe nominations were announced today. Excluding TV and foreign films, there are 29 titles. Of the 29, I've seen one. ONE!!! That's terrible, but an accurate reflection of how my year has gone in the leisure and entertainment department. New list is to the right. I'm looking forward to seeing some of these. I'm dreading others. I'll put it out there right away that I probably won't watch The Chronicles of Narnia sequel sequel. I'm not automatically discounting any others quite yet, although chances for The Fighter aren't looking so great either.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Really?!? with Martha and... ok, just Martha

Really, Mother Nature?!?

This is the best you can do to ruin our Christmas party?!?

I mean, I know you have something against us inviting people to our house

But, come on, Really?!?

You even let people get to our house

and didn't start with the massive blizzard until everyone was here and not paying attention to the weather. Really?!?

and, while I think you were in collusion with Carly, who obviously disapproved of the merriment,

we were still able to make and eat a lot of good food

hang out with a lot of good people

and everyone got back to where they needed to be, despite your lack of cooperation.

So, Really?!? Mother Nature. Thanks for playing, but we won this year.

(Even so, perhaps we should consider changing to a "Christmas in July" theme... Really.)

Thursday, December 09, 2010

A Not-so-Subtle Hint?

And in another spectacularly well-timed display of Grinch-like attitude

mere days before our annual Christmas party, Mother Nature decides to dump the first major snowstorm on us.

It's like she doesn't want us throwing a party or something.