Tuesday, January 29, 2013

One Line Movie Reviews (2)

The Sound of My Voice (2011): Creepy pseudo-documentary-style movie about a cult.

sound of my voice
Rating: C

Hotel Transylvania (2012): Cute but a bit too simplistic in its style and I didn't necessarily like what it was teaching in the end.

hotel transylvania
Rating: C+

Butter (2011): Great story about forgiveness and achieving your dreams without selling out your humanity.

Rating: B+

Austenland (2013): Laugh out-loud hilarious!

Rating: B

Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012): Fascinating and depressing story of how a girl comes to grips with life after she loses her home.

beasts of the southern
Rating: B+

Friday, January 25, 2013

Sundance and Seeing Austenland

Monday night I took my husband to attend a screening as part of the Sundance Film Festival here in Utah. It was so much fun. We headed up through Salt Lake City and grabbed a bite to eat and then another hour up to Ogden.

Ogden seems a bit out of place for the Sundance Film Festival but they have an amazing theater, the Peery's Egyptian Theater. It holds over 800 people and there were more than enough to fill all those seats.

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Inside the Egyptian Theater

Stock photo from Austenland

We had to stand in line for a long time to get in but I got our tickets early and so we were one of the first people in line and in the theater. My husband is such a fun person. When he's really excited and feeling good, he's such a people person. So he talked to everyone in line and found out where they were from, how long they had been attending/volunteering. He even found a fellow Portlander where they talked about the old days of organs and bubbles of his youth...

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Archie and I chilling before the movie

The theater also hosts one of the few pipe organs left in the country and so we were serenaded by organ music before the movie started. So amazing. The atmosphere is electric with people excited to see everything. I know I was.

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Pipe organist!

This showing was not the premiere of Austenland. That happened two nights before down in Park City so I didn't think we'd get any of the actors up in Ogden, but the director and writer (they're locals) were there and after the movie, they answered questions.

Cozy by the fire
Drinking chai tea by the fire before movie

The movie is FUNNY! Jerusha Hess managed to take subpar material and really turn it into something visually as well as do a script upgrade with the actual author. The whole audience just guffawed almost through the whole movie. I was crying! Busting a gut, what have you. Romance didn't work very well, but it didn't in the book either so I wasn't expecting much in that area but if you want a really funny movie, this is it. You can tell the actors and the crew just had a blast. It really does make the movie come alive.

Getting seated for Austenland!!!
I was soooo excited for this to start!

After the movie there was a Q&A session. It was just fun and exciting to see the director and writer up there just being funny and personable and talking about their experiences. How can I put it? It was just really cool.

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Jerusha Hess (director) and Shannon Hale (book author)

They even had a live band next door and a few appetizers to eat and we sat and listened to music and ate a few cucumber sandwiches.

It was an amazing experience and one we look forward to experiencing every year!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Saturday Snapshot (1)

To participate in the Saturday Snapshot meme post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken then leave a direct link to your post in the Mister Linky at At Home With Books book blog. Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. Please don’t post random photos that you find online.

I thought this would be a fun meme to post on today!

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I really love Fall and this is a local hike we went on in Provo Canyon, Utah.

Corn maze at sunset.
I love corn mazes and I caught this one as the sun was setting.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Sundance Film Festival 2013

I live in Utah and I have never ever attended the Sundance Film Festival. It's literally less than two hours away from me, and it's really not too expensive if you want to make a day out of it and see 1 or 2 movies and maybe a bite to eat. So....I finally decided this year was the year! My hubby and I are seeing Austenland, a book-to-movie film by Shannon Hale. The film has been written and directed by the same people who did Napoleon Dynamite and Nacho Libre (Jerusha and Jared Hess). While I know those films weren't everyone's favorite, they are two of mine. Napoleon Dynamite reminds me a lot of my own childhood--similar boredom, dresses, paneled walls, 70s green lamps, and crazy creatures in the backyard.

Austenland was not my favorite Austenesque book, but it had its moment,s and since it had a lot of potential, I'm hoping it will turn into a great homage to Austen and her characters, along with some funny romance.

My devoted husband is taking the day off, mom's watching our son, and we're heading up for the whole shpeel next Monday! I don't know if I'll see any celebrities, but I'll keep my eyes peeled. In any case, it's a date without our child. It'll be fun no matter what.

Gabe moment this week: He's potty training....and this is what he came up with while playing with his Tiggers:

Gabe is nurturing his Triggers by changing their diapers. He cracks me up!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

One Line Movie Reviews (1)

Invisible War (2012): Documentary on the prevalence of rape in the U.S. military, well-done and timely.
invisible war
Rating: A-

Tropic Thunder (2008): Silly and bloody movie about a movie that was in a movie?
tropic thunder
Rating: C

Total Recall (2012): Better than I expected with good action fights.
total recall
Rating: B-

Looper (2012): Fantastic sci-fi movie with story, action, and heart.
Rating: A+

Pitch Perfect (2012): A wonderful take on the Glee singing montage with humor, romance, and of course, singing!
pitch perfect
Rating: B+

Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst

vesselSummary: Liyana is a vessel. Her goddess Bayla will inhabit her body while her soul moves onto the Dreaming. The other desert clans all have vessels being prepared for their god or goddess to come down and help save their people. Until 5 gods do not show up. Liyana's family leaves her banished when Korbyn the trickster god finds her. They set out on a quest to free the other gods and save their people from an encroaching enemy.

My thoughts: World and character-building are big ones for me when reading any kind of fantasy novel. It seems nowadays that authors just kind of throw together a world without fully fleshing it out and some two-dimensional characters to feel it. Not Durst. She packs this novel with myths, histories, and people. I was thrown in and immersed from the beginning. I love mythology and I am amazed when authors can make up their own for their stories and make them sound credible.

Goddesses and gods inhabit this world but they are all very human, with much to learn. I loved the interaction between Korbyn, learning to be in a body again, and Liyana who knows she should not be having feelings for her goddess' lover.

In the beginning Durst threw out a few stereotypes with her cast of characters but I think it was intentional to get the best changes and growth out of them she could. Liyana was a bit on the unquestioning and shy side but she really let her grow into a role of leadership and free-thinking. Is it really necessary that the gods kill those they inhabit? Why can't the vessels learn magic like the gods? The gods are supposed to love us, why are they so petty and selfish?

I just can't give enough praise for this book. It combined all of my required elements beautifully. I am definitely picking up more of her books in the future. And a big fat YAY to some quality young adult fiction.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Looking Forward in 2013

Last year was a bit lackluster for me on the blogging and reading front. I had new projects I wanted to try and do....Well, I don't know how well that all turned out. But I always try to read a bit more from the already-own books and I didn't do too well on that goal. So once again my goal is to read a bit more from my own pile. I have two book clubs one for strictly non-fiction books and the other one it just depends on who's picking for the month. So I'll probably have to buy a few more this year to keep up with the book clubs but overall I just want to stick with what I've got. I've found a lot of great classics finds at second-hand stores, so I want to get to a few more classics. I also want to get to a few re-reads. Little Women and Gone With the Wind have been on my mind lately.

For blogging purposes, I'd like to include books I read with my son (so a pic or two with him a month), some more short movie reviews, maybe some TV posts, and I may even get back to the 'things-I-liked/loved' posts for the week.

Nice day for a farm visit.