• Category Archives Movies
  • I survived another vacation

    Back to reality–thank God! Even washing ten days worth of dirty clothes is a pleasure.

    I have now been to Disneyland once, Disney World five times, and I am NOT going back again until I have grandchildren. I am all queued out. We stayed at Port Orleans, within the Disney World complex, and from the moment we arrived in Orlando, there were prescribed lines for everything–buses, boats, bathrooms, meals and, of course, the rides.

    As to the meals–Disney food within the Park is both pricey and mediocre, and we were grateful to find a table to rest our weary bones while eating. We did enjoy the (Boma) African buffet in the Animal Kingdom Lodge (need reservations) and the savanna view of the animals after dining. Best stick to beer and wine at the Disney hotels and restaurants–the cocktails have all the alcoholic content of Kool-aid

    As to the rides–the Fast Passes really do eliminate the waits on the more popular rides. My fave ride was Soarin’. Because DH is a child at heart, we went on everything–sometimes, Lord help me, more than once.

    Because I am NOT a child at heart, we also managed to squeeze in Cirque du Soleil’s La Nouba (loved, loved, loved the performance) and three movies:

    (1) FAILURE TO LAUNCH–considering the fine cast, horribly disappointing. Rather than genuinely explore the issues presented, namely empty nest syndrome and adult children living at home, the movie was relentlessly trite and formulaic.

    (2)INSIDE MAN–thoroughly enjoyed Spike Lee’s latest creation. The all-star cast gave fine performances and the plot was intense (you will guess certain elements, but so what?) with some moments of comic relief.

    (3) LUCKY NUMBER SLEVIN–considering the neat plot, I didn’t care for this film at all. Too many distractingly surreal and self-conscious elements (stilted and unnatural dialogue, in particular) took me out of the film; the “artsy” style just got in the way of good, solid storytelling. And why all the blood and gore and horrific images? Completely unnecessary!

    While DH was at his conference, I did manage to complete my first round of revisions on SOME ROUGH EDGE SMOOTHIN’. This week, I’ll do some additional polishing and call it a wrap.

  • Happy St Patrick’s Day

    Celebrated the day by going to see V FOR VENDETTA and sniffing green candles and potpourri.

    First the movie: Despite the clichés–and my, my, my, but there are quite a few here, all of them easily identifiable–the movie also had inventive moments which totally absorbed me. I’m a sucker for retribution themes, anyway, and then throw in a few political messages topical to the times in which we live, an idealistic plea for individual empowerment in the face of governmental oppression, and my eyes remained riveted to the screen. Natalie Portman’s expressive face was a pleasure to watch. Particularly enjoyed her character growth in the incarceration scenes. I found them the finest of the movie. (I’m trying not to say too much here) The choice of playing the Rolling Stones’ “Street Fighting Man” during the closing credits was an especially nice touch.

    The green candles and potpourri: Though the color is appropriate to the day, it’s also coincidental–I’m in the middle of some spring redecorating. I like earth tones, but some of these green scents are truly sickening. Have you stuck your nose inside a candle jar named “watermelon” lately? Ugh!

  • Firelight

    I should have blogged this movie for Valentine’s Day, but naturally forgot to do so. Anyway, since I didn’t make it to the movies last weekend, I wanted to put up my fave movie of all times: FIRELIGHT.

    The link below is from Amazon, and includes a synopsis and many viewer critiques.



    I figure, if you’re reading my blog, you must be a hopeless romantic, like myself, and this historical movie is totally, unbearably, unabashedly romantic. And yes, sensuously erotic. And by that, I mean all your senses will be fully involved in the viewing experience.

    For example: When the governess Elizabeth (Sophie Marceau) dips her paintbrush in water colors and delicately strokes the textured surface of her sheath of paper, you will hear the scratch of the bristles. When she undoes her corset, you will hear the ping of the hooks. You will feel the chill of the ice-jammed waters where reticent English landowner/gentleman sheep farmer, Charles Godwin ( Stephen Dillane) takes his daily swim. And the visuals! Every scene is a sensual delight. The one where the hero and heroine stand before the fire is not to be missed.

    Anyway, if you ever get the chance, do see FIRELIGHT–the movie gets my highest rating for an historical erotic-romance.

    (And one of the characters has a truly lovely name.)

  • Damn You, Woody Allen! What Have You Done To Me?

    Finally went to see Woody Allen’s MATCH POINT. As I already noted in a prior blog, all W.A.’s movies make me sad. In light of this, I went into the theatre knowing in advance I would come out down in the dumps. And I did.

    But that’s not the point of this blog. In fact, MATCH POINT really isn’t the point of this blog. Well, okay, maybe peripherally–

    The movie was well-acted, the topical plot maintained my interest throughout, there was a neat twist at the end which I appreciated, good suspenseful elements, Woody astutely conveyed his message. THE MOVIE WAS GOOD!

    And I didn’t like the movie.

    Though the message itself was benign–that luck can go either way–his presentation left no room for a HEA, for redemption, for viewer vindication. The characters were not sympathetic or likable, and thank God, I didn’t identify with the soulless lot of them one iota. As I say, W.A. depresses me. BUT THE MOVIE WAS GOOD!

    And I didn’t like the movie.

    Exiting the theatre, I overheard a woman say to her husband, “That wasn’t very funny for a Woody Allen movie,” and I realized the movie hadn’t fulfilled her expectations. She had pigeon-holed W.A. into only doing comedic films, not allowed him to grow as an artist, and so the film and W.A. had let her down. On principle alone, I disagreed with this. Because comedic or not, change of style or not, W.A. had every right to follow his muse. AND THE MOVIE WAS GOOD!

    And I didn’t like the movie.

    “So,” says DH, “You need a HEA to enjoy a movie?”
    –Yes,yes, a thousand times yes!–
    “So, you don’t necessarily want to see a good movie, you just want to see a feel good movie. You know, they’re not one and the same. We’ve been talking about this damn movie since we went to see it–I’d say we got our entertainment money’s worth from the movie. How long do we discuss feel-good movies?”

    He made an excellent point–

    And I still didn’t like the movie.

  • Batten down the hatches!

    This winter has been relatively mild here in New England. In fact, I’ve been going through seed catalogues in preparation for an earlier than usual spring.

    All that changed in the wee hours this morning when the winds began to blow the shovelable stuff around.

    Yep, we’re in the middle of a nor’easter.

    I have some experience with wearing a hat and mittens in the house. Knowing its far better to lose heat at a balmy 68 degrees than at a chilly 60, I bounded downstairs at six this morning and kicked our antique furnace into high gear in anticipation of losing power.


    I live in a rural town. A slow-moving and winding tidal river that empties into the the Atlantic Ocean borders the periphery. In 1690, Colonists built gristmills and sawmills on one of the many brooks. Farmers grazed their cows at the river’s edge, and harvested salt hay; shipwrights, working in boatyards and landings dotting the river, built sea vessels from groves of white oak and pine. With progress, came larger ships that the river could no longer accommodate, and so the shipbuilding era came to a close in the mid-1800’s.

    And the trees kept growing.

    Now, every time we experience any weather, those old white oak and pine topple onto the power lines, and we end up shivering.

    So far, so good today.

    Because of the storm, we couldn’t take our usual hike. Instead, I took a walk down to the stream to investigate the crumbling state of our dam. That’s me in the picture.

    WRITING NEWS: My publisher, Loose Id, inaugurates their newsletter either on, or close to, Valentine’s Day. In the first issue, I give my first ever interview. I can’t help but wish I were a more interesting subject, but I tried. No, not to be interesting–can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear–but I did try to answer the questions posed me as honestly as I could. Sign up for the newsletter, and read me make a fool of myself. I can think of no better incentive than that!

    While I write this blog, the youngest kid is playing his latest CD for me. His group is really “breaking it down”. Time for me to go punch down the oatmeal dough I’m trying to bake into a loaf of bread before the power flickers . . .

  • Why pretend

    I did nothing last week but sit at the PC and write–thus explains the lack of a blog. No complaints–I’m absolutely thrilled. I woke up on Monday, and had the remainder of ON MOORSTEAD all neatly plotted. That happens a lot, I realize I’m truly blessed, and I’m grateful. Since my unconscious neatly resolved all the outstanding issues on the book while I slept, all I had to do was apply my fingers to the keys, which I did–to the exclusion of having a life.

    To reward myself for almost finishing the book, I parked my fanny in a theatre again this weekend.

    Underworld:Evolution. Bored beyond belief, I started checking my watch 10 minutes into the film. And there’s another sequel in the works! Count me out, please! I’d rather scrub the floor in my sons’ bathroom, with a toothbrush, on my hands and knees,(And believe me, these young males have appallingly lousy aims) than waste two more hours of my life watching another one these bloodfests. Even the ambiance–nice dark palette of blacks and blues and blood-crimson–couldn’t save this film for me. I kept hoping all the vamps would suck one another dry and all the weres would eviscerate themselves and have done with it once and for all. No such luck. Found the love scene stilted, overly choreographed and, in a bloody film, bloodless. No eroticism, whatsoever.

    I did, however, enjoy Transamerica. The film had a lot of heart and humanity. Could’ve used less of a kitchen-sink approach to plotting, maybe ease up on certain clichés and caricatures, but Felicity Huffman did a fine job of making me care about the character, and no, I don’t follow Desperate Housewives. Kevin Zegers’ portrayal of Bree’s troubled son was also outstanding.

  • Your assignment: write a short essay on what you did this weekend

    On Saturday, drove into the city to meet the oldest son for an ice cream lunch at my fave, made-on-the-premises, ice cream shoppe, which a high-tech drop-out owns and operates. Gotta love a guy who gave up IT for hot fudge sundaes! And yes, my bad, all we ordered was the ice cream. Afterwards, onto my fave artsy-fartsy theatre.

    On Sunday, after another movie, went out to eat at a warm and inviting, and crowded restaurant. Though a chilly and breezy 30 degrees, cocktail-carrying diners left their linen-covered tables inside to venture outside, where they gathered in the courtyard ’round the huge stone hearth to warm their hands on the blazing flames. Nothing like a fire and Crown Royal for beating the winter blahs.


    Both films were historicals, early 1940’s and 1600’s respectively. Both were long on ambiance and short on action and dialogue. Because of the slow pace, both had an almost hypnotic quality to them. Lots of pregnant pauses. Lots of beautiful cinematography. Lots of vintage costumes–loved the soft hats on the males in WHITE COUNTESS. While both were romances, with implied sexuality, there were no overt scenes. Both movies took place at a time when the world hovered on the cusp of change, WWII and America’s colonization. In both movies, the heroine seemed to symbolize, idealize, a dying way of life.

    Liked, but didn’t love, both films, and wouldn’t opt to see either again. And that’s the sticking point, I suppose, because I do want to see several other films again, namely: BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN, CAPOTE, and WALK THE LINE.

    In books and in film, for me, it’s all about intensity.

  • Friday: Pizza For Supper And Lining Up Movies For The Weekend.

    In case you haven’t noticed yet, I love going to the movies. Given the choice, I’d happily give up April in Paris in favor of freezing my ass off in January at Utah’s Sundance Film Festival. Since I’m not attending this year, here’s my movie wish list for this coming weekend:

    (1) THE NEW WORLD–Colin Farrell in 1600’s Jamestown culture-clash, between “naturals” and English. It’s an historical–how could I not see it?

    (2) TRANSAMERICA–The story might highlight confusion but there’s no question about the movie’s emotional warmth.

    (3) WHITE COUNTESS –The reviews aren’t great, and it’s not playing many places, but Ralph Fiennes stars in it, and I love Ralph Fiennes, so . . .

    (4) CACHE–Puzzling ending, where the audience in the theatre stares at the screen as the credits roll and scratch their collective heads, so bodes well for post-movie conversation


    The last choice is in that ignoble position because Woody Allen makes me sad. Always has. Dunno why, but the man just brings me down. Even his comedies.

    I’ll let you know what I think . . .


  • Can Someone Loan Me A List Of New Year’s Resolutions? I Need Something To Break.

    Take down the Christmas tree or go see Rumor Has It–those were yesterday’s choices.

    Needless to say, I put off duty in favor of pleasure. (I am on vacation after all! Though, really,why delude myself? There never was a real choice.)

    So, anyway, off I went to the mall theatre.

    How was the movie?

    Well, I suppose sitting in the dark beat stripping tinsel off the branches, but not by much. Jennifer Aniston was her usual ‘Friends’ self. Cute figure, cute clothes, cute hair. All-around perky. Except, when she cried. Which was, unfortunately, quite a lot. An irascible Shirley MacLaine was given a few salty lines to say, but the delivery seemed a bit forced. And she paused after speaking the lines, as if waiting for a thunderous round of applause. (Her acting was more subtle and nuanced in In Her Shoes) Kevin Costner stretched his acting wings and played an aging entrepreneur rather than an aging athlete. Mark Ruffalo played likable, just like in Just Like Heaven.

    After circling the store for an hour the first time, in covered-wagon formation, I did finally find a parking space the second time around at the new IKEA–“everyday furniture in modern designs, emphasizing function, affordability, and style”. This Scandinavian import really knows how to do PR. With the exception of Disneyworld, I’ve never seen such crowds. Dunno–maybe the lure is the 300 seat cafeteria that serves a .99 breakfast. I spent four hours in the showroom looking . . . and buying . . .things I don’t really need or even want and certainly have no place to put. A personal success for me is only getting yelled at once by store personnel ( I have a poor sense of direction, and on a return trip from the Ladies Room, inadvertently went against the traffic flow in front of the escalator, thus causing a major shopper pile-up). No worries–everyone came out of it alive, and I made a number of new friends.


  • Catfights in Kimonos


    Stay-at-home vacations mean going to the movies. Got a whole list scheduled for this week. Yesterday, Memoirs of a Geisha had its turn. All-in-all, the film didn’t do much for me. The love story lacked intensity. The overdubbed last line pretty much sums up the plot. Basically, I walked out of the theater feeling nothing–never a good thing.