Failure to Launch

For some reason (probably the reason named Sarah Jessica Parker, ahem) I never really cared to see this movie. But I finally gave in, and I'm glad I did. It's the kind of chic-flick I like because it's not overly-cheesy, it's adequately funny, and the chemistry is passable.

Definitely earns its PG-13 rating, of course, but not generally crude. Be warned though, there is a good amount of screen time devoted to an older man's behind. By good amount, I mean more than none, since who wants to be mooned by an older man?

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Talk about a creative idea loaded with potential! I enjoyed the film because it was interesting and thought-provoking. BUT. I am convinced it could have been SO MUCH BETTER.

Reminds me of Wicked (the book). An awesome idea that got...cheapened in the details. And ended up only half-developed. Luckily the potential of that idea was more fully developed in the musical, so I hear.

But anyway, this review isn't about Wicked. So back to The Curious Case. I recommend it, just don't expect it to be life-changing.

Bedtime Stories

This is one of those so-so movies that is, really, for the kids or the family with young kids. Worth seeing once, but probably not more...unless you are babysitting your 7 year-old nephew. Kids are the perfect audience since they miss the adult-themed jokes and make the most of the goofy, slap-sticky humor.

If there had been better romantic chemistry - think Sandler + Barrymore - I probably would have liked it a lot more. I just couldn't buy the Sandler + Russell dynamic.

Mostly Martha

I've never seen No Reservations, but apparently it's based on this little gem. This one's in German (a plus), and the excellent casting and chemistry more than make up for deficiencies in plot. It's sweet and I like it.

David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

I didn't finish the book.

I mean, I gave it a good 400 pages worth of attention and then...I gave up. Some of the writing was absolutely poetic and beautiful but, in the end, I got tired of the over-the-top descriptiveness and tragic moralizing. Dickens' description of David's romantic interest for Dora reminded me of Hugo's description of Marius's romantic interest in Cosette...and similarly made me want to puke. ;)

From what I read, I'm pretty sure this reviewer was spot-on in his synopsis of the book. I'd love to read an abridged version (which incidentally is the same thing I'd say for my favorite story, Les Miserables).

Bolt (2008)

I hadn't even heard of this movie until I found out our family was going to see it on Thanksgiving, so I didn't really have any expectations.

The expectations I didn't have were far exceeded. Loved it!

It was a sweet, simple, funny family film. I'm pretty sure I had a stupid grin on my face for a lot of the movie. And the hampster made me laugh, I just couldn't help myself.

I'd see it again.

Water (2005)

So usually I'm not a fan of tragedies, but....I have a weakness for foreign films. Maybe because those tragedies seems more believable? Hmmmm, I don't know.

Well anyway, if you appreciate a little dose of thought-provoking heart-break every now and again, I'd recommend this one.

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (2008)

I'd call this an amoral film attempting to teach a "moral."

I didn't agree with some decisions made by the main character or the rest of the cast, but I could relate to her being surprised at herself making those decisions. And, like her, things have often worked out in my life in spite of mistakes I've made.

Speaking of relating, I'm sure my I've-had-my-fill-of-pretty-shiny-things-and-now-I'm-looking-for-someone-of-character Mr. Right is also just around the corner... ;)

Anyway, the movie portrayed promiscuity as something very laughable and insignificant and I'm almost surprised in retrospect that I didn't find it more offensive. Perhaps it's because I'm desensitized. Or perhaps it's because the production had a very melodramatic, stage-like feel (did I mention Amy Adams?) and I didn't take it seriously. It kept my interest....but...yeah...I probably won't be watching it again.

Ghost Town (2008)

This movie made me LAUGH! Which turns out to be the key.

If I were to examine the plot for depth or character development or transitioning or whatever, I might be forced to admit it's not the most original or polished.

But instead what I remember is that while watching it I laughed, and laughed, and laughed...and had such a good time!...that I left the theater newly enthralled with Ricky Gervais and planning to purchase this movie down the road.

Bella (2006)

So this movie is exceptionally mysterious throughout its first half. If your viewing experience is anything like mine, you will just have question after question about what the heck is going on here!

But ultimately, that worked for me. The slow, confusing and seemingly disconnected beginning kept my interest until it finally wrapped itself up in a thought-provoking, perhaps over-simple but beautiful way.

Of course I also enjoyed the frequent interspersion of Spanish and the beautiful main character...

27 Dresses (2008)

27 reasons not to watch this movie (okay, well just a couple will probably suffice):

The main character is totally high strung. She is a controlling, self-martyring, obsessive, overly-sensitive girl. I do NOT want to relate to this character.

The hero, though good-looking, is creepy.

The only way these two hook-up is by getting drunk, etc.

Yeah, not really my idea of good romance. Buh.

Dark Knight (2008)

My friend asked if I enjoyed this movie. I said, "Well, I didn't think it was unenjoyable..."

Cons: some ugly violence (I had to cover my eyes and even plug my ears quite a bit), several loose ends in the plot left untied, horrible casting for Rachel

Pros: Christian Bale, some sweet stunts, a few moral victories

It was mostly worth seeing for the company I was with. I definitely prefer Batman Begins though.

Get Smart (2008)

If you're in the mood for some good slapstick, I would recommend this movie. I'm usually kind of elitist in my humor preferences, considering slapstick sub-par....but somehow, Steve Carrell won me over this time. I know, shocking. :)

One warning - there is at least one sight gag (is that what it's called?) that I found distasteful, so...don't say I didn't warn you. But overall I thought the humor tended to be fairly clean and just ridiculously playful.

The Tale of Despereaux by Kate KiCamillo

This book was recommended to me by my good friend, Tara. She is an elementary teacher and informed me that the reading level of this book is 4.7. On the inside cover of the copy she lent me, it also says 5 points.

I read like the whole book today, before and after my soccer game. It's an easy read, and so...wholesomely sweet. I liked it.

Lars and the Real Girl (2007)


Wow, you should really see this movie. It is slow, but hilarious and sweet and the acting is EXCELLENT. I absolutely love the casting.

I was a little nervous that it could be crude but it wasn't at all - just endearing and funny. I even shed a tear or two, but I can't remember if that was because I was moved or just laughing hysterically...

Amazing Grace (2006)

I have been moved, moved, and triply moved by this film. It is a reminder of the goodness of men and the good that can be accomplished. I felt so inspired while watching it to dedicate my life to doing good and loving mankind.

I wholeheartedly recommend this movie!

La Puente (Mexican Restaurant in Bountiful, Utah)

So, I have actually eaten at this restaurant three times in the last month. This is what I have eaten and my respective responses:

1. Chips and salsa, enchilada, pork tamale, Spanish rice and refried beans
RESPONSE: I love tamales. This enchilada is not what I was expecting. These beans are amazing. I can't finish all this food.

2. Chips and salsa, pork tamale, double portion of refried beans
RESPONSE: This tamale is not what I was expecting. I will never order a tamale here again. These beans are amazing. I can't believe I ate them all.

3. Chips and salsa, side of refried beans, piece of flan.
RESPONSE: These beans are AMAZING!!! AND THIS FLAN IS THE BEST I'VE EATEN IN YEARS!!! I must come back for beans and flan at least once a month.

Verdict: I totally recommend the beans and flan. The chips and salsa are also pretty good.

August Rush (2007)

So, I'm actually watching this movie right now. During the past hour+, I've talked on the phone, done my laundry, and played extensively with the colors on my other blog.

The movie is that good.

When the kid picked up the guitar for the first time and turned out to be a musical prodigy (surprise!), I was reminded of the wise words of Lady Catherine De Bourg: "If I had ever learnt, I should have been a true proficient."

Yeah me too. ;)

Juno (2007)

I liked this movie. I laughed a lot (including sometimes when I was the only one in the theater laughing). I cried a little. It made me think and broke the tiniest bit of my heart.

2 warnings though:
1) There are a couple awkward scenes. I told my mom I wouldn't recommend it to her and my dad. [Plus my friend saw this with his family, and he confirmed to me it was pretty uncomfortable watching this with his mom]
2) The music is usually pretty awful. I mean, seriously.

P.S. I Love You (2008)

You know those movies that don't have the best casting or chemistry, have mediocre plots, and never actually draw you in -- but still make you cry just because they have a handful of manipulative scenes about death and loneliness?

Yeah...this is one of those movies...

Definitely, Maybe (2008)

If someone were to ask me if this movie is good, I would say...well, it's interesting to talk about. And it's not, like, bad.

Yep, that's what I'd say.

Oh, plus that Ryan Reynolds isn't bad-looking either.

The Spiderwick Chronicles (2008)

Don't be deceived. This movie is DEATH. Unless you are between the ages of eight and eleven, you may find the viewing experience mind-numbingly awful. The only redeeming quality is if you get to watch it with an intriguing redhead...

Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey

I fell in love with this book. It was poetic. It was heart-breaking. It was so, so thought-provoking. It was at times graphic, more than I would wish (I won't be seeing the movie), and yet to me it didn't seem overly salacious -- more matter-of-fact.

The story provides an intriguing treatment of sin. Fascinating. I particularly enjoyed how the writer tells the story, presenting several viewpoints, and then leaves the reader to decide what to make of it.

I have not decided what to make of it, yet. But I was moved.

"Fortune Cookies So Easy" from

I found two fortune cookie recipes that listed pretty much the same ingredients and had similar ratings. I chose to try this one because it was already scaled to a more reasonable number -- yield of 36 cookies instead of 6.

After trying it out, I'm a little confused by the name. Because I'm not sure what the "easy" part is referring to.

The first batch was too thin and wouldn't come off the parchment paper (don't use parchment paper). Second batch also reluctant to leave the baking sheet (even though it was very well-greased). Next batch was thicker, a bit more successful. Fourth batch didn't let get golden around the edges, MUCH more willing to be spatula'd. Last batch added flour, didn't let get golden, tasted delicious but not at all crispy.

The cookies were delicious, but the recipe was not easy. NOR did it yield 36 servings (each batch was made up of like three cookies).

Next time I will just make dessert crepes and skip the fortune.

The Accidental Tourist (1988)

The movie was recommended to me by...the back cover, and the merit of earning the oscar for Best Picture.
It is most suited for...mature audiences (It's rated PG, but is adult-themed. I just need to add that disclaimer since I understand my standards may be more liberal than yours, or at least than you might expect.)
Watching it made me want to...look deeper into people.
I was pleasantly the turkey scene! I LOVE IT!!!
One lesson learned: Nothing comes to mind.
My recommendation: I enjoyed the film and the thinking I did while watching it. If you are interested by the changing dynamics of the traditional family during the last few decades, you might find this movie thought-provoking. Just know that you might not agree with the decisions made by the protagonist. Which could be a turn off to some.

The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

The movie was recommended to me sister Rebecca, I think?
It is most suited for...lovers of fairy-tales (of which I am one).
Reading it made me want to...write. Learn foreign languages. Move to new places...and of course, marry a handsome prince who's madly in love with the way I think. Of course.
I was pleasantly surprised...that in spite of the happy-ending, some things did go wrong for the heroine, permanently. As you may gather from previous posts, I always love the addition of bitterness to something sweet.
One lesson learned: It is possible to make a good story by fleshing out the details of a tale that already exists.
My recommendation: A good book when you're in the mood for a pleasant "escape."

A Patch of Blue (1965)

The movie was recommended to me by...Aunt Janice.
It is most suited for...mature audiences who aren't looking for something fast-paced or light-hearted.
Watching it made me want to...think, think, think. To identify all the metaphors to better understand the story. To analyze the relationships portrayed. To know to what degree the actions and reactions reflect reality.
I was pleasantly the pineapple juice scene (the second time it's offered to Selina) another scene in which Selina remembers Gordon's the ending...
One lesson learned: People that lived forty years ago feel the same things people feel today (this is a lesson I am continually learning).
My recommendation: if you like movies that make you think and analyze all the details...I recommend it! I'm a fan.

Annie Hall (1977)

The movie was recommended to me by...the back cover, and the merit of being Best Picture of 1977.
It is most suited for...nobody I know.
Watching it made me want to...turn it off as soon as possible.
I was pleasantly how much better I felt when I turned it off (definitely didn't even make it half way).
One lesson learned: Woody Allen really is sex-obsessed.
My recommendation: DON'T EVEN GO THERE.

In America (2002)

The movie was recommended to me by...a reviewer on TV, some years ago.
It is most suited for...audiences over the age of 13 (there's definitely one scene that some might want to skip).
Watching it made me want kind and a good friend. Mourn with those that mourn.
I was pleasantly the seriousness of the themes addressed.
One lesson learned: Children have an amazing capacity to love and lift the adults in their life.
My recommendation: Don't watch it while exercising. I was crying so hard I could hardly breathe, which is kind of a problem when you're riding the stationary bike.

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

The book was recommended to me by...a girl in my German class. She is a doctoral student of English Literature.
It is most suited for...females.
Reading it made me want to...write more. Go to England (grin). Be real. Dye my clothes green.
I was pleasantly its bittersweetness. By its feeling of authenticity. By its cleverness and intelligence and insight. That it seemed so contemporary (considering it was published in 1948).
Lessons learned: In spite of good intentions, life can be messy.
My recommendation: READ IT!!!

Dan in Real Life (2007)

It's cute and witty,
but unwittingly negates
agency in love.

I'm left wondering, at what point does one draw the line of committment?

Eh, well, the truth is I enjoyed it anyway! I'd like to see it again.

Martian Child (2007)

This child may be strange,
but really, what are the odds
of being normal?

For the first time, I keenly parents must hurt when their children are hurting! How powerless they must feel.

I really like this movie, and would like to see it again. Just know that it's long.