Miss Woodhouse's Musings

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Reviewing

One of the things I really regretted not being able to do while in school was go to the movies. So, now that I’m out, with money to spare and great movies coming to the big screen left right and center, I’ve been seeing some great flicks.

And some not so amazing ones too, come to think of it.

So, for the fun of it, here are my thoughts on some of the summer blockbusters!

THE HUNGER GAMES

Rating: PG-13

My Rating: Meh

Thoughts: I can’t imagine that it is easy to make a movie of books that are so well loved and widely read by a young audience. However, Peter Jackson and David Yates managed it, but Gary Ross didn’t do such a great job. The first hour was full of shaky camera shots, and the next hour glossed way too quickly over many important events in the book. The last half hour was sheer torture for me, but that probably had more to do with me wanting it to be over than bad pacing.

The casting was fantastic, especially putting Stanley Tucci in as Caesar. No one could have played him half as well. The scenery too was perfect, and the special effects were impeccable. Really, my only complaint was that they made some serious assumptions, the biggest one being that they made the assumption that the people seeing the movie had already read the book. For about 80% of viewers I’m sure that’s the case, but I feel bad for the people that showed up and didn’t know what was going on.

Conclusion: Solid movie for the existing fan of the book series, but I’m not going to sit around pining until Catching Fire is released.

 

MIRROR MIRROR

Rating: PG

My Rating: Cute!

Thoughts: Two words: Julia Roberts. She rules this movie! Sure, it’s a kid’s movie first and foremost, but adults will really connect with her character’s motivation: not wanting to age. No one wants to grow old, and when someone as freshly young as Snow White (played somewhat schizophrenically by Lily Collins) is sitting in your castle, well it only makes sense that you would feel your age even more.

With that as a subplot, the “main” plot of Snow White finding her courage comes across as a little contrived. However, the dwarves do wonders in spicing up her story line, and are completely fabulous! It’s the best handling of those characters I’ve ever seen.

In the end, this reboot is to Snow White what Ella Enchanted was to Cinderella. Is it a true interpretation? Not in the least. However, it is fun, entertaining, and elicits a few giggles along the way. Worth seeing!

 

 

THE AVENGERS

Rating: PG-13

My Rating: OH MY GOSH!!!!! Emma liked a superhero movie!!!!!!!

 

Thoughts: I stopped watching Spiderman during part two. I fell asleep during Batman Begins. Someone had to tell me that Thor was a superhero. This genre just isn’t my thing, at all. So, when I heard about The Avengers, I paid no attention. I knew that someone named Jeremy Renner was in it, but that was the extent of my knowledge.

So, why see it? Good question. Well, since both of my childhood friends are moving away this summer, we figured it was the last thing we’d all be able to do together for a year or so. Because I love my friends, I went to the movie. Now, I knew I wouldn’t get everything about the movie because I hadn’t seen the Ironmans, the Hulks, Thor, Captain America, or any of the movies made that led up to the phenomenon  that is The Avengers.

For me, Ironman (played by RDJ) stole the movie. He was amazing! Which is saying a lot, because the other characters were all amazing as well, which should give you a small idea of just how awesome RDJ must have been. So, not only did I enjoy a superhero movie, but I plan on going to see it again! And I also plan on watching the Ironman movies soon. Also, it has an epic soundtrack. And RDJ.

 

MEN IN BLACK 3

Rating: RG-13

My Rating: AWESOME!

Thoughts: Men in Black 1 was okay. Men in Black 2 was all over the map. To be honest, it never crossed my mind to hope for another movie. BIG mistake. With Will Smith in the mix, it was silly not to think that a third MIB movie would be extraordinary. And it was. A little silly in places, and sure it was far fetched from start to finish….

But man, the finish! I don’t want to be spoiler-y, but it was a really good narrative. Now, in all fairness I think that the narrative felt extraordinarily sophisticated against the lightness of the preceding movies, but it was good nonetheless. Overall, it was a solid, good film that leaves me thinking fondly of the entire MIB franchise. I would definitely recommend going to see this.

As an aside, there’s an added bonus of the majority of the movie being set in 1969, which is a HOOT. They did a really good job with the historical details, and let’s face it, I’ve never seen Andy Warhol explained so perfectly. And if that doesn’t make you want to go see the movie, then nothing will.

 

PROMETHEUS 

Rating: R (in my defense, I had no idea until I got TO the theater)

My Rating: Uhhhhhh….

Thoughts: I’m torn about Prometheus (which, for the record, was my first opening night showing ever!!!!). In many ways, it is a solid movie. Gripping plot, interesting characters, and a compelling story line. Oh, and the visual effects are gorgeous! Some of it was shot in Iceland, which was the perfect choice for the sparseness and ruggedness needed to accompany the story.

On the other hand, things seemed to be a bit all over the place. Some areas lacked finesse, while other areas were so finessed as to be incomprehensible. Sometimes the plot made sense, and other times, well…it didn’t. At all. It was also the most intense movie I’ve ever seen, hands down. That explains the rating, and the intensity was very well done. In the end though, I don’t think it’s a movie I’m wild to see again. If there’s a sequel, and there should be a sequel, I’m all there. Some elements of the movie are too good to just leave hanging.

 

There you have it! My scattered thoughts on the summer movies. I still want to see Snow White and the Huntsman, and after viewing this clip of Madagascar 3…well, that might be on the docket as well.

Yeah, it’s catchy all right. So, what about you all? Have you seen any of these? What about the other movies showing? Leave your thoughts, comments, and reviews below!

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Traditions

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

Well, now that we’ve that out of the way, I thought I’d share some of our Christmas traditions. The first thing that we love to do is go see The Nutcracker. It’s beautiful music, a fun story, and just a really great time overall. This year and last year we went to see the ballet in The Land Of No Internet, in a beautifully historic theatre. Isn’t it pretty?

 

 

 

See? It’s a lovely setting for the whole experience.

We also usually attend a Christmas Eve service. The past few years we’ve gone to the service at a Lutheran church, which is different than what I’m used to, but nice nonetheless. It’s even better if the service includes candles!

Cookies are a favourite too. 7 layer bars, Mexican Wedding Cakes, Whippersnappers, Rolo Cookies, and of course Mum’s world-famous chocolate chip cookies! Mum and Dad also each have a party mix they make; Mum makes a white chocolate one, and Dad makes a savoury one.

Usually we spend some time driving around looking at the crazy Christmas lights people put up on their houses. You know, like the stuff I posted last year. Our town has whole streets that try to outdo each other in the light departments, which makes it fun for us.

So, those are just a few of ours. Do you have traditions? Feel free to share them in the comments, and have a very merry Christmas!

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Monday Blues

I have a video. A video that will make the worst case of Mondays disappear.

What? You don’t believe me??? Well, take a look at this:

See? I told you so.

You’re welcome.

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Don’t Hurt Me

Have you ever sat back, looked at the East Coast, and wondered what exactly we do during a hurricane? Do we sit huddled in a corner waiting for the roof to cave in? Do we count our copiously stockpiled provisions? Do we go surfing?

The answer is that someone, somewhere is doing all of those things. But we don’t stop there! No no, we don’t take the hurricanes lying down. We go out and beg them to leave us alone!

What? You don’t believe me? Oh, then you need to watch this. For reals.

(And in case you were wondering, this video will be featured on national TV tomorrow morning! Ah, the rewards of boredom.)

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You’re A Firework

I can’t believe I’m going to post this video. But…but…it HAS TO BE DONE! There’s no way I can let such a perfect pairing of Music Monday and Independence Day slip by unnoticed.

To make up for the inanity of the song, why don’t we take a few minutes to reflect on what some of the Founding Fathers said about this awesome nation?

“The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever.”

-John Adams, in a letter to his wife Abigail

We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all of our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind of self-government; upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.

– Usually attributed to James Madison. Great quote though, no matter who said it.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

– Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of Independence

Want to read some more cool quotes about America? There are some great ones here.

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This Race Can Be Won

You know, I really love when God uses music to minister to us…especially when He uses special people to bring said music to you. For today’s Music Monday, we are going to jump back in time a few weeks, back to the days of stress, strife, and suffering. Those deep, dark, dreary days known as…Spring Semester.

I don’t remember too much about this last semester. All I remember is being exhausted, reading and writing lots of words, and basically mainlining caffeine in any form possible. I spent whole days and nights at the dining room table, articles spread from one edge  to the other, a few bottles of caffeine scattered in the midst of the papers, and me and my laptop valiantly plugging away.

In the midst of one such session, I received a message from a dear friend in the form of a YouTube video link. I almost ignored it – how important could it be? It could wait a few days. Then, I glanced at the time. It had been over six hours since I last took a break from this paper. It was time for a little brain vacation. So, I clicked the link.

Boy, was that the right choice. Such an amazingly encouraging song!!!! I could literally feel energy running back into my soul. The song was instantly downloaded from iTunes, and I used to to get through the next hours of crunch time.

My friend didn’t know what I was going through. He didn’t know how weary I was. But he sent the encouragement to me anyways, and that means the world. Thank God for friends (and songs!) like this to keep us focused and motivated on life’s journey!

Happy Monday! Stay strong.

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Pay No Attention To The Band Behind The Curtain

So, heard this awesome song the other day. Well, I really only heard a fragment, and ran to Google the lyrics before I forgot them.

What I saw…well, it shocked me. Really, really shocked me. THEM? THEY did a song like THAT? I was gobsmacked.

Thinking that maybe I was overreacting, I wasn’t careful when I started sharing this song. I let people see who sang it before they heard it…and I almost lost people.

Because, you know…it’s by…Pearl Jam.

Bear with me? Give it a listen? I promise, it’s Pearl Jam like you’ve never heard them before.

And yes, that’s a good thing.

Yes I understand that every life must end, 
As we sit alone, I know someday we must go, 
I’m a lucky man to count on both hands 
The ones I love,.. 

Some folks just have one, 
Others they got none, 

Stay with me,.. 
Let’s just breathe. 

Practiced are my sins, 
Never gonna let me win, 
Under everything, just another human being, 
Yeh, I don’t wanna hurt, there’s so much in this world 
To make me bleed. 

Stay with me,.. 
You’re all I see. 

Did I say that I need you? 
Did I say that I want you? 
Oh, if I didn’t now I’m a fool you see,.. 
No one knows this more than me. 
As I come clean. 

I wonder everyday 
as I look upon your face, 
Everything you gave 
And nothing you would take, 
Nothing you would take,.. 
Everything you gave. 

Did I say that I need you? 
Oh, Did I say that I want you? 
Oh, if I didn’t now I’m a fool you see,.. 
No one know this more than me. 
As I come clean. 

Nothing you would take,.. 
everything you gave. 
Hold me till I die,.. 
Meet you on the other side.

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Birthday Gal

Today is my puppy’s 10th birthday! I can’t believe it’s been nearly 10 years since we found her on a little farm, the tiniest of the litter, trying valiantly to keep up with her brother and sisters. We took her from her home in LONI to bring her to the Land of the Overcrowded Roads, but I think she’s happy nonetheless.

At least, she’s currently happy in her occupation of poking me in the back with her paw. I think she wants to play, which I should go do with her before the little darling tries to dig a hole in my wrist or plays with my CAPS LOCK key…again.

In the meantime, enjoy some collected videos and pictures of my little puppy!

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It’s A Cry and It’s A Broken Hallelujah

One of my favourite songs, and my favourite cover of it to boot! Happy Music Monday.

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Just The Way You Are

Time for Music Monday! This week I have something for ALL my readers…a song and a sign! I love this song by Bruno Mars, despite the little teeny-boppers at ColdStone rolling their eyes at me. The lyrics are sweet, the melody is interesting, and the singing is decent.

Add someone signing to it, and you have the perfect little video. Enjoy…and remember that you are perfect, just the way you are.

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