Disney’s A Christmas Carol is kind of a creepy, animated adaptation of the Charles Dicken’s classic. Jim Carrey plays several parts, including Scrooge and the ghosts. Gary Olham, Cary Elwes and Robin Wright Penn also have multiple roles. It was alright, but I don’t know if little kids would enjoy this movie.
Exit Through the Gift Shop is a documentary directed by street artist Banksy. Thierry Guetta is an LA thrift shop owner who starts videotaping every moment of his life. He then moves on to filming various street artists, and eventually becomes a street artist himself. It was different.
A Prophet, in French and Portuguese with English subtitles, is about a nineteen year old small time criminal who goes to jail for six years, and rises through the ranks of the prison gangs. It was violent, but interesting.
The Other Man, with Liam Neeson, Antonio Banderas and Laura Linney is about a woman trying to come clean with her husband about an affair, and then she’s gone. The husband then tracks down the lover in an effort to find her. It was pretty good.
I Love You Phillip Morris is based on a true story. It's about a man, played by Jim Carrey, who starts out his life as a police officer with a wife and kids. He evolves into a con man who meets the love of his life, Phillip Morris, played by Ewan McGregor, in jail. Jim Carrey has such an elastic face and it really comes in handy for some of the characters he plays. It really enhances his performance in this film. There were some really crude parts in this film, but overall, it was entertaining.
I have long wanted to try this recipe that I cut out of a magazine many years ago. This year was the year. It's called Peppermint Candy Shortbread Cookies. You can find it on the Argo Cornstarch website.
Not much finishing going on around here...I think it's that Christmas thing getting in the way...but do have one FO to report since last Friday. It's another one ball wonder cowl. The yarn is Tokyo by Filatura di Crosa:
And here's one from June. I saw this cute scarf on Ravelry, and modified the pattern Buttons and Stripes by J. L. Fleckenstein. I used Comfort by Berroco - one ball in each color.
Remember that shawl I started last week? I've worked on it some since then:
I also started a bag out of some yarn I found while I was stash diving that was leftover from a project. I felt like doing something with it right then and there. There is no real pattern...I'm just making it up as I go along. I am planning on felting it. It will be a surprise to see what I get:
I had never seen The Princess Bride, starring a young Robin Wright Penn in the title role. It is a story within a story. A grandfather reads this story to his sick grandson. It is about a girl who agrees to marry a prince five years after hearing that her true love was dead. However, he is not, and he comes back to claim her. It also stars Mandy Patinkin, Andre the Giant, Peter Falk, Fred Savage, Carole Kane, Billy Crystal and several others. It was very good.
The Brothers Bloom is about two brothers, Stephen and Bloom, who seem to have been con artists since their early years in the foster system. Adrien Brody plays the younger one, Bloom, who gets tired of chasing the next con, and wants to get out of the business. However, big bro (my man, Mark Ruffalo) needs him for just one more. Rachel Weisz also stars in this movie full of cons and double-crosses and by the end of the movie…you don’t care to figure it all out. Interestingly, we never find out why they are called The Brothers Bloom, when only one of them is named Bloom, and it is his first name. It was alright.
Intimate Strangers, in French with English subtitles, is an interesting movie revolving around an abused woman and a tax attorney. While looking for the office of a psychiatrist, this woman instead goes to the tax attorney's office and launches into the intimate details of what brought her there in the first place. She leaves there that day still thinking she visited the psychiatrist. Even when the tax attorney finally corrects her, she continues to meet with him to discuss her situation. The movie was very character driven, a little quirky and not for everyone.
The King’s Speech, starring Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter, Geoffrey Rush, Guy Pearce and Timothy Spall, is about the relationship between Bertie (Firth), the soon-to-be King George VI, his speech therapist, Lionel (Rush). It is a good story, well acted and factually based. I really liked it.
Yay! I finished a couple of things, but not any of my stalled projects. I made another Go STARS! Boa for me this time. I wore it to the game last night. I felt stylin':
I have random single balls of yarn in my stash. Tonight at the Mavs game, I started and finished a cowl out of one of those random balls called Bebette by Laines du Nord. I gave it to my friend Jules who was at the game with us:
I have a few FOs that I haven't posted on the blog; so, I will post one or two periodically to get everyone caught up, cause I know y'all live for pictures of my knitting.
I made a Tea Leaves Cardigan by Melissa LaBarre using Madelinetosh Tosh DK in Fragrant. I decided against the longer sleeves.
Here's the Chastain Park Shawl....a really easy knit. I used a finer yarn than what was suggested by the pattern, but the adjustments were minimal. I used a mohair blend.
I couldn't think of a catchy title; so, you got what you got...
I love to cook, although I don't seem to have time to cook all the time. Maybe, I like it more, because I don't have to do it all the time...I don't know.
I have a cabinet full of cookbooks. When I'm bored sometimes or I get in a rut, I will look through one or two to find something that sounds good. I also like to cruise the websites. My phone and my iPad have recipe apps. I wonder if I like the idea of cooking more than actually cooking...
I found this recipe called Apple Cabbage Toss on www.allrecipes.com. I made it the other night and everyone loved it. It's simple and tasty.
I missed Movie Monday, and was going to put it off to yesterday, but when I came home from work, I was dead tired. I think a little virus is brewing and I am trying not to let it get me.
Anyway, it is WIP Wednesday, but first, the movie comments I promised to you:
My Sister’s Keeper is about a family who has a child with leukemia. They decide to conceive another one in the hopes that it is a genetic match and can help treat the ill one. Abigail Breslin, Alec Baldwin, Joan Cusack, Cameron Diaz, Sofia Vassilieva and Jason Patric star in this film that deals a little with moral and ethical issues, but not in a heavy-handed way. It was good.
Another Woman is a Woody Allen movie starring many actors from back in the day – Gena Rowlands, Mia Farrow, Blythe Danner, Gene Hackman, Sandy Dennis, Betty Buckley, Frances Conroy, John Houseman and a newby – Martha Plimpton. In typical Allen style, especially in his earlier work, the characters have a lot of dialogue – and it’s rather neurotic. Rowlands plays an accomplished graduate school administrator who is writing a book. She rents an apartment to use as her office. It happens to be right next door to a psychiatrist’s office, and she can hear the doctor-patient sessions through a vent in the wall. It was pretty good.
I had never seen Wallstreet, and since there is now a sequel, I thought I’d better hop to it. Charlie Sheen plays a young broker at the bottom of the chain who comes under the tutelage of Gordon Gecko, a power broker in the financial circles. Gecko’s credo that “Greed is good,” gets tested in his less than ethical dealings. It was pretty good.
In Summer Hours, Juliette Binoche (blond again, but better hairstyle) plays a woman who has to decide, along with her two brothers, about what to do with their mother’s estate after she passes. It is in French, with English subtitles and very character driven. It was alright.
Everlasting Moments, in Swedish with English subtitles, is about a woman with a difficult family life who starts taking photographs and discovers her self-worth. It was a well acted story. I really liked it.
Angelah Johnson: That’s How We Do It is a Comedy Central special with Angelah Johnson, a former Oakland Raiders cheerleader. I first discovered Angelah when a friend told me I had to search YouTube for Bon Qui Qui. That’s Angelah’s ghetto character who is a scream. Another one of her funny characters is Tammy, the Vietnamese nail salon technician. So, when I saw this DVD on my Netflix, I watched it. It’s pretty funny, without being profane and overly crude. She’s not exactly PC, but she’s not too heavy-handed about it.
Y'all have seen my WIPs just recently...I haven't made a move on any of them since. I am waiting to get Christmas under control before I get myself all worked up over two sticks and a ball of string. I did start a little shawl yesterday. It's called 198 Yds of Heaven. I didn't get very far before I fell asleep:
Now that I've hopefully given you the earworm of the day...
I have been been trying to combat the knitting curse with some instant gratification projects. As I've been laying on the couch watching movies on my iPad, feeling sorry for myself that I am not technically advanced enough to figure out how to make sweaters fit me well, or figure out how to decrease while keeping in pattern, (or what have you), my hands have not been keeping still.
Y'all have to know by now that I have quite a bit of yarn and more than one set of needles in each size. Surely, y'all know that...And of course, looking through the stash and flipping through patterns is often inspiring. I found some dark green eyelash yarn and some dark blue eyelash yarn the other day. I know...It's not the hot ticket anymore, but it does have its uses. So, I thought a minute and realized that I need some glitzy ornamentation to wear to hockey and basketball games. I mean, what screams "Team Spirit!!!" louder than funky boa scarves in your teams colors?
The Go STARS! boa:
The Go MAVS! boa:
And I needed something funky and fun for a young, hip girl for Christmas. Since she likes pink, I put two and two together and came up with:
I took this picture yesterday afternoon...Things are looking up in Merry Karma's world. Now, if I could just get that Christmas tree set up...
It started this summer, and it continues. Part of the problem is that gauge is a fickle bitch. I do my version of swatching, and truth be told, I don't think it is any different than the "real" way of knitting a little square and washing it and making comparisons. I've tried the "real" way, and my version of casting on a bunch of stitches, knitting a bunch of rows, then measuring to see what I got is just as informative. More accurately, it is just as noninformative.
I have a top I made out of Berroco Suede back in May. Ms. Gauge had her way with this project in the beginning, but I sorted it out and managed to finish the top quickly. However...I didn't like the instructions for the straps (I'm stubborn that way); so, I made them "my way." I hated the way "my way" looked; so, I ripped back, finished the top parts as written, and am now knitting the straps "their way." I haven't gotten very far:
In August, I started knitting the back of a fabulous lacy, summer top out of some pretty fuschia cotton and silk yarn called Wach'i, by Mirasol. I got a little sidetracked, because I had to finish some deadline knitting and put it aside. Sometime after, I picked it up again and I moved merrily along until I got to the armholes, and I cannot for the life of me make the decreases work out with the pattern. So, I threaded the stitches onto some waste yarn and started the front to get it to the armhole decreases. At that point, I was planning to go to the LYS and get help...Here's what it looks like today:
Next up, I found some pretty cotton fabric to make a little skirt. I thought I could find some yarn to coordinate and came up with Linie 163 Bingo in brown...not a color I typically wear, but it will go well with the fabric. Yes, it is a simple stockinette top, but Ms. Gauge has presented problems, and this is my third start of the first piece...It is looking a little worse for the wear, and this isn't the best picture:
There was a Hill Country Yarn Crawl in October. I was not able to participate, but on the last day, I happened to be in Austin and I visited Gauge. (Should this name have tipped me off to the issues that followed?) It's a cute little shop with lots of yummy yarn, and there was some Malabrigo Rios with my name on it. I started a Liesl, by Isolda Teague, because the color of the yarn was so pretty. I was frustrated with my other tops, but I only guilty about starting another project for about a femptosecond. It was looking a little too loopy to me, and when I tried it on, it really didn't fit right. I put the stitches on some waste yarn, and started again with smaller needles. I think I may have to go up a size to get it to work, but I haven't had time lately to really fool with it. Here it is, in all its glory:
Finally, I did finish two projects in October...a baby sweater, and a scarf. The baby sweater came out quite well, and it's a story for a different post. Remember that scarf I showed you a while back out of Buffalo Gold Premium Fibers Lux that was coming out too loose (Ms. Gauge again) and I went down a needle size or two? I finished it, and had enough yarn and everything. One day, when I set out to weave in the ends and to block it, I noticed some wonky stitches - right in the middle of the scarf. It is reversible, and it doesn't show on the other side, but I am seriously considering frogging back to the mistake and fixing it and reknitting the second half of the scarf. This yarn is pricey and beautiful. It deserves nothing less than perfection. It's hard to tell from this picture, but at least you can tell that I have finished it:
So, the last several months have been frustrating in the knitting department. I've tried many ways to get my groove back. I am trying not to buy any more yarn until DFW Fiber Fest 2010, but don't cry for me Argentina...I have more than enough yarn to last me for many, many years...
I leave you with a photo of freshly washed handknitted socks:
This week was very hectic; so, I didn't have tons of time to watch movies, or do much else besides staying a step or two ahead of the painters. I did manage to watch a couple of things on my iPad via Netflix:
Judith is an old movie with Sophia Loren and Peter Finch. It is set in Israel, near the Syrian border, about the time that Israel was being declared it's own state. The main character, Judith, who is Jewish, had been betrayed by her Nazi general husband. She and their son were sent to Dauchau and ultimately separated. Her survival was fueled by her desire to exact revenge. She was smuggled to Israel by Finch's group, who are Nazi war criminal hunters. They need hr to help them identify him. He is supplying the Arabs with tanks and munitions to use against the Isrealis. So, it's sort of a Nazi movie and it was good.
The Red Balloon is an award winning short, made in 1956, about a little boy who finds a helium filled balloon. Soon, it seems the balloon has a mind of its own. it is set in Paris, and is in French with English subtitles, though there is not much dialogue. It was cute.
Flight of the Red Balloon, references The Red Balloon. I saw this one first and then looked up the short on Netflix, and they had it. It is also set in Paris and is in French with English subtitles. Juliette Binoche stars in the movie, playing Suzanne, a busy, harried single mother, who hires a nanny to mind her son. The quiet, calm manner of the nanny is contrasted against the mother. Their living quarters are a bit of a mess, and it bugged me through the whole film. Juliette has blonde hair in this film, and that is not disconcerting, but the messy way she wears it is. It was alright.
In other news, the Fly Swarm 2010 - Part 3 is driving me batty. The Orkin man did come and assured me that the flies were ordinary house flies that had likely come in when the windows and front door were open during the painting adventure. He didn't charge me for his assessment and suggested I get some fly paper or something to help capture them.
We got one on Saturday and put it up where the flies were hanging out - around my living room windows. For the whole first day, not one fly got caught on it. It is an orange tube, similar to a paper towel tube, with flies drawn on it. The theory is that flies will attract more flies. Yesterday morning, I got up fairly early and there still were no flies attached. A few hours later, I checked it, and two flies were attached, right on top of drawings of flies. Hmmm...maybe there is something to this theory. However, by the end of the day yesterday, only about 9 flies attached - about one-tenth of the fly population in my home. Interestingly, all were attached on top of drawn flies. The body count is going up in more ways than one. They have been starting to die on their own. It has been a few days since they've had food or water or whatever keeps flies alive, and I've swatted a few that had crossed my path, but there are still more than I like flying around making me crazy.
...It's the beginning of December and it's time to put up the Christmas tree and the decorations, but guess what? I haven't done any of that yet.
It's also, for the second year in a row, the time of year that I take on a colossal time-consuming, messy and disruptive project. Why, yes it is.
Remember last year...the Decrapification Challenge? Well, this year, it's the Repaint the House Challenge.
So, I called the painters and invited them over. Initially, I was thinking that we could go ahead and decorate the tree and I would just wait until after Christmas to do the living room. I then decided, since it was still November (at that point), they could start with the living room, and then it would be finished and I could go ahead and decorate and it wouldn't be an issue. I also had it in my head that they would come, paint an area, go away for a day or two and I would have time to get things put together before they returned to do a different area. That was not their vision. They came Monday and left yesterday. They painted the whole downstairs except for the kitchen. Currently, the kitchen is wallpapered, and I was thinking that I would just leave it alone. I took a good look at it and realized that it is really looking a little worn. After the first of the year, the painters will return to paint the upstairs, as well as strip the kitchen wallpaper, texture, paint and glaze the walls.
Now that they are gone, I am glad that they came, got the work done and left...in a week. I was pretty much standing on my last nerve with the mess around me by the middle of the week.
Oh, and remember that living room that was painted first; so, I could get the tree up???
So, we got rid of the body and we had the ritual (and disinfecting) cleansing by fire in the fireplace...and two days ago, I noticed flies again. Yesterday, I called the company with whom we have our pest control service and was told that they do not treat flies.*
The receptionist did offer to have our technician call me and offer suggestions. I am still waiting for his call. This morning, I called Orkin. When I was googling (yes, I did just use that as a verb) about flies a couple of days ago, one of the hits directed me to their website. They stated that if I needed help with fly infestations, I could call them.
So, I did.
I did verify with the person who answered the phone that they do indeed treat flies. A technician will be coming by my house later today.
*We had also called this company to help us get rid of the squirrels in the attic a few weeks ago and were told that they do not treat squirrels. Now, I ask you, if you advertise that you are a pest control company...well, I won't go there. I will say that I may be changing pest control companies very soon.
This past week, it was all about the Nazis and the romantic comedies.
The White Ribbon, in German with English subtitles, takes place in a small German village just before the start of WWI. A series of disturbing events occur. The story is narrated by the teacher of the town, who tries to figure out who the culprit is. Is it the austere, repressive preacher's children, the cruel and incestuous doctor or the exploitive baron? We never find out. The movie Is shot in black and white, which further underscores the bleak environment in which there people live. It was good.
Au Revoir Les Enfants, in French with English subtitles, is a film by Louis Malle based on events that happened in his life. It is about a French boarding school during WWII, that seems to be a safe environment for the boys. One day, a mysterious new student arrives who changes the lives of at least one of the other students, I may have commented on this movie before because it is the second time I've seen it, but I wanted to comment again because it was really good.
In Did You Hear About the Morgans? Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker play an estranged couple from New York who have to enter the witness protection program after they saw a murder. They end up in Ray, Wyoming where the married sheriffs in town, Sam Elliot and Mary Steenburgen, are charged with keeping them safe. It was predictable, but cute and funny. I liked it.
New in Town is another romantic comedy starring Renee Zellweger and Harry Connick, Jr. She plays a consultant from Miami who is sent to a small town in Minnesota to improve the efficiency of a manufacturing plant. He plays the union boss trying to save everyone's jobs. It was also predicatable, but cute and funny.
Ghost of Girlfriends Past, with Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner, Anne Archer and Michael Douglas, is also a romantic comedy and predictable. McConaughey plays Conner Mead, a fickle, ladies man who learned everything he knows from his Uncle Wayne, played by Douglas. Garner plays Jenny Perotti, the one that got away. It's a twist on A Christmas Carol, with three ghosts from Conner's romantic past visiting him in an effort to make him see the error of his ways. It was cute.
Finishing off the rom-coms is The Secret of the Grain, a really good movie in French with English subtitles.It is an interesting look at a group of Arabic immigrants and their daily struggles.Slimane is a shipyard worker in his early sixties who gets laid off.With his severance pay, he decides to realize his life-long dream of starting a couscous and fish restaurant.The trouble is that his ex-wife is the gifted cook who serves up fish couscous every weekend to the extended family, and he needs her help to make his dream go.It is a long movie – two and a half hours, and it takes the first hour to set up the plot.Ithought it was worth the wait, and the surprise ending was rather fitting.I really liked this movie.
Instead of baking the pies for tomorrow, I am cowering in my sewing room...I cannot believe that I am admitting to this, but we have a pest problem.
A few weeks ago or so, we had a guy come out to take care of a couple of squirrels we could hear in the attic. It sounded as though they were bowling or something up there. Anywho...the guy came, set some contraptions, plugged the vents and off he went. The next day, I came home from work and my mom told me that a squirrel had been in the fireplace and would look at her and then disappear - and then repeat the process. I told The Husb and when he came home from work, he checked it out, didn't see the squirrel, but he noticed the damper was open so he closed it.
A few days later, we had such a fly problem. I think I easily killed over twenty flies a day for about three or four days in a row. We couldn't figure out where they were entering the house, but I noticed that they seemed a little weak and dizzy - I would even find some dead ones - which brought the body count up significantly. The first place I looked for rotting food was under The Kid's bed, because he had been home recently, and well...he's a slob with the food and the leftovers. Anyway, to my surprise, under the bed and his whole room was free of food debris.
Then, there were no more flies....
Until today. We must have killed twelve since The Husb came home from work tonight. Then, The Kid looked up as we were having dinner, and I swear to God, there were twenty flies on the ceiling in the kitchen. We looked in the den, same thing. There were some in the hall ceilings too. The Husb then had the big idea to check the fireplace, and when he opened the glass door, a fly flew out.
Oh yes...I said a fly.
Then I said, "Dude, could there be a dead squirrel on the other side of the damper?"
He said, "No, there would have to be one in the fireplace."
I said, "But when you closed the damper, you said it was gone."
He said, "No, I said I didn't see him...I carefully opened the glass doors in case he was still in there so he wouldn't jump out into the house." (OK...let that one sink in. He closed the damper, but was worried that there might have been a squirrel in there that could have jumped out into the house; so, he took care to open the glass doors very carefully. Hmmm.....Where would said squirrel have to be if the damper was now closed and he couldn't jump out into the house?)
I said, "Could there be a dead squirrel in the fireplace?"
Then he said, "Yes, I saw a furry tail."
There is a dead squirrel in my fireplace full of maggots and surrounded by hatched flies.
Oh yes...I am in my sewing room with my momma, while The Husb and The Kid have a wonderful, holiday bonding experience while disposing of a dead squirrel.
This Thanksgiving, I am thankful that I am not the person who is disposing of said squirrel. I wish you and yours a less dramatic holiday, but certainly all the best in the world.
The Secret of Kells is an animated feature about a mythical book that must be completed, an Abbey that must be fortified against the Vikings and a little boy at the center of it all. It was really good.
Tilda Swinton stars in I Am Love, about an upper crust Italian family who made their fortune in the textile business. The patriarch of the family dies suddenly, and it is interesting to see how the next generations take on the responsibilities of running the firm, but their own philosophies. The cinematography is beautiful and it is well acted. It is in Italian with English subtitles. Who knew that Tilda Swinton speaks Italian? I liked it.
Bright Star, with Ben Whishaw and Abbie Cornish, is based on the true story of the love between Fanny Brawne and John Keats. The two were kept apart by Keats' lack of money and by his writing partner. It was pretty good.
Because I seem to gravitate towards the Nazi movies, Katyn found itself in my queue. In Polish, with English subtitles, it is a true story about the circumstances surrounding the murder of thousands of captured Polish officers by the Russian army. Interestingly, the Russian government denied any part in the matter, also known as the Katyn Forest Massacre, until 1989. The end of the movie is very hard to watch. They show the murders, and the mass graves in which the bodies were buried. Very intense…
The Messenger is a gritty movie about a pair of war vets whose job it is to notify the NOK (next of kin) of soldiers killed in Iraq. Woody Harrelson, Ben Foster, Jena Malone, Samantha Morton and Steve Buscemi star. Woody was nominated for Best Actor for his role, but I think Ben Foster did a much better job. It was pretty good.
Ajami is set in a city in the West Bank where Jews, Christians and Muslims live uneasily side by side. Mostly in Arabic, but also in Hebrew, with English subtitles, it’s about a group of people whose lives become intertwined after a gangster is accidentally killed, and whose family means to exact revenge. It was alright.
127 Hours with James Franco is a very hard movie to watch, even when you know what is coming. It is based on the true story of Aron Ralston, a hiker/climber young man, who went on a rock climbing expedition on his own and he didn’t tell anyone where he was going. He fell down a crevice and was stuck for about five days with his hand wedged between a rock and the wall. His will to live was so strong that he cut off his forearm, got out and was soon found by some hikers and rescued. It was definitely a cautionary tale…and a little graphic in parts. It’s also a mother’s worse fear – that her kid gets into a jam and there is no one around to help. The scenes in which he was taping messages to his parents were really powerful. Most of the movie is just James as this kid in a horrible situation, and it was pretty realistic. I sat on the edge of my seat with my gut in knots. If you are up to this kind of ride, this movie is for you, but it is not for the faint of heart.
If you are old enough to remember all the hoo-hah when Secretariat won the Triple Crown, you will love going back down memory lane with the movie, Secretariat, starring Diane Lane and John Malkovich. Even if you weren’t alive yet, you will love this movie. It is a feel good, warm and fuzzy film and quite entertaining. The races were difficult to watch, even though everyone already knows the outcomes. I say, see it!
I haven't been to the theaters much lately, but I did see one out there recently...Life as We Know It is a really funny movie about two people who don’t really like each other, but are mutual friends with this other couple. When the couple dies and leaves their daughter for the two of them to raise, they are forced to take good hard looks at themselves, as well as each other. It stars Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel, and while it is not Oscar-worthy, it is very good.
I got an iPad for my birthday and have been watching some movies via the Netflix app. I highly recommend it!
Please Give, with Catherine Keener, Oliver Platt, Rebecca Hall, Amanda Peet and Ann Guilbert, is an interesting character driven Indie. Keener and Platt play a couple of successful antique store owners who live next door to Guilbert, a cranky old lady whose apartment they want to buy when she dies. They intend to expand their living space. Hall and Peet play the old lady’s granddaughters. It was interesting. On a side note, Ann Guilbert played Millie on The Dick Van Dyke Show, and more recently (for you younguns), she played Yetta on The Nanny. It was pretty good, and a little bit quirky.
Mid-August Lunch is another character driven movie, this time from Italy. It is subtitled in English. It is about a middle-aged man who is still living with his mom. They owe money for the rent and probably have a tab for most of the goods and services they consume. His landlord and his physician decide to collect, by bringing their mothers by for him to watch while they go off to celebrate the midsummer festival of Ferragosto. It was quite entertaining to watch this guy try to keep up with four cranky old ladies who were each set in their ways. Also entertaining was how entitled Gianni and his mother are, despite living on the good graces of others. I really liked it.
Alexandra is about a woman who visits her grandson in the Chechen army. In Russian, with English subtitles…It is a character-driven story, but slower than most. It was alright.
Broken Embraces, in Spanish with English subtitles, and starring Penelope Cruz and Lluis Homar, is about an actress and director who start an affair. Unfortunately, the actress is the producers mistress, and when he finds out what is going on, he plans his revenge. It was alright.
The Soloist is based on a true story about Nathaniel Ayers, a talented cellist who ended up on the streets after his second year at Julliard due to his mental illness, and Steve Lopez, a journalist who happens upon Ayers and attempts to help him get his life together. Jamie Foxx does an excellent job portraying Ayers and Robert Downey, Jr. plays Lopez. Catherine Keener also stars. It was good.
A Secret, in French with English subtitles, is a character driven Nazi story. It is about Francois, who was a sickly little boy and who grew up feeling that he is a disappointment to his parent. One day, he finds an old toy in the attic, and eventually finds out secrets that his family never wanted discussed again. It was very good.
I had a skein of Buffalo Gold's Lux yarn - in Yellowstone (green and gold), one of the special colorways dyed by Lorna's Laces. I wanted that colorway because it is Colorado State and Dallas STARS colors. I saw the cutest scarf designed by Evelyn Clark called Wildflower Lace Scarf at the Fiber Fest last April; so....
I was knitting along happily, using a size 2US needle, but didn't take notice that the Addi's size 2 needles are 3.00mm, not 2.75mm, as the pattern suggests. I tend to knit a little loose (and I did notice that my scarf was looking a little wider than the model from what I remembered). I was worried that I wasn't going to have enough yarn to finish, but reasoned that usually, when knitting along in a looser gauge, it takes fewer yards to get the length desired. However, I forgot to take into account that the pattern has a set number of rows and a set number of repeats...I kept knitting, until I was 3/4ths of the way finished. At that point, it was apparent that I was not going to have enough yarn to finish the scarf.
Since I didn't really like the gauge of the fabric I was knitting, I frogged it on Friday and started again on 2.5mm needles. (Remember, I do tend to knit a little loose...) I think it is coming out just fine.
It has been a trying summer at Chez MerryKarma, but I really have not forgotten my two readers out there...
To get back into the groove of more regular posting, I have movie reviews to share.
DVDs I've watched recently: The Men Who Stare at Goats, starring George Clooney, Ewan McGregor, Jeff Bridges and Kevin Spacey. It is adapted from a novel by Jon Ronson. McGregor plays a war reporter who meets up with the characters of a former platoon of New Age soldiers. This group would try to find ways of peaceful combat by using extrasensory perception skills. It was quirky and pretty funny.
Rock and Rolla is a quirky mob movie by Guy Ritchie with Gerard Butler, Tom Wilkinson, Jeremy Piven, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges and Thandie Newton. A lucrative real estate deal is about to go down in London, and all the players are vying for a piece of the action. It was good.
Sherlock Holmes is another Guy Ritchie movie. Robert Downey, Jr. plays Holmes, Jude Law plays Dr. Watson, and Rachel McAdams plays “the girl.” It was a good adaptation of the comic book series by Lionel Wingram, based on the characters originated by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired is a documentary about the unlawful sexual assault on a minor charges that were brought against Roman Polanski in 1978. Since that time, he has not lived in the United States. Granted, the judge in the case treated him unfairly, but a crime was committed. It was interesting.
Javier Bardem, Benjamin Bratt and Giovanna Mezzogiorno are the players in a love triangle in Love in the Time of Cholera. Basically, Bardem and Mezzogiorno’s characters are star-crossed lovers who spend practically their whole lives apart, waiting for the time that they can be together. It was kind of dumb, actually.
Religulous is a documentary following Bill Maher while he travels around the world asking religious leaders and regular people about their views on religion. It was interesting.
Defiance is based on a true story set during WWII. It is about three Jewish brothers (Daniel Craig, Liev Schreiber and Jamie Bell) who help a large group of people hide from the Nazis. It was good.
Clint Eastwood directed and starred in Gran Torino, about a Korean War vet, Walt Kowalski, who catches his Asian next door neighbor trying to steal his car as part of a gang initiation. By Asian custom, the teenager is forced to make up for his misdeed by being Kowalski’s personal slave. It was a very good movie.
Mongol tells about the early years of Genghis Khan. The acting was really good, the story was interesting and the cinematography was lovely. I really liked this movie.
I did manage to go to the theater a few times: Winter’s Bone is about a back-woods girl standing up to the community’s code of silence to find her meth-cooking, bail-jumping father before the sheriff repossesses the family’s home in exchange for the bail money. It was very dark and powerful. The conditions in which this family live are appalling. There were many good performances, especially by Jennifer Lawrence who played the teen. I liked this movie.
Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work is a documentary giving insight into the Queen of Comedy’s life. On the outside, she appears to have it all, but as abrasive as Joan can be in her acts, she is just as vulnerable and insecure as the rest of us. It was interesting.
Inception, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, is a psychological thriller about a guy who can insert himself in another person’s subconscious. This talent is a weapon in the world of espionage, and it got him in trouble in the past. Ellen Page plays a very talented dream architect who helps him try to reclaim his reputation. It was complicated, but very well written. I liked it.
The Kids are All Right is a really cute movie about an unconventional family, starring Mark Ruffalo (and y’all know how I feel about Mark Ruffalo), Annette Bening, Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska and Josh Hutcherson. The lives of a lesbian couple with two kids are turned upside down when their son finds his biological father. Me likey!
Eat, Pray, Love, starring Julia Roberts, James Franco, Javier Bardem, Richard Jenkins and Billy Crudup, is based on the Elizabeth Gilbert’s memoir about taking time out of her life to find out what she really wanted and needed. It was good, but I didn’t think it was anything to write home about.
The Switch is a silly, but very funny movie with Jennifer Anniston and Justin Bateman. They play two long-time friends who become tied forever when Justin’s character, accidentally switches his genetic material with the sample intended to impregnate Jen’s character. It is definitely worth seeing.
Going the Distance, with Drew Barrymore and Justin Long, is about a couple in a long distance relationship. It was cute overall, but the crass language and antics of these people who are supposed to be thirty-something is more suited to twenty-something year old people.
Since it would never do to sit still too long, my next big project is to change wallpaper and window treatments and to have the entire house repainted inside and out. Stay tuned for details...
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