Wednesday, November 30, 2016

November Movie Reviews

*****   Exceptional
****     Great
***       OK
**         So So
*           Blah

And While We Were Here is about a married woman (Kate Bosworth) in Italy with her husband who is a violist. Her marriage is not fulfilling, he never wants to talk, he doesn't seem to care about her even though he says he loves her. She meets a cute 19-year old boy who is goofy and fun and cute. Did I say cute? And she wants some fun in her life. I think sad marriages are depressing.***

Appaloosa was about two fine looking lawmen hired to keep the peace in a little Wild West town. Ed Harris and Viggo Mortensen are yummy.  Jeremy Irons plays the bad guy and he's pretty hot, too. A whole movie full of horse-riding hotties. Rene Zellweger is the woman who bounces between them. Great western. ****

Big Stone Gap was a mushy, romantic, feel-good movie about a little Virginia town in 1978 and its inhabitants. Costumes were great. It featured Ashley Judd as an "old maid" with Whoopi Goldberg, Patrick Wilson, Jane Krakowski, and Jenna Elfman. It was quaint and sweet, but not very interesting. The Virginia accents didn't feel authentic. ***

Butter  I thought this was going to be some mushy, feel-good Hallmark-style tear jerker movie and was very surprised the first time Jennifer Gardner yelled out the F-word. She plays a ruthless, self-centered, greedy butter carving contestant and with a lack of morality will stab anyone in the back to win. (Trump in heels.) Her competition is a sweet African-American foster child. It has an all-star cast featuring Ty Burrell, Hugh Jackman, and Alicia Silverstone, but the best performance was from Olivia Wilde who plays the village hooker. Great character.  By the end of the movie the Gardner character is running for a political office. Of course. ***

The Contract is about a father (John Cusack) who takes his son camping in the wilderness of Washington State and ends up running across federal agents trying to bring in a hit man (Morgan Freeman) who was on a mission. The hit man's friends are trying to save him, and of course, the government has hired one of the friends to take out the hit man. Excellent performances, intense plot, beautiful scenery, and never a dull moment. Landscape was appropriately rain-drenched, green, and authentic considering it was filmed in Bulgaria. ****

The 5th Wave is an apocalyptic movie about aliens who take over the planet in steps (or waves) such as electromagnetic surges to destroy all electrical devices, flash flooding, and a virus spread by birds. I'm still unclear what the fourth wave was.... The die-hard survivors including our teen star, Cassie, (Chloe Grace Moretz) gather at a make-shift refugee camp in the woods until the Army comes to inform them everyone is being transported to the local military base starting with children first. When the kids are gone, the adults are informed aliens are taking over human bodies and they have a test for children that is reliable but not for adults, panic ensues, guns are pulled and everyone is slaughtered. The army manipulates the children into thinking they are the key to saving the world when in fact the Army has been taken over by the aliens and the children totting machine guns are the 5th wave. If it wasn't so violent and scary it would be a great kids' movies since most of the actors are children. The first part was actually really great with lots of human interest and great special effects, but then half way through it starts feeling really staged, unbelievable, and even the acting becomes substandard. And then it ended at what felt like the middle of the movie. I think they are hoping for a sequel.***

The Final Girls was a very creative idea. It's about a girl whose mother is an actress and slasher movie queen. She gets killed in a car wreck and years later the daughter is asked to appear at the slasher movie cult viewing for the anniversary of her mother's death. A fire starts in the theater and she runs through the screen with her friends to escape and wakes up IN the movie. Of course, they know the movie plot, who dies, who doesn't (the final girl), heck, they know the dialogue by heart so they have to figure out how to survive believing if they survive the movie the nightmare will end and they get to go home. The daughter is reunited with her dead mother who is the character in the movie, but she hopes to save her thinking if she can keep her alive, she can come home with her at the end. It was very touching, but the whole idea was pretty weird and convoluted. I'm not sure why the characters didn't try to change some of the movie which might have changed the plot. It was all very bizarre and the ending didn't address some very basic questions: WHY and HOW and WHEN. **

God Grew Tired of Us is a documentary about the war-torn Sudanese refugees called the Lost Boys. When the Muslim Sudanese in the North attacked the Christian South, their mission was to kill all boys or if not kill them then render them sterile by poking holes in their testicles. Displaced boys of all ages fled their villages, separated from their families who were killed or fled in different directions, and walked hundreds of miles first to Ethiopia then Kenya to safety. With no food or water most of them starved along the way, yet tens of thousands ended up at the refugee camp just across the Kenyan border at Kakuma. This follows the story of a few of the boys after ten years in the camp who were granted immigrant visas to live, work and study in the United States. The cultural shock was really interesting. They are very determined to succeed working multiple jobs and attending school so they can help the countrymen they left behind and make a difference in the world. It always amazes me these young men who came from less than nothing are able to take advantage of the opportunities in America yet so many American youth fail so miserably.  Very sad stories. ****

Hail, Caesar! was a very strange movie about Hollywood filmmaking in the 1930s (?). It was slow and even with all the celebrities, I couldn't get into it. It wasn't funny and it wasn't clever. It was nothing. Either that or it went over my head. *

Horrible Bosses is about three men with three nightmare bosses. Unable to quit their jobs, they decide to kill them. Now, it started off really good with really bad work situations that anyone who has ever  been employed could relate to. The bosses are delightfully evil. Jennifer Anniston plays a dentist with a serious sexual harassment problem. Then the humor gets really stupid when the three dim-witted employees can't seem to do anything right. It's too bad because I think the writers could have made it smart and it had a great cast so the stupidity was a little unnecessary and surprising.**

How to Be Single is a comedy about four young single women (Dakota Johnson, Rebel Wilson, Leslie Mann, and Alison Brie) living in New York each with a different perception of singlehood.  Great commentaries on gender differences. It was very good and thought-provoking, with some funny dialogue and clever moments. "Dicksand"...HAHAHA! Rebel Wilson had some great lines. ****

The Next Three Days is about an innocent woman (Elizabeth Banks) who is sent to prison for murdering her boss. After her husband (Russell Crowe) exhausts all options to prove her innocence and she attempts suicide, he calculates a desperate and very intricate prison break plan. Very well-written story, excellent performances, suspenseful, and exhaustingly thrilling. That last hour I was shaking uncontrollable from all the tension. Well-done.****

Ratter  Well, this one was unbelievably creepy and scary. I saw the previews and avoided it for a while then I figured it might be a good cautionary tale with educational value. According to the DVD case the definition for ratter is: someone who hacks personal devices to stalk their victim's lives. The movie is about Emma, a sweet twenty-three year old college student who moves from the mid-west to the big city. Like most young adults she has a laptop, desktop or TV, and cell phone and has at least one of them if not two of them with her at all times. The movie is filmed through these devices watching every move she makes: walking down the street, in class, in the library, in the coffee shop, out at dance clubs, on dates, with friends, in the living room, kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom. She has been hacked and is being stalked 24/7.  The stalker has various views of her apartment, listens to her phone conversations (she gives her address to a take-out place), tracks her geodata when she's out, snaps photos of her while she's dressing, sleeping, peeing or bathing, send her emails and porn from her friends' email addresses and deletes emails and voice messages from other people. He gets more brazen as the movie progresses, enters her apartment when she isn't there and even in the middle of the night when she is sleeping. It's so incredibly creepy. Little by little she figures out something is wrong and she becomes paranoid, but she never connects it with her devices. She keeps changing her passwords, but it does little good. I kept wanting to yell JUST TURN OFF ALL THOSE DAMN DEVICES! Why does everyone have to be ON all the time??? I find it really obnoxious. Give it a rest! And I'm not sure why it makes people feel more secure to talk on the phone if in a potentially dangerous situation. If you are going to get attacked, the person on the phone isn't going to be able to do anything but listen to you scream. Very creative filming and editing, great photography. It made me feel really paranoid and creepy which I am sure was the intention. ****

Rock the Kasbah was about a music manager/has-been rock tour promoter (Bill Murray) who in a desperate attempt to make some money takes his only client (Zooey Deschanel) to Afghanistan to perform for the troops. Her role is very small. She steals all his money and passport, leaves, and he ends up as a munitions runner in the desert. In a remote village he discovers a young woman who sings on the sly in a cave at night. He puts her on a television talent show. Hmmm...It wasn't very realistic. I mean if their culture would kill a young woman for singing in public, but this buffoon gets her on a TV show with very little effort? Didn't buy it, and I wasn't sold on Bill Murray as a leading man either. His comedy style felt outdated. Bruce Willis was some kind of mercenary and Kate Hudson a hooker. I lost interest in the plot about halfway through. *

Stay is about an Irish professor (Aidan Quinn) hiding in the countryside of Ireland with his Canadian girlfriend (Taylor Schilling). Both have emotional baggage dealing with relationships, parenting and children. It was a nice human relations story with lots of complex characters trying to deal with one another. ***

Stealing Cars is about a exceptionally smart teenage boy who ends up in the last-chance Bernville Camp for Boys with abusive guards and dangerous inmates. Excellent movie with lots of human relationship drama and outstanding performances. The use of flashbacks was perfect. All-star cast. Never dull moment and Emory Cohen is adorable and mesmerizing. *****

Take This Waltz was about a woman (Michelle Williams) who has been married for five years and they take each other for granted. She's bored and he is dismissive. She meets this dashing, gorgeous romantic who lives across the street. Most of the movie is about her falling in love with him, but determined to remain faithful to her husband she never acts on it.  It's very slow, but Williams is a wonderful actress and very interesting to watch as she can convey emotion with very little effort. The ending is very thought-provoking. I like a movie with a message. ***

Tarzan  Oh! My! That vampire guy is a delicious ape man! Great special effects swinging through the jungles, beautiful sets, great story, great performances. Jane was kick ass. The story focuses less on Tarzan's background (the one we all know from the old movies) and more on an updated storyline of greed and slavery. The bonus feature on how they filmed it was fascinating. A few cameramen went to Africa to shoot scenery, but other than that nothing was filmed in Africa!  They had huge sets of recreated jungles, CG animals (not one animal in the whole film was real!), whole towns and villages built, and extras as African tribes people who went through lots of workshops to become authentic. Don't miss this bonus feature. Quite Amazing. ****

To Write Love on Her Arms is based on the true story about a young woman who struggles with bipolar, addiction, and self-mutilation. The special effects when she's a kid were awesome, performances were excellent, the lead actress Kat Dennings was outstanding. ****


Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf? with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton based on the play of the same name. I've never seen this movie. Talk about dysfunctional! Boy those people never stopped drinking. They can't walk, but they just keep drinking and screaming at each other. I can't imagine living with or around alcoholics. Great performances especially from Elizabeth Taylor. Of course, it's very dated with excessively-emotional dramatic performances.***

Sunday, November 27, 2016

The Truth about Cancer

October and Breast Cancer Awareness Month came and went. Once again my community was painting the town in toxic pink, celebrating how wonderfully capitalistic cancer is, and donating money to NOTHING. I've learned to block it out. Here's a great article on the sleazy businesses of cancer charities, particularly the Susan G. Komen for the Cure, from the website The Truth about Cancer.

The most enlightening quote from the article:

Despite what Komen and others would have you believe, breast cancer mortality rates are nearly the same today as they were 25 years ago. 

Yes, all that donating and all that walking do absolutely NOTHING to control cancer. The article exposes the sleazy financial gain of these companies including the annual salary of Komen's president of $425,000 (whoa!) not to mention the obvious agenda of doctors. No surprise there.

Prevention campaigns are ignored because virtually all of this money goes towards programs and endeavors that have nothing to do with finding a cure for breast cancer, and everything to do with signing more women up for breast cancer treatment and management

This, of course, supports Dr. Glidden's statistics that chemotherapy cures very few cancer patients. He also believes the only value of treatments is to line the pockets of money hungry quacks who get commissions and kick-backs for prescribing cancer drugs.

There is no magic "cure" for cancer that allows everyone to continue their bad diets and poisonous habits. I wish people would figure that out and then finally recognize the dangers of chemicals.


Saturday, November 26, 2016

Multimillionaires Intolerant of Toilet Stink

Bill Gates wants to perfume the toilet pits of third world countries. He believes chemicals that work to shut down your brain so it is incapable of smelling are the answer to sanitation problems of the world. He believes if he can spread a few of these chemical toxins around the latrine pits that poor people will be more inclined to use them and then for some reason, the sanitation problem would magically rectify itself. The disease and bacteria would disappear with the smell. No one would care what the poop pit looks like as long as it doesn't smell. Or maybe he's thinking poop pit patrons with chemically-induced brain poisoning won't care if they are sick and diseased from poor sanitation?

You'd think a man with this much money and research at his fingertips would actually question the rationality of camouflaging poop pits with toxic chemicals. You'd think a man with this much money might try to find a better, more lasting solution that wouldn't create MORE health issues while doing nothing to rectify the underlying sanitation issues. You'd think a man with this much money would THINK, or at least be able to hire others to think for him.

So...in lieu of a rational explanation because using perfume as a solution to anything makes no sense what so ever...

I have to ask what kind of investments does Mr. Gates have in chemical companies? Perhaps this is just a financial windfall designed to support the chemical companies in his pocket?

When will people wake up and finally figure out these toxic chemicals are not options for health? Scented products don't make things clean they only make a smelly situation stinkier and life threatening to many of us.

You may read the article HERE or his blog HERE

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Solidarity Safety Pins

The safety pin movement started as a protest in Britain against the Bretix vote and in support of the immigrants and refugees who were being marginalized.  Those of us in the United States of America, former land of the free and current home of the brave, are protesting the election of the sexist, racist, xenophobic, ableist, Russian-supported sociopath who has created fear and mayhem with his hate mongering rants on deportation, his racist attitudes inciting white supremacy and violence toward people of color, his explicit claims that he can sexually assault women and get away with it, and his threat to dismantle environmental policies, destroy the Clean Air Act and give unconditional power to the big oil corporations. Money rules with this demagogue. Wearing the pin silently communicates solidarity and support to those who might not be feeling safe now.

Well, I looked at that ugly pin and decided it needed some pizazz. I don't know if this is allowed. Maybe too much decoration hides the pin and, therefore, impedes communication? I did it anyway. I added beads. Various colors of beads to represent all people of color, immigrants, homosexuals, women, and the environment. I'm including the environment because without clean air, clean water, and clean everything, the chemically sensitive aren't going to feel safe either...


Today I drove to a neighboring town and went shopping at my favorite shoe store. I haven't been in the store for a while, but my favorite salesman still remembered my name. After some discussion on the various styles of footwear, I finally noticed he was wearing a safety pin. Yes, it is very silent. I gasped and whispered, "You are my people!" I had my raincoat on and flung it open to reveal my own safety pin of solidarity. We bent toward each other whispering passionately about the protest. I think this is like being in the resistance. Except we aren't sabotaging anything or carrying guns...yet.

I'm pretty sure those of us who care about our country and the people in it will be wearing these safety pins for four years...unless the sociopath gets impeached which is a very realistic probability since he is so self-centered, arrogantly careless, inexperienced, and not so smart on so many levels. I'm hoping it's just a matter of time before he flubs up greatly and the GOP can't ignore it anymore, but I pray he doesn't take the whole country down until then. OR he's going to piss off the Russians and they'll send a hit man...

I still can't believe stupid people voted for a man who worked with Russia to get elected. Russian hackers (spies!) infiltrating our communications systems. And there are Americans out there who approved of this with their vote. Wow. So scary. It wasn't too long ago we executed Russian spies. Now they are cheered by the American ignorant for swaying the election while the president-elect puppet boasts of their ruler's leadership skills. Wow. Wow. Wow.


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

November Roses




In spite of the dark skies,
monsoons,
raging winds,
and general ugliness of the season...
beauty still persists.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Caligula Reincarnated: Lessons from the Election

Donald Trump spent the last year spouting hate and violence. He spent the last month screaming about a rigged election determined to incite his rabble into action should he lose. Now he's wondering why people are protesting. He's wondering why his followers are attacking immigrants or people of color. His response is to scream at them. Why not? Reckless, unprofessional behavior got him elected. The man knows so little about the office to which he's been elected and to say he is unfit to be president is an understatement. If it wasn't so horrifying, it might be really entertaining, but four years of his incompetence and hate-mongering sounds like the ultimate nightmare. It's bad enough I'm a woman who must now tolerate the misogynistic values symbolic of his ascension, but I am afraid for all the Muslims and Hispanics he's threatened to deport, the African Americans and gays he's disenfranchised, the sexual assault victims he's threatened to sue, and the disabled he thoughtlessly bullied. This is a man who believes he can do whatever he wants with impunity. The fear this man has created disgusts me. I would like to believe this is NOT WHO WE ARE, but obviously I was wrong. A little more than half of the American population voted for this pig and this election has defied all the values we teach as a civilized society. I for one am thankful I don't have children or grandchildren. I wouldn't know what to tell them. 


Lessons from the Election


Lesson #1: You don't have to work hard to get ahead if you have a rich daddy.

Lesson #2: You don't have to have any political knowledge or years of experience and expertise to become president of the United States, only Russian connections and a lot of brain dead followers.

Lesson #3: Lying con-artists don't go to jail, they win.

Lesson #4: Bullies aren't held accountable for their bad behavior, they win.

Lesson #5: White, ugly rich men with supremacist leanings are no longer considered scourges of society, they win.

Lesson #6: Any lowlife with little intelligence can be president.

Lesson #7: Women are to be objectified, mistreated, and used for entertainment.

Lesson #8: Most of America is stupid, racist, sexist and gullible.

Lesson #9: Morality is obsolete. Why care the president has been married multiple times, has extra-marital affairs (with 13 year old girls), or his third wife is a nudie model? How many First Ladies can you see naked online? Wow.

Lesson #10: Respect and etiquette are no longer required. It's every [white] man for himself.



Gregg Popovich, head coach of the San Antonio Spurs, very eloquently expressed what the better half the American population are feeling:

“Right now I’m just trying to formulate thoughts. It’s too early. I’m just sick to my stomach. Not basically because the Republicans won or anything, but the disgusting tenure and tone and all of the comments that have been xenophobic, homophobic, racist, misogynistic.
“I live in that country where half of the people ignored all of that to elect someone. That’s the scariest part of the whole thing to me. It’s got nothing to do with the environment and Obamacare, and all of the other stuff. We live in a country that ignored all of those values that we would hold our kids accountable for. They’d be grounded for years if they acted and said the things that have been said in that campaign by Donald Trump. […]
“The fact that people can just gloss that over, start talking about the transition team, and we’re all going to be kumbaya now and try to make the country good without talking about any of those things. And now we see that he’s already backing off of immigration and Obamacare and other things, so was it a big fake, which makes you feel it’s even more disgusting and cynical that somebody would use that to get the base that fired up. To get elected. And what gets lost in the process are African Americans, and Hispanics, and women, and the gay population, not to mention the eighth grade developmental stage exhibited by him when he made fun of the handicapped person. I mean, come on. That’s what a seventh grade, eighth grade bully does. And he was elected president of the United States. We would have scolded our kids. We would have had discussions until we were blue in the face trying to get them to understand these things. He is in charge of our country. That’s disgusting.”
A reporter then interrupted him.
“I’m not done,” Popovich said. “One could go on and on, we didn’t make this stuff up. He’s angry at the media because they reported what he said and how he acted. That’s ironic to me. It makes no sense. So that’s my real fear, and that’s what gives me so much pause and makes me feel so badly that the country is willing to be that intolerant and not understand the empathy that’s necessary to understand other group’s situations. I’m a rich white guy, and I’m sick to my stomach thinking about it. I can’t imagine being a Muslim right now, or a woman, or an African American, a Hispanic, a handicapped person. How disenfranchised they might feel. And for anyone in those groups that voted for him, it’s just beyond my comprehension how they ignore all of that. My final conclusion is, my big fear is — we are Rome.”

Yep. Caligula's Rome. 


Communities are seeing more racially-motivated violence, schools are experiencing more bullying, suicide hotline calls have doubled, and the Ku Klux Klan are marching. Then there are the children of our country traumatize because a BULLY has been elected president and schools are hiring grief counselors to help them cope with the stress. Children of immigrants are in a panic believing when they get home from school they'll find their parents deported. All this trauma has been labeled, "The Trump Effect." The Rapist President must be really proud! Trump's promise of Making America Great Again, sold and swindled to the gullible ignorant, is a lie. In a recent interview, the slime bag was asked if his campaign rhetoric went too far and his response, "No. I won." He cares very little for the fear and turmoil he's caused or the people he is expected to lead. What a self-centered jerk. Let the legacy begin.

Trump is Caligula reincarnated.


Caligula's reign of terror lasted for four years. Hitler was in power for twelve years. I can't decide if Trump is more like Hitler or more like Caligula since they all had/have the same agenda. Is it the same evil soul reincarnated over and over again? Sadly through the ignorance of people, history repeats itself and years. Civilization will suffer and years of multicultural tolerance, women's rights, and environmental protection will be rolled back a century. So sad.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

October Movie Reviews

*****   Exceptional
****     Great
***       OK
**         So So
*           Blah


All Roads Lead to Rome The plot description had all kinds of potential. Single mother takes teenage daughter to Italy to get her away from her druggie boyfriend, runs into old flame, daughter escapes heads to airport in a sports car with flame's mother and the chase begins. It wasn't funny and it wasn't dramatic. It was nothing and less than interesting. I think my issue with it was the star: Sarah Jessica Parker. I think she needs to do something with her hair so it doesn't looks so ratty and witchy. Maybe a style so she's not constantly having to toss it out of her face or play with it. I think some acting classes would be nice, maybe some voice lessons so she doesn't sound so whiny, and I would like it if she'd look less like my step-mother. I'd like a better, less contrived script as well. So bad. One star for Italian landscape. *

Because of Winn Dixie was a sweet, feel-good movie based on the young adult novel of the same name. It's about a smelly, ill-mannered dog that whines out of control when left alone, tears up the whole house if left inside, shits all over the neighbor's yard, goes ballistic during thunder storms, and barks way too much. A perfect example of the dog-god mentality of ignorant bad dog owners who are incapable of training a dog because they are too stupid or lazy yet everyone thinks bad-behaving dogs are cute. They aren't. They are obnoxious. At one point the dog is in church (yeah, really) and he tears off after a rat. They call it a mouse (really?) and think the dog is a saint for not eating it. Dog-god mentality is SO weird. It had an all-star cast, and a cute leading actress. There were a few times I considered turning it off (every time that little girl stuck her nose in the dog's wet, dirty fur - blah) and a few times I got up and did other things leaving it on. Kids would love it. *

The Benefactor is about this incredibly rich man (Richard Gere) who is very close with his best friend, best friend's wife, and their teenage daughter. Especially the daughter (Dakota Fanning). His relationship with the girl is kind of strange and pediphile-ish. While the dad and mom are driving and the rich friend is in the back seat smoking pot, they are hit by a truck and killed. Rich guy survives and blames himself. The story continues five years later and rich guy is still filthy rich, reclusive, guilt stricken, and a morphine addict. The girl, now married and pregnant returns with her new husband. I am unclear how this teenager snagged a doctor. Interesting human relationships. Gere is a great drug addict, but the other performances felt lacking, like they weren't comfortable in their roles. ***

A Bigger Splash is about a rock star (Tilda Swinton) who just had vocal surgery and she's recovering on an Italian island with her boyfriend (Matthias Schoenaerts). Her ex-boyfriend record producer (Ralph Fiennes) and his newly-discovered teenage daughter (Dakota Johnson) show up disrupting the peace and serenity. Very interesting human relations. I think this is the most interesting role I've ever seen for Fiennes. ***

The Boss with Melissa McCarthy is about a former foster child-turned Fortune 500 CEO who ends up going to jail for insider trading and when she gets out she has nowhere to go because she has failed her whole life to cultivate lasting, meaningful relationships. She ends up on the doorstep of her ex-secretary and the woman's young daughter. After weeks of laying on the couch, she takes the girl to her Dandelion club meeting (like Camp Fire or Girl Scouts) and is inspired by their business model. She begins a new brownie making business based on the sales of little girls. It's a lot of stupid humor with incredibly raunchy moments. I don't think I've ever seen a movie that said the F-word so many times especially since half the cast are under twelve. Melissa McCarthy is interesting though and fascinating to watch. ***

Charlotte's Web I've never seen this movie! It stars Dakota Fanning when she was a little tyke. I love talking pig movies. Julia Roberts was Charlotte's voice. Such a lovely voice. All star cast of celebrity voices. Beautiful imaginative sets and scenery. ****

A Civil Action was about the chemical contamination of water killing the children of a small town and the small personal injury law firm that takes on the big corporate companies. It was really good. John Travolta, Robert Duvall, William H. Macy, Kathleen Quinlan, John Lithgow, James Gandolfini to name a few in this all-star cast. Great performances. I was a little disappointed with the ending, but it wasn't a typical Hollywood outcome where the good guys win and the bad guys pay...it was realistic with lots of legal and corporate sleaze. I like the commentary...Travolta's character narrates how the legal system really works and during the trial Duvall's character is shown in flashback lecturing to his Harvard law students how NOT to win a case which is how Travolta's character is proceeding. Interesting.****

Enemy with Jake Gyllenhaal was a very strange movie with really ominous thriller music. It was about a college professor who seems a little brain-dead like he's on too much valium. He shuffles when he walks which was weirdly irritating. He rents a movie and one of the actors looks just like him so with a little research finds the guy, calls him, meets with him in a creepy hotel room. But it's all really wrong. First, that damn music clearly indicates it's not what it seems. Second, they are afraid of each other, threatening, "don't ever call here again" so clearly something is off. If I found my doppleganger, I'd be kind of excited. One has a weepy pregnant wife and the other has a irritable girlfriend...the mother seems to be the key when she tells the professor that he needs to stop moonlighting as a third rate actor or "Of course you love blueberries!" when we just saw the scene of the actor asking why there are no blueberries in his refrigerator. There are other earlier hints, but not obvious until the end. They are the same person and he must be psychotic or something (music...), but they never make it clear. And there are big spiders. I think he offs the girlfriend in the end...maybe? Then it just ended. The music was obnoxious and the plot a little slow as if it wasn't getting to the point fast enough. **

Forsaken was a western about a man (Kiefer Sutherland) who comes home ten years after the war to his reverend father's (Donald Sutherland) home vowing to never kill again. Unfortunately, his reputation precedes him. The town is besieged by bad men confiscating land through violence and Kiefer manages to turn the other cheek until they attack his father. Beautiful landscapes and scenery, great performances. Demi Moore plays a long-lost love. That woman is WAY TOO skinny and looks skeletal in a very scary way. She's nearly unrecognizable. She's a great actress but her appearance is distracting. I think she needs to leave well enough alone and let herself age gracefully. ****

The Giver is based on a sci-fi young adult novel of the same name by Lois Lowry about a futuristic community that has been sterilized, stripped of all humanity in order to avoid conflict so the human species may continue. The reason for this is unclear although they imply something very bad happened in the past. They take injections every morning to rid themselves of human emotion, the police state monitors everything they do, lots of rules and curfews, and cameras. They grow babies in a test-tube nursery and cull them if they don't fit certain expectations. When children who are allowed to live turn 18 they are given their assignments for jobs. Jonas is assigned to be the new Receiver of Memories and he learns his trade from the Giver. On the sly he stops the injections and with the return of his human  memories starts experiencing joy, pain and love. Then he takes steps to save the community and return everyone's memory so they can live like full human beings and experience life. It was good. I liked the black and white fading into color when the memories returned. ****

I'll See You in My Dreams is about an older woman (Blythe Danner) who since the death of her husband twenty years prior has lived single and independent life...with her dog for a companion. (Blah!) In the first ten minutes the dog has to be put to sleep . I was so thankful. I didn't want to watch a movie about a lonely old woman with a dog fixation. Oddly enough as soon as the dog is gone a big, black rat moves into her house. So weird I'm watching a lot of dog and rat themes lately. What is that?  She plays cards with friends once a week, goes golfing, has a garden, does stuff. The movie was a very interesting and insightful commentary on life and growing old. At one point her daughter is going on and on trying cheer her up about what a great life she HAD, great career she HAD, great husband she HAD...and she says something like, "But all your examples are in the past - what about NOW? I'm still alive!! [I think?]" I totally get that. There are times I wonder if this is all there is to life and whether or not I'm really living. Granted, Blythe isn't chemically sensitive so she's not faced with such limitations, but growing old with the isolation of MCS makes one not likely to embrace all life has to offer and that sucks and makes one question what's the point.  Anyway, getting rid of the dog forced her to look for human companionship which personally I think has an excellent message...so the dog had a thematic purpose rather acting as a sad ornament. She meets her new pool boy and they become life-pondering drinking buddies. It's a sweet relationship. Then she meets a dashing older man (Sam Elliott). He has an awesome outlook on life, is charming, and owns a yacht. They have two wonderful dates and she begins to fall for him. He asks her if she's ever considered getting married again and she's surprised, "What the hell I hardly know you!" Sensibly she wants to take it slowly, but is that realistic at her age? I liked the movie a lot, however, this is the second movie I've seen this month where these lovely older actresses are overly painted with too much make-up. Rita Perlman's makeup was so heavy you couldn't see her eyes. I think movies that feature older people need to hire make-up artists who are also older and who won't be tempted to make them look like hookers in hopes it'll make them look younger. There was one scene Blythe is up early in the morning with hardly any make-up on and she was BEAUTIFUL. Her blue eyes dazzled without that thick, dark eye shadow and liner. That's how she should have looked throughout the whole movie!! STOP WITH THE HEAVY MAKE-UP ON OLDER WOMEN!  I also think they should have come up with a better title. I understand where it came from, but it makes it sound like some kind of silly love story rather than a story with far more depth. ****

Into the Woods (2010) is the film of the stage production. I've seen it before. It's wonderful. Starring Bernadette Peters as the witch. Outstanding performances, and sets and music. So much better than the recent movie version. *****

Just Our Luck Oh, it was so bad. The opening credits were bad, the music was bad, the acting was astoundingly bad. All bad and extremely low budget.  I lasted about 10 minutes. *

Me Before You is based on the book by the same name about a man who is rich, handsome, successful, active, and after an accident is in a wheelchair. He's in constant pain, gets pneumonia four times a year, has life-threatening health issues that warrants constant supervision and physical therapy, and is miserable. Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen from Game of Thrones) is hired as his assistant. She wears leprechaun shoes with matching weird clothes and has no experience with disabilities, but she needs a job badly and his mother thinks he need a companion. He's mean and bitter making her cheerfulness a challenge. Later she finds out he attempted suicide and his plan is to end his life at an assisted-suicide center in Switzerland. Her goal is to change his mind with a bucket list of activities in hopes it'll make him realize he doesn't want to die. After all, he is disgustingly rich and can afford the extravagance. It was good. I totally get how he dwells in the memory of his old life and feels his new self is not authentic. I kept screaming, "You have to pretend the old life never existed! Your new life IS your true self! Stop feeling sorry for yourself!" Granted, being quadriplegic is not the same as being chemically sensitive, but I get it. I loved one of the first scenes with her self-centered boyfriend who is a fitness trainer and marathon runner. He tries to get her to run with him. She hates jogging and biking, but she complies to his demands and runs while holding her boobs. LOL  It was a great scene. She claims, "I'm just not built for running!" LOL. Regardless of the humor, good feelings, and moments of tenderness, I was surprised by the message "better dead than disabled" and kept questioning why there was no organized opposition in the movie providing some realistic conflict. I don't know if that was a good message and can only imagine the movie had a lot of people not happy about it. I just read an article about how easy it is now to get approved for assisted suicide. Anyone can die, in fact, insurance is more likely to approve suicide than it is to approve cancer treatments. Wow. ****

The Showdown looked like it might be an interesting western. The opening credits were bad, the opening scene was bad, the acting was bad, the landscape looked like someone's California ranch, and the actors looked as if they never rode a horse a day in their lives. Then the dialogue started...so bad. I lasted less than a minute. <zero stars>

The Water Diviner is about an Australian (Russell Crowe) who has some kind of unexplained sixth sense for finding things. He raises his three boys on Arabian Nights and when World War I comes along all three barely adult sons go to war in Turkey never to return. After his wife commits suicide, he goes to find where his boys died to bring their bodies home. Lots of movies about the English and the British perspective of WWI, but rarely the Turkish perspective. Very good, excellent performances, icky battle scenes. My one criticism is a lot of the time I couldn't understand what they were saying between the Turkish accents and the Australian accents. Oh, and the music was a little loud, overly dramatic, and irritating. ****

Wild Oats is about a woman (Shirley MacLaine) who's husband dies and leaves a $50,000 life insurance policy. The insurance company sends her a check for $5 million by mistake. She finds out her best friend (Jessica Lange) who's husband just left her for his young secretary has a 20% chance to live beyond six months (no details on the disease). They decide to spend the money and head to the Canary Islands for some fun. Lots of "elderly" humor and living carelessly themes. What was disturbing is how gullible and how easily swindled these two women were which is frightening. Is that what happens with age? God, I hope I'm never that gullible and I hope this was just Hollywood taking liberties. Again, we see a barely recognizable Demi Moore (I had to look on the DVD cover to see who it was) too skinny and with long, stringy hair. She looks so unhealthy and really needs to gain weight and do something with that hair. What really bothered me, though, is all the make-up they put on our heroines. What is with that? Do make-up artists think if they add extra dark eyeliner and bright red lips it'll make the women look better? Or younger? It's not needed and all that dark make-up makes them look like sad, used hookers. Shirley and Jessica are beautiful WITHOUT all that make-up! ****

Z for Zachariah I don't know what the title means. I must have missed the reference somewhere. This is an apocalyptic movie where the world has been contaminated with radiation - it was never quite explained how this happened, but I guess not really necessary for the plot. This woman is living in a pristine valley saved from contamination in her family farm alone with her dog. After the initial contamination her father and brother left to find help and never returned. It's been a year of loneliness and a man shows up one day dressed in a hazmat suit. She's really happy as the isolation was taking a toll and she was ready to give up. Then another man shows up. He's much cuter (Chris Pine) and the other one starts feeling jealous. Beautiful scenery. Excellent performances. ***

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

I am TREMENDOUSLY INNOCENT!

The Orange Man
Leader of Deplorables
Demagogue of Temper Tantrums
We in America, land of the free, home of the brave, are winding down to the end of a really unprecedented, disgustingly ugly election campaign between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Last year my international readers asked me about Donald Trump and if he was for real. My response was he is using his money and celebrity to follow his dreams. There is nothing wrong with that. It's the American way. Or maybe he's really a Democrat and his goal was to destroy the Republicans? Anyway, it sounded like a bad joke and few seemed to take him seriously. However, I was absolutely convinced he'd never get to past the primaries. Americans aren't THAT stupid! Are they?

Now, I know a majority of Americans are stupid. Case in point, most refuse to stop using their toxic, poisonous products that put the rest of us at risk. They smoke, drink, eat junk food, lay around watching reality television and wonder why the health care system is failing. They shop for cheap Chinese-made products from Walmart instead of supporting our country and purposely suck the life out of the welfare system instead of getting a job and paying taxes like real Americans do. Or worse, they have a job and refuse to pay taxes.

Unfortunately, when it comes to the incredibly ignorant, I assumed they would be too stupid to get off their couches, read and educate themselves on the issues, then take the time to go to the trouble to vote for an arrogant, sexist, racist, power-crazed, morally-depraved sociopath with no political experience. Well, I was wrong. They don't have to move off the couch, or make any effort at all, or read, or understand anything. They really don't even have to care about the issues.  They just had to lay around watching their televisions, drool over their reality show celebrity and listen to his negative rhetoric because his anger and aggression is what they understand. He calls to them. When Hillary Clinton said half of Trump's followers were deplorables, she was wrong. They are ALL deplorables. The deplorables are so low class and stupid they see this as a compliment. She tried to cover her faux-pas by blaming this on Trump. Again, I disagree. These people are the bottom of the barrel. Trump didn't make them disgusting, stupid, entitled and angry, he just gave them a voice.

So Donald Trump is the Republican candidate and we have been forced through these last months to listen to his disrespectful rants, undemocratic threats, and bullish insults. He has no clue about the issues and can't even articulate his ideas well as he infuses them with temper tantrums to camouflage his confusion and frustration. His understanding of the democratic process is comical. He believes his money and notoriety is enough to catapult him into a position of ultimate power. He feels entitled like his rabble. His uneducated, white-trash followers think he's going to do what he says and keep his promises. HA! Many Republicans won't support him and the Religious Right has backed away from him. He is the fault of a Republican Party that is so screwed up it can't even nominate a proper candidate. Experience should be the minimum requirement. Who hires someone for a job with no experience?

We are seeing a lot of rebuttal as the Clinton campaign is pulling out the big guns...Barack and Michelle Obama. Michelle's speeches are mesmerizing. She's my new idol. She brings tears to my eyes. If she ever runs for president, I'd vote for her! I doubt if she has ever sexually assaulted anyone.


Just a week before the election, a super-PAC organization began a campaign against Trump called Not Who We Are. You can read about that HERE. Lots of rich, silicon-valley entrepreneurs banning together to try to make a difference at the last minute. They have produced a test called Is Trump Your Fault?  He's definitely someones fault. However, according to my test score

I AM TREMENDOUSLY INNOCENT!

I'm not surprised, but it was fun taking the test anyway. I want a t-shirt with these words on it. However, even though I am innocent I am also tremendously embarrassed at the stupidity of my countrymen and women as the international world watches. The Orange Man is determined to Make America a Laughingstock.

In many ways it is amazing someone with absolutely no political experience (and no morals) could actually get this far when so many viable politicians couldn't, but it's also frightening a sex offender could be our next president. How did that happen, you ask? We didn't take him seriously. We didn't understand the power of the low class rabble. This is how Hitler got elected. This is history repeating itself. Same negative, hateful rhetoric appealing to star-struck brainless voters who felt neglected and abused by the system, and a candidate who wants to disenfranchise minorities to give power to his misguided fans. It's definitely been a nauseating, oops!, I mean, interesting campaign experience.

I am lucky in my area we get our ballots through the mail. I can't imagine having to wait in line with a bunch of smelly people for up to four hours just to vote. Do any of you have to wait in long lines? How do you cope? What do you do to survive the onslaught of toxic exposure?

Support the democratic process and vote!

Unless you are voting for the sex offender...then veg out on your couch watching Celebrity Apprentice reruns, eat your Cheese-puffs, and forget to head to the polls. They are crowded anyway.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

My Kind of Team Sports

I found a new sport for me...

Synchronized Walking



I have never heard of this! I'm not sure if I'm coordinated enough and I think I'd have to go to Japan to partake, but I think I could muster enough energy for some fancy walking.

Love it.

Monday, October 3, 2016

I AM A HAIRSTYLIST...

Well, that's an exaggeration for sure. I've been cutting my own hair now for as long as I've been chemically sensitive. I just can't tolerate those smelly, chemically saturated beauty parlors and the stinky toxic hair products they use. It would be nice to have stylish hair, but I make due with whatever happens in the privacy of my own bathroom. I find short hair is so much more manageable since it only needs to be washed once a week. However, one gets tired of the same old thing so in the past year and a half I started growing mine out. Then I cut some bangs. Then I tried some rollers. It's been fun. A whole new entertainment option.

My hair has been getting too long...and stringy, but for lack of options and the convenience of a ponytail, I left it alone...until now.

Cutting layers is difficult because if they aren't even, my hair goes wonky. A friend found a video on how to do a simple layered haircut and it was so amazing I thought I'd try it. The salon that did the video used four ponytails but since I had to maneuver around my own head, I figured two ponytails would be plenty to handle. This takes about fifteen minutes start to finish at the most. Easy and successful.

First, wet your hair thoroughly.

Second, gather two ponytails at the top of your head. Be sure to pull the hair as tight as possible for an even cut. Determine how short you want the top. Cut the ponytails off!! Check to see the ponytails match in length, remove the bands.

Voila! A layered haircut.

Seriously, fifteen minutes. Probably the fastest, easiest haircut I've ever done on myself. For those of you who have longer hair, there are all kinds of videos for a layered effect using the same ponytail technique.

Here is M&M Friseure Salon demonstration. It's rather fun to watch.



Thursday, September 29, 2016

September Movie Reviews

*****   Exceptional
****     Great
***       OK
**         So So
*           Blah

The Big Short is about the housing-banking economic collapse a few years ago. Its starts out with the narrator saying the reason the banks get away with so much is because they've rigged it with legal ease and jargon no one understands creating a brain fog that makes everyone not question. That's how I felt throughout the whole movie! Lots of fast talking financial vocabulary whizzing in one ear (through my mushy brain) and out the other, but even in my cognitive haze there was this overwhelming sense of dread and panic. The sleaze and fraud of our banks, our government, our corporations IS (present tense) disgusting. Performances were all excellent, especially Christian Bale and Steve Carrell. ***

Burnt is about a chef (Bradley Cooper) who screws up his life and the lives of everyone around him, comes back years later after a period of penance and rejuvenation with the goal of getting his life back on track and working toward three Michelin stars.  He has issues with perfection and trying to do everything alone which only serves to alienate everyone. Great story, great performances, beautiful food. ****

Demolition is about a man's grieving process after his wife dies in a car accident. He's not a normal griever (is anyone?). He begins by writing multiple, heart-felt letters to a vending machine company because he didn't get the candy bar he paid for at the hospital. Then he starts taking things apart. First, the refrigerator, then his office computer, his in-laws bathroom fixtures, and then he goes crazy on his house as he tries to tear down in order to build back up. A little slow, but the performances were great. I really like Jake Gyllenhaal. ***

Do I Sound Gay? was about the speech patterns of gay men. It was really interesting addressing gender roles while growing up, children with speech impediments, how tone and inflection are perceived, interviews with speech therapists and vocal coaches, and many examples of celebrities with gay-sounding voices including various role models for gay speech patterns, for instance, Disney villains (!). Fascinating. ****

The Driftless Area was an interesting story about a woman (Zooey DeChanel) who is accidently burnt to a crisp by a low-life arsonist (John Hawkes), she comes back as a ghost, and needs someone to find her killer and "restore balance". Hawkes has been in a lot of movies lately. He's a very unconventional movie star, awesome performances, and plays "sleazy-bad guy" really well. The plot is a little slow, but the story memorable. I thought about it for days. ***

Empire of the Sun is about the Japanese occupation of China in the 1940s and a British boy (Christian Bale) who is separated from his parents and survives the war in an internment camp. Not a good experience for anyone let alone a kid. Great performances, sets, costumes, everything. ****

Of Gods and Men is a French movie based on the true story of the French Cistercian monks at a monastery in Algeria in the 1990s. With the country harassed by Islamic terrorists, they are tormented, individually and collectively. Should they stay or leave? Staying would support the village in their time of need and maintain their religious mission to serve the poor and sick. Leaving would remove them from being used as pawns in the hands of the extremists and save their lives. After much deliberation, they decide to stay and the terrorists kidnap them in an attempt to negotiate the release of terrorist prisoners in France. Lots of LONG devotional Gregorian singing (with subtitles) and lots of excessively lengthy drawn out shots of nothing which made the movie a little boring. Neither of these features added to the plot so I'm not sure of the point other than adding time to an already long film. **

Good People with Kate Hudson and James Franco who are facing eviction on their apartment, foreclosure on the old run-down house they were remodeling and their downstairs tenant dies. While cleaning out his apartment, they find $200,000 stashed in the ceiling. Do they turn it in to the cops or keep it? They decide to hold on to it for a while to see if someone comes looking, but desperation tempts them to start spending....then the bad guys show up. And if you weren't really sure if they were bad guys or how bad they were, you get to watch one of them shove a pool ball down a guy's throat. Just for clarity.  Very exciting and suspenseful. I always figured if I found a stash of cash, I'd also keep it, but I think I'd wait MONTHS to spend it and even then only $20 every now and then! LOL! I mean in this scenario the bad guys come after the good people anyway and if they hadn't found the money they'd still be blamed and tortured for finding it so why not have some fun until then? ****

Grace of Monaco with Nicole Kidman. Who would have known she was so miserable? Maybe that's the princess's lot in life? The story takes place when DeGaulle is trying to tax Monaco to finance his war in Algiera and threatens to invade Monaco and depose the prince. (Tim Roth plays Rainier. I like him.) Lots of sleaziness behind the scenes - Prince Rainier's sister plots with DeGaulle so she can rule Monaco. The fairy tale doesn't sound so fun when one hears what really went on, but I've never heard any of this before. Maybe it's all Hollywood sensationalism? ***

The Hateful Eight  I love a good western, and I especially love a western that satirically pays homage to my favorite western The Magnificent Seven so I was curious. If you have ever seen a Tarantino film, clearly the man has anger issues that are expressed through his art, but he also has a fetish with  the 1960s so obvious in his credits and music. At first you smile and shake your head. Great tongue-in-cheek nostalgia with bright orange lettering, but ten minutes of credits is way too long and it counteracts the initial effect. Then we meet the characters. Tarantino never disappoints as they are always complex, well-developed, and just bizarre enough to be entertaining. The story begins with a bounty hunter, "The Hangman" (Kurt Russell, love him, don't see him often), who never kills his dead or alive quarry as he wants to see justice...and a hanging. He is gleefully transporting his very dirty, foul-mouthed prisoner (Jennifer Jason Leigh) who he punches in the face every time she starts spewing filth. Along the way he meets a former Union officer turned bounty hunter (Samuel L. Jackson) and  the town's new sheriff (Walton Goggins, or Boyd Crowder from Justified - love him). As the blizzard moves in (LOTS of snow), they take refuge in an inn of sorts called Minnie's Haberdashery where four men are staying, waiting out the storm. Things are suspicious to say the least. Minnie is missing. Are they who they say they are? It's three years after the war and half of this motley crew are Confederates and half are Yankees. Two are officers formerly on the same battlefield. All are guilty of heinous war crimes and no one has been brought to justice. All is fair in love and war. Then it all goes to hell in a hand basket. True to Tarantino, it's BLOODY. People don't just get shot in a Tarantino film. The blood gushes waterfalls and splatters magnificently covering the whole room. That's on a good day. The violence is surreal and exaggerated. This particular movie is more like a western horror mystery with flashbacks of Carrie and Nightmare on Elm Street. Only Tarantino... Fascinating story and characters, excellent performances and cast, and superb photography. There were, however, moments I was ready for it to be over because I just wasn't interested in getting to the end, and, of course, the violence is over-the-top gross. ***

Home Invasion was so scary! It's about this very rich, but likeable woman and her eleven-year old stepson. Husband is out of town constantly and they are home alone in their mansion. Bad people arrive, the woman's visiting friend volunteers to go outside and find out if they are lost since they aren't expected. While the homeowner watches the security monitor, they murder her. Rich lady runs for the front door, closes it just in time, turns on the security panic button, grabs the kid, runs through the mansion, and calls the home security company. The bad guys circumvent the 911 call to make her think she has called the police and spray paint the security cameras. They don't know there are hidden cameras all over the house. The security systems specialist (Jason Patric) can watch the monitors and tell her how to make her way around the house without being seen and he can pull some tricks too like turning on the music at full volume. Then the bad guys scramble the cell phone reception, then the power goes out, then the bridge to their house is blocked (another bad guy does that) and the woman and stepson are discovered. It's one thing after another. Performances were good. A thrilling and nerve wracking experience. Fun. ****

I Believe in Unicorns is about a young girl who falls for a bad boy. I'm guessing they are all around sixteen years old since her friend has a driver's license, but she looks about 12 years old, playful, sweet, loves toys, lick-on tattoos and unicorns. He's grungy and immature, crush-worthy and abusive. I remember swooning over bad boys. The art effects are really interesting. The opening sequences are awesome. Very intriguing, dark, and fascinating. ***

Jupiter Ascending I don't care for wild, fantasy-sci-fi. So you are probably wondering why I bothered with this movie? The premise was interesting and I thought the first part might be worth a look: girl working as a cleaning lady finds out she's the Queen of Earth. Bees love her. I had to see that. I wanted to see the disclosure scene where someone recognizes her superpowers or someone says, "Surprise! You are the Queen of Earth!" Unfortunately they failed miserably with the anticipation and the disclosure was a let-down. Her reaction was "hmm...".  Maybe it was just bad acting (Mila Kunis), but I was not impressed. The first ten minutes is a quick summary of her life from conception to birth. No great epiphany, in fact not a hint of why SHE is the Queen of Earth. Then it all escalates into a whole bunch of futuristic weirdness with a pointy-eared Channing Tatum (as if his name isn't strange enough). Eddie Redmayne does play an awesome, scary bad guy who whispers deeply which is exceptionally creepy yet cool. It was too complex and I was too confused to be able to keep track of the plot and what was supposed to be happening. I lasted about 20 minutes. *

Just Before I Go is about a guy who feels life is too hard and he's tired of fighting. His dad died when he was a kid, his seventh grade teacher bullied him, the school bully tortured him, and his wife just left him. He decides before he kills himself he has to make amends with people from his past. It's over-the-top goofy humor at times and very serious and thought-provoking other times with some great lines and LOL moments in between it all.  The brother is so politically wrong every time he opens his mouth he's priceless. "Fear thrives in emptiness." Nice quote. ***

Little Boy is about a young boy living in California who's father goes off to war (World War II). The boy is constantly teased by other kids because he is so small, but he starts believing he has special powers that will bring his father home. He gets inspiration from a comic book hero, the local Catholic priest, and a Japanese man. It was an interesting mix of magic, religion, and mythology. The kid is SO INCREDIBLY ADORABLE and the movie exceptionally sweet.  Excellent 1940s sets, costumes, great performances, LOL moments and tear jerking scenes. Rarely does one see a movie that addresses the racism toward the Japanese during World War II. Great movie. ****

Newsies I can't quite get used to seeing Christian Bale singing and dancing. I think the first movie I saw him in was American Psycho and for me that is Christian Bale - serious, dramatic, psychotic. This was a Disney musical although it was on Broadway for a while. It was good. It's like Oliver...a production filled with poverty-stricken little boys. Good story, great costumes, great dancing. ***

Not Another Happy Ending is about a newbie Scottish novelist who is signed with a publisher and they fall in love but neither realizes it so she conveniently gets writer's block so she can't finish her second novel because if she does their time together is over. It was goofy. The story was juvenile and the acting mediocre. Her clothes were amazingly ugly, but the British (and therefore, the Scottish) aren't known for their fashion sense. Nothing special and kind of boring. **

Our Idiot Brother is about a brain-dead hippie man-boy who doesn't ever think. He doesn't listen, never seems to know how to follow directions, says whatever he wants disclosing personal conversations, and acts like a retard all the time. Now, I know that's not a politically correct term, but it's used throughout the movie and it is the best description for him. He just never thinks. In the opening scene he's selling his organic produce at a market, a uniformed police officer asks him if he has any pot to sell and he sells it to him. He goes to jail, and his hippie girlfriend has replaced him with another brain dead loser so he goes home to live with mother and stay with his adult sisters. He creates all kinds of drama with his thoughtless big mouth and vacant stares. All star cast and great performances, but the ending fell flat. They all claimed to love him just the way he is, but this epiphany didn't ring true. He didn't do anything to earn it.  Oddly enough it wasn't over the top stupid humor although my review might make it sound so. If he wasn't so irritating, it might have been a really good movie. ***

The Perfect Guy is the worst case scenario of dating gone wrong. It's about a woman who breaks up with a long-time boyfriend because he won't marry her. She starts dating this guy who is gorgeous, charming and perfect in every way. She introduces him to all her friends, takes him home to meet the parents, shows him where she hides her spare house key, and then one night in an encounter at a gas station, he snaps and beats this stranger senseless. She realizes she doesn't know who he is and she's not really interested in finding out. She breaks up with him and he's not having it. Not one iota. He's a psychopath and he starts stalking her showing up at her work, calling her all day and night. Then he hacks her computer, cell phone, plants video cams in her house, gets her fired...and believe it or not, it escalates from there. Very scary. Some of it was idiotic. I mean if someone is stalking you, threatening you, do you not notice who's parked across the street watching your house? If you live in a house that has whole walls of windows, wouldn't you draw the curtains? And I'll never figure out why anyone would stand three feet in front of someone while pointing a gun without worrying they might grab it. Jeez. Oh well. It's Hollywood. That was an intensely fun ride. This is why I don't trust good looking men. I'm pretty convinced they are all psychopaths and we are blind to their craziness. LOL ****

To Save a Life is about a high school kid who leaves his best friend from grade school behind as he climbs the ladder of high-school coolness. The ex-friend is ostracized and bullied because of his limp, a limp he received from pushing his friend out of the path of a car and taking the hit himself. Feeling alone, he takes a gun to school and kills himself leaving the ex-friend wondering why he was such a self-centered douche bag and didn't do more to help him. Good story about personal responsibility and empathy for others. WAY, WAY too much God talk. I think it's too bad only the Christians can come up with these great messages for kids, but Christianity shouldn't be the requirement for being a good human being who is kind, caring, and responsible. Anyone can strive to be a good person. Bible-beating kids into believing they can't be good without being Christian is a bad message. ***


Veronica Guerin is about an Irish reporter (Cate Blanchett) who investigates the drug lords of Dublin. They shoot her, threaten to kidnap her son, beat her up and she keeps on harassing the bad guys. She far more courageous than I'd ever be and I'm not sure how she could justify the sacrifice of her life when she had a small child. They murder her and her murder motivates people to get off their asses and make some changes. Performances were outstanding and Cate's Irish accent was spectacular. Colin Farrell makes an appearance for about five minutes. I wonder if it was his first major motion picture? ****

Thursday, September 15, 2016

EMF/MCS Community!

There is a MCS/EMF-free community being planned by R. Chris Young who is founder/owner of EMF Experts, an EMF consultation services business. Here is the advertisement:
EMF-Free Community in White Mountains
Join us on our 40 – 120 Acres in NE Arizona.  Offering MCS / EI / EHS camping facilities (water, shower, toilets), a tiny homes 'neighborhood' in the trees, larger building lots for lease, and tracts of adjacent pristine EMF-quiet acreage available for purchase.   Great year round weather, within easy drive to low-EMF amenities (medical clinic, banks, stores etc).   In process and planned to launch 2016 or 2017. 
Now, I didn't know any place in Arizona was green so I'm skeptical. The photos on the website/blog look like some place in Montana. Is it really that green? It sounds too good to be true. He says he's been searching for the perfect spot for quite a while, touring the country and scouting every western state. The White Mountains of Arizona fit all the requirements. He wants people to get on the blog post, fill out the questionnaire, and he hopes to get enough people to present a list to the powers that be and have building codes circumvented so the dream community may begin. The email response says he's received loads of replies. Sounds so hopeful.

There is also a community naming contest. His ideas are Emfree Acres or Emfree Vistas. Hmmm...sounds like a rest home or a cemetery...not a good connotation. He's liking the Emfree bit. I think it sounds too much like a chemical corporation. Any ideas?

For more information and photos click HERE.


Sunday, September 11, 2016

I'm a Farmer...

My garden is doing wonderfully and it's harvest time!


The lettuce has been crazy. The early planting is now starting to bolt and seed, but I still have two other beds of perfect lettuce. Growing it in raised pallet containers made all the difference. NO BUGS! Not one bug. Now I got smart and placed diatomaceous earth along side the rows. This stuff is a natural bug repellent or killer. It is like tiny shards of glass - bugs walk through it and it kills them. Gets rid of those pesky potato bugs that love old wood (pallets). When the lettuce was young, I soaked the soil in rabbit manure tea. Loves the nitrogen. Perfect lettuce. This variety is called "Oak Leaf Lettuce."



My carrots are amazing. First year ever for good carrots! Again, deep raised beds, up off the ground away from critters and on the southern-exposed deck for maximum heat. I also drowned them in water everyday so they never dried out. Perfect. And so sweet. These were Yaya Carrots.


Peppers! First year ever for peppers. It's just not warm enough here unless one uses a greenhouse. But again, raised beds, up on the southern-exposed deck for maximum heat. Once the fruits were set I soaked the soil in rabbit manure tea. These are Anaheim Peppers:


These are Bell Peppers:

The squash are questionable. I did not used a trellis system to lift them off the ground because I was told they need the heat of the earth. Well, they are still small. Granted, I do know they are not in a location that gets sun all day. Pumpkins are small:


Delicatas are very small, but there is still time:



I used rabbit manure as I was told squash love it, but maybe it's too much nitrogen.

And then there are apples. I am overloaded with apples because I trimmed the branches last winter. So loaded the branches are bending, nearly snapping. I culled hundreds of apples at the beginning of the summer to remove some weight. The apples at the top of the tree I couldn't get to. Then once a week I poured buckets of rabbit manure tea at the base of the tree. MONSTER APPLES! And so sweet and juicy!




I go out every morning and pick up the windfalls, at least a bucket every day. I've been taking them to my friend's horses. During the night sometimes I can hear them fall as they hit the metal ladder. I've been picking apples every day, giving them away and trying to eat as many as possible. I don't know what to do with them all. If anyone visits, they take home a bag of apples. So beautiful. The birds have be munching on them, but very few bugs holes.


I think I'm finally getting this organic gardening right. It's a wonderful replacement for a social life. Plants are not irritating, disrespectful, or sociopathic. We get along great. Gardening keeps me moving, working, and breathing fresh air.