Saturday, January 21, 2017

Women's March Olympia 1/21/2017

The Olympia Women's March expected about 2,500 people - they got 10,000! I was one of them! Because the organizers expected so few people the route was very short...by the time we got back to the beginning, there were people still waiting to start. Lots of people chanting and singing, carrying signs and wearing pussy hats. I regret I did not have my own pussy hat. Everyone was very cheerful in spite of the rain, but even the sun showed up for about an hour!




















There was a designated protest song posted on the march's website. I practiced it, but then I couldn't find anyone who was singing! So I went searching and found my people. Here is the YouTube version of the song, written and sung by Melanie DeMore called "Put One Foot in Front of the Other." It's very catchy. I'm happy I got the chance to join a sing-a-long!



I am very happy to be on the right side of history and this was an outstanding opportunity to be with like-minded, intelligent people.

LOVE STILL TRUMPS HATE!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

2016: Review and Resolution

Is it really the end of the year? 
I can't decide if it flashed by or if it drug on mercilessly.



GOOD STUFF:

1) FRAGRANCE-FREE FRIENDS. Thank you to the people in my life who are non-toxic, social, and supportive. Especially the ones who email me all the time and keep me sane in my isolation. Thank you for the much needed communication.

2) ZIPPY! I still love Zippy. Great gas mileage, still running, and no problems.

3) HEALTH. I feel great for the most part and my latest blood labs came back outstanding. No thyroid exhaustion or other debilitating symptoms. I can thank the Paleo with a Hashimoto's Twist Diet for this success and I am still amazed I found something that really worked.

4) GARDEN - OH. MY. GOD. My garden was sensational. I finally ran out of carrots about a week ago and they were beautiful. My lettuce was the best it's ever been. The apples on my tree went crazy and I was giving away bags of them. My cherry and plum trees were fruitful. Few bugs and slugs and creepy crawlies eating more than I do. I think I finally figured out the secrets to success.

5) ART STUFF.  I went to an artists' studios tour in a neighboring town and met all kinds of fun people. Then I joined a drawing group. We get together once every other week and draw stuff. Few people wear anything smelly and only once was I unable to go into a location due to air fresheners. It can be intimidating, stressful, and embarrassing since most of these people are professional artists, but I look forward to it and it serves as a much needed opportunity for socializing.

6) HOUSE. My house is safe and lovely, old and dependable. I'd still really love to move to some place smaller and in a different area, but until I am able to do so, this house is a life saver.

7) COB HOUSE TOUR. I went on the cob house tour in southern Oregon. I've wanted to do that for years. It was fun and interesting.

8) PERSONAL LEGACY. I voted for Hillary Clinton and I am proud to be on the right side of history. I would not want to be the person who voted for Hitler and had to make embarrassing excuses for my bad behavior for the rest of my deplorable life.

9) MY BLOG. As always it provides entertainment, communication and therapy. Although there have been moments I think I should delete it and most of my posts are now limited to the latest articles, occasional political rant, or my monthly movie reviews, it's my hope that all the old posts may still help chemical sensitive newbies find their way so the blog stays.



NOT SURE WHERE TO PUT THESE THINGS:

1) MONEY. I'm happy to make money, I'm not happy I don't make enough. No matter how much I work, there is never enough and it seems to dwindle a little more every year.

2) DOCTORS. I made a New Year's resolution last year to avoid doctors and I succeeded in spending absolutely nothing on health care for twelve months! I'm happy to have one year of absolutely no expense, frustration, and anger that comes with cavorting with doctors, However, I'm perpetually pissed about the incompetence of the medical system so I put "Doctors" in the Not Sure category since happiness and anger tend to cancel each other out.

2) WORK. I'm happy to be working for the money, I just wish I was independently wealthy so I didn't have to work.


REALLY CRAPPY STUFF:


1) DUMP. Hateful, vengeful, shortsighted, incredibly stupid Americans elected to the presidency a misogynistic, sexist, racist, ignorant, sociopathic con-artist who acts like a twelve year old most of the time. This isn't even an issue of politics. In the past when my candidate didn't win, I still had confidence the president-elect was experienced, competent, professional, and had the country's best interests at heart even if his politics were different. I, like many others, have no confidence in this buffoon who's main form of communication is pathological lying peppered with insults, rants, temper tantrums, and disrespectful bullying as he tweets like an immature teenager. Even the Bushes did not vote for this ass. That's saying something.

Along the same lines, Russians are reading my blog. The last time I checked my stats Americans logged in 1240 times and Russians 786! All other nationalities are in the single or double digits. So weird. Why are Russians in my business now? And I'm writing about the Dump again so I'm sure the Russian stats will increase. I'll never understand why the stupid of my country voted for the Dump. I can only hope he will be impeached for: 1) his outstanding debts 2) lawsuits against him 3) investigations into his fraudulent foundation 4) improper foreign protocol, 5) business conflicts of interest and/or 6) overall bad behavior that he can't seem to control. He's bound to slip up. He can't help it. We can only hope.

HMMMMMM...

Well, obviously the crappy stuff outweighs the good stuff. Dump's win has changed the country and not for the better: Hate is rampant and it's a free for all where etiquette and respect are optional. Environmental issues are being touted as a figments of everyone's imagination and there is absolutely no hope anyone would ever give a rat's ass about chemical sensitivity with Dump promoting big business over morality. The medical system will continue to be useless, but insurance benefits will disappear. Women are now considered second class citizens to be objectified and abused at the whim of any white male pig or their philandering husbands. Immigrants and Jewish people are treated like garbage with homosexuals treated worse.  It's a totally different country now devoid of kindness and hope. It's not surprising to anyone that the Dump revoked all his campaign promises including "Make America Great Again". The Trumptards were so played.

Dump's New Year's greeting to the country:

Happy New Year to all, including to my many enemies and those who have fought me and lost so badly they just don't know what to do. Love!

What a despicable, deplorable human being taunting people like a third grader. Compare it to Obama's New Year's message of hope:




Hooray Obama! Isn't he like thirty years younger than the Dump? He's not going away quietly. For that I am thankful. Add that to my list of GOOD things and that alone far outweighs all the bad stuff. Also, Baba Vanga, Bulgarian psychic who predicted our 44th president would be African American, also predicted he would be our last American president. Hmmm...Dump isn't going to the White House! I've never wanted to believe a psychic so much in all my life!!!
.

NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTION...

Throw a party when the Dump is impeached or whatever happens that keeps him from being president.


HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!



Saturday, December 31, 2016

December Movie Reviews

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


Allegiant is the fourth in the Divergent series.  A civil war is brewing between the remaining factions and the Divergent group go beyond the wall to see what is out there. Great series. Lots of action and strong women roles. ****

Austenland is about a Jane Austen fanatic, "Jane", who has grown up in love with Jane Austen books. Now as an adult, she re-reads, re-lives, or re-watches the stories constantly in her apartment surrounded by 18th century British everything and is perpetually single because she lives her life in this fantasy. She decides to spend her life savings on a vacation to the Austenland resort which guarantees total cultural immersion and romance. Unfortunately she can only afford the cheap rate: accommodations in the servant's quarters, dowdy dresses, no extras. The other women are caricatures of comedy, goofy, silly to the point of irritation. The resort actors paid to woo them are equally animated. The first half of the movie I kept thinking whoever wrote this HATES Jane Austen fans. However, Jane keeps taking walks on the grounds in order to escape the boredom of perpetual needle point, the irritation of the cackling guests, or the frustration of being treated like she is second class. She meets one of the hired help and begins her own private romance away from the manor with the stable boy. Then the scowling, gorgeous Mr. Darcy-like character flirts. She begins to feel confused between reality and fantasy. There were times the stupid humor was irritating and I think the main character could have been written better. Well, the whole movie could have been written better as it had way more potential than what it delivered, but I liked the idea and I liked the climax where the fantasy all comes falling down around her. ***

The Answer Man is about an author who writes a book called Me and God filled with questions to and answers from God. Everyone thinks he talks to God and his fans besiege him for answers to their burning questions.  He's an angry guy and somewhat reclusive secluded in his stunning New York apartment lined with bookshelves. He spends much of his time trying to figure out how to really talk to God. Then he starts interacting with people and those encounters change his life. It was good . ****

Birth is about a widow (Nicole Kidman) whose husband has been dead for ten years and she's about to remarry. A ten-year old boy shows up on her doorstep, claims to be her dead husband, and begs her not to marry as it would be a mistake. He convincingly knows intimate details of her life and her dead husband's life.  The whole thing is very weird. First, the woman's family invites the kid to stay with them. Personally I'd be curious, but I'd be appropriately creeped out and wouldn't invite him for overnights. If your kid started acting weird and a strange family invited him to move in with them, would you think that is acceptable? Second, Nicole is naked in the bath and this ten-year old walks into the bathroom, undresses and climbs into the bath with her. That was really, really creepy. Watching this grown woman who is convinced he is her dead husband and plans to run away with him was all very pedophilic and creepy. ***

The BoxTrolls What amazing animation! It was all puppetry. The characters were so outstanding and well-developed in their evilness or adorableness. Their facial features and the way they moved were mesmerizing. The special effects for the sets were outstanding, too. Darling story. ****

A Case of You is about a writer who has a crush on a barista at the local coffee shop. He stutters and gets tongue tied every time he's around her because he is so insecure. To compensate he finds her Facebook page and studies everything she likes so that when they do finally officially meet, it will appear as if they have everything in common and she will think he is the perfect man. I remember discussing this phenomenon with a friend years ago and how many people early in relationships will not be themselves and instead be the person they think the love interest wants them to be. I think she called it "reflecting." I spent most of my youth reflecting... Anyway, his past demons do reveal themselves so the audience understands why he is so insecure and afraid, and of course, she makes the mistake of telling him she's falling in love with him...which he doesn't trust because, after all, she doesn't know him. It was a very creative and interesting take on the love story genre. ****

Cold Mountain  How many times have I seen this movie? I've lost count. So outstanding. It's definitely one of my top ten movies of all time. *****

The Cove is about the slaughter of dolphins in Japan, the activists who are trying to stop it and the Japanese who are trying to cover it up so they can continue because they are greedy and violent. Dolphins are considered pests that eat the fish supply. The movie discusses the levels of mercury in dolphin meat, but how the Japanese are trying to sell the dolphin meat to the mandatory school lunch programs. The lead activist is Ric O'Barry who bought, trained and cared for the Flipper dolphins in the 1960s which started the dolphin show craze contributing to their exploitation, has been working for the last 35 years to free captive dolphins and stop the slaughters. Excellent, yet horrifying movie. So sad. I can't get the bright blood red water out of my head. Humans are so horrible. ****

Dear Eleanor is about a young girl who's mother runs to a meeting to introduce Eleanor Roosevelt, gets hit by a car, and dies never getting to give her introduction. The daughter and her best friend road trip from California to New York so she can give her mother's speech to the First Lady. It was about mourning and closure. The grief was good, but the rest was very goofy and unrealistic...they pick up an escape convict. Hmmm.... The scenery was beautiful. **

Delores Claiborne I know I've seen this movie before many years ago, but I couldn't remember it at all. It's about a housekeeper (Kathy Bates) accused of murdering her employer and a vindictive detective who tried to have her indicted for murdering her husband many years before. I love the quote "Sometimes being a bitch is all a woman has to hang on to." Excellent story and lots of intrigue. Kathy Bates was superb. All performances were excellent. ****

Dirty Grandpa is with Robert DeNiro and Zac Efron. I had grave reservations about this movie and worried it would be incredibly stupid. Someone at the library said it was really funny. No, it was really stupid. I didn't even get to the point where Zac Efron takes his shirt off, and you know he does. Not sure why this kid who is a very good actor is in all these bad movies. *

Easy A is about an intelligent, witty, although invisible high school student (Emma Stone) who lies to her best friend telling her she is busy so she can get out of going camping with her and her weird parents. It escalates when she continues the lie and pressed by the friend, falsely admits to losing her virginity. Word travels fast. To compound her fall from grace, her English class is reading The Scarlet Letter, hence the film's title. Clever tie-in. I always like a good title. Since she now has the reputation of being the school slut, she decides to dress and play the part. Her gay friend asks if she'd pretend to have sex with him so he can pretend he's straight so the bullies would leave him alone. It snowballs from there when all the school's misfits hear about her willingness to sacrifice her reputation and they start paying her to help them spread rumors about their sexual desirability to increase their popularity. It was very creative and well-written. All-star cast. I love her parents - I wish I had parents like that. ***

Freeheld is the story of New Jersey detective Laurel Hester (Julianne Moore) who as she was dying from cancer was refused pension benefits for her domestic partner (Ellen Page). This is about her fight for equality which lead to gay marriage rights. Great performances. Moore's wig was cheap, ugly and a distraction. I know they were trying to make her look like the person the story was based on, but couldn't they find a wig that looked like real hair?? Who wears their hair like 1970s Farrah Faucett in 2006? ***

Four Christmases is about Reese Witherspoon and Vincent Vaughn who for years have lied to their four families telling them they do international volunteer work during Christmas.  They end up stranded at the airport during a snow storm and are interviewed by a TV news station about their trip to Fuji. Feeling slightly guilty but only because they were caught in the lie, they begrudgingly spend Christmas visiting their four dysfunctional families. I love the line "you can't spell families without lies." LOL **

Get a Job is about a group of young adults (featuring Miles Teller and Anna Kendrick) just out of college who are all trying to figure out how to get jobs. The underlying theme addresses the entitlement of this generation who have grown up getting awards for nothing, good grades for mediocrity,  trophies for losing, and praise for just existing. They carry this self-gratification, apathetic attitude into the job market. They have no concept of actual success, professional behavior, or working toward a goal. Bryan Cranston plays a father with an old-school work ethic who has lost his job and now has to compete with this younger generation. It has some LOL moments. Love the kid who gets a job as a middle school chemistry teacher. ***

Guernica was an historical fiction based on the true events of the massacre of a Spanish village just before WWII by the Nazis who were experimenting with new methods of warfare. Good story, lots of human interest to make you feel the pain and suffering. Beautiful scenery. Nazis were disgusting. The Spanish government has never apologized to the survivors of this village. ****

Holiday Inn with Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire. I can't believe I've never seen this classic movie. I thought I saw them all. Other than the dancing and the singing which was passable, the story line was fairly appalling. Conniving asshole purposely and repeatedly steals girlfriends away from the nice guy. It was horrible. And the quote, "Women has to have things told the right way"...because they are too stupid to figure it out otherwise. Black face performances. The staging was horrible. In one scene the two actors who were talking to each other had their backs to the camera the whole time. Entertainment has come a long way since 1942. **

I Have Never Forgotten You is a documentary about Holocaust survivor and Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal. Lots of film footage, excellent story, wonderful man. ****

The Invention of Lying is about how the world would be if nobody lied. It was very depressing with people throwing insults at one another and telling them exactly what they think of them. Then the main character (Ricky Gervais) discovers lying and his whole life changes as he becomes better at it. While trying to comfort his dying mother who is afraid of the great unknown of eternity, he invents the concept (lie) of heaven and the "man in the sky" who makes everyone happy. It was very thought provoking.  The message I got was lying produces a much better and happier existence. All-star cast, even the bit parts were played by celebrities. ***

Joy is the story of Joy Mangano who invented the self-wringing Miracle Mop and sold it on infomercials with much success. She starts out a wife, mother, daughter, and granddaughter supporting several generations of her dysfunctional family and in horrible debt. As a child she grew up with a very active imagination creating inventions, but with more and more responsibility all that creativity was squelched. She's constantly being told she's incapable and then allows her relatives to screw up her life at every turn. It takes her a while to find her strength. Jennifer Lawrence who is one of my favorite actresses is, as usual, brilliant. Also included are Robert DeNiro, Bradley Cooper, Diane Ladd, and Isabella Rossellini. It was a good human relations story about perseverance. Really bad title lacking in creativity. ***

Love the Coopers was a Christmas-themed story about a dysfunctional family who goes through the motions of familyhood but they lie, mistrust, and resent each other as they meet for the holiday dinner. (Common Christmas theme for the modern movie....) The all-star cast made the performances excellent. It had two problems. The first was the narration. It was irritating and I kept thinking the writer must not have had any confidence that the dialogue was good enough to describe the characters and tell the story. I found it very strange and distracting. Then there was the family dog. Big, ugly mutt who was allowed to jump up and eat food off counters, jump up on tables and eat food off plates, and jump on people sitting in chairs and eat their food. This went on THROUGHOUT the whole movie. It was disgusting and unnecessary which indicated the writer was probably some bad dog owner who thought a bad behaving dog would be a gimmick to save the plot, again, indicating no confidence in the story. Bad dog owners always think everyone loves a dog. Now I kept trying to make sense of this idiotic inclusion and could only see it as a symbol of the family dysfunction. Bad parents are always bad dog owners and vice versa. They are incapable of raising well-adjusted children and for the same reasons don't have the intelligence and are too lazy to train and socialize a dog. Maybe that was the point? Then near the end the grandfather is watching his family and thinking wonderful thoughts and I thought, Oh, he must have been the narrator? I still didn't see the point of the narration though. Well, no, the very last scene is at the Christmas tree with only the DOG looking out the window at the neighbors' houses with neighbor dogs looking out their windows. The fucking DOG is the narrator of the story!  It makes absolutely NO SENSE whatsoever and there was no connection between the movie themes and the dog. Remove the idiotic dog and the idiotic dog narration and it would have been a great movie. The dog was a cheap shot. ***

The Meddler is with Susan Sarandon who plays a Brooklyn widow who moves to Los Angeles to be near her daughter. She is overwhelmingly needy and obviously lonely. The underlying reason for this constant "meddling" is she is mourning the death of her husband and is most definitely lonely and directionless.  It's a great story about growing old and finding one's place in the world after the death of a loved one. Sarandon had a great Brooklyn accent. ***

Meet Me in Montenegro is an unusual love story about a screenwriter who was deserted by a woman years prior after a whirlwind six week romance in Montenegro. She left no reason in her note and he was devastated. Years later after a break up with another woman, he is sent to Berlin for a meeting as a last ditch effort to resurrect his filmmaking career and meets the woman from years past by accident. In three days he is to return to L.A. and she is heading to Budapest. Great art. I kept thinking how wonderful to be young and foolish and carefree... ***

Meet My Valentine was about a control freak who finds out he has brain cancer and less than a year to live. He decides he wants to find and approve of his wife's next husband and his daughter's new father so he puts his wife's profile on a dating sight and starts interviewing men. When he has to list her interests on the website, he has no idea which speaks to how they have grown apart. She's has decided although she loves him she no longer likes him and is considering separation. His new-found interest in her sparks a romantic rekindling. I totally get the purpose behind his plan, but it was a little unrealistic if he thought he could keep his illness from his wife and then do all this work to find her a man WITHOUT her approval. Sounds like a disaster waiting to happen. Needless to say it was very sentimental. Good performances. ***

The Perfect Man is about a man (Liev Schreiber) who is a pathological philanderer and his wife (Jeanne Tripplehorn) who finally gets fed up and leaves him. He's lost without her, crying, drinking, stumbling around. She wants to figure out why he is the way he is so she pretends she's a random, accidental caller and engages him in conversation. I don't know. I don't have much respect for men who have no respect for women and then whine and carry on like babies when they lose the ones they love nor do I have any respect for women who allow men to act like turds. I just can't give him an excuse and call it OK. ***

See You In the Morning 1989 Jeff Bridges and Farrah Faucet when they are young. Really boring. Nice 1980s clothes. *

The Silent Storm is about a minister on a deserted Scottish Island who's brain has been warped by thinking too much about the Devil. There is some strange history with his wife which leads one to believe she is in debt to him in some way. She's a closeted herbalist, or, according to the minister, of evil persuasion. He's religiously abusive. "OBEDIENCE IS GODLY!" A teenage orphan who has been labeled as a SINNER is sent to live with them so the minister can beat the Devil out of him through work and prayer. Before he is able to abuse the kid too much, the minister hears the call of God and craziness takes over. God told him he must dismantle his entire church, tied it to the fishing boat, and haul it to the mainland. He leaves the young man with his young wife alone together...and you know that was not a smart move. Beautiful scenery, great performances. Religious people are insane. ***

Star Wars: The Force Awakens  A week or so ago by chance I found out that Adam Driver was the bad guy in the latest Star Wars movie. Really? Adam a bad guy. With all that charming quirkiness he's usually in comedies. I ordered it from the library and while waiting for its arrival Princess Leia died. Watching it was my mourning ritual to honor her. Anyway, I failed miserably as a Star Wars fan. I think I saw the first two movies only because my best friend was a fanatic, but then I lost interest. This one was fun. It has all the adventure and excitement of the original movies, but the heroes are older! They  looked great too, Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill (teeny tiny role!), and especially Carrie Fisher. As always I love the multicultural themes - all those species living and working together in harmony. Of course, the plot is left wide open for another sequel. I don't think Adam died...he'll be back. Great role for him. The night I watched it Debbie Reynolds died and it felt like my childhood died right along with her. I normally don't bawl like a baby when celebrities die, but this time I did. ****

Stonewall is a historical fiction based on the 1968 riots in New York that mark the beginning of the gay rights movement.  Great presentation on the civil rights issues and great performances. So sad how families have rejected their children forcing them out of their homes and on the streets. ****

Tenderness is about a teenage psychopath who gets off on the intimacy of killing women. He gets released early from prison and meets a stalker-girl who has been obsessed with him. Russell Crowe plays the detective who was on his case and tracks him after his release. The opening introduction is very intriguing with Crowe narrating about two types of people in the world: those who chase pleasure and those who are running from pain. Interesting movie. ***

Too Die For is about Suzanne Stone (Nicole Kidman) an exceedingly ambitious woman obsessed with being on TV as a reporter or news anchor. Her new husband (Matt Dillon) wants her to stay home, help run the family business, and pop out a few kids. She resents his attempt to deprive her of her dream. While filming a television special on teens, she begins an affair with Joaquin Phoenix (who is very young in this movie!) and manipulates him into killing her husband. Kidman's performance is amazing and she is stunningly gorgeous with her perfectly presentable clothing and well-coifed hair. ***

Unbroken is the story of Louie Zamporini, Olympic medalist in track who survived being stranded in a lifeboat for over a month after being shot down in the Pacific during World War II, then captured and tortured and kept in a prison camp by a Japanese psychopath. Amazing story. It never ceases to amaze me that people can be so absolutely horrible to others. Humans disgust me. ****


Winter's Tale I'm not even sure where to begin with this one. It's about a man (Colin Farrell) in 1915 who falls in love with a girl who is dying, but there is this battle between good and evil. Everyone has one miracle to give, but the demon who resides over New York hates goodness.... Or something. It was as weird as my description sounds. There was a whole lot of time travel although it didn't make much sense. It had an all-star supporting cast: William Hurt, Russell Crowe and Eva Saint Marie. (Where has she been all these years?) and then Will Smith shows up as Lucifer. Really!! He's got a great voice for the Head Devil. Great sets and atmosphere. The flying white horse was outstanding. It was a little too fantasic for me to wrap my head around, but it was definitely interesting especially with all that tear-jerking death. ***

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. 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. ***