Sunday, February 26, 2012

High-Kickin' It

I know, I know.  Here I am, writing about an a cappella group, and it's not Rockapella, and I still haven't written about Napa.  That will come in due time.

Last night, I saw Ladysmith Black Mambazo at the Lewis Family Playhouse in Rrrrrancho Cucamonga.  If you're not familiar with the Spike Lee documentary "Do It A Cappella", you may have heard them on Paul Simon's "Graceland" CD.  I haven't seen them perform live before.

LBM is a South Afircan group founded by Joseph Shabalala back in 1960.  He's still the leader of the group, and can still do a few high kicks! Amazing.

I don't know most of the song titles, so I won't be doing a set list for this show.  

  •   I like the soothing tone of their voices.
  •   I loved seeing the dancing and the kick lines.  They kick high!  I would have fallen down trying to do those moves.
  • Two guys in the front row (I was in the 2nd row) were obviously big fans, and were encouraging the guys to kick higher.  Later on, when Joseph Shabalala was pointing to people in the audience to join them on stage, these two guys went up there and danced, too.  They couldn't kick as high as the guys in LBM, but I applauded their efforts.  Two other men joined them on stage and tried to do the kicks, too.  That whole part was funny.
  • They were promoting their Grammy-nominated CD, "Songs from a Zulu Farm", so we got to hear songs about a rooster, a duck, and a bad donkey, among others.  I bought that CD.  
  • The only song that I was familiar with during the show was "Homeless", which they had sung on the "Graceland" CD.
  • For their encore, they asked us to sing along if we knew the song.  It ended up being "Old Macdonald had a farm."  
  • I really liked the shirts that they wore after intermission, because they had different animals on the lower portion, as well as on the back, covering their butt.  I was amused by the lion butts.
  • Joseph's youngest son, Thamsanqa, seems to be the one that's being groomed to take over the leadership of the group.  He's cute!  I liked how he smacked his own butt when he danced at one point.  
  • One of the guys kept acting like he was in pain from all of the moves, but he did end up doing some high kicks later on.  He signed my CD.
  • i wish I knew all the guys names, so that I could write down the names of the 2 guys that signed my CD.  At this moment, you can see the picture on their home page.  The 2 guys that signed were the guy on the right of the top row, and the 2nd guy from the right in the bottom row.
I was able to go out for dessert at The Cheesecake Factory with Jeff and Wendy, who had volunteered at the theatre that night.  None of us actually had cheesecake.  But the Godiva Chocolate Brownie Sundae was quite yummy.  Thanks for the company, J&W!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Quelle heure est-il?

I was going to see "Midnight in Paris" in the theater, but just figured I might as well rent the DVD from Redbox on this one, too, since it would be cheaper and the viewing time would be much more flexible.

  • I haven't seen a lot of Woody Allen movies, so I didn't really have any preconceived notions about seeing this film, which is a good thing.  At first, I didn't get it, then the clock struck 12, and I said aloud, "Ohhh."
  • Well, of course Owen Wilson plays a screenwriter. It's a Woody Allen movie!  I do know that he likes to write about writers.
  • "I see...a rhinoceros."  I heart Adrien Brody.
  • I loved the scenery.  I want to go to Paris and walk in the rain at night.
  • Oh, dude, I was annoyed by the annoying Paul practically immediately.  I don't know how any of the characters could stand to listen to him at all.  I know he was written to be that way, and I'm glad that I don't have to hang out with anyone like that.  I usually like Michael Sheen, so this is some good acting (and makeup) where I didn't even recognize him.
  • I liked hearing the Cole Porter tunes integrated in the score.
  • I don't know much about art history or literature, really, but I smiled whenever I figure out who each famous person was. The other ones just flew over my head.
  • Kathy Bates as Gertrude Stein: awesome.
  • Totally loved Corey Stoll as Hemingway.  Spot on how I thought Hemingway actually acted.
  • "What is it with this city?  I need to write a letter to the Chamber of Commerce."
I enjoyed this movie ( involves time travel, how could I not?).  It also has Salvador Dali being surreal.  I would totally see this again, probably several times.

All nine of the Oscar Best Picture nominees have been viewed.  I'm looking forward to the ceremony.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Winning By The Numbers

Part 2 of Brad Pitt day:  "Moneyball".

  • I think that I like baseball movies more than I actually like baseball.
  • I was worried that I'd have to think too much about math when Pete started talking, but they didn't go into too much detail. I can do math, I just didn't want the movie to be all about it.
  • I liked the relationship between Billy and his daughter, especially the scene in the music store.
  • Brad Pitt, why must you still look good as you age so beautifully?  Sigh.
  • Interesting story on the DVD about Stephen Bishop actually being a baseball player and idolizing David Justice, whom he portrayed in the movie.
  • I think it's weird to have a meeting with people sitting behind you while you're looking at the guy holding the meeting.  It felt to me like it was rude for Billy to have his back to the rest of the Indians' scouting staff. But I guess that's a power thing.
  • I didn't realize that was Phillip Seymour Hoffman at first, maybe because of the lack of hair.
  • I like how Billy strategized with the players once he had their respect. That's when I thought he finally looked like a true leader.
  • "How can you not get romantic about baseball?"
  • "I hate losing even more than I want to win."
Enjoyable movie, especially if you like strategic stuff, or baseball, or Brad Pitt, or all of the above.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Family Tree

Still on the Redbox vibe, and today is Brad Pitt day.  First up: "The Tree of Life".

  • I was one of the people who really wasn't interested in seeing this movie, and really only picked it up because it's nominated for a Best Picture Oscar.  At the beginning of the movie, it was heavy on images of non-people.  Then I finally understood that Malick was trying to show Creation after the questioning of whether or not God was there.
  • The "Lacrymosa" portion was way too long for me, probably because I felt sorry for the Soprano having to sing so dang high.  This almost had me turning off the movie, thinking it was all going to be like it, but I'm glad I didn't.
  • Really glad.  I was bawling toward the end.
  • Yes, it's weird that Sean Penn plays Brad Pitt's grown-up son.  I couldn't figure out which son he was supposed to be playing until the very end, but I guess that's what was supposed to happen.  
  • I don't understand why Penn was the only one at the current age during that last portion.  Was it because we were seeing it from his point of view, and he'll always see his family at that particular time of his life?  I don't know.  
  • Boys are mean to frogs.
  • Why, at the beginning, were the insides of Pitt's and Chastain's mouths so black?  It looked lke they had rotted out teeth.
  • Whoa.  That butterfly was real?  Awesome.
  • Aside from "Lacrymosa", I enjoyed all of the classical music that Alexandre Desplat used.  
  • "I didn't know how to name You then.  But I see it was You.  Always You were calling me."
This movie isn't for everyone.  Heck, it's barely for me.  But I liked seeing that family relationship evolve, so I liked it.  ;)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

You is Important

It's getting down to h wire, and "The Help" is in very limited release right now, so I rented he Blu-Ray DVD from Redbox.  This was my first time to use Redbox, and it's quite convenient, so I'll be relying on it for most of the other films that are nominated for Best Picture this year since they're not really in theaters anymore.  I would do the whole AMC marathon thing, but Saturdays are not good for me, and, of course, the movies that I have not yet seen are the ones that are playing at the precise time that I need to be at church.  I do prefer to see these movies as they were meant to be viewed in a theater, but sometimes that just doesn't work out.

  • Here's the other movie this year that has me amazed by Viola Davis.  Her portrayal of Aibileen left me feeling inspired after all of the anguish she suffered.
  • I really enjoyed Octavia Spencer's performance.  It turns out that her role was written in the book with her in mind.  Minny was a hoot.
  • I kept wondering how I knew Hilly.  Duh, Sher.  That's Bryce Dallas Howard.  You've seen her in several movies. I guess I'm not used to seeing her with that Southern hair.
  • Emma Stone did a great job.  I haven't yet seen "Easy A", but I've wanted to do so.  This makes me want to see it even more.
  • So NOBODY in the bridge club could stand up to Hilly except for Skeeter?  That's just sad when women are clearly uncomfortable about things, but don't have the courage to leave or do anything about them.  I think that's why Skeeter and all of the maids who told their story were such heroines to me.
  • Alison Janney: awesome as always.
  • "You is kind. You is smart. You is important."
  • When Aibileen left, my heart broke for that little girl.
  • Those bridge club women sure don't hide very well.
  • I wonder if Crisco sponsored this film.
  • Chocolate pie is going to scare me for a little while.
I enjoyed this film.  I think I want to read the book now.  I do know already, though, that the ending for Minny is not  the same in the book, due to the deleted scenes.  Still, I'm interested in seeing the original material.

Door to Door

I saw "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" in the theater last week.  I had kind of put it off because I knew that the subject matter would make me really emotional, but since I was on an emotional movie blitz due to the upcoming Oscar awards, it was time to see it.

  • Where are they getting all of the amazing kids for these movies?!  Thomas Horn wowed me, and this is his first movie. Wow.  I mean, that is a LOT of dialogue to learn, and then he has the emotions, too.  Wow.  Of course, that could be an editing trick, but I'm still wowed.
  • The images of the man falling from the WTC make me think of "Mad Men".  This makes me both excited for the upcoming season of MM, and anxious because the main image animation of MM is of a man falling from a skyscraper.
  • I totally knew who the Renter was as soon as they showed him in the window.
  • Yup.  Emotional level was very high during the scenes of The Worst Day.  Those scenes happened several times during the movie.  I completely lost it when they showed the WTC collapsing. I even cried the next morning when I thought of the movie again.  (I'm doing OK right now, though).  I think it's because this is one tragedy in American history that I actually remembering seeing, and those images are burned into my brain, triggering that pained American in me that day and the days that followed it.
  • I kind of like how they kept some questions unanswered at the end of the movie.  It's like real life, where you don't always get all of the answers that you seek.
  • Viola Davis sure doesn't need more than one scene to get me crying.  She would end up amazing me again a couple of days later (see next post).
  • It's like the year of silence in the movies.  Max Von Sydow doesn't need to speak to get his emotions across to the audience.  
  • Everyone needs a tambourine.  Or something like it to help calm them when they're anxious.
  • "If things were easy to find, they wouldn't be worth finding."
  • Loved the fact that his mom seemed to be absent for most of his quest, because it's Oskar's story, and he was largely ignoring his mom.  But if you see things from her point of view, the story is quite different.
I really liked this movie.  As emotional as I became, I think that I could still do repeat viewings when it comes to satellite TV.  I'll just make sure that I always have tissues nearby for all of the tears.

Monday, February 13, 2012

One Big Machine

I saw "Hugo" in 3D today after work.

  • That kid with his eyes reminds me of Elijah Wood.  He's got the talent like Elijah, too.
  • I'm not one of those Scorcese fans that wants to watch his films over and over again, and at the beginning of the movie, I thought that maybe this would be the case once more.  But no. This one is lighter than his usual dark stuff, so I would see it again.
  • All of that clockwork stuff amazed me visually.  So did all of that beautiful cinematography.
  • The automaton kind of creeped me out, especially during the dream sequences.  
  • Spotted Martin Scorcese and giggled.  Thought I saw Johnny Depp, but APPARENTLY, that was a lookalike, as Johnny wasn't available due to his schedule.
  • I love the way that this is clearly a tribute to film, and I loved the silent movie homage with the hanging from the clock.  It also reminded me of "Back to the Future", but I don't think that's what Scorcese meant to do.
  • Reading as much as Isabelle does makes her have quite a large and interesting vocabulary.  I liked her a lot.
  • I liked the way that Hugo talked about existing to serve a purpose, just like each piece in a machine. 
  • How can I not like a movie that has a reference to Jean Valjean, mermaids, and  Camille Saint-Saens' "Danse Macabre"?
  • It's nice to see Christopher Lee in a non-sinister role, although at first glance, I thought of Saruman.
  • Ben Kingsley was amazing, as usual.  
  • "Which one?  I've mastered 3."
Beautiful movie.  I'm glad that I saw it in the theater, despite my initial resistance to it.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Pal Joey

I finally saw "War Horse" last Friday after work.  I had been wanting to watch the movie since the first time I saw the trailer.  I also have been wanting to see the stage play, which will be showing at the Ahmanson Theatre later this year.  Ooh, I need to buy my ticket soon!

  • This movie reminds me of "The Red Violin", what with all of the different "owners" of Joey.  Except that this one had much more death.
  • It's a horse movie.  I cried, like, 8 times.
  • Brilliant usage of the windmill panes.  Absolutely brilliant.
  • The barbed wire scene made me cringe a lot...and then later, it made me giggle.
  • Great score by John Williams.  It helped me get all weepy.
  • I loved the friendship between Joey and Topthorne.
  • Dude, that horse needs to JUMP!
  • I really liked the character of Emilie.  I think I would have been just like her in her situation, hiding horses in my room.
  • Gorgeous cinematography.  I'm really glad that I saw it in the theater.
  • Be brave.
I loved this movie.  I think that I need to purchase it when it comes out on Blu-Ray.  Great story, great characters, and if anyone dislikes that horse, they have no soul.

DLR LotD 02/05/12

Disneyland Resort
Line of the Day

Sunday, February 5, 2012

"Maybe every Saturday, people are supposed to get dressed up when they go to Disneyland." -- someone in line at the corn dog cart

Happy Dapper Day!