Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Laura Loves {January 2013}

I don’t know about you…but 2013 has hit the ground running! If you look back at my birthday post, I wasn’t exactly planning for anything crazy in 2013. But January happened and as it turns out…I’m thinking this could be a pretty unexpectedly awesome year. I will be elaborating soon…but one of the fun new activities that I happened upon in January was…

Skeeball!
A friend and I decided to join a local weeknight Skeeball league and it has been a BLAST! I never considered myself all that great at skeeball (does anyone REALLY?) but I thought it would be fun to join a team and get to know some new people. I’ve had so much fun! Our team is friendly, there is a happy hour, not to mention skeeball, and even free shuffleboard between games! We have even won a few matches! It has really been a great way to relax after work!

Dogs Underwater
I have to credit my friend Sam with finding this collection of awesome photos. This photographer takes pictures of dogs reaching into water to grab a toy….from underwater! It makes for some great shots! I love them! (Link to the gallery below.)

Enjoy!

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – Same Love
My personal rap music (guru?), Avi, introduced me to Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. More specifically, he introduced me to my current music addiction “Thrift Shop” which I would have put up on the blog if its hook (rap term!) wasn’t explicit. I try keep it clean around these parts. Although I must admit the explicitness is a lot of what makes this particular song so fun…I recommend it if you are looking for something amusing to listen to!

But Avi also showed me this great song by the same duo that speaks up for gay marriage and gay rights. The song is a bit slower but I think its really good and has some seriously powerful lyrics. I highly recommend it…video below!

“You’re The One That I Want” Cover
Keeping on the music theme…I happened upon this cute cover of “You’re The One That I Want” from Greese on my new favorite music blog This Is Our Jam. River St. James and Amy Patterson both have heavenly voices and the slower tempo of the song makes it so pretty! I love it…

Mary Kay Cream Eye Color
Sooooo I went to a Mary Kay party over the weekend…and I intended to stay strong and try to resist purchasing too much. I went in with my guard up…and honestly the last thing I expected to be doing was raving about one of the products on my blog…..but….well clearly that is what I’m doing…

Mary Kay

{Source: Mary Kay}

The consultant had us try out the Mary Kay Cream Eye Color in beach blonde and I love it! It is really quick and easy to apply, it stays on all day, and unlike most cream eye colors it doesn’t really go on thick so it doesn’t leave a crease of makeup in your crease. The best part about this color is that it is so subtle…that I don’t look like I’m wearing make-up…but I just have a nice shimmer on my eye. It wasn’t the cheapest…but I really do love it and already plan on buying more when I run out (which won’t be for awhile because you don’t use a lot at a time). Note that in the picture above the color looks kind of pink but its more skin tone (a bit more golden).

That’s all I have for Laura Loves this month! I’ll be back at the end of February (hopefully on a new device **fingers crossed**) with more!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Zero Dark Silver Impossible Looper of Pi

Well…I’ve been busy movie watching! If you have been following the Mission Oscar Snob page above (or here) you might have noticed a few more movies crossed off the list! Here’s what I’ve been watching…


Image Credit: Fox 2000 Pictures
On a Saturday afternoon I decided to go catch Life of Pi. I had not read the book prior to seeing this movie so I wasn’t sure what to expect…well…besides that somehow…a boy gets stuck on a life boat with a Bengal tiger…and I’m sure there wasn’t a happy reason for that…I was right. This movie isn’t exactly happy go lucky. It has funny moments to break the tension, but there are some parts that are really sad (and sad to watch). I really liked the film though. The story is being narrated by the boy as an adult (so ***SPOILER ALERT** clearly he survives)…but I didn’t expect the moral of the story in the end…and I don’t want to ruin it but I think it was an interesting message. Definitely made me think.

I know (from reading about the film) that a lot of times the tiger was animated with CGI but I thought it was really outstanding. It was harder than I’ve ever experienced to tell when he was animated and when he was real. I think the effects of the movie were nice and there were some really beautiful scenes. I thought this was a good film and worth seeing. But don’t expect it to be happy go lucky…there are some hard moments to watch in this film. I don’t think this will win Best Picture but deserves recognition. It gets 4 stars from me. StarStarStarStar


Image Credit: Columbia Pictures

I went with a friend to check out Zero Dark Thirty the next day and all I had to say was…wow. I thought this film was really good. I was nervous (with it being almost 3 hours) that this film would lose my attention or maybe even be too violent for me. But I thought it did a great job telling a really interesting story. Were there hard to watch moments? Yes. Were there some moments where I lost track of a few names? Sure (but that usually happens to me). Were there some tense/startling moments? Absolutely. But honestly it wasn’t nearly as full of all of those things as I expected. I was actually fascinated in the story that was being told, especially with the lead that ultimately lead to finding and capturing Osama Bin Ladin. Jessica Chastain (nominated for best actress) was good but I don’t suspect she will win. And while I think the movie was great…I’m not sure it will wind up with best picture. But I highly recommend seeing this movie! 5 stars!
StarStarStarStarStar


Image Credit: The Weinstein Company

I went into Silver Linings Playbook knowing that some people thought it was the best movie they had seen all year, and some people were a bit disappointed with it. But those who were disappointed I think didn’t realize that this “romantic comedy” wasn’t exactly a comedy. I mean…there are funny moments…but really you are watching a man (and family) learning to live with bipolar disorder and his quest to find (and work for) the silver lining in his life. He has a plan…which is a little diverted when he meets Tiffany who has her own issues but is willing to help him reconnect with his wife. Honestly, going in knowing that this movie isn’t just total romcom really made me look for the other messages. I think I connected with this movie more than I expected to and I really enjoyed it. I think it deserves the recognition that it is getting (as do all the actors…it is nominated for all 4 acting categories). I think Jennifer Lawrence and Robert DiNero have the best chances of winning their categories for this film. Their performances were particularly great. Actually Bradley Cooper is really good as well…but I think other actors are more likely to win this year. I like the film and I enjoyed the story. I would recommend it…(not expecting a full blown romantic comedy!) It gets 4 stars from me! StarStarStarStar


Image Credit: Summit Entertainment (& Entertainment Weekly))

I caught a showing of The Impossible last weekend…and it was really really good. The movie tells the incredible true story of a family of 5 who was caught in the horrible tsunami of December 2004 and how they managed to find each other. The movie did an amazing job of really portraying how truly terrifying and devastating of an event this was. Obviously there were parts of this film that were hard to watch…but I really just found it moving overall. Naomi Watts was fabulous as was Ewan McGregor. The kids were really good as well. The oldest boy has the largest role…but the other boys did a great job as well. I really thought this was a wonderful movie. Naomi Watts deserves her nomination and really possibly the win here. (But I’m not sure she can pass Jennifer Lawrence’s momentum)…I thought this was a great movie. I want to give this one 4 and a half stars (but I don’t have a half star icon!)…so I’ll stick with 4…but know it is a HIGH 4! StarStarStarStar


Image Credit: TriStar Pictures

Looper managed to land on EW’s list but didn’t get any nominations this year. But to continue with the original mission to watch the movies on the list…I kept this one high on the Netflix queue. If you are unfamiliar, Looper is about a mob assassin who kills people the mob of the future sends back in time to him. Eventually he is assigned to “close his loop” by killing his future self…but his future self has other plans. I don’t tend to like shoot-em-up action movies but I found Looper interesting. I liked the sci-fi concept and thought they did well sticking within the rules of the world they set up. I don’t want to spoil it so I will just say I also thought the ending/resolution really worked for the film. I actually think it really could have been a contender for original screen play. Joseph Gordon-Levitt was made to look like a young Bruce Willis and I thought the make up work was really cool. I like Joseph Gordon-Levitt a lot and it was weird he both looked like himself but so different at the same time. Maybe it could have been a contender for makeup as well. I won’t be making any predictions for it during the Oscars…but I enjoyed the film…3 stars! StarStarStar

That’s all I have for now! Don’t forget you can keep track of my Mission Oscar Snob progress between posts by clicking on the page link along the top of the blog! Have you seen any of these films? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Les Ralph Rust Lincoln

Here we go! My first review post of Mission Oscar Snob 2013! Since the list was published, I’ve managed to check 4 movies off; Les Misèrables, Lincoln, Wreck It Ralph, and Rust and Bone. Here are my thoughts:

les-mis-poster
Image Credit: Universal

I think Les Misèrables was my most anticipated movie of the Fall/Holiday/Oscar movie season. I absolutely love the stage play of Les Misèrables and so I was very excited to see it come to life on film. It did not disappoint! The acting was great. The music was beautiful. The singing…I’ll give that a solid great. Most were excellent singers, a few were really good…and I know everyone is hating on Russel Crowe’s voice for Javert…but I actually thought he did a fine job. He wasn’t the strongest singer but he really wasn’t as terrible as some critics are saying (and I can be voice picky). There was talk about Anne Hathaway’s performance being Oscar worthy…and if you know a thing or two about her character…I was thinking “Wow…she is really only in the beginning…could she really have made that big of an impact?”…YES!! Her performance of “I Dreamed a Dream” was amazing…I know it is still early in the Mission but she is my current favorite for Best Supporting Actress!

One thing to note about the filming of Les Mis…this was the first musical that they had shot while recording the singing on set. In other words, they didn’t record the music in the studio first and then lip sync to their playback…they recorded as they acted. I think this did wonders for the acting for a story that is told mostly in song. You can watch a little featurette about how they did it {here}.

I absolutely loved Les Mis! It gets a solid 5 stars from me! StarStarStarStarStar

 

o-LINCOLN-POSTER-570
Image Credit: Dreamworks

I also saw Lincoln right after Christmas (a double header with Les Mis actually). This movie fascinated me! It tells the story about how Lincoln pushed for the 13th Amendment including all the strategy to get the votes and the reasoning behind the timing and pushback as well. It really told a story of our history and Lincoln that I didn’t really know and it made me way more interested in looking into it myself!

Daniel Day-Lewis was amazing! Even though we weren’t alive when Lincoln was around…I can’t imagine Lincoln done any better or in any other way. And to be honest I forgot what Daniel Day-Lewis even really looks or acts like! He totally fell fully into this role and it was awesome! Again, I know its early, but I think he has my vote for Best Actor. Tommy Lee Jones was also really great but I’m not as ready to call him Best Supporting QUITE yet (want to get a few more films under my belt). One of my favorites, Sally Field, also got a nomination here…but like I said above…I am swooning over Anne in Les Mis.

I have to admit that in my mind there is already a tight race for Best Picture! And I haven’t even seen half of the nominated films yet! I highly recommend Lincoln! It also gets 5 stars! StarStarStarStarStar

 

Wreck-It%20Poster
Image Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

I was lucky enough to catch Wreck-It Ralph at a theater near me last weekend! It was almost out of theaters so I’m glad I managed to catch it! What a cute movie! I have to admit I kind of thought the plot sounded pretty straightforward…a video game villain doesn’t want to be bad anymore. I figured he’d go off and do something good an everyone would love him…yada yada yada. But while that is the overall premise of the film, the movie had more twists than that. I really enjoyed where the plot went and the details of the twists and turns. I think the message was cute, the characters were great, the jokes were good, and the plot was well contrived. I really liked it a lot! It gets 4 stars from me! We will see how it stacks up against other animated films as I get further along in the mission! StarStarStarStar

 

rust-and-bone-poster
Image Credit: Studiocanal

I caught the foreign film Rust and Bone at a beautiful new theater out in Virginia…the kind of new fancy theater with gourmet snacks…and where you feel kind of bad having shown up in jeans and a sweatshirt on a Sunday morning. (Yes I’m writing about the theater because I don’t really have much to say about this film). Something about this movie about an Orca trainer who loses her legs in an accident and falls in love with a guy who turns to street fighting for money…just didn’t connect for me. I wonder if maybe some things just didn’t translate well? I don’t want to give much away (if people do want to see it) but for me their relationship didn’t really make total sense. It seemed odd how they became friends…it was clear she liked him and he cared about her…but the entire time its confusing as to whether all the feelings are mutual…there are things about the plot that felt unnecessary to me…and then end just sort of…well…happens. To be honest, I don’t understand at all why it was even called “Rust and Bone.” Oh well…it turns out this week it didn’t wind up getting any nominations so I’d recommend waiting for this one on video if you are really curious. I give it 2 stars…it wasn’t the worst movie ever…but I wasn’t that particularly impressed…StarStar

That’s all for my first movie post of 2013! If you missed Oscar Nominations you can watch them here! You can also see the full list of nominations here! And I update my page above as I see movies so you can always keep up with the Mission there! Have you seen any of the movies I mentioned today? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

It’s About That Time! {Mission Oscar Snob - 2013}

It came earlier than ever this year…all the way back in mid-December…THE list! EW’s 25 Movies To See Before Oscar Night!

1238_COV_DJANGO_CLOSED_rev.indd
{Source}

I was so busy getting ready for the holidays that I decided to wait until the usual time – early January – to announce the beginning of Mission Oscar Snob - 2013! But don’t worry, even though I haven’t written about it, I HAVE been heading out to the theater to get a few films under my belt so my first movie post should be coming soon!

But first I need to give the low down of “The Mission!” This is the third year I will make it my personal mission to become a true “Oscar Snob” by attempting to see as many movies on EW’s list as possible. The list comes out before nominations, so once the Oscar Nominations are announced, I may add a few to the list…or possibly lower the priority on some of those on the list. The main goal is to have true opinions on who I want to win when the big award show airs! To be honest I have enjoyed the Oscars so much more ever since I started doing this mission!

You can follow along with my mission using a link at the top of the page! The list will be posted there. As I see a movie I will cross it out with the date. Once I blog about it, the name of the movie will link to the post where I reviewed it! And PLEASE share comments on your opinions of the films you saw…sharing in Oscar Snobbery with others is the best part! Smile

I realized that tomorrow morning is already the big Oscar Nomination announcement…bright and early at 8am EST! Many of you may already know who is nominated by the time you see this post…but I wanted to try to at least get this post up before the announcement! There may be some more personal additions to the list sometime Thursday evening! (And also after the Golden Globes this weekend)…

The Academy Awards air Sunday February 24th…46 days left…the countdown begins!

I Meant to Archive This Last Year…

Because I want to be able to link back to this in the future…I need to move my old Mission Oscar Snob 2012 page to a post! So here goes…

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Mission: Oscar Snob 2012

I am currently attempting to watch every movie on EW’s 25 Movies You Need to See Before Oscar Night before the big show on February 26th. This page is where readers can track my mission status. The moveis that are crossed off have been seen. I will try to list dates if I can. Movies I have blogged about will include a link to the post!

EW's 25 Movies You Need to See Before Oscar Night

This year I'm adding something new. I am going to personally add some movies to the list that I intend to watch in order to truly become an Oscar Snob in 2012. My main reasoning is that EW's list isn't perfect. Last year there were a few on the list that had no nominations, and similarly there were a few nominees that weren't on the list. My "official count" and main point of the challenge will be to watch the movies on EW's list above, but if I do see my personal additions I will also write about them in the posts and keep track of them here. I'll make special note of them in the posts and include my reasoning for adding them to the mission.

Personal Additions

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Maybe this year I will remember to archive this as a post the actual end of my mission! Winking smile…I think you know what post is next!