Monday, February 21, 2011

Movie Review: Unknown

Unknown- Liam Neeson, Diane Kruger, January Jones - *
Liam Neeson and his wife, played by January Jones travel to Germany for a conference. Neeson is a famed scientist and is one of the major speakers. He inadvertently leaves his briefcase containing his passport at the airport and leaves his wife to check into the hotel while he goes back. His cab is in a wreck and when he wakes up from a coma, he finds that someone else has assumed his identity and his wife says she doesn't know him. Drama and action ensue.

I wish I could write more eloquently about this movie, but I just didn't care. I didn't care about him, I thought the story was absurd and there were so many holes in the story that detracted from it. (He crashes in a river and is found with no id, no wallet, no clothing. Yet somehow, he has money...lots of it. Who doesn't keep an eye out for their briefcase with money and their passport??? There are tons more examples.) I was SHOCKED at how packed the theater was and as we were walking out, there was a line waiting to get in and the next showing wasn't for another 30 minutes! I really wanted to yell..."Save your money...turn around...this movie is HORRIBLE."

Really, your life will be better if you never know Unknown.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Movie Review: Just Go With It

Just Go With It - Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston, Brooklyn Decker - ***

Adam Sandler has a particular sense of humor that shines through in all his movies. From Happy Gilmore to Water Boy to You Don't Mess with Zohan, he straddles the line between funny and crude and somehow always makes me laugh. His characters are usually the same...guy with hard exterior has a sweet spot for a lady, child, penguin, etc. and usually triumphs at the end. That being said, I love Adam Sandler movies; 50 First Dates is one of my top 5 favorite movies.

Just Go With It is about a single plastic surgeon who pretends to be married to pick up women. He meets a hot young thing (played well by Charlottean Brooklyn Decker) and decides she is "the one" but since she thinks he is married-going through a divorce, he needs to introduce her to his soon to be ex-wife to get her permission to date him. He gets his office assistant/confidant (Aniston) and her two kids to play along and before you know it the whole clan is off to Hawaii for a spur of the moment weekend trip. I was rather surprised by the major twist in this movie. Just kidding...there are no twists. Exactly what you think is going to happen, does. That being said, Jennifer Aniston is gorgeous and exudes a fantastic personality. I want her to be real so I can be friends with her. The kids are well mannered and funny and Adam Sandler has some great one liners that made me laugh. In addition, Dave Matthews (yes, that Dave Matthews) has a small but hysterical part.

This is a silly, completely non believable movie, but if you are like me and are a Sandler fan, that won't matter at all and you will still enjoy it.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

24 Hours of Booty - Why I Ride

I am proud to be riding my second 24 Hours of Booty this July. We have an even bigger team this year with Joe, Mike, MaryBeth, Mike Aldridge, Chris Rohlfs, Peggy Barrett and Stacey Fano riding too. Bootyville should be fun! If you'd like to support me, please click here.

To kick off the year 24HOB asked for submissions on why people ride. Thought I'd share mine.

My brother Peter was four when he was diagnosed with medulloblastoma; brain cancer. My mom was seven months pregnant with me at the time. Over the next year my brother underwent chemo and various other procedures to try to fight the cancer growing inside of him. Despite the battle, my brother died from cancer at the age of five. In addition to the regular demands of life, my parents had to struggle with the grief of losing a child while dealing with me, not yet two.

I am now 36 and am lucky to have a four year old child in my life, a little boy with whom I am utterly, and completely in love. He makes me laugh with his stories, his imagination and his innocence. In the middle of coloring he will look up at me and randomly tell me he loves me and my day is perfect. Many nights after I tuck him into bed, after he asks for one more kiss goodnight, I think of my parents and Peter, who was this age when he was diagnosed. I cannot imagine the emotions my parents went through finding out that their sweet boy who was so full of life, was fighting a horrible disease. I think of how hard it would be to do anything else but love and care for the sick child, much less tend to the needs of a newborn. His death must have destroyed them in a way that I cannot fathom, and then they had to raise me, not to mention manage through their grief together and try to move forward and have another child. Somehow they did which makes me feel very lucky.

For me 24 Hours of Booty is a family affair. My younger brother comes up from south Florida and he, my husband and I ride. My parents and brother’s fiancee help us set up in Bootyville, have dinner with us and hang out until it is time for them to get some sleep, and for me to get some major miles in. I keep going because my parents had to keep going. My life’s challenges pale in comparison to what they had to face and I am forever in awe of them for their strength.

I ride in 24 Hours of Booty in memory of my brother, Peter James Mann. I ride in honor of my parents, Jim and Kathy Mann, who gave me a happy childhood and stayed married, even though the odds against them were high. But most of all, I ride in hopes that there will be a day where we don’t have children dying from cancer; that if you love a child you can know there will be a lifetime of I love yous and good night kisses.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Movie Review: Gnomeo & Juliet and The Rite

Gnomeo & Juliet - Emily Blunt, Michael Caine, Jason Statham, Ozzy Osbourne, Patrick Stewart - ***
One of the first lines is "This story has been told...a lot. " And it has, but I think this is the first version featuring garden gnomes. The whole movie takes place on Verona Drive, in the backyards of a Mr. Capulet and a Ms. Montague who have dueling gaudy lawns decorated in gnomes and dominant color schemes, one red and one blue. Gnomeo is a strapping young garden gnome who mistakenly meets and falls in love with Juliet, a red gnome who is trying to show her father she isn't quite so fragile. With the help of a frog, a pink flamingo and a teapot, the two date and fall in love.

This movie is an hour and half long and at times really seems slow. On the other hand there is a cute happy ending and some delightful adult pop culture references (My favorite: two gnomes are glued on a pedestal. One looks at the other and says "I wish I could quit you.") Elton John music runs rampant and they redo some of his most popular songs to fit the gnome world. For Shakespeare fans, there are sprinklings of inside jokes. A gnome that is shattered to pieces is put together using Taming of the Glue, the Rosencrantz and Guilderstern moving van makes an appearance as well as Shakespeare himself. I had 4 year old Miller with me and we saw the 3D version which Miller did not like. I don't think seeing this in 2D would change how you felt about the movie. It is cute but I don't' think it has the universal appeal that Toy Story has and I can't see it being a major success here in the US. Overall I enjoyed the movie, but wouldn't recommend you rushing right out to see it.

The Rite - Anthony Hopkins, Colin O'Donoghue - ****It has been almost two days since I saw this movie and I still don't really know if I liked it. I was expecting a flat out horror movie and it was a slower, quieter psychological thriller. I think billing it as a horror movie was a big mistake and set expectations incorrectly.

The movie is about a young man, Michael Kovak, disillusioned by his family and life, who decides to enter the seminary because of the free tuition. He decides he doesn't want to be a priest though and when he tries to resign after completing four years, he is told he would have to pay back the $100,000 in tuition. He is offered one more opportunity; to go to Rome and learn to do exorcisms. Michael never hides his skepticism about the Catholic faith and even more so the exorcisms. Enter the amazing Anthony Hopkins as a village priest who has done hundreds of them. We follow along as Michael learns and questions the exorcism process. This movie is a character study and it is that aspect that I enjoyed. I related to his doubt and followed his journey with interest. Sir Anthony Hopkins is outstanding; no one can play creepy and trustworthy at the same time like he can.

Going into it expecting a horror movie makes for a very slow movie with a too quick ending. If you step back and look at it as a movie about a spiritual journey with some jumpy moments thrown in, the timing makes perfect sense and adds to the reality of the movie.

I think now that I have thought about this movie, I have enjoyed it but have hard time recommending it to others. I found it interesting and liked that there is quite a bit of fact behind the movie. Interested? Check this out.

Friday, February 4, 2011

January Music

Good month for music - lots of these songs I love. Artist
Stare Into the Sun by Graffiti Six
99 Problems by Hugo
Sail by Awolnation *
Crystal Vases by Last Royals*
Price Tag by Jessie J
She Comes Alive by Baby Monster
Bigger Than Us by White Lies
Listen to Your Live by Mona
Horchata by Vampire Weekend
Driven by a Beating Heart by A Silent Film
All Time Low by The Wanted
Good Girl by Alexis Jordan
Big Bang by Rock Mafia
All the Girls by Calvin Harris