Tuesday, July 30, 2013

It Hit Me: Welcome to the Punch

Anyone who knows me, or this collection of mildly unstable humans known as my household members, knows that WE LOVE MOVIES.

Like, it's an obsession. My daughter writes an entertainment blog when she's not corralling teddy bears and the wonderful, friendly, patient, not at all pushy or entitled or spoiled customers who come into that store (one of these days ... I WILL HAVE STORIES ... but not now because we need her to remain gainfully employed). Husband works in the industry and has for the last 25 years, although folks who say "wow that is so glamorous" don't live with the silicone and foam and fiberglass that walks in on his clothes every night. MOVIE MAGIC, folks.

It's also why when stupid Facebook starts asking me questions in the margin about HAVE YOU SEEN THIS MOVIE, I, like a drone, click-click-click my way through tons of movies, wasting ridiculous amounts of time, giving away my secrets to All the NSA Trolls watching me because of COURSE I am that interesting and important and of COURSE my OCD won't let me not click when someone asks me such questions, even if it's a ZuckerRobot. (I'm sure this shit taps into our inner child who needs to feel validated and loved by proving to our ego that we are worthy and smart and not a failure at all even if we have mommy/daddy issues and even though we're on FB in the middle of the day when we should be working.)

WHY YES FACEBOOK I HAVE SEEN THAT IT WAS FIVE STARS ... and that one. Three stars. Oh, no, that one was terrible WHY DOES DISNEY KEEP MAKING PUPPY MOVIES? *ahem* For the record, I only watched Santa Buddies and Santa Pups because Yaunna was in them. SHE WAS. An elf. My sweetie height-challenged lass ... 

That's her. Cute, eh?
We talk about books and movies around here. A lot. If you're not into books or movies, you will be bored stiff by our conversations, and chances are, we're not friends anyway, so you don't have to worry about us boring the hell out of you with our book-and-movie chitchat. We talk about story, characters and their arcs (or lack thereof), why certain stories work when others fall flat, goals, motivations, conflicts, who has the best hair, why Jennifer Lawrence wins at life, what the HELL is going on with Johnny Depp and if poor Taylor Kitsch will ever make another movie ... SUPER IMPORTANT STUFF.

So, in this vein, I bring you a movie review of sorts. About my latest obsession. Stop what you're doing, go to your local DVD/Blu-Ray retailer (online or in person), and GET THIS FILM:

But, JENN, you're only telling us to watch this because Mark Strong is in it. OH MY DEAR GOD he is so in this, and he's absolutely enthralling, as per usual. My obsession with him, while mildly unhealthy and borderline creepy, is not the only driving force behind me instructing you to view this film post haste.

It's a bloody good movie.

The script is tight -- like, your-pants-on-Thanksgiving/[insert international holiday that allows you to pig out]-after-you've-made-the-third round-of-the-table tight. The good guys aren't wholly good, and the bad guys, well, they have heart and soul AND I LOVE THAT because we rarely see that with bad guys. Thing is, bad guys are BAD because they believe in what they're doing. Rarely are characters bad simply for the sake of being bad (except in stupid cartoons, which we addressed ad nauseam in a prior post). Bad guys THINK they're doing the right thing. They believe that what they are doing, whether robbing a bank or cutting someone's throat, is for a higher cause, a power or belief system bigger than themselves, for a lust or power or desire they have no choice but to fulfill. In essence, a bad guy is nothing but a good guy with motives otherwise deemed unseemly by society at large. (Except Voldemort. SOMEONE please explain to me why Voldemort was bad. Why did he want to kill Harry Potter? Hogwarts was so lovely -- why destroy it? Disclaimer: I haven't read the books. Despite my writerly girl crush on J. K. Rowling. I am so ashamed. Please don't tell her. *hangs head*)

Just ask Wreck-It Ralph: "I am bad, and that's good. I will never be good, and that's not bad. There is no one I'd rather be than me." 

But when it comes to the quintessential bad guy, filmmakers are onto Mark Strong. He brings to the screen a depth not often seen in villainous portrayal. Even Frank D'Amico in Kick-Ass is a bad guy who loves his kid. Bad guys have families -- lovers, wives, babies, friends. A well-crafted, expertly drawn bad guy is NOT a bad guy.

Jacob Sternwood is exactly this man. But what brings him to his knees will make your heart melt in your chest. Never underestimate the love one parent has for his child.

Daddy Sternwood in his Very Bad Day. (Mark Strong is CRYING. *melts* God, I love it when they cry.)

Great visual themes/motifs in this film. Director Eran Creevy is a writing/directing phenom who gave us modern-day London without Big Ben or the London Eye. Classy, sleek, elegant, dangerous. Delicious.
James McAvoy -- there aren't enough measure-centric words for me to express the depth of this lad's talent. (Clearly, because now I'm making shit up. Measure-centric? WTH does that mean? You know -- measuring words. Inches, feet, miles, centimetres and kilometres and Celsius for you anti-Imperialists out there.) A FB friend of mine keeps me in the loop with McAvoy (and her other very justifiable crush, Michael Fassbender), so I'm never far away from knowing what this hunk of Scottish Delight is doing. He plays police officer Max Lewinsky, a copper whose heart is absolutely in his job. The first four minutes of the film will lay the scene for the conflict that will define him for the subsequent calamity that is his career, and in each nuanced movement, line, and thrust of the gun hand, McAvoy delivers. I feel Max Lewinsky's pain. Every. Single. Ounce. And when I say ounce, think about that when he's decanting his knee. Just wait. You'll see what I mean.

The climax of this scene was shot in 500 frames per second. Which means IT IS GLORIOUS.
Andrea Riseborough ... girl, you got it goin' on. This is one of the things I LOVE about British films. First, everyone can act. Like, they got some wacky acting vitamin in the water there because they are all so effing awesome. This is the first thing I've seen Miss Andrea in -- I am so embarrassed to admit that out loud (although I do have the Oblivion soundtrack so does that count?) -- but it certainly won't be the last. She's amazing. Her character, Sarah Hawks -- I don't know if I can talk about this without crying. So I won't.

Somebody get this girl a Moleskine.
Welcome to the Punch has it all: conspiracy, criminal intent, flawed good guys and soulful bad guys, a couple of bad guys who are real bastards (and YET, they are again working toward that "selfless commitment"). Sure, lots of guns and shoot-'em-ups happen for the action junkies, but the STORY. I think I might take to the street corner with my sandwich board reading SEE THIS FILM OR THE END IS NIGH if I think about this too much. It gave me all the feels. And it takes a lot to do that. At my last medical checkup, they had a hard time drawing blood because I am made of cold, hard granite.

So yeah. There you have it. My version of a movie review. I could keep going ... the super-bad-ass performances by Peter Mullan, whose Roy is a friend to Sternwood like Horatio is to Hamlet (read: true blue through and through) and Johnny Harris (omigod, I haven't hated a bad guy in a film this much in forever, which tells me ex-soldier/hired mercenary Dean Warns is exactly what cinema is missing) and the sinister calm of David Morrisey's go as police captain Thomas Geiger ... gahhhhhh. I told you I wouldn't shut up. THIS IS YOUR FAULT.

My sole complaint? This is aimed at the folks responsible for the movie's score: it is only available in the UK via Amazon UK. I needs it, Precious. I'm in Canader, and we can't get it here. This makes us sad. You don't underSTAND my love for haunting, layered movie scores. Some people use meth; I use movie scores. I tweeted composer Harry Escott, but alas, I'm just another creepy stalker fan person. So, hey, Worldview Entertainment and IFC Films? Could you please see about getting this score into the North American market? Kthanksbye. 

Get thee to a film shop. Buy. Watch. Adore. Comment.

One last shot before we go:

Love you, honey. Even if you're shooting someone. #badguysrule
Xs and Os, lovelies ...

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Crazy from the Heat: Next Time, I'll Take Two-Ply

While vacuuming, naturally I begin to think about three-ply toilet paper. Why three plies? Why do we need three layers to wipe off ... you know. That. And have you seen the Charmin commercials where Momma Bear is doing laundry and she discovers the skidmarks inside the undies and that is how she knows her baby bears need three-ply toilet paper? But then in the next frame, none of the bear children are WEARING any underwear, so what is the point of washing Baby Bear's skivvies if he doesn't really wear them? Are those underwear stolen? Are we witnessing a crime in progress? Or is Momma Bear doing her part to help with the mortgage and she's actually washing the underwear that belong to Goldilocks and her neglectful 9-to-5 parents and those undergarments really belong to the people for whom Momma Bear works, likely for a shit wage and no benes and no paid holidays? 

But -- wait -- if those ARE Baby Bear's underpants, if he doesn't really wear them and he's not good at cleaning his undercarriage, does that mean all the furniture in the house has been soiled and stained accordingly?


Tell me -- do you guys get this commercial in the US? Elsewhere? I can post the link to the French one if you want. Poop sounds so much cooler en Fran├žais.

As often happens when I'm vacuuming -- a mind-numbing chore I try very hard to avoid until the memory in my feet screams at me CLEAN THESE FLOORS BEFORE I REVOLT AND TAKE LEAVE OF YOUR ANKLES -- my brain, well, it short circuits a little. All that monotonous back and forth, the drawing of lines in the carpet, the watching while the other members of the household destroy those beautiful lines with their stinky, sticky feet ... Mommy likes the lines ... I vacuum the wee hallway connecting the tiny bathroom off the "master" bedroom (more like the bedroom that really wanted to be the master but had to settle for second mate or even the guy who has to mop the decks) and I see the package of Charmin that I bought because they were all out of the less expensive store brand, and I never buy three-ply because we have the worst plumbing in the world and my children still do not believe me when I say they don't need to use half a roll of toilet paper every time something other than liquid exits their bodies. (I am certified with a plunger. Like, journeyman-level certification here. The universal plumbers' alliance should just knight me, I'm that good.) 

ANYWAY, hummmmmmmm -- that's the vacuum -- it's still going, and I'm now drenched and I've got boob sweat, which is totally gross but would've been so much hotter 20 years ago when my ass was still hard enough to bounce nickels off and I didn't have all these weird hairs sprouting from -- never mind -- and I'm glad I didn't put on makeup because I'd be drinking it at this point, and it is SO EFFING HOT I want to die but not really because dying would suck, especially while vacuuming -- and it dawns on me that Charmin three-ply toilet paper is sold to us by bears who have washing machines and vacuums of their own ... and THAT is why I hate cartoons.

You're following along, aren't you. Aren't you?

I really do hate cartoons. Like, Looney Toons and Baby Looney Toons and Merrie Melodies and Hanna-Barbera and The Flintstones and Elmer Fudd (someone SHOOT him already) and that Tazmanian Devil and that obNOXious Yosemite Sam and that confounded Wile E. Coyote who never, ever gets the bird and the skin-peeling, eye-yanking, thumb-smashing terror of Scooby Doo.

Be very careful Googling this image. A picture of a poorly drawn Wile E. Coyote tattoo on some guy's very hairy ass pops up in Google Images. I cannot unsee that. The bleach just stings us, Precious.
But Jenn, you say. Cartoons were a part of our childhoods, you say. NOT MINE. They stressed me the hell out. How could Fred Flintstone possibly survive getting hit in the head that many times? And dinosaurs and people didn't LIVE in even remotely the same historical period! Duh! How could the Coyote survive the anvil on his skull and not have permanent neurological damage? He should have multiple metal plates and slurp his pureed protein-enriched dinner through a straw by now! How could Daffy Duck turn his beak around after it had been shot off by that mentally challenged man with a speech impediment and a loaded weapon? And who thought it was a good idea to give George Jetson's housekeeper artificial intelligence? I saw I, Robot. That shit scared the hell out of me. No robots in THIS house, even if they do vacuum.

Sunny says HI. (CREEPY!!!!)
Which -- of course -- leads me back to the conversation about the bears and their dirty butts. Bears probably have very dirty butts. In fact, I guarantee it. They also have very large paws, as evidenced by a blog post months ago wherein I provide photographic evidence of bear prints IN MY SNOWY YARD. Because I live in the Great White North and of course we have bears and beavers and moose and cougars and Santa SO STOP ASKING. (Okay, that is a partial falsehood. I have never seen a moose. They live farther north. Near Santa.)

I would not ordinarily buy Charmin toilet paper because their commercials stress me out, just like all those nasty little cartoons did when I was between the ages of three and eleven, after which time we got an Apple IIe on which I could write angsty poetry and cable television when MTV still played music videos about how video killed the radio star and how Madonna was still a virgin. Or wait. She wanted us to like a virgin. Or maybe she just wanted us to like her hair, which I totally did, and I totally dressed like her for Halloween one year. Nailed it.

What were we talking about?

Vacuuming. Poop. Cartoons. Stress. All of the above. My conclusion: Stop making commercials that use woodland creatures who not only don't care where they shit but who don't wear underwear EVER in their lives (although I'd pay to watch someone try to put a pair of boxer briefs on a full-grown American brown bear). Bears don't wear glasses. They don't read newspapers. They don't own HE washers or houses nicer than mine. (Way to make me feel like a winner, Charmin. Your stupid bears have nicer furniture than I do AND THEY'RE CARTOONS.) The way to this consumer mom's heart is not through an allegory of fuzzy bears with common sense and a knack for folding laundry. No. You're stressing me out. I can't buy your toilet paper anymore because BEARS DON'T DO LAUNDRY.

Honestly, if these advertisers were smart, they'd put Henry Cavill on every single package of toilet paper. End of story. Because even Superman has to wipe his butt. Right? If he needs help with that, I've been a mom and an editor for a looooooong time. I'm good with wiping butts.

Doesn't look like Superman wears undies, ladies ...

Saturday chores are only four days away. I'll let you know if any stunning revelations occur while I'm again drawing those fated lines in the few patches of carpet left in the house.

Xs and Os ...

Friday, July 12, 2013

Did You Giggle This Week? You Will Now.

My favorite posts from this week ...

Convos with My Two-Year-Old:

If you're not following these guys (links below), you are MISSING OUT. This team of crazy-talented film folks has started these webisodes and they've gone viral after just a few months! This is Episode 6, posted this week, but spend your coffee break and go back through to Episode 1. You won't be sorry.

"I'm the boss."

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/ConvosWith2YrOld?feature=watch
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ConvosWithMy2YearOld?fref=ts


Or perhaps THIS:


THIS photo of the ravenously beautiful Richard Armitage, aka, Thorin Oakenshield (The Hobbit) and Mr. Thornton (North & South), and a bazillion other swoonworthy projects. He is the biggest challenger to my undying love for Mark Strong. What is it with British men that weaken thy knees?

Mmm, mmm, Armitage.

Have a great weekend, lovelies. More cat pictures next week.

Xs and Os ...

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Nuit the Naughty: Photo Comic of a Bad Kitten

We'll reacquaint ourselves with one another via today's photographic comic strip. Forgive me if you are one of the 349 Facebook friends who has already enjoyed this moment of Nuit.



Try to take it from me.
Mmm, this is some premium quality cardboard right here, I'm telling you. Nom nom nom.


I am not an intruder. This is my house, you little imp. Get out of that box. It's probably mine.

My box. Forever.
So ... how's summer? What are you guys doing? Anyone going anywhere interesting? And by interesting, I mean farther than the grocery store, the dry cleaners, or to the dermatologist to have those pesky skin tags removed. (Demand anesthetic. Trust me.)

Short post. I have a summer cold. Which means I'm crabby and I spent my 12 oz. of energy on taking the youngest offspring to the orthodontist this morning. Smile pretty, brace face! Awww, mean mommy. Nah, he looks cute. But my sweet, juicy baby just turned NINE. Holy shit, NINE. How does that happen? My baby is nine. Which means I'm getting old. And yet I have friends, same age or close to my age, who are just popping out their first squirts now and I'm like, dude, sucks to be you, 40+ years old with cracked nipples and no energy and yeah the baby's crying again and you can't remember the last time you slept and forget about grabbing a nap because the garbage truck just went by and the baby's awake again and screaming bloody murder and your boobs are leaking and sex what's that and no you shouldn't take your baby to that poetry reading because when he/she/it starts to cry you're gonna piss people off because not everyone looks at your baby with the same adoring eyes you do oh isn't she cute she's crying over the writer's obvious angst in the face of overwhelming adversity ...

I got your angst. It's called PARENTHOOD.

I'm rambling, aren't I ...

I've been a mom for twenty-three frigging years. I've learned a thing or two. I've also learned that I know nothing (sort of like Jon Snow ... except for that thing he does with his mouth).

Tell me what you're reading. I've got, like, 14 books on the go right now. And I will post shortly with a Beautiful Stack of Beauty to cover the purchases over the last few months. SO MANY BOOKS SO LITTLE TIME WHY CAN'T WE LIVE FOREVERRRRRR ...

I'm going to hunt down the person who gave me this ridiculous cold and COUGH on them. But first, I'm going to reengineer this virus so that it makes the person sprout strange, thorny hairs from the surface of his/her nose and fart uncontrollably whenever the smell of coffee wafts by.

Maybe I need a hug.

Xs and Os ...

P.S. This week's offering from Jenn's Bad Jokes Recycled from Facebook: 
Baggage claim: That area of the airport where you walk up to the counter and say, "It's a blue duffel of mommy issues" or "It's a red valise of daddy-didn't-love-me" or "Looking for my garment bag of bad taste in boyfriends."

You're welcome.