zondag 27 maart 2011

Movie Tip #47 - Catch Me If You Can

Director: Steven Spielberg

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks, Christopher Walken, Amy Adams, Jennifer Garner, Martin Sheen

Description: A true story about Frank Abagnale Jr. (Leonardo DiCaprio) who, before his 19th birthday, successfully conned millions of dollars worth of checks as a Pan Am pilot, doctor, and legal prosecutor.

Review: During the entire film you ask yourself one question: How the hell did he get away with it? Without any medical knowledge he becomes a doctor, he pretends to be a lawyer while breaking the law at the same time and he boards a plane as a pilot while never actually flying a plane. Unbelievable? No! He actually did all those things and he got away with it. I can totally understand FBI agent Carl Hanratty, played by Tom Hanks, who watches Abagnale and his scams and he gets away every single time. In the meanwhile there's also mutual respect towards each other. DiCaprio does a fantastic job, better than many other movies he got more credit for. He's a criminal, with no bad intentions. He just found a way to earn easy money. Tom Hanks is very believable as Hanratty, who's a modest and clumbsy agent. He makes the movie funny without being hilarious. "Catch Me If You Can" is a great mix of humor, drama, action and tension, which makes this film a succes. And even at the end of the movie, you'll ask yourself that same question: How the hell did he get away with it?

zaterdag 26 maart 2011

Best of... Keira Knightley

The charming and talented Keira Knightley did some great films. She's pretty in her own way and she is absolutely radiant on screen. I really like her. Here are some of her best films.

"Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace"
I'm not a Star Wars nerd at all, but I like the movies very much. "The Empire Strikes Back" and "Return of the Jedi" are my favorites, but this one is the best one of the new trilogy. Especially "Attack of the Clones" sucked!

"Bend it Like Beckham"
This was the first movie I saw her in. I love soccer and especially when women kick ass while doing it. In this movie she proved she was ready for Hollywood. And don't you just love Jonathan Rhys Meyers here as well?

"Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl"
This is my favorite in the series, and the only pirates movie on this list. I loved the concept, finally a good, funny, full-of-action pirate movie. Johnny Depp and Keira Knightley are my favorites in this film. They have great chemistry. And Depp is just iconic.

"Love Actually"
How great is this. This is one of those films where you just go aaawww. I love the multiple storylines and the fact that it's set in London around Christmas time. Just a fun romantic feel good movie, that I can't get enough of.

"The Jacket"
It's kind of a disturbing movie, like "Jacob's Ladder" was disturbing. The acting is very good, especially by Adrien Brody and Keira Knightley. Very underrated.

"Pride & Prejudice"
My favorite of her movies. It's my favorite book and this movie adaptation is better than the one BBC once made. Most people won't agree with me on that, but I seriously don't care. I LOVE THIS MOVIE! And Keira Knightley played Elizabeth Bennet the way Jane Austen intended her to be.

My other favorite. I also love the book very much and the movie stayed so close to the original story. In my opinion Keira should have won a Oscar for her role, but she wasn't even nominated. Great film, great performances by the actors.

I haven't seen "The Edge of Love" and "Never Let Me Go" yet, so maybe I'll add them to my list if I see them.

vrijdag 25 maart 2011

50 Books Challenge - # 16: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Title: The Book Thief
Author: Markus Zusak
Story: Liesel Meminger is a young foster girl living outside of Munich in Nazi Germany. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she discovers something she can't resist- books. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor's wife's library, wherever they are to be found.
With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, Liesel learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids, as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement.
Start: march 19th 2011
End: march 25th 2011
Comment: A highly anticipated novel that I've been wanted to read for a while. I had a hard time getting used to the writing style. Once I did, I thought it was a great reading experience. The way it was told, from Deaths point of view, is very original. The story doesn't only tell you about the war, but also about the power of books and words. It is a slow read, so don't read it with the intention of finishing it very quikly. It took me a while as well, you just need some time to get into it.
I liked the relationship between Liesel and Hans. He tought her how to read and she developed a passion for books. I think those two were also my favorite characters in the book. When I started reading "The Book Thief" I didn't understand the hype. As the story developed I liked it more. It's not one of my favorites and not one of the best ones I read, but it's a well written novel that I did enjoy.
Rating: 3,5/ 5

zondag 20 maart 2011

New Musical Adventures

I have a lot to look forward too. The 11th, 12th and 13th of June I will visit Pinkpop, the biggest music festival in The Netherlands. I will not go all three days, but there are so many great bands I'm going to see there. Coldplay, Foo Fighters, 30 Seconds to Mars, Manic Street Preachers, Band of Horses, Gaslight Anthem and..... Lifehouse!!! Among others off course. So I'm really looking forward to that. They already sold 50.000 tickets, yesterday, on the first day.
July 6th me and my brother will go and see Brandon Flowers. I'm a big Killers fan but I never saw them live. When we heard that Brandon was coming to The Netherlands, we decided to go to his concert. Because Brandon alone is also great. Really cool, because this is going to be his only concert in our country.
Last, but definitely not least, me and my mother will go to the musical Zorro, november 11th. Totally different from the other musical experiences, but I really like musicals. And I haven't gone for a long time. Last time was May 2010, Mary Poppins.
So there are some great musical adventures waiting for me. And I'm super excited about all of them. As soon as I visited them, you will read about it on my blog.

zaterdag 19 maart 2011

Pic Spam: John Krasinski

I love "The Office US" and Jim Halpert has always been my favorite character. John Krasinski plays Jim and he's awesome. He is also married to Emily Blunt, one of the best actresses of her generation. John is definitely one of the funniest and cutest men on TV right now. And here are some pictures to prove that.

vrijdag 18 maart 2011

50 Books Challenge - # 15: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Title: The Hunger Games
Author: Suzanne Collins
Story: In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister Prim, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister's place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before—and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that will weigh survival against humanity and life against love.
Start: march 12th 2011
End: march 18th 2011
Comment: This is one of those books I would probably never read if I didn't hear so many great things about it. I normaly wouldn't pick up a sci-fi novel, but I'm open minded so I did. And I'm glad. The story is very well written, though easy to read. Every chapter leaves you in suspense which makes it almost impossible to put it down. Especially the parts during the hunger games were exciting and you just want to continue reading. The novel deals with serious issues like political corruption, violence, survival and hunger. Katniss is a very strong character, someone who will fight for her own life but also sacrifices a lot for others. I liked the world Collins created, so dark and grim. I could totally imagine how it would look in real life. But I think it's pretty intense for people younger than 16. I will probably continue to read the rest of the series, because it was good book with a creative plot. And I just read that they're going to do a movie version, with Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss.
Rating: 5/ 5

zaterdag 12 maart 2011

Let Freedom Ride

I recently told you how much I love the TV show "Sons of Anarchy". My brother and I are totally hooked on it. I also got the DVD of the first season last thursday and now I thought it was time for a wallpaper. I had the Rachel McAdams wallie on for quite a while, and though she never bores me I thought it was time for something new. So here's my SOA wallpaper. And as always, feel free to use it on your own computer.

50 Books Challenge - # 14: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling

Title: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Author: J.K. Rowling
Story: Harry Potter has never been the star of a Quidditch team, scoring points while riding a broom far above the ground. He knows no spells, has never helped to hatch a dragon, and has never worn a cloak of invisibility. All he knows is a miserable life with the Dursleys, his horrible aunt and uncle, and their abominable son, Dudley - a great big swollen spoiled bully. Harry's room is a tiny closet at the foot of the stairs, and he hasn't had a birthday party in eleven years. But all of that is about to change when a mysterious letter arrives by owl messenger: a letter with an invitation to an incredible place that Harry will find unforgettable. For it's there that he finds not only friends, aerial sports, and magic in everything from classes to meals, but a great destiny that's been waiting for him...if Harry can survive the encounter.
Start: march 10th 2011
End: march 11th 2011
Comment: I decided to reread the entire series and buy the books. So now I own the first two and I reread the first book in the series. Harry is introduced after a short intro about his background. His adventure starts there and it's a challenge for him to live up to people's expectations of something that he doesn't even know he can do. Harry proves himself, but he also has his flaws. He doesn't know how to play chess and he isn't the smartest kid in class. That makes him believable, by not making him some kind of a 'super human'. I love his friendship with Ron, who's my favorite character in the book. And later on with Hermoine, who seems a bit stuck up in the beginning. You start to like her in the end. I love it when I can enter Harry Potter's magical world and when I start reading it's hard to stop.
Rating: 5/ 5

vrijdag 11 maart 2011

Best of... Russell Crowe

Russell Crowe is one of my favorites, he's an Academy Award winner and he's awesome. He made a lot of great films and these are my favorites.

"Romper Stomper"
One of his earlier works, where he wasn't that famous yet. But it's worth mentioning. It's about a group of skinheads who are alarmed after they find out that their neighbourhood is changing. Very good film, really.

"The Quick and the Dead"
Sharon Stone is the star of the film, but Crowe also makes a good appearance. This is a fun film too watch, even if you're not a western fan like me.

"L.A. Confidential"
Wonderfull! A movie about corruption and crime among members of the LAPD. Russell plays Bud White, a L.A. cop who bends the rules in order to get justice. I think this was the movie that gave Crowe the Hollywood status he has now.

"Mystery, Alaska"
I didn't see it that many times, because it's never on. But it's such a good movie. About a hockey team in a small town in Alaska who are choosen to host a televised event. It's funny and enjoyable.

"The Insider"
Not a very spectacular movie, but a film where the acting is outstanding. Crowe works opposite Al Pacino.

Historicaly not very accurate, but still a very good movie. This one does have a lot of spectacular scenes and also good acting by Crowe.

"A Beautiful Mind"
My favorite Russell Crowe movie. It's actually in my top five. Crowe proves here how good of an actor he is. He's brilliant in his performance as John Nash, just simply brilliant. I still don't understand how he didn't win the Oscar here, because his acting here is even better than in "Gladiator".

"Cinderella Man"
Another boxing movie, allthough the title tells you differently, but a very good one. Set in the 1930's. It's an inspiring and amazing story about a man who never gives up.

"A Good Year"
Not a very special movie, but I liked it very much. We see a different side of Russell and I loved him in combination with Marion Cotillard.

"American Gangster"
Awesome! He forms a great acting duo with Denzel Washington. Very good movie, can't say more about it.

"State of Play"
A team of reporters work alongside a policeman to solve the murder of a congressman's mistress. Very plain, but enojoyable and I liked him with Rachel McAdams.

I haven't seen "3:10 to Yuma" yet and I really want to see "The Next Three Days". I did see "Robin Hood" though and I liked it, but not enough too include it in my best of list.

donderdag 10 maart 2011

50 Books Challenge - # 13: Mixed Doubles by Jill Mansell

Title: Mixed Doubles
Author: Jill Mansell
Story: New Year is looming and best friends Liza, Dulcie and Pru are making their resolutions. Liza wants to get married - she's never had any trouble hooking a man. The trouble is, she can never stay interested once she's got him. Dulcie thinks marriage sucks. Her husband, Patrick, may be gorgeous and charming, but the impulsive Dulcie needs more excitement in her life. She wants a divorce. Pru loves her roving husband, and she secretly enjoys the periods when he's making up for his outrageous behaviour. All she wants is to stay married. Liza, Dulcie and Pru have no idea what the New Year has in store - but Fate has some sneaky plans up her sleeve
Start: march 7th 2011
End: march 10th 2011
Comment: I love Jill Mansell books. They are easy to read and sometimes I just need to read one because it so light and uncomplicated. The story starts with three friend who all have their own plan. One wants to get married, one wants a divorce and the third just wants to stay married. Off course nothing works out the way they planned it. It's a book with multiple storylines and I always like those stories. I really liked their friendship, it was natural and I didn't get the impression that were joined at the hip. They had different interests and ran in differernt circles. Mansell knows how to create lovable characters. Liza was my favorite, especially when the story developed. I also liked Pru, because she was so sweet, kind and insecure. She changed later on in the book and became more self confident. Dulcie kinda annoyed me. She wants to get rid of a perfectly good man and she's very shallow, because she started dating another man just for his looks. When he dumps her, she off course realizes how much she misses her husband. I liked the individual happy endings, in those books that always works. Mansell is my go-to author when I need a no-brainer that is just fun to read and doesn't make you think too much. Not high standing literature, but very enjoyable.
Rating: 3/ 5

zondag 6 maart 2011

50 Books Challenge - # 12: My Summer of Love by Helen Cross

Title: My Summer of Love
Author: Helen Cross
Story: It’s 1984 and one of the hottest summers Yorkshire’s seen. It’s the kind of woozy heat to lose your mind in. Mona is fifteen years old. She’s a drinker, a thief and a fruit machine addict. Things are already going badly in the pub where she lives with her obese step–brother PorkChop. But when Mona meets posh Tamsin Fakenham, a sassy girl with beautiful breasts, an actress mother and a sister who’s died of starvation, things very quickly get much worse...
Start: march 2nd 2011
End: march 6th 2011
Comment: I saw the movie first, which was truly great. It's different from the book. And better and I think that most people who love the movie, will hate the book. Well, I didn't hate it, because it was easy to read and at some points really funny, even though it's a bit dark sometimes. Cross found a good balance between shocking drama and humor. I didn't like Mona at all and I didn't understand her actions. I have more sympathy for Tamsin, however I would never befriend her in real life. She lies about the worst things but I have more understanding for her for some reason. I can't really explain why. It doesn't happen very often that I like the movie over the book, but with "My Summer of Love" that's just a fact.
Rating: 3/ 5

Best Actors/ Actresses That Never Got an Oscar Nomination

Untill last sunday, Christian Bale would be on that list, but he finally got some recognition. So there's still hope for the actors and actresses in this list. Great ones that never got nominated for this award.

Kevin Bacon
He's a very good actor, but most of the time he's the supporting actor in the film. So I can understand why he gets overlooked. He did some great films like "Apollo 13", "Mystic River", "JFK" and "A Few Good Men".

Scarlett Johansson
She was nominated for a Golden Globe four times already, so there's something she's doing well, but not well enough for the Academy Awards appearantly. I loved her in "Lost in Translation" and what about "The Girl with the Pearl Earring", "A Lovesong for Bobby Long", "Ghostworld" and "Match Point".

Steve Buscemi
He’s kind of a briljant actor, so underrated. He did get nominations for other awards for his roles in “Ghost World” and “Reservoir Dogs”, but never an Oscar.

Jim Carrey
He’s one of the funniest men on the planet and I think some people don’t take him seriousley. But he did play some very strong roles. “Man on the Moon”, The Truman Show” and “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”.

John Cusack
I’m so mad for this. He’s my third favorite actor of all time and he never gets the credit for the good work he does. Come on, he was briljant in “High Fidelity” and what about “Being John Malkovich” or “Grace is Gone”, a movie that probably no one even saw. Very, very good actor.

Emily Blunt
I think her role in “The Devil Wears Prada” was fantastic and what about “Young Victoria”, My Summer of Love” and “Sunshine Cleaning”. Good acting.

Ashley Judd
I love Ashley. She so deserves to get some appreciation. “Kiss the Girls” was amazing and she was good in “De-Lovely” and “Double Jeopardy”.

Bruce Willis
Alone for being John McClane they should give him a Oscarnomination. He’s awesome. But he was also very good in “The Sixth Sense” and “Twelve Monkeys”.

Gary Oldman
“JFK’, “The Contender” and “Bram Stoker’s Dracula”. All honorable mentions that could have given him a nomination.

zaterdag 5 maart 2011

Pic Spam: Eva Mendes

She is one of the most beautiful women in Hollywood and I also think she's a pretty good actress. I loved "Live", a movie that most people missed. I saw it in the theatre as a sneak preview ones and it really surprised me. I also liked her in "Training Day", "Once Upon a Time in Mexico", "Hitch" and "We Own the Night". And it's her birthday today. Here are some of her best pictures.

dinsdag 1 maart 2011

50 Books Challenge - # 11: Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Aron Ralston

Title: Between a Rock and a Hard Place
Author: Aron Ralston
Story: It started out as a simple hike in the Utah canyonlands on a warm Saturday afternoon. For Aron Ralston, a twenty-seven-year-old mountaineer and outdoorsman, a walk into the remote Blue John Canyon was a chance to get a break from a winter of solo climbing Colorado's highest and toughest peaks. He'd earned this weekend vacation, and though he met two charming women along the way, by early afternoon he finally found himself in his element: alone, with just the beauty of the natural world all around him. It was 2:41 P.M. Eight miles from his truck, in a deep and narrow slot canyon, Aron was climbing down off a wedged boulder when the rock suddenly, and terrifyingly, came loose. Before he could get out of the way, the falling stone pinned his right hand and wrist against the canyon wall. And so began six days of hell for Aron Ralston. With scant water and little food, no jacket for the painfully cold nights, and the terrible knowledge that he'd told no one where he was headed, he found himself facing a lingering death -- trapped by an 800-pound boulder 100 feet down in the bottom of a canyon. As he eliminated his escape options one by one through the days, Aron faced the full horror of his predicament: By the time any possible search and rescue effort would begin, he'd most probably have died of dehydration, if a flash flood didn't drown him before that. What does one do in the face of almost certain death? Using the video camera from his pack, Aron began recording his grateful good-byes to his family and friends all over the country, thinking back over a life filled with adventure, and documenting a last will and testament with the hope that someone would find it. The knowledge of their love kept Aron Ralston alive, until a divine inspiration on Thursday morning solved the riddle of the boulder. Aron then committed the most extreme act imaginable to save himself.
Start: february 26th 2011
End: march 1st 2011
Comment: It's very hard to imagine yourself in a situation like this. He has only four options: trying to push the rock away, making a hole with his knife so he can release his hand, wait for help or amputate his hand. This book tells the extraordinary story of Aron Ralston and it took my breath away. I think it's a miracle that the guy survived it, with just a little bit of water and food and eventually losing a lot of blood. Aron is very lucky to be alive. It's not just a story about a guy who survived a climbing accident. While being stuck he looks back on his experiences as a climber and his life with his family and the people he met along the way. These thought make him stronger and that would eventualy be the reason of his survival. His family and friends gave him the strength to survive. It's an amazing story and I can't wait to see the film version "127 Hours".
Rating: 4,5/ 5

50 Books Challenge 2011 Update - February

It's March already and I read a couple of books in February. Not as much as I did in January, but still, my first book challenge is going OK. Here are the books I read this month.

# 7. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
# 8. The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler
# 9. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
#10. Marley & Me by John Grogan
#11. Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Aron Ralston

Favorite of the month: "Water for Elephants"

I actually haven't finished Ralstons novel yet, but I will today or tomorrow. Next book I will be reading is probably "My Summer of Love" by Helen Cross. And I'm expecting two new books today, which I ordered on the internet. Both Jill Mansell books: "Mixed Doubles" and "Solo". So I'm really looking forward to reading those as well.I'll keep you updated.