dinsdag 31 mei 2011

50 Books Challenge 2011 Update - May

I had a pretty good month. I read some very big books and I read three books that I ended up giving a five out of five rating. And I now reached 30, so I'm ahead of my schedule and still having a lot of fun reading. Here's an update.

# 25. Ape House by Sara Gruen
# 26. One Day by David Nicholls
# 27. Circle of Friends by Maeve Binchy
# 28. The Awakening (Vampire Diaries # 1) by L.J. Smith
# 29. The Struggle (Vampire Diaries # 2) by L.J. Smith
# 30. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

Favorite of the month: "One Day"

Some great books I still have to read. I'm going to read "Catching Fire"by Suzanne Collins next. I'm into fantasy/ sci-fi lately, a genre I would normally never go for. I'll keep you posted on my challenge, but fot now: Happy reading everyone!

50 Books Challenge - # 30: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

Title: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Author: J.K. Rowling
Story: For twelve long years, the dread fortress of Azkaban held an infamous prisoner named Sirius Black. Convicted of killing thirteen people with a single curse, he was said to be the heir apparent to the Dark Lord, Voldemort. Now he has escaped, leaving only two clues as to where he might be headed: Harry Potter's defeat of You-Know-Who was Black's downfall as well. And the Azkaban guards heard Black muttering in his sleep, "He's at Hogwarts...he's at Hogwarts." Harry Potter isn't safe, not even within the walls of his magical school, surrounded by his friends. Because on top of it all, there may well be a traitor in their midst.
Start: may 26th 2011
End: may 31st 2011
Comment: I can't believe how big J.K. Rowling's imagination is, and that's only after the third book. She wrote seven of those great stories. She has plenty of tricks left up her sleeve. The pace of this books is nonstop. You just want to keep reading. It's more exciting then the first two and also a bit darker and mysterious. And this one has more of a 'supernatural' touch to it. Werewolves, vampires, hippogriffs, etcetera. Very interesting. I liked Sirius Black, he was a good addition to the story. At first you think he's evil, but then he turns out to be the good guy and the story takes on a different direction. That's what I like about the Harry Potter series, you never know what to expect (unless you've read them before off course). I can't wait to read the next book again. Even though I read them all, they can still surprise you every single time.
Rating: 5/ 5

zaterdag 28 mei 2011

Quinto Wallpaper

After my Zachary Quinto pic spam, I really wanted to make a wallpaper of him. It took me a long time untill I was completely satisfied with the result, but I managed. And here it is.

Feel free to use it on your own computer.

Pic Spam: Zachary Quinto

My last pic spam was about Ali Larter, the most beautiful woman on "Heroes". Now I'm dedicading it to the hottest man on the show, Zachary Quinto, who portrayed Sylar. An awesome villain. And he has some great photo's. Here are my favorites.

woensdag 25 mei 2011

50 Books Challenge - # 29: The Struggle (Vampire Diaries # 2) by L.J. Smith

Title: The Struggle (Vampire Diaries # 2)
Author: L.J. Smith
Story: Damon is determined to make Elena his queen of darkness, he'd kill his own brother to possess her. Stefan is desperate for the power to destroy Damon, he succumbs to his thirst for human blood. Elena is irresistibly drawn to both brothers, her choice will decide their fate. The terrifying story of two vampire brothers and the beautiful girl torn between them.
Start: may 23rd 2011
End: may 25th 2011
Comment: Just for starters, I liked this one better then the first. Damon was one of then reasons. He had a bigger role in this story, which made this book more interesting and it had more tension and suspense. There was more conflict in this book. I liked Elena a bit more as well, but her friend Bonnie is my favorite female character. She's a real loyal friend. I can't really say much about Meredith, she's very one-dimensional. I still don't like Stefan very much, I can't explain why. I also liked Alaric, although he was only in it for a short part of the story. I'm still not a fan of the genre, but I'm getting in to it. I think I will probably read more of this series, just to see what happens next.
Rating: 3/ 5

dinsdag 24 mei 2011

Coolest Abilities from Heroes

"Heroes" has ended, but I just started to collect the complete series on DVD. There are a lot of interesting characters, but their abilities are even more interesting. Some of them have conveniant powers, for others it's a burden. Here are the coolest abilities from the TV show "Heroes".

Adoptive Muscle Memory
What? The ability to replicate any physical action after seeing it performed.
Hero: Monica Dawson

What? The ability to see distant people and things
Hero: Molly Walker

What? The ability to replicate oneself and produce identical clones.
Hero: Eli

Electric Manipulation
What? The ability to create and direct electrical arcs.
Hero: Elle Bishop

Empathic Mimicry
What? The ability to duplicate the powers of other evolved humans within proximity and reproduce them at will when thinking about the original source of the power.
Hero: Peter Petrelli

What? The ability to feel the emotions, thoughts, hopes, desires, and dreams of others.
Hero: Lydia

Enhanced Hearing
What? The ability to hear sounds beyond normal limits.
Hero: Dale Smither

Enhanced Memory
What? The ability to quickly absorb and accurately retain great amounts of information.
Hero: Charlie Andrews

Enhanced Strenght
What? The ability to exert greater than normal physical force.
Hero: Niki Sanders

What? The ability to propel oneself through the air.
Hero: Nathan Petrelli and West Rosen

What? The ability to heal the wounds of others.
Hero: Daniel Linderman and Ishi Nakamuru

Healing Touch
What? The ability to control the flow of life.
Hero: Jeremy Greer

What? The ability to alter the perceptions of others.
Hero: Candice Willmer

What? The ability to not be seen.
Hero: Claude Raines

Intuitive Aptitude
What? The ability to analyze complex systems and intuitively understand how they work without special education or training.
Hero: Gabriel "Sylar" Gray

Lie Detection
What? The ability to detect when others lie.
Hero: Sue Landers

Memory Manipulation
What? The ability to make an individual re-experience forgotten or past memories and to erase memories.
Hero: Damian

What? The ability to force others to obey one's spoken commands.
Hero: Eden McCain

What? The ability to pass through solid objects at will.
Hero: D.L. Hawkins

What? The ability to accurately predict future events through paintings.
Hero: Isaac Mendez

Rapid Cell Regeneration
What? The ability to heal wounds quickly without any scarring.
Hero: Claire Bennet

Space-Time Manupilation
What? The ability to alter the space-time continuum, including slowing down, speeding up, reversing, stopping, moving backwards and forwards through time, and moving instantaneously through space.
Hero: Hiro Nakamura

Super Speed
What? The ability to move at a higher rate than normal.
Hero: Daphne Millbrook

What? The ability to control and manipulate technology with the mind.
Hero: Micah Sanders

What? The ability to move objects with the mind.
Hero: Brian Davis

What? The ability to mentally control functions of the brain.
Hero: Matt Parkman

Underwater Breathing
What? The ability to breathe underwater.
Hero: Alex Woolsly

zondag 22 mei 2011

50 Books Challenge - # 28: The Awakening (Vampire Diaries # 1) by L.J. Smith

Title: The Awakening (Vampire Diaries # 1)
Author: L.J. Smith
Story: A deadly love triangle. Elena is beautiful and popular, the girl who can have any guy she wants. Stefan is brooding and mysterious, desperately trying to resist his desire for Elena . . . for her own good. Damon is sexy, dangerous, and driven by an urge for revenge against Stefan, the brother who betrayed him. Elena finds herself drawn to both brothers . . . who will she choose.
Start: may 19th 2011
End: may 22nd 2011
Comment: Vampire books are really popular and I was never into vampires that much. I decided to give this a try. Off course I saw the TV show which is loosely based on this series, but when you start reading you realize the two are very different from each other. It takes some time before the story gets interesting. You have to be patient, because there's not a lot of coflict in the story. You're basically reading about Elena and her feelings for Stefan and vice versa. And her discovering who and what Stefan really is. The moment Damon enters the story is when it becomes really interesting. And that's only in the end. Damon was the only character that actually intrigued me. Not because he's so nice, but he's a well created character. He's the one you remember. I didn't really sympathize with Elena nor with Stefan. The book ends with a cliffhanger. I want to know what happens next and I want to read more about Damon's character. Those are the only reasons I want to continue reading the series. Maybe I will like the second one more.
Rating: 2/ 5

zaterdag 21 mei 2011

The Office, life without Michael

We have to get used to the idea, but it's a fact now. No more Michael Scott in "The Office". I think it's going to be very weird, but it doesn't necessarely mean the show is going to lose its power. There are so many great characters left. Pam, Jim, Andy, Stanley, Oscar, Dwight, Angela, you name it. I admit it's not going to be the same, but I'm still excited for season 8. Especially after seeing this cool promo picture for next season.

I think it's awesome!

Best of... Kevin Costner

When I was younger, me and a friend from High School were huge Kevin Costner fans. Basically because of one film, but we sort of had a crush on him. Now I really don't remember why, but he's still a very attractive man. And off course he is a great actor. Here are my favorite Kevin Costner films.

"The Untouchables"
Besides "Scarface" this is definitely Brian DePalma's best work. Brilliantly directed and Oscar-worthy performances by Costner, De Niro and Connery (who actually did win an award for this film). The movie also brought us some classic scenes, like the one with the baseball bat.

"Bull Durham"
There's one thing Costner does best. He can star in great baseball movies, with this being one of them. The love triangle between Annie, Crash and Nuck is told in a both beautiful and funny way. Tim Robbins has the best role, but Costner has great chemistry with Robbins and Susan Sarandon.

"Field of Dreams"
I haven't seen it in a long time, but I still know this is his best baseball movie. What a beautiful film this is. It's not just a movie about baseball, it's actually about second chances, something I truly believe in. Kevin Costner is absolutely great here, very strong and natural.

Probably not one of his best, but it's one of my favorites. A very exciting movie about infidelity and what happens when the 'victim' finds out.

"Dances with Wolves"
His best movie so far. This is one of those very long movies, but it doesn't bother me one second. It's such an amazing picture, beautiful and sad. Perfect.

"Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves"
This is that movie me anf my High school friend were obsessed with. I saw it a gazillion times and I still love it. I know that most people think Costner wasn't a good Robin Hood, and I know his accent was kinda ridiculous. But come on, this movie is awesome and highly entertaining.

Oliver Stone's directing is as good as it gets and you can see that he has a passion for the subject, which is very controversial. And what a great ensemble cast: Kevin Costnerm Joe Pesci, Gary Oldman, Tommy Lee Jones.

"A Perfect World"
You really don't see this one very often and it's certainly underrated. Costner gives away a nice performance as badboy Butch and great supporting roles by Clint Eastwood and Laura Dern. I really want to see this movie again.

"Message in a Bottle"
A romantic story, based on a book by Nicholas Sparks. When I saw it for the first time, I remembered why I had a crush on Costner back in the days. He's one of those well aging men. Very beautiful love story, not a brilliant movie but entertaining for us romantics.

"For the Love of the Game"
Just a very enjoyable film that captivated me.

"Mr. Brooks"
Not as good as I expected it to be, but still very solid. We see Costner from a different side, as a cold blooded killer with a double life. He does that very well.

No, I don't have a crush on him anymore, but he's still an actor I enjoy to watch, especially in the projects he did in the 90's.

woensdag 18 mei 2011

50 Books Challenge - # 27: Circle of Friends by Maeve Binchy

Title: Circle of Friends
Author: Maeve Binchy
Story: It began with Benny Hogan and Eve Malone, growing up, inseparable, in the village of Knockglen. Benny — the only child, yearning to break free from her adoring parents...Eve — the orphaned offspring of a convent handyman and a rebellious blueblood, abandoned by her mother's wealthy family to be raised by nuns. Eve and Benny — they knew the sins and secrets behind every villager's lace curtains...except their own. It widened at Dublin, at the university where Benny and Eve met beautiful Nan Mahlon and Jack Foley, a doctor's handsome son. But heartbreak and betrayal would bring the worlds of Knockglen and Dublin into explosive collision. Long-hidden lies would emerge to test the meaning of love and the strength of ties held within the fragile gold bands of a...Circle Of Friends.
Start: may 12th 2011
End: may 18th 2011
Comment: I wanted to read this book for a long time, mostly because peole say it's the most beloved book by Maeve Binchy. Off course I know the film, which I love. The book didn't disappoint me at all. Sometimes the story had a slow pace, but I think that's also the charm of it. The style is so simple and reassuring. It had a good atmosphere and Binchy created some great characters. Benny was my favorite. I could really relate to her and those are the best characters. I also liked Nan. Not Nan personaly, but the way Binchy wrote about her. It was impossible to really hate her, even though she did some horrible things. Like I read in a review, this books is food for your soul.
Rating: 5/ 5

zondag 15 mei 2011

Pic Spam: Ali Larter

I recently bought season 1 of the TV show "Heroes". I'm trying to collect the complete series. It's such an awesome show. I decided to dedicate my pic spam to one of the actresses on the show, Ali Larter who played Niki Sanders, later Jessica Sanders and Tracy Strauss. One of the most beautiful women on the show. Here are her best pictures.

zaterdag 14 mei 2011

CSI's Best, Season 11

Like last year, I will make a list of my favorite CSI episode of the season. Last thursday was the season finale and we all know now there's going to be a 12th season (jumping up and down of joy). I have to say it was a pretty good season, although the season finale wasn't as amazing as I hoped it would be. But there's plenty more to choose from. Here is my top five of season 11 episodes.

# 5 - Episode 5: House of Hoarders
The episode about a hoarding woman that hid more in her house then just stuff. I liked Greg, Nick and Sara working together in the house and I also liked the fact that it was Sara's theory against Nick's.

# 4 - Episode 1: Shock Waves
I think this is one of the best season openers CSI has ever had. I don't say Justin Bieber is the one who made it happen, but it was an explosive episode (OMG, I didn't just say that). It was awesome.

# 3 - Episode 18: Hitting of the Cycle
Multiple cases, I always like that. And it's a little different, because the CSI's are betting on who is going to find the victim who died of natural causes. The ending is great, go Doc and David!

# 2 - Episode 15: Targets of Obsession
Jason McCann returns and he's making it personal. I liked the scene where Nick, Catherine, Vartann and Skip the bomb-guy went into that building, which was filled with boobytraps. And Nick shooting Justin Bieber, almost a classic CSI scene.

# 1 - Episode 19: Unleashed
When I read the synopsis of this episode, I thought it would be a standard episode. And Lady Heather returning wasn't really something I needed as a CSI fan. When I watched, I immediately titled it as my favorite of the season. Especially because of its secondary case, with the 17-year girl who committed suicide because she was the victim of cyberbullying. It was such a great episode, we basically have to thank George Eads for that. He was amazing.

The episodes I also loved, but just didn't make my top five: Episode 2: Pool Shark, Episode 8: Fracked, Episode 9: Wild Life and Episode 10: 418/ 427. Now I just have to wait for season 12.... That's going to be really hard.

vrijdag 13 mei 2011

A Life in Movies

I got this great idea after reading Fandango Groovers Blogathon . A life in movies. I know what my favorite movies are. I know what my favorite is from last year. But what if I have to pick my favorite film for every year since the year I was born in. I got really excited so I tried making a list of my own. Appears it wasn't that easy. Some years had so many great movies. But I made it! Here is my life in movies:

1984 - Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Indiana Jones is my all time favorite movie character. I never understood why this second installment was the least popular in the series, some even say the worst. For me it's a non-stop action, adventure ride and Harrison Ford is magnificent as Indiana Jones.
||Runner Up: Gremlins||

1985 - Back to the Future
This is such an inventive and exciting piece of filmmaking. It's almost impossible to overlook it. Doc Brown is one of the most hilarious movie professors I've ever seen and Marty McFly is the underdog hero who you come to love. It's a funny sci-fi movie I can watch over and over again.
||Runner Up: The Breakfast Club||

1986 - Stand By Me
Young as they are, they explore life and they test their friendship. Four different kids, an odd group, but you come to like every single one of them. It's heartwarming, sad, touching and funny.
||Runner Up: Platoon||

1987 - Empire of the Sun
This is a highly underrated movie from the hand of Steven Spielberg. I was truly captivaded by a young Christian Bale. Already he proved us his acting abilities. "Empire of the Sun" is a heartfelt and emotional story, that touches you time and time again.
||Runner Up: Full Metal Jacket||

1988 - Die Hard
Right after Indiana Jones we have John McClane, my second favorite movie character. We can be assured to be treated to two hours of non-stop action from beginning to end. This is definitely the best acion movie ever made.
||Runner Up: Gorilla's in the Mist||

1989 - Back to the Future 2
I always liked the second one a little more than the first. Especially because of the future world they created. Like that book they had, with all the sports results or the flying skateboard. And again Doc and Marty are a magical duo.
||Runner Up: When Harry Met Sally||

1990 - Dances with Wolves
A movie with an extreme length, but I doesn't bother me one second. It's a beautifully shot film and a well written story. Kevin Costner's best work so far, as an actor and director.
||Runner Up: Goodfellas||

1991 - Terminator 2: Judgement Day
The best sequel ever made, even better than its original. The story is so original and extremely smart. Schwarzenegger created one of the most iconic characters with great one-liners practically everyone can quote. And Linda Hamilton as the kick-ass mother we all wanted to be.
||Runners Up: Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, The Silence of the Lambs, Beauty & the Beast||

1992 - Reservoir Dogs
This movie was so brilliant, because practically the entire movie is shot in an abandonend warehouse. Great characters and fantastic dialogues that only Quentin Tarantino can get away with.
||Runner Up: Thunderheart||

1993 - Jurassic Park
After I saw "Jurassic Park" for the first time, I immediately wanted to rewatch it after the end titles. I was blown away by its great visual effects, the music, the action sequences, the characters and off course the dinosaurs. It's a visual treat, it's exciting and breath-taking! Everything about this movie is just great.
||Runner Up: Groundhog Day||

1994 - The Shawshank Redemption
This is my all-time favorite and everything about this movie is amazing. I don't know where to begin. I still don't understand how "The Shawshank Redemption" didn't win anything at the Academy Awards that year. It's a perfect picture and if you still haven't seen it you're really missing out.
||Runner Up: Forrest Gump||

1995 - Se7en
"Se7en" is a very clever film with a dark and morbid atmosphere. Especially the end scene is almost depressing. Kevin Spacey is brilliant as the serial killing John Doe.
||Runners Up: Die Hard with a Vengeance, The Usual Suspects||

1996 - Fargo
The Coen brothers made a film with a perfect combination of dark humor and drama. That's what I always love about their films. And you feel so sorry for William H. Macy, even though he's planning an awefull scam. Frances McDormand is really great as Marge Gunderson. So cool, literally.
||Runners Up: Leaving Las Vegas, Heat||

1997 - The Full Monty
I love the Brittish for making this film. The story itself is reason enough to watch the movie. My favourite scene is when the men are standing in line and the song Hot Stuff starts playing on the radio. All of a sudden the guys start practicing their routine. Robert Carlyle and Mark Addy are responsible for he most laughs and the reason I love this film.
||Runner Up: Good Will Hunting||

1998 - There's Something About Mary
The funniest movie ever made. Why I like it so much? The quirky characters, the physical jokes, Puffy the Dog, you name it. Really, can anyone tell me a reason why not to like this movie?
||Runner Up: The Big Lebowski||

1999 - The Green Mile
I seem to like Stephen King's prison books and Frank Darabont's prison movies. This is just another masterpiece and also one of the few movies that made me cry at the end. It's such a sad film, just heartbreaking. And you gotta love Tom.
||Runner Up: Fight Club||

2000 - High Fidelity
A lot of people don't understand why I love this movie so much. First, the story is very simple and to the point, but the way it is brought to us is phenomenal. Second, Rob Gordon is a guy I would marry and that doesn't make me weird. Third, the music and the way Rob explains his love for it. Fourth, the top fives he makes for everything. And you know I'm a sucker for lists.
||Runners Up: American Psycho, Memento||

2001 - A Beautiful Mind
At first it seems like a pretty standard story about a man who's misunderstood because of his extreme intelligence. Then it becomes a story of its own. Russell Crowe plays the role of John Nash perfectly, so intense. I never understood how he could win an oscar for "Gladiator" and not win it for "A Beautiful Mind". This is his best role ever.
||Runner Up: Mulholland Drive||

2002 - Catch Me If You Can
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. "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?
||Runner Up: Orange County||

2003 - Lost in Translation
Sometimes the most simple stories make the best films. This movie is the perfect example. However Bob and Charlotte are in the bussiest city on the planet, they feel alone. An uncommon but beautiful friendship arises from their meeting. One reason why I love this movie is because it's so realistic. The characters are so real and it's easy to identify yourself with them.
||Runner Up: 21 Grams, Kill Bill Vol. 1||

2004 - Kill Bill Vol. 2
Where volume 1 gave us a lot of action and gore, the second installment was more personal and had great dialogues. And a cool monologue at the beginning, that I can quote completely. My favorite Tarantino movie.
||Runners Up: The Motorcycle Diaries, Shaun of the Dead||

2005 - Pride & Prejudice
A perfect adaptation of my favorite Jane Austen novel. Keira Knightley is Elizabeth Bennett the way she was intented to, pure and free willing. A great lovestory for us hopeless romantics.
||Runners Up: Brokeback Mountain, Sin City, King Kong, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang||

2006 - Little Miss Sunshine
It's a quirky family, but all of the characters are so likeable. Especially Olive and Frank. And that yellow van, probably one of the most memorable movie vehicles.
||Runners Up: The Departed, The Da Vinci Code, V for Vendetta, The Prestige, Babel, The Painted Veil||

2007 - Hot Fuzz
I always loved the Brittish for its humor. And Nick Frost and Simon Pegg are such an awesome duo. We basically got to thank them for this great comedy. If you think "Shaun of the Dead" was great, you should see this one.
||Runners Up: Atonement, Into the Wild||

2008 - The Dark Knight
It was kind of a sucky movie year, but it gave us one unforgetable film. Heath Ledger is the most memorable actor, he's fantastic as the Joker. Even my brother had to admitt his brilliant performance and he's a Jack Nicholson fan.
||Runner Up: Happy Go Lucky||

2009 - (500) Days of Summer
This is so much more then your typical boy-girl story. It's told in a very unusual way. Tom wants what Summer doesn't want. The story has some unexpected twists and the movie is filmed in a very creative way. An unique way of telling a story, the colors, the music, the characters and the actors. And Joseph Gordon-Levitt is just adorable.
||Runners Up: Inglorious Basterds, Sherlock Holmes||

2010 - Inception
Not a very good movie year either. The two best had Leonardo DiCaprio in it. "Inception" is a movie like I never saw before. It's a visual treat, so intelligent, such an original story and a great cast. I loved this movie from the first minute.
||Runner Up: Shutter Island||