zondag 31 juli 2011

50 Book Challenge 2011 Update - July

I did quite some reading this month and I read a lot of good novels. It has also occured to me that I'm not that far from my goal to read 50 books yet. This is going to be very easy.

# 36. Yes Man by Danny Wallace
# 37. Sarah's Key by Tatiana De Rosnay
# 38. Matched by Ally Condie
# 39. The Motorcycle Diaries by Ernesto Che Guevara
# 40. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
# 41. Riding Lessons by Sara Gruen

Favorite of the month: "Yes Man"

I haven't finished "Riding Lessons" yet, but I will probably today or else tomorrow. I will make a trip to the library this week, so I'm going to pick up some new books. And there are still a lot of books on the shelve that I need to read. I'll keep you updated.

vrijdag 29 juli 2011

In the Picture: The Characters from "The Kids Are All Right"

I only saw this movie recently for the first time. I loved it right away and I was really impressed with how well all the actors portrayed the characters. I real clever film and both funny and dramatic.

Nicole "Nic" Allgood
Played by: Annette Bening
Nic is a succesful doctor and has a serious view on life. She is happy with life the way it is and doesn't like change. So when her children let Paul in to their life, Nic is really hurt and worried that he will disrupt the family dynamic. Especially when the kids and her wife seem to like Paul.

Jules Allgood
Played by: Julianne Moore
Jules is Nic's wife and a bit more free spirited than Nic. Jules never cared much for a career, but has always been interested in landscaping. She is trying to realize that dream and becomes closer to Paul. In him she finds someone who respects her and gives her the attention she needs.

Paul Hatfield
Played by: Mark Ruffalo
Paul is a man who loves women but is also very attached to his freedom. In the early ninetees he donated sperm to a sperm bank and Jules and Nic were the receivers. Although Paul never aspired to become a father, he's very open to the idea of meeting the kids. And he likes being around them and changes the world of the whole Allgood family.

Joni Allgood
Played by: Mia Wasikowska
Joni has just turned 18 and is in a turning point of her life. She is about to leave for college but indifferent about a lot of things. There's this boy she likes, but Joni is too shy to give in to that. Meeting her biological father changes a lot for her, although she wasn't the one who initially wanted to meet him. She connects with him very easily and opens up to him.

Laser Allgood
Played by: Josh Hutcherson
Because Laser is only 15, he can not contact his biological father yet, so he sets up his older sister Joni to do it for him. At first, Laser wasn't all that impressed with Paul. He becomes very close with Paul and even takes his advice on ending his friendship with friend Clay, even though his mothers gave him the same advice.

Favorite Character: Paul Hatfield

50 Books Challenge 2011 - # 40: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling

Title: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Author: J.K. Rowling
Story: As his fifth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry approaches, 15-year-old Harry Potter is in full-blown adolescence, complete with regular outbursts of rage, a nearly debilitating crush, and the blooming of a powerful sense of rebellion. It's been yet another infuriating and boring summer with the despicable Dursleys, this time with minimal contact from our hero's non-Muggle friends from school. Harry is feeling especially edgy at the lack of news from the magic world, wondering when the freshly revived evil Lord Voldemort will strike. Returning to Hogwarts will be a relief... or will it?
Start: july 20th 2011
End: july 28th 2011
Comment: When we meet Harry Potter again in this fifth book, we see a lot of change. He's off course older, but he's rougher and more full of anger. Harry feels he's being ignored by his friends Ron and Hermione, his mentor Dumbledore and godfather Sirius. When he returns to Hogwarts he has to face yet another challenge. People don't believe him anymore and the arrival of Dolores Umbridge only makes things worse. Umbridge is probably the most dreadfull teacher Hogwarts ever had. What I loved most about this book is that Harry and his friends formed Dumbledore's army. A group of young wizards and witches who want to learn how to fight back, when it's really necessary. And people who are against Umbridge and her teaching methods and strange rules. I also loved Neville's role in this. He's always been one of my favorite characters and he actually made a difference in this book. A lot of great new character were introduced. Off course Umbridge, who will always be my most hated character. We also met Luna Lovegood, Nymphadora Tops and Bellatrix Lestrange. We got to see a different side of Snape and we learned more about Harry's past. A lot of new developements were in this book, which makes this fifth novel a great addition to the series.
Rating: 5/ 5

zondag 24 juli 2011

The Perfect Distraction

I made another wallpaper, with James Franco. Seriously this man looks good in any picture. That's how I came up with the title of the wallpaper.

Feel free to use it on your own computer if you'd like.

vrijdag 22 juli 2011

Pic Spam: Yvonne Strahovksi

I love the TV show "Chuck". It's really funny and I love undercover spies. Yvonne Strahovski plays the irresistable Sarah and I decided to make here the subject of a pic spam. Here are her best photos.

donderdag 21 juli 2011

Movie Tip # 48: 127 Hours

Director: Danny Boyle

Starring: James Franco, Kate Mara, Amber Tamblyn

Description: "127 Hours" is the true story of mountain climber Aron Ralston's remarkable adventure to save himself after a fallen boulder crashes on his arm and traps him in an isolated canyon in Utah. Over the next five days Ralston (James Franco) examines his life and survives the elements to finally discover he has the courage and the wherewithal to extricate himself by any means necessary, scale a 65 foot wall and hike over eight miles before he can be rescued. Throughout his journey, Ralston recalls friends, lovers, family, and the two hikers he met before his accident. Will they be the last two people he ever had the chance to meet?

Review: Director Danny Boyle earned himself eight Oscars for "Slumdog Millionaire". This time the scale of the movie is smaller, but the hero bigger. A man who was trapped between a rock for 127 hours, literally. How can that be interesting? Well, this is how. The cinematography in this movie is simply brilliant: split screens, quick montages, impossible angles, great soundeffects, etcetera. But it's not only the cinematography that made this movie so good. Thank you James Franco, for that fantastic performance. I think this is one of the best performances I've seen in a while. He has the ability to show us so many different emotions: fearless joy, desperation, anger and regret. His subtle performance makes him believable. After you've seen this film, you ask yourself one question: How come the adrenaline is pumping through my body while watching a man who hasn't moved an inch for 90 minutes? Danny Boyle is a master and "127 Hours" is a masterpiece.

woensdag 20 juli 2011

Best of... Abigail Breslin

Since Haley Joel Osment, there wasn't a single child star that impressed me more then this one: Abigail Breslin. She is so good at what she does and I only hope that she has an even more succesful career as an adult. Here are her best films.

Her first movie and a very exciting one. Stories about aliƫns coming to earth have been overdone, but this one was different. It had more suspence to it and it wasn't clear what they wanted in the first place.

"Raising Helen"
I liked this movie the most because of Joan Cusack and Abigail Breslin. It's not a very memorable film, but sure worth watching and just a nice feel-good movie for when you're feeling down.

"Little Miss Sunshine"
I can go on and on about this one. There are so many reasons I love this movie and especially Olive, played by Abigail. She created one of my all-time favorite movie characters. She is above adorable!

"Definitely, Maybe"
Abigail plays this curious girl who wants to know how her mom and dad met. Ryan Reynolds plays the dad and they are a fantastic duo. I love the scene where Maya, that's Abigail, asks her father what a threesome is. With him responding: 'That's a game grown-ups play'. Very funny.

"Nim's Island"
I recently saw this movie and liked, liked, liked it. I love those childrens stories with a bunch of imagination. And I love a strong child character. Jodie Foster is in it too, as well as Gerard Butler. Foster plays this writer who has agoraphobia, which is kind of hilarious. Butler plays Breslin's dad (again a hot dad).

"My Sister's Keeper"
A read the book and it's such a touching and heartbreaking story. Very well done, with Breslin again being the star of the movie.

One word: AWESOME! Oh no, FREAKIN' AWESOME. Great humour, perfect casting and then Bill Murray as a zombie, brilliant.

She also did a voice in "Rango" which I haven't seen yet. And I also didn't see "Kit Kittredge: An American Girl". Even if her career stops as a child, I will not forget about these great films she made. But I think Abigail has bright future ahead of her.

dinsdag 19 juli 2011

50 Books Challange - # 39: The Motorcycle Diaries by Ernesto Che Guevara

Title: The Motorcycle Diaries
Author: Ernesto Che Guevara
Story: The young Che Guevara’s lively and highly entertaining travel diary, now a popular movie and a New York Times bestseller. This new, expanded edition features exclusive, unpublished photos taken by the 23-year-old Ernesto on his journey across a continent, and a tender preface by Aleida Guevara, offering an insightful perspective on the man and the icon.
Start: july 18th 2011
End: july 19th 2011
Comment: "The Motorcycle Diaries" documents the journey of young Ernesto Guevara through Argentina, Chile, Peru, Colombia and Venezuela. Together with his friend Alberto Granado he travels through those countries on a motorcycle, between 1951 and 1952. This journal is not a dusty, political biography. And it's also not just an ordinary journey. It's so beautiful to see how Ernesto empathizes with ordinary people and how his political extremism is developed along the way. Guevara was a very important man, even before he became a great leader he did a lot for the people. He did amazing things for mankind and it's a truly inspiring story. The journey changed Ernesto and which in turn led him to try to change the world. I devoured this book in just a couple of hours, which means it was very good.
Rating: 5/ 5

In the Picture: The Characters from "Mystic River"

Clint Eastwood is a fine actor, but in my opinion he's an even better director. "Mystic River" is such a great piece of work and an actual character study of the people involved in the story. Here are the most important characters in the film.

Jimmy Markum
Played by: Sean Penn
Jimmy is the beloved father of three daughters. Two of them he had with current wife Annabeth and he had his oldest daughter with his now deceased wife Marita. Jimmy does have a criminal history. He spend two years of his life in prison for a robbery. After they found Jimmy's daughter Katie dead, that old Jimmy turns up again. For him it doesn't matter how, but he's going to find the man who did this to her. And he will pay.

Dave Boyle
Played by: Tim Robbins
Dave is a loving father and a loyal husband to his wife Celeste. As a kid he experienced something horrible and now, twenty years later, he's still traumatized. Dave is very troubled and the image of that incident so many years ago is still haunting him every day. This is also a burden in his relationship with Celeste, his son Michael and his friend Jimmy.

Sean Devine
Played by: Kevin Bacon
Sean used to be friends with both Jimmy and Dave. Nowadays he doesn't have contact with them, although they run into each other from time to time. He is a cop and the one who has to solve the murder of Katie Markum. He tries to handle it as professional as possible. Sean's wife left him six months ago, while she was pregnant. She calls him, but never says anything when he picks up the phone. It looks like it doesn't affect him, but his future with her isn't secure and he just wants her back in his life.

Celeste Boyle
Played by: Marcia Gay Harden
Celeste is Dave's wife. She loves him more then anything, but she doesn't know what to do with her troubled husband. Celeste doesn't know about Dave's traumatic experience as a child. When Dave comes home covered in blood, she doesn't believe his story. After she finds out about Katie Markum's death, Celeste starts doubting her husband and feels really insecure about her life with him.

Annabeth Markum
Played by: Laura Linney
Annabeth is Jimmy's second wife. She accepted Jimmy's oldest daughter, but it's clear that they don't always get along. Unlike Celeste, Annabeth will always stand by her husband and she would never doubt his actions. Even if it's not the right thing to do, according to the law.

Favorite Character: Dave Boyle

zondag 17 juli 2011

50 Books Challenge 2011 - # 38: Matched by Ally Condie

Title: Matched
Author: Ally Condie
Story: Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.
Start: july 14th 2011
End: july 17th 2011
Comment: Cassia lives in a world where everything is decided for you. She doesn't know any better, but I wouldn't want to live in a world like this. Cassia eventually realizes that too. When she sees Ky on her screen, she discovers that the Society made a mistake, although they don't admit to it. She loves Xander, but not the same way she loves Ky. She finds out that Xander isn't the man she should be with and she starts fighting back. I think the love triangle was handled beautifully and Cassia's desire for personal freedom was described so wonderfully. The start of the book is very strong. You're sucked in the story right away. But it isn't consistent and after the first chapters it gets less interesting. It's not untill the last chapters it actually grabs you again. When it comes to the characters, there wasn't a single character that I came to love. There's always that one character I like the most, but "Matched" didn't have that. You get to know them pretty well, but still I couldn't relate to any of them. They are all just OK. I did liked the world Ally Condie created. Disturbing but original. It was an OK read, which had a lot more potential to it with a good plot like this.
Rating: 2,5/ 5

zaterdag 16 juli 2011

Harry Potter Q & A

Like I said before, I'm rereading the complete Harry Potter series this year and with that I'm buying all the books an movies. I stumbled upon some great questions online and decided to make a Q & A for the Harry Potter series. It's not very long, but a lot of fun.

Favorite Book || "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban"
Favorite Character (from the trio) || Ron Weasly
Six other favorite characters || Sirius Black, Neville Longbottom, Professor Minerva McGonagall, Rubeus Hagrid, Dobby the House Elf and Ginny Weasly
Least favorite character || Dolores Umbridge
Your House || Hufflepuff
Favorite Harry Potter Moment || Hermione vs. Malfoy in “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”. After having suffered Malfoy’s “Mudblood” taunts in silence, Hermione finally snaps, slapping him round the chops after his scheming lands Hagrid in trouble
Favorite Spell || Accio
Favorite Villain (besides Voldemort) || Bellatrix Lestrange
Owl, Cat or Toad || Owl
Favorite Professor || Professor Minerva McGonagall
Favorite Class || Herbology

What would you answer? Let me know, or maybe put it on your own blog.

vrijdag 15 juli 2011

Pic Spam: Lee Pace

Lee Pace isn't that well knows, but I know him from "Pushing Daisies". A great show that was, sadly enough, cancelled after only two seasons! I remember Lee, as Ned, being so sweet and cute. So to keep that in mind, here are some of his best pictures.

woensdag 13 juli 2011

50 Books Challenge 2011 - # 37: Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay

Title: Sarah's Key
Author: Tatiana de Rosnay
Story: Paris, July 1942 - Sarah, a ten year-old girl, is brutally arrested with her family by the French police in the Vel’ d’Hiv’ roundup, but not before she locks her younger brother in a cupboard in the family's apartment, thinking that she will be back within a few hours.
Paris, May 2002 - On Vel’ d’Hiv’s 60th anniversary, journalist Julia Jarmond is asked to write an article about this black day in France's past. Through her contemporary investigation, she stumbles onto a trail of long-hidden family secrets that connect her to Sarah. Julia finds herself compelled to retrace the girl's ordeal, from that terrible term in the Vel d'Hiv', to the camps, and beyond. As she probes into Sarah's past, she begins to question her own place in France, and to reevaluate her marriage and her life.
Start: july 11th 2011
End: july 13th 2011
Comment: In this book we follow two different storylines. First the story of ten year-old Sarah, during the war. And the second one tells the story of Julia, an American journalist who lives in Paris and is intruiged by the story of Sarah. Both stories come together which made it all very believable. De Rosnay wrote a very impressive book, with a theme that most people love reading about. It makes you think about the war and all the dillema's. Especially the beginning of the book is interesting. You're finding out about Sarah and you see how Julia discovers new things about her. Later in the book, it's more focused on Julia and her personal worries. Which draws the attention away from Sarah and that wasn't necessary. The book is easy to read and hard to put down. It is very emotional and dramatic, and a recommendation.
Rating: 4/ 5

Some Random Wallpapers

I have made five new wallpapers, all with different people of movies in them. I'm on a role here, I have a lot of inspiration. I hope you like them.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt

The Notebook

Johnny Depp

The Motorcycle Diaries

Marlon Brando

Let me know what you think. And feel free to use them on your own computer.

dinsdag 12 juli 2011

Best of... Alan Rickman

I own a lot of DVD's. Of all the actors Tom Hanks is the one I have the most of. For some reason Alan Rickman shares that number one spot. It appears that Mr. Rickman made a lot of good movies and here's a list to proof it.

"Die Hard"
Off course! Alan plays one of the most convincing villains ever. "Die Hard" is such an awesome film and I just love everything about it. Just great action, an iconic hero and a viceous bad guy.

"Quigley Down Under"
I'm not a western fan and this is certainly not one of the best, but it is sort of overlooked. It's a pretty solid, creative effort and very enjoyable.

"Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves"
I was obsessed with this movie when I was in high school. And if I may say, this is also my favorite movie about this hero (hardly anybody would agree with me on this). Alan plays the evil Sherrif of Nottingham, also a great villain.

"Sense and Sensibility"
As a Jane Austen fan this movie just has to be on the list. This is my third favorite story of Austen and I secretly enjoy these costume dramas everytime. A hopeless romantic...

"Galaxy Quest"
This movie has a very inventive story, is extremely clever and hysterically funny. I like this movie a lot and it makes me laugh every single time.

"Harry Potter Series"
All the Harry Potter movies will eventually end up on this list, so I might as well put them up all together. I love the books and I love the films. Sneep is one of the strongest and most memorable characters and when I read the books, Sneep looked exactly the way Alan looks in the movies. With the last movie in theatres now, it's the end of an era.

"Love Actually"
Most people say it's a bit cheesy and not very well acted. Overall this movie gets a lot of critical comments. I love this film. The multiple storylines, the cast, the Christmas feeling, the romance, the drama and the laughs. Just fantastic!

"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"
He does the voice of the depressed robot Marvin, probably my favorite character from the film together with Arthur. I think the story is just so brilliantly witty and original. The book is better (it's actually part of a six part series and I only read the first, but that's where this film is based on).

"Perfume: The Story of a Murderer"
I found the killer super creepy. Not because he looked scary, because he acted so weird around women. I thought the ending was a bit overdone, weird and awkward. But still, not looking at the end of the film this is a pretty good movie.

"Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber on Fleet Street"
Musicals are my guilty pleasure. This is not just a standard musical, it's a lot darker and morbid. Great roles from Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham-Carter and Alan Rickman.

"Alice in Wonderland"
Such a beautifully made movie, such great visuals. I was never a fan of the story, for some reason it just never appealed to me. But I liked this movie very much. Tim Burton knows how to do it well.

I never saw "Bob Roberts" and I'm a bit ashamed, because it get's a good rating on IMDB.com.

maandag 11 juli 2011

In the Picture: The Characters from "Kill Bill: Vol. 1+2"

Out of the two movies, the second one is actually in my top 10 of all-time favorites. The first one didn't make it, but is still very good. There are a lot of interesting characters in those movies, so I decided to take a look at them a little bit better,

Beatrix Kiddo aka Black Mamba aka The Bride
Played by: Uma Thurman
The Bride abandons her life as a hired assassin after finding out she's pregnant. She knows Bill is the father, but she doesn't want him to be a part of her baby's life. After the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad tried to kill her and murdered all the people at her wedding, she's determined to get revenge. She doesn't rest untill her final goal is reached, to kill all the squad members, especially Bill.

Bill aka Snake Charmer
Played by: David Carradine
He's the founder an leader of the squad. Bill is a man most people bow for and listen to, he has a natural sort of power over them. He is a cold killer, but he doesn't want to just murder people. Bill has class and he wants his opponents to die with class.

O-Ren Ishii aka Cottonmouth
Played by: Lucy Liu
O-Ren saw her parents brutally murdered when she was a little girl. That experience made her to the woman she is now. She's an excellent sniper and sword fighting is her expertise. O-Ren is very proud of her heritage and doesn't like it when people mess with it.

Vernita Green aka Copperhead
Played by: Vivica A. Fox
Vernita is specialized in hand-to-hand fighting and excellent with a knife. After taking part at the 'Two Pines Wedding Chapel Massacre' she is living a normal live under the alias of Jeanie Bell and has a daughter. Although she hates the Bride, and vice versa, the two have mutual respect for each others qualities.

Elle Driver aka California Mountain Snake
Played by: Daryl Hannah
Elle is also an excellent swordswoman. She's Bill's mistress and the only person she listens to. Elle and The Bride have always despized each other, even before the events at the Two Pines Wedding Chapel. Elle isn't always fair in her fights. The only thing that matters to her is winning it and making Bill a happy man.

Bud aka Sidewinder
Played by: Michael Madsen
He's Bill's degenerated brother and the only man other man in the squad. He lives in a mobile home, is an alcoholic and works as a bouncer in a strip club nobody visits. He is the only one to have single handedly defeated the bride and eventually he burried her alive. She got out of her grave and wasn't dead, but Bud didn't end up alive. It was Elle who killed Bud.

Favorite Character: The Bride

zondag 10 juli 2011

50 Books Challenge 2011 - # 36: Yes Man by Danny Wallace

Title: Yes Man
Author: Danny Wallace
Story: Recently single, Danny Wallace was falling into loneliness and isolation. When a stranger on a bus advises, "Say yes more," Wallace vows to say yes to every offer, invitation, challenge, and chance.
Start: july 4th 2011
End: july 10th 2011
Comment: Because I read such a dramatic book, I was really up for something more humorous and a bit inspirational. When I saw Danny Wallace's book "Yes Man" I just had to pick it up. And I'm glad I did, because it's been a while since I laughed so hard while reading a book. Danny Wallace realized that he said 'no' too much. His decision to say yes more often, makes his life a lot more interesting and he developes a more positive perspective on life. Wallace has a fun writing style, very easy to read and he writes down exactly how he would probably say it. I enjoyed reading about his experiences as a yes man and about the weird, awkward and pleasant situations he got himself in to. Danny Wallace is a very likeable man and I would love to read more of his books. I was looking for humour and inspiration and that's what I got. So if that's what you need right now, this book is perfect for the moment. I say yes to five stars!
Rating: 5/ 5

Pic Spam: Kristen Bell

Kristen Bell is such a beautiful girl and so fun to watch. I loved her as Veronica Mars and how she played bitch Elle in "Heroes". So I thought it would be time to dedicade a pic spam to her. Here are Kristen Bell's best pictures.