maandag 30 januari 2012

50 Books Challenge 2012 Update - January

This year started very well for me as a reader. I read five books with the theme "Animals" and I have to say that I liked all the books.

# 1. Dances with Wolves by Michael Blake - 5/ 5
# 2. The Horse Whisperer by Nicholas Evans - 4/ 5
# 3. The Wilderness Family by Kobie Krüger - 4,5/ 5
# 4. Gorilla's in the Mist by Dian Fossey - 4,5/ 5
# 5. Charlotte's Web by E.B. White - 5/ 5

Average: 4,6

Favorite of the Month: Dances with Wolves

Now the theme for february:

I based this theme on the New York Times bestseller list and I'm super excited for this month. I have some really great books waiting to be read, I can't wait. I'll keep you updated on my challenge.

zondag 29 januari 2012

50 Books Challenge 2012 - # 5: Charlotte's Web by E.B. White

Title: Charlotte's Web
Author: E.B. White
Story: An affectionate, sometimes bashful pig named Wilbur befriends a spider named Charlotte, who lives in the rafters above his pen. A prancing, playful bloke, Wilbur is devastated when he learns of the destiny that befalls all those of porcine persuasion. Determined to save her friend, Charlotte spins a web that reads "Some Pig," convincing the farmer and surrounding community that Wilbur is no ordinary animal and should be saved.
Start: january 24th 2012
End: january 29th 2012
Comment: One of the great things about being a teacher is getting to read children's books without being judged. Even if your not a teacher or don't have kids, this book is a recommendation. The story of a spider who saves a pig's life. Charlotte, the spider, is kind, noble and brave. Everything you can wish for in a friend. Wilbur is childlike and innocent, but grows wiser under Charlotte's influence. "It's not often that someone comes along who is a true friend...". That's off course very true. Because none of the other animals in the barn want to befriend Charlotte at first, because she's a spider. She doesn't look like them, she looks creepy. But sweet Wilbur sees beauty in her immediatly and wants to be Charlotte's friend. And like I said before, Charlotte is the perfect friend. This story is so heartwarming, powerful and deeply moving. Every child should read this. And we adults should pass it on to them.
Rating: 5/ 5

Movie Trailer Sunday (22)

This weeks trailers are about a lost dog, justice, a man waking up on an unknown location, pirates and a hunter.

Darling Companion
Description: On a wintry day, Beth (Diane Keaton) saves a bedraggled lost dog from the side of the freeway. Struggling with her distracted, self-involved husband Joseph (Kevin Kline) and an empty nest at home, Beth forms a special bond with the rescued animal. When Joseph loses the dog after a wedding at their vacation home in the Rockies, the distraught Beth enlists the help of the few remaining guests and a mysterious young woman in a frantic search. Each member of the search party is affected by the adventure, which takes them in unexpected directions.
Director: Lawrence Kasdan
Starring: Diane Keaton, Kevin Kline, Dianne Wiest and Sam Shepard
Trailer: Trailer "Darling Companion"

Seeking Justice
Description: Will Gerard (Nicolas Cage) is a happily married family man whose quiet life is turned upside-down when his wife, Laura (January Jones), is brutally attacked one night while leaving work. At the hospital, waiting for news about his wife's condition, Will is approached by Simon, (Guy Pearce) who proposes an intriguing offer: Simon will arrange to have a complete stranger exact vengeance on Laura's attacker, in exchange for a favor from Will in the near future. Distraught and grief-stricken, Will consents to the deal, unwittingly pulling himself into a dangerous underground vigilante operation. While continuing to protect his wife from the truth, he quickly discovers that his quest for justice could lead to frightening and deadly consequences
Director: Roger Donaldson
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Guy Pearce and January Jones
Trailer: Trailer "Seeking Justice"

Description: Jeremy Reins (Stephen Dorff) is about to have a very bad day. He wakes up in total darkness, confused and disoriented. The only light comes from the blood-red digital numbers ticking away above his head. Jeremy quickly realizes he'�s in trouble. It'�s hard to breath. He can barely move. And no one will answer his cries for help. Then, he hears the sound of an engine and it all becomes clear�he's trapped in the trunk of a moving car. As his captors reveal themselves and their motives, Jeremy realizes he won't be set free until he gives up the whereabouts of Roulette, a secret location where the U.S. President is taken in the event of a terrorist attack.
Starring: Stephen Dorff, Chyler Leigh and Tom Berenger
Trailer: Trailer "Brake"
Comment: OK, so it looks a bit like "Burried" (which was an awesome film by the way), but it looks really good.

The Pirates! band of Misfits
Description: The bearded Pirate Captain (Hugh Grant) is a boundlessly enthusiastic, if somewhat less-than-successful, terror of the High Seas. With a rag-tag crew at his side, and seemingly blind to the impossible odds stacked against him, the Captain has one dream: to beat his bitter rivals Black Bellamy (Jeremy Piven) and Cutlass Liz (Salma Hayek) to the much coveted Pirate Of The Year Award. It�s a quest that takes our heroes from the shores of exotic Blood Island to the foggy streets of Victorian London. Along the way they battle a diabolical queen (Imelda Staunton) and team up with a haplessly smitten young scientist (David Tennant), but never lose sight of what a pirate loves best: adventure!
Director: Peter Lord
Starring: Hugh Grant, Jeremy Piven, David Tennant, Salma Hayek, martin Freeman and Imelda Staunton
Trailer: Trailer "The Pirates! Band of Misfits"
Comments: I really like claymation and this trailer looks cool.

The Hunter
Description: Martin (Willem Dafoe) is a skilled and ruthless mercenary sent into the Tasmanian wilderness on a hunt for a tiger believed to be extinct. Hired by an anonymous company that wants the tiger's genetic material, Martin arrives in Tasmania posing as a scientist. He proceeds to set up base camp at a broken-down farmhouse, where he stays with a family whose father has gone missing. Usually a loner, Martin becomes increasingly close to the family; however, as his attachment to the family grows, Martin is led down a path of unforeseen dangers, complicating his deadly mission.
Director: Daniel Nettheim
Starring: Willem Dafoe, Sam Neill and Frances O'Connor
Trailer: Trailer "The Hunter"

zaterdag 28 januari 2012

In My Mailbox (32)

Only one card this week. I'm expecting more cards next week. The postcard I received came from the US, from Manchester, New Hampshire. A very pretty sight.

Sent on: january 23rd 2012
Received on: january 28th 2012
Distance: 5,671 km (3,524 miles)
Travel time: 5 days

Thanks Pam, for the wonderful card.

Movie Moments: "There's Something About Mary"

One of my top five favorites and full of hilarious moments. Here are my favorite scenes.

Moment # 1: Zipper accident
No one believes him, but Ted is taking the beautiful Mary to the prom. He picks her up at her house, where immediatly things go wrong when he’s trying to surprise Mary’s brother Warren with a baseball. It gets worse when Ted goes to the bathroom to pee. He’s watching two birds, when the fly away Mary’s parents think he was watching Mary getting redressed and he was masturbating. When he wants to zip up, his gentleman parts get stuck between the zipper. Auch!

Moment # 2: Who needs him?
Ted hired Pat Healy to find Mary and Healy is spying on her. Finding out she’s practically a saint and still a very beautiful woman. While Mary is having lunch with her friends, Pat overhears her talking about a guy named Brad. He was basically the perfect guy, but she found out he wasn’t that happy about her mentally challenged brother Warren. So she tells her friends: “Who needs him? I’ve got a vibrator”. And Healy bursts into laughter.

Moment # 3: Wrong window
Healy is watching Mary outside her appartement. She is getting undressed and Healy wants to take a look through bigger binoculours. When he gets them and is ready for the big moment where he sees Mary’s boobs, Healy glances into her neighbours window seeing Magda topless, which scares him.

Moment # 4: Healy tries to get Mary’s attention
Mary is at the golf course and Healy is trying to impress her. He doesn’t know how to play golf, but when he needs change he gets her attention by telling her he only has coins from Nepal, a place Mary always wanted to visit. In the parking lot, she wants to get to know him and also finds out he’s an architect and works with ‘retards’ (his words). Off course they are all lies, but she likes him.

Moment # 5: Mary and Ted meet again
Ted found out that Healy lied to him. Mary is still a beautiful woman and hasn’t changed much. He wants to visit her, but is affraid. His friend Dom makes Mary notice him and they start talking. They plan a date and Ted is filled with joy.

Moment # 6: Hairgel
Before Ted is meeting Mary, he’s trying to feel more relaxed. He starts masturbating and after the big moment he looses his… body fluid…. When he opens the door for Mary, the lost sperm is hanging on his ear. Mary thinks it’s hairgel and and grabs it to put it in her hair. While in the bar, Mary’s hair is standing up straight.

Moment # 7: Ted vs. Puffy
Ted goes to Mary’s house and before he does, Healy feeds dog Puffy some uppers. Magda asks Ted to release the dog from the bathroom, while he’s banging the door. Ted is scared for what he’s going to see, but when he opens the door he sees the little Puffy. He’s not so cute, because he attacks Ted and they get into a big fight. And Puffy ends up jumping out of the window.

Moment # 8: The hook
Mary and Ted are having the best time and they seem very happy. While standing on the peer, a fishing hook grabs Ted’s lip.

Moment # 9: Dom is Woogie
Mary told Ted about her ex-boyfriend Woogie who started acting weird and he’s the reason she changed her name. Woogie turns out to be Ted’s friend Dom and he shows up at Mary’s appartement. He’s trying to steal her shoes.

Moment # 10: Happiest with you
All of Mary’s worshipers are in her appartement, even Brad. It turns out that he wasn’t bad and that he didn’t say those things about her brother Warren. Ted tells all the guys that Mary should decide and that he just wants Mary to be happy. When he leaves her house, thinking she choose Brad, Mary follows him. Telling Ted: “I’d be happiest with you”. They kiss.

Favorite Moment: Moment # 10: Happiest with you

donderdag 26 januari 2012

Top 5 Thursday: Boxing Movies

There are so many boxing movies and for some reason the boxing in the films is more interesting then an actual boxing match. Here are my favorite movies about this sport.

5. Rocky Balboa
Off course my first reaction was; another Rocky movie. Who wants to see a 60 year old Sylvester Stallone in a boxing ring? But I came to love this movie, it really surprised me. And no matter how old he is, Rocky Balboa ends up being the most emotionally-touching of all the “Rocky” sequels.

4. Cinderella Man
One of director Ron Howard’s finest efforts to date. It is the heart-wrenching true story of Jim Braddock, a once promising fighter who lost almost everything after the great depression hit. Overlooked if you tell me, great acting by Russel Crowe.

3. Raging Bull
While “Raging Bull” isn’t necessarily a traditional movie about the sport of boxing, it is most certainly an incredibly deep character study of Jake LaMotta. Incredible movie.

2. Million Dollar Baby
This one was different from all the other boxing movies, because it was about a female boxer. What starts out as just another boxing story, suddenly takes a sharp turn into much darker and more dramatic territory. And fantastic performances by Hilary Swank, Morgan Freeman and Clint Eastwood.

1. Rocky
The ultimate favorite and maybe the best underdog story ever told. Rocky has a title-shot against the heavyweight champion of the world Apollo Creed. I love Rocky’s incredible determination and courage. And that classic scene with his fist up in the air.

They almost made the top 5: “The Champ”, “Rocky 2”, “Ali” and “The Hurricane”

maandag 23 januari 2012

50 Books Challenge 2012 - # 4: Gorilla's in the Mist by Dian Fossey

Title: Gorilla's in the Mist
Author: Dian Fossey
Story: One of the most important books ever written about our connection to the natural world, "Gorilla's in the Mist" is the riveting account of Dian Fossey's thirteen years in a remote African rain forest with the greatest of the great apes. Fossey's extraordinary efforts to ensure the future of the rain forest and its remaining mountain gorillas are captured in her own words and in candid photographs of this fascinating endangered species. As only she could, Fossey combined her personal adventure story with groundbreaking scientific reporting in an unforgettable portrait of one of our closest primate relatives. Although Fossey's work ended tragically in her murder, "Gorilla's in the Mist" remains an invaluable testament to one of the longest-running field studies of primates and reveals her undying passion for her subject.
Start: january 18th 2012
End: january 23rd 2012
Comment: Dian Fossey is a woman I admire, for the work she's done. Off course I saw the movie, but I wanted more details. This books describes it, exactly how Fossey experiences her time between the gorilla's. In her writing you can taste her love for the animals. To her they weren't just gorilla's in the woods that she just happened to study. They were her children, the only ones she really cared for. What she did to help the apes is incredible and very inspiring. Unfortunately I think that this book won't interest everyone. It could be seen as boring for the average reader who's not interested in the daily life of a gorilla or any animal. A dream of mine has always been to see gorilla's in the wild, which was inspired by Dian Fossey. This summer I'm probably going to fullfill that dream, I too want to feel what she felt when she studied them.
Rating: 4,5/ 5

zondag 22 januari 2012

James, Emma, Robert, Naomi and Jude

I had a creative moment today. I made six new wallpapers and I have to say I'm pretty satisfied with the results. The first two feature James Franco.

The one I have on my desktop right now is this wallpaper of Emma Stone. I love this photo.

My favorite actress Naomi Watts. I included one of her quotes.

And after seeing "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows" a wallpaper with Robert Downey Jr. and one With Jude Law.

As always, feel free to use them on your own computer.

Movie Trailer Sunday (21)

This weeks trailers are about a grown man still living with his mom, an American man in Paris, activist Aung San Suu Kyi, a vacation that changes everything and a modern day fairytale.

Jeff, Who Lives at Home
Description: On his way to the store to buy wood glue, Jeff (Jason Segel) looks for signs from the universe to determine his path. However, a series of comedic and unexpected events leads him to cross paths with his family in the strangest of locations and circumstances. Jeff just may find the meaning of his life... and if he's lucky, pick up the wood glue as well.
Director: Jay Duplass, Mark Duplass
Starring: Jason Segel, Ed Helms, Susan Sarandon and Judy Greer
Trailer: Trailer "Jeff, Who Lives at Home"
Comment: Jason Segel is so funny!

The Woman in the Fifth
Description: An American man (Ethan Hawke) has fled to Paris in the wake of a scandal that cost him his job as a film lecturer at a small university. He takes up with a widow who might be involved in a series of murders.
Director: Pawel Pawlikowski
Starring: Ethan Hawke and Kristin Scott Thomas
Trailer: Trailer "The Woman in the Fifth"

The Lady
Description: Despite distance, long separations, and a dangerously hostile regime, the love of Aung San Suu Kyi (Michelle Yeoh) and her husband, Michael Aris (David Thewlis) last until the very end. A story of devotion and human understanding set against a background of political turmoil which continues today.
Director: Luc Besoon
Starring: Michelle Yeoh and David Thewlis
Trailer: Trailer "The Lady"
Comment: This looks stunning.

Wish You Were Here
Description: Expectant parents Alice (Felicity Price) and Dave (Joel Edgerton) join Alice's younger sister, Steph (Teresa Palmer), and her new boyfriend, Jeremy (Anthony Starr), on an impromptu tropical getaway in Cambodia. But following Jeremy's abrupt disappearance, the others must attempt to return to their normal lives in Sydney. The shell-shocked survivors' recovery begins to fall apart when a stinging truth about their time in Cambodia is revealed. The three must contend with the fallout, along with the looming threat of further revelations about that fateful night
Director: Kieran Darcy-Smith
Starring: Joel Edgerton, Teresa Palmer, Felicity Price, Antony Starr
Trailer: Trailer "Wish You Were Here"

Jack the Giant Killer
Description: An ancient war is reignited when a young farmhand unwittingly opens a gateway between our world and a fearsome race of giants. Unleashed on the Earth for the first time in centuries, the giants strive to reclaim the land they once lost, forcing the young man, Jack, into the battle of his life to stop them. Fighting for a kingdom, its people, and the love of a brave princess, he comes face to face with the unstoppable warriors he thought only existed in legends and gets the chance to become a legend himself.
Director: Brian Singer
Starring: Nicholas Hoult, Stanley Tucci, Ian McShane, Bill Nighy, Eleanor Tomlinson, Ewan McGregor
Trailer: Trailer "Jack the Giant Killer"

zaterdag 21 januari 2012

In My Mailbox (31)

My mailbox was happy three times this week. The first card I received came from Hsinchu City, Taiwan. The girl who sent me the card told me that they celebrate their new year on the 21st of january, which is today. On the card is a delicacy from her country.

Sent on: january 6th 2012
Received on: january 17th 2012
Distance: 9,468 km (5,883 miles)
Travel time: 11 days

That same day I got a card from Langenhorn, Germany. The man on the card is a famous Bollywood actor. I never heard from him, then I'm not really into Bollywood. But that doesn't mean I don't like the card.

Sent on: january 13th 2012
Received on: january 17th 2012
Distance: 387 km (240 miles)
Travel time: 4 days

This card, from Oklahoma, US is just great. it shows a map op Oklahoma and all the different Indian tribes. I really didn't know there were so many tribes. It fascinates me, especially since I read "Dances with Wolves".

Sent on: january 13th 2012
Received on: january 18th 2012
Distance: 7,871 km (4,891 miles)
Travel time: 5 days

Thanks Candy, Ute and Karen for the cards.

Best of... Jude Law

I recently saw "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows" and although I prefer Robert Downey Jr. I decided to make a best of list for Jude Law.

"The Talented Mr. Ripley"
I especially love the combination of Matt Damon and Jude Law. Damon's Ripley adores the life of Law's character Dickie Greenleaf. Just fine performances by the two men and a great story.

"Enemy at the Gates"
A gritty and realistic portrayal of one of the worst battles in the history of war. There are so many war movies, this is one of the best.

"Artificial Intelligence: A.I."
The movie is a bit odd, but it really surprised me. Haley Joel Osment as the little robot boy was deeply moving, although I think he also creeped som people out.

"Road to Perdition"
While making this list, I almost forget to put this one on it. Yes, Jude Law plays Harlen Maguire, the guy trying to kill Michael Sullivan. This is an overlooked film that didn't get the credit it deserved.

"Cold Mountain"
Not a big fan of Nicole Kidman, but that's just how much I liked Jude Law and Renee Zelweger in this film. It's a very beautiful story, an entertaining movie.

"I Heart Huckabees"
This is one of the weirdest movies I've seen. It's not a standard story and the characters are pretty strange. But because it was so freaky, I liked it even more.

Clive Owen and Natalie Portman are the true stars in this film and they're just the supporting actors. Their acting was stunning. Jude Laws performance was very solid and I liked him together with Nathalie Portman.

"The Aviator"
Jude Law is in this movie too. He plays Errol Flynn. Leonardo DiCaprio's portrayel of Howard Hughes is brilliant. Not the best Scorsese movie, but definitely worth watching.

"Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events"
I love the books, and I really liked how they brought it to life. Jude Law provides the voice-over as Lemony Snicket. Great, absurd story.

"Sherlock Holmes"
I fell in love with this movie. Like I said before, Robert Downey Jr. gets my preference. How awesome is he as Sherlock? Guy Ritchie made a great choice, also for picking Jude Law for the role of Watson. Charming as ever. And Robert had perfect chemistry with Rachel McAdams, whom I adore as well. Love this movie!

"Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows"
I can't say which of the movies is better. Watson's role in this one was a bit big bigger and more important. And I loved the scenes with the hedghog goulash and Sherlock on the horse. I seriously can't decide which one is better. Guy Ritchie did a great job, again.

Haven't see "Hugo" and "Contagion" yet. Probably will someday.

donderdag 19 januari 2012

Top 5 Thursday: Movie Character I Would Date

Off course there are some handsome actors I would date. But do you really know him? In a movie, you really get to know a character, so I made a list of movie characters I would date.

5. Mr. Darcy from “Pride & Prejudice”
This man should be on every womans list. Secretly we all dream of our own Mr.Darcy, a man with manners and respect for women.

4. Indiana Jones from “Raiders of the Lost Ark”
Off course! I love Indy, because he so adventurous and has a great sense of humour. How great would it be to go on a vacation with Indiana Jones?

3. Rob Gordon from “High Fidelity”
I know he's a bit of a douche sometimes, because certain relationship problems he didn't handle very well. But we have a lot in common. He has a passion for music and movies and he loves making lists. Well, I'm a sucker for that!

2. Tom Hannon from “(500) Days of Summer”
Tom is a very kind man, someone who enjoys the little things in life and finds beauty in the strangest places. I think I should be lucky to have him as my guy.

1. Noah Calhoun from “The Notebook”
Just like Allie, I think after meeting him I couldn't really think of any other man. He's practically perfect.

They almost made the top 5: John Grogan from “Marley & Me”, Robbie Hart from “The Wedding Singer”, John McClane from “Die Hard”, Edward Bloom from “Big Fish”, Patrick Verona from “10 Things I Hate About You” and Grigg Harris from “The Jane Austen Book Club”.

dinsdag 17 januari 2012

50 Books Challenge 2012 - # 3: The Wilderness Family by Kobie Krüger

Title: The Wilderness Family
Author: Kobie Krüger
Story: Everyone warned Kobie Krüger that being the wife of a game warden at a remote ranger station in South Africa's largest national park would be an arduous move. The heat was unbearable, malaria would be a constant danger, her husband would have to be away for long stretches, there were no schools or nearby doctors for their three daughters, and of course the area teemed with wild animals. Yet for Kobie and her family, the seventeen years at South Africa's Kruger National Park were the most magical of their lives. Now, in The Wilderness Family, Kobie recounts the enchanting adventures and extraordinary encounters they experienced in this vast reserve where wildlife has right of way.
Start: january 12th 2012
End: januari 17th 2012
Comment: My brother has been in Africa a couple of times and I love hearing and reading stories about Africa. It's such a mysterious and beautiful continent and I was really excited about reading this book. While reading the book, I actually felt like being in the wilderness myself. I wished I had their life, being surrounded by the beauty of all the wildlife every single day. Especially when they adopted Leo the lion. How great is it to raise a lion cub and prepare him for the life outside. After reading this book my dream of travelling to Africa grew even bigger. And I probably will this summer. Thanks Krüger family for sharing the great lifestory with us.
Rating: 4,5/ 5

The Many Faces of... Ryan Gosling

Ryan Gosling is off course a very handsome man, but most of all a fabulous actor. He chooses his roles very carefully and he can probably smell if a movie is going to be succesful or not. Here are some of Ryan's looks.

Face # 1: Remember the Titans
Role: Alan Bosley
Comment: How boyish. I think he didn't even have to shave yet...
Rating: 2,5/ 5

Face # 2: Murder by Numbers
Role: Richard Haywood
Comment: Still a very boyish look, but I already like him a little bit more.
Rating: 3/ 5

Face # 3: The Notebook
Role: Noah Calhoun
Comment: I would marry this guy.
Rating: 5/ 5

Face # 4: Stay
Role: Henry Letham
Comment: No... not doing it for me.
Rating: 2,5/ 5

Face # 5: Half Nelson
Role: Dan Dunne
Comment: As a teacher I wished I had him as my collegue.
Rating: 5/ 5

Face # 6: Fracture
Role: Willy Beachum
Comment: A real serious lawyer look.
Rating: 4/ 5

Face # 7: Lars and the Real Girl
Role: Lars Lindstrom
Comment: How silly, though very cute in a way.
Rating: 3/ 5

Face # 8: Blue Valentine
Role: Dean
Comment: I prefer Ryan with a beard. Makes him more... manly.
Rating: 5/ 5

Face # 9: All Good Things
Role: David Marks
Comment: Slick.
Rating: 3,5/ 5

Face # 10: Drive
Role: Driver
Comment: Sigh... Just perfect.
Rating: 5/ 5

Face # 11: Crazy Stupid Love
ROle: Jacob Palmer
Comment: Like Emma Stone says in the film, he looks like he's photoshopped. Almost to good to be true. Oh, and by the way, I'm not just looking at the face anymore.
Rating: 5/ 5

Face # 12: The Ides of March
Role: Stephen Meyers
Comment: Seriously, this guy can not look ugly, not even if he tried.
Rating: 5/ 5