Dec 26, 2012 movies and tv Comments Off
I’d heard a lot of good things about Silver Linings Playbook, and I was pleasantly surprised that it lived up to most of the hype.
Based on the novel by Matthew Quick, the story centers around Pat Solatano (Bradley Cooper), who has just been released from a mental institution. His break-down was brought on by catching his wife cheating on him, and when he gets out, he discovers not only does she not want to talk to him, but he’s also lost his job and house.
He has no choice but to move in with his parents (Jacki Weaver and a delightful Robert De Niro). Soon after, he meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), the sister-in-law of a friend, who also has spent time in a mental hospital.
The love story that results is equal parts drama and comedy, and is delightfully unconventional and even slightly messy.
Cooper does a good job as the center of this movie, but it’s his scenes with Lawrence that really make the movie. She delivers a powerful performance and practically steals every scene she’s in.
If you’re looking for a heart-warming character-driven movie, Silver Linings Playbook is a well-crafted film worth seeing.
Dec 22, 2012 movies and tv Comments Off
Jack Reacher is Tom Cruise doing what he does best in movies: high-energy fights, exciting action sequences, and snappy dialog. And that’s ok, because that’s just what makes this movie so good.
Reacher, a character from a series of books by author Lee Child, is a former military cop who has been living off the grid. After an ex-sniper is accused of opening fire on a crowd of people, Reacher shows up in Pittsburgh to find the truth.
There’s very little back story, at first. You learn about Reacher and how he fits into all of this as the film goes along, but in this film, it works.
He’s assisted by the ex-sniper’s defense attorney (Rosamund Pike), who happens to be the daughter of the prosecuting D.A. (Richard Jenkins). He also makes friends with an ex-Marine who now owns a shooting range, played wonderfully by Robert Duvall, that helps him solve the case.
Jack Reacher is a no-frills action thriller, and it’s a great one. It doesn’t try to reinvent the genre, it just does it really well.
Nov 9, 2012 travel Comments Off
One of my upcoming goals for the next few years is to hit the road and drive around the U.S., writing about places along the way.
Since some of the places I want to visit are off the beaten track, I’d love to have a vehicle big enough to sleep in but small enough to be able to drive in town and park.
I think I’ve found the perfect vehicle.
It’s called the Free Spirit SS and it’s a class of RV called the sprinter van. It’s just a little bit bigger than a cargo van, so it’s not too hard to drive in tight traffic areas like downtowns and such. However, inside, there is a fold out sofa bed, kitchenette, and even a bathroom with shower. Plus, the van is built on a Mercedes Benz chassis.
Yes, behind the driver and passenger seats (which swivel 180 degrees, by the way), is a couch that pulls out into a queen size bed. To make room for such a large bed, the couch area slides out when parked.
Opposite the couch/bed is a sliding door that also has a full screen door, so if you’re parked someplace nice, you can have the sliding door open but not be letting the bugs in. There’s also a wall-mounted flatscreen TV.
Then there is a small kitchenette with sink, 2-burner stove and small fridge. Across from that is a wall of storage – everything from drawers to a closet.
And finally, in the back, is an actual bathroom, with toilet, sink, vanity counter, and a small shower. Yup, in the middle of nowhere and I can still keep up with the hygiene.
Here’s a look at the floor plan:
The downside is that the base model starts in the low $100,000s. Of course, if I had that kind of money to spend, I would add a few modifications.
First, I’d have solar panels added to the roof, so I wouldn’t have to rely on the generator for power all the time. I’d also add a satellite for TV reception, and a stereo system.
What do you think? Doesn’t this look like a killer travel vehicle?
[images via Leisure Vans]
Nov 2, 2012 music Comments Off
I love when bands cover favorite songs in unusual ways. After all, if you’re going to take the time to redo a song, at least put your own stamp on it.
2CELLOS does just that.
From their upcoming new album, IN2ITION, Croatian cellists Luka Sulic and Stjepan Hauser, known collectively as 2CELLOS, offer fresh takes on classic songs like Fleetwood Mac’s “Oh, Well” (feat. Elton John), Prodigy’s “Voodoo People,” and Coldplay’s “Clocks” (feat. Lang Lang).
The newest video from the CD is an instrumental cover of AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell,” featuring legendary guitarist Steve Vai. I love this version of the song, and the video has a good energy to it.
Take a look:
Disney and Lucasfilm have worked together in the past, most notably on the Star Tours attractions at its Disney theme parks. But with this agreement, Disney will wholly own Lucasfilm and everything to do with the Star Wars universe.
“For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next,” said George Lucas, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Lucasfilm. “It’s now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers. I’ve always believed that Star Wars could live beyond me, and I thought it was important to set up the transition during my lifetime.”
Kathleen Kennedy, current Co-Chairman of Lucasfilm, will become President of Lucasfilm, reporting to Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn. She will also serve as the brand manager for everything Star Wars, and executive producer on new Star Wars feature films, with Lucas serving as creative consultant.
The first major project lined up with Lucasfilm now under Disney will be Star Wars Episode 7, set for a 2015 release. This is the first film in the last of Lucas’ Star Wars trilogy.
Worth noting is that Marvel, which was also acquired by Disney, has scheduled the film Avengers 2 for release in 2015, as well.
“Lucasfilm reflects the extraordinary passion, vision, and storytelling of its founder, George Lucas,” said Robert A. Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company. “This transaction combines a world-class portfolio of content including Star Wars, one of the greatest family entertainment franchises of all time, with Disney’s unique and unparalleled creativity across multiple platforms, businesses, and markets to generate sustained growth and drive significant long-term value.”
Oct 23, 2012 movies and tv Comments Off
As you may know, I’m a huge fan of Robert Downey, Jr, and this week, Marvel released the first trailer for the upcoming film, Iron Man 3. Here it is, if you haven’t seen it (or are like me and just want to see it again):
It looks to be a more intense Iron Man movie. Tony Stark (Downey) has been changed by his experiences, including the events in The Avengers. He has more worries now, and more enemies.
The trailer explains that he’s haunted by nightmares and worries about protecting “the one thing I can’t live without” – which would be Pepper (Gwyneth Paltrow).
On board as the villain is Ben Kingsley as Mandarin. I love what he does with his voice, by lowering the timbre and accenting certain letters like “r” – very menacing sounding.