Recommendations Month Recap!

March 31st is finally around and usually I’d take this day to wrap up and catch up and all but apparently choosing March was a pretty bad idea.  I didn’t get as much as I’d like done but I did manage to give out a good amount of mentions especially when it was multiple bloggers in one recommendation.

If you happened to have missed it, here is the complete recap in order.  You can also find my recommendations page with the previous year’s and updated with this year’s recaps.  Feel free to drop by and read some reviews if you’d like 🙂 I’ll link it right HERE!

juli and julia posterprelude to a kiss posternorth and south poster

beautiful girls posterpredators 2010 posterin bruges poster

1) North & South (TV miniseries 2004)

2) Prelude to a Kiss (1992)

3) Julie & Julia (2009)

4) Predators (2010)

5) Beautiful Girls (1996)

6) Parental Guidance (2012)

7) The Sex of the Angels (2012)

8) An Affair to Remember (1957)

9) In Bruges (2008)

10) Sound of My Voice (2012)

Those are the movie recommendations, and I added on a recap of readings (which was less than expected) earlier:

11) Minutes Before Sunset (The Timely Death #1) by Shannon A. Thompson

12) The City of Worms (Everville #2) by Roy Huff

You can see that post HERE!

Along with a little shoutout earlier for a visit around Montreal (which was supposed to be a vlog) in form of pictures.

Olympic Stadium

Olympic Stadium

13) Visit to Olympic Stadium

There you go! Those were the recommendations/suggestions that I went through this month.

Thanks to all those that directly or indirectly encouraged me to watch these movies.  I know that I’ll be doing another one near the end of the year as I organize myself a bit more and compile the list better 🙂

With that said, drop by and comment, email or tweet me suggestions! I’m always up for more 🙂 It may not be in recommendations month that I watch it sometimes, but I will always give the mention!

Beautiful Girls (1996)

Bouncing back to a more recent recommendations from MovieRob, he suggested I watch Beautiful Girls and another one that I’m still looking for.  Luckily Netflix had Beautiful Girls so here we are! I’ve been following Rob fairly recently and he does amazing reviews and he has a side project of currently reviewins Oscar Best Acting Winners and the respective movies. You should definitely go check it out!

beautiful girls posterDirector: Ted Demme

Cast: Matt Dillon, Timothy Hutton, Noah Emmerich, Lauren Holly, Annabeth Gish, Rosie O’Donnell, Max Perlich, Natalie Portman, Uma Thurman, Michael Rapaport, Mira Sorvino

New York City piano player Willie (Timothy Hutton) heads back home for his high school reunion.  Being with his friends and in his old surroundings, while at the going away to think about the crossroads of his life, career and relationship, he sees that nothing has changed much for his friends who stayed at home. They still have the mentality of when they were in high school and each has their own personal struggles to work out as they all face growing up; making the responsible choices.

Beautiful Girls is a thoughtful movie, possibly more geared towards men as they struggle between the idea of growing up and growing old.  Its pretty refreshing because we rarely get the view of men in this phase and a lot of movies like this are more formed in chick flicks geared towards women.  There’s a lot to love about this movie, especially the cast and character development.

beautiful girls natalie portman timothy hutton

I’m not going to say I understand men very well.  I’m happy most days I somewhat understand the logic of what my boyfriend does.  Its a never-ending process.  This movie was special in that way because I’m not saying that men ALL go through the same thing because that would be unfair but this was a nice way to see things. Giving each of these guys, mostly 4 of them, a bigger, more focused story meshed with the women in their life in a rather balanced way was a good thing.  I understood a bit more of the characters: Willie (Timothy Hutton), Tommy (Matt Dillon) and Paul (Michael Rapaport) while Mo (Noah Emmerich) had a more solid life set so he was something of a guiding light along with some of the other sub characters.  It was a very subconscious thing but even though a lot of their mentality seemed off to me, along the way I grew to connect in a way where I wanted them to do the “right” thing.

beautiful girls uma thurman

Other than the guys having a good impact, they needed some ladies that could match up to them.  One of the most intriguing one was Uma Thurman’s appearance as Andera.  She was a beautiful girl that they all were attracted to.  The beautiful thing that was also so understanding and for many of them, she also was helpful in an enlightening way.  Another one that I liked was the young Natalie Portman who had sudden and oddly deep but simple conversations with Willie and in many ways, made him understand a few things and question his life.  Another character that was funny was Rosie O’Donnell’s supporting character, especially when she talked about the unrealistic portrayal of women.

beautiful girls matt dillon

Beautiful Girls was great not only for its characters but it had a really awesome soundtrack.  If you’ve seen this, one of my favorite feel good moments was when they all were together and starting singing Sweet Caroline. Its full of these fun moments but was also thoughtful and engaging.  Its a side we rarely see in men and just the thoughts that might go through their heads as in a way, they shift their vision of women as they get older.  The longing to not grow old but also to not grow up.  Thats one of my favorite conversations in this movie where Mo and Willie talk about this exact thing of his “attraction” to Natalie Portman’s Marty as a way of showing that he didn’t want to grow old and Mo says its his way of not wanting to grow up.  See, Mo = enlightening 😉

The essence of the movie really is in this ramble from Michael Rapaport when he goes on about “beautiful girls”:

Supermodels are beautiful girls, Will. A beautiful girl can make you dizzy, like you’ve been drinking Jack and Coke all morning. She can make you feel high full of the single greatest commodity known to man – promise. Promise of a better day. Promise of a greater hope. Promise of a new tomorrow. This particular aura can be found in the gait of a beautiful girl. In her smile, in her soul, the way she makes every rotten little thing about life seem like it’s going to be okay. The supermodels, Willy? That’s all they are. Bottled promise. Scenes from a brand new day. Hope dancing in stiletto heels.-taken from IMDB

With that said, I have no idea how I’ve never heard of Beautiful Girls.  Its a pretty awesome movie.  Great soundtrack, thoughtful characters and packed with a nice pace and a few feel good moments.  Its fun and fantastic! I totally recommend you to watch this!

Thanks again to Rob for introducing this to me! He is as awesome as this movie and you have to check out his site.  I linked it on top with his blog name! 🙂

Julie & Julia (2009)

Next up in recommendations is from a lovely blogger, Livonne.  She is a fabulous photographer and writes amazing posts.  I totally love hanging out at her blog and if you haven’t been there, well, lets just say you are missing out and you should!! I’ll give you a some time to head over there to follow her and check out what she does.

Ready? Well, she suggested to me to watch Julie & Julia.  Funny enough, I’ve read the book but never actually finished watching the movie entirely.  I mean, whats wrong with me, right? Its literally a movie about EVERYTHING I love and honestly, it (the book) has a bit to do with why I even considered blogging in the first place.  Cooking, blogging, eating, Amy Adams and Meryl Streep and add in a bit of Stanley Tucci and a dash of Jane Lynch: count me in on that one!

Wait wait, I’m getting ahead of myself! A little synopsis, shall we?

juli and julia posterDirector: Nora Ephron

Cast: Amy Adams, Meryl Streep, Stanley Tucci, Chris Messina, Jane Lynch, Linda Emond

Julie Powell (Amy Adams) is a government worker who moves to Queen’s because of her husband ‘s (Chris Messina) job and aspires to be a writer and with her passion for cooking, she decides to take 365 days to cook through the 524 recipes in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  Back in the day, Julia Child’s (Meryl Streep) life unravels somewhat similarly when she moves to France because her husband (Stanley Tucci) is sent there to work at the American embassy.  She decides to learn French cooking and eventually after meeting certain people decide to publish a book geared towards teaching servantless American woman to cook. 

julie and julia joy

Julie & Julia, the book, was a unique reading experience.  It was fun and light-hearted and so inspiring because you know what it is.  We all hit a bit of road bumps and sometimes the little turns and bends down the unexpected and spontaneous roads become experiences that turn out to be more rewarding than we imagine, not just in the sense of career but a self-satisfaction and a personal journey to learn more about ourselves.  At least thats why I love blogging, I just can’t help but wonder if sometimes I become self-absorbed although I try my very best to balance my life as much as I can..

julie and julia with jane lynch

Back now to the movie, Meryl Streep gives a charistmatic performance.  She’s fun to watch as the clever and witty Julia Child.  There’s something so lovable about her character.  She’s cooking and watching those little snippets of her teaching cooking and I wanted to go pick up her book and cook it also, but then, I don’t think my rather lactose-intolerant/sensitive stomach could take so much butter and cream and fat.  Its just so inspiring.  Thats whats great about this adaptation because it manages to re-enact the light-heartedness with a hint of comedy.

Amy Adams as "Julie Powell" in Columbia Pictures' JULIE & JULIA.

Comedy is not so much in Meryl Streep, except for her witty dialogue but rather in Amy Adams’s Julie Powell portrayal. She’s the modern person and for me, I felt like I could relate to her.  Other than that inner journey that I talked about in terms of blogging, it had to do with that whole learning new cooking skills, especially the lobster part.  Amy Adams is just a lovable and adorable actress and she can handle a range of emotions from bubbly to full-on crazy meltdown.

Julie & Julia is a fun and entertaining trip especially for foodies.  Its funny and entertaining and also inspiring.  Being a blogger, we understand the world of being a blogger and the whole journey of being dedicated to it and finding a balance between this life and our own life not in front of the computer.  The whole doing something not related to work or that we’re passionate about and sharing it with the part of the online community that has similar interests.  I liked this movie a lot and it really made me feel really good afterwards. It injected me with a dose of well-needed energy and motivation. I guess thats why I’m typing up this well past my bedtime. So I’ll stop now and say, do watch this.  Its a really good one 🙂

Thanks to Livonne for bringing this one up.  It gave me the push to watch the full movie and fully appreciate it for its awesomeness! 🙂 Remember to check out her blog!

Have you seen Julie & Julia? What are your favorite roles of Amy Adams and/or Meryl Streep? Are there other movies related to cooking that you’d recommend?

Montreal en Lumiere: Biodome, Planetarium and Olympic Stadium!

Last Saturday was the Nuit Blanche for the Montreal en Lumiere.  Otherwise called Festival of Lights! If you missed my weekend post, March 1st 6 years ago at this same event was when my relationship with my boyfriend started.  Seeing as it had such a deep meaning to us, we emptied out our schedule and had a night out to celebrate! Usually, most festivities happen in different areas of downtown, especially in Old Montreal but we decided that we wanted to go check out the Olympic Stadium area.

There were a few things there that attracted us!


Das Food Truck

Our dinner: Das Food Truck

Das Food Truck

Fries Cone with Chicken Schnitzel

I’m a really simple person.  I mean, our first date was going to do a delicious diner.  For me, its not about how expensive a meal is but holding good company and for us, even though it was ridiculously cold to be eating outside and the food was cooling down faster than I could stuff it into my mouth, it still was really good and the experience was so awesome.  I’d definitely be scouting out more food trucks when the weather gets warmer 🙂


Penguins Biodome

Penguins in the early evening

Penguins Biodome

Penguins at night along with flurries

For the festival, Biodome (which I’ll talk about soon) took some of their penguins and let them wander outside in a little area.  They gave little informative speech about the penguins and their habitats, behaviors, etc. My mom just went to see King Penguins in Antarctica for $8000CAD or something.  Its not the same thing but I can’t dish out that amount yet so I’m very pleased with my free admission of seeing 5 (or 6) little penguins in the open air 🙂 Look at them! Aren’t they adorable?


Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium

Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium

Planetarium Exhibit: EXO

Planetarium Exhibit: EXO

Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium

Artsy picture of the interior design of Planetarium

The Montreal Planetarium used to be situated in downtown.  Actually you can still see the sad structure there because no one wants it anymore but after Rio Tinto Alcan funded it and revamped it into this area with some awesome interactive technology on the walls.  You can see it on the top picture with lights and everything. This time, the exhibits were cheaper than a normal day so my boyfriend and I both bought the combo tickets for both Planetarium shows + exhibit and the Biodome. They use Apple computers now to control the lights and they put the old projector on display in the basement.  The show includes two segments: one is called the sky of San Francisco, which is educational and you learn about star gazing and seeing constellations across the sky.  I was super tired and the whole leaning back in a calm atmosphere made me fall asleep so I can’t say that I can give you much insight on it because I watched only half then dozed off for the next 10 minutes….sorry *blush*!

BUT…the second show was much more original and super awesome called Continuum.  It was like moving from a calm lake with forest and fireflies around and then going layers and layers up into space with asteroids, black holes, planets, and then coming back with all the sounds and effects. It was really awesome! Now, that one was worth the ticket price! 🙂 It was mesmerizing, pretty and at times, intense!  If you come to Montreal, I’d definitely recommend going to check that out!


I’ve always loved the Biodome even though I know where everything is.  Its different being there at night because for the Festival of Lights, they kept the atmosphere with dimmed lights for the animals living there, to not turn their living habitat upside down and incorporated a little mystery story where we had to listen to clues from witness and suspects of the Biodome worker that was killed and at the same time, find the vanished animals hidden in the dark. At the end, you made a choice and looked at the answer.  My boyfriend said that he was going to choose the last person he heard in the story and you know what? He guessed it right!! That was super hilarious!

As for Biodome, as much as I love it in the day because its easier to take pictures of ALL the animals, these pictures were the ones that turned out better.  I’m still learning about night shooting and being sandwiched between lots of people is not the easiest to do it so I tried my best.  Some shots, I was very happy with, others, not so much.  Still, it was a very unique experience.  The animals I usually saw sleeping was awake and the others was, like the alligator was wondering if it was a log or an animal until we got relatively closer along the walkway, plus the Capybara was actually awake.  A lot of the animals were sleeping so they were hidden in their dens.  Still, it was pretty cool 🙂 Another place, I’d recommend if you ever visited Montreal!


Olympic Stadium

Olympic Stadium

As much as the Olympic Stadium is a joke in Montreal because it costs more to tear down than to keep it under maintenance, (especially with its constantly toppling roof which seems better in the recent years).  It is a beautiful structure and reminds us of how the city was revamped for the Olympics 1976.  I’m rarely in this area at night and standing right next to the stadium on top of that so I admire it for what it is.

Olympic Stadium

Olympic Stadium

In honor of recommendations month, I’d like to give mention to fellow blogger  Jack Flacco because he had asked for a vlog at the Olympic Stadium, which I was going to do until there was too many people around me and I chickened out. So I piled it up in photographs 🙂 Hope he’ll be happy with that. He (or anyone else) is free to suggest other locations to do a vlog.  I’m way overdue for one (since the last I did one was in July, I think). As for Jack, you need to check out his awesome blog that talks a lot about zombie-related subjects and I love his Women Who Wow Wednesday, plus last year he launched his first book called Ranger Martin and the Zombie Apocalypse that I reviewed right HERE!  In short, if you like Zombieland style stories with a group of people fighting for survival, then this book is for you! I loved it! 🙂

Have you been to Olympic Stadium/Biodome/Planetarium? How about Montreal? If you  have, any  memories? If not, what places have you heard of in Montreal?

North & South (TV mini-series 2004)

Kicking off the first recommendation is from Ruth at Flixchatter who introduced me not only to the handsome and charming Richard Armitage.  You should click on the link for her up there because she did a fabulous post on him as a birthday tribute 😉 She also suggested for me to check out North & South.  Luckily I had already put it in on my list in Netflix and gave it a watch.  I thought it would be longer but this 4 episode TV mini series took me one evening to finish.  Lets check it out! 🙂

north and south posterCast: Daniela Denby-Ashe, Richard Armitage, Tim Pigott-Smith, Sinead Cusack, Brendan Coyle, Anna Maxwell Martin

North and South is a four part adaptation of Elizabeth Gaskell’s love story of Margaret Hale, a middle class southerner who is forced to move to the northern town of Milton.- IMDB

Just to put it out there first, I’ve never read the Elizabeth Gaskell novel but its in my to-read after I saw this.  Although, I’m not exactly sure you need it to appreciate this.

North & South is easily one of the best TV mini-series I’ve watched.  The story was great and the characters was awesome.  It reminded me a bit of  Pride and Prejudice actually.  It had sweeping music and the atmosphere was fabulous.  Thats BBC, right? The scenes were done so well, starting with the cotton flying around as Margaret discovers who this Mr. Thornton is.

Elisabeth Gaskell´s North & South

I always love to talk about the characters and Margaret Hale, played by Daniela Denby-Ashe threw me a bit off on the choice of her when the series first started.  She has this very simple-minded nature and very easily to form her opinions, which does change as the series goes on, especially when dealing with Mr. Thornton.  However, we always know that her intentions are always good, just sometimes when she doesn’t know the whole situation, maybe its not exactly as she thought it was. This is what makes conflict and interaction, right? She reflected her character as she should to match the other more intense characters.

north and south mr. thornton

This leads us to who she’s *almost* always against and uses harsh words with, Mr. Thornton, played by Richard Armitage. Okay, give me a moment to breathe, ok? I had the hardest time not giggling searching up a picture to use for this.  That man up there is just too handsome, charming, and especially brooding in North & South as Mr. Thornton. Mr. Thornton may be a bit easily frustrated but you can see in his eyes, his admiration for Margaret and most of the time, I felt like he wanted her to understand him but it was like she never did and he would get hurt and then he’d become defensive.  The chemistry  he had with Magaret Hale was just awesome.  If not, the best I’ve ever seen.  I love you, Richard Armitage 🙂

north and south 1

Aside from the main characters, the rest of the cast was equally great in supporting the story.  Sinead Cusack who played Mr. Thornton’s mother was so great at being the protective mother who wanted tot he best for her son and felt that no one truly deserved him in a way.  The confidence and the care but yet her strong nature towards upholding his business and trying hard to help him out was all wrapped up in her solid performance.  Another character very much worthy of mention was Brendan Coyle as the leader of the union who carries out the strike for a better tomorrow for the cotton factory workers to get more benefits.  He made a lot of the situations very intense.

ns look back at me

Overall, North & South was just great! I totally recommend it and honestly, I wanted to just say that everything was awesome and go see it and end it there, but I figured that would be too short 😉 Its romantic, Richard Armitage is handsome, the chemistry is great and there’s some intense situations also plus it has solid performances from everyone in the cast.  Its a fantastic mini-series which only takes 4 hours of your life.

A MEGA HUGE THANK YOU to Ruth for  urging me to watch this because it was just amazing 🙂 Remember to go check out her absolutely fun blog!

Have you seen North & South? What do you think of Richard Armitage? Are there any TV mini-series that you enjoy?

What Have YOU Suggested/Recommended?


oh my god

Honestly, thats all I really have to say! I’ve mentioned on multiple weekend posts but I felt it was fair to do it on a weekday post since not everyone goes online on the weekends 😉 Plus, I’m SUPER excited!!!

Last August when I wrapped up Recommendations month, a few of you said it’d be a good idea to do another one.  Well, here it is! 🙂

Well, I have more than enough recommendations to fill up a good bit, it was just a matter of compiling the ongoing list with the ones readily available on Netflix or my unseen pile of DVDs or Blu rays.

I already have some movies, a piano cover and a book review all lined up.  Now, if you have anything you’d like to add, I always welcome more and I encourage comments.  Maybe you have something you’d like to suggest, a personal fave, or even something you think is underrated.  If its on Netflix, its even better 😉 Just saying!

I’m opening up my options this time to anything I cover.  If there’s something in Montreal, you’ve always wanted to see, tell me…I’ll go and take a nice photo of it, make a little event page.  Hey, you might tell me something  I never knew was so memorable…who knows, right?

Or maybe there’s something, baked goods, that you’d like to challenge me to make.  I love baking challenges! I actually wouldn’t mind a few more of those 🙂

Even if you want me to write about something or talk about something in a vlog, hey, I’d do that too! Granted that might be limited to one because those things are super long because I’m picky and film and refilm and refilm and edit and more editing…

Maybe you don’t even remember dropping me a film title in a comment somewhere, and you’ll be surprised by my review, because I’ve fine combed through all the comments to look for everything starting from beginning of 2012!

Last time, I learned that you all have wonderful taste in movies and I think some of you know me pretty well because I enjoyed 90% of the movies I reviewed. I’m hoping to visit some more awesome movies!

Drop by! Have fun! Leave me even more suggestions! Visit some new blogs! 🙂

Recommendations Round-up!

After exactly a month of August/September Recommendations month, I’ve managed to go through 15 movie recommendations and 2 book reviews from fellow bloggers and given them some credit.

In case you missed some of them, here is the entire list.

1) Dirty Dancing

2) Tai Chi Zero

3) The Descent

4) Forgetting Sarah Marshall

5) The Killer Inside Me

6) Romancing the Stone

7) Best Laid Plans

8) Say Anything

9) Kai Po Che!

10) Upside Down

11) Raising Arizona

12) Shaun of the Dead

13) The Jewel of the Nile

14) Sixteen Candles

15) Jab We Met

Along with the two e-books

16) A Woman Lost by T.B. Markinson

17) The First Pillar (Everville #1) by Roy  Huff

I had lots of fun with this! Did you?

It was an eye-opening experience and I actually was exposed to a lot of movies that I probably wouldn’t have watched otherwise.  Learned about the existence of Jake Ryan and Lloyd Dobler, Casey Affleck and his act of being a crazy guy, a world with opposite gravity, plans gone wrong, a claustrophic cave experience, adventures with jungle man and famous author, both inspiring and/or romantic Bollywood flicks, even had some zombies thrown in the mix.  I’d say it was a very colorful month 🙂

I certainly am thinking of doing this again but with a lot more advanced preparation to get recommended movies together instead of winging it day by day.  Plus, I only managed to mention to a small fraction of bloggers and I want to let everyone know about all of YOU 🙂

Remember to drop me more recommendations after reviews and if you have published a book, I’d love to include it in to share your work.  If you also want to recommend books, I’m totally down for that also!

Would you want me to do another recommendations month? Tell me what you thought about it: suggestions, comments, maybe a different way to set it up?