Double Feature: Arrival (2016) & The Burrowers (2008)

After some pondering, I’ve decided that I’d like to go back to double features. The only exceptions, which are quite a few, will be theatre viewings, festival screenings, screeners, Disney and Hong Kong film reviews.

The first double feature to kick off the year are back to somewhat of a alphabetical order formula. Hopefully this time, I’ll get through the alphabet a second round although I can already see it being double featured somewhat scattered as there is at least one Disney title in between. I’ve been meaning to watch Arrival forever and it finally landed on Netflix and then as I try to get through a lot of the titles I’d like to watch on Shudder, my husband chose The Burrowers.

Let’s check it out!

Arrival (2016)

arrival

Director: Denis Villeneuve

Cast: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker, Michael Stuhlbarg, Mark O’Brien, Tzi Ma

When twelve mysterious spacecrafts appear around the world, linguistics professor Louise Banks is tasked with interpreting the language of the apparent alien visitors. – IMDB

I always end up slapping myself everything I finish up a Denis Villeneuve as to why it took me so long to catch up with his film. Although, I’ve seen more of his films before he broke out in Hollywood which are also titles that I always suggest everyone to watch. Arrival is a breathtaking experience, both in its story telling execution and its character development as well as the cinematography and the setting (in the beautiful province of Quebec more rural areas).

Let’s start with the cast. The main players is Amy Adams who plays Louise Banks. She is fantastic as she is not only smart but also incredibly sensitive as a character that always gets questioned for her risky approach and dedication and fascination of deciphering this alien language and her defense of the situation. There is a level of obsession as she is constantly surrounded by the symbols that she is given as she dives into learning the language. Playing opposite here is Jeremy Renner who is more of the scientist of the operation who is fascinated not only by the situation but seemingly more so by Amy Adams character here and rightfully so. He defends and supports a lot of her decisions. Playing the Colonel, who pretty much runs the operation here is Forest Whitaker who is amazing as always. To be fair, Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker are all actors that I absolutely enjoy watching so Arrival already had the winning cast for myself.

With Denis Villeneuve at the helm of this, there is always a darker atmosphere here. The urgency of the situation and the threatened environment of the world is definitely a selling point here as it feels quite authentic if the world were to have 12 alien spaceships land in 12 difference places how everyone would react. However, as the story unfolds and Louise Banks figures out the linguistics of it all, we also get brought into the world of what this all is about and to avoid any spoiler territory, it is a thought – provoking and meaningful sort of ending. Arrival is a definitely a must-watch!

The Burrowers (2008)

The Burrowers

Director (and writer) J.T. Petty

Cast: Clancy Brown, David Busse, William Mapother, Jocelin Donahue, Karl Geary, Doug Hutchison, Laura Leighton

In the Wild West a rescue party sets out to find a family of settlers that has vanished from their home under mysterious circumstances. – IMDB

We’re huge fans of monster movies. Tremors is a hit at our house and The Burrowers honestly reminded us a bit of that when we were just looking at the poster. However, The Burrowers is a rather Western style horror film as it is centers itself around a feud between the Americans and their prejudice thoughts on the Amerindians being involved all the deaths and disappearances happening. For that reason, it does sometimes feel like the movie forgets what its trying to do. It does do a good job at the hatred between certain characters towards the Native Americans  and while the story wants to use that as well to drop the little clues here and there to show what The Burrowers are actually and their goal, at point, it goes so slow that it seems to lose its momentum and heads directly into the boring spot more frequent than I’d like.

To be fair, I’m not one to pick at slower paced films. However, The Burrowers seems to be just a lackluster experience. Somehow, I ended up being more affected by the brutality and the depth of the hatred and the actions of a certain character towards Amerindians than actually the threat of The Burrowers themselves. The idea of The Burrowers was a good villain when the whole story pieced together however, the execution of the story itself just didn’t work for me.

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?

Oscars 2014!

Wow! Two years in a row I watch this! Sometimes, I wonder why I do it since I saw 3 movies that was nominated through all the categories.  Shameful as I’m building a blog that getting more and more focused in that area.  I’m going to try harder this year, thats all I can promise!

Back to the biggest night of Hollywood! My boyfriend was finishing up a movie so I lost a bit of the red carpet action, still, I caught most of the outfits as I did watch the whole Oscars and even used commercial breaks to check out tweets! I have to say that I’m a huge fan of Ellen so I loved her quite a bit! I mean, she crashed Twitter with that crazily retweeted selfie? Did that actually happen? AND she ordered pizza, which was super hilarious! 🙂

Moving along…I did it last year and I’ll do it again!

My favorite dresses at the Oscars last night! (Top 5 because I couldn’t pick 3 *ahem*)

Cate Blanchette

Cate Blanchette

Lupita Nyong'o

Lupita Nyong’o

Sandra Bullock

Sandra Bullock

Charlize Theron

Charlize Theron

Emma Watson

Emma Watson

Cate Blanchett oozes elegance, at least to me, she’s the symbol of it.  No one quite does it like her! And I’m totally loving the blue shades on Lupita Nyong’o and Sandra Bullock along with the design, simple but so pretty 🙂 Charlize Theron was just stunning (especially when she was presenting next to Chris Hemsworth). And Emma Watson knows how to choose her clothes.  I’d love to mention Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence and Anna Kendrick’s dresses. They were super beautiful too!!

Last year I didn’t do the men but they were so handsome!

Matthew McConaughey

Matthew McConaughey

chris hemsworth oscars

Chris Hemsworth

Will Smith

Will Smith

Bradley Cooper

Bradley Cooper

Matthew McConaughey was totally charming in his suit. Chris Hemsworth was hot in his burgundy.  Will Smith was looking pretty good and Bradley Cooper surprisingly took my breath away in his suit 🙂

The best speeches of the night goes out to these two awesome people!

matthew mcconaughey speech

Matthew McConaughey’s speech was really meaningful and encouraging. He thanked his belief and faith, his family and his future self.  That blew my mind! This man was already awesome in my book and think he just went even higher!

lupita nyong'o speech

Before Matthew McConaughey got his award, her award seemed like the absolute best.  It was completely heartfelt and so meaningful.  I mean reminding children from everywhere that their dreams are valid (paraphrasing her words, of course), is just beautiful!

Aside from actual on-spot live speeches, I feel the Governor Awards is worth a mention because I was totally happy about Angela Lansbury getting it.

angela lansbury

Bedknobs and Broomsticks was so fun! She’s awesome! I was very happy to see this!

angelina jolie humanitarian award

Aside from her, we have Angelina Jolie that I have to give a mention because I was never a huge fan of hers but her speech was very touching and she’s done some pretty awesome work.  Impressive, right?

Last thing I’m going to talk about is for the songs.  They were all pretty good performances, no? Frozen totally deserved it and Idina Menzel blew me away as always.  She has a monster voice! BUT, the show was hit off on a very positive note with Pharrell Williams performing Happy and dancing with some of the ladies. This right here:

amy-adams-dance

My girl crush on Amy Adams just grew a little (okay okay, maybe a lot)! 🙂

I’ve held you all up too much now so I’ll stop here!

Did you watch the Oscars? Who was the best dressed? Which speech stole the night? Were there any surprise wins?

Valentine’s Special: Last Minute Mish-Mash!

I’m having technical difficulties with posting up the normal specials I do, usually a piano cover.  I will try to still get one in before midnight EST :).

I sat around thinking about it and realized that I could just do a mish mash of some stuff I feature here. Maybe invite you to check out some past posts and tell you a bit of some more stuff. Lets get the formality out of the way!

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!!!

One of the growing and developing segments is the movie section.  Of course, you can head over and check out this year’s theme: Nicholas Sparks marathon.  I even reviewed a few other romantic comedies to help with the mix. You just need to head over to the Valentine’s marathon up in the menu under movies 🙂 HERE‘s the link the page if you’d like to get quick access to this year and last year’s Valentine marathon picks.

I always like to do lists for any events and I’ve done a romantic comedy lists in the past already HERE!

Movies that I know aren’t good but I love to watch

a cinderella story posterjohn tucker must die postermonte carlo poster

If you dropped by my place, I would NEVER admit that I actually like it.  I’ve probably only admitted it to my boyfriend but thats because he witnesses me watching these once in a while.  They aren’t great but there is a fun aspect to it.  Most people probably will hate it and its totally dumb teen flicks but everyone has an appealing factor. For me, the likes of these female leads were enough to make it enjoyable.

Nicholas Sparks Quotes

the lucky one quote

love is fragile last song

a walk to remember like the wind

safe haven no safer place

TAKE A LOT OF PICTURES

the lucky one kissed

If its anything you learn reading and watching Nicholas Sparks books and movies, you know they have some really romantic lovey dovey quotes.  You know which ones I’m talking about.  Those that if my boyfriend said it to me, I’d well up with tears holding back my laugh.  I’m romantic but these things only work in movies.  I mean that last quote especially.  I’m seriously, even when Zac Efron said it, I laughed out loud.

My TV Guy Crushes (or I know from TV)

Ian Somerhalder
(Damon in Vampire Diaries)

Ian somerhalder

Alex Skarsgard
(Eric in True Blood)

alex skarsgard

Alex O’Loughlin
(from Moonlight & Hawaii Five O)

alex o'loughlin

Colin O’Donoghue
(Captain Hook in Once Upon a Time)

colin o'donoghue

Top Girl Crushes

Emma Stone

emma stone

Zooey Deschanel

zooey deschanel

Kate Winslet

kate winslet

Amy Adams

amy adams

After doing that, my brain has momentarily stopped on heavy thinking.  For the girl crushes, I had so many but these are the most recent 🙂 They are all sweethearts in their own way and just so awesome!

I’ll leave you with some music and videos to leave a warm lovely feeling in your hearts, hopefully.

1) Disney’s Declaration of Love 🙂

2) Jackie Cheung- Love You More Every Day

3) Leehom Wang- A Simple Song

I actually  had done this song with karaoke but it had some third party issue that youtube alerted me when I uploaded it so to avoid problem, I just removed it.  Maybe if I get the piano I’ll do that.  I wouldn’t feel comfortable doing just me singing but the lyrics are lovely.

I’ll try to translate the lyrics here:

This world is complicated, it twists the words I want to say. I don’t understand complicated cultures. What kind of present will make you remember forever? Let happiness not leave so quickly.

Clouds and sky, butterflies and flowers, they never need to say anything.  It cannot break the connection and will always miss each other. Sing love songs and say love quotes, I only want you to hear clearly, I love you, this is the only thing I want to say.

Chorus: I write a simple song, to make you happy.  Love is a river and its unavoidable that we will hit road bumps. This simple song is nothing special, just like me, so normal but profound.

I keep thinking of how to let you see all my good, but I forgot to smile to you regularly.  What I’ve lost and forgot, I will try to make up for it.  You are my most precious treasure.

I’ve been into the Chinese music phase these days *blush*.  Hope you like it!

Since my plans for this didn’t turn out as I had wanted, here’s to make up for that. I’ll try to see if I can get something that I originally planned 🙂

This is going up pretty late so a lot of you have passed Valentine’s Day (you know, time zone differences).  Hope all of you had a wonderful Valentine’s Day!

Happy Valentine’s Day my lovelies!

Leap Year (2010)

Who likes Amy Adams? I think she’s a super pretty and elegant actress! I first saw her in Enchanted and thought she was adorable! Then, after this one a year or two ago, I learned about Matthew Goode who is a pretty decent actor himself! Plus, he proved he could make awesome movies in any sort of character like in The Lookout and I’m about to watch Stoker (which I recently bought).

leap year posterDirector: Anand Tucker

Cast: Amy Adams, Matthew Goode, Adam Scott, John Lithgow, Tony Rohr

Anna (Amy Adams) and Jeremy (Adam Scott) are getting ready to get one of the most pretigious apartments Davenport in Boston.  Anna is a stager for realtors to transform the apartments to make them presentable and impressive to encourage buyers while Jeremy is a doctor.  When Jeremy has to head over to Dublin for a work conference, she decides to fly over on leap year to propose to him because the tradition is that he will have to accept her proposal.  However, due to a big storm and her flight is rerouted, she ends up in Dingle where she requests the help of a rude innkeeper Declan (Matthew Goode) to lead the way. This Irish man challenges and surprises her and breaks her out of her plans and being fully in control of everything and makes her question if her decision to get married were right.

leap year castle

This is a pretty average romantic comedy.  However, romantic comedies are essentially to dish out all the corny plots and silly lines and build up this simple story of romance that can happen when you least expect it.  Thats all I ever expect out of this.  One of the reasons I love to watch this movie is for the setting.  Ireland is beautiful.  Is it actually filmed in Ireland? I have no idea, maybe someone can help me, but man, so gorgeous to look at.

Leap Year

Second reason I love to watch this is for Amy Adams.  She has this on screen charm that makes all the movies she’s in shine a little more.  In this one, she’s fantastic at the controlling and slightly arrogant Anna who shields herself from any surprises in her life because she doesn’t really have much faith.  However, she is casted opposite Matthew Goode.  This is actually the first flick I ever saw him in.  Recently, he’s been on my radar as a really bad bad guy, if you get what I mean, in The Lookout! It made me want to go back to relive this movie where he plays this sarcastic and bitter unromantic guy who was hurt by love before.  Very different character in the two movies.  Amy Adams and Matthew Goode really had awesome chemistry and some of their lines seriously made me laugh.

leap year declan

Honestly, I rewatched this movie to help myself write this review.  Its a romantic comedy that you don’t really have to expect too much from.  If you want to just sit back and relax and watch an alright flick, this is it.  You can see Amy Adams and Matthew Goode charm the screen with their chemistry as their characters. You can enjoy breathtaking Ireland scenery (to replace going on vacation).  The story is predictable but still, its an decent concept.  Average is how I would describe it.  I’ve seen a lot better and I’ve seen much much much worse 😉

Amy Adams is who I want to talk about! She’s been about the recent movies these days? Whats a role you really enjoyed her in? Do you like her as an actress or maybe you think she’s pretty? Did you like her in this role (if you’ve seen this before)?