Double Feature: Moonlight (2016) & Hidden Figures (2016)

Welcome to the first Double Feature of 2019! We’re starting off with a strong pair of Oscar-nominated/winning films that I caught up with over the holidays. I went into both of these films with only a general knowledge of what it was about. Most of the time, I don’t stay too current with Oscar movies and are in no big rush to catch up with them because I’m not a huge fan of watching dramas however, a little spoiler, no regrets on watching either of these.

Moonlight (2016)

Moonlight

Director (and screenplay): Barry Jenkins

Cast: Mahershala Ali, Janelle Monae, Naomie Harris, Alex R. Hibbert, Ashton Sanders, Trevante Rhodes, Jaden Piner, Jharrel Jerome, Andre Holland,

A chronicle of the childhood, adolescence and burgeoning adulthood of a young, African-American, gay man growing up in a rough neighborhood of Miami. – IMDB

In some ways, Moonlight reminds me of Boyhood except it takes an African-American boy’s life in chapters, taking a snapshot parts of his life from when his young childhood when people called him Little and finding refuge in a man’s care who accepts him and takes him under his wing to face the cruel reality out there. The second part takes us into his teenage years as Chiron as he grows to embrace his sexual orientation. It highlights his friendship with his childhood friend Kevin who has always been there even from the first part who never questioned all the bullying towards him. The third part fast forwards to Chiron, now an adult who others called Black and has followed the footsteps of his mentor.

Choosing to look at the snapshots of his man’s life from boyhood to adulthood is a very nice way to execute this film. In fact, its part of why this film shines. , there are always factors that give the story a thread to tie it all together from the start to the finish. It also lies heavily on its cast who does a fantastic job. Mahershala Ali may have had a small role but his role’s influence plays a big part. At the same time, Janelle Monae is also spectacular as well. I’d go to the say that the supporting roles here are as powerful if not more powerful than its main lead. All this really dials down to the fact that the script itself has created some compelling characters that feel incredibly genuine.

Hidden Figures (2016)

hidden Figures

Director (and screenplay): Theodore Melfi

Cast: Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monae, Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Parsons, Mahershala Ali, Glen Powell

The story of a team of female African-American mathematicians who served a vital role in NASA during the early years of the U.S. space program. – IMDB

Hidden Figures is one of those films that I finished up the film and was so pleasantly surprised because of not only its content aka the story its telling but also due to its well-rounded messages and tone which is serious but managed to also give it a fair bit of lighthearted humor to round it out. It gives a lot of credit to its incredible cast. The main reason being its three leading ladies whom I liked a lot to begin with: Taraji P. Henson (can’t remember if its from Hustle & Flow, The Good Doctor or Date Night); Octavia Spencer (from The Help) and Janelle Monae (from Moonlight). They do such a great job especially when looking at their dynamic together in some scenes where they carry the film and highlight the inequality in the workplace and the inconveniences. Of course, the film is also full of other memorable roles whether its Kevin Costner, Jim Parsons including Kirsten Dunst as well.

Its been honestly years since I’ve been incredibly impressed by an Oscar-nominated film. Its a shame that it didn’t win anything. It isn’t a surprise of course because Oscar has a specific type of films that always wins. Hidden Figures feels too light-hearted and fun albeit having its drama. Regardless of Oscars or not, Hidden Figures is a fantastic film lead by three spectacular female actresses, a poignant supporting cast and managing to find a great balance between a lighthearted tone despite its serious historical drama.

This wraps up this double feature of Moonlight and Hidden Figures!
Have you seen these two films?

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My Weekly Adventures: Fun Times, Celebrations and Bad News….

Talk about a packed two weeks which never quite felt that way. Busy times, Fun times, Celebrations, and well, what 2018 year would it be without some bad news, because lets just say, that is how life has been this year. I’m still trying hard to be positive but this year is taking a lot to stay happy about everything when we’re getting a lot of things to be worried about or be sad about. I spent a lot of yesterday reflecting hence why nothing got released. These things happen and its all about finding a balance between getting this space updated and also dealing with the personal life stuff, right?

Festival du Nouveau Cinema

Festival du Nouveau Cinema has come and gone through the first 2 weeks of October, ending yesterday. I had the wonderful opportunity to have ticket vouchers after I tried to sign up for media. I’m not a big site even if I’ve been around for a while so I’m still very grateful for having that especially seeing the situation I’ve been in lately. Its my first time at this festival and I have to say there were some hidden gems in there for sure. A lot of movies that I honestly thought were fantastic. Very indie and very deep and going for this profound feeling for the most part. There are a few exceptions to the equation but I liked most of my choices since I actually went into all the movies blind, no trailers and just read the description a little. With that said, I had some stuff to deal with and now I am still missing 3 reviews from the festival which will be released this week.

Being at this festival the first time, I think that everything is really nice. Its especially a great contrast to fantasy especially as it focuses more on dramas and thrillers and you will see the selection is very international. I don’t watch a lot of dramas but I might have filled up my drama quota in the past two weeks. I don’t really mind it as long as the story is worth it. However, this festival is a completely different beast because unlike Fantasia being held pretty much on the Concordia downtown campus, this one is in a general area where you can have films in on theatre and have to run to a theatre 15 to 20 minutes away. I had that for one time and lets say that I won’t schedule films 30 minutes apart from each other again because that was a nervewrecking experience especially when the showings sometimes did tend to start 5 to 10 minutes late. Not exactly a complaint but it added in some running. Either way, thats all I have to say about it.

Here were my final movie selections:

  • Ash is Purest White (China, 2018)
  • Burning (South Korean, 2018)
  • La Version Nouvelle (Canada, 2018)
  • Mirai (Japan, 2018)
  • The Guilty (Denmark, 2018)
  • Socrates (Brazil, 2018)
  • Sticks and Stones (Denmark, 2018)
  • Tourism (Japan, 2018)
  • Firecrackers (Canada, 2018)

Cinema Recall Podcast: Movies We Love That Everyone Hates

The That Moment In podcast hosts sat down for a second round. This time, The Vern thought up a fantastic idea of discussing our Top 3  Movies that We Love That Everyone Hates. It was a fun time to hang out and hear all our choices. I’m sure these shows are a feat in itself to edit so many thanks to The Vern for putting this together and thinking up such a great idea, which you will see has various parts. The other ones I’m not a part of but you should follow Cinema Recall to not miss these shows and all the other ones.

As for this one, I can’t embed the podomatic player so I’ll just send you all over to the That Moment In post to play it. Here you go!

3rd Wedding Anniversary

Our cause for celebration this time goes to our third wedding anniversary that happened during the week. We follow the gift materials giving thing for fun so this year was leather. We had decided on fairly personal preference sort of items so on Saturday, in between our little adventures that I will talk about in the next 2 parts instead of a fleshed out post, we snuck in some free time to go do some shopping. My husband wanted leather gloves and we found them  fairly quickly. For myself, I wanted a new purse which took a few more stores to find because I’m picky about my accessories. Either way, we ended up finding it. Moving onto the adventures portion…

A Historical Visit Around Warden

warden

Before we got to Sherbrooke for our little adventures, through some coincidence, we ended up going to Warden, which is a small town in the Eastern Townships. One of my clients has two properties there and it turned out to be some historical heritage behind it and he ended up showing us around his properties and telling us about his collections and stories and such. I thought it was really awesome and super nice that he took the time out for that. He showed us around for about an hour. My husband was a bit skeptical at first but he loves history so everything was right up his alley. Not to mention the area is absolutely gorgeous. It is private property so I felt it inappropriate to take any pictures there.

Public Market in Sherbrooke

After that, our first stop was at the public market in Sherbrooke. I won’t expand too much about it here since I am thinking of putting together a haul post so I can highlight some brands and products and stuff. It was a pretty neat spot.

Sherbrooke Met La Table

persepolis

We skipped Sherbrooke Met La Table last year. I can’t remember why exactly. I think it was just a schedule issue and work issue and such. But we went back this year and went out of our comfort zone to try out some Iranian cuisine at a restaurant called Persepolis. It had a really awesome sounding menu. I have an individual post for this going up in the coming week as well. And that wraps up the general chat about our 3rd anniversary celebrations.

A Quick 2018 Gardening Update – Closing

On Sunday, perfect for after the bad news mentioned below, I went out for a day of closing the garden. I’m sorry that the gardening updates kind of fell off but consider this a wrap-up for the 2018 segment. I’ve done some massive trimming on the ferns and the hydrangea bush (look at the pile that I got rid of). I also did trim back the lilac and took down the barriers and harvested remaining veggies from the vegetable garden but forgot to take a picture of it.

A Family Passing

I don’t usually share a ton of private stuff here other than adventures and whatnot. However, this is still a blog so I’m keeping a part of it personal especially for this segment. If I happen to not post as much (although I have a lot planned still..its my way to deal with things sometimes), we got news yesterday that my grandmother passed away. She had a long life (over a hundred years old) and I’d hope to say a good and healthy one for a good part of it. It saddens me of course but I grieve very slowly over people so its not really showing just yet. However, it is weighing down on my heart and mind so things may get quiet or it might just cause a lack of motivation to write. We’ll see how it goes but I’m dealing with that right now. Here’s sharing a picture of 2012 when I went to Hong Kong to visit above.

Cute Kitty Pic

As a final note, posts might be a little sparse. I’m working on some stuff right now but I have a really bad habit of not grieving when I should so I’m going to take some time to you know, do that. I’ve been slightly trying to recuperate and just relax a little and not stress out. So, forgive me if both the Halloween marathon or the wrap-up for Festival du Nouveau Cinema takes me longer. I’m working hard to get it all done but still trying to make sure that I’m okay. Its been a rough year overall so its just getting back to a positive mindset.

That’s it for this Weekly Adventures!

Dreamworks Animation: The Exhibition at Canadian Museum of History (Gatineau, Quebec)

I’m going to confess right now that I procrastinated in transferring my pictures to the computer and that is why this is only going up today. Honestly, I wanted it to be posted a little earlier so that if anyone in the area could go check it out before it ends. It runs until April 8th if you are in the area and want to see it! You can more info HERE.

This is our first time at the Canadian Museum of History. It did feel a little pricey when we first went to pay $20 per person for entry fee but then we realized it included not only all the exhibits: 2 (or it seems more) special exhibits and the 6 other permanent exhibition plus the Children’s Museum along with a film viewing of Shrek 4 – Forever After (it changes every week, I think). Anyways, thats quite the bang for the buck since we did get there late but managed to skim through a lot of the permanent exhibits and hopefully will come back for another exhibit and get there earlier.

Journey from Sketch to Screen

dreamworks animation exhibition

There are days I sit at home watching animated films, especially when Disney (or Pixar) drops sequel non-stop that I think about how great Dreamworks Animations are in general. With that said, I have my definite love for them from Kung Fu Panda to Rise of the Guardians (review), Flushed Away and of course, How to Train Your Dragon (review). So many things to love about this exhibit since it had a lot of the models and sketches and artwork. It had some cool parts where it showed off how the whole creative team goes from sketches to the drawing board. There was even this video that took us for a first person view as we saw Berk be built.

This is only a super tiny portion of exhibition. It was pretty enlightening and lots of stuff to learn from.

After this exhibition, we went to check out the First Peoples Hall, Tsimshian Prehistory and the Canadian Stamp Collection and then wrapped up with the top two floors with the The Canadian History Hall.

Tsimshian Prehistory

Canadian Stamp Collection

Canadian History Hall

This is such a small snippet of what we walked through in the few hours we were there.

Its a pretty awesome museum and we’re definitely looking forward to going back to have more time. I’ll be keeping an eye out for any other cool exhibitions that’ll be going on in the future and hopefully when that happens, we can spend an entire day there to just carefully go through everything. Just the Canadian History Hall was a whole two floors from the very very start to modern history, which is pretty interesting even if I’m not much of a history nut (although my husband is.).

Overall, it was a great experience! Dreamworks Animation: The Exhibition was all kinds of awesome and has me wanting to add on the Dreamworks movies to my Baking project although the title would have to be changed.

Toronto: Casa Loma 

Toronto Comicon weekend was super busy. However, being the troopers we were, we managed to meet up earlier and skip out on one panel and made our tourist attraction visit to Casa Loma happen. Drew and I had originally planned for a Friday afternoon visit but realized it would be too rushed. Seeing as we did see Beauty and the Beast the night before and it was snowing in the morning when we arrived, it was the perfect memory of the Beast’s castle in real life (although it isn’t the same).

Casa Loma

The entrance for Casa Loma is $27, which might seem a little steep but you will soon realize as we did, that it is pretty worth it, plus this castle was used for quite a few movies as well.

Here is how we visited Casa Loma!

The First Floor

Casa Loma

Casa Loma

Library

Casa Loma

The first floor of Casa Loma highlights the elegance of the building. You walk in to an open high ceiling area. Its something of a reception area. Down the hall are socializing areas. The billiard room was closed but on the other side, there was a beautiful library and a conservatory with a beautiful glass dome. There’s some fun facts about the office which has two secret passages: one that goes to the second floor and the second to the basement. The basement pretty much takes us to a vault. However, these are only two of the supposed three secret passages, however the third hasn’t been found.

Casa Loma

Secret Passage upstairs

The Second Floor: Guest Room

Casa Loma

The secret passage way leads up to a corridor next to the Guest Room which has a Chinese theme which is exactly up my alley, of course. This was an incredibly pretty room and very reminiscent of a lot of Chinese antiques. We only did this room which lead to stairs going up to the 3rd floor. We’ll come back to the second floor later.

Casa Loma

The Third Floor

Casa Loma

Walking up to the third floor was the Queen’s Own Rifle Museum which showed a lot of the history behind the war and military facts. It lined the hallway and leads into the Formation Room. Walking to the other end was the Group of Seven Room and other spaces. The military portion was one that Drew liked a lot whereas I’m not quite into this sort of history. However, the third floor does lead up to the two towers which we could look out the windows and also a lookout on one for a nice vantage point. Plus, it was snowing so it made for some nice scenery.

The Towers

Casa Loma

Casa Loma

Casa Loma

A little eerie at first to walk up those stairs and then decide where to go and then keep going up on these super twirly narrow steps but the view is quite beautiful. It is a gloomy day so while Toronto would make a fantastic backdrop, perhaps the nicest part is capturing a different view of the castle along with its details.

The Second Floor (other half)

Casa Loma

Casa Loma

Casa Loma

Going back down to the other part of the second floor was mostly the suits for the Lady and Sir Pellatt who owned this castle. They had some super elegant bathrooms (which I didn’t show here) and some fantastically charming bedrooms. Just to say, its important to note how far our bathrooms, especially showers have gone since then.

The Tunnel

Casa Loma

Lucky for us, Drew was around and we headed down to the Lower Level where we happened to realize there’s still one really long tunnel with a Castles and Dragons medieval theme with paintings and animations projected on the walls which seemed to tell a story. It was pretty cool to see. This tunnel lead to The Stables which also had an antique car exhibit and carriage room along with the garage and potting shed. The stalls actually had two horses which I didn’t capture any clear enough to add here.

Casa Loma

The Movies

Casa Loma Casa Loma

There’s at least a dozen more films that were shot here but I can’t show them all here. These are some of the pretty popular ones. As I waited for Drew at the gift shop, I ended up watching all the clips of which movies and what rooms were used.

Would you look at all that? The pictures I used are only highlights and my favorite rooms. Plus, I only had my phone and not my DSLR so the pictures aren’t quite as refined. They still turned out alright. Casa Loma was a pleasant surprise with everything it had and we didn’t even watch any of the scheduled performances so if we had more time, there is still more to do, like going in the summer and having a chance to visit the gardens.

Have you visited any castles?

Cité Memoire: Daytime Trail (Circuit 2-60 mins)

Last week’s My Weekly Adventure, I had talked about this free historic event in Old Montreal. All you needed to do to learn about architecture and history of Old Montreal was to strap on your comfortable walking shoes and head out for 30, 60 or 90 mins, depending on what you liked and even choose day or night. There were different circuits for the thirty and sixty minute ones exploring different area of Old Montreal. If you didn’t want their circuit, you needed to get the app (you need whether or not you follow a circuit) and go the points of interest.

I have yet to do the nighttime trail but I have done the daytime trail. Its the Circuit 2 which runs somewhere near where I work and was a good after work activity.

Cite Memoire

What makes Cité Memoire so special, right? The point of it is that it is a free history lesson using modern technology (aka your cellphone) and using this year’s new favorite technology, augmentative reality. It is educational and is a good reason for a walk around Old Montreal and admire the city a little while having a little guide in your hands telling you where to turn and what the highlight is. I think its pretty nifty and I’m not even a tourist. There was some stuff I knew before but there’s also information that I never learned about. It isn’t like there is a Montreal history course in school, there is World History and Canadian/Quebec history.

What I’m going to do is take you on this Trail again! I didn’t actually snap a lot of pics on the trail so I went back to some of the locations.

BMO Building

BMO Building Montreal
And with augmented reality…

Cite Memoire
New York Life Insurance Building

New York Insurance Building
Place d’Armes

Cite Memoire

Molson Bank

Molson Bank

Canada Life

Canada Life Building
Merchants Bank Building

Merchants Bank
Gas Lighting

Gas Lighting
Saint Anne’s Market & Parliament Building/The Grand Trunk Building

Grand Trunk Building

St. Anne's Market

Centre D’Histoire de Montreal

Centre d'Histoire de Montreal

The Grey Nuns

Grey Nuns

Allan Building

Allan Building

Joe Beef’s Tavern

Joe Beef's Tavern

Berthelet House

Berthelet Building

John Lovell and Son Building

Lovell and Son

Lewis Building

Lewis Building

CPR Telegraph Building

CPR Telegraph Chambers
Centaur Theatre/The Montreal Stock Exchange

Centaur Theatre
The Old Custom House and Place Royale

Place Royale

De Maisonnveue’s Path and The First Seminary

wp-1474651872959.jpg

Notre Dame Basilica

Notre Dame Basilica
Aldred Building

Aldred Building

Here’s your walkthrough in pictures. I hope I got most of the buildings right. It was mostly by memory of the path that I took and little bits of historical things I retained. You’ll see some buildings will have American architecture influence like the last picture. Some will have European influences and others are just historical symbols of the city. Its sad that I can only do this mostly in the evening so some of the sculptures on the building like the gargoyles and whatnot, are not as apparent. I used to never notice them until this walk.

I hope that it returns next year. I’m not sure if it is still running now. Maybe the nighttime one? I’ll have to double check. But I’m hoping to go check out more if its still on if not, next year, I’ll be back out to learn more!