Sunday, February 26, 2006

Crazy neighbors and Oscar movie review #9

Just because this Christmas light ordeal couldn't get any funnier...

As you know, our neighbors across from us finally turned off their lights the other night. It was very exciting. Our next door neighbor thought it was exciting too. So much in fact, that she decided to turn hers back ON. Now, this is a woman who has been known to talk to herself while sitting on her front steps in a cloud of what we can only assume to be illegally-produced smoke. So seeing Christmas lights adorning her deck on a solitary night in July isn't completely weird. But this time she took it to the next level--her lights have been on the last three nights. Thus giving us no reprieve from neighborhood Christmas lights. It's just so humorous, I can't hardly stand it. Maybe we'll turn ours on when Jackson is born.

On to the movie. I saw Munich last night with my parents. I was really looking forward to it. I had heard great things from people who had seen it and Dan had learned a bunch of stuff online about it. Unfortunately, I was very disappointed. First of all, it was entirely too long. Pushing three hours. Second of all, it was extremely violent. Doesn't normally bother me, but this time it did. Maybe it was the length with which the violence was dragged out. The movie started with the terrorist incident with the Israeli team at the Olympics. That took about 15 minutes. The rest of the movie was devoted to assassins hunting down the attackers. I wanted to know more about what led up to it and see more of the Olympics. It would have set the scene a lot better. Eric Bana is the main character, and he does very well. However, this isn't a movie I would have put in the best picture category. But I could say that about a lot of the best picture nominees this year. Just not a great year for movies, I guess. Oddly enough, the movie is also nominated for best original score. At one point in the movie, I leaned over and said to my mom, "John Williams is nominated for the music in this. I can't think of any music I've heard yet." Bottom line? Not the best movie I've seen this Oscar season. Worth renting when it comes out? I wouldn't. But again, there are so many people who said great things about it, so clearly there is something in it for some people. Just not for me.

The Oscars are one week from tomorrow!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Very exciting news

No, I'm not in labor. :)

The lights



Actually, they were off last night, but I wanted to make sure it wasn't just a fluke thing before announcing it to blogworld. We had company for dinner and as they left, I said, "Check out our neighbors. They still have their....WAIT! They're gone!" Alas, they are not gone (neither are ours, actually). But at least they are off.

Now, on to the winner. The person who guessed closest to yesterday was Lalimama, with a guess of February 18th. The next closest was David, who guessed March 3rd. So close. And sorry, Lisa, but now you'll have to actually figure out how to get to our house without the landmark lights.

And now for Lalimama's prize. You get to play a game! Just click here. The red and green are in honor of our holiday-minded neighbors. Enjoy!

And celebrate! Today begins about eight months of a Christmas light-free neighborhood. :)

Monday, February 20, 2006

Black raspberry avalanche & Oscar movie reviews #7 and #8

Black raspberry avalanche is the ice cream flavor of the day. Edy's Dreamery. It was heavenly.

We rented two movies this weekend. Actually, we rented them last weekend and watched them this weekend. Blockbuster "no late fees" can be a nice thing.

Hustle and Flow. Very interesting movie, and I really enjoyed it. In only the way a white suburban girl can enjoy a movie about a pimp who follows his rap dream. With plenty of colorful words to boot. Terrence Howard is nominated for best actor. He does a nice job, but I think his competition in the category will be too much for him. The movie is also nominated for original song--"It's hard out here for a pimp"--which I have had in my head since seeing the movie Saturday night. :)

Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. Cute movie. I have not seen any other Wallace and Gromit work, so this was very new for me. But who doesn't love claymation characters with British accents?! The thing that made me laugh the hardest was how they got away with a "G" rating. At one point, the main female character is lamenting to Wallace that her husband is no longer interested in her produce--at which point the "camera" shoots her strategically standing behind two canteloupes. Then at the end, Wallace ends up naked (which you don't actually see), so Gromit hands him a box to hold around his mid-section. The box is for some sort of food product and clearly bears the warning "May contain nuts." Anyway, this was an enjoyable movie and will probably win best animated film--its only nomination.

Now, before I'm done, here's an Olympic question for you. I've actually gotten into some of the sports this weekend, and it got me thinking about what kind of event I would want to compete in. I still don't know, but here's my question. Would you rather compete in a sport where the results were determined by time or by a judge's subjective scoring?

Friday, February 17, 2006

Oscar movie review #6 and other news

Well, we braved the Maple Grove Mann theater again. (Gloria is wondering if I'll ever learn...). However, this time I was smart enough to bring a pillow in with me. You're probably wondering about the looks I got? Well, I made Dan carry it. But honestly, a pregnant woman carrying a pillow into a movie theater isn't that weird. But I digress.

Movie of the night? The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Our plan was to see Munich, but it is only playing in Oakdale, Elk River, and St. Anthony Main. And I'm glad we were forced to change our plans because Narnia was fabulous. We just loved it. I am disappointed it isn't nominated for more (or at least more important) awards. It's up for make-up, sound mixing, and special effects.

The film was so true to Lewis' book, which made me very happy. The children were adorable, the animals were fascinating, and Aslan was powerfully gentle. The music was really good, too. And the witch? Fantastic villain with wicked dreadlocked hair. (Not that all dreadlocked hair is wicked, Matt Patrick).

As Dan said when we left, this is one we'll be purchasing when it comes out. It's classic and wonderful. And that's all. If you haven't seen it yet, see it. And bring your children. With the warning that the battle can get a little frightening.

In other Bennett news, we are officially in the last month of this pregnancy. Well, Jackson and I are in the last month. Dan's just along for the ride. :) It kind of blows my mind to think that I could go into labor at any moment. It also blows my mind to think that it could still be 6 weeks away! But that's okay. I'm bound to have a big baby no matter when I deliver, so bring it on. This past week brought some real excitement as Dan and I attended a 2 1/2 hour breastfeeding class at Methodist. You might wonder, as we did, what on earth takes 2 1/2 hours to learn when it comes to breastfeeding. But our perky instructor filled every last minute with lots of very useful information. I won't bore you (or disgust or frighten you) with the details, but I do have to share the one thing that made me laugh so hard that I feared wetting myself. As she introduced engorgement, she described it as "being so full of milk that you just need to nurse somebody." Somebody? Anybody? What kind of discernment should I use when finding this "somebody" to nurse? Anyway, it was funny.

And lastly, the lights are still on. Lalimama, cross your fingers. You guessed tomorrow. You might get lucky...

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Oscar movie reviews #3, 4, and 5

Yup, I had a busy movie-watching weekend. So hold onto your seats!

1) Capote, nominated for a number of awards, including best actor (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and best picture.
I loved this movie. I went to the theater alone, which I rarely do. I enjoyed highly over-priced popcorn and soda, which I also rarely do. But I thought the movie was so well-done. And although I didn't know anything about Truman Capote before the film, I could tell that Hoffman had nailed it. Right down to the annoying voice. It's an absolutely fascinating story.

2) Junebug, nominated for best supporting actress (Amy Adams).
Another great flick. I hadn't even heard of it until I saw the nominee list. Apparently it didn't last too long in the theaters. Adams does a fantastic job in her role (and she's hugely pregnant, which I love). Her partner is played by Ben MacKenzie (of the O.C.). The cast is rounded out by her in-laws, all of whom are classic in-law types. Anyway, this one is worth the rental fee.

3) The Constant Gardener, nominated for best supporting actress (Rachel Weisz) and a number of other awards, including adapted screenplay.
This was really well-done, but it got long for me. It was a little over two hours. It was also a little hard to follow in the beginning. It goes between present and past, and eventually the flashbacks catch up to the present, and it took me a second to get it straight (it probably didn't help that I started the movie with my back to the television, checking my e-mail). Ralph Fiennes does a great job as a charming British diplomat investigating the murder of his wife (Weisz). And don't freak out--I'm not giving any more away than the back of the DVD case does. :) I'd recommend it if you're in the mood for a not-so-happy, albeit still very well-done, movie.

There you have it! Coming up in the near future (or at least sometime before 2/20, because that's when Blockbuster wants them back): Wallace & Gromit and Hustle & Flow. And probably Munich next weekend.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Oscar movie review #2

On Friday afternoon, Dan and I had plans to see a 5:10 showing of Good Night, and Good Luck at the Maple Grove AMC. When we got there, the 5:10 show said "sold out." We knew the movie couldn't be THAT good, so we asked what was up. Apparently the film had a tear in it and they were probably going to have to cancel the rest of the night's showings of it. Bummer. Change of plans. There wasn't much else at the AMC that we both wanted to see, so we went home. My new best friend,, told us that the Maple Grove Mann theater had Memoirs of a Geisha. I was surprised that Dan even wanted to see it, but we decided to do it. Other than the facts that (1) the seats in the theater are not very nice for a pregnant back and (2) the movie was over two hours, we enjoyed the flick. It's a very intriguing story, and the costumes and scenery are beautiful. Memoirs is nominated for achievement in art direction (whatever that means), achievement in cinematography (ditto), achievement in costume design (I'd say it has a chance at this), original music score (both Dan and I were surprised to see it was nominated for this and couldn't really remember the music being that great), and achievement in both sound editing and mixing. A lot of really random awards. Surprisingly, nothing for acting. I thought Ziyi Zhang was lovely, and who doesn't love Ken Watanabe? :) Not sure when this comes out on DVD, but I'd say it's worth renting. Unless you love uncomfortable theater seats and are dying to see it now!

Christmas lights are still on. (Sorry, Gloria, that means you didn't win). I am wanting to take mine down, but I don't want that to influence them at all. It would throw off the whole experiment. Wait, there's no experiment. Nevertheless, it's entirely too cold to take Christmas lights down this weekend. Talk to me in a week. :)