Monday, December 31, 2012

Katy's 2012 in Movies

I saw 52 movies on the big screen this year. 

that's exactly one movie per week.  but Ryan and I didn't start to go to the cinema more often until well into the spring of this year.  beginning in May, we committed to seeing one movie per week at the cinema.  it is clear that we exceeded that goal.

as it's the end of the year (and i don't think we're going out to see any more movies this week) I am going to reveal some of my favorites of the year, and also a few of my very least favorite. 

beginning with a few exceptional stand outs...

Pupl Fiction



okay, yeah, I know you saw it 10 years ago, but I only saw it about a month ago when Fathom Events filled a few select screens with this classic for a one-night-only event.  why is it so surprising to me that i liked it?  everyone else who's seen it liked it.  it was a massive cult hit.  people still quote it to death.  but no one told me about the cute little French girl that bruce willis was keeping hid away in a mangy hotel room while he beat ass all over town.  and no one told me about the ridiculously adorable relationship quintin's on-screen persona shares with "the Wolf".  it was splendidly colorful and a visual spectacle also, which i wasn't expecting.  everyone's eyes were so clearly shot, and so bright.  it was a pleasure.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey



we saw the Hobbit in HFR (high frame rate (48 frames per second instead of 24) and 3D (of course), which made the viewing experience significantly different to all other viewing experiences.  the higher frame rate took a little bit of getting used to at first.  a few initial scenes appeared jerky (like stop motion) because my brain was adjusting to the wealth of visual information being projected at it.  then, aside from a few darkly lit mosh-scenes (wherein dwarves and trolls collide in great numbers), the film flowed with realistic, stunning, majestic, visual mastery. 

now, to the meat of this post.  these are my top ten picks for 2012...

Cabin in the Woods



yay for a good horror film with likable everything!  the kids would all have survived if given a fighting chance.  the controllers were adorable and fun.  the monsters were bad ass.  it is also a film that i have since re-watched at home and enjoyed more and more with each viewing.  it's fun, funny, and messy.  i also appreciate the passion that went into making the film.  this is a directorial debut for the otherwise busy screen writer and producer, Drew Goddard, and it shows.  he put everything he had into this project, including that last bag of guts that falls down and splats into an already viciously bloody lobby.

Prometheus



we got to see this film the same week we saw Benedict Cumberbatch and Johnny Lee Miller in Danny Boyle's stage adaptation of Frankenstein.  we also got to see it in mega Jordon's Furniture vision (IMAX 3D).  the visual impact of the film was what you'd expect from Ridley Scott.  it was cohesive, dramatic, dark, pretty, and real (with the poor exception of guy's piss-poor old-man make-up).  the look of the film was fantastic, the acting was believable, and the story was compelling.  juxtaposed with the story of Frankenstein the idea of man as god was prevalent and led me and Ryan into some deep and thought provoking conversations.  it was entertaining and thought provoking, how much more do we expect from cinema? 

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter




sorry Daniel Day Louise, but you ain't got nothing on my boy Benji Walker.  it seemed to me that lots and lots of people complained about the incorrect historical details of this film.  to which i have one question for you, are vampires real?  shut up.  this is not a discovery channel special.  it is a moooovie.  with vaaaampires.  and Abraham Lincoln just happens to play the bad ass vampire slayer.  where does it say in the bible that only Wesley Snipes can kill vampires?  i liked comparing this film to the Asian high-flying wire-works films such as Hidden Tiger Crouching Dragon, wherein a legendary historical figure is used to tell a dramatic tale with fantastical elements.  the charity in this film for kids who grew up in American history classes at school is that you know some of the characters already, which provides the story being told with more depth than were this some made up president on a moon colony or a mayor in Transylvania.

Dredd



Karl Urban is awesome.  and lots of credit to screenwriter Alex Garland for his understanding and smooth translation of Judge Dredd as he is seen and less-heard in the comic book series.  the story was solid.  it was a perfect day-in-the-life of a badass upholder of justice in mega block city whatever-number-he-was-in.  i also love the fact that dredd, even when physically compromised, is always true to his code, his law, and his honor.  he never steps over the line.  yet, he is able to adapt and grow.  not to mention, the film was pretty.  very pretty.

Looper



despite much (and extremely vocal) disapproval over the fact that they messed up JGL's pretty face to make him look more like a young bruce willis, looper was actually a fantastic film with great sci-fi and time travel elements.  every detail of the near-future portrayed was believable and subtle.  no piece of clever tech was waved around in the audiences faces, but it was there for the eagle-eyed.  also, in it is one of the most frightening prospects offered to all time travelers.  i won't give too much away here, in case you haven't seen it yet, but DAMN!  that is no way to go.  

skyfall


do i need to say anything?  no, but one thing i will say is that Ryan and I have been watching all of the bond films beginning with Dr. No and working our way through the decades.  going into Skyfall having just watched all of Sean's films added a level of acute recognition to the new addition to the franchise.  when the new quartermaster, played by ben whishaw, tells bond to "please return all the equipment in one piece" he was channeling the great Desmond Llewelyn.  the old theme, the return of some beloved characters, the car, the physically deformed and fantastically annoyed baddie all added to the vintage bond feel of Skyfall. 


argo



i adore how ugly and depressing the 70's look in recent film.  Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy made the 70's appear so vogue, yet yellowed and clouded in cigarette smoke and constant betrayal.  Argo brought us back to that tumultuous decade and showed us even more yellow tinted glasses, tweed, added some facial hair, and a bit more international political drama.  the best part of this movie for me was, that even though you know the ending, there are a handful of moments in the film where you do genuinely feel scared and nervous for the characters in the film.  the casting was excellent also.

cloud atlas


i am really looking forward to sitting down with the book that this film is based on.  that being said, the film itself was a collage of spectacular love stories.  i think Ryan and i agreed that any one of the six or seven little filmettes within the full length motion picture would have made a lovely film-length story in and of itself.  but each story was well woven into the others with subtle and sweet little visuals, sounds, and characters.  it was also interesting to watch characters change from lifetime to lifetime.  to see young lives taking advantage of others, to then be generous and sweet in much later lifetimes.  it may be one of the best contemporary fantasy concepts.  and the film did it great justice.  and this too, was a passion project.  lots of heart, care, and attention to details.

wreck it ralph


there were quite a few fun animated films this year.  brave was wonderful and ParaNorman was so freaking cool (they used 3d printers to make the character models!! so awesome).  but among all the animated movies this year, wreck it ralph had the best story, the most nostalgic qualities, and the best cameos.  not to mention, skrillex did the music.  i really liked vanillope and Ralph's relationship, and the hardship ralph had to go through in order to recognize his value.  it had a sweet message about self importance and determination.  and it made you want to play video games.


Life of Pi


i absolutely love the book.  it was well written, sentimental, and heartbreaking.  i had high expectations for the film's telling of the same story.  fortunately, it was in great hands: ang lee.  i got the sense that ang lee also loved the book in the same way i did.  it reached him.  not to say it reached me in a religious way--it in no way made me belive in a god--but it did turn on a few bright lights around the beauty of religious fantasy and the innocents of belief.  so the story was cared for by the director and, therefore, the crew and creators of the figures in the film.  Richard parker was beautifully rendered.  he was believable, scary and beautiful.  i also find it hugely amusing that the tiger is called Richard parker because that's the name of my brother in law also.  visually, this film was a dream.  it was vivid and real.  i cannot wait to watch it on our 3d tv at home.  i will probably watch it many times.

Moonrise Kingdom


Can you say "charming"?  because that's what this film was for me.  chock-a-block with charm.  wes Anderson has a great ability to make normal people seem like super heroes and make regular emotions magnificent and brave.  i also love the fact that the little girl in the movie got to keep the kitten she acted along side in the movie.  overall the story, with all it's good chemistry and quirky bravado left me with a sweet taste of domestic adventure. 

one more honorable mention here... I have to give credit to the best cameo of the year.  this particular category has a lot of competition if you consider we saw Expendables 2 (loaded with cameos), two marvel universe movies both featuring creator Stan lee, and a couple of Pixar movies.  my favorite cameo by far, however, was in Here Comes the Boom.  I was not expecting Chael Sonnen, and i was not expecting him to make such brilliant fun of himself in such a brief moment of screen time.

alas, going to the movies so often,  you do occasionally encounter some utter tripe.  there are three particularly bad movies that come to mind right now...

Men in Black 3D



Simply the poorest example of how 3D is being used in film today.  Current film makers are realizing the dramatic and dynamic qualities of 3D filming and projection.  use of the third dimension allows directors to show their story in all of it's scope and depth: to draw the viewers' attentions to the most important elements in the film at the appropriate moments, and to give viewers a better sense of space and place within the movie.  Men in Black had laser beams.  I say that with the most contempt possible.

Resident Evil: Retribution



boooooring!  I can sit at home and watch Ryan play video games and have more fun and experience more drama than this film cared to divulge.  My pleasures while watching this film were few and far between, and almost all of my pleasure was at the expense of Michelle Rodrigues.

Snow White and the Huntsman



 Dear Chris Hemsworth,  please do not reprise this role.  the film was utter garbage.  bad casting, careless direction, over-the-top (but not at all funny) acting, disjointed, unloved, unlovable, and completely unredeemable. 



Here's a complete list of every movie I watched at the cinema this year:
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Haywire
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
This Means War
21 Jump Street
The Hunger Games
Titanic 3D
The Cabin in the Woods
Chimpanzee
The Pirates! Band of Misfits
The Avengers (in 3d)
The Avengers (in 2d)
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
The Dictator
Men in Black 3
Moonrise Kingdom
Snow White and the Huntsman
Prometheus (in IMAX 3D)
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Brave
Magic Mike
The Amazing Spider-Man
The Dark Knight Rises
The Watch
Fire Walk With Me (at the Northbend Theater)
Total Recall
The Bourne Legacy
The Expendables 2
Frankenstein
ParaNorman in 3D
Premium Rush (aka Joseph Gordon Levitt rides a bike in NYC)
Lawless
Resident Evil: Retribution
The Master
Dredd
Hotel Transylvania
Looper
Frankenweenie
Argo
Here Comes the Boom
Seven Psychopaths
Sinister
Cloud Atlas
Silent Hill: Revelation 3D
Skyfall
The Man with the Iron Fists
Wreck-it Ralph
Flight
Life of Pi
Pulp Fiction
Rise of the Guardians
The Hobbit: an Unexpected Journey
Monsters, Inc. 3D
Jack Reacher
Django Unchained

sorry they couldn't all make it in the top ten.  there was a lot of good to great cinema this year.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

dreaming

i could see the water reflected in the sky
as sleepily i lie looking out over the cove
watching great cargo ships and fishermen's boats
leave wakes of waves behind them
streaking the purple clouds over head

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Giving Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving Day to all who celebrate this day.  Today is not just a day to eat, drink, watch American football, and take acceptable naps. 
 
Today is a day to give thanks for all that we have and all that we are able to accomplish.  It's a lovely time to have family piled around a table which is way too small for all of them.  And by family, I mean moms and dads, brothers and sisters, mother-in-laws and brother-in-laws and father-in-laws, and dad's friend Jim and our friend Matt who had to go straight to his work after dinner, so came over in his air force uniform.  By family I mean all the people you care about, you love, and you hold dear to you.
 
This year was particularly meaningful and important to me for several reasons.  This was the first year Ryan and I hosted Thanksgiving at our house in Sandwich.  That might sound stressful, but I am thankful that everyone offered to help, and I accepted.  Meg brought munchies for before dinner.  My mom made the stuffing and came over early to put the turkey in the oven with all it's dressings and fixings.  My sister's mother-in-law, Jane and father-in-law, Jim, made turnip and potato mash as well as a pumpkin pie and hot apple cider.  Ryan helped entertain, carry around chairs, and was at my side every second I needed him to move or lift or pour.  My brother helped with all the dishes.  He is awesome.
 
I am also thankful for the mere fact at having my whole family with me today.  My dearest friend Danielle lost her brother only two weeks ago.  Nick was 32.  My Ryan's age.  It was sudden, and shocking, and sad.  I have been thinking about Danielle, Chris, and Lenny all day today.  They lost a bright light.  I am grateful that every time I talk to Danielle, she seems to be doing well enough; although, I know she must miss her brother dearly and my heart goes out to her.
 
Just Saturday past, Ryan and I went to the annual ThanksGathering held by a darling family, the Bells.  You know Bell's Seasoning?  Same family, though they don't own the business--their grandfather sold the recipe to the now owners/makers.  There, Ryan and I engaged in conversations with the tens of other guests, got to show off a little baking, a little flare, and got to gawk at some pretty guitar strumming. 
 
There, at the Bell abode, I got to talk to several friends.  Iliya, I discovered, smiling, is happy in his challenging new work environment.  He works with struggling children in a struggling city in western mass and has somehow been given the role of basketball coach, just because he's tall. 
 
Peter was in Iraq over 5 years ago.  He came home safe only to be caught out by some black ice while driving home.  He hit a tree and woke up out of a five day comma.  He suffered brain damage and paralysis.  He forgot almost all of his Arabic except for habibi (a very sweet word, which one says with a gleam in their eye.  it means sweetheart.).  But Peter is getting better after 4 years of slow, frustrating recovery.  He is alive, he is optimistic, and he is an inspiration. 
I was complimented about my macarons, hugged by many.  I talked to a young man about the Gropius House, and architectural history and preservation.  We also talked at all ends of the spectrum on displaced people, refugees.  How not being able to sleep in his own bed while construction takes place in his house makes him a displaced person, although not to the extent someone from New Jersey might currently feel--having to celebrate this holiday in a stadium with thousands of others, or in a stranger's home.
 
There were talks about technology, about food, about work, about cats (lots of cats), about music, about jam and jelly and military careers and marriages and babies, about happiness and positive neuron pathways.
 
I didn't, while I was there, talk to a young Ana-Maria, though.  It wasn't until the day after the party that I saw on her facebook page that she felt at odds, at a crossroads.  And I have been meaning to write to her about the time in her life which she is inflicted right now.  I will.  Ana-Maria, I am going to write you a letter.  But I need your address. 
 
Thankfulness and gratitude take many forms and come in many magnitudes.  I have only begun, only a little, to explore some of the elements of my life for which I am grateful.  There are not enough words, enough pixels, enough keys, to express all that I am thankful for... so I'll save some for another post. 
 
Be grateful.  Be thankful.  Share love, and be loved.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Sunday, November 04, 2012

November Fourth

two days ago, a young woman named Xu
got on a subway to escaped the rain
where she met a man who needed her help.
today, on the fourth day of the first November,
she leaves his apartment, having done all she can for him,
but feels something inside her rumble
as she closes his door shut and stares out
at the entrance to the city street.
she is paralyzed by a fear of the oncoming,
the oncoming of what, however, she cannot know.
she cannot know that the city in the jungle,
in it's very first year in history,
is about to be destroyed.
she cannot know that she is, right now, leaving
the one person who would keep her safe
when the city falls to its knees.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

November Third

you might remember our hero
whom we met yesterday
as he entered the subway with bruises and cuts
but was never given a name.
his name is leonard and today is his birthday.
38 years before the first November in our history,
but well after the invention of the subway,
leonard was born and his epic story began. 
we rejoin him on the morning of November Third -
the first November Third in history -
leonard is in pain from the fight he fought the day before,
but his pain is eased by the smell of coffee
and bacon and something else... maple.
there is someone in the kitchen.  someone we haven't met yet.
someone whom leonard met yesterday
on the train he used to escape the city in the jungle.

Friday, November 02, 2012

November Second

the story starts, "it was a cool day in November"
but what the story doesn't tell you
is that every day in November is cool.
today, rain seeped out of grey clouds
that lay low against the jungle's roof.
and today we meet our protagonist
as he warily exits the bustle of the city -
the city that hides indiscreetly
under the palms of our jungle setting -
and enters the altogether new trappings
of the subterranean transportation system.
his face is battered from being hit and thrown
by a man in an office, as it often happens in stories.
but our hero still looks dashing with cuts across his cheeks and nose.
there is only a slight tear in his silk shirt
and his hair, although messy, still looks fashioned.


Thursday, November 01, 2012

November First

the story begins "it was a cool day in November"
but what the story fails to mention
is that "cool" on this side of the planet,
in the belly of the beastly jungle,
is really rather hot.
too hot to walk on sand without shoes
too hot to sit out in the sun's rays
without your face burning to red,
no matter what color you started out as.
alas, it was November.  the very first day of the month.
the very first day of the very first November
as it was recorded in our history.
it was a Thursday.
the best firsts usually are. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

i am grateful for... (22,23,24,25,26,27,28,29,30,31)

okay, so i haven't been posting every day recently.  it's not that i've been any busier than normal, i've honestly just been a normal amount of busy.  so i have no excuses. 
 
it's a little pitiful that i only made it 21 out of 31 days.  it makes me look a little ungrateful.  it seems like there are only 21 things to be grateful for; but that's not true.  there are many,  many more things i am grateful for, and since starting this little project, i've caught myself several times a day thinking "i am grateful for that".
 
here are some examples that haven't made it into post form yet...
 
today, during the hurricane, rowdy has been watching leaves, branches, and rain drops wisp past him at the new sliding door onto the deck.  i am grateful for rowdy's curiosity, for his concern, and his cute little concerned-sounding meow.  i am grateful for the deck.  and i am grateful today, for still having our electricity on while so many others are already without it.
 
a week or two ago i was driving home from weighing in at my meeting in Hyannis when i saw a white truck pulled over on the side of the road where the Barnstable Youth Ranch horses hang out eating lots of grass, and there was a man stood outside the car.  he stopped to look at all the horses.  it was really sweet and comforting.  this man took the time to stop and admire the big animals.  animals that so many people,  myself included, otherwise simply drive past without giving them very much consideration at all.  we take them for granted.  i was grateful to that man for making me pay better attention and respect to those horses.  i think i will notice them more fondly now forever because of him.
 
our toilet is still broken, and has been for over a week already.  today, as i was sat backwards on it, trying to fix it and failing because i don't have the right tools yet, i thought how lucky we are to have two full bathrooms in our house.  i am so grateful for the multitude of things we have and have at our disposal.  i am so lucky.  i could list so many tools and trinkets i am grateful for: my oven (even though the dial doesn't turn down, only up), the microwave (although i only use it once every blue moon for heating, i use it all the time as a kitchen timer), the kettle (lovely, lovely kettle, for which i do have a back up just in case of a tea emergency), my special orange macaron spatula, my laptop (which is all mine), the two tiled pillows i bought at walmart for $9 each, the big ugly bar of green soap someone got me from France (that i never use because it's ugly colored, but i still like having products of France in the bathroom), all the cat scratching posts, hand rails on the stairs, my gorgeous washing machine, the deck!  there are so many more... it would be like a grocery list of all of our possessions.  you would likely stop reading.
 
i am grateful for alli, and the way she meeps when you try to pick her up.  for jack, and the way he snores when he's in deep sleep.  for rowdy, as mentioned above. 
 
for ryan, for new reasons every day, i am so grateful.
 
for my mom.  my dad.  my artistic little brother, and my resourceful little sister.  her helpful husband.  for tumblr.com (how you fuel my imagination), for my plumber neighbor, for leslie and linda and tina at gustare for having little parties all the time. 
 
i am grateful for chocolate.
 
i am grateful for birth control.
 
i am grateful for Tetley's tea.
 
i am grateful for Jason Deehr.
 
i am grateful for poster board.
 
i am grateful for tracy who goes to one of my weight watchers meetings - and the new journal she gave me which I plan to start writing in on Thursday.
 
i am grateful for my ability to see.  to hear.  to taste.  to touch.  to speak.  to write.  to read.  to understand.
 
i wish i could speak French.  so i am grateful for the tools available to me should i get serious about learning.
 
i am grateful for my strength and confidence.  
 
i am grateful that my experiments in baking usually turn out pretty good. 
 
i am grateful for having tried this experiment.  i think next month i will try to write more poems.  but i have two days to decide if i want to commit to a poem a day yet.
 
thank you; fore, i am grateful for you too.  and also for semi colons.   

Thursday, October 25, 2012

how to harvest a cranberry bog

step one: flood the bog


step two: help the berries loose from the bushes by churning the flooded bog with an air boat thing

 

 
 
step three: collect the berries with floating nets

 

step four: feed the berries into a big truck

 
step five: use the big truck to wash the berries


step six: let Jack inspect the results

 
and bonus step seven: leave the bog flooded for a while so the ducks can eat all the frogs left in the bog.







Monday, October 22, 2012

i am grateful for... (21/31)

running.  that i can run.  if you've ever run, then you understand.  it's a beautiful alone time. time for my body to work. time for my mind to wander and wonder. and a time for my emotions to recalibrate and level out.

i am grateful for my brother (20/31)

saturday, my brother mike came over and we developed a comic book idea together.  he's going to draw it.  because he's an artist.  he's also funny and cool.  i am really proud of him.  it's not quite grateful.  well, not as straight-forward as all the rest.  but i am grateful that he asked for my creative help.  grateful that he thinks i'm worthy ^_^

Friday, October 19, 2012

today i am grateful for... (19/31)

technology.  because of the internet and my laptop and my cell phone, i can listen to bbc radio 1 all around the house while i do laundry and bake bread.  that's a rather wonderful thing, is it not?
 

friday morning

we are called together
the hour is dawn
the clouds are many
and we are so few

we, birds.  we, children.
we, aliens. we.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

i am grateful for (18/31)

pasta.  in particlar the pasta ryan is boiling for me right now, because i don't feel well.  my husband is great. 

i am grateful for ... (17/31)

i have narrow ear canals.  i am not grateful for that.  what i am grateful, however, is the fact that there are solutions sold at most grocery stores and pharmacies that i can pour in my ear and it helps me clean them and, therefore, hear better.  and without any pain.  i am grateful for ear cleaning solutions.

i am grateful for ... (16/31)

the fact that their making a marvel shield tv show and that agent coulson will be in it - and not dead any more.  thank you.

i am grateful for... (15/31)

today, after my normal thursday morning work, i dropped off six big bags of food to the Falmouth Service Center food pantry.  weight watchers members collected food at two meetings and i got to take it to the pantry for them.
 
there were a few older people collecting food from the pantry.  but there were also some women my age, and some of them with one or two kids each.  i was really happy to see that the food is going to young families who are obviously struggling to make ends meet.  and i am grateful for the fact that Ryan and i can afford to eat.  that we can buy all the food we want.  in fact we could do with less if we had to. 
 

Monday, October 15, 2012

i am grateful for slippers (14/31)

yesterday (sunday) i got to wear my slippers around the house all day.  it was cool out, and we had no where we needed to go.  it was a good way for my feet to spend the day.
 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

the bog up close

check out those cranberries!




the bog



 
and our house!

Friday, October 12, 2012

today i am grateful for Jack (12/31)

i mean... just look at him!


how could anyone not be grateful for a cat with a belly that white and pink and fluffy, who purrs ALL the time, and has the most adorable tail/paw action?

^___^

adventuring




with adipose figures ♥

Thursday, October 11, 2012

i am grateful for chris (11/31)

my brother-in-law and friend.  for he is generous enough to lend us his skills as a car doctor over and over and over and over without asking for anything in return.  i owe him at least three cars.  and i hope to repay him in macarons.  THANK YOU CHRIS!!!

the shape and colors of things

in the woods out back.

color and life around the bog...