A blog about general entertainment, fashion, and movies. And some random stuff too.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Book Review: Lucky

A while back I fell in love with Alice Sebold after reading her beautiful book, The Lovely Bones. Her writing, for some reason, just captures me in a way that no other authors' works have ever done. As soon as I was done with The Lovely Bones, I knew I needed to read whatever else I could find from her. I immediately researched what else she has written. I found that she's written a memoir. It spans from when she was raped as a college freshmen to the events that followed. Since I desperately wanted to learn all I could about this woman, it was the next one in line for me. I knew that, even though this book was going to be hard to read, Sebold has a way of writing that can handle this subject matter.

Like me, you are probably wondering why a book about rape is called Lucky. I wondered if it was going to end up being ironic because, even discussing something so awful, Sebold was able to write with a sense of humor. Or, in the end, would it be a title that reflected some sort of truth? Through this ordeal did she find a knew way to view life, and through that feel lucky? However, the prologue explains these wonders away:

In the tunnel where I was raped, a tunnel that was once an underground entry to an amphitheater, a place where actors burst forth from underneath the seats of a crowd, a girl had been murdered and dismembered. I was told this by the police. In comparison, they said, I was lucky...But at the time, I felt I had more in common with the dead girl than I did with the large, beefy police officers or my stunned freshman-year girlfriends. The dead girl and I had been in the same low place...During the rape my eye caught something among the leaves and glass. A pink hair tie. When I heard about the dead girl, I could imagine her pleading as I had, and wondered when her hair had been pulled loose from her hair tie...I will always think of her when I think of the pink hair tie. I will think of a girl in the last moments of her life. 
Then, from the beginning lines of the first chapter, Sebold throws you into the situation, much like she was. It is unexpected and brutal and she hides no detail or tries to buffer any blow. From this point on, as a reader, I knew that she was going to be painfully blunt and honest about each part of her story. In this way, it felt like Alice was opening up her heart and being completely vulnerable with her audience. I couldn't help but appreciate and be thankful for her candor and her willingness to be that authentic. It absolutely takes bravery to be able to dig into your past and lay it all out like she was able to do. In another review I read it said, "All the words that follow are testament to this; every page is an act of courage." Nothing truer can be said about this piece. 

However, Sebold doesn't write for sympathy or repentance. She doesn't blame herself nor does she throw blame at others. She tells her story because it is hers. She is proof that something awful can happen, that it can ruin a part of yourself, a whole part of your life, take from you, and you can still come out of the situation, surviving it and its aftermath. It's a perspective that is powerful and valid. Through reading up on the fans of this book, I discovered that many of them were victims, themselves, who could identify with Alice and were in awe of her ability to stand up to her attacker. Many commented that they wished they could have done what she had done, or they were glad they weren't the only ones who went through this part of it, etc. 

Of all the comments, the most common was that not many people could have written a story like this with the care, poetry, and honesty that Alice Sebold did. I'll go ahead and add my name to the list of readers who believe that. No one could have written it this way but Alice.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Lord of the Rings Jewelry Making Craft Session

If you remember correctly, a few weeks ago my friends and I got together and decorated Up!-like jars to put money in for our inevitable trek to New Zealand. Well, we've done it again. This week we got together to make some nerdy jewelry. None better than Lord of the Rings themed. So we poured the wine, turned on the BBC radio production of The Fellowship, and got busy with crafts. 

Rocky helped us make pendants.

We used pieces of my old calendars.

This one is my favorite that I made.

This is my 2nd favorite.

A hobbit door!

Orc eyes.... as a joke for our friend who couldn't come, haha.

Lorien broach.

This is my favorite that Melissa made!

We were inspired by some jewelry we saw on Etsy.com, and because of our awesome friend, Rocky, we were able to make out own!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

New to The Island: Lost seasons 1-3

I'm a LOST newbie, to say the least. I began my journey to the island about a week and a half ago. However, in that time I've made it through 3 whole seasons (that's 72 episode). It's quite an understatement to say that I have the potential to be slightly obsessive, obviously. Here is a newbie's perspective half-way through. 

I've been told by close friends for years to watch LOST, but I never did because I didn't want to give into the hype. Plus, I was so far behind, I knew there was no way to catch up and it would be pointless to do so if I was just going to have to sit and wait around for season 6 to end and come to DVD. So I put it off and I wasn't interested. Why I never watched to begin with is still a mystery to me, as one of my favorite people on earth is a part of it, Dominic Monaghan. The love I have for the Lord of the Rings cast runs deep, and yet, I just skipped LOST. It's inexcusable, to be completely honest. I was thankful to my friends at my job and elsewhere who kept on me about it till I gave in. It was a glorious morning when Kristy brought me a stack of the first 4 seasons on DVD to keep me busy all spring break!

Going in, I didn't know what to expect. The warnings I got were things like: "It gets outrageous, but you have to keep going!" "Yeah, season 1 is good... but then..." "There are things that never get explained, but you just have to overlook that!" etc, etc. It seemed I was taking a big risk in getting attached only to either be disappointed or confused. But as I got into the first season, none of that really mattered anymore. Whether or not I get answers about the polar bears, what the thing was that sounded like a Tyrannosaurus Rex, how does Kate's hair curl so beautifully without hair gel, what is the island, where is the island, omg the island... doesn't really matter to me. It was clear from very early on that this show is not centered around answers, but characters. I care about these people so much that I care more about what happens to them, than understanding it all (if that makes sense). I don't need answer, necessarily (though they are welcome), I need my characters to be taken care of.

I am not the kind of girl who enjoys camping or doing many things in the wilderness. I mean, that might even be an understatement. However, watching this show, I found myself feeling like I wanted to be on the island. Yes, with "the others", the smoke monster, and all the crazy dart traps set up by Rousso, because I would then be with these awesome people, too. The community and bond these characters establish on this island, even though it's a terrible situation to be in, makes all that ok. Makes it seem worth it. Makes a city girl in heels, like me, want to join them on a beach with no showers and no toilets. They may go into the jungle or out to sea trying to find a way to get off the island, but when they return to the beach it's like a homecoming party. Hugging, clapping, joy, music swelling. It's beautiful. These characters and their relationships with one another drive this series.(Sidenote: If I were on the island, I would have totally stayed at the beach, I think. I wouldn't have moved to the caves.)

I went in with very little knowledge of any characters, except Charlie. In fact, I knew so little about who was part of the show I kept thinking Sawyer was going to have an Australian accent. That was dead wrong. I went in knowing that Charlie would be my favorite, just because I can't help but love Dom. What I did not know if how much I would love so many others. It was surprising how invested I got so quickly!

Sun and Jin (My favorite Sawyer nickname for them had to be when he called her "Sunshine." So precious! For Jin... I think he called him "Mr. Miyagi". Is that racially insensitive?)

Theirs is one of my favorite story lines, and I also just really love what they bring to the group. Perhaps one of my favorite moments was when Charlie, Desmond, Hurley, and Jin were having to camp in the jungle and they were telling campfire stories. Jin telling a campfire story completely in Korean while everyone pretended to understand and then be scared when he finished was ... just... SO adorable. I think it was especially hilarious because Jin is serious most of the time.

Hurley (My favorite Sawyer nickname for him was when he was sitting with Charlie and Aaron. Sawyer said "Well if it ain't 3 men and a baby!" He's so mean... but I have to admit I laughed.)

How could anyone NOT love Hurley? He brings much needed positivity and comic relief to the island, but even so, he's not just some fluff character. So many things that surround Hurley's story are outrageous, that even in their tragedy, they are a little silly. The best part about it, though, is how Hurley tends to handle them. He's such a big teddy bear, you never want to see anything bad happen to him, so when he loses the girl he cares about, it was definitely one of the sweetest and saddest Hurley moments, for me.

Jack (One time, Sawyer called him "Dr. Quinn" and I almost spit out my drink.)

I really love Jack. He just makes my heart hurt. I feel like he's always swimming against a current, trying to do all things all at once and not allowing anyone to help him. I made a comment before that he just needs to be hugged, and I mean that in the most literal way. He needs to be comforted, he needs to allow someone else to take care of him, he needs to let some of the stuff he thinks he can carry go, because it's going to break him. Everyone looks to him to fix everything, he is the only one who can do medical things (for the most part), the girl he loves is kind of selfish and keeps switching between him and a guy he kind of love/hates, and he's only one person! He needs a vacation, hard core. I want to bring him a scotch and let him relax while someone else takes care of all the crap.

Sawyer (I can't believe how unfair it is that Sawyer doesn't get a nickname just because he is the nicknamer ... mind blown.) 

Sawyer is exactly the kind of character I tend to always be drawn to. He's a hard ass on the outside, but a sweet heart on the inside. He spits and cusses and he was an awesome angry look, but when you get him settled down, hand him a beer, and ruffle is hair a bit, he shows just what a softy he can be. A Byronic hero to the core. My favorite moments with Sawyer are all flashes of what a precious person he is, deep down. Specifically when he was giving Kate a hard time about her asking for something until she said it was for the Aaron, the baby. Then his eyebrows turned up and he was all: "Here take this! I can help" while digging through his stash. Or how about when he revealed what a love puppy he is when he actually made Kate a "mix tape". Sawyer, your sensitive is showing.

Charlie (Sawyer's nicknames for him weren't my favorite, but he did call him "Jiminy Cricket". That was cute. Once he called him "Munchkin" and I so badly wanted him to refer to him as a "hobbit." I guess that would have been redundant.)

I absolutely LOVED Charlie. But of all the characters, I think Charlie hurt me the most over and over again. I really badly wanted him and Claire to be together, but for so long Charlie kept making decisions that would prevent that from happening. Watching him struggle with his addiction was just awful, and the fact that he kept going back to it made it worse. As much as I love him, there was a point where I went "How can he and Claire EVER recover from this?!" But when season 3 rolled around, Charlie's character started balancing out and eventually he was one of the biggest heroes on the island.

I knew coming in he'd be my favorite, I also knew coming in he would die. That didn't make it any easier to watch, nor did it make it any less sad when it happened. The episode about Charlie's "Greatest Hits" was just wonderful. I was on the verge of crying as Charlie dived down, but it wasn't until they showed a simple shot of one of his shoes coming off that I really cried. Then I was just a hot mess. And of course, when his death actually happens, I don't think it could have been done in a better way, with the music swelling, and his message that will truly save the rest of the island. If it HAD to happen, I'm glad that it happened like that.

As for the rest of the cast, I really love Sayid (whom Sawyer called "The Red Beret" at once point), and Ecko (who Sawyer called "Shaft" BAHAHA). I was really sad when Ecko died. I felt he had a lot more to give. I even like John Locke, who has seemed to have lost his marbles in the last few episodes. I am holding out hope he will come back around eventually.

I HATE Ben Linus. I have been told he's just mislead, but OH MY GOD I cannot stand him and I want him to die, hard core. I guess I will see eventually if he does redeem himself and turn around so that I can eat my words, but as of right now... just... no. (Sawyer called him "George" like from Of Mice and Men. I LOVED that.)

I like Kate. I haven't really mentioned her but to describe other characters, but I do like her. She is going to have to stop jumping from Jack to Sawyer whenever she is feeling vulnerable, because that is getting LAME, but we'll see. She's beautiful, to say the least. I also like Juliet. I think she is really trying to help and I believe she will turn out good. I hope she and Jack get it on and are in love and Jack finds happiness there so that he won't be heartbroken over Kate for much longer.

Also, if I had to pick a favorite character that wasn't on the island but just in the flashbacks, I'd either say Desmond's first fiance, the red-headed one who just tells him the heck off. Loved it. OR the lady that has her husband capture Sayid because he tortured her once. Her story about the cat and the firecrackers still upsets me. Great story line. 

Random Sawyer nickname mention: I LOVED when he called Alex (Rousso's daughter) "Sally Sling Shot." WINNER!

I'm afraid that this section of my post will leave a lot of be desired. Since I went in knowing a lot wouldn't be explained, I haven't really tried to guess what a lot of things are. However, I do have some ideas, so I will just touch on those.

Not sure, at this point what to make of the Sawyer/Kate/Jack love triangle. On the island it looks like Kate is jilted by Jack now who likes Juliet, even though Jack was just jilted by Kate, and therefore now Kate is jilting Sawyer... But in the future flash, where Jack has a crazy castaway beard worse than anything he had on the actual island, Kate is obviously with someone else and Jack is alone. She just refers to that person she is with as "he" and never specifies who it is. But where the story seems to be going, is that there will be duel time lines, and so it could very well be that Kate could be with both of them... simultaneously... across the space/time continuum. Am I reading a comic book right now? WTF. So I guess... I will just have to watch and see because it could go ANYWHERE.

If I was going to just comment on who I think is better for Kate, Sawyer would be my answer. She obviously wants the hell out of him, and they are very much alike. Not to mention... OMG does Sawyer love her. It's ridiculous. Some of the most powerful acting has been in the weird cages "The Others" keep Sawyer and Kate in. When that one guy forces to Kate to admit she loves Sawyer by beating the crap out of him... I got goosebumps. Also when she is trying to get him to escape with her and he won't go, great stuff! I think Sawyer and Kate have the chemistry to make a good love story.

Also what Charlie did to get them off the island killed him, so Jack standing there at the end of that episode crying about wishing he had never been rescued  REALLY PISSES ME OFF. I've been told that Jack is right and that eventually I will understand... but OH MY GOD let's just cry all over Charlie's beautiful sacrifice. UGH.

As for how things will turn out with the mysteries, this show finds ways to go so completely the opposite way than what is expected, so I don't know if I can really guess or even follow clues to what will happen. I have a feelings that if they shouldn't have been rescued eventually they will want to try to go back. (As Jack shouts over and over at the end of Season 3). I also think that the title "LOST" may not have anything to do with the fact that they are castaways on an island. Not one person on the island has a story that doesn't show them to be just lost in general, if you want to go that route.

Short term, I just want to see what happens when Desmond returns and let's everyone know Charlie sacrificed himself for them to be rescued. I want them to appreciate him and celebrate him and mourn him.

Long term, I just want the ending to be beautiful, and fitting, and make my cry. I've been told that it will achieve all of these things. The only thing is I don't know how to watch this show without Charlie, so it will be another new experience going into 4, 5, and 6.

Wish me luck! On I go!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The New Hollywood

I've been in a Oscar withdrawal coma for the last few weeks and have SEVERELY fallen down on the job of writing  consistently. For that I apologize and hope no one has forgotten about me! Since the Oscars, and even before with all the nominations, I have been compiling a list of the new generation of actors coming up. I can't wait to see what these young guns have in store for us based on what they've shown us in the last 2 years or so.

Emma Stone has been consistently awesome in comedies for the last few years and finally had her own movie that she carried beautifully, Easy A. Plus it got her a Golden Globe nomination and perhaps landed her the part as Gwen Stacy in the new Spiderman reboot. Jesse Eisenberg has been making movies for a while, but this year he was finally able to throw off the "Michael Cera clone" stigma and show his true acting chops. That boy starred in a movie many feel was the best of 2010 and earned himself an Oscar nomination. Beat that Cera. Jennifer Lawrence, a newbie, gave a rough and rowdy performance in Winter's Bone and got an Oscar nomination first time out. Now her name has been thrown around to star in a few up an coming blockbusters, one is The Hunger Games.

Carey Mulligan, after a wonderful performance in An Education and an Oscar nom last year, starred in a film called Never Let Me Go and landed the coveted role of  "Daisy" in the new Leonardo Dicaprio movie, The Great Gatsby. From a humble beginning as the middle sister in Pride and Prejudice, I'd say Carey is well on her way to super stardom. Then we have Joeseph Gordon-Levitt. I think it could be easily argued that he's part of this. Even though JGL has been in the business forever, this year he's reached a new level of stardom. He's gone above just independent films that, sadly, not many people have seen (So many of them are AWESOME), and has gotten starring roles in huge movies. Last year he was the heart and soul of (500) Days Of Summer, earning him a Golden Globe nomination. This year he was in Inception, one of the biggest blockbusters of the entire year. Now he's landed a role in Nolan's next Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises. This is the beginning of his time!

Chloe Moretz is a young lady that shocked me this year. With the talent and cool head of an adult, this 14 year old has held her own in roles that some actors twice her age couldn't do. I first saw her as the knowing little sister in (500) Days of Summer. Then she became the bad ass Hit Girl in Kick Ass, destroying bad guys with a side of snark. Then most recently she played the solemn, vulnerable, and terrifying Ellie in Let Me In. What she does next, based on what she's has shown, can only be completely awesome. Then there's Hailee Steinfeld who, first time out of the gates, slams home a performance that doesn't just earn her an Oscar nomination at 14, but also allows her to outshine the likes of Matt Damon and Jeff Bridges. Plus she carried herself through awards season with grace and poise. Now she's the front runner or favorite to play Katniss in the new Hunger Games series (I truly hope they pick her!!). She has proven only that she is a force to be reckoned with and the best part is she's so humble she probably doesn't even realize it.

Andrew Garfield is one of my personal favorites of this past year. I saw him in The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus and then in Never Let Me Go. I liked him a lot in both, but it was The Social Network where he truly blew me away. I went back and started watching more where I saw him in Boy A. The movie was shaky, but his performance was solid as could be. Now he's our new Spiderman. I cannot wait to see more of what this man can do. Another of my personal favorites is Saoirse Ronan. She was fantastic in Atonement, and then of course in The Lovely Bones. That performance made a believer out of me. Now she's rumored to be in Peter Jackson's newest project, The Hobbit (!!!). And let us not forget the Harry Potter kids, Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe, and Rupert Grint. The series is finally (sadly) over and now is the time for these young adults to show us what life is like after Harry Potter. And I have a feeling it's going to be awesome. Daniel is on Broadway, his second stage show. Emma is at Brown University, but just recently took off for "new endeavors," while Rupert is making movies with Emily Blunt and more.

No one can ever see into the future; we base what to expect on the present and the past. Based on all of this, I'd say entertainment has a pretty exciting future. Can't wait for all to come from these guys.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Top 5: Best and Worst dressed Oscars 2011

No intro necessary... let's just DO THIS! (Add your own individual comments per photo about these looks PLUS 20 others here!!)


5. Amy Adams in L'Wren SCott
 I HATE SLEEVES. Especially ones that are shaped like a muscle shirt some chubby guy in the gym made himself. I AM NOT OK WITH THIS TREND. Please make it stop. Also... I like the color and the shimmer... but other than that... it's boring. I don't like her hair down like that. It looks pretty but not dressy enough for the Oscars. Maybe if it were paired with a different dress it would look fancier... but no. Just no. This doesn't work like it should. Also... if you have no neck line you CANNOT wear a necklace. Especially one with a weird turquoise rock.

4. Marisa Tomei in Charles James
Um, not ok. UGLY. Not even a good color. In fact, the poof is a different color than the rest of the dress.  And the way it fits makes her little pooch show so much. UNCOOL STYLIST. UNCOOL.

3. Halle Berry in Marchesa
Well isn't THIS a big wad of tulle? And also it has an over-rated actress stuck in it. The top isn't bad... but then as your eyes travel down... um, yeah.

2. Melissa Leo in Marc Bouwer
GAH. Not only is this dress a hot mess, but so is her hair. I don't understand these women who make choices that make them look old, but OH MY GAH STOP! She is already an older lady, but could look really pretty and young if she would just make better fashion choices. Her hair is just bad. It looks like she threw it up to go to the gym. As for the dress... it's just weird. And again... SLEEVES! I just... no... there is nothing more I can say. Fail.

1. Lea Michele in Roberto Cavalli
This is the Vanity Fair Oscar party. Um, it looks like she found Mistique from X-Men, clubbed her over the head, and then stole her skin to make this hideous dress. SLEEVES ARE NOT OK! NO MATTER WHAT LENGTH. PLEASE LORD MAKE IT STOP.

5. Cate Blanchett in Givenchy Couture
At first I was like WTF? But the more I look at this dress, the more I love it. It's so strange and beautiful, it's like a moving piece of art. Especially the back! The details all over it are just gorgeous and Cate works it LIKE A BOSS.

4. Helena Bonham Carter in Colleen Atwood
What can be said? Helena rocks her own version of the red carpet every time, and she never disappoints. What she said this night was "I thought it better to celebrate film rather than fashion," and that was the inspiration for this Victorian-esque gown. Totally and uniquely Helena. You go, Bellatrix.

3. Hailee Steinfeld in Marchesa
This sweet little thing, I just love her. And she looks precious. Just perfect. She has done a GREAT job this season dressing up and keeping it classy without trying too hard. Plus, all her stuff has been age appropriate. This one is gorgeous. I love that the top goes sheer and so the crystals look like they are just across her shoulders. So precious. And her updo has a head band to keep it young. She is one of my absolute favorites of this year.

2. Mila Kunis in Elie Saab Couture
She was just breathtaking! This color is amazing, the fabric is amazing... Ashlie made a comment that her chest looked amazing... all these things are true!!! She was one of my most anticipated looks of the night, and she did not disappoint. JUST GORGEOUS.

1. Natalie Portman in Rodarte
Oh my precious little vessel! (This has become my favorite way to refer to her. It may get old, but I LIKE IT.) She was absolutely my most anticipated of the night and SHE DID WONDERFULLY! I LOVED this dress soooo much. I loved that it was slightly higher in the front than the back so we could see her adorable shoes. I love that the top hoisted up her awesome pregnancy boobs in a classy way. I love that the fabric drapes across her bump without making it look huge but at the same time not completely hiding it. AND THE COLOR! SO gorgeous. She just looks perfect. It was absolutely what I hoped to see her do on the Oscar red carpet and she did it!

(Just some other things I loved about this weekend...)
Natalie Portman in Givenchy at the Spirit Awards from Saturday:
She looked ADORABLE!!! I can hardly handle it.

RDJ and his wife, Susan, in Prada at the Oscars:
I CANNOT handle how awesome Robert is. He ALWAYS gets flack from fashion police about not wearing a tie when he should, so what does he do? He wears a tie no one can see. BRILLIANT.