Movie Recommendations: Shallow Grave and The Red Violin

These two movies are on opposite sides of the spectrum.  I’m going back in time, to the mid and late 1990s. The first one is a black comedy and the other one is a drama. I’m almost willing to search for them in my collection and take a trip down memory lane.

Shallow Grave

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This dark crime comedy was written by John Hodges and the first movie directed by Danny Boyle. It had the relative newcomer actor at the time, Ewan McGregor, along with Christopher Eccleston and Kerry Fox. The story revolves around three friends who find their fourth roommate dead in their flat.  They realize he left behind a large amount of cash, and what they will do to preserve their new found discovery is at the heart of this movie.  I remember it being insanely mad with a perfect ending. Watch the trailer to see if it piques your interest.

Trailer found on Criterion DVD/Blu-ray

The Red Violin (Le violon rouge)

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This drama was written by Don McKellar and François Girard, and directed by the latter. There are many different actors and actresses in this movie as it takes places in five different cities ranging across four centuries. Some of them are Greta Scacchi, Jason Flemyng, Colm Feore, Samuel L. Jackson, and Sandra Oh. The story revolves around a red violin, with its origins from Italy.  It changes hands several times and tells how each of the people who came in contact with it were impacted.  The story concludes in Canada.  This is the perfect movie if you enjoy character driven stories.  Watch the trailer as well to see if it piques your interest.

Trailer found on Movie Clips Trailer Vault
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Ahhh… the weekend… almost!

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The Woody Show Animated Podcasts

Kids will do the craziest of things and because Greg Gory tells a good story except when he tells a joke live.

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Every Day of the Week with The Woody Show

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There was a time when the Woody Show was not a part of my life on my way to work. I can’t imagine not hearing it now. The music selection is nothing to get too excited over although they play a few songs I really like, but have no idea who sings them. I suggest playing Nirvana’s song Come as You Are a little less.  I don’t really get too into the song segments, but listening to 80’s songs is always nice… once in a while.

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The history of the Woody Show involves a group of friends, starting with Woody, Ravey, and Tony in San Francisco, circa 2006. Greg Gory and Menace later became a part of the show as they were affiliated with the radio station at the time. Due to a major mishap, they were forced to go their separate ways. Woody and Ravey went onto another station while Greg and Menace stayed in San Francisco.

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The main players came together in Los Angeles in 2014 of Woody, Ravey, Menace, and Greg Gory.  Sebas, executive producer, would later come into the mix in 2015. There are obvious signs they have known each other for a long time, and the synergy among them is great.  I would say hands down my favorite is Greg Gory with Menace, Woody, and Ravey behind him.

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This station is definitely not for everyone. They are crass at times and have offended listeners. They are not shy to confront their naysayers including some listeners especially when a particular tweet or email or text is full of venom. This is not what you listen to when your kids are in the backseat or maybe you do. Either way, this didn’t stop iHeartMedia from extending their contract despite some wanting them to be taken off the air.

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I find most of their segments and topics entertaining. My favorites are L.A. Craigslist Freak of the Week, First World Problems, A Bachelorette, Redneck News, Greg Gory’s Hate Mail, Dumbass News, Food News, and Menace’s Word of the Day.  My least favorites are Drunk Dial and Smokin’ and Drinkin’ Stories although I’d take this over the latest pop song.  I like Ravey’s voice so I don’t mind her talking about sports.  You can listen to the whole show later if you miss some of the show.  I enjoy the live videos and animated podcasts.  It sure makes the drive to work more tolerable.

Photos/Video by Woody Show

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Quote by PC

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Ten Years?! Ten Stinking Years?!

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I’m keeping this short and sweet in regards to other blog posts.  I’m letting the pictures do the talking because they have captions.  Excuse the bird crap on the car window pictures.  Los Angeles birds love to crap on windows right after you get a car wash.  It never fails.  I’m sure others can relate in other cities.

Ten years ago I visited the Pacific Ocean at Santa Monica with a person I didn’t know would last or could stand my independence over the years.   Fast forward to ten years later and we’re still together.

I call him my roommate much of the time because that is what he is to me, but he’s more than that to me when you put the puzzle pieces together.  He recently told me I have taught him much over these years, which I am glad.  It’s nice to know you helped someone.

He’s taught me much over these past ten years too.  It was never my goal to meet someone when I moved to Los Angeles.  I suppose things have a way of working out in some respects.  We surpassed our ten year mark in June so here’s to hopefully more years ahead.

If anyone is wondering, I did beat him in Skee Ball like I did in 2007.

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Dunkirk Does Deliver

My Second Movie Review of the Year

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I saw this movie yesterday. I liked it for the fact it did not have any love interest in the plot in the traditional sense. Love and war are themes that will never go away, and there is nothing wrong with this, because I like these movies too. The last one I enjoyed was Allied although it didn’t do well in the box office, but let’s get back to Dunkirk. The only love in this movie was a soldier’s love to be reunited with safety and comfort. There shouldn’t be any spoilers in this review unless you aren’t aware of the general happenings at Dunkirk. This will be my second review this year.

Dunkirk scored a high rating on Rotten Tomatoes (Tomatometer of 93%) and IMDB (Metascore 94%) It was victorious in the box office with earning 50.5 million in its opening weekend. I would rate it five out of five stars for the cinematography alone. Those shots from the sky looking down at the ships and boats. Damn! They were so impressive! The production design was absolutely amazing as was most everything about the movie! While the story really doesn’t have any twists and turns as most people know about the horrors of World War II, it does an amazing job reminding viewers how difficult survival was on land, sea, and air.

Nolan did a superb job weaving the stories together like he usually does, shared in an intimate way, and this to me was the whole purpose of this film. The interaction between Shivering Soldier (played by Cillian Murphy) and Mr. Dawson’s family (played by Mark Rylance) was just as tense as the assaults from the sky by German planes. It was Nolan’s shortest script and for good reason. It didn’t need much talking head. Tom Hardy who played Farrier was amazing throughout the movie although he wasn’t the only one carrying the film. Jack Lowden who played Collins was equally great. I rate the whole experience four and a half out of five stars.

Information about Dunkirk

Dunkirk is a movie about the rescue of Allied soldiers in France after being trapped and sitting ducks, for lack of better words, by the Germans forces. The evacuation took place between May 26th and June 4th in 1940. By the end of this rescue mission, with the help of small vessels transporting soldiers from the beaches to ultimate safety of larger ships and then land, there were many unnamed heroes and heroines in this story. The ending was perfect as it commented on the realities of war. It had a solid cast and believe one of the reasons the movie works well is some of the actors weren’t well known. Dunkirk was written and directed by Christopher Nolan. The more recognizable actors were Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Kenneth Branagh, and Mark Rylance. And then there was Harry Styles who did a good job. Not once did I think there’s the guy from One Direction throughout the movie.

Why Not Five Stars

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The reason for not giving it five stars was the partial confusion of the title usage in relation to time. The movie focused on three primary areas: air, sea, and land, which was the way it should be because this is how wars are fought. I don’t consider myself a dummy by any means as even my roommate was a little confused about it until we realized what was actually happening. I enjoy movies rolled out in a non-chronological order. I just wish I had some reference as to what one week, one day, and one hour meant in terms of how they were all related at the beginning instead of later in the film. Looking back it makes me wonder why I didn’t get it right away, but glad I’m not the only one. While I wish the ending (movie wise not historical wise) had happened differently for selfish reasons, I’m glad it wasn’t that way because nothing is completely one way or another. One of the main characters didn’t fully arc as pointed out by my roommate, but then again not all of the characters had the ability to fully complete their circle, which is what war presents to soldiers. Could a person really fully return to “normal” once back from this particular war if he survived or any war for that matter? I have my suspicions, but I’m not willing to answer that question right now. Let’s just say trauma changes a person and no matter how hard you try to shove a square object into a round opening, it will not fit.

Conclusion

I believe this movie will stand the test of time as it is currently being viewed as a well-crafted movie for many reasons and Oscar buzz seems to be already buzzing. I liken this movie to Fury despite it having a much higher production value.  If anyone wants to watch Fury, I highly recommend it. It was written and directed by David Ayer. But again, let’s get back to Dunkirk. With absolute certainty I was wholly invested in every character and every scene from start to finish. My biggest disappointment was not finishing all the popcorn when the credits rolled and on top of that not wanting a refill. This has NEVER happened before so maybe I won’t get any popcorn and just enjoy the movie the next time.  Probably not, but I can dream, right? 

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WRITER’S BLOCK???

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I believe writer’s block is overused. Yes, it can be attributed to some of the questions listed in the above photo. You can write a card, a shopping list, a poem, an essay or a song. As long as you are writing something, you’re a writer. I’m a Renaissance gal and have diverse interests. Writing is only one of them. There are so many wonderful things in this world to experience and all those experiences will help you as a writer…even the horrid ones. Many often ask me why I do not continue my two published books as a series. Here are a few reasons why I am not motivated to do so:

1) The publishing markets, both indie and traditional, are saturated and the Amazon book sales are not great. At least when you are an indie author, you are your own boss. When you have an agent and/or…

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Musings

Dirty Sci-Fi Buddha

From what I’ve seen, it is hard to predict material success, ESPECIALLY in the entertainment industry.  And even if we get it, it does not guarantee fulfillment or happiness.  But here’s what’s well within our grasp:  it is possible to conduct ourselves like people who DESERVE success; to invite it to our doorstep by showing up every day and dutifully creating.  But even more important than that:  it is possible to delight in our efforts, to plunge fully into the worlds we dream, and to prep them as best we can for others’ consumption, hopefully lifting their hearts and capturing their imaginations.  

I feel that when I engage in creativity with this mentality, I not only serve others, but myself as well.  

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Save Time… Do This… iPhone Related

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I bought my iPhone 5 about two years ago.  This model was being phased out.  I had trouble with it so thanks to Apple Care I got it replaced a week after I bought it.  Brand new iPhone, the second one.  It had to be programmed all over again.  The worst for me because it’s so time consuming.  A big UGGGHHHH.  I put in all my information.  I put my thumb on the button to scan its ridges.  I came up with passwords I would soon forget.

Fast forward to about two months ago.  My camera was acting up.  I could only take selfies.  No thanks.  I went to the Apple store and got a new camera thanks to Apple Care.  My insurance was nearing the end so it was perfect timing.  Nothing else will happen.  WRONG.  My camera was doing the same thing as before with crazy colors appearing and disappearing.  It was not completely silent when I put it on silent during work hours.  It was taking pictures when my camera wasn’t even on.  Things that make you go HMMMMMM.

The Apple store is close to where I live, and it’s a good thing because there was street cleaning today so I didn’t want to take my car.  It takes way too long to back up your information on iCloud in any store.  I made the trek back home and it downloaded within a decent time.   I needed more space so I bought some more space.  Next time I’ll bring a book although I don’t want there to be a next time for a long time.

Advance to three hours later today.  I had my new iPhone in my hand, still the same model, as I walked back to the apartment.  The things I learned from the technician would have been quite a lot had I really listened to her explain how information is transmitted from the iCloud to wherever it needs to go.  I did hang onto the part when she asked if I had a lot of texts.  I told her I have a few, which was a lie.  I only had one.

The fact I don’t save texts cut down my time by about 20 minutes and also the fact I have hardly any emails in my accounts or my delete box saved time too.  Unless you absolutely need all your texts and emails, get rid of them.  This is my advice to everyone with iPhones.  If you like waiting around when something goes bust, then by all means, don’t get rid of anything.  Cheers everyone!!!  Happy Friday!!!

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Nothing but Quarters and Lists

This project started when my roommate did not want to use my “special quarters.”  Those educated in the United States had to learn the 50 states and their capitals as students in grade school.  Oh, what we did to memorize the spelling of Mississippi and Pennsylvania or maybe that was just me.  I asked my roommate to quiz me on the capitals not too long ago.  I got most of them right.

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This need to see how many quarters in my rolls I had stashed away made me completely forgo my original plans a few weeks ago on a Sunday to compile a list of what kind of “special quarters” I actually had.  It made me realize the U.S. Treasury (for sure dollar bills) or whoever is responsible for creating new coins had been busy again with their quarters.  I was aware they released the state quarters that were put into production from 1999 to 2008.  Remember all the hot rage?  Coin collectors probably didn’t sleep that night.

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What I didn’t know is America the Beautiful quarters currently in production are pretty cool looking quarters.  They will be completed in 2021.  They started to be released in 2010, so yes, not very observant on this front.  Better late than never.  I added to my collection when I traded a 20 dollar bill for two rolls of quarters today.  I’m missing ten from the state quarters, but hope to have it completed by the end of this year.  I had to go one step further and mark how many of duplicates I had of each state.  While I haven’t visited every state, maybe one day I will, and so far I’ve only visited or lived in fifteen states and passed through a handful of states, but I don’t really count them.  Call me crazy, but this was kinda fun.  No wait, it was REALLY FUN!

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Simple Advice for All Stuck Writers

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Write anything. Don’t sit there. Just write.

Who cares if it sounds stupid to your ear or doesn’t make sense. No one has to read it if you don’t want. It doesn’t need to be perfect.

The thing troubling many of us, I believe, is self doubt and fear. It creeps around us morning, noon, and night. The irritation of not writing more in those hours we set aside while bad posture remains to be a source of discomfort for some as the next day approaches.

We realize writing something, no matter how bad, is better than nothing when trying to fall asleep.

We try so hard to make it the best we can while we punch the keyboard, forgetting the expectations we place on our shoulders, and other times not so successful.

So yes, write anything. Don’t sit there. Just write.

(I can hear my inner voice now.)

(Thanks for the advice. As if it were this easy.)

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