Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Music 124: Elliott Smith

I seemed to have forgotten that October 21st was the 7th anniversary of Elliott Smith's death. It seems surreal having one of the best musicians of our time to be gone. I figured that it's better late than never to showcase this artist's talent.

Elliott Smith always had painstakingly morose and emotional tunes that were straight from the heart. He was honest and you could tell from his music that it was true. Smith's music had a sound that made you feel like he was in the room with you. Now it's haunting but still beautiful.

Here are a few of his top songs:
1) Between the Bars (this song is a real video of Smith himself playing. This song was featured in the movie Good Will Hunting along with many other Elliott Smith songs.)

2)Angel in the Snow (This song was released in 2007 after Smith died. It's on the album New Moon and was featured in the film Up in the Air.)

3) Waltz #2 (XO) (This song can be found on the album XO. This is another live video of him.)

For all newcomer listeners, there is a lyric by Elliott Smith that is one that still holds true to this day and is now sadly ironic. He wrote in his song Waltz #2 (xo) , "I'm never gonna know you now but I'm gonna love you anyhow." This is probably his most popular line and one we should all remember. Even if Elliott Smith is no longer with us, his music lives on as his lasting messages will too. Elliott Smith will be remembered.

Elliott Smith's memorial site, also the cover for his album Figure 8. Fans wrote on this wall messages to Smith. The wall was restored to it's original state in 2008 when if was vandalized 

All of Elliott Smith's music is available and can be found almost anywhere. A new album: An Introduction to Elliott Smith was released on November 2nd for anyone interested. Hopefully you've enjoyed this review and it's not just me thinking he is a truly good artist.

For more information about Elliott Smith you can go here.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Movies 124 : Burlesque

Let the holiday movies begin. Well, of course, it started with Harry Potter, but here comes the musical. Sometimes, these can be hit or miss during the holidays. But after listening to friends squabble why we shouldn't see this one because of critics reviews, I took the plunge and went. And...I'm glad I did.

From the get go it doesn't take long for Christine Aguilera to hit the stage, even if its the one in her mind, as the small town girl from Iowa. She's been saving up and she's going to L.A. or bust.

STORYLINE: The Burlesque Lounge has its best days behind it. Tess(Cher), a retired dancer and owner of the venue, struggles to keep the aging theater alive, facing all kinds of financial and artistic challenges. With the Lounge's troupe members becoming increasingly distracted by personal problems and a threat coming from a (Eric Dane) wealthy businessman's quest to buy the spot from Tess, the good fortune seems to have abandoned the club altogether. Meanwhile, the life of Ali (Christine Aguilera) , a small-town girl, is about to change dramatically. Hired by Tess as a waitress at the Lounge, Ali escapes a hollow past and quickly falls in love with the art of burlesque. Backed by newfound friends amongst the theater's crew, she manages to fulfill her dreams of being on stage herself. Things take a dramatic turn though when Ali's big voice makes her become the main attraction of the revue.

Julianne Hough and Kristen Bell strut their stuff as dancers at Burlesques. They lip sink. Julianne's Georgia gets bumped with a baby bump while Bell's Nikki is the dysfunctional drunk who can't stand the new girl Ali. Oh, you got it. A cat fight could break out at any moment.

But Ali has her allies and soon becomes the greatest when she sings for real. Thankfully, Jack (Twilight's Cam Gigandet..formerly of the O.C.) the bartender, who looks like he could be off the set of Clockwork Orange..comes to the rescue when Ali's hotel room gets robbed. But he's got a love in New York City, Natalie (GLEE'S Dianna Agron). Unfortunately, Dianna does not get to sing.

The music is upbeat and fun. Totally perfected for the stage. Very sexy burlesque and yet quite modern, too. The movie really keeps moving. You hardly know how long you've actually been there. Cher is elegant and her voice is beautiful. If you love either Cher or Christina you'll really want to go to this one. I honestly thought Aguilera was genuine, beautiful and delivered every note in this fantastic musical.


Friday, November 26, 2010

Poetry 123: Twas the Day After Thanksgiving

Twas the Day After Thanksgiving

By Jill Eisnaugle

Twas the day after Thanksgiving, hours before dawn
As millions of people bustled ‘cross the lawn
Many sacrificed needed hours of rest
For the open freeways and the shopping mall’s test
Each one had a purpose for why they were there
To save a few dollars on Christmas gift fare
The plan for their mission: high bargains galore
This wee Friday morning from store to store.

From candles to toys and wrenches to clothes
The registers lit up like ‘ol Rudolph’s nose
Using cash or credit, the money just flew
And, soon, the number of packages grew
Some went for one item and came home with four
Others dropped their load and headed back for more
The whole time devoted to shopping and fun
This day proved the holiday season had begun.

Across this great nation, come sun or come ice
Each Black Friday is a shopper’s paradise
From skateboards to iPods and cell phones to games
Shoppers gladly buy for their prized list of names
The names of the loved ones that each one holds dear
For the sake of spreading some holiday cheer
So, let’s celebrate ‘fore the day’s out of sight
Happy Shopping to all and to all a sane night!


This poem seemed all too appropriate given the day! If you're unfamiliar with the idea of Black Friday, it's basically where stores have huge day-after-Thanksgiving sales starting ridiculously early in the morning, sometimes as early as three AM, that draw in hoards and hoards of customers hoping to get great deals on their Christmas shopping. Are you taking part in Black Friday this year?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am thankful to have such a fantastic, talented group writers to contribute for this blog and now equally fantastic followers!

A HUGE thank you goes out to Em, Natalie and Ivy, whom kept this blog alive!! Seriously, I don't think I can thank you all enough.

That said, we're still looking for new contributors to fill some of the holes in our line-up. If you're at all interested, please leave a comment below. There really are no qualifications you have to meet besides having a blog -- or at least an e-mail address -- of your own.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

What are you thankful for?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Music 123: Judging An Album By It's Cover

Okay, so the thought came to me the other day about how album covers do convince people whether to buy the album or not sometimes. Given, it's usually over if the cover is appropriate or not. I thought it might be cool to show some cool looking album covers. First, are the cool looking album covers. These ones are ones that would be great to have in the form of a vinyl record. These are the covers that are frame worthy and creative. These are the ones that look awesome blown up and maybe even ones you could constantly stare at. 
This cover is just so cute and fun to look at! Don't deny that you're not admiring it right now. (Everything In Transit from Jack's Mannequin).
The bright color of this album just draw you in. (LP from Discovery)
This cover has a true sincere look to it. (The Summer EP from Never Shout Never).
This album was made to look like a cover for a record. It has a very clever look to it.  (Brothers from The Black Keys). 
This cover looks home made and the colors just go together and it brings you back to a better time. (Volume Two from She & Him).
Not only does it look like Up without the house with it, but the colors pop and you can see texture of a painting. (Tentacles from Crystal Antlers).

Soon you'll get a look at some album covers that weren't so good. Any thoughts on this? Any albums you think should've been on here?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Books 122: Harry Potter

As many of you are probably aware, today being November 19th is the day that the first of the two-part movie Harry Potter and Deathly Hallows comes out in theaters. Harry Potter fans across the world (including myself) crowded theaters for midnight showings, dressed up in extravagant costumes to showcase their pride, all to watch the final book in J.K. Rowling's epic series come to life on the big screen. "But what's the big deal about Harry Potter anyway?" someone that hasn't read a Harry Potter book before might be asking. Well, as a self-proclaimed Harry Potter fanatic, I'm here to give you my two cents.

I'm sure that everyone is at least familiar with the general concept of the books, as Wikipedia so eloquently describes them: "The books chronicle the adventures of the adolescent wizard Harry Potter and his best friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, all of whom are students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The main story arc concerns Harry's quandary involving the evil wizard Lord Voldemort, who killed Harry's parents in his quest to conquer the wizarding world and subjugate non-magical people (Muggles)."

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was published on June 30th, 1997. Six more books, eight movies, and millions upon millions of Harry Potter lovers followed. Not to mention an entire franchise worth billions of dollars. According to Tumblr: "The U.S. print run of book one, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, was 50,000 copies. The U.S. print run of the final installment, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, was 12 million copies. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows sold 8.3 million copies in the U.S. in the first 24 hours. That's 96 copies per second. If you lined up those 8.3 million copies, you'd end up with a bookshelf longer than the Grand Canyon. Harry Potter movies have made roughly $5.4 billion worldwide, more than any other franchise. That averages out to $900 million per film. It's as if every person in the world has spent 80 cents on the franchise."

But there's so much more to Harry Potter than all of that. J.K. Rowling had created an entire magical world that you longed to be a part of. Even though you knew it was just a book, you couldn't help but wonder if your Hogwarts acceptance letter had just gotten lost in the mail or something. You're almost to the point that you would almost give anything to be on that train eating chocolate frogs after changing into your school robes.

For many, growing up along with Harry throughout his many adventures was such a huge part of their childhood. I can remember doing a book report on the Chamber of Secrets in second grade, all the way up to the point of being thirteen and standing in the huge line at Barnes & Noble for hours before midnight waiting to buy my copy of the last book, and then reading it until my parents forced me to go to bed at five in the morning. That anticipation of waiting and waiting for that next sequel to come out was always torturously exciting.

After seven books, you can't help but fall in love with the characters, becoming incredibly emotionally attached to every single one of them. J.K. Rowling has made us laugh and cry and wonder and dream and think and imagine, and I can't thank her enough for that.

Food 122: Harry Potter Month (Butterbeer)

Today it's time to cover an infamous Harry Potter drink. Butterbeer. It seriously is one of the best drinks I have ever had. It warms your insides and makes you feel magical for a moment. It really brings you into the world of Harry Potter. Hopefully everyone can enjoy it this weekend (well, the Harry Potter fans that is). Even if you didn't read the books though, I'm sure you'll enjoy this drink!

Prep Time: 5 minutes.
Makes: 2 cups
Cook Time: 3 minutes.

1) 1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
2) 1/4 cup butterscotch topping
3) 2 tablespoons whipped butter, room temperature
4) 1 1/2 cups vanilla cream soda

1) Combine condensed milk, butterscotch topping, and butter in a glass heatproof measuring cup.
2) Heat in microwave for 1 minute.
3) Remove and stir until butter has melted and incorporated into mixture.
4) Meanwhile heat cream soda in another heatproof measuring cup for 1 minute 30 seconds.
5) Divide butterscotch mixture between 2 (10 to 12-ounce) mugs.
6) Fill mugs with heated cream soda and stir thoroughly.
7) Serve garnished with an old-fashioned butterscotch candy stick if desired.

Hope you enjoy and happy Harry Potter week!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Music 122: MSTRKRFT (Remixes)

*Before starting this profile on MSTRKRFT you should know that it's pronounced Master-Craft.

So MSTRKRFT might be known for two things: their original music or their remixes. Personally I like their remixes more. The thing about their remixes are that they are better than the originals. Yes, remixes can be better than original music if you find the right song and the right remix. I'm serious. On occasion, I will find a really good remix. I'm not talking about club songs for the Black Eyed Peas or anything, I'm talking about remixes of Justice, Wolfmother, and Metric. MSTRKRFT even remixed a Katy Perry song and made it more enjoyable. So today instead of giving background on MSTRKRFT I'll show you their remixes, an art that they have definitely perfected.

1) D.A.N.C.E. - Justice (remixed by MSTRKRFT)

2) Monster Hospital- Metric (remixed by MSTRKRFT)

3) Woman- Wolfmother (remixed by MSTRKRFT)

If up to it after, check out the originals (if you didn't know them before). Which ones do you think are better?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Books 121: The Hobbit

If you haven't at least heard of the Lord of the Rings series by J.R.R. Tolkien, where have you been? If you haven't noticed, the successful books have been made into a three award-winning films directed by Peter Jackson, and the fan base behind the popular franchise is just as huge as they come.

But before the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Tolkien wrote an equally successful children's book called The Hobbit. The book follows the journey of the hobbit Bilbo Baggins, who is recruited by the wizard Gandalf to join a group of dwarves on the quest to retrieve their lost treasure from the clutches of a dragon named Smaug. Their journey is filled with narrow escapes from trolls, goblins, evil wolves, enormous spiders, and other strange creatures, as well as visits with elves, giant eagles, and a man that can change into a bear. It all sounds like a pretty awesome adventure, right? And if you're at all familiar with the series, you might recognize some of the names of the characters too, a few of which show up later in the LOTR books.

When I was little, my dad would read me chapters from The Hobbit every night before I went to bed, so I pretty much grew up with loving the story. And now it turns out that this book is going to be made into a movie too, also directed by Peter Jackson, which is supposedly scheduled to begin filming this February and be released in December 2012. That's definitely exciting news for Tolkien fans.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Food 121: Harry Potter Month (Cauldron Cakes)

Last month was treats for the month of October and that went pretty well if I do say so myself. Traditionally you'd do Thanksgiving treatsin November, but the nerd I am had a better idea. This month the first part of the final Harry Potter film comes out and what better way to countdown than to post a popular Potter recipe each week? Awesome right? Seeing that I was in a Harry Potter club a few years back and got to try all the great recipes (Butterbeer anyone?) I like to think I am a little bit experienced in these recipes. Even if you are not a fan of the books you will love these recipes!

*Before we start there are many variations of these recipes online but I picked the ones I've either tried or that looked the yummiest. Up this week are Cauldron Cakes, which can be changed to be chocolate. The vanilla one is better though if I do say so myself.

Overall time: 35  minutes. (10 to prep and 35 to bake).
Serves: 21 small cakes

1. 1 1/2 cups of flour
2. 3 /12 teaspoons of baking powder
3. 1 teaspoon of salt
4. 1/2 cup of softened butter or 1/2 cup of softened margarine
5. 1 cup of milk
6. 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
7. 3 eggs
8. 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
9. 1/8 teaspoon of ginger

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix eggs, sugar, butter/margarine, cinnamon, ginger, and vanilla in a mixing bowl (large) on whip for about 2 minutes.
3. Mix the other solid ingredients and milk gradually in the large mixing bowl.
4. Put batter in muffin tins (not too high, these are supposed to look flat). bake for 25 minutes.
5. You can decorate with sprinkles, powder, or frosting after if you please. These cakes go well with honey too.
6. Enjoy!

Any requests or comments? If you tried this recipe did you like it? I love to hear your feedback!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Movies 121 : Due Date

Todd Phillips, the director of the fun Hangover,  is back. This time with a buddy roadtrip. Well, I'm not sure if you would call it a buddy film, exactly. It does slightly resemble Planes, trains and Automobiles. There is Robert Downey, Jr. as the straight man while Zach Galifianakis plays the funny one.

Michelle Monaghan plays the pregnant wife

Storyline: Peter Highman (Robert Downey Jr.) must get to LA in five days to be at the birth of his firstborn. He is about to fly home from Atlanta when his luggage and wallet are stolen, and he is put on the "no-fly" list. Desperate to get home Peter is forced to accept the offer of Ethan Tremblay (Zach Galifianakis) to hitch a ride with him cross-country. Peter is about to go on a terrifying and agonizing journey of his life.

mishaps with Ethan's father's ashes

Granted, I don't feel this movie is quite over the top and hilarious as Phillips previous film The Hangover. But Galifianakis does exactly his bit, as being his quirky pothead self. And he shows the lengths he'll go to, just to have himself tripping. Which is kind of funny, with the inside jokes. Since Downey's character is on the straight and narrow.

There is plenty of unexpected adventure. Breath taking car accidents, a side trip to Mexico and even a jaunt to Grand Canyon that makes you squirm just a little, wondering if one might fall in. Of course, one has to wonder of Galifiankisis sexual orientation in the movie, too. Its kept a mystery. His Ethan Tremblay is would be actor, hoping to make it big on Two and Half Men. Of course, Downey's Peter would wonder how the fellow has made it this far in life. Ethan's not that bright and stay confused on so much common knowledge. Tremblay is a heavy sleeper. Even drives in his sleep. Luckily, after their major accident on the freeway, an old friend of Peter's from Dallas comes to help. Jamie Foxx is Daryl, who's got it good in Dallas, but he can only do so much for Peter since he is on the NO FLY list, thanks to Ethan when he tried to fly out of Atlanta in the first place.

This happens a lot in the film

Seriously, its a movie that puts Downey through the rigors, just to get to the birth of his first born. Perhaps its trips like these that make good buddies in the end. Its quite a quest. Really, Downey is the better actor in the movie, but Galifianakis definitely does what he does best. And that is to make you laugh.

On a side note, I really loved the soundtrack. Tunes from Wolfmother, Band of Horses and Fleet Foxes.


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Art 120: Creative Color Wheels

Color wheels are essential for artists while they are painting and/or studying color theory. They can be really basic like the one above, or far more interesting and ascetically pleasing to the eye like the rest of the ones I'll include.

Besides being a tool for color study, people will in fact argue that color wheels serve no real purpose. But what what if you got creative with it? Thought outside the box, or in this case, the circle? Well, then it can transform into an art piece itself!

Have you ever made a color wheel?

Friday, November 5, 2010

Poetry 120: E.E. Cummings

A post on the work of E.E. Cummings was already made before, but I figured that there's no such thing as too much from him! So, here are a few more of his poems that I've selected to share with you all on this lovely Friday. Enjoy. :)

it may not always be so

it may not always be so; and i say
that if your lips,which i have loved,should touch
another's, and your dear strong fingers clutch
his heart,as mine in time not far away;
if on another's face your sweet hair lay
in such a silence as i know,or such
great writhing words as, uttering overmuch,
stand helplessly before the spirit at bay;

if this should be, i say if this should be-
you of my heart,send me a little word;
that i may go unto him,and take his hands,
saying, Accept all happiness from me.
Then shall i turn my face,and hear one bird
sing terribly afar in the lost lands.


somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond

somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond
any experience, your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near

your slightest look easily will unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skilfully, mysteriously) her first rose

or if your wish be to close me, i and
my life will shut very beautifully, suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending

nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility: whose texture
compels me with the color of its countries
rendering death and forever with each breathing

(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens; only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Music 120: Speak Now

I figured since the new Taylor Swift album is pretty big that I'd review it. A friend made me a copy of it so what the heck, I figure if I'm going to review an album it might as well be this one. Anyway, no matter how much Taylor Swift can annoy some people, you gotta give her credit for selling an album. So here I am, reviewing a Taylor Swift album so you don't have to. Think of it as a favor. So here's a track by track review. Hopefully be the time this is posted the hype will have died down (hopefully).

Track One: Mine- The first single off this album and probably the one you've heard the most about. A Swift version of a picture perfect relationship. I know I'm only on the first track but it's already probably one of the best songs and the one you will end up getting. The worst song is probably the fact that this is her third song that mentions something happening at 2 AM. 5/5.

Track Two: Sparks Fly- While Taylor Swift's Fearless strayed away from country and went more pop you can see this one is more country. Again, nothing new. It isn't bad but isn't amazing. The chorus is sort of catchy but all of her choruses are. 3/5.

Track Three: Back to December- A song supposedly about Taylor Lautner and yet another single. I think I'm seeing a pattern now. Long song with repetitive lyrics, not a huge fan. The further I get into it I realize yes, Taylor Swift is brutally honest and will write a song about anything and everything. I don't know if I despise that about her or admire it. You tell me, it's still a 3/5.

Track Four: Speak Now- My favorite track. The second single of the album and I'm starting to think the singles might be the only good things on Speak Now. The song seems nauseatingly like every other song Swift sings but with a little more attitude. Still as a good beat, I guarantee this song will tire fast though but for now: 5/5.

Track Five: Dear John- I'm really hoping this song isn't about John Mayer like everyone else says it is because that would just be a little weird. Slow song, long song. Those two seem to always go together. People with short attention spans will hate it, I'm sort of hating it too. It's a song that is almost 7 minutes and not worth the time. 2/5.

Track Six: Mean- The song with the title that disgusts me. I'm sure there could've been a better use of words in this songs. It's sort of catchy but sounds like it was written by a six year old. To me shows immaturity in Swift. There's really not much to say about this song. 2/5.

Track Seven: The Story of Us- I hear this song and all I can think of is no! The intro is not great, you think it's a pop song then goes back to country. I'm only halfway through the album and disappointed. This is a mess of many things. Again, not worth much time. 2/5.

Track Eight: Never Grow Up- This has a sweet sincerity to it and feels a lot more like Taylor Swift. Speaks the truth but might not be a song all people will appreciate. I'd still give it a listen, it's a better version of The Best Day (from album Fearless). 4/5.

Track Nine: Enchanted- Good beginning, you know a song is going to be good when you're hooked by the first beat. A better track, but the chorus breaks the song a little. This song would make a better acoustic. Still a 3.5/5.

Track Ten: Better Than Revenge- Evil Taylor, the very first thing you hear is sending someone to the corner. Not a great song but the very beginning is something you want to hear. When Swift belts that she does nothing better than revenge you can tell it's true. This is a new side of her that hasn't been shown in songs before. 2.5/5.

Track Eleven: Innocent- A song about Kanye West and all I can say is that this is a little much. This has been blown into huge proportions and not worth the time. Chorus is good though and it'll get the die hard fans to calm down. 2/5.

Track Twelve: Haunted- Sounds a little silly. there's not much to say about this song except for the fact it's a little too dramatic. This far into the album and it's one to skip. 1/5.

Track Thirteen: Last Kiss- Almost done with the album and a little fed up with Taylor Swift  now. A six minute song (this album is way too long for fourteen songs). This song doesn't catch my attention yet and I'm two minutes into it. Better to skip or at least for now. 2/5.

Track Fourteen: Long Live- Okay, for the last song it already sounds like it might be better. Sounds like a good way to end this album. 3/5.

Overall: If I'm being honest this album doesn't stand out. To me all her songs can be lumped together as one big love song, the songs that aren't about love aren't even the good ones. Taylor Swift doesn't have a huge diversity when it comes to her music. The again, this album is new and fresh and you might even get sucked into a song or two on here. My best advice is to stay away, her music is addicting if you're not careful. The last thing I want is for the awesome readers of this blog to get into 'this'. It's not at all bad or anything, just something you don't really need in your library. My use of Taylor  Swift on my Ipod is really for the little girls I babysit so yeah, that's a good use for this album. The best bet for all of you though is to get a couple songs maybe if you're into this kind of thing. I know I am sort of no matter how much I detest it, I just can't help myself.

P.S. This is the album at first listening. This could or could not be a grower album. I will report on that in the next few weeks.

Overall Grade: C

Standout Tracks: Mine, Speak Now, Never Grow Up, Enchanted.

P.S. For all those people who enjoyed Grouplove they just put up their song Colours for free to promote for their upcoming tour! Click here to get the download link.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Movies 120: Hereafter

Storyline: A drama centered on three people who are haunted by mortality in different ways. George (Damon) is a blue-collar American who has a special connection to the afterlife. On the other side of the world, Marie (de France), a French journalist, has a near-death experience that shakes her reality. And when Marcus (Frankie/George McLaren), a London schoolboy, loses the person closest to him, he desperately needs answers. Each on a path in search of the truth, their lives will intersect, forever changed by what they believe might-or must-exist in the hereafter.

I'm not sure exactly what I was expecting when I went in. I was a little reluctant to know. Thinking, ghost story, perhaps. I knew Damon's character was a psychic who thought his gift was a curse. Somehow, I had it all backwards. As if the beginning would be the end.

And what an amazing beginning. The tragic suspenseful scene of the tsunami takes you there, in moments that just pulse through you. The event has you at the edge of your seat. It seems endless at times yet beautiful too. This is where we get first glimpse of the afterlife through De France's character Marie.

Thus, the movie moves rather slow after that. Granted, the movie does have a European feel to it. Of course, we have a beautiful European cast. There is up to 45 minutes of the movie in French with subtitles. Just don't let that put you off. I did enjoy the performance of Cecile De France. Her character was strong and very beautiful. Only, after what the boyfriend/co-worker(Dider played by Theirry Neuvic) went through, looking for her in this catastrophic event, you would have thought he would have adored her more. And maybe he did. He just didn't have faith nor a believer like Marie.

There is a second story involved with the twin school boys who's mother is an addict. They are 12 minutes apart and identical. Only Marcus has always depended on Jason. All they want is a normal life with a normal mother. Suddenly, tragedy happens out of no where and Marcus is left alone, with questions about what happened to his twin brother. He soon moves into a foster home where he's good, but gets a sudden hankering to find out if psychics can help. He meets up with various ones, but he knows in the end they aren't real. Yet, when he finds George's website that George doesn't even use...Marcus finds hope.

Meanwhile, its never easy falling in love when you are a psychic, especially when one touch gives George a jolt of someone's past. But things are looking up for him when he meets Bryce Dallas Howard's Melanie at a cooking class. They get to know each other in a rather offbeat way. But once he learns her truth, it changes everything. Clint Eastwood has certainly shown over the last decade or so that he does know how to create characters. He has a way of showing the lonely side of being human. Eating alone. Living alone. And he certainly shows the real life of a psychic. Damon was wonderful as George.

Yes, the movie is slow. But it isn't so much about a plot or suspense, yet about faith and fate. Those who believe and those who don't. And the essence of life and how we've lived it. I so adore Frankie and George McLaren in the film as the twins.

The movie shows we need our passions to exist. As one movie critic from Houston put it, "By the end of the film, you realize that the most wonderful and amazing events in life cannot necessarily be proved - but with enough faith and through fate - everything lines up exactly as it should."

It might not be a movie for everyone, but it will make you think. Clint Eastwood gives us a look into the peace and mystery that awaits us on the other side... but also the joy and beauty of what is right in front of us.