Monday, January 31, 2011

Movies 133 : No Strings Attached

What's a girl to do after she's made a master piece in a ballerina movie? Why make a comedy,
of course.

Yes, its getting close to the Oscars and well, some say, there is nothing good to watch now. Well, I beg to differ. Granted, everytime I saw a preview at the movie theater, my friend would groan, "Not another sex comedy."

Yes, there is sex and comedy. But not in your face. Exactly. You see, its the story of Emma and Adam meet at camp a long time ago when they were in middle school (about there). And she told him then she really wasn't an affectionate person. Next time they meet, its college and he remembers her. She remembered him first, and she has this thing she needs to go to the next day. What he didn't know? Her father's funeral.

Yeah, this isn't going well, you are thinking. They are just friends Emma (Natalie Portman) and Adam (Ashton Kutcher). She's on her way to be a doctor. He hopes to be a television writer. What's so funny about that? Have Kevin Klein (of Great Scott TV standards) as your Dad and a whole cast of quirky characters as roommates, and you've got more than just a girl and guy who are only going to be sex-friends.

Olivia Thirlby as her sister

Honestly, I enjoyed this film more than SEX, LOVE & OTHER DRUGS. I think it had to do with Greta Gerwig who I loved in GREENBERG. And everyone needs someone like Ludacris in their life. Then you have Mindy Kaling who brings her own brand of humor to the movie. Also Olivia Thirlby plays Emma's sister (who's taller but younger) who has been in love forever with Adhir Kalyan who I wished was in the movie more. Also Ophelia Lovibond was quite the scene stealer as Adam's EX. And Cary Elwes as Dr. Metzner. Really some wonder actors in this movie...that keeps things moving, with all sorts of twists and turns.

Ophelia Lovibond as Vanessa

Greta Gerwig as her roomie

Really, you will find the romance of it ..after awhile. It was so much better than I anticipated. I'm glad I went to the movie.


Saturday, January 29, 2011

Food 132: Lemon Bars

If there has been one treat I have loved to make lately, it has been the scrumptious dessert of Lemon Bars. Lemon Bars are great for any time of day and are surprisingly very fun to make. So gather up some friends and make plans to make this great recipe!

Level: Easy
Cook Time Total: 1 hour
45 Minutes (for cooking)
15 minutes (for preparing)

Makes: up to 16 bars

Ingredients for Filling:
  1. 4 eggs
  2. 2 cups granulated sugar
  3. 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  4. 6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Ingredients for Crust:
  1. 2 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 1 cup confectioners' sugar, add a little more for dusting
  3. Pinch of salt
  4. 2 sticks butter, (at room temperature), add more for greasing

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Lightly grease a 9 by 13 by 2-inch pan.
  3. Make the crust by combining the flour, confectioners' sugar, and salt in a large bowl.
  4. Cut in the butter to make a crumbly mixture.
  5. Press the mixture into the prepared pan. You may need to dip your fingers into a little flour or confectioners' sugar to keep the dough from sticking to your fingers.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, to make the filling, mix the eggs, granulated sugar, flour, and lemon juice.
  8. Pour this over the baked crust and bake for 25 minutes longer.
  9. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar, if desired, when the bars are done.
Hope you get a chance to enjoy this delicious treat! Enjoy.

Recipe courtesy of Food Network.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Books 132: Slaughterhouse-Five

A fan grows from Vonnegut

We just finished reading Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut in English class, and I am definitely adding it to the list of required reading books that I actually loved (along with To Kill a Mockingbird and Catcher in the Rye, for example). This was my very first experience reading Vonnegut, and I'm wondering why the heck it to me so long.

It's one of those books that's really hard to summarize, because it's kind of just something that you have to read for yourself, you know? But here's a quick one just so you kind of get some sort of idea of the nature of the novel.

"Slaughterhouse Five follows the story of Billy Pilgrim, optometrist and time traveler. The novel jumps through time with Billy as he lives the events of his life over and over again. In this dynamic framework, the reader sees the terrors of war, the quiet desperation of suburban life and the breakdown of the psyche through Billy's time jumping eyes. Just before he is captured as a prisoner of war, Billy experiences his first time jump. Here he sees his whole life, past, present and future, unfold. After the war, Billy returns from Europe to resume his civilian life, but does not cease moving randomly through time, witnessing his birth, his death and events in between. He is eventually abducted by aliens who experience time in much the same way as Billy except that they prefer to look only at life's more pleasant moments. Despite his family's objections, Billy tells the world of his time traveling and of his abduction, highlighting the story with a detailed account of his death." -- Lauren McLaren

I really loved this book, though. I definitely highly recommend it.

slaughterhouse five

Other Vonnegut works...
Breakfast of Champions
Cat's Cradle
Deadeye Dick
God Bless You Mr. Rosewater
Mother Night
Palm Sunday
Player Piano
Sirens of Titan
Wampeters, Foma, & Granfalloons
Welcome to the Monkey House

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

TV 132: Community

After a long day of school/work, don't you just want to relax? Whenever I'm super tired and just want to relax, I turn on Community because if there is one show you should be watching out for it's this show, something that's been on for over a year now, only just now breaking out of it's shell.

Community focuses on a group of seven people (all completely different) in a study group together for spanish. The show started out focusing on the character of Jeff (Joel McHale) an ex-lawyer trying to get his degree so he can go back to his old job. He then forms a study group with an eccentric group of people including an old, annoying, and perverse Pierce (Chevy Chase), film obsessed student Abed (Danny Pudi), cyinical Britta (Gillian Jacobs), straight-laced and socially awkward Annie (Allison Brie), ex-quarterback Troy (Donald Glover), and the mother figure of the group Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown). To round off the group is their crazy Spanish teacher Senor Chang (played by Ken Joeng from The Hangover and many other popular films).

The study group (excluding one of school's workers *the one in the sweater vest*)
As the show continued though, the plot became less about Jeff trying to leave, but more about the character bonds and fun you can have in a community college. Some of the best episodes so far have had nothing to do  with the show's original idea. Some of the standout episodes have been a stop-motion animated Christmas special, a paintball war episode that looked almost like a short film, and a zombie apocalypse halloween episode.

Community is a show that goes the extra mile for a good plot line and amazing episodes you'll want to watch over and over again. Community manages to be fresh and creative without seeming to try too hard. Not to mention the characters are lovable and the kind of people you love to see episode after episode.

I think the best part about the show is the mystery of the next episode and what it will deliver as a whole. So really, if there's one show you should be watching right now, it should be this.

So what are your thoughts on the show?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Music 132: Best Coast

Really who can resist this band? If i had to describe them they'd be a fun beachy band that everyone can enjoy. I have to say they aren't the most intellectual band but nonetheless you will walk around humming their songs in joy.

Best Coast consists of Bethany Cosentino, Bobb Bruno, and Ali Koehler. They formed in Los Angeles in 2009. They are currently signed to Mexican Summer records and have their debut album Crazy For You is out now. I first found them in an Urban Outfitters mix tape and had to write about them. Best Coast has been on many top albums of 2010 lists and I feel like they deserve recognition on this site immediately.

I think the great thing about Best Coast is that they aren't trying to be smart, their lyrics are simple and sweet while their music matches it perfectly. It might take some growing on to but they aren't supposed to be your favorite band, they're just there on your Ipod for a good time. I'll be honest, I'm not head over heels in love with their music but they do have talent and I'm sure someone on here will like them. Best Coast has a way of getting into your head and trust me, you won't mind one bit.

Their Best Songs:

1) Boyfriend

2) Crazy For You

3) When I'm With You

I highly suggest you pick up this band's album. I do not have all the songs yet but if I were to go to a store and see it on the stand, I would buy it without hesitation. It is truly a gem of a cd that will capture your heart in a second, and let's be honest, this album will melt your winter blues away with it's sweet summer like tunes. I love finding good music (as most people do) and Best Coast is 100% a great find!

Hope you enjoy!

You can visit Best Coast at their blog.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Movies 132: The King's Speech

This movie is quite a gem. It is very much Oscar worth with such grand performances from Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter and Geoffrey Rush.

If you've always wondered where that silly line came from Prince Albert in a can..well, here is your answer. As it is Prince Albert "Bertie" became King George VI over night, so to speak. If you must know he's Prince Will's great-grandfather. If he hadn't gotten the throne by default, I guess we wouldn't be surfing the net for new gossip on Prince William and his fiance.

This is the movie that shows you how it all started. The prince's brother, who would be king, was gallivanting around. Edward played by Guy Albert had to do all the speeches that his dying father couldn't do on the radio, right before war time. It was a new age of sorts. Radio (Way before video killed the radio star). He was the voice of the kingdom. Only one problem, Albert was a great stutterer.

Firth shows all the wonderful sides of Albert. A wonderful father to Elisabeth and Margaret. The brother who felt he was never quite good enough in his father's eyes. He had even been rather abused as a child by his nanny since he was really none of importance with Edward around. Then you have the Australian speech teacher, Lionel Logue played brilliantly by Geoffry Rush. Such an unlikely friendship between the two.

This really is a special movie. There is history to savor, and its a story all of us can relate too. Stage fright.

I hope this movie does well at the Oscars. Colin Firth certain deserves an Oscar. If not for this..then his wonderful body of work as a movie actor. Splendid performances by Bonham Carter. And if you're wondering if the actor who played William Churchill looked familiar..I'm sure you know Timothy Spall is Peter Pettigrew from the Harry Potter movies.

Storyline: Tells the story of the man who became King George VI, the father of Queen Elizabeth II. After his brother abdicates, George ('Bertie') reluctantly assumes the throne. Plagued by a dreaded stammer and considered unfit to be king, Bertie engages the help of an unorthodox speech therapist named Lionel Logue. Through a set of unexpected techniques, and as a result of an unlikely friendship, Bertie is able to find his voice and boldly lead the country through war.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Poetry 131: Wasted Youth


Wasted Youth

We are the disparaged youth
And we haunt your streets
Corrupt and unmoved.

"Here's your future"
If you can even call it that.
Repent, the end is near.

We don't flinch in frustration.
We don't blink at destruction.
We can't comprehend real disaster.

Prozac for this one, Ambien for that one.
Until your mind stops running laps.
The less we think or feel, the better.

Cold and clammy
With an ache in my side.
All I can do is sleep it off.

Extremities tingle
And senses dull
Eyes glaze over.

Clocks running down.
Live fast, die young
Leave a pretty corpse.


This was written by one of my best friends, Taylor. The first time I read it, I really loved it, so I really wanted to share with you. I hope that you like it as much as I do!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Music 131: Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros

I contemplated doing a review on them long ago but thought they might not be something a lot of people would like but as more and more people start to listen to them I realize this review is long overdue. If I started with anything in this review, it's that this band can't be tamed by the music industry. They are what they are and you can't change that.

Ed Sharpe (a common nickname for the band) consists of eleven musicians who are all very interesting characters. Every time I see a video of them performing it's far from glamorous. They are all dressed in what I would describe as bohemian or hippie outfits but you can decided yourself. Their music is described as a sweet mellow southern California desert soundtrack with some sunny side up tunes on the side but really...they remind me of something my grandparents would listen to. A classic timeless band that is sure to rock our Ipods for years to come. I can't guarantee you'll all like them but you might, so I'll take the risk and post this up in hopes of doing justice to them.

Now before I start recommending songs may I say this band has so many awesome pictures to look through it was hard to pick one for this review but I think the one above is pretty cool right?

So here are some of their best songs, and may I also say they have some really awesome music videos too?:

1) Home

2) 40 Day Dream

3) Janglin

Hopefully you all have enjoyed this marvelous band. Any thoughts?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Movies 130: Season of the Witch


As soon as I found out that Robert Sheehan(Kay) was going to be in this, I couldn't hardly wait to see this film. I loved him in Cherry Bomb with Rupert Grint. Granted, this perhaps is more of a fantasy than a historical based film, and American accents were used...I would have so loved to hear his Irish brogue. He is on the UK hit MISFITS which is a British version of HEROES..but better.

OK...Just had to get that in before I forgot.

Naturally, you have a very action pack cast with Nicholas Cage(Behmen) playing an old knight of the crusades who has fought for God long and hard, village after village until one day he starts to question his orders when the village is only full of women and children that they've killed. He along with his best friend Ron Perlman (the original Beast and Hellboy fame) aka Felson become deserters in this very early A.D. movie. Of course, they are found out at a village that they learn of all the horrible things that have been going on with the Plague. Naturally, the church blames it all on one girl that they claim is a witch. Its there in the gallows that they decide save themselves from a hanging. Take the girl across a journey and let the monks decide her fate. This is where alter boy Kay(Sheehan) comes in, wanting to be a knight.

Perhaps I would have been fonder of the film if British accents had been used, but forget that after awhile, and who would dare want to mess up Cage's signature manly voice?

The film really focuses on how the church treated 'witchcraft' of that time in a very historical fashion. Perhaps to make you doubt what might be happening here. And Claire Foy, the girl, makes a very convincing girl who is trapped. Yet soon enough, she has each on their journey doubting themselves.

The film is fun with its action and dry humor. Some amazing fighting scenes which really keep you at the edge of your seat. Stephen Campbell Moore as the priest, along with Stephen Graham from Empire Boardwalk round out the cast in this thrilling tale. Stephen is even British. And to think they all had to have American accents due to one actor. OH ..Well...

I really enjoyed the film. Yes, Nicholas Cage has still got it, but I'm not sure for how much longer. I'm glad he's making films like this. And I'm happy that Sheehan will be seen to more American audiences. Naturally, it had to inspire me with a premise of fan fiction. But I won't get into that. Its always great when a film can be that inspiring. Only, it wasn't Nick that inspired me, but Robert Sheehan's Kay..instead.

Storyline: A 14th century Crusader returns to a homeland devastated by the Black Plague. A beleaguered church, deeming sorcery the culprit of the plague, commands the two knights to transport an accused witch to a remote abbey, where monks will perform a ritual in hopes of ending the pestilence. A priest, a grieving knight, a disgraced itinerant and a headstrong youth who can only dream of becoming a knight join a mission troubled by mythical hostile wilderness and fierce contention over the fate of the girl. When the embattled party arrives at the abbey, a horrific discovery jeopardizes the knight's pledge to ensure the girl fair treatment, and pits them against an inexplicably powerful and destructive force.


Friday, January 7, 2011

Books 129: Confessions of Georgia Nicholson Series

While the movie Angus, Thongs, & Perfect Snogging starring heartthrob Aaron Johnson may be quite popular, some might be slightly surprised to learn that it's actually the film adaptation of the first two books in the Confessions of Georgia Nicholson series by Louise Rennison (Angus, Thongs, & Full-Frontal Snogging and On the Bright Side I'm Now the Girlfriend of a Sex God).

The reason I decided to start reading this series was because I was completely sick and tired of all my free time being sucked up by reading my incredibly dull U.S. history textbook, and needed something completely opposite. What could be more opposite than a series written pretty much exclusively for teenage girls? So I figured, what the heck, I'll try this series out.

The books are written in the format of the diary of the main character Georgia, which also makes it a relatively quick and easy read. Georgia goes through the same worries as many girls: her looks, her friends, bullies, boys, parents, school, and her alarmingly growing bazoomas. (She's also fabulously British, and all of the slang she uses is pretty amusing.) There's also her mad cat Angus, who frequently terrorizes the neighbor's small dog, and her baby sister Libby, who makes a mess of everything she touches.

I mean, the books obviously not meant to be something incredibly deep, intellectual, or insightful, but boy are they entertaining! The series is humorous, witty, and clever. But most importantly, it's just... well... fun! If you're craving a simple yet delightful read, this series might be for just what you're looking for.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Music 128: Freelance Whales

If this band didn't win for cutest album cover, they'd win for cutest music, or just cutest in general! Let me start off with any comparisons to Owl City are not allowed. I do not consider them at all alike because there is a huge difference between both artists. Yes they both have quirky cute music and names with animals in them but when you look at the bigger picture, they are both at completely different sides of the music spectrum in an indescribable way. So please, leave all Owl City references behind starting now.

Now this is a little background information about Freelance Whales according to Wikipedia (yeah, lazy me): Freelance Whales is an indie rock band hailing from Queens, New York, consisting of frontman Judah Dadone (lead vocals, banjo, acoustic and electric guitar, synthesizer, bass), and bandmates Nicole Mourelatos a.k.a. Doris Cellar (bass, harmonium, glockenspiel, synthesizer, vocals), Chuck Criss (banjo, bass, synthesizer, glockenspiel, harmonium, acoustic and electric guitar, vocals), Jacob Hyman (drums, percussion, vocals) and Kevin Read (acoustic and electric guitar, glockenspiel, mandolin, synthesizer, vocals).

Cute album cover right?

If you enjoy: Postal Service, Ben Gibbard, or Sufjan Stevens then you will love Freelance Whales. They currently hold very favorable reviews at review sites already and I will be the first to second that. Mix Tape creator Lizzie actually showed me this band so a big round of applause to her first off, because if you end up liking/loving them, it's because of her. 

Freelance Whales currently has one album out entitled Weathervanes and I highly suggest you all pick it up to add to your all amazing music collections (you must have good music taste if you're on here!).

If buying an entire album is out of the question right now then here are a few songs I'd recommend. 

1) Generator 2nd Floor

2) Kilojoules

3) Broken Horses

Hope you enjoyed this truly special band! Any thoughts?

P.S. A heads up, their album is on sale for $7.99 right now!!!! I had to post this up now because it is only til the 4th when the review would usually come up!