Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Help Tookie Recover

This is our sweet little cat, Tookie. She’s the sweetest girl ever, and recently her activity has declined. She’s never been sick, however she has become very lethargic and lost her appetite. We took her to the vet immediately, and upon examination, they said that she had kidneys and a liver most cats would envy…We ran more extensive blood work, and we have discovered that she has pancreatits - inflammation of the pancreas.

She’ll eat shrimp out of my hand, purrs and coos to the full body massages that I give her. She loves sleeping with her Star Wars wookie action figure and the mouse above Steve Martin. As a full-time student trying to help my mom (a full-time employee), we barely have enough to get by as I know many people do too - though I’m trying my hardest to get more work to help out - especially now with little sweet Tookie’s predicament.

In our efforts to help her be comfortable, we are finding that to access her medicine it is going to be more than we can afford. With your donation we will be able to afford medicine, hospital appointments and examinations, as well as keep a loving sweet cat comfortable during this rough time.

Please visit my indiegogo campaign to donate, http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/help-tookie-recoveR. If you can share this post on twitter, facebook, or tumblr, please signal boost this as much as possible. Tookie and us appreciate your help no matter how small the contribution may seem.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Moving On....

The Drama Llama has been a great starting place to share my passionate love of movies. Sensing and striving for a change of pace, this blog has moved to Girl Meets Cinema - same blog, new name, awesome and exciting times ahead. Hope you join me over there (and I send my apologies for anyone who may have to relink my blog!)

Monday, March 3, 2014

The 86th Academy Awards Recap

The teleprompter had one job to do. Ellen delivered pizzas to the audience. The internet blew up over Leo's loss to Matthew McConaughey. Surprisingly, the Academy Awards wasn't a major hot mess as it has been in recent years.

Red Carpet
Am I going to be the only one to admit that this was the most boring red carpet event ever? Not only did E! cut coverage off by an hour, but the "interviews" by Ryan Seacreast lacked severe interest in every person he  was talking to.

Cate Blanchett's dress was pretty, and Lupita N'yongo had a spectacular collection of high fashion throughout the award show season...but really only Charlize Theron made gasp when I saw her. How are there not gifs of her arrival?

My favorite Red Carpet moment is from a premiere of Blue is the Warmest Color with Lea Seydoux. I kept waiting for a beautiful stunning moment to take place and it just didn't. This isn't just a dress. This is an Audrey Hepburn movie.

I felt E! treated Anne Hathaway's arrival very disgracefully - so much so I think I'm going to swear off watching their coverage from now on and just catch all the gifs online. Guiliana and her superficial criticizing clan sat around rating all of the stars' dresses after they arrived, and they treated Anne Hathaway like she had committed a horrible criminal offense for showing up and wasn't worth their time. Meanwhile Jennifer Lawrence went on later in the evening to shout at people as she made her way to the podium before presenting the Best Actor award and talking during Matthew McConaughey's acceptance speech - and somehow every still finds that disrespectful behavior sweet and endearing.

The Award Show
I thought honestly Ellen did a wonderful job. The show kicked off with an hilarious opening monologue and a fun performance of Happy by Pharrell Williams. She ackowledged people that were in attendance, but she made it apart of a joke - so it wasn't constantly "Meryl Streep is here" *twenty minutes of applause* "And, now I'm going to tell a joke". While the musical sequences seemed to get more flat and drab as the evening went forward, Ellen kept up with her usual amazingness. I really enjoyed the mix of montages they showed throughout the show and different introduction music of famous movie theme songs.

Ellen's impromptu spectacles is really what made the show more interesting. What could've been more amazing than her bringing in pizza to deliver to movie industry's iconic stars? For heaven's sake, Spacey and Pitt literally lept out of their seats to help feed their fellow starving artists.

Oh, she created the most retweeted photo of all time breaking the previous record of 500,000+ hitting 2,192,000 (the last time I checked). She broke the internet. The making of this photo should be a biopic.

The show had it's hiccups as usual. Of such many examples: 
  • The memoriam excluded several actors.
  • Whoopi introduced Pink to sing Over the Rainbow while Liza, Lorna and Joe only showed up to take a bow. For all the hype of the Wizard of Oz tribute, I thought it was going to be more grand in scale.
  • What was wrong with the teleprompter? Every single person was pronounced wrong, or it was moving to fast or too slow. It has one job to do for the actors who don't attend rehearsals - have the right name programmed to appear on screen.

At the after party Jane Fonda was rudely interviewed by another E! online journalist (go figure) and she reportedly said that she hated a lot of things that happened in the show but enjoyed Ellen's hosting job - I wondered what she was not too happy about it. If her and June Squibb could team up and report honest backstage and red carpet interviews, that would be amazing.

Thank You Tumblr

Sarcastic Spacey
How can such a respected actor be both so obviously appreciative of his work and shamlessly sarcastic? Every time Spacey showed up on screen whether it was to dole out money for the pizza delivery man, help Ellen pass out pizza, or was interviewed on the red carpet, it was had this amazing charisma to look like he simultaneously could care less about being there and also make you think that he couldn't want to be anywhere else in the world.

Go Get It, Gravity
Gravity won seven awards. Seven Awards. I figured it would snag some of the technical nods, but I did not think it would sweep almost every category it earned. And, to let me be frank: earned every nom it did. Having sat through all nine Best Picture nominees over two (separate) weekends it was hard to imagine which film that should take home all the gold. By the end of the screenings, Gravity easily had my vote. Unlike any other of the films, Alfonso Cuaron's motion picture is not just a movie - it's a cinematic experience. My hats off to 12 Years A Slave and Steve McQueen winning Best Picture. As repetitive as the evening became hearing Gravity called again and again, I was happy it was got all those awards!

Your Dreams Are Valid
The Best Supporting Actress category was certainly a nailbiter. Though I've criticized the legitimate scale of how the fandom world paves over other actresses to prop Jennifer Lawrence up on a pedestal, I was never rooting for her to lose. Honestly, I was rooting for June Squibb after finally seeing Nebraska or Lupita N'yongo - it's a shame however that Lupita's win has come at the cost of riotous hatred to JLaw. The beauty of her moment shall not be tarnished by such petty and superficial time-wasting debates. She gave one of the most wondrous speeches of the night.

All Right, All Right, All right

The most important moment of the evening was Matthew McConaughey becoming an Academy Award winner. He could've talked all night, he could've wined and dined us with his infinite stories about his past and wisdom. McConaughey is simply the man every guy should aspire to be: charismatic, faithful, hard working and passionate. Everyone uses "Crying" as a tag on tumblr and twitter, and whose to say the people who do so are or are not actually doing so. Being a fan of his for so long and loving The Dallas Buyers Club, I was overcome with fangirl emotion. If you were not moved by his speech, quite possibly one of the best in recent Oscar history, you are a robot.

And, this is hard for me to admit because my family knows that pretty much no one compares to my level of respect and admiration for Matthew than Leonardo DiCaprio. These two are my boys. Both men have had an amazing past few years in their careers, and no one should cap this loss for Leo as the end for him. As much as we want Leo to win, it's a fair reminder that he is not the poster boy for underrated actors who have gone unrecognized by a lack of a nominations: Cary Grant, Irene Dunne, Alfred Hitchcock - or wins such as Amy Adams - to name a few. She is one of the most reliable talented actresses earning five nominations in eight years without a single win - in the words of Shaun of the Dead, everybody just calm the *** down. And just keep living!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

AMC Best Picture Showcase Weekend #2

Another weekend has come and gone, and it's time to say good-bye (so soon?!) to another year of Best Picture Showcase. I really didn't know what to expect with this years Oscar nominated films. In previous years, I've come away from the marathon loving more than half of the selection. Unexpectedly this year the picking was a bit slimer than I expected offering a range of reception from complete adoration (Philomena / Dallas Buyers Club) to boredom (Nebraska) and good but perhaps not re-watchable (Wolf of Wall Street). Today, I'm sharing the other half of the Best Picture nominees - Nebraska, Captain Phillips, Her, American Hustle, and Gravity - and my favorite picks of the day! Enjoy!

Film Summary: A bad tempered alcoholic father Woody (Bruce Dern) insists on collecting his $1 million lottery payout in person at an office in Lincoln, Nebraska. Unfortunately, the junk-mail flyer is nothing but a scam and everyone knows it. Humoring father's fantasy and wanting to share some quality time, David (Will Forte) offers to drive hime, where inadvertently they encounter a family reunion and painful secrets are revealed.

Brief Review:  Mosey on down in director Alexander Payne's black and white motion picture and never really know where the road is going to take you. Interspersed with a landscape shots and hometown life, the first hour of the film juts along without a direct narrative. Woody is stubborn as hell, his whole family thinks he's crazy, yet David tries with all his might to try grow closer to his father that has remained distant and cold. The timeframe lingers too long reaffirming how much of Woody's fake million is a scam and the heartfelt tenderness David regards his father while others don't - especially his spitfire hellion mother Kate (June Squibb). The second half of the film is where the story finds its footing. Driving through Woody's hometown and reuniting with long distant relatives, skeletons come out of the closet as wind of Woody's fantasy fortune grows into small town glory. A dry mixture of awkward performances and genuine character evolution, Nebraska grows into a film worth rooting for and watching father and son ride off into the sunset.

Best Picks of the Day: Best Supporting Actress June Squibb

Film Summary: Based on the true story, merchant mariner Captain Richard Phillips (Tom Hanks) is taken hostage by Somalia pirates led by Abduwali Muse (Barkhad Aldi).

Brief Review: Captain Phillips could've easily been a movie not worth taken seriously. Director Paul Greengrass forces you to see differently in the very first ten minutes. Both Tom Hanks and Barkhad Aldi give visceral performances in this stunning thought-provoking drama that aligns itself into a claustrophobic survival tale on the open seas. Quite possibly my most anticipated film of the Oscar season, a seemingly simple hostage crisis morphs into a disturbing quest of two individuals colliding to showcase the very different ways they make their living. This could've been surface-deep Blockbuster takes us beyond action and adventure to create a suspenseful and undeniably gripping nail-bitter where end up pondering the meaning of survival.

Best Picks of the Day: Best Actor Tom Hanks, Best Supporting Actor Bakid Aldi

Film Summary: Set in an dystopian future, Thedore Twombley (Joaquin Phoenix) begins a romantic relationship with his operating system Samantha (Scarlett Johansson).

Brief Review: A dream world of pastel and retro boldness, Her is dynamically set in reality exploring and embracing the wondrous pros and cons of our ever-growing dependence with technology. Director Spike Jonzes' film explores the infinite and finite constructs of relationships between all sorts; person to person, person to computer. 21st century society increasingly constructs worlds of seclusion via social media, video gaming, blogs, and so on. As a non-technological savvy or obsessed person, it was hard for me to identify humankind's love affair with machine. Grounded in Twombley's (or truly any person's) yearning for human connection through a relationship with an exuberant intelligent spirited operating system, Her crafts an unusually timeless romance. Not exactly perfect yet not exactly full of faults, the film exudes as much as style as substance. And, it's one that I fear the jury is still out pondering which one radiates most.

Film Summary: Based partially on the true story of ABSCAM, conman Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) and his mistress Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams) is forced to team up with FBI Agent Richie Demosa (Bradley Cooper) to convict corrupt politicians in order to avoid prosecution for their own cons.

Brief Review: Having previously seen American Hustle, I rescinded my expectations to non-existent so I could enjoy the movie with fresh perspective. Following two hours of side storylines, repetitive monologues and symbolism about cons, I felt satiated by what the 1970s "historical" film was trying to represent within the first half hour: double-crossing and duping others to con and rebuild your American dreams. Wrapped beautifully in dynamic performances by Bale, Adams, and Cooper, gorgeous production design and killer awesome soundtrack, Russell's work is brilliant for everything that doesn't involve his script or "loose" journey of following his characters. Lost in serving all sorts of scenes that make audiences feel warm and fuzzy (i.e. impromptu dance scenes, love triangles, and drug induced frenzies) without a clear resolution to all the stakes the story imposes, the biggest form of fluff is that the film is a crowd-pleaser....

Film Summary: On her first flight mission doctor Ryan Stone fights her way back home to Earth when she is left stranded after an unexpected debri storm swipes the space shuttle.

Brief Review: The Oscar race is about films' ability to set the bar with specific passionate storytelling of every and all quest of life in its infinite scope. Quite a big piece to chew off, isn't it? Gravity sets the bar for all-time. When you think everything has been said about the triumph and will of the human spirit on Earth, Hollywood launches us into the outer stratosphere to show that against the greatest of gravest odds we can still manage to make it. Floating in space for two hours reveling in the themes of life and death, it doesn't seem like such a thrilling spectacle to pull off. Yet from the cast of Sandra Bullock, and yes severely underrated George Clooney, to the special effects and script, everything fits together like a masterful puzzle. It's hard to be engrossed simultaneously in hope and terror as every frame shrinks you into your chair imposing the powerful weightlessness and Stone's challenges in space. Not just another set in space mediocre Blockbuster, every little piece of this two hour not-exactly-an-adventure-thriller-drama flick made me think: I can't believe this is happening, I can't this is a real film. Walking out of the theatre, and looking up at the sky, I thanked every deity that my feet are firmly planted on the ground, and for such a movie like Gravity.

Best Picks of the Day: Best Picture, Best Actress Sandra Bullock

Friday, February 28, 2014

Creating is Hard - Phillip Seymour Hoffman

Phillip Seymour Hoffman was a man of great on-screen work but he was also a man also of grave inner turmoil - something as a person and especially a movie goer I may never fully understand. Before his passing in early February 2014, I locked his quote (above) away into my personal collection of treasured pieces of advice. Because - truthfully - creating is simply hard.

Making something never arrives at a perfect result - which for many years I never knew. In school, learning seemed to come with ease. I showed up to class, took notes, and tests always landed on my desk with an A. From kindergarten until mid-way through college, I didn't realize that I spent my life as a severe perfectionist. Think Nina Sayers in Black Swan - perfectionist. An all straight A student. The type of girl who was often selected to be the responsible overseer when adults left me and classmates, me and younger kids on my street, me and friends without supervision. I always earned gold stars but I always wanted more shinier golden ones. Running blind and digging myself into the center of the Earth was more like how I earned my so-called easy achievements.

A grasp on reality forced me to crash from my completely unhealthy high of nitpicking for excellence. Homework didn't take hours of drills. Hanging out with friends didn't mean putting on a facade of who I thought they wanted me to be. (My Kindergarten report card actually reads perfectionist and people-pleaser - a soul-sucking combination if there ever was one). Every and any act of creation never had to be so damn stressful. It was okay to make mistakes.

Did the epiphany work its miraculous Create-With-Ease spell on me? Not exactly. My mind still wants me to draw like Van Gogh whenever I attempt to cartoon, write any one of book ideas without a first draft, and judges my every move when I'm running errands or going to school hoping my outside appearance looks practically perfect. For as hard as it is sometimes to muddle through erasing, deleting, and harnessing more confidence, it's good to have those reminders because many people don't. Those kinds of tools are blind to them. Being overconsumed by the prospect of failing, many don't try. Or the process takes many more steps than they could've ever imagined, so it feels best to back out before the going gets tougher.

I guess what I buried around the time of Hoffman's passing and where all of this is coming from is the unspeakable condemning tweets made by actor Jared Paledecki. I won't recite what he wrote because there's google for that. But to scorn and doubt the suffering someone, anyone, either a famous actor or an artist surviving from selling one block of canvas after another, enraged me more than I imagined. I don't know the suffering someone and his/her loved ones goes through with substance addiction, but an emotional / mental one is just as hard to break. For someone who suffered from perfectionism almost like an addiction, an uncontrollable harsh defense mechanism and survival tactic that demolished me mentally, emotionally and physically...Something needed to be said.

We reconcile and recognize people from what they make available to us through their artwork - irrefutably a part of their soul, heart, time, energy, mind.  We will never know the long-suffering lives artists lead behind the curtains. We may never know the pain artists cause when they are under the fog of addiction. The fear of failure, of hard work not paying off, of inner demons taking control, of being abused by your colleagues, of being guided by other artists with the worst intentions, of falling for all the wrong kinds of so-called supporters - skepticism, reluctance, that little bit of hesitation that catches on an exhale before your start anything and doesn't release until you're finished - it's all a hurdle people tackle. For different reasons, it propels many of the greats. It unfortunately eats way at many others.

Creation is persistence, hard work, imagination, innovation, process, double checking, triple checking, blood, sweat, tears, barreling through naysayers (both real and in your head), faith, passion, more persistence. Doubts, hesitation, indecision, rejection, control, perfectionism, addiction - rarely does one ever destroy someone on its own without another enemy of the mind or body tiptoeing closely behind. Creating is hard. I survive now mostly by cringing over my keyboard slamming on the backspace - because at least there's that. Barely.

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Walking Dead S4x11 "Claimed"

Last week, the prison group experienced a semi-successful attempt at reuniting. Michonne caught up with Rick and Carl in an abandoned neighborhood. Tyrese with Judith, Mika, and Lucy managed to survive long enough in the forest for Carol (?!) to join up. Together, they salvaged onwards to a new territory claiming to be safe to survivors. Maggie, Sasha and Bob attempted to find Glenn in the school bus of walkers, which eventually revealed that Glenn was still stranded at the prison. He safely made it out of the prison with Tara. Ending up on the side of the road, they were picked up by three military brats. That's what you missed on The Walking Dead.


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