alee_grrl: Rainbow colored disco ball handing in front of white lights (christmas)
I took a break from studying for the Bar yesterday afternoon, and another this evening, to go see Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I saw it by myself yesterday and really enjoyed it, so when my heart sister and nephew asked if I wanted to go see it this evening I said yes. It was, in my opinion, well worth the second viewing on a big screen.

So much fun. Reminded me so strongly of how I felt when I first watched A New Hope as a kid (and all the times I rewatched it throughout my life). After the movie we returned to my place for a bit of geeking out before they had to head home (it is a bit of a drive for them). But I'll be seeing them again tomorrow as we're going to have a family game day (fairly certain we're going to play Arkham Horror, which I've heard good things about).

Otherwise my life is largely consumed with studying for the Bar. I am pacing myself better than the first time I went through the process, which makes it less stressful. But I'm unlikely to be posting much for the next few months as studying takes up so many spoons.

Hope everyone has had a wonderful midwinter (or midsummer for my Southern hemisphere friends) holiday. <3
alee_grrl: Winter Trees silhouetted against dark blue sky at twilight with shooting stars. (shooting stars)
Went to see "The Martian" this afternoon. Was incredibly impressed by the film. It's witty, suspenseful (in the survival story kind of way rather than in a thriller kind of way), heart-warming at times and heart-breaking at times. The acting is phenomenal, and it is absolutely stunning visually. Like Guardians of the Galaxy the soundtrack is frequently a character in its own right. While the focus is on Matt Damon's characters there is a wonderfully diverse ensemble of support characters that keeps the movie from become a mind-numbing event like "The Castaway" was. I highly recommend it and am very glad I saw it on the big screen.

ETA: I'm convinced that Chiwetel Ejiofor can take on any role and be amazing in it. If you haven't seen "Kinky Boots" do so. I loved him as the Operative in Serenity, and he is great as the Director of Mars Missions in this film. But he is utterly amazing in "Kinky Boots."
alee_grrl: A kitty peeking out from between a stack of books and a cup of coffee. (Default)
This week's been a pretty quiet one. Spent a bit of time visiting with family on Sunday, went to my weekly therapy appointment, and otherwise just puttered around my house. Finally got around to buying a printer since I'm going to have to print out my bar exam application and get that in the mail soonish. My Bluetooth adapter for my laptops arrived, so I can enjoy my music and movies via my Bose speaker without having to use the auxiliary cable. Tomorrow I'll head down to Springfield, VT for the Steampunk Festival.

I also watched two very sweet movies. The Hundred Foot Journey about an Indian family who move to France and open a restaurant in a small village. The restaurant happens to be right across the street from another restaurant, one with a one star Michelin rating. The amazing cast includes Helen Mirren, and the conclusion was lovely and heart-warming. The other movie was The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and it was every bit as charming as the first movie (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel). The cast is incredible and includes Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, and Bill Nighy among others.

Other than that, I'm enjoying the hell out of the new Delta Rae album (it's been out for a while, but I only just got it), and rediscovering my love of Jo Dee Messina and Suzy Bogguss. Hope others are having a good week.
alee_grrl: calvin from calvin and hobbes in rant mode (calvin rant)
Discussions of doctors, frustrations with doctors, and having a controversial illness/treatment )

We had an absolute house full over the holidays, and it was very nice to see everyone. We had several games of Cards Against Humanity, which is like a much more twisted version of Apples to Apples. It was wickedly fun. We saw "The Hobbit" on Christmas day, and several of us went to see "Into the Woods" on Saturday. Both were enjoyable, though I was a bit frustrated with the editing/storytelling choices for "Into the Woods." I would like to see "The Hobbit" again as I'm sure I missed a whole bunch of details. I'm not exactly in a critical mood regarding my entertainment right now, so if you want a thoughtful critique of either film I'm probably not the best to ask.

Everyone left for their own homes on Sunday, and so things are slowly returning to routine around here. It is strange to have such a quiet house after so much activity, but nice as well. I used the Amazon gift card I got for Christmas to finally buy the complete Cowboy Bebop series on DVD as well as the movie. I've been eyeballing both for a very long time. I already have most of the soundtrack. :)
alee_grrl: A kitty peeking out from between a stack of books and a cup of coffee. (Default)
Went to go see How to Train Your Dragon 2 today with my nephew and it was wonderful. I will have to watch it multiple times to catch all the beauty of the dragons and the world they inhabit. The story itself was good and the characters nicely written. The soundtrack was also great.

I also sat through Airplane II, which was odd but funny. Watched both nephew and niece play various video games, and have just plain enjoyed hanging out with everyone. Plan on watching Attack the Block later, I've heard lots of good things about it.
alee_grrl: Black and white kitty peeking up out of a pink box.  Text above reads "Lurk" (lurk)
Wasn't feeling very good yesterday and took the day off from studying. Watched a couple of things on Netflix instead of only reading fanfic (which is my usual downtime activity)--though I did read some yesterday evening.

The first movie I watched was an absolutely amazing documentary on Harry Belafonte called Sing Your Song. I've long loved his music, but had no idea he was such an activist. It was a movie that was simultaneously inspiring and heart-breaking. The heart-break comes largely from seeing how many things have not changed in fifty years. The inspiring and hopeful feeling comes from seeing what has changed and how people are continuing to work to make the world a better place.

The second movie was the surprisingly deep and endearing The Captains, William Shatner's documentary about the five Captains of the Enterprize. Shatner basically goes to each of the five captains (Patrick Stewart, Avery Brooks, Kate Mulgrew, Scott Bakula, and Chris Pine) and interviews them, asking about a wide variety of topics and discussing the role Star Trek played in their lives. It was adorable to see him interact with each actor, particularly Chris Pine who plays James T. Kirk in the reboot. It was also a very introspective film and as much about Shatner's journey and understanding of Star Trek's role in his own life as it was about the other Captains. It felt a little too short, which was odd since I thought it would feel too long, and I am looking forward to watching the documentary mini-series that followed the movie, The Captains Close Up.

We also curled up for a movie as a family yesterday evening. Ended up watching the live action Scooby Doo, which was surprisingly good. It was appropriately campy and fun, with just the right level of spookiness and visual gags.

Today I got back to studying for the most part, but did let myself sleep in a bit. :)

Hope those affected by the polar snap are staying warm and out of the wind. Kind of glad that schools are back in session tomorrow. It's nice to have folks home, but a bit distracting.
alee_grrl: Coulson on hold with Natasha, text is the first line of chorus from "Girl From Ipanema" (coulson 1)
So I'm ridiculously bad at resting, especially just lounging around and watching something. It sets all kinds of brain demons off. This is probably why I don't actually watch many things, and that when I do watch things I tend to do other things at the same time. But since I am home sick and have very few concentration spoons I am working on besting this set of brain demons.

So far I have watched:

The premier episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. It was just as fun as I had hoped and keeps to the tone and continuity of the Marvel movie 'verse nicely. Plus I just adore Coulson. I've got a serious competence kink. :) I will definitely be watching this on a weekly basis.

The pilot of Sleepy Hollow. I've been seeing a lot of things about this over on tumblr. So I thought I'd check it out. It's an intriguing premise and I love the casting. I'm going to watch the second episode now.

It's really too bad that Pacific Rim isn't out yet, because I'm very much in the mood to see that again. Yesterday I watched a documentary on Scientology, and Hot Coffee which is a fascinating look at the Leibeck v. McDonald's case, the litigation reform movement, and media spin of cases. Turns out that the popular understanding of the case is pretty wrong.

Not sure what I'm going to watch next. May switch over to reading fanfic for a while if I have the concentration spoons.
alee_grrl: A kitty peeking out from between a stack of books and a cup of coffee. (Default)
I saw the movie version of Les Misérables tonight. I was absolutely gorgeous and I am very glad I remembered to pack tissues. I will admit to never having seen the play performed. I had heard some of the music and was vaguely aware of the story line. The novel is sitting on my shelf (in two volumes) but I have not tackled it yet. I wasn't sure what to expect of a nearly three hour musical and was a little nervous it might drag on or be tedious. It did not. I could have been in the seat longer and I likely wouldn't have noticed. I have a feeling this will be a movie that gets added to my collection and one I watch when I know I need to have a good cry.

alee_grrl: Illustration of the Shire (shire)
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was delightful. I'm not sure I would recommend it for those who are not necessarily fantasy/adventure fans, or Tolkien fans. But if you are a fan of either, particularly a fan of Tolkien it is a wonderful movie and a fabulous adaptation. The pacing may feel a little slow in places to some, but it captures the long boring stretches of traveling that often occur on such a long journey. I found the pacing to be just right, with wonderful visuals and details from the story and tie ins to the larger Tolkien universe. It is clearly a work of love, a movie made by fans and for fans.
alee_grrl: A kitty peeking out from between a stack of books and a cup of coffee. (Default)
One of my favorite movies is Sliding Doors, a late 90s romantic comedy that really falls into the speculative fiction realm. It's a movie about what-ifs, about the large impact small choices/events make on our lives. Mere seconds can change so much.

There are a lot of reasons I love this movie. I'm absolutely fascinated by the what-if scenario, which could explain my long love affair with fanfiction as it is the ultimate sandbox for what-ifs. The soundtrack is lovely and suits the movie quite well. John Hannah is absolutely adorable, and his Scottish accent just makes him more adorable. It's hilariously fun to watch Gwynneth Paltrow stop down stairs repeating "Bollocks to him." And the artistry of the movie is gorgeously streamlined. Lots of visual cues indicate to the viewer know which timeline is being shown. There are great moments where visuals are used to great effect to underline the whole question of the movie, but it is subtle enough that you don't always notice it at first.

This was a movie I rented on a whim back in the days of Blockbuster and VHS. It's one that I've re-watched fairly regularly since.

alee_grrl: Still from "The King's Speech" of the two men facing each other (king's speech)
I had a wonderful evening. A great movie, a friend's fabulous homemade lasagna and good company. I got a chance to watch The King's Speech today. Amazing movie. The acting was incredible, and the story very well told. The story centers on King George VI's difficulty in public speaking and the man who helped him move past that difficulty. The movie is not only about overcoming personal difficulties, but also about friendship and family and all that both entail. It doesn't shy away from the awkward, uncomfortable moments, and manages to be sweet and uplifting without being saccharine. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it.

I managed to get quite a few things done today, which also made me feel good. I'm trying to take each day as it comes. My moods are fickle and change more quickly than the weather in Shreveport (where the weather was more mercurial than any other place I've lived-could be 40 and wet in the am then 80 and sunny in the pm). I have placed small touchstones (little reminders of good things) around my apartment and am trying to journal every day. I found a different alarm clock (one with a radio). My other one made a really aggravating beeping sound; I found myself turning it off early because the sound was so annoying...then falling back asleep. Since this has been remarkably unhelpful and frustrating I thought I might try something different. Just little adjustments to try to make life easier and more pleasant.

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alee_grrl: A kitty peeking out from between a stack of books and a cup of coffee. (Default)
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