A lion, a few tigers, and a bear. Oh my!

I saw We Bought a Zoo today and really enjoyed it.  The story, about a guy who's trying to start a new life with his kids after his wife dies, is pretty predictable.  Still, Matt Damon and the two actors who play his kids are so charming and engaging, it doesn't matter.  The animals at the zoo are GORGEOUS and I was mesmerized by them...especially the tiger, Spar.  As is typical with Cameron Crowe movies, I also enjoyed the soundtrack. In the movie, someone poses the question, if you had a choice, which would you choose: animals or people?  Hmmm....tough one.  Depends on which people we're talking about! 

I noticed on Rotten Tomatoes that the movies has a 63% approval rating among top critics, while the general audience (a.k.a. "America") rates it at 83%.  I'm with the audience on this one.  It's a cute, feel-good movie with good performances and beautiful animals.  Nothing wrong with that.


At the movies...

I saw Young Adult with my family the other day.    The movie's about a woman who writes young adult fiction, who goes back to her home town to try to get back her high school boyfriend, who's married and just had a baby.  Charlize Theron's performance was great.  It's amazing how she's so beautiful, but can play down, out and scrubby so easily.  Her character was a mess.  We all enjoyed it.

Last night I saw The Artist, which was WONDERFUL.  It's a black-and-white, silent film about movies and the transition from silent films to "talkies."  The movie was great.  There's always talk about there being no original ideas out there.  Well, this was certainly original.  It was fun to watch, and dare I say, magical?   Plus it was also a great movie-going experience.  I think because it was a silent film, and all you heard was the musical score, people in the audience were more conscientious of the noises they made.  I wasn't annoyed by anyone's talking, texting, popcorn crunching, or paper unwrapping.  It was nice.  And the movie made me smile. 

I'm off work this week and plan to see a few more movies.  It's hard to decide what to see because there's so much out there I want to see:  We Bought a Zoo, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, My Week with Marilyn, War Horse, Hugo....   I just love this time of year!


Jersey Boys

Just saw Jersey Boys for the second time.  I just LOVE that show.  This one was in D.C. and it was even better than the first time because 1) the people behind us weren't talking and singing the whole time, and 2) the guy playing Frankie Valli was better than the guy we saw on Broadway.  He was wonderful.

As we were leaving, I was singing December 1963 (Oh What a Night) in my head and it got me thinking about shows that leave you singing.  (This was my problem with Wicked.  I didn't leave the theater singing.)  Then that got me thinking about what my favorite all-time musicals are.   After Rent, it's difficult to rank them, so just know that Rent is my all-time fave and the others are tops.  I also included how many times I've seen these shows on stage.

  • Rent (Hmm...I lost count.  I think 12, maybe 13)
  • Les Miserables (4, maybe 5)
  • Jersey Boys (2)
  • Hairspray (2)
  • A Chorus Line (2 - though one was a high-school production...it was well done though!)
  • West Side Story (1)
Methinks I'll be puling out all these soundtracks next week (after all the Christmas music is over), and I'll just be singing along to my heart's content.


The X Factor

I haven't written much about The X Factor for a couple of reasons:
  1. Me and a guy at work are the only people I know who are watching it, and we have enough discussion over Facebook.
  2. I didn't really care about the show that much.  The show came on Wednesday nights, but I wouldn't watch it until the weekend.  I wasn't interested in voting, and there was no urgency to see it since no one would be talking about it the next day.


VH1 Divas Celebrates Soul

Last night VH1 premiered VH1 Divas Celebrates Soul, where various Divas pay tribute to the cities of soul music:
  • Memphis (Booker T & the MGs, Sam & Dave, Otis Redding, Al Green) 
  • Detroit (Motown...duh) 
  • Philadelphia (The O'Jays, Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, Hall & Oates, Jill Scott) 
  • London (Dusty Springfield, Sade, Adele, Simply Red, Amy Winehouse) 
  • Chicago (Sam Cooke, The Impressions, Curtis Mayfield, The Chi-Lites, Donny Hathaway, Etta James) 

Divas (and other performers) include Mavis Staples, Chaka Khan, Mary J. Blige, Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Hudson, Florence & the Machine, Jessie J, Jill Scott, Erykah Badu (and her spaced-out self), Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings, The Roots, and Boyz II Men.

It is a GREAT show!  (And I'm not just saying that because Common made an appearance.) The music and performances are fantastic. I'm sure VH1 will air it over and over again. In fact it's on again tonight (Tuesday the 20th) at 11pm eastern. Try to catch it if you can.


Strangers No More

I just finished watching a beautiful short film that's airing on HBO this month called Strangers No More. It's a documentary about the Bialik-Rogozin School in Tel Aviv, Israel which provides education and services for refugee students from all over the world. It won the Oscar for Best Documentary Short, and deservedly so. The school is K-12 and the movie follows the stories of several students as they get acclimated to their new surroundings. The stories are heartbreaking, but the development of the children is so inspiring. To quote young Esther, originally from South Africa, whom I guessing is about 10 or 11 years old:
In South Africa we didn't have a school like this. Some children didn't like Black children because they were Black. This school, they're from all over the world. They don't care. It's like all of the world meeting together, and there is peace.
Make an effort to find this on HBO. It's really wonderful.


Random thoughts...

  • I saw one of these Charmin commercials earlier today:

    I have always wondered since they started airing these commercials....  Is leftover TP really a problem for anyone??  Even with the cheapest TP they use at work (that feels like parchment paper), I've never had this problem. I just don't get it.