Archive for the ‘Movies’ Category



Kate Winslet

She’s brilliant! I’ve loved her forever. She creeped me out in Heavenly Creatures and made me cheer in Titanic. She depressed me in Revolutionary Road and made me sad in Finding Neverland. She made me laugh in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and cry in Sense and Sensibility. She was magnificent in The Holiday, and sufficiently evil in Divergent. I could list her complete filmography here, but let me tell you why she’s my favorite.

Yes, she’s beautiful, talented, and an A-list actress, but I love her because she plays quirky roles as well as those of a leading lady. In my mind, she’s the female version of Johnny Depp. I mean that with all sincerity and honor. I love him as an actor! She is the kind of actress who makes me believe whatever role she takes on.


I read up on her a bit and was shocked to discover she was the first actress considered for the role of Dr. River Song in Dr. Who. WHAT? She was also offered the role of Eowyn in Lord of the Rings! How did I not know this?


Kate is stunning, sassy, and spectacular in all of her roles. If she’s in a film, you can bet I’ll watch it.

Read about some other amazing actresses over at:

Don at https://donhillson.wordpress.com/

Beckie at http://free2b2much.blogspot.com/

Tracy at https://countyroadchronicles.wordpress.com/

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I have a confession. I am not a groupie. There isn’t a band on the planet I’d wait in line to buy tickets for or put up with a huge crowd to see them in concert. My daughter begged me to attend some music festival – Warped Tour? I think my audible sigh was heard all the way in Wyoming when she told me her friend’s mom said she’d take them. Thank. God.

I don’t have anything against concerts or people who attend them, I just prefer a more intimate setting, like my earbuds in place. 😉 I have enjoyed smaller settings like living room concerts and jam sessions, and we just finished up the Resound Conference two weekends ago which is a worship conference featuring some great speakers and bands with an audience of less than 500 people. I can do that. That’s more my speed.

Confession #2: I’ve always had this annoying habit of falling for bands (their music and sound) without being able to name the band members. I mean no disrespect, it’s just not my thing. Maybe it should be. I can aspire to that, I guess. Is that surprising considering I’m a people person? If you want to know band member names, ask my daughter.

I LOVE MUSIC! I have tunes to suit my every mood. I’m friends with a lot of musicians and love them dearly. I even remember all of their names. Ha! For time’s sake, I can’t promote them all in this post, so I chose just one. My friend, neighbor, and the most peaceful man I’ve ever met. He’s one of my favorites:

davewilton1 by Jarrod Reno

Photo by Jarrod Reno

Dave Wilton

He’s an incredible musician, songwriter, music producer, and recording/mixing/mastering engineer. Dave plays in two Indie Rock bands, A Boy & His Kite and Loud Harp. If you’re my real-life friend, you’ve heard me mention both many times.

Loud_Harp_Piano by Ray Rushing

Photo by Ray Rushing

In 2011, Dave and Asher “accidentally” formed the band Loud Harp. I’m so glad they did. Their music soothes my soul! You can read all about them on their site: loudharp.com (Asher is amazing too! Check him out!)


Photo by Jarrod Reno

In 2012, A Boy & His Kite’s single, “Cover Your Tracks” was included in the film and soundtrack of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2:

Dave’s lyrics and music embody such depth of soul and spirit.

I don’t know how he feels about his Twilight fame, but I can tell you it is his joy to make great music and help others do the same. He is currently building a new studio and running a Kickstarter campaign to finish it. Want to kick something in? Click here: http://davewilton.com/newstudio/

We’re nearing the end of the challenge! Have you been checking out my other challenger’s posts?

Don at https://donhillson.wordpress.com/

Beckie at http://free2b2much.blogspot.com/

Tracy at https://countyroadchronicles.wordpress.com/



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If you had the chance to change your fate, would you?

She’s adventurous, feisty, and desires to control her own destiny. She’s a gifted archer and good with a sword, but it is her spunk that drew me in. I love her playful relationship with her dad, and I love her bravery!


Merida of the Clan DunBroch

Don thought I’d choose Katniss Everdeen. I thought about Belle from Beauty and the Beast. I could have easily chosen Eowyn again, or one of the other kickass heroines I love so much, but Merida has been on my mind. I relate to her defiance against traditions and expectations, and admire her fighting spirit. And who doesn’t love her red hair? 😉

I share some of her less desirable qualitites as well, I suppose. She’s brash and sometimes acts without thinking only to regret it later. Been there. But I couldn’t help cheering when I watched this scene:

She’s been my Facebook profile picture many times, she’s currently my cover photo, and friends send me pictures of her. Fans of Merida have drawn and painted amazing depictions of her. This one by artist Heather Theurer is my favorite:


A few years ago, my friend Michelle bought me a figurine which now sits in my office. Every kid who stops by wants to play with her because she’s beautiful, posable, and her accessories rock! She only came with one arrow, which I assume is enough – she’s that good. I love her.

She inspires me when I write by reminding me I too am brave.

merida figurine


Have you stopped by my fellow challenger’s sites lately? We still have a few days left to catch up and finish our challenge!

Don at https://donhillson.wordpress.com/

Beckie at http://free2b2much.blogspot.com/

Tracy at https://countyroadchronicles.wordpress.com/


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This one was a little unclear. Don and I discussed whether or not this challenge meant our favorite comic book character, favorite comic/comedian, or that we had to make one up ourselves. I needed a good laugh, so I chose door #3. To honor the release of The Hunger Games on DVD this week, here’s a bit of bad drawing and even worse poetry. You’re welcome. (Click on the pic to enlarge.)

I think my kids have dropped out of the challenge.

Go give some blog love to my friends over at:

Expatriatism,  Free To Be Too Much, and GirlyGeeky

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I LOVED this movie! Back in October I blogged about it and I never posted the follow up piece after my son Max and I went to see it together. We both loved it. I have to say it’s one of my top 5 movies of 2007. I liked the actors and the storyline, but I LOVED the music. Heather gave me the soundtrack for Christmas and it is still the most listened to CD at our house. The genius behind the guitar playing? An AMAZING woman! Here she is, Kaki King Playing with Pink Noise:

Why did I connect with this movie so much? All my life I’ve been getting into trouble for tapping my fingers, pencils, whatever on the desk, table, you name it. I don’t think Benny likes holding my hand because I can’t hold my fingers still for very long. I don’t think it’s OCD. 🙂 He has perfected “the look” to let me know my fidgeting is bugging him.  I practice piano scales, tap out random rhythms, and practice typing – o.k., that last one isn’t exactly musical unless you’re a writer. The clicking of the keyboard is musical in it’s own way. I hear music everywhere. When I saw the preview for this movie and saw how the boy was feeling the rhythm of the world around him, I could totally relate. Someone was finally able to show on film what I’d felt and been unable to express clearly. Music is my language. I was hooked.

The movie is a feel good story about holding out hope, pressing on against all odds, reaching for your dreams, and believing in love. My heart went out to Evan (later named August Rush) as he was targeted for bullying by some of the older boys at the Boy’s home he was living in. That really bothered my tenderhearted son as well. There were two scenes like this in the movie that Max was uncomfortable with, otherwise he really liked the movie. We were able to have some really good discussion regarding how people should be treated. Like me, my son lives musically. Within minutes of arriving home, he was strumming away on his guitar and putting on a mini concert for his siblings, copying some of the slap style playing from the movie. He’s a creative kid that moves through life adding music and color from his own bold palette. You’ll know what I mean in my next post. 🙂

If you have not seen this movie yet, go rent it this weekend. It suspends reality a bit, but it’s so sweet and I love the positive attitude this kid has. We could all use an attitude like that, right?

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I’ve been without the internet for a few days while our service was being switched. 😦 It’s really sad how anxious not checking my email and not blogging has made me. I know there have been times I didn’t do those things on purpose and I was fine. It’s a different story when the decision is not my own.

Last Sunday night was my friend Kim’s episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. My excitement for them has kept me talking about it a lot. It was a great show! There were some things that got edited out that I wished had been in the show, but what can you do when you’re trying to cram a week’s worth of footage in a less than an hour time slot? I was very surprised they didn’t mention her brain surgery last year. Kim has received a ton of hits on her blogs and website since the show. There are a lot of people who want to send her well wishes. You can do so by clicking this link, www.kimberleywrites.blogspot.com. For those of you who have emailed or left comments here on previous posts already, I thank you for loving on them. I’ve passed along everything I’ve received so far.

I drove to the Springs yesterday for a short visit and I loved the house, but not as much as I love the family that lives there. They are kind, generous people and I look forward to deepening the friendship we have. I am thrilled that they have the opportunity to share their story through so many different venues. They are being pursued to do radio and T.V. interviews as well as the possibility of invitations to appear on talk shows. They’ve even had someone contact them because their children have HSAN and face some of the same struggles as Kayla. Kim’s heart is that she wants to help people if she can and above all she wants to glorify God. Please continue to pray for the Woodhouse family, for peace, strength, and a miraculous healing for Kayla.

One last thing. Kim blogged about what a great son Josh is. He is such a polite kid and a great brother to Kayla. He’s genuine and friendly and so respectful. When Petey and I drove down there this week, Josh entertained him and played with him while Kim and I talked. My kids want to move into Josh’s room. It turned out great! His dragon reading chair is awesome! He finds inspiration from The DragonKeeper Chronicles by local author Donita K. Paul. You can check out her books at her website www.dragonkeeper.us. I had lunch with her and some other new friends several months ago. She’s a neat lady.

Thanks again to ABC, FORD, and all of the other companies involved with this build/makeover. Their generosity and support of the Woodhouse family is a blessing to all involved and those who are looking on. People need and crave something bigger and special to be involved in. Just ask any of the thousands of people who have volunteered on builds all over the country since Extreme Makeover: Home Edition began.

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Movie Review: The Golden Compass

Benny and I finally saw the movie a few weeks ago. It was good…if you haven’t read the book, and even then, I guess it was good. I know, I know, some of you are rolling your eyes at me. You knew I was going to say that. There were a few things in the movie that filled in some blank spots in how I imagined the story, so I’m glad I saw it.


If I had to choose a favorite thing about the movie, it would be Sam Elliott. There is no one on the planet that would be a better Lee Scoresby. The man rocks in everything he’s in. Period. Several of his lines in the movie were better than his lines in the book. I loved it. I enjoyed seeing some of the creative means of travel come to life on the screen. The Gyptian boats and the zeppelins were especially cool. I thought most of the casting was a good fit for the story (I loved John Faa) with a few exceptions. I also liked the look of the alethiometer. It was beautiful and mysterious, and much bigger than I had imagined it from the book. The scenery was amazing and I love cg art. Computers have done amazing things for cinema.


Now for the negative. I thought the movie was rushed. There wasn’t time to develop feelings about the characters, or for the characters to develop the friendships found in the books. Lyra and Lee Scoresby would be a good example of this. He shows his loyalty and protection of her, but moviegoers who haven’t read the books don’t have the background of the friendship that developed over time between the two, and how many times he comes to her aid.

I was also disappointed with all the liberties the screenwriter took with the script. So much gets lost in translation to the big screen. Maybe it’s my love for writing and being surrounded by writer friends who agonize over how to present their characters, settings, plot lines, etc. but it really bugs me when lines and actions are given to a different character in the movie than they were in the book. If the author of a book takes the time to repeatedly use a certain physical feature to describe a key character, why on earth would you decide to do the opposite for the movie? Such was the case with several key characters. It must be really hard to maintain literary integrity and also make things more appealing for the big screen. Benny thought that a few of the inconsistencies that bothered me were necessary for the flow of the action in the movie. Maybe I’m just a book snob. 😉

The movie ended 3 chapters shy of where the book ended which totally sets us up for movie number two, whenever that will be. The book ending leaves you hanging more effectively than the movie ending, but whatever. Time constraints, yada yada. I still think the story is too dark for children, but Benny and I enjoyed it as the fantasy story that it is. We sat in the theater as the credits rolled and I filled in the plot holes for him as he asked questions about this and that. I tried hard not to annoy him with my book snobbery. lol He told me I should always see the movie first. Nonsense.

From a religious aspect, I thought the Magisterium was more wicked and powerful in the movie than in the book. It is not THE church, but an arm of the church and their goal is to wipe out free will and free thinking. That is something I would oppose as well. It is not a matter of “choose whatever you want to believe and it will be right”. It’s still very much a good vs. evil tale, at least in my mind. When I watch a movie and the bad guy is a police officer, an airline pilot, or a priest, that doesn’t mean that those professions/lifestyles are under attack, the bad guy just happens to be those things. I think the same is true for this movie. The bad guys happen to be an arm of the church. I don’t think it represents the community of believers I’m a part of or THE church – God’s redeemed people. There are churches out there that I would consider evil and their goal is total control of the people. The people who drank poisoned kool-aid so they could be picked up by their spaceship hiding behind Halley’s Comet comes to mind.  I think it would be crazy to have them be compared to God’s church. I see the comparison to the Magisterium and God’s church just as ridiculous.

Let’s talk about the daemons (pronounced demons) for a minute. I have already said that I didn’t like Pullman’s choice of the word. I’ve read that is was based on the Greek word for companion. He could have chosen another word and it would have worked just as well and there would have been less controversy. The whole idea of a person’s soul being on the outside of the body is interesting. You have to remember this is taking place in a parallel universe, not our own. It makes me think of Gary Smalley’s personality type assessment with animals representing the different personality types. His theory says there are four basic personality types which are represented by the Lion, the Otter, the Golden Retriever, and the Beaver. Just thinking about those animals probably gave you an instant picture into what traits those particular animals might represent. You can read more about this and take a quick test to figure out which personality you may be HERE. I think I am a Beaver with Lion tendencies. IF I lived in Lyra’s world, my personality – a part of who I am deep inside me but existing on the outside of my body, would look incredibly silly if it were a lion/beaver mix. I hope you get the idea. I wish I would have thought about this when I wrote my review of the first book. The daemons in the story are not demons (as in Satan’s angels) from the Bible. I hear that “rebel angels” appear later on in the series. There is a clear distinction and I can’t think of any other way to get that point across. Lyra’s daemon Pantalaimon, called Pan in the movie more often than in the books, is named for a saint in the orthodox churches. His name in Greek means “all forgiving”. (I read that on wikipedia)

In short, people I dearly love sit comfortably on the opposite side of the table on this issue and I have to respect their concern and opinions. My friends can boycott the books and the movie and that is fine with me. I did not find it the sinister piece of film some of the commenters from earlier posts might. I said in my very first post that you will probably find what you are looking for in this story. If you go looking for good vs. evil, you will surely find it. If you go expecting to hate the movie and be offended by it, you probably will be. If you want to view the story as anti-religious, I can’t change your mind.

So far, I believe it to be a good story. It’s an entertaining work of fiction that spins an adventurous tale. The themes of loyalty, friendship, and a fight for the good run strong throughout the story. I’ll be posting my review of the second book, The Subtle Knife, next week. As for the movie, I liked it enough to watch the second movie when it comes out, though the book will still be better. 🙂

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