Sunday, February 27, 2005

Blogging the Oscars

Okay, this is starting a little late ... Just some random notes that probably won't make sense unless you've also been watching the Oscars:

  • Chris Rock's doing a pretty good job as host - some of his jokes were a bit harsh, but his recorded piece interviewing the "man on the street" re. their favourite movies of the year was hilarious!
  • Cate Blanchett is an absolute vision tonight in a gorgeous dress
  • I HATE the stupid integration of a cartoon character from "The Incredibles" in presenting the award for costume design with Pierce Brosnan. Cheese.
  • Any thoughts on the new format of the awards? The way nominees for certain categories all wait onstage until the winner is announced, or others are seated in the same area in the audience, and the presentation is made out there? I thought I wouldn't like it, but it's not too bad - and the pace of the ceremony is certainly much faster.
  • Gosh, Natalie Portman is beautiful!!! It's not fair! But she kind of has a funny voice - I find it hard to take her seriously. And her dress tonight is ugly and shapeless.
  • I don't like Kirsten Dunst's hair tonight. Too platinum blonde and structured.
  • Hey, Orlando Bloom is one good-looking guy! He doesn't look like a teenager tonight - must be the tux.
  • LOVED the fact that Morgan Freeman won Best Supporting Actor for "Million Dollar Baby". I saw this film last night and thought he delivered an elegant and understated performance that was absolutely worthy of the Oscar nod. Did you notice that he thanked Clint Eastwood for an opportunity to work with Eastwood AND Hilary Swank? What an honour for the young Ms. Swank!
  • Adam Sandler and Catherine Zeta-Jones presenting together? Hahahaha - that was too funny - I knew it didn't make sense to have those two paired up!
  • Hmmm ... I didn't think that "Sideways" deserved the best "Adapted Screenplay" award (I think it should have gone to "Million Dollar Baby", which was just a better movie on any level.)
  • Ugh - ANOTHER song performed by Beyonce????? I like her, but for pity's sake, couldn't they find another singer? A tenor, perhaps, to sing a song intended for a man in "Phantom of the Opera"? (like a Josh Groban???) Beyonce doesn't seem to know what to do with her body when she's not doing the bump n' grind ...
  • Laura Linney looks great from the neck up ... HATE the frayed effect on the bottom of her dress - and what's with the super-dull colour????
  • What wind tunnel did Salma Hayek go through prior to presenting at the awards? Her hair is a scruffy mess!
  • How many awards are yet to go? It's almost 10:30 and we're still lost in awards-noone-cares-about land! Sound editing? Don't waste my time!!! Let's get to best actor/actress/director/movie awards!!!
  • Antonio Banderas singing? Accompanied by Carlos Santana? Not my cup of tea ... time to clean the apartment a bit!
  • What???? A third song performed by Beyonce???? in a duet with Josh Groban??? C'mon, what gives? Does the producer of the Oscars have an uber-crush or something??? And that sparkly dress makes her hips look HUGE!!!
  • What is Prince wearing? Are his pants really pink like they look on my television? Considering my TV is as old as dirt, and hoping that even the Purple One wouldn't wear billowy pink pants to any occasion, I'm blaming it on the TV
  • Best actress: Hilary Swank!!!!! (ugly dress tho) Do you think Annette Benning hates her???
  • Gwyneth: Lame joke prior to presenting. I don't like the bottom of her dress either. But I think the girl is fluent in Spanish - gotta give her creds.
  • Antonio Banderas is endearing for the way he is so open about supporting his fellow latinos ...
  • Charlize Theron is beautiful of course, but again I don't like the skirt of her dress. I guess it must be me who doesn't have the right fashion sense.
  • Jamie Foxx as Best Actor. No surprise there.
  • Clint Eastwood as Best Director!!!!! I let out a whoop before I realized that I might disturb some of my neighbours in my apartment building .... Sorry!!!
  • Is it just me, or does Barbara Streisand wear the same dress (or kind of dress) every time?
  • Dustin Hoffman seems to be having a problem articulating ... He probably didn't have enough time to get into characer or something?
  • "Million Dollar Baby" is Best Picture! This award is truly deserved - the film is a gem, with wonderful themes and heartfelt emotion. It's not about boxing, but about the human condition, about loyalty, redemption, and most of all love.
  • Well, time for bed finally!
P.S. - I forget exactly when Julia Roberts came onstage, but I thought she looked terrific! She's gained some weight, but it looks good on her. And I appreciate that she didn't make some excuse to refer to her babies as she presented whatever award she presented.

Okay, that's IT for this blog posting, I swear!!!

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Another movie recommendation: "Bad Education"

If you don't mind plots that revolve around gay affairs (and why should you???), it's a great film. By renowned Spanish director Pedro Almodovar (with English subtitles), this movie will have you guessing until the end ... And visually it's beautiful as well. Fabulous acting.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

"Man is born to trouble as sparks fly upwards" - Walker Percy

Someone in the Girls' Night Out Club organized meeting to see the movie "Hotel Rwanda" tonight. I was determined to go.

What a movie! If I hadn't read about the genocide in Rwanda, I would have thought the film was exaggerating. In fact, they sheltered the viewer a great deal, but still was very powerful. Don Cheadle is a gifted actor, and the story is based on the amazing true story of how a Hutu man, who shelters over a thousand Tutsis who would otherwise have been murdered. (It is also the story of how the Western world ignored the slaughter of 800,000 human beings.)

The only thing I didn't like about the film was Nick Nolte's portrayal of the Canadian Romeo D'Allaire-like general, though. Bad acting, stupid, helpless, ineffectual character. But he's a relatively small part of the movie.

That's all for now!

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Current Read: "The Poisonwood Bible"

This week, I started to read "The Poisonwood Bible" by Barbara Kingsolver. It's about a man who in Baptist missionary zeal drags his wife and four young daughters to the Belgian Congo in 1959. Told from the perspective of his family, so far I've found this novel to be witty and insightful. Has anyone else out there read it? If so, I'd love to hear your thoughts! :)

this book at

New Favourite Restaurant

A few weeks ago, my friend Lynn and I met for a "chick chat fest" and went for some Thai food at Spring Rolls on Yonge St. near Bloor. GREAT red curry with beef - which I have craved ever since. The tables and chairs weren't very substantial, but I returned to the restaurant last week Saturday in the middle of the afternoon, and the place was still hopping! (I guess I'm not the only fan ...)

Pieces of April

Last night I was stuck at home because of work (waiting for something I had to do around 9:00 PM for an office move), so I rented a couple of videos and watched "Pieces of April", starring Katie Holmes (of "Dawson's Creek"). I really enjoyed it. You can check out several reviews for this film at

Book recommendations

Now that I take the subway to and from work, I find a good book makes the commute pass in the blink of an eye! So I’ve read several wonderful novels lately, and just wanted to share! (If you don’t enjoy reading, never mind! :-> )

  1. “Elegance” by Kathleen Tessaro. An American in England, struggling with her failing marriage and her directionless life, tries to become a better person by following the advice written in a book on elegance by a Parisian woman. This book is a bit like the Bridget Jones novels, but less neurotic (and probably therefore less funny), but with much more depth and heart. 8.5 out of 10

  1. “Priceless” by Marne Kellogg Smith, is the sequel to the thoroughly enjoyable “Brilliant”. Glamourous Kick Keswick used to be the paragon of an executive assistant at a London auction house, but she was also the highly successful “Shamrock Burglar” (stealing jewels only from people who didn’t deserve them, of course). At the beginning of the sequel, Kick is enjoying retirement in the south of France when she hears of a string of burglaries attributed to the Shamrock Burglar, and she soon decides that she has to go to Italy to discover the imposter and to defend herself. These books are amazing – not just the depiction of the lifestyles of the glitterati, but also the wonderful character of Kick. She’s smart, savvy, resourceful, and sexy. She’s in her middle years, she’s made some mistakes in her past, and she is NOT rake-thin! I really enjoy reading about such a powerful yet human female character! A great “beach” read – 10 out of 10

  1. “We Are All the Same” by Jim Wooten. Wooten, as a correspondent for ABC News, had an opportunity to meet a charming young African boy named Nkosi Johnson, and then wrote this book about his all-too-brief life. Nkosi and his remarkable white foster mother used his HIV status (and his very engaging personality) to bring worldwide attention to this epidemic and to the needs of millions of Africans for support, shelter, medical care, and understanding. I found Wooten gave a bit too much background information, but it still was a great opportunity to be inspired by some remarkable human beings. 8 out of 10

  1. “Girl with a Pearl Earring” by Tracy Chevalier. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but the novel is beautiful. Chevalier imagines the story around the painting of the same name by Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer. If you have ever longed for someone you couldn’t have, you will be able to relate to this novel, even though it takes place in the 17th century. 10 out of 10

  1. “The Virgin Blue” by Tracy Chevalier. This novel alternates between 16th-Century France and Switzerland and modern-day France as a young Frenchwoman (Isabelle) struggles with the consequences of the religious superstitions of her day, and her American descendant (Ella) who discovers a strange connection to Isabelle’s life. Complex and rewarding. 9 out of 10

  1. “The Lady and the Unicorn” by Tracy Chevalier. Again Chevalier creates historical fiction around a real-life work of art, this time around a set of Belgian/French tapestries. The novel follows the tapestries from their commission to their completion and follows the lives of the various women who are involved (the wife and daughter of the nobleman who orders the tapestries, the wife and daughter of the man who weaves the tapestries, etc.). Chevalier has a remarkable talent to make the reader relate to and feel for each of the main characters. As I was racing to read the last chapter, I truly felt that this book is a gift. 10 out of 10

There! I hope I haven’t bored anyone – please note I get no commissions from bookstores! LOL If you have read any of these novels, or decide to, I would love to hear your thoughts on them!