Movie Marathon

Watching 9 movies in 2 days is hard work!  Once again this year we took part in the Parool Oscar Weekend in Amsterdam, both Saturday and Sunday.  I think this is our 5th year in a row and I feel like such a “regular” at this event.  We know all the ins and outs, how to get good seats, what food to bring, even what coats to wear (light jackets easy to keep on your lap).  We had a schedule and stuck to it.

After every movie both DB and I sent out a tweet with our ratings.  Most years we agree on a movie’s rating.  This year we disagreed a lot about the rating, but we agreed easily on which movies we wanted to see.  Below is a recap by way of the previously sent out tweets (via @underdutchskies):

Movie 1 – Drive
My rating – 5/10
1st movie  was . DB gives it 9, me a 5. It was too much a style mash up. Just couldn’t buy into it.

It’s bloody and violent, but that’s not what got it a 5 rating from me.  To me the whole movie felt like someone’s film school graduation project.  Let’s throw in some James Dean references, add some 80’s style music, and some Tarantino gore.  That should make for an interesting movie, right? Wrong. It makes for a mashup that yearns for attention – just like a film school graduate.

Movie 2 – Iron Lady
My rating 6/10
2nd  movie Iron Lady gets a 6 only because of the amazing MS. Otherwise, boring history lesson.

It’s as if the film maker couldn’t decide if this was a love story about a couple growing old and dealing with dementia, or a story about a politician.  They should have stayed with the love story.  Jumping around from event to disconnected event, without any context or background was just bad story telling. What was the point of any of it?  It was just a vehicle for Streep’s accents and facial tics.  Sure, she was amazing, but she wasn’t enough to carry the movie.

Movie 3 – Beginners
My rating 8/10
3rd  movie: Beginners gets 8. Beautiful, sad, funny, thoughtful, really worth seeing. And EMcG is also lovely. 🙂

I don’t need to add more than that.  Go see it.  Try not to cry.

Movie 4 – Hugo
My rating 7/10
movie #4: Hugo, gets a 7 from me. Cute movie with gorgeous sets and decent 3D. Acting just ok though.

Looking back, I probably should have given this a 6.5.  Pretty sets should get you just so far.  I’m a sucker for gorgeous sets and technology.  I had the same problem with Avatar.  I was so wowed by the 3D and color that I forgot for a moment what a crap story it was.  While Hugo is a sweet story, it’s not amazing and the acting was just so-so.

Movie 5 – Moneyball
My rating 7/10
movie #5: Moneyball gets a 7/10. If I was more of a baseball fan it’d probably be an 8. Better-than-Costner-baseball-movie.

Fun movie, good acting, and Pitt is still good eye-candy.  The big kid steals the show though.  It’s nice he was nominated for an Oscar even though he was a long shot to win.  This is a movie to rent on a Friday night.  Goes great with beer and pizza.

Movie 6 – The Artist
My rating 8.5/10
6th movie The Artist gets 8.5. Here’s a genre movie that works! Little slow at the end, but overall super.

I think this movie won Best Picture not only because it was just plain excellent, but also because it was unusual.  It kept me interested throughout, laughing in parts and charmed in other parts.  It was just corn-ball enough for the type of movie it is, but was never sappy.  It was just fun, and how many movies are really fun anymore?

Movie 7 – Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
My rating – 9/10
movie Tinker, Tailor etc gets 9!! Great movie. Managed a complex story with style & great acting. Captured the time so well.

I really loved this movie.  I had read the book, but back when it first came out and I was just a teenager.  I only remembered that it was a complex story with lots of subtle cloak and dagger stuff going on.  The acting was wonderful.  The pace and color was just right.  Ah, remember the good old days of the Cold War when you knew who the enemy was and could just trade spy for spy?  The movie does beg the question though – are all Englishmen gay?

Movie 8 – The Help
My rating – 8/10
8th  movie The Help gets an 8. Can’t find fault, but yet didn’t make me go WOW. Striking how it was only 50 yrs ago.

DB said several times “It was only a generation ago!” Yes, it was only 50 years ago that people were so openly racist and ignorant.  Now we have a Black president and still people are racist and ignorant.  Ah well.  I think we’ve made a little progress anyway.  This movie had humor and grace and a happy (as happy as could be hoped for) ending.  Lovely movie for the whole family.

Movie 9 – The Descendants
My rating 8/10
movie no9 Descendants gets an 8. Funny, sad, well acted. Even Clooney played someone besides himself. And Hawaii is beautiful.

It’s not a complicated story, but it’s very well played especially by the daughter Shailene Woodley.  A friend of mine said that she thought Clooney was miscast, and that they should have used someone who could play more down-and-out or weaker character.  I disagree.  I liked Clooney in this and I think he actually acted for a change instead of playing himself or just being a caricature (like in O Brother, Where Art Thou?).  I don’t know why the movie is set in Hawaii, and I don’t care.  It was so nice on that winter day to see warm weather and people in sandals.  At least I know it’s beautiful and warm somewhere in the world.

And that’s my weekend in a nutshell.  I can’t wait for next year!

Ice Age

frozen in motion
frozen in motion

While the whole of the Netherlands was out skating on canals and rivers yesterday, we were out running on the beach.  It’s the only place you can run that’s not covered in ice and snow these days.  At least that’s what I thought.

Since I hadn’t run in over a week, I only managed 30 minutes, but that’s ok.  I had time to take some photos.  I was really surprised to see waves frozen in time.  Not frozen in a photo, but literally frozen!  Here are photos I took yesterday.  Since the weather is warming up I think these waves will melt in the next days and the water will be flowing again.

All photos were taken with my iPhone 4S, which continues to impress me with it’s image quality.

shells frozen in place
shells frozen in place
under dutch skies
under dutch skies
quiet beach
quiet beach
Bloemendaal in February
Bloemendaal in February
cold blue
cold blue
frozen waves
frozen waves
frozen waves II
frozen waves II

Still in Love

Even after spending a lot of time knitting these days, I’m still in love with it.  I have so many ideas in my head for new designs, or for other people’s designs I want to make!  If only my hands worked faster so I could get more done.

Here are some progress photos.

Yesterday I blocked the back and one of the front pieces of my Smocked Cable Coat (link is to a nice youtube video showing the model).

If you remember from previous posts, I had to buy more yarn to finish the sweater because the back piece was sucking it up so quickly I knew I wouldn’t have enough to finish it.  I bought 4 skeins from the Loopy Ewe, which arrived very quickly, and I carried on alternating new/old skeins of yarn.  I started with that alternating at the point where the cables begin (looking from the bottom up).  Can you tell that I’ve done this?  Yes you can.  You can see that from the point of the cables the color is definitely grayer.  What am I going to do about it?  Absolutely nothing.  I think that wearing it in real life you won’t notice.  I had the same issue with the cardigan I made last summer using Madelinetosh Sock yarn in color Celadon.  I was ready to rip out the entire thing after looking at photos of it and seeing decided color changes.  But you know what?  Now when I wear it, and look in a mirror, I don’t notice at all.

I’m also busy working on a brioche blanket/afghan.  I’m about 3/4 finished with it.  It’s made in the round, starting with the center and working out.  Each round is so long now!  I’m making it with Madelinetosh DK yarn in colors Moorland, Lettuce Leaf and Lepidoptera.  The finish blanket will use 2 skeins of each color.  Here are some WIP photos, both the front (dark green dominant) and back (light green dominant).

front, brioche blanket
front, brioche blanket
back, brioche blanket
back, brioche blanket

Stay tuned for finished photos of both projects, and a published pattern for the brioche blanket.

Brrrrrrr!

Today marks the longest streak of below freezing weather since 1997.  It was only a week ago that I was complaining that it’s been an incredibly mild winter which felt like just a prolonged Fall.  Daffodils were blooming already.  Them WHAM the weather blew in from the north and we haven’t seen any temp above freezing for a week, day or night.  It’s supposed to continue for at least another week.

Today I didn’t feel at all like running.  The only place I could imagine safely running without slipping in the snow would have been at the beach.  And running on the beach with a super freezing wind blowing on your face didn’t sound at all fun.  I convinced DB to come for a walk instead.  I expected we’d walk for an hour, just around town.  We ended up walking for 2 hours and about 10km, all around Haarlem Noord.  Here are photos I took.  The canal skating was at 3 different places around town.

Weeeeeee!
Weeeeeee!
any hill will do
any hill will do

There was a group of boys who had taken the wheels off of their skateboards and just stood on them and glided down this little hill.  The poor boys snowboard I guess.

making an ice rink
making an ice rink
learning to skate
learning to skate
canal in Haarlem
canal in Haarlem
clearing snow for skating
clearing snow for skating
ice hockey in the park
ice hockey in the park
cold feet
cold feet