Saturday, June 28, 2008
This movie is a love story. Wall*E is the last functioning trash compactor robot on Earth, and over the years he's grown a little sentimental, collecting all sorts of treasures, including a VHS copy of "Hello, Dolly," which he watches endlessly. When a robot probe comes to Earth, all sleek and sexy, Wall*E is smitten. It's probably the most poignant and endearing love story on the big screen this year.
What's amazing about that is that the two lovers are robots and their verbal communication amounts to little more than saying each other's names. Everything else comes across through "eye" movement and body language (that last is made all the more spectacular by the fact that neither robot ever looks or moves like a human being).
Wall*E is also pretty good science fiction (as far as it goes, anyway; it doesn't try to be very deep). Humanity has taken to the stars, leaving Earth behind. This is because rampant consumerism, with it's resulting trash, has rendered Earth uninhabitable. They now live on a huge luxury cruise liner floating is space where their every desire is catered to by an army of robots.
For those worried about the environmentalism message here, don't be. It's never strident or preachy. The filmmakers stay away from politics. The message is one of being responsible. Does anyone really disagree with that?
There is also a cautionary message about idleness. The humans have given up doing anything for themselves. As a result they are all blobs and, due to their sedentary lifestyles and living in a lower gravity environment, their bone structure is atrophied. These people have no control and no meaning to their lives. They are basically herded about by advertisements and habit, not even noticing their surroundings. If they fall out of their hoverchairs they are helpless.
The animation is sumptuous. The "acting" of the principle robots, Wall*E and EVE, is sublime. Every frame is a testament to Pixar's attention to detail and love of storytelling.
Our experience in seeing the film was somewhat blunted by the fact that we had to deal with an incorrigibly restless little boy, so much of the last act was seen over shoulders in the entryway and barely heard over whining and crying. We'll have to see it again, sans infant, to truly appreciate it, I suppose.
Even so, I can safely say that it is in upper end of Pixar quality, which means that it is light years beyond whatever any other animation studio is doing.
Last night we went to see WALL-E. Besides the fact that the ticket lines were insanely large so we ended up on the second row, and besides the fact that Felix was an absolute beast (not just wiggly, oh no, this time he was both wiggly and whiny - I think I got to sit for maybe the first 15 minutes), the movie was very fun. I really will have to watch it again to get the full effect, so I'll leave the review to Brent...
Thursday, June 26, 2008
After bleeding all over, it looked like he smooshed his nose pretty good, caught his upper lip, and bit his tongue.
It looks like he got into a fight. Combine that with the finally-receding rash, and the kid is a piece of work.
If he gets through toddler-hood without permanent mental scars I'd be surprised - except for the fact that most children don't start forming long-term memories till they're about three. Thank goodness for that!
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
I spoke to a nurse (who consulted with a doctor) at the after-hours clinic about Felix's rash. She said that unless he seemed really uncomfortable I could wait till the morning. The rash does seem to be getting worse, but everyone assures me it doesn't look like chicken pox.
What do YOU think?
It seems almost less than news to report another ear infection, but he's got another double one. The doctor mentioned probably seeing a specialist for tubes, but then put him on Augmentin. The tough thing about Augmentin is that it is essentially Amoxocillan with some kind of extra acid in it, and it pretty much causes horrible diaper rashes (poor kid had a bad rash before we started). And Augmentin didn't even touch his last infections. Sigh.
My dad had an allergy test last week, with 57 different scratches on his back. He said that in preparation for the test the tech asked him if he suffered from ear infections or sinus infections and if he had eczema. My dad thinks that maybe part of Felix's problem (what with the ear infections and the eczema) is that he has terrible allergies.
I forgot to ask the doc about that possibility, but since we're seeing him again in 10 days to see if it's cleared up (I'll cross my fingers even though I don't think it will be), I'll ask then.
Thank goodness for Medicaid, because the costs of all this would kill us financially. Poor kid. I really just want him to be healthy!
Saturday, June 21, 2008
The first movie we saw was The Incredible Hulk. I only sort of tried to watch the first Hulk movie from a couple of years ago and I was so disgustedly bored that I slept through almost all of it. So I can't really compare the two movies except to say that this isn't boring and I like Edward Norton much better than I like Eric Bana in the role.
In this movie, the entire origin story is told in the opening credits, so by the time the movie actually starts the story is in full swing. I liked it. No need to trifle with pesky backgrounds. There was lots of action, lots of CG stuff (all the hulk and monster stuff was CGI), noticeable chemistry between the two leads, a credible bad guy (or two - people with warped priorities, really), hints to the future including a fun cameo from Tony Stark (Iron Man), etc.
Besides the good stuff, Brent thought the CGI was overdone in the closeups. It didn't bother me all that much, but I would have preferred that the Hulk and Bruce looked at least slightly similar. They didn't, but Brent assures me that this is because of fan disapproval from the first movie where they did. I don't remember that, but it really didn't bother me as much as it bothered Brent. I would have preferred that they use an actual person instead of a completely CGI character. They did a good job of making movements feel real, but well, maybe it's just that I liked Lou Ferigno as the Hulk in the original TV show. By the way, he also had a nice cameo. I'm just thinking that they could have gotten one of those huge WWE wrestlers who looked slightly like Ed Norton and paint him green and make him kinda dumb. Well, not that the dumb part would be needed so much. Can't you see it?
Overall, it was fun but flawed. I'd give it 3 out of 5 stars.
Movie #2 was Get Smart.
This is one we'd been looking forward to since we first heard it was being made and that Steve Carrell was in the lead. See, it doesn't matter whether you like him or not, he's perfect in the role. He IS Maxwell Smart. Anne Hathaway is also perfect. Heck, even Duane Johnson (aka The Rock) is great as Agent 23.
This movie is a bit on the absurd side (just like the TV show), but it's so much fun that it just doesn't matter. There are so many quotable lines in this show that I can't wait to see it again and start memorizing. It's clever in its delivery too. There is an almost genius comic timing employed by every single one of the actors and I found myself laughing out loud during the entire movie. It's fast-paced, full of fun action (I would highlight "fun" if I could figure out how to do it on a Mac - the shortcut keys don't work the same as on PCs), has some great chemistry, is very well put together, etc.
I would give this movie 4 1/2 out of 5 stars. Yep, I liked it that much. Just goofy enough to pry someone out of a funk and leave everything behind. I will absolutely own this and watch it over and over.
Monday, June 16, 2008
(I took the boys outside and chopped off their hair. I did keep a snippet of Felix's curls for his baby book that I'll start someday. Felix was crying in the first pic because he got stuck next to the sprinkler when it turned on and he was caught off-guard.)
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Anyway, Saturday morning a bunch of my relatives participated in the Pleasant Grove triathalon. The kid portion (that my niece Becca did) was a one-mile run, a three-mile bike ride, and I believe a 200 meter swim. The adult portion was 3.2 miles (5k) run, 10 miles biking, and then, um, I have no idea how long the swim was.
I had the task of taking pictures and providing snacks for those participating and those watching, and we ended up having a lot of fun. I hear that the swimming was the worst because it was already after everything else and people were exhausted. I got a little sun (just enough to look silly), but it was very pleasant.
After everyone had rested and showered, we met at the family manse for a big lunch and a work party to help with some big projects around the house and yard.
I left about 4:30 to pick up a new friend, Stacy, who is visiting Utah for a working vacation. We drove up to SLC and met up with some friends for dinner at TGIFridays. Our waiter was impressive, the food was perfect (although "pregnant belly" wouldn't allow me to finish it), and the company was just what I needed.
When we finally split up, Stacy and I talked Travis into going with us to a party in Park City, but since it was still early, we walked over to the mall so I could find some sunglasses. I would like to profess my love of Torrid, a wonderful combination of Hot Topic and Lane Bryant - funky clothes and stuff for larger women. They actually had sunglasses that fit my face! I luuuurrrrve them! We even talked Stacy into buying a fun and pretty maroon dress while we were there.
The party in Park City was at a house rented by some friends through LDS Linkup. It was a "welcome to Utah", "happy birthday", and "let's have some summer fun" party. I met some people I had never met before, made a few new friends, and relaxed on a comfy couch. I even got to see some people I hadn't seen for a while and catch up a bit. Mostly, I sat on that couch and heard about what is going on in the lives of my friends. Very enjoyable.
Stacy and I had decided before going to the party that we would leave when we got bored. We got there about 9 and didn't end up leaving till almost 11:30. It was just a very pleasant evening.
You know, people think it's weird to meet over the internet, but I've found some amazing friends that way. Heck, I even essentially met my husband that way (well, my cousin met him over the internet and then set us up). I say this because besides the family stuff, all the party stuff from yesterday was with people I met over the internet. I have more friends than I've ever had, thanks to it.
So today, while I try to figure out what "pregnant belly" will allow me to eat, I am thankful for all the fathers who have touched my life - especially the father of my child(ren). Oh yeah, and I'm thankful to the internet, because it has allowed me to create, enhance, and remember some of the best relationships I've ever enjoyed.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
I'm constantly feeling like I'm forgetting something. There's just so much going on, and I don't have little kids in sports and after-school activities yet. Sheesh!
Please forgive me if I seem a bit scatterbrained. I think I'll blame it on the pregnancy. It works for just about everything else, right?
Brent is sick today and I'm home to take care of both babies. My boss said to give the older baby crap for being a baby. :)
I let Felix roam, thinking that his grandpa was still upstairs, but after going up for just a minute or two, Felix started screaming. I figured he had fallen or something, but he didn't seem to be comforted. I went upstairs to look and it seemed that Felix was holding a mouse trap. Yep. Holding a mouse trap - with one finger very firmly inside the trap. Poor kid.
Sunday, June 8, 2008
We had lots of fun watching movies and staying up late. This morning we watched Passage to Zarahemla and a few other movies (it was a birthday so we let Hannah call the shots all day). Then we took the girls home this evening for dinner and ice cream and cake.
While we ate, Felix wandered around picking up rocks and throwing them into the covered window wells.
Brent showed him the new fountain in the back and Felix decided he wanted a drink. How cute is this?
Saturday, June 7, 2008
That being said, one of the first things I learned about my husband was that he had done the cover to the latest in the series. I was intrigued.
But when I saw the billboard on I-15 advertising the coming of the movie, I was skeptical. It didn't look all that professional and I can get kind of picky about things like that.
What did I think of Passage to Zarahemla?
The parts I didn't like: The main guy isn't all that good-looking (yes, very shallow of me, but it actually distracted - the main hunk has to actually be a hunk!). The actors had varying degrees of commitment to their roles and some were a lot more believable than others (the aunt was fantastic, the grandpa was groan-worthy). It was slightly preachy in parts.
The parts I did like: The actors were all appropriate in their roles. The danger felt like real danger. The situations didn't feel contrived. The mixing of the different types of people (the Gadiantons, the Utahns, the gang-bangers) actually worked. I liked that there was more than one thing going on because it made everything feel more real (life is usually more complicated than one danger or one difficult situation).
The dialogue wasn't perfect, but it didn't distract, so that doesn't go in either category. Overall, I liked the movie. It's not my new favorite movie, but I will comfortably recommend it to, um, people who are Mormon and aren't super anti all Mormon movies.
The reason I would recommend it to Mormons is that you either understand everything they talk about with Nephite history or it might feel a bit awkward and preachy ("Have faith!" or "Learn of me! Learn of my people!"). Brent and I watched the movie with two of my nieces (they had seen it before, and they actually requested that we watch it this morning). All four of us agreed that the movie was lots of fun.
Now, maybe it was my reduced expectations, but I really enjoyed the movie. It was a fun ride. I will warn anyone that wants to show it to little kids that the danger is actual danger. People get hurt and there is implied killing and there is crime. But any family without some dysfunction and trouble (at least when teens are involved) isn't a real family. Things aren't magically solved just because the story is over, and I liked that a lot.
One note on the DVD. There are two versions of the movie - "theatrical release" and "less intense version". We watched the theatrical version, so I'm not sure how the other one compares. But it could be that the less intense version would then be appriopriate for all ages. I just thought it was cool that it would be available. You know?
So there you have it. If you're going by Hollywood standards, I might only give it 3 out of 5 stars. It is too Mormon to be really appealing to outsiders and it's imperfect, but it is a fun movie. I think Chris Heimerdinger did a good job.
Thursday, June 5, 2008
I need a vacation. Maybe I'll do like Bob and take a "vacation from my problems!" Anyone know a crazy psychologist I can terrorize?
Please keep us in your prayers that this will all come together smoothly, including Felix having a lot less pain, the application being accepted and going retroactive (hospital bills, anyone?), bills getting paid, work being consistent, pregnancy being uncomplicated, etc.