Category Archives: Movies

Have you seen the LEGO movie yet? It’s… awesome!

Have you seen the LEGO movie yet? If not, you’re missing out. And if you don’t have kids to take with you to the movie theater, don’t let it stop you. When I took my kids on opening day a few weeks ago, there were plenty of people in the room who were childless. Here’s the LEGO movie preview if you’ve been living in a dark cave this whole time. It’s awesome!

So why is the LEGO movie so awesome? Let me sum it up for you: it is a mix of fun, adventure, suspense, action, humor, torture (wait till you see Liam Neeson’s Bad Cop/Good Cop…), explosions, jokes, special effects, bad puns, and tenderness. Did I say fun? This movie is laugh-out-loud funny from almost beginning to end. My favorite character probably is Batman, who really knows how to make a fool of himself. Take that, Christian Bale.

But maybe what I liked best about the LEGO movie is the story twist. Yes, there’s a twist, and a good one in my opinion. One of those twists that makes kids (and you) relate to the story more. It takes a step back and reminds you of what LEGO is all about. And the answer is: fun play, any way you like it.

I understand that in the past few years, LEGO has received some negative feedback from a few parents who don’t like the many LEGO sets that have been created. Those are the parents who complain that once their kids lose one piece, the set becomes useless (hmm, how about substitute that piece for another?). The LEGO movie approaches this issue in a smart way: the overall theme is that when playing LEGO, you can follow the instructions, or be a master builder, that is be able to build almost anything out of a pile of LEGO bricks. And that’s what I enjoyed most about the movie: imaginary play has no boundaries. Yes, the new LEGO sets come with lots of one-of-a-kind fancy pieces you can’t find anywhere else, but that’s what makes them more fun than a standard LEGO brick set. Once my kids have had enough of playing with a specific set, we put the pieces in our giant LEGO bag so they can make new creations out of them, and then play with them. It can’t get any better than this. LEGO master builders, unite!

Lego master builder creation

Lego master builder creation

I’d like to add that if you make your way to LEGOLAND California, you’ll want to visit the new LEGO movie experience.

LEGO movie experience at LEGOLAND California

LEGO movie experience at LEGOLAND California

In it, you’ll find the original LEGO city set that was used for the movie, along with many of the creations you see in the movie. That was a cool thing to see with my kids when it opened at the end of February.

Lego movie set at LEGOLAND California

Lego movie set at LEGOLAND California

By the way, my own master builders were thrilled to find this video of LEGO movie bloopers outtakes on YouTube after they saw the movie. I hope you get a good laugh out of it as much as we did. Watch it, it’s awesome!

Have you seen the LEGO movie? What did you think of it?

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Yeah, I got the Sunshine Award!

Sunshine awardThank you so much, Marilyn, at Things I want To Tell My Mother, for recently nominating me for the Sunshine Award. If you’ve read my recent posts (here and here), you’ll understand I could use a little ray of sunshine right now in my life.

Part of my acceptance speech is to answer a few questions and nominate other blogs, so what am I waiting for?

1. What is your favorite Christmas movie?

Elf, the movie - Courtesy Wikipedia

Elf, the movie – Courtesy Wikipedia

I must have watched It’s A Wonderful Life almost every Christmas since I moved to the U.S. 19 years ago, and I never get tired of it. It displays the best and the worst about humanity, and gives us something to feel good about at least once a year. Take that, you 1%!

I’d like to add that my very second best Christmas movie is Elf, with Will Ferrell. I watch it every year for a good laugh. Last Christmas my kids watched it for the first time and enjoyed it a lot, so I can’t wait to watch it again this year with them. Santa’s coming, Santa’s coming!

2. What is your favorite flower?

The lilac! Technically, it grows on a tree, but to me there is nothing more wonderful than these clusters of bright flowers (white, pink or purple) with an “I thought I’d died and gone to heaven” fragrance. Unfortunately my local wild lilacs don’t smell but they are still beautiful. Don’t you agree?

Ramona lilac blossoms

Ramona lilac blossoms

3. What is your favorite non-alcoholic beverage?

Tea! I start my day with English breakfast, enjoy a brew of Earl Grey in the afternoon, and love ice tea (easy on the ice!) in the summer. And I don’t like coffee at all. You’d think I was born and raised in the U.K., not France…

4. What is your passion?

Writing, reading, photography, drawing, painting… Do I need to pick just one? Anything creative that tickles my mind the right way, i.e. on the right side of my brain! When I can live my passion and manage to snap a photo like this on any given day, I know life is good.

Blue dragonfly

Blue dragonfly

5. What is your favorite time of year?

Spring, when everything in nature rebirths, erasing the grays of winter and bringing bright colors to my daily life. I love summer because of the wonderful fruit but it’s just too hot in San Diego to label as my favorite time of year.

And of course, Christmas (go back to question 1.).

6. What is your favorite time of day?

Storytime with my boys every night. I first read with both of them. When my youngest goes to bed, I continue to read with his brother. I love how the three of us can travel to faraway places and times for amazing adventures every night, just sitting on my bed.

Of course, my second favorite time of the day is when I get to read by myself before going to sleep.

7. What is your favorite physical activity?

Walking / hiking, but it needs to involve good company or interesting vistas so I can take pictures. I don’t like physical activity for the sake of exercise. And no, I’m not fat!

8. What is your favorite vacation?

Anywhere where I can breathe fresh air and feel close to nature, without sleeping in the middle of bugs, spiders and snakes, or taking the risk of losing my life to humongous bears! Somewhere green is always a plus, since I don’t see a lot of greenery on a daily basis. I also love to go back to Paris and visit my family. I can’t wait to take my kids back so they can enjoy all the museums, history and culture the city of lights has to offer (compared to history and culture deprived San Diego).

And now, it’s my turn to nominate a few other blogs with this Sunshine Award. I apologize if you’ve received it already. Hey, who doesn’t like a little ray of sunshine once in a while?

Sofacents : From Adman To Diaperman
I recently discovered this stay-at-home dad’s blog. His son is a little younger than my two. I love to see how similar parenting can be across the board, no matter who stays at home.

Jmgoyder: Wings and Things
Julie has gone through so much these past few years, having to deal with her beloved husband’s degenerative illness. She’s such a strong woman (but sometimes forgets it), and I admire her resilience and sense of humor.

Spirits Light The Way
Nancy has gone through a lot too this year (what’s wrong with 2012???) and she deserves this little ray of sunshine, even though she lives in Florida. I visit her blog several times a week to get the breather she kindly offers in almost every post.

Joy In The Moments
I enjoy reading Char’s perspective on life, and how nuts fearless she is of bears when hiking in the mountains! Char has a new book out, so you’ll want to check her site out!

I’d nominate Carrie at The Write Transition but she already got the Sunshine Award (lucky gal!). Her new book is coming out in a few days, so I’m using this opportunity to plug it in. Apparently she tries to kill us all via a pandemic so you may want to check if your name is on the list of survivors at the end of her book.  ;-)

Of course, I could leave you with Walking on Sunshine by Katrina & The Waves, one of my favorite songs of my youth, but I’d be dating myself… so I’ll go for Aqualung’s Brighter than Sunshine. I don’t have a significant other to think about with this song, but it definitely expresses how much love I feel about my boys. Happy sunshine!

101 in 1001 update: Watch one new movie every other week

101 in 1001 challenge 72) Watch one new movie every other week

I don’t have cable TV and I watch just a few TV series online. Since TV series end in May and don’t start back until September, I’ve got a three-month window in the summer where I can find a little time to watch movies (and catch up on my 101 in 1001 challenge). I saw movies that made me cry, laugh, yawn and gag. I won’t list everything I saw but I’d like to highlight some of the best (and worst). If you have any movie recommendations, I’m all ears!

Invictus movieInvictus
The VERY BEST movie I watched so far this year. Morgan Freeman plays Nelson Mendela during his first year as President of South Africa. The movie showcases Mendela’s efforts on reconciliation (the key word) across the country. Using the mediocre South African rugby team as a platform for his ideology, he aims to make the team successful in time for the Rugby World Cup. This is a true story of courage, hope and conviction. Nelson Mendela is one of my favorite heroes and I’m glad I now know this little part of his history. The title of the movie comes from the poem Invictus by William Ernest Henley. Mendela said he read it very often during his 23 years of imprisonment to give him the strength to go on. You’ve probably heard the last two lines most often:
“I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.”

The Descendants movieThe Descendants
This movie can appear quite depressing at first but it’s hard to be cheery when you deal with brain trauma and life support issues. George Clooney is a husband facing his wife’s end of life decisions and trying to be a father for his girls he hasn’t been close to in years. To lighten up the mood, there are some very, very funny moments in, and the ending is bittersweet but full of hope. If you saw this movie, I’d love to hear your impression of it.

Coco before Chanel movieCoco Avant Chanel (Coco Before Chanel)
Although I’m French, I didn’t know much about Coco Chanel’s early life before I watched this movie. Now I can see how she became such a strong, fascinating woman. Her mother died when she was very young and her father abandoned Coco (originally Gabrielle) and her sister at an orphanage in their early teens. Yet she managed to become the most successful French businesswoman in history. Audrey Tautou does a great job at portraying Chanel too.

Green Lantern movieGreen Lantern
Besides enjoying the Batman movies with Christian Bale, I’m not a fan of superhero movies. I usually find them too dark or too serious when it comes to portraying grown men wearing funny costumes. That’s exactly why I really liked Green Lantern. It is light, fun and funny. And I think that’s why the superhero movie fans didn’t like it. Ryan Reynolds is such a smart ass in this role. Imagine him trying to guess how to turn on the power of the green lantern by guessing he should yell “To infinity and beyond!” at it. Now that’s my type of superhero movies!

Puss in boots moviePuss In Boots
This is now one of my kids’ favorite movies and I see why. Although I didn’t like the Shrek movies much, which were funnier for grown-ups than little kids (mine got bored), this movie is A LOT better. It’s full of adventure, suspense, humor, and twists and surprises, and you get to learn about each character pretty well. It’s definitely one of those movies you can watch over and over and enjoy every time.

And now, here are a few movies I wish I didn’t watch because I can’t get back those few hours of my life.

Bridesmaids movieBridesmaids
I have no idea why this movie had so much success at the box office. People said it was the female version of The Hangover, which wasn’t that great in the first place. But this movie is worse, a lot worse. Unless you enjoy watching gross bathroom humor for two hours. The main character was so pathetic, I wanted to flush her head down the toilet by the end. Or flush my head, I’m not sure. If it weren’t for the brilliant Melissa McCarthy stealing the show, I would have barfed from yawning too much.

Inception movieInception
If you’re smart, you know this movie was crap. If you think you’re smart, you probably loved it. Again, I have no idea why so many people loved this movie. I’ll give a lot of credit to the special effects. Tey were excellent and blew my mind away. But there was no story to support them. Nothing made sense, with the writers trying to make things appear more complicated to make you believe it was a smart movie. And to enjoy this movie, you have to believe you can invade people’s dreams to steal their secrets. I have a good imagination but this was a joke. Whatever happened to blackmail? If you haven’t watched it yet, don’t feel guilty about skipping it.

As a final note, I wanted to say I finally started watching the first season of the TV series Grimm and I’m hooked! I originally thought it was about the real Grimm brothers but the story actually takes place in present times, with a twist. Monroe is my new favorite TV character. He really has the best lines. This series actually reminds me of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, where not every bad guy was bad and my favorite character was Spike (the most sarcastic vampire ever!). If you’re a fan, I want to hear all about it (no spoilers, please). If you haven’t watched it, give it a try. NBC still has all the Season 1 episodes available online.

The golden eyes – a missed opportunity

In yesterday’s post, I described how the tow truck driver who rescued me and recharged my dying battery had “golden” eyes. I hesitated to ask his permission to take a picture of his eyes, for fear of sounding a little freaky.

Several of you scolded me expressed disappointment for keeping those golden eyes all for myself. You even asked me to find a picture of real golden eyes so I could share my once-in-a-lifetime encounter. So I did what every person would do. I googled “golden eyes.”

Damn, you guys were right! I should have taken a picture of those eyes because finding a REAL set of golden eyes is impossible. Well, except if you’re looking for Bella’s new golden eyes, after her beloved hubby turns her into a her vampire in the Twilight saga. There are tons of those in cyberspace.

Twilight's Bella and her vampire golden eyes

Twilight's Bella and her vampire golden eyes

Honestly, now that I’m looking at this picture, the truck driver’s golden eyes looked a lot like Bella’s. I doubt he was a vampire though, especially since he didn’t mind walking around in San Diego’s super bright daylight, with no sunglasses on. So I went on with my Google search and the closest image I could get was on another WordPress site called Varungenius’s Blog.

Golden eyes

I still think this woman’s eyes look more hazel than golden so I retouched them in Photoshop. Here are the real golden eyes I saw yesterday. Pretty neat, huh?

Real golden eyes

Real golden eyes