Monday, July 29, 2013

What's Next On My List? American Dreams

This show is one of my sister's favorites so we had a marathon a year back. Since I was planning on writing about my own 'American dream', I thought I would play tribute to this great show. I know I just said over a week ago that I don't want to do many TV shows and that there will be a list soon on shows that I would like to see one more season of, but this won't be on the list so I want to talk about it separately.

The show is a period piece from the 60's. We follow the everyday life of a family of six: Jack Pryor and Helen are the parents of JJ, a football star and later on a marine; Megan, a high school student who gets a job as a dancer on American Bandstand; Patty, a young know-it-all and Will, the youngest who he suffers from polio. Mr. Pryor owns a TV store and his assistant and later on partner is an African-American man named Henry, who has a son named Sam, a daughter Angela and he takes in his nephew Nathan who causes them a lot of problems. Although the Pryor family has no prejudice toward skin color, the people around them don't seem to be so open-minded yet.
And after Helen wishes to go to college and Megan gets herself a job on television, Jack's expectations of their everyday life seem to have been crushed. JJ gets a football scholarship, but after injuring his leg, he decides to enlist into the marines so after coming home he can get into a better college. This means leaving behind his long time girlfriend Beth, who opposes the idea of a war. Beth, after their break-up, finds out that she is expecting. When JJ finally gets back home, he and Beth restart their relationship. In the meanwhile there are two more important characters that cannot go unmentioned.One is Roxanne, she is Meg's best friend and she has a bad relationship with her family, so she spends all of her time with the Pryors. The other is Pete, Jack's younger brother, who too is somewhat lost in the world and being part of the family is the only thing that gives him stability. We follow the adventures of these two families for three seasons.

What really defines this series was the period. It is set in the 60's in Philadelphia. President Kennedy's assassination is featured in the first season as well as some other historical elements, such as sending a man to the Moon and Martin Luther King's speech. One of the defining elements, however, was featuring a show called American Bandstand that was hosted by Dick Clark. The latter was a producer of the show, and therefore they re-used old footage and he himself lent his voice for various scenes. In the show we only see him on focus on old tapes, this way they didn't have to recast him, which I think gave an awesome touch to the show! It was really these small particulars that made it very enjoyable and had a sense of reality to it. I really do believe that this family existed and that they had all the troubles and adventures that we have seen on the screen. Most importantly it was down to earth - that is something I have been craving for in other series. I get that excitement gets more audience, but the real problems of a real family I think are far more interesting - in other words, you do get the sense that something like that can happen to you too.
In the show, the parents are the main characters, but overall it is JJ (Jack Junior) and Megan who get most of the stories. JJ plays football and he gets himself a scholarship, but due to a knee injury he leaves college and decides to enroll into the marines. In a couple of months he becomes well known and shows to be a good leader - for this reason they send him from camp to Vietnam. Of course the family isn't pleased, his father Jack, an ex-soldier is of course proud, but they fear for his life. JJ goes missing and ends up in a hospital two times, but the second time at least he finally goes home. That was the Christmas episode of the third season. He is already presumed dead when a phone call arrives that he managed to get to a friendly camp from the middle of nowhere. At the time his girlfriend Beth - who remained pregnant after their last encounter where they decided to break up - has moved in with the Pryors as she wished to raise her baby while her family wanted her to have an abortion. When JJ gets back home, he and Beth start again and they are finally happy. He really is his parents' pride and joy, even though sometimes he disappoints them just as much as his other siblings do.

Meg on the other hand is kind of a rebel. She and her dad almost never agree and that brings about plenty of tension at the dinner table. Jack really wants a traditional family, but this clearly doesn't work. Helen wants to go to college first and then she gets a job, while Megan wants to be on television. At the end of each episode, Jack always gives in and allows everyone to do as they please. However, Meg starts to protest against the war and he cannot stand for that. From that point on, anything she does seems to irritate him. She attends protest, proclaims her opinion openly and simply disrespects her parents. Her biggest mistake, however is falling in love with the boy next door - Chris, who gets drafted and at the end of the third season they elope together, as she fears never seeing him again. She actually is a complex character, as she is far more smarter than your average teenage girl - while she tries to be foolish for the sake of acting her age. Not to mention that the adults around her never really think of her as a grown up and that causes even more tension.
The series also puts emphasis on how the 60's evolved into the 70's - not only with make-up and wardrobe - but the people's openness, race issues and music none the less.
Patty and Will - being the youngest - don't really have that huge character arc from the first to the third season. Patty is the ultimate bookworm who lives for praise. She actually tries to evolve from her shell, but in the end always finds more comfort in her own surroundings. Will's biggest change is getting an operation to cure him from his polio, so he can finally walk without supporting braces. One thing all the characters have in common, maybe for the exception of JJ and Meg is that in the end it doesn't matter how many new things they try out - they all fill more comfortable in their own little world. And that is something that I can definitely relate to. Same goes for Henry's family. His son Sam, who is a dreamer really as he himself doesn't see color. He has a hard life because others do and that haunts him continuously, but he sees people like the Pryors who have no prejudice toward them and it makes them hopeful. His cousin Nathan on the other hand is the typical character that you want to hit in the face with a frying pan! He is just annoying and his character kept contradicting himself! The worse thing is that people like him really do exist and that irritated the hell out of me! Their father Henry, however, is a sweetheart. He was one of my favorites.

And speaking of favorites, the best character of all cannot go unmentioned: Roxanne. She is of course Meg's best friend. She is the funniest character! Not only that, she is the kind of best friend that we all want: She protects Megan, she helps her, supports her work and even if sometimes doesn't share her believes - she puts it aside and listens because that is what great friends do! And Meg returns it. That is what is great, their friendship is not one sided. Anytime Roxanne is in trouble - which is quite often - Meg always lends her a hand and treats her like a sister. Roxanne also moves in with them for a while, before moving in with her boyfriend Luke. She is the kind who doesn't fall in love very often, but when she does, she gives her heart to the fullest. On that note she and Meg are the same, as in the end Meg only really loves one person. Either way, Vanessa Lengies was my overall favorite - I actually started to watch Glee because of her :) ... they could really give her character a bigger role... Actually the overall cast of the series is magnificent! I have found that one cannot go wrong with Brittany Snow :) She is a real angel.

I mentioned before that I don't want another season to this show. The last episode - although it had a small cliffhanger feeling - still tied together nicely all of the elements. JJ dreams of being an astronaut, but he realizes that being simply part of the process is enough for him, so he gets himself a job with the researches for Apollo. Beth decides on wanting to go back to college when they can stand on their feet again, money-wise. Roxanne and Meg graduate from high school, the former decides to go to beauty school as she has a talent for hair. Meg, even though her family doesn't understand why she must leave with Chris (her father in particular thinks that he should serve instead of running like a coward), she does indeed after saying goodbye to Roxanne. I can see how these story lines could've continued, but it was still great for an ending.

Watch it? Definitely. This series will melt your heart. It is only three season, really a piece of cake! Each and every episode has a valuable lesson and since there are so many characters, you are bound to find somebody to whom you can relate. If you have grown tired of bad war movies - this one handles it with finesse. And if you are bored with chick flicks were parents for some reason disappear and teach nothing to their children - then you won't be disappointed by the sweet family bond that holds these two families together. It is a definite winner!

Until the next item on my list!
_ _ _ _ _ _ 

Jack Pryor - Tom Verica
Helen Pryor - Gail O'Grady
JJ Pryor - Will Estes
Meg Pryor - Brittany Snow
Patty Pryor - Sarah Ramos
Will Pryor - Ethan Dampf
Roxanne Bojarski - Vanessa Lengies
Beth Mason - Rachel Boston
Henry Walker - Jonathan Adams
Sam Walker - Arlen Escarpeta
Nathan - Keith Robinson

Cooking With CsorEsz: Nyári Puding Torta

- dió/mandula/mogyoró
- keksz (kihagyható)
- kocka vaj
- 2 zacskó főző puding
- fagyasztott gyümölcs
- magas torta forma

Valljuk be, senki nem szereti bekapcsolni a sütőt a nyár közepén, ezért keresünk olyan recepteket, amik a legkevesebb hő mellett is megoldhatóak. A tortánk alapja keksz dara, amit mi magunk is elkészíthetünk. Íz kedvéért én mindig diót vagy mandulát is őrölök bele mert sokkal finomabb, mint a keksz magában. Sőt! Ha gluténmentes verziót akarunk, akkor csak a dióféléket használjuk. A vajat olvasszuk fel - ha nincsen befagyva, akkor felmelegítés nélkül is könnyen összedolgozható a keksz-dió porral. Ezt az alapot egyenletesen osszuk szét egy torta forma alján.
Most pedig jön a puding. Az, hogy a puding milyen izű az teljesen mindegy: csoki, vanilia vagy puncs! (Puding is kapható gluténmentes verzióban - xylit és tejet használjuk a főzésnél!) A megfőzött pudingot öntsük rá a keksz-dió alapra és hagyjuk kihülni. Ezek után még tegyük is be a hűtőbe, hogy a vaj megkeményedjen a puding alatt és, hogy könnyen szeletelhető lehessen ha már finom hideg.
Én mindig fagyasztott gyümölcsöt eszek nyáron és a picit savanyú erdei gyümölcsök az édes pudinghoz remekül társulnak. A puding főzésén kívül, ami valóban nem több 15 percnél több lenni, egy 12 személyes tortát tudunk csinálni sütő bekapcsolása nélkül. Ez az igazán sikeres nyári édesség!

Jó étvágyat kívánok!

Cooking With CsorEsz: Bacon Tricolor Salátával

- kecske sajt
- előre szeletelt bacon 
- trappista sajt
- egy kigyó uborka
- 4 db paradicsom

A saláta rendkívül egyszerű, az uborkát és a paradicsomot felkockázzuk. A trappista sajt is a salátába megy, de azt csak tálalás előtt daraboljuk fel. Attól függően, hogy mennyire szeretjük a kecske sajtot, kisebb-nagyobb kockákat (vagy ha könnyebb, két tégla lapot) csavarjunk körbe egy bacon csíkkal. Egyszerűbb már sütés előtt fogpiszkálóval megerősíteni, hogy ne válljon szét sütés közben. A sütés idő az a bacon vastagságától és mindenkinek a személyes ízlésétől függ! Ha ropogósan szeretjük, akkor várjuk meg míg picit megbarnul a széle, ha rágósabban szeretjük, akkor előbb vegyük ki a sütőböl.
Ez egy tökéletes előétel, a saláta pedig a bacon nélkül is fogyasztható, nyáron kimondottan kellemes!

Jó étvágyat kívánok!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Cooking With CsorEsz: Farsangi Muffin

- 25 dkg liszt
- 2 púpozott teáskanál sütőpor
- 10 dkg cukor
- 20 dkg tejföl
- 8 dkg tisztított vaj
- 1 vanilírúd belseje/egy zacskó vaniliás cukor
- 1 citrom leve
- csipetnyi só
- 2 tojás

A mennyiség 12 muffinak felel meg.

A sütőt előmelegítjük. A papírformákat a muffinsütőformába tesszük - esetleg helyette vajjal ki lehet kenni. A lisztet és a sütőport elvegyítjük. A cukrot elkeverjük a tejföllel, a vajjal, a vaniliával, a citromlevél és a sóval. Egyenként belekeverjük a tojásokat, majd gyorsan hozzákeverjük a lisztes keveréket. A tésztát muffinsütőformába töltjük és a sütőben 180°-on (középen, légkeverésnél 160°-on) 20-25 percig sütjük. A sütőből kivéve 5 percig pihentetjük a formában, majd kiszedjük, és hűlni hagyjuk.

Forrás: A Legkedveltebb Muffinok, Christina Kempe (Holló és Társa)

Jó étvágyat kívánok!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Breakin' It Down With Catherine Reitman

Growing up I had many favorites, but there is one movie that I have seen so many times that I can't even count it. That was Beethoven's 2nd. I think it is one of those sequels that are far better than the prequel. Two years ago, however, while watching It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia I couldn't help but notice that Dennis' old love was played by a the same person who played a young girl, the love interest of one of the main character's in Beethoven. This was Catherine Reitman - my brother and sister discovered her show in the meanwhile and we started watching it.

If you don't know it, she reviewed two movies every week that were 'fresh to the theater' and also an old movie that she was asked to do in the comments. The show had a new episode every week, it was about 5-8 minutes long and at the end of each she paid homage to one of the three movies by getting inspiration on how to kill her sound guy Harry - he literally died every week.
I loved this show because not only was it hilarious, but it was something I shared with my brother and sister. It was always five minutes in which we laughed are asses off! Unfortunately the show seems to have ended after 100 episodes. It is unclear why, but in a video recently they explained that they plan to do something bigger, similar, but different. And that is fine, but I just can't wait to see it! I am actually scared that nothing will be of it, because they don't seem to want to give us any detail. Either way, I'll wait because this is one of those special shows that really deserve it!

The reason why I am writing about this now, is because something awesome happened! I wanted to tell you about the show earlier on, but since there were no more episodes I just wanted to wait. About a week ago a video was posted by them in which they explained what was going on. In the video they asked questions that were posted in the comments, and guess what? :D MY QUESTION WAS ASKED!!! (and I don't even remember posting it...) Harry the sound guy read out my name and I almost passed out! It is at the 4.40 minute mark.

Yes, that is not how you pronounce my name, but actually that is how I have always been called abroad so I feel that is how it should be pronounced now. In case you don't know this show, if you watch this video in particular you will sort of get my question, but I want to tell you about the background a bit. In the show there is one extra character called Tom the intern. He is just a creep and Catherine is quite disgusted by him - he is hilarious! My sister loves him, but they play on the disgust so well that I just can't tell anymore when they are serious and when they are just kidding! So I asked them which was their favorite moment with Tom. Personally the answer was very satisfying!

I am very happy about this because growing up some people keep telling me that I am really nobody and nobody cares about me. And I do believe that it is actually true - so when small things happen, like receiving a comment on one of my entries; or my Youtube videos; or receiving an honorary award for one of my photos on flickr is simply awesome! Catherine Reitman is somebody whom I consider to be a Hollywood star and knowing that among all of those hundreds and thousands of comments she has read mine, that of a little nobody from Hungary? It is the best feeling in the world.

She is now expecting a baby, so I want to wish the best of luck and all the happiness she deserves to her and to you reader, check out her videos on the channel, I promise that you won't be disappointed - click here: Breakin' It Down

Monday, July 15, 2013

What The F*ck Is This Sh*t? Glee

I meant to do this entry for quite some time now, and after hearing about Cory Monteith passing away, I decided that I don't want to put it off anymore, because I did want to express that I am truly sad about what happened. I'll admit that he wasn't my favorite from the series - he was great in it though. I was very sorry and, well you've read this on every twitter account, but shocked as well. Let me tell you right now that I don't care what was the cause of his death. Nobody should die at such a young age. He had a beautiful voice in my opinion and his character will always be remembered as it defined a generation. You will be missed, rest in peace Finn Hudson.

This won't be so much a review, but an analysis, as I have a question that I haven't gotten a real answer to in what is now four years - perhaps you readers can help me understand! I also admit that I have seen this show, did a marathon last year and I have personally nothing against it, my question is directed to a specific quality that I wish to understand in the general American audience.

I just don't get this show. No, I know what it is about, I am not that dumb - what I don't get is how did it survive for so long. Let me present to you my case: Musicals are adored. Musical movies, for some reason, less, although fans like me stand by them and thankfully one little Hungarian girl gets the chance to see musicals she will never have a chance of seeing live on London's West End or Broadway. But originality seems lost on some people.
Do you know the series Hull High? Of course you don't. According to imdb only 94 users voted on it and guess what rating it got: 8.4. I challenge you to recall something that has such a high rating (many things do, but let's face it, it will take you at least a minute to come up with one!). The series was about high school students who sang - there were four jock narrators who rapped the stories and the main characters sang original songs. It had overall 8 episodes which are impossible to find, there are on YouTube in Hungarian, but I'm pretty sure that doesn't interest you if you don't speak it. (But please check out my favorite song, click HERE!) Either way, the creators actually had another try, a bit more dramatic and mature, a series called Cop Rock. Obscuras Lupa actually made a review of it, click here to see! That too cancelled with 11 episodes.
You can see that originality doesn't seem to be rewarded by the harsh American audience. So I get that maybe the idea of using classics instead of original songs doesn't look like such a bad idea. SO PLEASE EXPLAIN TO ME WHY DO PEOPLE HATE MOULIN ROUGE?! I know that some people don't like Baz Lurhmann, but people either love or detest this movie - yes, detest, I used a foreign word so you know I mean business! Among the ones who can't stand this movie I have found that 3/5 say that its because they hate that they used old songs. For example the Nostalgia Critic ranted on about the fact that he loves the original songs the way they were without the movie. And that is fine by me, I am able to accept anyone's opinion. Then Rock Of Ages becomes a huge failure - although I'll admit that the musical is still beloved, it was the movie that didn't add too much to it. STILL I don't get then how does a show that doesn't use any original songs get such a huge following?
Story-wise the show is not exactly original. I mean, we have seen it three hundred times: love triangles, pregnancy scare, adults divorce and teens promise each other eternal love. It is original as far as adding the character of a too honest coach who plans to destroy the life of everyone in glee club as comic relief was a great idea - Jane Lynch is probably the only thing that makes me return to the series. But why do others care?
Think of a show like Smash. If one likes musical, they are bound to enjoy it. If you like songs in a show the way glee does it, then you are probably going to like it. They decided on going half original and half old songs - so what went wrong there?

If most people hate on musicals that have no original songs, then why does this show have such a huge following? That is my question. I get the teenagers that are defined by it, the way I was by The O.C. and my sister's generation was by Dawson's Creek. I also get that the average Joe that sits in front of television doesn't seem to appreciate creativity and originality at all (unless it comes from the mouth of a stupid reality housewife, although that is unlikely...). But again, if people don't accept it from musicals, then why do they accept it from a simple TV series? I don't want it to be cancelled, I really just don't get it :D Help me understand!

I don't write too often for this segment, unless something really troubles me or pisses me off, so understand that I really want an answer!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

My Top 20 Favorite Actresses

Thank you everyone. The reason why I am very happy about this is that the slowly raising numbers of views makes me want to write more and more. So even if you are just a friend of mine that I forced to read my entry; or perhaps you got here by accident, even if you won't come back again - you still searched for something in Google that I wrote about and you cared enough to click on the link even if it had strange words in it: And for that I thank you!

 Over three months ago I posted a list of my favorite male actors (click here to read!) and I of course wanted to tell you all about my favorite actresses as well and seeing that these are the people whose works influence my every days I wanted to make sure I talked about them on a special occasion, and the 200th entry seemed to be the best way I can show my homage and respect for their work. I hope that you will like my list!

20) Mia Wasikowska
The first time I saw her was in the latest adaptation of Jane Eyre and I was drawn in by her power. She has an immense talent and she will be around for a very long time. The only reason why she is so low on my list is because I think of her as an emerging talent rather than a star - she is wonderful none the less.

19) Blythe Danner
I have lately noticed that she is in most of my favorite movies or TV shows. She is such a fun person and she does drama and comedy equally well. I have never been disappointed by her and I actually look forward to something more if I see her in it! Try to check out some of her work (for the exception of those horrible Focker movies)!

18) Susan Sarandon
It's her voice. It's changed over the years, when you think about The Rocky Horror Picture Show and for example when she stared in Rescue Me - it is, however, compelling. You might have seen my review of Thelma & Louise and since that I knew I had to put her on my list. (click here to read!)

17) Amy Adams
I think I am one of those people who cared for her since the beginnings, her smaller roles in TV shows, then Catch Me If You Can, Junebug with Ben McKenzie and my personal favorite The Wedding Date. What I love in her actually is when she sings. I think she has a wonderful voice and I hope they will cast her in more musical-movies - and I will still follow her when after all of those nominations she finally wins an Oscar.

16) Bette Midler
What can I say? She is awesome! She is more known for her plays - she has a show in Vegas for example. And her voice is beautiful, I love to hear her sing. And the movies she did star in were all awesome. There is one in particular that I love more than anything else, but I'll talk about it later on at another number - I don't want to spoil it yet :)

15) Goldie Hawn
Every favorite movie I have from the seventies or eighties: She is in it. I love her daughter too because she reminds me of her young self. Starting from Cactus Flower, which landed her an Oscar (click here to read my review), then we have Seems Like Old Times and let's not forget Overboard. The final movie that spoke to me is something I don't want to spoil yet - but she's in it with Midler, can you guess what it is? :)

14) Keira Knightley
I did not love her in the beginning. It was her acting in the Pirates Of The Caribbean trilogy that made me fall in love. Afterwards I saw a couple of interviews where she proved to be a sweet girl with a great sense of humor. If you don't like her, check out some of her interviews with Ellen DeGeneres. Either way, she takes on some pretty deep roles, I would like to see her in something more uplifting. She is, however, one of the sweetest people I know and I always have a smile on my face when I hear that she will star in something I am curious about!

13) Giovanna Mezzogiorno
She is one of the most talented actresses in Europe - and possibly the world. She appears on the screen and I am enchanted! If I watch an Italian movie, then she is probably in it. One of her films appeared on a list of 'deserved an academy award for best foreign film' and I agree completely. She played the lover of Mussolini, a petty thief who decided to steal from the wrong person, a mother of two with a crippling marriage and a stewardess from a little Italian city who doesn't nearly have as much confidence as it seems. The only reason why she isn't higher on my list is because I discovered her later, and her movies didn't particularly stand with me, just the roles she played.

12) Elisha Cuthbert
She does drama; she does comedy and she does action as well - there is not one role that she hasn't aced in my opinion. I fell for her in 24, then it was My Sassy Girl that made me weep (click here to read my review) and I have laughed my ass off in Happy Endings. If she's in it, I'm watching it!

11) Sigourney Weaver
I saw her in two movies that I liked very much: Abduction (click here to read my review) and Paul. She didn't have big roles and I asked myself, I wonder if she minded taking on these smaller roles. It was then that I've found a quote from her on imdb: "I'd rather have a small part in a movie I love than a bigger part in one I don't care about." - I have loved her ever since!

10) Carrie Fisher
You might find this choice weird, but Carrie Fisher stared in many movies in the 90's and it isn't just her role in Star Wars that convinced me of her talent. I always liked her and she does a lot of writing and producing, just look her up on imdb once and you'll be surprised at how much she actually still does! I have a favorite Meryl Streep movie that she wrote about her own life after dealing with addictions and rehab. She had a tough life and she learned from it and she is better for it - many people just keep relapsing and overdosing and she is not one of those people: Nobody should say anything bad about her past in my opinion!

9) Christina Ricci
I can't explain it, I just love her! I'm pretty sure that The Addams Family movies had something to do with, favorites also involve Now And Then or Mermaids. Either way, she always appears somewhere and I am always happy to see her. I wrote about Pan Am just yesterday (click here to read!), which was a series that she was a main character in and that is where I was reminded of how awesome she is and I want more of her!

8) Nancy Travis
She is another classical favorite. She starred in my favorite movie 3 Men And A Little Lady and So I Married And Axe Murderer. She only had lesser roles since, even though I think she is very talented. She occasionally guest stars in various series, which I make sure to watch because she too always plays completely different characters and I like that a lot.

7) Jennifer Ehle
Yes, it's her. Yes, she was Elizabeth Bennett in the 1995 BBC series version of Pride & Prejudice. And you know that because Colin Firth was in it. Not only that, but you are now reliving the moment when Mr. Darcy got out of the pond at his estate in Pemberly. Well, if you weren't before, you are now! Either way, she is wonderful - she won a BAFTA Award for her performance and she gets ONE LINE ROLES! WHAT THE F*CK? In what kind of world are we living where Youtube stars get financing to make horrible movies and award winning actresses get a total number of three lines in a movie? It's just sad. She is a real talent and she is truly exceptional. She starred in a wonderful medical drama last year which got cancelled because it was aired at a horrible time. She is wonderful, truly! Check out some of her work.

6) Alex Kingston
She is my favorite TV series actress: ER, Doctor Who, Upstairs Downstairs and now she got a spot as a recurring character on Arrow (click here to read my review!). She had guest appearances also in Private Practice, CSI and Law & Order: SVU. Each character is completely diverse and I don't think that I'm looking at Kingston, no, I am only seeing the characters that she embodies. She is awesome!

5) Sophie Marceau
European actresses have something wonderful about them. To make it in Europe you have to learn and learn, and perform, and perform, and you might get lucky with your first role, but you have to keep working. US has separate Hollywood and Broadway - in Europe one stands out more for their performances on stage. Sophie Marceau was at the right place at the right time when she started her carrier, but she wouldn't have made it without talent - and she's got it! If I love french culture and french language it is all thanks to her!

Met her in 24, never let her go ever since! After finding out that she is actually a comedian, I set out on finding as many stand ups from her as I can - no luck. She was then featured in the New York Stand-Up Show hosted by John Oliver. She had a couple of appearances here and there - some bigger Amy Adams movies and if there is a God she will be in the new 24!!! Either way, she has grown as an actress and I love every character she plays - she has now a podcast on check it out here: Kickin' It Mary Lynn Style!

3) Diane Keaton
I grew up on her movies. My favorite has always been The First Wives Club, where she starred with Bette Midler and Goldie Hawn. That movie completely defined the way I see the world - and from that point on I always encountered that the characters she plays are always strong women. She plays role models that one can look up to. And when I started to read up on her life and get more acquainted with her, she did become a role model for me. I love her movies, her interviews - if she's in it, I'm there!

2) Meryl Streep
I actually didn't care for her for a very long time, because growing up as a teenager, you don't watch movies because of talented actors or actresses - you watch them for fun. However, during the summer when I waited for Mamma Mia! to come out I tried to get my hands on as many Streep movies as I could possibly find and I was completely mesmerized by her talent and her ability to make a role hers. All of those Oscars were well deserved and I can't wait to see what's she's going to be in next :)

1) Stockard Channing
She has been my icon for what is now nearly 15 years. I fell in love with her in Grease, when she played Rizzo. The next time I encountered her was when she played the First Lady in The West Wing (click here to read my review!) - I saw all seven seasons with limited English knowledge just to see her. I have been trying to get my hands onto her movies ever since. In my opinion she has an unmatched talent that one can learn from simply just by watching her perform! She is my eternal favorite! (And she was in The First Wives Club - she's the friend of there is who took her own life, and I always hated that part...)

So this is my list, what is yours? Tell me about it in the comments section below! Having now made up for lost time, I will take an actual vacation - I haven't really slept since February! - but I'll be postin as often as I can. Thank you again for sticking with me.

Until the next item on my list!

What's Next On My List? (Games) Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood

Since I saw the trailer for it, I wanted to play this game. My brother surprised me at Christmas, and now that the semester was finally over, I got time to actually play it through. Let's discuss:

There is something incredibly exciting about running around in my city five hundred years before I actually moved there. It was a time machine, yet at the same time I could walk around with my eyes closed. I wanted to write about this game because I enjoyed it a lot. Actually, it will be definitely one of my favorites, for the exception of two things, that I will elaborate on in the end. If you don't know the game, in a nutshell, you are Desmond Miles, a professional assassin who with the help of a machine called animus, can travel in time in the memories of his ancestors - whom are all assassin's as well.

The story: This was the third installation of the franchise. It is actually an extra to the second one, and story-wise it stands alone. In this story, Desmond Miles spends more time in the animus and we get to play more with his ancestor Ezio Auditore Di Firenze. He has posession of a very powerful weapon called the Apple of Eden, that was constructed by Leonardo Da Vinci - unfortunately this is a stolen by the Borgia family and he is forced to go to Rome and get it back. There he participates in various mission and one by one he has to destroy Borgia army towers in order to liberate Rome. In the end he gets back the Apple and uses it against Cesare Borgia's armies. Desmond in the meanwhile hides in an italian villa while Ezio's memories drives him to the current location of the apple.
Mini-Bosses: Ezio, being an assassin, has plenty killing to do. Here he has a league of assassins who have to be used several times to have full synchronization. But if one prefers to do all the actions themselves, then that is fine too. You can do a lot of missions that aren't important for the main story - but help you earn coins and actually liberate Rome in the long run. The main bosses that you do have to defeat are generals that are stationed at various Borgia Towers (the tower is the base of the influence the Borgias have in a given area). Once the general is killed, one must find a way to the top of the tower and ignite it to eliminate influence. Each tower has a different scheme for how you can climb to the top. You are signaled every time you enter a restricted zone.
The Boss Fight: The biggest enemy Ezio has to face is fighting Cesare Borgia - the first born of the family who kind of goes crazy with the want of power in the game. He kills his father, pope Alexander VI, and even leaves his sister Lucrezia - with whom he had a sexual relationship - behind in order to full-fill his dreams. Cesare is actually drawn to the power of the Apple and says that no man will ever take him down. It is in 1503 that in a battle in Viana, France, Ezio gets after Cesare and there is finally a chance to fight him. Beating him is quite easy, but you need to look out because a team of soldiers will come at you everytime you take away four squares from Cesare's life. What I did was to save up my smoke bombs (you can only have smoke bombs if you have bought the appropriate pouch for it at the tailor); you have three bombs, but two are enough. What they do is completely stop you enemies, they start coughing around and you can easily kill them while Cesare kindly waits for you - then you can resume the fight.
What didn't work?
After defeating him Ezio hides the Apple and Desmond wakes up to get it in real time. And this is were one of the two things that bothered me happened: The ending was not satisfactory - at all! Desmond gets the Apple and he forced to kill Lucy - another assassin who helped us out throughout the whole game. You stab her, fade out and end credits. WHAT? WHAT THE F*CK JUST HAPPENED? The glory of defeating Cesare after all of those encounters is completely wasted as you don't really get an ending. For me it doesn't even count as a cliffhanger. Not to mention that the credits last and eternity and you can't skip it. Afterwards you are put back to Rome, which is cool because you can finish many things that you didn't have time for - this is for the perfectionists like me.
The other and only thing that bothered me was the Apple of Eden. Toward the end you have to use it and it is very hard to use and I didn't like it one bit. You keep buying these great weapons and learn about the combos and then you have to use this godforsaken weapon - and it took me about 20 minutes to realize what it actually does! The game keeps helping you and giving you helpful hints - but when you have to handle the most dangerous weapon known to man: Good luck on your own!

What worked? Everything else. This world is beautiful, I loved the music, the missions, the whole idea I think is wonderful. I haven't played with other Assassin's Creed games, but this one is definitely a favorite. We have such voice talents as Roger Craig Smith (Ezio), Kristen Bell (Lucy) and not to mention Nolan North (Desmond, also voice of Conner Kent in Young Justice!). I know that I will play it until I get 100% on every mission - I'm just angry that I didn't like the ending.

Until the next item on my list!

OLD vs. NEW: Cactus Flower and Just Go With It

I don't see these two movies together very often, so I don't want to sound cocky or anything, but I'm not sure if a lot of people noticed that these have actually the exact same story. Actually, the first movie is also a play on Broadway, so perhaps that was a bigger influence. Main differences are that they both adhere to the time period in which they were made in, also the newest has a different premise. But let as compare them more in detail now:

In the first, our main character is Julian. He is a dentist who is afraid of commitment, so he tells his girlfriend that he is already married. The latter is a young girl named Toni, who decides to take her own life (in a very comedic way) if she cannot have Julian.
He, afraid of losing her, tells her more lies and swears to get divorced and marry her. Toni says that she can't just steal him and she wants to meet the wife. Julian asks his assistant Stephanie to step in and help out - but things just get out of hand. Stephanie is asked to go out with men, so Toni sees that her heart isn't broken over this divorce. Her actions only make Julian actually jealous, but in the meanwhile he realizes that he is too old for Toni. After deciding that he won't lie to her anymore - he tells her that Stephanie doesn't want a divorce anymore. Toni already knew the truth by then and the two break up. Julian recognizes his affection for Stephanie and the get together.

In the remake, our main character is Danny, a plastic surgeon in LA who uses a wedding ban to get one night stands. On a party, however, he meets a young girl named Palmer without the ring, but the latter discovers it in his pocket and asks him to explain. A disastrous marriage headed for divorce is the best excuse he comes up with.
The young girl, again, wishes to meet the wife. He asks the help of his assistant and friend Katherine - a single mother of two who already experienced the pain of a divorce. Danny buys dresses and make up for Katherine, to make her act the part of a horrible housewife, when she is called up by one of her kids and they have to tell Palmer that they have kids as well. The two kids manage to blackmail Danny into taking them on a trip to Hawaii - saying that he always promised and he is a horrible dad. Of course, just to show to Palmer that he isn't all that bad, he takes everyone onto a vacation. There, however, Katherine meets up with her arch nemesis and asks Danny to help her out too - showing off his fancy plastic surgeon husband. The two get so caught up in the play, that they get really close. Danny breaks it off with Palmer and gets together with Katherine.

Let us get this out of the way. I do not like fart and poop jokes, or barf jokes, or any awkward sexual jokes for that matter. For this simple reason many Adam Sandler movies just simply fall flat with me. I have the same problem with Ben Stiller: Both of them are clearly great actors; they have talent and creativity. But for some reason sometimes they agree to do these horrible movies that make absolutely no sense - and that are not even funny! For an Adam Sandler movie to be good I really need three things: good story, just one or none disgusting joke and definitely limited Rob Schneider action. This movie got all three right so I have no reason to hate it and that is all I wanted to say for the ones who don't watch it simply because Sandler is in it.

So, let us compare. The original is so close to my heart that I cannot say anything bad about it. And for that reason I judge any remake very harshly! Take also in consideration that I didn't think of this as a remake, more like a stand alone movie. But if I do compare, I would have to say that  I was not disappointed. I think that the changes that were made were indeed necessary if we want to change the time period. The plastic surgeon does make a lot of money, also I liked that the assistant wasn't a frigid antisocial being, but she was simply friend zoned and for that reason not considered compatible with our main character. Even if actually Stephanie's character traits gave way to plenty more comedic elements.
But it is not a problem, because Katherine wasn't meant to be the comic relief character. She is actually a very conscious mature mother figure - who has a problem with teaching her kids about lying and deceiving at such and early age. Her kids on the other hand are hilarious, and that is something that in the original play couldn't really be solved - working with kids is still hard. However, they are present in the original, because when Stephanie is spending her weekend with her nephews, Toni sees them by accident and only blames her more for trying to steal their father. In the end the ending is the same: Both heroes face is realizing that they are a lot older than the person they wished to be with and they should grow up and act their age.
There was one slight difference, which became evident script and casting-wise. In the new version the young girl, Palmer, doesn't nearly have as an important rule as in the original. I'm not saying they miscast her, no-no, she is fine, but she was given a lesser role. Adding the arch-nemesis storyline on Katherine's side and having her be a mother gives us an insight onto her life. While, in the first we only have as much as one can have during a play: Stories and acting. I think it was a great idea, but in the end this made us care less for the break up. In the original there is a young guy standing by to take Julian's place, so we don't feel bad about the break-up. Let us not forget that Goldie Hawn won an Oscar for this role and in comparison the new movie doesn't care so much for this character.

One is better than the other. You need to see both, trust me. The first is a classic - unlike most movies at that time, it isn't slow or anything like that. The new version on the other hand tries to give it a new spin and it works very well. The Hawaiian theme also makes it a great summer movie!

Until the next item on my list!
_ _ _ _ _ 

Julian - Walter Matthau
Stephanie - Ingrid Bergman
Toni - Goldie Hawn

Danny - Adam Sandler
Katherine - Jennifer Aniston
Palmer - Brooklyn Decker

Saturday, July 13, 2013

What's Next On My List? Un Monstre à Paris

As far as cartoons go, Disney and Dreamworks aren't the only ones who can make it work - actually, some European film companies make awesome cartoons! We have a way of caring more about quality, over quantity. Last summer I've watched with my sister a french cartoon that I have now realized that still many-many people don't know about, so I hoped to tell you about it now.

We are in Paris at the time of the flood. Half of the city is under water - precisely under the Seine. Raoul is a delivery boy who, with his friend Emile joke around in a scientist's lab after delivering a package. They accindently pour a magnifying liquid on a poor flea that was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The flea becomes huge and he is mistaken for a beast. But one girl, Lucille, a singer at a bar sees something magical in him: He has a great singing voice. She disguises him, and during one of her songs he decides to participate. They get great reviews, but the mayor, who had his eye on Lucille for a while, doesn't take kindly to this new stranger. Lucille asks for the help of Raoul - they are old friends from school - to trick the mayor into believing he had caught the monster, so their flea friend can live in disguise without being suspected. A great battle takes place at the top of the Eiffel tower, where the mayor discovers their plot and kills the flea. It is only in the end that we find out that actually the magnifying liquid had simply worn off and he has returned to his original size. They ask help from the scientist to make him big again so he can sing with Lucille once more.

This cartoon is just harmless fun. There are two love stories, great songs an simply loveable characters. The mayor is of course the bad guy, but he gets his deserved punishment in the end. The movie's title and poster makes a great job in disguising that the movie actually has no monster - or if it does, that is actually the mayor, not so much our little friend the flea. One more feature that caught my attention was the detail work on the animation, the colors, and simply the city of Paris. I truly felt like I was present during the flood in 1910.
This for me is just another example of what refined and actually crowd pleasing movies European countries can make. I grew up on many Italian cartoons, and there are many Hungarians that I am proud of - this one is definitely another favorite. Although it is popular belief, European countries don't actually only make these kind of artsy films that nobody can watch! We have plenty more up or sleeves, just lay back and watch out for us! I also like the idea that we make our own movies. Yes, I Hollywood is Hollywood and yes, nobody will ever beat the US movie industry. But how about we don't try to beat it, but simply work next to it? We already do - but I have read reviews that didn't like this movie simply on the basis of being French... now that's just stupid!

Yes, you should definitely watch this. There are great jokes in it and when you compare how many years it took for American cartoons to develop this kind of animation - then the one in this movie will make your jaws drop! Check out the main song from the movie here below!

Until the next item on my list!