Movie Reviews in a Rush: April Edition

Before I even begin this post, let me be the first to admit- I am no movie expert. I, along with several of my friends, work “in the industry” and I do tend to watch as many movies as I can get my hands on. That is where my expertise ends.

That being said- I would love to share with you my new favorite weekend activity: Solo Saturday Matinees. I head up to the Arclight theater in Hollywood or the Los Feliz 3 Cinema down my street for a discount matinee. I try to see the movies that are off the beaten path (or movies that my husband would probably have no interest in seeing). So far- It’s been a hit or two with a couple of misses mixed in. I know it’s difficult to really “judge” a movie because everyone has different tastes. What I think to be very hilarious might not make you laugh at all. So, take these reviews with a grain of salt. I WILL avoid spoilers, and hopefully give a broad overview that can help you decide whether or not to see them for yourselves.


Title: Salmon Fishing In The Yemen

Image

Synopsis: Britain’s leading fishing expert (Ewan McGregor) is flown to the Yemen to create a fresh water fly fishing stream/lake in the desert in an effort to boost the country’s moral. The Prime-Minister’s press secretary (Kristin Scott Thomas) gets involved and sees it as a great PR opportunity and hires a consultant (Emily Blunt) to oversee the project. They face obstacles, they might be in love, Emily Blunt’s boyfriend (who was sent overseas to fight in the war) might be dead or he might be alive..so on and so forth.

I don’t really have much of an opinion on this one. It was just kind of…there. I laughed maybe once or twice, and I wasn’t really passionate about the story. I thought the acting was great (Emily Blunt is one of my favorites) but other than that, there isn’t much to say. It’s light-hearted and nice. That’s pretty much it.

Final Verdict: It’s a renter

Title: Jeff Who Lives At Home

Image

Synopsis: Jeff (Jason Segel) is a late-twenties-something who lives at home in his mother’s (Susan Sarandon) basement. He is pretty lethargic and lazy, but is absolutely obsessed with signs, fate and finding his purpose in life. Coincidentally, he also smokes a lot of weed. His mom is pretty miserable and lonely at her job, etc. She sends him on a simple errand and from there, he crosses paths with his arrogant brother (Ed Helms). The stories start to intertwine as they all search for where they should be heading in life.

Pros- The acting was really great. Judy Greer is awesome as Ed Helms’ wife and speaking of Ed Helms- he plays a total jerk which was a nice change from his usual goofy characters. I thought the plot tied up nicely and overall, it was a charming movie. Again- it didn’t have a great impact on my day, but I enjoyed it. So far, this is my favorite “Solo Saturday Matinee” experience.

Final Verdict: Good for a matinee or a rental

Title: Damsels In Distress

Image

Synopsis: A group of girls (Greta Gerwig, Megalyn Echikunwoke, and Carrie MacLemore) set out to improve the general standard of living at a grungy, typical American university. They take the new girl (Analeigh Tipton) under their wing as they set out to socialize with boys and counsel a group of deeply depressed/suicidal students. They all go through various relationships with guys at the university, and of course this causes jealousy and anger.

I really, really wanted to like this movie! Strong female leads, interesting director and the like. It is possible that I am just really dense, but I didn’t enjoy this movie. I think it was supposed to be some sort of social commentary, but I’m not sure. The jokes were off-balance and even though the acting was not bad, it just didn’t flow. Portions of the movie were heavily stylized, but then something else would creep in and throw it off again. The character’s dialogue seemed too perfect for me (like a lower-grade Aaron Sorkin script) and I just didn’t really care if any of them ended up happy. Again, maybe I am absolutely missing the point here, but I just didn’t identify. I do think it’s one of those movies that you either love or hate- so I am sure there will be several of you who love everything about it. I hope that is the case..if you HAVE seen it and want to share your thoughts, I would love to hear them. I felt like I was missing something. I HOPE I was missing something.

Final Verdict: No thanks

Title: The Five-Year Engagement

Image

Synopsis: Violet (Emily Blunt- told you I am a fan) and Tom (Jason Segel- also round 2) are a newly engaged couple trying to figure out the best way to start their lives together. They both have blossoming careers, friends and family and they aren’t too sure how to fit all of those pieces into a marriage.

Pros – I thought Emily Blunt and Jason Segel were ultra-charming together. Alison Brie and Chris Pratt are also hilarious. Huge kudos to Alison Brie’s British accent as well- spot on. Overall, I really thought the casting was perfect. I had a friend with me on this outing, and we both laughed A LOT.

Cons – It was a bit too long. I think they could have cut 30 minutes out and it would have been perfect. I can’t give a romantic comedy 2+hours of my time unless it’s Notting Hill and then for some reason I am hooked from start to finish. I don’t know that I should be proud of my love for Notting Hill.

Final Verdict: Worth a watch!

There you have it! May is looking pretty promising as well.

Avengers, Dark Shadows, Moonrise Kingdom… Good month for movies!! Also, I feel a very strong pop culture breakdown post coming your way with the release of the sure-to-be Oscar bait: Miley Cyrus in LOL. If you haven’t seen this trailer… well, it’s a movie. That some studio paid millions of dollars for. I just… Yeah.

Go ahead- watch it here. Fave line from the trailer: “Every year it’s weird going back to school, but here we are just going with the flow. Trying to love, and laugh out loud. Which is nice ’cause my name is Lola, but everyone calls me Lol.”

You’re welcome.

Thanks for reading!

Shazam’d! Sunday – April 29th

Unfortunately for my sanity, the internet was out at my place last night so I couldn’t post Shazam’d! Sunday.  So now you get it on a Monday.  But I’m still calling it Shazam’d! Sunday.  Hopefully these songs will be enough to get you out of the Monday morning slump!

This week’s songs include a new single from hippie favorites Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros (this song screams SUMMER to me!), and two older songs from staples Wilco and Sigur Ros.  In all three cases, I knew who I was Shazam’ing but I didn’t know the name of the song.  I’ve also included a new song from soul artist Bobby Womack, who has been a working musician for upwards of thirty years.  And a few others that I enjoyed enough to Shazam.  Hope you enjoy too!

“That’s What’s Up” by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros (from Here, out May 29th)

“Please Forgive My Heart” by Bobby Womack (from The Bravest Man In The Universe, out June 12th)

“Michigan” by The Milk Carton Kids (from the album Prologue)

“Float” by Ko Ko (from their debut EP Float)

“California” by Delta Spirit (from their self-titled album)

“Be With You” by Vacationer (from the album Trip)

“Next To Me” by Emeli Sande (from the album Our Version of Events, out June 15th)

“Saeglopur” by Sigur Ros (from the album Takk)

“Black Moon” by Wilco (from the album The Whole Love)

-Hannah

Designing the Digs

One of the reasons Ashley and I started this blog was so that I could share my explorations and experiments in interior design with all of you.  I know so far it seems like I’m just the music half of this blog, but I promise, there’s more to me than the bands I like!  (Or is there?)  Yes, there definitely is.  Don’t listen to the creepy parenthetical voice.

I have been dabbling in interiors since signing the lease on my first I’m-all-grown-up-and-moving-back-to-LA apartment 4 years ago, and my love for all things interior has grown by leaps and bounds since then.  In my last apartment, I painted a salmon/rose/pinkish/orangeish colored stripe down the middle of the living/dining area.  It went up one wall, across the ceiling, and down the other wall.  And it turned out to be my favorite part about that apartment (I am now obsessed with painting stripes).  I took a chance and it paid off, and lemme tell ya, that stripe got more compliments than any other thing I’ve ever done in interior design land.

Someday I’ll post pictures of the stripe, but for now I’m just using it as an example of why NOT to play it safe when it comes to decorating the place that we call home.  When we take chances and branch out, taking the time to find elements that we really love, our homes become so much more than just a place to relax and watch TV and do laundry and cook and clean.  They become a gathering place, a haven, a welcome destination after being out in the world all day.

As an introvert, my home is my sanctuary, a place where no one demands anything of me and I can recharge and delight in my solitude.  And as a lover of pretty places, my home is a chance to express myself and put a little bit of me into my surroundings.  The more I’ve had people over, the more I’ve been told that I have a knack for interior design, and the more I’ve been interested in pursuing it as a hobby / side business of sorts.  Thus, when a friend asked me to help her decorate her new place, I of course jumped at the chance!  Since she’s not moving until the end of summer, I have been amusing myself by dreaming about her future living room and making inspiration boards to help her envision what I’m chattering on about.

Behold:

Right now she’s digging the second one, especially the grey geometric temp wallpaper from Sherwin Williams’ Easy Change line.

What about you?  Would you go with the bold green wallpaper (which is actually fabric – Waverly Lovely Lattice in Jungle), or do you gravitate more towards neutrals like my friend?

-Hannah

P.S. Please forgive my inspiration boards… I don’t have Photoshop, so I used Powerpoint to make them.  Not the most conducive program for putting together rooms.

P.P.S. After proofreading my post for me, Ashley decided to buy the watercolor map in the second picture.  I might have to do the same.

Spotlight on Tina Fey!

I would like to start off this post with a few personal confessions:

– I am socially awkward 95% percent of the time. I typically suffer from what I call- “Social Remorse” where I tend to replay in my mind all of the times I most likely put my foot in my mouth during a recent social situation. I do not think this is healthy, for the record.

– I am not the cool girl at the party. You know that girl that walks in and looks effortlessly gorgeous and people flock to her because her cool waves are just radiating so far out you can barely stand it? Well- OK that’s never me. I arrive too early or too late. I ask awkward questions in an effort to start a conversation and I typically end with a joke that was meant to sound sarcastic but just comes off awkward/mean. I then get nervous, talk MORE and make an even more painful exit. It just happens.

– I also am a little bit of an 80-year-old woman at heart. I plan the heck out of things (to a fault) and I don’t always love staying up late. I like to clean for fun on a Saturday evening. I don’t understand why people go out to clubs. I just can’t ever get on that party train. In fact, the whole system of clubs seems to set women back at least 50 years. Every time I drive through Hollywood on a Saturday night, and I see those girls standing in line, shivering in their tiny dresses vying for the attention of some disgusto club promoter- I just want to pull over and offer them a ride home. I’m sorry I just don’t see the appeal.

– I LOVE cheese and bread. I have already shared this truth within this blog, but I feel like it needed to be stated once again.

– I collect cardigans. Specifically gray ones. This is no lie, I currently have 5 gray cardigans in my possession. Sometimes, I branch out with black, olive green or navy. I know they aren’t the most fashionable of accessories, but I love cardigans and I wear one whenever possible. I also love sneakers. So my style is basically androgynous girl next door. ADORABLE, I KNOW. Maybe I could hand out said cardigans to those girls waiting in line at clubs on a Saturday night!

Where is this going? Well… It is heading straight to the reasons why I LOVE Liz Lemon. This character is my dream friend and I can’t get enough of “30 Rock”. The show is on Instant Netflix, so you have no excuses! Unless of course you don’t have Netflix, in which case, I apologize. Start from the beginning of the series- it will grow on you, trust me!

Before I say anything else- let me address the obvious. Yes, it is a bit cliché for me (a twenty-five-year-old female) to dedicate this post to Tine Fey’s work. I know it has been done 1,000 times before, but I don’t really care. I wanted to write about her because I think she is hilarious and smart- so here we are! I hope you enjoy 🙂

With that being said, here are some of the most amazing moments in “30 Rock” history. If these don’t make you laugh, then you are a robot.

**I couldn’t get Hulu to embed for some reason. If you have any tips on how to do that on a WordPress site, the advice would be GREATLY appreciated!

Thank you, Hulu for putting these fantastic Liz Lemon moments together:

Hulu- Liz Lemon Montage

Her love for food is also something to be admired:

This particular scene makes me laugh. every. single. time.

My ALL TIME favorite episode of 30 Rock is Season 2, Episode 14- “Sandwich Day”. There are too many amazing moments to name, but here’s a small sample:

Sandwich Day Clip

I know I am about a year late on this one, but I just finished Tina Fey’s book, “Bossypants”. I have never laughed out loud so many times while reading a book. It’s just everything I would want to say about life if I was smarter and funnier and wiser.

Here are some of my favorite quotes:

“This is what I tell young women who ask me for career advice. People are going to try to trick you. To make you feel that you are in competition with one another. “You’re up for a promotion. If they go for a woman, it’ll be between you and Barbara.” Don’t be fooled. You’re not in competition with other women. You’re in competition with everyone.” 

“There is no one of-woman-born who does not like Red Lobster cheddar biscuits. Anyone who claims otherwise is a liar and a Socialist.” 

“I was a little excited but mostly blorft. “Blorft” is an adjective I just made up that means ‘Completely overwhelmed but proceeding as if everything is fine and reacting to the stress with the torpor of a possum.’ I have been blorft every day for the past seven years.” 

“Don’t waste your energy trying to change opinions. Do your thing, and don’t care if they like it.” 

“Don’t ever feel inadequate when you look at magazines. Just remember that every person you see on a cover has a bra and underwear hanging out a gaping hole in the back. Everyone. Heidi Klum, the Olsen Twins, David Beckham, everybody.”


The best thing about Tina Fey -and Amy Poehler, and Kristen Wiig and many others for that matter- is that they are paving the way for so many female entertainers. They are writing, creating, acting and more which is a huge deal and proves that women can be smart and funny. It’s not the easiest thing to be a female working in the entertainment industry, but it seems that the tide is slowly changing. Kudos to these ladies for starting a trend that I hope continues to grow in the years to come.

Now, go watch some “30 Rock” and enjoy your Wednesday! Hooray!

-ashley

Tunes On The Tube: April 15-21

Last week saw one of my absolute favorite new artists, Foxes, get a very prominent placement in the last few minutes of GOSSIP GIRL.  I mentioned her a few weeks ago and told you all to go listen to the 2 songs she had released, then posted about her AGAIN when she released a 3rd song about a week ago.  Now GG is using her music.

Seriously, yo, if you haven’t already checked this girl out, NOW IS THE TIME.  My friends will tell you I’m an excitable person and I tend to talk things up, but I don’t get THIS excited and bring an artist up this many times unless I really believe they are something special.  Foxes is that artist.  Do yourself a favor and discover her now, while you can still see her in intimate, cozy little venues, before the whole world is let in on the secret and suddenly you have to fight to get tickets for her sold out arena shows.

Now on with the music:

Monday, April 16th

GOSSIP GIRL: “Youth” by Foxes

HART OF DIXIE: “A Soft Place To Land” by Kathleen Edwards (from the album Voyageur)

Tuesday, April 17th

RINGER: “Make It Happen” by Gemma Ray (from the album Island Fire)

RINGER: “Stay With Me” by New Found Land (from the album The Bell)

Wednesday, April 18th

REVENGE: “One Soul Less On Your Fiery List” by Okkervil River (from the EP Golden Opportunities 2)

Thursday, April 19th

GREY’S ANATOMY: “Shame On You” by Mariah McManus (from the album Nice To Meet You)

Shazam’d! Sunday – April 22nd

The songs that caught my ear this week were…. drum roll please….

“A Country’s King Of Dreams” by Caveman (from the album CoCo Beware)

“Trounce” by Jonathan Boulet (from his album We Keep The Beat, Found The Sound, See The Need, Start The Heart, out June 2012)

“How Do I Know” by Here We Go Magic (from their LP A Different Ship, out May 8th)

“Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings” by Father John Misty (from the album Fear Fun, out May 1st)

“Betty” by Johnny Dowd (from the album No Regrets)

“They Hate Me” by Laurel Collective

“Chevy Thunder” by Spector

“Occapella” by Jon Cleary (from the album Occapella)

Enjoy!

-Hannah

LA Food Love + Hometown Favorites!

To shake things up- Hannah and I decided not to post our own recipes this weekend, but to highlight some of our favorite spots in LA. We also wanted to share some of our favorite spots from “back home” (aka Texas and Oregon).

Below are our top choices for the week and our thoughts on what to order should you visit one of these fine establishments.

Restaurant- Heirloom LA catering Los Angeles, CA

Recommended by: Ashley

I crossed paths with this company at work and I HIGHLY recommend them. Their staff is super friendly and the food I have been lucky enough to sample has been..well, amazing. They catered my boss’ Easter party and as fate would have it, the chef left his sweatshirt at the house. In exchange for me returning his hoodie, I received these fine creations:

Lasagna cupcakes!! I mean- come ON NOW.

Each little lasagna was filled with different gourmet combos.

Here is what we have:

(Top row) Beef Ribs with Cipolinni Onion, Confit Baby Artichoke, Roasted Pork

(Bottom row) Sweet Corn, Beef Ribs, and Veal Osso Buco

I grilled up some broccoli with these bad boys and voilà! My favorites were the sweet corn and the beef ribs.

I really want to get a group of friends together, and have these guys come out for an amazing dinner party- any LA pals want in? Anyone??

Restaurant: Chanos Los Angeles, CA

Recommended by: Hannah

Some of the best Mexican food in LA, right across the street from the USC campus.

Try: THE NACHOS.  I cannot stress this enough.  Their nachos are out of this world good.

Restaurant: Galanga Los Angeles, CA

Recommended by: Hannah

(Photo swiped from Yelp)

My favorite Thai restaurant in LA, and one of my favorite restaurants period.  Been coming here since 2006, and it has yet to disappoint.  I’m such a regular that the owners know me, and everyone I take with me becomes a regular too.  It’s that good.  Oh and don’t try to find it online, cause it doesn’t have a website.  Galanga’s so legit it doesn’t need one.

Try: Cashew Nut Chicken, Spicy Green Bean Chicken, Raspberry Iced Tea, and any of their curries.

Restaurant: Lupe Tortilla Houston, TX

Recommended by: Ashley

One of the things I miss the most (other than friends and family, of course) about Texas is the Tex-Mex. I love it so very much, and really nothing comes close in LA. I know California has some amazing Mexican food, but it’s just not the same! I want my chips and queso and fajitas in a giant flour tortilla served on a sizzling platter. SO SUE ME.

This place always comes to mind when my cravings strike.

Try: The fajitas and the queso!! Look at all that meat! I want/need this for lunch now. Maybe this post was a horrible idea…

Restaurant: The Glenwood Eugene, OR

Recommended by: Hannah

(Another photo swiped from Yelp)

My favorite restaurant in Eugene, hands down.  Has the BEST brunch I’ve found anywhere in the world (just slightly better than Capers in Dunedin, New Zealand).

Try: Durango Scramble w/ Home Fries, or their famous Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup.

And there you have it! Our local LA favorites and our most missed eateries from home.

Now I will attempt to pull myself out of this queso-less depression and enjoy the rest of my weekend! Happy Saturday!!

Tunes on the Tube: April 8-14

Hello loyal readers!  The CW was back with a bang last week, providing some really great tracks in both HART OF DIXIE and RINGER.  And the little comedy that could, SUBURGATORY, snuck one in there with a well-placed Brandi Carlile song.  I have to say, it may not get as much hype as COMMUNITY or as many awards as MODERN FAMILY, but SUBURGATORY is really funny and sweet and quirky and has become one of my Hulu must-watch shows.

Monday, April 9th

HART OF DIXIE: “Down To The River” by The Cadillac Black (from their self-titled debut album)

HART OF DIXIE: “Poison Oak” by Preacher’s Sons (from the album Looks Like A Flood, Feels Like A Drought)

Tuesday, April 10th

RINGER: “Believe Me I Believe” by Anya Marina (from the album Felony Flats)

RINGER: “Love Hurts” by Marie Moreshead

Wednesday, April 11th

SUBURGATORY: “Have You Ever” by Brandi Carlile (from the album The Story)

Thursday, April 12th

GREY’S ANATOMY: “Winter Ghosts” by JBM (from the forthcoming album Stray Ashes, out May 22nd)


GREY’S ANATOMY: “Youth” by Daughter (from The Wild Youth EP)

GREY’S ANATOMY: “All Alright” by Fun. (from the album Some Nights)

Enjoy!

-Hannah