Vicky, Cristina, Barcelona – A Must Watch

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A year or two ago this film was recommended to me by my beautiful cousin Tessa. Tessa is an artist and very creative, so I was sure that the movie would be eclectic and enjoyable. I watched it and loved it. 

This movie is a total chick flick, (with a few scenes that the boyfriend might enjoy…) but it’s a chick flick with an edge.

It has the aura of being more realistic than a regular “love” story, as it’s much more complicated. The story line actually is more about women finding themselves, coming of age and the decision of whether to follow through on what’s expected. Not at all about “getting the guy” (which is BORING anyway).

It is also a movie that makes you want to drop everything, travel to Spain and find a spanish man to drink wine with, look at art with, travel to abandoned castles with and at the end of the night… you know. 

This Woody Allen narrative style film is about two women who travel to Barcelona for a summer. Vicky (Rebecca Hall) is a responsible and practical girl who is engaged to an equally practical gent back in the USA. Christina (Scarlett Johansson) however is more free spirited and wild and changes her mind as quickly as she does her partners.

One evening after an art exhibit, they meet Juan Antonio, (Javier Bardem) a handsome Spaniard, who invites both women back to his home to enjoy an evening of Romance. Vicky, of course wants nothing to do with this but Christina is allured by Juan Antonio’s alternative and forward suggestions. Both girls end up getting to know Juan Antonio well but things take an interesting turn when his gorgeous and insane x-wife, Maria Elena (Penelope Cruz) comes back into the picture.

In the story, Vicky faces her conscience and expectations, where Christina is faced with decisions about her future and love life. 

It’s difficult not to spoil, so I’m just going to tell you all – WATCH THIS MOVIE. 

It is clever, funny, sensuous, erotic & in its own way inspiring for people who maybe need a little push to do things for themselves and to go after what their passionate about. 

Woody Allen has been a hit or miss kind of story teller/ movie maker for me. A miss, for example was “To Rome With Love” – poorly cast (girl from Juno? No. & guy from Social Network. No. Making out? NO!!) 

But Vicky, Christina, Barcelona was a HIT. A+ I loved it. 

Thanks for reading!

See you next week xoxo

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Pop Princess: Katy Perry

Roar

So it only seems proper that after chatting about John Mayer in my last post, we discuss his hubby in this one.

& If anyone is curious — Yes I approve of their relationship. Katy is a strong woman who can handle Johns’ success and ego — she wont ever write a “Dear John” if they were to break up she’d write… ROAR.

I love it. It is catchy as hell and an anthem for all who are reworking themselves, starting fresh or just continuing to kick ass.

The one aspect particularly that I like in this song is the rocking guitar during the course and ending that really separates this song from other pop singles. Katy and her team know how to give her an edge and this element is what I think makes this song special (Besides her awesome voice obviously)…

I look forward to her actual video coming out as the lyric video really sucks… But here it is anyway… 😉

Also here is a treat from Chewy, my editor….

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She’s enjoying a mid-day snooze…

See ya next week! xo

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John, Why Did I Ever Doubt You?

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Recently I bought John Mayer’s 2011 album “Born and Raised.” I was a huge John fan during his years of “Room For Squares,” “Heavier Things,” and “Continuum.” However, after not being disappointed with “Battle Studies” I left John for what I thought was greener pastures.

Why, why did I do this to myself?

I JUST bought “Born and Raised” and feel like such a dope! He’s better than ever, and I absolutely love the folk, country and earthy feel to this album. His writing never fails to impress me. He is an incredible musician. Anyone who denies this is ignorant (a bit aggressive of me maybe???) I may give “Battle Studies” another chance… But if I don’t like it I’m blaming Taylor Swifts influence during those years 😉

Here is my favourite song of the album right now!

See you next week!

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A Royal Affair (En Kongelig Affære)

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This was a random Netflix pick about 4 days ago. I don’t recommend starting this one right before bed (my mistake) as it is a whopping 2 hours and 17 minutes, but it was well worth the 3 days it took for me to watch it (I was busy….)

I didn’t expect it to be a foreign film as it is advertised as “A Royal Affair” but seconds after it started subtitles appeared in replacement of the dutch that was on the screen to set the stage. But let me tell you… The Dutch language was GLORIOUS to listen to. It rolled off the actors tongues like the smoothest, purest, dark chocolate. 

I tend to love anything that is a period piece… but that in combination with Royal people and THE ENLIGHTENMENT on the horizon. Oh, this set the stage for a very potentially sexy plot!

A Royal Affair is set in 18th-century Denmark. The whole story revolves around Caroline Mathilde (Alicia Vikander) who has an arranged marriage to the (wack job) King Christian VII (Mikkel Boe Folsgaard). She leaves her beloved England with great hopes and positivity to travel to Denmark, but the King is not all he is cracked up to be and neglects his young queen. As their marriage crumbles, the King is forced to get help for his failing mental condition. Caroline, subsequently falls in love with Christians German physician, Dr. Struensee (Mads Mikkelsen) an intellectual and advocate of the enlightenment…

OH THE PASSION.

It was truly a beautiful film. Some notable features…

The Costumes: incredible. Beautifully crafted and on point for the era.

Lighting: Oh My Goodness. Brought out the beauty of the costumes and the exquisiteness of Alicia Vikander (who holy moly was gorgeous, in an understated, classic way). 

Plot: Heartbreaking. I actually think it was based on a true story… some speculation I’m sure… But VERY creative. The relationship between Dr. Struensee and Christian was actually the most interesting. Although I cared deeply for Caroline and Dr. Struensee… The complexity of their relationship was simply an affair… Though a tasty one, and well deserved for poor neglected Caroline!!!!!

Acting: The three main characters were fabulous. Incredibly believable. I actually have to give kudos to Mikkel Boe Folsgaard who played Christian, the King. He absolutely took hold of his role and KICKED ITS ASS! I completely believed his character and admired his skills throughout. He was such an asshole, but there was still compassion, as his character clearly had a tortured mind. He found, developed and projected his character amazingly. Best acting I’ve seen in a while.

I don’t want to underplay anyone else as Caroline and Dr. Struensee knocked it out of the ball park too. I felt so sad and hurt for Caroline in her sad life as a royal, where she seemed to be so alone. I also loved how Dr. Struensee was so controlled and quiet… the perfect character to swoop in on an unhappy wife 😉

I really loved the film and if you like 18th Century pieces, injected with passion, heartache and murder…I would definitely recommend it!

Here is the trailer:

 

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Southern Belles & Gents in Southern Ontario

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This weekend is the weekend for FESTIVALS! But the one, in my opinion that deserves a Friday afternoon shout out is The Boots and Hearts Festival (Sorry, no I will not write about Veld, ever).

A weekend that is filled with country music, parking lot parties and red high heels (ok maybe more like red flip flops), sounds like an awesome time to me. Unlike the other half of festival goers who will be listening to brassy, hard beats and techno (veld?) the air will be filled with the soft, melodic, rocking tunes of Miranda Lambert, Jason Aldean, The Band Perry, Dierks Bently and Canadian Dean Brody.

love country music. I think it boasts some of the best musicians in the music industry. It has in the past and it continues to do so. A leader in the business right now in terms of real talent and appeal is Keith Urban.

Keith Urban is just insane (in a good way). If anyone has heard him sing live you know what I mean, as his voice is truly beautiful and perfectly tuned. His guitar is also incredible as there are few who play so casually and skillfully. Glen Campbell, a great who reined in the 60’s and 70’s, was a huge influence to Keiths’ dream for a music career.

If you don’t know Glen, your parents probably do… and if they don’t… they’re missing out and should pick up a CD (and so should you). Jimmy Webb was the genius that wrote many of Glens’ songs, including  “Wichita Lineman.” This is one of the many songs that Keith Urban loves to cover.

Glens’ Version

Keiths’ Version (skip to 1:10)

One of my favourite artists right now is Eric Church (much to my boyfriends dismay). After falling in love with his single “Springsteen” last summer off of his album “Chief,” curiosity took me over. His rough, deep voice is captivating… and every lyric is special.

Springsteen surely got me addicted, as the words in this song are romantic and vivid. I can pretty much feel what he’s singing, I’m almost convinced I was his summer romance whom he describes.

I was singing to you, you were singing to me

I was so alive, never been more free

Fired up my daddy’s lighter and we sang oh

Stayed there ’til they forced us out

We took the long way to your house

And I can still hear the sound

Of you saying, “Don’t go”

….“I can still hear the sound of you saying don’t go”

I… am… melting….

There is nothing more endearing and exciting as young love…*sigh*.

Another Church song that gets me going is “Homeboy.” This song sings the praises of the simple life, while also yearning for his brother/friend to get out of his tough and dangerous life and return home.

Something that makes Eric Church so special is his music is so well produced. Nothing is over done and everything is perfectly thought out. Overproduced music is a problem for a lot of artists these days, as people don’t know when to stop. Didn’t they ever hear of “less is more.”

Now as much of a Fangirl as I am of Taylor Swift (I loved Sparks Fly, LOVED) her newest Album Red lacked the same kind of mystery. The allure was lost on me as soon as the dubstep entered I knew you were trouble (however… her concert was great haha). But back to the point at hand. Church’s production is beautiful, its also different from classic country, I find it very “rock” like.

I dare you to listen to him, even if country “isn’t your thing” he has a song for everyone… Even devout Christians! I will leave you all with “Loves Me like Jesus Does” a sweet song about unconditional love. Eric Church flaunts how to capture an audience outside his niche, as I am certainly not deep-south religious… but this song is just too cute to not love!

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Dala: What Successful Music Sounds Like

 

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This post was initially inspired by the movie “I Could Never Be your Woman” which stars Michelle Pfeiffer and Paul Rudd. While the movie was mediocre (but plainly enjoyabl-ish), there were some scenes that spoke to me…

This one in particular where Michelle’s “daughter” sings along to Britney’s iconic “Oops I Did it Again” and changes the lyrics to…

Oops, I got a career

By shaking my rear

And making guys leer

Ohh baby baby..

Oops, I’m gonna sing more

And dance like a whore

I’m… just… not… talented.

*Preach Sister Preach*

I don’t know about everyone else, but when I turn on the radio I continue to scan for about 5 minutes until I settle on the least offensive song of the moment. The best music on the radio right now, I generally find on Kix 96/ 94.7/106. Country music seems to be the ONLY music I enjoy… (OK I will rock out to Miley Cyrus and a few Rihanna songs without shame, every now and then).

But I find myself disillusioned! Why is there SO much crap on the radio – yet so much good music elsewhere – music that doesn’t get NEARLY enough recognition.

If I have to listen to Jason Derülo ever again. I think I will go on a hunger strike.

Segue into something meaningful…

I’ve been listening to the band Dala for what feels like 100 years… but has been really about 8. These girls have something that so many artists lack these days: talent, grace and honesty. These women produce art. Not only are they incredibly talented with beautiful voices – these are the types of people you want your kids to have as role models. They are both beautiful yet don’t need to flaunt their sexuality in excessive ways to get attention – one lyric and your hooked.

Their most recent album called, Best Day was breathtaking.

They truly wrote poetry and attached it to gorgeous musical accompaniments. Pair this with overwhelming, yet understated production and you get an A+ from me.

If you’re looking for candid and sincere lyrics look no further.

One of my favourite songs off the CD is “Good As Gold” a haunting journey about being loved, admired and the fear of being alone.

The course sings:

“Tell me i’m good as gold, tell me I’m beautiful, tell me you wont get old and leave me alone…”

My favourite verse is when Sheila sings “St. Lawrence Marketplace, I saw my whole life written on an old friends face. You can move away but you can’t erase.”

Not only do I love the Canadian (more specifically Torontonian) references scattered throughout all their CD’s, the recurring theme of past and present in this song is incredible and impacting. Paired with Amanda’s spotless harmonies – there is not much one can say to deny this songs perfection.

Oh, and the Video is beautiful too.

These gals are some of the best musicians on the market, take some time to listen more…

http://www.dalagirls.com/

Thats all for today friends!

See you next week ❤

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The Lone Ranger & Appropriation

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I know that recently I talked about my impatience with repetitive action films… I’ll use this moment to say that Westerns are exempt from this formula.

Recently, on a whim, I went to see The Lone Ranger with my dad. We knew going into it that it didn’t get incredible reviews and that Johnny Depp had also been called insensitive (even *racist*)  and wrong for the role as Tonto (for obvious reasons that I likely don’t have to infer).

NOW — on the subject of the quality of the movie itself… It was actually quite fun. The story line is a classic and for people like my father who had listened to The Lone Ranger programming on the radio years ago, very nostalgic. The visuals were incredible as the landscape was often the centre of attention. I’m also a sucker for any visuals where a horse is included – thus it wasn’t hard for me to enjoy the scenery.

Now on the subject of appropriation in fiction. What i’m talking about specifically, is when authors or actors, write or portray characters not of their own race/ethnicity. This is obviously present in The Lone Ranger, as most of the flak received for the film was for Depps’ portrayal as a Native American.

Despite the attempt for Depps’ publicists to claim that he has native heritage, it did little to appease many viewers.

What I believe the real cause for upset here is the actual character of Tonto — its a continuous interpretation that gets many people, native and not — upset. The “pigeon” talk that accompanies the character — which positions him as less intelligent and inferior to “the white man.” The constant portrayal of Native communities as solely a “plains” tribe also tends to rob Native identity as it depicts tribes as generalized into one culture.

I agree that all these identity characteristics maintain negative stereotypes.  I also agree that this was definitely a chance for Disney to “make a star” out of a talented Native actor. However, I do not think that Depp should get a huge amount of flak for his portrayal as the character – as despite the would have, should have, could haves — he was chosen and did his best (and I thought a pretty great job — yes ok maybe a little “jack sparrow-ish” BUT you know…)

There was a definite attempt by Depp and the directors to try and make Tonto the superior to John Reid (Aka the Lone Ranger). He had about 100 times more common sense than John, and understood that justice isn’t always served through the standard “law system.” So, despite the lack of Native roots – the portrayal was interesting. The depiction was not necessarily right… but it made viewers think and talk about issues in general.

This is what I think is important. 

There are often times when “Political Correctness,” things such as proper diction or avoiding using offensive words or ideas (anything, which creates a hostile environment) can be used to excess. I agree with author Neil Bisoondith when he suggests that being unable to talk about issues in our society drives bigoted ideas and people underground where they will be most comfortable.

Although we don’t live in a perfect society and there is still a long way to go for social issues — the point is we talk about why things make us uncomfortable – not just deem something: “that’s racist” and then bury it underground. I think divulging in these issues is important.

In this case, I also believe that seeing the movie before making assumptions is very important. There was a definite attempt to make Tonto “the better man” as he was positioned as the moral compass. This attempt was just tangled in old stereotypes.

There is a part of me as well, that wants to encourage creativity and not limit the type of characters that actors can play, or the type of stories writers can write. I do understand the dangerous ground that writers and actors tread when attempting this type of work — but I do think when it comes to art – limits shouldn’t be set. Its hard to say when enough is enough however… I unfortunately don’t have the answer.

Overall, the movie was quite moving. I refused to accept (without research) the widely accepted notion that it was “racist” but tried to divulge in why people felt this way and what needs to change still.

A little different review this week…

See you next week! 🙂

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