Movie Monday–The Hobbit

hobbitposterPeter Jackson’s latest installment in the Lord of the Rings movie franchise goes back to the beginning of J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic saga. With the story of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, we learn Frodo’s uncle, Bilbo’s history. The movie (and the story) start out with a party, but—Jackson diverged a little from the text and started as he began The Fellowship of the Ring, with Bilbo’s 111 birthday party.

Bilbo spent, so says the opening of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the morning of the party beginning the famous book that we read in Tolkien’s classic novel The Hobbit.

Okay, that’s enough to irk certain fans I know, but after that the fun begins as we jump into Bilbo’s point of view (played by Martin Freeman) and back many decades to Gandalf (played again by the great Sir Ian McKellan) arriving on his doorstep and asking if he wishes to be part of a Grand Adventure.

But— “We have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner!” says Bilbo.

Dismissed, but not deterred, Gandalf leaves a calling card, and Bilbo soon finds his home invaded by a pack of dwarves (Dwalin, Balin, Nori, Ori, Dori, Bifur, Bofur, Bombur and etc) and their king. Thorin Oakenshield (played by Richard Armitage), who inform him they wish him to join them on their quest to reclaim Lonely Mountain. Oh, yes, the reason they aren’t in possession of said-mountain? That’s just a trifle. A dragon ousted them, you see.

So you know the story, off they go. The narrative is broken up by other points of view showing something strange going on around Middle Earth. The wizard, Ratagast the Brown finds his forest dying (and a possible invasion by gigantic spiders (*shudder*) and runs to Gandalf with news of goings on at a cursed fortress; our traveling heroes run across several bands of orcs and goblins; Elrond and the Lady Galadriel say they’ve heard rumblings too. And poor Bilbo, well, he gets lost and meets this weird little fella named Gollum.

The movie goes on pretty much keeping faith with the book. Most of the movie will make you smile (or it did us) and I love that they included many of Tolkien’s songs.

The only qualm I have with it, besides that beginning prologue, is the character of Azog, who is only mentioned in the novel, and judging by what my resident Tolkien fan says, is totally unnecessary to the story. As if the group didn’t have enough trouble to get them through the movie. Well, I suppose Jackson had to do something to justify filling up six+ hours. But his part is the only part where the movie drags, in my opinion. On the whole the movie was great/adorable/fan-tastic. 🙂 While the newcomers to The Hobbit cast portrayed their roles wonderfully (I know lots of my Facebook friends seem to have crushes on the dwarves but Richard Armitage’s Thorin looks too much like my dad for me to share that crush for all that he’s incredibly cool as Thorin Oakenshield! ;)), and I love that many from the cast from LOTR returned too (Yea, Galadriel! Cate Blanchett is wonderful, as ever). So yes, it’s well worth the price of the DVD. If you haven’t seen The Hobbit: An Unexpected Adventure, do. It’s available at Amazon.

Why yes, I have watched it several times a week since we purchased it, what do you ask? 😉

Movie Monday–Crazy Heart

220px-Crazy_heart_posterCrazy Heart

(starring Jeff Bridges, Maggie Gyllenhall and Robert Duvall)

Released by Fox Searchlight

A washed-up country star “Bad” Blake (played by Jeff Bridges) meets a young reporter, Jean, to whom he grants an interview. He doesn’t tell her much at first but promises more after his gig. Later that night, they get together and spend the rest of the night talking. The next day, Bad takes her to lunch and they end up sleeping together. Bad gets a call from his manager offering him a huge opening act spot for another up and coming country star—one Bad’s not too keen about … to say the least. He drives off to Santa Fe, grumbles about everything from the sound check to the fact that he’s ordered to “sell his CDs” after the gig, and goes back to Texas—drunk.

But Bad has a little accident first and rolls his truck. Jean comes and gets him from the hospital, tends to him at home, where he bonds a little more with mother and son. That is, until Bad gets takes the boy to a bar, ends up drunk again and…

Well, the question is, is it ever too late for a second chance?

You’ll have to see it to find out. It reminded me a bit of the story of several different stars (Walk the Line, the biopic about Johnny Cash comes to mine, and the recent movie “Country Strong”). Though it’s not a genre movie as you might’ve come to expect from me, *g* I found it  interesting and the book seems so too. And Bridges’ singing isn’t half bad. So, if you’re in the mood for this kind of thing, check it out.
Here’s the trailer:

Here’s a little about it and where to get it, if you’re interested.

The novel, Crazy Heart by Thomas Cobb

Crazy Heart at Jeff

Crazy Heart Wikipedia

Crazy Heart on IMDb

The DVD is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Netflix.

The novel is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and from Alibris.

Top Romantic films for Valentine’s Day

Top romantic films for Valentine’s day

It’s that time of year again, and since I usually do a movies thing on Monday I thought I’d combine them. There are tons of lists out there, everyone’s got their own favorite, and some movie choices that made me go WTH? And some I had to leave off just because—well, I had to cut myself off somewhere. When it came down to it though, it turned out incredibly hard to pick just a few. So forgive me if I missed one of your faves.

An Affair to Remember

A playboy named Nickie (Cary Grant) meets the lovely Terry (Deborah Kerr) on a luxury cruise, they flirt, and when he invites her to meet his mother, on a stopover, the encounter has Terry falling head over heels for Nickie. At the end of the cruise they agree to meet again in six months’ time, but tragedy prevents the meeting. When he finds out why Terry never showed up… well, it’s all good. You’ll have to see the movie to find out the end. I don’t want to spoil it for you. 😉

Somewhere in Time

A young actor (Christopher Reeve) falls for the portrait of a long-dead actress, and dares to go back in time to try to win the actress’ (Jane Seymour) heart.

Cold Mountain

A young man (Jude Law) sent off to fight the Civil War finds himself wounded, decides he’s not going back to the front and walks across two states to get home to Cold Mountain, North Carolina and the gal he loves (Nicole Kidman), dodging soldiers out to drag him back, runaway slaves, and befriended by a not so pious preacher. Meanwhile, Ada loses her father and has to learn to run her huge farm with only one helping hand the tenacious Ruby (Renée Zellweger).

A Room with A View

A young woman (Helena Bonham Carter)  and her escort (Maggie Smith), Charlotte, travel around Italy where they meet the most bizarre young man (Julian Sands). In the center of Rome, despite her escort’s best efforts to keep her charge pure, they fall in love.


Steve Martin’s classic (hilarious) retelling of Cyrano de Bergerac. Martin plays C.D. Bales, the fire chief of a very inept fire crew, and owner of a very large nose. He  falls for Roxanne (Daryl Hannah)—a young astronomer when their paths continually cross. Trouble is, C.D. isn’t exactly the most handsome man on the block, and Daryl has eyes for his new recruit—Chris, a guy that wouldn’t know romance if it bit him. He turns to C.D. for a little poetic help.

27 Dresses

A reporter (James Marsden) hears of Jane (Katherine Hiegel),  a woman who’s been a bridesmaid 27 times in a row and decides to get the inside scoop. But the woman isn’t sure she wants to be a bridesmaid again, when she would stand for her sister–who’s marrying the man Katherine loves.


Carl has lost his wife of fifty years but… decides he must keep their dream of moving to Africa, just like their hero. Trouble is, his house is about to be taken away, and Carl forced into a nursing home. Afraid to lose the chance he’s finally decided to take, he devises a clever plan of travel. It has been said that the first five minutes of the movie pack more romance into it than some do in full length scripts. See it and you’ll see why.

50 First Dates

A zoologist (Adam Sandler)  falls for a young woman (Drew Barrymore), but finds out she has a brain injury that keeps her from remembering her life beyond a 24 hour period. Despite these odds, he sets out to win her heart. (Although, let me warn you there’s a scene near the beginning that makes me gag every time. Other than that, this is a great movie!)

Shakespeare in Love

The bard (Joseph Finnes) faces writer’s block and finds his greatest inspiration in a young woman (Gwyneth Paltrow) desperate to act, in a time when only men were allowed on stage. From their affair (supposedly) springs Romeo and Juliet.
Gone with the Wind
A vain socialite sees her world blown apart by the Civil War, marries and loses her heart’s desire, only to fall for the broodish rogue.

I’d also add:

Four Weddings and a Funeral
A Englishman (Hugh Grant) and his pals attend four weddings, at each of which he runs into the girl of his dreams (Andie McDowell). When she marries someone else and a friend dies, it casts a pal of dread over both their lives. Do they get their HEA? You’ll have to watch it to see.


A lonely little worker-robot who’s only mission in life is to clean up the mess humans left behind on Earth, has his whole life toppled when a new, stylish robot lass shows up in his neck of the woods.

Letters to Juliet

A young woman on vacation in Verona, Italy finds a “letter to Juliet” and tries to find and reunite the lovers about whom the letter was written.

And I had to stop myself there or we’d keep going on… So that’s my list. What are your favorites?

movie Mondays–Christmas time

humbughollywoodEveryone does a list like this every year. The problem with Christmas movies, is… they’re all the same, all so darned sickeningly sweet, aren’t they? You have to have a stomach for those kind of things, and—call me the black sheep—I don’t. Make it a little different, maybe a tad . . . dark and I’m in. So here, then is my list of . . .

Top Five Christmas movies that don’t annoy me

1.The Nightmare Before Christmas

2. Bad Santa

3. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

4. Christmas Story

5. The trailer for Rise of  the Guardians. (Because a) I just couldn’t come up with another Christmas movie that didn’t annoy me, and b) I’ve not seen the movie yet. Maybe it will annoy me when I see it).

Looks cute, doesn’t it? Runners up, A Charlie Brown Christmas, and The Grinch, the 1975 cartoon with Boris Karloff. Because, hey, Boris Karloff. 🙂

So what can you think of any others to add to this list? What are you favorite Christmas movies?

Get to know the author–my interview with Geoff Wakeling

Well, to clarify a bit, we switched sides of the table and Geoff is interviewing me this time. We’re talking about my favorite superheroes, my books and …well, just a lot of things. You can find our chat here:  Do stop by and say hello!

Meanwhile, I’ve got some Mexican Petunias to plant. I’ll take some pictures soon….I can’t wait to see if these survive. I had some a few years ago that….but wait. That’s a story for Friday, isn’t it? 😉 Anyway, I hope you all have a good day, and enjoy the interview–and the Hobbit trailer. *bounce* Can’t wait!