Archive for the 'Movies/TV' Category

I braved the Harry Potter midnight mania and survived

I did it.  I’d never done it before.  But it’s Harry Potter I’m talking about.  Yes, Micah and I, plus three other friends stood in ridiculous lines to see the midnight showing of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1.  We didn’t dress up as our favorite character, or debate at length which Hogwart’s House we belong to (as opposed to many of those standing near us), we didn’t even draw with black eyeliner the signature HP forehead scar.  How lame of us!  We were the nerds for NOT doing that! 

harry_potter_and_the_deathly_hallows_movie_poster

We did come prepared though.  We dressed in many layers (it’s been COLD in Seattle), and had hot chocolates (with a little extra somethin’ somethin’) ready to go (thanks Naomi!)…and we were at the theater at 10:30pm.  (Was that too early?  Too late?) 

So…we arrive to the movie theater to find out that they have been letting people in since 7:30pm.  They weren’t making people wait out in the cold, and all those before us were sitting snug in their auditorium seats (for hours) waiting for the start of the show.

However, there were waiting lines for two auditoriums that they hadn’t opened up yet.  POOF! I left Micah at the front while I raced to secure our place in line.  Yes, a line that already traversed the length of the super long hallway, and was wrapping around to the concession stands.  That line. 

Fortunately, even as a 10:30pm late arrival (what were we thinking? 10:30pm!? Of course that’s too late!  These are hardcore HP nerds we’re up against!) our position in line was decent/ok.  Merely minutes after me, the line continued to snake around down the stairs and beyond (haha…those suckers!)  Micah and our friends eventually met up with me in line (pissing off those behind us) and we proceeded to drink our snuck-in hot chocolates and roast in our layers and layers of clothes.

Once the lines were released, it was a strategic walk/run (but don’t race because that would be ultra-nerdy) to find our auditorium and find five seats together that were NOT in the very front row.  We walked in…scan, scan, scan…spotted!  Three rows back.  We claimed our property with our abundant scarves, hats, gloves, coats, sweatshirts, etc.  YES!  We did it.  There were so many unfortunate ones though, that were split up between different theaters and sitting in the very front row.  But you take what you can get.  It’s Harry Potter people.

I won’t proceed to review the movie – other than to say I really really liked it and…hmmm…I think it would freak the crap out of little kids. 

We got home and into bed around 3:30am.  And woke up at 7:30am to get our day started.  But it’s totally worth it!  For I am one of the first few…ok, first few million people to have seen the second to last Harry Potter flick. 

3D or 3 Don’t?

Up in 3D = cool.

Avatar in 3D = awesome.

SAW in 3D = W.O.M. (waste of money)  – not to be confused with ‘word of mouth’

sawBoo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yeah, yeah…it’s SAW, it’s supposed to be bad and cheesy.  I’ve only seen the first two in the series, but I decided to go with some friends to see the 3D installment.

SAW 3D was true to its gore/cheesy/bad acting formula.  Spot on there.  But the actual 3D part was completely unnecessary.  Sure, a few guts and blood flung my way – but that’s about it.   Most of the film was in 3D, but it didn’t matter because it wasn’t needed.  Just because a bunch of people standing in a room are in 3D – that doesn’t make the movie-going experience any better.  It was easy to tell the movie was never intended to be 3D, but they just threw it on at the end, knowing it was pointless – that’s the real horror of this movie! 🙂

Next time, I’m only going 3D if the movie was intended to be 3D from the start. Oh…and no more SAW movies – they really are awful.

By the way, I’m not alone in my view.  I recently read this article about movie director James Cameron (Avatar) and his comments about using 3D in movies.  I completely agree with him. 

Now, Harry Potter 3D – a do or don’t?  Hmmm.

Seattle Seahawks + The Blind Side

Why are the Seattle Seahawks in the movie, The Blind Side?  Sorry – before I get to that…here’s a little background.

Last night, I *finally* watched the very hyped about movie, The Blind Side.  (It happens to be coming out on DVD in the U.S. on March 23).

And yes, I thought it was a really REALLY good movie.  So did Micah.  But this posting is not a movie review.  However, I do recommend the movie and am quite impressed with how well the movie reflected the real story on which it was based (at least based on the online information I have read about the character’s real life).

Warning: If you don’t like/care about football – the rest of this post might not interest you.  But…it might too.  However, given the first sentence of this post – I believe I’ve given you full disclosure of what I’m writing about. 🙂

Anyways, I was shocked (in a good way) with the first few minutes of the movie.  Without getting into a bunch of football talk…let’s just say, the narrator in the movie starts out talking about football, while showing video footage of an actual NFL game.  And then BAM! Next thing you see is pictures of Matt Hasslebeck and the Seattle Seahawks! 

Matt Hasselbeck – QB for the Seahawks…for now.

Having lived in Seattle for most of our adult lives, Micah and I are Seahawks fans.  And it’s been a huge disappointment hard the past couple of years to be a fan.  Blame it on injuries, coaching transitions, or just bad luck – the Seahawks have just sucked. 

So, I was both shocked AND confused on why they were showcasing the Seahawks in one of the biggest movies of 2009…in the first five minutes.  The Seahawks…really?  Matt Hasselbeck…really?  Wouldn’t you want The Colts? The Steelers?  Tom Brady even?

This really was a burning question for me throughout the movie.  Immediately after the movie was over, I searched online for answers.  Hmm…not much out there.  Could I really be the only one who is curious?  Or perhaps the only one who doesn’t understand the “obvious” connection? 

I went to my next best source (Micah) and he had his speculation…and I believe it to be very plausible.  So – here’s MY (as in Lisa, as in NO football expert) best attempt at explaining:

Why are the Seattle Seahawks in the movie The Blind Side?

  1. The Blind Side is, in football terms, referencing the side (usually the left) in which the quarterback can’t see when he is looking to throw the ball. 
  2. The blind side is a bad thing for the QB, but a great thing for the other team looking to squeeze their way in and sack the QB.
  3. The Left Tackle position is responsible to cover the blind side of the QB, thus protecting him from being sacked by the opponent.  (Yes, yes…the right tackle does this too).
  4. The Left Tackle position for most NFL teams is the second highest paid position, to that of the QB.  It is a HIGHLY regarded position and if you are good at it…you’ll get paid big time.  Teams are always on the lookout for the next best Left Tackle.
  5. Get on with it…the Seahawks??  So…in 2005 the Seahawks were awesome.  They were breaking records, winning games, and…went to the Superbowl (and unfortunately lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers).
  6. Walter Jones was the Seahawks’ Left Tackle at the time.  He was arguably the “best Left Tackle in the NFL.”  Maybe even the best player at the time. 
  7. The year 2005 was also the year that the character in the movie, Michael Oher, started playing college football (and pretty much where the movie ends).  And as many of you know, he was massively successful in college, and as such, he was drafted as the 23rd pick in the 2009 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Ravens.  His position?  Yep…Left Tackle (yes, and also Right Tackle too).

Does it all make sense now?  :-)  To sum it up:

  • The Left Tackle covers the QB’s blind side.
  • The movie talks about the importance of the Left Tackle position.
  • The Seahawks had the best Left Tackle in the NFL when Michael Oher entered college (2005).

So finally, that is why I think the Seattle Seahawks were in The Blind Side.

mattandwalt

Of course, Micah can sum it up by simply saying: “Walter Jones was the best player at the time.”  Done and done.

Thanks for staying with me to the end. It was probably a bit confusing to read – as honestly, it was a little confusing to write.  🙂

Lazy days = awesome

I haven’t had a whole lot to blog about lately.  Since I finished teaching my week of English Winter Camp, I haven’t had much on my plate.  Each day, I walk to my school and sign the attendance sheet…and stay in the freezing office for a couple hours.  Lately, I’ve just been working from home (and only staying 30-60 min at school because it’s too cold to work there). 

I have very little actual work to do (there’s no school!), so I’ve been spending a lot of my time just fussing around and being lazy.  I’m loving it!  Here’s what I’ve been up to:

  • Catching up on tons of movies.  Last week, Micah and I went to the actual theater and watched Sherlock Holmes and Avatar.  We thoroughly enjoyed both.
    • (In case you are wondering, English movies are shown in English as you would see them in the States.  They merely add Korean subtitles to the bottom.  The problem is when you want to see a Korean/foreign film…out of luck there).
      • Some recent movies we watched that I think are really great: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, The Proposal, 500 Days of Summer, Food Inc., Inglorious Basterds, District 9.
  • Playing lots of (sometimes frustrating) Sudoku on my Nintendo DS’.

  • Reading.  For the first time, I just read Of Mice and Men and To Kill a Mockingbird.  Both really good and understandably classics.
  • Travel planning.  We leave for Thailand on Jan. 21st!  Then come back for two weeks and leave for Australia!
  • Working out.  Since it’s the wintertime, and it’s so cold, you basically just want to hole up inside and eat (think a hibernating bear).  But with vacations coming up, I’ve been working out 4-5 times a week.  (I’m creating a calorie deficit that I can use for all the great food I’m going to eat soon!)

Have you heard of JustinTV?

Background: Korean cable does happen to show a number of American TV shows and movies (e.g. Grey’s Anatomy, Gossip Girl, CSI, Spiderman, Lord of the Rings, etc.) but, it’s really hard to figure out when they are showing. 

Plus…many streaming TV/movie sites such as Hulu.com, Netflix.com, or even just ABC.com or NBC.com restrict access if your IP address is coming from a foreign country (i.e. me in Korea).  Even some live streaming radio stations restrict me.  Boo 😦

Problem: If I want to watch some American TV shows, I’m restricted to what may be showing at the time…and sometimes those options are really limited or just uninteresting. 

Yes, I know I can buy shows off iTunes…but I’m looking for a free option for when you just want to “channel surf.”

Solution: I recently learned about a pretty cool site: www.justin.tv  This site is NOT restricted and has hundreds of channels that are streaming live. 

Huh? When you visit the site, you can search for a specific show or topic you want to watch (e.g. The Office).  You may not find what you are looking for, but you can also just browse the available channels. 

The shows are streaming live – when  you click on ‘The Office’ – you start watching it from wherever in the episode it currently is airing.  Just like if you were channel surfing on regular TV and started watching a show in the middle.

Why is this cool? Even though it may not have all the shows I want to watch, it does have enough to keep me satisfied.  There are channels that just show horror movies, food shows :-), The Office, Star Trek, 80’s movies, etc..  It’s fun to browse around and see what’s available – and there is quite a bit to choose from.

Anyways, for those in America – this might not be AS cool – but it’s definitely a good thing for me in Korea!

justintv

Here’s a screenshot of one of the Office channels I was watching.  This is the episode where Michael got gum in his hair because he saw something shiny under Stanley’s car. 🙂

Going to the movie – easier when you know Korean

If you want to see a new movie at the theater and you are in a foreign country where you don’t speak the language, I have some advice for you: choose a movie that is in a language you understand. 

Fortunately for us, there are many American movies that are played in Korea.  The Koreans just read the subtitles (and English “users” can follow along like normal).  However, Micah and I were invited to go to the movies to watch an Indian movie…where maybe 20% of it was in English.  (The rest was in Hindu.  And all Korean subtitles)

The movie is called Black. It’s actually a movie from 2005, but is only recently getting attention outside of India.  Many Indians consider this movie to be far superior to ‘Slumdog Millionaire.’  Personally, I don’t agree…but part of this may be related to the fact that I only understood 20% of what was being said.  FYI: This movie is basically the Indian version of the Hellen Keller story.

I had read a little bit about this movie on the internet before we saw it – so we had a basic idea of what was going on.  Plus, as we all know – body language comprises 90% of communication. 

Micah’s co-teacher, Saerom, tried to translate for us when she could, but talking while people are watching the movie isn’t appreciated in the U.S. nor here in Korea. 🙂

I’m not sure if this movie has hit America yet…it might be playing at some Foreign Film Festivals. 

Here’s our ticket stub.  Less than $8 for a night time showing – not bad. 

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Day 4: EPIK orientation (FIELD TRIP!)

The EPIK staff planned a wonderful field trip for all of us…and it was a nice little break from class.  Here’s a brief rundown of what we did:

  • Tour of Hanok Village – it’s in the city of Jeonju, and it has over 800 ‘hanok’ houses.  I’m TERRIBLE at remembering historical facts, dates, etc. – so just click the link if you want to read more about it.  Oh yeah – we all had to wear our super awesome baby blue EPIK polo shirts.  A sea of blue below…

fieldtrip1

    • HIGHLIGHT: Got to decorate our own Korean fans (which was desperately needed considering how HOT it was this day).  Can you guess what my fan reads?

fieldtrip2

  • LUNCH – Traditional bibimbap making – Apparently Jeonju is the birthplace of this tasty rice, veggie, and meat dish.  The people of Jeonju made an enormous vat of bibimbap and I got a chance to be a “stirrer.  You can see the pic of it before it got all stirred up. 

fieldtrip3

  • Visit to Keumsan Temple – this place was amazing!  A short walk up some beautiful trails lead you to a clearing of temples housing very old, and very significant Buddhist relics and statues.  It was peaceful and serene.  Again, not so good with remembering all the facts (plus, all of the signage was in Korean) – but nonetheless, it was an experience.

fieldtrip4

  • More food!! – Tried some interesting snacks (e.g. mini-snails) and a traditional Korean alcoholic drink, mokolli, and later went out with friends for Korean BBQ.  Interestingly, unlike restaurants we’ve been to in Seattle…this BBQ place ONLY served pork.  Still it was tasty!

fieldtrip5 

  • Ended the night watching a Korean movie they were showing, The 200 Pound Beauty.  It’s a Korean-romantic comedy from 2006.  It was cheesy and cute – and most importantly, had English subtitles. :-) 

Catch me if you can…uh, no thank you

So – saying my last week was busy, would pretty much be the understatement of the year.  Check that… the century!  Yeah, it’s been that crazy.  But to catch everyone up…here’s what’s been going on.

Without going into too much detail, (actually, without going into any detail), I’ve been helping a friend out this past week with some very serious health and personal problems.  Without question, I set my current priorities aside and have been helping my friend out with anything and everything that needs to be done.  There is family to be contacted and updated daily, there are friends to be notified, and help to be requested from others.  It’s quite the coordination of effort, and thus far, I’m the main point person.  It hasn’t been easy…but it is something that has to be done, and will continue to be done after I’m gone. 

So, in the midst of all of this (and after a good full day of rushing around and utter exhaustion), Micah and I had tickets to see the world premiere of Catch me if you can the musical.  (Think Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks movie).  Sadly, we were actually going to go a week earlier, but the first week of shows were cancelled due to one of the actor’s sisters being murdered here in Seattle.  Very tragic.

I wasn’t sure what to expect with this musical.  Any of the prior musicals we have gone too have been out for awhile and come with good reviews.  And again, as a reminder – I’m not much of a musical person.  I have liked some (e.g. Jersey Boys, The Lion King), and not liked some (uh…Phantom of the Opera – bleh!). 

This musical will fall into the not like category.  Actually, it should fall into the “Didn’t even finish” category.  Yep, Micah and I both were so bored.  The first act was BORING and SLOW.  There were lots of slow songs, unnecessary songs, and even the fast up tempo songs were really lacking.  Now, I haven’t seen any “professional” reviews about this musical yet to see if I’m just the outlier…but Micah and I hightailed it out of there at intermission, and don’t regret for one second not finishing it. 

And to think about it…the movie version wasn’t that good either!!!

Hakuna Matata

Just saw The Lion King play last night (Micah’s birthday present).  It’s currently running at The Paramount until March 15th. 

It was SOOO GOOD!!!  It’s lives up to all the praise and hype that I’ve read about and heard from others who have seen it: amazing costumes, powerful singing and dancing, fun and exciting! 

Very interesting to see how they weaved elements of the cartoon version onto the stage.  And of course, it’s fun to hear all the good songs you remember from the cartoon (“Just can’t wait to be king,” “Hakuna matata,” “Circle of Life”…etc.)

This is the 4th “musical” I have seen with Micah…and I’m not one to really like musicals.  But come on…a Disney cartoon…how can you resist? 🙂

In addition to watching the play, we had dinner at Palisades Restaurant on Elliot Bay.  On Saturdays, if you eat dinner before 5pm (6pm the other days) you can order from the “First Seating” menu.  It gives you a choice of appetizer, entree, dessert, and a beverage (tea, coffee, soft drink) for $32.  Pretty much like Seattle’s “30 for $30” promotions they run.  Micah and I both did this and had exceptionally delicious meals.  There are other participating Seattle restaurants with “First Seating” menus – I think it’s a great way to experience an expensive restaurant with half the cost.

And the winner is…

I’m pretty excited for the Oscar’s tonight – I don’t typically get all that pumped about awards shows, but I have gotten more into it for this year’s Oscars.  I think there were alot of really good movies…and movies I even happened to see…which makes following the nominees/winner/losers a bit more interesting.

There are still a ton of movies I didn’t get a chance to see yet (The Reader, Milk, Frost/Nixon), which I’m sure are all very good, but I hear are my thoughts on the ones I did see:

In no particular order:

  1. Slumdog Millionaire:  I can’t say enough about this movie. Original and excellent!  And I haven’t heard anyone who has seen it say they didn’t like it.
  2. Doubt:  A good thinking movie and Meryl Streep really does an amazing job, as does Phillip Seymour Hoffman.  (Side note: I recently watched Capote, which he won the Oscar for Best Actor a couple of years ago – he’s really good). 
  3. The Changeling:  I just watched this on DVD a couple days ago.  It is MUCH better than I thought it was going to be.  Angelina Jolie did an amazing job!  And the story is really captivating…it definitely draws you in.  I highly recommend, but it definitely deals with disturbing content.
  4. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button:  A long movie…I think nearly 3 hours.  I tell people, “if you liked Forrest Gump, then you will like this movie.”  I feel it follows a similar story-telling style and there are many life lessons to be learned via his experiences.  It was also a thought provoking movie and made for alot of good conversation about it.  However, the movie is FAR different from the actual book.  Oh, and a great thing about this movie – you get to see a younger, super hot Brad Pitt!

Other movies I saw:

  • The Dark Knight – great movie, of course we all thought Heath Ledger did an amazing job as the Joker.
  • Kung Fu Panda – good, funny kids movie…but for adults too
  • Wall-E – hmmm…I actually didn’t think it was all that good.  I understand there was a deeper message it was sending about how we treat the planet and sustainability, etc. but I thought it was boring.
  • Man on Wire – a great documentary about a man who tightroped between the World Trade Center Towers.  Very funny and fascinating.

So, I am terrible at predicting winners of these types of things.  I do, however, see high hopes for Slumdog. 

Happy movie watching!!!!!!!!


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