Sunday, May 30, 2010

Everybody's Fine (DVD)

"Everybody's Fine" stars a fabulous cast of actors:  Robert De Niro, Drew Barrymore, Kate Beckinsale, Sam Rockwell.  Following the death of his wife, Frank (Robert De Niro) finds himself lonely and plans a reunion with his four children.  One by one the children cancel out so he decides on a road trip to see them. Starting in New York and travelling across the country to Las Vegas to reconnect with his adult children.  Their lives are not as they have portrayed them but they are determined to play out the charade.  A heart attack on his journey home draws the children but one together at his bedside.  What truths will be revealed and how will he handle it?

This movie has it all, laughter and tears.  It is sure to touch your heart.  Robert De Niro does an exceptional portrayal of his character.  A good evening rental.  7/10.

(500) Days of Summer (DVD)

Last night we watched (500) Days of Summer.  Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Tom and Zooey Deschanel as Summer.  Tom is a single young man who believes in destiny. He thinks Summer is his destiny.  Summer, his boss' new assistant, works at the  same greeting card company as Tom.  They date and he falls in love.  She doesn't believe in love.  500 days later she is married.

It is described as a romantic comedy however I fail to see why.  This movie was slow, lacked ingenuity, and certainly provided few if any laughs.  It was rented on the premise of being a comedy and a previously read review touted it as a good night's viewing.  If dry comedy is where it's at, then this is certainly that.  According to the Internet Movie Database, it was rated an 8/10.  I would be generous giving it a 4/10.

Boston Pizza Review

Last night we joined the crowd at Boston Pizza.  We chose this restaurant from those within our area as it is one of our favorites for a quick meal.  We have always been pleased with the service and food, that is until last night.

Amid the tables filled to the max, we heard two "Happy Birthday" songs while we waited to be seated.  Another after we placed our order.  Only a 10 minute wait, and we were escorted to our table and quickly greeted by our waitress.  We chose Cactus Cut Potatoes as an appetiser, Crispy Chicken Pecan Salad and Chicken Quesadilla as entrees.  Our appetiser and entrees were delivered at the same time, thus making the whole idea of an appetiser a contradiction.  The salad is so wonderfully large it is virtually impossible for one person to eat alone so it was happily shared by my husband and our daughter.  I had the quesadilla. 

Sadly, my husband "endured" the salad, the wilted lettuce and less tasty chicken pieces.  Upon her return to our table, our waitress, Stephanie, asked how everything was.  She was told about the lettuce and her response was "would you like another item from the menu...the kitchen is really backed up right now" thus renegging on her offer!  Having serving in the restaurant industry in another lifetime, I was unimpressed as I quickly caught her withdrawel.

The rest of the meal was adequate, not sensational.  I think perhaps the quesadilla was ill prepared as I had an upset stomach within a couple hours of returning home.  Overall, a less than enjoyable evening was spent at BP's on 137th avenue and 42nd street, Edmonton.    It is a disservice to offer items containing ingredients that aren't fresh.  Case in point, the lettuce.  It would be better, in my opinion, to pull an item from the menu for the evening than to serve it resulting in unhappy customers.  Note to self, insist on a change in entree if it is not palatable!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


"I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul" (William Ernest Henley)

Apartheid, rugby, South Africa.  What do they all have in common?  President Nelson Mandela.  President Mandela, four years after being released from prison where he was held as a political prisoner, became president of South Africa in 1994 and remained so until 1999.  He sought to end apartheid and develop unity between white South Africa and black South Africa. 

As South Africa is about to host the World Cup of Rugby in 1995, President Mandela puts his support in the national team of South Africa, the Springboks.  Aiding the team captain, Francois Pienaar, to "inspire" the team, he orders the team to take on "coaching" youth in rugby.  This starts the proverbial ball rolling as they extend themselves beyond practice and drills thus making fans whereto for they had none.  Black South Africa cheered on any team but the Springboks and white South Africa loved the Springboks despite their record losses.  As the team draws together in their attempt to never again taste the bitterness of defeat, will that in turn unite the torn country? 

Based on the book "Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game that Made a Nation" by John Carlin, this is an exciting and inspiring film.  Starring Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela, Matt Damon as Springboks captain Francois Pienaar, and directed by Clint Eastwood; it is a must see.

Nelson Mandela speaks of a poem that provided him much inspiration while he was imprisoned.  This film was named for it.

Invictus (Latin, meaning 'unconquered').

"Out of the night that covers me, Black as the pit from pole to pole, I thank whatever gods may be For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance I have not winced nor cried aloud. Under the bludgeonings of chance My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears Looms but the Horror of the shade, And yet the menace of the years Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul."
(William Ernest Henley)

My family and I thoroughly enjoyed this film!  Movie rating: 5/5  Definitely one for the home library!