Thursday, October 13, 2011

I Just Saw the Last Harry Potter Movie - WOW!

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 ("The Motion Picture Event of a Generation")

I know I am a bit slow in getting to the theatre to see the last movie in the Harry Potter series, but better late than never.  Two people warned me of the death of a certain someone (not necessarily the nefarious Voldemort) and I went in feeling a sense of doom.  It has been forever since I read the last novel and how quickly I forgot the finite details that came to life tonight in the movie.  As each sequence enveloped on the big screen, in 3D nonetheless, memories also came to life and I caught myself cheering out loud in a nearly empty theatre.  Sadly, I was alone in the vocal cheers, though I know everyone present cheered or booed or cried secretly, I just know it.

All in all the movie is one of the absolute best book to movie productions, particularly in the Harry Potter realm.  I loved it!  If you have not yet seen it, haul your ...... out the door and go to the theatre!!  

I will not further analyze the film as far as acting, which was superb, nor the plot, true to the book, nor the special effects (I don't think 3D was necessary for full satisfaction), but suffice it to say this is one you will want to add to your collection. (as previously posted on my book review blog,

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

It All Ends Here......

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Canada's Premiere:  Friday, July 15, 2011 at midnight.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Street Performers are Back!!!

Street Performers starts today!!  Here are some highlights from last year that are sure to incite you to join the fun this year at Churchill Square, Edmonton Alberta.

Street Performers can be enjoyed now through July 17, 2011.  You can see their site here which includes a short video about the Street Performers Festival, Edmonton's favourite street festival.

See you there!!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Sky Watch Friday - July 8, 2011

Sunset as seen overlooking downtown

Linking up with Sky Watch Friday which hosts a weekly meme of skies the world over.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Celebrating Canada Day!!!

Celebrate Canada Day in Edmonton

June 29, 2011
Celebrate Canada’s 144th birthday in Edmonton by joining in on some of the many free family events taking place around the city.  End the day by watching the spectacular Canada Day fireworks finale in the river valley.

City Hall & Plaza

Time: 11:30am – 4pm
Show off your Canadian pride by celebrating our nation's birthday with free Canada Day activities at City Hall.  Enjoy the live entertainment, crafts, face painting, petting zoo, City Hall tours and displays.  A Canada Day ceremony will take place at noon in the City Room. 

Canada Day at the Edmonton Valley Zoo

Time: 9:30am – 6pm 
Celebrate Canada Day and the Edmonton Valley Zoo’s 52nd birthday!  Visit the Canadian animals, eat a slice of birthday cake, and enjoy a wonderful mix of family activities and entertainment. Visit for more information.

Canada Day at the Muttart Conservatory

Time: 11am – 5pm
Enjoy lively jazz with Six Feet Up, Canada crafts, planting activities, face painting and lots of family fun.  Search the pyramids to find plants native to our home and native land and test your knowledge of Canadiana.  Be sure to check out annual sculpture show!  Visit for more information.

Dominion Day at Fort Edmonton Park

Time: 10am – 6pm
Join the park-wide celebration of Dominion Day with a great variety show.  Emcee Paul Wallace will be on hand to entertain with magic, dancing, juggling, improv and humour.  A free shuttle will run from the South Campus LRT.  Avoid the line ups; buy your tickets online at

The Works Art & Design Festival in Churchill Square

Time: 11:30am – 9:30pm (until July 5)
Join the Celebrate Canada Day Workshop/Works Mosaic at The Works Art & Design Festival by creating your own Canadian masterpiece on July 1st from noon to 5 p.m.!

Cool Off on Canada Day

Spend time at a City of Edmonton recreation centre. Go for a swim, try out a waterslide or wave pool, fit in a workout, or just relax in a hot tub or steam room. Regular admission applies. For holiday hours visitRecreation Centres.

Silly Summer Parade

Time: Noon – 3:30pm
The annual Silly Summer Parade mixes Canada Day spirit with twisted humor and good old-fashion fun. The parade will start at Queen Alexandra School (7730-106 St.) heading west on Whyte Ave. to 108 St. and back to the school for the Picnic in the Park event.

Alberta Legislature Canada Day

Time: 7am – 7pm
Celebrate our nation’s birthday at the Alberta Legislature with live entertainment and a variety of free family activities.

Mill Woods Celebrates Canada Day

Time: 1 – 11pm
Come to Mill Woods Park (66 St. & 23 Ave.) and join in on the free family activities.  Fireworks display takes place at 11pm. 

Canada Day at Northlands Park (formerly Canada Day at Borden Park)

Time: Noon – 4pm
Location:  Infield Racetrack at Northlands Park, 7410 Borden Park Road
Come and join Councillor Tony Caterina and MLA Peter Sandhu as we celebrate Canada's birthday. Enjoy a fun-filled afternoon with free hotdogs, pop, cake, live entertainment and a variety of activities for the whole family. Free parking at Northlands.

Canada Day Fireworks Finale

Time: 11pm 
Enjoy the spectacular fireworks display over Edmonton’s river valley parks and the North Saskatchewan River.

Good viewing locations:

  • Alberta Legislature Grounds
  • Victoria Park (River Valley Road)
  • Ezio Faraone Park (west entrance to High Level Bridge on 109 St. north)
  • Dantzer’s Hill (below Queen Elizabeth Park)
  • Government House Park (Groat Road & River Valley Road)
    Note: No viewing is available from Kinsmen Park.
Viewing areas accessible on foot only (closed to vehicles):
  • River Valley Road
  • Walterdale Hill Road & Queen Elizabeth Park Road
  • 109 St. (between Saskatchewan Drive & the High Level Bridge)
  • Access is restricted in Kinsmen Park, Walterdale Hill, High Level & Menzies Bridges after road closure times. Kinsmen playground and picnic area are closed on Canada Day.
*information from the City of Edmonton web site

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Review: I Am Number Four

The following video features a song played in the movie, I Am Number Four.  Listen and enjoy.  Adele has an extraordinary voice.


Release date: February 18, 2011
Genre: Action
Running Time: 110 minutes
Rating: PG (violence and graphic scenes)
Based on the novel by: Pittacus Lore

Cast:  Alex Pettyfer, Timothy Olyphant, Teresa Palmer, Dianna Agron, Callan McAuliffe, Kevin Durand

Synopsis:  Three are dead. Who is Number Four?
John Smith (Alex Pettyfer) is a fugitive on the run from ruthless enemies sent to destroy him. Changing his identity, moving from town to town with his guardian Henri (Timothy Olyphant), John is always the new kid with no ties to his past. In the small Ohio town he now calls home, John encounters unexpected, life-changing events—his first love (Dianna Agron), powerful new abilities and a connection to the others who share his incredible destiny.

Handsome, teenage dreamy Alex Pettyfer stars in this movie, that is full of visual and audio surprises, as he portrays alien fugitive, John Smith in I AM NUMBER FOUR.  Exiled from his home planet along with eight others, John tries to lie low but that's hard when you're a teenage boy in your sophomore year of high school.  Henri, Timothy Olyphant, is determined to protect him, even from himself; but when the alien hunters come looking for John, Number Four, it's either move again and hide or fight the battle. Number Four is just beginning to understand who he is and his potential.  Is he ready? 

Full of action, suspense and adventure aimed at the teenage and YA audiences, it is sure to have you on the edge of your seats, regardless of your age.  Move over vampires and werewolves, I Am Number Four has something more to offer.  This has box office hit all over it!

The rumour mill is churning about the possibility of five more movies to come.  I Am Number Four is based on the novel written by Pittacus Lore of the same name.  If you haven't yet read the book, you will want to after attending this movie!!

Rated 4.5/5
Cinematography and special effects 5/5

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Movie Review: Unstoppable

Director:  Tony Scott
Cast:  Denzel Washington, Chris Pine, Rosario Dawson
Genre:  Action/Drama/Thriller
Running Time:  98 minutes
Released 2010

An unmanned freight train picks up speed as it heads toward a city with cars containing toxic chemicals. Based on a true story, a seasoned engineer (Washington) and a young conductor (Pine) attempt to do what everyone else had failed stop an increasingly speeding train before an unthinkable tragedy occurs.

Fast moving and action packed, this movie will have you cheering on the unlikely duo as they attempt what everyone says is impossible.  If they fail, the death toll will include not only them.  A great rental for an evening and likely one you will add to your library. 

Rated 5/5

Movie Review: The Tourist

The Tourist
Director: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
Cast:  Angelina Jolie, Johnny Depp, Paul Bettany

PG-13 for violence and brief strong language
3 Golden Globe Nominations for Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Picture
In theatres December 2010

Johnny Depp (Frank) stars as an American Tourist travelling abroad when his path is crossed by beautiful Angelina Jolie (Elise).  As the two travel in Paris and Venice, intrigue, mystery and danger ensues.  Things are not, however, as they necessarily seem.

This film received some mixed reviews but I quite liked it.  I saw it in the theatre where the large screen enhances the beauty of the scenic shots of Venice and Paris.  Cinematography is superb.  Angelina played the role of the mysterious beauty with class and Depp was fine cast in his role as Frank, the tourist.  If I have one complaint, it is Depp's hair.  Long, stringy, curly, not exactly an attractive draw.  Actually, I would have thought someone like Pierce Brosnan or someone equally tall and attractive would have made a good match against Angelina here.  Or maybe that's the magic.  They are unmatched.

Recommended as a rental.  Who knows, you might just decide to add this to your collection.

Rated 4/5

Movie Review: 127 Hours

127 Hours
Director: Danny Boyle (also of SlumDog Millionaire)
Cast: James Franco
Release Date: January 2011 to DVD
Genre: True Life/Action
Rating: R (graphic scenes, suggestive scenes)
94 Minutes
Nominated for 6 Oscars

Based on the true story of Aron Ralston who was for 127 hours trapped in a rock climbing accident.  With his arm pinned under a rock, Aron had little water and food and noone knew where he was. The movie is based upon the book called Between a Rock and a Hard Place. James Franco plays the voracious adventure seeker and outdoorsman, Aron. What starts as a routine expedition in the rocky formations of Utah, becomes a nightmare for Aron within a few hours.  The viewer is there with Aron as he tries without abandon to extrapulate himself.  Day becomes night and then day until five nights and six days have passed.

127 hours pass and we see the stages of dehydration and solitude take its toll.  Aron is seen going through a gamut of emotions including laughter, tears, self-recrimination, hope, frustration and sorrow and it's recorded on his video camera. On the sixth day, all but the last ray of hope is gone and Aron must make a live or die decision.

James Franco delivered an Oscar worthy performance in 127 Hours.  It's a must-see.  You will be awestruck by the physical beauty of the area, the grimness of the situation, and the indelible will to survive.  It should have won several awards.

Rating 5/5

Movie Review: Hereafter

Director:  Clint Eastwood
Executive Producers:  Steven Spielberg, Frank Marshall, Tim Moore, Peter Morgan
Cast: Matt Damon, Bryce Dallas Howard, Cecile de France, Jay Mohr, Frankie McLaren, George McLaren
Written by Peter Morgan
Released:  October 2010 in theatres   DVD March 15, 2011
PG-13 - mature themes, brief language
Genre:  Thriller/Suspense
Running Time:  129 minutes
Academy Award Nominee 2010 for best visual effects

George (Matt Damon) is blessed or cursed, depending on how you look at it.  By grasping another's hands, George can "see" the dead loved ones of the individual concerned.  Draining and disconcerting to be sure, George doesn't want to "see" any more.  He quit that life of making a living from this communication.  Normalcy is what he sought.

Marie (Cecile De France), is a French journalist, who survives a near-death experience in a tsunami.  She continues to have visions of her experience, remembering her close call, and it changes her life. Marcus, a London schoolboy, can't move on.  He is in continual mourning over the loss of his twin brother and desperately seeks answers.

As Marie and Marcus seek answers their paths intersect with George.  Can he help them seek that which alludes them?  Can they find the answers and the peace desired?   And what becomes of George?

The movie began in a great wave of tsunami horror and the audience is washed along as we watch the waves pummel a small village, destroying everything, sparing few.  A great beginning, but then the movie loses momentum.  It drags a bit.  Intentional?  I don't know.  The three characters' lives seem to take forever to take hold and to intersect.  Perhaps this is to create a sense of wonderment and mystery in the topic of afterlife?  It just seemed too slow and long.  At 129 minutes, it dragged.

The casting is excellent and I really liked Cecile DeFrance as Marie.  The McLaren brothers portrayal of Marcus was on the mark.  The special effects were breathtaking.  I thought for sure the tsunami was from actual footage, it seemed so real. 

Rated 3/5  Rent if for yourself and decide.

Movie Review: Battle Los Angeles

Battle Los Angeles
Cast: Aaron Eckhart, Michelle Rodriguez, Ramon Rodriguez, Bridget Moynahan, Ne-Yo , Michael Peña

Release date:March 11, 2011
Running Time:117 minutes
Rating: 14A

For years, there have been documented cases of UFO sightings around the world—Buenos Aires, Seoul, France, Germany, China. But in 2011, what were once just sightings will become a terrifying reality when Earth is attacked by unknown forces. As people everywhere watch the world's great cities fall, Los Angeles becomes the last stand for mankind in a battle no one expected. It's up to a Marine staff sergeant (Aaron Eckhart) and his new platoon to draw a line in the sand as they take on an enemy unlike any they've ever encountered before.

Excellent cast, script, action!!  You'll be on the edge of your seat!
Five of us attended this movie Tuesday night and all enjoyed it immensely!!  When it is available on Blu-Ray/DVD,. we are definitely adding this action packed film to our collection.  I'd even go see it again in the theatre!! 


Movie Review: Due Date

Due Date
Director: Todd Phillips
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Zach Galifianakis, Michelle Monaghan, Juliette Lewis, Jamie Foxx
Runtime: 95 mins
Rating: R
Released: November 5th 2010

Robert Downey Jr. stars in this comedy alongside Zach Galifianakis as two men who meet up at an airport and travel across country by car in an effort to get home before Downey's on-screen wife gives birth.  One catastrophe after another ensues with hilarity as these two men, who would never be friends under different circumstances, cope with one another's shortcomings and one's penchant for disasters.

The DVD copy we had indicated a PG13 rating but the movie itself is rated R18 with good reason.  There is a lot of profanity and sexual references within that warrant the rating.  It is funny but definitely not a buyer for me.  Had we (my family) known it's correct rating, we would not have bought (nor rented) it.  We gave it away.

Rated 3/5


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Friday, February 25, 2011

Edmonton Home and Garden Show Begins March 24, 2011

Northlands, Edmonton EXPO Centre

7515-118 Ave NW, Edmonton, AB

 Dates and Hours:

Thursday, March 24: 4pm - 9pm Friday, March 25: 12noon - 9pm Saturday, March 26: 10am - 9pm Sunday, March 27: 10am - 5pm

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Winterlights Festival Edmonton - Upcoming Event "Common Ground"

Where in the World Are You?  Featuring the city of
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.  Keeping the fun in winter with:


February 4th and 5th, 2011

Fri 6pm-8pm, Sat 11am-8pm

Giovanni Caboto Park (95 street and 108 A Avenue)

Welcome to Common Ground, a new mid-winter festival that brings people together through music, light, stories, and old-fashioned winter fun. Common Ground features the cultural communities that represent the McCauley neighbourhood coming together to share arts and crafts, heritage, games, and activities.

Visit a Heritage Camp with six traditional shelters, take in some African drumming and music, enjoy Italian food and costumes, and be awed by the Asian New Year display.

Friday evening's program includes the opening ceremonies and a lantern parade, a traditional blessing, the lighting of fires, cultural entertainment and special guests, all reflecting the vitality of the inner city.

On Saturday, Giovanni Caboto Park becomes a fun-filled winter festival site with dance, music, poetry, sledding, and roving performers. Everyone can get in on the action by testing their skills at the Snowshoe Hare Hop, a fun tribute to Canada's winter history and wildlife. 


Friday: Opening Ceremonies
6 pm – 8 pm

Lantern Parade
• Blessing of Event, Honour Song
• VIP and Guests Welcome
Lion Dance, Canadian Ging Wu Kung Fu Martial Arts
• Music
• Italian Appennini Dancers

Saturday: Festival Fun

11:00 am – 8:00 pm

• Heritage Camp - songs, story, and visiting
• Family Fun – sledding, roving performers, warm fires and free hot chocolate!
• African Tent - tea, drumming, and special guests
Snow Show Hare Hop – try out snowshoes
• Chinese Lanterns – celebrating the Lunar New Year
Share the Warmth – bring a mitten or take a mitten

5:30 pm
• Community Feast – a free feast of Chinese, Italian, African and Aboriginal food

I'm joining Simply Stacie with a world wide blog hop Where in the World Are You Wednesday.  Also co-hosting this meme is Just Married With Coupons.  This week's theme is unusual events in your area.  Anyone for a snow shoe hop?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Ice on Whyte Festival Starts Today

Ice on Whyte Festival in Old Strathcona begins today.  At 85 Avenue and 104 Street, come on over and see the Castle, animals, and ice slide all constructed of ice.  Sculptors from all over come to Edmonton to participate in this event.  Check out their Facebook page for details and photos.

January 13 - 23, 2011

Weekdays: 2 pm - 10 pm
Weekends: 10 am - 10 pm
Admission: $5.00/adult, $2.50/children 2 - 12

The above photos are a portion of the current display at the festival.
photos for this post are courtesy of world wide web

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Karate Kid 2010

Director: Harold Zwart
Produced by Will and Jada Pinkett Smith
Starring: Jaden Smith, Jackie Chan, Taraji P Henson, Wen Wen Han,  Zhenwei Wang
Released in theatre: 2010  Now available on DVD and BluRay
Running Time: 140 mins
Rated: PG
Filmed in Beijing, China

Karate Kid opens with Dre (Jaden Smith) looking over his newly vacant bedroom, the growth chart on the wall that also marks the death of his father and the upcoming move to China.  Dre's mom, Sherry Parker (Taraji P. Henson), is transferred to China for a job in the automotive industry, so she and Dre pack up their household and fly some 6000 miles away, to find a new life in China.

The transistion is difficult for Dre as he enters the school system with uniform day and very few who speak English.  He meets a pretty girl,  Mei Ying, a fellow student and violinist.  They share a mutual attraction but Cheng, the school bully, takes offense to this and, through karate, determines to put Dre in his place.  After Dre comes home with a black eye, he finds ways to avoid Cheng and his gang.  However, that lasts only so long when one day the gang corners Dre in an alley and beat him up.  To the rescue comes Mr. Han, the Parker's building maintenance man, taking on all the boys and defeating them in fantastic manner. At Dre's request, Mr. Han (Jackie Chan) reluctantly teaches Dre the art of karate which takes them to a tournament where Dre must face his enemy. 

I was waiting for the literal "wax on, wax off" which never came but one could easily imagine it as part of young Dre's training.  Jackie Chan, still as flexible and as much a person to be reckoned with as ever, plays his role as mentor and friend admirably.  Young Jaden Smith, son of Will Smith (both starred in The Pursuit of Happiness), is an incredible up and coming young actor.  Several times throughout the movie I noted the likeness between father and son.  They share similar expressions, mannerisms, and the ability to tell a story that draws the audience in. 

At first I was like many critics, asking why we need another Karate Kid (original 1984).  It was all a little overdone in the 80's with the sequels.  But this new version has crediblity and great acting skill that carries it into 2010 and beyond.  If there is one thing I didn't like about this rendition, it was the intimate relationship between Dre and Mei Ying.  It is not unheard of for children of 12 to develop attractions for the opposite sex but for a movie aimed at children perhaps 10 and up, the kissing scene was too much. 

All in all, I liked this version just as much as the original.  Rated 4.5/5

Friday, January 7, 2011

RED - movie review

Starring; Bruce Willis as Frank, Helen Mirren as Victoria and Morgan Freeman as Joe.
Also starring:  Karl Urban, Mary-Louise Parker, Richard Dreyfuss and Brian Cox
Adaptation of the DC Comics graphic novel by Warren Ellis and Cully Hammer.
Directed by Robert Schwentke
Opened in theatres October 2010

My husband and a couple of my adult sons saw this movie last fall and raved about it!  They built it up so much that I just had to go see it.  So we all went to the theatre during Christmas break, which is tradition for us, and saw the film at Movies 12.

All the hype that one hears about a movie usually results in a let down.  Right?  Well, this was no different.  It was good, fairly clean, full of action and funny.  Sounds good?  The problem is, it wasn't memorable.  The audience doesn't develop an affinity for the characters, with the possible exception of Frank, played by Bruce Willis.

RED is a well done adaptation of the comic graphic novel.  Four retired CIA agents with a hit on their lives band together to uncover the conspiracy and those behind it.  There ensues bombings, Frank's house is obliterated, and so begins Frank's journey to gather together his old comrades to even the score.  A few twists and turns, more bombs and shootings and some good special effects later brings the movie to a somewhat comedic ending. 

RED is a good night out at the movies or a good DVD/Blu Ray rental.  I personally wouldn't buy it on DVD, but I'm sure my husband will, if he remembers this one.  Did I say it is not very memorable? See what you think.

Rated 3.5/5  Violence is quite graphic.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Lighting of Edmonton's Christmas Tree on Churchill Square

Each year a larger than life evergreen tree is erected on Churchill Square in the downtown district of Edmonton.  The above is a video, found on YouTube, of the lightin
g thereof.  Thus begins the festive season and celebrations of Christmas on the Square!

Happy New Year everyone!

Monday, January 3, 2011

SALT on DVD - review

Release Date: December 7, 2010 (DVD, Blu-ray)

Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Genre: Action, Adventure, Thriller

From the back cover on the DVD/Blu Ray:
"As a CIA officer, Evelyn Salt swore an oath to duty, honor and country. Her loyalty will be tested when a defector accuses her of being a Russian spy. Salt goes on the run, using all her skills and years of experience as a covert operative to elude capture. Salt's efforts to prove her innocence only serve to cast doubt on her motives, as the hunt to uncover the truth behind her identity continues and the question remains: 'Who is Salt?'"

I was really surprised at how much I enjoyed this movie!  It was given as a Christmas gift by my husband.  At first one would think he got it for himself.  This is, afterall, Angelina Jolie!!  Angelina is cast perfectly for this performance as a CIA agent/possible Russian spy.  The plot is quick paced, fascinating and full of twists that keep you wondering which country she is truly loyal to.  As the film climaxes another twist ensues but I won't even hint at this turn in the story for fear of ruining this for the viewer. 

Rent it, buy it, whatever, this is one movie of Angelina's that is definitely worth watching!!!

Rated 4.5/5!! 

Warning:  violence, unsuitable for children under 13.  SALT is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action.