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.