Friday, December 30, 2011

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Movie Review

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Grade:  A

This suspenseful adaptation of the popular book is extremely well done and will keep you on the edge of your seat.  I won't hide the fact that it is extremely graphic and not something for the kiddies or those weak of heart, but if you're a fan of the book or like a good, gritty mystery...this is a great choice.

Rooney Mara brilliantly plays Lisbeth Salander.  It's hard to watch anyone else when she's on camera.  She captures Lisbeth's edge, strength and vulnerability all at the same time.  Daniel Craig makes a great Mikael Blomkvist, who is tasked with finding the killer of a young girl who disappeared forty years ago.  The cast is also augmented by Christopher Plummer who is certainly enjoying a burst in his career, Robin Wright and Joely Richradson.

Much of the film takes place in a remote island in Northern Sweden.  The frigid, rural locale adds to the suspense and desperation of the film. You can't help but feel chilled to the bone as the wind sweeps the frozen snow across the screen.

To be fair, I have not seen the original Swedish version of this movie.  I've heard it's quite good as long as you don't mind reading subtitles. I actually enjoy the whole subtitle thing, but I'm weird.  I will have to get this on Netflix sometime soon, but I think the new US version is splendidly done.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy Christmas Eve

The tree is trimmed and has been for a few weeks.  I still have a bunch of presents to wrap and I'm out of boxes.  How did a let that happen?

On the upside, the Cherry Pie is done.  I need someone to help me figure out how to get my crust to roll out in a round shape.  Mine keep coming out as a rectangle.

And the cut out cookies are done.  (Hey little bro...know that I'm thinking of you.)

I made our usual frosting, but added more milk to thin it a bit so I could dip the cookies.  It was actually much easier than the spreading method.  Will try to remember that for next year.  (I'll have write it down otherwise, all is lost.)

I've also got the shrimp cooked (used Ina's roasting method. Super easy) and the cocktail sauce is ready (used Mom's tried and true recipe).  I also blanched some asparagus to be used with an Asian dipping sauce.  I found this recipe in the Delta magazine on my last trip to Atlanta.  Hope it's good.

Off to get a few more presents wrapped before Christmas Eve dinner with BW's family.

Have a wonderful Christmas Eve.  Hope you are surrounded by family and friends.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sherlock Holmes Movie Review

Sherlock Holmes
  A Game of Shadows

Grade: A

Well done Mr. Ritchie, well done.  Rare does the movie sequel out do the original, but in the case of the latest Sherlock Holmes movie, that's just what happened.  This edition, in what I hope to be a long, long series of films, was terrific.  Fast paced, visually exciting with a great storyline.  I really love the dark, gritty real feel of late 19th Century London.

In "A Game of Shadows" Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) faces off against his arch nemesis Professor Moriarity in a chess game of intrigue and political manipulation.  Again, Downey brings Holmes to life as a brilliant neurotic shuttling from scene to scene at an eclectic pace.  Several times I wanted them to rewind the film so I could see a scene again...making sure I watch more closely the next time.

Also, I am still loving a strong and capable Dr. Watson (Jude Law) who skills are further developed in this film.  Returning to the cast again is Stephen Fry as Mycroft Holmes.  He makes a great Mycroft.

I really enjoy the films use of slow motion and stop action to develop Holmes' ability to pre-plan a fight scene.  Gets even better when Moriarty gets into the act.  And I just loved their verbal dual while playing a chess game completely in their heads.

Take a break from all your holiday planning and run out to the theater to see this movie.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas Candles

I'm a big fan of Carol over at The Answer is Chocolate.  She is a crafting wizard and I love to see what's she's come up with.  At some point...and I think it was last year, she decorated some Dollar Store candles and I just loved them.

I finally got a chance to try some myself.  After some trial and error (error meaning scraping off the previous attempt and starting over), I made a few that I really liked.  They are not nearly as wonderful as Carol's, but I'm still happy with them.

Here's my final versions:

This was a fun Christmas project.  My next project entails me pulling out the sewing machine the girls got me last Christmas.  I'm a little nervous, but excited by the possibilities.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Merry and Bright

This is now my screen saver.  Thank you Jena for taking such magnificent photos of the boys.  They are so lucky to have such a talented Aunt.

To follow her work you can "like" her on Facebook at McShane Photography.  Besides wonderful photos my grandsons,  she does some great and interesting work.