December 21, 2008

Snow Wonderful Snow!

Are you a snow lover?
Do you smile when you look outside and see the floating flakes fall under the glowing streetlights? Do you sigh with contentment as you venture outside into the cold, white world all bundled up tight with boots and mitts and scarf?
Do you cringe at that squeaking crunch the packed snow makes under your boot, but joyfully kick up balls of snow as you trudge down a covered snowy sidewalk?
Do you love how the blanket of snow brightens up the dark winter, almost causing daylight at night as the white is reflected all around?
Are you, like me, in love with snow?

True, there are, many annoyances and drawbacks from s big or small snowfall.
There is the problem of driving, getting from A to B to C and back again, travelling somewhere for the holidays or even just to the mall to pick up those last-minute Christmas gifts. There is all the shovelling and clearing of walkways and sidewalks and driveways and windshields.

And yet some of the best experiences are snow days off from school or work, the crisp air on your face and the warmth of your home when you dis-bundle yourself and dry off and my favourite thing of Christmas lights look under or covered by or surrounded by white snow. They seem to glow brighter, reflecting the reds and blues and greens on the clumps of white that coxy in next to the bulbs. Every light display seems to be enhanced or revved up because of the snow that adds that extra Christmasy touch to their show.

As you can tell, I love snow. I love it when I'm inside, and I love it when I'm outside. I may not like it all year around, but for what we get here in Victoria, I love every moment!
Thanks, snow, for falling this year!

December 18, 2008

British Movie Fix

If you like British movies, or Masterpiece Theatre (not the famous Monsterpiece Theatre I remember as a child from Seasme Street) or Jane Austin or if you simply like an interesting story, here are two more movies to seek out.

"My Family and Other Animals" tells the innocent and humourous story set before WW2 of a British family who are sick of the cold rainy summer weather in England and decide to pack up and move to the Greek Island of Corfu for some time.
The sweet and slightly dotty widowed mother goes along with her spoiled children's wishes and the family finds themselves loving the heat and the people and their new surroundings in a villa on Corfu.
The eldest son is a bohemian writer who invites his wild and weird friends to stay. The daughter is a sunbathing, bikini-wearing flirt who has the island boys crawling to sneak a peek at her. The next son is obsessed with hunting and shooting and continuously brings home all manner of game for supper.
The youngest of the family is the enthusiastic, nature-loving 12 year old boy Gerald. He makes himself right at home exploring, collecting animals and bugs to fill his menagerie of a room.
The film is a delightful romp with a strange but lovable family as they enjoy each other and their new home. The movie is based on Gerald Terrell's writings, which is close to the truth as seen through the young boys' eyes. 

Another wonderful story is Jane Austin's "Northanger Abbey".
In typical Austin way, this film touches on the subjects of love, money, parental rule vs child desires and much more. 
I found the characters engaging and likable and the plot had just enough mystery and turns for you not to know what might happen.
The male lead Henry reminded me of Jude Law and the female lead Catherine of a cuter Kate Beckinsale and both played their roles well.
The story follows a lower-state imaginative young woman who is escorted to Bath in the society of some wealthy family friends. There Catherine meets new people;  a social climbing woman with a slightly creepy brother, and a teasing but genteel young man with an endearing sister who could become an excellent best friend. There is also romance in the air but will the kind-hearted Catherine be able to stand up for what she wants, or will she be too polite to overcome the obstacles thrown in her way?

If you are wondering how  find all these interesting and off-the-beaten-track movies, then wanter over to DVD4U on Fairfield by Thrifty's. They are a small DVD rental store, but they have a huge British section and many wonderful titles to choose from!

December 16, 2008

Two New Movie Favourites...

I rented two movies this weekend and both were worth a quick mention.

The first was a UK film based on and starring the cast from a play called "History Boys".
A witty, intelligent and fast-banter movie, with a great cast and emotional twists. We follow a handful of senior-level boys from non-privileged backgrounds who are bright enough to study hard and possibly get in to some of the top universities in the UK - notably Oxford and Cambridge. Their public school has devised a schedule with special classes totally geared towards helping them ace their entrance exams and interviews. However, the headmaster is bent on the simple task of getting them in, mostly to improve his school's reputation, while some of the teachers argue that their learning should be more than a fixation on an exam, but more life learning, and lessons they will draw from throughout their lives instead of for one test.

(Although a great film, there is a teensy bit of slightly shocking content...ask me about it if you are concerned.)

The second movie I just fell in love with and I can bravely call it the "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" of 2008 - a movie called, "Charlie Bartlett".
Charlie is a teen from a wealthy family who has been kicked out from dozens of private schools and finally has to try public school. His drugged up, ditsy mother stays home playing tennis with their chauffeur, while Charlie tries to fit in to this new group of drama nuts, drug dealers, and popular jocks. He uses his ingenuity and quickly finds a way to give the students what they need - a listening ear...and a few prescriptions along the way.

I won't ruin the movie for you, because I think you should all give "Charlie Bartlett" a try!!

I will say that the character of Charlie is played brilliantly with the perfect drop of naivety and humbleness that makes us just want to be his friend, too!

Find it. Rent it. And someone, please, find me a copy?