Tuesday, March 30, 2010

funny looking animal of the week!

courtesy of liz.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

funny looking animal of the week!

heard it babysitting....

Val: Can you buy me a present for my birthday next year?

Me: Okay, what do you want?

Val: (thinking)

Me: A dog?

Val: Yeah. I'll ask my mom if it's okay if you get me a dog.

Me: Okay cool.

Val: But if she can't, I want one of the guns that the Storm troopers carry in Star Wars.

Monday, March 22, 2010

dogs shot at 1000 frames per second

As long as we're on the subject of dogs, check out this awesome video I stumbled across at JoeLaz.com.


The weather was beautiful this weekend, so we hung out at the park on Sunday morning. On our way home, I noticed a black, furry streak up ahead. At first, we thought it was a cat, which isn’t something that out of the ordinary to see roaming the streets of Jersey City. But then we realized it was a dog!

There in front of us was a pack of three of the mangiest, scraggliest looking dogs I have ever seen. One of them was actually cute, a smaller dog that just needed a bit of a haircut. Here was the second one, who reminded me of the dog that became a footrest in Beauty and the Beast:

The third one was the really weird looking one. It was a little dog but had pretty long skinny legs for a small dog. It had black fur, real short on its legs, but on its body the hair was crazy and out of control. Every time that dog walked towards me I got the chills. That thing gave me the creeps big time.

So we kept walking home after determining that these dogs weren’t wearing collars and didn’t belong to anyone. Everything would have ended there. Except they began to follow us. And Becca Palmese encouraged the following by continually snapping her fingers and talking to them, despite my telling her to QUIT IT! So as we walked the remaining 6 blocks to our house, we had 3 of the grossest looking dogs in tow. They would run up ahead of us and into streets, but always would barrel back towards us again.

I started worrying “What is going to happen when we get home!” These dumpster dogs can’t come into our house. I told Becca to stop talking to them. This made her talk to them more. And laugh uncontrollably. When we got back to the apartment, we rushed inside. Except Becca did not rush inside. So I closed and locked the door and told her to get rid of the dogs and then she could come in.

But the dogs were not leaving now. They stood on our stoop with Becca, waiting to be let in. Finally, a nice couple walked by and started petting the dogs. Becca informed the couple that they were strays. Then this really turned into an adventure.

One hour, several phone calls to animal control and Jersey City Police Dispatch, and 7 neighbors pitching in later, we had secured the dogs in a kind woman’s backyard. Animal Control in Jersey City is not open on the weekends, so she was going to keep the scraggly dogs in her yard until today.

Nothing like dumpster dogs to really bring a neighborhood together.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

pirates are so silly

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

great quote

"I’m not a great fan of people who say they put a sheet up in the backyard when they were seven and entertained all the neighbors. When I was seven, I thought I was a fucking fire truck."

—Sam Worthington

funny looking animal of the week!

hope your St. Patty's day is HARE-RAISING!!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

theres REALLY no place like home

:) :)

there's no place like home


Thursday, March 11, 2010

you're rolling sevens with nothing to lose...

The Weary Kind - From Crazy Heart

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

funny looking animal of the week!

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Oscarwatch 2010 - My Best Picture Rankings

This year, members of the Academy were asked to rank the 10 nominees instead of voting for just one.

If I was a member of the Academy, here's how I'd rank them:

1. Hurt Locker
2. Avatar
3. Inglorious Basterds
4. District 9
5. An Education
6. Up in the Air
7. Precious
8. Up
9. A Serious Man
10. The Blind Side

And who I think will win the big categories tonight:

Best Picture:
Hurt Locker just edging out Avatar

Best Director:
Kathryn Bigelow, Hurt Locker

Best Actor:
Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart

Best Actress:
Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia

Best Supporting Actor:
Christoph Waltz, Inglorious Basterds

Best Supporting Actress:
Mo'Nique, Precious

Happy Oscar-watching!!!

Oscarwatch 2010 - An Education and A Serious Man

THE DAY OF THE OSCARS IS HERE! And we've got 3 more movies to review. So here goes...

To start off, I’ve got some good news and some bad news. The good news is that I watched A Serious Man last night so now I've seen all of the Best Picture contenders. The bad news is that I didn't really like it. Maybe I just wasn't in the mood to watch a serious, slow moving flick last night. Or maybe it was just a pretty slow moving movie, with not that much of a plot except that this guy’s wife wants to leave him for Sy Ableman, his son is becoming a Bar Mitzvah, his brother lives on his couch, and he watches the woman next door sunbathe in the nude. I guess that sounds like a lot, but to me it just didn’t all add up.

The humor in it is very dark, and although deliver the subtle punch they hope to, isn’t really laugh out loud funny by any means. You start to really feel bad for this guy, everything in his life seems to be going badly, and he keeps going to Rabbis for advice, although none of them seem to give him very good advice.

I won’t get too much into the little (and I mean small) twists the plot takes, as to not spoil anything for people who will see this film in the future. But I warn you - if the climax of a film features a boy about to become a Bar Mitzvah getting really nervous, and then coming back to and doing a good job reading from the Torah, not all that much is happening in the film.

I know many people will disagree with my assessment of the film. I’ve spoken to people who thought it was hilarious, and of course the Coen Brothers are great writers/directors. But this time, the slow pacing did not make the story more engaging, at least for me. Don’t think this one will come away with any Oscars this evening.

Marci Meter
2 out of 5

Next, let’s tackle An Education. The drama is set in Suburban London in the 60s, and follows the story of Jenny, a teenage girl, as she meets and starts to have a relationship with a much older man (David, played by Peter Sarsgaard). I actually really liked this film. The story was engaging, even as you become unsettled about the events that are taking place, and especially Jenny’s parents’ reaction to their daughter hanging out with this older man.

We follow Jenny and David’s relationship from the innocent enough beginning, then as she begins to meet his friends and experience cultural activities with them, all the way until the uncomfortable ending of things. Again, I do not wish to give spoilers away, but in this case I can honestly say that the spoiler is actually an engaging and interesting twist, unlike some of the plot points in A Serious Man.

The acting in this movie is really great, as well. Carey Mulligan really owns her first big starring role, and is nominated for Best Actress for her work. Peter Sarsgaard plays David wonderfully, the really nice, really charming older man, who leaves you a bit uneasy although you can’t quite put your finger on why (besides the whole dating a teenager thing). And I cannot fail to mention the supporting cast as well. Jenny’s parents (played by Alfred Molina and Cara Seymour) provide a wonderful portrait of parents who really just want the best for their child, whether they are hilariously yelling about getting into university, keeping Jenny focused on her studies, or in touching moments where they are trying to find ways to comfort their daughter.

I thoroughly enjoyed this film, and although I do not think that it will win Best Picture tonight, I think it’s a good one to see. It had an old Hollywood feel to it, the way it was shot was visually captivating, and the story is engaging.

Marci Meter
4 out of 5

Last, but certainly not least, is Inglorious Basterds, the nazi-hunting Tarantino film featuring Best Supporting Actor nominee Christoph Waltz as a very creepy but entertaining Nazi (he's going to take home the Best Supporting Actor trophy this evening). If I could describe this movie to someone in two words, they would be these - Quentin Tarantino. The man took the liberty here to rewrite history, and by god, it actually works!

So much happens during this film that I don’t think I can give a brief synopsis. I mean, for the most part it’s about a group of American soldiers during WW2 that go into Nazi occupied France and “hunt Nazis.” Another plot features Shosanna Dreyfus, a Jewish refugee who witnesses her entire family being murdered by Nazis. Then several years later, we catch up with her. She now owns a cinema, and is courted by a Nazi hero, who ironically enough convinces Hitler to show a Nazi propaganda film at her cinema. The rest of the plot is filled with twists and turns, and ultimately Hitler’s untimely demise. But you’ll have to watch for all that.

There is a lot of violence, per usual Tarantino. Some VERY tense scenes are also key to the plot of this movie, and here’s an example of how scenes can be effective and slow moving, and then pay off in a big way. This movie seemed to be a huge undertaking, and so much happens in it that you wonder what goes on in Tarantino’s head on a daily basis. But I mean, that’s what you get from one his movies. And it’s great. It takes you to a whole different world, where history is rewritten, and it’s oddly satisfying, if only for a few moments.

This was definitely one of the more original undertakings of the year in terms of story and substance, and I think it’s a good one to see, especially if you’re a fan of Tarantino’s work.

Marci Meter
3.5 out of 5

Friday, March 05, 2010

a note about the Marci Meter...

Loyal readers:

I am humbled and honored at your dedication to reading my posts, typos and all (mom...)

The thing about the Marci Meter, and reason for so many 4 out of 5s thus far this season is the fact that I was using old Marci Meter graphics from last year, and I had to draw on only the ones I had already assembled. This was lazy of me and unprofessional, and for that I do apologize.

From now on, I will not use a graphic unless it corresponds with the actual rating I would have given the movie.

Thanks and keep reading!


PS - The reason for typos is the fact that I am trying to get reviews in for all 10 best picture noms before Sunday, which is very close to today. And I have this job that gets in the way of things, especially writing since I do it all day and then am sooo tired afterwards that I don't want to do it anymore.

kindest regards loyal readers.

Oscarwatch 2010 - Precious and The Blind Side

As the night of the Oscars gets closer and closer, all of us here at Do You Hear That Buzzing get closer and closer to completing our reviews of the top 10 nominees. Tonight we will look at two dramas with veryyy different endings, Precious and The Blind Side.

In Precious we see the story of Clareece Precious Jones, an overweight black teenage girl who is pregnant for the second time by her father, horribly abused by her mother, and so far behind in her schooling that she can’t even read. As we learn more and more about her life and circumstances, it just becomes more horrifying. Even as Precious starts to gain confidence in herself at a new school, makes friends, and ultimately finds a way to free herself of her mother, she cannot fully break away from the life that she never chose. Without giving away plot points, I’ll suffice it to say that at the end of this film, we are not left uplifted. Rather sad and a little bit overwhelmed at what we’ve just seen take place.

For someone who was raised in a loving, nurturing environment with wonderful family and friends, the things that take place in Precious are almost unfathomable. As more and more of the film unfolded, I found myself becoming disgusted and depressed at Precious’ situation. Really, what could she do to get out of her situation? Not much.

The acting in this movie is a big part of the reason it was so effective in making the story believable and emotionally raw. Newcomer Gabourey Sidibe plays Precious wonderfully, showing us a girl that is so drawn into herself because of her circumstances, but so ready to be liberated from the life she was born into. Mo’Nique really steals the show though, as Precious’ abusive mother, always thinking that her daughter had “stole her man,” and treating her so through physical and verbal abuse. The way Mo’Nique handled this role was amazing, she played it through and through, although the things she was doing/saying must have disgusted her. She is going to win the Best Supporting Actress category for this, hands down.

Overall, Precious is a wonderfully made movie, showing the harsh reality of abuse and a teenage’s girls quest to overcome the odds and break free of the harsh world she lives in. And although we don’t come to a heartwarming conclusion, it is an important work to see, and it was an important movie to be made, for “All the Precious girls out there.”

Marci Meter
3.5 out of 5

Superb acting, but the story was just too overwhelming for me at times. Which should really give it a higher mark, but it made me feel pretty low.

Our next movie starts with a teenager who is down and out, but it ends in a much different way. In The Blind Side, we follow the story of a high school football player with no home and family, as he is taken in by a wealthy family, and makes it to college on a football scholarship. This is based on the real life story of Michael Oher, who now plays professionally for the Baltimore Ravens.

Unlike Precious, here we get a much more canned version of down and out teen “saved,” if you will, by a generous, wonderful woman and her loving, adorable family. Guess which one of these two films did better at the box office? Yup, you guessed it - Blind Side, which definitely isn’t the usual type of film picked for a Best Picture nomination by the Academy.

Another big surprise from this movie is not only Sandra Bullock’s Best Actress nomination, but the fact that she seems to be a front runner in the category, alongside Meryl Streep. But I will give Sandy props, she did a helluva job in this role.

This movie was heartwarming and left you feeling warm and fuzzy, but it didn’t really do all that much for me. Sure, it was commercially successful, but I don’t think this film really compares to a lot of the other nominees. Sorry America, but in the words of Shania Twain, “it don’t impress-a me much.”

Marci Meter
2.5 out of 5

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Oscarwatch 2010 - Up, Up and Away

Tonight we will take a look at two more Best Picture contenders - Up and Up in the Air (see the theme here??)... These films, although similar in title, are very different in substance. And I throughly enjoyed each of them. Let's get more in depth in them one by one...

We've got another gem from Pixar on our hands, and although there's really no way it will win against the likes of Avatar or Hurt Locker, it is such a joy to watch for children and adults alike. This film was released in 3D, and although many ignore this fact since Avatar is getting all the 3D glory in this Oscar race, the 3D in this movie really enhanced the viewing experience. And I'm not gonna lie, the opening montage where we see Carl and Ellie meet as children, then follow them as their relationship blossoms, and see Ellie's eventual death, made me cry underneath my funny-looking 3D glasses. And that was only minutes into the movie...This was probably one of the best montages I've ever seen in the movie, period.

And so it begins. We see Carl as an old man, bitter and angry, living alone. Only because we've seen the previous montage do we know that he's just sad and lonely after losing the love of his life. We see more of this as the movie unfolds, and it made me cry (yes, again. and again). But back to the plot - Carl ties thousands of balloons to his house to try and float it to a waterfall that him and Ellie had always dreamed of adventuring to...only he brings along an unexpected guest - boy scout Russell. That's when the real adventure begins - complete with talking dogs (Dug Dug Dug Dug!), lost adventurers, and GHOSTS OF MEMORIES PAST (maybe not so much). Redemption finally happens, as in any great animated film, and Carl transforms from grumpy old man to less grumpy old man, with the help of Russell.

I think this is a really great movie, entertaining, funny, touching, and entertaining to many different demographics (kids, adults, OLD PEOPLE!). I don't think it's gonna win Best Picture at all, but I do respect the fact that it was nominated, and would rather watch it again and again moreso than a lot of the other nominees. And that's gotta mean something, right?

**Disclaimer/Random thought: I'd like to take this moment to mention how unrealistic a house floating away with balloons is, and that's part of what makes this movie magical.**

4 out of 5 on the Marci Meter

And with no real transition into tonight's second nominee, since there really is no connection between them, now we'll talk about Up in the Air. This film, directed by Jason Reitman, stars George Clooney as Ryan Bingham, a man who constantly travels around the country laying people off. That's his job. And he loves it. Well, if he doesn't love it, he's sure convinced himself that he does. He enjoys being on the road, has no real connections to people, even his family, and only focuses on getting to where he's going as fast as possible - while racking up frequent flier miles. The real story comes in when a couple females enter Bingham's life - a feisty young go-getter (Anna Kendrick) trying to change the way things are done at Bingham's compnay, and a well-traveled, playful, sexy fellow business traveler (played wonderfully by Vera Farmiga).

What happens next is veryyy interesting - we see Bingham amidst change. This man, who has tried so hard to keep people and objects at bay for the majority of his existence, starts to question if it's time to let someone in. And what happens next...well, again, I'm not doing the spoiler thing this time around, so you'll just have to watch and see. But I'll tell you what - my heart genuinely sank for this man. Until I thought about it for a second and realized that it was all his fault. And in the end, he got exactly what he deserved and what he essentially always wanted. And so that can't be such a bad thing... right?

The film was topical, and played off this whole recession thing we've been dealing with lately. The people that are laid off in the film are played for the majority by real people, not actors, talking about what it was like to be laid off. This made the film feel much more real, and brought more gravity to it.

Another great part of this movie, obviously, was the acting. George is nominated for Best Actor, while Vera and Anna are rocking Best Supporting Actress nods. And they all are fulling deserving. Clooney makes it seem so effortless, he truly is a throwback Hollywood movie star, and I love watching him do his thing. Farmiga and Kendrick on the other hand, were really pleasant surprises for me, and I really believe that if Mo'Nique wasn't a contender this year, one of these ladies would take hom the statue. Too bad for them...kinda bad timing!

This movie was really enjoyable, though, even if it was a bit miserable. But I am miserable Marci, as I'm told, so it suited me just fine. It also had a killer soundtrack, something that stuck with me for days and weeks afterwards. And although I do not think this movie will be a winner this year, it really struck a great chord with me and I think it's worth seeing. Over and over.

4 out of 5 on the Marci meter

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Oscar Watch 2010 - the alien contenders

Since the Oscars are quickly approaching, and I've only reviewed one of the ten Best Picture nominees, I figured I ought to get a move on. In order to speed the process up a bit, today I'll be taking a look at the two alien movie noms - District 9 and Avatar. Even though these movies both feature aliens, they had significantly different budgets and production methods.

Avatar, of course, took years upon years for Cameron to manufacture the technology needed to pull off his vision. A 3D spectacular in a completely new, beautiful world, Avatar succeeds in completely blowing away viewer's minds technically. It truly is an adventure from start to finish, from the amazing 3D technology to the introduction of Pandora, a stunning planet that didn't exist until Cameron willed it to. The story itself is kind of lacking, with a semi-played out love story driving the story forward, but the spectacular views distract enough to keep viewers interested for the hefty 162 minute run time.

It's definitely a must see, especially if you're a special effects junkie. Or even if you're not, it is a spectacle of a film. Here's an example of how advanced it is: Upon seeing the movie, my grandma kept talking to my brother about how many hours it must have taken to put on their (the Na'vi) makeup every day. She didn't realize that the aliens were not real people. That's how realistic this new technology was. But I mean, confusing people over the age of 75 isn't really proving much.

To sum it up - Avatar is something that everyone should experience at some time or another (in its 3D form, for sure), but I don't think it should necessarily take home the Best Picture trophy. It should fare well in the technical categories, though.

On the complete other end of the spectrum, District 9 was a comparatively low budget sci-fi directed by Neil Blomkamp. It differs from Avatar not only in money spent, but also in realism. While Avatar takes us to an entirely new world, District 9 brings alien life to our present world, specifically in South Africa. The film is shot in a style similar to a documentary, making the whole thing feel oddly real.

The plot is infinitely more layered and interesting than Avatar's paralyzed human meets Na'vi princess love story. We start the movie by being introduced to a South Africa that contains slums inhabited by aliens, derogatorily referred to as Prawns. Without giving too much away about the intricate and interesting plot...

Eh, I don't really want to give anything away. Because part of the fun of this film is the ride it takes you on, with unexpected twists and turns all the way until the end of the movie. And while both of these movies have underlying political messages (Avatar called out the human race for destroying the earth, while District 9 focuses more on racism and oppression), District 9 seems to make its political statement more overtly. While Avatar kind of makes it's point in a tongue in cheek manner (calling the mineral the humans want to get from Pandora "Unobtainium"), District 9 is more blunt and serious in its references towards racism. It truly makes you think.

An unexpected surprise that keeps you on the edge of your seat, District 9 certainly will not come away with the grand Oscar prize, but it will make audiences come away thinking about its themes as well as its engaging story.

Overall, this year's alien movies get a combined 4 out of 5 on the Marci scale. Both should be checked out if you're into aliens. Or even if you're not.

funny looking animal of the week!

the human edition.

Monday, March 01, 2010

d bags of the week

It's Monday morning! Let's take a moment to reflect on the biggest d-bags of the last week.

5. John Mayer
Coming in at number five is the sweet crooner himself, Mr. John Mayer. I know it's true that his offensive comments actually were published several weeks ago, but I got to see the man firsthand this week. And I think when someone tries to apologize for something by saying only, "I never meant to sound like an asshole," it's not so solid of an apology. I mean, I know the man can't keep saying sorry and crying (fem) night after night, if he's going to mention his d bag comments, he could at least sound sincere about it. Besides that, he kept saying things like "I'm sure you all had a bad day, or week, over the past months, but you kept looking at your calendar and saying, 'I'm going to a Mayer concert. It'll all be okay.'" Hmm... this seemed a bit arrogant to me. But the crowd still went wild. I guess it's hard to stop being a d-bag when people reward you for it. And that's why he's made the list!

4. Shani Davis

Give it up for this patriot. He is a speed skater on team USA, only he doesn't act like it. After Davis refused to skate in the speed skating relay at the Olympics 4 years ago, in order to "focus on individual races," fellow US skater Chad Hedrick rightfully criticized Davis. This made Shani upset, so he shunned team USA and chose to train alone and compete as a separate entity of team USA. Way to embrace the spirit of the Olympics, d bag. Nuff said.

3. Tilikum

This orca really puts the killer in killer whale, killing his trainer this past week at Seaworld. And it seems he is a repeat offender. Tili was responsible for the 1999 death of a crazy who snuck into Seawold at night and ended up dead in Tilikum's tank, and also is one of 3 whale suspects that murdered a marine biology student who accidently fell into their tank in 1991. Honestly, Tilikum isn't really a d bag for what he's done, after all he is a wild animal that we've decided to hold captive. When we wave live bait in front of his face, the guy's gonna take some action. Weird ironic note to this story: Tourists eating poolside at a daily event called "Dining With Shamu" watched the whale essentially eat his trainer.
Read more here.

2. Sidney Crosby
Ughhh. You see that gold medal hockey game yesterday? I sure did. And sure, Canada was supposed to win and US was the underdog, but it sure was a big letdown when we lost. Especially after we tied it WITH 24 SECONDS LEFT IN THE 3RD PERIOD AHHHHHHHHHHH USA USA USA USA USA. But as the OT period started, Canada looked dominant, and just as one of my friends uttered the words "Please let anyone score except Sidney Crosby," it happened. Then we all collectively threw up out of disgust as the announcers talked about what a hero Crosby is. He seems more like a d bag to me. And that's why he's coming in at number 2 on the d bag of the week list.

1. Josh from the Real World

Did anyone see the Real World-DC this week? I did. And watching it made me sick to my stomach. Usually I can watch a lot of really crazy shit go down in these reality shows and surprisingly not be that affected by what's happening. But in this case, I was upset after viewing the show. And so was Hoover. And mostly because of this guy's conduct. The dude has a girlfriend, who has visited the house before, yet he keeps making out with girls, hooking up with girls, bringing them back to the house and lying to his girlfriend about it. We get to watch this all unfold. And it's disgusting. In this particular episode, Josh brings a girl home and is in bed with her (2 days before his girlfriend is coming to visit), when his girlfriend calls on the phone. A roommate comes and tells him he has a phone call. He says to the girl next to him in bed "Be right back," then goes upstairs to take the call. He tells her he was just passed out, she asks if he was "good" that night, he says yes. She talks about how she's so excited to see him, he agrees. They hang up, he goes back to the biddy in his room. Girlfriend comes to visit, Josh's roommates are put into a weird position of pretending like Josh isn't a huge scumbag that cheats on her. Then, two days after his girlfriend leaves, he is out and brings a girl home and decides he wants to have sex with her. So he does the most logical thing he can think of - calls his girlfriend and breaks up with her. Hangs up on her as she cries, leaves the phone off the hook so she can't call back, then bangs the girl he's brought home. That's basically the play-by-play. And it didn't sit well with me. Or Hoover. And when you make Hoover upset, you KNOW you're a d bag. End of story.

Honorable mention - the other men of the Real World-DC. This week's episode was just a gross collection of these guys being d bags. Headed up by Josh, but then brought home by Ty drunkenly following Emily around harassing her before causing horrible bodily harm to Andrew, who showed a little d baggery earlier in the show when talking about taking a girl out to dinner because he wanted to have sex with her again. Then adding, why else would you take a girl out to dinner?

Congratulations to all the d bags that made the cut. Tune in next week for five more.