As you may or may not know, Kelly and I don't have TV. We have a TV, but no service. We had service but it was so patchy and the customer service so bad, we turned it off in protest.
So, for the last year or more, we have a laptop hooked up to the TV that we download movies and tv shows on. This still results in the fact that we watch a lot less TV then we used to. Sometimes, when we are feeling especially lavish, we rent a dvd. Recently, we've seen a bunch of movies, here are my reviews.
If you like Clint Eastwood, you're gonna love Gran Torino...exactly what you would expect and its good. Lots of good quotables and at 79, Clint is still kicking ass.
Clint Eastwood, gangs, bad neighborhood.....time to take out the trash !
I brought the escapist home, looked like a winner...it wasnt...boring...crap
Scottish Actor Brian Cox is always good (Braveheart, X-men, Troy, The Bourne Trilogy, Rob Roy), but this movie bored the pants off of me.
Ok Tom Cruise, I hate the fact that you're into that stupid wacko conman Scientology, but you make good movies. Thats why I picked up a copy of Valkyrie. It was just OK. Its pretty hard to bore me with a movie set during World War II, but this one barely held my interest. There were good parts. Anytime there is war, intrigue, nazis, shootings etc AND you throw in a star studded cast including Tom Cruise, Bill Nighy, Eddie Izzard, Terence Stamp AND Kenneth Branagh, the film should be awesome. It wasn't. It was....OK.
Thanks anyway.... Tom you nutjob scientologist wacko space worshiper.
The Big Sleep
When in doubt, we go for an old movie, preferrably with Humphrey Bogart, Katherine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, or the like. The Big Sleep is billed as the movie Bogey and Bacall were born to make...it was good....never disappointed with one of the oldies.
Will Smith...who doesnt like Will Smith ? Watching his career go from the Fresh Prince to huge mega films like Independence Day, Men in Black, Ali, The Pursuit of Happyness one cannot help but be impressed...but THEN the most likable celebrity of my generation ALSO becomes a freakin' Scientologist....WILL WHY WHY WHY !
I just googled Will and Scientology and this is what wikipedia says "
Smith has said he has studied multiple religions, (including Scientology) and he has said many complimentary things about Scientology and other faiths. Despite his praise of Scientology, Smith said "I just think a lot of the ideas in Scientology are brilliant and revolutionary and non-religious" and "Ninety-eight percent of the principles in Scientology are identical to the principles of the Bible.... I don't think that because the word someone uses for spirit is 'thetan' that the definition becomes any different", he has denied having joined the Church of Scientology, saying "I am a Christian. I am a student of all religions, and I respect all people and all paths." After his wife Jada made the film Collateral with Cruise in 2004, the couple donated USD$20,000 to Scientology's literacy campaign, called HELP, the Hollywood Education and Literacy Program, which is the basis for Scientology's home-schooling system.
Hancock was a good superhero flick, not your standard approach...I enjoyed the heck out of it.
Wacko Scientologist, Scientologist supporter or not Will, I like your movies.
Man on Wire
I had heard this documentary was good. Its about the French dude who did a tightrope walk between the Twin Towers in 1974. Its a fascinating story. The more you watch it, the more you can't believe that he & his friends pulled the whole thing off, especially setting it up. Then you get to watch him actually walk a wire, 1350 feet in the air...and watch the dumb comments made by the NYPD. Good stuff.
Kingdom of Heaven
Kingdom of Heaven, for me, is in the same category as Braveheart, Gladiator and all the other epic guy movies that include some sort of bloodbath battle. I have seen this movie many times, and as it centers on a period I am fascinated with, The Crusades, I rented it again just in case the other movies sucked. Once again, Kingdom of Heaven was worth the time invested.
The Big Red One
The story of the 1st Infantry Division in World War II, starring Lee Marvin and Mark Hammill (fresh off the set of Star Wars). This movie came out in 1980 and was critcally acclaimed at the time, and still is. It came out before all the modern day war movies, even Platoon. At the time, it was one of the most realistic War movies made. Unbelievably, I havent seen it since I saw it on HBO in the early 80's, so it was a nice treat. I enjoyed it, although it is dated in its special effects etc now. Lee Marvin....you were a tough bastard.
Two weeks ago we had our tryouts for the National Team in preparation for our entry in the Celtic Cup Tournament in Mid-August. We will travel to Scotland to play Wales, Scotland and France and defend our title. Go Ireland !
Recently, we had a lovely visit from Cousin Kris and Friend Jen from Long Island. They got to see Ireland via a few day trips to Northern Ireland and Wicklow. We also showed them around Dublin, all the usual spots of course. I'm sure Kelly will blog about that sometime soon.
Although my wife is an American of Irish & German heritage, she thinks she is from the shores of some sunny Mediterranean land. If left on her own, everyday she would eat olives, hummus, baba ganoush , falafel, pesto, tzatziki, and anything else they eat in Greece or places like that. I love the food too, but my wife is obsessed !
We haven't had a dinner conservation in two years that didnt include her suggesting "Ohhhhhh we could go to that Lebanese place downtown?" In fact, when Frankie was visiting recently, we went to the Lebanese place...and even ended up buying a couple of bottles of wine to go !
above, our weekly cheese/olive/hummus,tomato,pesto,homemade bab ganoush dinner.
All this is washed down with red wine from the region....of course.
When Flaco (Will) was visiting on his way back to NY from Beijing, he brought me a nifty little sword souvenir...nice huh ?
NO ! Not nice...I have somehow developed a habit of picking it up and unsheating it, and resheathing it over and over again when I'm pacing around on the phone.
The other day I realized, after a 45 minute conference call, that I had been doing this with the drapes open and my neighbors were staring at me with puzzled looks...they quickly looked away when I looked at them....because I was carrying a freakin sword...oh brother.
The Natural Resources Defense Council and Greenpeace commenced campaigns critical of the peculiar preference of Americans for ultra-soft or quilted toilet paper. In less-picky Europe and Latin America, 40 percent of toilet paper is produced by recycling, but American's demand for multi-ply tissue requires virgin wood for 98 percent of the product. The activists claim that U.S. toilet paper imposes more costs on the planet than do gas-guzzling cars.
Some people are most comfortable alone, some people prefer a small group of friends, and some people just like big parties. My Grandfather was the latter. A big party was his time to shine, he sang, he told stories, he liked to pal around with his brothers, nephews, cousins etc.
It was only fitting that we had my Grandfathers memorial service on Memorial Day weekend followed by a big Maddock party in Aunt Jackie's backyard like days of old. There was singing and storytelling, food, drink and above all else, laughter.
It was the first time in a long while that many of us were together.
Its always good to see Barry, in from California/Argentina
above, Dad, Barry and Alli (Rock Star)
below, Aunt Gloria (the coolest!) , me and my Dad.
Somebody had a great idea for a cake !
and when was the last time the 5 of us in my family were all together in NY ? Who knows !
Brian & I, Alli, Dad & Mom Looking good Arnolds....looking good.
Going through our old pics from last year, it occurred to me that I never blogged about Bruges !
If you haven't already seen it, go rent "In Bruges". Its a great film and it is of course set in Bruges. We watched it just before we went over and it provided many laughs/quotes for us later.
Bruges is in the Flemish area of Belgium and is a remarkably well preserved medieval city. Read more about it here
We traveled with the usual suspects, Mike and Patrice, and spent 3 days exploring.
Bruges is a very beautiful city, even when the weather isnt totally cooperating.
Much like Amsterdam, it is crisscrossed with canals.
Tourists flock here, so there are plenty of festivals to take part in.
We had some DELICIOUS meals....and oh so yummy Belgian beer.
above, Pate', salad and toast appetizer below, Rabbit served in the Flemish manner, in a thick plum sauce. I had this for dinner two nights in a row its do darned tasty ! Sitting across from me, Mike had the mussels in a white wine and garlic sauce...also wonderful.
Dessert ? Sure, I'll have the flaming pie. Notice the giant dice salt shaker ?