Tuesday, July 26, 2011

New Music Tuesday: G. Love, We the Kings, and Some New (and Unusual) Artists and Bands

Good afternoon! I hope everyone is doing well.

I have found a handful of new songs for you this week. A few of the artists/groups are new to the music scene, while others have not been exposed to the mainstream radio stations (which isn't a bad thing). Please enjoy what I believe will be a lot of new discoveries for you...

G. Love "Just Fine"

G. Love is an artist I discovered in the spring, after finding one of his cd's in my house (my family has a friend that likes making copies of cd's for us). I love how his music is simple and very down to earth. I know a lot of people who will be able to relate to this song. It's very beautiful and I'm definitely investing in this new album. I highly recommend checking out more of his music... it's worth it :-)

We The Kings "Friday is Forever"

According to music, Friday is a pretty popular day (Rebecca Black had to start the trend, didn't she?). Does anyone else have the urge to gather a bunch of friends, drive to the beach, and use this song as a reminder of how awesome of a day you will have/just had? This is definitely a feel good song for the end of summer.

*I've known about We The Kings for a few years now (thanks to David Cook), but now I know that they are a very talented group of guys.

Cherri Bomb "The Pretender"

Rocker girls doing a cover of a Foo Fighters song... badass! I like them a lot. :-)

All Time Low "Forget About It"

All Time Low has joined the "use concert footage for a music video" club. I like how they added some animated lyrics to the video... it helps make it stand out. I really like the song. It makes me want to sing along with a group of friends while gathered around a bonfire and having lots of drinks. It's just a feel good song that you want to sing!

Jacob Latimore "Nothing on Me"

You know, for a 14 year old (nearly 15), Jacob has moves! Some users on YouTube are calling him the black Justin Bieber... yeah, I can see that. I love the beat of the song and it goes well with all the dancing in the video. Excellent combination. Only time (and a fanbase) will tell if he's going to stay in the spotlight...

Teddybears featuring Cee Lo Green and the B52's "Cho Cha"

The collaboration of Cee Lo Green and the B-52's with an artist I haven't heard of... I knew I was in for something interesting. After watching the video... interesting is an understatement. I immediately got the creeper/borderline pedophile vibe from the guy, and it did not settle well with me. By the end of the video, I was cheering the girl on for seeking vengeance on the guy (after her transformation). The song is pretty catchy, though. I'll have to look into more music from Teddybears.

That's it for this week's New Music Tuesday... see you next time!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

New Music Tuesday: A Few Indie Rock Artists, Gavin DeGraw, Gym Class Heroes, Cobra Starship and DJ Khaled

Well, summer is definitely here. Most of the country is suffering high temperatures, heat advisories, and little precipitation. Kansas City is no exception. My fellow residents and I will be suffering the heat all week and seeking out a lot of quality time at the pool or in air conditioning. It's just miserable, but no different than any other summer. For those staying indoors like myself, please enjoy several new music videos while drinking lots of water and refreshments!

Cults "Go Outside"

I posted the song several months ago, hoping the video was just around the corner. Oh well, it's here now! Some of you may recognize the song from television commercials. I like how they used old news footage and other footage (from the late 1970's) to make their video. It makes the nostalgic feel more unique. :-)

The Wooden Birds "Two Matchsticks"

I am really getting into Indie Rock lately. This song is peaceful, yet upbeat and makes me want to nod my head along to the music. The video is very unique. I love how the candle wax transforms the logs into animate objects. There are times I'm so focused on the video that I am not paying attention to the song. Very pleasing to the eyes and ears!

Faded Paper FIgures "METROPOLIS"

The first thing I noticed about the song was how it reminded me of the music in the children's show Yo Gabba Gabba. Add the robotic individual surrounded by people, and I got that same feeling toward the tv show. Then, when the robot goes to work, I think about the movie Office Space (that movie will always make me think of cubicles differently). Overall, I really like this song and the video is entertaining :-)

Gavin DeGraw "Not Over You"

I fell in love with this song from the first verse. I'm happy that Gavin is back with new, and really awesome music! The video is very sweet. I like seeing the video played out in a split screen, between Gavin and the women of his interest. I cannot wait to hear this song on regular rotation on the radio!!!

Gym Class Heroes feat. Adam Levine "Stereo Hearts"

Another split screen format video, but this one is much more entertaining! I love how Gym Class Heroes and Adam Levine collaborated to make such a beautiful and catchy song! I did catch the Katy Perry reference that Travie McCoy made in the lyrics, but what better therapy to put his pain in his lyrics? I love seeing the lyrics in the video. Not only will I be learning the lines easier, but they were executed in an artful and fun way. This song is awesome and perfect for the end of summer.
Cobra Starship feat. Sabi "You Make Me Feel..."

I like the idea of going to a club and taking pics in a photo booth describing how you feel that night. For two people to find each other through using the same descriptive word was sweet. I recommend paying attention to the random people getting their pictures taken... you may see some cameos (*cough* Robin Williams *cough*). The song is also sweet, and one to easily find yourself dancing to in a club.

DJ Khaled feat. Drake, Rick Ross, Lil Wayne "I'm On One"

Before I discuss the song/video, I need to point something out. Why is there this mega trend with rap artists constantly collaborating with each other on multiple tracks? I like all the artists, but to see more collaborative singles than of singles featuring an individual artist is starting to get a little ridiculous. End rant.

I thought this song was pretty catchy. I loved Drake's lines the best, especially about the mixed drinks. The video is okay... nothing really special about it. I'll stick with the song.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Movie Monday: A Battle at Hogwarts

The weekend is over. For many of you, it's back to the grind. For me, I have a day to relax after having four busy, yet fun days. My "weekend" started Thursday night, after finding last minute tickets to a Midnight showing of the movie I have been most excited to see this year....

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II

Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint), and Hermoine (Emma Watson) are still on the hunt to find all of Voldemort's (Ralph Fiennes) Horcruxes. They come up with a plan to break into Bellatrix Lestrange's (Helena Bonham Carter) vault in Gringott's, with the help of one of the goblins. After a complicated journey to London, the trio find themselves back in Hogsmeade where they plan to sneak into Hogwarts to find another Horcrux. They know they don't have much time, since Voldemort will know of their whereabouts. When Harry reveals himself in the Great Hall, Headmaster Snape (Alan Rickman) leaves the school grounds. As both sides prepare for battle, Harry, Ron, and Hermoine must finish destroying all the Horcruxes in order for Harry to defeat Voldemort... or die trying.

Eight months ago, I was celebrating my 27th birthday with the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I. I absolutely loved it and could not wait for Part II to come out. I was impressed to see that the first minute of Part II was a repeat of Voldemort seizing the Elder Wand. Out of all the Harry Potter films, this one was the most action packed and the most emotionally gripping. I know that a lot of you are probably thinking that it's emotional because it's the final film. While that is true, it is also very emotional for other reasons.... mainly with the montage of Snape's past memories (I was crying by the end of the montage). It was VERY well done. You know that you are watching a great film when you not only get sucked into the action, but you find yourself getting emotional over a character's feelings toward someone else.

As for the action sequences, I doubt anybody was disappointed. The scene in Gringott's was exactly as I expected (with the exception of several characters omitted from the scene- compared to the book). Once Harry, Ron, and Hermoine ended up in Hogsmeade (which was about 1/2 hour into the movie), I had a brief absence of mind in realizing that we had already made it toward the beginning of the final battle. I loved that so much of the film was dedicated to all of the activity that happens in and around Hogwarts.

Another surprise that I loved about this film was the addition of several new actors/actresses to the film series. So many smaller characters were introduced (or current characters with childhood counterparts) and each one of them contributed to the film very well. I also loved that the final film brought back so many characters from all of the films (dead and alive). It made that feeling of the final film more obvious and put a smile on my face to see each past character come back.

What I love about going to see movies like Harry Potter on opening day/night is the audience participation. I'm not talking about Rocky Horror Picture Show kind of participation, but being with a group of dedicated fans and reacting together to certain elements of the film together. For instance, one of the best lines in the final book is said by Mrs. Weasley (and had it's own Facebook page shortly after the book was released). When she said the line in the film, the audience and I cheered and applauded it. It's moments like that one that make me excited to go to Midnight Showings (and I take advantage of several each year).

Out of all of the Harry Potter films, both Deathly Hallows films were my absolute favorite. It makes me wish that Order of the Phoenix and Half-Blood Prince were also split into two films (more so Order of the Phoenix because that was really lacking a lot of what I loved about the book). For those who have never read any of the books (and I know a few friends who haven't), this final film will impress you beyond anything you've seen in the prior films. I might have to see this movie again... but this time in 3D!! Rating 5 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

New Music Tuesday: Skylar Grey's First Single, Sade, Beyonce, and Funeral Party

Good morning to my friends and readers! Compared to my massive New Music Tuesday blog from last week, this one is relatively smaller. I only have four new songs this week and I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!!!

Skylar Grey "Dance Without You"

After noticing Skylar's vocal talents on Dr. Dre's "I Need a Doctor" and Diddy Dirty Money's "Coming Home," I wanted more. So imagine how excited I was to find this music video a few days ago. I like how her solo work is vastly different than the singles she has been featured on. Her music reminds me of a mix of 90's Jewel and Alanis Morrisette. I love that the video takes place in an exam room of a mental hospital.... it helps make the impact of the lyrics more powerful. I wish the song was a little bit longer, since it's just under three minutes. I am looking forward to what the future holds for Skylar Grey.

Sade "Love is Found"

Sade has one of the most beautiful voices in the music industry right now. I first recognized it a few years ago, watching the first Sex and the City film. With her latest album release, I have been able to listen to a lot more of her work and have enjoyed it. The video is unique with her singing in a studio with dancers behind her and on the screen. Adding the black and white color scheme and it makes the song and video feel more classic.

Beyonce "Best Thing I Never Had"

This is probably the most beautiful hate song I have ever heard. If you feel deceived by the video, don't... I will explain. You see Beyonce and her man at a school dance, where he's dancing/flirting with other women. You also see Beyonce getting ready for her wedding day, which brings back memories of her ex and how she is happy that she saw him for who he was. If she didn't, she wouldn't be marrying the man that is perfect for her. I love how beautiful the video is... Beyonce has natural beauty, inside and out.

Funeral Party "Finale"

This song and video reminds me of living in a college town where some fraternity or sorority is having a mega party with a band. I don't mean that in a bad way. The song is catchy and would go great in such a setting... and lots of beer. Then again, I could also see the scene played out at some underground bar in New York City. Good job, Funeral Party. Oh, and interesting name :-)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Movie Monday: Pregnancy, Unique Individuals, Racism, Minions, and a Teen Gone Demon

Happy Monday afternoon everybody! I hope you guys are doing what you can to keep yourself cool this summer. The KC metropolitan area is under a heat advisory so I am determined to stay indoors. Knowing that today is free Slurpee day at 7-Eleven is appealing to get out of the house, but I think I will pass on the icy goodness this year. Anyway, I have five movies to review for you this week. Please, enjoy the clips and reviews!!!


Juno (Ellen Page) is a 16 year old high school student who discovers that losing her virginity got her pregnant. After considering an abortion, she decides to look into adoption. After she finds a possible family, she reveals to her parents and boyfriend Paulie (Michael Cera) of her pregnancy and her intentions for the baby. As she moves forward with the pregnancy, she deals with scrutiny by her classmates and friends and develops a friendship with the adoptive parents, Vanessa (Jennifer Garner) and Mark Loring (Jason Bateman).

I have had several friends tell me I HAVE to see this movie. I liked this movie a lot more than I thought. I really loved the friendship that Juno and Mark had with each other, bonding over music and rock bands. Juno is one of those fearless, unique people... you have to have a friend like that to make life just that more interesting. I admired her decision to give up the baby for adoption and to immediately take action in finding a family. It's not usual to see that in a 16 year old. Oh, Juno made slushees cool, unlike Glee. Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Garden State

After a several year absence from his hometown, Andrew Largeman (Zach Braff) comes home to attend his mother's funeral. As he is visiting with family and friends, he feels out of place and developed sporadic headaches. He decides to visit a local doctor, where he meets a girl named Sam (Natalie Portman), who has a unique way of living that intrigues him. Andrew decides to stop using all of his medications and stay in town for a few more days to spend time with Sam and his buddy Mark (Peter Sarsgaard).

I had no idea that Zach Braff had written and directed this film, but he certainly made an amazing one! It made me appreciate myself more for looking at people as awesome, unique individuals. It shows that two people with a lot of personal problems can find a relationship with one another. I loved how Sam strives to be the most unique person she could be and did not care what anyone else thought about herself. She opened Andrews eyes to a whole world of possibilities in which he was never going to be the same again. Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5 stars

A Time to Kill

In the town of Canton, Mississippi, the community is torn apart over a series of crimes. A young black girl named Tonya (RaĆ©Ven Larrymore Kelly) is kidnapped and raped by two racist white men. The men are arrested and sit in jail until their preliminary hearing. As they are walked to the courtroom, Carl Hailey (Samuel L. Jackson), Tonya's father, emerges from a closet and shoots both men to death and injures a police officer. Carl asks his friend Jake Brigance (Matthew McConaughey) to defend him in court. Freddie Cobb (Keifer Sutherland) asks the KKK to help him and his family get the justice they deserve after his brother and friend were murdered. As the community prepares for the trial, those that are defending Carl and his family find themselves in danger.

This is one of those movies I wished was part of my junior high or high school curriculum. It is one of those movies that can lead to many discussions and easy material to use to write a term paper. The film stirred a lot of controversy in the town and made everyone question the racial implications surrounding both crimes. I thought the story was executed very well... there was just enough side story but not too much to bore or confuse anyone watching the film. You saw both sides of the crimes and understood why the the jury ended up with the final verdict. This is one of those films that should be seen at some point in a person's lifetime- preferably sooner than later. Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Despicable Me

Gru (Steve Carrell) is a criminal mastermind that wishes to steal the Moon. In order to accomplish this, he must get a weapon inside the home of his nemesis, Vector (Jason Segel). After several failed attempts he finds out that Vector has a sweetness for cookies, sold by three little orphan girls. Gru decides to adopt the girls in order to execute his evil plan, but has no idea what is in store for him otherwise.

I came across this movie one night and my son walked in at the very moment I found it. He and I spent the rest of the evening enjoying the film while having fits upon fits of laughter (more him than me- I have never seen him laugh so much and so hard at a movie, EVER). The plot is easy to follow for all ages and there are a few movie/music references that all adults will enjoy. I don't see how anyone would not love the Minions, with all their silly antics. They are one of the best things about this movie. I definitely recommend this for a family night film or for anyone who is still a kid at heart. Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5 stars

Jennifer's Body

Needy (Amanda Seyfried) and Jennifer (Megan Fox) have been best friends since they first played in the sandbox together as little girls. They go to the local bar one night to check out a band, and end up fleeing the building after it catches fire. Jennifer goes with the band and freaks Needy out until she shows up, covered in blood, at her house hours later. Jennifer shows up at school the next day looking like nothing happened, but has an insatiable appetite for human flesh. The entire town quickly realizes that the high school males are in danger and Needy knows why.

For a movie that has been dubbed the worst one out there... I would have to disagree. I've seen worse. I'll admit that there were many things that made me laugh in its ridiculousness, but as a whole, I was actually liking the movie. The characters in the film were extremely stereotypical when it came to high school standards. The acting was pretty decent and I thought Megan Fox did a lot better in this film than the Transformers movies. I also geeked out when there was a Rocky Horror Picture Show reference, when one of the students asked out Jennifer to go to a midnight showing. Many of you may think this film is stupid (or will if you ever decide to watch it) but I cant help but like it. Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Literary Thursday: Mockingjay

I borrowed, I read, I conquered. In less than a month, I read The Hunger Games trilogy. I started the series, knowing it was aimed for young adults, that it might be along the lines of The Twilight Saga... in regards to how it would be portrayed as innocent. Oh, how relieved I was to discover I was very, VERY wrong. Before I get off subject, I'm going to move forward with the review of the final book... Mockingjay.

I need to apologize on the tardiness of this blog post. Between working on the last of the Musical blog challenge, working on my weekly blogs, and developments in my personal life, I just haven't been motivated to finish this entry. Better late than never!

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

A month after the unexpected end to the Quarter Quell, Katniss Everdeen explores her home in District 12, which was destroyed by the Capitol. She, others from 12, and several rebels have been living in District 13, which was supposedly destroyed 75 years ago. They are becoming accustomed to the military-styled life, under the care of district President Coin. As many of the districts are rebelling against the Capitol, District 13 has taken charge of the ultimate goal: to overthrow the Capitol with Katniss at the symbol of the rebellion... as the Mockingjay.

When I first started reading the series, I read a couple reviews about how their government parallels to our current situation in the United States. I do recognize some of that, but the way these books are written seemed more like a caste system, with social status and occupation playing huge roles in each of the districts. This book is solely focused on rebelling against the government and attempting to overthrow them.

Compared to the first two books, this one has a completely different tone to it, but it transitions very well for the reader. The transition from innocent teen to wise young adult is remarkable with Katniss. Sure, she's still stubborn and acts out impulsively, but she's looking at the big picture with a logical, matured attitude. During the rebellion, Katniss also realizes things about herself... good and bad. Having a lot of periods of solitude contributed to her own self discovery, which has helped her focus on the tasks she will be doing as the Mockingjay. She also works on her trust issues with people in general. She needs to rely on others and work as a team to accomplish their goals during the rebellion... especially those that she felt she betrayed in the past.

One of the biggest things I have learned about trilogies (thanks to the movie Scream) is that in the third one, something is revealed that changes the course of things. Rules change. True colors are shown. This book fits that mold. I'm not going to give any spoiler alerts, but the events that unfold in the last 100 pages were things I never would have predicted... and I liked the element of surprise. It made the end of the book more exciting and interesting than I could have ever imagined. Rating 4.5 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A Blog Award? For Me?? Sweet.

So, my dear friend from high school, Aggy, has given me a blog award. The "Stylish Blog Award." How very exciting for me!!! In honor of this, I am supposed to show my appreciation by telling my readers seven things about myself.

**Hey... I've needed to write something personal about myself for a while now. Might as well take advantage! **

1. I have wanted to get a tattoo since I was about 16 years old. That's when I decided that I would get a panda (my favorite animal) but I haven't chosen the exact design that I want. Once I find one, I will wait at least six months to make sure that I can live with that decision. Then, I have no idea where I would want it. Near a shoulder blade? Maybe. One of my hips? Possibly. I'll figure it out someday, LOL

2. I have never, ever mowed the grass. My Dad always mows the lawn at home and my-ex husband did when we were married. Of the few times where I would have had to do it myself, someone seemed to have stepped up before I did. For example, after my Dad had bypass surgery, I was going to take care of the lawn. However, two of our neighbors took turns in taking care of it until my Dad started doing it again. I'm not against mowing the lawn, but maybe someday I will find myself behind the mower.

Oh, and sitting on my Grandpa's lap when I was a toddler doesn't count... even if the grass was actually getting cut when bonding with him :-)

3. I have been thinking about signing up for Burlesque classes. Being involved in The Rocky Horror Picture Show has introduced me to a lot of people involved in burlesque. Back in December, I talked with a woman who teaches Beginning Burlesque with the Kansas City Cabaret and expressed my interest in signing up. At the time, my work schedule prevented me from it, but since that is changing (and I will be making more money) I am going to see what I can be available to do.

I already have a stage name... Sunshine Daydream. :-)

4. I love having a lot of color in many aspects of my life. If you look in my closet or dresser, you will see a lot of color variety. If I go clothes shopping, I tend to look for colors I might be lacking. Earlier this year, I purchased a dark yellow tank top, hot pink panties, dark blue jeans, emerald green panties, Irish knee-high socks, a bright purple tank top, and two black work t-shirts... all because I was lacking those colors in my wardrobe (okay... a couple were more about necessity, but the color thing still applies, LOL).

5. I have painted my fingernails and toenails less than five times in my life. It's just one of those girly things that I never got into. When I did, they were always either dark colors (blue, purple) or one of those silver or gold accents.

6. I've started couponing. The main reason for doing so is not to hoard hundreds of sticks of deodorant or condiments, but to be able to save as much money as I can with a very small income. Since my hours were cut twice in June, I was down to having significantly low paychecks every two weeks. Using coupons, combining them with in-store sales, and investigating which stores allow double coupons have resulted in some pretty awesome deals for me. I've always been about saving money, but this really helps out when times get tough.

7. I really, really REALLY want to attend a gay wedding. I could even go as far as be part of the wedding party. With more states allowing gay marriage, I hope to see that trend continue so I can see some of my friends get the chance to celebrate the day in front of friends and family :-)

And now, to give shout outs to seven other blog writers that I feel are worth reading (in no particular order)...

1. My buddy Valorie, who was inspired to blog because of me (hey, she said it!) and has already written a great entry that combines hilarity with something we all can relate to.
2. TOAR aka Thoughts of a Randomista. She writes some blogs that are hilarious, others that get me thinking about my childhood and teen years, and can do a good serious minded blog. I never know what I'm going to find next on her blog.
3. Uncovering Pamela- a social network buddy/ fellow KC native that writes about the struggles of weight loss and of her life
4. Single Dad Laughing- a hilarious and heartwarming blog by a single father living in Utah (I have posted several of his entries on my Facebook from time to time)
5. Darnack, another social network buddy of mine that started blogging because of me. He's definitely a nerd and a gamer, and happily expresses those things through his writing.
6. Nicole Alicia, another Kansas City woman (like myself) who blogs about a lot of different things.
7. And, of course, Aggy herself, who not only was the reason behind this blog, but she is a brilliant writer and does great illustrations with her blog entries (not to mention I did a guest blog for her last month).

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

New Music Tuesday: Limp Bizkit, Lady Antebellum, Coldplay, and SO MUCH MORE!!!

Happy Tuesday everyone! I hope all the fireworks and festivities from last night have not affected your hearing. I have found a LOT of new music over the past several days and hope you guys are ready for some new summertime hits. Oh, and by some hits, I mean eleven. :-)

Limp Bizkit "Gold Cobra"

Several months ago, Fred Durst tweeted that a new album was in the works. I was very excited to hear about that and have been waiting for the day to listen to the first single, Gold Cobra. From the first line, I found myself reliving my junior year of high school and wanting more. I admit that it's not their best, but a great way to get their fans pumped for new music. The video is hilarious. Welcome back, Limp Bizkit!!!

Matt and Kim "Block After Block"

When I saw this video, I realized that I recognized the song and artist. I had this song in my ITunes library, courtesy of a free "Made in Brooklyn" playlist I took advantage of downloading (my personal philosophy-take advantage of free music. It's an awesome way to discover new songs and if it sucks, it didn't cost you anything). The song is catchy and unique. I love watching the video as Matt and Kim (and others) run around New York City like it's their own playground.

Coldplay "Every Teardrop is a Waterfall"

I will admit that I took notice of the video before the song. It's just so damned colorful!!! It made me want to paint, draw with sidewalk chalk, and color... also known as bringing out the kid in me. It disturbed me a little bit to see Chris Martin in the beginning of the video. The camera effects were making him look like he was shaking off some sort of drug and he needed more to regain composure. The song was pretty good... catchy enough for it to get stuck in your head after listening to it on the radio.

Katy B feat. Ms. Dynamite "Lights On"

A few weeks ago, I posted DJ Earworm's latest mashup. I noticed a female pop singer that I did not recognize so I looked her up. Katy B. had a few songs on her YouTube account and this is the song that was featured in the mashup. It's an okay song... one that I might dance to at a club but also one that I'm not jumping at the opportunity to add to my music library either.
Enrique Iglesias feat. Usher and Lil Wayne "Dirty Dancer"

Well... I think Enrique was going for as close to soft core porn as he could with the video. That woman can really work a stripper pole... I could not look away! It's been interesting for me to see Enrique transform from singing beautiful ballads to creating some of today's best club/dance music. He does it well. Add Usher and Lil Wayne to the song and it's a very enjoyable song to dance to.

David Guetta feat. Flo Rida and Nicki Minaj "Where Them Girls At"

I must admit, this summer has some really great songs to dance to in a club, including this song. I like how David Guetta collaborates with a bunch of artists to help create his music. It's always pleasing to hear a new hit of his. I love the video and how it makes music travel through bubbles. A cool, childlike concept. Did anyone else think that when everyone popped the bubbles and started dancing, it reminded you of when Elaine danced on Seinfeld? It did for me... LOL

Tinie Tempah feat. Wiz Khalifa "Till I'm Gone"

So far, every song I have heard from Tinie Tempah has had someone collaborate with him. Just an observation. I'm digging this song, even though it's a little sad. I'm glad that he's getting more of his music out before he takes the stage at Kanrocksas next month. He'll definitely have a good following that will be singing along to his music while he's performing. Oh, and nothing says summer like walking around a city with palm trees :-)

Lady Antebellum "Just a Kiss"

Yay! New music from Lady Antebellum!!! I really like the song and how the lyrics are absolutely beautiful. I also love the video of two young adults traveling throughout Europe. They were having fun, enjoying the historical and pop culture landmarks, and falling for each other. Very pleasing to the eyes and the ears.

Kristin Chenoweth "I Want Somebody (Bitch About)"

I'm not at all surprised that Kristin is establishing a mainstream singing career, but I didn't necessarily expect it to be country... considering her talents performing in Broadway musicals. I thought the video was pretty cheesy. The song is alright... cutesy but not something that I will play over and over again.

Jason Aldean "Dirt Road Anthem"

The song... driving on a dirt road and reflecting on past memories. I can completely relate to that... as can many others. I like how the video was filmed in black and white... it made the message of the song feel more nostalgic that way. I might have to add this song to my ITunes... I am in need of some recent country songs.

Shania Twain "Today is Your Day"

I have not heard any new music from Shania in years. This song is very inspirational, especially toward women. I read that this song is being used for some program for the WE channel (which I can totally see that). I'm glad to see that she's back in the music business, especially after all the relationship drama that has happened in her personal life. I hope that helps inspire some powerful songs in the future.

I hope to hear from everyone next week for another edition of New Music Tuesday!!!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Movie Monday: Disney Movies (Including Two Currently In Theaters)

This week's movie blog unintentionally turned into a themed one. I took my son to the drive-in the last weekend of June for a double feature of Disney movies. Then, a couple days ago, I was picking out a movie to watch and realized that, it too, was a Disney flick. By that point, I decided to keep the theme going and found one more Disney movie in my collection that had gone unwatched.

Now, to explore talking modes of transportation, Jack Sparrow, a movie adaptation of a C.S. Lewis novel, and a patriotic film sequel.

Cars 2

Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) has been happily living in Radiator Springs and has just won his 4th Piston Cup, which was renamed in honor of Doc Hudson (who passed away). As he returns home, there is major news of an alternative fuel sources called Allinol and an international race has been announced to support the new product. Lightning enters himself into the race after Mater (Larry the Cable Guy) defends his friend against Italian race car Francesco Bernoulli (John Tuturro). However, Mater finds himself working with Finn McMissile (Michael Caine) and Holly Shiftwell (Emily Mortimer) as an American spy to uncover a very sinister plan that is putting all of the race cars in danger.

There is a reason why Disney/Pixar films are popular... they are always entertaining, have plenty of humor for kids and adult, and it is guaranteed to be an overall great film. This movie is a great way to introduce spy movies to a new generation (like my son). I loved that the movie focused more on Mater than Lightning. It was a breath of fresh air to see the shift in lead characters. The story was pretty easy to follow, but I can see how some younger kids may not quite understand everything that's going on with the espionage-related subplot. It was very cool to see many parts of Europe and Asia done in the world of cars.. especially Japan. I will always love and recommend Disney/Pixar films to people of all ages. This is one that I recommend you check out while it is still in theaters. Rating 4 1/2 out of 5 stars

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) has returned to save Mr. Gibbs (Kevin McNally) from execution. As they are reunited, Jack runs into Angelica (Penelope Cruz), a former flame and daughter to the notorious pirate Blackbeard (Ian McShane). Both of them know Jack has a map that leads to the Fountain of Youth and force him onto Blackbeard's ship.

I will not be rating this film since I was not able to finish watching it. The movie was only halfway done by one in the morning (the night I saw it), and I needed to get my son home and put him to bed. From what I saw, I enjoyed it and am looking forward to seeing the rest. Fans of Jack Sparrow won't be disappointed but those who loved the Will and Elizabeth story may feel like something is missing from the film. I will leave this review as "TO BE CONTINUED..."

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe

There is a war and the Pevensie children are sent away to the country to stay with a Professor (Jim Broadbent). As they explore the mansion, the children decide to play a game of hide-and-seek. Lucy (Georgie Henley) seeks shelter in a wardrobe, which leads to the land of Narnia. She befriends a creature named Mr. Tumnus (James McAvoy) who tells her that a woman by the name of White Witch (Tilda Swinton) is trying to take over the land and has killed those who defy her. Lucy attempts to get her siblings to come with her, but they don't believe her until they find themselves hiding in the wardrobe. As the White Witch tries to kidnap the children, they seek the true ruler of Narnia, Aslan (Liam Neeson) and decide to fight with him.

I was not surprised that Disney wanted a piece of the "book series to movies" pie. As someone who only read about 1/3 of the first book as a child, I think they did a pretty good job depicting C.S. Lewis' fantasy book. I liked that Narnia and the creatures were very natural looking, compared to looking very CGI. The only trouble I had with the film was trying not to compare it to Epic Movie, which the main storyline of the parody revolved around this film. I will learn, from now on, to be sure to see the original movie before the parody. I recommend this movie to those that loved the books and to those who love epic battle movies that want to introduce their children to something that will be enjoyable for everyone. Rating 4 out of 5 stars

National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets

Two years after helping discover a massive treasure, Benjamin Gates (Nicholas Cage) is presenting pages from John Wilks Booth's diary. A man named Mitch Wilkinson (Ed Harris) presents a missing page from the diary, which holds life-altering information about the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Benjamin seeks out Riley (Justin Bartha) to help decipher the validity of this page, which leads to discovering more clues. Abigail (Diane Krueger) joins in on the investigation. Benjamin devises a plan to kidnap the President (Bruce Greenwood) to seek out The Presidents Book, which is rumored to hold the deepest secrets of the country's history... and possibly clues toward another hidden treasure.

I loved the first movie. It was a perfect blend of comedy, action, and full of historical facts about the United States... exactly what I would expect from a Jerry Bruckheimer film. However, the second one was not as good. I know that sequels try to duplicate what you love about the original and hype it up a bit. I did not see any of that with the sequel. The clues needed to find the treasure included breaking into Buckingham Palace, The Oval Office, and "kidnapping" the President to seek out the infamous book. It was on the ridiculous side. I'm definitely going to watch the original more often than this film. Rating 2.5 out of 5 stars

Happy 4th of July to my friends and family!!! Please, be smart and stay safe on this holiday! See you guys again next week for another Movie Monday blog! :-)