California, here we come... for hearty holiday happenings!

Thanks for visiting my website! We're touring southern California's "Inland Empire" -- Palm Desert, Cathedral City, and Escondido. My husband and I send our best wishes to you, your family and friends for the holidays.

Back at you in 2009!


UPDATE: We've run into record rains for December in the California desert -- 2.25 inches of rain in two days, the largest amount recorded here since 1940. Meanwhile, at our home in the suburbs of Portland, Oregon area, our neighbors tell us there are ten inches of snow. This is only one of two Christmases that will be "white" since they began keeping records!

Movie Review: “I Can’t Think Straight” – a sexy romance with a dash of political bite


Two gorgeous women from different religious and ethnic backgrounds find each other in this sensitive and beautiful film. I think the cinematography, set design, and music are excellent, and the evolving relationship quite believable. Be aware there are discreet woman-to-woman love scenes which are all handled deftly and with great tact.

The double-meaning of this foreign film’s title came to me a little late. I’m acquainted with several same-sex women (and men) who are married to each other or living in long-term relationships. However, the focus of this movie is somewhat unusual for general audiences.

There are also added political themes about Middle Eastern ethnic and religious divisions. These positions are expressed usually through the musings of an older female character. As an active senior woman, who accepts her own two children who practice different religions from me, I do feel somewhat chagrined. This is stereotyping -- because older women do not necessarily fit into these circumscribed cubbyholes. Even the juxtapositioning of world problems within a very personal romantic film is a bit jarring, but ultimately, I accept it.

I’m giving this movie a “B” on Ellen’s Entertainment Report Card. The movie has received an MPAA rating of PG-13. The trailer and other information is here:

The movie opens on Friday, December 12, 2008 at Portland’s Hollywood Theater (Oregon) and is scheduled to play through Tuesday, December 23, 2008. Check out the map for a street location, as well as the film schedule of this historic Oregon theater. There's more information at this website.

Distribution is limited nationwide. Kindly check your local independent theaters for other bookings of the film “I Can’t Think Straight.”

Movie Synopsis:

Tala, a London-based Jordanian of Palestinian origin, prepares for an elaborate wedding with her Jordanian fiancé, when she encounters a timid Leyla, a young British Indian woman who is dating her best friend Ali.

Tala comes from a spirited Christian family, but Leyla’s strong Muslim upbringing could not be more different from each other but the attraction is immediate between both girls. Tala’s feisty nature provokes Leyla out of her shell and soon both women reveal their feelings for each other.

However, Tala is not ready to accept the implications of the choice her heart has made and escapes back to Jordan where her chain-smoking, high-brow mother finishes preparations for her ostentatious wedding. As family members descend and the wedding day approaches, simmering family tensions come to boiling point and the pressure mounts for Tala to be true to herself and she breaks off the wedding.

Meanwhile a heartbroken Leyla relishes her newly found sense of identity and self-respect and moves on with her new life – much to the shock of her parents.

Single again, Tala flies back to London – but it will take more than just a date set up by Ali and Leyla’s sister Zina to win Leyla back.

The international cast headed by Canadian actress Lisa Ray (Deepa Mehta’s Water – which garnered a Best Foreign Picture Academy Award® nomination in 2007). Her performance in Water also earned her the Best Actress Award from the Vancouver Film Critics Circle.

Other cast includes: Sheetal Sheth (Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World), comedic actress Nina Wadia (Bend it Like Beckham, Eastenders, Goodness Gracious Me) and Antonia Frering and Rez Kempton (The Mystic Masseur).

What would YOU save if our world was ending? "The Day the Earth Stood Still" Opens December 12

"The Day the Earth Stood Still" (1951), directed by Robert Wise, with Michael Rennie and Patricia Neal, is still one of my favorite movies of the science fiction genre.

Like other great movies, TDTESS (2008) has been revamped. If you want to see the 2008 trailer or be part of the social networking conceived by the movie studio -- asking what's vital to you and what would you save? -- click on the title to the the address link.

Do you remember this film?


Update: We decided to skip the 2008 preview... Maybe we will see it later.

by Radio_Lady
The original movie is screening on AMC. It will be repeated on Friday, Dec. 12, 2008 around 3 PM Pacific Time. Comcast carries AMC on Channel 71, but check your local listings. If you miss these screenings, please try to get a copy of the original film from 1951. It is an amazing movie!

Michael Rennie was so handsome. His son, Judge David Rennie, an English judge in Sussex, looks a little bit like him. Another son used his mother's name in Britain so he would not be accused of nepotism.

Regrettably, Michael Rennie died of a heart attack due to emphysema when he was only 62. He was a heavy smoker.

I never like to get in the middle of these discussions, but the original films always seem to outlast the re-makes. Weekend Box Office: A December Lull

Photo montage by davidskakk

Weekend Box Office: A December Lull as Openers Bust
by Eugene Novikov Dec 8th 2008 // 10:35AM

Holdovers ruled the box office as no one much cared about any of the movies that opened in wide release this weekend. Lexi Alexander's Punisher turned out to be a huge mistake, opening to a fraction of what the original Jonathan Hensleigh/Thomas Jane version did four and a half years ago. $4 million is painful, though not terribly surprising -- the film was marketed as a totally generic action movie, with no stars and no draw except the Punisher trademark. (The most recognizable name in the cast is probably Wayne Knight.)

Even worse off was the Alan Rickman-starring caper comedy Nobel Son. Tossed into 900 screens by indie Freestyle Releasing, the movie grossed all of $371,000, or $415 per screen -- a foregone conclusion. I'm not sure why Freestyle shelled out the money for such a relatively wide release, or what they were hoping for. Maybe a pre-Christmas miracle.

The "winner" among the weekend's new wide releases would have to be Cadillac Records, which managed a respectable $3.5 million on under 700 screens. That was enough for 9th place, just behind Punisher (on 2500 screens).

Leading the holdovers was Four Christmases, which took first place for a second straight weekend; it will have a tough time breaking $100 million, but should squeak to around $95. Twilight bummed around second place, and should be at $150 million by next week. Bolt finally took a hit after its excellent second weekend over Thanksgiving, and should top out around $95 million as well.

More at link: