Saturday, October 01, 2011

Movie Log 2011, Third Quarter

Go back to: First quarter or Second quarter.

I was slacking in the movie watching department this quarter! I'll have to catch up before the Oscars!

In theater:

-Bridesmaids: So funny and great. I just love Kristin Wiig!

-The Help: I loved this book and the movie was also pretty great. I was not sure how they were going to pull it off, but it was a good adaptation.

Via Netflix:

-Winter's Bone: Beautiful and haunting but a bit slow and anti climactic.
-Gonzo: Interesting but I felt like it started dragging during the last half hour or so.

-Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father: This documentary was very sad and almost unbelievable but also very touching. I really liked it even though it was pretty depressing.

-Gonzo: I forget the full title of this but it is a relatively recent documentary about Hunter S. Thompson. An interesting film about a man I knew very little about.

-Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired: This was a very interesting movie about Roman Polanski and all the drama surrounding him. I liked it very much.

-Bill Cunningham New York: I had heard a lot of great things about this documentary and finally it popped up on Netflix Instant. I loved this movie from start to finish. I wish Bill Cunningham was my grandpa.

I watched a few others, but nothing notable and I was bad about writing my instant impressions.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Movie Log 2011, Second Quarter

Second quarter of movies I have seen this year, 2011. (Go back to first quarter...)

In the theater:

Black Swan: Wow, so intense! From the start, not a dull moment. Thought the black swan character could have been more developed, but nonetheless, loved it.

Jane Eyre: A good interpretation of a great novel. I don't see why they had to start in the middle and tell the story in flashbacks but felt the essence of the love story remained intact. Loved it.

The King's Speech: This movie was a lot more entertaining than I thought it was going to be, though still a tad slow. I liked it a lot, nevertheless, and even watched a show on PBS about the real story the following day.

Beginners: I got to go to a free screening of this film and didn't expect too much from it. The movie was probably the best film I have seen in the theater in a very long time. It was very real and sad, about love and loss. Ewan MacGregor with an American accent is just a little bit weird though.

Midnight in Paris: Owen Wilson and Woody Allen found that time machine I have been searching for forever, and it's in Paris! This movie was so magical and I loved every minute of it, even though Owen Wilson usually kind of annoys me. When it ended I felt a little sad that it was over, the same way I feel about books that I love.

Water for Elephants: I read this book so long ago that I barely remember a lot of the details. I thought this movie was pretty good. I probably would have seen it even if I hadn't read the book, simply because I love circus stuff. But Reese W. and that kid from Twilight just were not very believable. The elephant was the star, obviously.


The 400 Blows: Watched this many years ago and was not disappointed with this revisit. Such a wonderful story of youth.

Dorian Gray: A newish interpretation of the Oscar Wilde story that came out in 2009 I think with Colin Firth playing Lord Henry. Recently read the book and figured why not watch the film? I kind of hated this movie and wished I did not watch it. They really kind of twisted the story, especially the ending and made it into a weird mystery, all while dragging the story on and on for no reason.

Pie in the Sky: A documentary about Brigid Berlin, an artist from the Andy Warhol factory days with OCD. A super interesting lady and I loved this movie.

The Joneses: When you are feeling Californication withdrawals, this dark comedy with David Duchovny and Demi Moore will fit the bill, even if the story is a bit ridiculous.

My Father, The Genius: This documentary focuses on a daughter following around her father, an architect, learning a lot about him and trying to understand him. I liked it quite a lot.

Dogtooth: This was the most disturbing movie I have seen in quite some time. Not unwatchable, very interesting and unpredictable. Netflix definitely had it categorized right under "dysfunctional family movies."

The Kite Runner: For some dumb reason I never read this book or saw this movie. I really enjoyed it and even cried a little bit. Now I wish I had read the book!

Hounddog: This movie sounded like a less depressing version of Precious. However, it was still pretty depressing even if it was filled with Dakota Fanning singing Elvis. Also, I hated the ending. (What gives with endings?!)

Beneath Our Skin: This was a very interesting documentary about Lyme Disease. An eye opening look at this overlooked disease and a peek into a handful of sufferers lives and doctors who treat the disease. I know this sounds boring, but it was seriously very interesting.

Upsidedown, The Creation Records Story: This documentary about Creation Records out of the UK was very entertaining even though it was quite hard to understand at least 1/3 of what everyone in it was saying. A great music documentary, especially if you are into shoegaze or britpop.

Pushing Daisies: Okay this isn't a movie, but I watched almost all of the 22 episodes in two weeks and that show was so great and cancelled too soon! (I am waiting to get the second season from the library to finish the last few episodes!)

I was hoping to get to see a bunch of movies at the Cannes Film Festival in May but that did not happen at all. Bummer.

Any recommendations???

Monday, May 09, 2011

Trip of a lifetime.

A while back you might remember I posted about a little film that Matthew and I worked on which won the 48 hour go green competition in Portland and was going on to be screened in Las Vegas along with the other winners from each competing city.

Shortly after finding out that we won for Portland, we found out that we had been picked as one of the top five films out of all the films (hundreds?) that participated in this worldwide competition!

So, what does that mean? It means that our film is being screened at the CANNES FILM FESTIVAL.

Matthew and I, along with the rest of the Monsieur Soeur team, are going to fly over to France to support our film, take a real vacation, get some sun, spot some celebs, drink loads of wine, eat fancy cheese, and take advantage of all the free museums!

Having never been anywhere outside of California, Oregon, Washington and Nevada nor been on a trip longer than seven days in my life, nor been on an airplane for longer than three hours, I am over the top excited/nervous and it feels like the last month and a half have been dragging on and on.

I have no idea what to expect. I am hoping to: sleep on the plane, not get lost, wear only dresses, meet friendly people, enjoy lots of sun, eat lots of delicious food and wine, see some great films, take lots of photos, and spend lots of time with my favorite guy. And as that lovely poster just above tells me, it's always sunny in the Cote d'Azur, which sounds absolutely magical.

We leave in about 24 hours and will be pretty out of touch for the duration of the trip. Wish me luck, and I'll be back in a couple of weeks!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Movie log 2011, First Quarter

I set out to see as many movies as possible in the theater during 2011 as my new year's resolution. I am going to post a quarterly rundown, including my immediate reactions. I am also going to include notable movies that I watched at home via Netflix instant watch, which tend to be documentaries!

Here goes...

In theater:
-True Grit. Loved it! Have to see the original now.

-The Fighter. Marky Mark and Christian Bale were both good but overall the film was too violent for me. Made me very nervous/anxious. Also the ending was stupid.

-Somewhere. Was excited to see this and it thoroughly bored me. An uninteresting and unfunny version of Lost in Translation. Another stupid ending.

-Tron Legacy in 3d. Creepy computerized Jeff Bridges aside, the movie was pretty cool.

-Barney's Version. Meh. A sad story about a not very likeable guy. Pretty forgettable. Kind of feel like I wasted my free movie ticket on this one.

-Red Riding Hood. I feel like this had the potential to be awesome but it was pretty much just like Twilight but with a little more artsy look and no vampires.

Via Netflix:
-Finding Sean. This was a random documentary I found on Netflix and loved. It centers on a 6 year old boy who grew up in the Haight district of San Francisco in the '60s. Really great footage from that time period.

-Exit Through the Gift Shop. This documentary was so great. I did not really know much about Banksy or street art or this film before I watched it which probably made me like it all the more.

-Alice Neel. I found this on Netflix after watching Exit Through the Gift Shop and was so glad I chose to watch it. Never had heard of this fantastic painter but now am a big fan! The film was made by her grandson which made it all the more personal.

-The Cats of Mirikitani. Another art documentary found from Netflix, this was a very touching and interesting story of a Japanese artist living in New York I had never heard of. His story was very interesting, and it has a happy ending.

-District 9. Finally watched this. My feelings are mixed. It was disarming, stressful, extremely engaging, interesting, sad and maybe too real. Liked it a lot but wouldn't want to watch it again, too draining.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I'm an aunt.

Last week I took some time off work to go visit my little sister, her husband, and their new baby! My little nephew Evan Matthew.

2011-03-15 santa rosa 019

He was kind of scared of me at first, or just a little confused why I looked so much like his mom but wasn't actually his mom and kept taking pictures of him!

2011-03-15 santa rosa 032

But he came around pretty quickly. I feel like he grew up noticeably just in the 4 days I was there! By the last day he was almost smiling! Little Evan is so super adorable and his big brothers are so excited to have another brother! I had a great time visiting with all of them and hope to get back soon.

2011-03-16 santa rosa 005

Enjoy this video of the little guy hiccupping which is the cutest/funniest ever.

The rest of my trip was filled with lots of friends, gin, dancing, delicious food and fun. I miss California but was so glad to get home to Portland.


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Watch our film! To the Land of the Setting Sun!

Hey friends, here is the latest film that Matthew and I worked on!

This film won Best Film, Audience Choice, and Best Writing in the 48 Hour Go Green 48 film competition in Portland! The film is now going on to be screened in Las Vegas along with the other competing cities' winning films.

We are so proud of this film and hope you enjoy it also! We have a very talented and fun team and I am glad to be part of it.

Watch the film here! (Vimeo won't let me embed it!)

See the rest of the film race films by Monsieur Soeur on Vimeo.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Random things

I don't have anything super important to post but since I am home from work due to a fine dusting of snow covering this fine city, I thought I ought to try to make some sort of cohesive blog post!

It is snowing like crazy outside, and I am so glad I stayed home from work. The coolest thing I found on the internet today while I was catching up on reading blogs is this super awesome stop motion video of a magical book shelf organizing itself!

The sheer patience and time it takes to create something like that is just astounding to me!

Tonight is a screening for the most recent film race that Matthew and I have participated in. I am super excited about this film and hope everyone loves it. I will post a link to the video when it is online. You can watch the one we did a few months ago here! I did most of the illustrations for it and am super happy with the way it turned out.

I finally listened to the new Radiohead Album, The King of Limbs, today and it is quite lovely. A little more mellow, ambient, toned down from In Rainbows but it is nice. I like it. It seems to fit my wintery mood of late. I intend to listen to it over and over and over again until I know it as well as In Rainbows which I LOVE.

I feel like 2011 is already zipping by and there are already so many plans for the rest of the year. Trips planned for March, May, July, August, October and December, not to mention all the awesome BBQs and hang outs that will be happening once summer hits! I can't wait. Sunshine that is actually warm! Quite a novelty.

In book news, I recently finished reading Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte and was genuinely surprised at how much I loved it! I am excited for the movie, even though I have my doubts that the movie will stay true to the book. Here are a couple of quotes I liked: "I am no bird; and no net ensnares me; I am a free human being, with an independent will; which I now exert to leave you." "Even for me life had it's gleams of sunshine." "Love is not so much a matter of romance as it is a matter of anxious concern for the wellbeing of one's companion."

I have made a sort of long-term goal (maybe ten years?) to read my way through as many of the supposed classics of literature as I can get through. In between each I will read something modern probably, just to break things up a bit and refresh my brain.

I am currently reading The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman and am about a third of the way through it so far. I like it just fine, am finding it easy to read and interesting, but it isn't blowing my mind or anything. Sort of comes across as a collection of short stories with loosely intertwined characters. We will see how it winds up.

What should my next classic be???? I have Picture of Dorian Gray and I think something by James Joyce on my Kindle so maybe one of those. I am completely open to suggestion on this, so help me out!

For Valentine's Day, my favorite gave me a Diana Mini. It is blue and covered in adorable little fluffy white clouds and I am anxious to see how the photos turn out! Another reason to wish for sunshine--prettier photos on real film! I will post some highlights here probably.

Ok going back to watching the snow and listening to jams. <3

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


I am so excited to get this blog back to a regular blog. You know, where I can post whatever I want and not feel restricted by (or guilty about not) posting photo projects.

One thing I want to do is to interject artists that I am mildly obsessed with once in a while. I see so many amazing artists around town, and also online all the time thanks to blogs like The Jealous Curator and Art Hound and I want to share my faves.

So, I was at The Woods, in a pretty grumpy mood, playing Bingo and drinking Bourbon. I went to the bathroom and what did I find? The most amazing paintings on display. Giant and colorful and perfect. I stood and stared far longer than anyone waiting for the bathroom. I immediately made note of the artist and spent quite a while the next day ogling and reading and marveling about Joan Hiller.


I love love love the paint by numbers style of the paintings and they were even more gorgeous in person, not to mention giant and I want one! She does commissions, too! I have a birthday coming up, I'm just saying. :) She is having a show at Tiga in March, so I might have to save up and get one of these magical paintings.

This reminded me, I have had an idea in my mind of embroidering based on old paint by number canvases, but have yet to come across any that I like. Maybe I should try my hand at creating my own.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Books read, 2010: A Memoir.

This post might be a bit obnoxious, and my original plan did not work because of java.

In any case, in 2010 I did not top my 2009 record of 27 books read, as I only finished 20 books. However, of these 20 I really loved a lot of the books I read and rated only four of them with a 3 or 2 star rating! I am a pretty generous rater, but still. 16 out of 20 books rated with 4 or 5 stars is a pretty good ratio if you ask me.

I reread a handful of books I have loved in the past this year which is something I don't normally do, but I am glad I did with these few (Kafka on the Shore, Geek Love, People of Paper) because I really do love them all!

Again I am not going to post reviews for every book, check out My GoodReads page to see more review type stuff. However, I will tell you about a few of my faves.

My favorite of the (previously unread) books that I read this year was Bel Canto by Ann Patchett. While I did not bother to write anything about this book when I originally finished it, I would like to say now that this book surprised me by making me laugh and cry, and I really thought the description on the cover and on amazon did not do this book justice at all. Beautifully written and I really did not want it to end, which is how I feel about all of my favorite books. Recommended to me by my Mostly Stitches counterpart, Vanessa.

My second favorite was No Wolf by Richard Stofle. Now I may be a tad biased because I have worked with and known Mr. St. Ofle (as he is known in certain circles) for quite a few years by now. But, again I have to say that this book surprised me. I did not know that Richard had this very creative and entertaining and interesting and heart wrenching writer inside of him. If I haven't recommended this book to you in the past year, now is the time. I would loan it to you, but struggling artists and what not, you should just buy it. (You can also read a chapter of the book on that website if you wish!)

My third favorite was The Secret History by Donna Tartt. This book had been recommended to me by a friend multiple times over the past few years and for some reason I never picked it up. It sounded too pretentious, too deep, too hard to read. But instead I found it immediately interesting, pretentious in the best almost comical way, and perfectly dark. I read it extremely quickly, loving every page. Definitely read this one if you haven't! And thanks again Mandy for recommending it!

Honorable mention goes to What is the What by Dave Eggers. I don't even care if half of it is made up, I enjoyed it even though it made me very sad. The hopefulness was astounding.

I got a Kindle for Christmas from my most favorite person so if you are wondering what to get me for my birthday (January 27th, I'll be 30!), gift cards or items from my Wishlist or even just book recommendations are more than a girl could ever want.

Now here for a lovely grid of the 20 books I read in 2010.

Books read 2010

A Reliable Wife
Hector and the Search for Happiness
What Is the What
Notes from a Small Island
Sharp Teeth
Collected Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Secret History
The Monsters of Templeton
No Wolf
Geek Love
The People of Paper
Let the Great World Spin
Kafka on the Shore
Bel Canto
To the Lighthouse
Portland Noir
Memoirs of a Beatnik
The Sun Also Rises
The Book of Dead Philosophers

Michelle's favorite books »

Happy reading!!
p.s. this is my 100th post on this blog!

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Photo a Day 2010 is complete!

Day 365. December 31, 2010. Spent New Year's Eve with the best people eating the best food and having the best time.
2010-12-31 Balch 023

There were days when I felt like this project would never end, but actually 2010 went by pretty quickly. It was a great year and I am looking forward to 2011!

My only real resolution is going to be to go see more movies in the theater, because I just love it and I think I only saw like 5 movies in the theater in 2010, which is just crazy. I also am going to work on trying to think more positively and manage my money better. No promises on those two, though.

Happy New Year!!! :)