Category Archives: Sandra Bullock

Comparison: 2 Survival Movies

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My family likes to discuss and analyze movies after we watch them.

There are two fine movies we watched where the theme was survival.

Both movies have been given critical acclaim and awards. They have

outstanding casts and performances. One is about man against the

sea while the other one is astronauts against the odds, up in Space.

My brothers, particularly, are science-oriented, while I am more into

character development and overall “impressions” or “feelings.” I liked

both of these movies, for different reasons. We agreed the following

movies are worth your time, if you have not already seen them:

 

1.  2013’s “All Is Lost,” with Robert Redford,  playing a man who has

decided to embark on an ocean adventure aboard a boat. It is directed

by J.C. Chandor, who also wrote the intensely fascinating screenplay.

This story is about a veteran and resourceful sailor lost at sea, in the

Indian Ocean, when the movie opens.

Having been a member of Mariner Scouts, co-ed sailing experiences

aboard sailboats on Lake Erie, I know I would not be fully prepared

for being stranded on a lake; let alone the barrage of challenges the

man is faced with in this film.

In most cases, the mariner (R. R.) is able to cope. For example, when

the boat fills up with water, he can use a hand operated pump to get

the water out of the boat. When he wishes to find his location, due

to loss of radio waves, he is forced to use a hand-held sexton. I was

amazed when I looked this navigational instrument up to find how

old this was. Before 1757, the sextant was built differently and was

called an ‘octant.’ Both devices use the angles of the sun’s position

to figure out location. It has to due with comparing two locations,

one can be ‘celestial’ and using the level of the water or the horizon,

as the other ‘fixed’ location. When the character is able to find a ‘busy

section of the ocean,’ which means it is a thoroughfare for water

vehicles, I am amazed.  But I believe this is possible due to his vast

knowledge about the sea. This is called ‘the shipping lanes’ in the

water of the ocean. He compares and measures them, using a map.

He is able to naviagate this way, which they show him carefully

calculating this procedure.

 

I don’t want to let you know any further details about this movie,

since you may sometime spend a few hours watching this great

actor, showing his ability to literally carry out many of the physical

tasks presented to him, as a strong, older man. Along with “carrying”

the whole movie on his shoulders, as an actor. My youngest brother

took it home from my Mom’s house, (where both brothers, Mom

and I had watched this) so that he could view this one more time.

This expresses something impressive to me. It means it was such a

powerful story, it captivated his interest enough to see it twice in one

weekend.  He will help ‘weigh in’ on the next movie’s review, too.

 

2.  2013’s “Gravity,” with Sandra Bullock and George Clooney

playing two astronauts with different levels of experience, while

out on a space shuttle proceeding through what was supposed to

be a routine journey.

This movie was co-written by and directed by Alfonso Cuaron. It is

“billed” as a science fiction thriller, but many scenes seem very real

and believable. The astronauts who watched the private screening,

were pleased, overall, with the emotions and the beautiful filmography.

They may have seen some imperfections and mentioned them, along

with flaws in the details. They probably were thrilled to have been

asked along for the ride, since there were not many complaints among

them.

My brothers both had a few times asked to ‘stop the movie,’ to rewind

along with discuss something that seemed to be ‘far-fetched.’ They

really felt the scene where the debris was flying at the astronauts,

shuold have sent them to hide behind the sturdy Hubble spacecraft.

Also, one brother felt that Matt (George Clooney’s character) should

have not been using up his extra energy and jet packs by ‘playing’

and ‘tooling around the stratosphere.’ He is often characterized as

an easy going character, this is true once again in the action movie,

“Gravity.” He has the qualities of ‘laid back’ and confident astronaut

definitely ‘down pat.’ Matt is senior officer and experienced veteran

while Sandra Bullock’s character, Ryan is on her first mission. She is

the medical engineer. There were ‘holes’ in her choices, not showing

a strong ability to think ‘outside the box,’ nor being aware of her

surroundings. (She passes some wires that are giving off sparks,

but doesn’t think about potential fire danger. I gave a sharp intake

of breath, with a strong premonition when she did this. It was very

apparent to me; so not sure why Ryan doesn’t notice them.)

There are a lot of loopholes in “Gravity’s” plot. Which if I mentioned

all of them then you may not be surprised when they occur. If you

are like I am, you prefer to hear a short synapsis and not be given too

many plot devices. I am sure that this would not be a good review if I

let you know too much ahead of time. Nor will I reveal the endings of

either movie I am talking about.

 

Summary of Mom’s and My Opinion on Both Movies:

The way Mom and I are, we were enthralled by the way Earth and

Space looked. The much played comment by Matt (George Clooney)

in movie trailers was (paraphrased), “Enjoy the view.” This would

be our strongest reason to suggest you see, “Gravity.” It is why people

leaving theaters would be so excited. There are many positives that

outweigh the negatives.

When Mom and I watch movies, it takes a major upset to get us

to give up on a movie. We would have probably let the problems

within the scientific and technical realm, ‘go.’

We sometimes sit together, leaning against each other or holding

hands. The excitement and danger in both “All Is Lost” and “Gravity”

seemed quite realistic. We held on tight in several parts of the man

facing eminent death upon the sea and when the astronauts kept

drifting away from secure holds on their positions. Both movies tell

engrossing stories, gripping and holding your attention.

 

We felt when “Gravity” was finished, (Mom and I) one must suspend

your disbelief and enjoy the adventure of the movie.

When we concluded our discussion about “All Is Lost,” we felt this

could have represented a real person’s experiences. At the end, we

wished we could learn his name. It seemed totally believable, which

makes this movie almost like you could be able to read an autobiography

of this man.

 

 

 

Diverse Snippets

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There are a few fantastic and interesting people who have shared their thoughts

recently in magazines, interviews and I wish to offer these as a ‘pick and choose’

post. I hope you will find something to give you something to ponder about and

may meet your own personal needs or concerns.

 

This will give you ‘food for thought:’

“Cooking demands attention, patience and above all,

a respect for the gifts of the earth. It is a form of

worship, a way of giving thanks.”

~ Judith B. Jones,

American cookbook author and editor.

 

The next one is concerning loss:

“The trick to adjusting to a life you never expected

is to allow yourself to have the emotions, to weave

them in with the positive and move on.”

~ Louise Bonnett-Rompersaud.

 

“Joy does not simply happen to us.

We have to choose joy and keep

choosing it everyday.”

~ Henri J.M. Nouwen

Dutch priest, professor and writer.

 

Feeling connected to humanity:

Anna Whiston Donaldson lost her son at age 12 years old.

He was playing in a creek bed, that was normally low, then

it swelled into a raging river. Jack had attended his second

day of 7th grade. His sister, Margaret, witnessed this horrible

event, running to get help, only 10 years old.

Quote:

“Over the next months, when all else was stripped away- most

of all, the flawed belief that living a simple, faithful life would

somehow protect us from pain- I found myself broken.

But it turned out, I was so broken that I was wide open to

receiving comfort in way I had not anticipated.”

~Anna Whiston-Donaldson’s book is called,

“Rare Bird” (Convergent books).

 

“28 Years; 28 Days,

Summary of Two Time Sequences”

by Robin O. Cochran

 

Two actresses have lived with challenges, one who has been 28 years

sober. This is the famous, Katey Sagal. You maybe able to detect her

very distinctive voice in commercials, but her most popular television

show may be considered ‘raunchy’ since she portrayed the Mom on the

show, “Married… With Children.” She also was memorable as Gemma,

in the show, “Sons of Anarchy.” I happened to really like her character

in the show she performed with John Ritter, “8 Simple Rules for Dating

My Teenage  Daughter.” One of the two ‘daughters’ character was played

by Kaley Cuoco. She was the one who made me laugh and had her ‘Dad’

(John Ritter) pulling his hair out. In the last t.v. show mentioned, Katey

Sagal played a smart, working mother who left the house in a nurse’s

uniform, hoping her husband would be able to rule the roost, while

she was gone. It is a funny series, which is well worth finding on a

DVD at the library. The late John Ritter captured both his daughters,

son and wife’s characters’ hearts and they all showed up at his funeral,

truly mourning their ‘father/husband figure’ friend. Katie shared her

sobriety on a CBS Sunday Morning Show, November 16, 2014. Her

husband and music, she feels saved her. She enjoys singing daily, along

with performing with bands. Katey is 60 years old, accomplishing much

and more to give in the future, too.

 

Wait until you hear the professionals, Katey Sagal has performed with

as a back up singer:

Gene Simmons

Molly Hatchet

Bob Dylan

Tanya Tucker

Bette Midler

Olivia Newton John

Katey’s remarkable musical career has included two albums:

“Well. . .” (1994)

“Room” (2004)

 

The  celebrity who went through a disaster marriage, not ever having

expected her husband to be so outwardly unfaithful, is Sandra Bullock.

How does she relate to Katie Sagal who has a wonderful partner in life?

She performed in the incredible movie, “28 Days.” Sandra’s character

is relatable in the difficult and gritty parts of having to choose to give up

her addiction. The message of it being important for the person to make

the choice, not the family is also a clear and meaningful one. This is one

of the main tenets or  principals of AA. The screenplay also shared and

showed some humorous, strange habits of an alcoholic.

Sandra Bullock’s performance and “28 Days” may not be considered as

significant (meaning it didn’t win awards) as “Leaving Las Vegas,” but it

really showed her acting “chops”. If you have been curious or had an

interest in this movie, you will find it engrossing. I had not seen it when it

came out, so it was a nice surprise to take it home from the library and

really dig into the ‘meat’ of the subject. Having been through an alcoholic

marriage and participated for almost two years in Al-Anon and AA meetings,

along with going through marriage counseling, I found the characters in the

AA meetings and in rehab’s behaviors realistic.

Usually ’28 days’ would not seem to encompass the enormity of this film’s

subject matter, but it definitely showed the ups and downs of this illness.

Having seen the movie, shortly after Katie Sagal’s interview, I appreciate

even more the magnitude of her ’28 years’ sober. Worthy of several ‘chips’

and major accomplishment in the fast-paced, pressurized life of acting.

 

On the Lighter Side:

I love the silly repetition of the 2014 song,

“Best Day of My Life,” by the group

American Authors.  Imbedded in their

lyrics are some deeper meanings:

“I howled at the moon with my friends

And then the sun came crashing in.”

(There are some ‘bridge’ humming sounds here.)

“But all the possibilities

No limits

Just epiphanies. . .”

 

May something here strike a chord or evoke an epiphany.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These Boots. . .

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Of course, this is one example of how just the beginning words of a song

can send you back in time, evoke memories or irritate you, depending on

the particular words! “These boots are made for walking…” sung by Nancy

Sinatra, came out in February, 1966. The lyrics and melody were written

by Lee Hazelwood.

Of course, these boots were an example of figurative speech and they were

usually viewed during this era to be, “go go boots!” I would like to switch over

to pre-Civil War days, when good ole’ cowboy boots were more prevalent.

Some interesting facts are they came about due to necessity, ability to handle

all sorts of inclement weather and using leather to hold up, for the long haul.

I had not realized that the heels were made to be tall, to be able to latch onto

the stirrups on the side of the horse, attached to the saddle.

Many of you out West and South know the purpose to cowboy boots, I always

viewed them as ‘cute’ boots that my brothers wore with their leather vests

and chaps, along with the accompaniment of a “Sheriff” badge, made out of

stamped tin silver.

My oldest daughter was quite fond of the ability to slide her tights-encased

feet into her Daddy’s little boy cowboy boots. They were made of  rugged dark

brown leather with tan stitching, that looked like ropes lassoing and winding

around. She had discovered that the more you wear the leather boots, the more

they ‘fit’ and conform to your feet.

I loved the way she was my ‘frilly’ girl, wearing dresses into her grade school

years. Those cowboy boots were easy to slip on, then clomp around in, making

quite a racket on hardwood floors! The third year she saw Santa Claus in her life,

with her wearing a pretty Christmas dress and white tights on, is my favorite

pose of hers wearing boots! No ‘go go boots,’ for her! I have a picture of her

wearing a pair of high heeled black dress boots on the day of her best friend,

Jennifer’s 21st birthday that nearly meets the high emotions I get when I see her

on that Christmas, 1983!

When I saw Willie Nelson’s photograph, in a beautiful pair of smooth and

shiny black leather cowboy boots,  inside of my recent “AARP Magazine” and

gracing the cover of my daughter’s “Rolling Stones” magazine, too. Later after

getting my mail seeing the still ‘mighty fine’ man, Jeff Bridges on the outside

cover. Then inside he is talking about his days in western movies, like “Crazy

Heart”  and “True Grit,” (remade) where he wore cowboy boots. . .

I just had to learn more about cowboy boots!

There is an author, Jennifer June, whose recent book, “Art and Sole,” came

out with all kinds of modern pieces of artwork in decorating cowboy boots

that is well worth skimming and like I did, looking at the fantastic art on

current boots. Isn’t that the cleverest title?

Side tracking,  I enjoyed years ago (1993) a great movie, called, “Heart and

Souls.” If you wish to think of what is happening in the hearafter, with a

big dose of humor and fun,  check out this one! I am so pleased that the

members of this movie, are all still with us, gracing the ‘silver screen.’

With Robert Downey, Jr., Alfre Woodard, Charles Grodin, Elisabeth Shue

and Kyra Sedgwick, this is a four star movie cast!

The subject of cowboy boots, with its incredible industry with various

successful companies really could fill  several books! Country western stars,

some who may have never ridden a horse grace the musical scene. The show,

“Nashville,” made it through two seasons, I believe.

“Red Wings,” is a big name in cowboy boots and work boots, too. The artists

who are part of the company, “Rocket Busters,” stitch and design, paint and

create flair using boot leather as their “canvas.” Looking at many of the lovely

patterns, I decided if I ever lived near horses, were going out to enjoy a date

with a cowboy, I would choose their “Chandelier” design. Another company to

check out, its roots in Texas, is Justin Brand Boots, or simply “Justin’s boots.”

In honor of Willie Nelson I will share a few of his passions:

He loves the woman he married in 1991, Annie. He loves his sons and thinks that

when them, Micah, Lucas and he play their guitars and sing, they are ‘as good as

it gets.’ For 50 years or more, his sister, Bobbie, has been part of his bus touring

group. His two daughters, Amy and Lana, also like to travel on the road with

him.

He is a big supporter of migrant workers, enjoys seeking home grown vegetables

and fruits, in a fair market value system. He is supportive of farmers all across

the world. Willie is 81 and just passed this fifth degree black belt in Korean

martial arts!

Willie’s song on his album, “Band of Brothers,” I recommend to you. It is

called, “I’ve Got a Lot of Traveling to Do.” Willie passé on this final thought in

his recent article,  he admits it is not original but worth repeating!

“Don’t slow down – – –

They might be gaining on you!”

Cowboy Boots:

Roy Rogers wore them.

 

Roy made the boots quite popular!

I cannot help myself, I wanted you to know Roy’s ‘real’ name was Leonard

Franklin Slye, he lived from 1911 – 1998, with his second wife and he making

it to 51 years together! Known as the “King of Cowboys,” he seemed to deserve

this legendary title.

 

Dale Evans wore them.

Elvis wore them.

Governor Rick Perry wears them.

Both Presidents Bush, Senior and Junior wore them.

 

Do you wear them?

 

I had a babysitter who lived out on a farm, her children and I liked to feed the

baby lambs baby bottles of milk. This was in her farmhouse kitchen in the

winter time. I loved being out in the country but have never owned a pair of

cowboy boots! I guess living in a town,(Sandusky, Ohio) then close to a big city,

(Cleveland) I considered myself a ‘city’ girl!

 

If I decide to go out and buy some cowboy boots, do you have a favorite brand

to recommend I try?

 

 

 

The Opening Act: Oscar’s Red Carpet

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The first thing I would like to say about the Red

Carpet is that this summary was broken into three

parts, so there may be more ‘palatable’ chunks and

easier to read. This part is about style, charisma

and other details noted during pre-Oscar interviews.

Mainly, my comments are reflecting my own personal

thoughts, although I may mention something that

was a fact or opinion of someone else, also.

When I had gathered up my snacks and iced coffee

in preparation for what I knew would be a long

night, I was very excited to sit down to watch

the 86th Academy Awards Show. I turned on to watch

the preliminary Red Carpet event.

The first person I saw was the handsome, quirky

(remember he liked to play his bongos in the nude?)

and very honest Matthew McConaughey. I always felt he

had ‘deserved an Oscar,’ for his early career, lawyer

character he played in “A Time to Kill.” This was an

outstanding movie version of John Grisham’s book of

the same name.

Here Matthew’s character was in the South, trying

to defend a man who was accused of killing two men

who had raped and killed his 10 year old daughter.

Race comes into play, as the man Samuel L. Jackson’s

portraying is black, while the men who raped and

discarded the child are white. Sandra Bullock portrays

the lawyer’s wife. There are fascinating characters

including ones portrayed by Donald Sutherland and

Kevin Spacey portray. It is an intense drama, made

in 1996, Matthew was able to ‘sink his acting chops’

into this role and did a fine job, too!

Matthew McConaughey has never been nominated for an

Oscar, which is shocking in itself. That movie was

like a variation of “To Kill A Mockingbird,” for

which I am pretty sure won Gregory Peck an Academy

Award!

Matthew had his beautiful wife and mother of his

three children, Camilla, on one arm and his now

famous mother, who has accompanied him to prior

award shows, on the other arm.

Naomi Watts looked outstanding in a glittering white

dress which had cap sleeves. She wore accents of a

silver necklace and held a black and white small

clutch, it sported a zigzag pattern on it.

I really loved Kerry Washington’s lavender dress,

which was made of satin, off her shoulder and

not trying to cover her pregnancy. She is on a

television show that I don’t watch, “Scandals.”

Viola Davis looked very fashionable in a green,

almost aquamarine, colored dress, while showing her

natural ‘down to earth’ beauty. Her husband, of

over ten years, accompanied Viola. When she was

asked, “Who is your date tonight?” by interviewer,

Lara (rhymes with Sarah) Spencer, I thought to

myself,

“You didn’t do your homework!”

There will be an even more major ‘faux pas’ by this

Ms. Spencer, in my mind, later…

I like the relationship Jason Sudeikis has with his

wife, Olivia Wilde, who looked lovely in black.

Jason is a comedian, with his roots in Saturday

Night Live, branching out into many comedy roles.

(In such comedies as “We Are the Millers,” “Hall

Pass,” and “Horrible Bosses,” mainly R rated and

not ones to watch for plot or character growth,

but funny!) While his wife, Olivia, has played

conniving, yet beautiful and intriguing characters.

They were smiling and it seemed there were a few

private jokes in their glances at each other. She

is expecting and the black silky dress showed her

‘baby bump.’

Cate Blanchett, in a gorgeous Armani dress which

was sheer with a vine pattern of golden sequins,

just shimmered! Her hair style resembled the 50’s

like the way famous actress, Lauren Bacall, wore

her hair about shoulder length, curled under and one

side pulled back.

I would say Cate looked ‘bejeweled’ and ‘enchanting.’

Sandra Bullock wore a fabulous dress of a deep blue

with purple tones, it was designed by Alexander

McQueen, for her. I liked that interviewer Robin

Roberts, a more serious newscaster, asked her about

Sandra’s role in the movie, “Gravity.”

The way Ms. Roberts asked, it helped draw Sandra out.

She gave a revealing expression of her feelings while

in her role as an astronaut, floating in space and

dangerously disconnected from the spacecraft, left

her a “changed woman.”

She further told Robin that she is quite emotional

about her experience “and hasn’t quite sorted all

of it out yet.”

This is the kind of candid remarks I like to have

the interviewers, in their brief moments, make their

time worthwhile. By asking a serious and thoughtful

question, this makes the Red Carpet a great feature.

Jennifer Lawrence has been sporting a nice, short

young-looking hair style this whole season of awards.

Her portrayal in “American Hustle” was a whole

different look, matching the seventies movie. Her

short blonde hair and red satin dress, made her look

like a classic beauty. I did not mind her flat waist

with red ruffles on the side continuing onto her

back. The dress flattered her, emphasizing her curves.

Now, here goes the problem with Lara Spencer, when

Sidney Poitier approached her, being told to head

that way, (off camera) she recognizes him, or maybe

there are big cards with his name, hidden from our

view? But really, who doesn’t know how to pronounce

his last name? She mangled it, not sure if anyone

else will notice, but he did! He did not seem too

pleased, very quiet and not answering her questions

too frankly, either. He deserved respect. Surely she

knew who he was, 87 years old, presenting later, during

the Oscars’ show. On the Red Carpet, this is something

that really bothered me about this woman and other

interviewers in the past. I would have loved a chance

to ask.

“Mr. Poitier, which was your favorite role?”

I liked him in many movies and he played different

kinds of men. Educated, in “To Sir With Love” and a

handyman stranded amongst nuns in “Lilies of the Field.”

He won an Academy Award in 1963, for this role, as the

first male black actor, winning “Best Actor.”

(I did a post about this movie, actor, director and

diplomat.)

Then proving himself a major star, drawing large

audiences to the box office, Poitier played a great

police detective, in “The Heat of the Night,”

followed by two other sequels, “They Call Me MISTER

Tibbs” and “The Organization.”

Jonah Hill, nominated for his role in “Wolf on Wall

Street” has ventured into dramatic roles, growing from

his comic roots. He looked like he is trimmer, nicely

dressed in a tuxedo, having brought his mother as his

‘date.’ His first Oscar was for an interesting movie,

I had not expected to like him, in “Moneyball.”

Chiwetel Ejiofor was the only man in my forecasts and

posts for the Academy Awards, 2014. I predicted he

would win “Best Actor,” for his role in the intense

movie, “12 Years a Slave.” He has acted for years,

contributed to a lot of fantastic movies, an edgy

character role of a transvestite, included.

Ejiofor comes across, in interviews and on the Red

Carpet, as a very dignified and articulate man. The

interviewer labeled him, “Dapper,” and I agreed.

Lupita Nyong’O looked very beautiful in her light

blue, airy like the lightest turquoise colored

sky dress with a low cut v-neckline. She was very

attractive, beaming and spinning for the cameras.

She portrays a young slave woman in “12 Years a

Slave.”

I have yet to find an “ugly” dress or someone who

didn’t look ravishing or handsome. I do wish to say

that Julia Roberts’s black dress was very pretty,

but upon closer look I found the ruffle around her

waist made her look ‘thicker’

than her sleek body usually looks. I remember this

style, had a jacket that had the ruffle, my mother

had pointed it out as ‘not very flattering.’ I hate

to say much about Julia because her hair, makeup and

jewelry were ‘just right.’ She looked glamorous,

except for the odd weave to the black lace on her

bodice and ruffled waistline.

Julia looks great in what is called a “mermaid style”

dress.

We will hear during the different follow up shows on

“E!” channel, “Entertainment Tonight” and the “Billy

Bush” show, who the ‘worst dressed’ were…

soon enough!

Another unattractive look was that Bill Murray had

no makeup or cover up over his age spots. I thought

his whole appearance looked like a disheveled, absent-

minded professor. He is a very humble man, when asked

by an interviewer what makes you laugh? Murray said,

“The two sportscasters on ESPN, my kids and good

humor in comedies.” (Paraphrased, I started to

not get things down as quickly at this point!)

The last glamorous couple who look like they fit

together and show an easy going relationship,

were Will and wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. She looked

effervescent in pink. Her Versace dress had a

stylish twisted halter top with another twist of

fabric on one side of her waist. It suited her

well. Will Smith’s tuxedo looked very handsome

with a black vest and tie.

Later, during the Oscars, there was some concern

about Kim Novak’s plastic surgery and her outward

appearance. She seemed distracted or flighty, but

she may have been nervous. It has been a long time

since she was the beautiful actress in “Vertigo.”

After all, that was 1958 and she is now 81 years old!

On to the Main Event…

Please join me in the next post!