Sunday, September 16, 2012

Grave of the Fireflies

This is by far the saddest animated movie I have ever seen and maybe one of the saddest period. Grave of the Fireflies begins with a prologue (epilogue?) stating, "September 21, 1945... that was the night I died." What follows is an evocative story detailing the life of Japanese civilians during WWII, specifically two young siblings who learn that love and imagination are two of the world's greatest values. 

The director, Isao Takahata, co-founded Studio Ghibli in 1985 with one of my all-time favorite directors Hayao Miyazaki. Each anime film I have seen (predominantly those by Miyazaki & Studio Ghibli) is unique and this one does not disappoint. Just be prepared to let your emotions roll

Before I watching this, I was surprised to see its 8.4 rating on IMDB. However, other Ghibli classics on the list include: Spirited Away (8.5), My Neighbor Totoro (8.2), Howl's Moving Castle (8.1), Castle in the Sky (8.1),the only other Miyazaki film I haven't seen on the IMDB Top 250, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (8.1), and the only anime film I haven't enjoyed, Princess Mononoke (8.4). Regardless, I HIGHLY recommend Spirited Away! So you should watch it. Now.

Other films I saw this week: Blood Diamond & We Need to Talk About Kevin (see my Quick Flicks review of Kevin here). Two great movies that equally deserve to be put on the Top 250 list.

The Green Monster

1 banana, cut into chunks (frozen or fresh)
1 cup chopped frozen pineapple
1 pear, coarsely chopped
1½ cups orange juice
2½ cups baby spinach leaves, rinsed and dried
1-2 tbsp. honey
3 tbsp. ground flaxseed (optional)


I made a rendition of this yesterday with spinach, V8 Splash, frozen strawberries & raspberries, honey, and ice. I'm excited to get a bag of flaxseed from home but regardless it was wonderful! DON'T BE SCARED BY PUTTING SPINACH IN THE DRINK. YOU WILL NOT TASTE IT!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Atonement: An Imagination Realized

I've seen Atonement before (seriously, if you haven't, it better be on your must-see list) but it's been about 5 years, so I don't exactly remember every detail. However, I did read the book this summer and was very excited to re-watch the film and compare! Even after these few years I still remember certain shots, which speaks volumes about the cinematography (OSCAR SNUB!): Cecelia's green silk dress, Robbie handing Briony the envelope through the wire fence and Briony in her later years. This has easily become one of the most beautifully shot films I have ever seen. There is also extreme depth to the film and the meaning of the title with respect to the framing of the story.

There are mixed reviews about the book and Ian McEwan's style in general, but if you love the film or have heard great things, then I would give the book a shot. He has such a unique style that contributes to the impeccable scenery and rhythm of the film, bringing descriptions and the small details to the forefront of reality. As I watched the film, I could relatively remember how many pages were used to describe certain events. For example, a minuscule task of filling a vase with flowers- a mere 3 seconds in the film- turns into multiple pages in the book. Don't let that scare you though! It makes your imagination very pointed and leaves no detail behind.

This week I also saw: A Story of Women (France), Lawless and Mean Girls. I know none of these are on the IMDB Top 250 but Atonement is worth many words and is highly recommended. Focus Features NEVER disappoints.

I've been craving an orange creamsicle drink this week, so here it is!

Orange Creamsicle Smoothie
Serves 6
3 cups plain Greek yogurt
1 1/4 cups fresh squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup honey
zest from one orange
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups ice

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Happy New "Year", New Goal

My senior year! I can't even believe three years have flown by already.

My new goal is to watch all of the films I have not yet seen on the IMDB Top 250 by the end of this final year, which ends May 5th, 2013. Cinco de Mayo! I began narrowing the list this summer and have continued to watch the cream of the crop in the past two weeks. Some of my favorites from the summer include: Sunshine (not on the list, but it should be!), The Great Dictator, The Best Years of Our Lives, The Intouchables, Moonrise Kingdom (every Wes Anderson film should be on every top film list), Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (I finally saw the original Star Wars series *gaaaaaaaasp* and it fit well with my summer marathon of How I Met Your Mother which has some Star Wars themed episodes), and The Dark Knight Rises (of course).

Someday I would like to see AFI's Top 100, many if not all of the Criterion Collection, and all of the films from the book 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die. But baby steps... So, in hopes of keeping myself on track to completing the remaining 80 films on the ever-changing list, I plan on blogging, however short, about what these films contribute to film history.

So far this school year I have indulged in: Dog Day Afternoon, Strangers on a Train, 12 Monkeys, Duck Soup (which has since left the list but has an 8/10 rating so it could reappear), Gone With The Wind, Braveheart, and Wild Strawberries.

What made The Third Man for me was the music, the end chase scene through the sewers and the unique cinematography. At times this film was hard to grasp with the raspy voices speaking multiple languages (not subtitled). I was starting to believe Harry was a fake identity; what Reed chooses to do artistically with him in the shadows is very interesting (I won't give out any spoilers). Well, onto the next one!


2 bananas
1/2 cup each vanilla yogurt 
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons honey
pinch of cinnamon 
1 cup ice

Found on