Category Archives: Movies

My First Pattern: Knit R2-D2

It was my friend Cody’s birthday the other day and I’ve been meaning to knit him something for a while.  I always knew it would need to be something Star Wars related, so I went ahead and made an R2-D2.  (yes, Cody’s a nerd, but an awesome nerd who needed some Star Wars love on his bday) Here’s the pattern!  It’s pretty simple and the one I made is very small.  To make it bigger, you can just do a few more rounds with increases while making the base.

I used size US 4 dpns and Sugar and Cream cotton yarn.

Start by CO 6 sts and distribute them evenly on 3 of the dpns to join in the round.  Knit one time in the round, then inc every stitch.  I did a Kfb but any increase will work fine.  Knit one round, then Kfb K1, for a round.  Knit one round then Kfb K2 one round.  Continue doing this until you reach the size you want (I believe I did 5 of these increase rounds).  After finishing the increase rounds, I purled one round to change the direction.  After one round of purling, begin to knit in the round for at least 3 inches (knit more or less depending on the size you are making).  Once I reached this point, I began decreasing for the top.  Also, if you don’t want to go back and duplicate stitch the blue circle at the top, you can sub in your blue yarn at this point for one round prior to starting the decreases.  For the decreases, I did a K2tog and then I knit as many as I had done for the increase rounds.  For instance, since I only increased for 5 rounds, I did a K2tog k5 (this will once again be variable depending on the size you are making).  I knit one round, then I did a K2tog K4.  At some point during this process, I stuffed him.  I did the decreases until I had 12 sts remaining on the needles, then I ran the yarn through the remaining sts using a needle and tied it off.  Finish up R2 by duplicate stitching all of his buttons on top.

For R2’s legs (or wheels I guess….), I made an I-chord by casting on 4 sts.  after about 2 inches of this, I did a Kfb in every stitch (8 sts).  I continued knitting the i-chord for 4-5 more rounds then cut the yarn and wove in the ends.  I sewed the wheels on at an angle (see pic).

This little guy was SO fun to make and I was able to make him quick (about an hour).  Cody was stoked on him, and immediately posted a picture of him on his facebook! My favorite part of knitting is making ridiculous things like this and giving them to my friends…I think next I’ll have to make at AT-AT because even though they’re evil, they are my favorite thing from Star Wars.  Probably because of this guy’s flickr page.


Movie: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

I just finished watching this movie as a part of my attempt to stay involved in something Speech Therapy related this summer.  I’ve got a whole reading and movie list to go through so this is the first of many.

As a Communication Sciences and Disorders student, I’ve seen several people speak about their recovery from a CVA or TBI and there’s always this element of feeling “locked in.”  It is a common theme for people who develop communication disorders to feel frustrated and misunderstood due to their inability to communicate even their basic needs.  This film is about Elle Editor Jean-Dominique Bauby and his 1995 stroke that rendered him comatose for 20 days and eventually led to a “locked in” state.  His mind and imagination were fully functional, yet he could only physically control his left  eyelid and a few facial muscles.  Though he eventually died of pneumonia, he managed to write a book dictated entirely from blinking his left eye.  His original book (translated to English, of course) is definitely added to my summer reading list!

This movie really stresses the importance of communication and having patience with people who have communication disorders.  The film is beautifully directed by Julian Schnabel, who won several awards at Cannes as well as the Academy Awards in 2008.  Schnabel’s depiction of Bauby’s inability to communicate is eye opening.  Throughout the film, Bauby’s voice over is present and it expresses all of the things that he wants to say but can’t.  It really makes the viewer think about how much we take communication for granted.  Seeing the emotional bond between Jean-Dominique and the people that help him communicate is touching and makes me hopeful that I can one day help people in that way.  I’ve got a lot of studying ahead of me but I’m definitely up for it.

Fantastic Mr. Fox

I attended the premiere of Fantastic Mr. Fox on Friday night at the AFI film festival as one of my last connections from my job in the entertainment industry.  I have to say, it was a night that won’t soon be forgotten and it was a great way to leave Hollywood.  We started the night at Musso and Franks, a restaurant known for being “old Hollywood.”  After a drink we headed over to Grauman’s Chinese Theater to get our tickets and take our seats.  On the carpet on the way in, we caught sight of Jason Schwartzmann and once we got to our seats we saw Judd Apatow and family.  As Wes Anderson introduced the film (alongside fellow cast mates Bill Murray, Schwartzman and Wes’s brother Eric Anderson) we could sense the camaraderie in the room.

The film was excellent and entertaining.  It moved quickly and reeked of Anderson’s quirky sense of style and humor.  Many of the hilarious moments were in the details (as many of Anderson’s films usually are) however, most of the fast laughs were given away in the trailer.  Overall, this childrens’ story, written by Roald Dahl, is just that: a childrens’ story.  The story itself was intended for young children, yet the Anderson film has subtleties clearly intended for adults.

The score and design of every Wes Anderson film seem to tie all of his films together.  The best way I think to describe an Anderson film is that it always seems to go for the  subtle humor but it ends up not being subtle at all.  Anderson’s films all have a very elegant aesthetic that appear simple at first glance, yet in reality they are intricately manipulated worlds that he creates with unimaginable detail put into every frame.  This beautiful aesthetic ties all Anderson films together and FANTASTIC MR. FOX certainly does not fall short of this legacy.

Paris Je T’Aime

Paris je t'aime

This movie was on demand on the Sundance Channel and I just had to watch it again.  It makes me so happy to watch this film and think about all of the different people and how their stories make up the fictitious population of Paris (both travelers and locals).  Overall, this collection of short films jolts the viewer all over the place.  From a single mom singing to her baby as she drops him off at all day childcare only to go to work and sing to a rich woman’s baby to the almost newlywed couple who rekindle their romance after the man hit’s his head on Oscar Wilde’s grave and suddenly gets a sense of humor; this film is enlightening and fun.  My two favorite shorts in this film, if I REALLY had to choose two, are the mimes in “Tour Eiffel” and the tourist segment “14ème Arrondissement” with Margo Martindale.

I like “Tour Eiffel” with the mimes because it’s fun.  It is basically saying that no matter who you are, someone is out there for you.  The female mime played by Yolande Moreau and the male mime played by Paul Putner are forever charming and engaging.  The segment is directed by Sylvain Chomet, who has a background in animation.  This segment for Paris je t’aime was the first time he did anything live action.  I think it’s fantastic and fun.
The other short that I really like is”14ème Arrondissement” directed by Alexander Payne.  I love this one because at first it made me sad, but then it challenged what I thought was the norm and made me feel awkward for feeling sad.  The awkward and awful french accent of tourist played by Margot Martindale is embarrassing and no where near as elegant as many of the other segments.  She is a middle aged woman, never married, who works as a postal worker in Colorado.  She has taken French for years in preparation for her travels to France, which she has saved for diligently, and this trip is her dream.  I think the short’s intention is to point out that we automatically judge.  Payne gives us an in depth look into the tourists feelings, just like a diary entry, and she reflects on how she has missed out on love in her life, but at the same time does not feel a lack of it.  It challenges what we think happiness is and in the end makes us feel realize that we too can be happy unconventionally and that happiness is not any greater or less.

District 9

District 9So I recently acquired a screener of District 9.  That’s basically all I have to say about his movie.  I watched it….

In all seriousness, I’m not the type of person who can really comment adequately on this movie.  To me, it was very interesting yet not as enlightening as it was intended to be.  The film, with no known stars, is about an alien invasion in South Africa, but unlike typical invasions, the aliens are sick and need refuge.  They eventually colonize district 9 (right outside Johannesburg) and become pests to the local population.  The MNU (which regulates the aliens) tries to relocate them to what looks like a concentration camp.

Wikus, the innocently oblivious protagonist, is chosen to serve eviction notices but encounters an alien “fluid” and begins to transform into one of them.  Christopher, one of the more intelligent “Prawns” tells Wikus that he has the technology to fix him which is of vital importance as the experimentation has already begun on Wikus.

In the end, Christopher is able to restart the alien ship and go back to the home planet for help.  It is unknown whether or not he will come back and start a war (due to the humans’ relentless cruelty) or if he will merely rescue his people.

This was hard to watch and very sad at points, but the hardest part of this movie was having any compassion for the alien race.  They are ugly and mean and don’t seem to have any problem killing humans.  This movie is trying to make the point that just because something is ugly and different doesn’t mean they don’t deserve to live a decent life.  This got me thinking, what if the aliens invaded tomorrow and there was a similar situation on this earth? I believe in the good of people, but I also believe in the power of bad people, ignorance and mistrust.  Overall, this movie was depressing…

Inglorious Basterds

Sunday, August 23rd 2009 was a good day.  I started the morning off by making some breakfast and coffee and then heading down to the farmer’s market in Hollywood (one of my FAVE things to do….I’m kind of a vegetable dork).  Still kind of hurting from the intense (but AMAZING chili we decided to go see Inglorious Basterds.  I hadn’t really paid attention, but I should have known…the movie was 2 and a half HOURS long.  When I first found out as I was sitting inside the theater, I thought “OK, prepare to be bored to death” but then the movie started.  I was engaged all the way through.  There was never a point (expect maybe the extended bar scene) where I felt like it could have been paced faster.  The story was a combination of stories….as every Tarantino film is.  I could go on like nearly every other reviewer (ahem Ann Hornday and just about every other major reviewer.  Duh Tarantino is practically a movie historian.  He’s like a DJ of old movies, playing them all together to make one more comprehensive art form.  I applaud his style, knowledge and knack for senseless graphic violence.  I certainly enjoyed it even though I still quiver at the thought of having a swastika carved into my forehead with a large knife (shown several times…ick).Picture 1

Julie & Julia=AWESOME

So last night I got to go to an advance screening of the film Julie & Julia at The Grove in Los Angeles and I have to say it could not have impressed me more.  Back when I was an intern at Picturehouse (early 2008) and I would dork out an look at Production Weekly, I saw that this film was in production (Meryl Streep’s name caught my eye) and I was instantly excited.  I’ve always been a fan of Julia Child as well and, just like Amy Adam’s character in the book, her name holds a certain nostalgia for me.  There is a scene in the film where Julie Powell (Adams) talks about how her mother would make a dish from Mastering the Art of French Cooking and it instantly felt fancy.  In the same way, I can remember making fancy food (or at least eating the fancy food) that my mother prepared.  There is just something about Julia Child that reminds us of our moms.

The film as a whole was well written and choreographed.  Critics so far have praised the film, particularly Streep, however I think that Adams should be getting a bit more credit.  I had heard going into the film that the sections with Julia Child (Streep) were exciting however the parts with Julie (Adams) seemed dull.  There’s an obvious explanation for that and it’s that Julia’s story is so much more romantic.  She is a legend today and Julie is a literary and culinary newcomer.  It also helps that Streep’s parts are set in Paris and Marseille while Julie is set in a dingy apartment in Queens.

I loved that the film focused on the relationships that the two women had with their husbands.  It really shows the power of true commitment and the importance of respect.

This film was a beautiful reflection on relationships, love, achievement and passion (i.e. food).

My first reaction after the film was to go out and buy Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  The only problem is that now the book’s price has skyrocketed on…bummer.  I kinda want an old edition and I have a feeling that all of the old ones are going to be taken.