Saturday, July 26, 2014

wine tasting

Wine tasting is so much fun! Especially if followed by a mini picnic.

I meant to take more pictures but the wine combined with the sun made me really lazy.

Enjoy Sunday!

p.s: Click here to visit the Stone Tower Winery official website.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Screen on the Green

The Karate Kid was on at the National Mall last night. I couldn't resist watching it for the umpteenth time!  It's one of the movies I grew up with, as it was on tv almost every other weekend in Greece.

And don't forget! Wax on, wax off...

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Friday, July 18, 2014

summer skies

After a very rainy and humid week, we finally got blue skies and puffy clouds yesterday.

I took these from our neighbors' apartment.

And that's what the sky was like today, Friday, at 7am.

Click on the link to take a look at beautiful skies from all over the world.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Begin Again (2014)

Have you seen Once (2006)? It's a thoroughly enjoyable musical, written and directed by John Carney. It's set in Dublin, the soundtrack is amazing, the characters are very likeable. The plot falls a little flat but exactly because the songs are so pleasant, I'm willing to overlook that.

That's the case with John Carney's new musical Begin Again. It's the same recipe but with big Hollywood names. Let's see...

Keira Knightley plays Greta, a singer-songwriter who comes all the way from the UK to New York with her boyfriend Dave (Adam Levine) who has had his big career break and is now super famous. As one would expect, the newly-acquired fame gets to his head and he cheats on Greta who then meets an old friend, a busker in the city. They go to an open mic night and she sings one of her songs. The audience doesn't get too excited, but Dan (Mark Ruffalo) sees in her what he has been looking for for a long time in terms of talent. Dan is a recently fired music producer; his label isn't very willing to help Greta so he asks Troublegum's (CeeLo Green) help. (You see? BIG Hollywood names.)

What struck me from the very beginning of the film is Mark Ruffalo's character's similarities to Hank Moody from the series Californication. Similar car and clothes, similar "functional alcoholism" situation, divorced with a daughter but he still loves his wife. The only thing they left out is the sex addiction, which I guess wouldn't let the viewers feel for Dan as much. 

Also, what is very prominent in the film is the distinction between "quality music made just for the sake of good music" and "commercial music made just for the sake of profit". That was a little too cliché, even for me, the lover of all things cliché. And it's kind of ironic too, if you think about it. Jon Carney is making a comment on how artists should not only care about money and success, but his second "Once" is not set in a small European city and the actors are not people you've never seen before. 

The chunks of plot in-between the songs are really predictable and slightly boring, but as with Once, the music is amazing so the boredom melts away. 

The entire movie could be a tribute to New York City, which I must say is really photogenic. It looks so wonderful and attractive on the big screen that I almost forgot how aggressive and uninviting it is in reality. Mark Ruffalo had a line I liked a lot about the city; a very accurate description of it. Unfortunately I can't find it online to quote it verbatim.

The film's strength is the soundtrack. I've already bought it and it's been playing on a loop for two days now. Who knew Keira Knightley was such a talented singer? Amazing songs! 

My favorite scene was the one where Dan visualizes an entire invisible orchestra behind Greta. 

Begin Again is perfect for a summer night, it's definitely worth watching. And if you haven't seen Once, please do. It's a very sweet movie.


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