Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Movie Review: The Odd Life of Timothy Green

This movie has been showing previews for ever a year. I've been excited to see it since I first saw the trailer last year. I love fantasies that happen in the "real world," so I thought this would be right up my alley.

Before we continue, the  trailer:

Like reviews past, I won't be divulging much plot, because I believe to experience a movie, you shouldn't know what happens. I'm also an avid reader of TV show spoilers, so I don't practice what I preach, but I digress.

I honestly felt for the Greens, Cindy and Jim (Jennifer Garner, Joel Edgerton), a working-class couple who exhausted all resources to having their own child, and after a night of wine and list making, they bury a box of the features they want in their child. Later that night, a little Oliver Twist-looking urchin is running around their farmhouse. He explains that he's their son. He's a very matter-of-fact child, asking no questions about who they are. He knows. He was sent to them.

They're such a great family.
The Greens' family and friends all want to know where Timothy came from, especially Cindy's "perfect" sister, Brenda (Rosemarie DeWitt), who had, I think, the most insensitive line of the whole movie: "I thought you wanted a "real" child." Seriously. Who SAYS that to an infertile couple who have been given a wonderful gift? Her character didn't grow on me at all throughout the movie. She was a BAD sister.

Where Cindy had a bad sister, Jim had a bad father. He didn't have a good relationship with his father growing up, as his father never settled for anything less than a star-making sport (which, Jim wasn't), and when it looked like Timothy would spend the entire soccer season as a water boy, Big Jim (David Morse) would show up for five minutes and then leave. Until Jim (Timothy's father) made him stay and watch Timothy's last game. It was memorable to say the least.

Timothy and his girlfriend, Joni. Yes. A 10-Yr-Old has a girlfriend.
The movie was sweet. It had it's hysterical moments and definitely was a tear jerker, but not to the extent of some super sad kids movies (My Girl, Land Before Time, Honey I Shrunk the Kids-When Anty died, my sister and I were supposedly inconsolable, according to my grandma). As an adult, I can understand the ending. I can see where kids would probably take issue with it.

All in all, I liked it, but I probably won't rush to own it on DVD. It was good for a rainy afternoon before a baseball game.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Our HusbandOur Husband by Stephanie Bond
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm actually really surprised how much I have been enjoying mysteries lately. They seem to be at the top of my reading list, and I get them done relatively quickly (for me, anyway).

"Our Husband," by Stephanie Bond, was another enjoyable mystery. It starts off with Dr. Natalie Blankenship Carmichael treating patients and going about her day, thinking about her husband, Raymond, a prosthetic limb salesman who travels a lot. They seem to have the perfect marriage that helps both their careers and their libidos (absence makes the heart grow fonder, right?). On her last patient of the day, Natalie encounters Brian Buter, a gruff pawn shop owner who is owed a lot of money by Raymond, and he's come to Natalie to collect.

Later that night, after being thoroughly put off by Butler, Natalie gets a call that her husband has been in an accident and is going to the hospital. She drives out there and discovers he has not only ONE other wife, but TWO!

Socialite Beatrix Richardson married the charming bad boy she thought she loved. Exotic Dancer, Ruby Hicks, marries the regular who offers her a beautiful trailer and a future for their unborn child.

When the three women discover each other in the hospital and confront their husband, Raymond has a heart attack, dying soon after. When an autopsy is done by mistake and it is discovered that Raymond had a high level of heart medication in his system, all three women are arrested for conspiring to kill him.

Three women with absolutely NOTHING in common come together in the most unusual of ways to solve a murder and clear their names. It's a bit wacky, as it's supposed to be, and what I liked it that it was told from each woman's POV, so I knew that the real murderer wasn't any of them. I knew who the murderer should be, but not who it was.

I love escapist reads because they don't require much cerebral energy. I tend to over think things, and taking a break from my own life through books is such a nice reprieve.

This book had such interesting protagonists who differed so much that it seems like their husband really thought he could Have it All. Talk about indecisive. I don't understand the urge to cheat or have more than one spouse. It just flabbergasts me as to why someone would wittingly make their life complicated. Life is complicated enough without making it so yourself. Honestly, these women were better off once he died, and with the tight little bow of an ending, I think everyone went on to have a much less complicated life without him.

I think I have more Stephanie Bond on my Kindle. I should check it out.

Written by Rebekah Martin, author of Sugar and Spies

*Book was purchased for free on

View all my reviews

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

As a huge baseball fan, if someone asks me if I want to go to a game, I almost always say yes (there has to be serious illness involved for me to say no). Last night at Werner Park, located in Papillion, Ne, my parents, aunt, uncle and I met for a game, our Omaha StormChasers against the New Orleans Zephyrs.

From inside the gate, looking at the ONE bit of Sunshine we had all evening.
Well, it had been rainy and drizzly all day. I spent most of the day with my friend, Sam, hanging out, learning to play SongPop on my phone, and we went to go see The Odd Life of Timothy Green (Review to come in a later post). Good movie. Not as sad as some led me to believe (My Girl (1992) is sadder!), but still heart-wrenching.

Sam's boys, Kevin and Snoopy. So cute!

I made it home at about 5:15, and my dad wanted to leave at 5:20. Just made it. It was still pretty drizzly, but we hadn't heard anything about the game having been cancelled, so off we went.

They were working on protecting the field from rain when we got there.
There were lots of people in plastic ponchos and carrying umbrellas. I wasn't aware we could have umbrellas in the park (At Rosenblatt, our now demolished former baseball stadium, they made us take an umbrella back to the car). I guess they make an exception when it's actually raining and not many people are there? We got our food (I was starving. I hadn't eaten since the movie, several hours earlier), and I got a chicken burrito from the La Mesa kiosk, and later some sweet potato fries. I thought about getting a margarita, and really regretted it after trying my mom's. So good!

The game still hadn't started by the time we were done eating, so my mom, Aunt Pat and I decided to walk around a bit.

Werner park is almost completely open, whereas Rosenblatt's eateries/restorooms were all under a  large tin roof
So, I'm not proud of this (okay, I kind of am), but the park encourages fans to tweet and check in and everything, so having gotten pretty impatient, I tweeted them.

, what's with the delay? You're called "STORMChasers!" Please start soon!

Not two minutes later, we got an announcement over the loud speakers saying they were still waiting for the weather to make a decision and to please be patient. Did I hit a nerve? I like to think so. *snickers*

But, before the game started, we did get this lovely image.

Love Rainbows. Reminiscent of God's promise to Noah.
I'm so glad I brought my Kindle. I was getting seriously bored. And Cold. I really wish there was a Starbucks or Scooters Kiosk in the park (There wasn't one at Rosenblatt, either). I finished reading Our Husband by Stephanie Bond, and kept checking out Facebook. For two hours.

Dad had the same idea.
When the game finally started, I was getting tired. The Stormchasers actually did pretty well, but I wanted a Grand Slam. I feel the wait would have been justified if I'd gotten my Grand Slam. Early on, they kept setting it up, but not following through. It was heartbreaking. I know that you can't plan these things, but it will would've been nice if it had bappened.

When we left, the StormChasers were ahead of the Zephyrs, 3-0. We left at the fifth inning, as it was almost 10 and dad and I needed to get up for Worship Team this morning (incidentally, the Team did a Baseball song for the offering music, and it was "Center Field" by John Fogerty, with a Christian Twist).

I love how great our seats were. Absolutely fantastic.
Probably my last game for the season. Wish it had been a better experience, but it hasn't marred my love of the game.

  • What sports do you absolutely love?
  • Got a favorite team? I love the St. Louis Cardinals. I blame college.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Age Ain't Nothin' But a Number

The cousin whom I considered to be a younger brother turns eighteen tomorrow. It makes me feel so old. I still remember when he would cuddle up to me to watch George of the Jungle and I would teach him Looney Toons impressions.

Two years ago at a wedding, Ages 15 and 24
I'm feeling a bit nostalgic about it, but I realize that he needs to grow up. *sigh* Love that kid a lot.

It did get me thinking about my own age. When I was 21, I NEVER got carded. It actually kind of pissed me off. Did I look old? Before my time? It was actually pretty discouraging at the time. I was a sophomore in college, I was doing what all college kids did, but I didn't get carded? What was THAT about?

Here, six(ish) years later, I'm almost 27, and people confuse me for someone much younger, like...21. Let's compare, shall we?
Age 21, at my friend, Jess's rehearsal dinner, with my friend, Kristen
Age 26, heading to a film premier with my bestie.
Now, tell me. Do I look 26 here? Or do I look the 21/22 that the people I work with seem to think I look? It's got to be a combination of lots of water and being a nonsmoker, because my eating and exercising habits, though they are getting better, aren't that great.

About a week after my darling Jake turned eighteen, his younger sister, my Mini-Me, Laura, will turn fourteen. I think I'm less ready for her and Jake to get older than for me to get older. They were just so darn cute as kids!

Sweetest kid in the world, with the biggest heart (Ages 10 and 23)
I hope, mentally, I stay young. Getting older doesn't scare me so much as getting sick and getting old. I don't want to be a bedridden old cripple. I want to live healthy and have tons of energy and keep up with kids half my age, like Laura (Jake, I'm convinced, has been turned into a vampire, as last time I went to visit, he only came out at night and stayed up until sunrise every night).

So, I've more or less finished week one of C210K, but I think I'm going to repeat it. I spent a lot of my time walking today. I was trying to run faster, and I think I got a bit burned out, and my hamstrings tightened up. I should keep a steady pace of walking 3.0 mph and running 5.0 mph. Speed will come later. Right now, I need to focus on endurance.

As for eating healthier, I honestly tried this week. I was snacking on a bag of clementine oranges (they are so fab, I must say), but after I peeled one, I found black stuff inside. After doing a bit of googling, I found out that a fly had gotten in there and done...something. *shudders* No, I didn't eat it. I was too grossed out to even think about food until I got home from work. I tell ya, ya try to eat healthy and THAT happens.

I think it's funny what people go through to look younger. I don't watch non-competition reality TV because, frankly, it's not as unscripted as they'd like you to believe. I've seen commercials for the Real Housewives, and I don't want to look young like they try to. If that's forty? I'll try to do it naturally. Keeping in good health and taking care of the body God has created for me to further His kingdom (she says after eating pizza and pie, but to be fair, I didn't eat dinner before work today).

I believe in taking care of yourself, acting your age, but having fun at least once a day, be it a joke or doing something you enjoy. Take your life into your own hands to make every day a better day. Be a positive influence to yourself and those around you. Don't dwell on the negative, but rejoice in the positive. I think that's what I want to focus on. I see too much negativity in my attitude in my day to day life. What can I do to make today great?

Considering it's almost Midnight now, I think I'll get a head start on tomorrow by getting some rest.

Peace out!

I seriously adore these two, and they make me proud to be their "Big Sister." (Ages 14, 23 and 10)

  • What do you do to stay young?
  • Any health tips to share with the class?
  • How old do people think you look? (Proud to look 23!)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Oh, computer issues...

So, I honestly have been aching to blog for about four days. Ever since Sunday afternoon. I've had so much to say, but sadly, Tosh, my laptop (named for Toshiko Sato of BBC's Torchwood, a Doctor Who spin-off),  started acting all kinds of wonky, and I couldn't get it to start for ANYTHING. As bummed as I am that I lost almost all of my music (whatever wasn't on my phone), I was able to back up my pictures and documents, so it's not all bad. Now my computer is naked, and looking decidedly corporate. If I wanted a boring desktop to look at...well, I'll just leave it at that.

Tosh, of Torchwood. Timid, yet totally badass at computers.
Anyway, I've tried a few new things and I wanted to share some of them. Writing wise, I've found a group to review Sugar and Spies for their blog, The Indie Bookshelf (Have I mentioned I'm on and adore Goodreads?), and one of their readers started the book yesterday. I'm pretty excited to have someone read it who isn't related to me, and who I've only met via email. I hope she enjoys it, and I hope I can learn from this experience. With the review coming soon (will post a link when it does), I'm planning a re-release and promotion of Sugar and Spies with a preview of book two in the Spy Sisters series, The Truth and the Spy. 

That's what's been happening in my professional world. In my personal world, I've restarted C210K on a treadmill at my gym. It's interesting, but I find that it's easier to run when I listen to Disney music (need to put together a playlist), and since my parents got me a Kindle Keyboard for an early birthday present (less than a month to the big 27!), I realized how much easier it is to read while doing the walking portions on the treadmill. It made the time go so much faster!

I was going to try to run the Komen 5K in October, but with all that's happened lately, between work, work,  worship team, writing, etc, life got in the way (when you've never made working out a priority, it's hard to make it so as an adult, but I'm working on it). Now, I've decided to just do the walk, and I'm trying to get some friends/family to join me. No one's emailed me back, however. Hmm. *shrugs* I might just have to go it alone. But where's the fun in that?

What I'm really excited for this week (call me a dork), is Homemade Almond Butter. I've been wanting to make my own nut butter for awhile now. I love Smucker's Natural Creamy PB, but wanted to try something new. Since commercial Almond butters are so expensive (nearly $10 for a small jar! WHAT?!), I decided to get some roasted, unsalted almonds and try to make my own.

To say it was a gripping success would be an understatement.

Photo by Angela Liddon, 
I didn't have a camera when I was making mine, but the above pic is pretty much what it looked like. And it was amazing. I'd only tried almond butter once, when I was on vacation with my gal pal. Lauren, in Santa Fe, at our hotel's Continental Breakfast. It wasn't that great. But this, homemade almond butter was amazing. I hope to put it in a green monster tomorrow, before it's all gone. It's utterly delish.

Anyway, that's all that's been happening with me. Now, I need to go back to downloading things I don't have anymore. LeSigh. Oh well. Things happen. At least I still have a computer. Hopefully Tosh won't be giving me anymore trouble for awhile. *knockonwood*

I'll be sure to let you know about the freebie, and the review. I'm super excited about it!

Follow me on Goodreads and Twitter (@martinbeks) for more information!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Diary of Darcy J. RhoneThe Diary of Darcy J. Rhone by Emily Giffin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Darcy is just the kind of girl I would've been (and WAS!) friends with in high school. At that age, there are the people you're friends with because you've known each other for so long that if you stopped and actually looked at who they were and what they did, you would be appalled, which is why so many friendships don't last past high school.

Knowing the type of girl she is (though, I admit I only knew because of the movie version of "Something Borrowed"), I was pretty sure I wouldn't like Darcy. Not on the page, not in the real world. I've known too many Darcys in my life, and their drama is best kept on the page, bothering fictional characters. She's the stereotypical cheerleader: beautiful, popular, overly dramatic, wonders why everyone doesn't worship the ground she walks on. I honestly don't think you're supposed to like Darcy. It was HARD to like her. I didn't even try.

That said, I think Emily Giffen has Teenage Darcy's Journalistic voice DOWN. It's probably not hard to write the journal of a teenager (hell, I did it when I WAS a teenager!), so channeling that angsty time could be as simple as going back to your own journals (I blush when I think of the stupid things that made me mad back then).

This book took me back to when I was that age, but having read it and having seen the movie "Something Borrowed," why does ANYONE put up with her? Probably leads me back to my original thought of people are too scared to let go, even with Frenemies like Darcy J. Rhone.

Written by Rebekah Martin, author of Sugar and Spies

View all my reviews

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

How to recover from what you hate most.

I don't like people. As I get older, I realize that while there is a lot of good in most people, there are those select few that seem to spend their time terrorizing those that simply want to do their jobs, make their money and go home.

Or is that just me?

I used to have a great deal of faith in people. I thought people were ultimately good, and I still do. But put them in contact with those working in customer service, and it's like a caste system. People are horrible to those in customer service positions. I've been working in the industry since I was fourteen, and I've been on the horrid end of some entitled shopper insisting they know my systems and sales better than I do.

Having heard for the millionth time this summer that my agents are idiots, the company I listen to knows nothing and doesn't care for their customers, I'm about ready to rip my hair out. Now, my agents might not be of this country, but the fact that they can speak a language other than their native should (it doesn't, but it should) speak volumes about their intelligence.

Anyway, coming home to write is my reward for making it through the day. Things I also enjoy when I come home are cuddling with my animals (Frisket's been decidedly clingy lately), writing and watching movies. Right now, dad and I are revisiting something from my childhood, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. I used to sing all the songs, pretend I was Sally Ann Howes, running around in her humongous back yard (She was a candy heiress named "Truly Scrumptious." No, she wasn't a stripper), dreaming about Dick Van Dyke. Taking trips in a magical car with Dick and his two tow-headed kids. They travel to the land of Vulgaria when his father is kidnapped by a Baron who mistakes him for his son, who is an inventor.

What I didn't realize was that this is actually one of my first Spy stories. It was written by Ian Fleming, author of James Bond. The Vulgarian Baron sends two inept spies wearing Hitler makeup with lots of funny-looking inventions to bring the inventor in. There are two aspects of this movie which aren't necessarily family friendly. One is the Child Catcher. I believe his picture explains everything.
With the nose of Cyrano De Bergerac to sniff children out.
The other is the Baron and his Wife of over 20 years. She's bananas about him, while he spends his time thinking up ways to kill her. Like this video:

Dancing around in her underwear while he tries different methods of offing her. Nothing says "Family Friendly" like sex and attempted murder.

I don't usually spend my evenings like this. But this was something I was looking forward to all day. Musicals are a passion of mine, and I love spending time watching them with my daddy.

Speaking of, we went to a Theatre Organ Concert on Sunday, called "Hooray For Hollywood II," and have been going to this concert for the last three years. It was a fun time, and there was a large choir of Barbershop Singers called the Pathfinder Chorus, who were fantastic, along with the organist and pianist, whose names escape me, but they both were amazing. I've seen the organist before. He works at Disney, so he did quite a few Disney songs. 

I totally sang along.

Now, I go back to writing. For those that have read the first book, Riley asked Stan out. Or Stan asked Riley. Neither is really sure what happened. 

Ciao, My friends!

  • What are you favorite movies from childhood that you watch now and it horrifies you how wrong they are? 
  • Do you still love that movie or are you scarred for life?

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Lee G. Simmons Consvervation and Wildlife Safari Park

Growing up across the river from Omaha, Nebraska, I feel like I've had some of the best and coolest opportunities afforded me. There is the Henry Doorly Zoo, one of the best zoos in the country (and actually beat out Disney World in a best for families vote), the Orpheum Theatre, where I feel like I grew up (had many an opportunity to explore it as a child, and also sang there in high school choir), several museums, including my favorite, the Durham Western Heritage Museum (they have trains. I love trains. Just call me Sheldon Cooper), and it's also the home of the NCAA College World Series!

Anyhoo, I never really appreciated it until I left and went to college, where there wasn't nearly as much to do so close (Had to drive two hours to either KC or STL to do anything nearly as cool as the stuff we have in Omaha). One thing that I didn't realize we had nearby is the Lee G. Simmons Conservation and Wildlife Safari Park. It's a drive-thru park with areas that you can park to hike to see more animals (bears and wolves and frogs, oh my!), as well as a petting zoo. Here are some of the pics from the trip.

Coming in, there were elk everywhere! I think my mom counted.

Check out their antlers!

At the first stopping point, heading toward the Eagles.

Not sure if you can see them, but there ARE owls in that picture.  Right in the middle.

Pretty AND Interesting. I love Native American history.

On my way to the frog pond, I stopped at a map and found a  typo.  Have I mentioned grammatical errors like this are a pet peeve?

Mom petting goats.

Goats are cute. This one was super hungry.


I want chickens of my own one day.

I would have four and name them Antonia, Stephanie, Thora and Betty, and they would be Avengers Hens.

And the coolest part of the whole ride, I think.

White buffalo! I'd never seen them before! So gorgeous!

This handsome Bobcat has the same look of disdain my Henry gives me!

Partner-in-Crime running from the Camera

Foxy ladies! They were tiny!

Did you know porcupines attack with their tails?

This turtle was running all over his cage, trying to get out.

This little guy I photographed because he reminded me of my advisor, Kate Kogut, in college. She LOVES moose!
Honestly, this place is an inexpensive stop if you're in Ashland, NE. Only $6.50 for adults, and I think $4.50 for kids. There are some animals that you just can't see at your local zoo, and buffalo is one kind that we don't have at Henry Doorly. Granted, this isn't as big, and we were in/out in about two hours, so the fact that it's half the price of HD is pretty decent. I HIGHLY Recommend this place. It's great for kids. I'm only sad I didn't get a better look at the wolves and the bears. I saw them, but the darn trees were blocking me from a good view. Guess it was an off day.

Afterward, we went to use a Groupon for  Nothing Bundt Cakes  on Pacific in Omaha. It was worth $20, so we were able to get about six of their mini cakes (decent sized. We split the Red Velvet three ways during Project Runway tonight!), in almost all the flavors they had available: Red Velvet (obviously), Cinnamon Swirl (which we got to sample), Chocolate Chocolate Chip, White White Chocolate, Lemon, and Pecan Praline. Loved it. If it were more on my way home from work, that could present a problem. LOL

  • What places do you like to visit in your own hometown?
  • Do you love zoos and museums as much as I do?
  • What's your favorite animal to see at the zoo?

Monday, August 6, 2012

Olympics: Better Late than Never

Am I the only one to find these guys creepy?
Okay, so PLEASE don't lynch me for this, but I haven't been following the Olympics like almost everyone else in the country (heck in my own house!). It's not that I'm not patriotic, but most Olympic sports don't interest me. Racing? Meh. Swimming? Not so much (though, I kind of wish I'd seen the synchronized swimming). I don't know why, but I've never been super interested in most of the athletes. The ones I DO like (Summer and Winter) are Gymnastics, Diving, Figure Skating. Call it a desire to see a story played out (Figure Skating) or sheer amazement at what the human body is capable of doing (Gymnastics).

My body can't contemplate this position. I'm not entirely sure this is legal.

Right now, I'm watching Women's Gymnastics and the uneven bars and the first one I saw, from China, did an amazing job. Seriously. How can ANYONE move and fly so quickly? The next one I saw, a little blond from Russia, she was doing fantastic until her foot hit the shorter bar before attempting her dismount. She was crushed.  The one I just watched from Germany (Elisabeth Seitz) was also impressive. Apparently, she's known for her work on the uneven bars.

When I was a kid, I thought they could just fly, but now that I know a thing or two about the human body, and which muscle controls which part of the body, it boggles my mind. I can't figure it out. It's so trippy. I think I would've enjoyed gymnastics when I was a kid, but alas, I think I'm too tall to be a gymnast (I'm 5'9"). I would bruise my shins on those bars.

How do they spin while doing a handstand and not fall off? I realize it's a good part muscle conditioning another part physics. It's absolute madness, but I admire them for it. I'd never be able to do it. I'd be happy to be able to jump really high like Tina. She does CrossFit. If I could find a Groupon or Living Social deal for CrossFit, I might just consider trying it. They say they accept all fitness levels. My fitness is kind of slowing right now. I'm trying to start C25K, but I'm exhausted. Planning to go to Zumba later this week.

I don't these girls allow excuses. They're where they are because of no excuses. It's a lot of sacrifice and determination. I think I'm more determined when it comes to my writing. Second book has been coming along well, by the way. The plan is to have draft 1 finished by the end of August and the finished draft by the time I go to my friend, Amanda's, wedding in September. That day is also my birthday. Busy weekend.

I think we can all learn a lot from the dedication of the Olympic Athletes. If you have a passion, don't expect that you'll be good overnight. Not everyone is a prodigy. 99% of all athletes had to work for where they are. To quote Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks), "Of course it's hard. If it wasn't, everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great."

  • Is there anything that you find difficult that you would love to achieve?
  • What do you think of the Olympics? 
  • Do you have a favorite sport?

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Movie Review: "The Dark Knight Rises"

I don't know about the rest of the country, but after the tragedy at the Aurora, Colorado theater on the opening night of The Dark Knight Rises, I was a little wary of seeing this movie right away, as originally planned. After viewing it with my friend, Ryan, today, I'm glad I waited a couple of weeks. There were a few scenes that would've been hard to watch if I'd actually been closer to the tragedy (I have dear friends in the area, but none of them were actually at that theater, thank God).

I loved Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy. They paved a new path for superhero movies that I don't think has been met by any other superhero movie out there right now. Batman Begins started a whole new generation of the beginnings (Spiderman totally doesn't count. Not even close!). Even with next year's Man of Steel is following suit. Up until Batman Begins, I'd always thought of Batman as a comical, cartoony superhero. Blame it on Adam West. Christopher Nolan took Gotham and its residents and put them in the real world. He made Batman's journey seem like the realistic journey of a troubled young man looking for his place in a world that doesn't necessarily want him.

That being said, the tradition continues in TDKR. Bruce Wayne, having sustained physical and mental injuries at the end of The Dark Knight due to The Joker and Two-Face, has been living as a recluse in Wayne Manor, ignoring his business, friends and even his charities. His faithful servant/father-figure, Alfred, has been taking care of as much as he can, but even Alfred is only one person. There are jokes of Bruce turning into Howard Hughes, but I think after what he'd been through, he has a right to it.

Believe it or not, this is Bruce Wayne post shave, but after having been a recluse for eight years.
Anyway, having met Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway) at a charity ball being held at Wayne Manor, we realize that she's a cat burglar with a strong desire to erase her past discretions and lead a new life. She owes people a lot of money, so she steals jewels, including Martha Wayne's pearls which had a homing device on them.

I honestly wasn't sure what to think when they'd cast Anne as Catwoman. I knew she could play bad and reckless based on her performance in Rachel Getting Married, but I was completely won over by how quickly she could go from mousey to vamp to criminal to damsel to Catwoman. She played so many roles just in the first fifteen minutes. VERY Impressive, Ms. Hathaway.

Mia Thermopolis No More.
As for the next villain, Bane, played by Tom Hardy, I knew he could do well with it. He's played the villain several times before. I actually adore Tom Hardy. I think he's good looking, talented, intense and mesmerizing. Everyone kept talking about how they couldn't understand what Bane was saying through his mask, but I understood him well enough. Problem was, though, he sounded JUST like Sean Connery. It was INSANE! I kept expecting villainous Bond-things to come out of his speaker, but they never did.

A Martini. Shaken, not Stirrrrrrred.
No one had any idea who Joseph Gordon Levitt was supposed to be playing this time around, and I have to say, I think it was better that way. I went in without any idea of his background, and I fell in love with him. He played Officer-turned-Detective Blake, who never gave up on Batman, and actually became a good friend and ally to him. He was concerned with always doing the right thing, taking care of children, and keeping Gotham a safe city to live in.
NOT a Side Kick. Badass on his own.
I can't give anymore character information without giving everything away, and I don't want to do that. I think this, like Brave would do better without a full synopsis. There was a bit of an ambiguous ending. I'm not sure I liked that, but it seems Christopher Nolan likes the ambiguous ending. He certainly keeps you wanting more. It's been said that Christian Bale was ending at three movies, so time will tell, but despite his continued use of the Batman garble (Sounds like Gollum with laryngitis), he's a great Batman. I don't know many men who can do troubled like Christian Bale. Talented, talented man.

I doubt they'll see this, but Christopher Nolan, Christian Bale, rest of the cast, I would LOVE if you did another. You can't just leave me like this! It was amazing!

I do love that like many directors before him, Christopher Nolan has a group of people he likes to work with. This movie damn close to being an Inception reunion (If Leonardo DiCaprio were Bruce Wayne and Ellen Page played the bit part played by Juno Temple) with Tom Hardy, Marion Cotillard, Michael Caine, Joesph Gordon Levitt, and Cillian Murphy (YES! Scarecrow is BACK!), . 

And on a final note, there were a few scenes that really shook me. There was a scene at the Gotham Stock Exchange, where Bane's cronies have all sneaked in, and he joins them, and just starts shooting people. That part really threw me because of the recent Aurora events. I think Christian Bale is a wonderful person for visiting the victims, and it looked like he would have preferred it without all the hoopla. Even his wife was there.

On a final note, a picture I found on Facebook the other day.

Speaking on behalf of the cast and crew of The Dark Knight Rises, I would like to express our profound sorrow at the senseless tragedy that has befallen the entire Aurora community. I would not presume to know anything about the victims of the shooting but that they were there last night to watch a movie. I believe movies are one of the great American art forms and the shared experience of watching a story unfold on screen is an important and joyful pastime. The movie theatre is my home, and the idea that someone would violate that innocent and hopeful place in such an unbearably savage way is devastating to me. Nothing any of us can say could ever adequately express our feelings for the innocent victims of this appalling crime, but our thoughts are with them and their families.


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