Resolutions and Solutions


Some of you have heard me say this more times than you probably would have liked to but… I just am going to say it – again. I cannot believe that we are less than 36 hours away from closing out 2011. There are a number of things that come to mind with ushering in a brand new year. Some of them might be important changes in life like using it as the chance to start afresh, to right wrongs or to strive to accomplish that one thing that has always been out of reach. Another thought that comes hand-in-hand with the holiday is the ever-popular New Year’s resolutions. Just some of the more recognizable ones might be a new job or to spend more time with family, live a healthier lifestyle or losing weight. I’ve not been one to “buy” into all the hype of resolutions, but I have been known to mentally coach myself on what I want to see change although it doesn’t have to be a new year – sometimes it might be taking another step in seeing completion to one of my goals or changing flaws about myself; human imperfections and all. 
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New Year's Eve (2011)


Generally speaking, anytime a movie is headed up by Garry Marshall it nearly guarantees a grand treat at the theater – especially if you are in the mood for a chick-flick sort of movie. Each time I see a Garry Marshall film, I am enchanted by its fairy-tale qualities. Some of his works are family-friendly (or at least appropriate for teens) and some are very “adult.” The pre-cursor of this flick, Valentine’s Day certainly left something to be desired. This follow-up (of a sort) has its flaws but it is ten times better than Valentine’s Day was – or could ever hope to be.

Despite a seemingly “hopeless” world, there is one night when the whole world does gather together – New Year’s Eve. It is the one night in the entire year where the entire world can join together to celebrate the start of a new day – a whole new year where anything seems possible and a magical moment can be captured in a kiss... the one kiss that might change everything for someone. Ingrid (Michelle Pfeiffer) wouldn’t dream of letting her hair down like that and she isn’t the boldest person, either. In fact, she is something of a bore when it comes to excitement and living it up. Not one who looks a person in the eye, Ingrid finds herself at the office on the one day she wasn’t expecting to be, and is snapping at the courier service guy who has delivered packages to her building for month now. Paul (Zac Efron) just wants to cheer up his buddy and roommate, Randy (Ashton Kutcher). Not in a very festive mood which stems from lack of work, Paul is determined to get his friend out in the heart of the city for a night of fun. His answer comes when Ingrid offers him four tickets to the hottest party in town, contingent upon him working for her for the day to help her check off each of her new year’s resolutions… and then, Randy gets stuck in an elevator with an aspiring singer (Lea Michele) who is supposed to be singing back-up vocals to the hottest act at Time’s Square, Jensen (Jon Bon Jovi). It was just one year ago when Jensen messed up his own life with his girlfriend whom he proposed to and then left. Now Laura (Katherine Heigl) is catering the same party that Jensen has been booked at, only she is not in the most forgiving mood, but despite her anger, Jensen is betting on a chance to make things right. 
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Favorites from 2011


Since this post is going around a lot in the blogging scene, I thought it might be fun to add my own post to that list of bloggers. I feel like I am putting this together on a whim, so it is not likely to be very organized, and for that I do beg your indulgence. This winter, I plan on doing a more "complete" list and have some fun with it, but until then... read on below to find out what some of my favorites were - including books and movies from 2011. 
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Life as we Know It (2010)


Life As We Know It

Life as we Know It takes a crack at perfecting the typical opposites-attract set-up. The one glitch is this scenario has complications – a baby. So, how does “life” transcend from screen to life as we know and live it?

Sharing mutual friends isn’t always the best thing. Holly Berenson (Katherine Heigl) is a responsible, hard working woman attending culinary school with dreams to own a bakery and catering business. Eric Messer (Josh Duhamel) is quite the opposite – he’s irrational, never one to stick around in a relationship, but has a promising career as a network sports director for major sporting events.

Their friends Pete and Alison think they would make an ideal couple and set them up for a date – a date that has “disaster” written all over before it even begins. They make it to the car arguing over which restaurant to dine at before each stomp off in the opposite direction throwing insults over their shoulders at each other and breathing sighs of relief at never having to see one another again. Little do they know how wrong they were.
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A Princess for Christmas (2011) - A Contemporary Fairytale with Sam Heughan



Usually I don't see the new seasonal movies that air on Hallmark channel until the following year when – and if – they release to DVD. This year, A Princess for Christmas was released in the U.K. and Canada. Because of this, it was my one “guilty pleasure” buy.

Plucky and determined, Jules Daly (McGrath) isn't about to let a little thing like losing her job affect Christmas. Since her sister and brother-in-law died the year prior, Jules has been trying her best to make a new home for her niece and nephew who she now looks on as her own. But Milo (Travis Turner) is a teenager who doesn’t want his aunt to assert a parental authority in any part of his life while young Maddie is a precocious seven-year-old. 

TV MOVIE REVIEW | Once Upon a Holiday (2015) - A Romantic Fairytale

In the aftermath of being fired, a proper English butler (Miles Richardson) shows up on Jules doorstep. He's in the states as representative for the Duke (Roger Moore) of Castlebury Hall. His mission is to persuade Jules to bring her niece and nephew to England to visit their grandfather. With reluctance, Jules agrees to the arrangements, and off the trio go to England to spend Christmas with dukes and duchesses, and even a prince in the form of the dukes son, Ashton (Sam Heughan).


Confession time: I absolutely adore this movie. Despite its fairytale premise, to be honest, the movie starts out a bit rocky. The director seems to employ awkward filming technique, and the camera shots don’t seem to compliment the actors. Once this passes (probably before fifteen minutes have passed), the viewers can settle in for an adorable, sweet little movie. The “adventure” is a lot of fun also. At its heart, it's a story about uncertainty, and the hope of Christmas blessings.

The acting also compliments the story. Katie holds her own against veteran Roger Moore (part of the James Bond fame) although on occasion, the slightest hint of her accent slipped into her American dialogue. She and Sam share a cute chemistry (if cute chemistry is a thing). 

If there are any real faults or clichés, this is at the fault of the script which can sometimes take its talent for granted. Nevertheless this is a wonderful film – all warm and fuzzy as it finds just the right moods of festiveness, and yet, captures an emphasis on family and its importance. 


Production crews found pretty sets (like the castle), and the camera captures gorgeous scenery. There is a pretty ball room scene, and I was pleasantly surprised that the movie moved away from a few of the trivial expectations I had of it. If you like British productions or happy-go-lucky romances, check into this one. I thought the ending was adorable and I liked how the characters interacted. A Princess for Christmas is definitely one of my most loved Christmas films. It's yet another charming ‘hallmark’ proving why this channel is such a crowd-pleaser.

Anyone else see this one? If so, please share your thoughts.  

Fun Fact: this is also known as Christmas at Castlebury Hall and A Christmas Princess (the U.K.).



(Rated PG because… Milo is something of a rebel and disrespectful of his elders. He steals a video game which Jules sees he returns and talks back to the adults in his life – he plays a couple of mean tricks on his sister.) 
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Sherlock Holmes, a Game of Shadows (2011)


Sherlock Holmes A Game of Shadows

The first film in this franchise didn't receive favorable accolades from purists of the Sherlock Holmes “fan club.” Most found it to be a degrading way to look at the sharp-witted intellectual who Arthur Donan Coyle created decades ago, and as far as critics were concerned, it was just a waste of filmmaking. But audiences by and large reacted much differently if the box office returns were any judge. If you disliked the first film, then chances are high you’ll detest this sequel. All I can find to say about it was: what fun!
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Christmas...


Season's Greetings! I hope each and every one of my readers has spent this time surrounded by those who mean the most to them and enjoyed the holiday season, and all of the beautiful joys that accompany it. Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a happy new year, 2012!
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A Christmas Wish (2011)


Making accurate and wise judgment calls has not been Martha Evans (Kristy Swanson) strong suit. So far she has made two grievous misjudgments – decisions that have left her alone with three small children. Married as a young woman without the smarts to know what she was setting herself up for, her husband turned out to be a real jerk and so she left the marriage with a small daughter, Mary Ellen. Then she was swept off her feet by a charming cowboy who had a son Miles. After a whirlwind romance, they were married and less than a year later, baby Lily was added to their combined family. It doesn’t take long for Martha to realize that her marriage is not a match made in heaven… and then Cal walks out on them, taking all their meager savings with him in the process. Packing up her three children, Martha travels as far as her limited cash and beater car will take her. 
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Christmas Mail (2010)


 
I see enough Christmas movies each year to realize that, like romantic comedies they are all nearly the exact carbon-copy of each other. This movie is one of the silliest little holiday flicks I’ve seen but at the same time, it made me smile with such pleasure that its over-sweet premise and such endearing characters could be nothing but “perfect.”

Letters to Santa are supposed to mark the beginning of a magical season filled with joy, twinkle lights and the people that we love most around us – and maybe that coolest toy under the tree. For Matt (A.J. Buckley) all these letters signify is more work. As a postal worker, the holiday season means the start of a longer day and more packages to haul around on his route. An aspiring guitarist who left his free-spirit band mates and days on the road behind in order to take custody of and care for his precocious niece Emily, Matt is determined to give his niece a stable environment to grow up in. Little does Matt know that Emily is writing Santa for something more – this year she wants only her beloved Uncle’s happiness… and someone who can make their family feel complete.
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White Collar, Season One (2009)



Ever since becoming a follower of USA produced shows where they beckon “Characters Welcome” as their trademark slogan, this show has popped up in promo spots and all kinds of material interrelated to the series I was already enjoying. Further reading only tempted me more and the shows premise sounded like wicked good fun – plus a commentator compared it to Burn Notice… enough said.
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Traditions


What is the first thing that you think of when you see the word ‘Christmas’ in print?

Is it the smell of cookies baking? Twinkle lights proudly gleaming on their evergreen perch? All of the deals you might snag on the over-publicized Black Friday? Or is it something – or rather Someone much more precious? Christmas conjures up all sorts of images and thoughts in our minds. A Christmas tree with all the trimmings and presents piled high beneath it. Tables laden with a centerpiece that is a perfectly cooked turkey and every mouth-watering side dish that goes with it, snowflakes falling gently through the air blanketing the landscape in a dazzling coating of white. Salvation Army buckets outside of stores entrance or Santa Clause sitting at the mall patiently listening to children’s wish lists. Fireplaces crackling with bright cheeriness, cups of hot cocoa with marshmallows on a cold winter’s evening or a Christmas album blaring on the stereo – whatever thought might pop into our heads when thinking of the holiday,  we all have traditions that mean something to us amidst the hustle-bustle of the season that should be anything but taxing. 
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Leverage, Season One (2007)


He has helped people for years reclaim their prized possessions and when it turns out he is the one needing assistance, there is none to be found. 

Nate Ford (Timothy Hutton) stood by while his young, eight-year-old son lay dying, suffering through medical procedures, and when an experimental treatment did finally come along the insurance company refused payment. As a former insurance investigator, Nate knows the system, but he cannot forgive the corporate company who let his son die. When he is approached to steal top-secret airplane specs by a man who claims they are legitimately his designs but were stolen, Nate is doubtful about the role he is to play in working the thief scene – but an opportunity to hurt the insurance company who took his son makes it an interesting offer. Turns out he is to play leader to three well-known thieves – some of whom Nate previously chased in relation to various insurance claims and investigations. There is the techno genius Alec Hardison (Aldis Hodge) and weapons and hand-to-hand combat expert Eliot (Christian Kane)… and then, there is Parker (Beth Riesgraf). Parker is all heart but completely insane, so much so that she actually likes jumping off buildings and doesn’t like to spend money but instead she likes just having money. With that, the team is in place, the plans are stolen back and all that’s left is the pay-off… right? Wrong. That payment never does come along. Instead, the four of them realize they were played (and nearly killed), and decide to con the man who hired them as a means of satisfaction.

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Tangled (2010)


Tangled

Gosh but this movie really gets around in the blogging scene. I cannot count the number of times I have seen it featured on someone’s blog. So, I decided I might as well post my thoughts... plus it's the most perfect movie to watch with the family during this holiday season. Fairy-tales have given us generations of stories and fables - some good and some bad. They are not only found as told in Little Golden Books, but also have been fodder for many a filmmaker. Perhaps there is no production company with any bigger name (or budget) than Disney, who has in essence become the leading name when one thinks of happily-ever-afters. 
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Love, Wedding, Marriage (2011)


I do not remember exactly what on-line retailer or Internet site I was visiting when this first snagged my attention but it did so because of its two leading ladies. After that, the rest of the cast sounded impressive and the plot sounded adorable. Since I am a sucker for any romantic comedy, seeing this was inevitable.
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The Christmas Card (2006)


Warm fuzzy Christmas movies are some of my favorite things to indulge in over the holiday season. That is the main reason why every year at this time I will scour Amazon.com for all the latest television films that I read about the previous year, hoping that the title I type in will be on DVD this year. That was the case with The Christmas Card, a Hallmark channel movie – this endearing little film has now skyrocketed to the top of my “classics.” 
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Sherlock Holmes (2009)


Sherlock Holmes
 
Warner Brothers’ recent take on the ammeter detective and his sidekick is not something that will likely find much "middle ground" with viewers. Instead, this blockbuster will be one of two things. It will either be loved or despised. Fans of the original Holmes find this full of gaps, while some of us can merely enjoy this for what it is. 
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Guest Post from Danielle


Hello fellow bloggers. Today, I am thrilled to welcome Danielle from Book or Big Screen? to my blog with a guest post here at Scribbles, Scripts and Such – she has reviewed the book The Life of Pi. Her blog explores the differences between the book and its companion movie adaptation. You may remember a few months back when I guest posted on her blog, which was great fun, so I am thrilled that she agreed to write something here. Read on below to find out what Danielle thought about this book…  
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One Day (2011)


One Day Anne Hathaway

Initially I was drawn to this for two reasons. The first was Anne Hathaway starring – she is Hollywood’s “princess” who shot to fame in her role as Mia Thermopolis in Disney’s The Princess Diaries – and secondly, because I am always up for a good romance. I knew how this one ended long before seeing it and, although I was far from happy with it, still I saw it. 
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Elizabeth Camden's The Lady of Bolton Hill


Here, I am posting another "alternate cover art" post. I've done two prior to this one and it has been fun. Today, I am featuring Christian author Elizabeth Camden's debut novel. There were a handful of working concepts for this novel before the final design was sent to press. Published by Bethany House and designed by Jennifer Parker, here were three differing versions of the early working designs:
                              

...and below, here is the final cover art from back to front: 


Overall, I definitely prefer the final design. It is pretty and compliments the story well (which is a charming story fashioned after North & South). Of the prior designs, the middle cover is my favorite and the other two are just... "okay." Jennifer Parker is a well-known graphic designer whose work is often found on the the books published by Bethany House - including authors such as Cathy Marie Hake and Janette Oke. 

What are your thoughts about these designs? 
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Sometimes the Only Good Guys... are the 'Bad' Ones


Perhaps I am working under a mistaken assumption but... don’t we all love the good guys in stories? To see their missions go out in an awesome blaze of splendor – even as our logical minds tell us that it is in an enclosed special effects set, nothing can take the fun out of it, because it’s cool, right!? Is there any better way for a movie to end or more gratifying? I didn’t think so. What do you do though with heroes who have built a reputation on thieving? Why, you reform them, of course! That is the working premise for TNT’s summer hit Leverage, a show that hinges on the bad guys doing the right thing.
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Hawaii Five-0, Season One (2010)



During the summer of 2010, the promotion for the fall television season was constantly playing promotional spots on TV and this show, popped up in a lot of articles. It interested me for more than one reason, none of which had anything to do with the original series. 
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Water for Elephants (2011)


Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson in Water for Elephants

From the better part of my movie viewing experience I’ve learned that I do not particularly take to or like movies that start in the present day – or some years later timeframe and then go back decades to tell its primary story. Even though there are a rare few that I do not mind, it just doesn’t pique my interest – this beginning wound up being one that did rub me the wrong way. 
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12 Men of Christmas (2009)


From Lifetime, this piece of yuletide fluff aired on television a couple of years ago billed as a book-to-screen adaption. Not something likely to disappoint, this is most definitely one of my most favorite flicks. 

She didn’t get where she is by being a meek “girl” about everything. No, this career-driven woman doesn’t have the word “no” or its description in her vocabulary. On the fast lane towards success, E.J. Baxter (Kristin Chenoweth) got to where she is by taking control – refusing to be told “no.” Her engagement was even at her insistence when, instead of being a total girl about it, she took the initiative and proposed marriage to her equally career-minded fiancé. A New York publicist who knows, not only how to work her clients but wow her boss, E.J. is counting on having one of the best Christmases she’s had in years… but that is when things come to a halt. When she finds her fiancé and boss making out, her reaction is to break the heel off a thousand dollar pair of pumps, which in turn, gets her unceremoniously fired.

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Christmas Lodge (2010)


The Hallmark Channel is well renowned for their family-friendly fare. They are no more well-known for this than all through the holiday season when networks air a number of holiday-themed productions. This year they have a dozen or better airing over the course of a month-and-a-half. Add on top of that a world renowned name like Thomas Kinkaid and this movie is bound to pique fans interest. 
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Valentine's Day (2010)



Since Garry Marshall’s follow-up (New Year’s Eve) to this romantic-comedy is releasing this upcoming weekend, I thought, why not re-visit this, his first attempt to monopolize a highly publicized holiday? This is one of those movies I really shouldn’t like because its moral compass is more off-beat than your average comedy is, but still… I do “like” it.
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Femnista: Arsenic & Lace


Good Morning, Readers! Once again, today, I am excited to invite you all to read yet another edition of Femnista! In this issue, the writers give us a glimpse into some of the most-loved PI's, detectives and three-letter government agents. When I heard about this topic, I was thrilled that Charity chose this as one of the webzine's subjects but... it was also more challenging than usual for me to chose just one topic to write about! Crime shows are my primary genre of TV shows, so to narrow it down to one was "difficult."

This issue features Lydia's ever-popular "Ask Lydia" column, articles on Richard Castle (Castle) and the always enigmatic Sherlock Holmes is featured in the "Book vs. Film" column. Also in this issue is Bones (welcome, Danielle!) and White Collar (absolutely love this show), and many, many more! I hope you all check out this issue and enjoy the mysterious "twists and turns" these characters become entangled with.

Scroll down this page to find the link on the right sidebar to read it on-line, or click on the link below to download or print out this issue to read at your leisure. Please let us know what you all think of this issue - feedback is always great! We hope you join us again February first for a look at iconic author Charles Dickens' and his vast library of classics.

Femnista: November/December 2011 - "Favorite Sleuths" 

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Book: Leaving


About the book:
Publisher: Zondervan
Publication Date: 2010
Author: Karen Kingsbury
Series: Bailey Flannigan - Book 1
Genre: Christian Fiction, Young Adult
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Synopsis: twenty-one-year-old Bailey Flannigan is nearly done with her college education but she isn’t sure what that is going to mean. She’s surrounded by a loving, wonderful family and, recently she co-starred in a movie next to Hollywood’s hottest heartthrob… but something is missing – a piece of her heart is broken beyond repair. Developing a close friendship with one of her father’s football players, Bailey and her family welcomed Cody Coleman into their lives with open arms... then, Cody walked away. A guy with a broken past, Cody leaving behind their friendship without so much as a logical reason hurt Bailey so much that the hole in her heart seems now untouchable.

Now, determined to follow dreams of being on Broadway, Bailey decides it is time to spread her wings... until friend and former co-star, Brandon Paul pursues Bailey’s heart, and regardless of her reservations, his gentle caring and genuine feelings for Bailey give her the push she needs to get to know the new Christian better, but is she realizing her dreams – or allotting for the loss of Cody? 
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