Sunday, November 21, 2010

Good Thing He's So Cute

So our 5yo is pretty cute. Everyone seems to just love him. Let me tell you a secret about our little Prince Charming...its all an act. He knows he can flash his smile and head in for a cuddle and all is forgiven. He is a master of distracting your accusations with adorable dancing or joke telling. Too bad this magic doesn't really work on me or his siblings.

Just this weekend, the boy snuck and ate 4 doughnuts in a day, half a box of candy, and emptied a brand new bottle of his sister's face wash. Last week, I witnessed him come down late at night (I was on the couch), and eat something out of the kitchen and then go back upstairs. The TV cabinet has been mysteriously broken as well.

He does know that if he lies convincingly, he will get off the hook. If he says he didn't do it, what can I do? And he is pretty a good liar. Only when we have proof, can we convince him to give it up.

So beware of this little one...he's good, almost too good.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Harry last (kind of)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I (PG-13, 146min)

Well, HP fans, the final installment of the Harry Potter film series has begun (ending with Part 2 in July 2011). This first part is really that...simply the first part of a 5hr film.

I have read the books and seen all the previous films, so I am very familiar with the world and history of Harry Potter. Although I decided not to re-read the book again before the film, it is very helpful viewing this film with some knowledge of the story (either seeing the previous movies or reading the book). They have a lot to cram in and cram they do into every word of dialogue, background scenery, character, etc. (this is true of the 6th film as look for lots of 'clues' in the Half-Blood Prince).

Over the past ten years, our trio (Harry, Hermoine, Ron) have grown up quite a bit, not only in character but the actors themselves. Which is good since the story demands a lot more precise acting and depth, which is delivered effectively. Additionally, the film is probably 2/3 just them. Which is a bit a shame since the book is so rich in supportive characters but the story is not lost in these omissions. Of course, book readers will find their favorite characters or scenes cut out (such as no Charlie Weasley in the series). These omissions are necessary to make watchable movies but I feel they lessen some of the emotional impact.

As a film, this is the most 'adult' of the series. Watching the first film is a children's movie. This is a film for adults. Not only in content but cinematography (lots of silent, beautiful scenery). There is also more violence...prepare for major character demise.

I can't say that I am disappointed in the film but I want so much more. I felt genuine excitement when seeing the trailers but didn't feel that rush in the film itself. This film is slow and full of story opposed to action. And I felt it kind of just stops (like they said, ok that's been 2 1/2 hrs, stop it!). I felt similarly when I saw the Lord of the Rings films. The film in no way stands on its own (you must have background knowledge and the patience to wait for the conclusion). However, this is ok since the film will continue in several months.

I, of course, recommend it for anyone interested in Harry Potter. I would also recommend seeing it at least once on the big screen...the camera work and locations are too gorgeous to miss. As it is a more mature film, the PG-13 rating is completely appropriate (my kids aren't allowed to see any of the films in their entirety until they have read the books first).

Thursday, November 11, 2010


So, we ran over to the Art Theater (ok, we actually drove) to see the documentary Catfish on Monday.

Catfish (PG-13, 87min)
I'd love to tell you about it but I can't really say too much. Part of the excitement of the film is not knowing everything about it before you experience it.

I can say that it is interesting and makes you think, just as the Social Network, about using the internet. And the film maker and main subject, Nev, is adorable and easy to watch for 87mins.

I would recommend you seeing it as it will most likely be nominated for the Oscars however I don't know that you need to spend $7-10 on it. It would be a great DVD rental.

It will run for another week at the Art in Champaign.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

A new family favorite

A new favorite lunch and dinner place for our family is Urbana's Black Dog Smoke and Ale House on Broadway. They've been open for just under a year and are doing fantastically. Find them on facebook here. They are open everyday starting at 11am.

It is a pub so they have all the usual alcohol, etc. But we don't go there to hang out and drink. We go there to eat...and eat well. This is real smoked, delicious pit barbeque (and although you can taste the smoke it is subtle and you won't smell like it when you a great lunch spot).

They have the usual pork and brisket but also chicken, sausage, and some fish (portabellos and great grilled cheese for vegetarians). The best is, they offer burnt ends (which are the ends of the brisket, re-seasoned and re-smoked). These come in small quantities and go FAST. (tip: try to get there between 11am-12pm or 5-6pm for the best spot at these morsels). They offer sandwiches as well as platters and daily specials. They have some appetizers if you just want something to go with your beer (which, I've been told they have a great selection). Their sides are equally fantastic to their meats...the slaw (which comes on the sandwiches) is perfect and the twice baked potato casserole is perfect on a fall day. My family is also partial to the sweet potato fries. I love the lemonade (real lemonade!). They offer a variety of sauces to appeal to everyone.

It is very reasonably priced (my husband can get lunch with drinks for about $16, our family got out for about $30 (the boys shared a sandwich)). The service is very friendly. It can get busy during lunch hour but if go other times, it is a very relaxed atmosphere (they have a couple big screens to watch sports, etc.). I will mention the bathrooms are tiny (a challenge for the pregnant mom and a child to share).

Honestly, once we find a place that everyone in the family, especially our picky-7yo, likes, we go there a lot. So get yourself there!