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Archive for December, 2009

Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

Last night, I had the pleasure of seeing Guy Ritchie’s newest film Sherlock Holmes, starring Robert Downey, Jr, Jude Law, and Rachel McAdams. The theater was packed, and rightly so, as the film just opened on Christmas Day. Indeed, it was a delightful holiday treat. The actors on the screen had me eating out of their hands.

Sherlock Holmes is a delicious detective flick, with twists and turns and odd characters the whole way through. The villain of the movie, Lord Blackwell (who is played by Mark Strong), has a menacing presence on the screen that demands your attention. Also, the fact that he’s into black magic helps his image, too.

I thought Robert Downey, Jr and Jude Law did great jobs at portraying their characters, although they might seem a bit like updated versions of characters you might have read about if you read the old Sherlock Holmes novels. That is one qualm people have had about the movie. They say the newest characters are too different. I have had no previous experience with the original, so this new version suits me just fine.

One of my absolute favorite qualities about this movie was the soundtrack, done by Hans Zimmer. The unique thing about the music was the swift player piano and heavy strings in each of the songs. But perhaps the best song comes when Sherlock walks on the street through a circus (also a great scene). It is interesting titled “I Never Woke Up in Handcuffs Before.” You can hear snippets of the soundtrack here.

Also, the cinematography was incredible. The way that Guy Ritchie chose to go about shooting this movie and the choices made within it were the right ones. It depicts the English city as a dirty, but respectable place, with a mix of good and bad people, elements, and professions.

Go see this movie in the theater or wait until it comes out on video — it’s your choice. Just go see it! To find out more and view a trailer for the movie, visit the Sherlock Holmes website.

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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

Over the holidays, I was able to get back in touch with some of my roots. By roots, I mean the joy inducing movies that changed my life when I was a child. In my nostalgic phase, I watched one of my all time favorites: Disney’s Flight of the Navigator. How I loved the feeling of reliving something that meant so much to me when I was a kid.

Now, Disney is going to ruin all that. According to the Hollywood Reporter, they are slated to remake the wonderful 1986 science fiction adventure film.

For those of you having a hard time remembering, let me give you a quick recap. A 12-year-old boy named David falls down a ravine, only to wake up 8 years in the future. When he returns home, his parents are relieved to see that he is alright, but NASA asks that he stay with them on their base for 48 hours so they can conduct tests. You see, his reappearance has coincided with the finding of a slick metallic space craft, with which he seems to be communicating.

During his time on the base, the space craft calls out to him, so he sneaks out of his room and finds it. He is whisked away in the ship by a silly robotic alien computer, who he renames Max. They travel around the globe while Max gathers his start charts from David’s brain to get back to his planet. Along the way, they form a friendship.

As a product of the 1980s, this film meant a lot to me. It is filled with cheesy 80s quotes, videos, and hairdos. But not only that, it gives you a warm fuzzy feeling inside, too. The robot space alien becomes loveable…and David is certainly a character from my childhood that I will never forget.

This new, probably not so good, version of Flight of the Navigator is being written by Brad Copeland, the same writer who wrote Disney’s Wild Hogs. He has also done work on the television shows Arrested Development and My Name is Earl.

My question: Why can’t they let sleeping dogs lie? Everyone knows that remakes are never as good as their originals. Nonetheless, I just ordered Flight of the Navigator off ebay for $5.00. I’ll just bide my time with that…and maybe, just maybe, I will see the new one when it comes out.

Maybe.

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To all of you A&E readers out there, have a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful holiday season!

Go easy on that egg nog today…but not too easy. 🙂

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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

With Christmas rapidly approaching (and by rapidly, I mean tomorrow), my family has always embarked on a tradition that I’m sure many of you have also enjoyed: the delicious making of the christmas cookies.

After perusing the cookie cookbooks, we have come across a tasty little treat that we have made many Christmases before. I love these cookies. They’re called chocolate oat chewies and they’re filled with chocolate cake batter, oats, and pieces of chocolate, too. (I’ve always been an avid chocolate fan, if you can’t tell.)

Yum, here are the ingredients:

  • 1 package Duncan Hines moist deluxe Devil’s Food cake mix
  • 1 1/3 cups old fashioned oats, uncooked
  • 1 cup flaked coconut, toasted and divided
  • 3/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 bars (1.55 ounces each) milk chocolate, cut into rectangles

You can also use dark chocolate if you’d prefer. They come out equally as rich and delicious. Anyway, here are the simple steps to follow…

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Step 2: Combine cake mix, oats, 1/2 cup coconut, melted butter, eggs and vanilla extract in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Step 3: Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Place on ungreased cookie sheet 2 inches apart. Bake 12 minutes or until tops are slightly cracked. Remove from oven. Press one chocolate rectangle into center of each cookie, then sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of coconut. Remove to cooling rack.

A word about toasting your coconut…it’s not necessary. You could have regular coconut flakes, but it tastes better if you toast it. To do so, spread it on a cookie sheet and bake it at 350 degrees for three minutes. Stir and bake one to two minutes longer or until light golden brown.

Enjoy, and happy holidays from A&E Groove!

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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

Remember Tucker Max, author of I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell? His book, releasing a few months ago, was a major hit among young college students. It detailed the degrading sexual endeavours of a sarcastic, arrogant twenty-something-year-old with no sensitivity or tact. It was even so controversial and ridiculous that it was followed by a movie, which did fairly well in the box office.

Well, Tucker Max, meet your match: Ms. Chelsea Handler.

Handler is certainly the female equivalent to Max. I just finished reading her book My Horizontal Life: A Collection of One-Night Stands. I laughed so hard I nearly fell off my seat. Handler has sure had her fair share of hilarious sexual encounters. All I can hope (for her sake) is…wow, I hope she doesn’t have an std.

Back to a more positive note, here’s a quick look at some of the stories you will find in her book…sex with a midget. Sex with a Las Vegas stripper. Attempts at having sex with a male gynecologist, only to find out he’s gay. Stories about small penises. Stories about lying to get someone in bed. Stories about waking up in someone else’s apartment and remembering you crapped your pants the night before. I think you get the idea.

This book is a quick read. It’s doesn’t demand much from the reader, but sometimes we all need books like that. Either way, you won’t be disappointed in Handler’s work if you’re a twenty something, in college, and have a sense of humor. To anyone who doesn’t fit in that category — make sure you prepare yourself for crude funnies.

Chelsea Handler is a comedian who has had numerous television appearances. She had her own show, has done comedy routines on Comedy Central, and has also done interviews on late night tv talk shows. She has also written a second book called Are You There Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea. That book also made me laugh so hard I wanted to pee.

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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

This little piggie went to Pennywell Farm. This little piggie snubbed his nose in paint. This little piggie cried “I want to be like Jackson Pollock” all the way home. Cheesy, I know, but how can I resist when the subject of today’s post happens to be pig artists?

You may be familiar with Pennywell Farm. It sits on the hillside of Devon in England and is most known for its cute baby animals, especially miniature pigs. (We might call them piglets.) Lately, its owners have decided to steer from the boring old petting zoo routine and aim more for artistic talents…with their pigs, of course.

The little piglets are creating works of art that have been selling for close to $30 each. All of the profits from their oinktastic talents are going towards the Farm Crisis Network Charity. So far they have raised around $250.

Pennywell Farm’s owner, Chris Murray, told the Daily Mail that his piglets accidentally broke out of their enclosure during a craft fair one day and went straight for the paints that had been laying around, digging their snouts in the tins. (Luckily, the paint was non-toxic.) Ever since, he has seen them as little Jackson Pollocks.

Here is an example of their fine handiwork:

Now can you understand why he calls them Jackson Pollocks?

Murray said, “The pigs tended to go more for pointilism – they weren’t too keen on cubism. We think of them as our little Pigassos.” Not only are the canvases covered in paint when the pigs are done with their work, but so are they!

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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

Some artists put an incredible amount of work into their creations. They spend numerous hours doting over every detail and trying to make things just right. In the end, they hope to have produced an amazing work of art. Scott Weaver has done just that.

Weaver has just spent the last 34 years of his life building a miniature model of San Fransisco…completely out of toothpicks.

The artist calls his creation “Rolling Through the Bay,” mainly because of the fact that he incorporated several tracks in the model to roll ping pong balls on. There are a few points of entry that each ball can be inserted into to make them run around the tracks.  That is what makes this a true masterpiece.

According to Oddity Central, Weaver used over one million toothpicks. The model is 9 feet tall, 7 feet wide and 2 feet deep with actual recreations of Golden State Park, Bay Bridge, and a few others. In fact, Ripley’s Believe It or Not actually offered the toothpick wizard a whopping $40,000 for his creation, but he dutifully declined.

To look at more pictures of the model and watch a unique video detailing just how he did it, click here.

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