German Spies and Hallucinogenic Cacti: This Week in Review

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This week I saw three movies in the theatre and finished one book. Here are my 5 sentence reviews. (What makes a 5 sentence review you ask? https://kaysyostrom.wordpress.com/2013/06/14/five-sentence-reviews/)

Movies in the theatre:

Two Lives (or “Zwe Leiben”)
Directed by George Maas

This German-Norwegian co-production tells the story of Katrine whose regular family life is about to be upended as the Berlin Wall has just come down and questions about her identity and her secret past begin to arise. I thought this movie was well enough filmed, scripted, and acted to be nominated for the foreign film Oscar this year, though I don’t know how that system works. Because it’s both a spy thriller as well a family drama  it never feels redundant or loses its power despite the predictability of some bits. German actress Juliane Köhler actually learned Norwegian for the film so that she could realistically play both the go-getter German spy and the regret-filled Norwegian wife, mother, and daughter and she is Ah-may-zing. Also, Norway is just freaking gorgeous and makes a beautiful backdrop for this powerful story. 4/5 stars.

Crystal Fairy
Directed by Sebestian Silva

An insensitive and assholey American tourist in Cuba (Michael Cera) drunkenly invites “Crystal Fairy”, a hippie-like, eccentric woman, to join him and his Cuban friends on their search to find and try the San Pedro, a legendary hallucinogenic cactus. I saw this with my mom and she cannot understand my strange obsession with it. Maybe I’m obsessed because we rarely see leading ladies in the movies who are unconventional, outright bizarre, HAIRY, and also absolutely captivating, like Crystal is. Maybe it’s because while the characters have their quirks they all seem natural, unforced, and just like those eccentrics we have all known and met. With crude humor as well as tender moments this movie took me on a journey that was both funny and enlightening. 5/5 stars.

Frances Ha
Directed by Noah Baumbach

Frances, a 27 year old dancer living in New York City, just can’t seem to figure her shit out when it comes to her career, love life, and friendships. The reason this movie works is because we have a character that we can root for, that we are willing to succeed. Her constant search for where she fits is something we can all relate to and, although she struggles, she remains optimistic and lovable. I left this movie both teary-eyed and dreamy. Frances is a lost 21st century girl and she has a lot to say for people who feel like they just can’t both be someone of great importance and also stay true to who they are. 4.5/5 stars

Books:

Good Omens
by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

Aziraphale (angel) and Crowley (demon) have actually become good friends during their long stay on Earth but, despite this, Doomsday is fast approaching and they must get their opposing armies in order. This apocalyptic tale is chaotic, good fun, and filled to the brim with hilarious biblical as well as just silly humor. The only complaint that I have is that there were lots of tidbits towards the middle that just muddled the story for me. Though these little tangents were enjoyable they just distracted me from the root of the story, which I thought was funny and powerful enough to make a beautiful little book. Either way, it starts with a BANG (haha jk it’s starts with creation), ends strong ,and has some pretty wonderful stuff in the middle. 4/5 stars

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Introducing “Five Sentence Reviews”

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This summer I’ve been reading a lot of books and watching a lot of movies. I’ve even been seeing some “films” (which I think just means an artsy movie but could possibly mean any movie that has not been Hollywoodized (that’s a real word. I looked it up just in case)) and “theatre” (I’m told this is when real people actually breathe and talk in front of you on a stage. I know. Revolutionary!). Anyway, I always have lots of thoughts, opinions, and ideas about these things after reading/watching/listening/sleeping through them(*COUGHthegreatgatsby*). Usually, I just keep my rambly bambly opinions to myself , or only share them with people who I know have open and accepting ears. However, I also have this blog that exists and I’m not terribly sure what to do with it. I don’t think I’ll know what to to do with it unless I just do stuff, which is what I’m deciding to do:

I’ve invented this thing that probably already exists so I won’t take full credit for it. It’s where I’m requiring myself to review all the things I read/see every week in exactly five sentences. One sentence will be a brief summary and the other four sentences will be my thoughts. I will then give that thing a rating from 1 to 5 (1 being “where’s the toilet? I need to puke!!!” and 5 being “NECTAR OF THE GODS”) and deliver it to you on this blog every Saturday night(or Sunday morning depending on what kind of Saturday night shenanigans I’m getting myself into)

I’m doing this mostly to just get myself writing. Practicing my reviewing skills will make be better! But also, it’s a good way to share and recommend things because I rarely set out to read or see something unless it looks appealing or interesting to me! Okay. I will see you at the end of the week with the reviews. I’ve already seen and read some incredible stuff so SIGN UP TO RECEIVE EMAIL UPDATES ON THE SIDEBAR if you’re interested or if anyone’s actually reading this!

Love,
~Kaysy

May Wrap Up: 2013

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10 things that I accomplished this month (with pictures! so it’s more fun!)

1. I finished my sophomore year of college!

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I am pursuing a BFA in Theatre Studies at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. In my program sophomore year is called conservatory year because they stuff our schedules to the brim with classes, papers, and rehearsals and then say “good luck!”. This year has been a huge challenge for me, both academically and artistically, but I managed to scrape by with good grades and only had a few minor rough patches in my social life. Now, I’m a junior and halfway to a degree!

2. I flew from Dallas back home to Seattle, my favorite city!

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Scenery? Seattle  +1 Dallas  +0

City life? Seattle  +1 Dallas  +0

Coffee? Seattle  + 1 Dallas +.5  (I can still brew my own Seattle style at home)

Sweet Tea? Seattle  +0 Dallas +1 (I do miss dat sweet tea)

3. I turned twenty!

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For my 20th birthday I was reunited with these beautiful ladies who dressed up with me to go see the Great Gatsby. Even though it was the 2nd weekend the movie was out, the first theatre we went to was SOLD OUT.  So, we had to go see a 9:40p.m. showing at a different theatre, which was bad news bears for Kaysy because I am infamous for falling asleep during the movies. I bought a giant bag of sour patch kids in hopes that the sugar high would keep me awake but alas, even though Leo stared dreamily at me from the screen, even though Baz Luhrmann was assaulting my eyeballs in grand 3D, and even though I was getting ill with the great number of sour patch kids reaching my stomach, I still managed to miss a good portion of the movie with my slumber.

4. I adopted a cat from the humane society!

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Meet Rhea, the little black cat we hand chose from our local humane society. Just over a year old, Rhea stole my heart by being the cuddliest cat in the room. She had just had kittens before we adopted her which is why I named her Rhea, the “mother of the gods”. Now this divine feline sleeps by my feet in the night, purrs on my shoulder whenever I pick her up, and has become so obsessed with her food dish that she’ll leap at my ankles if I try to walk away without feeding her. I’ve never met a cat without a personality and Rhea is definitely a little charmer.

5. I spent a beautiful day with friends at the 2013 Seattle Folklife Festival!

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Every Memorial Day weekend the Folklife Festival takes place in downtown Seattle. This is an entire weekend of free music, dancing, and happiness. I only went for one day, the Saturday, but it reinvigorated my love for the culture of Seattle. For $10 an artist painted a beautiful hummingbird on my cheek, I participated in a complicated square dance in which everyone that I danced with was at least 20 years older than me and had to point me around because I was so confused, I took a nice nap in the middle of a grassy field, and I got to enjoy the city with my best friends.

6. I played an epic game of laser tag!

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We checked in at Mission Control where we had to choose a code name. I went with the classic “Conundrum”. Then we were all escorted into the briefing room where we put on our gear and had to recite the Players Code. After the countdown we ran through the 2 story maze attempting to get as many kills as possible. I was ruthlessly slaughtered by all the children and just barely slid into 15th place by the end of the game.

7. I successfully dip dyed my hair!

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I felt that summertime need that I often feel to change my hair in some way. I also had the house to myself for an entire day so after looking at lots of pictures on pinterest I decided that dip dyeing my hair was a necessity. I did it all myself: the trip to the store, the bleaching, and the dyeing. Call it red! Call it magenta! I call it a success. This girl is on fire.

8. I read a grand total of 4 books!

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Finally, I had time in my schedule for pleasure reading and I definitely took advantage of it. Here are my brief summaries:

Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury: LITTLE PIECE OF PERFECTION: 5/5 stars

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness: Fun dystopian premise, but the whole book was one long chase scene: 3/5 stars

‘Salem’s Lot by Stephen King: Spooky classic vampire story with largely forgettable characters: 3/5 stars

The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury: A series of short stories all involving Mars and Bradbury’s genius writing: 4/5 stars

(you can read longer reviews on my Goodreads page! See my links! Should be on the right sidebar!)

9. I saw a grand total of 6 movies at Siff (the Seattle International Film Festival)!

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Siff is always perfectly placed right around the time I return home from school. With my TeenTix card I can get into any Siff movie for $5! (Don’t tell them I just turned 20…please) Siff movies are always amazing and they really deserve to be in widespread movie theatres. Anyways, here are my brief summaries:

We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks: This documentary feels like a thriller with Julian Assange playing the charismatic and power hungry leading man. 4/5 stars

What Maisie Knew: Maisie breaks your heart not because she’s a 6 year old girl but because she’s a fully developed human in a 6 year old girl’s body. 5/5 stars

The Spectacular Now: The teen romance that gets it just right; I laughed, I cried, and I didn’t believe that any of it was scripted. 5/5 stars

C.O.G.: Based on a David Sedaris short story, this movie approaches the ideas of small town beliefs and homosexuality with sensitivity, sass, and wit. 3/5 stars

The Kings of Summer: I laughed so hard that I got a stomach ache and I also wished for eternal summer and eternal youth. 4/5 stars

Blackbird: A careful and thought-provoking approach to the story of a teen accused of planning a school massacre because of post-Columbine paranoia. 3.5/5 stars

10. I wrote and completed a few songs!

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Most notably were the songs that I uploaded to youtube – “Only One” and “I am Selfish. I am Brave.” but I also wrote music for the musical I am co-writing and finished some songs that I set aside when the days got busy. Songwriting is so important to me but it is also easy for me to hit dry spells because I don’t like forcing inspiration. However, this month I turned out some really nice stuff and I’m really inspired to keep writing throughout my entire summer.

I’ve decided this will be a series. It requires me to do at least 10 cool things every month which is totally possible if I keep my eye out for adventure.

Thanks for reading!

~Kaysy