by Nicole on September 30, 2014
We just wrapped up a glorious week at Fantastic Fest 2014! This year, we saw 24 films (skipped out on the super late showings out of pure exhaustion, as well as the last day out of sickness). It wasn’t my favorite year (last year was absolutely amazing), but it was still so much fun.
Here are all of the movies we saw. Our favorites are in bold.
(All movie descriptions from the Fantastic Fest website)
Tusk: From the singular mind of writer/director and podcaster Kevin Smith, and conceived from one of Smith’s own Smodcast’s, TUSK is a story unlike anything that has ever been committed to screen before. A tale that is equal parts hilarious and horrifying, TUSK will stay with you long after the credits roll.
No Man’s Land: A city lawyer fights for his life in the cutthroat deserts of contemporary China in Ning Hao’s Coen-esque follow-up to CRAZY RACER, which was banned for four years.
The Tale of Princess Kaguya: A breathtakingly animated tale of a woman, the men who want to control her, and the moon. The latest from Studio Ghibli.
Blind: This debut gem from Eskil Vogt follows Ingrid who, having recently lost her sight, exists only in her apartment with her thoughts as a means of escape…
Horsehead: A stunning exploration of a young woman’s nightmares.
John Wick: An ex-hitman comes out of retirement to track down the gangsters that took everything from him. With New York City as his bullet-riddled playground, JOHN WICK (Keanu Reeves) is a fresh and stylized take on the “assassin genre”.
My Life Directed by Nicholas Winding Refn: An impossibly personal portrait of unique filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn over the course of the shooting/release of his 2013 film ONLY GOD FORGIVES.
The Babadook: In this impressive horror debut, Amelia thought her biggest problems were her son’s violent behavioral problems and her own depression. That was before something came knocking at the door…
Tommy: Tommy is coming home, or at least that’s what his wife Estelle desperately needs people to believe when she returns after a year in exile. And if he doesn’t get what’s his, there’s going to be hell to pay.
Wasterlander Panda: The Apocalypse has come and gone; its survivors forming small communities for protection. Banished to the vast Wasteland, Isaac – a giant humanoid panda – sets out to find a young girl and reinstate his family into the Tribe of Legion.
Shrew’s Nest: A young Spanish girl living with her agoraphobic sister in their family’s apartment discovers the real reasons behind her sister’s strange behavior.
The Tribe: Winner of the three major awards at this year’s Cannes’ Critics Week, THE TRIBE follows deaf student Sergey’s transfer to a new school, which sends him down a path of ruthless crime and forbidden love
Tokyo Tribe: Festival favorite Sion Sono returns with an exercise in brash, colorful chaos pitting street gangs against one another in a bold hip hop musical.
The Creeping Garden: The slime mould: a form of microbial life with behavior somewhere between plant and animal and capable of primitive intelligence. Unusual? Yes, and just wait until you meet the people who study them …
Purgatory (Nicole): A woman must survive the night after she welcomes a neighbor’s child into her home./Closer to God (Darius): Dr Victor Reed finds himself in the middle of an ethical, legal and religious storm after conducting the first successful human cloning in this fiercely intelligent indie thriller.
Over Your Dead Body: This adaptation of a classic ghost story is a powerful return to horror for Takashi Miike.
Cub: A boy scout troop goes on a camping trip that they will never forget in this brutal, uncompromising horror film.
Dwarves Kingdom (Nicole): Some have called The Kingdom of Little People the most offensive theme park in the world. DWARVES KINGDOM takes us inside to meet its performer residents./Lost Soul (Darius): The amazing true story of one of the most notorious Hollywood productions of the 1990s.
Confetti of the Mind: The Shorts of Nacho Vigalondo: Fantastic Fest hero and mascot Nacho Vigalondo returns to present the definitive collection of his short films.
Ninja III: A straight-up supernatural possession epic; the blue-collar martial arts cousin to the almighty original EXORCIST. Only in this case, lil’ Linda Blair is exchanged for high-kicking aerobics instructor Lucinda Dickey, lead actress from (yep) BREAKIN’ 2. And her soul is controlled—not by a demon—but by a blood-starved ninja masterbastard bent on vengeance and supreme annihilation.
Kung Fu Elliot: A hilarious and disturbing documentary about a man’s quest to become an international action star.
When Animals Dream: In an isolated Danish fishing town, 16-year-old Marie hides a terrifying secret and deadly consequences for the unwary in this unique coming-of-age story from director Jonas Alexander Arnby.
Haemoo: A gripping maritime thriller from director Shim Sung-Bo and producer/co-writer Bong Joon-Ho.
Local God: While filming music videos in an abandoned gold mine, a rock group is tormented by an evil spirit in this new film from the director of LA CASA MUDA.
by Nicole on September 9, 2014
We’ve been playing a ridiculous amount of tennis lately. I’m talking 4-5 days/week, sometimes even twice a day. We both played in high school, then just off and on afterwards, but the tennis bug has bit us bad this time. I think part of it is because we now realize that we need to exercise, and so if you’re going to exercise, it might as well be doing something super fun, ya know? We’re actually even considering entering local tournaments…
Besides tennis (which really has monopolized most of our time lately), I’ve been knitting (just finished this beret and currently working on this sweater) and doing only a small amount of sewing (working on a Cambie muslin). Darius has been playing lots of cell phone games and watching anime.
Darius discovered Sylvan Esso while listening to NPR’s All Songs Considered. It’s fun and just makes you want to dance. Seriously, try not to enjoy this:
And as always, I have Lana Del Rey on repeat, but this time it’s her newest album, Ultraviolence. Still can’t believe I hated her for so many years, and now I can never get enough.
The third season of Korra just ended, and it was the best yet. The last few episodes are so moving and epic. All three seasons are currently streaming for free.
We saw Mood Indigo for the second time. Reviews have been really mixed, but I love absolutely everything about this movie. Gondry just makes me happy.
Snowpiercer takes the award for best movie we’ve seen in quite a while (streaming on Amazon). We actually watched it twice in two days because we wanted a deeper viewing. Joon-ho Bong’s films often start out feeling very typical, but keep watching, and you’ll discover the brilliance of his writing and directing.
Oh, and a really fun and ridiculous Bollywood movie, Dhoom 3, is finally streaming on Netflix. You do not need to see Dhoom 1 or 2 before this one, although Dhoom 2 is so silly, I recommend it too.
Darius is making homemade kombucha now, after purchasing this kit. The verdict so far? Delicious!
I also made my first batch of almond milk. It was a lot easier than I thought, and I’m sure I’ll be making more in the future, especially for smoothies.
With the exception of the projects above, our food has been pretty boring recently. We’ve loved cooking since we first met, and it’s always been our #1 hobby. But lately, neither of us is really feeling it. Food feels much more like fuel now, and just not quite as fun, since it takes away time from the other stuff we’re loving. So we’re mostly doing big preps on Sunday and just eating on that food throughout the week. Two of our favorite recent prep staples are these 5-ingredient granola bars and these grain-free muffins (swapping out the chocolate chips for dried fruits and adding fun extracts and spices).
The lease on our Elantra ended, and this time we ended up purchasing a 2015 Honda Fit. Honestly, it’s pretty ugly (looks like a baby minivan), but it is small, has good gas mileage, and has some neat tech (like back-up camera and bluetooth to play music from our phones wirelessly).
But still, buying a car is freaking ANNOYING, especially for people like us who care very little about our cars and just want them to be reliable. The salespeople kept being like, “Smile! You’re getting a new car today!” and I just wanted to tell them, “I’LL SMILE WHEN I’M OUT OF HERE AND DON’T HAVE TO THINK ABOUT CARS FOR ANOTHER FIVE YEARS. NOW HURRY UP WITH THIS PAPERWORK.” First world problems, amirite?
And if you made it this far, you deserve a cat pic (photo of Lentil taken on her 2nd bday)!
by Nicole on September 2, 2014
Why am I so happy in the picture above? BECAUSE THIS DRESS IS THE COMFIEST THING EVER. The Moneta has been dubbed “secret pajamas” by many bloggers, and it is completely true. I have worn this dress once a week since I finished it, just because it is so. damn. comfortable. It’s actually pretty hot to wear right now, but I’ve been wearing it to work where it doesn’t really matter because, duh, A/C. But really, I made this dress for fall/winter, and I think it will look really cute with tights and boots. Plus, the fabric is super snuggly.
I do like how it looks too, although I’m not as sold as I hoped I would be. I do like how the bodice fits, and I hope to make the sweater-hack at some point. But, I’m just not that in love with the skirt. It looks cute when I’m standing still, but as soon as I start walking, the skirt highlights all my “wobbly bits”. I do have a bit of a “kangaroo pouch”, and although I’m not ashamed of it or anything, it’s definitely more prominent when I walk around in this dress. But it could just be the soft, drapey-ness of this fabric, rather than the way the skirt actually fits my body, so I’m definitely eager to make up more versions. Because even if my stomach is extra-jiggly in this dress, COMFORT WINS.
I actually found the fabric at Joann when I was there for zippers and thread, and I was drawn to the beautiful color. Upon further inspection, I was surprised at how soft it felt, and what great recovery it had. Plus, it was like $6/yard or something like that because of the never-ending sales at that place. So, it came home with me (and yay, I have enough leftover to give to my awesome sister-in-law to make a onesie for my adorable nephew, Rowan).
So not only is this one of my favorite colors, but it’s also got a hint of glitter to it AND I LOVE ME SOME SPARKLIES. The picture above is the only one that came out where you can actually see the shimmer, so sorry for that super-close-up of my boobage.
First of all, I thought it was kind of weird that you are instructed to use clear elastic to gather/stabilize the waistline, but not to stabilize the shoulders (unless I totally missed that in the instructions somewhere…). I did stabilize the shoulders on my version.
And speaking of gathering the waistline with the clear elastic… MY MACHINE WAS PRETTY PISSED AT THIS STEP. I kind of had to tug and push at times to get the fabric to go through without being eaten, so there are some parts where it’s not exactly even gathered. It helped when I divided/pinned/stretched in more places than just the four suggested by the instructions, because I could make sure the gathers were evenly distributed, even when my machine was having a freakout.
For the unlined version, you’re instructed to just fold the neckline over and use your twin needle. I did this, but discovered my machine does not like tiny seam allowances on knits and IT WOULD RATHER EAT THEM. So my topstitching on my collar looks kind of horrendous in spots, but it blends in enough that I don’t really care. Next time, I’ll probably use a slightly larger seam allowance there. Or maybe buy a walking foot. Or, I dunno, use the lined version or do a collar or something. Or just be okay with pure mediocrity.
Ugh, and THE HEM ON THIS THING. I used that Wonder-Under stuff and so it looks pretty good and non-puckery. THE PROBLEM WAS THAT I COULD NOT STOP RUNNING OUT OF THREAD. You know when you’re like, “Hmmm, bobbin is almost out, but I think I can make it”? WELL THAT HAPPENED LIKE FOUR TIMES. I was using my twin needle, and I hate refilling, so I pulled out my teal bobbin and used it as the second twin needle, then put a half-used spool of white for my bobbin since it wouldn’t show anyway. SURELY THIS WOULD BE ENOUGH, RIGHT?!?! WRRRRRONG! First, the twin needle using the teal thread from the bobbin ran out, so I refilled. Then, my white bobbin ran out, so I refilled using more white thread (at this point, I noticed my teal thread was starting to run low). But THEN, my OTHER twin needle, and the rest of my teal thread ran out. I really didn’t want to go to the store to buy more for HALF A HEM, so I dug around in my stash and luckily found something close. Refilled that twin needle. And of course, then, the OTHER twin needle, the one that had already ran out once, ran out AGAIN, and I had to refill AGAIN. It was really annoying. I swear the hem took like an hour because of all that crap.
So yes, this was possibly one of my most annoying makes to date, because it should have been SUPER easy, but was plagued by niggles (ha, I love that word, don’t you). But still, I’ll be making more, and hopefully the future versions will go more smoothly. I know this post sounds kind of negative, but really, I do like this dress a lot, and like I said, it’s been in constant rotation.
Oh, and changes…I only made one, and think the fit is pretty good! When I tried on the bodice, the back was way longer than the front, confirming my suspicions that yep, I have a sway-back. So, I took a big fat wedge out and that fixed the problem. Yay for easy fitting! And I usually like my dresses/skirts to be at or just above the knee, but I like this one longer (didn’t make any changes to the length, but I’m a 5’3″ shorty). I think it makes such a comfy dress look a little more elegant. Which, I dunno, kinda feels weird because I am definitely NOT elegant, but I guess there’s no harm in classing it up a little sometimes.