IT WAS A CHALLENGE I WAS determined to accomplish successfully, despite having no experience in creating such a dessert. Friends were coming over and since I planned to bake a dessert using a key ingredient that one friend loved, I felt it was only fair to bake another dessert that the other friend would enjoy. The recipe was for a pie that had layers in it, where I had to partially bake one layer before putting the next layer on top. In addition, during the baking process, I had to mix ingredients together for a topping that would go on last and had to be watched carefully to avoid burning during the last 10-15 minutes in the oven. I was nervous through the whole process of washing, cutting, stirring, folding, separating and measuring various items. By the time I got the pie in the oven my shirt looked like Jackson Pollock had used it for a canvas. The last 10 minutes I was constantly turning the oven light on and off, plus opening the oven door to peer at the bubbly batter inside the walnut infused crust. Since I had never made this recipe before I was not exactly sure what it was supposed to look like when it was done. Seeing the top jiggle slightly threw me off, making me think the pie was undercooked; however, I decided to trust the recipe and the oven that the pie was just right. It was and I could not have been happier making something so complicated for my skill set. ACCOMPLISHING A CHALLENGE SUCCESSFULLY IS A strong aphrodisiac. When my friend took a second piece of pie, I knew I could finally be proud of it. I was telling my friends about it being a new recipe and how I wanted to challenge myself. One of my friends said they understood because they were doing a similar thing by taking on a major project; they were building a pool table. I was stunned with the news because I only knew my friend to dabble in woodworking, making simple pieces like chess boards and votive candle holders. To build a pool table, that was impressive. But after my achievement, I understood; it is such a good feeling to do the impossible as they say. Though I cannot understand why some people would do this, I guess that feeling has such power it can drive a person to become a rock climber or cliff diver. Pretty much anything that pushes a person to exceed their expectations is a wonderful learning experience. The question is if it will be a good thing or not; for example, what takes place in this action thriller. ENGINEERING GENIUS THOM, PLAYED BY FREDDIE Highmore (Finding Neverland, The Art of Getting By), received an offer that would test his ability beyond anything he imagined. With Astrid Berges-Frisbey (Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword) as Lorraine, Sam Riley (On the Road, Maleficent franchise) as James, Liam Cunningham (Clash of the Titans, Game of Thrones-TV) as Walter, Jose Coronado (The Body, The Return of El Coyote) as Gustavo and Luis Tosar (Take My Eyes, Even the Rain) as Simon; this movie followed a typical template, but the execution of it was exciting. The idea of mixing the events taking place at the Bank of Spain with its history alongside the Football World Cup finals and the throngs of cheering people was a great idea. I enjoyed the acting, especially from Freddie and Liam. The directing kept the story going at a decent clip with a few fun turns thrown in to add more tense scenes. With the idea of the story being a solid one, I found myself more engaged with this picture and enjoyed it. And with the success of my baked pie, I could appreciate what motivated the players in this rousing film.
2 ½ stars
There is a whole world below you; all one needs to do is look down. As I sat outside in the warm sun, watching two 3 year olds rolling their toy cars on the ground, I was reminded of the first time I discovered the tiny world that lived below my feet. There was a line of black ants that went back and forth between a small opening in the dirt and what looked like a half eaten piece of melting candy. I was fascinated how each ant was able to carry a piece of the sweet treat as large as them without being crushed by the weight. Seeing a larger insect with multiple legs weaving between the blades of grass reminded me of an obstacle course I once saw on television. I recall how scared I was the first time I came upon a spider web that had trapped a live victim that kept trying to squirm out of the adhesive thin, silky threads. This animated award winning adventure film revealed a whole other world beneath us where the Minimoys lived. Freddie Highmore (August Rush, Finding Neverland) played Arthur, a 10 year old boy who was living with his grandmother, played by Mia Farrow (Hannah and her Sisters, The Great Gatsby). Past due with her payments on her property, Arthur was determined to find the treasure his grandfather had claimed he had buried out back before he disappeared. His search would take him to a whole different world that was filled with surprises. Written and directed by Luc Besson (The Fifth Element, The Family), the movie’s story kept up a steady fast pace. The animation was okay though at times some of the battle scenes looked more like an arcade game version. I thought the live actors were good, each playing a somewhat cartoonish type character. The choice of musical celebrities to voice some of the animated characters was an interesting decision. I especially liked Madonna (Swept Away, Evita) as Princess Selenia and David Bowie (The Man Who Fell to Earth, Labyrinth) as Maltazard. The story had a certain charm to it though it was pretty much just standard fare. It was easy to figure out where the story was heading. The concept of the Minimoys was a creative one, but there was not much done to explain their history. I thought more detail and better animation would have helped the whole film, though I do not think it will matter to young kids; most would find this a fun film to watch. I like to explore so seeing this on DVD made me feel like a little kid again.
2 stars — DVD