goodies at home

Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) on Victoria Day weekend, May 2017. Michael Lee-Chin Crystal.

Visiting the Royal Ontario Museum (May 2017, Victoria Day Weekend)

It’s been an extremely long time since I was last at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM). I last visited for a special exhibit several years ago—2011’s Maya: Secrets of their Ancient World. I found it slightly underwhelming and haven’t been back again until this weekend.

It’s Victoria Day weekend, so we thought it was a good time to bring our peanut (now three years old) to see the museum. He’s fairly fond of dinosaurs, so he has been asking to go for a month or two, now.

Note: I should have checked before we left, because then I’d have learned about the promo code SAVE5 (use it online or mention it at the museum), and we’d have saved $5 a ticket for Victoria Day Weekend. This applies for general admission or new The Blue Whale special exhibit.

The ROM has a number of regular galleries covering world cultures and the arts, but we stuck to some of the Natural History exhibits because we had a dinosaur-loving tot in tow, and I personally have a preference for science-related exhibits.

We only arrived at the museum with two hours left until closing time, so we spent most of it looking at the Blue Whale exhibit and the Age of Dinosaurs Gallery.

Out of the Depths: The Blue Whale Story

From the Google Arts & Culture slideshow on the Canadian Blue Whale Project:

In April 2014, nine adult Blue Whales had been discovered dead, entombed in ice off the western coast of Newfoundland. These whales represent as much as four percent of the known western North Atlantic population of this iconic, endangered species, which consists of between 200 to 450 individuals. The Blue Whale is the largest species of animal that has ever lived on earth, outweighing the biggest known sauropod dinosaur twofold. In May 2014, a small ROM team traveled to Newfoundland to salvage a Blue Whale that had washed ashore in the hopes of turning this tragedy into a positive research and education story.

The Blue Whale Story runs through September 4, 2017.

Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), May 2017. Out of the Depths, The Blue Whale Story.

Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), May 2017. Out of the Depths, The Blue Whale Story.Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), May 2017. Out of the Depths, The Blue Whale Story.Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), May 2017. Out of the Depths, The Blue Whale Story.Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), May 2017. Out of the Depths, The Blue Whale Story.Blue whale skeleton. I always love seeing the finger bones in the flippers.

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Movie & TV Roundup (March–April 2017)

We haven’t been watching as much the last couple months, what with everyone getting sick, and things just generally being very hectic. Found some gems among the dross, though!

Here’s what I saw:

  1. Legion (Season 1) (2017)
  2. Bridesmaids (2011)
  3. Mr. Robot (Seasons 1 & 2) (2015–2016)
  4. Trolls (2016)
  5. Finding Dory (2016)
  6. Katherine Ryan: In Trouble (2017)
  7. The Nice Guys (2016)
  8. The Man from Nowhere (2010)
  9. The Night Manager (2016)
  10. The Expanse (Season 2) (2017)

Shows that I started watching:

  1. Halt & Catch Fire (Season 1) (2014)
  2. The Witch (2016)
  3. Independence Day: Resurgence (2016)
  4. The Americans (Season 5) (2017)
  5. Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Season 4) (2016)
  6. A Million Ways to Die in the West (2016)

Legion (Season 1)

Legion (Season 1) (2017)

2017 | Created by Noah Hawley. With Dan Stevens, Rachel Keller, Aubrey Plaza, and Jean Smart.

I’ve already reviewed it halfway in my previous blog entry, so I won’t repeat myself here. I’ll just say:

Damn, this was good. Don’t watch it alone in the dark. Now I just need to start watching Fargo, which has the same showrunner.

Bridesmaids (2011)


2017 | Directed by Paul Feig. With Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne, Melissa McCarthy, and Chris O’Dowd.

After watching Spy and being pleasantly surprised, I figured I should probably finally get around to watching Bridesmaids, which has the same director and a couple of the same stars (McCarthy, Byrne). Bridesmaids is a little less clever and a lot more gross-out, but it’s still quite funny. Plus, Kristen Wiig is always wonderful.

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Movie & TV Roundup (January–February 2017)

Too many shows, too little time!

  1. Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016)
  2. Train to Busan (2016)
  3. Sherlock (Series 4) (2016–2017)
  4. Kill Zone 2 (2016)
  5. Green Room (2016)
  6. Sing Street (2016)
  7. Planet Earth II (2016)
  8. iBoy (2017)
  9. Spy (2015)
  10. Cinderella (2015)
  11. Chappie (2015)
  12. Far From the Madding Crowd (2015)

Plus loads of shows that I started watching: A Series of Unfortunate Events, Not Going Out, The Crown, Medici: Masters of Florence, The OA, Riverdale, The Santa Clarita Diet, Michael Bolton’s Big, Sexy Valentine’s Day Special, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, and Legion.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016)

Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016)

2016 | Diercted by Taika Waititi. With Julian Dennison, Sam Neill.

Based on the book Wild Pork and Watercress by Barry Crump, this New Zealand movie was a wonderful surprise. It’s a coming-of-age story set up as an adventure/comedy, and “quirky” probably is the best way to describe it. It’s not epic or anything: just quite charming and often hilarious. I also love, love, love Sam Neill, so it’s got that going for it, as well.

Train to Busan

Train to Busan (2016)

Train to Busan (2016)

2016 | Directed by Yeon Sang-ho. With Gong Yoo, Ma Dong-seok.

Zombies on a train. Dawn of the Dead × Snowpiercer. And it’s awesome. Sure, characters are pretty one dimensional (the workaholic father who doesn’t pay enough attention to his little girl, the blue-collar tough guy and his pregnant wife, the heartless CEO, and so on), but as far as horror movies go, this is pretty cool. The movie gets really creative with some of its zombie set-pieces, and that’s really the main attraction. If you like zombie action-horror movies, watch this, now! If not, steer well clear.

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Movie & TV Roundup (November–December 2016)

(I actually wrote this up back in January and then forgot to edit and post it!)

I don’t get a lot of time to watch movies and television nowadays; to be honest, whenever the kids are asleep, most of the time my husband and I just want to zone out or sleep, too!

The rest of the time, we can watch a couple kids movies (or kid-friendly movies), so that’s reflected in my list of things watched over the last two months:

  1. Maigret (Series 1) (2016)
  2. Minions (2016)
  3. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)
  4. Plebs (Series 3) (2016)
  5. Star Trek Beyond (2016)
  6. The Peanuts Movie (2015)
  7. Peaky Blinders (Series 1) (2013)
  8. Zootopia (2016)
  9. The Good Dinosaur (2015)
  10. The Grand Tour (Season 1) (2016)
  11. Westworld (Season 1) (2016)
  12. The Jungle Book (2016)

Maigret (Series 1)

Maigret (2016) book cover

Maigret (2016), book cover

2016 | With Rowan Atkinson, Lucy Cohu

We saw the first of two standalone episodes, Maigret Sets a Trap. This British (ITV) series is based on a series of French detective novels by Georges Simenon, published from 1931–1972. My husband loves detective shows; I was more interested in seeing Mr. Bean (Rowan Atkinson plays the titular detective) in a serious role. It turned out to be kind of a disappointment. The story wasn’t terribly original (perhaps it was when first published?) and the acting fell a little flat. It wasn’t bad, but it simply wasn’t up to the admittedly very high standards of other British mysteries like Foyle’s War and Agatha Christie’s Poirot and Marple. I believe the second episode is out, but we probably won’t bother with it.


Minions (2016)

Minions (2016)

2016 | Directed by Pierre Coffi, Kyle Balda
With the voices of Sandra Bullock, Jon Hamm, Geoffrey Rush

I like the Minions, so sue me! But this movie was pretty lame. Some parts are funny, like the opening Minion origin story, and a few other gags here and there throughout the movie. But overall, the story was very forced and didn’t have the same warm fuzziness of the Despicable Me movies, both of which I like a lot.

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Worst Movie Posters of 2016

After finishing up a this series of my picks for Best Movie Posters of 2016, we of course must have a final category for Worst Posters of the year.

You can vote yourself at IMP.

I usually only pick on big-budget movies for Worst Poster…usually.

My picks—you get to choose 5 for each category on IMP—were The Finest Hours, I Am Wrath, Inferno, Search Engines, and Term Life.

D’ya think they could make Chris Pine’s face a smidge bigger? I guess the agents of Casey, Ben, and Eric didn’t do too great a job, otherwise we’d have four floating heads.

I hate when my feet get cut off in photos. The red marks on his forehead that make him look like an angry imp take the cake, though. Maybe this isn’t really a big-budget movie, despite John Travolta being in it. I noticed he’s in another movie with a really iffy-looking poster, too.

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Favorite Movie Posters of 2016: Documentary

Rounding off this series of my picks for Best Movie Posters of 2016, here is the Documentary category.

You can vote yourself at IMP.

My picks—you get to choose 5 for each category on IMP—were De Palma, Landfill Harmonic, The Last Man on the Moon, Lo and Behold, and Tickled.

Too bad the title isn’t as inventive as the poster.

Makes sense for a documentary about the Recycled Orchestra, who use instruments made from trash. Love the title.

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Favorite Movie Posters of 2016: Horror

Every year, the Internet Movie Poster Awards site—or just IMP—hosts user-based awards for Best Movie Poster of the Year in an assortment of categories. I usually check it out, and this time I’ll post my votes here.

You can see all the available posters at IMP and cast a vote yourself.

I love the idea of watching horror movies, but I am a massive chicken, so I usually avoid them. At the most, I stick with psychological scares. I’m not too bothered by horror movie gore, but they usually bore me if that’s all they rely on.

My picks for best Horror movie posters were—you can choose 5 for each category on IMP—were for Antibirth, Ava’s Possessions, Don’t Breathe, The Forest, and The Other Side of the Door.

Quite a gorgeous and colorful poster for a horror movie. I’m intrigued by the chosen quotes from reviews.

Fantastic, simple idea of a monster wearing a girl mask.

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