Monday, January 15, 2018

Movie Monday: Favorite Movies Watched in 2017

Time for a recap of the movies I saw this past year, highlighting my favorites. You can find a full list of ALL of my movie reviews (these recent ones plus past years) under the Movie Reviews tab.

We watched a total of 25 movies in 2017, a few more than we saw in 2016, in a nice mix of different genres, though no family movies (kids are grown now) or documentaries last year. You can see the full 2017 list below, with links to my reviews - no spoilers here!

First, some superlatives:

Best Suspense/Thriller
Though I'm not as big a fan of action/suspense movies as my sons and husband, we all enjoyed this one, and I especially liked how clever its plot was. Ben Affleck was excellent in this film as an autistic accountant to crime families.

Best Drama

An easy choice, though we watched a lot of good dramas in 2017. This one has everything - warmth, humor, and thought-provoking ideas plus a magnificent cast. Even better, it is totally unique.

Best Comedy
We only watched two comedies this year, and both were lots of fun, but this one that I watched on my own stood out, mostly because Marcia Gay Harden was just fabulous in it.

Best Sci Fi/Fantasy
We love sci fi movies, but this one really stood out, with excellent acting, a unique plot, amazing visuals, and mind-bending twists that leave you thinking long after it's over. I want to watch it again!

Best Musical

Granted, it was the only musical I saw in 2017, but it would be deserving of the "best" title anyway - lots of fun, warmth, and great music & dancing.

Here are all the movies we watched in 2017, listed by genre, with our favorites marked with an * - though, note that we enjoyed every one of these movies - there were no bad films for us last year!

* The Accountant - clever, action-packed thriller
* The Circle - taut suspenseful story of social media gone mad
Extortion - taut thriller of family vacation gone wrong
Spectre - the latest James Bond movie starring Daniel Craig

* Before I Fall - based on a YA novel, like Groundhog Day for teens
* Captain Fantastic - warm, funny story of quirky family facing challenges 
Carol - beautiful novel adaptation about forbidden love in 1952
* Cloud Atlas - clever, complex, visually stunning film based on the novel
The Dressmaker - quirky drama filled with dark humor, based on a novel
Everything, Everything - teen romance based on popular YA novel
* The Fundamentals of Caring - warm, funny story of friendship and hope
Gold - suspenseful drama about real-life 80's gold prospector
* Hidden Figures - inspirational true story of black women behind the scenes at NASA 
Me Before You - warm, sweet romance based on the novel by Jojo Moyes
Mr. Holmes - moving portrayal of an aging Holmes with dementia recalling his last case

Going in Style - fun, heartwarming comedy about old guys robbing a bank - all-star cast
If I Were You - fun, warm farce about infidelity

 Sci Fi/Fantasy
* Arrival - mind-bending, powerful movie about aliens, communication & being human
Mockingjay, Part 2 - action-packed conclusion to The Hunger Games series
* Passengers - long-term space journey goes awry - suspense, humor & romance
* Rogue One: A Star Wars Story - prequel to the original Star Wars movie
* Star Wars: The Last Jedi - excellent addition to the series
War for the Planet of the Apes - action-packed suspense with poignancy & humor
* Wonder Woman - suspenseful & entertaining superhero movie

* La La Land - a joyful musical romance set in Hollywood


 none (I know, I still need to see Unrest!)

What were your favorite movies watched in 2017? 

Thursday, January 04, 2018

Throwback Thursday: Treating Virally-Induced Crashes in ME/CFS

Virus in the house!
Just a quick post today because I am very, very sick - the sickest I have been in years, in fact. My son with ME/CFS was home sick last week with a cold, but he was back on his feet and moving back to his apartment after just one week, which is pretty amazing for someone with ME/CFS! Unfortunately, I've got it worse (if it is even the same virus). My doctor said there is a really nasty coughing infection going around, which seems to be what I have. Given my susceptibility to bacterial infections and especially bronchitis, I have that, too. I started antibiotics immediately (knowing my history and tendencies), but it's been 6 days now, and I am actually worse today. The chest congestion and cough are still horrible but now it's in my sinuses, too. For the first time this week, I spent the day in bed.

So, this blog post, Treating Virally-Induced Crashes in ME/CFS explains:
  • Why viruses make us (people with ME/CFS) crash
  • Why we are more prone to bacterial infections and how to prevent them
  • The kind of immune dysfunction that is central to ME/CFS
  • How to prevent virally-triggered crashes by improving/normalizing your immune system
  • How to treat viruses and virally-triggered crashes when they do occur so they won't last long or be as severe.
That post was just written in April, so it is fairly up-to-date and complete, but I would add a few things to it:
  • In addition to the immune system treatments mentioned in that post, I would add Increasing Glutathione to the list. I used to get bronchitis 3-5 times a year, causing a severe crash each time (the why is explained in that above post). Since starting glutathione injections in Fall 2016, this is the first time I've had bronchitis! That is a truly stunning improvement - in all, I went more than 18 months without getting bronchitis once.
  • That Virally-Induced Crashes post explains how to self-treat viruses when you have been exposed to one or catch one; however, there is one type of virus that should get you to your doctor immediately: the flu. The flu can knock a normal, healthy person down for 10 days to two weeks, so it can affect people with ME/CFS severely. My husband and son both caught it two Thanksgivings husband was sick for two weeks, but my son (with ME/CFS) was badly crashed and non-functional for more than two months, until early February. The best approach when someone with ME/CFS gets the flu is to start Tamiflu (an antiviral specific to the flu) immediately - the trick is to start it in the first couple of days for it to be effective. How do you know if it's the flu? It helps to know your own body, but the flu usually comes on very hard and suddenly - with high fever, sore throat, aches, and congestion right from Day 1 and cough soon after. For my son and I, as I explained in that virus post, we rarely get fevers, so now if one of us suddenly spikes a fever in the 100's (F) with the accompanying symptoms, we go see the doctor and ask for Tamiflu immediately.
Ok, that's more than I meant to write, but I hope this will help others who are struggling this time of year with all sorts of infections. 'Tis the season!

Monday, January 01, 2018

Movie Monday: Star Wars - The Last Jedi

We saw quite a few movies during the holidays because our son was home sick this past week. But before that, we kicked off our holiday season and celebrated our sons finishing final exams and their semester with a visit to our recliner theater to see Star Wars: The Last Jedi. To prepare, my husband, older son, and I rented Star Wars: The Force Awakens (my review at the link - no spoilers) on Amazon the night before, since our son had missed it two years ago - that refresher was perfect, and I think I enjoyed the new movie more with its prequel fresh in my mind.

So, The Last Jedi picks up right where The Force Awakens ended (don't worry - no spoilers here). On the Dark side, the Empire - now regaining its strength as the First Order - is under the direction of Kylo Ren, played with great complexity by Adam Driver. And on the side of the Light, Rey, played by Daisy Ridley, is now a part of the Resistance, under General Leia, the last role for Carrie Fisher. Finn, played by John Boyega, and Poe, played by Oscar Isaac, are both working for the Resistance as well. Rey is on a mission to find Luke Skywalker, who has isolated himself in a remote corner of the universe. She wants him to train her as a Jedi. As with all the Star Wars movies, this one is about good versus evil on a grand scale, but on a more personal level, this film zeroes in on the youngest, most powerful members of each side: Rey and Kylo Ren. The two of them, though on opposite sides, seem to have a potent connection to each other which is at the center of this story.

All four of us thoroughly enjoyed this latest Star Wars installment, and I was especially glad we re-watched the previous movie the night before. The Last Jedi has everything you expect from a Star Wars movie - big battles and light sabres, yes, but also humor, romance, and intimate moments. The acting here is excellent, both in the Star Wars old-timers and the newer additions. This movie adds Rose, played by Kelly Marie Tran, as a fearless mechanic who plays a key role. The droids are always an amusing element to these movies, and here we get our new fave, BB8, plus our old friends, C-3PO and R2-D2. Chewbacca is back, along with several other strange creatures, including fox-like animals made of crystal and the adorable Porgs that populate Luke's island. Action, adventure, an intricate plot, drama, romance, and humor - what more could you want from a movie?

Star Wars: The Last Jedi was just released in theaters on December 15 - this is definitely one to see on the big screen, if you can manage it! It is scheduled for release on streaming in March 2018 and on DVD in April.

Pre-Order the DVD:      Buy or Rent the Prequel: