Year in Movie Review:

  1. The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou. B - Imaginative and droll, but not as good as Rushmore/Tenenbaums
  2. Napoleon Dynamite. A - Friendlier version of Welcome to the Dollhouse
  3. In Good Company. F - Please fire me
  4. Fear and Trembling. A - Whimsical, masochistic, twisted, and hilarious
  5. Shark Tale. A - Even if the plot was mediocre, the jokes and pop culture references were great
  6. Sideways. C - Pretentious meandering flick with hints of strawberry cliches and oaky lameness
  7. Million Dollar Baby. A - Poignant, violent, and sweet; what more could you ask for?
  8. Donnie Darko, Director's Cut. A - Cult classic still as bizarre but much more accessible especially with the commentary
  9. Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter ... and Spring. A - Lyrical storyline and lovely imagery
  10. Vanity Fair. D - Stick to Bollywood with an English slants rather than the other way around
  11. The Canary. B - Heavy-handed view of palestine via typical iranian storytelling (children, metaphors, striking images)
  12. Hamoon. C - Atypical Iranian film with grating Felliniesque dream sequences and uninteresting characters
  13. Maria Full of Grace. B - Glorified after-school special but with realistic plot and good acting
  14. Battle of Algiers. B – Jarring but realistic
  15. The Grudge. D - Liked it better the first time I saw it when it was called The Ring
  16. Wimbeldon. C - meh
  17. You Got Served. B - Good dance sequences but I liked it better the first time I saw it when it was called Bring It On
  18. The Motorcycle Diaries. B - Road trip movie of a hisotrical figure with scenery so beautiful it makes me want to get a ticket and go.
  19. Dodgeball. D - Might have worked as a half-hour short, but feature length underdogs-fighting-to-win-children's-sport just didn't cut it.
  20. Monseiur Ibrahim. C - Teenaged Jewish boy befriends older Muslim man and several French hookers with the cliched hearts of gold; could have been so much better.
  21. Big Fish. C - Much as I like Tim Burton and Ewan McGregor, this was just a string of not-so-tall-tales with no real substance or lesson.
  22. The Yes Men. B - Fearless activists impersonate WTO members in international conferences with hilarious speeches and shocking behavior; more hands-on but less serious than Farenheit 9/11.
  23. Manhattan. B - Woody Allen doing that thing he does in portraying the fast-talking, free-thinking, radical New Yorkers.
  24. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. A - I saw this one year ago today and the second viewing of Charlie Kaufman's maze of wonders is even better than the first.
  25. Eurotrip. D - The things we watch while waiting for the laundry to be done; only funny scene was the slo-mo kung-fu robot fight.
  26. The Big Tease. D - Silly story of an underdog Scottish hairdresser trying to make it big in the L.A. Platinum Scissors Competition; only thing saving it from an F was Craig Ferguson's accent.
  27. Closer. C - Shallow examination of the tangled webs we weave when first we practice to decieve; plus, Clive Owen.
  28. Sin City. C - Stylish, shocking, and stunning in all of its over-the-top, graphically violent, film noir glory (how many mutilations can one movie hold?); fascinating at first, then repetitive gore. Can't say I know anyone to whom I recommend it.
  29. Control Room. B - A vivid, eye-opening documentary of the people and events linked to Al-Jazeera's control room during 2 months of the Iraqi war.
  30. Lavendar Hill Mob. B - Alec Guiness = Genuine Class - especially when he plays the upright, meticulous, genteel, nerdy mob boss.
  31. Rabbit Proof Fence. A - A true account of the harrowing journey three "half-caste" Aboriginal orphans made across Australia to return home.
  32. Solaris. C - More like Snorealis.
  33. Taste of Cherry. A - Slow-moving, thoughtful Iranian movie about a man contemplating, and looking for someone to assist him in, suicide.
  34. Hotel Rwanda. A
  35. House of Flying Daggers. A - Swords and ballet, flying sleeves and daggers, love triangles and beautiful scenery.
  36. Assassination of Richard Nixon. B Based on a true story, Sean Penn does a good impression of a browbeaten Lundegaardesque (Fargo) shlub who just can't stand The Man bringing him down.
  37. Life and Death of Peter Sellers. C - I'll stick to the real Sellers material even though I do like Geoffery Rush.
  38. Bad Education. A - Gordian, graphic, and Gael Garcia = interesting mix.
  39. Goodbye Lenin. C
  40. Word Wars. B Documentary on the quixotic world of Scrabble competitions.
  41. Burn to Shine. A - Cool compilation of DC rock performers (Q and not U, Bob Mould, The Evens, etc.) performing in a house that will be burned down and demolished.
  42. The Russains Are Coming. C - Don't know how this won some Oscars, but it wasn't nearly as amazing as 'Dr. Strangelove'.
  43. Kontroll. A - Brilliant and innovative drama of the lives of the Hungarian underground metro ticket inspectors; funny, dramatic, and clever with a pulsing, throbbing soundtrack.
  44. National Treasure. C - Adult version of School House Rock without the catchy tunes.
  45. Batman Begins. B - Darker, better installment that explains the history behind the 'hero'.
  46. Dirty Pretty Things. C - Good beginning but then slipped into the contrived.
  47. Veer Zara. B - Interesting take on the youth of Indo-Pak not holding their ancestor's grudges but dang, that's a long flick.
  48. Kung-fu Hustle. A - Loved it in all its hi-yah, slap-sticky, outrageous, over-the-top, silly, cartoony goodness.
  49. Rashoman. A
  50. Metropolis. B
  51. A Very Long Engagement. B
  52. Devdas. C
  53. Lolita. B
  54. Broken Flowers. B - Lost in Translation in middle America.
  55. Macbeth. A/B - Ian and Judi are brilliant in this film version of their RSC stage production but I don't think I could sit through another viewing anytime soon.
  56. Taming of the Shrew. C - John Cleese was excellent in his role but everyone else was not.
  57. Layer Cake. B - British gangster movie with a little bit of "Lock Stock" and a little bit of "Sexy Beast".
  58. Born Into Brothels. A - Child photographers use the streets of an Indian red light district as their amazing canvas.
  59. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. C - Although I only saw 4 of the 6 installments, even Alec Guiness's melodious voice could not convince me to sit through the rest of the plodding plot.
  60. Crash. A - Despite the cliches (yes, we are all complicated and have a little bit of bad and a little bit of good in us - but mostly bad), it was an arresting, disturbing, upsetting film about relations: race, gender, political, you name it.
  61. Mighty Aphrodite. C - Not one of Woody Allen's best attempts.
  62. Throne of Blood. A - Great take on "MacBeth" but I still like the "Scotland, PA" version best.
  63. Superman. D - I had no idea how horrible this movie was until I heard Margot Kidder's voice-over poetry.
  64. Triplets of Belleville. A - Despite some of the gross frog-cuisine scenes, quite enjoyable.
  65. Fog of War. A - Educational and eye-opening.
  66. Central Station. A - Interesting Brazilian movie with unlikeable characters that still get you to root for them.
  67. Freaks & Geeks. A - Can't believe I never watched this show when it was on TV.
  68. Fantastic Four. C - Not the best of the Marvel comics genre flicks but better than Daredevil.
  69. Sky High. B - Kinda cute
  70. Serenity. A - Oh, how I miss Joss
  71. Nobody Knows. B - Insider's view of the poor side of Tokyo and quite upsetting. *shakes fist at gojira*
  72. Mr. and Mrs. Smith. B - Good empty-headed summer flick.
  73. Dot the I. D - Incredibly predictable and poorly done.
  74. Capturing the Friedmans. B - Bizarre documentary about a father-and-son molestation scandal in NY.
  75. Ray. B - Gotta say, Jamie can sing.
  76. Mad Hot Ballroom. A - Heart-warming documentary about inner city children learning to move gracefully across the dance floor in high competition.
  77. The Wicker Man. D - Freaky freaky movie. *shakes fist at upyernoz*
  78. Constantine. B - Matrix + Dogma = not too shabby
  79. All Quiet on the Western Front. D - So quiet that I fell asleep. *shakes fist at TP*
  80. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. C - Not as good as the book; meh.
  81. Story of the Weeping Camel. A - Adorable story about the ugly duckling . . . er . . . baby camel. awwww.
  82. Trekkies. B - Scary that I actually recognized the actors, characters, and plots discussed by the avid AVID Star Trek fans. Black Clustah.
  83. Wallace and Gromit The Curse of the Wererabbit. A - Cheese! I love cheese!

I'm sure there are more, but I can't remember them now. Will update. Some day. Happy New Year, Y'all!


I got an email from the President. Jealous?

To all DOC employees

President Bush sends the following Holiday Message to the Employees of the Federal Government:

"I send greetings to all Federal employees and your families as you celebrate this holiday season.

Federal service is a high calling and an expression of responsible citizenship. By working to improve lives, advance prosperity, and protect our homeland, you strengthen our country and help many realize the promise of America. Your spirit of professionalism and dedication reflects the best of our society and contributes to the success of our great Nation.

Laura and I send our best wishes to you and your loved ones during this season of hope and joy. May God bless you, and may God continue to bless America."

Signed George W. Bush


Highlights of this weekend
  • Met up with my friends from Tunis/Paris at the see-and-be-seen Cafe Milano for some good food at some outrageous prices.
  • Revisited this Korean restaurant run by this crazy Korean woman ("You eat! Is good for you!") somewhere between DC and North Carolina where, upon seeing me and confirming my pregnancy by raising her eyebrows and patting her stomach and nodding, confidently predicted that we'll be having a boy.
  • Wished Dad a happy birthday with both of us singing a hideously off-key version of "Happy Birthday" - you know, that homemade Pakistani kind?
  • Spent Christmas morning sunning myself on the deck of TP's parent's house and basking in the 60 degree weather.
  • Made out like a bandit on baby-related paraphenalia.
  • Bade adieu to my parents as they made their way to Pakistan.


As of today, it looks like the house is ours again. That's not to say that the story may change any time between now and the closing date - December 29th. It's been a frustrating few weeks. First, we had to negotiate the price. When the seller grudgingly accepted our low-ball offer (which was pathetic in his eyes, but completely valid in today's real estate market), we had the home inspection. When we discovered that they had lied about the age of the roof and that the roof, the columns, the plumbing, and the electrical needed repairs, we had to negotiate who was going to pay for what. Thursday night, we were ready to walk away. Friday morning, a new deal was struck. Friday night, they threatened to walk away. Saturday morning, they came running back and signed the paperwork. Saturday afternoon, they held an open house. Sunday night, they officially told the world that the house was now under contract. So. Um. Stay tuned? I'll let you know whether I need you guys to come over and help us pack or come over and help us comb through the real estate sections of the newspaper.

UPDATE - No house. Termite damage. Major termite damage. $50,000 to $60,000 worth. Walk away. Walk quickly away.


Gone are the days that I would attempt to do a cartwheel on the living room sofa. Been a long time since I've jumped through a hoop made out of my own arms. I've come to terms with that. But I've always been a good walker. I hate running (the only time I can justify it is if I am chasing after something like a ball or a child or if someone is chasing after me), but I can walk until my shoes wear down. Long, purposeful steps. Ground-eating strides. Quick, bouncy lopes. No more.

Thanks to my lil' pirate, I've developed a pain where my left leg meets the rest of my body. Apparently, my ligaments are growing to support the scurvy sea-dog. So I've become even more pirate-like than ever: I have to walk favoring my right leg which makes me look like I'm pacing the deck of a ship with an uneven keel - almost as though my left leg has turned into a peg leg; I yelp out, "ARRRR!" when I have to rise from a sitting position, get out of bed, or get out of the tub; and blimey, I could nae more do a jig to save me life. To all of those who used to trail behind me as I out-paced them, I say Godspeed! (ye lousy landlubbers.)



The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsover: Pretty crackin' good yarn about a family of well-meaning but ill-prepared Baptists plunked down in the Congo. The travelogue portion, of course, I love. The insight into each character's behavior and thoughts I found intriguing. Plus, it's practically four-books-in-one!

Mad Hot Ballroom: Captivating to watch a group of tough inner-city children move with such adult grace as they whirl and twirl each other around the ballroom in a dancing competition. Picture Spellbound plus Strictly Ballroom.

Matador at Fifteen: Did I mention this already? Good tunes and lots of 'em. Plus, an extra CD. Plus, a DVD. Plus, liner notes that include hate mail received by the company.


Bah, put away the lemonade. Store the lawn mower. The house is not ours. We had a home inspection done (word to the wise - always get one) and found that the sellers lied about the age of the roof (zero to five years my arse!) and that the house had all sorts of plumbing, electrical, and potential foundation issues. We tried to be reasonable and negotiate with the seller to get them to pay for part of the repairs, but greedy bastages that they are, they refused. So we refused. So it's back to square one. So set the mousetraps, get out the snipery squirt-the-dog gun, and ignore the sirens - looks like we are here to stay for a bit longer.


Monopoly for Asians in the UK

Desi Monopoly is a new special edition board-games celebrating Indians, Pakastanis and other Asians living in the UK; the properties are a mix of Indian icons (famous train stations, the Taj) and Asian neigbourhoods in Britain. Link

via gunnar.
What kind of cards will they have?
  • "You have won a beauty contest because you are tall and fair and have green eyes, natural or not. Collect 50 rupees."
  • "Take a ride on the Reading Rickshaw"
  • "Go to jail. Go directly to jail. But bribe someone and get out of jail free."
  • "You have won an eating contest. Collect 50 gulab jamens."


Science, again!! I said 'Science' again!
Your baby weighs about 5 ounces now, and is around 5 inches long - about the size of a large onion. The baby can move his/her joints, and the skeleton - until now rubbery cartilage - is starting to harden to bone. The sense of hearing is also developing.
Time to bust out some tunes. Suggestions?


No more sushi.
No more coffee.
No more feta, brie, or manchego.
No more than five straight hours of sleep.
No more belts.
No more sleeping on my tummy.
No more junk food.
No more staying up past 9 p.m.
And now, with this season's first snow fall, no more brisk-paced/mad dashes across slippery and slushy walkways to catch the approaching Metro.

Baby is not even born yet and he/she is already in time-out.


So TP and I have been house-hunting (which is different from, but related to, mouse-hunting) lately. And it looks like we may have a winner. Everyone put your du'as in now while it's hot hot hot!