Monday, November 29, 2010

Remembering Celtic Woman

As a few know, my liking of Celtic Woman has been declining over the past few years, but it worsened these last few months with the departures of both Alex and Lynn. To me, the group doesn't sound the same anymore, especially ever since Meav and Orla took off. And my hopes have not been risen either by the announcement of the new member today.

Today I was reminded of the good ol' days before Meav and Orla left, back when the five original members existed in the group. Videos of Orla's recent Christmas concert in Nashville have been popping up on youtube, and I've been watching them. Someone today uploaded one of Meav and Orla singing "Do You Hear What I Hear?". I started watching it, and oh, did my eyes begin to water up. Watching the two smiling and singing together, I was immediately reminded of Celtic Woman between 2004 and 2007, back when I thoroughly enjoyed their music and the girls' stage presence. The singing was gorgeous, but it was seeing the two interact and treat each other like old friends as they performed and hearing the people applaud loudly and give them a standing ovation afterwards, that's what got me. It made me realize how much I truly miss the old Celtic Woman, the one I discovered back in 2006 through a random music search, and sadly I don't think I'll ever see it again, live or in studio.

So, I heartily recommend finding the video on youtube and watching it. It will remind you of Celtic Woman's glory days, and, plus it's an excellent addition to anyone's Christmas music library.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Movie Review: Toy Story 3

I admit it; when I first saw the trailer for "Toy Story 3", I was a little dubious about it. And, hearing mixed reviews from other people who saw it, I was skeptical and not sure what to think. However, last week, my family got it from our local Redbox and watched it.

The story takes place around ten years after the events of "Toy Story 3", when Andy is preparing to go off to college and his toys are not looking forward to moving into the attic. After mistakenly being thrown in the garbage, the toys decide to go off to the local daycare, where they will have someone new to play with them. However, things take a different turn when the daycare turns out to be a living nightmare, and the toys must escape.

Despite my misgivings about the movie, I turned out enjoying it far more than I expected to. However, I will insert a little warning here: this movie, despite being for children, does not exactly contain material for younger ones. There are a couple of creepy characters that would absolutely terrify kids and a couple of situations that they could be freaked out by. Not only that, but there is a little more "adult"-themed material like tying up a Barbie doll in his underwear and torturing him or the same character seemingly cross-dressing later on; it is played on for laughs, but I would be a little edgy on showing it to kids. Though, I will say, the last few scenes of the movie will make you cry, especially the adults or parents.

One issue I did have with the movie was the repetitive situations and such that have been used in one of or both of the previous films. A few examples are the toys always getting lost and having to find their way home, a toy who seems kind but turns out malicious, and Buzz going through his "space ranger" delusion. While each situation, granted is a little different, it does come across as being somewhat repetitive and unimaginative.

Other than those issues, "Toy Story 3" lives up to its two predecessors and is a worthy addition to anyone's Pixar collection as well as being a (hopefully) good ending to the "Toy Story" trilogy.

I give it 4 and 1/2 stars out of five.