New Moon

“Remember Me” breaks the vampire out of his coffin

Robert Pattinson shines


Review by Susan Richards

“Remember Me” is a poignant little film never intending to be major box office fodder, much less to bump a giant like “Alice in Wonderland” out of first place. So why all the scrutiny and pressure?

It happens to be the indy drama Robert Pattinson chose to shoot between New Moon and Eclipse; Twilight Saga movies two and three for the uninformed or uninterested. I personally am way more informed and interested than I care to admit, but that’s a story for another time. Pattinson plays the intense and devoted vampire Edward in the Twilight series, and the critics have been rubbing their hands in anticipation of skewering his ability to do anything that involves less pancake make-up.

Directed by Allen Coulter “” best known for his work on cable shows like “Sex and the City” and “The Sopranos” “” “Remember Me” is the story of two young people who have been broken and altered by tragedies in their individual lives. Ally, played by Emilie de Ravin, has risen above her loss but is still shackled to an overprotective father who’s not ready for her to grow up. Pattinson plays Tyler Hawkins, whose personal tragedy still haunts him, manifesting itself in… continue reading this review by clicking here.

“Up in the Air” – a film grounded in reality

Up in the Air

George Clooney stars as Ryan Bingham in "Up in the Air" a film from Paramount Pictures.

Rated R

Directed by Jason Reitman

Starring George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, Anna Kendrick, Jason Bateman, Danny McBride

Heidi’s Illustrious Rating: 4/5

Word of Warning: Lots of product placement in this movie, sometimes distracting from what is otherwise a great film.

Before I expound on “Up in the Air” I want to make a statement. Apparently American Airlines paid a lot of money to be the featured airline in this film, however, you should beware the only airline that has ever official lost my luggage was AA. I’ve flown with them three times and all three times I experienced numerous delays. I was once stuck at the Salt Lake City airport for hours with no apology or explanation.   American Airlines sucks!

With that out of the way, I will give you my review. This movie reminded me of “Lost in Translation“ with a little more levity. Clooney usually plays a too-cool-for-school fast-talking guy, but his character in “Up in the Air” is a little more believable than some of those previous characters. In fact, Ryan Bingham is realistically average and even a little  dull.

Bingham, a forty-something suit, spends most of his time in the air. When he is on the ground, he is a corporate downsizing expert, meaning he fires people for a living. He travels over 300 days a year. His one goal in life is to reach 10 million frequent flier miles, something only six other people on AA have accomplished.

Unfortunately for Bingham, a bright young Cornell graduate has recently infiltrated his company, bringing with her new ideas on how they can streamline their firing practices. Natalie Keener, played by Anna Kendrick of “Twilight“ fame, has devised a plan for video conferencing firing – ground the experts and put them behind a computer screen with a video camera. No fuss, no mess.

Bingham is not happy about this plan and his boss (Jason Bateman) decides to let Bingham take Keener on his next round of firings so she  can see what  it is really all about. This trip turns into more than Bingham bargained for, forcing him take stock in his own mundane existence.

This movie is sad, funny and insightful. Anna Kendrick holds her own in the shadow of George Clooney. In fact, being a “Twilight“ alum, I wasn’t expecting much from Kendrick, but she surprised me with her exceptional acting ability.

“Up in the Air” has a well-constructed, solid storyline, is well acted and brings to life the lifeless world of airline travel and cookie-cutter chain hotel lodging. I highly recommend this movie and hope to see it do well at the Oscars. It is one of the best of 2009.

Movie Review: “New Moon”

Bella & Jacob on the beach

Sacred “Moon”: Reveling in the Twilight phenomenon

By Susan Richards

Also appearing in the Berthoud Weekly Surveyor

I considered whether or not to review “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” this week because, well, it would mean coming completely out of the closet. Yes, I’m one of those sane, rational women who woke up one day inexplicably obsessed with a series of books about teenagers, supernatural and otherwise.  

By the way, Stephenie Meyer didn’t actually write them for teenagers but the publishers marketed them that way, ergo the stigma. Fortunately, in the past nine months I’ve discovered I’m in good company with millions of other women “” women of all ages, cultures, incomes and reasons for drinking the “Twilight” kool-aid.

Now that my confession is out of the way, I’ll admit…   continue reading this review by clicking here.

“New Moon” midnight premiere a terribly civil affair

Photo by H.M. Kerr-Schlaefer

Photo by H.M. Kerr-Schlaefer


Last night, or rather, this morning, I attended the midnight premiere of “New Moon“ with several Twi-hard friends. I was expecting screaming, crying and gnashing of teeth, but I was let down.

Yes, excitement was in the air, but the crowd wasn’t nearly as electric as I thought they would be. Amazingly there were a few teenage boys in the crowd – must have been trying to impress their girlfriends or maybe they are on Team Jacob (not that there’s anything wrong with it).

Yep, mini-Edward came along for the premiere.  Photo by H.M. Kerr-Schlaefer

Yep, mini-Edward came along for the premiere. Photo by H.M. Kerr-Schlaefer

All the midnight showings were sold out, but there were still tickets available for the 2:55 a.m. show. I guess the fans of this series just aren’t quite as diehard as I thought.

We had been told by theater management to get there four hours early and bring lawn chairs, but thankfully we were having drinks next door and were able to keep an eye on the theater parking lot. We could see it wasn’t filling up and there was not a  line at the door. We walked in an hour before show time and got right in. I was hoping for some elbowing and perhaps a few bloody noses, but no such luck.

It was easy to tell what team people were on.  I'm holding out for the "Team Off-Bella" t-shirt.  Photo by H.M. Kerr-Schlaefer

It was easy to tell what team people were on. I'm holding out for the "Team Off-Bella" t-shirt. Photo by H.M. Kerr-Schlaefer

Everyone was very civil, and perhaps that is part of my problem with the series. With all those vampires and werewolves, you’d expect some blood and mayhem, but Stephenie Meyer just doesn’t deliver on that count.   Of course, I haven’t read the last two books, perhaps there’s some mayhem in those, but I’m not holding my breath.


Stay tuned for HeidiTown’s movie review of “New Moon,” by writer and artist Susan Richards.

HeidiTown takes on “New Moon” – Chapter 15 through the end

Synopsis: Bella  jumped off a cliff. Yes! But unfortunately, Jacob saves her. Also unfortunately, Alice sees it and thinks Bella has died.   Alice tells Rosalie who then informs Edward, who has banished himself to South America.

Alice decides to make a trip back to Forks in order to check on Bella, only to find her alive. But Edward has made a horrible decision. Like Romeo, he cannot live without his Juliet and thinking Bella dead he has decided to kill himself, or rather, get killed.

Edward  travels to Rome to piss off the Volturi (the heads of the Vampire nation). He figures if he pisses them off enough they will kill him. Alice and Bella decide they  must go to Italy.  Edward must see Bella in order to know she is alive.

Alice and Bella travel to Italy and get there just in the nick of time. Bella and Edward are reunited, Bella is almost killed by the Volturi, but isn’t (damn) and then Bella further breaks Jacobs heart. It’s all very dramatic.

Bella, get a life!

So despite Bella’s incessant whining about everything from missing Edward to wanting to become a vampire, this book was more exciting than the first – especially the second half. It’s brimming with thrills, however, it’s hard to get caught up in the drama when the main character is so annoying.  

Bella needs to get a life. The girl seems to have absolutely no aspirations other than being with Edward. I mean, didn’t she have any aspirations before she met the smoldering, beautiful Edward? College, a career, anything? The character of Bella is so lacking in any motivation it’s appalling.

Now I am going to make a few of you uncomfortable, but I truly wonder, is this Meyer’s Mormonism showing through in her character development? After all, Mormon women aren’t encouraged to have goals and careers. The goal laid out for them by their religion is marriage (and children). I have to question if Bella’s lack of any life plan outside of Edward is a reflection of Meyer’s faith. I don’t think Meyer’s is intentionally developing the character of Bella with her own religious leanings in mind, but I do  think it is subconsciously coming through.

The other issue I have with “New Moon,” are the obvious set ups. Lots of stuff happens in this book “just in the nick of time.” As  I read, I could actually see Stephenie Meyer laying out the plot. Instead of letting the plot play out, Meyer tweaks the story in order to get to where she is so obviously going. I realize every author must play this game, but in “New Moon“ it’s so amateur.

Again, I must reiterate what I wrote about “Twilight.”  Despite the flaws, Meyer has done something right. I can’t find a specific amount, but we know the “Twilight“ series book sales have been in the multi-millions. The film made nearly $400,000,000 worldwide.

So my perceived problems with Meyer’s series are mostly irrelevant in the big scheme of things, because Meyer is laughing all the way to the bank.

To read the entire saga of HeidiTown’s trip through “New Moon” (in chronological order), click on this underlined sentence.

HeidiTown takes on “New Moon” – Chapters 9 through 14

Synopsis:   Trying to behave like a regular teenager, so her father won’t worry, Bella puts together a movie night with her high school friends, who she’s been ignoring due to her excessive wallowing. The night turns awkward when most of the invitees can’t go because everyone is sick. In the end, only the two boys with crushes on Bella, Mike and Jacob, can go. Oh Bella, you big tease! Mike gets sick at the theater and   the next day Bella falls ill. Then, Jacob gets a mysterious virus and Bella is prevented from seeing him. But Jacob’s illness isn’t the flu. No, he’s turning into a werewolf. Just when Forks finally gets rid of  the vampire problem, here come the werewolves.

It seems Jacob can no longer come out and play with poor Bella. So now she has two reasons to wallow – the loss of the love of her life and the loss of her boy toy Jacob. Poor, poor Bella.

Eventually Bella finds out Jacob is a werewolf and she discovers why he’s always shirtless (apparently wolf blood runs hot). She also discovers werewolves and vampires are mortal enemies. What a dilemma.

At this point, the real  excitement begins. Bella is being stalked by James the tracker’s vampire girlfriend, Victoria. She wants revenge. For protection, Bella spends most of her time on the reservations, surrounded by werewolves.

Lions and tigers and werewolves, oh no!

Whine, whine, whine. That is all Bella does in this book. Shut up! So you’ve got problems, yes. Your vampire boyfriend has left you. You are being hunted by another vampire and must seek protection with werewolves who are actually pretty dangerous (you don’t want to see them when they are angry). Yet you are conflicted, because what you want most of all is to become a vampire. Oh, it’s all so dreadfully dreadful.  

Honestly, I spent most of these chapters rooting for Victoria, and not just because I have a fondness for redheads.

To read the entire saga of HeidiTown’s trip through “New Moon” (in chronological order), click on this underlined sentence.

HeidiTown takes on “New Moon” – slogging through Chapters 4 – 8

Synopsis: With Edward gone Bella is a wreck, but she tries to snap out of it when her father threatens to send her back to her mother. Bella discovers she can hear Edwards voice when she does something dangerous, like chatting up men outside a bar in Port Angeles. So Bella decides to pursue rushes of adrenaline. In her quest she finds a couple of run down motorcycles, but unable to fix them herself, she takes them to Jacob Black, the Indian boy from the reservation. Jacob, who has had a bit of a crush on Bella since “Twilight,” is more than happy to fix up the bikes for Bella, and thus begins a friendship between the two. Also during these chapters the killings begin. The rumor is that a huge bear is hunting people in and around Forks.  

Bella Wallows

Wow, is Bella really unlikable in this book or is it just me? Poor Jacob. That’s what I kept saying over and over again while reading “New Moon.” Bella is a user! She is blatently  using him. Using him to fix the bikes, using him for companionship, all the while she knows he wants something more, but she knows she won’t give it to him. I’ve known girls like this in real life and I’ve never liked the type.

Bella is also wallowing in her pain over the loss of Edward. Wallow, wallow, wallow. Get over it girl! He’s a old-man vampire who left because he’s afraid he or someone in his family will eat you. Seriously, enough with the wallowing already.  

Stephenie Meyer’s writing is a bit more tolerable in this book, or perhaps I’ve just grown accustom to it. She continues to use adjectives after dialogue, such as “sarcastically,” “hesitantly,” and “bleakly.” And those were all from one page! Thankfully by getting rid of Edward there’s a lot less smirking and smoldering in “New Moon.”

To read the entire saga of HeidiTown’s trip through “New Moon” (in chronological order), click on this underlined sentence.


HeidiTown takes on “New Moon” – Chapters 1 through 3



Synopsis: In Chapter 1 of “New Moon“ Bella faces her eighteenth birthday and the fact she will grow old and gray while Edward will stay handsome and forever seventeen. Her realization makes her angry and she doesn’t want to celebrate her birthday, but her vampire friends have other plans. They throw a party at the Cullen mansion where bumbling Bella gets a paper cut. At the sight of her blood Jasper attacks.  In his panic to protect her, Edward causes Bella to  fall into a glass table. Her  arm is badly cut. Now all her vampire friends want to eat her. Of course, they don’t (darn it). After the accident, Edward realizes he represents a real danger to Bella (duh) and the entire family decides to move away. Bella goes into a deep depression that lasts for months.

Bumbling Bella

Honestly, I have little to say about these first chapters, other than I have never met anyone as clumsy as Bella. Not a good trait in someone who likes to hang out with vampires, even reformed vampires.

To read the entire saga of HeidiTown’s trip through “New Moon” (in chronological order), click on this underlined sentence.

HeidiTown takes on “Twilight,” Chapter 20 to the end or What I learned from reading “Twilight”

Synopsis: Bella has gained the unwanted attention of a hungry vampire “tracker,” and has to go on the run with two of Edward’s “siblings.” Alice and Emmett take Bella to Phoenix, Arizona, while the other Cullens try to throw the tracker off track. It doesn’t work. The tracker outwits the clever Cullens and the witless Bella, who ditches her chaperones when the tracker claims he is holding her mother hostage. Bella is almost killed, but just in the nick of time Edward and the rest of the Cullens swoop in to save her from becoming a delicious meal for the tracker. Bella ends up in the hospital with multiple injuries and a burning desire to become a vampire. The book then fast-forwards through Bella’s healing process and ends with Edward taking a Bella, despite her protests to the prom, where she can’t stop asking for him to make her a vampire.

 What I learned from reading “Twilight” –  

  1. Vampires are good looking and have great breath.
  2. 17-year-olds are ridiculous (and I include my 17-year-old self in that analysis).
  3. I need to sit down and start writing fiction again.

I started this quest, for several reasons. First, I wanted to understand how this story had become so popular with thirty and forty-year-olds. Secondly, I wanted to be able to speak intelligently about “Twilight” whilst discussing its strengths and weaknesses with my Twi-fanatic friends.

I believe one of my readers hit on one reason the books, while targeting a teen audience, have been so successful among older women. Her remarks centered on Edward’s age. Even though he is in the body of a 17-year-old, he isn’t actually 17, therefore older women can lust after him without feeling like Mary Kay Letourneau. It’s doubtful the book would have made such  an impact with middle-age women if Edward was actually a teenager character.

Whether Stephenie Meyer actually thought about this while writing the book is up for debate, but regardless, it worked out brilliantly for her and the publisher.

After reading the first book in the series, I stick by my earlier assertion about Meyer’s poor writing. However, this book did inspire me to get back to fiction writing. If Meyer, with all the smirking, smoldering, chuckling and heart pounding, can write a bestseller, why couldn’t I? And I’m not the only one who walked away from “Twilight” with the inspiration to write.

As some of you may know, “Twilight” has inspired a lot of fan fiction and some of this writing is getting rave reviews. These fan fiction authors probably sat down and started writing for thousands of different reasons – the mind runs wild, and because Meyer’s books are tame, it leaves the door open for all sorts of R-rated adaptations. Whatever the reasons, if a book inspires writing, I can’t be too down on it.  

While the book didn’t inspire me to buy a life-size cardboard cutout of Robert Pattinson, I am watching the movie this weekend, but somehow I still don’t think that particular item will be on my Christmas list.

New Moon book coverStay tuned!

Review of “Twilight” the movie, coming this weekend.

HeidiTown takes on “New Moon” starting next week.


To read the entire saga of HeidiTown’s trip through “Twilight” (in chronological order), click on this underlined sentence.

HeidiTown bogged down in “Twilight,” Chapters 11 – 19

Synopsis:   Edward and Bella have now declared their love for one another. There’s a romantic scene in a meadow, where Bella discovers vampires twinkle in the sunlight. She meets  Edward’s entire family of beautiful vampires and discovers they do not sleep in coffins. Edward struggles to keep control over his instinctual desire to suck Bella’s blood.   Bella continues to worry her father will find out about the vampire legend surrounding Edward’s family. Bella attends a vampire baseball game involving thunderous hits, lightening-like runs and unwelcome guests.

I was speeding through this book, but came to an abrupt stop after the chapter involving baseball. Really?    

Also, why would a 90-year-old vampire be interested in a 17-year-old girl? Sort of perverted if you ask me. I just can’t seem to forget that Edward is a 90-year-old vampire. Is it because he died as a human boy at age 17 that he still has the feelings of a 17-year-old? Frankly, I think he wants to suck her blood and the only reason he is protecting her is so no one else will get the chance to suck her delicious smelling blood. Is that really love?

I recently discussed this with a friend and avid fan of the “Twilight” series, and she informs me that the bond between Edward and Bella it is true love and she urged me to continue giving the book a chance.

So onward I read, albeit skeptically and with a slight smirk upon my lips.

To read the entire saga of HeidiTown’s trip through “Twilight” (in chronological order), click on this underlined sentence.

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