Wednesday, January 28, 2015

flash fiction challege accepted-#4


Jarvis walks to the kitchen, a young lady smiles at him as she passes. In the dining area he is met by several eyes staring back ae him “I wanted to say that once I’m in my new position I look forward to continuing working together and hope for the same respect that you had for Mr. Charles.”

A month later Jarvis takes his usual morning run down a pier with a lighthouse at the end. It is a windy fall day, the waves crash the pier spraying him. At the lighthouse he meets with a man wearing a suit. The man speaks “You’re late.”

“It’s been busy, I start a new job tomorrow.”

“Almost a year into this investigation and the master of the house finally trust you enough to make you his right hand man.”

“I’m not sure head butler and right hand are the same besides I really think we have it all wrong here.”

“Alfie, this is your first field assignment your job is to do what I say!”

“And we’ve been listening to chatter for almost two years, I’m beginning to have as much faith in the NSA as the rest of America!”

“A Presidential assassination isn’t something you make jokes about!”

“Yes but do we really think one of the richest men in England is the Assassin?!”

“Maybe not but we DO know the threats are coming from this house it could be one of the sons or perhaps the daughter?”

“IT’S NOT FIONA”

“If you believe that then get me proof. The chatter is escalating and I need something to move on before it’s too late.”  The man gets in a motor boat tied to the pier and drives off.

 Jarvis walks down the hallway, the same young woman who smiled pulls him into her room and closes the door kissing him “How does it feel to be in charge?”

“Fi, nothing about us will change.”

“But father trust you…you will be with him during the day. He will love you as much as I do”

“I’m not his aide I will help him in the mornings and evenings the rest of the time I will still be downstairs with the other servants.”

 “I will make him love you” He exits and walks down the spiral staircase. Mr. Andrews’s office door is ajar and he hears voices. They are of youngest son David and a man he has never seen, he stops to listen.

“David once this starts there will be no stopping, we need to know that you’re all in.”

“The Prime Minister has nothing to worry about, the President will be dead by the New Year and he will get his war.”

A maid drops a tray, Jarvis goes back to work before he could be caught.

After dinner Mr. Charles ask to talk to him “Mr. Jarvis before I leave I want to give you something.” He hands Jarvis an old silver pocket watch

“I can’t this was your fathers.”

“And my grandfathers. I’m an old bachelor who never had kids, you’re a young man with a whole life ahead of you and you need to be on time working for a man like Mr. Andrews.”

Later that night Jarvis is in bed with Fiona, she has the pocketwatch opens it and reads the inscription “To my son, stay true to yourself” She leans in to kiss him, Jarvis doesn’t stop her.

At his next meeting with the man in the suit, Jarvis tells him what he has learned and the man gives him his orders.

 Back at the house David is waiting “Mr. Jarvis, Daisy was making my sister’s bed when this fell off her nightstand” He holds up the pocketwatch.

“I was looking for it last night after dinner, Miss Andrews’ must have found it.”

“And I was going to return it to Mr. Jarvis after his run” Fiona appears from the dining room.

“Thank you, if you don’t mind I have to check on lunch.”

 Fiona turns to her brother. “David I love you but my life is my own.” She walks in the other direction leaving him alone.

It is November, Jarvis stands on the pier looking out at the water, Fiona walks up behind him and places her hands on his eyes. “Whatever you want I’ll get it, don’t hurt me.”

She whispers in his ear “Why would I want to hurt you?”

Jarvis turns, they kiss, he notices that she has brought a picnic basket “I know everything that happens in this place and a picnic wasn’t on the schedule”

“I admit I had to do some sneaking around but I wanted you to have a Happy Thanksgiving, You mentioned it’s your favorite American tradition.”

 They’re about to set up the food when a boat arrives, knowing who it is Jarvis asks “Can we move this to our secret garden spot?”

 Fiona agrees and picks up the basket, she walks down the pier alone, and Jarvis quickly meets with the man in the suit.

 They are enjoying their picnic when David appears “What’s going on here?”

“Fiona was kind enough to make me a small yet tasty Thanksgiving meal. Would you like to join us?”

“I have a meeting.”

Christmas Eve and the household is all decorated.

Jarvis goes into the cellar to collect wine for dinner, unknown to him he is followed, the door is locked.

“Alfred Jonas Jarvis, born London 1988 moved to the US at the age of 12, Class Valedictorian, studied history at NYU, disappeared for a few years before showing up as a BUTLER back in England. Does that sound right, where were you between NYU and here?”

Alfred turns around to see a gun being pointed at his heart “I told Fi you didn’t like me but a gun really?” He tosses the bottle towards David and takes his own gun from his side.

“Who do you work for FBI, MI-5, CIA?” Jarvis stays silent “I bet CIA. A CIA agent sleeping with my sister I have to say that is way worst then the butler a butler I could fire a federal agent I well you know.” Still no reaction from Jarvis “Whatever happened to being loyal to one’s country?”

“I love Fi and I’m loyal to country and myself! David…You don’t have to do this.”

“YES I DO”

A gunshot is heard throughout the house.   

 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Into the Woods-An enchanting movie musical


I heard that Hollywood was turning the stage musical of Into the Woods into a film about a year and a half ago and was looking forward to its grand opening and as a fan of the show ( I have seen high school versions and original on VHS while in my high school choir class.) it certainly was a grand film to watch.
I have wondered for some time now if I got the chance to make a movie version how would I do it? how would it look? Now that director Rob Marshall has done so I have to say he excelled to all of my wonder and expectations. If you don’t know the plot to Stephen Sondheim’s musical let me sum it up, he starts with a handful of popular fairy tale characters like Cinderella (Anna Kendrick), Little Red Riding Hood (Lilla Crawford), Jack (Daniel Huttlestone) and his beanstalk and a baker (James Corden) and his wife (Emily Blunt). He then throws them into a brilliant mashed-up world where everyone sings. Each character has a reason to enter the woods (queue “I wish”), for the Baker and his wife they go into the woods to “lift a spell” that was placed on their family by a Witch (Meryl Streep).

Every actor plays their role as realistic and with prestige. In my opinion the story works when Little Red Riding Hood does her job (with confidence not bratty) and young Crawford was perfect “I really hate to ask it but would you have a basket” and stood her own against The Wolf (a small role played to perfection by Johnny Depp). I enjoyed Corden as The Baker, I like  the character and he made it his own without “straying from the path” of the original. The Baker was funny, sweet and not to smart but loved his wife and Jack was just a kid who loved his cow. I should add that my favorite song is “agony” sung by the two Princes (Chris Pine and Billy Magnussen) and the scene was so good and fun to watch and made the year wait worth it (they really hammed it up). Christine Baranski, Tracy Ullman and Mackenzie Mauzy also appear in the film.
Since the entire story takes place in the woods I was looking forward to how it would look (Production Design, Art Direction and Set Decoration). The trees were fantastic from Cinderella’s mother’s grave to the tree Jack climbed as he sung “Giants in the Sky”. The costumes (by Colleen Atwood) were wonderful from The Witch’s dress to “The cape as red as blood and the shoe as Pure as Gold”. Other reviewers will warn you that it gets darker in the second act and it does both plot wise and through the cinematography by Dion Beebe as each “midnight” passes.

 When the film was over I gave it a standing ovation and add this musical film to my top five favorites list (I was worried when the actors/characters had to sing on top of each other or together but they were all wonderful and pulled it off). To finish I would like to say a thank you to Miss Callen for making us watch Into the Woods.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Years Eve!

The worst part of New Years is looking back during the last days of the one your are in, yet we wait all year to do this. I'm not a fan of looking back and as far as I know have nothing to look forward to but since all of my entertainment news folks have had their say I would like to add my thoughts...I don't watch enough movies to have a favorite of the year and watch too much TV to remember everything I liked although I am loving Peter Capaldi as The Doctor and The Walking Dead just gets better and better with every episode, as for the worst of the year The Leftovers and The Affair, I don't know why The Affair is on every good list it is so boring, predictable and not a single likeable character in the bunch. All that being said my favorite TV trend was Steven Weber appearing in everything I watched (last yr it was Justin Bruering) from 2 broke girls and Murder in the First to Chasing Life and NCIS: New Orleans he just shows up, my fingers are crossed that he'll be on Madame Secretary this coming year. That's it for now...Have a Happy New Year I will be watching Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin over Seacrest again as we enter 2015.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

White Collar 2009-2014


Neal Caffrey played by the wonderful Matt Bomer was a good-looking and very charming con man. In 2009 He was realised from prison and placed into the custody of FBI white collar head (and man who arrested him) Peter Burke played by the talented Tim DeKay. Neal was forced to wear a tracking anklet as he worked with Peter and the FBI including Clinton Jones and Diana Barrigan (Sharif Atkins and Marsha Thomason). I can’t forget about Mozzie (Willie Garson) the conspiracy theorest who was Neal’s best friend and criminal co-hoot and never trusted the suits. Last but not least there was Peter’s wife, Elizabeth (Tiffani Thiessen) who stood by Peter’s side and even helped whenever she could. For six years the team worked together to take down white collar criminals from paint forgers to money embezzlers, all those who came across Neal and Peter would soon know what losing felt like. Even when Peter and Neal were mad at each other they would soon get over it and get a new case where they used all of their talents to solve. What else is there to say but… 

White Collar was a fun, sweet, exciting and funny series. It was unexpected and well made. Cheers to the cast and crew!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Colbert Report 2005-2014


Dr. Stephen T Colbert D.F.A. died today.

We first saw Colbert as a correspondent on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart where he was best known as an opponent to Steve Carrell in a segment called “Even Stepvhens”. It wasn’t until Comedy Central took the bait in 2005 when Stephen Colbert received his own show and changed viewer lives for the best.

I don’t know about all reading this but for me The Colbert Report was a special show and its host a wonderful man. From his intro of the topics for the night to his sign off, every episode was worth watching. From the moment he spoke his first The Word (Truthiness) and the on-screen power points spoke back I was hooked.

Some of my (other) favorite segments were

The Threat Down where we learned that Stephen was deathly afraid of bears calling them "giant, marauding, godless killing machines" *

Better Know a Distract where Stephen would interview members of congress in his own “unique” way. He introduced each person by giving us facts about their part of our country and ended each with a sparkling light on a map. He even got to chance to talk to my (on again off again) Representative Dan Maffei.

The Sport Report where he got Steagle the Colbeagle a local eagle mascot named for him (*not related but also named for him was Stephen Jr an Eagle at the San Francisco Zoo, a bridge in Hungry, a leatherback turtle, a spider the Aptostichus stephencolberti, a Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream called Americone Dream,and a treadmill aboard the Space Station called the Combined Operational Load Bearing External Resistance Treadmill  (C.O.L.B.E.R.T.) . He even saved the Vancouver Olympics by raising money and sponsoring the USA speed skating team (and routed for the team as he hosted episodes from Vancouver)

Cheating Death where Prescott Pharmacutical’s helped us with any medical problem one may come across. Whether it was the heart, lungs or head Prescott had the pill for you, just beware of the side effects.

Formable Opponent where he went up against the only man he thought worthy, himself, on certain issues.

Colbert Platinum for the rich Colbert viewers

And of course The Blitzkrieg on Grinchitude which was originally the War on Christmas started by Fox News.

As host he leaves behind a slew of “characters” -There was Jimmy, The Director-Tad, The Building Manager-Jay, The Intern-Bobby, The Stage Manager- fellow host Esteban Colberto- Gorlock, his alien financial adviser, the voice of Winfred Brimley and of course his gun “Sweetness”
I even learned from Mr. Colbert. When on the advice of his advisor Ham Rove and his real life Lawyer he started his own Super PAC (Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow) I realized how horrible the idea of buying elections was and to not believe everything you hear during them. 

Stephen made us aware of the dangers of a broken wrist and wore a red bracelet every show since his injury. Every time he asked for money/donations he got more then he intended.

Interviews were the best, Stephen had everyone from film and TV actors to authors to politicians on the show. This true patriot even spent a week in Iraq entertaining the troops where he shaved his head when President Obama ordered it. Every guest who appeared on the show benefitted from the “Colbert Bump”. Most of the time the one being interviewed was in on the joke but it was funnier when they just let Stephen do his thing. Mr. Colbert even got to sing with many of his guests and I have to admit he had a good voice

The show ended each “season” with Colbert adding another portrait of himself to his self-portrait. It hung above his fireplace which was only one of many interesting set pieces (including photos of TV doctors, Bill O'Reilly Show's microwave, Captain America’s Shield and of course his C shaped desk)

Winner of a Peabody, a Grammy, three best show Emmys and just as many for best writing (the show went on during a 2008 writers guild strike which forced Stephen in a battle with his late night nemesis Conan O’Brian, the writers came back and all was “normal” once again.) and many more awards that were well deserved by the great group of people involved with the show (including the many babies born throughout the years)

The Colbert Report was smart, funny and a superb show to watch (Mon-Thurs after The Daily Show) Stephen may have been a Christian Conservative who looked up to Papa Bear Bill O’Reilly but he made us (and at times himself) laugh, cry and proud to be a sci-fi/fantasy nerd. Stephen Colbert was truly loved by those of us who understood him the most and as the chant of The Colbert Nation “Stephen, Stephen, Stephen!” fades away we (with my apologies to Doris Kearns Goodwin) say farewell to Mr. Colbert, you will be “missed”.

There are many more things Stephen gave us (insert “hosting” White House correspondent’s dinner, starring with an eagle in silly pistachio ads and author of three books) and for all this he shall never be forgotten (I hear a man name Stephen Colbert will be taking over hosting duties on The Late Show)

In the end the world is a better place because Dr. Stephen T Colbert D.F.A was a part of our “daily” TV lives for nine delightful years.

 

*Wikipedia

Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Newsroom 2012-2014

I have been a fan a Aaron Sorkin's since I discovered his wonderful writing on his series about a sport news network called SportsNight. I look up to him because he writes on topics that he is passionate about and ones that viewers should be aware of. The Newsroom was a series, that although it aired for only three season, left an important impact on our lives.

Will McAvoy played by the wounderful Jeff Daniels lead an equally talented cast in the series about a 24 hour news network (No no don’t stop reading)  called ACN and unlike the “real” 24 hour riff raff (CNN, MSNBC and FOX news) this was one network I would have watched and, given the chance, worked for. Will and his co-workers MacKenzie McHale, Jim Harper, Maggie Jordan, Don Keefer, Neal Sampat, Sloan Sabbith and Charlie Skinner (Emily Mortimer, John Gallager Jr., Alison Pill, Thomas Sadoski, Dev Patel, Olivia Munn and Sam Waterston) did everything they could to report the important news of the day. Once when they got it wrong I felt bad for them as ACN lost viewers but I stuck with them until the end.

The genis part of this series was that Mr. Sorkin created these great characters and placed them in a real setting, two or three years behind us, but real. They reported on everything from the 2010 Persidental election (where Will, the Republican even became somewhat embrassed by his Party) to the Boston Marathon Bombing.

One last cheers to Mr. Sorkin and the cast and crew of The Newsroom! You showed us that reporting the news is a impotant and worthy career and our country would be a better place to live if real life reporters were more like Will McAvoy and his crew.

 

Monday, November 24, 2014

St Vincent-A surprising and sweet film


I’m not a religious person but I do borrow some parts of each religion that I find fun and helpful as I move through this thing called life. Catholic Saints are one aspect of religion I find interesting and this film takes Sainthood to the next level :)

St. Vincent is a movie about an elderly man named Vincent played by the great Bill Murray (who I have watched and loved my entire life) and a boy named Oliver played by newcomer Jaeden Lieberher. When we first meet Vin he is your typical grumpy old man who enjoys smoking, gambling and just being left alone. His home which he shares with his cat, Felix (Pepper and Jigger) is a mess inside and out. At first he and his new neighbors, Melissa McCarthy as Oliver's mother, do not get along but when Oliver needs Vincent's help on his first day of school it is revealed to us that relationships can change.

Written and directed by Theodore Melfi, St Vincent is an unexpected beautiful surprise. All of the actors are perfectly fitting in their roles, including Naomi Watts who plays Daka, a loveable “dancer”, Chris O’Dowd who plays Oliver’s Catholic school teacher and Terrence Howard who plays Zucko an “acquaintance” of Vin’s. I don’t know where Murray got his Brooklyn accent but it was enjoyable to listen to and rounded off this character that you may not usually hang out with but once you’ve learned more about the man you wanted to be his friend. Everyone had excellent chemistry with each other but the scenes between Murray and Lieberher were the best, so much so that when Oliver has to get up in front of his class and family for a presentation I couldn’t stop the tears from flowing. 

St. Vincent is a sweet, small film perfect for most ages young and old, No one left until the credits finished rolling.