Friday, October 10, 2014

Gone Girl, the film, a review

Let me start by saying part of loving and watching movies is knowing what to see and a subscription to a entertainment magazine is how I learn about the films I see, that brings me to this past weekends number one movie Gone Girl.

A movie that was on the cover of Entertainment Weekly a couple of months ago (staring at me from my side table wanting me to read what the hype was all about) I wasn't sure if I wanted to or even get the chance to see Gone Girl  Well I did and that is a good thing.

I can't tell you anything about the actual plot for fear of giving something away (although since it is written by Gillian Flynn the author of the book readers may know the plot better then me).

As a film, director David Fincher (The Social Network) uses the same old but very effected techniques he is known for. The cinematography is dark and at time difficult to see the action on screen but works for the setting of a town/neighborhood up in arms over the disappearance of a beautiful woman. The editing on the other hand is superb and intensifies the way the story is told. Fincher easily moves between all sides of the story as we see the characters unravel. All of the characters have their flaws but as the viewer you can understand where each is coming from and why they act in the way they do.

First there is Nick Dunne played by the always enjoyable Ben Affleck. Nick's life is turned upside down and becomes a target for the media and police when his wife goes missing. In this instance I didn't just like Affleck the actor, I liked Nick Dunn the character. From the first moment we see him to the end and in the way he acts with the police and uses the media is pure genius.

His wife Amy played by Rosamund Pike is just as good in a stunning, cunning and suave way.

The other two characters who play major roles in this twisted yet fun thriller are the cop who is in charge of the case Detective Rhonda Boney played by Kim Dickens. I really liked that she wasn't to quick and took her time with developing the case. Dickens was very believable and refreshing. There is also Nick's sister Margo played by Carrie Coon, all I can say about her is, she is the sister I would want if I ever found myself in the same situation.

As for the other supporting actors and their characters-
Tyler Perry was perfect and subtle in the role of Tanner Bolt, Nick's expensive lawyer and Neil Patrick Harris as Desi Collings an ex boyfriend of Amy's and I have to say Spoiler Alert? what happens to his character is something I will not ever forget.

In the end the movie may have been slow and felt long at times but is still well made and each actor gave 100%, making Gone Girl worth checking out.

Monday, October 6, 2014

The Originals-Season 2 begins...

Yes I am one of a million who enjoys watching a good movie or TV series with vampires and when Buffy the Vampire Slayer went off the air I struggled to find a show I liked as much (see previous post one True Blood). It wasn't so much that I liked Buffy and her Scooby gang that drew me to the show but Spike, the vamp with platinum blond hair and a leather coat was my reason for watching and when the spin-off Angel ended I didn't believe I would find one I liked just as much. That was until last season when The Originals premiered! The three main characters ( Mikaelson siblings Rebecca, Klaus and Elijah) first appeared in Mystic Falls on the CW series The Vampire Dairies and when I saw Elijah it was love at first sight.

In the first episode of The Originals the siblings move back to New Orleans where we learn more about how they became who they are.

Origin/backstory-Years ago a mother didn't want her children to die and being that she was a powerful witch placed a curse on her four sons (two killed off on TVD) and daughter (left at end of 1st season) which made them, herself and her husband immortal but forced to drink blood.

Klaus (Joseph Morgan) is the head of the family now and is determined to get his city back. He will do anything to anyone, including hurting his brother and sister to get what he wants!

Elijah (Daniel Gillies) is calmer with a great sense of style. He is there to help Klaus from going to far. He believes in keeping his family safe and together. He protects the ones he loves and has been known to act more like his brother if any harm come to them

Now back in the city they helped built Klaus, Elijah and Rebecca reunite with "old friends".

There is Marcel (Charles Michael Davis) who was a young boy and slave when Klaus first met him. He took Marcel in and trained him to fight, the whole time Marcel knew what Klaus was and as he grew older and stronger would ask to be turned into a vampire. Eventually Klaus does as Marcel ask, Marcel and Rebecca start a relationship against Klaus wishes. Now with their return Klaus and Marcel's relationship has been "rocky" and difficult to say the least.

One of the difficulties is a young teenage witch named Davina (Danielle Campbell) who Marcel "protects" and kept locked in the attic of a church. he said he was keeping her safe from her coven. Now she is out of the attic and as strong and powerful as any witch in the city. I would not want to get on her bad side.

Then there is Hayley (Phoebe Tonkin) who is a werewolf that Klaus met while in Mystic Falls and shows up in New Orleans pregnant with his baby (long story short Klaus is half werewolf making him a hybrid which allowed him to get her pregnant). Hayley discovers that she has a family or "pack" of her own and becomes a strong leader for them.

New Orleans seems to have an outbreak of Vampires, Werewolves and Witches! All battling each other for control of the city which causes high tension and much heartbreak for ALL involve,

The Originals was my favorite new series of last year, mostly because while watching it seems to be the grown ups version of its "parent" show (TVD)-less teenage ansgst, more fun and enjoyable to watch. Tune in Mondays at 8 on The CW!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The True Death for True Blood-2008-2014

     It was in 2008 when we (The Viewers/Fans akaTrubies) first came to the small Louisiana town of Bon Temps. We walked into Merlottes, a quaint, rustic bar and grill, the first person we met was a young woman with an unusual name, Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin), as she served each customer she also listened in on their thoughts (we learn in other seasons that she was half Fair/fairy) but would not be the only supernatural being in town.

     When Sookie first met Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer) she is unable to read his thoughts and there is a real spark and the two were attracted to each other right away. Turns out Bill was a Vampire (the first one Sookie has ever met) and his drink of choice was True Blood.

     Of course Bill isn't the only Vamp in town and we were quickly introduced to 1000 year old vampire Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgard) who is "sheriff" of the entire county and along with his protégé Pam (Kristin Bauer van Straten ) owns and runs the nightclub, Fangtasia. As the first episode continued Bill is forced to turn home schooled teen Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll) into his own protégé, as a punishment for killing another vampire.

     In the same episode and throughout the six season we were introduced and came to love many wonderful characters--
The humans who lived in Bon Temps-
Jason (Ryan Kwanten) Sookie's younger, dopey yet good-looking brother who became a police deputy.
Tara Thornton (Rutina Wesley) Sookie's best friend since they were kids, hated vampires until she became one. Her religious mother Lettie Mae (Adina Porter) loved her til the end.
Lafayette Reynolds (Nelsan Ellis)- Tara's cousin and cook at Merlottes, high on drugs and life, most fun character who was suppose to die early in the first season but was to good to lose.
Arlene Fowler (Carrie Preston)-Waitress turned owner of Merlottes, mother of three and unlucky in love until she met Terry (Todd Lowe), who had demons of his own and died but in the end she found happiness.
Andy Bellefleur (Chris Bauer)-Town sheriff, father of five half fairs until Jessica killed 4 of them raising Adeline and engaged to Holly (Lauren Bowles)

The supernatural--
Alcide (Joe Manganiello)-Wareworlf who did not want anything to do with his pack including being the leader. Also unlucky in love and it killed him in the end.
Sam Merlotte (Sam Trammell)-Owner of the bar/Mayor-in the final season and a shape shifter who could turn into any animal he and his deceased brother wanted, most of the time he choose a really cute dog (my favorite character and as much as I love vampires in True Blood I would have wanted to have his "powers")

I drink one last bottle of True Blood to these and ALL of the amazing characters who traveled through or lived in Bon Temps. You may not live on TV but you will always live on in our hearts

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A glance behind the scenes...

If you leave NYC and travel far off Broadway you would find that there are many communities, towns and other cities that have just as good entertainment. From Broadway touring shows throughout the year at the Auditorium theater,, to performance places in the parks to the many other smaller theaters all around the city, Rochester NY (my hometown) is a wonderful place to see it all.

This summer in one of those small theaters a new play came together. Written By M.L.P Carroll and K.C. Craft The Kingdom Next to Fid is a fascinating and magical story that has a Prince, his true love, pirates, a good fairy, a evil witch , a wizard, a dwarf and “ maybe unicorns” all come alive (with the help of living scenery, stuffed animals and a laptop computer) in this epic fairy tale!

I was there in the last week of putting together this massive story. Some actors were on stage running their lines, moving through scenes and keeping their sword fighting skills sharp and accurate as others were “running” around sewing costumes, making props, painting the set and preparing light and sound cues.  All the hard work lead to long nights and lots of cups of coffee.

By the time opening night came, the cast and crew were ready to go. I stood back stage and watched as the actors ran on and off making sure not to miss their cues (a small space and 30 people made for controlled chaos). I was there as an extra pair of hands to hold onto props, help with costumes, run errands and do whatever I could to ease the bedlam.  I have to say that holding  two foils before they are quickly taken away for another exciting sword fight makes one feel powerful.

As the final bows are taken and the house lights go up, I want to raise a glass to the wonderful cast and crew! You guys are awesome! And a big thank you to Meredith and Karen for creating an amazing show. If given the chance I would work with any of these men and women again. I hope I helped more then just a tiny bit.  Although I never saw the production in its entirety, I loved every minute and had a wonderful time visiting The Kingdom Next to Fid.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

A Million Ways to Die in the West---LOL :)

I admit there are times when it is hard for me to find the words to write a review on the few movies that I do get to see each year...this is not one of those times. Last year on mine and Zachary Quinto's birthday I went to the theater to watch Star Trek: Into Darkness this year I realized just how lucky I was to be born at the start of the summer movie season (the three months out of the year when Hollywood releases as many films as possible to make the maxim amount of money) and that is how I found myself sitting in a dark theater in the middle of a Monday with old and young (but not too young) watching A Million Ways to Die in the West.

I don't read reviews before seeing a film because I like to make up my own mind and don't like reading negative comments about the movies I am looking forward to seeing. To be honest I wasn't expecting much out of this one written, produced, directed by and starring Seth MacFarlane because well I'll just say it, MacFarlane has the mind of a 8 year old boy (which after all is why us fans love him) but I ended up really, REALLY liking this movie.

It's a simple plot and I don't want to give anything away, let me just say that A Million Ways to Die in the West is about a man, a sheep farmer played by the always fun MacFarlane named Albert who hates living on the American frontier along with his friend Edward played the great Giovanni Ribisi, Edward's girlfriend Ruth played by the enjoyable Sarah Silverman and newcomer to the town Anna played by the wonderful Charlize Theron who turns his life upside down. The film also stars Liam Neeson, Amanda Seyfried and Neil Patrick Harris. With a cast like this(and some unexpected cameos) how could you go wrong?  MacFarlane may not show or mention ALL 1 million ways to die in the west but some of the ones he comes up with, I guarantee you wouldn't have dreamed of. The dance and fair scenes alone are worth the price of a matinee ticket.

In other words the crazy yet lovable cast of characters at the center of the film IS the reason to watch. Each actor is perfectly casted in his or her role (and seem to be having fun with their parts) which is why at the end I had a nice feeling in my heart and enjoyed every minute. Yes the film throws all the western cliches at you, the good guy, the bad guy, the girl, American Indians, horses, guns and yes a lot of  poop jokes, but that is the whole point to making a parody, Right?  And I was rooting for Albert throughout the movie, after all wanting the good guy to win IS the reason to make a western  Hell I'll even go as far to say there were times in the film reminiscent of Blazing Saddles and Three Amigos!.

As I said I really like this movie-I laughed out loud (along with others in the audience), I laughed on the inside and at times I asked myself, did I just laugh at that?

When I walked out of the cold dark theater into the hot bright sun I was happy because Seth MacFarlane had made a silly yet with a beautiful heart film.

If any of what I wrote makes you think "I would like to laugh or I need a good laugh." you should go see A Million Ways to Die in the West (and make sure you stay for the ending credits)

Thursday, May 22, 2014

flash fiction challenge accepted #2

         When one first "bomb" hit the earth the object was too fast to be noticed by NASA and it landed at the South Pole so no one worried about the consequences. Within 48 hours the 24 hour news had moved on to something else. Three years later there was another that hit Australia near Perth. This one was larger and much of the land was destroyed and many people were killed in a instant. The U.S. and rest of the world did what they could but in the end there was nothing we could do but treat it like any other natural disaster we mourned, gave money and moved on. We all believed that everyone who died did and it would be the end of the story but two months later there were news reports about those who lived miles outside the impact perimeter getting sick. At first the international CDC couldn’t agree on a cause, some thought it was a new strain of the flu, others said it was a yet undiscovered illness connected to bacteria from the object and released into the air. The 24 hour news had their own theories of a secret terrorist attack, the Conservatives said the two governments weren’t telling the truth and the Liberals attacked the reports as fear mongering. 122 days later hundreds more were dead and still no real answers. Then it happened again in South America. This time it was closer to home and the U.S. government worried of the unknown went into action and closed its borders keeping out anyone who might become ill. All planes were grounded, all ships were stopped at every port. Nothing or no one could leave or enter the country.
       On December 31st we were counting down to a new year and celebrating a past one which kept us safe, cut off from the rest of the world and without incident. We woke up with hangovers and news that two more "bombs" with the speed of a meteor and the destruction of an asteroid had hit. One in the center of Russia and the other into the Mediterranean Sea. Now with much of the world affected and in a panic the U.S. and Canada had no choice but to work together. The President and Prime Minster had a joint press conference in which they made it MANDATORY for every citizen to IMMEDIATELY get check out by a doctor. Most, worried for their lives followed the new law, those who refused were discovered and taken from their homes never to be seen again. When we were woken in the middle of the night by screams coming from our neighbors house we ran outside and watched as the military and FBI handcuffed the mother and father and carried their young daughter to three black SUVs. The next day my wife and I went to the hospital.

    When we entered the E.R. there were already 40 to 50 people waiting for appointments. We made our way through the crowd and at the desk they handed us a three page form and, like at the DMV a number. When a doctor saw us he took a blood sample, a DNA swab and asked many questions. We answered each the best we could and when we were done a nurse told us we would get a phone call in the next 24 hours to tell us what to do next but now that we were in the new system the government would leave us alone. I don’t think either of us got any sleep that night.
When we got the call the nurse said we were healthy and could go on with our lives, which would include a new life in about 8 ½ months.
     The next seven months were normal, as normal as a world where half of its inhabitants had to wear gas masks all day everyday and the rest of us afraid to even talk to them. I was back at work as a high school science teacher and my wife was home with a cold when a warning from the new emergency alert system telling us of another "bomb" on a possible collision with Earth. We didn’t know where it would hit but this time we were prepared. I got my students to a designated safe bunker, made sure everyone got on their gas masks and called my wife. She said she was fine and with the help from a friend made it safely to another predetermined shelter. I asked her to put on her mask and I would do the same and we waited for impact. When we heard the alarm for the all clear we emerged from our shelters and the phones started ringing.
     It had hit Wyoming and a new kind of panic began. Although we were in upstart New York everyone around me started to cry and scream. I called my wife but there was no answer. I quickly told another teacher my situation and made it home as fast as possible. I ran through the house she was nowhere to be found, that’s when I saw the red light flashing on our land line. It was my wife’s friend telling me that she had gone into labor and to meet them at the hospital.
      The hospital was a horror show of those still in masks looking for frightened loved ones. I made it to my wife in time to see my son being born. He was so small and we weren’t allowed to hold him as the nurse rushed him to quarantine.
      The air is still poisoned but stable, now NASA can detect and destroy ALL unknown objects that is on a collision course with the Earth and at every meal we can take off our masks and eat in our new and improved underground panic dining room. So when I came home from work and saw my wife and now 10 year old son baking cookies for the school bake sale I knew everything was going to be okay. 


Monday, March 31, 2014

How I Met Your Mother 2005-2014-Obituary and Autopsy of a series finale

What do you get when you cross a good cast to play a gang of friends who you may not hang out with but work well together and a silly, is this series really going to be worth watching title? The answer is the sweet and "wait for it" touching How I Met Your Mother. I didn't know what to expect from this show but I tuned in anyway and for nine seasons I watched and enjoyed this perfect TV series.

There was Ted Mosby played by the charming Josh Radnor, Ted was an architect turned professor and the one who told the story about meeting the title character to his to teenage children each week (as Bob Saget's voice intro each tale). His best friend was Marshall "marshmallow" Erikson played by the wonderful Jason Segel. Marshall was a lawyer who wanted to help the environment and madly in love with his college girlfriend turned wife Lily Aldrin played by the lovely talented Alyson Hannigan. Lily or Lily pad as Marshall called her was a kindergarten teacher who really wanted to be an artist, the two would have a son named Marvin waitforit Erikson. Then there was Barney Stinson played by the great Neil Patrick Harris. Barney always wore a suit and looked his best whether at work or out getting another woman into bed but the one he would surprisingly want to stay was Robin Scherbatsky played by the awesome Cobie Smulders. Robin who was a teen pop sensation in Canada and grew up with a father who wanted a son moved to NYC and became a local news reporter. Each week the gang met at MacLaren's Pub to tell their stories...

And there were some good ones like when Ted stole the blue French horn for Robin or the time he bought and wore bright red cowboy boots. There was the time Barney wanted to find his real birth father after believing it was Bob Barker for years. There was the time Lily broke up with Marshall and moved to San Fransisco to pursue her artist dream.

There were many more stories to tell and Ted used every one to explain how he finally met the one. Each week I watched and laughed when the characters laughed and cried when they cried (spoiler alert-Like when Marshall's father died and unlike with his mom or brothers he didn't think his father left him with worthy last words).

I raise one final beer at MacLaren's to the cast and crew (including director Pamela Fryman and 2 2ed AD Chris Hyssong). Thank you for spending part of your lives making this series for those of us who watched (and to those who didn't can always catch it in syndication).
Carter Bays and Craig Thomas created one heck of a good show!
How I Met Your Mother will be missed but never forgotten.

My thoughts on the series finale...Two weeks later-Spoilers

A week after it aired fans were still talking about the series finale of How I Met Your Mother, some thought the series ended just right but most were very disappointed. Now I feel that I MUST add my voice to all the talk...

The last episode may not have been the ending some wanted, it may not have been the happy fairy tale ending others expected, hell even I was shocked at what happened but after thinking about the show for 24 hours and taking it all in I realized it was the RIGHT end for this particular series. Why?

First of all there was a build up to Barney and Robin's wedding that annoyed some viewers. You have to remember that the final season took place over a weekend (20 episodes in 2 days) so what was months to us was just days to the characters. Yes the episode before the finale had a wedding and yes it was short and we didn't get to hear the vows but it was beautiful and sweet and there was a ring bear:). Then there was the last episode which again played with time by showing viewers 10 years in one hour. It was quick and yes I was sad and felt a little cheated that we only saw one quick scene of their marriage when Barney and Robin announced their divorce but when you take the time to think about it most marriages are boring and from what they said I don't think I wanted to see anymore. As for the other characters we finally learned the mothers name and she and Ted seemed truly happy he wouldn't have stayed be her bed in the hospital if he didn't love her and the two kids they shared. If you wanted a cookie cutter ending all you have to do is look at Marshall and Lily, who had a couple more kids and Marshall became a judge with a promising political career (with his concern for the environment I would vote for him for state supreme court). Marshmallow and Lily Pad 4ever:) Then there is Barney, the only girl he could truly care for, put first and love is his daughter.

Second if you look at the series as a whole it was about a group off friends trying to figure out life. Ted was the narrator and honestly a lot of the episodes were about him and/or Robin and how they fitted into the gang as friends, lovers, someone to talk to about friends and lovers. The real question that no one was asking for 9 season was -Where was the Mother when Ted was telling his kids the story? Why didn't she ever pop in to help tell the story? How could she not interrupt and have her feelings hurt by the way Ted spoke of Robin? In the end his son understood Ted was taking the long way around getting permission to ask Robin out, Why didn't we the viewers!?  

In conclusion as in real life there are times when men and women have more then one love and it is okay for lost love to return after true love dies.
To quote another TV series that was about a group of F*R*I*E*N*D*S living in NYC and trying to figure life out -after all "She's his lobster"

I hope that clears things up and makes those who were angry feel better. After all it was just a TV Show and it did answer the title question, How I Met Your Mother.