Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Farewell to The 11th Doctor aka Matt Smith

Dear talented, fun, adorable,sweet Matt,

When you as the 11th Doctor crashed landed into a young Amy Pond's backyard with a new face I didn't know what to expect and I am sure you felt the same-

Who is this new Doctor?
Am I going to like him?
What will he be like/Will I like his new attitude?
I hope he makes me laugh and care about the character like the guy before him did?

With your different colours of "cool" bow ties, a tweed jacket and suspenders (sometimes a Fez) you quickly showed me who you were and I was glad to get to know you.

You traveled with Amy, Rory and Clara.
You met Vincent Van Gogh, fought pirates, married River, played with a triceratops on a spaceship, helped Russians (during the cold war) in a Submarine and once again came across and fought Daleks, Cybermen and The Weeping Angels.
You turned 1200 years old and celebrated 50 years on television, although you don't look a day over 25.
And saved the world many more times.
Most importantly you introduced the world to fish fingers and custard.

From 2010-2013 as 10 did before you, you made me laugh and cry and even frightened at times. As The 11th Doctor you were always a joy to watch. Each episode was as entertaining as a good show should be.

 As The Doctor you proved me wrong when I wrote

Ode to the tenth Doctor--- January 7, 2010
 No Doctor ever was or could ever be as wonderful as he.
Wearing a suit of brown, sometimes blue, a long flowing coat and high top shoes
He with Rose, Martha, Donna and friends battled Cybermen, Darleks and all villains till he won in the end.
Always Ready Always Brilliant That was The Doctor as played by David Tennant

But in the end--
 As "they" say "the show must go on" and I will miss you as The Doctor but understand you have to move on and I look forward to whatever you do in the future. So with one last "Geronimo!"

Goodnight, Goodbye and Good Luck, Mr. Smith

Sincerely Whovian since 2005,

Friday, November 22, 2013

50 years of Doctor Who!

I don't want to admit this but I have spent must of my life (so far) sitting in front of a TV screen. I have watched and enjoyed many TV series, of ALL genres. For the past 50 years a story has been told on our TVs, a tale of an alien who looks like a human. He travels through time and space. Sometimes he is all alone but most of the time he brings along a human, or two. He is mysterious and fascinating. He has had 11 different faces. "Although he has saved us many times we never knew he was there and he has never been thanked"-Martha Jones. He calls himself The Doctor and on November 23, 1963 in Great Britain he made his 1st appearance on the BBC and has lived in the hearts of many humans ever since.
 The name of this wonderful show is Doctor Who (When he tells you his name you ask "Doctor Who") . The plot may sound simple but that is far from the facts. To begin The Doctor is over 900 years old, his species is Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey. When he was "younger" there was a Time War between The Time Lords and The Daleks. As Gallifrey was being destroyed The Doctor ran away using a stolen TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimension in Space) and he "has been running ever since." When one travels one meets people but only a handful of those The Doctor meets actually get to go with him. In 50 years their have been 11 actors who have been lucky enough to portray The Doctor...

The first Doctor was played by William Hartnell who was also the oldest person in the role of this iconic character. His version of The Doctor was that of the wise old grumpy grandfather figure. He traveled with those that would become to be known as his "companions". The 1st Doctor's companions were a young girl named Susan who called him "grandfather" and two teachers named Ian and Barbara. Every companion has a different reaction when they first meet The Doctor but still end up going along with him as they enter The TARDIS (The TARDIS on the outside is a blue Police Box from The U.K. during the 1960s and when a companion enters they say " It's bigger on the inside"). The TARDIS has many rooms and we actually saw one or two in the first year. The characters travel through time (forward and back) and to whole new worlds/planets. It is in these new worlds where The Doctor meets up with friends and foes. It is during the first years of the show where we meet his most dangerous and biggest enemy (and still around today) known as The Daleks. I am not sure how to describe The Daleks , they are a squid looking creature in cased a metal cylinder has a blue light for an eye and kills with a laser. The Time war wiped out both Time Lords and Daleks but somehow a few survived.  Today you know a Dalek is near when you hear a robotic voice say "Exterminate, Exterminate". Susan, Ian and Barbara didn't stay for long and in 1966 The Doctor found new companions in Polly and Ben and they were just the start of this trend and new stories. Then when William Hartnell had to leave the show do to illness in 1966 the show would continue and The Doctor wouldn't die instead someone came up with the brilliant idea of regeneration, The Doctor would get another body with new face and whole new wardrobe to take on his new life.

Enter the Second Doctor portrayed by Patrick Troughton from 1966-1969.  This new Doctor was a "costume hobo" and "smarter then he appeared". He was mischievous with a sense of humor. This time the series became more about its title character and this new young Doctor was more active as he ran to help those in need. New Doctor, New Companions. Number 2 was joined by Zoe a young and tough female from the future, Jamie a teen boy who was a Scottish highlander from the year 1746 (Yes he even wore a kilt) who became a real friend to The Doctor and there was Victoria from the 19th century, This time around none of The TARDIS passengers actually came from the time period in which the show aired yet the concept still worked and people still watched. During the 2ed Doctor's reign viewers were introduced to new monsters like The Ice Warriors and a new foe for The Doctor called The Cybermen who are still around today.

Next in line is the Third Doctor Portrayed by Jon Pertwee from 1970-1974. For the first time Doctor Who is shot and televised in color. Using the new color format to their advantage his new outfit included a ruffle shirt and a black cape lined with red satin. A complete change from the 2ed Doctor the Third is exiled to Earth. The new setting allowed the show to deal with real issues of the time, like pollution and brought the issue to the front of the story. Trapped on this human planet The Doctor took a job at U.N.I.T (Unified/UN Intelligence Taskforce) as a scientist. While at UNIT his co-workers/companions include The Brigadier, a Sargent and Captain Avery (Played by Hugh Bonneville). His head science adviser was Liz Shaw who was smarter then The Doctor and was soon replaced by Josephine "Jo" Grant. Just because he wasn't traveling didn't mean there weren't monsters and bad guys to be defeated. With these new threats The Doctor got to act more like another British pop culture icon James Bond. The Third Doctor was an action hero who got to fight with his fists and with The TARDIS out of commission he got to drive fast cars, helicopters and hovercrafts but his main form of transportation was a yellow vintage roadster allowing the character to stay true to who he was. The new monsters during this regeneration were the Autons, who were living plastic mannequins and you will never look at mannequins in the same way again. It was also the first time viewers got to meet The Master, another Time Lord who was everything The Doctor was not.

The 3erd Doctor didn't stick around too long unlike Doctor number 4 portrayed by Tom Baker who from 1974-1981 (I was born during his time and may have watched a couple of episodes) still has the longest run as The Doctor. The fourth Doctor was the internal child who outwitted his enemies with humor and had the biggest sense of who he was as an alien. "Tom Baker didn't play The Doctor, he was The Doctor". He was the most loved by fans (aka Whovians) for many years and wore the most recognizable accessory a very long multi-colored stripped scarf which was a happy accident, for the woman who made it just kept knitting until she ran out of yarn. He loved to snack on jelly babies. While The 3erd Doctor was trapped on earth it was time for our hero to return to The TARDIS with his new beloved companion Sarah Jane Smith Played by Elizabeth Sladen only The Doctor called her Sarah and became the longest running and favorite companion and was his best friend (she would return years later). When Sarah Jane Smith did leave The 4th Doctor found Leela, a lone cloth wearing savage female warrior from another world. Leela was the student to The Doctor's teacher. We also got to meet K-9 The Doctor's robotic smart cute dog who in return called him master. In rehearsal the actor who voiced K-9 would be on set instead of the robot and this allowed Tom Baker to make the relationship between Man and robot realistic. The fourth Doctor's monsters included The Zygons who were shape shifters and kept The Loch Ness Monster as their pet and the sinister Davros who made and was the "father" of The Daleks after the Time War. Although the 4th Doctor went up against Davros and The Daleks he showed them mercy and did not destroy them when he had the chance letting them live to fight another day unbeknown to him at the time.

In 1981 The Doctor once again had to regenerate. For the next three years ('81-'84) he was portrayed by Peter Davison. The show had been on for many years now and as the 5th Doctor Davison was the first to play the role who actual got to watch the series as a kid. The actor was young and good looking, had a fresh face and lovable. The 5th Doctor was kind, had a huge heart, very emotional and more engaged with the world around him. Inside his never ending closet he decided on an outfit that was cricket uniform inspired and added a stick of celery in the lapel for a unknown reason. This Doctor had the most companions with him making it crowded in The TARDIS. At the same time there was Nyssa, whose home planet was lost because of The Master. Tegan from the 1980s and was a power dressing career obsess airplane hostess and always trying to get home. Then there was Adric a teenage boy who was good at math and in every right The Doctor's equal, although The Doctor would be the last to admit so. Spoiler alert-Adric was the first and only companion to die onscreen, at least it was a heroic death and he was saving Earth at the time and with no Internet to spoiler the surprise it was shocking to those watching. Those awful cybermen returned with a new design more frightening then the last time we saw them.

In 1984 Colin Baker regenerated into Doctor #6 and stayed in the role until 1986. This new Doctor was unpredictable, a showoff and had to be the center of things and did not care what you thought of him. In this era Doctor wore a long colorful patched coat. To remind the audience of  what/who he was The 6th Doctor was a true terrifying yet still heroic alien. His first companion was an American who stood up to The Doctor named Peri. This lead to many arguments between the two travelers. Her body was taken over by another creature allowing the creature to live, unknown if Peri was still alive inside. Mel was next in line to follow The Doctor with no questions asked, again this was the 80s and everyone was into fitness so of course she was an instructor with a positive personality. This was also the regeneration in which viewers met the alien species called The Sontarans  who can only be killed by hitting a certain spot on the back of their neck. There was also Sil, a slug like creature with a large laugh who portrayed big business, disliked by many in the mid-80s. The 6th Doctor had a strong belief in justice and fighting for what was right. Plus he fixed The TARDIS chameleon cloaking device and instead of a police box it turned into a music organ for a episode.

From 1987-1989 it was Sylvester McCoy's turn to portray The Doctor (The years I believe I would have become a fan had I grown up in the U.K.). The 7th Doctor had more layers of who he was in previous incarnations and put the WHO in Doctor Who. Although The 7th Doctor was a clown who made music with spoons, could do magic and mocked his villains he also had levels of emotions that showed real sadness and loneliness. Sometimes companions of The Doctor overlap and The 6th Doctor's assistant Mel, was still with him when he regenerated. When she did exit The TARDIS, Ace, a feisty, troubled, and tomboy teen of the 80s joined him. As she traveled with number 7 she became more mature and proved to be very useful to a man that doesn't believe in violence. Ace provided the muscle and had a backpack full of explosives. She even used a baseball bat to fight off a Dalek, how cool is that?! Yes the Daleks came back but this Doctor also had Rani, a mysterious master of disguise who wanted to rule the world!

The show ended in 1989 a was thought to be over. Seven years past with no new Doctor Who episodes. Then in 1996 just when viewers had forgotten about or never thought the show would return there came a "reset" in the form of an American/BBC made for TV movie. In the opening scenes of the movie the show started where it ended with a little older but still inside The TARDIS 7th Doctor. When he exited the TARDIS he was quickly shot by a San Francisco street gang on the night before New Years Eve 1999. One of the gang's member was Chang Lee and he tried to help by calling an ambulance and goes with him to the hospital. At the hospital The Doctor is quickly taken into surgery and ends up dying on the operating table when the surgeon Grace Holloway didn't believe in the x-ray and only operated on one of his hearts (did I mention Time Lords have 2 hearts?). Unknown to the staff  of the hospital The Doctor regenerates and wakes up in the morgue as the new 8th Doctor portrayed by Paul McGann. In my opinion it is a shame he was only seen as The Doctor in this movie because I liked his take on the character and would have liked to see more (Check out The 50th anniversary prequel on line to see a little more of his Doctor). Back to the story, as The Doctor regenerated so does The Master (Played by Eric Roberts) who has used up his lives and has found a way to take over the ambulance drivers body. When the 8th Doctor wakes up he finds new clothes in the staff lockers, a puffy shirt and velvet green coat that was going to be a Wild Bill Hickok party costume. Because of his dramatic regeneration he does not remember everything about himself and tracks down the doctor who preformed his surgery to help. He convinces Grace to help and with one kiss remembered that The Master was in town and the two worked together to find him. This is when Chang Lee re-enters the story and The Master has convinced him that The Doctor is the evil Time Lord and stole his body. The four characters end up in The TARDIS and well I don't want to give away the ending so let's move on...

(Doctor #8 and 1/2 The warrior doctor protryed by John Hurt. Appearing at the end of one episode, online and in the 50th celebration this Doctor had the ultimate desion to make-Should he destroy Gallifrey to save the universe or let the Time Lords and Daleks keep fighting? He steals the only weapon left in the Time Lords arsenal known as The Moment and with his TARDIS says "No More" and goes to a desert to use it. When The Moment developes a conscience she looks like Rose Taylor and calls herself bad Wolf and takes The Doctor on a journey of his own to see who he will become. What happens net whould be Spoliers. Side note David Tennant and Matt Smith are really cute together (The day of The Doctor, 50th annvasry 2013)

Nine years would come and go before we would enter a new century when in 2005 (I call it The Bad Wolf season) Doctor Who would finally and to much joy to Whovians, a new generation and ME return as a series. The man who re-created The Doctor was Russell T Davies and the man who would portray him for a year would be Christopher Eccleston. We don't and may never know when The Doctor regenerated but this doctor was born out of conflict and guilt and a loner. With his TARDIS, Psychic paper, that could say anything he wanted as long as the one reading believed and a sonic screwdriver. a device that can do almost anything you want from opening a door to diagnosing illness. The 9th Doctor was a 21st century alien wearing jeans, a black or green T-shirt and leather coat. He was in the center of all the action but stayed calm and cool.  He was direct and violence was the last resort. He suddenly appears into Rose Tyler's (played by Billie Piper) life at her place of work, The Doctor may have underestimate this emotion filled girl who work at a store but when he took her by the hand and ran she went right along. They were together for one season but while Rose was excited to travel with The Doctor her boyfriend a mechanic named Mickey Smith (Noel Clarke) and mother, Jackie were a little less enthusiastic and didn't trust The Doctor. They worried about Rose and had no idea where the two went or what they did. This new updated show brought back a newer Dalek that was a copper color and could fly. The 9th Doctor took Rose to worlds unknown, she saw her own world in the past and future, Rose experienced WWII during The London Blitz where they and viewers met the wonderful Captain Jack Harkness (played by the awesome John Barrowman).They went up against the Slitheen from the planet Raxacoricofallapatorius.  After only 13 episode Captain Jack, Rose and the 9th Doctor found themselves fighting Daleks in the future and with one final "Fantastic" Eccleston's
time as The Doctor was up. He saved Rose one last time and right before her and our eyes he regenerated (first regeneration for me and I was more then a little shocked). The 10th Doctor came to be.

Remember when I said the 4th Doctor (Tom Baker) was the most beloved by fans well that all changed when David Tennant took over the role from 2006-2010 ( I call his seasons Torchwood/Harry Saxon and Rose returns). The 10th Doctor could hit you in the funny bone and tear at your heart strings all in the same episode. He was a best friend and the guy you could take home to your mom but every once in a while his dark side would show and you might not want to get in his way when it did (while he was regenerating he had to fight The Sycorax in his jammies with a sword and lost an hand) He loved showing his companions the wonders of the universe. (Although he was The Doctor for only 4 years he left a place in most Whovians hearts that never healed) Rose stayed with him for a season but when the cybermen ( more sophisticated then the last time we saw them in the 80s, now they were humans that were turned or "deleted" when The Doctor learned this he was devastated "I'm sorry I'm so sorry") returned to our world meaner then ever and fighting against The Daleks she with her mother and Mickey were left behind on a parallel world. The next season The Doctor still wearing his long brown hero coat, blue or brown pin-striped suit and converse high tops found himself on a case in a hospital. It was there were he met med student Martha Jones (played by Freema Agyeman)! The hospital was transported to the moon and The 10th Doctor and Martha were on their first case. Martha stuck with The Doctor for one season before returning to her life with her parents, brother and Tish her sister but during her time with him she got to meet William Shakespeare and for the first time viewers were introduced in the episode entitled Blink to a new scary monster The Weeping Angels, statues that moved and attacked when you weren't watching. There is the episode Human Nature where The Doctor became human and Captain Jack Harkness return to help defeat the new The Master played by John Simm. When Martha Jones developed feelings, more then friendship towards The 10th Doctor (and who could blame her) she knew it was time to leave, entered The TARDIS one more time and said goodbye. The Doctor traveled alone for a Christmas episode and got to yell "Alons'y Alonzo", something he always wanted to say. With a new season came a new companion in the form of spunky red head Donna Noble (Catherine Tate) and she quickly became a good friend. In their first episode they had to just "let the fat (adipose) walk away". It was The 10th Doctor that met the mysterious Professor River Song (Alex Kingston) for the first time. At the end of the season Donna's time was running short when she The Doctor, Captain Jack with Torchwood, Martha Jones, Sarah Jane Smith and Rose with Jackie and Mickey defeated the return of Davros!  Donna was returned to her mother Sylvia and her amateur star gazer grandfather Wilf. Afterword The 10th Doctor traveled alone for five final episodes then after a final fight with The Master and with four knocks and sadness in his voice and eyes he regenerated and we cried.

  A year later (2011) Steven Moffat takes over as head writer, you could say we get more scarier episodes and enter Matt Smith as Doctor number 11! this new Doctor is clever, brave, funny, physical and even a little clumsy. It s mind over matter in his new adventures. You could call him a sexy geek who acts cooler then he is. He was still in the middle of regeneration when he and The TARDIS crushed landed into the back yard of a lonely little girl named Amelia Pond (Karen Gillan). After a snack of fish fingers and custard The Doctor wasn't finished regenerating and took The TARDIS also changing now with a library and pool, told Amelia that he world return in 5 minutes to help her with the crack in her wall. 12 years later Amelia has grown and goes by Amy. She is angry at The Doctor for leaving her for so long especially because no one in her small town believed her not even the boy next door/her fiancee Rory Williams (Arthur Darvill).  The three work together to catch prisoner 0 and The Doctor finds new clothes that include a tweed jacket and a bow tie because "Bow ties are cool" an outfit that has hi looking like a college professor. Amy and The 11th Doctor quickly become best friends. From meeting Vincent Van Gogh to Rory proving his worth to The Doctor and Amy waiting 1000 years to save them as The Pandorica opens, to fighting pirates and finding Dinosaurs on a Spaceship, The 11th Doctor, Amy Pond and Rory did it all. This Doctor runs into The Weeping Angels, who can take you through time a few times and we meet the terrifying The Silent/lance who hate humanity and are out to get humans to kill each other through the TV airways as we forget when not looking at them and to remember draws a mark or more on their body. Then there was Madame Kovarian, the evil woman who stole River Song at birth and turned her against The Doctor. We the faithful fans finally got to find out who Professor River Song really is!? For the first time the series filmed in The U.S.A making this American happy. Sadly The Ponds also had to leave The 11th Doctor and again he was alone and in a deep depression. That is into Clara Oswald (Jenna-Louise Coleman) the impassible girl comes into his life. Turns out The Doctor has known Clara from his past she was a human turned into a Dalek in the future and a Victorian Nanny in the past, where when The Doctor met her he was being taken care of and helped by Strax, Jenny and Vastra.
Clara is still a nanny when he meets her in modern day London. They have already traveled to many worlds and faced the cybermen yet again.  The Doctor is over 1000 years old (An old man in a young mans body) and they are still together, for now.

The 12th Doctor will be portrayed by Peter Capaldi and will appear on Christmas day so the story of The Doctor shall continue...

Once you have admitted to yourself and others that you are a Whovian you are asked two questions 1) Who was your first Doctor? and 2) Which is your favorite Doctor?
For me the first question is the easiest to answer so I will start there-I was sitting on the couch flipping through the channels looking for something to watch, I had read about Doctor Who returning and thought I would give it a try but honestly forgot when it was airing in the U.S., lucky for me that day I came across the Sci-Fi network. I watch as a strange looking man, The 9th Doctor and a young blond woman, Rose where running. Why and where they were running to I had no idea, what they were running from, no idea the one thing I did know was that I liked what I was seeing and have not stopped. By the end of the first season I was a true fan. You know you are a Whovian when  you are so into the show that you feel real emotions for the characters. I realized this when I was sitting alone in the dark watching the episodes with the titles, The Empty Child and The Doctor Dances there is a character, a young boy wearing a gas mask during the London blitz. The boy can call any phone (including the one in The TARDIS that doesn't work) and throughout these episodes he is always asking "Are you my mummy?" who knew that such a simple question could be so creepy? Fear is only one emotion I feel while watching this show. Ask any Whovian and most will tell you that the first time we meet The Weeping Angels in Blink is the scariest moment in Doctor Who history. When I am not hiding under the covers I have tears coming down my eyes. I cried like many fans did when the 10th Doctor regenerated but the episode that always gets me crying is when the 11th Doctor and Amy meet Van Gogh in the episode Vincent and the Doctor. The artist was a sad and tragic man and could tell that Amy was sad even if she didn't know why even the monster the three come across felt sadness. I realized while watching this episode that I was a fan of Van Gogh and learned to love him and his art even more, especially the Sunflowers. There are many episodes that I can refer to to show the power of emotion while watching a good TV series but this blog is already long but whatever mood I am in I watch an episode of Doctor Who and end up feeling better about life and the universe all around us. By the end of one episode you are crying like a baby but then another one airs and you are laughing with the biggest smile on your face :) As for question #2 I don't really have a favorite Doctor it's weird to admit this but I don't see the actor playing a role I only see The Doctor. I swear when watching a classic episode the 7th Doctor says something that I promise you was said by the 9th Doctor. The different faces of The Doctor even seem to have the same movements and facial expressions.

In conclusion-I LOVE DOCTOR WHO! I love the show because it is everything I have ever wanted in a TV series. It is about an alien so you think it is another silly sci-fi cult show like Star Trek, Firefly, or Battlestar Galactica and it is that but has so much more. For 50 years it has bean full of action and adventure, horror, comedy and drama, love lost and found, true friendships and lessons learned, new worlds and past times with monsters, aliens, humans and creatures of all kinds. The Doctor is the only fictional character that I have come across (including in books, film, TV and plays) that I wish was real and I daydream of the day when The TARDIS appears in my backyard and The Doctor asks me to join him and I go like the companions before me and the only question being where and when do I want to go? (answer-Gettysburg Penn, Nov. 19 1963) then I open my eyes and remember how uneventful my life really is. I love the series because the writers write anything they want like New New New York City and the planet of The Ood and their stories feel true. Every actor that has portrayed The Doctor and everyone that has played a companion put their own twist on the show and makes watching each episode better then the previous. Doctor Who is a wonderful and amazing TV show that has something for anyone and everyone. In 1962 Doctor Who was "created" by BBC network head of drama programming Mr. Sydney Newman, Producer Verity Lambert and director Waris Hussein, Russell T Davies for bring it back and Steven Moffat for continuing the half century story,
I am sure there is more I could say about Doctor Who but in the end all I can think to say is I spent 20 years of my life watching and searching for the best TV show ever, who knew that it would be the one series that was A)  Foreign/British B) Sci-fi with a spaceship and C) on for 50 years (18 before I was even born)

Now after 7 seasons who knows how much time/episodes the show has left but for the rest of my life I would give up the 40 hours of television I watch each week if in exchange I got one new episode per month of Doctor Who.

The Doctors revisited 1-10 on BBC America

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Crystal Fairy and the Magical Cactus film

Every year there are thousands of film festivals all over the world. I went to a small one when I graduated from college 10 years ago and had a good time meeting and talking with fellow filmmakers. At these festivals small movies that may never been shown in theaters are watched and enjoyed by a selected few who are lucky enough to get a ticket. Last year a film with a odd title made the film festival tour including Sundance called Crystal Fairy and the Magical Cactus.

Written and directed by Sebastian Silva and starring Michael Cera, Gaby Hoffmann and a quartet of unknown actors which include Silva and his brother the story takes place over a course of a few days in Chile. The movie opens as Jamie (Cera) and Champa played by Juan Andres Silva are at a party where they meet Cystal Fairy (Hoffmann). Although he is high at the time and doesn't remember the next day Jamie ends up inviting her on their quest to find the famous San Pedro cactus. The six characters share a van as they drive onward going to house to house asking to purchase the owners cactus, when Jamie gets his hands on one they take it to a beautiful beach and it turns out this particular plant is a amazingly good drug. For an actor who mostly plays fun loving roles Cera as Jamie is a real jerk! He is annoyed by Cystal and her look at life for most of the film so when they tell stories around the camp fire he laughs at her but the brothers are sweet and a real joy to watch even if I have to read subtitles to understand them. Once their camp is set, Jamie cooks the cactus as the rest just have fun. When the gang finally drinks the San Pedro, Crystal goes off to do her own thing as the boys stay on the beach.

Cystal Fairy and the Magical cactus is a strange little tale but nice to look at and fun to watch. What I liked the most about this charming movie is although there was a script most of the time it felt as if I had jut joined a real journey with real people and real conversations. Give a unseen and little known film a chance and look for Crystal Fairy and the Magical Cactus.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Prisoners #1 film weekend of Sept 20-22 2013

How do you write about a film that is a puzzle within a maze in a mysterious drama?

You start where the movie starts. There are two families who live on the same street who come together to celebrate Thanksgiving When the youngest daughter of each family disappears ALL of their lives begin to spiral out of control. The wonderful cast that makes up Prisoners includes Jake Gyllenhaal (who and I would be lying to you and myself if I didn't admit this was the main reason I wanted to see this flick). But there is so much more to this intriguing film.

The amazing Hugh Jackman plays Keller Dover a carpenter and a father who teaches his son to hunt, gives his daughter a whistle to use in case of emergencies and has a basement full of canned food just in case. Jake Gyllenhaal plays Detective Loki and is the first to get the call that the girls are missing and makes it his personal mission to find them before it is too late. As Locki goes by the book, for the most part, to question each suspect, Dover deals with one suspect, a grown man with the IQ of a 10 year old played by Paul Dano, in his own "special" way. In fact each of the characters deal with the girls disappearance in their individual way, Maria Bello who plays Jackman's wife completely shuts down and Franklin, friend and father to the other missing girl played by the superb Terrence Howard may know what his friend is up to with the suspect but keeps it to himself at least until his wife Nancy played by the wonderful Viola Davis asks. A unrecognizable Melissa Leo also stars.

Director Denis Villeneuve and Cinematographer Roger Deakins shoot each frame with such love and perfection that one feels like they are in Pennsylvania on a cold Thanksgiving week. Prisoners is a tense and suspenseful game of cat and mouse, a thriller with twists at every new turn around each corner. Screenwriter Aaron Guzikowski story will have the viewer on the edge of their seat as Hugh Jackman leaves Wolverine way way behind. If there is one thing I learned from this well made film is that you really never know who is living in your suburban neighborhood and some of them are really creepy. As hard as it was to watch, once, I will have to see Prisoners again partly for the good film that it is and partly because I know there were clues that I missed the first time.

P.S. If you are a parent with small children whom I'm sure you love you may want to skip this one or risk  staying up all night in his or her room to watch as they sleep and hopefully stay safe.

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Neighbors-Watch now!

An family of 4 just trying to make it through this thing we call life, with a twist, is how I would begin to describe this quirky sitcom. This family is from another planet and choose their names from some of earth's popular sports figures. They along with others of their kind live in a gated community and were quite happy and unknown to the outside world, that is until a human family moved in next door.

 When I first read about The Neighbors I thought it sounded like a horrible idea and that it would only last a week and quickly be forgotten, boy was I pleasantly surprised be the time the first episode had ended.

As these two families come to learn from one anther they begin to like each other. It is a joy to watch this talented cast and every moment between the unusual characters is perfect.

This show is fun and fascinating and I find myself laughing, unexpectedly at/with each episode. As the only new sitcom that survived last season to return for this one I strongly suggest those who haven't to tune in just in case it disappears from this planet forever.

The Neighbors on Fridays at 8:30 on ABC!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

A Goodbye to Burn Notice

"When you're burned, you've got nothing: no cash, no credit, no job history...."

   When Burn Notice premiered on The USA Network in  2007 I tuned in to see my favorite “B” list actor Bruce Campbell (Whom I fell in love with while watching the short lived but brilliant The Adventures of Brisco County Jr.) and as the season progressed I became a fan.

Burn Notice, you were a TV series about ex-CIA Agent Michael Westen played perfectly by Jeffrey Donovan. With former Navy Seal and  best friend Sam Axe (Campbell) and ex-IRA member and girlfriend Fiona “Fi” Glenanne  played by the wonderful and lovely Gabrielle Anwar ( I 1st saw her as Queen Anne in The Three Musketeers with Chris O’Donnell in 1993) and every once in a while his mom, Madeline played by Sharon Gless 

   For 7 seasons the three lived and worked in Miami.  Each week they would come to help those who needed their “special” kind of help.  Whether it was a single mom trying to find her kidnapped son, a dangerous old foe trying to get his hands on chemical weapons or the U.S. government doing whatever they could to stop him, Michael and his "gang" (later joined by fellow burned CIA guy Jesse played by Colby Bell) always got their man or woman.

Michael was the brains as his voice over told the viewer how to make it through a high speed car chase without much destruction or open a safe, usually using only what was on your person (Paper clip and shoe string anyone :)?) 
Fi was the explosives expect. You have to love a girl who knows her bombs!
Sam or is it Chuck Finley was always there to lend a hand, 
Mom Maddie was the heart, always worried about her son never knowing what he was doing but supported him and Fi along the way,
By the time Jesse joined the series it went from a weekly procedural to a three year long story arc that cleared Michael of his burn notice but then things with his old boss and career really got complicated.
In then end you helped make the USA Network a place for prime time TV and were one of the most entertaining shows of the decade.
Goodbye to the cast and crew of Burn Notice maybe a spin-off starring "Chuck Finley" would make losing you less hurtful (A girl can dream). 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Nothing to do flick pick-Beasts of the Southern Wild

         Sometimes a film comes along that you didn’t catch in theaters but gets all of the industry nominations so you know it is good and you have to watch it. When you do finally have the time to sit and watch it on some lazy day when you have nothing else to do you never know what to expect. With 4 oscar nomination earlier this year, including best movie and actress (youngest ever.) I knew Beasts of the Southern Wild was going to be a treat. I didn’t know it would be such a delicious treat with many layers and a satisfying end.

Directed by newcomer Benh Zeitlin and written by him and Lucy Alibar based on her play. This beautiful film takes place in a part of this country that I never knew about but won't forget, The Bathtub a Louisiana Bayou.  The story centers around a father played by  Dwight Henry and his 6 year old daughter played by newcomer Quvenzhane Wallis who live in this small community where everyone knows one another and they all look after each other especially when a major storm hits their tiny piece of the country and are cut off from the rest of humanity. But let me get back to the father called Wink and his young daughter Hushpuppy who is also the storyteller. At first they didn’t seem to get along, as I watched I felt like she was someone the father wanted nothing to do with. I was proven wrong as the film went on. All the father really wanted for his daughter was that she survived. He taught her everything he could in order to do this, including a cute little scene where he is teaching her to fish by placing her hand into the water and wait for a fish to come to her then grab and “punch it”. When the storm hits the two take shelter in their small roughly put together home. Father and daughter survive along with others in the town including the female owner of a bar, two elderly men and a teacher looking after three orphans. They live and celebrate life together within the bar as they wait for the levees to open allowing the water to go down so they can walk on land once again.

Every year I watch The Oscars and every year I hear those who are say “it’s just an honor to be nominated “ which can be hard to believe them but every once in a while a film comes along that just being nominated is TRULY a honor. I say Beasts of the Southern Wild is one of those films. It is beautiful to watch, a roller coaster of emotion from beginning to end and I have not been able to stop thinking about it. The story is not what I expected, in a good way, and the entire (small) cast is amazing. In the end there was a great lesson to be learned a lesson about knowing who you are and finding your place in this large world.  

If you haven’t seen this passionate little film find a copy and watch Beasts of the Southern Wild

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


Ian Ziering
Tara Reid
Sharks swimming in the streets of L.A.
One climbing up a rope.

Enough Said.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Rise of the Guardians--on DVD and HBO

Critics have to watch and review every movie that is shown in theaters, even the kid ones. This can be difficult for an adult to have to sit through so many films (live action and animated) with their silly jokes and odd characters but once in a while an animated movie comes along that even the parents can enjoy. In the case of last year’s Rise of the Guardians. You know how there are certain films that when they open you want to see them but at the same time you do not want to pay the 10 or 20 dollars and gas money to see it? So you decide “I’ll wait till it comes out on DVD or cable” well I waited for this one and it was worth it.
This fun flick tells the ultimate story of good vs. evil! It is a story about a sprit named Jack Frost (yes the one that nips at your nose in the coldness of winter) voiced by Chris Pine. At the beginning Jack spends his time with kids as he makes the snow that allows them to get a day off from school. Back at The North Pole Santa Claus (voiced by Alec Baldwin) gets ready for Christmas and in other magical lands the Easter Bunny (voiced by Hugh Jackman) prepares for the coming holiday and the Tooth Fairy (voiced by Isla Fisher) sends her baby teeth fairies off to collect all the teeth from under each child’s pillow. Then everything changes when Pitch Dark (voiced by Jude Law) comes into the picture. Pitch is determined to destroy the Guardians and make all of the children of the earth afraid and to stop believing in them. He turns their sweat dreams that the sandman gives them every night into nightmares. It all falls into Jack’s hands to join the Guardians and defeat the mischievous Pitch.  Can Jack and the gang take on Pitch? Will he join them as a fellow guardian? Will the children believe in them again? Will Jack remember who he was?
I really liked the story and a week after watching am able to recall it to write about it. The animation is as good as any other film now and days, including the beautiful details of Jack’s frosted windows. The characters were funny, sweet (for the most part the Easter Bunny had some attitude) and loved their jobs. The Tooth Fairy was very colorful and lovely to look at. The characters was as different as the actors who voiced them and in the end I believed in each one. So if you missed this one in theaters check it out and I hope you enjoy Rise of the Guardians as much as I did.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Some good thoughts on The Lone Ranger movie...

Do you like westerns? Do you like trains? Do you like Johnny Depp? Then I have a movie for you!

The Lone Ranger-Yes it is predictable and silly but it is fun and we all need some fun in our lives once in a while. The film tells the story of why and how a wannabe small town lawyer became The Lone Ranger played by I like him more every time I see him Armie Hammer. When John Reid returns to his hometown bad guy Butch Cavendish played brilliantly by William Fichtner escapes custody and it is up to him and his brother (James Badge Dale) to track him down to face the music. When tragedy hits his family John has to find Butch on his own, while maybe not ALL on his own, enter Tonto played by the always great Johnny Depp. Once the two team up the real action begins.

This movie has all the basics of a western- the bad guy, the good guy (in a white hat) the "side kick", the possible love interest (Ruth Wilson) and the horse. The horse in this case being the best part of the film and what he has to do (or seems to do) to help The Lone Ranger and Tonto is beyond amazing and sweat. At first the two man do not get along in fact Tonto believes that John's brother was the better person and law man but eventually they learn to trust each other and work together to get Butch and fixed each of theirs past.

The movie is about friendship and family. It has funny lines and parts and sad ones. It has comedy and some amazing stunts ( including two awesome train sequences/chases)  to move along all the action and adventure. If for no other reason one should see the movie for the beautiful scenery as the film shot all over the south west (Utah, Colorado and California). With the help of his long time make-up artist Depp once again invents a wonderful and crazy but perfect character (along with Edward Scissorhands, The Mad Hatter and Captain Jack Sparrow). Helena Bonham Carter has a small but excellent role.

Do they get the bad guy? Does The Lone Ranger get the girl? And why does he where a mask?
To find out check out this popcorn summertime flick and go see The Lone Ranger!

Hi Ho Silver Away!

Monday, July 1, 2013

A Rememberance Essay on The Battle of Gettysburg 1863-2013...

     150 years ago today 2 armies (Union at 93,921 and Confederate at 71,699) from 1 country came face to face in a small town in Pennsylvania named Gettysburg. When I was in 8th grade I sat in a social studies class and one of the main history lessons I learned that year was on The American Civil War. The North vs. The South, The Blue and The Gray. In that same year a movie with the same name as the town was released into theaters and my entire class got to go see it. If you know me or have read anything I have written here then you know that I would much rather spend the day in a dark theater then a brightly lit classroom, especially if it was math class. The film is over four hours long and by the time the lights had turned on I had forgotten I was on a school trip. Later that same school year we went on another field trip...

Many years have passed and the film, the town and the events that took place there still have a special piece of my heart.

     The movie Gettysburg was written and directed by Ronald F. Maxwell and is based on a book called The Killer Angels written by Michael Shaara, which I recently re read (Gods and Generals a prequel was written by his son Jeff Shaara years later). It is a story about what happened those first three hot summer days in July of 1863. A story of the men who met and fought for what they believed in. Two sides with completely different viewpoints and ideas on how one still young ("Four score and seven years") country should be run. Throughout The Civil War many Generals were in charge/command of the Union Army of the Potomac, including McClellan, Hooker and Grant at Gettysburg it was Major General George Gordon Meade (portrayed in the film by Richard Anderson) in charge. It was the farthest north The Civil War would end up.

     In the film we meet General Robert E. Lee portrayed by the great Martin Sheen. Before Lee became the commander of the Confederate Forces he was a young Virginian man who attended West Point. He was a superb student and ranked 2ed in his graduating class. Lee would first meet his future Union Commander rival during The Mexican-American War where he and Grant fought together during a march from Vera Cruz to Mexico City.  Lee was Lincoln's first choice as commander of the army prior to the Civil War but when Virginia seceded Lee resigned in order to command The Virginia Forces. Three years into the war Lee would invade the north for a second time this time at Gettysburg. It was there where General Lee and Lt.General James Longstreet portrayed by Tom Berenger, who had become Lee's right hand man after Stonewall Jackson died, would decide the fate of their army. Although Longstreet disagreed with Lee about fighting on this particular ground they set up camp and prepared for the coming unknown.

     Like Lee and Longstreet many partnerships and even friendships are forged from war. Then there are the ones torn apart by the same war. There is a saying that the Civil War pitted brother against brother, that may or may not be true but many of the man who fought did know someone on the other side. For example and most famous may be the story of General Lewis Armistead, southerner portrayed by Richard Jordan and General Winfield Scott Hancock, northerner portrayed by Brian Mallon. The last time the two saw each other they were having a good time with their wives and trying to avoid talking up the up coming war. It was at Gettysburg where they would face each other again, guns pointed at one another. They were both wounded during the battle, Armistead died from his.
My favorite line in the movie is when Armistead is found on the battlefield by a union soldier and as he lays there possibly dying he asks the soldier about Hancock and when he is told that Hancock too has been wounded Armistead responds "No! Not both of us! Not all of us! Please God!"

 One of the MANY monuments on the large battlefield

     Then there was General George Pickett portrayed by Stephen Lang (Who also portrayed Stonewall Jackson 10 yrs later in Gods and Generals and as Jackson cries when a young girl whom he meets at a fellow soldiers home dies of illness a soldier responds "I think he cries for them all."),
     Although Pickett was a popular student with his fellow cadets during his time at West Point he wasn't the best when it came to his studies and upon graduating was last in his class (not that General Grant did much better). Pickett went on to rise through the military ranks during the previous stated Mexican-American War. When the Civil War began he like any other native son, served on the side of Virginia. By now he was a major in the Confederate States Army and continued to move up through the ranks. During the first two years of the war he saw his share of battles but was wounded badly enough that he could not fight for three months. When Pickett returned he was given a new command under Longstreet and saw little combat before Gettysburg. His division got to the town on the second day of the battle and on the third/final day was part of a major offensive tactic. Most of the commanders and soldiers under him died in what is now known as Pickett's Charge!

     Another man involved in the battle and appears prominently in the book and movie is Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain. First I have to say if you went up to any random person on the street and asked them-What their favorite Jeff Daniels role is 99% will say is character from Dumb and Dumber. Then there is my answer-The wonderful and talented Jeff Daniels is at his best as Col. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain in Gettysburg! When he portrayed this real life man I fell in love, with the actor and the "character" and I wanted to learn more about him.
     Born in Brewer Maine in 1828 and the eldest of five children (two brothers also joined the war effort) Chamberlain went on to graduate from Bowdain College and in a few more years would go on to be a professor of Rhetoric there. With the outbreak or war he felt the need to serve and got permission to leave his day job. The Governor then appointed him as Lt Col. of the newly raised 20th Maine Regiment. As seen in an excellent scene from the film Gods and Generals(Still portrayed by Daniels), Chamberlain and his men fought at The Battle of Fredericksburg where he used bodies of the dead to shield himself from the passing bullets in the field. Then after missing The Battle of Chancellorsville due to a smallpox outbreak in his regiment Chamberlain was promoted to Colonel by Col. Ames, his superior, who was also promoted and this allowed Chamberlain to be in complete control of the regiment as Gettysburg was approaching. Col. Chamberlain became famous because of his unwavering defense of Little Round Top on the 2ed day of the Battle at Gettysburg. He knew that he and his men had to hold the line and secure General Meade's embattled left side. Disputed by some but according to stories at the time when Chamberlain learn that the men had run low or completely out or ammunition he gave the command to "Ready Bayonets!". They had the higher ground and from a great scene in the movie Gettysburg we can watch as The 20th Maine were able to run down towards their enemy and pushed back the southern forces on that day. Col. Chamberlain was slightly wounded  twice during Gettysburg and afterwards given command of  a Brigade in the 5th Corps.
      By wars end he would be wounded four more time, one was thought to be mortal but he went on to the rank of Brigadier General and invited for an important role to receive the Confederate surrender of arms at the Appomattox Campaign, It was then that he ordered his men to salute their vanquished foes. Chamberlain then returned to Maine a hero and was elected as Governor for 4 one year terms, he won overwhelming by the largest percentage of votes at the time. In 1871 he went back to Bowdoin College this time not as a professor but as its President and stayed til 1883. In 1893, 30 years after The Battle of Gettysburg he received The Medal of Honor for "conspicuous gallantry".
In 1914 at the age of 85 Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain succumbed to and died of his old wartime wounds in Portland Maine and was buried where his house still stands in Brunswick, Maine.

And here's to some of the others who fought at Gettysburg-Buford, Reynolds, Hill, Heth, Stuart, Ewell, Early, Pettigrew, Hood and the rest.

  For a personal look-
          As a kid I would spend many summer days visiting with my grandparents at their house in the village of Sackets Harbor NY (Note: As a young military man Ulysses S Grant also spent some time in this small cute village). I believe it was there on those hot, lazy days where I learned the importance of and even came to love and appreciate historic battlefields. You see my grandparents lived just down the street from a War of 1812 battlefield and every time we went to "grandmother's house" my family would walk to the old battlefield. Along the field there is a stone wall and my sister and I would climb up onto it and walked on top being careful not to fall down the cliff into the mighty Lake Ontario below (It is illegal to do this today). Each year the battlefield would hold its own re-enactment, I don't know what it is about grown men in historically accurate uniforms pretending to kill each from opposite ends of a grassy field that made me smile I just know that I liked watching and to this day if I hear that there is a historic military (The Revolutionary and Civil Wars to either World War) encantment nearby I will go check it out. I know I will have a good time and might learn something new.
     Which brings me back to that movie theater. The film happened to be released the same school year that my school takes the 8th graders on a class field trip to Gettysburg. It was almost 20 years ago but I remember (most) of it as if the trip was yesterday,
     It was the first weekend of June (1st-3erd the year I went) I know this because my 14th birthday was on the 2ed and I got to spend it with my classmates and the chaperone's, who when they found out bought me a t-shirt as a present and yes I still have it. The boys stayed in a motel and the girls in some sort of youth hostel. I was forced to bunk with a teacher and a fellow student I barely knew. From what I recall the students got to spend a couple of hours walking around the town and the  friends I had at the time got one of those old time looking photos taken. Then we got together as a large group and took a tour of the historical Battlefield, from seeing Devils Den to climbing up Big or was it Little Round Top in order to get back to the bus. There was a retelling of The Gettysburg Address by President Lincoln himself and as we road (to and from) home there were fun stops along the way.  I had more freedom and better friends during my Senior trip to Disneyworld but Gettysburg was the best school trip I went on throughout the years.
     I have gone back a few times and enjoy each visit, which may sound like a strange thing to say about a battlefield. It is horrific and sad to stand where a young man died but it is also mystical, beautiful and humbling and as you stand there taking it all in you can only hope that they did not die "in vain" and that we 100 and 50 years later have not forgotten  "What we say here..." (or) "what they did here" "And that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall (has) not perish(ed) from the earth."

The Gettysburg Address-President Lincoln-November 19 1863

Dedicated to all those who fought and died (on both sides) including Lt Agustus Proeus of the 111th NY Infentry Hometown Sodus NY


My Hometown of Rochester NY Connection

Also on top of and holding on to Little Round Top

Me and my dad reading/studying the battle from the point of view of those who were there (2008)


Gettysburg, film,1993
The Killer Angels book, copyright 1974
Internet-Wikipedia, Pickett,George/Longstreet,James at el. and www.civilwar.org/education/history/biographies/joshua-lawrence-chamberlain.html



Thursday, June 13, 2013

The (2013) Summer TV Season

I remember when summer meant it was time to go outside and do things (Go to the beach or amusement park or play in the kiddie pool/sprinkler on those hot muggy days because well there was nothing but reruns on TV. About 6 years ago that all changed.

It was around the summer of 2006/2007 when cable networks decided they wanted season on airing there own scripted TV series. USA was really the first network to do so when it premiered Monk way back in 2002 and when it became a hit and in its 5th season the network added Psych in the time slot right after and we watched both and other networks would followed including the network that prided itself on not being TV, its HBO. Now HBO had already found success in scripted series like The Sopranos and Six Feet Under and when they went off the air the network in the fall of 2008 premiered True Blood and now my summer is filled with vampires, fairies and werewolves. Then TNT wanted to get in on the action and my TV watching summers began to fill up that we are to the point where there is almost to watch in the Summer then there was when the fall TV season started. Below it a list of what I watch

USA the network that came up with the tagline "Characters Welcome " has a show that defines their take on summer with Royal Pains about a doctor who every summer spends his time going to rich people's houses and giving them health care.
There you will also find Necessary Roughness, the final season and 100 episode of  Burn Notice, Covert Affairs, Suit  and my new favorite show Graceland, about a group a government agents who live and work in the same beach house.

Over on TNT there is season 2 of The Closer spinoff Major Crimes, Rizzoli and Isles, Franklin and Bash, New series King and Maxwell,season 2 of Perception and my favorite summer show season 3 of the US vs Aliens craziness of Falling Skies starring a personal favorite of mine the adorable Noah Wyle:)

SyFy has 2 new shows-Sinbad and Primeval:New World for those of you who have nothing to do on Saturday nights

TvLand has new episodes of the fun and funny Betty White in Hot in Cleveland, The EXes and The Soul Man,

BBC America has season 2 of Copper and the final season of Being Human, the 8 part mini series with 10th Doctor David Tennant and 11th Doctor companion Rory on Broadchurch

Devious Maids new to lifetime

ABC Family has a new season of Switched at birth and Pretty Little Liars, new shows Twisted and The Fosters 3 series that I don't watch

The Hallmark Channel which gives us cute TV movies premieres its 1rst series called Debbie Macomb's Cider Cove

FX has the human dog Winfred and TBS has the "very funny" Sullivan and Son

The 6th season of True Blood over on HBO along with the 2ed season of Aaron Sorkin's The Newsroom

I have never watched but Showtime has the final 8 episodes of Dexter

and finally on broadcast TV gives us a couple of new series I will check out called Crossing Lines on NBC, CBS gives us the Stephen King mini series Under the Dome and a new season of Unforgettable the CW is bringing back Whose Line is it Anyway? with the same cast.

As I said summer is a time to get out of your house and go on vacation but if you can't there is a a lot to watch during your staycation.

I am sure I forgot some. If any of these sound good to you check your local listings or ask and I will find the time for you. ENJOY.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Star Trek Into Darkness-Quick thoughts

Explosions and chases(spaceship and on foot) and fights(punching the villain or arguing with the boyfriend.)If these are what you enjoy in a movie then the new Star Trek film is summer popcorn flick you are looking for!

Star Trek Into Darkness is directors' J.J Abrams 2ed film in this franchise that has spanned two decades and just gets better. Full dis closer I'm not a Trekker/Trekkie but I have seen my share of episodes from the original and next generation series(I have a crush on Wesley Crusher) and enjoy each every time I tune in. That being said Abrams first film from 2009 was a nice re introduction and a chance for a new storyline and look to the original characters, as a younger Kirk, Spock, Scotty, Uhara, Sulu, Chekov and the rest of the crew attend Star fleet academy and go on their first mission. This time around Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Simon Pegg, Zoe Saldana, John Cho, Anton Yelchin and the rest of  the cast from the last film get themselves involved in a in a evil plot by a new villain played by Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock).

This dark yet fun story about a bad guy who blows up buildings and shoots at a room full of officers including Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock gets more intriguing as the viewer discovers a more sinister plot from the past and within the higharcy of star fleet. The movie is as fast pace as the Enterprise in
warp speed and worth the ticket price of 3D too see. Once again the 3D effects work as Abrams throw items through space at the characters and the audience. All of the actors once again look like and fit perfectly into their roles but Simon Pegg as Scotty steals to show. Every scene he is part of whether he is getting drunk in a bar or running down a long hallway of a spaceship allows us to laugh in between all the action. Although Kirk and Spock have their moments as well, one scene in particular is very sweet and touching.

If you haven't already seen this film Trekkie/Trekker or not Star Trek Into Darkness was worth the wait.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Goodbye to The Office 2005-2013

I know that if I had to work in a cubicle or at a desk in a office I would be miserable, but the cast of characters on the British turned American sitcom called The Office may have made the job bearable, if nothing else more fun and laughable.

So here is a final farewell to Jim and Pam as we watched them fall in love while they tormented the terrible Dwight who had an on again off again relationship with uptight Angela.
Speaking a couples who never knew if they were a couple here's to temp Ryan and Kelly Kapoor.
To Toby in HR who nobody liked and Darryl in charge of the warehouse.
To unknowing Kevin and sweet Phyllis, strange Meredith and odd Creed.
To Stanley and Oscar, Andy and Erin.
And newbies Clark and Nate
with Holly and Nellie
 and to Gabe, David Wallace and all the rest.
But there would have been no story to tell, no documentary to be made if it weren't for the the craziest boss to have had
Michael Scott you will always be missed but still in our hearts.

Goodbye to a series that gave us lots of love and laughs.
And Good Luck to a great crew and awesome cast!

Addition 5/24/13

 There a times when I need to prepare myself to watch a season or series finale and this was one of those times and a week later I finally got up the courage to watch the final episode of The Office.

I have to say it was one of the best series finales I have seen in a long time. It had everything it needed for this particular show to conclude on. Like with most sitcoms there was a wedding but unlike the others this wedding wasn't sappy or beautiful. The couple was unusual but throughout the series you knew they were perfect for each other and their wedding day was done in complete crazy Dwight Schrute style.

The episode as a whole was funny, sweet and fun. Old cast members (Steve Carell was wonderful even if he was only on for a moment) returned and mixed right in with the new.

Most importantly the story had and ending and questions were answered. Why was this "documentary" being made and how did it really affect its participants? The answers may surprise you:)

At the end of every series I cry but this one was different, I cried but for the first time I felt as if these characters were going to be okay, even though I would no longer be allowed into their lives.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Great Gatsby 2013 flim

Anyone who has been a high school student has read The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald and there have been many film versions of this classic novel since it was first published. The 1974 adaptation starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow was the one I watched after reading the book as a freshman. While it has been many years since then I admit that I don't remember everything about the plot but do recall the main themes and metaphors in relationship to the green light and "gods eyes" always watching.

Fitzgerald wrote a tale about a man named Jay Gatsby, this time played by a personal favorite of mine Leonardo DiCaprio, who is obsess over a woman named Daisy Buchanan, played by the talented Carey Mulligan and narrated by a novice who is new to the big city man named Nick Carraway played by the wonderful Tobey Maguire. Unfortunately Daisy is married to the rich and powerful Tom Buchanan (Joel Edgerton)  who himself is having a affair with Myrtle Wilson (Isla Fisher) who is also married to George the mechanic (Jason Clarke).

As I've said the story is taught and has been told over and over but I think that the idea of becoming someone else, as Gatsby did for Daisy, in order to escape who you were and become a new and hopefully improved version of oneself is timeless. I know there are times I imagine another, better life for myself.

In this new film director Baz Luhrmann sucks the viewer in and takes he or she into the excitement and glamour of the 1920s. Although he made this film 3D if you have every seen his past work like the amazing Moulin Rouge you already know that his movies do not need the extra special effect. The Great Gatsby is a roller coaster of a ride. The look of the film only adds to the story. From the colors on every detail of the time to the makeup, when I first saw Tom I thought he could have been a villain in a silent film from the era that the movie takes place, to the beautiful costumes, every dress worn by Daisy was just as glamorous as the next. The party scenes were large, shiny and fantastic, I would have loved to attend every one Gatsby threw. But not everything was sparkly and Luhrmann was able to show the difference between the lifestyle of the rich with their big houses and fast cars and the poor living in the dirty and run down industial part of the city. Nick's house was my favorite place and the scene when Gatsby and Daisy are reunited is a awkward moment between the two characters and it is well acted and very sweet. The unique soundtrack by rapper Jay-Z surprisingly works perfectly with the story. When it is used in the background it adds to the jazzy feeling of the times. Who knew rap and jazz were so similar?

All in all a fun and good film.

 I enjoyed and would watch The Great Gatsby again.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Ode To Pine Valley

I originally wrote this July 26 2001 and now that we are 2 weeks into All My Children 2.0 (watch on Hulu, Hulu Plus or iTunes) it was time to share.

Monica and Chandler got married, Richard Bay was shot, Darma and Greg's car flipped over and to top it all off the President announced he had MS, when another season was over I thought I would be lost then I remembered the one show I watch everyday at one o'clock. No matter what mood I am in glad, mad or sad the gang from Pine Valley always cheer me up. There are murders and scandals, love lost and love found and every once in a while something unexpected comes along. Although at times the plots makes me angry and I threaten to stop I still tune in the next day to see what transpires. Compared to prime time TV and all the rest All My Children is still the best. it is sexier then Sex and the City, deeper the Six Feet Under, smarter then Jeopardy and more real then reality TV. I watch (or tape) everyday just to see the characters stories unwrap. So whether someone is getting married or in jail it makes me feel better to know that my life could always be worse then theirs. That is why I watch each episode from beginning to end and even though it is just a TV show I consider it a friend.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

42 and The art of the baseball film

"Dad was a Yankees fan then so of course I rooted for Brooklyn. But in '58 the Dodgers moved away so we had to find other things to fight about"-Ray Kinsella in Field of Dreams 1989

Film audiences have had a love affair with baseball movies since the beginning, from Pride of the Yankees, The Natural and Bull Durham to The Bad News Bears and Major League we have watched them over and over from beginning to end until every line was memorized. To me baseball films just feel different then any other sports film, maybe it's because unlike other sports, like football or basketball every town and every city in the country has a baseball team (Little league,The office team, minor league or major league). I remember going to games during the summer as a young girl and although I may have not understood or even paid attention to the players (I may have even fallen asleep) I still enjoyed the whole experience, rooting for the home team, eating hot dogs and Cracker Jacks (For its 1,2,3 strikes your out) and when we watch all this on the big screen we are taken back to our own childhoods and for a moment in time an adult can be a kid again, 42 is no different.

 Beautifully directed and written by Brian Helgeland (A Knight's Tale, L.A. Confindental) the looks and sounds of the 1940s come alive in this new film. Based on the true story of how Jackie Robinson became the first African-American to join a major league team in the late 1940s when segregation was still the law of the land. The movie tells what happened when the President and GM of the Brooklyn Dodgers Branch Rickey, played by Harrison Ford had a new idea to make money, at the time those who worked closest to him like Harold Parrott (T.R. Knight) and his team manager Leo Durocher (Christopher Meloni) told him is was a bad idea and said that it wouldn't work and nobody will like it but Mr. Rickey tracked down Jackie Robinson, who was already a  ballplayer, played by Chadwick Boseman and hired him to play for The Montreal Royals and eventually The Brooklyn Dodgers.

The story itself is one of courage, love-for the game and his wife Rachel (Nicole Beharie) and what it took for these two men to make baseball better and even change and start a new chapter in this country's history. No one including his own teammates wanted Robinson to share the same field as them, let alone locker room and bus. He was ridiculed by everyone in the business including Phillies manager Ben Chapman (Alan Tudyk) and could not physically fight back knowing that it would ruin his or any other man of color chance to play in the big leagues. With him, besides his devoted and loving wife was African American reporter Wendell Smith (Andre Holland) whose job it was was to keep Robinson safe while writing his story. Within the drama there were a few silly, laughable scenes like whenever Robinson was getting ready to steal a base and the private moments between Jackie and Rachel or one on one with a teammate or Rickey were priceless. The acting is superb as Ford and the rest of the cast become these real life people and not just characters.

In conclusion from what I saw at 10:30am on a Sunday morning is that this is a film where a grandfather can take his grandson and watch and learn something together. It is a film like other baseball movies where you find yourself rooting for the lead, in this case although you know what happens you are still sitting there in your seat right along with Jackie Robinson hoping that he makes it through ,day after day, game after game proving to himself, those around him and the spectators that this is where he belongs. There may be "no crying in baseball" but there was plenty of crying and applause in a more crowded then usual theater on the day I saw 42.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Book of Mormon! A silly,rude and great musical

When I was a teen I watched South Park for 2 reasons-To understand what the boy I had a crush on was talking about and because it really was and still may be one the most "creative" series on TV. Then when I heard that its creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker were going to have a musical on Broadway I wanted to go to NYC and see it as soon as possible! Of course I couldn't afford the trip and the tickets became sold out months in advance but I still knew I had to see it. Fast forward two years later and after it won 9 Tonys including best new musical, the show is on tour and comes to my hometown:)!

The Book of Mormon book, music and lyrics by Stone, Parker and Robert Lopez is a story about two young Mormons sent out and on the first mission trip to a small village in Uganda, Africa. Elder Price played in this tour by Mark Evans has been studying for this chance all of his life, he is smart, excited and is looked up to by his fellow missionaries all of whom want to be paired with him (Two By Two). The lucky one picked is Elder Cunningham played here by Christopher John O'Neill the least popular boy in the group he is always messing up on the job and according to his father always making things up. When the two arrive to the village the are naive, optimistic and have to clue as to what they have gotten themselves into. They meet Mafala Hatimbi (Kevin Mambo), his young sweat daughter Nabulungi (Samantha Marie Ware) and a group of fellow missionaries already there. Then things really get crazy!

You know how when you really have to have something you will do anything to get it because you know once you have your hands on it it was worth whatever trouble you had getting it? I knew The Book of Mormon was going to by good, I knew I would like it, and the show was everything I expected and so much more!

Song after song (Turn it Off, All American Prophet, Man Up, Making Things Up Again and I Believe just to name some) line after line was better then the last! The characters and songs in this religious satire (and satire is the best kind of flattery and shows us the truth that we don't want to see) were perfect. As much as I love musical theater I normally don't notice the dancing but even the choreography was worth watching. The entire production from the lights to the ensemble was so fun and funny to watch high above(Balcony) the theater in Rochester NY.

I was sad when it was time for intermission because that meant the show was almost over and I did not want it to end! When it did I walked back to my car and took a sip of water and as the fresh water hit my lips I found myself in a pain that I have never felt before. I had smiled and laughed for 2 and a 1/2 hours straight and now my extremely chapped lips were paying the price.

Days later and I am still listening to the wonderful music and remembering every scene and moment that was on stage that night. If I could follow the tour around the country and be a groupie I would do so in a heart beat. Sitting in a sold out audience and watching this well put together show was the most fun I have had in years! Even if you are not a fan a live musical theater you should check out The Book of Mormon.

If for no other reason let me leave you with these 4 little words Spooky Mormon Hell Dream ;)