Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Years Eve!

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

Thursday, December 18, 2014

White Collar 2009-2014

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

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

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Colbert Report 2005-2014

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

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

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

Some of my (other) favorite segments were

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

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

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

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

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

Colbert Platinum for the rich Colbert viewers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Newsroom 2012-2014

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

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

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

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


Monday, November 24, 2014

St Vincent-A surprising and sweet film

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

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

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

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



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.  

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Psych...OUT 2006-2014

Two years before The Mentalist the USA Network pemeried an orginal series with a short one word title-Psych.

A sweet and funny show about a guy named Shawn Spencer (James Roday). You see Shawn was good, really good at finding and deciphering clues at a crime scene but never wanted to join the police force so along with his childhood friend, Burton "Gus" Guster (Dule Hill) started a "Psychic" Detective Agency. Together with the Santa Monica police department which included Detectives Carlton "Lassie" Lassiter (Timothy Omundson), Juliet O'Hara (Maggie Lawson) and chief Karen Vick (Kirsten Nelson), and sometimes Shawn's father Henry (Corbin Bernsen) would join and for over 100 episodes they solved cases.

When each, pineapple, episode aired I smiled throughout the hour.
With each nickname Shawn introduced Gus I laughed.
I understood most of the pop culture references and there were many.

From the theme song, "I know you know I'm not telling the truth..." to the Psych-out bloopers during the final credits I enjoyed every minute.

Here is to the cast and crew of this silly and perfect little show, you will be missed. Thank you for sharing 8 years of your lives with all of those who watched.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

flash fiction challenge accepted #1- written by me

                                                       The Ritzy Peacock
  1 part blue curacao 1 part champagne a shot of vodka (cotton candy flavored) and a splash of orange juice on ice-

She stood in the middle of the busy city sidewalk and looked up at the tall building. She grew up in the “middle of nowhere” so for her the city was large and new. She didn’t know what drew her to this building but she could not move as people and vehicles quickly went by. The sounds and world seemed to disappear. A man who knows the city well is not looking where he is going when he runs into her and they fall to the ground.
“I am so sorry” says the man as he gets back onto his feet, he lends her a hand and helps her up

“Its fine, I’m fine I’m sorry I must have been daydreaming.”

“A dangerous thing to do especially at rush hour. Can I help you with anything?”

“No yes I mean…there is something about this building.”
“Have you been here before?”“No”

“Maybe if you come inside, something will come to you? I live on the sixth floor”

The woman hesitates “I shouldn’t, I…

The man quickly answers “I’m not a rapist or serial killer and if you still don’t trust me there is a little old lady who lives across the hall, I could ask her to join us.”

“I’ll take your word for it” He takes his keys from his pocket and opens the door. She follows him to the elevator and they ride up to the sixth floor. He holds the doors open for her as she steps out. He walks in front as the two move down to the end of the hallway. While he is opening his door the little old lady opens hers.

“Good afternoon Mrs. L.”

“Hello Gabriel how were the cookies?”

“As tasty as always, thank you again.” Mrs. L closes her door. “Told you” The woman smiles and they enter his apartment.

“Would you like a drink? He opens the refrigerator “I have Diet cola, Root beer, real beer and white wine.”

“Wine please.”

He opens the wine and pours two glasses, the woman walks over to the large window facing the same street where they ran into each other and looks out. The man walks over to her and hands her the glass. “In case you missed it my name is Gabriel, Gabriel Thatcher.”

She shakes the hand he holds out and responds “Matilda Williams” She continues to look out at the city “When I was looking up at the architecture I noticed a name but couldn’t read it what did it say, if you don’t mind my asking?”

“Not at all-The Ritzy Peacock” Matilda smiles again, Gabriel continues “I know a horrible name. In the 1920s and 30s this was a classy hotel with the best bar in the city.”
They stare out the window in silence.

Gabriel finishes his glass and speaks first “Nice view, isn’t it?”
“Buildings, traffic, people typical city stuff.”

“Said the girl who’s never been to the city.”
“How did you know?”

“The way you look at the buildings, traffic and people.”
Matilda is now finished with her wine “Thank you for the drink but I should get going. She starts to walk to the door.

“Jake Ennis”
Before her hand touches the doorknob she turns and asks “Who?”

“A man who lived in this building and was part of that view every day for eight years.”
Matilda sits on the couch I could have another glass if you want to talk about him.”

Gabriel pours two more glasses of wine and sits on the couch next to her “Jake was my friend since grade school. After college he came to the city to make a name for himself, the business world was too much for him and when the economy got bad he got a job as a high school teacher for economics. He took the subway to work every day and would walk the last three blocks. That day he was rushing home to meet me for dinner. I was in town for a meeting and I wanted to ask him to be m best man.”
“You’re married?”



“Jake wasn’t paying attention when he was crossing the street and didn’t see the cab with the driving who was more concerned with his passenger then the road. When I got to the hospital the doctor told me he died instantly and felt no pain. I’m sure he felt pain, how could you not?” He looks at Matilda who looks as if she is about to cry.

She responds “I am so sorry”

“After a postponement for the funeral I got married but I guess I never got over the What Ifs and a year later I was divorced the apartment was still up for sale and I moved in.”

“You moved into your dead friend’s apartment, you didn’t think that was…”

He interrupts “Strange, stupid, not in my right mind?”

“You admit it’s odd.”

“At first I wasn’t sure I was doing the right thing but once I got all my stuff here I...well to be honest I don’t believe in spirits or an afterlife but I got settled and three years later it feels right living here.” 

Again her glass is empty, she places it on the table in front of the couch “Thank you for the wine and conversation. It’s getting late and I have an early flight I should leave.”
Matilda stands to put her coat one when Gabriel takes her hand “If you want to stay a little longer I could make some tea and tell you more about The Ritzy Peacock?”
She sits down “I haven’t been here for very long and it is beginning to grow on me, Mrs. .L is still across the hall and I can always take a later flight. Yes I would like to hear more, if it’s good?”

“Trust me what I have to tell you is good and will be worth your night” he walks to his kitchenette and fills a kettle with water and places it on the stove to boil. He then disappears out of Matilda’s eyesight but returns quickly with a red folder. He sits next to Matilda and opens it, the folder is filled with paper copies of articles. “About a year ago a ran into a man, he must have been in his 60s and when I told him where I lived he told me a story that his grandfather told him once when he was a boy that was difficult to forget. I couldn’t stop thinking about what he had told me and went to the library to do my own research.  As I said this building was a fancy hotel with a nightclub and opened its doors in 1919. Everyone knew it was run by the mob but no one talked about it and the police force was corrupt so they were allowed to do what they did to survive.” The kettle whistles, Gabriel goes to make the tea, Matilda looks through the articles.

He asks “Sugar or lemon?”

“Two spoons of sugar.”

He stirs the tea and rejoins Matilda and continues the tale “When you entered into our beautiful foyer where the guests checked in, I don’t know if you noticed but there were two large gold colored doors to your left with a giant lock. That was where all the glamour happened.”
Matilda is intrigued with the story and has not touched her tea.

“The men were handsome and the women were stunning. The waitresses were the best in the city and always drew in the customers. Each wore a broach of a peacock with diamonds as eyes. They even named a special drink after the place. One evening a soldier in uniform walks into the club and sits at the bar, he orders a drink and speaks to no one as the other guest mingle and a piano plays. One of the waitresses’ walks up to the mic, later that night the man would write in his journal that he thought she was going to make an announcement but when she began to sing he instantly fell in love. He got another waitress to tell him her name and to give her a note. The note read my name is Captain Donald Davidson and I would like to buy you a drink. Later that night she told a friend that she never accepted a drink while working but it was five years after the war and he was still wearing the uniform which was tattered and dusty and she felt bad for him.”

Softly Matilda responds “He was still living the war that was suppose to end all wars.”

“PTSD wasn’t a thing in 1923 but they talked the rest of the night. Her name was Betty and she fell madly in love with Donald. The problem was he was from a wealthy family, she was just a singer and although Donald joined the army to leave his wealth and family his parents still did not want him around her.”

Matilda interrupts “Juliet and her Romeo

Gabriel continues “Donald refused to obey his parents moved out of their mansion and got a room at the hotel. Every night he would watch Betty perform and when her shift was over they would return to the room and well we can only imagine what happened behind closed doors.”

Matilda smiles a small smile.

Gabriel returns the smile “It didn’t make Donald’s family smile nor did it make Betty’s ex happy. His name was Vincent Cannoli, head of the Italian mob and owner of The Ritzy Peacock. He would watch the two every night and when he noticed Donald’s uniform was pressed, cleaned and holes sewn he knew something was up. According to one police report he cornered Donald in the bathroom and had two of his men beat him till unconsciousness and another said Betty came into the precinct with letters written in blood of death threats to her and Donald. The Chief of police said there was nothing he could do. The next day when Betty was alone in the club a deputy came in and asked to meet with her and Donald. That night they met at a restaurant outside the city and he told them his name was Timothy Murray and his uncle was the police commissioner who was trying to clean up the city from corrupt police and the mob. When Timothy told his uncle about Betty and Donald he asked to meet with them. The three left the restaurant and when they got to the police commissioners home he asked for their help. Betty was hesitant at first but Donald talked her into it. In the following weeks Betty learned of a meeting between Vincent and the Chief. The two met at a warehouse the police were there, there was a gun fight, Vincent got away and the chief was killed. That night according to one of her final journal entries thinking they were safe Betty and Donald celebrated and Donald purposed but not wanting his parents to find out gave her a jeweled encrusted peacock broach instead of a ring. A month later the two were found dead in their hotel room, only the peacock was missing. The case was never solved, according to the final police report some believed the mob, others said Donald’s family and some decided it was a murder/suicide. In the end my research lead me to believe it happened in this apartment

Matilda’s eyes widen “Please tell me you’re kidding”
He shows her an old photo of the couple, they walk to the window and place the picture and view side by side, the view outside the window had not changed.

Matilda looks out the window then back at the photo “Is it just me or do they look a little like us?”

Friday, January 24, 2014

American Hustle by filmmaker David O. Russell

The Year-1979     The film-American Hustle
Directed by David O. Russell and written by Russell and  Eric Warren Singer this little known true story is about a con man, Irving Rosenfeld played by Christian Bale who takes money from unexpected people wanting to have a little more security in their life. At a party he meets a seductive woman, Sydney Prosser played by the always amazing Amy Adams  and together they set up a fake bank and con more people willing to hand over their savings. That is until FBI agent Richie DiMaso played by Bradley Cooper catches them, instead of sending them off to federal prison he talks them into pulling a large and complex con. The three enter the dangerous and intriguing world of the New Jersey mafia as they try to take down a up and coming mayor played by Jeremy Renner. What happens next, not even Irving's unpredictable and unloving wife Rosalyn played by Jennifer Lawrence knows but she is willing to help out.

Nominated for 6 Academy Awards including best director, original screenplay and all 4 acting categories this fun fast pace film is so enjoyable to watch that when it is over you won't know what happened, in a good way. The characters are unbelievable yet they could be your next door neighbor. It is the late 70s which alone make the hair, make up and costumes worth seeing.  Like in the opening scene which has an almost unrecognizable Bale, a little "heavier" then real life and combing his "hair" to perfection. The low cut dresses worn by the woman are shimmering and shiny. Then there is the music- The songs are from the time period but each one herd in the background has lyrics and feels fitting and perfectly into what is happening on screen. For a good time at the cinema check out American Hustle.

Friday, January 17, 2014

A Place Beyond the Pines-The personality of a film

Did I ever tell you about the time John "Cougar " Mellencamp waved to me? It was in the summertime and the sun was out with a chance of rain, I was home from college and a film was being made in my home city of Rochester NY. I was dropped off at the location in which the cast and crew were filming that day, I sat on a bench on the bridge that overlooked the scene they happen to be shooting. From breakfast to sometime after lunch I stayed to see what I could. Then somewhere in between getting wet from the river and the afternoon rain Mellencamp was able to leave his trailer and gave a quick wave to those of us watching from above. The independent film is called After Image and if you can find it I suggest giving it a watch-10 years later and another small film has been made in a place close to my heart...

A Place Beyond the Pines directed by Derek Clanfrance and written by Clanfrance, Ben Coccio and Darius Marder is one story with three separate parts and takes place in a city I have visited (once or twice during my life)
The story starts with Luke played by the aways wonderful Ryan Gosling. Luke is a motorcycle stuntman for a travelling carnival. When this job brings him back to Schenectady NY, he runs into an ex-girlfriend (Eva Mendes) and learns that he is the father to her baby boy, Jason. The new love Luke has for his son sends his life into a downward spiral leading to the second part of the film and introduces Schenectady cop Avery played by always lovely Bradley Cooper. Avery has a young son of his own named A.J. and as a heroic cop his tale is one of drugs, money, corruption on the police force, family and fame. It is that love and sense of family that takes us into the third and final chapter-Jason and A.J are now teenagers and meet when A.J. transfers to Jason's school bringing more trouble for all involved.

A good story and excellent acting make any film worth watching and A Place Beyond the Pines have both including fine performances by Ray Liotta, Rose Byrne, Emory Cohen and Dane DeHaan.
That being said there are those movies in which the town/city where the story takes place plays a major role in the production and to what the audience sees on scene. NYC, L.A, Chicago and London to name a few are all nice places to watch and I hope to visit but out smaller cities can have just as much as an impact on the viewer and Schenectady proves the point. I spent many days "going over the river and through the woods" to visit my grandmother who lived there. Also by chance it was were my sister and her husband got married. When you see a place you have been and know, when a character reads the local paper a copy of "The Daily Gazette" and you remember waking up and seeing the same paper spread out on the kitchen table or another character mentions the name of a road you have travelled on many times, when there are buildings in the background that you have passed and when Bradley Cooper's character is campaigning for a state office and his staff talks to him about touring the other cities of that state like Buffalo and having to "prepare him for eating a garbage plate" in Rochester one (me) can't help but smile while watching.

But the scene that really got me and stood out is the one where Avery (Cooper) is accepting accommodations for the work that his has done as a cop. There is a press conference for him at Schenectady's City Hall and I swear to you 2014 Academy Award nominee Mr. Bradley Cooper is standing right where my sister stood as the Mayor married her and her husband. The scene makes me so happy!

In the end it really is all about location location location in a small film called A Place Beyond the Pines.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Anchorman 2-funnier then the reviews say

When I first learned of a sequel to the 2003 movie Anchorman I was actually excited and knew that no matter what I would have to see it. I did and unlike some I was not disappointed. I went into the theater not expecting much but I was hoping the new film would make me laugh. Laugh I did!

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues written by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay and directed by McKay picks up in a new decade at a time when Ron (Will Ferrell) and Veronica (Christina Applegate) are married and have a young son. When Veronica is promoted and Ron fired they go their separate ways until a new character Freddie Shapp (Dylan Baker) offers him a new job. Ron gets his news team from the first movie Brick Tamland, Brain Fantana, and Champ Kind (Steve Carell, Paul Rudd and David Koechenr) back together and the insanity begins...

A rich mogal,, think Ted Turner meets Richard Branson, named Kench Allenby (Josh Lawson) and a television news producer named Linda Jackson (Meagan Good) tell them about their plan to start the first 24 hour news network. When our news team gets high ratings during the 2am hour by telling the American people what they want to hear and not what has happened in the days news (much like today's 24 hour news) the guys beat their new foe Jack Lime (James Marsden) are famous and loved by the viewers once again.

I went into this movie not expecting anything new and that's what I got but there is still plenty to laugh at in this typical comedy. I don't want to give anything away but the funniest scene in the first Anchorman (in any film comedy) is the fight between the local news network, every time I flip through the channels and see Anchorman, if the scene hasn't passed by I will always watch until I see it and laugh out loud making my day better. I'm not saying this happens again in part two but I was smiling by the time the credits were rolling.

If you have the time and need something to do check out Anchorman 2 The Legend Continues.