Posts Tagged ‘Gravity’

Snowed In & Hibernating?

I hope you enjoyed your weekend!

We shivered here in the Minnesota’s Northland with temperatures around -15° to -40° and wind chills of -30° to -50°.

current_temps

feels_like

Meanwhile, my friends back in the Quad Cities are waking up to a new blanket of 4″-8″ of snow!

So, you might be wanting some movie suggestions!

“BAD TIMES AT THE EL ROYALE”

While this retro thriller didn’t exactly set the box office on fire last fall, it’s incredible.

I was intrigued by the trailer and the movie exceeded my expectations.

It takes place in the late-1960s when a group of travelers and people with an agenda show up at the El Royale hotel, just outside of Lake Tahoe.  Part of the hotel is in California and part of it is in Nevada, which is used as a sales gimmick.

From the title, you can tell it’s not a vacation and bad things happen!

Cynthia Erivo is amazing, as is relative newcomer Lewis Pullman (son of Bill Pullman).

And, Chris Hemsworth (“Thor”) is stunning as a scantily clad, oh well, I don’t need to give much away.  I’ll just leave it as “scantily clad”! 🙂

GRADE: A-

“A SIMPLE FAVOR”

From the trailer, this black comedy/thriller looked fun and it was!

The $20 million late summer movie starring Anna Kendrick, Blake Lively, and sexy Henry Golding (“Crazy Rich Asians”) made an impressive $97.1 million in theaters.

It was much darker and funnier than I expected.

Blake Lively was great.  While I knew of her from “Gossip Girl”, I first took notice of her in the beautiful “The Age of Adeline” (2015).

Okay, that’s a little bit of a lie.  I really took notice when she married my future ex-boyfriend, Ryan Reynolds! 🙂

Ryan-Reynolds-Body

Oops, I digressed!

There’s a running joke in the movie that if I had been drinking something, I’d spit it out in laughter! “BF”!

Yes, the movie is dark, but humorous!  A perfect combination of the two.

GRADE: B+

“22 JULY”

This movie is based on the true story of a 2011 terrorist attack on Norway.

Two separate attacks, one by a bomb in Oslo’s city government district to distract police and another at a camp in Utøya for teenagers, left 77 dead.

Of the 69 killed at the camp, most were kids!

The motive — white supremacy and the hate of Muslims coming into Scandinavia!

The Netflix movie was directed by Paul Greengrass (“Captain Phillips” and three of the “Jason Bourne” movies).

Greengrass also directed 2006’s Oscar nominated, heartbreaking and heart-pumping “United 93”, which is a far more superior movie.

As you know, “United 93” was one of the planes used in the 9/11 attacks.

GRADE: B

“UNITED 93”

GRADE: A-

“MARY POPPINS RETURNS”

Okay, this may come as a shocker, but I never saw the original “Mary Poppins”!  I’m familiar with it and I did see a high school stage production of it! 🙂

But, my friend Katie convinced me to go see it with her after work earlier this week (she’s already seen it four or five times).  I was sold with Emily Blunt and my crush, Ben Whishaw, as stars!

Ben Whishaw

Blunt was incredible as usual as Mary Poppins.  What an incredible year for her after last winter’s “A Quiet Place”, which was one of my Top 10 movies of 2018.

Lin Manuel-Miranda (“Hamilton”) was great as Jack, the lamplighter.

His “Trip a Little Light Fantastic”, which reminded me of director Rob Marshall’s “Cell Block Tango” from 2002’s “Chicago”, was probably my favorite number in the movie.

A must see for kids and adults!

GRADE:  B+

“THE BODYGUARD”

This six-episode Netflix thriller is sexy and full of intrigue and twists.

A former Afghanistan war veteran, Sergeant David Budd (Richard Madden) is hired to protect a controversial high-ranking British cabinet member, the Home Secretary.

Well, there are snakes in the grass, so all doesn’t go as planned.

Madden beat out Matthew Rhys of “The Americans” for this year’s Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Drama.  But, Rhys ended up winning the Critics’ Choice Award for Best Actor.

That goes to show how great of a performance it was.

And, as much as I loved Rhys performance in the final season of “The Americans”, I wouldn’t have been shocked if Madden had won both awards!

GRADE: A-

“BIRD BOX”

This Netflix original is a great, creepy movie with an all-star cast.  It’s also being watched in record numbers on the streaming service after a limited theatrical run.

Sandra Bullock is fantastic as usual.

Trevante Rhodes

I loved seeing Trevante Rhodes in a major role after his career making part in the Oscar winner “Moonlight”.

Some say the movie is tacky in the way it handles mental illness and suicide.

“Bird Box” would have gotten a higher grade if not for the unbelievable “rapids” scene outcome and the conclusion!

GRADE:  B

“LIZZIE”

We’ve all heard the real life story about Lizzie Borden!

Yes, the one that “gave her mother 40 whacks; when she saw what she had done, she gave her father 41”!

This very compelling drama features incredible performances by actresses Chloe Sevigny as Lizzie and Kristin Stewart as her family’s maid.

GRADE:  B

“ROMA”

Critics are raving about this latest masterpiece and semi-autobiographical film from director Alfonso Cuarón (“Gravity” and “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”).

It’s racking up all kinds of win leading up to the Oscar nominations.  My prediction:  while it’ll be nominated for Best Picture — it won’t (and shouldn’t) win!

It follows the life of a live-in housekeeper, Cleo, to a middle-class family in Mexico City in the early-1970s.

Lead actress Yalitza Aparicio, who’s not a trained actress, was spectacular and the main reason to see this film.

While the movie is beautifully shot and Cuarón lets the movie breathe, some scenes go on way too long!

Maybe it’s just me because I wasn’t blown away by his critically acclaimed movie “Gravity” either, but I loved Cuarón’s 2001 film, “Y Tu Mama Tambien”.

GRADE:  B-

THAT’S IT

With all the craziness in the world, make it the best in your little part of it!

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — January 11, 2019

I hope you had a great holiday season and that your New Year is off to a great start!

Here are a few thoughts I want to share — mainly some recommendations.

Have a great weekend!

MY BLOG JUST TURNED 7

On January 7, 2012, I decided that instead of just posting a thought on Facebook, I would expand on whatever I was thinking at the time.

That bright idea led me to starting this blog!

belle 7

My blog — by the numbers — in those seven years:

  • Number of blogs posted:  1244
  • Total views:  607,263

Kylie

  • Most Viewed Month:  January 2014 (33,800 views)

 

  • Most Views by Country:  United States (72% of all views)
  • Runner-up Countries: #2 Germany, #3 Canada, #4 U.K, #5 France* (2012 data is missing, so France could really be higher), #6 Brazil, #7 Australia, and #8 Italy.

 

  • Number of People I’ve Pissed Off: Unknown 🙂

HeatherMooney

THEY SAID WHAT (on Twitter)?

TENNIS LEGEND MARTINA NAVRATILOVA:  “I can tell you all this for sure- whatever ridiculous propaganda we were fed in then Czechoslovakia, which was mandated by Soviet Union- pales next to the lies being told and repeated by trump and his ilk. I am not kidding… trump truly trumps the communists. And that’s not easy”

ADULT STAR STORMY DANIELS (on the night of 45’s immigration prime time plea): “If you’re looking for anything even remotely worth watching tonight at 9pm EST, I will be folding laundry in my underwear for 8 minutes on Instagram live.”

And, one more…

not an immigrant

WINTER FUNNY

Snowman Life in Prison

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Wine Cupcakes

WISH I WAS IN VEGAS NOW!

But, since I can’t be, I’ll share this fun video that features Olivia Newton-John reprising her hit “Magic” (1980) as the chorus.

This version hit #1 on the Billboard dance chart in 2015 for Olivia, her daughter, Chloe Lattanzi and DJ Dave Aude.

Olivia and Chloe are the only mother-daughter team to achieve that on the Billboard Dance Club Song chart!

It features a graveyard of Las Vegas signage of the city’s casino history, show girls, Chippendales, and Britney, Tina Turner, Marilyn Monroe, and Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler.  Oh wait, those are illusionists!

“BIRD BOX”

This Netflix original is a great, creepy movie with an all-star cast.  It’s also being watched in record numbers on the streaming service after a limited theatrical run.

Sandra Bullock is fantastic as usual.

Trevante Rhodes

I loved seeing Trevante Rhodes in a major role after his career making part in the Oscar winner “Moonlight”.

Some say the movie is tacky in the way it handles mental illness and suicide.

“Bird Box” would have gotten a higher grade if not for the unbelievable “rapids” scene outcome!

GRADE:  B

“ROMA”

Critics are raving about this latest masterpiece and semi-autobiographical film from director Alfonso Cuarón ( “Gravity” and “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”).

It follows the life of a live-in housekeeper, Cleo, to a middle-class family in Mexico City in the early-1970s.

Lead actress Yalitza Aparicio, who’s not a trained actress, was spectacular and the main reason to see this film.

While the movie is beautifully shot and Cuarón lets the movie breathe, some scenes go on way too long!

Maybe it’s just me because I wasn’t blown away by his critically acclaimed movie “Gravity” either, but I loved Cuarón’s 2001 film, “Y Tu Mama Tambien”.

GRADE:  B-

“PEPPERMINT”

This revenge drama stars Jennifer Garner as a mother hellbent on finding the scum bags that murdered her husband and little girl.

While you had to suspend disbelief in some scenes, it was an entertaining movie.

If you saw and loved Jodie Foster’s much better movie “The Brave One”, you’ll like this one.

It makes me want to binge watch ABC’s “Alias” now!

“Peppermint” was my 16th favorite movie I saw in 2018.

GRADE:  B+

“GAME NIGHT”

I usually prefer dramas over comedy, but this one starring Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams was funny (at times).

My favorite scene was when a character is shot and another one has to clean the wound and stop the bleeding.  Hilarious!!!!!!!

Any movie that features my main crush Michael C. Hall (Ben Whishaw is the other) gets my attention.

GRADE:  B-

“LIZZIE”

We’ve all heard the real life story about Lizzie Borden!

Yes, the one that “gave her mother 40 whacks; when she saw what she had done, she gave her father 41”!

This very compelling drama features incredible performances by actresses Chloe Sevigny as Lizzie and Kristin Stewart as her family’s maid.

GRADE:  B

“BLACK CHRISTMAS” (1974)

I’ve seen the 2006 remake of “Black Christmas” and I finally caught the 1974 original this holiday season.

It stars the late Margot Kidder.

Considering this movie was pre-“Halloween” (1978), it tried to build up the suspense, but failed.

I was more surprised by the language that was allowed 40+years ago!

GRADE:  C+

THAT’S IT

With all the craziness in the world, make it the best in your little part of it!

Anthony

Movies — “12 Years A Slave”, “Kill Your Darlings”, “About Time” & “Gravity”

For the most part, the weather is getting nicer.  I know we’ll start spending more time outdoors, but there will always be time to rent movies.

I’ve watched a few lately and if you haven’t seen them, I’ll let you know if you should.

“ABOUT TIME”

When I saw the trailer for this British romantic comedy in theaters last year, I knew I would be waiting to see it on DVD.

The time travel movie is about a young man, Tim Lake, (Domhnall Gleeson) that can go back in time and change his life for the better.  He does this to get to know Mary (Rachel McAdams) better.

The $12 million movie was a box office hit bringing in $87 million.

It was directed by Richard Curtis who also directed “Love Actually”.

While a cute movie, “About Time” is no “Love Actually”.

GRADE:  B

“KILL YOUR DARLINGS”

This drama set in the 1940s covers the college life of some of the men that would go on to define the “beat generation”.

It stars Daniel Radcliffe as poet Allen Ginsberg, Ben Foster as William S. Burroughs, and Jack Huston as Jack Kerouac.

When Ginsberg heads off to Columbia University in New York City, he meets the very charming and beautiful blond-haired Lucien Carr, played to perfection by Dane DeHaan.

Carr is anti-establishment, a player, and unstable.  He gets people, young (Ginsberg) and mature (David Kammerer played by “Dexter” star Michael C. Hall), to do his college homework and papers for him.

Without giving too much away, since the movie is called “Kill Your Darlings”, it’s a pretty safe bet that one of the characters dies and the defense in court is shocking.  But, you have to remember that it’s the 1940s.

It was a good movie and Radcliffe’s sex scene in the movie proves that he no longer “Harry Potter”!

 GRADE:  B

“GRAVITY”

This seven-time Academy Award winner grossed more than $715 million at the box office.

From a technical standpoint, it was beautiful and Sandra Bullock turns in a great Oscar-nominated performance.

While enjoyable, outside of the technical achievement, I didn’t find that it had too much substance.  I know I’m probably alone in that assessment.

GRADE:  C

“12 YEARS A SLAVE”

I finally got around to seeing the Best Picture of 2013 and it was definitely worth it.

12 Years A Slave

While the movie covered the darkest period in American human rights history, it was riveting and you couldn’t take your eyes off it.  It was painful knowing that a portion of America thought it was okay to enslave, beat, rape, and treat others with no dignity.  Sadly, some still think that way!

The all-star cast was incredible.  While heartbreaking to watch her as Patsey, Lupita Nyong’o deserved her Oscar.

In another year that didn’t include Jared Leto as Rayon in “Dallas Buyers Club”, Michael Fassbender would have walked away with a gold statuette, too, as sadistic plantation and slave owner Edwin Epps.

GRADE:  A+

All of these movies are available now at Redbox and other movie outlets.

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — February 28, 2014

It’s hard to believe that the first two months of 2014 are already behind us.  I sure hope that with March starting this weekend that spring can’t be too far behind.  With that being said, enjoy the snowy weekend.  Here are my random thoughts for this week.

DISGUSTED WITH UGANDA

This past Monday, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed a controversial law that makes being gay punishable by life in prison.  Before this week, a gay person faced 14 years of jail time.

Uganda President

Museveni had been going back and forth over the issue and just last week he said that gay people were “sick” and needed treatment and not imprisonment.

He added that this is necessary because of the arrogance of Westerners promoting behavior that threatens Ugandans’ “way of life”.

Here’s a reality check for you, President Museveni:  my being gay and open about it does not threaten the “way of life” in your nation (and the other 37 African countries that make it illegal to be gay).  What you should be threatened by is losing the $1.6 billion aid that you received in 2011 from the United States!

UGANDAN AID BEING CUT

In wake of Museveni signing that law, Norway, Denmark, and the Netherlands were the first three countries to cut aid to the Ugandan government.

Pink News

Pink News, Europe’s largest gay news service, reports that Norway and Denmark will donate money directly to human rights groups now and not the government there.

The news service also reports that the U.K. is making changes.  It will now only send money to multilateral aid agencies and non-governmental organizations in Uganda.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT — ARIZONA

Normally, in this segment, I don’t add commentary.  But, this week, I must.

Wednesday night, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoed SB 1062 that would have allowed individuals and businesses to refuse service based on religion, especially toward the LGBT community.

While I applaud Governor Brewer for vetoing it, in my heart, I feel that she did it because of the money Arizona stood to lose and not because it was the right thing to do.

Today’s “Food For Thought” is for the 17 Senators and the 33 Representatives that voted for the ill-fated and bad SB 1062 in the first place!

Uganda Arizona  ArizonaGay Wedding Cake

“HANNIBAL” RETURNS

The critically acclaimed and ratings challenged NBC series based on the Thomas Harris novel, “Red Dragon”, returns tonight (February 28th).

Hannibal S2

For the 2 million people in the U.S. that were still watching the series for the June finale last year, Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) had done his part to drive FBI criminal profiler Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) mad and Will was jailed for murder.

If you didn’t catch this incredibly creepy, gory, and complex series, you’re missing out on great drama and television.

“Entertainment Weekly” and NBC released this two-minute opening teaser for tonight’s premiere.  Let me warn you, it’s awesome and violent.  It also makes you wonder what led up to this scene because once you watch it, you know they will flash back to let you know how this transpired!

“EW” definitely likes the season 2 premiere!

EW Hannibal Review

For the thirteen episodes this season, I really hope that we see much more of Gillian Anderson, who plays Hannibal’s psychotherapist, Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier!

Gillian Anderson Hannibal

I can’t get enough of my crush, Gillian Anderson!

BREAKING NEWS…. MORE SNOW THIS WEEKEND

Sick of Winter

Remember, I’m only the messenger.  But, in reality, I’m shooting for 70″ this winter and the all-time record!

This is where we stand right now before any snow falls today, tomorrow, and Sunday in the Quad Cities.

Snow Stats -- Friday Morning

Light snow is on the way later this evening and tonight.  This first wave will be gone by daybreak Saturday.  Accumulations will generally be less than an inch for most of us.  Northern hometowns near the Wisconsin border may see a little more — closer to 2″.

More snow is on the way Saturday afternoon into early Sunday night.

This Weekend

Here is how much snow I’m expecting from Friday evening through Sunday night.  This snow will be falling over a three-day period and not all at once!

Snow This Weekend

‘Tis the season!  Yes, it’s still winter!

SNOW SWIMMING!

Obviously some in Duluth, Minnesota, look at snow differently than we do in the Quad Cities!

Duluth has had about 84″ of snow this winter and there’s still about 29″ on the ground.

Snow?  I didn’t notice snow in the video!

OSCAR WEEKEND 2014

I’ll be staying up past my bedtime Sunday to watch some or all of this year’s Oscars with host Ellen DeGeneres.

While I’ll post my Oscar picks for all 24 categories Sunday morning, including Best Picture, I’ll touch on a few here.

After seeing the incredible performances of Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts, both nominated this year, for “August: Osage County”, I wanted them both to win.  Their performances were flawless.

august-osage-county- Julia Roberts Meryl Streep

However, I don’t think either will take home the Oscar.

Although I haven’t seen “Gravity” yet, I don’t want  Sandra Bullock to win, as much as I love her.  Yes, I’m still jaded that she beat Meryl for “The Blind Side”.  Meryl’s Julia Child in “Julie & Julia” was much more deserving.

Cate Blue Jasmine

For Best Actress, Cate Blanchett will win for her devastating and heartbreaking performance in “Blue Jasmine”.

DALLAS-BUYERS-CLUB

I also pick Jared Leto and Matthew McConaughey to win for  “Best Supporting Actor” and “Best Actor”, respectively, for  their incredible performances in “Dallas Buyers Club”.

My other 21 winning picks will be revealed Sunday!

“BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU’RE DEAD”

Last weekend, we watched two more of the late, great actor Philip Seymour Hoffman’s movies, “The Savages” and “Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead”.

Both were amazing and I highly recommend them for different reasons.

“Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead” was released in 2007 and was director’s Sidney Lumet’s last movie before his death in 2011.

before_the_devil_knows_youre_dead

The $18 million dollar crime drama barely made its money back at the theaters ($25 million), but it was highly entertaining and it kept you guessing as to how it would end.

Hoffman played Andy, a finance executive at a New York City real estate firm, who was embezzling money from the company to help support his drug use.  In a scary case of real-life deja vu, it was hard watching Hoffman shooting up drugs.

He devises a plan with his brother Hank (Oscar nominee Ethan Hawke) to knock off a small mom & pop jewelry store, which would net them about $120,000.  As you can guess, things don’t go as planned.

The movie also stars Oscar winner Marisa Tomei and five-time Academy Award nominee Albert Finney.

I have a warning and a spoiler about the movie:  I’ll never get the image of Hoffman’s naked butt, while having sex with his wife, in the opening scene out of my mind — ever!!!!

GRADE:  B+

“THE SAVAGES”

We also watched Hoffman’s 2011 family dramedy, “The Savages”, which earned co-star Laura Linney an Oscar nomination.  The movie was also nominated for Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for Tamara Jenkins.

E25SavagesB

Hoffman and Linney star as a couple of single New Yorkers, who have to come up with a plan to take care of their estranged elderly father suffering from dementia in Arizona.

While the subject matter is heavy at times, it’s also heartwarming and funny.  I’m a huge fan of Laura Linney, so it was a pleasure seeing her in the movie.

The movie was produced by Academy Award winner Alexander Payne, who’s up for an Oscar this year for directing “Nebraska”.

GRADE:  B

With these two movies, I’ve now seen ten Hoffman movies:  “Twister” (1996), “Boogie Nights” (1997 — his Scotty J. was heartbreaking), “Happiness” (1998 — a sad, creepy performance in an amazing movie that made you want to shower after watching it), “Magnolia” (1999), “The Talented Mr. Ripley” (1999), “Red Dragon” (2002 — slimy, sleazy, but unforgettable as Freddy Lounds), “Doubt” (2008 — touching and worthy of the Oscar nomination), and “The Hunger Games:  Catching Fire” (2013).

PICK HIT

“Take Me Home” by the dance band, Cash Cash, featuring vocals from Bebe Rexha is my pick hit of the week.

While the song has already reached the Top Ten in Australia and on the Billboard Dance chart, it only reached #64 on the Hot 100.

However, it’s one of the 20 most played songs right now on Top 40 radio stations in the  U.S.

It’s still a great song to get your weekend off to a fun start.

“MICHAEL TOLLIVER LIVES”

I’m almost done with Armistead Maupin’s “Tales of The City” nine-book series.  Over the past week, I read books seven and eight, “Michael Tolliver Lives” and “Mary Ann in Autumn”, respectively.

If you’re familiar with the series, Michael Tolliver (“Mouse”) is one of the original tenants of Mrs. Madrigal’s 28 Barbary Lane.

Michael Tolliver Lives

It’s now 2005, almost thirty years since the first book.  Michael is no longer a youngster from Orlando, Florida, living in San Francisco’s Castro.  He’s now married to a younger man about 20 years his junior.  It’s a very happy union.

The bleakness from the sixth book in the series, “Sure of You”, is gone, even when we learn of an original “Tales” character’s death to cancer and the death of a loved one closer to Michael.

Also, the book is told in first person from Michael, which is a departure from the third person story telling of the previous six books.

“Michael Tolliver Lives” is one of my favorite books of the “Tales” series.

At the end of “Michael Tolliver Lives”, Mary Ann Singleton, now a married woman on the East Coast, returned briefly to visit an elderly friend that may not recover from a stroke.

Mary Ann

In “Mary Ann in Autumn”, it’s a couple of years later and Mary Ann and “Mouse” are back together again in San Francisco almost thirty years after they first met in 1970s.

A couple of secrets brings Mary Ann back to cry on Michael’s shoulder.  All of the years and the tears of twenty years apart are forgotten when they examine their friendship and what they’ve been missing.  It brought me so much joy to see them together poking fun at each other and pushing each other’s buttons as they head toward their golden years — both are in their late fifties and early sixties now!

And, boy, does Maupin have a few shockers up his sleeve that go all the way back to the original “Tales” book.

As much as I loved “Michael Tolliver Lives”, “Mary Ann In Autumn” is my new favorite after the first book.

“I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY”

One of my favorite songs as a kid was “Harper Valley P.T.A.” by Texan Jeannie C. Riley.

Jeannie C. Riley

I used to play the record over and over as a 4-year-old.  I played it so much that my older step-sister too the record away from me and broke it!

The song went on to sell six million copies and it became the first song by a woman to top both the Billboard Hot 100 and the Billboard Country charts at the same time.   That was in 1968.  The next time that would happen would be in 1981 with “9 to 5” by Dolly Parton.

From 1968-1972, Jeannie C. Riley would score 14 hits on the country charts.  Of those, six would reach the Top Ten.  “Harper Valley P.T.A.” was her first and only #1 hit.

Later in the 1970s, Riley would become a “born again Christian” and she briefly distanced herself from the sexy and risque song, but she never stopped performing it.

THAT’S IT FOR THIS WEEK

That’s enough random thoughts for one blog.  I have no plans this weekend and I just might take advantage of the freshly fallen snow and go sledding with Gretel.  It’ll take me back to December 2010 when Ray, Gretel, Miss ABBA, and I took advantage of the winter wonderland.

Sledding December 2010

Ray Gretel ABBA December 2010

Anthony