Posts Tagged ‘Hugh Jackman’

Random Thoughts — February 22, 2019

Will the snow ever end?  🙂

Two more snow events are on the way to the Northland of Minnesota, Wisconsin and upper Michigan this weekend.

With almost three feet of snow this month, by Friday night, this will be the snowiest February on record in Duluth, Minnesota, breaking the record set back in 1939!

I hope you have a great weekend whatever you do and thank you for checking out my random thoughts!

JUSSIE SMOLLETT DEVELOPMENTS

I’ll preface this by saying that I want “Empire” star Jussie Smollett to be innocent and that this media circus has been one big misunderstanding.

Okay, that was my feeble attempt at thinking the best.

You’ve heard a lot about the case this week, but I first blogged about it three weeks ago.

In late January, the 36-year-old actor reported to Chicago police that two men yelled at him, “Aren’t you that faggot ‘Empire’ n*****?” before beating him, pouring bleach on him and putting a rope around his neck!

jussie-smollett

The story has taken a strange turn and now it seems that Smollett MAY have orchestrated the whole ordeal for the publicity and to get more money from “Empire”!

He turned himself into police late this week for allegedly filing a false police report about the racist and homophobic attack!  A judge set his bond at $100,000 and Smollett had to turn over his passport.

IF HE’S GUILTY, I hope he goes to jail and that he NEVER works again!

IF HE’S GUILTY, in the mind of people that don’t like people of color and the LGBTQ community, this stunt will call into doubt every hate crime and every gay bashing reported to police in the future!

And, it’ll also make the LGBTQ community and people of color more reluctant to even report hate crimes!

Again, I hope that this turns out to be a huge misunderstanding.  Sadly, it’s not looking that way!

Here’s why I’m thinking that:  Our country has a nasty history of hate crimes against people based on race and sexual orientation.

Many times, when LGBTQ people and people of color are attacked, it’s not just a punch to the face and name calling!  These attacks are usually very violent and sometimes lead to death!

Two names quickly come to mind:  Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr.

ON A LIGHTER NOTE…

Freaking Stupid

MY OSCAR PICKS

It’s Academy Awards weekend!  I’ve never been to an Oscars party, but I think it’s be fun.  Well, the food spread and drinking sounds fun!

Here are the movies and actors that I think will take Oscar home!

I predict “Roma” will win Best Picture, but I don’t think it should!

While I haven’t seen all of the nominees yet, I saw “Roma” and it didn’t even make my Top 20 list of favorite movies of 2018!

Oscars 1.JPG

While I pick Christian Bale to win, I really, really hope that Rami Malek (“Bohemian Rhapsody”) wins!

Oscars 2.JPG

Oscars 3.JPG

“AT ETERNITY’S GATE”

This movie tells the story of the final years of artist Vincent van Gogh’s life.

Willem Dafoe earned a Best Actor Oscar nomination this year for his portrayal of the tormented, alcoholic van Gogh.

It’s a decent movie and Dafoe is great, but I’m not sure that he deserves an Academy Award nomination for this performance.

He was also was nominated for an Oscar last year for the fantastic “The Florida Project” (my #14 movie of 2018).

Last year, I even wrote that he didn’t deserve that nomination!  Clearly, the Academy and his peers love him.

Don’t get me wrong, I think he’s fantastic, and if I had to choose, his van Gogh was more Oscar worthy of the two roles.

Here are a couple of interesting facts about “At Eternity’s Gate” and the van Gogh brothers:

Defoe, who played Vincent, is 63 and van Gogh died at the age of 37!

Vincent van Gogh was four years older than his brother, Theo, but Rupert Friend (“Homeland”), who played Theo, is only 37 in real life! 🙂

And, finally, Theo van Gogh died at the age of 33 just six months after Vincent died!

GRADE:  B-

“THE FRONT RUNNER”

This movie is about Colorado U.S. Senator Gary Hart’s 1988 run for the Democratic nomination for president.

His campaigned ended after news broke of an extramarital affair.  His argument was that it was his private life and it shouldn’t affect his job as president.

Remember, this was a time before reporters ran with stories like this.  Back in the 1950s and 1960s, reporters knew about John F. Kennedy’s affairs, but didn’t make them public.

I love Hugh Jackman and Vera Farmiga, who play Hart and his long suffering wife, Lee.

They both had some powerful scenes, but it seemed like the movie dragged on longer than his 1984 and 1988 presidential runs!

GRADE:  C+

“ANTARCTICA”

As I mentioned last week, I’m going through my movie collection and watching old movies to either get rid of or save.

One gem that made the save list was “Angels of Sex” which I talked about in my last blog.  Another one that I enjoyed much more the second time around was the 2008 Israeli film, “Antarctica”.

Director Yair Hochner’s love story follows a group of very sexy men and women around Tel Aviv searching for that special one (or just a good time)!

It’s a very sensual movie with nudity and graphic sex scenes.  Israelis definitely know how to make a movie sexy and erotic without it automatically being seen as soft porn!

Yiftach Mizrahi (Danny) was stunning and he can act and dance beautifully!

P.S.  This trailer may be a little risque for some!

GRADE:  A-

“ROBERT KENNEDY”

I just finished reading Evan Thomas’ 2000 biography, “Robert Kennedy:  His Life”.

Robert Kennedy.JPG

It paints a very interesting look at RFK 32 years after he was gunned down in Los Angeles after winning the Democratic California Primary in his 1968 presidential run.

The book touches on RFK’s neglected childhood following in the shadows of his two older, golden brothers.

Thomas doesn’t shy away from showing the nasty, dark side of RFK and what he did to make his brother, John F. Kennedy, president and a very successful one.

It also shows how he became a fighter for the disenfranchised — blacks, poor and other minorities.

I’ve written before about how much I love Bobby Kennedy and how great it would have been if he had become our 37th president.

However, there’s still something about him (and the other Kennedys) that I still have a problem with today.

Recently, I wrote this while talking about Jackie Kennedy, “By no means do I think that President Kennedy, Senator Bobby Kennedy, and Jackie were angels, but, in retrospect, I’m a little disturbed about their alleged homophobia.”

I also said, “Of course, when you’re reading books about people, you don’t know how much is fact and how much is hearsay.”

Thomas also touches on RFK’s fear of gay people.  Like Jackie and John, I hope that Bobby would have “evolved”.  Remember, this was the 1950s and 1960s and there was no such thing as “gay rights” or openly and accepted people in the LGBTQ community.

Bobby Kennedy

So, I’ll still crush on the image of the youthful and charming Bobby Kennedy with reservations about the homophobia.

And, I learned from Thomas that RFK hated popping corks of champagne bottles!

Come on RFK, what’s up with that?  I love champagne and there’s only so much I can overlook! 🙂

While the book was interesting, I recommend this more…

“BOBBY KENNEDY FOR PRESIDENT”

While technically “Bobby Kennedy For President” wasn’t a movie, I ranked this excellent Netflix documentary as my #11 movie of 2018.

If you get a chance, check it out.

“THE DAY JOHN DIED”

Before reading the book on RFK, I read Ted Sorensen’s 800-plus page biography of John F. Kennedy and Christopher Andersen’s “Jackie After Jack” and Andersen’s “The Day John Died”.

JOHN DIED

While I did learn things about JFK, Jr., a lot of the book was a rehash of “Jackie After Jack”, especially when he talked of Jackie and how she dominated her son’s life and the Kennedy Camelot legacy.

Also, I didn’t care much for Andersen’s highly speculative dramatization of events in the minutes before John John’s plane crashed into the Atlantic Ocean, just 7.5 miles west of Martha’s Vineyard, in 1999.

That crashed not only killed JFK, Jr., but also his wife, Carolyn, and her sister, Lauren.

Skip it!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

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Random Friday Thoughts — June 15, 2018

It’s been a few weeks without a new “Random Friday Thoughts” as I moved across the country to Duluth, Minnesota.

This now marks my third weekend in the “Northland” and I’m looking forward to making it my home.

Thank you for taking the time to check out my thoughts.

TWO YEARS LATER

Earlier this week, we marked the two year anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida.

Pulse

49 people were massacred while out having a good time with their family and friends.  At the time, it was the worst mass shooting in modern American history.  That distinction now goes to the Las Vegas shooting last October.

Pulse

Former President Barack Obama, in 2016, said, “This is a sobering reminder that attacks on any American — regardless of race, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation — is an attack on all of us and on the fundamental values of equality and dignity that define us as a country.  And no act of hate or terror will ever change who we are or the values that make us Americans.”.

No comment from #45 this year on the anniversary.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY PRESIDENT BUSH

On a happier note, earlier this week, the nation’s 41st President George Herbert Walker Bush turned 94-years-old.

George-H-W-Bush-wife-Barbara-Bush

He’s now the oldest living president and the first former president to live to age 94.

It’s been a tough year for him with numerous health issues and hospitalizations on top of losing his wife of 73 years, Barbara, back in April.

Jimmy Carter

My favorite president, Jimmy Carter, is now the second oldest living president.  He’ll turn 94 on October 1, 2018.

“HALLOWEEN” IS CLOSER THAN YOU THINK!

Excitement is building for Halloween and it has nothing to do with what costumes will be popular and how much candy you’ll get.

The reboot of the “Halloween” series hits theaters Friday, October 19, 2018, and it’ll pick up as the sequel to 1978’s original.

In this movie universe, none of the other sequels even happened!  After Rob Zombie’s very rancid and painful to watch “Halloween II” (2009), it’s time for a fresh start!

The trailer was released last Friday and had almost a million view in just four days!

“TAB HUNTER CONFIDENTIAL”

Movie icon Tab Hunter was the hottest sex symbol is the 1950s and was usually seen in public with beautiful ingenues.

It was all a front to hide his sexuality and maintain his matinee idol status.

Tab Hunter Confidential

In his book, the 19th that I’ve read this year, Hunter doesn’t go into any sordid details about his sexual escapades, but he did talk a lot about his relationship with “Psycho” star Anthony Perkins.

tab_hunter_anthony_perkins.jpg

One interesting story that Hunter shared was when an ex-lover tried to blackmail him.  The man, desperate for money, threatened to sell all the letters Hunter had sent him to the “Enquirer” in the late-1970s.

Hunter paid him off ($10,000) and the man asked to keep them because they meant something to him!!!! Um, yeah, blackmail material.  However, the man died a few years later.

Hunter is almost 87-years-old now and is still with his partner of more than 35 years, film producer Allan Glaser.

CELINE DION GOES ON AND ON

The 18th book I read this year and shared a blog about was “Celine Dion:  My Story, My Dream”.

Celine

I really enjoyed reading about Celine’s life story and I don’t want to give too much away in case you want to read it.

I was surprised to hear that she’s the youngest of fourteen (yes 14!) children!

I became aware of Celine in the early-1990s at the same time as most Americans.  We also learned around that time that she was in a relationship with her manager and future husband, Rene Angelil.  (They married December 17, 1994 in Montreal, Quebec.)

Celine wedding

It was still a little weird reading about the love affair — with the 26-year age difference.  She was the one that fell in love first and pursued him!  But, knowing that the love was real made me smile.  We all want that!

I love how Celine was upfront and honest about the nastiness of the press about things such as her love life and her weight (calling her anorexic).  Being a recovering food addict, I feel for her having endured that.

Celine House

While Celine has been a multi-millionaire for much of career (after hitting it big worldwide), I’m glad she didn’t sugarcoat her love of spending money.  She earned it!

Celine is definitely a survivor and one of the greatest entertainers of all time!  Definitely check out “Celine Dion:  My Story, My Dream”!

And, I shared my ten favorite Celine Dion songs.  Here’s my all-time Celine favorite!

You can read about how the book saved two ducks from a turtle and see my other nine favorites by clicking here:

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2018/05/22/celine-dion-saves-two-little-ducks/

“THE GREATEST SHOWMAN”

Before beginning my journey north, I did get a chance to check out the musical “The Greatest Showman”.

It was very entertaining and Hugh Jackman and Zac Efron looked and sounded amazing.

Many people know Jackman as Wolverine from the “X-Men” series, but he does have a background in musical theater and musicals (“Les Miserables” in 2012).

He gained worldwide attention playing flamboyant Australian entertainer Peter Allen on Broadway in “The Boy From Oz” in 2003, which earned Jackman a Tony Award for “Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical”.

In “The Greatest Showman”, he plays P.T. Barnum, a down on his luck showman and entrepreneur that started the world famous circus.

The song, “This Is Me”, won the Golden Globe Award for “Best Original Song” and it was also nominated for an Oscar.

It’s an incredible life affirming number!

My other favorite was from Jenny Lind, the “Swedish Nightingale” (Rebecca Ferguson), “Never Enough”, with real vocals by Loren Allred.

GRADE:  B

“SANTA CLARITA DIET”

If you’ve never watched this Netflix zombie comedy, what are you waiting for?

Season one was funny and season two was outstanding — even funnier and more crisp and cutting.

It’s the story of a typical California family that wakes up one day and the wife/mom begins violently vomiting and then starts craving human flesh.

The main cast, Drew Barrymore (Sheila Hammond), Timothy Olyphant (Joel Hammond), and Liv Hewson (Abby, their daughter), are incredible.

However, the one that cracks me up the most is Eric Bemis (Skyler Gisondo), the Hammond’s teenage neighbor and friend/love interest for Abby.

Small spoiler_alert_300_w2ahead!

In one scene, Eric is about to lose his virginity to Ramona, a Rite-Aid employee, and tries to sound more experienced than he really is. 🙂

Eric Ramona

Ramona : There are a million things I wanna do to you.”

Eric Bemis : There’s a million things I’ve had done to me. But I did all of them myself. Actually, it’s just one thing a million times.”

“Santa Clarita Diet” will be back for a third season in 2019.

HUGH GRANT & BEN WHISHAW MOVIE

Hugh Grant goes gay again (“Maurice” in 1987 and “Our Sons” in 1991) and this time with my major crush Ben Whishaw.

Ben Whishaw

In “A Very English Scandal”, a three-part series, Grant plays former British Liberal political party leader Jeremy Thorpe, who went on trial for the attempted murder of his ex-lover, Norman Scott (Whishaw) in 1979.

Spoiler! 🙂

The limited series was written by Russell T. Davies (“Queer as Folk”) and directed by Stephen Frears (“Florence Foster Jenkins” and “The Queen”).

Ben_Whishaw

If you’re not familiar with my major crush Whishaw (other than as the voice of Paddington, the bear), check out “London Spy”…

and my favorite movie of 2015, “Lilting”.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts – June 13, 2014

Happy Friday and Happy Father’s Day to all of the dads out there.

Thank you for checking out my random thoughts this week and have a great weekend!

ACCEPTING JONAH HILL’S APOLOGY?

It’s been almost two weeks since two-time Oscar nominee Jonah Hill (“This Is The End”, “The Wolf of Wall Street”, and “Moneyball”) screamed out a homophobic remark to the paparazzi that was hounding and berating him in a Los Angeles neighborhood near Hollywood.

He quickly went into damage control mode expressing how disgusted he was with himself because that’s not how he really feels and that he’s always been very supportive of the LGBT community.

While he’s a solid actor, I can’t say that I’m a fan.  On the other hand, I don’t dislike him.

I feel he’s genuinely sincere with his apology.  However, if he was really pushed into lashing out, he could have still said, “Suck my d***” without the derogatory f-word that precipitated this whole apology tour.

When I’m mad, I may use choice words, but they definitely don’t start with “F” or “N”, because those words are not part of my daily vocabulary and shouldn’t be a part of anyone’s!

BRAD PAISLEY IS AWESOME

I met country music superstar Brad Paisley back in 2001 in Canfield, Ohio, when he was just starting out and was promoting his second album.  (That’s a much younger me in the middle with the microphone).

Interviewing Brad Paisley 2001

At the time, he was new to business and came across as rather shy.  Now, he’s very outgoing and outspoken.

Here’s how he handled the Westboro Baptist cult outside his show in the Kansas City, Missouri, area back on June 1st.

Brad Paisley WBC

He took a selfie with the group that was protesting him and said that they’d “play loud” enough that night for the group to hear outside.

Awesome!

“I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY”

At this point, I might as well feature Brad as my weekly country music pick of the songs and artists that I’ve loved or admired when I listened to country music.

Brad first hit the chart in 1999 when “Who Needs Pictures” peaked at #12.  The follow-up, “He Didn’t Have To Be” topped the chart in December of that year.

In all, he’s had 37 hits on the Billboard Country chart with 30 of them reaching the Top Ten.  Of those, 18 have reached #1.  As a matter of fact, he had an amazing run from 2005-2009 with ten consecutive number one hits on the charts!

While I love, “He Didn’t Have To Be”, “We Danced”, and “When I Get Where I’m Going” with Dolly Parton, my pick hit today is convenient.  “Celebrity” reached #3 in 2003.

Brad has sold more than 12 million albums, picked up three Grammys, 14 Academy of Country Music Awards, and 14 Country Music Association Awards.

“TONY AWARDS” HUMOR

Hugh Jackman from Sunday night’s “Tony Awards” broadcast:  “There’s the amazing Neil Patrick Harris, nominated for Hedwig.  He is a legendary four-time Tony host.  But, Angela Lansbury has hosted five times. So, Neil is right behind her and I was right behind him, which is still illegal in 13 states.”

Hugh Jackman

Disclaimer:  That picture of Hugh Jackman has nothing to do with the Tony Awards.  Oh well….

THE HUNDRED-FOOT JOURNEY

It’s now June and I’ve only gone to the movies once this year.  I saw “August:  Osage County” back in January.

I still want to see “Godzilla” on the big screen and I’ll wait to see “Neighbors” on DVD.  Other than that, there’s nothing out there or coming out anytime soon that I can’t wait for to watch at home.

The next movie I anticipate seeing is “The Hundred-Foot Journey” with Academy Award winner Helen Mirren (“The Queen”, 2006, Best Actress).

The movie is co-produced by Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey and is directed by Lasse Hallstrom (“Chocolat”, “The Cider House Rules”, and “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape”).

“The Hundred-Foot Journey” opens August 8th.

CHER IS COMING BACK TO THE QUAD CITIES

This fall, music and screen icon, Cher, will be making another stop in the Quad Cities on October 22nd with her “Dressed To Kill Tour”.  Pat Benatar is opening for her.

Cher 2014 311

I saw her last Friday night in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with Cyndi Lauper opening for her.  The show, from the costumes, the sets, the choreography, and Cher’s humor and voice, was amazing.

I saw Cher and Cyndi back in 2002 in Chicago on “The Farewell Tour” and the “Dressed To Kill Tour” was much better and more entertaining.

DO YOU KNOW RYAN LEWIS?

Ryan Lewis is part of the biggest act that has hit pop and rap music in the past few years.  He’s the good-looking half of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.

But, could you pick him out a crowd?  Obviously, New Yorkers couldn’t.  Lewis is so funny in this clip from “The Tonight Show”.

COOKIE FAIL

I got really excited when I saw that Chips Ahoy had birthday frosting and Oreo creme filled cookies.

Chips Ahoy Filled Cookies

I wasn’t impressed.  I think the cookies would have been much better if they were crunchy Chips Ahoy with the creme frosting filling.  I’ll save my 75 calories per small cookie for something more rewarding.

PICK HIT

Swedish music producer and DJ Avicii has produced songs for some of the biggest names in music — Madonna, Coldplay, Enrique Iglesias, Pitbull, Daft Punk, Robyn, and many more.

He even scored his first hit album with himself as the star.  “True” debuted at #5 in the U.S. last fall and was one of my favorite albums of 2013.

The first two songs from that album have made a big impact on Top 40 radio in America and both have topped the Billboard Dance chart.

“Wake Me Up” reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2013 and was downloaded more than 4 million times.  The follow-up, “Hey Brother”, peaked at #16 on the Hot 100.

His new song, “Addicted To You”, has already topped the Billboard Dance chart and is now racing up the Top 40 radio chart.

Warning:  the video does include shots of butts!

SPEAKING OF MADONNA

It seems that she is hard at work on her 13th studio album.  While there is no release date set, it appears that she’s working with Avicii,  the English duo Disclosure (who’s scoring big on American radio right now with their Top 15 hit, “Latch”), American DJ and producer Diplo, and English singer/actress Natalia Kills.

I really thought that Natalia Kills would have been big in the U.S. in the wake of Lady Gaga and Katy Perry.  However, that didn’t happen even with will.i.am on her side.

But, “Wonderland” is still one of my favorite songs and videos.  Warning — it’s disturbing.

THAT’S IT

Have a splendid weekend and thank you for checking out my random thoughts this week!

Anthony

 

Least Thought-Provoking Entry Yet!

Most of the time, my blogs are thought-provoking.  Today’s blog is far from that!

I love donuts and I love roses.

I love glazed, chocolate, and maple-covered.  Don’t forget creme and jelly filled, too.

My favorite roses are orange and yellow, but I love red roses, as well.

Colorful Donuts Roses

So, what do donuts and roses have in common?  I’m sure something, but for today’s blog, it’s nothing more than they both traditionally come in dozens!   But, here I’m featuring more than a “Baker’s Dozen”.

As the days get shorter, the nights get longer and winter’s chill and snow settles in, here are almost two dozen of my favorites that could warm your thoughts this winter.  (I’m kidding!)

March Snow

Now that I think about it, this is skewed toward women and a select number of men.  However, it’s for fun, to prove a point, and to achieve a memorable goal.  (If achieved, I’ll reveal that goal!)

ADAM LEVINE, lead singer of Maroon 5

adam-levine-tattoos

ALEX PETTYFER, actor (“Magic Mike” and “I Am Number Four”)

Alex Pettyfer

ANDREW LINCOLN, actor (“The Walking Dead”)

Andrew Lincoln

BORIS KODJOE, actor (“Undercovers”)

boris-kodjoe-2

CHANNING TATUM, actor (“Magic Mike” and “White House Down”)

ChanningTatum

ENRIQUE IGLESIAS, singer

enrique_iglesias

HUGH JACKMAN, actor (“Les Miserables”, “Real Steel”, and “Swordfish”)

Hugh Jackman

JAMES MARSDEN, actor (“27 Dresses”, “Hop”, and “The 24th Day”)

james-marsden

JONNY LEE MILLER, actor (“Elementary” and “Eli Stone”)

jonny_lee_miller

JOSH WALD, model and skateboarder

Josh Wald

MATT BOMER, actor (“White Collar” and “Magic Mike”)

Matt Bomer

MICHAEL FASSBENDER, actor (“12 Years A Slave”, “Shame”, and “Inglorious Basterds”)

FassbenderObsession

MICHAEL C. HALL, actor (“Dexter”, “Six Feet Under”, and “Kill Your Darlings”)

Dexter-michael-c-hall

Michael C Hall

MIKE VOGEL, actor (“Under The Dome”, “Bates Motel”, and “Cloverfield”)

600full-mike-vogel

PAUL WALKER, actor (the “Fast & Furious” series  and “Joy Ride”)

Paul Walker

RICKY MARTIN, singer

Ricky-Martin

RYAN GOSLING, actor (“Notebook”, “Drive”, and “The Ides of March”)

Ryan Gosling

SHAWN ASHMORE, actor (“The Following” and “Frozen”)

Shawn Ashmore in Cosmo

AND TWO ALL-TIME FAVORITES

COREY HART, singer (“Sunglasses at Night” and “Never Surrender”)

Corey+Hart

DAVID DUCHOVNY, actor (“The X-Files”)

David Duchovny

AND, BEHIND EVERY GOOD MAN…

GILLIAN ANDERSON, actress (“The X-Files”)

Gillian Anderson

Gillian David The X-Files

ZOE SOLDANA, actress (“Avatar” and “Star Trek Into Darkness”)

Zoe_Saldana

This is a perfect blog for one of my favorite songs from my club days!

Nicole’s 1986 international smash and Billboard Dance Chart hit, “Don’t You Want My Love”.

“You, you make me hot!  You make my body feel delirious.”

Anthony

Summer’s Coming, So Get the Popcorn Ready

I’m sure there aren’t too many people who would tell Ryan Gosling, Hugh Jackman, Sandra Bullock, James Franco, Amanda Seyfried, and Henry Cavill to wait.

Ryan GoslingHugh Jackmansandra_bullock_james franco imageamanda-seyfried-2Henry-Cavill-Shirtless-On-Superman-Set

As hot and talented as they are, I’ll likely be waiting for their new movies, “Only God Forgives” (Gosling, July 19), “The Wolverine” (Jackman, July 26), “The Heat” (Bullock, June 28), “This Is The End” (Franco, June 12), “Lovelace” (Seyfried, August 9), and “Man of Steel” (Cavill, June 14) to arrive on DVD in late 2013 or 2014, even though they all hit the movie theaters this summer.

Here are the movies that I’ve decided will send me into the theaters for my large popcorn and large Coke Zero (and free refills).

May 10, 2013

“THE GREAT GATSBY”

If the latest Buz Luhrmann movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, and Tobey Maguire is as magical as Luhrmann’s 2001 musical, “Moulin Rouge!”, it’ll be a masterpiece to me.  From all of the buzz I’m hearing, this 2013 version should easily surpass the 1974 adaptation of the F. Scott Fitzgerald literary classic with Robert Redford and Mia Farrow.

May 17, 2013

“STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS”

I previewed this sequel to J.J. Abrams’ 2009 hit and re-boot, “Star Trek” last week in my “Random Friday Thoughts”.  I can’t wait to see where this movie takes the USS Enterprise.  Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana return and are joined by Benedict Cumberbatch (of the BBC hit series, “Sherlock”).

June 21, 2013

Since we’ll have Gretel one of these two weekends (June 21 or 28), we’ll have to make it a double feature weekend at the movies when she’s not with us.  It also saves money because you’re only buying one popcorn and two sodas and getting refills instead of doing it each weekend!

The last time we did that, Ray and I saw “Les Miserables” and “Zero Dark Thirty” on the same day.

Of the two new movies I want to see in late June, one features a fight to save the world from, you guessed it, zombies!  And, the other features “Magic Mike” Channing Tatum with his clothes on trying to save the President of the United States (Jamie Foxx).

“WORLD WAR Z”

This will be one of the most anticipated movies of the summer.  The Brad Pitt-action flick was pushed back from a December 2012 release date for re-shoots, which is sometimes seen in Hollywood as a sign that the movie is in trouble.  Plus, it’s not a cheap movie with a budget of  more than $170 million!  Pitt hopes that this feature will become a franchise.

All I can say is that these are not your “The Walking Dead” slow-moving flesh eaters.  They can move!

June 28, 2013

“WHITE HOUSE DOWN”

While I’ve never gone to the theater to see over-the-top movies by Roland Emmerich (the modern-day Irwin Allen), I’ve decided that it might be fun doing something I normally don’t do.  I enjoyed his “The Day After Tomorrow” on DVD.

And, with publicity pictures like this, I’d be a fool not to go!

Tatum Foxx

August 7, 2013

“ELYSIUM”

The Oscar-nominated 2009 action/thriller “District 9”  was incredible.  Director Neill Blomkamp is back with his latest thriller starring Matt Damon and a very stunning and sexy Jodie Foster.  I mean, check out that hair!  Did that sound too gay?  I’ve always been in love with Jodie!

Elysium-Jodie-Foster1

The movie takes place in 2154 and “the world has been divided into two classes”, says “Entertainment Weekly”:  the rich living aboard a high-tech orbital space station, “Elysium”, and everyone living on the suffering, dying Earth below.

Matt Damon plays an Earth resident that has to break into Elysium to cure himself of a medical condition that is available there, but not on Earth.  And, from what I’ve read, Jodie Foster is the villian in this movie.  She heads up the Elysium Corporate Authority.

The movie also stars Sharlto Copley, the star of “District 9”.

August 7, 2013

“PERCY JACKSON:  SEA OF MONSTERS”

Sometimes you do it for the kids.

Gretel is a huge fan of the Rick Riordan young-adult series, she loved the first movie, “Percy Jackson & the Olympians:  The Lightning Thief”, and she has a crush on “Percy Jackson” actor Logan Lerman.  (I have to admit that he is cute.)  Grown-ups will more likely know him as Charlie in “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” from last year.

This movie will whet our appetites for “The Hunger Games:  Catching Fire” coming in November.

HONORABLE MENTION

And, while I’ll wait for the DVD, the new movie from Oscar winner Pedro Almodovar, “I’m So Excited” looks very funny.  His last movie, the horror/psychological drama, “The Skin I Live In”, was one of my favorite movies that I saw in 2012.

And, I’ll never think of the Pointer Sisters performing this song again after seeing this over-the-top, hilarious version of “I’m So Excited”.  Here’s the video.

In honor of the late movie critic Roger Ebert, I hope my choices that I’ll spend good money on get “two thumbs up”.

Anthony

Weekend Oscar Battle: “Zero Dark Thirty” or “Les Miserables”

There are nine movies nominated for “Best Picture” in this year’s Oscar race.  After going to the movies yesterday for a double feature, I’ve now seen five of the nine.  Interestingly enough, the only one of the nine that I really have no desire to see is “Django Unchained”, but I’ll check it out when it’s released on DVD.

With popcorn and Coke Zero (with a splash of Cherry Coke) in hand, we grabbed our seats for “Zero Dark Thirty”.

zero-dark-thirty

This Kathryn Bigelow-directed spy thriller, which is nominated for five Oscars, takes us along on the painstaking search and execution of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

The movie begins on September 11, 2001, when terrorists hijacked planes and crashed them into the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.  Those attacks led to the murder of more than 3,000 Americans and kicked off  “the story of history’s greatest manhunt for the world’s most dangerous man.”

While a very talkative movie, Bigelow and writer Mark Boal, who was also at the helm of the 2010 Oscar winner, “The Hurt Locker”, gives you a thorough history lesson that didn’t make it feel like you were in school.

When we first see Best Actress nominee Jessica Chastain, she’s a quiet, mousy CIA agent observing torture techniques to get information on al-Qaeda.  As the search for bin Laden drags on for almost ten years, we see her become a confident, assertive agent that gave the government the ammunition it needed to convince the president to order the U.S. Navy SEALs to go in and take bin Laden out.

The movie is being criticized in some circles as being pro-torture.  Yes, we see several scenes of waterboarding, sleep deprivation, starvation, physical abuse, and psychological torture with one prisoner being naked in front of his captors.  While the scenes were tough to watch and you did feel compassion toward the Middle Eastern detainee being interviewed, the reality of the situation is that 3,000+ Americans were killed and the U.S. needed information to prevent another 9/11 attack.

Jason Clarke was superb as the aforementioned interrogator.  The acting in the movie is top-notch.

The movie is more than 2 1/2 hours long, but once the order is given to storm bin Laden’s compound in Pakistani darkness, you’re sitting on your seat and you hold your breath to see how the operation will go down.

GRADE:  B+

les mis

As most of you already know, “Les Miserables”, or “Les Mis” is now a movie and Broadway musical based on Victor Hugo’s 1862 novel about Frenchman Jean Valjean, who served 19 years in prison for stealing a loaf of bread to feed starving relatives..

Once Valjean (Hugh Jackman) is released from prison, he breaks his parole and a police inspector, Javert (Russell Crowe) dedicates his life to track down Valjean and put him back in prison.  In the course of redemption, Valjean becomes a factory owner and the mayor and he rescues the child, Cosette, of one of his dying factory workers, Fantine.  (That’s not a spoiler if you know anything about “Les Mis”.)

Hugh Jackman received a Best Actor nomination and Anne Hathaway is nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her heartbreaking performance of poor, dying prostitute Fantine.  Although her time in the movie is limited, when she performs “I Dreamed A Dream”, I was ready to give her the Oscar right then!

Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen were amazing as the lying, cheating, unconscionable Thenardiers.  Their comic relief was needed in a very bleak and depressing movie.

Now, since this is a musical, I have to mention the singing.  Instead of singing along to pre-recorded tracks and lip synching, the actors were required to sing live with piano accompaniments.  The orchestra was added in post-production.

Anne Hathaway and Samantha Barks (adult Eponine) were spectacular and Amanda Seyfried (adult Cosette) is just as captivating as she was in “Mamma Mia”.  Hugh Jackman has done many productions that required singing, so he did a great job, too.  I was also pleasantly surprised with the singing voices of Eddie Redmayne (Marius) and Aaron Tveit (Enjolras).  Even Oscar winner Russell Crowe, while not a spectacular singer, was acceptable.  Let’s just say he’s no Pierce Brosnan in the “Mamma Mia” movie!

However, singer Adam Lambert of “American Idol” fame was very critical of the singing in the movie.

Adam Lambert

While I like Adam and I have his latest album, I thought that was a little harsh.  I mean they all can’t be “American Idol” winners.  Oh wait, neither were you!

The “Les Mis” soundtrack is the #1 album in America and, in just the first ten days of release, it has already outsold Adam’s last album, “Trespassing”, in the U.S., which was released eight months ago.  And, yesterday, it was reported that Adam Lambert was dropped/parted ways from his label.  So, I guess he shouldn’t be too bitchy about the singing in “Les Miserables”.

My favorites numbers in the movie for those that have seen it are:  “I Dreamed A Dream” (Hathaway), “Master of the House”  (Bonham Carter, Baron Cohen, & Cast), “ABC Cafe/Red and Black” (Redmayne, Tveit, & Students), “On My Own” (Barks), Russell Crowe’s final song (giving you the title would be a spoiler!), and “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables” (Redmayne)

While “Les Mis” was nominated for eight Academy Awards this year, after seeing the movie, I’m very shocked that director Tom Hooper (“The King’s Speech) was snubbed for a Best Director Oscar nomination, along with director Ben Affleck of “Argo”.

“LES MIS” EXTRA — SAMANTHA BARKS “ON MY OWN”

GRADE:  A-