Posts Tagged ‘Kathryn Bigelow’

Random Friday Thoughts — January 12, 2018

It’s a new year and I’m posting my first official “Random Friday Thoughts” of 2018.

2018 RFT

I hope you had a happy holiday season and are looking forward to great things over the next twelve months.

GLAD “WINTER BREAK” IS OVER

It’s not because 24-hour Christmas music is no longer being played or that people are taking down their trees and decorations.  I miss that!

I’m glad “winter break” is over so my favorite television shows return.

I want my “How To Get Away With Murder”, “Madam Secretary”, “The Good Doctor”, and “The Brave”.

On, “Murder”, I’m ready to see how the bloody elevator scene turns out!

911

When “The Walking Dead” returns in February for the final eight episodes of this season, I’m excited for another reason.

While I want to see the original character revealed to have been bitten by a walker die…

FTWD Christmas

… the real reason is that I want this dreadful season to end so “Fear The Walking Dead” will return for its fourth season!

“MADAM SECRETARY”

I got a pleasant surprise on the latest episode of “Madam Secretary” with Jayne Atkinson playing Vice President Teresa Hurst!

Needless to say, there’s tension between her and Secretary of State Elizabeth McCord (Tea Leoni).

Jayne

If Atkinson looks familiar, she was Secretary of State Catherine Durant under President Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) on “House of Cards”!

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When we last saw her, she was hospitalized after being pushed down the stairs by Underwood! *

It’s unknown whether she’ll return for the final season this year.

*He’s still an incredible actor!  Creep!

FLINT WATER CRISIS

One of my goals in 2018 is to drink more water.

While there are many parts of the world that lack clean water or have water shortages, it’s a given here in the United States that we should have a safe water supply.

In China, even the people that live there will not drink the water without boiling it, which should be a crime in itself — that a country can’t or doesn’t provide clean water!

However, I’m venting today about the Flint, Michigan water crisis that started in 2014.

I just read a couple of extensive (old) articles in “Time” and “Rolling Stone” and it still infuriates me now as it did almost four years ago.

To think city government officials (not elected officials, but ones appointed by Republican Governor Rick Snyder) approved a plan to change the water supply to save $19 million over eight years.

That might have been a logical choice had they not chosen to get the water from the Flint River, which was basically a dumping ground for the auto industry for decades.

The short story is that a month after the source of the city’s water changed, people started reporting funny smelling water coming out of the faucets brown or yellow.

flint-water

Yet, city officials said it was safe!

Kids started getting sores on their bodies from bathing and people’s hair started falling out.

It wasn’t until early 2016 that Governor Snyder admitted failure and vowed to make things right.

POLL__Governor_Rick_Snyder

Film maker Michael Moore stated “The people of my hometown, Flint, Michigan, are being poisoned.  Let’s not mince words:  This is a racial crime.  If it were happening in another country, we’d call it an ethnic cleansing.”

Senator Bernie Sanders called for Snyder to resign.

And, in Charleston, South Carolina, in January 2016, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, “We’ve had a city in the United States of America where the population, which is poor in many ways and majority African American, has been drinking and bathing in lead-contaminated water, I’ll tell you what — if the kids in a rich suburb of Detroit had been drinking contaminated water and being bathed in it, there would’ve been action!”

I think Flint city officials, Governor Snyder, and even those at the Environmental Protection Agency that knew about this and dropped the ball should be jailed for their incompetence!

To this day, we still don’t know how the lead poisoning that the kids got from the contaminated water will affect them in the long run.

The bottom line is that this is a disgrace and, I agree, racism is and was the catalyst!

SO, WHAT NOW?

In March 2016, “Time” reported that the state legislature appropriated $37 million to help treat kids with high lead levels and pay residents’unpaid utility bills.

Governor Snyder proposed $195 million for aid and infrastructure improvements (potentially replacing about 5,000 lead pipes) and Flint Mayor Karen Weaver is proposing $55 million to replace corroded plumbing.

Remember, this was to save $19 million over eight years!!!!!

MICHELE BACHMANN, GOD TALKED TO ME!

Former Minnesota Congresswoman and presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann is considering a run for Al Franken’s U.S. Senate seat.

Bachmann

She says she’s asking God if it should be her!

Well, Michele, I had enough your insanity in 2012 and God came to me in a vision and said, “Tell Michele thanks, but no thanks!”

“THE X-FILES”

In television, we’ve learned to “never say never” or believe the words “series finale”.  Also, being killed off doesn’t mean you’re really dead!

x-files

I’m excited that “The X-Files” is back for ten episodes for its eleventh season, but I’m bummed to hear that Gillian Anderson, who plays FBI agent Dana Scully, says she won’t return for another season.

And, creator Chris Carter and Fox says without her, there will be no more “The X-Files”!

Gillian David The X-Files

Many of you gave up on the series before it ended with its ninth season in 2002.  The six-episode reboot last year started off strong and lost much of its audience.

It’s back for ten episodes on Fox this winter and the first episode was a major shocker to “The X-Files” fans.

The first few minutes were just okay, but once it got going, it was a crazy ride!

Now, about that major shocker.  Let’s just say that fans are irate and Carter is defending his decision.  The shocking scene was a “wow” — that turned to creepy and then disgusting!

This season focuses again on the extinction of the human race, aliens, and Scully’s teenage son, William, who has alien DNA.  He’s also been in hiding from the government (the bad guys) since birth.

I can’t wait to see how this “ends”!

“THE CROWN”

I finally got on board and binge-watched this Netflix original now in its second season.

Claire Foy and Matt Smith star as Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

It’s interesting how Elizabeth II became the Queen and watch all the obstacles she faced.  Also, it’s great to see the “young” Queen because I grew up with and only know the “older” Queen.

In the first season, Foy won both the Golden Globe Award and the Screen Actors Guild Award and the series also won the Golden Globe for Best Series – Drama.

John Lithgow was amazing as Prime Minister Winston Churchill.  He also won the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Emmy.

While the cast of seasons one and two were incredible, Foy, Lithgow, and Vanessa Kirby (Princess Margaret) were my favorites.

When the show returns for seasons three and four, there will be an all new cast and we’ll see a time jump from the early-1960s.

By the way, my favorite episode was S2, E9 with President John F. Kennedy & Jackie visiting Buckingham Palace.  It was also also Foy’s favorite episode of the second season.

GRADE: A

“DETROIT”

This was my fourth favorite movie of 2017.  Sadly, it was ignored in theaters, so watch it on DVD.

It’s from Oscar winning director Kathryn Bigelow (“The Hurt Locker”) and is about the race riots in Detroit in the late-1960s.

The scenes between racist white police officers and the violence they subject to a mostly black group at a hotel is appalling and gripping.

GRADE: A

“GIRLS TRIP”

If you think you need a group of men acting badly (“The Hangover”) to have a great time, get with the times.

A group of long-time friends get together in New Orleans and let it all hang out in this smash comedy ($139 million at the box office) starring Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith, Regina Hall, and newcomer Tiffany Haddish.

We all need a friend like Haddish’s Dina!

The movie is hilarious and it easily earns its hard “R” rating — for raunchy. 🙂

You’ll also want to Google Kofi Siriboe afterwards!

kofi-feat

GRADE: A-

REMEMBERING DAVID BOWIE

It’s hard to think that it’s been two years now this week since David Bowie left us.

To remember him, here’s my favorite Bowie song.

While “Modern Love” hit #2 in the Canada, Israel, and the U.K., it only hit #14 on the Billboard Hot 100 here in the U.S.

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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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-