Posts Tagged ‘Love Actually’

Random Friday Thoughts — December 19, 2014

Winter begins this weekend and Christmas is now less than a week away!

I hope you and yours have a very merry holiday — whatever you celebrate this time of the year.

If you’re not caught up on “The Following” or “The Walking Dead”, this blog DOES, I repeat, DOES contain spoilers.

“RARE EXPORTS:  A CHRISTMAS TALE”

If you’re tired of the holiday classics this season and the Lifetime movies just don’t do it for you, check out this Finnish Christmas movie that was my fifth favorite movie in 2011.

This horror/fantasy/thriller will have you looking at Santa is a whole different light!  Now, when I say “horror”, I don’t mean silly slasher movie.

Sadly, “Rare Exports:  A Christmas Tale” was only released in 21 American theaters and it made a whopping $236-thousand domestically!  However, its foreign box office pushed it up to $4 million.

“THE INTERVIEW”

Sony has scrapped its release of the $44 million budgeted, James Franco and Seth Rogen comedy, “The Interview” after cyber threats to moviegoers.

I have to say that I’m disappointed in this decision and I hope that the movie is quickly released to DVD or VOD (video on demand).  Yet, Sony adds that it has “no further release plans” for the movie at this time.

It seems that I’m not alone in the scary precedent Sony is setting regarding internet threats.

Actress Mia Farrow tweeted, “Sony is a disgrace. Sickening.”  And, here are some others:

The Interview Reaction 1 The Interview Reaction 2

In the movie, Rogen and Franco’s characters are asked by the United States government to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Here is the “red band trailer” that just cracks me up.

In case you’re not familiar with “red band trailer”, it means that it’s NOT SUITABLE FOR KIDS and NSFW!  As with any truly “R-rated” video on YouTube, you might not be able to view this video without verification that you are 18 years old!!!

Again, this trailer is truly adult in nature and may be too abrasive to some.

warning

I loved the duo’s last big screen collaboration, “This Is The End”, which was my fifth favorite movie of last year.

I just wonder if they had made the North Korean leader a fictional character if things would have gone down differently?

JEB BUSH IS CLOSER TO BEING THE FIRST!

While it’s not official just yet, in my “Random Friday Thoughts” on November 7, 2014, I predicted that Jeb Bush would be the first candidate to declare his run for the 2016 presidency.

Earlier this week, he said he will “actively explore” a run for the Republican nomination for President.

I’m sticking to my forecast that the 2016 presidential election will come down to former first lady and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the former Florida Governor Bush.

hillaryclinton_jebbush

And, just like the 1992 election, I think that Hillary will be back in the White House.  Only this time, she’ll be the President of the United States and former President Bill Clinton will become the country’s “First Gentleman”!

“THE FOLLOWING” RETURNS

The third season of the psychological thriller, “The Following”, returns to Fox on March 2, 2015.

The-Following-Season-2-Poster-2

spoiler-alert

Sadly, my favorite character, Emma, won’t be returning since she was killed off toward the end of the second season!

The Following Silence

It’ll be interesting to see how unstable Luke (Sam Underwood) will handle and avenge the death of his twin brother, Mark, and his mother, Lily.

following Mark

And, who was in the truck that picked him up as the season ended?

NEW REBA MUSIC COMING VERY SOON!

In just a little over two weeks, Reba McEntire will be making her return to country radio.

On January 6, 2015, her new song, “Going Out Like That”, an “upbeat”, sassy song is being released.

It’s the first single from her upcoming 2015 album.

REBA_ATWIA_COVER_500

Reba’s last album, “All The Women  I Am”, was released more than four years ago and it was my third favorite album of 2010.

It featured her last #1 hit on country radio, “Turn Up The Radio”.

spoiler_alert_300_w2

“THE WALKING DEAD” SPINOFF

While I await the return for the second half of season five of “The Walking Dead” and see how the group handles Beth’s death at the end of the shocking mid-season finale, more details are surfacing about the spinoff to the hit AMC series.

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Forget the east coast and Atlanta, the new pilot will take place in Los Angeles.

Can you just imagine “walkers” taking over Sunset Boulevard, the Malibu beaches, the deserts, and the Hollywood Hills?

ANY “LOVE ACTUALLY” FANS THAT WATCH “THE WALKING DEAD”?

This weekend, I plan on watching “Rare Exports:  A Christmas Tale” and “Love Actually” again just in time for the holidays.

If “Love Actually” is one of your Christmas favorites and you love “The Walking Dead”, you might find this parody entertaining.

Andrew Lincoln

If you recall, a much younger Andrew Lincoln (Rick Grimes in “The Walking Dead”) played Mark in “Love Actually”.

Now, while Lincoln is beautiful and flawless, sexy Charlie Farrell in the parody could definitely pass a double!

RENEE FLEMING

I just bought Renee Fleming’s “Christmas in New York” album and it’s quite delightful and very charming.

renee-fleming

For those of you that may not know her, Renee is world-renowed American opera singer, a soprano.

Beginning on New Year’s Eve, Renee will appear with Kelli O’Hara at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City in a revival of the operetta, “The Merry Widow”, which was first performed in 1905.  Renee performed this role in 2010 in Germany.

NEW YORK CITY

Christmas is a magical time for many reasons and one place I’d love to visit around Christmastime is New York City.  In my fifty years, I’ve never visited the “Big Apple”.

If I was there now or over the next few weeks, I’d love to see the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, check out my first opera with Renee Fleming at the Metropolitan Opera, get lost in the Christmas spirit with the iconic Mariah Carey’s holiday show at the Beacon Theater, and be blown away by Michael C. Hall (“Dexter” and “Six Feet Under”) on Broadway in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”.

“MADAM SECRETARY”

In the absence of my favorite new network show this season, “How To Get Away With Murder”, which returns to ABC on January 29, 2015, I’ve had a chance to catch up on two other great shows on CBS.

Tea Leoni, who is nominated for a People’s Choice Award for her role as Secretary of State Elizabeth McCord, is incredible.  And, Tim Daly, who plays her husband, is incredibly handsome in his late-50s.

The show is very intelligent and thought-provoking.  It also makes me miss my favorite real life Secretary of States, Hillary Clinton and Madeleine Albright.

The show is doing rather well in the ratings and should easily be renewed.

Other than the awesome Leoni, my other two favorite characters are Nadine Tolliver (Bebe Neuwirth), Elizabeth’s Chief of Staff, and Blake Moran (Erich Bergen), Elizabeth’s quirky and sexy personal assistant.

“STALKER”

However, the other new show I’m enjoying, is not looking too promising for getting a second season if you trust the website, zap2it.

“Stalker” is a very creepy and sadistic thriller starring Maggie Q and Dylan McDermott.

Other than Maggie Q’s Lieutenant Beth Davis character, my other favorite is Janice (Mariana Klaveno), who’s on Beth’s Threat Assessment Unit team.  Klaveno also played Lorena, Bill’s maker on the hit HBO series, “True Blood”.

“HANNIBAL”

Sadly, there is no return date scheduled for the most under appreciated, least watched, best written and acted series, “Hannibal”, on NBC.

Hannibal Jack Showdown

Come on, schedule the return!  There was so much blood shed in the season two finale with four main characters lying there dying!  Who will survive?

Obviously, Hannibal and Dr. Bedelia du Maurier as they jetted off to Italy!

“AMERICAN HORROR STORY:  FREAK SHOW”

I have to say that the fourth season of “American Horror Story:  Freak Show” has been my least favorite season, so far.  (We have “Coven”, season three, but haven’t gotten around to watching it.)

I’m not alone since the ratings this season have dropped almost 50% since the October 8th premiere.

However, I’m not giving up on it because two of the last episodes, “Blood Bath” and “Tupperware Party Massacre”, were very entertaining and intense.

While the mid-season finale focusing on Pepper and showing us a connection between the seasons was touching, my favorite character was missing — psychotic man-boy Dandy Mott.

Actor Finn Wittrock is incredible and mesmerizing.  And, it doesn’t hurt that in recent episodes we were treated to several full posterior naked shots of him and others in his tighty whities!

american-horror-story-freak-show

Okay, Dandy does have a thing for blood!

‘UNBROKEN”

While “The Interview” has been pulled from theater release on Christmas Day, there are still a couple of movies that I want to see during the holiday season.

One is the Angelina Jolie-directed true story, “Unbroken”.

“THE IMITATION GAME”

And, the other is another true life story also centering around World War 2, “The Imitation Game”, with Oscar-buzz front-runner Benedict Cumberbatch.

THAT’S IT FOR NOW…

for my “Random Friday Thoughts”.

Up next, my favorite (and least favorites) movies and songs of 2014 and my favorite albums of 2014.

I want to leave you with a beautiful version of “Blue Christmas” from my idol, Reba McEntire, with Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli from his 2009 album, “My Christmas”, which was the top-selling holiday album of that year.

Have a great weekend and thank you for checking out my random thoughts.  Let me know what you agree or disagree with or what your random thoughts are.

Anthony

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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

Anthony’s 2012 Favorite Movies

I love lists.  I love reading them and I love compiling my own.  When I sit down each December to put together my favorite movies and compact discs of the year, I consider anything that is new to me that year.  So, yes, a movie that was released in the past may make my Top Ten list, even though it isn’t “new”.

Here is my list of my favorites movies I saw in 2012.  I encourage you to check out the trailers for the movies that are not mainstream or blockbusters in the United States since you may not have heard of them.  And, some of them may be a little scandalous depending on your sensitivities!!!!  🙂

Before I get to my Top Ten, here are ten others that barely missed out!

#20

The Descendants

#19

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

#18

Drive

#17

The Ides of March

#16

The Skin I Live In

#15 Movie

Jitters

#14 Movie

The Men Next Door

#13

Worldwide Box Office:  $22.8 million

#12 Movie

Worldwide Box Office:  $247.9 million

#11 Movie

Worldwide Box Office:  $56.4 million

#10 MOVIE

Worldwide Box Office:  $28.3 million

Worldwide Box Office:  —

Worldwide Box Office:  $1.1 million

Worldwide Box Office:  $295.1 million

Worldwide Box Office:  $159.8 million

Worldwide Box Office:  $116.7 million

Worldwide Box Office:  $151.1 million

Worldwide Box Office:  $6 million

Worldwide Box Office:  $114.9 million

Worldwide Box Office:  $1 million

 

There you have it — my favorite movies.  What are your favorites movies you saw in 2012?

Anthony

Random December Thoughts

Holy blinking lights, Batman, can you believe there’s only 25 days left in December?  Where has this year gone?  By now, you’re probably making your list and checking it twice and trying to figure out who’s been naughty or nice, how you’re going to get everything done, and how you’re going to pay for everything!  I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and if you celebrate a different holiday this time of the year, I hope you have a happy one.

Today, I’m just talking about random things that are on my mind.

HUMAN RIGHTS

I want to begin with a heartwarming comment that my political idol made one year ago today.  While addressing the United Nations Human Right Council in Geneva, Switzerland, in front of a crowd that included some anti-gay leaders from around the world, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (and I hope, the 2016 U.S. President) said:  “It should never be a crime to be gay” and “Gay rights are human rights.”  And, she said this:

Hillary

WHERE ARE YOU, WINTER?

What a way to start the month of December with temperatures averaging 16.1° above where they should be this time of the year.  In the Quad Cities, highs for the first four days of December were 61°, 59°, 69°, and 60°.  While I do love snow, I’m selfishly hoping that there will be no big winter storms over the eastern half of the country on December 18th and 19th (as we head to Chicago and then New Orleans for our 4-day Christmas cruise) and then on the 24th as we travel back to the Quad Cities from New Orleans.  A big snow late on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day would be fine with me.

Sunday Evening

A couple of days ago, I blogged that we had the possibility of a seeing a sticking snow Sunday evening or Sunday night.  While it doesn’t look very impressive now, we could still see a dusting of snow.  The best chance will be from the Quad Cities northward.  This map is for Sunday evening and it definitely shows snow chances, but as you know with weather, it could change again.  I’ll keep my eyes on it!

FunWinterDecorations

In January, if the cold air really settles in, this is something that I going to try to decorate the sidewalks!

MY SISTER

TammyChristmastime2011

God, please don’t let me jinx her.  I say that because I posted on Facebook late last January that Miss ABBA was doing well and then she took a turn for the worse and went to “puppy heaven” the following week.  But, here goes.  It was one year ago today that my sister, Tammy, had a heart attack and we almost lost her.  (She also had a near heart attack the previous December in Tennessee, too!)

She’s doing well, except that she never stopped smoking and she was told to stop.  Bad Tammy!

I’m so happy that she’s in the Quad Cities and that she’s going on the cruise with us.  Here’s to another great year ahead, my sister!  I love you!

SHE’S STILL THE ONE

Canadian country music star Shania Twain last weekend opened her two-year stay, “Still The One”, at Caesar’s Palace’s Colosseum Palace in Las Vegas.  To promote the event in mid-November, the city shut down the Strip for a short time for Shania’s arrival on a horse.

Shania2

This is Shania’s first concert tour in eight years!  Billboard magazine reports that she performed a  90-minute set of 18 songs, including many of her biggest hits.

Although she didn’t perform that 1993 song in her Vegas concert opening weekend, it introduced me to Shania Twain and it’s still one of my favorites.  In the U.S., “What Made You Say That” only reached #55 on the country chart from  her first album that went pretty much unnoticed.

However, with the albums, “The Woman In Me” (sales of 20 million worldwide) “Come On Over” (sales of 40 million worldwide), and “Up” (sales of 20 million worldwide), Shania ruled both the country and pop charts from 1995 to 2004.

Shania1

Billboard Magazine reports that Shania performed six of her seven #1 country songs in the concert.  The only one she didn’t perform was “Love Gets Me Every Time” from 1997.  On the country charts, Shania has had 28 Top  40 songs.  Of those, 15 have reached the Top Ten.  Her last Top Ten hit on the country chart in America was “Party of Two” with Billy Currington.  It reached #7 on Christmas Day, 2004.

PARENTS, BY CHOICE

Same Sex Parent

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BRITNEY!

This past Sunday was Britney Spears’ 31st birthday!  Happy birthday, Britney.  And, what a way to celebrate.  She’s engaged to Jason Trawick, earning $15 million a year as a co-host on “The X-Factor”, and she debuted this week at #12 on the Billboard Hot 100 with will.i.am on “Scream and Shout”, her fourth highest debut ever on the chart.

spears-williams-video-scream-shout

In its first week out, it was the most downloaded song in America (196,000).  I just love her.

Oh, Happy Birthday to Bette Midler, too.  Her birthday was December 1st.

CHRISTMAS IS TAKING OVER OUR HOUSE

After losing the Facebook poll debate over icicles or not on the big Christmas tree in the living room, Gretel and I did not accept defeat! 🙂  The big tree is still icicle-free.

New Tree Pic

However, with a gift card we had, plus an addition $12, we added another tree to the living room with icicles. 🙂

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And, we got a new seasonal flag for the front yard in memory of Miss ABBA.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

KE$HA SCARES ME (SOMETIMES)

Okay, I’m not Catholic.  But, I want to confess.  I would never want to see Ke$ha in concert.  Unless all of her concert is pre-recorded and she lip syncs, I want no part of her singing live.  I adore Lady Gaga and I think she is the neatest thing ever.  There are times that I think Ke$ha is just a Lady Gaga-wannabe with her bizarre and uneven television appearances.

I remember watching her on “Saturday Night Live” and her first performance “Tik Tok” was painful to watch and then I was blown away by the craziness of “Your Love Is My Drug”.

KESHA SNL2

And, then her performance a few weeks ago of “Die Young” on the “American Music Awards” prompted me to post this on my Facebook page:  “Ke$ha = Worst.Performer.Ever!  Shouldn’t her 15 minutes of fame ended years ago??  Thank God for Auto-Tune and DJs that remix her songs to make them fun and listenable!”

You can read that two ways.  I don’t like Ke$ha or I do like her overproduced and computerized final product.  It’s the latter.  I broke down and bought her new album “Warrior” that came out Tuesday!  There are many fun, upbeat songs on it and she is a creative story-teller.

I already know that I’ll have to fast forward past her duet with Iggy Pop called “Dirty Love” after a couple of listens.  It sounds dreadful, even with the awesome Iggy Pop line, “Santorum did it in a v-neck sweater”!

santorum vest

So, I may live to regret buying “Warrior”.  I also bought, “I Am The Dance Commander + I Command You To Dance:  The Remix Album” because I love dance remixes and it has all six of Ke$ha’s Top Ten solo hits prior to “Die Young”, the most played song in the U.S. right now.

Ke$ha Dance Commander

Seriously, if Ke$ha really brushes her teeth with a bottle of Jack, paid a gardener five dollars to sneak under Prince’s fence to leave a demo tape, AND she threw up in Paris Hilton’s closet, I think I deserve to give her a chance.  She sounds like a freak and is “too kool for skool” [sic]!

And, two years ago, Ke$ha released “We R Who We R”, after a rash of bullying episodes led to several gay youth suicides.  Ke$ha hoped the song would inspire pride in those that saw themselves as quirky or eccentric and to just be themselves.

Ke$ha, let that freak flag fly!

TODAY’S BIBLE LESSON (AND, I DID NOT READ THE BIBLE TO FACT CHECK!)

Homosexuality Sinful

DO YOU THINK JG-L IS A HOTTIE?

JosephGordonLevitt

I do.  I never watched “Third Rock From The Sun”, so I didn’t pay that much attention to Joseph Gordon-Levitt years ago.

That changed when I saw him in 1998’s “Halloween H20”.  After that, he appeared in one of my favorite movies of all time, 2003’s “Latter Days”.   I’ve also checked out his movies, “Mysterious Skin” (2004), “Inception (2010), “50/50” (2011), and this year’s “Lincoln”.

I still want to see him in “(500) Days of Summer”, “G.I. Joe:  The Rise of Cobra”, “The Dark Knight Rises”, and “Looper”.

What you may or may not know is that he’s also a musician.  Check out this awesome performance of “Bad Romance”.  Warning:  He does swear at the beginning of the song.

BACK TO CHRISTMAS!  WELL, “LOVE ACTUALLY”

Love Actually

Although this hugely successful ($247.9 million) British romantic comedy/Christmas movie was released in 2003, Ray and I just checked it out for the first time a few weeks ago and it was quite enjoyable.  It features an all-star cast:  Liam Neeson, Laura Linney, Colin Firth, Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, and Keira Knightly.

It also starred a very dapper and sexy Hugh Grant as the new Prime Minister, who may or may not find love at Christmastime, and a crazy, funny, and amazing Bill Nighy as a washed up rock star unhappily reworking one of his old hits to benefit on the Christmas music cash cow.

My favorite story line involved Liam Neeson as a grieving husband, who just lost his wife, and his relationship with his young stepson, Sam, who was madly in love!

While most of the movie was a downer, it was had enough fun and quirkiness to keep it from being totally maudlin (including a porn movie storyline!).

“Love Actually”  had a big surprise in store for me and I’m letting it out of the bag since most of you have probably already seen the movie  — a very young, sexy, and adorable Andrew Lincoln (Rick Grimes of “The Walking Dead”)!  Okay, what I thought might have been a gay storyline involving his character turned out to be more borderline creepy!

 

AL

FINAL CHRISTMAS THOUGHT AND LAUGH

ReindeerSantaFacebook

Happy Holidays!  I hope you enjoyed my random thoughts!  What are yours?

Anthony