Posts Tagged ‘Northland’

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°.

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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

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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 — May 25, 2018

May is almost over and it’s Memorial Day weekend, which is the “unofficial” start to the summer season.

After today’s blog, I’ll be going on “hiatus” to get moved to Duluth, Minnesota.

When I make new friends up north, I hope that some of them grill out!

kEBOB

In addition to missing companionship, my friends and family, and my koi pond, grilling out is another thing I’ve really missed since leaving the Quad Cities!

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How are you doing on those “New Year’s Resolutions”?

I’m sure many are history and some of you are still paying for those unused gym memberships! 🙂

I decided to look back at my first two blogs of the year, “2018: Looking Ahead, Not Back”  and “Random Friday (2018) Thoughts”, to see how I’m doing on my resolutions and predictions.

If you want to see the pictures, videos, and read the complete blogs, both links are here and they’ll open in a new window, so you won’t lose your place in today’s blog.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2018/01/01/2018-looking-ahead-not-back/

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2018/01/05/random-friday-2018-thoughts/

In the January 1st blog, I wrote, “The highlight of my Christmas season was the 90-minutes-plus I spent in Mariah Carey’s Christmas wonderland for her “All I Want For Christmas” show in Las Vegas a few weeks ago.”

MC ALL I WANT VEGAS

It’s now almost summer and that night still crosses my mind.  It was truly magical!

I also talked about battling bulimia and how I used to be so spontaneous.

While visiting Chicago over Memorial Day weekend in 1994, I had a “Come to Jesus” moment.  A little over a month later, I left Kentucky and moved to third largest city in the U.S.!

But, that was then, this is now.   Somewhere along the way, I became a “planner” and lost my spontaneity and I want to find it again!

As last year ended and 2018 began, I needed change and the words of my favorite song of 2017, “Silence” by Marshmello featuring Khalid, hit me hard while I was reflecting on my life:

“I’m in need of a savior, but I’m not asking for favors/My whole life, I’ve felt like a burden/I THINK TOO MUCH, I HATE IT/I’m so used to being in the wrong, I’m tired of caring/Loving never gave me a home, so I’ll sit here in the silence”

I do think too much.

I wrote that it was time to “shake it off” and leave Panama City if I wasn’t happy, “I have four cities in mind for a fresh start. Two of them, I’d move to with or without a television job…”

The two I would have moved to without a television job were Palm Springs, California, and Las Vegas.

Vegas

Well, it’s funny how you make plans and set a timeline and then God sits back and laughs.

I said if I didn’t have a television job by Halloween 2018, I’d be out of here anyways.

Well, I’m leaving Florida next week and I’ll be moving into my new apartment in Duluth, Minnesota, on June 2nd, to call the “Northland” home!

Duluth at Christmas

I’m so thrilled to not only start the next chapter in my life, but to start living again!  Cheers!

Claire

In “Random Friday (2018) Thoughts”, (posted 1/5/18), I stated that after seeing five concerts in Las Vegas in 2017 (The Australian Bee Gees, Britney Spears, Tanya Tucker, Lionel Richie, and Mariah Carey), I’d like to see Rod Stewart, Ricky Martin, and Jennifer Lopez this year.

Those shows aren’t going to happen for me now, but I’m still holding out that if I only see one concert this year that it’s Kylie Minogue.

Kylie

Come on Kylie, add Saint Paul, Minnesota, to your North American tour dates when you announce the “Golden Tour”.

As for movies, I’ve already seen the first two on my list, “Call Me By Your Name” and “Love, Simon”.

I can forget “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” (7/20) now — unless I find out for sure that Donna Sheridan (Meryl Streep) is alive in more than a couple of scenes!

I’ve replaced it “Crazy Rich Asians”, which could be the new “Pretty Woman” — well, without Julia Roberts and turning tricks in Los Angeles.

Also, I’m excited about “Halloween” (10/19) with Jamie Lee Curtis returning as Laurie Strode.

jamie-lee-curtis-halloween

“Bohemian Rhapsody” about Queen lead singer Freddie Mercury has been moved up to November 2nd from Christmas Day 2018.  It stars the incredible Rami Malek of “Mr. Robot”.

Here’s the new trailer!

And, finally, on Christmas Day 2018, there’s Emily Blunt and Ben Whishaw in “Mary Poppins Returns” (12/25).

Mary-Poppins-Returns-EW-Exclusive-2

So, it looks like I’m doing okay on my resolutions and my prospects of being a happy person again!

And, I’m looking forward to snow and a “White Christmas” again!

White Red Christmas

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony