Posts Tagged ‘Oslo’

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 — January 26, 2018

The weekend is here and can you believe that January is almost over!  I hope you have a great weekend and thank you for checking out my random thoughts.

SPANKING YOUR KIDS

Pop singer Kelly Clarkson went on the defensive after saying she’s “not above” spanking her kids.

Clarkson says, “My parents spanked me and I did fine in life. I feel fine about it, and I do that as well.”

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However, the American Academy of Pediatrics discourages spanking and “other physical punishments”.

A recent survey showed that 78% of people believe spanking is okay “sometimes”, while 20% said “never”.

I’m fully on Clarkson’s side.  This whole “time out” or putting a child in the corner is silly to me.   I’ve been around children that could have used a few spankings in their lives.

I had my fair share as a youngster and I deserved every one them.  But, I also had a few beatings from my father that easily went over that threshold of spanking.  A beating and a spanking are much different!

Your thoughts on spanking?  Did you spank your children and how were you disciplined as a kid?

#TIMESUP MEGAN!

Who needs men to set women back 100 years when you have Megyn Kelly of “Megyn Kelly Today”?

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Yes, I defended her against the attacks from “that man”.

But, to go after 80-year-old actress Jane Fonda about plastic surgery and then drag up a mistake she made during the Vietnam War!  Tacky!

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When you want to use “Hanoi Jane” against her, Megyn and Fonda-haters, think of how welcoming America was to Vietnam War veterans when they returned home.  Even today, Vietnam War veterans get little respect!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Companies are always trying to come up with new variations on classics to increase their revenue.  Some work and some don’t.  Would you try these?

Food for Thought

A couple of years ago, McDonald’s in Japan marketed McChoco Potato.  It’s basically chocolate drizzle over their fries.  (YES, just to try it!)

Around that same time, Kellogg Company offered hot dog-flavored Pringles. (Again, yes, just to try it.)

And, in late 2014, PepsiCo tested a Doritos Nacho Cheese-flavored Mountain Dew with college students!  (NO THANK YOU!)

FINALLY SAW “CALL ME BY YOUR NAME”!

Earlier this week, “Call Me By Your Name” was nominated for four Oscars — Best Picture, Best Actor (Timothee Chalamet), Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Original Song (“Mystery of Love” by Sufjan Stevens).

It was a year ago this week that the movie debuted at the Sundance film festival and it’s been gaining immense buzz ever since then.  The movie has been in limited release, but is now going wide.

I finally got to see it this week and it’s fantastic. 22-year-old Chalamet deserves the Oscar nomination and I could definitely see him as a front-runner for Best Actor.

It’s not only a coming-of-age love story between Elio (Chalamet) and a slightly older American graduate student Oliver (Armie Hammer) visiting northern Italy, but it’s a beautiful bond of love between a teenager and his parents.

“Call Me By Your Name” is stunning, sensual, and heartbreaking!

GRADE:  A

By the way, there’s talk that director Luca Guadagnino is working on a sequel and both Charlamet and Hammer have expressed interest in continuing the story of Elio and Oliver.

“THE SNOWMAN” (DISASTER)

Nesbo+Snowman

After reading Jo Nesbo’s incredible Norwegian crime thriller, “The Snowman”, I was so excited to hear it was being made into a movie starring sexy Michael Fassbender!

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Well, when it arrived in the fall of 2017, critics hated it, the movie only made $6.7 million in the U.S. ($43 million worldwide), and “Entertainment Weekly” named it as one of the five worst movies of the year.

However, movie critics are known to be wrong.  But, not this time!

I watched the movie and it was the most disjointed thing I’ve seen in a long time.  It was like they had a script and threw out pages here and there and just pieced it together.  (The director said they did run of time shooting the movie!)

I visited Norway late last summer.  You know the movie is bad when you spend most of it picking out all of locales that you saw while there: the Vigeland Sculpture Park, Oslo City Hall, the gorgeous Holmenkollen Hotel and Jump Tower, the amazing city of Bergen, and the view from Floyen Mountain — all covered in snow in “The Snowman”.

The only real highlight of the movie was a gratuitous, but pointless to the plot, shot of Fassbender standing by the window in tight blue briefs!

Read the amazing book instead!

GRADE:  D+

READING MILESTONE

Back in the Quad Cities, I read many books while walking on the treadmill.  Since moving to Panama City, I do all my walking outside (only twice have I walked on the treadmill).

It’s given me a chance to read through the two boxes of “Rolling Stone” and “Time” magazines that I brought with me dating back to 2014.

With those now finished, I’ll read my “Entertainment Weekly”, “Out”, and “The Advocate” magazines when they arrive and start clearing out books from my bookshelf and visit the library!

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I’m currently reading “Front Row At The White House” by the late United Press International journalist Helen Thomas.

“THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US”

Oscar winner Kate Winslet and Golden Globe winner Idris Elba star in this movie from last fall that made $61.1 million at the box office.

Both stars give excellent performances in a very predictable movie.

GRADE:  B

PICK HIT

The amazing and incredible Kylie Minogue is back with new music following “Kylie Christmas” in 2016.

While the new single, “Dancing”, may have been recorded in Nashville, Tennessee, it’s definitely got the Kylie dance groove going on after the acoustic-sounding start!

The new album, “Golden”, arrives in April 2018.

And, since I’m excited about new Kylie music and I’m honoring the Queen, I had to share this hilarious commercial, which features Kylie!

It’s too funny!

REMEMBERING LARI WHITE

Country singer Lari White died earlier this week after a short battle with cancer.

She was moved to a Nashville hospice last week after being diagnosed with advanced peritoneal cancer in September 2017.

Lari hit it big in 1994 and 1995 with her phenomenal gold album “Wishes”.

It produced three Top Ten country hits:  “That’s My Baby” (#10), “Now I Know” (#5), and “That’s How You Know (You’re In Love)” (#10).

On “That’s My Baby”, she channeled her best Pam Tillis.

Lari leaves behind a husband and three children.  She was 52.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

 

‘Tis the Season, My Friends!

Christmas is my favorite time of the year.  This year, I put my tree and decorations up earlier than usual.  I really needed the beauty of the sparkling lights and the sounds of Christmas music to get me through my toughest year since my mother died 27 years ago!

Ap tree

After eight years together, Ray and I decided to go our separate ways earlier in the year.

It wasn’t just one thing that brought us to this conclusion.  The outcome of the 2016 election was very difficult for me and it took its toll on us. (I’m still not at peace with it!)  Also, it turns out I was a better dad to a golden retriever than his teenage daughter.  And, Ray realized he wasn’t happy some time ago, but he didn’t address it.

So, I took a morning meteorologist position in Panama City, Florida.  I still love what I do, but with the changes in my personal life and the move, it hasn’t been easy.  I’m miserable and it’s not just because of the split. I miss my sister, my friends, my koi/fish pond, and the snow in the Midwest!

With that being said, life is too short to feel this way and if things don’t change soon, I’ll make a change for myself and not just accept a “Band-Aid” to cover something that needs more attention – my happiness.

Enough with the “Hard Candy Christmas”, let’s make it a “Holly Jolly Christmas”!  There were fun things in 2017!

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Meeting my childhood idol was the highlight of my move.

In July, I drove hours through the Southern “backwoods” to Plains, Georgia, and enjoyed a church sermon from President Jimmy Carter.

Not only did I get my picture taken with him and his wonderful wife, Rosalynn, but they sent me an autographed picture of us!

Autograph Carters

Since paying bills isn’t the only reason I work, I traveled, too!

You know how much I love Las Vegas.  In March, I saw Britney Spears for the second time.

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And, I caught the Australian Bee Gees, a cover band.

Of course, splurging on buffets is a huge draw for me. I’ve now made the scrumptious Wicked Spoon at the Cosmopolitan and the incredibly delicious Spice Market Buffet at Planet Hollywood part of my Vegas tradition!

In August, Ray and I traveled to Scandinavia together since we had already booked and paid for the trip.  Copenhagen, Denmark was gorgeous and Norway was beautiful, too (I loved Bergen and Oslo and seeing snow on Sognefjord (“King of the Fjords”).  We also spent one night in Gothenburg, Sweden.

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My sister, Tammy, is still in the Quad Cities. She and her boyfriend, Gerald, came down for a week to visit in October.

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Just after she got home, her family expanded in October with the birth of twin grandsons.  Now, her two granddaughters are big sisters.

I hope life is treating you well and that you have so much to be thankful for — not just at the holidays, but every day.  With all the craziness in the world, make it the best in your little part of it!  Here’s wishing us great health and happiness in 2018 as we travel down this road of life!

“May hope and faith conquer fear and hate this Christmas!”

Love, Anthony