Posts Tagged ‘The Hunger Games’

Random Friday Thoughts — February 5, 2016

It looks like I might be back into the routine of writing and sharing my “Random Friday Thoughts”.  This is the third straight week of it. 🙂

So, grab your coffee or your mimosa and check out today’s thoughts and be sure to share yours, too.  If you disagree, that’s fine as long as it’s diplomatically.

DISGRACED POLITICIAN OFFERED A MILLION DOLLARS!

It’s been some time since disgraced and former Illinois Republican politician Aaron Schock of Peoria has been in the news.

The super sexy 34-year-old stud resigned from Congress last March after controversy about his use of federal funds made headlines.

Aaron Schock 2

It wasn’t only social media photos of his lavish trips, but also the interior decorating of his office in “Downton Abbey” motiff that raised eyes on his spending.

Well, now it appears he’s been offered help with his mounting legal fees, which are reported at about $750-thousand!

TitanMen, a powerhouse adult entertainment company, has offered to pay off his lawyers up to a million dollars if he’ll star in a gay porn film!

However, his dad says, “Aaron wears stylish clothing and yet he’s not gay.”

aaron-schock-1

If you don’t know much about Schock’s time in the political arena, he opposed marriage equality, opposed the repeal of DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) and “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, and voted against adding sexual orientation to federal hate crimes statutes.

CANCELLED CONCERT OVER CHAMPAGNE?

It appears that Timbaland likes champagne, but not just any champagne.

Last week, he was booked at a fundraiser at Club Bleu in Detroit to raise money to buy bottles of water and filters for Flint residents that have contaminated drinking water.

He was to DJ for half an hour and perform five to eight songs.  It’s reported that he took the stage and only nodded his head to the beats another DJ performed.  Why?  Because he wasn’t happy to be served Dom Perignon instead of Jay Z’s Armand de Brignac (“Ace of Spades”), which costs about $300 a bottle.

Jay Z Champagne

The owner, Mitchell Jaworski, claims that the music maestro and his entourage “had about 15 bottles of liquor and champagne, which is extremely excessive especially for a charity event”.

Timbaland’s rep says the story “is simply not true” and that the producer/rapper is an “extremely generous person who agreed to a much lower fee for this event to raise money for the Flint, Michigan’s water crisis”.

The fundraiser raised about $3,000.

MY LOVE OF CHAMPAGNE

While I love Moscato and I love vodkas, champagne is right up there at the top of my list.

I mentioned mimosas in the intro and with the talk of champagne, those sound good about right now.  I’d be ecstatic if it was served with a piece of carrot cake just like my 2012 birthday in Vegas!

Champagne

I prefer sweeter brands of champagne.

GREAT NEW DANCE ALBUM

While we’re just now getting underway in 2016, I found my new favorite CD of the year.

Actually, listening to “Matter” by the Brooklyn-based singer, St. Lucia, will have you checking to make sure we’re not enjoying the most fantastic music of the 1980s.

st-lucia-matter-new-album

St. Lucia is South African-born Jean-Philip Grobler and his band.  Their sound is heavily influenced by Grobler’s 1980s childhood influences: Phil Collins, Lionel Richie, and Fleetwood Mac.

Most of the eleven songs on his second album are very upbeat and very synth-heavily.

My favorites are “Dancing on Glass” (which I’m sharing with you),”Home”, “Rescue Me”, and “Physical”, which is very energetic, but ends very chill.  “The Winds of Change” is very similar in composition — higher beats-per-minute, but ends chill.

“Help Me Run Away” is so retro in feeling that it makes me giddy every time I hear it.

And, the ballad, “Love Somebody”, with the finger snaps and St. Lucia’s vocals, is mesmerizing.

While the album takes me back to the romanticism of the second British invasion of my teenage years in the 1980s, several songs vocally remind me of another New York-based band that’s on hiatus — the Scissor Sisters.

I know singers and artists may not like comparisons, but I mean that as a compliment.

In today’s sad state of Top 40 radio, I’m not holding my breath that “Matter” or St. Lucia will be burning up the airwaves this spring and summer and that’s a tragedy!

GRADE:  A

“AN AMERICAN SON” BY MARCO RUBIO

In my last blog, in an effort be more diversified, I crossed the aisle and read Mike Huckabee’s “Do The Right Thing”.  After the Prologue, his close-mindedness bored me.

I also said “Move on Mike.  Your 2016 presidential run is DOA and Iowa doesn’t love you like it did in 2008.  Go home to your family and retire.”  While I can’t take credit for it, his abysmal showing in the Iowa Caucus earlier this week prompted him to suspend his run for president that never really a “run”.  It was more like a limp.

Up next, Marco Rubio’s “An American Son”.

Marco Rubio

It was a much better book and story than Huckabee’s.  In an alternate universe (where Rubio liked gay families and didn’t use the word “conservative” like it was dirty), I could see liking the man.

Just based on the book, I would love to sit down and have dinner with him and his wife Jeanette to show them that I pray to God every night and I’m a kind and loving person that just happens not to fit into the “conservative values” circle.

I enjoyed hearing about his wonderful parents and their struggles leaving Cuba and working all their lives to give their kids a life they didn’t have.

Rubio told a very touching story about a struggling woman looking into the eyes of her newborn child, just your parents did to you.  His “people” (inner political handlers) didn’t want him to tell the story even though it was very heartfelt.  The reason?  It’d make sound like a Democrat!  If human = Democrat, I have two things going for me.

By the way, his wife, Jeanette was touched by it and wanted him to tell that story.  That’s another reason I think I’d like her.

Rubio also spoke about the 2008 election when Barack Obama won.  He became teary-eyed because of the significance of an African American being elected to the highest office in the most powerful country in the world.  That night he “was so proud to be an American”.  He knew he’d have plenty of time to fight the president to turn the country around because it was heading in the “wrong direction”.

CarterPres

I disagree with Rubio on his anti-Jimmy Carter sentiments he learned his grandfather.  Jimmy Carter is still my favorite president that was dealt a bad hand while in office.

Also, we’re at odds when he stated that the way Bill Clinton’s administration handled the Elian Gonzales case “arguably, it cost Al Gore the election” in 2000.

Arguably is right.  We know how that election was lost — Republican shadiness in Florida — “arguably”!

NOW, WHY RUBIO SCARES ME…

Overall, I enjoyed getting to know Rubio over 307 pages.  However, I have a couple of issues with his own trustworthiness.

In a recent Republican debate, in his commercials, and in his speech earlier this week after the Iowa Caucus, Rubio bashed Hillary Clinton over honesty.

Yet, nowhere in the book did he mention that he was arrested in a Florida park after hours in 1990 on a misdemeanor charge, yet he shared getting sick on vodka shots on a plane and vomiting on a high-ranking person in the Republican party, talked about going to “foam party” in clubs, and other things he did when he was younger.  Yet, no mention of the arrest?

And, then there’s the issue that his parents were Cuban exiles that immigrated to the United States in 1956 instead of 1959, when the guerrilla war reached its peak and Fidel Castro took office as prime minister.

He only “learned” of this when newspapers reported the inaccuracies???  As detailed as the book was, I find it hard to believe this only surfaced once it went public!

So, who has trust issues, Mr. Rubio?

CHER ON REPUBLICAN FRONT RUNNERS

Cher 

“THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL”

This coming-of-age dramedy didn’t burn up the box office (actually it’s a $2 million movie that only made $1.8 million), but it has a 94% positive on the film site, Rotten Tomatoes.

One reason it didn’t make money is probably because it was so hard to market and that’s sad.  The movie is hilarious, thought-provoking, and scandalous.

Bel Powley stars as 15-year-old Minnie, in 1976 San Francisco, who’s aspiring to be an artist. She loses her virginity to an older man (Alexander Skarsgard of “True Blood”) who’s very close to her and her mother (Kristen Wiig).

As the parent of a teenage girl that turns 15 this summer, the movie’s premise is frightening. 🙂  However, as a movie lover, it’s fantastic.

GRADE:  A-

IOWA CAUCUS AFTERTHOUGHTS

It’s cool that Iowa still kicks off the official presidential election voting season with its caucus.  However, I’m not fond of the caucus process, but Iowa is not the only state that does it.

Ted Cruz upset Donald Trump on the Republican side, but the true winner in that race was Marco Rubio with his strong third place showing.

I’ve comment before that the Trump-Cruz circus would make it very easy for Rubio to secure the Republican nomination.  We’ll have to see if his momentum can carry on into New Hampshire and Super Tuesday on March 1, 2016.

AP Hillary Iowa

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton officially won the caucus becoming the first woman ever and she won it with the slimmest margin ever.

I’m happy, as a Clinton supporter, that the race was close.  With all of the momentum that Sanders had going into the caucus, it could of a had a much different outcome!

To be honest, they were both winners!  (And, trust me when I say that, I’m not one of those people that think everyone that participates deserves a ribbon or trophy!)

APTOPIX DEM 2016 Debate

How successful are Iowans and the Iowa Caucus in picking the candidate for president.

Since 1972, the success rate for predicting the a Democratic candidate is 43% and it’s 50% on the Republican side.

More importantly, the Iowa Caucus predicts which candidates are likely to drop out because of the lack of support.  And, that’s true — goodbye Martin O’Malley and good riddance Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul, and Rick Santorum.

COMEDIC LOOK AT THE IOWA CAUCUS — AND IT’S REALLY FUNNY!

If reading about politics bores or you, let comedian and talk show host Stephen Colbert tell you the story in a much more humorous way.

This makes me laugh my butt off every time!

Iowa NH

NEW HAMPSHIRE PRIMARY

A thousand miles away from Iowa, the country’s first primary takes place Tuesday, February 9th in Hew Hampshire.  If you believe polls (and I do to a certain extent), it’s pretty much a certainty that Sanders will win and Trump has a pretty good chance.

For Hillary supporters, here’s some good news.  The last three presidents, Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton, all finished second in New Hampshire.

It looks like there’ll be other causalities after the votes are counted in New Hampshire.

After his loss in Iowa, Ben Carson cut his campaign operations “a little more” than half, which was mostly people that worked on the Iowa campaign.

I also predict that Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina will seriously have to re-think their future in the race — the one they don’t really have!  I didn’t mention Jim Gilmore because considering him a real candidate is a joke.

THAT’S IT FOR THIS WEEK 

As always, I appreciate you taking the time check out my random thoughts.  I always welcome your feedback, whether you agree or disagree.  If you disagree, do it diplomatically!

Have a great weekend!

Anthony

 

Advertisements

Movies on DVD You Must See

It’s still summer and there’s still some blockbusters showing at the theaters.

However, as the days get shorter and you start to spend more time indoors, here are some movies I caught on DVD recently that I recommend for your viewing pleasure.

“WOMAN IN GOLD”

While it brought in $55 million at the worldwide box office, this movie based on a true life story of one woman’s fight to get back her family’s art that was stolen when Germany invaded Europe in World War 2.

Oscar winner Helen Mirren is amazing as always.  It also stars Ryan Reynolds as her young lawyer fighting his first big case that became an international fight with Vienna, Austria.

“Orphan Black” star Tatiana Maslany plays Mirren’s character as a young woman.

GRADE:  A-

“THE DIVERGENT SERIES:  INSURGENT”

I moved on from “The Hunger Games” after the second movie.  I don’t care to see either of the “Mockingjay” movies.  Katniss, I wish you the best against President Snow.

I’m on “Team Divergent”.

I just saw the second movie in the series, “Insurgent” and it was just as enjoyable as the first one, “Divergent”.  Both movies have made almost $300 million each.

This one picks up just after Tris (Shailene Woodley), Four (Theo James), and few others escape evil Jeanine (Kate Winslet).

“The Divergent Series – Allegiant – Part One” hits theaters in March 2016 and the final movie in the series, “The Divergent Series – Allegiant – Part Two” comes out March 2017.

GRADE:  B+

“BOXTROLLS”

While this Oscar and Golden Globes-nominated animated feature came out in theaters last fall, I finally got around to seeing it and it was highly enjoyable.

It’s about Eggs, a human boy who thinks he’s a box-wearing troll.  His father sent him to safety to live with the trash-collecting trolls to save the baby from the evil pest exterminator.

That exterminator wants to eliminate all the Box Trolls to get into a secret society called the “White Hats”, which is run by the Mayor.

And, they love cheese!  You’ll want a cheese tray after seeing this movie — if you’re not allergic to it, as the exterminator is. 🙂

People in town fear the Boxtrolls because they’ve come to believe (falsely) that they kidnap and kill children.

GRADE:  B

“THE 10-YEAR PLAN”

If you’ve seen many LGBT films over the past years, you may have come across “Is It Just Me?” and “eCupid” by writer/director JC Calciano.

His latest is a romantic comedy starring the charming Jack Turner and Michael Adam Hamilton as best friends Myles and Brody.

They live in West Hollywood and are complete opposites.

Myles is a hopeless romantic that sees his next husband in all of the guys he dates (don’t worry, Myles, we’ve all been there!  Okay, at the time, I didn’t have the internet!).  Brody doesn’t want love, he just wants to have a good time and he does.

One night they make an agreement that if they’re still single in ten years, they’ll become a couple forever.

Ten years later, they’re still single and Brody is freaking out and starts working feverishly on finding someone for Myles to love — but, has he been there all along?

GRADE:  B

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — August 29, 2014

Happy Friday and surprise as I’ve put together some random thoughts to kick off the weekend!  I hope it’s a good one.

BIRTHDAY TRIP IS STILL ON

My 50th birthday vacation and celebration is now just six weeks away and it’s still on.

In case you didn’t read my blog from last Friday, the conflict between Israel and Palestine has us, at least, reconsidering that leg of the trip.

Tel Aviv Mediterranean Sea

Here’s that blog that talks about both continents that we plan on visiting.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/08/22/50th-birthday-plans-revealed/

THE LATE GREAT, GRACEFUL ARTHUR ASHE

Since I’ve been walking on the treadmill so much this year to prepare me for my fall trips, I’ve read many books.

I just finished “Days of Grace” by tennis great Arthur Ashe, who won three Grand Slam tournaments:  the U.S. Open in 1968, the Australian Open in 1970, and Wimbledon in 1975 against Jimmy Connors.

Arthur Ashe - Days of Grace

In this book, Ashe not only talked about his tennis achievements and disappointments, but also about growing up in a very segregated Richmond, Virginia, in the 1950s.

Even as he became a tennis professional playing in tournaments around the world, Ashe still faced obstacles.  If not facing blatant racism, there were those including his friend, fellow tennis legend Billie Jean King, that expected him to react differently to certain situations and she teased him.

She once said, “I’m blacker than Arthur“.  Ashe responded to that in the book with “I suppose she meant that I was not impulsive or explosive enough.  Maybe I should have called her a name, or slapped her around a little, and thus demonstrated my ‘blackness.’  Unfortunately, I don’t call people names, and I have never slapped anybody in my life.  Besides, she might slap me back.”

In the book that was co-written by Arnold Rampersad, Ashe talked at length about the heart attack in July 1979 and the quadruple bypass five months later that ended his tennis playing career.  Another heart surgery in 1983 to correct the first bypass would change his life forever.

Ashe needed a blood transfusion after that surgery that infected him with HIV, the virus that leads to AIDS.  However, it wasn’t until he had paralysis in his hand in late 1988 that doctors discovered that not only had he been infected with HIV, but that he had developed AIDS.

HIV AIDS

He talked a lot in the book about the the moral and religious aspects of sexuality.

“I want them to be familiar with the teachings of the Bible and with other religious doctrines.  Because of AIDS, however, I am equally committed to the policy of giving condoms, as well as the bare, unvarnished factors about sex and AIDS, to students.  I want adolescents caught up for the first time in the sizzling heat of sex to know scientifically about the penis, the vagina, and the rectum; about blood, sperm, and mucous membranes; about pregnancy, viruses, and the fatality of HIV.  In the midst of an epidemic that will only grow worse, I have no time for evasions and euphemisms or other timidly genteel deceptions in teaching young people who are either sexually active or on the brink of becoming so.”

Ashe died on February 6, 1993, at the age of 49, just a week after he finished writing his part of “Days of Grace”.

THE HUNDRED FOOT JOURNEY

I’ve only been to the movies twice this year.

Back in January, I saw “August: Osage County” and I loved it.  Since then, there have been a couple of movies that grabbed my attention (“Godzilla” is one of them), but it didn’t make me go.

Once I saw the trailer to “The  Hundred-Foot Journey”, I knew I would be there on opening day.  If you love food porn, this is the movie for you.

Oscar winner Helen Mirren stars as Madam Mallory, the owner of a Michelin-star restaurant in the South of France.  Her life is turned upside down when an Indian family moves in across the street from her and opens a restaurant serving authentic Indian food.

Madam Mallory does whatever she can to make sure the new venture fails.  Even so, she’s captivated by the charm and the cooking expertise of young Hassan, played by the charismatic and beautiful Manish Dayal.

You figure out early on how the movie will play out, but it’s still a great journey.

The movie, brought to us by Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey, has grossed $33.7 million.

GRADE:  A-

HAPPY BIRTHDAY RAY!

Ray turned 49 again (51 in reality) this week.

Ray BD

He chose Mexican for his birthday dinner at Los Agaves, a newer restaurant, on Avenue of the Cities in Moline.

While the food and the service were less than stellar compared to the chain’s other restaurant on John Deere Road, he enjoyed it.

Here’s to 50 more birthdays Ray!

DIVERGENT

After seeing the first two “The Hunger Games” movies, I’m no longer interested in seeing the final two movies in the franchise.  The reason, “Divergent”!

This futuristic dystopian science fiction film takes place in Chicago where people are divided into distinct factions based on human virtues:  Abnegation the selfless, Amity the peaceful, Candor the honest, Dauntless the brave, and Erudite the intelligent.

Each person takes a serum-based aptitude test to best place them into one of the factions.  Those that exhibit several factions are called “divergent” and are seen as a threat to social order.

Shailene Woodley plays Beatrice, a young woman who chooses Dauntless, much to the chagrin of her parents (played by Ashley Judd and Tony Goldwyn), even though she’s really “divergent”.

She is trained by the very sexy, smoldering, and tattooed Four, played by Theo James.

She must keep the fact that she’s “divergent” from the icy Jeanine, the leader of Erudite, played with perfection by Oscar-winner Kate Winslet.

The movie made $275 million dollars in theaters and the sequel “Insurgent” arrives in March 2015.  That will be followed by two more sequels in 2016 and 2017.

AMY GRANT REMIXED!

Amy Grant is sitting at #4 on the Billboard Dance chart this week with a song she first charted back in 1991.

Since her first Christian hit in 1977, Amy Grant has hit the top of that chart 16 times and she’s also crossed over to the pop chart.

Amy has a total of ten Top 40 hits of the Billboard Hot 100, including five from her 1991 album, “Heart in Motion”, that sold more than five million copies in the U.S.

Of those pop hits, two have topped the Hot 100, “The Next Time I Fall”, a duet with Peter Cetera in 1986, and a solo hit, “Baby Baby”, for two weeks in the spring of 1991.

Amy Grant

Her new album is called “In Motion: The Remixes” and it features remixes of some of her biggest hits by some of today’s hottest DJs, including Chris Cox, Tony Moran, Moto Blanco, Ralph Rosario, and Hex Hector.

“Baby Baby”, remixed by Dave Aude, moves up to #4 on the Billboard Dance chart.

REMEMBERING LAURA BRANIGAN

This week marks the tenth anniversary of Laura Branigan’s death.

Laura Branigan was from New York and in the early-1970s, she was in a band called Meadow, but they never charted.

As a solo artist, Laura’s first four releases didn’t make an impact at radio or on the charts.  The biggest of those, “All Night With Me”, which was the first release from her debut album, “Branigan”, peaked at #69 in 1982.

However, everything changed with the second single from that album!

Laura-Branigan-Gloria

Not only did “Gloria” reach #2 on the Billboard Hot 100, it earned Laura a Grammy Award nomination for “Best Pop Vocal Performance – Female”.  However, she lost to Melissa Manchester’s “You Should Hear How She Talks About You.”

The follow-up album, “Branigan 2″, came out in the spring of 1983.  The first single, “Solitaire” hit #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 and it was followed by “How Am I Supposed To Live Without You” (#12).

In the spring of 1984, Laura released her third album and the title track, “Self Control”, is still my favorite Laura Branigan song to this date.  It made it all the way up to #4.

In 1995, Laura released the last music video of her career for the album, “The Best of Branigan”.  It was for the remake of the Donna Summer classic, “Dim All The Lights”, in which she was partying it up with a group of drag queens. It reached #36 on the Billboard Dance chart.

She withdrew from the music business in 1994 to care for her husband, Larry, who had colon cancer.  He would succumb to the disease in the summer of 1996.

Eight years later, Laura died in her sleep on August 26, 2004, of an undiagnosed cerebral aneurysm and her ashes were scattered over Long Island Sound.

Laura, your music will always live on!

A PEPPY ANSWER TO SEXISM IN COUNTRY MUSIC

To the good ol’ boys in country music, move over for the Texas and Oklahoma duo of Maddie & Tae.

They’re currently at #17 on  the Billboard Country chart with their first hit single, “Girl In A Country Song”.

THAT’S IT

Thank you for checking out my random thoughts and have a fantastic weekend!

Anthony

 

 

Why Josh Hutcherson Is So Adorable

“The Hunger Games:  Catching Fire” arrives on DVD soon and the third installment of the franchise, “The Hunger Games:  Mockingjay – Part 1” hits theaters November 21, 2014.

21-year-old Josh Hutcherson, who plays Peeta Mellark, in the “The Hunger Games” franchise is such an adorable Kentucky boy.

When I say “adorable”, I’m not talking about being cute (which he is, but I’m old enough to be his father), I’m talking about his open-minded, intelligent logic.

Josh

In a very honest article in the November 2013 “Out” magazine, Josh melted my heart when he said, “I have this dream that one day, my kid’s gonna come home from school and be like, ‘Dad, there’s this girl I like, and there’s this guy that I live, and I don’t know which one I like more, and I don’t know what to do.’  And it’d just be a non-issue.”

Josh-Hutcherson-Out-Cover

When the magazine came out, much of the worldwide press that picked up on the interview focused on his thoughts of his sexuality (“mostly straight”) and when he jokingly said that the three lead characters in “The Hunger Games” series should have a threesome, a “triad” relationship.  I’m just mentioning it because it was in the article.  While awesome, dwelling on it would be reductive!

We need more people in this world that think (and look) like Josh.

Anthony

Re-posted from  “Random Friday Thoughts — December 20, 2013

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2013/12/20/random-friday-thoughts-december-20/

They Said What??? Josh Hutcherson, Liz Cheney, & Wolf Blitzer

“THE HUNGER GAMES” JOSH HUTCHERSON

“Maybe I could say right now I’m 100% straight. But who knows? In a fucking year, I could meet a guy and be like, Whoa, I’m attracted to this person. I’ve met guys all the time that I’m like, Damn, that’s a good-looking guy, you know? I’ve never been, like, Oh, I want to kiss that guy. I really love women. But I think defining yourself as 100% anything is kind of near-sighted and close-minded.”

DEAD OR ALIVE SINGER PETE BURNS

(in a tweet):  “Someone called CHER is on X factor later. Let s see just how much she s copied me this decade :)”

CNN ANCHOR WOLF BLITZER

“If they had three years to get this ready, if they weren’t fully ready, they should accept the advice Republicans are giving them, delay it for a year, get it to work there are health insurance sites that work great.  If they didn’t get it ready in time, make sure to get it right.”

REVEREND GARY HALL

(Dean of the U.S. National Cathedral):  “We must now have the courage to take the final step and call homophobia and heterosexism what they are. They are sin. Homophobia is a sin.  Heterosexism is a sin. Shaming people for whom they love is a sin.  Only when all our churches say that clearly and boldly and courageously will our LGBT youth be free to grow up in a culture that totally embraces them fully as they are.”

MORE HALL

“It’s more than tragic—in fact it’s shameful–that faith communities, especially Christian ones, continue to be complicit in putting our children at risk and abetting the attitudes that oppress them, thereby encouraging the aggressors who would subject our children to pain, humiliation, and violence.”

WYOMING REPUBLICAN SENATE CANDIDATE LIZ CHENEY

(daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney):  “I am strongly pro-life and I am not pro-gay marriage.  I believe the issue of marriage must be decided by the states, and by the people in the states, not by judges and not even by legislators, but by the people themselves.”

MARY CHENEY

(younger sister of the candidate, who married her partner, Heather Poe in Washington DC last year):  “For the record, I love my sister, but she is dead wrong on the issue of marriage.”

Anthony

Things I Look Forward To In 2013

It’s incredible that we’re already three weeks into the first month of 2013.  Where does the time go?  I remember being a kid and it seemed that the days lasted forever.  Now, I make lists just to get things done.  I’ve been pretty successful at not planning in the new year.  In the past, I would plan things a year in advance and I was always counting down to those things.  I never lived for “today”.

My main goal in the upcoming month is to return to the land of the working.  What?  I’ll figure that out in the weeks to come.

Otherwise, here are some of the things that I’m looking forward to in 2013 in the entertainment world.

2013 MUSIC

All_That_Echoes

Josh Groban’s voice is so incredible and sexy.  His new album, “All That Echoes”, comes out February 5, 2013, and the first single, “Brave” is already a smash.

This is a behind the scenes video of the song.  The real video has not been released yet.

SPRING 2013?

Cher’s latest, her 26th studio album and the first since 2001’s “Living Proof”, is expected to be released in March.  “Woman’s World” is the rumored first single and a tour is in the works this year.

Depeche Mode

Also, in March, the latest album from the English band, Depeche Mode.

Janet Jackson may or may not be working on a new album.  April 2013 is the release date that is circulating on the internet.  You know if it’s on the internet, it has to be true! 🙂

Natalie Maines

On May 7, 2013, Dixie Chicks lead singer, Natalie Maines, will release her solo debut, “Mother”, which is expected to be a rock album.

FALL 2013 or TO BE ANNOUNCED

ARTPOP

The third studio album from Lady Gaga, “ARTPOP” is expected by the fall????

Britney July 2011

And, Britney Spears will be releasing her eighth solo album this fall.  I sure hope it includes her current Top Ten hit, “Scream & Shout” with will.i.am because I don’t plan on buying his album.  Also, it’ll likely be announced soon that Britney will be taking up residence in Las Vegas as a regular performer to the tune of a rumored $100 million or more!

2013 TELEVISION

One new show that I want to see debuted last night and, of course, we were watching a marathon of “The X-Files” and forgot that it was on.  So, I’ll have to catch it online.

“The Following”, the new Kevin Bacon Fox series, looks incredible, creepy, and highly entertaining.  It focuses around serial killer, so it has the potential to be great.  If I start watching it, I’ll make it a regular part of my limited television viewing that includes “Nashville” (ABC) on Wednesday, “Elementary” on Thursday (CBS), and “Malibu Country on Friday (ABC).

There are two new shows that sound interesting.

Bates Motel

“Bates Motel” comes to A&E on March 18, 2013, starring Vera Farmiga as Norma Bates and Freddie Highmore as Norman Bates.  It’s a prequel to Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 horror thriller, “Psycho”.

A&E has ordered ten, first season episodes.

Hannibal

And, in another “original” idea, NBC has ordered 13 episodes of “Hannibal”, yes that Hannibal.  As in, Hannibal Lecter, starring Mr. Claire Daines, Hugh Dancy.

dexter

I can’t wait until season seven of “Dexter”, the third season of “The Walking Dead”, and the fifth and final season of “Fringe” are released on DVD.

Right now, Ray and I are watching “Six Feet Under” (we’ll start season two soon) and we’re still watching the first season of “The X-Files”.

2013 MOVIES

Oz_-_The_Great_and_Powerful_Poster

On March 8th, Disney’s “Oz  The Great and Powerful” starring James Franco, Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, and Michelle Williams arrives in theaters.  It’s a prequel to “The Wizard of Oz”.

In May, “Star Trek Into Darkness” hits theaters and in June, “Man of Steel” blasts onto movie screens.  While I want to see both movies, I’ll likely wait for them to released on DVD.  However, it’d be a disservice not to feature Henry Cavill (Superman) 🙂

*EXCLUSIVE* Henry Cavill returns to Canada to continue Superman Film [NO Canada, NO UK, NO Ireland, NO Germany, NO Austria] superman-man-of-steel-henry-cavill-set-photo-011

On June 21st, I want to see the delayed zombie apocalypse movie, “World War Z”, with Brad Pitt.  Like the last two movies I mentioned, I might wait for this to come to DVD, too.  Interesting that in this trailer, they mention the word “zombies”!

And, finally, we recently watched “The Hunger Games” and I loved it.  On November 22nd, the sequel, “The Hunger Games:  Catching Fire” arrives in theaters just in time for Thanksgiving.

CATCHING FIRE

Those are some of the things that excite me in the entertainment world right now.  Of course, I’ll lose interest in a few and I’ll find others to replace them.

Anthony

Crooks, Cheaters, Killers, & Lovers

Prior to meeting Ray almost four years ago, the late great Miss ABBA and I spent much of our free time during the winter on walks in the cold and ample Midwestern snows.  We also spent a lot of time curled up on the couch watching movies.  While we haven’t had much snow this winter (officially, 5.3″ in the Quad City International Airport in Moline, Illinois), I’ve been watching plenty of movies lately and I want to recommend some to you.  This past Saturday, Ray and I had a marathon movie day watching five movies!

“ARBITRAGE”

Richard Gere is already a Golden Globe nominee this year for his role as multi-billionaire Robert Miller in “Arbitrage”.  While Gere has won a Golden Globe for his performance as Billy Flynn in “Chicago” and he was also nominated for “An Officer and a Gentleman” and “Pretty Woman”, the 63-year-old actor has never been nominated for an Oscar.  I think it’s time for that to change.

While it’s almost a given that Daniel Day-Lewis will likely take home the gold statue this year, Gere deserves his first Academy Award nomination.

As Miller, a hedge fund manager, he’s not only being shady with his company’s assets, he’s also cheating on his wife, played by Oscar winner Susan Sarandon (“Dead Man Walking”).  While trying to keep his French mistress happy, something unfortunate happens and Miller not only has to work to secure a make-it-or-break-it deal to keep his company afloat, but also to stay out of jail.

The movie does have plenty of business talk diaogue to comprehend, but there’s enough drama and suspense to make it a must see.

Gere is as striking to me today as he was in “Pretty Woman” two decades ago.  As Robert Miller, he was phenomenal.  While she wasn’t given a part that is worthy of Oscar’s attention, Sarandon looks amazing.  I sure hope Hollywood keeps Gere and Sarandon busy in the years to come.

GRADE:  A

“ABSENT” (“AUSENTE”)

This Spanish-language film by Argentinean director Marco Berger won the “Best Feature Film” Teddy Award, which is part of the Berlin International Film Festival, last year.

This psychological drama follows 16-year-old Martin (stunning Javier De Pietro) as he spins a web of lies to seduce his sports coach Sebastian (Carlos Eschevarria).  The movie is told from the perspective of the coach and it leaves you with many unanswered questions:  did something really happen between the two and if so, is the adult still at fault even if he was the “victim”?

Berger (“Plan B”) is a great director and I look forward to more movies from him.

The only problem I had with the movie is that if it’s left up to the viewer to decide what really happened, we should have had one more scene to show what may or may not have happened that night.  The kiss goodbye at the end of the movie implies that something did happen, but since we didn’t see that, it was just confusing.

GRADE:  B

“ELLIOT LOVES”

This comedy-drama follows the life of Elliot, a Dominican-American, first as a 9-year-old trying to bond with his mother, and then as a 21-year-old trying to find love in New York City.

Elliot and his mother have one thing in common — looking for love in all the wrong people.

The movie is a perfect combination of feel good laughs and a few scenes that will tug at your heart and push you almost to tears.  Like his mother, Elliot will do anything to be loved.  As in real life, you find love when you’re least expecting it.

GRADE:  A-

“GAYBY”

This is easily one of the funniest movies I’ve seen in some time.

Matt and Jenn have been friends since college and now that her biological clock is ticking, she wants to have a baby (oh yeah, there’s a trust that requires a baby).  So, she asks Matt, her gay BFF, to be the father of the baby and after thinking about it, he agrees.  When she tells him that she wants to do it the old-fashioned way, many awkwardly funny scenes ensue.

GRADE:  A

‘THE HUNGER GAMES”

Since I’m one of the last people in the world to see this movie, my review will be short.  Just see it, it’s amazing.

It’s about 24 poor kids (12 boys and 12 girls) called “tributes” that have to fight to the death in a futuristic reality show.

There’s a girl, Katniss, who’s fierce with a bow and arrow and she has a fiery dress.  There’s a boy, Peeta, who bakes bread and believe it or not, that comes in handy in the “hunger games”.  And, there’s a hottie back home, Gale, that has to watch a scene in a cave that has nothing to with cuddly bears or Osama bin Laden.

Did I mention that they fight to the death and only person survives?  Or, do they?  Keep in mind that the movie has made $686 million dollars and there are three sequels coming.  I don’t want to spoil it, but who do you think might survive?  Oh, Jennifer Lawrence, the star, may be nominated for an Oscar this year for “Silver Linings Playbook”.

GRADE:  A

“KILLER JOE”

This Southern white trash film was pretty much ignored at movie theaters.  It’s made only $3.7 million.  And, that’s a shame because the movie stars some of Hollywood’s best:  Matthew McConaughey, Emile Hirsch, Gina Gershon, Thomas Hayden Church, and Juno Temple.  It’s also directed by William Friedkin, the mastermind behind “The Exorcist”.

One reason this movie might have been skipped over was its NC-17 rating.  Other reasons might be the violence and a provocative, controversial sex scene between McConaughey and Gershon.  All I can say is that I’ll never look at KFC the same way again.

The acting is spectacular, the subject matter is violent, and the pivotal scenes are truly disturbing.

GRADE:  A

“THE FALLS”

After seeing “Latter Days”, one of my favorite movies of all time, any future coming-of-age or coming out Mormon love story would have big shoes to fill.  While mildly entertaining and the actors showed promise, this was not that movie.

GRADE:  C

Anthony