Posts Tagged ‘The Man in the High Castle’

Random Friday Thoughts — November 18, 2016

It’s Friday and the weekend is almost here.

In the Quad Cities, the Christmas holiday season officially kicks off with the “Festival of Trees” in Davenport, complete with a parade, and “Lighting on the Commons” in downtown Moline.

It’s been a trying period post-election for winners and losers.  I hope that we all find some peace and common ground soon.

Thank you for checking out my thoughts.  I welcome yours and if we disagree, do it diplomatically.

“HALLELUJAH” 

This touching performance from “Saturday Night Live” and Kate McKinnon made me smile a little more this week.

HOLLY DUNN PASSES ON

Back in September, I wrote about country music singer Holly Dunn and her fight against a “rare and aggressive” ovarian cancer and that her chances of survival were bleak.

Earlier this week, Holly succumbed to the disease at the age of 59.

If you listened to country music in the late 1980s, you definitely heard her music.  Dunn’s breakthrough hit, in 1986, was the Top Ten smash, “Daddy’s Hands”.

She scored a total of thirteen country hits with nine of them reaching the Top Ten.

“Are You Ever Gonna Love Me” topped the chart in 1989 and in memory of Holly, here’s her other #1 hit from 1990, “You Really Had Me Going”.

Thinking of you, Holly.

I’M READY FOR A “SLUMBER PARTY”

The latest singles from Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, and Britney Spears received only lukewarm responses from Top 40 radio.

To be honest, while “Perfect Illusion” (Gaga), “Rise” (Perry), and “Make Me (Ooh)” were okay songs, none of them represented the best or what was expected of the superstars that released them.

As Christmas songs start popping up on radio, I’m really hoping radio takes a chance on the second single from Britney Spears’ “Glory” album, “Slumber Party”, a new remix featuring Tinashe, a 23-year-old Kentucky-born singer and songwriter.  Go Wildcats!

Glory BS

If you’re familiar with my blog, you know I love Britney.

She’s had some moderate success at radio over the past five years, but most of the songs were misses rather than hits.

“Femme Fatale” from 2011 was my favorite album of that year and featured some of the biggest songs of Brit’s career, “Hold It Against Me”, “Till The World Ends”, and “I Wanna Go”.

Britney-Spears-Femme-Fatale

“Glory”, the new album, is equally phenomenal and the remix version of “Slumber Party” is different from the album and inviting Tinashe to the party was an excellent idea.

Let’s just say the new video is so hot and sexy, it’ll smolder long after you finish watching it.  It’ll fuel many fantasies — even with gay men (and maybe even a few open-minded straight women)!

American Top 40 radio, add this song now!

“BEAUTY AND THE BEAST”

In just four months, Disney’s live-action remake of its classic, “Beauty and the Beast”, hits theaters.

After a very secretive first trailer last March, a new trailer was released earlier this week.

It was viewed by 127.6 million people in just the first 24 hours breaking the previous record of 114 views in the first 24 hours set by “Fifty Shades Darker”!

“Beauty and the Beast” hits theaters March 17, 2017.

A BEAUTY WITH A DIFFERENT LOOK

When Todrick Hall’s “Britney and the Beast” came out last June, I can’t tell you how many times I watched it.

I guess I wasn’t alone. It’s now been viewed almost 1.8 million times.

THE WEEK OF TRUMP

I said I would accept the fact that more Americans voted for Hillary Clinton (actually, more people vote for Hillary than for any white president in the history of the U.S.), but Donald Trump won the electoral college vote and the presidency.

However, that doesn’t mean I won’t mention interesting developments in the week of Trump!

DT Masks

He’s now accepting of marriage equality (?), wants his kids to have access to “Top Secret” information (? — Trump denies this), Vice President Mike Pence is going to court to keep his emails hidden (wait, wasn’t emails the biggest part of Hillary’s undoing in the public eye?), and Rudy Giuliani ws rumored to be a front runner for Secretary of State (sorry Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell).  Now, it seems that Mitt Romney’s name is floating around for that position.

Stay tuned!

“THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE”

The television buzz last year was all about “Mr. Robot”, which was phenomenal in its first season.

However, my favorite new show last year was Amazon Prime’s “The Man in the High Castle”.

The second season is now less than a month away.

Its premieres December 16th.

“PEOPLE YOU MAY KNOW”

I’m sure there are some great gay movies on the festival scene snow.  However, this year, there weren’t too many that I saw on DVD that really stood out.

“Beautiful Something” was a good one.

Last weekend, I finally got around to watching “People You May Know”, which features a LGBT regular and one of my favorites, Mark Cirillo — a Twitter buddy of mine.

In the movie, Herbert (Cirillo), Joe (Sean Maher) and Delia (Andrea Grano) are BFFs and get together to hang out one Friday night with dinner, wine, and cocaine.

When one of the friends goes to bed, the other two continue to party and that leads to a major plot in the movie.  (And, just because it’s a LGBT film, you might be wrong on which two hook-up).

While I would have liked to have seen more of Herbert as he got to know Nicholas, watching Delia and Joe work through some very complicated circumstances was rewarding.

The cast is amazing and the movie makes you realize just how important friends are in life through the ups and downs.

GRADE:  B

PICK HIT

“Water Under The Bridge” is Adele’s fourth hit release from her “25” album, which has sold 20 million-plus copies worldwide since its release one year ago this week!

Two of the singles, “Hello” and “Send My Love (To Your New Lover)” reached #1 on the Billboard Top 40 radio airplay charts and “When We Were Young” just missed out on the Top Ten.

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 — February 26, 2016

It’s Friday and that’s makes me very happy.  The weekend is almost here and I get to share some of the things that got me to thinking this week.

As always, let me know your thoughts once you’re done.  If you disagree, that’s fine.  Just do it diplomatically!

SUPPORT FOR TRUMP CONTINUES TO GET SCARY

I had my “Random Friday Thoughts” all ready to go including a little spat between Donald Trump and Pope Francis and a quote from Trump’s Nevada Caucus victory speech earlier this week.

But, I bumped everything down when I heard about what David Duke, a former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan and Louisiana state representative had to say about Trump.

davidduke kkk

Duke says, “Voting for these people [Ted Cruz & Marco Rubio], voting against Donald Trump at this point is really treason to your heritage.  I’m not saying I endorse everything about Trump, in fact, I haven’t formally endorsed him. But I do support his candidacy, and I support voting for him as a strategic action.”

Trump.jpg

Six months ago, Duke made similar comments in support of Trump.  The GOP front-runner then replied, “I don’t need his endorsement; I certainly wouldn’t want his endorsement.”  And, he added, “I don’t need anyone’s endorsement.”

Duke is not the only white supremacists praising Trump.  When asked about it, Trump’s response is coy, “A lot of people like me. Republicans like me, liberals like me. Everybody likes me.”

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m have no positive feelings about Cruz or Rubio.

This is just scary, sad, and so reductive to the advances we’ve made in the past fifty years as a nation!

DONALD TRUMP TAKES ON THE POPE

The war of words between Donald Trump and Pope Francis has calmed down.

Last Thursday, while traveling  from Mexico to Rome, Pope Francis talking about immigration, said this of Trump, “A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian. This is not the gospel.”

The U.S. presidential hopeful fired back, “No leader, especially a religious leader, should have the right to question another man’s religion or faith”.

By that evening, God must have talked to Trump because he had a much nicer message and someone else to blame, “I don’t think this is a fight.  I think he said something much softer than was originally reported by the media.”

Of course, blame the media! 🙂

PLEASE GRANT KANYE HIS WISH! 

I’ll admit up front that I can’t stand pompous ass Kanye West.  He may be a musical genius (as reported by others), but his ego is so disgusting, I wouldn’t think twice of giving his music a listen to see what it’s like.

Last week, he tweeted that “I love love love white people” after he tweeted this:

kanye

I hope white publications continue to get the word out about “black music”, but I wish that ALL publications would never write about Kanye again.  Maybe the world would be a better place?

THEY SAID WHAT???

DR. BEN CARSON (GOP PRESIDENTIAL WANNABE) — speaking of President Obama and saying if elected he might be the first black president:  “He’s an ‘African’ American. He was, you know, raised white. Many of his formative years were spent in Indonesia. So, for him to, you know, claim that, you know, he identifies with the experience of black Americans, I think, is a bit of a stretch.”

MRS. BETTY BOWERS (COMEDIAN –AMERICA’S BEST CHRISTIAN): “It is so inappropriate for the Pope to say Donald Trump doesn’t sound like a Christian. No conservative American does! How unfair to single Trump out.”

DONALD TRUMP (in his Nevada Caucus victory speech):  “We won with highly educated, we won with poorly educated.  I love the poorly educated”.

ANTHONY (blog writer and political pundit):  “I rest my case, your honor!”

“STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON”

After seeing this summer 2015 blockbuster now on DVD, it definitely should have been nominated in the “Best Picture” category for the Academy Awards that’ll be handed out this weekend.

I can’t say that any one performance in the movie deserved an Oscar nomination and if so, it would have been Corey Hawkins, who played Dr. Dre.  Hawkins is now on the sixth season of “The Walking Dead”.

If you’re familiar with rap music, you know the story of “Straight Outta Compton”.  It starts with the creation of the rap band N.W.A. and how Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, and Eazy E changed the world of rap.

When watching this movie, you never want it end and you never notice the 2-hour-21 minute running time.

The $28 million movie grossed $201.6 million and is now the all-time highest grossing music biopic and is all-time highest domestic grossing film from a black director in the United States.

GRADE:  A

#OSCARSSOWHITE WEEKEND

The 88th annual Academy Awards are this weekend, but sadly “Straight Outta Compton” will not be picking up the top prize.  I’m not saying it’s the best movie of 2015, but as I stated above, it should have been nominated.

It could still win an Oscar since it’s nominated for Best Original Screenplay.  I’d put my money on that one because the four screenwriters are white!

But, will there be more diversity next year when the nominees are announced?  Big changes have been proposed to ensure that people of color are nominated in the acting categories.  This year and last year, all 20 acting nominees were white, prompting #OscarsSoWhite.

The changes proposed are to double the number of women and minority members and there’s talk of taking away the voting rights of members that are not actively working in the movie business.

Oscar-Nominations-2014

My thoughts:  It great to diversify the membership to reflect what America looks like.

I also think there should be some kind of verification that when nominee selections are made that the movies were actually watched.  I’m sure if more Academy members had actually watched “Straight Outta Compton”, it might have been the ninth movie nominated this year for Best Picture!

A few more notes about the Oscars:  There are currently 6,261 members — mostly men and mostly white.  The show will be seen by about 40 million people and commercials are bringing in $2.2 million for each 30 second spot.

FOR THE LOVE OF HILLARY!

I just finished reading Hillary Clinton’s incredible 2003 autobiography, “Living History” and I love the woman even more.

In the book, she details her life from Chicago and Park Ridge, Illinois, to college and law school on the East Coast, to Little Rock, Arkansas, to becoming First Lady of the United States, and to winning the New York Senate race in November 2000.

The book ends with her and President Bill Clinton leaving the White House in January 2001.

The book details many of the personal and political attacks she’s endured in her years in the public limelight.  But, it was a quote on page 42 that jumped out and stuck with me throughout the 528 pages.

It shows that behind the exterior people see (good or bad), she’s human!

Hillary Living History Meme

“I have never been as good as or as bad as my most fervid supporters and opponents claimed.”

#ImWithHer

TAYLOR SWIFT SUPPORTS KESHA

Kesha has topped the Hot 100 chart four times including two solo #1s “Tik Tok”in 2009 and “We R Who We R” in 2010.  Last Friday, she lost a major court battle.

A New York judge ruled that Kesha would not be released from her contract with Dr. Luke to record new music without him.  (Back in 2014 lawsuit, Kesha claims Dr. Luke “sexually, physically, verbally and emotionally abused” her for nearly 10 years, starting at age 18.)

Now, it appears that Sony (her record company) says she can record with other producers (Zedd has offered his services), but she can’t get out of her contract.

However, Kesha picked up big support from Taylor Swift, who donated $250,000 toward her legal fund.

Many stars, including Lady Gaga, Adele, Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato, Ariana Grande, Zedd, and Lorde have tweeted their support of Kesha.

I posted this blog in early 2013 about Kesha’s phenomenal album, “Warrior”, which was her last full length CD.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2013/01/10/this-warrior-comes-with-a-parental-advisory/

Best of luck Kesha!

“EVEREST”

This movie is stunningly beautiful, but eerie and scary at the same time.

It’s a true story movie about a 1996 Mount Everest expedition that stranded and killed several climbers when they were caught in a “rogue storm”.

The movie features an all-star cast including Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin, Jake Gyllenhaal, Sam Worthington, and Keira Knightley.

There were many WTF moments during the movie and several times I asked, “are these people crazy?” to want to do this.

 

GRADE:  B+

GOP DROP OUT!

I’m sure that many of you probably haven’t heard of comedian Randy Rainbow.

His latest parody of “Grease” and the GOP presidential candidates is cracking me up. You’ll have to look up the one about Carly Fiorina.  It’s funny to me, but I didn’t want to offend those easily offended by posting it.

Here’s his goodbye to Jeb Bush — you know the former Florida governor and son and brother to the former president and two-time president.  What happened to Jeb chances?  Maybe Barbara would have had a better chance?

“OUR BRAND IS CRISIS”

Since it is political season in America, this movie starring Oscar winner Sandra Bullock is timely.

Bullock plays a political strategist with the nickname, “Calamity Jane”.  She’s hired to turn around a presidential campaign in Bolivia where her client is down by 30 points just months before the election.

There’s a lot at stake here.  If her candidate wins, will the people of Bolivia win, too?

Sadly, after waiting months to see this movie, it was mostly disappointing.

However, there was one really rewarding scene near the end of the movie with her adversary, played by Billy Bob Thornton.  It involves a quote he steals from her (or did she feed it to him?).

GRADE:  C

“THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE”

We just finished the 10-episode first season of Amazon Prime’s series, “The Man in the High Castle” and it was fantastic.

After the way episode nine ended, the last scenes of the season didn’t shock me.  I’m definitely looking forward to the second season later in 2016, but I definitely don’t want the show to become another “Fringe”, even though it was a great five-season Fox series.

PICK HIT

I know it’s already one of the ten most played songs in America this week, but I’m really taking a shine to Selena Gomez’s latest, “Hands To Myself”.

It’s the third release and third Top Ten Hot 100 hit from her second album, last fall’s “Revival”.  Both of her albums have debuted at #1 on the Billboard Hot 200 album chart.

Until “Hands To Myself”, my favorite Selena Gomez song was her hit with Zedd last year, “I Want You To Know”.

THAT’S IT

I hope you enjoyed my random thoughts.  Feel free to share your thoughts about them with me.

Have a great weekend and have fun.

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — January 22, 2016

While I’ve blogged about various topics lately, I haven’t done a “Random Friday Thoughts” blog in some time, so here goes.

SHE’S BACK…..

Former Alaska Governor and 2008 Vice President nominee Sarah Palin endorses Donald Trump.

sarah palin

In news that’s even more shocking, right around that announcement, her 26-year-old son, Track, was arrested after a fight with girlfriend, in which he allegedly punched and kicked her.  She was also concerned he would take his own life with a rifle.

Track faces three misdemeanor charges:  assault, interfering with the reporting of domestic violence, and possessing a gun while intoxicated.

Mama Palin says the anger her son displayed may be the result of PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder).  While that may be true, in her twisted logic, she basically says President Obama is to blame because of the lack of respect for returning veterans.

Palin says, “That comes from our own President.  Where they have to look at him and wonder, ‘Do you know what we go through? Do you know what we’re trying to do to secure America?'”

Incredible.

Even the head of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America Paul Rieckhoff disagrees with that.  He says, “It’s not President Obama’s fault that Sarah Palin’s son has PTSD.  PTSD is a very serious problem, a complicated mental health injury and I would be extremely reluctant to blame any one person in particular.”

ICE(LAND) ICE(LAND) BABY

Fiji’s Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama says that gays wanting to marry should go to Iceland and stay.

Rek-Iceland

Really?  Looking at this beautiful view above, how could that be a bad thing?

Burn! 😏

CELEBRITY DEATHS KEEP COMING!

We’re only three weeks into 2016 and, sadly, more and more celebrities are dying.

The actors include Alan Rickman (“Harry Potter” series), Dan Haggerty (“Grizzly Adams”) and Pat Harrington, Jr. (“One Day at a Time”).  Then there’s Celine Dion’s husband and brother (within two days of each other) and music legend David Bowie.

David Bowie  Again

And, earlier this week, Eagles co-founder Glenn Frey died.

While “The Heat is On” and “You Belong To The City” were bigger solo hits, this is one my favorite Frey hits.

REBA’S TRIBUTE TO HER FATHER

Last spring, Reba released her latest album, “Love Somebody” and it spent two weeks at #1 on the country album chart.

Sadly, country radio pretty much turned its back on the two singles.  “Going Out Like That”, one of my ten favorite songs of 2015, only made it to #23 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart and “Until They Don’t Love You” didn’t even make it onto the chart!

I’m not holding my breath that “Just Like Them Horses” will even be released to country radio.

It was one of my favorites songs on the album and Reba just put out a video to the song in memory of her father Clark McEntire that died in October 2014.

“WORLD WAR Z 2”

The sequel to 2013’s “World War Z” with Brad Pitt is still scheduled to hit theaters June 9, 2017.  However, the movie is now without a director.

J.A. Bayona (“The Impossible”) was attached to direct the zombie film, but backed out saying he was too involved with other commitments.

The movie is still scheduled to shoot this year.

world-war-z-poster

If you recall, there were many setbacks in getting the first film to theaters.  Typically, that means there’s trouble and it suffers at the box office.  That didn’t happen to “World War Z”.  It grossed $540 million.

It was also my second favorite movie of 2013.

“THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE”

If you have Amazon Prime, check out the highly acclaimed series, “The Man In the High Castle”.  It’s a great show and the premise is far-fetched and thought-provoking.

It’s 1962 and it appears that America lost World War II.  The western United States in under Japanese rule and the much of the rest of United States is under Germany’s control.

Between the two, there’s a “Neutral Zone”.  It’s there where the story is getting interesting because there’s a resistance underway after film reels surface with news-style footage showing that the Allies did win the war and Japan and Germany lost.

Very intriguing and the three stars are beautiful!

“DIETLAND”

Since it’s an election year, I’ve moved on to reading about political figures.  I started out with “It Takes a Village” by Hillary Rodham Clinton.  While informative, it seemed a little too clinical, but I loved the tidbits I learned about Hillary and her early life.

I’ve now moved on to Mike Huckabee and Marco Rubio will be next.  By that time, I’m 100% sure that it’ll be back to Hillary and “Living History”.

But, before I got all serious, I read Sarai Walker’s “Dietland” and I highly, highly recommend it.

Dietland

The book is about Plum, an overweight woman, that has failed at diets and is considering gastric bypass surgery.  She then realizes she’s being followed and it leads to meeting a woman connected to her past diet failures.  Also, a series of high profile murders of scummy men lead to a revolt about the exploitation of women.

Read my complete review of “Dietland” here.  If you click on the link, it’ll open in a new page.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2016/01/14/losing-weight-degrading-women-is-torture-in-dietland/

“THE WALK”

I love Joseph Gordon-Levitt and he’s intense, funny, and incredible in “The Walk” from last fall, which is now out on DVD.

He plays French high-wire artist Philipe Petit, who stunned the world in August 1974, staging the unthinkable — high-wire walking between the newly constructed World Trade Center’s Twin Towers 1,350 feet above the ground

The 45-minute aerial show kept the crowd below holding their breath and police on the roofs of both towers distressed on how to get Petit off the wires alive.

GRADE:  A

“SICARIO”

This was one of my most anticipated movies that I wanted to see on DVD since I never got around to seeing it in theaters.

While it brought home the losing battle we’re fighting in the drug war in Mexico and the United States and the viciousness of the drug lords, it didn’t excite me as much watching it.

Don’t get me wrong.  It is a great movie with superb acting.  I just think I waited too long to see it and my expectations were too high.

One thing I did notice that stood out like a lead character was the haunting score.  While I’ve never paid any attention to that category at the Academy Awards, I mentioned to Ray when we were watching the movie, “that score deserves to be nominated for an Oscar”. And, it was nominated!

You can hear the sounds that caught my attention and made the movie creepier right at the beginning of the trailer here.

GRADE:  B

“FIFTY SHADES OF GREY”

I finally got around to seeing “Fifty Shades of Grey” and it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.

I don’t think it deserves the “Razzie Award” nomination, but I don’t think that Dakota Johnson should have won a People’s Choice Award either!

It was more entertaining than I expected.  However, there was no chemistry between Johnson and gorgeous stud Jamie Dornan, who plays billionaire Christian Grey.

I’ll definitely see the second movie when it comes to DVD and I have a casting suggestion for “Mrs. Robinson” — Gillian Anderson.

“The X-Files” and “Hannibal” star is the lead in the incredible and mind-blowing series “The Fall” with Dornan!  Season three of that superb series should be out in 2016!

When I think of Dornan as Grey, it’s still “Fifty Shades of ‘Heyyyy'”!

GRADE:  B

LOVE CAKE, BUT NEVER HAD IT BY THE OCEAN

DNCE, Joe Jonas’ current musical project, is scoring its first pop hit, “Cake By The Ocean”.

I latched on to this one early on and it was my #6 favorite song of 2015.  If you listen to Top 40 radio, you hear it all the time now.

It’s still so much fun and it makes me think of summer during these cold months.

Okay, I could keep going.  But, I’ll stop now before I go on a political rant and endorsement.

Thank you for checking out my random thoughts.  Let me know what you’re thinking.

Anthony

Losing Weight & Degrading Women Is Torture In “Dietland”

When it comes to recommendations, you expect me to suggest movies (you still need to see “Lilting”, “Bridegroom”,”Weekend”, and “Mr. Holmes”), music (“Deja Vu” by Giorgio Moroder, “Communion” by Years & Years, and “Emotion” by Carly Rae Jepsen were tops last year), or television shows (loving “The Man In The High Castle” and “Quantico” while I wait for my regulars to return.)

Last year, I even suggested a couple of books — the incredible “The Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins and “Day Four” by Sarah Lotz — both debut novels.

Normally, I read non-fiction books, autobiographies, and biographies.  Since it’s an election year, I’m going to devour political books this year and I’m starting off with “It Takes A Village” by Hillary Rodham Clinton.

However, thanks to “Entertainment Weekly”, I had to get one more book in before polluting my mind with politics.

It named “Dietland” by Sarai Walker as one of the ten best books of 2015.

Dietland

And, I totally agree.  I devoured the stellar 307-page novel like Plum would choke down greasy cheeseburgers, cupcakes, and homemade lady fingers.

Okay, I need to back up because there’s also Alicia and we definitely can’t forget Jennifer!

“Dietland” is centered around Plum, a reclusive woman from California, now living in New York City and working for a fashion magazine catering to women.  Actually, her job, that allows her to work at home or from the cafe she frequents, is to answer emails from young women that think they’re writing to the editor of the magazine, Kitty, for advice.

And, she’s likely not working from the Austen Media Tower high rise in Manhattan because she doesn’t fit the editor’s or the magazine’s ideal woman mold — Plum is very overweight, clocking in at over 300 pounds.

Although she’s tried dieting and weight loss programs since she was young, her weight keeps going up.

She feels her only alternative is to have gastric bypass surgery.  That’ll allow “Alicia” (her given birth name and the skinny woman deep down inside her overweight body) a chance to shine — a chance to live life, wear fun clothes, date, and fall in love.  Those are the things that Plum feels she’ll never have.

One day, she realizes that she’s being followed.  This eventually leads to a confrontation with the person tailing her and Plum meeting other people including a woman with ties to a weight loss program Plum tried and failed at when she was younger.

In the meantime, a series of high profile events involving men suspected of rape, domestic violence, and other acts against women — directly or indirectly — are starting and gaining national and international attention.

These are not court cases.  No, I’m talking about men being dropped from a plane to their deaths in the desert and much more.

But, who’s doing this?

Is Jennifer the mastermind behind the series of attacks on men and the media that objectify women.  Is Jennifer an alias of one of the main characters or an underground group?  And, how long will it take before she starts a whole revolution of women lashing out at men and institutions that demean them with unrealistic expectations?

And, then the big question is how does this all tie into Plum and her aversion to saying the one word, the f-word, that she’s never been able to say about herself — that’s she fat!

Sarai Walker

“Dietland” is a stellar debut novel from Sarai (pronounced sa-RAY) Walker and I can’t wait to see what she comes out with next.

Walker has mastered what it feels like to be an outsider.  An outsider that learns if you love yourself, it doesn’t matter what other small-minded people think — since killing them is still against the law!

In a perfect world and if Hollywood took real chances, this book would be optioned for a movie — like five minutes ago!

Anthony

Three Movies — Two Oscar Hopefuls

As we head into the second weekend of 2016, I hope your year is off to a great start.

We took advantage of the after-the-holidays down time and got caught up on shows on our DVR:  “Madam Secretary”, “American Horror Story:  Hotel”, “Empire”, and “Zoo”.

We are still five episodes of “Quantico” behind and we started watching “The Man in the High Castle”.  Up next for the rest of the snowy winter:  “Breaking Bad”.

We also watched three movies last weekend and two of them are garnering some Oscar buzz.

“MR. HOLMES”

We’ve all heard the story of super sleuth Sherlock Holmes.  We can even catch modern versions on CBS with super hottie Jonny Lee Miller (he’ll always be Eli Stone to me) and sexy Benedict Cumberbatch in the BBC and PBS series “Sherlock”.

But, an interesting twist on the Sherlock Holmes story is told perfectly in director Bill Condon’s “Mr. Holmes”.   Condon directed the Oscar-winning “Dreamgirls” in 2006 and wrote the Academy Award-winning hit, “Chicago” in 2002.

“Mr. Holmes” stars Sir Ian McKellen as the 93-year-old long retired Holmes living in Sussex and attended to by Mrs. Munro played by the always amazing Laura Linney.

Holmes is desperate to recall the details of his last case before his mind fails him.

While Oscar nominees McKellen and Linney are always stellar, a future star in the making in this movie is 13-year-old actor Milo Parker, who plays Roger, Mrs. Munro’s son.

GRADE:  A

“MAD MAX: FURY ROAD”

If you’ve never seen any of the “Mad Max” movies (there are four) like me, you’ll be in for a surprise if you choose this as your first.

I love Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron and that’s why I wanted to see “Mad Max:  Fury Road”.

Let me just say this bluntly.  If you make it past the first thirty WTF minutes, you’ll be hooked into this dystopian look at a wasteland following a nuclear holocaust.

There’s even Oscar buzz building for the movie and director George Miller.

And, thankfully, there’s no Mel Gibson.

GRADE:  B

“NO ESCAPE”

This premise of this movie is promising and the acting is decent, but it does have some big flaws.

As the movie opens, we see the prime minister of Cambodia assassinated by a group of rebels.

It flashes back 17 hours with a man, Jack Dwyer (Owen Wilson), on a plane with his wife and two daughters.  They’re from the United States and are relocating to southeast Asia for his new job.

Maybe it’s an omen, but nothing works in their hotel room and when Jack tells the hotel desk clerk the problems, he’s told it’s happening all over town.

The next morning Jack goes out to get a paper.  On his way back to the hotel, he’s caught in a riot between police and armed demonstrators.  Shots are fired and deadly violence breaks out.

Just that scene alone is frightening and so realistic.  It’s easy to image being in a foreign country and not knowing your way around and the native language in a life and death situation.

People are being killed all over town and Jack realizes that Americans are being targeted.  More specifically, he learned they’re out to kill him because of the company he moved there for with the job.

If it hadn’t been for the totally bogus escape scene from the hotel with his family, this movie would have scored a higher grade.  But, that scene alone destroyed the realism of what is, otherwise, a great movie.

Okay, that and the fact that the director allowed Pierce Brosnan to sing — even if it’s karaoke and that’s usually bad.  But, after “Mamma Mia”, Brosnan should never be allowed to sing in movies again. 🙂

GRADE:  C

If you’ve seen these movies, let me know what you thought of them.  If you haven’t, I know you’ll love “Mr. Holmes” and enjoy the other two.

Anthony

 

 

Random Friday Thoughts — October 23, 2015

Happy Friday!  It’s been a month since I posted some “Random Friday Thoughts”, so here are a few.

It’s time to put the final touches on your Halloween costumes and stock up on candy that you buy for yourself and the candy you hand out to trick-or-treaters.

Gretel Halloween

Yes, that’s Gretel from a few years ago!  Visions of “The Walking Dead” are dancing through my head.

“HALLOWEEN” IS STILL MY FAVORITE

John Carpenter’s “Halloween” is still my all-time favorite horror movie and Michael Myers still rules 37 years later (and he hasn’t aged one bit!).

Michael

I’ve always wanted to be in a “Halloween” sequel and a new one is coming to theaters next year — without me!  It’s being shot this fall.

CHECK OUT THIS HALLOWEEN MOVIE

While we all have our favorite scary movies (if you like them), the little seen “Hellbent” from 2005 is one that I make sure that I watch ever fall.

Hellbent1

While it didn’t become a blockbuster, it has some great pedigree.  It’s from the co-creator of “Halloween” and the executive producer of “A Nightmare on Elm Street”.

SOMETHING SCARIER THAN HALLOWEEN…

… Presidential politics!

DT Masks

A new Quinnipiac poll yesterday shows that Donald Trump no longer leads in the Iowa Republican Presidential Caucus.

An even scarier candidate, Dr. Ben Carson has jumped to 28 points with Trump at 20 and Marco Rubio in third with 13.

MarcoRubio1

Up until now, I thought that Jeb Bush would be the Republican nominee, but now I think it’ll be Rubio!

By the way, if a Rubio is going to be in the White House, I vote for Paulina Rubio (even though she wasn’t born in the United States)!

PaulinaRubio

BIGGEST THREAT TO POLITICIANS — INTERNS?

After the poll came out showing Trump had fallen behind Carson in Iowa, this tweet came across Trump’s Twitter feed.

Trump

Trump now claims it was an “intern” that posted it.

Maybe people should manage their own social media — it’s always the “intern”!

Again, another case of the lack of responsibility!  And, there are hearings today about Benghazi?

Oh, about that…

LAST POLITICAL COMMENT TODAY

Like the email server controversy, I’m ready for the Republican House-led Benghazi hearings with Hillary Clinton to be over and for people to get the answers they need.

president-hillary

Many think (not just me and not just Democrats) that these hearings are being held now to sidetrack Hillary’s bid to be president.

Look at this graph of attacks on U.S. diplomats.  More have happened under which side’s control of the country?

Attacks

Are you not convinced?  In January, just two weeks ahead of the Iowa Caucus, director Michael Bay (the “Transformers” series) will be releasing a Benghazi movie!

Coincidence in timing?  I think not!

FALL TELEVISION — HITS AND MISSES

How are your television favorites this season and what new shows are you watching?

I’m really enjoying the new hits, “Quantico” (ABC) and “Limitless” (CBS).

I love the quirkiness of “Limitless” and the character, Brian Finch.  If that wasn’t enough, actor Jake McDorman is so sexy!

I plan on getting around to checking out the new season of “Fargo” and the series, “Wicked City” and “The Man in the High Castle”.

“Scream Queens” is entertaining if you love camp — deliciously bad!

As for my returning favorites, I think “How To Get Away With Murder” is even better this season than it was in the over-the-top incredible first season.

How the heck are we going to get to this teased ahead shocker???? I can’t wait to find out!

annalise

I’m still loving “Madam Secretary” and the sixth season of “The Walking Dead” is off to a refreshing (and violent) start.

The Walking Dead

I’m reserving my judgement on the Lady Gaga-led “American Horror Story: Hotel” and after three episodes, I’m on the fence about liking the return of “Empire”.

Empire

The first season was fresh and exciting.  This season just seems tired even with the amazing Taraji P. Henson and Jussie Smollett.  I even loved the music of the first season more than the new music this season.

Let’s hope it changes before I abandon the show.

READY FOR MOVIE POPCORN!

We’re approaching the end of October and I still haven’t been to the movie theater this year!  I’m missing my movie popcorn and free refill.

There are two movies I want to see out now and I think I may see one of them this weekend.

I want to see “The Martian” with Matt Damon, but I’m putting my money on “Sicario” with an Oscar-buzzed performance by Emily Blunt.

ROBIN WILLIAMS’ LAST ON-SCREEN MOVIE

We watched “Boulevard”, the late actor’s last on-screen movie role, just out on DVD, and it’s very touching.

It features heartbreaking performances from both Williams and Kathy Baker (“Picket Fences”).  Also, relative newcomer Roberto Aguire stands out as Leo, the man that helps Williams’ Nolan Mack to re-evaluate his life at 60.

A must see!

GRADE:  A-

CHRISTMAS IS COMING

While you may be thinking of the candy rush of Halloween, I’m already salivating over turkey and cheesecake for Thanksgiving.

Our Turkey 2012

But, Christmas is also right around the corner.

I just bought LeAnn Rimes’ “Today is Christmas” album, but the one that I’m really excited for and counting down to (November 13th) is “Kylie Christmas” by Kylie Minogue.

Kylie Christmas

The deluxe edition not only comes with extra songs, but a DVD, too!

CHRISTMAS WOULDN’T BE CHRISTMAS

There are three albums that instantly come to mind when I think of Christmas and two of those artists are featured in this one video!

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without these staples:  “Christmas” by Michael Buble, “Merry Christmas” from Mariah Carey featuring the incredible “All I Want For Christmas Is You” and “Christmas Portrait” by the Carpenters!

‘Tis the season early!

PICK HIT

24-year-old Alvaro Soler of Barcelona, Spain, is ready to move beyond Europe and take the United States and the world by storm.

Alvaro Soler

His debut album, “Eterno Agosto” came out this past summer to moderate success in Italy and Switzerland.

The first single, “El Mismo Sol” topped the charts in Italy and Poland and the song hit the Top Ten in Austria, Belgium, Finland, and Spain.

The song now has a bilingual version subtitled, “Under The Same Sun” featuring Jennifer Lopez and is currently at #22 on the Billboard Latin Airplay chart here in the U.S.

I’m still waiting for the full version, but here’s the amazing teaser.

The song is so uplifting (both versions) and to feature these two beautiful people makes it even better.

Here’s the original version.

I hope that Alvaro becomes a huge star in America.  There’s enough love for him and Enrique Iglesias!

FINAL THOUGHTS

As always, I appreciate you checking out my random thoughts.  If you agree with me on something, let me know.  If you don’t, tell me, too.  We can disagree — diplomatically.

And, since I mentioned Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas today, this sums it up.

MyFavoriteDecoratingCartoon

Have a great weekend.

Anthony