“THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PART 1″ REVIEW   Leave a comment

Not having read “The Hunger Games” trilogy but having seen the first two movies I feel the last book was made into two parts just to make another billion dollars. You can skip “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1” without missing anything.

It seems the main story behind Part 1 is to make Katniss a ‘product’ to sell the idea of overthrowing President Snow to the remaining citizens of District 13 and making her the face of the revolution. There are two ‘action’ scenes, one being Katniss trying to take down a plane with her bow and arrow and another a rescue mission but the rest is a lot of talk and huge TV screens for the president and the leader of the uprising to give speeches.

Jennifer Lawrence, as always, has an interesting face to watch as it says a lot. Liam Hemsworth is given more screen time while Josh Hutcherson a lot less. Woody Harrelson, Stanley Tucci and Jeffry Wright do good with what little screen time they get. The standout here is Elizabeth here who has to do a lot when style, glamour and color are not available to her. Philip Seymour Hoffman died during the production and his role is pieced together which instead of honoring the man in his last film role diminishes his effectiv

Posted November 22, 2014 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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WHY DO ABUSED WOMEN STAY?   Leave a comment

I am reading Anjelica Houston’s new autobiography “Watch Me” in which she talks about her 17 year affair with Jack Nicholson and how he humiliated her and also about her violent relationship with Ryan O’Neal. It got me thinking about a subject men know very little about though we are hearing more of their being on the receiving end of being battered and I find it very hard to understand how a woman can stay with a man after the first time he humiliates her, hits her, controls her.

Huston, Judy Garland, Lana Turner and Jane Fonda are just a few of the famous women who stayed with demanding, hostile men, some who beat them. Okay Huston and Fonda had strong, famous rich fathers who, supposedly didn’t love them and there are many psychological reasons why women stay in abusive relationships but these women had money, were smart, had careers. While with many female singers like Billie Holiday, Anita O’Day there was drugs involved I would dare to say most women aren’t drug dependent but I don’t know.

In many cases there were/are children involved such as the case of Lana Turner and her abuser Johnny Stampanato who was killed by, some say Lana’s daughter while others say the daughter was a cover up for Lana having killed him.

I am basically talking about famous women of the past but we all know of current cases. They were famous and rich but still didn’t leave. Why not?

Right now there is a case in Florida against Catherine Pileggi for murdering her boyfriend, Ronald Vinci, in 2011 after 20 years of abuse.

I have heard many excuses for a woman staying with an abuser such as no money, fear, lack of self esteem, he is the only one who loves her, they know their abuser and don’t know what will happen if they leave, etc.

Are these reasons valid? How do we show these women there is a better way? That they have to get out? How do we reinforce their esteem to take that first step? How do we save them from getting killed or their men going on to abuse the children?

I am just asking about something I know little about.

Posted November 18, 2014 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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“BEYOND THE LIGHTS”–A FILM REVIEW   Leave a comment

On May 16, 2014, I saw and wrote a review of a movie called “Belle” and ended it with “THIS IS A MUST SEE MOVIE AND YOU MUST SEE GUGU MBATHA-RAW!”

And it is still on my list of 5 of the best movies of the about 50 I have seen this year!

Today, 6 months later, I saw “Beyond The Lights” and the bottom line is THIS IS A MUST SEE MOVIE AND YOU MUST SEE GUGU MBATHA-RAW! (Also Nate Parker and Minnie Driver but more about that later.)

Unless you have never seen a show business movie there isn’t a spoiler in this movie as screenwriter Gina Prince-Bythewood has written every cliché into it from the overbearing stage mother. the super star rapper who mistreats the rising star, the record producer who manipulates her and to the boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl plot. The differences are that the screenwriter is also the director who really believes in the material and performances that lift it above the clichés. Prince-Bythewood makes this a good old romance movie that we haven’t seen in awhile.

Let’s start with Gugu Mbatha-Raw who takes a role completely opposite that of the one who played Belle in the movie of that name. She is in sexy, almost not there, outfits showing off a great figure, does choreography that show of her sexuality, sings rap and a Nina Simone song, “Blackbird”, that shows off a vocal ability she could make a living at and, yes, her acting. She takes the role of a wounded bird who learns to fly free and makes it fresh and new.

Her costar Nate Parker, as police officer, Kaz, with a police captain father, played by Danny Glover, who is grooming him to enter politics with unlimited potential, shares a chemistry with Mbatha-Raw that lights up the screen. They make a good old fashioned screen couple that makes you root for them all the way, not to mention they are both very sexy looking people.

Minnie Driver as the stage mother, who can be overbearing, does such a fine job she almost steals the picture and keeps you on her side even though you know and can see the damage she has done her daughter.

Colson ‘MGK’ Baker as the super star rapper, with more tattoos than I have ever seen on an actor, along with the rest of the cast such as India Jean-Jacques, Benito Martinez, Aml Ameen and Aisha Hinds, along with others support, the stars with first class performances.

The soundtrack featuring new songs, will also introduce Nina Simone to a new generation though I wished they had her singing a couple of songs.

Though this won’t be among my top 5 pictures to see I will end it with YOU MUST SEE GUGU MBATHA-RAW and see it on the big screen!

Posted November 14, 2014 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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“OLD JEWS TELLING JOKES”–A THEATRE REVIEW   Leave a comment


“His girlfriend looks at his tattooed penis and tells him ‘Don’t put words into my mouth.’
“Italian and Jewish mothers are the same only Italian mothers know how to cook.”
“A Hasidic Jews walks into a bar with a parrot on his shoulder. ‘Where did you get him?’ asks a man. ‘Brooklyn, ‘ says the parrot. ‘They’ve got thousands of them.’

Welcome to “Old Jews Tell Jokes” at the Stage Door Theatre in Margate, Florida. You didn’t laugh at the 3 jokes above? Wait! There are hundreds more. Too many for me to have written more than a few as they come at you one after another. Don’t worry if you don’t laugh at one as there will be 4 or 5 more within the next minute. Some will be belly laughs, some will bring a smile to your face and some will make you uncomfortable laughing but you will laugh.

There are one-liners where you expect to hear a drum go “da-boom’ and some a little more involved but there isn’t a Jew, a non-Jew, a mother, father, daughter, son or any family member that won’t get a few laughs along the way.

There are ‘dirty’ jokes minus the foal language, jokes older than anyone in the audience and jokes that have come from old Jewish comics that now belong to everyone,

Along with the old Jews Gail Byer and Michael H. Small there is middle aged Ben Prayz and younger Jews Ashley Brooke and Adam Chisnall ,all who have good comic timing and play off each other with ease. David Nagy accompanies them on the piano. They deliver the old Borscht Belt jokes as if they were being told and heard for the first time. Putting down a husband or a wife has always been part of the routine and off course there has to be a joke about the young Jewish girl and what she won’t do to the old folks and their ailments, mainly dealing with bodily functions. Also enjoy the film clip of Alan King milking a joke.

In a way “Old Jews Telling Jokes” is a history lesson in comedy, and of comics, with many laughs along the way. Sit back, relax and don’t guess at the punchline aloud!

Leaving you with one of the many self-deprecating jokes: “Why don’t Jewish mothers drink?” They don’t want to dull the pain.”

“Old Jews Telling Jokes” runs at the Stage Door Theatre until January 4, 2015. It runs 1 hour and 45 minutes including a 15 minute intermission. For ticket information call the theatre at 954-344-7765

Hope you could read the intermission slide!

Posted November 11, 2014 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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DIAVOLO: ARCHITECTURE IN MOTION   Leave a comment

The complete trademark title of the dance company is Diavolo: Architecture in Motion they certainly are in motion, many times in jaw dropping motion. The dancers are also acrobats and athletes of the highest order. Sometimes watching their feats (and feet) on stage you momentarily wonder how many injuries they suffer during rehearsals and performances.

The 10 dancers in alphabetical order are: Ana Carolina Brotons, Leandro Damasco Jr., Cal T. Chester, Ezra Masse-Mahar, Chelsea Pierce, Jesse Ryan, Connor Senning, Amy Tuley, Rico Velazquez and Chisa Yamaguchi each getting and deserving their time in the spotlight whether alone or in duets or as part of a precision troupe where each is called on to secure the safety of the other.

The evening is made up of 2 dances, the first called Transit Space which uses skateboard ramps for an urban setting of people looking for connections and the second called Trajectoire which consists of an oval platform in constant motion controlled by the dancers. The teamwork in both numbers will make you hold your breath in their solidarity and flawless performances.

Every aspect of the production values aid the dancers in accomplishing showing them at their best and almost unbelievable movements and moments.

The Diavolo Dance Company brings the modern dance of tomorrow to the stage of today and, deservedly, gets a standing ovation from the audience.

The company has scheduled performances all over the United States including West Palm Beach on Friday.

The complete program, including intermission, runs 1 hour and 30 minutes. For more information regarding the  company, and their future schedule, go to http://www.diavolo.org

Posted November 7, 2014 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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“WHIPLASH”–A MOVIE REVIEW–A WINNER   Leave a comment

“Whiplash” is a winner in every aspect. You know when you want to go up to the screen and punch the bully or wrap the bloody fingers of the one being bullied that some strong acting is going on in the film.

The film starts with a drum solo and ends with one while in between you will be mesmerized by J. K. Simmons as musical conductor/teacher Terence Fletcher and a student of his, played by Miles Teller, Andrew Neyman. (By the way if a conductor has the arms that Fletcher has from conducting I am signing up immediately.)

Fletcher wants the best from his students in the hope of finding another Charlie Parker and Andrew wants to be a great, if not better, drummer than Buddy Rich and both will do whatever it takes. Fletcher abuses his students verbally and physically calling them names, throwing things at them, screaming in their faces. He is every Marine Drill Instructor who will grind his charges into the ground to get what he wants.

There are at least a minimum of 2 scenes that you will forget to breath and at least 1 scene where you will gasp out loud. There is no doubt both men will deserve nominations for all and any awards and right now they deserve to win! I don’t know if Teller did his own drumming but if he did he deserves recognition for superb drumming.

The supporting players from Paul Reiser as Andrew’s father to Melissa Benoist who Andrew pursues, and then drops because she interferes with his drumming, along with the other students who play or compete with him are all topnotch .

The music from the title song by the late great Hank Levy plus standards like “Caravan” and new music by Justin Hurwitz are all presented as jazz should be. It took me back to the jazz clubs on 52nd street, and in the Village, along with the sets at Birdland that I use to go to in New York City.

The direction by Damien Chazelle is spot on and in his writing the screenplay he leaves out a few logical things but enhances the movie with a short 1 hour and 46 minutes.

“Whiplash” is a winner all the way.

Posted November 4, 2014 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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DON’T LAUGH AT ME!   Leave a comment


Big chill this weekend: Temps could fall into 40s

Yes, that what all the weather people in South Florida are shouting about, whether on television or the newspaper!! Tonight it will only go down to the 50s. Of course we also turn the clocks back tomorrow so it will get darker earlier and without the sun colder earlier.

The thing is I get no sympathy from you people up north. In fact most of you laugh at me but folks you have to realize that low 40s is COLD, VERY COLD, in South Florida. We don’t mind an occasionally low in the mid 60s but that’s low enough.

Now I am not going to moan and groan like those people who moved down here from Minnesota a couple of years ago and cry “My skin is thin and I get colder now being old.” Yeah and I have been taking blood thinners for 14 years and this time have lived here 45 years but just as I don’t care how hot and humid it gets–and it does–I don’t like/want the temperatures going below 70!

Don’t laugh at me when you are busy shoveling snow, scraping the ice off your car windows, slipping, sliding and falling on the sidewalks and/or someone hits you in the head with a snowball because if you laugh at me now I will send you a card when you have your next snowstorm or it is below freezing that says:
“Don’t YOU wish YOU were here?” with a picture of me sitting on the beach!

One thing about cold weather–I get to wear my 2 favorite cold weather shirts–these photos were taken 6 years ago.

Posted November 2, 2014 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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