This is not the sparkling Julia Roberts of “Pretty Woman” or the sexed up one in “Erin Brockovich” but a completely bare of make-up, stripped of all emotions except of love for her daughter, that when someone says she “..looks a million years old” you can believe it. Aside from her looks Roberts is at the top of her acting game being effective in quick scenes consisting of just a glance or longer scenes that require her eyes tell the secrets they are holding.

As it is “Secret In Their Eyes” stands up as a solid crime genre but has a twist that I didn’t see coming until after an hour and thirty minutes into the hour and 50 minutes of the film! It is worth seeing this movie to test your ability on guessing what is going to come.

Co-starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, as an FBI agent who is working a counterterrorism case with Roberts’ DA investigator, shares the burden of carrying the moral tone of the film. He, also, has a love affair that isn’t–go see the movie–with Nicole Kidman who will become a district attorney. We meet the three a few months after 9/11 when Robert’s daughter is found murdered and the films goes back and forth between then and 13 years later which is handled smoothly as you can tell the difference in the faces of Ejiofor and Roberts and the aftermath of the daughter’s death plus look for the gray in the former’s hair!

Alfred Molina who is in charge of the terrorism task force does not allow evidence to convict Joe Cole who is the murderer but, in politics, is more important as an informant of a mosque close to where Zoe Graham, the daughter, has been raped and killed. Thirteen years later Kidman presented with a new reason to open the case also passes for political reasons. Through the years, Michael Kelly, as a surely co-worker and Dean Norris as another investigator and friend of Ejiofor and Roberts, both give strong support.

The director and screenwriter, Billy Ray, has to be held responsible for the non-romance between Kidman and Ejiofer, giving her a one note performance that has nothing to do with the film. Ray does a journeyman job and handles the mandatory foot chase and action scenes pacing the lower key scenes enough to hold the audience’s interest. 

Daniel Moder, the cinematographer, and husband of Julia Roberts, doesn’t hold back on filming the ‘million year old’ woman!

“Secret In Their Eyes” is a good mystery with a twist very few people will see coming unless they are familiar with the Oscar winning Argentine film “El Secreto de Sus Ojos” which it is based on.



Posted November 25, 2015 by greatmartin in Uncategorized, ENTERTAINMENT

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Well they have been hounding me (okay asked me once or twice) what I want/need/wish for as a gift on my birthday. Doing this mostly against my will (HUSH! Don’t say a word!) I am offering 3 categories of gifts. Let’s be clear NO ONE HAS TO GET/SEND ME A GIFT!! (Of course if you have bad luck for 7 years after Monday, February 29, 2016, don’t look at me!) By the same token how many Leap Year Babies do you know? Remember us poor birthday people are ignored for 3 out of every 4 years–not that I want you to feel guilty. And, if you will notice, I am printing this list before Black Friday and Cyber Monday so you can save money!!

Okay, here we go!

Category 1

Not sensible but not impossible gifts

A convertible car–preferably a Chevy or Caddie from the 1970s BUT any kind will do–including a year of automobile insurance. (Well you wouldn’t want me to drive around without insurance, would you?)

A round month long trip to Australia and New Zealand with a rental car available in New Zealand so I could drive from the north island to the south island stopping where and when I want. I’ll give you more details when you want to book the trip.

2 tickets and a round trip ticket to New York city to see “Hamilton”–plan(s) to follow when you start booking the 3-4 day trip.

Category 2

Sensible and possible  (In no particular preference)

A full back computer chair  

A TV recliner chair   

A point and shoot digital camera  

Top of the line electric razor (Well after the caritod artery operation I can’t use a razor anymore so the beard I am growing–so I’ve been told–hides my handsome face and makes me look too old at 20!)

Someone to make a framed collage using all the pictures and memorabilia that I will be taking and collecting  the week  of February 24 which will start with seeing “The Phantom of the Opera” and end on March 1 seeing “Kinky Boots” and include the birthday dinner at the Café Vico and taking out of towners sightseeing, etc.

Books:  The American People by Larry Kramer  Selected Works: A Memoir in Plays by Terrace McNally    Joy Ride by John Lahr  Madeline Kahn: Being the Music, A Life    by William V. Madison  But Enough About Me by Burt Reynolds

Practical, Possible and Sensible (In no particular preference)

Gift cards (Some so I can buy those gifts listed above and a few for fun!)

The Cheesecake Factory      Target   Office Depot   Home Depot  Winn-Dixie  The Gateway Movie Theatre   Regal Theatres  Quarterdeck Restaurant  Oaki Japanese Steak House   Outback Steak House    The Dollar Tree  Big Louie’s Restaurant  Café Vico  Subways Restaurant   


Posted November 23, 2015 by greatmartin in Uncategorized


The last–maybe–of “The Hunger Games” entitled “Mockingjay  Part 2” has arrived to tie up the loose ends of the 3 young adult book series turned into 4 films that made Jennifer Lawrence a star.

It is too long, running 2 hours and 17 minutes, too many and too dark with scenes taking place underground and low lit scenes even above ground.

The older adults are mainly given cameos to do such as Stanley Tucci who is on screen for about a minute while Philip Seymour Hoffman, who died a year and a half ago is inserted as if to say ‘see what we can do’, while Woody Harrelson comes and goes with one minutes scenes. Donald Sutherland fights for his power continuing his heartlessness and Elizabeth Banks does her scene stealing campy appearance. Julianne Moore–never thought I would say this–is colorless in a colorless written role. Jeffrey Wright comes and goes before you can even realize it his him.

Loose ends regarding kid sister Prim (Willow Shields), the ‘is he or isn’t he’ brainwashed problem regarding Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) and his competition with Gale (Liam Hemsworth) is played out while the squad team consisting of Sam Claflin, Jena Malone, Natalie Dormer and Mahershala Ali lend support to the leads as do Paula Malcomson, Evan Ross, Wes Chatham, Eugenie Bondurant and Elden Henson.

The revelation of Jennifer Lawrence, as Katniss Everdeen, from the first film to this closing one shows the growth of an actress fitting into her body and being able to express her thoughts without saying a word is, if nothing else, the gift of “The Hunger Games” to the world of movies. She has shown her versatility in these movies along with “Silver Linings Playbook”, “American Hustle” and she is the only one who could make me see “X-Man”! I am eagerly awaiting “Joy”.

The direction by Francis Lawrence along with the screenplay by Peter Craig and Danny Strong, along with adaptation by Suzanne Collins based on her trilogy, falters when it comes to the multiple endings as if they just didn’t want the series to end. Here and there are a few twists that were expected and some that weren’t–at least by me–which adds to a film’s interest.

At some points the musical background is jarring while during the many generated computer special effects by Steve Cremin and WSalter Garcia the audience will be pulled out of the story. 

“Mockingjay Part 2” will satisfy followers of the books, the movies and Jennifer Lawrence and I am definitely one of the latter!


Posted November 20, 2015 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, Uncategorized

ON THE STREET WHERE I LIVE   Leave a comment

Photos 1, 2 & 3 No matter what kind of weather Mr. Cat has to have his nap every day at 4:30 in the same window! (I will be writing more about him!)

Photo 4  Does the bird know he is going in the wrong direction? Does he know that senior citizens drove cars down this path?

Photo 5  Always a sign that thunderstorms are on their way

Photo 6  My buy at the Farmer’s Market–all for $9

Photo 7 & 8  Full moon outshining the clouds

Photo 9 Mother Nature doesn’t allow concrete and elevators to stop growth of trees.

Photo 10 Are those new fonds growing out of the wrong place on the palm?

Photo 11  Last year the orchids were white! What happened?

Photo 12 Mac, from Toronto, and Allen having a snack at Subway–their new Korean pulled Pork BBQ foot long–very good.

Photo 13 Can we blame Mother Nature for this?


For some reason the video won’t appear here–just copy and paste–you have to see the last picture!!

Posted November 18, 2015 by greatmartin in Uncategorized


Coming on Tuesday, November 17, 2015, to the Broward Center for the Performing Arts is the hit Broadway show “DISNEY’S NEWSIES” and I’ll be there! It is the kick-off show of the 2015-2016 Broadway Across America series of touring shows coming to Fort Lauderdale. It will be here until November 29!

It won the 2012 Tony awards for Best Score written by Alan Menkin and Jack Feldman plus for the choreography by Christopher Gattelli which explodes on stage. The book was witten by one of my favorite theatre talents Harvey Fierstein and the production is directed by Jeff Calhoun.

It is the story of a group of newspaper selling underdogs who become heroes when they fight some of the most powerful men in New York. Aside from being a rousing tale about fighting for what’s right it also has a tender love story.

I’ll be there opening night so look for my review!

Meanwhile here is a taste of the show first in a slideshow of pictures by photographer Deen van Meer and then a number from the show.



Posted November 16, 2015 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

“ROOM”–A MOVIE REVIE   Leave a comment

Joy (Brie Larson) was kidnapped at the age of 17 and 2 years later gave birth to her son Jack (Jacob Tremblay) by her kidnapper Big Nick (Sean Bridgers) where we meet them as Jack celebrates his 5th birthday in the 10 X 10 room, a shed, the only place he has ever known, never going outside. What he knows of the world outside of the shed he has seen on the small TV set they have or been told to him by his mother.

The shed has a small sink, 2 chairs, a tub, a bed, a small table, a toaster oven and a closet where Jacob is put in by his mother every time Big Nick comes to rape her. The room is decorated with drawings by the boy and his imagination sees all the things as his friends and the world visible from the very small, very high skylight unimaginable though his mother teaches him to read and explains all the things he sees on the TV as being real.

We spend the first 50 minutes with mother and son, with short visits by their kidnapper to abuse her, in what could be a claustrophobic segment but we watch the mother use discipline with her son making him exercise, learn to read, follow oral hygiene, break eggs, learn how to cook and use his imagination. Without telling too much one of the most touching scenes for many reasons is when the pair make a cake for his 5th birthday.

The second half of the film deals with their escape–leave logic at the door as it is the only misfire by director Lenny Abrahamson–and what happens to the mother and son coming into the real world.

Based on her book and writing the screenplay Emma Donoghue does a good job holding our interest in both segments but I wish there had been about 5-15 minutes more regarding the relation between Joy, her mother (Joan Allen), her father (Willaim H. Macy) now divorced, and their reaction to getting their daughter back 7 years after she was kidnapped.

Allen does a excellent job, Macy is wasted in no more than a cameo though his reaction is important to his daughter’s freedom. Bridgers, looking like your next door neighbor, is menacing in his lack of looking menacing while  Tom McCamus, as the new man in Allen’s and now also in the Joy and Jacob’s lives is underplayed.

Brie Larson is strong, weak, protective, questioning, as the mother who wonders whether she could have done better by her son after doing all she could while they were prisoners.

Jacob Tremblay is a revelation as 5 year old Jack whether it be using his imagination about the outside world or when he gets there dealing with it. There were a few times he was incomprehensible on the soundtrack where he does some key narration but just by looks and action he carries the scenes whether alone or dealing with the adults.

This sounds like it may be a depressing film and the theme certainly isn’t a light one but Jacob Tremblay, at 9 years old, lifts the film up with his acting, his open face and looking at the world with wonder, showing that children can handle life better than most adults.



Posted November 13, 2015 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT


After seeing “Big Fish” 3 weeks ago (See my review at broadwayshowbiz.com) tomorrow night I will be going to the launching of the Abdo New River Room Theatre series at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts by the Slow Burn Theatre Company (which put on the dynamic “Big Fish” in the Amaturo theatre within the same complex last month)  with the Broadway musical “Dogfight”. Look for my review soon.


And then on Tuesday it will be the Broadway touring company of “Newsies”

There is NOTHING like going to see LIVE theatre!!!

Posted November 13, 2015 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT

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