Archive for April 2015


I have been a big movie fan for over 70 years–going back to the days when you went to the movies and saw a double feature plus a cartoon, plus a newsreel plus coming attractions (maybe, just maybe, if movie houses went back to this they would get more customers)–and never tire of them. I do not buy–I don’t rent– a DVD of a movie until I see it on a movie screen like a movie should be seen first. Even now I go to movie houses a minimum of once a week, generally twice a week.

No way could I pick a favorite movie–would even have a hard time picking ‘my favorite 100 movies’!

I tend to see dramas, love stories, ‘weepies’ (as they were called) over comedies and do not go for most sci-fi, violent and comedy movies. And, yes, I preferred movies of yesteryear where they hinted at sex (fireworks, curtains blowing, horses rearing up, etc.,) then the gratuitous sex they have on the screens today.

I feel most movies today are at least 15-20 minutes too long with the director wanting to show off what he can do instead of concentrating on the story and moving it forward.

And, yes, I am from the old school, when movies were told in 3 acts with a beginning, middle and end in a linear fashion and not so ambiguous as so many are today. I don’t mind thinking in a movie but movies were originally attended to escape from the real world, if only for 90 minutes or so. And I LOVE a ‘happily ever after’ ending.

I love the ‘magic’ of movies which is why I avoid many of the DVD extras–I don’t want to know how something is done–I don’t want to know the actor brushed the ‘blood’ (or what the blood really was!) off after he was shot dead and then got up after the scene was over and went to his trailer. I want to believe the actor is THE person I am watching. Naive? Sure!

Which movies have I seen unaccountable times? What stars draw me to the movie houses?  The list is endless!

How many don’t you know? How many have you never seen?

Posted April 30, 2015 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT

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On Friday April 24, 2015, I was walking home and decided I would take a video of the  sunset though it was far from the usual spectacular ones we have. Near the end one of the cats from the boats that dock at Gateway came over and you will meet him at the end of the first tape and the 5th tape.

Before I knew it I had made 6 tapes!! The first one is the longest at 2 minutes and 12 seconds and I haven’t posted the 3rd and 4th and let me explain why. In the second the police boat came into view and I have never seen one this far up. I had seen a couple of kids across the way and wasn’t sure what they were doing though it seemed they were having a party. I watched for awhile but nothing really seemed to be happening though I did make a couple of more videos figuring if anything happened I could always sell them to the TV news!!! LOL

The 3RD tape is 17 seconds long of the cat.

The last tape was taken when I got off the elevator to walk to my place–sorry it is so noisy but I will solve that problem eventually.

Hope you enjoy them–if not sorry! I’ll make THAT movie yet!!

Posted April 29, 2015 by greatmartin in LIFE

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Russell Crowe’s directorial debut, “The Water Diviner”, shows that he has learned enough about films after being in them for 25 years not to embarrass himself plus he shows a good hand at directing actors including himself. He, also, as a first time director, makes the usual mistakes.

“The Water Diviner” is, basically, an anti war and father-son saga, telling the story of a father who goes looking for the bodies of his 3 soldier sons lost in the battle of Gallipoli during World War 1 to bring their bodies home and bury them next to his wife (Jacqueline McKenzie) who commits suicide over their death.

The story is based, very loosely, on the true event of Joshua Connor (Crowe) being the only father who came looking for the bodies of his sons of the millions lost there. In flashbacks and/or imaginary scenes we meet his sons Arthur (Jack Patterson as a young boy, Ryan Corr as a soldier), Henry (Ben Norris/Ben O’Toole) and Edward (Adian Smith/James Frasier).

Along the way we meet Orhan, a preteen played charmingly by Dylan Georgiades, and his mother played by Olga Kurylenko, leading to a completely unnecessary romance between her and Connor, though she is used to show some of the ways women are treated and are expected to live in Turkey at that time. Steve Bastoni, as her brother-in-law, is a stereotype of Turkish males. 

Along with the romance, director Crowe and writers Andrew Knight and Andrew Anastasios, bring in some very cryptic and mysticism regarding Connor’s ability as a water diviner in his attempt to find the bodies of his sons. There is also the introduction of the father reading “The Arabian Night” to his young sons that really doesn’t pay off.

Along the way we meet military men such as a British officer, Dan Wyllie, who tells the father to return home , Jai Courtney who attempts to help him, and Turkish war veterans Yilmaz Erdogan and Cem Yilmaz are standouts, especially the former, supporting Connor. 

Aside from some fake, extraneous war scenes and one very ‘Hollywood’ love scene director Crowe does a good job while he reigns in actor Crowe’s tendency to be a ’star’.  

Next time Russell Crowe directs a film he should pay more attention to the story line and what is believable and what isn’t. Oh yes, though the production is fine that bombastic score is jarring.


Posted April 28, 2015 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINER

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DON’T MISS THE NEXT ONE!   Leave a comment

Since I haven’t celebrated my birthday in 3 years I am now getting ready for Monday, February 29, 2016, but more about that in another post!

To me my birthday is February29–not February 28 or March 1–so I only celebrate it on February 29, once every 4 years.  It was 39 years ago that I celebrated my 10th Leap Year Birthday and it was one of the biggest of all I celebrated.

Long story short–I lived in Memphis, Tennessee and I had a party, in 3 parts, for 300 ‘of my closest friends’ at the Hilton Airport hotel. It started with a jazz cocktail hour followed by a prime rib dinner and ended with a full band, dancing and dessert. There is a whole epilogue to tell but that is another post. All 300 of my ‘friends’ have disappeared from my life!

In any case since then I have had 9 additional Leap Year celebrations and am looking to my 20th birthday next year.

I made this slideshow of the last 10 celebrations and here are the years as mixed up as they are!

1. 1976  2. 2008  3.  1984  4. 1992  5.1996  6. 2000  7. 2004  8. 1976  9. 1980  10. 1984 11. 1984  12. 1976  13. 2000 14. 1996  15. 1996  16. 1984  17. 1976  18. 1976  19. 1988  20.2012

They were 10 great celebrations but the best is yet to come! (And if you want to come let me know–remember it is February and in the rest of the USA it is cold and snowing while here in Fort Lauderdale it is in the high 70s and low 80s with sunshine!)


Posted April 27, 2015 by greatmartin in LEAP YEAR BIRTHDAY

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First and foremost the best thing about Foxy Brown was our server Kaitlyn who from beginning to end had a smile on her face, knew what she was doing, was all over the place helping every one but at the same time paying attention to her tables giving refill of drinks without having to be asked, checking back to make sure everything was okay and when we had mentioned we were going to split our sandwiches made sure to bring two extra plates.

We walked in near the end of lunchtime and more than half the tables had to be cleaned but it was good to see a working manager hard at work doing just that. In spite of the gray walls, a high ceiling and the tables all in a L shaped row Foxy Brown has an intimate, warm feeling. There is a narrow row between the tables and the semicircular bar but you never feel you are being crowded just as though the tables are right next to each other you don’t feel like you are with the next party. The tables are wide, even the deuces, the chairs comfortable and seeing the restaurant’s motto, “Be Nice”, on the inside wall, the entrance and on the menu gets everything off to a good start.

I ordered the patty melt, $12,  “the sandwich that inspired the menu” and Allen ordered the meatball grinder, $12, chicken and porcini mushroom w/ tomato gravy + provolone, and we were going to split an order of fries but Kaitlyn told us each came with a side so we ordered the French fries and tomato wedges in oil and parsley. I had a diet coke, $2.50, and Allen had a chocolate shake, $7.

The patty melt was served on marbled rye with a good, tasty thick meat patty, and provolone cheese, served at the temperature ordered. Though it was good it wasn’t better than most other patty melts I have had. The only thing wrong with the grinder was that the hero bread was way too thick. Allen said the shake was good and at that price it should be. There was a nice touch of being given hot towels when we were finished.

Altogether the check, with tax, was $35.15 and we gave Kaitlyn a $10 tip.

The sandwiches are all $12 and their main courses run from $18 for bangers and smash to $26 for sea scallops or crab cakes, which to my way of thinking is a bit high for lunch prices though they seem to cater to the downtown business crowd, being right on the fringe of downtown. Most of the crowd were gents in business suits with what looked like a neighborhood couple sitting next to us.

They have a large parking lot behind the restaurant along with a pleasant outdoor dining area.

Though the prices are a little too high for me Foxy Brown is nice restaurant a little off the beaten path, easy to get to, decent food and with a server like Kaitlyn you won’t go wrong.

As I was leaving I thought what a great downtown evening piano bar it would make but there isn’t room for a that piano!



Posted April 26, 2015 by greatmartin in RESTAURANT REVIEWS

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Though I am a great list maker regarding things I have to do and things I must do on a daily, weekly, monthly basis. My problem comes when I am asked to make lists of my favorite actors, actresses, movies, plays, musicals, books, etc. I look over these lists and I see so many names I have left out plus how many if I were making the lists today wouldn’t be on it or at least the position they are on.

I’ll stick by these lists for now, especially the ‘yesteryear’ categories, but the new ones can change from day to day. All lists are arbitrary but there are two things I am sure of with the first being that Charlize Theron gives/gave THE best performance on the silver screen ever given and “A Chorus Line” is THE best stage musical I have ever seen but that’s for another day!


1. Marlon Brando

2. Gene Kelley

3. George Sanders

4. Jeff Chandler

5. Claude Raines

6. Ryan O’Neal

7. Jack Lemmon

8. Rod Steiger

9. Laurence Olivier

10. Robert Mitchum


1. Ralph Fienes

2. Michael Fassbendor

3. Jake Gylenhaal

4. Edward Norton

5. Matthew McConaughey

6. Ian McKellan

7. George Cloooney

8. Viggo Mortissen

9. Al Pacino

10. Dustin Hoffman


1. Ava Gardner

2. Lana Turner

3. Rita Hayworth

4. Cyd Charisse

5. Hedy LaMarr

6.Kathryn Grayson


1. Bette Davis

2. Susan Hayward

3. Kim Stanley

4. Joan Crawford

5. Jennifer Jones

6. Vivian Leigh

7. Judy Holliday

8. Judy Garland

9. Ida Lupino

10. Melina Mercouri

11. Geraldine Page

12. Betty Hutton

13. Doris Day

14. Ingrid Bergman


1. Jennifer Lawrence

2. Rosemary Pike

3. Glenn Close

4. Russell Crowe

5. Barbra Streisand

6. Charlize Theron

7. Shirley McClaine

8. Shailene Woodley

9. Judi Dench

10. Gugu Mbatha-Raw

11. Matt Damon

12. Daniel Day-Lewis

13. Hugh Jackman

14. Michael Caine

And a dozen more! :O)

How many of the following do you know? Have seen?

Posted April 25, 2015 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT

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By default instead of seeing “The Water Diviner” we went to see “The Road Within” a ‘small’ independent movie that wouldn’t be made by one of the big studios.

The film opens with Vincent (Robert Sheehan) in church  at his mother’s funeral ceremony sitting with his father (Robert Patrick), a politician, when all of a sudden he bursts into twitches and out loud foul language which includes calling the priest a pedophile, a faggot, telling the other people that the priest dyes his pubic hair. These are expressions of his Tourette’s Syndrome that he claims his brain controls.

In the next scene we see him being checked into an experiment treatment center in Nevada run by an experimental therapist (Kyra Sedgwick) as she introduces him to his roommate Alex (Dev Patel) who has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder along with a severe germ phobia. Very soon Marie (Zoe Kravitz), who is anorexic and has already had heart failure because of it, comes to Vincent’s room to tell she is to show him around.

Before you know what is happening Marie steals the keys to the therapist’s car and the trio are off on a road trip to spread Vincent’s mother’s ashes on the ocean in California. The center of the movie revolves how the 3 youths react to, and with, each other. In a way this is a triangle but not in the way you may think.

Kyra Sedgwick is wasted in her role and though Robert Patrick has 2 effective scenes it is the 3 young stars who save the movie that doesn’t really know whether it wants to be a  comedy or not and is hesitant to deal with what is known about the illnesses. 

Dev Patel, at 24, is building an excellent resume with his Slumdog Millionaire, the 2 Best Exotic Marigold Hotel films, this film and his role in the television series The Newsroom. I was not familiar with Zoe Kravitz, 26, before this film though she does have 2 famous parents plus having been in 26 films including 2 X-Men films and Insurgent: the Divergent series and will be in Mad Max opening in May. The most impressive is 27 year old Irish actor Robert Sheehan who I am certainly looking forward to seeing more of in future movies and will look into the 12 films he has already made.

“The Road Within” probably won’t be seen by many people but should be if no other rason the acting of the 3 young leads.


Posted April 24, 2015 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT

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This is a 7 part series of movies from the past so they will be remembered by a new generation that may only know a few.

Out of the millions of movies made in the 20th century there are moments that are imprinted in your mind that can pop up at any time. It can range from a shower scene with haunting music or an actress entering a scene or walking down a staircase or a lawyer arguing a case and no matter what it is there are times it will pop up unexpectedly.

How many of these have you seen? Heard? Remember?

Gene Kelly singing and dancing in the rain from the classic musical “Singing In The Rain.”

Deborah Kerr sharing an embrace on the beach as the water laps at their feet in “From Here To Eternity” or Kerr and Yul Bryner  dancing around the room in “The King and I.”

Anita Ekberg dressed in the fountain in “La Dolce Vita.”

Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse “Dancing In The Dark” in Central Park in “Bandwagon.” Or Cyd and Gene in “Brigadoon.”

Shirley MacLaine begging Frank Sinatra to love her in “Some Came Running” or being sarcastic in “Steel Magnolias” and dancing up a storm while singing “If My Friend Could See Me Now” in “Sweet Charity”.

Liz Taylor and Montgomery Clift dancing in “A Place In The Sun” as the camera whirls around them.

Katherine Hepburn coming down in the elevator in “Suddenly Last Summer”.

Brando telling Rod Steiger “I could have been a contender!” or Kim Hunter and Vivian Leigh under Louisiana law he is the king of his house in “A Streetcar Named Desire” or saying “I gave him an offer he couldn’t refuse,” in “The Godfather”.

Lana Turner dressed in a white turban, white blouse, tight white shorts entering the kitchen ready to seduce John Garfield in “The Postman Always Rings Twice.”

Gene Tierney throwing herself down the stairs to lose her baby or sitting in the canoe watching Cornel Wilde’s kid brother drown in “Leave Her To Heaven”.

Clifton Webb sitting in the bathtub of water typing his column in “Laura”.

Gloria Swanson ready for her close-up for Cecil B. DeMille in “Sunset Boulevard”.


Posted April 23, 2015 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT

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How many of you still read the printed version of your hometown newspaper? I do. I look forward to sitting down around 11 AM with  cup of coffee and going through the paper leaving the Jumble and Crossword puzzles for the last before I get dressed and start my day.

Many things have changed with the paper, first and foremost the price. To subscribe for a year costs, for our city paper, over $230 a year plus a “transportation cost” of close to $20 each three months. I have tried to find out what that charge means as I know of the 260 apartments here I am not the only one who gets the paper delivered and they are not just transporting it to me!

Along with that there is a $2 charge each for the football preview issue, the guide to the arts issue and the Thanksgiving Day issue.

You now have to buy, each week, the TV magazine section if you want it. They have eliminated the Sunday magazine issue plus instead of a Lifestyle and a separate Travel and Leisure section they have combined both eliminating many columns and sections they had for both. The comics are no longer in color every day. Oh yes, you have to request weekend ad section if you want it.

The Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday issues are almost laughable with the news sections being so thin you could make a paper airplane out of them. The one thing they haven’t changed, or charged extra for, YET, is the Friday Showtime section telling you about all that’s going on in town.

It is no secret that papers are losing money left and right and they would be very happy if you would subscribe to their digital versions but those versions don’t have the ‘important’ sections: comics, TV schedule, crossword puzzle, Jumble, etc. I have also found that many limit the number of articles you can read per month unless you want to pay a premium price.

The sad thing is that by the time the printed version of the paper is delivered you have heard all the news on television. It use to be the newspaper did in depth  stories on the current news but that is no longer true. Like your local TV half hour news programs they are all short, mostly puff, pieces. Google, Bing, Yahoo have become the newspapers of today!

Do I really NEED those comics, the Jumble and Crossword puzzles, in front of me on the table as I sip my coffee every morning? Time to make another change in life?

Posted April 22, 2015 by greatmartin in NEWSPAPERS


Since the first of April I chose over “Woman In Gold” movies such as “Danny Collins” (good), “The Longest Ride” (okay), “While We’re Young” (awful) and “Desert Dancer” (okay) until today when I went to see “Woman In Gold” which I definitely should have seen before now.

The painting in question, “The Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer” by Gustav Klimt, was used as a test case before the Supreme court regarding reparation for Jewish descendants whose family art was stolen by the Nazis. It is based on a true story that brought Maria Altman (played by Helen Mirren as an adult and Tatiana Maslany as young Maria) and a young lawyer, Randol Schoenberg (played by Ryan Reynolds) together to fight for the portrait of her aunt, along with other art works, that Austria claimed and saw as their “Mona Lisa”.

There are a series of flashbacks throughout the movie showing the Jewish Altman family, society and cultural leaders of Vienna, and what happened to them and their belongings when Hitler and his Nazis marched into Austria. Though many of these scenes are familiar they still resonate with the cruelty they caused on all levels.

The major part of the film is the interaction between the unsophisticated lawyer Reynolds and the refined Mirren, who can have a very sharp tongue. The chemistry between the two makes their journey together very believable as does Daniel Bruhl when he comes to their aid as an Austrian journalist aware of injustices of the past on a personal level.

Part Holocaust story, part courtroom drama and part history the whole movie is elevated by the acting of the leads especially, no surprise here, by Helen Mirren, who can throw out quips with gusto and whose face can express so much without dialogue. 

As with most ‘based on a true story’ films much is left out such as Maria having children and what happened to her husband, played by Max Irons, though a major scene and middle portion of the film involves him. Over the credits we see pictures of the real people and we learn what happened to most of them.

The direction, especially the Austrian scenes, by Simon Curtis are generally well done as is the screenplay by Alexi Kaye Campbell, though the latter does pull at the heartstrings at points while the score by Martin Phipps and Hans Zimmer adds emotional tension to some scenes.

“Woman In Gold” is a movie that pulls you into all aspects of the story to the point of involving you emotionally!


Posted April 21, 2015 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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