Archive for January 2016

“45 YEARS”–A MOVIE REVIEW–NO/NEVER SPOILERS   Leave a comment


Where do I start? There is nothing wrong with Charlotte Rampling’sperformance but certainly not worth an Oscar nomination over either Lily Tomlin in “Grandma” or Charlize Theron in “Mad Max” just to name possibleother candidates. Do I say that the film is ‘much ado about nothing’ and would have been served better being a one hour TV movie on Lifetime or Netflex

“45 Years” seems just that long in spite of the running time being only 95 minutes but it is padded with many scenes of Rampling, sometimes with a dog, sometimes not, walking on the admitted beautiful shots of Norfolk landscapes where the story takes place or one extended scene of her playing the piano.

The conflict, that took place before they met, seemingly upends all that they have had is really a flimsy reason for what takes place. She was a teacher, he a factory manager and they have had a 45 year loving, comfortable, childless marriage with both being retired now, she still very active and he slowing down to illness.Without giving anything away it seems very far fetched that things always available are now seen and read for the first time.

Watching the performances of Charlotte Rampling and Tim Courtenay, who have been stars for over 50 years, are always a joy to watch and even though their silences can say a lot here they really aren’t given substantial material to work with.  There is a scene between the two having sex that is very funny and could be real to life but it isn’t enough.

“45 Years” is one of the very few films that I would recommend seeing on the small screen instead of a theatre screen.

MOVIE TRAILER

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ahOWNjE5FwA

Posted January 29, 2016 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, MOVIE REVIEW, Uncategorized

I GET TO WEAR THIS ONCE OR TWICE A YEAR   Leave a comment

WHEN THE TEMPERATURE IS BELOW 60 DEGREES AND TODAY IS ONE OF THOSE DAYS!!


sunny
58°F
Feels Like 56°

Sunny

Wind

NW 11 mph

Humidity

46%

Dew Point

37°F

Pressure

30.15 in 

Visibility

10.0 mi

UV Index

THIS IS AT 3 PM IN FORT LAUDERDALE!
FOR THOSE THAT DON’T KNOW IT IS THE EQUIVALENT OF 30 DEGREES IN THE NORTH. AND SOMETHING TELLS ME I AM NOT GETTING ANY SYMPATHY FROM THEM!

Posted January 24, 2016 by greatmartin in LIFE, WEATHER

“THE LADY IN THE VAN” A MOVIE REVIE==NEVER/NO SPOILERS   Leave a comment

 

“The Lady in the Van” stars Maggie Smith in a trifle English story that has one of the longest drawn out endings I can recall in a long time and the movie is only 103 minutes! She plays a curmudgeon recreating the role she performed on stage written by Alan Bennett who also wrote this screenplay.

The story is of an old woman who lives in a van, parking the vehicle in the driveway of the author. Alex Jennings plays the author and his alter ego who fight over art versus life which presents a distraction throughout the film.

The film opens with a loud crash on a black screen and then seeing the window of the van cracked and bloody. Little by little we find out who this homeless, aimless lady was and what brought her to this point in her life. We, also, find out about the crash which really adds nothing to the story but does add to the running time as does a piano concert scene.

The supporting players are all excellent English actors who add a touch of class including Jim Broadbent, Frances De La Tour, Deborah Findlay, James Corden and Roger Allam.

“The Lady in the Van” certainly must have been better in the theatre and this film is only for truly devoted Maggie Smith fans.

Movie Trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47T0HORY9gs

Posted January 23, 2016 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, FILM REVIEWS, Uncategorized

SHOW ME THE MONEY!   Leave a comment

flower 1 may 2015
(WINTER IN FORT LAUDERDALE)

Thirty-five (35) years ago today I had my last drink. It was after a night of debauchery that accumulated in my driving home and not knowing that I did. I woke up in the morning and found out that I didn’t remember a thing that happened, where I went, what I did. All I know is that I felt dreadful—not in the sense I had a hangover but a feeling ‘something happened’ and I didn’t know what!

I spent the next two hours calling some of the guys I remember starting out the evening with and little by little I pieced together most of what happened.

One of the problems I had drinking was that I never looked or acted drunk and, because I tipped so well, the bartenders not only poured me strong drinks they also would give me 2-3 free nightcaps.

I looked at the television and listened to the radio news, also read quickly through the newspaper to see if I may have possibly been responsible for an accident or worse but none were reported on.

Without going through all the years I went traveling, not remembering very much about the places I saw, because I drank too much or the many friends I left in bars and/or restaurants because of the habit I had of ‘disappearing when I had too much to drink  I just knew that morning I wouldn’t take another drink. What solidified that promise to me was going out and not finding where I thought, or usually, parked my car only to find it parked in back of the building across 3 parking spaces.

Since that day I have not had a sip or taste of any alcohol not even allowing myself to order food cooked in wine as I know my thought process.

As much as I would love to have a drink—Dewer’s White Label or Johnny Walker’s red– when I make a toast on the evening of my 20th Leap Year birthday I will lift up a glass of diet soda!!

All I want to know is where has all the money I have saved not drinking for 35 years gone?!?!?

Oh yes though I was not to meet Bill until the end of 1981 I will never forget his birthday—yes, it is January 21!! Happy Birthday Bill!

Posted January 21, 2016 by greatmartin in LIFE, LIFE EVENTS, Uncategorized

“ANOMALISA” A MOVIE REVIEW NO/NEVER SPOILERS   Leave a comment

I may be in the minority but I didn’t find one redeeming feature in this movie unless you like hearing the ‘F” word constantly, like watching the jerky motions of the characters, like to see people lighting up cigarettes every 2 minutes and tell a story that has been done so many times and so much better before. 

Granted I do not understand, nor am I attracted to, what is referred to as a ‘stop motion’ made with puppets film but a boring film is a boring film. You might be attracted to seeing anatomicaly correct puppets showing both male and female frontal nudity but you can go to an all night sex shop to see it.

“Anomalisa” is simply a story of a man, Michael Stone, who sees the whole world made up of robots, people who are and act alike, until he meets a woman, Lisa, who is a fan of this motivational speaker book writer, and seems to be a ray of sunshine in his gray world.

Aside from all the characters acting in one note they also speak in the same monotone voice except for Michael voiced by David Thewlis and Lisa voiced by Jennifer Jason Leigh. All the other voices, whether male or female, child or adult, are voiced by one person, Tom Noonan.

Though I feel Anonmalisa” would have been much better with live actors I still don’t think it would have been an interesting enough film to warrant your attention even then. It is different but not in an interesting way!

 

Movie trailer

 

Posted January 16, 2016 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, MOVIE REVIEW, Uncategorized

WHAT IS GOOD/BAD ABOUT WHERE YOU LIVE?   Leave a comment

A quiet morning on the Fort Lauderdale Beach in January
No matter what we try/do to stop people keep from coming Fort Lauderdale and/or Florida our population keeps on growing–Listen, folks, you don’t want to move here and here are some reasons. 1 Hurricanes, hurricanes and hurricanes. (Well I guess some people like to get blown away! Not to mention we haven’t had a hurricane in 10 years!)) 2. Humidity. Walk out the door and eyeglasses fog up–sweating 24/7 is a given. (Okay so tourists wear sweaters during the summer. They go from an air conditioned room to an air conditioned car to an air condition movie, restaurant.) 3. Living expenses are high, salaries are low. (So you don’t have to buy winter clothes, run the heat from November to March but, of course, that money saved goes to very high automobile and hurricane insurance if you can even buy the latter.) 4. Sun. You burn your feet on the sand, the steering wheel burns your hands and can get cancer. (Okay, so when it’s snowing elsewhere you are in a skimpy bathing suit drinking a Pina Colada.) 5. We rank 49th in what we pay teachers. (And, along with fireman, policemen, etc., they can’t afford to buy a house.) 6. Our students are some of the most poorly educated school kids and we rank high in dropouts. (Well, we do need workers at the fast food places.) 7. Our Governor won’t allow affordable health care. 8. We are a blue county in a red state. 9. During rainy season we can get 2-5 inches of rain within a half hour. And we get instant swimming pools as we don’t have a sewerage system. (Of course the heat and humidity dry it all up just as quickly.) 10. We were just rated ‘road rage’ capitol of the USA. 11, We are the scam capitol of the country. 12. Our alligators and/or crocodiles eat people. (Of course we are intruding on their territory and not offering them a place to live.) 13. We get brush fires destroying acres of land. (We have a drought every Winter/Spring and then flooding June to November.) 14. In the summer you can’t dive into the ocean to cool off as the water is warmer than the land temperature. 15. Going to Disneyworld for a family can cost more than a week on vacation anywhere else. 16. Most flowers grown here don’t have an aroma nor can we raise tulips, irises, lilacs, dogwood and roses don’t smell. 17, We rank third in gay partnerships. 18 Castro is only 90 miles from here. 19. We are known to be rude to tourists and we rob them in more ways then one. 20. We have people here from all over the world including illegal immigrants and New Yorkers! Those are just some of the reasons–not all of them. PS Don’t let anyone know it is Paradise living here and I love sending, “Don’t you wish you were here” cards, and e-mails, when you are scraping ice off your windshield. The water is in all shades of blue and/or green, the sky is beautiful from sunrise to sunset and full of stars at night. The best thing is that I could list 4 times the amount of reasons to live then not but I won’t tell you because you’ll tell others and the populations will keep on growing. Why shouldn’t/should people move to where you live?

Posted January 15, 2016 by greatmartin in LIFE, Uncategorized

“CAROL”–A MOVIE REVIEW   1 comment


“”Carol” is an excellent movie with one major negative aspect and two minor quibbles but more about those later. There is no finding fault with the cast as Cate Blanchett a wealthy married woman seeking a divorce from her husband Kyle Chandler. Blanchett  has previously had an affair with Sarah Paulson, a school friend, and is now embarking on an affair with young, not rich, department store clerk, Rooney Mara. The latter is going with a dapper, rich, sort of snobbish boy played by Jake Lacey, though it is Blanchette who buys her the expensive camera she needs to further her pursuit of a career as a photographer. There is also John Magaro a poor, nice guy who works at the New York Times who might be able to help Mara get a job there but he also has feelings for her. Along with the minor figures in “Carol” each and every performer gives their best and in the case of Blanchett, Mara and Chandler that is high praise indeed.

The director Todd Haynes, the screenwriter Phyllis Nagy, the perfect production design by Judy Becker, the camera work by Ed Lachman along with the costumes by Sandy Powell and the period music by Carter Burwell bring us a perfect picture of the early 1950s. Not only do we see the right cars like Blanchette’s Packard and her full length creamy mink coat but the streets of New York, the Oak Room of the Plaza hotel but even more important the morality of that time regarding homosexuality and the blackmail that can ensue even from people who love you. Though wealth and class levels are brought forward they are done in subtle ways still getting the message across.

There is nothing salacious or predatory about the older woman/younger woman really drifting into an affair with the older woman being who she is and the younger woman finding out who she is. Blanchett and Mara are completely believable in this journey they are taking together.

Now we come to the negative aspect and the quibbles mentioning the latter first. It is very perplexing considering her love for her child that Blanchett would allow her child to be driven by Chandler who is drunk. Another ‘driving’ incident is that though we know they are wealth there is never any hint, suggestion, showing that they have a chauffeur though we do see the other household staff and yet in another scene we see Chandler stepping into the rear of a car and being driven away. Petty? Quibbling? Possibly but this is part of the negative aspect that found my very disappointing in “Carol”. I am a sucker for a love story, whether it be between opposite or same sex couples, and yet, in spite of their top rate performances, and even their non-threatening sex scene, I felt nothing for this couple. I didn’t, couldn’t, find myself rooting for them.

It is because of this feeling, this lack of being emotionally involved with what was going on in the film I find myself in a very small minority and would only recommend “Carol” if you have a ‘thing’ for the early 1950s!

“CAROL”–movie trailer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EH3zcuRQXNo

Posted January 9, 2016 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, MOVIE REVIEW, Uncategorized

“YOUTH”–A MOVIE REVIEW   1 comment

My immediate reaction while watching “Youth” and when the end credits came on was that this was a load of ‘artistic’ garbage but I thought a stronger word! There is so much excess in this film ranging from annoying music tracks, songs that don’t make sense, fantasy images supposedly being taken for real, people that are in another movie just as scenes are thrown in to show the director’s, and film editor’s, expertise but not necessarily for a movie called “Youth”.

Performances by Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel, Paul Dano and Rachel Weisz are defeated by the script and what they have to say. Younger actors, except for Weisz, are secondary to the plot and are arranged in so many trick shots, as many of the extras are, that the camera, not the actors or screenplay, are the major attraction. Jane Fonda, grotesquely made up, plays a veteran actress who shows that she will do almost anything in a film even if it means being foul mouthed.

Old people are treated like robots and/or sheep with all treated alike and not able to think for themselves. It all takes place in a spa where people are continuously given massages or spread out in pools or steam rooms. The positive aspects of the movie, where the spa is located, are beautiful scenes of the Swiss alps..

Both Caine and Fonda are being mentioned for possible Oscar nominations for Best Actor and Best Supporting actress for her few moments on screen. I am big fans of both but I don’t see that happening for either unless watching him conduct a herd of cows which has no humor or seemingly any purpose as we already know he is a conductor/composer of some fame.

“Youth” is for someone who believes that a man can levitate, which happens, and may be what the movie is about.

“Youth” trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-T7CM4di_0c

Posted January 7, 2016 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, FILM REVIEWS, Uncategorized

Changes in my life   Leave a comment

None of this has anything to do with New Year’s resolutions as it is basically decisions I have to make in my life for several reasons.

As many of you know there was no Social Security raise for seniors in 2016 in the USA because the cost of living index doesn’t indicate one is needed. The fact that medicines, health expenses—as just one example–have gone up they aren’t taken into consideration. (Just wonder if the Congress will be getting a COLA raise this year?)

As my phone, Internet and cable prices have gone up I have had to choose between the Internet and my getting the local newspaper delivered. I checked out all the Internet prices available but none were lower than the price I would be paying in 2016. I checked out phone prices but my landline is still the cheapest. Next was cable versus streaming and since we get a great rate here–$36 for 66 stations including Showtime and HBO—I know it was the best deal.

When something goes up $20 it means I have to cut some other things that I get. I don’t recall ever NOT subscribing to a daily newspaper, if for no other reason than to have coffee and work the Jumble and crossword plus reading the comics every morning as part of my life’s routine. With the Internet and television by the time I get the newspaper most of their news is ‘old’, though it goes into more depth, I decided to stop the newspaper. I decided to call and end the subscription January 1 but that didn’t happen! Whether I listened to all the choices on their automated system or went to their web site there was no way to end the subscription before Monday January 4 which means I will be paying for those days.

In conversation with my downstairs neighbor they mentioned they got the newspaper delivered Friday, Saturday and Sunday and they would gladly give it to me when they finished with them. Lucky for me they are ‘morning people’ so by the time I get up the paper is at my door! The bottom line is I have now survived three days without the paper!!

Another change I have made is regarding buying lottery tickets which I have been doing faithfully for all the years they have been in business. (No, I don’t want to know how much money I have spent on them—I am helping education!!!) Of course with the Powerball now at over $400 mil I still have one chance at winning tonight. Now on Thursdays I will only buy Fantasy5 and Play4. All I have to do is NOT look at the winning Powerball, Lotto, Lucky Money winning numbers because I know mine will come out!

I have been saving money for the past 3 years for my Leap Year birthday celebration but I don’t think it will cover all my expenses which means I may be in the hole after it is all over which, in turn, means more cuts and changing my priorities. People have ‘suggested’ I don’t have the dinner party I planned but it is something I look forward to every Leap Year and this could be my last but even if it isn’t it will be my last ‘gala’ celebration. It is important enough for me because it is my way of saying “Thank you” to the many people who have been nice, good, giving to me the past 4 years.

I will see what changes I may have to make starting March 1—well March 2 as on March 1 I will end the celebration of finally reaching the age of 20 by eating out and going to see “Kinky Boots”—what I may have to eliminate from my budget.

Okay now I have to go read the comics on line!

Posted January 6, 2016 by greatmartin in LIFE, Uncategorized

My December 2015 Resume in Pictures   Leave a comment

 

This December was one of the best months of this year, if not all Decembers, for me. It started with Chuck and Terry from Memphis taking me by surprise with a visit!

I have so many pictures that I wanted to make a slideshow of at least 100 but that would be a bit too much, even for me. Here are just a few highlights from the month.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CcOcUpFCUMo

  1.   My favorite picture of the year
  2. My new computer (on the right) with Windows 10 that Chuck put together for me.
  3. The new chair (right) that Chuck & Terry bought me
  4. The much needed new shopping cart

5-7  Theatre: Grinch, Kinky Boots (which I’ll be seeing again as the climax of my 20th Leap Year birthday) and Sound of Music

8-10 Only saw 4 movies this month including seeing Spotlight for the second time, The Danish Girl (disappointing), Star Wars The Force Awakens (boring) and Joy

11-17 Ate out about 12 times including at Big Louie’s, Café Vico (Chuck, Allen, Terry), Denny’s, IHOP, Quarterdeck, Outback, and the Sage

18-20 A great visit from Santa with free movie tickets and a $78 winning ticket at the penny slots.

  1. My Christmas table with a Poinsettia, a miniature Christmas tree, a gift basket and snail mail cards from all over the world.

2015, in spite of a caritod artery surgery that made me look like Frankenstein (but a good looking one!) for a few weeks, has been a really good year for me and with my 20th Leap Year birthday coming up on Monday February 29 I am looking forward to 2016!

 

Posted January 4, 2016 by greatmartin in LIFE, Uncategorized

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