Archive for November 2016


I went to see “Arrival” sort of reluctantly because I am not into sci-fi movies with aliens coming to take the world over and a war ensues between the good guys (us) and the Bad (the aliens) and we always win. It was a choice of seeing this movie or “Rules Don’t Apply” and I am not a fan of Warren Beatty’s and I understand it is really a flop so I decided on “Arrival”.

The main reasons I was interested in seeing “Arrival” was because I am becoming a big fan of Amy Adams and on YouTubeI saw a video titled “Arrival Ending Explained” which intrigued me though I didn’t watch it until after I saw the movie.

The first hour of the movie was like watching a foreign language film without subtitles and didn’t hold me interest at all. The second hour with the 12 egg-shaped UFOs all over the world set up the standard them versus us but that isn’t where it goes.

Amy Adams is Dr. Louise Banks, is a language expert, who had a daughter who died at the age of 12, and is called on to help make contact with the aliens who are named Abbot & Costello by the theoretical physicist Ian Donnelly, played by Jeremy Renner, who brings the  very rare humor in the movie. They work together in ways not exactly up to what Colonel Weber, (Forest Whitaker) and a CIA agent played by Michael Stuhlbarg want from them.

The film revolves around Adams and Renner with little time for the other actors except for an important cameo by Tzi Ma who plays the Chinese leader though it is Adams who holds your attention every time she is on screen which is through the whole film.

The film is not about them versus us but about time and how it can be looked at in different ways. We see many scenes with the mother and daughter from birth until her death 12 years later and by the ending these scenes all are looked at in a way that we weren’t aware while watching them.

The ending is done subtly by the director Denis Villeneuve and screenwriter Eric Heisserer instead of hammering the audience over the head but I really wished I had watched that YouTubevideo before I saw the film.

Adams performance is constrained, as it should be, where it could have been melodramatic. When it comes to her what it all is about she calmly accepts and understands what is happening and what happened. Renner is very strong support for her performance.

This is not an ‘entertaining’ film in the sense you can sit back, munch on your popcorn and enjoy aliens invading earth but to which you have to think.

“Arrival” for the most part is a boring film except for the last 15 minutes and I didn’t think the time invested was really worth the first 101 minutes and time is what the film is all about.





Posted November 30, 2016 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, MOVIE REVIEW, MOVIES, Uncategorized

CROCKPOT TURKEY   Leave a comment


After last year making my turkey in a crockpot I decided to do it again this year as it had turned out so tender. This one was just a bit too big but using a crockpot liner to cover the turkey worked.

First picture) Along with the turkey there was pumpkin pie, yams with marshmallows, mushroom soup (to use with stuffing), string beans, corn, mac ‘n cheese (which I use as stuffing and mixing in the string beans and corn, mashed potatoes and an onion.

2-4 pictures) is cooking the turkey in the crockpot, then when it was finished and finally on the platter

5) I always use hibiscus to ‘decorate’ the plates

6) Served at Sunset!

That’s enough cooking for awhile!

Posted November 28, 2016 by greatmartin in FOOD, Uncategorized

“MOANA”—MOVIE REVIEW   Leave a comment

I don’t remember the last time I enjoyed one hour and forty-three minutes, including opening and closing credits, as I did this afternoon watching “Moana” (pronounced Mo-anha). I laughed out loud 2-3 times, which is pretty rare for me seeing a movie, and had a big smile on my face for at least 1 hour and 30 minutes while in the remaining time tears!

There is so much to talk about while reviewing this film not least of all is the imaginative animation from the colors used, the many different characters, the variations of the sea btu most of all the expressions of each of the characters whether talking or not.

Dwayne Johnson, just voted the sexiest man alive, the highest paid actor in the movies and the star of the successful HBO series “Ballers” plays Maui and the drawing of his character, with animated tattoos all over his body, is fun in itself. Auli’i Cravalho debuts as Moana has a beautiful voice and plays the princess, though she insists she is not a princess as if that is a wrong thing to be. The banter, written by the screenwriter, Jared Bush, is not only fun but smart. Along with the two co-stars there is grandmother everyone would love to have voiced by Rachel House, the dumbest rooster you will ever see on the screen voiced by Alan Tudyk, Temuera Morrison as Moana’s father, JemaineClement as a crab that has one of the many excellent songs, Nicole Scherzingeras Moana’s mother, who is drawn too young looking more like her sister and my favorite, lovable creature, Puanani Cravalho as the pig!

The songs are infectious, strong and one or two might show up as an Oscar nomination. They were written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, of “Hamilton” fame, Mark Mancina and Samoan Opetaia Tavita Foa’i.

The drawings and the animation of the characters are mind boggling as are the scenes on the ocean and islands.

Treat yourself, and take a kid along if you would be too embarrassed going into seeing a ‘cartoon’ . Animated films of today are not like your parents or even you knew and these are also by Disney with a little/lot of help from Pixar!

“Moana” is a delightful film that should seen by adults and kids of all ages!




“ALLIED”–A MOVIE REVIEW   Leave a comment

“They don’t make movies like they use to,” is a cry you hear from older/old folks and “Allied” shows them to be right. Director Robert Zemeckis and writer Steven Knight seem to be doing homage to a certain spy thriller genre that was standard in Hollywood during the 1940s and production values from clothes, cars, sets, etc., are there but it is excruciating slow paced not having the speed, editing, that this type of movie should have.

There is Casablanca, a much more glamorous Rick’s Bar, a prettier Rick here called Max while IIsa is now a French spy but no one even close to Renault/Claude Raines, Ferrari/Sidney Greenstreet, a Nazi Major Strassi/Conrad Veidt, Peter Lorre/Ugarte nor a Sam/Dooley Wilson to play an equivalent to “As Time Goes By”.

If you have seen the trailer you know that the movie is about two spies who fall in love when they meet for an assignment in Casablanca, marry, have a child, live in London and one has to prove the other isn’t a counter-spy. Finding out the truth takes about an hour and gives, maybe, 5 minutes of suspense and you won’t find/hear “I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship”.

The film revolves around Max (Brad Pitt) and Marianne (Marion Cotillard) but, sadly, there is no chemistry between them and other characters, including Lizzy Caplan (from “The Masters of Sex” HBO series), who plays Max’s Lesbian sister, don’t add anything to the movie. Okay Knight wanted to make the movie more 2016 friendly but adding a Lesbian and a lot of the “F” word doesn’t help and neither does the very phony London blitz that looks like a fireworks show.

The only emotionally moving scene is a brief one between Max and a pilot going on his first mission behind enemy lines. The ending not only has a Hollywood ending but, is way too long and softens the impact of what takes place just before.

“Allied” runs 124 minutes, about 20 minutes too long, and seems to have its heart in the right place but shows they “don’t make them like they use to” though the director and writer tried with the production aspects achieving the goal.

 Movie Trailer

BEING THANKFUL   Leave a comment

We all have many things to be thankful for but every Thanksgiving (and many times over the year) I am most grateful for people who have added to my life and are no more with me physically–I know they are my Guardian Angels looking over my shoulder every day of the year–though YOU may not know them they are a part of my family.

In the 1980s I lost 76 friends to AIDS and as I get older I lose more and more. Living at Gateway, a senior citizen community where the average age is in the 70s, I lose friends every year.

The one lady I miss the most of all every day, is the lady who taught me how to give and how to receive unconditional love, is Flo who always there to defend me, slap me on the head or butt when I needed it, told everyone how great I was, who could curse like a sailor and get away with it and yet couldn’t hear a sob story without doing something for that person or persons. It has been 35 years since she died but I still hear her voice.

And the latest, and I hope the last this year, was Charlie Cinnamon, who with Charlotte, made it possible for me to go to the theatre the past 5 years. I miss you friend. 

Posted November 23, 2016 by greatmartin in LIFE, LIFE EVENTS, Uncategorized



1) Allen’s car

After 5 months driving his red Caddie Allen decided that it really wasn’t for him. Though I loved the color I agreed with him as this one and the Caddie he had before were really too small, especially for the price. You couldn’t sit in the back comfortably and the trunk was too small.

I got a call from him and he told me to come on down and see his new car! It was a Chevrolet and for a lot less money it was a lot more car plus it doesn’t have that ‘fob’ which is and can be annoying. This car has the old fashioned key—well not that old fashioned as you can open the doors and trunk with it. Talking about the trunk; getting my shopping cart in the Caddie was a job and a half and it once cost Allen $200 because it got caught in the lock. In the Chevrolet not only does it fit comfortably but there is a lot of extra room to put packages. Oh yes it is also comfortable sitting in the back seat!


2) My vacation

Well it isn’t actually my vacation but, like last year, Allen is going to California for 10 days so I will have the new car! For 10 days I can go where I want and when I want. I have already started a list of things I want to buy like new pillows and a few new plants, places I want to go to and things I want to see. I do plan to go through the park since I haven’t been there since the last time I had the car and see what Mother Nature has been up to and if there are any changes.Also there will be the opening of the touring company of “Dirty Dancing” in Miami.

3) Gout 

I have been dealing with gout now for about 3-4 years and, trust me; it is a very painful disease. I woke up yesterday morning with attacks in both of my feet which has never happened before. I keep a record of everything I eat and there really is no pattern of food and the attacks, neither the kind of food nor the nutritional content.

I immediately took some MethylPREDNISolone tablets that I had left over from the last attack and went for the bottle for some concentrated tart cherry liquid and realized that the last time I went shopping for it I had gotten a bottle of cherry juice instead. What is the first thing on my list to buy when I get the car?! Yes, you know what it is! I don’t know how effective the concentrate is because I have never just tried using it alone but it seems to make the attacks not last as long and also it seems to help me get to sleep faster with the pain.

I am getting less time between the attacks and I sort of suspect that may have to do with age but I will be seeing my new primary doctor on the 30th and that is the first thing I plan to talk to him. I first want to verify that they are gout attacks and not having to do with my PAD (peripheral artery disease) which, because of a mix up, I didn’t get to see my vascular surgeon last month.

Mmmmm—now that Florida passed a medical marijuana law I could—no, no, no!

And I am started it off with getting my semi-annual crew cut!




Okay I may not be around much the next 10 days—don’t cry LOL—because I will be too busy going out spending money, eating in restaurants, going to movies and doing other things!

Posted November 21, 2016 by greatmartin in FORT LAUDERDALE, LIFE, Uncategorized


“Nocturnal Animals” is 3 films in one starring Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal. The first is who and what Susan (Adams) is today while the second is the mystery novel that Edward (Gyllenhaal) has written and dedicated to his ex wife Susan while the third is Susan and Edward over 19 years ago when they met and got married.

Along the way the have and have nots are explored with Los Angeles being the world of the elite with all glass homes, art galleries, rich good looking men and beautiful women while the rednecks have unending horizons in the flat areas of Texas, men who rape, rob and kill while in both societies people of color are rarely seen.

“Nocturnal Animals” is the second film directed and written by Tom Ford, the first being the acclaimed “A Single Man”. The 3 stories are not told in lineralfashion and instead skip back of forth between yesterday, the novel in movie form and today, each time easily followed. We watch Susan read the novel, seeing herself in the the main character Laura and the girl who became the woman she is today.

There is violence led by a trio of nasty men, following the frightening Aaron Taylor-Johnson who has no problem moving his bowels on his front porch. There is ugliness starting with the opening credits showing the installation of a gallery exhibit that almost turned me off the film. There is a scene with an aging socialite trying to look like Elizabeth Taylor (Andrea Riseborough) and her gay husband Carlos, played by Michael Sheen. 

Along the way are the pretty people of Tom Ford’s world including ArmieHammer as Susan’s husband and a striking cameo by Laura Linney as her mother. On the opposite side are country people who have a lived in face such as detective Bobby played by Michael Shannon. In Edward’s novel Isla Fisher plays Susan, called Laura in the book, and Ellie Bamber as the daughter.

All the acting is impeccable almost certainly bringing Amy Adams another Oscar nomination though the actress field is pretty crowded this year and maybe, just maybe, bring Jake Gyllenhaal the Oscar he ceratinly deserves for this movie and his total body of work.

Tom Ford obviously takes his movie making seriously, has a couple of breath taking scenes when recreating Edward’s novel but just falls short of his wanting to make film as art.

“Nocturnal Animals” is an interesting film but doesn’t quite make the must see list except for the acting.


Posted November 18, 2016 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, MOVIE REVIEW, MOVIES, Uncategorized



Richard Loving loved his wife Mildred and she loved him but never once in the movie “Loving” do they say “I love you,” in words. The way they look at each other, touch each other, lean on each other, interact with each other shows those three words more than saying it would. At one point Richard tells a lawyer that he should tell the Supreme Court that he loves her and in a scene that will have you holding your breath not by what is said but how Mildred looks at Richard after she hears the decision tells you more than heavy love making or sex scenes could.

Based on a true story the only thing ‘Hollywood’ about “Loving” is that Loving is the real name of the White man and Black woman who drive to Washington D. C. to get married as at that time it was illegal to marry a person of a different race to wed in Virginia. After returning to Virginia their bedroom is invaded by the Sherriff and they are arrested and jailed this being the only jarring scene in this movie.

Jeff Nichols, director and writer of the screenplay, tells the story in a very low key of the couple’s right to marry, live together, and raise their children together. After writing a letter to Robert Kennedy the case is taken by the ACLU to the Supreme Court.  There are no dramatic court scenes with just a brief voiceover telling the final decision declaring marriage an inherent right. 

The sheriff could have been shown in a very sinister light but he is the law of the State until it is changed. While the intermingling of Whites and Blacks is mostly underplayed, with the positive and negative aspects shown as accepted way of life neither side is ‘right’. One scene, in a local bar, could have been explosive but stops short just as showing Black and White men’s enjoying a day of drag racing is just that, friends enjoying their day off.

The only ‘Hollywood’ aspect of the film is that the name of the couple are Loving but that was the case and couldn’t be improved upon just as the performances of Joel Edgerton as Richard and Ruth Negga as Mildred couldn’t have been Improved upon.  Richard is a silent man who just wants to provide for the wife and kids he loves, doesn’t even want to get involved with the Supreme Court case or the attention it draws to him. He wants to do his job being a bricklayer and tinker with the cars for the drag races. Mildred wants to care for her husband, children, make a comfortable home for them without interference from anyone. Both actors express so much with saying so little.

With Marton Scokas as the Sheriff, Nick Kroll and Jon Bass as the ACLU lawyers plus an ensemble of excellent actors, playing family members and friends, director Jeff Nichols has no need for histrionics to bring attention to them.

As the screenwriter, Nichols steers clear of clichés and concentrates on the love aspect of the couple instead of theatrics of the lawyers. What he gives us is a moving story, a story that will bring a tear or two to your eyes while bringing an important law case to many that would change lives and lead to ‘declaring marriage an inherent right’ and making Gay marriage possible.

“Loving” is definitely one of the best movies I have seen this year.


Movie trailer

Posted November 16, 2016 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, FILM REVIEWS, MOVIES, Uncategorized

“KING COBRA”–A FILM REVIEW   Leave a comment

I am a big supporter of gay themed films and The Gateway Theatre that over the years have played many of them. I was happy when “Philadelphia” with Tom Hanks became a ‘cross-over’ film and though I didn’t like “Brokeback Mountain” I cheered when crowds filled the theatres to see it. Other movies like “Milk”, “A Single Man”, “Maurice”, “In & Out”, “Boys Don’t Cry”, just to name a few, were box office hits portraying real, believable, gay people that attracted all demographics to see them. This month “Moonlight” about a Black kid/teenager/man is seeing many people who ordinarily wouldn’t come to see a ‘Black’ and/or “Gay’ themed film.

This is a roundabout way for a review of “King Cobra” and a hope that it doesn’t become a crossover film—it wasn’t at the performance I attended. Supposedly based on a true story about a competition in the porn industry between 2 DOM (dirty old men for those who don’t know) and the twinkies they pursue. There is a lot of gratuitous nude butt shots and is basically soft core porn though tame compared what you can see on cable TV on Showtime/HBO, etc. And no frontal nudity in a film about porn?!?!

Why is James Franco famous? I had to look up his credits to see where I might know him from and I think I saw him in Spiderman but I wouldn’t bet on it.  Luckily Christian Slater had a dynamite role in the new TV series “Mr. Robot” and has done a few good film roles before this because I have no idea why he made this film unless he needs money for one of his kid’s college education! What the heck are Alicia Silverstone and Molly Ringwald doing in these throw away roles?  Is it punishment for something? The less said about the younger actors the better and hopefully they will get out of the film business—porn or otherwise!

Skip “King Cobra” and if you have gay friends tell them not to see it. Maybe The Gateway Theatre can get a good gay themed film soon and if anyone wants to see an excellent film about the porn industry rent “Boggie Nights” from 1997 which got Oscar nods for Julianne Moore and Burt Reynolds and shows Mark Wahlberg who knew how to play a twinkie porn star!


Posted November 14, 2016 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, MOVIE REVIEW, MOVIES, Uncategorized

“MOONLIGHT”–A MOVIE REVIEW   Leave a comment


Once again I think I fell for the hype and found myself disappointed in a movie when I actually saw it. “Moonlight” is not your ordinary movie in that it tackles the subject of a Gay, Black 9 year old kid/teenager/adult as he goes through discovering who he is. It is not a ‘Gay’ and/or ‘Black’movie meant only for a minority as it gets into the many feelings all human beings go through.

Chiron (Alex Hibbart as the 9 year old, Ashton Sanders, the teenager and Trevante Rhodes as the adult) goes from being an alienated, bullied boy to a muscled drug dealer who nobody fools with and in a way has followed the path of his mentor and surrogate father, Juan (Mahershala Ali), who taught the kid how to swim and discover himself.

We also meet his friend Kevin (played at the three same stages as Chiron by Jadin Piner, Jharrel Jerome and Andre Holland), his mother (Naomie Harris) and Juan’s girlfriend (Janelle Monae) who offers Chiron a place to stay whenever he needs one.

Chiron, as many gay kids, of any color, becomes a loner, is beaten up by schoolmates and accepts whatever kindness he receives. It was interesting following his path and where it goes. The scene in the diner is a love story unto itself though nothing is said about love except for a record playing on the jukebox.

The film failed me in that certain sections the jargon, vernacular, made it difficult for me to hear what was being said though I understood what was being done just as I didn’t quite understand the relationship between Juan and Chiron and how it became about and took the turn it did. Also a few very interesting characters just disappear from the film. I wasn’t aware the N word was used so much between Blacks as it is here at a certain level.

All 3 actors playing Chiron are outstanding as is the oldest Kevin. The arch of Chiron’s life holds your interest though at times moves too slowly. Ali’s Juan is an imposing figure and the two women, Harris and Monae, especially the former are strong in their portrayals.

The direction and screenplay by Barry Jenkins, based on his life, tackles a rarely told story in the movies but it is also about loneliness and trying to answer the question “Who am I?”  Some scenes are held too long, others don’t finish the thoughts being expressed. There are two powerful scenes I don’t think I will forget though they may go over the heads of others.

I do recommend “Moonlight” but don’t go in with high expectations as I did and approach it as going to see a good film with a new story.


Movie trailer

Posted November 12, 2016 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, MOVIE REVIEW, MOVIES, Uncategorized

%d bloggers like this: