Archive for March 2017

“The Housekeeper’s Wife”–A Movie Review   Leave a comment


You have seen “The Zookeeper’s Wife” before and you will see it again and, unless you have no heart or feelings for other human beings, you will react to this film as to others of the same genre in the past and future.

We are in Warsaw, Poland, on the eve of the invasion on the Nazis, their eventual takeover and starting on the road of exterminating the Jewish population. Yes, there is the child in hiding who makes a noise when a Nazi officer is near, the Jew, passing as a Christian with the blond hair dyed, going through a German security guard, the loading of trains to go off to the camps, ask falling on the city as if it was snow, the evil, not to be trusted German officer and every other cliche a movie like this has but remember a cliche has the basis of truth in it.

Where this movie differs is that the couple, who comes up with a plan to save Jews, are the owners of a popular zoo in Warsaw so we see all kinds of scenes with cute tiger cubs, monkeys, camels prancing around the grounds, rabbits, zebras, parrots, bisons, elephants, etc.

Jessica Chastain, as Antonina, and Johan Heldenbergh, as Jan, are the husband that are both equally involved not only the zoo but with what happens. The picture revolves more around the former than the latter for change. Chastain is impressive but many times her accent swallows up her speech but she never fails to be touching when working with the animals especially one harrowing scene near the beginning. Their son is played first by Timothy Radford the first 3 years and then by Val Maloku 1943-1945.

There is a standout performance by Shira Haas as a Jewish teenager who, unfortunately, the screenplay sort of forgets. There is Daniel Bruhl as a Nazi zoologist who promises the couple he will take care of the displaced animals and return them after everything is over though in reality he wants to use them for selective breeding just as doctors did with their Jewish prisoners.

There are a few other characters but none have the chance to show what they can do except Chastain, Heldenbergh, Haas and, of course, the animals and that is the major problem with this movie.

You will react reflexively to many of the scenes but the director Niki Caro and the screenwriter Angela Workman offer too much of a glossy picture of a harrowing time in history. Everything looks pretty including the scenes that make you pull back at what horror human beings can inflict on each other and, yes, animals. More time is given to getting to know the animals than the humans. Somehow the danger all these people lived under is dissipated.

Movies about the Holocaust should be continued to be made and seen but they need to offer more than a ‘formula’ showing. At the end credits, when you learn that the husband and wife saved more than 300 people and what happened to the couple during and after the war you’ll wonder why you didn’t feel all this while watching the film.

I recommend “The Zookeeper’s Wife” as a film to see what people do to help others in time of need and to not forget the Holocaust or what hate can do to people.

“The Zookeeper’s Wife” movie trailer.

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Doc B Fresh Kitchen–A Restaurant Review   Leave a comment

 

Before we even entered the restaurant the negatives started. They have a very small valet parking lot which we preferred not using and parked in the large Fresh Market lot. Before we even got into the restaurant the valet parkerasked us if we had parked in the Fresh Market parking lot, knowing we did, and telling us we could be towed. I said,smiling, “You would get us if that was starting to happen?” and he gave a definite “No!” Aside from valet parking there is very little choice though, I believe, they will have a garage in the building being built behind the restaurant which I am sure there will be a charge.

Next spent a minute of two trying to figure out how to get into the place! When you walk in get ready to be blasted by music and people in the tables near you shouting to be heard. Oh, yes, let’s not forget the TV screens.

For some reason my immediate reaction was that I had stepped into the Tilted Kilt which just recently closed except the staff here were fully dressed!

Up front let me say the best and only good thing about this restaurant were the working crew, not the 3 ‘managers’ , 2 men and 1 woman, in the hour or so we were there never went to any  tables to see how things were doing.

Our server Emma (who was training another server) was excellent from beginning to end and, which is so rare, seemed to like her job.

Is it a corporate rule that drinks that ‘sweat’ like water, diet Coke, Iced tea, etc., don’t have a coaster put under them so the table gets wet or did they just run out of them?

As far as the food goes there was nothing special about the $14 traditional burger and the fries certainly didn’t seem as if they were made in a ‘fresh kitchen’. The Number 6, a fried breaded chicken sandwich, came unadorned with lifeless fried sweet potatoes.

I can see no reason to come back here, especially since this area is becoming a ‘restaurant row’ with many choices.

To end on a positive note, thanks Emma for your service.Doc B collage March 23 2017 Image

Personal Shopper”–A Movie Review   Leave a comment

shopper

I went to see “Personal Shopper” for one reason only and that was to catch up with the critics who have been raving about Kristen Stewart’s performances in her independent films. I believe I saw her in one of the “Twilight” movies and I was impressed with her performance in “Still Alice” but I had to go to Wikipedia to see what other movies she had been in and they listed 2 movies I had seen, “Panic” and “Café Society” only vaguely remembering her in the latter.

The title of the film is Maureen’s (Stewart) job description for a celebrity Kyra (Nora von Waldstatten) who can’t go out without being mobbed. Maureen believes she has paranormal powers as a medium as did her twin brother Lewis who died from a condition that could also affect her eventually. The twins made a deal that whoever died first would send a ‘sign’ from ‘the otherside’.

We meet others along the way from Kyra’s lover of 2 years, Lewis’s widow, Maureen’s boyfriend and others but none have almost as much screen time as her iPhone except, possibly, the various laptop computers which are all around.

Kristen Stewart dominates the movie whether texting, traveling on trains between Paris and London or motoring around Paris on her Peugeot scooter, being topless for one reason or another and trying to communicate with her brother or being pursued by a mysterious stranger, possibly from ‘beyond’ in that iPhone.

Stewart’s face implies more than her words and she easily makes her character believable but I am on the fence regarding her appeal as an actress which in this case may be due, partially, to her director Olivier Assayas. In their first picture together, “Clouds of Sils Maria”, he and the cast received rave reviews and Stewart was the first American to win the French’s Cesar Award for Best Supporting Actress but I don’t see his touch here. In fact, a few scenes that should have had the audience jumping out of their seats, gets very little reaction. Neither does he, or the sound editor, do their job when it comes to the French subtitles or level of some English lines important to the film.

“Personal Shopper” did get me interested in Kristen Stewart but at this point not enough to make me go see her future films if there are other films in theatres at the same time that I would like to season for one reason or another.

 

 

“Personal Shopper” trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dSqMpkGOW9g

Posted March 28, 2017 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, MOVIE REVIEW, MOVIES, Uncategorized

Everything old is new again!   Leave a comment

Welcome to the new(er) Gateway!

Posted March 27, 2017 by greatmartin in LIFE, Uncategorized

“Beauty and the Beast”–A Movie Review   Leave a comment

 

This Walt Disney combination of live and animated action has to be one of the most overproduced productions ever but no matter how thousands of napkins, dishes and gowns swirl around on the screen the basic story that makes “Beauty and the Beast” a classic is still there.

Whether speaking through an animated object or being seen on screen, even if very briefly, it is always a joy to hear/see Ian McKellen, Stanley Tucci, Ewan McGregor, Audra McDonald, Emma Thompson and the glorious Gugu MBatha-Raw along with Nathan Mack as Chip the teacup. (Be sure to stay for ending credits.)

Emma Watson fills the shoes of Belle being the equal of any Disney’s princesses and has the voice to match the image while Dan Stevens as the Beast is hidden behind fur and horns most of the movie and has a number near the end that he belts out with assurance. In addition it has Kevin Kline, always welcome in any movie, as Belle’s father given more background than previous versions but not a major song to sing. Luke Evans is as narcissistic as any Gaston can be while Josh Gad, as his sidekick, is a delight in the movie.

The original songs by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman from the 1991 animated film are in the new plus 4 new songs by Menken and Tim Rice. The screenplay by Stephen Chbosky and Evan Spilotopoulos has added a lot of background giving the new film a running time of 2 hours and 9 minutes while the original animated 1991 film was 1 hour and 24 minutes. 

Let’s talk about the ‘scandal, associated with this film which would take more time to explain then what doesn’t take place on the screen. Blink your eyes and you will miss it plus the exact same thing and more has been seen at least 20 times before and how many times have you seen men kiss, by accident in movies, which doesn’t happen here! “Much ado about nothing.”

I have seen the animated film twice and the Broadway stage show three times, still as elaborate as this production is I will always fall for the love story and the ‘tale as old as time’.

 

 

 

“The Last Word”–A Movie Review   Leave a comment

“The Last Word” is a movie for people who love/like Shirley MacLaine and I am one who does. It is also a movie for people who enjoyed her role as Ouiser in “Steel Magnolias” in 1989 because as Harriet in this movie she is even more of a curmudgeon along with being a control freak who, in her 81 years, has ‘lost’ her daughter, (Anne Heche) husband (Philip Baker Hall) and whatever friends she might have had.

The screenplay by Stuart Ross Fink is how Harriet hires the obituary writer of the local newspaper, Anne (Amanda Seyfried), to write her obituary before she dies. She gives Anne a list of 100 names for her to go and see but comes back to Harriet to tell her that not a single one had anything nice to say about her. Harriet has not gained friends or respect by teaching her gardener how to garden, her housekeeper how to cook, her hairdresser to step aside so that she can do her own hair the way she wants it and she even ignores her gynecologist how to examine her.

From this point on there is nothing more to do except lean back and watch MacLaine, who has made over 65 movies starting with her first Hitchcock’s “The Trouble With Harry”  in 1955, taking the movie exactly where you know it will go.

Along the way we meet a girl from the projects, Brenda, (Ann’Jewel Lee) who Harriet is going to mentor, Robin (Thomas Sadoski) who Harriet will get to hire her as a DJ on his radio station, who she will try to fix up with Anne—no, that is not a spoiler as you know what will happen there.

The director, Mark Pellington, lets Shirley MacLaine take Harriet wherever she has to go and it is to the audience’s delight that she can take a line, give a look, that will make you laugh or feel her pain or show why this actress at 81 is a fascinating study on how to be a movie actress and star. Oh yes, even in this spotlight you see the woman as she is, the lines, the spots, the ‘rippling’ neck, an old woman who doesn’t hide a day of her 81 years. (I can say that because we are the same age.)

“The Last Word” is 108 minutes, about 8 minutes too long, certainly isn’t a must see but it is a pleasure to watch.

 

The Last Word movie trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AthlyFc79T0

Posted March 24, 2017 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, MOVIE REVIEW, MOVIES, Uncategorized

A Perfect Fun Evening in Fort Lauderdale   Leave a comment

Weather wise March 21, 2017, was a perfect day with sun, clear sky, around 80 degrees and as evening came with the sky still clear the stars and moon were visible with the temperatures in the mid to lower 70s.

We had pre-theatre dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, the Quarterdeck, and I ordered Seafood pasta while Allen had Chicken Franchise and we ended up with a double scoop of ice cream. It was either that or one of the big chocolate chip cookies at the theatre but we were behaving ourselves and only had the ice cream!

We arrived at the theatre to be greeted by a group of roving minstrel players from a nearby Renaissance Fair in Delray beach which was a nice added touch.

Then came “Something Rotten” which proved that it was everything but that with funny lines, good music, excellent actors, an ensemble that couldn’t have been any better and a production that just made you smile and leaving the theatre feeling great.

What more could a person ask of an evening?

Take a look! 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q5bo4CHr2OI

Posted March 23, 2017 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, LIFE, THEATRE, Uncategorized

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