Archive for April 2017

April (Springtime) 2017 Fort Lauderdale   Leave a comment

If a picture is worth a thousand words here are thousands!!

Posted April 30, 2017 by greatmartin in LIFE, LIFE EVENTS, Uncategorized

“A Very Sordid Wedding”–A Movie Review   Leave a comment

Very seldom is a sequel to a movie better, let alone as good, as the original and “A Very Sordid Wedding” is not that seldom one. I remember being completely entertained and surprised by “Sordid Lives” even going so far as to buy the DVD. I am not someone who often laughs out loud watching a movie but I did, many times, each time I looked at that film.

Some of the original characters, and the actors playing them, have returned, while some new characters make their debut in this picture. In the original Ty Williamson (played by Kirk Geiger then and now)) spent most of the film getting the nerve to come out to his mother while here he and his, happens to be Black, lover having been married in 49 States to celebrate the Supreme Court’s decision legalizing same sex marriage, comes back to Texas to get married in his hometown where the new Southern Baptist pastor is holding a Anti-Equality rally, therefore the title of movie and where it is heading.

In the 2000 original movie the director and screen writer, Del Shores, kept control of his actors and storylines but in this sequel he seems to be all over the place. His ‘camp’ in many cases is grotesque, his one liners clichés and the actors are so overplaying their roles it as if they are on stage instead of in front of a camera. The whole Texas humor is so negatively Southern and overboard it is very rarely funny.

There are 2-3 scenes that are touching regarding the bible and how two people can interpret it differently along with how some people will follow it while others will pick and choose what they want to follow. Though nothing new is said the arguments are still powerful regarding love.

“A Very Sordid Wedding” is available on VOD but I suggest you skip this movie and see the very funny original “Sordid Lives”.

Just a personal observation regarding Leslie Jordon, who in the original was sent for conversion therapy, and was very moving in the role, here his role is badly overwritten and so badly overplayed that I was embarrassed for him and the drag queens he was representing.  

A Very Sordid Wedding Movie Trailer

“Matilda”–A Broadway Touring Company Musical Review   Leave a comment

To start with here is a high five to director Matthew Warchus and choreographer Peter Darling for blending a dozen or so adults with 8-9 kids making scenes appear as if it is a classroom of schoolchildren filling the stage. Also a nod to those 8 kids, plus Jamie Maclean who plays Matilda, for their aplomb on stage that many adults don’t have.

I wasn’t familiar with the story of Matilda. written by Roald Dahl and published in 1988 so after the first act I thought it might be too dark for school kids  but speaking to a few parents during intermission I became aware that it has been a best selling children’s book all these years and kids loved it. There is a lot of negativity against children starting with Matilda’s parents towards her and then when she goes to school the principal refers to the students as maggots. The fun is seeing how Matilda at times can get revenge, liking putting glue in her father’s hat, and how being naughty can help the kids cope with the adults.

Darcy Stewart and Matt Harrington as Matilda’s parents could easily be hissable villains but they also bring a lot of humor to the show. Ms. Stewart does a dance number with Stephen Diaz that still has my head shaking as I didn’t know bodies could make some of the moves, especially Mr. Diaz, they make.

Keisha T. Fraser as the friendly librarian Mrs. Phelps who can’t wait to hear Matilda’s made up stories and at the same time supplies the gifted girl with the books she so much likes to read. I kept on waiting for Fraser to have a solo or at least a duet but it never happened.

Jennifer Bowles, as Miss Honey a teacher at the school, who immediately senses Matilda’s smarts and pain, has 3 solos that show off her lovely voice and as a defender of the young girl adds a poignancy to the show.

I know it is an old show business custom in England, and the U. S. has been doing it also, of having men playing women’s roles but I don’t understand the reasoning of having Dan Chameroy playing the principal Miss Trunchbull. Don’t get me wrong as he is perfect in the role showing the authority, menace and the humor in the character but I can think of a half a dozen woman ho could have done the role just as well.

The role of Matilda is rotated between Jaime Maclean, Jenna Weir and Gabby Gutierrez with Jaime in the role this evening playing it with feeling, timing and an ease that makes you believe she is a 5 year old. Also have to give a shout out to a local boy, Blake Ferrante, from Broward County who plays Bruce and nails the scene where he has to eat a whole chocolate cake plus adds some high notes in an ensemble number. 

I don’t know how close the book of the musical by Dennis Kelly is to Mr. Dahl’soriginal story but there seems to be a lot of padding. The music supplies  few catchy songs but presents a problem throughout the whole show and I am not quite sure if it is all the many words of his lyrics pushed into a bar of music or the British accents used or the sound system, maybe a combination of all 3 as many of the words are garbled and a punch line here and there is lost.

The sets by Rob Howell are not only in constant motion but also add an extra dimension to each scene. I especially liked the number where each letter of the alphabet got their minute or second in the spotlight.

Between “Matilda”, the revival tours of “Annie” and “The King and I” plus “Finding Neverland” coming to Fort Lauderdale in June and Miami in December plus “the Sound of Music” it is obvious there are a lot of talented children in today’s theatres!

The running time of “Matilda” is 2 hours and 40 minutes including a 15 minute intermission. It is playing at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts until May 7.

“Unforgettable”–A Movie Review   Leave a comment


Sometimes I want to go see a trashy movie that doesn’t make sense but makes you forget what is going on in your world. In other words spending 2 hours just having fun at what ludicrous situations you are seeing on the screen and after reading a few things about “Unforgettable” I decided that was the movie I was going to see. To my surprise it was a lot better than I expected.

I am not, and have never been, a fan of Katherine Heigl and since she plays the very hissable villainess that brought a sort of fun to watching what was in play. She also made rooting for Rosario Dawson very easy.

The set up is slow and plodding because we have seen it dozens of times before but when the two women get into the climatic fight you are completely drawn in. It was if the director Denise Di Novi told the actresses to show the ‘boys’ how a fight should really be done and not to hold back.

With the female director, Di Novi, and a female screenwriter, Christina Hodson, I was sort of surprised, and disappointed, that it really didn’t make a difference, or was smarter, in the approach to both sexes. As always the men are brutal, controlling, while the women are complacent and have backgrounds involving violence.

Tessa (Heigl) is the ex-wife and quickly establishes through her perfect, not a hair out of place, look and actions that she is deranged. She is bringing up her daughter Lily (Isabella Kai Rice) to be the perfect child. It isn’t long before we meet Tessa’s mother Helen (Cheryl Ladd) and see where the pattern of constantly criticizing the child comes from though grandmother is as sweet as can be to Lily.

When we first meet Julia (Dawson) it is the opening of the picture, her face is bloody and she is in a police station being questioned about the murder of her ex-boyfriend (Simon Kassianides) and we go back six months when she has left San Francisco to move to Southern California to live with her fiancé David (Geoff Stults) and get to know his daughter Lily. Almost immediately Tessa gets involved with the new set up claiming her right as the daughter’s mother.

Talking about mothers Cherl Ladd is the mother of all mothers and would be the villain of the piece if Tessa wasn’t so perfect in her craziness and how she sets up Julia from the beginning. Talking about that, computer smarts is becoming more and more involved in movies and though I didn’t quite understand how Tessa manipulated the computer to do what she does it is frightening how unsafe we are in today’s world.

The last 40 minutes of the movie are sit up in your seat and hold your breath time, making this movie a lot of fun though with some very visible violence. Oh, yes, the last minute is a great payoff which I really didn’t see coming though it makes perfect sense.

“Unforgettable” is a trashy movie, really forgettable, but a lot of fun while watching it with good performances by the two female leads.

Movie trailer

Does ‘being uniform’ mean boring? Being bland?   Leave a comment

Uniform before



A little over a year ago a new company took over the Gateway Terrace Apartments property and almost immediately an axiom ‘uniform’ entered the lexicon of the community.

With new owners there were changes to be expected and they started, it seems, the first day. Rules are rules and in many ways are good to have and live by but the rules being instituted seemed a little strange.

For years we had a competition of who could make the best Christmas displays and the property looked like a winter wonderland, even if it was 80 degrees outside. I took many pictures of the different displays and still have them. The first rule that affected all us was “No Holiday Decorations outside of the resident’s apartments including the doors and windows”. All was okay inside the apartment. As a Jew, raised in a Catholic neighborhood, I always looked forward to the Christmas holidays. At Gateway every December there was a large Cross and a Menorah in front of the house that spread a good feeling.

I could go on about the rules that were being invoked but two really hit me with the first being no plants, flowers, allowed on the walkways. Having lived in South Florida for a total of more than 50 years I am aware of hurricanes and all the destruction that could be caused with flying objects so I knew to take the plants in when warnings and watches were announced. I, also, knew the importance of having a clear way for medics when they had to take a patient from their apartment on a gurney. In no way did any of my pots interfere with that if it needed to be done. Okay I didn’t like it but I could live with it and brought the plants into my apartment.

The past two weeks another rule was being enforced and it was as if a hurricane hit. Without rhyme or reason beautiful plants and bushes, like varied colored Hibiscus or Frangipani trees, the latter just starting to bloom and send out their beautiful fragrance, along with stunning white and purple Bougainvillea plants, Roses in bloom and others were being torn out of the ground and just thrown away.

Ironically this happened the week leading up to Earth Day.

UNIFORM After collage


Yes the new company is making many improvements in our apartments but it seems as if they want the outside to look ‘uniform’ with those apartments having screen doors being told they must come down, just one of the many changes to take place.

We have no idea when or what will replace the many plants being taken out whether it will be uniform bushes or concrete but these little gardens, plants that residents brightened up their life and corner of the world has also taken away from their individuality. Being an optimist I am thinking they will come up with something spectacular to replace the spectacle that Mother Nature provided us with.

I will start my 19th year living here on June 1st and it is one of the best breaks I ever had in my life. We don’t have much say as to what the owners do but I hope they won’t put up a wall blocking off Karen Bay or make us all wear uniforms! Okay so those are rumors but where does ‘being uniform’ stop?

Hey this is Florida and I will not give up my shorts and short sleeved shirts nor will I wear pants in temperatures of 95 degrees!


Posted April 24, 2017 by greatmartin in GARDENS, LIFE, Uncategorized

“The Lost City of Z”–A Movie Review   1 comment

Twenty minutes into “The Lost City of Z” I was thinking of sneaking out and going into the auditorium next door to see “Colossal” but 30 minutes later you couldn’t pay me to give up my seat! Yes it is slow starting but eventually exactly what is happening and what can happen comes over you and peaks when the father and grown son look at each other and say “I love you,” which needed to be said.

Basically the story written and directed by James Gray based on the book by David Grann telling the true story of Percy Harrison Fawcett (Charlie Hunnam) a British Major, a career soldier, who believes there is a lost city in the border areas of Bolivia and Brazil, in the Amazon. He leaves his devoted wife (Sienna Miller) and children, one being born while he is in the jungle, without what seem as a second thought and with each trip becomes more addicted to his search.

The movie shot in Ireland and Columbia with the former mainly done in English homes and clubs in dark tones while the latter in the jungles brings glorious colors and sights on screen. The times of the early 1900s to the 1920s are brought to real life in production values.

Charlie Hunnam, taking over a role originally slated for Benedict Cumberbatch and executive producer Brad Pitt, brings Fawcett to life and leaves a strong impression as the Major, as a soldier, a husband and as a father. Sienna Miller, as the wife, presents a strong woman who seems to want more but accepts her family as her first concern. Their eldest son is played by 3 actors with Tom Holland at the age of 20 who goes off with his father on the last trip and makes a strong impression.

Robert Pattinson, almost unrecognizable, is a loyal army comrade giving a solid performance while Angus Macfadyen as a wealthy, obese member of the second trek into the search for the village who almost blows that and future trips.

“The Lost City of Z” covers many subjects while taking its time setting up the main premise which will call for patience on the part of the audience member but the payoff is worth it. Be sure to stay for the end credits to find out what happened or didn’t happen.

The movie is 2 hours and 20 minutes and could have easily been cut 15 minutes while note should be made of the score by Christopher Spelman which is remindful of composers scoring epics in the past.

Movie Trailer

“Their Finest”–A Movie Review   Leave a comment

Sitting and watching “Their Finest” I wondered if it worth 120 minutes of your time to go behind the scenes to see how propaganda films were made in Britain during WW2? What about seeing a consummate performance by Bill Nighy as a previously lead actor now older and made to play supporting roles?  What about a supporting cast of top rate British actors whose name you might not know or even possibly their faces? Or would you be interested in seeing how women were treated in the 1940s even when the country were short of men who were off to war?

On the other hand are you willing to spend 100 minutes of those 120  sitting through a very slow moving movie where nothing really happens except for a scene now and then between Nighy and Eddie Marsan, the latter playing his agent, which is almost stolen from the latter’s dog? Is it worth trying to decipher very heavy British accents just to get a look on Nighy’s face when he discovers he will be playing a man way past his prime? (A definite yes to that scene!)

There is a somewhat love story that offers little interest, between Gemma Arterton and Jack Huston that becomes a triangle when Sam Claflin, as her co-worker, enters the picture. Also Rachael Stirling as a sort of Ann Southern/EveArden type of second banana offers some humor, and questions, as a member of the Ministry of Information division. Jeremy Irons has a cameo and Jack Lacy plays an American war hero who has to be, I hope on purpose, one of the worst actors ever!

Is it worth sitting through 120 minutes of “Their Finest” to see Bill Nighy? No, just look at the trailer and get an idea of how he elevates the movie just from his quick scenes here.


Movie trailer

April 16 2017 Welcome to my world   Leave a comment

In order for the property to look more ‘uniform’ sadly the owners are tearing out beautiful hibiscus plants, frangipani trees, flowers planted by residents, gardens, etc., but still Mother Nature offers a lot of beauty of her own.

Drizzling and quiet at The Point!

Looking North up at my apartment

Looking south from the walkway right outside my door

Posted April 18, 2017 by greatmartin in FLORIDA, FORT LAUDERDALE, LIFE, Uncategorized

The Point April 15 2017   Leave a comment

If I still had a bucket list I would probably have ‘go to film school’ on it as I have always been fascinated by movies but never having really studied how to take a good picture most of my life it has just been ‘point and shoot’.

And it has only been recently that I started ‘playing’ with making videos but I still haven’t figured out how to narrate without the sound being muffled by the wind!

This is just a beautiful place to be and live.

 This video was made with my digital camera.


First video using my camera phone (A lot quieter than the one above!)

Posted April 17, 2017 by greatmartin in FORT LAUDERDALE, LIFE, Uncategorized

“Gifted”—A Movie Review   Leave a comment

A man, Frank, goes to court against his mother Evelyn for custody of his 7 year old mathematical genius niece Mary who he has been taking care of her since his sister, her mother, also a mathematical genius, committed suicide six and a half years previously. He wants his niece to have a normal childhood unlike his sister who didn’t have a choice except to live up to her mother’s expectations! Oh yes, let’s not forget his next door neighbor Roberta who is a mother figure for Mary. Let’s throw in Mary’s teacher Bonnie who discovers Mary’s brilliant abilities and Frank’s hunky looks. Let’s not forget a one-eyed cat named Fred and why not throw in some foster parents? With all this you have to go to court for the ‘who will win custody’—DUH!–suspense.

Do you hear the violins on the soundtrack? Can you feel/see the director Marc Webb and screenwriter Tom Flynn using all the cliches to manipulate the audience? (Darn it but they fail to explain a throwaway comment about why a professor quit a lucrative job but you will know..)

The surprising thing is that this movie works. It will get the laughs out of the audience and in a minute the tears will flow.The only thing missing are those violins on the soundtrack, instead getting some grating sounds here and there plus a pop tune when needed.

There is no faulting the acting with Chris Evans as Frank, Jenny Slate as the teacher, Elizabeth Marvel as the school’s principal, Lindsay Duncan as Evelyn, Octavia Spencer as the next door neighbor all delivering the cliches as if they are brand new, said and done for the first time. A special well done to MckennaGrace as the 7 year old Mary, here and there precocious when needed, who delivers with the tears, anger, smiles and mathamatical smarts when called for, whether she understood the problems or not!

There is one scene showing a couple of families welcoming a new baby which, though not necessary, add unexpected warmth.

Shot mainly in Florida,except for one Boston scene, the film is bright with even the cliche beach, boats and bird scenes looking fresh.

This weekend you will either go to the latest “Fast and Furious” franchise sequel or “Gifted” the touchy-feely ‘date’ movie. Guess which one I recommend?

Gifted movie trailer

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