Archive for January 2018

“The Commuter”–movie review   3 comments

In ‘the good old days’ when they had double bills in the movie theatres consisting of 2 movies, a cartoon, a newsreel, coming attractions among other things “The Commuter” would be the B feature on the double bill.

“The Commuter” is a ‘popcorn film’ where you check your logic at the door, sit back in the auditorium chair, eat your popcorn or whatever you buy, enjoy and forget as you walk out the theatre.

Liam Nesson is our hero who can do no wrong and even lies for no reason by saying, in the movie, that he is 60 when in real life he is 65! Guess what? He is a commuter, which is shown in the first few minutes, married, has a kid and gets married after 10 years on a job and at one time had been a police officer.

When the movie settles down he is on his way home and after sitting in his chair and opening a book to read he is approached by Vera Farmiga with an offer he can’t refuse, as only happens in a movie. The logic goes out the air with the proposition just as we see Neeson in fights that would kill normal men while he just gets up and fights the next guy or does minor, compared to other, deeds like falling off a train and jumping back on!

Just recently Liam Neeson said he is too old to keep on making action movies but keep on he does and makes it look easy. I, personally, wish he would make a ‘serious drama’ like he used to now and then.

The cast has the usual suspects but anyone with crime movies will guess the villain before it hits the halfway mark. I have yet to see Vera Farmiga give a bad performance and though she is seen briefly on screen just hearing her voice for a lot of the screen time is intriguing. With a fine supporting cast on the train, Adam Nagaitis as conductor Jimmy offers needed humor.

Director of photography, Paul Cameron, along with director Jaume Collet-Serra, offers some dazzling camera work including a fight on the train that uses everything on hand along with arms, legs, train seats, windows, an ax, a gun, etc., constantly moving from train car to train car.

“The Commuter” is for Liam Nesson fans, crime/thriller fans, train fans, B movie fans and a film to see on a rainy day to forget whatever troubles you might have and giving your brain a rest!

Movie trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aDshY43Ol2U

 

Posted January 30, 2018 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, MOVIE REVIEW, MOVIES, Uncategorized

Another tree——-GONE! :O(   Leave a comment

Posted January 29, 2018 by greatmartin in LIFE, MOTHER NATURE, Uncategorized

Ki’Na–restaurant review–Fort Lauderdale   Leave a comment

Ki Na restaurant Jan 25 2018

Thanks to nextdoor.com posts I kept on hearing about this restaurant which had taken over the building from a short-lived enterprise of a not so good restaurant. The new owners also run the Temple Eatery next door. On the top of their menus (both a lunch and dinner menu) is the following:

“Inspired by the memories growing up, Ki’Na, meaning “little kids” in Taiwanese, pays homage to the traditional Chinese cuisine. Our style of cooking startsfrom the freshest ingredients. We source non-gmo, hormone & antibiotic-free products as locally as possible. Currently, we proudly carry products from Harpke Farms, Sunfresh Farm, Springer Chicken Farm, Bio Farm Organics, Swank Specialty Produce, Cascade Organic, & Foods in Season.”

Daryl (called Darling on the receipt) the server was fast and efficient, answered what questions we had and made a few suggestions. We came in at 1:30 and there was one other couple but they soon left and the place remained empty though some did come in to look at the menu or read the one on the outside and left. It could be the prices seemed a bit high for lunch.

 

I had Spicy Sesame Noodle soup made with: ground chicken, soft egg, greens, wood ear mushrooms, scallions, chili oil with cucumber salad $14

Allen had Chicken meatballs: 2 meatballs, soft egg, braised Daiken, daily Asian green, soy glaze with cucumber salad $14 and Chocolate chili ice cream $5 of which I had a bite and just shrugged off.

Allen enjoyed his dish and I certainly liked the big bowl of soup filled up with tasty items but we both felt the cucumber salad consisting of 3 very small spears, along with the ice cream, was a major disappointment.

Also I appreciated the bottle of water, served in steel cups, with the bottle left on the table.

With tip and tax the check came to $40, about par for lunch in a full-service restaurant.

The service was good, the pleasant surroundings added to the enjoyment of the meal and the food tasted fresh and for a first time visit I would recommend it but, anddont ask me to explain why because I can’t, we probably won’t go back! 

Posted January 28, 2018 by greatmartin in DINING REVIEW, RESTAURANT REVIEWS, Uncategorized

The Fort Lauderdale Broadway Across America 2018-2019 season   Leave a comment






Posted January 27, 2018 by greatmartin in MUSICAL THEATRE, THEATRE, Uncategorized

“Hostiles”–movie review   1 comment

I haven’t seen a ‘western’ in at last 20 years and I can do without seeing one again after “Hostiles”. ‘They’ certainly don’t make them like they use and John Wayne would be embarrassed, let alone not know how to act, doing Christian Bale’s role!

The only westerns I have liked are “Shane”, the campy “Duel In The Sun” and “Johnny Guitar” and though Bale is excellent I couldn’t/wouldn’t watch this 2 hour and 13-minute film again even if you gave me all the carrot cake I can eat!

In spite of the fantastic scenery, whether it is in mountains or forests or streams or desert to open plains, there isn’t much new in “Hostiles”. Let’s go over the checklist: Indians raiding and killing all the white settler family except the mother—check, a white man getting scalped—check, women being raped—check—the black soldier getting shot—check—a very wise Indian chief—check—people dying and being buried—check—people dying and being left to rot—check—an Indian being hung from a tree—check. Should I go on?

By the way, the above aren’t spoilers as you have seen these scenes in almost every western!

There are two things that are new in this movie and that is basically understanding Bale’s character though you are told very little about him and, in spite of the fact that I love a ‘happily ever after’ ending this has one of the most ludicrous ones I have ever seen. This also isn’t a ‘spoiler’ because it is so unbelievable!

Christian Bale is excellent and though there was talk of his getting an Oscar nomination he didn’t which is as senseless as Denzel Washington getting one for his role in “Roman J. Israel, Esquire”. Rosamund Pike does what she can with the ‘damsel in distress’ role while no one leaves an impression in any of the other roles.

“Hostiles” is in the same category as “Phantom Thread” in that except for the leading actor neither are worth seeing.

 

Movie Trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1M5cj4UmscE

And now at peak of coming movies

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nBpCN8303NY

Posted January 27, 2018 by greatmartin in MOVIE REVIEW, Uncategorized

Crazy, noisy day.   Leave a comment

Copters 2 Manatee
(those are 2 helicopters, not birds!)

For a guy who goes to sleep around 3 AM and gets up at 11 AM today was NOT my day.

It started with 2 lawn mowers cutting grass near my building followed by the leaf blowers. Somewhere along the way one of those loud machines that turn tree limbs into mulch joined the crowd!

While this was going on another machine made its appearance and before I knew it I heard a sidewalk being smashed to pieces. I wasn’t too far off as they were doing something in front of the office adding to the mosaic of din!

Just when I thought that was all the noise that would batter our ears suddenly two helicopters were flying overhead and coast guard boats were roaring up and down the canal! It seems a Manatee with a Life Jacket tied around him. (They don’t think it was done by someone purposely but that had somehow or other ‘dived’ into it and it expanded while on him.) It seems it took them 2-3 hours to rescue him, take off the Life Jacket and let him get on with his business. (It is mating time folks!)

To top it all off, another helicopter, having nothing to do with the Manatee helicopters, crashed in downtown Fort Lauderdale near the Broward Performing Arts Center and Discovery Museum, after taking off from a helipad a block away. Unbelievably no one was hurt, including the pilot!

By now it was 6 PM and I was ready to move to downtown Manhattan in New York City for some quiet!!

Posted January 24, 2018 by greatmartin in LIFE, Uncategorized

“Phantom Thread”–movie review   Leave a comment

Being this is, supposedly, Daniel Day-Lewis’s last movie before he retires I wish he had retired after doing “Lincoln” and winning an Oscar, though he is retiring with an Oscar nomination for his role as Reynolds Jeremiah Woodcock.

Woodcock is at the center of British fashion dressing royalty, movie stars, rich women and socialites with the House of Woodstock along with his sister Cyril (Lesley Manville) who manages the business and, to a certain extent, him. He is, and seems to boast about it, a confirmed bachelor and has women coming into his life and his sister getting rid of them when he is tired of them.

Taking a break he goes to his out of town cottage and in a restaurant, he meets a clumsy waitress, Alma, played by Vicky Krieps, starts dating her and she becomes his muse, lover and then wife. His falling in love with her disrupts his life and his work. As Cyril tells Alma her brother likes quiet in the morning, especially at breakfast, and she is noisy such as scraping and cutting her toast, noisily pouring her tea and stirring her spoon just for starters.

Soon he is using all this ‘noise’ as excuses to end what they have and looking at his sister to do her job which is to send Alma away but then he gets sick and she takes care of him only endearing her to him.

At that point, I lost it. I lost what was going on. I lost interest in the film and Daniel Day-Lewis and the two women and the fashions but, also, where it was going if it was going anywhere.

When I got home I read three rave reviews to see what I had missed and one reviewer referred to Hitchcock’s “Rebecca”, another to Gene Tierney in “Dragonwyck” while another mentioned films made in the 1940s and 1950s and I could understand those references. The film starts with the song “My Foolish Heart” from the 1950 movie starring Susan Hayward and Dana Andrews, which was a favorite of mine and I wish I had seen that instead of “Phantom Thread” which takes place in the 1950s probably the reason for the song.

For the record it was announced today that “Phantom Thread” received the following Oscar nominations:  1) Best Picture 2) Best Actor 3) Best Director Paul Thomas Anderson 4) Best Supporting Actress Lesley Manville 5) Best Costume Design Mark Bridges and 6) original score Johnny Greenwind.

Movie trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ESxpCVT6_nY

Outback Restaurant review   Leave a comment

Outback collage

Allen and I decided to go to the Outback for lunch. We both ordered the ‘Big Aussie Bloom’ (which I would call ‘death by fats and carbs’!) To quote their menu ‘Bloomin’ onion with cheese fries and topped with Aussie Cheese Fries and topped with cut sirloin.’
I could feel the fat coming on with each bite. My fault for ordering it but all I can say is DON’T!
Probably THE WORST dish I have ever had in a restaurant!
The dish is $12.99 and our soft drinks were $2.99 each so with tax and a good tip the check came to $43.88 .
The saving factor of the meal was our server Jason. Not only did he give excellent service but he also had a good sense of humor and knows how to interact with customers no matter what they said to him.
Outback was never my place to go for a gourmet meal but they had edible food (most times), good employees and they have delicious dark bread.

Posted January 22, 2018 by greatmartin in DINING REVIEW, Uncategorized

Ready for 2018!   Leave a comment

 

Four times a year on, Thursdays, I have to go on a fast for 12 hours and then the following Wednesday I meet with the doctor for the results of my blood test. I don’t know how he figures out the quarters, whether he starts with or ends in December. I know the next appointment is for February!

He always gives me the printout and we talk about any problems that may appear. It was a very short talk as the results were good for this old guy. The total cholesterol was 148 while my INR (blood thinner count) was 2.7 while all the hemoglobin, microalb, urinalysis reports were all in the good range. Had a few that were out of range but nothing to worry about like my sodium-serum count was 146 and should be between 134-144 and the potassium should be between 3.5-5.2 and is 5.6 but that is easy to adjust.

There are a bunch of categories like BUN, RDW or WBC that I have no idea what they mean and the doctor has explained them to me but he says not to worry so I don’t.

My blood pressure is excellent, sugar level is fine, still have a problem with the P.A.D. but the C.O.P.D. isn’t any worse and he did cut out one of the meds.  We did discuss the vascular surgeon’s report which emphasized that though the plaque surrounding the leg arteries hasn’t gotten worse he advises against another stent which means the ongoing pain but I have learned to live with.

As usual, we left with the doctor asking where I was going to eat to celebrate the good report—he knows me!—and then told me that “As of now you are in good health and have nothing to worry about but once you walk out of here I don’t know!” Look he’s a good doctor and 4 times a year I have to put up with that joke so I laugh—well, maybe more of a smile—and go off to eat!

Posted January 21, 2018 by greatmartin in LIFE, Uncategorized

Chita Rivera & Tommy Tune–a review   Leave a comment


I wonder how many people reading this know who Chita Rivera and/or Tommy Tune are? A few facts about each:

Chita has won two Tony awards as Best Leading Actress in a Broadway musical plus 8 nominations. She originated the role of Anita in “West Side Story” 60 years ago and was the  Spider Woman in “The Kiss of the Spider Woman”, was Rosie in “Bye, Bye Birdie”, received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009, in 2002 was the first Hispanic woman ever chosen to win the coveted Kennedy Center Honor. In the past few years, she did a one-woman show on Broadway and in 2015 she headlined at Carnegie Hall in New York. Last season at the age of 82 she appeared on Broadway in “The Visit” and this year, at the age of 83, turning 84 this Monday, she is touring across America with Tommy Tune.


Tommy Tune is as charismatic as he is tall and he is tall–6’3″–and a smile just as wide. He has 10 Tony awards for performer, choreographer and director for such varied shows as “My One and Only” with Twiggy, “Seesaw”, “The Will Rogers Follies”, Grand Hotel” and other Broadway musicals. He starred in the musical “Hello Dolly” with Barbra Streisand directed by Gene Kelly. Tommy will be 79 on February 28.

I fell ‘in love’ with Chita Rivera in September 1957, when she opened in “West Side Story” at the Winter Garden Theatre and returned the next day to buy tickets for the next 4 performances. It would remain my most favorite show until 1975 when “A Chorus Line” opened at the same time Chita starred in the opening of “Chicago” playing Velma. Three of my favorite Broadway dancers/performers were on Broadway that year: Chita Rivera, Gwen Verdon and Donna McKechnie.

As I watched Rivera I saw and heard the young girl, younger woman, as she sang “All That Jazz”, “A Boy Like That” and “America”. My younger self sighedas she and Tune danced a bar or two of “The Dance at the Gym” but then reality hit. Chita Rivera looks great with a dancer’s figure, certainly walks like one and uses her hands and body as a professional dancer does. I knew of her car accident when she broke her leg in 12 places and I knew it would be too much for her to twirl about, high kick and have the energy of her 20-30-year-old but there was a minimum of dancing and certainly, none show-stopping as she had done in the past. To give her credit she did stop the show and get standing ovations after singing “Love and Love Alone” from her last show “The Visit” and “Carousel” from “Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris”.

I accepted the fact that the dancing would be at a minimum but I was very surprised that after 60 years on stage, while singing, you could hear her gulping for words, not having breath control. It really brought me down duringher numbers where I couldn’t picture the younger Chita. I was aware that she was old–and so was I!

I saw Tommy Tune in 3 Broadway musicals and the movie “Hello Dolly” plus his one-man show a few years ago. He really doesn’t have any ‘they are playing my song’ numbers but he still has that style, grace and, yes, smile that he had 62 years ago plus a full head of hair, now a beautiful white and though he doesn’t kick as high as he use to he can still win an audience over with his tapping. He also did a funny and fairly accurate impersonation of Carol Channing giving him advice when he was first starting in the business.

There were some charming moments of Chita and Tommy singing, dancing and trading stories. I really wish they had dome more of the latter.

I left the Parker Playhouse sort of ‘down’ knowing I was unfair thinking that Chita had let me down but that’s how I felt. 

Posted January 20, 2018 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, THEATRE REVIEW, Uncategorized

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