Archive for March 2019

My March 2019 Diary   Leave a comment

Avatar April 2019
Still learning how to make videos but it does make me admire all filmmakers more!
I made a ‘few’ mistakes:  the music, accidentally put in some February pictures, not all the GIFs are right but I am learning!

The theatre, going to movies, eating out, trying new foods, the flowers on my window sill(s), nature, etc are all a part of my daily life–ain’t bad, kids!!

Posted March 31, 2019 by greatmartin in LIFE, LIFE EVENTS, Uncategorized

“Hotel Mumbai”–movie review   1 comment

In November 2008 Mumbai, India, was under attack by 10 terrorists and “Hotel Mumbai” concentrates on the one that took place at the Taj Mahal Palace hotel. There is no getting away from the violence that took place and which takes up most of the film in graphic showings.

This is Anthony Maras’s directional debut and goes mainly by the numbers. Though he, and his co-screenwriter, John Collee, try to look into the stories of some of the humans involved there really is/was too much in what is/was happening.

We do meet the 10 terrorists at the beginning of the film arriving at the Mumbai shore in a raft and watch as they go off to their assigned deeds constantly in touch with the leader of their Islamic terrorist organization who is called Brother Bull.  He promises them money and Paradise in the name of Allah which gives him complete control of the gullible, vulnerable boys, young men.

Dev Patel, who I saw in a much better, stronger role this week in “The Wedding Guest”, plays a waiter at the hotel, married with 1 child and another on the way, who really needs the job but that’s all we really get to know about him. There is his boss, Anupam Kher, who I really l like in the TV series, “New Amsterdam”, playing the head chef and boss of the restaurant who we really don’t find out much about except he believes the ‘Guest is god’ and won’t accept less from his staff.

There is Armie Hammer, with his young Indian bride, Nazanin Boniadi, their young baby and his nanny, Tilda Cobham-Hervey not to forget the mysterious Russian guy Jason Isaacs, who you wish the terriorist would ‘take out’. Yes, true story or not, there will be those you don’t want to die!

In spite of the high body count, and the violence, the movie moves fast, has some suspenseful moments and, if you didn’t know anything about those attacks, I didn’t, it’s a lesson on what is going on in other parts of the world that will wake you up to the fact that we are not alone.

Movie trailer

Posted March 29, 2019 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, MOVIE REVIEW, MOVIES, Uncategorized

“Dear Evan Hansen”–Nation Tour Review   Leave a comment

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You hear a lot about the 1% wealthy and the 99% rest regarding money but the same figures could be applied to anyone who has ever gone to high school with the figures being 1% who were happy and 99% rest of us.  In “Dear Evan Hansen” we deal with 5 teenagers in the latter category.
Evan Hansen’s father left 10 years ago and his mother Heidi is going to night school to become a paralegal and works during the day as a nurse’s aide leaving little time for her son. Evan sees a therapist regarding his social anxiety who assigns him to write letters to himself and this leads to the story.
Ben Levi Ross is phenomenal as Evan Hansen with a voice that filled the Broward auditorium and hanging on to every word when he went soft. As his mother, Jane Pfitsch, moving throughout, really got the tears flowing with “So Big/So Small”. Along the way we meet and get to know 4 other teenagers from Connor, played by Marrick Smith, who is an addict and bother of Zoe, (Maggie McKenna), along with Alana, (Phoebe Koyabe) and Jared (Jared Goldsmith), who offer some comic relief but are just like Evan, wanting to be heard and seen through any means. The other two members of the cast are Aaron Lazar and Christiane Noll as the parents of Connor and Zoe.
All 8 actors have perfect voices, move fluidly around the stage and are so subtle in their actions you forget they are actors! As heralded as the original New York production was/is I would match this cast against them and it would probably become a tie.
The book was written by Steven Levenson and music and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, which will bring you to tears, provide a few laughs and, maybe, realize how hard this world is for a teenager. Pasek and Paul also wrote the music and lyrics for “The Greatest Showman” and listening to the “Dear Evan Hansen” broadcast album, which won a Grammy, is as moving as the stage production. You will be humming many of the songs after hearing them either on the stage or the album.
Talking about the stage production between the Scenic Designer, David Korins, and the projection designs by Peter Negrini portray the world of technology that we, and especially teenagers, are caught up in today. Pardon the pun but the  Lighting design by Japhy Weideman is spot on and impressive.
This is definitely a show for all teenagers to help them realize that they are not alone, not invisible and for all adults who may have forgotten the pain of being a teenager.
“Dear Evan Hansen” is playing at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts until April 7. With a 20 minute intermission, the show is 2 hours and 45 minutes.
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Posted March 28, 2019 by greatmartin in THEATRE, THEATRE REVIEW, Uncategorized

Crying too much–and who is Nathan Gunn   Leave a comment

Someday I’ll have to dig into why I am such a crier!!! (but not today!!)
I bought the fire stick Tobisha  TV and with thousands of channels since there wasn’t anything on TV I wanted to watch tonight I decided to ask Alexa “Musicals” and she took me to so many I was in theatre and/or movie heaven!!!
It is no secret that “A Chorus Line” is in my top 5 musicals of all time but can you guess the other 4?? In any case I remember going to see “Carousel” in the 1940s and wanting to be John Raitt—of course, I couldn’t sing–couldn’t carry a tune–but he destroyed me in the “Soliloquy” and every time I have seen the show (and even the movie) I fall completely  apart.
As I was going over the list of musicals to watch I came across a PBS tape of “Carousel” with the  NY Philharmonic and starring Kelli O’Hara who I really only knew from a PBS taping of “South Pacific”, Jessie Mueller who I know starred in “Beautiful” but we saw her sister in the touring show and I didn’t catch the male lead’s name until I saw him in the opening number and he didn’t look familiar so I went back and replayed the opening credits. (Oh I might add, I thought this might be the Hugh Jackman version—nope, it wasn’t Hugh!) There was a name, Nathan Gunn, that I didn’t recognize and when I saw him I didn’t know who he was! In any case, he knocked “Soliloquy” out of the ballpark along with everything else he did.
All I know is that I haven’t seen a production of the show in decades and by the time they took their bows I was in a puddle of tears–guess I will be watching it again. Oh yes, it was good seeing John Cullum as the starkeeper.
And since I’m in a puddle of tears—because I can’t stand the movie version of “A Chorus Line”–I decided to watch “Every Little Step” and right now they are showing a clip of Sammy Williams doing the Paul monologue—more tears!—and the auditions of Paul for the revival. And there is the line that destroys me all 101+ times I have seen it on stage and the 4 times I have seen the guys auditioning for the role in “Every Little Step” and now there is Donna talking about Cassie—ARGH!!!  They are showing her dancing in the role at the Shubert!! And I’m holding my breath!
What makes me such an easy touch???
Ending on a ‘fun’ note–can you guess the other 3 shows in my top 5? Actually, there are 10 as there is a 5-6 way tie for number 5!
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 Nathan Gunn                Kelli O’Hara


Posted March 23, 2019 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, LIFE, THEATRE, Uncategorized

“Gloria Bell”–movie review   1 comment

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There are a few actresses that are a delight to see no matter what picture they are in or no matter how bad the movie might be and in the case of “Gloria Bell” it is a delight to watch Julianne Moore sing, dance, act in a good movie.
We have seen many movies–too many–of men in their mid-life crisis but very few women going through their own and, to a certain degree, that is what we are witnessing here. Gloria has been divorced for 12 years, her son and daughter have flown the nest and she has a job as an insurance agent, also recently has been diagnosed with an eye condition that will require her to take drops the rest of her life though we are never told (or I missed it) exactly what condition she has.
She doesn’t seem to have many friends but does enjoy herself singing, slightly off-key, along with old disco and rock songs on the radio while driving and goes to dance at clubs aimed mainly at middl-aged folks. One night she meets Arnold (John Turturro), a divorcee who is tied to his ex and his two grown single daughters and they start an affair.
“Gloria Bell” is again written and directed by Sebastion Lelio who did a 2013 Spanish version of this film and Americanized this version. He tries to tell too many stories and would have served the movie better by eliminating 2 or 3 of them. While the hairless cat, the upstairs suicidal neighbor, her daughter running off to Norway with a professional surfer and her son left at home to raise his baby as his wife takes off to the desert shows a few sides to Gloria and how she reacts in each case I would have rathered he spent more time on Gloria’s current life, her wants and needs. There are a two scenes with her mother played by Holland Taylor were telling and should have been expanded.
The ending is sort of open-ended but if you know the words to Laura Branigan’s disco hit you might have some idea of what will come.
Just an aside/observation, with all that is going on in Hollywood these days I am surprised actresses aren’t insisting that each time they have to show frontal nudity the male in the scene has to also though I admit Julianne Moore is much better to look at nude than any of the males in her scenes would!
“Gloria Bell”, as is Julianne Moore, is easy on the eyes as the songs are on the ears and touches on a subject not often seen on the screen enough for us, the audience, who should want to learn and see more on the subject of a woman’s mid-life crisis except her going crazy as she has been shown in movies of the past.

Posted March 22, 2019 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, MOVIE REVIEW, MOVIES, Uncategorized

Big Louie’srestaurant—again—review–again!   1 comment

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Big Louie’s is one of my favorite restaurants in Fort Lauderdale and everyone I take there, whether local or visitor, agrees it is a good place to eat!
Allen and I went there this afternoon with his having Penne with Meatballs and I had Veal Parm with Baked Ziti along with 6 garlic rolls and we left completely satisfied.
Full disclosure for those who may not know: My last, and one of my best jobs, as a waiter was at Big Louie’s for 3-4 years before I retired and it is one of the very few restaurants that I returned to eat after I stopped working there.
There will always be arguments about where to get the best pizza plus arguments of New York versus Chicago versus Neopolitian versus whatever but I will take Big Louie’s New York style pizza with a good thick crust, a lot of sauce and cheese and varied toppings over the thin, ‘burnt’, tasteless ones made at nameless places.
Big Louie’s has been a neighborhood restaurant now for over 30 years and its longevity attests to good food at reasonable prices.

P.S. Sheila was the manager when I worked there and was very good at her job and now that I left she is the best server there! LOL

Spring Break, Theatre and fun!   1 comment


I love theatre so much that if I had to choose between plays, movies, eating or sleep my back would be against the wall as to which would win.

Every Spring we have hoards of teenagers and young adults invading South Florida and both Miami and Fort Lauderdale mainly have strict rules to keep them from getting out of hand and into trouble and along those lines there are Broadway touring musicals arriving here at the right time–and I’ll be seeing both!!

The first is in Fort Lauderdale “Dear Evan Hansen” about a teenager who lies to become popular. It won 6 Tony Awards including best musical, a Grammy Award for best recording of a musical theatre production along with an Emmy Award, Drama League and Drama Desk Awards! I’ve been listening to the original Broadway cast album and can’t wait to see the show.

The following week Andrew Lloyd Webber’s hit musical “School of Rock” will be in Miami. I saw it last season in Fort Lauderdale and looking to see this high energy show with some kids really standing out with their musical abilities.

There is always extra energy in the theatre this time of the year and it is the young folks that bring it and add to the production not only to the audience (mostly a bunch of old folks–oh hush–I am one of them!) but to the performers!!

Look for my reviews after I see them—“Dear Even Hansen” on March 27 and “School of Rock” April 9.

Here’s to Spring Break—do you get any off the college kids where you live?

Posted March 20, 2019 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, Uncategorized

“Five Feet Apart”–movie review   1 comment

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A couple, Stella (Haley Lu Richardson) and Will (Cole Sprouse) meet ‘cute’ in a hospital. They are both teenagers and both have cystic fibrosis, with Stella awaiting a lung transplant and Will just started on a drug trial for a bacteria he carries that can be lethal for another CF patient.  They are, of course, complete opposites with Stella being a control freak, along with being OCD, who has a video blog and Will is a cartoonist and believes in breaking rules just for the sake of breaking them. Oh yes, in case this all sounds familiar Stella has a Gay BBF, Poe (Moises Arias) also with cystic fibrosis, who is the wisecracking comic.
Though “Five Feet Apart” may sound like other young adults with illnesses love story but the director Justin Baldoni and screenwriters, Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Laconis add special touches. Instead of lectures about CF Stella points out most of the must-knows in her vlog with humor and at one point half the audience yelled out “NO!” at what was about to take place. At another point what you expect to happen doesn’t—or does it?
In the story is Nurse Barb (Kimberly Hebert Gregory) who really cares for the kids, keeps on eye on them as far as taking meds, wearing masks when they should, following the rules they must and really runs when she has to in emergencies. She, also, keeps them aware of the no touching, staying 6 feet apart (no, that’s not a typo error) at all times with director Baldoni introduces a cue stick as a measurement to keep the lovers safe. (No, that’s not a spoiler–you know they were going to fall in love!)
The three leads are perfect in their roles with Moises Arias as the gay friend having two high points one being very funny with Will accusing Poe of being in love with Stella and later explaining one of the major fallbacks of an illness that isn’t often thought of in this kind of movie. Haley Lu Richardson brings humor and gravitas to her ever-optimistic though a strict with herself patient who is carrying a secret that I didn’t get until it was spoken. Cole Sprouse is a handsome actor who has a very annoying hairstyle and not necessarily the chemistry he should have with Richardson but he has the charm to win over everyone, including the audience.  Everyone should have a nurse like Nurse Barb/Gregory.
There are shots that you will think are not following the rule about staying a certain distance apart but the direction shows what seems a closeup is really the angle of the camera.
“Five Feet Apart” has the drama you would expect in a movie of this sort and as far as I can tell there wasn’t a dry eye in the movie during a few scenes but it also has humor, tenderness, a learning experience about cystic fibrosis without lecturing and an optimistic feel. For those who don’t watch television, it will also introduce you to 3 stars of tomorrow. The bottom line is that “Five Feet Apart” is a good movie and more worth seeing than what else is available.

Posted March 19, 2019 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, MOVIE REVIEW, Uncategorized

I’m always searching for new foods!   1 comment

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Yes, I love my cheeseburgers rare, carrot cake, salami, nuts,all kinds of cheeses, etc., but I am always on the search for new foods and this month I had lemon-flavored raisins (forget it!) plus I found a jar of Selicioux de Porc NOIR de Bigorre with everything written in French except for one word on the list of ingredients unless that is the word in French which was ‘lard’! In any case when I got home I googled the item and it came up with a long definition.

Long story short: “…black pigs being saved by a handful of breeders. The black pig are well-cared for under severely controlled terms and conditions. They are bred 12 months in the open air and fed on acorns, chestnuts and grass, complimented by GMO-free cereals, peas and soy.”

Have you heard of any of this? Have you ever eaten this? Would you?

Posted March 17, 2019 by greatmartin in FOOD, Uncategorized

“Climax”–movie review   1 comment

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I will not say “Climax” is the worst movie of the year because as much as I go to the movies I won’t see every movie but I can say right now in March that it is the worst movie of the year that I will see!
The movie opens with a girl, bloody, struggling through the snow and then we go to the end credits!  I think, maybe, the director/screenwriter felt people wouldn’t stay to the end. We then get to meet the very diverse, in every way, cast mostly young dancers who are wildly exuberant, possibly triple-jointed, twisting turning, popping, locking, doing moves you and I could never even imagine. I was set for a really amazing dance film.
Forty minutes later, for the second or third time, I told Allen I was ready to leave whenever he wanted. but he wanted to stay to see where it went. Where did it go? To crazy, bloody, violent scenes, many filmed upside down, a body set on fire and you never know what happens to her let alone be able to distinguish who is who. The film is 96 minutes and I suggest, if you don’t walk out at the 30-minute point, you drop some acid and, maybe, just maybe, you will get through the next 68 minutes of the movie.
I am not familiar with the previous films of Gaspar Noe but he is one of the very few directors I will avoid in the future.

Movie trailer


Posted March 15, 2019 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, MOVIE REVIEW, MOVIES, Uncategorized

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