Archive for May 2019

“Rocketman”–Movie review   2 comments


Magic! Whimsy? Reality? Fantasy? Truth? “Rocketman” is all that plus more with a screenplay by Lee Hall, direction by Dexter Fletcher, director of photography George Richmond, not to forget the costumes by Julian Day as they reach into the life of Elton John with a not to be forgotten performance by Taron Egerton as the star.

Opening up so soon after the massive success of “Bohemian Rhapsody” this movie has to do a lot of business to match it financially though the bottom line is “Rocketman” is a much better movie showing who the man is including all the bad out front and not being shy either about his addictions or his Gay life. At the very beginning we see Elton in a massive devil’s outfit invading a rehab center and talking about his coke, crack, sex, shopping weed, alcohol among various addictions plus his bulimia and anger issues. It is at this point the fantasy musical numbers start along with his life before he became famous and the years that established him as a star up until he makes the decision to stop the drugs and booze.

Targon Egerton is stellar as John Elton using his own voice to sing the Elton/Taupin songs without imitating the former. He goes through a heart attack, an attempted suicide (fantasy or truth?), loving people without the love being returned. He has a mother who tells him she wishes he had never been born, that because he was gay he would never be loved, a father who never hugs him and one day just leaves and never comes back, a lover/manager who doesn’t love him, cheats on him and his feeling that he doesn’t deserve to be loved. Matthew Illesley does a fine job as the child Reginald Dwight as does Kit Connor as the teenager Reginald, both to become the Elton John who is in so much pain as a young man.

The one man who loves Elton John is his working partner, Bernie Taupin the man who wrote the words and still does and they both claim not to have had an argument in those 50 years, is not gay. He is played by Jamie Bell who deserves as much recognition as Egerton does. A third person who gives an explosive performance is Richard Madden as a self-serving manager and lover who betrays John in many ways.

Playing his mother Bryce Dallas Howard comes over as too stereotyped in some of the scenes and Steven Macintosh as the cold father who doesn’t love his son coveys that cold man while Gemma Jones as his grandmother comes across as the only adult who loves and believes in this child.

There are several supporting actors who deliver the goods but it is Targon Egerton the whole movie revolves around and whose performance makes the “Rocketman” an outstanding movie. While there may be one too many fantasy song and dance numbers slowing the movie down the very effective ending will touch you just as it touched many in the audience today to applaud the movie. Be sure to stay for the ending credits for the happily ever after ending even Hollywood couldn’t improve on!

Movie Trailer


ROCKETMAN is an epic musical fantasy about the incredible human story of Elton John’s breakthrough years. The film follows the fantastical journey of transformation from shy piano prodigy Reginald Dwight into international superstar Elton John. This inspirational story – set to Elton John’s most beloved songs and performed by star Taron Egerton – tells the universally relatable story of how a small-town boy became one of the most iconic figures in pop culture. ROCKETMAN also stars Jamie Bell as Elton’s longtime lyricist and writing partner Bernie Taupin, Richard Madden as Elton’s first manager, John Reid, and Bryce Dallas Howard as Elton’s mother Sheila Farebrother.

The Older I get the better life gets!   2 comments

I don’t know exactly when it happened but I think it was the day I retired–I stopped worrying!!!

Just a couple of years before that I wasthisclose to being homeless and with some help from some friends plus Perry telling me about what had happened to him, on June 1, 1999, I moved into the Gateway apartments, which was a turning point in my life. Now I am starting my 21st year here, 15 of them in this apartment, the longest I have ever spent in one place.

Yes, I’ve been sick, starting with congestive heart failure New Year’s weekend 1999-2000 and I am limited in how far I can walk without pain and I take 14 pills (including 2 inhalers) a day–have had an aorta valve replacement and I could go on–so what?

I am surrounded by beauty, Mother Nature outdoing herself constantly and I have everything I need. Okay, not everything I want but, again, so what?

Just let me wake up every day and I have it made!

Posted May 29, 2019 by greatmartin in FORT LAUDERDALE, LIFE, Uncategorized

“Booksmart”–movie review   1 comment

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Every time I walk into a movie I have high expectations and every time I see a boring, stupid ‘comedy’ and don’t even laugh once, the first thing I ask myself is “Why didn’t I walk out?” and the second thing I do is tell myself “At least I won’t see anything worse the rest of the year!”
Sadly I didn’t walk out of “Booksmart” and I hope it is the worst movie I will see this year! I really have nothing positive to say about the cast except to ask if today’s teens are really this vulgar, this dumb or is it the screenplay by 4 writers and the director showing them to be this way?
The worst part–and that is saying a lot–is the cringe-worthy performance and lines by Lisa Kudrow as a parent. We won’t even talk about the ‘father’!

Trying to be positive–and not understanding why–Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 97% rating by professional critics and 74% by the audience while Meta Critic had a 84% rating by critics and 5.6 out of 10 by the audience.

Please, please if you see it let me know what YOU think of “Booksmart” though you would be smart not to go!


The story follows Dever and Feldstein’s characters, two academic superstars and best friends who, on the eve of their high school graduation, suddenly realize that they should have worked less and played more. Determined never to fall short of their peers, the girls set out on a mission to cram four years of fun into one night.




The story follows Dever and Feldstein’s characters, two academic superstars and best friends who, on the eve of their high school graduation, suddenly realize that they should have worked less and played more. Determined never to fall short of their peers, the girls set out on a mission to cram four years of fun into one night.




Some call it lazy–I call it efficient!   Leave a comment

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Every Saturday I spend an hour preparing complete dinners for Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday nights (or if I am going to the theatre then the Tuesday meal is for Wednesday!) Usually the main course is either made in the crockpot, microwave or is a frozen dinner. I usually put the meal on a bed of 10 ounces frozen ‘riced veggies’ made out of cauliflower and the evening I am going to eat it I will put salsa & chopped onions on top of everything–I do like QUANTITY!! :O)
In picture #1 A is turkey B (far left) is sausage and eggs C macaroni and D is a quarter of chicken. I usually mix up a bowl of mixed veggies, a can of corn, jar of mushrooms and each dish gets some of that plus for variety each dish gets a separate veggie whether it be spinach, California veggie mix, etc.  Hard to believe but each dish is about 600 calories!!
In picture 2 the main courses are on the bottom shelf (c)–the top shelf has 4 bowls of mixed frozen fruit–usually pineapple, berries and peaches–and 4 ounce containers of yogurt–1 strawberry and 1 vanilla which I will either eat separately or top the fruit with–while the middle shelf are 4 bowls of salad consisting of Romaine lettuce, onions, tomatoes and I will put dressing on 2 of them and on the other 2 when I am ready to eat them.
I eat lunch out Thursday & Friday and in the evening I have a ‘treat’ and then it is Saturday again! :O)

Posted May 26, 2019 by greatmartin in FOOD, Uncategorized

“All Is True”–movie review   Leave a comment

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As it seems only the British can do, there are 2 scenes in “All Is True” that are master classes in acting which would be expected from Kenneth Branagh, Judi Dench and Ian McKellen but a much younger actress, Kathryn Wilder, gives no quarter in being their equal in one of the most important scenes of the movie.
In the particular scene I am referring to William Shakespeare (Branagh), his wife Anne (Dench) and one their daughters Judith (Wilder) are exposing family truths as the screenwriter Ben Elton imagines they would speak yet bringing it in to today’s world. When I had time to think about it later I could just imagine a theatre audience seeing it on stage in a play written today and stunning them.
The other scene, between Shakespeare and Henry Wriothesley, the Earl of Southampton, (McKellen) looks into the supposedly love affair between them when both were young men and Shakespeare wrote his sonnets. At one point, without changing a thing, Shakespeare starts talking by reciting one of his sonnets and the Earl recites it back to him. It is as if the two men, not acting, are having a conversation expressing their feelings. Neither sex nor nudity is involved yet you believe you are seeing and hearing both!
While very little is known of Shakespeare’s home life, such as the death of his son, Elton presents a plausible story of what may have taken place for the 3 years that Shakespeare returned home to family life after spending most of his life alone in  London at the Globe Theatre which had burned down in 1613.
The only fault, which made it slow moving for only a 100 minute film, is the director’s holding on to many unnecessary and lingering nature scenes with the director being Kenneth Branagh.
“All Is True” might not all be true but it is certainly worth seeing for the acting alone, which shouldn’t be but will probably be forgotten at award time.

Movie trailer



The year is 1613, Shakespeare is acknowledged as the greatest writer of the age. But disaster strikes when his renowned Globe Theatre burns to the ground, and devastated, Shakespeare returns to Stratford, where he must face a troubled past and a neglected family. Haunted by the death of his only son Hamnet, he struggles to mend the broken relationships with his wife and daughters. In so doing, he is ruthlessly forced to examine his own failings as husband and father. His very personal search for the truth uncovers secrets and lies within a family at war.

Toojay’s–restaurant review   Leave a comment

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Except for our server Tiffany there really isn’t much I can say about Toojay’s. Okay it wasn’t their fault that at least 30% of the parking spots were taken up by people parking over the lines and not taking 2-3 seconds to straighten their cars out.

We were greeted and seated promptly and the place was consistently busy even though it was after ‘lunchtime’. Tiffany took our drink order with both Allen and I having diet Pepsi (fountain soda $2.89 while the canned sodas are ($1.99). Allen ordered the deli dogs with pastrami & Cole Slaw ($8.99) which comes with fries and I had the Latke Slider which said $9.79 on the menu, ($9.99 on the receipt). Allen felt the pastrami was overcooked, the slaw dry and the fries ordinary.

I really have nothing good to say about this dish! The Latke was far from ‘crunchy’ as said on the menu while the ‘fresh’ grilled sirloin was like a hockey puck, not too much cheese and too much mustard as if to give it some taste. The fried pickle was edible.

There had to be something wrong in the kitchen as 4 parties that came in after us were served before us and I saw Tiffany come in and out of the kitchen a few times, refilled our sodas without us having to ask, so obviously it wasn’t her fault. The well done pastrami and and the ‘hockey pucks’ gave me sort of an idea the cook forgot the order and either overcooked it or your guess is as good as mine!

Allen had a piece of Coconut cake ($6.69) and felt it was run of the mill so the check with tax and tip came to $37.98 with a $4.50 discount.

I have eaten at Toojay’s out west when I lived in Plantation  so I was looking forward to this new one but I am sticking to Pomperdale’s on Commercial and the New York Marina on 17th Street!

“The Sun Is Also A Star”—movie review   1 comment

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“The Sun Is Also A Star” has everything going for it so why does it just miss being an exciting love story? The leads, Yara Shahidi and Charles Melton, are an attractive couple who meet ‘cute’–he saves her from being run over–and the premise is an interesting one. He believes in love, she doesn’t and, via the screenplay, he has 24 hours to prove it to her. DUH! Guess what happens?
His parents are immigrants from South Korea who own a successful black hair care product store in Harlem and she has been living in New York for 9 years with her Jamaican parents who are about to be deported.
A lot of successful love stories have been filmed in New York City and “The Sun Is Also A Star” takes advantage of Manhattan and the surrounding boroughs with aerial shots, walks through the city parks and streets and even a tram ride from Manhattan to Roosevelt Island and many glorious shots of the Statue of Liberty.
The soundtrack, except for a karaoke scene, adds a lot but….
There isn’t a reason this movie shouldn’t involve the audience’s emotions but it doesn’t. Maybe if more had been looked into regarding the immigrant aspect it would have rounded out the story of the lovers more.
John Leguizamo should have been brought more into the story because the scenes with him would have given more meaning to the fact versus fate argument that motivates the love story.  (Besides they never explain the accident he was in which was distracting!)
“The Sun Is Also A Star” has a lot going for it but just not enough, none of the ‘magic’ that makes ‘happily ever after”.
PS Don’t leave when the screen goes dark or you will the ending.


Natasha is a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. She is not the type of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when her family is twelve hours away from being deported. Falling in love with him will not be her story. Daniel has always been the good son, the good student, living up to his parents’ high expectations. Never a poet. Or a dreamer. But when he sees her, he forgets all that. Something about Natasha makes him think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store – for both of them. Every moment has brought them to this single moment. A million futures lie before them. Which one will come true?


Will they ever get it right??   2 comments

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Over a decade ago I bought a small plant and was told it was a Christmas/Passover cactus and for 2 years in a row it did blossom around Christmas/Passover and then, in the third year, it was my Leap Year birthday and I saw a couple of buds in mid-February and, yes, they bloomed on the 29th!
A couple of years went by and the plant grew huge so I decided to cut off a few branches and re-pot them and within a year I had 6 ‘Christmas/Passover Cacti’ and as each year passed they bloomed on another holiday until now and this week they really blew my mind! With 12 days to go until Memorial Day both the parent plant and one of the ‘pups’ started to show buds getting ready to bloom.
They now have only one holiday they haven’t bloomed on and that is July 4th!!
After they bloom I am going to have to explain to them that they are Christmas/Passover plants and shouldn’t be blooming whenever they want or they will get a bad reputation–let alone drive me crazy(ier)!

Posted May 20, 2019 by greatmartin in GARDENS, MOTHER NATURE, Uncategorized

Longhorn Steakhouse–restaurant review   1 comment

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I hadn’t been to a Longhorn since the one on Federal Highway (I think between Sunrise & Oakland–been a long time!) and since we were going to the Regal and I had a coupon for the Longhorn I decided instead of the usual good Sweet Tomatoes and the great Cabo Blanco we would give it a try.

Started off bad with waiting 5 minutes to be seated and even though 3 employees saw us none acknowledged us let alone say something to the effect that they would be right with us. After finally getting seated we once again had to wait about 5 minutes to be greeted by our server. Is it asking too much to at least let us know you are aware we are sitting on your station? After that the service was fine but wish we could say the same thing about the food.

We had a Firecracker Appetizer($9.99)  which was pre-made and probably had been frozen but was okay. Allen had the 12-ounce strip with a salad ($21.49) and a side of Cauliflower Au Gratin ($1.99) which I don’t think he knew was extra but thought counted as one of the sides with the steak. I had the BBQ Bacon Cheddar Burger ($14.49) with the seasoned fries (which were not seasoned as I had requested). We both had water to drink.

Allen didn’t say anything about the steak but thought the cauliflower could have used a little seasoning. The burger I had a  bun that tasted stale and was stacked on one side instead of the middle. Possibly there was a mistake either on my or the server’s part but I am sure I ordered the “$12.99 830 cal , Steakhouse Bacon Cheeseburger* Thick, juicy and expertly grilled, topped with applewood smoked bacon and your choice of cheese on a toasted potato bun.”  but I don’t see the BBQ Bacon on the web menu nor do I see a $14.49 burger! Also, mine came with fried breaded onion strips which I would never order ON a burger. Though I don’t think so I’ll take the blame for the order, something I would never order again.

For dessert Allen had the Chocolate Stampede ($9.49) and the server did say it served two but I decided not to have dessert (see the halo over my head?) even when she brought 2 plates and silverware! He didn’t make any comment good or bad about it.

With 2 discounts our check came to $45.44 including tax plus we left a $12 tip.

Next time we go to the Regal movie theatre we will go to Cabo Blanco or Sweet Tomatoes afterward. Also, comparing chain steak restaurants I would rather go to the Outback for a burger or steak when cost enters the equation.

Posted May 18, 2019 by greatmartin in RESTAURANTS, REVIEWS, Uncategorized

“Long Shot”–movie review   1 comment

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1) Many years ago I was taught to leave logic at the door when I go to the movies.
2) Have you ever seen a couple that made you question how/why they ever got together?
3) Is there another woman, besides Julia Roberts, as beautiful to look at in print and film as Charlize Theron?
4) In 2003 I said that if Theron didn’t win the Oscar for “Monster” I was never going to the movies again–WHEW! She did!
Okay, now that I got that out of my system, let’s talk about “Long Shot”. Take away the ‘F’ word, a ‘fluid’ shot and a not quite nude sex scene and you have one of those delightful, romantic comedies of the past. Though there doesn’t seem to be any chemistry between the leads Charlize Theron and Seth Rogen, his beard doesn’t help, nor the fact that at the age of 16 she baby sat him at 13, they are both excellent players and Theron adding another genre in her performance here as a comediane.
The comedy lines work better than the romantic scenes but together it makes for a pleasing, charming movie. Supporting performances like those of Seth Rogan’s best friend O’Shea Jackson Jr., or Theron’s assistants Claude O’Doherty and Ravi Patel with Bob Odenkirk as the President of the United States all work well and know their way with the zingers supplied by screenwriters Dan Sterling and Paul Scheer. The direction by Jonathan Levine but could have cut the movie sharper to move it a little faster.
The only one I question in the movie is Alexander Skarsgard who in normal circumstances would have been Theorn’s romantic interest but in this is just charmless, by design(?) or 100% miscast.
“Long Shot” isn’t a classic but it is a lot of fun and you get to look at, admire and, maybe, be jealous of Charlize Theron for 2 hours! :O)


When Fred Flarsky (Seth Rogen) reunites with his first crush, one of the most influential women in the world, Charlotte Field (Charlize Theron), he charms her with his self-deprecating humor and his memories of her youthful idealism. As she prepares to make a run for the Presidency, Charlotte hires Fred as her speechwriter. A fish out of water on Charlotte’s elite team, Fred is unprepared for her glamourous lifestyle in the limelight. Sparks fly as their unmistakable chemistry leads to a round-the-world romance and a series of unexpected and dangerous incidents. 


Movie Trailer

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