Archive for August 2019

“The Nightingale”–movie review   1 comment

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“The Nightingale” is one of the most violent films I can ever recall seeing in 75 years of movie going, filled with rapes, murders by guns, knives, spears and hangings. It is not ‘fun’ violence like you would see in “Angel Has Fallen” but realistic violence as certainly took place in Australia and its southern state Tasmania in the 1800s. It is an epic film taking a little over 2 hours and 15 minutes and intriguing but it doesn’t grab you emotionally though the basis of the story is certainly emotional.This is a shocking film about man’s inhumanity towards women and towards each other, particularly between aboriginal Australians and the British colonists with the latter wiping out complete tribes of the former. There is a particularly harrowing scene between an aboriginal mother who is with her child and accosted by a couple of British soldiers.The focus of the movie is the performance of a wronged Irish woman convict, Clare, played by Aisling Franciosi, a young aboriginal tracker, Billy, played by Baykali Ganambarr, and one of the most horrendous, despicable  villains to ever appear in a movie, Lieutenant Hawkins, played by Sam Caflin.  All 3 give powerful performances but the director/screenwriter Jennifer Kent goes astray with the story in the middle part while her directing and, the director of photography, Radek Ladczuk takes us into the Tasmanian wilderness locations adding a large dimension to the film.
Damon Herriman as a crude, rude corporal, a young soldier played by Harry Greenwood, who is horrified at what he is seeing other people doing is, in many cases, filling in for the audience seeing the film, along with Magnolia Maymuru as the aforementioned aboriginal mother and Michael Sheasby as Clare’s husband are all standouts along with the supporting players in the smaller roles.
Many of the scenes between Franciosi and Ganambarr offer some laughs as two people who are so different but have one thing, a very important thing, that binds them. It is here that the Kent, as the screen writer, goes astray regarding these two characters in the middle of the film.“The Nightingale” is an epic, intriguing movie but I do not suggest it if you are unable to handle a lot of relentless, graphic violence which cuts into the emotional feelings so needed in a film like this.

Set in 1825, Clare, a young Irish convict woman, chases a British officer through the rugged Tasmanian wilderness, bent on revenge for a terrible act of violence he committed against her family. On the way she enlists the services of an Aboriginal tracker named Billy, who is also marked by trauma from his own violence-filled past.


Posted August 30, 2019 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, FILM REVIEWS

Ready for Dorian!   1 comment

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Whether Hurricane Dorian hits or not I am ready. I spent yesterday doing my 4th favorite thing–cooking!! #1 and 3 are two different chicken dishes I made in the crockpot with the first being made in a fruity glaze with fig and balsamic vinegar with the other in a peanut butter marinade. #2 are jars of peanut butter and cans of tuna and chicken plus a can of black beans while #4 I cooked up 3 boxes of pasta: shells, rotini and a jambalaya base with rice .#5 I have the frozen fruit and vegetables all ready to eat and just be defrosted whether we have electricity or not and the former is likely even if we just have a ‘tropical storm’. Then again if all is well I have enough meals for 2 weeks while I can keep the canned goods for the next storm that comes our way!

Right now, whether we will get hit with a #2 or #3 hurricane or it will veer off to the north, is still up in the air!

Posted August 28, 2019 by greatmartin in FLORIDA, WEATHER

The Peanut Butter Falcon”–movie review   Leave a comment

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The synopsis of “The Peanut Butter Falcon” (see below) tells you the basic story but isn’t able to add what Zack Gottsagen (as Zak) and Shia LaBeouf (as Tyler) bring to the movie that makes it so moving.Gottsagen is an actor with Down Syndrome and though you won’t forget that the whole time watching the movie you will also learn that he is a man with wants and needs and, given a chance, will get them. When the film opens Zak is in an old folks nursing home because there is no other place for him as he has no living family and the State doesn’t have any other facilities for him. Pushed on by his roommate, played by Bruce Dern, Zak runs away one night, wearing only his white briefs, and hides under a tarp in a boat owned by Tyler, who is on the run from the law and some locals who after him to get revenge for his burning their equipment.Zak and Tyler join forces, the latter at first reluctantly, and soon Eleanor, (Dakota Johnson) who in charge of Zak in the home and is now looking for him, become part of a  family initially made up of strangers.
Shia LaBeouf gives a strong performance as a man who lost his older brother and, unknowingly, has a chance to redeem himself. He brings many layers into his role regarding both Zak and Eleanor and a man who is lost while Zack Gottsagen has a remarkable physical and emotional strength who want let anything stop him, including starring in a motion picture. Dakota Johnson does what she can with her role though it is very underwritten by the screenwriters Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz, who did much better as the directors of the film.Bruce Dern does a fun turn with few minutes while Thomas Haden Church as the wrestler trainer, Salt Water Redneck, who Zak, after constantly watching a video the man made, wants to meet and go to his classes, portrays that backwood world, along with real life wrestlers Jake “The Snake” Roberts MIck Foley. Wayne DeHart, as a blind preacher, helps the 3 with their journey while preaching about leaving the wolves of their past behind.The journey that takes place mostly along the North Carolina coast affords the ‘family’ opportunities, both funny and emotional, to become just that and will hit home with many in the audience who have done the same thing, making strangers into a living family.“The Peanut Butter Falcon” is a sweet, moving film that makes heroes of the two male leads.


A modern Mark Twain style adventure story, THE PEANUT BUTTER FALCON tells the story of Zak (Gottsagen), a young man with Down syndrome, who runs away from a residential nursing home to follow his dream of attending the professional wrestling school of his idol, The Salt Water Redneck (Thomas Haden Church). A strange turn of events pairs him on the road with Tyler (LaBeouf), a small time outlaw on the run, who becomes Zak’s unlikely coach and ally. Together they wind through deltas, elude capture, drink whisky, find God, catch fish, and convince Eleanor (Johnson), a kind nursing home employee charged with Zak’s return, to join them on their journey.


Posted August 27, 2019 by greatmartin in FILM REVIEWS

Old Age: Fight it, give in to it, adapt to it and/or enjoy it!   Leave a comment

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I don’t exactly remember when I faced the fact that I was old but it was probably around the New Year’s weekend 1999-2000 when I woke up in the hospital after having a congestive heart failure attack. Oh I fought it a bit by saying that I was old(er) but, eventually, I had to drop the (er)!It was at that time that I was introduced to Warfarin, a blood thinner, which lead to my arms (see the first 2 pictures) turning all kinds of colors if I even brushed against something, being lucky if it didn’t bleed and take weeks to heal!
I bought arm guards and wore them for awhile but for some reason I stopped wearing them and all of a sudden last week walking on the walkway from the elevator to my apartment, not paying attention, my swinging right arm hit the corner of the railing and got a gash that was a mess.

I decided to go back to wearing arm guards. I got the white ones first and decided to cut off the finger/palm/hand part–see the left and right corner bottom pictures–which was a mistake as they started to unravel. Now I have the black arm guards and I am wearing them as is!Only problem with the guards are they exert so much pressure on the arms they are now a solid red!! At least they match my legs which because of the  peripheral artery disease and the lack of the veins having too much plaque doesn’t allow the blood in my legs to flow regularly as they should.  These are the extra large guards whereas the white were large. I think my next step is to put bubble wrap around the arms!

One of the, many, great things about old age is that you aren’t to blame for anything–it is all the age!! I have lost 2 pairs of glasses this year–well, not actually me but that old man in me–so I decided to go the way of old people I remember from my childhood–you know, those who always had glasses hanging down the front of them like I do in the bottom left picture and the middle pictures. Now I go crazy looking for my glasses before I remember they are hanging around my neck!

Now I am practicing for either a walker and/or a motorized wheelchair–the latter is the ‘in’ thing with senior citizens here at Gateway!Oh, also, have to learn to quickly ditch the hanging glasses and arm guards–have you ever seen an old person celebrating their 100th birthday or any birthday over 90 years wearing those things?? Except on the news have you seen pictures of old people using walkers?? Heck we may be old but we are still smart and know how to hide things!!

Posted August 25, 2019 by greatmartin in LIFE, LIFE EVENTS

“Angel Has Fallen”–movie review—and Regal Theatre and Sweet Tomatoes   1 comment

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Usually on Fridays we will go to The Classic Gateway Theatre as it is near me, has their first showings between 12:30 and 1 PM which is convenient as far as Allen having to come pick me up and getting out early enough for him to have an early dinner and me to have a late lunch. Plus The Gateway is just an old-fashioned comfortable, neighborhood theatre.I gave Allen a choice of 5 movies to see and he picked “Angel Has Fallen” playing at the AMC and Regal chain theatres and we went to the latter. Though it means a lot of driving for Allen–driving to my place takes about 30-45 minutes, the ride to the Regal another 30 minutes, taking me home another 30 plus another 45 for him to get home– he prefers the Regal so off we went. When we go there we either eat at Cabo Blanco or Sweet Tomatoes, the latter in the same shopping center and the latter about 10 minutes away.In 2003 Gerard Butler starred in “Timeline” and the next year “The Phantom of the Opera” and was on his way to being a top star. It seemed after the mixed reviews for Phantom something went wrong though he has made a good living overall making a total of 42 movies of which the last dozen have mainly been in the action genre which “Angel Has Fallen” definitely fits. All in all it probably has one of the highest body counts, countless violent scenes and surprise, surprise a few, very few, quiet scenes first with his wife and baby and then with his father, the latter played by Nick Nolte, who I have been a fan of since 1974 on television in “Rich Man, Poor Man”.
There is nothing different or special about “Angel Has Fallen” and it fits in with my see one action loads of special effects movie a year! You know what to expect when you walk in and you get just that so if that is your type of film go for it but, as usual, check logic at the door.The Regal Theatre is a big box of a building with about 14-15 screens and not really any kind of ‘personality’ to differentiate from any other chain of theatres. It has recently offered a deal of for $21 a month, paid a year in advance, for as many movies a day as you would want to see, no exceptions. If I lived closer and/or had a car I might take the offer because I love the movies, even the bad ones!I am a big fan of Sweet Tomatoes, enough that I had my 18th Leap Year birthday party there. I’m a sucker for their soups, all 8 of them, not to forget their soft ice cream, pastas, salads, breads, muffins, rolls—oh heck everything they serve! Though people may think otherwise it is NOT a place to go if you are on a diet though, like in any restaurant, you could stick to any diet you might be on.Okay, an action movie and a good late lunch–nothing to complain about here!

Posted August 23, 2019 by greatmartin in FILM REVIEWS

“Blinded by the Light”–movie review (and a short review on Bruce Springsteen)   1 comment

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My inclination is to write 2 different reviews regarding “Blinded by the Light” with the first being about Bruce Springsteen and his music while the second would be about the movie and how the music is used. I will try to be brief, for me, with the Springsteen review first.It has only been in the past few days that I have become familiar with Bruce Springsteen’s music and life. Oh, I had heard of a couple of his hits but wouldn’t seek him out to listen to him sing and/or perform. I knew about his record breaking concert “Springsteen On Broadway” and recently heard that the filmed version was being shown on Netflix. I, also, read he has directed a documentary and his latest album “Western Stars”. I wasn’t very much into the popular music of the 1970s when he made a name for himself as I was ‘stuck’ on music of the 1930s-1960s and music from Broadway and Hollywood but I do remember his Oscar winning “Streets of Philadelphia”.
Thinking of going to see “Blinded by the Light” I decided to watch his concert and was moved, not so much by his singing voice and/or music but by his life story and I still feel the same today after seeing the movie which I feel I got into better than I would have otherwise.“Blinded by the Light” is full of cliches, the kind I like in movies. The beginning of the movie didn’t thrill me as I have enough problems hearing dialogue especially when spoken with an English accent and then adding a Pakistani accent to it! I don’t know the exact point the first ‘Hollywood’ musical number was done but starting with that cliche I was hooked! Yes, there are a few of these elaborate musical numbers where students, parents and whoever is around burst into song though the first number “The Promised Land” is a solo that for whatever reason reminded me of Gene Kelley’s “Singing in the Rain”.The story is based on the true story of a teenager who gets into a world of music and writing and if you as a teenager ever felt a connection that affected how you thought and acted you will understand what this movie is about and if you haven’t experienced it this movie will show you how they do.Yes, the cliches are here from the prejudice, not only the British against the Pakistani but the latter against Jews, the anger against immigrants, fathers coming to a new country to make a new life but not wanting his children to forget where the parents came from and getting upset if the children discover their own path, there is the first love, making and losing friends, sacrifices during a recession here taking place during Thatcher’s era, children hiding things from their parents plus not to forget jokes about New Jersey! Our teenager meets a teacher who believes in him and, yes, it is corny, but it works just as the father and son scenes do.Let’s not have any doubt about the importance of a teenager discovering something to believe in as in this case the music will have him stand up to bullies, kiss a girl, spend much needed money to see Springsteen in a concert and even help him make a major decision.Viveik Kalra, as the teenager Javed, Dean-Charles Chapman as his best friend Matt, (who I must admit I thought was a girl and put a crazy spin on the first 10-15 minutes of the movie!), Aaron Phagura as Roops as his new friend who introduces Javed to Bruce Springsteen, Nell Williams is Eliza, his soon to be girlfriend, maybe, Nikita Mehta as his sister Shazia who has a secret of her own that really surprises the audience while David Hayman, as his neighbor Mr. Evans and Haylay Atwell as the supportive teacher all perform admirably with Viveik Kalra a standout.
As Javed parent’s Kulvinder Chir as the father and Meera Ganatra as the mother take two roles that have been done thousands of times in movies add poignancy, laughter and drama with the greatest of ease and have a lot to do with the tears the audience sheds.“Blinded by the Light”, as I said, is based on a true story and the screenplay was based on the book “Greetings from Bury Park” by Sarfraz Manzoor, who co-wrote the screenplay, and who the character Javed is based on, with  Paul Mayeda and the director Gurinder Chadha. The latter keeps the film moving, the cliches and the unbelievable song and dance sequences believable.I certainly have to give Bruce Springsteen credit for making “Blinded by the Light” a much more interesting picture than it would have been without his music or my not knowing about his background.


In 1987, during the austere days of Margaret Thatcher‘s Britain, a teenager learns to live life, understand his family, and find his own voice through the music of Bruce Springsteen.


BLINDED BY THE LIGHT – Official Trailer – Now Playing In TheatersBLINDED BY THE LIGHT – Official Trailer – Now Playing In Theaters

Posted August 20, 2019 by greatmartin in FILM REVIEWS

We are being invaded! You?   1 comment

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One morning you wake up and everywhere you look there are scooters. They are on the corner, laying down on neighbor’s lawns, blocking sidewalks, etc. And to think just ‘yesterday’ they were used as toys for kids!With the scooters came laws which no one seems to be observing such as only 1 person on a scooter at a time, have to be over 18 to use one, not to be used in the streets, etc.Now these are different than the ones we had to propel with one foot pushing us along and go a bit faster.They aren’t really inexpensive but it does cut down on car traffic–or does it?As with anything ‘new’ there are groups for and against it–looking forward to seeing who ‘wins’.

Electric scooters invade Fort Lauderdale –…

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – In early November, hundreds of dockless electric scooters popped up all over Fort Lauderdale. City commissioners unanimously passed an ordinance to use the “dock-less .

City of Fort Lauderdale, FL : Dockless Bike and Scooter ……/dockless-bike-and-scooter-sharing

Summer Beach Season Scooter Prohibition: From June 8 through August 18, electric or motorized scooters, and any other forms of dockless mobility, will be prohibited on the entirety of the barrier island, per City of Fort Lauderdale Ordinance C-19-03, Sec. 8-55.5. No scooter operations may occur at any time within the following boundaries: the …


FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A 14-year-old boy remains hospitalized Wednesday in critical condition after he was hit while riding an electric scooter in Fort Lauderdale.

·  Woman Injured In Fort Lauderdale Scooter Accident Wants ……

Jul 31, 2019 · Woman Injured In Fort Lauderdale Scooter Accident Wants Better RegulationsRiding scooters has become a popular activity in several parts of …

E-Scooter Rides on the Rise Along With Accidents…

There were 129 accidents involving electric scooters in Miami and Fort Lauderdale from December to early July. … but emergency room doctors say injuries involving e-scooters are on the rise .

Posted August 19, 2019 by greatmartin in FORT LAUDERDALE, scooters

I know YOU are a BIG tipper but…   1 comment

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Please read this first (in today’s Sun-Sentinel)

I was in the restaurant business for 38 years of my 50 working years, 30 of them in South Florida from 5 star restaurants to joints and I loved being a server turning down many manager offers or opening my own place.

This article makes it seems like this is a new part of restaurant business–it isn’t–going back to 1956 I can name names of where these practices took place and some not even mentioned like ‘paying’ servers to come in and clean the restaurant from top to bottom and being paid with a ‘meal’.

“If you don’t like the job, leave” is easier said than done.

Posted August 18, 2019 by greatmartin in RESTAURANTS

“Where’d You Go, Bernadette”–movie review   1 comment

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There are some actresses that even when quiet still are acting up a storm and you can almost hear what they are thinking and Cate Blanchett is certainly one of those. In “Where’s You Go, Bernadette” while talking, listening, acting, reacting, smiling, serious, crying, etc., makes no difference her whole body mesmerizes you making it impossible for you to not get involved with her and her character!
The first half of the film takes its time setting up why Bernadette disappeared leaving her brilliant computer smart husband (Billy Crudup) and a daughter (Emma Nelson) who loves her and sees her as her best friend. Twenty years previously the very successful and admired architect , Bernadette Fox (Cate Blanchett) and her husband left Los Angeles moving to Seatle where Elgin can advance his career with Microsoft while Bernadette, after a few tries, gives birth to Bee and devotes her life to both while working, slowly, on an old former reform school. Aside from fixing the house and taking care of her family Bernadette seems to have no friends or life and when Bee calls them on a promised trip to Antarctica for her school accomplishments Bernadette disappears.The screenwriters, Holly Gent and Vincett Palmo, Jr., the director Richard Linklater and the actress Blanchett, hints at why she disappears but all 3, and the supporting cast, in telling you where she disappears to and the reasons makes the second half of the film fast moving and involving.There is an extraneous story line that seems far fetched regarding a scam and the ending is too much ‘Hollywood’ but Blanchett is a marvel, it is good seeing a mature Billy Crudup with that little boy’s grin and newcomer Emma Nelson as their daughter is a find.“Where’d You Go, Bernadette” is not a must see fil but is certainly a film worth seeing.

Movie trailer


Based on the runaway bestseller, Where’d You Go, Bernadette is an inspiring comedy about Bernadette Fox (Academy Award winner Cate Blanchett), a loving mom who becomes compelled to reconnect with her creative passions after years of sacrificing herself for her family. Bernadette’s leap of faith takes her on an epic adventure that jump-starts her life and leads to her triumphant rediscovery.

Posted August 16, 2019 by greatmartin in FILM REVIEWS

The Cheesecake Factory–restaurant review   2 comments

On February 29, 2000, celebrating my ‘Sweet 16th’ Leap Year birthday I started the celebration with a group of friends for cheesecake and coffee in the early afternoon out at the Sawgrass Mall and as soon as it opened on Los Olas Boulevard I became a ‘regular. The Cheesecake Factory is my favorite corporation chain restaurant.The service is always excellent, the menu changes enough to keep it interesting and the Godiva cheesecake is ‘to die for’.

We went there this past Thursday and, as always, the food was good and a bit different. I had the Pasta Napoletana ($15.50) which was a mix of meats on pasta with 2 different sauces which was very tasty but next time I would tell them to go easy on the cream sauce. Allen had the Lemon Garlic Shrimp ($17.95) very tastefully presented. He had a ‘little’ house salad (($5.95) on the side. For dessert I had the Godiva Cheesecake ($8.50) with coffee ($3.50) and he had the Pineapple Upside Down cake ($8.50) with a soda ($3.50).

With tax and tip the check came to $83 which is a bit much for lunch being members of the ‘99% club’! The server Therese was excellent coordinating everything and keeping check, not in an annoying way, that everything was okay.The Cheesecake Factory is always on my list of restaurants to go to but at current prices I am going there less and less.

Posted August 13, 2019 by greatmartin in RESTAURANT REVIEWS

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