Thursday, December 18, 2014

Boardwalk Empire

Boardwalk EmpireBoardwalk Empire’s final season felt at times slow, but was mostly as good as always.  We say goodbye to several characters, but that is the nature of the show.

Overall, I really enjoyed this show.  The quality was evident in everything, from scripts to acting, from costumes to the production, from photography to direction, so I have very little complaints about it.

If you enjoy gangster stories, then I’d definitely recommend this show.  It has all the greatness of The Sopranos just in a different era and with a different style, but the quality is definitely there, even though The Sopranos feels gutsier.

Grade – Season 5: 8

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


Yossi The Gist: A closeted doctor who recently lost his boyfriend is still grieving and doesn’t seem to have much left to hope for.  Then, unexpectedly, he meets someone else.

The Bottom Line: While the premise might have been rehashed a thousand times before, Yossi is so well written and acted that it feels fresh and charmingly new.  Definitely a well developed love story.

Grade: 8


SnowpiercerThe Gist: Foolishly attempting to reverse global warming, scientists have brought about a new glacial era that makes life on the planet impossible.  The sole survivors live their days on a self-sustaining train that never stops circling the globe, but things are about to get bumpy.

The Bottom Line: Snowpiercer is a very nice survival movie with cool twists, well developed characters, and really good acting, especially from the always excellent Tilda Swinton.  While some elements might feel borrowed, I would definitely recommend it.

Grade: 8


godzillaThe Gist: The existence of ancient dinosaur-like monsters who feed on nuclear material is revealed in the aftermath of a nuclear accident in Japan.  The titular monster will show his face on the US west coast, but he won’t be alone.

The Bottom Line: After the disappointing 1998 version, I had pretty much given up caring about this famed monster, but the very positive reviews this new version got convinced me to take a look.  I’m glad I did because the script this time around is much better written and there are twists in the story that are totally unexpected and take it in a whole new direction that hopefully will breathe new life into the monstrous creature from Japan.

Grade: 8


UndertowThe Gist: A soon-to-be father married man has been secretly seeing another man for years.  One day, an unexpected event will change his life forever.

The Bottom Line: This is by far one of the best gay themed movies I’ve ever seen.  The script is original, profound, and well written and the actors are great.  A must-see.

Grade: 9

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Amityville Horror

Amityville horrorThe Gist: A family moves into a home where a series of murders had occurred and soon the new occupants start to feel the influence of the evil forces that had doomed the former tenants.  Will they make it out alive?

The Bottom Line: While the movie does show its age, it still retains a fair share of thrills.  It’s entertaining but does have some weaknesses in its plot.  Looking forward to seeing the remake and how it turned out.

Grade: 7

Before Midnight

before midnightThe Gist: Now together and with two little girls of their own, Jesse and Celine are confronted with the life choices they each made in the past and how they affect their relationship in the present.

The Bottom Line: What are the chances of a third chapter about a simple romance actually turning out to be the best and most interesting of them all?  Richard Linklater does the seemingly impossible and gives us yet another beautiful chapter in the Jesse & Celine Romance.  Unmissable.

Grade: 8

Before Sunset

before sunsetThe Gist: On a publicity tour for his recently published novel about the girl he met by chance on a train ride almost a decade earlier, Jesse sees Celine again and their romance rekindles.

The Bottom Line: This is by far one of the best sequels I’ve ever seen.  While at first the leads seem a bit tentative in their approach, one soon realizes that that’s exactly how people would feel towards each other in real life, and by the end of the second chapter they’ve recaptured the magic that made the first movie so endearing.  Another must see.

Grade: 8

Before Sunrise

before sunriseThe Gist: A chance encounter on a train leads to a day spent walking around Vienna, talking about everything and nothing, and slowly falling in love.

The Bottom Line: This movie had me spellbound from the beginning.  It’s charming and sweet while maintaining its aura of realism and the leads have an incredible chemistry.  Don’t miss it.

Grade: 8

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Ender's Game

enders_game_ver20_xlgThe Gist: After an attempted alien invasion that cost millions of lives, humanity has devised a plan of attack that relies on the highly developed videogame playing skills of younger kids.  One of them, Ender, displays much promise in both tactics and technique.

The Bottom Line: I debated with myself whether I should watch this movie or not because gay organizations called for a boycott due to the highly bigoted views of the book’s author, but ultimately my sci-fi itch prevailed.  Alas, the movie turned out to be pretty weak and has a couple of big holes in the plot.  And while visually it might be interesting, it really doesn’t make the grade.

Grade: 4

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Nymphomaniac: The Extended Director's Cut Volume I & II

nymphomaniac-volume-1-poster          nymphomaniac-volume-2-poster

The Gist: A declared nymphomaniac is found unconscious and rescued by a passerby.  She then proceeds to recount for him the myriad different life experiences that brought her in his presence.

The Bottom Line: Lars von Trier pulls off the amazing feat of making what feels like a totally organic and normal mainstream movie but with very explicit sex scenes.  What’s even more amazing, however, is that the story is actually legitimately interesting and very well acted and the sex is treated as a relevant part of the plot and never feels gratuitous.  I would definitely recommend this movie.

Grade: 8 and 8

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

The Great Expansion

Because of the huge seismic shockwave, I wanted to wait until the waters had settled and the picture was clearer, which it now is.

On October 6th, 2014, the United States Supreme Court denied review of seven cases from three Appellate Courts (Fourth, Seventh, and Tenth) upholding lower Federal District Courts that had struck down anti gay marriage constitutional amendments in five states (Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia, Indiana, and Wisconsin) under their jurisdictions, thereby letting those judgments stand.

Furthermore, because Appellate Courts judgments apply to all the states in their respective circuits, the list of progressive states didn’t just go up by four but by eleven!!  Although some states more than others were dragged into the club kicking and screaming and not before a flurry of last-minute appeals to the Supreme Court that were quickly rejected.

Following are the new states were gays and lesbians can now legally marry thanks to the Supreme Court “inaction”:

From the Fourth Circuit a warm welcome to:

  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia

From the Seventh Circuit a warm welcome to:

  • Indiana
  • Wisconsin

From the Tenth Circuit a warm welcome to:

  • Colorado
  • Kansas
  • Oklahoma
  • Utah
  • Wyoming

But that’s not all!!  The day after the Supreme Court’s decision, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals released its decision in favor of striking down constitutional amendments banning gay marriage in Idaho and Nevada.  Their ruling, as it were, applies to all the states in the circuit, which happens to be the largest in the nation.

Given that the Ninth Circuit had previously determined (the only one to date) that the use of heightened scrutiny is warranted when dealing with litigation involving gay and lesbian minorities, a positive outcome for our side was widely expected, and the Supreme Courts’ decision a day earlier simply made it that much more likely.

So just like that, five more states, again, some more willingly than others…, joined the list of marriage equality:

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Idaho
  • Montana
  • Nevada

We now stand at 35 out of 50 states, plus the District of Columbia, enjoying marriage equality, and while recently the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeal ruled against us, I am more than hopeful that nationwide marriage equality will soon be the law of the land in the land of the free!!

Here’s what the US map looks like right now in regards to marriage equality, courtesy of Freedom to Marry:


More here and here.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

The Aftermath

Here’s arguably the coolest video I’ve ever seen.  The Hubble timelapse over 4 years of star V838 Monocerotis, or V838 Mon.

From Petapixel:

Captured over the course of 4 years by the Hubble Space Telescope, it’s a time-lapse that shows a very unusual star’s ‘light echo’ rippling out through space in the most spectacular fashion.

A light echo happens with any object in space that brightens very quickly, such as a nova or a supernova. The light from the star itself reaches us first, but if there is dust and other stellar debris around the star, some light is reflected from the clouds and takes a bit longer to reach us.

Simply breathtaking.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014




A livelier night sky

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m very fascinated by anything related to our universe so when I saw this visual representation of what our night sky would look like if the planets of the Solar System were as close to us as our Moon, I had to post about it.

The link is here:

Here’s what we normally see on a moonlit night:


Now, if Mercury replaced the Moon, this is what we’d see:


Not too impressive, given Mercury’s size, but Venus is already quite more interesting:


And when you add Mars’ red shade:


Impressive size-wise are both Uranus:

uranusAnd Neptune:


But obviously the greatest spectacle is offered by Saturn:


And Jupiter, my all time favorite:


Now obviously if planets like Saturn and Jupiter were to ever come that close to the Earth our home planet would cease to exist, but imagine the spectacle!!

What’s your favorite?

New Additions!

Time flies and albeit late to the game I want to congratulate the 2 new states that have joined the club of the progressives:


A passage from the openly gay judge who ruled in the case:

Generations of Americans, my own included, were raised in a world in which homosexuality was believed to be a moral perversion, a mental disorder, or a mortal sin. I remember that one of the more popular playground games of my childhood was called "smear the queer" and it was played with great zeal and without a moment’s thought to today’s political correctness. On a darker level, that same worldview led to an environment of cruelty, violence, and self-loathing. It was but 1986 when the United States Supreme Court justified, on the basis of a "millennia of moral teaching," the imprisonment of gay men and lesbian women who engaged in consensual sexual acts. Even today I am reminded of the legacy that we have bequeathed today’s generation when my son looks dismissively at the sweater I bought him for Christmas and, with a roll of his eyes, says "Dad… that is so gay."


From Towleroad:

Judge John Jones III (above, right), a George W. Bush appointee, was not to be outdone by Judge McShane's lyrical and personal approach to the case. To Judge Jones, bans on same-sex marriage, whether they be constitutional provisions or statutes (Oregon had a constitutional amendment; Pennsylvania just had a law), are the worst of us and not worthy of our traditions and our future.

The decision was a broad one, covering equal protection and due process. Judge Jones even called for the application of heightened scrutiny in an equal protection analysis when antigay discrimination is at issue.

But one of the opinion's final lines struck me as too simple, at best:
In the sixty years since Brown [v. Board of Education] was decided, "separate" has thankfully faded into history, and only "equal" remains.

The count now stands at 19 (plus DC) states FOR marriage equality.

That almost half the number of states is now firmly on our side is truly remarkable and with pending litigation in all the remaining 31, it’s only a matter of time before the whole country has marriage equality.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

In Memoriam

Diablo (12/1996 – 5/13/2013)

Diablo03On the 1 year anniversary of our beloved Diablo’s death, I finally find myself able to collect enough strength to write a post in her honor.

Diablo was the first dog I ever had and I loved her more than words can express.  She was beautiful, lively, sweet, and had a personality that sometimes drove us crazy, but that’s what made her special I guess.

IMG_0034At 16 and a half, she lived a very long life for a dog her size, and Ray and I think it was a happy life too.

She is the one that turned Ray and I into a family long before Mina joined us and we adopted children.  Mina is actually the one we credit with keeping Diablo young and healthy by keeping her active and always on her toes paws.

2013_01_16_9999_26-1I just came back from the quiet place in the woods where we buried our girl around this hour a year ago and I still miss her enormously.  And I still love her enormously.  As I will always.

You brought immense joy and unconditional love to our lives Diablo, and for that we’ll always be grateful.

Rest in peace.  I love you.


Sunday, March 09, 2014

The 86th Annual Academy Awards

Well, the Oscars were a week ago today and time just slipped away from me, but here I am with a list of this year’s winners and nominees (for posterity I guess…) and a few comments on the ceremony:

2014 best picture nomsBest Motion Picture of the Year
12 Years a Slave (2013)

American Hustle (2013)
Captain Phillips (2013)
Dallas Buyers Club (2013)
Gravity (2013)
Her (2013)
Nebraska (2013)
Philomena (2013)
The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
Matthew McConaughey for Dallas Buyers Club (2013)

Christian Bale for American Hustle (2013)
Bruce Dern for Nebraska (2013)
Leonardo DiCaprio for The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
Chiwetel Ejiofor for 12 Years a Slave (2013)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
Cate Blanchett for Blue Jasmine (2013)

Amy Adams for American Hustle (2013)
Sandra Bullock for Gravity (2013)
Judi Dench for Philomena (2013)
Meryl Streep for August: Osage County (2013)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
Jared Leto for Dallas Buyers Club (2013)

Barkhad Abdi for Captain Phillips (2013)
Bradley Cooper for American Hustle (2013)
Jonah Hill for The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
Michael Fassbender for 12 Years a Slave (2013)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
Lupita Nyong'o for 12 Years a Slave (2013)

Sally Hawkins for Blue Jasmine (2013)
Jennifer Lawrence for American Hustle (2013)
Julia Roberts for August: Osage County (2013)
June Squibb for Nebraska (2013)

Best Achievement in Directing
Alfonso Cuarón for Gravity (2013)

Steve McQueen for 12 Years a Slave (2013)
David O. Russell for American Hustle (2013)
Martin Scorsese for The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
Alexander Payne for Nebraska (2013)

Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen
Her (2013): Spike Jonze

American Hustle (2013): Eric Warren Singer, David O. Russell
Blue Jasmine (2013):
Woody Allen
Nebraska (2013):
Bob Nelson
Dallas Buyers Club (2013):
Craig Borten, Melisa Wallack

Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published
12 Years a Slave (2013): John Ridley

Before Midnight (2013): Richard Linklater
Captain Phillips (2013):
Billy Ray
Philomena (2013):
Steve Coogan, Jeff Pope
The Wolf of Wall Street (2013):
Terence Winter

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year
Frozen (2013)

The Croods (2013)
Despicable Me 2 (2013)
Ernest & Celestine (2012)
The Wind Rises (2013)

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year
The Great Beauty (2013): Paolo Sorrentino(Italy)

The Broken Circle Breakdown (2012): Felix Van Groeningen(Belgium)
The Missing Picture (2013): Rithy Panh(Cambodia)
The Hunt (2012): Thomas Vinterberg(Denmark)
Omar (2013): Hany Abu-Assad(Palestine)

Best Achievement in Cinematography
Gravity (2013): Emmanuel Lubezki

Inside Llewyn Davis (2013): Bruno Delbonnel
Nebraska (2013): Phedon Papamichael
Prisoners (2013):
Roger Deakins
The Grandmaster (2013):
Philippe Le Sourd

Best Achievement in Editing
Gravity (2013): Alfonso Cuarón, Mark Sanger

12 Years a Slave (2013): Joe Walker
American Hustle (2013):
Alan Baumgarten, Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers
Captain Phillips (2013):
Christopher Rouse
Dallas Buyers Club (2013):
Martin Pensa, John Mac McMurphy

Best Achievement in Production Design
The Great Gatsby (2013): Catherine Martin, Beverley Dunn

12 Years a Slave (2013): Adam Stockhausen, Alice Baker
American Hustle (2013):
Judy Becker, Heather Loeffler
Gravity (2013):
Andy Nicholson, Rosie Goodwin, Joanne Woollard
Her (2013):
K.K. Barrett, Gene Serdena

Best Achievement in Costume Design
The Great Gatsby (2013): Catherine Martin

American Hustle (2013): Michael Wilkinson
12 Years a Slave (2013):
Patricia Norris
The Grandmaster (2013):
William Chang
The Invisible Woman (2013):
Michael O'Connor

Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling
Dallas Buyers Club (2013): Adruitha Lee, Robin Mathews

Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa (2013): Steve Prouty
The Lone Ranger (2013):
Joel Harlow, Gloria Pasqua Casny

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score
Gravity (2013): Steven Price

The Book Thief (2013): John Williams
Her (2013): Will Butler, Owen Pallett
Saving Mr. Banks (2013):
Thomas Newman
Philomena (2013):
Alexandre Desplat

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song
Frozen (2013): Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Robert Lopez("Let It Go")

Despicable Me 2 (2013): Pharrell Williams( "Happy")
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (2013): Bono, Adam Clayton, The Edge, Larry Mullen Jr., Brian Burton("Ordinary Love")
Her (2013): Karen O("The Moon Song")

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing
Gravity (2013): Skip Lievsay, Niv Adiri, Christopher Benstead, Chris Munro

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013): Christopher Boyes, Michael Hedges, Michael Semanick, Tony Johnson
Captain Phillips (2013):
Chris Burdon, Mark Taylor, Mike Prestwood Smith, Chris Munro
Inside Llewyn Davis (2013):
Skip Lievsay, Greg Orloff, Peter F. Kurland
Lone Survivor (2013):
Andy Koyama, Beau Borders, David Brownlow

Best Achievement in Sound Editing
Gravity (2013): Glenn Freemantle

All Is Lost (2013): Steve Boeddeker, Richard Hymns
Captain Phillips (2013):
Oliver Tarney
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013):
Brent Burge
Lone Survivor (2013):
Wylie Stateman

Best Achievement in Visual Effects
Gravity (2013): Timothy Webber, Chris Lawrence, David Shirk, Neil Corbould

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013): Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton, Eric Reynolds
Iron Man 3 (2013):
Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Erik Nash, Daniel Sudick
The Lone Ranger (2013):
Tim Alexander, Gary Brozenich, Edson Williams, John Frazier
Star Trek Into Darkness (2013):
Roger Guyett, Pat Tubach, Ben Grossmann, Burt Dalton

Best Documentary, Feature
Twenty Feet from Stardom (2013): Morgan Neville

The Act of Killing (2012): Joshua Oppenheimer, Signe Byrge Sørensen
Cutie and the Boxer (2013):
Zachary Heinzerling, Lydia Dean Pilcher
Dirty Wars (2013):
Rick Rowley, Jeremy Scahill
The Square (2013):
Jehane Noujaim, Karim Amer

Best Documentary, Short Subject
The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life (2013): Malcolm Clarke, Carl Freed

Cavedigger (2013): Jeffrey Karoff
Facing Fear (2013):
Jason Cohen
Karama Has No Walls (2012):
Sara Ishaq
Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall (2013):
Edgar Barens

Best Short Film, Animated
Mr Hublot (2013): Laurent Witz, Alexandre Espigares

Feral (2012): Daniel Sousa, Dan Golden
Get a Horse! (2013): Lauren MacMullan, Dorothy McKim
Possessions (2012):
Shuhei Morita
Room on the Broom (2012) (TV):
Max Lang, Jan Lachauer

Best Short Film, Live Action
Helium (2014):
Anders Walter

That Wasn't Me (2012): Esteban Crespo
Just Before Losing Everything (2013):
Xavier Legrand
Do I Have to Take Care of Everything? (2012):
Selma Vilhunen
The Voorman Problem (2012):
Mark Gill

oscar 2014So overall Gravity was the big winner, sweeping 7 categories, even though 12 Years a Slave took home the top prize.  I have to premise that I have not seen ANY of this year’s nominees, I know, I know, shame on me.  I just can’t seem to have the will to drag myself to the theater anymore.

I still love movies enormously, and I’ve got quite the backlog to review at the moment, but the theater experience has soured for me.  Last year I went exactly twice, and only once in the evening, and the people around me were noisy talking, or shuffling around, or handling some kind of food, whether it be candies or popcorn.  Just annoying all around.

Anyway, back to the Oscars!!  I actually enjoyed the ceremony, the second by this producing team that hopefully will be back for more, since they seem to have a good understanding of what needs to be done to please as many Oscar watchers as possible (as evidenced by the rising number of viewers both last year and this).

Ellen DeGeneres was a great host.  She was funny, engaging, and very professional and relaxed in likely the most demanding hosting gig in the world.

Many winners had interesting, touching, and/or funny speeches, like Lupita Nyong’o, Jared Leto, and Mr. and Mrs. Lopez, winners for the Best Original Song, even though the song from Frozen was arguably the least deserving of the 4, with Pharrell Williams’ Happy being my strong favorite, given its irresistibility.

The speech the left me disappointed was actually Matthew McConaughey’s.  It was nothing but a praise to himself and his beliefs over the years, totally ignoring the movie, the role, and the real life references of the movie that ultimately brought him to the most sought after stage in the world.  He never mentioned AIDS, the politics around it, the people who died of AIDS, the suffering, etc…  That’s not good form when your movie clearly had a social issue message to tell and especially when your costar had won his own Oscar just a couple hours earlier and gave a wonderful speech, touching, global, and respectful.  Tsk tsk tsk.

In keeping with last year’s choice, the awards were clumped together whenever possible, thereby keeping the pace moving and allowing for more skits by the host (which were all very funny and all worked very well) and showcases, whether they be actually playing the nominated songs (always a good choice), showing montage clips (always my favorites), or having special guests, like Pink with her wonderful rendition of Over the Rainbow in tribute to the 75th anniversary of the release of The Wizard of Oz (although why weren’t Judy Garland’s children, including Liza Minnelli, invited on the stage is anyone’s guess) and the always fabulous Bette Midler, singing her classic Wind Beneath My Wings.

I’m obviously very glad Italy won the Best Foreign Language Film again after so many years (hopefully I’ll be able to see it at some point) but I felt like Kim Novak’s appearance fell a little flat.  I also wasn’t a fan of the decision to keep the audience from clapping for their favorites during the In Memoriam segment of the show.  If you feel like clapping for a lost artist or friend, what’s wrong with that?  Sure, some people get no applause and sometimes it feels sad, but the majority of the people remembered haven’t been active in Hollywood for years or decades, so it’s only logical that they don’t have many fans in the current crowd.  On the other hand, having great artists that everyone knows like James Gandolfini and Philip Seymour Hoffman receive no applause felt a lot worse.

Finally, a shot-out to the many handsome dudes that always make the show a tad more interesting.  In no specific order, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Brad Pitt, Zach Efron, Channing Tatum, Jared Leto, Matthew McConaughey, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Bradley Cooper.  They were ALL awesome!

And here’s a behind the scenes video from Ellen herself:

Monday, February 03, 2014

In Memoriam

Philip Seymour Hoffman (1967–2014)

Philip Seymour Hoffman

This very talented film and stage actor left us too soon because of a drug overdose.  He was only 46.

I remember him in Twister, Boogie Nights, The Big Lebowski, Patch Adams, Flawless, Magnolia, The Talented Mr. Ripley, Almost Famous, Punch-Drunk Love, Red Dragon, Cold Mountain, Capote, Doubt, Moneyball, and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.

That’s an impressive list of titles and there are many more in my list of movies to see that showcase his talents.  He was nominated for 5 Golden Globes and 4 Academy Awards (among many others prizes) and won one each, both for Capote.


Monday, January 06, 2014

Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment, by James Patterson

Maximum Ride, by James PattersonI picked up this audio book on the cheap when a book store was going out of business and figured it would be a light and easy read.  That, it most certainly was.

I had never read a Young Adult novel before and shortly after the start of this book I realized that this might have been one of those.  I was right, and I now know why there’s a special category for that genre.

The story isn’t bad, it’s just very simplistic if you will.  And the way the characters speak is clearly tailored to a youngish audience, made up of people who would actually talk like that to each other in real life.

The only real gripe I have with the book is that it doesn’t fully stand on its own as it gives you no closure.  It is part of a series and it definitely expects the reader to invest in the whole rather than any of its parts.

Grade: 5

A Home at the End of the World, by Michael Cunningham

A Home at the End of the WorldA very interesting book about the lives of two young boys who meet and strike a friendship that will last into adulthood.  Through the years, we see them enter and exit relationships and face events that will affect each other.

The book was adapted into a movie and the actors from the movie read their respective roles in the audio book.  I’m mentioning this because I had a very, very hard time understanding Colin Farrell, a decent actor who tends to speak with a husky voice, in short bursts, and oftentimes eats his own words.

This is quite unfortunate, as I like the guy (hell, it’s Colin fraking Farrell!!) but it really gave me pause.  All the other actors, regardless of how they acted in the movie, which I haven’t seen, speak loud and clear, with pauses and breaks, clearly following the text as written.  Farrell almost gives the impression that he’s got to fake his way through his part, speaking quickly and in hushed tones to give his words more impact or to hide his shortcomings.

Alas, in an audio book, likely listened to while driving, clarity of voice is always best.  It doesn’t detract from the overall impact of the book, it’s just that I was dreading the parts where he was doing the reading…

Grade: 8

Thursday, January 02, 2014


HomelandSeason 3 of Homeland was definitely the weakest to date.  Not that it didn’t have its share of edge-of-your-seat moments, chases, and confrontations, but it felt less solid and more frantic than the previous two.

Don’t get me wrong, Homeland is still a great show and I’m looking forward to the next season, especially since several of the major players have been eliminated one way or another and it will be interesting to see what the show runners concoct for us next.

Grade: 7

Web Therapy

Web TherapyI was certain this wonderful comedy wouldn’t come back because of it’s narrowly tailored appeal, even though it’s one of the funniest comedies I’ve ever seen on TV.

Lisa Kudrow is a fantastic actress and her comedic timing is unmatched.  She’s back here as Fiona Wallice and once again has to deal with the curveballs life giddily throws at her.

Trust me, if you’ve never watched this show, you have to start doing it now.  I started when it was still only a web based series of shorts and can’t wait for it to come back next year.

Grade: 9


DallasSeason 2 of the famous 80s’ show reboot matches season 1 and keeps the action going, but it pretty much is dedicated to saying goodbye to Larry Hagman, aka J.R. Ewing, who passed away shortly after filming had already gotten under way.

Considering the tall order or saying goodbye to a character larger than life and really one of the best known TV characters of all time, I would say they did a fantastic job.

Overall, the show kept up with its staple of intrigue, backstabbing, and twists and turns that made me go back for a second helping.  If you liked the original or saw the first season of the reboot and liked it, you won’t be disappointed.

Grade - Season 2: 8