Monthly Archives: October 2013

Hurricane Sandy: Gone, But Never Forgotten

New Yorkers are not known for breaking easily. We may bend with with changes that life brings, but we don’t break easily.

Today is the first anniversary of Hurricane Sandy.

Every decade has its moments, a period of time when everyone remembers where they were.  I don’t think I will ever forget Hurricane Sandy.

I had bought theater tickets with a friend for that Sunday afternoon.  While we were having lunch before the show, the televisions were all turned to the news channels and the potential destruction of the coming hurricane.   Looking at the weather reports, we decided to exchange the tickets for another performance.

After picking up the necessary supplies, I was prepared to barricade myself into my apartment. I watch the news as much as the next person, but for the next 48 hours, I watched nothing but news.

When it was over and I walked outside for the first time in two days, I counted my blessings. My home and my neighborhood was left unscathed. The worst thing to happen to my family was lost of electricity for several days.

Some of my fellow New Yorkers were not so lucky. Some lost their homes and everything inside their homes, some lost their lives.

There are moments in life when you are forced to take note of the good things in your life. Sandy reminded me that I was alive, that my home was left in one piece, that I had a hot shower, fresh food and electricity. Sandy reminded me that I and everyone I love survived.

She might be long gone, but the scars have not yet healed. Sandy, you are gone, but not forgotten.



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The Oscar Goes To….. 12 Years A Slave

If I were a betting woman, I would say that 12 Years A Slave will  not be at a loss for nominations and awards come  award season.

It is a brilliant piece of film making that brings the crime of slavery to life in such a way that is as real and raw as if the viewer lived that life.

Based on the book of the same name written in 1853, the movie tells the story of Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor) is a free black man living with his family in Saratoga, NY in 1841.  Under the guise of a business trip, he travels with two men to Washington DC who drug him, kidnap him and sell him into slavery.

His first master, Ford (Benedict Cumberbatch) is as sympathetic as he can be.  But his next master, Edwin Epps (Michael Fassbender) is a cruel man with a jealous wife (Sarah Paulson) who is obsessed and infatuated with a fellow slave, Patsey (Lupita Nyong’o).

With the arrival of Bass (Brad Pitt) Solomon sees what might be his way out of slavery.

This movie, despite being just over 2 hours, is incredible. Most American adults and children over the age of about 10 have been taught about African-American slavery.  It’s one thing to learn about it in a history book, but it is another thing to watch the brutal and violent honesty of the subject on screen.

I predict nominations, if not for the movie in general for Fassbender and Ejiofor.





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A Romeo And Juliet Review- This Rose Does Not Smell As Sweet

I heard once that when writing a script, whether is for stage or screen, the single key to the project’s success or failure success or failure is the script.

William Shakespeare, in all of the years that he wrote and with all of the plays he wrote, never wrote a bad play.  Romeo and Juliet is one of his most famous works.  It has been adapted countless times over the years and has been a staple of an English teachers curriculum for generations.

Anyone who had read my blog knows that Downton Abbey is one of my favorite television. As far as  I am concerned, Julian Fellows can do no wrong as a  TV writer (though some of the story lines in season 2 are a bit questionable, which is another topic for another time).  That being said, and please pardon my French, Julian Fellows, what the f*ck did you do to Romeo and Juliet?

I cannot blame the cast. Romeo (Douglas Booth) and Juliet (Hailee Steinfeld) are both age appropriate and have reasonable chemistry, in addition to having the proper amount of romantic teenage angst.  Ed Westwick, as Tybalt plays his part very well.  Juliet’s parents, Lord Capulet (Damien Lewis) and Lady Capulet (Natascha  McElhone) are well played, along with the rest of the cast.

The problem, itself, is in the screen play. Some scenes are missing and some have been added.  The fact that it was filmed on location in Verona does provide a sense of reality.  It was a valiant effort on the part of the filmmakers, but unfortunately, the movie fell short of my expectations.

The next time I want to see Romeo and Juliet, I will either watch the 1968 movie or the 1996 movie.


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Don Jon Review- There Is A First For Everything

Tonight, I saw the writing and directorial debut of Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s film, Don Jon.

Jon (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a twenty something Italian male from New Jersey who is fixated on the external images of himself and his world. While he has no problem finding female companions, he prefers pornography over the real thing.

He meets Barbara (Scarlett Johansson) at a club and they start a relationship.  But Jon is still addicted to porn, despite his promise to Barbara to stop.  She also encourages him to attend night school where he meets Esther (Julianne Moore).

Included in the cast of characters are Jon’s friends, Bobby (Rob Brown) and Danny (Jeremy Luke) and his family.  His parents,  Jon Sr, (Tony Danza) and Angela (Glenne Headley) and his sister Monica (Brie Larson).

There is a first for everything. While the lead character is certainly compelling, it is a very stereotypical view of Italians and more specifically, those of Italian descent who live in New Jersey. To paraphrase another reviewer, the character is almost out of Jersey Shore.

It an admirable first film for Gordon-Levitt, as a writer and director.  But it not the best film I have seen this year and I hope he will take both the good and the bad from this film and apply those experiences to future films.

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