Throwback Thursday-Penelope (2006)

Curses are a funny thing.  What we think of as curses can often be blessing in disguises.

In Penelope (2006), the title character, played by Christina Ricci was born into a wealthy family. But money, as the Beatles said, cannot buy me love.

Penelope is cursed. As with all fairy tales, the curse is only broken by true love.  Penelope’s parents (Catherine O’Hara & Richard E. Grant) invite several young men to their isolated estate to break the curse, but the curse still holds. A tabloid editor, Lemon (Peter Dinklage) sends a down on his luck gambler, Max (James McAvoy) to find out the secret for Penelope’s disappearance from the world.   But Max’s job becomes difficult when he realizes that his feelings for Penelope have become real.

What I like about this movie is that is more than the standard fairy tale with the standard happy ending. There is an aspect of self love and appreciating yourself before anyone else can.  The message of self esteem and self worth is an important one, regardless of who we are or what we believe.

I recommend it.



Throwback Thursday- Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (1971) & Charlie & The Chocolate Factory (2005)

There is something about a piece candy or chocolate that will inevitably draw a child in.

Road Dahl’s classic children’s book, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory is a childhood fantasy. The doors to Willy Wonka’s famous chocolate factory are about to open. 5 lucky children are about to have the experience of a lifetime.

In 1971, the book was made into a film. Gene Wilder steps into role of Willy Wonka. Playing the young boy who is worthy of the final prize is Peter Ostrum.

In 2005, director Tim Burton decided to put his own spin on the story. Renamed Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Johnny Depp steps into the role that previously belonged to Gene Wilder, Freddy Highmore is the young man who is the boy who is unique among the children who have been chosen.

The 1971 film has the hallmark of a late 1960’s, early 1970’s film. Bright colors, groovy fashions and an almost joyous approach to the tender years that are our childhood. The 2005 reboot is most certainly a Tim Burton film. It has the colors, the crazy landscape and the colorful characters that usually inhabit his films.

I recommend them both.

Shakespeare Day

Today is Shakespeare Day.

Today we celebrate the genius that William Shakespeare.

While his physical remains have long since returned to the earth, his plays live on.

Romeo and Juliet and Macbeth are part of the curriculum for millions of students around the world.

Twelfth Night, Much Ado About Nothing, Taming Off The Shrew, Anthony and Cleopatra and A Mid Summer Nights Dream had been re imaged on stage and on screen  many times over.

Single lines from his plays and sonnets have become part of our popular culture. He invented names that new parents still use the name their children.

Happy Birthday Master Shakespeare.

This Is Not College

Our years in college are supposed to be trans-formative. The person who we are the day we start our freshman year and the person who we are the day we receive our degree are two different people.

At University of California Riverside, hate has become part of the the curriculum.

Tina Matar, a undergraduate student and a member of the SJP (Students for Justice in Palestine) will be teaching a class entitled: Palestine & Israel: Settler-Colonialism and Apartheid.

The last time I checked, the person who teaches the class is a teacher. Not a student. And certainly not one whose aim is not the empower the next generation, but to teach hate, violence and half truths.

The University is behind her.

If I was a parent whose child was considering attending this college, I would have a serious talk with my child about their decision to apply to University of California Riverside.

This is not college. This is hate. These kids are our future.

I feel sorry for this country of ours with kids like these.

Not Funny And Not Acceptable

In making their rounds with the various media outlets to promote their new movie The Avengers: Age Of Ultron, actors Chris Evans and Jeremy Renner have made rather unpleasant comments about co star  Scarlett Johannson’s character, the Black Widow.

They quickly apologized, stating the following:

“We answered in a very juvenile and offensive way that rightfully angered some fans. I regret it and sincerely apologize”- Chris Evans

“I am sorry that this tasteless joke about a fictional character offended anyone,” he said. “It was not meant to be serious in any way. Just poking fun during an exhausting and tedious press tour”.- Jeremy Renner

I will give them that they maybe exhausted. Answering the same questions asked by different reporters for days on end sounds like it becomes tedious quickly.

But that is still no excuse.

The other issue within this article is the double standard. Why are we so quick to attach a love interest to a female character, but not to a male character?  No one would think to ask if Thor or Iron Man would hook up with Maria Hill and the implications of such a hookup, if it was within the plot of the film.   As I have seen and enjoyed this franchise so far, Black Widow is just part of the team. The fact that she happens to be a female does not make the audience or the other characters question her role in the film.

And even if Black Widow was to become involved romantically with one of her teammates, that should not be a barrier to her ability to defend the world from the villain.

It is not funny and not acceptable.

The Age Of Ultron is in theaters on May 1st.

Throwback Thursday- The Duchess (2008)

“Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance. If the dispositions of the parties are ever so well known to each other or ever so similar beforehand, it does not advance their felicity in the least. They always continue to grow sufficiently unlike afterwards to have their share of vexation; and it is better to know as little as possible of the defects of the person with whom you are to pass your life.”- Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Jane Austen was right. Saying I do to another person is a risk. But for Georgiana Cavendish, it was her duty to marry well.

On June 7, 1774, Georgiana celebrated her 17th birthday. That day was also her wedding day. Her new husband was William Cavendish, the 5th Duke of Devonshire.

The 2008 movie, The Duchess, chronicles the turbulent and controversial life of it’s title character.

Georgiana (Keira Knightley) is bright, affectionate and a teenager. On her 17th birthday, she marries the much older Duke (Ralph Fiennes). Georgiana is expected to  provide her husband with a son and heir.  In her own time, Georgiana was the star of the era. She was unabashedly supportive of several politicians and threw extravagant parties.

But behind the scenes, all that glitters is not gold. Her husband is cold to her. He prefers to spend his time with his mistresses. When Georgiana invites Bess Foster (Hayley Atwell) into her home for a short stay, she does not know that Bess will become the third person in her marriage. After meeting Charles Grey (Dominic Cooper), Georgiana falls madly in love with him. She soon discovers that she is pregnant by him. Her husband offers her an ultimatum.  If she stays with Charles, she will loose her children. Forcing to make a heartbreaking decision, Georgiana returns to her husband and gives her youngest daughter to her Charles’s family to raise.

I like this movie. I especially like this cast. Knightley was perfectly cast as the lead character. I felt for Georgiana. Despite her wealth and stature, she has no power over her own life. She must do as she is told to do. Watching her story makes me grateful for the opportunities that I have.

I recommend this movie.

I’m Not A Prude, But….. (Part II)

Many of my regular readers know that I am born and raised in the New York City area.

Like many locals, the only reason that I pass through Times Square is if necessity demands it.

But to tourists, Times Square is often the first place that they visit when they come to New York City.

Recently, Times Square has been inundated with costumed characters that charge for taking pictures.

Some of you may accuse me at the end of this piece of slut shaming or rehashing the double standard, but here I go anyway.

The latest addition to the side show that Times Square are topless woman wearing nothing but body paint and a thong.

What bothers me is not the lack of clothing, but the fact that these women are knowingly taking pictures with young children.

I get it, this city is not cheap. New York City is one of the most expensive places in the world to live in. But if you want to make a living like this, do it another way.

Not only is it illegal, but it opens a can of worms that is a little uncomfortable.

I’m not a prude, but these women need to cover up.



Happy Birthday Israel!

I will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries, and I will bring them into their own land. I will pasture them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines and in all the settlements in the land.-Ezekiel 34:13

Israel turns 67 today.

The last 67 years have not been easy. Israel has lost many in the fight for survival.  But today, she stands proud among the nations. A true modern democracy, Israel continues to hold her own in a region where chaos, violence and destruction are every day occurrences.

Happy Birthday Israel, here’s to your 67 birthday and many more.

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