Monthly Archives: December 2018

Best Movies Of 2018

2018 has been an interesting year for movies. Below is my list of the top ten movies of 2018

  1. Widows: Women in action movies are at best the romantic significant other and at worst, the damsel in distress. Widows flips the genre and the expected narrative on its head and tells the story of four women who take fate into their own hands after the deaths of their criminal husbands.
  2. The Wife: Based on a book by Meg Wolitzer, Glenn Close plays a woman who questions her life choices as her husband reaches the peak of his career.
  3. Ralph Breaks The Internet: The sequel to Wreck-It Ralph follows Ralph (John C. Reilly) and Vanellope (Sarah Silverman) as they journey from their world of arcade games to the Internet.
  4. The Party: A group of friends get together to celebrate the professional success of one of them. In the process, hard emotional truths are revealed.
  5. Black Panther: Based on the comic book of the same name, an African King must fight for his throne while leading his country into the future.
  6. Vice: A biopic of former Vice President Dick Cheney.
  7. The Favourite: Queen Anne (Olivia Coleman) may sit on the throne of England, but she is not the one who is really leading country. Two women in her court vie to be her favorite and to gain power that only comes from being close to Queen.
  8. A Star Is Born: A Star Is Born is the 3rd reboot of a narrative that audiences have seen since the 1930’s. Unknown Ally (Lady Gaga) sees her career dreams turn into reality while her mentor/lover’s career flails due to addiction issues.
  9. Crazy Rich Asians: Based on a book by Kevin Kwan, Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) travels from New York City to meet her boyfriend’s family for the first time. The visit is a bit more turbulent than Rachel expects.
  10. Aquaman: Based on the comic book of the same name, Jason Mamoa plays Arthur Reed, a man who is born of two worlds and must choose where he belongs.

This will be my last post of 2018. Thank you so much for visiting and reading my blog, your support means the world. Wherever you are this New Years Eve, have a safe and happy one. I will see you in 2019.

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Filed under Books, Feminism, Movie Review, Movies, Music, New York City, Politics

On The Basis of Sex Movie Review

Sometimes, when we fight against an injustice, we change the world.

The new movie, On The Basis of Sex, starts in the mid 1950’s. Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Felicity Jones) is a first year law student at Harvard Law School, one of only a handful of female students among a sea of male classmates. In addition to her schoolwork, she is juggling motherhood and marriage to Marty Ginsburg (Armie Hammer), who himself is second year law student at the same university. Though she is smart and tough, she has to deal with the prejudice and rejection that comes with being a woman in a man’s world in an era where men and women lived in totally different worlds.

The film then flashes forward to the early 1970’s. Ruth is a Law Professor who is given a case to review by Marty. Charles Moritz (Chris Mulkey) is a middle-aged man caring his elderly mother. He is denied the right to deduct the cost of caring for his mother from his taxes because he is a man. Knowing that this case is the opening she is looking for, Ruth takes it on. The question is, will she win and open the door for American women or will they lose the case and set the American feminist movement back decades?

I loved this movie. I loved it because it is not the average bio-pic. Many bio-pics adhere to the “cradle to the grave” narrative. While that works for some movies within the genre, it would not have worked for this film. Focusing on these two very specific periods of time allows the audience to know the woman behind the title of RBG and appreciate her contribution to American history.

I absolutely recommend it.

On The Basis of Sex is currently in theaters. 

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Filed under Feminism, History, Movie Review, Movies, Politics

The House at Tyneford Book Review

War has a way of forever changing the world as we know it to be.

Natasha Solomons 2011 book, The House at Tyneford starts just as World War II is engulfing Europe. in 1938, Elise Landau is 19 and up to this point has known a comfortable life. But life for Jews in Vienna, as it is in all parts of Europe, is becoming  uncomfortable and unsafe very quickly. For her safety, she is sent to a rural English estate entitled Tyneford, where she has to work for her living as a member of the household staff. Then she meets Kit, the son and only heir to the estate. Their relationship is not only unorthodox and looked down upon, but it will change the fates of both the estate and Elise forever.

I loved this book. I loved it not because of my knowledge of that world and the period, but because I understood Elise and her journey. When one is thrown from the lap of luxury and have to earn their daily bread, they have two options. They can either shrink, complain and become a burden on others. Or, they can rise to the occasion, grow and learn something about themselves in the process.

I absolutely recommend it.

 

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Filed under Book Review, Books, History

Goodbye 2018

As I start to write this post, it is 1:00 in the afternoon on the East Coast. In 11 hours, 2018 will be no more.

My 2018 has been, well, an interesting one, to say the least. On the career front, my day job (thank G-d) has been steady, and my writing has improved in ways that I couldn’t have imagined on December 31st, 2017.

As I get older, I find that life is not so simple, nor do things happen when we wish them to happen. What want in life, we need to work for. Sometimes when faced with a dilemma, the options to resolve the dilemma are not black and white. 

But in spite of the hardships I have experienced, I have many things to be grateful for. I have loving family, supportive friends, a solid day job with a steady income, my health, a roof over my head that is my own and a goal of one day earning my living via my pen. 

Wherever you are in the world and whatever your plans are for New Years Eve, have a safe and wonderful evening.

Goodbye 2018, hello 2019. May we all continue to grow and become the people we want to be in 2019. 

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Best Books Of 2018

I’ve read quite a few books in 2018. Below is the list of the best books of 2018, at least from my perspective.

  1. Becoming by Michelle Obama: Mrs Obama’s autobiography is insightful, down to earth and one of the best autobiographies that I have read in a long time.
  2. House of Gold by Natasha Solomons: House of Gold was described by another reviewer as a Jewish version of Downton Abbey. I couldn’t think of another description if I made it up myself.
  3. Pride by Ibi Zoboi: A modern-day Pride and Prejudice set in New York City, this Jane Austen adaptation feels old and new at the same time.
  4. We Are Going to Be Lucky A World War II Love Story in Letters by Elizabeth L. Fox: The story of a marriage during World War II told in a series of letter that will make you believe in love.
  5. My Girls: A Lifetime with Carrie and Debbie by Todd Fisher: When Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds departed this world two years ago, no one knew them better than their brother and son. The book is a love letter to them by one of the people who knew and loved them best.
  6. The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah: A young girl growing up in the wilds of Alaska learns some hard truths about life, love and marriage.
  7. American Tantrum: The Donald J. Trump Presidential Archives by Anthony Atamanuik and Neil Casey: Based on the character created by Anthony Atamanuik on The President Show, it is a what if story in regards to the fictional Presidential library of you know who.
  8. Not Out Kind: A Novel by Kitty Zeldis: Just after the end of World War II, two women from vastly different worlds meet in New York City and forever change each other’s lives in the process.
  9. Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy: The Story of Little Women and Why It Still Matters by Anne Boyd Rioux: 150 years after the publication of Little Women, the book still resonates with readers across the globe and across the cultural landscape.
  10. The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict: Behind every genius is a supportive and loving spouse. But what happens when the spouse is denied her own genius because she is a woman?

That’s my list, what are your favorite books of 2018?

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Downton Abbey, Feminism, History, Jane Austen, Movies, New York City, Politics, Pride and Prejudice, Star Wars, Television

Gulliver’s Gate Review

Gulliver’s Travels is one of the most unusual narratives ever introduced into the world of literature.

Inspired by the book, the exhibit, Gulliver’s Gate is one of the more unique experiences in New York City.

Visiting Gulliver’s Gate is akin to traveling the world without needing a passport or getting on an airplane. The visitor walks through realistic looking and technologically awe-inspiring miniatures of over twenty cities spread over five continents.

Ask anyone who lives in New York City and they will probably tell you that they avoid Times Square like the plague. But for Gulliver’s Gate, I would brave the crowd in Times Square just to revisit this amazing exhibit. It is fun for all ages, interactive and feels like you are traveling the world without leaving New York City.

I absolutely recommend it.

Gulliver’s Gate is at 216 W 44th Street in New York City and will be open until December 31st, 2019. Check the website for ticket availability and prices. 

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Filed under Books, New York City

Vice Movie Review

Politics is not known to be a clean or ethical business. While some may claim that they are getting into politics to serve the needs of the people, their actual reason for getting into politics is not quite as transparent.

The new movie, Vice, is the story of Dick Cheney, who serviced as Vice President under George W. Bush. The film starts in early 1960’s when Cheney (Christian Bale) is a drunken ne’er-do-well. After flopping out of college, he is working, but spending most of his time in the bar and getting into fights. His longtime girlfriend, Lynne (Amy Adams) gives him an ultimatum: clean up his act or their relationship is over. The film then moves forward in time as Cheney climbs up the political ladder and he and Lynne go through the motions of marriage and parenthood. His job with Donald Rumsfeld (Steve Carell) will eventually lead to the job of Vice President while George W. Bush (Sam Rockwell) serves as President. Along the way, he makes many decisions, some which may be seen as unethical.

Writer/Director Adam McKay is not known for dramatic films that have a political edge. But with Vice, he is able to create a film that succeeds. This success comes down to the slightly unorthodox narrative and the lead actors who disappear completely into their characters. This disappearing act, especially by Bale, could lead to multiple awards come next year.

I absolutely recommend it.

Vice is presently in theaters.

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Filed under History, Movie Review, Movies, Politics

Rational Creatures Book Review

When it comes to creating well written fanfiction, a good writer knows how to balance their narrative and their voice with the narrative and voice of the original work.

Christina Boyd’s new Jane Austen inspired anthology, Rational Creatures, was published back in October. Containing 16 new stories from well-respected JAFF (Jane Austen Fanfiction) writers, the focus of the stories of Austen’s female characters. The question that each story asks is if the heroines are the standard romantic heroines or strong, capable women who are able stand on their two feet in spite of the era that they live in?

I’ve been a fan of Ms. Boyd for the last few years, I enjoyed her previous anthologies, The Darcy Monologues and Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues. This book is well written and an easy read. I would caution, however, that this book is not for the newbie Jane Austen fan. It requires a level of knowledge that comes with multiple readings of Austen’s work and a deep knowledge of the fictional worlds that she created.

I recommend it.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Emma, Fanfiction, Jane Eyre, Mansfield Park, Northanger Abbey, Persuasion, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility

Suggestions Wanted For Throwback Thursday & Flashback Friday Posts

Many of my regular readers know that I’ve been writing Throwback Thursday and Flashback Friday posts for quite a few years now.

That being said, I am in need of suggestions for upcoming Throwback Thursday and Flashback Friday posts. I am open to both television shows (both fiction and reality shows) and movies. The criteria is as follows:

  1. The movie must have premiered in theaters at least five years ago.
  2. In regards to any suggestions for television shows, the pilot must have aired at least five years ago. I am fine with shows that are both still on the air and/or no longer on the air.
  3. I avoid horror movies like the plague, so please do not recommend any horror movies.

I look forward to your suggestions. Thank you for reading and have a good weekend.

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Filed under Flashback Friday, Movie Review, Movies, Television, Throwback Thursday, TV Review

Flashback Friday-Long Island Medium (2011-Present)

After a loved one passes away, many of us question if they are truly gone or if they are still around us in some fashion.

Theresa Caputo, the star of the TLC show Long Island Medium answers those questions for her clients in every episode.  In her Long Island home and her community, she is able to communicate a message from a loved one who has passed away to their still living relatives and friends.

There are two perspectives on Long Island Medium. The first perspective is that communicating messages from the other world is a con game and Ms. Caputo knows how to play the game like a professional. The second perspective brings out the emotion in both the viewers and those who she gives readings too, giving them some relief that those who have passed on are at peace and still watching over us.

I recommend it.

P.S.

Saturday Night Live satirized Long Island Medium several years ago. It was hilarious.

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Filed under Flashback Friday, Television, TV Review