Category Archives: New York City

Ocean’s 8 Movie Review

Heist films are nearly as old as Hollywood itself. The question, is, does the film standout within the genre or is it just too unbelievable?

Ocean’s 8 is the next chapter in the Ocean’s movie series.

Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) is the sister of Danny Ocean (George Clooney), the protagonist of the previous Ocean’s films. When she gets out of jail, she gathers a crew together to steal a necklace worth millions of dollars at the Met Gala.

The crew includes Lou (Cate Blanchett), Amita (Mindy Kaling), Tammy (Sarah Paulson), Constance (Awkwafina), Nine Ball (Rihanna) and Rose Weil (Helena Bonham-Carter). The necklace is to be worn by Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway) at the Met Ball in New York City.

I loved this film. While it helps that the main cast is made up of a group of diverse female performers, it is the narrative that makes the film enjoyable. It is funny, well written, thrilling and worth a trip to the movie theater.

I recommend it.

Ocean’s 8 is presently in theaters. 

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Filed under Feminism, Movie Review, Movies, New York City

Happiness Is a Choice You Make: Lessons from a Year Among the Oldest Old Book Review

If we are lucky enough, we will live to old age.

Old age, like anything in life, has it downsides. It’s just a question of how one views those downsides.

John Leland, a journalist by trade, spent time interviewing a group of elderly men and women in the New York City area. They ranged in age from mid 80’s to early 90’s. The  result of this experience is his new memoir, Happiness Is a Choice You Make: Lessons from a Year Among the Oldest Old. Though there was a variety in life experiences, cultures, race, religions, marital status, etc, one thing is clear. You have to enjoy life and the experience of being alive, regardless of your age.

I really enjoyed this book. I enjoyed it because underneath all these stories was an undercurrent of choice. When one gets to a certain age, it’s easy to get down on oneself. Your body and mind don’t work like they used to, your family may be far away, your finances are limited to social security and retirement funds, etc. However, that does not mean that life is horrible. Life is what you make of it, it doesn’t matter if you are 8 or 80.

I recommend it.

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RBG Movie Review

Ruth Bader Ginsburg is without a doubt an icon. Without her intelligence, veracity and legal acumen, American women would still be stuck in the same place that their mother and grandmothers were in.

The new documentary, RBG, directed by Betsy West and Julie Cohen, tells the story about the life and career of Justice Ginsburg. Born in Brooklyn in 1933 to immigrant Jewish parents, she came of age in an era when women were merely expected to marry and raise a family. Instead, she went to Law school. In the 1970’s, she started to gain fame when she represented parties who were discriminated against because of their gender.  Those cases would eventually lead to her joining the Supreme Court in 1993, where she has been ever since.

I really enjoyed the documentary. Though Justice Ginsburg is at an age when many have long since retired, she has the physical and emotional energy of a woman half her age. The fact that she still regularly works out is a testament to the fact that age is merely a number. I enjoyed the documentary because it is not only Justice Ginsburg’s story, but it is the story of America over the past 60-ish years and how she has helped America to reach the ideals laid out by our Founding Fathers.

I recommend it.

RBG is presently in theaters.  

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When Did Our Immigration Policy And Those Who Enforce It Lose Their Humanity? Part 2

Imagine the following scenario if you will: Pablo Villavicencio is 35. He is a loving and hardworking husband and father who earns his living delivering pizzas for a Queens pizza parlor. Earlier this week, Mr. Villavicencio was doing his job, delivering a meal to Fort Hamilton army base in Brooklyn. Instead of just making the delivery and moving onto his next stop, he was arrested and could be forced to return to his native Ecuador because he is not a legal immigrant.

If he is deported, there a possibility Mr. Villavicencio  that he may not see his wife and young daughters, all who are citizens, for quite a few years.

It’s obvious to me that in an attempt to protect America’s borders and her citizens, our government is going too far. I fail to see how putting this man in jail and potentially sending him back to Ecuador is making our country safe. If anything, it sends the message that the borders to America, the land made up of immigrants and their descendants, are closed. Especially to immigrants of color.

If nothing else, my heart aches for Mr. Villavicencio’s young daughters, who may have to grow up without their father.

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Thoughts On The 20th Anniversary Of Sex and the City

For most of human history, women’s voices have either been muted or silenced all together. Through generations of struggle, women have come very far in a very short time.

One of the markers of this change is Sex and the City. This week, the show is celebrating its 20th anniversary. Set in New York City, Sex and the City or SATC tells the story about the lives of four single women. Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker), the program’s protagonist, is a writer who writes a column about sex and love based on her own life. She is best friends with Miranda Hobbes (Cynthia Nixon), an type-A lawyer, Samantha Jones (Kim Cattrall), a publicist who has been around the block and Charlotte York (Kristin Davis), a traditionalist who works as an art dealer.

I very much appreciate the groundbreaking aspects of SATC. While the women had quite a few boyfriends, they men were secondary. The women and their friendship was primary. I also very much appreciate that the characters were sexually active and treated it as a natural part of adulthood instead of being ashamed of their actions. No subject was off the table with these women, they talked about issues that everyday women talk about with their friends.

However, I should point out that there are a few chinks in the armor when it comes to SATC.

  • While Carrie’s apartment was beautiful, it was a fantasy. Most writers would not be able to afford that apartment in real life.
  • The lack of people of color.
  • The fact that all of the leading actresses were a little too skinny.
  • The hookup culture that permeated the love lives of the characters. There are many women who would prefer wait to sleep with their dates or their significant others.
  • The New York City that is presented in SATC has a very glossy feel to it. The New York City that I know is a little grittier and not as pretty.
  • In the end, Carrie still lived out the traditional happy ending when she and Mr. Big (Chris Noth) finally made it official.

While SATC was not completely true to life, it was still a huge step forward when it came to how women were portrayed on television. For that reason alone, SATC will live on forever in the heart and minds of the fans and television viewers everywhere.

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Filed under Feminism, New York City, Television, Thoughts On...., Writing

Disobedience Movie Review

Disobedience is defined as failure or refusal to obey rules or someone in authority.

It is also the title of the novel by Naomi Alderman and the movie of the same time. Ronit (Rachel Weisz), Esti (Rachel McAdams) and Dovid (Alessandro Nivola) all grew up together in the same Orthodox Jewish community in North London. But Ronit left the community some years ago and has since found a new life in New York as a photographer.  Then her father, who was a respected Rabbi dies and Ronit is forced to return home.

When they were teenagers, Ronit and Esti were together, but their relationship was not exactly welcomed by their friends and neighbors. While Ronit was living in New York, Dovid and Esti married. Their marriage appears to be solid, but when Ronit walks back into their lives, all three main characters must grapple with questions of not just sexuality, but also faith.

Disobedience is one of the best films of 2018, at least for the first half of 2018. The acting is solid and the narrative is perfect. In other films, with other screenwriters, Dovid would be the mustache twirling villain keeping  the lovers apart. Ronit would be the hero who saves the day and the Esti would be “damsel in distress” caught between her marriage vows to Dovid and her love for Ronit. But in this film, all three characters are so real that I felt sympathy for all of them as they went on this journey.

I recommend it.

Disobedience is currently in theaters. 

 

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Flashback Friday-City Guys (1997-2001)

One of the more underused narratives in the high school genre is the story of a student or students just trying to deal with life while trying to not get the attention of a teacher or principal.

This was the basic narrative of the late 1990’s/ early 2000’s television show, City Guys. Jamal Grant (Wesley Jonathan) and Chris Anderson (Scott Whyte) are normal teenage boys who go to high school in New York City. Getting in sticky situations that only teenage boys can get into, they hope that their antics does not get back to Ms. Noble (Marcella Lowery), the school principal who is tough, but fair with her students. But hopes often spring eternal.

The show lasted five years. It was one of those innocuous high school shows that was mildly entertaining and semi-memorable.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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Visitors To Versailles (1682-1789) Review

At it’s heyday, the Palace of Versailles was one of the most beautiful and well-known palaces in all of Europe.

Visitors To Versailles (1682-1789) is a featured exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Containing images, miniatures, clothing and other artifacts, the exhibit brings Versailles to life in a way that only someone who have seen it through their own eyes could have experienced.

 

I found the exhibit to very interesting because while Versailles is historically known for being over the top in its extravagance and wealth, that wealth and extravagance might be hard to imagine by someone living in 2018. Especially if one has not had the opportunity to visit Versailles in person.

Not only do I recommend the exhibit, but I also recommend that the visitor takes advantage of headset provided. The visitor hears not only the oral testimonies, but is treated to a 360 sound experience that brings Versailles as it was then to life.

Visitors To Versailles (1682-1789) will be at New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art until July 29th. Check the website for directions, hours and ticket prices. 

 

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NYC Lawyer Gets What Is Coming To Him

Last week, New York City lawyer Aaron Schlossberg walked into a midtown restaurant to buy lunch. Enraged that the employees were speaking Spanish to one another, Mr. Schlossberg took a temper tantrum.

The result of his temper tantrum was not only loads of attention from the press, but also a party complete with a mariachi band outside of his apartment building.

What he and others who think like him forget is that America is made up of many people whose first language was or is not English. If I were a betting woman, I would wager that relations spoke only Yiddish or Hebrew when they arrived in America.

Since his temper tantrum hit the news, he has not only lost the lease to his office, but public officials have filed a grievance with the city department that has a hand in those in the legal profession.

There is no room for racism or prejudice in 2018. If we learn anything from Mr. Schlossberg, it is that those who openly spout racist or prejudiced views will get what is coming to them, in one way or another.

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Thoughts On The NYC Injection Sites

It’s no secret that drug abuse and drug addiction is a plague on our society. Countless lives have been lost and/or destroyed to drug use or addiction.

Last week, New York City Mayor  Bill de Blasio announced that the city would soon be opening a handful of safe injection sites in various neighborhoods. The purpose of these establishments is not to encourage drug addiction and abuse, but to save lives. Those who choose to enter will be given clean needles and access to trained medical professionals who will provide the overdose reversing medication naloxone to those who overdose. Information about treatment options will also be available.

I can understand why some would argue that these sites only encourage illegal drug use. But I disagree. I disagree because there are too many people overdosing and dying for no reason. If someone overdoses while inside of one these establishments, not only will the staff able to revive them, but they will be encouraged to seek help. The easy way out of combating drug abuse and addiction is prison. But that has proved to be a fruitless solution that mingles with other issues to create a larger problem. What is needed, from my perspective is not only medical treatment, but an understanding of why people seek out illegal drugs.

Only then, can we fight a winnable war.

 

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