Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Gone Girl opens Friday Oct 3 #GoneGirl

The film of Gone Girl, the book club favorite, will be released this Friday, October 3. I got to see an early screening and I doubt if anyone will be disappointed. The cast does an impeccable job of portraying all the ups and down of these characters, who have to deal with the disappearance of their loved one.

If you haven't read the book you're in for quite a ride, but I think even those who know all the twists and turns will get caught up in the turmoil of each characters inner struggle to decide, did he or didn't he? Ben Affleck plays his role beautifully, dancing on the line of worried husband and dirty suspect.

Kim Dickens as Detective Rhonda Boney is brilliant and I loved her banter with Detective Jim Gilpin (played by Patrick Fugit who I will always LOVE from Almost Famous). Jim is ready to slap the cuffs on Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) from the word go. But as Rhonda says She's has never found the simpliest answer to be the right one, and so they must investigate deeper an deeper.

Tyler Perry is the only comedy relief in the film, as Nick's attorney Tanner Bolt. Loved his moments of levity.

If I had one complaint it would be that we don't get nearly enough Neil Patrick Harris. Even in this very serious role he is spectacular. But as with any book you can't film every word. So we get what we get of Neil Patrick Harris and will just have to hope that this role gets him more work in bigger parts in things to come.

I'd say this is a great date night movie but maybe only if you are a solid couple. I would warn first dates away from it...

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Peaky Blinders coming to Netflix Sept. 30 #Netflix #PeakyBlinders @Netflix

Netflix has acquired the BBC show Peaky Blinders and will be making the first season's 6 episodes available September 30. The second season will come out in November. It has a strong cast featuring Cillian Murphy (Inception, The Dark Knight Rises), Sam Neill (The Tudors, Jurassic Park) and Annabelle Wallis(Hugo, Harry Potter) .

The Peaky Blinders were an actual English gang who owned the streets of Birmingham from the late 1800s through the early part of the 20th century. If you look closely at the cap on Cillian's head in the above photo, their name came from habit of sewing razor blades into their caps to use as weapons. One head butt to their victim and they would be incapacitated enough to be relieved of whatever belongings could be turned to cash the quickest.

Some of the actual Peaky Blinders arrest records

The series is set in 1919 with Thomas Shelby (Cillian Murphy) as the gang boss. Sam Neill plays Inspector Campbell, I'm guessing these two characters will be at odds all season. I've yet to see the show so that's really all I can tell you. Except that it has been very successful in England. Here's the trailer from Netflix. I do love the Nick Cave song that accompanies it!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Angela Lansbury In Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit @CTGLA #TCMParty #LA

Ticket's go on sale tomorrow for Angela Lansbury's Tony Award winning Blithe Spirit at The Center Theatre Groups Ahmanson Theatre here in LA. The show will run December 9- January 19. This is definitely a must see theatre production.

Blithe spirit is a Noel Coward comedic play that originally opened on Broadway in 1941. It has had several revivals. The premise as described by Center Theatre Group: Researching for his new novel, Charles Condomine (Charles Edwards AKA the ill fated Michael Gregson on Downton Abbey) invites the implausible medium Madame Arcati (Angela Lansbury) to his house for a séance. While consumed in a trance, Madame Arcati unwittingly summons the ghost of Charles’ dead wife Elvira. Appearing only to Charles, Elvira soon makes a play to reclaim her husband, much to the chagrin of Charles’ new wife Ruth. One husband, two feuding wives and a whisper of mischief in the air – who will win in Coward’s unworldly comedy?

Angela won a Tony for her performance in Blithe Spirit in 2009. Her supporting cast have all starred along side her in either the 2009 Broadway production or Angela's more resent run of Blithe Spirit in 2014 on the West End in London.

This is Angela Lansbury's first time doing a play in Los Angeles in 30 years. So don't miss it. Who knows when she'll make it back out to us.

Tickets for Blithe Spirit go on sale September 24 and are available by calling (213) 972-4400, visiting www.CenterTheatreGroup.org, or in person at the Center Theatre Group box office at the Ahmanson Theatre.

Monday, September 22, 2014

PBS Finding Your Roots Starts Tuesday #FindingYourRoots @PBS

I'm so excited to have another of my favorite shows returning this week, Tuesday to be exact, Henry Louis Gates, Jr's Finding Your Roots on PBS. I have a little obsession with ancestry.com and if truth be told a bit of a crush on Henry. Shh that last part is top secret.

OK maybe the crush isn't that big of a secret...ANYWAY...If you haven't seen Finding Your Roots it's a show where Henry has celebrity guests and goes through their genealogy with them. It's amazing how everyone's stories have dramatic turns in them. If you haven't joined Ancestry.com and done your own family tree I highly recommend it. Even if you think you have the least interesting family in the world, I bet they'll surprise you. My own family turned out to have some really great mysteries I was able to solve and get a lot of detail, not to mention finding my husband's cousin, who he's never met. 

This first episode of Finding Your Roots, In Search Of Our Fathers, guest will be Stephen King, Gloria Reuben and Courtney B. Vance and they will be uncovering their paternal ancestry. One of the guests, this season, I am most looking forward to is Ken Burns. It will be fascinating to see the history of the man who makes so many films about history. Too bad Peter Coyote won't be narrating his story. I'm also excited to see Carole King, Sally Field, and really all of them! 

Future Episodes

Born Champions
Examine the ancestral origins of athletes Derek Jeter, Billie Jean King and Rebecca Lobo.
Airdate: 9/30/2014

Our American Storytellers
Learn how the lives of forebears of Ken Burns, Anderson Cooper and Anna Deavere Smith intersected.
Airdate: 10/7/2014

Roots of Freedom
Learn how the ancestors of Ben Affleck, Khandi Alexander and Ben Jealous fought for freedom.
Airdate: 10/14/2014

The Melting Pot
Meet three chefs, Tom Colicchio, Ming Tsai and Aaron Sanchez, who cook the food of their ancestors.
Airdate: 10/21/2014

We Come From People
Trace the roots of Nas, Angela Bassett and Valerie Jarrett into the heart of slavery.
Airdate: 10/28/2014

Our People, Our Traditions
Examine the Jewish heritage of Alan Dershowitz, Carole King and Tony Kushner.
Airdate: 11/4/2014

The British Are Coming
Explore the British influence in the lives of Deepak Chopra, Sally Field and Sting.
Airdate: 11/11/2014

Ancient Roots
Trace the histories of three quintessential voices: Tina Fey, Arianna Huffington and David Sedaris.
Airdate: 11/18/2014

Decoding Our Past Through DNA
See how DNA analysis challenges guests’ ideas about their family’s history and their own identities.
Airdate: 11/25/2014

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Maze Runner Review #MazeRunner @MazeRunnerMovie

The Maze Runner - 4 Out of 5 Stars
By John Derby

Opens Friday September 19th
I liked it.  The movie had a whole lot of adventure and action, and a story that kept me in suspense from the puzzling beginning to the unanticipated end.  The seamless special effects had me lost in the tiny world of a wooded glade surrounded by a circular maze. The maze has 100 foot tall walls, gargantuan gates that open and close with their own clockwork, and cyborg scorpion creatures that seem to police the maze when the gates are shut to the inner sanctuary of the glade.

The movie is about a group of teen boys that have had their memories stripped, and have been placed in the glade with a new boy and rations added each month.   The movie opens after boys have been accumulating for 3 years.  The protagonist of this movie, played by Dylan O'Brien (who I remembered from the movie "Internship"), is shown arriving via an industrial elevator which pops up through the ground.  Even with his memory erased, he is motivated to get the group out of the glade.  He quickly rises from low man on the totem-pole to one of the elite "runners", who are allowed to run through the mazes during the day in the hope of finding a way out.

The story unfolds slowly, but always kept my attention. I didn't read the book, but a person who I saw the movie with said the story did not stray too far from the book.  As mysterious as the movie is, it seems the book is just as mysterious.  Halfway through the movie, a girl is brought in to the group, and I was pleasantly surprised that there were no romances or sexual situations added to a movie that did not need that.

This movie earns the PG-13 rating.  There is violence, and the maze and the creatures that roam it provide a good level of scariness.  I would not recommend this movie for kids under 13, unless they are OK with that kind of suspense and carnage (like my 10 year old daughter).

The Maze Runner kept my attention through its entirety.  It has a good story, great effects, a good use of action, and likeable characters and actors. The end of this movie has some closure, but it is clear that this movie is just the beginning of a longer                                                                                       story, one that I am looking forward to seeing.