Posted in Canada, Food, Movies, Televison, Uncategorized

Bacon – Nature’s Evil Genius

I wasn’t shocked to find out that  there were reasons why bacon smells so good, like smoky greasy sirens luring unsuspecting people to their doom.

Science has now confirmed bacon smells so good because as it starts to cook 150 organic compounds release them on the noses of the world.

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The fancy name for it is the Maillard Reaction which happens when foods cook. It’s why bread baking smells so divine, or cinnamon rolls, coffee, apple pie, cookies, steak, cake, ok, now I’m just making myself hungry.

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What is it really? Sugar reacting with amino acids when the fat begins to melt. Hydrocarbons and Aldehydes weaving a magical olfactory ballet that makes even some vegetarians drool. Or is it the Pyridines and Pyrazines that make us forget how much we were rooting for Wilbur or Babe not to become bacon? There are 150 reasons and it’s hard to find even one reason to say no, well, besides the it’s not good for you, not eating animals, the treatment of animals, religious reasons, actually, there are a lot of reasons as it turns out. 1bacon6

Either way, the pork industry has little trouble selling their products especially when they have all the cooking shows promoting it and joining forces with Bacon – Nature’s Evil Genius sizzling away, making our noses smile.

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While I love the smell of bacon, I could take or leave the actual taste. Of course, being Canadian I should like Canadian bacon better or as the rest of the world calls it, ham. Now cinnamon rolls are another story altogether. I can smell them right now, in my mind.

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Is there a food you can’t resist, especially the smell of it cooking?

Posted in Books, Movies, Political, Televison, Uncategorized

Maya Angelou Her Brave and Startling Truth

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Maya Angelou has gone from this world.

After living so many lives.

Who knew such terror, such hardship, and such horror, still recognized and chose joy, love, and hope. She choose courage and laughter.

She told us in words and deeds to live, not regret living.

Lent her voice to those in need until they found their own.

If you have given yourself the gift of her writing you will already know what you need to know. If you haven’t, be good enough to yourself to do so.

I urge anyone who doesn’t know the story of Maya Angelou to learn, for in her story you will find many brave and startling truths worth knowing…

There are no better words to describe the force of Maya Angelou and the light she shone on the world than her own words:

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“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain.”

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated.”

I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.”

And my all time favourite because this guides my life:
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We will never have to say goodbye because on the pulse of each new day Maya Angelou is with us to say, “Very simply With hope Good morning.”

Posted in Political, Uncategorized

Stand Up For Veterans

The ongoing struggle between the government and veterans sometimes goes nuclear.avet3

Whether or not you believe in war, it happens. Soldiers leave their family, friends, their homes to go to various parts of the world to serve their country, sometimes risking their lives.
Sometimes they return home fine, sometimes injured, sometimes in a casket draped in a flag to represent their country, the country they died for.

Oh, the government of the day will tell their citizens repeatedly, I mean over and over again, ad nauseum that they treat the veterans well. Patting themselves on the back and bragging in a self-congratulatory manner as rhetoric and champagne flows. Meanwhile vets are struggling for heat, food, medical care, even a home.

Robotic talking points about how this government has done more for vets than another other government.

I believe that most citizens respect their veterans. They know the price they paid or were willing to pay. They stepped up and left their families, friends, and homes to fight for us, to protect us, to serve us, sometimes making traumatic or even deadly sacrifices. We should repay them for their service.

Every government says they care.

All governments need to do more.

Remember our vets. Not just on Memorial Day or Remembrance Day or Veterans’ Day, but every single day.

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Veterans commit suicide in countries around the world at a startling rate. Why? Because they’re not receiving the help they need.

They were of service to their country and yet services, benefits, and support they should receive are withheld, cut, and clawed back. Some vets are still looking for jobs, good luck with that.

Veterans have to once again fight, against their own government for what they were promised for serving their countries.

Meanwhile our governments spend money on important things like:

  • $150,000 to figure out a way to save the human race from zombies, ummm, did someone not get that The Walking Dead is fictional?

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  • Millions to find ways to trim their budgets? I’ll give you this one for free – don’t spend $20 million on advice.

  • A million to research how not to burst a cooked sausage?

  • Millions spent studying love on the internet, intelligent life on Earth including the US Congress?

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  • Lawyers’ fees for allegedly inappropriate activities?

  • Golf Club memberships?

  • Bridges and roads to nowhere?

  • Millions on computer systems that are dysfunctional, easily hacked and/or redundant?

  • People that work to collect taxes also owe billions in taxes?

  • Trips around the world hundreds of politicians and businesspeople?

  • Billionaires get subsidies for beachfront properties, companies, mansions while the average person, including Vets struggle to make ends meet?

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  • Spending millions to study what food tastes like on Mars, let me help with this one, who cares?

  • Millions to promote governments and what they say they’ve accomplished?

  • Paying for Likes and Tweets, trolls to promote their viewpoints and put down oppositional viewpoints on social media?

  • Millions/year to find out what the media is saying about their government and corporations?

  • Are you reading this on Facebook? They get millions in tax refunds each year, no worries, they’re not alone, many, many other corporations got a helping hand too.

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  • Plane and helicopter rides as well as limos, town cars and drivers?

  • $50,000 to study how to stop traveler’s diarrhea, in the Caribbean?

  • Professional sports teams listed as non-profits so they get bigger tax breaks?

  • Millions in audits and expenses?

  • Billions in procurements on planes that aren’t operational and some that might never be, libraries that will never open, empty military bases, empty warehouses, etc.?

  • Millions celebrating wars, but little money for those who survived them.

  • Legal fees fighting veterans over the claw back of military pensions.

  • Using drones to count sheep? Hey, maybe these people that waste your money can’t get to sleep.

 And so much more waste. It’s a disgrace.

You can tell everything you need to know about a government and a society by how they treat their most vulnerable members.

How are we doing?

Politics needs to be about service, duty, and helping citizens, less about photo ops, game playing, and manipulation.

We need to stop being victims in our own country and demand that those who are elected and appointed members serve us, not their own self-interests.avet6

Posted in Books, Movies, Televison, Uncategorized

Well-Read Women

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“I’ll think about it tomorrow, after all, tomorrow is another day.”1read3
Margaret Mitchell may have written the words of Gone With The Wind, but it’s Scarlett O’Hara we think of when we read or hear them.

Elizabeth Bennet      Anne Shirley      Daisy Buchanan
   Auntie Mame      Catherine Earnshaw      Nancy Drew
Holly Golightly      Dorothy Gale      Jo March      Cosette
Jane Eyre       Juliet Capulet      Nora Charles       Charlotte
Blanche Dubois     Pecola      Alice      Daisy Miller      Lily Bart
Becky Sharp      Mary Lennox       Emma Woodhouse

We’ve had tea and coffee with these women.

Ate ice cream and chocolate with these women.

Even taken baths with these women.

Stretched out under a tree with these women.

Flew with these women.

Drank with these women.

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Dreamed of being these women.

Tried to make sure not to be some of these women.

Loved them. Hated them. Pitied them.

We’ve cried with them, laughed with them.

Shouted yahoo! for these women.

Watched them live, love, sometimes die.

Felt their sorrow.

Rejoiced in their triumphs.

We’ve learned from their failures, cheered them on.

They’ve seen us at our best and our worst.

They’ve met our loved ones, including cats and dogs.

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Fiction’s loved and hated heroines hold a place in our hearts and remind us of who we were, who we are and who we want to be.1read2

Take a few minutes to relax and remind yourself of the joys of a good read with this delectably illustrated book, Well-Read Women: Portraits of Fiction’s Most Beloved Heroines by Samantha Hahn (Chronicle Books).

Contains smile-inducing illustrations of fictional heroines (although I would have liked Bridget Jones included, but maybe in the next book) by the talented Samantha Hahn, accompanied by some of your favourite quotes from these ladies and their authors.IM000469.JPG

“It struck me as pretty ridiculous to be called Mr. Darcy and to stand on your own looking snooty at a party. It’s like being called Heathcliff and insisting on spending the entire evening in the garden, shouting “Cathy” and banging your head against a tree.” ~Bridget Jones
Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding

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Posted in Environment, Movies, Televison, Uncategorized

5 ways to know you’re living in a Godzilla film

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1. People are running and screaming and it’s not because there’s a new iPhone coming out.

2. It seems to be raining concrete.

3. You’re gaping up at the sky a lot, mouth open when you should be running.

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4. You get a huge gust of rancid fish breath and think, forget the warheads, get this guy a giant breath mint.

5. You hear a loud bellowing and Rob Ford isn’t in town.

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Godzilla turns 60 years this year. Lookin’ good big guy.

Up until 1984 each Godzilla suit was made by hand, new each time.

It wasn’t until 2004 that Toho Co. Ltd  used CGI in their Godzilla films.

1god1710 years ago Godzilla earned a star on the Walk of Fame in Hollywood…glad he didn’t do his actual footprint.

Raymond Burr starred in the 1954 black and white Godzilla movie. Yes, yes I see.

3 members of The Simpsons cast, Harry Shearer, Hank Azaria and Nancy Cartwright were in the 1998 reboot of Godzilla.

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Godzilla has more films than James Bond. Zilla, Godzilla.

Godzilla once fought The Avengers, in a comic book.

George Takei did some dubbing for Godzilla films. Oh my!

Guys in suits crushing miniature buildings, that old-school style, Suitmation. 1god2

Scientist killjoys say the weight of Godzilla would crush his own legs. They also say zombies can’t exist. Just cure cancer already and let us have our fun.

Saw Godzilla yesterday, the movie, not the monster. Nice cheesy feel, but was still too high-tech.1god11
I got the stink-eye from my teenage son when I may or may not have sniffed a little as Godzilla went down at one point. Geez, you cry at a few movies and you get a reputation.

Way too long and not enough Bryan Cranston.
Still great messages about the environment, trying to control or destroy nature, and about the checks and balances already in place that we humans keep tampering with.

We’re so arrogant to think we can control nature, look around…do you feel like you’re in control?1god10

PENNY DREADFUL

Penny Dreadful, a Showtime horror TV series that is certainly lurid, melodramatic, frightening, and intriguing.

Set in London, 1891 as the world hurtles toward the 20th century; the old meets the new featuring literary horror staples: Dorian Gray, Victor Frankenstein and creations, Mina Harker, etc.

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The cast is repulsively enchanting:

Billie Piper, again as a companion of sorts (come on Doctor Who fans), also more of a Secret Diary of a Consumptive Call Girl.

Reeve Carney as oh my, Dorian Gray, a portrait of a guy who likes to have a good time, no matter what, a sort of rock star version of the endless playboy.

Timothy Dalton glowers and growls his way through, hey, I’m not complaining he does it so well.

Eva Green as the unfathomable and flexible Kill-Jill-of-all-Trades with many secrets.

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Harry Treadaway as Dr. Frankenstein, defies all that is natural by making himself some friends, literally making them.

Josh Hartnett as a handsome cowboy with a past.

Plus Rory Kinnear, Alun Armstrong, Simon Russell Beale, Alex Price, Anna Chancellor, Helen McCrory, Olivia Llewellyn and more.

John Logan (The Aviator, Rango, Skyfall, Sweeney Todd, Any Given Sunday, Star Trek: Nemesis and more) offers up his own monster in this macabre yet novel series. While this has striking similarities to The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen movie, it has a more sinister tone and not as cheesy.

I’ve only seen 2 episodes, but so far so spine-chilling.

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Penny Dreadful, also the term for garish and shocking serial stories sold in parts in bookstores during the 19th century. Each part cost a penny. As time went on, the term came to represent all sorts of poor quality, sensational fiction for the working class.

Penny Dreadful, not Penny from The Big Bang Theory or my lovely and hilarious British cousin Penny whom I would instead refer to as Penny Delightful.

“The suspense is terrible…
I hope it will last.”
~Oscar Wilde

Posted in Movies, Music, Televison, Uncategorized

GHOSTBUSTERS

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“Back off, man. I’m a scientist.”  ~Dr. Peter Venkman

Ghostbusters was 30 years ago? Wow.

This is probably one of the best movies of all time.

Definitely one of the best comedies of all time.

Certainly one of the best paranormal comedies of all time.

I also believe this movie stands the test of time.

Bill Murray gives one of his most hilarious performances ever.1ghost7

John Belushi was supposed to play Dr. Venkman, but when he died Bill Murray was brought in. Slimer was affectionately known as the ghost of Belushi on set.

The party scene with Rick Moranis (Louis Tully/The Keymaster) and his guests ad-libbed the whole scene. Bill Murray ad-libbed most of the movie.

Ghostbusters was originally titled Ghost Smashers.

The whole cast is out of this world.

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30 years. That doesn’t seem possible.

I may have to go watch this again.

Don’t cross the streams.

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Who you gonna call?

Posted in Movies, Televison, Uncategorized

SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED

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Safety Not Guaranteed is one of the best quirky indie films few people have seen. Cleverly demonstrates that you don’t have to spend millions on a movie for it to be entertaining.

In 1997, Senior editor/writer Jon Silveria wrote a joke ad  as filler in the Backwoods Home magazine. It became an internet sensation and inspired this 2012 film in which a writer and two interns go to a small town to answer the ad. The story they get isn’t the one they expected. Is it ever?

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I guess we’re all looking for something. But what we’re looking for or what we find isn’t always what we need. And sometimes when we stop looking we find exactly what we need or just what we want, at least in that time.

At the risk of spoilers I’ll just say this movie reminds you life is too short not to enjoy some serious goofiness. And remember, some dreams may fade in time and scope, but replaced by others, at least that’s the hope.

The cast includes: Aubrey Plaza (Parks & Recreation, Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World, 30 Rock, etc.), Mark Duplass (The Mindy Project, Zero Dark Thirty, etc.) and Jake Johnson who I will always think of as Nick from New Girl (also in Neighbors, The Lego Movie and next year’s Jurassic World), Mary Lyn Rajskub (24, 24:Live Another Day, 2 Broke Girls, etc.), Karan Soni (1600 Penn, Touch, The Neighbors, etc.), Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars, Deadwood, Heroes, Frozen, Fanboys, etc.) and more.

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The thing I enjoy most about indie films is they take chances big budget films aren’t going to even think of, like bravely trying to give this a Hal Ashby feel by shooting the whole film with a Sony F3 camera using old Panavision lenses. Does it work? You decide.

The most important factor in this film…would you answer the ad?

And if so, where in time (or should I say when) would you go and why?

 

Posted in Books, Movies, Televison, Uncategorized

THE MATRIX

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Why did The Matrix become such a huge hit?

Dystopian future films have become hugely popular in the last couple of decades. I figure it’s because we’re already there, and this is a way to explore what’s happening without truly acknowledging it’s happening.

Do many already feel like we’re in The Matrix?
A simulated reality where we’re kept complacent and subjugated.

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Perhaps our body heat is already being harvested, think about it, corporations plotting to make us fatter because obese people produce more body heat.

Maybe they’ve brainwashed people into having phones or tablets with them at all times so they’ll produce more electrical activity.

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Is it easier to just live on our computers, cell phones, tablets, and so on, looking at pictures of kittens, tragedies, recipes, hoaxes, optimistic quotes that looking around at what we’ve done?

So where is our Neo come to free us from this dream world we’re plodding through on our cellphones, laptops, Google glasses, tablets, etc.? And do we even want to be saved from the distraction?

The Wachowski Brothers, now called The Wachowskis (Larry Wachowski is now Lana) wrote this cyberpunk standard with the works of Philip K. Dick whispering in their ears. The paranoia, power, mental discomfort, a ruined world. The Matrix is the ultimate exile from ourselves.

Or maybe it’s so loved just because the awesome effects, the wire fu techniques, the anime-like feel, action scenes, great cast, and cool outfits.

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The Matrix contains incessant references to: mythology, religion, philosophy, literature, and pop culture.

Johnny Depp was first choice, also Will Smith and Nicolas Cage both turned down the part of Neo. Smith turned it down to do Wild Wild West. No comment. But come on, we’re expected to believe Nicolas Cage turned down a part?

Epic shot where Keanu Reeves (Thomas Anderson/Neo/The One) hits the ground, bounces back up again is meant to look like Wile E. Coyote? Evil super genius ordering from an omnipresent evil corporation ACME who sends weapons to an address in the desert, great, but where’s the tiny umbrella?

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The numbers 1 and 3 are everywhere in this movie. Neo means new; it’s also an anagram for One. Trinity, 3. Neo is called Thomas in the beginning when he is doubting.

A matrix in mathematics, is a rectangular arrangement of numbers, symbols, or expressions, ordered in columns and rows. Distinct items in a matrix are called its elements or entries.1matrix10

The Matrix is green, not ecofriendly, but shot with a green filter for the parts inside The Matrix.

The scene with Neo and pins. Those pins were actually in his head. For realism. It worked.

The government lobby shootout took 10 days of filming and didn’t use CGI. The Wachowskis staged everything you see on the set, even the explosions and water pouring in.

Sci-fi flicks always produce conspiracy theories. How about this one, note the date on the passport.

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The actors were put through their paces on this movie, they had to be able to do stunts, wire fu, fight, process weighty philosophical discourses, etc.

The end, the last line in Neo’s monologue gave the studio and audiences options, “Where we go from there is a choice I leave to you.”.  I would’ve been satisfied with The Matrix, it  was enough.  In the 15 years since it’s release few have matched it.

Definitely a cautionary tale that allowing oneself to the plugged in all the times can rob us of reality, truth, and any meaning to life.

 

Posted in Movies, Music, Televison, Uncategorized

THIS IS SPINAL TAP

In case you haven’t seen This Is Spinal Tap, it’s a mockumentary about a heavy metal band and their downward descent. It’s not merely a satire about 1spinal1bands, but about documentaries themselves.

It was so different and groundbreaking, fans and bands alike thought it was about a real band and believed this was an actual documentary.1spinal2

Many bands and musicians can identify with This Is Spinal Tap, like, way too much.

This Is Spinal Tap wasn’t popular at first, but since has grown into a cult sensation.

Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, and Harry Shearer did their own music. In the decades since, they’ve released albums as Spinal Tap.

Guest, McKean, and Shearer received writing credit with Rob Reiner because they ad-libbed most of the movie.1spinaal6

Christopher Guest is actually a British peer, the 5th Baron Hadon-Guest. Brilliant in Waiting For Guffman. Tragically exceptional in The Princess Bride.

Michael McKean, best known for playing Lenny on Laverne & Shirley. Former SNL alum, also in Clue, A Mighty Wind, American Dad, my fav is still when he changed X-Files.

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You may know Harry Shearer as Mr. Burns, Smithers, Ned Flanders, Principal Skinner, etc. on The Simpsons. Did you know he’s 70? That he was mentored by Mel Blanc? And also on SNL and Laverne & Shirley?

Rob Reiner is best known for his amazing writing and directing, but has appeared in many films and TV series, the most obvious as Michael “Meathead” on All In The Family.

There is a legend told of 4½ hour bootleg version of This Is Spinal Tap, traded among fans and collectors for years.

Do you know at least one of the original names of the band, Spinal Tap? And how many members they’ve had?

Some bands actually believed the writers of This Is Spinal Tap had bugged their tour buses and hotel rooms because parts of it were so familiar.1spinal5

Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler wasn’t pleased with the movie. Gee, was it because Rock in a Hard Place had Stonehenge on its cover?

Many people believe the tiny Stonehenge was a parody of Black Sabbath’s too-large-to-fit-on-stage-monument during their 1983 Born Again tour, yet this Spinal Tap joke was actually first filmed in 1982 as a 20-minute short. Life imitating art?

Cherie Currie (The Runaways) appeared as the singer of The Dose, sadly, by the release her whole character lay on the cutting room floor until deleted scenes became en vogue.

A running gag during the film was bizarre drummer deaths, including a gardening accident. Strangely enough, drummers from ABBA and Toto died in bizarre gardening accidents within a few years of the film.

Jamie Lee Curtis allegedly fell in love with Christopher Guest after seeing him as Nigel. She said she was going to marry him. She did. They’ve been married 30 years.

Many movie sites that usually rate movies out of 10, rated This Is Spinal Tap out of 11. Of course.

Spinal Tap attempting to sing Heartbreak Hotel when they visit Graceland is still one of my fav scenes.

I made not one, but two cheese Stonehenges for gigs when a band I knew were doing a Spinal Tap cover band many years ago. I wish I had taken pictures, then again maybe they weren’t as good as I remember, er, the Stonehenges that is.

I could go on and on and on and on about this movie. Really.

30 years later and this documentary is just as hilarious and as realistic as ever. 1spinal19

Posted in Movies, Uncategorized

IN A WORLD…

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How many movie trailers do you think you’ve seen in a lifetime?

How about the movie trailers that begin, In A World…? It was so overused, it became a gag.

Did you ever wonder why a majority of movie trailers are by a booming male voice? Obviously Lake Bell (Boston Legal, The Practice, Surface, ER, New Girl, What Happens In Vegas, etc.) did.

Bell, who also wrote, directed and co-produced the indie film (winning Best Screenplay at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival) stars as a young woman working as a vocal coach when she really wants to do voice-over work. Living in the shadow of her famous voice-over father, played masterfully by Fred Melamed, Carol (Bell) struggles to find her own voice.

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After the death of Don Lafontaine (archival footage used, he passed away in 2008), voice-over actors fight for his famous, “In a world…” line as it’s revived to use in the trailers for the 4-part trilogy, The Amazon Games (the movie trailer starring Cameron Diaz as herself).

It makes you think about all the ‘roles’ we’ve all had in our lives, all the ‘voices’ we’ve struggled to find. How sometimes, we already had that voice, but just needed to have the courage to use it.

1inaw1Highlights include a hilarious Eva Longoria trying to master a cockney accent for a part in a movie.

Throw in Jason O’Mara (made me miss Terra Nova all over again) and Nick Offerman being smarmy and obnoxious and awesomely them and, just wow.

Quirky movies appeal to me. Different thoughts, ideas, lifestyles…And this movie super-sized the quirky.

In a world with a totally gratuitous picture of Jason O’Mara

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Posted in Books, Movies, Music, Televison, Uncategorized

MAY THE 4TH BE WITH YOU

Some call this Intergalactic Star Wars Day, but really, isn’t that every day?

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Yet this one has an added feature, we now have a date, December 18, 2015, of the next Star Wars movie, as I’m calling it, Star Wars VII: An Old Hope.

Also, cast announcements. The latter has brought a torrent of indignation from many fans.

I think this is unfair in many ways to the new cast.

Of course any comparison can’t be helped and it’s not likely to be favourable.

Many of us grew up with the original cast and still think of Star Wars IV: A New Hope as the first SW movie.

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In 1977 Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill weren’t even known.

Carrie Fisher hadn’t said, Help me Obi Wan Kenobi you’re my only hope or aren’t you a little short for a storm trooper? stars3

Mark Hamill hadn’t inadvertently kissed his sister, stood in the iconic pose against the twin suns, lost his hand, and screamed his famous nooooo!!!

Harrison Ford had never swaggered about the Millennium Falcon, said I know to Leila’s I love you, been encased in carbonite…

Alec Guiness hadn’t uttered the now famous, That’s no moon, that’s a space station, or said Use the Force Luke or become a cool ghost.

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We had never seen or heard the rasping menace of Darth Vader or the twisted malevolence of the Emperor…no Chewie or R2 or C3PO or Jabb14th10a or Lando or Boba-Fett.

So fear not, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, Kenny Baker, and John Williams are returning.

I think we should give the new cast a chance.

Adam Driver (he’s the best part of Girls, also in J. Edgar, The Unusuals, Your Don’t Know Jack, etc.),

Oscar Isaac (Sucker Punch, W.E., Inside Llewyn Davis, etc.),

Andy Serkis (Lord of The Rings, The Hobbit, King Kong, Einstein & Eddington, Longford, The Simpsons, Avengers: Age of Ultron, etc.),

Domhall Gleeson (Harry Potter as Bill Weasley, Black Mirror, About Time, When Harvey Met Bob, etc.),

John Boyega (Attack the Block and 24: Live Another Day),

Daisy Ridley (Mr. Selfridge, Silent Witness, etc.) and

Max von Sydow who’s been in I can’t even begin to list the work he‘s done since 1949, but he was Ming The Merciless.

Keeping an open mind, I am.

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Hope for the best, you should.

Now go get your comics, watch Star Wars movies, get your nerd on, and May The 4th Be With you!

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