The good folks at Picktainment were kind/crazy enough to let me verbally share my thoughts on the recently released Sam Worthington thriller, Man On A Ledge. As much as I hate hearing my voice on playback, I must say it was a nifty, little experience. If you're not one for listening, then you can read my full review over HERE, in which I also question the casting of Kyra Sedgwick as a Latina TV reporter (yeah). Teaser: Jamie Bell and newcomer Genesis Rodriguez steal the movie. And if you'd like to tune into my inane chatter, then click below. My debut comes in at the 10:18 mark:
In an attempt to see if keywords in the title of a post truly influence the number of page views, I have given this entry the above name. Consider this an experiment I'm conducting while doing my part on a soon-to-be-launched news site that's been in the works for the past two years (let's just say that I've been given the title Entertainment Editor). Exciting stuff.
Of course you won't see any buxom females in the nude here. I'm sure that would be in violation of the Blogger (my publisher) code of conduct. Actually, blogs that feature "adult content" and run through these types of publishers usually ask visitors to click through a prompt asking them if they either a.) accept their terms and conditions b.) promise not to be offended by said content or c.) are over 18 years of age (Some of you out there know exactly what I'm talking about).
Regardless, I'd like to think that I wouldn't have to resort to such desperate tactics. Unless...I've fallen into the Trap of Hypocrisy as I write this.
Oh well. Off to go watch Oprah interview the cast of Roots...
For those who know me, this month's pick will seem like a giant departure from my usual pop fare. No synths? No dubstep? No Top 40/club potential? Yes, my current obsession involves none of the above but includes some haunting vocals I can't get out of my head.
Gotye (I'm still figuring out how it's pronounced) is a Belgian musician who's starting appear on the radars of American rock stations...and bringing on a serious Jim Morrison vibe. I happened to catch "Somebody That I Used To Know" when my alarm clock radio went off one morning. Even though I was half asleep, I grabbed my iPhone off the nightstand and immediately Shazamed it...and I'm so glad I did.
And whaddya know? The video for this beautifully simple single is equally quirky yet mesmerizing (just wait for that chorus):
I've been blessed with what my mother refers to as "pork chop feet."
It's neither a sizable trust fund, an antique jewelry box, nor a collection of vintage hardcover novels that I have inherited from both my mother and my father. No, what has been passed down to me is the inconvenient genetic anomaly that is wide feet.
The above image is a picture of a Brannock device, a tool I was familiar with every time my mother would take me to the mall to buy new shoes for the school year. Placing my foot on the cool metal, the salesman would always comment on how wide my foot was (and that I've grown another inch!). Having wide feet was, and still is, a pain in the ass. It was especially frustrating back then because I was relegated to certain brands of sneakers or, as a private school brat, brown loafers or black lace-ups. I could never wear the popular brands my friends were wearing. No Nikes, no Adidas, no Reebok. While young boys my age were running around in their trendy trainers and athlete-endorsed footwear, showing off their new pairs of aerodynamically named kicks, I was stuck sitting next to my fat-footed brethren at my local Thom McCann and being measured for a brand of sneaker called MacGregor. Snazzy name, no? What sounded more like the name of a hot-tempered Scottish bartender turned out to be my (affordable) sneaker of choice throughout most of my middle-school career. It was an unfashionably plain white shoe with traces of forest green. It closely resembled a golf cleat, the kind middle-aged men would wear out on the courses along with their hideously designed polos.
Whether it granted me the ability to leap like Michael Jordan or sprint like an Olympian, I never knew. At that age - probably 12 - one would most likely find me participating in some not-so-sporty activities like studying that week's TV Guide, searching for Waldo, or handwriting a short horror story in a spiral notebook after having read an inspiring novel about a group of prom queens being murdered one by one.
If I wasn't shopping for shoes at Thom McCann, I was accompanying my mother to the Naturalizer store in Yonkers, a retailer known for their wide width selections, and sitting next to women with names like Agnes and Edith, hearing them bicker about which orthopedics are best to wear on a bus trip to Atlantic City. Such was my childhood.
Looking on the bright side of it all, I never had the urge to buy the sleekest (and priciest) sneakers money could buy. I never had to beg my parents for a pair of black Air Jordans or slick, multicolored Adidas tennis shoes. Thus the chances of a bully threatening to steal my designer sneaks were low. I didn't have to worry about the neighborhood meanie sending me home barefoot in the rain a la About a Boy. Did I miss out? I don't know. I had other obsessions (the aforementioned above) and concerns to keep me occupied as I made the universally awkward transition into adolescence and young adulthood.
Luckily, by the time I reached college, I discovered Sketchers and New Balance, brands that were wide-width-friendly and opened my eyes to a variety of designs that welcomed my feet with open laces. No longer was I trapped in a world of ugly footwear. No longer did I have to be ushered to the back of the shoe store in an attempt to find the perfect pair that would hold my pork chop paws.
Free feet at last, free feet at last. Thank God Almighty, I have free feet at last.
*Anyone with wide feet got a story to share? Some frustration to vent?
It took me a year to finally hunker down and see what some of my friends were raving (or tweeting) about back in 2011. A British costume drama? On PBS? Is it a remake? Well, at least it's got Dame Maggie Smith, and you know I just looooove me some Dame Maggie Smith...
Ladies and gents, I can honestly say that after watching - no, consuming - all seven episodes from the first season on Netflix and catching the two-hour second season premiere earlier this week, I am hooked. Actually, more than hooked. Obsessed.
And it looks like Brian Moylan over at Gawker has already articulated why my Downton Fever is growing by the day. Check out his explanatory breakdown here. I couldn't have said it better myself.
That said, allow me to offer some other explanations as to why I, and the rest of America, can't get enough of this engrossing slice of British television:
1. I consider myself an Anglophile, and for me, this is almost like porn.
2. The producers and writer/creator Julian Fellowes have created a miracle: electrifying chemistry amongst all twenty - yes 20 - characters and a pacing style that keeps us hanging on every scene, every line of dialogue, every inquisitive stare.
3. It's a more intelligent Dynasty...with British accents: Love affairs. Scandalous secrets. Oh, and World War I.
4. The opening theme song. It's an elegant score that perfectly captures the drama and melancholia which runs throughout that countryside manor.
5. Those piercing blue eyes of Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens).
6. The sinister schemes and seductive glares of Thomas, the repressed footman (Rob James-Collier, right).
7. Those dinners in the dining room make me salivate every time a dish is served (not to mention those finger sandwiches with afternoon tea).
8. The star-crossed romance between Bates and Anna.
9. The star-crossed romance between Mary and Matthew.
Twenty years ago this month, one film was responsible for the surge in nanny-cam sales across America: The Hand That Rocks The Cradle.
Directed by Curtis Hanson, who would later go on to helm critically-acclaimed dramas like L.A. Confidential, Wonder Boys, and In Her Shoes, the film starred Rebecca De Mornay as Peyton Flanders, a vengeful widow who infiltrates a happy Seattle family in order to wreak havoc on Claire Bartel (Annabella Sciorra), the woman responsible for ruining her husband's life (he was a gynecologist molesting his patients, so he had it coming). And to make matters worse, Peyton suffers a miscarriage and goes off the deep end, becoming hellbent on making Claire's family hers.
Fans of Julianne Moore will be happy to see the redheaded actress in her early years - before she became Julianne Freakin' Moore - playing the role of Marlene Craven, Friend Who Learns A Deadly Secret And Pays The Price. The feisty, chain-smoking real estate agent, who also gets the titular line in a dinner scene ("The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world"), has an unfortunate run-in with several panes of glass in a greenhouse halfway through the film, a booby-trap intended for the asthmatic Claire. However, Psycho Nanny's got a conveniently wicked back-up plan: she empties all of the medicated inhalers in the house, so when Claire finds Marlene's bloody body, she nearly suffocates and dies herself. Peyton's got all the bases covered. *PS - check out that car phone!
I first saw the movie with my father during a weekend matinee at Bay Plaza in the Bronx when I was 11. It was the second R-rated film I ever saw in a theater, and the audience couldn't have made it a more memorable experience. When Solomon (Ernie Hudson, finally getting some work after Ghostbusters 2), returns in the end to rescue little Emma from the delusional nanny from hell, a man sitting in our row jumped up and hollered at the screen. And when Peyton finally gets her due (SPOILER ALERT) and is pushed out the attic window, falling onto the family's white picket fence, the theater erupted in cheers. It was as if we were watching a ballgame over at Shea Stadium. *Remember: this was the Bronx.
The Hand That Rocks The Cradle was produced on a budget of $7 million and went on to gross over $88 million at the U.S. box office. If you ask me, that buys a lot of baby food and breast pumps.
And my favorite scene? Peyton goes up to a 5-year-old bully in a playground, twists his arm, and snarls, "Leave Emma alone. If you don't, I'm gonna rip your fucking head off."
Now there's something you won't see in an anti-bullying PSA.
As some of you may have seen in the news, a serial arsonist has been terrorizing the city of Los Angeles, particularly in the neighborhoods of West Hollywood. While this is truly a horrible chain of events (53 fires!), it's hard to believe that this is the job of one person. Although a suspect has been apprehended, a 24-year-old Canadian dude named Harry Burkhart (below) who's been pissed about his mom's deportation to Germany, I can't help but wonder if others were involved in setting this city ablaze.
Hence my own list of suspects...because you never know.
Suspect #1: Disgruntled Starbucks Barista - He's served thousands of lattes to unappreciative Angelenos, is mad as hell, and he's not gonna take it anymore!
Suspect #2: Lindsay Lohan - Because she's doing research for the role she wishes to covet in the Firestarter reboot.
Suspect #3: Michael Bay's Pyrotechnician - He was pissed when he found out he wasn't hired for Transformers 4.
Suspect #4: Some Guy Who Really Hates Driving - In an attempt to demonstrate how dependent we've all become on our cars, he sees himself as a revolutionary, torching - in his words - "the machines that have shaped every aspect of this metropolis and turned us all into commuting zombies."
Suspect #5: The "Rosas" Lady - Usually seen soliciting drinkers at The Abbey, she finally lost her patience with the superficial and indifferent crowds and...snapped. Notice how absent she's been lately on Santa Monica Boulevard. Just sayin'.
Suspect #6: Satan - Los Angeles has always been perceived as a modern-day Sodom (or Gomorrah), and the Devil Himself would like to make that a reality and literally turn L.A. into the City of Demons.
Suspect #7: Squirrels - Their resilience is stronger than ever, and their plan to take over the city is finally coming together. All those years sharpening their teeth on acorns was really just a way to build up their stamina when gnawing through electrical wires.
Any witnesses who would like to come forward and point a finger at the perpetrator(s) in a lineup are welcome to do so.
Now that the big shiny ball in Times Square has dropped and you've sworn off all food after surviving multiple holiday feasts, a fresh outlook on life is called for - and you'll need the right soundtrack to help you start things anew. Here are some tunes for the new year, the sound of the future, the music of the Here and Now.
17. "Body Work (Club Mix)" by Morgan Page feat. Tegan and Sara 18. "T.H.E. (The Hardest Ever)" by will.i.am feat. Mick Jagger and Jennifer Lopez - True, it'd be much better without the will.i.am part. 19. "What We Can Do (A Deeper Love)" by Tiesto 20. "Love Get Out Of My Way" by Monarchy 21. "Take Care" by Drake feat. Rihanna 22. "Better Than I Know Myself" by Adam Lambert - Although I would've preferred a dancier single, Glambert gives us a glimpse of his sophomoric effort with this Dr. Luke-produced power ballad.