Wednesday, October 31, 2012

In Winter We'll Drink Summer Wine (Book Review: Blackberry Winter, Sarah Jio)

I have always loved Alec Wilder's song "Blackberry Winter," and though I know most people associate it with Frank Sinatra, my favorite version of it is Teddi King's. Nowadays, though, I bet a lot of people will know the song through Hillary Kole's version. Author Sarah Jio chanced upon her version and it became the inspiration for her novel. The novel tells of two stories, one from 1933, and the other from 2010. The "yesterday" storyline is of a woman during the  Depression whose son disappears, while the "today" part is of a woman caught in a rut. Initially, the thread that connects the two stories together is a "blackberry winter" storm - a late season one- almost eighty years apart. But as the stories progress, you realize there is more that ties the characters - ten and now - together. This book is a page-turner. I started reading it and literally couldn't put it down. While sure, there may be a lot of coincidences and things are tied up too neatly, it gets there interestingly. Even though you kind of have an idea where it is going, the journey was still engrossing, and there were enough twists and turns that kept me interested. Jio has a flair for writing believable and relateable characters that are fully realized and three-dimensional. Some of the characters around them can be cardboard-like, but they propel the story forward so I have no complaints. It was interesting that I read this book while Hurricane Sandy was hitting the East Coast, and I couldn't help but sense a connection, as Sandy is also a late season storm. This is the  first book from Ms. Jio, though I have another one on my to-be-read pile. (It makes me want to read that one soon)

I couldn't find Teddi King's version YouTube, but they have a wonderful version from another favorite  of mine, Marlene Ver Planck:

Juliette Has A Secret Love (Scent Review: Calamity J, Juliette Has A Gun)

I guess since it's Halloween, I might as well wear and write about a scent that's like a costume. This year, I am going as Calamity Jane, and wearing Calamity J, by Juliette Has A Gun. I actually do like this line : it's unfussy, straightforward, and their scents have a lot to say without being too noisy. They're not provocative and attention-getting, but they are classy, easy to wear, and well-done. Calamity J plays with the idea of a tomboy-ish flowery fragrance. It's a rose, but it's a tough one: it has leather chaps, it has a hard hat. This is an amber accord, but the one thing I smell here is a woody iris. It's softer and earthier than the one in Dior Homme, probably because it is surrounded by patchouli. There is a soft musk here, but it doesn't penetrate like most musks do. It complements the woods and the amber just enough to not make it too delicate. I find myself reaching for Calamity J most days when I feel "sporty." It's the kind of scent you reach out for on those days when you dress down: a jeans and t-shirt kind of scent that's easy, familiar, comforting. Once or twice, on tough days, I wear it before I go to sleep and it's the equivalent of a chamomile tea.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Do I Hear A Waltz? (Film Review: Take This Waltz)

At first, "Take This Waltz" is one of those movies that will take your patience. It is slow, and you don't always gets its point. But almost an hour through it, I stopped trying and just gave in to it, and I just gave in to the wonderful performance of Michele Williams. Is there a better, braver young actress working today? She reminds me, brevity wise, of a young Nicole Kidman. Like Nicole, her artistic choices can at times be puzzling, but you always admire her for it, and their performances always come out unscathed even if their films don't measure up. She plays Margo, a woman in a five year marriage to Lou, played with quiet intensity by Seth Rogan (I think it's the first time I remember seeing him in a very adult performance) They are caught in a rut, and Margo, while on a business trip in Nova Scotia, meets Daniel. They meet cute, then realize that they love across the street from each other. She then goes on an emotional and intellectual exploration. This exploration is played with both wide eyed innocence and knowing by Williams. She has a do-good face, and she realizes her decision is tough, but she plays it so well that you don't actually realize that she knows how tough it is, but then you understand that she does take it to heart. It really is a simple decision - will she or won't she - but the movie doesn't make it easy for her - and for you. When finally something snaps, the decision is quick, and the pay-off can be slight. I like the film, but it also makes me mad. I don't know if, in the end, I sympathize with the characters I am supposed to be sympathizing to. But then again, that may be the whole point of the movie - one can not judge these characters as they are real. They are not dancers in a waltz, where every step should be perfect - they are just dancing to the tune.

Hot Mess In Los Angeles (Television Review: DTLA, Logo, Wednesdays)

Sometimes you just got to shrug. An earlier version of me would have been very upset after seeing the pilot episode of DTLA, the new series on Logo. It showed such promise - an urban series about young gay men and the people in their lives, set in Los Angeles, wherein you can walk down a street and find multiple interesting stories. But none of that showed in the first episode. What do we get? A couple who is having financial problems and then discovers they have black mold in their loft. They hold a birthday party and one of their guests puke in the bathroom. A partner suspects his boyfriend of cheating so he gets a massage and expects a happy ending. A teacher (who is a fame whore) catches his seventeen year old student dancing at a club, so he goes to manager and snitches only to have sex with same manager.  I know this is the first episode, but a little exposition would have been nice. After spending an hour with these people, you know nothing more about them, and frankly, I didn't care. I don't really know if I want to spend more time with them. The show is poorly shot in mostly darkness (sorry, but it didn't feel moody) and the acting was almost universally bad. I never saw Noah's Arc, but Daryl Stephen seems distracted here, unable to form a cohesive character. I really do hope the show gets better, since i will not give it precious space on my DVR if it continues like this.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Rehash (Book Review: Why I Love My Gay Boyfriend)

I didn't like Sabrina Zollos "Why I Love My Gay Boyfriend."  It has a great title, and that is what attracted me to the book. I thought it would explore that great friendship between straight women and gay men. Instead, we get another rehash of the "The Devil Wears Prada," but this one more cliched. Zollos introduces too many characters but they mostly sound and act the same. Plus, the main character is unlikeable, and we really don't get to know her - there's nil back story, limited characterization. Most of all, though, the book seems dated, like it is from a decade ago, and i wonder if it was written and has languished since before getting released now, because it kind of shows. 


Two Os (Scent Review: Jo Malone Oud And Bergamot)

What happens when you put two Os together? You oooohh! (Hey, I can be corny sometimes!) But as the colder weather arrives, I find myself exploring oud yet again, and this time it's Jo Malone Oud And Bergamot which is part of its Cologne Intene collection. and it smells heavenly - there is a perfect juxtaposition of the dark and bright. The Jo Malone oud is not as dark and medicinal as other ouds. It is musky and cleaned up. The bergamot here is a big bright orange. When put together, it is a sunny combination, and could really be more a summer scent. It evokes a happy and jumpy state It is also pretty linear and uncomplicated, which I think is a very Jo Malone quality. This is a no fuss, no think perfume - you put it on and enjoy it, there is no more there there. My big complaint with it is its longevity. After two hours it is gone, and this is quite weird, as "Iris and White Musk," also from the Cologne Intense line, has stealth wear. But a cologne is still a cologne, I guess, so they are not doing false advertising - no matter how intense they claim.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Something About Christmas With Christina (Album Review: Christina Perri: A Very Merry Perri Christmas EP)

I know only two things about Christina Perri: that she had a hit with the song "Jars Of Clay," which I discovered through Lea Michele and Glee. (In fact, I may prefer Lea's version of that song) The other thing I know about Perri is that she is dating (maybe dated) Tony winner Steve Kazee from Once. She has released a Christmas EP, titled "A Very Merry Perri Christmas," with six songs. She starts the album with an original, "Something About December," and it's fantastic. Very rarely do I hear an original Christmas song that touches me, and this hits the spot. Her ethereal vocals convey just the right mixture of longing and wistfulness. This song alone is worth the whole EP experience, and, frankly is the only shining star in the collection. She does rote versions of classics (Can we have a moratorium on "Have Yourself.."?) and there's an "Ave Maria" that is kind of embarrassing for her. But here is the video for "Something About December," and it's wonderful.

In August (Film Review: August)

"August" is one of those slow-burn movies that get to you, and get to you deeply. On the surface, "August" is a very uncomplicated movie - Troy (Daniel Dugan) returns to Los Angeles after living in Spain. He places a call to Jonathan (Murray Bartlett) and the phone is answered by Raul (Adrian Gonzales) who takes a message for Jonathan. This simple scene triggers a tsunami of emotions. Troy is Jonathan's ex, "Oh you're the one," as Raul says. They had an emotion-filled summer. But then Troy leaves him. You don't really know the whole story, but you know enough. You know that it took a while for Jonathan to get over it. You know that Troy hurt him. You know that there probably wasn't sufficient closure. You know that there is still a myriad of feelings Jonathan feels for Troy, even if he seems to be happily partnered now to Raul. The film effectively and heartbreakingly shows these dilemmas. I love its non-linear editing, it mirrors the layered and complicated emotions the characters are feeling, and reacting to and for. I love the gentle nuances of three actors - all excellent here - gently aided by a sparse script that tells you less but more. The way one looks at another, the way a glace is stolen, the way a kiss is given. I love its open-ended ending. You think you have resolved things by the end, but the air seems heavier, just like the sweltering heat hovering over them. This is a film you feel more than you understand. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Short, Sweet, Spicy (Book Review: The Way You Look Tonight, Claire Matthews, Is Is Spicy, J R Barnett)

Jerome Kern's "The Way You Look Tonight" is one of my favorite songs of all time, and that is also the title of Claire Matthew's novella. I liked it - it's a small romantic story, one that made me wistful, one that made me think. It's a fairly standard romance story, and truth be told, a bit predictable, but Matthews knows her way around characters and dialogue, so it's believable. For a short story, its pretty "full," and the cast of characters were defined. It took me just a short while to finish it, and I felt rewarded. 

I also am lumping the short story "Is It Spicy" with this entry, as it is also a short story I just read. This one is just as charming. A mother of two teenage kids goes to a Thai restaurant with her own mother, and hilarity ensues. I's one of those one-situation stories, and you can't help but relate to it.  BC-83

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Iranian Rose (Scent Review: Oud Ispahan, Christian Dior Privee Collection)

When I told a friend that I loved Dior's Oud Ispahan, he told me, "How much many oud and rose combos can you have?" Apparently, I have room for one more, and I can declare this is the best one of all.  Maybe all this time I was still seeking because I still had not found the perfect one. I can stop looking now. Oud Ispahan is so good it makes me want to visit Iran. I think I am the only person who does not mind this oud renaissance we are having right now. Yes, everyone is doing it, and some people do it better than others - Francois Demarchy, the in house nose for Dior, has hit a jackpot with this one. It starts out with that fruity jammy rose - so rich, so delicious - but then the oud comes in and it is dirty, of course, but it is not sex-dirty, it is romantically dirty. It reminds me of when lovers kiss on the beach, the dirt and sand that gets on their body represents love more than dirt. There is a burst of amber and patchouli in the middle note that rounds it out, and then the rose and oud comes back in the drydown. Oud Ispahan has a most unique base, and I think that's what I love with Dior creations - the beauty is all in the blending. The notes all come together and it doesn't smell like a specific something, but more a finely crafted bouquet. That seems to be my one complaint with the Chanel Exclusives - while they all smell as wonderful, they all go down to the same Chanel road of aldehydes, which isn't the worst in the world, for sure, but it becomes too familiar after a while. 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

A Slice Of The City (Book Review: Georgia's Kitchen, Jenny Evans)

It may seem like "Georgia's Kitchen" is a slice of Italy, but it is more a love letter to New York City.  It starts and ends there, and Jenny Nelson obviously has an affinity for the place. I love the little details she infuses when describing a street corner in the Upper East Side, or Rockefeller Center at Christmastime. In that manner, she describes the Italian food in good detail, you can tell she loves Italian food just as much. The story is kind of general and follows a pattern, and I didn't even mind that part so much. I did wish there was a little more to the story - it seemed too formulaic, and I didn't really get a lot of wow surprises from it. I felt like the character got out of situations too conveniently, so my sympathy wasn't too great. One of my favorite parts of the book is when the character visited Taormina, a charming little Sicilian town I myself have visited. It brought back memories of my visit there. I wish I could say I loved the rest of the book, but I only liked it. 


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Cheese & Corn (Stage Review: Donny & Marie Osmond with Susan Boyle, Flamingo Hotel, Las Vegas)

You know exactly what you are going to get when you go to a Donny and Marie show.And if that means something cheesy and something corny, then so be it. As for me, I personally like cheese, and corn, so what's the problem? Their current show at the Flamingo Hotel, "Forever Fabulous," is one of the few shows that sell out night after night, so they must be doing something right for their fans. And on Wednesday night's performance, I could see why: they give 110 % of themselves for their fans. Sure, some of the energy could probably be misguided: Marie's trying-too-hard soprano for Andrew Lloyd Weber's "Pie Jesu" was almost laughable, and when Donny tries to rock ("Crazy Horses") it just seems forced. But give these two an A for effort: they give the songs their all, for better or worse. They fare better with their hits: "Paper Roses," and "Puppy Love" got enormous applause, and deservedly so. They may scoff at these bubblegum pop, but that is their bread and butter, and I lapped it up. And the two of them, after all these years, still have sizzling chemistry. I could watch them banter with each for a whole night. Donny is a guest on Susan Boyle's newest album, so she surprised the audience by showing up to sing a duet last night, an unfortunately arranged, "This Is The Moment," a song I didn't think could sound any worse. I don't think there was anything natural in the orchestration, and Susan Boyle - oh my, what else can I day about her? She was just sad. Like literally, sad. While singing, she started at empty space, not even bothering to connect with Donny. Marie says later on that she grew up worshipping Donny, so I am guessing she may have had a case of nerves. But still, I found it inexcusable to not even know the words to her song (Donny could be seen prodding the lyrics) Is she on drugs? Is she sick? Is she really that unprofessional? It was kind of scary, to be honest. 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Not Watered Down (Book Review: Role Models, John Waters)

Years ago, I was at the now-defunct Footlight Records on 12th Street, my home-away-from-home at the time, when film director John Waters walked in. "Is that..." I asked Arnold, one of the guys who worked there, and he quickly answered, "John Waters? yes, he comes here all the time. Would you like me to introduce you?" And before he could answer, he called him, and introduced me, and we shook hands. And he want back to perusing the "Soundtracks" section of the store. I am a fan of a lot of people, but don't consider myself one of his. I cannot say I have seen all of his movies, but I liked enough the ones I saw (Hairspray, Serial Mom) or the ones I remember anyway. So I read his book, "Role Models," with a fresh eye - I wanted to know more about him, as a person. The book is more a collection of essays, recollections of people he has met - most of them he admires in some way or another; all of them shape the person and artist that he is. I enjoyed reading about most of them - I am also a fan of Johnny Mathis, for example, and cherished reading the account of their meeting. Some of the other people he profiled are more obscure, and, frankly, new to me. My favorite sections were of the pornographers, especially Bobby Lopez, who filmed himself having sex with only Marines. Some essays were difficult to get through - a chapter on all the Commes de Garcon slothes he owns could be interminable for someone who doesn't care for fashion, never mind avante garde ones. Like Waters himself and his films, you have to share his enthusiasm for weird things to fully enjoy this book. 


Argo Fantastico (Movie Review: Argo)

I don't know why I was a little hesitant in seeing "Argo" but I shouldn't have been: it's one of the best films, so far, of 2012, and I won't be surprised if it wins at least one thing - Ben Affleck for Best Director - on Oscar night. The movie tells the story of six American hostage who escaped through a back door during the infamous attack at the United States Iranian Embassy in 1979. They were taken in by Ken Taylor, Canadian Ambassador at the Canadian embassy. The US Government, running out of options, took the best of the bad ideas: to have the six hostages pretend to be filmmakers location scouting in Iran. Led by CIA operative, Antonio Mendes (Affleck), he leads the six to safety. The movie is a great mix of serious, and ridiculous, and Chris Terrio's script does the almost impossible: balance both of them seamlessly. You have not even finished laughing yet when you are being faced with something serious and dangerous. The finale is so action packed and suspenseful it can rival any summer blockbuster. And this movie has, in its core, a genuine hart as well. You have a specific sense of who to root for, yet the culprits are human enough not to be total cartoon characters. Affleck directs with a master's hands - the performances are flawless, and everyone gives extraordinary performances without any excess. It would have been so easy to make his character over-the-top but he goes for the opposite. Affleck gives a quiet, reflective performance that I hope won't be ignored for not being too subtle. Even the flashiest character, the producer (played by Alan Arkin) is just right, maybe because it is a composite character instead of a real one. (Truth is stranger than fiction, after all) I must give special mention to the production design: the movie looks and feels so much from that era. This film garnered raves at the Toronto Film Festival. it deserves them all.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Lingering Melody (Book Review: The Song Is You, Arthur Phillips)

"The Song Is You,"  has a beautifully written prologue - about the narrator's grandfather at a Billie Holiday concert. Holiday asked the audience what song they would like to hear, and he shouts "Waterfront." Unbeknownst to the man, the gig was being recorded live and while recuperating from the Korean war, he hears himself on the record. It was such a poetic anecdote, and I found myself instantly instantly engaged to the story. Then the book cuts into modern times, and to the grandson of that man. He is separated from his wife, after their baby has died. There was so much potential to this story, I was so ready to get engaged to it, but it never really caught me. I kept waiting and waiting to connect with the character, but I never agreed with the character's choices. Nor the author's writing. It is more a taste thing, and I will comparing it to a song. When someone sings a song you already know, you either agree or disagree with how a singer sings that song. You may disagree with a pause, or love the way the singer interprets a phrase. This book has a nice melody, but its execution was just not for me. 


Blake's Cheers (Music Review: Blake Shelton, Cheer's It's Christmas)

Here we go, the first Christmas album of the season. Ive had this album for a week or so now, and just spinned it this morning, as it seemed more oddly appropriate, as the morning chill has finally set in. I don't know much about Blake Shelton's music, besides the fact that he sings country music. I know him more from his judging/mentoring stint in "The Voice,' on NBC. I was kind of skeptical about him because he has made homophobic comments in the past, but it's Christmas so I will forgive.  Mr. Shelton has an appealing twangy baritone that's very accessible, and quite appealing. On standard fares like "White Christmas," and the likes, he sounds bland, like he was being forced to sing these songs. He perks up when he is on more comfortable grounds, like in a honky-tonk arranged "Blue Christmas," or when he is singing "Oklahoma Christmas" with Reba McIntyre. He seems to be pulling all the stops here, with regards to duets. He does one with Kelly Clarkson,  titled "There's A New Kid In Town," a religious carol that surprisingly is my favorite track in the album. He also has great chemistry with Michael Buble on a Holiday-lyric version of the latter's "Home." I was wondering why he would open his album with a duet until I realized it's one with his wife, Miranda Lambert - a cute touch, sort of like them welcoming you to their home. It's a a very pleasant album. While it won't be the first one I will pull off the shelf on Christmas morning, I won't cringe if someone puts it on.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Third Time's Charm (Book Review: Third You Die, Scott Sherman)

I love Scott Sherman's  Kevin Connor Mystery series, and I think "Third You Die" is the best one yet. In terms of mystery, it may not be the most "action-packed," or let's be honest, the mystery part of the book really is almost afterthought, but that doesn't mean that there isn't any "story" here. I even think that sometimes there' too much going on in the book - multiple story lines that kind of intersect - but Sherman knows how to keep them all going. There may not be action in the literal sense, but there's always something going on, and the book is never boring. I love the character - he's funny, erudite, very cosmopolitan. He' always fun to be around with, and you root for him. I like the fact that Sherman tried to go into the innings of the gay porn company, though "Brent" (the character) and his storyline is probably inspired by the porn star Brent Corrigan's real story. But no matter - the jokes come rapid, the characters are all fun to read, so what more do you want? There's even a corny ending that made me cry. Now that's entertainment!


Monday, October 8, 2012

Back to Barbra (Music Review: Barbra Streisand, Release Me)

Barbra goes back to Barbra. She digs deep in her vaults in her new record, "Release Me," releasing eleven tracks, spanning 45 years. Perfectionist that she is, she had thought these were not up to her standards at the time, but as she writes on her liner notes, "this gal wasn't half bad."  Most die-hard collectors of her music (raises hand) have already procured some of these tracks, but it is always nice to get them packaged, and in superior sound. People who have complained about her overproduced latter recordings will enjoy these comparatively stripped performances - these do not represent the reverb-crazy Barbra. What I find most interesting here is how her sound has adjusted and fit in as musical genres changed through the years. And you can hear different kinds of Barbra here, too - from the "hungry" enthusiastic one in "Willow Weep For Me,' to the weathered mellow in "If It's Meant To Be." Put those tracks back to back and you will see how her voice has aged. In between, we get glorious tracks like "I Think It's Gonna Rain Today," a 70s mellow-touch ballad with composer Randy Newman on piano, and a definitive version of Jimmy Webb's "Didn't We."  Show queen that I am, I loved the leftover tracks from Broadways shows: the twinset of "How Are Things In Gloca Morra/The Heather On The Hill," and her rousing "Home." (Though on the latter, I miss Miss Ross's vulnerability) Honestly, I do understand why these songs were cut, but I must say they still stand on their own. It's funny how Streisand was always accused of oversinging, but compared to the bloated monstrosities of today, she seems a minimialist. Buttah will always be...buttah.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Sibling Blandery (Television Review: Ben And Kate, Fox)

Some shows are just not meant for me - Everybody loves Raymond, Home Improvement - and I would lump "Ben And Kate" into this list. It's a situation comedy starring Nat Faxon and Dakota Johnson as Ben and Kate, siblings who are forced to live together. He's obnoxious, she's boring. They have two friends, both dull as dishwater. Her five year old daughter is cute, but cute can only take someone so far. Is it just me, because I have heard from a lot of people who are raving about this show. So I gave it another shot, and I couldn't even  finish the second episode. So yeah, it is just me, and I am fine with that. My DVR has a little more extra space right now.

Tobacco Grenade (Scent Review: Viktor & Rolf Spicebomb)

What do you do when you cannot afford Tom Ford's Tobacco Vanille or Serge Lutens Fumerie Turque? Well, you go for the next best thing: Viktor & Rolf's Spicebomb. This fragrance is the house's answer to their hugely successful Flowerbomb. But instead of floral notes, they amped the spice notes for this men' release. (I had previously liked their first men's scent, Antidote) On paper, there is an explosion of notes: cinammon, saffron, pimento, red pepper, pink pepper, ginger. And it's all there, some broefly, some staying. But on me, the tobacco quickly emerges and it's an addictive one - like those honeyed ones you used to smell. I remember there was a tobacco store near Grand Central Station that had such a distinct smell, and this scent captures it, refines it even by edging it out with the leather and vanilla. I can't get enough of this, and I always make sure when I wear it that I spritz it on my shirt so I can sniff it throughout the day. This has been getting almost unanimous raves from the perfume community and it deserves it. It has fantastic projection and massive longevity. It's perfect for these colder days - the tobacco makes you smell sensual, expensive, more character driven. I like the grenade bottle, but it was a little troublesome for me when I was traveling in Europe this summer because in an airport, a officer pulled it out and inspected it. But all in all, the perfume is so perfect for the V & R house aesthetic: edgy and beautiful. Oh, and I love its ad campaign, focused on the handsome Sean O Pry - perfection!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Hello, Heartbreak! (Film Review: The Perks Of Being A Wallflower)

It must be the week for remembering first heartbreaks. On Thirsdays, hearts were broken on the breakup episode of "Glee," and I was touched and affected by it, and today, seeing "The Perks Of Being A Wallflower" made me tear up once again. Heartbreak is always a bitch, ain't it, and I would be lying if I said I would be immune to it. Honestly, I remember reading Stephen Chbosky's book when it first came out but I cannot, for the life of me, recall anything about it, except that it was a thin book was under the MTV book arm. So, I wasn't expecting much, thinking that the book wasn't memorable for me. The movie is, though. It tells of a story of a young man (Charlie, played with infinite charm by Logan Lerman) who starts high school with baggage: he has been having visions from bad memories, plus his best friend killed himself. He is intelligent, but shy and unsure of himself. Then he meets Patrick and Sam, half-brother and sister, played by Ezra Miller and Emma Watson and they take him in under their wings and introduce him to their misfit circle of friends. And Charlie falls in love with Sam, even though Sam is already attached to someone else. It's a recipe of heartbreak, of course. And we go through his motions of joy and sadness. Chbosly wrote the screenplay based on his book, and also directs. It's a fine effort, perfecting the balance between the intense sadness and joys of high school life and all that entails. And although the movie was set around twenty years ago, it might as well be from a century away: feelings seem to be appear more intense before the dawn of iPhones and computers. There is brilliant acting all around, with Lerman leading the way. Watson is luminous, and Miller is as fine as he was in "Let's Talk About Kevin." For better or worse, this will remind you of your very first heartbreak, and its message - "We Accept The Love We Think We Deserve"- will resonate with you even as you wallow in middle age.

Even Boys Fall In Love (book Review: What A Boy Wants, by Nyrae Dawn)

I am in a reading rut. I am in the middle of two books and I am not connecting emotionally to either one so I decided to start "What A Boy Wants," by Nyrae Dawn because it seemed like an easy, quick read. I though it would be a perfect pallet-cleanser. It was. I finished it in about two hours, and it wasn't bad. It was cute, even a little refreshing because it was told from a young guy's point of view. It's also very formulaic, and predictable. Even though in the beginning it felt like I have read this before, it has enough unique details that it still kept my attention. Young love is so complicated for those who are in it, and I just think, these kinds have no idea what's coming to them as they get older. Nyrae Dawn knows how to keep the plot going, though there was a grammar error or two. I am guessing this is self-published so it may not have benefitted from an experienced editor. I also just found out that this is the second book of a series, so I missed out on the first one, and I didn't even know it.


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Go Back To The Shore (Television Review: Made In Jersey, CBS)

I only wanted to see "Made In Jersey" for one reason: I wanted to see Donna Murphy.  Well, too bad for me - she didn't have much to do in the pilot. She plays the mom of the main protagonist, Martina Gannetti, played by Janet Montgomery. It's one of those fish out of the water stories, this time a Joisey girl who is employed by a law firm in Manhattan. She has style, she has spunk, and that's how she became ...the nanny. Oops, wrong show. But it might as well have been. This show employs every cliche in the book, unconvincingly. I was bored all throughout the whole hour. I thought it would have sufficient drama to keep me interested, but even the crime part was just as boring. And like I said, not a lot of Donna Murphy. Even though I have not taken this off my DVR yet - I will give it an episode or two more - I just lament the fact that this show is almost in the same timeslot as "The Good Docctor" from last year, an infinitely better show.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Pitchy, Dawg! (Movie Review: Pitch Perfect)

I was very disappointed in "Pitch Perfect."  I thought, at best, it would be an enjoyable film with music. The previews - which I saw numerous times, proving I was target market for it -  had a few funny lines that made me chuckle. And it has Rebel Wilson, who is kind of my new idol. But the movie, all in all, was kind of tepid. There were just one or two more funny lines from the preview, and it had a very lukewarm energy. It felt like an oversized GLEE episode, from the GLEE latter (less funnier) seasons. And Anna Kendrick seems to have borrowed Kristen Stewart's perma-scowl. She seems annoyed and didn't want to be here, like she was forced to work on the film against her wishes. I wanted to like the movie, and I ended up not even liking it. I didn't despise it, but I was glad I went on a matinee. I don't think I would have appreciated paying full-price for this. Plus, the movie made me feel so old. These kids look as the 80s movie "The Breakfast Club" as something so retro, and that was my era. Sigh.