Saturday, February 28, 2015

In Grief (Television Thoughts: Looking Seaso 2 Episode 7, Looking For A Plot)

Tonight's episode of "Looking" was part road trip, part Will and Grace. Doris' father dies suddenly, so she, with Dom and Patrick drive back to Modesto Arizona to attend the funeral. While it is a depressing circumstance, the tone of the episode is part black comedy, part nostalgia. We get to learn that Doris and Dom were childhood sweethearts, and this episode brings them right into the middle of that situation. For example, they have to explain to people that they in fact did not get married, even though they reveal that they live together. I like the mixture of grief and morbid humor here, as it is very real, if surreal. As someone who has been touched by death recently, I can sympathize, empathize, and I couldn't help but shed a couple of tears. And Lauren Weedman is tremendous, equal parts pathos and comedic timing, and really deserves an Emmy nomination at the very least for her role here. Things ebb and flow for the trip in Modesto, with the occasional side of zaniness that reminds us of Will, Grace, and Jack.  But when Patrick gets back to San Francisco, Kevin is waiting for him at his doorstop, with a bombshell in his hands: he has left Jon. This development did not really surprise me, but at the same time I did not expect it. Is he really in love with Patrick? Will the two of them find love and happiness, and a happy ever after?

Friday, February 27, 2015

Falling In Love (Movie Thoughts: Jongen, The Way He Looks)

Over the weekend, I saw two films that perfectly capture falling in love. They are also two films about first love. And, they are also films about gay teens falling in love. But this is 2015, and gay love isn't the love that dare not speak its name anymore. For the youth of today, same sex attraction is so matter of fact that none of these characters even blink at the thought. 

Daniel Ribiero's "The Way He Looks" is set in Portugal, about Leo, a blind adolescent (Ghilerme Lobo) who spends his waking time with his best friend Giovana (Tess Amorim) until a new boy in school arrives, Gabriel (Fabio Audi) When Leo and Gabriel start spending tiem together, an awakening happens in Leo: he finds himself falling in love with Gabriel. But then Leo finds that Karina, a fellow classmate, is aggressively pursuing Gabriel, and is Gabriel interested in reciprocating, Leo wonders. I think the best thing in the storyline is the fact that the story shows love is not blind. Love is when two souls connect. In this case, we canno argue that infatuation is just physical lust. Leo is not sighted after all - it's his emotional connection with Gabriel that trumps whatever he has with Giovana. 

More or less the same emotional conflict is seen in Jongens, a Dutch movie by Mischa Kamp. Sieger gets promoted on his running team, pairing him off with Marc (Ko Zandvliet) and we instantly see an attraction. But even as things heat up between them, and they first kiss, Sieg is still conflicted with his orientation, telling Marc that he is not gay. To prove to himself, Sieg starts dating a young lady, only to see what is inevitable, something hsi best friend realizes and shrugs about. 

Jongens is a nice sweet story (I read that this was originally made for Dutch television) and addresses gay teen love matter-of-factly. As a matter of fact, no coming out happens, here, people just assume, and see, and accept, as if its no big deal to have these teenagers accept their orientations, and move on.

In both films, when the young women accept the fact that these teens are gays, the conflict revolves more about heartbreak, and homophobia is never present. They become more matters of the heart, not politics. I would like to believe that this is how teens look at life nowadays, and I realize how far we have gone since I have been a teenager myself. While, yes, on that level I see that things are easier for them, on some level, heartbreaks are teh same. They still fall in love, they still have their hearts broken. And that is the essence of life.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Let It Go (Television Thoughts: The Slap Episode 3 Anouk)

This week's episode of The Slap focuses on Anouk, the character played by Uma Thurman. I think Urman is a real underrated actress, and here he displays her acting chops. Whether you like this show or not, you will have to agree that this has a top notch cast. The show starts this week as Anouk goes to lunch with Aisha and Rosie. Anouk gives  wise advise to Rosie, regarding the slap : "Let It Go," and Rosie doesn't take it well. That seems to be the extent on where we are regarding the slap, as we go to Anouk's personal life, her relationship with Jamie, and her mother Virginia (played by Blythe Danner) Halfway through the episode, Anouk finds something that's been hinted at, that she is pregnant with Jamie's baby. She doesn't tell Jamie, but he knows, he says he can tell. She then tells him she cannot have the baby, as she isn't wired to be a parent. Then she discovers that her mother is moving to Scotland, and selling their Upper West Side apartment, because of a tumor. This gives her a reawakening, and she decides to keep the baby. It's an episode with a clear focus, though apparently the story doesn't stay true to the original content (of course on American network television, it would be so controversial for her to get an abortion) As I have said, Thurman is great in every scene, and breathes life to the character even if we do not agree with her choices. I thought Penn Badgely was also good here, displaying a maturity he never got to show in Gossip Girl.   

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A Child Is Born (Book Thoughts: The Secrets Of Midwives, Sally Hepworth)

I don't know what possessed me to start reading "The Secrets Of Midwives" by Sally Hepworth because I had the mistaken notion that it would be a lot about child-bearing, a topic I really am not attuned to, nor will I ever be. But Hepworth is much more than that, it's more about three generations of midwives and their own individual stories. Some stories are more interesting than others, and the earlier ones can be a bit too soap-opera like, but this is an entertaining enough read. The first half is slower than the second, which felt a bit rushed (I suspect that it's an editing issue) so it took me a bit more time to read the book, but when the action picked up, all became well.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Pink In The Park (Scent Thoughts: Bond No 9 Madison Square Park)

When I left New York,  the idea of Bond no 9's scents - celebrating New York City neighborhoods  started to appeal to me. I have always had mixed feelings about the house, feeling them over priced for what they are. But, these are well-done scents, if a bit too conventional and safe at times. I sprayed Madison Square Park on my palm today, and I feel liek suddenly I am in love. And I ask myself why - it's a fruity floral, a pretty basic one at that. Opening with a big burst of "red leaf rose," it's green and smells of crushed leaves, and I loved it. A rose slowly creeps in. It evoked walking through Madison Square Park in a way, as you first see the grass on the grounds, and discovering a patch of roses inside. Then some  berries - raspberry? something red - bursts in and it's well blended enough to have a great mix of fruits and florals. The scent reminds me of a well-balanced bouquet - there's equal parts of any ingredient, that the freesia doesn't get lost with the vetiver root, or tomato leaf. And it's good i guess that not one note really stands, and what you see is a beautiful painting. I am kind of loving it, to be honest. It brought a little smile on my face, and I can't remember the lasttime a fruity floral did that. Maybe because I have smelled all these cheap incarnations that I have forgotten that there is beauty in the genre. I think this perfume perfectly represents the park on 32nd Street, which, incidentally, borders the New York perfume district. Oh, the memories.

Monday, February 23, 2015

To The Beat Of The Drum (Film Thoughts: Whiplash)

I was so uncomfortable watching "Whiplash" but I guess that was the point.  The dust has finally settles and J. K. Simmons has now won the bulk of Supporting Actor awards this season for this film, and does he deserve it? Yes, I think he does, though he isn't really my first choice. (That would be Ethan Hawke for 'Boyhood')  I do understand that Simmons is one hard workign actor, and he worked his butt off here, so it's a matter of taste. Perhaps as I am getting older I am more drawn to subtle shades than broad strokes. Maybe that is also my problem with the film. Damian Chazelle's movie hits all the right marks, but I am infinitely drawn more to movies that I identify with, and make me feel good. And Miles Teller (why do I feel like I have watched a lot of his movies?) just more than a swell job as the protagonist here and in a less crowded year would have been a shoo-in nominee for the Academy Award. This truly is a star-making performance for him. You see him literally give blood, sweat, and tears for his role. The whole thing is too overwrought for my taste, but I feel it, just like Teller's drum solos.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Love Is Scary (Television Thoughts: Looking S02 E06 Looking for Gordon Freeman)

All the stress, all the pressure, all the secrets, everything that has been bottled up inside Patrick boils over on tonight's episode of "Looking." (Looking For Gordon Freeman," as he hosts a Halloween party and things go so awry he has a fantastic mental breakdown. Gross deserves an Emmy for his performance tonight: one of those pained performances that was just too tough to watch because all of it is you and me, and everyone else who have been madly in love, and have felt the scare of love slipping away. For me, it was akin to watching a horror movie - I was watching it through slanted fingers - perhaps making the Halloween theme of the episode more appropriate. The episodes this season have been crescendoing to a climax so powerful, so intense, but in a sense so quiet and yes, it pierces your heart into small pieces.  Look at the photograph of that scene above, when Patrick pleas to Kevin that he doesn't want himt o go away - look at the mixture of fear and affection in his eyes - this is genius writing. Look at how Richie and Patrick look at each other towards the end of the episode, and you will multitudes of love and sorrow there. Looking is real life, y'all. 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Duff With The Heart (Movie Thoughts: The Duff)

Did you know that DUFF meant "Designated Ugly fat Friend"? Well, neither did I. I guess that goes to show how out of touch I am with today's teenage lingo. I can identify more with the stereotypes from "The Breakfast Club," which are referenced in the beginning of this movie. Written by Josh Cagan and Directed by Ari Sendel, "The Duff" is a little shallow, just a tad earnest, but it has a big heart and is a lot of fun. With these type of movies, everything falls in the hands of the actors, and Mae Whitman, as Bianca, is the female nerd, and maybe the plainer looking between her two friends. But Whitman is a smart actress and knwo when to mine the laughs, and when to add depth to the proceedings. And surprise, Robbie Amell is terrific, makign his jock stereotype character much much more than a dumb stereoptype - he is at lal times dreamy, sensitive, and yes handsome and swoon-worthy. I couldn't help but get touched with their chemistry, and look, the plot is predictable as can be but you still ride along, and I got ridden hard here. For a couple of brief moments, I felt like I was young and in love for the very first time, again. Isn't there a quote that good acting makes the audience feel like the character the actor is playing? Well,  if that is the case then Whitman should win an Academy Award. 

Friday, February 20, 2015

My Kinda Jazz Gal (Music Review: Tina May, My Kinda Love)

So many contemporary jazz singers, so little time.  Apparently Tina May  (I confused her with the American actress) is a major deal in the London jazz scene, but I confess I have never heard of her. Or perhaps I have, but never really paid attention. May has a clear voice, and a nice languid style, which reminds me of Helen Merrill. She uses it well, working around tenor saxophonist Frank Griffin's thoughtful arrangements. I played the album twice already, and like it lots, but I felt like there is more to discover here. It's that type of album where there is such magnificent subtlety in her delivery, and the arrangements that you sometimes exclaim, "wow, I didn't realize she did it like that)  For example, the sbaik silent phases in "I'm Through With Love" needs careful listening (this will not work as background music, folks) And even when she swings in "My Kinda Love," you know there's some lyric interpretation brewing in her mind. But my most favorite track is Duncan Lamont's "Where Were You IN April," a song I really should champion, but honestly just want to keep near and dear to my heart.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

She Ain't Heavy (Book Review: Paperweight, Meg Haston)

If you just saw the cover of Meg Haston's "Paperweight" you would think it's a fluffy YA novel - and I thought it was - but it really is a serious book tackling a very serious subject: eating disorder. When the book begins, Stevie has just entered a treatment facility in New Mexico, and by a series of flashbacks, we get to find out what led her there. While I thought the book was compelling, it depressed me. It was sad to see that these situations, which I know are real situations that happen to real people, exist n the world, and the caretaker in me wanted to smother and rock these characters to comfort. I feel like I want to look at cute puppy pictures after.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Anger Management (Television Thoughts: The Slap Episode 2)

I am really getting into the show, and I know a lot of people are saying that it is not as good as the Australian version, but since I have not seen that, I will just go by what I think is meritorious about this. The second episode focuses on Harry, and the aftermath of the slap from the first episode.  We see that Rosie (Melissa George) wants to press charges, and is hell bent on making sure that something happens to Harry, and truly, by the end of the episode, something does. We see Harry's regimen, and how he is with his wife and kids. And Harry is a complex and maybe unlikeable, but I cannot help but sympathize with him. Sure, I may not agree with what a lot of he stands for, but he stands for them proudly and with no apologies. And speaking of apologies, he does try to do the right thing by going over to the kid's house to apologize, only to horrendous results. The most telling thing for me here is Zacahary Quinto. My God, he is an amazing actor - intense and fully committed to his character. I think I have only seen him from the Star Trek movies, so I haven;t really paid as much attention, but he is on point here. He certainly knows his character, and how flawed it is, and essays it with brevity. Perhaps that is why I am on Team Harry on the slap issue. I think he is on the right - Rosie is a horrible parent - breastfeeding a five year old, are you kidding me - and you can even sense his internal struggle as he tries to parent his own child. I am hooked on this show, officially.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Livin La Pura VIda (Book Review: Pura Vida, Sara Alva)

"Pura Vida" is just a sweet short story, no more no less. Sara Alva wrote this for the M/M Romance Group event on Goodreads, and she has a great flare for romance. I was instantly hooked by the love story between Simon and Juan, and the added tropical feel of the setting enhanced it. Set in Costa Rico, Simon vacations with his family and meets a local souvenir seller, but there's more to Juan than tchotkes as they bonded over saving sea turtles. The sex scenes were kind of unrealistic (why put them there at all) but the romance is on fire here.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down (Movie Review: 50 Shades Of Grey)

Well, here's a newsflash: I liked "50 Shades Of Grey," the movie (Why, by the way, isn't the number fifty spelled out?)  I have no opinion of the book, by the way, except that I couldn't get past the tenth page when I started to read it because I thought it was badly written, but hey, it got one hundred million people reading, so that couldn't possibly be the worst thing in the world, right? And yes, I wasn't even rushing to see the film, and only did so because why not, it's a Holiday today and it was a nice way to pass time. But, I left the movie house wanting more, actually curious and panting for what is to happen next. Not that I can't discern, by the way. The story is rote, and you can sense what what will happen before they do, but Sam Taylor-Johnson infuses the filmw ith style that she got my attention. I will not go into detail as to why the story is shit - even Stevie Wonder would be able to see that - and I am not even going to go as to why this movie is bad for the female psyche (if one were to take it seriously) but as pure entertainment, it works. The two stars look good, and have pretty good chemistry, and they made me believe. Well, almost. I never got to sense the "danger" of their BDSM (somethign I wasn't looking forward to) but as far as love stories go, this is pretty convincing. Did it inspire me to go to the S & M place on Christopher Street? Um, no. Just like Anastasia, I rolled my eyes whenever Christian mentioned it. (oooh, maybe he will spank me) I just wished there were more plot: the movie was about to end and I kept telling myself, if something is abotu to happen to the story, they better start soon. But this has style and good looking people, mostly naked, so for a Valentine's Day weekend movie, that satisfied me. 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

You Can't Handle The Truth (Television Review: Looking S02 E05, Looking For Truth)

There was a line in tonight's "Looking" episode ("Looking For Truth") that got to me. Patrick was talking to Richie's cousin Ceci and she pulls him aside, and said "You know he borrowed $200 so he could buy a suit for that wedding? I was rooting for you." I don't know why, but that line made me cry. Actually, that lien made me weep uncontrollably. I was reminded of how, when you are in love, you move heaven and earth to make that person happy, to the point that sometimes you lose yourself in the process. It became painfully clear that Ritchie was head over heel in love with Patrick, and Groff's face when he found that out tonight was so expressive it cut to my inner being and found myself when I was in the same situation a million years ago. This just shows how "Looking" knows me - I think it has been snooping into my life to put aspects of it for this show. Or so it seems. Of course, my situation is hardly unique - falling madly in love with someone and doing stupid things is hardly an isolated experience. We have all gone through it.  This show gets that, and perhaps that is why it resonates with gay men superbly well. Tonight's episode was mosly between Patrick and Ritchie, when they both go back to Ritchie's old stomping grounds to pick up an ice cream truck he is flipping.  But the characters sort through their failed relationship as well, over Mexican food (i suddenly craved it and had to get me some) and with Ritchie's relatives in the background. But, with this show, it is never cut clear, but I suspect this may end their reconciliation.  Exes who have had deep connections, and who have flourished as friends sometimes have to be in each other's lives because their relationship brings out certain aspects of their personalities. For example, Ritchie will have a different relationship with Patrick because he is someone who hasn't had as long a friendship with Patrick as his other friends, and can discern the Patrick that is now versus what he was before. I totally understand how these kinds of friendships enrich each of their lives in ways maybe no one else can understand. Elsewhere, it looks like Daniel and Augustine are taking their relationship to the next level, to the tune of Cece Peniston's "Finally." It's fun and brings a depth to Augustine that we never saw before. We have three episodes left this season, and I am dreading leaving these characters.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Reese Walks The Line (Movie Review: Wild)

I really was dreading seeing "Wild."  I have soured on reese Witherspoon, not that I was a big fan of hers o begin with, and from what I had heard, Cheryl Strayed's memoir of which this is based on, was an exercise on self-indulgence and self-help bull, a la Elizabeth Gilbert's "Eat, Pray, Love." But I know this movie is sort of revered, and comes from Jean Marc Vallee, who directed last year's "Dallas Buyer's Club." (And I was also surprised to see that the screenplay was by Nick Hornsby, of 'About A Boy' fame) So with the bar that low, I ended up really liking the movie a lot - it tells a journey of a woman's acceptance, and in her solitude, she doen't necessarily find herself but more readies the next step of her life. Witherspoon, to me, seems to playing Reese with an edge: oh look at her without makeup, swearing, shooting heroin, showing her breasts. In the end, it still felt like Reese, and she was the part I did not believe in the whole film. But she was still able to essay the character believably - I just imagined her beauty team touching her up between takes. The film still worked despite that. Everyone has been raving about Laura Dern's performance here but to me it's much ado but little. It could have been played by any other actress, and isn't she only eight years older than Reese anyway? Wild is a great journey, even if you don't like who you are traveling with.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Smell Me To Death (Perfume Review: Serge Lutens De Profundis)

I am sort of superstitious, and I was kind of scared of Serge Lutens De Profundis. Look at the copy:

 As long as I'm alive, so is my Death.
Every hero on a quest for glory is racing towards the proof of his mortality.

The scent of chrysanthemums and incense.

Scary, right? But today, on Friday the 13th, I thought it was an appropriate scent - and it would even match my Floral Friday criteria. It took me a long time to get used to wearing it, and now I finally have a bottle of this. Maybe because death has touched me recently, and well, what else have I got to lose right? Maybe I really should take my superstitions away, because this perfume is as gorgeous as it gets. The juise id a deep violet, but this is a green scent as it burst opens: a bouquet of freshly cut flowers (hyacinth and carnations) and you can the flower's petals, stems and even a bit of the dewey soil where it was pulled from. It's creamy, rich, and melancholy. I know the inspiration is culled from flowers from a funeral but I imagine it more like a gathering of flowers from an early morning walk as I contemplate love and life. The heart of the perfume is chrysanthemum, edged by teh Lutens incense, though the latter isn't prominent on me. I smell just a hint of rose, though. All the flowers stay in the dry down, muted but teh presence is definitely there - kind of like a smoother softer version of a photograph. I love this to death (haha) and this for me is an example of how perfuem can be art: it makes me think, makes me reminisce, like a painting or a piano concerto. 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Wild South (Book Review: Southern Fried, Rob Rosen)

I tried reading mysteries, and the idea of them kind of appeals to me, but I really just get bored.  I thought if you threw in a gay protagonist I would be more into it, and with that formula I started reading Rob Rosen's "Southern Fried"  No dice. I couldn't wait to finish this book, and I was so bored it took me a week. I thought the characters were unrealistic, and the sex scenes were hollow and gratuitous. Just not my kind of book.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Last Five Tears (Movie: The Last Five Years)

I didn't like "The Last Five Years" Off-Broadway years ago, and the score I thought was particularly un-tuneful. (I was very surprised when I found out that the musical had a cult following) But I was younger, bitchier, and, admittedly, with musicals I can be a bit old-fashioned. Nowadays, Jason Robert Brown's score appears more conventional, though if I were to be honest, the whole thing still sounds like one long tuneless song. But there's two great things to love in the movie version of "The Last Five Years," and those two things are Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan. This movie really works because of them, as they are so appealing on screen - pretty to look at, so talented, so engaging that I was able to overcome all the problems I had with the movie. The structure can be a bit confusing (her story is told backwards, his is forward) but director Richard LaGravenese presents them in such a clean straightforward manner that you get it right away. Even the corny songs, like Jamie's "story" songs work because Jordan is on top of his game that you believe, you just believe. Jordan is one of those performers that rises above his character even if they are badly written and one dimensional (see NBC's SMASH) But oh my, Anna Kendrick is a star, isn't she? If she isn't already one, her performance here is of the megastar-making kind. She is funny, she sings like a tuna, and she broke my heart. This is a great romantic drama - realistic, poignant, heart smashing. It was finally released for Valentine's Day, and give it as a gift to yourself.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

A Certain Smile (Music Review: Matt Belsante, When You're Smiling)

Nowadays, packaging is everything. Look at this album cover of Matt Belsante. He has quite a handsome face, just the right mix of non-threatening and cute. Young-ish girls and bored housewives will all go goo-goo and gaga over him. Right now he is still on the indie side but all he needs is David Foster (who, incidentally now is the head of Verve Records) to mentor him,  spruce up his look, and arrange schmaltzy songs for him, and I bet he has all the signs of hitting it big. (see: Michael Buble) oh, the music, you ask? Belsante has a pleasant enough voice: in-tune for the most part, and the song selections are nice and safe, and the arrangements bland enough to appeal to everyone - there's even the requisite 60s pop folkcred: "To Make You Feel My  Love" (I mean, they sang the song on GLEE!) Smile some more, Matt. You just might attract the right person.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Everything Is Rosie (Movie Review: Love Rosie)

Here we are, on Single Awareness Week, and I  have been trying to get "in the mood," and what better way than to see "Love Rosie." When I was in Dublin last year, posters for this movie were everywhere there on buses and billboards. I made a mental note to look out for it when it  crosses over the pond, and now it's here. It stars Lilly Collins and Sam Claflin in a kind of lower rate version of "One Day," and the material here is based on Cecila Ahern's novel "Where Rainbows End." The episodic touch probably worked better in the book. Here it seems too obvious, as if force feeding the audience what to expect. Collins is an actress I have unexplainable disdain for in the past, but here she is charming and likeable, enough for me to give her a temporary pass. Claflin fares better, giving hsi character a lot more depth than how it was written. All in all, this is a serviceable rom-coms. It works better when it is more romantic than comedy, probably because of the great chemistry between the two actors. They look pretty, and have great accents, so that's a plus for me. It's  not a total waste of time, but for my purposes it didn't inspire me to love. Maybe it's me. 

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Somewhere Down The Road (Television Review: Looking S02 E04 Looking Down The Road, HBO)

I always say this, But I mean it tonight more than usual: this episode of "Looking" is the best ever. A lot of emotions get to head, and a lot of the characters find themselves in crossroads, and you can't help but feel like all this will end in tears, and they usually do. Patrick finally is in that all-too-familiar situation: when you realize that you are in way too deep in something, and you know it's wrong, and you know it won't end, but you still have hope (mostly blind) that things would work out. Because you're in it, and as WIlliam Shakespeare once wrote, "For lovers are blind and lovers cannot see the pretty follies that they themselves commit." I mean, don't even deny that you have never been in this situation. Everyone who has ever been in love has. And now, enter Ritchie. While Ritche and Patrick have smoldering soulful chemistry, I truly hope they don't end up together. I love the fact that they are now becoming friends. Exes most of the time end up as friends: they share an intimacy that is unique within themselves, and only someone with stunted emotional intelligence would comment that when you are friends with an ex that you desire to be back together with that person. Look at how easily Patrick tells Ritchie about his affair with Kevin - there's an easiness there that's different from his relationship with his friends. Look at how, in the middle of Esta Noche, Ritchie senses that there's something wrong with Ritchie: he mouths to him "are you ok," out of the, blue. Exes will always be connected. This is just one of the few things in this episode that the writer, Roberto Aguire Sacassa,  gets right. Elsewhere, Dom is also at a crossroads, as he realizes that things with Lynn may not be working out, as evidence by his reticence to the idea of their "open" relationship. Even Agustin is in one: an easing of his relationship with Eddie, which is in the best phase of a slow burn. And really, Groff should get an Emmy for his performance week in week out: just look at his face when he finally meets Ritchie's new boyfriend Brady - in a single expression he is able to convey at least a thousand emotions, and damn it if all of us don't identify with each of those feelings.  It is easy to say that this is one of my favorite shows, but this one always gets emotions right, and it always makes me wanting more. After tonight's episode, I couldn't help but just sit in silence, contemplate about the characters, contemplate about me, contemplate about life in general. Looking always makes me look deep.  

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Orange In Green (Perfume Review: Elie Saab L'eau Couture)

Sometimes, when I get off at shower at night before starting my evening, I am at a loss for what perfume to wear, and tonight I just decided to randomly pick one from my bag of samples. Tonght's pick" Elie Saab's Le'au Couture parfum. I hadn't paid any attention to this scent, although I do like (but do not own) the original Elie Saab EDP, of which L'eau Couture is a flanker of. I remember the original EDP as a vavavavoom of an orange blossom scent, signed by one of my favorite noses, Francis Kurkdjian, who I think is an expert of the orange blossom note. One of these days, I should hunt for a cheap bottle of the EDP. So I am going to comment on L'eau Couture pretty much on its own merit, not as a comparison to the EDP. The top note here is also an orange blossom, but it's a pretty sedate one - it's whispery, but you can definitely hear what it is trying to say, which is that this is an orange blossom that's pretty and manageable. It develops into greener territory - much like a a dewy, spring-like orange blossom. On my skin, there's vanilla, but it's sheer and not cloying. L'eau Couture is light, but it's also sheer. It feels pretty, and you feel like you are not skimping on your scent. I liken it to a scarf that dresses up a tee. This would be perfect on those days when you are unsure about what to war, but want to wear something, and don't want your perfume to have such presence. I like it lots, and maybe I will hunt for a cheap bottle of this one as well.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Slap Me With A Hot Note (Television Review: The Slap E01, NBC)

Call me whatever you want, but the kid deserved that slap. If there is one thing that I really despise the most, it's the entitled attitude that parents and their kids have nowadays, just because. No just because you chose to have a child doesn't make you any more special than anyone else in the world. A slap in the new series "The Slap" unfurls a series of events in thi show show, on NBC. It's a prestige project, written by Jon Robin Baitz, directed by Lisa Cholodenko, and based on the critically acclaimed Australian television show, which in turn was an adaptation from the novel by Christos Tsiolkas. Confudes yet? No matter, but this show is a killer. I can't remembered the last time I started reacting to and for the characters in a television show. At a party for Hector (Peter Saarsgard, terrific here) the character of Zach Quinto (Harry) is the one who slaps a spoiled brat kid of Gary (Thomas Sadoski) Well, as one of their grandparents said, that kid is a brat, and if his parents will not discipline him, then someone has to. But this slap is just a plot point that will spin the lives of this ensemble of characters, and the cast is fantastic: Uma Thurman, Melissa George, Thandie Newton, Penn Badgely. I admit to not having seen the Australian version yet, and now that I have read so many praises for it, I vow to not see it until this one finishes, as it might color my appreciation for this show, which is turnign out to be the return of must-see television for NBC, for me anyway.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Nothing Means Nothing (Book Review: How To Succeed In Business Without Really Crying)

A memoir about a comedienne who wrote for "Seinfeld" and is said to be the inspiration for Julia Louis Dreyfus' character Elaine on that show? Check. Snazzy pop-art-ish cover and a title inspired by a Broadway musical? Okay, sign me up. But Carol Leifer's "How To Succeed In Business Without Really Crying" is a dud. I thought I would get insights on how she wrote for the shows (including "Modern Family" ) but we only get glimpses of those. We get a glance of how Lorne Michaels works in SNL, but that's about it. Except for a fawning description of Jerry Seinfeld, we get nothing. What we do get is sort of an advise book on how to make it in show business. Um, nto what they promised in this book. Maybe it's just appropriate - a book about the "show about nothing" also ends up empty.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

If Only For Two Nights (Movie Review: Two Night Stand)

Since it's Valentine's week, I thought I would revisit the rom-com. Well, via Netflix, anyway. "Two Night Stand" leaped at me because it stars Miles Teller, whom I think a sensitive young actor, and is sensational on "Whiplash," by the way. This movie reflects how people nowadays, which I think would be more complicated. Social media, internet dating sites, Tindr - the stakes seem to be higher nowadays, and the rules more complicated. teller is Alec, and Annaleigh Tipton is Megan, and they have a one night stand, after which Megan gets stuck in Alec's apartment because of a blizzard. And hilarity ensues. Yawn. And then it gets serious. The new cynical me would have liked for the sour to linger, but the audience who will want to see this will want the predictable endings. End result? I guess it's nice as these things go, but nice doesn't really cut it for me anymore. 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

When The One That Got Away Comes Back (Book Review: The Love Market, Carol Mason)

'Fess Up.  Whether one admits it or not, in our loves there always one, as Judy Garland sang, who "got away."  There is that one person you loved who just couldn't be: it could have worked, it should have worked, it never would have worked. For whatever reason, you will always carry a torch for that person. What would you do if that person came back to your life? That is the premise of Carol Mason's novel "The Love Market," and I have to admit I related. Of course, we have all had that dream, that fantasy that love would conquer all, because, let's face it, it never does in real life. This started a little slowly, but once it got going, it was chock full of surprises, and honestly not as predictable as it could have been. It gave me a feeling of being alive, and in love, and that's a great compliment.

Monday, February 2, 2015

For Broken Hearts Only (Movie Review Cuatro Lunas, Four Moon)

Cuatro Lunas, ("Four Moons") is all about heartbreak: gay heartbreak in particular. It tells about gay men in various states of unrequited love, and these stories will all break your heart. I very rarely have gay movies affect me nowadays - I feel like Ive seen all iterations of the gay love story - but this one has four big infectious hearts, and each one affected me. One story is a straight coming-of-age, a pre-teen gay kid has a crush on his cousin and explores it - this one is cringe-worthy because we can all identify with it, as we were at that age. Another story tackles a coupel whose relationship is rocked with infidelity: here actor Alejandro De La Madrid, as Andres, gives a wrenching performance as a man who tries desperately to hold on to his lover. Two college childhood friends explore their first serious love affair in another story, and this one tackles the coming out process, and how we all have different paths that sometimes do not cross. One last story revolves around an older man, an accomplished poet, who gets infatuated with a rentboy at a gay bath house. Most of the stories fall dangerously close to soap opera territory, and director Seergio Tovar Velasrde shows some inexperienced direction, but all in all they work because they are well-acted, and teh situatiosn will be familiar to any gay men out there. I highly recommend this. 

Sunday, February 1, 2015

That's What Friends Are Not For (Book Review: Friendship, Emily Gould)

A novel about friendship is always welcome to me, so I started reading Emily Gould's "Friendship" with glee. Yawn. Though it had some nice tender moments between the characters of Beverly and Amy, their personal plights were bland and uninspired, with cop out moments used to settle moments. The book was trite, and predictable, and if I wasn't anal, I totally would have ditched it about a third of the way in. The stupidest plot point: a woman spending money so she could be an "aunt" to someone. Spare me.