May 31, 2010

Movie Review: Letters to Juliet - zero stars

Apparently it's not my weekend for the arts. Want to see a really bad film with abysmal acting and wretched directing? Go see Letters to Juliet. Amanda Seyfried is really awful as Sophie, a young woman who's a fact-checker for New Yorker magazine but who wants to be a writer. Her acting (if you call it that) is straight out of Acting 101. She's not believable or relatable in the part, and has no chemistry with any of the other characters, including the two men she's supposed to be in love with. She does, however, spend a lot of time staring vacuously off into space so if you like that kind of thing this is your movie.
The actors have a lousy script to work with so I can't place all the blame with them. I'll give a big slice of responsibility-pie to Gary Winick for his mind-numbing direction. But generally good actors (that doesn't include Amanda Seyfried) were sleep-walking through this. Gael Garcia Bernal who plays Sophie's fiance is generally a charming and engaging actor but this performance is so bland you have to wonder what she saw in him in the first place. And Vanessa Redgrave, who's an icon and who looks lovely, is wooden. She seems to be thinking about everything she says. The only chemistry she has in the film is with the long-lost love (the point of the story), played by Franco Nero, who happens to be her real-life love who she got back together with after 36 years. A sweet story. He's terribly handsome and looks like my Bill.
The story revolves around Romeo and Juliet (thus the title) and that soul-mate kind of once-in-a-lifetime love that you regret giving up. Not a bad premise for a romantic comedy but in this case it's all formula and no substance. The story's contrived, right down to the hero riding in on a horse, ready to sweep his ingenue-turned-dowager off her feet, and then there's the obligatory balcony that comes out of nowhere to give Sophie her requisite Juliet-like moment.
Amazingly, I stayed for the whole thing but there were other people walking out. I should have followed them. Hindsight is 20/20.
Obviously I'm not recommending this movie on principle but I have friends/family who love this kind of film. I think my friend Joann will really like it as will my sister, Irene & Harvey and Suze & Jerry.
Let's see if I'm right.

May 29, 2010

Review: The 39 Steps - Zero stars

It took more than 39 steps to get from my seat to the exit but I couldn't get out of there fast enough.
My review in a word: dreadful.
Other words come to mind: waste of time, insufferable, piece of shit, stupid... Okay, I'm done. Suffice it to say Bill and I just simply hated it and thank god we agreed cuz it would have been excruciating for one of us to have to sit through it if the other liked it (impossible to imagine).
On the plus side the staging was minimal but clever. On the minus side...well, where do I begin?
It was patently unfunny (altho there was a woman behind us cackling like a maniac). The characters are silly, the voices and accents they use are even sillier, the story is absurd, it's slapstick beyond slapstick. I have to admit we only lasted 45 minutes so keep that in my when I say this was one of the worst things I've ever seen. But don't take my word for it, go see it for yourself, if you dare. And if you like it I just don't see how we can be friends any more.
(If you want to read a real review read Chris Jones' in the Chicago Tribune.)

May 19, 2010

Soon to be Released!

My novel Mr. Right-Enough will be released soon! Stay tuned for details.
Hey, do you like my front cover?

I also need your help on the back cover - which picture should I use? What do you think? 1, 2 0r 3?
1. The white V-neck top, 2. The white ruffled top, or 3. The orange top

May 15, 2010

Book Review - Every Last One *****

Five out of five stars for Anna Quindlen's latest novel, Every Last One.
It's beautifully written and immediately engaging, drawing you into the life of an ordinary family handling extraordinary circumstances. Everything about the characters is believable, they feel like people you already know, and the story rings true even though it's not an everyday tale.

Anna Quindlen is not only a wonderful writer but she's a great story-teller. And she keeps getting better and better at both.
I don't want to spoil anything so let me just say you will need a lot of Kleenex.

May 11, 2010

Knee Walker Scooter

Isn't this the goofiest thing you've ever seen? It's called a Knee Walker and you put your bad leg on the pad and then you scoot yourself around like a big dork.
When Bill and I went out for dinner on Saturday I tried it out for the first time and I have to tell you, it's not that easy to use. Hit a little bump in the pavement and you're likely to go flying. And it's hell on the knee. I kept feeling as if I should switch off legs so as not to get too tired but of course that wouldn't work. Bill said EVERY SINGLE PERSON I passed turned around to look at me. They were probably thinking, WTF???
Well, I tried it again yesterday, almost 2 miles round trip, and you know what? It seems kind of stupid. It's not all that stable, it hurts my knee and it's tiring. I'm going back to the crutches which I've gotten used to and can now move pretty efficiently. Besides, the foot's getting better every day. Won't be long before I'm back out there running!

May 9, 2010

Mom Liked My Sister Best

Really, she did. Growing up I didn't really care, I didn't like her anyway. The funny thing is, she and my sister fought all the time. They'd argue and scream at each other and finally my sister would yell, "I hate you!" and my mom would say, "I hate you too!" I'd cover my ears and run from the room. It made me crazy. (that's me on the left) But next thing you knew it had blown over and they were fine. I never fought with my mom, I never said much of anything to her. And if I had I would never have told her out loud that I hated her cuz if she'd said it to me I would have been totally devastated.
Not that many years ago I said to my sister, "Remember when you and Mom used to scream at each other when you were little and she would say she hated you? I've never forgiven her for that," and my sister said,
"Really? Why? I knew she didn't mean it."
Whew! All those years I held a grudge on my sister's behalf and it didn't even matter to her. Maybe that's why they got along? Cuz they understood each other? Cuz they could fight and forgive each other?
For sure, my mom and I didn't understand each other and couldn't forgive each other anything. Once I wrote in my diary that I hated her (oh, more than once, I'm sure) and she found the diary (obviously it levitated out of its hiding place when she was cleaning my room) and read it and then told my dad. Tattletale. And my dad (whom I adored) had a little chat with me about respect and understanding. Which of course backfired since it gave me another reason to hate her:
invading my privacy.
Looking back I'm sure she felt terrible about what I'd written and I feel bad about that, but what kid doesn't hate their parents at some point?
Do most parents have a favorite kid, do you think? They don't admit it but I'm thinking they always do. Just like kids have a favorite parent.

So I don't feel bad that my sister was Mom's favorite. Cuz I was Dad's.
Happy Mother's Day!

May 2, 2010

I Broke My Damn Foot!

I was just walking, for Christ's sake. Stepped wrong and tripped, and my foot sort of crumpled over, sending me sprawling. It hurt like a son-of-a-bitch. When I got up I knew I'd done something bad. Went to urgent care and found out it's a fracture on the fifth metatarsal. My first-ever broken bone.
So now my foot is wrapped, I have a boot and am on crutches which are not all that easy to deal with. I feel like I'm going to put them down wrong, lose my balance and go splat.
It was fun going up to Bill's yesterday. He's on the third floor of a 6-flat. I crutched it up two flights and crawled the rest of the way on my hands and knees. Very dignified.
This is going to put a bit of a crimp in my morning run.

May 1, 2010

Book Review - The Last Time I Saw You

This is a sweet read, worth the time to get to know these interesting characters. If you're looking for great literature this isn't your book...but if you want a fun, engaging read with characters you can get into I recommend it. Especially if you're a 'certain age.' Read the rest of my review HERE.