Moments of escape can be moments of clarity!

"Oh, had I but followed the Arts"-William Shakespeare

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Nothing Wrong with kickin' it Old,Old school!

The Reel of the week is 1954's "Salt of the Earth". A movie that because of it's unheard of honesty about Social injustice in the Mining Industry during the tumultuous McCarthy Era was banned by the government.
The film is chronicling the 1950 strike by the zinc miners of Local 890 of the International Mine, Mill, and Smelter Workers in Silver City, New Mexico. The story was filmed entirely by blacklisted actors and the actual participates of the Strike.
The story centers on Esperanza (Rosaura Revueltas) and Ramon (Juan Chacon) Quintero.  Ramon is a worker in the zinc  mine (who is actually Juan, playing himself). Accidents and unsafe conditions , also inequality in living conditions between the Mexican workers and the white workers come to a head. The miners decide to Strike. 
The Solidarity between the white miners and the Mexican miners is unheard of for that time. The owners of the mine try to break the Strike by violence and then by arresting the ring leaders. They finally pass a law forbidding workers in the mine from picketing on mine property. What that brings about is inspiring and also the harbinger for the coming years with the Freedom Riders and 1955 Bus Boycott by Blacks in Montgomery, Alabama.
In the same year "Salt of the Earth" was banned Labor Organizer Clinton Jencks (who played himself in the movie) was arrested and put on trial for lying about being a Communist and was actually convicted. This prompted the Jencks Act, which governs the production of statements and reports of witnesses for the prosecution during federal trials.
I think this movie is an imperishable story and a must see, I think for high school students, a great study guide. Just think back a short time to the Chilean Miners Story. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Yikes

The Reel of the week is "IN THE BEDROOM" with Sissy Spacek, Nick Stahl (Met him while an extra in "Man Without a Face") and Tom Wilkinson , who was so compelling in this role. 
Nick Stahl plays Frank Fowler the son of Ruth (Sissy Spacek) and Matt (Tom Wilkinson) Fowler a Doctor and Chorus teacher living in Camden Maine. Frank is spending his last summer in Maine with his parents before he goes off to college. While home he meets Natalie, an older, separated mother of two, played by Marisa Tomei. They fall into a heated , summer love affair which spirals into devastating tragedy for all involved.

No spoilers, but I will say : "Didn't see that coming"! This is definitely not a date movie or a let's go out for an ice cream  after this movie. But it was thought provoking and disturbing. I would recommend seeing it at least once.
My only complaint is wondering when Hollywood will conquer the Maine accent. Some of them were horrible and a little distracting. Come on it's easier then a Russian accent . But at least they actually came to Maine, I'd recognize Old Orchard Beach anywhere.  Fa shuwa Ayuh!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Criminal Minds Episode review

In this review of the April 13th episode of "Criminal Minds" I will not beat that cardboard horse by harping on the Seaver (Rachel Nichols) character. Let's move on. 
The BAU is called to San Diego after co eds are being murdered in a very slashy way. There were definitely some creepy moments and a high and bloody body count.The Unsub (Chad Todhunter) is acting out some kind of traumatic babysitter issue in his past, that alone was a little disturbing. The whole idea of being in your home all comfy, cozy and not knowing someone is in your home so your life clock is winding down without your knowledge is unsettling to say the least. It brings to mind a past episode of "Criminal Minds", "The Angel Maker" which gave me that same creeped out feeling.
 I really like "Hotch" in negotiator mode like in last weeks episode he really shines. The exchanges between Hotch and Strauss are provocative. There is some real chemistry there. hmmm...... Could that be Hotch's secret? We are still waiting for his secret, with two episodes left this season. Having Strauss take some time off leaving Hotch overseeing the Bureau opens up all kinds of storylines.  

There has been some murmurings of a possible return of JJ (AJ Cook). That would be nice. Could that mean the exit of one cardboard figure? I for one await a resounding YES!!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

I'm sensing a pattern

My Reel of the week is another Western, Hence the title of this weeks blog.  I just felt the need to watch another Western.
You know there is just not a cooler, smoother or Hotter man than Steve McQueen. In this movie he plays the title character "TOM HORN"  in this true story of his life. Tom was a cowboy, tracker, and stock detective who actually revered and admired Geronimo (that's a first). Which gets him in trouble from the get go. Tom is at the end of his career and is drifting along in Wyoming where he meets John Coble (Richard Farnsworth) a cattle rancher who offers Tom a job as a stock detective with the blessing of the cattlemen's association to end the cattle rustling by whatever means necessary. So it wasn't pretty.  Just an aside, how did they expect to sneak around back then with those damn spurs making so much noise.
Soon Tom is doing his job a little too well, so the cattlemen's association is suddenly saying "How the hell do we get rid of him?" considering what white men in U.S. did to the NDNS they had no problem screwing over one of there own. Dirty, evil and lowdown...no problem.  
I don't do spoilers so watch it for yourself. Steve McQueen played TOM HORN with such charm and vulnerability, that alone made the movie worth it.. It wasn't a feel good movie, but Steve McQueen made it a good movie.
If there are any of you out there who have not seen a Steve McQueen movie (I don't know who you are, but shame on you!) check out some like "THE GETAWAY" and "BULLITT" they are definitely worth a look. Steve McQueen is timeless.......not to mention HOT!


Saturday, April 9, 2011

You know the drill..tv night equals "Criminal Minds"

It takes me a bit to digest the "Criminal Minds" episode of the week, lest I get too venomous.  Seaver: "She's like a bouncing ball" Me: Shut up. There I got that out of the way, I will try to review this episode without mentioning Seaver (Rachel Nichols). I will just say thank god she only had about 5 insipid lines in an otherwise throughly engrossing episode.
I actually really liked this episode. The BAU is called to Tampa to catch a woman who seems to be on a rampage. There is always something extra disturbing about a woman killer (as an actress I'd love that role). Kelli Martin was haunting as a grieving mother reaching out for the "help" she felt she was denied during a crisis.
The story within a story involved the teams reaction to the "death" of Emily Prentiss. Hotch (Thomas Gibson) was charged with taking the temperature of the team. Saving them the scrutiny of Chief Strauss. Rossi (Joe Mantegna) voiced what we were all thinking. How is Hotch (Thomas Gibson) dealing with his own tumultuous year?
 Thomas Gibson gave one of his best performances this season. Especially his scenes with the grieving mother (Kelli Martin). We have 3 more new episodes left in season 6 and I see a glimmer of hope that CM will get back to the type of work that drew us there in the first place. Minus Seaver (Hey I can hope, can't I) Nuff said

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

I have Mad love for a lonesome Cowboy!

Ok I'm a little late to the party. After all it won Jeff Bridges an Oscar .....last year.  I'm speaking of "Crazy Heart". It's my Reel of the week.

Jeff plays "Bad Blake", a washed up, alcoholic country crooner. He is limping along from one dot on the map town to another, hoping to revive his career. His hard drinking, hard talking and womanizing are getting in his way. To "Bad's" way of thinking it's everybody's fault, but his own. Mostly his manager's fault smarmily played by James Keane. His good friend Wayne is played by Robert Duvall who is a staple in any good western. Wayne is his sounding board and his conscience.
"Bad" deeply resents but does not begrudge the talent of his protege Tommy Sweet played surprisingly low key by Colin Farrell. Tommy has taken what he learned from "Bad" and hit the big time.


"Bad's"  strength is his crazy heart where the songs live. When he's sober his words ring heart wrenchingly true.
In one dot on the map town he meets Jean a reporter played by Maggie Gyllenhaal. She has her own wounds but wants to know the heart behind the songs "Bad" writes.
Can she calm his crazy heart? I for one kept my fingers crossed. You'll want "Bad" to triumph over his demons too. I loved this movie!
Jeff Bridges should display his Oscar proudly. He earned it Ya'll

Monday, April 4, 2011

Bits & Bobs & The Book in-between

Career Update, Let's just say it's always a good idea to have a back-up plan.  Well, my commercial is playing on the radio, so a little extra money for me. The producer of the Audio Book I've been prepping for had to go out of town because of an emergency. Soooo I've been relegated to the back burner indefinitely. Still no word from Edward Allen Benero. I have taken up pen and started song writing again, I'm very rusty.

I haven't started a new book yet, when I'm In between books I always pick up "Nocturnes" a book of short, strange stories by my very favorite writer John Connolly. He writes the most wonderful, scary,engrossing, unexpected novels I have had the pleasure to read. He also created my favorite character "Charlie Parker" a tortured soul forever on the cusp of good and evil but also the here and the here after. I call them my Murder and Mayhem novels.  Never a dull moment .

Music wise as usual I'm all over the place. Thanks to my elliptical I have a chance to put together my very own eclectic sets. I start with maybe some U2 or matchbox 20, move on to some James Brown, Los Lonely Boys, Kanye West, Pink, Snoop Dogg, but I always begin and end with Litefoot. Sometimes I put on his latest CD "Relentless Pursuit" and that gets me through my entire workout.
My Reel of the week will be tomorrow, I actually watched three movies, just trying to decide which to review. Excited? I am!http://www.johnconnollybooks.com/    
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZ6XB6oHsVU       Check out Litefoot !

Friday, April 1, 2011

TV night, must be "Criminal Minds"

It was the first episode sans Prentiss. All in all an episode that was well written and held my interest.The mental illness storyline was disturbingly real. It tied in well with "Reid's" fear of inheriting his mother's mental illness. Which also brings to mind how much I miss Jane Lynch who played Reid's Mom and was perfection. Which brings me to the imagination stretching "Seavers".  She is just not believable as a profiler. A. she's too young and B. SHE doesn't even believe her character. Just because her "Father" was a serial killer doesn't make her a profiler. Hell my father was a helicopter mechanic, but I know shit about helicopters. Maybe her character would be better suited as a victim's advocate.

"Criminal Minds" has had so many cast changes, most were good choices. When Mandy Patinkin left I did no mourning.The David Rossi (Joe Mantegna) character was a great addition to the cast and he had an interesting back story. When Elle Greenaway (Lola Glaudini) left, no tears, she was a bad fit.  A much better choice was Emily Prentiss (Paget Brewster) she had better chemistry with the others and I liked the friction she had with Hotch (Thomas Gibson).

I really want "Criminal Minds" to continue, but it has to get out of it's own way. I look forward to Season 7 (possibly minus "Seaver". think believability and chemistry) and Hotch's (Thomas Gibson) storyline about the fallout of all the challenges he faced during other Seasons.. divorce, assault, the murder of his wife,one of his team members committing murder and the loss of  two team members.  So come on get it together CBS.