2 Broke Girls

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Caustic, acidic, sometimes all too believable and often laugh out loud funny, this female-driven show is definitely a must see. The ongoing adventures of the titular two very broke girls, Max and Caroline, are engaging and pragmatic as they try to keep financially afloat as waitresses in a very sub-par Williamsburg diner. Yes, it is sometimes gratuitously cheesy with contrived one-liners and burlesque supporting characters, but I love it. Kat Dennings is superb as Max, a self-denigrating denizen of New York’s lower crust.  In an uncharacteristic act of altruism, Max offers Caroline (Beth Behrs) an erstwhile millionaire’s daughter who is suddenly penniless when her father is jailed for fraud, a place to sleep for a night.  Naturally, she never leaves. The dynamic between the two drives the show, along with other characters in and around the diner. It’s a bit like The Odd Couple with girls, but much, much better.

Very apropos for the current economic reality, it is nice to see characters in a sitcom struggling to make ends meet instead of, say, Rich Kids of Beverly Hills (don’t even get me started). Jennifer Coolidge is hilarious as a slightly clueless, over-sexed and over-the-top character, which seems to be her signature role in most everything.  Han (Matthew Moy), the long-suffering owner of the diner, is essentially a walking punchline and Max in particular is quite ruthless at dishing out endless one-liners at his expense.  Caroline decides to put her business degree to use and turn Max’s hobby of making cupcakes into an actual moneymaker.  Each episode ends with the current accounting of how much money the girls have at any given time.  Always good for many laughs an episode, I look forward to many more seasons of this show to see whether Max and Caroline can ever really succeed with their cupcake business. More power to you, ladies! – BETHANY

For more on 2 Broke Girls, visit the Internet Movie Database

The main cast from left to right:  Sophie Kachinsky (Jennifer Coolidge), Oleg (Jonathan Kite), Max Black (Kat Dennings), Caroline Channing (Beth Behrs), Earl (Garrett Morris) and Han Lee (Matthew Moy).

         Busty Max has to deal with guys like this a lot.

        The girls go seriously sexy for a Super Bowl ad.

      Caroline tries to entice customers to buy not only the cupcakes, but also the T-shirts she somewhat unwisely had made up.

Max sporting an eye patch (don’t ask), while Caroline continues to sport the last vestige of her former life – her pearls.

Max, Han, Caroline and cashier Earl.  Believe it or not, Han is a full grown man!



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I went to see the latest 007 movie in the theater back in October and was so ambivalent about it, I have only just gotten around to reviewing it.  My blasé attitude and extremely uncharacteristic procrastination should speak volumes.  It’s not that Spectre is a bad movie, it is a perfectly respectable spy thriller containing all the requisite components.  But any Bond movie would have suffered in the unenviable position of following Skyfall.  The producers definitely knew this and nearly killed themselves trying making Spectre even more epic, more sweeping, with bigger explosions, more mayhem, Bond hooking up with not just one hot woman but two!, many, many action sequences and even going so far as to ostensibly connect all the previous Daniel Craig Bond films.  But despite this agenda, one car chase seemed more like a leisurely drive and in one memorable scene, Bond actually walks out on the hot girl before things get serious!

I should say I was biased against this film from the start, simply because they had offed Judi Dench‘s M (boo!) and replaced her with Ralph Fiennes.  He’s a perfectly good actor, but I loved Judy Dench as M so much that it made me a trifle wroth.  In fairness, there were quite a few parts of the movie I did like quite a bit.  The opening sequence during Mexico’s Day of the Dead was fantastic, for the costumes if nothing else.  It was a visual extravaganza and the cinematography and staging were fabulous.  I noticed in the credits a bit of it is referred to as ‘helicopter ballet’, which I thought was extremely apropos.  Of course, in this day and age it beggars the imagination to believe if a helicopter is going wacko above a huge plaza filled with revelers that NOT ONE OF THEM whipped out a smartphone and started filming the drama unfolding in the sky.

My favorite scenes in the movie were where Bond interrogates a mouse, which was extremely funny and spot on for the franchise, and also when James is driving another 00 agent’s car and the poor guy is portrayed as an extreme sad sack by means of his vehicle’s accoutrements  (to much hilarity, of course), although we never meet him in person.  Léa Seydoux was absolutely lovely as Dr. Madeleine Swann and it was kind of cool, if an unnecessary detour in the plot, to have Bond seduce an older woman, beautifully played by Monica BellucciChristoph Waltz naturally delivered a great performance and it was nice to get a glimpse of Moneypenny’s everyday life (Naomie Harris).  But there were just way to many instances of eye-roll induced action sequences due to the extreme improbability, if not downright impossibility of such things actually happening.  Not that James Bond movies have ever been known for their realistic plots and stunts (Moonraker, I’m looking at you!), but some have been more believable than others.  All in all, I felt this was a very anemic Bond movie that was just trying way too hard and I sum it up with an apathetic meh!  – BETHANY

For more on Daniel Craig’s latest romp as the famous spy, visit the Internet Movie Database

Bond takes a stroll during the Day of the Dead festival.

Some of the fantastic costumes and set pieces from the sequence:

Oh James, did you crash yet another moving vehicle?

This looks like the least promising railroad stop ever.

                                      Hail Hydra!  Oops, wrong franchise.  Hail Spectre?

Helicopter ballet indeed!

Nice dress, Dr. Swann (Léa Seydoux).  Despite the fact we saw you get on that train in a different outfit with no luggage to speak of.

The new M (Ralph Fiennes) faces off with the unctuous C (Andrew Scott).

Here’s all you really need for a Bond movie:



And Boys with Toys.




Photos courtesy of B24, Columbia Pictures, Danjaq, Eon Productions, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Sony (unless otherwise credited in clickable form)




The Tomorrow People

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The CW seems to have cornered the market in supernatural dramas populated by the young and beautiful. Not that it’s necessarily a bad thing, just an observation. I started watching The Tomorrow People because I love Arrow so much, and figured another Amell cousin might be worth a try. After watching the show’s freshman season, I think it would definitely be worth tuning in for the next season, if there is one. The premise is familiar enough, with the next step in human evolution manifesting as the psionic powers of teleportation, telekinesis and telepathy, and the new species being persecuted by normals as well as some misguided members of their own kind.

The main character, Stephen, serves as the audience’s gateway guide to the world of the Tomorrow People as he suddenly starts manifesting superpowers and begins to meet the major players in the “shadow war”. Is the concept thoroughly original and each episode utterly compelling? No, but it is entertaining and interesting enough to keep me watching. This isn’t meant to be groundbreaking television drama. It’s a young adult soap, but in the best sense of the phrase. My favorite character is Russell, a paranormal who gets all the good lines and is always the life of the party. Full of suspense, underground lairs, shadowy government installations, the inevitable romantic entanglements and family drama, I hope the show gets a chance to expand the story line with a second season. It is currently listed as cancelled, but shows have been known to be resurrected if the fans howl loudly enough. – BETHANY

For more on this wasted opportunity by the CW, visit the Internet Movie Database

Stephen Jameson (Robbie Amell), flanked by his uncle Jedekiah Price (Mark Pellegrino, whom you might remember as Jacob from Lost) and his father Roger Price (Jeffrey Pierce), both pulling him in diametrically opposing directions, each with their own agendas.

Jedikiah broods a lot, ostensibly running the ridiculously named covert organization called Ultra.

Stephen’s best friend Astrid Finch (Madeleine Mantock) knows there is something hinky going on.

Tomorrow People Russell and Cara (Aaron Yoo and Peyton List) no doubt crashing a party to which they were not invited.

In order to be cool desperados, it is necessary to wear black boots and black leather jackets.  Anything else would be just banal.  Stephen, Cara and John (Aussie actor Luke Mitchell).

Cara and John are a very cute power couple.

   The iniquitous power behind Ultra, a stygian character known only as The Founder (Simon Merrells).

Stephen and Russell in the Tomorrow People’s Lair, a tricked out abandoned subway station.



Photos courtesy of Berlanti Productions, CBS Television Studios, Fremantle Media North America, Warner Bros. Television and The CW (unless otherwise credited in clickable form)




Devious Maids

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This hilarious show makes no claim to be serious drama. It’s a soap in the best sense, which splits its time between the very rich of Beverly Hills and the tight knit community of Latina maids who work for them. It is not meant to be believable, it’s more like an American version of a telenovela, where everything is over the top and the plot twists and turns more than Bill Clinton trying to explain his relationship with Monica Lewinsky. It is deliciously sordid and frequently laugh out loud funny, with an amazing cast of superb actors.

Relationships are the driving force of the show, where everyone is connected to everyone else and are all up in one another’s business. The squadron of maids and their complicated friendships with their employers are a guilty pleasure to watch, and each character is drawn in bold, broad strokes of caricature, some more realistic than others. True, the very rich do tend to be self-centered and clueless, but absolutely everyone is looking out for number one and in that sense, it isn’t just the maids that are devious. The dialogue is sharp and a bit sarcastic, almost as though it is making fun of itself, which is always entertaining. I look forward to each new episode and am delighted that season 2 is every bit as good, if not better, than season 1 and the same is true for subsequent seasons. This is an unapologetic Latina potboiler and I for one am totally hooked. – BETHANY

For more on this terrifically addictive soap fest, visit the Internet Movie Database

Meet the maids, from left to right:

  • Carmen Luna (Roselyn Sanchez), a diva more interested in becoming a Latin pop star than dusting furniture.
  • Valentina Diaz (Edy Ganem), the youngest maid with dreams of being a fashion designer.
  • Marisol Suarez (Ana Ortiz), a white collar professor undercover as a maid to try and clear her son of a murder charge.
  • Rosie Falta (Dania Ramirez), a lovable dim bulb whose simple way of looking at the world is often extremely funny.
  • Zoila Diaz (Judy Reyes), Valentina’s mother and an outspoken maid/companion for scatter-brained socialite Genevieve Delatour (Susan Lucci).

Flora Hernandez (Paula Garcés), whose murder that started it all with her epic swan dive into the Powell’s swimming pool during a swanky party.  The question of the season – who killed Flora?

Evelyn and Adrian Powell (Rebecca Wisocky and Tom Irwin), a brilliantly cast twisted pair whose complicated relationship and cavalier attitude towards life and other people is a scream to watch.

Yeah, it’s a rough life being a maid.

Zoila and her boss/friend Genevieve Delatour (Susan Lucci).

                                            Remi Delatour (Drew Van Acker), Genevieve’s son.  He presents a problem for Zoila, who knows her daughter Valentina is in love with him but Zoila’s convinced nothing good could come of such a relationship.

Peri and Spence Westmore (Mariana Klaveno and Grant Show), who are both actors, have a troubled marriage.

Spence has a much more comfortable relationship with their maid, Rosie, who calls him Mr. Spence.

Michael and Taylor Stappord (Brett Cullen and Brianna Brown), whose life has every appearance of being a fairy tale.

                                Carmen works for Latin pop star and heartthrob Alejandro Rubio (Matt Cedeño).

But her plans to seduce/use him to launch her own career are hampered by Alejandro’s longtime and very prickly employee Odessa Burakov (Melinda Page Hamilton).

Fun on the set with Drew Van Acker and Edy Gamen.



Photos courtesy of ABC Studios, Cherry/Wind Productions, Televisa USA and Disney–ABC Domestic Television (unless otherwise credited in clickable form)




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I am delighted this Canadian series has been picked up for a second season, as I thoroughly enjoyed the first. Yes, it is another police procedural drama, but with a major twist. At the beginning of each episode, we are introduced to both the killer and the victim of each week’s homicide. So we know the who, but the important bit is the why. Two very accomplished detectives slowly dig into the case, seeking to unearth the hidden truth, part of which the audience knows already. It’s as though the script writers have taken the viewer into their confidence, giving them a unique vantage point from which to watch the action while withholding a crucial piece of information: the motive.

The show is unlike anything else on television and I find myself completely drawn into each story line while getting better acquainted with the main characters. Detective Angie Flynn (Kristin Lehman) reminds me strongly of Uma Thurman in Kill Bill, but here she’s a world-weary cop instead of an assassin hell bent on vengeance. Lauren Holly is terrific as the sarcastic medical examiner Dr. Betty Rogers and Louis Ferreira, whom you might remember as Col. Young in Stargate-Universe, beautifully underplays the suave Detective Vega. I like the opposing qualities of the detectives’ partnership, how they approach things from totally different angles and often see things the other missed. Together they make an amazing team with a tremendous knack for making the suspect relax, thinking the cops don’t see anything amiss in their story. They play it so cool and casual on the surface, but underneath there are two acutely perceptive minds like steel traps, just waiting for the killer to make a mistake. I’d hate to play poker against these two! – BETHANY

For more on this fascinating procedural, visit the Internet Movie Database

Left to right:  Detective Brian Lucas (Brendan Penny), Dr. Betty Rogers (Lauren Holly), Detective Oscar Vega (Louis Ferreira), Detective Angie Flynn (Kristin Lehman) and Staff Sergeant Boyd Bloom (Roger R. Cross).

Detectives Vega and Flynn on the job.  Although Vega’s shirt isn’t wrinkled, doesn’t he look like he just rolled out of bed?  Slightly rumpled.

Detectives Lucas, Flynn and Vega inspecting a crime scene.

Dr. Betty Rogers (Lauren Holly) and Detective Lucas.  ‘Hey Doc?  This corpse isn’t going to explode, is it?  Because I can’t help but notice you have a face shield and I don’t.’

Detective Flynn doing what she does best.  Asking questions.

Wow, you know she means business when she has two pairs of glasses!

Detectives Flynn and Vega always put people at ease, speaking with a pleasant smile but noticing every tiny detail and possible discrepancy.

Photos courtesy of Foundation Features, Lark Productions, NBC Universal Television Distribution, Bell Media, Bell Broadcast and New Media Fund and Motive1 Productions (unless otherwise credited in clickable form)


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OK, so the premise of this show is a little hard to swallow, but there are plenty of other TV shows out there about the paranormal and nobody bats an eye. The focus of this show is a special little girl named Bo, who evidently inherited psychic and telekinetic gifts from her mother. She was born into the care of a group of scientific researchers trying to harness her power for some unknown but probably nefarious purpose. Now on the run from the powers that be, Bo is entrusted by some of the erstwhile scientists to a man they broke out of prison’s death row (exactly where anyone would go to find excellent child care). William Tate swears he was framed and is also, as we discover in the first episode, Bo’s father, although neither one of them know it. Tate and Bo continually try to evade the authorities but frequently get sidetracked by Bo’s intense desire to help people in ways only she can.

The story is meant to be about the uncorrupted innocence of Bo, the redemption of Tate and the all-powerful force of good the two of them together represent. Whether the show manages to achieve this is a matter of opinion, but each episode has a dreamy, hopeful quality to it that I find quite compelling. The high minded premise is leavened with a humorous, slightly antagonistic relationship between the two leads as they slowly figure out how to work together. The visual effects achieved when Bo manifests her power are quite stunning, and I was looking forward to learning more about all the characters as the narrative progressed, but now the show has been cancelled.  Even though there won’t be any more of them, the first season is well worth watching on its own merit.  – BETHANY

For more on Believe, visit the Internet Movie Database

Not your average little girl.  Bo Adams is played by Johnny Sequoyah.

                         Dr. Milton Winter (Delroy Lindo), leader of the group of scientists who split from Project Orchestra and now make it their mission to protect Bo.

Janice Channing (Jamie Chung), one of Milton Winter’s associates dedicated to protecting Bo.

Dr. Roman Skouras (Kyle McLaughlin), head of Project Orchestra and one-time partner of Milton Winter.

                                                     Bo, meet Tate.  We busted him out of prison so he could look after you!

Bo and William Tate (Jake McLaughlin).

                                                                       Bo, Tate and Lila Leeds (Katie McClellan), another member of Winter’s team.  I don’t think her disguise is very good.  Ever seen a doctor wearing black combat boots?

                                                                     Dr. Zoe Boyle (Kerry Condon), who replaced Winter as head of research at Project Orchestra.

Dude, you cut Bo’s hair like that and we’ll have a problem.

         FBI Special Agent Elizabeth Ferrel (Trieste Kelly Dunn).

Bo using her power, this time in the form of birds.  Does that make her a druid or a Disney princess?

                         Bo and Tate get close.

On the run again.  Those are some epic earmuffs, Bo!



Photos courtesy of Bad Robot, Bonanza Productions, Esperanto Filmoj, Warner Bros. Television and NBC (unless otherwise credited in clickable form)


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This definitely not your usual comedic fare, but rather a delicious throwback stylistically to the great screwball and caper comedies of the 70s and 80s.  Lord Charlie Mortdecai (Johnny Depp) isn’t a nice person.  He’s a vain narcissistic pansy totally convinced of his own superiority or in other words, a perfect send-up of the British aristocracy.  The story is what you might get if you took a P.G. Wodehouse book, infused it with a lot of somewhat crass but extremely elegantly worded vulgarity and then cast all the major characters with movie stars accustomed to getting top billing.  Very much in the same vein as many of Blake Edwards’ movies, most notably the Pink Panther films (at least the Peter Sellers ones, not the recent Steve Martin abomination), Charlie Mortdecai is a bumbling idiot with extraordinarily good luck.  Ostensibly, he’s an art dealer but in reality he specializes in swindling gullible patrons and has many a disreputable connection in the seedy underbelly of the art world.

Lady Mortdecai, Johanna to her friends, is played in rather exquisite detail by Gwyneth Paltrow.  She wields her not inconsiderable power with grace and aplomb as well as all the ruthlessness of Attila the Hun.  Playing the Jeeves to Mortdecai’s Wooster is Jock (Paul Bettany), a thug extraordinaire with a rapacious appetite for the ladies.  He conducts his job of all-purpose servant to the most inept employer on the planet with ease and regardless of whatever onerous task he’s given or dire injury sustained, his response is always the same – “It’s a privilege, sir!”  When a certain painting is stolen, Inspector Alistair Martland of MI5 (Ewan McGregor) reluctantly enlists Mortdecai’s assistance.  The international hunt for the missing artwork eventually leads Mortdecai to Los Angeles, a beastly colonial backwater home to billionaire (and art collector) Milton Krampf (Jeff Goldblum) and his nymphomaniac daughter Georgina (Olivia Munn).  And then things really get interesting.

Like any caper worth its salt, there are Russian criminals, terrorists, Oriental mobsters, femme fatales, kidnappings and at least one narrowly averted international incident.  It had me howling with laughter and I personally think it is one of Johnny Depp’s better performances.  His character is just so blissfully ignorant and genuinely believes himself to be the James Bond of the art world.  All that aside, I can see why it didn’t do terribly well with American audiences because despite it being an American production, the tone is very, very British.  I personally adore British comedy but I’m sorry to say I am not in the majority amongst my countrymen on the subject.  Its subtlety and verbal acrobatics were wasted in the U.S.  This American, however, gives it a smashingly good four stars.  – BETHANY

For more on this twisted and zany farce of a movie, pop by the Internet Movie Database

“What is that infernal thing on your lip?”  Charlie Mortdecai is convinced his new mustache is the icing on top of the confection that is his most treasured self, but absolutely nobody else agrees.

Jock (Paul Bettany) and Mortdecai (Johnny Depp).  Martland had this to say about Mortdecai’s appearance:  “A man your age has no excuse for looking or behaving like a fugitive from a home for alcoholic music hall artistes.”

                                    “I asked for a bit of cheese, not an instrument of biological warfare!”

Georgina (Olivia Munn) living up to her reputation.

Mortdecai crosses swords with international terrorist Emil Strago (Jonny Pasvolsky).

Landing in Los Angeles, which makes Mortdecai “long for the rain and indifference of Europe.”

Darling!  This is not what it looks like.

Mortdecai and Milton Krampf (Jeff Goldblum).

Lady Mortdecai (Gwyneth Paltrow) and Alistair Martland (Ewan McGregor).

Jock, if not the brains of the operation then definitely the fists.  (Paul Bettany)

Mortdecai being forcibly detained by Romanov (Ulrich Thomsen).  Say what you like about him, but Mortdecai really can dish out some devastating insults.  “Your mother and father only knew each other for a day, and money changed hands!”

Lord and Lady Mortdecai (Gwyneth Paltrow and Johnny Depp).  With a mustache like that, the poor chap always seems to be smiling, even when he’s not.

“Can you think of a good reason why I shouldn’t arrest you right now?”              “I eschew discomfort?”



Photos courtesy of Mort Productions, Infinitum Nihil, Mad Chance Productions, OddLot Entertainment and Lionsgate (unless otherwise credited in clickable form)

Apollo 13


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Growing up in Orlando, Florida, I was highly attuned to NASA’s space program.  Our family were frequent visitors at Cape Canaveral’s Kennedy Space Center, where it was my privilege to actually touch a Saturn 5 rocket and I got to watch many a Space Shuttle launch up close.  I was regrettably born too late to witness the events in Apollo 13 myself, but Ron Howard‘s attention to detail and extreme accuracy in depicting the events makes it possible for me to feel as though I was there.  This movie has withstood the test of time and made the phrase “Houston, we have a problem” permanently part of pop culture’s lexicon.

Although the misfortunes of Apollo 13’s mission are already a given historically, the film still kept me on the edge of my seat and holding my breath not an inconsiderable number of times.  The performances from Tom Hanks, Gary Sinise, Kevin Bacon, Bill Paxton, Ed Harris and Kathleen Quinlan (Marilyn Lovell) are superlative and passionate, making the characters come to life in a very real way.  The movie richly deserves its 34 awards, including two Oscars, and was nominated for 7 more Academy Awards including Best Soundtrack (sorry, Best Music, Original Dramatic Score).  The composer was James Horner, a luminary in the world of movie soundtracks who died tragically in a plane crash earlier this year.  He is responsible for some of the most memorable music in movies including:

Many of these were nominated for and won their own awards.  The score he composed for Apollo 13 is somewhat reminiscent of his work in the movie Glory, a similarity which first twigged me to the fact that he had created them both.  Call it his musical signature, if you will.  There’s a graceful and quiet nobility to the score which is much more powerful than if it had been loud and bombastic.  As a musician myself, it pains me a great deal that the world has lost such a gifted composer.

At the film’s premiere, Ron Howard, who maintains this is his favorite film of those he’s directed, asked the audience to write reviews of the movie.  One of them emphatically stated there was no way the crew would have survived the mission in real life.  Evidently the author had no idea it was based on a true story.  The history books call Apollo 13’s mission the ‘Successful Failure’.  They never landed on the moon but instead plunged into an epic drama that captivated the world, an incredible story of survival against overwhelming odds, making the name of the spacecraft Odyssey all the more appropriate.  Tom Hanks‘ brilliant performance as mission commander Jim Lovell earned him an asteroid (12818 Tomhanks) named in his honor, and some of the shots of the moon and the earth were actual pictures courtesy of the Apollo 8 mission.  This fabulous movie remains one of my all-time favorites and yes, I still get chills and hold my breath every time I watch it.  One day it will be my very great pleasire to watch another human set foot on the moon and it can’t come soon enough for me.  – BETHANY

For more on this iconic movie, launch yourself to the Internet Movie Database

Tom Hanks, Gary Sinise and Bill Paxton in their official NASA portrait, before Sinise’s Ken Mattingly was replaced with Jack Swigert (Kevin Bacon).

                           Displaced astronaut Ken Mattingly (Gary Sinise) watches the launch of Apollo 13.  In Forrest Gump, Gary Sinise’s Lieutenant Dan tells Forrest (Tom Hanks) that if he ever becomes a shrimp boat captain, he, Lt. Dan, will become an astronaut.  Sure enough, they’re both astronauts!

NASA, in the person of Buzz Aldrin, asked permission to use the movie for training purposes.  – source- IMDB.com trivia

                                         Ed Harris playing flight director Gene Kranz, working through the problem of how to get the crew of Apollo 13 home alive.

Tom Hanks as Jim Lovell, Kevin Bacon as Jack Swigert and Bill Paxton as Fred Haise, getting a look out the frozen window at the damage to the side of the spacecraft as it is jettisoned.

Marilyn Lovell (Kathleen Quinlan) waits with her children for new updates.  I was inspired to watch this movie again after becoming such a fan of The Astronaut Wives Club.

Triumph of the engineers, working to solve the puzzle of how to fit a square peg in a round hole using only materials actually accessible to the astronauts.

   The real life Jim Lovell in his cameo playing the Captain of the USS Iwo Jima, shaking hands with Tom Hanks, playing his younger self.

NASA’s KC-135A, also known as the Vomit Comet, which achieves a near weightless experience for passengers by flying in a steep parabolic arc.  Many of the weightless scenes in Apollo 13 were actually filmed here, achieving a level of realism that would have been impossible otherwise, short of actually filming in space.

It’s been a goal of mine to one day see the Earth from space, ever since I heard Captain Picard’s speech about it in Star Trek: First Contact.  Most astronauts say it’s the most incredible experience and they would do most anything to go back.

There are a surprising number of actors who were in Apollo 13 that have since gone on to become recognizable names.  Here are a few surprising faces you might recognize.  If you know you’ve seen them before but can’t remember where, click on the hotlink which will show you what other things that actor has been in.

Xander Berkeley as NASA liaison Henry Hurt.

                                                                     Brett Cullen, credited as CAPCOM 1.

                                                                        Ned Vaughn as CAPCOM 2.  These poor guys didn’t even rate a name!

                                                                     Rance Howard as the Reverend.  I don’t think he even gets a single line.  He can also be seen in the picture of Marilyn Lovell above.

Bryce Dallas Howard is credited as Girl in Yellow Dress, during this scene with Marilyn Lovell.



Photos courtesy of Universal Pictures and Imagine Entertainment (unless otherwise credited in clickable form)


Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb

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I didn’t used to be a fan of Ben Stiller, but he has grown on me over the years, showing a versatility and undeniable skill in his acting that I’ve come to appreciate.  The Night at the Museum movies are some of my favorites and this third installment is an immensely satisfying adventure, an outstanding last hurrah with much loved characters.  It also sorrowfully marks the final on-screen performances of both Mickey Rooney and Robin Williams, who both died before the movie was released.  There is a beautiful dedication during the end credits (which are well worth watching) to the two giants of cinema that I felt was both touching and wistful.  [Perhaps my feelings regarding the passing of Robin Williams have colored my thoughts about this movie, thus giving it a higher rating than I would have otherwise, but even if so, things happening in the real world have always impacted how we feel about movies and therefore I feel the five stars are justified.]

Something has gone wrong with the mysterious Egyptian tablet that magically brings the museum to life when the sun goes down.  Night guard Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) gets grudging approval from Museum Director Dr. McPhee (Ricky Gervais) to take the ailing tablet and Ahkmenrah (Rami Malek in a much better role than his deluded hacker on Mr. Robot) to the British Museum in London in order to consult with Ahk’s parents, Pharaoh Merenkahre and Queen Shepseheret (Sir Ben Kingsley and Anjali Jay).  Naturally a few of the others stow away in order to come along, including Teddy Roosevelt (Robin Williams), Attila the Hun (Patrick Gallagher), Sacajawea (Mizuo Peck), Dexter the monkey, and miniature cowboy Jedediah (Owen Wilson) and Roman legionnaire Octavius (Steve Coogan).  At the British museum, they meet Larry’s counterpart, night guard Tilly (Rebel Wilson), and exhibit come to life Sir Lancelot (Dan Stevens), the latter of which insists on joining the “quest”.

As I’m sure you’ve noticed already, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb is absolutely bursting at the seams with an incredible array of fine actors, which also includes the great Dick Van Dyke, Mickey Rooney, Rachael Harris , Hugh Jackman, Alice Eve and Matt Frewer.  Hugh Jackman is hilarious in a cameo as himself, Sir Ben Kingsley is always superb and Rebel Wilson is so good at the type of comedy that has you half-laughing and half-cringing.  The whole movie has beat perfect comedic timing, a rarity in films these days; it had me actually tearing up in places and howling with laughter in others.  Thoroughly enjoyable, lighthearted but also poignant and deceptively philosophical, I felt the whole thing was just perfect.  I’ve been to the British Museum more times than I can count, and it was such a pleasure to see familiar exhibits and galleries come to life.  Ben Stiller has completely won me over and his additional performance as Neanderthal Laaa was just icing on the cake.  A marvelous adventure for the whole family and my first impulse upon finishing the movie was to immediately watch it again, a sure sign it well-deserves its shining five star rating.  – BETHANY

For more on this fabulously fun film, frequent the Internet Movie Database

A prologue in 1930s Egypt, about the expedition that found the mystical tablet.

Something has gone very wrong at the museum.  (Ben Stiller and Robin Williams)

The grand opening of the new planetarium, complete with lots of “special effects”.

Rachael Harris and Dexter.

What is the matter with you guys?!

  Ben Stiller as Laaa.  Is that a hint of Blue Steel I see?

Larry and Ahk infiltrate the British Museum.  (Ben Stiller and Rami Malek)

‘I wonder why all the locals are running away?’  Steve Coogan‘s Octavius and Owen Wilson‘s Jedediah fall into an exhibit of Pompeii … that has come to life.

Ahkmenrah (Rami Malek) and his parents (Sir Ben Kingsley and Anjali Jay), who just might hold the key to fixing the tablet.

Dancing statues in the British Museum’s Far East wing.

                               Dan Stevens as Sir Lancelot.

Nope, nothing to see here.  Just your standard passengers on London’s public transportation.

Alice Eve and Hugh Jackman in their sensational cameos.

The lion statues from Lord Nelson’s column in Trafalgar Square come alive.

A promotional shot giving a nod to a sequence in the movie involving the art of M.C. Escher.  (click to see a much larger version)

Museum Director Dr. McPhee (Ricky Gervais) and night guard Tilly (Rebel Wilson).

It’s tough to say goodbye.


I couldn’t decide which of these previews was better, so I solved the problem by simply including them both.


Photos courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, 21 Laps Entertainment, 1492 Pictures and TSG Entertainment (unless otherwise credited in clickable form)


Edge of Tomorrow

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I am not a fan of Tom Cruise.  I used to like him in the Top Gun and the first Mission:Impossible era, but now his personal life and political/religious beliefs have loomed so large as to overshadow any character he might play.  So whenever I see a preview of a movie starring Tom Cruise, I generally automatically dismiss it as unwatchable, no matter how interesting the rest of the story may be.  However in this instance, I chose to watch this movie simply because I’m such a massive fan of Emily Blunt.  Because she was starring, I felt the presence of Cruise would be an annoyance, but not an insurmountable one.  Thus, I rented Edge of Tomorrow.

It wasn’t everything I thought it would be.  It’s what you might get if you combined Groundhog Day with Starship Troopers.  The script blatantly rips off the movie Mimic by calling the aliens Mimics, which I felt was a poor descriptive name for them.  But then, the script had a lot of flaws.  The beginning is very confusing, with Tom Cruise‘s character Cage waltzing about either impersonating a superior officer or actually being said superior officer.  It’s never clear exactly who he is, but he winds up being shipped off to the front lines to die.  No clue as to why.  The attack on the aliens goes poorly and courtesy of being slimed by a special alien, Cage is doomed to repeat it over and over, constantly re-setting whenever he dies.  Emily Blunt‘s character Rita observes him in action and discerns what is happening to him, as the same thing happened to her before.  She fills him in on her experience, dropping the information bomb that the aliens can control time and thus always know what’s going to happen in advance.  She never reported this to anyone else is because A) they’d think she was crazy and lock her up, or B) believe her and dissect her.  Fair enough, I wouldn’t want to be dissected either.  Rita begins training Cage (cue the montage) and together they set out to find and kill the ‘Omega’ alien that is responsible for time loop.

The opening sequence of the film makes you think somebody in the projector room must have accidentally done something to really mess things up, as the image skips all over the place with lots of static.  The end of the film had a kind of Prince of Persia twist to it, but as a whole I felt it was lacking substance.  Groundhog Day was a story of personal discovery and romance, but Edge of Tomorrow has no time for things like character development and instead relies heavily on CGI, special effects and action sequences.  If that’s all that interests you, but you’ll probably love the movie, but after numerous iterations of the tagline Live, Die, Repeat, I grew quite bored with the proceedings.  Every time things reset, you get to hear a rather pompous Master Sergeant expounding on the virtues of combat in a speech you come to absolutely despise. There’s a smattering of decent lines and the plot is as least nominally interesting, but in general I was disappointed.  It’s not terrible, but not good enough to earn it more than an apathetic two stars. – BETHANY

For more on this curiously titled film, visit the Internet Movie Database

Emily Blunt‘s Rita has literally become the poster child for the war effort.  She also has the unfortunate and rather offensive nickname ‘Full Metal Bitch’.  I do at least appreciate the nod to World War II era propaganda.

https://reviewsbybethany.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/544b1-d0b3d180d0b0d0bdd0b85.jpgMeet a Mimic.  What they’re mimicking is unclear, but I’ve gotta say I’m getting really sick of movies that feel like video games.  This is even a first person shooter shot!

Get ready for lots and lots of scenes like this.

Really. a lot of them.

     And now for something completely the same …

Master Sergeant Farrell (Bill Paxton):  “Battle is the Great Redeemer. It is the fiery crucible in which true heroes are forged. The one place where all men truly share the same rank, regardless of what kind of parasitic scum they were going in.”

Fighting to get off a beach in France – hey, this sounds a lot like Saving Private Ryan.

Rita does yoga. (Emily Blunt).

She does it very well.

Look out, it’s an irradiated octopus!

Cage shucking his fancy battle suit.  At least they’re no longer on the beach.

                                                         By his own admission, Master Sergeant Farrell is not an American, he’s from Kentucky.  This is pretty weak as jokes go, and a sad commentary on the American educational system.  Evidently Farrell flunked Geography.

This guy is definitely toast.  Repeatedly.  (Tony Way)

‘Let’s have coffee’.                                                                                                                “And then I’m killing you.”                                                                                            “Fine.”

Why is it always tachyons?



Photos courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures, Village Roadshow Pictures, RatPac-Dune Entertainment, 3 Arts Entertainment, Viz Productions, LLC), Province of British Columbia Production Services Tax Credit and Dune Entertainment (unless otherwise credited in clickable form)