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Category Archives: Pop Culture

“The Dark Knight Rises” to expectation

My thoughts: Out of the Christopher Nolan’s three Batman installments, “The Dark Knight Rises” is definitely the best movie made. It’s got all the ingredients made for a summer blockbuster: intensity, suspense, drama, seduction, and non-stop action!

The movie couldn’t have had a better cast. Christian Bale did a phenomenal job in bringing reserved emotion in his dual role as Bruce Wayne/Batman. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who was in Nolan’s last movie “Inception”, was fantastic. Like in the last two installments, Michael Caine’s character of Alfred brought much-needed warmth and heart as the butler. Tom Hardy knows how to play the villain well. The cast also had a brilliant ensemble in Gary Oldman and Oscar winners Marion Cotillard and Morgan Freeman. But the breakout star in the movie was Anne Hathaway. Her interpretation of the Catwoman was “purr-fect”. She brought class and sass, and knows how to kick some ass. She clearly did her homework.

In spite of the tragedy in Aurora, Colorado, folks should really see this movie. It’s really long, but it keeps you sucked into every scene. You won’t want to leave to go to the bathroom. I wouldn’t be surprised if TDKR becomes #1 at the box office and deservedly recognized during the awards season! Who knows? Nolan may finally get a shot at an Oscar!

Two thumbs up in my book! 🙂

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Posted by on July 22, 2012 in Pop Culture

 

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Tragedy in one of America’s favorite pastimes

Going to the movies has been one of my absolute favorite pastimes since I was 7 years old. My first movie theater experience was a comedy called “Problem Child” starring the late John Ritter. I remember having a grand old time with my dad, laughing my pants off, and surprisingly not being scared of the darkness of the room.

Since that time, I have devoured the movie theater experience as if I’m eating a huge plate of pasta. It’s the one moment where I temporarily allow my brain turn to mush, sit in a comfy chair for at least an hour and a half, and live vicariously through the cast of characters on the big screen. It’s been a part of my comfort zone until now.

Let me first say that my deepest thoughts and prayers go out to the victims, their loved ones and the residents of Aurora during this very difficult time. I can’t even begin to understand the pain and grief of the victims and their loved ones though my heart goes out to them. The event on early Friday morning was one of the most shameful, senseless act of violence imaginable, and no innocent person deserves to be punished like that.

THE DECEASED

  • Jessica Ghawi, 24
  • Alex Sullivan, 27
  • Jonathan Blunk, 26
  • John Larimer, 27
  • Matt McQuinn, 27
  • Micayla Medek, 23
  • Veronica Moser-Sullivan, 6
  • Jesse Childress, 29
  • Alexander Jonathan Boik, 18
  • Alex Teves, 24
  • Rebecca Ann Wingo, 32 
  • Gordon W. Cowden, 51

The tragedy in Aurora, Colorado yesterday has certainly left an indelible mark on everyone. What was supposed to be a highly-anticipated weekend for thousands of movie-goers seeing Christopher Nolan’s last installment in his Batman trilogy, “The Dark Knight Rises turned out to be a nightmare. While we may never attempt to make sense of the motives targeting these innocent people, the one and only comforting is that the culprit has been caught and is behind bars. Presumably, I hope he will be brought to justice.

The victims were clearly on my mind yesterday when I saw a matinee showing of “The Dark Knight Rises” with a dear friend. Though we bought the tickets ahead of time, we entered the theater with a little bit of trepidation in our hearts. The room was quiet. There were some seats already filled, however, it wasn’t a packed house. In the end, my friend and I were glad we went because we thoroughly enjoyed the movie (more about that in the next entry).

Discussions have ignited on the issues of gun control, mental illness, politics, etc., and the pundits, politicians, and commentators will continue to do so until the cows come home. I’m no expert on these issues, but as an American citizen, I ask everybody to do something that we know how to do so well. Let’s unite together just like we did during the September 11 attacks. Before you go off and criticize the first thing that pops into your mind, just stop and think how will this affect others. Have faith in our country, show support to those who are hurting, and love one another like you would want to be loved.

Healing will take some time, and for some it will be difficult entering into a movie theater soon and that’s OK, but people should not stop going to their local movie theaters. Life is precious and fragile. Life is about taking risks. If you don’t, then you’re going to miss out on something wonderful no matter how big or small. The next time you go to the movie theater, don’t do it for yourself. Do it for the deceased mentioned above and the survivors who didn’t get a chance to see a film from start to finish.

As Nolan said in a statement, “movies are one of the great American art forms and the shared experience of watching a story unfold on screen is an important and joyful pastime.”

 
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Posted by on July 21, 2012 in Pop Culture

 

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Anne Hathaway is not only an incredible actress, but she also has a keen fashion sense. Topped with her pixie cut, Anne looks quite chic in her little black dresses.

 
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Posted by on July 11, 2012 in Pop Culture

 

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Heather Tom: the new darling of daytime television

I’ve watched soap operas since I was a little girl. It seems like yesterday I was sitting on the sofa watching “All My Children” with my late aunt or watching “The Young and the Restless” and “The Bold and the Beautiful” with my late grandmother. You can’t help but live vicariously through the cast of characters on television. A drop of voyeurism lurks in as you watch a couple have an intimate moment or a villain bitchslaps her enemy across the face. 

With programs in constant change mode, you can count the number of soap operas on network television in one hand. It’s hard being an actress in Hollywood, especially if you’re on a soap opera. But Saturday night was soap operas’ moment to shine at the 39th annual Daytime Emmy Awards, and one actress glowingly shined above all the rest.

Heather Tom, who plays Katie Logan Spencer on “The Bold and the Beautiful”, is my favorite soap opera actress. I was so excited when she won her Emmy for outstanding lead actress in a drama series. Her first nomination in that category, Tom was in the company of other brilliantly talented veterans (i.e.: Erika Slezak from “One Life to Live” and Debbi Morgan from “All My Children” to name a few).

This is Tom’s fourth Emmy, and what makes this win so significant was that she made history by becoming the first actress to win a Daytime Emmy in all three actress categories during her 22-year career. In 1993 and 1999, she won two Emmys, respectively, for outstanding younger lead actress for her portrayal of Victoria Newman in “The Young and the Restless”. She won an Emmy last year for outstanding supporting actress for her work in her current portrayal. Not only did Tom earn a Soap Opera Digest Award in 1997, but she currently holds the record for having the most Daytime Emmy nominations by an actress under the age of 30. That is fricken impressive, if you ask me!

Tom has done various work in theater and has guest-starred in many hit primetime shows. But it’s daytime where Tom truly shines. She’s immensely talented who brings her character out with flawless, unique energy. She digs her claws deep into her character’s soul and makes the viewers understand and feel the emotion she’s feeling at that particular scene. She utters strong words that make sit at the edge of your couch.

Her Emmy reel was probably the best that she’s ever submitted. Tom gave a strong, emotional yet effective performance. She portrays a woman who just found out that her husband slept with and is physically attracted to another woman. It’s an issue so relatable in adulterated circumstances. Unlike other soap opera actresses, Tom doesn’t over-exaggerates the emotions of her character. The camera stays on her for more than a minute. She’s angry one minute, and then she easily morphs into vulnerability the next. She spouts out strong words that keeps viewers at the edge of your seat.  Ladies, how would you feel if you were in her shoes? Probably the same way, I imagine.

In her role as Katie Logan Spencer, she’s a fragile heart but still holds her own. What I love most about Heather Tom is that she molds a character into her own no matter what show she’s on. Few actresses can do that. No matter what happens to the soap opera industry, I can see a bright future ahead for Heather Tom. I can see many more nominations and other good things coming her way.

She’s young. She’s bold, and she’s beautiful. We haven’t seen the last of her.

Congratulations, Heather! 🙂

 
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Posted by on June 25, 2012 in Pop Culture

 

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Anne Hathaway: Jersey’s golden girl in a league of her own

Truth be told, there are a plethora of amazingly talented, young actresses in the film industry today.

Natalie Portman. Jennifer Lawrence. Marion Cotillard. Shailene Woodley. Michelle Williams. The list goes on and on.

But there’s one actress, in my opinion, who sets the caliber so high for other young actresses that every time she’s onscreen, she shines like gold. That leading lady, my friends, is Anne Hathaway.

I adore her! In fact, I adore her so much that she’s one of my favorite actresses to date, alongside Oscar winners Meryl Streep and Sophia Loren! Though Anne has only been nominated once for an Academy Award, I believe there’ll be many more nominations in her future, and the chance of actually winning an Oscar one day is certainly bright.

She is so graceful, down-to-earth, well-spoken in her interviews. She exudes the elements of class and dignity that so few women can master. When it comes to her acting and singing performances, she’s been compared to film legends like Meryl Streep and late Judy Garland and Audrey Hepburn.

But even the young actresses can’t mimic them because each has developed their own methods of acting. Though she could carve a path like them, Anne Hathaway has clearly proven that she’s in a league of her own.

Hailing from the Garden State, the Millburn native got the acting bug at a very young age after seeing her mother perform on stage. However, it wasn’t until she was in high school that Anne performed in many school plays. Her portrayal of Winnifred in Once Upon a Mattress garnered her a Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star nomination for Best Performance by a high school actress. She was the first teenager to be admitted in The Barrow Group Theater Company’s acting program. In the late 1990s, Anne, a soprano, was a member of the All-Eastern U.S. High School Honors Chorus that performed at Carnegie Hall. She furthered her education by attending Vassar College and New York University.

Anne has co-starred in hit movies like Becoming Jane, Ella Enchanted, Brokeback Mountain, Get Smart, Valentine’s Day, Alice in Wonderland, and One Day. She has also done voice-over work for the film Rio. In 2010, she received an Emmy award for her voice-over performance on The Simpsons. A trained-stage actress, the year before, Anne was nominated for a Drama Desk award for her performance as Viola in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night at the Delacorte Theater.

It was Academy award-winning actress Shirley MacLaine who professed at the 2009 Oscars that Anne was “an amazing example for every young actress in this business” and is never afraid to show off her dark and bright side onscreen. This is true because she fearlessly exudes this raw talent that makes us suspend our disbelief through her countless roles. For example, we’ve seen her dazzle as a princess and in Prada (The Princess Diaries 1 & 2 and The Devil Wears Prada, respectively). She has portrayed a woman with Parkinson’s (Love & Other Drugs) and as a drug-addicted, grief-inflicted sister who’s been in and out of rehab (Rachel Getting Married, in which she received her first Oscar nod).

If you think for one second that Anne Hathaway is kicking back and milking on her success, then you’re completely from another planet. She’s got two more movies ready to be released. First, she’ll be the next Catwoman/Selina Kyle in The Dark Knight Rises, the third Batman installment which is set to open in July. Second, she will portray Fantine in Les Miserables, the musical drama based on Victor Hugo’s 1862 French novel of the same name opening on December 14.

I’d like to take a moment to discuss the latter movie. I love Les Miserables — it’s the only show I’ve ever seen on Broadway. Set in 1815, the novel and play follow the lives of several French characters through the 1832 June Rebellion and also focuses on Jean Valjean’s early struggles and redemption. In addition to Broadway, the novel has been adapted into concerts, West End productions, television, and radio. Directed by Tom Hooper, the 2012 film is the adaptation of the stage musical.

After seeing the first trailer for the movie, Christmas can’t come soon enough for me.

Anne takes center stage in the trailer with her rendition of “I Dreamed a Dream”. We don’t hear any singing yet from Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, or Amanda Seyfried, but this increases the anticipation! What’s so unique about this movie is that all the singing is not recorded. The cast is actually singing, which makes their performances more raw, emotional, and believable.

Many actresses have portrayed the role of Fantine over the years, but I sincerely think that this could be Anne’s golden performance, one that could garner her many accolades including an Oscar nod. I think this role was perfect for Anne. Just in the trailer alone, you can see the depth that she goes to portray the struggling factory worker who turns to prostitution in order to support her daughter Cosette. She chopped off her locks and reportedly lost weight. This movie is a prime example of Anne’s ability of showing both her dark and bright side.

No matter what future roles she will portray, Anne will no doubt shine because she’s, in fact, in a league of her own. I’d like to leave you with something that cumulatively illustrates my point.

 
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Posted by on June 4, 2012 in Pop Culture

 

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Hometown Girl is Country Music’s Princess

Taylor Swift is on top of the world.

The Wyomissing native had the time of her life last night after racking up four big wins at the 43rd annual CMA awards in Nashville, including female vocalist of the year and the most coveted, entertainer of the year. At age 19, she is the youngest country music performer to garner the prize.

Despite the Kanye West embarrassment at the MTV VMA awards a couple months ago, Swift has moved on with grace and dignity and has naturally gained respect and notoriety from her fans and peers. With her big wins last night and the spectacular year she’s having so far with her tour and album, she’s clearly one of the hottest acts around and can easily be dubbed as the “country music princess.”

That’s right. I said it. Move over, Carrie. Whether you like it or not, Taylor Swift is the new princess of country music.

 
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Posted by on November 12, 2009 in Pop Culture

 

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Kourtney and Khloe Take ….My Brain Cells Away

I am not a huge reality TV fan, but there are a few reality TV shows that I will consider watching for pure amusement.

In light of the fact that reality TV socialite Khloe Kardashian and her Laker boy Lamar Odom are getting married today, I decided to toast the Kardashians by watching all 5 episodes of “Kourtney and Khloe Take Miami” on YouTube. Why, you ask? Pretty much because I had nothing else better to do and I’ve watched episodes of E!’s hit “Keeping Up with the Kardashians,” I decided to give the spinoff a shot.

From what I’ve read online, the spinoff is centered around the second opening of the sisters’ trendy boutique Dash in Miami and follows the many escapades sisters Khloe and Kourtney encounter in the Miami nightlife scene. Let me tell you that after watching the show, I am just glad that I am still able to function normally, but I know I lost a couple of  good brain cells in each episode.

Kourtney and Khloe are ditzes … plain and simple. Every episode follows the same format: store, Khloe’s radio show, and partying. Store, radio show and partying. I know that they love being in Miami because it’s their backyard playground, but please, is there anything new E! can show us besides two sisters being completely ditzy, monotoned, and disgustingly-foul-mouthed in every scene? Oh and by the way, a Kardashian show can’t be without the special presence of their lovely sister Kim and Kourtney’s hair-gelled ex Scott.

I think it would be really cool to shop at their store, but I give the show a 2 out of 10. By the way, I congratulate the happy couple and give them until Christmas before the happily-ever-after ends.

 
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Posted by on September 27, 2009 in Pop Culture

 

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