Will Rupert Murdoch`s News Empire Come Tumbling Down?

July 13, 2011 by  
Filed under Movies/TV, Top Story

The News of the World scandal sends ripples through every outlet of news in Britain, the U.S., Australia – really everywhere. I have been reading every news story (I can find) on the scandal this morning, in order to better understand what has (really) happened. Rupert Murdoch has done lots of damage to all of us who have a thirst for fair and balanced news. You know, the truth! One fears more censorship in the future.

The Daily Mail has been on top of this story, so please go to my link and read carefully what they are reporting. Furthermore, there are frequent updates. I don`t believe that Rupert Murdoch will survive this one. I was absolutely floored when he was able to take over The Wall Street Journal in 2007. I haven`t read The Journal since then. You must read Carl Bernstein`s piece in Newsweek, Murdoch`s Watergate? Old boy stills has the touch!

Episode 10 of The Killing Takes Us Into the World of Belko Royce!

June 6, 2011 by  
Filed under Movies/TV, Top Story

I forgot to record Episode 10 of The Killing last week, but I caught a break and found out it`s streaming on AMC`s web site for The Killing. I started watching Episode 11 when I found out about a streaming 10. Naturally enough, you shouldn`t watch one part without watching the previous one, so switched off to 10. Just watched Rosie footage – her gettin` in a cab and a light is turned off in the Larsen household.

I`m sure glad I got to see Episode 10. Much of it revolves around Belko Royce (Brendan Sexton III), Stan`s partner in Larsen`s Moving Company. Belko has an interesting montage of pix on his bedroom ceiling. Sarah and Stephen need to track down an Adella girl in conjunction with some of Rosie`s last movements on the night she died. By the way, make that Stela, not Stella.

Innovator of Business Cable News, Mark Haines (1948-2011), Has Passed

May 26, 2011 by  
Filed under Movies/TV, Top Story

I was very saddened by the passing of CNBC cable pioneer of business news, Mark Haines (1946-2011). Mark was the original anchor for Squawk Box on CNBC, which premiered sometime in 1995. I watched it religiously everyday of the week, since I was interested (and heavily invested) in stock market news. Mark Haines died suddenly Tuesday night, but the cause of his death hasn`t been reported yet.

If you can find any of the early footage of Squawk Box, I would recommend you watching that. This was the prime-time glory days of the Dot Com Bubble. You know how the story goes: Cisco Systems, Dell, Intel, Mickysoft and QUALCOM. Mark brought a level of probing (Mark was an attorney) business news, as well as entertainment value. Mark really invented business cable!

After Haines kept those Lava Lamps constantly bubbling on the set of CNBC, I went out and picked up a few Lava Lamps myself, thinking it would improve my luck on stock market calls. I need not leave out the incredible chemistry between The Brain (David Faber), The Kahuna (Joe Kernan) and Mr. Haines during those early days. Mark Haines was a classy and classic journalist. Just check out his coverage of Nine-Eleven.

Episode 9 (Undertow) of AMC`s The Killing Has A Shocking Ending!

May 23, 2011 by  
Filed under Movies/TV, Top Story

I know I keep saying it, but Episode 9 (Undertow) of The Killing tops them all, for surprises and drama. And then I just found this feature on their web page, that video commentary by the key actors, explaining the psychology behind the actions of the characters. It`s nice to play a portion of the program tape, then clip in this commentary for clarification.

The investigation of Rosie Larsen`s murder take some dramatic turns in Episode 9. As a clue, it seems as if the focus on Bennet Ahmed as the major suspect is misplaced. I will say also, in her grief at her daughter`s death, Mitch prods her husband (Stan Larsen) to exact justice. Just noticed the dark lighting and brooding industrial soundtrack (which adds a great amount of atmosphere) in the last scene…

‘Bridesmaids’ Will Keep You Chuckling the Entire Summer Season!

May 16, 2011 by  
Filed under Movies/TV, Top Story

Bridesmaids took in 24.4 million at the box office this weekend. I have my ticket stub to prove a matinee attendance of 1:25 PM, at Cinemark Southpark Meadows. It was hilarious, as you`ve probably heard by now. So many gags packed into two hours of non-stop guffawing, giggling and chuckles galore to the nth degree. The critics loved it too. So I`ll link for you Joe Morgenstern`s review from the Wall Street Journal. The Tomatometer reading over at Rotten Tomatoes was 90 % positive.

Bridesmaids is not afraid to get down and dirty, and waddles in the mud big time! Also, it`s not afraid to poke fun at our society and some of the characters are appropriate archetypes of people you and I have brushed up against in our stage of life. This might be a good reason why just about everybody on the planet will go see this ‘mock chick flick!’ Take that Miss Goody Two-Shoes character Helen (Rose Byrne) for example, I`m sure I`ve come in contact with her somewhere and time in my past?

Most of the motion of the plot, however, is a heightened identity crisis of Annie (Kristen Wiig), who has lost her groovy little cake shop to a cruel recession. Her forte is baking sweets, and it takes an Irish cop (Rhodes played by Chris O`Dowd) for her to realize this essential talent. As far as a favorite scene goes, you have so much to choose from. All of them are good, but the giant French cookie with free puppies scene tickled me most. You`re going to see it anyway, so why not just go today, before you`re upstaged by a co-worker or a friend, like me.

‘The Conspirator’ Only Sends Us Over To the Real Lincoln Assassination Story!

April 25, 2011 by  
Filed under Movies/TV, Top Story

I saw The Conspirator on Saturday and left the theater uncertain whether I had really seen a good movie. It seemed to drag in the middle and the courtroom drama was anything but dramatic. I just don`t know about James McAvoy`s acting? Everytime he gave a shout out for justice I checked my iphone for emails. And what was that Justin Long doing in the film? A sense of authenticity in his portrayal as a union Civil War soldier is just not there.

I didn`t read any reviews until yesterday and this morning, but what I read simply confirmed what I was already feeling. This was a 2 to 2 and ½ star film. It wasn`t a bomb, but it didn`t live up to the incredible high bar imposed on it. That is, the telling of an important chapter in our history. Rotten Tomatoes gives it an average rating of 58%, and this is about in line with what I can give it.

I`ve never given the Lincoln Assassination proper consideration. Don`t know why exactly, either I didn`t have enough time or I thought I already knew it all. Actually, it`s fairly complicated. Especially the evidence surrounding Mary Surratt`s role. I`m not quite convinced that Robert Redford`s version adheres with the record, but I can`t get specific for you. Not yet, at least. Took a look at the Wikipedia entries to break the ice. Did visit Ford`s Theater when I was kid. Didn`t realize that John Wilkes Booth once played a great Romeo!

Episode 4 of The Killing, ‘A Soundless Echo,’ Is the Best So Far!

April 18, 2011 by  
Filed under Movies/TV, Top Story

Episode 4 of AMC`s The Killing, titled A Soundless Echo, is even better than the first 3 parts. It continues with three threads of plot, the two detectives, Rosie`s family, and the developments of Darren Richmond`s, campaign running for mayor of Seattle. All of it was shocking, but the developments with Stan Larsen caused me to lift out of my chair!

Sterling Fitch, Rosie`s best friend, seems to know much more than she`s letting on? It appears as if she was dressed up as Rosie on the night of the murder, and actually saw Rosie leave the school party. But where did Rosie go? Detective Holder is following up on Rosie`s suspicious movements on Bus 103, where she would depart, even during school hours.

Like the scene where Mitch and Stan meet with a priest to plan Rosie`s funeral. The priest says: “Your daughter is with God now, Mrs. Larsen?” Mitch questions where was God when Rosie was left alone with her predator? And what about that letter Sarah found in Rosie`s room? I`m having to rewind the tape to try to read the letter. And now Bennett Ahmed is coming into the picture more clearly.

AMC`s ‘The Killing’ Holds Its Own With Episode 3, ‘El Diablo!’

April 12, 2011 by  
Filed under Movies/TV, Top Story

The 3rd episode of The Killing held its own in ratings; the premiere had 2.7 million viewers, while El Diablo had 2.6 million. That means viewers are returning and will probably be loyal to the AMC slow burn of a noir crime fiction series. Who knows, maybe it will build up steam. Boy, that devil mask was scary! And those two punks are stealing the show – you know, Jasper Ames and Kris Echols.

And what about the music? Listen for the grinding track by Fran Bak right as the show ends. And can you imagine these two punks videoing the rape of Rosie Larsen down in The Cage. The videoing takes on a realistic tone against such incidents that have occurred on social media. And when Mitch Larsen learns that her daughter drowned, she simulates it in the bathtub. Shocking!

And the janitor clip was a nice little sideshow; he drilled the peep hole so he could peep into The Cage. Therefore, he saw part of the crime. Another sidebar is whether Sarah Linden will get away for her wedding. It doesn`t look good; she`s too busy trying to solve the Rosie Larsen murder. I wonder what the writers were thinking when they created Kris Echols` character? Brilliant character creation! Remember Damien Echols?

With Sidney Lumet`s ‘Network,’ Is This 1976 or Today`s Network News?

April 11, 2011 by  
Filed under Movies/TV, Top Story

I just had to see a Sidney Lumet film yesterday, since his death about a week ago. I was hoping to find Serpico on Netflix as a Instant Watch, but settled on Network, which is considered his best film by many. Peter Finch (who died before the Academy Awards) got best actor, Faye Dunaway got best actress, and Paddy Chayefsky received the best original screenplay. My personal favorite acting role goes to William Holden, who plays the UBS news division president Max Schumacher.

Network is a 1976 film, so I assumed it would come across as fairly stale after so much time. A good thing is that I haven`t seen it since that time, so I was able to take a fresh look at it. For me the main angle or message that still resonates with us today, is that network news is about ratings and entertainment, not about providing a valuable service to the public by way of ‘objective news.’

The film takes these ideas to extreme levels, like the ending, which I still don`t know was a show or real. But this is just the point – there`s a fine line between fantasy and reality, especially when you`re talking about television. My case in point is the affair between Max Schumacher (William Holden) and Diana Christensen (Faye Dunaway) which absurdly resembles one of her dramatic episodes from a hit show of hers. And look at all the amazing parallels you can draw between the fictional network UBS and our contemporary news networks. Think Fox News!

AMC`s New Series ‘The Killing’ – A Fresh Approach To A Whodunit!

April 4, 2011 by  
Filed under Movies/TV, Top Story

Yesterday a friend of mine on Facebook recommended a new series on AMC, The Killing, that was premiering Sunday night. I went ahead and recorded it and am reviewing the taping this morning. The pilot is two hours long, but the remainder of the first season will consist of 13 episodes, each of which will chronicle one day of investigation into the murder of a teenager Rosie Larsen. I just watched the ending (of the pilot), where detective Stephen Holder discovers the cage, “where the real Halloween party goes down.”

Well, the first part was really good! Reviews are sterling as well. Mireille Enos is fantastic as Sarah Linden, the lead detective. The executive producer Veena Sud describes the series as “slow-burn storytelling in a sense that every moment that we don`t have to prettify or gloss over or make something necessarily easy to digest, that we`re able to go to all sorts of places that are honest, and dark, and beautiful and tragic, in a way that is how a story should be told.” (The Killing Brings Murder to AMC by Eric Goldman)

The pilot was directed by Patty Jenkins, which immediately caught my eye, since Patty had directed Monster, the grueling story of our first female serial killer, Aileen Wuornos. The music was quite nice also, but I haven`t found out who did it yet. I like the approach, where we get to witness the investigation in nearly real time. It`s a who done it, and I`m already suspicious of Seattle mayor candidate, Darren Richmond. Since this is so obvious, he must not be the right one. The mood of the series reminds me of Mystic River, directed by Clint Eastwood.

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