must see, tv shows

TV Show Review: The Zoo

Ok I’m sure you might be thinking “Didn’t she just do this show?” Actually no, this is not Zoo with the crazy animals. This is an ongoing show on Animal Planet that I have grown to love very much; it is currently airing its second season and I hope it goes on for a long time. I DO NOT OWN THE PICTURE.

On Animal Planet, hopefully you have the channel but if not I believe there is a streaming service Animal Planet GO or you can find the episodes online, viewers are given a special behind the scenes look at the largest metropolitan zoo in the U.S; The Bronx Zoo. Their into, which features many of the zoo keepers along with the director of the zoo Jim Breheny, is pretty breathtaking and each episode shows how they take care of their animals. Whether it is an eating habit, matting, or a health problem the amazing zoo keepers are shown to be committed to their animals. I won’t lie and say there have been episodes that have left myself and my mother a little misty eyed, but for us at least when you see the zoo keepers forced to make a tough call or the animal makes a recovery it makes you feel for the keepers as they get emotional. Allow me to give an example. In the first season they wondered if the bee eating birds could naturally go back to eating bees, they had not been fed bees in I believe over nine years, the results are pretty incredible. In addition they used the honey to give to the bears as a treat; my mother absolutely loved that moment

Now I have been to the Bronx Zoo many times in my life, and if you have yet to experience it I HIGHLY recommend it. However if you don’t live in or nearby New York this is a pretty close experience. My family has gone to the Bronx Zoo a couple of times since the series aired and while I would not say we were star-struck by the zoo keepers we recognized many of the people from the show, and even got visitors asking them about the show. I would call The Zoo a must see if you like animals and cannot get to the Bronx Zoo.

film, must see

Movie Review: The Proposal

One of my favorite romantic comedies of all time, and I know I’m not the only one who thinks it. Released in 2009 The Proposal was a huge hit at the box office. Critics were a little mixed on a few things, but praised the chemistry between the two leads. If you haven’t seen this movie a spoiler alert is ahead.  I DO NOT OWN THE PICTURE.

Andrew Paxton (Ryan Reynolds) absolutely hates his boss Margaret Tate (Sandra Bullock) a executive editor in chief at a book publishing company. She runs the company with an iron fist, and the other employees as well hate her, as well as are scared of her. Margaret is informed her visa has been denied and she is being deported to Canada; meaning she cannot work for the company. When Andrew comes in, Margaret informs her boss that they are getting married, much to Andrews horror. They meet with an immigration officer Mr. Gilbertson (Denis O’Hare) who tells them they will be asked questions about themselves separately and if they do not match (he suspects they are committing fraud) not only would Margaret be deported but Andrew will go to prison. Andrew forces Margaret to make him an editor and publish a book he’s been pushing on to her once the marriage ends, as well as visit his family in Alaska whom he has not seen in years because of work. Traveling to Sitka, Margaret meets Andrew’s family including his mother Grace (Mary Steenburgen), his grandmother Annie (Betty White) and his father Joe (Craig T. Nelson) the latter whom has a strained relationship with Andrew. Along the way of faking an engagement Margaret and Andrew fall in love, which makes things harder for Margaret as she grows close to his family. About as far as I can go without spoiling.

While the writing I felt could have been better in a few places, there was no denying the performance of the cast. Bullock and Reynolds are fantastic in the Proposal; not only as individuals but they have great chemistry together. The rest of the cast is awesome, but I have to give it up for Betty White; she is great in everything but she is very funny in this movie; you have to look up her scene in the forest with Sandra Bullock it is hilarious. If you like romantic comedies or any of these actors put The Proposal at the top of you list as soon as possible, it is fantastic.

film, high school films, must see

Movie Review: Freedom Writers

One of my favorite movies when I was in high school, and something I would highly recommend. Based on a true story, Freedom Writers showed how many from different cultures may have similar backgrounds and how one teacher truly could make a difference. Spoilers ahead. I DO NOT OWN THE PICTURE.

In 1994 Woodrow Wilson Classical High School has been struggling with their students. Many are juvenile delinquents and/or in gangs. New English teacher Erin Gruwell (Hilary Swank) starts off eager to teach, but soon realizes her students do not respect her, nor will she be getting help from her peers who tell her instead of teaching them about Anne Frank or The Odyssey to teach them about obedience. Taking matters into her own hands Gruwell challenges her students starting with the Holocaust. As she begins to gain their trust and respect Gruwell buys them notebooks to write in every day about anything they want. Having taken on two part time jobs to buy supplies puts a strain on her marriage Scott (Patrick Dempsey) and her unique methods anger her superior Margaret Campbell (Imelda Staunton). Meanwhile the film also focuses on some of the students such as Eva (April Lee Hernandez), Marcus (Jason Finn) Andre (Mario) and others. About as far as I can go without spoiling.

I watched this film in high school and once again fell in love with writing. Seeing the students write about their stories and grow not just as writers but as human beings is something I absolutely loved about this movie. Swank is one of the finest actresses today and she shined just as bright in this film; showing how tough, strong and compassionate the real life Gruwell is. I felt everything the characters were going though, yes I am well aware that maybe everything may not have happened but I’m not 100% sure. I would call this a must see not only for high school students, but for writers. Even if neither this film is pretty awesome and I would highly recommend it.

film, high school films, must see

Movie Review: Easy A

While this was most definitely not her first role, I think the world got to just how good Emma Stone is in what many considered to be her breakout role as a leading lady, she was also nominated for a Golden Globe for this role. Released in 2010, Easy A showed just why a little white lie can turn into a big, huge mess, and partially inspired by the book I’m sure we all had to read in high school The Scarlet Letter. I would even call this a must see for high school students and young adults. if you haven’t seen this movie, a spoiler alert is issued. I DO NOT OWN THE PICTURE.

Not wanting to spend time with her best friend’s Rhiannon (Aly Michalka) hippie parents, Olive (Emma Stone) says she has a date for the weekend, in actuality she sings along to the greeting card she got from her grandmother. Come Monday pressured by Rhiannon Olive says she lost her virginity, which is overheard by Marianne Bryant (Amanda Bynes) a prissy Christian student who spreads the rumor. Of course this isn’t true which Olive confides in her friend Brandon (Dan Byrd) who is bullied because he is gay. Brandon convinces Olive to say she had sex with him, which she agrees to. Now with reputation as the school tramp, Olive decides to embrace it, putting an A on her clothes inspired by The Scarlet Letter. Boys who do not have a chance with girls ask Olive to say she slept with them and gets gift cards in return. Rhiannon is outraged and ends her friendship with Olive, joining Marianne’s religious group trying to force Olive out of the school. It gets worse when Marianne’s boyfriend Micah (Cam Gigandet) gets chlamydia and blames Olive, when it was actually the married guidance counselor Mrs Griffith (Lisa Kudrow) the wife of Olive’s favorite teacher Mr. Griffith (Thomas Haden Church). The only people who believe Olive are her parents Rosemary and Dill (Patricia Clarkson and Stanley Tucci) as well as her crush Todd (Penn Badgley) but soon Olive must decide whether her fake reputation is worth all the trouble. About as far as I can go without spoiling the rest of the movie.

While I definitely think no high school is like this one, this film is still amazing; showing how one small little lie can turn into a disaster. While she had been in other movies Emma Stone shined very bright in this film and for me at least showed that she was more than capable of being a lead role. She has not slowed down since, but those movies are for another time. Amanda Bynes was one of my favorites actresses when I was younger and was both happy and impressed with her character in this movie; it is not often she is the villain. I don’t thinks he’s acted in anything since then, but I wish her the best in whatever she is doing. Penn Badgley is great as is the rest of the cast. The writing and cinematography are my favorite parts of the movie, but I cannot forget the musical number at the end of the film showcasing Stone’s abilities, which is why before the nominations came in I knew she would be great in La La Land. I would highly recommend this film for high school students and young adults as I think they may find the material relatable, no not the tramp stuff but keeping a reputation in high school. I promise you will not be disappointed.

must see, tv shows

TV Series Review: Revenge

The title does not lie, this show was about Revenge and it was actually pretty good to watch. Based on the famous novel The Count of Monte Cristo, but with plenty of twists, Revenge was a popular show among the people, nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress and nominated for several People and Teen Choice Awards. It aired for four seasons and thankfully despite it being out of the blue it did not end on a cliff hanger. If you like a good mystery and soap opera drama than Revenge is perfect. I’m not going to go over season by season, but just in case spoiler alert. I DO NOT OWN THE PICTURE.

A beautiful young woman named Emily Thorne (Emily VanCamp) moves to the Hamptons and rents the beach house next to the gorgeous Grayson Manor. She meets the Graysons at the latest party they are throwing. The Graysons consist of Victoria (Madeleine Stowe), Daniel (Josh Bowman), Charlotte (Christa B. Allen) and Conrad (Henry Czerny). Daniel and Charlotte welcome Emily with open arms, and Daniel to his bed, while Conrad and Victoria are a little hesitant. They have every right to be, because Emily Thorne is not who she is. Years ago a young girl named Amanda Clarke witnessed Victoria having an affair with her father David and then along with Conrad betrayed Conrad setting him up for treason. David would be convicted, sent and died in prison. Amanda dedicated her life to revenge going after the Graysons. She originally wanted to do it alone, but soon reality is she is not alone. Among her allies are her father’s old friend Nolan (Gabriel Mann) and her childhood sweetheart Jack (Nick Wechsler) who has his own problems with the Graysons. However despite Emily’s attempts to prevent it, her emotions as she carries out her plans tend to get in the way and soon secrets come forward that either fuel or hurt her. Meanwhile the Graysons, specifically Victoria, will do just about anything to protect the family from bad press and much more.

While you won’t catch me watching soap operas like Young & The Restless, Revenge was pretty good. VanCamp is spectacular as Emily, Stowe is so evil you both hate and love her, Bowman is great, Allen you want to feel sorry for and also slap her face when she does something stupid and Czerny you don’t feel bad for for one second. Mann and Wechsler are two of my favorite characters from the show stealing the scene almost every time they are on screen. Once again if soap opera mysteries are your thing than Revenge is perfect for you. If not the show is still amazing and I would highly recommend it. I know it was on Netflix streaming, and it may be depending on your area. Other than that try the ABC app or Hulu. Revenge is not always a dish best served cold, sometimes you have to heat things up, just like this show.

film, Marvel Films, must see

Movie Review: Black Panther

I said this on social media and I have no problem saying it today; I think Black Panther just became my new favorite Marvel movie (and just to clarify because I have a friend who made a comment I said MARVEL not SUPERHERO so Wonder Woman is my favorite DC movie). This was a movie I had been looking forward to since Captain America: Civil War, and even before then seeing Panther make guest spots on a couple of Marvel superhero shows. This was a character I didn’t know too much about and while I don’t think we know everything I definitely think we know a lot more. As this is still in theaters I’m going to be as spoiler free as possible, but just in case I am issuing a spoiler alert. I DO NOT OWN THE PICTURE.

After the death of King T’Chaka (John Kani) in Civil War and T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) has taken up the mantle of Black Panther to protect his village of Wakanda which despite the guise of a third world country is actually a thriving city using the metal known as vibranium for their advance technology among other uses. After having to fight for it from the only tribe not to join Wakanda centuries ago, T’Challa is crowned king in the presence of his people, including his mother Ramonda (Angela Bassett) and his father’s longtime friend and elder statesman Zuri (Forest Whitaker). Shortly later Okoye (Danai Gurira) the general of the Dora Milaje regiment (basically a woman you want on your side) informs T’Challa and W’Kabi, a friend of T’Challa and the lover of Okoye, that a long time enemy Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis, whom you may remember from Ultron) has resurfaced. With gadgets provided by his sister Shuri (Letitia Wright) T’Challa, accompanied by Okoye, Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) his ex girlfriend (whom he is still very much in love with) and later CIA agent Everett K. Ross (Martin Freeman) seek to find out what Klaue is up to. Soon they discover Klaue is not alone in his plan meeting Erik Stevens (Michael B. Jordan) aka Killmonger because of how many people he has killed who let’s just say has a personal involvment in Wakanda. T’Challa upon discovering why Killmonger wants must soon decide what is best for Wakanda, and possibly the world. About as far as I can go, but keep an eye out as well for Emmy and Golden Globe winner Sterling K. Brown as well as two after credit scenes.

Everything about this movie was what I thought it was going to be and so much more; from the acting, writing, costumes, special effects and so much more. I’ve seen many of these actors is other films, but this may have just been their best work (not everyone but you get my point). Boseman is perfect as T’Challa, Nyong’o is spectacular as Nakia, Gurira is seriously a woman I want to be on my side if I go to war, Jordan once again proves he is a future Oscar winner in my book, Bassett and Whitaker are so good, Freeman is great, Serkis is crazy good and finally Wright is funny when she has to be but can fight just as good as the rest. The reaming cast is spectacular. I absolutely loved the story, I honestly think writing wise it is Marvels’ best. The special effects were crazy, I won’t be surprised if it is nominated next year at the Oscars, costumes are possible as well. I saw the film in 3-d and while there were moments I felt sick it was very cool! If you do not get the chance to see Black Panther in theaters rent is before Infinity Wars Part 1! It is an absolute masterpiece, a must see, just go an watch it you will not be disappointed.

based on true story, classic, film, musical, must see

Movie Review: The Sound Of Music

As this is my 100th blog, thank you for sticking around if you’ve been here since blog 1 and if not still thank you for reading, I wanted to do one of my favorite movies of all time, not to mention one of the greatest musicals of all time. The Sound of Music, released in 1965 and based on not just the legendary Rodgers & Hammerstein musical but a true story, has been in my life for as long as I can remember, not to the point of I can name exactly where the 1 hour 45 minute 53 second mark is; I’m not that obsessed. That being said my mom introduced this movie to me when I was very young because Julie Andrews is one of her favorite actresses, and mine as well for many reasons. While I do not watch it everytime it is on TV (it’s almost 5 hours with commercial breaks), this film will always be near and dear to my heart. If you have not seen it spoiler alert. I DO NOT OWN THE PICTURE.

Taking place in Austria, Maria (Julie Andrews) is a free-spirited nun which sadly makes her a “problem” for the other nuns. The Mother Abbess (Peggy Wood) who thinks Maria will be happier outside of the abbey has Maria become the governess of the seven children of a retired Navy captain Von Trapp (Christopher Plummer) who runs the house like a ship. It takes a while but soon Liesl (Charmian Carr), Friedrich (Nicholas Hammond) Louisa (Heather Menzies) Kurt (Duane Chase) Brigitta (Angela Cartwright) Marta (Debbie Turner) and Gretl (Kym Karath) warm up to Maria and accept her as part of the family. The Captain returns from his trip and almost throws Maria out of the house because it disrupted how he runs the family, until he sees how happy his children are because of her. It is not long before the Captain and Maria fall madly in love, much to the chagrin of the two people the captain brought back, a man known as Uncle Max (Richard Hayden) and the Baroness Elsa von Schraeder (Eleanor Parker) who hoped to marry him. Meanwhile Liesl has her own love story with Rolfe (Daniel Truhitte) which sadly doesn’t end well and the second World War has begun, which is a huge part in the second half of the movie. Cannot go into more without giving the rest away.

The Sound of Music is constantly listed as one of the best musicals of all time, however if it was just for the songs it may not be as high. The story is so beautifully written, the acting is top notch, cinematography is gorgeous and oh so much more. It won the Oscar for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Music among others, and was nominated for Best Actress in both Leading and Supporting Role for Andrews and Wood respectively. I seriously cannot say enough good things about this movie. Julie Andrews is absolutely fabulous in this movie, she is one of the very few actresses than can say so much with her eyes more than a 10 minute monologue. I know Christopher Plummer strongly dislikes this movie, I was somewhat surprised but I wasn’t even born and wasn’t there so he has his reasons. That being said he was still so good in the movie. The actors playing the Von Trapp children were great as was the rest of the cast.

If you are not singing along with the legendary songs in this musical than I strongly suggest checking your pulse. I’m not saying you have to sing as well as Andrews or Wood (God knows that’s almost impossible) but you can do the best you can with so many incredible songs such as “Maria”, “Sixteen Going on Seventeen”, “Edelweiss” “Do-Rei-Me”, “The Sound Of Music” and my personal favorite, pun completely intended, “My Favorite Things”

There have been many adaptions of this musical, perhaps the most famous was the NBC live musical adaption staring Carrie Underwood, which may show up at a later time. If you have not seen this amazing musical put it at the number one spot on your must watch list.