Alive Inside documentary shows at the NARO

October 20th, 2014 at 3:31 pm by under THRS Movie Reviews

CLICK HERE to watch the trailer for Alive Inside.

That’s right we are lucky that the Tidewater Arts Outreach is bringing this documentary to the NARO this Wednesday night for a special showing.  And I am lucky to have gotten to see it in advance so I could tell you about it.

Alive Inside: the Story of Music and Memory is an award-winning documentary that literally feels like a medical magic show.  As the film points out – five million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia — many of them alone in nursing homes.

Over three years filmmaker Michael Rossato-Bennett follows social worker Dan Cohen capturing on camera the magic that seems to happen when music from a patient’s life is introduced to them via iPods and earphones..

We watch as songs from a patient’s past awaken memories and emotions that have been sleeping in the recesses of their minds for years, decades for some of them. Patients who are withdrawn, never speak or recognize anyone — suddenly — with earphones and a song from their past — look up and have a completely lucid conversation — relaying memories, singing every word of the song.  The film is shot so well.  As a good documentary should, it let’s the people being film breath in their space and cuts together the right scenes at the right times, intermixing memory-esque scenes from the past jarred free by the music we hear and see them react to at the same time.

Is this the answer, the cure? Probably not. Could it lead to something new in the industry and how we treat these patients? Hopefully.

It won the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival this year, and I can see why.  It’s heart breaking and heart warming all at once.  It’s a commentary on dementia and Alzheimer’s and how we treat it.  If this is something close to you (and even if it’s not),  you’ll want to consider making time to see this remarkable film.

FOUR OUT OF FIVE COOKIES FOR ME

Alive Inside: The Story of Music and Memory
Special Showing in partnership with Tidewater Arts Outreach
Wednesday Night, October 22nd at 7:15
NARO Cinema – Norfolk
For Tickets & Information, Visit TidewaterArtsOutreach.org

Showing will also include a healthcare panel on arts programs like this in Hampton Roads.


You be THE JUDGE

October 20th, 2014 at 3:21 pm by under THRS Movie Reviews

CLICK HERE to watch the trailer for The Judge.

The Judge is another story of a scattered dysfunctional family brought together thanks to a death and the remaining members forced to deal with each other again.  The difference between This Is Where I Leave You — which we talked about a few weeks ago–  and The Judge is that there’s very little comedy and instead a lot of legal drama.

Robert Downey, Jr. stars as Hank, the son who left the small town and his family behind to become a big city lawyer. When his mother dies, he comes home to face the ghosts that have been chasing him in his difficult relationship with his father Judge Palmer (Robert Duvall).  Also in play are the other ghosts chasing Hank —the high school accident that ended the promising baseball career of Hank’s brother Glen (Vincent D’onofrio), the disability of his little brother Dale (jeremy Strong), and his high school girlfriend (Vera Farmiga).

But it’s really all about the father-son relationship.  Ultimately the Judge has to allow his son to defend him with the help of another local lawyer not up to the task (played by Dax Shepard) and against a great local lawyer — played by Billy Bob Thornton.

The screenplay is by Nick Schenk and Bill Dubuque and it has so much crammed in you can barely keep it straight. It’s directed (a bit self-indulgently for me) by David Dobkin (Wedding Crashers, Change Up and Shanghai Knights).

The acting is what’s worth seeing here.  I really enjoy Downey, Jr. so much better in real, challenging acting like we see in this film as opposed to donning the sarcasm and superhero suits (although he is what made me love Iron Man).  But Robert Duvall’s complete submission and commitment to this role was exceptional.  As a senior facing the loss of his love, his career, and fighting for his life  — he gives a spectacular performance.

It’s too long and there’s too much going on, but you have to be The Judge.

I couldn’t give it FOUR, and THREE seemed unfair to the amazing acting going on here.

THREE AND A HALF OUT OF FIVE COOKIES

Rated R for language including some sexual references. 

Gone Girl stays in theaters

October 20th, 2014 at 3:14 pm by under THRS Movie Reviews

CLICK HERE to watch the trailer for Gone Girl.
Gone Girl is the latest thriller from Oscar-nominated (Social Network, Curious Case of Benjamin Button)/Emmy-winning (House of Cards) director David Fincher.   It’s a love story gone wrong — a dysfunctional marriage of the highest caliber.

As things unfold we also get the back story of Nick (Ben Affleck) and Amy (Rosamund Pike, Pride & Prejudice; Jack Reacher)– how they met, Amy’s childhood as the inspiration of her mother’s “Amazing Amy” children’s books, and their move  from New York to the heartland to take care of Nick’s ailing mother. Meanwhile back in the present — police are all over the evidence in Amy’s disappearance, the media is going crazy and with all of that going on — it doesn’t take long for suspicions to turn to Nick.  His own lies start to reveal themselves and paint him as a suspect to Detective Boney, played by Kim Dickens (Footloose, The Blind Side).

Nick and the in-laws turn to the media for help, which backfires on Nick. He becomes — as one news host said — “the most hated man in America”.  Desperate to prove he didn’t do anything, and on the advice of his sister Margo (Carrie Coon), he seeks the help of a star defense attorney named Tanner Bolt (Tyler Perry) and starts an investigation of his own.  He starts with a visit to old boyfriends of Amy’s — including Desi, played by Neil Patrick Harris.

As the clues to what happened begin to materialize, twists and turns keep coming. We’re getting the narrative from Nick at some points, and from Amy at others.  I’m not giving away the twists, but my mouth was hanging open on some of the turns the film takes.  There are apparently no surprises here if you happened to have read the novel (six million hard copies were sold before paperback!), because Flynn — who adapted it for the screen — stayed meticulously true to the novel, and, in my opinion, to a fault.  Flynn appears to me to have been uninterested in sacrificing parts of the book for the good of the film.

Affleck and Pike have great turns at their characters, but surprisingly to me — Tyler Perry had the performance of the film.  His understated short turn on camera was just what was needed.

Fincher with his dark and moody structure is gripping for 2 hours of the film, but it’s nearly two and a half hours long.  That’s about 20 minutes too long for my taste.  It could have — and should have — ended a bit earlier.

Nevertheless, Gone Girl will certainly be staying in the hunt for award nominations later this year — and given the numbers at the box office… it should be staying in the top ten for awhile.

FOUR OUT OF FIVE COOKIES

Rated R for a scene of bloody violence, some strong sexual content/nudity, and language.


The Boxtrolls: EGGS-alent family fun

October 20th, 2014 at 3:00 pm by under Uncategorized

CLICK HERE to watch the trailer for The Boxtrolls.

The Boxtrolls is a stop-motion animation family adventure from the creators of “Coraline” and “ParaNorman”.  Both of which I thoroughly enjoyed…. Can this one stack up?

The Boxtrolls themselves are a quirky, weird group of creatures living in a world of their own creation located under the streets of a Charles Dickens-esque town called Cheesebridge.  The leaders are driven by their love of cheese!  And who doesn’t love cheese!?

The Boxtrolls are a mischievous lot who clearly do have a heart — raising an orphaned boy they named Eggs (voiced by Isaac Hempstead-Wright).  In fact, all of them are named for the image or word on the garbage box they wear for clothing.  So Eggs — is wearing… an old egg box!

Of course all family movies like this have to have a bad guy — and the villain here is none other than Archibakld Snatcher — voiced by the Academy Award-winning actor Ben Kingsley.  His end game is to be one of the leaders of Cheesebridge and to do that, he must rid the town of the theiving Boxtrolls.

Enter Winnie (Voiced by Elle Fanning). She’s the priviledged daughter of one of the white-hatted leaders of Cheesebridge.  After she discovers that Eggs is living among the Boxtrolls and Mr. Snatcher’s plan, Winnie hatches a plan of her own that’s sure to save everyone (and the cheese).

It begins with a grand ball that unravels into an action/adventure of the grandest scale. It’s a fantastic watching the dancing at the ball and the crazy chase antics — realizing this is all STOP-MOTION ANIMATION!!!   This is movements done by hand in fractions of milimeters, strung together to create these scenes.  The attention to detail is just so far above par it’s crazy.

Kingsley is superb.  His dastardly voicing of Mr. Snatcher brings the character to life in a big way!  But the star of the movie is the animation coupled with the art direction. Directed by Graham Annable and Anthony Stacchi, The Boxtrolls delight and scare, tickle your funny bone and warm your heart.   The importance of family is front and center but underhandedly presented — which is perfectly on point.  The Boxtrolls is EGGS-alent family fun.

FOUR OUR OF FIVE COOKIES!

Rated PG for action, some peril and mild rude humor.


This Is Where I Leave You leaves much to be desired in a film

October 20th, 2014 at 2:34 pm by under THRS Movie Reviews

CLICK HERE to watch the trailer for This is Where I Leave You.

Based on the best-selling novel by Jonathan Tropper, This Is Where I Leave You is a drama/comedy with an all-star cast that seems ready for box office gold. The adult children of this dysfunctional (somewhat Jewish) family come together to bury their atheist father. ..Let the drama and hilarity begin!

Tina Fey is the not-so-happily married sister Wendy.  Judd (Jason Bateman) is the middle brother who found out his wife is cheating on him just before heading to the funeral.  Cory Stoll plays Paul, the brother who runs the family business.  And Adam Driver is Phillip, the baby of the family who still — despite being an adult — hasn’t really grown up yet.  I cannot forget to mention that Jane Fonda plays their mother Hillary – a psychologist who has shared all of their childhood secrets and her best-selling how-to books.  Imagine the surprise when the siblings learn their atheist father’s last wish is for them all to observe the Jewish tradition and sit Shiva.

This Is Where I Leave You is directed by Shawn Levy.  We know him from the Night at the Museum series fame and — then two polar opposites: Date Night — which was great — and The Internship — which was NOT.  The best thing about This Is Where I Leave You is the cast, which works sometimes and sometimes doesn’t.  Tina Fey’s and Justin Bateman’s characters are clearly the best defined, and the actors do a good job with them.  Bateman and Fey really click in their scenes together.

Jane Fonda lobbied for this role and the Oscar-winner even called for an audition.  I didn’t read the book, but I have to believe that the character in the book had to have been better written than the film version of Hillary.  She’s mostly relegated to sitcom-ish lines and, while she delivers for the most part, there are poorly written scenes that she seems to struggle through.

The biggest problem I had was that there are so many storylines running around it just becomes a bit of a mess, before finally working itself out.  It almost feels more like a first draft of a script than a final one.  The novelist Tropper adapted the book for the screen.  His first try at a screenplay.  And for me — it shows.

This Is Where I Leave You is somewhat entertaining while at the same time a bit boring.  I checked the time three times during the film — a film I was really looking forward to seeing.  Sometimes books are better left that way.

THREE OUT OF FIVE COOKIES

Rated R for language, sexual content and some drug use.


No Good Deed not very good

October 20th, 2014 at 2:20 pm by under THRS Movie Reviews

CLICK HERE to watch the trailer for No Good Deed.

No Good Deed has SO much potential.  In fact, I mentioned it in the fall movie preview we did on Labor Day. With the Academy Award nominated acting talents on Taraji P. Henson and Idris Elba — I was really looking forward to this one.

Elba plays Collin — a criminal serving time for manslaughter and suspected of killing five other women.  He escapes and goes looking for the girlfriend he hasn’t heard from while he’s been serving time the last five years. They have a conversation and a little more –that I won’t give away — and before you know it, he is crashing a stolen vehicle on a stormy, rainy night in the Atlanta suberbs.

Meanwhile — Terri (Henson’s character) — a former domestic violence prosecutor turned stay-at-home mom is alone with the kids for the weekend while her husband is on a golf weekend.  She is busy feeding and getting them settled and expecting her friend Meg (Leslie Bibb) for girl’s night. Ultimately she lets him in to wait for a tow truck and things go wrong almost immediately.

Surprisingly, Terri isn’t sensing many warning signs, and the ones she does pick up on she tends to ignore until it’s too late.  Her friend Meg is onto him and that’s not a good thing for her.

Elba uses much of his talent to conjure up this eerie sociopath.  He does a pretty good job despite a very lame script.  His southern accent drifts in and out though and that can be distracting.  Henson holds our attention and makes us very angry when she doesn’t do the things we feel she should be doing — again scripting problems.

Some things really made it feel more like a made-for-TV movie than a major box office thriller with starpower like Henson and Elba — a branch through the window at just the right moment among them. Sam Miller directs — he directed Elba in some episodes of the British TV series Luther.

SONY/ScreenGems canceled press screenings of No Good Deed at the last minute in advance of the release — they said to prevent the exposure of a major plot twist at the end of the film.  Not even the twist saved it for me.  On a sheerly entertaining level — I would give it a few more points, but despite the fact that it made me jump once, this film is a real waste of talent to me.

JUST THREE OUT OF FIVE COOKIES.

Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence, menace, terror, and for language.


The Last Bison Live In Philadelphia

October 20th, 2014 at 12:26 pm by under THRS Live Music

microphoneMy weekend are usually reserved for family time and time spent to re-energize from the work week – so this weekend I packed the family into the SUV and drove up Rt. 13 up to The City Of Brotherly Love.  Philadelphia is special to me because I lived there for several years in my youth and my love for many things came from that city – sports, music, attitude and soft pretzels – so I couldn’t think of a better city to see one of our favorite bands in.

The Last Bison are in the midst of a tour around the country in support of their new album, “VA” (Virginia), and after spending the last two nights in NYC and Conn., they made the trek down I-95 to Philadelphia’s World Cafe Live.  The cafe is two venues in one; a larger club setting downstairs and a more intimate cafe setting upstairs – where The Last Bison was to perform.

After dinner with the family at Nodding Head Brewery, I walked down Chestnut and across the Schuylkill River to 3025 Walnut St.  I was warmly greeted by Ben as soon as I walked in and he was excited about this evening’s show.  There were only 20 tickets remaining and they were all gone by the time they started.  Norwegian singer Monica Heldal opened the show with accompanying guitarist Oyvind Blomstorm  and set the tone for the night with her sweet bluesy voice and a great harmonic sound between hers and Oyvind’s guitar.

thelastbisonphillyAfter a 15 minute break, The Last Bison hit the stage.  The Philly crowd were eagerly awaiting this moment as it’s been a year since they last met.  The band didn’t disappoint and played 90 minute set consisting of a great mix of VA, Inheritance and Quill.  They even treated us to a couple of tunes that didn’t make ‘VA’ but said they would be on a future release “real soon”.  The ended their set with Every Time and with a healthy crowd participation of the “Ohh Whoa Ohh Whoa Ohh” after the chorus.  As they band exited stage left – the crowd filled the room with that chant to bring them back for an encore.  They closed out the evening with their Switzerland and it just left everyone wanting more.  Simply a fantastic show.

If you’ve never seen them before live then you must make it a priority to see them and if you have seen them before, then you must see them again.  Their sound is more refined then before especially with the added full drum kit and the addition of Amos playing an electric bass.

They will end this leg of the tour in at the NorVa for their annual Gathering Saturday, November 29.  Mark it on you calendar and make sure you get out there.


Chill Is In The Air

October 20th, 2014 at 8:47 am by under Weather

Well…today Don Roberts actually had a right to complain about the cold temps.  I’ve gave him a hard time when he said he was running the heat in his car while the morning temps were in the upper 50s to near 60 last week.  Now this morning we started with lows in the 30s and 40s.  So even I ran the heat in my car a bit.

Temps This Morning

Temps This Morning

The average lows are in the 50s this time of year, but 40s are still normal.  30s are a bit early though.  We even had a couple of reports of patchy frost.  We had clear skies and light winds.  So that promoted a lot of cooling.  Today we’ll see a lot of sunshine with high pressure pushing just offshore.

Satellite/Radar

Satellite/Radar

The cloud cover will be the high-thin cirrus type clouds.  So plenty of sunshine will be able to get through.  With the high pushing offshore we’ll see light southerly winds this afternoon.  That will warm us up to the upper 60s to low 70s.  Tomorrow some moisture will work into the area and will try to create a few spotty showers.  Highs will be in the low 70s.  However, another cold front will move through the region on Wednesday.  This will knock the highs back down to the low/mid 60s.  Lows will be in the 40s again as well.  We’ll see a few showers on Wednesday near and behind the front.  Then we’ll have lots of sunshine from Thursday into the weekend.  Temps will rise to the 70s during the weekend as well. Should be beautiful.

Gonzalo is now a post-tropical system.  It is basically like a large nor’easter that is headed for the U.K.  They are preparing for the storm.

Post-Tropical Gonzalo

Post-Tropical Gonzalo

There is also a weak disturbance over towards Africa that may become a subtropical system.  You can see it on the lower right hand side of the above image.  Plus there is a weak disturbance over towards central America that may become a tropical system in the next few days.  We’ll continue to monitor these areas

Meteorologist: Jeremy Wheeler


Colder Air Is Coming

October 18th, 2014 at 9:03 am by under Weather

As we enter the second half of October I believe we are going to be seeing cooler temperatures than we did for the first half. Our highs today will be in the mid-70s. Starting tomorrow, for at least a week, we will be having highs in the 60s. That will all start to happen later today.

Gonzalo Fading Away, Watching A Cold Front

Gonzalo Fading Away, Watching A Cold Front

The cold front to our northwest will be moving through today, we will likely see extra cloud cover this afternoon because of the passing front. Temperatures should still be in the 70s this afternoon. Tonight, we will see mostly cloudy skies with temperatures going all the way down to the 40s by tomorrow morning. A few sprinkles are possible.

Future Trak @ 9pm

Future Trak @ 9pm

Our best chance of rain won’t be till after sunset. We could see some light rain across the entire viewing area sometime tonight. The rain and clouds will clear out tomorrow morning. Since we will have strong northwest winds tomorrow, high temperatures will struggle to make it to the mid 60s in the afternoon. We should be sunny tomorrow. Lows will be in the 30s Sunday night.

Surf Forecast:

The leftovers of the Gonzalo swell is still giving us plenty of good surf across the area. Wave heights are in the 2-4ft range for Virginia Beach. Bigger waves can still be found across the OBX.

Surf Report

Surf Report

Some of the camera’s that our partners have over on Surfline.com have shown 5-8ft waves early this morning. (Around Rodanthe and Hatteras)

Have a great weekend!

 

Meteorologist Jeff Edmondson

 

 


Weekend Cool-Down And Gonzalo

October 17th, 2014 at 8:46 am by under Weather

Locally we have some great weather on the way.  We started today with this:

Tower Cam 10

Tower Cam 10

The sunshine was aplenty and the temperatures were in the 50s.  We’ll see lots of sun today as high pressure has sunk into the region.

Satellite/Radar

Satellite/Radar

The upper level low that moved over us yesterday has moved out to sea.  Highs will be in the mid 70s.  Winds will be out of the west at 5-10mph.  Not too shabby.  Tonight will be quiet with lows in the 50s.  We’ll start off tomorrow with clear skies and cool temps.  By the afternoon things will change a bit.  A cold front will move through the region along with a weak mid level disturbance.  Normally this would cause some showers, but at this time it looks too dry.  I will say that there may be a couple of sprinkles, but for now the models only really show an increase in clouds.  Highs will still manage to get into the 70s.  By Sunday the front will have cleared the region.  We’ll have clearing skies and dry weather behind it.  So Sunday will see lots of sunshine and highs in the mid 60s.  The low temperatures won’t be too cool yet.  However, by Monday morning we’ll see temps drop to the 40s area-wide.  It’s possible that we could even see a few 30s inland between Monday and Tuesday morning.  It’s probably too early for frost, but stay tuned for updates.

Speaking of updates…Hurricane Gonzalo remains a powerful hurricane.  The eye of the hurricane has become more ragged, but the latest winds are still high.

Gonzalo On Satellite

Gonzalo On Satellite

The filling in of the eye may be a sign of longer term weakening, but that remains to be seen.  This morning the hurricane had winds of 130mph.  This is likely to go down as the forecast calls for, but they probably won’t drop too much before landfall.  It is still forecast to hit Bermuda as a category 3 hurricane later today.

Gonzalo Forecast

Gonzalo Forecast

This means that the winds will be about 120mph sustained with gusts up to 150mph.  These are similar conditions to when hurricane Fabian hit the island back in 2003.  That hurricane caused extensive damage to the Bermuda coast and to much of the island.  The surge was about 11ft then.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the surge got above 12 feet from Gonzalo.   Either way, the waves are forecast to reach 35-40ft.

Wave Height From Gonzalo

Wave Height From Gonzalo

Those wave heights are on top of the surge.  Luckily much of the island is elevated and there are some coral reefs surrounding it as well.  Notice that even here locally we’ll see an increase in the waves.  Expect about 4-5 ft waves with some 5-7 ft waves near Hatteras.  This will stay up a bit tomorrow, but will drop on Sunday.  Should be good surf with our winds out of the west.  The hurricane will move over the north Atlantic waters and will gradually weaken this weekend.  It doesn’t look like it will impact Newfoundland much anymore.  It is forecast to stay a little farther out to sea.  They will get some high waves though.  Hopefully, Bermuda will be ok.  As I mentioned in a previous blog, they have had a lot of storms over the last few years.

Meteorologist: Jeremy Wheeler