wavy

Jersey Boys hits a high note

June 24th, 2014 at 5:54 pm by under THRS Movie Reviews

CLICK HERE to watch the trailer for Jersey Boys.

Jersey-Boys-poster-1I’m going to be honest… I wasn’t going to see this screening, but my mom wanted to see it and the screening was on her birthday so I did what good daughters do… And boy, was I surprised!

The film Jersey Boys is based on the Tony Award-winning musical that took Broadway by storm some years ago.  It’s the story of the four guys that came together to make music history.  Paths collide on the wrong side of the tracks for these four guys from Jersey.

You’ve got Frankie (as in Valli, John Lloyd Young), Tommy (Vincent Piazza, Boardwalk Empire), Nick (Michael Lomenda) and Bob (Erich Bergen, Desperate Housewives).  Bob is the last one in, and the writer of some of the most legendary hits of the era.  Tommy is the gang leader and band leader.  He is very much the one who says jump and how high.  The evolution of how the group works all hinges on Tommy… Even the name of the group is something Tommy wants to control.

But after a clandestine conversation outside of a bowling alley,  the become the Four Seasons!  As the group struggles to book gigs and make records that will get played… they begin to define their rolls in the group.   Of course everyone needs someone to believe in them… and for the four guys from Jersey — especially Franki — it was Angelo “Gyp” DeCarlo (Christopher Walken).  He’s a crucial player in the formation of the group and in saving them when the chips fall… but more on that later.

Some of the back story is slow-moving and a bit of a bore, but it’s seemingly necessary to build to the finish and understand how everything ends up.  The back story also makes us appreciate the shining moments of the stage, the highs along with the lows of the story of the Four Seasons.  One by one, we get the behind-the-scenes stories of the biggest hits of the Four Seasons.  From “Sherry Baby” to “Walk Like a Man” … we go zooming through from the history to the stage.

At the center of the story of course is Frankie Valli.  Frank Lloyd Young originated the Valli role in the Broadway hit and Clint Eastwood knew he had to use him in the big screen version.  Young shines in his first big box office role!  Can’t imagine anyone else hitting the right notes as Frankie Valli.

Michael Lomenda and Erich Bergen had performed in the stage tour of Jersey Boys as Nick and Bob respectively… and were awesome in their roles and Vincent Piazza from Emmy-inning TV show Boardwalk Empire brought the right amount of darkness and spiral to the role of Tommy.  In fact we learn that Tommy created such a strain on the group, he was the downfall of the Four Seasons.  Even Gyp DeCarlo couldn’t rescue the group from the mess Tommy made of the group’s finances.  It’s fascinating to watch it all unfold amid the lights and spectacle of them being a supergroup in the time.

Directed by Clint Eastwood, the screen version of Jersey Boys leans heavier on the story than the music — which should really be the star of the story.  The back story is heavy and dark and slow, but the musical moments shine, just don’t get enough of them.  It seems clear to me that Eastwood was less willing to show the musical side than he was enchanted with sharing the back story itself.

While there are some clunky parts here and there, I’m a big girl and “Big Girls Don’t Cry” over the little things… Jersey Boys is entertaining and hits it’s target audience where it lives… I know I’ll still love it tomorrow.

FOUR OUT OF FIVE COOKIES

Rated R for language throughout.


Working with the Web

June 19th, 2014 at 1:31 pm by under Interns

This week I was assigned to work with the WebDesk, which I have come to love! It gives me the opportunity to work more on my own to publish stories written by the AP and even some I get to write myself. I even add on to a few stories when new information comes in. I must say, it’s really exciting to have my name on a piece published on a professional news site — a great portfolio expander!

In addition to posting stories, I have learned to cut and post video as well as create and post photo slideshows. I feel like I am helping more this week than I have so far here at WAVY simply because the training is quick for me to be able to complete tasks without help and save others time.

One of my favorite aspects of working with web is being able to see comments made on posts published on WAVY.com and on the WAVY Facebook. It’s real-time, allowing me to see the public’s reaction as it occurs. I can only hope my remaining weeks allow me to help as much as I have at the WebDesk.


Learning More Every Day

June 10th, 2014 at 4:42 pm by under Interns

Here in the WAVY TV newsroom, I’m learning something new each and every day. After an eventful end to my first week as an intern covering a stabbing in the barracks near Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, this week started a little slow as I moved to shadowing editors. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much to edit during the first half of the day; however, once 2:00 hit, editors were given a steady work load of material to edit for the afternoon/evening shows.

The second day I was supposed to shadow editors, I had an opportunity to go out into the field with a photographer to film an interview concerning a missing woman in Suffolk. Upon return to the newsroom, I logged the sound from the interview into the system to make it available for others to use when writing the story.

I spent part of the afternoon learning how to use the FOX and NBC sites to pull video for stories and the remainder working back at the assignment desk to assist with answering phone calls due to the desk being short staffed compared to usual. It was quite an eventful day switching from task to task, and I felt as though I truly helped those in the newsroom.


Off To An Amazing Start

June 3rd, 2014 at 3:27 pm by under Interns

These first couple of days working at WAVY have been incredible! I could not have asked for a better start. My first day (yesterday) started off with paperwork but quickly picked up. I was able to sit in on The Hampton Roads Show. It was interesting to see how everything ran behind-the-scenes. I was also pleasantly surprised to see the other interns floor directing the entire show on their own, only to learn this opportunity would be available to me in the future. When the show ended, I met Typhanny Wiggins who showed me everything that happens at the news desk including the running of the Live Center. I learned about this for a while before being pulled aside by Jim Gilchriest, news director. Jim and I had a great conversation about what I wanted to get out of my internship with WAVY and where I see my career going. He encouraged me to work hard and inspired me to always push myself to be the best I can be. I then attended an editorial meeting and finished the day working more at the news desk.

My second day working at WAVY has been even better than my first, and it’s not even over yet! I started by attending the morning meeting where I got to see how story ideas were pitched. I then spent several hours in the field with Anne McNamara covering a story in Hampton. In addition to the excitement of simply being out and witnessing a story progressing, I was able to assist in searching for an important person to interview which led to finding two additional people involved in the story.

While my experience so far has been phenomenal, the best part has been meeting the amazing people that work here. Everyone has been extremely welcoming, offering assistance and inviting me to come to them with any questions I may have. If these two days are any indication on what is to come in the remainder of my internship, I have one heck of a summer to look forward to. I can’t wait to see what else comes my way!


The Railway Man: a little off the tracks, but worth the trip

May 14th, 2014 at 2:19 pm by under THRS Movie Reviews

CLICK HERE to see the trailer.

Now showing in Hampton Roads at The NARO Theater in Norfolk.

railway man

The Railway Man stars Colin Firth as Eric Lomax — the older one in 1980 — and Jeremy Irvine (War Horse) as the younger — a former World War II POW in a Japanese Labor Camp working construction of the Burma Railway.

The older Lomax is tormented with what we now know is PTSD — Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  He relives the torure and brutality on a regular basis.  Images of his torturer appear and disappear in the everyday landscape.

Practically useless to anyone not riding a train, the self-described ‘railway enthusiast’ Lomax spends his time riding the rails in England.  That’s where he meets Patti (Nicole Kidman).  Soon love is in bloom and before you know it, they are wed, and she discovers his torment and seeks the help of an old friend, and fellow POW Finlay (played by Stellan Skarsgard).

When Lomax learns from Finlay that the interpreter Nagase (Hiroyuki Sanada, older/Tanroh Ishida, younger) who took part in his many torture sessions was not only still alive, but giving tours of the same POW camp, he knows what he has to do to survive.  Confrontation is a must and he travels to Thailand to finish what was started so many years before.

The Railway Man is based on the real Lomax’s autobiography of the same name, and there are two stories playing at the same time: the modern day romance/grappling with the past, and also the past, shown in great detail through flashbacks.

Both Firth and Kidman have their usual amazing and understated acting touches with the characters of Eric and Patti.  Firth continues to stand as one of the best actors we have. Director Jonathan Teplitzky uses most of the film to build us to the moment of revenge, forcing us to question ourselves as we watch… What would you do in Lomax’s situation?  Staring into the eyes of this person responsible for so much of your pain?  Could you cause pain to him?  Could you be brave enough to end your own?  And how?

Despite the build, for me the ending was quite predictable and something felt not quite right in terms of story… I felt like I wanted it to go off the rails, to surprise me.  But instead, it stayed the course and finished at the station.

SIDENOTE:  So much of the cinematography is stunning!

FOUR OUT OF FIVE COOKIES

Rated R for disturbing prisoner of war violence.


Amazing Spider-Man 2 needs more power

May 7th, 2014 at 8:41 am by under THRS Movie Reviews

CLICK HERE to watch the trailer.

Now showing in theaters across Hampton Roads.

the_amazing_spiderman_2_poster

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was tops at the box office opening weekend — taking in 92-million dollars, but if you haven’t seen it… is it worth the trip?

Andrew Garfield is back as Peter Parker AKA Spider-Man in this second installment of the reincarnation of the arachnid superhero.  And it’s a good thing — he’s got an electric battle to fight.

Number two picks up with Spidey fighting crime and trying to get to his High School graduation.  He misses girlfriend Gwen (Emma Stone) give her valedictorian speech, but narrowly makes it to receive his diploma.  Seeing Gwen with her family reminds him of the promise he made to her dying father in the last film… thus setting up the love story challenges in this one.

Meanwhile back at OSCORP… A mild-mannered employee named Max (Academy Award winner Jamie Foxx) falls into an electric experience and without understanding what’s going on… unassumingly becomes Spidey’s newest nemesis Electro.  Things don’t go well for anyone in this battle.

Also in play is the story of Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan: Lincoln, Chronicle)– the son of Oscorp head honcho Norman (Academy Award winner Chris Cooper).  When Norman takes his last breath, Harry takes over wielding a heavy hand — especially when he realizes the deadly disease that took his father has taken hold of him as well.

He believes Spider-Man’s experimental blood will save him and when Peter isn’t cooperative, well — let’s just say Spider Man is suddenly battling TWO evil villains.

Andrew Garfield continues to where his emotions on his spandex as Peter/Spider-Man.  In terms of acting — the scenes between him and Stone are the only main flow of electricity, outside of Electro.  Foxx as that villain brings the anger and frustration but as the predecessor to the villain MAX he leaves you wondering why Jamie Foxx is in this role.

And what a waste of Sally Field’s character (Peter’s Aunt). We see her a few times and then nothing.  And except for one scene — a rehash of “why did my parents leave me here” — she spends most of her time hiding her struggle to support him and herself behind weak smiles.

The action sequences directed (again) by Mark Webb are interesting and hold attention but nothing overly exciting.  Some of the 3D effects were particularly dazzling — prepare to dodge a few flying objects in your theater seat.  The finale action sequence delivers, but then the film carries on after that and drags out.

The scenes of Spider-Man sailing from web to web between tall buildings are just spectacular — in fact the best part of the film for me.  While much of it is very pulpy and comic bookish … it’s far from the “electric” sequel I had hoped for.

THREE AND A HALF OUT OF FIVE COOKIES

Rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action/violence.

DisneyNature’s “Bears” shines

April 21st, 2014 at 3:28 pm by under THRS Movie Reviews

CLICK HERE to see the official trailer for DisneyNature’s Bears.

Now showing in theaters across Hampton Roads.

Disneynature-Bears-PosterThe star of this DisneyNature film is supposed to be the bears, but so much of it is the landscape in which they live and trek through.  Oh, ok — the bears are pretty awesome, too.

In honor of Earth Day weekend, DisneyNature is back with the spectacular look at a year in the life of a momma bear (SKY) and her two new cubs (AMBER and SCOUT).  It starts with the birth and nursing through the winter — hibernating… buried beneath mounds of snow in the regal mountains of Alaska’s Katmai National Park. Soon enough the snow begins to melt and it’s time for Sky to make the move — the LONG LONG journey toward food… the salmon runs.

The trio faces treacherous terrain, even an avalanche along the way, but the search for food is what it’s all about.  When they arrive at the meadow at the dawn of Spring… grass is the first staple.  But a quick jaunt to the shore ahead of the salmon arrival means there’s other “fishing” to do.  There are lots of scenes of adorable cubs frolicking in the ocean waters and digging for clams in Alaska’s mud flats.

But, it’s not all fun.  Sky must defend her cubs against wolves and other hungry male bears… Magnus — the king of the meadow — and Chinook — the exiled, fringe king wanna be.  Both of them come for the bear cubs looking to fill their need for food.  Sky stands her ground. The fight for survival against wolves, bears, and ultimately hunger, is fascinating to watch.

Alastair Fothergill and Keith Scholey (known for work on “African Cats”) teamed up with co-writer Adam Chapman to bring Bears to life.  And actor John C. Reilly as the narrator was a great choice.  His happy-go-lucky approach to the narration and the imagined internal dialogue of the bears was an enjoyable fit.

DisneyNature’s BEARS is educational but also brings us an emotionally appealing story that makes the film easy to watch for all ages.   And for me as a producer, I absolutely LOVED the closing credits because we get to see how the filmmakers actually got the spectacular shots.  We see the camera people up to their chests in water to get underwater shots of salmon, and face-to-face with wolves and bears to get shots of some of the most tense scenes in the film.  And we see their camp, and equipment — especially the mounted camera on the helicopter that brings us the amazing aerial shots from mountain peaks to avalanches.  Simply fascinating to watch.

FOUR OUT OF FIVE STARS

Rated G for all audiences.  A word of caution though for parents — there are a few scenes that could upset the littlest movie-goers… there are scenes involving abandonment and a drowning scare that are handled well, but could still be upsetting.  The movie ultimately is about SURVIVAL.

 


Draft Day scores a field goal

April 14th, 2014 at 2:43 pm by under THRS Movie Reviews

A behind-the-scenes look at one of the NFL’s most important days of the year is the what makes up the new film Draft Day.

Draft Day stars Kevin Costner as Sonny — the General Manager of the Cleveland Browns — the team his recently deceased father coached.  It’s the dawn of Draft Day and a lot on the line in the National Football League.

Sonny is barely holding on with the owner and the head coach of the team as he appears to go rogue on the franchise with trades galore before the team is even on the clock at the draft.  The Coach (relatively new to the Browns after winning a SuperBowl ring with the Dallas Cowboys) is played by Dennis Leary.  He wants the team he wants, but Sonny wants him to coach the team he gives him.

As the clock rapidly approaches the time to make the first pick, the audience gets a taste of the behind-the-scenes maneuvers teams make ahead of the draft.   Once they are finally on the clock and ready to make a pick… the movie finally gets going.

Before this point — it was really bogged down with the story line of the relationship Sonny has been hiding from everyone — one with Ali (Jennifer Garner) –She’s the lawyer in charge of managing the teams salary caps. Apparently trying to prove that Sonny has a heart… the relationship is all fizzle and no fire.  And randomly added in was a new intern — why I don’t know, but he has a lot of lines that help us get nowhere.

The character of Sonny Weaver is in the capable hands of Kevin Costner here, but it’s not empassioned enough for me to really buy in.  Garner, also capable, is not really believeable for me in this role, and when we get the big kiss, I hardly feel the love.

Director Ivan Reitman, delivers a by-the-numbers film that falls short of the likes of Moneyball and Jerry Maguire.   It’s got some solid structure with some twists and turns that keep it interesting, and a touch of heart that makes it satisfying.  But something is missing…
I think Draft Day will score with football fans… but they will have to settle for the field goal, not the touchdown.

TWO OUR OF FIVE COOKIES

Rated PG-13 on appeal for brief strong language and sexual references.


Noah takes on The Hobbit?

April 14th, 2014 at 2:39 pm by under THRS Movie Reviews

The controversy surrounding the film Noah has been swirling, so let’s start there.  If you haven’t heard — The National Religious Broadcasters requested the film studio Paramount Pictures add a disclaimer to the film: which they did.  This is the disclaimer:
“The film is inspired by the story of Noah. While artistic license has been taken, we believe that this film is true to the essence, values, and integrity of a story that is a cornerstone of faith for millions of people worldwide. The biblical story of Noah can be found in the book of Genesis.”
I only mention it because the story of Noah in the Old Testament has some missing parts, and the film fills them in.  Some have taken issue with that.

Nevertheless, in this film version of the story, Noah — a descendant of Adam and Eve’s son Seth — hides with his family on the fringe areas of humanity… The human population having turned to total wickedness.

Noah (Russell Crowe) has visions he believes sent by the Creator and determines that a Great Flood is coming to cleanse the earth.  So he gathers the family to tell them what they must do.  Noah’s task is to build an ark to save the innocent — the animals.

With a little help from The Watchers — which seem to come right out of The Hobbit — they build a massive ark, while the characters develop and Noah sees that there is both good and evil in EVERYONE — even his sons, and himself.  This realization creates an amazing conflict in Noah as the flood comes, his faith is tested and his loyalty to the creator and his family are at odds.

Crowe does a good job as Noah — managing to show the conflict within and the challenges he faces.  Jennifer Connolly as Noah’s wife Naameh does the same.  She really shines in one scene faced with the ultimate choice of life and death and the future of their family — it is a scene that is utterly wrenching.  Anthony Hopkins appears as the YODA-esque grandfather Methuselah and is a stand out.

The film itself really plays in the moment more like sci-fi than biblical epic, but I realized later that a lot of things in the Old Testament do seem very sci-fi.  The special effects are at times really cool — and the flood itself is on point.

While Writer/Director Darren Aronofsky (acclaimed for films like The Wrestler and Black Swan among others) does take some license, the essential elements of the story of Noah and the Great Flood are there… betrayal, obedience, faith, redemption.

Controversy aside, a thought-provoking film to say the least.

Disclaimer: Russell Crowe sings.  I have to say that for all the people — like myself — who shutter at the memory of him singing in Les Miserables.

THREE AND A HALF OUT OF FIVE COOKIES

Rated PG-13 for violence, disturbing images and brief suggestive content.


Check into The Grand Budapest Hotel

April 14th, 2014 at 2:32 pm by under THRS Movie Reviews

The Grand Budapest Hotel features another jam packed cast! There are cameos galore.

It’s the story of the many adventures of Gustave (Ralph Fiennes) — an unforgettable concierge at a luxurious hotel and his best friend — Zero Moustafa (Tony Revolori), his lobby boy.

In a nutshell, a priceless renaissance painting goes missing and a wealthy countess/family matriarch dies.  The rest of the film has to do with all of that… and just who will get the family fortune.

The Grand Budapest Hotel is hilarity at it’s finest.  Wes Anderson has hit the nail on the head of sophisticated comedy.  From the script to the casting to the directing and cinematography… it’s practically perfect.  Speaking of casting: Bill Murray, Ed Norton, Tilda Swinton, Jude Law, Harvey Keitel, Tom Wilkinson,  and Jeff Goldblum are among them!

FOUR AND HALF COOKIES!

Rated R for language, some sexual content and violence.