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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.


Muppets Most Wanted brings the laughs we want

April 14th, 2014 at 2:21 pm by under THRS Movie Reviews

So this Muppets feature picks up where the last one left off.  Walter has become one of them and they are wrapping a movie!  But now what?  That’s just what they have to figure out.

Enter Dominic BadGUY or BadGEE — it’s french.  He’s played by Ricky Gervais.  Dominic is working with a hardened criminal — the world’s most wanted frog — Constantine, nearly an identical twin to our beloved Kermit — who has been locked up in a gulag in Siberia under the watchful eye of the warden there (Tina Fey).

Dominic and Constantine executed a master plan that breaks him out of the gulag and lands Kermit in the gulag, so that they can carry out their evil plan to steal the crown jewels — and no one is wise to the switch!  Not even Miss Piggy!

As you would expect there are hi-jinx and Muppet shows aplenty… not to mention CAMEO APPEARANCES!  Cameos including Tony Bennett, Lady Gaga, Christoph Waltz, Selma Hayek, Diddy, Celine Dion, Stanley Tucci, Usher, Zach Galifinakis, Josh Grobin… the list goes on!

I absolutely loved the cast — but especially Modern Family’s Ty Burrell as Jean Pierre Napolean — the Interpol inspector tasked to work with the CIA’s Eagle Muppet on this major case.  He is hilarious!

THREE AND A HALF COOKIES for me… Entertaining as all get out!  Some laugh out loud funnies!

Rated PG for some mild action.


Joy To The Mall

November 17th, 2013 at 10:24 pm by under News, Personalities

Holiday cheer took over Lynnhaven Mall in Virginia Beach on Sunday November 17, 2013.  I was honored to emcee the Joy To The Mall fashion show and fundraiser.

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Models of all ages wore holiday fashions from Macy’s, Buckle, Old Navy, Limited, Gymboree, Francesa’s, New York & Co, and Dillards. Many of the models are volunteers with CHKD’s “Circles”.

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Lots of sparkly dresses, suits, and accessories. Lots of Christmas colors… red, gold, green and some pops of blue and black. Lots of ideas for those holiday parties.

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Tickets were sold before the event online and at the door. There were door prizes and a live auction for a Coach bag. All of the proceeds go to Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters new donor milk bank programCHKD helps so many local children from minor medical procedures to life-threatening diseases. Events like this help the hospital meet the financial challenges of being able to treat every patient who comes through its doors. If you want to help, you can donate money or time. There are lots of opportunities and fundraising events.


It’s About TIME…

November 13th, 2013 at 9:12 am by under The Hampton Roads Show, THRS Movie Reviews, Uncategorized

CLICK HERE to see the trailer for About Time.

Now playing in theaters across Hampton Roads.

about-time-posterBefore I talk about this film, there are two things you should know… one: I love the idea of time travel!  And two: Back to the Future 2 is my favorite in the trilogy.

Now… the new film About Time is a romantic comedy from Richard Curtis — the same writer and/or director of others in the same vein such as Love Actually, Four Weddings and a Funeral, and Notting Hill.

On his 21st birthday, Tim (Domhnall Gleeson) learns a family secret from his dad (the fantastic Bill Nighy) that the men in the family have the gift of time travel.  They can go back to any moment in their own life and then flashback to the now.  Did I mention that I love time travel?  Even when I have to forget the physics and semantics and just go with it?  Okay, good.

Of course, Tim stumbles around learning about the gift.  He makes some mistakes but figures it out by the time he meets Mary (Rachel McAdams).  That’s when he gets everything right, and a love story unfolds that is just so sweet, maybe too sweet for some.  Things have to go wrong along the way, and he learns that he can’t use his power for the benefit of others… nor can he save someone’s life or course correct it.

McAdams is capable as always and Gleeson really pulls off the character, and in fact, he makes the audience love him and feel for him. Curtis gives us some really fun characters including Tim’s uncle who has no idea what’s going on around them, but the comedic timing is laugh-out-loud funny in places.

About Time certainly has it’s plot pitfalls, but as a fan of time travel and the occasional love story, I loved it.  It’s delightfully sentimental and emotional — and in places it’s witty as well.  It’s not just the same old love story, there’s a father-son love story unfolding as well.  It is not a must see but if you haven’t seen a time travel flick in awhile… I think it’s about time you did.  But that’s just me!  Long live Back to the Future:-)

THREE OUT OF FIVE COOKIES

Rated R for language and some sexual content.


Headlines hit home: Cyber bullies and my grandchildren

October 17th, 2013 at 3:38 pm by under 10 On Your Side, News, Personalities

I love it when my 9 year old grandson, Christion, visits. He’s growing up so quickly! He has twin 6 year old “baby” sisters, Sonaia and Simone. And there’s one more- Leila- who’s 12. They are sooo smart- AND- very proficient with technology. Christion is my focus here. He and the “fam” all live in Roanoke. And, whenever they visit, Christion loves to play games on my cell  phone and laptop. He especially likes interacting with people, he thinks, are kids his age, in online “gaming” and other seemingly harmless sites. As soon as I figured out what he was doing, (Hey!, I’m 57! Yeah, yeah, no excuse) we limited his time, observed,  then just simply cut it off.  He admitted he didn’t personally know who he was talking to. Now, I’m hearing this troubling story: 12 and 14 year old girls could serve jail time for CYBER BULLYING 12 year old Rebecca Sedwick, pictured here. Rebecca couldn’t take it anymore, so, she committed suicide. CYBER bullying Rebecca Sedwick 1374118_583393441708647_1765423216_sAnd it appears the PARENTS of the two kids charged, and those whose kids bully- could bare responsibility. I was bullied when I was a kid – BUT I had great parental support, AND, I outgrew the bullies and their attacks. This online stuff is proving to be exponentially more dangerous since it’s PERMANENT, WORLDWIDE and ANONYMOUS!  Christion has limited access to computers at his home – as far as I know. But he has friends with cellphones, tablets and other connections. And then there are the kids will all that access, and NO SUPERVISION or, as we called it in my family- “no home training.”  Those kids could scar CHRISTION, for life, with one “tap.” I, and CHRISTION’S parents, will continue to monitor what he does online, and shut it down if we don’t approve. We have to. Lives are at stake. We’ll “train him up” as best we know how, and keep pointing him in the “right” direction. Then, we’ll turn him loose on the world – hoping and praying  he’ll “turn ‘it’ off”  on his own, and just TALK to someone FACE TO FACE! How ’bout that for a unique idea?


Hot Coffee in Hampton Roads

September 11th, 2013 at 2:16 pm by under Military, News, Personalities, Uncategorized
Hot Coffee bringing a smile to our faces

Don, Lucinda and Robert celebrating “Hot Coffee!

One of the benefits of my working at WAVY TV/FOX43 is the opportunity to meet all kinds of people -AND- travel to “exotic locations.” Now, I haven’t had the chance to travel lately but the “exotic location” has come to Me (in a manner of speaking).

Meet Lucinda McDonald and her brother Robert Crosby. Luncinda joined the WAVY staff a couple of months ago. She’s the lovely lady behind the “voice” you hear when you call us. Her brother just happened to be in town, enjoying some down time from his job in the Navy. I met him in the green room after a recent MIDDAY news. I kinda knew he was in the military because he was so friendly. Come to find out, he’s a former navy cook who rose through the ranks and is now a Lieutenant Commander on a submarine. Robert’s on assignment now with a Congressman in DC. Well, we got to talking about hometowns. Mine, Baltimore. His, HOT COFFEE, MISSISSIPPI. “You’re kidding?” I said. “Nope. It’s a real town, Hot Coffee, Mississippi.” I almost fell out laughing, especially when he told me, “Yes, Hot Coffee does have *a* traffic light.” Hey, if YOU are from, or have visited, a “unique” town, tell me about it here or on my Facebook page.


Board this train!

July 29th, 2013 at 12:01 pm by under The Hampton Roads Show, THRS Movie Reviews

CLICK HERE to watch the trailer for Fruitvale Station.

Fruitvale Station is now playing in many theaters in Hampton Roads.

FRUITVALE-STATION-POSTERThis is based on a true story… And in case you don’t know the story of Oscar Grant and what happened at Fruitvale Station, here it is.

A group of friends are coming home to the Oakland area on the transit train from celebrating New Years in San Francisco when a fight breaks out and the train stops at the Fruitvale Station.  Eventually 22-year-old Oscar Grant is held face down on the platform and shot in the back by a transit cop at close range.  He died seven hours later and the shooting sparked outrage.

The entire incident was recorded by numerous cell phone video cameras that have now had millions and millions of views on YouTube.

But the film about what happened at Fruitvale Station is less about the shooting, riots, and outrage over the verdict and more of an attempt to tell you the story of Oscar — to give him a voice in the craziness, to help us see that for all of his faults, he was loved a great deal, he tried to do the right thing, and he loved his family– especially his daughter.

The film gives us Michael B Jordan (The Wire, Friday Night Lights) as Oscar for the 24 hours leading up to the shooting.  We see him help people at the store where he’d lost his job, promise to help his sister with rent, love his girlfriend, adore his daughter and pull out all the stops for his mother’s birthday.

Academy Award-winner Octavia Spencer (The Help) plays Oscar’s mother and it’s his mom’s birthday that prompts a flashback.  Oscar served some time in jail, and his mother had to practice some tough love during one visit.

Fruitvale Station is the feature film writing and directorial debut for newcomer Ryan Coogler.   And his first time out of the gate, he scores Jury and Audience awards at Sundance for Fruitvale Station.

Kudos to Coogler who decided the film needed to show you the story of who Oscar Grant was… In all the faults, efforts, caring, challenges, history and love he had in his life.  Coogler knew it would be the shooting Grant would be remembered for, but the love he had for his family and they for him is really his legacy.  He wanted to show that.

Because cell phone video is what defined the shooting at Fruitvale, Coogler employs it in the film from beginning to end.  And it really adds to the tone and effect.  The facts of the shooting are right there on video, yet the jury saw it differently.  He shows us both versions.

Coogler starts the film with the actual cell phone video of the shooting, then rewinds to show us what lead up to it — including the film version of the shooting — shot on the actual Fruitvale Station platform as the jury saw it.  The film is important and relevant to today and speaks volumes without trying to.

Some scenes building to the shooting are cliched, but its the acting of them that keeps the film on track.  Michael B Jordan as Oscar Grant is understated and inviting to the viewer.  He makes us care about him and understand him, so much so that by the time we get to the shooting scene we, the audience, feel like our brother was just shot.  It was wrenching.

And speaking of wrenching…. Octavia Spencer as Oscar’s mother is acting perfection in motion.  You see her go through it, trying to do the right things by her kids while so many challenges around them are fighting to take them from her.  She is starting to win the game when the shooting happens, and she stays positive, turning those around her away from anger to focus on Oscar.

Fruitvale Station is more than a statement on race relations in America, (which I don’t think it really set out to be, but is in some ways), it’s everything a beautifully made film does for me… It makes me see myself in the characters, makes me — a 40-something white woman — relate to, understand and sympathize with a 22-year-old black man who lived life seemingly a world away from mine but, in some ways, still are so alike.

Board this train… See this film.

 FIVE OUT OF FIVE COOKIES

Rated R for some violence, language throughout and some drug use.


Sham-Rockin’ the Miles This Weekend… “On The Run!”

March 11th, 2013 at 3:07 pm by under Sports

On The Run!    The Latest Running News and Notes in Hampton Roads from Sportswrap Running Reporter, Jon “Flex” Leiding

 

We're Back for More..."On The Run!"

We’re Back for More…”On The Run!”

The Calm Before the Storm!     Before we go racing into the BIG Shamrock Sportsfest Weekend, let’s look at the past weekend as so many of you are getting prepped for the big day with other races.  First,  the Cox Falcon 5K  went to Va. Beach’s Caleb Doan on Satruday, with an outstanding 15:45, while the Ladies Champ is a familiar face here and big supporter of our blog,  Renee High with a solid  18:22 for the 3.1 mile course.

This season, we’re adding “Shout Outs”, our way of spotlighting more than just winners.  let’s start with Ben Werve,  11 years old, turning in a terrific  19:07, 60year old, Carolyn Shaheen, who sparkled with her 27:00 effort.  Also in the crowd,  Triathlete,  John Lomogda  from Norfolk  “brought it” with an 18:31,  a big 5 minute PR for  Courtney Pollman , blistering the course in 21:16.     John Dicarlo, 63 of Virginia Beach gets in with a 23:36 and Dolores Ware , 42 years young rocked the  run in 19:47.

We went to the Peninsula Saturday and found  the Jamestown High School Swamp Run 5K.  That’s where 18 year old, Andrew Richards,  from Williamsburg crushed it with a 16:23.  Krissa Loretto, was the Fastest Female in a very swift 19:37.  Keeping our “Shout Outs” going, how about Carol Talley,  who at 58, set the age group course record with a 23:57! Want More?    Check out Karla Havens, also setting an age group record at 51 with a 20:57.  Also, getting into the groove are Williamsburg’s Greg Dawson with a stellar 17:46 and  Men’s Race Walker, the blazing fast Tom Gerhardt, from Chesapeake in 30:06.

Not Quite done with the weekend as we also checked out the 1st Annual Chalkboard Chase run, all around the beautiful Mariner’s Museum.  With the race approximately 3.75 miles, Newport News’ Chris Reoyo was the overall winner in 19:48.  That’s a 5:17 pace per mile!   the always speedy, Mercedes Castillo D’Amico led the Ladies in 26:16.  Even though this is a “First Time” Race, we’ll still kick the “Shout Outs” to Valerie Hughes of Yorktown, with a nice 32:41 and 14 year old, Aaron Kempf who posted an amazing 20:30.  The future of Running in Hampton Roads really does look very bright!

Going Strong and Going Long

They all Go "On The Run" this Weekend!

They all Go “On The Run” this Weekend!

The Tradition Continues!  The Shamrock Sportsfest kick into year 41.  Staring with the Towne Bank 8K, then the Leprechaun Dash and Kids Final Mile on Saturday and rolling into Sunday with the Anthem Half Marathon and Yuengling Marathon, nearly 28,000 of you will “hit the road”, while thousands more will cheer on these great people.  Runner’s World magazine, the most popular Running Magazine in the U.S., recently ranked the Shamrock Half Marathon in the Top Five of Half Marathons in the Country, based on reader response.   Great DJs and Bands line the Oceanfront course, making the miles go by quick.   The Half is SOLD OUT but, there are a few spots still left for the Marathon.

We’ll have Videos posted later in the week to get you ready for the action and maybe a surprise or two.  Keep checking here  all week long.  Last Time, we were lucky enough to catch up with Race Director, Jerry Frostick, who’s team at J & A Racing has really made this a National event and a must-do race.

Click here for the Interview>>>>  On The run for Shamrock Weekend!  <<<<<Click here for the Interview for Jerry as we chatted about the Shamrock Sports fest weekend!

As always,  “Thanks” for checking out On the Run, the Running Blog from the Station and website on your side, WAVY TV and WAVY.com.    Maybe we’ll catch you soon…“On The Run!