Thursday, September 19, 2013

I WENT to see a FANTASTIC film today. You must see THE WAY WAY BACK

"The Way Way Back 
May Be the Best Movie of the Summer
Sam Rockwell shines in the witty, tender directorial debut of actor/screenwriters Nat Faxon and Jim Rash."
--    This is a quote of the film from the movie review by Christopher Orr on The Atlantic.  The link is below.

Mr. Orr provides a much better review than I could.  I suggest that you read Orr's review and then go see the amazing movie.

This is an amazing ensemble cast:  Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Alison Janney, Amanda Peet, Maya Rudolph and Rob Corddry.   Carell, Collette and Janney show their thespian chops.  

Left Steve Carell who plays "Trent" and Liam James who plays "Duncan"

Sam Rockwell who plays "Owen" and Liam James
But it is Sam Rockwell that "rocks" this film, as far as I'm concerned.  And newcomer, Liam James, who plays the movie's protagonist.  What an impressive and unexpected movie delight this was.  Please read Orr's movie review at this location to see all the reasons why you shouldn't miss this movie.

If you go see this movie you'll immediately see a numerical ranking.  Won't give away the story, but I will say this movie is definitely either an eight or nine!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

If you're a JANE AUSTEN nut like I'm then RUN to the theater to see the new movie AUSTENLAND

Based upon a novel by Shannon Hale (2007), I went today with little expectation.  except for my abundant obsession with Jane Austen's books (all of them) and the A&E' Pride and Prejudice series made in the 90's which starred Jennifer Ehle and the sexiest man who has ever been written, Mr. Darcy, aptly played by the sexiest man who has ever lived, Colin Firth.

This movie is an homage to Austen's books (Sense and Sensibilities is another favorite) and to the A&E series.   That moment in cinematic history when Mr. Darcy (ColinTo find out more, click here)

Firth) came out of the pond to find Elizabeth is I believe the sexiest cinematic male moment in history.  He was utterly drenched, but never has a man look more fine in clothes than Mr. Firth (as Darcy) did in that scene.   The wet breeches make swoon.  (

This movie is a delight.  If you are Austen fanatic like me you'll relish every moment.

I quote from Wikipedia a summary of the books plot:
Austenland tells the story of 30-something Jane Hayes, an average New York woman who secretly has an unhealthy obsession withMr. Darcy from the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. But after Jane accidentally reveals her secret to a great aunt, who shortly after dies, Jane gets the opportunity of a lifetime. In her great aunt's will, Jane's great aunt leaves Jane a trip to a Jane Austen–themed getaway destination where Jane hopes to meet her own real life Mr. Darcy.
While at "Austenland", Jane is plagued with self-doubt about pretending to be a woman from the Jane Austen era. However, along the journey Jane makes new friends and finds a new romantic interest.  (click here).

The protagonist of this film, Jane Hayes is played supremely by Kerry Russell (one of my favorite independent films, "Waitress" starred her in 2007....check it out.)  This film is really an ensemble triumph.   Although one actress little steals the show.  She does so in every film that I've seen her in.  She is always typecast.   She can play her this character better than anyone ever.  I have a great deal of respect for her talent and her work.  I'm talking about Jennifer Coolidge who plays another guest at Austenland.

I should make this caveat......if you're a serious film critic or you take things overly serious, you should probably not see this movie.  I do not mean to diminish it's excellence in any way.   But it is a very clever farce (if you are into Jane Austen/Mr. Darcy) and it is perfectly cast.

I can't wait to see it again.

Lot's of fetching male eye candy too.  If that's what suits your fancy.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Just saw THE FAMILY with DeNiro and Pfeiffer. Hysterical new movie

 Just returned from seeing The Family, or "Malavita", written, directed and produced by Luc Besson (“La Femme Nikita,” “The Professional”).  

Although the NY Times savaged it, I disagree completely with the critic's review.  

It is was very funny.   Very well acted by the ensemble cast.  It also had some interesting plot twists.  

Robert Giovanni Manzoni (Robert DeNiro) and Michelle Pfeiffer (Maggie Blake) and their two teenage children Belle Blake (Diana Argon) and Fred Blake (played by newcomer John D'Leo) are a mobster family who are living in Normandy France in the FBI's witness protection program.

It was like a modern day version of The Adams Family.....except that these characters were the essence of New York mobsters.   Murder, destruction, chaos, brutality, and illegal activities are just an every day occurs for each of the Blake family members.

The other star of the film was the word, my favorite word, Fuck.   

These people are so bad that the priest kicks Maggie out of church after she gives her confession.   But they are just a typical family.

Dark humor and a lot of violence!   But what a great movie experience.  Sure, the plot is a little far-fetched, but this wasn't meant to be "Goodfellas".  It is a film of satire.

Pfeiffer is magnificent.   As is Robert DeNiro.   But these two performances are almost stolen by the young actors who portray the Blake children.

Great ending too.

Thank God summer is over and the shit movies are finished.   Finally my season for seeing films has begun.  Will see "Austenland" tomorrow.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

I LOVE elephants

Here's why.  This photo is from a great collection on huffington with the most cute photos of animals together.

Monday, September 9, 2013

TOKYO named Host City for the 2020 OLYMPICS GAMES and ZAHA HADID's design wins

Personally, I hope I'm not still around for that.  2020, that is.  No telling what kind of hideous world our species will have created.

However, if we haven't destroyed ourselves and the 2020 Olympic Games occur, then I would be THRILLED to see that my favorite living architect, Zaha Hadid's and her firm's design for the main arena which will host the opening and ending Tokyo Olympics ceremonies (below).

Photo:  Getty

I may be wrong but this I think is the most prestigious commission in Hadid's portfolio, to date? It is quite space age looking.  But what appeals to me about her firm's winning design is the undulating non-linear lines of the structure.   It is wonderful.

I visited Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesen West for my birthday, 8/23.  It was an epiphany for me.  I will do a blog post with photos and brief comments soon.

I read about this architecture design award in an article in which is titled Zaha Hadid's greatest designs.

I hope that this distinguished design award will bring her to the upper echelon of living architects and that we will see more of her truly genius designs.

There are a few other blog posts on this about Zaha Hadid.   To see more click here:

I'm adding a couple of more photos below from my Scottsdale, AZ Taliesan West visit which were evocative of Zaha Hadid's design.   Would love to hear anyone's opinions.

Although I haven't been through this building, I am wondering if it uses the "expand" and "contract" design element that I saw, and was astonished by at Taliesen West.  Not quite as claustrophobic though!

The building below is Bridge Pavilion, Zaragoza, Spain, which was constructed for the Expo 2008.  This building acted as the main entrance to the Expo.

Photo:  Getty

Vitra Fire Station, Weil am Rhein (1994) is one of her earliest built designs.  This German building 'defines rather than occupies space'. (see Zaha Hadid's greatest designs telegraph UK as mentioned above)

In my uneducated view, this is Lloyd-Wright-esque in its design.   Would love other perspectives?

Photo:  Getty
This amazing artistic experience is what I hope my experience will be like when I leave this world for either death, or to visit another planet.  This is Guangzhou Opera House, China, built in 2010.  It is comprised of granite, glass and steel structure and it took five years to build. 

Photo: Getty

The building below was Hadid's first completed structure in the US.   This is the Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art, Cincinnati, Ohio built in 2003.  According to the Telegraph article it is "
Hadid's first US project, described by New York Times architecture critic Herbert Muschamp as 'the most important American building to be completed since the Cold War.'"

Photo: Getty

2.  Photos:   Getty

Friday, September 6, 2013

Sunset last night at my home

This was the sky last night here in Palm Desert CA.  Some of these photos look like paintings.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Proposed Spaceport for Houston

Houston has always been the country's space capital heretofore.   But now that the space shuttle program has ended and the future of NASA's objectives are uncertain, Houston stands to lose it's pre-immenence in Space development.

Virgin Airlines owner Sir Richard Branson will begin commercial space travel in the next couple of years (assuming no setbacks) via his Virgin Galactic company.

Photo copyright Spaceport America
A spaceport has already been constructed:  Spaceport America.  It is located in the White Sands Missile Range, near the cities Las Cruces and Truth or Consequences,  located in Sierra County, New Mexico.  Spaceport America has been constructed.

Houston's bid to build the largest spaceport would help retain it's importance in the future of space exploration.  Should the city's proposal for the port be accepted it would be operational in 2024.    The project has been dubbed "Space City USA".  If built it would be the world's hub for commercial space
travel which is a consumer market that seems to be quite appealing for the 1%-ers of the world (the only percentage of the world's economic demographics that seems to be growing at a disproportionate rate).    Virgin Galactic will begin offering commercial flight for $250,000.    The flight will be about 2.5 hours, but weightlessness will be for only 6 minutes.  See the video below of the space flight:

Personally, I wish I could win a position on the one-way ticket to Mars competition.  I think any other planet would be a better alternative to this fucked up world we live in!  (IMHO)

Here's more photos illustrating Houston's proposed Space City USA.

 See more information at the following locations:

Virgin Galactic

Spaceport America (new Mexico)

Space City USA (Houston)

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

ME Want! Okay, my name is Mark and I am addicted to shoes

I have never spoken about this personal trait before on the blog.   I'm just wild about shoes, although I'm very particular about what I like.

I recently joined pinterest and I'm finding all sorts of amazing ME WANTS!  Particularly men-fashion-wise.   But I don't really understand how Pinterest works.    When you find something you like you do not have any information about the product or how to buy.  Many of the images refer you to a blogger's page.  Anyone have any ideas or suggestions.

Anyway, here's to men's shoes.   I would love a pair of these if I could find out the designer.  They are exquisite.

When I was in Rome, I visited the Ferragamo store, and saw a similar shoe.  I have always regretted not buying those shoes.   The old adage that you will always regret not buying beautiful things that you love.

Help with Pinterest and with using this to find out where to purchase the shoes.