Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Client List - TV Show Review


I’m going to be perfectly honest here. The only reason I even watched Lifetime’s new show The Client List is because my husband has had a long standing crush on Jennifer Love-Hewitt (he seems to think we look alike, which I don’t see AT ALL). We both support each other’s celebrity crushes. Hey, my husband agreed to see The Last Crusade on out honeymoon to triple support my love of film, Indiana Jones and Harrison Ford. So, yeah I think I can watch a tacky hour long Lifetime drama for him.

With only two episodes left in the premiere season (and I have one backlogged on my DVR), I’ve decided to write my review now. I know the show is supposed to be light fluff, but I still can’t help but bothered by some aspects of the show.

The basic breakdown; Riley Parks is a Texas cutie with an out of work husband and two young kids. Soon after landing a job at a massage parlor (The Rub), Riley’s husband runs out on her and the kids. With a mortgage looming and her massage take home pay not cutting the mustard, Riley decides to accept the salon owner’s (Loretta Devine) offer and service special customers that are on The Client List. Basically, theses clients want happy endings. A hesitant Riley finds redemption in her new role. She can actually help people by giving hand jobs! Whoda thought.

I’m unfamiliar with the original Lifetime movie this show is based on. I try to avoid Lifetime movies whenever possible. I must confess though that I got caught up in last weekend’s Shadow of Fear. Damm, sometimes they just suck me in. What I trying to say though, is my review here is based solely on my knowledge of the TV show so far and not the movie.

First, I was a bit let down to see the show taking place in Texas. Everything seems to be based in The South these days and it’s getting a little over done. I also had a problem when Riley found out that one of the other girls (Selena) was meeting some clients outside of The Rub to offer even more services. I for one was happy to learn this story plot because it explained why Selena had so much money. But to see Riley be all indignant and inform her that she couldn’t do that anymore was preposterous to me. Selena is conducting these services outside of The Rub, so it really doesn’t seem like it would be anyone else’s business. It felt like a fabricated storyline in order to create conflict between the two characters. If Riley tells the owner what is she going to do, declare in her syrupy sweet, Loretta Devine voice, “Hey, I run a respectable hand job business here!”

As much as I want to take it for the fun trash it’s trying to be, I can’t help but be annoyed that all the clients are attractive and not creepy. No one, gets a little too handsy and Riley never seems to look at any of these guys and think, “Now that guy? I’m not touching him!”

I will finish out the season with the hubby, who also agrees that the plotlines are not quite up to snuff, but after this, I think I’m out. I understand this show is going with a lighter touch, still it can be a little grittier if it balanced some humor with the pitfalls of that kind of profession. The girls would probably compare notes a bit more and how about some more believable clients like a really, really old dude, or someone a bit portly? If The Client List wants to last a bit longer (and yes, I know what you think I mean) it’s going to have to get out of the fantasy and into more reality. This isn’t Cinemax ya know!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Song of the Week -LATE EDITION-Melody Gardot/Amalia



The Absence is released this week. Melody has traveled the globe for her third outing. Exotic locales like Morocco, Brazil and Lisbon, promise to deliver, lush and wonderful new sounds for our ears. I thought you'd like to hear her new song "Amalia" and look for a full album review here in the coming days.

Check her out on YouTube
iTunes
and order at Amazon

Song of the Week - Bonnie Raitt/Right Down the Line


Gerry Rafferty's original verision of this song is one of my all time favorite tunes. It puts me in such a musical hypnotic state, that I tend to listen to it over and over again for about an hour.

This makes it a tough one to merit a cover, but I must say Ms. Raitt, unsurprisingly, makes it work. Really, if anyone was going to be able to pull it off, it would be her.

I'm also really digging the video and seeing the wide range of couple pairing. In that vein, it would have been kind of cool if she kept the "woman" in the song instead of changing it to "baby." I don't think it's necessary to change gender specific words in songs. It's a song! Sing it like it was written. Maybe she felt by changing it to "baby" it made it more all inclusive. If that's the case, that's cool.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Norah Jones - Little Broken Hearts/Music Review




Is there a term “easy listening alternative?” This seems like the best way to describe Norah Jones’ latest outing, Little Broken Hearts.

When Norah Jones first came on the scene with Come Away With Me, she was certainly talented, but it was easy to believe that she could keep that sweet, rich voice in the smooth jazz genre. Surprisingly, Jones has proven to be quite a versatile artist.

Any protest to that charge can be easily squashed with the release of the 2010 album, Featuring Norah Jones. Apparently, when she’s not making her own music, she’s singing with everyone from Willie Nelson to Belle & Sebastian and Outkast.

So it’s no surprise to see Jones go for a different sound. Working with famed producer Danger Mouse and inspired by the over-the-top films of Russ Meyer, Jones has created a concept album of songs filled with naughtiness and revenge. She’s a woman scorned and her heart is lay bared on these tracks. The first released single, Happy Pills, is a definite departure in sound from her previous songs. The first several times I heard it on the radio I kept forgetting it was her new single because it’s so different from anything she’s done.

The stand out tracks after Happy Pills are Say Goodbye, She’s 22 and Miriam. Still the album can be enjoyed as a whole. It’s a departure that works for Jones. The sweet and pretty jazz singer is now the sexy dangerous lady too.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

RIP - Robin Gibb


There's been too many RIP on the couch lately. Donna Summer and The Bee Gees are the music of my youth and it's hard to see these icons fall ill and past away. Much like Ms. Summer, I know Robin Gibb was sick for a long time, so I find comfort in knowing his pain has stopped. We always have their music.

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Avengers - Movie Review


So what does a movie loving mother want to do on Mother’s Day? See The Avengers of course! The family gathered together, which is a challenge with one teenager and one young adult. I couldn’t think of a better crowd pleasing movie to take the whole family too.

I’ve seen and enjoyed all the movies leading up The Avengers except I never saw Thor. I planned to see it, but sometimes you can’t get them all in. I even had Thor on hold at Blockbuster for Friday night. I didn’t pick it up though. I had a long work week and I wasn’t up to it. It was my one regret. Though it was not necessary to have seen Thor in order to follow The Avengers plotline, I did feel some pivotal points would have been further enhanced if I did.

If you’ve been following all the movies leading to this, you know that there will be an inevitable threat to the world and all the avengers will be forced to work together. Guess what? You’re right!

Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) must find a way to band together S.H.I.E.L.D in order to save the world from the Tesseract. This small, glowing green cube is an energy source and possesses mind controlling ability too. It’s now in the hands of the evil, Loki, Thor’s half-brother. Of course he wants to rule the galaxy, blah, blah, blah. As usual, this all doesn’t really matter because you just want to see super heroes fighting and on this The Avengers delivers big time!

At first you would think this movie packs in too many super-heroes, but fine writing and the comedic abilities of the actors, keep it fun and easy to follow. Maybe because everyone does have such a strong personality, no one is fading in the background and they all get their moments to shine. The always hard working, Mark Ruffalo, does a fabulous job stepping into the thrice cast role of The Hulk. Robert Downey Jr. has many great lines, but doesn’t over take the film. Younger actors, Chris Hemsworth (Thor) and Chris Evans (Captain America) do a fine job holding their own with the more experienced actors.

The fun part of this movie was it got me so excited I found myself yelling things at the screen! Hey, I’m a 44 year old mom and I can usually control myself, but first the movie started with a new character, Agent Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders), this came out of left field for me and as a huge, How I Met Your Mother, fan, I couldn’t help but shout out, “SCHERBATSKY!”

Then Hulk was awesome. Believe me the mother of two teenagers certainly knows a thing or two about controlling rage, but when Hulk finally busts out, there I was yelling, “You go Hulk!”

Ah, then there’s Iron Man. What can I say, he’s sooo cool. How could I possible contain myself? I had to shout a few time, “Get em’ Iron Man!”

Maybe this was not how the typical mom would want to spend Mother’s Day, but for me it was a wonderful time with my whole family together and the perfecr summer flick before summer has even started.

You go Avengers!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

RIP - Donna Summer


I've been doing too many rest in peace post lately. Too much sadness. I loved Donna Summer and I loved disco. Yeah, I said it. Hey, try to sing some of these songs. Many of the disco divas had phenomenal voices! Donna Summer was a classically trained opera singer. Thanksfully for us, she made some hits we can all enjoy. In my usual fashion, my favorite was not one of her more famous hits. I was happy to find this on YouTube and get brought back to a time when Ms. Summer was The Queen of Disco. Wait a minute, she'll always be.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Song of the Week - The A Team/Ed Sheeran


Hey everyone, let's get super depressed! This song is a bit of a downer. If you thought the song was depressing, the video really brings it home. It's a pretty tune though and does a good job illustrating the ugliness of drug addiction.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Great Summer Reads


Relax and Read: Summer 2012

As soon as we spring forward, we all can hardly wait until the longer days mean bringing out the grill, flip-flops, and sun block. To kickoff your vacation, perhaps it is time to stock up on good reads for those lazy days of summer. Besides devouring “The Hunger Games” by the pool in order to catch up with the rest of the planet and avoid a genial ribbing at the next barbecue, add these titles to your list.

“Seating Arrangements” by Maggie Shipstead follows the father of a very pregnant bride-to-be as he and his family face dramatic nuptials in picturesque Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The wedding sets secrets and drama in motion as family dynamics and relationships are on display for better or worse. This humorous yet endearing look at a family trying to figure it out while focusing on the impending marriage of those they love reminds us all that family can be far from perfect. This new author is worth checking out.

Another father is at the helm of “Brand New Human Being” by Emily Jeanne Miller. Stay-at-home dad Logan Pyle is barely hanging on to his family, self worth, and sanity while his world deteriorates. As he tries to tackle both parental and marital mountains, he is trying not to lose himself. Follow father and son, husband and wife, and their redemption journey lined with insight and grace. Their journey is worth the read.

Sit back and enjoy Ruth Brennan, the seven-foot-tall young girl navigating life in small town Canada at the end of World War II in “The Girl Giant” by Kristen den Hartog. As her parents try to put their post-war life back together and raise their unique daughter the best they can, Ruth makes her way through adolescence and offers unexpected gifts to those around her.

At the center of “The Age of Miracles” by Karen Thompson Walker is Julia, an 11-year-old Californian who awakes one morning to a scientific anomaly-the slowing of the earth’s rotation. Along with the inevitable changes that creates to gravity and normalcy alike, Julia’s family works through relationship struggles and what the future could possible bring, all while wondering what time it is. 

In the “Kingdom of Men” by Kim Barnes takes us back to the 1960s, from rural Oklahoma to Saudi Arabia. On the move with the goal of bettering their circumstances through the oil industry, Gin and Mason’s world changes dramatically behind the gates of their compound. Culture shock and an unexpected crime send this couple into unknown dessert and marital territory against a vibrant Middle Eastern backdrop.

No summer can go by without a family coming together to reconnect and heal while hashing out secrets and hurts from long ago. “The Red House” by Mark Haddon is set in the English countryside, where a family death brings siblings together. In the name of bonding, a brother and his estranged sister seek a new start, but end up facing the past. Follow each voice as they share the part they have played in this family’s tapestry, including those from the grave.

Hopefully this sampling is enough to get you started. Enjoy discovering gems of your own as the summer heats up. Remember that colleges often offer summer reading recommendations that may catch your eye as you look into universities and learn more about accredited online colleges for the fall. Enjoy!

Sources

Real Simple (2012)

Barnes & Noble (2012)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Song of the Week - Gold on the Ceiling/The Black Keys


I kept wondering why everyone was making such a big deal about The Black Keys. First, I heard Lonely Boy, which I thought was pretty good. Then I really dug Moneymaker, now the single Gold on the Ceiling, I can't get out of my head. The on this song is awesome. Can I just be honest and say this song is the sh*t?!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Deep Blue Sea - Movie Review


When I walked out of this movie I turned to my husband and said, “I can solve all of the main characters problems right here and now. These people need to: 1) get a job, 2) grow a pair and 3) stop being a douchebag!”

Sometimes great acting and mood just don’t cut it and this was the case for The Deep Blue Sea. The story takes place around 1950 in England. An obviously bored wife, Hester Collyer (Rachel Weisz) finds herself drawn to the handsome and younger ex-fighter pilot, Freddie Page (Tom Hiddleston). She’s willing to give up everything to be with him, including her husband, Sir William Collyer (Simon Russell Beal) and her comfortable lifestyle. Of course, her husband doesn’t want to let her go, even though he’s devastated by her infidelity. He’s an average looking, meek, over polite British dude married to the gorgeous Rachel Weisz, so the audience can easily see why he would be willing to take her back.

This film captures a vintage feel beautifully and everyone’s performance was great. Yet something kept gnawing away at me. I was getting very annoyed with characters and the over the top angst. I kept trying to place myself in that time and that circumstance, yet, still, something was keeping me from feeling for the characters, especially Weisz. Her character, Hester, seemed to despise her waking hours with Freddie. He never returned her affections the way she wanted. I kept thinking that she wasn’t really lacking in love, she was lacking a purpose in her life, so she is who I’m referring to when I say get a job. Her lover Freddie is such a cad and he knows it. His life peaked when he was a pilot in the war. No one or no thing is ever going to make him as happy again. He thinks by telling a woman, “Hey baby, I can give you any more than this. You know what you were getting into,” that he has an excuse to not even try to work at a relationship. This of course makes him the “douchebag. Lastly, poor William is so beside himself with possibly losing Hester that he doesn’t realize his attitude of letting her walk all over him, is exactly what she finds so unappealing. This is why he needs to grow a pair.

So, the characters are complex enough, it seems that I somewhat cared about the plotline…what was missing? It took me a couple of days to figure it out. Hester stays with Freddie because although his personality is insufferable, he unlocks a passion inside her that she has never known. We see one slightly steaming scene and that’s it. Hey, I know they were trying to keep this movie classy and I’m no perv, but hot, steamy sex is what was missing. Sure, everything in this film evoked an old movie feel, but if we are going to believe Hester stays with Freddie, I’m afraid we need to see them set the bed on fire. Look, this can be done classy. I think everyone can agree that films like The Unbearable Likeness of Being and Henry and June were hot and intelligent. Both of those films had a plot lines that revolved around sex, even though they took place in the past. In its effort to keep itself tasteful, The Deep Blue Sea failed to truly delve into Hester’s sexual maturity and help us understand her obsession with Freddie. It also kept an otherwise wonderful performance from Rachel Weisz from being great.

I was really looking forward to this film, but in the end it fell short of my expectations. Too many aspects frustrated me and the screechy musical score almost sent me over the edge.

Friday, May 4, 2012

RIP - Adam Yauch



Adam Yauch (MCA), of The Beastie Boys, passed away today at the age of 47. That's just so messed up. He battled cancer for three years so I can only hope that now he is a peace.

Licensed to Ill came on to the scene just when I was ripe to branch out musically. I have it on cassette. I still have it too! You don't give away gold do you?

Driving home, my local radio station played "(You Gotta Fight) For Your Right (to Party)." I cranked down my windows and blasted that sucker for all of my suburban town to enjoy.

Here's some memory lane of what I came home and watched. Peace.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Song of the Week - Free/Graffiti6



I love this song. I wish it would've come out in another month though, because it's a great summer song. Oh well, I can still roll down the windows and crank it anyway.