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Monday, November 26, 2018

The Christmas Chronicles, Now on NETFLIX

I’m certain that many people are aware of the subtle inundation of Christmas specials geared toward putting the paying public in a more Christmassy mood. The subliminal message to "shop 'til you drop" is piped in everywhere like bad elevator music.

I’d be the first one to admit that I subscribe to the conspiracy theory that the more one views Hallmark movies and Netflix specials, the more one spends on Black Friday / Cyber Monday / yatta yatta yatta.

But, I’m a sucker for a good movie. This time of year, there are numerous new specials and some old classics we watch again and again as we slowly max out our credit cards.  I seem to be batting a thousand these days, because over the long holiday weekend, I’ve seen several great movies, both new offerings and timeless classics.

Last night, I saw a wonderful movie starring Kurt Russell.  Well, the man needs no introduction, but if you insist:  Kurt Vogel Russell, an American Actor whose accomplishments include “Escape from New York”, “Overboard”, “Tombstone”, “Stargate” and many, many more.

In “The Christmas Chronicles,” Russell plays an edgy Santa Claus whose sleigh crashes in Chicago because of a couple of young, curious stowaways.  Impish Kate (Darby Camp) blackmails her brother Teddy (Judah Lewis) into helping her get proof of Santa’s existence on film.  This sets a string of events landing Santa in the slammer and the kids in all sorts of trouble.  But Santa fights every sterotype and shows once and for all that it’s always a party wherever he ends up.

This is a new movie for 2018, one that will likely become a classic.

If you have Netflix, you need to see this movie. It was a riot. I laughed my butt off. You will enjoy it, I just know. And there's a little surprise ending I’m not going to tell you about.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Fortune Favors the Bold - Fearless Lives Forever

“Now we’re four misfits who don’t belong together; we’re playing for the other misfits. They’re the outcasts, right at the back of the room. We’re pretty sure they don’t belong either. We belong to them.” – Freddie Mercury

As I’m sitting here, I’m listening to the Twenty-Four minute, thirty-seven second performance of Queen at Live Aid of July 13, 1985.  This just hours after seeing the movie, “Bohemian Rhapsody” (20th Century Fox), the song of which was written by Freddie Mercury for Queen’s 1975 Album, “A Night at the Opera.”

I remember Live Aid. And I remember this performance. It was talked about over dinner tables and water coolers throughout the world. A packed venue with 72,000 people in attendance at Wembley Stadium in London.

I grew up loving Queen.  I couldn’t get enough of them.  Their music spoke to me.  I was the outcast in the back of the room that Freddie was talking about.

Yet I had no clue of Freddie Mercury’s life. Nobody had any idea what a train-wreck his life was, and nobody knew just how ill he was when he gave that remarkable, earth-shattering performance.

Queen’s music was something to listen to while I did my homework, drank my RC Cola, and smoked my weed. Later, Queen’s music would console and encourage me as I went through some astoundingly difficult times in my life. It was a go-to. It was a constant.

Then, in 1991, they were gone.

Fast forward forty years.  I watched in awe as Rami Malek, (Night at the Museum; Mr. Robot; Twilight – Breaking Dawn, Part 2) recreated Freddie Mercury’s persona on the big screen with such eloquence. The speaking voice, the body language, the little nuances, and the amazing resonance of his singing (a mixture of his own voice, Freddie’s and Canadian singer Marc Martel). Even the eerie finger movements on the piano were spot on.

If I didn’t know better, I would have said I was watching Freddie.

Bohemian Rhapsody is a biographical film about the British rock band, Queen. It follows lead signer Freddie Mercury’s life, who defied stereotypes to become one of the most beloved entertainers on earth. The film traces events leading up to Queen’s reunion at Wembley’s 1985 Live Aid performance.

The movie, written by Anthony McCarten and produced by Graham King, Jane Rosenthal and Robert De Niro opened on November 2nd with mixed reviews. However, the box office doesn’t lie.  Opening weekend payouts were at $51,061.119 on a movie that cost $52 million to make, with an astounding $254,423.150 total worldwide gross as of November 8.

If you see nothing else this year, make sure you don’t miss this.