Monday, June 29, 2015

TV Review: Granite Flats, Season 3

This is a series that just keeps getting better and better.  This season is intriguing because of the spying genre, figuring who the "Plumber" might be, and the intricate relationships.  Christopher Lloyd does an excellent job as the professor.  There is a nice love triangle, marital strife, and personal growth.  Check this series out on Netflix or BYUtv.  Season 1; Season 2.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Sade - The Best Of Sade | Full Album

If you like vocal jazz, then this is a good choice.  Caleb introduced this genre to me, as did Mark to a lesser degree.  Famous songs in this set are, "Smooth Operator" and "Sweetest Taboo."  Sade (pronounced Shah-day) has such a low alto voice you often think it must be a guy singing.  Her voice is very strong, and the instrumentalist add to the sound.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Joan Baez - [sings dylan] full album

This is again Joan Baez with her mellow soprano voice.  In this set of songs she covers several Bob Dylan songs, and sings in a much different style than Bob Dylan.  Of particular note are the song, "It AIn't Me Babe" and "Love is a Four Letter Word."  I like her singing.

Movie Review: ****Chicken Run (2000)

This is stop-motion animation from Aardman Animations Studio in England.  It features the voices of Mel Gibson as Rocky and Jane Horrocks as Babs.  Babs has a bad habit, she wants to escape the coupe.  Her efforts get her in solitary confinement, over and over.  But when a rooster comes flying in the the chicken yard, a new scheme is born.  Rocky does not tell that he was shot out of a cannon, and gets the hopes of the other chickens up as the feed him and keep him away from the farmer.  He is nursing a broken wing.  In the end, his fraud is exposed, and he runs away without saying goodbye.  But the dream is still alive.  It's escape or be turned into a chicken pot pie.  The chickens build a plane, and away the go.  Rocky redeems himself in the end, and just in time.  This film was fun.  I don't know if I like the stop-action animation, which is sort of like clay.  I know I don't like that the chickens all had teeth in addition to beaks.  

Movie Review: ***The Great Waldo Pepper (1975)

The Great Waldo Pepper stars Robert Redford as a WWI biplane pilot.  However Redford's problem is that he was held back as an instructor, and only getting into the action after the war is almost over.  He tells the story of fighting the great Ernst Kessler, as if it was himself when in actuality it was another pilot.   He gets injured doing stunts during the barnstorming era.  Frustration is his lot.  He returns to visit his girlfriend (Margot Kidder), a common landing place when he is injured.  He thinks to over come this by being the first to do an outside loop.  His brother-in-law builds him a plane for the attempt, however Waldo is grounded temporarily after a stunt goes wrong and a stunt woman falls to her death (Susan Surandon).  His partner attempts the stunt, and crashes.  Pepper tries to rescue him, but one of the spectators sets the partner on fire with a cigarette.  No one will help him extract his friend.  As his friend dies, Pepper becomes upset and takes to a plane to buzz the spectators and chase them away.  In doing this he crashes, and receives a permanent grounding.
However his flying days are not over.  He takes and assumed name, and becomes a stunt pilot.  As luck should have it, Kessler is hired as a consultant.  They take to the air, and without weapons, end the film with a dog fight.


What more can I say than that she starts with "Blowin' in the Wind"  I love that song.  Some technical issues at first.  This concert is from Barcelona Catalan.  She does a couple of Beatles songs to good effect.  She also sings "Kum Ba Yah" which had become a peace song for her.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

TV Review: PBS Indie Shorts

I just watched three intriguing short on PBS.  More to come.  I was set to watch a fourth, but it said adult content so I figured it was too mature for me.
I watched "11 Paper Place" which was an animated feature.  It showed the life of paper in the recycle bin.  How the papers decided which became people and which became buildings etc. I don't know.  However if you are in a recycle bin be aware of the recycle man.
"20/Nothing" is a documentary where a man with just one eye talks about how he lost his eye, and how this has effected his life.  He says it makes him unique.
Finally "The Future is Crowd Funded" tells the story of a couple, who were excited about traveling to Mars to be part of the colonization.  However, in the training the male candidate is reject, while the wife is accepted.  What would you do your last few days on earth; how would you respond to leaving a relationship, and all you other family and friends with no prospect of ever coming back.  This movie poses some very interesting questions.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

ONCE ON THIS ISLAND performance at Hamilton High School

This high school version of Once on this Island is passable, but it made me long for Mark's performance at Cupertino High School.  That was Mark's senior year and he did such as a good job as the beautiful man, Daniel Beauxhomme.  From his driving the car through to the end, as he professes some girls you marry, and some you love.  (If anyone has a taped version of that, I would very much appreciate seeing it.)  In this  version Ti Moune is very good.  As for the rest of the  case, Ti Moune's parents are also good.  However, there are some pitchiness problems with the gods and many of the other cast members.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Movie Review: ****The Outlaw Josey Wales (Clint Eastwood, 1976)

The Outlaw Josey Wales
This is one of my favorite Clint Eastwood pictures.  It combines that old spaghetti western style with something more exciting and new.  Wales is heading West, escaping the Civil War as Confederate soldier, without surrendering.  Most of his unit was murdered when they surrendered.  He is labeled an outlaw and people are looking for him.  Heading west he meets an Indian chief, (Chief Dan George) and his squaw.  He later rescues a family who also joins his entourage.  They head for the family’s ranch in the West, and finally get there.  However they still have to fight off Native American’s as well as those who would capture Wales.  This movie is about moving on.

Movie Review: ****The Quiet Man (John Wayne 1952)

The Quiet Man
This is John Wayne, in Ireland.  John Wayne portrays Sean Thornton opposite Maureen O’Hara as Mary Kate Danaher.  They are an unlikely pair, but early on they are taken with each other.  However in this film, two cultures are clashing.  Thornton has returned to Ireland.  He has been a professional boxer in the United States and wants to start over after he killed a man in the ring.  Returning to the old country is his best chance.  He falls for a girl from the first day; however there are norms for proper courting, and courting has to go through the closest male relative, Mary Kate's brother, Squire Red Will Danaher (Victor McLaglen) who fast becomes Thornton's worst enemy in the town.  Red sees Thornton as being a coward as he won’t fight.  However it finally comes down to just that, a fight with the entire town out to watch and taking bets.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Musical Review: Beauty and the Beast

I have discovered that there are many versions of the Musical "Beauty and the Beast" on You Tube.  I chose the version with the most views.  I am sure others may have better actors but this version pleased me.  It is interesting to hear the additional songs from the Disney animated version.  However the old songs are also fun.  The Belle is very good, as is Mrs. Potts.  This musical presents some very difficult technical problems and it was fun to see how these were handled.  They most impressive part of the musical is after Belle leaves, and the Beast sings, "No spell has been broken, no words have been spoken."  It gives me goosebumps.

Crescenta Valley High School's Production of Beauty and the Beast

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Music Review: Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella (Original Broadway Cast Recording) (2013)

The music CD for the updated Cinderella is very good.  The music is clear, and includes many familiar songs.  I questioned how they could say "original" when this musical has been presented before.  However this musical was written for television, first starring Julie Andrews in 1957.  It has been reproduced for television twice since, each time adding new songs.  This is the first Broadway Production and features Laura Osnes as Cinderella and Santino Fontana as the prince.   I love "In my Own Little Corner", "Impossible" with Victoria Clark as the fairy Godmother and "10 Minutes Ago", especially when the prince sings "I have found her."  I love that.

Movie Review: ***^Paper Moon (1973)

This is the classic con man movie starring Ryan and Tatum O'Neal.  It was filmed in black and white.  Moses (Ryan O'Neal) is convinced (as a possible father) to take Addie (Tatum O'Neal) to her Aunt in St. Joseph, Missouri.  Moses is able to get $200 From the man who killed Addie's mother in a car accident.  He spends the money on his own car, and Addie accuses him from stealing from her.  A relationship develops in which they con across the state of Kansas with good luck and bad luck.  The develop a relationship with each other.
This movie has some humorous parts.  Such as when they pull a con on a store with a gambling game and the Addie wins all the store owner's money.  There basic con is selling bibles, to widows whose husbands reportedly ordered the bibles.  They harvest the names of the widows from the newspaper.
They form a nice relationship, based on conning and theft, which goes along well until Moses become infatuated with a woman.  Then the two-some becomes a four-some, with Addie having jealousy issues.  The two newcomers are Miss Trixie and her servant.  The servant gives Addie a friend, but Miss Trixie is butting in.  Addie devices a plan, using another man, to get rid of Miss Trixie, so they are back on the rode again.  However this time they get into bootlegging, and lots of trouble.
This movie includes the bad education of a child, as well as a child smoking.  However what makes this work is the on-film relationship of a real life father and daughter.  

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Book Review: Terminal (Tunnels 6)

This is the sixth and final installment of this series of science fiction, world inside our world books.  What is worse, the people living inside want to get rid of t he people living on the surface.  We continue to follow Will and Elliot who are in the center of the world, and appear to be the only ones living after the release of a deadly virus (they were inoculated).  However they find a few survivors, and then with them go on a search for an answer to stop the war.  Eliot, because of her Styx (the bad guys) blood is able to work things in the inner world, and senses that she has to fix things.  She is the only one who can.
However her efforts put she and Will back in danger way.  In the meantime, everything on the surface is going to heck; especially around London.  Who can stop the Armagi, the killing creatures of the Styx.  They seem to be all powerful, but not powerful enough to rip open a tank.
This final book leaves some to be desired.  There is lots of death.  There are also dangling things out their at the end, and questions unanswered.  After six books, it is hard to tie up everything.

Music Review Neon Trees: Habits

Habits, 2010-2011  I wouldn't know anything about neon trees except for my son Caleb, who in his years singing covered a couple of their songs.  One is in this album, "Animal".  This is a song about passion, but it is very catchy.  Not only "Animal" but " 1983".  On this album is also a bonus track which Caleb also performed, "farther Down."  "I want to shake up your system, I want to rattle your bones."  I love it, even though I am an old fuddle duddle.  The think that sets this group apart is the singing of Tyler Glen.  He has a style which is uniquely his own.  And the beating of Elaine Bradley is very complementary, and the guitars make for some good music.
This music is considered alternative rock.  "Animal" is probably their most popular son, making it to number 13 on the billboard charts, and number 1 on the alternative rock chart.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

John Denver An Evening at Boston Pops

This is John Denver, Boston Pops Orchestra and the Tanglewood Festival Chorus.  When I was a young man I saw John Denver with the Mormon Tabernacle Chorus for a World Hunger Symposium.  In this cut he sings "I Want to Live" with the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, which he sang with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir then.  I love this song.  There are several other favorites including, "Rocky Mountain High" and "Calypso" and "Annie's Song".

John Denver Windstar symposium 1995

This concert, conference would have been a joy to attend.  This is an environmentalist conference, with talk of caring for planet earth.  However it also includes John Denver as well as Dan Fogelberg performing.  The Colorado Mountains would have been buzzing this night.