Saturday, April 6, 2013

'The Sapphires'

Full disclosure, I adore Australian films so this may not be the most objective of reviews, however believe me that 'The Sapphires' is a wonderful, small movie which deserves to be seen by a large audience.

Based on a true story, which follows the lives of 2 Aboriginal sisters and 2 cousins who form a singing group in the late 1960s and tour Vietnam to entertain the troops. Under the watchful eye of their manager, played by Chris O'Dowd ('Bridesmaids'), this is a story of a coming-of-age of sorts as the young women travel not only outside of their own communities but Australia as well, opening up a new world of opportunity and adventure.

The story is a great mix of soul music, wit and romance. I highly recommend it. The real-life women who inspired this movie, spent the rest of their lives creating and supporting health and education programs in their respective communities. For a more detailed review, click here.

The real-life Sapphires: Laurel Robinson, Lois Peeler and their cousins Beverley Briggs and
Naomi Mayers.

Fifty Shades of 'Scandal'

Kerry Washington (Olivia Pope) and Tony Goldwyn (Fitz Grant)
Some months ago, I noticed my twitter feed would start buzzing with tweets about a new show called 'Scandal'. Finally, curiosity won me over and I started clicking on the links and got subsequently sucked into the 'Scandal' vortex.

'Scandal' is headed by the creative mastermind of Shonda Rhimes, she of 'Grey's Anatomy' fame. 'Scandal' follows the lives of Olivia Pope and her associates, or as they call themselves 'gladiators in suits'. Ms. Pope, played by the amazing Kerry Washington, is a fixer, she manages to resolve any problems, scandals, etc. for everyone around her but has some challenges in fixing her own life.

Set in Washington, DC, it is a smart, funny, and above all sexy show. Think of it as 'The West Wing' meets '50 Shades of Grey'. Tony Goldwyn, plays the married President of the US, Fitzgerald (Fitz) Grant who has a penchant for the lovely Olivia. 'Scandal' fandom has dubbed them 'Olitz'. The supporting cast is filled with great characters and wonderful actors. It is difficult to describe 'Scandal' because a typical episode, if there is such a thing, may vassilate between a case Olivia is working on, which somehow is connected to the latest political story; throw in suspense, mystery and the occassional murder and you get the picture. It is wild, weird, wonderful...and it works without crossing the line.

I watched the first season of 7 episodes in one sitting to catch up and was hooked! One the of few times the hype of a show lived up to my expectations. It is now in the top 5 of my must-watch shows. If you like your politics with a doze of intrigue and soapy-sudsy sexy goodness, check out 'Scandal'. Apparently, it is one of Bill Clinton's favourite shows...hmmm, not surprising :)

'Scandal' airs Thursday nights at 10:00pm on CityTV and ABC.

Rambling in British Columbia's Beauty

Ice formation, Harrison Hot Springs Oct.2012
Here are some of my favourite pictures taken on daytrips over the past 6 months. I am so lucky to live in a province that is so beautiful - British Columbia, Canada.

Near Harrison Hot Springs, October 2012. Eagle watching.
Whistler Creek, April 2013
Sunrise over Mt. Baker, November 2012
Othello Tunnels, near Hope, April 2013


Mt. Garibaldi, on way to Whistler, April 2013
Maple leaf in mountain stream, Othello Tunnels, April 2013
Shannon Falls, near Squamish, April 2013

Maroon 5

Maroon 5 has the distinction of being the band I have seen most in concert - three times over the past 8 years. It has been an interesting journey watching this band develop from an indie pop band to a well-established and chart-toppers they are today.

This time out, March 9, 2013 at Rogers Arena, their stage show is as slick as any top act - shaped like their trademar 'M' and stretching out into the audience, Adam Levine and the other members of the band, bopped, weaved, jogged, danced, sang and played their hearts out. Maroon 5 is a great party band; they like having a good time and so do the fans. It was another fun evening out. Looking forward to seeing them again.


A Good (K)night with a Beatle

The concerts I attended in 2012 seemed to have one thing in common, all artists were well into their late 60s or early 70s. I dubbed it the 'Senior Rock Tour Year', and what a year it was!

In May, I saw Roger Waters' The Wall, at 68 years young he commanded BC Place Stadium like the pro he is. In September, I saw Wanda Jackson (my second time) who has been dubbed the Queen of Rock and Roll. She at 74 years of age, still has the energy of someone much younger. 2012 ended with Sir Paul McCartney, who at 70 years of age still looks eerily like he did a couple of decades ago. All of them showed why they are considered legends, consumate professionals who are still on top of their game.

Below are some pictures of Paul McCartney's concert at BC Place Stadium, November 25, 2012. It was a great evening, one of my all-time favourite concerts, but really how can you compare these artists, they are wonderful in their own right.

Last image before Paul hit the stage
Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Let It Be

Saturday, September 22, 2012

'Once Upon a Time' Steveston to Storybrooke

Snow White and Prince Charming had their passionate
reunion in front of the Marine Garage in season 1 finale
When I first moved to the Vancouver area, I lived near Steveston which is a small fishing village within a larger city of Richmond which is located near Vancouver. It reminded me a lot of the small village I came from in Ontario so that's probably why I instantly liked it...that and it was also featured as Steveston, Massachusetts in an episode of the 'X-Files' in its first season.

Steveston has been featured in many films and television shows, the latest being the big breakout hit of last season 'Once Upon a Time' where it is known as Storybrooke, Maine. 'Once' brings the classic Disney fairytales to life as the characters navigate the modern world. In the first season, only a few characters knew their origin, however, in the season finale magic was released and lifted the curse so now everyone remembers who they are...enter season 2. 'Once' is my favourite guilty pleasure, it is the perfect light fare to start the week. Season 2 debuts September 30.

Here are some of pictures I took this summer when visiting Steveston. You can also follow @Steveston on Twitter. Do visit Steveston when you have the opportunity, it has lots to offer...aside from some television magic.

Storybrooke Town Hall, aka Fort Langley
Sign in the toy store in Steveston

Granny's Diner
This is an actual functioning bakery
in Steveston aka Storybrooke
Rumpelstiltskin's hangout aka Mr. Gold

Mr. Gold's storefront 


Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison and Damian Lewis
as Nick Brody in 'Homeland'
The 64th Emmy Awards air on Sunday, one of the television shows nominated this year, is 'Homeland'. It has been nearly one year since this show debuted and what a year it has been. There are only a handful of TV programs that I really truly adore and are must-see for me (in no particular order) these are 'Mad Men', 'The Newsroom', 'Boardwalk Empire', 'Justified' and 'Homeland'.

The premise for 'Homeland' revolves around a returning prisoner of war from Iraq, Nicholas Brody played by Damian Lewis, whose outward demeanor of a returning American war hero may not be all that he appears to be. Claire Danes plays a CIA agent, Carrie Mathison, who suspects Brody has something to hide...and is determined to find out what it is. It is rather surprising that this show was an almost immediate hit when it first aired on Showtime given the current political climate in the US.

The writing is superb, which is supported by a stellar cast which is rounded out by Mandy Patinkin and Morena Baccarin. Memorable episodes in season 1 for me were 'The Weekend' where Mathison and Brody spent a couple of days together finding out more about each other and themselves, amazing. The second standout episode for me is the first season finale 'Marine One', the interaction between Brody and his daughter which took place primarily by phone is intense, suspenseful and heart breaking.

Below is the trailer for season 2 which starts September 30. The choir heard in the trailer singing the Police's 'Ever Breath You Take' is Belgium's Scala & Kolacny Brothers.

Reports are that Claire Danes is the odds-on favourite to win the Best Actress Emmy and hopefully Damian will win Best Actor, they certainly deserve it.