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Top Ten Reasons To Watch Netflix’s The Crown

November 7, 2016

 

img_1400Top Ten Reasons To Watch Netflix’s The Crown:

  1. Reportedly one of the most expensive tv shows ever made. Certainly the most expensive period piece ever; see what $125 million looks like on screen.
  2. Since it’s Netflix, you can binge watch all at once and not have to think about the anxiety-inducing election.
  3. Claire Foy, whom I loved since the Upstairs Downstairs reboot, as a coy Queen Elizabeth II. With her bright-poppy blue eyes, which flutter here and there, you’ll learn insight into the still reigning monarch (she really is quite obsessed with dogs and horses, but in some ways by no fault of her own.)
  4. It helps fill a missing Mad Men hole. Do you remember British Lane from Mad Men? Well, he’s here, played by Jared Harris, as King George VI and he is nothing short of remarkable. Both vulnerable whilst commanding, my heart broke as he sucked back his ciggies and inevitably quite literally hacked up a lung.
  5. See why John Lithgow will sweep awards season this year. I’ve always been a fan of Mr. Lithgow; yet, I had no idea of his true acting chops. I’ve watched many portrayals of Winston Churchill but none have struck me quite as much as John Lithgow’s. His hunched over wisdom and reenactments of some of history’s best speeches left me nothing short of spellbound. He is a true thespian and his portrayal of the incomparable Churchill is the best I’ve ever seen. I guarantee you too will be joining his fan club after you watch this.
  6. The sets, costumes and all that makes up the aforementioned $125 million budget do not disappoint. From the sweeping staircase at Buckingham Palace to a lush African bush filled with wildlife, no expense is spared in the lavish scenes and your senses truly rejoice. I swooned for all of Princess Margaret’s dresses and a particular moment with Prince Phillip and an elephant I still think about for some reason.
  7. You will learn something. Peter Morgan, the show’s creator and writer, focuses on key moments in history. Like the abdication of King Edward VIII, yet also sheds light on little things one wouldn’t know. I kept saying throughout watching, “I didn’t know that!” From big moment’s in history like a dense fog which caused thousands of deaths and years later led to an air-pollution reform bill (first I’ve heard of this.) To small nuances such as the switch board used to telephone the palace. You retain something from each episode no matter how big or small.
  8. It’s generally all-around some of the best acting I’ve seen on the small screen, or any screen really.  Every actor here carries their weight perfectly. Even Matt Smith whom I’ve never been particularly fond of is a floppy-kind of annoying-yet kind of likeable Prince Phillip.  Plus, if you’ve ever watched anything on the BBC you’ll see some of their all-time greatest MVP’s.  Like Eileen Atkins as Queen Mary and Victoria Hamilton as The Queen Mother. The entire series is really a who’s who of British acting royalty (no pun intended there.)
  9. It has something for everyone.   A little romance and secret love affair with Princess Margaret and Group Captain Peter Townsend for those looking to have their heart strings tugged. Yet, it’s not a slow period piece for the male gender or those easily bored. Each episode has a pace that would keep even the most testosterone-type or ADD viewer engaged.
  10. It’s just a really good show. In a time where the only thing found on the tube is The Kardashians or The Voice, The Crown reminds you what a really fantastic series can be. It harkens back to the time of Brideshead Revisited, where characters and plot count for something and acting-(imagine that!) actually watching some actors perfect their craft stirs you as a viewer. It is a triumph of a show giving humanity to an otherwise stiff-upper lipped British monarchy. It variously gives a heartbeat to a seemingly cold class and for us Americans something to warm to when our own political climate leaves us cold and uncertain.img_1403img_1402

    Netflix-The Crown

     

TV

TV’S FINEST-THE NIGHT MANAGER

May 17, 2016

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I am so excited about this miniseries I can hardly stand it. Already I am nervous that I won’t eloquently describe this mesmerizing-edge of your seat espionage thriller-with the worthy descriptive prose it so deserves.

The Night Manager is John le Carré at his finest. A perfect blend of James Bond meets BBC Drama; it is indeed shaken not stirred, and it is delicious.

Tom Hiddleston, oh where oh where do I begin with this Etonian dreamboat? He helms this drama as night manager, Jonathan Pine. Pine is tasked with infiltrating an arms dealer by going undercover. The arms dealer, or simply put, the “bad guy” is played by Hugh Laurie. Never have I seen a villain so dynamically portrayed as the performance given here by Mr. Laurie. Richard Roper (Laurie’s character) is both contemptuous as he is likeable. You can see how he spins a glamorous web which could ensnare just about anyone. You fear him as much as you are seduced by him. Much of his seduction comes from his surroundings. The series seems to be shot in the most glamorous of locations. Speed boats, turquoise waters and villas straight from the pages of Architectural Digest are the backdrop to the suspense. And speaking of shooting, did I mention it’s directed by my all-time favorite juggernaut of writer-directors, Susanne Bier?!?!!? This is no ordinary television people, this is a masterpiece.

We meet Jonathan Pine (dreamboat Hiddleston) at a hotel in Cairo. From here, a series of events takes place which send him hell bent on revenge towards villain extraordinaire Richard Roper (Hugh Laurie). He is recruited by Angela Burr (Olivia Colman whom deserves more than a shout-out for her portrayal of the strong-pregnant intelligence operative) to penetrate and crack an international arms dealer’s network (Roper/Laurie.) From this point forward it is pure le Carré thriller. Gasping for air, clinging to the couch spy-shit people. You will not be able to eat popcorn as you will not be able to breath. Never too violent, yet Ms. Bier sets the suspenseful tone at a low decibel. Just low enough to make you cringe and heart race, yet, not too grotesquely blood-soaked where you must look away.

This entire series makes me so excited about where television can go, and what kind of stories can come from the small screen. The Night Manager is currently airing on AMC, and I can not urge you enough to tune in. Dare I say it is better than Bond? And with Tom Hiddleston as the rumored front-runner to play the next 007, I suggest you take a sneak-peak now. Seriously, seriously, the best television production of the year.

http://www.amc.com/shows/the-night-manager

TV

Dine In With Netflix’s Chef’s Table

January 27, 2016

chefs-table

I love an unexpected pleasant surprise, and that was exactly what Chef’s Table was for me. Found during the blizzard in a quest to amuse myself in anyway possible during the snowy hours holed up in my apartment. The Netflix documentary series was as entertaining as it was insightful. Profiling six renowned chefs in six different episodes, I was left hungry, inspired and more educated in the world of food.

One of the most intriguing parts of the show, for me, was shedding light on chefs in far-off destinations. Specifically, one chef, Magnus Nilson, has his restaurant in an extremely remote part of Sweden. What was interesting to me about these isolated chefs and their restaurants, was that so many of today’s gastronomic super stars are not in New York or Paris, yet, rather they are located in these distant lands. To journey, as well as dine there, is in of itself an experience. The same can be said for an Argentinian chef, Francis Mallmann. Cooking most of his food with fire, over it, under it, and on an island on a lake so rural it looked like pioneer outback cooking.

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No matter who the chef was, something was to be studied. Even one from the not so distant land of Los Angeles, Niki Nakayma, had us in awe and with mouths watering. She cooks in the multi-course Japanese style of kaiseki. A form, and in my mind, art, I’d never heard of. Her dedication and precision was simply nothing short of inspiring.

From each episode, you took away some knowledge and further insight on not only how to look at food, but how it relates to the earth, culture, and life experiences. Not just for the gastronomically obsessed, this Netflix series is a feast for the eyes, stomach and mind. The creator, David Gelb, takes us on a journey with each episode, showing us, where the chef came from and how they got to where they did. It made me think differently about food, ingredients, and the way I even look at a simple potato. Worth checking out, not just during snow days, but any day when you want to learn and be entertained.

Netflix-Chef’s Table

 

Blah Blah Blah, Thoughts, TV

Making A Snow Day Out Of Everday-Dolce far Niente

January 25, 2016

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Perhaps you have wondering where I’ve been? I have been hibernating in the literal sense of the word. Storm Jonas sent a wave of terror through the Eastern seaboard and my beloved Manhattan. We roared through Whole Foods and the like for provisions, bought our vino at the local wine store and conversed with others and neighbors to see if everyone was “ready.”

So what did we all learn from Stormaggedon? For me, well simply, let’s do this more often. I loved the storm, every second of it.

Am I the only one feeling that there are simply not enough lazy days in the world right now? Even on my weekends, I feel the need to run errands, be “productive.” Yet, with the heavy snow outside and plummeting temperatures I did nothing but lay around my apartment in my flannel pajamas. I ate mac n’ cheese out of the box. I chatted at length with friends over the phone. No texting, no emails, actual conversation. I binged on movies and television.   Side note, am really enjoying the Netflix series, Chef’s Table, if you are into food or anything gastronomic I suggest you check it out. But, I digress back to the topic at hand, making more snow days in our everyday.

I’m going to be more conscious now of how I feel rejuvenated after a time period of doing literally nothing. I’m going to try to give myself a day a month to languish about lazily and not hate myself for it. I’m going to get on the telephone with people I love and actually see how they are doing. I’m going to pretend it’s a blizzard outside and read a good book, for as long as I want, with absolutely no guilt about all the other things I could be doing instead.

We as a society, focus too much on “doing.” I remember from Eat Pray Love, there was a section about the Italian art of “doing nothing.” “Dolce far Niente” the sweetness of doing nothing. I’m sure for Italians it could loosely be translated to having a cappuccino, or drinking a few Peroni’s or simply just “being.” Having chatted with a few friends post Jonas, everyone I’ve spoken to seems refreshed and recharged. Though the city is an obstacle course of puddles and mounds of snow to hike over, everyone seems more revived after the blizzard. I can’t help but think this has something to do with the demand Jonas brought on us to hunker down and vegetate in whatever form we chose. Dolce far Niente was an epidemic in the city and I think we are all the better for it. So from now on I’m going to do like the Italians do. I’m going to have no remorse about it, and I’m going to own my nothing. I hope you too can find your Dolce far Niente, and if not, I will become an expert and help guide you along.

Netflix-Chef’s Table

Best Foreign Language Films, Movies, TV

Scandinavian Crime Drama For the Season-Bron/The Bridge/Broen

December 11, 2015

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I should forewarn, that they have made an “American version” of this, but like all things in life, the original is much better.

The Bridge is one of the most captivating series I have ever watched. The complexities of the characters, specifically the lead, Saga, as well as her partner, is that of a good Nordic noir novel.

In a nutshell, The Bridge, or, Broen in Danish and Bron in Swedish, is a Scandinavian crime drama. The focal point of the TV series is the Orseund Bridge which connects Sweden to Denmark. Often we see the shot of Saga racing down its curving road in her Porsche to a scene of another crime. The plot of each season is to solve the murder presented to you in episode one. Yet, each following episode leads you this way and that, never quite knowing if you are getting closer or further away from finding the killer. A true cat and mouse caper with a brooding Scandinavian backdrop. Though some can be gruesome, there is a lot of humanity and psychology working as the underlying pulse.   Saga is a completely desocialized, borderline-Aspergers detective and, therefore, a particularly uniquely portrayed character.

The thing that really resonates with me is the simple escapism with The Bridge. While I’m not one for necessarily “scary” television, there is someting in a suspenseful viewing that makes you not think about your own life at all. There’s no time to ponder and mull about your problems when you are on the edge of the couch with your heart in your throat wondering “who done it.” I know it’s not necessarily “holiday” viewing, but if you want what I deem one of the best crime dramas of the last few years, I highly suggest you check out The Bridge.

 

The Bridge-Netflix

TV

Get Hooked On Narcos

September 13, 2015

 

 

narcos0003

Yeah, I’m writing about this, but man, I’m liking it. Narcos is quite buzzed about, at least in my circles. There is an installation on the corner by my house, advertising it. It’s Netflix, and Netflix seems to be the cool kid of television these days. But, I’m hooked on this show, which is a perfect pun, considering it’s essentially about cocaine, its history in Columbia and mainly, the infamous, Pablo Escobar.

outside my house, installation

outside my house, installation

I started watching over Labor Day weekend. Nothing says family holiday time like a show about narcotics! At first, I must admit, it took me a while to warm up to it. I’m not that into the voiceover, and I feel like the beginning is a bit of, “am I watching a documentary on cocaine?” But, the acting and production, in my mind is simply superb. Here is what I find so interesting as well…Wagner Moura, the actor who plays Escobar is so compelling, I almost find myself liking him at times? Like who roots for a drug lord? I do!!! In this weird way?

It’s quite violent, and time and time again, I keep saying, “I can’t believe this actually happened!”

My second favorite character is played by the actor, Pedro Pascal. You may know him from Game of Thrones. I don’t watch that show. I know, I know, but I could never get on board with the dragons and what have you. But, Pedro Pascal, sigh…..I Google stalked the sh*t outta him, because he is hot hot hot, and is a FANTASTIC actor. So raw, so real, so authentic. He really brings you back to that feeling of, is this real? Is this a documentary? When you know you are getting that sense, you know it’s good.

I highly recommend you check out this show. It’s historical, gritty, dramatic, and you can watch as many episodes as you like. I love this about Netflix. I think it’s the new medium of television. If you can watch more episodes at once, you can dive deeper into characters and plot line. Sometimes, I feel like when you watch a show only once a week, you can be left with what, wait what happened again last week? Yet, with Narcos, when you watch a few or couple at a time, you can really submerge yourself, feel like you are there, living it. Or, of course, you can binge watch all at once, as would be appropriate for a show about drug lords. No matter how you slice it, or watch it, it’s definitely worth checking out. You can find the link below, and if you don’t have Netflix, hopefully this will be the impetus to start your free month trial now!

Netflix-Narcos

 

 

TV

Poldark Now On Masterpiece PBS-TUNE IN LADIES!!!!

July 1, 2015
Poldark

Poldark

Life is not complete in my world without a period piece. As we all know, my love for them knows no bounds. Well here is a fantastic one, with a stud of a man as the lead character, and a fantastic story line. It’s airing right now! So instead of watching snooze-fest True Detective, tune into Poldark.

Ahhh Poldark, where do I begin? This was a huge series in the 1970’s and the BBC have kindly rebooted it. Just like everything fabulous from the BBC, this one does not disappoint. Captain Poldark, played by the dish of a hunk, Aidan Turner, returns home after a three year stint in the army to his Cornish mines. I point out the Cornish part here, because truly the landscape and some of the shots are postcard-picture-perfect. No doubt the tourism is going to skyrocket after this airs in Cornwall. So Ross (Captain Poldark or abs-for-days as we like to call him) returns home to his love, Elizabeth, but she is engaged to his cousin, Francis.

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abbbbssssss

Oh don’t we love a love triangle!!!!! But, he finds new love, and a whole slew of drama. I really don’t want to give too much away, just enough to entice you to tune the f*ck in.

swooooon-love triangle

swooooon-love triangle

I lived for this series, as did my Mom and sister. Each episode gets better and better, as your crush grows for the honorable and dashing Mr. Poldark. You can catch up on episodes now on PBS and it’s airing live on Sundays. I think they’ve only played two, which you can watch online and then be all caught up for this week.

I love Masterpiece Theater, more than I love cheese. Yes, that’s the analogy I just made.   This is the triple-cream-imported kind of love.  Strong, creamy and addictive, the kind you commit yourself to life, kind of love.  This is Masterpiece in all of its glory. Tune in. It will get rid of your post Mad Men Sunday night anxiety and fill your period piece void in your life.

hqdefault*Don’t you love how many photos I posted? That’s for you ladies;)

PBS Masterpiece Link Watch Now and Tune in Sundays!!!!

TV

The Fall-Thrilling TV At It’s Best

May 28, 2015

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I realize I give movie and television recommendations more than I give walking directions to tourists in Soho. This, my friends, means A LOT. I love all things film, and frankly I am getting more and more into the storytelling medium that is television.

I think there is something so phenomenal and strangely therapeutic to get lost in a series. You really get to the know the characters more, can delve into their storylines and psychology much more deeply. Plus, nothing gets me through a rough patch in life like being utterly engrossed in a show. You don’t think about your own life, and are too busy wondering what will happen in the next episode. Yes, this, cheese and wine, are part of my “get through rough patches” life advice. Take from it what you will.

I felt like today, I had to write about this show, because I’ve recommended it to many and every single person has come back with a solid, “wow.” It’s not like any other shows I normally wax on about. Full disclosure, this sh*t is scary as f*ck. Well, at least to me, who is a chicken sh*t. But, it’s just so well done, so well crafted and acted that it’s an absolute absolute must see. It’s called, The Fall and stars Gillian Anderson and Jamie Dornan. Gillian Anderson, to say I have a girl crush would be the understatement of the year. I am a woman obsessed with her acting ability, ever since I saw her in Bleak House. In The Fall, she stars as a superintendent senior detective investigating a string of murders. She is so smart and sexy, that I stare at the screen, just wishing I could be her. Never before have so many silk camisoles been worn in a police station, that is for damn sure. Playing the villain, is the deliciously hot, Jamie Dornan. Don’t roll your eyes as you think of him in Fifty. Here, his true prowess as an actor really shines. Seriously, his acting is on par with Ms. Anderson, which should speak volumes. He plays an incredibly complex character, a family man who has a penchant for doing wrong. Let me just say, it’s the first time I’ve ever felt myself attracted to a killer

The relationship between Gillian(Stella) and Jamie(Paul) is something Freud would have a field day with. As much as this show is tension filled terror, it’s also got a deep undercurrent of human psychology beating beneath. Each episode leaves your frantic for more, and is all consuming for your brain and nerves. Literally every person I have recommended this to, has come back utterly hooked, most devouring the dual seasons in a weekend. Both season one and two are available on Netflix. If you are looking for something to get you away from your day to day, with some incredible acting chops behind, check out The Fall immediately.

NETFLIX LINK

TV

Mad Men Is Almost Over

May 11, 2015
Oh how I love thee...

Oh how I love thee…

 

I am going to dedicate an entire blog post to Mad Men. Sh*t, I’m going to dedicate most of my Monday morning to Mad Men. My brain is all consumed by it right now and here’s why. This is not a show: I am invested in these people, these characters. I’m two days in on Twitter and last night I found myself live tweeting Betty, “sending prayers.” I know, I can hardly believe it myself. This is how emotionally invested I am with this show. For years I’ve been part of the Draper household. Wanting to ground bratty Sally for days, wanting to learn beauty tips from Betty and Joan. Can we brush each other’s hair please? I feel like I’ve gotten drunk with Roger and stoned with Peggy. I am involved-I am one of them. So here I find myself in NY, in 2015. thinking about last night’s episode, and the end of the “Mad Men era.”

I’m not entirely sure how I feel about last night. Killing off Betty is harsh for sure. It felt sudden and abrupt to me. Are we really talking about Betty and the “big C?” Betty has always been my queen, and if you were going to give her sudden death, shouldn’t more episodes be dedicated to her? Or maybe, for my emotional wellbeing it’s better that it was sudden and quick, ripping off the Betty Band-Aid. Last night on Twitter (I know, I can hardly believe I’m referencing this myself, but last night I discovered the entire purpose of social media, to discuss Mad Men with perfect strangers) someone said, two weeks ago when Joan left, that’s probably the last time you’ll see her. The last time you’ll see Peggy or Roger for that matter. My heart skipped a beat. Could it be? It was like your best friend was going to move away and you’d never see them again, and this was circa the seventh grade. Then my panic for the finale really hit, and I’m still struggling with it this morning.

I have no faith in Matthew Weiner. He is king of the no-ending-endings. Is he going to have Don go on an endless boring road trip? Do you think he’ll actually give total closure? No. Remember Six Feet Under? I had the same sort of panic attacks when it was over. But, Alan Ball went through each and every character and showed how their lives would progress, and ultimately how they would die. I know I’m not going to get that from Weiner. I’m already angry and disappointed with him for this. I want to know where Don ends up, if my dream of Roger and Joan getting together will finally come true. But, I know this will most likely not happen, so instead, I will have to spend this entire week knowing something bad and death-like is looming. RIP Mad Men.

 

Blah Blah Blah, Thoughts, TV

What I Learned From The Grammys

February 9, 2015

We all know I love awards shows, but Grammys aren’t totally my bag. Every year I always feel like they are more performances than people just actually playing music or singing. Of course, though, I casually tune in. And what I mean by casually is I don’t make snacks and make a day of it like I do the Oscars, nor do I stick on the channel. I sort of do a breeze by. Last night I skimmed through whilst flipping to the Baftas; you get the idea. But, here are a few of the things I learned from the Grammy’s last night.

  • Giuliana Rancic once again seriously needs to eat. I didn’t really watch the red carpet, but when I glanced by I could not believe once again how thin she was. Why are people letting her be on the air this skinny? It looked like her big bobble head was superimposed on her body. I don’t mind her as a person, but I just don’t think it’s a good thing for young women to be seeing, and certainly a bad example. There is nothing healthy about this; you can’t get that skinny by doing anything but not eating. Ok! Enough on that.
Please, find me a burger...

Please, find me a burger…

  • Madonna made me uncomfortable. I will forever, til the day I die, love Madge, but she made me cringe last night. From her ridiculous outfit with her ass out to her performance. She was so stiff she seemed like an ad for osteoporosis. I kept waiting for her hip to pop out as she faked smiled whilst her rickety bones gyrated. No one wants to see Granny grind. I know she looks great for age, man, I wish my ass looked that good, but there is something so antiquated about her dancing that just makes me want to look away.
You know you are doing something wrong when your ass shocks LADY GAGA!

You know you are doing something wrong when your ass shocks LADY GAGA!

  • I want to drink from Annie Lenox’s cup. Holy mother of all things music and holy, that voice! Like I mentioned before, a huge part of the reason I’m never a fan of the Grammy’s is that it never seems like it’s about the music, but always about the spectacle, the show, as far as musical performances are concerned. Who can fly through the air, who can have the most back up dancers, never who can just, f@ck, sing. But, Annie. Wow. Her voice gave me chills, reminded me what music is about and made me want to bow down. She is my new Rock Goddess.

 

 

  • I still love Pharrell. Though, I wasn’t that into his performance just the fact that he stood there in a damn bell boy outfit made my night. Here is a guy renowned for his style, but instead of working the Givenchy he said, I know, I’m gonna wear a bellboy outfit a la Grand Budapest Hotel. Wes Anderson must have been smiling somewhere. Just watching him in his tiny short shorts with his little hat with chin strap made me smile -that’s worth something.
You are too cute.

You are too cute.

  • Kristen Wiig is my hero. I love Sia’s “Chandelier”, though I am over her whole back to the audience try -hard thing. However, realizing that the blond-wigged dancer giving it her all with wacky moves was Kristen Wiig totally made my night. Who the hell knew? As if I couldn’t love her enough after co-writing Bridesmaids, but now, she’s a forty-year old interpretive dancer in a nude leotard to one of my favorite songs of the year, at the mother f$cking Grammy’s. I love you.

 

  • Beyonce is queen of everything. Last night when I was googling her on my iPhone it automatically puts an accent on her e. It’s not doing it here in Word, but on my phone it’s like an autocorrect. You know you’ve made it when you’re name is in spell-check.
  • Kanye is still crazy. He got up on stage when Beck won his award, and then ranted about how he isn’t an artist? Making a record in your house with your band of twenty years isn’t artistry, isn’t being a musician? His turrets outbursts are getting tired.

 

You cray.

You cray.

I’m sure there was much more to last night that I’ve missed, in all I’d say it was mildly entertaining, but damn, I’m still back at Annie….