Blogs You Should Follow Part 14

Blogging CommunityHola, great followers. Today I’ve got three more blogging recommendations that you are going to love. So without further ado, here they are:

Amusing Myself Musings: Melanie runs this site and it is such a rich cornucopia of things. She talks about her life, struggles, joys and passions. And all of it is filled with such honesty and humour, you can’t help but love this lady for her fantastically insightful blog.

Alex Raphael: Supremely amazing Alex has a blog that is mixed with anything pop culture based. From football to movies, and not to mention some cool quizzes, his blog is a must read.

Matt and His Cats: A genuinely cool and informative guy, Matt details his love of books, movies and of course his cats. A truly one of a kind site.


What Horror Movies Are You Watching for Halloween?

ScreamWith this month being October and Halloween soon to be here, I always dig out my stash of horror movies to scare the living hell out of me in the build up to the spooky day. Today I ask, what movies will you watch in the build up to Halloween? Will it be gore galore of psychological twists? Voracious werewolves or menacing vampires? Whatever you decide, please let me know.

Mona Lisa Smile

Film Title

Mona Lisa Smile


Mike Newell


  • Julia Roberts as Katherine Watson
  • Kirsten Dunst as Betty Warren
  • Julia Stiles as Joan Brandwyn
  • Maggie Gyllenhaal as Giselle Levy
  • Ginnifer Goodwin as Connie Baker
  • Dominic West as Bill Dunbar
  • Marcia Gay Harden as Nancy Abbey
  • Juliet Stevenson as Amanda Armstrong

It may not offer much in the way of originality in the inspiring teacher style of films and is occasionally meandering ,but Mona Lisa Smile more than makes up for these flaws with its warm-hearted nature, stunning look and excellent work of the predominately female cast, headed by Julia Roberts.

It is the 1950’s and Katherine Watson is a free-thinking art history teacher hired by Wellesley college for young woman for a year. Mona Lisa Smile ActressesThe college is a rigidly formal one that is base on tradition, something which poses a problem for Katherine and her progressive ideas. The girls she teaches are clearly bright and have futures ahead of them, but they have all been brought up and taught that once they finish college and even while they are in it to find a husband and settle down as a housewife. The bohemian Katherine is annoyed by this as she sees clear potential within the young ladies of her class, such as Joan Brandwyn, who has a talent for law, bashful Connie Baker and the vampy Giselle Levy, who relates the most to the way Katherine thinks. And instead of just following the planned syllabus of her class that details she must follow, she goes against this by getting the girls to discuss the nature of art and what the merits of it are.Betty WarrenComing up against opposition, mainly from the opinionated and bitchy Betty Warren who has been spoon fed the idea of being a dutiful wife and being subservient, Katherine continues to instruct the girls of what they could do with their lives and how they could go on to better things than just marriage. Bucking the trend and going against the system, she slowly gains their admiration and respect.

As aforementioned, Mona Lisa Smile is not exactly a groundbreaking movie but neither is it trying to be. Mike Newell brings finesse to the film with his directing, that lets us glimpse a woman inspiring the girls around her to break free from the chains of tradition and see beyond the horizons. Mona Lisa Smile CastDespite the odd mawkish moment and the movie sometimes needed an injection of pace, Mona Lisa Smile remains an engaging film because of the characters and the way it pokes fun at the ridiculously rigid 1950’s and what a woman was expected to do. I liked how although Katherine wants the girls to open up to the idea of going against the norm, she doesn’t force it on them. Instead, through little steps and her lessons, she shows them that they are destined for greatness and not just to become what everyone else tells them they should be. The film to look at it stunning in a rose-tinted way that also serves the purpose of exposing the unhappiness behind the seemingly perfect lifestyles of being a married woman was like. Costume design and scenery is beautifully constructed and a marvel to see. A lilting score from Rachel Portman stunningly compliments the journey of the girls as their minds are opened to the possibility of change from the status quo.

Julia Roberts makes for a sympathetic and coltish lead portraying the inspiring Katherine. Katherine WatsonThe fact that Roberts is largely associated with contemporary movies stands her in good stead here as Katherine is supposed to be a character who stands out against the restrictions of the time. Roberts brings her charm and warmth to the part, along with the desire for change that makes for a great performance. Kirsten Dunst makes an impression as the bitchy but underneath it all blinkered Betty, who constantly berates those around her for trying to be different from what they’ve been told to do. As bitchy and spiteful as the character is, Dunst brings forth the sadness of Betty and how her delusions of a wonderful married life are proved wrong. Her scenes with Roberts are fantastic as the two schools of ideas clash. Julia Stiles has a luminosity that she equips Joan with that makes her relatable as she is caught in the middle ground of following her dreams and sticking to tradition. Giselle LevyMaggie Gyllenhaal gets all the best lines as the sexy and rebellious Giselle, who brazenly has affairs, drinks a lot and just doesn’t give a damn about it or what anyone thinks. Gyllenhaal has such a vibrancy about her in this film that is very endearing and mischievous. Ginnifer Goodwin is suitably sweet as the hopelessly romantic Connie, but Dominic West is hopelessly wasted as a potential love interest for Katherine that really doesn’t go anywhere. In supporting roles, Marcia Gay Harden as a buttoned-up elocution teacher and Juliet Stevenson as the disapproving college nurse give class to an already stellar cast.

So while it brings nothing new to the table as such, Mona Lisa Smile is still filled with enough talent and story to make you connect with it.

What Do You Think of The New Bond Song?

Sam SmithWith Spectre being released at the end of the month and my excitement going into overdrive, I thought it was time I found out what people made of the song for it. Sam Smith’s “Writing’s On The Wall” seems to have divided opinion a lot but has proved a big success on the charts. I must admit I wasn’t sure about the song at first, but it is slowly growing on me. So what do you think of the song? Does it have the right Bond flavour? Whatever you make of it, let me know.


Jacob’s Ladder

Film Title

Jacob’s Ladder


Adrian Lyne


  • Tim Robbins as Jacob Singer
  • Elizabeth Peña as Jezzie
  • Danny Aiello as Louis Denardo
  • Matt Craven as Michael Newman

A Vietnam vet’s tortured existence that blurs between reality and visions is captured in horrifying detail in Jacob’s Ladder, directed with creepy certainty by Adrian Lyne and anchored by a powerful turn from Tim Robbins. This is a film that will stay with you for a long time not just due to the haunting, disturbing story and bizarre visuals, but for its harrowing emotion rare in a horror film.

Jacob Singer is a Vietnam vet who after the war is now working as a postal worker in New York City. Jacob's Ladder PosterAlthough now living with his seductive girlfriend Jezzie following a divorce from his first wife Sarah, Jacob is also mourning the death of his young son and recalling a terrifying an experience during the war when he was stabbed with a bayonet by an unseen soldier. Yet as he tries to move on with his life through his new relationship and job, terror soon encroaches upon it due to visions of demonic beings plaguing him in a fragmented fashion. On his way from the subway, a passenger’s face appears distorted and strangely warped. A nurse appears to have horns under her hat. A wild party turns into a room of beasts. What is causing these sights and are they real? Has Jacob’s mind been fractured by the traumatizing events in Vietnam? Jacob SingerHe begins to believe this theory when fellow members of his platoon come forward with their stories and they become convinced that the government did something to them while they were stationed in Vietnam. But with his visions growing stronger and finding it harder to distinguish what is real and what isn’t, can Jacob uncover the mystery before the horror completely overtakes him and he completely crumbles? With assistance from his kindly chiropractor Louis and a mysterious man named Michael Newman, Jacob attempts to fathom the nature of these visions and the validity of them before it is too late.

Adrian Lyne brings the nightmarish world Jacob inhabits to life with assured direction, that also taps into the deeper emotions of the story. His successful direction gives life to the ambiguities that Jacob’s Ladder throws at us and places us like Jacob in this abyss of not knowing what to believe or see. Visually, Jacob’s Ladder is phantasmagorical with horrific visions and sights. The fragmented nature of the movie as it cuts between past, memories and possibly delusions is edited with a disjointed quality that creates fear and confusion. Two particular scenes stand out that convey the sheer horror of the piece. The first features Jacob witnessing a man at a party’s head spinning violently fast as if in a constant state of convulsion. Jacob's Ladder HospitalThe second and most memorably terrifying is Jacob being taken into the decaying bowels of a hospital, strewn with body parts and disturbed patients. Strapped to a gurney, he is investigated by sinister doctor, including a man with no eyes. It truly is terror at its most psychological and unsettling. And yet for all of the horror on show, there is a very melancholy tone that pervades the movie, and is embodied by Jacob’s descent. The film can also be commended for the avenues of possibility it opens up. You’ve got the prospect of government experiments, the grief felt by the loss of a loved one and biblical allusions all at play and giving the film layer upon layer of ambiguity. An ambient score from Maurice Jarre backs the mounting events of bizarre terror and unexplained horror excellently, while underlining the tortured soul of Jacob.

In the role of the eponymous Jacob, Tim Robbins is emotionally powerful and devastating. He elicits sympathy for Jacob and the nightmare he is put through, and the audience feels the same way. As emotional as Robbins performance is, he also embodies the character physically. His movements are awkward and gawky due to his tall frame, his bespectacled appearance makes him look like a young boy and his expressive face is a marvel at conveying Jacob’s plight. In short, Robbins delivers powerful work of deep emotion and clarity. JezzieElizabeth Peña smolders as the sexy but concerned Jezzie, whose name seems very appropriate given the biblical parallels of the story. While her sexuality is showcased often here, Peña gives the character a sense of mystery and fear as she watches Jacob’s slowly fall apart. Danny Aiello makes a mark as the almost angelic chiropractor who gives Jacob an important piece of advice in his search for answers, while Matt Craven is enigmatic as someone who knows more about why Jacob has been receiving these visions.

A deeply unsettling movie of horror and emotion, Jacob’s Ladder is simply an unforgettable movie.

Desperate Housewives Season 6

After the successful five-year jump in Season 5, Desperate Housewives Season 6 carries on the great momentum with great dialogue, comedy, drama and mystery. Warning, there will be spoilers following in this review.

Susan(Teri Hatcher) and Mike(James Denton) have been drawn back together after their lives were threatened in the Season 5 finale. Desperate Housewives Season 6 PosterAs this season opens and the deceased Mary Alice(Brenda Strong) continues to watch the comings and goings on the street she once lived from her resting place, Mike and Susan are married again, and everyone is happy for them. Everyone except Katherine(Dana Delany), who feels jilted by Mike and can’t let go of the romantic time they had. As time goes on Katherine starts to crumble emotionally at the loss of Mike which leads to her experiencing a full on breakdown. Katherine is then sectioned and after much therapy, emerges again now over her personal demons, but also finds herself falling for someone unexpected. In Susan’s life, Julie(Andrea Bowen) has returned for a while but this take a terrifying turn when she is strangled by an unseen stranger. Julie is found StrangledThe blame points towards the new neighbours the Bolen’s; tough-talking Angie(Drea de Matteo), her suspicious husband Nick(Jeffrey Nordling) and their sullen teenage son Danny(Beau Mirchoff), who took an interest in Julie just before her attack. The Bolen’s are hiding a dark enough secret anyway which arouses suspicions on Wisteria Lane as the family tries to keep it under wraps. Yet Danny is cleared of the attack on Julie, which only sets everyone’s nerves on edge even more as the attacker is still out there. It is also revealed that Julie was having an affair with a married man, much to the shock of Susan who always saw her as responsible and sensible. In other stories we have Lynette(Felicity Huffman) contending with pregnancy and panicking that she won’t be able to take care of twins, when she already has four children to look after anyway. This doubt creeps into her work as she is offered a higher wage by Carlos(Ricardo Antonio Chavira), and she is left in a spin over what to do as she shields her pregnancy from everyone and Tom(Doug Savant) tries to help her make a decision. Ultimately, the secret pills out and causes problems for the friendship between Lynette and Gabrielle(Eva Longoria). Bree(Marcia Cross), whose marriage to Orson(Kyle MacLachlan) is on shaky ground, has begun an affair with her divorce lawyer and Susan’s ex Karl(Richard Burgi) and become a little more wild that her usually prim self. Bree and OrsonOrson is trying to win Bree back, but so far all his attempts including blackmail, have failed. Yet a tragic incident ends the affair with Karl’s death and Bree contemplating what to do with a paralyzed Orson. Gabrielle and Carlos have taken in Ana(Maiara Walsh), Carlos’s niece who stirs up trouble with her outrageous ways and snotty attitude. Ana SolisThis leads to Gabrielle and her coming head on with each other and Ana attempting to worm her way out of trouble by putting on an innocent act. And with the mysterious Bolen’s providing mystery and the aforementioned devastating event that shakes people’s lives(and of which I will talk about in greater detail later in the review), it’s once more an exceptional season of scandal, mystery and enduring entertainment.

Season 6 provides a compelling double mystery that is kept together and made very suspenseful. Angie BolenThe main mystery is the Bolen family and their past, as we observe that their on the run from something and have changed names numerous times. The mystery of them is very gripping and keeps you guessing as little by little, parts of their past threaten to expose them. The other mystery, which is equally as good, is of The Fairview Strangler. The reign of terror he brings is very creepy as observed with his attack on Julie and then murder of a waitress. There is something very sad when we view the back story of the attacker that gives a melancholy slant on the reasons for the crimes, but also makes it very uneasy. It all gets very dark and this is what I’ve always loved about Desperate Housewives; the fact that it isn’t afraid to be both light and amusing, while on the other hand having creepy darkness underneath it all.

The drama is of the highest order once more, with an especially moving two episodes that examine the fallout of tragedy. The incident is when a plane crashes onto the street after spinning out of control during the Christmas festivities and devastates those in the way. Karl dies from injuries sustained which makes Bree ask about her choices as Orson is paralyzed from it as well. The following episode is one of the strongest dramatically as the ladies dream about what directions their lives may have taken if they’d made different decisions or what fate is dealing them. LynetteLynette’s arc is the strongest as she goes in for surgery after sustaining injuries rescuing Gabrielle’s daughter that may have hurt one of her unborn children. In her dream, she sees what may have happened if her child was born disabled and it is honestly such a moving part of the story as she teaches him what he can achieve despite his disability. The episode is given a further emotional depth when Lynette wakes up and discovers that one of her twins has died, but one is still alive. If you don’t cry observing her reaction to the news, you don’t have a heart. Credit throughout the seasons must also go to the writers for pushing the fracturing and healing relationships between the women that provide the show with pathos. They may all have conflict with one another, but thankfully their friendships provide beacons of support that can’t be erased. And let us not forget the wit that pervades the show which is as razor-sharp and hysterical as ever. I think it’s safe to say that Season 6 is a definite highlight in the show’s run so far.

The wonderful cast is once again on the ball with some spot on performances. Marcia Cross delivers another fantastic performance as Bree, who has to grapple with an affair, loss and rekindling her love with Orson. Bree and KarlCross is on great form again, shading Bree with a quiet uncertainty belied by her organised exterior. It’s also good to see Bree let her hair down a bit, especially in her affair as she throws caution to the wind and doesn’t think of the fallout. Teri Hatcher shows her great flair for comedy and drama portraying Susan, who gets some really great lines this season and she delivers them with aplomb. Felicity Huffman excels this season bringing Lynette emotional resonance, underlying sadness and sarcastic humour. I got to say that Huffman is so reliable at bringing Lynette to life with her talent that it is very authentic to watch her. Eva Longoria is suitably sassy and catty as the fabulous Gabrielle, who underneath has a vulnerability and goodness that is glimpsed by her friends. I liked how this season looks at her as a mother and how she wants her children to have everything she didn’t growing up. Sure Gabrielle has been self-centered in the past and sometimes veers into this again, but she has now become a loving mother and all-round nicer woman. Dana Delany is sensational as Katherine.Katherine and Robin From her breakdown and recovery, to her discovery that she may be attracted to a woman, Delany owns every moment Katherine is on the screen. For a character that is usually a little buttoned up, it was great to see glimmers of sporadic difference as Katherine examines her sexuality and her feelings.

As the main source of mystery, Drea de Matteo is excellent as the feisty and earthy Angie. The Bolen FamilyCloaked in a tough, brassy demeanor that seems out-of-place in such a suburban place, de Matteo provides us with glimpses into her fear that her past will come back to haunt her if she isn’t careful. Jeffrey Nordling has that ability to inject a slight sense of distrust into characters and it is well shown here as Angie’s husband Nick. Beau Mirchoff may be underused as their son Danny, but he makes the most of what he’s got. Returning for a short but memorable stint as the randy Karl, Richard Burgi is hilarious in his macho way when he begins the affair with Bree. His death in the show is a great send off to a very amusing character, who I wish stuck around a lot longer. Maiara Walsh shines as the bratty, superficial Ana, who can get anything with a bat of her eyelashes. Her scenes with Eva Longoria are comedic highlights as they clash constantly. As the desperate Orson who not only wants to save his marriage but attempt to adjust to life in a wheelchair, Kyle MacLachlan exudes a sense of pathos and pity. Series regulars Doug Savant and Ricardo Antonio Chavira provide much comic relief throughout the show as Tom and Carlos. James Denton is on hand to provide some quiet drama as Mike, who is now married to Susan but hiding some of his money woes. Andrea Bowen appears once again as Julie for a small time, and provides us with fear as she is nearly killed by the strangler but luckily survives the ordeal. Brenda Strong lends her vocal talents to Mary Alice, with her eye for detail and sense of perception adding to the drama and mystery of the season.


  1. Nice Is Different Than Good – A
  2. Being Alive – A
  3. Never Judge a Lady by Her Lover – B+
  4. The God-Why-Don’t-You-Love-Me Blues – B
  5. Everybody Ought to Have a Maid – C
  6. Don’t Walk on the Grass – C+
  7. Careful the Things You Say – B
  8. The Coffee Cup – B+
  9. Would I Think of Suicide? – A
  10. Boom Crunch – A+
  11. If – A+
  12. You Gotta Get a Gimmick – B-
  13. How About a Friendly Shrink? – B
  14. The Glamorous Life – B+
  15. Lovely – A
  16. The Chase – D+
  17. Chromolume No. 7 – C-
  18. My Two Young Men – B+
  19. We All Deserve to Die – B+
  20. Epiphany – A
  21. A Little Night Music – B
  22. The Ballad of Booth – B
  23. I Guess This Is Goodbye – A

I’m happy to report that Desperate Housewives Season 6 is another triumph of mystery, dark humour and enviable drama.

Blogs You Should Follow Part 13

Blogging CommunityHello to all you wonderful people out there who read my blog. Once more, here are three blogs of bad ass quality.

Assholes Watching Movies: A blog of honesty, personality and verve, this site is not to be missed. I’ve had so many great conversations with the people who run the blog and they are truly marvellous.

Hypersonic 55: A truly bad ass guy runs this equally bad ass site. With style and intelligent wit, he brings the movies he watches into life.

Views From the Sofa: A remarkably cool guy named Ben is the man behind this groovy site. As a fellow Bond fan, he is elite in my book and the way he reviews is refreshing to read.