Winter-Spring 2016 Mini Movie Reviews


Key Players: Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Mark Ruffalo

SpotlightEven though I’ve only spent a couple of short months in a real hustle-and-bustle newsroom and never at a major paper, I still get really amped when I watch movies about that kind of setting. It takes me back to when I worked for my college paper—the Spotlight team’s tiny room sectioned off from the rest of the staff made me nostalgic for our tiny computer lab in the basement of the student union, heavy with the scent of newsprint and stale coffee.

Spotlight truly deserved its Best Picture win—what a powerful film. As a journalist, I easily related to their passion for the story, their sense of duty to discover the truth and unveil it to the world. As a former Catholic school kid, the statistics were staggering. Based on true facts, Spotlight tells the story of how The Boston Globe exposed the wide-spread scandal of pedophilic priests and the massive cover-up within the Catholic Church. It hit the front page of the Sunday paper in early 2002 and sent shockwaves around the country—and, as the end credits show, the world.

Should you see it?
If you enjoy journalism movies or are interested in the subject matter. I highly recommend it.

. Continue reading


Australia’s Sweetheart Takes Home The Mirror Ball


For the first time ever in its 21-season run, I finally gave a flying pirouette about who won “Dancing With The Stars” this fall.

I’m usually somewhat aware of the line-up as each new one is announced, waiting for a name that actually aligns with my Hollywood interests. They’re few and far between; I’ve always argued that the “stars” they enlist can barely be considered as such. They’re always has-beens, reality rejects, former athletes, or ‘90s pop stars.

In my opinion, the most famous thing to come out of DWTS is the Hough siblings. Julianne is trying to establish herself as a B-list actress—you can see her step into reckless Ariel’s dancing shoes in the 2011 “Footloose” remake, dueting with Tom Cruise in the 2012 “Rock of Ages” screen adaptation, or taking on a drippy Nicholas Sparks romance opposite Josh Duhamel in 2013’s “Safe Haven.” Her older brother Derek is known more for his choreography, but he also had a brief guest role on ABC’s “Nashville” last year and the sibs recently went up against each other on Spike’s LL Cool J-hosted “Lip Sync Battle.”

But this season, I had to tune in. Granted, I was only interested in the performances of one particular dancer, but I tuned in just the same instead of rolling my eyes once again at the premise of this show.

In September of 2006, I was a baby-faced freshman at Lock Haven University. I was just beginning my journalism classes, adjusting to dorm life, and trying to make new friends out of a sea of over 6,000 students. And in my first weekend, I received the news that shocked most of America: Steve Irwin, wildlife warrior and famed Crocodile Hunter, had died in a tragic accident.

BindiI loved watching Steve. His joyful mission to save animals was full of so much passion and enthusiasm that it was instantaneously contagious. He inspired me. And I cried right along with his wife, family, and friends during the publicly aired memorial service a little over a week later.

So when DWTS revealed that their 2015 shining star would undeniably be 17-year-old Bindi, Steve’s bubbly and charming daughter, I knew I would want to watch. Continue reading

The Americans: Best Show on Television?

I wouldn’t say that, but Hank Stuever at The Washington Post apparently would … and did. That’s not to say that I don’t think The Americans is some damn good drama, because I do (as evidenced here and here) and it is. Matthew Rhys gave me all kinds of chills last season in his emotionally raw performances as torn-between-two-lovers (family and country) Phil Jennings.

In the first official promo for season 3 (above), published today to FX’s YouTube channel, the spies next door are taking a polygraph:

“Are you committed to your country? Would you sacrifice everything for it? Even your own children?”

It’s that last that brings a loaded pause. Continue reading

NIGHTCRAWLER: Gyllenhaal will make your skin crawl

Today, I want to gush a bit about one of my favorite actors and his creeptastic new film that I saw a couple of weeks ago …

Nightcrawler stars my boyfriend Jake Gyllenhaal as Louis Bloom, a slippery Los Angeles sociopath who gets sucked into the grim morbidity of television news: “If it bleeds, it leads.” (Sad but true fact; not for nothing, I heard that on the first day of my news reporting class in college.) Bloom, driven to find a job but reeling from another rejection, spies the wreckage of a car crash one night and pulls over to observe. When he discovers that the footage shot by a gruff cameraman [Bill Paxton] may make it onto the morning news, you can practically see the light bulb go off in his eyes. Armed with a police scanner and a hapless intern [Riz Ahmed], Bloom dives headfirst into the cutthroat blood sport of crime journalism. Continue reading

2014 Fall TV Premieres

I’m like a kid on Christmas morning when fall sweeps rolls around. I giddily set my TiVo to record all my favorite shows and mark dates on my calendar for season premieres. My schedule is jam-packed with medical drama, singing students, Russian spies, and zombies (sorry, walkers). I come home from work, eat dinner, shower, and settle in with my remote for a good two to three hours. I’m a total couch potato—no shame! Release dates for the 2014 season have recently been announced and I’m already counting down the days to when I get to see my favorite characters on the small screen once again. My schedule looks a little something like this:




The Walking Dead—Season 5 premieres 10/12 @ 9 p.m.

I was late to the Apocalypse, but once I got into this AMC mega-hit (touted the most-watched cable drama in history), I became hungrily obsessed. With the exception of season two, every new adventure in the lives of our ragtag survivors has been explosive. Season 4 closed on one hell of a cliffhanger and many comic readers are speculating that the new turf in Terminus is cannibal land. Showrunners have promised that we won’t have to wait long to see how Rick I’ll-Eat-Your-Throat-Out Grimes and Co. escape from that train car. The trailer for the season was released at Comic-Con and provides a heart-pounding look at what we have to look forward to; a must-see for Dead fans. Check it out: Continue reading

Robin Williams Scene Countdown

Because I’m still remembering him.

10. Flubber (1997)

FlubberFlubber was certainly made for kids. It has plenty of cheap gags and overplayed action to elicit easy laughs from young boys—which makes Williams the perfect protagonist, because even as an adult, he was a young boy. There are special effects at work here of course, but perhaps some of this scene was filmed on some sort of super strength trampoline. Whatever the case may be, it’s fun simply because it looks like he’s having just as much fun doing it as we are watching it. Continue reading