END OF THE YEAR REVIEW-ALREADY??

Although there are a few days left before 2014 officially comes to a close, many media sources, mostly of the online or digital caliber, are already posting their lists for the best/worst/biggest/memorable/annoying things and notations that will place ‘14 into the history books.

Many of these lists are newsworthy, some are rather amusing for what they are, while the rest can be superficial, arrogant, and heavily opinionated based on the source that reports their story, and the content that fits as a quickie review for the passing year.

Out of these many lists we have witnessed within the past week or so, (although there will be more lists printed and posted before the year is really out of sight), one such review caught our attention. And of course it involves social media.

The leader of all social media out there, Facebook, created their own list based upon elements that were posted by the many friends that exist on their site, all riding upon the poster’s interest and personal concerns. A few week ago, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg was a guest on NBC’s Today Show, and shared the worldwide top ten moments or events that generated the most hype and buzz, along with the “most talked about” topics or stories.

Upon the millions of commentary that friends across the globe placed their two cents worth upon (or the equivalent of two cents resting upon monetary value amounts), here are those lists based upon category. (Note: It’s assumed by this writer that this list is based upon all entries calculated as of December 9th–the date when Sandberg appeared on Today to report these findings.)

Facebook “most talked about” topics of 2014

    * Movie: Frozen

    * Song: “Happy” by Pharrell Williams

    * Entertainer: Beyoncé

    * TV Show: Game of Thrones

    * Athlete: LeBron James

    * Game: “Cookie Jam”

    * ALS Ice Bucket Challenge video: George W. Bush

The Top 10 Global Topics

   1. World Cup

   2. Ebola Virus Outbreak

   3. Brazilian Elections

   4. Robin Williams

   5. Ice Bucket Challenge

   6. Israel-Gaza Conflict

   7. Malaysia Airlines

   8. Super Bowl

   9. Sochi Winter Olympics

  10. Ferguson, MO

The Top 10 U.S. Topics

   1. Ebola virus

   2. Ice Bucket Challenge

   3. Robin Williams

   4. Super Bowl

   5. Michael Brown/Ferguson, MO

   6. World Cup

   7. Conflict in Gaza

   8. U.S. midterm elections

   9. Malaysia Airlines

  10. ISIS

Most Discussed Entertainers in the U.S.

   1. Beyoncé

   2. Pharrell Williams

   3. Nicki Minaj

   4. Taylor Swift

   5. Jimmy Fallon

   6. Iggy Azalea

   7. Katy Perry

   8. Pitbull

   9. John Legend

  10. Kim Kardashian

Most Discussed TV Shows in the U.S.

   1. Game of Thrones

   2. Orange is the New Black

   3. The Walking Dead

   4. The Big Bang Theory

   5. Downton Abbey

   6. American Horror Story

   7. Sons of Anarchy

   8. True Detective

   9. How I Met Your Mother

  10. Scandal

Most Discussed Movies in the U.S.

   1. Frozen

   2. Guardians of the Galaxy

   3. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

   4. Maleficent

   5. The Lego Movie

   6. The Fault in Our Stars

   7. Transformers: Age of Extinction

   8. Gone Girl

   9. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1

  10. The Purge: Anarchy

     Reviewing the above list, it seems that this here newsletter had only mentioned about 10% of the topics as posted. Perhaps the biggest entry to what this news service “spoke” about is from the list that discussed movies. We did report on such films as Guardians of the Galaxy (See review: No. 31); Maleficent (No. 22); as well as The Fault in Our Stars (No. 23). We did review Frozen, but that was back in late 2013. This writer also had a chance to see The Lego Movie (a very humorous and frantic animated film with a memorial and rather catchy tune “Everything is Awesome”), and Gone Girl (an interesting story and plot, but presented as rather dull with needless graphic violence as trained in the same style of a 1990’s-era feature of the same caliber). This same writer missed out on the rest of the flicks as discussed on FB, and it’s just as well!

As to the rest of the topics, we did present a brief mention over the death of Robin Williams (No. 33), and we did write a topic based upon The Super Bowl that was to appear in No. 5, but was scraped for another column that held more prestige. The rest of the topics didn’t seem to fit our scope. However, this newsletter dose hold some ties to the city of Ferguson, MO as the predecessor of ALOL, a weekly cable TV talk program called Accessibly Live originated from that community from 1987 through 1991. (Some actual episodes of AL can be viewed via our YouTube channel “Accessibly Live”. Additional installments of AL will be posted in early 2015!)

And what was the most shared event in Facebook’s history? Quoting Sandberg from her Today Show appearance, it was when “…350 million people came together around the World Cup, And I think this is social media at its best. At its very best, social media makes the world a little bit smaller, more of a community.”

     So as 2014 winds down, all we have to state is–if you really believe 2014 was good/bad/exciting/boring/memorable/forgettable, wait till you experience what 2015 has to offer! It will be better/exciting/funnier/memorable/just there!

PS…if you wish to share this article via FB or any other social media outlet, please feel free to do so as long as ALOL receives proper editorial credit! Thanks!

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NEWS AND REVIEWS

     Continuing its run at The Eclectic Company Theatre is David Nott’s ROMAN CATHOLIC MIME COLLECTIVE, a program that features David as a mime dressed as Jesus, complete with loincloth, crown of thorns, and welts (makeup) all along his back.

In this performance, David presents a series of skits or pantomimes that run from a few seconds to three minutes in length that hold such titles as “The Holy Huddle”, “Off The Cross”, “Atlantic Crossing”, “Why Jesus Dose Not Coach Basketball”, and other selections. Some holds remote reference to the life and times of Jesus, and a few really have nothing to do with this figure. (Describing what goes on in these mini episodes would give the performance concept away, so call each attempt as a spoiler!) Many of these short performances are funny for what they are, a few come close to comedy, while the rest fall a bit off the mark! It’s really a “hit and miss” showcase. David as a mime plays his role as a classic presenter who is totally silent, only showing facial expressions while donning a white face along his period costume. (c. 33 A.D.) Although he doesn’t speak a word, there is some signage used to inform the audience just what is going on. This show itself isn’t really offensive nor is it a case of blaspheme, unless one feels that the subject matter is too taboo for one’s taste. However, it’s an interesting concept, and an original one at that!

It isn’t known if David Nott will present other performances such as this one in the near future, not necessarily using Jesus as its lead as there are other characters to play and more skits to present. It will be interesting to see yet another concept as this one, unless somebody else beats him to it!

     ROMAN CATHOLIC MIME COLLECTIVE, performing at The Eclectic Company Theatre, 5312 Laurel Canyon Blvd., (between Chandler and Magnolia), Valley Village, until January 30th, ‘15. Showtimes are December 27th at 8:00 PM, December 28th at 2:00 PM, and on Fridays at 11:00 PM all of January, ‘15. For information and reservations, call (818) 508-3003, or via http://www.EclecticCompanyTheatre.org

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Correcting an error found in the review of Bob’s Holiday Office Party (Vol. 19-No. 50), the roles of Caror/Brandy were played by Ann Randolph, and Maile Flanagan’s name was misspelled! Please make note of thies corrections!  Happy Holidays!       

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AMERICAN SNIPER (Warner Bros.) stars Bradley Cooper as Chris Kyle. Raised in the state of Texas, he learns at a young age how to handle a rifle, leaning from his dad while on hunts within the rural community he resided. His father also taught him how to keep himself in check and to become true to his faith. As he grew up, he worked at a ranch, even taking a spot in a rodeo being awarded with a prized buckle for the best in his field. Chris meets Taya (Sienna Miller), the woman that eventually would become his wife, in a local bar shortly after he tosses his old girlfriend out for fooling around with another man. Things start to change for Chris when 9/11 hits. With the notion of being raised by his family under the code God, Country, and Family, he enlists in the Navy SEALS, an elect troupe that will go into combat no matter what it may take. So he is headed to Iraq as a sharpshooter. He is so keen on his targets, he is dubbed “The Legend”, making him the best of his kind. Meanwhile, Chris become father of two kids, starting to raise a family. After four tours of fighting in combat, he becomes aware of what has been going around him, from seeing his fellow brethren fall under fire and the physical and emotional recovery they make for themselves, to the isolated episodes of post battle stress he encounters. In spite of being a hero at war, Chris does meet a fate that is far from the battlegrounds of the war torn Middle East.

This feature is one of a trio of military related pictures that’s been released within the final quarter of the year. (The other two are Columbia/Sony’s Fury and Universal’s Unbroken; The latter title reviewed in this issue.) Unlike the two noted features where Fury was all combat and Unbroken depicts one’s survival drifting on a raft in the south Pacific as well as being captive in a POW camp, A.S. portrays a humble and faithful character that renders his role being on and off the battle field. That sort of mix is one part war movie, and one part melodrama. One can even call this type of flick a “Lifetime” movie for men! The battle scenes depicted (shot in Morocco) contains all of the trills and action one would expect. (Some of the war stuff is a bit clichéish, but what war movie doesn’t have the stuff seen in countless other titles?) The melodrama stuff is just that–melodramatic! It depicts Chris going through the motions setting his civilian camp first in San Diego (where he received his training) to eventually returning back to his home state to live a domestic and rather county life. Jason Hall’s screenplay, based on the Chris Kyle’s published memoirs co-written with Scott McEwen and Jim DeFelice, is a blend of war drama and domestic drama that is an even balance. Luckily, it doesn’t get sappy. Bradley Cooper as Chris is likable, sporting somewhat of a “good ol’ boy” persona–a guy you can have as a pleasant drinking buddy. He even shows his “American” nature to him by wearing a baseball cap turned backwards (even in battle); something that a county boy would do!

Of course, there are others in the cast, but those others play as stock characters, meaning that they all hold merit, but nothing much to serve as memorable. Even Sienna Miller as Taya is appealing, but she could be someone that might be another character depicted in a TV program seen on any of the video networks, both on cable or through streaming purposes. But Cooper is the lead and it should be kept that way.

The only disappointing element that this flick holds is the fact on how the story ends. Of course, this writer isn’t gonna spoil it for anyone, but whatever occurred to Chris is never depicted on screen! (It’s only mentioned as a title.) During the first half of the credit roll, there is stock footage of the post Chris rituals seen, giving the impression for the viewer to show pity to this war hero, while the rest of the credit segment (where words scroll upward over a black background) has no music score on the soundtrack! However by that time, people have already left the theater, or have turned their electronic device off or to another video content source. (And speaking of music score, the piece called “Taya’s Theme” was composed by the director, meaning that it consists of a few single notes plucked on a piano sounding instrument!)

Directed by Clint Eastwood, AMERICAN SNIPER shows more legend to its man calling the movie shots (Eastwood as director) than the character that’s doing the shooting on screen (Cooper as Chris). But for a war themed melodrama, it’s OK for what it is. But as with peace, there will be war, and more war movies to be created and consumed. Then again, Eastwood is somewhat liked among the Academy voting members this feature caters to, so it may have a shot for a vote, rather than for shots through Chris’ high powered rifle taking down the bad guys for God, County, and Family.

This feature is rated “R” for war violence, cussing, and minor sexual references. Opens on December 25th for the bi-coastal set (as well as in Dallas, Texas), and on January 16th, ‘15 for the rest of the nation at the usual multiplexes.

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ANNIE (Columbia/Sony) stars Quvenzhané Wallis as the tile character. She’s a ten year old girl whose parents left her at a neighborhood Italian restaurant that specializes in Cannelloni six years before. All she was left with was a half locket and a note written on the restaurant stationary from her parents stating that they are leaving Annie there with a promise to return. The restaurant’s head waiter (Ray Iannicelli) tells the young waif that he’ll let her know once her parents show up–if at all! Because she is an foster child, she lives with Ms. Hannigan (Cameron Diaz) in a small apartment in Queens with four other foster girls. Ms. Hannigan keeps these girls as a foster mother because she receives $157 a week from the New York City Department of Family Services. Thus, Hannigan’s apartment is an “orphanage” so to speak. But Annie wishes to meet her real parents to live a normal life. Meanwhile, big time cell phone mogul Will Stacks (Jamie Foxx) is seeking a desired spot to become mayor in the upcoming election. With his right hand man Guy (Bobby Cannavale) along with his personal secretary Grace (Rose Byrne) at his side, Will sees every opportunity to become mayor running against opponent Harold Gray (Peter Van Wagner). During his campaign while meeting the people on the street, he meets up with Annie, and offers to take her in as a foster parent. (This would be good for the campaign showing that he cares for his community and its people!) Annie is brought in to his penthouse apartment loaded with modern luxuries that she could never imagine. Will Annie find true happiness with her new “daddy?” Will she ever meet her real parents? And will Miss Harrigan still make out as a foster parent while earning a profit?

This movie musical is loosely based (very loosely) upon the stage musical created in the 1970’s that in turn was based on a 1930’s-era comic strip. This rendering of that rags to riches story transfers itself into a new production in a newer package, although the content that it’s based from is hovering around an age between 40 to 80 years plus. The musical score lingers, although it’s more hip and lively taking a smidgen of hip-hop beats that caters to a post modern (and very wired) crowd. The screenplay by Will Gluck and Aline Brosh McKenna (based on Thomas Meechen’s stage play “book”) sets the story in a New York City that is for the post millennium where there are many references from selfies to Facebook to tweets to “Googling it”! Kids (girls mostly) will enjoy this feature as it “speaks” to them. There are plenty of new tunes written for the film as well as a few of the legendary numbers from the Broadway production to ponder upon. (The new material sounds as good as the original score!) Quvenzhané Wallis as Annie is cute and charming. She can sing her way through her “hard life”, although she’s far from being a getto kid. And yes, she’s African American as well. (She may have lighter skin tones, but she’s African American nevertheless!) Jamie Foxx as Will Stacks can sing as well, although Annie performs more vocals, making her the real star of this show even if Foxx is more of a movie star name that the for noted Walls. Cameron Diaz as Miss Hannigan is the comic relief in this feature. She sings, dances frantically, and provides the better comedy elements.

And one should not leave out Annie’s four legged companion Sandy (uncredited as of press time.) Keeping up with the current times this movie presents, Sandy wasn’t named for his/her color, but for a storm that hit The Big Apple a few years back. (Stacks, meeting Sandy at the local pound with Annie for a photo op, remarks that the dog runs around like a hurricane! Get the picture?)

ANNIE is competing with another film musical Into The Woods (see review in this issue) to perhaps cop a few movie awards that are coming around. Although the latter film is more stylish (and not too kid friendly), ANNIE is more kid friendly and holds more charm and class. Of course, it’s far from perfect, but will please those that enjoy features that offers dancing and singing, sports cute kids (girls again-no boys), and doesn’t mind nor care that the resemblance to the stage production is rather slight. Then again, the stage musical this flick is taken from is a staple for regional and community theater companies. So chances are that the original theater showcase will come around your neck of the woods on a stage somewhere. (The comic strip concluded its newspaper run in the 1980’s!)

PS…there are only two references are made toward the comic strip. If one is sharp, one can spot them both. If not, then tomorrow is just…….

This feature is rated “PG” for comic peril. Now playing at multiplexes nationwide.

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THE GAMBLER (Paramount) features Mark Wahlberg as Jim Bennett, a professor in English, a published novelist, an offspring from a wealthy family, and a compulsive gambler. He plays for big money where he wins but mostly loses. Now holding a rather large gambling tab, he owes a near seven figure amount to a trio of mugs; a mysterious Korean only known as Mister Lee (Alvin Ing) who runs a series of underground high states gambling parlors (this features takes place in Los Angeles where such parlors are illegal, if not underground); a black gangster named Neville (Michael Kenneth Williams), and a heavy set loan shark named Frank (John Goodman). These set of rogues want their money right away, down to the point where Jim offers his own life to Neville as collateral, while Frank sees some potential to him, although he still wants his money back with interest!! Not only that, Jim has seven days to pay everyone back–or else! Meanwhile, his wealthy mother Roberta (Jessica Lang) after bailing out her son too many times, cuts him out of the family fortune, while Jim develops an intellectual relationship with Amy (Brie Larson) a student in his class. Jim then begins his slow yet steady rise and fall to save his own life as he scrambles to pay everyone back, one step ahead of who’s after him.

This feature, a remake of a semi obscure 1974 release (with James Caan as its original lead and written by James Toback) is updated for the current period and setting. It features a great ensemble of character players, mostly within the mob entourage. John Goodman’s character of Frank is the real scene stealer, while Michael Kenneth Williams, fresh from his appearance in the HBO series Boardwalk Empire playing the role of Chalky White, is also appealing for what he is! Mark Wahlberg’s role as college professor Jim Bennett is great when he’s on his gambling track while donning shades and sporting Armani suits, but when he appears as a college professor, his screen time becomes rather bland. In fact, after an amusing opening scene in some high stakes underground gambling hall run by Mister Lee where he meets Neville for the first time, the feature begins to drag, spoiling the continuity to the story as well as the interest of the viewer. Luckily, the action that slows down later takes hold, but never reaches a real climax. (Not giving too much away, this feature even ends where it appears that it could be open to a sequel, but that would all depend of how well this movie performs box office wise!) William Monahan’s screenplay is a bit talky for what this film’s story line is all about, giving its entertainment value at an almost-but-not-quite-there-yet form of attitude.

Also featured within the cast is Anthony Kelley as Lamar Allen, a fellow student in Jim’s class and plays at the (unnamed) school’s basketball team; Emory Cohen as Dexter, another one of Jim’s students and a tennis player within the same unnamed school’s team; and George Kennedy as Ed, Jim’s dying grandfather who only appears within the first three minutes of the film. (His character is seen on his deathbed only to die before the opening titles make their mark!)

As for the rest of the film’s traits, it boasts a music soundtrack loaded with obscure tunes. Some are classic, while others are new sporting an “indy” sound to them–even those some of this “indys” are covers to songs made famous by somebody else! (At least one only hears the Stone’s “Gimmie Shelter” in the movie’s trailer than in the feature itself as that song is kind of stale to use in a movie. It, along with other tunes, are now somewhat “played out”!)

Directed by Rupert Wyatt, THE GAMBLER presents itself as a decent TV movie; a TV movie for a pay service airing on HBO or Showtime rather than for NBC or the other alphabet named cable channels out there! Of course, it’s also a feature that Paramount is bucking for winning awards. (Other movies that this studio is pushing for awards consideration are such titles as Interstellar, Men, Woman & Children, and Selma. Movie titles as Hercules, Transformers: Age Of Extinction, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles don’t seem to have much of a chance!!) Of course, the film’s appeal will be for an older crowd that tends to vote in movie award rallies, and will most likely view such “for your consideration” (FYC) films for free! However, even if one does see this movie for free, one will get more than one paid for!

This feature is rated “R” for cussing and some action type violence. Now playing in theaters nationwide.

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INTO THE WOODS (Disney) is a musical tale that augments a quartet of classic fairy tales into one giant fantasy story.

The saga takes place within a village located just outside a huge forest. A baker (James Corden) and his wife (Emily Blunt) keep their business going in the town. In spite of what they do for their keep, they desire to have a child. But a witch (Meryl Streep), who lives next door, has put a curse on them. Seems that the Baker’s father used to go into her garden to steal green goods she was growing, as well as a handful of magic beans. To get even, the spell placed upon the baker and wife will not allow the couple to bare children. However, the witch gives them an offer to end the curse. They must fetch four items to her before the night of the blue moon, just three days away! So the baker and wife head into the woods as they encounter four characters; Cinderella (Anna Kendrick), Little Red Riding Hood (Lilla Crawford), Jack (Daniel Huttlestone), and Rapunzel (MacKenzie Mauzy). Each one of these folks has what the witch asks for, resulting into a sticky situation where they fail and succeed, while facing a giant that threatens the land and the villagers.

This musical feature film is based on the c.1987 stage musical with musical score composed by Steven Sondheim (music ‘n lyrics) with James Lapine, who composed the stage piece’s “book” with Sondheim. This movie version with Lapine on the screenplay, takes an amusing production for the stage and turns it into a special effect loaded film, full of whimsical scenes that takes the classic fairy tales and augments them into one very large package. The musical score is extracted from the stage musical, although not necessarily in the order originally presented. However, this is a movie version of a theatre work, so creative liberties are somewhat given, if not expected. As to the film itself, the first half of the picture where the baker and his wife are seeking the four requested items to satisfy the witch’s demands in order to break the spell meeting up with Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Rapunzel, and Jack (of beanstalk fame) is quite lively and amusing. However, in the second half where everyone’s about to live happily ever after, the film takes a turn where the wife of the giant (Frances De La Tour) climes down the beanstalk to find who killed her husband the giant as well as who stole the golden harp! (That last line isn’t necessarily a spoiler alert since that plot point is taken from the fairy tale in question!) The scenes get dark, the music gets moody, and the fun and whimsy that was part of the first half in nearly gone.

Ron Marshall, who directed such titles as the film version of the musical Chicago (the feature that revived the movie musical in the post modern era), as well as Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (a Disney property), is on helm to keep this musical going, even though the so-called near happy ending isn’t as Disney-fied as one would expect.

As to the look of the feature, there is plenty of eye candy to take advantage of, such as Dennis Gassner’s production design, Dion Beebe’s cinematography, Colleen Atwood’s costume design, Peter Swords King’s hair and makeup, with Matt Johnson as visual effects supervisor. This creative team, along with the others that worked on this and that, make this film look just as good and it’s sounded and scored.

Besides the other cast members noted above, this movie also stars Chris Pine as Cinderella’s prince, Tracey Ullman as Jack’s mother, Billy Magnulissen as Rapunzel’s prince, Tammy Blanchard and Lucy Punch as Florinda and Lucinda–Cinderella’s stepsisters, Simon Russell Beale as the Baker’s Father, with Johnny Depp as the Wolf–a role that has too little screen time than it should have!

The only flaw to this picture (outside of a rather boring second act), is the notion that this musical that offers fairy tale setups is too dark and a bit macabre for younger kids. If another studio made and released this title, then these elements could have gotten away with being dark and moody. But this is a Disney release, and this studio that is still making bank from last year’s hit Frozen, should know that if one is offering a film that has handsome princes along with the pretty princesses in question, they must keep it cute, charming, and appealing for all, from the kids (or actually, preteen girls) that tend to eat this kind of media up, and their parents and/or caretakers that have the funds to schlepp out for merchandise that ties into this movie. It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved!

In short, INTO THE WOODS isn’t such a bad movie. In fact, it’s very entertaining for what it is. It seems to lean toward the favor of Academy voting members (not as many as one would imagine) rather than the for noted tweener girls and their adult parents et. al. (Teeming within the millions!) Will this feature become considered for those movie related awards that are fobbed out within the first two months of the year? It’s most likely, since Meryl Streep is a favorite with the Motion Picture Academy and its voting members, so it’s very likely that she will be a shoe-in for getting something or another-if just limited to receiving a nomination!

This feature is rated “PG” for some dark and slightly scary moments, with TV-type violence and peril. Opens on December 25th at multiplexes nationwide.

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UNBROKEN (Universal) stars Jack O’Connell as Louis Zamperini. He lived a rather modest middle class life during the 1920’s and 30’s in Torrance, California, one of the far off communities of Los Angeles. His family got by through the Depression while Louis got into minor scrapes with the law by stealing petty things, as well as fending off himself to the local bullies became of his Italian heritage. He did have a talent of being a fast runner–thanks to running away for the local cops during his petty theft episodes. This was enough to have him compete in local track meets. Before long, he was off to the Olympic games in Berlin. He did well for his running, but nothing that was very notable. As kids of his age and stature, he enlisted to fight in W.W.II, eventually stationed in the south Pacific. Here is where his real story begins. While on a cleanup duty while aboard a B-24 that was salvaged from old parts but considered worthy to fly, the plane loses two engines and hits the ocean. He, along with two others, “Phil’ Phillips (Domhnall Gleeson) and Sgt. “Mac” McNamara (Finn Whittrock) survive the crash. Now on a rubber raft, they drift along the ocean for some 47 days, surviving by catching whatever comes aboard-seagulls, fish, as well as the danger of drifting within shark infested waters. Things turn for the worse then they are found and captured by the Japanese forces. Louis in placed in a POW camp where he encounters Corporal Mutsushiro Watanabe (Miyavi). Louis, along with the other POWs from the allied forces (American, British, and Australian), finds the will of strength that challenges him to endure and undergo intense emotional and physical pain and suffering.

This is a film based upon the actual episodes encountered by the real Louis Zamperini, (and later documented by the book of the same name by Laura Hillenbrand) whose tale had interest to be retold by Hollywood for nearly sixty years. Universal International (the name of the studio at the time) first obtained film rights to his story in 1956, but never did anything with it until author Hillenbrand discovered Zamperini’s story while researching details for her book Seabiscuit in the early 2000’s. (That title was also released as a feature co-produced by Universal and The Walt Disney Company, but that’s another story as that is!) As to this feature, it tells a story about one’s survival while fighting a war (W.W.II–a “popular” war at that) by getting into not one, but two horrific episodes! (Adrift as sea and landing in a POW camp!) Sure, both plot points have been depicted in W.W.II movies before, but the idea of this film is how the lead character faced these two traits. The screenplay written by Joel & Ethan Cohen and Richard LaGravenese and William Nicholson has a few standard clichéd elements to it, but those happenings come as fast as they go, meaning that if one becomes annoyed over such sappy movie stuff, it’s quickly depicted and gotten over with! And unlike other W.W.II pictures, there isn’t any of the things one would expect in such a war feature, such as a big band music soundtrack, references to Betty Grable or other “pinup” gals, or lots of talk about baseball among the fighting men! (There is some minor references to the game, but it’s barley noticed!)

As to the performances as seen in this title, Brit Jack O’Connell as Louis has all of the boyish character such a movie role could offer. Miyavi (real name: Takamasa Ishihara) as Mutsushiro Watanabe, also sports a boyish face, and isn’t a barbaric “Jap” as many such WWII films would depict. He is mean, but doesn’t yell fast paced Japanese dialogue that one isn’t suppose to understand. (Upon hearing the shouting, you know that the yeller means business!) His character is known as a “friendly villain”. He’s the bad guy, but doesn’t really look the part!

There are a few other points of this film that one should take heart. Although Louis did survive the war, nothing of what he did upon discharge is depicted on screen. (For the record, he went on to marry the girl he left behind and fathered two children, he did learn to forgive those that put him through the horrors of war, he found his faith while attending a traveling tent revival show lead by Billy Graham, he suffered “battle fatigue” for many years, and he eventually carried the Olympic torch in Japan at age eighty. Many of these facts are observed in the brief epilogue that appears before the end credits!) And lastly, there are no real name stars featured in this film outside of its director Angelia Jolie, whose career on screen holds lots of merits it stands. This element of creating a movie starring little known talent released at the end of the calendar year that tends to market itself to Academy voting members has a lot going toward it. Of course, it’s going to become nominated for something major; no question about it!! However, in spite for its subject matter, it’s very entertaining for what it is–even if it is a shoe-in for grabbing film related awards!

This feature is rated “PG-13” for mild cussing and war related violence. Opening on December 25th at theaters nationwide!

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      TIFFI’S FRIENDS SAY…

(As posted on her Facebook “wall”)

Finishing my holiday baking today. Making sunbutter kisses using my favorite recipe from Kathy Dean. Nicole probably doesn’t remember, but I used to eat them by the bucketloads when I babysat. I’m pretty sure Kathy had to make an extra batch just to keep me in business LOL

-Katie

Will someone make me some no bake cookies please is there anyone that loves me and will make them for me???

-Lynsey

7 hours, 4 cookie sheets, 3 cooling racks, 2 pizza pans, 1 mixer= 15 dozen kiss cookies (3 doz. gluten free), 3 dozen Krispie Chocolate balls, dinner, and some great mother-daughter time!

-Kay

None of my children seem to understand any statement that contains the word “clean.”

-Carol

Oh. My. Word. Kindergarteners are just too cute.

-Carla

Fever, achey, no voice, I want my mum!!!!!!!

-Melenda

Editor’s note: After three and a half years of posting utterance extracted from Tiffi’s Facebook page, we feel that our original experiment to prove how people using this soci——al media site post commentary that range from mildly amusing to totally obnoxious has been accomplished. Thus, this column entitled Tiffi’s Friends Say.. will finally conclude its long run. “Tiffi” thanks you for putting up with all this nonsense for the period that this column appeared within the pages of Accessibly Live Off-Line

The good news is the fact that Tiffi isn’t going away, and she would love to have you as a “friend”!  If you are active on the number one social media site in cyberspaceland and wish to become part of Tiffi’s “friendship” circle, we hereby invite you to become friends with Tiffi to follow up on the action all to yourself!

Visit Tiffi Purewhyte, as well as her friend Sherry Dunhurst on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/Tiffi.Purewhite and http://www.Facebook.com/Sherry.Dunhurst    

(As of December 22nd, Tiffi as 2,525 “friends” and counting!)

———————————————————————————————————————————-

This edition will be the last issue of Accessibly Live Off-Line for the 2014 calendar year. We will be taking a break for the rest of the month, returning with Vol. 20, No. 1 during the week of January 5th, 2015.

On behalf of the staff and management of Accessibly Live Off-Line, we with each and every one of you a great holiday season, and a happier new year.

See you in ‘15!

———————————————————————————————————————————-

WRITE TO US!!

ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE

is a presentation of Linear Cycle Productions

AccessiblyLiveOffLine@gmail.com

http://AccessiblyLiveOffLine.wordpress.com

@AccessiblyLive (Twitter)

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEHxSllfDItpWh3z8vuUb_w

(Accessibly Live’s channel on YouTube)

http://www.LinearCycleProductions.com

(Look for us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and see us on YouTube!)

ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2014 Linear Cycle Productions.

All rights reserved. The views and opinions are those of the writers, and not necessarily of the staff and management. ‘Nuff said!

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