Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Fiction Tuesday

I AM J by Chris Beam

Chris works with teenagers who are Transgender, so who better than her, to write a novel about the matter. She is also the author of the nonfiction book Transparent: Love, Family, and Living the T with Transgender Teenagers.

STORYLINE: Growing up, J (born as Jennifer) always thought of himself as a boy stuck in the body of a girl. In elementary school J shunned his mom’s attempts to stick him in dresses and preferred the rough-and-tumble play of boys on the playground. Now, as a teenager, J’s Puerto Rican mother and Jewish father want him to think about his future and one day start a family, a possibility that makes J feel misunderstood and anxious about what lies ahead. So after an argument with his best friend, J strikes out on his own. He starts classes at a school for transgender and gay teens, but the complications resulting from who he is and who he wants to be prevent J from truly connecting with anyone. Fed up hiding inside layers of oversized t-shirts, J decides to explore testosterone treatments and embarks on a path that will test his patience, maturity, and commitment. Author Cris Beam’s extraordinary understanding of this often overlooked population shows in J--a complex, conflicted character whose emotional journey will resonate beyond the final page. Equally impressive is Beam’s vivid dialog, which illuminates relationships and situations that any teen who has felt isolated will easily relate to. Thoughtfully researched and written, I Am J is ultimately an inspiring novel about deciding to lead the life one is meant to--no matter at what cost. --Jessica Schein

Many will fall in love with J by the way Beam portrays this character in the book. She does it with so much realism. Its a must read. Find it at your library. 

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Daydream Nation - dvd review

"I'm the main character of my life"-Caroline Wexler

I can't think of a better movie with an old premise using a new twist. This is rather indie, but what a great cast. Amazing writing. And beautiful cinematography. I loved the way the story was broken down in to other people's stories, as well.

Reese Thompson doesn't have to do much on the screen to make him totally believable. His Thurston is full of dead on emotion. Honestly, I'd never seen him in much. But he truly should be the IT guy, this year. Maybe. Hopefully, he'll have a long span of success in acting and movies. I could truly grow old with his Thurston. Add the sex bomb Kat Denning's to the cast. Perhaps I shouldn't label her. But this is the story of her character, Caroline who moves to a small town. And out of nothing else better to do, she succumbs her fragile high school teacher, Mr. Anderson.

Each of the main three characters have their flaws and problems. Each see what they want to see in each other. Add a dark story of a killer in town and peer pressure that unravels in bits and pieces by the potheads who like to use household cleaners as well, Calum Worthy, Landon Liboiron and Luke Camilleri.

This is a movie that revolves around faded memories, love and death. Its a remarkable film that doesn't over do it, either. It is quite natural  how the story played out.

I must add Calum Worthy was totally worthy of his deadhead performance in this film. His Craig has a true realization of what could become of him and yet he has his friends to contend with that want him to be just like them. Just as Josh Lucas echos a teacher who might have been somebody great, but he hasn't a clue what even went wrong.

And Kat Dennings gives this complex performance of the competent young woman that she is. But as she keeps telling people "You don't even know me.." One wonders if she even knows herself. I loved the 'idea' of riding through life, gingerly on a bicycle, as her character does. Yet, she is learning that love and sex are not the same. Yet, even Mr. Anderson doesn't even know this. All the while, its Thurston who grieves, yet takes every moment head on.

This is truly a gem of a movie and the playlist is unstoppable with Ohad Benchetrit, Emily Haines and the soft skeleton, and Stars. Also Andie MacDowell along with Rachel Blanchard pulls the movie together with remarkable performances. Michael Goldbach definitely has to write and direct more films. This has to be the start of more films from this guy.

STORYLINE: Tells the story of a city girl who moves to a small town and becomes entangled in a love triangle between her high school teacher and a stoner classmate.

First loves can be the wisest of all. I loved this little side story of Thurston's little sister and the boy next door.

Saturday, May 28, 2011


If you are a Gregg Arkari fan, and you loved his other movies Mysterious Skin and NOWHERE, you'll want to be sure to get this film on DVD. Its out May 31st. It wasn't exactly in the theaters. Perhaps in some arthouses for a short while.

The film stars Thomas Dekker, Haley Bennett, Juno Temple and even James Duvall (who's been in a few of his other films.

This time Gregg is doing what he does best. His Smiley Face film just wasn't the caliber of his other dark and thought provoking films about sex, drugs and life changing experiences.

Some say  this is his best film yet. Although, Mysterious Skin and NOWHERE will still be on the top of my list of his movies. Its said this film has more gloss and style. Of course, its definitely not for the homophobic crowd.

STORYLINE: Smith's everyday life in the dorm - hanging out with his arty, sarcastic best friend Stella, hooking up with a beautiful free spirit named London, lusting for his gorgeous but dim surfer roommate Thor - all gets turned upside-down after one fateful, terrifying night.


Zylka from 10 things I hate about you (thor in Kaboom)
Seriously, he's more than just eye-candy.

Jennifer Lawrence

Kentucky born, and one to watch for since Winter's Bone. This looks like it might be her year and more. Yes, she's our Katniss Everdeen from Hunger Games.

There is something a bit Emily Browning about her in this movie. It'll be interesting to see how this movie turns out. Katniss is a survivor.

But Jennifer is also Mystique in the new X-Men : First Class. Jennifer is definitely making some good choices with films.

Yet, she's a bit of a chameleon. I suppose that's a good thing when it comes to acting.


Friday, May 27, 2011

Tyler Posey

Tyler has done plenty over the years. Being Jennifer Lopez's son in Maid in Manhatten. He's done some great supporting work in Lincoln Heights and Brothers & Sisters. But now, Tyler will be the next TEEN WOLF. He's 18 and finding his way into some great acting roles.

I wouldn't say he's following in Taylor Lautner's footsteps, but the show looks to be worth watching with a cool storyline where there is nothing to laugh about. This is serious stuff on MTV that will come on after the MTV awards on June 5th.

Tyler is from Santa Monica, California. He's of Irish, English & Mexican heritage. His Dad is an actor/writer. Hopefully, Tyler can go international with TEEN WOLF. He seriously has the look and charm that could find fans, anywhere.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Aubrey Plaza

It was such a surprise when April and Andy (Chris Pratt) got married on the show.

Is she or isn't she funny? Some love her humor. Others aren't fond of that serious look of hers. But she does make Parks and Recreation interesting on Thursday nights at NBC. She plays April, as the deadpan intern.
Scott Pilgrim's Julie Powers

Seth Rogen's love interest in Funny People

You might remember her as Julie Powers in SCOTT PILGRIM. She was also Daisy in FUNNY PEOPLE. She'd never done stand-up comedy until then.

Aubrey is from Deleware. Her father is Puerto Rican. She's well educated and ended up being an NBC page. Back in 2006 she was the NBC page on 30 Rock.

She's in the upcoming movie with Johnny Simmons, Hand Job. Its a comedy, starring Andy Samberg, about a recent high-school grad feels pressured to become more sexually experienced before she goes to college.At the moment she's filming Safety Not Guaranteed with Kristen Bell.

Aubrey has Damsels in Distress coming out soon with Greta Gerwig. It sounds like a crazy love story.

MTV's poll thinks she'd be the perfect Daria.
Meanwhile you can catch her on the TROOPERS web series.

Saawariya - dvd review

Up for some Bollywood? Anyone?

Granted, this film is from 2007 and its earlier work of bollywood young stars like Ranbir Kapoor and Sonam Kapoor (no relation but they had worked with the director in the film, Black). Still, you've got a fabulous set. A story based on Dostoevsky's classic story White Nights.

There is plenty to see and listen too. Ranbir has a wonderful voice and he's pretty cool on his feet too. And there's that one scene when he's just in his towel..well, that alone is worth checking out. Its PG. And very much a romantic movie, definitely Bollywood style.

Ranbir is the orphan who befriends a prostitute in a bar when he asks for a glass of milk. Naturally, she invites him home, but he refuses. Later, he does fall in love with a carpet weaver, but as this love-sick puppy finds out, she has her own love woes to worry about.

Rani Mukherjee as the prostitute does some fantastic dancing in the movie, as well. The costumes are so colorful. Its just a gorgeous movie. If you haven't found a new genre to enlighten you, this might be a movie to help you get started.

Sonam Kapoor is so sweet and of course, simply gorgeous in the film as Sakina who Raj falls mad for.

STORYLINE: Orphaned and homeless Ranbir Raj re-locates to a small town and orders a glass of milk in the RK Bar. He befriends a prostitute by the name of Gulabji, who invites him to spend the night with her, and when he refuses, she re-directs him to Lillian who rents out rooms. Ranbir meets with Lillian, who has been living alone for 37 years after her son, Vincent, left to join the army and did not return, charms her, and rents a room from her. He gets a job as a singer in a local restaurant. On the occasion of Eid, while returning home, he comes across a woman standing on the bridge. He finds her very attractive, befriends her, walks her home, finds out her name is Sakina, who is a carpet weaver and lives with her aunt and blind grandma. Just when Ranbir is about to confess his love, she tells him that she has already given her heart to Imaan, a former tenant of her grandmother's. Imaan had left...

TRIVIA: Cinematographer 'Ravi K Chandran' used as a reference the works of art by the famous artists Frederick Arthur Bridgman, Fred R Wagner and William Louis Sontag to make the shots resemble paintings and thus look more poetic.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Fiction Tuesday

Gemini Bites by Patrick Ryan

Its kind of a funny story....

Storyline: One of the strangest (and funniest) love triangles ever to hit YA fiction, when a pair of twins (one boy, one girl) both fall for the boy who moves in with them…who may or may not be a vampire.
Judy and Kyle Renneker are sixteen-year-old fraternal twins in a rambling family of nine. They have a prickly history with each other and are, at least from Judy's perspective, constantly in fierce competition. Kyle has recently come out of the closet to his family and feels he might never know what it's like to date a guy. Judy, who has a history of pretending to be something she isn't in order to get what she wants, is pretending to be born-again in order to land a boyfriend who heads his own bible study.
When their parents announce that the family is going to be taking in a fellow student for a month so that he can finish the school year before moving away, both Kyle and Judy can't help but sit up and take notice. Garret Johnson, who is taking temporary residence in the newly finished attic, is a young man who moved into town less than a year ago and who is a mysterious, goth loner . . . and claims to be a vampire. He's not an easy person to get to know by any means, but the twins find him (to varying degrees) both strange and alluring.

GEMINI BITES explores what it means to pretend to be something you aren't, what happens when that backfires, and how in-your-face honesty is almost always the best course of action.

Patrick Lynch has written some reads you may have already read. The Saints of Augustine and In Mike We Trust, as well as the adult novel Send Me.

Seriously, I think Lynch is the only one who could make this strange story so real with his way of story-telling. Its a new kind of page turner. Wondering just how far this story will go.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

We are the IN crowd

What makes this pop-punk band a little different than most out there is the fact their main vocalist is a girl. Still, "We really try and tell a story," says vocalist Taylor Jardine.

The band is from Poughkeepsie, NY. They started the band in 2009. They are made up of Taylor (Tay) Jardine, Jordan Eckes, Mike Ferri and Rob Chianelli. Their first single FOR THE WIN used a unique combination of both male and female vocals. Taylor and Jordan have created honest, emotional pop rock songs. "Our lyrics are straightforward, we write about situations that we go through, and it really resonates with fans." They go on to say. Fans are always waiting for the next chapter in the band.

And they've been blazing the tour with bands like THE READY SET and DOWNTOWN FICTION as of late. You can even hear their accoustic version of LIGHTS OUT  on the latest TAKE ACTION vol. 10.


Dylan Dog Dead of Night - movie review

based on Tiziano Sclavi's graphic novel

If you are a fan of the graphic novel, you'll probably hate this film and say it has not done justice to the real Dylan Dog. There is no Grocho nor Bloch and London. But if you are a fan of Brandon Routh..you'll just want to see it because..well, Brandon is in it. Possibly, not enough moments with his shirt off (I must confess). But none the less, he plays the very cool paranormal detective on the dark side of New Orleans who just doesn't have any luck with the ladies.

I must say I thought Sam Huntington stole much of the movie as Dylan's sidekick, Marcus. Sam's character has to embrace the zombie in him once he's been taken by the bad thing out there that Dylan has to take care of.

Huntington gives a fun and endearing performance as the zombie friend. Believe me, I've never seen a zombie quite like Sam's.

Perhaps so BAD of a movie that its good!

Also Taye Diggs is a pretty cool Vampire, too.

If you enjoy shows like Buffy the Vampire slayer, well..this might be right up your alley. Otherwise, you just might want to avoid it. I don't think it was a rotten movie. It just isn't for the die hard fans of Dylan Dog. But on the other hand, well...Brandon Routh is taking some risks lately, and I'm enjoying them.

STORYLINE: The adventures of supernatural private eye, Dylan Dog, who seeks out the monsters of the Louisiana bayou in his signature red shirt, black jacket, and blue jeans.