Arbitrage

Of all the movies with Oscar buzz (see The Master, Argo, Lincoln) Arbitrage is getting little play.  I have never found Richard Gere to be accomplished as an actor, and I am in the vast minority of females who do not swoon at Pretty Woman.  If anything, I prefer Runaway Bride.  Deal with that.  However, Gere’s performance as a Madoff-esque Wall Street tycoon just might be his best to date.  I will venture to claim that he is actually acting, as opposed to squinty eyed charming.  This film documents a man high in his standing as a business leader and family patriarch.  Without giving away details, the film finds him atop a potentially calamitous financial avalanche as well as a man running from the scene of a crime.  Gere maintains his inherent charm so that, despite his irredeemable choices, the audience is likely to root for him.

Tim Roth provides a humorous picture of a dogged police detective obsessed with bringing a seemingly untouchable Gere down.  Kudos also to Susan Sarandon who plays the wife that may not be so in the clouds after all.

Arbitrage is a great portrayal of the current economic climate without being too preachy or ham-fisted.  Even if you don’t understand Gere’s machinations or the details of his loans and deal-making, you can still grasp what he holds on the line and who will be affected.  For the record, I feel that I understood 95% of the financial issues.  That might be a new high score.  Gere is on the short-list train to Oscar nom land.  Check it out.

On a scale of Margin Call (9.5) to Larry Crowne (0.5) I give this an 8.

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AT&Take

A few months ago I switched my cable to AT&T u-verse.  I have the works: tv, internet, landline- because a) the cell reception at home does not exist, so thanks AT&T for that and b) to get my North American long distance on unlimited; place your phone call orders here- and cell phone.  In the few months that I made the switch, I have not once gotten a correct bill.  I wonder if on my profile there is a picture of me with the word CHUMP stamped on it.  Little do they know that I obsessively track my usage and can call them up and argue the bill every time.  The problem is that this is becoming cumbersome and very irritating.  But I won’t be grifted by these thieves, so I’ll be calling again tomorrow.

To transition this grievance into a shame, this time I made a horrifying discovery.  While the last bill was wrong in the cell phone arena, this time it was in the TV zone.  So I had to delve a little deeper into the itemized breakdown.  I was chagrined to find that everything I watched on demand, even free programs, were capably listed and date stamped.  Dear god.  Let’s just say I’m not exactly thrilled to know that someone in the AT&T billing department stays abreast of my on demand viewing of Beverly Hills Nannies and Degrassi Next Gen.  Amongst many other horrors.  Will that derail me from my bad habits?  Obviously not.  I have needs.  I’m just not keen on the idea.  And on that note, I’ll be loading up something pathetic to watch this evening.

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Sunday Night: Sept 30

Since I’m drowning in what has become the most glorious night of the TV week, I figure I’d just summarize my thoughts.  It was a whirlwind of couch time and everything is a wonderful blur.  Just go with it.

Revenge: This was my favorite new soap of last season so I was very excited to have it bow again this week.  It’s clouding up my Sunday (instead of its former place on Wednesday night) but I simply couldn’t postpone my viewing.  While I found him very bizarre and pervy, Nolan has evolved into a hilarious and cheeky lieutenant to Emily’s vengeance quester.  I’m glad she has someone to share her experiences with, both as a character, and as an expository tool for the audience.  Sometimes I just don’t know wazzup with the Japan scenes.  Did she really tether herself to a rock to semi-drown herself into memories of her mother?  Seriously?  I’m glad it beckons Jennifer Jason Leigh back to my screen, but that was nonsense.  Also, I hate Amanda.  I really need that baby to be from someone other than Jack.  The Grayson son is so boring that I can’t even remember his name; if someone has to get killed off this season, that’s my pick.  Finally, since Victoria is clearly necessary to the show and my amusement, I applaud the show for not drawing out the is-she-really-dead non-mystery.  NEXT.

Boardwalk Empire: Since it’s not TV, it’s HBO, I feel pressure to watch this and like it.  Watch it I will and do.  But like it I somehow cannot.  The first season was an aesthetically pleasing but content stagnating trod.  The second season livened up and actually provided some salient character development, concluding with a TV shock this side of Nedd Stark.  However, back into the third season, yet again I am left cold.  I can’t root for Nucky because I don’t care what he’s trying to achieve.  This is not spite against a villainous lead character- I can roll easily with that (see Tony Soprano).  It’s that his motives are bland and his evolution into murderer is by the numbers.  And maybe this is because I watch while dicking around on the Internet at the same time but goddamn if I can keep straight which mobster is siding with whom.  Bobby Cannavale, who I usually enjoy, keeps changing his accent more than Kevin Costner in Prince of Thieves.  Are you supposed to be from Italy?  Are you?  I’m in it for Arnold Rothstein.  NEXT.

Once Upon A Time: This might be the most ludicrous program on right now.  At the end of last season, the curse upon Storybrooke was lifted and all the fairy tale characters remembered their true fairy tale identities.  Great.  And now they all want to kill the evil Queen for putting on the curse in the first place.  Somehow Beast/Rumplestiltskin brought back a wraith from their home to suck her soul.  Right?  But through the Mad Hatter’s hat from last season that was ostensibly a portal back home, the Queen sent it away.  Along with Emma and Snow, who will undoubtedly team up with a never before mentioned faction of fairy characters who never made it to Maine (reasons unknown and unexplained) including Mulan.  What the hell.  I’m extremely proud of myself for following this nonsense because the show does not make it easy.  More pointedly, the show chooses to ignore reams of logic based questions, hoping the audience will just get excited to have Snow and the Prince back together again.  I’d still like to know how/if/when others from around the US noticed that Storybrooke was a town where no one aged for almost 30 years.  Anybody?  I won’t be missing an episode this season.  I’m a self-loather.  NEXT.

Dexter: So after 6 years of serial killing on a rampage, someone from the theme song finally clued in.  Deb caught Dexter performing a ritualized kill with such specificity and resemblance to the Bay Harbor killer that he could not explain his way out of it.  Yay.  Through flashback, we learned even more about Harry’s terrible parenting technique.  He kept badgering Dexter about what a monster he truly was that Deb would only ever love his masquerade.  Way harsh.  Though the season trajectory teased Deb’s efforts to support Dex and curb his murderous tendencies, there really aren’t any B stories.  Yes, LaGuerta is cluing in to Doakes’ frame job from way back, but that will fold into Dex is really the Bay Harbor killer element.  And while I may find him appealing, Louis’ creepy Dex-session is not a story.  Give me something to work with involving Quinn and anything erotic.  Thank you.  NEXT.

Homeland: I’m trying with every effort in my being to stockpile this and marathon it like I did last season.  No spoilers please.  Patinkin 4ever.

666 Park Avenue: Despite all my usual proclivities, I chose not to watch this.  Did I make a mistake?

The Good Wife:  My favorite network program of them all, I am so happy to have you back.  Nathan Lane is busting heads and manipulating characters with such subtlety that I can’t believe he doesn’t guest star on dramas more often.  I’m not sure how realistic it is for Peter to jump from jailed felon to returned State’s Attorney to Illinois Governor, but if anyone can make it happen, Eli Gold can.  I love that Zack finally has a purpose that involves both Florrick parents, and invites Chase from Army Wives (yes, that’s also a Sunday show, and yes, I watch/love it) into the fold as a smaller county’s State’s Attorney.  I think this season will at long last vindicate my long-term Kalinda hate.  She might be a damn good investigator who looks great in high heeled boots, but she’s a specter of a character.  All she does is flit around perving on everyone, young, old, male, female alike, often unnecessarily to get what she wants.  She also seems to have dated, spurned and inspired pining in every guest character to come her way.  Now that her mystery husband has found her, beat her, and sexed her, her character is so far removed from everything else at Lockhart/Gardner, that I can only hope she fades into Lake Michigan.  Finally, she claimed to have a stake in the husband’s cash due to community property.  Neither Ontario, Canada (he is allegedly from Toronto) nor Illinois recognizes community property so I’m going to have call hell no on that one.  Professional opinion.  FIN.

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MLB PLAYOFFS 2012

If there are any baseball fans out there as big as me, you’re loving the end of this season.

With the Yankees/Orioles and Rangers/A’s still fighting it out for their respective division leads, the new format of the playoffs has serious implications for all teams.

Personally, I follow the Yankees as a superfan.  Much to my delight, they were able to pull off an extra innings victory this evening, keeping their record one game ahead of Baltimore.  Depending on what transpires on the last day of the regular season, the Yankees’ worst case scenario is to have a one game playoff against Baltimore Thursday and a possible one game elimination game against either Texas or Oakland on Friday.

It’s a lot to take in, but if my wife is patient enough to listen and consume all of this chatter, then certainly you can also be up to the task.

The next few days could provide excitement, heartbreak and lots to discuss.

To my fellow baseball enthusiasts, I say game on!

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GLEE – this season

So far, this season of Glee is a disjointed mess.  Are Gleeks really supposed to accept Brittany and Trouty Lips as our new leading stars?

Sadly, we are experiencing a similar downgrade in talent to what the fictional world of McKinley High is going through without Rachel, Finn, Mackenzie, Santana, Quinn and Puckerman.

My biggest gripe is the loss of Puckerman… and a little Quinn.  But for the show’s sake, a little more Finn is necessary (and after last ep’s ending, it looks like we may be in for a little Finn action).

Regardless of who is still on the show in a recurring capacity, the jump from Ohio to New York and back is not really jiving.  Yes, we care about Rachel and Kurt, but their storylines are so separated from the old gang that it makes me want for the old days where it was strictly high school high jinx.  (Anyone else love the film High School High?).

Yes, I used to complain about the repetitive nature of seasons 1-3 of Glee and yes I am now complaining that they are overextending themselves with the N.Y.C. content – I suppose I just don’t like this show and am forced to add it to the catalogue of shows I watch ‘just cause’.

I wonder if the general public shares my grievances or if America is above my fear of change.  It’s never easy to deal with characters’ lives after high school ends, but I think what we are experiencing with Glee might be particularly poor planning.  It seems like the show may be content with adding new singers each succeeding season and turning their cast into a rotating one similar to ER or other shows that do that which I cannot think of.

I’m assuming we’re going to be getting the Quinn update episode, the Mercedes one and so on.  These will be okay, but if the characters aren’t going to be featured maybe just let them phase out.

Any suggestions for Mr. Falchuk?

And for the love of Mike O’Malley, can we get some Bieste up in herrrrr???

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Loverboy, Pat Benatar and Journey in Concert!

Last night, I enjoyed a medley of blasts from my 80′s past.  The triple threat of Loverboy, Benatar and Journey came together for just shy of 4 hours of awesomeness.

When Arnel Pineda (lead vocalist of Journey since 2007) belted out Faithfully, When the Lights Go Down in the City and Open Arms, the audience couldn’t help itself from swaying to the music.  The headlining of Journey was a smattering of new tunes from recent album Eclipse and the old gems we know and love.  I wish I had done my homework and made an effort to familiarize myself with the new stuff, but nonetheless, I was utterly entertained.

Benatar shared some tender moments alongside guitarist, Spider, her husband of 34 years.  Approaching 60 years of age, Benatar is still out there rocking it like she used to… albeit only for 40 minute intervals.

Loverboy, now more aptly described as Fat Boy, was just delightful.  Several (6?) of their hits were recognizable and I was thrilled to find out just how much I enjoy their work.  Who knew?

So, don’t give up on your 80′s glam favourites of yester-year.  They can still put on a good show and please a large audience.

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Sports Movies Rap

Listen to this insightful banter on sports films and let us know what your favourites are.

Click on this youtube link.

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Parenthood: Sept 25

I loved this show fanatically last season and things haven’t changed.  A straight forward family drama to be sure, PHood still explores all facets of middle-class life with humor and lots of heart.  Last week when Kristina took the medical blow of a breast cancer diagnosis, I was disheartened.  How much can the Adam wing of the Braverman clan take?  A special needs child, new baby, empty nest syndrome, financial problems, patriarchal responsibility, and now this.  But as usual, PHood is using its special lens of realism and levity to bring this story to the forefront without being treacly.  I teared when Adam confessed to niece Amber that Kristina was sick.  And I fully cried when Kristina asked him to just hear her.  So simple, but so beautiful.  I can’t even bring myself to mock any of it.

The only other A story of last night’s episode was Sarah’s blossoming employer-employee relationship with shutterbug Ray Romano.  He treats her dismissively, rumbles uncontrollably and offers little encouragement.  Obviously he will be the inevitable wrench that yanks her from Jason Ritter’s affable Mr. Cyr.  Romano is in her cynical age range and clearly will be revealed to house a sensitive inner core.  I doubt Romano will last the series so I’m not sure how I feel about him as an interloper worthy only enough of breaking the happy couple.  Thoughts?

Last week I started to actually like Julia as her foster motherhood to Victor started to coalesce.  Give me more of that next episode.  And for the love of god, keep giving Joel some lines.  Where was Drew?  I’m very excited for Amber to learn at Crosby’s hand in the music biz.Finally, the show tried to trick us into thinking Zeke was falling into a senior dementia and would fail his driver’s renewal test.  Fool on us when the proud grandpappy scored a zinging 98%.

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The Grey

Perhaps a little outdated, but if you haven’t seen The Grey with Liam Neeson (and likely never want to), we’ve got a solution.  Take a gander at my 14 minute full recap of this wild adventure… Liam vs. Wolves.

Listen to it on our youtube link.

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Nevermind

Yesterday I found myself in another vomitorious moment at the gym.  This time it was not because of my crippling lack of fitness.  This time, the situation cut to my core.  The spin instructor- and incidentally my newly minted FB friend- announced that a certain album had just turned 21 on Monday and would play a song from it in celebration.  The album is Nirvana’s Nevermind.  I actually became dizzy with the knowledge.  It seems implausible because I bought that album on CD as a youth, but am somehow only 24 myself (I can delude).  And yet, Nevermind is old enough to legally drink in the state of California.  I’m appalled.  So, in horrified honor of this auspicious birthday, today’s song comes straight from Kurt and co.

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