This is the place for friends to talk about books, movies, music, food, and everything fun!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Lilly Faye's Movie Review: Captain Phillips, starring Tom Hanks and Barkhad Abdi

Dear Readers,

Captain Phillips is a movie I could really sink my teeth into. It's about the scourge of the high seas.

Dizzie: Plastic garbage?

Lilly Faye: No, the other one. Pirates. Although I must say, you are becoming much more astute lately, Diz.

Dizzie: I've been watching BBC News.

Lilly Faye: That explains it. Perhaps it's time I started giving you more responsibilities here at the blog.

Lilly Faye: Based on the book A Captain's Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALS, and Dangerous Days at Sea by Richard Phillips and Stephan Talty, the film Captain Phillips tells the real-life story of the takeover of the U.S.-flagged cargo ship Maersk Alabama by Somali pirates in 2009.

It stars Tom Hanks as Captain Phillips, and Barkhad Abdi as Muse, the leader of the pirate gang who took over the ship. The film was a 2014 Academy Award nominee for Best Motion Picture of the Year, and Abdi was nominated for Best Supporting Actor.

I was a little worried at the beginning of the movie when the clunky dialogue between Hanks and Catherine Keener, who played Mrs. Phillips, felt like too much exposition. However, that only lasted a few minutes. Hanks soon boarded the ship, and both the ship and the story were quickly underway. 

Tom Hanks did a phenomenal job, and Barkhad Abdi and the other actors who played his gang of pirates were amazing, as well. The pirates were convincingly menacing, but also pathetic in a way. 

Even though I knew the outcome of the story from listening to news reports at the time the incident happened, the film still kept me on the edge of my seat. It is extremely suspenseful.

Dizzie: I'll say. I had to get an oinky to chew on, I was so nervous!

Lilly Faye: One of the most realistic and moving parts of the entire film takes place near the end, in a scene between a Navy Corpsman and Tom Hanks. I'd like to give a shout out to real-life Navy Corpsman Danielle Albert, who lent the scene tremendous authenticity. You can read how her scene came about in this article which appeared in Navy Times in October 2013:

Would you like to add anything else, Diz?

Dizzie: Don't forget to turn on the subtitles! Half the dialogue is in Somali, so you're going to need them.

Lilly Faye: Thanks for mentioning that, Diz. Now it's time to rate the movie.

Movie Rating: Two Paws Up! Highly Recommended!

Friday, April 25, 2014

April Mailbag

Dear Readers,

The weather has been beautiful here at the blog, so I decided to bring the mailbag outside this month. Let's dive in.

Shasta writes, "Dear Lilly Faye, what kind of cat is Alfie?"

Alfie Cat: Gorgeous, obviously. Mysterious, sophisticated, beguiling....

Lilly Faye: Alfie was born in a bathtub to a feral mother, so we're really not sure of his breed.

Diz, the next letter is for you. Archie the Weimaraner asks, "Dizzie, how do you stay in shape? Do you have a regular fitness regime?" 

Dizzie: Thanks for asking, Archie. Currently I swim, hike, wrestle, and participate in the occasional game of soccer. I may add agility training in the near future.

Lilly Faye: Thanks, guys. 

The last letter is addressed to me. Daisy writes, "Which movie or TV character do you most identify with?"

That's a good question, Daisy. I feel a special connection to Carrie Bradshaw, as portrayed by Sarah Jessica Parker in Sex and the City.

Sure there are the obvious similarities, such as our hair, our petite stature, and our unique fashion sense. 

We've also been through similar romantic struggles, though mine are a story for another day. 

Most of all, there is our shared love of writing. When each episode of Sex and the City closes with Carrie, all alone, writing down her thoughts about life for her column, I can definitely relate!

That's all the mail for this week, dear readers. Please keep sending in your questions, and if you enjoy the blog, please tell your friends!

Lilly Faye

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter!

Lilly Faye: Hmm, these flowers are new. I wonder where they came from.

Lilly Faye: They smell as pretty as they look.

Lilly Faye: Oh! They must be from the Easter Bunny! There's an Easter egg hidden in them. I hope you got one, too!

Alfie Cat: Rats! I must have missed one.

Dear Readers,

I hope you are enjoying all the blessings of spring. Happy Easter!

Love Always,
Lilly Faye

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Waiting for the Easter Bunny

Dizzie: Whatcha doin', Boss?

Lilly Faye: I'm looking for signs of the Easter Bunny, Diz. I see signs of spring, but I haven't seen any Easter eggs anywhere.

Dizzie: Maybe he'll drop them off tonight while we're sleeping.

Lilly Faye: You're probably right, Diz. I'm sure there's no reason to worry.

Alfie Cat: No reason at all, heh, heh, heh.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Lilly Faye's Movie Review: American Hustle, starring Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, and Jennifer Lawrence

Dear Readers,

My blog intern, Dizzie, and I recently watched the movie, American Hustle. It got ten Oscar nominations, and has won numerous prestigious filmmaking awards. 

American Hustle is a somewhat fictionalized version of real events, the FBI's Abscam sting that brought down a U.S. Senator, six Congressmen, and a popular mayor, among others, in the late 1970s and early '80s. 

Lilly Faye: I thought the film was surprisingly funny and very well done, Diz. What did you think?

Dizzie: I agree, Boss. And it had a cracking good soundtrack. I mean, come on! Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Thelonious Monk, Donna Summer, Santana, Chicago, Elton John, Tom Jones, and the Bee Gees, all in one movie!

Lilly Faye: And those period clothes were a real hoot!

I thought Christian Bale was particularly good as the con man coerced into helping the FBI set up and carry out the sting. Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, and Jennifer Lawrence all did such an outstanding job, though, it's hard to single out any one performance. Louis C.K. as one of the FBI bosses, and Jeremy Renner as a New Jersey mayor, also did excellent work.

Dizzie: I noticed there were a lot of hair issues in the movie. Lots of big hair, fake hair, permed hair....

Lilly Faye: The hair is a metaphor, Diz. The characters are all trying to be someone other than who they really are. They aren't  just conning each other, they are also conning themselves.

We should mention that American Hustle has an R rating. There is a bit of nudity, but most of the sex is implied, or taking place under the covers.

Dizzie: I thought the R rating was for the Senator and all those Congressmen taking bribes. That's pretty obscene.

Lilly Faye: That's an excellent point, Diz. 

Time to rate the movie. I think we agree on this one.

Movie Rating: Two Paws Up! Highly Recommended!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Lilly Faye's Guide to Business: Plan to Succeed

Lilly Faye: I'm putting the finishing touches on a business plan for the blog, Diz. How does this sound?

In five years the blog will have 20,000 visitors every month, it will be mentioned regularly in major publications such as Entertainment Weekly, and I will be courted by book publishers and movie studios seeking exclusive Lilly Faye branded reviews.

Dizzie: It sounds more like a fantasy than a business plan, Boss.

Lilly Faye: Most business plans are fantasies, Diz. But you've got to have one if you want a business loan.

Dizzie: Who's going to give you a loan?

Lilly Faye: Mommy. I want to buy a new camera for the blog. The one I'm using now is almost 9 years old, and my photos have been looking a little fuzzy.

Dizzie: That's the camera's fault? I thought you were going for the TV anchor lady gauzy effect to smooth out your wrinkles.

Lilly Faye: I don't have wrinkles, Diz. I just need more pixels.

Dizzie: So how are you gonna pay back the loan?

Lilly Faye: I haven't figured that out yet. But it's important to believe in yourself, Diz, and I just know the blog is going to be a huge success!

Dizzie: I sure hope so, Boss. Maybe then I can get paid.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Lilly Faye's Movie Review: Twenty Feet From Stardom, and The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life

Dear Readers,

My blog intern, Dizzie, and I recently watched two excellent documentaries. Both are Oscar winners, and music is at the heart of both films.

The first film, Twenty Feet From Stardom, won the 2014 Oscar for Best Documentary Feature. It is 91 minutes long. It's about the backup singers who add so much depth and vibrancy to live concert performances and recordings.

You may not know their names, but they are all well known to the musical artists with whom they perform onstage. Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, Sting, Mick Jagger, Bette Midler, Sheryl Crow, and Chris Botti are just some of the performers who appear in this film, talking about the dynamics of working with these amazing backup singers, such as Darlene Love, Merry Clayton, The Waters Family, and many more.

Dizzie: Don't forget Tata Vega, Boss. She's a personal favorite of mine.

Lilly Faye: Right, Diz. Some backup singers are seeking stardom of their own, while others are content being part of a team supporting a frontman. Whichever path they choose, it's hard work and sometimes a very hard life.

Lilly Faye: The second film we watched is The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life. It won the 2014 Oscar for Best Documentary Short Subject. It is 39 minutes long.

This film tells the life story of Alice Herz-Sommer, a highly talented concert pianist, who until her death at age 110 in February of this year, was the oldest living Holocaust survivor.

What makes Ms Herz-Sommer, and this film, so special, is her deeply held belief in the power of music, and the amazing power of her optimism. Her positive attitude about every aspect of life is infectious. 

You may doubt that a film involving the Holocaust could be a feel-good movie, but believe me, this one is. 

Diz, I feel so buoyed by these two films, I could break out in song!

Dizzie: Please don't, Boss. I have very sensitive ears.

Lilly Faye: (Sings) I feel so happy....

Twenty Feet From Stardom and The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life are both currently streaming on Netflix.

Movie Ratings: Two Paws Up! Both films are highly recommended!

Friday, April 4, 2014

This Week in Entertainment News...

Dizzie: Whatcha' up to, Boss?

Lilly Faye: I'm keeping up with current events, Diz. There's good news and bad news. 

Entertainment Weekly is reporting that Pharrell Williams will join The Voice as a coach for Season 7.

(Sings) This makes me happy....

Dizzie: (Cutting her off) What's the bad news, Boss?

Lilly Faye: David Letterman is retiring next year, which means the end is near for one of the greatest entertainment bits of all time, Stupid Pet Tricks.

Do you know any television-worthy tricks, Diz?

Dizzie: I could carry Alfie onstage in a sack, and pull him out of it, like pulling a rabbit out of a hat.

Alfie: Hold on, now.

Lilly Faye: Hmmm, you might want to work on that. We only have a few months left to get you booked on the show. Try to come up with something clever. It would be great publicity for the blog.

Dizzie: Will do, Boss. If I get on Letterman, are you gonna pay me for it?

Lilly Faye: If you do a good job of representing the blog on the Letterman show, Diz, I'll pay you a generous percentage of your appearance fee, guaranteed. 

Dizzie: Oh, boy! Seriously, Boss?

Alfie: There's one born every minute.