Written By: Andrew Nagorski
Cover Artist: n/a
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: March 13th, 2012
Age Range: 17+
Star Rating: ★★★★ 1/2
My Review: I can’t remember ever reading a book that I took such an interest in that was factually based on history. Everything I knew prior to reading this book on Hitler I got from history text books and what I was taught in school. I was amazed by how much I did not know. I came out of this asking questions, which, I believe, is essential to great literature. When your mind is further engaged to want to do further research on what you’ve just read, then the author has truly done their job. Of course not every book is written with that outcome in mind but this book definitely got me wanting to learn more about WWII. So much so I will be purchasing and reading the book on the History of the Third Reich written by Shirer, one of the main people in this book, Hitlerland.
If you want to get a first hand feel of what it was like to be an American living in or just visiting Germany just before Adolf Hitler came into power, this is the book to read. Not only that, but this takes the journal/diary entries of several journalists who were able to interview Hitler himself! It’s mind-boggling to understand their mindset as they were sent to Germany with the express purpose of informing those in the United States is this man was truly a threat. Many either felt he was too insane to pay any real attention to while the few who had a bad feeling were told not to “over exaggerate” their isolated feelings so as not to incite an unnecessary fear here in the U.S.!
Of course, knowing the outcome that came about by our not intervening and stopping Hitler when he started out, it’s even harder to read this story and just shake my head in shame at their ignorance or lack of fortitude to stand up to those above them telling them to be silent. In a way I have a better understanding of why we took so long to help the Jews and others being persecuted in Germany. You think you know who is to blame from top to bottom but there was truly so much going on from so many different hands all at the same time it’s hard to place the blame on just one moment. Turning a blind eye and ear was the least of the problems going on then. And while this book takes just one point of view it should go down as one that many should read who need reconciliation for what took America and American’s so long to join a fight that we should have, if we knew the truth about what was going on, years earlier.
There is no going back to correct the terrible tragedy, but what I found even more profound is the parallels of what went on during the mid 1930′s to the mid 1940′s and what is happening today. When will we learn?
Read In: 14 Days
As Told By…________________________
Top Five Friday
Topic: New This Fall Season (2012-2013)
Out of the dozen Pilot shows the main networks (CBS, NBC, FOX, ABC, & The CW) have chosen to preview this Fall to get a large audience rating, thereby extending their contract to complete its first season and get signed on for future seasons. Here is a list of new shows I will be watching and hope they last beyond a few shows this Fall.
- Elementary (CBS, Thursdays @ 10pm)
Synopsis: A modern take on the cases of Sherlock Holmes, with the detective now living in New York City.
Created By: Rob Doherty
Starring: Jonny Lee Miller (Sherlock) & Lucy Liu (Joan Watson)
When it comes to the different Sherlock Holmes portrayals my all time favorite is Jeremy Brett. I know some old school followers of Arthur Conan Doyle’s peculiar, yet famed, detective like Basil Rathbone. For the 21st Century there are currently two such depictions of Sherlock Holmes. The first is Robert Downey Jr. having starred in two blockbuster movies with Jude Law by his side as his most trusted companion. The other is the BBC’s version of a modern day Sherlock portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch which my mother and I have mixed feelings about.
What I love about this series is the fact that Watson will be played by a woman. And not just ANY woman but Lucy Liu whom I absolutely adore. To round out this already amazing sounding show, it will take place in NYC. What can be better than that? I try to always support shows that film in NYC because that brings much needed revenue to this city that never sleeps. It is elementary my dear Watson…
- 666 Park Avenue (ABC, Sundays @ 10pm)
Synopsis: If you could make one wish, what would it be? And what would you do to get it? At 666 Park Avenue, all of your dreams and burning desires can come true: wealth, sex, love, power, even revenge. But just be careful what you wish for, because the price you pay… could be your soul. Welcome to The Drake, the premiere apartment building on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Owned by the mysterious Gavin Doran (Terry O’Quinn – Lost) and his sexy wife Olivia (Vanessa Williams – Desperate Housewives), The Drake is home to dozens of residents who are unaware they’re living in the dark embrace of supernatural forces. They think their dreams are all coming true, only to find they’ve been lured into making, what feels like, a deal with the Devil.
Created By: David Wilcox
Starring: Terry O’Quinn & Vanessa Williams
No matter what, every cast member from the hit cult series Lost will appear on a television show, either starring or otherwise. So many of them have gotten some great gigs. Hawaii 5-0 and Person of Interest to name just a couple. This show is no exception with two powerhouse actors at the helm. I’m sure this show will try to make the young couple the stars of the show but when you have Terry and Vanessa on the show it’s a cinch to determine who will be stealing the show! This is definitely a power couple of evil tendencies I will love to watch every Sunday night. What a way to start the work week! ::wink wink::
- Arrow (The CW, Wednesdays @ 8pm)
Synopsis: After a violent shipwreck, billionaire playboy Oliver Queen was missing and presumed dead for five years before being discovered alive on a remote island in the Pacific. When he returns home to Starling City, his devoted mother Moira, much-beloved sister Thea, and best friend Tommy welcome him home, but they sense Oliver has been changed by his ordeal on the island. While Oliver hides the truth about the man he’s become, he desperately wants to make amends for the actions he took as the boy he was. Most particularly, he seeks reconciliation with his former girlfriend, Laurel Lance. As Oliver reconnects with those closest to him, he secretly creates the persona of Arrow – a vigilante – to right the wrongs of his family, fight the ills of society, and restore Starling City to its former glory. By day, Oliver plays the role of a wealthy, carefree and careless philanderer he used to be – flanked by his devoted chauffeur/bodyguard, John Diggle – while carefully concealing the secret identity he turns to under cover of darkness. However, Laurel’s father, Detective Quentin Lance, is determined to arrest the vigilante operating in his city. Meanwhile, Oliver’s own mother, Moira, knows much more about the deadly shipwreck than she has let on – and is more ruthless than he could ever imagine.
Created By: Greg Berlanti & Marc Guggenheim
Starring: Stephen Amell (Green Arrow)
I’m not really a fan of superhero’s. I don’t know why but I never latched on to the fascination from youth. I never watched the cartoon shows and although I did see every Christopher Reeves as Superman movie, every Batman portrayal from Michael Keaton to Christian Bale, and all the Spiderman movies, none of them did I truly love. Except maybe the first few Batman movies with Michael Keaton. If I had to choose a fantastical fairytale of heroics I could possibly get behind it’s the story of Robin Hood.
I have doubts this show will find a place for itself amongst the other great shows (I’m not listing) coming out this Fall, but I don’t watch anything on The CW anymore and I want to give it another try. Maybe they aren’t as amateurish as I’ve found them to be in the past.
- Nashville (ABC, Wednesdays @ 10pm)
Synopsis: A fading Nashville superstar is forced to team up with a teen sensation or face the loss of her tour and promotion of her latest records.
Created By: Callie Khouri
Starring: Hayden Panettiere
I loved Hayden in Heroes and if they didn’t bring in that damned circus I believe that show could easily have lasted 3-4 more seasons! But due to the writers strike that caused them to have to use different writers the show went all to hell in a hand basket and thus left the GORGEOUS Hayden Panettiere without a show of her own. All that has finally changed! Can she sing is my question? Honestly, I could care less. It takes place in Nashville, home of my all time favorite genre of music! Who could ask for anything more? Besides the fact that Reba also has an all new show coming out this year also (which I may be watching starting in November) I think this year will be filled to the brim with good quality country shows! Oh and can I say THANK GOD GCB was cancelled?
- Last Resort (ABC, Thursdays @ 8pm)
Synopsis: 500 feet beneath the ocean’s surface, the U.S. ballistic missile submarine Colorado receives their orders. Over a radio channel, designed only to be used if their homeland has been wiped out, they’re told to fire nuclear weapons at Pakistan. Captain Marcus Chaplin (Andre Braugher) demands confirmation of the orders only to be unceremoniously relieved of duty by the White House. XO Sam Kendal (Scott Speedman) finds himself suddenly in charge of the submarine and facing the same difficult decision. When he also refuses to fire without confirmation of the orders, the Colorado is targeted, fired upon, and hit. The submarine and its crew find themselves crippled on the ocean floor, declared rogue enemies of their own country. Now, with nowhere left to turn, Chaplin and Kendal take the sub on the run and bring the men and women of the Colorado to an exotic island. Here they will find refuge, romance, and a chance at a new life, even as they try to clear their names and get home.
Created By: Shawn Ryan & Karl Gajdusek
Starring: Scott Speedman
If I’m being totally honest (and I always try to be) when I chose this show as my 5th choice it was luck of the draw. I wanted to pick a show not based on who’s in it or what it’s about. But after I read the synopsis I’m totally psyched for this show! It sounds like it “could” be a hit if they do it right! It doesn’t hurt that Scott Speedman is in it either since I loved him in Felicity. He was always pretty good in that VERY creepy movie The Strangers.
Happy tv watching!
Director: Gene Saks
Screenwriter(s): Paul Zindel & Patrick Dennis
Producer: James Cresson & Robert Fryer
Distributor: Warner Bros.
Production Company: ABC
In Theaters: March 27th, 1974
Run Time: 132 minutes
Starring: Lucille Ball, Beatrice Arthur, Robert Preston, & Joyce Van Patten
Storyline: The musical revolves around the antics of Mame Dennis, a fun-loving, wealthy eccentric with a flare for life and a razor sharp wit. Her life is suddenly changed when she becomes the guardian of her late brother’s only child, Patrick Dennis. Her adventures take us from the speak-easies of the roaring 20′s to the depression following the great Stock Market crash. She is rescued by a wealthy Southern plantation owner, marries and is widowed suddenly, and through it all, manages to keep things under control. With some help from her dearest friend, Vera Charles, she helps keep things at 3 Beekman Place a rousing free-for-all. Written by John Deming
My Review: There are two kinds of people when it comes to this movie. Those that have seen the stage play starring Angela Lansbury and feel Lucy ruined the movie version? Or those that loved the non-musical version Auntie Mame with Rosalind Russell? Well, prepare to scream because I was not born yet when Angela Lansbury and Bea Arthur were nominated in the Tony Awards for Mame and I honestly prefer the musical to Rosalind Russell. With that being said watching this in cinemascope on the big screen was an experience I would not trade for anything. I smiled and sang along to every song! I never realized just how many songs are in this movie until tonight but I appreciate every single one. And if the music isn’t enough to grab your attention, I learned something new tonight that I didn’t realize before. The screenwriter is Paul Zindel! I’ve read every single one of his Pigman books! I did not know he wrote screenplays as well! But back to the music. There is so much of it riddled throughout the movie I feel I must share my favorites with you. So which are my favorites?
The South Will Rise Again – Mame
Bosom Buddies – Mame (Lucille Ball & Bea Arthur)
If you get anything out of this movie, let it be that you live each day to the fullest. It’s the one life lesson Auntie Mame wants to impart on Patrick (her only living relative who is charged with looking out for him). She teaches him more than the average 9 year old boy learns even by today’s standards! It’s an amazing time to be had by everyone, young and old.
What Mame says to her nephew I say to you: You know what your problem is? You don’t know how to live! Life is a banquet and most sons of bitches are starving to death!
And just because I don’t want to leave Angela Lansbury out of this musical review, please enjoy this performance she does with her stage co-star Bea Arthur at the Tony Awards:
My Rating: A
Director: Tim Burton
Screenwriter(s): Seth Grahame-Smith
Producer: Richard D. Zanuck, Graham King, Johnny Depp, David Kennedy
Distributor: Warner Bros.
Production Company: Dan Curtis Productions, GK Films, & Infinitum Nihil
In Theaters: May 11th, 2012
Run Time: 113 minutes
Starring: Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Helena Bonham Carter & Eva Green
Storyline: In the year 1752, Joshua and Naomi Collins, with young son Barnabas, set sail from Liverpool, England to start a new life in America. But even an ocean was not enough to escape the mysterious curse that has plagued their family. Two decades pass and Barnabas (Johnny Depp) has the world at his feet-or at least the town of Collinsport, Maine. The master of Collinwood Manor, Barnabas is rich, powerful and an inveterate playboy…until he makes the grave mistake of breaking the heart of Angelique Bouchard (Eva Green). A witch, in every sense of the word, Angelique dooms him to a fate worse than death: turning him into a vampire, and then burying him alive. Two centuries later, Barnabas is inadvertently freed from his tomb and emerges into the very changed world of 1972. He returns to Collinwood Manor to find that his once-grand estate has fallen into ruin. The dysfunctional remnants of the Collins family have fared little better… Written by Warner Bros. Pictures
My Review: If you haven’t seen this movie yet but are planning on going to see it this weekend DO NOT READ THIS REVIEW!!
Let me also say that I’ve never seen the original television series or read the book that this movie was loosely (very loosely) based on. I did not go expecting Oscar worthy performances and I was not disappointed there. I went because it’s a Johnny Depp movie with Tim Burton directing it. How could I not go see this movie!? There are very few actor/director combinations today that work as well as theirs does. I was also surprised (and a bit delighted) to see Seth Grahame-Smith wrote the screenplay for this movie as well.
Now onto the bad news. This movie is NOT their best collaboration. I might be so bold to say it’s among my worst for me. Why? Well, for the first time, I felt like Johnny over acted this role to the point of making me uncomfortable. I honestly felt this role was made for him. Especially after all the crazy roles he’s played before this, Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood, Sweeney Todd, and Willy Wonka, to name but a few. Yet, he came across unreal as a vampire (pardon the pun).
My family also chimed in with their opinion of the movie based on the trailer alone. They grew up with the gothic soap opera so they know it VERY well. Never missed it in fact. And according to them this movie is a farce! A spoof of a great cult classic. Take that opinion as you wish and read on.
I was also disappointed in the storyline. Again, I have not seen the television show or read the book but basing my opinion solely on the movie I can say there was so much there to build on, so much depth that could have been shown on screen. Instead, the “sex” scene between the witch and the vampire was given about 3 minutes time that was a waste. It also felt like it was just shoved in there awkwardly.
Michelle Pfeiffer was actually the best part of the whole movie for me. Also, the boy and girl who I felt were not given enough of a story line. Especially since (spoiler alert) the teenage girl turns out to be a werewolf! Hello! If they were going for surprise there it worked but again it felt sort of shoved into the story awkwardly. I’d feel better if I knew there were more Dark Shadows movies to come? And if there are, then I’d wonder why this movie felt so rushed to tell a story that obviously is in depth since the tv show ran for over 1,200 episodes!! (I looked it up on IMDb)
I find myself about to watch Sweeney Todd or ANY of the Pirates movies in order to remind myself just how great Johnny Depp is and realize every writer, director, & actor has their bad film. I just hope this is the only one they’ll have!
My Rating: C-
Director: George Cukor
Screenwriter(s): Albert Mannheimer & Garson Kanin
Producer: S. Sylvan Simon
Distributor: Columbia Pictures
In Theaters: December 26th, 1950
Run Time: 103 minutes
Color: Black & White
Starring: Judy Holliday, Broderick Crawford, & William Holden
Storyline: Uncouth, loud-mouth junkyard tycoon Harry Brock descends upon Washington D.C. to buy himself a congressman or two, bringing with him his mistress, ex-showgirl Billie Dawn. Brock hires newspaperman Paul Verrall to see if he can soften her rough edges and make her more presentable in capital society. But Harry gets more than he bargained for as Billie absorbs Verall’s lessons in U.S. history and not only comes to the realization that Harry is nothing but a two-bit, corrupt crook, but in the process also falls in love with her handsome tutor. Written by Paul Penna
My Review: Yet another stellar evening at the movies with Ms. Hedda Lettuce and her comedy pre-show.
If you’ve never seen this version perhaps you are familiar with the remake? Melanie Griffith reprises Judy Holliday’s role although not as brilliantly. I’ve seen this original several dozen times but never until now did I notice just how much of the movie revolves around politics. Not the politics of today but how corruption first started out on a small scale. Your average, run of the mill gangster, thinks he can do what he wants and get anyone he wants to do his bidding because he has money at his disposal. So while Harry is busy pushing around his cousin, his lawyer, and a congressman, his fiance Billy is learning how to be cooth from Paul (William Holden).
All she has to do is learn how to speak good, but instead of teaching her the basics Paul pushes her mind to the limit. A light bulb finally goes off in Billy’s head and she sees Harry for who he really is, a bad man! She calls him out on his operation and brings him down to size in a scene that could only be expressed with such intensity by Ms. Holliday herself. You’ll find yourself laughing, smiling, and you might even shed a tear for the shear joy this feel good movie will bring you from beginning to very happy ending.
My Rating: A