Tag Archive: Hollywood


Jeremy Irons, (“Reversal of Fortune”, “The Lion King”), stars as Rodrigo Borgia Pope Alexander Sextus in Showtime’s medieval drama, “The Borgias”.  The second season was concluded with the most recent episode, “The Confession.”  The season has covered several events of the historical Borgia account, from the invasion of King Charles VIII of France, played by Michel Muller, (“Hénaut Président”, “The High Life”), to the heresy of Girolamao Savanarola, performed by Steven Berkoff (“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, “Forest of the Gods”).  Even with the multiple storylines weaving forward, the season was able to focus strongly on the Borgia family and secondary characters, bringing them fully to life.

The finale was started in the last episode’s final moment- as Cesare, portrayed by François Arnaud (“Yamaska”, “I Killed My Mother”), ended his fraternal rivalry permanently.  This carried into the main story- what happened to Alexander’s favorite son, Juan Borgia, played by David Oakes (“Pillars of the Earth”, “Trinity”), and who did it to him.  Seeing Iron’s breaking from the loss to realizing who had done it was exceptionally moving.  It was felt strongly in his counter-confession, explaining that favors he bestowed on Juan came so easily because Cesare was so like him.  Then, to follow it with the laying to rest of his son; the scene- the music, the appearance, the contrast to the simultaneous events- is enough to move most anyone to tears.

The Borgias S02E09While “The Borgias” is a historical drama, it takes great liberties with the histories.  The basis of the story, the mafia-esque nature of Pope Alexander Sextus, is taken from the viewpoints of his political rivals.  While the rampant nepotism was the norm of the time, charges such as simony are largely undocumented.   In contrast, Popes Urban VIII and Sixtux V declared him an outstanding pope.  Truthfully, we can see reflections of this exultation or demonization of individuals in modern politics.  Further, the creative liberties extend beyond the papal portrayal- time and events are modified.  The Savonarola reformation and Roman response took place years after Juan’s death, meaning it could not be a factor in Cesare’s actions or forgiveness.  Accuracies notwithstanding, “The Borgias”’s take on the Vatican’s drama of the late 15th century is masterfully done and wonderfully entertaining.

The second season of “The Borgias” comes to a close with a cliffhanger- the plot finally reaches fruition.  The fraternal rivalry has ended, though a paternal schism may have appeared.  Through it all, the majesty and dark recesses of medieval Rome come across vividly.  It is a Rome of depth that is rarely seen from a time that the Eternal City is rarely shown.  All in all, “The Borgias” is a beautifully done, both visually and audibly- which only serves to enhance the great storyline the fleshed out characters travel.  If you crave outstanding drama, you will not be disappointed.

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“Snow White and the Huntsman” stars Kristen Stewart (“Twilight”) and Chris Hemsworth (“Thor”, “The Avengers”) as the titular characters, with Charlize Theron (“Monster”, “Hancock”) portraying the evil queen Ravenna.   The film is a refreshing take on the fairytale, far more in line with the original Grimm version than the Disney-fied versions that are the current norm.  The dwarves, for example, are not slapstick props nor one-dimensional; they were distinct from each other with some depth and not to be trifled with.  On top of that, the women are more than mere set decoration- both Ravenna and Snow are helped by men, but helped only- they are the main characters and they are in control.

Snow White and the HuntsmanPrior the release of “Snow White”, one of the more vocal concerns that had been raised is about casting Kristen Stewart in the lead role due to her work in the “Twilight” saga.  The worry was misplaced as Ms. Stewart plays both Snow wonderfully.  She has a more reserved nature for most of the movie- which make sense in character given her imprisonment during adolescence and the effect that would have.  Then, after her character’s transformative moment, she acts as a renewed person on a crusade.  Setting aside her accent, which was a little weak, this was a solid casting decision.

Visually, “Snow White” delivers in spades.  The stunning imagery works to show the stark contrast of the good lands of Snow White and her father and the (super)natural realms, as opposed to the dark and decaying kingdom of the evil Ravenna.  Much of the magic of the film is shown as wet- from the milk baths to the transformation residue to the liquid metal Magic Mirror.  This gives the film a raw, grittier feel than the clean magic styles depicted in “Harry Potter” or “Lord of the Rings”.  The faerie forest comes across as otherworldly, as it should.  And finally, the attack on the castle has a superb feel, bringing to mind the Arthurian legends.  All of these play magnificently onscreen.

Unfortunately, the film does rely on the visuals too much.  This reviewer really wanted to learn more of the back story of Ravenna, especially the relationship between her and her brother Finn (Sam Spruell).  Not only does the relationship have the whiff of incest, but how they are linked magically was left frustratingly unsaid.  Likewise, the story does seem to gloss over some details, such as the queen’s other kingdoms, the ease of Snow White’s escape, the nature of Snow’s innate magic and how or why she has this power.  Moreover, does this take place on Earth?  Before her escape near the beginning of the film, Snow White recites the Lord’s Prayer- which says that she’s a Christian- in this world of faeries and trolls and magical queens.  (Admittedly, other instances of out of place Christian utterances- Tigh’s “Jesus” in the Battlestar Galactica pilot comes to mind- happen, but recitation of a prayer as opposed to an utterance takes a different level of involvement.)  This indicates that the film took place in Europe somewhere in the Dark or Middle Ages, or that Christianity is known and practiced by some people in this world.

“Snow White” is a relatively marvelous summer movie.  The story moves a little fast to fill in some narrative points, but it is a compelling one.  Having two strong female leads, with men in the secondary roles, is refreshing for an action movie of this type.  Superb visuals tie the film well- enhancing the film and drawing the viewers into the story.  I would strongly suggest going to see “Snow White and the Huntsman”- and guys, it’s a good date movie you’ll enjoy too.

 

 

*** SPOILER ***

 

Lastly, this reviewer cannot say how great it is the movie didn’t end with a wedding- I am not a fan of that trope.  Snow being the Queen without a king or even a consort rocked.  After all, she can get one later if she wants.

Mysidian Moments Photojournal

This Saturday, at the Dances with Film Festival at the Chinese Theater in Hollywood, Chastity Bites, a classic-style slasher film premiered; this group shot on the Red Carpet consists of the Clique Girls, (Amy Okuda ( @AmyOkuda ), Chloë Crampton ( @chloecharlotte ), Lindsey Morgan ( @linzzmorgan ) and Sarah Stouffer ( @realStouffer )) and the Director and Writer of the film, husband and wife team John V. Knowles ( @jvknowles ) and Lotti Pharriss Knowles ( @LottiLuWho )!

FYI, its a great, fun romp with a grande cast! Check it out when you’re able to- details would best be found at the official website and/or their twitter feed @ChastityBites .

* Granted, it was the “Green Carpet”- but non-Hollywood types wouldn’t know the difference, neh?

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…  before they decided to ignore science, (a shocker, I know)

 

Happy 420, my toking friends.

Now, I am not a recreator of the Mary Jane- but, I know enough people who are to know that the horror stories are just that- stories.  In fact…

10) MARIJUANA USE HAS NO EFFECT ON MORTALITY: A massive study of California HMO members funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) found marijuana use caused no significant increase in mortality. Tobacco use was associated with increased risk of death. Sidney, S et al. Marijuana Use and Mortality. American Journal of Public Health. Vol. 87 No. 4, April 1997. p. 585-590. Sept. 2002.

9) HEAVY MARIJUANA USE AS A YOUNG ADULT WON’T RUIN YOUR LIFE: Veterans Affairs scientists looked at whether heavy marijuana use as a young adult caused long-term problems later, studying identical twins in which one twin had been a heavy marijuana user for a year or longer but had stopped at least one month before the study, while the second twin had used marijuana no more than five times ever. Marijuana use had no significant impact on physical or mental health care utilization, health-related quality of life, or current socio-demographic characteristics. Eisen SE et al. Does Marijuana Use Have Residual Adverse Effects on Self-Reported Health Measures, Socio-Demographics or Quality of Life? A Monozygotic Co-Twin Control Study in Men. Addiction. Vol. 97 No. 9. p.1083-1086. Sept. 1997

8) THE “GATEWAY EFFECT” MAY BE A MIRAGE: Marijuana is often called a “gateway drug” by supporters of prohibition, who point to statistical “associations” indicating that persons who use marijuana are more likely to eventually try hard drugs than those who never use marijuana – implying that marijuana use somehow causes hard drug use. But a model developed by RAND Corp. researcher Andrew Morral demonstrates that these associations can be explained “without requiring a gateway effect.” More likely, this federally funded study suggests, some people simply have an underlying propensity to try drugs, and start with what’s most readily available. Morral AR, McCaffrey D and Paddock S. Reassessing the Marijuana Gateway Effect. Addiction. December 2002. p. 1493-1504.

7) PROHIBITION DOESN’T WORK (PART I): The White House had the National Research Council examine the data being gathered about drug use and the effects of U.S. drug policies. NRC concluded, “the nation possesses little information about the effectiveness of current drug policy, especially of drug law enforcement.” And what data exist show “little apparent relationship between severity of sanctions prescribed for drug use and prevalence or frequency of use.” In other words, there is no proof that prohibition – the cornerstone of U.S. drug policy for a century – reduces drug use. National Research Council. Informing America’s Policy on Illegal Drugs: What We Don’t Know Keeps Hurting Us. National Academy Press, 2001. p. 193.

http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10021&page=193

6) PROHIBITION DOESN’T WORK (PART II): DOES PROHIBITION CAUSE THE “GATEWAY EFFECT”?): U.S. and Dutch researchers, supported in part by NIDA, compared marijuana users in San Francisco, where non-medical use remains illegal, to Amsterdam, where adults may possess and purchase small amounts of marijuana from regulated businesses. Looking at such parameters as frequency and quantity of use and age at onset of use, they found no differences except one: Lifetime use of hard drugs was significantly lower in Amsterdam, with its “tolerant” marijuana policies. For example, lifetime crack cocaine use was 4.5 times higher in San Francisco than Amsterdam. Reinarman, C, Cohen, PDA, and Kaal, HL. The Limited Relevance of Drug Policy: Cannabis in Amsterdam and San Francisco. American Journal of Public Health. Vol. 94, No. 5. May 2004. p. 836-842.

http://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/full/10.2105/AJPH.94.5.836

5) OOPS, MARIJUANA MAY PREVENT CANCER (PART I): Federal researchers implanted several types of cancer, including leukemia and lung cancers, in mice, then treated them with cannabinoids (unique, active components found in marijuana). THC and other cannabinoids shrank tumors and increased the mice’s lifespans. Munson, AE et al. Antineoplastic Activity of Cannabinoids. Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Sept. 1975. p. 597-602.

http://drugpolicycentral.com/bot/pg/cancer/THC_cancer_sep_1975.htm

4) OOPS, MARIJUANA MAY PREVENT CANCER, (PART II): In a 1994 study the government tried to suppress, federal researchers gave mice and rats massive doses of THC, looking for cancers or other signs of toxicity. The rodents given THC lived longer and had fewer cancers, “in a dose-dependent manner” (i.e. the more THC they got, the fewer tumors). NTP Technical Report On The Toxicology And Carcinogenesis Studies Of 1-Trans- Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol, CAS No. 1972-08-3, In F344/N Rats And B6C3F Mice, Gavage Studies. See also, “Medical Marijuana: Unpublished Federal Study Found THC-Treated Rats Lived Longer, Had Less Cancer,” AIDS Treatment News no. 263, Jan. 17, 1997.

http://www.thebody.com/content/art31497.html#medmar

3) OOPS, MARIJUANA MAY PREVENT CANCER (PART III): Researchers at the Kaiser-Permanente HMO, funded by NIDA, followed 65,000 patients for nearly a decade, comparing cancer rates among non-smokers, tobacco smokers, and marijuana smokers. Tobacco smokers had massively higher rates of lung cancer and other cancers. Marijuana smokers who didn’t also use tobacco had no increase in risk of tobacco-related cancers or of cancer risk overall. In fact their rates of lung and most other cancers were slightly lower than non-smokers, though the difference did not reach statistical significance. Sidney, S. et al. Marijuana Use and Cancer Incidence (California, United States). Cancer Causes and Control. Vol. 8. Sept. 1997, p. 722-728.

http://link.springer.com/article/10.1023%2FA%3A1018427320658

2) OOPS, MARIJUANA MAY PREVENT CANCER (PART IV): Donald Tashkin, a UCLA researcher whose work is funded by NIDA, did a case-control study comparing 1,200 patients with lung, head and neck cancers to a matched group with no cancer. Even the heaviest marijuana smokers had no increased risk of cancer, and had somewhat lower cancer risk than non-smokers (tobacco smokers had a 20-fold increased lung cancer risk). Tashkin D. Marijuana Use and Lung Cancer: Results of a Case-Control Study. American Thoracic Society International Conference. May 23, 2006.

1) MARIJUANA DOES HAVE MEDICAL VALUE: In response to passage of California’s medical marijuana law, the White House had the Institute of Medicine (IOM) review the data on marijuana’s medical benefits and risks. The IOM concluded, “Nausea, appetite loss, pain and anxiety are all afflictions of wasting, and all can be mitigated by marijuana.” While noting potential risks of smoking, the report acknowledged there is no clear alternative for people suffering from chronic conditions that might be relieved by smoking marijuana, such as pain or AIDS wasting. The government’s refusal to acknowledge this finding caused co-author John A. Benson to tell the New York Times that the government loves to ignore our report; they would rather it never happened. (Joy, JE, Watson, SJ, and Benson, JA. Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base. National Academy Press. 1999. p. 159. See also, Harris, G. FDA Dismisses Medical Benefit From Marijuana. New York Times. Apr. 21, 2006)

http://www.csdp.org/news/news/nyt_fdamedmj_042106.htm

So, a brief, scientific look at MJ- will have some editorializing tomorrow…  Ya know, here- http://wp.me/paRLC-46

10th Day of #MizuMas!

 

On the tenth day of #MizuMas, my #houseape gave to me…

     Ten Grasses for Chewing

     Nine Lasers-a-Pointing     

     Eight Cans-a-Yummies

     Seven Fish-a-Swimming

     Six Balls-a-Rolling

     Five Mice on a Striiiiiiiing…

     Four Cheesy Snacks

     Three Inches of Snow

     Two Times Outside

     And a Warm Lap just for Me =^.^=