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October 2008

SEA OF DUST: horror at it's best

Sea_Of_Dust_EdwardXYoung_BloodyDoc_174 I've never been a fan of horror, but I've always loved a movie that makes me think, while it entertains, and that’s what SEA OF DUST does.

I went to Rhode Island International Horror Film Festival (RIIFF) this weekend in Providence to see the movie; RIIFF is one of the most prominent international horror film festivals in this country. SEA OF DUST was selected as the featured film for premiere screening. And after seeing it, I can see why it’s drawing so much attention.

Because the movie is an homage to Hammer Horror Films of the 1960's (including the likes of Ingrid Pitt as Anna – one of the best known actresses of this genre), this stylistic film has elements that are often lost in contemporary horror.

Yes, it has the expected gore necessary for its classification, but it also in brings the humor and sophistication of Hammer Horror.  The beautiful women (Darby Lynn Totten, Suzi Lorraine, Sarah Dauber,) and gory special effects (Josh Turi), bring to this film the sexual ingredient that makes those old British horror films so fun to watch.

Director and writer Scott Bunt, through his script and direction has created characters that are driven to face moral and social issues that are relevant to current events of our time Yet, he does so without losing the endearing humorous aspect of this genre of horror. Thus making the magnitude these struggles more accessible to the audience.

L_1d446bb0525cb932d5c88af8fb22f516 The movie immediately brings you it to a confusing, intriguing, and powerful world (or should I say worlds). From the fear filled fleeing of a beautiful innocent woman; to the struggle of “the good guys” Doctor Maitland (Edward X. Young), Professor Sorel (Bill Timoney); to the unexpected temporal traversing of the young hero Stefan Christoph (Troy Holland) through different worlds, the audience is drawn in.

With unexpected turns of events and circumstances, the viewer fights, along with the characters, to understand what the next best step would be to tackle the pull to the evil-side, lead by Prester John (played by none other than the "King of Splatter" -- Tom Savini).

SEA OF DUST is an experience worth having, bringing you to places that are both visually astonishing and frighteningly seductive.

The eerie musical score (Jasper Drew), beautiful costumes (Joanne Haas), and stunning cinematography (Brian Fass), make for an integrated visual and visceral experience. SEA OF DUST is not at all the typical horror experience, which is what makes it so exceptional.

If you are a Horror Movie Fan, especially a Hammer Horror Fan...that likes a good think with your scare…this is the movie for you. 

Now available on Netflix!


A TALE OF TWO CITIES: A Magical Musical

ATOTC Thank God, Charles Dickens and Jill Santoriello for finally getting a magical, dramatic, tender yet powerful, life-changing musical back on the Broadway stage. It’s been far, far too long that we (the musical theatre loving audience) have been waiting for a story to move us as A TALE OF TWO CITIES does.

From the first stirring swells of the orchestra, to the sweet sound of stunning voices, coupled with the creative set (Tony Walton), lighting (Richard Pilbrow) and costumes (David Zinn), this musical is what Broadway is supposed to be. Story-Kiss

We go to Broadway to be swept away to a place that we cannot go without the magic of  theatre. And this show does exactly that. It's a story about love; true, unselfish, love. Yes, there is romance and passion in every word, look and movement. But beyond that, there is a remarkable blend of suffering and salvation reflected in the familiarity of these characters, superbly expressed through music.  

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

Yes, just like everyone else, I’d heard the scathing reviews. And upon hearing this I immediately decided that A TALE OF TWO CITIES was a must see. I never trust the critics. I trust the audience (and my gut).

 Even Richard Ouzounian in his bitter review of the show stated, "The audience stood and cheered at the preview I attended. Some even wept." See, the audience loves the show – it’s only a few, people – unfortunately those with the pen – that didn’t get it. (I often wonder why – but “the psychology of the critic" is a topic for another blog post.)

Creative-Main  All too often, because too many listen to those that are paid to comment on art (rather than those that pay to see a performance), shows suffer and close before their time. And I’m afraid that because of a few cruel and inaccurate assessment of this beautiful story in song, this masterpiece could be driven out of the theatre. So I felt compelled to bring it your attention and ask you to make the choice yourself. Go ahead and see good theatre against the critics advice. With our purchasing power we can buy the ticket that will keep shows like this open and keep Broadway alive.

CriticsThe irony I found in many of the initial reviews, was that they complained that one of the show's major flaws was a similarity to Les Miz. But Les Miz – unarguably the best musical in its genre – changed the nature of Musical Theatre. So to be a musical worthy of such a comparison, speaks volumes to the brilliance of A TALE OF TWO CITIES. In my opinion this is one of the highest complements one can be given when creating an Epic dramatic musical. The fact that Broadway finally has another musical of this nature is reason enough to go running to the theatre to see it.

{Footnote: Les Miz initially received scathing reviews in most of the London papers, but within days of the opening, audiences spread the word and ticket sales sky-rocketed, and it played to sold-out houses from then on. – In my estimation, A TALE OF TWO CITiES audiences will do the same for this show.}

Story-StageBefore I went, I was warned that it was "long" although, surprisingly it didn't feel long at all; I could have sat through hours more of this magnificent production. Before I went, I knew that costumes would be beautiful and the show would be a spectacle (it is an Epic musical, after all, it is based on the Charles Dickens book). And if those were reasons enough to see it – the critics’ attempts to shut it down is the clincher.

This is an event that should not be passed over or slip away.

It celebrates the best and the worst of the human condition. It not only portrays inner struggles of one man but it inspires. Because it expresses the power of making life-changing choices as a result of our connections to those we love, A TALE OF TWO CITES is more than just a Broadway show, it’s an poignant and thrilling experience.

Until Tomorrow

 Go see the greatest musical on Broadway today. A TALE OF TWO CITIES, it's amazing!

Nights in Rotten-day

  • Warning Spoilers Ahead –read at your own risk.  NightsInRodanthe

Everyone loves a comedy. And if you are looking for one of the funniest films in Theaters today, go see Nights in Rodanthe. Cleverly disguised as a romance in the trailer, the movie would be a tragedy if it actually fell into that category. But it’s precisely this irony, that makes the comedic nature of the film so strong. 

The best part is that this movie pays homage to all the great romances.
Shades of Rocky, as Paul is calling out “Adrienne...Adrienne” over and over again like a lost puppy dog.
Like La Rivière du hibou, there’s the old-fashion slow-motion running of two young lovers into each others arms (only in this case they were neither young, nor running through a field – but across a very short 20 foot driveway).
He cannot bring himself to leave her without one last kiss (unconcealed foreshadowing here).
The montage of love letters (portrayed through tasteless voice-overs and lovesick annotations)
The lonely endless night spent waiting for him to return to her, as the romantic dinner gets cold.
But it doesn’t end there. 
Yes, this never-ending movie continues…but I don’t want to ruin the surprise ending.

Because the characters Adrienne (Diane Lane) and Paul (Richard Gere) did not have one ounce of chemistry between them, and every moment was over-acted, the audience could care less what happens to them. This made the fact that the movie took itself so seriously, even funnier.

Adrienne is a pathetic woman who uses her family as an excuse to not live her own life and then wonders why her husband left her. She gave up her dream of being an artist and never recaptures that ☹.

An inspiring outcome of their encounter might have been that meeting Paul motivated Adrienne to live her dreams, but that would be a different movie. Alas, in this movie, she never changes. She never gains a sense of self nor stops defining herself by her relationships – no matter how shallow. And his character is just as bad (a boring, one-dimensional, cardboard cutout of a man).  Thus their “attraction” to each other is poetic.

In defense of Richard and Diane, there’s not much anyone could do to make such superficial characters attractive to the audience. They both dutifully cried on cue during the “sad” parts of the film – but there was no realty behind their tears. Since the characters were played with such simplicity, the on-the-nose expression of the sentiment felt like an attempt to spoon-feed the audience an emotional experience. As an audience member I would have been insulted, if I wasn’t so amused by the ridiculousness of it all. 

Honestly, I have never laughed so hard as I did during this movie. It makes a mockery of love and loss without knowing it.

Nights in Rodanthe is the best spoof on a romance novel that I’ve ever seen!

If you love cheese, ☺ you’ll love this Film.



A very wise person said to me the other day:
"Happy are those who dream dreams and are willing to pay the price to make them come true."

It inspired me to write my life story as a Lifetime movie...but that will come later. So for now I'll just write a little about Dreams. How important they are and how they are the center of my life.

Like Madonna, only on a smaller scale (I'm petite after all), I've reinvented myself so I my dreams are reality. 

I don't just have them in my head, or just talk about them, or just wish for them. I've arranged my life to live them; to be able to do what I truly love with my time. But, I had to be willing to make some choices and to change the way I looked at opportunity. And the result is a magical world in which anything is possible, no matter how outrageous it seems.

I'm an entertainer so much of my life is filled with impossible odds to overcome to be a success. But effort is never wasted when you're being creative, your success is not measured by anything besides the pure joy it gives you!

I put two ideas in my head at the beginning of my life transition from a "regular life" to an extraordinary life:

    1. "If I don't try, I'll regret it - even if I fail - because I'll always wonder, and I'll always have an unfulfilled dream that I ignored" (Dreams should not be ignored - they are the lifeblood of happiness).
    2. "I may not be the most talented, and I may not be the prettiest, but I have stick-to-it-ness. So I'll be around when all the competition has given up or gone on to settle down" (because that's what usually happens when people work in the arts - I just did it the opposite direction).

I'd already had a very successful "regular life", and it was really great, but not really my dream life. Yet, from that life, I gained so much wisdom and experience. I wouldn't trade it for anything.

As I took steps to change my life, I knew in my core that I'd had great success. And I knew when I packed my bags and left my life behind --no matter what happened-- NO ONE could take that success away from me. It would always be an integrated part of my life and who I am.

I had nothing to lose by trying. I could always confidently go back to a "regular life" if I wanted to. But because of my outlook, I've never had to.

I've come to the unquestionable knowledge, that I'll always be able to not only survive -- but thrive -- creatively, financially and experientially - in a world in which I really fit. And all because I risked everything and changed every aspect of my life to TRY to make my dreams come true.

I’ve learned that I only have right now to enjoy my life, so why not do what I want, even if it seems impossible.

The only one who will be disappointed if I don’t, will be me.

And I simply cannot live with that!