Tuesday, May 30, 2006

DVD Review: Mrs Henderson Presents

Welcome back!

Well, after the other day's fiasco with Mel Brooks' High Anxiety, I sat down to watch Mrs Henderson Presents (Judi Dench, Bob Hoskins) and I must say it was a total 180 in experience!

It's a wonderful little film, based on a true story, about an eccentric rich widow (Dench) who buys a run down theater, renovates it and then reopens it, with the help of hired manager Van Damm (Hoskins), as a British vaudeville theater. Soon after, the other local theaters begin to copy the success of the Windmill Theater, causing it to lose money. Dench decides that they'll introduce female nudity and the rest, as they say, is history.

The story take place just before and during World War II and as such the war makes an impact on the theater and vice versa. Dench does an Oscar nominated performance as Mrs Henderson. Though not nominated, Hoskins' Van Damm is just as good. Their chemistry together is truly wonderful. The supporting cast does a very good job as the Windmill Theater cast. There are lots of cute musical numbers throughout the film, along with some wonderful naked breasts!

The one thing I was surprised with was the MPAA rating - this film got an "R", restricted rating. I honestly can't understand why. There's no sex, very minor bawdy language (one appropriate use of the "F" word) and a smattering of naked breasts. If anyone kows why this lovely little film would get an "R" rating, please let us know! It makes no sense!

I really can't recommend this film enough - go out today and rent it! I enjoyed it so much I'm thinking of buying it!

I'll give it a hearty 4 of 5 stars!

Have you seen Mrs Henderson Presents? If so, what did you think? If not, do you think you'll watch it based on my review? Share your thoughts by leaving some comments using the link below.

Thanks for reading my blog!

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Monday, May 29, 2006

DVD Review: High Anxiety (but low tolerance!)

Welcome back!

So I decided that I wanted to try a comedy - I've been doing lots of dramas, etc and it was high time for a comedy in the mix. Mel Brooks box set was recently released and I hadn't seen all the films in the set, so I dutifully added them to my Blockbuster Online queue.

The first film from the box set, High Anxiety (Mel Brooks, Madeline Kahn), arrived the other day. Now, normally, I don't rent films I've seen (if they're good, I buy them!) and I had seen this film as a kid (for some odd reason, I didn't delete it from my queue when it was added automatically with the other films from the box set). Anyway, I vaguely remember the film as being so-so and I totally forgot it was Brooks' homage to Alfred Hitchcock (an opening blurb mentioning that reminded me!)

Well, I wasn't in for my expected laugh fest - maybe in 1977 when I was 13 years old I found this funny.....but now, when I'm -- um, never mind-- I found it stupid. Madeline Kahn was a hoot (as usual) and her parts held up. The only Mel Brooks part I liked was his routine with Kahn as they tried to get past airport security by playing a bickering old Jewish couple.

The film also starred Cloris Leachman and Harvey Korman in supporting roles. Not very funny overall, but they did have one funny part - which I also thought was comically creative. They are having coffee on a couch with the scene being shot from under the glass coffee table looking up at the actors. As they place their cups and saucers down (along with sugar holder, teapot,etc), they constantly are covering the camera's lens -- it's quite cute - doesn't sound funny, but it was good for a smile and chuckle in an otherwise flat comedy.

Maybe if you're 13 years old you'll get more laughs, but if you're 3 times that age, you probably won't!

I was so ticked off at the end, I deleted the rest of his films from my queue! (Oddly, I still want to check out The Producers, which I saw on stage locally and enjoyed)

I'm giving this the dreaded 2 of 5 stars rating.

I do have a nice review to share with you next time!

Until then, leave a comment  about High Anxiety or Mel Brooks...or anything else you'd like, before you surf away!

Thanks for reading my blog!

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Happy Memorial Day!

Welcome back!

Well, it's a long weekend here in the United States - the unofficial beginning of the summer season (which will end unofficially Labor Day weekend in September).

Monday is Memorial Day - a national holiday we set aside to remember the dead, especially those who died in the armed forces serving our country, from major conflicts like World War II to anti-terrorist strikes in Afghanistan and peacekeeping in Iran.

There is a White House Commission on Remembrance which is tasked as follows:

"The White House Commission on the National Moment of Remembrance was established by Congress as an independent government agency. The Commission encourages Americans to honor the sacrifices of America’s fallen and the families they left behind.  It promotes acts of remembrance throughout the year and asks Americans to pay our debt of gratitude in memory of our fallen by giving something back to the Nation.  The Commission is also tasked to unite the country in the National Moment of Remembrance at 3 p.m. on Memorial Day.

The Commission is dedicated to educating this and future generations of Americans to remember the sacrifices and costs in human life made to preserve our liberties, and to instill in them an understanding of what it means to be an American."

So, today, at 3 P.M. local time, please take a moment to remember all the men and women who have sacrificed their lives so we could live freely -- even to create silly blogs like this one!

Happy Memorial Day!


Thanks for visiting my blog.

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Friday, May 26, 2006

Are you LOST?

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I have yet to watch a minute of the ABC hit series LOST, but I own the entire first season on DVD and am looking ahead to purchasing season 2! Is that crazy or what? The first season got such good overall reviews that I took the plunge and purchased the DVD set when it was on sale. I just read a strong positive review of last night's season 2 finale -- so, I'm thinking of picking up season 2 without having seen season 1! It's crazy, I tell ya!

You know what else is crazy? I have the first season of Desperate Housewives on DVD and, you guessed it, haven't seen a minute of it either! I did read that season 2 wasn't as strong, so now I'm in one of those conundrums - do I take it on faith that I will like Season 1 (when I finally view it) and thus take the plunge on season 2 while it's on sale? Or do I eBay season 1 and rent the whole damn thing instead?!? Life poses such hard choices!

Oddly, none of the above indecisions apply to Will & Grace, which had its series finale last Thursday night (with a repeat tonight). Am I the only one that found this final episode stupid? OK, I will admit, I have not sat thru the entire episode from start to finish -- only caught occasional scenes between innings of a baseball game. But, still, it was enough to turn me off to the whole thing. I will probably sit and (try to) watch it thru at some point - but I'm in no rush.

I had high hopes for Will & Grace when it debuted - I thought this would be a quality ensemble comedy (think Frasier) with a twist (main character is gay). Yet -- it sort of spun off into drivel. It was fairly funny, but not consistently. They brought characters (mainly extended guest star stints) in and out - for no good reason. Why did Jack have a 13 year old son in one season and not a mention of him since including the finale? What was up with that? Was Jack retarded (never could hold a job, etc) or just a comic foil without a brain? Yes, Jack is hilarious, but it all seemed to be a string of on-the-spot gags instead of anything consistent that came from within the character. For example, Lucy Ricardo  was wacky, but in a way very smart. You could believe anything she tried to pull off since it came from within her character. Whereas with Jack we just got (seemingly) impromptu outbursts that were strung together for a laugh. The same can be said of Karen. Again, very funny - but mostly done for the gags. Her character was fairly well defined - rich, drunk/drugged non-worker. Funny stuff - but will it hold up in 10 years? And if it does, will it be a "classic" comedy, defining the 90s/00s? Or will it just be a long running comedy?

Will & Grace were fairly well defined - but the writers never did much with them to make them grow over the series run. They were basically the same characters we saw in season 1. Grace gets married and divorced for no reason. Will sorta gets a love interest but it doesn't go anywhere for the most part. After sitting thru several seasons of non-starts, I tuned out more or less a season or two ago.

Anyway, I won't be buying any Will & Grace DVD sets anytime soon (disclaimer, I do own the first season, but it's still sealed :).

OK, I've ranted and raved long enough - now, it's your turn! Leave your own rant by using the coment links below!

Thanks for checking my blog!

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Sunday, May 21, 2006

Summer Blockbusters - are you ready?

Welcome back!

Well, we have less than a week to go before Memorial Day, which is the traditional start of summer here in the United States. And, as always, Hollywood is ready to roll out its so called blockbusters -- are you interested in any of them?

Some early releases include the remake of Irwin Allen's The Poseidon Adventure, now known simply as Poseidon and this weekend's The DaVinci Code.

Memorial Day weekend will see the opening of the third (and probably last) X-Men sequel - X-MEN: The Last Stand.

The following weekend (June 2) sees Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn in The Break-Up. June 6th sees yet another remake release - The Omen. June 9th sees Disney's latest animated feature Cars.

June 16th sees the latest in the Fast and Furious series with The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift; the Lake House (which actually has an interesting premise) also releases that day.

At the end of June, we'll see the latest in the Superman saga with Superman Returns.

Whew - a busy first month of summer and I only touched a fraction of the films releasing in June! Personally, I'm looking forward to Superman Returns and the X-Men.

Are you looking forward to any of this summer's blockbusters? If so, which ones? How about all the remakes being released this year - are you for or against it? Let us know - leave a comment before you surf off!

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Saturday, May 20, 2006

Waiting for the Wizard...

Welcome back!

Wizard of OZ promo (breygent)

I'm sitting here waiting for the Wizard....of OZ, that is. Well, more precisely, my Wizard of OZ trading cards box from Breygent Marketing. This set promises to have a TON of goodies - from sketch cards to "cut signature" cards (from Judy Garland and Jack Haley) to prop cards (including Yellow Brick!), this set has it all! How about a rare card containing either a piece of Dorothy's dress or the Wicked Witch's hat?!? This set has it!

I have an odd relationship with the Wizard of OZ - I don't conside myself any sort of OZ groupie, but yet I have a ton of OZ related stuff - from the movie on every major media format (VHS, DVD, DVD collector's set, laserdisc) plus a book about the Wizard! I think I might even have one of those Franklin Mint collector's plate (not sure on that one though)! Yet, like I said, I don't consider myself an OZ groupie (what do they call OZ fanatics?). I guess it goes back to my childhood - all these things OZ bring back a warm fuzzy feeling.

Do you have a childhood "warm fuzzy" that you seem to collect blindly? Let us know by posting a comment before you surf off! And don't forget to subscribe to our RSS/Atom feed (see links on the left) - with my erratic postings, an RSS feed is the best way to stay on top of Tony Island Blog!

Thanks for checking my blog!

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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Blogger's Block

Welcome back!

As you can tell from my entry title, I've hit a bit of a roadblock -- where do I go from here? Should I post yet another DVD review? Discuss some thoughts I've had about changing America for the better? Discuss Willie Harris' game ending "caught stealing" second base out? How about some football tidbits? I haven't posted anything about the New England Patriots - even after the NFL draft a few weekends ago. From everything I've read, they made some decent picks. I think the RB and WR they chose in the first two rounds look impressive. Now let's hope their college skills can be used professionally.

Do you think NFL football is America's version of ancient Rome's gladiator games? They don't have the deaths, though they do have the injuries. Your thoughts?

Do I keep posting even if I get no feedback? Do I ever stop complaining? Find out next time....on Tony Island blog!

Feel free to post some ideas for future blog entries -- tell me which current entries you like best and which I can do without.

See you soon!

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Sunday, May 14, 2006

DVD Review: Call Northside 777

Welcome back!

So far, most of my DVD reviews have been rather ho-hum...the movies themselves have been good for the most part, but nothing to get overly excited about either. I would definitely recommend renting them at the least.

Call Northside 777 (James Stewart) falls into the "wow - that was good!" category. Based on a true story, Call Northside 777 opens with a narrator explaining life in Chicago in 1932. Lots of underworld violence has resulted in many policemen being killed in the line of duty. We see one such murder of a policeman take place in a deli which was a front for a speakeasy.

Fast forward 11 years -- the editor of a Chicago newspaper sees a small personal ad that catches his attention. It's offering a $5000 reward for any information regarding the murdered policeman from the film's opening scene. The editor assigns one of his reporters (James Stewart) to check out the story behind the ad. The ad leads to a middle-aged scrub woman, Tillie Wiecek, at a Chicago building. There, Stewart finds out that Tillie has worked for the past 11 years to save for the $5000 reward. Her son was imprisoned for the policeman's murder and she believes her son is innocent. Stewart dashes her hopes that the money will lead to anything substantial.

Ready to kill the story,  Stewart returns to his editor, who has other ideas. Instead of killing the story, he encourages Stewart to follow it some more. Without spoiling too much, Stewart goes on to help the jailed man and possibly set him free -- I won't say if he succeeds, so that you will rent it yourself and find out!

I really enjoyed the film - it was interesting to follow the twists and turns to the final resolution. And since it's based on a  true story, it was even more interesting. It's probably slow by current day standards, but I didn't think so. Stewart gives a wonderful performance as do several of the other peformers - a few of which you may know if you watched a lot of '70s TV. :)

I'll give this 4 of 5 stars!

Have you seen Call Northside 777? Do you enjoy "based on a true story" films? Post your comments and let us know!

Till next time!

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Friday, May 12, 2006

Fiction: The Cycle

Welcome back!

I thought I'd share a little piece of fiction I wrote oh-so-many-years-ago for a high school assignment. It's still kind of fun to read.....let me know what you think! It's not Shakespeare, but what is these days? :)

I'll be back to my regular postings next time!

The Cycle

Edenville was a typical American town. As a matter of fact, towns like it were spread all across the globe...


The meat clever floated effortlessly through the air to its destination.

"No! Please, please, stop it!!" pleaded the officer. He moved backwards towards the wall, frantically waving his hands in front of him. "Nooooo......!!!!"

The cleaver plunged into his chest. The lifeless mass slumped to the floor as blood spurted wildly, staining the surrounding furniture.

Quint moved toward the body, laughing almost uncontrollably. He dipped his finger into the fresh blood and scrawled the words "devil’s domain" on the wall. He licked his finger clean and left.


"The third mysterious murder of a police officer within the past two days continues to puzzle police. A police spokesman says detectives are working on the assumption that these recent murders are in some way related to the mysterious murders of seven policemen three months ago.

In international news, the Falkland Islands war...."

Clyde clicked off the television and turned to the small congregation of black-robed businessmen seated on benches.

"Brothers," he began, "we are beginning to win our war. The Lord Devil himself shall rule the world, as was meant to be."

"Amen," came the response.

"Let’s be seated."

The men moved to a large, circular glass table and sat at their respective seats. Clyde brought forth a large black book and opened it to a section of chants.

"Almighty Devil, hear us. You have given us prosperity; we have sacrificed for you. Help us."

The group began to chant. From the middle of the table, a bright red light began to form. From the depths of the light, a face appeared and then a body. The men bowed their heads in respect.

"You have done well, my disciples. But, you are not alone in this conquest."

With a sweeping motion of his hand, the sacrificial altar on the far wall disappeared. In its place a viewport appeared. On it, pictures and news reports from around the world appeared in a massive collage. The reports told of murdered officials from the local level up to and including the national level. The viewport disappeared as suddenly as it had appeared. The altar reappeared in its former place.

"Tomorrow, my disciples, the world shall be ruled by me. Tomorrow our work shall be over. The day of salvation is near!!"

The image disappeared.


 Mass-slaughter occurred on the day of salvation. The resistors were torched and killed. The world was in the Devil’s hands!

The Creator looked upon His world in dismay.

"The non-believers have won. I have tried; my Son has tried, but they refused to believe."

"Father, you must save them for they are one with us."

"You are right my Son."


"Devil, you have had your last laugh."

"No! You shall never destroy me! The people believe in me and through their strength, I live!"

With that, the Creator raised his hands and brought forth a force unknown in power. The Devil took the force and then delivered his own force.

This continued for forty days and forty nights.

And in the end, there was nothing.

The devil grew weak and fled to another dimension.

The Creator looked about.

He raised His hands and created a world in six days and on the seventh day, He rested. And on this world He created the animals and the plants. And then He created man.

"Perhaps this species will listen," He commented as He looked about.

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Thursday, May 11, 2006

DVD Review: Oliver Twist!

Welcome back!

I recently viewed Roman Polsanski's Oliver Twist, Charles Dickens' story of an orphaned boy attempting to survive19th century London. I thought it was very well done - the acting was top-notch with the sets wonderfully re-creating 19th century London.The overall atmosphere was very Dickens-ian.. The story is condensed from the original source material - necessary since the original material is about 300 pages! So, some of the twists and turns of the original have been elminated or changed to fit the set of characters presented here (ie, they used the core set of characters from the book thus minor characters and their roles in the plot were eliminated or given to the characters used here).

I didn't realize that Fagin was played by the wonderful Ben Kingsley! That's how good he is and how good the makeup/atmosphere is. 9 year old Barney Clark did a fine job as Oliver while 14 year old Harry Eden makes a fine Artful Dodger.

The DVD has several special features - including behind the scenes featurettes with Polanski and a small piece on Barney Clark.

I'll give this one 3 of 5 stars.

I would also highly recommend Polanski's The Pianist. The story follows a Polish Jewish pianist as he attempts to survive the horrors of World War II. The film is fairly depressing, but it too is wonderfully presented with the ending providing inspiration. Another 3 of 5 stars!

Have you seen Roman Polanski's Oliver Twist or The Pianist? Then share your thoughts with others by leaving a comment using the link below.

Until next time -- be safe! And don't forget to subscribe to our RSS feed!

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Earn a $1.00!!

Welcome back!

OK - so this is a sign of desperation...but I really want to know if anyone is reading my blog! So, to promote my blog, I'm going to give away $1.00 to the FIRST (and only the first!) blog reader to leave a COMMENT! That's right, follow the simple rules below and earn $1.00!

1) Leave a coherent comment - full sentences, punctuation, etc - to any PREVIOUS entry (NOT THIS ONE!)
3) Have a PAYPAL account that accepts US dollars!
4) Leave a valid email address so I can contact you.

That's it! I'll contact the first person to leave a comment to any previous entry in my blog (as of today, there have been no comments at all!)

And get this -- you could earn another $1.00 by finding my OTHER Tony Island blog!! That's right - I have two Tony Island blogs on two different hosts - find the other one and earn another $1.00!

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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Itchy eyes!

Welcome back!

I'm sitting here scratching at my eyes - they're itchy due to all the pollen in the air. We've had some rain here today and I had hoped that would help reduce the pollen floating around. It did during the day - I wasn't scratching my eyes and my nose wasn't as stuffy...but tonight is slightly different. While the nose is fairly dry, the eyes are making up for it! Yikes! It seems that the night is almost as bad as the day - I wonder if pollen is being sprayed at night? I dunno.

According to Pollen.com and weather.com, the alergy alert for my immediate area is HIGH. Great! Itchy eyes galore. Pollen.com does say that Thursday - Saturday should be medium - whew!

Speaking of Pollen.com, I was going to direct you to my home page and let you check the alergy alert for your area - but they declined my request to add their Alergy Alert script to my Web site. Why, you ask? Well, it's quite simple - they claim I don't have a Web site....hmmmmm...click the link above and tell me if I have a Web site or not! :)

Of course, it is possible that there was a glitch when they went to verify my Web site's existence, but...I DO have a Web site (and a blog, too!).

I'm trying not to take any OTC medications right now - it's mostly at the "feels like a cold" stage - if the allergice reactions get any worse as the spring wears on, I'll check into something at my local CVS.

Do you have allergies? Are they servere or mild? Seasonal or other? Are you on prescription or over the counter medicine? Share your thoughts with us before you surf away!

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Sunday, May 07, 2006

Still reading!

Welcome back!

As I mentioned in my last post, I picked up a copy of Blogging for Dummies -- and am still slogging thru it. It's a really good read and most likely I'll read the whole thing cover-to-cover!

Not to sound like a shill for the "Dummies" publisher, but I do enjoy their books - mind you, I haven't read a lot of them, but they are useful to get a good, quick grounding on a particular subject. I remember buying the HTML for Dummies book a few years ago - it was a good breezy read and got me up and running in no time. I do like the light hearted manner in which they are written - the interesting thing being that they are mostly written by different authors, so I assume maintaining that light-hearted approach takes some effort on the editor's part.

The only problem I find with them is that they don't make great reference books after you have the material down pat (ie, when you're ready for the next level). But for going from novice to beginner, they're good.

I'm thinking of checking the ones for baseball and football to increase my knowledge of those games (though you really get a good education watching over 100+ baseball games and 30+ football games per season!) And even though I'm Catholic, I am thinking of checking the one on Catholicism - never can know enough about your own religion (of course, if I find blogging is a sin, I may have to stop :).

OK - well, I'll continue to read - will report back soon. I have some other stuff to share, too!

Have you used the "Dummies" series or the competition's "Idiots" series? If so, which ones? Were they helpful? Would you consider using either  series again  for another learning session? Leave some comments - share your thoughts - we can all learn from each other!

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Thursday, May 04, 2006

I'm back!

Welcome back!

I'm back, too! Took a small breather from posting - a chance to recompose myself (no pun intended!) and figure out where Tony Island Blog is headed. I also picked up a copy of Blogging for Dummies (really, I did!) - so hopefully that will give me a better handle on this blogging thing!

I wasn't sitting around either - I watched a few DVDs, some of which I'll mention in more detail next time.

And....I indulged in my guilty pleasure by watching CBS' "Dynasty Reunion: Catfights & Caviar" on Tuesday night! Did you see it? If so, post your comments!

OK - this was just a quick post to let you know I'm alive.

Thanks again for stopping by - don't forget to leave a comment before you surf away - and add our RSS feed to your RSS reader!

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