Can You Ever Forgive Me? (NOW PLAYING) starring Melissa McCarthy

[1] A quirky black comedy everyone will enjoy, but still full of emotion and heart.

[2] McCarthy really shines in her role as author Lee Israel and effortlessly portrays the loneliness and insecurity of her character. Her rapport with Grant (and even with the cat) is wonderful, and the writing is clever

[3] The screenplay has a wonderful way of portraying Israel and Jack Hock as criminals, but at the same time making them both very human and very vulnerable, each in their own way. There is a scene between them near the end that tore me up. I hope this film finds the accolades it deserves, it’s great to finally see a gem in a year of remakes, CGI and dull comedies.

-Excerpts form IMDB reviews

Lee Israel (Melissa McCarthy) made her living in the 70’s and 80’s writing biographies of the famous (Katharine Hepburn, Tallulah Bankhead, Estee Lauder, etc.) With bills mounting, and facing loss income, she begins drinking heavily and sinking into a deep depression when (by chance) she discovers that a lot of money can be made by selling letters of the famous (such as Dorothy Parker and Noel Coward). Lee is assisted by her flamboyant/energetic friend, Jack Hock (British actor Richard E. Grant). Jane Curtin has a cameo as Lee’s literary agent. 

This is an adaptation of the memoir Can You Ever Forgive Me? by Israel herself. McCarthy’s husband, Ben Falcone, was attached to the project before she was; he recommended her when Julianne Moore backed out. I got a chance to see this little gem of a film (at a free press screening) 3 weeks ago. I think it will appeal to indie fans, esp. teachers, librarians, classic film buffs, and those who write for a career (or even for fun). McCarthy wears (terribly cut/styled) wigs, frumpy clothes, and takes on a difficult/hard-edged personality. She seems to almost disappear into the role! This is the type of (unlikable) role usually written for a male protagonist. This film is playing (in limited release), so check it out if you can, or put it on your list for future streaming.

Meet Singer/Songwriter Sam Riggs

Why didn’t I learn about this FAB voice before!?  I’m SO far behind what’s out there (in the music world)!  If any of YOU have music suggestions for me, just leave a comment below.

Sam (just 28 y.o.) is originally from Florida, BUT started his music career (singing, writing, playing guitar & fiddle) in Austin, TX.  He and his band (The Night People) slowly built their reputation by touring across the Lone Star state in small venues. In the past 3 yrs, Sam’s profile has grown exponentially, thanks to loyal local fans, magazine articles, and Kickstarter supporters who raised close to $38,000 to help produce one of his albums.

I was browsing the $6.99 Country albums (on iTunes) last night when I found his latest album- “Breathless.”  But this is NOT the type of voice that belongs in the discount section!  Sam’s songs are authentic country (w/ lyrics reminiscent of what I LOVED in the ’90s).  There are new/innovative touches- steel drum intro in one song, some rapping in another.

There are a FEW music videos and videos of Sam’s acoustic sessions on YouTube (produced by his wife, Natalie Rhea). I’ve listened to “Breathless”- every song was good, yet different!  Five of these songs were written by Sam and his long-time friend/drummer.  Never underestimate the power REAL talent and word of mouth!  You can subscribe to Sam’s YouTube channel and follow him on Twitter.

AFI Latin American Film Festival (SEPT 17 – OCT 7): Selected Trailers

Hello everyone,

Happy Friday!

It’s time again for the AFI Latin American Film Festival (#AFILatinFilm for those who tweet) in my ‘hood of Silver Spring, MD- YAY!  The diverse array of films will be shown at the AFI Silver Theater & Cultural Center (8633 Colesville Rd.)  Spread the word to fam, pals, & co-workers- there will be something for everyone (no doubt).  On Thursdays and Fridays starting Sept. 18, there are Happy Hours 6-7 PM w/ complimentary snacks courtesy of La Malinche Restaurant, Latin American drink specials and festive music. You can also read my previous reviews here.

***FYI: Tickets for ALL films (except Opening Night) are half price on Sept. 11!***

Full list of films:

Below are trailers for the 3 films I’m going to see:

Marshland (FRI, 9/18) – Crime Thriller; winner of 10 Goya Awards (Spain’s Oscars)

How to Win Enemies (TUES, 9/29) – Dark Comedy/Mystery (Argentina); Q&A w/ filmmaker

Trash (WED, 10/7) – In English & Portuguese; starring Martin Sheen & Rooney Mara

Thanks for visiting,


2014 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 28,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 10 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.