Who Done It? She Did

On this day in History, Agatha Christie was born.  Because of this, other people had a whole lot of late nights trying to unravel the mysteries she conjured.  She wrote over 70 stories, a large percentage best sellers.  Plays and movies have resulted from the 1930s until today.

She is best known for her 66 detective novels and 14 short story collections, as well as the world’s longest-running play – The Mousetrap. Her books have sold over a billion copies in the English language and a billion in translation.

This year Kenneth Branagh directs and stars as Hercule Poirot in a remake of Murder on The Orient Express.  Will he use the same ending (hush because you probably know) or will he alter in some way?  The all-star cast is among the Who’s Who of film actors.

A small taste of what is coming your way November 10.


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For Irma

Storm Racked

How should I sing when buffeting salt waves
And stung with bitter surges, in whose might
I toss, a cockleshell? The dreadful night
Marshals its undefeated dark and raves
In brutal madness, reeling over graves
Of vanquished men, long-sunken out of sight,
Sent wailing down to glut the ghoulish sprite
Who haunts foul seaweed forests and their caves.
No parting cloud reveals a watery star,
My cries are washed away upon the wind,
My cramped and blistering hands can find no spar,
My eyes with hope o’erstrained, are growing blind.
But painted on the sky great visions burn,
My voice, oblation from a shattered urn!

Amy Lowell

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Farewell Barbara

Barbara Cook has passed away at the age of 89.  Very nice tribute article on Playbill.

Barbara Cook, the musical theatre ingénue who became cabaret and concert royalty, has passed away.

The first time I truly became aware of her was singing an Amanda McBroom song on NPR Sunday.  Her beautiful rendition of Errol Flynn made me cry as the song reminded me so intensely of my father.  That was the whole core of Barbara’s talent; that she could bring such intensity to the simplest of lyrics.  With story songs, she created whole worlds and mini movies for the mind.



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The Countdown Begins

We have now ended July.  Ahead we have the summer films such as the Kingsman sequel which will will see as a family viewing.  Then come the the traditional fall contenders for the big awards though a couple have shown up early.

I’ve seen Logan and already have the DVD.  If it weren’t a super hero film, I would put it among the contenders.  This is a heavy hitter year and while other awards are a possibility, Best Picture is unlikely.

Just saw Dunkirk on Sunday.  It is a film of sound and fury with little connecting story line.  If you know the history.  You know what happened.  Even if you don’t, you will feel the war.  Not a traditional film, but a very good one.  As a measure, I genuinely liked Hacksaw Ridge better on the Oscar front.

From here on are the unseen, but definitely worth consideration.

Darkest Hour – November 22nd

Goodbye Christopher Robin – November 10

The Greatest Showman- December 25

Mudbound – Purchased by Netflix planning theatrical & on line release prior to nominations.  Date not set as yet.

The Papers – Stephen Spielberg directed film starring Tom Hanks.  This may or may not be finished in time for nomination.  Word of mouth is great so far.


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Brush Up Your Shakespeare

TNT is taking Cole Porter’s advice and having everyone brush up on their Shakespeare.  First with Will or what happened before the plays brought him fame mixed with an undercurrent of anti-Catholic soap opera and Elizabethan intrigue.

Then bring on Still Star-crossed for all those who want to know what happened after Romeo & Juliet bit the dust.

Things didn’t come to a peaceful aftermath and all the Capulets and Montague’s are decidedly still at it, complete with swords, swiving and murderous intrigue galore.

So pull out your dog-eared high school copy (or just warm up Google).  You are going to need it to look up all the heady references flying around courtesy of the series writers busily stealing from the very best.


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