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REEL REVIEWS By Monte Lazarus Bengoshi@comcast.net The setting is Europe. The critical year is 1976, although it’s mingled with a number of flashbacks. The movie centers about the rivalry of two Formula One race car drivers, one handsome, dashing and British; the other Austrian, not so handsome, not so dashing – indeed dour, arrogant – and Austrian. This fascinating thriller is more about the two opposite personalities, and their approaches to life, than it is simply about racing incredibly fast cars around the European Circuit. Interestingly, both main characters, James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl) were from ... Read More »

ENOUGH SAID

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REEL REVIEWS By Monte Lazarus Bengoshi@comcast.net Eva (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) is a divorced masseuse with a daughter, Ellen, about to enter college (impeccably played by Tracey Fairaway). Albert (the late, great James Gandolfini) is a divorced father of a girl also bound for college. Thus begins “Enough Said,” a charming little comedy that gets into the foibles of middle class, middle aged life in California. Eva has a self-deprecating sense of humor that sustains her through her loneliness. She lives for her job, daughter and a few very good friends. She meets Albert at a party, and they share a few ... Read More »

Run, Brother, Run: A Memoir of a Murder in My Family

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com   By David Berg Scribner 2013, 254 pages I am very fond of the genre Real Crime, but I believe “Run, Brother, Run” is the first of such that I have addressed in Book Remarks. For the past month or so I have been working on reading the nominees for the Man Booker Prize, due to be announced on October 15. (I predict “Harvest” by Jim Crace takes the prize.) However, after I read that “Guardian US” readers had picked “Run, Brother, Run” as their favorite Summer 2013 read, my interest was piqued and I had ... Read More »

Prisoners

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REEL REVIEWS By Monte Lazarus Bengoshi@comcast.net As the first scene begins a father is repeating a prayer as his son prepares to shoot a deer for their Thanksgiving dinner.  This is the fitting prelude for almost three hours of tension and superb performances in a far-from-ordinary “crime thriller. The setting is a wintry, somber, dank Western Pennsylvania town.  It appears to be a normal suburb, but the Thanksgiving dinner celebration of two families goes awry when the daughters of both families disappear.  The story becomes a study of rage by one father (Keller Dover, brilliantly played by Hugh Jackman) while ... Read More »

Sisterland

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com   By Curtis Sittenfeld Random House, 397 pages   Violet and Daisy Shramm are psychic identical twins who live in Saint Louis, Missouri, but dwell in Sisterland, the name the older-by-eight-minutes twin, Violet, gave to the bedroom they shared as children. Her sign “Sisterland – Population 2 – Do NOT Enter Without Permission” that hung on their bedroom door was a declaration of both physical and psychic boundaries. As children, both girls accepted their innate ability to “know” future events and other people’s secrets. They also knew others did not understand this trait, including their own ... Read More »

Blame it on Beckett

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Submitted The Island Theater Company is pleased to announce the cast of “Blame It On Beckett.” The cast includes: John Moulton as dramaturg, Jim Foley; Mai Puccio as famous playwright, Tina Fike; Jared Wagner as theater general manager, Mike Braschi; Abby Yetter as literary intern, Heidi Bishop. John Moulton made his stage debut earlier this year in ITC’s Mama Won’t Fly. He had several signature parts, including bar-keep “Mitch,” truck driver “Red,” and his most memorable and fashionably dressed character, “Spud Farley,” complete with spike heels. This is John’s first lead role. Mai Puccio is a graduate of Bennington College ... Read More »

The Butler

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REEL REVIEWS By Monte Lazarus Bengoshi@comcast.net By trying to do too much, “the Butler” ends up doing too little. It intersperses the life of White House butler named Cecil Gaines (modeled on real life butler Eugene Allen) with episodes of the Civil Rights Movement. In a huge cast, including Robin Williams (who is supposed to be Dwight Eisenhower, but looks more like Mr. Truman), Alan Rickman as a very soft toned Ronald Reagan, Liev Schrieber who plays Lyndon Johnson, even down to dictating while on the John, Vanessa Redgrave, Mariah Carey, and others in small roles. The two characters supplying ... Read More »

Marco Players: Forty Years of Theater

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By Natalie Strom natalie@coastalbreezenews.com The Marco Players Theater is setting its sights on the 2013 season and beyond. After 40 years in the business, the 501(c)3 non-profit theater’s board of directors, marketing team, actors, directors and volunteers have created a successful style of choosing plays, selecting cast members and entertaining its audiences – around 5,000 or so per year. The live performance art group “was started in 1973 by residents that wanted a kids theater, as I understand it,” explains Beverly Dahlstrom, President of the Board of Directors for the theater. “It just grew from there.” Thirteen years ago, The ... Read More »

Woody’s Best Blue Jasmine

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REEL REVIEWS By Monte Lazarus Bengoshi@comcast.net From the moment we first see Jasmine (Cate Blanchett) we’re entranced, even though she’s talking to herself and her neighbor on a flight from New York to San Francisco. Jasmine is dressed to the nines in Chanel and a huge Hermes purse. That’s all accompanied by monogrammed Louis Vuitton luggage awaiting her on the carousel. What follows are flashes backward and forward as it becomes clear that Jasmine has left the Manhattan high-life destitute and is moving to San Francisco to live (temporarily?) with her sister, Ginger (Sally Hawkins). If all this hints of ... Read More »

I Hate To Leave This Beautiful Place

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com by Howard Norman 208 pages, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt   Lest you think this is a book about gorgeous vacation spots, let me explain the book title. “I hate to leave this beautiful place” is the call of a man turned into a goose in an Inuit tale. He repeatedly cries out this phrase as migration time, winter, approaches. That this is an exceedingly apt title becomes evident as you read the five sections of the book. The publisher calls this a memoir, but that term does not do this exquisite book justice. This is one of ... Read More »

Summer theater camp presents Wicked

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By Noelle H. Lowery noelle@coastalbreezenews.com They truly defied gravity. The 30 kids of the city of Marco Island’s summer theater camp flew to new heights in their performance of Wicked after a whirlwind two weeks of rehearsals. This was the second two-week summer theater camp session, which is sponsored by the city of Marco Island and The Marco Players Theater. Earlier this summer, campers brought down the house with their performance of West Side Story. Wicked was a departure from Director GIna Sisbarro’s original plans for the second summer session. Oklahoma originally was slated, but Sisbarro felt something was missing. ... Read More »

Red 2 – Sit Back And Escape

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REEL REVIEWS By Monte Lazarus Bengoshi@comcast.net No Zombies. No Vampires. Not even an Alien. RED2 is all about good old earthly mayhem with enough one-liners and visual gags to make for excellent escapism. The old gang of semi-retired (and retarded) not so secret assassins is back again. Bruce Willis (Frank), John Malkovich (Marvin) and Helen Mirren (Victoria) reprise their identities as “Retired and Extremely Dangerous (RED)”. This time they are after a deadly super weapon built and hidden by a dotty British scientist well played by good old Anthony Hopkins. He manages to confuse and surprise everyone. Is he really ... Read More »

Deadly News

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com By Don Farmer with Chris Curle 309 pages, Publisher Page, 2013 Atlanta is hosting the Olympics for the second time. One week before opening day, the planning committee is meeting at the Global News Service boardroom. Each of the 18 people present is assessing his or her readiness for the event. The mayor proudly shares his solution to a prickly problem: “We’ll urge our homeless friends who wander around downtown talking to themselves to walk in pairs. Visitors who come here during the Olympics will think they’re talking to each other.” The characters in the book ... Read More »

Local Author Joins MIHS Movie Series

Robert Messier’s movie knowledge is extensive. PHOTO BY NATALIE STROM

Submitted Something new has been added to the Marco Island Historical Society Summer Movie Matinee Series. Robert Messier, author of “100 Years of Thrillers and Chillers 1912-2012,” will be offering a short preview/critique of every movie we have on tap for this summer. Prior to each show, Messier will be giving interesting insights that will enhance the wonders of movie magic of old. Mr. Messier’s book is considered to be an ultimate collection of all the best thrillers and chillers in cinema history. He studied drama and film making in Long Island, New York. He now resides on the Isle ... Read More »

The Racketeer

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com   By John Grisham Doubleday 2012 340 pages As a long-time Grisham fan, I didn’t hesitate to read this book when it was recommended by a friend. It is never difficult to get engrossed in a Grisham novel, at least not his legal thrillers. I did not want to put this book down. I have not been this mesmerized by Grisham since The Client, my first Grisham novel. The protagonist is Malcolm Bannister, a small-town Virginia lawyer imprisoned (wrongly) to a 10-year federal prison sentence for money laundering. We find him halfway through that term, ... Read More »

Matinees at MIHM

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Submitted Free family-friendly Movies! Free candy! Air-conditioning! You can find them all summer long in the Rose History Auditorium at the Marco Island Historical Museum. Showtimes for the entire series will start at 1 PM. Mark your calendars because here’s the line-up:   • July 16: Twelve Miles Beneath the Reef • July 23: A Farewell to Arms • July 30: Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon • August 6: Little Shop of Horrors • August 13: Cross Creek • August 20: My Pal Trigger • August 27: Meet John Doe • September 10: Topper Returns   The Marco Island ... Read More »

The Little Way of Ruthie Leming: A Southern Girl, A Small Town and the Secret of a Good Life

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com By Rod Dreher Grand Central Publishing, April 2013 271 pages I wanted to read this book because it addresses sibling relationships, in particular the loss by premature death of an adult sibling, a topic rarely written about or discussed. Society does not seem to acknowledge sibling grief but focuses on surviving parents and the grief of losing a child, and/or spouses and their grief. Not to be crass or denigrate anyone’s grief, but spouses can and usually are replaced while siblings cannot be. No one else knows your personal history, shares your DNA or your ... Read More »

The Fourteenth Day: JFK and the Aftermath of the Cuban Missile Crisis

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com Author: David G. Coleman WW Norton & Company, 2012 Oh, to be a fly on the wall! Almost everyone has uttered that phrase at least once in their lifetime, yearning to be an inconspicuous observer taking in details of conversations to which they are not privy. In other words, the good, juicy, unadulterated, unadorned nitty gritty. The Fourteenth Day is a chance to be the fly and witness real-time history during a very crucial event. Filtered through the author, of course.  Because last October was the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis, there was ... Read More »

Drumbeats and UFOs

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GATOR NATE’S MUSIC NOTES Nate Augustus rubeejaw@aol.com Generally speaking, we keep to a theme here at music notes. The subject of music has such a vast plethora of information that staying on topic is simple. “But it’s all right now I learned my lesson well, you see you can’t please everyone, so you got to please yourself.” -Ricky Nelson’s “Garden Party” In this tweak’s edition, we will be venturing off course, dabbling in the wild and often controversial subject of UFOs. UFO-any apparent anomaly in the sky that is not readily identifiable as a known object or phenomenon by visual ... Read More »

Six Years

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com by Harlan Coben Dutton 2013 Harlan Coben’s most recent novel soared to the number one spot on the NYT Bestseller List immediately after it was published several weeks ago in March. I have to admit I was attracted to it because I read that Hugh Jackman had signed on to play the lead in the movie adaptation of Six Years, assuming that if this intelligent actor was eager to be involved in the project (as the Hollywood types call movies in the works), it must be an engrossing story. I was not disappointed. I am ... Read More »