REVIEW | Becoming Cary Grant

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Recently, I watched a very interesting documentary film called Becoming Cary Grant that premiered on Showtime on June 9th. The film is about the life of actor Cary Grant, who is known as one of Hollywood’s leading men from the 1940-50’s working with such directors like Alfred Hitchcock.

Cary Grant was born in Bristol, England in 1904. His given name was Archibald Leach, which while he was on tour in the U.S. he mostly used the nickname “Archie” with his last name as his persona. It wasn’t until he moved on to making big budget movies that he finally changed his name and became an American citizen.

He had been married four times, and only had one child, a daughter named Jennifer with his third wife Dyan Cannon. He was a very private person, as you find out watching the film how sheltered he’d become throughout his time in Hollywood and then you also find out how he became such a bad husband to his wives as well. The documentary draws the story of his life using reenactments, sections of his unpublished biography (read by actor Jonathon Pryce) and then the home videos Cary himself captured throughout the later years of his life.

I find the film to be very interesting, I was thoroughly entertained but before I ever started watching it I kept getting him confused with Clark Gable. They’re both similar between their slick black hair and sturdy roles except for the fact that Clark always had some facial hair! If you like the stars of the 1930’s through the 1950’s, I think you could enjoy this as well!

Have you seen Becoming Cary Grant yet? If you have, what did you like about it?

Tune Tuesday | Switzerland ’17

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Howdy!

Today is the last day for Tune Tuesday! I hope you have enjoy this year’s worldwide lineup. I find it very fun to end it on a new country to the lineup: Switzerland! If you’re wondering why I’m not adding USA onto the list, that’s because I have something pretty fun brewing right now so you’ll have to be on the look out for that soon.

Back in February I was watching a special on our PBS channel and it was about the creations of some of the scariest stories to come out of England in the 1800’s. Mary Shelley and her husband Percy along with her stepsister Claire plus Lord Bryon and John William Polidori stayed in a villa by Lake Genova in Switzerland. The weather was awful so they had to spend their days and nights indoors, to pass time they told stories and poems. Lord Bryon basically told them all to write the scariest story they can come up with and thus Mary Shelley created parts of the first draft of “Frankenstein” while Polidori began working on his first story “Vampyre” which would be about the modern vampire of the day.

I thought it was very neat for an hour show. It’s always stayed there in the depths of my brain so I kind of told myself early on that I needed to create a Tune Tuesday of Switzerland so I could tell you about it. Now back to the music!

I had to have some help with finding some Swiss music so I put out a tweet that I was looking for anybody to help me out and I actually found a blogger who is a native of Switzerland. Solange gave me a whole list of different music which I thought was very nice and I’m hoping that’ll help me out the next time I do this! She suggested I look into a duo as I’ve gathered, they’re called Dabu Fantastic and they seem to do pop/ubran music in their native tongue which I love! They kind of remind me of a Swiss version of The Chainsmokers and I mean that in the nicest way. They’re pretty good!

The other one she gave me was a female singer Stefanie Heinzmann, like Dabu Fantastic I am not familiar with her, but there are some differences with her as she tends to have an indie-pop sound like Zella Day and Ingrid Michaelson. As I’ve managed to find on Spotify, she does her music in English and has a wonderful voice!

Are there any other music acts from Switzerland that you think I should look into? Let me know!

snowflake

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For The Love Of Musicals

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Hi 🙂

It’s crazy to think I’ve actually never talked about my love of musicals! Well, that’s actually not true. I have said some things here and there, but never fully explained how it got started and what are some of my favorites! So I figured this would be a good opportunity to do it now!

A little background story!

Funnily enough, I’ve been interested in musicals for YEARS! It had to have started whenever I was in concert choir in middle school. Now I know I’ve said this a few times, so I apologize if this is your second time hearing this part of the story. When it was musical season, our choir director would basically take time out of our class periods to do things in the auditorium and set up certain things. We would go back and forth between the auditorium and the actual room, so he could keep an eye on us.

When we were in the auditorium we hardly did anything but talk, but at least we were all in the same place, whereas when he’d leave us in the room, he’d set up a different musical for us to watch. In the two times I was in choir and four seasons of musicals they did, I’m pretty sure I saw like 10 musicals! One of which was Newsies and it was his favorite, but I saw it 3 times! Twice in one year actually! I’m making him out that he forced us to watch them all, he’d try to threaten the people in the classes that if they pay attention or got any louder we’d be quizzed on it. So I always feared that would happen considering how many times I told everybody to shush! Honestly though, I did enjoy watching each one! I really liked choir and singing, but my thing was the dance numbers! Those were my favorites! After the first three films we ever watched, I did grow to love them a lot.

I’ve been fairly proud of myself for still being interested in musicals after high school. I’m pretty open on the different topics. I wish I could watch some of the older ones though. I remember one day my choir teacher showed us a scene of Bye Bye Birdie and I remember all of the yellow dresses and that it featured Dick Van Dyke but we never got to finish it and I’ve never seen it since. It’s basically one of the reasons why I keep Turner Classic Movies on my channel guide!

Some of the musicals I remember we watched were: The Wiz, Damn Yankees, South of the Pacific, and Camelot (this was the film our teacher told us that has the first actor that played Albus Dumbledore in the first Harry Potter films in it!).

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Now let’s talk about some of my favorites!

Grease (1978)

I don’t remember what year it was when I first watched this movie. I think it was either a year or two before I had my surgeries though. I watched it with Blondie and a friend. This was the first time I was introduced to the whole 1950’s culture. Surprisingly I loved the fashion, the dresses were very pretty! I love a period piece even if it is for a musical!

I was a bit shocked to see John Travolta in it as a young dude! I had been watching different movies with him in it for a few years before I saw this. I was familiar with his dancing skills but not at this level. I really love the big dance scene in the gym, where everybody’s doing these different moves and tricks! It’s so hard to pick a favorite in the film, but I think my favorite characters are Rizzo and Frenchy!

From Justin To Kelly (2002)

This movie has a LOT of people hating on it. Even Kelly Clarkson hates it! I sort of understand why people don’t like it though. It is a bit corny in parts, finding your soulmate on spring break and losing them even though they all commute around the same places! And the whole thing of putting Kelly and Justin’s characters together was even worse!

I have to say this was my first musical I ever watched on my own! I don’t think my choir teacher would ever see it. I don’t even remember why I bought it. I want to say it was given to us as a gift considering we saw the American Idol finale at Shriner’s while I was recovering from my surgeries. My mom and some of the nurses were watching it. I think we got like a year or maybe three years afterwards. So I had heard of what everybody had been saying about it. I didn’t care–still don’t. I still like the songs and dances, even the clothes were awesome! At one point, I even tried to get the same hairstyle and color into my hair, didn’t look as cool as Kelly Clarkson I’ll just say that!

The Phantom Of The Opera (2004)

I actually saw this movie while I was in concert choir. I had actually tried to dodge it in the previous years after it came out, but you weren’t given that option in choir so I watched and kind of enjoyed it! I still try to shield myself from the scene when the phantom comes into the room from the mirror. I was haunted by that for a few months or so afterwards!

This was my introduction to the play, it wasn’t until probably 2012 that I found out there were a couple other versions and films but I really enjoyed Emmy Rossum and Gerard Butler in it. This was definitely the reason why I love opera so much! I don’t know very many because some do give me headaches but I’m hoping one day I will be able to experience a real ballet/opera/play one day!

Dreamgirls (2006)

I remember watching the previews for this movie, but I think it took me like two years after it was released to actually watch it. So I kept hearing about the Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations for the entire film and Jennifer Hudson!

I liked how it wasn’t necessarily directed towards just Beyonce, which is what I was worried about while seeing the trailers. Everybody has a role, whether it’s a main or supporting. They each have a different story to tell within the plot. Some of the things I really liked about the movie itself were the costumes, the scene where they’re at Cesaer’s Palace about to perform for New Year’s Eve and they are in those blue dresses! I loved them so much and then the last scene of their farewell performance and they’re in those gray/purple dresses! They looked so beautiful!

My favorite songs were “Family,” “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going,” “When I First Saw You,” “Patience” and both versions of “One Night Only”

Burlesque (2010)

This is probably one of the most recent ones I’ve seen! I’ve seen a lot of remakes, not any originals lately. And yes, I did watch this because Christina Aguilera was in it! Don’t judge me!

I have never heard of burlesque before I saw this, so the fact that there are some actual differences between just stripping your clothes and this was very informative I thought! I really like the glitz and glamour despite not having the guts to do it myself! I really liked the characters, Kristen Bell basically plays a bad girl and not only was this Xtina’s first film but it was Julienne Hough’s first too! I really loved both Cher and Stanley Tucci’s characters, they were hilarious and Stanley plays a good gay guy!

Are you a fan of musicals? What are some of your favorites? 

snowflake

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Album Review: “Truth Is A Beautiful Thing” by London Grammar

18424051_1407907919248614_8084152085718629892_nI feel like albums are generally hard to review. I tend to get fairly bored quickly and want to take breaks while listening and typing out the actual posts. As much as I think doing individual tracks are too simple, I often wonder why I stopped doing them and the music videos! I had plans on doing a few albums but I am just losing interest in the ones I am hearing and that sucks! So I might be only doing EP reviews unless I find an album I feel needs to be discussed in full detail.

Now that is out of the way, we can finally talk about British trio London Grammar. The members are Hannah Reid, Dan Rothman and Dominic Major. Their newest album “Truth Is A Beautiful Thing” came out in early June. I’ve been looking forward to new music by these guys. If you are a big fan of Florence + The Machine, I’m betting money you’ll enjoy this group as well. I feel like they are more indie, alternative rather than the pop-y sound that Florence + The Machine seem to have; they’re both similar but I actually listen to more London Grammar just because I really enjoy Hannah Reid’s deep voice!

The song that starts off the album is the first single they released at the beginning of the year, “Rooting For You” and I remember watching the music video on the third of January and fell completely in love with the introduction of the song. It is so slow and gorgeous, you only hear Hannah’s high pitched voice in an echo-y sequence and you also hear a guitar and piano in the background too. It’s such an amazing way to began an album. Second is “Big Picture” which became their second single, it was released a month later and I was surprised with it because usually you don’t hear another single for another month or two. This one has another soft beginning, but you kind of get that it’s going to pick up tempo wise once you start hearing the guitars. The beat doesn’t become like this typical rock song but it does increase in rhythm and speed.

Next is “Wild Eyed” and I really like hear Hannah’s voice in this one. You don’t hear anything else but these electronic noises in the background and of course a sweet keyboard too. I really like this! I enjoy their air-y and dreamescape type of songs. That is how I got interested in the band in the first place and I hope they never lose that side of themselves! The fifth track is “Oh Woman Oh Man” which was released as the fourth single in April. I didn’t exactly gel with this one when I first heard it mostly because it does have a sort of pop-rock type of vibe to it. You can hear real drums in this one and it’s nice, but after hearing for the second time, still not enjoying it as I’d like to right now. Afterwards you have “Hell To The Liars” and firstly I love the title! It is so soft, the piano is even gentle, but the sound does get more poppier as it goes on, but it doesn’t lose its edge. Thank god!

We then have “Everyone Else” that sort of gives me a country vibe! It has a good groove, but I can’t seem to shake this country beat I am hearing throughout, but I will say though, it’s not bad! I think it would be a good trailer song for a TV show or movie. I really enjoy that high note and how she let it out so long, I used to know how to do that. Seventh track is “Non-Believer” and this has a little bit urban feel to it, they were definitely experimenting with the music on this album. I like it! I kept picturing multiple people just walking, don’t know why it came to me like that it just did. Next is “Bones Of Ribbon” and I like how you can never know how a song is going to sound like by them. It has the normal eternal sound they’re known for but yet it still has a rock-y feel to it too.

We’re almost finished and “Who Am I” is next, this one doesn’t have much as far as sound goes, so you have to pay attention to the lyrics or at least I have to. I think it is meaningful, the perfect breakup song that isn’t so catchy and annoying if I can be truthful. I really like it surprisingly! The tenth song is “Leave The War With Me” and I really think it has some jazz-y notes throughout, just with the piano and guitar sounds. I think it’s beautiful! Lastly we have the title track “Truth Is A Beautiful Thing” and this was the third single that was released in the middle of March, in case you were wondering which one was left in the timeline. This definitely has a long, almost ominous introduction. I say “almost” because it’s a cross between creepy and sweet, which sounds odd I know but it gives you a desolate type of feeling but yet it is very welcoming at the same time. It’s also the best way to end an album if I’m being honest!

I have to say I really enjoyed this album! I now understand why this beat out Katy Perry for best new album releases! Even I didn’t believe it could be that good to take that kind of title from her but it is pretty incredible! I think I liked nine out of the eleven songs on the standard edition. Like my previous album reviews I don’t like going into the deluxe editions, but if you are interested in the other songs, there are seven more included on the deluxe. So if you haven’t purchases the album yet, I’d just go ahead and paying the extra for the deluxe but that’s my opinion!

Have you heard London Grammar’s new album “Truth Is A Beautiful Thing” yet? What were your favorite songs? If you didn’t like it, tell me some of the reasons why!

snowflake

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Tune Tuesday | Sweden ’17

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Hi 🙂

We’re almost finished with this year’s Tune Tuesday! It doesn’t seem real that it’s already ending, but I did shorten my lineup than the normal three-four months. Despite adding only two new countries, I took out the ones that I talked about last year because I couldn’t figure out what to share for this lineup.

Sweden is like one of my favorite countries to talk about though; they have a wide array of different music that it literally becomes a music lover’s dream! If I had a “music bucket list” of places I’d travel to just to discover the music in each country, it would literally go “Canada, England, Sweden, Australia, and Netherlands.” It’s a dream job I’ve always had in my head!

The first band I’m going to discuss for Sweden is In Flames. They sort of signed up for the Tune Tuesday posts when their song “The Truth” blew up last year! I loved that song and honestly still do! I like to see different songs in other perspectives, so even if the song is talking about outcasts or something of that nature, I tend to see it for people for disabilities. I’ve always been able to do that, I wish I could do that for rap music instead of the other way around. The band is made of five members: Anders, Björn, Peter, Niclas, and Joe. They’ve released 12 albums since 1994 and are forefathers of melodic death metal bands. They released “Battles” in the middle of 2016.

The second band I have to share is Amon Amaranth. Amon Amaranth are a heavy metal discussing Viking mythology in their music. They were created two years after In Flames, 1992, they were probably influenced by the band. The group consists of Johan on vocals, Ted Lundström plays the bass, Johan Söderberg and Olavi Mikkonen are both on guitars and Joche Wllgren does the drums. They have released 10 albums with the most recent “Jomsviking” came out in early 2016.

Have you heard of either In Flames or Amon Amaranth? Do you have a bucket list of places you’d only visit to discover the music of that country?

snowflake

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How I Got Interested | Anastasia Romanov

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Back in May, I wrote about my love for Anne Boelyn on the anniversary of her execution. I’ve been a supporter of Queen Anne for so long that I felt if there was one royal that I could freely talk about on here, it would be her, but my knowledge of British royalty goes back a little bit further until reaches out to the current royal house: Windsor.

In today’s post though, I wanted to discuss another previous royal family that I have always been interested in since I was a young girl. Like most children of the nineties, we all watched the movie Anastasia and fell in love with the myth of the one Romanov family member to survive the end of the empire in the early 1900’s. Of course, it was all fictionalized of the demise of the Romanov family.

There was a real Anastasia Romanov but she was one of four daughters of Tsar Nicholas II and his British wife, who was a granddaughter of Queen Victoria. Tsarina Alexandra Fedorovna. Their children were Olga, Maria, Tatiana, Anastasia and heir apparent Alexi. Their son had the disease haemophilia, this is where the blood can’t clot properly so there’s a lot of bleeding after suffering any other damage to the body, even if it’s a simple bruise. This was a serious condition back in the 1800’s to mid 1900’s as there wasn’t any antibiotics for it that could help.

I don’t remember how I came to know the origins of the Russia’s last royal family, I think maybe a teacher had told us because it was popular among my friends, but I don’t think I was told by anybody in my family though. Not because they didn’t know about it, I just don’t think they wanted to explain the brutality of their murders so that’s how I see that piece of information wasn’t passed down to us.

I don’t know how I get started with these different families through the films I watch and why they’re always of people who were killed at the hands of somebody else. If anybody’s counting, that’s two already! I’m in the next post I figured a more happier royal, if there is such a thing.

How did you figure out that Anastasia Romanov was actually a real person and not just a made up princess for a movie?

snowflake

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Album Review: “Pain” by The Letter Black

18485937_10154678097778004_1418416946854203277_nI have decided to do a few album reviews for the month of July. It’ll definitely be a music month if I don’t put up anything else than these and my Tune Tuesday posts! It’s going to be a hectic month as my sister gets married soon so things will quickly turn and I’m not going to have a lot of energy to come up with content. Once August comes, you’ll be seeing the wedding posts and whatever comes next, but I think it’s going to be somewhat quiet on here for this month.

The first review I have for you is from a band based in Pennsylvania called The Letter Black. They are a Christian rock band that consists of Sarah Anthony on vocals, while her husband Mark Anthony does backing vocals and guitars. Other members are Matt Beal on bass and Justin Brown rounding out the group on the drums! They’ve had two other albums but this one is pretty unique because it wasn’t paid for by recording company, their fans pitched in and raised $25,000 to help record this album. It was finally released on May 26th so without further do, this is Pain!

The first song is “Fear” and it has this ominous sound to it, almost like a horror movie kind of introduction to it. I don’t like horror movies but I like it here! Sarah has a very easy going voice until she goes into her screams and that sweet tone just disappears. I actually like the lyrics, very catchy! I just love how this one sounds! It’s a typical rock song but it’s great! Next is “Last Day I Cared” and I like the slow introduction with Sarah screaming the title in the distant, this one isn’t as heavy as the first but it’s pretty good! Third is the title track “Pain” and I always get this confused with their previous song “Pain Killer”. I love how this has another creepy beginning, it gives me a Deftones kind of vibe while hearing it. It has a slower tempo throughout, but I think it gives has an interesting edge to it.

This one was just recently released as a single, it’s called “Rock’s Not Dead” and I love seeing these titles because it makes me remember Gene Simmons of KISS saying that “Rock is dead” a few years ago… Just to clarify, it’ll never be dead. I really like the heaviness of the song, I also love the meaning behind it too! It’s definitely telling people that even if pop music “rules” supreme in the world, rock music is still here and it’s not going anywhere! I love that kind of attitude! Next we have is “Kill The Devil” is pretty tame despite the title itself but it’s not bad. One thing that I like about The Letter Black is that even though they categorize themselves as a Christian band, you can’t exactly tell that they are! They don’t preach it as much as Skillet would, but I still love both bands!

Number six is “Meant For You” and it has some electronic notes throughout, has a static kind of sounds like going in and out in sections of the song. It’s not bad, but I’m not meshing with it at the moment.  The next has a more quiet atmosphere, Sarah’s voice is much softer and feminine. It is called “Alive” and you mostly hear the piano with her beautiful voice. It’s a gorgeous ballad! Next is another upbeat banger, “Rise From The Dead” this is the second song that has this creepy sound, this one gives me more of a carnival type of vibe! I’m a weirdo I know! It’s very heavy, almost reminds me of Motionless In White’s single “LOUD (Fuck It)” but I won’t lie, I like this one a lot better! They are that similar!

We have “Tear You Apart” and this one again has a electronic beginning, but you can also hear some strings in the background too! That’s a bonus! It’s not bad, nothing’s really giving it a special edge besides the guitar solo! Next is “Breathe” and you hear this sound going in and out, and it’s very loud and in your face, which I do love a lot. The last two start with “I Am” and this has a couple big bangs and you know it’s about to get heavy, this is what every rocker looks for in a song! I really like it! I really love the screams and it makes me wish I could do that too! Last one is “Holding On” and I was hoping that it was going to be another ballad since they only have “Alive” as their ballad, and I believe on having more than just one slower song on an album; at first when I heard this I was like “well, I’m not going to get my wish” but then it finally started and I realized it would be slower just not as much as the other track. You hear the piano and violins in the background, it’s very interesting so that’s a good sign!

I was slightly bummed with this album. I only liked about five songs out of the whole thing, but if I’m being honest here all of the songs are what I generally want to hear and so I’m a little puzzled as to why I don’t like as many as I should! It does have a ominous undertone, very meaningful lyrics, and great guitars and vocals, I just didn’t mesh with it really well and I’m even ticked off at myself.

Have you heard of The Letter Black’s newest album “Pain” yet? What do you think of the way of fans help raising money to help their favorite bands create new music? Have you ever contributed to the campaigns before?

snowflake

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