Memosaic

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

My Dear Cousin

Sorry to report that my husband Larry and I received the sad news that my dear cousin JoAnne Pulcino passed away over the weekend. JoAnne was beautiful, talented and brave. She was my most fun movie buddy back in days of yore and could break your heart with her-gorgeous singing voice. So many precious moments come to mind, including her jumping over the tennis net to congratulate the winner or laughing uproariously while watching Donald O’Connor’s “Make Em Laugh” routine or sharing secrets with me while walking together to our elementary school. And later in life, what a treat it was watching her entertaining and perceptive book reviews on the internet. Our thoughts and prayers go out to JoAnne’s sister, her brother-in-law, her children, other family members, and friends. She will be missed by all of us.


Storyteller, singer sublime.

JoAnne, dearest cousin of mine.

 

Librarian extraordinaire.

She did great things always with care.

 

Larry and I both want to say

she’s in our hearts and there she’ll stay.



R.I.P. JoAnne Donahue Pulcino (1935 - 2020)

Tuesday, November 03, 2020

Seasons

 

 

SEASONS

 

Remembering

Winter and Spring

Summer and Fall --

four seasons all.

 

Choose any year

and you are here.

Nostalgia reigns

with love and pains.

 

Still we move on

until we’re gone.

Cherish the past.

Life goes so fast.


Sunday, October 25, 2020

Two Rebeccas

Full disclosure: I am a big fan of Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca, which was released in 1940 and won an Oscar for best picture that year. It made a strong and lasting impression on me. In fact, when my husband Larry and I moved into a new home back in the late 1990s, we named it Manderlarry even though our abode was a two-bedroom house and nothing like Manderley, the massive Gothic mansion in Hitchcock’s masterpiece.

So you can understand why I was leery of watching Netflix’s new Rebecca, directed by Ben Wheatley. How does this latest movie version of Daphne du Maurier’s celebrated novel stack up? I will try to give a fair comparison.

First, the casting of Lily James as our shy heroine and Armie Hammer as Max de Winter, the wealthy widower she weds, makes sense. They are both quite watchable. They look great together, even more so than Joan Fontaine and Laurence Olivier. However, their chemistry with each other fails to sparkle. And Kristen Scott Thomas evokes chills as the sinister housekeeper. But she doesn’t match 1940’s Judith Anderson for gravitas.

Next, what about the cinematography? This new version goes from bright colorful scenes in Monte Carlo, where the two leads meet and wed, to the dark shadows of the Manderley manor house in England. Not surprisingly, the black-and-white cinematography of 1940’s Rebecca comes across more emotionally effective than the new Rebecca’s muted colors during many scenes there.

Third, splendid period costumes help viewers get a feel for the era in question while watching both movies. But Joan Fontaine’s gorgeous white gown overpowers Lily James’ lovely red one in the crucial ball sequence that ends up being the most memorable scene in both films.

Finally, the compelling plot moves along with a necessary slow pace allowing viewers time to realize the late Rebecca’s tremendous influence over Manderley and how that makes the second wife feel diminished in each offering. Too bad the last part of the film seems rushed in both versions. The 2020 Rebecca footage looks almost like it should be in a different motion picture entirely. And it packs too much into the mix.                    

Of Manderley a dream creeps in.

She sees that mansion once again.

A place where she feels unwanted

She’s quite ashamed to be a dud.

 

Why should she feel so bad this way?

Husband’s first wife might still hold sway.

Although Rebecca died, she seems

always there with ghostly schemes.

 

Could it be housekeeper Danvers?

She’s filled with hate and maybe worse.

Rebecca left a legacy.

It’s one that reeks of mystery.

 

Hitchcock’s version wins out, I claim.

The master still retains his fame.

Yet this new movie should be seen. 

What a story! It’s always keen.

 

(Released by Netflix and rated “PG-13” by MPAA.)


Wednesday, October 07, 2020

Hooray for Sherlock's Sister!

 In the delightfully entertaining Enola Holmes, a courageous teenage girl in Victorian England invites us to follow her adventures as she solves two mysteries and discovers her true destiny. Played to the hilt by talented Millie Bobby Brown of Stranger Things, Enola talks directly to the audience, so we empathize with her right away. We become her confidantes. Plus, the splendid period costumes, cinematography, and location scenes help give the movie a “you-are-there” feel.

For full disclosure, I should mention how much I enjoy all things Sherlock Holmes – from the wonderful stories by Arthur Conan Doyle to the various films and television series focusing on this fictional detective. I even accept Lucy Liu as Watson in TV’s Elementary series. So it’s no problem for me to believe Sherlock had a young sister.  And I just had to write the poem below for her.

Enola Holmes, Sherlock’s young sis,

can think and fight like a brave wiz.

Trained by their mom, she knows a lot.

Yet where in the world is her spot?

 

Left by her mom, she must find her.

This mystery becomes a lure..

But on the way she meets a boy

who then goes missing. What a ploy!

 

A boarding school, Mycroft insists.

But Enola strongly resists.

Freedom she craves to be a sleuth.

She entertains us. That’s the truth.


 

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

RBG Poem

 

RBG – so tiny and tough.

 

This Justice really knew her stuff.

 

She fought hard for fair gender rights

 

while facing many sleepless nights.

 

 

Her wisdom and work ethic

 

helped make RBG iconic

 

She will be missed. So sad she’s gone.

 

May her legacy still go on.


 

Friday, August 14, 2020

Fargo Connection

Imagine a pregnant police chief with a husband who paints ducks for postage stamps. Add a financially-troubled car salesman with plans to hire someone to kidnap his wife. Throw in some inept crooks and a deadly woodchipper. Are these the elements of a fascinating movie? You betcha, especially if it comes from filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen. In 1996, their Fargo took critics and moviegoers by storm. While watching the press screening of this film, I noticed the actor playing Frances McDormand’s sensitive husband looked and sounded familiar.

Checking through the press notes, I found his name was John Carroll Lynch. My husband Larry and I both remembered a high school friend of ours, Dan Lynch, who once worked in a political campaign for Colorado senator John Carroll. Could this actor be related to Dan?

Hoping our friend still lived in Colorado, I called Information for his number. There were twelve “D. Lynch” or “Dan Lynch” listings in Denver, but the first one I called turned out to be the right one. After filling me in on his son’s acting career, Dan gave me John’s phone number. Obtaining a Fargo-related telephone interview proved quite interesting to me, and I learned something about how the Coen brothers work with their actors. John expressed his admiration for the precision of their writing and direction. “There’s no room for improvisation,” he said. “The Coen’s know exactly what they want.”

I am not surprised that John Carroll Lynch has continued to turn in splendid performances in many more films, including Shutter Island, Zodiac, and The Things We Lost in the Fire.  

 

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Saturday, August 01, 2020

Alan Menken Wins Again!


Congratulations to composer Alan Menken on his recent Daytime Emmy Award for “Waiting in the Wings” from Disney Channel’s Rapunzel’s Tangled Adventure. Menken shares this honor with lyricist Glenn Slater. But for Menken, the award made him the 16th person receiving an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony – or, in showbiz lingo, to be an EGOT along with  talented entertainers like Rita Moreno, Mel Brooks, Whoopi Goldberg and John Legend.

Menken has eight Oscars to his credit for songs from Beauty and the Beast, Little Mermaid, Pocahontas and Aladdin. In addition to these wins, he earned eleven Grammys for those same movies, and his Tony Award is for the musical Newsies original score.

Because Menken is one of our favorite guests on Movie Addict Headquarters, we are pleased to present his vintage interview ON DEMAND all during the month of August. Menken dropped by a few years ago to discuss the wonderful music he wrote for the movie Enchanted as well as his general experience as a movie composer. That interview is still timely and fun to hear.

Just click on the link below at any time during August. You will be enlightened and entertained by the great Alan Menken! 




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