Memosaic

Friday, December 02, 2016

It Had To Be Christmas!

As a special holiday treat, showbiz stars George and Lizette Amado-Bettinger are featured this month on Movie Addict Headquarters reading the first chapter of IT HAD TO BE US, a romantic memoir co-authored by my husband and me that’s now being adapted for the screen. George and Lizette play Harry and Elizabeth Lawrence (our pen names) in this audio version of Chapter One, which deals with two important Christmases for the estranged Lawrences. How does Christmas help bring these two together after being divorced for almost twenty years? Click on the link below this post to listen in and find out!

The Bettingers are a fun couple with a passion for bringing back the Golden Era of radio on their popular “Mom & Pop Shop Show” which airs on Tune In Radio in Florida each Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 4 p.m. Eastern Time. George is an actor, comedian, producer, writer and director. He’s won acclaim for his uncanny impressions including Groucho Marx, George Burns and the Three Stooges but may be best known as the voice of the red M&M. Lizette is a versatile actress and soprano singer with experience at the Metropolitan Opera. George and Lizette are truly Mr. & Mrs. Showbiz.

IT HAD TO BE US won first place in the Ebook category at the Hollywood Book Festival for its potential to be transferred to other mediums such as film, radio and TV. With the help of BlogTalkRadio listeners during the launch of the Kindle version a few years ago, the memoir hit Number One in the “Divorce” category for Kindle Ebooks. The memoir also caught the interest of filmmaker Misha Zubarev, who reports that the movie is now in pre-production. The screenplay is written, the casting complete and a shooting schedule -- in New York -- has been arranged.
    
Harry and Elizabeth Lawrence donate their author royalties from IT HAD TO BE US (published by the Long Story Short Publishing Company) to the IMAGINATION LIBRARY, a children’s literacy program sponsored by the Dollywood Foundation.
Listen to “It Had To Be Christmas" on BlogTalkRadio by clicking on the link below.



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Friday, November 18, 2016

Poetry Award for Cinema Stanzas

I am very excited and surprised that my latest book received recognition in the 2016 Royal Dragonfly Book Awards contest. My thanks to the judges as well as to Phil Hall for his splendid Foreword, to Denise Cassino for her creative images, and to Ronald Hull for his inviting cover blurb. Below is the press release from Linda F. Radke, president of the Dragonfly Book Awards program.

        CHANDLER, AZ (November, 2016) – The judges of the 2016 Royal Dragonfly Book Awards contest, which recognizes excellence in all genres of literature have spoken, and Cinema Stanzas: Rhyming About Movies by Betty Jo Tucker with Foreword by Phil Hall and images by Denise Cassino, won Second Place in the Poetry category. 

"Winning any place in the Royal Dragonfly Contest is a huge honor because in order to maintain the integrity of the Dragonfly Book Awards, a minimum score is required before a First or Second Place or Honorable Mention will be awarded to the entrant – even if it is the sole entry in a category,” explains Linda F. Radke, president of the Dragonfly Book Awards program. “Competition is steep, too, because there is no publication date limit as long as the book is still in print.”

              Cinema Stanzas: Rhyming About Movies is a collection of the author’s poems incorporated into her  reviews of 70 motion pictures representing various genres. This unique Kindle E-book retails for $3.99 and can be purchased at Amazon.com.

              For a complete list of winners including all first and second place and honorable mention recipients, visit www.DragonflyBookAwards.com and click on “Winners.”

              The next Royal Dragonfly Book Awards contest is already underway. Final deadline for submissions is October 1, 2017. The final deadline for the Purple Dragonfly Book Awards Contest, which recognizes outstanding literature in children’s books, is May 1, 2017. For complete rules and submission forms for either contest, visit www.FiveStarBookAwards.com and click on the contest of choice.

              To learn more about the Dragonfly Book Awards, visit www.DragonflyBookAwards.com, email info@storymonsters.com or call 480-940-8182.

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Thursday, November 10, 2016

Hooray for Trolls!

After seeing Trolls, I kept smiling for a very long time. Everything about this animated movie musical delighted me, but especially the song and dance numbers. The look of the film also charmed me completely. Lots of color, cute characters, and zippy action helps move the simple plot along. Of course, a movie musical doesn’t need much plot – and this one is very easy to follow. It’s about the Trolls vs. Bergens (ogre-like creatures). Happily, a romance between the most optimistic Troll (Poppy) and the most cynical one (Branch) gets thrown into the mix, which gives lucky viewers a chance to hear how wonderful Anna Hendricks and Justin Timberlake sound singing together.    

Happiness is the “Trolls” movie
for bringing out the child in me.
It perked me up and gave me zing.
I wanted just to dance and sing.

Like kiddies in the audience,
my feelings were not on the fence.
I sided with those little Trolls
and feared they might end up as rolls.

Bigger creatures seek Trolls to eat.
They’re never happy or even neat.
It takes Poppy, a Troll princess
and her helpers to fix this mess.

And all along there’s music great
with A. Kendricks and Timberlake,
voices together that sound grand.
Let’s give them both rousing hand!

Speaking of a rousing hand, young members of the audience at the screening my husband and I attended clapped for Trolls at the end. We haven’t seen that much enthusiasm for a movie lately. Naturally, we applauded this animated gem right along with the kids.

(Released by DreamWorks Animation and rated “PG” for mild rude humor.)

   


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Tuesday, November 01, 2016

A Woman President?

With Hillary Clinton running for President this year, I can’t help thinking about a 1964 movie titled Kisses for My President. It was a comedy, of course. But after all these years, we have the serious possibility of life imitating art. We actually recognize now that a qualified woman could handle this top executive job as well as a man. The 1964 film starred Polly Bergen as President Leslie McCloud, the first female President of the United States of America. And Polly attempted to prove her character could handle this important job. No matter how silly some of this comedy was and how ridiculously it ended, Bergen’s scenes as a tough, intelligent President making decisions were done superbly. As Elizabeth Gregory pointed out in The Huffington Post, “The Soviets gave the new president some grief, and Polly Bergen made them settle down, exactly as if she were Margaret Thatcher or Golda Meir or Indira Gandhi.”

Because we can’t forget the image factor, Polly’s President McCloud really knew how to dress for success – and as a result, Kisses for My President won an Oscar for costume design. But, seriously, we should look for the same qualities in a woman that we would in a man running for this office. I want an intelligent and courageous President who’s open-minded and knows how to communicate with us. I also want our President to place the good of the country above personal ideology or concerns. And, Polly Bergen’s Leslie McCloud met all those qualifications during the limited time she served as President. Limited? Oh, I forgot to mention she was married and that her husband (played by Fred MacMurray) found it awkward to be the "First Gentleman." So how does the film end? 

(SPOILER ALERT) President McCloud faints one day because she’s pregnant. Naturally, she has to resign. Remember, this movie came out in 1964. If Hillary wins in 2016, at least this is one situation she doesn’t have to worry about.      
      


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Saturday, October 15, 2016

Horror Film Gems

BOO! Halloween will be here soon, so I’ve been thinking about scary horror movies, of course. Below are four released from 2000 to 2005 that managed to scare the socks off me. Fortunately, they are available on DVD now for horror movie fans to enjoy.     

HALLOWEEN: RESURRECTION (2002). "Let the dangertainment begin," exclaims Busta Rhymes in one of the most creative thrillers in this highly popular horror-flick series. Playing a TV reality show producer, Rhymes’ character arranges for a group of teens to spend Halloween night in the place where Michael Myers’ murderous rampage began. Giving these college students tiny cameras as they explore Michael’s dilapidated old childhood home, Rhymes  expects BIG ratings for his daring program. How could he foresee that more than ratings would be at stake? For during the show, Michael unexpectedly returns -- and wants to make sure none of the interlopers leave alive.  

AMERICAN PSYCHO (2000). Stylish, satirical, and soulless, American Psycho goes inside the mind of a serial killer who looks more like a matinee idol than a murderer. It also questions if Patrick Bateman, the film’s title character, is any more demented than the society in which he lives. Symbolizing the materialism and self-centeredness of the 1980s, Bateman (Christian Bale) cares about things, not people and spends his leisure time in torturing and killing numerous victims. Although playing an unbalanced character, Bale has no problem balancing horror with dark humor in this remarkable performance. His monologues about pop music, delivered so authoritatively in the midst of terrifying and raunchy activities, both shock and amuse. The hunky Welsh-born actor even manages a comic flair while wielding a chain saw! Based on Bret Easton Ellis’ controversial novel, the film version of American Psycho emphasizes black comedy over gore, but it’s still a very frightening movie. American Psycho is the first movie since Natural Born Killers to give me nightmares. 

THE CELL (2000).  In The Cell’s spectacular opening scene, a woman in a flowing white garment gallops her sleek black horse over gigantic dunes of dark pink sand. She is Catherine Deane, a psychologist inside the mind of a young coma patient. But this dreamlike landscape pales in significance to the nightmarish world of serial killer Carl Stargher, the man she agrees to treat next.Deane (Jennifer Lopez) has mastered a new therapy technique which enables her to experience what is happening in another person’s unconscious mind. When Stargher (Vincent D’Onofrio) loses consciousness after a seizure, the innovative therapist must help FBI Agent Peter Novak (Vince Vaughn) find out where his latest victim is hidden before it’s too late. The only way to do so is by taking a dangerous trip inside the madman’s head. And what a creepy, disturbing trip it is! 

DEAD and BREAKFAST (2005). "Bed and Breakfast" is the first thing we see flashed on screen, but immediately after that, the word “Dead,” written in a blood-red color, splashes over Bed. Clearly, the title is really Dead and Breakfast instead. A clever way to get started, isn’t it? Fortunately, this little independent horror movie also serves up similar creativity and campiness almost from beginning to end. It’s a hoot! The story seems traditional enough. Six friends are traveling together to a wedding when they stop to stay for the night at a sinister inn in a creepy Texas town. After opening a mysterious object, one member of the group (Oz Perkins) turns into a violent ghoul. Before long, the ghoulish creatures outnumber the town’s living inhabitants. If this sounds a bit like zombie/ghoul movies you’ve seen before, you’re on the right track. But this one also features surprising musical numbers. (Think Rocky Horror Picture Show meets Shaun of the Dead.) 

You’re welcome, horror flick fans!

(If you would like to read my full review of each movie described above, please go to http://www.reeltalkreviews.com)


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Saturday, October 01, 2016

A Poet Among Critics

Richard Jack Smith writes poems with ease
about movies designed to please.

Plus even some he thinks fall flat
and keep him from tipping his hat.

A fine poet among critics,
rhymes and images he does mix.

His reviews earn two thumbs up
and a poetry Loving Cup!

Here’s a tip of my hat to Richard Jack Smith for his amazing new book, A Poet Among Critics. However, in the interest of full disclosure, I have to mention that the poetry bug also bit me – and is forcing me to use poetry in film reviews too. But Richard’s book includes so many more poems than mine! And films of almost every genre are represented.

Because my favorite genre is “Musicals,” I’m delighted to see movies like Top Hat and Burlesque included. Next to musicals, I enjoy thrillers. Happily, the book also contains Richard’s unique poetic take on films like Nick of Time, Phone Booth and Psycho. Other genres are not neglected.  Sci-fi flicks, horror movies, Disney offerings, comedies, dramas, popular franchises and classics like Citizen Kane, King Kong and The General also receive careful attention.

Richard’s use of lush language helps make his poems come to life. Such remarkable visions he creates! For example, below are the last few lines of his perceptive, artistic Top Hat film poem.

Ginger Rogers, what a beauty!
Her moves creating ecstasy.
Black shapes upon room tone grey.
Suits and dresses so elegant, they say.

A cigarette held just so
before dancing on tip-toe.
A woman’s cheeky eyes
that love defies.
Leading to a romantic beat
and the audience cheering on their feet.

Those well-chosen words conjure up the 1935 Ginger and Fred Astaire musical romp, for sure. And A Poet Among Critics overflows with that kind of poetry magic. Well done, Richard!

NOTE: Richard Jack Smith writes film and soundtrack reviews for ReelTalk Movie Reviews. He is the author of two other books, Magical Movie Moments and Incidental Gold. For more information about A Poet Among Critics, please e-mail Richard at alton_333@hotmail.com. 

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Thursday, September 29, 2016

Ode to Dorothy Morris

Almost everyone who knew Dorothy Morris understood that she was smart and fearless. Personally, I knew she was smart early on because she married one of my favorite cousins, Frank Morris – or Mickey as all of his cousins called him while growing up together. And I know Dorothy was fearless too – because she married Mickey! But I also know she touched many lives. Whether at Liz’s café, which she ran for many years, or at family get-togethers, Dorothy was always a joy to talk with – and on any topic. Those are four of the many thoughts that keep going through my mind about Dorothy -- and they inspired me to write this little poem about her.

Ode to Dorothy Morris


Fearless and smart and lots of fun,
she lived her life -- with so much done.

Her family and friends galore
felt her glow and long for more.

But Dorothy leaves them all a gift.
For knowing her gave each a lift.

Her love goes on.
It can’t be gone.

Her glow shines on for those who care,
and in our hearts becomes a flare. 

Rest in Peace, dear Dorothy. You will be missed – but never forgotten.


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