Merry Murphy (Television Thoughts: Murphy Brown, CBS Thursdays)

p15528460_b_v8_ab‘Murphy Brown’ appears as the newest ‘reboot from the 90s’ show after “will and Grace’ and ‘Roseanne,’  and based on the pilot episode anyway, this feels like a misfire. While I am glad to see Candance Bergen reprise her role, the show seems lifeless and out of touch. Granted, it premieres after a day of riveting reality television that is the Supreme Court Nomination hearings of Brett Kavanaugh so it has very tough competition. But after an exasperating day of dealing with the harsh reality that we are in now, lame jokes about Trump are the last thing I need to hear. I hope the show gets beyond all that, because there is a lot of promise here. Brown is now a host of a morning show at a Cable News Network so there’s a lot of potential there. Plus her child, Avery, is now a hunky adult (Jake McDorman) and is a journalist as well, and just happens to be on a show competing with his mother at a rival cable network. That sounds like a good set-up. I doubt the show will veer very much away from its topical politics stance, so we will see how much my tolerance will be for it.

Love Is The Destination (Film Thoughts: Destination Wedding)

MV5BMTU3NzM5NDU3NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjAxNjk3NTM@._V1_I know ‘Destination Wedding’ would probably rub a lot of people the wrong way. But then there’s me, who totally understands these characters. Maybe because I am like the characters in the film: middle-aged, lonely, very cynical about life and especially love. We have this skewed view of the world, and admittedly, yes, even at times very bitter. But, we persevere, and I know that deep in the recesses of our hearts, we hope. Though we would never admit it.

Victor Levin’s film may come across as very jaded and negative, but in it we get a romantic comedy as enduring and endearing like the best of them. It truly has been a good season for the rom-com, and this film is a welcome addition to this summer’s selections. And we get dyed-in-the-wool committed performances from Winona Ryder and Keanu Reeves as Lindsay and Frank, as never want to be would-be lovers who get stuck with each other at a destination wedding in Paso Robles. The groom is her ex, and his brother, and, boy, there are mixed feelings here, there, and everywhere.  My favorite scene is one where both of them are huddled in a corner mocking and making fun of all the guests in a wine-tasting ‘activity’ attended by everyone in the wedding party. The film is all and only about the two characters – the dialogue exists only between the two of them, so it feels like you are eavesdropping on their conversation, giving the film an immediate intimacy. And yes, you will find yourself rooting for the couple, even as they both try to stop themselves from falling. But who are they kidding, right?

Pose Poised (Television Thoughts: Pose, The Rest of Season One, F/X)

t7wBXpTZ2jNDv47Yt6mNrcyeRXn-313x470The whole first season of ‘Pose’ has been a real electric experience. I loved the pilot episode, but I thought that the next two episodes were really weak/ But I did not give up, because the show turned around for me, and by the finale, I end up just as smitten as when it was started. The series is truly revolutionary – a show about colored trans people and is cast most appropriately. And the stories it told are not tun-of-the-mill. It sometimes delves into melodrama (and if I have to be honest, could be predictably so) but there is enough color here (literally and figuratively) that your eyes will keep watching – and will be rewarded.

But I have to admit, I was most touched by the love story between Angel and Stan, the defy-all-odds love story of the hooker with the heart of gold and the male executive working for the Trump organization. They met, they fell in love, and by the second to the last episode, he has left her because there is a part of him that cannot accept who he is. By the finale, he has come to beg for her back, saying that he has left his wife. She turns her back, and my heart is in pieces. Evan Peters is great here – I have a crush – but as a young emerging actor in Hollywood, he is very brave to be taking this role, and he will have me as a fan for life. Indya Moore as Angel is good enough, but I think if she was better, then the overall effect would even be stronger.

The ball scenes have grown on me, and though I admit some of them did not interest me that much, when the House of Evangelistas turned triumphant at the end, I was cheering them on. I grow hot and cold on Billy Porter as pray Tell, but I am happy they even included some musical theater here, when in an episode he sings ‘Home.’ and that scene satisfied the show queen in me pretty deeply. I found it very interesting that they ended the show with almost nothing hanging, as if they were satisfied with what they have done (they should be) and is not really expecting a second season. But a second season they did get, and I bet it will even be better, as the writers and actors will become more assured. I can’t wait.

Love Journey (Movie Thoughts: Ein Weg [Paths] )

MV5BYjczNDRhZGUtYTFhOS00YzMzLThkMTgtMzdiN2UxOWE0N2JiXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTMxODk2OTU@._V1_I wanted to really like Chris Miera’s Ein Weg (Paths) and it took me a while to do so. It’s painfully slow, and I am not really averse to slow films, but it’s opening chapter could lose a lot of people, and it almost lost me. The film is a story about a couple. Andreas and Martin (Mike Hoffman and Matthias Reinhardt) who are separating after decades of being together. You can feel the intimacy, but not really much if the pain…until you get to the second chapter and Miera shows you how they got together and fell in love. This is one of those instances wherein editing makes a difference – you do not feel much empathy for the couple in the beginning part of the film because you do not have anything to go by. The slowness of the film really felt like  a burden, and there were numerous times I thought about abandoning the film. But I finished it, and I wish I felt it was more satisfying.

Silent Flowers (Perfume Thoughts: Fleur de Peau, Diptyque)

375x500.48681I was trying to figure out what the flower is on Diptyque’s ‘Fleur de peau’ when I first spritzed it, when I realized it was iris – the paper-y kind (I always joke it smells like a library) and as I processed the perfume, I asked myself, do I need another iris scent? I mean, does the world need another iris scent?

Apparently I do, because I liked Fleur de Peau…a lot. It is light and airy but gives a very potent impression – the iris is joined by some sweet rose, and angelica, and some ambrette – it all blends very gauzy, as if you were wearing a veil. It all comes done to a musk base, but a clean one. Normally, I am not a fan of these clean white musks, but here there is enough of the flowers to make it work/ Perhaps I am getting older, as I probably would have thought this a ‘safe’ scent maybe ten years ago. But this is Diptyque, and you can really smell the quality of the perfume. This stays close to my skin, and I wish it projected more, but don’t get me wrong, I would be happy to wear this every day. This perfume marks the house’s 50th anniversary of its first perfume, and it’s a silent beauty.

Gracie and Boring (Movie Thoughts: Bloodlight and Bami)

Grace Jones.lgGrace Jones once made me wait five hours for a performance of hers at a South Beach nightclub around twenty years ago and I have soured on her ever since. Maybe I am still bitter about that because I got so utterly bored watching ‘Bloodlight and Bami,’ the documentary about her directed by Sophie Fiennes. I know she is an eccentric character, a diva, a larger than life human being, but I just didn’t get that in this film. I thought the sequences dragged, and the live performances, sandwiched between the documentary scenes, were just okay. I think she is fine on record, and her ‘La Vie En Rose’ is iconic (it’s seen briefly here as a performance for a French television show) but this just dragged on for me.

Lights Off (Music Thoughts: As The Morning Light, Susannah Adams)

411oLRNOhdL._SS500There are so many jazz vocalists with albums of standards that sometimes it is difficult to distinguish one from the other. I am sure if you blindfolded me and played a track from Susannah Adams’ album ‘As The Morning Light,’ I would not be able to identify it. This is not meaning to say that she is bad, just that she is just bland. If I have to be objective, I can say that she sings in tune, and certainly has the musicality. But she doesn’t stick out to me, and I don’t see anything new and exciting in her renditions of standards like ‘Look for the Silver Lining,’ or ‘Dat Der.’ I have heard these arrangements before, and I do not hear anything new in her vocals. To make matters worse, she does ‘originals’ that are self-indulgent and boring, and I question their validity for existence. Yawn