Thursday, July 5, 2012

Must See: Silver Linings Playbook

I saw the trailer for Silver Linings Playbook during the screening of Ted, and just loved it. First of all, it stars Bradley Cooper (hot!) and Jennifer Lawrence (brilliant! No really. For those on the fence about her, let me say that if you want to get a true measure of her talent, skip Hunger Games and see Winter's Bone). As for Silver Linings, the movie looks quirky and sweet and just the right balance of serious and funny; like it doesn't take itself too seriously just because it's dealing with a serious subject matter (mental health). Granted this is based on a two-minute trailer, and I could be totally wrong, nonetheless, I'll definitely be buying a ticket when it's released on November 21st.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

T.E.A.L. (Tell Every Amazing Lady)

I recently learned about T.E.A.L. thanks to the local radio station, WFAN, which I listen to each morning while driving in to work; and since the acronym T.E.A.L. stands for "Tell Every Amazing Lady", I thought I'd share what I learned with any and all the amazing ladies that read this humble blog.

Teal is the ribbon color associated with ovarian cancer, and T.E.A.L. or Tell Every Amazing Lady is a non-profit grassroots organization founded by an ovarian cancer survivor, whose mission is to promote awareness of the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer, to enable early detection, and to help find the cure for this deadly disease.

Ovarian cancer is the leading cause of death from gynecologic cancers in the United States and is the fifth leading cause of cancer death among U.S. women. In the United States alone, there will be approximately 22,000 new cases of ovarian cancer each year, and about 15,500 women will die from the disease. Until we have better early detection tools, the best thing you can do for yourself and by extension your loved ones is to be informed so you can guarantee an early diagnosis and successful treatment. Visit the site (link above) and learn the symptoms.

How else can you help? Let me count the ways. First of all, if you live in the tri-state area, why not buy tickets to attend T.E.A.L.'s 1st Ovarian Cancer Awareness Day on July 21, 2012 at Citi Field. Part of the proceeds go to raise funds for research. September is also National Ovarian Cancer awareness month, and T.E.A.L. holds an annual walk every September in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, New York. The walk is a non-competitive 5K event. Participants include survivors, caregivers, families, and friends coming together to raise awareness of, and promote a cure for ovarian cancer. T.E.A.L. has become NYC's largest Ovarian Cancer Walk with last year's walk raising $75,000 for Ovarian Cancer research!

I've now told some of the amazing ladies in my life. Now you tell yours. And so on. And so on. Until we're all a little more informed, prepared, and ready to fight head on and beat this insidious disease.


Ted is a new comedy co-written, directed and produced by Seth MacFarlane, the creator of Family Guy. At the film's onset we meet John Bennett, a friendless little boy who wishes that his new Christmas gift, a teddy bear he named Ted, would come to life and be his friend for life. After waking up to find that his wish came true, John's life changes as does Teddy's, who temporarily becomes an overnight sensation making it onto all the news stations, as well as a visit to Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show.

Leaping forward close to 30 years, we find that John (Mark Wahlberg) is in a soul-sucking job at a car rental place, deeply in love with his live-in girlfriend of four years, Lori (Mila Kunis), and still best friends with Ted (voiced by Seth MacFarlane), who has since faded into obscurity. Seeing John stuck in a dead-end job and spending way too much time getting stoned with Ted, who's become an irresponsible wastrel who spends his time and money on weed and prostitutes, Lori asks John to change his ways and ask Ted to move out. Torn between his true love and best friend, John realizes he needs to grow up, become a man and leave his little boy teddy behind if he wants to keep the woman he loves, even if it means saying goodbye to his one and only best friend. Fortunately for us, life and Ted have other plans.

Ted is everything you'd expect from the twisted mind of Seth MacFarlane, and so much more; equal parts lewd and lascivious, as well as hilarious and sweet. A perfect balance of romance and bromance with tons of laughs thrown in for good measure, as well as some unexpected drama in the form of a creepy Ted stalker played to perfection by the always brilliant Giovanni Ribisi. A must-see for all fans of Seth MacFarlane and his Family Guy brand of humor.

Into the Darkest Corner

Into the Darkest Corner is the gripping debut novel from British author Elizabeth Haynes. In the novel we meet Catherine Bailey, a pretty twenty-something year old party girl who has seemingly met the man of her dreams in Lee Brightman, a sexy, charismatic and mysterious hottie who quickly wins her heart and that of all of her friends. But while the sex is steamy and all her friends are jealous, dark clouds are suddenly on the horizon when prince charming transforms into a jealous control freak, who questions every outing with friends and every wardrobe decision. When the situation starts to spiral out of control, Catherine turns to her friends for help, only to find they've turned against her. Desperate and afraid for her very life, Catherine begins to plan her escape

Four years later, Lee's in jail and Catherine - now Cathy - is fighting to build a new life, and at times it seems, fighting for her very sanity. When she meets Stuart, her new neighbor, Cathy finally begins to see a glimmer of hope for her future, but her worst fears come to life when she receives a call that Lee has been released from jail. Faced with the realization that it's not a matter of if, but when Lee will come after her, Cathy has to decide whether to run again or instead stand and fight for herself and her future.

Into the Darkest Corner truly lives up to all the quotes on the book jacket. It was sexy, suspenseful and an edge of your seat psychological thriller. The story's chapters alternate from the idyllic start of Catherine's love story with Lee, to the present day Cathy who has healed physically from his abuse but is still coping with the emotional scars left behind including anxiety attacks, OCD, and a life lived in constant fear of what and most importantly who is right around each corner. I loved the juxtaposition of Catherine/Cathy's two very disparate realities; on one page you're sharing in Catherine's giddy excitement at the onset of her relationship with Lee:

November 16, 2003..."The fact that I couldn't decide on anything to say almost made me laugh - normally it was difficult to shut me up. I wanted to ask if he'd enjoyed his swim, but that sounded inane; I wanted to ask if he was single, but that was too direct. I wanted to know if he'd been waiting for me. All of these questions, and, I realized, I already knew the answers. Yes, yes, and yes."
Only to jump in the next page to reading of the nightmares wrought on Cathy's life by the sexy monster:

November 17, 2007..."My weekends are a curious mixture of relaxation and stress. Some weekends are good; others, not so. Certain dates are good. I can only go food shopping on even-numbered days. If the thirteenth falls on a weekend, I can't do anything at all. On odd-numbered days, I can exercise, but only if it's cloudy or raining, not if it's sunny. On odd-numbered days, I can't cook food, I can only eat cold things or heat stuff up. All of this is to keep my brain placated. All of the time, day and night, my brain generates images of things that have happened to me and things that might happen. It's like watching a horror movie over and over again, without ever becoming immune to the terror."
It's that juxtaposition that adds to the suspense. The reader is gripped with a frantic sense of inevitability; it's like knowing an accident is about to happen, but not being able to stop it. You are alternately afraid and horrified, yet equally captivated and hopeful with every page turned.

Into the Darkest Corner is a beautifully crafted and incredibly well-written story that builds momentum like a runaway train. All the more incredible when you consider that it's the author's first novel.