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Retro Review: Jailhouse Rock

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On Jan. 8 of this year, I was driving home from work and flipping through the local radio stations when I stayed on the oldies station. The DJ mentioned it was Elvis’ birthday and they were playing some of his hit songs. After a couple of songs, it went back to their standard music programs playing some of the biggest hits from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. Elvis’s music was groundbreaking and was in a league of his own. He merged the songs and style that people of all race and gender could enjoy.

He was the king of rock and roll and his music continues to be listened to and appreciated even after decades since he has long since been gone. Although his music still lives on in great appreciation, the movies that starred Elvis isn’t remembered too fondly. A lot of the movies are campy, silly and was not the best written kind. Many were treated like drive-thru films to attract the youth of the day to see the films. Jailhouse Rock is the first Elvis film I ever watched. I have no previous knowledge of many of his films, but I know this launched the song and his stardom to the next degree after it was released. With that being said, is the movie any good or enjoyable? Well, I’ll be reviewing the film based on plot, acting ability and musicality. Does Elvis back up his music talent with acting talent or will he fade in the cold Kentucky rain. Let’s sit back and review Jailhouse Rock.

The story of this film features Elvis as a blue-collar man who ends up in jail when he kills a man with his bare hands while defending a woman from being harassed by some of the local gentlemen. While in jail, his cellmate (a former country singer), would lull the cellmates to sleep with his acoustic guitar. He tries his hand at it and even performs at a local jail variety show. The cellmate tells his to pursue music, so, once he is released, he tries his hand at becoming a musician and singer.

Along the way, he meets a woman who happens to work for a music company and she and his start their own business and become famous. Elvis learns about growing pains, his immature attitude and eventually becomes what the typical Hollywood star is thought about; becoming vain, uninterested and selfish. The film is the rise and slight dip in Elvis’s portrayal of a singer becoming famous, going to Hollywood and becoming self indulgent. The plot is simple and not really the most interesting. Elvis never really struggled in the music business once he was out of jail. He meets a beautiful woman, wows her with his look and some singing prowess and ultimately becomes a heartthrob to many younger woman who fancy his singing and dancing ability. The plot is all about Elvis adjusting to each new obstacle in his life and making as much money as he could, which comes out in the middle of the movie for some reason that is never addressed.

The acting is mediocre but Elvis’s style of acting is “unique.” When he is singing as a bar/burlesque style club, a guy in the audience isn’t paying attention and is laughing when talking to a woman. Elvis sees this, hops off the stage, mock laughs at him, slams the guitar on the table and storms off. When I first saw this, I busted out laughing. It was sudden and out of nowhere and it was something seeing Elvis having a temper tantrum. Granted I thought that, but, throughout the movie, he does that a couple of times and each time comes out of left field and it wasn’t needed.

At a party he was invited to, an older woman asked him a question about music and he said he didn’t know what the hell she was talking about and stormed out of the house. These weird tantrums and sudden bursts of insecurity was very distracting and the main problem was that it wasn’t needed and served no purpose besides Elvis wanting attention to subjects only he knows, which makes his character immature and pretty pretentiously annoying. Although he does have his charm, his character is pretty unlikable and when I see Elvis, I want to like him. I want to root for him but, watching him in this film, and his acting ability, makes me want to just see him get punched (spoilers, that does happen). Another thing about his acting in the film, whether it was all on him or the director, is that when a new woman would catch his attention, he would have creep face on. He wouldn’t look at their eyes, just their body and his mouth would be open and he turns into a mouth breather. It was creepy and just shows the females in the movie that they want Elvis to stare at them like that because when he does that, he wants and desires you. How poetic.

When you talk Elvis, music is a factor. Jailhouse Rock is the hit song that came from the movie and one of his most famous hits. The actual song is played and it is fantastic. It has some rock and roll and rockabilly styling that was entertaining. The rest of the songs, well, they’re boring. They’re country style and slow. They don’t have personality and they sound like songs you sing when you want to serenade someone. Granted this film was made in 1957 and rock and roll was still a new wave of music, I wish some of the songs still had some personality. A good country song isn’t bad for the movie but the main situation is that they played the same songs over and over again. Elvis’s audition tape was sung over 5 times throughout the film and it was not jailhouse rock. His slow songs are good once in a while but after getting amped up with the title song, I wanted to see and hear more and not downplay his oomph and singing personality. The rest of the songs in the movie are forgettable and don’t leave an impression with me.

Overall, this movie isn’t how I want to remember Elvis. Granted, some of his beach movies look campy also, but maybe they will offer more likability out of him. Based on what I saw of this movie, it wasn’t what I was hoping for. Elvis is a immature baby and treats people like dirt except when he pursues his various women just based solely on looks and not because of capability. His character is so unappealing that I wondered what it was that made him so interesting in the film that women would be desiring him. It was the fifties and people often say it was a much more simpler time. I wasn’t alive and my parents were still babies, so, I cannot get a reference from them for how it was. Regardless, the film had some okay moments but, in the overall plot, musicality and acting ability of our star, it was lackluster and monotonous. I will honor Elvis by listening to his music and hearing his soulful voice break through the speakers and get me feeling good or melancholy based on which song I hear from him.

 

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Frogfathers lessons from the Normandy surf

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Frog Fathers: Lessons from the Normandy Surf” is a deeply moving documentary directed by Bob Whitney, narrated by John C McGinley, and presented by World of Warships and FORCE BLUE. It chronicles the journey of four Navy SEAL veterans revisiting the site of the D-Day landings to honor their forefathers and gain a deeper understanding of the sacrifices made during World War II.

The film’s strength lies in its raw emotional impact and historical significance. It blends personal narratives with archival footage, offering a poignant tribute to the bravery and resilience of those who fought on June 6, 1944. The veterans’ reflections and the cinematography effectively capture the solemnity and reverence of their pilgrimage.

While the documentary focuses primarily on the veterans’ experiences, it also serves as an educational tool, highlighting the strategic importance of the Normandy invasion and its pivotal role in shaping modern history. The film’s respectful approach and engaging storytelling make it a compelling watch for anyone interested in military history and the enduring legacy of the D-Day heroes.

Overall, “Frog Fathers” is a powerful and heartfelt documentary that honors the past while inspiring present and future generations to remember the sacrifices made for freedom 

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American Horror Story: Delicate

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As most of us are already aware, the 12th Season of AHS has been fraught with all kinds of differences to the previous seasons, mainly in that this is the first one to be based entirely off a novel, ‘Delicate Condition’ by Danielle Valentine. The first half of the season aired in October 2023 to mediocre reviews, while the SAG-AFTRA strike caused production and airing delays for the latter half of the season, and the episodes of Part 2 were all cut to less than an hour long apiece. And none of that is even getting into the disjointed attempt at storytelling for Season 12, so let’s dive into this! 

Meet Anna Victoria Alcott (Emma Roberts), former young ling star of Hollywood now struggling to recapture fame as an adult, who wants a baby, very very badly. Bad enough to drive herself and her husband Dex (Matt Czuchry) through multiple unsuccessful rounds of IVF (in-vitro fertilization), bad enough to keep trying no matter how crushing each failure turns out to be, bad enough to involve her purported best friend and bougie publicist Siobhan Corbyn (Kim Kardashian) in her struggles, and maybe, just maybe, bad enough to give up on a burgeoning resurgence of her career after interest in her comeback role for The Auteur begins garnering her Oscar-worthy attention. 

So, Anna and Dex are going to go through yet another round of IVF, likely one of their last attempts at it, from a different doctor, Dr. Andrew Hill (Denis O’Hare), and clinic based on Siobhan’s recommendation. And already, strange things are beginning to happen to Anna – her appointments that she set herself begin springing up incorrectly, a doom saying woman called Preacher (Julia White) shows up spouting warnings about trusting no one, dire warnings appear in unlikely places, and BTW, it seems as though long-suffering but good-nurtured Dex has a side-piece too. It doesn’t help that Dex’s new partner at his art gallery, Sonia Shawcross (Annabelle Dexter-Jones), bears a striking resemblance to his dead ex-wife Adeline, either. Those spiked emerald heels start appearing weirdly too, and it seems as though no one will listen to Anna as she grows more and more suspicious that some sort of sinister cult has designs on her as-yet-unborn baby. At the same time, Anna tries to live the life of a successful returning actress, attending parties and gallery openings while draping her rapidly-expanding middle in shimmering fabrics and actively ‘campaigning’ for that little golden statue that most actors covet. Competition is fierce, even among her co-stars of The Auteur, and while Anna wants to be supportive of her fellow entertainers, she clearly appears to be incapable of doing both at the same time – wanting the baby and the little gold award at the same time is too much to ask, apparently. 

Elsewhere, mostly in the past, various women in states of desperation formed from one situation or another are visited by sinister-looking women in prim black dresses, headgear reminiscent of – to me anyway – an odd cross betwixt birds and bunnies, my guess is an ostensive nod to fertility in general, and a general feeling of blood-bound witchery about them at critical moments of crossroad choices. 

Though the second half of the season moves a good deal faster than the first, the attempts at callbacks and reminder flashes to Part 1 hit with all the impact of a dropped bag of garbage onto their friends Talia’s (Julia Canfield) borrowed bougie kitchen floor – splat, into incomprehensible silence, from all parties, both characters and audience, concerned. Even the reminders that, in Part 1 of Delicate Dex’s mother Virginia Harding (Debra Monk) did indeed have perfectly valid memories of abuse at the hands of a black cult and Dex’s own father Dex Sr. (Reed Birney), the revelation pales and peels away in the face of Dex’s true parentage. 

Which brings us back around full circle kinda sorta, to the only real character worth a damn in this entire miserable season of strange feminism and aspirations of world domination through a kind of idiotic Rosemary’s Baby nightmare scenario, we should have known she’d steal the show when Kardashian was cast for it, Siobhan Corbyn, leader of the blood cult her high and mighty (old) self. Throughout the whole show her character has remained exactly the same, and it’s a wonder Anna can stare at her all stupefied while Siobhan does her villain speech at the end of the last episode. Siobhan never masked her ambition or greed, her mysterious protective vibe and even deep love for Anna, and can always be counted on to have secret plans of her own, already in motion, bitch. 

The idea that Anna herself was used as a surrogate for Siobhan and her incestuous eugenicist plans, plus the sweet little demon baby she just birthed, has an ironic the-world-is-tilting-the-wrong-way kind of witchy madness to it. Sure, Anna really can have it all, the baby and the golden statue, if only she joins the patriarchy-crushing cabal of blood witches with world domination plans, got it. 

I have questions, or I would have, but things are moving on and Anna is being saved by … Dex’s dead ex, Adaline the former member of the coven right okay her, she’s going to show back up and offer Anna a simple chant to Hestia her patron Goddess, and that is somehow enough to deal with Siobhan entirely – poof. And finally, after all that rigamarole, decades of planning and scheming and witchy plotting finally settled, Anna really can have it all as a White Witch of Hollywood, heaven help us, with her perfectly human baby and that damned little golden statue, clutched in an only slightly desperate grip. 

As with any season of AHS there are a great deal of statements that could be implied just under the skin of the season – the canker way of ambition, the millenia-old pain of a woman giving birth, the savagery and bloodshed that comes with bringing forth life, pushback against both the patriarchy and ultra-feminism, the absolute desperation of humans wanting to have a child, and perhaps strangest and most open to interpretation of all, what it means to be feminine. The worlds population of women who can’t or don’t or simply won’t have children, for any reason or none, are relegated to servants, expendable servants at that, for this new world order that Siobhan is proposing, and that is far too close a comfort to things like outright slavery. A dictator is a dictator, no matter how great she looks in those emerald spiked heels. 

It’s not the really beautiful grotesquerie that Ryan Murphy and his AHS gang are often known for, nor is it utterly terrible and should be burned at the stake. What Delicate should be, is put back together with missing and cut footage, an hour long per episode again come on folks, fleshed some more of Siobhan’s baby-stealing adventures in the past and given us an actual reason to like anything about the whiny Anna, at least the Part 2 we as longtime AHS fans deserve. Toss in some more spidery hijinks! Give us the actual origin of those weird feather bunny-ear headdresses! 

American Horror Story Delicate the whole season can be seen on FX! 

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Jurassic Park: Unraveling the Mystery in a World Gone Prehistoric!

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Hold onto your hats, dino fans! The highly anticipated sequel to the adrenaline-pumping Camp Cretaceous saga is here, and it’s taking us on a wild ride six years in the making. Following the harrowing events of Camp Cretaceous, our beloved “Nublar Six” are back, but they’re not out of the woods just yet. In fact, they’re about to plunge headfirst into a world where dinosaurs roam freely alongside dangerous humans, and trust us when we say, it’s a Jurassic jungle out there!

Picture this: a world where survival isn’t just about avoiding sharp-toothed predators but also navigating the treacherous waters of human greed and deceit. As our resilient heroes reunite in the aftermath of a heart-wrenching tragedy, they quickly realize that danger lurks around every corner, and trust is a luxury they can’t afford. 

But wait, there’s more! Prepare to embark on a globetrotting adventure like no other as the Nublar Six find themselves thrust into the heart of a conspiracy that threatens not only the fragile balance between dinosaurs and humanity but also their very existence. From the lush jungles of Isla Nublar to the bustling streets of bustling cities, buckle up for a rollercoaster ride of epic proportions as our intrepid group races against time to uncover the truth about one of their own and, ultimately, save both dinosaur and humankind from certain doom.

So, dear readers, if you thought you’d seen it all in Jurassic Park, think again! With heart-stopping action, pulse-pounding suspense, and jaw-dropping revelations, this latest installment promises to be a game-changer in the Jurassic universe. Get ready to roar with excitement because Jurassic Park: Unraveling the Mystery is about to take a bite out of your imagination and leave you hungry for more!

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