Thursday, January 31, 2008

Natasha's Got A Pocketful Of Sunshine

How do I begin to write about Natasha Bedingfield? How do I do her justice? How do I put into words what's going around in my head? This is definite proof of my instability; but you have to admit that I put that out there right at the getgo so don't hold it against me.

I could start by mentioning that she's British (ooh there goes that nice tingly feeling). Being British in my world means awesome, rock hard, gorgeous.. you get the picture right? So if I ever mention British in any ensuing blog, don't take it lightly. Now where was I? She'll be 27 November of this year, she started out singing gospel with her brother and sister. To date, she's released 3 albums; the most recent of which was released Tuesday of this week (22 Jan 08). Her first album Unwritten was released in 2004. She followed up with N.B. last year and now Pocketful of Sunshine.

Pocketful of Sunshine is definitely Bedingfield's best album yet! Of course this is my humble (or twisted) opinion. Though humble, it should not be taken lightly since I'm a music fanatic and am convinced that I have impeccable taste in music. In a world where it has become rare for one to purchase an album, pop it into the CD deck then press play and forget it - Bedingfield's new album definitely breaks that trend. There isn't a song on this album that you'll want to skip over. The CD contains 13 tracks of which my favorite are: 1) Put Your Arms Around Me, 4) Love Like this (both have a reggae beat/feel/style to them) and 8) Angel.

This album takes you on a journey of rock out tunes (the first two tracks will have you bopping your head and tapping your feet), reggae style, ballad & R&B. One thing's for sure, her voice is as strong as ever throughout the entire album.

If any of this appeals to you, then go out and get the album; it will be worth it!

Oh.... one more thing... she's not hard on the eyes

Friday, January 25, 2008

Hottie Friday - Kristen Scott Thomas

How do I love thee?

Let me count the ways

I love thee while I’m asleep

I Love thee while I’m awake

Heck I love thee even in an unconscious state

I love thee in pants

I love thee in dresses

Whatever you’re wearing

To me, is always impressive

And just when I thought I couldn’t love thee more
You appear on Top Gear (that British car show)
And a race car did steer
Around the track at high speed
Swoon-inducing – that was indeed!

If ever they made you up to look old
All the ugly makeup in the world,
Could never tear my admiration for you,
Out of my soul

I love thee in Four Weddings And A Funeral
Love thee in Bitter Moon
Especially love thee in The Horse Whisperer
Random Hearts – the movie was over too soon

If ever you need an English Patient
Please, let it be me
So overwhelming is your effect on me
A patient I’ll be, for I’m sure to faint you see

You’re brilliant, stunning, talented as well
Intelligent, savvy and smart – damn that’s oh so swell
Sexy, dashing, daring
The total package - I think you’re as hot as hell

I’m so looking forward to Bronte (2008)
Easy Virtue (2009) too
Largo Winch (2008) as well
I could never get enough of Y-O-U

Can anyone say SHRINE!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Captivating Julie Benz on "Dexter"

First off, let’s get the official character and personal bios out of the way.

Rita is Dexter's perfect mate basically because she’s got issues which includes mental and physical abuse by her imprisoned husband but mainly because the abuse has left her uninterested in sex. Her life is compounded by her having to raise two kids on her own.

Julie’s career dates back to 1990 and from then till now she has appeared in several movies and TV dramas including Step By Step, Hearts Adrift, The Single Guy, Lackawana Blues, CSI: Miami, CSI and Law & Order. She’ll be in the fourth installment of Rambo. She might however be best known for her role in Buffy The Vampire Slayer in which she played an evil vampire named Darla. She will be in the upcoming movie The Punisher: War Zone which is due out in 2008.

Personally I’m just going to ignore the whole Rambo business above (I really felt compelled to throw that in right here).

Right, so on to other things. I’m sure we all already know of Julie Benz (at least Buffy fans) and for those who don’t, then I trust that the bios above would have enlightened you.

So here’s what I have to say about Rita Bennett. I just want to take you on a journey with me from Season 1 thru Season 2. Here goes….

At a glance, it would be very easy to dismiss her as weak and pathetic, however, when one follows her on this journey, the stalk realization that this character has so much depth and complexities is the only conclusion that one can come to.

The journey begins:

  • When Rita cries you want to hold her. Then just before she gets to that point where you want to smack her and say “Ok now! Enough already! Snap out of it!” she snaps right out of it so you don’t need to.

  • She’s gone from poor little me to.. I need to stand up for myself to.. I’m not sure I’m strong enough to.. although I’ve had so much hurt in my life, I should let someone in to.. ok, I’m letting someone in to.. right then, I’ve let someone in; now what; how far should I go to.. how much of a compromise should I make to.. I’ve decided to pull myself together for myself, my relationship but most importantly for my kids to.. oh yeah, I’ve arrived; I have full balance in my life now to.. hmmm everything’s great now but there seems to be something going on with my man to.. wow, so you’re messing around on me, you gotsta go Bro to.. well I’ll show that bitch witch that she shouldn’t mess with my man to.. you know what, if that’s what he wants, so be it. I’ve got my kids, I’m strong now; I can hold my own!

And to that I say “You Go Girl!”

The thing about Julie Benz is that she gets into the role and makes you feel the pains, the struggles, the surge of confidence, the deflation, the conflict, the pleasure; every single emotion that Rita Bennett experiences. It takes true talent to be able to do that and dare I say, “By Jove! I think she’s got it!”

So now you know how I feel about the character and the actor, there’s only one “real” question left. How do you feel?

Oh one final pic just in case you need to be reminded of the cast.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Mary J (Jane) Blige Has Growing Pains

First off I have to be honest and confess that I’m not a fan of Mary J. Blige’s music. Now, hold on. Before you get to sharpening your tongues to give me a good tongue lashing or pulling the whip from that shoe-box that you keep on the top shelf of the shoe closet to give me a good thrashing, at least here me out (whew). So where was I? Oh yeah, not a fan of Mary J. Blige. Ok, so why bring it up then? Here’s why.

The Queen of Hip Hop Soul as she has been dubbed (as per documentary that was released in 2004) released Growing Pains on December 18 and the album sold 629,000 copies in its first week. The album has had rave reviews and sales are expected to continue to climb. I’ve listened to the album and the songs are just not really my speed. However, track 3 – Just Fine is currently my anthem. If seeing Mary let loose (doing Michael Jackson moves and others that include ‘the robot’) as she does in the video and having all the fun in the world doesn’t win you over then just pay attention to the lyrics instead.

With lyrics that proclaim:

So I like what I see when I’m looking at me
When I’m walking past the mirror
Don't stress through the night, at a time in my life
Ain’t worried about if you feel itGot my head on straight,
I got my vibe right
I ain’t gonna let you kill it
You see I won’t change my life, my life’s just fine…..

Feels so good, when you’re doing all the things that you want to do

Get the best out of life, treat yourself to something new
Keep your head up high, In yourself, believe in you, believe in me
Having a really good time, I’m not complaining
And I’m a still wear a smile if it's raining
I got to enjoy myself regardless
I appreciate life, I’m so glad that it's fine

How can I not tout it as an anthem? The lyrics for the other songs on the album are just as strong, just as (self) reinforcing and positive as Just Fine. Blige basically takes her fans on a journey of her life – love, hurt, recovery, appreciation and so much more.

When recently asked in an interview (on VH1) where she wants to go from here, she replied that she wanted to get into acting. I know… I know… it’s the latest trend; so many singers are doing that now. What clinched it for me and took away the cliché-ism is that you could see and feel the sincerity in her statement when she followed up with the fact that she wanted to put her all into any (acting) project that she takes on and make it worthwhile.

She doesn’t just want to be another singer-turned-actor. She wants to make movies that Meryl Streep and other female veterans in the field would feel moved to call her up and say “Mary, you have done a good job on that project”. She wants to participate in meaningful and substantial movie projects. She wants to be a force to be reckoned with.

This is Blige’s ninth album. Her other albums include What’s The 411? (1992), My Life (1994), Share My World (1997), Mary (1999), No More Drama (2001), Love & Life (2003), The Breakthrough (2005) and Reflections – A Retrospective (2006).

Like Mary’s music or not, the now 37 year old singer who was born in Brooklyn has always been committed, passionate and true to her music. And girlfriend always looks fly. Her sense of style is impeccable.

Watch any of her videos from the onset of her musical career from 1992 – present and you will be guaranteed to see that if there’s one thing that’s evident is that Mary believes in her music. She believes what she sings. She loves what she does. She always looks good. She shares with her fans what her life experience is at any given time. These are the very things that caused me to sit up and take notice.

When she released No More Drama, I was like “hmmm… this lady’s got something to say and she’s brave enough to put it out there for all to scrutinize”. I tell you, I’ve been paying attention ever since. She’s had a hard life (she was molested at age 5 – a disclosure she made on Oprah’s show back in 2006, she’s had issues with drug abuse and her fair share of love’s heartbreaks). Anyone who consistently pours every ounce of her heart and soul into her music will very likely earn my respect, despite me not being a fan. I can but only wish her every success in her future endeavors. I say Blige is gon’ be just fine for some time to come.

So if after all this (my ranting and proclamations, etc) you still want to whip out the sharpened tongues and sturdy whips, let me know and I’ll (be sure to take off running at lightening speed in the opposite direction) make myself available to you for whatever punishment you deem fit. In the hopes that it will soften you up and influence you to not see punishment as fitting, I've posted one last pic.