Tag Archives: Travelers Shorts Author Robert George Reoch

Robert Reoch Beats Boston Snow in Miami

Robert Reoch Does Miami

Robert Reoch Takes a Break From Boston Snow

I love online casino beste einzahlungsbonus Boston, but I was raised in azartplay online casino San Diego. And even though I enjoy the Boston winters,  my other half sometimes needs a break from the snow—including the biggest blizzard in Boston history.  So, it’s my duty to go along peacefully when Joon decides we should fly to online casino spil danmark Miami for a few days. Who’s complaining?

ruby slots casino free spins We went from this:

Robert Reoch and Joon Blizzard street 512 x 384 Robert Reoch Boston Blizzard 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

slots casino login To this:Robert Reoch and Joon South Beach Miami March 2015

Bob and Joon on our yacht in Miami bay.  Robert Reoch Miami South Beach composite 2015

spin palace online casino australia  Ah-h-h. It was a nice visit to Miami, but I’m happy to be back in Boston too.

Robert Reoch

online casino dice games Robert George Reoch Publishing Copyright 2015

The Great Beauty

The Great Beauty

The Great Beauty (2014) Starring: Toni Servillo, Carlo Verdone, Sabrina Ferilli, Carlo Buccirosso

casino jack online greek subs Director: Paolo Sorrentino

Enjoy maryland live online casino bonus code The Great Beauty for its rich cinematography. From interior lighting and camera angles to scenic outdoor panoramas, the filming and direction are superb. This is a reflective study that is best appreciated by a more mature, seasoned audience. Many of the characters are well beyond age 50.

A celebrated writer, aging Jep Gambardella ( best online casino bonuses in canada Toni Servillo), having written just one outstanding novel, drifts among his also aging society cronies in the monied enclaves of central Rome. We observe how they roll during a crossroads in many of their lives. The writing and dialogue are sophisticated, laced with pathos, and balanced with forgiving irony. A fascinating range of characters come to life through a solid cast of pros, drawing us straight into their world effortlessly. Slow, steady, rambling, and quite thought provoking. Visual gourmet.

Italian with English subtitles, heavy on dialogue.

big win casino free slots My grade: A

Robert Reoch

Copyright online casino with paypal us Robert George Reoch Publishing

Robert Reoch Waterfire Providence Rhode Island

Robert Reoch Waterfire Providence Rhode Island

Robert Reoch partakes of Waterfire 2014 in Providence RI

Robert Reoch at Waterfire 2014 in Providence RI

Robert Reoch at Waterfire 2014 in Providence RI

It was a mystical night in filme online casino robert de niro Providence, Rhode Island for raging bull online casino no deposit bonus codes Waterfire 2014. Or maybe I should say, “mystifying” night—read baffling—in Providence… For more information about this unique event, visit: Waterfire.org.

Providence Rhode Island Gateway Arch Pine Cone

Providence RI, Federal Hill Gateway Arch Pine Cone

Providence RI, Federal Hill Gateway Arch Pine Cone

The billionaire casino slots games Federal Hill Gateway Arch has suspended from it a sculpture of a online casino paypal startguthaben ohne einzahlung pine cone (not pineapple). It’s the Italian symbol ( online casinos located in the usa La Pigna) representing welcome, abundance, and quality.

Robert Reoch

Copyright crown casino play online Robert George Reoch Publishing

George Island in Boston Harbor

George Island Boston Harbor

Robert Reoch’s Recent Visit to George Island

One of my bucket list items of late was to visit some of the Islands in Boston Harbor. We had a free afternoon and the weather was perfect, so we took a ferry to George Island. George Island is home to Ft. Warren, which was originally built to defend Boston Harbor from any type of naval attack. However, by the time it was completed it was obsolete and never used for its originally intended purpose. Instead, it was used to house Confederate prisoners of war during the Civil War.

Here are a few photos from our outing:

Robert Reoch inside Ft. Warren, George Island, Boston Harbor.

Robert Reoch inside Ft. Warren, George Island, Boston Harbor.

Robert Reoch cruising in Boston Harbor.

Robert Reoch cruising in Boston Harbor.

 

Joon standing on Long Pier Boston Harbor

Joon standing on Long Pier Boston Harbor

Robert Reoch

Copyright online casino aus malta legal Robert George Reoch Publishing

 

 

 

Robert Reoch Goes to P-Town

Robert Reoch Visits Provincetown Massachusetts

casino style slots free games Robert Reoch (that’s me) and long time partner (he’s Joon) recently spent a few days and nights enjoying the sunshine and warmth of Provincetown, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod. We stayed at the comfortable and stylish Provincetown Hotel at Gabriel’s. We enjoyed our stay there so much that we’re planning to return again—much sooner than we had imagined before this memorable visit.

Traveling to Provincetown, we used all means of transportation to reach our destination. We began by taking the bus (which stops very close to our door) to the subway station, then after taking the subway from Harvard Station, we took the Gray Line bus to World Trade Center downtown Boston. It was then a brief walk to the pier where we boarded a fast ferry to Provincetown. Now that’s the way to go (instead of driving)!

Here are just a few photos from our trip:

At the Provincetown pier

At the Provincetown pier

Pilgrims Monument, Provincetown Massachusetts

Pilgrims Monument, Provincetown Massachusetts

At the Pilgrims Monument and Cape Cod Museum

At the Pilgrims Monument and Cape Cod Museum

At the top of Pilgrims Monument

At the top of Pilgrims Monument

At Herring Cove, northwest tip of the Cape

At Herring Cove, northwest tip of the Cape

Herring Cove

Herring Cove

"Tourists" statue on Commercial Street in Provincetown

“Tourists” statue on Commercial Street in Provincetown

Oh my gawd, the food here is so good!

Oh my gawd, the food here is so good!

Happy Travels!

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

 

Cookies for Summer

Summer Cookies with Flair and Flavor

Cookies Ease the Mind and Satisfy

Cookies are my weakness. What better way to feed a sweet tooth than by baking them yourself. I’ve been collecting some great cookie cutters for months and finally found time to put them to use. You can use your favorite sugar cookie recipe to bake these. This summer, I came up with an idea to give my cookies a fruity summer twist. Yum!

The secret ingredients for my Summer Cookies are cardamom and ground coriander seed. Also, for a refreshing fruity twist, I’ve added orange, lemon, and lime oils to the mix—just a 1/4 teaspoon of each will do. Always use fresh ingredients (butter, eggs, and flour). Remember, when you bake cookies at home from scratch, it’s real food with actual food value—even if they are a little high in calories and fat. Moderation is the key. It’s fun to decorate them too!

Robert Reoch Summer Cookies

These won’t last long. . . nom-nom-nom….

Happy baking!

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

deCordova Museum Visit Images by Robert Reoch

deCordova Sculpture Park Museum Visit by Robert Reoch

More Robert Reoch Images

A great way to spend a free day is by visiting the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln, Massachusetts. On our second visit four years, it was delightful to see new exhibits on the beautiful outdoor sculpture park, as well as the indoor museum. Should you get hungry for a snack or a light lunch, the museum has a small cafeteria with some delicious menu items. The staff is personable and helpful. Now on with my photos. Here are just a few. It’s easy to see the lure of this gem hidden along the back roads of Lincoln, Massachusetts.

Robert Reoch deCordova Museum

Just one area of the expansive outdoor sculpture gardens.

Robert Reoch at deCordova

Robert Reoch deCordova terrace

The museum rooftop terrace currently features works by Roberly Bell.

Robert Reoch deCordova Balloon Man

This Balloon artist kept several children (and adults) entertained.

Robert Reoch deCordova Pipes

That’s the museum rooftop terrace behind me, up the hill.

Robert Reoch deCordova

A friendly creation by artist Roberly Bell.

Until our next visit!

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

Robert Reoch in Hudson Valley New York October 2012

Robert Reoch Visits Hudson Valley New York

Robert Reoch Loves Leaves

During a particularly colorful fall week, we drove from Boston to the Hudson River Valley in New York State to enjoy the sights and surrounds of Poughkeepsie and Hyde Park. Our drive through Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York was spectacular. This was a great year for “leaf peeping.”

Among the sites we took in was the Walkway Over the Hudson, which is a recently completed footbridge, which spans the Hudson River with panoramic views in all directions. We also toured Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s home and museum, a must-see while in the area. Rounding out our trip was the Vanderbilt mansion tour, which proved just a little more tedious than edifying. If you have a couple of hours to kill, it’s just worth the stop.

Do not miss The Eveready Diner in Hyde Park! This is the real deal. It’s a beautiful classic diner-style restaurant with an extensive menu of traditional favorites. The food is as good as the best homemade fare, and the service and atmosphere are like stepping back in time. Order a vanilla malt! Incredible!

The photos below tell the story.

Autum Leaves Hudson Valley NY

Autum Leaves in Hudson Valley New York

Hotel Window View  on a Hudson Valley fall morning.

Hotel Window View on a Hudson Valley fall morning.

View from the Walkway Over the Hudson

View from the Walkway Over the Hudson

Hudson River as seen from Walkway Over the Hudson.

Robert Reoch Hudson Valley Fall

Oooh…pretty.

Leaves nothing to the imagination.

Robert Reoch Autum River View NY

Another view from our hotel.

View from the back deck of our hotel.

Robert Reoch FDR Home

Looking down FDR’s driveway.

The Eveready Diner

Eveready Diner

The Eveready Diner has that nostalgic aura and great food!

The Eveready Diner is hoppin’! YUM!

Eveready Diner interior (we sat on those stools). It was bustling and alive.

Eveready Diner interior (we sat on those stools). It was bustling and alive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We sat right there in those stools. The place was packed.
I had the best Reuben with fries and a frosty vanilla malt!

Robert Reoch Fall Leaves

Brilliant leaves and all I see is my disheveled hair.

 

Robert Reoch Hyde Park

Hyde Park outside a Vanderbilt Mansion

Still thinking about diner food.

Robert Reoch over the Hudson River

Snapping shots over the Hudson.

Taking snaps atop the Walkway Over the Hudson.

Robert Reoch Vanderbilt shack.

The Vanderbilts built this summer shack.

The Vanderbilt “Summer Shack.”

Robert Reoch Vanderbilt Hudson Valley

Grounds of the Vanderbilt estate Hudson Valley NY

Robert Reoch Walkway Over Hudson

Another view from the Walkway Over the Hudson

Another view from Walkway Over the Hudson.

Robert Reoch Fall Leaves

Me and Joon enjoying the fall.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joon and me and them purty leaves.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have a nice fall!

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch

Halloween Cookies

Halloween Cookies

Check out my Halloween creations. This recipe tastes as good as it looks.

Robert Reoch Halloween Cookies

Boo!

Halloween Cookies Recipe

Ingredients:

3 cups all purpose flour (for a looser crumb, substitute half the flour with finely ground almonds)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cardamom (optional, or 1/4 tsp. pumpkin spice for Halloween)
1 1/2 cup butter, softened (3 sticks)
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tbsp vanilla extract (optional) If used, add one extra tablespoon of flour

Directions:

Whisk together flour, salt, spice in a mixing bowl and set aside.

Using a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla to combine until ingredients are well blended.

With mixer on lowest speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the creamed butter mixture until all ingredients are combined (about 45 seconds – do not over mix). Divide dough into 3 portions and flatten into a disk shape. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour, or up to 2 days (or freeze for another day).

Remove dough from refrigerator 20-30 minutes before rolling out. If you attempt to roll while it is still too cold, dough will crack along the edges. If the dough becomes too soft while using, refrigerate again for 15 minutes.

Transfer dough to a clean work surface which has been lightly dusted with flour. Remember to rub flour on rolling pin often to prevent sticking. Roll out to 1/8 to 1/4-inch thickness.

Dip cookie cutters in flour before cutting. Cut into desired frightful Halloween shapes. Carefully arrange cookies on parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Parchment paper helps to prevent over browning the bottom of the cookies.

Preheat oven to 350°F and bake for 8-10 minutes, depending upon the size of the cookies. Smaller, thinner cookies will take less time to bake. Larger, thicker cookies will take longer. It doesn’t pay to walk away from the oven while baking cookies. Set a timer for 8 minutes and  peek to check progress. Stand by during the final few minutes of baking. When edges just begin to turn golden brown, cookies are done. Remove pans from oven to cooling racks. After 5 minutes remove individual cookies from pans to cooling racks. Allow cookies to cool completely before decorating.

For decorating, experiment with your favorite homemade icings and food colorings, and/or use store bought tubes of colored icings and sprinkles. Have fun! Remember, sugar is a natural preservative. Your cookies should remain fresh and edible for several days after baking and decorating. Store them in plastic containers with lids, using sheets of waxed paper between layers of cookies.

Happy Halloween!
Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch

The Three Stooges 2012

The Three Stooges

The Three Stooges (2012) Starring: Sean Hayes, Chris Diamantopoulos, Will Sasso, Jane Lynch, Larry David, Sofia Vergara, Larry David

Directors: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly

Being familiar with the original Three Stooges films from the 1930s to early 1960s, I was leery about seeing this latest revival. In fact, during the first few minutes of watching this on Blu-ray, I was almost tempted to turn it off. However, once I let go of over analyzing the actors’ impressions of the original cast, I was quickly caught up in the spirit of the story and began to enjoy it. Furthermore, this cast did a great job of capturing the nuances of the originals.

I loved that they used an old melodramatic story line involving orphaned children living in an orphanage run by nuns. There was once an era in Hollywood where orphaned kids were a standard dramatic plot device. Now, poking fun at that old tradition is funny from the onset. Larry David playing a nun (without even trying not to act like a man) set the comedy bar low while raising the laugh quotient for everything else.

The opening establishes the characters as orphaned children. Soon enough, the childhood versions grow into the adult stooges and the pace and laughs pick up. Sean Hayes does a spot-on Larry, only much funnier I dare say, than the original. I’ll watch this again if only for Sean Hayes. I haven’t laughed so hard in years. Ditto for Sofia Vergara in her role as the villain. She has a gift for comedic expression that rivals that of Lucille Ball or Carol Burnette. I could watch her do comedy all day.

Will Sasso delivers an energetic Curly, as does Chris Diamantopoulos as Moe. At times, the physical shtick between the trio of stooges is almost too much for a modern audience, but better too much than not enough, especially in this homage.

There’s no point in dissecting the plot in detail because it’s a Three Stooges movie, not Mission Impossible. The climax is reminiscent of a Marx Brothers finale. There’s a grand anniversary party with all of the sub plots and characters converging in non-stop sight gags and one-liners. Hayes blows the lid off with goofiness not seen since Daniel Stern’s “Marv” (one of the bumbling crooks) in Home Alone.

With due haste, all loose ends are tied up at the conclusion. Then notably, after the close of the film, the directors offer cautionary advice to young viewers about the dangers of imitating the slapstick physical stunts of the stooges. They exhibit rubber hammers used by the actors to clobber one another (not real hammers, of course). They also demonstrate how to feign an eye poking without really putting out an eyeball, emphasizing that none of the comedic actions should be imitated. Even though I agree with this offering of precautions, it’s somewhat bizarre (and slightly pathetic) that a disclaimer like this is warranted today when it wasn’t even considered a half century ago. Changing times.

I loved this film. They pulled it off better than I expected, with plenty of laughs–precisely what The Three Stooges have always been about.

My Grade: A-

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games (2012) Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Liam Hemsworth, Stanley Tucci

Director: Gary Ross

In The Hunger Games, teens are forced to battle-to-the-death with each other in order to appease a long-standing national tradition of extracting a penance for prior homeland unrest and wounds. In the fictional future, this is the flimsy premise for humans hunting humans. Worse, there will be sequels (or better if you enjoy this type of fun—it’s not totally crap).

The story is produced as well as any reality show, but with the bigness of a blockbuster movie. We follow with interest. We marvel at the wonky wigs worn by Stanley Tucci, Woody Harrelson, and Elizabeth Banks. (Tucci will never live this down.)

The fact that the violence is somewhat tempered is appreciated by the squeamish among us. The cheesy love triangle that develops mid-way through the plot is not. We’re suddenly thinking of The Twilight Saga and Taylor Lautner, and…gag.

This actually is an excellent rendering of the familiar theme where the powerful elite entertain themselves with futuristic blood sport at the expense of the downtrodden masses. Throw in alliances and young love and there you have it. At least they’re not tossing people into volcanoes.

My grade: B-

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

In Time

In Time

In Time (2011) Starring: Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried, Cillian Murphy

Director: Andrew Niccoli

In this sci-fi action suspense film, In Time, people trade time as currency. Everyone on the planet has a running digital clock readable on his or her arms. Years, months, days, minutes, and seconds can be added and removed between persons and various external devices. Once your time runs out, you’re dead. On the other hand, you can literally live forever if you keep your meter full.

The wealthiest individuals are practically immortals, owning huge blocks of time. They lord control over the rest of society, whose ghetto lives are lived tediously at various jobs, working just to earn more time to avoid running out and dying in the streets.

Enter our hard working hero, Will Salas (Timberlake), who receives an unexpected gift of a century’s worth of time from a disillusioned man of upper society who wants to let his time run out and die, having grown mentally tired of living indefinitely.

Unfortunately, most of the rich don’t want the poor ever to get enough time to live too long. They prefer to control the wealth and prevent overpopulation by employing “Time Keepers” such as Raymond Leon (Cillian Murphy) to ensure that the lower classes never get ahead. Will Salas, having upset the balance with his recent gain, becomes a target of the Time Keeper and his goons. Salas decides to take on the rich establishment and find a way to balance the wealth.

Meanwhile, rich girl Sylvia Weis (Amanda Seyfried) is bored. When Salas shows up among the rich people, she becomes drawn to him and winds up helping him. It’s The Patty Hearst Story meets Logan’s Run.

Overall, this production is pedestrian and lacks enthusiasm. There’s off-putting poor CGI for certain scenery. Also looking cheap is a fleet of ’70s muscle cars and classic ’60s Lincoln Continentals, all painted black to look “futuristic.” (TV’s Dukes of Hazard and The Green Hornet had better stock.)

The story builds well enough, but we don’t ever feel real buy-in from Timberlake or Murphy. Seyfried is the most convincing in her role. There’s no “big reveal” and the intended climactic scenes merely expire, like time. Still, interest is held for most of the duration. In Time avoids becoming too tiresome by the ending—but just in time.

My grade: C+

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

Albert Nobbs

Albert Nobbs

Albert Nobbs (2011) Starring: Glenn Close, Janet McTeer, Mia Wosikowska, Aaron Johnson, Pauline Collins

Director: Rodrigo Garcia

For twenty years, a single woman (Glenn Close) with no family has been posing as a male butler named Albert. Educated, but with the hardship of having lost all family, her only means to survive in 19th century Ireland was by living as a man. While working in an upper class hotel in Dublin, complications arise when her secret is discovered by a newly hired hand at the hotel. Albert has been stashing away money for years with dreams of opening a tobacco shop. While working at the hotel, she develops sympathy for a young hotel maid (Mia Wosikowska) who has become pregnant by a young man (Johnson) also employed at the hotel. Meanwhile, the hotel proprietor, Mrs. Baker (Pauline Collins) abuses her staff while coddling to her wealthy upper class patrons. Thus is the setting.

The running parallel stories and the characters all provide satisfying drama. Glenn Close is a fragile Albert. Troubled waters run deep beneath her palely made up man’s face. I would like to blame Botox for a lack of expression, but one cannot be sure if it’s not just Close’s role interpretation. Albert is a strangely disturbing yet sympathetic character.

Janet McTeer is brilliant as the gentleman who knows the score. Her bold character is both masculine and endearing. I don’t consider this a spoiler because it’s not that hard to detect.

I was thoroughly engaged watching this film. It’s not appropriate for children due to the sophisticated dialogue and adult subject matter. I’m giving this film an ‘A’ because it’s so well above the quality of most modern mainstream pulp.

My grade: A

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

The Amazing Spider-Man

The Amazing Spider-Man

The Amazing Spider-Man  (2012) Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Denis Leary, Martin Sheen, Sally Field

Director: Marc Webb

3D is well-honed in The Amazing Spider-Man. It’s not all in-your-face in one moment and then gone the next. The visuals lend splendidly to Andrew Garfield’s Spider-man in his red and blue costume, swinging like Tarzan between tall buildings in Manhattan.

Teenage Peter Parker becoming Spider-Man is made to appear plausible in this well directed installment. Thanks to a great cast and a rounded story, things move along with the character of a good indie and the appeal of a John Hughes film. There’s even a high school bully with whom Peter Parker must contend along with the pressures of a twink Spider-Man saving the world from a mad scientist while romancing the police chief’s daughter at the same time.

Fine cinematography captures the abundant screen presence of the cast. As Peter Parker’s aunt and uncle/legal guardians, Martin Sheen provides firm fatherly authority while Sally Field weighs-in with her urgent motherly pleadings. It’s screen gold. Emma Stone is radiant.

Andrew Garfield’s expressiveness adds depth to his character. We get the full range of the male testosterone experience including his initial awkward flirtations with classmate Gwen Stacy (Stone).  Somehow, overnight, he morphs from a fumbling geek to a smoldering kisser and ninja fighter.

This is the best Spider-Man so far. It’s balanced romance, drama, and thrilling 3D action.

My grade: A

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch 2009-2013

Maine Visit June 2012

Maine Visit June 2012

Cape Elizabeth Light Maine

We drove north from Boston and up the coast of Maine to Rockport. Along the way, we stopped at the Cape Elizabeth Light (it’s a lighthouse). Here are photos from some of our stops in Rockland, Rockport, and Camden.

Robert Reoch Cape Elizabeth Maine

Cape Elizabeth Light Maine

 

 

Cape Elizabeth Light

Robert Reoch Camden Harbor

Camden Harbor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Camden Harbor

Robert Reoch Camden Falls

Camden Falls

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Camden Falls (smack in the middle of town!)

Robert Reoch Mount Batty

Mount Batty View

 

 

 

 

 

 

On top of Mount Batty. (Do these shorts make me look fat?)

Robert Reoch Rockland Jetty

Me and Joon at the Rockland Jetty

 

 

 

 

 

 

Me and Joon on the Rockland Jetty

Robert Reoch Rockland Jetty

That boat is available for tours.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can sail on that schooner out there.

 

 

 

 

Get out and travel when you can! We are lovin’ New England!

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

We Need To Talk About Kevin

We Need To Talk About Kevin 

We Need To Talk About Kevin (2011) Starring: Tilda Swinton, John C. Reilly, Ezra Miller

Director: Lynne Ramsay

Told with strategic flashbacks, We Need to Talk About Kevin is a compelling character study. Even with its non-linear style, satisfaction comes in the telling and the superb acting.

Life turns melancholy for Eva (Tilda Swinton), a successful writer, after giving birth to a boy, Kevin, who only shows contempt for his mother. Compounding Eva’s frustration, her boy demonstrates normal outward affection for his father while maintaining open hostility toward her only when the father isn’t around to see it.

As teen-aged Kevin, actor Ezra Miller ignites his scenes. Attractive and dangerous, his character is also troublesome and defiant. Eva, even after giving birth to another child—a normal happy girl—continues to struggle as a parent. Jumping between present and past, we come to appreciate Eva.

Director Lynn Ramsay’s calculated timing heaps-on the suspense, although we can see the ending coming. Still, it’s a thrilling journey despite an editing bump or two.

My grade: B+

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

The Woman in Black

The Woman in Black 

The Woman in Black (2012) Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Roger Allam

Director: James Watkins

Like homage to classic ghost thrillers from mid 20th century, every hoary haunted house cliché gets play time in this flick—not just once or twice, but repeatedly throughout.

A young English gentleman (Daniel Radcliffe) is stranded alone overnight in a vacant old mansion during inclement weather. He’s left to wander the musty house, room to room, following the sounds of creaking boards and tortured cries. Doorknobs turn themselves. Children’s toys spring to life. The tension is pierced by sudden loud noises and ghastly apparitions strategically spaced between long pauses of dread filled silence. This type of business is repeated too often over the course. The result feels contrived and planned like a carnival spook house. Still, there’s something compelling, even redeeming, holding our interest.

Handsome, well-dressed lawyer, Arthur Kipps (Radcliffe), has traveled on business to retrieve legal documents left by the deceased former occupant of the vacant manor, which is situated on a small island only accessible at low tide. Mr. Kipps is warned off, and treated hostile by a few local villagers who vehemently try to convince him to leave. The only cordial resident, Mr. Bentley (Allam), provides supper to Mr. Kipps and reveals some horrid secrets. Several of the local children have died mysterious horrible deaths, believed to be the result of vengeful acts by the spirit of a dead woman who had ties to the empty house. Mr. Kipps very slowly pieces together a tragic local history and even goes so far as to try to reconcile a lingering conflict.

Savor this film for how it gloriously mimics the old classics. A clever macabre twist at the end compensates for any campy thrills leading up. Compared to the classics, this movie is over-the-top with its bumps-in-the-nights and ghosts-in-the-mirrors. However in the good old days it would have been choice fare for a date at the Drive-In-Movie theater, sharing some shivers and cuddles during the scary parts.

Daniel Radcliffe and Roger Allam do fine work, certainly appreciating the rare opportunity for modern actors to revisit this dramatic genre, especially with it being so well wrought with nostalgia and authenticity by director James Watkins. Vincent Price would have loved this.

My grade: B

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

The Avengers

The Avengers

The Avengers (2012) Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleston, Clark Gregg, Stellan Skarsgard, Samuel L. Jackson, Gwyneth Paltrow

Director: Joss Whedon

Multiple Marvel Comics superheroes can work together well, even if they don’t always get along. They may even have a few spats, but they get their work done. 3-D effects keep getting better, and this film is the best example I’ve seen yet.

In this story, Thor’s half-brother, Loki, is back on the scene and bent on dominating stuff (in this case, the Earth) as usual. He manages a feasible plan, but is forced to contend with the agency known as S.H.I.E.L.D.—Strategic Hazard Intervention Espionage Logistics Directorate—including a potent assortment of superheroes hired as temps for the police.

This film moves quickly. The dialogue is smart and often funny. The outcome is predictable. Seen in an IMAX theater, children screamed and laughed in some parts, while the adults laughed in others. The movie was engaging enough that I could ignore the girl behind me kicking my seat and forgive the little boy beside me elbowing me and kicking me as he sucked on his gigantic soda loudly during the quiet parts. It’s a superhero movie. It’s noisy. I’ll never go to a matinée again.

My grade: A-

Robert George Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

Rango

Rango

Rango (2011) Starring: Johnny Depp, Isla Fisher, Abigail Breslin, Ned Beatty, Alfred Molina

Director: Gore Verbinski

Is there anything Johnny Depp can’t do well? How about portraying an animated banged up chameleon prone to bad luck that is recruited as the sheriff in a town called Dirt? With this dried up desert town as the backdrop, sheriff Rango has his hands full. Ned Beatty voices the irresistible corrupt mayor of Dirt, who lords over the oppressed thirsty citizenry with his monopoly on the water supply.

Hilarious, colorful characters abound. Although the story slows in the middle, humor and distinctive voices keep things interesting. Johnny Depp continues his reign as king of inflection and nuance. The actor must have watched a ton of old movies to have picked up so many echoes from classics of the past. He brings a richer level of entertainment, rare in the industry today. This crazy role as an animated lizard is another example of his extraordinary talent. It makes this movie special.

My grade: B

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

One World Trade Center Under Construction

One World Trade Center Under Construction

One World Trade Center aka Freedom Tower Construction Photos

Here is a link to some remarkable photos of One World Trade Center under construction. As of this writing, the tower had surpassed the height of The Empire State Building as the tallest building in Manhattan. I love New York!

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

Limitless

Limitless

Limitless (2011) Starring: Bradley Cooper, Robert De Niro

Director: Neil Burger

An acquaintance gives a struggling writer (Bradley Cooper) a sample of a new drug (NZT) that causes his mind to expand at an extraordinary rate. Soon, his writing improves dramatically as does every other aspect of his life. He’s able to recall every experience he’s ever had or witnessed, bringing to bear knowledge and skills he had never used before. The world becomes his oyster.

Naturally, there’s a price to pay. Others want the secret. The film’s ultra-cerebral story and beautifully produced theatrics overcome its predictability. The result is a taut and exciting drama. Visually innovative and well acted.

My grade: B+

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

Happy Easter

Happy Easter!

Robert Reoch Cupcakes
Leave these babies out
for the Easter Bunny.

 

Happy Easter!

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch 2009-2013

The Ides of March

The Ides of March

The Ides of March (2011) Starring: George Clooney, Ryan Gosling, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Evan Rachel Wood

Director: George Clooney

George Clooney plays it safe in this middle-of-the-road election politics drama. It’s a timely story. The structure is by the book, the acting is slightly more than competent. Although, Paul Giamatti, as the rivaling campaign manager, raises the pitch more so than others do.

Personally, I would have developed the character of Molly (Evan Rachel Wood) a little farther to expand the emotional dynamics a bit. There was plenty of time to do that, given this film goes just 101 minutes.

Philip Seymour Hoffman is in everything these days. I admire his work ethic and his craft.

I haven’t seen any other Clooney directed films as of this writing, so I can’t compare this to one of his others. I like this film. It was worth the price of a rental.

My grade: B-

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch 2009-2013

Drive

Drive
Drive (2011) Starring: Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Albert Brooks, Ron Perlman, James Biberi

Director: Nicolas Winding Refn

Music: Cliff Martinez

Drive is cinematic perfection. Cliff Martinez’ music captures an essence and feel for LA that  reminded me of the American Gigolo soundtrack (music by Giorgio Moroder).

Ryan Gosling (whose character is unnamed) plays a stunt driver doing side work driving a getaway car  for armed crooks. Becoming friendly with his married neighbor, Irene (Carey Mulligan), things become complicated when he tries to help Irene’s husband, an ex-con, who is being threatened over old debts upon his release from prison.

Gosling’s driver is steel behind the wheel in souped-up chase scenes. His character develops quickly, growing throughout the story. His boss, Shannon (Bryan Cranston), at a garage on Reseda Boulevard, has dreams of owning a competitive stock car with (Gosling) driving it on the racing circuit with high paying sponsors. Cranston’s Shannon is a cringing, vulnerable stooge with one bum leg, and prone to bad luck. After successfully convincing a mobster named Bernie Rose (an unlikely but highly effective villain Albert Brooks), to bankroll his racing dream, things go sour. A rough entanglement ensues.

While Bernie Rose is the intimidating calculating businessman, his violent partner, Nino (Ron Perlman), epitomizes heavy handedness. The violence in this film comes through with masterfully created special effects.

Nicolas Winding Refn artfully directs with equal measures of bold strokes and a subtle brush. His characters interact with both tenderness and shocking brutality. The bursts of graphic violence rival that of any mob movie ever made, while other scenes linger languidly as Irene and her young son interact with the driver (Gosling), developing a tentative bond. The dialogue is sparse and not wastefully trite. Gosling’s driver is disarming as he melts the screen.

This film imparts nuances of the essential history and majesty of Los Angeles, even while snaking through its seamy underbelly. The contrasts and the crassness feel familiar to those who know LA. With music, often synthesized, the soundtrack brilliantly recalls a musicality from a 70s-80s synth age, sometimes grinding and pulsating rhythmically as in night music and the clubs. Always, the tone fits with the dynamic. This ride demands you crank up the sound of your home theater system. With superb cinematography and action, this is an exhilarating drive.

My grade: A+

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

Peanut Butter and Jelly Squares Chocolate Ganache Drizzle

Peanut Butter and Jelly Squares Chocolate Ganache Drizzle

I baked these babies from a favorite recipe and took them up a notch by drizzling-on some homemade chocolate ganache. Oy! Just an example of my little baking hobby (and dedicated to my someone special who loves these!) I wish everyone could eat one of these melt-in-your-mouth monsters! Ha!

Peanut Butter Jelly Squares
“Oink, Oink!”

Thanks for reading and see you at the gym. Yikes!

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

The Help

The Help

The Help  (2011) Starring: Viola Davis, Emma Stone, Bryce Dallas Howard, Octavia L. Spencer, Ahna O’Reilly, Jessica Chastain, Allison Janney, Sissy Spacek, Anna Camp, Eleanor Henry, Cicely Tyson

Director: Tate Taylor

The Help is great cinema with its authentic depiction of life in the south in 1963. Rich white families in rural Mississippi employed black women as full time maids. In this story, young, white, ambitious Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan (Emma Stone) decides to write secretly a book exposing the unseen abuses endured by black workers in the town of Jackson where bigotry thrived. With a variety of characters, conflicting attitudes, and clashing personalities we have an epic story of personal and social evolution. The superb ensemble cast assures a rich interpretation of Kathryn Stockett’s book. In the hands of screen adapter/director, Tate Taylor, the production remains pure.

Viola Davis received a Best Actress Oscar nomination for her role. Octavia L. Spencer won for Best Supporting Actress in this film. Sissy Spacek’s scene stealing performance is notable too. Fans will relish this small, but memorable role. The entire cast are solid and convincing.

The DVD includes must-see Special Features. The director’s personal experiences parallel those of the story’s writer/personal friend. The behind the scenes back stories provide additional layers of fascinating nostalgia. Destined to become a classic.

My grade: A+

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

Davy Jones Goodbye

Thank you Davy Jones

Davy Jones Dies

Davy Jones passed away at his home in Florida on February 29, 2012 (reportedly from a heart attack).

When I was growing up, the Monkees were huge and Davy Jones was a standout. His British accented voice was distinctly his own whether in speaking, or singing. Jones also possessed a rare wholesomeness that never wavered throughout his career.

Many people share worshiping rights to Davy Jones. He belonged to the millions who were made joyful by his personality and singing. When Davy Jones sang with The Monkees, everyone sang along. Nobody could resist singing while knowing all the words to, “Daydream Believer.” Davy had a knack for comedy too, which contributed greatly to the success of The Monkees TV series.

I recall attending a Monkees in concert (reunion tour) at the San Diego County Fair in the mid ’80s. Oingo Boingo was playing there too. I was into Oingo Boingo at the time, but was still surprisingly thrilled to see The Monkees. It was surreal to be near them, live, for the first time, even so many years after their 1960s popularity.

If you click on the Daydream Believer link above, you’ll hear Davy sing his most popular song. It all comes back if you’re from that era—guaranteed to make you nostalgic and a little sad.

My condolences to friends and family of Davy.

Goodbye Davy Jones. You will long be remembered with great affection. Thanks again.

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

Paranormal Activity 3

Paranormal Activity 3

Paranormal Activity 3 (2011) Directors: Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman

Paranormal Activity 3 is, by far, the best of the three in this series of flicks thus far. The
premise is the same. The household sets up video cameras to study what is going bump in the night in their home during the wee hours of the morning as they sleep. What’s fun, this time, is the use of a rudimentary device to affect cinematic suspense—a camera mounted on an oscillating fan mechanism. As the video view pans back-and-forth, we observe ghastly changes in the nighttime activity.

This time, there is some actual activity. There’s actually a back story and a plot line too. I even experienced a fright or two. This time, it was more entertaining.

My grade: C+

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

The Hangover Part II

The Hangover Part II

The Hangover Part II (2011) Starring: Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ken Jeong, Ed Helms, Paul Giamatti, Justin Bartha, Jeffrey Tambor, Mason Lee

Director: Todd Phillips

Yes, this film is practically the same movie as The Hangover (part 1). The premise is the same, just the settings have changed. This one also has a monkey and a few other new faces. Otherwise, its four besty guy pals getting into a whole lotta trouble when they’re supposed to be preparing for one buddy’s wedding. Some good laughs here and there. Ken Jeong is the standout in this episode, much as he was in the first. Jeffrey Tambor has an uncanny way of grounding a film that needs it. That’s called presence.

My grade: C+

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

50/50

50/50

50/50 (2011) Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, Anna Kendrick, Anjelica Huston

Director: Jonathan Levine

50/50 is a cancer movie. It’s a character study, well-acted and intelligent. Most of these films are very similar, but what separates this one is that it turns out the way you might hope it would. That’s not to say nobody dies, or is it? There’s more to it than that. Worthy entertainment. Seth Rogen, in a dramatic role, does well, as did the rest of the seasoned cast—as was expected.

My grade: B+

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

Six Hour Birthday Cake

Birthday Cake Took Six Hours of Love

Monster Birthday Cake

Robert Reoch 6-Hour Birthday Cake

This is devotion.

Robert Reoch Cake 2

Tasted even better than it looked. Happy Birthday Joon!

I spent around six hours baking this monster birthday cake for someone very special to me. This chocolate and cherry bomb had it all goin’ on, including the most decadent chocolate ganache frosting dripping with cherries and little mandarin orange segments (some of Joon’s favorite things.) The best part was in the eating—

Yum!

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

Thor

Thor

Thor (2011) Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Anthony Hopkins, Tom Hiddleston, Natalie Portman, Stellan Skarsgård, Idris Elba

Director: Kenneth Branagh

Thor is an unexpectedly contemporary take on the Norse god of the same name. In an updated story, Thor (Chris Hemsworth), is kicked out of his Norse Gods heavenly realm for being too reckless. His father, Odin (Sir Anthony Hopkins), is just about to crown him as successor to his throne when he instead is compelled to banish Thor for impetuously stirring up war with their longtime rivals, the Frost Giants. Thor plummets to earth, stripped of his powers, only to find himself flat on his back in the nighttime desert and a subject of interest for a tight group of star-gazing science nerds who have accidentally smacked into him with their science equipment vehicle. Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) develops an instant attraction to studly Thor as she’s dusting him off after the accident. The boy-meets-girl thing starts.

Enter the Federal Agents who noticed a foreign object (Thor’s powerful hammer), which has also fallen from the sky. Science geeks and Thor tussle with the Feds over the hammer and for the return of confiscated documents taken from the science team. Meanwhile, other battles are heating up back in Thor’s home realm where his bad brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston), has plotted to take over their father’s throne by any means, including preventing Thor from returning from Earth.

It all runs like clockwork in entertaining fashion. The special effects are clean. There are plentiful robust battles between larger-than-life entities (yes, it’s another one of those movies). This is not your father’s Thor. The acting is great. The action is cartoonishly humorous at times. Nicely directed. Kenneth Branagh has it down.

My grade: A

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

Crazy, Stupid, Love.

Crazy, Stupid, Love

Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011) Starring: Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone, Marisa Tomei, Jonah Bobo, Analeigh Tipton

Directors: John Requa, Glenn Ficarra

Crazy, Stupid, Love is a fantastic look at the many faces of romance. Cal Weaver (Steve Carell) and his wife, Emily (Julianne Moore) find their 25-year marriage falling apart, while their adult daughter, Hannah (Emma Stone) explores her own romantic options. Meanwhile their youngest son, Robbie (Jonah Bobo), has his first crush on his teenage babysitter, Jessica (Analeigh Tipton), who has doe eyes for Robbie’s dad, Cal.

After separating from Emily, a forlorn Cal befriends a guy in a bar, Jacob (Ryan Gosling), who is a womanizer of the first degree. Receiving coaching and a male makeover from Jacob, Cal winds up having flings with several woman at the local club, including his son’s recovering alcoholic teacher, Kate (Marisa Tomei). The plot really thickens then.

As incredible as the character dynamics become, the movie works remarkably well. Excellent acting and realistic dialogue keep it interesting and often funny. Carell keeps a firm rein on his character, never going over the top. Tomei lets loose to great effect. Jonah Bobo steps into his role, and holds his own along with the stellar cast. A wonderful, original, modern film.

My grade: A

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol

Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol

Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011) Starring: Tom Cruise, Simon Pegg, Michael Nyqvist, Paula Patton, Jeremy Renner

Director: Brad Bird

On audience appeal, teenage boys are the obvious target here. This Mission is packed with explosions, mechanical gizmos, and spy weaponry. Adults will enjoy the nostalgia of Cold War stereotypes. The film’s primary villain is a Russian bent on blowing up the world. It’s always the same with those pesky Russians.

Tom Cruise, as Ethan Hunt again, has the right stuff this time. He projects intensity and effortlessness, unlike other recent turns where he’s been wound-up tighter than his smile. The only visual negative in this movie is the bad hair on nearly every character in the film. (You’ll see what I mean, but it doesn’t detract from the story.)

This Mission actually has two major tasks for the IMF team to complete over the course, filling up every second of its 110 minutes. Multiple complex characters keep things interesting too, while the changing global scenery supplies added visual depth. Altogether, worth a watch.

My grade: B+

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

Super 8

Super 8

Super 8 (2011) Starring: Joel Courtney, Kyle Chandler, Elle Fanning, Riley Griffiths, Ron Eldard

Director: J. J. Abrams

Obvious story influences is Super 8 range from E.T. to Jeepers Creepers and even Stand By Me. The most redeeming quality of this film is its charismatic ensemble of preteen actors.

Super 8 refers to the old eight millimeter film used in cameras of the 60s and 70s. Set in the late 70s, a group of kids is making a zombie movie for a school project. While filming, they witness a spectacular train wreck. Out of the twisted metal and to their small town comes mystery and terror.

The tight group of characters each have distinct personalities, all easily winning our sympathy, which rarely happens in movies over the last few decades. This ensemble is irresistible from the beginning.

Among the effective cinematic devices vexing these children are a deep black hole in the ground, a cemetery,  kidnappings, and the adult figures who cannot understand all the urgency. Resisting the adults and other horrors, the band of youngsters press-on with their movie project, while terrifying secrets are unleashed by the train wreck. Soon, the entire town is facing a violent menace.

Joel Courtney (as Joe Lamb), in his first ever film, is already someone to watch. The same goes for Elle Fanning with her impressive turn as Alice Dainard. I see great things coming from these two young actors.

Even with its overabundance of loud explosions and some graphic violence, this film charms. Gratifying entertainment.

My grade: B+

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

Horrible Bosses

Horrible Bosses

Horrible Bosses (2011) Starring: Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Colin Farrell, Jennifer Aniston, Charlie Day, Kevin Spacey, Jamie Foxx

Director: Seth Gordon

Horrible Bosses is well thought out and certain to endure on video and/or television, although it’ll need a lot of editing for sexual content and language.

Three friends each have uniquely despicable bosses, and getting out from under their thumbs requires planning and finesse. Unfortunately, these guys are lacking in finesse—the punchline to this comedy.

Kevin Spacey’s vile boss portrayal stands out. Jamie Foxx steals scenes with his great comedy chops too.

My grade: B

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

Christmas Cookies

Christmas Cookies

Cookies Cookies Cookies I’m a Cookie Monster

The main reason I enjoy baking Christmas cookies is to eat them! My recipe for butter cookies includes cardamom (the secret spice that reminds your taste buds it’s holiday season). With a few well-chosen cookie cutters, some colored icing, and a little finesse, these tasty gems make the season right. Ha!

Christmas Cookies Robert ReochChristmas Cookies Robert Reoch

 

 

 

Christmas Cookies Robert Reoch

 

 

 

Merry Christmas!

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing