Lu Galasso's Blog

Everything From Banana Smoothies to Barack Obama

Michael Jackson Video Link:

For those of you going to watch the Michael Jackson documentary: This Is It, coming out tomorrow, the following is a link to whet your appetite a little for this movie.  A pretty controversial song from the greatest of all time called They Don’t Care About Us:

http://www.yeahoyeah.com/mjvideo.aspx?id=2348

Really good song though, in my opinion.

-Lu Galasso

October 27, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

It’s Getting Cold. Any Ideas of Where to go to Escape?

Damn it’s cold outside!  And it’s not like we’ve experienced the worst of it either.  I mean we are only in October afterall, but I’m sorry it is cold.  Every year I ask myself the same question: How am I going to survive the winter?  And every year I have the same doubts: I don’t think I can.  Each year just gets more and more unbearable.  What makes this embarrassing is that I was born in a cold climate so you  would think I would be used to it.  I mean I enjoy the recreation activities that the cold winter bring: The snowboarding, the skiing, etc.  But deep down let’s be honest, who can resist the warm welcoming ecstasy that is summer?

That being said, I always torture myself, looking up beautiful resorts in tropical paradises to escape to in the summer.  But let’s be honest, in today’s economic climate who can afford to go?  Well someday I hope to take that trip, but in the meantime here are two locations I always gravitate to when I’m looking:

CancunCancun: Oh Cancun.  Every young adult I know has heard or witnessed first hand the chaotic mayhem that can be had in Cancun.  Personally I have experience it three times in my life, so I can attest to the best of times that can be had.  The weather is great (I think I only saw it rain once in the three trips I took down there), the food is good and the scenery is next to none. But for people who think Cancun is only good for the partying type….would, for the most part be right…but there is also room for plenty of other things as well. By the pool activities, snorkeling, archaeological expeditions and so much more can be done in Cancun.  Definitely a place to hit up if the opportunity presents itself.

Jamaica: The Weather, the music and the food are things that quickly come to mind as experiences I am sure to enjoy if I were to go.  Montego Bay and Negril in particular, from what I have been told, offer up some of the best fun, food and entertainment in Jamaica. Whether you’re going to party or just to relax, similar to Cancun, you can do both. Jamaica

In terms of price, both places can be pretty steep depending on your budget ranging anywhere from $800-$1,700 all-inclusive.  Rest assured however, if this is doable, I can speak for at least one of the locations that the money is worth the experience.

-Lu Galasso

October 26, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Movies in 2009: Well What About Them?

Well another year is slowly coming to an end.  The reality around us was riddled with an economic crisis, celebrity domestic violence, and an unfortunate untimely demise of some of the best stars we have been privileged to watch perform in our generation.  But while all this was going on in our reality, what was up with movies.  Were they good? Were they absolutely horrible?  Personally I think I can sum up the year with just one expression: meh….

I mean it wasn’t horrible.  It was good to see Ryan Reynolds in so numerous roles this year as he erupted back on the spotlight for 2009 (although we could had done without Adventureland really).  Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, although story wise it fell a little flat, the eye candy aspect was stellar.  And GI.Joe was one of the blockbuster surprises of the year.  But were any of these movies, classics like The “Dark Knight”, or darmichael-jackson-this-is-it-movie-postere I say “Iron Man”?  have any of the indies piqued your curiosity for “films” like the hilarious and smart “Juno”?  All this is debatable, but on the off chance your answers are no, I bet you’re like me waiting for the what’s left in the movie column in 2009…no? …well I’ll run through a selection of movies I’m expecting to do big things anyway, in no particular order.  Maybe something will tickle  your fancy.

This Is It: So if I have to explain this one to you, you must have been in a deep hibernating sleep/coma for the last four months. This should be considered the “really final this time…trust us” farewell to Michael Jackson as they document his last days preparing for what was to be his last tour for his career in London. I’m half expecting this to break some sort of record in box offices.  Maybe something that pertains to documentaries?  Sorry Michael Moore.

saw6Saw VI: is it just me or have we found the franchise that will never end?  As long as there’s a Halloween to celebrate and a blood and gore to glorify, Saw will ever be in existence.  I just think the shock value for this movie will never die.

Astro Boy: Let nostalgia kick in to high gear for all those 80’s cartoon fanatics as the astro-boy-movie-posterwonderful trend that is turning and 80’s cartoon into a modern day movie continues.  Now all we need is the Thundercats’s movie and all will be good in movie world.  But seriously expect this to be great for kids today and decent for the older generation who simply wants to reminisce.

twilight_movie_image_group_shot

Twilight: The New Eye Candy…I Mean Moon…;-):  Basically this new franchise is everything that lame movie The Covenant was supposed to be with plenty of beautiful people in it for boys and especially girls alike.

2012: I gotta admit, when I first saw the trailer to this, my initial reaction was…wow!  I mean I read abou2012_movie_poster2at the premise before seeing he preview and I thought “Oh man, I thought we were done with the ‘end of the world’ type movies in the late 90’s! Is there going to be a resurgence?”  But I guess deep down I was ready for more when I saw that preview.  Gotta say I am personally looking forward to this one more so than many of the others.

a-christmas-carol-posterA Christmas Carol: I’ve never been a big fan of Jim Carrey’s over the top comedic act.  It was always just so annoying.  Until he dialed it down ever so slightly with Yes Man.  One of my favourite comedies in 2008.  That being said, while I have found new hope for him in his personal acting career, I’ve always  thought his voice to be ideal for animation.

sherlockholmesSherlock Holmes: The resurrection of Robert Downey Junior’s career continues here as he stars alongside Rachel McAdams and Jude Law for a live action adventure of the famous detective. I gotta say, when I first heard they had acquired RDJ for this role, I was elated.  They’re taking a different angle to this movie and It looks so much fun.

its_complicated_merylstreep_alecbaldwin1-500x261It’s Complicated: Alec Baldwin on the big screen is only good news and a great way to end off a less than stellar 2009.

So there you have.  Just some of the movies I am expecting to make some waves for the remainder of 2009.  Here’s hoping this finishes off the year on much more upbeat note, than the lackluster year we have had thus far.

-Lu Galasso

October 21, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Couple’s Retreat: Successful Couples 101

It’s been a while since I’ve been around, but I’m back, I’ve found time again and I wanted to write a review of a movie that I saw about a week ago.  I know it’s a little late…but what the hey, better late than never right…right?!

Everybody knows those couples.  The ones where you ask yourself: How can these two be married?  What do they see in each other??  Is there ever a time when they’re not arguing???  Unfortunately more times than not these situations rarely ever have good endings.  couples_retreat_1When you’re looking back at the broken relationship with your broken hearted friend, whether boy our girl, one of the things they will often ask themselves is: I wonder if I would have benefited from some kind of therapy?  Well…at least the friends I know who’ve experienced this have asked that question.

Well Couple Therapy, in its happy go lucky humorous way does NOT answer these questions, but boy is there something to relate to for most couples on one level or another in this movie.  Now for those who don’t know the premise of this movie, it’s basically four couples who go on a tropical island paradise vacation that is intended to be a couples retreat/therapy week long session.  Jason and Cynthia, played by the witty Jason Bateman and ever beautiful  Kristen Bell, are the ones who initiate this trip, as they get a better deal with three other couples. They are the one who are trying to work out their problems, while the other couples don’t believe they have any problems to a level that needs to be brought up in counseling.  Needless to say it all hits the proverbial fan, when the trip takes place.

Now, was this movie riddled with brilliant performances, breathtaking acting skills and/or comedic off your chair, stomach workout, laughter? No. But I must say it had what felt like the right amount of humour, drama and romance to make this movie the success it was in its opening weekend.  Vince Vaughn, arguably the main attraction of the film still hasn’t given the performance I think he’s capable of giving.  I think we’re all yearning for the Vince of old (i.e. Old School, or even as far back as Swingers). But it was sufficient to carry a movie of this magnitude and he does have the majority of funny moments in the film.  Jon Favreau was great as the back up to Vince as he normally is, and Jason Bateman and Kristen Bell were great as well. The others are noteworthy but nothing overly exciting to make note of.

The story was great and something I think everybody can relate to today. In that sense It’s guaranteed to pick up the audience that will carry this movie as one of more successful comedies of 2009.  Will it make “The Hangover” type noise? Probably not.  But it’s a fun movie that I think most will enjoy.

-Lu Galasso

October 20, 2009 Posted by | movies, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lu Galasso on the 14 Mens Fashion and Style Icons

I discovered this article on digg.com and I couldn’t resist passing it on. I have so much respect for everyone on this list. And I mean seriously, who can pass up a list that has Marlon Brando, Brad Pitt and Michael Jordan all in one place.

— Lu Galasso

14 Mens Fashion and Style Icons

By William Barnes

newman1 14 Mens Fashion and Style Icons

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Fashion has always been, and always will be dynamic. But style is timeless. The former is largely concerned with the what is cool, or what trends are at what time, etc. The latter, is not. Few men exhibit times timeless cool and display of good taste, and those that have shone in the public eye deserve mention. The following fourteen men are ones which we believe deserve mention as having some of the most iconic style, during the last century

Frank Sinatra

sinatra 14 Mens Fashion and Style Icons

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Sinatra embodied an era of men’s style and grace. The hard-drinking, heavy-smoking ‘Rat Pack’ founding member seemed to never lose his cool, even in the midst of his son’s kidnap debacle. People questioned his potential ties to the mafia, but no one ever denied that he was the entertainer of the day. Old Blue Eyes always seemed well put-together, and our hat goes off to him for his matter-of-fact and effortless style.

Joe Namath

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The panache it took to wear saddle shoes, a fur coat and wayfarers while on the sidelines is second to none.  Joe Namath was a football player back in the days when athletes could still be national heroes, not petty criminals or castmembers on third-tiered reality television shoes. Namath also showed us that athletic prowess and a penchant for dressing one’s best were not mutually exclusive. Kind of a Sean Avery of yesterday – but without the pomp and circumstance. Broadway Joe was also famous for predicting his Jets would win Superbowl III and in later years, he would don a mean fu-manchu – before it was ironic, or cool to have one.

Marlon Brando

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We’re not talking bitch-tits, Dr. of Island Moreau Brando, we’re talking bad ass, A Street Car Named Desire Brando. Widely considered the first noticeable male sex symbol of the silver screen, Brando would later come out and appease his entire fan base, by admitting to being bisexual. Brando’s take on men’s style would spawn generators of emulators, and his iconic style would only be emboldened by later roles in The Godfather franchise, and breaking the jaws of paparazzi. Interestingly, his grandson, Tuki Brando, is currently the face of Versace.

James Dean

dean 14 Mens Fashion and Style Icons

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Not a whole lot of commentary is really needed to help explain why Dean is on the list.

Brad Pitt

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Fight Club. Mr and Mrs Smith. Snatch. Oceans Eleven. Legends of The Fall. While some of these movies might not be everyone’s favorite, they all contributed Brad Pitt’s superstar status. Pitt consistently tops the ‘Most Attractive Men’ lists in the celebrity gossip rags, and his performance in Fight Club alone would merit his inclusion to this list. In the last decade, Pitt has shown the world that he can play serious roles too, and seems to never be caught off guard by the paparazzi. Whether he’s working with orphans in Addis Ababa, or he’s cruising on his Triumph in New Orleans, he seems to do so with a masculine grace that has only developed as he’s entered middle age. We look forward to the release of Inglorious Basterds.

Paul Newman

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This picture (above) is a perfect illustration of the actor that would go on to embody the titular role he filled in Cool Hand Luke. Newman was famous for his fidelity, even though he could have had any woman in the world, at the drop of a hat. And integrity is never in bad form. His decision to go into organic food production before it was the in thing to do, only adds to his status as a a trailblazer. One of the few actors to transition from 1950s cinema to that of the 1960s and 1970s, Newman remains an institution of America male style, and arguably one of the coolest guys of all time.

Johnny Depp

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After his work on the Pirates franchise, Depp seemed like he was taking his role as a Keith Richards-as-Jack Sparrow a little too serious, but this ended up not being the case.  No one has gone from 1980’s teen heartthrob to critically-acclaimed actor quite like Depp, and we appreciate his take on the Hollywood superstar that seems to not appreciate the attention. While his appearance might actually be the choreographed workings of a team of stylists, it seems very thrown together and carefree. This fits his demeanor, and is one that most everyone can appreciate in terms of aesthetics.

Steve McQueen

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Steve McQueen was rumored to smoke a pack of cigarettes and consume whiskey, marijuana and cocaine  on a daily basis, all while maintaining a 2-hr daily exercise regimen. That’s what we call dedication – both to a serious affinity for vice, as well as to maintaining a well-defined physique. The King of Cool had an effortless and oft-imitated style, that seemed to be just what the world was looking for at the time. He was a sort of anti-hero, and his style transcended the clothes he wore; the guy raced motorcycles and pretty much all of his own stunts.

Jason Statham

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This former diver-turned-actor has proved to bald men everywhere that it  if you are losing hair, there is still hope: you just have to get in really good shape, acquire a street-smart Londoner accent, and kick a lot of ass. But in all seriousness, Statham has been able to earn major roles even though he shares few characteristics with the stereotypical Hollywood leading man. He also tends to carry himself in a confident way that never looks bad. He is probably the most unassuming inclusion in this list, but deserves mention nonetheless.

Cary Grant

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Cary Grant was for many decades the prototypical leading man: debonair, handsome, and charming. Try finding a picutre of him in anything other than an impeccably tailored suit – they simply do not exist. His public image represents all that should be masculine about men’s fashion, and his timeless appearance has become the benchmark for black-tie events, awards presentations, and galas. Grant also deserves special mention for the fact that he was an ardent Republican, but never used his stardom as a soapbox, to preach his political opinions. Only later in his life, when his friend Ronald Reagan ran for President, did he come out and publicly support any candidates.

Robert Redford

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Robert Redford was Brad Pitt before there was a Brad Pitt. Packaged to audiences as the quintessential all-American male, Redford has a number of accomplishments in various capacities. If you need a reminder of what Redford was like in his prime, watch The Natural or Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. The amount of trim he was able to rack up, probably rivals that of Wilt the Stilt.

Sean Connery

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This foul-mouthed Scotsman was not what James Bond creator Ian Fleming had in mind for an on-screen adaptation of his beloved character. But, it just seemed to work. Rumor has it that after Dr. No, Fleming was so taken by Connery’s ability to morph into the suave, special agent that he worked into the character’s back-story a half-Scottish, half-Swiss ancestry. Even into the early 1980s, wherein Connery donned a number of questionable head-rugs, he still was able to give believable performances as the ultra-masculine, sexually charismatic Bond that subsequent actors have only attempted to recreate. To many, Connery is Bond.

David Beckham

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Love him or leave him, Beckham has got style. While the personal lives of professional footballers and their lady friends have recently become a thing of undeserved scandal, Beckham’s is the real deal. While some claim he is overrated as a mid-fielder, the long-serving captain of England’s National Team has done a lot for the game, including  (many argue) contributing to the increased popularity of the sport in the U.S., and he is often lauded for his many charitable works. To top it off the guy always looks well put together, with either long hair or a shaved head, and he can pull of his many tattoos even in business-casual attire. Even his high-pitched voice seems appropriate, and slightly capable of cutting him down to size – but it doesn’t.

Michael Jordan

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Michael Jordan’s style has always seemed effortless, whether he was on the court, or in a well-tailored, Italian suit. Many basketball players look a bit funny in suits – truth be told – because it’s hard to look sauve when you are nearly 7′ tall. But Jordan pulls it off in swell fashion. Jordan also merits special distinction for balding with grace and dignity. He actually met his receding hair line head-one, by just shaving the whole thing. When you are the most dominating basketball player of all time, no one is going to bring up the fact that you are losing your hair.

Bob Dylan

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Many claim Bob Dylan is really a poet, but he just happens to sing and play music  as well. Regardless of your take on that bit of whimsy, no one can deny Bob Dylan’s contribution to musical style and innovation. Fashion wise, this rolling stone is also one of the most widely-emmulated individuals the entertainment and arts industries have ever experienced. The above picture does a good job of summing up why this is the case; he’s basically on the same level as Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, but without the decade-long periods of fashion insanity and peyote.

July 31, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lu Galasso Talks Rogers VS. Bell

If you live in Canada, especially Toronto, regardless of if you own and television set or not you’ve likely seen or heard about the “couch” campaigns featuring Bell and Rogers and now Telehop is launching their own (who is Telehop you ask? I have no idea either but apparently they think this will put them on the map). Anyways, for the most part these ads have confused people…why didn’t Bell come up with a rebuttle that was in their own style? Or why did Rogers start openly attacking Bell? As mentioned in the article I will post below, the idea of one big firm attacking another big firm is not a new concept. Think Mac vs PC, although some of my favourite ads, Apple just started outright attacking PC. Well one thing these ads did for sure was reestablish Bell and Rogers as the two biggest phone, internet and television providers in Canada, leaving the others in the dust.

Lu Galsso - Bell vs Rogers

Leslie Scrivener
Feature Writer
It’s time to take another look, says the ad. We did. And still we don’t know: Whose couch is this anyway?

Canada’s communications companies have embraced the same symbol in ads on television, in newspapers, on billboards and transit, and people are talking and blogging about it.

The couch is long, clean and modern. Part of it is red. That must be Rogers. Part is blue. That’s Bell, for sure.

But look – here’s another ad showing the couch with a red cushion, a blue cushion and an orange cushion, which must be, help me here … Telehop, a Toronto-based phone service provider.

Are consumers perplexed? Yes.

“Eventually people will ask, `Who is this for? Is it Rogers? Is it Bell? I’m confused,'” says Anthony Kalamut, chair of creative advertising at Seneca College at York University.

Advertising directors have rarely seen anything like this: Two business giants using an identical image – it’s called a mnemonic, a memory aid – to lure or retain customers while aggressively naming the competition. Seems a little unCanadian.

(Remember the boldness of another blue-red battle – the Pepsi Challenge, when PepsiCo asked people to compare the taste of Pepsi to its rival Coke?)

“I have never seen Canadian companies go that hard directly at each other,” says Paul Haft, a Toronto expert in colour and branding.

The battle waged on a common couch started June 1, when Rogers launched an ad campaign with a two-seater, half red, half blue, saying its home phone service was a better buy – $25 less – than Bell’s.

Bell reacted quickly and launched the couch ad by June 16, this time with five blue cushions and one red, its way of expanding the conversation. The ad notes that Bell has more TV channels and is $25 less expensive than Rogers. Bell also went after Rogers’ wireless service, comparing a Rogers cellphone to a Bell cellphone.

Bell saw the Rogers ad as a direct challenge. Rogers had stepped into the living room and named names.

“It’s not normally our policy to name our competitors in our ads, but we felt our name and products had been used in a misleading way,” says Rick Seifeddine, Bell’s senior vice-president, brand. “We took it on with gusto.”

But was it wise to use an image – the couch – already claimed by its rival?

“It had been established in the marketplace as a metaphor for comparing services,” says David Moore, president and CEO of Leo Burnett Canada, the agency that created the ad for Bell. “There might be an opportunity to reframe it, a way for customers to take a second look.”

There is, he agrees, the “potential for confusion.”

“But more than anything, people are pretty surprised that this is Bell. There’s a new culture that’s nimble and able to up the competitive game in the marketplace.”

Some in the ad business think Bell erred in using the couch.

“When you do parody advertising you have to do it so well people laugh their heads off … or you don’t do it at all. You have to do it in a gutsy manner,” says Geoff Roche, chief creative officer for Lowe Roche.

“It looks a lot like Telus (ads) – it has a lot of white space,” says Haft. “This is a `me, too.’ Instead of something unique and memorable that sets them apart, they are following the lead Rogers started.”

Others think it works.

“The best way to tell the story is borrowing the same imagery,” says Andrew Simon, creative director at DDB. Muddying the water – what’s this ad about? – may be to Bell’s advantage, he adds.

Recently, there have been witty responses to rivals’ competitive ads. Apple placed itself as the cool computer in contrast to the stodgy personal computer (PC) in television ads. Microsoft, unwilling to be portrayed as the goofy guy in a bad suit, responded with famous (Bill Gates and Eva Longoria) and less-known people confidently proclaiming, “I’m a PC.”

That style of creative advertising takes the intellectual high ground, says Anthony Wolch, executive creative director at TBWA Toronto. “Why can’t Rogers and Bell go there?” he asks. Bell should focus on its progressive technologies, he says. “What makes them special and loved by Canadians.”

As for the furniture theme, “using couches or chairs as a mnemonic is about as tired as you can get.”

Rogers views the ads as “tremendously successful” and says 150,000 visitors have taken the company’s online home phone challenge comparing services.

The idea of the couch in a phone ad “is a symbol of family and connection,” says Tracey Tobin, business director at the Publicis agency, which created the Rogers ad. Rogers doesn’t plan a sortie against the latest Bell ads.

Both Rogers and Bell have filed complaints about each other over various ads to Advertising Standards Canada.

Which leaves us with upstart Telehop, the phone service that’s taken a seat on the telecom couch. They added an orange section in their ads, reflecting the company colour. “We figured it was fair game,” says Hersh Spiegelman, Telehop president and CEO. “Here’s an opportunity for us to tell people in a way that bounces off the Bell ad or the Rogers ad. We thought, `Phooey on them. Look at us. We are cheaper. Check us out.’

“We found it’s been extremely effective.”

Still, Spiegelman is surprised about the brassy way Rogers went after Bell. “Had Ted Rogers been alive, I don’t think Rogers would have done this.”

Canada’s other major communications server, Telus Corp. hasn’t joined in, but leads one to think of possibilities – their mascot, a meerkat, peeking behind a sectional with a green cushion perhaps?

article courtesy of thestar.ca

— Lu Galasso

July 24, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Lu Galasso on My Sister’s Keeper

Lu Galasso - My Sister's Keeper

Okay, so I went and I saw My Sister’s Keeper the other night, a film which I had very high expectations for because not only have I read the book (and cried through the whole thing), but I also enjoy Cameron Diaz as an actor. After seeing the film, I looked at my friend in shock. And not in a good way. I was TOTALLY disappointed. I would even go as far as to say that they ruined the book. I say that because the writers of the film changed the ending. I don’t mean they altered it but I mean they changed WHO DIES. Meaning that the story doesn’t even make sense! Let me start with Abigal’s character, Anna. The story goes that when Kate was little she found out she had Leukemia. It was safer and more effective to have an exact bone marrow and palette donor and so Kate’s parents genetically altered the baby that they were going to have so that she would be an exact match for Kate. Therefore, Anna spends her whole life being a donor to Kate for whatever she needs.

Then one day, Kate’s kidney’s begin to fall and so Anna is not asked, but required by her parents to donate her kidney to her sister. Anna learns that without one of her kidneys she would have ot be careful for the rest of her life, and it was going to be hard for her to have a child. There were many other things that scared Anna from having the surgery, or so she claims. Anna then goes and hires a lawyer, Campbell Alexander, in order to sure her parents for “the rights to her own body”. I won’t go into detail about how that turns out because that would just give away the entire movie. For the most part the film follows that part of the book very closely except that it leaves out a very important character from the novel named Julia. Who becomes Anna’s guardian for the time when the trial is taking place because Anna’s mother becomes the defendant lawyer. I would like to point out that although I’m making the story revolve around Anna, which the book does do, the film makes the story about Kate. That being said, we hear from Kate multiple times in the film, whereas in the book we only hear from her near the end of the novel.

Then there is the brother, Jesse. In the book, Jesse is a trouble maker, starting fires, living in a room above the garage, basically wants nothing to do with his family. Has his own car. And he’s 17. The Jesse in the film looks like he’s about 14, he takes the bus, they don’t show him doing anything wrong except being out late at night drinking SODA (not even alcohol like in the book) and hes at family dinners. The only bad thing they show him doing in the film is coming home past curfew and then proceed to say at the end of the film that he got himself together. Together from what? Really?

They had Alec Baldwin play Campbell Alexander. In the book Campbell Alexander is supposed to be sexy. A knockout, and he and Julia are supposed to have  a romance. There is also supposed to be suspicion about why he has this service dog with him all of the time and when you find out it happens in the courtroom while he is asking Anna questions on the stand, which in the book takes her convincing. In the film there are two questions asked about the dog and the revelation happens outside the courtroom.

It’s like the film is trying to draw all the same morals and conclusions as the book but without actually explaining why. If you hadn’t read the book you would have been so confused as to the point and as to what is actually going on. If you’re going to adapt a novel into a film. Either change it completely or not at all. This film just sorta sat in the middle. Like it wasn’t really sure what was going on. I would give the film 2 stars out of 5.

— Lu Galasso

July 15, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lu Galasso – The Week We’ve Been Waiting For

Lu Galasso here,

Well keeping with the theme of pop culture, I obviously have to talk about one of the biggest and most anticipated pop culture phenomenons – Harry Potter. The moment we’ve all been waiting for has arrived and Harry Potter and The Half-Blooded Prince is being released this week. It was originally set to be released sometime last year but complications arose and it got pushed. For those of you who are like myself and are avid Harry Potter fans, this book is where the story starts to turn. What once started out as a light hearted book about a boy becoming a wizard, having adventures and making new friends, has turned into a dark, twisty and mysterious plot. Harry Potter is no longer a boy, he is becoming a man. This film deals with relationships, death and more. It is no longer a story aimed at children, or at least in my opinion anyways. I started reading Harry Potter as a kid, when it was first released and kept up right until the end. Although the films are unable to fully capture everything that J.K Rowling writes in her books, I would have to say they do a pretty damn good job for what they have to work with.

In this book, as well as in the final novel, there were parts that even as a twenty year old, terrified me. In this final books I laughed, I cringed, I was nervous and I even cried. Why did Rowling make them so dark? Perhaps it was because she was aware that as she was writing these novels, the majority of her fan base was growing up with them. The first film came out in 2001 – making me about 13. The books came out even before that. I’m 21 now and the final book was released two summers ago. Meaning that Harry Potter and friends have grown up with me.

Rowling, as well as the film producers were smart, in that I believe they foresaw the popularity of twilight. Although, like Harry Potter, Twilight is popular across all age groups, its essentially the new Harry Potter, and its younger fan base will be more familiar with Twilight than our friend HP. Therefore, if Rowling had made her most recent books fairly childish, than she would likely loose some of her most loyal fans, the now older generation, leaving the new youngsters, who have likely not read her first novels, to have their own series.

Anyways, enough talk from me. I found a great article on the thestar.com that talks about the upcoming HP release. I have copy and pasted it below.

Hormones race, but the magic mainly idles in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, a stage-setting film in which boyish fascinations give way to manly concerns.

The sixth Harry Potter movie and the last to exactly track J.K. Rowling’s book series (the seventh and final novel will be split into two films) is at once more realistic and less wondrous.

Gone are many of the whimsical fantasy elements that have made the series such a delight. The boys and girls have grown into young men and women, leading to serious romantic entanglements and attendant jealousies.

There is still magic, but it all has dramatic purpose – and much of it points to the final two films, in which youthful wizard Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) and his nemesis Voldemort, the Dark Lord, will engage in decisive battle.

Emboldened by his impending return, Voldemort’s airborne henchthingies, the Death Eaters, have stepped up their attacks, including muggles (humans) amongst their prey. An early scene resembling a terrorist attack sees pedestrians on London’s Millennium Bridge sprinting for safety as the Death Eaters ravage the structure.

Not even such heavenly preserves as Diagon Alley and Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry are safe from Voldemort’s minions, who now include a fully engaged Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton), who considers himself the Dark Lord’s opposite to Harry’s status as the “Chosen One” among wizards.

The annual train journey to Hogwarts, in which Harry and pals Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) head for the start of their sixth year, takes a violent turn as well-meaning subterfuge leads to a brutal beating. The students arrive at Hogwarts to discover they must now pass through a metal detector, since repeated Death Eater attacks against the school have forced the need for greater security.

Storm clouds real and metaphorical hover over the proceedings, which returning director David Yates and screenwriter Steve Kloves have fashioned as more of a mystery than previous instalments, and with many more plot threads. Film Review Harry Potter

The picture begins as an adult detective story, as Hogwarts patriarch Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) whisks Harry from a sexy muggle encounter (what a trip that would have been!) back into the fantasy realm to investigate what appears to be a savage Death Eater attack.

“Wands out, Harry!” Dumbledore warns. But it’s a set-up to meet an important new character in the franchise: Horace Slughorn (Jim Broadbent, perfectly cast), a former professor of potions at Hogwarts who taught Tom Riddle (played by Hero Fiennes-Tiffen and Frank Dillane at different ages), the troubled student who became Lord Voldemort.

Dumbledore convinces Slughorn to return to Hogwarts, hoping that Harry – whom Slughorn is star-struck by – can cajole or con him into giving up important information about Riddle that could lead to Voldermort’s undoing.

Harry is now Dumbledore’s adult sidekick rather than his boyish protégé, an important development in the saga. But it’s frustrating to see Radcliffe still playing more boy than man when the time comes for Harry to whip out his wand. You’d think that five years of training would have made him less of a fumbler.

There are many more developments in the tale, including further elucidation into the puzzling motives of Severus Snape (Alan Rickman), now promoted to teacher of defence against the dark arts. He’s obviously being primed for greater revelations to come, as is Voldemort’s female consort Bellatrix Lestrange (Helena Bonham Carter), whose violent urges take a fiery turn this time.

Also firming up are relations between Ron and his secret admirer, Hermione, amusingly complicated by male and female interlopers, and between Harry and his own covert devotee, Ginny Weasley (Bonnie Wright). Could one of Slughorn’s concoctions be Love Potion No. 9?

Yates and Kloves have done a commendable job of distilling the essence of Rowling’s mammoth text and maintaining control over plot complications (including the identity of the titular Half-Blood Prince) that could befuddle anyone not fully versed in Potter lore.

Quality remains high in every regard and the cast is almost entirely intact, rare feats for a franchise this far into its run.

Rowling and her dutiful film deputies have kept pace with their core audience, most of whom are now into their late teens and 20s, and who are facing some of the same life issues as Harry and his career, albeit more of the earthbound variety. The same Potterphiles who went with their parents to see the film series’ debut in 2001 are now old enough to attend tonight’s midnight screenings on their own or with their pals.

Yet despite the many pluses of The Half-Blood Prince, it’s unlikely to become a series favourite for many people, at least in the celluloid format. Harry’s development as a wizard and as a hero remains gallingly slow – he often gapes rather than reacts – and the story’s one major development is bizarrely treated almost as an after-thought.

Think of the film as a stepping-stone to greater drama to come, much like The Two Towers in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and heed Slughorn’s words of caution: “These are mad times we live in, mad!”

— Lu Galasso

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July 14, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lu Galasso Says Goodbye to MJ

Myself, Lu Galasso, was a fan and will always be a fan. Whether you loved him or hated him you, over the past week there has been no way to avoid the recently deceased Michael Jackson. There has been so much controversy surrounding his death that has included everything from if he really is dead or if it’s just a publicity stunt to the short speech his daughter gave at his memorial yesterday. What I find most interesting is the impact Michael Jackson has had on the world in his 50 years of life.  The news of his death put google into threat mode (http://blog.searchenginewatch.com/090627-032514) and caused major problems in message overloads on websites like twitter and facebook. Although Farrah Fawcett had passed away on the same day, her death (unfortunately) did not cause a panic even mildly as large as Michael Jackson’s. People may argue over whether or not Michael Jackson really was the “King of Pop” but there is no denying he made his impact on the world. Michael Jackson wasn’t just a North American legand but he was internationally known. I think that was the difference between Michael and Farrah’s deaths. Farrah was mainly mourned in North America, while the world mourned for Jackson. The fact that his death was first announced over twitter caused people to “google” articles and information. It also grabbed people’s attention because his death was not officially confirmed until hours after other sources had claimed he was. Then there was the issue of his children and who was going to take custody  and where he was going to be buried and whether his funeral was going to be public or not. Then there was a backlash yesterday because many people believed that his memorial service was far too overdone when there were soldiers, firemen and other heroes dying everyday. It’s true, our society puts a lot of focus on pop culture and sometimes far too much, but watching Michael Jackson’s career from his rough childhood, to the moon walk, to hanging his child off the balcony, no more could deny that Michael Jackson defined the term “go big or go home”  and so it was pretty safe to assume that he wasn’t just going to fade away but rather he was going to go out with a bang. There was also rumors of drug overdoses and all the rest.

I’m going to go ahead and give my opinion now and you can agree or disagree with me but I really do truly believe that MJ was a harmless guy. Fine, he allegedly molested a child. I truely do not believe that was what he was doing with that little boy. Jackson was still a child at heart. He never got a real childhood and so he was still living out his childhood fantasies as an adult. Due to wealth he was able to build a place like Neverland Ranch where he could be a child all the time. Being forced to grow up when you’re five years old is going to put a lot of pressure on you and its obviously going to have repercussions. Let’s look at other examples of childhood stars, Drew Barrymore turned to drugs for awhile, Britney Spears…do I even need to explain, shaved off her hair and went a crazy for awhile, etc. When you’re a kid you are supposed to be a kid, playing with your friends on the swings, going to legoland, playing dress up, not having kids dress up as you or being followed by the paparazzi. Think how differently you’re life would have been if you hadn’t gone to high school or had your freedom to grow up and make some mistakes. I’m not saying this gets him off the hook for hanging his kid over the ledge or for completely destroying his own face but I mean, I’d probably end up doing something a little crazy too.

The guy made great music and some memorable music videos. He was the Elvis of my generation and the generation before mine. He was always the kind of guy who seemed immortal. He was Michael Jackson. You knew his name, but not much else about him. He was this guy who you speculated about and came to your own conclusions about. But to see his daughter on stage saying her own goodbye and saying she loved her father it made you realize that, like many other celebrities that we hear about, that he was a person, who was loved by his children, who took care of his children, who tried to keep them out of the spotlight by covering them up in public. He wasn’t just Michael Jackson to them, he was dad, he was a brother, he was a son. As much as the world is going to miss his music and hearing about his seemingly crazy antics, those who knew him are loosing a brother, a son, a father. Someone who wasn’t just Michael Jackson, but someone who was deeply and truly loved.

That being said, I really do hope that in their time of mourning the paparazzi and the news stations and everyone else back off and give them their privacy. If the world is grieving this much, just imagine what those closest to him feel. They need this time to rest, recover and be able to remember Michael Jackson as the person who they knew and loved and it is very disrespectful if the paps continue to invade.

I have included the link to a piece I read about Jackson this morning, where you are able to watch the video of his daughter and a few pictures of him over the years. The good and the bad.

— Lu Galasso

http://www.thestar.com/news/world/article/662541

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Lu Galasso - michael-jackson

July 8, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Lu Galasso

– Lu Galasso

June 26, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment