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International Women’s Day

The future is female!

Every day is a wonderful day to be a woman. We ladies have a lot to be proud of, and especially in today’s society, where females can make an impact on the world, have strong opinions on any given topic, become bosses, global leaders and pursue their life goals in style. I support every girl out there with their ambitions. My besties are mostly girls. 99% of my favorite music artists are females. Here’s to us Queens of the universe! May we always celebrate one another’s achievements, tolerate the differences in other fellow ladies and continue to build ourselves as a diverse community.

In celebration of this exciting day, I present you a variety of quotes, images and videos of some of the superladies I’m inspired by. You’re free to share yours. Happy International Women’s Day!

Ella Fitzgerald the original jazz queen.

“Women are the real architects of society.”
~ Harriet Beecher Stowe

The three Queens of Reign. Queen Mary of Scots, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Catherine de Medici, powerfully portrayed by Adelaide Kane, Rachel Skarsten and Megan Follows.
Reign CW

“Salute” by Little Mix… The ultimate feminist anthem!

Hayley Atwell as Agent Carter.
Agent Carter

Nala the lion Queen.
Adult_Nala

Female friendships rock!
Sisterhood

Our very own “New Girl”.
zooey-deschanel-1062457_H130439_L

“Moonlight” and “La La Land” at the 2017 Academy Awards

Film has always been a medium where dreams, ideas and stories can be visually expressed, and the annual Academy Awards is the one night that celebrates the magic of cinema and the large number of creative talents involved in Hollywood and international filmmaking – directors, actors, screenwriters, cinematographers, musicians, costume designers, animators and other professionals within the industry. The 2017 Oscars have finally brought back diversity, which was lacking in recent years. Jimmy Kimmel as the host provided entertainment as well as encouraged filmmakers from all over the world to continue to shape the films of tomorrow. Moonlight and La La Land – two wonderful films with equally inspiring messages – managed to pull a few wins out of all the nominations they got.

Moonlight, with its lyrical pace and compelling script that highlights the life of Chiron as he goes on an identity search, is an underrated hit with a huge likeability factor. Excellent performances by all the cast, especially Naomi Harris as Chiron’s unstable, crack addict mother! Mahershala Ali, who provided a much-needed warmth and a sense of belonging for young Chiron in the short scenes he had, managed to pull a win for Best Supporting Actor – very well-deserved. His charisma and gentlemanly quality showed throughout the Oscars ceremony. Winning Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Picture gave this film the credibility it deserves. A must-watch for audiences looking for life inspiration.

Fan-favorite La La Land seemed like a sure bet for the Oscars, and having Emma Stone win Best Lead Actress, Damien Chazelle as the youngest director to have won his category, Justin Herwitz for the charming music he created, and the award that was given for the film’s cinematography meant this film has what it takes to stand among the classics with its colorful visuals, dreamy leads (Emma as wannabe actress Mia and Ryan Gosling as aspiring jazz artist Sebastian) and the portrayal of dreams. John Legend, who played Gosling’s musician friend in the film delivered a smooth, cinematic mash-up of “City of Stars” and “Audition (The Fools Who Dream)” at the Oscars. “City of Stars” ended up winning Best Original Song, and rightfully so, even though all contenders were equally powerful.

Despite the announcement mix-up that created a lot of controversy at the end of the night, both Moonlight and La La Land are Oscar-worthy, and the inspirational messages they convey should be welcomed by all film audiences. The compelling and diverse storytelling in Moonlight and the pursuit of dreams that La La Land represents are gold.

As a bonus, I present you a list of my other favorite #Oscars2017 moments:

  • Piper winning Best Animated Short. Cute little birdy!
  • Viola Davis’s amazing win for Fences and her remarkable speech about being an artist – “It’s the only profession that celebrates what it means to live a life”.
  • Alicia Vikander and Kate McKinnon got to present.
  • The Hidden Figures ladies – Taraji Henson, Olivia Spencer and Janelle Monae – looked out-of-this world fantastic.
  • All the cookies and donuts falling out of the sky toward the guests. Very innovative!
  • The random tourists’ surprise and Jimmy Kimmel’s hilarious line about all the Oscars guests looking like a wax museum had they remain still.
  • Auli’i Cravalho (Moana) and her fierce performance of “How Far I’ll Go” (despite getting hit by the wave behind her at some point) with an introduction by co-star Dwayne Johnson and Lin-Manuel Miranda rapping out the intro.
  • Leonardo DiCaprio handing Emma Stone her award.
  • Meryl Streep!!!

Haley Reinhart’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love” Now Certified GOLD

Songstress and F is For Family voice actress Haley Reinhart finally has a certified GOLD single with her lush, dreamy rendition of Elvis Presley’s Can’t Help Falling in Love. This divine, magical tune flawlessly displays the grandness of Haley’s vocals and has charmed listeners worldwide. It was also wonderfully used in an Extra Gum ad.

If you haven’t already, watch the commercial and download the song on iTunes. You know you “can’t help falling in love” with Haley again and again!

Ariana Grande and John Legend’s “Beauty and the Beast” Duet

Beauty and the Beast‘s theme has always been unforgettable, and now this song as old as time gets a modern update for the release of the new 2017 film by Disney. Filling in for Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson are Ariana Grande and John Legend, and this duo really do measure up to the original performers. Their soulful, powerhouse vocals make a fine, magical mix.

Listen to their version here and pre-order the new Beauty and the Beast soundtrack now to get an immediate download of the song:

Natalie Portman in “Jackie”: A Portrait of a First Lady

“Don’t let it be forgot that for one brief shining moment there was a Camelot. There won’t be another Camelot. Not another Camelot.”

Natalie Portman was at her finest in her portrayal of Mrs. Kennedy, making director Pablo Larrain’s Jackie a superior film that deserves all the attention at the 2017 Academy Awards.

With the prime focus being the First Lady’s attempt at piecing her life – and ‘Camelot’ – back together in the aftermath of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, a strong, impactful acting was needed to accurately play this iconic woman, and Natalie’s effortless performance showed how much research went into her preparation. Her mannerims, way of speaking and elegance definitely reflected the real Jackie. She had that ability to show extreme devastation about her husband’s loss but also remain composed, strong and hopeful in the face of the public.

Jackie was my favorite Natalie role after Black Swan, and I genuinely think she deserves that Best Actress win this year, even though the other choices are equally great. The same can be said of costume designer Madeline Fontaine whose work on this film was of stylish, regal quality and also Mica Levi who composed a dark yet emotive score that fit in with the grim atmosphere that Jackie’s struggle is associated with.

If you missed Jackie at the cinema, you can now pre-order the movie on DVD and Blu-Ray. Witness Natalie’s brilliant transformation into Mrs. Kennedy.

Back to 1989: 27 Songs on Taylor Swift’s 27th Birthday

1989. The year Taylor Swift came into this universe. Fast forward 27 years later, and she is a global superstar and hitmaker with award-winning records and chart-topping singles. To celebrate her Birthday, I’m listing 27 of my top favorite Taylor tunes. Feel free to list yours too.

  1. “New Romantics”
  2. “Style”
  3. “Mine”
  4. “Sparks Fly”
  5. “Clean”
  6. “I Knew You Were Trouble”
  7. “Picture to Burn”
  8. “Red”
  9. “Speak Now”
  10. “Innocent”
  11. “I Know Places”
  12. “Blank Space”
  13. “Should’ve Said No”
  14. “Bad Blood”
  15. “Starlight”
  16. “Hey Stephen”
  17. “Welcome to New York”
  18. “State of Grace”
  19. “Enchanted”
  20. “Safe and Sound”
  21. “Fearless”
  22. “Wildest Dreams”
  23. “I Don’t Want to Live Forever” featuring Zayn
  24. “Everything Has Changed” featuring Ed Sheeran
  25. “22”
  26. “Love Story”
  27. “Wonderland”

“Someday at Christmas” by Jackie Evancho is a Delicious Holiday Truffle for the Ears

Another holiday season, another Christmas album from the young and gifted classical songstress Jackie Evancho. With an elegant, cinematic orchestration and pure display of vocals in every track, this is one record worth collecting. Someday at Christmas is like a musical painting that’s full of grandeur yet very sincere in capturing the essence of Christmas and in igniting a spark of hope for the world.

Not only it makes a perfect companion for a festive holiday dinner with family and friends. It also serves as a delicious holiday chocolate truffle for the ears. I applaud Miss Evancho for a very inspired selection of songs to record and the classical greats in all the duets, such as Placido Domingo and Il Volo. They add to the divine quality of Someday at Christmas.

TRACK LIST

  1. “Someday At Christmas”
    Serving as the title track, this is one tune the world needs. Powerful lyrics with an imagined vision of the future – a future we all crave for.
  2. “Do You Hear What I Hear?”
    The cinematic intro paves a path to a very fine song. She really gets into the storytelling aspect.
  3. “Guardian Angels” (featuring Placido Domingo)
    A very exquisite duet. This song is the Truth.
  4. “Little Drummer Boy”
    Definitely a one-of-a-kind version of this popular song. She gives it a fresh energy.
  5. “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear”
    Probably one of my top faves from the record. I enjoy Christmas albums that have “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear” on the list, and Jackie is doing this whimsical tune justice.
  6. “Pie Jesu” (from Requiem – featuring Placido Domingo)
    What a fine duet. Respect!
  7. “Christmas Waltz”
    She delivers the tune in an imaginative way, and it definitely feels like a magical post-dinner holiday waltz, and all the guests, reindeers and sugarplum fairies are watching.
  8. “Hallelujah” (featuring Peter Hollens)
    The Leonard Cohen hit is definitely perfect for Christmas.
  9. “The Christmas Song” (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)
    A fresh new take on a holiday classic. Feel the warmth in this song.
  10. “O Holy Night” (featuring Vittorio Grigolo)
    Simply divine. That’s all I can say.
  11. “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”
    It’s like a personal letter from Jackie to all of us this holiday season.
  12. “Little Drummer Boy” (featuring Il Volo)
    Two times a charm. Love the call-and-response bits in the verses that are followed by a vocal unison in the chorus.

Get Someday at Christmas and Jackie’s other records here.

“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”

Magic. Adventure. Jazz Age New York. Eddie Redmayne. The wizarding world of J.K. Rowling that bewitched the entire planet with Harry Potter now reopens with promises of a new universe in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and the film does deliver.

Redmayne’s Newt Scamander – the author of the textbook the movie title is based on that later becomes required reading for first-year Hogwarts students – has a luggage full of fantastic beasts that accidentally run loose in 1920’s NYC. In his quest to get them back, he is joined by sisters Tina and Queenie Goldstein (Katherine Waterston and singer-songwriter Alison Sudol in her divine acting debut) as well as a no-Maj – what muggles were referred to back in the day – named Jacob Kowalski (humorously played by Dan Fogler).

From the adventurous Newt and determined Tina to the whimsical Queenie and comical yet lovable Jacob, these fantastic four are brilliantly developed. Colin Farrell is also at the top of his game as the menacing Percival Graves. I have a soft spot for Queenie, not just ’cause I’ve been a longtime supporter of Ms. Sudol since her A Fine Frenzy days, but Queenie is a wonderful witch with an equally magnetic, charming personality. Oh, she can also magically conjure a delicious apple strudel in addition to having an amazing mind-reading ability. She and Jacob are the ultimate scene stealers, and the two of them look like those delightfully quirky couples found in Woody Allen movies.

All the film settings help enhance the plot, from the famous Central Park to the Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA), the American equivalent to the UK Ministry of Magic in the Potter-verse.

When it comes to the beasts, the wide variety of magical creatures featured on the big screen add a lot of intrigue. My personal favorite is the Niffler, an adorable duck-like beast that’s attracted to shiny belongings. But other forms of beasts are also introduced like the Thunderbird that Newt rescued from Egypt and plans on returning to its natural habitat in Arizona, which is really the main reason he’s in the States.

Expect Fantastic Beasts to be nothing short of fantastic! Fantastic screenplay (written by Rowling herself), fantastic cast, fantastic beasts, fantastic production, fantastic visual effects, fantastic Roaring 20’s costumes, and fantastic mix of light adventure and the darker, intense aspects portrayed in some scenes. Don’t miss out on the cinematic grandeur this film flawlessly showcases!

 

“Beauty and the Beast” 2017 Official Trailer

An intelligent beauty. A cursed prince. A tale as old as time. We’ve been waiting for what seemed like an eternity for new promos related to Disney’s live-action adaptation of its Academy Award-winning film Beauty and the Beast, and now they’re finally out in the open.

Shortly after the debut of its first look image on the latest Entertainment Weekly issue, the 2017 movie’s official trailer premiered yesterday that instantly made the world swoon with adoration. So much enchantment in one video!

With strong production and inspired casting (Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Ian McKellen, Ewan McGregor, Audra MacDonald, Josh Gad, Emma Thompson and Kevin Kline), I could tell Beauty and the Beast will make 2017 a magical, unforgettable year.

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