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HBO’s Sharp Objects available now on Blu-ray and DVD

*I received a free screener copy to review, as well as promotional products. There was no compensation. 

Christmas is next week. That means that many people will have an extended weekend. If you are finished with your holiday shopping and wrapping, and if there are no holiday parties to attend, what will you do with all that free time? Perhaps you’ll want to binge watch your favorite series, or dive into another series that you’ve been meaning to check out, but haven’t done so yet.

If you are interested in something to binge watch (or simply watch at your leisure), you should check out HBO’s Sharp Objects. 

Sharp Objects is based on the book by the same name, written by Gillian Flynn. Gillian Flynn is the same author who wrote Gone Girl, which was also made into a movie.

Sharp Objects stars Amy Adams, Patricia Clarkson, Chris Messina, Eliza Scanlen, Elizabeth Perkins and Matt Craven.

I’m a fan of Amy Adams. I think she’s a good actress who is not always cast in the best of movies (she’s had a few “flops” along the way). I am also a fan of Patricia Clarkson after seeing her in Easy A. I have to admit that seeing her in Sharp Objects is polar opposite of her witty character in Easy A.

Adams & Clarkson

Amy Adams stars as Camille Preaker. She is a reporter working in St. Louis. She carries a lot of “baggage” including alcoholism, self harm and having to deal with the aftermath from a miserable childhood.

Camille’s editor assigns her to cover the murder of a teenage girl the previous summer, and the disappearance of another teenage girl. Could their be a connection between the two.

It just so happens that these events took place in the town where Camille grew up, Wind Gap, Missouri.

Camille is not too keen on the idea of returning to her home town. She does not have many happy memories from growing up there. She especially doesn’t want to see her mother, Adora Crellin (Clarkson), who still resides in Wind Gap, along with Camille’s younger sister Amma (Scanlen).

Life wasn’t always that bad growing up. Camille did enjoy skating around town on her roller skates, along with her other younger sister (who is no longer in the picture – I don’t want to give away all the series’ secrets).

Viewers get to see a lot of scenes involving roller skating. Even her youngest sister, Amma, uses roller skates to get around town.

I have to say that roller skating brings back fond memories for me. I went roller skating all the time with my cousins and my friends. Even though Camille’s childhood was back in the 90’s (and mine as the 80’s and late 70’s). I honestly didn’t think roller skating was a “thing” in the 90’s.

I used to skate for hours at a local roller skating rink. My friend and I would spend all day Saturday at the rink, roller skating, playing video games (while still wearing our skates), and noshing on French fries from the concession stand.

I find it interesting that Camille’s youngest sister, Amma, still uses roller skates. You’d think in this day and age she would be using roller blades or hitching rides with friends. I guess it’s because Wind Gap seems to work at a slower place. They are like their own little world.

Anyway… back to the story.

With each episode, viewers get a better understanding into the mind of Camille (and how messed up it is) through a series of flashbacks and present day. When I say “messed up” I really mean MESSED UP.

Camille’s mother, Adora, is “scary.” Not horror movie type of scary, but creepy, dark and “helter skelter,” kind of scary. Clarkson REALLY brings the character to life with her movements and facial expressions. Her character reminds me a lot like the mother and grandmother (combined) from the movie/book Flowers in the Attic. She does similar things too (I just won’t give it away what she does).

Camille is trying to help solve the murders, all while dealing with her own demons.

Will Camille find out who the killer is before he/she strikes again? Will she be able to come to terms with her own issues and find a way to move past them? To find out you need to pick up a copy of Sharp Objects. Look for it where ever Blu-rays/DVDs are sold.

I received a copy of the series to review, as well as the roller skates (featured above) and a bomber jacket, similar to the one worn on the show. How cool is that?

Sadly, the jacket is too small for me. I’m a plus size and the jacket i received is a medium. That’s OK because my daughter said she’ll take it (she’s a S/M size). It’s pictured below in this post.

I must say, the roller skates are a “blast from the past” and brought back a lot of fond memories from my youth. I felt like a kid again when I was lacing them up. Unfortunately, it’s been 30+ since I wore roller skates, so I’m still re-learning how to use them again. I nearly fell on my behind the first time I put them on. Thank goodness I was able to grab on to the couch.

I forgot just how heavy roller skates are. At first it felt like I attached weights to my feet, but once I got used to the feeling it was fine.

It’s going to take some time before I remember how to skate again. Plus I need to find somewhere that I can go roller skating (being winter doesn’t help). Our condo complex parking lot is a steep hill, so there is no way I’ll skate around the parking lot. I’ll go to one of the local parks when the weather is nicer.

Lacking up my new roller skates to practice skating again.

I’ve only watched three episodes thus far. I am looking forward to finishing up the series this weekend. So far, so good. I am really enjoying the series.

I haven’t read the book, but watching the series is like reading a good book. When you read a good book it’s hard to put it down. Watching Sharp Objects really keeps my attention and interest, so much so that I want to watch another episode as soon as I finish watching one. Due to my work schedule I have only been able to watch one episode at a time, which is why I’m looking forward to the weekend so that I can finish watching all of the episodes.

Cool, retro looking bomber jacket. I had something similar to this when I was a teen.

The episodes I’ve seen so far are not jam-packed with high octane action. This is a psychological thriller, not Fast and the Furious. The story line is building up towards something, which is why I can’t wait to see the next episode.

I’ll update this review post as soon as I had a chance to see the remaining episodes.

For more information about Sharp Objects, episode synopsis and more, visit the HBO website.

Have you seen Sharp Objects on HBO? If so, what do you think about the series? Feel free to comment and share your thoughts.

Below is a teaser trailer for your enjoyment.

 

 

Kimberly

*I received a free screener copy as well as branded/promotional products. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

Ballers: The Complete First Season, now available on Blu-ray/DVD

 

Ballers The Complete First Season Blu-ray DVD

Now available on Blu-ray and DVD is the popular HBO series, Ballers. 

I have seen the show when I am scrolling through the channels, but I never stopped to watch it, nor has my husband. It wasn’t until recently I learned that the show is about football players. We are a football loving family. Had I known that we would have stopped to watch the show a long time ago.

Here is more information about the series;

Ballers, “the next great HBO series” (Crave Online) which has become the network’s biggest comedy in a decade, is set to make its Home Entertainment debut on June 14, 2016.  Starring Dwayne Johnson, the “funny, fast moving” comedy (Entertainment Weekly) follows a group of past and present football players trying to figure out where the game ends and life begins, all while keeping their cool and having each other’s backs. Ballers: The Complete First Season will be available to own on Blu-ray with Digital HD ($19.95) and DVD ($14.95) and includes behind-the-scenes looks into all ten episodes.

Spencer Strasmore (Johnson) is a retired football superstar who is trying to reinvent himself as a financial manager for current players in sun-soaked Miami. His inner circle includes Ricky (John David Washington, former pro-football player), a talented but volatile wide receiver who seeks to balance his off-field antics with his passion for the game; Charles (Omar Miller), a reluctantly retired lineman who’s finding it hard to adjust to civilian life; and Vernon (Donovan Carter), a player with a rookie contract, whose promise never to forget “where he came from” brings scores of hangers-on into his life, and lands him in big financial trouble. Though they’re pros when it comes to playing the game, each one has a harder time navigating life off the field.

Other series regulars include Troy Garity, Rob Corddry, London Brown and Jazmyn Simon. Ballers was created by Stephen Levinson (Boardwalk Empire, Entourage); executive produced by Stephen Levinson, Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Dany Garcia, Peter Berg, Evan Reilly, Rob Weiss, Julian Farino, Denis Biggs; and co-executive produced by Hiram Garcia.

I received the first season to review with my husband. This is NOT a “family friendly” series, so we made sure to watch it when our kids were off doing other things.

This is very much a “guy’s show.” It has everything guys are into – football, expensive cars, sexy women, brawling and guys being tough. For us ladies there is the “eye candy” aspect – Dwayne Johnson (that man has a great body!).

I watched a few episodes. My husband is almost done with the whole first season. He takes the set to work with him and watches and episode on his lunch break (each episode is about a half hour long).

I would consider this show mostly a drama, but there is plenty of comedy in each episode, most especially between Dwayne Johnson and Rob Corddry. In fact, I initially thought the series was going to be an actual comedy because Dwayne Johnson does comedy so well and Rob Corddry is known for his comedy.

You don’t have to be a fan of football to appreciate this series. It’s really thought out and the stories flow together perfectly. It doesn’t jump around to the point where you have no clue what is going on.

HBO Ballers Screen Shot

I like how the show gives you a bit of insight into what goes on “behind the scenes” with professional sports players. It’s not just all about the game. There is a lot that that goes on when it comes to fame and fortune. I don’t know how much of this is true, or strictly written for the show, but the lives of sports players can be totally different than what you believe them to be.

The soundtrack is really good too. The music is very fitting for each scene.

My husband LOVES this series and wishes he knew about it sooner. He even talks about whatever episode he watched on his lunch break at the dinner table (without giving away too many spoilers for me).

Personally, I really enjoy the show and I am looking forward to the second season. This time around when I see Ballers appear on the television guide, instead of clicking past it I am going to stop and watch.

If you would like to learn more about the show visit HBO.com/Ballers.

Look for Ballers: The Complete First Season where ever Blu-rays/DVDs are sold.

Below is the trailer for the first season AND second season for your enjoyment.

 

 

Kimberly

*I received a free screener copy to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

Requiem for the Dead – A new HBO Documentary showcasing lives affected by guns

 

Requiem for the Dead HBO

Did you know that an average of 32,000 people die each year in America from gun violence. That translates to roughly 88 people per day.

I tend to not watch the news. I find that the news is nothing but bad. I prefer to watch news that is heartfelt and inspiring. That usually means about the last 5-10 minutes of the CBS evening news when they usually show a “feel good” news story.

Even though I don’t watch the news that much, I find it staggering and frightening to think that an average of 88 people die each and every day here in the United States from guns – whether it’s by accident, murder and/or suicide.

I wonder why we don’t hear about most of these stories on the news?

Last spring (March – June 2014) an estimated 8,000 people were killed by guns in just that short amount of time.

A new HBO documentary airing on June 22, 2015 showcases some of these cases to help shine light on the little known stories of tragic loss, bringing the victims to life in their own words and images.

The documentary is called Requiem for the Dead: American Spring 2014.

Requiem for the Dead: American Spring 2014 was directed by Shari Cookson and Nick Doob (HBO’s Emmy®-winning The Memory Loss Tapes and Emmy®-nominated Paycheck to Paycheck: The Life & Times of Katrina Gilbert). This documentary is exclusive to HBO.

HBO Requiem for the Dead

I’ve personally never seen a documentary done in such a way as Requiem for the Dead. Instead of a lot of talking and interviews the documentary features screen shots of newspaper headlines, 911 calls, photos from the victim’s Facebook pages and social media posts and photos from others. The documentary also features a lot of music that adds to the emotions and the drama showcased in the film.

Whether by homicide, accident or suicide, a wide cross-section of Americans – men and women, young and old, from every racial background – are victims and perpetrators of gun violence. With images from social media postings, frantic 911 calls, police reports and videos, each story is hauntingly laid out through the unmediated expressions that remain. Requiem for the Dead places the viewer in victims’ and their families’ lives, capturing the shock and grief felt by their loved ones as the survivors are left to make sense of the horrific events.

Among the eight stories from 2014 are:

  • “Military Wife” – By all appearances, Kyla and Alex Ryng lived a happy life with three young children in Bristol, Conn. But the pair began having marital issues, and Kyla filed for divorce. Alex, a member of the Army National Guard, bought a gun, and shot his wife and himself a few days later while the kids were in their bedrooms.
  • “My Rock Is Gone” – Tiffany Davenport married Melvin Ray in Topeka, Kan. on May 24. But the couple’s joy turned to tragedy in the early hours of the next morning, when she was killed in the crossfire of a gang shootout, leaving her new husband and daughter, Destiny, devastated.
  • “In the Other Room” – Drafted by the Green Bay Packers, Jerel Worthy was always excited when his grandma, Mae Worthy, came to his games. When a gun handled by his grandfather discharged in the bedroom of his grandparents’ Huber Heights, Ohio home, the bullet passed through the wall and into the living room where Mae was sitting, striking her in the head and killing her.
  • “Best Friends” – Lucas and Brady were 11-year-old best friends in Frazeysburg, Ohio, who liked to bike and play video games together. When Brady went into his dad’s bedroom one day to show Lucas a loaded pistol under the bed, it accidentally went off, shooting Lucas in the heart. Brady made a frantic 911 call, but it was too late.
  • “My Most Beautiful Memory” – Eight days before Father’s Day, Renotta Jernigan of Chesterfield, Va. asked her husband, Chris, who had trouble holding a job and was suffering from depression, for a divorce. On Father’s Day, Chris shot and killed her and their two children (ages nine and two) before killing himself.

Bridging these main stories are dozens of headlines, brief, stark and shocking, coupled with vibrant photos of the people whose deaths are recounted. The film contains imagery for more than a hundred victims of gun violence in spring 2014, which is a small fraction of the 8,000-plus estimated to have died in that three-month period.

In addition to found footage, Requiem for the Dead uses 38 pieces of preexisting music from the internet, each with its own life and intrinsic emotion, which frame the moments collected.

As the stories accumulate, it becomes evident how many of these incidents could have been prevented by proper mental-health treatment, or if guns were absent or stored more securely.

gun

I had the opportunity to screen the documentary ahead of time. I was not prepared for the emotional roller coaster I went on watching this film. I experienced a variety of emotions ranging from fear, anger and profound sadness.

When it comes to gun control I think more needs to be done to ensure that guns do not get into the hands of the mentally unstable. I also think that guns need to be hidden and secured when at home so that children don’t come across the guns and kill themselves and/or others.

It scares me to think that anytime, anywhere, innocent people who are in the wrong place at the wrong time have lost their lives to guns. This documentary shows the faces and stories of just a very small sampling of those whose lives were tragically cut short by guns.

It doesn’t matter if you are young or old, black or white, a gang member or devoted church goes, a mother or a single man… anyone can easily and unexpectedly fall victim to a random shooting or murder by gun.

Some of the footage in this film is very raw including video taken from a Policeman’s camera that shows four children whose father shot their stepfather in the head while they watched. I can’t even begin to imagine what those children must have been going through emotionally. How do you recover from something like that? Can you recover from something like that?

I would like to encourage people to take the time to watch this documentary in hopes it will help rally people for stricter gun control and other regulations that might help save an innocent life some day.

HBO playdates are as follows:

June 22 (4:35 a.m.), 25 (5:00 p.m.) and 28 (3:45 p.m.), and

July 3 (9:00 a.m.), 4 (12:30 p.m.), 9 (12:15 p.m.) and 14 (3:35 a.m.)

HBO2 playdates:

June 24 (noon, 8:00 p.m.) and July 7 (12:10 a.m.), 12 (8:30 a.m.) and 31 (8:15 a.m.)

Will you be watching?

hbo-logo

Kimberly

*I received a free screener copy in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.

HBO Documentary Film’s presents Valentine Road on October 7, 2013

 

ValentineRoad

I mentioned in a post the other day that October is a “National” month for many causes. Some causes not mentioned include October as being National Bullying Awareness Month, National LGBT Month and October 11th is National Coming Out Day. 

Bullying is still a huge problem in schools across the country, even with efforts to prevent it. Many students are also facing extreme prejudice by “coming out” to their peers as being gay, lesbian or bi-sexual. So what happens with bullying and sexuality collide? It can result in murder, heartbreak, unanswered questions and a community divided. Such is the case of Larry King and Brandon McInerney.

Larry King was a young man with a tragic background. When he was two years old he was adopted out because his biological father abandoned him and his brother and his biological mother was a drug addict.

Over the years Larry was diagnosed with ADHD and Reactive Attachment Disorder which is a condition where a child fails to develop relationships with his/her caregivers. Another words he had difficulty bonding with his adoptive parents.

Larry started to experience bullying when he was in third grade. Larry was a bit effeminate and his peers teased him for being “girly”. When he was 10 years old he “came out” as being gay, although some would say he was transgendered because he liked to dress like a girl and wear make up.

Larry was eventually removed from his adoptive home and placed in a group home.

HBO Valentine Road

Larry attended E.O. Green Junior High School. He was liked by most of his classmates, but others found his fondness for wearing heels to school and getting excited about wearing a dress to be a bit disturbing.

One day Larry was asked by his friends to play a game where he would walk up to his crush and ask him/her to be his Valentine. The problem was his crush was a boy name Brandon McInerney.

Larry was up for the challenge and interrupted a basketball game Brandon was playing with his friends and asked him if he would be his Valentine. Brandon was stunned. His friends couldn’t help but make fun of him and joke that Brandon and Larry were going to have “gay babies” together (Brandon is heterosexual).

For the next couple of days things intensified. Larry tried to get Brandon to notice him, even parading around in a dress and heels to get his attention. It got Brandon’s attention, as well as that of his friends and Brandon became even more of a joke to his friends.

On the morning of February 12, 2008, McInerney walked into Larry’s computer classroom with a loaded .22 caliber revolver and shot Larry King in the head. Both of their lives would never be the same again.

Valentine Road is an official selection of the U.S. Documentary Competition at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, and recipient of numerous festival awards in 2013.

HBO Documentary Valentine Road

This powerful and disturbing documentary goes deep to explore the background of both of the youths whose lives were forever changed that day. You’ll learn alarming details of abuse from their own parents (including one boy being punched in the fact), White Supremacy, intolerance, “finger pointing” and how two young boys slipped through the system and nothing was done to help them before leading up to that fateful moment in time.

This film raises concern for the safety of gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgendered youths while challenging our country’s juvenile justice and educational systems.

Who is to blame for this situation? One boy is now dead and the other serving time in an adult correctional facility. Was justice serve? Who is truly at fault for this tragic event – The boys? Their parents? The school? The system? This film leaves A LOT of room for discussion.

This is a heart-wrenching documentary which will leave you shaking your head in disbelief. It’s such a horrible tragedy that ultimately effecting not only the lives of their peers but also their school and their community.

Tune into Valentine Road on Sunday, October 7, 2013 on HBO. Please check your local TV guide for air time and channel.

For more information about this or other HBO Documentaries visit www.HBO.com/Documentaries.

hbo_docs

Kimberly

*I received a free screener copy in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.

 

First Comes Love premiering on HBO Monday July 29, 2013 @ 9:00 PM

 

First Comes Love

I can’t imagine what my life would be like without having a child (or in my case children). I have always wanted to be a mom. I dreamed of having my own family way back in my early teen (‘tween) years. I always envisioned the “perfect” life with a loving husband, two wonderful children, a dog and a house with a white picket fence. I think most people have that same idealology.

I do have a loving husband, and I have two wonderful kids (when they are not driving me crazy), a dog, five cats and we live in a shoebox size condo with no picket fence. At least I am living part of my dream life.

I am grateful that I was able to conceive children, and that I have a wonderful husband/partner in my life. My heart breaks for women who are unable to conceive and women who just haven’t found the right person to have a child with. Everyone should experience the overwhelming love and joy of having a child. In a perfect world everyone who wanted a child should be able to have one with no limitations or hurdles. Sadly that is not the case.

Nina Davenport always dreamed of being a mom. Her biological clock started ticking decades ago. It went into overdrive with the birth of her niece. Sadly, being a 40-something woman with no significant partner in her life meant that time was of the essence. If she waited much longer to have a child it might be too late. As you know, the older you get the harder it is to conceive a child. Some people are lucky, like Hallie Barry who is 45. But for others the chances of conceiving are very slim once you hit your 40’s.

Nina is the youngest child in the family. Her older brothers are both married with their own families. It seems like everyone around her is having children, except Nina. Knowing that the window of opportunity was rapidly closing Nina decided to take matters into her own hands.

With the blessing of her friends and most of her family (her father was not happy about the idea), Nina embarked on months of hormones to prepare her body for conception. Her gay friend Eric offered to be the sperm donor (not without a lot of prodding). And Nina’s best friend Amy offered to be her birthing partner and be there for Nina when the baby was born.

Jasper Davenport First Comes Love

Nina was lucky and was able to conceive on the first try. Nine months later her adorable son Jasper was born.

You would THINK it was all that easy. It wasn’t. There was a lot that went on in Nina’s life before, during and even long after the birth of her son. She had to deal with loss, her father putting her down for the choices she made in her life, her love life and a myriad of ups and downs.

Nina is a film maker who specializes in documentaries. She spent years documenting her journey into motherhood. First Comes Love is her documentary on her life before the birth of her son and beyond. You’ll be able to follow along Nina’s journey and come face to face with her family and friends and walk beside Nina through the good times and the bad times. You’ll cheer for her, you’ll want to reach into the TV and give her a hug, and you’ll want to have a few “choice words” for others. Be there when Nina learns she learns her lifelong dream of becoming a mother was about the come true. Witness the birth of her son Jasper (FYI… it’s graphic).

First Comes Love is a must see documentary that everyone who is a parent, or thinking about becoming a parent, should see. I think it’s also important for older, single women to see that it is possible to become a mom even if you don’t have a partner or if you are in your 40’s (or even 30’s). More and more women are opting to be single mothers. I salute all single mothers out there. I’m fortunate to have a wonderful husband. It’s hard enough to raise children with two parents. I can’t imagine doing it alone and having to juggle parenting, trying to have a love life and trying to maintain all your close relationships (both family and friends).

First Comes Love premieres tomorrow night (Monday, July 29, 2013) on HBO at 9:00 PM. You can learn more about the film and Nina Davenport on the HBO website and on her own personal website, www.NinaDavenport.com.

Nina Davenport

Kimberly

*I received a free screener copy in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.