About Me

My photo
Little Rock, Arkansas, United States
I completed the 2016 Summer Program in the School of Cinematic Arts (SCA) at the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles. I received a BS Degree in Radio/TV from ASU and a MA Degree in Technical and Expository Writing from UALR. As a Cancer Survivor and a Widow, I hope I can help others through my Blog http://leslieinlittlerock.blogspot.com/ Twitter @leslieinlr and Instagram @leslieinlittlerock accounts.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

True Detective (Season Three) Premiers Tonight On HBO!



Last year I was paid to write an entry regarding film and television production in Arkansas for the website ONLY IN ARKANSAS.

The entire production was filmed in Northwest Arkansas and stars Academy Award winning actor Mahershala Ali and British actress Carmen Ejogo.

I was lucky enough to work as an extra in a press conference scene that appears in the second episode. Because of my love of television and movies, it was exciting to just be in the same room as the professions - the talented cast, the hard working crew and the outstanding costume, hair and makeup specialists.

Here's a link to my story:

https://onlyinark.com/culture/lights-camera-arkansas/


Photo from IMDb





Leslie Smith Doan, a native Arkansan, is a retired Technical Writer and active blogger. She enjoys traveling, attending special events with her two daughters and spending time with her black & white dog, Oreo and her calico kitty, Lilly.

A long time TV and Movie Fan, she has also appeared as a Background Actor on the television shows ScandalAmerican Housewife, the pilot episode of Young Sheldon and the feature films God's Not Dead 2,  God's Not Dead: A Light in Darkness and the upcoming HBO limited series, True Detective (Season 3) all filmed in Arkansas. 

Friday, December 7, 2018

Movie Review - Ocean's Eight (2018)





Movie poster and cast photos from IMDb

Movie Description: Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) gathers an all-female crew to attempt an impossible heist at New York City's yearly Met Gala. Ocean's Eight makes a few references to Debbie's estranged brother, Danny Ocean (George Clooney) from the previous films Ocean's Eleven (2001), Ocean's Twelve (2004) and Ocean's Thirteen (2007).

Movie Theater Release Date:  Friday, June 8, 2018

Digital HD From Amazon Video & iTunes Release Date:  Tuesday, August 21, 2018


DVD and Blu-ray Release Date:  Tuesday, September 11, 2018


Running Time:  1 hour & 50 minutes

Genre: 
Action, Comedy, Crime

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA): 
Rated PG-13 for language, drug use, and some suggestive content.                  


Director:  Gary Ross

Writers: 
Gary Ross (scree
nplay by) and Olivia Milch (screenplay by)

Gary Ross (story by)

George Clayton Johnson (based upon characters created by) and
Jack Golden Russell (based upon characters created by)


Producers: Stephen Soderbergh, George Clooney and Susan Ekins





CAST



Sandra Bullock as Debbie Ocean

Cate Blanchett as Lou


Sarah Paulson as Tammy


Mindy Kaling as Amita

Anne Hathaway as Daphne Kluger

Helena Bonham Carter as Rose Weil
Rihanna as Nine Ball
Awkwafina as Constance




LESLIE'S NOTES

I saw Ocean's Eight at the Movie Tavern movie theater in Little Rock when it was first released in June 2018. I read about the filming of the movie a year earlier and saw casting notices while it was in production. I thought it would be cool to be a background actor in a movie with Sandra Bullock, but I had already moved back to Little Rock when the movie was being filmed!

Here's a quick summary of Ocean's Eight without too many spoilers (using the character's names):

As Debbie is released from prison, she immediately contacts her good friend, Lou, with plans for a grand heist involving the annual Met Gala in New York City. Together, they bring together other women who each have an individual talent to assist in such a risky robbery: Amita, a jewelry maker who wants to break away from her family business; Nine Ball, a first-rate computer hacker who won't tell anyone her real name; Constance, a sly street hustler and pickpocket; Tammy, a suburban mom who sells stolen goods on the side and Rose, a broke British fashion designer. With the help of a male art dealer who previously turned Debbie in to the police for art fraud, Debbie manipulates a popular young actress, Daphne Kluger, a co-host of the Met Gala, to attend the event wearing a $150 million Cartier necklace.

I've seen all three of the previous Ocean's movies and enjoyed them, although I always had to discuss with my husband after the movies how all the characters came together to "pull off the greatest heist of all time". This movie is similar in the way that I had to go back and think about each character and what part they played in the organization of their mission.

A common thread in all four movies is actor Elliot Gould, who plays Reuben Tiskoff, an old-time con artist who was friends with Danny and visits Debbie after she is released from prison. 

I found the all-female leads refreshing and it adds a few twists and turns in the film. It also provides several actresses with very memorable performances, including Emmy winner Sarah Paulson, as Tammy, who lives an upper class lifestyle, simultaneously taking care of her school age children and trafficking stolen goods out of her spacious garage and singer Rihanna, who does a convincing job as a computer expert who can break into any network.

Since the yearly Met Gala draws A-List celebrities, there are many who are shown attending the glamorous event. Some of the cameos appearances add a positive experience to the movie, such as new bride Hailey BIEBER and rapper Common, while others detracted from the film and thankfully did not speak, just walked around wearing fancy clothes - I'm talking about you, Kim Kardashian-West and your two half-sisters, Kendall and Kylie Jenner.

Before this movie, I had never heard of Awkwafina, but she was good in Ocean's Eight but even better as "Asian Ellen" in the hit summer movie, Crazy Rich Asians

Since Ocean's Eight is now available on DVD and streaming services, I  recommend watching it. I really enjoyed seeing all eight main actresses and the supporting actors, along with the beautiful costumes.



Five of the eight main characters planning the stealing of a $150 million necklace.









Leslie Smith Doan, a native Arkansan, is a retired Technical Writer and active blogger. She enjoys traveling and attending special events with her two daughters, ages 25 & 21. 

A long time TV and Movie Fan, she has also appeared as a Background Actor on the television shows ScandalAmerican Housewife, the pilot episode of Young Sheldon and the feature films God's Not Dead 2,  God's Not Dead: A Light in Darkness and the upcoming HBO limited series, True Detective (season 3) all filmed in Arkansas. 

My IMDb Link!

Leslie lives in Little Rock with her two rescue pets, Oreo, a black & white Australian Shepherd and Lilly, a calico kitty. 

She blogs about her personal experiences as both a cancer survivor and widow along with movie reviews and humorous essays in her blog Leslie In Little Rock. You can also find Leslie online on her TwitterInstagram, and Facebook accounts.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Meet Mary!

Mary is a Senior in high school in Alabama, active in several school organizations, works part-time and going to college next fall! Thanks to the wonderful staff at Magic Moments in Alabama, Mary was able to meet actor Micha Folwer, star of the ABC comedy Speechless!







Everyone connected to the show was so friendly and we were also able to meet Micah's mom, Tammy, who talked to us for more than 45 minutes in Micha's personal trailer while filming a location shoot in Los Angeles this week.

Mary was also given a school jacket and we were included in the filming of an upcoming episode that will air after Christmas!






Watch Mary's YouTube show on The Awesome Mary Show!


And watch Speechless on ABC on Friday Nights!

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Movie Review - Book Club (2018)

Book Club can be purchased on iTunes for $14.99, available for digital download on August 21, 2018 and on DVD/Blu-ray on August 28, 2018.



Movie poster and cast photos from IMDb

Movie Description:  Four lifelong friends have their lives forever changed after reading 50 Shades of Grey in their monthly book club.

Movie Theater Release Date:  Friday, May 18, 2018

Running Time
:  1 hour & 44 minutes

Genre:  
Comedy/Drama/Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA): 
Rated PG-13 for sex-related material throughout the film and for language.




Writer/Director:  Bill Holderman




Leslie's Notes


When I was in Los Angeles last year working as a background actor on the television programs Scandal, VEEP, Ballers and American Housewife, among other shows, I received daily casting alerts from Central Casting and LA.Casting.com for roles I was eligible for, basically Female around age 50. I tell my friends that there is a need in California for tall, skinny, older women, so that's why I keep getting cast! 


One of the advantages of living and working in the Los Angeles area is
that I get to do all the fun tourist things too!
Photo by Leslie Dianne
Right after I left California in early April 2017, I saw several casting notices for the filming of an upcoming movie titled Book Club I wished I was still in Los Angeles because I would have loved to have been a background actor on set with the four amazing actresses in the lead roles and it looked like a great movie!

I also laughed because two of my friends from high school and I actually saw Fifty Shades of Grey in the movie theater together when the movie was released. We were like our own Book Club!

Here's the link to my movie review of Fifty Shades of Grey that was published on my blog, #LeslieInLittleRock, on April 6, 2015, 




BOOK CLUB CAST



Jane Fonda as Vivian




Candice Bergen as Sharon




Mary Steenburgen as Carol




Diane Keaton as Diane



BOOK CLUB SUMMARY

The general premise of the movie is four longtime friends, women in their 60's, read the 2011 erotic romance best seller novel, Fifty Shades of Grey, in their book club. One of the women (Vivian) has never married but has many romances through the years; another one (Sharon) is a judge but disillusioned about dating since her husband divorced her for a younger woman; the third woman (Carol) has been married for many years but her husband seems disinterested and the final woman (Diane) is a widow.

I laughed all the way through this film because it approaches topics such as online dating, being reacquainted with old loves, trying to find the sparks in a marriage as empty nesters and the subject that personally affects me - life after the sudden death of a spouse.

I know that many of my friends saw and loved this movie but I don't think it's just for the "Over 50 Crowd". It's smartly written, beautifully shot and features some of the best actresses of our times - 3 are Oscar Winners and the 4th is an Oscar Nominee.

There is also a very good supporting cast in this movie, including Don Johnson, Andy Garcia, Ed Begley Jr., Craig T. Nelson and Richard Dreyfuss.



Look for my next Movie Review - Ocean's Eight
featuring Sandra Bullock







Leslie Smith Doan, a native Arkansan, is a retired Technical Writer and active blogger. She enjoys traveling and attending special events with her two daughters, ages 25 & 21. 

A long time TV and Movie Fan, she has also appeared as a Background Actor on the television shows ScandalAmerican Housewife, the pilot episode of Young Sheldon and the feature films God's Not Dead 2and God's Not Dead: A Light in Darkness, both filmed in Arkansas. 

My IMDb Link!

Leslie lives in Little Rock with her two rescue pets, Oreo, a black & white Australian Shepherd and Lilly, a calico kitty. 

She blogs about her personal experiences as both a cancer survivor and widow along with movie reviews and humorous essays in her blog Leslie In Little Rock. You can also find Leslie online on her TwitterInstagram, and Facebook accounts.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Journey to Florida for a Wedding!

Friday, April 13, 2018 was a very lucky day for our friend's son, Scott Boone, as he married his college sweetheart Caroline Mowry in a beautiful wedding at Eden Gardens State Park in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida.


Mr. and Mrs. Scott Boone


Scott graduated from high school and attended the same university as my oldest daughter, Lauren. When Lauren studied abroad in Austria in Spring 2013, Scott and Lauren's friend Jenn packed up Lauren's items in her apartment and moved them to a storage unit. We have also attended the same church as Scott's family for more than 15 years and have gone on church trips together. So when Scott announced his engagement last year and his fiance's family lives in Florida, it became a "Destination Wedding"!

I turned a car trip to Florida into a Spring vacation:


My first stop was to visit my youngest daughter at her sorority event at Ole Miss in Oxford, Mississippi.



After spending the evening in Oxford, I then drove to Hoover, Alabama and spent the night with Jana, one of my best friends and sorority sister from college at Arkansas State University.



Amazing chicken tacos with pasta salad, fried okra, sweet potato chips and french fries at The Boot At The Grove in Hoover, Alabama!



I arrived at the condo in Panama City Beach, Florida after first accidentally booking a hotel room in Panama City, Panama.



My daughter, Sara, and her boyfriend, Will, joined me in Florida.



Our amazing condo in Panama City Beach offered two separate swimming pools, a hot tub, a view of the ocean from our balcony and full beach access!


I love the white sand and blue water of the Gulf Coast!



Sara and I at the Eden Gardens State Park, the location of the wedding.
Photo by W. Chamberlin.



Sara with Savvy Shields @savvyjanine Miss American 2017, who was one of the bridesmaids at the wedding.



The bride along with two of the bridesmaids enjoying the amazing band at the reception.




The parents of the groom with long time friends from Arkansas at the wedding reception.










Other photos from my trip to Florida:





















I stopped at the Navarre Beach Children's Park where my daughters made tiles
with their hand prints almost 19 years ago while we were on a family vacation.





Photos by Leslie & Sara Doan





Leslie Smith Doan, a native Arkansan, is a retired Technical Writer and active blogger. She enjoys traveling and attending special events with her two daughters, ages 25 & 21. 

A long time TV and Movie Fan, she has also appeared as a Background Actor on the television shows ScandalAmerican Housewife, the pilot episode of Young Sheldon and the feature films God's Not Dead 2 and God's Not Dead: A Light in Darkness, both filmed in Arkansas. 

My IMDb Link!

Leslie lives in Little Rock with her two rescue pets, Oreo, a black & white Australian Shepherd and Lilly, a calico kitty. 

She blogs about her personal experiences as both a cancer survivor and widow along with movie reviews and humorous essays in her blog Leslie In Little Rock. You can also find Leslie online on her TwitterInstagram, and Facebook accounts.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

The Movie Tavern




The Movie Tavern recently opened in the Gateway Town Center, located behind the Bass Pro Shop in the Mablevale area of Little Rock. This movie theater contains everything I love - movies, drinks and food!




Founded in 2001, Dallas-based Movie Tavern is a leader in the cinema eatery segment catering to adults and families with 24 high-quality theaters and 220 digital screens in ten states.

In a short time, I've seen three different movies at this location, all with different experiences.

During its soft opening after the first of the year, I went to see the musical The Greatest Showman at The Movie Tavern on Sunday, February 4, 2018.


The Greatest Showman




The Greatest Showman, starring Hugh Jackman as P.T. Barnum, founder of Barnum & Bailey Circus, also showcases the musical talent of co-stars Michelle Williams, Zac Efron and Disney star Zendaya as a beautiful trapeze artist. The musical features some amazing songs, great performances, beautiful cinema photography and is set in the late 1800's.

Since I was a few minutes late getting to the theater, the movie had already started and it was a little unsettling to have the employee lead me around the long way to my already chosen seat. I would also recommend that the employees use a small flashlight instead of an iPhone to find the way in the dark theater!

Because the Movie Tavern operates as a full service "eatery" complete with a separate bar/lounge area, there is not the typical concession stand you find in most movie theaters. You purchase your ticket online or at a small kiosk inside the the lobby of the theater with an employee and then are shown your seat where another employee will be your server and hands you a menu.



At this showing, I ordered the Spinach and Artichoke Dip along with a Dr. Pepper. The theater serves Mr. Pibb and the dip was really good, just a big serving for one person. Both items were delivered to me in my seat as I watched the movie. I paid and tipped my server after the movie was over.

Spinach and Artichoke Dip appetizer at The Movie Tavern

The second time I visited The Movie Tavern was on Wednesday, February 28, 2018. It was the night of their special VIP Grand Opening Preview Party. I was lucky to win tickets during a contest put on by fellow blogger Heather of Heather's Dish.


Spotlights in the parking light added to the "Movie Premiere" feel of this event!

I saw the new blockbuster movie, Black Panther, ordered the Spinach and Artichoke Dip appetizer, the Loaded Tavern Cheeseburger and had a Caribbean Rum Punch - all free!






The professional photographer hired for this one night event took my picture using
my own camera with a Thor life-like cut-out!


 Black Panther


Black Panther, starring Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o, Letitia Wright, Sterling K. Brown and Martin Freeman, is an amazing movie based on a fictional superhero character from Marvel Comics.

As someone who remembers watching Michael B. Jordan as teen Reggie Porter Montgomery in my favorite soap opera, All My Children, from 2003-2006, it was great watching him in such a powerful movie role. I also enjoyed seeing one of my favorite actors from my new favorite television show, This Is Us, Sterling K. Brown, in such an exciting film.

Once again, I really liked all the food and drinks I was served while watching the movie in my comfortable seat, which reclines back and you're also able to extend your legs forward!

After the movie, you can relax in the bar and or lounge area, complete with big screen TVs and plenty of furniture and board games.



Two days later, on Friday, March 2, 2018, I went with a friend to see the new movie, Game Night, at the Movie Tavern. We bought our tickets online so we just had to be shown our seat before the movie started.



 Game Night




Game Night stars Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams as married couple Max and Annie who met during Trivia Night at a local bar and now have their friends over to their home for weekly trivia games. Kyle Chandler stars as Max's older brother, Brooks, who invites everyone over to his new house for a special Game Night. The rest of the movie is spent as the characters find themselves entangled in a real-life mystery.

During this movie, we just ordered soft drinks that were delivered to our seats, where they were also paid for after the movie was over. Note, since there is not a concession stand, you can also order popcorn from your seat if you wish to eat a snack instead of a meal.

My favorite part of the theater is the wall of movie posters that display movies filmed in Arkansas - including  Gone With The Wind (1939), Biloxi Blues (1988), The Firm (1993) and Mud (2012), directed by Little Rock native Jeff Nichols.




On Saturdays and Sundays, enjoy Brunch at the Movie Tavern!




GATEWAY TOWN CENTER
11300 Bass Pro Parkway
Little Rock, AR 72210

https://www.movietavern.com/locations/littlerock/


For more information about movie production in Arkansas, see my newest entree in Only In Arkansas, Light, Camera, Arkansas.


Photos by Leslie Diane

Movie Posters from IMDb