About Me

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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.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Movie Review - The Interview (2014)





Movie Description:  TV host Dave Skylark (James Franco) and producer Aaron Rapoport (Seth Rogan) run the celebrity tabloid television show "Skylark Tonight." When they land an interview with a surprise fan, North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un (played by actor Randall Park) they are recruited by the CIA Agency and Agent Lacey (Lizzy Caplan) to turn their trip to Pyongyang into an assassination mission.



Release Date:  Wednesday, December 24, 2014 (Independent Theatrical release and online release)



Running Time:  1 hour and 52 minutes

Genre: 
Action/Comedy


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA):
Rated R for pervasive language, crude and sexual humor, nudity, some drug use and bloody violence.


Directors:  Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogan

Writers:
  Dan Sterling - Screenplay;
Seth Rogan - Story; Evan Goldberg - Story; and Dan Sterling - Story


 CAST

James Franco as Dave Skylark




Seth Rogan as Aaron Rapoport



Lizzy Caplan as Agent Lacey in
The Interview (2014)

Lizzy Caplan as Janis Ian in
Mean Girls (2004)





Diana Bang as Sook








Actor Randall Park

Actor Randall Park as
North Korean President Kim Jong-un
















Photos from IMDb


Leslie's Notes

  •  Special Thanks to Riverdale 10 Cinema, an independent movie theater in Little Rock and owner Matt Smith who chose to show The Interview at the Riverdale 10 Cinema along at his other two theaters in Cabot and Searcy, Arkansas after the film was pulled by all the major movie theaters.

    •   The Interview contains crude language, some sexual and drug activity and plenty of raunchy scenes, but also contains good writing, acting and production value. 

      • I first saw the trailer for The Interview when I watched Gone Girl in early October. I had not heard of the movie and wasn't even sure I would see it until it received all the publicity involving the Sony hacking incidents and North Korea. While I was watching the movie, I wondered if James Franco and Seth Rogan were just playing themselves, but then I remembered that they both starred in Freaks and Geeks in 1999 and realized they have come a long way since that great TV show that only lasted one season.

        • One of the best parts of this movie is the excellent casting. Who knew that Janis Ian from Mean Girls would graduate from high school and then become CIA Agent Lacey? Or that Kim Jong-un would star in the new ABC comedy Fresh Off the Boat, premiering in January 2015?

          • If you have the chance to see The Interview in a movie theater, I would say go ahead and see it.  If not, you can always rent it on YouTube for $5.99!

       

Online Release Information

 

Viewers can rent the movie for $5.99 or buy it for $14.99. Rentals are good for 48 hours. The movie's running time is 1 hour, 52 minutes.

Here's where you can watch "The Interview" online:

Google Play
Buy or rent the film from Google Inc.'s platform. The movie can be viewed on the Google Play app for Android and Apple devices, as well as through some streaming devices including Roku and Google's Nexus Player. play.google.com.

YouTube
The video site, also owned by Google, has "The Interview" available to rent or buy on its movie page. It can be viewed on a website, YouTube's app and selected streaming devices including Apple TV, PlayStation and Xbox. youtube.com/movies.

Xbox
This option is for those who own Microsoft Corp.'s video-game console, a Windows smartphone, or a computer or tablet that runs Windows 8 software. video.xbox.com.

Sony

The studio, owned by Sony Corp., set up a separate website where viewers can rent and stream the film online. seetheinterview.com.

 
 

 

Saturday, November 29, 2014

November Celebration

Lauren, Sara and I attended the Celebrate 10 event at the Clinton Library!


8:00 PM – 10:00 PM
CELEBRATE 10: A COMMUNITY CONCERT
in partnership with the Arkansas Foodbank
Clinton Presidential Center, Pavilion
1200 President Clinton Ave.
Little Rock, AR

Performers Court Yard Hounds, Amos Lee, Nick Jonas, and Kool & the Gang will be featured at “Celebrate 10,” an intimate musical event on Saturday, November 15, 2014, with President Bill Clinton and Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton that will honor the spirit of the Arkansas community through an unforgettable night of performances and conversation that will inspire all to give back.
Kevin Spacey will serve as the evenings Master of Ceremonies.








On Saturday, November 15, I attended the Clinton Foundation Ten Year Celebration with my daughters Lauren and Sara. Just a week earlier, it was announced by the Clinton Foundation that this concert was free, featuring Nick Jonas and Kool & The Gang and was open to the public by registering for tickets online. I can't resist a free concert with Nick Jonas, so I immediately went online, requested four tickets and received a confirmation email within minutes. This concert was part of a week long celebration for the 10 year anniversary of the Clinton Library.



Court Yard Hounds (sisters Martie Maguire & Emily Robison of the Dixie Chicks) opened the
concert with an amazing performance of singing and playing instruments!




Two Time Academy Award Winning Actor Kevin Spacey served as Master of Ceremonies.
American Beauty is one of my all time favorite movies because of his performance as Lester Burnham in the 2000 Academy Award winner for Best Picture.






Folk Singer Amos Lee continued the concert with a great performance!


Actress Mary Steenburgen spoke about growing up in Arkansas
and  her longtime friendship with Bill and Hillary Clinton.


Nick Jonas performed three songs, including his new hit, Jealous, while playing his guitar! Lauren, Sara and I saw the Jonas Brothers in concert four different times several years ago in Little Rock. Nick is great as a solo artist and actually appeared in Long Island, New York earlier that same day and flew back to New York later that night!






video





President Bill Clinton and Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton
thanked everyone for attending the Celebrate 10 event.




Kool & The Gang closed the concert!














They performed several songs, including the 80's hit Celebration!















Right before the show started, I received this reply to a tweet on my Twitter account:







Yes, my favorite star, Darren Criss was in the house and I didn't see him! But I did see this picture later that night when he attended an After Party that was hosted by the aunt of one of Sara's friends.  Sara's friend said she met Kevin Spacey, talked to Nick Jonas about Baylor University and was serenaded by Darren Criss!








Monday, October 20, 2014

Happy October!

FaithSpring Community Church Halloween Carnival 2009
Our youngest daughter, Sara (then 12) is dressed as a Candy Corn Princess


October has always been a great month for our family. My husband, Stewart, and I were married on October 18, 1986, ten days before my 25th Birthday.


After our daughters were born (Lauren in January 1993) and (Sara in March 1997), we became more involved in activities in October. Between our Wedding Anniversary, my birthday and Halloween, we attended Carnivals at both churches and schools, visited pumpkin patches and corn mazes, went to Arts and Crafts Festivals and Boo at the Zoo, hosted Halloween parties and neighborhood Trick or Treating, picked out costumes at Party City and hay bales & mums at garden centers, bought tons of candy, braved Haunted Houses, spent time at the annual Arkansas State Fair and toured Magic Screams at Magic Springs amusement park in Hot Springs.

Saturday was our 28th Wedding Anniversary, so I thought I would do what I did last year at this time and share a few things with you...

  • Both of our beautiful girls are growing up and you would be so proud of them.  We have two Seniors now!  Lauren has maintained her scholarships while also working part-time teaching English to Foreign Students at the Ozark Literacy Council and now in the International Students Office at the U of A in addition to keeping up her hours and GPA.  She will graduate from college in May while Sara will graduate from Central High School after taking AP Classes, serving as President of the Young Republicans, continuing dance lessons at Shuffles and participating in FaithSpring Church youth group and active in Young Life Christian Organization.
  • The new fall TV season has started and one of our favorite new shows is NCIS:New Orleans! It stars Scott Bakula (from Quantum Leap) and features the normal NCIS characters: the attractive male & female partners; a knowledgeable Medical Examiner and her quirky assistant.




  • Halloween is on a Friday this year, Sara is dancing to the Michael Jackson hit "Thriller" at Boo in the Zoo with her class from Shuffles and Lauren is coming to visit for my birthday!



Pictures of our family taken at different Halloween Carnivals & Fall Festivals







I just want to wish you a Happy October, Honey...

Leslie







Saturday, October 11, 2014

Gone Girl - Movie Review (2014) & Book Review (2012)






Movie Description:  With his wife's disappearance having become the focus of an intense media circus, a man sees the spotlight turned on him when it's suspected that he may not be innocent.

Release Date:  Friday, October 3, 2014


Running Time:  149 minutes


Genre:  Drama/Mystery/Thriller 

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA): Rated R for a scene of bloody violence, some strong Sexual Content & Nudity, Profanity and images of Alcohol/Drugs/Smoking.

Director:  David Fincher


Writer:  Gillian Flynn (Screenplay and Novel)


 

CAST



Ben Affleck
as Nick Dunne


Rosamund Pike
as Amy Dunne



Carrie Coon
as Margo Dunne (Nick's twin sister)




Neil Patrick Harris
as Desi Collings



(Left to Right)
David Clennon as Rand Elliot (Amy's Father)
Lisa Banes as Marybeth Elliott (Amy's Mother)
Kim Dickens as Police Detective Rhonda Boney

Tyler Perry
as Lawyer Tanner Bolt

Photos from IMDb


Leslie's Comments On The Movie "Gone Girl"


  • I saw Gone Girl at a special 10:00 pm showing on Thursday, October 2, the day before the movie opened nationwide. I finished reading the book the day before I saw the movie and couldn't wait to see how the movie compared to the book. 

    The movie is very suspenseful, intense and keeps the viewer guessing until the very end of the film. Even though the movie is almost 2 1/2 hours long, it goes by very quickly because there are so many plot twists and turns. Everything about this film is amazing, including the Lighting and Cinematography, the Costumes and Hair/Makeup on each character, and the great acting of a wonderful, talented cast.

    Similar to George Clooney's Academy Award winning role in The Descendants, Ben Affleck is a handsome movie star who is believable as a small town Missouri guy who moves back to his hometown after losing his Magazine Writer job in New York City. Rosamund Pike gives an unforgettable performance as Nick's wife Amy, a native New Yorker with writer parents, a boarding school background and no friends as she is relocated to Missouri. Other standouts in this movie include Tyler Perry as a slick Defense Attorney, Neil Patrick Harris as a former classmate of Amy's, Carrie Coon as Nick's twin sister Margo, and Kim Dickens as Police Detective Rhonda Boney.

    Gone Girl was rated the Number One Movie during its opening week, bringing in $37.5M. With its top notch acting, excellent production value, and constant story surprises, I'm sure it will remain number one for a very long time.




 


Leslie's Comments On The Novel "Gone Girl"
Written by Gillian Flynn


  • The novel Gone Girl was first released in June 2012, less than one month after my husband suddenly passed away from an undiagnosed Pulmonary Embolism. I don't really remember much during those trying times, other than watching a lot of TV, including marathon episodes of my favorite show, Glee. I do remember seeing an early morning network television news program that featured a segment on good "Beach Reads" and included the book Gone Girl, written by Gilliam Flynn, as one of the best books of the summer. 

    Later on, I saw a picture of Glee actress Lea Michele posted online where she was reading the book Gone Girl while sitting outside in a public park. There was speculation on Twitter at the time that she was being considered for a part in the movie adaption of the best selling novel.  So I immediately purchased the book on iTunes for my iPad, read the first couple of chapters, became really busy and didn't finish reading the story.

    Months later, my daughter Sara and I saw a commercial for the movie Gone Girl, which was scheduled to be released on October 3. I started reading the online book again and finished it on October 2!

    Without giving much away, the book, like the movie (which pretty much stays the same) is very well written and pretty hard to put down once the reader gets invested in the story of Nick Dunne and his missing wife, Amy.  The book is written in both a series of flashbacks and present tense from both main characters and the chapters are labeled that way, so at first it was a little confusing to keep it straight!  But once I read past the first few chapters, it was easier to understand.  I wondered how this format was going to transfer to a film but it is done seamlessly in the movie.

    Although I read many books as a child and teen and I work as a writer, I haven't read as much as an adult as I would like too. I love all the legal thriller books written by John Grisham and thought that the movie The Lovely Bones was as good as the book, written by Alice Sebold.

    As far as Gone Girl goes, if you want to read the book and then see the movie, or see the movie and then read the book, either one is fine because both the book and the movie are astonishing.



Tuesday, September 16, 2014

When The Game Stands Tall (2014) Movie Review





Release Date:  Friday, August 22, 2014

Running Time:  115 minutes

Genre:  Drama/Sport

Motion Picture Rating:  Rated PG for thematic material, a scene of violence, parental abuse, serious illness, and brief smoking by an adult character.

Director:  Thomas Carter

Writing Credits:  Scott Marshall Smith - screenplay & story; David Zelon - story; and Neil Hayes - book

Description:  Inspired by true events, the movie When The Game Stands Tall tells the journey of legendary football coach Bob Ladouceur, who took the De La Salle High School Spartans from obscurity to a 151-game winning streak that shattered all records for any American sport.

 

CAST

 

Actor Jim Caviezel
as Coach Bob Ladouceur

 





















Coach Bob Ladouceur





Laura Dern
as Bev Ladouceur

Matthew Daddario
as Danny Ladouceur



Alexander Ludwig
as Chris Ryan



Ser'Darius Blain
as Cam Colvin




Stephen James
as  Terrance "TK" Kelly







Michael Chiklis
as Terry Edison



Leslie's Notes



  • Although I didn't know anything about this movie, my 17-year-old daughter Sara read about the real people this movie is based on and asked to see When The Game Stands Tall when it was first released in August.
  • While reading the list of actors, other than Laura Dern, I wasn't familiar with the main cast members. I first thought that actor Jim Caviezel was Superman in Man of Steel, but that's actor Henry Cavill! Jim Caviezel is best known as portraying Jesus in the 2004 award winning movie The Passion of the Christ and also stars as John Reese in the CBS TV Series Person of Interest, one of my father's favorite shows.
  • This movie is based on the book "When The Game Stands Tall: The Story of the De La Salle Spartans and Football's Longest Winning Streak. The paperback book is available on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/When-Game-Stands-Tall-Footballs/dp/1583941304.
  • Based on true events, one of the main football players, Terrance "TK" Kelly, was shot and killed in Richmond, California by a 15-year-old acquaintance while sitting in his car, waiting to give a ride home to a friend. TK died just days before he was to attend the University of Oregon on a football scholarship. As a warning to families that take young children to see this movie, although the shooting is not shown, the circumstances leading up to the shooting is shown, along with the funeral scene.
  • I really like this movie and it's refreshing to see a film where the teen athletes pray together as a team before each game and have weekly meetings where they read commitment cards to the other players.  The only issue I had with the film is that I keep forgetting the name!  I've called it: The Game Stands Still; the movie with a cute guy from The Hunger Games; and something, something, Game, something, something...
Photos from IMDb


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

My Favorite Musicals, Concerts & Plays during the Summer of 2014!

My family and I have always loved watching movies, seeing plays, and going to concerts together. This summer, my oldest daughter attended school out of town while my youngest daughter participated in several out of state summer programs and camps. So I found myself going with friends to see some wonderful productions during the summer months!




Rodgers & Hammerstein's OKLAHOMA!
Murry's Dinner Playhouse - Thursday, July 24, 2014

  • I loved the musical Oklahoma! the first time I watched it on television years ago and listened to the soundtrack on a vinyl record album every night as a child at bedtime.  My two daughters and I performed in the musical as part of a church production in 2002, I've watched Hugh Jackman's performance on PBS as Curly in the National Theater of London's 1998 Production, and have seen the musical performed twice in the past 12 years at Murry's Dinner Playhouse in Little Rock. The current production, including the "Oklahoma Chuck Wagon Dinner Buffet" runs through August 30 and features outstanding actors, excellent set design and all the songs I fell in love with years ago as a little girl! For more information, visit the Murry's website at http://murrysdp.com/.



SOULution Concert
Stickyz in the River Market - Thursday, July 24, 2014

  • Following the performance of Oklahoma! at Murry's Dinner Playhouse, I drove downtown at 10:00 at night to watch the Little Rock band, SOULution perform in concert at Stickyz Rock "N" Roll Chicken Shack. SOULution is an up and coming local band that plays "Neo Soul Music" and features members Jordan Craighead, Kamille Shaw, Korey Fells, Braelon Leniear, Ashton Hollowell, Shawn Womack, Steve Colb, and Sam Clark. Sam is the son of my good friends Shawn and Kenny Clark and I've watched him and his two sisters grow up in our church for many years. The group is amazing and plays covers of current hits such as "Rude" by Magic! along with jazz songs and ballads. There were many members of all ages of our church watching Sam and the band perform and I had a great time! Check out the SOULution Facebook page for upcoming gigs at https://www.facebook.com/pages/SOULution-Little-Rock-Music/429112157145797.


Godspell - Summer Musical Theatre Intensive (SMTI)
Arkansas Repertory Theatre - Friday, July 18, 2014

  • Every summer, the Arkansas Repertory Theatre in Little Rock offers a training program for young artists including instruction in musical theatre techniques, multi-media, costume and stage make-up, dance and vocal coaching. Both my daughters have friends who have participated in the two groups: Junior Session (ages 13-15) and Senior Session (ages 16-23). This summer SMTI performed the classic musical, Godspell, and added popular tunes, including "Counting Stars" by One Republic, to the existing song selections. It always amazes me to watch such talented teens who can sing, dance and act!  For more information, visit The Rep at http://www.therep.org/.




Les Misérables
DeSota Family Theatre - Sunday, July 13, 2014
Landers Center Theater - Southaven, Mississippi

Here's a picture of me with Jeff Smith, my friend from our college days at
Arkansas State University in Jonesboro who is Chairman of the DFT Board of Directors
and one of the DFT Founders.

  • I chose not to see the 2012 Academy Award winning motion picture, Les Misérables, (because I thought it would be too sad!) and I have never seen any of the musical productions of Les Misérables, until July 13, 2014. I drove to Southaven, Mississippi, a suburb of Memphis, to watch the show presented by the DeSoto Family Theatre, of which my friend Jeff is Chairman of the DFT Board of Directors and one of the DFT Founders. I was speechless during the entire production. The acting, the singing, the stage design and costumes, everything was amazing.  I enjoyed seeing the play and also enjoyed attending the cast party after the performance! For more information about upcoming scheduled plays, visit the DeSoto Family Theatre website at http://dftonline.org/.




Night of the Proms
Featuring
Kenny Loggins, Michael McDonald,
The Pointer Sisters and Nile Rodgers & Chic
Verizon Arena, North Little Rock, AR - Friday, June 20, 2014
  • What can I say? Kenny Loggins, who sang hit songs in the popular movies "Footloose" and "Top Gun" in the 1980's; Michael McDonald of The Doobie Brothers; the fabulous Pointer Sisters (original members sisters Ruth & Anita Pointer along with Ruth's 30-year-old granddaughter, Sadako Pointer); multiple Grammy award winning producer Niles Rodgers and 70's sensation Chic (who sang one of my all-time favorite songs "Le Freak" in 1978) on the same stage with Belgium’s world renowned classical orchestra, a 24 voice choir, and a 8-piece electric band.  It. Was. Amazing. For information about upcoming US Tours, see the Night of the Proms website at http://www.notp.com/usa/http://www.notp.com/usa/.  And special thanks to my good friend Joanna who went with me to see both Night of the Proms and Oklahoma!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

TV Show Review - Chasing Life (2014)









Pilot Aired:  Tuesday, June 10, 2014. New episodes air Tuesday nights at 8:00 pm.

Running Time:  60 minutes weekly on ABC Family.

Genre:  TV - Series: Drama.

Executive Producer:  Patrick Sean Smith @SeanSmith74
 
Description:  Follows a young woman's life after she is diagnosed with cancer at age 24.

 

CAST


Italia Ricci
as April Carve
r









Haley Ramm
as Brenna Carve
r


Mary Page Keller
as Sara Carve
r











Rebecca Schull
as Grandma Emma







Stephen Weber
Dr. George Carver (Uncle George)












Aisha Dee
as Beth










Richard Brancatisano
as Do
minic










Scott Michael Foster
as Leo










Gracie Dzienny
as Greer


Leslie's Notes


  • As a cancer survivor, mother of two daughters (ages 21 & 17) and a widow, I discovered this new hour long drama earlier this summer and have been hooked since the first episode.
  • I have been really impressed with the writing, producing, acting and casting in this show.
  • The show is structured that each day is covered by several episodes so now as the 8th episode airs April is talking with her Uncle George and her Oncologist about her treatment options.
  • Cappie from Greek is on this show!
  • The only thing I don't like is that the picture used for the series shows the main character, April, sitting in a coffin.