Gordon & Barbara in Paris

Gordon & Barbara in Paris
Here's Looking at YOU

Friday, December 24, 2010

Grown Ups

GROWN UPS—Directed by Dennis Dugan/Writers: Adam Sandler, Fred Wolf/starring Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, Rob Schneider, and David Spade/102 mins/PG-13

(B) I can’t say anything good about this movie. I was not entertained, but rather very annoyed. I’ve already spent too much time on this one.
(G) Horrible! Just awful! Possibly the least entertaining movie I’ve ever had the displeasure of wasting my time viewing. Not worth a single monocle. In our (and the movie’s) defense, we were directed to this co-called comedy by some of our children and grandchildren who found it hilarious.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Fighter

THE FIGHTER--Directed by David O. Russell/ Starring Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Melissa Leo—1 hr 54 min/ R/ screenplay written by Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson from a story by Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson & Keith Dorrington

(B) This film is about a struggle between two brothers whose personal dreams are challenged by family conflict. One brother has lost his dream (partly due to drugs) but the other brother still has hope. The only thing possibly standing in the hopeful brother’s way is the hopeless brother’s choices. The stage is set for a drama that tugs at your heart. All performances are notable, however, for me Christian Bale’s had the edge, mainly because of the role he was given. Another performance that got my attention was that of Melissa Leo who plays the mother of these brothers. I don’t recall seeing her in other films, but a supporting role nomination would not surprise me. I recommend this film, especially because it was based on a true story and if you are not a fan of boxing, you probably are a fan of family. I give this film three and a half-binoculars.

(G) I was not in the mood for another boxing movie, and luckily I was pleasantly surprised to find that this film transcended my expectations and assuaged my fears. In simple language, this is really NOT a boxing movie at all, though a true knowledge of boxing and of the hardships of training in a brutal sport come shining through, behind a uniquely told, age-old story. This is really (as Barbara pointed out earlier) a movie about choices and about something we don’t have a choice in…our families. There is even a very subtle Anti-Drug message, concealed behind the struggle of the Christian Bale character to hold onto his brief moment of celebrity at the risk of destroying his younger brother’s chance (Mark Wahlberg) of true success. I thought that everything worked well and the casting was superb, especially if you knew the true story that is behind the one portrayed on the screen. However (and this is an important point) knowing that Mickey Ward was an actual champion boxer, and his brother stood toe-to-toe with Sugar Ray Leonard is really unimportant. The Fighter can be enjoyed by both men and women, as a film about two brothers (one with a hot girlfriend played by Amy Adams). If I had not just seen The King’s Speech, this likely would have been my favorite movie of 2010. I agree with Barbara (again) the film starts out a little slowly and, though builds to a rousing conclusion, earns a near-perfect three and a half binoculars.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Richiusa Channel 6 Shidoshi interview

Rob was very well prepared for this television interview he conducted with me, regarding the release of SHIDOSHI.

Friday, December 17, 2010


THE KING’S SPEECH—Starring Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter, Derek Jacobi/ Geofrey Rush and Guy Pearce/ rated R/ 1 hr. 51 minutes.

(G) The King's Speech is billed as a British historical drama following the true story of King George VI, unexpected ascension to the throne and the speech therapist who helped the stammering monarch overcome his impediment and self-doubt to become the leader of Britain just prior to WWII. On the surface, this seems like it could be pretty dry, but surprisingly it was just the right stuff to make this, at this late date on the cinema calendar, my absolute favorite movie of the year. As a scriptwriter, teacher and lover all things communicative, I was enthralled by the suspense of a script that hinged on a speech defect. I’m not kidding. I found it emotionally very stirring to witness these royal performances. Colin Firth as the king-to-be was an inspired performance, perfect in every nuance. You could feel his frustration every time a syllable got stuck in his throat. It was something that everyone could relate to, since the fear of public speaking EXCEEDS the fear of death, on the fear-o-meter, according to actual scientists who measure those things. However, this ultimate fear also was ingeniously united to all manner of human conflicts. Public speaking for a stutterer is bad enough, but for someone who has the ultimate responsibility to speak publicly in a time of world calamity, it is beyond what most of us could ever imagine. The good King had to overcome his fear, to rouse resistance against the greatest orator of evil that the world has ever known…Adolph Hitler! Now that was courage and I’m a sucker for this kind of story. Every performance was stellar and though I haven’t seen all of the movies up for awards yet, I think this one is the one to beat. Four binocular all the way!

(B) Well, after Gordon’s review of The Kings Speech, there’s not a lot left for me to say. I agree with him, therefore I won’t bore you by being redundant (note from Gordon: Read this part with a British accent). I might add that Geofrey Rush stands out in my mind as the best performance. The settings in this movie seemed real to me and not overdone even in the presence of royalty. It worked quite well for me, you see, because it did not distract from the story. Four binoculars for me as well. Chereo!


THE TOURIST--directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, starring Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp/ 1hr 43min - ‎Rated PG-13

(B) Again Gordon has done his review before me and he does drive me nuts because once he makes up his mind, he won’t budge. Jolie is gorgeous, granted, but in Hollywood they are a dime a dozen. She draws attention to herself by her lifestyle, living outside the box. Jennifer Aniston knows more about comedy than Jolie will ever know. A successful series
called, “Friends” comes to mind and PLEASE Cher in Burlesque a no-nod, in comedy and Jolie is? Jolie’s nomination for best actress in a comedy is what is funny. Come on, people, really! This film was light entertainment starring two popular beautiful people at best. One and a half binoculars for me, because I like to look at beautiful things.

(G) I am a big Angelina Jolie fan, partly because she’s a great actress, partly because she’s gorgeous and partly because it seems to drive Barbara nuts—my lovely wife will never forgive Angelina for stealing Brad away from Jennifer Aniston (an actress I find to be greatly overrated). In all honesty though, there have only been a few times when I could say that the whole Jolie package really came together for me. She was O.K. in the Lara Croft series, but let’s face it. She was merely portraying a video-game heroine in that one. While many consider The Good Shepherd or Alexander noteworthy, Mr. and Mrs. Smith and her work as the voice of the Master Tigress in Kung Fu Panda are by far her most successful films. I think she was robbed of well-deserved accolades for her performance in Changeling but her performance in The Tourist, did not even raise her heart rate. Both she and Depp appear bored with the whole thing. Each seems to be merely going through the motions of acting in this one. The movie is not completely disappointing, but it comes about as close to failure as anything with this caliber of stars. I did not like the camera work and think that a little post-production could have gone a long way to satisfy me, at least, on a travelogue level. You would think that Paris and Venice would make great backdrops for any spy-thriller, but the shooting schedule must have not had “clear and sunny days” as a priority. Every outdoor scene is shot on a cloudy day, making some of the most spectacular scenery in the world look brown and about as bored as the two main actors. It was as if the shooting schedule didn’t call for more than one take, or waiting until the sun came out. They had Jolie and Depp and that was enough. If that is enough for you—and I realize that this may well be enough for a lot of people-- then you will not hate this film, but you’ll likely not feel it was very good either. I can only give The Tourist two binoculars, one for each star.

Monday, December 6, 2010

SHIDOSHI--Bifocal Reviews

For those that are interested, below is the promised/partial transcript of the above broadcast (also found at the grichiusa or five birds productions channels on YouTube).

Open with medium two shot of Barbara and Gordon talking and laughing, over music, credits and titles

ZOOM IN: Barbara Speaks to audience


(Speaking to camera)

Hello and welcome to another Bifocals Review Podcast. I'm Barbara Richiusa and I'm here with my costar here and in life, my husband Gordon. Because of an recent release of the his new novel, we're going to do something a little differently today. I'm going to interview Gordon Richiusa. (Turning to G). So, congratulations on the release of your new suspense-thriller, SHIDOSHI:The Four Ways of the Corpse. Did I say that right?


That was perfect, as usual, and you also pronounced our last name exactly correctly.


So what does the title mean? Not, our last name, but the title of the novel?


SHIDOSHI is a title, used to denote a certain rank in the underworld organizations called ninja. It's a Japanese term that has been translated, as with many terms and phrases, more than one way. One translation is part of the title, The Four Ways of the Corpse. The other is Teacher of the Warrior Ways of Enlightenment.


So, why would someone want to attain that rank, if they use the first translation? Sounds scary.


Well, that's what the book is about. The main conflict in the book is how a 300 year war got started because of the two differences in translating a single word.


I've gone this far, so I guess there's no excuse to be shy about continuing the shameless self promotion. To go the the online press release, click here:http://www.aegauthorsedge.com/press_releases/Richiusa,%20Gordon,%20Shidoshi-PR%20Final.pdf

Here is a review of my novel, SHIDOSHI:The Four Ways of the Corpse, which was written by Russ Buchanan. Portions of this review are referenced in the piece above. Thanks Russ for your kind words.