tag:mlascalawriting.com,2013:/posts Marisa's Clips 2015-07-01T19:38:05Z Marisa LaScala tag:mlascalawriting.com,2013:Post/876181 2015-07-01T19:38:05Z 2015-07-01T19:38:05Z Bustle TV Coverage: 6/15/2015 to 6/30/2015

Recently on Bustle, I...

...wondered if True Detective's Ray Velcoro could be the new Rust Cohle.

...came up with some theories about what True Detective's mysterious Black Mountain could be (though I'm pretty sure my first guess is correct).

...praised Orange Is the New Black for forcing its actresses to use different creative muscles, like taking singer Annie Golden and making her character near-mute.  

...speculated about whether or not Fake Off, The Comedians, and Happyish will be renewed for more seasons. 

...explored Boom! host Tom Papa's friendships with Seinfeld and Soderbergh.

Image: Lacey Terrell/HBO

]]>
Marisa LaScala
tag:mlascalawriting.com,2013:Post/873722 2015-06-25T13:02:49Z 2015-06-25T13:02:49Z DVD Review: God Help the Girl

'God Help the Girl' Is a Belle and Sebastian Jukebox in Movie Form

...But while the songs come often, to call the movie a thin wrap-around narrative for music videos is to be too dismissive; Murdoch is equally concerned with the look of the picture; there is a handmade quality to the filmmaking. Murdoch described the movie to an audience at a Q&A in New York City as bringing the aesthetic of a Belle and Sebastian album cover to life. Everything looks perfectly retro, all Breton stripes and Peter Pan collars, as if the movie were unearthed whole while rummaging in a well curated vintage store. Though it may be stylish and stylized, that’s not to say it’s aloof or ultra-serious; there’s a lot of playfulness here, and Murdoch takes every opportunity to slip in a visual joke without commenting on it, like casually standing one of his characters in front of a store mannequin dressed exactly like him...

Click through to read the full review at PopMatters.
]]>
Marisa LaScala
tag:mlascalawriting.com,2013:Post/870905 2015-06-18T15:35:51Z 2015-06-18T16:40:51Z New Gig: Working Mother Magazine

Part of the reason I've been so behind in posting my clips is that I've started a new, full-time job as a writer and editor at Working Mother magazine. Already, I've had some interesting assignments, including...

...showing how Mad Men's Matthew Weiner is a champion of working mothers

...finding the companies with the most extreme maternity leaves

...asking a host of HuffPost Live about naming her daughter after herself

...finding the most enviable programs for Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day.

...looking into the gender wage gap for Equal Pay Day.

...decoding the Supreme Court's ruling on pregnancy discrimination.

...highlighting why mompreneurs are important to the business community and shouldn't be ignored.

...soliciting advice from an expert on what women need to do for a personal finance tune-up.

...asking a professional organizer how to de-clutter for spring cleaning. 

...talking with a participant in Habitat for Humanity's Women Build Week about how the organization benefits working moms.

...offering advice to kids—and parents—separating for sleep-away camp for the first time and taking care of pets for first-time owners.

...rounding up the best spring work/life accessories, confidence-boosting booksEarth Day board gamesCinco de Mayo books, Memorial Day cookout must-haves, and gifts for elementary school grads and high school grads.

]]>
Marisa LaScala
tag:mlascalawriting.com,2013:Post/870875 2015-06-18T14:56:18Z 2015-06-18T14:56:18Z Essay: Raised By Baby Boomers For one of the last assignments I had at my old job, I was asked to write about what it was like to be raised by hippies as part of a feature package about Baby Boomers. You can read it here, or download the PDF below. 

]]>
Marisa LaScala
tag:mlascalawriting.com,2013:Post/870872 2015-06-18T14:35:38Z 2015-06-18T14:35:39Z Bustle Catch-Up

I've been behind in posting my Bustle articles—very behind—but here are some of my favorite posts I've done in the meantime:

Mad Men Season 7 Premiere "Severance" Has An Ominous Title, But Does It Actually Tell Us Anything?

15 Selina Meyer Quotes That Prove The President (Yeah, President!) Has The Perfect Thing To Say In Every Situation

As Justified Rides Off Into The Sunset, Here's What's Going Ro Be Missed The Most

Aquarius Lead Sam Hodiak Vs. Fox Mulder: They Have More Than David Duchovny In Common

Halt And Catch Fire Season 2 Emphasizes The Women Of The Show & We Couldn't Be More Excited

Here are the rest of the TV shows I've covered since I last posted:

AD: The Bible Continues (2); Agent Carter (2, 3); American Odyssey; The Americans; Aquarius (2, 3); Battle Creek; BetweenBlack-ishThe Blacklist;  Blood, Sweat, and Heels; Brides Gone StyledCatfish; The Casual Vacancy; Cleveland Abduction; The Critics' Choice Awards; The 87th Academy Awards (2); Dancing with the StarsEmpire (2, 3, 4); Gotham; 500 QuestionsForever; Halt and Catch FireHindsight; The Josh Wolf ShowLake Placid vs. Anaconda; Labor GamesThe Last Man on Earth (2); Little Women: NY (2); The Lizzie Borden Chronicles (2); Mad Men; The  Making of the Mob: New York (2); The MessengersMTV's ScreamNew Girl (2, 3); Nickelodeon's Kids Choice Awards; Orange Is the New BlackParks and Recreation; The Prancing Elites; ProofThe Returned (2); Saturday Night Live (2, 3); Seeds of Yesterday; Sense8Shark Tank; StitchersSons of WinterSwab Stories; Texas Rising'Til Death Do Us Part; The Tony Awards12 Monkeys; Turn: Washington's Spies (2); UndateableWeird Loners; The Willis Family

I also got to spoil Fifty Shades of Grey for people who didn't want to watch the movie and just wanted to know if the ending deviated from the book.

Image: Justina Mintz/AMC

]]>
Marisa LaScala
tag:mlascalawriting.com,2013:Post/866979 2015-06-12T13:00:04Z 2015-06-12T13:00:06Z The A.V. Club: Film Essay

For its 1995-themed week, The A.V. Club let me write about one of my favorite film subgenres: mid-'90s internet paranoia movies. 

1995 Marked the Birth of Internet-Paranoia Films

"...The internet and virtual-reality films of 1995 also show the emergence of a problem that filmmakers are still struggling with today: how to represent a digital world on screen. You can see early attempts to create some sort of cohesive visual language to stand in for the internet. Status bars, for example, are used in more than one of these movies as a quick way to ratchet up tension; the heroes have to wait until the bar reaches 100 percent before they can flee to safety. It’s a cheap thrill, and one we sadly haven’t outgrown yet.

Mostly, though, attempts to create a new look for the internet are hideous, trafficking in cheesy, psychedelic swirls of numbers and symbols and environments that look like video games circa Nintendo 64. Hackers andVirtuosity both fall victim to the allure of pop-art colors: Virtuosity makes is virtual exit quickly, bringing SID 6.7 into the real world, but Hackers often goes into the “architecture” of circuitry, with skyscrapers of squares and rectangles standing in for the systems they’re trying to break into, and dreamy-looking equations standing in for the data they want to collect. Today, it looks dated..."

Click through to read the full essay at The A.V. Club, or download the PDF.

]]>
Marisa LaScala
tag:mlascalawriting.com,2013:Post/855100 2015-05-12T20:36:13Z 2015-05-12T20:36:13Z Condé Nast Traveler: The World's Largest Ferris Wheels

Incredible Views from the Tallest Observation Wheels in the World

High Roller
Las Vegas, Nevada

Height: 550 feet

Ticket price: $24.95-$34.95

What you’ll see from the top: The current record-holder for the tallest observation wheel in the world (for now), the High Roller offers 360-degree views of The Strip (including the Bellagio fountains), along with Red Rock Canyon, the valley, and the mountains beyond.

FYI: Who needs a drive-through Vegas chapel? The High Roller offers its own quickie weddings, where you can say “I do” 550 feet in the air. Wedding packages can include a private cabin with a private VIP entrance, a personal in-cabin bartender, 90 minutes of photography, and room for up to 25 guests.

]]>
Marisa LaScala
tag:mlascalawriting.com,2013:Post/855094 2015-05-12T20:28:04Z 2015-05-12T20:30:28Z DVD Review: Annabelle

You Can't Sink Your Teeth Into Any of the Ideas in 'Annabelle'

...With a period setting and a story centered on family, it seems like Annabelle is attempting to replicate some of the The Conjuring‘s strengths; it also duplicates the first film’s eerie moods and tense setpieces. In some places, it succeeds; Leonetti makes great use of deep focus, with threatening figures crossing the way, way back of the frame. These moments are startling without resorting to the typical, easy jump scares.

Leonetti doesn’t have Wan’s way with imagery, however, and these moments fail to build on one another. It seems at times like Annabelle is trying to imply that domesticity itself is under attack: sewing machines start by themselves, a bedroom television can’t get reception, and baby dolls are tampered with. But then it finds itself dabbling in pretty much any kind of horror-movie elements it can get its hands on, throwing in all different kinds of religious symbolism, other creepy children who have barely anything to do with the story, and an all-knowing bookstore owner (a thankless role for Alfre Woodard), so that its message, such as it is, becomes diluted....

Click through to read the full review at PopMatters.

]]>
Marisa LaScala
tag:mlascalawriting.com,2013:Post/808733 2015-02-08T16:58:14Z 2015-02-08T16:58:14Z Bustle TV Coverage: 01/26/2015 to 02/08/2015

...researched the music behind some of the biggest Super Bowl ads, figuring out what band does the "500 Miles (I'm Gonna Be)" cover in the Budweiser ad, the "Pretty Woman" cover in the Nationwide ad, and the song in the BMW i3 commercial.

...found out when Better Call Saul takes place in relation to Breaking Bad.

...explained why I want to be Shark Tank's Barbara Corcoran when I grow up.

...detangled the Dr. Crane/Scarecrow connections in Gotham.

...put a few things on the wedding registry for Donna Meagle on Parks and Recreation

...figured out where I might have seen Allegiance's Gavin Stenhouse before (opposite Kevin Spacey).

...distinguished Paz Vega from Paz de la Huerta, Alexa Panvega, and other actresses with sound-alike names.

...investigated what Little Women: LA's Briana Manson does for a living (apart from being on a reality show).

Image: Ben Leuner/AMC

]]>
Marisa LaScala
tag:mlascalawriting.com,2013:Post/803235 2015-01-27T14:03:28Z 2015-01-27T14:03:29Z Edible Phoenix: Culinary Round-Ups Though I'm not the biggest foodie out there, I did help out with a few articles for Edible Phoenix, with round-ups of the Valley's best annual culinary events, craft breweries, CSAs, and farm-to-table restaurants

Image: Holly Baumann Photography


]]>
Marisa LaScala
tag:mlascalawriting.com,2013:Post/802172 2015-01-24T23:05:25Z 2015-01-24T23:05:26Z Condé Nast Traveler: Historical Landmarks With Amazing Views

Sky-High History: Landmarks with Amazing Views

Sure, cities are constantly debuting new skyscrapers with amazing observation decks—but it's not only modern buildings that provide stellar views. These structures, all built before the 20th century, offer bird's-eye views that have stood the test of time, and offer a little bit of history to go with them. Sure, cities are constantly debuting new skyscrapers with amazing observation decks—but it's not only modern buildings that provide stellar views. These structures, all built before the 20th century, offer bird's-eye views that have stood the test of time, and offer a little bit of history to go with them.

Mole Antonelliana
Turin, Italy

At nearly 550 feet tall, Turin's Mole Antonelliana has earned plenty of bragging rights. It claims to be the tallest museum in the world, along with the tallest building in Italy, and it was once the tallest brick building in the world. One advantage it has over other historic platforms: You don't have to climb any stairs to take advantage of its height. Instead, take an all-glass elevator to the top, where you can see all the way to the Alps. Then, explore the rest of the building, which is now home to Turin's Museo Nazionale del Cinema and contains a vast collection of artifacts related to the history of film.

Click through to read the full slideshow at the Condé Nast Traveler

Image: © Stefano Cavoretto / Alamy




]]>
Marisa LaScala
tag:mlascalawriting.com,2013:Post/802166 2015-01-24T22:56:34Z 2015-01-24T22:56:35Z Condé Nast Traveler: Trips Inspired by the Best Picture Nominees

Oscars 2015: Trips Inspired by the Best Picture Nominees

The Imitation Game

Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) kept lots of secrets during his time at the United Kingdom's Bletchley Park, where he and other MI6 agents and mathematicians worked to break German codes during World War II. If he were alive today, he might be shocked to find out that now the whole complex is open to the public. The site may look more like a Victorian weekend retreat than an army base—but that was exactly the point. Today, the area has been restored with exhibits dedicated to the secret codebreaking operations that went on at the site. There, you can find examples of the "unbreakable" German Enigma machines, as well as a fully operational reproduction of the machine Turing help build to break the Enigma codes. Hut 8, where Turing worked, features a re-creation of his own office, and the park also hosts an exhibition dedicated to The Imitation Game, with props and costumes from the movie.

Click through to see the full slideshow at The Condé Nast Traveler.

Image: The Weinstein Company




]]>
Marisa LaScala
tag:mlascalawriting.com,2013:Post/802148 2015-01-24T22:47:39Z 2015-01-24T22:47:54Z Bustle TV Coverage: 12/29/2014 to 1/24/2015


Yikes! I've been behind in posting my Bustle articles. In the past month, I...

...investigated whether or not Agent Sousa could end up marrying Agent Carter (because she deserves the best).

...argued that Nasim Pedrad deserves better than Mulaney

...flexed my 12 Monkeys fan muscles, explaining the movie's inspiration (La Jetée!), comparing the movie to the TV show, and looking into how the show changed Brad Pitt's character in a major, major way.

...tried to find a new career for April Ludgate on Parks and Recreation without defaulting to Moon Ambassador.

...remembered the good, the bad, and the Gosling-filled films of George Clooney's directing career.

...felt happy that Colin Hanks won't be in the next season of Fargo, because it means Gus Grimly is safe. 

...looked into the familiar face of King Richard and the not-yet-familiar face of Isabella on Galavant

...basically wrote a love letter to Lee Pace, who played Mindy's ex on an episode of The Mindy Project.

...recapped the fifth season of Justified, the one with all the Crowes, so that fans can be fresh for the final season.

...came up with some New Year's resolutions for the girls of Girls and guessed how long Hannah will be able to stick it out in Iowa.

...looked behind the curtain at the HFPA, the shadowy organization behind the Golden Globes.

...appreciated Jon Hamm's cameo on Parks and Rec, and guaranteed his character's return.

...told true history buffs to stay away from Sons of Liberty and its lack of historical accuracy.

...bemoaned Benedict Cumbebatch's poor odds for winning a SAG award.

...said goodbye to Cougar Town, A-to-Z, and, saddest of all Justified

Image: Gavin Bond/Syfy



]]>
Marisa LaScala
tag:mlascalawriting.com,2013:Post/802117 2015-01-24T20:27:10Z 2015-01-24T20:27:10Z DVD Review: 'The Trip to Italy'
The Jokes and Michael Caine Impressions Are Still Fresh in 'The Trip to Italy'

...There are wisps of other plot threads—about how they relate to their families, feel about aging, and traverse through their careers—but most of the movie passes without too much incident. And, ultimately, it’s a genial way to pass a couple of hours. In the film, Brydon complains that people find his stage persona “affable”—a hard reputation to live up to in person—but “affable” is the best way to describe the film. It doesn’t require too much thought; audiences just have to sit back and let the jokes wash over them. There’s a teeny bit of literary history, a slight bit of drama, a smattering of food porn, but mostly jokes...

Click through to read the full review at PopMatters.




]]>
Marisa LaScala
tag:mlascalawriting.com,2013:Post/790378 2015-01-02T18:44:30Z 2015-01-02T18:44:30Z PopMatters: The Best Films of 2014

I love contributing to year-end lists! I wrote a few blurbs for PopMatters' list of best films of the year.

The Best Films of 2014

No. 29: Only Lovers Left Alive

Vampires are overused. Scrubbed up and prettified to the point they can be nonthreatening romantic partners for teenagers, today’s cinematic vampires are, well, pretty toothless. With Only Lovers Left Alive, director Jim Jarmusch has managed to salvage the vampire mystique. His vamps are sexy, mysterious, brooding, and dangerous in equal measures. Adam (Tom Hiddleston, proving he deserves the admiration of a thousand Tumblrs) and Eve (Tilda Swinton, in one of her many standout performances this year) don’t do much throughout the course of the film—the two reunited lovers mostly bum around Adam’s Detroit home—but throughout their conversations, Jarmusch manages to slip in elbow-to-the-ribs jokes about history, ruminations about marriage, and most importantly, a meditation into the creation of art itself. And Hiddleston and Swinton make it look so, so cool.

No. 22: Whiplash

In Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash, music student and jazz drummer Andrew Neiman (Miles Teller) tells his girlfriend that he strives to be one of the greatest performers of all time. In reality, it’s actor Teller and his co-star—J.K. Simmons, playing Terence Fletcher, Neiman’s teacher and bandleader—who really seem to be making a play at greatness. The film is about their conflict, and how Neiman believes he deserves greater acclaim as a drummer, with Fletcher arguing Neiman needs to pay more dues. Their back-and-forth brings the movie to a fever pitch—whiplash, indeed—with Teller and Simmons portraying the extremes of anger, frustration, and ambition without being afraid to show the egoism and callousness that go with them. It all builds to a climax that’s nothing short of virtuosic, both musically and cinematically.

No. 5: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Wes Anderson has a reputation for being constricting. His shots are so composed and his aesthetic so specific that his stories barely have room to breathe. The Grand Budapest Hotel refutes this generalization. Anderson pulls back and widens the scope of his film, spanning multiple time periods (with different casts of actors for each), countries (imagined ones, at least), and even aspect ratios (with frame sizes changing to denote the different timelines). Along with the broadened scope comes a certain looseness not normally associated with a director as controlling as Anderson; the actors, for example, each speak with their own accents, whether or not it makes sense in the context of the film. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t pack the same emotional punch as Anderson’s other films; it subtly moves from sequences of light farce to moments of real grief, sadness, loneliness, and anxiety about an approaching war. It adds up to a masterpiece on par with Johannes Van Hoytl the Younger’s Boy with Apple.

No. 4: Birdman, or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance

If there were a theme to 2014’s best movies, it would be about the struggle of creation. From the generation of music, as seen in Whiplash and Only Lovers Left Alive, to the art of Mr. Turner, the year was full of characters fighting to get something out into the world. Birdman is no exception. Not only is Riggan Thomson (Michael Keaton) trying to mount a play (a stage adaptation of Raymond Carver’s short story “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love”), he’s also trying to complete an act of self-invention. Along the way, director Alejandro González Iñárritu completes his own metamorphosis, from a director known for cross-cutting to one crazy enough to make a movie that looks like it was all one take. The subtitle of the movie is “The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance”, but it should instead be “The Unabashed Joy of Ambition”.

Click through to read the full list at PopMatters



]]>
Marisa LaScala
tag:mlascalawriting.com,2013:Post/790366 2015-01-02T17:54:31Z 2015-01-02T17:54:31Z Bustle TV Coverage: 12/15/2014 to 12/28/2014

Recently on Bustle, I...

...recapped everything we know about the sixth (and, sadly, final) season of Justified.

...lamented that Ben Folds, the best judge, wouldn't be returning to The Sing-Off, the charted the rise and fall of Sing-Off super-group The Exchange

...investigated when True Detective would return for its second season

...speculated about renewal chances for State of Affairs

...explained why the Madison Square Garden performance of the iHeartRadio Jingle Ball Tour was the best one to televise.

...looked into whether or not there were true stories behind Lifetime movies A Wife's Nightmare and Nanny Cam

Photo credit: Prashant Gupta/FX


]]>
Marisa LaScala
tag:mlascalawriting.com,2013:Post/783354 2014-12-15T03:24:39Z 2014-12-15T03:24:39Z Bustle TV Coverage: 12/1/2014 to 12/14/2014

...created a holiday gift-guide for die-hard Sherlock fans in case your mind palace was empty of ideas.

...rejoiced that Pixar came up with a new Toy Story short for the holidays.

...took at look at the times Melissa McCarthy and husband Ben Falcone teamed up on comedy projects.

...previewed the product that landed the biggest deal on Shark Tank then peeked behind the curtain at the home life of one of the sharks.

...looked into the literary inspirations behind The Librarians.

...attempted to find the real-life inspirations from Wally Lamb's Wishin' and Hopin', his Christmas special.

...looked at the past careers of two other Christmas special stars, Alicia Witt of Christmas at Cartwrights, and John Reardon of The Christmas Secret.

...figured out how Nashville fans can bide their time until it returns from winter hiatus.

...found out that people can decorate Christmas trees for a living, as Bob Pranga and Debi Staron do.

Image: screenshot from kaieldesigns/Etsy



]]>
Marisa LaScala
tag:mlascalawriting.com,2013:Post/776674 2014-11-30T16:36:20Z 2014-11-30T16:36:20Z The Daily Traveler: Pop-Up Ice Rinks

Our Favorite Pop-Up Ice Skating Rinks Around the World

Le Grand Palais des Glaces
Paris, France

The gorgeous, Beax-Arts Grand Palais was built for the 1900 World's Fair, but it's still turning heads more than a century later. Starting in December, the floor of the glass exhibition hall is frozen to form the world's biggest indoor ice rink, checking in at more than 29,000 square feet. Come when it gets dark to see the projections and animations that light up the massive rink. Then stay until late—starting at 9 p.m. and lasting until 2 a.m., DJs provide the music while visitors dance under stars visible through the glass ceiling. Open through March 8

Click through to see the full slideshow at the Condé Nast Traveler.

Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty Images


]]>
Marisa LaScala
tag:mlascalawriting.com,2013:Post/776666 2014-11-30T16:23:23Z 2014-11-30T16:23:23Z Bustle Film/TV Coverage: 11/17/2014 to 11/30/2014

Recently on Bustle, I...

...felt perplexed that The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 was split into two movies, so I figured out the page of the book where the first movie ends, determined what's left for Mockingjay - Part 2, and argued that dividing the last book into two movies wasn't the best idea. Spoilers abound for those posts, obviously.

...helped sleepy (hungover?) parade-watchers figure out what time and what channel the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade was on. I didn't know CBS had its own rogue broadcast.

...argued that the best times to watch The Nightmare Before Christmas are on Halloween, in Christmas, and on Thanksgiving, or halfway between Halloween and Christmas.

...gave advice to the makers of Catfish regarding what they should change in the show's fourth season.

...reassured Batman fans that Gotham's Ian Hargrove is not from the comics.

...found out that Seasons of Love's Cleo Anthony is rumored to be appearing in -- where else? -- a Marvel project.

...wondered how the Magic Cook featured on Shark Tank gets its magic heat.

Photo: Murray Close/Lionsgate


]]>
Marisa LaScala
tag:mlascalawriting.com,2013:Post/773283 2014-11-21T12:14:30Z 2014-11-21T12:14:30Z A.V. Club: Great Job, Internet!

For the A.V. Club's "Great Job, Internet!" series, I wrote about an artist, Hannah Rothstein, who took a series of photographs of Thanksgiving meals plated like different artists.

Now you can eat Thanksgiving dinner like Picasso

...Some of the images are as you would expect: The Piet Mondrian separates cranberry sauce, green beans, and stuffing into perfect, gravy-delineated rectangles, and the Georges Seurat forms a pumpkin out of dots of corn kernels. Others take more artistic license—like the Picasso-inspired meal served on the shards of a broken plate. (And the Rothko? It lives up to the description Jane Siegal gave the artist’s work on Mad Men: “Smudgy squares.”)...

Click through to read the entire post at The A.V. Club.

Photo: Hannah Rothstein. NB: She's selling prints of the photos, with a portion of the proceeds benefittnig the SF-Marin Food Bank.



]]>
Marisa LaScala
tag:mlascalawriting.com,2013:Post/770589 2014-11-16T18:13:33Z 2014-11-16T18:13:33Z Bustle TV Coverage: 10/13/2014 to 11/16/2014

Recently on Bustle, I...

...seethed with jealousy that Chris Pratt braids Anna Faris' hair, just one of the many reasons they're the perfect couple.

...cooked up some easy, cheap Gotham Halloween costumes.

...found out why Mr. Wonderful is called that on Shark Tank, and looked into where you can buy one of the products that I liked, but the sharks didn't. I would make a lousy Shark.

...sought out the comic origins of the tattooed stranger and Agent Triplett on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D

...theorized that everything Victoria Gotti knows about reality stardom, she learned from her mobster father.

...found the perfect match for Briana on Are You the One, because it isn't Curti. 

...predicted that Amber is going to be the Snooki of Slednecks

...speaking of Snooki, who is her fiance, anyway? This guy

]]>
Marisa LaScala
tag:mlascalawriting.com,2013:Post/770564 2014-11-16T17:07:22Z 2014-11-16T17:07:23Z Kiwi: Decoding the Common Core

I spoke to education experts to demystify the Common Core for Kiwi magazine. To read it, download the PDF above.

]]>
Marisa LaScala
tag:mlascalawriting.com,2013:Post/761486 2014-10-28T15:13:39Z 2014-10-28T15:14:32Z The Daily Traveler: Ghost Tours

Scariest Ghost Tours for Halloween

Explore haunted spaces, meet scary spirits, hear dark legends—and, yes, maybe learn a little history—on these ghost tours.

Boroughs of the Dead
New York City

Tour: The Ultimate Greenwich Village Ghost Tour takes guests through some of New York City's most famous haunts, including the "House of Death," (pictured) a house that is haunted by 22 spirits—including (possibly) the ghost of Mark Twain, who lived there for a year.

What Else You'll Pass: St. Mark’s Church in the Bowery, McSorley's Tavern, the Public Theatre, the Merchant's House Museum, and Washington Square Park.

You Might Meet: A boy who haunts the sixth floor of Hayden Hall at New York University. He hanged himself there more than 20 years ago; now he spends his time opening and closing drawers and moving furniture around.

FYI: All of Boroughs of the Dead's tour guides are writers who specialize in horror and speculative fiction (and a few of them are actors, too)—so they know how to tell a good ghost story.

Tours meet at St. Mark’s Church in the Bowery, 131 E 10th St, New York, NY, 646-932-0680; boroughsofthedead.com. Tours last two hours and cost $20 in advance, $25 at the door.

Click through to see the full slideshow at the Condé Nast Traveler

Photo Courtesy of Boroughs of the Dead

]]>
Marisa LaScala
tag:mlascalawriting.com,2013:Post/754744 2014-10-13T16:13:13Z 2014-10-13T16:13:13Z TV Review: 'Marry Me'

Does 'Marry Me' Mark the Year of the Rom-Sitcom?

...Even if The New Girl and The Mindy Project have modeled some success, 2014’s crop of TV rom-sitcoms—A to Z, Manhattan Love Story, and Selfie—will have to figure out what they would do if they were lucky enough to make it to a second season. Do they extend the will-they-or-won’t-they tensions, or is that just stringing audiences along? Or, might the couples get together in a season finalé, fundamentally changing the blueprint of the show for a sophomore season?

These longer-term questions aside, the single-camera Marry Me distinguishes itself by focusing on a couple who is together from the beginning. In the premiere episode, airing 14 October, Annie (Casey Wilson) and Jake (Ken Marino) have already been through their meet-cute, fallen in love, and spent six years together. The series premiere focuses on their bumpy engagement.

With this history in place, the show is free to focus on the comedy portion of the relationship, rather than the earliest, more sentimental stage. That doesn’t mean this rom-sitcom leaves out emotional moments; it’s clear that Annie and Jake really care for each other. Flashbacks to their initial meeting and the first time each says, “I love you” briefly deliver blushing first moments of love for viewers interested in that stage. That said, these early moments look ahead to the problems ahead, as Annie and Jake’s awkwardness gives way to scenes of abject embarrassment. Wilson and Marino are skilled enough performers that they can sell the tender scenes as well as the more exaggerated comedy... 

Click through to read the full review at PopMatters.
 


]]>
Marisa LaScala
tag:mlascalawriting.com,2013:Post/754690 2014-10-13T13:21:45Z 2014-10-13T13:21:46Z DVD Review: 'Obvious Child'

'Obvious Child' Looks at Unplanned Pregnancy from a New Angle

...If there’s a problem with Obvious Child, it’s born of the movie’s strengths. It’s a relief to see a movie that doesn’t treat abortion as a ordeal, and it’s refreshing to see a man in a romantic comedy be an idealized fantasy object. However, the combination of these two elements makes the film light on conflict. It’s important to Obvious Child to keep the abortion regret-free, so once the decision to end the pregnancy is made, it doesn’t continue to drive the narrative. The focus shifts to the relationship between Donna and Max, but he never seems to anger no matter how bad Donna’s behavior gets. Donna goes through ups and downs on her own accord, but nothing is too extreme...

Click through to read the full review on PopMatters.

]]>
Marisa LaScala
tag:mlascalawriting.com,2013:Post/754688 2014-10-13T13:05:39Z 2014-10-13T13:05:58Z Bustle TV Coverage 10/6/2014 to 10/12/2014

I'm about to leave for vacation, but I was able to squeeze in a few Bustle posts before I go. Last week, I...

...speculated that Gotham will have Osborn Cobblepot turn into The Penguin sooner rather than later.

...uncovered Charles Michael Davis' pre-The Originals roles. You can totally tell he was a model.

...investigated a few TV stars' wives. Click through if you're looking for information about the spouses of Sleepy Hollow's Tom Mison (she's pretty crafty), or Supernatural's Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles (both actresses). 

Image: Jessica Miglio/FOX



]]>
Marisa LaScala
tag:mlascalawriting.com,2013:Post/751244 2014-10-05T18:53:52Z 2014-10-05T18:55:12Z TV Review: 'Mulaney'
'Mulaney' Is Like Seinfeld, But Without Elaine

...Mulaney knows enough to feature a ringer or two, beginning with Martin Short, who plays his loopy comedian and game-show-host boss, Lou Cannon. Short is a tremendous physical comedian, and he can sell the gags that Mulaney can’t quite pull off. Thankfully, the show makes great use of Short’s talents. Not only does he careen around the set, he has ingenious comic timing. Cannon tells Mulaney that he likes “fast setups and slow punch-lines,” which seems to apply to Short himself, though there are times when his fast setups are followed by rapid-fire punch-lines, too.

Not every character is so well served by the material. Mulaney and Motif’s third roommate, Jane (Nasim Pedrad), is especially problematic. Though Pedrad doesn’t sound like a stand-up, Jane is obviously underdeveloped, and thrown into subplots that focus on typical—if not offensive—female storylines and stereotypes...The offense only gets worse when you realize that she’s the only one of the three roommates who, after the first few episodes, doesn’t have a clear profession. (Motif and Mulaney are both, predictably, comedians.) She’s another female character on TV who’s defined by her relationships with men, whether it’s her platonic friendship with Mulaney or her train-wreck romances. If Mulaney really seeks to emulate Seinfeld, it should seek to turn Jane into as vibrant and singular a character as Elaine Benes...

Click through to read the full review at PopMatters.




]]>
Marisa LaScala
tag:mlascalawriting.com,2013:Post/751188 2014-10-05T16:04:55Z 2014-10-05T16:04:56Z Bustle TV Coverage: 9/22/2014 to 10/5/2014

Fall TV means lots and lots of Bustle posts. Recently, I...


...marveled at how much British TV David Tennant has done that hasn't hopped the pond.

...coped with the loss of Trophy Wife by tracking down Michaela Watkins' other projects.

...discovered that it's super weird to see H. Jon Benjamin and Dan Mintz, who play Bob and Tina Belcher on Bob's Burgers, talking to each other in real life.

...traced the Elliott Gould's career highlights leading up to his across-the-hall hippie neighbor role on Mulaney.

...made a slideshow of all the guest stars coming to The Simpsons this season (including Don Hertzfeldt, an animator who did an amazing couch gag for the premiere).

...placed The Simpsons in the timeline of the longest-running shows on television (it's getting up there).

...uncovered Stephanie Beatriz's theater background before Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

...discovered Ryan Hansen's elusive wife, who was Kristen Bell's best friend and only witness at her wedding.

...caught up with both Sabrina and Jeremiah from Return to Amish.



]]>
Marisa LaScala
tag:mlascalawriting.com,2013:Post/745062 2014-09-22T13:29:50Z 2014-09-22T13:29:50Z TV Review: 'Gotham"

'Gotham' Is No Place for Nice Guys

...From the series premiere, it looks like Gotham fits somewhere between Burton’s and Nolan’s creations, not quite as stylized as the former, but not quite as contemporary as the latter. It’s dark—even the daytime scenes feel overcast—and the streets feature little retro touches, like checkered cabs. The striking visuals make clear that Gotham really is about the city first and foremost. While the first episode mostly follows Gordon, it does so to explore the city’s institutions (legal and illegal), how they overlap with each other, how each vies for control.

The institutions are premised on the individuals they affect as well as those who wield power. And, like most first episodes, this one offers a quick overview of the series’ players. Gotham feels like a fully populated town, almost akin to The Simpsons’ Springfield. Batman fans will recognize a few of the names, like Oswald Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor), Ivy Pepper (Clare Foley), and Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith). Since it’s too early in the Batman timeline for them to give in wholly to their villainous tendencies, right now they’re just townsfolk, however eccentric...

Click through to read the full review at PopMatters.

]]>
Marisa LaScala
tag:mlascalawriting.com,2013:Post/744877 2014-09-22T04:09:42Z 2014-09-22T04:09:42Z Bustle TV Coverage: 9/8/2014 to 9/21/2014

I was about to interview the creator of the WGN America series Manhattan. He told me about writing strong female characters, the crazy parties that happened in Los Alamos, and what might be in store for a second season (since the show isn't just about the bomb). 

I also...

...loved Donal Logue's Bullock in Gotham so much, I traced the other Bullocks from movies and TV. 

...explored the charms of Reid Scott, who plays Dan Egan on Veep.

...speculated about the chances for renewal for You're the Worst and Married, and about whether the move to Sunday would be good or bad for Brooklyn Nine-Nine (illustrated with a lot of amazing Andy Samberg faces).

...found out who created the Miss America pageant, and what the winner gets.

Photo Credit: WGN


]]>
Marisa LaScala