Book Review “Nella the Princess Knight” by Christine Ricci

Age Range: 3 – 7 years
Grade Level: Preschool – 2
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Release Date: March 7, 2017

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

“Nella the Princess Knight” is the latest new animated preschool series to come out of Nick Jr. This show quickly became one of my 5 year old’s favorite series. The show is cheesy and drives me nuts personally but my girl loves it and that is all that matters to me. This is the first book in the “Nella the Princess Knight” series and tells the story of “Nella’s Unicorn Rescue”. Since receiving this book, it has become a staple for my daughter at bedtime. If your kids has discovered this show I would recommend the book for sure…and if you haven’t discovered the show my daughter would highly recommend it.

Keeping it with the family, the story is written by Christine Ricci, which is a curriculum consultant on Nick Jr. shows like “Blaze and the Monster Machines” and “Team Umizoomi”. The show is cute and works well for kids because it focuses on relationship development and positive messaging for preschoolers and promotes them to be courageous. That is a message that I want my daughter to have as she is soaking up everything around her and growing up. I look forward to future books from Random House Books for Young Readers and I hope they continue this series for “Nella the Princess Knight” for a while!

Film Review: “Christine”

Starring: Rebecca Hall, Tracy Letts and Michael C. Hall
Directed by: Antonio Campos
Rated: R
Running time: 1 hr 55 mins
The Orchard

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

There is a saying in the television news business that goes, “If it bleeds – it leads.” Definition – people are drawn to seeing other people suffer. Have you ever watched the news and the anchor looks into the camera and says, with a serious voice, “the video we are about to show you may be disturbing?” And if so, have you ever turned away? So imagine now that you’re watching television on July 15, 1974 and you hear the pretty broadcaster say, “In keeping with Channel 40’s policy of bringing you the latest in ‘blood and guts’, and in living color, you are going to see another first—attempted suicide.” Would you turn away?

The story of television personality Christine Chubbuck, who actually spoke the above words, “Christine” is an in-depth look into a problem that was either misdiagnosed or just ignored: depression. We meet Christine (Rebecca Hall in an award-worthy performance) sitting in front of a camera and “rehearsing” an interview she’d love to have with the disgraced President Richard Nixon. She uses these tapes to study her on-camera “language.” She also uses a pair of hand puppets to express many of the things she’s afraid to voice. Once an important part of Boston news, Christine now finds herself at a little station in Sarasota, Florida, where she went to relieve the stress in her life. Even though she has a crush on the stations anchorman (Michael C. Hall), she doesn’t date and, at age 29, is still a virgin. Her depression is obvious to us, the viewers, but to those around her she just seems put-offish. But with the opportunity to go to Baltimore being dangled in front of her, she begins to change.

I have to admit that I barely remember the incident that made Christine Chubbuck infamous. Television often blurs its reality. That’s why, in the film, Christine continually rails against the set decorator who insists on using artificial flowers. She strives for reality in all things. Ms. Hall gives a thorough and nuanced performance, making Christine both sympathetic and almost unlikable. The supporting cast also acquits itself well, with special mention going to Mr. Hall and the great Broadway star John Cullum as the owner of the news station.

With the success today of so many female television reporters, including Diane Sawyer, Martha Radditz and Katie Couric, it’s hard to remember how tough women had it in the workplace 40 years ago. The fact that one of the characters watches “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” is all we, as the audience, need to see. See you on the news.

Christine Ebersole talks about her role on TBS’ “Sullivan & Son”

Christine Ebersole is well-known performer & two-time Tony Award winner from the 2001 Broadway revival of “42nd Street” and 2006’s “Grey Gardens”. She is currently playing the role of Carole on TBS’ hit comedy series “Sullivan & Son”. Christine took out some time to chat with Media Mikes about her role in this very funny show and what she enjoys most about performing on stage.

Mike Gencarelli: Your are a such a well-known performer & two-time Tony Award winner, how did you get involved with a show like “Sullivan & Son”?
Christine Ebersole: I think what really convinced me was that it was funny. That element really struck me when I first read the script. The show also has heart. I really loved that.

MG: All of the cast that I’ve spoken says that Carol has some of the best lines in the show.
CE: I feel like it is a total feast. I am thrilled beyond words. The people I work with all enjoy each other’s company. We basically laugh all day and get money at the end of it. (Laughs) It’s awesome!

MG: You worked with Brian Doyle-Murray back on “Saturday Night Live”, how was it working with him again?
CE: After 30 years, we finally got to work with each other again. To still both be players at our age is just great. It is all gravy.

MG: The episode “Creepy Love Song” features you singing with Owen Benjamin was so hysterical, how many times did that take to shoot?
CE: Our characters have a childlike innocence to them which I think allows us to get away with all the things that we do. Those characters are just having fun.

MG: What has been one of your favorite experiences from shooting season 1?
CE: I am hard pressed to pick just one. Even when I don’t have a lot of scenes in the show I am just so thrilled to be a part of it. It doesn’t matter if I have more or less lines. Of course you always want to be the center of attention but when you are not you can revel in the joy of the person who is getting the attention. Things like this don’t happen all the time.

MG: How does working in front of a live studio audience compare to the audiences from your live stage work?
CE: It really is the closest thing to working in front of a stage audience. With television you are allowed to mess up and do things over. On stage you can’t do that. It’s very close to having that energy that fuels you. It’s great having that barometer to gauge how funny things are.

MG: Can you tell us about some of your upcoming live performances?
CE: I am going out performing a show I did at the Carlyle a few years back. The show is about finding eternal youth. I will be doing songs from “The Great American Song Book” and telling true stories about my life.

MG: What do you enjoy most about performing?
CE: For me it is the audience. The group I am working with right now is also really great. Taking everything in and seeing the audience enjoying themselves is what it’s all about.

MG: Tell us about your role in the film “The Big Wedding” and working with the great cast?
CE: The film was supposed to come out in the fall however it has been pushed to next spring. I think they want to work more on the publicity. The film is really beautiful and was written by Justin Zackham. The cast is also pretty amazing. I play the mother of the bride who is played by Amanda Seyfried. The film is just really fun and sweet. The best part was I got to write and perform a song called “Gently Down the Stream” which will play at the end of the film. Don’t leave when the credits come on or you will miss the song.

Interview with Christine Quinn

Christine Quinn is playing the role of Jess in “Shark Night 3D”.  Her role in the film is reminiscent of Susan Backlinie’s character in “Jaws”.  Christine is also in the upcoming film “Humans vs. Zombies” and is currently filming “The Ghost of Goodnight Lane” with Billy Zane, Danielle Harris and Lacey Chabert.  Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Christine about “Shark Night 3D” and her upcoming movies.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about your character Jess in “Shark Night 3D”?
Christine Quinn: It is cool because I am in the opening scene of the movie.  They did it like “Jaws” style and everyone remembers the girl from the opening scene.  Basically my boyfriend and I go the lake for the weekend.  We decide it is a good idea to drink and swim around the lake.  He goes to make a sandwich and I get attacked by the shark.  So he comes out and finds me dead…[laughs] So yeah that’s the quick version.

MG: How does it feel to be the poster girl for the film and also a prominent sell for the trailer?
CQ: My family came to me also and said “Oh my God, you are on the poster”.  It is really cool thing.  I guess they kind of dubbed it all together.  I never thought from such a little part it would have so much publicity.  Everyone loves sharks and they have Shark Week last month so everyone is excited.

MG: How was it working in the water?
CQ: We filmed it in September last year and it was so cold, the water was freezing.  The stunt guys were wearing full-on wet suits.  I am in a bikini and I was freezing [laughs].  The technicalities of the stunts were so amazing.  You see movies and you see what goes in them but you wonder how they actually do that.  It was cool to get to see the behind the scenes of how they pull it all together.  For example, I was attached to a harness on my body.  I have like six stunt guys underwater at different times pulling me in different directions.  I had to be in super good shape because otherwise it would have been hard to pull off.  When we did the breakaway ladder shots, if the stunt guy pulled me down and I moved the wrong way I could hit my head.  All these little technicalities go into this movie.  The scene is only like three minutes long but it took three days to shoot.

MG: Tell us about working with David Ellis?
CQ: David is coolest director I have ever worked with.  He just let’s you do your thing.  He tells us to just feel the lines and do what we think is right.  He puts all of his trust in the actors.  He knows who he hired and he hired them for a reason.  So basically my co-star Damon Lipari and I, we have the only kiss in the entire movie.  It was totally improved because David said to do whatever we want.  He thought it was so perfect.  I have never had a director that praises the actors so often.  It makes you feel so good and makes you just want to work with him and I hope I can work with him again.

MG: From sharks to zombies, tell us about the film “Humans vs. Zombies”?
CQ: That was a super fun shoot to do.  I am in the trailer but you would not recognize me because I look so scary.  I was so zombied out [laughs].  I love horror films and having an opportunity to work on them.  I could have not been any more thrilled.  The cool thing about that movie is that my boyfriend and I AGAIN [laughs] are at the lake and we are playing around.  This guy comes up to us and he is all zombied out and ends up bitting me.  I am on the one that brings the virus back to the city.  It was fun movie.  All the special effects in the film are so cool.

MG: I love you in the GameStop commercial for the “Mortal Kombat”, was that fun to shoot?
CQ: [laughs] Yeah that was so much fun.  I went to the audition and I didn’t know my lines at all.  The director asked me if I knew the lines and I said “No”, so he told me just to improv.  I don’t know much about games but I just did a bunch of improv and he loved it.  So he then booked me the role.  During the shoot, rvery take that we did he was like “No, no, no you are too smart for me…I need you to be dumber” [laughs].  We finally got it and it turned out really funny.

MG: What else do you have planned next?
CQ: I am in Dallas right now and  I am working on a movie with Billy Zane, Danielle Harris and Lacey Chabert called “The Ghost of Goodnight Lane”.  I am really about this film since I am the lead in next to Billy Zane.  It is going to be really amazing.  I want to continue in the horror film genre, since it has been really good to me. Also the same month that “Shark Night” comes out, I am going to be in Playboy, not naked or anything.  Playboy found out about “Shark Night” and they asked me to be in their article called “Up and Coming”.  It features athlete and movie stars etc.  So that is really exciting also.  So I will be purchasing my first Playboy next month [laughs].