Thursday, July 4, 2019

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Watch Club Bohemia Publicist Joe Viglione discuss the new casino

Encore Boston Harbor, Everett, Reaching Out to the World

By Joe Viglione 

Encore Boston Harbor, Everett, Reaching Out to the World

By Joe Viglione

    Encore Boston Harbor is an amazing, enchanting place that has changed the face of Everett, Medford, Malden – the region just north of Boston. It is something you have to experience to fully get the magnitude of the street where once upon a time, back in 2014, you could spend your after-hours at Mike’s Donuts.  Where today you can still choose Mike’s Roast Beef at 115 Broadway until 2 am, or go to Kelly’s Roast Beef 35 Revere Beach Pkwy, Medford until 1 am – and probably only at the drive-through.

    But snap your fingers and say abracadabra and you are in the wonderful land of Oz with the Encore Boston Harbor creating a spectacular environment containing “15 dining and lounge venues; 671 guest rooms and suites including New England's largest standard hotel rooms,” as I quote from the June 23 press release.

   The opulent Sinatra’s restaurant is just one example of a classy space that plays the music of Frank, and has his favorite dishes on the menu.  One of many comfortable and inviting restaurants to delight the senses along with Rare, Mystique, Waterfront, The Oyster Bar, On Deck Burger Bar, Fratelli, Red 8  - we are talking major food heaven  

    Now - you might ask, “But Joe, what about Mohegan Sun in Connecticut.”  Some of my favorite shows played at Mohegan Sun – Peter Noone and his Herman’s Hermits, Mark Farner of Grand Funk Railroad, and truly a strange night with the late Marty Balin of the Jefferson Airplane guest-starring with Ambrosia (dear departed Marty made an indelible imprint that night, not only in performance but the huge autograph on the wall that Mr. Noone pointed out to me some months later!)  …however Mohegan Sun is such a drive – Uncasville from Boston about one hour and forty-six minutes – which, you know, is two hours coming and two hours going…

    Encore Boston Harbor is special and it took seeing the resort to allay the initial fears – fears of more traffic in our neck of the woods or what kind of element will a casino attract, etc. etc.   Encore Boston Harbor is beyond casino, it is a true vacation landing place. 

     With our beloved Mystic River environmentally restored, the Encore boat on the river offers a frequent ride on the water unavailable to so many before the hotel and its beautiful recreational/dining/spa/hotel landed in our backyard.  Hey, I miss Mike’s Donuts…really, but we’ve gone from a coffee shop on a road that led to nowhere to Star Wars at Disney World, kinda sorta.

    The press release notes that Roger Thomas, Executive Vice President of Wynn Design, put it all together, citing “Dining outlets onsite range from nationally recognized experiences from the brand's Las Vegas locations including Sinatra and Red 8 to exclusively local concepts like Fratelli, a casual Italian restaurant from Boston North End restaurant veterans Frank DePasquale and Nick Varano, as well as Memoire, a nightlife fantasy by Boston's Big Night Entertainment Group. Encore Boston Harbor even touches the city's local sports scene with private box suites at Fenway Park, Gillette Stadium and TD Garden, designed to mimic the opulence for the resort and elevate the guest experience into the city and beyond.”  I couldn’t have said it better myself!   

   On the Saturday tour of Boston we were treated to DePasquale and Varano’s specialty bread at their Bricco Panetteria on Board Alley behind the Bricco Restaurant.  This was on a tour with a remarkable woman, Carla Pallotta of Nebo.  Pallotta is as well-versed as Danielle at Encore Boston Harbor, David O’Donnell of the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau, Brigitte Martin – Executive Director of the Society of Arts and Crafts, Flo on the Duck Boats, the information overload was as invigorating as the delicacies we were offered, Cannoli from Modern Pastry, coffee at Polcari’s Coffee courtesy of Bobby Eustace, bread from Bricco Panetteria concluding with special seafood from the brand new – as of June 2019 – Ciao Bella in 5 North Square.  See the link for more details

Roger Davies Photo

        To give you more perspective on this writer’s journey, we spent five hours on Friday, June 21 and five and a half hours on Saturday, June 22, exploring the wonderful nuances of what Encore Boston Harbor has to offer.  It is beyond casino.  This adds to Boston’s legacy as a vacation destination – a destination that is sometimes a halfway point to the seacoasts of Maine and/or Cape Cod.  Encore Boston Harbor has made the Mystic River a new seashore with daytime fireworks on Sunday the twenty-third (of June) as part of the grand opening.

      Encore Boston Harbor’s aim is to be something special in Boston and that it is, someplace for the after-2 AM crowd that could never quite find the right atmosphere once the clubs in Cambridge and Boston shut down.  Condensing ten and a half hours into a story is an art unto itself so consider this part 1, a sort of overview.  We are developing a sixty-minute television special for cable access TV on Monday, July 1 with more stories on this incredible resort to follow.   I am not a gambler, yet I’m planning on spending much time over at this new resort, at the restaurants, soaking in the atmosphere, on the boats.  There is so much to offer it simply can’t be put into one article.  Encore, indeed.


Review by Joe Viglione
     As if being in the Avengers Endgame wasn’t far enough from home, the play on words with the title will have Marvel fans scrambling to find all sorts of ambiguous double meaning. Far From Home starts off as one of the worst Marvel films before transforming itself a third of the way in as one of the best.
    Back in the 1960s when television got the brilliant idea of playing horror flicks from the 30's and sci-fi movies from the 50's we, as children, would wonder why the initial thirty minute set-up for each picture was so boring; why it took so long for the monsters and the drama to arrive.
     Disney/Marvel has eliminated that with slam/bang/crash/boom/bam openings to just about every film...except for Marvel/Sony's Spiderman: Far From Home.  How boring is the first third of this film?  So bad that I almost left the critic's screening on Tuesday night.
    Seriously.  I was this close to walking out. And contemplated it a couple or few times.
    Watching actors in their twenties badly playing annoying sixteen year old classmates is worse than watching paint dry.  Because drying paint at least has some action!  And this is why Marvel president Kevin Feige is a genius and I am a mere purist critic: the younger crowd in the audience seemed to actually liked it. 
     Now with no place to go but up, how is the rest of the movie?  The rest of the film is one of the best Marvel comics translation of ideas from the original books put to film of the whole lot of ‘em.  Say that three times fast.   And the Spiderman suit seems more like the comic magazine than in the Tobey Maguire or Andrew Garfield screen appearances.  Of the seven Spiderman films (not including the very excellent Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse which I’ve got in review limbo ,) the action and plot to Spider-man: Far From Home is the best Spider-man yet, and one of the best Marvel comic films we've yet to see.  If the future holds a complete film with this kind of action and invention, we are in for some fine forthcoming treats.
    Jake Gyllenhaal, at 39, is a man's man as Quentin Beck, Mysterio.  Gyllenhaal, from Donnie Darko to Source Code, and always a fine actor, has a script putting him in complete control, not groping through the dark as in Source Code (a fave film of mine,) but given authority.  For Gyllenhaal, Donnie Darko was 18 years and almost half a lifetime ago.  Here the actor plays the gamut of emotions, and the seeming “bromance” between Tom Holland’s Spider-Man and Gyllenhaal’s Quentin Beck has more chemistry than the awkward moments with Zendaya as M.J.  Even more awkward as this M.J. is “Michelle” not Mary-Jane Watson that we know from the comics.  It’s the bizarre mix-up of personalities from the colorful books to film, as mixed up as some of the ever-changing actors and actresses that become these characters, that makes devoted readers of the Marvel legacy feel like they are living in parallel universes.  Aunt May is played by 55 year old Marisa Tomei while in Andrew Garfield’s dimension The Amazing Spider-Man 1 and 2, the now 73 year old Sally “Flying Nun” Field was Aunt May.  Somehow, having a 73 year old woman instead of a 55 year old was more in line with the original character, but what do I know?, the film is going to destroy the box office and that’s the point of making a motion picture these days.  Artistic esthetics aside there are millions of Spider-Man fans who could make more “purist” celluloid (or digital) documents of the comic books…it’s easy, just follow the yellow brick road (or Stan Lee etchings…) but Feige is the president of Marvel for a reason, and watch him re-release Endgame to get that 22.7 million it is shy of to outpace Avatar as the biggest grossing film of all time.   Samuel Jackson is Shaft playing Nick Fury playing Shaft. With a new Shaft episode out in the public domain you can see the Jackson attitude at work in both films.   Jackson has never played the Nick Fury of the comics, Jackson made the character his own. Nick Fury of S.H.I.E.L.D gets to play Samuel Jackson. It’s just that the actor’s brilliance overshadows those once important facts. That eminent domain thing again.
    The screening of the Far From Home film was June 26th and this critic has released pieces of reviews until this completion, around 3:15 pm on July 5, 2019. The film has already garnered $309.9m in 3 days of release on a 160m budget, according to Wikipedia and it’s a good thing Spider-Man is in front of the title as there are multiple movies that go by the title Far From Home, eminent domain being so very available when films rake in hundreds of millions of dollars.

      Mysterio is a great villain, and it takes a great villain to give a film its biggest impact. Look at Heath Ledger’s Joker in The Dark Knight compared to Tom Hardy’s Bane in the sequel, The Dark Knight Rises.  Hardy might as well have been playing his character Romulan leader Shinzon from the 2002 Star Trek: Nemesis, it just didn’t have the brilliance that Ledger offered, which few people have - the extra artistic magic to bring it to life. Ledger’s Joker was a casting coup for the ages, but that is what it takes in a world where the big budgets need to score big box office.   Gyllenhaal does deliver in a big yet subtle way.  The script, the special effects, the twists and turns, and those amazing drones, they culminate in a far more satisfying battle than what happens in Endgame. 

    Avengers Endgame tied things up with a bow, what you saw was expected. It WAS for the faithful fans of the comic books who will continue to spend money and keep fueling this superior enterprise.   Sony and Marvel working together bring Spider-Man to life and – hopefully, God help us and save us, as the character grows older they can discard the teenage craziness (TV show Leave It to Beaver did it so much better) and get on with the business of movie-making – making films that enhance the comic book experience, not overwork and dilute it.   Spider-Man: Far From Home is a great action film. Just walk in 30 minutes after the start of the show.

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