Mamma Mia! – The Movie Review

Mamma Mia! The MovieI just got in from seeing a test screening of Mamma Mia! The Movie. It was absolutely fantastic!! We are definitely in for a treat come July when the movie gets a proper release. Here’s my review. Don’t worry for those not wanting spoilers, I have a warning in place before I discuss the movie so it’ll be safe to stop reading at that point.

Thanks to information posted to ABBAMAIL by Ian Cole about the test screening in San Diego, I managed to get to the screening. I got to the theater with plenty of time to spare, I was early for the recommended arrival time and I saw a few other people with printed out invitations so I followed them in to the waiting area outside the individual theater where the screening would take place.

I stood in line waiting to be issued a wristband and then to proceed to be checked for audio and video recording devices. The invitation recommended leaving cellular phones with cameras in our vehicles because they would not be permitted into the auditorium so I didn’t have my phone with me at all and thought it was going to be a really long hour to sit through without my phone to occupy my time.

As I entered the theater, most of it had been taken by people who were in a line for people who had arrived earlier. The line I was in was the next line to be formed with space assigned for another two lines. And it didn’t look like there was going to be enough room in the theater for everyone. I had to take a seat in the first third of the theater closest to the screen because everything further back was already claimed. Eventually every last seat was filled and quite a number of people had to be tuned away. It looks like it was overbooked on accepted RSVPs, which is certainly one way to pack each and every one of the seats available and the invitation did state that possession of an invitation was still not a guarantee that a seat would be available.

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“Mercy” by Duffy



During the week of March 11-18th, iTunes USA was offering Mercy by Duffy as it’s “Single Of The Week” as a free download. While I’ve not been very impressed by the other free songs of the week I’ve downloaded in the past, this one just knocked my socks off. Comes to find out this song has been a chart topper in the UK which is probably why I liked it so much. My musical tastes have always been more in line with European musical tastes than American.

I thought this song has a great retro-feel with its beat feeling very 60’s-ish. Duffy’s voice sounds a bit of a cross between Dusty Springfield and Tina Turner to me. (I think the song has a big “River Deep, Mountain High” sound to it. I’ve heard others compare Duffy’s voice to Amy Winehouse (I don’t agree because I can’t stand Amy Winehouse), and Dolly Parton (I love Dolly but don’t really hear that comparison.) The video can be seen at Amazon’s UK site and it’s well worth the look.

Well the song has definitely left me wanting more, but ridiculously the album isn’t available here in the USA until May 13, 2008. That’s just too long to wait, especially since the album is available now in the UK. So I ordered it from the UK, and it’ll be here next week sometime. I can’t wait to hear the rest of the album. If you want to pick up Duffy’s “Rockferry” album you can get it here from Amazon UK or if you want to save a few bucks you can wait until the US release on May 13th, you can pre-order it now at Amazon US. I for one am not waiting for the US release!

Checking Out Fresh And Easy

Fresh And Easy
Recently I received an e-mail from a business site that monitors branding related issues, and this time one of their featured articles was on British companies trying to carve out a niche in the American market place. One of the companies featured was Tesco, a British company that’s considered similar to Wal-Mart that’s been launching “Fresh And Easy” stores here in California since November. Their approach for the US market is creating “Neighborhood Market” stores which are similar to supermarkets but smaller and getter emphasis on meeting community needs (meaning the stores will have the freedom to cater to local community tastes). They also emphasize a more environmentally friendly store, and carry a large selection of organic and more natural type product mix.

Since the concept sounded interesting I thought I’d check it out since there happens to be a store in Escondido, California that’s not too far from my path to and from work. And liked the green color scheme and the big windows allowing for lots of natural light to come in. I found the people working there to be really friendly and helpful and some interesting product choices. The store definitely had the appeal of a Trader Joe’s store except with not nearly the same kind of floor space devoted to wine and alcohol as a Trader Joe’s store. It really did feel like a hybrid between a Trader Joe’s store and a traditional supermarket as there were familiar brand names in the store mixed in the definitely more appealing look of the Fresh and Easy products.

There was definitely a large emphasis on store label products with the Fresh And Easy brand logo. The prices certainly seemed very reasonable and I elected to buy a few items. The had a great looking section of prepared foods which looked great and convenient. This has been a hallmark of Trader Joe’s and some of the other more stores aiming for the natural and organic foods market like San Diego’s own Jimbo’s Naturally, and the nationally known Whole Foods Markets. Some of the prepared items I wasn’t quite so adventurous to try, but some I’m definitely looking forward to trying on future visits.

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