“DRAFT DAY”–MOVIE REVIEW–WOW!   Leave a comment

WOW! I love being surprised in the movies! I am neither a Kevin Costner or a football fan and only went to see this movie because of the 3 new films opening today this was the closest and most convenient.  I now like Kevin Costner who plays the underdog , the general manager of the Cleveland Browns, Sonny Weaver, Jr., and though I still don’t like football I did learn what “Draft Day” is and some of how it works.

This is an excellent film about what goes on in the backroom of a big business and there are so many things to talk about the positives so in no particular order, and Costner’s performance a given and hoping he is remembered at awards time here we go.

The director, Ivan Reitman, and his director of photography Eric Steelberg, use a split screen technique that is used to a great advantage, in ways I haven’t seen before, and not overused. The screenplay, written by Rajiv Joseph and Scott Rothman, is sharp with many funny lines especially one by Jennifer Garner about football players and teams all desiring a piece of jewelry.

The acting from Garner, as Ali, Costner’s pregnant girlfriend who is one of the team’s financial executives, have two scenes in a storeroom that are very effective. With all the good acting by Ellen Burstyn as his mother, Frank Langella as his boss, Dennis Leary as the coach of the team, along with Josh Callahan, Chadwick, Tom Welling and Arian Foster as football players and pawns in the draft along with real life sports announcers, commissioners and former players add to the believable story and has you think ‘it is based on true story, but it isn’t.

One outstanding actor, among all these veterans, deserves his own paragraph is Griffin Newman as Rick the new intern for Ali. The writers gave him great lines and the director did a good job but Newman has an innate talent to put these lines over to bring smiles to your face.

Along with a moving love story, relationships stories and the football behind the scenes drama there is also the sparkling shots of the 7 or so cities and their football stadiums, a very neat and clean locker room, that gives a shine to what you know is a ‘dirty’ business.

Do yourself a favor and go see “Draft Day” that is an excellent film with very few ‘special effects’ to move it along.

Posted April 11, 2014 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , ,

“BAD WORDS”–A MOVIE REVIEW   Leave a comment

Image

 

Jason Bateman makes his directorial debut along with starring in and producing, “Bad Words”. He plays Guy Trilby, a 40 years old man, who never finished the 8th grade which makes him eligible to compete with 10 year olds in a spelling bee eventually winding up in the national finals.

“Bad Words” is a comedy that makes fun of kids such as a 40 year old man giving a 10 year contestant the finger or taking the kid Chaitanya, played by Rohan Chand, to a prostitute so she could show him her boobs. How about eliminating a contestant by making her think she is ‘becoming a woman‘ then and there where she has to get up in front of a crowd to spell a word? And then how could he not help pick on a fat kid before the boy’s turn in the spelling bee?

Bateman gets a certain sympathy in any film because of his persona but here it is the screenplay by Andrew Dodge who gives the actor sharp lines that will make you laugh even when you know it is wrong. The interplay between Guy and the reporter, Jenny Widgeon, played by Kathryn Hahn, looking to find out what is behind the story, is also funny though at times in a cruel way.

Dr. Deagan, played by Allison Janney, as the director of the spelling bee, has nothing but disdain for Guy and makes it quite clear by giving him a supply closet for his hotel room. The Golden Quill’s spelling bee founder, played by Philip Baker Hall, attempts to keep everything on an even keel turns comedy to drama on a dime.Jason Bateman makes his directorial debut along with starring in and producing, “Bad Words”. He plays Guy Trilby, a 40 years old man, who never finished the 8th grade which makes him eligible to compete with 10 year olds in a spelling bee eventually winding up in the national finals.

“Bad Words” is a comedy that makes fun of kids such as a 40 year old man giving a 10 year contestant the finger or taking the kid Chaitanya, played by Rohan Chand, to a prostitute so she could show him her boobs. How about eliminating a contestant by making her think she is ‘becoming a woman‘ then and there where she has to get up in front of a crowd to spell a word? And then how could he not help pick on a fat kid before the boy’s turn in the spelling bee?

Bateman gets a certain sympathy in any film because of his persona but here it is the screenplay by Andrew Dodge who gives the actor sharp lines that will make you laugh even when you know it is wrong. The interplay between Guy and the reporter, Jenny Widgeon, played by Kathryn Hahn, looking to find out what is behind the story, is also funny though at times in a cruel way.

Dr. Deagan, played by Allison Janney, as the director of the spelling bee, has nothing but disdain for Guy and makes it quite clear by giving him a supply closet for his hotel room. The Golden Quill’s spelling bee founder, played by Philip Baker Hall, attempts to keep everything on an even keel turns comedy to drama on a dime.Jason Bateman makes his directorial debut along with starring in and producing, “Bad Words”. He plays Guy Trilby, a 40 years old man, who never finished the 8th grade which makes him eligible to compete with 10 year olds in a spelling bee eventually winding up in the national finals.

“Bad Words” is a comedy that makes fun of kids such as a 40 year old man giving a 10 year contestant the finger or taking the kid Chaitanya, played by Rohan Chand, to a prostitute so she could show him her boobs. How about eliminating a contestant by making her think she is ‘becoming a woman‘ then and there where she has to get up in front of a crowd to spell a word? And then how could he not help pick on a fat kid before the boy’s turn in the spelling bee?

Bateman gets a certain sympathy in any film because of his persona but here it is the screenplay by Andrew Dodge who gives the actor sharp lines that will make you laugh even when you know it is wrong. The interplay between Guy and the reporter, Jenny Widgeon, played by Kathryn Hahn, looking to find out what is behind the story, is also funny though at times in a cruel way.

Dr. Deagan, played by Allison Janney, as the director of the spelling bee, has nothing but disdain for Guy and makes it quite clear by giving him a supply closet for his hotel room. The Golden Quill’s spelling bee founder, played by Philip Baker Hall, attempts to keep everything on an even keel turns comedy to drama on a dime.Jason Bateman makes his directorial debut along with starring in and producing, “Bad Words”. He plays Guy Trilby, a 40 years old man, who never finished the 8th grade which makes him eligible to compete with 10 year olds in a spelling bee eventually winding up in the national finals.

“Bad Words” is a comedy that makes fun of kids such as a 40 year old man giving a 10 year contestant the finger or taking the kid Chaitanya, played by Rohan Chand, to a prostitute so she could show him her boobs. How about eliminating a contestant by making her think she is ‘becoming a woman‘ then and there where she has to get up in front of a crowd to spell a word? And then how could he not help pick on a fat kid before the boy’s turn in the spelling bee?

Bateman gets a certain sympathy in any film because of his persona but here it is the screenplay by Andrew Dodge who gives the actor sharp lines that will make you laugh even when you know it is wrong. The interplay between Guy and the reporter, Jenny Widgeon, played by Kathryn Hahn, looking to find out what is behind the story, is also funny though at times in a cruel way.

Dr. Deagan, played by Allison Janney, as the director of the spelling bee, has nothing but disdain for Guy and makes it quite clear by giving him a supply closet for his hotel room. The Golden Quill’s spelling bee founder, played by Philip Baker Hall, attempts to keep everything on an even keel turns comedy to drama on a dime.

Posted April 5, 2014 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

Tagged with ,

“LE WEEK-END”–A MOVIE REVIEW   Leave a comment

For many years I have said, “The only time I made a mistake is when I thought I made a mistake, ” well today I made another one. I had intended to go see “Bad Words” that has been out for two weeks and I have heard good things about but a new film opened called “Le Week-End” at the Gateway Theatre and decided to see that instead. It was such a bad decision on so many levels though I always try (eliminate try from a sentence and it becomes a positive sentence!) to find something positive in every movie I see.

Knowing the film takes place in Paris we were sort of wondering if there would be sub-titles but, sadly, it wasn’t because we may have understood the movie better. It is basically about a couple celebrating their 30th anniversary coming from Birmingham (England? Or Alabama? Doesn’t matter.) It sort of seems to explain why there are so many divorces among married people but I feel it was really about the various feelings long term relationships go through.

Jim Broadbent, as Nick, is a professor who has been asked to retire early due to something he said to a black girl in one of his classes regarding her hair while Lindsay Duncan, as Meg, is a schoolteacher who is looking for romance, in her marriage or not, yet refuses to have sex with her husband. Their ambivalent feelings toward each other comes and goes.

The catalyst that makes them move is caused by Morgan, played by Jeff Goldblum, a former student of Nick, who sees his old professor as the man who motivated him to become a successful writer and after bumping into each other walking in the street, with Morgan, seeing the husband an wife in a passionate kiss, invites them to dinner. At the dinner Meg is invited to have a drink at a corner bar which she accepts.

The film doesn’t seem to have an ending that doesn’t end though it does have a cute dance scene in restaurant bar.

One of the major faults of the movie is that Lindsay Duncan is quiet spoken but to a point that you almost don’t hear her though as an actress you can follow her story. 

Some audience members laughed a lot when Broadbent dshare a joint with Morgan’s son but this scene has been played in so many films we couldn’t understand the laughter.

I really don’t know what the director, Roger Michell, and writer, Hanif Kurelshi, was trying to say in this film but I came away with that passion disappears in long relationships and that very low speaking lead actresses do not help a fan. I did speak to Ray on the way out and tell them that should raise the sound just a bit to make Duncan audible and not make the other actors seem to be shouting.

By the way I may go to see “Bad Words” today!!!

 

Posted April 4, 2014 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , ,

“NOAH”–A MOVIE REVIEW   Leave a comment

There is as much good as bad in “Noah” with good being the acting of Russell Crowe as the title character doing a strong role convincingly with Jennifer Connelly as his wife, repeating a role she played opposite Crowe in “A Beautiful Mind”. Their sons are played by Douglas Booth as the eldest boy Shem, Logan Lerman themiddle son Ham and with Leo Carroll as the youngest Japheth and Emma Watson as the adopted daughter Ila.

The central story of the bible of Noah building an Ark, taking his family and two of every earthly creature, spending 40 days and nights at sea and starting a new world. (I have very little knowledge about how the world would be repopulated but I suppose that is for bible studiers to answer.) The story has been expanded—one of the bads of the film is the length of the movie–to include a super villain Tubal-cain, a descendant of the Abel killer, his brother Cain, played by Ray Winstone,–by the director Darren Aronofsky and he with co-writer Art Handel. I am almost sure there were no such characters as The Watchers, live rock formations, in the bible though I was told they were the equivalent of Nephilim, supposedly fallen angels. The Watchers are voiced by unrecognizable sounds of Frank Langella and Nick Nolte.

The watchers are the biggest waste of time–and they are a big part of the second half–but save the director and writers explaining how the Ark was built and how the creatures were gathered. The use of special effects is becoming an excuse not to explain things in movies and bringing a certain unreality to the screen.

The production values are first rate and even the musical score never overtakes the story.

“Noah” is neither a good or bad movie though it is good to see Russell Crowe handling a deep role with ease as he did in his early days but even with that though Moses will always be Charlton Heston, Crowe may not always be Noah.

Posted March 28, 2014 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

Tagged with , ,

“AMERICAN TOURIST”–TOURING COMPANY REVIEW   Leave a comment

American_Idiot jpg.jpg

 

Green
Day’s “American Idiot”, with music by Green Day, lyrics by Billie Joe
Armstrong and a book by Billie Joe Armstrong and Michael Mayer based on
the conceptual album of the same name, landed with a bang at the Broward
Performing Arts Center in Fort Lauderdale last night where it will be
playing until April 6.

 

 

 

We
meet boyhood friends Johnny (Jared Nepute), Will (Casey O’Farrell) and
Tunny (Dan Tracy) on the cusp of manhood, bored with suburbia and make a
pact to move to the big city. At the last minute Will’s girlfriend
Heather (Mariah MacFarlane) tells him she is pregnant and he decides to
stay home. Tunny who doesn’t fit in with urban living enlists in the
army serving in Afghanistan where, when wounded, he meets The
Extraordinary Girl (Taylor Jones). Johnny finds two loves in the city,
one being heavy drugs after a figment of his imagination brings forth a
drug dealer St. Jimmy (Carson Higgins) which in turn leads to a true
love of  Whatshername (Olivia Puckett).

 

 

 

The
roots of “American Idiot” can be found in “Hair” and “Rent” with each
representing a generation, their music and their general sense of being
lost.  “American Idiot” is referred to as a 90 minute punk opera which
first came out in album form in 2004 and made it to the Broadway stage
in 2010.

 

 

 

With
a hard working cast, ensemble and band on stage of 22 people plus the
magic of Tony Award winners scenic designer Christine Jones and lighting
designer Kevin Adams plus the choreography of Steven Hoggett and
director Michael Mayer “American Idiot” captures the time. place and
music of a generation.

 

 

 

Upon
entering the theatre people of a certain age (mine!) are offered ear
plugs which I didn’t have to use but they should have offered sunglasses
as there is an overabundance of strobe light use directed straight at
the audience.

Posted March 27, 2014 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , ,

“THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL”–MOVIE REVIEW   Leave a comment

Every year I get caught up in the buzz of a film or two, sometimes even three, and as I walk out of the theatre I wonder if I saw the same film the buzzers did. After seeing “The Grand Budapest Hotel” I came home and read about a dozen reviews as I prefer reading reviews after I have seen a film,  and I will admit up front I am certainly in the minority regarding Wes Anderson‘s latest picture.

The sets, costumes, production values covering 36-40 years, from the 1930s to the 1960s are all first class and I fell in love with the funicular going up the mountain. Anderson directs at the right pace for a farce but in the screenplay, with Hugo Guinness, he tries to cover too many different aspects of a world in change.

Ralph Fiennes is the center of the picture in a different role than he usually takes and he becomes the character making the film a little easier to follow. He is surrounded by many professional  actors such as an almost unrecognizable Jude Law along with a very aged, with makeup, Tilda Swinton plus F. Murray Abraham, Adrien Brody, Edward Norton, Owen Wilson and Bill Murray just to name a few and newcomers Tony Revolori and Saoirse Ronan playing pivotal roles but this is Fiennes’s film.

Though I won’t recommend this film I have to tell you Allen liked it and I did hear a couple of laughs from other audience members.

Posted March 22, 2014 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

Tagged with , ,

PATTI LUPONE WITH SETH RUDETSKY—REVIEW   Leave a comment


 

Patti LuPone is of the ‘old school’. She talks about signing a contract–heavy emphasis on ‘contract’–to do 8 performances a week–”That is your job, that is your commitment, that is your contract.” She talks about how you can’t hear most lyrics in a Broadway show because the music is too loud and the singers of today don’t enunciate their words. She takes pot shots at Susan Strohan as a director, talks about her ‘sometimes I love him and sometimes I hate him’ talking about Steven Sondheim and her love and respect for the late Arthur Laurents. And she has quite a few things to say about rumors and rumor spreaders, tackling some of the rumors about her but, no, she doesn’t talk about the ‘elephant in the room’ the flashbulb incident that took place when she was doing “Gypsy”.

She is caustic, funny, direct and, obviously very much at home on the stage. You listen when she talks because she has something to say and says it! She and Seth Rudetsky have been working together for a few years now and they know how to play off each other and they, along with the audience, have fun with it.

When Patti LuPone gets up to sing you know you are in the presence of a star. She is a ‘belter’ more in the tradition of an Ethel Merman and Barbra Streisand rather than in the current American Idol belters. With each song she is telling a story and she is the person in that song.

She started off with “Come To The Supermarket in Old Peking” followed by the song she sang at ‘cattle calls’ when she started “Don’t Rain On My Parade”. After talking about the original “Hair” and not being kind to the revival, she did a song from the show. Next came a few stories about “Gypsy” and Arthur Laurents and how she saw Rose Havoc with her bringing the house down with “Everything is Coming Up Roses” going onto a number from “Woman On The Verge” which she feels was an extremely under-rated show and will be revived in the future to great success. “Stealing a song from Mandy Patinkin” she belted out a rousing “Trouble” from “The Music Man” then  her signature song from “Evita” called “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina” after explaining what a hard score that show was to sing and telling why. She finished with 2 songs from “Company” doing a very moving “Being Alone” and angry/funny “Ladies Who Lunch” ending with an explosion fromtheaudiencethat I am sure was heard in Miami!

I have seen Patti LuPone on Tv–just recently on the “Girls”–but she started her stage career on Broadway in the 1970s, starring in “the Robber Bridegroom”, after I had moved to Memphis and I had never seen her on stage until this show. I did see the televised version of “Company” but now wish I had seen it in person. Patti LuPone is a legend and she showed why at the Parker Playhouse Thursday night.

Posted March 15, 2014 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

Tagged with , ,

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 284 other followers

%d bloggers like this: