Archive for February 2014

“NON-STOP” A MOVIE REVIEW   Leave a comment

As Matthew McConaughey turns from a nude bongo romantic comedy lead into a very respected Oscar nominated ‘serious’ actor Liam Neeson has gone from a serious actor to an action star and he continues in that mode with “Non-Stop”. With his hang dog, sad sack face you know within minutes of the film starting this man has had a rough time and along with fighting possible alcoholism he is fighting past demons.

Bill Marks (Neeson) is a Federal Air Marshall who within minutes of the plane he is on he gets a call on his cellphone demanding millions of dollars or every 20 minutes someone on the plane will be killed. Bill is being set up as the hijacker of the plane and the money and his boss, along with others in the government, suspect it is true.

The Marshall suspects everyone on the plane except an eight year old girl. Becca. (Quinn McColgan) that gives him a chance to show his tender side. We meet his seatmate Jan (Julianne Moore), flight attendants Nancy (Michelle Dockery) and Gwen (Lupita Nyong’o) along with a teacher, doctor, pilot and co-pilot, a New York policeman and as varied a crowd as you would find on any plane and Bill, along with the audience, try to figure out who is behind it all. You know a film is working when you suspect the child could be behind it all, if only for a minute.

As an action film “Non-Stop” fits all the requirements including a few, well many, illogical monents, fights, guilty party going from one suspect to another, fights, manufactured but effective suspense, fights, a possible past and future love story and, oh yes, did I mention fights?

Neeson does everything the questionable hero is expected to do and all the cast support him though the women are more or less wasted, especially Moore and Nyong’o, the latter given very little to say but shows off that Grace Jones hair style with class.

As Allen said while walking out “I’m exhausted,” being pulled into the film as most of the audience was. Many people stayed for the ending credits to see who played what role as many faces were familiar but not quite a name!

Director Jaume Collet-Serra keeps the action moving including a very believable 2 man fight in the plane’s restroom. The screenwriters John W. Richardson, Chris Roach and Ryan Engle keep the story going maintaining suspense, if not always logical, while the score by John Ottman almost unnoticeable adds to the tension.

For those who like action films this is a good one and even those who don’t (me) will enjoy it.

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Posted February 28, 2014 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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“MEMPHIS”–BROADWAY TOURING REVIEW   Leave a comment

 

 
Every once in awhile something happens in the theatre called MAGIC! You could have seen a show, enjoyed it and forgotten it the next day until  you see it again 8 months later and from the moment the curtain  goes up you have an almost out of body experience and that is what happened last night at the opening of the touring company of “Memphis” at the Broward Performing Arts Center.
The electrical chemistry between Jasmin Richardson as Felicia, a black singer and Joey Elrose as Huey, a white DJ, not only charged the theatre but the featured players, the ensemble and the band. They weren’t actors playing characters but real people whose life we were watching.
It is Memphis, Tennessee, in the 1950s, a time of racial tension and ‘colored’ music, eventually to be called rock ‘n roll, is coming into the white world and being taken over by them.  Huey and Felicia fall in love opposed by his mother and her brother and we follow them as they go through tribulations of their love and careers.
With the music, book and lyrics by Joe DiPietro and David Bryan, original choreography of Sergio Trujillo recreated by Jermaine R. Rembert and Adam Arian recreating the original direction of Christopher Ashley the cast is strong whether dancing, acting and/or singing. Pat Sibley as Mama, Avionce Hoyles as Gator and Jerrial T. Young  as Bobby and the ensemble stop the show more than once.
It is Jasmin Richardson and Joey Elrose, with that undefinable magic, her soaring voice, his hangdog winning ways, that take this show into a night not very quickly forgotten in this Tony Award winning show for Best Musical.
 
“Memphis” will be playing at the Broward Performing Arts center until March 9–catch the magic!
 

PICTURES BY JEREMY DANIEL COURTESY OF PR MANAGER CHARLOTTE V.

Posted February 26, 2014 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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SOMEONE WRITE THIS LADY A HIT SHOW!!   Leave a comment

 

Megan Hilty is on the cusp of being a big star. Her fame up to this point has rested on her stepping into other people’s shoes from her debut on Broadway as Glinda, the good witch, in “Wicked” taking over the role from Kristin Chenoweth playing it for close to 2 years on Broadway, 2 years in Los Angeles and touring, to her latest Broadway gig in the Encores production of “Gentleman Prefer Blondes” as Lorelei Lee played, and made famous, by Carol Channing on Broadway and Marilyn Monroe in the movies version. In between she played the role of Doralee Rhodes in the Broadway version of “9 to 5” playing the role originated by Dolly Parton . Her biggest fame, though the show flopped, was the 2 years she starred in “Smash” on TV and even for that she had to sing “Happy Birthday Mister President” as Marilyn Monroe did in real life.

During her conversation with Pete Rudetsky, who is host and pianist, she talks about going to opera camp as a teenager and then to Carnegie Melon where she studied drama and learned how to ‘belt’ out her songs. She tells funny stories about Glindas getting stuck in the bubble, and how they swallow soap bubbles within the bubble, at one point suggesting a self help group for ex-Glindas and Elphabas.

Not only does she tell funny stories but she tells real stories of ‘pilot season’ regarding new TV shows and the work behind the TV shows like “Smash” and the recently cancelled “Sean Saves The World”. She talks about people she has worked with and how she was almost signed for a show but at the last minute, while in negotiations the role was taken away. As a talker you could listen to her for hours as within minutes she makes you feel like a good friend and then she gets up to sing in between the stories.

She sings “I Could Have Danced All Night” which soars with her opera trained soprano to her Grammy nominated “Moving The Line” from “Smash” to “Popular” from “Wicked” her singing knocks you out. She does Dolly Parton’s “Backwards Barbie”. At one point she invites her husband, Brian Gallagher, whom she married in November in what he says was planned in less time than it took him to get from his seat to the stage, to sing “Simply Seymour” from “Little Shop of Horrors” in a duet. After that she does “Bye, Bye Birdie” and “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend” with her encore song “The Man That Got Away” leaving the audience standing and wanting more.

Megan Hilty is a step away from being an A listed bona fide star who just needs that one show to put her over the top. It is time for Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, who wrote the songs for her in “Smash”, to write that show where she introduces an original character as her own.

If you get a chance to see her cabaret show or singing with your city’s philharmonic go see her!

Posted February 22, 2014 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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“A STRANGER BY THE LAKE”–AN X RATED MOVIE–A REVIEW   Leave a comment

THIS IS AN X RATED MOVIE CONTAINING FULL FRONTAL AND REAR NUDITY! THE DIRECTOR WON A SPECIAL DIRECTOR’S AWARD AT THE CANNES FILM FESTIVAL.

Far from being a prude porn has never done anything for me except maybe wanting to be in it, explicit sex, gay or nongay , in a film does nothing for me. I prefer the days when they hinted at it. My first reaction to A stranger By The Lake, a French film with badly placed white sub-titles, was a porn film with a story but it did turn out to be more than that with a shocking non-ending!

A Stranger By The Lake takes place around a lake where on one side (though we never see people on the other side) gay men sunbath nude and walk into the woods behind tehe rocky beach to have sex. Lust, not love, unfolds here. When Franck Pierre Deladonchamps) first spots Michael (Christophe Paou) he immediately follows him into the woods and sees the latter having sex with another man which only intrigues the former more. The next day he is a witness to Michael drowning his lover and, instead of going to the police, the next he once again follows him into the woods and they devour each other in every way. They become day time lovers, with Franck wanting more and Michael unwilling to give him more knowing they will tire of each other.

Along the way we meet Henri (Patrick d’Assumcao), an obese factory worker who recently split up with his girlfriend, who Franch strikes up a platonic relationship which is partially what Henri is looking for being very lonely. By the way, in a change from gay themed films, all the men arenot pretty, young hunky guys, coming in all shapes and sizes. We also meet the inspector (Jerome Chappatte) inquiring to what happened to the young man who drowned and this is when A Stranger BY The Lake becomes an interesting, puzzling movie.

The movie by director/writer Alain Guiraudie has made many films, both gay and non-gay, revolving around the desires that may not fit societies ideas but happen all the time.

For those who always wanted to know what ‘two men do together’ this is the movie to see, along with being pulled in by the murder mystery. For gay men who have ever done outdoor cruising or, even closer to home have cruised Dania Beach in past years, you will see actions and hear many lines that you are familiar with, some making you smile and even laugh.

Though the film is 100 minutes it should have been cut by at least 10 minutes which would have been easy enough to do by eliminating a few too many swimming scenes and the explicit sex scenes. The ending is not one almost as if the director/screenwriter didn’t know how to end it.

The lake, the parking area (an important part of the film to relay passage of time), the woods and the sky are all photographed beautifully and it isn’t until you leave the theatre you realize there wasn’t any music on the sound track.

Posted February 21, 2014 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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“GLORIA”–MOVIE REVIEW   Leave a comment

 

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GLORIA–CHILE/SPANISH FILM WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES–MOVIE REVIEW

Submitted by GreatMartin on February 18th, 2014 –
Category: Movies

‘Gloria’ is a woman’s movie about and for woman. It is not Hollywood’s version of a stunningly gorgeous woman who can’t get a man or an old woman with Alzheimer’s. Gloria, played gloriously by Paulina Garcia, is every woman. After 12 years of divorce, her ex (Alejandro Goic), remarried to a younger woman, in her late middle age with two grown children who don’t have the time to give her that she wants, working what looks like a decent job which affords her the service of a housekeeper Luz (Coca Guazzini), goes to dance bars, where middle aged people hang out, because she likes to dance.

She talks with a few men leading to nowhere when she meets Rodolpho, played by Sergio Hernandez, recently divorced with an ex-wife and two daughters who lean on him for everything. He recognizes her vibrancy, makes his move and they go to bed embarking on a romance. In the sex scenes, and with the frontal nudity, we see a couple whose bodies are not toned, sun-tanned and glowing but the bodies of older people who try to keep fit but are unable to stop Mother Nature. Rodolpho readily admits that he has had gastric by-pass surgery and wears a girdle to keep the loose skin hidden but takes it off to show Gloria all of him.

We meet Gloria’s family, as does Rodolpho, her single parent son with a boy, Pedro, played by Diego Fontecillia, her daughter Ana (Fabiola Zamora) a yoga instructor who is going to Sweden to marry her boyfriend, her ex with his wife, at a birthday party for Pedro. Being involved with her family she doesn’t realize that Rodolpho has disappeared.

They eventually get together after visiting his amusement park where Gloria lights up bungee jumping and learning how to shoot a paint ball gun, and she learns how to use that paint ball gun for revenge.

Gloria doesn’t fair well in the older middle age ‘meat market’ but she is never a defeatist and you can see it in her face, particularly in a glorious version of ‘Gloria’ from ‘Flashdance’ when she knows she can be picky because she doesn’t need a man but wants one.

Paulina Garcia is a complete and worthwhile discovery for an American audience. There is a radience about her that when in one scene it is discovered she has glaucoma and, just for a moment all the light goes out of her. She gives a standout performance.

The director, Sebastian Lelio, who co-wrote the screenplay with Gonzalo Maza gives a picture of Chili in broad strokes showing the people, the country and the politics. He certainly seems to know women and maybe men going to see this ‘woman’s’ picture will learn a thing or two.

Posted February 18, 2014 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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“THE MONUMENTS MEN”–MOVIE REVIEW   Leave a comment


‘The Monuments Men’ is the type of ‘Hollywood movie’ that they don’t make anymore–for good reason. The film depends strictly on the charms of the actors which are many, there are no surprises and you are usually a couple of steps ahead of the screenwriters George Clooney and Grant Heslov,  which is based on a true story, and director George Clooney does bring one or two new shots to the screen Along with this the star George Clooney does one too many voiceovers. Would anyone be surprised to hear that George Clooney also produced this movie along with Grant Heslov?

In my opinion if anyone has starred, co-wrote, co-produced and directed a film I would say it was exhibitionism but this is George Clooney, a good actor when need be and has proven himself as an director and has produced winners previously.

The film is about a group of men who get together to recapture an unaccountable amount of art stolen by the Nazis during WW2 and then was threatened to be confiscated by the Russian army. The 8 men are, of course, a rag-tag team but each is brilliant in their own way.  Frank Stokes (George Clooney) is a art historian who convinces President FDR to allocate money to get the stolen art and return it to the original owners. James Granger (Matt Damon) is the curator of the Metropolitan Museum of Art while Walter Garfield (John Goodman) is a sculptor. The other 5 men are French art dealer Jean Claude Clemont (Jean Dujardin), Donald Jeffries (Hugh Bonneville) an art expert, Sam Epstein (Dimitri Leonidas) a German Jew who Stokes enlists to be their driver and translator along with Preston Savitz (Bob Balaban) and Richard Cambell (Bill Murray) as an architect. Along the way Granger connects–no, not that way! Not that she didn’t want to!–with Claire Simone (Cate Blanchett) who is a Parisian and was in a position to keep meticulous records of where all the art works were sent by Hitler, for a future Fuhrer museum, and Goering who took them for his own collection.

There are no spoilers because whatever happens you have seen before. Would it really surprise you that someone (won’t say who as that might be a spoiler until 15 minutes into the movie) finds the piece of art they are searching for? The only big surprise and possible SPOILER is that Granger turns down Simone when an advance is made. How do you turn down baby faced, dimpled, gosh, gee Matt Damon?!

The musical score by Alexandre Desplat would make any of the older Hollywood scorers proud with its pounding, ‘pay attention to what’s happening on screen’ score.

‘The Monuments Men’ is a movie for the fans of the actors, for those who remember how ‘they use to be made’ and for those who want to see what the old folks are talking about.

Posted February 7, 2014 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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“ONCE”–REVIEW OF BROADWAY TOURING COMPANY IN MIAMI   2 comments

 

The first love story was that of Adam and Eve and ever since love stories have made up the bulk of the arts from theatre to films, books, paintings and opera. The bottom line becomes what makes a particular love story different and the musical version of “Once”, based on the movie, has a lot of differences starting with the two leads not having names but just called Guy and Girl. Added to that is there is no orchestra with most in the cast playing a musical instrument, being the orchestra. The original award winning film score is in the show with a few new songs. The most startlingly aspect of “Once” is the combination of direction, movement and the music supervision not really knowing where one starts and the other leaves off. The cast of 13 are precision artists in all facets of their movements and have the audience in a state of awe throughout most of the show.

 

The show starts as soon as the auditorium doors are open with the curtain up showing an Irish pub in Dublin. The audience is invited on stage, Irish songs and jigs are danced until at one point Guy (played by Stuart Ward who plays the guitar) starts singing “Leave” and the lights dim. We immediately meet Girl (played by Dani de Waal who also plays the piano. She is impressed with Guy’s singing and playing being even more impressed when she learns he wrote the words and music. He explains that he has written most of his songs about his ex-girlfriend who has moved to New York. He is ready to give up on his music and make a life working for his father fixing vacuum.

 

Guy meets Girl, they fall in love and… Along the way we meet Da Guy’s father (played by Raymond Bokhour who plays the mandolin, Baruska, her mother, (played by Donna Garner who plays the accordion and concertina) and Girl’s daughter (Kolette Tetlow who seems to be the only one not playing an instrument). The rest of the cast includes Matt DeAngelis (guitar, mandolin, banjo, drum set, percussion), John Steven Gardner (piano, guitar, percussion, melodica, harmonica), Evan Harrington (guitar, percussion, ukulele), Ryan Link (guitar, banjo), Benjamin Magnuson (cello, guitar), Alex Nee (electric bass, ukulele, guitar, percussion), Erica Swindell (violin, percussion) and Claire Wellin (violin).

 

The star of the show is definitely Stuart Ward, who appears as part of the exchange program between American Equity and UK Equity, has a powerhouse voice not only to put over his solos but to modulate his tones to blend in when singing with others. And he, as are the others, are given a score with music and lyrics by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova.

There wouldn’t be a “Once” without the actors/musicians, score and book (by Enda Walsh) but the names above the title should be Director John Tiffany, Movement by Steven Hoggett along with music supervisor and orchestrations by Lowe. All make theatre magic at the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami.

 

Next show at the Center will be “WarHorse” March 4-9 to be followed by “Blue Man Group” May 13-18 and “Evita” May 27- June 1.

Posted February 6, 2014 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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