Archive for April 2016

“MILES AHEAD”–MOVIE REVIEW   1 comment

“Miles Ahead” is an odd Hollywood bio of a Black jazz musician. It has all the clichés such as his being a heroin/coke addict, physically abusing his wife, (a beautiful Emayatzy Corindealdi), being beaten by police and arrested, a sex addict, etc., but it is told in a very strange way. The film deals with the past and present, sometimes in the same frame, but telling us little about the man himself.

I was looking forward to this movie because I was/am a big fan of Miles Davis’s music since I saw him for the first time at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1955 when I was 19 when I was on leave from the Marines. I collected all his records and when I lived in NYC in the early 1960s I saw him in many clubs. I just knew the man as a musician nothing about him personally and the film really doesn’t help there.

There has been good word of mouth about the film, and Dan Cheadle’s performance as Miles Davis, plus his first directorial effort and he co-wrote the screenplay with Steven Baigelman. Miles has a limp but it is never explained just as his very raspy voice isn’t, unless it is and because Cheadle takes that rasp very low we don’t hear it but that’s not really the case. When I got home I googled it and it seems it was due to after operation when he wasn’t suppose to talk for 10 days he yelled on the second day! And the limp was due to a bad hip.

Another negative is that it turns into an action movie with a car chase!

While Cheadle does give a good performance I really don’t see it as an Oscar worthy one though much is being said about it unless it is a reaction to the Oscar nominations of this past February. The movie, like a jam session, is all over the place but the one constant is the music of Miles Davis on the sound track. Here, also, Cheadle makes a misstep by not playing a continuous full out, fully filmed complete music number until the end credits eventually turning into a new rap song.

Instead of seeing “Miles Ahead” I suggest you put on one of his records, sit back and be transformed by the man’s trumpet playing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7bd6CPLrAqc

“Miles Ahead” movie trailer

 

Posted April 28, 2016 by greatmartin in FILM REVIEWS, MOVIE REVIEW, Uncategorized

WINTER IN FORT LAUDERDALE PART 2   Leave a comment

The Point 3 April 23 2016

We had a few cold days—hey, a low of 48 and a high of 66 is COLD in South Florida—and then a few days later back to lows of high 60s and mid 70s. While so many around the world (No, not you Australia!!) are experiencing snow, sleet, hail, freezing temps, we have cats strolling along or taking a nap, flowers in bloom, a fairy catcher (don’t laugh—you’ll see) a chest naked paddler on the water, etc. Do I miss the 4 seasons? NO!

Winter slideshow

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROqmzTlVGkc

 

1 to 3 Yes cats have to take a rest in the sun.

  1. Yes you are reading it right—the box says it is a fairy catcher—so far no fairies caught but I will report on it next month!

5 & 6 The marigolds and morning glory flowers are from seeds I got at The Dollar Tree last February and now they are on sale again!

7 to 9 Boats and that bare-chested paddler enjoying The Point while some people up North are scrapping ice off their wind shields!

10 Signs of Spring to come

11 I LOVE this flower—a candy stripe Amaryllis

12 A collage around Gateway where I live.

As the old commercial use to say “Come on down!” Only a high of 87 degress today!

Posted April 27, 2016 by greatmartin in FORT LAUDERDALE, LIFE, Uncategorized

WINTER IN FORT LAUDERDALE PART 1   1 comment


The Point 2 April 23 2016 (1)

The most often asked question of someone living in South Florida is, “Don’t you miss the 4 seasons?” and I can, emphatically, answer “NO!” Yes we have a couple of days when the high temperatures might only be in the 60s and on some very rare mornings it might even dip into the higher 40s but most of the time the average high temperatures in the winter from December to March are in the high 70s and the lows, in the early morning, 50s and 60s.

There are many jokes made about the ‘4 seasons’ like it is the early bird season, the snow bird season, the hot and hotter season not to forget the hurricane and rainy season! (We haven’t had a hurricane in 10 years plus the rainy season seems to be changing due to weather conditions but that’s another post.)

All the pictures in the slideshow were taken in late December and all through January. In the first picture if you look hard you will see the wild parrots that visit us every evening just before sundown!

Mother Nature doesn’t know from seasons and does her own thing like the Crepe Myrtle trees change their colors and drop off the leaves in January & February, not September and October!! Our autumn comes in the middle of winter.

You’ll see people canoeing or paddle boarding while yachts wait to take a trip. You’ll see a lemon tree with fruit so big they look like oranges. Hibiscus’s are in bloom in all colors, along with cacti and Egrets go hunting for food after each rainfall.

The Morning Glory and Marigold blooms are from seeds I bought March 2015 at the Dollar Tree store. In the last picture you’ll see Biscuit, the bigger older dog, playing with, tolerating? Meatball the young pup down at The Point while the humans talk about how all their relatives are freezing, fighting snow and ice! And, yes, we email you, call you and ask, “Don’t you wish you were here?” as we laugh to ourselves so that you don’t hear it!  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Vl70WUqWwA

Posted April 25, 2016 by greatmartin in FORT LAUDERDALE, LIFE, Uncategorized

“A HOLOGRAM FOR THE KING”–A MOVIE REVIEW   1 comment

After seeing “A Hologram for the King” the word that stays in my mind is interesting, not an interesting movie but for some interesting visual scenes.

Going from a man in possibly a middle age crisis to a story about a fish out of water to a West meets East tale the movie is all over the place. With Tom Hanks, America’s Everyman, that is if Everyman has a Danish female contractor trying to seduce him and an independent Arabian woman doctor becoming involved with him, the role acquires depth even if the scenes with his daughter (Tracey Fairaway) hold the film back as does the brief flashback scenes with (Tom Skerritt) his father.

The interesting visual scenes go from Alan (Hanks) and the doctor (Sarita Choudhury) in a swimming scene among coral reefs, wide spans of desert, a vision of what parts of that desert may develop by man plus the hologram(s) in the title. Now if only the movie had spent more time about the holograms it would have been interesting in a better way.

There are more scenes such as a high rise beautiful condo growing in a desert land that is being built by exploited foreign workers who offer a brutal way of life. There is also the introduction of Yousef (Alexander Black) who is more or less a cliché as a driver/guide, who is good but really could be eliminated from the picture without a loss except for about 20 minutes making the already short, 98 minutes, movie shorter.

“A Hologram for the King” does nothing for Tom Hanks’ career except solidify his likability while Choudhury is very impressive in her role and both in the underwater scenes are a delight as a couple.

In spite of the interesting visual scenes, and Tom Hanks, there is no way I can recommend this movie.

Trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UW4OE1egbHs

Posted April 22, 2016 by greatmartin in FILM REVIEWS, MOVIE REVIEW, MOVIES, Uncategorized

BAMBOO ASIAN BISTRO–FORT LAUDERDALE–RESTAURANT REVIEW   Leave a comment

Bamboo Asian Grill  7 April 7 2016 3  (1)

We had a groupon for Bamboo and decided to try it for lunch one day arriving at around 1 PM only to see the waiter? Owner? Manager? Chef? step outside to answer his cell phone. Another party of two arrived just before us and the 4 of us were at sea for a bit until I took a menu and we sat down at a table with the other couple doing the same.

Eventually Shawn–at least that is the name on the bill–took our drink order and finally our food order.  Aside from a woman coming out from the back with what looked like a delivery order we didn’t see anyone else working in the restaurant.

Allen ordered the sweet and sour chicken special ($7.50) served with a salad and veggie rice and a can of coke ($2). I had the Cashew Nut Chicken ($7.95) with miso soup and veggie rice plus a coke. We shared a large bowl of Red Bean ice cream.

There was nothing wrong with the food or the service but it all seems robotic and nothing really saying ‘You have to come back’.

Aside from the specials the regular priced items were a little bit higher than found on other menus.

With the groupon–$15 for $30 worth of food- the lunch cost us about $10 including tax and tip.

I did question allowing us to use the groupons on the specials but Shawn said that was okay.

I really see no reason for going to the Bamboo Asian Bristro, with or without a groupon, unless you like bamboo which all the different shades and kinds intrigued Allen!

 

 

Slideshow

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TzTp4bqhE7I

Posted April 20, 2016 by greatmartin in RESTAURANT REVIEWS, Uncategorized

WHEN/DOES LIFE EVER SLOW DOWN?   Leave a comment

week of April 12 2016 Collage

Last week was a busy, tiring but good week. We went to see the touring stage production of “Cabaret”, a show that I hadn’t seen in 50 years, and the night before a new show, the stage adaptation of the movie “Dirty Dancing”. Wrote and posted the reviews late the night of the show or early in the morning. Also did my regular blogging, responding to comments, making posts, getting involved in discussions, answering 50 plus emails a day and just doing what one does.

We went to see the movies “Eye in the Sky” which was very good and “Mr. Right” which wasn’t and also wrote and posted the reviews. We ate at a couple of new restaurants like the Cuban/Mexican Fuego Latino, good, the coal pizza Anthony’s, not, the Bamboo Asian, just okay,  along with a few goodies but oldies like Denny’s, Subways and the Quarter Deck. Still have to write and post the reviews of the new restaurants.

Needless to say there were also the weekly trips to The Dollar Tree, Winn-Dixie plus stops at CVS and picking up my laundry at the cleaners.

I went to the hand surgeon and he said the finger is healing well and though I still haven’t looked at it while he was changing  the bandage—don’t laugh—but I had Allen take a picture of the bare finger and I am hoping to work up the courage to look at it that way. I do have to change the bandage every day and put some medical cream on it every day so-o-o-o-o-o time to bite the bullet. I go back to see him on Friday.

As busy as last week was this coming week—well 20 days—I will have Allen’s car so you know I will be running around and finding ways to spend money I don’t have and, hopefully, getting in trouble!

P.S. I changed the finger bandage, put the medical cream on it and a new bandage so I guess I am not the wuss/wimp I thought I was! 

Posted April 18, 2016 by greatmartin in LIFE, Uncategorized

“MR. RIGHT”–A MOVIE REVIEW   1 comment

Sometimes, unfortunately, you go to a movie with expectations to be completely disappointed. Due to time and a doctor’s appointment we had a choice of going to see either “Demolition Man” or “Mr. Right”. I would rather have seen the former but I know Allen didn’t want to see it. I read somewhere that “Mr. Right” was a combination comedy/action/romantic independent movie along the lines of “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Though I didn’t read the reviews I did go to metacritic and saw a couple of 70 and 80 ratings so I figured it were a good choice.

Yes Anna Kendrick is cute and acts bananas very believably while Sam Rockwell is just as crazy playing an assassinator who kills the people who hires him to kill others because he thinks it is wrong. They meet cute; they fall in love and then a lot of mayhem starts.

Trying to be a screwball comedy there are very few laughs and, in cases where it attempts to be a farce it goes way overboard. The movie is full of gangster clichés along with ridiculous fights whether with guns, knives, fists, feet or dancing—yes, Sam Rockwell is sort of a Fred Astaire/Gene Kelly dancing assassinator. Oh yes there are about 10 people out to kill him.

Okay, I will admit I smiled twice in the 90 minutes of the movie but at the end I turned to Allen and told him it was his fault for us seeing his. It is also your fault if you go to see this when something, anything, else is available to see!!

Trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Mqt_oE-zXY

Posted April 16, 2016 by greatmartin in MOVIE REVIEW, Uncategorized

“EYE IN THE SKY”–MOVIE REVIEW   1 comment

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PxpX8-efsZI

“Eye in the Sky” is a different war movie than most theatre goers are used to seeing. From “All Quiet On The Western Front”, “Top Gun”, “Mr. Roberts”, “Patton” to ‘Searching For Private Ryan” that dealt with troops fighting each other on or over land or water here we are not dealing with troops fighting other troops but people in rooms far away from where the action is taking place, directing where manless drones should attack and destroy areas and killing people. There are cameras in the shape of flies sending pictures back to the command office that aid those in charge to make decisions.

The film starts off with the intention of capturing a woman whom is on the list of most wanted militants which is observed at the Cabinet office of Lieutenant General Frank Benson (Alan Rickman’s last performance) . Jumping back and forth across continents Colonel Katherine Powell (Helen Mirren) oversees the whole operation and is responsible for the outcome. What starts out as a capture order turns to a kill order when it is discovered that the woman and some of her allies are getting ready for suicide attacks. At the same time that is found out we also see a young girl we have watched playing with a hula hoop  getting ready to sell bread her mother makes only it is in the ‘kill zone’.

All of a sudden “Eye in the Sky” instead of being a film about war, decisions, and those who make them, becomes an edge of the seat watch the clock thriller as we see the child setting up her table to sell the bread in the streets and the adults in England, the USA and South Africa hold her life in their hands. We watch an undercover agent played by Barkhad Abdi who tries everything he can, including buying her bread to get her away from probable death if orders are carried out and the drones attack.

Along with Mirren, Rickman, Abdi , Aisha Takow as the young girl, there isn’t a false note among the cast also including Jeremy Northam, Phoebe Fox, Carl Beukes and Richard McCabe.

“Eye in the Sky” is an intriguing 102 minutes of the new technology being used in war situations but revolves around a child and whether she will live or die and doesn’t let you forget that no matter what you are seeing on the screen.


Posted April 15, 2016 by greatmartin in MOVIE REVIEW, Uncategorized

“DIRTY DANCING”–A TOURING REVIEW   Leave a comment

dirty dancing 2.jpg Tierney (Johnny) and Boone (Baby)
(CHRISTOPHER TIERNEY & RACHEL BOONE

PHOTO BY MATTHEW MURPHY)

 

 

 

It took 2 hours and 21 minutes that included a first act lasting 1 hour and 1 minute plus a 20 minute intermission plus a 5 minute electrical short that stopped the show for 5 minutes to bring the “Dirty Dancing” theatrical version to the point that the audience was waiting for that made the movie such a big hit!

It’s when Johnny (Christopher Tierney) takes Baby’s (Rachel Boone) hand and says “No one puts baby in a corner” and Doug Carpenter and Adrienne Walker, standing on opposite ends of the stage start singing  “(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life” in remarkable strong voices and Johnny and Baby start dancing. You could almost hear the audience, after they stopped cheering and clapping to the start of the dance, hold their breath waiting for him to lift her in the icon shot associated with the movie and show!

Aside from the electrical short, there is nothing like live theatre to grab an audience as an emotional response from all watching magic happen on stage. “Dirty Dancing” at 10:26 PM made that magic at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale.

The idea of replicating of the movie version on to the stage, even picking leads that look like the original movie Johnny and Baby, doesn’t quite work. Eleanor Bergstein, who wrote the original story and screenplay, also wrote the stage version. She, director James Powell, choreographers Kate Champion and Michele Lynch, along with the production team, tried to make this version as fluid as the movie but stage is a different medium. Having many striking video and projection designs as scenery just doesn’t work. The most intimate scenes in “Dirty Dancing” that work are the plain sets without any distractions showing the actors reaching out to each other whether it be Johnny and Baby or Baby and her father (Mark Elliot Wilson) or her sister (Alex Scolari), her mother (Margot White) or members of the ensemble.

The standouts in the cast are Jenny Winton, whose dancing reminds one of person born to dance and does it exquisitely in every movement and the previously mentioned John Anthony, Doug Carpenter and Adrienne Walker. Instead of so many snips of different songs it would have added so much to have these three singers do more solos and duets. Whether it is John Anthony singing “Do You Love Me?” or Adrienne Walker singing “This Magic Moment” their voices soar over the audience reaching each one.

It may take 2 hours and 25 minutes (without any production problems) to reach that magic moment on stage in “Dirty Dancing” but it is sure worth it!

 

Catch the magic in Fort Lauderdale playing at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts until April 24 or when it returns to South Florida November 29-December 4 at the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami.

 

Posted April 14, 2016 by greatmartin in THEATRE REVIEW, Uncategorized

“CABARET”–MUSICAL TOURING COMPANY REVIEW   Leave a comment

cabaret 4

The role of Sally Bowles in the musical “Cabaret” is a difficult one for actresses. To start off with she has to be a first rate performer to appear as a third rate entertainer in a sleazy 1929 show bar in Berlin. She also has to get the audience on her side though she is basically a prostitute who will sell her body for a fur coat, a job or a place to stay.  She has to be brassy, the life of the party, in the numbers she does at the Kit Kat Club but still be vulnerable enough under her façade to have a naïve American writer fall in love with her and for her to think, if only for a moment, it might work. She wants to ignore the world around her and how it is intruding into her life in spite of the facts of what she is seeing.

Andrea Goss, as Sally Bowles, in the opening night performance of the Roundabout Theatre Company touring show of “Cabaret” at the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami presented by Bank of America in the Broadway In Miami 2015-2016 series, delivers the goods whether singing showy numbers in the Kit Kat cabaret such as “Don’t Tell Mama” and “Mein Herr” or songs that reflect how she feels in “Maybe This Time” and the title tune “Cabaret” where she lets loose with how she sees life.

In an equal demanding, and a more in your face performance, Randy Harrison as the Emcee is on stage most of the evening as either the focal point of numbers like the chilling “Tomorrow Belongs to Me” or the satirical “If You Could See Her” while breaking your heart with “I Don’t Care Much” or standing on the side as an observer. He brings a lot of sexuality to the show along with many laughs.

Quietly stealing the show as Fraulein Schneider, a landlady, and Herr Schultz, a Jewish fruit store owner, are Shannon Cochran, with a strong voice, and Mark Nelson as the heartbreaking suitor. Their duets on “Married” and “It Couldn’t Please Me More” along with her solo on “What Would You Do” are the most moving moments in this musical.

The Kit Kat Cabaret Boys, Girls and Band bring a lot of sparkle, fun and sex to the production while Lee Aaron Rosen as the American writer fighting his homosexuality, Ned Noyes as a Nazi who tries to use the writer in his cause and Alison Ewing as a Nazi sympathizer who also happens to be a prostitute add to the time in history when many people had to make decisions as to where they would go in a world becoming more frightening and, in many ways, more than a cabaret than the Kit Kat Club.

There were a few minor problems such as at times the actors using accents that made their words intelligible, a very distracting, annoying use of a disco ball and a first act that dragged a bit but all in all with music and lyrics by John Kander and Fred Ebb and direction by Rob Marshall and Sam Mendes this production shows why “Cabaret” has become a classic in the Broadway history of musicals.

“Cabaret” is playing at the Adrienne Arsht Center until April 17th and then will come to the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale January 10-22, 2017.

“Cabaret” runs 2 hours and 42 minutes including a 20 minute intermission.

Posted April 13, 2016 by greatmartin in THEATRE REVIEW

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