Archive for the ‘ENTERTAINMENT’ Category

“The Sun Is Also A Star”—movie review   Leave a comment

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“The Sun Is Also A Star” has everything going for it so why does it just miss being an exciting love story? The leads, Yara Shahidi and Charles Melton, are an attractive couple who meet ‘cute’–he saves her from being run over–and the premise is an interesting one. He believes in love, she doesn’t and, via the screenplay, he has 24 hours to prove it to her. DUH! Guess what happens?
 
His parents are immigrants from South Korea who own a successful black hair care product store in Harlem and she has been living in New York for 9 years with her Jamaican parents who are about to be deported.
 
A lot of successful love stories have been filmed in New York City and “The Sun Is Also A Star” takes advantage of Manhattan and the surrounding boroughs with aerial shots, walks through the city parks and streets and even a tram ride from Manhattan to Roosevelt Island and many glorious shots of the Statue of Liberty.
 
The soundtrack, except for a karaoke scene, adds a lot but….
 
There isn’t a reason this movie shouldn’t involve the audience’s emotions but it doesn’t. Maybe if more had been looked into regarding the immigrant aspect it would have rounded out the story of the lovers more.
 
John Leguizamo should have been brought more into the story because the scenes with him would have given more meaning to the fact versus fate argument that motivates the love story.  (Besides they never explain the accident he was in which was distracting!)
 
“The Sun Is Also A Star” has a lot going for it but just not enough, none of the ‘magic’ that makes ‘happily ever after”.
 
PS Don’t leave when the screen goes dark or you will the ending.
 

Synopsis

Natasha is a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. She is not the type of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when her family is twelve hours away from being deported. Falling in love with him will not be her story. Daniel has always been the good son, the good student, living up to his parents’ high expectations. Never a poet. Or a dreamer. But when he sees her, he forgets all that. Something about Natasha makes him think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store – for both of them. Every moment has brought them to this single moment. A million futures lie before them. Which one will come true?


 
 
 
 
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“Long Shot”–movie review   1 comment

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1) Many years ago I was taught to leave logic at the door when I go to the movies.
2) Have you ever seen a couple that made you question how/why they ever got together?
3) Is there another woman, besides Julia Roberts, as beautiful to look at in print and film as Charlize Theron?
4) In 2003 I said that if Theron didn’t win the Oscar for “Monster” I was never going to the movies again–WHEW! She did!
 
Okay, now that I got that out of my system, let’s talk about “Long Shot”. Take away the ‘F’ word, a ‘fluid’ shot and a not quite nude sex scene and you have one of those delightful, romantic comedies of the past. Though there doesn’t seem to be any chemistry between the leads Charlize Theron and Seth Rogen, his beard doesn’t help, nor the fact that at the age of 16 she baby sat him at 13, they are both excellent players and Theron adding another genre in her performance here as a comediane.
 
The comedy lines work better than the romantic scenes but together it makes for a pleasing, charming movie. Supporting performances like those of Seth Rogan’s best friend O’Shea Jackson Jr., or Theron’s assistants Claude O’Doherty and Ravi Patel with Bob Odenkirk as the President of the United States all work well and know their way with the zingers supplied by screenwriters Dan Sterling and Paul Scheer. The direction by Jonathan Levine but could have cut the movie sharper to move it a little faster.
 
The only one I question in the movie is Alexander Skarsgard who in normal circumstances would have been Theorn’s romantic interest but in this is just charmless, by design(?) or 100% miscast.
 
“Long Shot” isn’t a classic but it is a lot of fun and you get to look at, admire and, maybe, be jealous of Charlize Theron for 2 hours! :O)

synopsis

When Fred Flarsky (Seth Rogen) reunites with his first crush, one of the most influential women in the world, Charlotte Field (Charlize Theron), he charms her with his self-deprecating humor and his memories of her youthful idealism. As she prepares to make a run for the Presidency, Charlotte hires Fred as her speechwriter. A fish out of water on Charlotte’s elite team, Fred is unprepared for her glamourous lifestyle in the limelight. Sparks fly as their unmistakable chemistry leads to a round-the-world romance and a series of unexpected and dangerous incidents. 

 

Movie Trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZKsc2I4Tgsk

“The White Crow”–movie review   1 comment

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Since I saw the preview I had been wondering what the title was about and it opens with the definition:  Someone who is an outsider, unusual, extraordinary, unlike others.   There is no denying Rudolf Nureyev was just that from his dancing and his personality. The former captured the world while the latter turned off and betrayed all those around him. Basically, he was not a nice man.
 
The film centers around the time Nureyev who at the height of the cold war in 1961 was dancing in Paris and made the decision to defect from Russia. This was before facebook, Instagram, twitter and all the media coverage something like that would draw 24/7 but it did with what was available. Along with the defection he partnered with Margot Foynton– though she has another name in the movie–older than he was, and already a major star in the English ballet, to both their advantages.
 
Ralph Fiennes directed the movie and stars as Nureyev’s first major teacher. The dance scenes are excellent as is first-time actor Oleg Ivenko doing them and conveying Nureyev’s look but is not quite up to the line readings though the screenwriter, David Hare, doesn’t really help him with some pretty lame lines.
 
The biggest mistake Fiennes makes is not telling the story in a linear matter but jumps back and forth between the 1940s, 50s and 60s going from Leningrad to Paris back to Leningrad and though Nureyev was 22 when he defected we see him at many different ages which really doesn’t add to the movie. The last 20 minutes, the defection scene is edge of the seat filmmaking even though the ending is well known
 
The movie is rated R for frontal nudity and for a change it is not female but male full nudity!
 
“The White Crow” is much better than I expected with an excellent cast, better dancing, and shows an artist gives everything on stage leaving nothing for relations off stage.
 

Synopsis

Ralph Fiennes’ THE WHITE CROW was inspired by the book Rudolf Nureyev: The Life by Julie Kavanaugh. The drama charts the iconic dancer’s famed defection from the Soviet Union to the West in 1961, despite KGB efforts to stop him.

Movie trailer

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


 
 
 

“The Lion King”—touring company review   Leave a comment

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In 1997 “Disney’s The Lion King” opened on Broadway instantly making every adult a  kid with its opening number and just as it did then, and still does, the show did the same thing last night at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami. Twenty-two years later, the highest grossing Broadway production of all time, as the animals from an African Savannah march down the aisles to Pride Rock on the stage to see the new lion cub, Simba, and the first song, Elton John and Tim Rice’s “Circle of Life”, transports you to a magical world.
 
With a book by Roger Allers and Irene Mecchi and additional songs by Lebo M., Mark Mark Mancina, Jay Rifkin and Hans Zimmer the production belongs to Julie Taymor who directed, did the costumes, masks and puppet designs along with Michael Curry and Richard Hudson who did the scenic designs. The choreographer Garth Fagan, watched over by his associate Marey Griffith, while John Stefaniuk continues as Taymor’s associate director. For those who may be unaware of what lighting can do to bring magic to the stage the design by Donald Holder shows in scenes that draws gasps from the adults and squeals of joy from the children.
 
All the dazzling production aspects of the show make it a spectacle but wouldn’t mean a thing without the 11 musicians led by conductor James Dodgson or the over 50 cast members who tell and/or sing the life story of Simba the cub. Whether as individuals or in ensemble numbers it would be unfair to say anyone was a standout as they all were.
 
Take a kid and both enjoy the magic of theatre.
 
1st act is 1 hour and 8 minutes  An intermission runs 20 minutes and the last act is 55 minutes.
 
 

Lion King cast May 9 2019

“Sauvage/Wild” movie review   3 comments

Sauvage

“Sauvage/Wild” is a story about prostitution, not like Vivian (Julia Roberts) in “Pretty Woman” rescued by the handsome prince Richard Gere or is it Julian (Richard Gere) in “The American Gigolo” wearing Armani suits but more like Anna Magnani in “Mamma Roma” or Giulietta Massina in “Nights of Cabiria” before it was turned into the Broadway Musical with Gwen Verdon as “Sweet Charity” or the movie version with Shirley Maclaine who are no longer prostitutes but dance hall girls!!

The nameless 22-year-old male makes a living and lives on the street. He drinks the rainwater from the streets, steals an apple when he can, eats trash from a dumpster, basically wears the same clothes every day and if he gets lucky sleeps in a bed if the trick allows him to stay all night.

The abuse his body takes finally catches up with him but all he wants is to live one more day, fall in love and be loved. Like life the one he loves doesn’t love him and the one who loves him isn’t loved by him.

This is not a love story with a ‘happily ever after’ ending but a nitty gritty story about a kid who lives on the streets, takes each day as it comes, does what he has to do with who he has to do it in order to survive so he can get up the next day and find that elusive love he wants to give and get.

The writer-screenwriter Camille Vidal-Naquet refers to the boy as Leo in press releases and makes no apologies for the nudity as this is the way Leo, and the others hustling, live. He puts Leo in many degrading situations which Leo accepts as the price for the way he lives. We know nothing about the boy before we meet him nor do we know about what happens to him after the last shot which will linger in your head for hours if not days.

Felix Maritaud, as Leo, gives his all and pulls us into the pain he is feeling and the moments of joy that come his way sparingly. There is a scene with a female doctor, played by Marie Seux, that gives you some of the insight to the pain he is living with but then Maritaud lets you see all of him, not only physically. He lives for the moment and draws you in to live those moments with him.

“Sauvage/Wild” is a movie that will show you a world that exists and you can no longer say you didn’t know. These, if not your kids, are your neighbors kids, your kids schoolfriends and many pushed out of homes and on to the streets to find there is only one way to survive and which you probably couldn’t.

synopsis

Leo is 22 and sells his body on the street for a bit of cash. The men come and go, and he stays right here – longing for love. He doesn’t know what the future will bring. He hits the road. His heart is pounding.

Movie trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F7grPJ-nh44

“Red Joan”–movie review   1 comment

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In 1999 Judi Dench won an Oscar for her 6 minutes on screen in “Shakespeare In Love” and here she spends a little more time on screen in “Red Joan”. She has a fiery speech near the end that expresses the movie’s moral stance. Dame  Dench is no longer a newcomer to the big screen and is more or less wasted in a role that seems to say ‘many people in the audience came to see her so let’s have her face on the screen for a minute or two every now and then’.
 
As many movies do these days it goes back and forth between Joan Stanley in her 80s and Joan in her 20s, played by Sophie Cookson, which would have been more effective after the opening seeing Joan being arrested for being a spy during WW 2. Cookson could have easily aged as the story is told and brought off a coup that has been done by others.
 
It supposedly ‘inspired by the true story’ of a KGB spy Melita Norwood though her name is never mentioned. She a graduate student at Cambridge in physics and gets involved with 3 men–I think–and soon rationalizes passing off papers about the atomic bomb that she feels would put Rusian on equal footing with the USA.
 
With all respect, if Judi had made fewer appearances it might have made more clear who became her husband and who was the father of her son played by Ben Miles. The other men in her life are played by Tom Hughes and Stephen Campbell while Tereza Srbova becomes her friend and introduces her to her cousin Leo with whom Joan has an affair with and begins getting involved with the politics of the time.
 
I had many questions regarding who she had affairs with, who the father of her son was, whom she married, how did she get back from Australia and why was she forgotten so many years.
 
“Red Joan” is a typical Britsh quiet spy movie without the noise and fast pace of the Bond movies. It also is bringing out of the closet many stories about women who did a lot during the war but were not giving respect as the men were during that era. She was just a woman who got the tea instead of supplying the important answers that the world was asking for.
 
For me it just makes me want to find out who the true  Melita Norwood was an what happened to her.
 

Synopsis:

Joan Stanley (Judi Dench) is a widow living out a quiet retirement in the suburbs when, shockingly, the British Secret Service places her under arrest. The charge: providing classified scientific information—including details on the building of the atomic bomb—to the Soviet government for decades. As she is interrogated, Joan relives the dramatic events that shaped her life and beliefs: her student days at Cambridge, where she excelled at physics while challenging deep-seated sexism; her tumultuous love affair with a dashing political radical (Tom Hughes); and the devastation of World War II, which inspired her to risk everything in pursuit of peace. [IFC Films] 

Movie trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gkecgBW-Y80

“Her Smell”–a movie review   1 comment

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I don’t want to say it but I can’t help myself–forgive me! “Her Smell” should have been entitled, “She Smells”. For the first hour and a half, we watch a rock star spiral down from fame after too many drugs, not being able to handle fame, care for her daughter,  losing her ex, not showing up on time for concerts if even showing up at all, doing a recording session, basically having a complete breakdown. The director, Alex Ross Perry, shows us all of it through a regular camera, a handheld camera, a phone camera while traveling back and forth in time not to forget having all the cameras swirling, upside down, going ever each way.
 
The director, who also wrote the script, convinced us, showed us, that she was having a breakdown but instead of telling it in 15 minutes he took 90 minutes. Perry is the sort of director that if he shows two women kissing he has to show them kissing 10 times just in case we missed the point! I was ready to leave at the 30-minute point and said so to Allen at least 5 more times!
 
For the last 40-45 minutes of the film, we see her recovery and then get to the ‘Hollywood’ ending.
 
Elisabeth Moss has proven herself an excellent actress and draws many audience members to see her television series but if the audience at today’s showing is any indication, 3 of us, she isn’t a movie draw! Okay, will give her a benefit of a doubt because the final Avengers did open today also.
 
I won’t rewrite my opening play on words but this film is definitely on my worst films of the year but “The Climax” is still in first place!

Synopsis

Becky Something (Elisabeth Moss) is a ’90s punk rock superstar who once filled arenas with her grungy all-female trio Something She. Now she plays smaller venues while grappling with motherhood, exhausted bandmates, nervous record company executives, and a new generation of rising talent eager to usurp her stardom. When Becky’s chaos and excesses derail a recording session and national tour, she finds herself shunned, isolated and alone. Forced to get sober, temper her demons, and reckon with the past, she retreats from the spotlight and tries to recapture the creative inspiration that led her band to success.

Movie Trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PMlHDNdLGU8

Posted April 26, 2019 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, FILM REVIEWS, MOVIE REVIEW

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