Archive for the ‘ENTERTAINMENT’ Category

“Black Panther”–movie review   Leave a comment

After recently seeing “Logan”, “Wonder Woman” and “The Ant-Man” I thought I should rethink the sci-fi movie genre after years of avoiding them and then today I did just that by going to see “Black Panther” and realized that I had been right from the beginning.

The movie, from opening to closing, is special effects whether between the actors or in the background or car chases, battle sequences, even in hand to hand combats. Talking about things like fights and car chases, why have one of each when you can have two? Also, let’s have two villains instead of one plus instead of an all-white cast with one, maybe two faces of color, here we have an all-black cast with two white faces.

As with other sci-fi movies this runs around 20 minutes too long but this, in a way, distinguishes itself by having 2or 3 more storylines, even going for Shakespearean plots here and there of kings and queens, family treachery and rivalry.  All in all, at certain times it gets convoluted and you just have to shake your head and skip on to the next special effect.

Chadwick Boseman does a fine job as the Black Panther but Winston Duke who challenges Boseman and is another Black Panther at times, except for the shifting color of his costume, makes a good rival. The two scene stealers are Andy Serkis as an over the top villain and Letitia Wright as Boseman’s sister who can cracks jokes that are hilarious, that make you laugh out loud and can walk into any James Bond film as Q and steal that movie from Bond.

Also in the cast are Angela Bassett,  Forest Whitaker, Daniel Kaluuyya, Lupita Nyong’o and Sterling K. Brown. It was directed by Ryan Coogler, who also wrote the screenplay with Joe Robert Cole, with a lo0t of help- from the editors Michael P. Shawver and Debbie Berman.

Along with Letitia Wright the musical score by Ludwig Goransson are the two outstanding features of the movie.

“Black Panther” will obviously appeal to the millions of sci-fi fans and Marvel comic followers and by the same token not appeal to the rest, like me!

 

Movie Trailer

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vt9UZo32KMk

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“A Fantastic Woman”–a movie review   Leave a comment


“A FANTASTIC WOMAN is the story of Marina, a waitress and singer, and Orlando, an older man, who are in love and planning for the future. After Orlando suddenly falls ill and dies, Marina is forced to confront his family and society, and to fight again to show them who she is: complex, strong, forthright, fantastic.” So goes the synopsis for this movie nothing mentioning that she is transgender which is the reason for/of the movie.

Sixty years ago it would have been Orlando’s mistress and twenty years ago his male lover, today it is his transgender partner. When Orlando unexpectedly dies, just like the mistress and gay lover in past years and still sometimes today, if they aren’t married, the family comes and takes away everything the couple had from the car to the apartment and even the dog. The most hurtful is not being allowed to attend the funeral or say goodbye.

The mistress, the gay lover and Marina had/have to face the indignities that all might face such as being called names, accused of murdering the lover, being abused by him or, with the latter two, being beaten up and possibly killed for being gay or transgender but Marina has the extra humiliation of having to strip for an excruciating body exam under the eyes of a female detective and a male doctor.

Maybe I have been around too long and have read too many books, seen too many films and movies where the mistress and/or gay man has been shunned or I have personally seen what happens to a gay couple when one dies and I don’t see the transgender person being any more degraded, though yes, today they are the target of hate and being misunderstood.

The director Sebastian Lelio, who also wrote the screenplay with Gonzalo Maza, doesn’t seem to involve the audience in what should be an emotionally touching story except in two scenes, with one being the strip search, which definitely shows how people can mistreat other people and the one scene that shows Marina for being the strong person she is.

Marina is played by transgender actress Daniela Vega who seems to be hindered by the director. There are certain moments when she shows vulnerability and/or strength but not enough of them. As difficult as it is for someone in that position one doesn’t feel empathy for her character. People who are new to what transgender and/or gay live through and what hostilities they face may find this movie interesting.

“A Fantastic Woman” is nominated for an Oscar as Best Foreign Film but I don’t recommend seeing it.

Movie trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJHex4ZitgA


“Film Stars Don’t Dies In Liverpool”–movie review   Leave a comment

One of my favorite behind the scenes in Hollywood is the film “The Bad and the Beautiful” for which Gloria Graham won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. In “Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool”we see the last 3 years of her life when she was having an affair with a man 28 years younger than her. 

The film takes place mainly in California and England with scenes melding into each other and going back and forth between the years and places superbly edited by Nick Emerson. Gloria, married 4 times, is way past her movie career prime and is acting on the stage in England and while playing Sadie Thompson in “Rain” she meets Peter Turner who wrote a book about them and which this movie is based on, the screenplay written by Matt Greenhalgh.

Both Annette Bening as Gloria and Jamie Bell as Peter Turner make their relationship believable and create a chemistry that makes you forget the age difference except when she brings it up but even they can’t make this just another picture that can’t be saved by top performances though they do give the film whatever power they can find in it!

With Kenneth Cranham and Julie Walters as Peter’s parents and Vanessa Redgrave, in a too short scene, as Gloria’s mother with Frances Barber as Gloria’s very jealous sister the director Paul McGuigon does what he can to elevate the love story but doesn’t quite succeed and it could be a story about any two lovers with a large age difference.

As huge a fan as I am of Annette Bening, and admirer of Jamie Bell for his role in “Billy Elliot, along with always glad to see Redgrave and Walters in a movie I just can’t recommend this film. Instead, if you aren’t familiar with Gloria Graham see her in “The Bad and the Beautiful”, “The Greatest Show on Earth”, “It’s A Wonderful Life” or/and “Crossfire”.

By the way, the whole audience was over 50 and they were shocked at two exchanges that I thought everyone knew!

Movie trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aCwt4kYWOHA

Posted February 9, 2018 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, FILM REVIEWS, Uncategorized

“My Son the Waiter: A Jewish Tragedy”–review   Leave a comment


Brad Zimmerman wrote and stars in this one-man show that is playing at the NSU Art Museum’s Art/Horvitz auditorium.

He was a waiter for 29 years and I was one for 38 years and we both are Jewish so I thought this might be a fun show. Upfront I must admit I am not a fan of standup comics or most one-man shows and I thought it was brave of Mr. Zimmerman to book his show from February 1-March 25 doing 6 shows a week.

Reading his credits I was surprised that I haven’t heard of him. His show played off-Broadway for 15 months, he has opened shows for Billy Crystal, Gary Shandling and Joan Rivers. He had a role in “The Sopranos” and had taken his show across the country.

He originally came to New York to be an actor but was a waiter for 29 years before he took a lesson in stand-up comedy and decided to pursue a theatre career writing and performing this play.

In my opinion, most of his 80 minutes take place ‘yesterday’. He tells many old waiter jokes and talks about old comedians, many who aren’t with us anymore, using one-liners that were funny then and are funny now. The Jewish and waiter jokes take up too much of his act while he is more effective talking about his personal life, though even there his ‘mother’ jokes are mostly cliches.

At the age of 62, Zimmerman could easily pass for late 40s, early 50s, works out and is still trying to get his act together and while this show entertains it is still not a finished piece. He is doing another show called “My Rise to the Middle” which he is doing for one night only on Sunday, March 18, which he bills as a sequel. It might be interesting to see “My Son the Waiter: A Jewish Tragedy” before the 18th and see his progression with “My Rise to the Middle”.

For tickets go to http://www.MySonThe Waiter.com or call 1-855-448-7469


PS As he says on stage and on his web page–he is looking for a date!

Posted February 3, 2018 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, THEATRE, THEATRE REVIEW, Uncategorized

“Westchester”–a movie review   Leave a comment

“Winchester” is based, very loosely based, on the true story of Sarah Winchester, widow of William Westchester, whose family started the famous Winchester rifle.

After his death, Sarah was left very rich and lived in a 150+ room house that she constantly worked on it having construction done 24/7. The house, today, is a California magnet for tourists.

With such a large house, directors Michael and Peter Spierig, who also helped Tom Vaughn write the screenplay, it all seems to be confined to the same walls, rooms, hallways, windows, stairs and the one big bell clanging.

The main story is about Sarah being haunted by the ghosts of the people killed by Winchester rifles and that story is a bunch of clichés that is filled with violence and not a scary moment.

When Helen Mirren’s presence can’t make a movie better you know you are in a movie worth skipping.

Movie trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Juc2cL26mg

“The Commuter”–movie review   Leave a comment

In ‘the good old days’ when they had double bills in the movie theatres consisting of 2 movies, a cartoon, a newsreel, coming attractions among other things “The Commuter” would be the B feature on the double bill.

“The Commuter” is a ‘popcorn film’ where you check your logic at the door, sit back in the auditorium chair, eat your popcorn or whatever you buy, enjoy and forget as you walk out the theatre.

Liam Nesson is our hero who can do no wrong and even lies for no reason by saying, in the movie, that he is 60 when in real life he is 65! Guess what? He is a commuter, which is shown in the first few minutes, married, has a kid and gets married after 10 years on a job and at one time had been a police officer.

When the movie settles down he is on his way home and after sitting in his chair and opening a book to read he is approached by Vera Farmiga with an offer he can’t refuse, as only happens in a movie. The logic goes out the air with the proposition just as we see Neeson in fights that would kill normal men while he just gets up and fights the next guy or does minor, compared to other, deeds like falling off a train and jumping back on!

Just recently Liam Neeson said he is too old to keep on making action movies but keep on he does and makes it look easy. I, personally, wish he would make a ‘serious drama’ like he used to now and then.

The cast has the usual suspects but anyone with crime movies will guess the villain before it hits the halfway mark. I have yet to see Vera Farmiga give a bad performance and though she is seen briefly on screen just hearing her voice for a lot of the screen time is intriguing. With a fine supporting cast on the train, Adam Nagaitis as conductor Jimmy offers needed humor.

Director of photography, Paul Cameron, along with director Jaume Collet-Serra, offers some dazzling camera work including a fight on the train that uses everything on hand along with arms, legs, train seats, windows, an ax, a gun, etc., constantly moving from train car to train car.

“The Commuter” is for Liam Nesson fans, crime/thriller fans, train fans, B movie fans and a film to see on a rainy day to forget whatever troubles you might have and giving your brain a rest!

Movie trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aDshY43Ol2U

 

Posted January 30, 2018 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, MOVIE REVIEW, MOVIES, Uncategorized

“Phantom Thread”–movie review   Leave a comment

Being this is, supposedly, Daniel Day-Lewis’s last movie before he retires I wish he had retired after doing “Lincoln” and winning an Oscar, though he is retiring with an Oscar nomination for his role as Reynolds Jeremiah Woodcock.

Woodcock is at the center of British fashion dressing royalty, movie stars, rich women and socialites with the House of Woodstock along with his sister Cyril (Lesley Manville) who manages the business and, to a certain extent, him. He is, and seems to boast about it, a confirmed bachelor and has women coming into his life and his sister getting rid of them when he is tired of them.

Taking a break he goes to his out of town cottage and in a restaurant, he meets a clumsy waitress, Alma, played by Vicky Krieps, starts dating her and she becomes his muse, lover and then wife. His falling in love with her disrupts his life and his work. As Cyril tells Alma her brother likes quiet in the morning, especially at breakfast, and she is noisy such as scraping and cutting her toast, noisily pouring her tea and stirring her spoon just for starters.

Soon he is using all this ‘noise’ as excuses to end what they have and looking at his sister to do her job which is to send Alma away but then he gets sick and she takes care of him only endearing her to him.

At that point, I lost it. I lost what was going on. I lost interest in the film and Daniel Day-Lewis and the two women and the fashions but, also, where it was going if it was going anywhere.

When I got home I read three rave reviews to see what I had missed and one reviewer referred to Hitchcock’s “Rebecca”, another to Gene Tierney in “Dragonwyck” while another mentioned films made in the 1940s and 1950s and I could understand those references. The film starts with the song “My Foolish Heart” from the 1950 movie starring Susan Hayward and Dana Andrews, which was a favorite of mine and I wish I had seen that instead of “Phantom Thread” which takes place in the 1950s probably the reason for the song.

For the record it was announced today that “Phantom Thread” received the following Oscar nominations:  1) Best Picture 2) Best Actor 3) Best Director Paul Thomas Anderson 4) Best Supporting Actress Lesley Manville 5) Best Costume Design Mark Bridges and 6) original score Johnny Greenwind.

Movie trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ESxpCVT6_nY

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