Archive for the ‘ENTERTAINMENT’ Category

“The Little Hours”–a movie review   Leave a comment


Do you think nuns using the ‘f’ word is funny? Do you think virgin nuns trying to seduce a supposedly deaf mute young hunky guy is funny? Do you think an orgy of 3 nuns and a man is satire and funny? Do you think that showing women in full frontal nudity but only showing the chest of a man having all kinds of sex is okay? If so then “The Little Hours” is meant for you.

In the past week I saw the movie of the year so far, “The Big Sick”, and a very different sort of love story, “Maudie” taht held my interest from beginning to end, then today I saw the worst movie of the year so far called “The Little Hours” beating out “A Very Sordid Wedding” which held the title until now.

Look at the trailer and after seeing/hearing the first line you think this is your kind of movie go for it but, even though I will always put watching a film on a movie screen versus a televison screen, save yourself movie and watch it on youtube.

I am far from being a prude but I found “The Little Hours” to be distasteful!

Movie Trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FYycHr4RsJw

“Maudie”–a movie review   1 comment

Walking out of “Maudie” I felt the same way I did after seeing “Monster” when I said that IF Charlize Theron didn’t win an Oscar for her transformation, and acting, then I would never go to the movies again. Whew! She did. I am saying almost the same thing about Sally Hawkins playing the title role in this film. Her transformation into Maud, and her acting, draws you into the film to such a point that you forget she is Sally Hawkins, the actress.

“Maudie” is a love story between two people who not only are different from everyone else but completely different from each other. I wasn’t aware the screenplay, by Sherry White, was based on a true story until the end and it made me wonder how true it really is. About 30-35 minutes into the film I gasped and really didn’t believe what I had just seen but that was only part of the story. There are sweet, funny, sad and cruel moments along the way. Neither Maud nor Everett, played by Ethan Hawke, had an early easy life and when we meet them they are still struggling in the world they inhabit.

The film is 1 hour and 55 minutes, with Newfoundland and Labrador filling in for Nova Scotia, is, necessarily, slow moving but still could have been cut by about 10 minutes.

The film basically concentrates of the story of Maud and Everett with minor characters such as Gabrielle Rose as Maud’s aunt and Zachery Bennett as her brother along with Kari Matchett as a vacationing New Yorker and Billy MacLellan as possibly the only friend Everett might have. Though Hawke does a fairly good job he does not quite reach Hawkins’ level.

“Maudie” in many ways is not an easy film to sit through but should be seen for Hawkins performance, and possibly, learn about an artist you didn’t know about. I hope I am wrong but I don’t think this movie will ‘sell’ to the public.

Movie trailer

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

“the Big Sick”–best movie of the year so far BUT…   Leave a comment

“The Big Sick” is an excellent movie with only 3 negatives, two really minor and another, in my opinion, major but I got over it!

The movie is being sold as a romantic comedy, which two thirds of it is, but a major third is the drama and all are in equal parts. With Kumail Nanjiani, who I am familiar with from the HBO show “Silicon Valley”, starring and Judd Apatow producing I expected a lot of laughs and they are delivered in grins, smiles, laughs, out loud guffaws along with nods of the head that derive from real moments in life that all can identify. The drama also gets the spotlight and in some scenes you will be crying and laughing at the same time while in others the tears will flow. Yes the romance is there and it is as romantic as in any film you have seen.

The two really minor negatives, surprisingly, are the stand up routines by the real in life stand up comics Aidy Bryant, Kurt Braunohler and Bo Burnham and the interactions between them and Kumail but none really take up that much time.

Not getting into the screenplay itself, written by Nanjiani and his real wife Emily V. Gordon and based on their true romance, the acting is some of the finest from the whole cast including what would be considered minor roles such as the nurse played by Myra Lucretia Taylor and Kuhoo Verma as a potential bride.  Anupan Kher and Zenobia as his parents could teach today’s parents in how to make your child feel guilty, especially the mother.

A big discovery for me was Zoe Kazan who I don’t recall seeing before. She makes Emily a real person whether it be in her kookiness, ‘only having sex once the first time with somebody’, who is going to be a therapist and in some scenes could really use therapy. She makes a lasting impression any time she is on screen but also has you thinking of her when she is not in a scene.

Ray Romano has never caught my attention as I was usually more interested in his co-stars, whether on television or movies, but here as a father, referring to his daughter, says “Being a parent is a nightmare. Loving somebody this much sucks” he is funny and heartbreaking sometimes in the same sentence.

I could talk for days about Holly Hunter’s performance in “Big Sick”. She appears on screen about 30-40 minutes into the film and steals every scene from everyone in the film for the rest of the film. No way do you want to get her teed off in a comic club because no matter how tall or big you are you aren’t going to win! Don’t you dare hurt her daughter because you will get her wrath, sneers and coldness but show her daughter love and with one gesture you know you will never be able to do anything wrong again. I certainly hope she is remembered at award time.

Yes Kumail Nanjiani is playing himself, even being called Kumail, but you get to know more than the comedian. You get to know the man, the actor, the writer, the comedian, the man who can woo women with doe eyes, a smile and caring. I hope he gets to do more roles where he is involved as a person who happens to also be a comedian or not.

The “The Big Sick” is a must see movie and be prepared to laugh, cry and, yes, experience the drama of the title.

 Movie Trailer

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

“The Beguiled”–a movie review   Leave a comment

Of the 60 plus movies that Nicole Kidman has made I have seen at least 30 and she is always good, many times rising above the material given her to work with. Of the 6 movies Sofia Coppola has made I have seen 3 and have no desire to see any more by her.

In “The Beguiled” Kidman once again rises above the material while only Colin Farrell and Kirsten Dunst equal her. Oh yes the plantation, the inside and outside, which is the set of the movie, also rises above the material.

Coppola, directing and writing, remade the movie, originally directed by Don Siegel and starring Clint Eastwood and Geraldine Page, eliminating a very interesting aspect from the original, and leaves many questions as to why and what did she think she was bringing to the film?

We have seen Southern women and girls in peril during the civil war before in many movies and she brings nothing new to that angle and her two most forceful scenes will have the audience turning their head away and/or closing their eyes.

I found “The Beguiled” to be a slow, quite boring movie.

 

 

Beguiled trailer

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

“The Hero” a movie review   Leave a comment

Sam Elliot is one of those very rare actors who can make a bad role and/or movie better just because he is doing a role and he does it effortlessly! He is very seldom the star of a movie but whatever star is playing opposite in a scene is forgotten as your eyes will go to him.  Tall, lean, with a silver mane any old man would envy plus a mustache that falls in love with women (see the movie!) and a voice that can melt any female, plus quite a few males, that even with 50 movies plus 137 episodes and television movies he has never reached that upper tier of actors and has very seldom been listed above the title.

In “the Hero” Sam Elliot, and that mustache, star in the film experiencing every emotion a man can have including all the extremes and takes the audience along with him. We see, and believe, a woman, Charlotte (Laura Prepon), 35 years younger than him, falling in love and pursuing him. We feel bad for him when he messes up an audition and we cheer when accepting an award his speech goes viral to over 2 million people. His disconnect with his daughter Lucy (Krysten Ritter) is heartbreaking and his reaching out to the wife he is divorced from, Kathryn Ross (his real life wife), is touching as you understand why they divorced.

The story revolves around Lee Hayden, who made a western movie four decades ago that was a big hit but he is now making a living doing voice over commercials. His best, and seemingly only, friend is a fellow actor Jeremy (Nick Offerman) who had appeared in a TV series with him and now makes a living selling drugs, including to Lee and Charlotte which is how they meet. On the same day that he is asked to receive a lifetime achievement award from the Western Appreciation and Preservation Guild he receives the news from his doctor that the tumors he has found on Lee’s pancreas is malignant.

Though we wish “The Hero” had followed, and gotten more into, the relationship between Charlotte and Lee just watching Sam Elliot makes sitting through this 93 minute movie a treat. Stretching it with too many waves landing on the beach, it takes place in Los Angeles, Director Brett Haley, who also wrote the screenplay with Marc Basch, throws in some not meant to be but are laughable scenes involving the poetry of Edna St. Millay and Lee, Charlotte and Jeremy smoking weed in scenes that add nothing to the movie except time. The soundtrack offers many songs adding to the many different moods in the film.

For fans of Sam Elliot this is a must see fan while those who may be familiar with his face should come to see it for the actor. Laura Prepon, of “Orange Is The New Black”, is new to me and I am looking forward to seeing her in more movies.

And lets not forget that mustache!!

Movie Trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RiKtUnI0u4U

The Boys Night Out!   Leave a comment

A pre-theatre dinner and an opening night

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzuJNZPy9EQ

Posted June 18, 2017 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, Uncategorized

“Finding Neverland”–a touring company review   Leave a comment

Walking into the Broward Center for the Performing Arts I really didn’t have much knowledge of “Finding Neverland”. I had listened to a few of the songs, written by Gary Barlow & Eliot Kennedy, on Pandora and knew that it was based on a motion picture starring Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet which in turn was based on a play “The Man Who Was Peter Pan” by Allan Knee called “The Man Who Was Peter Pan”.

Playwright J. M. Barrie was that man and “Finding Neverland” is the story of how he met Widow Sylvia Llewelyn Davies and her 4 boys in a park one afternoon, befriended the family and, through Peter who grew up too quickly upon his father’s death, found the child in himself and the boy. He remembered Neverland, an imaginary place he had created in his mind when he was a child and taking the other three boys playfulness recreated that world not only for Peter but for the now adult Barrie.

In the first act we meet Barrie (Will Ray), the theatre producer Charles Frohman (Rory Donovan) his actors (the ensemble), the Widow (Christine Dwyer), the 4 boys George (Finn Faulconer), Peter (Ben Krieger), Jack (Mitchell Wray), Barrie’s wife Mary (Lael Van Keuren), Sylvia’s mother Mrs. Du Maurier all having strong voices and excellent stage presence. The 4 boys are especially fine being boys who just happen to be singers and dancers as naturally as they are pirates and whatever else their imaginations bring to their every day play. Near the end of act 1 there is a 4 part song, “Circus Of Your Mind”, that gives the adult leads to soar above the  orchestra conducted by Ryan Cantwell while before that the 4 boys are highlighted singing “We Own The Night”.

Act 2 basically leads up to the Peter Pan story so many of us know. I must admit I was transported back to 1954 when Mary Martin as Peter Pan asked the audience to clap if you believe in fairies when Peter Pan (Dee Tomasetta) asked us the same last night. It is also in the second act that we get to have fun with Captain Hook (Rory Donovan and Connor McRory), Wendy Adrianne Chu and let’s not forget the real dog Porthos, played by Sammy, who deserves a bow of his own.

The company of “Finding Neverland” have a first rate production staff starting with the director Diane Paulus, the ever changing set and lighting designs by Scott Pask doing the former and Kenneth Posner the latter but there is a piece of stage magic done by ‘air sculptor’ Daniel Wurtzel that just dazzles the audience.

“Finding Neverland” has some dark moments but we are distracted by the music and theatre magic that takes place on a stage.

Running time: 2 hours and 30 minutes including a 20 minute intermission. It is the last show of the 2016-2017 season with the 2017-2018 season staring in October.

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