Archive for the ‘ENTERTAINMENT’ Category

“Paris Can Wait”–a movie review   Leave a comment

How can you not love a movie that is full of food being talked about, served, eaten, cooked and shown in restaurants, hotel rooms, in open markets, farms and let’s not even get into the love of chocolate by the female star? Let’s throw in wine, lots of wine, for every, and any, occasion. Oh heck, toss in a car of roses driven by a man who knows nothing about a car but can make every topic about food.

Diane Lane is Annie, a woman married to a workaholic producer Michael, played by Alec Baldwin, who seems to be so busy I think he had 5 minutes screen time! He is on his way to Budapest but because of ear infections can’t fly with him so she agrees to drive from Cannes, where they are, to Paris which is a 7 hour drive if she didn’t accept her husband’s business associate, Jacques, played by Arnaud Viard, to drive with him which turns into a 2 day journey.

Yes, Jacques is the food man who can pick dandelion greens and talk about making a salad or insists they stop here and there where he knows a chef, a restaurant owner, a farmer or when they have car trouble just happens to have a picnic basket and who keeps on insisting that “Paris Can Wait” and who can say he is wrong?

Anne, like some people I know (ME!), is constantly taking pictures with her digital camera of all the food she is surrounded by plus the museums, churches, Roman ruins and the very photogenic locations they drive through sometimes stopping the picturesque France we have always imagined. I think she took more pictures than he smoked and a drinking game involving a shot every time he had a cigarette could end with everyone getting bombed before the movie ends!

“Paris Can Wait” has a story with the irascible French roué plying her with things that could seduce her as only a Frenchman can and it may interest you but the food, the wine and the roses steal the picture.

The chocolate candies, cakes, hot chocolates, every and any form of chocolate you can think of, is reason to see the movie, even you strange ones who say you don’t like chocolate!

 Movie Trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LGyZnzjm7Og

Posted May 26, 2017 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, MOVIE REVIEW, MOVIES

“Everything, Everything”–a movie review   Leave a comment

“The target audiences are teenage girls”, “A date movie”, “The young love audience will swoon”, “Was once called a woman’s movie or a tear jerker”—call “Everything, Everything” whatever you want but I really like young love stories, especially when there is an illness involved!

Maddy Whittier, played by Amandla Stenberg, has SCID, severe combined immunodeficiency, which means she cannot go out of her germ free house, has an all day nurse Carla, played by Ana de la Requera and her mother, played by Anika Noni Rose, is a doctor who takes over from Carla when she gets home.

Not that you would be surprised but a new family moves in next door and Olly, played by Nick Robinson, just as Maddy is about to become 18, his age too. From their talking through windows, texting, his being told about her disease and coming to understanding it to their trusting each other and Maddy’s imagination the time comes for her to take her first step out into the world where she isn’t suppose to go.

Along the way we learn that Olly has an abusive father, Maddy lost her father and brother in a car accident many years before and the fact that Maddy is Black and Olly is White is just a given and has nothing to do with two youngsters falling n love for the first time.

About 50 minutes into the movie Maddy takes her first step out of the house and if you want to see what happens in the remaining 46 minutes go see the movie.

Director Stella Meghie, along with screenwriter J. Mills Goodloe, embrace the teenage romance hitting all the right marks, even when there are emotional moments that could be used to manipulate the audience. They concentrate on the romance aspect ignoring the racial, doesn’t matter, difference, briefly mention the Olly’s abusive father and even make the ‘see it coming’ last 20 minutes acceptable.

Nick Robinson is always dressed in black while Amandla Stenberg basically wears white after falling in love she is in an array of colors and they always complement each other in feelings though have opposite ideas of what love is, or should be, but they are a believable couple throughout the movie.

I’ve always liked Anika Noni Rose and have enjoyed her journey from being a singer on Broadway to becoming an actress in films and on television. Ana de la Requera is a Mexican actress who is new to me and made enough of an impression that I will look forward to seeing her in more films.

If you are a ‘softie’ like me and believe in love, especially first young love, go see “Everything, Everything”. 

 

Movie trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42KNwQ6u42U

Posted May 22, 2017 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, MOVIE REVIEW, Uncategorized

“Mamma Mia”–Farewell Tour Review   Leave a comment

 

 

Looking for about 2 hours and 20 minutes of living a fairy tale on a bright sunny Greek island and dancing, singing the time away? “Mamma Mia” is the answer to any blues you might have.

The book of this musical by Catherine Johnson is light weight but the songs by ABBA, the choreography by Anthony Van Laast  offers laughs, not to forget a bunch of finely chiseled bodies wearing wet suits and flippers dancing around and a director Phyllida Lloyd who gets all the laughs and even a tear that the show can offer.

 

With all this it is the music that will have you moving in your seat with the conductor Kevin Casey and his orchestra along with the sound designed by Andrew Bruce and Bobby Aitken plus the lighting by Howard Harrison along with some of the most outlandish 1970s disco costumes by Ron Glow inside the production designed by Mark Thompson helping it all along.

 

Whether you are familiar with the songs composed by Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus along with Stig Anderson, and this audience was more than familiar with them, you will feel right at home with “Dancing Queen”, “Money, Money, Money”, “Knowing Me, Knowing You”, “Thank You For The Music”, “The Winner Takes It All” with 16 others.

 

For the few who haven’t seen the show “Mamma Mia” is about Sophie (Lizzie Markson) who is marrying Sky (Dustin Harris Smith) and after secretly reading single mom’s (Betsy Padamonsky) diary she discovers her father could be one of 3 men; Sam (Shai Yammanee) an American architect, Bill (Marc Cornes) a Swedish writer and Harry (Andrew Tebo)      a British banker, and without telling Donna, Sophie invites them to the wedding while Donna has invited her old friends Tanya (Cashelle Butler)       and Rosie (Sarah Smith) who entertained as a singing trio 21 years previously.

 

All the leads are strong singers with Padamonsky and Yammanee having a bit of an edge mainly because of the songs they get to sing while Cornes and Smith do a very funny duet. They are backed up by a singing, dancing, acting ensemble that made the performance feel fresh, not a single performer on stage was phoning it in.

 

SPOILER: For those of you who run up the aisle as soon as the cast start taking their bows don’t as you will miss THE best part of “Mamma Mia” and which, since 1999, has helped make the show a long running success in over 23 countries including 14 years on Broadway.

 

Running time 2 hours and 30 minutes with a 20 minute intermission.

 

Check out  http://mammamiaontour.com/mm/  for the schedule of the tour.

Posted May 20, 2017 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, THEATRE, THEATRE REVIEW

THE CLASSIC GATEWAY THEATRE FORT LAUDEDALE   Leave a comment

Gateway Theatre Collage

I remember when I lived in Miami Beach in the 1950s and a group of us would go up to Fort Lauderdale to ‘spend a day in the country’. It wasn’t until the Spring Break started coming in mobs that the strip around A1A and Los Olas Boulevard became THE place, especially the Elbo Room where wet t-shirt contests became famous.

We would spend time on the beach; get a bite to eat and then head into ‘town’ and go to the Gateway Theatre to see a movie. I do remember seeing “Where The Boys Are” when it had its premiere there.

I left Florida in the mid 1960s and returned to live in Fort Lauderdale in 1979 and since then I have seen at least 45, if not more, movies every year there. I don’t know when it became a 4 auditorium movie house or became the only ‘art’ theatre in Broward County, though there are a few more now, but it is still my choice of a movie theatre to go to.

The choices of movies goes from classics, to independent movies, gay films, festivals, foreign films, documentaries and let’s not forget “The Rocky Horror Show” 3 Saturdays a month.

Recently renovated with new seats, floors, they still have the comments board, which can be as much fun reading as seeing the movies!

The Classic Gateway Theatre may have the best of retro feeling but it is as modern as that huge complex you go to without the friendly smiles (yes, Ray does smile!) you get here.

Chances are if it is a Friday you can see me at the Gateway!  http://classicgateway.com/ 

 

 Looking around the Gateway Theatre

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j56CNVmyrMI&feature=youtu.be

Posted May 17, 2017 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, THEATRE

“3 Generations”–A Movie Review   Leave a comment

“3 Generations” could have, would have and should have been a great movie if the director Gaby Dellal and Nikole Beckwith, who co-write the screenplay withDellal, didn’t go off on a tangent instead of dealing with Elle Fanning’s character Ray, who was born Ramona, and has many obstacles with his transition.

His single mother Maggie, played by Naomi Watts, and Ray, live with her mother, Dodo, played by Susan Sarandon, and her longtime lover Frances, played by Linda Emond.

At the beginning of the movie we see Maggie trying to deal with Ray’s decision, struggling with what verbs to use, worried that after Ray goes through the change he may think he made a mistake plus having to put up with Dodo, an old time feminist, who believes Ray should stay Ramona and just be a lesbian. If the film had stuck with Ray’s story and the reaction of the two older generation it would have been an excellent film but instead it veers off to Maggie’s past and the complications that involves

Ray’s father Craig, played by Tate Donovan, who hasn’t had anything to do with Ramona for more than a decade, now discovers his daughter needs his signature on the consent form to become his son. We also meet his brother Matthew, played by Sam Trammell, who was involved with them.  Throw in that Craig now haves another family with 3 kids and all of a sudden we turn from an involved story of a transgender person into a soap opera.

Maggie’s story is interesting but she deserves her own movie. This movie is only an hour and 27 minutes but it feels as if 3 hours was being packed into it.

Elle Fanning gives a very strong, believable performance as a transgender teenager who knows who he is and is willing to stand up for his decisions while Naomi Watts as his mother shows the perplexing problems a parent can go through while this is all taking place with an equally strong performance. As always Sarandon gives a dynamic performance while Linda Emond is very droll as the put upon lover. They are both wasted in the film as are Donovan and Trammell’s story lines .

Television is way ahead of film regarding the issues and understandings of transgender while movies, aside from “Boys Don’t Cry” and “The Crying Game”, need to get serious on the subject.

“3 Generations” is a good start on transgender issues but it gets bogged down in what use to be called a ‘women’s film’. It is worth seeing for Fanning’s performance and for people who have no idea what transgender people are about and go through.

Movie Trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5MeFmXpkryw

“The King and I”–Touring Company Review   Leave a comment

There is one word to describe the tour of “The King and I” that opened at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County last night and the word is perfect.

From the opening scene on the deck of the Chow Phyaarriving at the docks of Bankok and Anna (Laura Michelle Kelly) singing “I Whistle a Happy Tune” to Anna and the King (Jose Llana) singing “Shall We Dance” in the King’s study you couldn’t ask for a better score for a musical nor for it to be better sung than by the aforementioned plus the other 35 members of the cast.

The sets by Michael Yeargan, the costumes from Anna’s dresses to the Royal Children’s outfit by Catherine Zuber, to the lighting of Donald Holder along with a sound system by Scott Lehrer that allows you to hear every word along with choreography by Christopher Gattelli, based on the original by Jerome Robbins, not the forget the director Barlett Sher and add to this an 18 piece orchestra conducted by Gerlad Steichen and you have a magical night in the theatre.

Based upon the novel Anna and the King of Siam by Margaret Landon Oscar Hammerstein wrote the book for the show plus the lyrics while Richard Rodgers wrote the music and with a score consisting of “I Whistle a Happy Tune”, “Hello Young Lovers”, “We Kiss in a Shadow”, “Getting to Know You”, “A Puzzlement”, “I Have Dreamed” and “Something Wonderful” along with 8 other songs making this is definitely one of their best scores. Put in the ballet “The Small House of Uncle Thomas” and you have just one more jaw dropping part of a show that will make you laugh and, yes, bring tears to your eyes. Oh wait I can’t forget “The March of the Siamese Children” that will have you being charmed by the children.

Set in 1860’s Bangkok, the musical tells the story of the unconventional and tempestuous relationship that develops between the King of Siam and Anna Leonowens, a British schoolteacher whom the modernist King, in an inperialistic world, brings to Siam to teach his many wives and children.

Laura Michelle Kelley plays a strong Anna with a beguiling voice that just pulls you into her corner and Jose Llana is sly, funny, smart and an equal match for his co-star. Q Lim and Kavin Panmeechao, as the young lovers Tuptim and Lun Tha, bring tenderness and sadness in their duets of “We Kiss in a Shadow” and “I Have Dreamed”. I gather from the Paybill biographies this is Miss Lim’s National tour debut as part of the ensemble and is the understudy for the role of Tuptim. I am not sure if this was her first time doing the role but if it was you would never have known. Her narrating the ballet sequence was fierce and her performance moving. In addition to the strong performances and singing already mentioned Joan Almedilla as Lady Thiang, the eldest of the wives, sings “Something Wonderful” explaining the man she is married to with such tenderness and strength she moves not only Anna but every member of the audience.

“The King and I” is the last show of the Miami 2016-2017 season and ends it on a very high note.

For anyone living outside the South Florida area I suggest you go to the web site http://thekinganditour.com/tickets/ to see when it is coming to your city and get tickets now!

For those living in the Miami-Dade/Broward county area call 305-949-6722 or go to the www.arshtcenter.org  site and get any tickets available between today and Sunday, May 14—a great Mother’s Day present!

The running time is 2 hours and 54 minutes including a 20 minute intermission.

 

Posted May 10, 2017 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, REVIEWS, THEATRE, THEATRE REVIEW

Tonight is THE night!   Leave a comment

King and I collage

At approximately 8 PM—more likely 8:05—the house lights at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami will come down, a brief announcement regarding cell phones and picture taking will be made and then the conductor will lift his baton and I will hear

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6EDqnf5eivk

OR

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7cI_6Fs0qs&index=7&list=PL2jpQxYH_JEh_OVEAK7slArTfllCgdnn8

the overature live for the first time in a theatre since 1951 for a performance of “The King and I”.

Look for my review Wednesday!

Posted May 9, 2017 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, THEATRE, Uncategorized

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