Friday, March 07, 2014
At the age of 22, a college graduate, Amy (Emma Roberts) still lives at home supported financially, and in her dreams, by her parents. We meet Amy, who sees herself as a poet on the verge of fame, trying to commit suicide, practicing putting her head in the oven as her heroine Sylvia Path did and the film takes us back a year earlier to explain how she got to this point.
With her college loans plus their parents taking a hit they tell her she has to get a job. After several interviews that don’t work out she finds herself getting a job as a clerk in Adult World owned by an old couple John Cullman and Cloris Leachman and managed by a cute curly-head Alex (Evan Peters) and where a transgender person Rubia (Armando Riesco) who has Amy move in with her for a short time.
Amy’s ‘favorite living poet’, as she tells him, is having a reading and she goes to him, hoping to be his protégé. Rat Billings (John Cusack) had a taste of fame and is now, more or less, a has-been. He has no plans to be Amy’s mentor no matter what she tries, and does, to get in his good graces, including getting very drunk (an embarrassing scene) and coming on to him. Aside from the fact that she is a very bad poet Amy doesn’t really have much else going for her, except maybe, the fact hat she is a virgin
Anyone who has ever seen a romantic comedy knows exactly where this is heading and the director Scott Coffey, along with screenwriter Andy Cochran, really add nothing to the film that hasn’t been said or done before.
The cast, pleasant to watch, does what they can do with what they are given but I don’t see any of them putting this film high on their resume.
Wednesday, March 05, 2014
Last week in my review of “Memphis” I talked about the magic that an actor and actress could bring to the stage that elevates the whole production. Last night at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the performing Arts in “Warhorse” there was another kind of theatre magic that could only be presented on stage and that was 13 puppeteers bringing 5 horses to life to the point you forget that young Joey, Joey, Topthorn and Heine are being manipulated by people.
The play by Nick Stafford, based on the book by Michael Morpurgo, tells the story of Albert (Michael Wyatt Cox) and his young foal and how the former’s life is affected by the latter before, during and after WW1. We meet the friends, family and enemies of Albert and the friends and enemies of Joey.
With a cast of over 30, some, including puppeteers, playing multiple roles “Warhorse” is an adult puppetry marvel that equals any special effects that you may have seen on a movie screen but they are performed by actors making you believe the horses, and even the funny goose, are real flesh and blood. When something bad happens to Joey you gasp and when Topthorn is hurt you might even shed a tear!
The puppet design, fabrication and direction originated with Adrian Kohler and Basil Jones for the Handspring Puppet Company. They, and the puppeteers on stage, bring magic to the theatre and make “Warhorse” definitely a must see!
Running time is 2 and a half hours with a 20 minute intermission.
Next at The Adrienne Arsht Performing Arts Center in Miami will be “The Blue Man Group” May 13-18 followed by “Evita” May 27-June 1.
Friday, February 28, 2014
As Matthew McConaughey turns from a nude bongo romantic comedy lead into a very respected Oscar nominated 'serious' actor Liam Neeson has gone from a serious actor to an action star and he continues in that mode with "Non-Stop". With his hang dog, sad sack face you know within minutes of the film starting this man has had a rough time and along with fighting possible alcoholism he is fighting past demons.
Bill Marks (Neeson) is a Federal Air Marshall who within minutes of the plane he is on he gets a call on his cellphone demanding millions of dollars or every 20 minutes someone on the plane will be killed. Bill is being set up as the hijacker of the plane and the money and his boss, along with others in the government, suspect it is true.
The Marshall suspects everyone on the plane except an eight year old girl. Becca. (Quinn McColgan) that gives him a chance to show his tender side. We meet his seatmate Jan (Julianne Moore), flight attendants Nancy (Michelle Dockery) and Gwen (Lupita Nyong'o) along with a teacher, doctor, pilot and co-pilot, a New York policeman and as varied a crowd as you would find on any plane and Bill, along with the audience, try to figure out who is behind it all. You know a film is working when you suspect the child could be behind it all, if only for a minute.
As an action film "Non-Stop" fits all the requirements including a few, well many, illogical monents, fights, guilty party going from one suspect to another, fights, manufactured but effective suspense, fights, a possible past and future love story and, oh yes, did I mention fights?
Neeson does everything the questionable hero is expected to do and all the cast support him though the women are more or less wasted, especially Moore and Nyong'o, the latter given very little to say but shows off that Grace Jones hair style with class.
As Allen said while walking out "I'm exhausted," being pulled into the film as most of the audience was. Many people stayed for the ending credits to see who played what role as many faces were familiar but not quite a name!
Director Jaume Collet-Serra keeps the action moving including a very believable 2 man fight in the plane's restroom. The screenwriters John W. Richardson, Chris Roach and Ryan Engle keep the story going maintaining suspense, if not always logical, while the score by John Ottman almost unnoticeable adds to the tension.
For those who like action films this is a good one and even those who don't (me) will enjoy it.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Every once in awhile something happens in the theatre called MAGIC! You could have seen a show, enjoyed it and forgotten it the next day until you see it again 8 months later and from the moment the curtain goes up you have an almost out of body experience and that is what happened last night at the opening of the touring company of “Memphis” at the Broward Performing Arts Center.
The electrical chemistry between Jasmin Richardson as Felicia, a black singer and Joey Elrose as Huey, a white DJ, not only charged the theatre but the featured players, the ensemble and the band. They weren’t actors playing characters but real people whose life we were watching.
It is Memphis, Tennessee, in the 1950s, a time of racial tension and ‘colored’ music, eventually to be called rock ‘n roll, is coming into the white world and being taken over by them. Huey and Felicia fall in love opposed by his mother and her brother and we follow them as they go through tribulations of their love and careers.
With the music, book and lyrics by Joe DiPietro and David Bryan, original choreography of Sergio Trujillo recreated by Jermaine R. Rembert and Adam Arian recreating the original direction of Christopher Ashley the cast is strong whether dancing, acting and/or singing. Pat Sibley as Mama, Avionce Hoyles as Gator and Jerrial T. Young as Bobby and the ensemble stop the show more than once.
It is Jasmin Richardson and Joey Elrose, with that undefinable magic, her soaring voice, his hangdog winning ways, that take this show into a night not very quickly forgotten in this Tony Award winning show for Best Musical.
“Memphis” will be playing at the Broward Performing Arts center until March 9–catch the magic!
PICTURES BY JEREMY DANIEL COURTESY OF PR MANAGER CHARLOTTE V.
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
GLORIA--CHILE/SPANISH FILM WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES--MOVIE REVIEW
'Gloria' is a woman's movie about and for woman. It is not Hollywood's version of a stunningly gorgeous woman who can't get a man or an old woman with Alzheimer's. Gloria, played gloriously by Paulina Garcia, is every woman. After 12 years of divorce, her ex (Alejandro Goic), remarried to a younger woman, in her late middle age with two grown children who don't have the time to give her that she wants, working what looks like a decent job which affords her the service of a housekeeper Luz (Coca Guazzini), goes to dance bars, where middle aged people hang out, because she likes to dance.
She talks with a few men leading to nowhere when she meets Rodolpho, played by Sergio Hernandez, recently divorced with an ex-wife and two daughters who lean on him for everything. He recognizes her vibrancy, makes his move and they go to bed embarking on a romance. In the sex scenes, and with the frontal nudity, we see a couple whose bodies are not toned, sun-tanned and glowing but the bodies of older people who try to keep fit but are unable to stop Mother Nature. Rodolpho readily admits that he has had gastric by-pass surgery and wears a girdle to keep the loose skin hidden but takes it off to show Gloria all of him.
We meet Gloria's family, as does Rodolpho, her single parent son with a boy, Pedro, played by Diego Fontecillia, her daughter Ana (Fabiola Zamora) a yoga instructor who is going to Sweden to marry her boyfriend, her ex with his wife, at a birthday party for Pedro. Being involved with her family she doesn't realize that Rodolpho has disappeared.
They eventually get together after visiting his amusement park where Gloria lights up bungee jumping and learning how to shoot a paint ball gun, and she learns how to use that paint ball gun for revenge.
Gloria doesn't fair well in the older middle age 'meat market' but she is never a defeatist and you can see it in her face, particularly in a glorious version of 'Gloria' from 'Flashdance' when she knows she can be picky because she doesn't need a man but wants one.
Paulina Garcia is a complete and worthwhile discovery for an American audience. There is a radience about her that when in one scene it is discovered she has glaucoma and, just for a moment all the light goes out of her. She gives a standout performance.
The director, Sebastian Lelio, who co-wrote the screenplay with Gonzalo Maza gives a picture of Chili in broad strokes showing the people, the country and the politics. He certainly seems to know women and maybe men going to see this 'woman's' picture will learn a thing or two.
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