Taking on his first feature film as both director and actor Russell Crowe blasts onto the screen with The Water Diviner, a compelling and romantic movie with a good measure of action. Perfect for a date and a movie with both partners being entertained right til the credits roll. It’s Crowe in his best dramatic role to date with a cast that complements the script and a crew that delivers a top notch production. Read more
The stylish and compelling fantasy Ex Machina takes its audience into the labs of a world powerhouse specializing in artificial intelligence. It’s a tantalizing sci-fi drama that works magic with skillful CGI, convincing acting, dark and brooding music, and an imaginative winning script. If you are truly a science fiction fan, than this is one film you must see this year. Read more
Kidnapping for money has become common in many countries getting huge sums of cash from rich families. So in the film 24 Days the kidnappers target their quarry on the notion that all Jews are rich and have access to large amounts of money. The story is true, the events are heinous and the outcome reeks with anti-Semitism. What also rings clear are the methods that the perpetrators use to abduct the person and the modern day communications that make it almost impossible to catch the perpetrators
The four-day festival of Lucasfilm fandom known as Star Wars: Celebration, which was held in Anaheim, California, has officially wrapped — so it’s time to take a look back at its greatest hits.
By which we mean those awesome fan-made costumes, many of which are hilarious enough to make even the mighty Darth Vader crack a smile. Read more
Netflix is plunging further into original comedy with a yet-to-be-titled series from Aziz Ansari, Mashable has learned.
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Warning: This post contains spoilers for everything up to and including Season 5, episode 2 of Game of Thrones as well as for the book series.
For years, we readers of George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire books have lorded it over viewers of HBO’s Game of Thrones. The show is based on the books, so by and large, we knew what was coming.We couldn’t wait to watch your reaction to Ned Stark’s surprise execution, to the battle of the Blackwater, to the Red Wedding, to Joffrey’s poisoning or the Red Viper’s eye-opening defeat. In our heightened anticipation, we may even have let a spoiler or two slip here and there. Sorry about that. Read more
It’s time to let your “gaydar” down and watch a very funny First Period with a simple plot that entertains. Now on DVD with witty performances by Brandon Alexander III and Dudley Beene in the role of teen girls, the fun film turns the late 80’s high school era into a different kind of coming-of-age playground. The comedy skits get a little over the top, but it’s all in fun “John Water’s” style. Read more
Mixing comedy with horror the film The Walking Deceased combines the genres in an attempt to attract the younger crowd. Now on DVD the film makes a good attempt, but the low budget, novice direction and amateur acting fails to entertain. The production starts out on the right foot, but they try to spoof too many films without good vision and many amateurs spoil the pot. Read more
Blake Lively was covered in stars when she stepped out for the “Age of Adaline” premiere after-party in New York City Sunday night.
Lively looked gorgeous in a sheer black bodysuit smattered with stars worn under a black overcoat from the Monique Lhuillier Fall 2015 collection, The Cut noted. It was the perfect look for the nighttime bash held at the Metropolitan Club. Read more
What happens when you take super fandom to the next level? Ask Roy Preston. Owner of The Little Lebowski Shop, he possesses a unique fascination with the Coen brothers’ flick, The Big Lebowski. Read more
The Academy of Country Music Awards supplied its fair share of spectacular musical moments Sunday night, and one outstanding, emotional speech. Andrea Swift, Taylor’s mother, took the stage at the Arlington, Texas, event to present her famous daughter with the Milestone Award.
The relationship forged between parent and child or brother and sister can be impenetrable. It has the ability to stitch up a broken heart and remain a strong line over decades and hundreds of miles. War, on the other hand, divides and separates communities both philosophically and physically and tests these familial bonds. But the ties of a family transcend war and through trying times remain intact no matter the challenges it has endured. Read more
By the mid-1960s, the notorious Hayes Code, the censorship standards begun in the 1930s, had begun to fall away. Films like Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Bonnie & Clyde, The Graduate and In the Heat of the Night started pushing the envelope in terms of “adult” content portrayed on-screen. With the advent of the MPAA rating system in November, 1968 a new era of freedom was ushered in. Filmmakers could frankly portray sex, violence, profanity and formerly taboo subject matters. While the aforementioned films are all iconic in stature, one of the key films that pushed the rating system into being is now largely forgotten.
Last season’s best off-Broadway musical is now this season’s best Broadway musical. Fun Home is the best Broadway musical in years.
Don’t let the subject matter fool you. You might have heard that the Jeanine Tesori-Lisa Kron musical, adapted from the autobiographical “graphic novel” by Alison Bechdel, is about a lesbian cartoonist and her gay father who kills himself. That might not sound like a cheery way to spend a couple of hours, but don’t be misled. Fun Home is an emotional roller-coaster ride, a grippingly heartwarming story mixed with some of the most smart and joyful musical numbers presently on Broadway.
Alison (Beth Malone) is, indeed, a 43-year-old lesbian cartoonist. We also see her as the pre-teen Small Alison (Sydney Lucas) and the college-freshman Middle Alison (Emily Skeggs). The nature of the narrative that Kron and Tesori have devised–and the beauty of the piece–is that we can see them all at the same time, in the same space, sometimes delivering the same sentence. Small Alison grows up trying to communicate with her decidedly difficult father Bruce (Michael Cerveris); Middle Alison leaves home for college, where (a) she comes out, (b) learns her father is gay, and (c) watches as he commits suicide months later. The adult Alison, meanwhile, struggles to make sense of it all. While the three Alisons are central, Cerveris (of Assassins and Titanic) is the key to the proceedings. As the repressed, unknowable father, he gives an excellent performance so uncharacteristic that some viewers are likely not to even recognize him under the hairpiece.
The hidden strength of the show is Judy Kuhn (of Les Misérables and Chess), as the mother Helen. Helen seems almost invisible in this family, her true self having dwindled over the course of the marriage. Late in the show, she is revealed to have been very much aware of the situation all along; but what could she do other than sit at the piano, passively practicing Chopin? “Chaos never happens if it’s never seen,” she repeatedly notes. Finally comes her song, which illuminates the show. “Days and Days” is staggeringly good dramatic writing, and Kuhn–a three-time Tony nominee–is breathtakingly stunning. The cast is rounded out by the two young brothers, Oscar Williams and the cute-as-a-button Zell Steele Morrow; Roberta Colindrez, as Alison’s droll college girlfriend; and Joel Perez, as several young men for whom Bruce hungers.
Beth Malone and Emily Skeggs in Fun Home. Photo: Jenny Anderson
The power of the story is enhanced by the songs, which mix passion with humor. Tesori has previously demonstrated her abilities as musical dramatist with Violet and Caroline, or Change, as well as putting food on the table with the less challenging but more popular Thoroughly Modern Millie and Shrek. The Fun Home score is monumental, revealing talent and sensitivity that is sustained throughout the piece. The music blends perfectly with the lyrics of the heretofore non-lyric writer Kron (of Well), whose book and lyrics here are equally exceptional.
This is easily the finest theatre score in a decade, by my reckoning since The Light in the Piazza. Tesori and Kron mix emotionally moving numbers with others that simply lift the roof off the theatre. “Come to the Fun Home” is a comic knockout; appearing early in what thus far seems to be an overwhelmingly serious evening, the three pre-teens radiate blissful joy as they sing a pretend-TV commercial–in Jackson 5 style–for their family-run funeral home (hence, “fun home”). “Changing My Major,” delivered by Ms. Skeggs in the first throes of passion, is an irrepressible whirlwind artfully crafted with the sort of rhymes an 18-year-old might devise; and “Ring of Keys,” in which the Small Alison discovers the meaning of physical attraction, is so gloriously good that you can’t imagine Tesori and Kron can top it until they hit you with “Days and Days.” Chris Fenwick leads a seven-piece band in John Clancy’s sensitive orchestrations.
Fun Home originated at the Public’s Newman Theater–home of the original productions of A Chorus Line, Elaine Stritch at Liberty and Hamilton–where it was wonderfully staged by Sam Gold (Circle Mirror Transformation). Circle in the Square calls for a thoroughly different in-the-round staging, and in undertaking the challenge Mr. Gold has outdone himself: the show has grown stronger, and better. The actors move and turn to face the patrons, of course; but Gold and designer David Zinn (The Last Ship) favor the in-the-round audience by also having the scenery move, rotate, and reappear in different places like cartoon panels. The result is a greater immediacy that enhances the impact of the material. As an added bonus, we can’t help but see the thrilled reactions of audience members sitting opposite.
Sam Gold’s staging of Fun Home. Photo: Joan Marcus
The transfer, eighteen-months after the Public opening, brings cast changes in the roles of Middle Alison and the two brothers. The original girl, Alexandra Socha, was excellent but so is Ms. Skeggs, who replaced Socha midway through the Public run. Skeggs appears to be younger, more awkward and unsure of her path, which plays very well. The other Alisons reprise their excellent performances, although the 11-year-old Ms. Lucas appears noticeably older and taller than she was in 2013. The boys, too, are just as charming as the earlier pair; the 8-year-old Morrow, dancing and whooping on a fun(eral) home casket while using a spray can of furniture polish as a microphone, is quite a sight.
The authors and director have seen fit to cut a favorite song from downtown, “Al for Short.” Which on reflection is the right choice; we learn the essential information from “Ring of Keys,” which has more emotional heft, and there is no room in a brisk 100 minutes to restate yourself. It’s highly uncommon, though, for present-day Broadway songwriters to cut an excellent song because they don’t need it.
Seekers of provocative, invigorating and entertaining theatre–musical or dramatic–will find it at Circle in the Square. To those who think that Fun Home doesn’t sound like their sort of entertainment: this is musical theatre at its best, so go anyway. You’re likely to be surprised, and thrilled, and enthralled..
Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron’s Fun Home opened April 19, 2015 at Circle in the Square
Source: Huffington Post Entertainment Feed