Tag Archives: commentary

Hot time in the ol’ town

I HATE BLOW DRYING MY HAIR.

Blow-dry

I have a lot of it. And in the summer, it is a hot, time-consuming, uncomfortable, thankless job.  Plus, I have to flat iron it to get it really straight.

Yes, I splurge for blow-outs at the salon now and then, but tonight, it’s on me.

And I hate when it’s my turn.

That’s life

Richard Linklater’s film Boyhood has received enormous attention and near perfect reviews.

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It should.

The fact that it was 12 years in the making is epic enough. That the same actors gathered together to recreate this family each year…so the passage of time Is made all the more authentic by every bad haircut, each pop culture reference.

But Boyhood’s true appeal lies in Linklater’s choice of subject matter: the simple, day-to-day ups and downs of a family doing their best to juggle school and jobs and divorce and remarriage and financial worries and love and loss.

Chances are, at certain points in this movie, you will recognize yourself or your family.

And it will make you smile.

Constructive criticism

Feedback — we have to give it and receive it, sometimes daily depending on our jobs.

That doesn’t make it any easier to hear.

Tim Minchin, the Olivier-award winning and Tony-nominated songwriter of Broadway’s Matilda, once received a very bad review that he couldn’t really shake off.  How did he deal with it?

He wrote a hilarious song about it.

I’ll have to try that sometime…

Note — Minchin is currently workshopping a new musical in London based on the movie Groundhog Day. Can’t wait to hear those lyrics!

Leftovers

I am fascinated by The Golf Channel’s coverage of The Open at Royal Liverpool.

open coverage golf channelSo far this week, they have broadcast seven hours of ‘live’ coverage each day — followed by a repeat of that same coverage in the evening hours — and the golf tournament hasn’t even started yet.

That’s three days, 14 hours per day, of nothing but press conferences, talking heads and video of a practice round or two.

But no golf.

When the tournament begins on Thursday — at 4am ET, mind you — ESPN has the honors of showing actual rounds of golf.

Sucks to be the baby of the (cable) family, am I right?

 

Here’s to Tony

Thanks to Time Warner Cable’s primetime OnDemand, I was able to watch the first episode of WeTV’s new drama The Divide before it’s premiere this Wednesday, July 16th.

the-divideI was initially drawn to the show because Tony Goldwyn, our beloved president on Scandal, is one of the executive producers and the director.  He has an impressive list of credits in the director role :  Scandal, Justified, Dexter, Private Practice, Grey’s Anatomy, and The L Word.  So I figured this new show was worth a look.

And I was right.

The story centers on a prisoner who has been on death row for almost 12 years for the murder of an entire family.  All appeals have failed, and he is scheduled to be executed in a matter of weeks when a member of the Innocence Initiative finds new evidence that may be enough for a new trial.

The cast is excellent, what I’ve seen of the writing is compelling, and Tony’s direction is top-notch.  I’ve already set my DVR to record the entire series.

Check it out!

 

Asleep in my takeout

I am fascinated by the critics’ take on the movie Chef, which is currently 88 percent fresh on RottenTomatoes.com.

I found it stale and oh-so-overcooked.

chef movie

I watch a lot of Food Network, so I had high hopes for the film’s ‘recipe’: a chef gets fired after he starts a Twitter war with a restaurant critic,  and opens a food truck.

Seems new, seems current.

Turns out all the conflict that drives the film is in the first 15 minutes.  After the chef (Jon Favreau) loses his job, everyone and everything starts working in his favor.

  • Need a food truck?  His ex-wife gets her other ex-husband to provide one.  Takes him to Miami to get it. Appears to bankroll the enterprise, too. (Sure, that happens.)
  • Need help setting it up?  His former junior cook travels across the country — without pay — to help him get started. That sainted ex-wife even takes orders at one point.
  • Need to reconnect with your kid? The ex-wife — again, the most non-confrontational divorced couple in the history of movies and life, for that matter — lets an 11-year old kid work as a line cook on a food truck for the entire summer. Without checking in. Right.

I don’t want to give away the ending in case you plan to see it.  But let’s just say that, once the food truck is parked –

Nothing really happens then, either. Or if it does, they don’t show it.

Because conflict might wake you up out of your food coma.

 

All hail Hedwig

I approached yesterday’s matinee performance of Hedwig and the Angry Inch with my share of doubts.

Not about Neil Patrick Harris — he can do anything.

But drag performers are the latest rage on Broadway. Last year’s Tony-winning Kinky Boots gave them both their entrance and their legitimacy. The decision to put up the revival of Hedwig now seems a bit like ‘joiner’ behavior.

Not gonna judge it sight unseen, though…especially with Neil at the helm.

HedwigThe first few numbers are fast and fun and full of Neil’s familiar charm and humor, so it’s easy to think you’re just watching him do  fantastic drag.

Then Neil simply disappears as Hedwig’s story takes center stage, one filled with loss and love, pain and power, disfigurement and metamorphosis.

Neil is supported on stage by a great rock band — one guy is from Lexington, Kentucky! — and Lena Hall, who also won a Tony for her drag performance.

But the show is all about Neil.  All about Hedwig.

He is mesmerizing.

Stop and go

Another train trip last night, another two-hour delay.

But not one person complained.

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Our train was held at the station in Philadelphia for over an hour because an Acela near Wilmington hit two people on the tracks.

Both died.

No matter how long I was stuck on that train… how late I was for my meeting… or even how lousy the weather was when I finally arrived in Washington –

It was a great day to be alive.

The sporting life

I have been verbally spanked by more than one person for my lack of enthusiasm for the World Cup.

I’m not a soccer fan. To become an SSF (Sudden Soccer Fan) because of the frenzy surrounding the event doe not feel authentic to me.

Turns out it’s practically un-American.

world cupTo add insult to injury, I’m writing this post during the US / Portugal World Cup match.

Which I’m not watching.

Don’t get me wrong — I truly hope the US wins — but it’s still soccer.

I’m okay with getting the score later.
wimbledon imageIn other sporting news, the Championships Wimbledon begin tomorrow, where many Americans will be competing on its famous grass courts.

I love tennis and will be watching as much coverage as my schedule allows.  I won’t verbally abuse you, however, if you have other plans.

Moving pictures

The trailer for Words & Pictures, starring Juliette Binoche and Clive Owen, makes it look like a light romantic comedy.

Makes you wonder if the marketing folks even watched the film.
words and pictures

The promo oversimplifies the story to its most basic elements: two teachers at a private high school clash on the relative importance of art and literature while falling in love.

Tragic.

Not the movie; it was lovely.  What is tragic is  everything the trailer leaves out.

I don’t expect it to reveal every detail  — I’d prefer it didn’t — but the love story in W&P is very specific to the two teachers’ ages, health issues, and work and family situations.  It’s complicated because their lives are more complicated, which makes it a more interesting and multi-layered story.

And it deserves a trailer that reflects that.

Oh well, I’m a happy camper — I got way more movie than I expected!