Tag Archives: review

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.

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!

I’m a Veronica

I bought a ticket to see Heathers: The Musical in late March.

I finally got to use it tonight.
heathers the musical

Is it as dark as the movie? Definitely.

Is it funnier than the movie? Definitely.

Does its soundtrack feature some of the wildest lyrics I have heard on a stage to date?

Most definitely.  (We’re talking blue balls, ‘sword fighting’ — yes, you should take that in a dirty way — and a salute to ‘my dead gay son’ that rocks the house.

If you’re a fan of the movie, you will love it.  If you have never seen the movie — like my friend Beth, who joined me tonight — you will love it.  And if you love great parody…

You’ve probably already seen it.  Go again.  You deserve it!

 

 

Call this game

I don’t watch Game of Thrones.

GoT

I know — it’s laughable.

But I do read all the spoiler-filled columns about each episode on Sunday night, written by faithful journalist-viewers who continue to be ‘shocked’ by the weekly carnage.

How many times can main characters be murdered — in new and albeit creative ways — before it becomes expected instead of shocking?  I mean, I don’t watch the show and I look forward to hearing how many people are skewered this week and how they did it.

If you are still shocked at this point, GoT fans, then don’t get out of bed.

Your living room, the city streets, and definitely your place of employment are filled with random horrors that you are not man and/or woman enough to face.

Coming soon

I began the third class of my publishing certificate at NYU tonight.

The instructor, a literary agent at a boutique firm here in New York City, was describing some of the ways authors have promoted their books above-and-beyond their publisher’s efforts.

press playEric Devine gets my vote for most creative.

His young adult novel Press Play is being published in October.  It tells the story of a high school student who accidentally captures footage of the violent hazing practices of the lacrosse team while filming his documentary film project.

Devine had the idea to create a book trailer — like a movie trailer, but for his book — and display it at the local movie theatre in his home town of Waterford, New York

On an agreed-upon evening, Devine’s book trailer will air multiple times before the movies, inviting viewers to purchase Press Play at the mall bookstore where the cinema is located.

I think this is inspired.

A film features prominently in the book, and Devine is using the movies to promote it.  He’ll probably get local publicity for this unique angle, too.

I wish I could go watch!

 

No fault

I saw the movie The Fault in Our Stars today.

image

I hadn’t read the book, so I could judge it on face value. No expectations. No preconceived notions. No condemnation for any meandering from the original plot.

But I’m pretty sure that, even if I’d been watching with a more critical eye, I still would have been bowled over by Augustus and Hazel Grace.

I am not a fan of cancer movies — when you have experienced the unhappy ending in real life , it’s hard to get on board for the journey on film — but I was transfixed by theses two kids’ humor and courage and life in the face of certain death.

The cast was exceptional all-around, and while I don’t know what parts were true to the original text and was what added later, to my eye it was seamless and sensitive.

Okay? 

Okay.

See for yourself

My blog, Facebook and Twitter feeds of late have been filled with praise for The Bridges of Madison County, which ended its too-short Broadway run this past Sunday.

I was fortunate enough to see the show twice, including its final performance.  But for those of you who were not able to attend — and perhaps have smiled indulgently at my near-obsessive behavior — I wanted to give you a taste of the quality performance I enjoyed.

Here’s Steven Pasquale performing “It All Fades Away” for the studio recording. (The note at 3:20 literally fills  your head during the live performance.)

Dance with me

It’s happened again.

I’ve found another ballet-centric book to obsess about.

image

Astonish Me was recently reviewed in Entertainment Weekly. As soon as I read the premise, I put a hold on it at the library.

While I was waiting,  I read Maggie Shipstead’s debut novel, Seating Arrangements,  which was a best seller and won several awards.

It tells the story of a wedding weekend and two sisters who were trying to find their happy ever after.

I recommend it…and I have a feeling I will this new one, too.

Then maybe a trip to Lincoln Center?

Building bridges

image

I attended the final performance of The Bridges of Madison County this afternoon.

I bought my ticket as soon as it was announced.  Such a special show deserved an encore viewing.

It was better than the first time I saw it. Perhaps because the theatre was packed. Or because every word spoken, every note sung was the the last time for the actors and audience alike.

The performances were heartbreaking. There were three standing ovations during the show itself, and the curtain call was thunderous.  Star Kelly O’Hara spoke to the crowd, promising that the show would ‘live on.’

I worried that the final performance might be a bit depressing, but it was one of the most inspiring things I have ever experienced.

Here’s hoping it comes to your town one day soon.