Tag Archives: critics

More, please

Television and movie critics often bemoan the lack of originality on the small and big screens.

Sequels, remakes, and inspired-bys are everywhere,  it’s true…but it’s not all bad, right?

We’re all excited about the possibility of a Gilmore Girls movie, aren’t we? And The X-Files coming back?

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Plus, today I read a live-action Jonny Quest movie is in development. I loved that cartoon …especially his dog Bandit and best friend Haji.

I’d watch that.

Again.

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The media has been talking so much lately about the movies that are really bad (Hot Pursuit, Paul Blart 2) that we haven’t heard nearly enough about the great ones.

Like Ex Machina.

Ex-Machina-cast-bannerSci fi? Yes.

But it’s so much more. And I challenge any of you who may have dismissed its AI premise to give it another look.

For one, the performances are stellar. Alicia Vikander as the robot Ava is stunning. You can completely understand why Caleb, played by the equally compelling Domhnall Gleeson, is so taken with her, because you are, too. (And does anyone remember that the two were also romantically paired in the wonderful Anna Karenina? #PointsMe)

Oscar Isaac is also the most wonderful kinda crazy as Ava’s inventor.  “Isn’t it strange,” Ava asks him, “to create something that hates you?”

The cat and mouse game in this movie is wonderful. The film is filled with monsters, and it won’t be too long before you don’t know which is which. You’ll leave the theater talking about this film long afterwards.

For the right reasons.

All in the family

Turns out you can’t judge a musical by its poster.

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The only thing I knew about the Broadway show Fun Home before I saw it last night was a) the critics loved it and b) the Tony voters did, too.

It scored 12 nominations earlier this week.

I didn’t know the soundtrack or the book upon which it was based. I walked in the theatre about as clueless as a person could get.

So imagine my surprise when the show wasn’t the singing, dancing Partridge Family parody that I had cooked up in my head.

If you too are in the dark (and wish to remain so), stop reading now.

Have they left?  Okay.  So the rest of you know why my mind is a bit blown right now.

The musical’s narrator is a lesbian cartoonist. (Yeah, this show’s no Cinderella.) With the help of her very young self and college-aged self — two incredible young performers — she tells her life story.  With captions.

(‘Cause she’s a cartoonist.)

Fun-Home-2How her father was a part-time teacher and part-time funeral director — FUN HOME was the family nickname for the funeral home — and a closeted gay man who slept with lots of boys and committed suicide while she was away at college.

Yeah.

But that’s not to say there weren’t moments of humor and laughter.  Her first girl-on-girl experience in college inspired “Changing My Major to Joan,” one of my favorite songs in the show. And the kids did do a little Partridge Family at one point, so the graphic designer gets to keep his job.

The cast is all-around amazing. I do wish I had seen the show off-Broadway before they were plopped down into this in-the-round venue. It has led to a lot of ‘singing to the audience’ staging that seems amateurish for a story of such complexity.

It is quite a ride.

Lottery deja vu

It’s hard to believe that it has been three and a half four years since I first saw The Book of Mormon in previews on Broadway.

I was in the audience twice in the first two weeks (in case it closed)…but luckily the critics and New York audiences agreed.

It was the “musical of the century.”

imageI won front-row orchestra tickets on Twitter for last night’s show. The faces have changed, and possibly some nuances of the staging, but it was just like seeing it for the first time.

Only better.

I made eye contact with the cast, said hello to the conductor and got spit on.

Spit on.

I got to take my friend Derek for his first-ever viewing.

This blog was created with a little help from my post last August, when I won the BOM Twitter lottery the first time.

Shipshape

I saw All is Lost starring Robert Redford yesterday.

I’m still thinking about it.

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Our Man (as Redford’s character is credited) is forced to face his mortality when his yacht is damaged by a random shipping crate adrift in the ocean.

I couldn’t help thinking how I would handle the same situation.

I wouldn’t tackle the problem with such silent determination. Although alone, I would curse and shout and cry out in frustration.

I also probably wouldn’t be as patient and thoughtful…or nearly as inventive.

I hope I would show one-tenth of his courage.

Critics call this Redford’s best performance; I agree. And I applaud the writer and director on the ending…

…which you are not getting out of me here. No sirree.