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Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category
Anne Hathaway is fantastic in Les Miserables, the movie that seems poised to be the mega-hit of the holiday season. Sacha Baron Cohen is a charming rake and looks like he’s having a ball. Director Tom Hooper’s decision to have the songs sung live was a terrific risk that turned out terrifically. And let’s face it, who doesn’t want to spend two-plus hours looking at Hugh Jackman on a giant movie screen? The nominations and accolades are already pouring in. You’d have to be crazy not to love this gorgeous, impressive spectacle of a movie.
So I guess I’m crazy. (more…)
Posted in Reviews, Uncategorized, tagged Book of Mormon, Boys in the Band, Matt Stone, Musical theatre, New York City, Television, The book of mormon on Broadway, The New Victory, The Signature THeatre, The Transport Group, Trey Parker, Vineyard Theatre on March 17, 2011 | 2 Comments »
So many people who live in NY say they do it to be near all of the culture and the arts. But so many of those same people never venture further than their TV set for entertainment or – ahem – culture.
We have subscriptions to several different theatres: The Vineyard Theatre, The Signature Theatre, The Transport Group, and The New Victory. Plus we’re members of The Metropolitan Museum, The Museum of Natural History, The Whitney, and the Museum of Modern Art. Is it expensive? You bet. But as a subscriber you’re supporting the theatre you subscribe to, and you get MUCH cheaper tickets usually before they go on sale to the general public. We also get a TON of “buy discounted tickets” post cards in the mail, and I sometimes do. And as for the museums? I want to support the arts in NYC. Think about how much your cable bill is every month, and all that supports is the business of television. Not that there isn’t good TV out there. But live theater, seeing art in the flesh (in the paint) – nothing beats it.
See? We really do use the cultural resources this city has to offer. (more…)
A few weeks ago I went to a Holiday event sponsored by Nintendo. Aside from being held in the single most spectacular party space I’ve ever been in, (632 on Hudson) the event was terrific because it really did feel like a big party. There was food and drink, decorations, and people spread throughout the townhouse/party space, each room featuring a different Nintendo Wii or DS game.
In the living room, party guru and TV host David Tutera (from My Fair Wedding) was giving party tips while Wii Party played on the screen behind him. And all I could think was – really? David Tutera, tastemaker, is advocating playing video games at a grown up party? Yeah, right. So I asked him – “Do you really think it’s possible to have a party still feel social when there are video games around?”
Of course I asked the question fully aware that the TV star wasn’t there just for the fun of it — or even just to meet fabulous bloggers like me. He was being paid. But still – his answer surprised me. (more…)
I just went to see Sean Hayes and Kristen Chenoweth in Promises Promises on Broadway. Sean Hayes was charming, appealing, and thoroughly believable as a straight leading man. Kristen Chenoweth is always a star. The sets, by Scott Pask, were smart and snappy, the lighting was beautiful.
And the show was terribly, painfully, BAD.
Not the entire show: Tony Goldwyn, in a supporting role, set the standard for acting in a Broadway musical, proving that even in a musical as hokey as this one, a real actor can embody a part to an amazingly effective degree. Molly Shannon was clearly having the time of her life – and giving the audience a great time too – playing a drunken floozy.
And yet, the show, was patently awful. How is that possible? Let me count the ways.
1. Bad Music. Ever heard of the song “Grapes of Roth?” how about “Wanting Things?” or that big show stopper (and catchily named) “She likes Basketball?” I didn’t think so. Other than the so-cheesed-up-by-it’s-association-with-Muzak song “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again,” and the so out of place it seems to have been dropped in from another show “I say a Little Prayer for You,” you’ve never heard of any of these songs. Know why? They are BAD. Unhummable. And not in a complex Stephen Sondheim kind of way. Just boring, and talky, and sometimes oddly tuneless. Bad.
2. Worse Lyrics: “People who I meet seem to think I am strong. They don’t see inside of me so they don’t know I’m weak and often wrong.” Those aren’t lyrics. Those are lines from a Soap Opera character about to kiss his brother’s, wife’s sister even though he know she loves another.
Or how about “I seem to see you differently. Changing as I’m being treated kindly or meanly.” Try singing that ten times fast.
3. Weird Directorial Choices: Now, I don’t know for sure that these were directorial choices, or were written into the script or the (mostly) bad music. But why on earth, in a solo number, is there suddenly a vocal chorus of invisible women doing back-up? Weird
And while Tony Goldwyn was truly terrific as a 1950′s sexist cad, he seemed to be in a different show. He wasn’t “performing,” as most of the other people on stage were – he was acting. The real deal. It was a great performance, but kind of out of place with the “hey, we’re in a show” mugging that most of the other supporting characters were doing. (Which, in a period musical isn’t an insult) Weird again.
I felt bad for Sean Hayes, Kristen Chenoweth, and Tony Goldwyn. They were doing a great job. They were entertaining. But – hello – there’s a reason the show hasn’t been revived in decades. And good as you are, you aren’t good enough to make this bad show a good one. Even the great Neil Simon couldn’t write a book good enough to save the show from it’s true awfulness.
So go see Promises, Promises if you’re a huge Sean Hayes fan. Because he won’t disappoint. Go if you love Kristen Chenoweth no matter what. But know you’re gonna need that “no matter what” mentality.
I promise you that.
Depends on what the fight was.
If they were vying on a brawn-only basis, Batman. Brains? Nancy Drew.
But if you asked my ten year old twins who would win – then you’d have a real battle. Because when it comes to electronic games, boys see things one way, and girls, another.
See, my son LOVES the new Batman game for Wii Batman: The Brave and the Bold the Videogame (full disclosure – I received a free review copy, he played it.) I was impressed with how it looks less like a game and more like the actual cartoon…uh, excuse me, animated series. (seriously – when did it become a bad thing for kids to like cartoons?) My son likes the story, he loves the graphics, he thinks it’s easier to learn than some of the other, more complicated games I’ve gotten for review.
My daughter. Not so much. It’s not that she doesn’t like it, it’s just that she’d rather play her new PC-based game, recently released for Nancy Drew’s 80th (!) anniversary (and yet she still looks so young! how does she do it?!) Nancy Drew, Secrets Can Kill. (also a free review copy) My daughter doesn’t care much for battle games. She never says the six most dreaded words a mother trying to get her son to go to bed ever hears: “Let me just beat this level.” She likes that the Nancy Drew game allows her to solve puzzles – not just fight her way out of things. She likes that there’s a main character who’s a girl. And I like that the girl characters in this electronic game (unlike so many others) aren’t built like porn stars. (more…)
I know what you’re thinking….doesn’t everyone? But no, not everyone does. Some people feel a sense of accomplishment. Some people get into the Zen of it.
Me? I just plain hate it.
Catherine Zeta Jones starred in the cast of this revival when it opened. And after seeing her inexplicably Tony winning, bird-trapped-in-a-plastic-bag body language performance of Send in the Clowns on the Tony broadcast, I decided to wait until the new cast – headed by the inimitable Bernadette Peters – took over.
Boy am I glad I did.
The highlight of the show – perhaps of the Broadway season, is hearing Peter’s sing that signature song. Remember when you used to hear Send in the Clowns as a kid? I was always thinking “Clowns? Huh? wha? Are they going to the circus?”
Ah. The innocence of youth.
Now, as a forty something it takes on new resonance. And Peter’s does it justice, seeming to age on the stage, when she realizes her youthful love was too long ago to salvage. Watch her perform and witness a Broadway legend seal her place in history.
Luckily, Peters is sitting just about center stage when she sings the song, otherwise, I may not have seen her at all, since the woman in front of me clearly stopped at the store and bought a Bozo the Clown wig to wear to the theatre that night.
This was not just a head of hair in front of me. It was a triangulated, bright red, dense mass of curly hair hitherto unseen except in the nether regions of Ronald McDonald’s long lost sister.
Had the woman never seen a ponytail holder? (more…)
The swag is put away (mostly), the business cards gone through (totally), the laryngitis fading (sorry, hubby, I can talk endlessly again). Yes, it was my first year at Blogher, and now it’s time for a little post mortem. Just how was it?
I went into BlogHer thinking that how I felt about BlogHer would pretty much determine whether or not I continued blogging at all. I had kinda lost my groove after the unexpected demise of SVMoms, and I wasn’t so sure I wanted to feel groovy again. You know, what with the requisite fringe vests and all.
I’m still not quite sure how I feel. So I’m going to make a list of pros and cons, bests and worsts, and see what wins.
Pro: The conference was in NY. For me, that meant no travel or lodging costs (I live here). For many, it meant a first trip to the Big Apple.
Pro: It was nice to be in a community of women who speak blog-ese. Most of my IRL friends have no idea what I’m talking about half the time. And they certainly wouldn’t wait in a restroom to have an audience with The Bloggess. Not that I begrudge The Bloggess her little corner of fame. She’s truly funny and she’s worked for it. But the bathroom? Really?
Con: The conference was ginormous! 2400 women (mostly, anyway). Which made it feel less like a community and more like a bunch of cows being herded into over-air conditioned pens.