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Saturday, April 29, 2017

Hamilton Los Angeles tickets on sale tomorrow, Sunday, April 30

Film Flam Flummox


Tickets for the highly anticipated Los Angeles premiere engagement of Lin-Manuel Miranda's pop culture--never mind merely Broadway--phenomenon, the hip-hop historical musical Hamilton: An American Musical go on sale to the public at large beginning tomorrow, Sunday, April 30. You can get them here at the official Hollywood Pantages Theatre website.

Hamilton is set to play at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood from Friday, August 11 to Saturday, December 30.

Buy the Hamilton Original Broadway Cast album CD here.
Buy the Hamilton Original Broadway Cast album MP3 here.
Buy the Hamilton Original Broadway Cast album vinyl here.
Buy the Hamilton: The Revolution book here.
Buy the Hamilton: The Revolution audiobook here.
Buy The Hamilton Mixtape CD here.
Buy The Hamilton Mixtape MP3 here.
Buy the Hamilton sheet music here.

(Special thanks to Hollywood Pantages Theatre)

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Friday, April 28, 2017

The Movie Report #917, April 28, 2017

The Movie Report

#917, April 28, 2017


MOVIES:
  • Baahubali 2: The Conclusion *** 1/2
  • The Circle **
  • How to Be a Latin Lover ***
  • Phoenix Forgotten * 1/2
  • Sleight ***

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Newport Beach Film Festival 2017 Reviews

The Movie Report

Newport Beach Film Festival

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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

An American in Paris dances back to SoCal in Costa Mesa

Film Flam Flummox


After wrapping up its Southern California premiere engagement at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood a couple of weeks ago, the First National Tour production of Christopher Wheeldon's stunningly mounted dance extravaganza based on Vincente Minnelli's landmark 1951 movie musical An American in Paris returns to the area tonight for a roughly two week run in Orange County at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa through Sunday, May 7. The beautiful, literally balletic take on the screen classic is most definitely worth a look if one missed the Los Angeles run--or worth a revisit, especially thanks to Wheeldon's terrific, Tony Award-winning choreography. Tickets are now on sale at Segerstrom Center website, and revisit my review of opening night at the Pantages here.


An American in Paris is now playing at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa from tonight, Tuesday, April 25 through Sunday, May 7.

(Special thanks to Segerstrom Center for the Arts)

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Friday, April 21, 2017

The Movie Report #916, April 21, 2017

The Movie Report

#916, April 21, 2017


MOVIES:
  • Begum Jaan ** 1/2
  • Born in China ** 1/2
  • Free Fire ** 1/2
  • Grow House **
  • The Promise **
  • Unforgettable **

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Monday, April 17, 2017

Movie Music Monday: In anticipation of boarding the Taj Express in SoCal

Film Flam Flummox


After successfully touring in various cities around the world since June 2013, Taj Express: The Bollywood Musical Revue finally made its debut on U.S. stages this year, with its long awaited premiere engagements in Southern California happening this week, with one show at the Valley Performing Arts Center in Northridge and two at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa. While the show has been performed for very nearly four years, never mind in the States the last few months, very little has been written or spoken in much detail about the show--and the scarce pieces that do exist generally only speak in generalities and from the perspective of a viewer almost completely unacquainted with Hindi popular cinema as a whole, much less with its singular vocabulary of music and dance that the production purports to showcase and celebrate. I will be catching the show at one of its Costa Mesa performances, so I hope to do my part in helping shed some insight into the show from the viewpoint of a longtime Bollywood/Kollywood/Tollywood enthusiast this weekend.

In the meantime, though, I can only speculate on what awaits based on what I do know about the show. The presence of the word "revue" suggests a showcase of unconnected dance/musical numbers, but from what I understand, there is a narrative thread linking them all. Considering that the various video promos on the show's official YouTube channel use a number of hit songs from popular Bollywood films in the last decade-plus, it's safe to presume that it will take a jukebox musical approach to song selection. And given that the choreographer of the show, Vaibhavi Merchant--whose sister Shruti, also a renowned choreographer, is the director of the production--is a celebrated veteran of Bollywood film and created some extremely memorable, if not downright iconic, musical numbers throughout her career, perhaps many of those indelible cinematic moments will be recreated live on stage in the show. With that in mind, as preparation and possible preview of what is to hit the boards in SoCal this week, I highlight five of my favorite Merchant-choreographed film numbers over the years that may end up in the production in some form.

"O Rey Chhori" from Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India (2001)

This love duet-cum-triad from the Oscar-nominated film from director Ashutosh Gowariker and producer/star Aamir Khan was my first exposure to Merchant's work and Bollywood in general. There isn't any strenuous dancing on display here, as suits A.R. Rahman's low-key, mid-tempo composition, but Khan's leading lady Gracy Singh gets to put in some lovely Merchant-choreographed classical moves, while third wheel Rachel Shelley gets to do a little snippet of Western ballroom dance.


"Dholi Taro Dhol Baaje" from Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999)

Merchant reteamed with Rai and Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam director Sanjay Leela Bhansali for this playful early number from this powerful romantic tragedy. There's nothing in this scene that is dance per se, but it reinforces how any movement in the space on screen can be choreographed and structured to the music for maximum expressive and emotional effect.


"Bairi Piya" from Devdas (2002)

Merchant reteamed with Rai and Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam director Sanjay Leela Bhansali for this playful early number from this powerful romantic tragedy. There's nothing in this scene that is dance per se, but it reinforces how any movement in the space on screen can be choreographed and structured to the music for maximum expressive and emotional effect.


"Kajra Re" from Bunty aur Babli (2005)

This item number is Rai's only scene in this caper comedy, and its initial novelty appeal before the film's release was seeing her in a number with the legendary Amitabh Bachchan and his son, Abhishek--who a couple of years later would become her father-in-law and husband, respectively. But the reason why this number has endured over the years is the lively routine Merchant built around Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy's infectious tune, as usual brought to exquisite life by Rai's seductive precision, with a side offering of the Bachchans' exuberance.


"Crazy Kiya Re" from Dhoom:2 (2006)

Merchant can do more than more traditional dance-rooted numbers, as reinforced by this incredibly steamy pop/hip-hop number, where Rai seduces co-star Hrithik Roshan--and the entire moviegoing audience the world over--with the sexy siren song of her moves.


Whether or not any of these numbers appear in whole or in part in Taj Express remains to be seen, but no doubt Vaibhavi and Shruti Merchant will serve up something just as energetic and entertaining to the live stage as they have the silver screen.

Taj Express plays at the Valley Performing Arts Center in Northridge for one night only on Wednesday, April 19, and then a two-night engagement at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa on Friday, April 21 and Saturday, April 22. Tickets are now on sale for Northridge here and Costa Mesa here.

(Special thanks to the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Quintessence Entertainment, and Columbia Artists Management)

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Friday, April 14, 2017

The Movie Report #915, April 14, 2017

The Movie Report

#915, April 14, 2017


MOVIES:
  • The Case for Christ ** 1/2
  • The Fate of the Furious ***
  • The Lost City of Z ** 1/2
  • Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer ***

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Monday, April 10, 2017

Please help support on The Movie Report's 22nd anniversary today

The Movie Report

Film Flam Flummox

Twenty-two years ago today, April 10, 1995, I launched The Movie Report e-mail newsletter. Your support over these past decades has been and will continue to be greatly appreciated and humbling.

However, it has been no secret that it's been a huge struggle to keep running the last couple of years, and your generous financial support is would be most welcome and greatly appreciated. You can contribute to me directly via PayPal here or use the GoFundMe link here and below.

Thanks so much in advance for your generous help and continued support.

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