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Friday, November 1, 2019

The Movie Report #1043, November 1, 2019

The Movie Report

#1043, November 1, 2019


MOVIES:

  • Harriet ***
  • I Heard You Paint Houses (The Irishman) *** 1/2
  • Motherless Brooklyn **
  • Terminator: Dark Fate ***

The Movie Report wants to attend and cover all your film events and press junkets! Please send any and all invitations to this address. Thanks!

Friday, October 25, 2019

The Movie Report #1042, October 25, 2019

The Movie Report

#1042, October 25, 2019


MOVIES:

  • Black and Blue ***
  • Children of the Sea ** 1/2
  • Countdown **
  • The Current War ** 1/2
  • Farming ***
  • Frankie ***

The Movie Report wants to attend and cover all your film events and press junkets! Please send any and all invitations to this address. Thanks!

Friday, October 18, 2019

The Movie Report #1041, October 18, 2019

The Movie Report

#1041, October 18, 2019


MOVIES:

  • Jexi **
  • Jojo Rabbit *** 1/2 Q&A video with Taika Waititi, Roman Griffin Davis, Thomasin McKenzie, Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell, Rebel Wilson, Stephen Merchant, Alfie Allen, Archie Yates
  • The Lighthouse ***
  • Maleficent: Mistress of Evil **
  • The Sky Is Pink ***
  • Zombieland: Double Tap ***

The Movie Report wants to attend and cover all your film events and press junkets! Please send any and all invitations to this address. Thanks!

Friday, October 11, 2019

The Movie Report #1040, October 11, 2019

The Movie Report

#1040, October 11, 2019


MOVIES:

  • The Addams Family ***
  • Asuran (Demon) ***
  • Gemini Man *** Q&A video with Will Smith, Ang Lee, Clive Owen, Jerry Bruckheimer, Bill Westenhofer, Guy Williams
  • Parasite *** 1/2
  • Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy ***

The Movie Report wants to attend and cover all your film events and press junkets! Please send any and all invitations to this address. Thanks!

Friday, October 4, 2019

The Movie Report #1039, October 4, 2019

The Movie Report

#1039, October 4, 2019


MOVIES:

  • Dolemite Is My Name *** 1/2
  • Joker ****
  • Lucy in the Sky **
  • Oththa Seruppu Size 7 (Single Slipper Size 7) ** 1/2
  • Pain and Glory (Dolor y Gloria) ** 1/2
  • War ***

The Movie Report wants to attend and cover all your film events and press junkets! Please send any and all invitations to this address. Thanks!

Saturday, September 28, 2019

F3Stage Review: Blue Man Group indeed is & will leave you Speechless--but is that good or bad?

Film Flam Flummox


Given what a familiar presence they've become in various forms of media, whether in their long-running, world-spanning live stage productions or on television in various shows and commercials, it's more than a bit surprising that the silent, blue, bald trio of alien performers known as Blue Man Group has never had one of its touring shows play in Los Angeles. And so what better way than to make their overdue, official SoCal splash than to kick off their latest sensory, slapstick spectacle, the aptly named Speechless Tour--and, to go for the easy, punny pull-quote, it definitely will leave viewers speechless, but whether or not that's a good thing is ultimately a simple matter of taste.

For the unitiated, the basic conceit of Blue Man Group is that they are three nameless, mute, almost indistinguishable bald, blue beings of presumably alien origin (played alternately by the quartet of Meridian, Mike Brown, Steven Wendt, and Adam Zuick) who spend the next ninety minutes or so creating music (composed by Andrew Schneider and Jeff Turlik) out of various do-it-yourself percussion instruments crafted out of PVC piping and other objects in their sleek industrial lab and silently, quizzically observing human behavior. The latter, of course, is a mere excuse for the Blue Men to venture into the audience with cameras and other instruments, staring with blank curiosity while invading patrons' personal space, and occasionally bringing a few (un?-)lucky viewers on to the stage for comic bits. And so goes the entire evening, with broad, deadpan comic skits, both with or without audience participation; and propulsive, percussive music set to colorful light shows. It's all very diverting to say the least, thanks to director Jenny Koons's brisk pacing and the real stars of the show, set designer Jason Ardizzone-West, lighting designer Jen Schreiver, and sound designer Crest Factor. But it is, to my personal taste, all a bit too undemanding to a fault. Being not-quite performance art, not-quite theater, not-quite concert, not-quite satire, but cranked-all-the-way-up flashiness and glitz (not for nothing has a production been a Vegas mainstay for nearly two decades), once the initial novelty wears off, the lack of "there" there underneath wears a bit thin after a while.

That all being said, even if not attuned to my tastes, Speechless speaks a lot as far as to explaining just why Blue Man Group has become the multimedia institution it now is. It plays far and wide in just about any demographic spectrum. It's all-ages friendly, so kids and seniors and all points in between can enjoy; and being driven solely through the force of its visuals and wordless melodies, its oddball charms require no translation. So to the many audiences that easily and understandably succumb to the siren spell, Speechless will indeed leave them so, out of awe. But to others such as myself, speechless is also the reaction, but with an admittedly amused but altogether indifferent shrug.




Blue Man Group with actress Busy Philipps
on the opening night blue carpet at the Pantages Theatre
on September 26, 2019
(photo by Michael Dequina)

Blue Man Group Speechless Tour is now playing at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood through Sunday, October 6; the touring company then moves on to other cities across North America through 2020.

(Special thanks to Hollywood Pantages Theatre)

The Movie Report wants to attend and cover all your live stage productions! Please send any and all invitations to this address. Thanks!

Friday, September 27, 2019

The Movie Report #1038, September 27, 2019

The Movie Report

#1038, September 27, 2019


MOVIES:

  • Abominable ***
  • The Zoya Factor ***

The Movie Report wants to attend and cover all your film events and press junkets! Please send any and all invitations to this address. Thanks!

Thursday, September 26, 2019

F3Stage Review: LA Opera stages a darkly alluring & affecting La Bohème

Film Flam Flummox


Giacomo Puccini's La Bohème is one of the most widely known and, thus, widely produced operas around the world, and so it would be easy, and quite understandable, for a company to play it safe and traditional with its staging. But after mounting the same Herbert Ross-directed production no less than seven times (most recently in 2016) over the last 25 years, LA Opera revives Puccini's tale of bohemian bonhomie and tragic romance in a dark, striking, and different staging that director Barrie Kosky premiered in Berlin earlier this year.

The particulars of the plot remain as familiar as they have been to opera aficionados--and, for that matter, fans of Jonathan Larson's ever-popular La Bohème-inspired '90s musical Rent. In 1830s Paris, poet Rodolfo (Saimir Pirgu), "painter" (more on the quotes later) Marcello (Kihun Yoon), philosopher Colline (Nicholas Brownlee), and musician Schaunard (Michael J. Hawk) are starving artist roommates struggling to pay rent to landlord Benoit (who, in Kosky's big deviation, does not appear at all here, with the four instead play-acting his part); Marcello pines over lost love Musetta (Erica Petrocelli), has moved on to another; Rodolfo meets and falls for neighbor Mimi (Marina Costa-Jackson), but looming over their romance is the spectre of disease. Coincidental or not, one cannot help but see some echoes of Larson's work here, from the more youthful than the norm cast, to the Mimi here sharing Mimi Marquez's bright, forceful joie de vivre that only the absolute final stages of terminal illness can dampen, to making Marcello only a metaphoric "painter" and more literally working in film, namely early forms of photography.

But, make no mistake, this La Bohème is distinctly Kosky's own. Much of his concept springs from that shift in Marcello's art, with blacks, whites, and greys dominating the palette he crafts with scenic designer Rufus Didwiszus and lighting director Alessandro Carletti. While this choice falls a bit short in act three, where a static black and white, period photography-tech accurate street scene drop feels a bit too minimalist, it makes for an appropriately ominous atmosphere hanging over the entire proceedings and lends a darkly alluring sense of decadence and indulgence to the act 2 Cafe Momus. It is here that Kosky and his designers appropriately go the most grandiose, with the principal cast and a horde of chorus members young and old in Victoria Behr's striking costumes create a vibrant, bustling, constantly shifting scene on a revolve stage. The exuberance is in effective, sharp relief to more somber turn post-intermission and, of course, in the fourth and final act, where the tragedy is augmented by some truly stunning stage pictures, particularly the final images.

But images would only half serve Puccini's intended effect, and thankfully Kosky's cast is up to the task in lending the characters life. All of the principals are in strong, fine voice, but appropriately the pair of romantic leads make the strongest impression, with Pirgu and Costa-Jackson fittingly striking an immediate spark right from when Rodolfo lights Mimi's candle. Costa-Jackson especially resonates in both literal and character voice, and once Mimi takes her final breath, Kosky's untraditional approach lends the loss and the overall production a lingering and haunting sadness and shiver.


Saimir Pirgu as Rodolfo, Marina Costa-Jackson as Mimi
(photo by Cory Weaver)

LA Opera's production of La Bohème will have two more performances, on Wednesday, October 2, and Sunday, October 6, at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in The Music Center in Downtown Los Angeles.

(Special thanks to LA Opera)


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