Puccini: La Fanciulla del West (2018) Rated NR

Set in a mining camp in California, a woman falls for the stranger that comes to town and is set on him being her first kiss. Starring Marco Armiliato, Susanna Phillips, Scott Scully, Eva-Maria Westbroek, Jonas Kaufmann, and Zeljko Lucic.

I have never seen a western opera. Set in the U.S.’ western frontier, it’s a love story sung in Italian. It’s a new one, but it was fun to watch as Minnie tries to combat her many suitors in the mountains of California. Of course, she is taken by the handsome stranger that is new in town, and the stranger has his secrets. This is one of the lesser-known Operas, and it’s easy to see why. However, I have to say the story is simple and does not have a lot of action going on, but there’s enough to hold your interest. Kaufmann is brilliant as the stranger, and Westbroek is wonderful as Minnie. The performances have their moments, and I loved that it was true to the time period. This show is worth a watch.

 

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Posted in 2018, great performances, Musicals, Opera, Rated NR, reviews | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New This Week in Theaters, July 18, 2019

The Lion King (PG)

Opens on Friday, July 19

Starring: Donald Glover, Beyoncé, Seth Rogen, Chiwetel Ejiofor

After the murder of his father, a young lion prince flees his kingdom only to learn the true meaning of responsibility and bravery.

Bottom of the 9th (R)

Opens on Friday, July 19

Starring: Joe Manganiello, Sofía Vergara, Denis O’Hare

After serving 17 years in prison for a violent mistake he made in his youth, a once-aspiring baseball player returns to his Bronx neighborhood.

Sword of Trust (R)

Opens on Friday, July 19

Starring: Marc Maron, Jon Bass, Michaela Watkins

Cynthia and Mary show up to collect Cynthia’s inheritance from her deceased grandfather, but the only item she receives is an antique sword that was believed by her grandfather to be proof that the South won the Civil War.

David Crosby: Remember My Name (R)

Opens on Friday, July 19

Starring: David Crosby, Cameron Crowe, Henry Diltz, Graham Nash

Meet David Crosby in this portrait of a man with everything but an easy retirement on his mind.

Between Me and My Mind (NR)

Opens on Friday, July 19

Starring: Ernest Anastasio, Sue Anastasio, Trey Anastasio, Jon Fishman

Driven by a constant need to create, Phish frontman Trey Anastasio takes on new projects, including some of his most personal music to date as well as Phish’s ambitious New Year’s Eve show at Madison Square Garden.

Into the Ashes (NR)

Opens on Friday, July 19

Starring: Luke Grimes, Frank Grillo, Marguerite Moreau, James Badge Dale

With an honest job and a loving wife, Nick Brenner believed he had safely escaped his violent, criminal history. But his old crew hasn’t forgotten about him or the money he stole, and when they take what Nick now values the most – his wife – he has nothing left to lose. Confronted by the town sheriff, who is also his father-in-law, Nick must decide if he will stay on his new path or indulge in his need for revenge and force his enemies to pay for what they have done.

At War (NR)

Opens on Friday, July 19

Starring: Vincent Lindon, Mélanie Rover, Jacques Borderie, David Rey

After promising 1100 employees that they would protect their jobs, the managers of a factory decide to suddenly close up shop. Laurent takes the lead in a fight against this decision.

Rosie (PG-13)

Opens on Friday, July 19

Starring: Sarah Greene, Moe Dunford, Ellie O’Halloran, Ruby Dunne

ROSIE tells the story of a mother trying to protect her family after their landlord sells their rented home and they become homeless.

Synopsis by IMDB.

Posted in 2019, films, Lists, movies, New in Theater | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Into the Woods (2014) Rated PG

A witch asks a childless baker to get impossible items together in order to reverse the curse on his family. Starring Anna Kendrick, Daniel Huttlestone, and James Corden.

I’ve never been a fan of the story of Into the Woods. I’ve never liked the twists and the unhappy endings of the traditional fairy tales. These are not the Grimm Fairy Tales. The Grimm Fairy Tales did not have adultery, incest, and suicide. I know they think they are telling the real-life stories behind the fairy tales, but to me, James Lapine just wanted to write the unconventional side of a story. This story makes me queasy. This movie didn’t make me feel any worse than the first time I saw it on stage. Stephen Sondheim’s music is still brilliant. The costumes were brilliant; in fact, I would say they’re the best thing about this film. This film brings together a large cast of Hollywood stars, some of which can sing and others that can’t. Some are brilliant in their acting and others – not so much. I will say I thought this film was better than the stage musical, but it’s still not worth a watch.

 

Posted in 2014, Adventure, comedy, films, Movie reviews, movies, Rated PG, reviews | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Verdi: Aida (2018) Rated NR

In ancient Egypt, an Ethiopian princess is captured and enslaved. An Egyptian military commander struggles between his love for her and his loyalty to the Egyptian King. To make matters worse, the Egyptian King’s daughter is also in love with the commander. Starring Nicola Luisotti, Isabel Leonard, and Dmitri Belosselsky.

This performance of Aida is presented by The Metropolitan Opera. The show is beautifully staged. The production is just over-the-top spectacular, and the costumes are beautiful. I thought the cast was just as well together. The voices were wonderful. I’m not much of an Opera fan, but this is one that is brilliantly done. With great stage production and the camera angles that show off the dancers as well as the actors, it’s a performance that is worth a watch.

Posted in 2018, great performances, Musicals, Opera, Rated NR, reviews, theater | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

388 Arletta Avenue (2011) Rated TV-MA

A young couple is unnerved by a stalker. Starring Nick Stahl, Mia Kirshner, and Devon Sawa.

This film is shot in the style of the “found footage” that horror films are going for these days. The couple, unbeknownst to them, has a stalker that has broken into their home and placed both cameras and microphones around the house to watch their every move. When the wife goes missing, the husband is left with a letter and odd things happening that he does not understand. Of course, this is a horror film where there is no happy ending. It’s quite low-budget. It’s not very dramatic and not directed well. It’s also not very well written. The film is not worth a watch.

Posted in 2011, films, horror, Movie reviews, movies, Rated TV-MA, reviews, Thrillers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New This Week on DVD, July 16, 2019

Shazam! (PG-13)

We all have a superhero inside us, it just takes a bit of magic to bring it out. In Billy Batson’s case, by shouting out one word – SHAZAM – this streetwise fourteen-year-old foster kid can turn into the grown-up superhero Shazam. Starring Zachary Levi, Mark Strong, Asher Angel

Breakthrough (PG)

When her 14-year-old son drowns in a lake, a faithful mother prays for him to come back from the brink of death and be healed. Starring Topher Grace, Josh Lucas, Chrissy Metz

Little Woods (R)

A modern Western about two sisters who work outside the law to better their lives. Starring Lily James, Tessa Thompson, Luke Kirby

Fast Color (PG-13)

A woman is forced to go on the run when her superhuman abilities are discovered. Years after having abandoned her family, the only place she has left to hide is home. Starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw, David Strathairn, Lorraine Toussaint

Teen Spirit (PG-13)

Violet is a shy teenager who dreams of escaping her small town and pursuing her passion to sing. With the help of an unlikely mentor, she enters a local singing competition that will test her integrity, talent and ambition. Driven by a pop-fueled soundtrack, Teen Spirit is a visceral and stylish spin on the Cinderella story. Starring Elle Fanning, Agnieszka Grochowska, Archie Madekwe

Family (R)

Kate Stone is career-focused, and enjoys her life that way. Her brash attitude keeps relationships at arm’s length, making her an outcast in her own right. Starring Kate McKinnon, Taylor Schilling, Brian Tyree Henry

Signed, Sealed, Delivered: To The Altar (TV-G)

The long-awaited wedding of Norman and Rita leads the postal detectives to a letter with clues about a young woman’s missing mother. Starring Eric Mabius, Kristin Booth, Yan-Kay Crystal Lowe

The Crossword Mysteries: A Puzzle to Die For (TV-G)

A crossword is found on the murdered owner of a burglarized art gallery. Tess, a Sentinel crossword editor, finds clues in crosswords. Eventually, detective Logan accepts her clues and help. Tess is also running a crossword tournament. Starring Lacey Chabert, Brennan Elliott, John Kapelos

American Masters: Robert Shaw – Man of Many Voices (NR)

Narrated by David Hyde Pierce, “American Masters: Robert Shaw – Man of Many Voices” traces the journey of one of America’s greatest choral music conductors. Renowned for his interpretations of classical music’s choral masterpieces, Robert Shaw (April 30, 1916 – January 25, 1999) had no formal training yet inspired generations of musicians with the power of music. Known as the “dean of American choral singing,” Shaw’s career spanned six decades. He sold millions of recordings and received 16 Grammy Awards, a George Peabody Medal for Outstanding Contributions to Music in America, a Guggenheim fellowship and a National Medal of the Arts. Amidst the triumphs of his musical career, the documentary reveals the demons that haunted – and sometimes threatened to derail – this complex and flawed man. Starring David Hyde Pierce, Uzee Brown, Jimmy Carter, Walter Cronkite

Criminal Minds: Season 14 (TV-14)

The cases of the F.B.I. Behavioral Analysis Unit (B.A.U.), an elite group of profilers who analyze the nation’s most dangerous serial killers and individual heinous crimes in an effort to anticipate their next moves before they strike again. Starring Matthew Gray Gubler, Kirsten Vangsness, A.J. Cook

National Geographic: StarTalk with Neil deGrasse Tyson Season 5 (NR)

Famed astrophysicist Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson discusses science and pop culture with notable guests. Starring Neil deGrasse Tyson, Bill Nye, Chuck Nice

Synopsis by IMDB.

Posted in 2019, DVDS, films, Lists, movies, Tv shows | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ghost Whisperer (CBS) Rated TV-PG

A newlywed who has the ability to communicate with the deceased, earthbound spirits tries to relay messages to the living amongst skepticism and doubts. Starring Jennifer Love Hewitt, David Conrad, and Camryn Manheim.

This show has a mix of Touched by an Angel with a little Medium and a cup of heart. What makes this show stand out is Jennifer Love Hewitt; her innocent and big heart makes you fall for Melinda. I also loved her chemistry with David Conrad. It’s great to see the love between couples on screen, and it feels like a real love between them. The series is overall very well acted with great scripts. It’s worth a watch.

Posted in 2005, CBS, Drama, fantasy, Rated TV-PG, reviews, Tv shows | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

All Creatures Great and Small (BBC) Rated NR

The trials and misadventures of a country vet in the 1940s. Based on the books, If Only They Could Talk and It Shouldn’t Happen to a Vet, by James Herriot. Starring Christopher Timothy, Robert Hardy, and Peter Davison.

The show is autobiographically based on James Herriot’s life as a vet in the Yorkshire countryside. James Herriot had a knack for telling stories of both people and animals in a comical but true way. The series dives more into the carefree happiness but doesn’t dive into the darker side of life that James does touch on in his books. Herriot had a happy medium between the two that often came hand in hand in life. Timothy played Herriot to perfection. This show is worth a watch.

 

Posted in 1978, Based on a true story, BBC, comedy, Drama, Rated NR, reviews, Tv shows | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Girlfriends (UPN) Rated TV-PG

Girlfriends takes a look at the lives, loves, and losses between four friends. Starring Tracee Ellis Ross, Golden Brooks, and Persia White.

Girlfriends tackles real issues with women today as well as the concept of good girlfriends. Its stories bring both the thought-provoking and as well as the humor of everyday life. The writing is amazing, and the acting amongst all of the performers was enjoyable to watch – especially Tracee Ellis Ross and Jason George in the first episode. The show could have a problem of getting into too many stereotypical characters or storylines. I also see a trend of characters just being rude to each other, but I must say the first episode had me hooked. This is a series worth a watch.

Posted in 2000, comedy, Rated TV-PG, reviews, Tv shows, UPN | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Non-Stop (2014) Rated PG-13

An air marshal must identify the terrorist on his flight that is demanding 150 million dollars, and if the terrorist doesn’t get the money, someone will die every 20 minutes. Starring Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore, and Scoot McNairy.

This is one of those films that is non-stop action throughout. Of course, the film is one that seems to be nonsense. It doesn’t make any sense about who would do something like this and why, but it’s also unrealistic that the terrorist can kill up to 24 people without panic on the flight. Also, where can you hide 24 dead people on a plane? If you can look past the logistics of it, the film does hold your suspense with overlaying the texts on the screen. The script isn’t the best. The actors, at times, are cheesy. I just didn’t think there was much going for the film, making it not worth a watch.

 

Posted in 2014, action, films, Movie reviews, movies, Mysteries, Rated PG-13, reviews | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment