Movie Trailer Review – Ant Man

I LOVE Paul Rudd.  He is one of the few actors that can make me laugh. But my love for him can’t get me excited about this film. The buzz on it has been great so far calling it one of the best superheroes films.  I don’t know if I am just burnt out of comic book movies but I have absolutely no interested in seeing Ant Man. I watch the trailers and read articles and think why. Why should I go see this movie? There is nothing compelling about the film beyond Paul Rudd. I’ve seen all but one of the Marvel films (Ed Norton as the Hulk – just not buying it) but I am going to sit this one out.

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MOVIE TRAILER REVIEW – What Happened, Miss Simone.

One of my all time favorite singers is getting a new treatment and I can’t wait. Nina Simone is one the fieriest singers of all time. From Four Women to Mississippi Goddamn, the passion and pain can me heard in her voice and seen in every performance. Netflix is presenting a new documentary on this legendary singer.

On Netflix June 26th.

Review – Hercules vs Vampires

The LA Opera is pushing boundaries with its latest offering “Hercules vs Vampires.” This fun piece combines the movie “Hercules in the Center of the Earth”, operatic singers and the fabulous LA Opera orchestra.  The movie’s plot, and I use that term loosely, is that “Hercules must journey in Hades itself to retrieve the magic stone that will free his love from the powers of darkness” (via IDBM). The twist with this production is that the dialogue was dubbed with the opera singers. Hearing choice lines like “Zeus! Give me Strength” and “I’ve Been Tricked by the Gods” sung with operatic passion is a enjoy like no other. Patrick Morganelli adapted the text and composed the music which is a great showcase for the La Opera orchestra lead by Christopher Allen. 

“Hercules vs Vampires” is a limited run production with just four performances. But it’s a great sign that the opera is committed to exploring unique vehicles and attracting younger audiences with offbeat productions. Hopefully, more opera around the country will continue along this same path. 

Movie Trailer Review – Chappie

The latest from director Neil Blomkamp (District 9) Chappie has an all star cast (Hugh Jackman, Sigourney Weaver, Dev Patel and Sharlto Copley) but it looks terrible. The basic premise is that a decommission police robot is giving new programming that grants him sentience. The new found awareness threatens the status quo and the fight is on. Yadda yadda yadda
Chappie reminds me of the long lost grandson of Short Circuit. I’m guessing that the voice of Chappie (Sharlto Copley) is supposed to convey a short of childlike innocence but it’s really kind of annoying. This looks like a rental to me.

Review – Biophilia

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Bjork is one of the most unusual and gifted artist working today. I have been following her career for over 25 years, and she never disappoints. Biophilia – Live captures the final show of her two year world tour. It’s more than just a concert film, it continues Bjork’s exploration of music, technology and nature.

I was lucky enough to attend her show last year at the Hollywood Palladium. While I enjoyed the concert immensely, because of the stage set up, I couldn’t see much of what was going on with the musicians and choir on stage. This movie expanded my appreciation of their work. Bjork designed specific instruments for this album and to see world class artist create the sonic masterpiece is quite a treat. I would love to see a short film just on these unclassifiable devices.

There is a companion documentary “When Bjork met Attenborough” , which is next on my to view list. It delves into the making of Biophilia and really explores the connection to music and nature.

Biophilia – Live is in theaters now. http://www.biophiliathefilm.com/

PSYCHE – A Modern Rock Opera

pschyePsyche begin previews at the Greenway Court Theatre this past weekend. What a glorious experience it was. There are two tales unfolding during this opera. The first is a classic love story between Eros and Psyche. The second involves the journey that Psyche unwillingly finds herself on and her process of discovering her true self.

The opera is based on the class Greek myth of Psyche who is a mortal woman renown for her beauty. Although Psyche is loved by her family and worshipped by the kingdom as if she was a Goddess herself, she leads a very lonely life. Aphrodite, the Goddess of love and beauty, is furious that the people in the kingdom begin to worship Psyche and neglect her temples. So, she dispatches her son Eros, the God of love and sexual desire, to torment Psyche and bring an end to this situation. Instead Eros falls in love with Psyche and decides to make her his wife. Their commitment to each other has far reaching consequences. These events lead Psyche on her journey of self discovery.

The book, staging and orchestra make this a top notch production. The music with a tinge of 70s bombastic style creates a magically atmosphere. The cast really sells the story, especially Ashley Ruth Jones as Psyche and Michael Starr as Eros. Benai Boyd and Cindy Sciacca almost steal the show as and Sister/Trouble and Sister/Sorrow . You don’t have to be a fan of or familiar with Greek Mythology to join this production.

Now through September 28

Quick Movie Review – Trance **Revisited**

I missed Trance when it was first release in the theaters. But my go to guest blogger submitted a review when it was originally released. I had some time on my hands this weekend and that I would finally give it ago. It has a great pedigree written by Joe Ahearne and John Hodge and directed by Danny Boyle, but it is a mess. Starring James McAvoy, Rosario Dawson and Vincent Cassel as a art auctioneer, a hypnotherapist and a criminal mastermind respectively, Trance is too smart for its own good.

James McAvoy stars as Simon an art house employee who recently goes through extensive training on how to protect artwork. During an auction of famous paintings, a group of criminals lead by mastermind Franck (Vincent Cassel) decides to steal one. During the course of the robbery Simon suffers a brain injure and as a result experiences amnesia. We soon learn that Simon is in on the robbery and Franck is determined to get his painting. The criminal crew enlists the help of an hypnotherapist Elizabeth Lamb (Rosario Dawson) in order to recover the lost painting.

There are too many twist and turns in this movie. The viewer is never sure of anyone’s motives and honestly I didn’t care. The filmmakers wanted it to be like other highbrow fare but it in reality it is a nonsensical mess. I had to rewind it a few times in order to catch a line of dialogue or a hint of plot that went sailing over my head.

It’s available everywhere: Streaming, On Demand and DVD but I recommend just skipping it all together.

Quick Movie Review – Soulmate and A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night.

There are hundreds of great movies released every year that the average person hasn’t heard of. A great way to check out small independent movies is to attend local film festivals. So far this year, I have attended two great local festivals: Etheria Film Night and Sundance Next.

Etheria Film Night screened the haunting Soulmate by Axelle Carolyn. Soulmate hearkens back to classic Gothic romance films such as Rebecca, The Others and Jane Eyre. Anna Walton is an ethereal presence as Audrey a young woman who is struggling to deal with the recent death of her husband. She retreats to the Welsh countryside to begin again. To say more than that would give away to much of the plot. Because of the beautiful cinematography, the country home in Wales becomes a side character itself. Tom Wisdom, Tanya Myers and Nick Brimble round out the cast of this lovely film. The film doesn’t have U.S. distribution yet but it has been released in the United Kingdom. Keep an eye out at your local film festivals for your chance to catch this lush movie.

The last night of Sundance Next, I caught the amazing A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night. This utterly original film was written and directed by Ana Lily Amirpour. This is no ordinary vampire film; it’s an Iranian vampire love story set in the Iranian town of Bad City. We meet a group of seemingly unrelated people who appear to be drifting through life. The city has become a hunting ground for vampire but the citizens are unaware of that fact. The style is almost Neo-Noir but with original elements sprinkled in. A Girl… domestic distribution so hopefully it will be in a theater near you soon.

Quick Movie Trailer Review – Interstellar

I am on the fence about Interstellar. I am a huge fan of Christopher and Jonathan Nolan but as I look at the trailer, something about the film just appears off to me. Based on the trailer and what I’ve heard about the film, it appears to be set in the near future. When I look at the cast on IMDB, all of the top billed people are of European descent. Films that lack diversity are out of step with today’s aesthetics. And no matter what the pedigree of the filmmakers, this type of casting is extremely boring. The thought of having to spend two plus hours with two of today’s blandest stars: Anne Hathaway and Matthew McConaughey is not an enticing prospect.

Release date: November 7, 2014