REVIEW: Torn Hearts [2022]

You weren’t welcome to begin with, dear. Keeping things in the family isn’t always easy—just as the Gallagher Brothers. Blood doesn’t mean anything once fame and fortune enter the fray because outside interests will begin to whisper and divide until the world discovers two halves aren’t quite as good as the whole. That’s not saying Noel’s High Flying Birds or Liam’s Beady Eye are bad. They’ve both created some good music post-break-up, but neither reached the heights Oasis had. The former’s music and latter’s voice built something that could only…

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REVIEW: Metal Lords [2022]

Metal is … taking the wheel. There hasn’t been a “battle of the bands” since an unfortunate scrotal incident scarred many a teen not expecting nudity a few years back, but the mere mention of the possibility Dean Swanson (Sufe Bradshaw) decided to give her students another shot has Hunter Sylvester (Adrian Greensmith) salivating. The problem is the fact that he doesn’t have a band. Wanting one and having one are too different things and Dad’s (Brett Gelman) money (stolen, of course) can only get Hunter so far before a…

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REVIEW: Little Shop of Horrors [1986]

I’m just a mean green mother from outer space and I’m bad. Know which version of Little Shop of Horrors you’re watching before sitting down because you might be in for a surprise if you don’t. Having grown up with the theatrical cut often finding its way onto my television, I have a clear picture of how the story is supposed to end. There’s a visual reprise of the “Somewhere That’s Green” sequence with bright lights, mowed grass, and an outrageously strange bud popping out from the middle of a…

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REVIEW: Cabaret [1972]

One of my whims. The place to be in 1930s Europe was apparently Weimer-era Berlin. That’s where Cambridge-educated Christopher Isherwood went to live his life as an openly gay man amongst kindred spirits populating its robust nightlife. He met numerous friends, embarking on numerous adventures ultimately inspiring his semi-autobiographical novel The Berlin Stories which in turn inspired John Van Druten‘s Broadway play I Am a Camera. From there, Joe Masteroff and songwriting duo Kander and Ebb (John Kander and Fred Ebb) created their musical Cabaret, largely influenced by Isherwood’s short…

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REVIEW: West Side Story [2021]

Life matters even more than love. It’s tough to know what to expect when a remake of a ten-time Oscar-winner (including Best Picture) like West Side Story is announced. Not even Steven Spielberg being at the helm can help in the grand scheme of things either because you almost wish a talent like his would spend that time on original work instead. The hope is therefore always that the powers that be found an avenue in to make the attempt worthwhile. We pray that purpose rather than profits was the…

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REVIEW: West Side Story [1961]

I’m frightened enough for the both of ya. What started as an idea to contemporize William Shakepeare‘s Romeo and Juliet on the East Side of Manhattan with star-crossed lovers of Irish Catholic and Jewish descent eventually found itself reworked to the opposite side of the island with religion removed so ethnicity could take its place. Jerome Robbins and Arthur Laurents altered things to hew closer towards the 1950s’ rise of street violence by embroiling rival gangs (descendants of Polish immigrants versus newly arrived Puerto Ricans) into a turf war. With…

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REVIEW: Sing 2 [2021]

I love sky-fi! Buster Moon (Matthew McConaughey) and his ragtag bunch of heart-of-gold singers have their sights on leaving their small-town theater for the bright lights of Redshore City if talent scout Suki (Chelsea Peretti) thinks they have what it takes. Their rendition of Alice in Wonderland with shy Meena (Tori Kelly) belting out the lead part opposite Johnny’s (Taron Egerton) Mad Hatter, Rosita’s (Reese Witherspoon) Cheshire Cat, and Gunter’s (Nick Kroll) Caterpillar has sold out every night, so their hopes are as high as poor Miss Crawley (Garth Jennings)…

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REVIEW: Cyrano [2021]

My fate is to love her from afar. We were about three songs into Joe Wright‘s Cyrano when my partner and I looked at each other and said, almost in unison, “These songs are pretty bad.” I don’t need rhymes (and especially not ones as rudimentary as “know” and “go” and “Cyrano” back-to-back-to-back), but I’d love some sort of dynamism to make me believe there was a reason someone wanted to turn Edmond Rostand‘s “Cyrano de Bergerac” into a musical. What about the material screamed song? What kind of exciting…

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REVIEW: Annette [2021]

Shut up and sit. When a “provocateur” such as comedian Henry McHenry’s (Adam Driver, who thanked Chris Rock and Bill Burr in the credits) crudely ambiguous “jokes” are as unfunny when he’s all the rage pre-marriage as the ones told after fatigue ravages his brain post-birth of his daughter, it’s tough to really dig into the reality of what’s happening on-screen. Was I supposed to find the initial stand-up gig at the beginning of Leos Carax‘s Annette (original story and songs by Sparks brothers Ron and Russell Mael) funny? I…

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REVIEW: The Sparks Brothers [2021]

They’re the best British band to ever come out of America. I played a game in my head while watching Edgar Wright‘s equally informative and entertaining deep dive into the joined career of Ron and Russell Mael, The Sparks Brothers. It was called: what decade did I first experience the band my brain has no recollection of ever knowing? Let’s face it. No one who has followed music, movies, pop culture, etc. for the past three-to-four decades can legitimately say they never heard of a group as prolific and groundbreaking…

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REVIEW: tick, tick … Boom! [2021]

What workshop? Despite any prescience on behalf of its subject matter, I’m sure even the playwright himself, Jonathan Larson, would have looked back on his big-budget, science fiction Broadway hopeful “Superbia” with enough hindsight to acknowledge there was no way it would ever see the light of day. As the relatable cartoon shared by artists all over the internet of an iceberg attests: the amount of work produced to get to the one piece that finds an audience (in any medium) is too high a multiplier to even begin hypothesizing.…

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