Something Rotten!

Something Rotten is a musical that is a grand old love letter to Broadway musicals. It tells the story of Nick Bottom and his brother Nigel, who are desperate for a hit show in 1595 England. Since Nick hates William Shakespeare because of The Bard’s success. The patron of Bottom’s acting troupe learns that it  seems like Shakespeare will be doing Richard II, the play that Nick and Nigel are working on. Their patron leaves saying they need a new show by tomorrow or he will no longer patronize them.  To make a sure fire hit Nick goes to a soothsayer and it’s Nostradamus, Thomas Nostradamus, the nephew of the famous one, to find out what the next big thing in theater will be, it turns out to be a musical. Nick is convinced and tries at first but his attempt with a musical about the plague doesn’t go over well.  So Nick goes back to T. Nostradamus and ask what Shakespeare’s biggest play will be, and that will be the musical, it’s Hamlet but Nostradamus misinterprets it as Omelette instead, a musical about breakfast food. That’s the main story for the first act.

This turns out to be the greatest thing ever from the audience’s perspective as there are references to just about all of musical history from Oklahoma and South Pacific to Mary Poppins and Wicked. If you are a fan of musical you are bound to have some good laughs and who would have thought that have a recipe for an omelette in a song is the best thing in the world. If you have the opportunity to go see this I would highly recommend it. In a few year I could see this being one of the popular shows done at high schools.

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2017 in film

On Monday the Razzie nominations came out and on Tuesday the Oscar nominations came out. These awards will honor  the Best and Worst in film in 2017. We will start with the Best.

Oscars
Best Picture we have nine nominees and they as follows, with a brief plot overview of sorts.

Call Me by Your Name
 – coming of age in the 80s gay romance, Drama
Darkest Hour
 – The early days of Winston Churchill in WWII
Dunkirk
 – The Battle of Dunkirk evacuation
Get Out
 – A black man visits the family of his white girlfriend at their home, the housekeeper and groundskeeper are black and act strangely.
Lady Bird – Coming of age in the 2000s daughter/mother relationship. Comedy
Phantom Thread
 – London’s couture world in the 1950s
The Post
 – The struggles to publish The Pentagon Papers by The Washington Post
The Shape of Water
 – A mute custodian befriends a secret merman at a top secret government facility in Baltimore in the 60s
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
 – A mother who rents three billboards to call attention to her daughter’s unsolved murder, it’s a black comedy.

 

One of the best things about the awards in general this year is there are going to be many first time winners. All of the Directors, 4 of the five Supporting actors/actresses, and 3 of the five best actors and actresses. It will be hard to predict the Best Foreign film since the film that won the Golden Globe and Critic’s Choice is not nominated. Coco should win Disney/Pixar yet another Animated Feature Oscar.

On to the worst The 38th Golden Raspberry Awards. It’s been a rough year in film as there have been a bunch of poorly received films. For Worst film it is between Baywatch, The Emoji Movie, Fifty Shades Darker, The Mummy and the latest Transformers movie. This is a four horse race, sure Baywatch was a bad film but it wasn’t/isn’t the worst. The Mummy seemingly killed the whole Universal Monster movie universe, Fifty Shades was unfortunate and so was Transformers.

 

I Am Not Your Negro (2016)

I Am Not Your Negro is a documentary film about the African American Experience in America. It is based on the James Baldwin unfinished novel, Remember This House, which was a manuscript which contained the personal recollections of Baldwin on civil rights leaders Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King. Now this should be a film that everyone goes out and watch or it should be added to like high school history classes. It could help kids figure out how broken the world still is even though “we solved racism” by electing President Obama. Racism will exist for awhile longer, but I believe that Rodgers and Hammerstein were right in their song You’ve Got to be Carefully Taught “that it’s not born in you, it happens after you’re born.”

The film itself was rather interesting as in most history classes that I’ve taken you hardly get to the Civil Rights era or they gloss over it talking about Martin Luther King and Civil Rights Act of 1964 in like the final weeks of class. So it was nice to learn a bit more about these figures Evers, Malcolm X and MLK. It is available to watch on PBS until the end of the month so make some time to watch it.

Star Wars: Episode VIII-The Last Jedi

To begin i will be talking about things that happened in The Last Jedi so there will be spoilers. If you are trying to avoid them please turn away. SPOILERS TO FOLLOW

The latest film from the Star Wars Universe begins with the Resistance packing up from their base as the First Order is about to start bombing it. As the Resistance escapes Kylo Ren and the First Order try to destroy the ships yet Kylo hesitates as he senses his mother and doesn’t want to destroy her, but a TIE fighter hits the bridge of the ship killing several leaders like Admiral Akbar. Thankfully they aren’t all killed as Leia uses some of her Jedi abilities to save herself, but she was still injured and leaves Vice Admiral Holdo (Laura Dern) in charge over Poe.

While this is going on Rey is on Ahch-To with Luke, we return with Rey presenting the Lightsaber to him only for him to refuse to come help. We dive into what the force is something like Midi-chlorians that are in all things that bind us all together, check on the last couple of episodes from The Clone Wars animated series. They lean on the spiritual side of the force which is great as well.

Back in the great space chase the Resistance get there own resistance as Poe wants to mutiny over Holdo when he discovers that Holdo’s plan is to use small transports to escape from the First Order on to an old rebel base on Crait. Poe thinks this is dumb and has Finn and Rose (Kelly Marie Tran) go on a secret mission to find a code breaker to get them on the First Order ship to stop their ability to track the rebel fleet. They (Finn and Rose) have to go to Canto Blight to find a hacker to get them in. After finding DJ (Benicio del Toro) who steals a ship to get them back we learn that the rich are financing both sides of the war, so who are the good guys and who are bad. Oh and Nien Nunb is still alive.

This is all I’m going to say here as the needs to be something that you need to learn from going to see the film. It has some great action set pieces and I have no clue where the next film will be going JJ Abrams has his work cut out for himself, especially with the death of Carrie Fisher last year.  Another thing that I am glad is back is the humor at times The Force Awakens was a bit too serious. All in all it was another Star Wars film and I doubt that I could be that disappointed with one of them, as I am one of the few it seems still find some positives in the prequels which get derided by just about all the fanboys, who are out there complaining about this new trilogy as well. One of the coolest things about the film was the creature the Porgs are there because Skellig Michael has a bunch of puffins on it so the Porgs are there to cover that issue. Also, I am looking forward to what stories Rian Johnson has to tell in his trilogy.

Disney News update

It is now official Disney has bought a huge chunk of FOX. It gets everything but Fox Broadcasting network and stations, Fox News, Fox Business, FS1, FS2 and Big Ten Network. It will be adding the FX Networks and National Geographic as well. This sounds like great news for all around especially for Disney who will be developing not one but two streaming services Disney will now have majority control of Hulu so that might change in some way. The biggest add for Disney is the older content from a whole lot of shows, Modern Family, The Simpsons and a whole bunch of other shows as well. Most fanboys are excited as FOX owned the other half of the Marvel (Fantastic Four and X-Men) will be able to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe although it seems likely that only Fantastic Four might join. They would have to work out a new movie for them and make it a decent one and if it can be not about their origin that would be wonderful.  Then in a handful of years perhaps the X-Men would join them in the MCU somehow, yet this might happen sooner as I heard/read rumors of Hugh Jackman wanting to be Wolverine in an Avengers movie. So who knows the merger won’t happen until like 2019 at the earliest with the Department of Justice looking into any Antitrust thing in the merger.

Zelda: Breath of the Wild DLC pack 2

At the Game Awards, yesterday, Nintendo announced that the second DLC pack for Breath of the Wild will be out tonight. I expect after the Game Awards are over. So I will be off playing that so don’t expect the regular content, Today is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Go read any of the previous post I’ve made on this topic last year I looked at the Papal Bull that dogmatically defined this,

Time Person of the Year 2017

Time magazine has named The Silence Breakers, the whole #MeToo movement the person of the year. This is a huge thing and talks about more than just the Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey of the matter but out into the whole world this is a world wide problem. Now this is all going on while we have Roy Moore trying to be elected in Alabama, while John Conyers (D-MI 13th District) has resigned from Congress and it seems like Al Franken (D-Minn) might also resign because of improprieties.

So I was amazed that The Motion Picture Academy, the folks who give out the Oscars has gone out and set a standards of conduct for all the members. This should make a huge impact in Hollywood which seemed to be run still with a casting couch. Hopefully this movement will promote female directors, producers, writers and actors as equals in Hollywood. I expect to see some more female nominated in this upcoming Oscar slate as I am sure they don’t want to see a hashtag about Oscars being to male. It is nice to see some advances taking place but it’s a shame that it took this long for some of these things to come out, but it is great that we have progressed as a society to talk about these things and listen to the accusers and believe them.

Disney news

It seems like Disney is back in the drivers seat for acquiring Fox’s film and television properties. Now this would be a huge addition as the MCU would have all the Marvel brands back together and so forth. This is a logical move for Disney who is building their own streaming service and Fox has a lot of television content that they could add to a streaming, with Fox they could have shows like The Simpsons, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Futuama, Family Guy, American Dad, New Girl, How I Met Your Mother, and Bob’s Burgers along with the ABC content and everything else that Disney has produced from those Mickey Mouse cartoons to the whole Disney catalogue of animated films. It will have content for years.

Sure this would make a huge media monopoly but it could still run like two studios with kid friendly films coming from Disney and Fox doing more adult pictures. It’s a bit confusing about who owns what and all since both are wide ranging companies. I mean Disney already has bought Marvel and Lucasfilms and no one really complained about that. Also I’m sure that most everyone will be getting whatever the Disney streaming thing is going to be called especially if you have kids, with Netflix looking to self producing content and comedy specials rather than dealing with buying the rights to broadcast someone else’s shows. Within the next decade or so I bet that Netflix will be bought by like CBS or NBC for their own streaming service since Hulu will be majority owned by Disney if they get Fox. However this is just speculation and anything could happen.

Gregorian Chant in Nebraska

This was an interesting story on PBS Newshour about a seminary in Nebraska, Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary in Denton, Nebraska near Lincoln. This is a seminary for the Fraternity of St. Peter, they are a group of priests who like the traditional elements of Church and aren’t fans of the Second Vatican Council, but they have reconciled with Rome. They were formed when they splintered from the Society of Saint Pius X. The Story is about how they recently released an album of Gregorian Chant and it’s been a hit.

I find that it is interesting that every couple of years it seems like Gregorian Chant pops up again and makes an impact but then we forget about it after the album is too old. It’s wonderful music and a shame that the church doesn’t sort of jump this and try to bring back chant in some form.

 

Trois couleurs : Bleu (1993)

The Three Colors Trilogy is one of the greatest trilogies of all time. It is based on the French tricolor with each film being one (blue, white, red) and the story of each film is loosely based on one of the three political ideals in the motto of the French Republic  liberté (bleu), egalité (blanc), and fraternité (rouge). Spoilers to follow.

The first of the films is Bleu which is about a wife, Julie de Courcy (Juliette Binoche), whose husband and daughter died in a car accident and wants to cut herself off from everything but finds that she can’t escape human connection.  The film is deeply moving and has several wonderful moments. One of my favorite shots in the whole film is when Krzysztof Kieslowski uses Juliette Binoche’s eye as a mirror. The music also plays a stunning role in the film as Julie’s husband is the famed composer, Patrice de Courcy, and he died before the piece he was working on for the Unity of Europe concert and it is hinted throughout the film that Julie was a contributor of some sort in the composition of the music, either as the real composer or a co-composer. As segments haunt her throughout the movie. After Julie gets out of the hospital after the accident she hooks up with Olivier Benoit, a long time collaborator who has long loved Julie. It’s a bit complicated as Julie gives up basically everything of her former life but as she tries to stop the Unity of Europe score from being finished and figures out about her husbands mistress. This bring her back into the life she is trying to escape.