You’ve watched the trailers. You’ve seen the billboards. You downloaded the leaked footage. You read the tweets. You listened to the interviews.
By now, if you haven’t heard there is a Deadpool movie coming out, I’m not sure how you are reading an online review (unless your grandma printed it out at the library and sent it over via carrier pigeon). Yes, that Deadpool. The “Merc With a Mouth,” Wade Wilson. If you aren’t a huge comic book fan, but the name sounds familiar – that might be because you watched the horrifically terrible 2009 film X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Although if you are saying, “wait, where was his iconic red costume, and didn’t that Deadpool have his mouth sown shut,” then you would be as puzzled as the rest of us who had to sit through that debacle. Yes, they sewed the mouth shut of a guy nicknamed “The Merc With a Mouth.” But I digress.
Luckily for hopeful comic book fans everywhere, THIS is the Deadpool we expected. Scratch that; this is the Deadpool that dreams are made of. That’s right. This movie gets it right, where so many failed attempts at bringing superheroes to life get it wrong. But as Deadpool himself says in the film, “you’re probably thinking, this is a superhero movie but that guy in the suit just turned that other guy into a f****ng kebab. Surprise, this is a different kind of superhero movie.” And he’s one hundred percent correct.
Deadpool is a HARD R. That means when the MPAA says it’s rated R for strong violence and language throughout, sexual content and graphic nudity – they aren’t messing around. Which means two things. One: if you are easily offended, this isn’t the movie for you. And two: it makes the movie extremely awesome, true to the source material, and one of the most fun times you’ll have at the theater.
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It has been probably twenty years since I watched the 1992 film Newsies, starring a 17-year-old Christian Bale as Jack Kelly – the leader of what would become known as the “Newsboys Strike of 1899.” Aside from starring the future Oscar-winning actor, and being directed by Kenny Ortega, there isn’t much I remember about the box office failure – which recouped less than $3 million dollars of its $15 million budget. However someone at Disney believed in the potential of the story, and the fantastic music of Alan Menken, and in 2011 it opened at the Paper Mill Playhouse to critical acclaim. In 2012 it would land on Broadway, winning Tony Awards® for Best Score and Best Choreography. And now the national tour is making its way around the country, and has landed at the Fabulous Fox Theatre in St. Louis.
Star Wars is back.
Not back like it was in 1999. But really, back. I remember the hype and anticipation surrounding a new Star Wars film being released for the first time since 1983. I was much younger than, and had a lot less film criticism under my belt. But I still knew something was amiss. Yes, there were fantastic pod races. And yes – that fight scene between Obi-Wan, Qui-Gon, and Darth Maul was simply fantastic (the first lightsaber scene that was truly exciting by modern standards). But those aforementioned moments have become the only reason worth putting the Phantom Menace Blu-ray into a player, and that is dependent on whether or not you can get past the thought of terrible writing, horrendous acting, and last but not least – Jar Jar Binks. The prequels, were quite honestly, pretty terrible. And the fact that Episode III: Revenge of the Sith was the best says a lot.
Fast forward to 2015. A decade has passed since any disappointment we may have had with a Star Wars film in theater. And our beautiful, coveted baby has new parents. While we will always appreciate George as dad, Disney is the new kick-ass step parent that let’s us really have fun with our toys. And we get to play without getting all our homework done on the taxation of trade routes and treaty negotiations. This isn’t your father’s Star Wars. This is your grandfather’s Star Wars. And I mean it in the best possible way. Thank you J.J. (who will be able to sleep at night, knowing that he will never be referred to as “Jar Jar” Abrams).
The Force Awakens takes place 30 years after the events of Return of the Jedi. This makes it extremely easy to explain our returning characters aging 30 years, without stumbling over clumsy CG or prosthetics. Their names may have changed, but the good guys and the bad guys have pretty much stayed the same. The First Order has risen from the ashes of the Galactic Empire, and The Resistance is still fighting the good fight that the Rebel Alliance took up decades earlier.
Wicked plays the Fabulous Fox Theatre in St. Louis from December 9 – January 3! Performances are Mon.-Fri. at 7:30pm, Sat. at 2pm & 7:30pm, Sun. at 1pm & 6:30pm, Thur. Dec.10, Dec. 24 & Dec. 31 at 1pm, and Wed. Dec 30 at 1pm. Tickets are $40 to $200, and the running time is 2 hours and 45 minutes with 1 intermission. Purchase tickets at Metrotix, or visit the Fabulous Fox website for more details.
Wicked is the untold story of the witches of Oz, based on the best-selling novel by Gregory Maguire. It is here we learn how they became known as “The Wicked Witch of the West” and “Glinda the Good,” back when the two shared an unlikely friendship at Shiz University. The show has won over 100 awards worldwide, including the Grammy® for Best Musical Show Album (Original Broadway Cast Recording) and three Tony® Awards: Best Actress in a Musical (Idina Menzel), Best Costume Design (Susan Hilferty) and Best Scenic Design (Eugene Lee).
Sequels and prequels are always a touchy subject. Especially when they are based off of a timeless classic, like The Wizard of Oz (1939). There is so much pressure to get things right, as fans of the original property are counting on you to leave their coveted work of art unscathed. That goes double when your show is based off of a best-selling novel that pays homage to your beloved property. It’s a risky endeavor, but when done right it really pays off. And Wicked is an example of when it pays off big time.
Without a doubt, one of the most fun shows you can see live is Mamma Mia! You just can’t beat the energy of the ABBA music, being performed right in front of you by talented musicians, with vocals from an extremely talented cast. It’s like going to a rock concert and a musical, all at once. And that is why Mamma Mia! has been seen by over 60 million people over the past 16 years, making more than $2 billion dollars worldwide.
Most theatre-goers will be familiar with the story (which was also turned into a film starring Meryl Streep, Amanda Seyfried, Colin Firth, Pierce Brosnan, and Stellan Skarsgård) of Sophie (Kyra Belle Johnson), a 20 year old bride-to-be, searching for her father to give her away at the wedding. The problem is that she’s never met him, and doesn’t even know who he is. Her mother Donna (Erin Fish) has never spoken of him, keeping her memories in a diary that has been locked away for the past two decades. That is until Sophie finds it, uncovering that her father could be one of three men who Donna had a summer fling with: Sam (Chad W. Fornwalt), Bill (Ryan M. Hunt), or Harry (Andrew Tebo). It seems the only way to get her dad to the wedding is to invite all three prospects to the island where she lives, ensuring at least one of them will do the job.