Bonnie and Clyde (or Clyde and Bonnie, if you asked him) were a couple of American outlaws who captured the attention of the public in the early 1930s. While these two kids weren’t much more than a couple of petty robbers, commonly knocking over gas stations and small “mom and pop” stores, the media glamorized their exploits into legend. And now legend has become musical. Following its short run on Broadway, New Line has once again seen the potential in an unappreciated show – and has given it a new and glorious life!
Both newcomers to the company, Larissa White and Matt Pentecost play Bonnie and Clyde. The two leads share a phenomenal chemistry, as well as an energy that lights up the stage. Each of the actors hold their own in vocals and acting, but when they come together it is magic. The story starts off before the two of them met, with Bonnie’s dreams of being in the “Picture Show,” and Clyde trying to stay out of jail while singing about how “This World Will Remember Me.” The show then chronicles their relationship from their humble beginnings to making the headlines. Joining them are Clyde’s brother Buck (Brendan Ochs) and his wife Blanche (Sarah Porter), who both do a great job of providing the comedic relief in the show. Hot on their trails are Ted Hinton (Reynaldo Arceno) and Sheriff Schmid (Christopher Clark) who relentlessly track down the outlaws throughout the show.
One of the most anticipated films of 2014 is finally here. Gone Girl, based on the 2012 novel by Gillian Flynn, stars Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike as two out of work writers whose marriage has steadily declined over its five year lifespan. When the wife suddenly goes missing, all eyes turn to the husband. Directed by the immensely talented David Fincher, the film beautifully captures the mystery and intrigue of the book through a dark and eerie tone that he has perfected. Add a score by Trent Reznor to the mix, and what you get is a combination destined for glory.
Nick (Affleck) and Amy Dunne (Rosamund Pike) have fallen upon tough times since they first met. What started as a whirlwind romance has slowly disintegrated over the years. The once successful New York writers have both lost their jobs, most of their money, and more importantly – their love for one another. After moving back to Missouri to take care of Nick’s dying mother, the two of them continued to grow further apart. On the morning of their fifth wedding anniversary, Nick leaves to clear his head and visit his sister Margo (Carrie Coon) with whom he co-owns a small bar with – aptly named “The Bar.” When he returns home, Amy is gone – leaving behind what appears to be a crime scene. Nick calls the police and what follows is a back and forth chronicle of days since Amy went missing, and the years leading up to her disappearance.
Casting for the film couldn’t have been any more perfect. As someone who has read the book, the announcement of Affleck as Nick Dunne was a slam dunk. In the book Nick says,”Looking at my smarmy grin, my hooded eyes, I thought, I would hate this guy.” Affleck is talented actor, not to mention writer and director. And one of the qualities he has is the ability to come off as smug or arrogant. Think back to Dazed and Confused, or Mallrats – even many of his roles where he isn’t the bad buy. He just has that quality, which works in his favor as Nick. At the first press conference, when he is supposed to be a wreck, yet manages to give off the “insane love me! grin,” described in the book – it sealed the deal. Affleck does a great job of going back and forth between lovable and loath-able, and shows a wide range of emotions.
“Is man indeed a walrus at heart?”
This is one of the pseudophilosophical questions posed in Kevin Smith’s new film Tusk, the first film adapted from a podcast (see Smodcast #259 “The Walrus and the Carpenter”). Not so much a horror film in the traditional blood and guts fashion, the Clerks director’s latest opus is more psychological – with plenty of humor mixed in throughout. And if you are a fan of the SmodCo podcast brand, there is no shortage of homage to be enjoyed.
Wallace Bryton (Justin Long) is one half of the duo who hosts the “Not-See Party” podcast, which centers around his travels to interview quirky internet celebrities (like the “Kill Bill Kid,” who chops off his own leg with a samurai sword). Wallace then explains his story to Teddy (Haley Joel Osment) who did “not see” what happened. Upon packing his bags for Canada to interview the the aforementioned legless star, he leaves his girlfriend Ally (Genesis Rodriguez) in the States – stating that he basically doesn’t want her to stop him from being entertaining. Ally is not a fan of his mean-spirited podcast antics, and wishes that the “old Wallace” she fell in love with would come back.
Wallace arrives in Manitoba only to find that the “Kill Bill Kid” has taken his own life, leaving him out the cost of his plane ticket and the interview he came for. As he drowns his sorrows at a local bar, he stumbles upon an ad posted by an old man who has lived “A life of adventure, with stories to tell.” Intrigued by the posting (based on the real-life Gumtree ad by UK hoaxer / eventual Tusk associate producer Chris Parkinson, which inspired the podcast), Wallace travels a couple of hours to a secluded mansion owned by Howard Howe (Michael Parks). After a couple of fascinating stories, and some delicious tea, Wallace find out that he has been roped into much more than listening to the old man’s stories.
It was only a matter of time before the 4-time Tony Award-winning musical Jersey Boys became a motion picture. The Broadway show, which also received the 2009 Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Musical, still runs after 3,564 performances and tours around the world. And now Clint Eastwood has directed a film which is strikingly close to the source material, and has tremendous talent in front of the camera.
John Lloyd Young opened the Broadway production as Frankie Valli in 2005, and returns as the star of the film. It also stars Erich Bergen as Bob Gaudio, Michael Lomenda as Nick Massi, and Vincent Piazza as Tommy DeVito. The story starts with a 16-year-old Frankie getting roped into petty crimes by Tommy, and eventually joining Tommy’s band “The Lovers.” As times change, trios are out and the people want to see 4 members in the band. Frankie, Tommy and Nick make an agreement with singer/songwriter Bob Gaudio to become the fourth member of the band, which would eventually become The Four Seasons. The film shows the entire journey of the group and it’s member, from creation until present day – the good, and the bad.
How to Train Your Dragon was a huge surprise hit in 2010, garnering almost $495 million worldwide on a $165 million budget. The film also received a 98% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, proving that critics, adults and kids alike were equally enamored by the colorful tale of Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and his dragons. HTTYD was nominated for 2 Academy Awards, including Best Animated Feature – losing that year to Toy Story 3. With such a great film, it is often hard to live up to the original; but in the case of How to Train Your Dragon 2 – it gets pretty darn close.
The story takes place five years after the events of the first film. Berk has completely accepted dragons, thanks to Hiccup and his friends, and the villagers work and live alongside each other on a daily basis. While the villagers are interested in dragon sports during their free time, Hiccup and Toothless explore new lands and try to complete their handmade map. His father, Stoick (Gerard Butler), wants to start training him to become the chief of Berk – yet Hiccup doesn’t think that the job is for him. During one of his adventures, Hiccup and his fiance Astrid (America Ferrera) discover a new fortress that has been attacked and encased in ice – lead by Eret (Kit Harington), who blames them and their dragons. Eret and his crew attempt to capture their dragons, explaining that a conqueror named Drago Bludvist is building a dragon army and must have them. When Hiccup tells his father what Drago is up to, Stoic locks down Berk and warns him of the dangerous villain. Yet the hero inside of Hiccup doesn’t allow him to stay put, as he escapes the village with Astrid to reason with Drago. Along the way he runs into someone he never would have imagined, and finds out that he isn’t the only one who shares a bond with dragons.