18th Mar2014

The Full Monty – Theatre

by timbaros
images-136The Full Monty, now playing in London’s West End, is based on the 1997 movie of the same name. In case you don’t know the plot, it is about six down and out working class unemployed men, on the dole, in post-industrial Sheffield during the Thatcher years. They all need money, money to basically pay the bills, so they resort to stripping to earn extra money. And the new cast is definitely not show about stripping it all off!
The difference between this new Full Monty and the previous-staged version (first on Broadway in 2000 and then the West End in 2002) is that, even though the setting still takes place in the late eighties, the plot has been modernized to reflect society today.
The men include Gaz (a very good and confident Kenny Doughty), a young dad who did time in prison and who is trying to reconnect with his young son, much to the dismay and disapproval of his ex-wife, who she says that he will never mount to anything good; there is Lomper (a charming Craig Gazey), not very confident in himself yet decides to give stripping a go; Gerard (Simon Rouse), who has been out of work for six months yet who has been keeping up appearances by not telling his wife that he’s out of work, while she still goes out and spends money; black character Horse (Sidney Cole), named for reasons that will at the end become clear; Guy (Kieran O’Brien), a goodlooking macho type of a guy who is comfortable enough to let the guys know about his sexual preferences; and finally there is Dave (Roger Morlidge), a very large man with no sex drive, which does not matter to his loving wife Jean (Rachel Lumberg).
Forming their male strip group is easy, they find many guys willing to strip who they need the money, but the men have setbacks in trying to come up with the money to hire out a venue for their first show. They also get arrested while illegally rehearsing in a steel factory. In the meantime, as they rehearse, each guy slowly becoming more comfortable in shedding their clothes and strutting their moves. They even practice a routine, in a hilarious bit, while in a queue to get their dole money. It wouldn’t be called The Full Monty if the men didn’t entirely strip, and strip they do, everything, at the very end of the show, leaving a smile on the audiences faces, and on the night I saw it, a 10-minute standing ovation.
Simon Beaufoy, who wrote the screenplay in which the movie was based, wrote this stage version, his first time writing for the stage. He has written a show that is perfect for the stage, and the original music by Steve Parry captures the mood of the time and the mood of the men. The set is a steel factory that morphes into various locations: the front of the house where his ex-wife and son live (with her new partner), the space where the men rehearse, and where they perform at the end. And then there are the special effects (by Nick Porter) that will make you hold your breathe, including an attempted hanging suicide by one of the men, and mini explosions that take place in the factory. Credit goes to Director Daniel Evans for engineering all of this into what will probably be this spring’s best show. Unfortunately, The Full Monty, playing at the Noel Coward Theatre, has posted a closing sign on the door, so it’s last performance will be on March 29, so see it as soon as possible!


18th Mar2014

Parkland – DVD

by timbaros
images-134November 22nd marked the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. One film released that week, Parkland, is a dramatic retelling of the events of that day.
Parkland tells a story that perhaps not many people are aware of – that both Kennedy and Oswald were taken to the same hospital, Parkland Memorial Hospital, in Dallas, Texas, after they were shot.

Parkland is based on the book ‘Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John K. Kennedy,’ by Vincent Bugliosi, and is a historical drama of the events that happened on that day, November 22, 1963 –  50 years ago. Ir tells, to great dramatic effect, the stories of the key people who were involved on that day, including the hospital staff, Kennedy’s secret service detail, and Abraham Zapruder (played by Paul Giamatti), who shot the famous footage of Kennedy getting shot in the back of his head in the motorcade. Both men went to and died in the same hospital, and director and screenwriter Peter Landesman brilliantly tells this story. He interweaves new footage with footage shot on that day, including Zapruder’s film, making Parkland feel more like a documentary than an actual movie. We see the Parkland hospital staff, headed by Dr. Charles James Carrico (Zac Effron) and Head Nurse Doris Nelson (Marcia Gay Harden). We follow the secret service, headed by Agent Forest Sorrels (Billy Bob Thornton), as they scramble to find out who shot the President. We are shown, for perhaps the first time on screen, the story of the family of Oswald, his brother Robert (James Badge Dale) and his eccentric mother Marguerite (Jacki Weaver), as they realize their lives will never be the same again. Also told is the story of FBI agent James P. Hosty (Ron Livingstone), who perhaps could’ve prevented Kennedy’s assassination as he had been assigned to investigate Oswald after his return from Russia to the U.S. in 1962. While Effron may not have been the best choice to play the one doctor instrumental in attending to Kennedy, the rest of the cast is stellar, especially Giamatti and Livingstone. Parkland is an excellent retelling of a moment in American history that will never be forgotten.
Parkland is now available to buy on DVD:

Parkland - The JFK Assassination Story [DVD] (DVD)

Director: Peter Landesman
Starring: Zac Efron, Tom Welling, James Badge Dale, Jackie Earle Haley, Paul Giamatti
Rating: Suitable for 15 years and over

USED PRODUCT. 30 day returns if you are unhappy with your item
New From: £1.71 GBP In Stock
Used from: £0.09 GBP In Stock

18th Mar2014

The Counsellor – DVD

by timbaros
images-133Michael Fassbender. Penelope Cruz. Cameron Diaz. Javier Bardem. Brad Pitt. These are the stars of the new film The Counsellor, a film that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
The Counsellor, I think, was about a man (Fassbender) who happens to be, and known only as Counsellor (lawyer), who gets involved in some sort of drug operation. Cruz plays his wife, Lara, a very beautiful but naive woman. They have just gotten engaged after the Counsellor goes to Amsterdam to buy Lara a very expensive engagement ring. Is this why he gets involved in the drug world? To pay for the ring? It is not clear. Then we have power couple and Nightclub owner Reiner (Bardem) and his girlfriend Malkina (Diaz), who appear to be the ring leaders in the drug operation that the Counsellor gets involved in. This happened when the Counsellor met Reiner at a party and tells him about an investment where he could make a lot of money. It is a few  minutes after that we realize the investment involves a huge shipment of cocaine. The Counsellor is seduced by this proposal and soon enough gets involved. Meanwhile, one his clients, Ruth (a very good Rosie Perez), who is trial for murder, has some sort of connection to the drug underworld, but it is not clear how and to what extent. Ruth has a son, who goes by the name ‘The Green Hornet’, and he is also connected somehow to the shipment of cocaine, but we are not told how he is connected.
Anyway, as the movie confusingly continues, a man with no known name, appears to attempt to steal the cocaine. He stretches a wire across a road to enable him to kill the person who will be driving by on a motorcycle. How he knows that the next vehicle coming down the road is the person he wants to kill is not made clear. The motorcycle rider, who we can assume is ‘The Green Hornet,’ rides right into the wire, which beheads him, and the man removes the helmut from the dismembered head, and takes something from it. What does he take? No idea.
All of a sudden a character by the name of Westray (Pitt) shows up. Him and The Counsellor appear to know each other, but we are not told how they know each other. The scenes between Westray and The Counsellor are tense, but again, it is not very clear how Westray fits into the movie, only perhaps to warn The Counsellor about the deal. There is absolutely no reason why this character is needed in the film, as Pitt has no other scenes in the film.
The Counsellor continues with Reiner advising The Counsellor that there has been a problem with the shipment of cocaine and that he needs to watch his back. The Counsellor, concerned about Lara’s fate, tells her to get out of town. They agree to meet in Boise, Idaho, however, she never makes it. She is kidnapped by a gang, but who does the gang work for? We are not told. The Counsellor waits for her in Boise, she never turns up…he is extremely distraught and anxiously searches for her, until he contacts one of the drug lords who tells him that he has to live with the choices he has made. Huh? Back in Mexico, still searching for Lara, a package is slipped under his door. In it is a DVD with the word ‘Hola’ written on it. What is on the DVD? And why does the Counsellor break down at that point? Don’t know as whatever was on the DVD was not shown.
Am I giving too much away by saying that Reiner is murdered in cold blood, but by whom? and why?
This leaves Malkina as pretty much the last man (or in her case woman) standing. Did she mastermind some kind of drug theft right under the nose of her boyfriend Reiner? Did she have something to do with Lara’s disappearance? What is her connection to Westray? The Counsellor ends with her in a restaurant, speaking to what appears to be her banker, and they discuss what to do with the money. She also tells him that he too is expendable (huh?). End of film.
If the above description of the plot sounds confusing, it’s because The Counsellor is confusing. Ridley Scott directed, and his directing is all over the place. It doesn’t allow the movie to flow. The script was written by Cormac McCarthy (The Road), the first film script that he has written, and it shows. Some of the scenes don’t quite have any connection to other scenes, and the dialogue makes it hard to understand who is working with who and who is doublecrossing who. While some of the imagery is beautiful (two lions coming out of the backseat of Reiner’ car right after he’s been killed, beautiful scenes and imagery of the American southwest), The Counsellor as a movie just doesn’t work, with a star-studded cast but a less than stellar plot. Take my advice and go see Gravity, again.
The Counsellor is now out on DVD, but it’s best to avoid it.


The Counsellor [DVD] (DVD)

Director: Ridley Scott
Starring: Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender, Javier Bardem, Cameron Diaz, Penélope Cruz
Rating: Suitable for 18 years and over

New From: £0.89 GBP In Stock
Used from: £0.05 GBP In Stock