16th May2015

Cannes Film Festival (Film)

by timbaros

Exe_30x18_FDC15_72dpiThe 68th Cannes FIlm Festival has already begun, and here is a brief run down of some of the films that will be shown.

The glitz. The glamour. The red carpets. The very famous celebrities. The perfect weather. Yes, it’s time for the most glamorous event of the year – the Cannes Film Festival, which kicks off today.

As usual, there will be loads of parties, every night, taking place in every nook in cranny in Cannes, as well as on the boats that dock around the port. Parties also take place outside of Cannes, some at the ultra posh and expensive Hotel du Cap, a good distance away from Cannes. Every famous celebrity in the world will be attending these parties, with the women usually dripping in diamonds and the men dripping with women. Oh, let’s not forget about the films. Yes, it is a film festival after all, and not just an excuse to party (though there’s more of the later and less of the former). The line-up of films were announced in April and here are some of the highlights:

Opening night film

La TĂȘte Haute (Emmanuelle Bercot, France) – starring the most glamourous French Actress that has ever lived – Catherine Deneuve – La TĂȘte Haute (Standing Tall) is about a young juvenile delinquent as he comes of age. It’s a French film, how appropriate to open up this French film festival.

Closing night film

La Glace et le Ciel (Luc Jacquet, France) – Another French film, closing the festival, La Glace et le Ciel (Ice and the Sky) is by the director of 2006 Oscar winner for Best Documentary March of the Penguins (Luc Jacquet) and documents the scientific discoveries of French explorer Clause Lorius, who was an expert on Antartica and global warming before it became a hot topic.

Other films showing at the festival include:


Carol (Todd Haynes, US-UK) – tells the simple story of a 1950’s department store clerk who falls for an older woman. This one stars the can’t miss Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, and is directed by Todd Haynes (Far From Heaven).

The Lobster (Yorgos Lanthimos, Greece-UK-Ireland-Netherlands-France) – this film could win the award for the most far-fetched plot: In the future, single people have to find a partner within 45 days or are then transformed into animals and released into the woods. This one stars Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz. With their very good lucks there is no doubt they will find a match, within one day no doubt.

Macbeth (Justin Kurzel, UK-France-US) – Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard star in Shakespeare’s greatest work . Directed by relative newcomer Justin Kurzel.

The Sea of Trees (Gus Van Sant, US) – Oscar winner and crowd favorite Matthew McConaughey and Naomi Watts star in Gus Van Sant’s film about a suicidal American who befriends a Japanese man (Ken Watanabe) lost in the forest near Mt. Fuji. No doubt McConaughey and Watts will look stunning together on the red carpet.

Sicario (Denis Villeneuve, US) – A young female agent (Emily Blunt) joins a secret CIA operation to take down a Mexican cartel. Also starring Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro.

The Valley of Love (Guillaume Nicloux, France) – Ex French citizen Gerard Depardieu (who was excellent in last year’s Welcome to New York) stars in this film about an estranged couple who go to Death Valley, California at the invitation of their son. Also stars Isabelle Huppert, another glamorous French actress.


Youth (Paolo Sorrentino, Italy-France-Switzerland-UK) – Rachel Weisz (again) stars, alongside Michael Caine, Jane Fonda and Harvey Keitel about two men, one a composer, one a film director, who converse with fellow hotel guests and re-examine their lives and the lives of their children.

Inside Out – an animated film about a girl who moves to a new home but finds it hard to settle in. With the voices of Diane Lane, Amy Poehler and Mindy Kaling.

The Little Prince – another animated film, this one with the voices of James Franco, Rachel McAdams and Paul Rudd, about a pilot who crashes in the desert and meets a little boy from a distant planet.

Irrational Man – Woody Allen’s latest is about a tormented professor (Joaquin Phoenix) who finds the will to live when he commits an existential act. Also starring Emma Stone.

Mad Max: Fury Road – a continuation of the Max Max films from 1979 that starred Mel Gibson. This one stars Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron and Nicholas Hoult. Expect big box office for this one when it opens up in the U.S. and the UK on May 15th.

Amy – a documentary about the deceased music star Amy Winehouse, which has been critised by her father Mitch Winehouse.

Other British stars to have their films screened at the festival include Emily Blunt in Denis Villenueve’s crime drama SIcario, Toby Jones and Shirley Henderson in Il Racconto Dei Racconti (Tale of Tales), and Tim Roth and Rachel Pickup in Chronic.

Dozens and dozens of other films, all from around the world, will be shown at the festival – which is the most famous and best-attended film festival in the world. It’s also the most glamorous, and many of the films have their premiere here, with film stars in attendance, walking up the steps at the Palais des Festivals on the red carpet with hundreds of papprazi taking photos of their every move. There are also midnight screenings, short films, screenings on the beach (which is about the only event non-acrredited people can attend), the Marche du Film (which is the festival’s marketplace) and the Cinefondation selection – which targets film schools.

This is the festival’s 68th year, and the judges for this year are filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen, Spanish actress Rossy de Palma, French actress Sophie Marceau, Sienna Miller, and Malian singer and songwriter Rokia Traore. What an eclectic bunch.

16th May2015

Carrie the Musical (Theatre)

by timbaros

Evelyn Hoskins as Carrie and Greg Miller Burns as Tommy in CARRIE - THE MUSICAL. Photo Credit Claire BilyardA musical adaptation of Stephen King’s supernatural novel Carrie, which was a hit 1976 film, has just opened, and it’s very good!

It’s hard to believe that music could be used effectively to tell the story of Carrie White, a high school student who’s picked on by her fellow classmates. But the songs in the show work, telling the tale of this strange young woman, who lacks self-confidence and has an overprotective and very religious mother, helped by a super-talented cast who look like they have just stepped out of the pages of an Abercrombie and Fitch catalogue.

Evelyn Hoskins, in the role that made Sissy Spacek a star (as well as receiving an Oscar nomination for her performance) plays White. Timid, meak, and small in stature, she’s not like the rest of the girls in her school.

Carrie the Musical, told in narrative form by one of the girls who survives the climactic ending, opens (as does the film) with Carrie experiencing her first period in the gym showers. She has no idea what is happening to her body, and this gives her female classmates the opportunity to ridicule her, and to call her names, including Scary White. Carrie is angry about this, and uses her supernatural powers to make the lightbulbs explode. Meanwhile, one of the girls videotapes it and soon enough the other students are watching it on their mobile phones.

The female classmates are led by Chris (Gabriella Williams). She’s mean, evil, yet glamorous and very popular. She’s got a ‘thing’ for teasing Carrie, and the rest of her friends follow suit. Carrie is taken under the wing of gym teacher Ms. Gardner (Jodie Jacobs), who makes the girls reluctantly apologize to Carrie. All but Chris apologizes, so Ms. Gardner bans her from the upcoming prom. Chris vows to get even with Carrie. Meanwhile Sue (Sarah McNicholas) feels sorry for Carrie, and feels bad for making fun of her in the locker room. So she asks her boyfriend Tommy (Greg Miller-Burns) to take Carrie to the prom. At first he says no, but then agrees to take her after Carrie is inspired by a poem he had written that he read aloud in class, which is one of the shows most poignant scenes.

Carrie’s mom (Kim Criswell), just about treats her daughter like a small child, not listening to her but praying for her sins and singing religious songs. She’s fanatical yet motherly in a creepy kind of way.

So Tommy asks Carrie to the prom, and she says yes, much to the utter dismay of her mother. There’s no surprise what takes place at the prom if you’ve already seen the film or read the book. Carrie and Tommy go to the prom and Carrie gets blood dumped on her as they stand on stage after being voted Prom King and Queen (with the vote being manipulated by Chris’s gang of girls). Carrie uses her powers to cause mayhem, death, and destruction, and it’s all expertly executed by the cast and crew of the show.

Hoskins is perfect as Carrie. Though while at times her singing is reminiscent of a watching a high school musical, she really comes into her own as the show proceeds, especially after showing some real emotion when Tommy asks her to the prom. As her mom, Criswell is superb. She’s Piper Laurie (who played the mother in the film) with pipes, especially when singing ‘ When There’s No One.’ Williams is fantastic as well. She’s the bully, yet she’s also the beauty. Carrie is William’s professional debut. But Miller-Burns is the standout among the cast. As the young man who takes Carrie to the prom, we see a sparkle in his eye, a richness and emotion to his voice, and he’s the perfect actor to play Tommy, the man every boy wants to be like and the man every girl wants to be with.

The stage becomes, from one minute, the locker room, then a class room, then Carrie’s dining room, to the finale – the school’s gymnasium where the prom is held. The dumping of the blood on Carrie’s head and the mayhem that follows is superbly executed, and extremely intense. Director and Choreographer Gary Lloyd has done an amazing job in putting together this production. Carrie the Musical, with music by Michael Gore and Lyrics by Dean Pitchford (of Fame fame), was a big flop when it debuted on Broadway in 1988 and subsequently in an Off-Broadway production in 2012. But with it’s London debut the show looks ready to hit the West End. Let’s hope it does, with the same cast and crew – it’s bound to be a hit.