23rd Jun2017

The Kite Runner (Theatre)

by timbaros

The Kite Runner Playhouse Theatre Amir (David Ahmad) Hassan (Andrei Costin) Photo Irina ChiraThe beautiful story of two young Afghani men returns to the London stage in a production that will break your heart.

The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini’s best-selling 2003 novel, was turned into an acclaimed 2007 movie and recently won rave reviews at London’s Wyndham’s Theatre, is back again and now paying at The Playhouse Theatre. Its story resonated so much with theatregoers, and after sellout crowds in its original run, it’s been granted to fly again in a limited 8-week run.

The Kite Runner is the story of true friendship, and also true betrayal. David Ahmad is Amir, who lives with his wealthy father Baba (Emilio Doorgasingh) in Kabul, Afghanistan. They employ Baba’s long-time servant Ali (Ezra Faroque Khan), along with his son Hassan (Andrei Costin). Both Amir and Hassan lost their mothers, so Amir and Hassan have become close, even though they both come from different classes of society. They’ve formed a bond with each other and especially love to fly kites together. Hassan ends up becoming Amir’s kite runner – he basically retrieves the kite after knowing where it’s going to fall. The young men are practically inseparable, especially when the local thug Assef (Bhavin Bhatt) threatens them perhaps because he is jealous of their close friendship. But one day, after a kite competition, Hassan is captured by Assef, who proceeds to taunt and then rape him. But it’s Amir who witnesses the whole thing – he doesn’t even step in to help, and it’s a guilt that he carries around with him, enough so that he attempts to have his father get rid of Hassan and Amir. This is when the story goes in a different direction and takes us on a journey to America where Amir and Baba eventually find themselves after leaving war torn Afghanistan. Amir eventually settles down in San Francisco with a wife, but he’s torn with guilt over what he did or did not do for Hassan. And this guilt has him trace his steps back to Afghanistan in the hopes of finding Hassan and to rekindle the relationship that they had when they were boys. But there’s more in store for him than what he bargains for.

The Kite Runner doesn’t need any sort of magic wand or razzle dazzle to tell it’s story – it’s the story in itself that is strong enough to hold the audiences attention. We see the beautiful friendship between Hassan and Amir that is eventually shattered and when the story takes it to another direction we feel Amir’s pain and heartbreak and guilt and we hope the characters will eventually find happiness, though deep down we know that’s not going to be the case. Matthew Spangler has successfully adapted the book for the stage (again) while Director Giles Croft works with an excellent acting ensemble with a very minimalist set as he excellently guides his actors to portray the characters very beautifully and emotionally.

Off
19th Jun2017

Rock Dog (Film)

by timbaros

0300RAD_0140_master_v025.l.0246 0300RAD_0140_master_v025_l_0246A young dog from the Tibetan mountains heads to the big city to pursue his dream of being a rock star in the new and fun animated film Rock Dog.

Bodi (Luke Wilson) lives with his father in a tiny village high up on Snow Mountain. His father Khampa (J.K. Simmons) is a leader of the village, and it’s him who is in charge of a motley gang of sheep guards who protect the village from the dastardly, and hungry, wolves who are constantly trying to attack them. Then one day a plane drops a box into the village, and it’s Bodi who is there to investigate it’s contents. In it is a radio which Bodi turns on and instantly he’s in love with the music of a musician by the name of Angus Scattergood (Eddie Izzard). Bodi tries to copy the sounds of Scattergood by piecing together items found in the village to make a guitar – and Bodi thinks he’s found his calling! After an incident which causes havoc on the village, it is agreed that Bodi should be given a chance to head to the bright lights of the big city so that he can further explore his passion for music and his admiration for Scattergood. But once Bodi leaves the mountain, he is followed by two of the wolves who plan to kidnap him and use him as bait in order to take control of Snow Mountain. But in the big city Bodi meets fellow music and Scattergood enthusiasts in a place called Rock and Roll Park, it’s where Scattergood began his career. It’s not too long before Bodi comes face to face with Scattergood, but he also comes face to face with the wolves, who, at the behest of their leader Linnux (Lewis Black), vows to kidnap Bodi and do whatever it takes to take control of Snow Mountain.

This Chinese-American production is a simple tale of someone from a small village out to seek fame and fortune and explore his passion in the big city, themes most of us can relate to. But Bodi has more than a sense of adventure, he’s got charm and curiosity and a wit about him that should make this film appeal to both children and grownups alike. This film has been a flop, both in the U.S., with a measly gross of $20 million versus a budget of $60 million, and in China, where it has only earned $5.7 million (the film, though not explicitly mentioned, takes place in China). But in my opinion, it’s a great tale told very well with animation that’s passable and an excellently-voiced cast (even Matt Dillon pops up as a yak). It’s a cute story with cute characters – Rock Dog Rocks!

Off
18th Jun2017

Lady Bunny in Trans-Jester (Theatre)

by timbaros

340A0338She’s the queen of drag queens, and almost as famous as the Queen of England, Lady Bunny is back in town to perform her one woman show called “Trans-jester,” and no one is safe from her catty claws and endless wit. It’s a no holds-barred performance that is the best of Lady Bunny.

She commands the stage in her glitteringly-best sequins and a wig that practically reaches the ceiling. With shiny jewellery that, she tells you, is bought at yard sales.

Lady Bunny, direct but not straight from New York, provides her loyal and tongue-wagging audience with literally an oral history of her life, which included lots of black cock-sucking jokes, as well as her days as a no name drag queen in Atlanta Georgia USA when her and Rupaul used to be roommates.

Lady Bunny also gets all political by discussing the ridiculous notion of how now everyone has to go by a label. She tells us that she remembers when it used to be only ‘G’ but now it’s LGBTQIA – she screams that it’s ridiculous to have labels – and the audience agreed with her with a roaring cheer! Bunny doesn’t hold back when discussing Bruce Jenner and his transformation to Caitlyn and how his Republican arse and new pussy doesn’t come close to representing her community. And there are quite a few hilarious Kardashian jokes thrown in for good jester.

But Bunny is best when she does jokes. They come fast and furious in the part of the show that is her tribute to the old U.S. television show Laugh-In. It’s a skit she used to do at the late and great Wigstock Drag Queen festival she founded in the late 1980’s and which sadly came to an end in 2001.

Lady Bunny is an institution, and she should be in an institution (ha ha ha). But she’s one of a kind, the Queen, a pure Lady, and now’s your chance to go see her live in person before she’s put out to pasture. Long Live Lady Bunny!

Lady Bunny Trans-jester is playing at the Soho Theatre until Saturday July 1st.

To buy tickets, please go here:

http://sohotheatre.com/whats-on/lady-bunny-in-trans-jester

Off
16th Jun2017

Destination Unknown (Film)

by timbaros

Ed Mosberg wearing the Tallit in Birkenau whilst listening to the HatikvaTwelve Holocaust survivors tell their moving stories in the excellent documentary “Destination Unknown.”

These survivors tell, in vivid detail, the horrors they suffered in the concentration camps during WWII. These men and women were lucky enough to have lived through, and survived, the suffering and the horrors in the Treblinka, Mauthausen and Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camps. They tell about losing their mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters, and how, now 70 years after the liberation of the camps, they are still haunted by the memories. We get to meet Ed Mosberg, who was 13 years old when the war started, and who lost all of his family, and how, 70 years later, him and his wife, who is in a wheelchair, visit Mauthausen Camp for the first time since they were liberated, with Ed wearing a prisoner’s outfit. His wife bittersweetly tells him that he never really left the concentration camp. Then there is Polish Eli Zborowski, who survived the war by being hidden by a local family, and Stanley Goglover, who had to remove his Auschwitz tattoo to completely erase the memories of his time in the concentration camps. Roman Ferber speaks in perfect english as he remembers when he was three years old that all of a sudden his Polish nanny disappeared only because she was not allowed to work for a Jewish family. The memorable story of couple Victor and Regina Lewis, who knew each other before the war and who, after the war, being the only members of their families to survive, ended up reconnecting and eventually getting married. Plus some of the lucky survivors who ended up on Schindler’s list and who thus were not sent to the camps get to tell their harrowing tales. “Destination Unknown” just doesn’t concentrate on death, the documentary also highlights these people’s amazing lives after the war, how they got married, had kids and even grandchildren, and how they created their own families after the horrible horrible crimes against humanity that took place under Adolph Hitler’s short but devastating regime.

“Destination Unkown,’ completed in 2016, uses rare unseen archive footage from the war, as well as the participant’s own home video footage, to tell their individual stories of fear, hope, survival and courage. After 14 years of tracking down and talking to survivors, Producer Llion Roberts, along with Director and Editor Claire Ferguson, have made a documentary that is both memorable and still necessary, with an incredible and moving soundtrack. Sure there have been dozens and dozens of books, films and documentaries on this subject, but it’s a subject matter that still needs to be told for each survivor has their own story to tell, unique, frightening, courageous, and just as important, perhaps even more so, than anything in the news today.

“DESTINATION UNKNOWN” is in cinemas 16 June

Off
12th Jun2017

Norman (Film)

by timbaros

1Richard Gere is excellent as always as a man who is desperate to do a deal but can’t seem to get a break in the new film Norman.

Gere is Norman Oppenheimer, a New York hustler who appears to be living a life of lies – he’s doesn’t appear to have a place to live, he spends most of his time at a church that could possibly be a homeless shelter, and talks about a daughter who may or may not exist. But he sees his fortunes possibly change upon a chance encounter with an up and coming politician. Then One day, after attending a conference, he sees Israeli politician Eshel (Lior Ashkenazi), Norman ingratiates himself with him by buying him an expensive pair of shoes, shoes that Norman probably can’t afford to pay for, but he does (though luckily for him Eshel refuses to get a suit as well). Three years later, as Norman still struggles to get one of his deals done, Eshel becomes the Israeli Prime Minister, so Norman realizes that this could be his big chance to get into the big leagues. But what turns out to be a friendly relationship between Norman and the Prime Minister turns into nothing as Eshel sees Norman’s desperate attempts to be close to him a liability, which leaves Norman basically back to where he began – a fixer with nothing to fix.

Gere does a nice turn as the ageing New York Norman who never quite seemed to have been much of a success in life. He plays Norman with such believability, desperateness, and a bit of wit that it’s hard not to fall for him a bit. The film’s subtitle – The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer – pretty sums up this film – but it’s Gere, who was excellent as a homeless man in 2014’s Time Out of Mind – who shines and makes this film worth a watch.

Off
10th Jun2017

Berlin Syndrome (Film)

by timbaros

berlin-syndrome-07A young Australian woman visiting Berlin meets who she thinks is a perfect man but then he turns out to be too good to be true.

In the new movie Berlin Syndrome, Is it a game or is it a nightmare? When Clare (Teresa Palmer) meets Andi (Max Riernelt) by chance on a Berlin street, she can’t resist his charms and good looks. She was planning on going to Dresden the next day but instead she changes her plans to go out on a date with him. The date turns into a one-night stand, at Andi’s flat, in an isolated building in the middle of nowhere that’s typically Berlin . The next day, as Andi goes to his teaching job, Clare wakes up and realizes she can’t get out of his flat as the front door and the windows are locked. She’s not too concerned about it because she assumes that Andi just forgot to leave her the key. He comes home from work and they spend the night in Andi’s flat having a romantic dinner, and Clare can’t resist spending another night there. When Andi does leave the key for her the next morning, Clare attempts to open the front door are futile – it’s actually locked from the outside. It’s at this point that Clare starts to panic. She breaks one of the living room windows only to discover it’s double glazed and can’t break the second window. And it’s only a matter of time until Andi comes home from work that their relationship takes a turn from a romantic one to a one fraught with panic, danger and suspense for Clare as she does not know what’s going to happen next. Minutes turn into hours which turn into days and Clare is fraught with more terror as she does not know what Andi has in store for her.

Berlin Syndrome is almost two hours long, but it’s a film that will make your heart beat a bit faster, and will keep you holding your breathe – it’s that suspenseful. Director Cate Shortland has given us a woman’s survival story, that, while the finale is a bit predictable and silly, starts out pure and innocent but then turns into a nightmare. It’ll make you have second thoughts the next time a guy invites you back to his place.

Off
08th Jun2017

Gold (DVD)

by timbaros
GOLD_08479.dng

GOLD_08479.dng

Matthew McConaughey deservedly won an Oscar a couple years back for his portrayal of an AIDS victim in the film ‘Dallas Buyers Club.’ He definitely won’t win one for his new film ‘Gold.’

‘Gold’ is the true story of American Kenny Wells – a man so intent in following in his father’s footsteps that he’ll do anything to succeed. His father, played by Craig T. Nelson, founded a mining company, and Kenny wants to keep the company going strong. So he goes in search of gold, a commodity that he hopes is easy to find and which he hopes will make him extremely rich. He teams up with geologist Mike Acosta (Edgar Ramirez), and with Mike’s expertise in knowing where exactly to mine for gold (it is in the unchartered jungles of Indonesia), they easily, perhaps too easily, find gold, and become very very rich. Their company goes public and the stock goes up and up and up. Other larger companies start circling around them like vultures trying to buy them out, with investments bankers ready to seal the deal to become rich themselves. It’s all about money and who can trump who, but it comes at a cost. Wells gets malaria in the Indonesian jungle and almost doesn’t survive, his long-term girlfriend Kay (Bryce Dallas Howard) doesn’t like the man he’s become, and to top it off, is Acosta the man he appears to be? It’s basically ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ all over again. And if you remember McConnaughey’s excellent cameo in that movie (as a rich and successful banker mentor), well in ‘Gold’ he is playing a similar character. It’s fine for a few minutes of showmanship but for more than two hours it gets to be a bit too much.

McConaughey, who put on the pounds for this role (he lost the pounds for ‘Dallas Buyers Club’), overacts and overacts. ‘Gold,’ which is set in the eighties, shows Wells as a man who gets everything he wants, and method actor McConaughey plays it over the top. Howard is much much better as his girlfriend – all she wants is the simple life and does not care for nights at the Waldorf Hotel or expensive meals. The standout in this film is Ramirez. He’s charistmastic and extremely believable as Well’s business partner, a man who knows his business and can charm both the men and the women. Ramirez was also the lone standout in the awful ‘The Girl on a Train’ as Doctor Kamal Abdic. Make him a leading man already! Directed by Stephen Gaghan (Traffic and Syriana), in ‘Gold’ there’s no excitement, no feeling of happiness or sadness when the characters go through through their ups and downs. And the soundtrack is just god awful – the music just doesn’t go with the scenes in the film – it’s tepid at best but belongs in an old cowboy western movie. Originally scheduled to open wide on December 25, 2016, it was pushed back to open on January 27, with the December 25 release staying a limited release in order to qualify for awards. The film’s limited release was then pushed back to December 30, 2016, four days after its presumed date. ‘Gold’ has not been nominated for any awards, it doesn’t deserve any.



Gold [DVD] [2017] (DVD)

Director: Stephen Gaghan
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Édgar Ramírez, Bryce Dallas Howard, Joshua Harto, Timothy Simons
Rating: Suitable for 15 years and over

Brand new. Factory sealed. Fast UK shipping.
New From: £7.20 GBP In Stock
Used from: £5.69 GBP In Stock
Release date June 5, 2017.
Off
05th Jun2017

After the Storm (Film)

by timbaros

image003There’s a typhoon heading towards Tokyo while the lives of several of it’s citizens go on as normal in the new film After the Storm.

But Ryota (Hiroshi Abe) and his mother Yoshiko (Kirin Kiki) are really not too happy the way their lives turned out. Ryota (played by Abe Hiroshi), divorced with one son, wrote one hit book decades ago but now works in a detective agency spying on cheating letharios. Yoshiko lives alone in a housing complex. Her husband has recently passed away but she still can’t come to terms with the fact that he was pretty much a bum. Both Ryota and Yoshiko appear to have wanted more out of life but they’ve got accept where they are and what they have. And Ryota has to accept the fact that his ex-wife Kyoko (Maki Yoko) is dating a man who Ryota is worried will became a father figure to his son Shingo (Yoshizawa Taiyo). But with the 24th typhoon of the year on it’s way, Kyota as usual spends his one day of the month with Shingo, and at night they end up at Yoshiko’s apartment where Kyoko goes to pick him up. But as the typhoon has already hit land, it brings the whole family under one roof to discuss, yell, ponder and contemplate the relationships they now have with each other.

After the Storm is a thought provoking film. While nothing really happens, it’s the relationship these people have with each other that you will inevitably compare to your own. And at 117 minutes, it’s a bit long, but the acting and the story are crisp and original, and ultimately it’s worth watching.

Off
04th Jun2017

Wonder Woman (Film)

by timbaros

WONDER WOMAN

First seen in 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (as well as on television in the 1970’s), in Wonder Woman we finally have our first real female action hero. The film, appropriately titled Wonder Woman, is out now and it’s good, very good!

It’s two hours and 21 minutes of action, drama, and adventure as Gail Gadot plays Wonder Woman, a demi-god created by Zeus and raised by Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen) who fights evil with her special powers (including her bracelets). Wonder Woman is the continuation of the character created in Dawn of Justice – who in the civilian world was known as Diana Prince. She lives in the land of Amazonia where it’s women-only and where she is Princess Diana of Themyscira. In this film she is accompanied all the way through with Chris Pine as Steve Trevor. He is a WWI United States Army Air Service fighter pilot who crashes off the coast of Themyscira, where Wonder Woman grew up and was taught to fight by her fellow Amazonians. She ends up going with Trevor to find Ares, the god of War, in the hopes that killing him will stop the war. But it’s the evil Doctor Isabel Maru (Elena Anaya) who has created a deathly chemical that will ensure quick death to those who are exposed to it, so Wonder Woman has several battles to fight in her quest for world peace.

Diana and Steve’s adventure and mission takes them to London and then into Europe and to the front trenches, where Wonder Woman (an hour and 22 minutes into the film) finally sheds her clothes and lets loose in the infamous Wonder Woman outfit. And it’s spectacular fight scenes that will leave you gasping for air until the very last few scenes when Wonder Woman comes face to face with pure evil.

Gadot is spectacular as Wonder Woman. To hell with male action heroes – there’s now a woman who can take anything that comes her way and she sure nails it. Pine makes a fine side kick, but it’s about time it’s all about the woman. Let’s hope this character becomes a franchise – no more Superman but more Wonder Woman! Director Patty Jenkins brings a new twist and a nice feminine touch to the DC Comics Extended Universe by directing a film that’s smashingly good and is great summer movie fare. Long live Wonder Woman!

Off
02nd Jun2017

Sundance Film Festival London (Film)

by timbaros
Beatriz at Dinner

Beatriz at Dinner

Sundance Film Festival Colorado comes to London this weekend and features a lineup of 14 films that were shown at the festival in Colorado earlier this year. This year’s festival will take place from June 1 – 4 at Central London’s gorgeous Picturehouse Central. Here’s a small selection of what’s on offer:

The opening night film is Beatriz at Dinner where Selma Hayek plays Beatriz, a poor Mexican-American holistic practitioneer who finds herself at a wealthy client’s dinner party. Also starring John Lithgow and Choe Sevigny.

The Big Sick is a rom-com about a Pakistani-American man and his white American girlfriend who negotiate family interferences in their relationship. With Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter and Ray Romano.

There are two films at the festival that take place in New York’s Brooklyn neighborhoods. In Crown Heights, one man is wrongly convicted of murder in this true-life miscarriage of justice. Crown Heights was the Audience Award Winner at the January Sundance festival. Bushwick deals with a woman (Brittany Snow) who steps out of the subway to discover her neighborhood is under seige from militia forces.

Recent Best Actor winner Casey Affleck plays a ghost who was recently deceased and returns to his suburban home to try to reconnect with his wife, played Rooney Mara.

The unusual Bitch stars Marianna Palka who plays an unhappy housewife and mother who, when she snaps, turns int a vicious dog. A bit strange and unusual….

Woody Harrelson is Wilson, a middle aged man who lives alone with his dog who is on a mission to track down his ex-wife only to discover that he has a teenage daughter.

The documentary Dina, winner of the Sundance Documentary Grand Jury Prize is an unconventional love story about two autistic adults while Icarus takes an investigative look at doping in sports. And also scheduled into the program is a surprise film on Friday night.

Short films will also be played at the festival, and include Come Swim, the directorial debut of Kirsten Stewart, and Tough, about a mother-daughter misunderstanding. There will also be events during the weekend, including several of the directors and stars will be attending post screening Q&A’s. One of the highlights should be a discussion called Independent Film Trumps Reality where movie makers discuss movies in the current political climate.

To buy tickets to any of the screenings and events, please go to picturehouses.com/sundance. Festival passes as well individual screening tickets are sold.

Off