Clyde's (c) Joan Marcus
Wednesday, May 18, 2022
Friday, May 13, 2022
Film Reviews: "Mascarpone" and "Montana Story" Characters Deal with Unexpected Trauma, While in "Dr. Strange," Heroes Sometimes Do Wear Cape
Mascarpone (c) Dark Star Pictures
At Cinemas and On Demand Streaming
Breezy gay comedies are a dime a dozen, but those that rise above the genre are distinguished by the uniqueness of the main character and the believability of the story. (Although sometimes a steady stream of beautiful men can trump all that.) “Mascarpone,” an Italian comedy by directors Alessandro Guida and Matteo Pilati, has a good amount of eye candy (Italy, hello!), but after a slow start, the characters also become more fully realized, despite the unbelievable plot turns. Antonio (Giancarlo Commare) is a happy househusband when Lorenzo (Carlo Calderone) tells him he’s not happy, has been having an affair and wants a divorce. Now adrift for the first time in 12 years, Antonio has to find a new place to live, get a job and possibly start a new relationship. Thankfully, he meets Dennis (Eduardo Valdarnini), a free spirit whom Antonio at first can’t stand, but Dennis rents a room to him in his huge apartment, finds him a job at a bakery with hunky Luca (Gianmarco Saurino) and introduces him to the world of hookup apps. Antonio continues to be a drip about his divorce, but all his friends seem to be very patient with him. Finally, he decides to take his baking hobby seriously as a possible career and maybe settle down again with another guy. Not sure why the English title is named after a cheese (although there is a lot of symbolism about it being so important in making tiramisu) when the Italian title “Maschile Singolare” would have translated nicely into Single Male, as in dating, or Men’s Single, as in tennis, which Antonio and his husband played. The last act, with an improbable proposal from one character and the fate of another, spills into soap opera territory. But until then, with all the eye candy and the funny situations Antonio finds himself in, the movie is breezy and likable enough.
Tuesday, May 10, 2022
Theater Review: “Which Way to the Stage” and “A Case for the Existence of God” are Plays About Finding a Purpose in Life, While Encores Goes “Into the Woods”
Which Way to the Stage (c) Daniel J. Vasquez
Theater Review: Which Way to the Stage
The Manhattan Class Company has produced their second play about a woman’s hero worship of an actress. Two years ago, the show was “All the Natalie Portmans,” about a high school girl who goes into the fantasy world of Portman movies whenever life gets stressful. Currently, the object of obsession is Idina Menzel (or Adele Dazeem for those in the know) in Ana Nogueira’s “Which Way to the Stage.” Two stage door denizens - 30-somethings Judy (Sas Goldberg) and Jeff (Max Jenkins) - are waiting for Menzel while she performs in the 2015 Broadway show, “If/Then.” These theater fanatics and longtime friends not only debate the merits of shows (currently: Bernadette vs Patti’s in “Gypsy”) but are also practitioners as they are both hyphenate actors: Judy an actor-real estate agent and Jeff an actor-downtown drag performer. At an audition, Judy meets Mark (Evan Todd), a former finance guy who quit his job to persue acting, and they hit it off. This relationship starts a love/hate triangle with Jeff, who doesn’t believe Mark is straight and also resents that he already has a leg up in auditions with his charms and good looks. Nogueira knows her theater geek lingo and loyal friendship bonds. If you ever stood in an intermission bathroom line with any of them, this is the kind of talk you would hear verbatim. She also has an ease when casual conversation turns non-theater as well. But it’s only in her dramatic conflicts that the dialogue feels written instead of organic, especially when the topic turns to ownership of semantics and perceived privilege. The finale feels especially rushed and clunky, since it revolves around a character that hasn’t earned its symbolic resolution. All the actors are fun to watch, including Michelle Veintimilla, who expertly plays a couple of smaller roles, and although she coincidently resembles Menzel (spoiler alert), she never plays her, maybe because of a late rewrite. Of the main actors, Goldberg is especially good as Judy, highlighting both her vulnerability and insecurity particularly in the first half of the play. Unfortunately, what starts off as a funny and spot-on love letter to musical theater fans ultimately gets lost on its way to the stage.
Monday, May 9, 2022
2021 - 2022 Tony Award Nominations Announced. Musical "A Strange Loop" Gets 11, Play "The Lehman Trilogy" Gets 8
A Strange Loop (c) Marc J. Franklin
2021 - 2022 Tony Awards Nominations
Here is the list of nominations for the 2022 Tony Awards, which will be presented on June 12 at Radio City Musical Hall. Notable milestone: L. Morgan Lee is the first transgender performer to be nominated, a record four female directors were nominated, the first time in any year and Best Actor has seven nominations, the most nominations in one category ever.
Friday, May 6, 2022
Reviews: AAPI Heritage Month Begins With Two Promising Asian Female-Directed Indie Films: “Inbetween Girl” and “In a New York Minute”
Inbetween Girl (c) Utopia