Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Theater Review: A Complex and Memorable Long Journey “On That Day in Amsterdam”

On That Day in Amsterdam (c) Carol Rosegg

Theater Review: On That Day in Amsterdam 
At 59E59, presented by Primary Stages 

Premise: That day referenced in the title of Clarence Coo’s play, “On That Day in Amsterdam,” is mostly a day in January 2015 when, after meeting at a gay club in the titular city the night before, tourists Sammy (Ahmad Maksoud) and Kevin (Glenn Morizio) awkwardly wake up together, practically strangers. This is the last day in Amsterdam for both and while Kevin, a Filipino-American budding-writer, can’t leave fast enough, Sammy, who is Pakistani with a flair for photography, wants to spend their last day together being tourists and getting to know each other. When Kevin can’t make up any more excuses not to hang out with Sammy, they do spend that day together. While it seems uneventful at first, the day does have a “Before Midnight” aspect to it as strangers bond during what might be a turning point in both their lives. As it happens, in the future, Kevin desperately wants to write about that day in Amsterdam, even though his memory has become hazy. But he does remember its beats, including visits to historical locations involving Rembrandt (Jonathan Raviv), Vincent Van Gogh (Brandon Mendez Homer) and Anne Frank (Elizabeth Ramos), whose stories of their own art and loves seem to parallel what Sammy and Kevin are facing in their current crossroads to the future. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

GALECA Honors The Best of TV with Dorian Awards for "Yellowjackets," "Abbott Elementary" and "Heartstopper"

Heartstopper (c) Netflix / Yellowjackets (c) Showtime / Abbott Elementary (c) ABC

GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics today announced the winners of its 14th Dorian TV Awards for both mainstream and LGBTQIA+ programs. 

GALECA, comprised of 360 film, TV and pop culture critics and journalists in the U.S., Canada, Australia and U.K., chose Showtime’s "Yellowjackets" for Best TV Drama. ABC’s freshman "Abbott Elementary," star-creator Quinta Brunson’s sitcom about a devoted teacher navigating an underfunded public grade school in Philadelphia, earned Best TV Comedy. Another school-set hit, Netflix's "Heartstopper," scored Best LGBTQ TV Show for its tender tale of friendship, love and romance among a variety of Brit teens. 

Monday, August 15, 2022

Fall Film Preview: The 60th New York Film Festival’s Main Slate is Your Art House Checklist for the Rest of 2022

Master Gardener (c) Hanway Film  Armageddon Time (c) Focus Feature  
TÁR (c) Focus Features  Triangle of Sadness (c) NEON  The Eternal Daughter (c) A24

In lieu of the upcoming traditional Fall Movie Preview, I would look at the main slate lineup of films in the New York Film Festival to let you know which art movies you should look forward to. Sure, the blockbusters are rarely programed here, but its catnap for you cinephiles looking to be stimulated with cool dramas, black comedies and probing documentaries. The New York Film Festival is the culmination of all the prestigious film festivals from early in the year like Sundance and Cannes to the ones of late summer like Toronto, Locarno, Telluride and Venice and they whittle down those massive film slates into the best of the fest with the occasional world premiere. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Film Reviews: The Last Gasp of the Blockbuster Summer Season Ends With a “Bullet Train” Bang, While Modest and Uneven “They/Them” and “Luck” Debut on Streaming

Bullet Train (c) Columbia Pictures

Film Review: Bullet Train 
In Cinemas 

In a movie that takes place on a Japanese bullet train from Tokyo to Kyoto, you can quickly tell who the main characters in David Leitch’s latest homage to Quentin Tarantino and Guy Ritchie are because they are mostly not Japanese. Brad Pitt plays the hapless and bad luck prone Ladybug (everybody has a code name), one of the many hired assassins who all happen to be on different missions that somehow intersect with each other. Besides Ladybug, who’s there to find a suitcase full of money and get off the next stop, there are Tangerine (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Lemon (Brian Tyree Henry), British twins (funny because they don’t look like twins and have horrible British accents) on a mission from The White Death crime boss (with that name, duh) to deliver the aforementioned briefcase and his son (Logan Lerman) to him in Kyoto. There are also The Wolf (Benito A. Martínez Ocasio, aka Bad Bunny) from Mexico, a young girl named The Prince (Joey King) and The Young Elder (Andrew Koji), a Japanese (yes, an actual Japanese) assassin, who are all on the train for personal revenge. And that’s not the half of it. 

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Theater Reviews: Confronting Tragedies in “Oresteia” (Greek), “The Butcher Boy” (Community) and “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” (Drink)

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (c) Miles Skalli

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof 
Theatre at St. Clement’s 

The best way to pass the time during the current “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” billed as the first ever approved Off-Broadway production of the Tennessee Williams 1955 Pulitzer-Prize winning play, is to make it a drinking game. Be Brick (Matt De Rogatis), the tortured, alcoholic hero drinking nonstop, waiting for the little click in his head to calm his mind, and take a shot every time you hear “mendacity,” “spastic colon” or the title. This ambitious but woefully tepid revival doesn’t give us much to engage with otherwise. Just like the infamous 2017 National Theatre revival with Jack O’Connell and Sienna Miller, this Ruth Stage production is in modern dress, has Brick take his Act 1 shower on stage instead behind a bathroom door and includes a British actress as Maggie, the titular “cat on a hot tin roof” (drink) elongating every Southern syllable to the point of incomprehension. I have been of fan of Sonoya Mizuno since her small but pivotal role in the movie “Ex Machina” and her impressive turn as the heroine in the TV show “Devs” (both created by Alex Garland). Her choice to tackle one of Tennessee Williams’ most verbose heroines (the first act is essentially a long monologue) is admirable but she is just not up to the challenge. De Rogatis does better embodying Brick with the required sadness and anger at his situation, which includes a loveless marriage to Maggie, the recent death of Skipper, his one true friend, and his disgust at the mendacity (drink) of his family battling over the fate of his father’s plantation estate.