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Blog Posts from May 2013

Summer Theatre Kicks Off

Posted: 4:10pm 5/23/2013

SUMMER THEATRE KICKS OFF

 

Summer is the busiest time for live theatre in Wichita.  In June, Music Theatre of Wichita featuring top professionals from New York and LA presents the hilarious MONTY PYTHON’S SPAMALOT June 12-16 and  the thrilling LES MISERABLES June 26-30. The Crown Uptown wraps the family friendly LITTLE WOMEN June 8 then reopens with HAIRSPRAY, the hit musical about 60’s rock n civil rights June 21. Cabaret Oldtown is still going strong with ALL WAYS A WOMAN!  at least through June 15. Kechi Playhouse starts their season with the wacky YOU TAKE THE CAKE every weekend this month.  The Wichita Community Theatre serves up southern humor with THE DIXIE SWIM CLUB June 6-23.  Mosley Street Melodrama has a new evening’s entertainment with BUTCH CASSIDAY & THE CAN’T DANCE KID.  You can also venture out to area parks for Wichita Shakespeare Company’s Wild West TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA.  Give live theatre a try! 


THE VISUALLY STUNNING GATSBY

Posted: 4:07pm 5/23/2013
THE VISUALLY STUNNING GATSBY

THE VISUALLY STUNNING GATSBY

First a couple of questions: have you read THE GREAT GATSBY? It Is a classic America novel frequently assigned in high school and college and it was Wichita’s Big Read last fall.  More importantly, if you’ve read it, did you like it? Finally, if you answered yes, do you realize that a novel and a film are very different works of entertainment?

All that to preface:  I love the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel as a piece of literature and I liked the new Baz Luhrmann movie as a piece of cinema very much.  Luhrmann of MOULIN ROUGE and ROMEO + JULIET visually over the top fame has taken the 1925 story of Jazz Age lost love and disillusionment and turned it into a truly gorgeous movie very much in the style of movies that were made by the great film directors of the 1920s such as Fritz Lang, Josef von Sternberg, or F.W. Murnau if they had had 3D and CGI at their disposal.  Just like the novel, the whole story of millionaire mystery Jay Gatsby and his fickle lady love Daisy Buchanan is told by Gatsby’s only true friend, Nick Carraway, as a mournful memoir.  Because Nick is trying to work through his demons, the story and therefore the film is by no means straightforward reality.  It is the dazzled and confused memories of a young nobody who fell in with a ridiculously wealthy and careless crowd and (surely this is not a spoiler) no one’s story ends happily. 

 

Tobey McGuire ably plays the naïve vulnerable Nick with Leonardo diCaprio enigmatic as his memory of his fallen hero and Carey Mulligan equally enigmatic as the woman Gatsby loves.  It isn’t a happy tale and it invites you to reflect on what happened right along with Nick.  This feast for the eyes is also the best, most sumptuous use of 3D to tell a story since Scorsese’s HUGO.  GATSBY is visually a stunner.  Opening this in May, Warner Bros. has given audiences the ultimate alternative to superhero blockbusters.  Judging from its $50+ million opening weekend, their risk paid off.  If you want to see a truly cinematic movie  based on a great literary source, you SHOULD SEE IT.


IRON (FUNNY) MAN 3

Posted: 4:04pm 5/23/2013

IRON (FUNNY) MAN 3

Nobody in the packed theatre expected to be watching this year’s first summer movie wearing winter jackets.  I didn’t expect the threequel in this MARVEL comics franchise to be so entirely jokey and tongue in cheek.  IRON MAN 3 plays to its star Robert Downey Jr.’s greatest strength: sustaining a non-stop flow of smartass commentary about everyone and everything he encounters.  What appears to start out as a dark encounter with the brutality of modern terrorism gets turned on its head into a farcical melodramatic goof on superhero egos and vulnerabilities.  The plot is just a pretense for over two hours of impressive CGI stunts and funny  sight gags.  It is fun, not nearly as much fun as last year’s AVENGERS, but provides plenty of fun and laughs to keep us going until we get what looks to be a pretty dour MAN OF STEEL (ala THE DARK KNIGHT) next month.  I had a perfectly good time and you will too.  If you’re a regular moviegoer like the audience when I saw it, ranging in age from 8 to 80, this movie calls for a new critic proof classification:  YOU PROBABLY WILL SEE it.


HOW HOT WILL JUNE BE?

Posted: 3:56pm 5/23/2013

HOW HOT WILL JUNE BE?

 

We’ve made it through May, the first month of summer movies and things have gone pretty well.  Robert Downey blew away his enemies and the box office in IRON MAN 3. Leonardo diCaprio was an acquired taste that satisfied many movie goers in THE GREAT GATSBY.  STAR TREK ventured INTO DARKNESS and it was a fun journey back into the realm of Khan. FAST & FURIOUS had a sixth go round (really?!) and HANGOVER had a third (aren’t you expecting HANGOVER 4 to be a Celebrity Rehab edition?)

 

So what’s June got going?  There are three big action pics.  AFTER EARTH features Will Smith and his son Jaden apparently exploring whatever part of a post-apocalyptic Earth Tom Cruise didn’t address in OBLIVION. Don’t let the preview fool you.  From what I hear, this is Jaden’s movie, not Will’s.  Brad Pitt will be saving us all from post-apocalyptic death by zombies in WORLD WAR Z (the special effects look spectacularly creepy.) The big one of the three should be MAN OF STEEL which is Superman re-envisioned by Zack Snyder of 300 fame and Christopher Nolan of the Batman trilogy. It looks fascinating and very dark.  Surely at least a couple of those will be YOU WILL SEEs.

 

For some heat wave laughs, Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson reteam as they  move into middle aged roles (yikes) as trainees for Google  in THE INTERNSHIP (talk about product placement!) James Franco, Jonah Hill, Seth Rogen and Emma Watson (even these comedy buddies need a girl to tag along) face the end of everything in THIS IS THE END.  Sandra Bullock returns to comedy teaming up with the insane Melissa McCarthy in a female cop buddy movie THE HEAT.  Adults will probably enjoy the Pixar animated insanity of MONSTER UNIVERSITY as much as kids.  Hopefully most of those are at least COULD SEEs. 

 

Pretty busy promising month.  We’ll see.


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