You Can Have A Man With A Gun (Film Thoughts: The Old Man and The Gun)

The-Old-Man-The-Gun-Movie-PosterIs ‘The Old Man and the Gun’ really Robert Redford’s last film as an actor? if so, he leaves with a gentle bang here, because his performance as Forrest Tucker is so lived-in, so natural and effortless that in my mind, the character feels like he is Robert Redford.  But of course, Tucker Carlson is not Robert Redford, as Carlson is a bank robber and is the leader of the infamous ‘Over The Hill Gang,’ who robbed banks in the early 80s. And David Lowery’s film feels like very much of the ear, from the titles to the music, to the film filter not dissimilar to Instagram’s Vintage hues.  Before I saw the film, I wasn’t sure if this was the kind of film I would like, but I ended up really getting into it.  Sissy Spacek plays Jewel, the lady Tucker falls in love with at this point of his life, and seeing Redford and Spacek together is a treat – their chemistry so naturalistic that they would just be looking t each other and you have no doubt these characters are in love, I love the overall gentle feel of the film. It has a tenderness that you would not think this is a movie about bank robberies.  I don’t know if this film will find an audience, and I hope it does, as this is a nice send off if indeed this is Redford’s last outing as an actor.

I’m Just Wild About Happy (Television Thoughts: Happy Together, CBS)

Happy-Together-season-1-poster-CBS-key-artMuch has been said (and written) about that story about Harry Styles living at his accountant Ben Winston’s attic for two years. He did it to get away from the constant paparazzi so he chose the most ordinary people from his people. The premise sounded too interesting to be true, so of course it is the perfect foil for a sitcom. I was lured into the show by Harry, of course, and I really was not expecting to get much from watching this. But lo and behold, yes, I liked the pilot, and I liked it a lot that I am already looking forward to future episodes – and trust me, that doesn’t really happen often. Maybe because I really liked Marlon Wayans Jr and Amber Stevens West who play Jake and Claire, the couple who adopts Cooper (Felix Mallard) the pop star who wants to just chill in an ‘ordinary’ environment. Harry Styles himself is a producer of the show, and they aren’t shy on basing the character on him, from the flouncy blouses to the coif. Mallard, for now, plays the character a little too cool-for-school (perhaps intentionally) so I am curios as to how they plan on evolving it. I have to admit the show was a pleasant surprise for me: it’s charming and it put a smile on my face.

The F Smell (Perfume Thoughts: Fucking Fabulous, Tom Ford Private Collection)

fabuEver the provocateur, Tom Ford has named a fragrance ‘Fucking Fabulous.’  Apparently, that’s what someone said when they were testing the product, and it stuck. Ford said, sure why don’t we name it that, and initially, this was a limited edition fragrance that came with the invitation for his fashion show September last year. I know around this time past year this became available at his stores, but I had already been in the midst of my life-changing year then, so I never had the chance to sample. I thought, with all this whirlwind in my life, do I really need ‘Fucking fabulous’?

I didn’t, and I probably still don’t. This is kind of standard Tom Ford Private Collection fare. It is not entirely unique. It’s very well made, as all Tom Fords are, and  its burst of leather almond opening certainly catches one attention. But I have never really been an almond fan, so I was a little lukewarm with it. As it settles into the heart, tonka bean oil comes up, and we get that plastic, playdoh accord.I don’t dislike it, but I’ve smelled it before. It stays there , and it stays strong, as I would consider this scent in the stealth category. In the end, I don’t like it enough for its price point. Although, admittedly, its name attracts me to get it just for that fact.

And since we are talking about prices what i up with Tom Ford Private Collection being available everywhere? everywhere I turn it’s available – Nordstrom, even Bloomingdales. It certainly doesn’t speak well for the exclusivity of the brand for it to be popping up in all the familiar places. I doubt is Ford is happy about that.

Merry Murphy (Television Thoughts: Murphy Brown, CBS Thursdays)

p15528460_b_v8_ab‘Murphy Brown’ appears as the newest ‘reboot from the 90s’ show after “will and Grace’ and ‘Roseanne,’  and based on the pilot episode anyway, this feels like a misfire. While I am glad to see Candance Bergen reprise her role, the show seems lifeless and out of touch. Granted, it premieres after a day of riveting reality television that is the Supreme Court Nomination hearings of Brett Kavanaugh so it has very tough competition. But after an exasperating day of dealing with the harsh reality that we are in now, lame jokes about Trump are the last thing I need to hear. I hope the show gets beyond all that, because there is a lot of promise here. Brown is now a host of a morning show at a Cable News Network so there’s a lot of potential there. Plus her child, Avery, is now a hunky adult (Jake McDorman) and is a journalist as well, and just happens to be on a show competing with his mother at a rival cable network. That sounds like a good set-up. I doubt the show will veer very much away from its topical politics stance, so we will see how much my tolerance will be for it.

Cool Calm Colette (Movie Thoughts: Colette)

large_colette-poster‘Colette’ is good, but it could have been better. The film is sort of a biography of Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette, but is mostly known as Colette. She was a feminist before that term existed, a trailblazer if there ever was one. The film smartly tracks her path from a small town girl who got swept off her feet by Henry Gauthier-Villars, who released books under the name Willy (these said books are ghost-written by other people)  After Willy’s deals with these writer dried up (mostly from bad financial transactions) he forces his Gaby to write something for him, and the result is the’Claudine’ series, which becomes a Parisian sensation. When Colette tries to get her independence from him, things go awry, and with that she explores her same-sex afflictions. While Director Wash Westmoreland does a great job on the first half of the film, the second part seems muddled. I don’t get some of the motivation on some of Colette’s actions, resulting on some WTF moments. Keira Knightley as Colette is fantastic, and she goes through the transformation of Colette well from provincial to Parisian. A lot of times she cuts through her underwritten character. She brings real heart and soul to Colette, but I just still could not connect to her. It’s mostly me, for sure, as the audience started clapping for her when the credits came up.

colette-british-movie-poster

But Just For Me (Movie/Stage Thoughts: An American In Paris, London Cast, Dominion Theater)

AAIP_Playful_420x5881I am really loving this trend of Broadway productions being shown at movie theaters. Perhaps because I am no longer in New York City, and this gets me close to my beloved theaters. I saw a screening of ‘An American in Paris’ and quickly jumped to get a ticket. In this case, this is from the 2017 West End production which closed January 2018, with the same production team, and it even ‘imported’ the two principal actors: Robbie Fairchild and Leanne Cope (he from New York City Ballet, she from Royal Ballet Company)

I saw the Broadway production and fell in love with the show instantly.  I loved the direction and choreography of Christopher Wheedon, who seamlessly incorporated ballet into the show. Here the ballet is so prominent it is as if it was another character in the story. I thought Fairchild was so fantastic in the role and cannot imagine the show without him, so it’s great that the show is being ‘preserved’ like this with him on the role.

I cannot imagine the last time I had a smile on my face for a straight two hundred and fifty minutes. And my biggest takeaway from the production? That it is one of the most romantic shows I have seen in recent years. The show was beautifully shot – with closeups on intimate moments, and great aerial shots so we can fully appreciate the artistic fluidity of the dancing. And the Gershwin songs got to me, even if I have heard those  songs a million times. I kind of miss Max Von Essen and Brandon Uranowitz from the original Broadway cast, but David Seadon Young’s ‘But Not For Me’ is just as haunting.  The movie, and show, is a treat.

The Emotions of Baking (Stage Thoughts: The Cake, Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater)

1531166572_front_image_TheCake-206x270Now is the time of Trump, and now is the time when the Supreme Court has declared that a baker can discriminate against a same-sex couple, giving him the right to refuse to bake a cake for a gay wedding. I personally would not want someone like that to bake my cake anyway but I know that yes it just isn’t right – someone’s hate should not be celebrated, as Trump and the Republicans do. That is where I stand as I enter the Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater at the Geffen Playhouse to watch ‘The Cake,’ a play written by Bekah Brumstetter. I learned from her bio that Brumstetter writes for ‘This Is Us,’ and I am still unsure if that was a good or bad thing.

I liked ‘The Cake.’ It flips the famous Supreme Court Case by having a lesbian couple be rejected by a baker (played by Debra Jo Rupp)  I always say that these case become more ‘human’ when it starts to affect people you know, and that is exactly what happens here. The baker has known one of the brides she childhood, and is desperate to bake her that cake, so we see her internal struggle. But, she also follows the bible and her church, and they are telling her otherwise – that it is a sin to do it.  I can get pretty closed-minded on things, and this play has an appealing actress play someone I normally would not like. So I listen to the other side, and I disagree, and I try to understand her. The play makes the case for civility and common sense, something that is lacking in society nowadays more often than not. There are aspects of the play I disliked – why all the senseless nudity? – but I have to admit it opened my eyes very briefly in understanding ‘the other side.’