I'll give you the bad news first. The big movie opening last week was Dumb and Dumber To. A sequel that in 1994 then A-lister Jim Carrey scoffed at as preposterous. Who needs $10 million for a crap movie when people are beating down your door with offers? I guess when it's that or a reality show, the choice is a bit more tempting. The good news: a lot of terrific options were released this week as well. Perhaps studios sensed people steering clear of the cineplex. Who knows.
Story: The place is England and the time is the 1930s, between the two world wars of the 20th century. Richard Hannay is an unadventurous British chap, much taken to pondering his dull life but not inclined to do much to alter it. Then, one night while attending a performance by “Mr. Memory” at the London Palladium, he is approached by a beautiful but mysterious young woman who convinces him to escort her back to his home.
Story: Figaro, valet to Count Almaviva of Seville, is set to marry Susanna, maid to Countess Rosina Almaviva. The womanizing Count, determined to have Susanna, threatens to invoke the “feudal right of the manor,” by which he may take the place of his valet on the latter’s wedding night. This doesn’t set well with either Figaro or Susanna, who make plans to thwart the Count’s efforts.
Here are the best films currently in theaters. Depending on your mood, there's something for everyone.
Story: The times are tough in County Kildare, Ireland, and business hasn’t been good at the convenience store run by married couple Aiden and Dee. In fact, they’ve been forced to rent out their house and move their family of four into the back of their small store to make ends meet.
November is always an interesting month, cinematically speaking. The serious Oscar contenders rear their heads, the holiday family films are released, and a stray R-rated comedy or two makes an appearance for variety's sake. This November is no exception.
Story: Polly and Walter’s living room sofa doubles as a bed in their tiny and cramped New York City loft apartment. Space is at a premium because Walter, a seldom-employed actor whose glory days are behind him, has filled their dwelling with costumes from his many performances through the years as well as outfits he’s purchased along the way.
Students sewing costumes, building sets and even filling the director’s chair are common occurrences at Visitation Academy. Its middle and upper schools’ theater program, led by drama and speech teacher Marty Strohmeyer, allows young women to take the reins in four annual productions. “We believe in entrusting them as leaders—if you trust them, they are going to trust it and go with it,” Strohmeyer says.
Story: Don Pedro, Prince of Aragon, arrives in Messina following success in battle, accompanied by several of his men, including Benedick, Claudio and Don Pedro’s illegitimate brother, Don John. Don Pedro is invited to spend a month at the home of Leonato, whose daughter Hero is in love with Claudio.
Story: Theseus, Duke of Athens, prepares for his wedding to Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons. He is approached in his court by a nobleman named Egeus, who complains that his daughter, Hermia, prefers to marry a young man named Lysander rather than Demetrius, the suitor selected by her father.
If you're thinking of heading to the Cineplex this week, here's the recap of what's worth seeing:
Story: Bo lives a quiet but adventurous life with her parents in the middle of nowhere, somewhere in New Mexico. The “Land of Enchantment,” however, can be challenging for the home-schooled Bo, who yearns for amenities such as indoor plumbing and modern communication devices.
It seems that lately, a slew of former Saturday Night Live cast-members are branching out, with varying degrees of success. One need only glance at a Rob Schneider comedy to know the downside of these attempts. Will Forte turned in a solid performance in Nebraska, Tina Fey has had spotty success, and Will Ferrell is a superstar. And while Kristen Wiig had a monster hit with Bridesmaids, this is her first foray into an actor-driven independent film, and she and her SNL castmate Bill Hader deliver.
Nothing grabbing you at the theater? Here are the options for home:
Story: Six comic vignettes comprise two acts of humor. In Sure Thing, a man meets a woman in a coffee shop, where their dialogue is altered continually until they finally ‘click’ into a mutual attraction. Words, Words, Words focuses on a trio of chimpanzees placed before typewriters by a research scientist who is monitoring whether, given enough time, they can write Hamlet.
Story: Francis “Confidential” Henshall is hungry for work, literally. The erstwhile skiffle musician can’t think of anything but food as he wanders the streets of Brighton, England in 1963. As fate would have it, he finds employment working for a two-bit gangster named Roscoe Crabbe, who was thought to be dead but apparently is not. Soon, Roscoe and Francis are strong-arming Charlie “The Duck” Clench, another small-time hood.
Story: Life is fine and dandy for the residents of Armadillo Acres, a tiny trailer park in Stark, Florida, a fur piece from any main drag in the Sunshine State. Of course, they have their problems, which Betty and her pals Lin and Pickles describe with a flair for a receptive audience.
St. Louis' arts community is gearing up for a big season of live shows this fall! We went straight to the top and asked local arts and entertainment leaders what they're most excited about in the upcoming season:
Story: Travis has a predicament. He’s invited Shawn back to his apartment, and there’s a strong mutual attraction between them. Just as the relationship is getting intimate, though, Alyse walks through the door with her boyfriend, Ryan. Travis tells Shawn not to worry, that Alyse is just his wife.
Story: Dorante is an elegant, upper-class cad. He’s journeyed to Paris in 1644 in search of a wife, unaware that his father already has decided his marital fate. While there, Dorante stumbles upon an amiable chap named Cliton, an impoverished but decent fellow who needs a steady job. Cliton convinces Dorante that he should be Dorante’s servant, which appeals to the gentleman’s vanity.
It’s always hard seeing films with posthumous performances. I don’t mean watching a Jimmy Stewart classic or a Marilyn Monroe comedy. I mean watching Heath Ledger’s Joker or James Gandolfini in Enough Said. Here, we have Philip Seymour Hoffman (who died in February) in one of his final roles. Sadly, even his brilliant, charismatic performance isn’t enough to help this film.
Story: It’s 1961, and window washer J. Pierrepont Finch seems more absorbed in the book he’s reading than in cleaning the exterior of the World Wide Wicket building. He carries a self-help tome that describes in meticulous detail how an ambitious, enterprising young man (it is 1961) can rise to the top of the business world with nary an iota of talent.
Story: Last year, St. Louis Actors’ Studio introduced its LaBute New Theater Festival, a four-week offering of new, one-act plays receiving their world premieres at the Gaslight Theater. STLAS founding director William Roth and others at STLAS collaborated with noted playwright Neil LaBute, who agreed to lend his name to the festival and also to contribute an original work to the inaugural event.
Stage stars, music legends and acclaimed artists—oh my! Local arts institutions unveil this fall’s slate of creative new exhibitions and show-stopping live performances you won’t want to miss.