Wal-Mart is home to some interesting deals, and it seems they have a deal designed just for me, only problem is I already have both items they’ve packaged together. What they’ve done is get with Universal Pictures and packaged some of their movies together in little Wal-Mart exclusive packages usually for a great price. In this case, what was packaged together was Mamma Mia! The Movie with Xanadu.
No doubt the decision was made because Mamma Mia appeals to a musical audience that appreciates ABBA as that is the basis for the music in the musical. Olivia Newton-John headlines Xanadu as a very late 1970’s early 1980’s attempt to build on her amazing success in Grease with a musical like picture. What Wal-Mart and Universal execs probably didn’t realize the packaging of ABBA and Olivia Newton-John together is something that’s been done before. When ABBA won the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest for Sweden, Olivia Newton-John was also competing in the contest for England. And when ABBA were making a concerted effort to try and build their success in the United States, they appeared on one of Olivia Newton-John’s television specials along with Andy Gibb. So it’s not the first time ABBA and ONJ have crossed paths.
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Last week when I was introduced to Rosalind Russell’s “Auntie Mame” film from 1958, one of the hosts of the screening referred to the Lucille Ball lead musical version simply called “Mame” from 1974 as an abomination. Naturally, I felt obligated to see for myself how allegedly terrible this version is. And I didn’t find it horrible at all, in fact I quite enjoyed it.
To preface seeing both films, I should admit, I was actually introduced to the Original Broadway Cast recording by my Australian friend, Graeme Read, who is a big fan of the song “Open A New Window” and as a result of his introducing me to the song, I’ve actually had the cast album for a number of years now. I knew of Angela Landsbury through the “Murder She Wrote” series and Bea Arthur through both “Maude” and “The Golden Girls.” Also my grandmother looked a lot like Bea Arthur, I’ve always felt like anything Bea did was a larger than life version of my grandma. So anytime I see Bea Arthur on “The Golden Girls” or play a song from “Mame” I am always reminded of my grandma.
Continue reading Lucille Ball Is Enjoyable As “Mame”
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One of my favorite local bands, Roxy Monoxide, announced they were going to have a pre-release party for the CD entitled “Another Day, Another Episode” at San Diego’s Beauty Bar located near the intersection of El Cajon Blvd. and Euclid Ave.
Having never been to the Beauty Bar, I looked them up online and comes to find out they are a chain of locations with Beauty Bar’s in a variety of cities, including Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Austin, and Brooklyn. They seem to have quite the concept. In style reminiscent of a 1950’s or 1960’s style beauty salon, it’s a full service bar. Think “Beauty School Dropout” from Grease crossed with alcohol and you’ll get the idea. Go to the bar and get your martini and sit under an old style salon hair dryer. Let’s just say, the B-52’s would never look out of place here. (Check out the photos of the venue here.)
San Diego’s Beauty Bar consists of a main bar area and a tented performance space in behind the bar that is connected via a roll door. It definitely wasn’t the most modern looking venue, but I liked the them of it. You have to appreciate the double meaning of calling the place the Beauty Bar, as it was certainly a bar in the alcohol sense of the world, and wouldn’t have been out of place with bar as in bar of soap. Personally I’m surprised the venue isn’t in Hillcrest.
Continue reading Roxy Monoxide Rocks The Beauty Bar For CD Pre-Release Party
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One of the movies I was most looking forward to seeing this year was the return of Indiana Jones. Its been nearly twenty years since Indiana Jones’ last adventure where we joined the character on his search for the Holy Grail. Well what adventure would be exciting enough to bring the character back for yet another adventure, and it seems that George Lucas and Steven Spielberg felt that the “Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull” should be that adventure that ushers in a revisit to the world of Indiana Jones. Sadly, I found the adventure to feel like it was blazed on a path already well paved by other movies. While I don’t regret going to see the new Indiana Jones film, it just felt like a big let down for the type of adventure you come to expect from Indiana Jones.
I personally quite enjoyed seeing Harrison Ford embark on another adventure as Indiana Jones. His acting was great. I did like touches that throw back to the earlier films such as a nod to the Ark from Raiders, the convention of flight with the animated flight path on maps, and even nods to characters from previous films not featured here, as well as about the only true genuine laugh I got from the film involving Indy’s dislike of snakes, however, the plot just really failed to serve the sense of adventure I was expecting from a character like Indiana Jones. In fact, I’m almost sure that had the lead character been something new instead of Indiana Jones, I’d have felt less disappointed and might actually feel it was a better movie than I think it is.
The movie just felt like an endless series of homages to other movies, that very little about the plot felt original. Cate Blanchett’s Russian felt like a knock off of Boris and Natasha just without Boris. The presence of John Hurt and the shape of the alien head just felt so much like Alien that I kept waiting for one to burst from John Hurt’s chest. The entire sequence with the ants felt like a similar scene with scarabs from one of the recent Mummy movies. Shia LaBeouf’s character could have been yanked out of American Graffiti or Grease, or just for sheer lameness, West Side Story. The alien plotline felt like a cross between E.T. and Close Encounters Of The Third Kind. The whole chase through the jungle sequence felt like it was easily ripped off from the James Bond movies or even a much slower paced version of the speeder bike sequence from the Return of the Jedi installment of the Star Wars franchise. (Additionally, I thought it kind of interesting that the vehicles needed a truck to slash away the jungle just to get through it, but as soon as it was damaged, the chase sequence occurs and all the other vehicles could ride practically side by side through the now non-existent thickness of the jungle.) Continue reading Indiana Jones And The Stolen Movie Plots
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