Here’s a roundup of some entertainment I’ve seen recently.
The first and only thing I’ve gotten around to seeing on my newish Roku set is the movie Weird: The Al Yankovic Story, starring the unlikely but oddly convincing Daniel Radcliff. I’m a big Weird Al fan, owning at least 90% of his work on LP or CD.
I imagine that familiarity with not only the music but the backstory of the creation of the songs and the launching of this career would enhance the appreciation of the storyline. The movie was written by Al and director Eric Appel, and it is a parody of biopic films about musicians.
It’s often funny, definitely silly, and inevitably excessive, especially in the second half, featuring Madonna (Evan Rachel Wood), when the pace sags for me.
The pool scene featuring Dr. Demento (Rainn Wilson), Wolfman Jack (Jack Black), and several well-known icons is my favorite. I also liked the resolution involving Al’s father (Toby Huss). And Al is convincing s the record producer who wants to have nothing to do with Weird Al.
The film sometimes seems rushed, probably because of its 18-day shooting schedule, but I’m glad I saw it.
My wife and I had said in the spring that we might see three or four shows at Mac-Haydn Theatre in Chatham, NY, over the summer. Suddenly, it was Sunday, August 13, and the final day of the third or fourth show. She said, do you want to go see Godspell?
But this Godspell was sublime. Check out this review: ” This Godspell, this gospel according to [director Trey] Compton, is an edgy, piercing, gritty, brilliant piece of theatre… “
This is how the show starts: “Cue the Gospel. As the ensemble cast of eight enters, each clutches a cell phone in his or her hand as if they are the last lifelines to their very existence. The soon-to-be disciples are quite literally separated one from another by virtue of Compton’s sharp and intentional staging, scattered about the theatre like the wandering souls they are at this moment.
“Looking for all the world like a world-weary crowd gathered on a dark subway track awaiting the last train of the day, they begin to deliver the Prologue/Tower of Babble, a number not always included in every production, but thankfully included here…
“[It] is a truly unique, brilliant, thought-provoking, cutting-edge work of theater art.” That says it all.
My wife wanted to know if I wanted to go to the Spectrum Theatre to see the film The 39 Steps (1935). I had never seen it, so absolutely.
What I liked is that the protagonist, Richard Hannay (Robert Donat), a Canadian vacationing in London, didn’t believe the mysterious agent Annabella Smith (Lucie Mannheim) and her fanciful tale about an international spy ring involving something called the “39 steps.”
That is, until Smith ends up dead in Hannay’s apartment, with him as the only suspect. Hannay has to elude those chasing him while trying to figure out the truth behind the secret. His life becomes entangled with Pamela (Madeleine Carroll), his unwilling accomplice, who doesn’t believe Richard any more than Richard initially believed Annabella.
The chase is a bit improbable, as the pursuers are mainly inept. It’s also a very humorous and early rom-com.
Incidentally, I did see The 39 Steps before, but it involved shadow puppets.