Category Archives: Rant and Rave

Les Misérables -Musical

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Paris: The City of Light
-Les Mis tour: Not enough light.

Les Misérables aficionados talk about it “24 / 7”
-Les Misérables fanatics rave about it “2,4 / 6,0,1”

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“Les Misérables” returned to the DPAC stage in early February, more familiar and more reliable than any groundhog (American cultural reference for February). This show is partly spectacle, reminding me that it was the first on Broadway to stun me with its staging. It is mostly classic musical theater, reminding me that I’m not a pure fan of that genre (see below). This night there was much to like.
Continue reading Les Misérables -Musical

Risen (2016)

Rise up! And fall back in your favorite chair while “Risen” brings back an era of making movies you thought had passed. This film uses dialog, setting, story and scenery like those of the 1950s or early 1960s. Kirk Douglas could have fittingly walked across the landscapes leveraged very effectively in this 2016 film.

Don’t be surprised when you’re not surprised, for you know Yeshua’s story of rising after three days in a tomb. Don’t be picky about the depictions of your favorite apostle. Don’t berate the Biblical scenes you’ve always imagined to be somewhat different.

Do, perhaps, wonder why this film is in color. Do appreciate the orderly story telling by writer/director Kevin Reynolds, who made the intensely scenic but far more chaotic Waterworld twenty-one years earlier. Do, certainly, enjoy a relaxing evening with “Risen.”

Dunkirk

It was supposed to be a slam ‘dunk’ but I’m more ‘irk’ed!

History has one spectacular story. Writer/Director Christopher Nolan gums it up by knitting three together like a loosely woven afghan throw with holes everywhere. Give me Occam’s Razor and CUT! That is, if there are many ways to explain something, the simplest one is usually better. “Dunkirk” is not that.

Yes, I see the inspiration of Winston Churchill’s policy speech,
“… It is to wage war, by sea, land, and air …” Continue reading Dunkirk

On Your Feet! -Musical

Why see it:
The best touring talent I can imagine
-Upbeat entertainment for fans and families
-Broadway on tour, not an imitation
-Not necessary to know their music

Summary and thoughts:

The “Emilio & Gloria Estefan Broadway Musical” roared into the Durham (NC) Performing Arts Center like the winter storm that booked the same week here. But this stage spectacle won’t leave you cold.
Continue reading On Your Feet! -Musical

The Darkest Hour

The last day of the year was spent like January 1, 2017: in a movie theater. This time the topic was Winston Churchill’s early days as Prime Minister of Great Britain, a most worthy subject.

Mr. Churchill is quite a character who overcame much and showed leadership at a critical time despite lapses of cooperation and strong opposition (not just from Hitler). Those aspects are captured without moving outside its knitting into typical Hollywood fare (unnecessary explosions, chases, etc.). I appreciated that. Continue reading The Darkest Hour

Book Report: “The Quartet”

“The Quartet” by Joseph Ellis

  • DougInNC book report – – – “More than a Review”

“four men made history happen in a series of political decisions and actions that … have no equal in American history.”

“When in the course of human events” it becomes you to rediscover roots formed in the 1700s that, of necessity, must hold firmly to be the foundation of these United States, this book is to be examined.

Historian and writer Joseph Ellis finds a comfortable place employing more drama than a typical professor and factual stickiness when a playwright or screenwriter might come unglued. He leverages his own prior work as well as “standing on the shoulders of giants” that have traipsed this historical period. His story builds strength, then gushes with maximum content and consequence as chapter five covers the drama of the 1787 Constitutional Convention and particularly the orchestration around that event by James Madison. Continue reading Book Report: “The Quartet”

Book Review: “Maggie’s Dream”

Maggie’s Dream – by Leslie Tall Manning

  • DougInNC book Review

Author Manning quickly and crisply sets the stage, establishing the view from inside the title character’s head. Scene setting is terrific, with the writer clearly and consistently establishing who, what, when, and where. Her prose hearkens the time period using images of life in 1940s Baltimore and oft-forgotten brand names.

The confused Maggie of Chapter 3 faces uncertainty, saying, “It’s hard to know what I want when I haven’t had it yet.” The path to finding that core desire captivates the reader until she declares for “A life filled with magic and wonder.” Maggie lives before any Disneyworld dream, but Manning magically marshals vibrant visions in the heroine’s head. Continue reading Book Review: “Maggie’s Dream”