Saturday, November 30, 2013

Enough Said - Movie Review

Enough Said (PG-13) 93 minutes A
Second Chances

Starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus, James Gandolfini, Catherine Keener, Toni Collette, Ben Falcone, Amy Landecker, Tracey Fairaway, Eve Hewson and Tavi Gevins

Nicole Holofcener is quietly becoming one of my favorite filmmakers. She has written and directed: Walking and Talking (1996), Lovely and Amazing (2001), Friends with Money (2006), Please Give (2010), and the wonderful new film starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus and the late James Gandolfini, Enough Said.  In each of the aforementioned films Holofcener created something humanistic, funny, slightly sad, and memorable.  It's no coincidence that her first job in the film industry was working on the set of Woody Allen's 1982 masterpiece, A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy.  Four years later she was an apprentice editor for Allen's Hannah and Her Sisters, one of the best films in cinematic history. It's no wonder Holofcener is becoming such a distinguished force in film and television.

I haven't said much about Enough Said, but that's because I love this film so much I don't want to give anything away.  Enough Said is smart, has great acting and nearly made me cry.  This film isn't going to change the world, but for an hour and half it took me out of mine. Highly highly recommended for those not opposed to a sweet and funny romcom. 
Bonus Rental Review
Nobody Walks (R) 83 minutes B
Fatal Attraction

Home Release date: January 2013
Starring John Krasinski, Olivia Thirlby, Rosemarie DeWitt, India Ennenga, Dylan McDermott, Justin Kirk, Rhys Wakefield, Emanuele Secci, Sam Lerner and Mason Welch

File this one under, "Bitter indie drama that is not for everyone."  This film doesn't quite achieve the emotional breadth it may or may not be shooting for.  But, it is an intriguing story of a horny, skinny jean wearing femme fatale and an undersexed married man.  Not to mention the other infatuation laden side plots. I am becoming convinced that I like everything Lena Dunham touches(she co-wrote the film).  Nobody Walks generally received terrible reviews;  however, it did take home a "Special Jury Prize (for Producing)" at Sundance 2012.  This one is worth a look for those who like awkward, abrupt, relationship driven indie dramas- everyone else should steer clear.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Love, Set, Match @ the Bluebird Theater (Concert Review)

Tennis @ Bluebird Theater B+ 
Photo by RW
I was excited about seeing Tennis, the Denver-based indie pop band at the Bluebird Theater tonight. The husband and wife team of Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley spawned one of my favorite albums of 2012, Young and Old, and based on that gem the concert was destined to be a groovy kick-off to the Thanksgiving holiday. An energetic crowd welcomed the band, who were happy to be wrapping up their tour at home after dodging a tornado, being robbed and getting sick while on the road. They played songs from both of their studio albums  and the new EP, Small Sound. They also debuted a new song that had previously never been performed live. South of France opened for Tennis.  I liked what I'd heard from them prior to the concert. But, unfortunately their opening set was a little hit and miss... Nevertheless, check out South of France at and look for Tennis on tour in 2014:

1/3 Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court Gallery
1/4 Boise, ID @ Neurolux
1/5 Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios
1/6 Vancouver, Canada @ Fortune Sound Club
1/7 Seattle, WA @ Barboza
1/10 San Francisco, CA @ Bottom of the Hill
1/11 Los Angeles, CA @ The Satellite
1/12 San Diego, CA @ Soda Bar
1/15 Austin, TX @ The Parish
1/16 Dallas, TX @ Club Dada
1/17 Norman, OK @ Opolis
1/18 Kansas City, MO @ Record Bar

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Mission Accomplished! (Theatre Review)

The Book of Mormon @ The Buell Theatre A

It is a beautiful thing when one realizes they are in the presence of greatness.  The Book of Mormon is the best musical I have ever seen and possibly the best production (in general) I've ever seen at the theatre. Extraordinary!

Book Of Mormon returns to Denver in 2015.  Tickets for those shows go on sale tomorrow morning.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Can't Sink This Town (Concert Review)

Freedy Johnston @ The Walnut Room B+
w/ Kris Harris & Al Trout
Photo by RW
When RW and I arrived at The Walnut Room we found a convenient parking spot in front of the venue.  We walked in and snagged a table right away. We devoured a delicious margheritaville pizza.  We found two seats in the front row.  The night was nearly perfect. 

Kris Harris opened the show with some playful honky tonk.  Al Trout entertained us to no end with his brand of gothic rock-a-billy.   Freedy Johnston reminded us why he was Rolling Stone magazine's songwriter of the year in 1994.  It's just too bad that the good people of Denver (and surrounding areas) don't appreciate one of the greatest songwriters of the 1990s.  For the second time in a row I watched and listened while Johnston played to an embarrassingly small Denver audience.  One can only hope that his forthcoming album, Neon Repairman, will help put him back on the map.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Three Nights, Three Reviews at the Starz Denver Film Festival

Starz Denver Film Festival Opening Night
Labor Day (PG-13), 111 minutes B

Starring Kate Winslet, Josh Brolin, Gattlin Griffith, Tobey Maguire, Clark Gregg, J.K. Simmons, Brooke Smith and James Van Der Beek

A lonely divorcee is befriended by an escaped convict.  It features a pie making scene that rivals the pottery wheel scene in Jerry Zucker's 1990 film, Ghost.  Some film goers will give Labor Day the "yeah right" eye roll because romantically it feels a little too fanciful.  Nevertheless, writer-director Jason Reitman couldn't go wrong with Kate Winslet, Josh Brolin, and Gattlin Griffith. 

Griffith was awarded the 2013 Starz Denver Film Festival Rising Star Award after the film.  Labor Day is based on the novel by Joyce Maynard.  The release date for this film is Christmas 2013

Starz Denver Film Festival Big Night
Nebraska (R) 115 minutes B+

Starring Rance Howard, Missy Doty, Stacy Keach, Bob Odenkirk, Devin Ratray, Will Forte, June Squibb and Bruce Dern

Alexander Payne's road trip dramedy was nominated for a Palme d'Or, while Bruce Dern won the Best Actor award at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year.  If you're looking for a bittersweet, small town father-son road trip film, this is a must-see! This film opens in limited release next week.

Starz Denver Film Festival Closing Night
At Middleton (R) 99 minutes B-

Starring Vera Farmiga, Taissa Farmiga, Spencer Lofranco,Thomas Skerritt  and Andy Garcia

At Middleton plays like a funny and fluffy love story.  Two married adults meet and fall in love while accompanying their kids on a college admissions tour. This film is very entertaining, but the comedy stuff really outweighs the dramatic story line here... and that's too bad.  The release date for this film is January 31, 2014.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Must Love Dogs (Theatre Review)

Sylvia @ Lone Tree Arts Center B

Sylvia is an A.R. Gurney play about a man, a dog, and his marriage. Greg (Jonathan C. Kaplan) is essentially going through a mid-life crisis.  His wife (Kim Staunton), views her husband's new dog as a major inconvenience to their empty nester lifestyle. 

Recommended for dog loving couples.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Mazzy Star Still Shines Brightly (Concert Review)

Mazzy Star @ the Ogden Theatre 11/10/13 B-

In the dark shadows of the Ogden Theatre, Hope Sandoval's quiet voice, petite figure and ethereal presence reminded me of a shy college freshman more than a 40-something veteran rock star.  Mazzy Star has not toured since 1996, but their stop in Denver last night drew a healthy crowd.  They opened a dreamy 75 minute set with "Look on Down from the Bridge," followed by "Cry Cry" from 1996's Among My Swan. I never expect a band to play a lot of their back catalog when they are supporting new material, so I wasn't surprised that they only played three songs from my favorite Mazzy Star album- 1993's So Tonight I Might See.  However, I was surprised that they played less than half of their new songs from their new album, Seasons of Your Day. Sandoval was not much of a talker, instead they had short non-musical/artful noise interludes that filled the dead air between songs.  Overall, it was a solid show if not a little undemonstrative.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Wildflowers and the Natural World (Book Review)

The Wild Iris - Louise Glück B-
Published November 1993

Glück's Pulitzer Prize winning collection, The Wild Iris, is written from three different points of view; An omnipresent god, flowers, and a human. It feels a little unfair to rate the book after one reading because the poems demand to be read and re-read numerous times. However, many of these poems didn't engage me like I thought they might. The Wild Iris is an interesting concept and Glück is a wonderful writer; but, ultimately the poems left me slightly underwhelmed.