Tag Archives: Review

Fate and Free Will cross at Civic Theatre’s ‘Good People’

Courtesy of @grcivictheatre instagram
Courtesy of instagram: @grcivictheatre

susanne_albaitisThere’s the age-old debate, fate vs. free will. Margie has made choices in her life, or was it really just her fate?

 

Good People, running September 9 – 25 at Civic Theater, takes a look into the life of Margie, a single mother who loses her job in the first scene. Her boss Stevie is no tyrant, rather the son of a friend who is only trying to keep “corporate” happy. Margie is chronically late to work, leaving the young man no choice but to let her go. When Margie pleads with Stevie to keep her, we begin to see a glimpse of how Margie’s life has reached this point.

 

Margie grew up in South Boston, a working class neighborhood where getting out was more the exception than the norm. Like many of her friends, Margie remained in South Boston after she got pregnant in high school. Her baby, Joyce, was born with special needs. This made finding and keeping a job difficult for Margie because there were days where she was unable to leave on time if Joyce was upset. She often relied on friends, who proved to be inconsistent, for daycare. And college? Forget about it. Margie’s parents did not encourage her to try in high school, college was never an option.

 

But there was someone who made it out of South Boston, Mike. Mike became a doctor, a fertility specialist and he moved to a big house in Chestnut Hill. He married a younger woman, Kate, and together they had a daughter. Margie knew Mike in high school, they even dated for a few months before Mike left for college.

 

Margie and Mike’s past begins to unfold when Margie seeks out Mike for a possible job in his office. Margie takes it one step further when she shows up at his home for a party that he had explained was cancelled.  Part heart-felt reunion, part awkward culture clash, the evening revealed and kept many secrets.  It also made you wonder, was Margie’s, or anyone’s, station in life the result of their decisions, or just their fate?

 

This small cast delivered a huge performance. From the accents to emotions, the cast had it covered. There were a lot of laughs too. The three ladies, Margie, Jean and Dottie are South Boston’s version of Monica, Rachel and Phoebe. They bicker, go to bingo and you can tell there’s a lot of love for each other in there too. Kate’s tenderness balanced Mike’s tough, but understandable attitude toward Margie. She is the voice of reason when the evening of the party takes an uncomfortable trip down memory lane.

 

Good People, a thought provoking, dramedy, is a must see start to Civic Theater’s amazing 2016-2017 season. Visit the Civic Theater website for more information.

Review: Grace Potter at Meijer Gardens

Grace Potter, with her Gibson Signature Flying V electric guitar, kept the crowd on its feet Wednesday at Meijer Gardens. (Supplied photo)
Grace Potter, with her Gibson Signature Flying V electric guitar, kept the crowd on its feet Wednesday at Meijer Gardens. (Supplied photo)

30-second Review

 

Grace Potter, Aug. 3 at Meijer Gardens amphitheater.

 

After a pleasing and energetic seven-song, 35-minute opening set by Brynn Elliott (she had me by coming out a cappella to start but her snippet of U2 imbedded in “Lose Control” cemented it), Potter and her mostly non-Nocturnal band hit the stage before 8 p.m., played right up to the 10 p.m. “fire marshal” closing time at the Gardens. The 17 (or so) song set was highlighted by a mix of songs from her 2015 retro rock solo album “Midnight”, a steady stream of her varied work from her “ … and the Nocturnals” recordings, and a couple trips into jam-band deep space. Highlights for me “Look What We’ve Become” from her “Midnight” – with her shredding on her Gibson Signature Flying V electric guitar – and the gentle, sweet, Nocturnal days’ “Stars” to open her encore. Bottom line is that on a hot August night, Potter and her big, bad rock ‘n’ roll band had most of the crowd on its feet almost from start to finish, and those that didn’t shouldn’t have been there anyway.

 

Grace Potter, with her Gibson Signature Flying V electric guitar, kept the crowd on its feet Wednesday at Meijer Gardens. (Supplied photo)
Grace Potter, with her Gibson Signature Flying V electric guitar, kept the crowd on its feet Wednesday at Meijer Gardens. (Supplied photo)

May I have more, please?

 

Grace Potter, with her Nocturnals, cut their Vermont polished teeth by touring on the jam band circuit (with the likes of Dead Head heir and fellow Vermonters Phish), but as proved by her newest solo recording, she is really more in the rock diva mold of Stevie Nicks in her late 1970s and early 1980s Fleetwood Mac – ya, I know that dates me, but such are the joys of long life.

 

Potter’s style on stage is all free-flowing, hippy-dippy girl glamor, but when she rocks, she really rocks hard. Whether it is dancing around barefoot while one of her bandmates goes off (special note to Benny Yurco’s guitar work) or when she is playing her own guitar leads or pounding on the Hammond B3 organ, Potter is at her best when she is bigger than life reveling in her retro rock babe stardom.

 

When she comes on-stage, all big and bad and bold, she is all “Here I am, ready to party with me?” On songs like the “Paris (Ooh La La)” and “The Lion the Beast the Beat” she is larger than life; she is “the star” and she knows it. When she accepts a bouquet of flowers from a middle-age fan, or a bra of unknown origin (she, clearly, has admirers and ardent admirers), she flaunts her trophies. But, as any good hippy-dippy girl is capable, she knows how to speak from the heart, and for the heart of our hippy-dippy planet, as on the fine new track “The Miner.”

 

But whether hitting it hard or playing it smooth on the vocals, Potter – like Nicks used to do so long ago – gives the audience all she has. Borrowing from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, as Potter did, “Give it away, give it away, give it away now!”

 

Looking Ahead

 

What’s up next with the Fifth Third Bank Summer Concerts at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park: War and Los Lonely Boys on Aug. 10, with tickets still available; also with tickets available are Toto on Aug. 6 and the rescheduled Tears for Fears on Sept. 26.

 

— K.D. Norris

 

Schedule and more info: meijergardens.org/calendar/summer-concerts-at-meijer-gardens

 

Free concerts on Tuesday nights (through August): http://www.meijergardens.org/calendar/tuesday-evening-music-club/

 

Batman v Superman: From Hall H to the big screen

Batman v Superman

By: Katelyn Kohane

 

“The greatest gladiator match in the history of the world. God vs Man. Day versus night! Son of Krypton versus Bat of Gotham!”

 

First two rows: Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill. Bottom left: Gal Gadot, bottom center: Jesse Eisenberg, and bottom right: Amy Adams.
First two rows: Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill. Bottom left: Gal Gadot, bottom center: Jesse Eisenberg, and bottom right: Amy Adams.

Last year, I was lucky enough to get into Hall H at San Diego Comic-Con for a first look at Batman v Superman. The preview was amazing and the whole cast was there! I had the privilege to see Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Jesse Eisenberg, Gal Gadot and Zach Snyder.

 

Let’s take a quick glance back at some of the actors and actresses who have portrayed some of these great characters: Batman, Superman, Lex Luthor, Lois Lane and Wonder Woman.

 

Lois Lane has been portrayed by Noel Neill, Margot Kidder, Teri Hatcher, Erica Durance, and now Amy Adams.

 

Lex Luthor has been portrayed by Kevin Spacey, Gene Hackman, Lyle Talbot, Michael Rosenbaum (who is my favorite Lex Luthor uptil now.) and now Jesse Eisenberg.

 

Batman v Superman Hall HWonder Woman has been portrayed by Lynda Carter and now Gal Gladot (she is awesome. Loved her in Fast and the Furious).

 

Superman has been portrayed by Christopher Reeve, Dean Cain, Tom Welling (my favorite Superman), Brandon Routh and now Henry Cavill.

 

Last but not least, of course, is Batman who has been portrayed by Adam West, George Clooney, Val Kilmer (one of my favorite actors), Christian Bale (my favorite Batman) and now Ben Affleck.

 

Ben Affleck held his own as Batman
Ben Affleck held his own as Batman

It certainly was humbling being in Hall H to see the new characters in person. Many people, including myself, were worried about Ben Affleck playing Batman. However, that worry is no longer there. I think he has proved that he can tackle the role.

 

I personally enjoyed this take on Batman v Superman, and while I loved parts of the cast, there is certainly room for improvement. Superman is overshadowed by Batman, and I am team Batman all the way. This Batman is a little darker than normal with Batman utilizing more guns. Hey, desperate times call for darker measures.

 

Within the first two days of release, I had already made it to the theater twice to soak in all the action. In fact, I liked it so much that I even bought the sound track composed by Hans Zimmer.

 

As the movie opens you see separate sides of both Batman and Superman. We catch up with Bruce Wayne, Clark Kent and Diana Prince (Wonder Woman) at a party hosted by Lex Luthor. Bruce Wayne comes to investigate Lex Luthor and Diana Prince is at the party to see if she can get a picture back from Lex that he stole from her. Diana ends up stealing the hard drive from Bruce, but since she can’t unlock it, she ends up giving it back to Bruce.

 

Bruce becomes more of a detective and unlocks the hard drive to find a picture of Diana. He also notices that Lex has found others like her including the Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg.

 

Superman had to answer to the Senate
Superman had to answer to the Senate

Superman gets into some trouble and the Senate holds a hearing. Lex blows up the hearing and starts even more trouble. Lex kidnaps Lois Lane and Martha Kent. Superman saves Lois Lane but Martha is still held by Lex. Lex threatens Superman that he has to fight Batman in order to save Martha. Superman and Lois attempt to convince Batman to save Martha. Batman obliges. Then Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman fight Doomsday. Two are victorious, while one scarifies himself to save the day.

 

(And breath!)

 

I condensed the movie down considerably, but you get the gist. If you haven’t seen it yet, the epic fight is worth the price of admission.

 

The first night I saw the film I went with a group of friends. I have to admit the first time was better than the second because you didn’t know what to expect. On second viewing, this time with a few friends from the West Michigan Film and Video Alliance, I noticed that the dream sequences were a little long and so was the fight with Doomsday. Overall, I’d give it an A-.

 

Don’t forget that Captain America: Civic War is coming to theaters of May 6. Suicide Squad will premier on August 5. The superhero movies never stop coming.

 

“It may be the Gotham city and me… we just have a bad history with freaks dressed like clowns.”

 

Katie works in the film industry as a camera operator and has worked on films like ‘All You Can Dream’, ‘Set Up’ and a TV show called ‘American Fallen Soldier.’ She loves helping WKTV with the Citizen Journalism team and working as a tech at Amway Grand Plaza Hotel. Katie loves working in the film industry and loves watching movies just as much!

As the Force Awakens, Some Questions Still Linger

Star Wars - KatieBy: Katelyn Kohane

“Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.” Han Solo once spoke those words in a galaxy far, far away.

A few weeks ago, they had the premier for The Force Awakens in Los Angeles at the TLC Chinese Theater. I watched the event online and it was spectacular! The set up they had for the event was supposedly twice the size of the Oscars Red Carpet event.

There were fans that waited at least a week or longer to try to win tickets for the premier. I heard that Anthony Daniels showed up one night and talked to the fans waiting.

As I watched the premier, I saw that George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, J.J. Abrams, John Williams, Billy Dee Williams, Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and many more show up to the event.

About a week later, the movie opened in theaters to the mass public. I went on opening day, December 18. I took the day off from work and met friends at the theater. As I was waiting for the movie, I received a message from a good friend of mine who works in one of the restaurants in Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida, she was standing five feet from George Lucas.

I also received a few messages from my friends asking why I hadn’t gone the night before on the 17th. You know it’s a big event when you’re already behind for seeing a film on opening day instead of the night before with seemingly everyone else.

My friends and I waited in line at the theater for a couple of hours ahead of time because we wanted to make sure we got good seats. When we sat down I had a troubling thought, “Guys what if the movie sucks?” Except, it wasn’t an original thought, I was totally referring to Eric’s line in the movie Fanboys.

Star Wars - Katie
Fans waiting in line in December 18th.

SPOILERS AHEAD!! Read at your own RISK!!

The Force Awakens takes place 30 years after Return of Jedi. Where we meet Poe Dameron, a fighter pilot for the Resistance, who is sent by General Leia Orgainana to retrieve a map with the location of Luke Skywalker. Which, the First Order, and Kylo Ren are also looking for.

The First Order sends Kylo Ren and the stormtroopers to Jakoo to retrieve the map from Poe and the Resistance. Before being captured trying to save a village from Stormtroopers and Kylo Ren, Poe made sure to give the map to his droid BB-8. BB-8 escapes and eventually meets up with the story’s main protagonist Rey and, eventually, Fin.

Fin, a former stormtrooper, aids Poe in escaping from the clutches of Kylo Ren and the First Order.

Before Poe escaped from the First Order, Klyo Ren tortured him to find out where he hid the map. Ren learns of the maps location in a BB-8 droid still back on Jakoo. So, he heads to the planet to retrieve the droid.

During the attempted retrieval, BB-8, Rey and Fin are attacked by stormtroopers and end up stealing the Millennium Falcon to escape. Once far enough away from Jakoo, the ship is caught in a freighters tracker beam. Assuming the worst, Rey, Finn and BB-8 hide in the bowels of the Falcon. However, this is when we first meet the old starts as Han Solo and Chewbacca have stolen back their old ship!

The story now has a new gang with Rey, Fin, Han Solo and Chewbacca. The group makes a stop to one of Han’s friends, and while they are there, Rey finds Luke Skywalker’s Lightsaber and starts to realize that she is Force sensitive and that there may be more in her background than meets the eye.

Star Wars - Katie
This was on our board at work on December 19th

Eventually Kylo Ren shows up, crashes the party, and a battle ensues. Rey tries to run away but Kylo Ren hunts her down and captures her to take to Starkiller (a new and improved Deathstar) for further questioning.

Finn, Chewbacca, and Han head to Resistance headquarters with BB-8 in tow to meet with General Leia Orgainana. We learn that Han Solo has been away from Genera Leia Orgaiana for quite some time. Their son, Ben, had trained to become a Jedi with Luke Skywalker, but he was seduced by the Sith and Supreme Leader Supreme Leader Snoke.

Ben Solo was no longer Ben, he was now Kylo Ren!

Back at the Resistance, Poe and Finn meet again, and Poe takes Finn to General Leia Orgaiania and they formulate a plan to get Rey back and destroy Starkiller.

Back on Starkiller, Kylo Ren interrogates Rey and tries to get into her mind to read the map to Luke’s location. After failing, Kylo Ren leaves the room flustered and confused as to why he couldn’t access Rey’s mind. Rey then uses the Jedi Mind Trick on the stormtrooper in the room to unlock her bonds and escape.

Han Solo, Chewbacca, and Fin eventually make it onto the base on Starkiller to rescue Rey and blow up the base. As Han Solo and Chewbacca set the charges to later detonate, Han sees his son and attempts one last time to save him from the Dark Side.

Han desperately wants his son to come back home, and for a second it seems Ben (Kylo Ren) wants the same, but in an instant that feeling is gone and Han finds himself falling down an endless shaft. Kylo Ren has completed his transition to the Dark Side.

The charges are detonated and the Resistance finishes the job, destroying the Starkiller just as Rey, Fin and Chewbacca escape. With the Starkiller destroyed, and the leaders of the Resistance back together at headquarters, R2-D2 and BB-8 provide both pieces of the map to Luke Skywalker. In the final scene, Rey and Chewbacca set out to follow the map and find the final remaining Jedi.

Star Wars - KatiePersonally I give the movie a B+. I have already seen it twice. I enjoyed more the second time. Out of my about 30 of my closest friends, the most amount of times any of them had seen it was 5! Even on Christmas, my cousins one by one asked me what I thought and wondered how many times I had seen the movie. By the time I’d gotten back to work on the 19th, the guys were surprised I had only seen it once up till that point. Some friends thought I’d be on round 9 by now.

There were two big cameos in the film that were fun to spot. One was Daniel Craig as the stormtrooper Rey used the Jedi Mind Trick on to escape her cell. The other cameo was Simon Pegg as Unkar Plutt who bartered with Rey for food on Jakoo.

There are still some unanswered question from the movie, many of which are about Rey. Who is Rey’s family? Most believe she is a Skywalker. Some wonder who is Finn’s family? Is he possibly the child of Lando Calrissian? And who is Supreme Leader Snoke? One discussion at work, was brought up, that Snoke could possibly be Darth Plagueis?

Why did Luke Skywalker leave? In the movie they say he went looking for the first Jedi Temple. Since Kylo Ren was also looking for it, is it possible that Luke went to protect it from Kylo Ren? So, then what is Kylo Ren searching for?

To quote Han Solo once again…”It’s True. All of it. The Dark Side, the Jedi. They’re real.”

Katie works in the film industry as a camera operator and has worked on films like ‘All You Can Dream’, ‘Set Up’ and a TV show called ‘American Fallen Soldier.’ She loves helping WKTV with the Citizen Journalism team and working as a tech at Amway Grand Plaza Hotel. Katie loves working in the film industry and loves watching movies just as much!