Holding the Man

What: Holding the Man
Where: Above the Stag Theatre, London
Who: The true story of a romance that ended too soon
When: Until October 21, 2017
Why: Excellent performances and a very sad story that will have you reaching for your tissues
“Holding the Man” is a show that will rip your heart out and reduce you to tears.
Now playing at Above the Stag Theatre in Vauxhall, it’s true story of two Australian men, Timothy Conigrave and John Caleo, who fall in love in the late 1970’s, who have their ups and downs during the 1980’s, and who both are diagnosed with the HIV virus and must deal with not only death knocking on their door but also the shortened time they have to be together. The show is based on the 1995 book by Conigrave, and was written by Tommy Murphy. Most of you might have already seen the excellent 2015 film, or previous London productions (including the 2010 production at Trafalgar Studios). The Above the Stage production is just as hard-hitting. 

It’s the storytelling and the extremely strong performances of the cast at the Above the Stag that rate this production five stars. Jamie Barnard is excellent as Conigrave while Ben Boskovic as Caleo eerily captures his quietness and reserve. Both actors bring to this production a strength and resolute to their roles that they are almost living out these characters lives right in front of us. From the beginning of the show, we can feel that these two men were meant to be together. But this being the early 80’s, not much was known about HIV, so unfortunately, and I’m not giving anything away here because it’s a well-known story, AIDS was to rear it’s ugly head directly at these two young, beautiful men. 

“Holding the Man” takes us on a heart stopping and heartbreaking journey while we travel with them in their relationship with each other in life, and in death. And it’s Barnard and Boskovic who take us on this remarkable journey. Joshua Cole as a best friend of the two men provide welcome comic relief in a show that’s very serious: he’s charming and has the best lines in the play. Faye Wilson adds some much needed sparkle as another one of the boys friends, while Liam Burke, Annabel Pemberton, and Robert Thompson round out the ensemble in various roles as parents, friends and fellow students. One scene that includes the whole cast is a hilarious masturbation scene that’s cleverly done and something I’ve never seen on stage before.




But’s is the relationship between these two men that is at the heart and soul of this show. Director Gene David Kirk keeps the drama up and running while designer David Shields provides an excellent minimalist backdrop so the audience can focus on the story, and acting, unfolding right before our very eyes..Kudos to Above the Stag Theatre for producing a serious, dramatic and extremely well-acted show that’s a welcome relief from their previous camp and silly previous productions. Categorise “Holding the Man” as a must see! 

For tickets, please go to:

http://www.abovethestag.com/vxl/
Review by Tim Baros
Photo credit: PBGstudios

Five Guys Named Moe

What: Five Guys Named Moe
Where: Marble Arch Theatre, London
Who: A funky, fun theatre experience in a brand new theatre
When: Until February 17, 2018
Why: A great show and a fantastic bar area make for a great night out!

There’s a new theatre in town, it’s fabulous, and the show now playing at this theatre is fabulous as well.

 The Marble Arch Theatre, which is an Underbelly production (the team that brings us the excellent shows in the Southbank), is cleverly located right next to the arch in Marble Arch, is the newest theatre to pop up in London. It’s a gorgeous 650 seater wooden structure that includes a very large bar and an auditorium with a stage that is semi-circle in the round, a design that reflects the 1940’s New Orleans Jazz bars. And theatregoers will be able to take their seats at the cabaret tables in the Funky Butt Club and have drinks served directly to their tables for an up-close and personal musical experience all around them. And the show at this new theatre is “Five Guys Named Moe,” which is a show about Five Guys Named Moe (Big, Little, Eat, Know and Four-Eyed) who give guidance, advise and support to Nomax, who is single, broke and lamenting about a broken relationship with a woman named Lorraine. The Moes sing and dance their way throughout this two-hour very lively extravaganza, while Nomax (played by Edward Baruwa) takes it all in. Songs, featuring the hits of original jazz king Louis Jordan, include “Early in the Morning,” “I Like ‘em Like That,” “Safe, Sane and Single,” and “Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens” are sung by the Moes in such a fun and unique style. And there is also quite a bit of audience participation. One member of the audience who was chosen to recite some sentences on the night I saw it, and it was none other than stage and movie star Freddie Fox. The Audience also gets to outdo each other, with the help of the Moes, in a sing-a-long that provides raucous laughter. It’s the oldest trick in the book to include the audience in the show to make sure they are having a great time, and the Moes use it to their advantage.



“Five Guys Named Moe” is based on a musical of the same name by Jordan in 1943, and has been around since it’s 1990 UK debut (and a 2010 UK revival). With a book by Clarke Peters, if feels like this show has never left London. But if you’ve already seen it, seeing it again at the new Marble Arch Theatre will be a whole new experience, and perhaps more of an enjoyable one in a setting that matches the fun and frivolity of the show. Kudos to all the Moes who make it a fun night out (Ian Carlyle, Idriss Kargbo, Dex Lee, Horace Oliver and Emile Ruddock) and to Underbelly for copying their successful formula to Marble Arch, and to the production team for pulling it off and producing one big party.
They’ve just announced that “Five Guys Named Moe” has been extended to 17 February 2018 due to overwhelmingly popular demand. Tickets are on sale now, get yours here:
Photo from The Corner Shop PR
Review by Tim Baros

Late Company

What: Late Company
Where: Trafalgar Studios, London
Who: Two couples get together over dinner to discuss the suicide of one of their sons
When: Until September 24th
Why: Excellent performances and an amazing script in a story that’s very relevant today – bullying and suicide. 
David Leopold (Curtis), Lucy Robinson (Debora), Todd Boyce (Michael), Lisa Stephenson (Tamara) and Alex Lowe (Bill) in Late Company – credit Alastair Muir

The title of a new play at Trafalgar Studios – “Late Company” – means that the family the Hastings invited over for dinner are late, and they are also late in apologising for the suicide of their teenage son.




Debora (an amazing Lucy Robinson) and Michael Hasting (Todd Boyce) have invited Bill Dermot (Alex Lowe) and his wife Tamara (Lisa Stevenson) and their son Curtis (Devid Leopold) over for dinner to their fancy and art-inspired home. Curtis and Debora & Michael’s son Joel were friends in school, however, Michael committed suicide after being constantly bullied and taunted by the other kids in school (including Curtis) for being gay and a bit feminine. So Debora (and less so Michael) have invited the Dermots over for dinner on the one year anniversary of Michael’s death. It’s a dinner where Debora wants to have the ‘conversation’ – to get everything out in the open and to have an open and honest discussion with Curtis to determine the reasons and motive for doing what he did to Michael, and most importantly to find out why. But the dinner doesn’t go according to plan, it’s brought up bad emotions and feelings that Debora and Michael were trying to get over. But it turns out that Debora was never really there for Joel, and that Michael’s job as an MP took him to Ottawa a lot of the time, and Debora was always focusing on her art and not really on Joel, so Bill and Tamara subtly advise Debora and Michael that they missed the warning signs because they were too involved in themselves. But no matter who the finger is pointed to, Joel is gone forever, and no yelling or conversation will bring him back. And it’s mostly Debora who longs for closure, and perhaps she’s feeling a bit guilty over Joel’s suicide.



“Late Company” throws heavy emotional dialogue at the audience right and left, and it’s delivered by an excellent cast. Robinson as Joel’s mom has the showiest part. She’s angry and upset and wants a bit of closure. Stevenson is also very good as the mother whose son is still alive, she just can’t put herself in Debora’s shoes but she is willing to do as much as she can to help ease the pain. And Leopold is a wonder as the son who doesn’t have much to say during the dinner but near the end, it’s where he comes into his own. Gay playwright Jordan Tannahill was only 23 when he wrote “Late Company” in the wake of a peer’s suicide, and he has written a timely and evocative play that’s very relevant today in a world of constant bullying and peer pressure and what seems like the lack of rules on social media. “Late Company” is a short 75 minutes but it packs a wallop during this time and at the end you will find that your heart has dropped into your stomach. A must see!
To buy tickets, please go to:

http://www.atgtickets.com/shows/late-company/trafalgar-studios/

Late Company is on until Saturday, September 16th.

Photo from Emma Holland PR
Review by Tim Baros

Loot

What: Loot
Where: Park Theatre, London
Who: 50 years after he was murdered,  playwright Joe Orton’s Loot is finally being performed in full
When: Until September 24th
Why: A laugh a minute show about a bank robbery, and by the way there is a dead body hanging around 
The late playwright Joe Orton wrote “Loot” more than 50 years ago, and it is now being revived at London’s Park Theatre in Finsbury Park.
“Loot” is a farcical comedy that’s hilarious but it’s upstaged a bit by the life of Orton. He was only 34 when, at the peak of his fame, was murdered by his boyfriend Kenneth Halliwell in their flat in Islington exactly 50 years ago because Halliwell was very jealous of Orton’s success. Orton had just had real success in the West End with both “Loot” and “Entertaining Mr. Sloane,” and was even celebrating being notorious for when him and Halliwell served 6 months in jail for defacing books from the Islington public library.



But back to “Loot.” It’s a laugh a minute play about a funeral with a corpse which unfortunately does not get any piece in the afterlife. There’s also a bank robbery as well as a cunning nurse who will do anything to get her hands on as much money as she can.
Mrs. McLeavy (Anah Ruddin) has just died and her husband McLeavy (Ian Redford) and son Hal (Sam Frenchum) are in mourning at a funeral home. Nurse Fay (Sinéam Matthews) was hired to take care of Mrs. McLeavy, but she’s got more up her sleeve than cotton pads and plasters. But Hal has just robbed a bank, in cahoots (and then some) with undertaker Dennis (Calvin Demba), and the money is in the same room as Mrs. McLeavy. But self-proclaimed water inspector Truscott (Christopher Fulford) seems to be getting very interested in everyone’s business, starts to ask lots and lots of questions, while Hal and Dennis run amok trying to figure out where to stash the stolen money – and this is the beauty of “Loot.” Poor Mrs. McLeavy’s corpse keeps on getting switched with the money and eventually her body is a prop where McLeavy and Truscott bewilderingly take no notice. And eventually Fay wants a piece of the action or else she will tell the cops. The corpse winds up in literally many hilarious places and positions which will keep you laughing for the duration of the show’s 90 plus minutes.



Kudos go to Ruddin for playing the corpse. She, along with the hilarious script, are the real stars of the show. Matthews as nurse Fay and Redford as McLeavy are also brilliant but it’s a testament to Orton who had bucketfuls of talent taken away from him at such a young age, one can only imagine what else he would’ve accomplished. And we’re lucky we are no longer at the behest of Lord Chamberlain who heavily censored this show when it was originally shown, and when some of the audiences walked out because of the way the corpse is treated in the show. And we finally get to see “Loot” the way Orton originally intended it to be watched, in full.



For tickets, please go to:
Photos provided by Kevin Wilson PR
Review by Tim Baros

Twilight Song

What: Twilight Song
Where: Park Theatre
Who: A play about concealed love that’s confusing and not very good
When: Running until 12 August 2017
Why: A very short running time (75 minutes) doesn’t allow this play to fully develop

You know a show doesn’t make much sense, when, after seeing it, you and your friends don’t agree on what you’ve all just seen. To say “Twilight Song” is bit confusing is putting is mildly. 

Now playing at the Park Theatre in Finsbury Park, “Twilight Song” is late British playwright Kevin Elyot’s final play. Elyot,who wrote the award winning and very successful play “My Night with Reg: (which was turned into a film in 1997), died in 2014, finishing “Twilight Song” right before he passed away. But the play itself is not a very good testament as a cap on his career – it’s a show muddled with characters and storylines that go back and forth in time that unfortunately raises more questions than answers in a play that’s a very very short 75 minutes.
Most of Elyot’s plays have direct gay themes or gay undertones (“My Night with Reg” was very similar to the groundbreaking 1969 film “Boys in the Band”), and “Twilight Song” is no exception. In a nutshell, it’s a play abut a middle aged man Basil (Paul Higgins) who lives in a North London terraced house (with an unfinished balcony) with his mother Isabella (Bryony Hannah) in the present day. Flash back to 1967 and Isabella is pregnant. But in both the present and the past (to and including a scene set in 1961), the family has secrets, secrets that they keep to themselves, and even secrets that they do not want to admit to themselves. Basil (Paul Higgins) pays an estate agent (Adam Garcia) money, not for a real estate transaction, but for sex, which happens too suddenly and out of the blue and out of character. Then Isabella unrealistically falls into the arms of the gardner (Garcia again). Meanwhile her uncle Harry (Philip Bretherton) pines for Charles (Hugh Ross), but Charles is broke because he is being swindled by a hustler (Garcia again). “Twilight Song” takes us all too rapidly through this family’s 50 year history too quickly. Throw in some cock talk, unknown origin of blood on the sofa, and a very very short running time, and it doesn’t leave us much time to get to know the characters and their motivations. Director Anthony Banks gets excellent use of his actors who all give fine performances, and a set design that’s true to it’s time (though an annoyingly loud refrigerator in their kitchen really serves no purpose and destroys the play’s tension), but it’s the storyline that doesn’t add up, and it’s shame because it is Elyot’s last work, and it’s being poorly received.
Another one of Elyot’s plays, “Coming Clean,” will have a revival at the King’s Head Theatre later this year, so perhaps hold out for that one if you can.
If you still want to buy tickets to “Twilight Song,” please go here:
Photo from Target Live
Review by Tim Baros

Bat Out of Hell

What: Bat Out of Hell
Where: London Coliseum
Who: A Rock Opera based on Meatloaf’s 1977 hit album 
When: Running until 22 August 2017
Why: Great acting and singing make up for the weak storyline
Andrew Polec as Strat (left) in BAT OUT OF HELL credit Specular

Me and a friend went to hell the other night – Bat Out of Hell. And by the end of the night, we didn’t want to leave.

On the hottest night of the year (well actually the hottest night in 40 years), we went to see Jim Steinman’s Bat Out of Hell, The Musical at the London Coliseum. And not only was it too hot to be in a poorly air-conditioned auditorium, it was probably the worst night to watch a show that included loud music, actors singing at the top of their lungs, and plumes of flames being shot from the stage – but it turned out to be one helluva ride.
Bat Out of Hell was born, literally, 40 years ago, when musician Meatloaf (along with composer Steinman) released the seminal and massive selling record that went on to sell millions and millions of albums around the world. It included massive hits such as “You Took the Words Right Out of my Mouth,” “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad,” and the most famous one – “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” – songs that are still popular even today, more so as karaoke and wedding songs. These songs, along with the other songs from the album, and newer songs written only for this production, are cleverly used as the story for this massive show. Yes, there is a story, it is, however, a weak one, you can practically see right through it, but for this show it’s all about the way the story is told, the production, that makes Bat Out of Hell not just different but memorable, and ah so much better than the horrible jukebox musicals that have played in the West End in the past including the dreadful We Will Rock You and the easily missed Let it Be.
Christina Bennington as Raven in BAT OUT OF HELL credit Specular
Bat Out of Hell is a goth lovers dream. We’ve got Raven (Christina Bennington) who is in love with a boy from the wrong side of the tracks – Strat (Andrew Polec – who’s going to be the next Killian Donnelly – and if you don’t know who that is look him up). Strat hangs out with a very rough crowd, a group of outcasts called The Lost. Raven’s parents Falco (Rob Fowler) – who rules the post apocalyptic Manhattan – and her mother Sloane (Sharon Sexton), are so overprotective of Raven that they, especially Falco, forbid her from seeing Strat. Of course Raven will do anything to see him, so she sneaks out at night (in her cleverly designed bedroom in a high skyscraper where unbelievably most of the show takes place – but it works!)  to be with Strat, but there is a snitch in Strat’s gang who ends up telling Falco where Raven and Strat are. You can pretty much tell what’s going to happen next – Falco goes in search of his daughter, and then there’s a poorly choreographed incident where someone gets shot – a scene we could tell was going to happen a mile away. This is when Bat Out of Hell loses all credibility in it’s storyline, but it more than makes up for it overall with the visuals and musical aspects of the show.
Director Jay Scheib had a big task ahead of him in telling this dark story with dark music, and he greatly succeeds. Using Raven’s bedroom as the focal point of hers, and the shows, anguish, heartbreak and young love, Scheib also employs video shot live from her bedroom projected onto at times different screens on the stage so the audience can see, up close, the actor’s reactions to the dramatic dialogue and story unfolding right before our very eyes. And props are cleverly used, especially a car that’s initially being used as a sexual romp between Falco and Sloane (reminiscing about their youth while singing “Paradise by the Dashboard Light”) and the car eventually winds up in the orchestra pit.
LtoR Giovanni Spano as Ledoux, Andrew Poelc as Strat
Not enough good things can be said about the cast – they are all superb. Polec looks, acts and sings like a rock star – he’s got the vocal chops to prove he can sing just as well as Meatloaf. Bennington is perfectly cast as the lovely flower love interest Raven, she belts out quite a few numbers and can hold her own. Fowler keeps his head above water in such a talented cast as Raven’s stern and controlling father, but it is the beautiful Sexton as Raven’s mother Sloane who seems to be a natural – you can’t not stare at her when she’s on stage – she’s commanding and wonderful. Also need to be mentioned are two members of Strat’s gang who end up having a bit of a romance, Jagwire (the wonderful Dam Hartley-Harris) and the amazing Danielle Steers as Zahara who does double duty as an employee of Falco – and she can sing – wow!
It’s sensory overload in a good way. It’s an assault on your senses – the music, the lights, and the actors – wow – the actors can sing – very very good – like rockstars. They’re all over the place.
By the end of the show I was dripping wet from the heat, and I’d almost lost my hearing from the loud music, and my eyes were sensitive because of the strobe lighting used in the show, however, would I go back to see it again? Hell yes! 
 
For tickets, please go to:
 
 
Photos from Amanda Malpass PR
Tim Baros

The Kite Runner

What: The Kite Runner
Where: London’s Playhouse Theatre
Who: A play about two young men in war-torn Afghanistan
When: Running until 26 August 2017
Why: A beautifully told and acted story
Theatre Amir (David Ahmad) Hassan (Andrei Costin) Photo Irina Chira
The beautiful story of two young Afghani men returns to the London stage in a production that will break your heart.
The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini’s best-selling 2003 novel, was turned into an acclaimed 2007 movie and recently won rave reviews at London’s Wyndham’s Theatre, is back again and now paying at The Playhouse Theatre. Its story resonated so much with theatregoers, and after sellout crowds in its original run, it’s been granted to fly again in a limited 8-week run.



The Kite Runner is the story of true friendship, and also true betrayal. David Ahmad is Amir, who lives with his wealthy father Baba (Emilio Doorgasingh) in Kabul, Afghanistan. They employ Baba’s long-time servant Ali (Ezra Faroque Khan), along with his son Hassan (Andrei Costin). Both Amir and Hassan lost their mothers, so Amir and Hassan have become close, even though they both come from different classes of society. They’ve formed a bond with each other and especially love to fly kites together. Hassan ends up becoming Amir’s kite runner – he basically retrieves the kite after knowing where it’s going to fall. The young men are practically inseparable, especially when the local thug Assef (Bhavin Bhatt) threatens them perhaps because he is jealous of their close friendship. But one day, after a kite competition, Hassan is captured by Assef, who proceeds to taunt and then rape him. But it’s Amir who witnesses the whole thing – he doesn’t even step in to help, and it’s a guilt that he carries around with him, enough so that he attempts to have his father get rid of Hassan and Amir. This is when the story goes in a different direction and takes us on a journey to America where Amir and Baba eventually find themselves after leaving war torn Afghanistan. Amir eventually settles down in San Francisco with a wife, but he’s torn with guilt over what he did or did not do for Hassan. And this guilt has him trace his steps back to Afghanistan in the hopes of finding Hassan and to rekindle the relationship that they had when they were boys. But there’s more in store for him than what he bargains for.



The Kite Runner doesn’t need any sort of magic wand or razzle dazzle to tell it’s story – it’s the story in itself that is strong enough to hold the audiences attention. We see the beautiful friendship between Hassan and Amir that is eventually shattered and when the story takes it to another direction we feel Amir’s pain and heartbreak and guilt and we hope the characters will eventually find happiness, though deep down we know that’s not going to be the case. Matthew Spangler has successfully adapted the book for the stage (again) while Director Giles Croft works with an excellent acting ensemble with a very minimalist set as he excellently guides his actors to portray the characters very beautifully and emotionally.  

 THE KITE RUNNER
Adapted by Matthew Spangler
Based on the best-selling novel by Khaled Hosseini
Directed by Giles Croft
Produced by Martin Dodd for 
UK Productions and Derek Nicol & 
Paul Walden for Flying Entertainment

Originally produced by Nottingham 
Playhouse Theatre Company and 
Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse
 
8 June – 26 August 2017

Playhouse Theatre
Northumberland Avenue, 
London 
WC2N 5DE

Tickets from £15.00

Premium tickets available

Performance times:
Monday-Saturday 7.30pm, 
Matinees Thursday & Saturday
 at 2.30pm


0844 871 7631  Calls cost 7p per minute, plus your phone company’s access charge.

Groups (10+):  £35.00 Best Available in Stalls/Dress Circle,  £15 Best Available in Upper Circle. Valid for Monday – Thursday evenings and Thursday matinees.

Schools (10+): Band A reduced to £22.50 and Band B reduced to £19.50, plus 1 free teacher per 10 paid pupils. Valid for Monday – Thursday evenings and Thursday matinees.
 
TheKiteRunnerPlay.com
Tim Baros

Rock Dog

What: Rock Dog
Where: At a cinema near you
Who: A cute animated movie about a dog with big dreams
When: Opened nationwide last Friday
Why: A very enjoyable film that will appeal to both children and adults
A young dog from the Tibetan mountains heads to the big city to pursue his dream of being a rock star in the new and fun animated film Rock Dog.
Bodi (Luke Wilson) lives with his father in a tiny village high up on Snow Mountain. His father Khampa (J.K. Simmons) is a leader of the village, and it’s him who is in charge of a motley gang of sheep guards who protect the village from the dastardly, and hungry, wolves who are constantly trying to attack them. Then one day a plane drops a box into the village, and it’s Bodi who is there to investigate it’s contents. In it is a radio which Bodi turns on and instantly he’s in love with the music of a musician by the name of Angus Scattergood (Eddie Izzard). Bodi tries to copy the sounds of Scattergood by piecing together items found in the village to make a guitar – and Bodi thinks he’s found his calling! After an incident which causes havoc on the village, it is agreed that Bodi should be given a chance to head to the bright lights of the big city so that he can further explore his passion for music and his admiration for Scattergood. But once Bodi leaves the mountain, he is followed by two of the wolves who plan to kidnap him and use him as bait in order to take control of Snow Mountain. But in the big city Bodi meets fellow music and Scattergood enthusiasts in a place called Rock and Roll Park, it’s where Scattergood began his career. It’s not too long before Bodi comes face to face with Scattergood, but he also comes face to face with the wolves, who, at the behest of their leader Linnux (Lewis Black), vows to kidnap Bodi and do whatever it takes to take control of Snow Mountain.
This Chinese-American production is a simple tale of someone from a small village out to seek fame and fortune and explore his passion in the big city, themes most of us can relate to. But Bodi has more than a sense of adventure, he’s got charm and curiosity and a wit about him that should make this film appeal to both children and grownups alike. This film has been a flop, both in the U.S., with a measly gross of $20 million versus a budget of $60 million, and in China, where it has only earned $5.7 million (the film, though not explicitly mentioned, takes place in China). But in my opinion, it’s a great tale told very well with animation that’s passable and an excellently-voiced cast (even Matt Dillon pops up as a yak). It’s a cute story with cute characters – Rock Dog Rocks!
Photos from DDA PR
Review by Tim Baros

Wonder Woman

First seen in 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (as well as on television in the 1970’s), in Wonder Woman we finally have our first real female action hero. The film, appropriately titled Wonder Woman, is out now and it’s good, very good!

It’s two hours and 21 minutes of action, drama, and adventure as Gail Gadot plays Wonder Woman, a demi-god created by Zeus and raised by Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen) who fights evil with her special powers (including her bracelets). Wonder Woman is the continuation of the character created in Dawn of Justice – who in the civilian world was known as Diana Prince. She lives in the land of Amazonia where it’s women-only and where she is Princess Diana of Themyscira. In this film she is accompanied all the way through with Chris Pine as Steve Trevor. He is a WWI United States Army Air Service fighter pilot who crashes off the coast of Themyscira, where Wonder Woman grew up and was taught to fight by her fellow Amazonians. She ends up going with Trevor to find Ares, the god of War, in the hopes that killing him will stop the war. But it’s the evil Doctor Isabel Maru (Elena Anaya) who has created a deathly chemical that will ensure quick death to those who are exposed to it, so Wonder Woman has several battles to fight in her quest for world peace.
Diana and Steve’s adventure and mission takes them to London and then into Europe and to the front trenches, where Wonder Woman (an hour and 22 minutes into the film) finally sheds her clothes and lets loose in the infamous Wonder Woman outfit. And it’s spectacular fight scenes that will leave you gasping for air until the very last few scenes when Wonder Woman comes face to face with pure evil.
Gadot is spectacular as Wonder Woman. To hell with male action heroes – there’s now a woman who can take anything that comes her way and she sure nails it. Pine makes a fine side kick, but it’s about time it’s all about the woman. Let’s hope this character becomes a franchise – no more Superman but more Wonder Woman! Director Patty Jenkins brings a new twist and a nice feminine touch to the DC Comics Extended Universe by directing a film that’s smashingly good and is great summer movie fare. Long live Wonder Woman!   


Photos provided by Thinkjam
Written by Tim Baros

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

What: King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
Where: At a cinema near you
Who: Guy Ritchie’s very expensive telling of the legend that is King Arthur
When: Opens nationwide today
Why: Go to see the special effects, ignore the stiff acting and bad accents

‘King Arthur: Legend of the Sword’ is Guy Ritchie’s telling of the story of the legendary and some would say mythical life of Arthur who was orphaned at a young age but who became a King and the man who would become synonymous with the Excalibur myth. Charlie Hunnam plays King Arthur in this film which is visually spectacular yet leaves a lot to be desired for it’s silly plot and poor casting choices. 

When Arthur’s father the King (Eric Bana) is murdered (in a scene played over and over and over again), his uncle Vortigern (Jude Law in a very meaty role) seizes the crown. But the very young Arthur, who was cast adrift on a boat during the murder, has to grow up the hard way, and from the very beginning is unaware that he is the son of a murdered King. As he grows up, he is helped along the way by a band of warriors, but it’s when he pulls the sword from the stone is his mission clear – he needs to get back the crown from his uncle, no matter at what cost.

No expense was sparred in this film, which cost $200 million to make, and it shows in every clip. From the most amazing costumes to the glorious scenery to the spectacular special effects, and even down to the monsters and serpents that provide this film an amazingly dark and scary and fun tone. We even get to see an old Londonium – shown to great effect. But there are some distractions and poor choices that take you out of the story (and will make you unintentionally laugh). David Beckham’s two minute scene as a soldier who prompts Arthur to pull the sword is disastrous because Beckham can’t act and his voice too soft for the part. Another bit of bad casting are most of the men who make up Arthur’s coterie – they all have geezer accents! It must be a case of Ritchie casting all of his friends to be in the film, and while these men can act, their accents are all alike! And Hunnam, while nice to look at, is a very wooden King Arthur.
But don’t worry about all of this. It will only cost you £15 to watch this film – it’s worthy because it’s a film fully of fantasy and mythology that while doesn’t quite live up to its hype, it is, for the most part, entertaining and escapist – and that’s the experience we all want when we to go the cinema.



All photos provided by Warner Bros.