Recent Hits: TV, Film, & Theater

All the Way (now showing on HBO)

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Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad; Malcolm in the Middle) TOTALLY transformed himself into LBJ- vocally and physically!  It was also a treat to see Melissa Leo (who plays Lady Bird) after a LONG time; I’ve been a fan of hers since her days on Homicide: Life on the Street.  I saw the play (Arena stage production) about 2 mos. ago; the film is V true to that, though there are changes made (as you can do more w/ cinema).  Anthony Mackie (who has NOT aged by much) has a meaty role as MLK, Jr.  Wingnuts (fans of The West Wing) will be happy to see Bradley Whitford (who portrays liberal Democratic senator- Hubert Humphrey).    

 

The Man Who Knew Infinity (now in select theaters)

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I went to go to a free screening about 3 wks ago; I had no expectations.  Well, I really liked it- and NOT just b/c of Jeremy Irons, the music, or cinematography!  Toby Jones (who often plays baddies) is just SO sweet/delightful as G. H. Hardy’s (Irons’) BFF/fellow mathematician.  Jeremy Northam has a side role as charming philospher Bertrand Russell; it was a nice surprise to me.   This is in the time just before WWI- that conflict also affects the lives of the Oxford community.

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British-Indian actor, Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionnaire; The Newsroom), does a FINE job as S. Ramanujan, a devout Brahmin Hindu math whiz who went from Southern India to Oxford U. at the age of 26.  Patel, who is still in his 20s, has a penchant for wide-eyed/innocent/eager characters; it works well here.  Ramanujan left behind his strong-willed widowed mother and lovely new wife, Janaki (Indian-American actress Devika Bhise). It’s been a LONG time since I’ve seen a modern/Western young woman portray a traditional/demure Indian housewife in SUCH a convincing manner! 

 

The Taming of the Shrew (STC: MAY 17-JUNE 26)

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I just saw this last SAT (preview matinee) w/ a gal pal (who luckily got free tickets online)- it was FABULOUS!  This production, directed by Chinese-Indonesian Brit, Ed Sylvanus Iskander, has a beautiful/intricate set and songs (by Duncan Sheik) which are performed by characters (who were NOT given monologues in Shakespeare’s original play).  

Yes, ALL the actors are male, BUT diversity is built into the show!  Indian- American actor Maulik Pancholy (Weeds) plays Kate, Sri Lankan-American veteran actor Bernard White (Silicon Valley) plays Baptista and Dutch/Mexican-Brit, Peter Gadiot (Tut), plays Petruchio.  Chinese-American actor, Telly Leung, has the best singing voice in the cast; he recently appeared as one of the leads in Allegiance (opposite George Takei). 

Get more info here!      

 

 

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Game of Thrones: Season 6, Episode 5 (“The Door”)

SPOILERS: Don’t read this review if you have not yet seen or don’t want to know details from the latest episode of Game of Thrones 

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Did you know about Ramsay?  If you didn’t know, you’re an idiot.  If you did know, you’re my enemy.  -Sansa tells Littlefinger

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The time may come when you need an army loyal to you. -Littlefinger gives Sansa some advice

The man who knows everything either underestimated Ramsay Bolton -unlikely- or  even more severely underestimated how Sansa Stark would react to being sold into marriage with a sadist. Sonya Soraiya (Salon.com)

The servant does not question.  -Jaqen flatly tells Arya

A girl has no desires. -Arya concludes

Is Arya being merely tested by Jaqen, OR do you think she will really have to kill the actress (Essie Davis) playing Cersei?  We also get some of the history of Braavos.  Its people were former slaves who came from Valyria; one man learned and trained to become a Faceless Man, then taught the others.   

What did you think of the play w/in the ep (which poor Arya has to watch)?  It reminded me of Shakespeare’s time- that’s how commoners got their news (before newspapers and the Internet).  Ned is portrayed as clueless, Joffrey is innocent, and Tyrion is the (obvious) villain.  Sansa is seen as promiscuous- the actress’ top is torn off at the end of one scene.

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It was you- you made the Whitewalkers! -Bran says to Leaf (one of the Children of the Forest)

Yes, that is the SAME actor (above) who played the scared man being changed into a Whitewalker (see below).  The Children of the Forest created these creatures in order to protect themselves against humankind. 

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They’re [Whitewalkers] basically biological weapons.  This is nature’s way to fight the virus of humanity…  The dragons are nuclear weapons.  -Itamar Harel (GoT Academy)

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Isn’t that the point of being a fanatic? You’re always right. Everything is the Lord’s will.  -Varys sarcastically says to Kinvara, the (new) Red Priestess from Volantis

The Lord of Light brings people back from the dead- it’s not like they [the Red Priests/Priestesses] have inconsequential powers.  –Cenk Uygur (What the Flick?!)

Maybe she’ll use him [Tyrion] to make her religion more popular?  -Gil Kidron (GoT Academy)

Maybe he’s the one who created the monster who he will not be able to control?  And she [Kinvara] will turn the tables on him?  -Itamar Harel (GoT Academy)

This was a rarity- Varys being disturbed/scared (by Kinvara’s knowledge of his past)!  She inferred that it was the Lord of Light’s voice he heard when his “bits” were thrown into the fire by the sorcerer.

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She is a leader! She is a warrior! She is iron born! You will find no better leader! She is your queen!  -Theon rallies the warriors during the Kingsmoot

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I wasn’t born to be king! I paid the iron price, and here I stand!  -Euron concludes w/ confidence (before being crowned king)

Theon gets a GREAT speech- he stands by Yara (as he said he would in E4)!  The men of the Kingsmoot (leaders of the Iron Islands) choose Euron.  While the new king is being baptized, Yara, Theon, and the men loyal to her steal the best ships- YAY!    

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My father used to say Northerners are different- more loyal. Suspicious of outsiders.  -Sansa explains to Ser Davos

Finally, Sansa Stark- a politician!  A commander in chief…  A strategist…  Her goal now is to be a widow. -Gil Kidron (GoT Academy)

She is in the center of the action..  I don’t think she will marry again.  She’ll be married to her kingdom, like Elizabeth I.  -Itamar Harel (GoT Academy)

Hold the door!  -The command that decided Wyllis’ destiny

Now we come to the MOST dramatic part of the ep- the sacrifice of the Bran’s  loyal servant- Hodor.  As a boy, he was called Wyllis, and talked normally and worked w/ the horses of the Stark household.  In the big scheme of things, Hodor is NOT a main player, though he had a part to play! 

Magic has to be destroyed.  It’s too dangerous.  -Itamar Harel (GoT Academy)

Game of Thrones is so good- even my least favorite episode has continued to haunt me… like from the moment that it ended to this moment.  -Cenk Uygur (What the Flick!?)

Game of Thrones: Season 6, Episode 4 (“Book of the Stranger”)

SPOILERS: Don’t read this review if you have not yet seen or don’t want to know details from the latest episode of Game of Thrones 

Castle Black/The Wall:

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We ALL cheered (no doubt) as Brienne, Pod, & Sansa slowly rode into the yard of Castle Black! Tormund was wowed by seeing such a woman as Brienne (more to come on that, I’m sure). Sansa and Jon hugged- SUCH a satisfying moment! These half-sibs had NEVER before had a scene together in 6 seasons (as the showrunners noted on HBO site after the ep).

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In short time, Sansa explained to Jon about the severity of the situation w/ Ramsay; she knew in her gut that HE had killed Roose. But Jon, who has been fighting since leaving Winterfell, admitted that he was tired of fighting. And which houses would be their allies? Sansa said that he saved the Wildlings, so they owe him their support.  If Jon wasn’t going to lead an army, then SHE would! (Twitter was abuzz w/ love for this new badass Sansa that night.)

The Eyrie (The Vale):

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We see a teen Robin Arryn practicing archery while his reluctant teacher/protector, Lord Royce, watches w/ some of the knights of the Vale. Robin sucks at hitting the target (NO shocker there)! Then we see a carriage arrive and out comes Littlefinger! Robin runs over to hug his “Uncle Petyr” (blech).

Lord Royce confronts Littlefinger re: what happened w/ Sansa. He thought Littlefinger was talking his charge to Jon at Castle Black, so how the Hell did she end up married to Ramsay!? The schemer stays calm (as usual), saying that Ramsay and his Bolton bannermen STOLE Sansa away on the road.

Pike (The Iron Islands):

Theon (no longer in Reek mode) returns home and keeps apologizing for how he acted under Ramsay’s control. His younger sis, Yara, is mad (at first). Then she gives him some tough love- Theon has to stop saying sorry and decide what HE really wants out of life! Theon declares that Yara should lead the iron born- she’s the best candidate now that their father is dead. Theon’s personal journey continues to surprise me!

Winterfell:

Osha (Rickon’s ONLY protector) is brutally/quickly stabbed and killed by Ramsay (who she tried to seduce)- V sad ending for such a strong character! But before Osha died, she got in some nice barbs at Ramsay. I really thought that the tough Wildling gal would’ve been able to (at least) wound that evil bastard.

Meereen:

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Much to the disgust/dismay of Grey Worm and Messandei, Tyrion declares a truce w/ the slavers (who had backed the Sons of the Harpy).  Varys doesn’t look too happy, BUT this is the price of peace.  Tyrion explains that there will be a grace period (7 yrs) before they MUST  abolish slavery.  Then the slavers are left alone w/ beautiful/young women. 

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After the meeting, they must face a group of angry former slaves in the main hall.  The men wonder at how Grey Worm can go along w/ such a plan.  In the garden, Grey Worm and Missandei (BOTH former slaves) get a nice/meaty scene w/ Tyrion.  Missandei says that he was NOT a slave long enough to know how truly terrible it can be for a person.  Grey Worm thinks that these masters will use Tyrion (NOT the other way around)- they always managed to get their way before.       

Kings Landing:

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In the Grand Sept, after telling Margaery the story of how he came to religion, the High Sparrow allows the disheveled queen to see her big bro in his jail cell. Yikes, Loras looks terrible, and is also an emotional wreck. He cries and says he just wants it to stop! Margaery embraces him, explaining that THIS is the time to be strong (the old man is probably plotting to turn them against each other).

I actually liked the High Sparrow’s story in this ep! (Some of you tweeted that you were unsure if it was true.) He was once a successful cobbler (inheriting his dad’s business) who was drawn to worldly things- fancy clothes, wine, women, and partying w/ wealthy pals. Before dawn one morning (around age of 25), he realized how hollow his life had become, and walked away (w/o his shoes- ironic). Isn’t that usually the case? People (in the real world) that had the most craziest youths (doing extreme/illegal activities) can turn out to be the ones that cling to religion tightly.

In the Red Keep, Cersei learns from Tommen what judgment (a walk of shame- YIKES!) lies in his wife’s future. The High Sparrow has been talking w/ the king now and then. Cersei and Jaime FINALLY convince Uncle Kevyn (Lancel’s dad- FYI) and Lady Olenna to get w/ their plan. The Lannister army will stay outside and guard the city; the Tyrell army (bit larger) come inside the city walls to capture (or kill) the High Sparrow. After Margaery is free and at Tommen’s side, the armies will kill the Sparrows if they don’t surrender. Hmm… wonder if MANY of those rag tag folks can even fight properly?

Vaes Dothrak (Essos):

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Daario (ugh, I barely tolerate this guy) and Jorah (still LOVE him) are outside the city limits, planning the rescue of Dany.  Jorah explains (as he did back in S1 to Viserys) that weapons are forbidden inside this city.  During the fight w/ the two Dothraki on the streets, we see that Jorah is losing (V unexpected); at one point, he throws sand in his opponent’s eyes. Daario has to save Jorah’s life- he stabs the Dothraki in the back (w/ his fave knife).

It turns out that the khaleesi can save HERSELF!  Dany has a GREAT speech in front of all the khals, before setting fire to the (VERY flammable) structure where they’ve all gathered.  Dany emerges from the roaring fire, amazing the Dothraki, who quickly bow down before her.  Then Jorah and Daario (he’s never seen this sort of thing either) bow down, too.  What a FAB ending!