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Your source for pop culture news, reviews, opinion and commentary since 2007!



Updated: 2014-08-03T00:58:46.662-07:00

 



Theater Review: Hair Live at the Hollywood Bowl #HAIRatthebowl

2014-08-03T00:58:46.678-07:00

The Age of Aquarius came alive under the stars tonight as the anti-war flower children of Hair took over the Hollywood Bowl. This was the first time I'd seen a musical at the Bowl and the first time I'd seen Hair at all so I was looking forward to a good time.The powerhouse cast alone is enough to make this a must see show but to see them actually perform it only confirms that. The entire cast turned in a wonderful performance and made a memorable first viewing of this historical play.With names like Kristen Bell, Hunter Parish, Beverly D'Angelo, Jonah Platt, Jenna Ushkowitz, Amber Riley, Sarah Hyland, and more you know you're in for something special. For me, the big draw was Kristen Bell. It's no secret I am a huge fan of hers and the chance to see her performing live on stage was too great to pass up. She was fantastic but it was another actress who stole the show: Sarah Hyland. I was blown away by her. She was charming, funny, and I am pretty sure she was on stage the entire first act. She handled some unexpected mic trouble like a seasoned broadway veteran, and even ad-libbed a joke about it in act two. This girl is definitely more than Modern Family.Another stand out was Amber Riley. What a voice this girl has. A true talent with a killer voice and comedy chops as well.I don't mean to leave the gentlemen out of the review here. The guys were great but to be honest, the ladies owned it tonight. As the show went on, another unexpected issue came up: a rare summer rainstorm. Unfortunately, the fickle LA audience wasn't having the rain and a lot of people began heading for the doors. This was just moments into act two by the way and no amount of praying for star shine or sunshine was keeping the rain at bay. The cast referenced the rain in a couple clever ways and the Bowl staff passed out ponchos. The audience that remained (it was still a lot of people) were treated to a high energy and emotional finale.One drawback is that a show like Hair is better served in a more intimate venue where cast interactions with the audience can be more appreciated and enjoyed than with a massive Bowl audience.With great direction and choreography along with a talented and captivating cast, Hair at the Hollywood Bowl is a wonderful way to spend an evening.You have one more chance to catch this great show tonight (Sunday August 3) at 7:30pm.Hair8/10 Tie Dyes!For more information and tickets click HERE. [...]



#fantasiafest Fantasia International Film Festival Reviewed! - @WOLFCOPTheMovie , @Patchtown

2014-08-01T21:10:29.273-07:00

By Adam RuhlIt seems like it's Canada night for PCB reviews of Fantasia Festival films. I've got two amazing films from north of the border to share with you. Let's take a look!Wolfcopdir: Lowell DeanCanadaruntime: 79 minHe’s a wolf. He’s a cop. He’s Wolfcop! Lou is an alcoholic small town police officer who’s turned into a werewolf. That sentence alone is enough to determine if Wolfcop is the movie for you. If it is, keep reading, because it’s a great fun horror, comedy, gorefest.  Director Lowell Dean takes this goofy premise and plays it up for maximum gross out effect.The wolf transformations are startlingly well done. He changes by way of some good old-school practical effects that recall early 80’s wolf movies. Even the change itself is over the top; the first time it happens you will choke with disbelief and perhaps a little revulsion.The rest of the characters are there to basically service the wolf gags. A couple of love interests, a conspiracy theorist side kick Willie (who actually gets some of the best lines), and a town full of unlikely gangster types round out the cast. There is a robbery gang that dresses up like pigs in a good tongue in cheek moment. Wolfcop is willing to go where other werewolf movies will not and the result is one of the best monster mashes in years. By the time it descends into wolf softcore porno you’ll know this is a unique viewing experience you won’t find anywhere else. Patch Towndir: Craig GoodwillCanadaruntime: 83 minPatch Town is a fantasy world where babies really do come from the cabbage patch, and then they are turned into toys and sold off to little girls. When the girls grow up the toys are stolen back, returned to human form, and made into factory workers at the toy factory. This is where former toy Jon and his wife Mary find themselves; unable to have their own children or choose their own life. Jon has a plan though, he has stolen a child from the cabbage as his own and is running away with his new family to find his ‘mother’, the human girl that abandoned him as a toy all those years ago. Patch Town is a wild, whimsical dystopic tale that recalls films like Terry Gilliam’s Brazil, with similarly wildly colorful characters. It is an adventure and a musical with quite a well written numbers to help advance the plot. Director Craig Goodwill presents a visual feast, full of lush setting and beautifully cinematographed sequences. Jon (Ron Ramsay), is a non-traditional hero who really is the heart of the movie, he’s so charming that you can’t help but root for him in his quest. Funny and endearing, Patch Town is great for all ages. Of the Fantasia Festival titles I’ve seen, it’s got some of the most mainstream appeal.  [...]



Sketch Comedy: Hot Ice Cream

2014-08-01T11:30:15.609-07:00

What's a better way to waste your time on a Friday than watching the seconds tick away until quittin' time? Watching some brand new sketch comedy, of course!

Check out the premiere of the new LA-Based sketch comedy group Hot Ice Cream featuring comedians Ryan Budds and Wendi Starling.

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Subscribe to their channel for new, hilarious sketches every Monday and Friday!(image)



#fantasiafest Fantasia International Film Festival Reviewed! - @TimeLapse_Movie

2014-07-30T20:26:09.830-07:00

By Adam RuhlNormally I post a couple of reviews together but after seeing this film tonight I knew I couldn't sit on this one. Submitted for your approval, I give you Time Lapse!Time Lapsedir: Bradley KingUSAruntime: 104 minWhat would you do if you could send a message twenty four hours into your past? Would you send warnings to try and benefit all humankind…. Or would you immediately use the power to make yourself rich? I suspect the latter and that’s exactly the choice made by the three unlucky roommates in this superb new film from writer/director Bradley King and writer B.P. Cooper.Finn is a frustrated painter and property manager, sharing a house with his girlfriend Callie and his best friend Jasper. One day they’re alerted to the fact that the tenant across the way has not been missing for a week and, thinking him dead, they investigate his house. Instead of finding him they find a large camera-machine pointed right at their own living room. On one wall is covered with months’ worth of photos of them and incredibly there’s a photo waiting for them from tomorrow. It seems that every night at 8 PM the camera takes a photo and spits out the Polaroid from the next day. Eventually they find the neighbor burned up in his storage unit; evidently the victim of his own attempts to change his future. Rather than report the death to the police, the trio choose to lock the unit and use the machine to send themselves dog racing results from the future.That’s right, they essentially choose to follow Marty Mcfly’s scheme from Back to the Future Part 2 and it works out even less well for them. Without getting into spoilers it’s safe to say I was expecting their plan to turn disastrous. What I was not expecting was how brilliantly this plot would unfold; the writing, acting, and direction are simply astounding. The film twists and turns and offers ironic consequences that make it play out like a feature length Twilight Zone; one of the really good episodes. The time element is not overly complex; you won’t need to diagram the movie afterward to know what happened.  The story is smart and layered and the filmmakers do a great job of questioning the morality of fiddling with the past without lots of preachy, techy exposition. Imagine the questions that arise from seeing a photo of you from tomorrow. How did you get there? Why are you doing what you’re doing? Do you have the ability to change and do something different? Finn, Callie, and Jasper have to grapple with those questions right from the start. These characters are normal people who have been given something of immense power and are in no way prepared to handle it. Every time a new picture emerges there’s a ‘hold your breath’ moment of what terrible fate may await them.This is stunning film that kept my attention much the way Memento did the first time I saw it (hmmm, Polaroid connection?) and I think it’s going to be one of the best of this festival season. It is powerful and gripping, purely on the merits of the tale and the strong performances by the relatively small cast. Absolutely make time for Time Lapse; if you enjoy genre films you will not regret it. [...]



@fantasiafest Fantasia International Film Festival Reviewed! - The Man in the Orange Jacket, @cybernaturalmov!

2014-07-30T06:50:44.162-07:00

By Adam RuhlThe Man in the Orange JacketI was pretty excited for this one, not just because of its intriguing trailer but also because it’s the first movie I’ve ever seen from Latvia. For my fellow Americans, start at Russia and go west, if you hit the Baltic Sea you’ve gone too far. Was it any good? It is both beautiful and terrifying and grotesque. I have never before seen a film that so seamlessly blends great cinematography, suspense, and torture porn before. A man loses his job when the boss lays off the workforce so he leaves work and heads over to the boss’ mansion. In the night he breaks in and using his tools, kills the boss and his wife. He hides the bodies in the basement and then decides to reward himself with a little holiday in the boss’ house. He wears his clothes, he watches his TV, he eats his food. It all seems perfect until he begins to hear noises and see strange people hanging out near the house. Director Aik Karapetian does an incredible job with minimal cast and setting. The film has almost no dialogue and he manages to perfectly set the mood and build suspense with his scene construction. The film looks gorgeous with the grand old house lit in a way that is both eerie and inviting. There are several deaths in the film that are extremely graphic and they stand out in sharp contrast to the tense yet somber tone of the rest of the film. The Man in the Orange Jacket has a great mix of elements that kept me on the toes and I look forward to seeing more from this director. CybernaturalThis is an intriguing horror film with a questionable title (I think it’s a play on supernatural but that doesn’t really help matters).  That point aside, there’s a lot to like about this tale of ghostly revenge. It's very genuine and scary, with a wicked sense of humor. Consisting entirely of a Skype conversation between a group of friends, the teens are written very real and messed up in all the right ways.The story follows Blaire, who is connected in a large chat with a group of her friends one night. It’s also the anniversary of girl they knew who was driven to suicide by an online video of her that was posted the year before. Now a strange visitor to their chat is claiming to be her and demanding to know who posted the video. Additionally if they try to leave or call for help their lives are in danger.The premise feels a little gimmicky and done-before in horror films (one of the Paranormal Activity movies haunted over Skype) but brings it's own original spin. Cybernatural brings a lot of great teen angsty, gossipy dialogue to the story to keep it compelling. Because of the computer based storytelling; I think this would be best watched alone at night on a computer. Blaire’s multitasking serves up some great scares as we can see other things happening in the background while she’s focused on one particular application. It has the very creepy effect of making you feel like you’re part of the conversation which is a wholly unsettling experience.   [...]