Archive for September, 2012

'Last Resort:' 10 reasons why it's the new 'Lost'

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September 24th, 2012



“Last Resort,” ABC’s latest anchor in Hawaiian waters, is one the network’s most promising freshman shows of the fall season. Its pilot has been previewing/airing on YouTube this month and the show formally debuts at 7 p.m. Thursday (Sept. 27).
It’s quirky and unpredictable; it’s big brother shadowing over the little guy; it’s sometimes underwater but it is fluid on land, too.
Mainly, it’s about people caught in one crisis after another — and how they relate and react.

Ten reasons why I like this one:
• It’s a military show, about a rogue submarine crew which defies governmental orders to fire a missile on Pakistani. In the first episode, it quickly deconstructs the wisdom of the country’s decision-makers and consequently questions “military intelligence.” Or lack of it.
• It’s a political show. Arguments pro and con, about said non-launch of military fire, are linked to political winds in Washington not yet surfacing. But the periscope is up, so intrigue looms.
• It’s a story the gonzo spirit, content on making things right through key characters: Marcus Chaplin, a formerly Navy SEAL, played by André Braugher (“The Shield”), who is skipper of the nuclear sub Colorado, and his dependable XO, Sam Kendal, played by Scott Speedman (“Felicity”). By disobeying suspicious commands, the sub becomes a target for doomsville, but yes, these are smart people able to elude an attack to surface on an island named Sainte Marina, home to a NATO outpost. Crisis in check. We know it’s Oahu acting as a tropical “Lost”-type turf, this time with unexpected population — and problems.
• It’s a looming epic about family and community. The sub crew, now outlaws, must deal with Washington from a remote spot, and fitting in with island inhabitants, simultaneously setting up roots and quirky camaraderie.
• It’s not a procedural — not in the conventional sense of solving crimes. The initial issue is why the government is shady about the fate of the Colorado and who is calling the shots.
• It’s great to see local faces in the acting landscape. Look, there’s Michael Ng as a command post operator, in the pilot’s underwater sequences; you may place him as the dude in the latest McTeri TV ads (the guy who is sitting on a park bench and cozies up to another with a McTeri in hand) or from local theater. And singer Mary Gutzi appears as a character named Dodds.
• It’s a thumbs-up for gender equality on board the sub: Daisy Betts is Lt.
Grace Shepard, the sub’s navigator and the daughter of Rear Admiral Arthur Shepard, a recurring character, played by Bruce Davison. Grace’s comment — “Our own people tried to sink us?”— sums up the tension, the drama, the conflict in the weeks to come.
• It’s a thicket of thorns, what with the renegade theme of daredevils risking their jobs for ignoring a command they can’t accept. This gives the show has a brand of spunk and honesty; the little guy outfoxing big brother.
• Its m.o. of being on the run gives the show fluidity and mobility, with action on the sub and on the ground. With the veil of political and personal uncertainty – think “Lost” and “24” — expect the unexpected.
• The show’s creator is Shawn Ryan, notable for “The Shield,” who mixes excitement and anticipation and brings storytelling to new heights without the common mix of doctors, nurses, coroners, lawyers, cops and therapists.

'Revolution' on Monday could threaten 'Five-0'

By
September 20th, 2012



“Revolution,” a post-Armageddon drama about an America without electric or battery power 15 years after a bizarre blackout, made a strong debut at 9 p.m. Monday (Sept. 17) on NBC.
The question: Will “Revolution” have Duracell in its DNA to linger and generate fans on Monday nights? Yes, it has a distant link to Hawaii — its producer is J.J. Abrams (Jon Favreau also is an exec producer), who was one of the wizards behind the ABC hit, “Lost,” for six seasons. But no, “Revolution” is not a home-filmed project. Further, the brainchild of Eric Kripke, who authored “Supernatural,” supposes a brand of familial eeriness in a future we can’t easily predict, so we can accept and examine the fate of the characters, the situations and the sites.
The show has dangerous implications in the Monday TV ratings race.
The debut of “Revolution,” one of the earlier launches of the 2012-23 TV season and one with anticipated success, will make it a three-way race for audiences at 9 p.m. (10 p.m. on the Mainland), beginning this coming Monday (Sept. 24).
Hawaii fans will get the usual first-peek at “Five-0” in a Sunset on the Beach premiere the night before in Waikiki, so the really devoted can watch “Five-0” in primetime as usual, or make a risky click to “Revolution,” a show with bottled potency not yet released.
The third player in the timeslot, ABC’s “Castle,” will make a pitch to earn its share of the ratings pie, too.
And if you recall, “Five-0” and “Castle” were see-sawing in the quest for viewers in the past. And both shows had finales that raised questions so the season's openers are poised for answers: Alex O’Louglin’s Steve McGarrett will have a mom encounter (Christine Lahti will appear as mom McG in this Monday’s premiere) and he reconnects with his ex (Michelle Borth, who recurs as Lt. Catherine Rollins), while Nathan Fillion’s Castle is about to make whoopee with Stana Katic as Beckett. Complications and expectations, galore, right?
NBC had placed an ill-fated and canceled “The Playboy Club” in the Monday slot last fall, briefly substituted by “Rock Center,” the later introducing the fledgling “Smash,” about the making of a Broadway musical about Marilyn Monroe, at 9 p.m. (“Smash” has been renewed for a mid-season relaunch, so it's not yet on the radar).
So it’s showdown time, with “Five-0” facing its most crucial test since season one.
“Revolution” earned a 4.1 rating among adults 18 to 49 in its pilot launch, with 11.7 million viewers in the Nielsen overnights. This pull made it the top drama premiere on any network in three years, without new episodes of “Five-0” and “Castle” competing for viewers.
“Revolution” could connect with devotees of Elizabeth Mitchell, who was on “Lost” and who recurs as the mother of the bow-and-arrowing Charlie, played by Tracy Spiradakos, with some of the fire and flavor of Katniss in “Hunger Games.”
Further, “Revolution” has a powerful lead-in show in “The Voice,” NBC’s red-hot talent reality show, enabling the sci-fi show to retain 87 percent of the lead-in viewers. The show flexes promise and survival plotlines about the U.S. virtually powerless, making folks live like wild-west pioneers with decisions and laws wildly based on guns and other arms (like bow and arrow) or plain might to survive.
Besides, it’s got great potential — tapping ruins in Chicago, for instance — and could become into water cooler chatter Tuesday mornings.
“Revolution” is on many TV critics’ must-see list. And it was TVGuide.com’s No. 1 freshman series on its Watchlist, eclipsing CBS’ “Elementary,” an update on sleuthing Sherlock Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) and Watson (Lucy Liu), and ABC’s “666 Park Avenue” (which co-stars “Lost’s” Terry O’Quinn who was story-arc guest star on “Five-0” last season).

Madonna, Tyler joining Waikiki’s 'Legends' cast

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September 16th, 2012



Madonna and Steven Tyler will be among the look- and sound-alikes in "Legends in Concert" Waikiki’s “Rock-a-Hula” production, beginning Dec. 11 at the Royal Hawaiian Center’s fourth-floor theater-showroom.
The current pop faves will bring a wave of fresh sounds and looks to the three-decades-old tribute show, widely recognized as “The World’s Greatest Live Tribute Show” in the world, as "Legends" marks its first anniversary here in December. The show continues to be a visitor favorite along the Kalakaua Avenue strip.
The marquee switches are part of the regular rotation of impersonation acts in the "Legends" library.
Madonna, aka The Material Girl, continues to be a current rock tour superstar. Tyler, the bad boy of rock from Aerosmith, was a judge on Fox’s “American Idol” last season who resigned to rock out with his Aerosmith buddies again.
They join a lineup that also includes Michael Jackson, the King of Pop; Elvis Presley, the King of Rock; Lady Gaga, the diva of the divinely absurd; and Elton John, the prolific singer-composer with rock, Broadway and movie credits.
“Since opening last December, we’re delighted at how quickly Hawaii has become our newest long-term home, and our cast has had a phenomenal time welcoming kama’aina as well as tens of thousands of visitors from dozens of countries,” said Brian Brigner, COO for "Legends in Concert," in a press release. “We’re truly thankful for the warm aloha and embrace we’ve received from the community and look forward to being part of and enhancing the Waikiki entertainment scene for many years to come.”
“We are so appreciative of the terrific reception, trust and support our show at the Royal Hawaiian Theater has received from the entire hospitality, tourism and business community,” added Ron Howard, President of Star of Honolulu, partners in the operation of "Legends in Concert" Waikiki. “Our strong partnerships with On Stage Entertainment, producers of 'Legends in Concert,' and the management of the Royal Hawaiian Center are working exactly as we had hoped and tactically planned.
For locals, "Legends" offers kama’aina the option for cocktail, luau and dinner packages, ranging from $40.50 to $145.80.
Performances: 8:15 p.m. daily except Mondays.
Reservations: 629-7469 or www.LegendsWaikiki.com.

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'Humpday' deal at MVT for 'Frankenstein' comedy

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September 10th, 2012



“Young Frankenstein,” Manoa Valley Theatre’s 2012-13 season opener, has a Wednesday-only deal for the upcoming Sept. 12 performance only.
You can get two tickets for $40 — online or by phone — as the theater reintroduces Wednesday evening performances as part of the season. It's a savings of $30 for a pair of adult tickets.
For the past two years, a 2 p.m. Saturday matinee show had been in place; the Wednesday playdate — call it Humpday— returns this season and replaces that Saturday slot in the production schedule, according to Dwight Martin, MVT’s producing director.
“Frankenstein” is a wacky musical based on the beloved 1974 Mel Brooks-Gene Wilder comedy film that re-imagines the Frankenstein story. It opened on Broadway in 2007, running for more than a year.
To reacquaint audiences to the Wednesday performances, MVT is offering an online and by-phone a 2for40 special (two tickets for $40) for this first Wednesday performance only. The offer is not applicable to new sales. Use the 2for40 code promotion code online (www.manoavalleytheatre.com); when phoning, ask for the 2for40 special (988-6131) Regular prices will prevail for the Wednesday shows.
“Young Frankenstein” repeats at 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 4 p.m. Sundays, through Sept. 23. Regular tickets: $35 for adults, $30 for seniors and military, $25 for youths $25 and under.

In its Hawaii premiere, “Young Frankenstein” ought to scare up full houses, though the laughs are erratic and the chemistry of characters/actors more of a script issue than casting.
The musical, like the film, is an homage to those horror flicks of yesteryear, of haunted mansions and of life created from the remnants of body parts. While more comedic than horrific, kids under 6 should not attend, because of some bawdy adult themes relating to sex.
The show boasts has some daffy moments and delightful performances. The first joy comes in the usual pre-curtain instruction from Frau Brucher, played by Shannon Winpenny, a caricature of Germanic rigidity decked out in coiled and bunned ‘do, black gown, and a stiff demeanor not unlike that of the ballet mistress Madame Giry in “Phantom of the Opera.” Winpenny later steals the show with her “He Vas My Boyfriend” solo. Vunderful, vith vow factor.
Equally appealing, and remarkably mobile in a hunched posture, is Paul Mitri as Igor, who looks like a Trick or Trickster with a roving hunchback. He shadows the central character, Dr. Frederick Frankenstein, played by the likeable Elitei Tatafu Jr., the grandson of the famous laboratory doctor, who returns to Transylvania to settle family matters but gets engaged in reliving his famous kin’s experiment of bringing life to a corpse. But the young doc’s role is mostly pratfalls and gag upon gag, though a “Roll in the Hay” number with assistant, Inga, played by Samantha Stoltzfus, is a highlight of quick-moving, sit-down, simulated-lovemaking. Verboten? Perhaps. But giddy and outrageous.
Then there’s Miles McGee, as The Monster, who blooms and grooves to “Puttin’ on the Ritz” with other principals, upholding the good-fun, good-memories of a rave-dance to the ol’ Irving Berlin classic. This is the most cohesive, celebratory moment of “Young Frankenstein,” justifying attendance.
Go see for yourself. And for that bargain admission, considering going on Wednesday (Sept. 12). Vunderbar.

MVT sets tryouts for
‘Speed the Plow’

On a related note, Manoa Valley Theatre will hold auditions at 7 p.m. today (Sept. 10) at the theater for its upcoming production of David Mamet’s “Speed the Plow.”
Scott Rogers will direct. Performances will be from Nov. 8 through Dec. 2.
The play is a satire of American movie-making and examines at corporate backstabbing, power play and greed.
Three roles are available — two men and a woman. The male characters, Bobby Gould and Charlie Fox, should be between 35 through 50 years old, and should have fast-talking confidence. The woman’s role, Karen, should be 20ish and slim and attractive; Madonna played the character in the play’s Broadway run in 1988.
Scripts may be perused on the MVT site, 2833 E. Manoa Road, between 9:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays.
Information: 988-6131.

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Is 'Call Me Maybe' the next Song You Hate to Love?

By
September 4th, 2012



Carly Rae Jepson’s “Call Me Maybe” has been this summer’s undisputed No. 1 hit.
It’s been everywhere. Radio, TV, Websites.
It’s catchy, frisky, fun, contagious, sweetly optimistic amid a season of political negativity and unrelenting and threatening weather.
It’s been a seasonal bon-bon, a confectionary guilty pleasure, a stress-buster.
But is it headed down the path to eventually become the next Song You Hate to Love?
“Call Me Maybe” has been a YouTube sensation, and a source of resourceful parody and unexpected spirit. Members of Team USA got the groove going at the Summer Olympics; the Harvard baseball team did a charming version complete with choreographed hand and arm movements; folks like Justin Bieber and Katy Perry also got hooked; and yes, the tune even became enmeshed in a President Obama version stitched together from his multitude of speeches.
Perhaps the song’s universal popularity (an amazing nine weeks at the No. 1 spot on the charts) and may lead to the kind of backlash and potential downfall for over-exposure. That’s the occasional nature of beloved songs that fall from grace. And “Call Me Maybe” is potential candidate for Songs You Hate to Love. Maybe.
I can recall a number of songs that were initially the rage — that became hot on the hate list. You get sick and tired ... agitated and annoyed ... when you hear ‘em.
Ten examples, in no particular order:

1 — “You Light Up My Life,” by Debby Boone, 1977. It was a monstrous hit and star-maker, featured in a sappy movie which galvanized its popularty...and decline.
2 — “Achy Breaky Heart,” by Billy Ray Cyrus, 1992. OK, it had more than an ounce of bounce, and don’t lie now, but you likely were among those doing uniform movements in country line-dancing at the height of the song’s impact. And then the pendulum swung the other way.
3 — “Macarena,” by Los Del Rio, 1995. Ay caramba, it was a song you could not evade on the radio, you possibly bought the record (this was before downloading) and, yes, you might have even been forced to engage in the dance, with those repetitive hand movements. Was this the next-generation Latin origins of what in 2012 became “Call Me Maybe,” with full-body dancing?
4 — “Who Let the Dogs Out?,” by Baha Men, 2000. Arf! Arf! Who let this dog on the charts?
5 — “My Heart Will Go On,” by Celine Dion, 1997. Admittedly, Dion was the prevailing lark in the music biz, who did most of those movie music theme song, and this phenom ballad that was featured in the No. 1 blockbuster “Titanic” film was inescapable. It was on radio, she did it for years in her Las Vegas shows, it reached a saturation point as it hit the iceberg. Ad nauseum; folks got turned off by the searing ballad that defined a career and helped sell a lot of tickets to the movie and to her live performances.
6 — “Livin’ La Vida Loca,” by Ricky Martin, 1999. It ignited an explosive run of Latin music popularity and became a signature song by the former Menudo singer, who now is living another kind of loco life as a Broadway star in “Evita,” where he is shakin’ his bon bon in a reborn career. Overkill, anyone?
7 — “Where Do I Begin?,” aka “Theme from ‘Love Story,’” by Francis Lai (instrumental), popularized by Andy Williams (vocal), 1970. Its sentimentality heightened the wallop of the Eric Segal tale about a Harvard student (played by Ryan O’Neal) who falls in love with a Radcliffe student (Ali McGraw) without his dad’s approval; they want to but can’t have kids, and she eventually learns she will die. This weaper of a film perhaps triggered a myriad of ailments-of-the-month TV and movie scripts, and ultimately sinked the melody into the seas of sappy sentimentality. Remember the “Love Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry” tagline for this movie?
8 — “We Built This City,” by Starship, 1985. This iconic 1980s hit, by the group that was the Jefferson Airplane in another life, was that decade’s worst tune, according to a Rolling Stone poll. It champions rock as the foundation of a city, supposedly the group’s home base, San Francisco, but lyrics refer to other cities. It was a hottie that got the cold shoulder; perhaps the final straw is that “City” is part of the “Rock of Ages” soundtrack on Broadway. How bad is that?!
9 — “Ice, Ice Baby,” by Vanilla Ice, 1989. The first No. 1 hit in the hip-hop genre, by a white man (real name, Robert Van Winkle), no less, and a gate-opener for black hip-hoppers since. But because it was a homer by a white artist, it eventually became high on the disliked list. Trivia notes: It was the B-side of a (failed) cover of “Play That Funky Music;” it was originally released on the Ichiban label, which turned out to be prophetic – ichiban meaning No. 1 in Japanese.
10 — “MMM Bop,” by Hanson, 1997. From the middle of nowhere, these young popsters became the rage of the preteens. The Hanson brothers Tyler, Isaac and Zachary were adored, applauded and admired ... till the overkill hurled “Bop” into the ranks of parody and ridicule. And the hate list.

So what tunes turn you off? What did you like then but loathe now?
List your Songs You Hate to Love. ...

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