Thursday, June 25, 2015

Mirth-o-matics @ Paper Wing Theatre Fremont

I have been remiss, dear faceless reader. I have been remiss in my duties as a chronicler of all I survey and a commentator in all I watch as well as a rant-machine on all I absorb. And for that, my Dear Faceless Reader, I must apologize.

Who are the Mirth-O-Matics? That’s a little easy and a little hard to explain- because I could tell you that they’re an improve comedy group and leave it at that. But if you don’t know what “Improv Comedy” is you may just scratch your head in confusion and try to smile in feigned understanding. So let me try to school you, faceless reader: Have you ever watched an episode of “Whose Line is it?” with Drew Carey (or the original British Show of the same name)? It’s an improvisational comedy show where the cast go through comedic acting exercises with some help from the audience including suggestions and a little participation. The object of each exercise or “game” is to put the actors on the spot and provide entertainment for the audience.

And that’s what the Mirth-o-matics do. They entertained this viewer for a solid two hours or so with a number of games that saw the actors scrambling to fill a variety of roles, shoe-horn dialogue chosen by the audience, alphabetized stories, and bringing a sense of order to the mayhem of largely unrehearsed suggestions from an unpredictable audience. The Troupes director led many of the games and also participated in a number of the games himself while constantly engaging with, and informing, the audience.

The Mirth-O-Matics perform throughout Monterey County and are likely to return to Paper Wing Theatre before too long, so I highly recommend checking out the show and watching these folk perform. It’s a treat and definitely something different.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Jurassic World: I got to see this one IN Hawaii!!! =)

I was in Hawaii for a week with my family and we decided to catch this movie a day after being in the rain forest and volcano area where stuff like this was filmed. Very cool.

The movie opens with a cracking egg and the revelation of an evil eye staring out of the shell- and yes, it's evil. It's all insidious and stuff and spooky and there's tense music and then we cut to a couple of kids who are preparing to visit their aunt at the Jurassic World theme park and- and- okay, we have a few lines of dialogue in this thing that immediately tells me that I need to turn my brain off because no one talks like that, no one actually sets up this scenario, and there is no way that this is going to make any degree of sense. And then, as if to solidify those thoughts, they follow up with a cut to the presentation of the park's current Manager. She's also the aunt. She's also played by Bryce Dallas Howard, who I am certain has the ability to act somewhere in her body but has only been required to deliver a performance that could be considered one dimensional if someone were generous. She's a workaholic aunt who doesn't know how old her nephews really are, doesn't understand the science she's in charge of, doesn't really understand the market demographic she's supposed to provide a service to, doesn't understand the security risks she's supposed to oversee, doesn't understand the care and comfort of the animals in her protection, and ... okay, I'm not sure why this woman was hired much less how she managed to stay employed long enough to forget how old her nephews were. She's supposed to be one of our primary protagonists but she may be the worst written character of all time and Bryce Dallas Howard makes certain that she does nothing to make this character worthwhile in any way, shape, or form.

Then there's Chris Pratt, who seems to be walking in with a completely different script to a completely different movie that's been banged into something an eighth grader would start as a fan fiction project. He's a well written character thrown into a really bad script and his acting choices wind up working throughout most of the film. Even if it doesn't make a lot of sense, Pratt manages to give us a reason to believe that his character would make that choice- somewhat.

I know it seems like I'm totally dogging on this film, but the truth of the matter is that I'm just dogging on the script because it is HORRIBLE. It is poorly written, poorly conceived and it makes absolutely no sense. With that said, the movie itself is a fun and frivolous ride that is totally worth a matinee popcorn munching excursion. You just need to totally turn off your brain and accept that this movie isn't really about the story or the people, but rather the effects and the monsters fighting one another. And that's not a bad thing, it's not horrible, and it's what it is.

With that said; there are some really fun moments on the screen. Chris Pratt owns the film and makes the most of his time on screen, though there isn't much difference between this character and Star Lord. He's basically Han Solo, and that's fun to watch. The two Nephews, Moody Teen and Over-Excited Boy, are fun to watch and they have a good little survival story in the midst of everything that's happening. When the dinos break loose there's absolute carnage in the park and- seriously, you know this shouldn't be happening to the extent that it does but it's fun to watch. Total carnage and big dinos fighting big dinos and all that other stuff. It's good. It's fun. My son loved it and that's all that really counts in my eyes- for the most part.

3.5 out of 5.