Posts Tagged ‘Christine Baranski’

Bella Donna

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

Director: Ol Parker

Cast: Amanda Seyfried, Lily James, Dominic Cooper, Christine Baranski, Julie Walters, Celia Imrie, Pierce Brosnan, Stellan Skarsgard, Colin Firth, Cher, Meryl Streep, Jeremy Irvine, Josh Dylan, Hugh Skinner, Jessica Keenan Wynn

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel screenwriter Ol Parker does behind the camera as director for the much anticipated sequel / prequel Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again featuring the original cast from Mamma Mia! (2008) including some fabulous additions such as pop diva Cher and Cinderella’s Lily James as the young Donna.

Shot mostly on location in Croatia, doubling for the Greek Isles, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again is strictly for ABBA fans and those who loved the original 2008 film.

Thanks to a preview screening organized by United International Pictures at Suncoast Cinecentre, Durban, I was fortunate enough to see Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again whose highlights included Cher’s superb rendition of the song Fernando sung to her long lost love and some crisply orchestrated numbers featuring Lily James and a plethora of gorgeous young men played by Jeremy Irvine, Hugh Skinner and Josh Dylan respectively, who all represent the younger versions of Sophie’s three Dads played in the original film by Pierce Brosnan, Oscar winner Colin Firth (The King’s Speech) and Stellan Skarsgard.

While the storyline is as haphazard as a lost yacht in the Mediterranean, the singing and the music for Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again is what audiences should come and see this musical comedy for.

With a bigger cast and some daring lines uttered by the wine swigging Tanya played by Christine Baranski (The Bird Cage) including “Be Still my Beating Vagina”, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again is a sparkling musical comedy with the pure aim of reviving all those toe-tapping ABBA songs.

There is sufficient Man Candy both young and old to satisfy a diverse range of female audiences and in the immortal words of BBC Talk Show Host Graham Norton on interviewing pop diva Cher – “This is one of the gayest films being released in 2018!”

Leave your worries at the door and enjoy Mamma Mia, Here We Go Again which gets a film rating of 7.5 out of 10, held together by two sensational performances by Lily James and Cher.

Not So Happily Ever After…

Into the Woods

into_the_woods

Director: Rob Marshall

Cast: Anna Kendrick, Emily Blunt, Meryl Streep, James Corden, Chris Pine, Johnny Depp, Tracey Ullman, Christine Baranski, Lucy Punch, Tammy Blanchard, Daniel Huttlestone, Lilla Crawford, Billy Magnussen, Mackenzie Murzy

Memoirs of a Geisha and Chicago director Rob Marshall strikes gold with this cinematic adaptation of the Stephen Sondheim Broadway musical Into The Woods featuring a fabulous ensemble cast made all the better by Meryl Streep playing the meddling Witch.

Imagine Little Red Riding Hood teaming up with Jack the Giant Slayer, Cinderella and a forlorn Rapunzel, that is Into The Woods, a wonderful mixture of all the classic fairy tales thrown together in a delightful musical which is hinged with darkness and loaded with metaphors and familial moral codes about life’s unpredictability.

Director Marshall brings out the best in his cast including a superb performance by Emily Blunt as the barren Bakers Wife along with the irrepressible Meryl Streep as the evil Witch who asks the Baker, played by British actor James Corden to collect Cinderella’s golden slipper, a white cow, a lock of Rapunzel’s hair and a red cape naturally belonging to Red Riding Hood.

Oscar nominee Anna Kendrick (Up in The Air) holds her own as the doomed Cinderella who is wooed by a shameless prince played by Chris Pine (Jack Ryan, Shadow Recruit, Horrible Bosses 2). Cinderella’s evil stepmother is superbly played by Christine Baranski of The Good Wife fame and The Birdcage. Audiences should also watch out for British comedian Tracey Ullman who plays Jack’s exasperated mother. Child stars Daniel Huttlestone and Lilla Crawford are amazing as Jack the Giant Slayer and Little Red Riding Hood.

Three times Oscar winner Meryl Streep reunites with her Devil Wears Prada co-star Emily Blunt, and it is clear that both these actresses keep this wonderful musical firmly rooted in brilliance. Blunt is absolutely amazing, delivering some quick witted lines and belting out some wonderful songs while Streep relishes the chance to play the blue haired vain and selfish Witch who is desperate to reclaim her lost beauty by reversing a curse placed on her. The Witch also incidentally holds her daughter Rapunzel played by Mackenzie Murzy hostage in a tower and much to her horror, has fallen for a young but clumsy prince played by the gorgeous newcomer Billy Magnussen.

Oscar nominee Johnny Depp who was spine chillingly excellent in another Sondheim musical film, Tim Burton’s Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street makes a brief appearance as the cross dressing wolf who terrorizes Little Red Riding Hood.

Even though Into The Woods is aimed at children, there are certainly slightly darker adult undertones to this extraordinary film as unlike the fairy tales, not everyone lives happily ever after. For those that enjoy expertly directed and acted big screen musicals, like Chicago, Les Miserables and Hairspray, then Into The Woods is definitely recommended viewing.

Stephen Sondheim’s Into The Woods is a truly imaginative, witty and fabulous fable sure to enchant both adults and children alike and as a stage production it would be equally extraordinary to watch.

Film Directors & Festivals
Reviews and Awards
Review Calender
August 2018
M T W T F S S
« Jul    
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031  
  • Late-Night TV Has a Growing Problem: Maybe There’s Too Much of It
    Something funny is going on with late-night TV, but it’s not the sort of development that’s going to make anyone laugh. Netflix’s decision on Friday to cancel programs led by comics Michelle Wolf and Joel McHale, both of which emulated traditional late-night series, marks just the most recent move in a scaling back of the genre. […]
    Brian Steinberg
  • Film Review: ‘Billionaire Boys Club’
    Tough break. After 15 years in director’s jail, “Wonderland” helmer James Cox resurfaces with another smarmy true-crime drama, “Billionaire Boys Club,” this one about a bunch of Los Angeles investment scammers who wound up whacking a couple of their associates when their Ponzi scheme started to go south, only to have the film implode in […]
    Peter Debruge
  • ‘Stranger Things’ Season 3 Is Inspired by 1985’s ‘Fletch’ (EXCLUSIVE)
    When Season 3 of “Stranger Things” eventually returns, don’t expect Chief Jim Hopper to be jumping for joy at the sight of Starcourt Mall — or rushing to buy a sundae from Joe Keery’s Steve Harrington, for that matter. “I don’t know if Hopper would be caught dead at Scoops Ahoy,” David Harbour joked ahead of a […]
    Tara Bitran
  • ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ to Top ‘The Meg’s’ Second Weekend
    “Crazy Rich Asians” is heading for a glamorous first weekend with an estimated $22 million from 3,384 North American locations. The Warner Bros. film debuted August 15 and has already racked up $16 million. Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Awkwafina, and Michelle Yeoh star in the Asian-led pic, the first of its kind since 1993’s “The […]
    Erin Nyren
  • Trump Claims Social Media Platforms Stifle Conservative Voices
    WASHINGTON — President Trump said that social media platforms are “discriminating against” Republican and conservative voices, but “we won’t let that happen.” Companies like Twitter, Google and Facebook deny that they have targeted or singled out rightward forms of content. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) grilled Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg over the claims at a hearing […]
    Ted Johnson
  • Article
    Over the past few years, several low-cost carriers have stepped up to offer competition and cheapest prices to customers looking to cut down their monthly bills. Tags: 2gmhass90