Sunday, 21 December 2014
Meet The Artifacts.
98 Minutes. Starring: Ben Stiller, Robin Williams, Owen Wilson, Steve Coogan, Ricky Gervais, Rebel Wilson, Rami Malek, Patrick Gallagher, Dan Stevens & Ben Kingsley. Director: Shawn Levy.
Admit one more time to the fond, fun, festive feeling of another holiday season, Ben Stiller adventure comedy. Because after tonight the 'Night At The Museum' will be closing its doors for good. That's right, Larry the security guy is hanging up his torch. Its been one hell of an animal/artifact house ride for Stiller. When he wasn't busy "focking" around with Robert De Niro's family, the 'Zoolander' and 'Dodgeball' star had another franchise to go along with 'Meet The Parents' while everything else waited for their long awaited sequels. After the first classic, 'Night At The Museum' went to the capital, Washington D.C. for the brilliant 'Battle Of The Smithsonian' sequel, you just knew there'd be a big three. Now to complete the family box-set trilogy, the film and franchise face heads to England's capital, London where it channels the last 'Mummy' film by hopping on a double-decker bus to Egypt, by way of the British Museum. The sacred tablet that brings everything to life is wearing thin, but thankfully this series isn't as Stiller helps bring it and everything to life once again with the fine form over the years that saw 'Tower Heist' and 'The Watch' turn into bigger and better films then critically advertised. A formidable run of form that cumulated in his last fall career crescendo of his 'Forrest Gump' like journey of 'The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty'. Stiller is the man. There's just something about Ben.
So along comes another sequel and its as still as super as the unnatural behaviours of the 'Natural History Museum's' exhibits that do everything but collect dust after midnight. In the magic hour it all comes to one hell of a big party no matter how small Owen Wilson and Steve Coogan are in role and stature. Stiller's old running mate forms a dynamic duo with Brit Frat Pack, international member Steve Coogan. Bringing Rome and the Wild West together for a showdown and conquest of banter and trademark humour of visual aids. Exhibit B sees old favourites like Rami Malek and Patrick Gallagher return as historical figures in both world and this films past. Now sure, with a more of the same sequel, some people will be turned off by old gags being run again and again but tell that to 'Anchorman' and 'Dumb and Dumber' too. Besides there's some new tricks to go with this sequel welcoming back the theatrics we loved so much from the first two. Kids will love it and parents will be glad to be sharing in the festive fun this Christmas. Packing up the museum and shipping some of the exhibits to London for a short trip and we have some new English traditions to add to Ricky Gervais' second silly but sincere outing. After having a breakout year with 'The Guest' (a film that looked like 'Drive' if it was directed by Michael Bay), Dan Stevens plays a hilarious, Bradley Cooper looking Lancelot and makes this film fools gold with his jests. Even Aussie Rebel Wilson brings a pitch perfect British accent, hilariously stepping in for Jonah Hill's new museum guard. And what American film looking for a little good ole blighty would be complete without Ben Kingsley? Add this to the stunning, enthusiastic special effects and some more after hours surprises from dynamic director Shawn Levy and you have another great museum night to save the day. Even Stiller goes back to his early days and plays another character and the results are man making fire genius.
Still, as we have one last walk around the halls of this hallowed museum we must bid a farewell to one of America's greatest exhibitions. And this is where if you allow us we pay tribute. You just know that even though the doors are closing for sunrise they couldn't do another 'Night At The Museum', because who else could play President Theodore Roosevelt than the late, great Robin Williams? The guy even looked the spitting image of Teddy. And from the first time his mannequin came to screaming and fooling life like Kim Cattrell the fatherly fun and fortune hasn't stopped. From the wordplay to the wisdom, Williams has acted up to the part he played perfectly. Just like he did in all his films from 'Mrs Doubtfire' to 'Patch Adams'. Only a true legend who deserves his place on comedies Hollywood Mount Rushmore could play such an American icon. Here in his final 'Museum' and all too tragically movie outing (visual at least, you can hear his voice one last time in next years 'Dennis The Dog'), Robin spreads his wings and does what he did so brilliantly and beautifully better than the rest. With the museum artifacts threatened to return to what they once where, some wax hands and presidential confusion gives Robin the chance to return to his trademark riffing we loved so much from the man whose resume reads "I do voices" before his name. Forget just comedy, its Hollywood gold like Cary Grant's look, James Dean's swagger or Clark Gable's line from a man that was more than the muses. Fondly but then all too sadly in the end, here you're yet again so engaged to the energy and enthusiasm of a man that never lost that, form or face that you forget that he's still unbelievably no longer with us. You never want his day to end and for him to return back to a statue, only to never scream and shock us again. Still Hollywood should make one for the man that made them. Smile and rest peacefully Robin. Goodnight. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Sunday, 14 December 2014
The War Of The Rings.
144 Minutes. Starring: Martin Freeman, Sir Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom, Richard Armitage, Evangeline Lily, Lee Pace, Luke Evans, Aidan Turner, James Nesbitt, Ken Stott, Stephen Fry, Sylvester McCoy, Cate Blanchett, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving & Benedict Cumberbatch (As The Voice Of Smaug). Director: Peter Jackson.
Once more unto the breach my friends! We all know how this day is going to end. This is it! One last time! Peter Jackson's 'King Kong' huge vision of middle-earth comes to a dream like close. After his original 'Lord Of The Rings' trilogy changed the blockbuster movie world and storytelling as a whole. The man who directs like he has his sights on being the next Spielberg, took Tolkien's classic book ends and turned them into something truly beyond the most vivid imaginations of parents who grew up on the bedtime stories worldwide. Having the passing on, nostalgic pleasure of an opportunity to take their own children to see and share a story in this digital age, where unfortunately reading to our children before bed has turned into Kindles and iPad videos. Still honouring tradition, Jackson took action and went back to the original book of 'The Hobbit' and that big, red dragon that so far had only been seen in inspired illustrations of influence over the generations. Now 'The Hobbit' may read like a pamphlet in relation to the fellowship of door-stops that came after, but Jackson has still managed to squeeze three films out of it in the generation of eight 'Harry Potter' films and a 'Hunger Games', 'Mockingjay' being split into two. First came 'An Unexpected Journey' with a rejuvenated, precious feel and Gollum. Then last December in the new yearly tradition came the most fun and entertaining film of the Rings with 'The Desolation Of Smaug' where we finally saw the dragon enter. Now with this year, this trilogy and this story coming to an epic close fans are left screaming and shouting for 'The Silmarillion'.
'There And Back Again'...just not quite. A fitting finale like this needs to an end with a bold BANG! So this stories script has been rewrote to 'The Battle Of The Five Armies' and believe me this fight club of battle royales even makes '300' men look like a band of babies. Even with Katniss trying to take the arrow lead off Legolas, throwing bows, 'The Hunger Games' is starving in relation to this fall, yearly blockbuster tradition. Now from 'The Winter Soldier' start this may have been Marvel's blockbuster year in this 'Age Of Ultron', with 'Captain America', 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2', 'X-Men: Days Of Future Past' (hello Gandalf) and of course the 'Guardians Of The Galaxy', you still have to make room for the shire. In this monster, big budget effects year of 'Transformers' and the 'Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes'. Nothing comes close to this beast and its smouldering Smaug...not even the king 'Godzilla'. The dinosaurs of 'Jurassic World', the Terminators of 'Genyisis' and 'The Force Awakening' of 'Star Wars' has a lot to live up in 2015 as 2014 comes to a book end close. This film wraps it all up completely with a classic core of effects, emotion and epic war of magic and madness. Sure at times some silly slapstick action and unbelievable set-pieces may make it look like Michael Bay maybe snuck into the editing suite, but a more focussed, formidable finale is more forgiving and fitting. Even if at times it feels anti-climatic, because after all this and that, that came before...what wouldn't. It's still a geeks treat, for something that one day next to the 'Rings' will make for one epic, one sitting DVD night. Even the most die-hard, devoted fans have finished their 9-5, only to go straight to the cinema to watch all three, back-to back, only to surface out of the cinema at three in the morning. Now that's epic.
In the dawn of this middle earth of the dwarfs one Hobbit will rule them all. His name...Martin...or should we sat Bilbo. As Freeman shows more than Ian Holm and takes the ring (that he'll eventually give to) off Elijah Wood, this man proves the show that he can carry a massive movie for three perfect pictures. This 'Holmes' partner in crime-solving that has taken over Holm is a born-again star for more than just his 'Sherlock' show as his classic co-star Benedict Cumberbatch again provides the incredibly scorchingly sinister and scary voice of Smaug. On fire with his Oscar worthy 'Imitation Game' year that will lead to the Marvel of 'Dr. Strange'. Still even his grand growl is smoke and mirrors in reflection to how epic this dynamite, dynamic dragon looks in all its special, scaly and scary effects. Flying through town with a fire blaze of glorified, death and destruction. This is something that fans who couldn't stop turning the page to that one illustration have being wanting to feast their eyes on for decades. Speaking of old legends and Marvel mutants, there's nothing stopping the magic of Magneto as Sir Ian McKellen once again casts a classic and at times comedic spell as the grand Gandalf. One scene with the legendary 'Rings' circle of trust of Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving and Christopher Lee is a remarkable redux of a reunion. Just like Orlando Bloom's growth, now entertainingly teaming up with the incredible, star of the future Evangeline Lily and the elf king Lee Pace who is camping up quite the likable, villainous year after his 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' out of this earth, breakout. The "newer" actors who are now an established part of middle-earth folklore really shine here (just check out Aidan Turner, mark these words one day he'll play late INXS rock legend Michael Hutchence) all the way down to James Nesbitt, Ken Stott and the legendary Sylvester McCoy and Stephen Fry, out of the frying pan and into Smaug's fire. Still its the man tasked with bringing down the beast, Luke Evans who really prevails after a bullseye year. Almost over the new Viggo in Richard Armitage who succumbs to "Dragon Sickness" and a healthy dose of acting ability, wandering round pools and halls of gold like Scrooge McDuck. All these nuggets pay off for a film that strikes gold even with all the coins pouring away into the block busting budget. Sure in relation to the trilogy this finale may be a little bit 'Dark Knight Rises', but in the years that come, this too will go down in legacy making legend. Perhaps its just all too bittersweet that this beautiful battalion of blockbusters is coming to a classic close. As this Hobbit puts his hairy feet up, middle earth will never quite be the same. TIM DAVID HARVEY
Friday, 12 December 2014
2015 may be the 'Age Of Ultron' in the intergalactic 'Star Wars' battle of science fiction and comic books, but you don't have to wait until then for a geeks dream with one of the years most anticipated films and sequels.
Run to the bright lights of Times Square like Steve Rodgers after the whole defrosting thing and you may just find something even more illuminating in the core of the entertainment world of New York City and the rest of the planet. In Discovery, Times Square, Marvel's mightiest heroes have their own museum. The 'Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N'. Something Marvel founder Stan Lee calls, "indescribable"!
We'll give it a shot! How about it's bigger than Captain America's muscles, Thor's hammer, Hulks anger problems, or Tony Stark's ego? This place is awesome, paying homage to the first classic Avengers assembling...and we're sure more will be added with all the phases of films coming out trying to out library the comic-books that have been coming out for generations.
Suit up! You want to see Cap's suit? Or Thor's realms and Iron Man's armour? They're all here, along with the Black Widow, Hawkeye and Nick Fury's duds, complete with authentic bullet hole. They're all refrigerator locked behind the same glass that held Loki...oh and his septre and 'Reindeer Games' attire are here too. Along with some more souvenir surprises that go beyond just regular movie merchandise.
We don't want to spoil or 'Bazinga' all the big bang fun that comes the moment you get your pass to become a probationary agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. But this isn't just another look don't touch exhibition, although you may want to leave that camera at home for this classified centre. This place is inspiringly interactive. From the physical to the educational. After learning more about the solar system and nine realms whilst searching for Thor's him of Asgard, why not test your strength against Captain America if you think you can beat this skinny kid?
Here's betting you thought Broadway was Times Squares biggest, blockbuster attraction. Now the Avengers are and that Scharwma joint is only a few blocks away...TIM DAVID HARVEY
Thursday, 11 December 2014
108 Minutes. Starring: Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day, Chris Pine, Jennifer Aniston, Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz & Kevin Spacey. Director: Sean Anders.
Re-hired and fired out the comedy cannon, 'Horrible Bosses 2' is the new super sequel from a new formidable, funny franchise like fellow 2014 sequel '22 Jump Street' that refuses to grow up and get a real job. There's no pink slips here for comedies new big three of Jason Bateman, Sudeikis and Charlie Day who are back on fond and favourable form as three tools in the machine who just cant catch a break when it comes to their head honchoes or their severance revenge. This time after having an entrepreneurial idea stolen they decide to go into the kidnapping business with a steal of a twist. Applying risk management here however this sequel is more 'Waynes World 2' then a second 'Hangover'. Its a nostalgic, formula throwback to what wasn't broke and didn't need fixing in the first comedy classic, however its no heavy carbon copy. How dya like them now? With Jennifer Aniston's tongue in x-rated cheek comedy a mouth-full and a classic, criminal cameo from 'Se7en' surprise Kevin Spacey, everyone is back...well except Colin Farrell. Still in a 'Django' reunion we have everybody's favourite Christoph Waltz. But of course its Mr. 'Expletive' Jones, Jamie Foxx who steals the show hilariously along with Captain Kirk, Chris Pine who is boldly the best thing about this boss picture. Energising it on all levels with his charm and charisma. Just call this cap this 'Bosses' employee of the month! TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Wednesday, 10 December 2014
By TIM DAVID HARVEY
No animals where harmed in the making of this mans career! Between being nominated for Academy Awards for possibly three years running (more on that later) and being named the 'Worlds Sexiest Man Alive', this Oscar darling is unleashing the beast inside. Whether he's toting guns as a talking Racoon, that hangs out with three word vocabulary trees in space for this years biggest film or hitting the Broadway stage of the concrete jungle, Empire State of New York as 'The Elephant Man', Bradley Cooper doesn't seem human. Its for sure been a long time since this poster boy of Hollywood and one of the industries most likable icons was engaged with playing the perfect bastard with no glory, while Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn where 'Wedding Crashers'. It seems like an even longer time when before he was famous he sported long, scraggly hair, like that first scene in his acting breakout 'Limitless' as he asked his idol Sean Penn a question from the audience of James Lipton's 'Hollywood Actors Studio'. Now a cut above the rest this guys cleaned up and had fans reaching for answers of advice from himself after having his own show. The buck doesn't stop there either for a movie money guy who joins Hollywood's other Bradley and the Leo DiCaprio likes of pretty boys maturing and showing their much more than their looks. You can add theatre to the career resume too of a guy that's heading to the stage like his fellow Marvel mutant, Wolverine, Hugh Jackman a few blocks down the road of Times Square in 'The River'.
There's an Elephant in the room however if you stream back uptown with the lights and taxicabs of the Big Apples entertainment core of 42nd street. It comes from a monster of a big, bold and beautiful Broadway powerhouse performance as the 'Worlds Sexiest Man' plays the disfigured 'Elephant Man' in a 14 week running, acclaimed piece of theatre that also stars legendary, journeywoman, character actress Patricia Clarkson. Following the life of the shows subject Joseph Merrick since he was only 12 years old, this labour of love is a nightly passion project for Brad and hang with Mr. Cooper long enough and you can see just how much enthusiastically exhausted, heart and soul he's pouring into this performance. Between all the award worthy movies that have dealt with everything from mental wars to world ones and the big budget picture perfect life of cinemas classic comedies and comic books this just may be the most important, inspiring and influential role to date for a man who's seemingly working on as many scripts that have hit his cluttered welcome mat in the Hollywood Hills. And he's doing more than just simply paying the bills. Something appears to be eating away at him like a debt he must repay to the humanity of the acting world. You can see it in his impassioned speech at the MTV Awards of all places for the 'Beat Kiss' gong with Jennifer Lawrence of all awards for the anxiety dealing 'Silver Linings Play Book', where he let the audience know that the oft-ignorantly brushed aside world of mental health was real even to a man who could have seemingly any woman or role he wanted. Revealing an issue that need to be addressed in the fact that more American soldiers are lost to depression and suicide on return home then on the battlefield (more on things of that nature later too). Tackling the inspiration over isolation, mind over matter, brutal battle of a man that cruelly wasn't accepted by the public this man does it again. Screaming Merrick's cries of "I AM A HUMAN BEING" to those who treated him like an animal simply because they didn't understand.
Get it? And you thought this mans best performance of the year came as as a hairy, two-foot creature. After Marvel's monster year of big blockbusters in 'Captain America-The Winter Soldier', 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' and 'X-Men: Days Of Future Past' their best was truly saved for last in their out of this world, space Avengers of 'Guardians Of The Galaxy'. A mega movie that beat all the 'Transformers', 'Planet Of The Apes' and ultimate movie King Kong 'Godzilla', whilst turning the Parks and Recs of Chris Pratt into a star (lord) that next years big blockbuster 'Jurassic World' will be thankful for going up against the real Han Solo in 'Star Wars' and of course the Avengers in this 'Age Of Ultron'. Between sci-fi queens like Zoe Saldana and wrestling kings like Dave Bautista, two characters stole the show, looking nothing like their Hollywood heart throbbing vocal providers as Rocket and Groot just may be the new Christmas toys this year, selling by the minions under the Douglas Fir's of every kid and their parents alike. 'Fast and Furious'' Vin Diesel may have only had to say "I am Groot", but he did it with so much passionate range, while you couldn't get Coopers chattering Racoon to shut up...and you didn't want him too either. Sounding almost nothing like Bradley but making a radical, attitude shift in everybody's favourite comic and C.G.I. character, Cooper showed even more real and underrated raw acting range, especially in the timing of comedy for a character we cant wait to see climbing the tree again with a machine gun space blaster. This critters bite is even better than his bark! OH yeeeeeah!
Finger on the trigger, gun in hand and with the Kodak Theatre in his crosshairs, Cooper looks to tale aim at another Oscar nomination with the legendary outlaw and quickest draw in Hollywood Clint Eastwood. And its only right the old and new alike cross career paths. For Clint the legend who is proving to be just as iconic a director as he is actor has wrapped up a great year with his phenomenal, stage to screen 'Jersey Boys' adaptation. Now following Bradley's even better 2014, the two unwrap a new story this Christmas day that will make sure over turkey and tinsel movie fans don't forget those fighting for our freedom who cant make it home for the holidays. 'American Sniper' sees the director of war torn classics like 'Flags Of Our Fathers' and 'Letters From Iwo Jima' return to the trenches but this time in a modern warfare, with his new million dollar baby in his Bradley Cooper lead. Cooper bulking up and adding weight like gold by eating every 55 minutes for the role of America's deadliest sniper with 150 kill-shots to his name. This all too true tale could just be too good for just a nominee. Following his nomination for powerfully playing a wounded man with troubling anxiety problems alongside Jennifer Lawrence in 'Silver Linings Play Book' really rewrote this guys life script in more meaningful and moving ways than one. While his reunion with with Lawrence and director David O. Russell's 'Fighter' stars in last years cool and slick 'American Hustle' played another Oscar nomination into his hands. Although the man may have only won the award for best selfie photographer of the year that night (trust me...he is), the guy-despite a hilarious scene where he imitates and mocks massive comedian star Louis C.K.-should have really been nominated for 2013's most underrated and best film 'The Place Beyond The Pines'. Maybe having him and Ryan Gosling on the same screen (to go with Eva Mendes of course) made it all one handsome blur. Maybe it was really incredible, next generation actor and Green Goblin Dane DeHaan's breakout movie and career vehicle. Or maybe, just maybe if you look deeper you'll find Coopers best of his catalogue.
Never fear this guy may just be an Oscar regular like his co-star and next Meryl Streep in Jennifer Lawrence. They've only added a third collaboration in as many a year to their hectic and huge 2014 schedule too. Its no wonder there aren't dating rumours thanks to this couples charming chemistry. Its a good job Bradley's on Broadway for 14 weeks only because he may have another theatre appointment in February, going up against himself. With Lawrence 'Serena' saw a classic, old and traditional middle America simple story of timbre with a deeper and darker root. Although it'll never strike gold like the silver from the linings of their greatest play book, it has much more substance than just the slick 'Hustle'. Its another notch to the expanding Hollywood waistline of Cooper too amongst the wasteland of rom coms and early days confused films (his scene was cut out of the great Ben Affleck and Samuel L. Jackson thriller 'Changing Lanes') this talented thesp has escaped. Man of the moment McConaughey watch out alright!? 'Failure To Launch'? Yeah right! Speaking of which, wouldn't Cooper have been perfect for the new 'True Detective'? With all due respect to Colin Farrell and Vince Vaughn. Like the greater, more underrated actors of our generation, like Jamie Foxx this serious talent has some seriously classic comedy chops too. After playing the perfect best friend of Jim Carrey in likable agreement to 'Yes Man' he only kick-started his career with a 'Hangover...no make that three of them in a terrific trilogy birthed from a straight classic and highest grossing R rated comedy of all time. A headache to mainstream Hollywood now that taste of the after hours had a kick. Kicking so much it sent Cooper to the 'A-Team' boot camp as this eighties franchise reboots Face card. Who else for the new handsome Dan to play hey? You just have to love it when a plan and a career comes together! That's when things get truly 'Limitless' like the Bradley breakout picture of acting acclaim. Forget loving 'Lucy', popping a pill that made him use 100% of his brain and become a better and more successful man, Cooper's career took the same invincible injection, shot in the arm in the first of many films where Bradley bested his legendary De Niro co-star. Thinking ten moves ahead of him this was truly the wolf packs Lone Ranger moment and if you think about it all the other seriously great films and nominations may not have come if it wasn't for this dose of performing for more than just laughs. No longer stuck in the rut of a running joke, there's no limits to this Hollywood sniper who doesn't just need the most popular actress in the work by his side to get our attention. But he more than holds his own in the hottest character couple this industry can put on screen. With untitled Cameron Crowe and John Wells projects in the pipeline and more Marvel Rockets out this Galaxy in his formidable future, the man whose career hopes where once clawed to playing the 'Crow' in a remake are really taking flight on their own now. As an elephant walks through the bright Broadway lights of Times Square, New York City this rocket wont stop 'till it shoots for the biggest star. Soon you'll be able to see it in his Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Sunday, 7 December 2014
A River Runs Through Broadway.
Neons, cameras, action! That's what the earths entertainment core of Times Square, New York City is all about. Follow the lights of all the billboards, to the billions of tourists cellphones and the stream of chrome Taxicab lights that take you there and you may flow down 'The River'. No we're not talking about a classic Bruce Springsteen double album and song. More like the Circle On The Square theatre that currently plays home to Jez Butterworth's amazingly atmospheric Broadway show that with one light on the far stage draws everyone in and illuminates Manhattan's theatre scene like regulars 'Jersey Boys' and 'Wicked'. Following his 2009 success with 'Jerusalem', all praises due to Butterworth's latest show that is so well lighted and directed it draws you in and almost makes its subject of fishing like a religious experience. Spiritual, the smaller but superior Circle In The Square down a side-road, just a few blocks after Times Square is so significant and effective at this from its centre stage to focussed light, that forget hundreds, even those in the 30 dollar, standing room only light will feel so close and immersed that they may as well bring their own bait and tackle.
So 'The River' is about fishing, but catch and release this and you'll see there's much more to it then this and its one beautiful and broad cabin, living room setting that stages the feverish , and at times surprisingly funny drama. From the wood to the oil lamp this burns with a moonshine varnish of the darkness and depth of humanity that normally you'd have to make for and find off-Broadway. It seems however that inbetween all those 42nd Street lights there is a new focus drawing fans and A-List, Academy Award nominated, leading men superheros to town. Rocket the Racoon, Bradley Cooper is currently shining his star power on to something even more acclaimed than his potential three Oscar nominations in a row (we see you 'American Sniper') with his passion project, 'The Elephant Man' down the road. A story that has been close to the heart of the 'American Hustle' star since he was a mere 12 years of age as the planets sexiest man takes on the world of a disfigured man in the public light. Another Hollywood heartthrob in the form of another superhero 'X-Men' following Marvel's arguable best year takes a trip with us across 'The River' however, as Wolverine, Hugh Jackman gets his claws back into theatre, where his amazing-albeit still criminally underrated acting-started. The actor that proved to the Academy along with 'Nightcrawler' Jake Gyllenhaal that he really could act in the unlocking of 'Prisoners' (a case can be made for it being the overlooked movie of last year alongside Bradley Cooper's 'The Place Beyond The Pines'), got his Oscar nomination-and what should have been his award-for the thespian theatre of one of the worlds greatest stage shows, 'Les Miserables'. But here, without hitting a single note-although reciting W.B. Yeats' 'The Wandering Aengus' poem-the former host really sings.
Hitting fabulous form by the script Jackman is the cast out line and hook and sinker bait of this lakeview theatre. Armed with wellington boots and a red t-shirt the housewives favourite even auctions off for charity (I bet you're booking your tickets now aren't you...and we mean to New York if you don't even live there), Jackman brings sincere and strong acting to a straight forward set. A man seemingly torn between two women walking in and out of his life (and believe me even shedding more light on this would be all too revealing), Hugh grants us with some depth and desperation, powerful passion of character as this Aussie rules Broadway once again. With the Playbill's clapping in a round of applause in his favour Jackman has the audience hanging on his every word and more for just his charming and charismatically studded star status. From baring his soul to wearing his heart on his sleeve, even if this show was in the city of New York's largest auditorium this lead draws you close with a lead strong performance that is as soberingly grounding as a seaman's anchor dropped for the port of alcohol. Over dinner and wine even Jackman preparing a caught fish for supper is acting at its simplest but poetry purist best. Still the man in this show isn't the only thing this river runs through. The women in this piece are perfect as they bring wonder to this three-piece show. Cush Jumbo is fondly funny and engagingly evoking, while the equally bold and beautiful Laura Donnelly is the perfect match drawing as many laughs and hearts and even haunting us with her candlelight singing of Yeats. More than its incredible, star lead this 85 minute show without intermission leaves you immersed and begging for more (and we aren't just talking about Hugh ladies) from the show and love and life. A reflection of our lives itself from the fishing lake, this thought provoking, open-ended show of morals and mortality stays with you like the fish you catch but cant quite unhook. Underneath the peaceful tranquility of 'The River' there's more going on in this stream of consciousness as you dive down. What a catch! TIM DAVID HARVEY.