Month: April 2016

Rogue One Trailer Review

My thoughts on the new Rogue One trailer. I’m pumped. What do you think?

Rachel's Reviews

Man it’s a good time to be a nerd. Particularly a Star Wars nerd! In just a week and change we’ve gotten the amazing Star Wars Rebels finale (oh my gosh it was awesome!), Force Awakens on bluray (still waiting for mine stupid Target!!!) and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story trailer this morning!!!  I’m giddy!

I will definitely be posting a review of Star Wars Rebels Season 2 down the road a bit but the finale had me pumped to get more information on Rogue One because the two properties aren’t that far apart in the Star Wars timeline and it looks like they share some similarities.

They both have strong female presences although Rebels has 2 lead men. Ahsoka and Sabine are complex, rich characters.  Nobody can claim they are Mary Sues (I hate that phrase more than I can say!).  In Rogue One we get Jyn Erso…

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Saturday’s Warrior Review

I normally don’t review movies on this blog very often but since Saturday’s Warrior is an LDS film I felt like it belonged here more.  It was interesting because I saw Everybody Wants Some, the new film from Richard Linklater today along with Saturday’s Warrior.  Both films are set in the late 70s and both are heavily nostalgic and both rely on music to tell their stories.  It’s funny because on the surface they couldn’t be more different but seeing them back to back I saw some similarities. To read my review for Everybody Wants Some go here.

Anyway, let’s talk about Saturday’s Warrior.  Based on the popular stage play written by Lex de Azevedo, Saturday’s Warrior is a musical focused on a Mormon family in the 1970s.

It starts in the premortal spirit life where the family is gathered to say goodbye as each of them leave to join their earthly family.  The oldest Jimmy and Pam promise the youngest Emily that they will make sure their parents don’t get tired of having kids before they can have her, the 8th child.

Then Julie, the second daughter, sings to her love Tod that they will find each other on earth. The last group is Wally Kestler who is desperate to go on a mission and convert the world.

saturdays warriorOnce they get to earth things get more complicated with the appeal of that darn old rock and roll music (gets you every time!) and Jimmy gets dragged into a band that is up to no good.  They even start singing a song literally called ‘Zero Population’ criticizing his big family and threatening the birth of little Emily.

Meanwhile Tod hasn’t been born with the gospel and is an artist and poor Elder Kestler doesn’t have much luck on his mission (until he meets Tod…spoiler alert).

The main appeal to this movie is the songs.  If you have nostalgia for the songs than you will probably enjoy it.  There is no attempt to lessen the camp at all and this is true for the songs.  Aside from having popular Mormon singers like Alex Boye involved they feel like they are straight from the 1970s.

saturdays warrior2I guess you either go with that kind of vintage feel or you don’t.  There’s also no attempt to update the production either.  It might as well have been shot on the Brady Bunch set how low budget 1970s it looks.  That has some appeal but wears thin after a while.

One thing that was weird is the camerawork seemed off the entire time. I am wondering if there was something wrong at my screening.  It felt like everything was chopped off.  You’d have characters talking and their foreheads would be chopped off of the shot.  It was very weird but when I watch the trailer I don’t see that happening.

saturdays warrior3The acting feels low budget and it is a religious film where the Mormon way is the right way and the other is the way of the devil.  Not a whole lot of in between.  If you are looking for a subtle movie about faith this is not the film for you. It’s very cheesy but I knew that going into it.  No surprises there!

Unfortunately the acting isn’t very good and it all feels like a Mormon episode of Saved by the Bell.

If you are a big fan of the music than you will probably enjoy it.  I had fun with it on that level but I can’t really recommend it.  It’s not a good movie but not the worse thing I’ve seen either so take that for what you will.

Overall Grade- D+ (2/5 stars)

My youtube review- If you like this review I would really appreciate subscribing to my channel or giving it a thumbs up.  Thanks!

Pirate Queen Review (Hale Center Theater)

pirate queenAnyone who has followed this blog knows I love musical theater and that Hale Center Theater both in Orem and West Valley are two of the finest regional theaters in the country.  I would truly hold their productions up to anything I’ve seen on Broadway.  You probably also know I am a die-hard Les Miserables fan.  It was the first music, not just musical, that made a significant impact on me and I’ve seen it 3 times on Broadway.  So it was with a great deal of enthusiasium I went to see The Pirate Queen at Hale Center Theater written by Les Mis composers Alain Boublil (lyrics) and Claude- Michel Schonberg (music).

The Pirate Queen tells the true story of Grace O’Malley the daughter of an Irish Chieftan in the 16th Century.  She’s a fiery lass and wants to hit the open seas with her father.  There’s a lot of bold female talk in this musical including songs called ‘Woman’, ‘My Grace’, ‘The Choice is Mine’, ‘Boy’s’ll Be Boys’, ‘She Who Has All’ and ‘Woman to Woman’.  There’s a point where it goes from bold to a little cheesy and patronizing.  It’s kind of like if someone is telling you too often you look beautiful, you probably don’t look that beautiful…

pirate queen2Anyway, Grace gets on the open seas and ends up involved in conflict at sea, in arranged marriage, forbidden love, sword fights and even confronting Queen Elizabeth.  She even gets in a sword fight just after having a baby.  It is quite the lass indeed!

All of this is done with tons of flair by Hale Center Theater.  The costumes are particularly stunning capturing that Elizabethan feel perfectly.  The Irish dancing is a lot of fun  and feels right out of Riverdance!  As always with Hale, the singing was excellent.  I saw it with Bre Welch as Grace and Cecily Ellis-Bills as Queen Elizabeth.

You can get a feel for it in this little promo:

The problem is, and it pains me to say it, I thought the songs and music were really poor especially being they are from Boublil and Schonberg.  I left not wanting to download a single song.  Nothing was memorable or even stood out as a big number.  It all kind of meshed together.  B and S’s musicals are practically all music so if it isn’t good that’s a huge problem.

As far as the script the plot and dialogue were also weak. I get it is a true story but Grace felt like a stock, predictable character. There was no break out moment like Dreamed a Dream or On My Own and most of the side characters were completely forgettable unlike Les Mis. (I know tough to compare to Les Mis but I can’t help it when it is the same writing team). pirate queen3

It’s not like I was miserable or something.  If you want a generic, well put together play than you’ll enjoy it, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed.  The whole thing just felt very flat and soapy when it should have been epic and engaging.

But I certainly appreciate the effort put in by the cast and crew.  Like I said, they did everything they could to elevate the weak material, so I give them a lot of props.  Hopefully Boublil and Schonberg will be able to find their mojo and write something better that Hale can than elevate soon.

Have any of you heard of this play?  Does it sound intriguing to you?  In a way I kind of wish the story could be retooled and tweaked because there is potential there.  It reminded me of Hale’s production of Scarlet Pimpernel and Zorro both which had way more memorable music and in a musical that’s kind of important. Oh well!