June 11, 2014

Behind the Curtain- 'The Cripple of Inishmaan' Back Stage Tour w/ Daniel Radcliffe + Final Weeks!

There is nothing worse than missing out on great opportunities. Especially when that opportunity is so close to you! As you know I have been hyping Martin McDonagh's 'The Cripple of Inishmaan' for months now (saw it once in London and again in here) and I can't even describe how great it is. Truly one of those shows where you walk out feeling like you've witnessed something extremely captivating.

Now, don't freak out, but 'The Cripple of Inishmaan' is ending soon. Like, in 3 weeks time (July 20th to be exact.) These are your final weeks to see Daniel Radcliffe and this amazing cast on stage. If you're a fan of good theater you'll love it. If you're a fan of Martin McDonagh's work you'll love it. If you have some weird affection for cows, then yes, you'll like this too.

To get an idea of what it's like behind the scenes, check out Daniel Radcliffe's exclusive backstage tour right here:

 Website and Ticket Purchase:  http://crippleofinishmaan.com

June 5, 2014

Review of 'Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon'

Did you know that there is a man who is actually ‘the most interesting man in the world?’  His name is Shep Gordon and he is the epitome of a rock star (without actually being a rock star.) Supermensch (which is the directorial debut of actor/comedian Mike Myers) documents the life of mega- music manager Shep Gordon, who is known for managing some of the most legendary musicians in history like Alice Cooper, Blondie, Luther Vandross, Teddy Pendergrass, and many more. He also invented the term “celebrity chef,” which launched the career of Emeril Lagassee.

The film is a collection of celebrity interviews, reenactments, and archived videos and photos, which showcase the legendary life of Shep Gordon.  Now you’re probably asking “Why should I care about this guy?” When I tell you that this man has lived the most fascinating life I have ever seen, I am not lying. He got punched by Janis Joplin, was bouncing off career ideas with Jimi Hendrix, and had a posse that included John Lennon. Celebrities flock to his private island to relax (he has an extremely generous open door policy) and he can make sure that paparazzi leave them alone.

In the roughly 90 minute film you see Shep’s life as a young Jewish kid, the crazy things he did to bring attention to his clients (there is an incident involving Alice Cooper and a chicken), and his life now as an older man. He talks a lot about his desire for children and it really pulls at your heartstrings. Like I was ready to hook him up with an e-harmony account, that’s how badly I felt for him. You really become emotionally invested and want the best for him in the end. The film is also just really entertaining. I felt like I could’ve sat there for another 30 minutes listening to another crazy story. The time really flies by!

A few weeks after screening this, I was walking down the street and saw Shep casually talking on his cell. He was so sweet, and ended his phone call just to chat with me and tell me about all the press events he was doing. I can see why so many people care about him. He is very personable and pleasant. Like a person who has clearly had a life well-lived. I feel that I could learn more from him in 30 minutes than I would in an entire semester of school. He is an out-of-the box thinker and seems to truly care about people. This is an excellent directorial debut for Myers (and I think I can forgive him for The Love Guru, too!) Definitely keep an eye on this film, coming out tomorrow in select theatres! B+

April 25, 2014

Tribeca Review: The Bachelor Weekend (The Stag)

Thank God for VOD. Seriously, it’s a blessing. The fact that I can watch films from this year’s Tribeca Film Festival and not have to leave my room is a luxury. Sometimes I have seen films and thought, “Man, I wish I had actually experienced this with an actual audience.” This is not one of those times.

I was really looking forward to seeing the Irish comedy The Bachelor Weekend. It seemed like a light hearted, funny, brofest from across the pond, and it was on the top of my "must see" list. I chose to watch it On Demand, since I had fallen ill that week, and couldn’t make it to any of the screenings.

The Bachelor Weekend (or formally titled The Stag) is a story about a group of friends who decide to go out into the wilderness to celebrate their mate’s pending nuptials. However, each one of them has their own respective issues that are soon dealt with while braving the elements and trying to survive the weekend. “Uninspired” is the word I would use to describe this film. It has all the basic components of your typical “male bonding” film like The Hangover (nudity, sex jokes, gay jokes, crazy hijinks, ect.), but it just wasn’t all that funny to me. Some of the characters were very one dimensional with no real development whatsoever. It felt like I was watching an incomplete film, and I was just waiting for something more (anything really!)

I did have a few chuckles, however. Peter McDonald (The Machine. Yes, that's his name throughout the entire movie) who plays the crass older brother of the Bride, is really the only person carrying this film (and seems to overshadow the rest of the cast.) Which is disappointing, because you have some really talented actors, who could’ve been used much better. This film would be perfect to view on Netflix, on a lazy afternoon. The Bachelor Weekend is not bad, but it’s defiantly a missed opportunity for what could’ve been a really funny film. Grade: C-

April 24, 2014

REVIEW: Radcliffe and Ensemble Shine In THE CRIPPLE OF INISHMAAN

A few months ago, I wrote a piece on Daniel Radcliffe after seeing a show he was in while in London last summer (check it out HERE.) The show was called THE CRIPPLE OF INISHMAAN, an extremely dark comedy about an unfortunate cripple named Billy (Daniel Radcliffe) who dreams of a life outside his small Irish town. When I heard that the show was coming to Broadway, I was excited and nervous. Maybe, I wasn’t giving my fellow Yanks enough credit, but I wasn’t sure that the fast paced, borderline unintelligible dialogue would work with American audiences (or keep their attention for the 2 hours we were there.)

 Before the show, I was treated to a wonderful pre-show mixer at the Iroquois Hotel located at 49 W 44th St. The mixer was held at the hotel’s Lantern’s Keep, a beautifully lit bar at the back of the lobby, which provided wonderful service and a delicious array of hors d’oeuvres and drink (the drink in particular was appropriately named The Cripple of Inishmaan.)

 For a Wednesday evening the line going into the theatre was substantial at best. Right now NYC is buzzing with tourist from all over the world enjoying their spring vacation, so it can get a tad crazy around the theatre district. The out of towners, in particular, were extremely hype about seeing a “Daniel Radcliffe show” and I could spot the overzealous young fans who wanted to see Harry Potter up close and personal.

 Set on the remote island of Inishmaan off the west coast of Ireland, word arrives that a Hollywood film is being made on the neighboring island of Inishmore. The one person who wants to be in the film more than anybody is young Cripple Billy (Radcliffe), if only to break away from the bitter tedium of his daily life. McDonagh’s comic masterpiece examines an ordinary coming-of-age in extraordinary circumstances and confirms his position as one of the most original Irish voices to emerge in the second half of the twentieth century.

 This show is written by Martin McDonagh (who brought us In Bruges, The Guard, and Seven Psychopaths.) There is a darkness that shrouds the characters of the show, which makes the comedy so startling and hilarious. I love McDonagh, because his work always manages to make me laugh, and
acknowledge my own sick, twisted humor. When I say that this is one of Daniel Radcliffe’s finest performances, I really mean it. His dedication and commitment to playing a physically handicapped invalid is shown throughout the show. It is very clear that he spent a lot time and energy familiarizing himself with the movements and nuances of a handicap. There is one scene about midway through that has him lying in a dreary room, which will just break your heart.

 However, seeing the show for the second time did affect how I watched this week's performance. First of all, knowing the entire story from start to finish made me focus less on the plot and more on the excellent dialogue and subtle jokes, which I definitely missed the first time around. I also have to mention that though Radcliffe is the headliner, the ensemble cast are truly the breakout stars, delivering the show’s finest performances. The first time, I was so focused on Daniel and observing his actions, that I didn’t really take in the performances of the people around him (like his hilarious
Aunties, the abrasive and hostile Helen, the town gossip Johnny Pateen, and so on.) These are the real stars of the show, and I’m so happy that I could really appreciate their performance a second time around.

 One thing I found interesting was how the American audience reacted to certain moments of the show in comparison to the British audience last year. For one, American audiences have a tendency to clap whenever the headlining star comes out on stage (which they did with Radcliffe, who doesn’t make a grand entrance.) He did not get that same welcoming in London. No one clapped or cheered. I, personally, found this refreshing, since I find that clapping for a star when they enter, just singles them out in a way that sets them apart from the rest of the group. I feel it’s more respectful to treat them just like the rest of the cast members, and not put so much emphasis on the fact that you probably flew all the way from Bigfork, Minnesota just to see a celebrity and not the show itself.

 I also have to note that the audience was very warm and receptive to all the jokes, and clapped after every scene (which the British audience did not do.) One thing that I found hilarious was that the cruel jokes aimed at Radcliffe’s character Cripple Billy did not get a huge laugh over here. The jokes landed very well in London, igniting shrieks of laughter at poor Billy's expense. If you know McDonagh’s work, you know that these jabs at Billy and his ugly looks, and weak body are meant to be funny (because the jokes are so horrible, that they become comedic.) However, the American audience were very sympathetic and rarely laughed during those scenes. All you would hear were a flurry of "Awws" and "Oh, that's terrible." One of the rare occasions where I could clearly see the line between British humor and American humor (experienced the same thing when I saw the Book of Mormon at the West End.)

The Cripple of Inishmaan is a special gift from across the pond that should be seen during it's 14 week stint in New York. If Daniel Radcliffe peaks your interests to see this, then by all mean go and see it! The show will bring you laughs, but will also play on your heart in a way that you wouldn't expect. It is truly theatre at it's finest.

Tickets are currently available on Telecharge.com:

      The Cort Theatre
138 West 48th Street (btwn 6th & 7th Aves)
New York, NY 10036

Tuesdays: 7pm
Wednesdays: 2pm and 8pm
Thursdays: 7pm
Fridays: 8pm
Saturdays: 2pm & 8pm

Sundays: 3pm

Special Thanks to:

Thank you to the Iroquois Hotel's Lantern's Keep for the wonderful pre/post-mixer 
Lantern’s Keep is devoted to the artful enjoyment of cocktails, as displayed by these turn-of-the-century aficionados. A hidden gem tucked behind the refined lobby of the Iroquois, Lantern’s Keep is not a lobby lounge or a mere bar – it is a unique entity in its own right, serving a carefully selected slate of creative and inspired drinks in an intimate, exclusive environment. Each of the Lantern’s Keep bartenders brings his or her own personal style and experience behind some of the city’s best bars to cater to even the most experienced cocktail experts.

                       Lantern’s Keep
                      49 W 44th St., New York, NY 10036
                    (212) 453-4287

                      Website: http://www.iroquoisny.com/lanternskeep
                      Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lanterns-Keep/139035726168273
               Twitter: https://twitter.com/Lanternskeep
                 Yelp: http://www.yelp.com/biz/lanterns-keep-new-york
                Instagram: http://instagram.com/lanternskeep
                      FourSquare: https://foursquare.com/v/lanterns-keep/4da6347f6a23f2e805035620

March 24, 2014

Step By Step: 10 Simple Ways To Make a Rockstar LinkedIn Page

After years of editing, re-editing, re-re-editing, and re-re-re-editing my LinkedIn page, I have listed the top 10 things to have/do when making a LinkedIn profile. This is a combination of my own personal observations and what I have been told over the years.

1. Use it- The first rule of having a good LinkedIn page is actually using your LinkedIn. So many people have an account for the sake of having one and never use it. Just because your college career counselor told you to make one, doesn't mean you just forget about it after you sign up. You should be checking constantly to see what job/internship openings have come out and just simply tweaking your profile every now and again.
2. The Perfect Picture- You may not realize it, but your profile picture is pretty important. When recruiters or future employers look you up, it will be the first thing they see. Your LinkedIn is NOT your Facebook. That bikini picture you took in Cabo with your girlfriends will not work when you're trying to apply for an entry level job. If you're in college, find a student photographer on campus to take some headshots for you to post on your page. Or just simply have a friend take a nice picture of you (please, no cell phone selfies). Remember that first impressions are everything, so choose the photo that you feel shows your personality best.
3. Go Ahead and Creep- You creep on Facebook, so why aren't you creeping on LinkedIn? Creeping is totally allowed when checking out a LinkedIn page. If LinkedIn didn't want people to creep then they wouldn't have the option of seeing who has viewed your page. So why not take advantage and see what your peers and colleagues are doing? If you find yourself stuck and not knowing how to format your page, then check out the profiles of people who have the jobs that you want and see how they styled their page. Using someone else's page as a template for yours can be very helpful.
4.  You're All That- You shouldn't hold back when it comes to talking about your multiple achievements. When filling out your LinkedIn page, you should make yourself look like the coolest person on the planet. Even if your only credentials are dog walking and babysitting, make it sound like you were the best dog walker and babysitter the world has ever seen. It's all about selling yourself and really highlighting your skills. Don't be afraid to make yourself look really cool.
5. Recommend Me- Do not be afraid to ask your boss or advisor to write a recommendation on your page after an internship/job ends. Not only does it look good on your page, but it's someone confirming that you are awesome and capable of functioning in a work setting.
6. Follow, Follow, Follow- Take a moment and follow groups and organizations which pertain to your interests and goals. If you are a journalism major and want to work for the NY Times, then you should be following the NY Times on Linkedin. If you want to go into PR then you should be following PR companies on LinkedIn. This will give you up-to-date news on the company and it shows that you are interested in that field.
7.  Fill It All Out- Even if you don't think anyone will care, go ahead and fill out as many sections as you can. If you are taking classes that apply to the field you're going into, then list them all. If you volunteered at an animal shelter for years, then put that down too. The point of a LinkedIn is for people to get to know YOU and what you have achieved so far. Don't cut yourself short.
8. Grow Your Empire- The one question I always hear is "Who do I add on my LinkedIn?" The answer is: family, friends, teachers, professors, old bosses, current bosses, your neighbor, your neighbor's dog, etc. Anyone who you have had some kind of interaction with should be in your network. As your network builds, you will find more and more people you know that can become connections. Soon you will have your own Rolodex of connections which will make your page look more professional. However, try to be more discriminating about the people you add to your network. I rather have 200 connections of people I do know, than 500+ connections of people I don't.
9. So Fresh And So Clean, Clean- Your profile should be neat and easy on the eyes. Make sure you have formatted everything correctly and use bullet points for listing things. Showcase your work (i.e. PowerPoint, presentations, portfolios) to make your profile pop and look super fabulous.
10. Utilize and Network- All of these tips won't do you any good unless you utilize LinkedIn and use it as a networking tool. That means reaching out to career groups on discussion boards and using your contacts to introduce you to their contacts. Whatever your goals may be, you must find a way to make LinkedIn beneficial to you. Don't be afraid to be outgoing and take initiative. You never know where that next opportunity may be!

Let me know your bests LinkedIn tricks and tips in the comments!

For more, check out FindSpark's article on how to make to network beyond LinkedIn HERE

March 16, 2014

Podcast: Cinema in Noir - Race Bending and Whitewashing Roles In Hollywood

Tonight I had the distinct pleasure of joining the women of Cinema in Noir in their weekly discussions about TV and Film! Was a little nervous at first (I've never done a podcast before) but I had the best time. This week we talked about the Veronica Mars movie, the new James Brown biopic trailer GET ON UP, the Tiger Lily controversy involving Rooney Mara, and much more. Listen and let us know what you think about tonight's episode.

Discover Film Internet Radio with Kimberly Renee on BlogTalkRadio

March 13, 2014

Season 2 Episode 2 of VIKINGS Recap: Viking Ships, Shaky Terms, and Athelstan Becomes a Real Boy

So we move ahead and have now jumped 4 years. Aslaug has moved from side chick to main chick and is now Ragnar’s wife. They have popped out a few kids now (all boys) and everything seems to be going hunkey dory.

We finally see Athelstan in his entirety and he is pretty much a full fledge Viking with his long locks and nifty goatee (he has even adopted the language like a pro).

Raganr lets all his men know that they will be raiding in the Summer and that it’s going to be flipping awesome. Ragnar will be joined by frenemies King Horick and Jorg Borg (the guys who were fighting in the last episode) and so far everything seems alright.

But uh oh. Looks like Ragnar is back to his old habits. During dinner Aslaug catches him getting his flirt on with a cute servant girl, and she lets the poor girl know that she is the main woman in charge, and she better back off.  Oh you mad, Aslaug? I’m sure Lagertha was bright and chipper when Ragnar was hitting it with you….
When she confronts Ragnar, she lets him have it and pretty much tells him that she has mystical powers that can foresee the future or something, I dunno. Her son will have the serpent in his eye (*plays ‘Eye of the Tiger’*) which I'm sure will be important down the line. 
Ragnar goes to an oracle to check to see what is going to happen to his sons. The oracle lists off all the cool things that 2 of his sons will do (marry a princess and sail the seas without much incident). We soon learn that Bjorn will do one of these things and is destined to become a great Viking. However, it is clear that Ragnar has not seen his son since he left with Lagertha and thinks about him all the time.
Siggy is still with Rollo despite the fact that he has gone off the tracks and into a very big ditch of despair. She pushes Rollo to ask Ragnar to go raiding with the other Vikings (Ragnar is still pissed about the whole betrayal thing from last weeks episode and Rollo has been drinking himself silly for the past 4 years.) Rollo asks for forgiveness from Ragnar and Ragnar tells his brother that he will consider letting him raid with him and the boys.

Back at Viking training camp, Ragnar and Athelstan practice their fighting skills. Athelstan has clearly become very skilled in the past 4 years and is no longer the sweet monk that we have grown accustomed to. 
Of course we can’t have an episode without some kind of drama, so right before they are about to raid, King Horik straight up tells Ragnar that he doesn’t want Jorg Borg to come with them. Since King trumps…..um Jorg (?) Ragnar has no choice but to kick Borg out.
In a very revealing moment Ragnar chats with one of Horick’s sons and lets him know that he has a son around his age (Bjorn). We learn that Bjorn is probably around 17/18 now and he has chosen not to contact Daddy Ragnar (and clearly this is very upsetting to him).
Ragnar tells Rollo that he will acknowledge him as  his brother again, but he won't be going on the raids. So.....silver lining I guess?
Jorg Borg is told that he will not be going on the trip either and as you can imagine he is not pleased. 
Meanwhile, Siggy is getting close and intimate with King Horick and tells him that she can let him in on all of Ragnar's business. Looking for a come up, Siggy?
Still pissed that Ragnar broke off the deal, Jorg Borg tries to get Rollo to turn on his brother and join him again (because that worked so well last time, right). However, this time Rollo isn't buying it and head buts Jorg like a soccer ball.  Cut to Siggy and Horick getting it on....and uh....
Ragnar and the crew leave, and they encounter a big case of torrential rain, which rocks their Viking ship of course. They finally make it to land and they swarm in for the raid. However, they are soon surrounded by soldiers and are bombarded by arrows, killing off many. In a moment of bravery Athelstan saves Ragnar’s life and is awarded a Viking bracelet (which I guess is the equivalent of a diploma), which means he’s legit now and Ragnar is a proud Viking papa.
We learn that the Vikings have made their way to Essex and the King there is no joke. Whoop.

We’ll see what happens AND finally find out what Bjorn and Lagertha have been up too. Sweet!