Brief film reviews: Hot Tub Time Machine

•March 31, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Short film review I wrote.
Published in the Independent Weekly March 31, 2010 issue.

Don’t drink and tub unless you want to end up in the 1980s is the lesson learned in this gross-out comedy. A group of 40-ish dudes (John Cusack, Craig Robinson, Rob Corddry and Clark Duke) decide to visit the once-happening ski resort town where they misspent their youth. After a drunken night in the hotel’s hot tub, this gang of losers somehow winds up in 1986 and is forced to relive the day exactly as they did before for fear of creating a “butterfly effect.” It’s when they start to veer from this course that things get screwy. The film is a hopeful mixture of Groundhog Day and Back to the Future, but ultimately the better parts of the script and the actors’ sharp comedic timing is overshadowed by lowbrow antics that are far too overplayed.
By Belem Destefani

Thursday 4.1: Our Picks: 8 Days a Week

•March 31, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Short feature I wrote.
Published in the Independent Weekly March 31, 2010 issue.

When: April 1-3, 10:15 p.m. and April 1-3, 8 p.m.
Phone: 828-LAFF
http://www.ticketbiscuit.com/goodnightscomedy

Goodnight’s Comedy Club / The Grille at Goodnight’s—During its eight-season run, Full House was a staple in my house. Uncle Joey’s catchphrase “Cut. It. Out.” followed by his hand gesture haunted us years after the show was off the air. Despite the longevity of his catchphrase, Dave Coulier struggled after Full House. He was thrust briefly into the limelight again when it was rumored that Alanis Morrissette wrote “You Oughta Know” about him, and he had a short stint on VH1′s reality show The Surreal Life. (Subsequent reality show appearances included Dancing With the Stars and Skating With Celebrities.) Yet, much like his fictional counterpart, Dave Coulier is also a comedian known for his impressions of celebrities and cartoon characters. He also takes the stage Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and 10:15 p.m. —Belem Destefani

Wednesday 3.31: Our Picks: 8 Days a Week

•March 31, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Short feature I wrote.
Published in the Independent Weekly March 31, 2010 issue.

When: Wed., March 31, 7:30 p.m.
Phone: 919-843-3333
Price: Tickets are $10 for UNC students and $25-$45 for the general public
http://www.carolinaperformingarts.org

UNC Campus: Memorial Hall —Brush up on your Chekhov: His works, including The Cherry Orchard and Uncle Vanya, are seminal pieces of the theatrical canon. The latter is a tragicomedy published in 1900 that examines the life of a rich Russian family: wasted lives, lost time and unattainable loves. The play was filmed in 1994 by Louis Malle as Vanya on 42nd Street and provided many with their first glimpse of Julianne Moore. The Maly Drama Theatre of St. Petersburg brings this work to the stage in its original Russian with English super titles for a one-night performance at 7:30 p.m. —Belem Destefani

Wednesday 3.24: Our Picks: 8 Days a Week

•March 25, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Short feature I wrote.
Published originally in the Independent Weekly Mar. 17, 2010 issue.

Chapel Hill
I Have Before Me a Remarkable Document Given to Me by a Young lady from Rwanda
Kenan Theatre, UNC Campus—Sonja Linden’s play is about Juliette, a Rwandan refugee who has written a book about the travesties that occurred in her country. In her attempt to get it published, she enlists the help of Simon, a poet and refugee aide, and their relationship quickly flourishes into a mutual exploration of each other’s cultures. Linden wrote this play—whose lengthy title is a “challenge to our short attention span where Rwanda is concerned,” she says—as a response to her interactions with Rwandan refugees when she was a writer-in-residence at the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture. Now PlayMakers Repertory Company brings this work to Chapel Hill for a five-day run. Tickets are $24–$32. Visit http://www.playmakersrep.org. —Belem Destefani

Monday 3.22: Our Picks: 8 Days a Week

•March 25, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Short feature I wrote.
Published originally in the Independent Weekly Mar. 17, 2010 issue.

Chapel Hill
Pilobolus
Memorial Hall, UNC Campus—American Dance Festival favorite Pilobolus returns to the Triangle for a one-night-only event to showcase four dances, one of which—Redline by Jonathan Wolken—originally premiered at ADF last summer. Pilobolus, known for juxtaposing amazing feats of athleticism with aestheticism, reached the apex of popular culture when they performed at the 2007 Academy Awards. Now for the Triangle, they dust off an old favorite, Day Two, which had its premiere in 1980 and re-enacts the second day of creation. Also on the program are Rushes, by choreographers Avshalom Pollak and Inbal Pinto, and Duet, which examines love’s different stages.The show is at 7:30 p.m., with tickets for UNC students $10 and the general public $30–$75. Seats are limited, so don’t wait. Visit http://www.carolinaperformingarts.org. —Belem Destefani

Friday 3.19: Our Picks: 8 Days a Week

•March 25, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Short feature I wrote.
Published originally in the Independent Weekly Mar. 17, 2010 issue.

Durham
MoLoRa
Reynolds Theater, Duke University—In 458 B.C., Aeschylus wrote the Oresteia, a Greek tragedy that opens up a debate about justice in Athens. Nearly 2,500 years later, South African playwright and director Yael Farber adapted Aeschylus’ classic into MoLoRa to restore that same debate, but this time about South Africa. The Farber Foundry Theatre Company examines post-apartheid South Africa by resetting the story within the context of the Truth and Reconciliation Committee hearings. The Ngqoko Cultural Group, a seven-member group committed to performing the songs of South Africa’s rural Xhosa communities, will perform as the chorus for the play. Due to the emotional intensity of the performance, we’re told that MoLoRa is not appropriate for those under 13. Read our interview with Farber. The show is at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Tickets are $5 for Duke students and $22–$28 for the general public. Visit http://www.dukeperformances.org. —Belem Destefani

Brief film reviews: She’s Out of My League

•March 25, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Short film review I wrote.
Published in the Independent Weekly Mar. 10, 2010 issue.

SHE’S OUT OF MY LEAGUE—Can a smokin’ hot 10 ever be with a mediocre five? That’s the question the puny Pittsburgh protagonist of She’s Out Of My League sets out to answer. After meeting babe Molly (Alice Eve) at the airport security checkpoint, TSA agent and super-geek Kirk (Jay Baruchel) can’t believe his good fortune when he finds out that she might actually be into him. Fueled by his friends’ insistence that there’s no way a girl that hot could ever go for a “moodle” (man poodle) like him, he begins to sabotage the best thing that’s ever happened to him. Out of My League is reminiscent in the best ways of other recent good-hearted gross-out comedies like The 40-Year Old Virgin, and Baruchel manages to be likeable, charming and uncool at the same time. Rated R. —BD

 
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