SHORT TAKES: SOME LIKE IT HOT - SOME HATE IT! POSTED APRIL 15TH 2013

I LIKE: 'RENOIR FILM' AND STAGE PLAY 'BEING ERNEST" (At TheatreWorks)

HATED THE FILM: "To The Wonder" Now showing. I WONDER, if anyone is really interested?

In this Gorgeous telling of the Artist 'Renoir' we not only get to visit the Majestic Countryside, we also get to see some of the world's magical works of Art. Men (talented or not) become smitten for young models that get paid very little. Their payment is that the models will let them paint them in the countryside completely nude. Renoir certainly perks up in their presence.


Renoir is getting more and more feeble, but he continues to make his Art for the World. Even though he can barely get out of bed. But his swollen hands still enable him to make lovely visions of women who pose around the lush trees on Renoir's Estate. As the older Renoir gets older, he hopefully hopes that his son will be able to keep his name and talent alive. He does exactly that. The younger talent was wounded in the Army. One of his fathers models is the gorgeous "Andree". The younger Renoir falls for her. He does not become a painter, but he does go on in later life as a famous film producer and director.

What happens to Andree? Her and young Renoir -- do get married. But, Andree does not stay married long. Young Renoir goes his way, and she tries to make films on her own with some success. However she never became as famous as the Renoir's. Their marriage fell apart.

This atmospheric Drama keeps us on the edge of the seat as the older Renoir captures the world. The impressionist painter was celebrated by the world. His work passes on the torch, on the walls of famed museums everywhere. This fascinating movie about the Renoir family is irresistible and additive. A BRILLIANT FILM! Set in the French Riviera in 1915. Its a majestic rainbow. Riveting!

THE BRILLIANT ACTORS: Michael Bouquet, Vincent Rottiers and Christa Thieret
GREAT DIRECTION BY: Writer/Director Giles Bourdos.

NOW PLAYING AT THE CLAY THEATER

RATING: FOUR GLASSES OF CHAMPAGNE!!!!
(highest rating) - trademarked-

BEING EARNEST AT THEATREWORKS IN MOUNTAIN VIEW

I'm sure that Oscar Wilde is having a wonderful party watching over the Party on the Theatreworks stage. It's new and fresh - and the audience was bent over with laughter. Oscar may have been spinning around in the clouds complaining about the new version -- but I believe that he was sitting on my shoulder telling me "This is the best version of my play ever!" Well, of course Oscar did not really say that -- but I'm sure that he would love to hear it.

Originally called "The Importance of Being Earnest has now been cut to just "Being Earnest" -- and I like that much better. It all brings us into the wonderful world of mod fashion. The clothing is just spectacular and the new music is sly, adroit and the most hilarious musical ever!

Yes, it's London and it's buzzing around with fancy new digs. And boy do the young guys have fun Jack Worthing and Algernon Moncrieff is on a very complicated mission. Love is involved and things get even more involved as the two friends meet up with two women that they would love to hook up with. All of this is under the evil eye of Lady Brackwell. And she is also known as a sharp-tongued dowager. However, she sorts everything out in hilarious mistaken identities.

The magnificent musical score by Paul Gordon and Jay Gruska give us a new sound. The lyrics are priceless as Euan Morton sings exhilarating ditties. Jack Haydon also amazes the audience, including me, with his amazing voice. And when the boys sing together, it is total heaven. Lady Bracknell (Maureen McVerry) approves of the modern ideas from the World Premiere musical. She's in full throttle action.

Hey, this is a spectacular, Thrilling Big fun and audacious. The climax is a bold new musical that is fast-paced and full of wonders.

THE TOUR DE-FORCE CAST IS FIRST RATE. THEY ARE: Euen Morton, Hayden Tee, Mindy Lynn, Riley Krull and Maureen McVerry. The outstanding music is by Paul Gordon and Jay Gruska. Book and Lyrics by PLaul Gordon. And of course, the play is by Oscar Wilde.

Now playing at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts.

RATING: Four Glasses of Champagne!!!! (highest rating) - trademarked-

TO THE WONDER (MOVIE)

O.k -- Terrance Malick is a terrific Director. But, something went awry in this film. It starts out to be a beautiful thing -- but the film is badly directed. I hate to say it -- but it is too ethereal. His previous movies were fantastic. This one is a disappointment. It's disjointed. No one really knows what the hell is going on. The actors are like they were planted in weeds. They just sort of stand there and stare.

It's all about love -- but weird. Half the time you can't see there whole face. The photography is like someone drank to much booze. This is all supposed to be about love. Really? You could have fooled me -- and they did.

Literally I didn't have any idea of what was going on. It is love and not love. Does walking around in the grass mean that you like each other? Forty minutes of walking around like zombies does not really grab from this film. Heck I'd rather watch reruns on TV.

There are a few words here and there -- but mostly the actors just stare into the plains. There is one part where someone does talk to a priest -- I believe that the someone was a crackhead. "Distinctly Boring!"

Ben Affleck is an disenchanted American visiting Paris. He should have stayed in America. He falls in Love with Olga Kuryenko. She made no sense whatsoever. Another good Actor is wasted: That would be Javier Bardem (The Priest). Now that I've wasted your time - try it out for yourselves. It will be a total waste - but try it!

*RATING: One Box of Popcorn - trademarked-

(((Lee Hartgrave has contributed many articles to the San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Datebook and he has produced a long-running Arts Segment on PBS KQED)))

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