Thursday, December 2, 2021

SILENT NIGHT Film Review December 2, 2021 Eclectic Arts


RLJE Films
Reviewed: 12/2/2021

Rating: 2 / 5

AMC+ and RLJE Films will release SILENT NIGHT in Theaters and streaming exclusively on AMC+ on December 3, 2021.

(RLJE Films and AMC+)

The new film “Silent Night” is a holiday film wrapped up in, well, something else (no spoilers here).

The film starts off like what you might expect. A family gathering for the Christmas holiday in England. The usual family drama that comes with such events is explored. All status quo here.

Then the film takes a decidedly different turn. Again without spoiling things let’s just say the turn made didn’t improve the film much.

When entering certain genres, it is imperative that the creatives go all in, so to speak. No half measures otherwise it comes off as such. Being a long time fan and now a film critic of one of these genres, the film just flat out missed the mark.

Perhaps you'll feel differently after viewing "Silent Night".  

Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

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Wednesday, December 1, 2021

ADRIENNE Film Review December 1, 2021 Eclectic Arts


HBO and HBO Max
Reviewed: 12/1/2021

Rating: 5 / 5


The new documentary film “Adrienne” is a compelling tale of love, loss, inspiration, tragedy, and so much more. Directed by Andy Ostroy (husband of Adrienne Shelly) and featuring interviews with friends, cast mates, and family members, “Adrienne” follows the story of Adrienne Shelly’s career. Her unique sensibility and the bullshit she encountered during the formative years of her career.

Her “can do” attitude and incredible talent was on the way up with a little film she wrote, directed, and co-starred in called, “Waitress”. Adrienne never got to see the reaction to the film nor the massive Broadway hit it would inspire of the same name.

What works so well in the film is the sheer scope of what director Andy Ostroy manages to pull from the interviews, the old footage of Adrienne, and the current events that unfold (no spoilers here). One can’t help but be moved by the scope of what happened to Adrienne and the ramifications all these years later.

I wish this film never had been made in the way that it had to be - a tribute - to a talent taken from us far, far too soon.

“Adrienne” is highly recommended.

Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

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Monday, November 29, 2021

7 SHORT FILMS ABOUT (OUR) MARRIAGE Film Review November 29, 2021 Eclectic Arts

7 Short Films About (Our) Marriage

Reviewed: 11/29/2021

Rating: 5 / 5

Available Now On Digital

The new film “7 Short Films About (Our) Marriage” is a drama split into seven chapters or short films. Spanning the life of a young couple who have artistic dreams in film and dance only to watch life have its way with their dreams.

Chynna Walker and Drez Ryan play the married couple and both do a masterful job of taking the audience on a journey that many of us are all too familiar with in our own lives. Dreams versus reality, and all of the nuances that come along with both.

Written and directed by Chris Hansen, the film really comes across like a play. As a matter of fact, I would love to see this taken to the live theatre stage as I think it would work well on so many levels.

Everything is subdued so the focus falls on the two main characters on the screen. Even the soundtrack music is absent during much of the film and sparingly used to enhance only certain scenes.

The direction and the performances make this film stand out in a big way. I’m looking forward to seeing more work from all three artists.


Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

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Tuesday, November 23, 2021

"THE MUSTANGS: America's Wild Horses" Film Review November 23, 2021 Eclectic Arts


Virgil Films Entertainment
Reviewed: 11/23/2021

Rating: 3.5 / 5

Available on TV On Demand via Apple TV and Amazon Prime Video

The new documentary film “The Mustangs: America’s Wild Horses” is a look at the history of mustangs as wild horses throughout America leading up to the present day. The issues with federal corrals and horses still in the wild are also addressed.

The film is interesting and informative. I would have liked to have seen more from the other points of view - such as those that want to see the horses roam free completely. The lack of resources to sustain the thousands of horses currently is an interesting one. It begs the question of what would have happened if humans had never existed. Would the mustangs and every other species of animal on the planet thrived or would they have run into the same issues currently facing them?

Don’t get me wrong - the efforts to conserve and to assist veterans are admirable ones. But, any time I see animals in peril, I can’t help but wonder what if ….

“The Mustangs: America’s Wild Horses” is available as TVOD (TV on demand) November 23rd.

Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

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BABETTE'S FEAST Show Review November 20, 2021 Eclectic Arts


Taproot Theatre
Seattle, WA

Review: 11/20/21 Performance

Performances run through December 30th, 2021

(Matthew Posner, Nolan Palmer, Jenny Vaughn Hall, Pam Nolte, and April Poland in Babette's Feast at Taproot Theatre.  Photo by Eric Stuhaug.)

Taproot Theatre has been putting on consistently high quality productions ever since I first started reviewing their shows back in 2018. Just like everyone else involved in the arts community, 2020 and part of 2021 has been one of the most difficult times in recent memory. The absence of live events has really exposed the old adage of “you don’t know what you miss until it’s gone” to a proverbial T. Thankfully, the show must go on and Taproot Theatre is back in action with their play, “Babette’s Feast”.

The Covid-19 protocols were being followed at the east door, with concessions in the Isaac Studio. The performance I attended was nearly full save a few seats here and there (some of which may have been to protect patrons and the actors due to proximity).

How wonderful it was to be back at the Taproot Theatre on Saturday evening!

The play was approximately 90 minutes long with no intermission. Again, this may have been a deliberate decision due to Covid-19 to get patrons in and out of the theatre.

The trademarks that I’ve come to know and love about any Taproot Theatre production were clearly evident in, “Babette’s Feast”. Top-notch casting, professional performances, and solid storytelling were all on display during the play.

The narrative was a little all over the place during the first ten minutes or so of the first act. But, eventually the characterizations became more clear and the show went to another level.

As much as I enjoyed the performances and the execution of the show, I just didn’t find it resonating with me. This will happen from time to time with live theatre. Again, it had really nothing to do with the show as it was an extremely solid production.

I’m ecstatic that live theatre is back on stage at the Taproot Theatre and I’m looking forward to their upcoming new season.

“Babette’s Feast” runs through December 30th. Tickets are available here:  TICKETS!

Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

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Wednesday, November 17, 2021

ZEROS AND ONES Film Review November 17, 2021 Eclectic Arts

Zeros and Ones

Reviewed: 11/17/2021

Rating: 3 / 5


ZEROS AND ONES will be Available in Select Theaters, on Apple TV and Everywhere You Rent Movies on November 19th! Available on Blu-ray and DVD on January 4th!

The new film “Zeros and Ones” looks promising on paper. Ethan Hawke (playing two characters) as directed by Abel Ferrara. With a long standing career as a director, Abel Ferrara presents a film that is a mix of confusion and artistry shaped by the pandemic (is my guess).

As a thriller, the film comes up short. As an interesting piece of cinema, the film excels. But, if you’re looking for a straight forward film with action and thrills, this isn’t the movie for you. It definitely leans into Ferrara’s artistic style, a bit too much at times, and that takes away from the impact of the narrative.

“Zeros and Ones” was an interesting start to a collaboration that may yield stronger results should there be a follow up film.

Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

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MEAN GIRLS Premera Blue Cross Broadway At The Paramount Seattle, WA 11/16/21 Eclectic Arts


Premera Blue Cross Broadway At The Paramount
Seattle, WA

Opening Night Review: 11/16/21

From November 16 – 21, 2021

Mean Girls  Book by Tina Fey, Music by Jeff Richmond, Lyrics by Nell Benjamin, Directed &Choreographed by Casey Nicholaw  Credit: © 2019 Jenny Anderson

It was with great anticipation that I and my guest ventured into Seattle for the first time since the pandemic began in early 2020. The second show in the 2021/2022 Premera Blue Cross Broadway At The Paramount’s return to the in-person stage Tuesday evening was “Mean Girls” which is based on the popular comedic film of the same name.

This was only my third in-person event back since the pandemic so it was both nostalgic (which is weird to type) and exciting to get back to the Paramount Theater. Kudos to the event staff for getting the patrons through the Covid-19 protocols as quickly as they could. We were amongst the line of people waiting to get in twenty minutes before show time but for us the line moved quickly, the early hand stamp after having your credentials checked (card or negative test and ID) before reaching the tent really helped, and the line went by super fast.

The show itself was visually stunning to watch. I loved the use of the screens to depict the various classrooms, homes, and other sets. The lighting design was also worth noting which added the extra emphasis to each scene and musical number.

The story followed the film for the most part with a few changes or additions for 2021. Having seen the film recently, I can say that I was surprised to see/hear just how many songs were in this touring musical. I really expected more dialogue than numbers - yet we got the opposite. The songs just kept on coming with plenty of choreography as well. I enjoyed the early number with the lunch trays but after a while I started to yearn for more storytelling.

The performances from the entire cast were strong throughout which is no surprise for a touring musical. The characters portrayed are high school age so the singing voices needed to match. This was a bit grating to my ears after the first few numbers. Others were eating it up though so I think it just depends on what you like to listen to.

Fans of the film will most likely enjoy this musical. They’ll identify with the characters and the themes. I was somewhat surprised to see that not much of the themes were updated for 2021. They did change a few things but much of it was just left as is much like a time capsule of the film.

If you’re not familiar with the film, I honestly don’t know what you will think of this show. Again, it was a top notch production with a cast and behind the scenes crew that put on a bang up show. But the songs, the pitches of the performers, and the overall tone of the show (which was light) may be a hit or a miss for theatre goers. You’ll have to see for yourself.

Oh - and tsk tsk to the patron that had their phone out during Act II for several minutes. Such bad form.

Having said that, being back at an in-person Premera Blue Cross Broadway At The Paramount performance was amazing!  I knew I had missed attending the performances but last night really emphasized just how much I had missed them.  From that respect, it was a fantastic evening.    

“Mean Girls” runs through Sunday November 21st. Tickets are still available here:  BUY TICKETS!

See you at the theatre,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

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