Review: Jolie’s a fun hero-villain in ‘Maleficent’

AP National Writer
Wednesday, 04 June 2014 18:46

Then and now from Disney. - PHOTOS: Courtesy Disney

Maybe it’s too soon to say the tide has shifted definitively. But it’s certainly been a unique time for fairy-tale villains.   

Entertainment briefs: American Idol, Bollywood, First Stage, more

Written by Wisconsin Gazette Friday, 30 May 2014 14:27

Indian actress Kapoor ready for gay Bollywood film: One of the biggest stars in Bollywood, Sonam Kapoor, said in a recent interview that it’s time for her industry to explore the possibility of a gay love story, especially in the wake of India’s criminalization of homosexuality. Last year, the nation’s Supreme Court upheld a ban on gay sex, which she says is contrary to India’s current culture, in which “it’s completely all right, it’s completely OK to be gay.” Kapoor said she believes depicting gay characters on film could help bring change in her country, simply by exposing Indians to “amazing human beings … who aren’t necessarily only straight.” 

‘American Idol,’ ‘The Voice’ finale ratings drop: The sharp decline in viewers for the season finales of The Voice and American Idol raises the question of whether music competition shows on television are fading out. The year’s final American Idol episode, which aired May 21 on Fox, was seen by fewer people than any Idol-crowning moment since the series began in 2002. The Nielsen Co. also said that viewership for NBC’s The Voice was down 25 percent from its 2013 finale. Since 2011, the audience for the American Idol season finale has sunk by a staggering 66 percent. Fox has already announced cutbacks on Idol hours next season, likely by eliminating the poorly rated results show. NBC says it’s too early to consider that for The Voice.

Sondheim’s ‘Follies’ a show about coming to grips with life’s choices

Written by Michael Muckian,
Contributing writer
Friday, 30 May 2014 14:19

Two couples — former chorus girls and the successful men they married — and the crumbling ruin of a Broadway theater are the setting of a show called Weismann’s Follies. The couples are survivors of twin relationships turned sour. Victims of their own follies, they’re surrounded by the ghosts of their pasts and fighting for a way to save their emotional lives of the present.

Stephen Sondheim’s Follies opened in April 1971 in New York’s Winter Garden Theatre. The show, with a book by James Goldman and directed by Harold Prince and Michael Bennett, ran for 522 performances and lost $792,000. It also earned 11 Tony Award nominations and won seven of them, prompting New York Times critic Frank Rich to wonder whether Follies was “a great musical or the greatest of all cult musicals.”

Rainbow streamers: Netflix celebrates LGBT Pride Month

Written by Wisconsin Gazette Wednesday, 28 May 2014 03:49

Netflix is celebrating LGBT Pride Month with a series of films and TV shows with an LGBT theme or LGBT characters or available for streaming.

The video-streaming service also will make Season 2 of "Orange is the New Black" available beginning June 6.

Eco-terrorism grips in ‘Night Moves’

Written by JAKE COYLE,
AP Film Writer
Tuesday, 03 June 2014 22:27

In Kelly Reichardt’s spare, eco-terrorist thriller, the two spurts of violence that disturb the placid pine forests of the Pacific Northwest are each hazy with fog. One is a misty nighttime bombing of a hydroelectric dam, the other a fatal encounter in a sauna.

A thick moral cloudiness hangs over “Night Moves,” Reichardt’s fifth film. Three disillusioned environmentalist radicals conspire to send a message by blowing up a dam that has upset the local ecosystem. Clad in wet wool hats, they’re far from romantic terrorists like Carlos the Jackal. One, after all, is played by Jesse Eisenberg.

Vampire Weekend is at BMO Harris Pavillion on June 4

Written by Bill Lamb,
Contributing writer
Friday, 30 May 2014 14:25

Which band is the only one in history to debut at  No. 11 on the Billboard album chart with two consecutive independently released projects?

If you guessed Vampire Weekend, you’re right.  Arguably the most critically celebrated and commercially successful of today’s alternative rock groups, Vampire Weekend heads to Milwaukee for the first major outdoor concert tour of the season at the Summerfest grounds’ BMO Harris Pavilion on June 4. The show is a great way to whet your musical appetite for the coming attractions at PrideFest. 

Outpost opens its first ‘green’ certified market in Mequon

Written by Anne Siegel,
Contributing writer
Friday, 30 May 2014 14:17

Although its grand opening was less than a month ago, Outpost Natural Foods Cooperative in Mequon — the cooperative’s fourth store in the greater Milwaukee area — is already getting a lot of attention.

“The response has been overwhelming (and) we are delighted,” said one of the store’s 80 new employees.

Carlos Santana wants to save the world with music

Written by By MESFIN FEKADU,
From the AP
Tuesday, 27 May 2014 09:15

Try to speak with Carlos Santana about his new album and he’ll want to talk about another topic: changing the world.

The veteran musician says he is planning a concert aimed at encouraging and motivating the development of young black and Latino men in the wake of Trayvon Martin’s death and Donald Sterling’s racist comments. He wants to hold the event next year in Florida and is working with Harry Belafonte.

Tony Bennett: Truth and beauty are his game

Written by Michael Muckian,
Contributing writer
Friday, 30 May 2014 14:30

In 1979, with no recording contract, few concerts, a failed second marriage and the IRS on his heels, Tony Bennett nearly died from a cocaine overdose.  The former top crooner, whose iconic 1962 hit “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” made him a household name, had lost touch with contemporary audiences and lost his way in the changing music scene.

Bennett reached out to sons Danny and Dae, who helped turn his faltering career around and found a way for him to appeal to younger audiences without changing his charismatic musical style. Many new fans had never heard his music before, but they appreciated his enormous talent. Bennett’s star began once again to ascend, and it now shines as brightly once more.

‘Normal Heart’ beats with outrage

Written by Gregg Shapiro,
Contributing writer
Friday, 30 May 2014 14:23

Taylor Kitsch and Mark Ruffalo in Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart, now available on HBO. Photo: HBO

A long time in the making (Barbra Streisand held up the screen rights for years), the movie adaptation of Larry Kramer’s difficult early AIDS-era play The Normal Heart finally premiered May 25 on HBO. It was a fitting start for the Memorial Day Weekend, as there are so many friends, family and loved ones who must not be forgotten.

Raise a glass and a brush at a Wisconsin art bar

Written by From the Wisconsin Department of Tourism Friday, 30 May 2014 14:14

There’s a new trend brushing its way across Wisconsin — art bars. And we can’t think of a better way to unleash your inner Picasso than with a paintbrush in one hand and a glass of wine or craft beer in the other. Many businesses across the state have opened up to cater to this fun trend. Come for a painting lesson, a drink or two, and leave with a handmade masterpiece all your own. The best part? They handle the clean up.

Whether it’s a date night, girl’s night out or even a corporate event, a painting bar is an exceptional and memorable way to spend an evening. Here are a few options where fun is just a paint stroke away.

Matthew Vaughn and a superb cast reinvigorated the franchise with cool retro style and globe-trotting intrigue in 2011’s “X-Men: First Class.” The series’ original director, Bryan Singer, continues that momentum in the vigorously entertaining “X-Men: Days of Future Past.” While it’s more dramatically diffuse than the reboot and lacks a definitive villain, the new film is shot through with a stirring reverence for the Marvel Comics characters and their universe. And it ups the stakes by threatening nothing less than the genocide of the mutant population, among them faces old and new.

Hardcore followers will have a geek field day dissecting the challenging pretzel logic of writer-producer Simon Kinberg’s screenplay, from a story by Jane Goldman, Kinberg and Vaughn, who had originally planned to direct. The central premise comes from the 1981 Uncanny X-Men comic “Days of Future Past,” in which Kitty Pryde (recently out Ellen Page) uses her consciousness transference powers to go back from a dystopian future and rewrite history.